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Wake Up To Politics - December 6, 2019

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Thursday, December 5, 2019. 59 days until the 2020 Iowa caucuses. 333 days until Election Day 2020. Have any comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com!

Pelosi: House to proceed with articles of impeachment

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) formally announced on Thursday that House Democrats would move forward with drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

"Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment," she said.

"His wrongdoing strikes at the heart of our Consitution. Our democracy is what's at stake," the House speaker added. "The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit."

Pelosi did not detail the timeline for the impeachment process, although a full House vote on articles of impeachment are expected before the chamber departs for the year on December 20. A Senate trial would then likely be held throughout the month of January.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold its next meeting on Monday, when the panel will receive presentations from its own lawyers and lawyers from the House Intelligence Committee on possible impeachable offenses.

"The facts are uncontested," Pelosi said on Thursday. "The President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit at the expense of our national security, by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival."

Today is the deadline set by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) for President Trump to definitively say if he plans to send legal representation to future Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings.

"Democrats’ sham impeachment is a blatant, purely partisan attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement responding to Pelosi's announcement on Thursday.

House Democrats are currently debating how to phrase the expected articles of impeachment. According to the Washington Post, House Democrats are likely to include articles focused on bribery and obstruction of Congress; whether they will also add an article addressing the potential obstruction of justice laid out by the Mueller report remains unclear.

--- Key moment: Perhaps Pelosi's most fiery moment on Thursday came in response to a reporter's question about whether she hates President Trump. "This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the President's violation of his oath of office," the House speaker retorted. "And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is full of, a heart full of love and always pray for the President. And I still pray for the President. I pray for the President all the time. So, don't mess with me when it comes to words like that." Watch

--- Doubts surface over alleged OMB call to Giuliani: "House Democrats earlier this week released records asserting that Rudy Giuliani was in contact with a phone number associated with the White House budget office, where $400 million in aid to Ukraine was temporarily put on hold this summer."

"That assertion, however, is now in doubt. The previously undisclosed phone number cited by the House Intelligence Committee in its impeachment inquiry report, which The Wall Street Journal has identified, isn’t directly linked to the Office of Management and Budget. It could instead reflect phone calls from other parts of the White House, according to people familiar with the matter." (Wall Street Journal)

--- Democratic congressman announces opposition to impeachment: Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), a freshman Democrat whose district voted for President Trump in 2016, told CNN on Thursday that he plans to vote against Trump's impeachment "unless there's something that I haven't seen, haven't heard before." Van Drew was one of two Democrats to vote against a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry in October.

--- Where in the world is Rudy Giuliani? "Rudy Giuliani, whose work in Ukraine is at the heart of U.S. impeachment proceedings, is back in the country -- and officials in Kyiv appear to be keeping their distance."

"People with knowledge of his trip say Giuliani flew into Kyiv from Budapest on Wednesday, the same day that U.S. hearings stemming from his shadow diplomacy in Ukraine kicked over to the House Judiciary Committee. Social media postings show him meeting with current and previous Ukrainian political figures as part of a cable news documentary series that’s critical of the impeachment inquiry." (Bloomberg)

2020 Central

Biden spars with Iowa voter: Former Vice President Joe Biden lashed out at a voter at a campaign stop in Iowa on Thursday, calling the man a "damn liar" in response to a question about his son's business dealings in Ukraine.

The man claimed that Biden "sent" his son to work in Ukraine to "get access to" the president, an assertion that has not been substantiated. "You're a damn liar, man, " Biden shot back. "That's not true and no one has ever said that. No one has proved that."

The voter also said that Biden, 77, is too old to be president. The former vice president then challenged him to a push-up contest. Biden also appeared to refer to the man as "fat," although a campaign adviser claimed he was saying the word "facts."

--- The confrontation overshadowed the Biden campaign's rollout of a major new endorsement from former Secretary of State John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. "I believe Joe Biden is the President our country desperately needs right now, not because I’ve known Joe so long, but because I know Joe so well," Kerry said in a statement on Thursday, siding with his former Senate colleague over two Democrats from his home state of Massachusetts: Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Gov. Deval Patrick.

Buttigieg faces fire over work at McKinsey: "Pete Buttigieg worked at McKinsey & Company, an elite consulting firm with global reach, for three years. But as the South Bend, Indiana, mayor builds his case for why he should be president, he has pointedly kept the details of that line on his resume a secret."

"Now that he is gaining in early-voting states, ethics advocates are calling on Buttigieg to stop dodging questions and tell the public exactly what he did at the world’s most prestigious — and notorious — consulting firm." (HuffPost)

--- "When Pete Buttigieg Was One of McKinsey’s 'Whiz Kids'" (New York Times)

Harris exit sparks scramble: "The tweet announcing Kamala Harris' departure from the 2020 race had barely been posted when some of the California senator's one-time opponents in the crowded, competitive race for president began moving in."

"New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker quickly began calling elected officials in Iowa who had previously backed Harris. Aides to South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren began reaching out to Harris staffers in Iowa and elsewhere to see if they were interested in joining their campaigns. And representatives for Buttigieg, Booker, former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar began contacting Harris' precinct chairs in Iowa to see whether the plugged-in caucus operatives had considered their candidates." (CNN)

--- The end of Harris's campaign has also led to a reckoning among Democrats over the all-white top tier that now leads their 2020 primary field. With Harris out, the December debate is now slated to feature six contenders, all of whom are white. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro have sought to make this point in recent days as they attempt to qualify for the debate stage. Castro announced on Thursday that he has reached the number of donors necessarily to qualify, although he still must reach the polling threshold.

Ethics panel warns congressman to stop voting after guilty plea

Via Fox News: "The House Ethics Committee wrote a letter to California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter on Thursday notifying him that his guilty plea to campaign finance violations means that, under House rules, he may not vote on the House floor."

"House Rule XXIII, Clause 10(a) bars members 'convicted by a court of record for the commission of a crime for which a sentence of two or more years’ imprisonment' from 'participation in the business of each committee of which such individual is a member, and a Member should refrain from voting on any question at a meeting of the House or of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union.'"

. . . "After months of professing his innocence, the 42-year-old Hunter pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single charge of conspiring with his wife to illegally use at least $150,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses. Among the improper spending were a birthday gathering for his young daughter at a posh hotel and a social outing with friends at a French bistro in Washington."

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Today at the White House

--- At 11:45 a.m., President Trump receives his daily intelligence briefing. At 2 p.m., he participates in a roundtable on "small business and red tape reduction accomplishments." At 4:15 p.m., the president and first lady participate in a Christmas reception.

--- At 12 p.m., First Lady Melania Trump visits Children's National Hospital to speak with and read to patients and their families, continuing a holiday-season tradition followed by every first lady since Bess Truman.

Today in Congress

--- The Senate is not in session today.

--- The House convenes at 9 a.m. today. The chamber is scheduled to vote on H.Res. 326, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding United States efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a negotiated two-state solution, and H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019.

Today at the Supreme Court

--- The justices meet for their weekly conference.

Today on the trail

--- Five presidential candidates participate in the "Candidate Conversations" forum hosted by the Iowa Farmers Union (IFU) Grinnell, Iowa: Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT), former HUD Secretary Julián Castro (D), former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer (D)

--- Five presidential candidates participate in the "Local America" forum hosted by the non-profit Accelerator for America Action and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Waterloo, Iowa: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN), former HUD Secretary Julián Castro (D), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer (D).

--- Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) campaigns in New Hampshire, attending a coffee with local Democrats in Salem, participating in a small business meet and greet in Bedford, attending a conversation with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence in Concord, and holding a meet and greet in Andover.

--- Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) continues his "No Malarkey" bus tour through Iowa, holding "community events" with his newest endorser, former Secretary of State John Kerry, in Cedar Rapids, Elkader, and Decorah.

--- While in Iowa, Booker also holds a town hall with congressional candidate J.D. Scholten (D-IA) in Harlan and meet and greets in Winterset and Manchester.

--- Buttigieg also participates in a forum hosted by New Hampshire Public Radio and attends a house party in Concord, New Hampshire, and holds a town hall in Grinnell, Iowa.

--- While in Iowa, Delaney also attends a "Coffee with the Candidate" event in Des Moines hosted by the American Cancer Society and a luncheon in Cedar Rapids hosted by the Iowa Main Street Allianc

--- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) attends a house party in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

--- Klobuchar also attends meet and greets in Indianola and Chariton, Iowa.

--- Sanders also speaks at a youth climate strike and participates in a canvass launch at Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.

--- Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) campaigns in New Hampshire.

--- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) visits New Hampshire, holding a "community conversation" in Peterborough and a town hall in Henniker.

--- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang hosts a grassroots fundraiser in Dallas, Texas.

*All times Eastern