President Trump is on a revenge tour, firing administration officials who cooperated with the impeachment probe, using Twitter to rail against the prosecutions of his allies, and demanding to know why the Justice Department doesn't prosecute more of his enemies. Attorney General William Barr says he wants the president to back off and stop tweeting, but Barr has also been taking extraordinary interventions in criminal cases of interest to the president.
Then: Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary but with the smallest vote share ever for a New Hampshire winner. Will the Democratic field ever winnow? Is there a real possibility of a contested convention? Is it Mike Bloomberg's fault? Are all the candidates being too nice to each other? Speaking of Bloomberg, he's soaring in the national polls on the back of an enormous television campaign, and speaking of being too nice, should we be seeing more attack ads? Erika Franklin Fowler of the Wesleyan Media Project talks about the power of those ads and whether they make a difference for voters.
It was a full week. On Monday, the Iowa caucuses were a bit of a meltdown for Democrats, but did the mess sort of, maybe help some of the candidates? Kind of. What happened to Joe Biden? And what happens when you’re a reporter covering a caucus and you see things obviously going wrong? **Tim Carney **and Olivia Nuzzi talk about what they witnessed in Iowa and how the campaigns are taking it as they head to New Hampshire. Election law expert Rick Hasen lays out the damage done in Iowa and what he’s concerned about as the primary season continues.
President Trump gave his state of the union address on Tuesday and it was a three-in-one kind of speech with all the reality show trimmings we’ve come to expect. The panel discusses that and analyzes the Democrats’ messaging about the economy in Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s response.
And on Wednesday, the Senate acquitted President Trump in the impeachment inquiry. Mitt Romney was the only Republican — this time and in history — who voted to convict and remove the president on one of the articles.
As the impeachment trial of President Trump draws to a close, has this been a useful exercise? What did we learn? Who were the friends we made along the way? And will the result of the trial matter for future presidencies, or for the November election?
Susan Hennessey of the Lawfare blog will tell us what may (or may not) be stopping John Bolton from talking, with the Senate declining to seek his testimony. Paul Krugman will join us to talk about his new book Arguing With Zombies where the zombies are ideas like “tax cuts pay for themselves” and “budget deficits are hurting the economy.” And Juliette Kayyem gives her analysis of the US response so far to the Wuhan coronavirus.
All that plus a look ahead to the Iowa caucuses — hello, that’s on Monday — is in this episode.
Does anyone change their mind anymore?
Forty-eight hours of presentations for the prosecution and the defense, and senators are watching it all silently, with only water and milk to drink. But will the trial change any minds, inside the senate chamber or in the country as a whole?
The Left, Right & Center panel discusses eerily stable public opinion: on impeachment, on Donald Trump, and on the Democratic primary candidates. Why doesn’t anybody change their mind anymore?
But: when people do change their minds, lately it’s been toward Bernie Sanders or Mike Bloomberg. Is Joe Biden’s perpetual poll lead as stable as it looks? Ariel Edwards-Levy talks polling with the panel.
Plus: is the primary too nice? Where are the attack ads? Is it just civil, or does it deny voters the contrasting information about the candidates they deserve?
The eleventh hour
The Senate impeachment trial has officially begun, and yet...new information is still coming out and senators are still divided about witness testimony. Do the Lev Parnas documents released this week change anything? What about the Government Accountability Office determination that the Trump administration broke the law in withholding the Ukraine aid? If some Republican senators mount a campaign for witness testimony, what might that fight look like? Even so, don’t we already know how this is going to end?
This week, in a moment of bipartisan cooperation, the Senate approved the USMCA trade agreement. It’s a victory for President Trump. And then there’s the phase one trade deal with China. President Trump signed it this week. Is it also a victory? Or is a bit weak? There was a debate this week in Iowa ahead of the caucuses. The candidates talked trade, foreign policy, and then there was that moment between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Felicia Wong talks about a new project from the Roosevelt Institute on the failures of neoliberalism and what comes after for progressives.