Democrats had a surprisingly laid-back debate.
Correct. Yesterday was the fifth Democratic primary debate. The top 10 candidates made the cutoff. And this time, all the moderators were women. In the backdrop of all the DC drama, Dems were pretty low-key. Here’s what they talked about:
Foreign policy…Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) beefed with South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who pointed out that Dems aren’t trying to invade Mexico. As president, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) would call out China for human rights violations. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang would tell Russian President Vladimir Putin, “I’m sorry I beat your guy.”
Abortion…Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pointed out the economic disparities of abortion access. Sanders would like to point out that he’s an ally.
Despite expectations for this debate to be a showdown between the four top contenders, no one emerged as the frontrunner. At this point, Dems face a challenge in finding a candidate that will not only unite moderate and progressive voters, but be able to defeat Trump next November.
US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland came to the impeachment inquiry hearings ready to play.
He said in his opening statement that the House Intel Committee has been trying to get a clear answer on whether there was a quid pro quo. His answer: yes. President Trump never directly told him that he was withholding military aid from Ukraine in exchange for its president announcing investigations – including one into a company tied to former VP Joe Biden’s son. But Sondland believed it was linked.
There is. Another claim he made was that “everyone was in the loop” about the push for these investigations, including VP Mike Pence. That the State Department and White House denied Sondland’s requests to access his documents and emails – something Dems may use as a case for “obstruction.” And that when he asked Trump what he wanted to do with Ukraine, the president responded, “I want nothing, I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo.” Trump is using this point to say ‘case closed.’
Sondland was one of the most-anticipated witnesses in these public impeachment inquiry hearings. And to Dems, he did not disappoint. But Republicans argue that Sondland’s testimony was nothing more than speculation.
Israel. Last month, former army chief Benny Gantz was given an opportunity to form a coalition after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so. Yesterday, Gantz said ‘yeah…I can’t do it either.’ Now, any member of Israel’s parliament has three weeks to try to get a majority and become prime minister. If not, the country could be looking at a third election in less than a year.
General Motors. Yesterday, the company filed a federal suit against Fiat Chrysler for allegedly bribing an auto labor union. GM also said that Fiat Chrysler “corrupted” collective bargaining agreements multiple times in the past to get an advantage over GM. Now GM is seeking damages. Fiat Chrysler isn’t cruising with the allegations, calling them “meritless” and saying it will defend itself.
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