Monday News: Wake us from this nightmare


NC'S CONGRESSIONAL DEMS TALK IMPEACHMENT OF TRUMP: North Carolina’s three Democrats in the U.S. House say they are getting closer to supporting impeachment steps against President Donald Trump, citing the administration’s stymieing of House investigations. “The President has demonstrated a clear disregard for the rule of law and he must be held accountable. Impeachment is not off the table,” Rep. Alma Adams, a Charlotte Democrat, said in a statement. “We are at a tipping point in this whole impeachment thing where members are going to have to crystallize their positions on impeachment. I’m not there yet, but we’re getting pretty darn close,” Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat, told McClatchy this week. “If this cover up continues, President Trump may leave us no choice,” said Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat.

2020 DEM CANDIDATES ARE MOSTLY COMPLACENT ABOUT IMPEACHMENT: Democratic leaders in Congress have argued that impeaching President Donald Trump is a political mistake as the 2020 election nears. Most of the candidates running to succeed him seem to agree, for now. Fewer than one-third of the 23 Democrats vying for the nomination are issuing calls to start the impeachment process, citing evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller's report they believe shows Trump obstructed justice . Most others, including leading contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, have found a way to hedge or search for middle ground, supporting investigations that could lead to impeachment or saying Trump's conduct warrants impeachment but stopping short of any call for such a proceeding. The candidates' reluctance, even as more congressional Democrats start pushing their leaders in the direction, underscores the risky politics of investigating the president for "high crimes and misdemeanors." Impeachment matters deeply to the party's base but remains unpopular with most Americans.

TRUMP'S "INVESTIGATION" OF THOSE WHO INVESTIGATED HIM AND HIS ASSOCIATES IS ABSURD: Barr has already asked John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to examine the origins of the Russia investigation to determine whether intelligence and surveillance methods used during the probe were lawful and appropriate. Still, Barr has been directly involved, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss it publicly, and is also working with CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Trump has frequently claimed his campaign was the victim of “spying,” though the intelligence community has insisted it acted lawfully in following leads in the Russia investigation and conducted surveillance under court order. Wray vocally opposed the release by Congress last year of details from a secret surveillance warrant obtained by the bureau on a former campaign adviser, Carter Page. The White House had eagerly encouraged Republicans on the House intelligence committee to disclose that classified information, believing it could help undermine the Russia investigation.

GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS MAY BE RUNNING FOR CONGRESS? His 12 days in prison, he said, were worst before the fact. The reality of minimum-security confinement came as a relief. “You’re expecting you’re going in to get raped and killed,” he said. “I get inside the prison, and the guards are basically mocking my sentence: ‘You’re more trouble for us than we are for you.’ ” He told me that he and his wife, Simona, had found a rental apartment near the Hollywood sign, and he confirmed a Washington Post report that he was running for Congress. “I have some support,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest, actually, in it.” He had his eye on the 48th Congressional District, where a Democrat had just defeated Republican Dana Rohrabacher (“Ro, Roka, what’s his name — Dana Rakaburger?”). George Papadopoulos is the onetime foreign policy adviser to Trump who pleaded guilty in October 2017 to having lied to the FBI about the timing and extent of his contact with a professor who promised to connect him to high Russian officials.

NIGEL FARAGE'S "BREXIT PARTY" SCORES BIG IN EU PARLIAMENT ELECTION (THAT HE WANTS TO LEAVE): Britain’s new populist Brexit Party was on course to win the country’s European Parliament elections, according to early results released on Sunday, further roiling the already turbulent politics of a country polarized over its failed effort to leave the European Union. Led by Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party’s strong performance humiliated the governing Conservatives, whose leader, Prime Minister Theresa May, on Friday announced her resignation after almost three troubled years in power. The 28 member countries of the European Union voted from Thursday to Sunday for the European Parliament, the bloc’s only directly elected institution, which has extensive powers over legislation. The results in Britain were a striking success for a party that has existed for only a few weeks, and for Mr. Farage, the campaigner for British withdrawal from the European Union. He is one of the country’s most divisive politicians but also one of its most effective communicators.