If you need an update on the impeachment inquiry, check out The Impeachment Inquiry Will Now Be Televised by Clare Malone at 538.
Politico.com reports that Trump lures GOP senators on impeachment with cold cash. The president is tapping his vast donor network to buck up lawmakers whose support he badly needs — but who also need him.
Trump is tapping his vast fundraising network for a handful of loyal senators facing tough reelection bids in 2020. Each of them has signed onto a Republican-backed resolution condemning the inquiry as “unprecedented and undemocratic.”
The new online fundraising drive bypassed ’[Sen. Susan] Collins, an occasional Trump critic who called on the president to retract his tweet comparing the impeachment investigation to a “lynching.” Collins also said Trump made a “big mistake” in asking China to investigate the Biden family.
The Maine senator has avoided taking a position on impeachment because, she says, as a juror in a prospective Senate trial she doesn’t want to “prejudge” the proceedings.
What about our Senator McSally?
Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, another vulnerable Republican facing reelection, was also omitted, though apparently for a different reason. While McSally signed onto the anti-impeachment resolution, she has frustrated Republican officials over her reluctance to exclusively use WinRed, a Trump-endorsed online fundraising tool. Party officials are trying to turn WinRed into a centralized hub of small-donor giving ahead of the 2020 election and used the platform to send out Trump’s appeal for the three senators.
Collins and McSally are missing out on a potential windfall after they were both outraised by their Democratic rivals during the third quarter of the year. McSally’s Democratic opponent, former astronaut Mark Kelly, has raked in $5 million more than her over the course of the year.
McSally’s campaign declined to comment, and a spokesperson for Collins did not respond.
McSally may be wise to not take money from Trump.
Attorney Richard Painter, who served as the chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, warned on Thursday that President Donald Trump appeared to be committing “felony bribery” by giving Republican senators fundraising cash ahead of an increasingly likely impeachment trial in the Senate.
The lawyer shared the politico.com report covered above and tweeted:
“This is a bribe. Any other American who offered cash to the jury before a trial would go to prison for felony bribery. But he can get away with it?” Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, wrote on Twitter. “Criminal.”
The senators can raise their own campaign cash. Any senator who accepts cash from @realDonaldTrump before the impeachment trial is guilty of accepting a bribe and should go to the slammer.
(Thanks to Roving Reporter for tips about Trump’s apparent payola.)