The Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate

The Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate
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Welcome to The Hill's Campaign Report, your weekly rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We're Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here's what we're watching this week on the campaign trail. 



ON THE DEBATE RADAR: Democrats are prepping to travel to Westerville, Ohio, for the party's primary debate on Tuesday. The New York Times, which is hosting the forum along with CNN, is billing it as the "Biggest.Debate.Ever." The debate will feature 12 candidates on one stage at Westerville's Otterbein University. While this debate may seem like a dime a dozen, given that it's number four out of 12, it's significant because it's the first presidential debate since Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers MORE (D-Calif.) formally called for an impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE


The presidential candidates have offered a number of different takes on supporting an impeachment inquiry, with many of them coming out in favor of the process after Trump's calls for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign cancels fundraiser with Mueller prosecutor Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation MORE and his son Hunter. Biden himself took his strongest stance on impeachment this week, calling for Trump to be impeached while speaking to voters in Rochester, N.H. Other candidates, such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCOVID-19 workplace complaints surge; unions rip administration Gloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Police killing in Minneapolis puts new scrutiny on Biden pick MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersGloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Unemployment claims now at 41 million with 2.1 million more added to rolls; Topeka mayor says cities don't have enough tests for minorities and homeless communities MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Police killing in Minneapolis puts new scrutiny on Biden pick MORE (D-Calif.), have fundraised off of impeachment. Expect the issue, which is already overtaking Washington, to be in the spotlight.

The debate will also be notable from prior debates as it could feature the largest number of women in history on a single debate stage at the same time, according to Gender on the Ballot. However, that may not happen if Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process 125 lawmakers urge Trump administration to support National Guard troops amid pandemic MORE (D-Hawaii) decides to boycott the debate (a historic move in itself). Gabbard has bristled at the Democratic National Committee's debate criteria and claimed the Democratic Party and the mainstream media "are trying to hijack the entire election process."

The debate will air on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español, in addition to streaming live on and's homepages. We'll be giving you live coverage of the forum at, and our friends at Hill.TV will stream a live 30 min pre-show, as well as a post-debate show on The Hill's YouTube channel.

-- Julia Manchester



President Trump tore into House Democrats on Thursday night over their ongoing impeachment inquiry, accusing lawmakers at a rally in Minneapolis of attempting to "overthrow" his administration, The Hill's Morgan Chalfant reports. It was Trump's first campaign rally since House Democrats began examining whether the president's efforts to pressure foreign governments to investigate a top political rival warrant impeachment proceedings. 


Biden has long held out on calling for Trump's impeachment. But that changed on Wednesday when he forcefully declared that the president had "committed impeachable acts" and that Congress should move forward with the process, Julia reports. The former vice president stopped short of calling for Trump's removal from office, but his remarks signaled that he may be moving into a more aggressive phase in his campaign against Trump. 


Sanders said that he plans to slow down his pace on the campaign trail after suffering a heart attack last week. It was a stunning announcement for a candidate who has long sought to portray himself as a tireless fighter and it came at a time of declining support for his presidential campaign. But in a video message to supporters on Thursday, the Vermont senator insisted that he was "feeling great" and would get back on the campaign trail "as soon as possible," noting that he still planned to take part in the next Democratic primary debate on Oct. 15, The Hill's Jonathan Easley reports.



Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Senators ask DeVos to adjust FAFSA form due to the coronavirus pandemic Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff MORE (D-N.J.) unveiled a plan this week to protect athletes' labor rights, including a proposed requirement that college athletes be compensated for the rights to their names, images and likenesses; Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSenate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Fight emerges over unemployment benefits in next relief bill MORE (D-Colo.) released a proposal to improve affordable housing; former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report O'Rourke on Texas reopening: 'Dangerous, dumb and weak' Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas) is out with a plan to ramp up workplace protections for women and parents; and former Vice President Joe Biden is proposing two years of free community college and an expanded student loan program.


A number of 2020 contenders rolled out their plans on how to promote LGBTQ rights ahead of CNN and the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Town Hall Thursday in Los Angeles. The candidates were pressed on a number of LGBTQ issues, including the Equality Act, combatting violence against the trans community, and federal workplace discrimination laws. 



RETIREMENT WATCH: Rep. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyJulián Castro launches PAC to support progressive candidates Lawmakers call on VA to remove swastikas from headstones in veterans cemeteries House Democrats object to Trump sending ventilators to Russia MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday that she will not seek reelection to her southern New York House seat next year, marking the end of a more than 30-year career in Congress, The Hill's Juliegrace Brufke reports. Lowey, 82, was first elected to the House in 1988 and rose to become the most senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.


Rep. Eddie Bernice JohnsonEddie Bernice JohnsonHouse members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes Minority lawmakers gain unprecedented clout amid pandemic Americans must have confidence federal agencies are using the best available science to confront coronavirus MORE (D-Texas) announced that she'll run for one final term in 2020 after receiving "much pressure and encouragement" from her supporters. Johnson, who has served Texas's 30th District since 1993, said in a recording sent to voters in her district this week that she "fully intended to retire after my current term" but was convinced to remain in her seat through 2022, the Dallas Morning News' Gromer Jeffers Jr. reports.



Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are reshaping the way campaigns are financed, leaning on vast networks of small-dollar donors to power their operations while eschewing the big-ticket fundraisers that have long defined presidential races, Max reports. They were the biggest fundraisers in the third quarter, raking in nearly $50 million combined. Their fundraising hauls were significantly higher than those of other prominent contenders, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who raised $15.2 million in the past three months.


Tom SteyerTom SteyerBloomberg wages war on COVID-19, but will he abandon his war on coal? Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Ocasio-Cortez, Schiff team up to boost youth voter turnout MORE raised more than $2 million for his presidential campaign in the third quarter – his first since announcing his candidacy in July – his campaign said Thursday. The haul is the smallest of any Democratic candidate so far, but it's unlikely to matter much; Steyer has vowed to spend at least $100 million of his personal fortune on his primary bid and he's already received the support of enough donors to qualify for the fourth and fifth presidential debates, Max reports.


SHE RAISED HOW MUCH? Amy McGrath, the Democrat who nearly unseated Rep. Andy BarrAndy Hale BarrHouse GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 Put entrepreneurs, workers and flexibility in next stimulus package McCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task force MORE (R-Ky.) in Kentucky's 6th District last year, raised $10.7 million in the third fundraising quarter for her challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation COVID-19 workplace complaints surge; unions rip administration Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks MORE (R-Ky.), The Hill's Max Greenwood reports. For context, that's more than at least half a dozen Democratic presidential candidates and not far off from the $11.6 million raised by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for her White House campaign in the past three months.


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pulled in $27.4 million in the third quarter of the year, Julia reports, slightly less than the $29 million it raised in the second quarter but $6 million more than it brought in in the third quarter of 2017. The committee said that $14 million of the total third-quarter fundraising haul came via small-dollar donations and that the average online donation was $16. 


Planned Parenthood's super PAC is bankrolling a $45 million campaign to defeat Trump and vulnerable Senate Republicans in 2020, an effort that will include a "large-scale" grassroots organization and canvass, digital, television, radio and mail programs, The Hill's Jessie Hellmann reports. The campaign will target nine presidential and Senate battleground states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 



There are signs that support for President Trump's impeachment may be broadening beyond just Democrats, The Hill's Jonathan Easley reports. A handful of polls released this week show independents and a growing share of Republicans warming to the nascent impeachment inquiry or expressing concern about Trump's request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. That's a relief for some Democrats, who were worried that impeachment could backfire in 2020 and bolster Republicans up and down the ballot. There are other Democrats, however, who are approaching the polls with more caution, not entirely convinced that the pursuit won't come back to haunt them.




7 p.m. CDT: Trump will hold a campaign rally in Lake Charles, La., ahead of Louisiana's gubernatorial election on Saturday.



1 p.m. EDT: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE (D) will sit for a talk with The New Yorker's David Remnick at the 20th New Yorker Festival in New York City.



2 p.m. EDT: Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and his brother, Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroJulián Castro launches PAC to support progressive candidates Minority lawmakers gain unprecedented clout amid pandemic The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden leads Trump by 6 points in new poll MORE (D-Texas), will sit down with The New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer at the New Yorker Festival in NYC.


There are 115 days until the Iowa caucuses, 123 days until the New Hampshire primary, 134 days until the Nevada caucuses, 141 days until the South Carolina primary and 144 days until Super Tuesday.



RED CARPET DEBUT: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) took a brief break from the campaign trail on Wednesday to join girlfriend Rosario Dawson for the red carpet premiere of the documentary "The Need to Grow," which is narrated by the actress. 



A number of outlets covered the appearance, including the Daily Mail, said in a headline that Dawson joined Booker on the red carpet. However, the senator was quick to correct the record. 



But that's not all! Booker joined Dawson again for the "Zombieland 2" premiere in Los Angeles on Thursday. 

Talk about a man about town! 

We'll see you next week with all of the latest campaign news!