The TAKE with Rick Klein
Impeachment for congressional Democrats is a story of the "Peanuts'" Lucy and the football, only in reverse. They keep trying to clear the field for their 2020 contenders, only to have President Donald Trump tee them up all over again.
This is not a standoff about obscure constitutional prerogatives or petty score-settling. Trump's behavior in this episode has immediate implications on foreign policy -- with the president at the United Nations General Assembly this week -- and raises questions about what else he might do over the 13-plus months before next November's election.
Congressional Democrats this week are preparing for their oversight efforts to be thwarted in novel and potentially troublesome ways. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is recognizing that dynamic, with a letter to colleagues warning that blocking a whistleblower's complaint from Congress would bring "a whole new stage of investigation."
The Democrats running for president are leading the calls for impeachment. Again, though, the candidate who may crave impeachment the most is Trump.
Absent massive Republican defections, the president knows how the game ends, even as Democrats struggle with whether the plays are worth pursuing.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
Steaks weren't the only things being grilled at this weekend's Steak Fry in Iowa -- so was current Democratic front-runner Joe Biden.
The former vice president kicked off one of the first, major political events of the campaign cycle by going on offense over the fallout of a whistleblower scandal involving President Donald Trump, Biden's son, Hunter, and Ukraine. In a crowded gaggle on Saturday, Biden snapped at reporters when asked about allegations that the president pressured Ukraine to investigate his son as part of an effort to seek information that could be damaging to Biden.
"You should be asking him the question: Why is he on the phone with a foreign leader, trying to intimidate a foreign leader?" Biden said. "This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power."
Biden's campaign has always touted him as being the toughest challenger to Trump, but that brand may present new hurdles as Biden (along with his family) faces more scrutiny despite having been in the public eye for decades.
For now, Biden is still going above the primary fray, and focusing on Trump rather than his Democratic challengers. At his last campaign event of the weekend, he deflected on a question about his son and Ukraine.
"Focus on the violation of the Constitution this president is engaged in," Biden said.
The TIP with Beatrice Peterson
Sen. Cory Booker's campaign manager announced Sunday night on Periscope that the candidate had raised $425,000 over the weekend, almost 25% of the $1.7 million they said they needed by Sept. 30 to stay in the race. This announcement came one day after the campaign sent out dire warnings via a Medium post about the campaign's fate if it didn't raise $1.7 million.
To put that haul into perspective, some top campaigns have said that they raise six figures just from sending an email. Booker has just seven days to reach his goal.
Addisu Demissie, Booker's campaign manager, in an email on Sunday said that Saturday was "the best single online fundraising day of our campaign, bigger than even the launch of this campaign on February 1." He acknowledged that there's "still a long way to go," but they can tackle tough challenges.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Editorial Producer John Santucci and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein on the fallout from a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump and the growing calls for his impeachment. Then, ABC News' Rachel Scott checks in from Iowa to talk about Sen. Elizabeth Warren building momentum in the Democratic primary. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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