Post Reports

A Democratic debate, in the shadow of impeachment

Amber Phillips shares her takeaways from the fourth Democratic presidential debate. Aaron Davis explains the ascent of the U.S. ambassador to the E.U. And Keith Alexander describes how D.C. changed during the reign of drug kingpin Rayful Edmond III.
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Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.

In this episode

Moderate Democrats shift their focus from Joe Biden to Elizabeth Warren
On Tuesday night, 12 Democratic presidential candidates debated for more than three hours in Westerville, Ohio, to discuss impeachment, butt heads over subjects such as Medicare-for-all and pile onto Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

After four debates, those who emerged toward the top of the field at the start of the primary campaign — Warren, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — remain in the top tier, while struggling candidates continue their slog. 

But the debates have revealed the disparate personalities seeking the nomination, says political reporter Amber Phillips

“They still have deep ravines between the moderates and the liberals on big issues,” Phillips says. “On politics, I think last night’s debate shifted things fairly dramatically, and what I mean by that is the candidates – almost all of them except for Elizabeth Warren – decided, ‘Let’s go after each other.’ ”

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Why a Seattle millionaire is at the center of the impeachment inquiry
The U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, intends to tell Congress this week that text messages in which he denied that President Trump had offered Ukraine a quid pro quo arrangement were simply Sondland relaying a message that Trump told him over the phone. 

“It’s only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth,” a person familiar with Sondland’s planned testimony told investigative reporter Aaron Davis

Until revelations about the president’s phone call with Ukraine became public three weeks ago, Sondland was a relatively quiet public figure. Now, many are wondering how a man with no prior diplomatic experience could ascend so high in the administration. 

“Having been a very successful hotelier, he was worth tens of millions of dollars,” Davis says. “He had lots of friends who were millionaires. He would hold fundraisers in his home and invite lots of other millionaires and then bundle all of these donations into six- and seven-figure contributions that would get the attention of candidates running for office” — in hopes of one day becoming an ambassador. 

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Why a drug lord who devastated D.C. is back in court
Even after he was sent to prison for life, drug kingpin Rayful Edmond III remained a legend to some in Washington.

“He had a following,” says crime and courts reporter Keith Alexander. “He had a fan base. I mean, this was a young man who was 22, 23, 24 years of age, and he had chauffeur-driven limousines. He was always buying diamonds. He would give money to little league baseball teams, pay the rent for individuals in his neighborhood, for their mothers.”

But Edmond oversaw a crack cocaine epidemic in the late 1980s that devastated the District and helped make it the murder capital of the country. And this week, a judge could decide that he’ll be released from federal prison with time served. 

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.