Posts tagged with "Joe Biden"

Taylor: Trump cared more about politically motivated Biden ‘investigations’ than ally Ukraine

November 14, 2019

Ambassador William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, on Wednesday said that America’s Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland told a member of his staff in July that President Donald Trump cared more about a politically motivated investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden than he did about longtime ally Ukraine.

According to a report by The Hill, Taylor—who delivered public testimony under oath at the first televised impeachment inquiry—talked to Sondland on July 26.

That conversation came just one day after a now-infamous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25—during which the U.S. president allegedly tried to coerce the new leader into announcing that he would investigate the Biden family by withholding $400 million in congressionally approved military aid to the small nation.

 Taylor said his staffer, whom he did not name, overheard a phone call between Sondland and Trump during which the president asked the EU ambassador about the investigations.

“Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations,’” Taylor said, according to The Hill’s report.

“Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [Trump attorney Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for,” he continued.

Taylor said that Sondland made the comments following a meeting with a top Zelensky aide, Andriy Yermak, in Ukraine. Taylor said he was not aware of the details when he testified behind closed doors in connection with the impeachment inquiry last month and that he was including it for “completeness.”

“I reported this information through counsel to the State Department’s Legal Adviser, as well as to counsel for both the Majority and the Minority on the Committee. It is my understanding that the Committee is following up on this matter,” Taylor said.

Sondland, who testified privately before the committees before Taylor, has also corrected his remarks to say that he told Yermak during a meeting on September 1 that aid to Ukraine would not likely flow until Kyiv made a public statement about pursuing investigations related to 2016 election interference and Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm with ties to Hunter Biden.

Sondland has sought to distinguish the issue of Burisma from the Bidens, though other witnesses have connected the two. Trump specifically named Biden on the call with Zelensky in July.

As The Hill noted, the Trump Administration eventually released military aid to Ukraine, and Kyiv did not make a public statement about pursuing investigations sought by Giuliani and Trump.

Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong in his interactions with Zelensky, describing the July 25 phone call as “perfect” and accusing Democrats of a partisan effort to damage him politically. Trump has said he wanted Ukraine to investigate “corruption” and that his comments had nothing to do with politics.

Research contact: @thehill

Born to run? Michael Bloomberg files paperwork to enter 2020 presidential race

November 11, 2019

Another billionaire–this one with abundant political experience—having held three consecutive terms as mayor of New York City—is about to join the 2020 presidential race, running for the nomination on the Democratic ticket.

Michael Bloomberg, who will be 78 next February—and who currently is the CEO and owner of Bloomberg LP, a global financial services firm— is expected to file paperwork this week designating himself as a candidate in Alabama, a state with an early filing deadline, people briefed on Bloomberg’s plans told The New York Times for a November 7 report.

Bloomberg and his advisers called a number of prominent Democrats on Thursday, November 7, to tell them he was seriously considering the race—including former Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the retired majority leader who remains a dominant power broker in the early caucus state.

The Times said that aides to Bloomberg also reached out to Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

Reid said in a brief interview with the news outlet that Bloomberg had not explicitly said he was running for president but that the implication of the call had been clear.

His entry into the race would cause a seismic disruption—but it might be welcomed by party leaders who are looking for a centrist politician with political seasoning who could stand up to Trump .

According to the Times report, with his immense personal wealth, centrist view, and close ties to the political establishment, Bloomberg would present an instantaneous threat to former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been struggling to raise money and is already defending his ideologically moderate base on multiple fronts.

Bloomberg initially bowed out of the 2020 race because of Biden’s apparent strength, but he has since grown skeptical that the top-polling Democrat is on track to win the nomination—and he does not see the two leading liberals in the race, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as strong candidates for the general election.

Howard Wolfson, a close adviser to. Bloomberg, said on Thursday that the former mayor has grown uneasy about the existing trajectory of the Democratic primary. He said Bloomberg viewed President Trump as an “unprecedented threat to our nation,” and noted the Democrat’s heavy spending in the 2018 midterm elections and this week’s off-year races in Virginia.

“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated—but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that,” Wolfson told The New York Times. “If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch, and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”

Advisers to Mr. Bloomberg said he would likely make up his mind about the race within days, rather than weeks.

Research contact: @nytimes

Poll: Obama’s endorsement would substantially sway 2020 Democratic voters

November 4, 2019

Does the endorsement of a candidate by a former U.S. president matter to Americans who are likely to vote in the 2020 election? Not unless the backing comes from Barack Obama, based on the results of a national poll conducted last week by USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll.

Obama, who left the White House nearly three years ago after completing two terms in office, polled as the top former president whose opinion mattered—with an overwhelming 67%.

The only other past presidential nominee who polled in double-digits was former President Jimmy Carter, the oldest living POTUS at age 95. In fact, 11% of respondents cited Carter—who is still actively building houses and doing other good works—as someone they admired who is still influential.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were next in line, at 6% each. Al Gore, the 2000 nominee, was named by 3%; and Michael Dukakis (1988), John Kerry (2004), and Walter Mondale (1984), by 1% each.

Obama has yet to endorse anyone in the Democratic primary field, which includes his former vice president, Joe Biden.

However, Kate Pritchard, 63, a retired teacher from Durango, Colorado, told USA Today that should plans on supporting New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker at the moment, but she’s not sure he can go the distance.

If Obama were to endorse a candidate, she said, she would back that person.

“That would be very powerful,” she said in a follow-up interview after being called in the survey.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Poll: Michelle Obama would be front-runner in NH Democratic primary race

October 17, 2019

We just can’t quit her: A Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll conducted between October 9 and October 13 has found that— if former FLOTUS Michelle Obama were to enter the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary race, she would take the lead among the current candidates.

According to a report by the Boston Herald, of the current presidential hopefuls, Elizabeth Warren (25%) and Joe Biden (24%) would lead in a statistical tie in the Granite State primary on February 11, 2020—with Bernie Sanders (22%) trailing just slightly behind.

“Today, the Democratic race is a statistical dead heat between Warren (25%), Biden (24%) and Sanders (22%),” pollster R. Kelly Myers wrote in his summary of the poll results.

“If Michelle Obama were to enter the race, it would change things dramatically,” pollster R. Kelly Myers wrote in his summary of the poll results. “Twenty-six percent of Democrats would vote for her, making her the new frontrunner. Under this scenario, Obama (26%) would lead Warren (20%), Biden (20%), and Sanders (15%).”

In doing so, Myers told the Boston Herald, Obama  would take away 4 percentage points from Warren, 4 points from Biden, and 7 points from Sanders.”

However, chances look slim that she will enter the arena: In an August interview with The National, Obama hardened her resolve about the impossibility of her running for the highest office in the nation—saying that there was “zero chance.”

“There are so many ways to improve this country and build a better world, and I keep doing plenty of them, from working with young people to helping families lead healthier lives,” she said. “But sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office will never be one of them. It’s just not for me.”

She also told talk show host Conan O’Brien back in March that eight years in the White House was “enough. It is enough. It’s time for new ideas … and people who are struggling in ways that, because of the nature of what we’ve done, we don’t do that anymore. We need fresh, real, clear eyes in this stuff.”

According to the Boston Herald, the FPU-Herald poll also found that there has been a 17 point drop in support for President Donald Trump from Republican voters going from 88% to 71% in just a month’s time.

Research contact: @bostonherald

Democrats deploy new impeachment plan of attack after White House refuses to cooperate

October 11, 2019

House Democrats are now saying that they don’t need any help from the White House to make a case for impeachment, NBC News reports.

To circumvent Executive Branch efforts to impede and obstruct the House impeachment inquiry, Democrats have launched a fresh offensive: They intend to inundate the White House with subpoenas; as well as requests for interviews with people who no longer work in the administration.

Democrats issued additional subpoenas for testimony and relevant documents on October 10 to Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas —two associates of the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, both of whom are alleged to have helped Giuliani dig for dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine. They were requested to appear for depositions this Thursday and Friday before Congress, but before they could appear on Capitol Hill, they were arrested Wednesday night on charges tied to campaign finance violations, NBC News says.

Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) formally announced the impeachment inquiry last month, Democrats have so far issued eight subpoenas—including those to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rudy Giuliani, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Office of Management and Budget Acting Chief Russell Vought, and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland In addition, they have requested documents from Vice President Mike Pence.

However, few, if any, of the current administration leaders are expected to respond to the Democrat’s subpoenas and requests. Just this week, Ambassador Sondland declined to testify, on orders from the State Department and President Donald Trump.

Therefore, the Democrats are targeting former officials,  who are now private citizens, and would not fall under the White House ‘s claims of executive privilege. Kurt Volker, who recently resigned as U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, testified before Congress last week, several days after he left the administration.

On Monday, Trump’s former Russia adviser Fiona Hill, volunteered to meet in a closed-door session with several congressional committees. A letter addressed to Hill, obtained by NBC, requested that she turn over several documents that date back to January 2017.

Congress returns next week from a two-week recess and Democrats are expected to speed up their investigation that could lead them filing articles of impeachment against the president. Two sources told NBC News that Pelosi will hold another caucus-wide conference call on Friday afternoon, so rank and file members can receive an update about the impeachment inquiry.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Trump’s impeachment tantrums disengage key 2020 supporters

October 4, 2019

Women across the nation are viewing President Donald Trump’s impeachment-incited tirades with consternation and concern, Politico reports. And they do not represent the only key voting bloc that has backed off since the whistleblower report was released to Congress in late September.

Indeed, nearly a half-dozen polls conducted since September 24—when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) announced the official launch of an impeachment inquiry—have found female voters rallying behind her call to action; intensifying concerns among White House allies that the white women who helped carry Trump to victory in 2016 can no longer be counted on next November.

Specifically, 57% of registered female voters strongly or somewhat approved of impeachment in a CBS survey released September 30; and  62% of women in a Quinnipiac University survey released Monday said they thought “Trump believes he is above the law.”

The development comes, according to Politico, just as two more key demographics—Independent voters and college-educated whites—are exhibiting ever-larger “fault lines” in their resistance to impeachment.

What’s more, the allegations against Trump—that he leveraged U.S. aid to Ukraine, holding back funding unless the eastern European nation agreed to supply “opposition research” on Joe Biden, a Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 presidential election—also are changing the dynamics on Capitol Hill.

Should impeachment gain the support of an undeniable majority of likely voters, Republicans legislators who previously declined to distance themselves from the president could quickly change their calculus, the news outlet says—setting Trump on the same lonely course that led to President Richard Nixon’s Watergate-era resignation in August 1974.

“From my point of view as a Republican pollster, the president’s base has been solid so far,” Micah Roberts, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, which oversaw an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted last week, told Politico during an interview. “But college-educated whites have electoral significance for us in the suburbs and can completely shift the dynamic and the conversation just by virtue of shifting the overall numbers.”

In some cases, that shift already has started: Fifty percent of college-educated whites in an NPR/Marist College survey said they approved of House Democrats’ decision to launch the formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. That compares to a narrower margin of support for the move (45-43) in a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday.

“If you look at college-educated whites, those are probably some of the most engaged voters. They are a big and important chunk of the electorate and they have shifted the most resolutely toward impeachment so far,” Roberts said.

“I really don’t like where we are right now,” said one prominent Republican pollster.

To be sure, Politico says, some of the same polls include evidence suggesting impeachment could become a political risk for Democrats as they head into a heated election year. And the rapid-pace environment in which the impeachment process has already unfolded, combined with varying levels of understanding of the process itself, mean a lot of voters are still in “wait-and-see mode,” according to Roberts.

Finally, some polls have underscored mixed feelings among voters toward the former vice president, which would be a positive sign for the president. For example, 42% of voters in a Monmouth survey said Biden “probably exerted pressure on Ukrainian officials to avoid investigating” his son during his time in office; but only 26%t of voters in a Reuters/Ipsos poll said they believe Biden is attempting to conceal a potential scandal ahead of 2020.

With Elizabeth Warren already ahead by several percentage points in key primary and caucus areas, the opinions on Biden may, in the end, be moot.

Research contact: @politico

Support for Trump impeachment rises 12 percentage points in new poll

September 30, 2019

A new Hill-HarrisX survey released on Friday, September 27, found that support for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump rose 12 percentage points, following the release of a whistleblower report to Congress and the American people last week—as compared to a similar poll conducted three months ago.

The survey was conducted on September 26 and September 27—just a couple of days after House Democrats announced the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry, specifically to look into Trump’s July phone call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, among other allegedly illegal Oval Office activities.

Trump also released a transcript of that telephone call, during which the POTUS requested that Zelensky provide “oppo research” about Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent in the upcoming 2020 U.S. election; as well as on the former vice president’s son Hunter.

Until that request was acted upon, the U.S. president made it clear that he would not release more Javelins for defense purposes to the Ukraine (and implied that also would wait to release $400 million in Congressionally approved military aid to the eastern European nation).

The poll asked Americans, “Do you support or oppose the decision of House Democrats to start a formal impeachment inquiry on President Trump?”Fully 47% of respondents supported the inquiry, up 12 percentage points from a similar survey in June, which asked whether Democrats should begin impeachment proceedings.

Meanwhile, opposition to impeachment dipped 3 points to 42%, while 11 percent of those polled in the new survey said they weren’t sure or didn’t know.

Support for impeachment grew among Democratic, Republican and Independent voters alike. Democratic support jumped from 59%  to 78%, a 19-point increase. The number of Republicans backing impeachment jumped 5 points to 18 percent.

The number of independents back impeachment doubled to 41 percent.

According to a report by The Hill, the whistleblower, who is believed to be a former CIA official, alleges that Trump tried to persuade Zelensky to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, to help boast Trump’s reelection chances in 2020.

Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and the GOP  has largely come to the president defense.

The Hill-HarrisX survey surveyed among 1,001 voters and the margin of error was 3.1 percentage points.

Research contact: thehill

‘Fortune’ may be favoring just a few Democratic candidates

July 17, 2019

Eleven Democratic presidential candidates—nearly half of the whopping field of two dozen or more who have announced that they are running—spent more campaign cash than they raised during the second quarter of the year, according to new financial disclosures filed July 15  and posted by Politico.

Indeed fortune is smiling on just a favored few—among them, Pete Buttigieg ($24.8 million raised in Q2), Joe Biden ($21.5 million), Elizabeth Warren ($19.1 million), Bernie Sanders ($18.2 million), and Kamala Harris ($12 milion).

In the second tier are, Corey Booker ($4.5 million), Amy Klobuchar ($3.9 million), and Beto O’Rourke (3.6 million).

Eight contenders active in the spring limped forward with less than $1 million in cash on hand, and several top-tier contenders were already spending multiples of what their lower-profile competitors raised, the news outlet reported.

Already, California Representative Eric Swalwell has pulled out—acknowledging the problematic math facing a lower-tier contender. Swalwell’s campaign raised just more than $880,000 in the second quarter from donors and, like many of the others at the bottom of the pack, well outspent what it raised.

“We had the money in our account to continue to try to qualify for the upcoming debate,” Swalwell told Politico. “But we believed that even if we had done that, that when we looked at the September debate, it just wouldn’t add up.”

The financial squeeze is set to drastically shrink the lineup of Democratic contenders in the coming months, barring major shifts in momentum, as candidates grapple with the doldrums of summer fundraising and the high costs of staffing national campaigns and building donor lists big enough to qualify for future Democratic National Committee debates, Politico says.

The numbers also reveal the tremendous pressure on lesser-known candidates to make a splash in the debates at the end of this month — potentially the last chance some will have to attract a burst of support as their expenses pile up.

“This is the doomsday scenario for a lot of campaigns, where they’re grasping for air to keep their campaigns alive and to live another day,” said Andrew Feldman, a Democratic strategist in Washington. “You can’t build an organization. You can’t build an operation that turns enthusiasm into votes without having resources to do it.”

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper spent a half-million dollars more than he raised in the second quarter, finishing June with $840,000 in his campaign account, Politico said.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro spent more than 80% of the amount he raised, despite a fundraising bounce following his highly regarded debate performance in the closing days of the fundraising period. He was left with about $1.1 million, the politico news outlet noted.

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, raised about $3.1 million in the second fundraising quarter; however, he reported spending $3.2 million and finished with only $1.2 million in the bank.

Some of these candidates need a miracle,” Matthew Littman, a Democratic strategist and former Joe Biden speechwriter who now supports Kamala Harris, told Politico. “It’s like if you’re a baseball team and you’re 15 games behind in mid-July, the odds are that you’re not making it to the playoffs.”

He said, “If you don’t have the money, you’re not going to have the infrastructure. And if you don’t have the money or the infrastructure, what are you going to do to break through? At this point, it’s just very, very tough.”

Could there be a miracle? It’s doubtful. “You’re not going to see a lot of people continuing to give to a person with no money left,” Feldman said.

Research contact@politico

Tried and true: Biden and Sanders lead Democratic field for 2020

February 26, 2018

Two years ahead of the 2020 New Hampshire presidential primary, most Democrats still are trying to decide whom to support—but Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren remain the early frontrunners, based on findings of The Granite State Poll, conducted among 523 likely voters by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, and released on February 15.

Interest in the 2020 primary has increased since the last poll was conducted in October 2017—and is considerably greater than it was at this point in the last two electoral cycles, the researchers said. More than half of New Hampshire voters (55%) say they are “extremely interested” in the primary; while just under one-quarter (25%) are “very interested,” 13% are “somewhat interested,” and 7% are”not interested” at all.

Most Democrats (81%) and Republicans (87%) say they definitely will vote in the primary, but only 58% of Independents say they will, without fail, cast a primary ballot.

After receiving the second-highest number of potential votes from respondents last October, Biden now has taken the lead over Sanders—with 35% of the vote versus 24%, respectively. Coming in third, with 15% is Elizabeth Warren; followed by Cory Booker (3%), Kirsten Gillibrand (2%), Kama Harris (1%), and Martin O’Malley (1%). At this point, 4% of prospective voters are looking for another candidate to support and 15% are undecided.

On the Republican side, six in ten voters (60%) say they will support Trump in the primary—an increase since October and comparable to the proportion of Democrats who said they planned on voting for Barack Obama (56%) in February 2010.

Research contact: andrew.smith@unh.edu

If Americans went to polls today, Sanders would beat Trump

November 16, 2017

If the 2020 presidential election were held today, Donald Trump would not be able to muster the votes to beat Democrats Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama or Elizabeth Warren, based on the results of a Zogby Analytics poll conducted in late October among 1,514 adult Americans.

In the battle between President Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the Independent candidate receives a narrow majority of  51% of voters, while Trump receives 40% of voters.

Sanders exceeds Trump with women (56% to 35%), younger voters age 18-24 (69% to 27%), 18-29 (64% to 30%), Walmart shoppers (47% to42%), voters age 50-64 (46% to 44%), Amazon shoppers (51% to 41%) and all minorities.

 However, Trump continues to beat Sanders among voters age 65+ (53% to 40%) NASCAR fans (47 to 46%), Catholic voters (49% to 43%), and rural voters (53% to36%).

Sanders does the most damage to Trump among men (both tied at46%), and beats him significantly with Independents (51% to 36%).

Joe Biden, the former U.S. vice president is not far behind—beating the current president by a margin of 50% to 40%. Biden, like Bernie Sanders, is favored among younger voters age 18-24 (74% to 18 %), voters age 18 to 29 (60% to 31%), women (57% to 34%), Independents (50% to 37%),and all minority groups.

Zogby commented, “President Trump struggles against Biden because Biden is able to tap into the president’s base of voters who frequently shop at Walmart (tied at 46%), voters age 50-64 (Biden leads 47% to 43%) and voters with no college education (Biden leads 47% to 42%).”

When respondents were polled about the chances of former First Lady Michelle Obama against Trump, the potential 2020 race tightens. Obama barely wins outside the margin of error.

“The reason for the tightening of the race between President Trump and Michelle Obama is that the former first lady does not make the same inroads that Sanders and Biden make with groups that supported the president, such as Independents (Obama leads 44% to 43%),  older voters age 50-64 (Trump leads 49% to 42%), and voters without a college degree (Trump leads 47% to 45%). However, among Amazon shoppers, Obama is in a close race with the president— leading 47% to 46%,” Zogby said.

Finally, Zogby’s polling of a potential showdown between Trump and Liberal favorite Senator Elizabeth Warren has fluctuated over the last few months, Zogby reports.

At one time, she led Trump by as many as 9 points, but the race has tightened in recent months. She currently leads the president by 2 points.

Like Michelle Obama Warren does well with the Democratic base of women, younger voters and minorities—but not as well as Biden, Sanders and Obama. She also does not cut into Trump’s lead among groups who supported Trump in 2016, mainly voters age 50-64 voter (Trump beats Warren 46% to 41%).

Among Independents, Trump and Warren both receive 40% of support, and with voters who do not have a college education, Trump bests Warren 46% to 40%. Warren also does not do as well with younger voters as do her other Democratic counterparts. Warren receives 53% of 18- to 29-year-old voters, while her Democratic rivals receive 60% and above. Warren does beat Trump among Amazon shoppers (Warren leads 47% to 44%) and keeps it close among Walmart shoppers (Trump leads 46% to 42%).

Research contact: chad@zogbyanalytics.com