Two hundred and nineteen House Democrats and one independent — a majority of the chamber’s 435 members — now favor some kind of impeachment action against President Donald Trump, according to an NBC News tally.
House Democrats reached the milestone a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into the president following claims that he might have withheld aid to Ukraine to pressure officials there to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
But that doesn’t mean they will all vote to impeach the president.
Some House Democrats, as well as Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., have asked for an impeachment inquiry to examine any evidence of wrongdoing, while others have favored the House Judiciary Committee investigation. Still others have called for drafting articles of impeachment against Trump. The different terms the lawmakers are using to discuss the issue make it unclear how they will vote if articles of impeachment were to go before the full House. The Democratic holdouts, meanwhile, include several of those in competitive districts — some who flipped seats last year.
Until recently, less than half of the 235-member Democratic Caucus said they supported taking impeachment action against the president, and Pelosi had tamped down efforts to launch a formal impeachment push, dismissing it as too divisive.
But the number of Democrats backing formal impeachment measures spiked in the weeks after special counsel Robert Mueller’s July testimony to the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees about his probe into Trump and Russia, and then it snowballed in the past several days amid revelations about a phone call Trump held in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which they discussed the Bidens.
On the call, Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and his son, Hunter, who had business dealings in Ukraine. Just days before the conversation, Trump had instructed his chief of staff to place a hold on about $400 million in military aid to the country, which is involved in a continuing military conflict with Russia, The Washington Post and other news outlets reported earlier this week and NBC News confirmed.
A description of the call made public Wednesday by the Trump administration shows Trump asking the Ukrainian president to look into why that country’s top prosecutor apparently had ended an investigation of the business dealings of Biden’s son, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Trump then alleges that the then-vice president “went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it. … It sounds horrible to me.”
The text record of the call, which the White House said was not verbatim but represented “notes and recollections” of Situation Room and National Security Council staff who listen to the conversation, is reportedly at the center of a whistleblower complaint from U.S. intelligence community member.
The intelligence community’s inspector general deemed the complaint an “urgent concern” that he was required by law to provide to the congressional intelligence committees. But the Trump administration blocked the move, resulting in a standoff with Congress and drawing a warning from Pelosi about “a whole new stage of investigation” if the complaint weren’t released. NBC News has not independently confirmed that Ukraine is at the center of the whistleblower issue.
According to a senior administration official, the White House is now preparing to turn the whistleblower complaint over to lawmakers by this Thursday, when acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee and also appear behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee along with the national intelligence inspector general, Michael Atkinson.
Trump has already admitted to talking about Biden with Zelenskiy and, in discussing that conversation with reporters on Monday, tied the military aide to the country’s probing of corruption. Later in the day, Trump denied any quid pro quo in which he pledged to give Ukraine the money in exchange for further probing of the Bidens.
“I put no pressure on them whatsoever,” the president said. “I could have. I think it would probably, possibly have been OK if I did. But I didn’t.”
On Wednesday, Trump repeated the claim after the release of the text record of the July call with the Ukrainian president. “It turned out to be a nothing call other than a lot of people said, ‘I never knew you could be so nice,'” he said.
Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, have engaged in a months-long effort to have Ukraine probe the Bidens — an effort aided by the State Department — that centers on the former vice president’s 2016 call, widely backed by the international community, for Ukraine to crack down on corruption. That included a demand for the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was seen as ineffective and was later removed by the country’s Parliament. One of the cases that Shokin was investigating involved Burisma Holdings, a natural gas company, whose board at the time included Biden’s son.
An NBC News analysis found no evidence that Biden acted to help his son: Earlier this year, Bloomberg News, citing documents and an interview with a former Ukrainian official, reported the Burisma investigation had been dormant for more than a year by the time Biden called for the crackdown on corruption. The then-Ukrainian prosecutor general told the news agency he found no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden and his son. And PolitiFact reported it found no evidence to “support the idea that Joe Biden advocated with his son’s interests in mind.”
Additionally, the most recent former prosecutor general of Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Bloomberg he had no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden. Other investigations into Burisma’s oligarch owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, proceeded, and The New York Times reported Sunday that former associates of the vice president have said Biden did not try to stop them.
Doctored video shows Trump violently attacking media figures
Issued on: 14/10/2019 – 13:20Modified: 14/10/2019 – 13:31
A video showing a doctored image of US President Donald Trump shooting and assaulting members of the media and political opponents was shown at an event for his supporters last week at Mar-a-Lago, The New York Times reported.
In the internet meme entitled “The Trumpsman”, the US president‘s head is superimposed on an image of a man attacking people whose faces have been replaced with the logos of media outlets including CNN, The Washington Post, NBC and the BBC. The video has been taken from a scene in the film “Kingsman: The Secret Service”.
As the rampage continues inside the “Church of Fake News”, the Trump character strikes late senator John McCain on the back of the neck and torches the head of Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential rival.
He throws former Republican senator Mitt Romney to the ground and strikes former president Barack Obama in the back before slamming him against a wall.
The video also depicts Trump attacking people including his 2016 presidential opponent Hillary Clinton; former president Bill Clinton; Congressman Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee who is leading the impeachment inquiry into Trump; actor Rosie O’Donnell; and financier George Soros, who is often a target of alt-right conspiracy theories. Trump is also shown attacking someone whose head has been superimposed with the Black Lives Matter logo.
The organiser of last week’s “American Priority” event – which was held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Miami – said the clip was part of a “meme exhibit”. Speakers at the conference included the president’s son Donald Trump Jr and former White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“American Priority rejects all political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue about the preservation of free speech,” Alex Phillips told The New York Times.
‘Enemies of the people’
The White House Correspondents Association said in a statement that it was “horrified” by the video and that “all Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed towards journalists and [Trump’s] political opponents”.
CNN wrote on Twitter: “This is not the first time that supporters of the President have promoted violence against the media in a video they apparently find entertaining, but it is by far and away the worst.”
Trump, the White House and his campaign must denounce the clip, the channel said, adding that “anything less equates to a tacit endorsement of violence”.
Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Trump’s 2020 election campaign, told the Times the “video was not produced by the campaign, and we do not condone violence”.
Media organisations have come under regular verbal attack from Trump and his supporters.
At rallies, the US president repeatedly encourages the crowd to boo and heckle journalists covering the event, calling them “fake news” and “enemies of the people”.
Trump has previously tweeted a roughly edited video clip of him attacking a wrestler whose head had been superimposed with a CNN logo.
Everything you Need to know About Maxime Bernier
Maxime Bernier PC MP (born January 18, 1963) is a Canadian businessman, lawyer and politician serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Beauce since 2006. He is the founder and current leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC).
Prior to entering politics, Bernier held positions in the fields of law, finance and banking. First elected to the Canadian House of Commons as a Conservative, Bernier served as Minister of Industry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, which later became the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism and Agriculture in the cabinet of then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Following the Conservatives’ defeat in the 2015 election, he served as opposition critic for Innovation, Science and Economic Development in the shadow cabinets of Rona Ambrose and Andrew Scheer, until June 12, 2018.
Bernier ran for the Conservative Party leadership in the 2017 leadership election, and came in a close second with over 49% of the vote in the 13th round, after leading the eventual winner, Andrew Scheer, in the first 12 rounds. Fifteen months later, in August 2018, Bernier resigned from the Conservative Party to create his own party, citing disagreements with Scheer’s leadership. His new party was named the People’s Party of Canada in September 2018.
He has been a separatist, a Conservative cabinet minister, even ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party. So how did Maxime Bernier wind up leading a brand new party in this election campaign?
And when did some of his more controversial positions take hold?
In the sixth and final Canadian leadership profile, Jayme Poisson speaks to the CBC’s Jonathan Montpetit about Maxime Bernier, the controversial head of the People’s Party of Canada. 28:05
Everything you Need to Know About Yves-François Blanchet
Yves-François Blanchet (born April 16, 1965) is a Canadian politician serving as Leader of the Bloc Québécois since 2019.
He is a graduate from the Université de Montréal where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology in 1987. He later worked as a teacher and was a founder of an artist, disc and concert management firm, YFB Inc. while being the president of the ADISQ from 2003 to 2006. He was named the local business personality of the year by the Drummondville Chamber of Commerce, while he and associated artists received 10 Félix Awards.
Blanchet was elected to represent the riding of Drummond in the National Assembly of Quebec in the 2008 provincial election. In the 2012 election, he was reelected, this time in Johnson electoral district. He was defeated by CAQ candidate André Lamontagne in the 2014 Quebec election. A member of the Parti Québécois (PQ), Blanchet was Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks from 2012 until 2014. He was also a member of the Youth National Committee of the Parti Québécois in 1988 as well as a regional director of the PQ.
On November 26, 2018, Blanchet announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Bloc Québécois (BQ). As no other candidate had entered the race by the time nominations closed on January 15, 2019, Blanchet was officially acclaimed leader on January 17, 2019.
He’s definitely not as familiar outside of Quebec as he is in his home province. But the Bloc Québécois has been the official opposition in the past and so it’s important to know what Yves-François Blanchet stands for and what he would fight for on behalf of Quebec.
If nothing else, listen to learn Blanchet’s nickname — and how he earned it.
The Bloc Québécois was once a powerful federal political party, forming the official opposition in 1993 and holding around fifty seats in the House in the mid to late 2000’s. But the last two elections have nearly wiped the Bloc from existence, and the party has had a revolving door of leaders. This year, Yves-François Blanchet took over the reins. Today on Front Burner, as part of our series on the federal party leaders, we take a look at who Blanchet is and what he stands for with Martin Patriquin, a freelance political journalist based in Montreal. 21:28
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