Aloha, Power people & welcome to week two of the public phase of the impeachment inquiry. Tips, comments, recipes? You know the drill. Thanks for waking up with us.
OK BOOMER, LISTEN UP: A majority of young Americans believe President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, according to a study out this morning from the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School.
That includes 52 percent of young Americans and 58 percent of likely general election voters under 30 who want Trump gone. Only 28 percent of likely voters feel differently.
- Tribalism: Among young Republicans, an overwhelming majority do not believe Trump should be impeached and removed from office: 82 percent disagreed and 14 percent agreed the president should be impeached and removed.
- But: Only 23 percent of young likely voters — aged 18 to 29 — think the nation is generally headed in the right direction and 58 percent believe that we are on the wrong track.
Big, structural change can't wait. Or maybe it can: While young Americans are largely united in their opposition to Trump, they're more conflicted on how to move forward.
Young voters are divided on the kind of governing philosophy they want to see their favored 2020 candidate embrace — someone who supports “policies that stand a good chance of being achieved as opposed to sweeping changes that will be difficult to carry out” versus a candidate who is proposing “big structural policy changes that address the urgency of the problems that we are facing, even if they will not be easy to carry out.”
- “Young Americans in a post-Trump world are divided on the scope of change they seek in Washington. Among likely 2020 young voters, pragmatic has taken the lead in the race between pragmatic and progressive,” said John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Institute of Politics. “When looking at young Democratic primary voters, bold structural change is preferred, but not by as much as you might think.”
- General election voters: “Among young Americans who are most likely to vote in the November 2020 general election, we find support for the more pragmatic approach, 44% to 40%," according to the poll.
- But for those likely to vote in a Democratic primary: “45% of these voters prefer the approach that deals with 'big, structural policy changes that address the urgency of the problems that we are facing, even if they will not be easy to carry out,' compared to 39% who prefer the more pragmatic position.”
- Maybe Obama is right?: “Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” former president Barack Obama told a group of wealthy Democratic voters on Friday, per the New York Times's Lisa Lerer. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”
- The Des Moines Register/ CNN/ Mediacom Iowa Poll released over the weekend found that a majority of likely Democratic caucusgoers prefer moderate candidates: 52 percent say they would “rather see their nominee advocate for proposals that have a good chance of becoming law even if they do not represent big change. That’s more than the 36% who prefer a candidate who backs big ideas, even if there is a lower chance they would become law,” the Des Moines Register's Brianne Pfannenstiel reports.
Despite the mixed feelings about a political revolution, there is at least one issue overwhelmingly supported by young voters:
- That's universal background checks: “More than four-in-five (81%) young Americans polled support 'requiring universal background checks for all gun purchases,' with less than 10 percent in opposition,” according to the IOP study.
- The top three issues for young voters: the economy, climate change, and health care.
- Among likely general election young voters, 45 percent support eliminating private health insurance and 35 percent oppose it. Fifty-seven percent of likely Democratic primary voters under 30 support eliminating private health insurance.
- Also popular among likely general election voters: 48 percent of likely voters under 30 support “dismantling the electoral college to ensure that the winner of the national popular vote is elected President.”
About the candidates: The cast of septuagenarian candidates are the most popular with young voters. And 94 percent of likely voters are enthusiastic about the choices at hand.
- First, second, third place: Young likely Democratic primary voters support Bernie Sanders (28 percent), Elizabeth Warren (22 percent) and Joe Biden (16 percent).
- For the candidate running on a platform of generational change, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is lagging in youth support — only 4 percent support his candidacy.
- Six percent of young voters support entrepreneur Andrew Yang, “the internet's favorite candidate.”
Silver lining: “While a majority of young Americans (56%) tell us they have more fear than hope at this moment about the future of America, we see a marked improvement in the optimism of young Democrats,” according to the report.
- “Last fall, before the midterm election, we found that only 22% of Democrats had hope, 76% fear. Today, we find that 35% are hopeful, while 65% indicate that they are fearful.”
- “Two-thirds (67%) of Republicans say that they are more hopeful than fearful about America, a statistical tie with the number who said the same one year ago (64%)."
THE WEEK AHEAD IN IMPEACHMENT: On the Hill will be Gordon Sondland, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, and Tim Morrison, former director of Russian affairs at the National Security Council, among others.
Sondland scoop: Trump's ambassador “kept several Trump administration officials apprised of his effort to get Ukraine to launch investigations that [Trump] would later discuss in a July call with his Ukrainian counterpart, emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show,” the Journal's Rebecca Ballhaus reports. That included White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
- More: We previously covered Sondland's precarious legal situation after parts of his testimony were refuted by other witnesses. The diverging story lines — and Sondland's credibility issues — are likely to take center stage at Wednesday's hearing featuring this key witness.
- So far, Sondland has no intention of resigning: “The tension has left a wounded diplomat in charge of managing America’s relationship with the world largest trading bloc amid continuing challenges to his credibility,” our colleagues John Hudson and Michael Birnbaum wrote of the pressure on the former hotelier and real estate maven.
Republicans try a new defense: If 17 other explanations fail, try again. Top Republican lawmakers trotted out an old defense with a new focus on the Sunday shows: Trump did nothing wrong because nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine was ultimately released, the New York Times's Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports.
The shift comes as it will be hard to argue most of the testimony about Trump allegedly trading access and aid for political help is coming from secondhand sources. Sondland talked to the president himself, and NSC aides set to testify were either on the July 25 call or attended meetings where the purported scheme came up.
- Key quote: “The Ukrainians did nothing to — as far as investigations goes — to get the aid released,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “So there was never this quid pro quo that the Democrats all promise existed.”
- The context: As the Times reports, the aid was released “amid a bipartisan uproar on Capitol Hill and revelations of a whistleblower’s report that prompted the impeachment inquiry.”
Meanwhile, Trump attacked another witness who works for his vice president: Trump “continued to take aim at his own administration officials, accusing Jennifer Williams, Vice President Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, of being a 'Never Trumper,'" our colleagues Felicia Sonmez, Karoun Demirjian and Douglas MacMillan report.
- Williams is set to publicly testify Tuesday. She was on both the July 25 phone call and part of a second conversation between Pence and [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelesnky after the hold on the aid was lifted, CNN's Chandelis Duster, Jeremy Diamond and Kaitlan Collins report.
- The transcript from her private deposition was released on Saturday: “Williams testified that the call was 'unusual' given the mention of specific investigations,” per our colleagues.
ALSO TESTIFYING: Alexander Vindman (Tuesday): A Soviet emigre and decorated Army officer, Vindman is the top NSC Ukraine expert and was on the July 25 call.
- He told lawmakers behind closed doors that Sondland said “after a July 10 meeting with a top Ukrainian official that a long-sought meeting between [Zelensky] and Trump depended upon Ukraine launching specific investigations,” our colleague Aaron Blake previously reported.
Fiona Hill (Thursday): Then a top Russia adviser, Hill worked for John Bolton at the NSC. Hill told lawmakers she was present for the July 10 meeting that exploded when talk of investigations was raised, and later at a small clutch of Ukrainian and U.S. officials that also ended badly.
- After the meetings: Bolton urged Hill to go straight to a NSC lawyer and recount what had occurred.
Tim Morrison (Tuesday): A former director of Russian affairs at the NSC, Republicans have claimed Morrison's testimony is a key part of their defense. Morrison "broke with colleagues in telling House investigators that he heard nothing 'improper' on Trump’s call with Zelensky,” our colleagues Colby Itkowitz, Karoun Demirjian, Michael Kranish and Shane Harris reported over the weekend. Morrison also expressed frustration that Vindman, one of his subordinates, talked to the NSC's top lawyer about the call.
- Morrison's testimony will only further embattle Sondland: He told lawmakers that Sondland was, our colleagues write, “acting at Trump’s behest and spoke to a top Ukrainian official about exchanging military aid for political investigations — two elements at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.”
- He also asked for access to the call's rough transcript to be restricted: “Morrison, who left the job at the end of October, said he knew immediately after listening to the call that they needed to keep it under wraps,” our colleagues write. 'I recommended to them that we restrict access to the package,' Morrison said. He said it was the only time he had ever asked the NSC legal team to restrict access.”
Bloomberg apologizes for "stop and frisk": "Ahead of a potential Democratic presidential run, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York ... reversed his longstanding support of the aggressive 'stop-and-frisk' policing strategy that he pursued for a decade and that led to the disproportionate stopping of black and Latino people across the city," the Times's Shane Goldmacher reports. “'I was wrong,' [Bloomberg said.] 'And I am sorry.'"
- Why this is so significant: "The speech, [Bloomberg’s] first since he re-emerged as a possible presidential candidate, was a remarkable concession by a 77-year-old billionaire not known for self-doubt: that a pillar of his 12-year mayoralty was a mistake that he now regrets," the Times reports.
- More on the apology: "Speaking before the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center, a black megachurch in Brooklyn, [Bloomberg] delivered his apology in the heart of one of the communities most affected by his policing policies, and at a location that nodded to the fact that should he decide to run for president, African-American voters would be a crucial Democratic constituency that he would need to win over."
- Life comes at you fast, as our colleague points out Bloomberg once criticized Democratic presidential candidates for apologizing for aspects of their records:
Folks, you absolutely hate to see it. pic.twitter.com/bVzQy0x6Vx— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) November 17, 2019
Buttigieg's Iowa boomlet: “Pete Buttigieg has rocketed to the top of the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll in the latest reshuffling of the top tier of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates,” the Register's Brianne Pfannenstiel reports of the first time the South Bend mayor has led in the poll considered the gold standard in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
This is my favorite way to look at these results as Iowans are still making up their minds. Who’s on their list? We asked them to name a 1st choice, 2nd choice and say whether they are “actively considering” any others. Buttigieg leads, then Warren. https://t.co/ewz0BI6Pag pic.twitter.com/EwCMKUHLR4— Brianne Pfannenstiel (@brianneDMR) November 17, 2019
Behind his lead: “When looking at the entire footprint of his support in Iowa, he now leads the field, with 68% saying they are actively considering him in some capacity. That includes the 25% who say he is their first choice, the 14% who name him as their second choice and the 29% who say they are actively considering him,” the Register reports.
- He also is the Goldilocks candidate: “Buttigieg fares best of the four candidates, with 63% saying he’s 'about right,' 13% calling him 'too conservative' and 7% saying he’s 'too liberal,'" the Register reports.
- Buttigieg still lags on the question of who can beat Trump: “For Buttigieg, the poll’s front-runner, just 27% of his own supporters say they are 'almost certain' he will beat Trump,” the Register reports.
Trouble ahead?: Buttigieg has frequently faced questions about his lack of support from black voters. A new CBS News Battleground Tracker poll reveals that weakness is still a problem. Of the national sample made up of early and Super Tuesday states just 13 percent of black respondents said they were considering supporting Buttigieg. Among African American voters, Biden was at 71 percent, Warren at 49 percent, Sanders at 41percent, Kamala Harris at 3 percent and Cory Booker at 20 percent.
At The White House
TRUMP IS "HEALTHY AS CAN BE": "White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said it is 'absolutely not' true that [Trump’s] visit to a doctor Saturday was anything other than a routine physical exam, maintaining that he is 'healthy as can be,'" our colleagues Felicia Sonmez and Lenny Bernstein report.
- More details: "Trump, 73, made a visit Saturday afternoon to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The trip came on a day when the president had no public events on his schedule ... For a typical annual physical exam, a patient would fast, usually overnight, so that accurate blood tests could be performed. The White House said that Trump was getting a jump on a portion of his physical and that lab work was included."
WHERE THE CANDIDATES STAND ON ECONOMIC ISSUES: "With the stock market at an all-time high, the debate about wealth accumulation and inequality has become a top issue in the 2020 campaign," our colleague Kevin Uhrmacher reports. So The Post set out to see just where the field stands on a range of issues from universal basic income to and a wealth tax to paid family leave and a national rent cap.
Here's what we found:
On family leave:
On rent control:
On a carbon tax: