The TAKE with Rick Klein
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The party worried about a third-party run is not the one with the candidate on the precipice of impeachment, even as he tries his allies' loyalty on a range of new fronts.
Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Russian operatives might be "grooming" Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for a run outside the Democratic Party was offered without evidence. But that doesn’t make such a fear unreasonable, as Democrats continue to look backward for lessons they worry could apply in 2020.
Grassroots enthusiasm continues to emanate from the party’s left, as evidenced by the massive rally Sen. Bernie Sanders turned out in Queens over the weekend alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. There are those in Clinton’s orbit who still blame progressives -- at least in part -- for President Donald Trump’s shocking 2016 win.
And if there were doubts about Russian intentions or capabilities going into next year, the Senate Intelligence Committee reports and revelations in the Ukraine storyline, should suffice.
Clinton may be giving Gabbard attention she would otherwise lack, even if the 2016 nominee doesn’t take Gabbard’s advice and make another run. And Trump is using the occasion to stir resentments even further on the left, by coming to Jill Stein’s defense and saying her supporters "need a Green Party more than ever."
The president may be obsessed with relitigating 2016. But that’s not keeping Democrats from worrying that events of the recent past could presage the immediate future.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
House committees will continue to gather depositions from key witnesses as a part of their impeachment inquiry this week.
Ambassador Bill Taylor, who has been serving as the top diplomat in Ukraine the last few months, is set to appear on the Hill Tuesday.
A career diplomat who has held senior positions in Baghdad, Kabul, Afghanistan and throughout Eastern Europe, Taylor is also a NATO expert.
In those now-widely circulated and scrutinized text messages between diplomats that were turned over to congressional investigators earlier this month, Taylor said, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
He added in a text from a different day, "President Zelenskyy is sensitive about Ukraine being taken seriously, not merely as an instrument in Washington domestic, reelection politics."
On Wednesday there are two additional interviews scheduled: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper, who has also been responsible from her perch at the Pentagon for policy dealing with Russia and Ukraine; and Michael Duffey, an associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget, who was allegedly involved in approving the decision to hold back millions of congressionally approved dollars in military aid for Ukraine.
The president has remarked that he does not even know the names and of all those in his administration who have been called to testify. But just because he does not know them, does not mean they don't know details that could seriously harm his close allies or his presidency.
Joe Biden’s campaign may be headed for an influx of cash -- whether they want it or not.
“I think what's going to happen next week -- not weeks, well, certainly in the next few weeks -- is you're going to see either the DNC authorizing joint fundraising committees or, I mean, there's some talk of Super PACs, or a super PAC. And so the money situation has been resolved one way or the other,” Biden ally and South Carolina state Sen. Dick Harpootlian told ABC News.
The Biden campaign has made it clear that the former vice president would reject any super PAC launched in an effort to bolster his campaign. But Harpootlian shrugged off concerns about the criticism that may come Biden’s way from other Democratic candidates who have argued that they perpetuate a corrupt system where campaigns are powered solely by cash.
“Everybody's always concerned about -- I mean, sort of the inside baseball people -- are always concerned about being criticized for where the money comes from. Nobody ever criticized for where the money comes from. Take Elizabeth Warren, she put $10 million from her Senate campaign into this primary campaign. Most of that money came from big corporate donors. You haven't heard a peep about it, nobody cares,” Harpootlian said.
This comes on the heels of third quarter FEC reports showing that Biden trails several of his fellow 2020 competitors with cash on hand, including Sanders, who currently has more than three times the money Biden has in the bank, and who held the largest campaign event of the primary cycle so far in New York this weekend.
ONE MORE THING
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on ABC's "This Week" that he never saw the kind of quid pro quo that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney referred to on Thursday with regard to the decision-making process he was involved in on Ukraine. "The conversation was always around what were the strategic implications," Pompeo told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. "Would that money get to the right place or would there be corruption in Ukraine and the money wouldn't flow to the mission that it was intended for."
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning’s episode features ABC News Foreign Correspondent James Longman, who checks in from Iraq, where he tells us if the ceasefire in northeastern Syria is holding. Then, ABC News Deputy Political director MaryAlice Parks explains why Tulsi Gabbard is feuding with Hillary Clinton over “Russian grooming” accusations. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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