Trump impeachment battle hits TV ads

Trump impeachment battle hits TV ads
© Aaron Schwartz
The fight over impeachment is coming to a television set near you.
Trump’s campaign has spent almost $4 million on three separate ads, according to the nonpartisan tracking firm Advertising Analytics.
Those TV spots have sought to turn the inquiry back onto former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Graham: 'Stupid' for Trump to ask China to investigate Biden Romney: Republicans don't criticize Trump because they fear it will help Warren MORE, the focus of Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump's efforts to pressure Zelensky to launch an investigation into Biden his son Hunter have become the impetus for the impeachment inquiry.
“Joe Biden promised Ukraine a billion dollars if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son’s company,” one of the advertisements says. “But when President Trump asks Ukraine to investigate corruption, the Democrats want to impeach him, and their media lapdogs fall in line. They lost the election, now they want to steal this one.”
Ukrainian officials have said there is no evidence that Biden or his son were implicated in any wrongdoing. The United States was one of many Ukrainian allies that wanted the prosecutor ousted, specifically for his disinclination to pursue corruption charges.
Kyle Roberts, the president and chief executive at Advertising Analytics, said he expects to see more spending as the impeachment inquiry dominates more of the news coverage.
In a sign of just how widespread the impeachment debate is likely to become, both Republican and Democratic outside groups are using the impeachment battle to target House and Senate incumbents seeking reelection next year.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) has dropped more than $2.2 million on its own advertisements, taking aim at 13 potentially vulnerable House Democrats, like Rep. Antonio DelgadoAntonio Ramon DelgadoProgressive Latino group launches first incumbent protection campaign Trump impeachment battle hits TV ads Pelosi-backed group funding ads for vulnerable Democrats amid impeachment inquiry MORE (N.Y.), who support the impeachment inquiry.
“Instead of fixing health care and lowering drug prices, Delgado votes with the radicals for endless investigations of President Trump, wasting tax dollars. Instead of working to create more jobs, Delgado wants more hearings,” an RNC ad says.
House Majority Forward, a group that helps protect House Democrats, has purchased its own air time defending those 13 members. The ads have not yet been released, but the group has laid down $1.5 million for rebuttals.
Need To Impeach, the group funded by billionaire hedge fund manager and presidential candidate Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges 2020 Democrats recognize Pronouns Day Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart MORE, released its own ads on Friday targeting three potentially vulnerable Republican senators — Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes MORE (Maine), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate Farmers: New Trump ethanol proposal reneged on previous deal Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate MORE (Iowa) and Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThe Hill's Morning Report - Dem debate contenders take aim at Warren Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever Trump-GOP tensions over Syria show signs of easing MORE (Ariz.).
“How can we have a president who thinks the law doesn’t apply to him? Who would bargain away the security of our nation and our elections for his own political gain?” the Need to Impeach ad in Arizona says. “Tell Martha McSally to put country over party.”
Steyer’s group has purchased more than $625,000 in airtime in those three states.
The race to define the contours of an impeachment inquiry is a familiar playbook. Then-House Speaker Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE used investigations into Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonHouse Democrat pledges 'there will be open hearings' in impeachment inquiry Democrats dig in ahead of Supreme Court ruling on 'Dreamers' Even with likely Trump impeachment, Democrats face uphill climb to win presidency MORE’s misconduct as a centerpiece of the GOP’s television ad campaign in 1998, when the House voted to open an impeachment inquiry into the president about a month before the midterm elections.
But that example also offers a cautionary lesson for Democrats now pursuing Trump’s impeachment: In those midterm elections, Democrats gained five seats. Gingrich, under pressure for his decision to focus solely on impeachment, did not seek another term as House speaker.