As the impeachment proceedings kick into high gear, President Trump is pulling out all the stops to try to keep wavering Republicans on his side — and President Bush’s former White House Counsel sees some major wrongdoing at play.
Ex-Republican law professor Richard W. Painter issued a striking condemnation after the release of a disturbing report that shows the president is intervening heavily to raise funds for endangered GOP Senators facing tough re-election battles in 2020.
If @realDonaldTrump doesn’t want to get hit with a bribery charge, during the impeachment process he had better stick to raising money for GOP challengers in senate races, not incumbent senators who will vote guilty or not guilty in his case.
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) October 31, 2019
Whether it’s a campaign kickoff in Georgia or online efforts from Trump’s vast national email database, Trump is running an influence-purchasing campaign targeting the people who are supposed to sit as judges over an impending impeachment trial in the Senate. Politico reports:
President Donald Trump is rewarding senators who have his back on impeachment — and sending a message to those who don’t to get on board.
On Wednesday, the Trump reelection campaign sent a fundraising appeal to its massive email list urging donors to provide a contribution that would be divided between the president and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. Each of the senators are supporting the anti-impeachment resolution despite being endangered in 2020.
“If we don’t post strong fundraising numbers,” the message warned, “we won’t be able to defend the President from this baseless Impeachment WITCH HUNT.”
A presidential visit to Georgia will place Trump at a $100,000 per person fundraising dinner for Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).
Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s political operation is getting a piece of the action, as Trump will headline a dinner for the Senate Leadership Fund SuperPAC, which happens to be the same organization that took millions from a Russian oligarch in 2016. He too is up for re-election in 2020.
Gushers of money are what unite Republicans and Trump, and the national party said that the donor cash is flowing to Senators who sign on to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s resolution opposing the House’s impeachment process, which not every GOP senator is sponsoring. Politico continued:
Mike Reed, a Republican National Committee spokesman, said Wednesday’s appeal from the Trump campaign brought in “six figures” over the course of the day. “Our supporters stand totally behind President Trump and are eager to support down-ballot candidates who do the same,” he said.
Party officials said there are likely to be additional Trump-led digital fundraising efforts for senators and that those who weren’t included in this wave could be in a later one.
It is improper on its face for a US Senator to accept political favors from someone about whom they will have to sit in judgment upon only days, weeks or months from now in an impeachment proceeding.
Even before this new GOP offensive to direct money from Trump to Senators started, credible pundits have been saying that it would be impossible for Republican Senators to impartially uphold the constitution.
Now, it makes one wonder if the House doesn’t need to investigate and expose the money trail between President Trump and the Republican members of the Senate before they send a bill of impeachment to trial.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.