Impeachment Week in Review: Woodward Sales Bad News For Trump

This was another slow week for actual impeachment news – the only significant news-cycle development was a plea agreement between Paul Manafort and Special Counsel Robert Mueller; in return for cooperation, Manafort may get a favorable recommendation regarding his sentence for his recent convictions in Virginia.  On the one hand, without an agreement Manafort could have expected decades in Federal prison, effectively a life sentence for a 69-year-old man.  However, it is unknown what information and testimony Manafort can provide that relates to the investigation of President Trump and/or campaign violations.   

Publisher Simon and Schuster reports Fear: Trump in the White House, Bob Woodward’s new book describing an on-going “nervous breakdown” at the White House has sold 1.1 million copies in its first week – a record – the book is still having major reverberations.  The unusual anonymous editorial published by the New York Times also continues to reverberate. 

Although not impeachment news per see, the confirmation consideration of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been delayed due to a credible allegation he sexually assaulted a fifteen-year-old when he was a High School student.  Kavanaugh has denied the accusation – however his accuser, Professor Christine Blasey Ford now a California psychology professor, said she was fearful she might be inadvertently killed, and describes both Kavanaugh and a friend as “stumbling drunk” at the time… it may be possible that Kavanaugh doesn’t remember anything for that reason. Both have said they would testify publicly and have been asked to do so at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next Monday.  The course of events after the hearing could have a significant effect on which party wins control of both the House and the Senate this November. 

Hurricane Florence may also emerge as a significant event – particularly because of criticism of the Trump Administration’s perceived failure to adequately handle the response to Puerto Rico’s severe hurricane damage last year – including thousands of reported hurricane-related deaths. 

Omarosa’s recent book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House, dropped from #9 to #13 in its fourth week on the publishersweekly.com list of the top 25 non-fiction hardcover books.

Meet To Impeach event planning: With fall semester approaching, MeetToImpeach is contacting Twin Cities law schools, inquiring about holding meetings at their campuses.  No current meetings are scheduled.  

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Manafort and Mueller reach plea agreement; second trial is avoided

Deanna Paul, a former prosecutor reporting for the Washington Post, offers up an analysis of the recent plea bargain with Special Counsel Robert Mueller that allowed Paul Manafort to avoid a second trial in Washington D.C.  Paul informs that the deal includes Manafort's admissions to the hung jury counts in the Virginia trial, although those charges will be dismissed after he is sentenced.  Beyond that, without a plea agreement and cooperation, Manafort was likely to have faced between 17 to 20 years in prison just from the convictions in Virginia.  His goal is apparent: try to reduce what would otherwise amount to a life sentence to prison for a 69 year old man.  The main unknown question at this point is what Manafort has to offer Mueller.

Already low, President Trump’s approval rating is trending down; analysis

Both fivethirtyeight.com and realclearpolitics.com show modest but significant downward shifts in President Trump's approval ratings -- to 40.1% and 40.9% respectively.  Because both sources are aggregators of data from multiple polls, their uncertainty range can be less than the uncertainty for any single poll.  Both aggregators show the downward shift beginning in September, from fluctuating but approximately consistent base lines from May of this year to the end of August.

Don Schoen writing for Forbes magazine confirms that President Trump's approval rating has tended to move with voter preferences on a generic ballot for Congress -- more evidence that the Democrats are in a good position to win the House this Fall.  Schoen also notes that voters have responded negatively to President Trump's stewardship when information emerged that the post-hurricane Maria relief effort in Puerto Rico faltered – suggesting the same could happen after Hurricane Florence.

“Be careful what you wish for”… Democrats are cautioned about impeachment and Pence

Rolling Stone offers for consideration a scenario of a President Pence serving for up to ten years if President Trump resigns or is impeached after January 20th, 2019 -- the mid-point of the Presidential term of office.  Pence would then be eligible to serve two full terms of office, if he were to be elected in both 2020 and 2024.  The thrust of the article is summarized by its title: "If You’re Hoping Trump Will Be Impeached, Be Careful What You Wish For."  Simply put, Democrats are being advised that because America’s Constitutional choice is Trump or Pence, they might want to consider whether they are politically better off with Trump as President.  Of course, there is also another issue: would America and the world be safer with a President Pence.  That question is elided in this relatively short article.

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