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Is Pelosi's hope for Trump really to lock him up?

President Donald Trump acknowledges Speaker of the House

President Donald Trump acknowledges Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as she claps during his State of the Union address of Feb. 5. Credit: Pool/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock/Doug Mills

Jail to the chief

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave senior House Democrats something to think about in a meeting the other night as she pressed her case that they need to restrain their zeal for impeaching President Donald Trump.

"I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison,” Pelosi said to the five committee chairs Tuesday night, according to Politico.

The prospect of Trump facing criminal charges after leaving office, either from the potential obstruction of justice detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report or from other open investigations, is speculative at best, according to a Washington Post analysis.

But offering a vision of Trump behind bars was a way for Pelosi to strike a tough-minded posture even as she tries to discourage rushing toward a momentous step she considers politically unwise and a potential hindrance to beating Trump in the 2020 election.

Pelosi pushed back against House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and others who argue moving sooner would strengthen their fight against the White House's stonewalling defiance of subpoenas. 

Nadler was asked on CNN Wednesday night whether he and Pelosi were on the same page on impeachment. He didn't answer directly, instead saying, “When that decision has to be made, it will be made not by any one individual; it will be made probably by the caucus as a whole. Certainly, Nancy will have the largest single voice in it.”

Meanwhile, with Pelosi's approval, the House investigations press forward. Democratic leaders unveiled a resolution set for a House vote next Tuesday that would hold Attorney General William P. Barr and former White House counsel Donald McGahn in contempt. It would also authorize committee chairs to quickly go to court to try to enforce the subpoenas without first seeking a vote of the full House.

Grievances amid the graves 

A somber, reverential Trump spoke Thursday at the ceremonies overlooking Normandy's beaches to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. He paid tribute to the men who stormed ashore and fought “an epic battle and the ferocious eternal struggle between good and evil.”

A more familiar Trump sat for an interview minutes earlier with Fox News' host Laura Ingraham while the graves and markers of the Normandy American Cemetery, resting place for more than 9,000 U.S. war dead, served as the backdrop.

Trump told Ingraham that special counsel Robert Mueller "made such a fool out of himself." What made the time and place of the president's remark all the more jarring is that unlike Trump, Mueller is a combat veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star as a Marine infantry platoon commander during the Vietnam War.

The president also used the cemetery interview to call Pelosi a "disaster" and give her a new nickname — "I call her ‘Nervous Nancy." Pelosi, an attendee at the ceremonies, declined to respond, saying: "I don’t talk about the president while I’m out of the country."

As for the main event, Pelosi said, “The president made a very fine speech.”

Biden runs from Hyde

A day after reaffirming his longtime support for the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortions, Joe Biden changed his mind.

"If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code," Biden told a party gala in Atlanta on Thursday night. Biden said he makes "no apologies" for his previous support for the amendment, "but circumstances have changed."

Abortion rights advocates and his rivals for the 2020 Democratic nomination ripped Biden on Wednesday, saying the law is unfair to low-income women, including Medicaid recipients The law makes exceptions only in cases of rape, incest or when the woman's life is in danger.

Janison: Not globalism, just globalish

In nationalist-minded Trump world, globalism is a dirty word,  evoking images of a remote international elite steering policy to serve their own interests, not those of nations. But for Trump and associates, that doesn't preclude accepting or grasping for overseas money, writes Newsday's Dan Janison.

Trump's business tried to reach a Moscow hotel deal while he ran for president. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has disclosed interests in Russian and Chinese trade. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao's kin run an American shipping company with links to China's ruling elite. Trump's pricey hotel in Washington cashes in on foreign visitors with explicit interests in White House policies.

The defense of national sovereignty has exceptions, too. Along with welcoming Russian-hacked dirt on Democrats in 2016, Trump brought far-right British pol Nigel Farage to his campaign rallies and opines on who he likes to become the next prime minister in London. Meanwhile, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani seeks out Ukraine's help to investigate Joe Biden and his businessman son.

Trump to Puerto Rico: Love me

Trump signed a long-delayed $19 billion disaster aid bill Thursday to help mainland U.S. communities and Puerto Rico recover from major storms. Addressing the island, Trump tweeted: "Puerto Rico should love President Trump. Without me, they would have been shut out!" 

In reality, a major factor that kept the bill from getting approved months earlier was Trump's resistance to aid for Puerto Rico while he accused its officials of being wasteful and corrupt. He also resents accusations that his administration botched its response to Hurricane Maria in 2017 and has ridiculed estimates that put the death toll from the storm and its aftermath near 3,000.

Not a standoff, not a deal

U.S. and Mexican officials negotiated for a second day Thursday in search of a plan to stem the flow of Central American migrants that would satisfy Trump and persuade him to call off his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico next Monday.
Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. was "encouraged" by Mexico's latest proposals but it would be "for the president to decide" whether Mexico promised to do enough.

Trump still doesn't have the border wall he wants, but the Pentagon has deployed troops to make existing barriers in Calexico, California, look prettier. The service members will spend a month painting a mile-long stretch to improve their "aesthetic appearance," according to a message to Congress from the Department of Homeland Security, CBS News reported.

Carmakers to Trump: Help us less

The world’s largest automakers warned Trump on Thursday that one of his most sweeping deregulatory efforts — its plan to relax tailpipe pollution standards — wouldn't be doing them a favor, according to a New York Times report.

Their letter to Trump said the plan, which goes way beyond a rollback of Obama-era rules that the automakers suggested in 2017, threatens to cut their profits and produce “untenable” instability in the industry. Because 14 states, led by the most populous, California, aim to keep their own stricter standards, the Trump plan would split the U.S. auto market into two.

The automakers urged the Trump administration to find a standard that California would also accept.

What else is happening:

  • Did Bill de Blasio get a Trump bump? The mayor, a frequent target of the president lately, rose to 2% among Democratic 2020 contenders in an Economist-YouGov poll. Other recent polls have put him among the 1% or lower.
  • A Politico analysis indicates 13 candidates have met the tests in polls and broad-based fundraising to appear in the first Democratic debates June 26-27: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang. It's still iffy on fundraising for New Yorkers de Blasio and Kirsten Gillibrand.
  • Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn fired his legal team as he awaits sentencing for lying to the FBI about Russian contacts. The reasons were unclear. Theories included a possible attempt to back out of his plea deal or a decision to stanch the bleeding from crushing legal fees, Politico reported.
  • A CNN poll finds a growing number of Americans — 30% — would only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion, and another 45% would consider the candidate's stand but don't see it as decisive.
  • The Museum of London wants to make a permanent exhibit of the "Trump Baby" blimp displayed by protesters during the president's London visits, Newsweek reports.

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