Ouch
12:52 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has time to set the record straight on this one.

Pelosi gave a press conference Thursday after announcing she advised the House Judiciary Committee to proceed with impeachment. But the most noteworthy moment came when Pelosi was halfway out the door and a reporter asked "Do you hate the president?"

"I don't hate anybody," Pelosi said as she marched back into the room and pointed out the Sinclair broadcast reporter who asked her the question. She then took the podium and made it clear that she "think[s] the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence," going on to call President Trump "cruel" and "in denial." But "as a Catholic, I resent your using the word 'hate' in a sentence that addresses me," Pelosi continued, adding "I pray for the president all the time." Watch the whole exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 22, 2019

That one's gotta hurt.

On Friday, former Vice President Joe Biden announced that he'd earned the endorsement of Oliver Davis Jr., a black community leader in Indiana. The endorsement got some heavy play for someone who's not even close to a national political figure — but all makes sense considering Davis is from Pete Buttigieg's hometown.

Davis is the vice president of the common council in South Bend, Indiana, where Buttigieg is mayor. In fact, Davis even ran for mayor earlier this year after Buttigieg declined to run, but couldn't beat the 4,447 votes that Buttigieg's chief of staff earned to clinch the Democratic nomination. Still, Davis is one of the longest-serving members of the city's common council, and focused on Biden's long tenure in his endorsement. "In times like these, when the political winds are fiercely blowing across our country, it's important for us to have an experienced leader who has been through the diverse storms of life to guide our country," he said.

It's hard not to read that as a shot at Buttigieg, who is 40 years Biden's junior and has faced major criticism over his lack of political and life experience and dismal showing among black voters. And if that weren't enough of a blow, Biden was sure to point out that Davis "joins two other African American elected officials from Indiana" in backing Biden as well. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 29, 2019

President Trump's allies want to hear a wider impeachment story.

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, is set to testify Tuesday that he found Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine's president worthy of reporting to a superior. That prompted smears against Vindman from Trump backers — something House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) quickly shut down.

Once it became clear that Vindman's testimony could be damaging to Trump, former GOP congressmember and current CNN contributor Sean Duffy decided to attack Vindman's Ukrainian birthplace. "I don't know that he's concerned about American policy," Duffy alleged, claiming without evidence that Vindman "has an affinity for the Ukraine."

Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, took issue with that. "It is shameful to question their patriotism, their love of this country," Cheney said of Vindman, Politico's Jake Sherman reported.

Cheney's split is yet another instance of top Republicans fracturing from Trump in the impeachment debate. William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified last week that he was told aid was being withheld until Ukraine agreed to investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, commented that "the picture coming out of" Taylor's testimony was "not a good one." Kathryn Krawczyk

Editor's note: This article initially misidentified Cheney's state affiliation. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.

October 25, 2019

President Trump's pledge to reduce the federal deficit isn't exactly working out.

The federal deficit has jumped from $779 billion in fiscal year 2018 to $984 billion in 2019, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed in a Friday statement. That's a 26 percent jump, and the deficit's highest point since it was coming down from the recession in 2012.

The deficit saw a massive jump as the recession kicked in from 2008 to 2009, and that number hasn't been replicated since. Still, the deficit has purely been on upward swing under Trump, and has only increased more dramatically since the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed. The GOP tax package was expected to help push the deficit over $1 trillion by 2020, and now, that looks unavoidable.

That deficit growth completely bucks the several times Trump has promised to cut the federal deficit and national debt. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 17, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, probably, but signs aren't pointing to a warm reception for President Trump's delegation to Ankara. Erdogan has already rejected the demand for an immediate ceasefire in Syria that Pence and Pompeo are bringing from Trump, and he hinted Wednesday he may not even meet with the U.S. delegation. And then there's Trump's letter.

Trump agreed to pull U.S. forces out of northeastern Syria in an Oct. 6 phone call with Erdogan, effectively giving Turkey's president the green light to invade Syria and push out or kill America's Kurdish allies. In a contentious White House meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday, shortly after the House overwhelmingly rebuked Trump's decision, Trump had House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pass around copies of what he described as a "nasty" letter he had sent Erdogan on Oct. 9, starting with him urging Erdogan, "Let's work out a good deal" that doesn't involve "slaughtering thousands" of Kurds, and ending on the odd note: "Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool! I will call you later."

Erdogan launched his invasion of Syria Oct. 9, the same day Trump sent his missive. Did he get the letter? Yes, a Turkish presidential source tells BBC Turkish. "President Erdogan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it, and put it in the bin," the government official said, or in another translation: "The letter was rejected by Erdogan and thrown into the trash." Apparently, writes BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen, "Trump's mixture of threats and locker-room banter infuriated" Erdogan. Peter Weber

September 30, 2019

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney "is on shaky ground in the wake of a bad week for President Trump," CNN reports, largely because he didn't immediately "have a strategy for defending and explaining the contents" of a reconstructed transcript of Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) tried his hand Sunday with the White House's subsequent talking points. CNN's Jake Tapper wasn't having it.

Jordan alleged that former Vice President Joe Biden had pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Viktor Shokin to help out his lawyer son, Hunter Biden, who had recently gotten a seat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma. "That's not what happened," Tapper said, noting repeatedly that Shokin was ousted because he wasn't prosecuting people and the Ukrainian investigations related to Burisma's owner were dormant when Hunter Biden was hired. Shokin "wasn't going after corruption — do you understand what I'm saying?" Tapper asked.

Jordan kept hitting on the younger Biden's reported salary, and Tapper eventually stopped him. "If you want to push a law saying that the children of presidents and vice presidents should not be doing international business deals, I'm all for it," Tapper said. "But you're setting a standard that is not being met right now." He gave examples from Trump's children.

"I'm just telling you what happened," Jordan said. "No, you're not," Tapper said. "It's amazing the gymnastics you'll go through to defend what —" Jordan began, and Tapper brought up accusations from Ohio State wresters that Jordan turned a blind eye to sexual abuse by the team doctor: "Sir, it's not gymnastics — it's facts! And I would think somebody who's been accused of things in the last year and two would be more sensitive about throwing out wild allegations against people."

"I understand you want to change the subject," Tapper said, after Jordan began jumping down 2016 rabbit holes, "but the president was pushing the president of Ukraine to investigate a political rival. I cannot believe that that is okay with you."

If you are interested in the Hunter Biden story, a former New York Times reporter runs down at The Intercept how Trump, Giuliani, and "the right-wing spin machine" inverted his 2015 reporting on the Bidens, and The Washington Post has a longer look at the Bidens in Ukraine and this helpful explainer. Peter Weber

September 27, 2019

Mother didn't like this.

Vice President Mike Pence is pretty darn close with his wife Karen Pence, the woman he reportedly calls "mother" and refuses to meet other women alone without. But when Pence buddied up with President Trump, whom Karen Pence reportedly despised, her displeasure culminated in the ultimate diss on Election Night 2016, Tom LoBianco reports in his forthcoming book Piety and Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House.

It's been reported before that Karen Pence was not thrilled with her husband joining Trump on the campaign trail. Things got even worse with Trump's Access Hollywood scandal, with Karen Pence reportedly telling her husband that she wouldn't appear in public anymore if he continued running alongside Trump.

Mike Pence obviously didn't let that threat get to him, but when Trump was eventually elected, Karen Pence reportedly still wasn't happy. "You got what you wanted, Mike," she reportedly told him that November night. She refused to kiss him, and said "leave me alone," Peter Baker details in The New York Times' review of LoBianco's book. Read more of LoBianco's reporting here. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 27, 2019

President Trump never quite fit in in his hometown of New York City. But in Los Angeles, especially before his time on The Apprentice, it was even worse. Here are five remarks and recollections from Hollywood insiders documenting Trump's unorthodox time in show business, as reported by Los Angeles Magazine.

1. Trump spent a lot of time running beauty pageants, but as Susan Winston, the producer of nine of them, put it, "No one cared about Donald Trump in Hollywood. ... There were people in Hollywood who had much more power, much more money."

2. A lot of Winston's negativity stems from how, as she put it, Trump would "show up on the day of the pageant" and, despite playing no role in its production, demand he "was seen on camera three times." Winston retaliated by making Trump shake her hand even though she "knew he didn't like to touch people," she said.

3. Jeff Klein, who owns the celebrity hot spot Tower Bar, recalled how Trump would march in with then film producer, now Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and "demand a prominent table, the one everyone can see as you come in." "It's not where real movie stars sit," Klein added, but said Trump would say hello to everyone who walked in anyway.

4. Klein also hit Trump with this zinger about his show business aspirations: "I don't think [Trump] could have been a mogul. Hollywood is like high school — they would have made fun of him."

5. Trump can't say the word "film," which seems like a hindrance to a life in Hollywood in itself. "He says 'fill-im.' He said, 'I can't say that word. I just can't say it. It doesn't come out," former Apprentice producer Jonathan Braun recalled.

Read more about Trump's Hollywood days at Los Angeles Magazine. Kathryn Krawczyk

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