The Washington Post - 24.10.2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1

A4 EZ RE T H E  W A S H I N G T O N  P O S T.T H U R S D A Y , O C T O B E R  2 4,  2 0 1 9

ing victimized by Giuliani’s ac-
Democrats are more divided
about the high-ranking witnesses
who have not yet been tested
behind closed doors. Many are
convinced that Bolton has to be
part of the process, but while
there is palpable excitement
among Democrats about having a
handpicked Trump appointee de-
liver potentially scathing testimo-
ny against him, that is also cou-
pled with jitters about how to
turn Bolton — who up to this
point was more reviled than
adored — into a star witness
against the president.
Democrats don’t have unlimit-
ed time to decide how to move
forward. House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her leader-
ship team still hope to hold an
impeachment vote before the hol-
idays, though increasingly Demo-
crats are privately acknowledging
the inquiry could easily drag into
December. Multiple Democratic
officials said they hope to finish
private depositions in early No-
vember so they can use the two-
week work period just before
Thanksgiving to have public
First, however, Democrats
have to iron out questions of
process that could compromise
their ability to present a united
front and avoid any air of the turf
disputes that dogged the House’s
Russia-focused investigation ear-
lier this year. Typically, lawmak-
ers are entitled to five minutes
each to question a witness — but
there are about 100 lawmakers
among the three panels running
the impeachment probe, far too
many to accommodate in a single
hearing. Democrats are also
acutely concerned about creating
a situation in which GOP mem-
bers who joined Wednesday’s pro-
test could hijack an all-important
public hearing, muddying their
That means leaders will all but
assuredly have to take the rare
step of persuading lawmakers to
sideline their egos and defer man-
agement of the hearing to skilled
staff lawyers, and potentially the
members with prosecutorial or
relevant administrative experi-

Elise Viebeck contributed to this

The chief challenges for the
Democrats in going public will be
finding a compelling roster of
witnesses to drive home the case
against the president — and mak-
ing sure they do not mishandle
what may be their best opportu-
nity to sell voters on impeach-
ment, with a message that will
resonate through the rest of the
2020 election season.
Polls remain in Democrats’ fa-
vor, with a majority of Americans
backing Trump’s removal from
office. But there is also the matter
of selling the case in the Republi-
can-controlled Senate if they
hope to successfully oust Trump
from office — and to do that,
House Democrats are acutely
aware they need to make an iron-
clad case.
Democrats believe that they
have at least two smoking guns.
One is the rough transcript of
Trump’s July 25 phone call with
Ukrainian President Volodymyr
Zelensky in which he pressured
the Ukrainian leader to investi-
gate the Bidens and a conspiracy
theory about the Democrats and
the 2016 election. The second is
acting chief of staff Mick Mulva-
ney’s October acknowledgment
of a quid pro quo.
Taylor’s testimony this week,
many lawmakers believe, further
bolstered their case.
“You have to tell the American
people the story,” said Rep. David
N. Cicilline (D-R.I.). “It’ll be a
combination of documents, a re-
port and some live testimony.
And the combination of other
things will tell the American peo-
ple the full story about the presi-
dent of the United States using
the power of his office, or abusing
the power of his office, to gin up a
bogus investigation against one
of his political opponents.”
Several Democrats expressed
confidence after Taylor’s testimo-
ny Tuesday that he would be an
ideal public witness to lay out the
narrative of how the Giuliani-led
camp of Trump appointees
steered Ukraine policy from U.S.
national security objectives and
toward delivering political favors
for the president, noting that his
experience and sincerity as a pro-
fessional made him an ideal pub-
lic voice.
Democrats argue that Yovano-
vitch would be a compelling wit-
ness, both for her substantive
knowledge of Ukraine and her
personal, emotional story of be-

preserve the integrity of the testi-
mony, much like that of witnesses
before a grand jury. At some
point, Democrats expect to re-
lease transcripts of witness inter-
views and pull together a compre-
hensive report laying out their
“I think everybody just needs
to be patient,” said Rep. Cheri
Bustos (Ill.), chairwoman of the
Democratic Congressional Cam-
paign Committee. “This is, in a
sense, a grand-jury proceeding,
and then whatever comes out of
it, you present to the full body.”
In the meantime, however,
Democrats are struggling with
what to do if Republicans contin-
ue to disrupt depositions. While
impeachment investigators
planned to collect evidence and
methodically build their case by
interviewing senior members of
the Trump administration before
moving to public action, Demo-
crats’ timeline to go public may be
affected by Republican disrup-

three investigative committees
probing the Ukraine matter. The
committee members, including
dozens of Republicans, have been
taking part in impeachment de-
positions for weeks, with the
chance to cross-examine witness-
es. The circuslike display was the
latest attempt by Republicans to
change the narrative from the
substance of the allegations
against Trump to their displea-
sure with the process.
“This is a sham proceeding,
and the Democrats don’t want the
public to see what’s going on,
because they’re using [impeach-
ment] as a political weapon rath-
er than as a tool that is provided
for by the United States Constitu-
tion,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-
Ala.), who participated in the
Democrats argue that past im-
peachments have also included a
closed-door investigative phase
before findings are presented to
the public and that the secrecy of
the proceedings is necessary to

ily in exchange for the release of
nearly $400 million in military
aid and a meeting with Trump in
the Oval Office.
Another top priority for many
Democrats is John Bolton,
Trump’s former national security
adviser, who made known around
the White House his visceral op-
position to the campaign to pres-
sure Zelensky, a campaign direct-
ed in part by Trump’s personal
attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Testimony from Bolton could
be particularly devastating for
the White House, though it was
unclear whether Democrats
would subpoena him or when.
After Bolton resigned last month,
he told The Washington Post that
he would “have my say in due
Democrats have long been ex-
pected to shift to public hearings,
which offer the opportunity to
build the case against Trump
while also building support
among American voters.
“It’s going to be the difference
between reading a dry transcript
and actually hearing the story
from the people who were in the
room,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-
Conn.), a member of the House
Intelligence Committee. “I think
the story needs to be told, you
know, the story of the abuse of
power.... People like the various
ambassadors who have come to
testify need to come tell it.”
The move toward the public
spotlight comes as Trump and his
Capitol Hill allies have cast Dem-
ocrats’ closed-door investigation
as a secretive smear campaign
against the president.
On Wednesday, House Repub-
licans delayed impeachment pro-
ceedings for more than five hours
when about two dozen of them,
over Democrats’ objections,
barged into a secure room where
Deputy Assistant Defense Secre-
tary Laura Cooper was set to
testify about what happened to
the military aid Trump ordered
withheld from Ukraine for sev-
eral weeks this summer.
Some Democrats are con-
cerned that repeated protests by
Republicans, similar to Wednes-
day’s disruption, could make it
impossible for them to question
witnesses and could completely
stop the process.
Most of the Republican insur-
gents are not members of the



scranton, pa. — Joe Biden
offered a rare apology on Tues-
day night, saying he was sorry for
using the phrase “partisan lynch-
ing” two decades ago to describe
an impeachment proceeding. It
came several hours after Biden
had called President Trump “des-
picable” and “abhorrent” for say-
ing the impeachment proceed-
ings against him were a “lynch-
It is rare for Biden to offer a
complete apology; his usually
fall into the “I really regret
some have taken totally out of
context” category, as occurred in
2007 when he called then-candi-
date Barack Obama, whom he
would later serve as vice presi-
dent, “articulate and bright and
Tuesday’s apology marked
how potentially significant his
campaign viewed his use of the
word, and it also highlighted
how Biden’s long history in pub-
lic life has not always been an
advantage. Biden was attempt-
ing to limit the damage to what
has been the bulwark of his
support — black voters — even as
he struck out Wednesday to at-
tempt to highlight his
middle-class roots and an eco-
nomic policy designed to win

back voters in the industrial
Unlike his Democratic pri-
mary rivals, Biden has often had
to clean up his past comments
before taking a shot at Trump.
Others have found their routes
simpler, not having to take
into account words from decades
The latest example occurred
after Trump on Tuesday morning
said the impeachment inquiry
amounted to a “lynching.” Biden
and many other Democrats and
Republicans denounced his use
of the word and said it was
intended to deepen racial
“Impeachment is not ‘lynch-
ing,’ it is part of our Constitu-
tion,” Biden tweeted in response.
“Our country has a dark, shame-

ful history with lynching, and to
even think about making this
comparison is abhorrent. It’s
Symone Sanders, his top black
staffer and surrogate, wrote on
Twitter, “Do not ever describe
anything other than actual
lynching, as a lynching.”
But on Tuesday night, CNN
unearthed a video of Biden in
October 1998 using a similar
phrase while talking about the
impeachment of President Bill
“Even if the president should
be impeached, history is going to
question whether or not this was
just a partisan lynching or
whether or not it was something
that in fact met the standard, the
very high bar, that was set by the
founders as to what constituted

an impeachable offense,” Biden
said in an interview with Wolf
After several hours of criti-
cism, Biden responded.
“This wasn’t the right word to
use and I’m sorry about
that,” Biden tweeted Tuesday
Biden quickly transitioned
into a criticism of Trump, at-
tempting to argue that he didn’t
mean to use the word divisively,
whereas Trump did.
“Trump on the other hand
chose his words deliberately to-
day in his use of the word
lynching and continues to stoke
racial divides in this country
daily,” he wrote.
Biden, whose standing in the
race has been supported by a
huge advantage among black
voters, was not alone, however.
The Post identified at least five
other Democratic lawmakers —
current and former congressmen
Danny K. Davis (Ill.), Gregory W.
Meeks (N.Y.), Jim McDermott
(Wash.), Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.)
and Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) — who
talked about a “lynching” or
“lynch mob” when it came to
Clinton’s impeachment.
The apology came amid new
polling that indicated Biden may
be gaining ground, following re-
lentless attacks from Trump over
the work Biden’s son Hunter did
in Ukraine at the same time Joe
Biden took the lead on Ukraine
policy when vice president.
In a national CNN survey,
Biden had the support of 34 per-
cent of Democrats and Demo-
cratic-leaning voters, marking
his highest level in a CNN poll

since just after his campaign
began in late April.
The attacks from Trump have
threatened to overshadow any
effort to change the subject, but
on Wednesday, Biden attempted
to turn toward an economic
message by speaking before a
friendly crowd two miles from
the northeast Pennsylvania
home where he grew up.
Although the speech was
billed as centering on economic
policy, Biden did not release
any new ideas and instead reiter-
ated his previous stances that
are more incremental than the
ones promoted by others in the
Biden wants to repeal Trump-
era tax cuts, make community
college free for everyone and
reduce the student debt burden
of graduates who go into public
service jobs.
But mostly Biden painted him-
self as someone who can help the
middle class — because, he said,
his roots lie there. He reflected
on buying penny candy and bat-
tling a stuttering problem — and
declared himself “not a big
funny-paper guy,” referring to
the comics printed in a newspa-
per — but also talked about being
infused with middle-class values
on the streets outside the Scran-
ton Cultural Center.
“Everything my sister Valerie
and I learned came from Scran-
ton,” he told the crowd. “Dignity
is a word that is probably used in
Scranton more than anywhere
else. It’s all about dignity. No
matter what your station in life,
no matter what your background
is, you’re entitled to be treated

with dignity.”
During hard times, Biden’s
father, who shares his name,
commuted to Wilmington, Del.,
to clean boilers for a heating and
cooling company — and moved
the family there in 1953. In
his biography and on the cam-
paign trail, Biden recounts that
he and his siblings moved in with
their grandparents during hard
The economic policy also
differentiates Biden from his
chief competitors — Sen. Eliza-
beth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen.
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — whose
plans represent the leftward
movement of the Democratic
In Scranton, Biden sought to
draw a contrast not just with the
other Democrats, but also with
“More than the memories,
what I remember most as I got
older, is the values,” he said.
“The point of all this as I look
back on it is this is where I
learned about loyalty. This is
where I learned about patrio-
tism. This is where I learned
about family. And faith.”
He said many American par-
ents understand what it means
to make “that long walk up a
short flight of stairs” to tell a
child their life was going to
change because of economic
“I don’t think Donald Trump
is capable of understanding
that,” Biden said later. “He
doesn’t have any sense of empa-
thy at all.”

After criticizing Trump, Biden apologizes for using word ‘lynching’ in 1998

Candidate says he didn’t
mean to use it divisively,
whereas Trump did


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is
the 2019 winner of the Berggruen
Prize for Culture and Philosophy,
a $1 million award given annually
to a “thinker whose ideas are
shaping human self-understand-
ing to advance humankind.”
The 86-year-old justice will do-
nate the money to charity, the

Berggruen Institute said.
Ginsburg was lauded by the
jury that chose her “for her work
in pioneering gender equality and
strengthening the rule of law.”
The prize recognized not only
Ginsburg’s 26 years on the Su-
preme Court, but her work as an
advocate for women’s rights. As a
lawyer at the American Civil Lib-
erties Union, Ginsburg quarter-

backed a team of lawyers that
brought six cases before the Su-
preme Court in the 1970s and
helped establish that the consti-
tutional guarantee of equal pro-
tection applied not only to racial
minorities but to women as well.
She was nominated to the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the D.C.
Circuit by President Jimmy Cart-
er, and President Bill Clinton
chose her for the Supreme Court.
She has received a burst of public-
ity and fandom as the “Notorious
RBG” and inspired a documen-
tary and feature film last year.
The institute, founded by bil-
lionaire philanthropist Nicolas

Berggruen, said she was chosen
from a group of 500 who had been
nominated for the prize, nar-
rowed down to a list of five final-
In an interview, Berggruen,
who was not involved in the selec-
tion, said Ginsburg was not the
“traditional philosopher” the in-
stitute has chosen in the past.
“The prize is a way to celebrate
ideas,” he said, adding that “the
issues she has moved and been an
important voice on are frankly
the key issues that need to be
Kwame Anthony Appiah, chair
of the jury for the prize and a

professor of philosophy and law
at New York University, said in a
“Few in our era have done more
to bring vital philosophical ideas
to fruition in practical affairs
than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She
has been both a visionary and a
strategic leader in securing equal-
ity, fairness, and the rule of law
not only in the realm of theory,
but in social institutions and the
lives of individuals.”
Judicial ethics guidelines allow
judges to receive awards and hon-
ors, so long as they are not pre-
sented at fundraising events and
are not from a group with matters

before the court. Financial
awards must be reported, and the
jurist may designate nonprofit
entities to receive the money.
Ginsburg will choose the chari-
ties and organizations before the
award is presented Dec. 16 at a
private event at the New York
Public Library. She is the fourth
recipient of the prize.
Philosopher Martha C. Nuss-
baum of the University of Chicago
received the award in 2018 for
“her framework for thinking
about human capabilities, and
exploring vulnerability, fear and
anger in moral and political life.”

Berggruen Prize goes

to ‘thinker’ Ginsburg

Joe Biden speaks about economic policy and his middle-class roots
in Scranton, Pa., near his childhood home, on Wednesday.

Democrats strategize best way to make impeachment case

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) on Tuesday before William B.
Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, testified as part of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

“I think everybody just

needs to be patient. This

is, in a sense, a grand-

jury proceeding, and

then whatever comes

out of it, you present to

the full body.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.),
chairwoman of the Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee
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