Despite the congressional recess, House Democrats are moving quickly on many fronts to set the wheels of an impeachment inquiry into motion.
On Friday, they issued the first subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to give up information surrounding the Ukraine phone call, and they demanded five State Department officials sit for depositions. The House Intelligence Committee is considering a hearing as early as next Friday.
All but 11 House Democrats now back an impeachment inquiry. The 11 holdouts hail from districts the president won in 2016.
The 2019 Texas Tribune Festival in Austin on Friday orchestrated a jammed-packed impeachment panel at the last minute. Panelists didn’t sound optimistic about the road ahead for the president. Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI Assistant Director, observed that “the American people, wherever they sit, don’t like a cover up.”
The cover-up is the effort by the White to hide an electronic transcript of the phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s President in a highly classified computer system where it would be unavailable for distribution to Cabinet-level officials. The call, according to the president himself, was simply a “congratulatory” one, begging the question for top-secret treatment of the transcript.
At the festival, GOP strategist Mark McKinnon, co-host of Showtime’s “The Circus,” told the audience he believed anywhere between 20 to 35 Republican Senator would be willing to convict Trump in a secret vote– but added that since the vote won’t be held in secret, their public position may still be to defend Trump.
Trump’s next moves: try to influence public opinion
The Washington Post is reporting the Trump campaign has launched an “anti-impeachment blitz” in digital advertising. ACRONYM, a progressive organization, says the campaign has spent roughly $500,000 on Facebook ads, according to the Post.
The Trump campaign quickly put this new ad together that tries, and fails, to absolve him of any wrongdoing.
New polling out last night by Morning Consult has seen support for impeachment rise by 13 points – and the poll was taken before the whistleblower’s memo made public yesterday.
Sen. John Cornyn continues to stand by his man, Trump, as does Rep. Michael McCaul who wrote in the Wall Street Journal that impeachment is a “Democrat-manufactured crisis,” despite the reality that an independent whistleblower— a member of the CIA—triggered the impeachment inquiry.
This story will be updated.
Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images