Live Fix chat: What on earth does Micheal Bloomberg want? And what would his candidacy mean?

Nov 08, 2019

Washington Post reporters will be taking your questions on the impeachment inquiry and the 2020 election. Join us live on Friday at 12 p.m. ET.

Great to have all of you here. There is SO much to get to, and we haven't even started the public hearings. 

What did you notice in the transcripts this week?

Intrigued by Bloomberg's potential late 2020 entry?

What else is on your minds?

(And a fair warning that, depending on news, we might be SLIGHTLY abbreviated today.)

Is this another trial balloon or did he actually file paperwork? And why? This guy is 77.

Two things:

If he wants to run at all, he needs to file in Alabama by today and in NH by early next week. So even if he's TRULY just still in thinking-about-it mode, he needs to start filing if he ever wants to participate.

Second, this is a guy who in 1997 suggested he was too old to run for president. I've been wrong before, but I'm not sure what his lane is. I think he thinks if Biden doesn't last, there will be an opening. I'm not even sure he'd be the one to fill it, if there was.

I get that he won't resign with this latest round of allegations that he covered up sexual abuse of athletes, but will this make it less likely he'll get added to the House Intel Committee?

Whatever you think about Jordan, there is a reason they want him front-and-center on this. I do think it's now more difficult to do that, given he'll have to answer these questions too (or ignore them in a way that doesn't look good).

Do they really think they can get through Taylor and Kent's testimonies in 1 day? That sounds improbable....

It's not ideal! And I'm not sure why they are doing it that way, unless there just wasn't much flexibility. I think the argument for it is that they are both key to setting the stage on the Sondland-Ukraine stuff and are speaking to similar things they heard from Morrison. That can be established in one day, and then you move on to maybe Morrison and Sondland down the line.

Is a fight between those two is essentially a"My father"-off?

It's amazing to me how many children of high-profile pols we talk about these days. I just saw Trump Jr. was tangling with Abby Hunstman. Meghan McCain. Hunter Biden. Chelsea Clinton. 

I saw a TV commercial for Tom Steyer where the logo was just "Tom 2020" I am guess why, but why do politicians lean into the first name? The signage is Bernie rather than Sanders or Beto rather than O'Rourke (people on the rightwing had a whole separate obsession about his first name). How come Aaron?

With Bernie and Beto, ti's about being distinct. With Steyer, maybe it's "I'm not a billionaire, I'm just 'Tom.'"

What’s his deal? Kingmaker? Spoiler? Secret Trump operative? I don’t get it.

Longstanding ambition + a perceived path to victory + probably his last chance + genuine concern about the attacks on big business by Warren and Sanders.

Is the President* going to sign the appropriations bills that have passed the House and Senate? I know everyone keeps saying no one wants another shutdown and another CR is the backstop, but I can't trust the renegade at 1600 Penn Ave. What's the deal? *not my President

The word is currently that White House says Trump would sign it. But this is Trump, and that doesn't always last. Plus I have to think he wouldn't mind throwing a wrench in impeachment hearings by at least dragging this out.

That's as nice as it is misleading. Are there any Electoral College oriented polls?

3 things:

1) Yes, the electoral college is what matters. National polls don't tell us a ton.

2) If Trump is down 8 points or double digits nationally, there's no way he's going to win the electoral college.

3) Despite those polls in the key states we saw this week from NYT, other polls have suggested states like PA, MI and WI (the first two especially) mirror the national picture.

For all we're hearing about Giuliani's "out of the ordinary" role in the Ukraine business, I haven't yet heard anyone say it's in violation of the Logan Act. Isn't it? The GOP accused Kerry of that in re Iran with a lot less fodder not too long ago.

It's a fair question. I think for a violation to have occurred, it would require Giuliani to actually be involved in the withholding of aid. I'm not sure just asking for investigations would be considered diplomacy.

Also, remember that as we learned during the Flynn fiasco, this law has never really been enforced.

The people on these live chat aren't too bad at predicting stuff it seems? http://live.washingtonpost.com/fix-ask-aaron-20181130.html#5379738

Bevin has been in trouble for a while. Question was whether nationalizing the race would carry him across the finish line. But we should never underestimate how much people separate governor's races from national politics. If you're not needed to form a Senate or House majority, why not give the candidate you actually LIKE a shot?

a really slow news day?

I tell you what: I haven't gotten to cover an impeachment before, and I may never again. As former Gophers football coach Jim Wacker said, "My heart is pumpin' and my corpuscles are jumpin', baby."

(Side note: Go Gophers!)

I guess I’m confused on how the administration is claiming they have absolute immunity from criminal cases and can’t be brought to court during his term. Wasn’t that settle in Clinton v Jones? Granted that dealt with civil matters but it was a unanimous decision. Hard to imagine one could take a president to court during their term on a civil matter but not criminal. But then I also don’t see how Clinton’s changes in the Travel Office was a matter of national importance but dumping an ambassador of a country battling our major opposition is no big deal…

I'm not sure the argument is intended to succeed so much as make the most extreme case possible and hope you're expanding the Overton window for the eventual result.

Will anything ever be done w/r/t all the people blowing off subpoenas? Seems like a lot of Dem fingerwagging and tsk tsk'g but at the end of the day lots of people are getting away with ignoring subpoenas. It's upside down world.

At some point you have to wonder if they don't go nuclear and try actually fining people (or more). Otherwise, people will keep dragging these things out.

Less than 24 hours ago it was reported the Michael Bloomberg will enter the race. I consider that newsworthy. How come there is not one story about it “in plain view” on WaPo.com?

We don't have a shortage of news right now!

Also, I think we're waiting to see if he actually runs. I would not discount the idea that this is truly about keeping his options open, and he's just filing because he has to if he doesn't want to foreclose his options.

Since it appears that a number of impeachment witnesses will testify about what they were told by people who are refusing to testify - Mulvaney, Bolton, etc - then how do Republicans rebut that testimony?

That will be part of the motivation to testify, at least for someone like Bolton.

I'm not convinced Bolton doesn't want to testify, by the way. I think he's just making sure it's by the book and perhaps that it doesn't look like he has an ax to grind with Trump.

He's got an ulterior motive, he has to, no? I saw a comment that said he could win against Trump but he can't win the nomination, and a big reason is stop and frisk. Hell, that loses my vote, not that he necessarily would have had it to begin with. If he ruled out an independent run because he knows that would give the election to Trump, what is he expecting to accomplish?

At a base level, maybe he hopes to pull Warren away from going total populist -- even if he thinks it's very unlikely he could ever win.

Surely Don Jr. is kidding.

Someone should file that paragraph under "gaslighting."

Is there an audio recording of Trump's "perfect" phone call to Zelensky? Is there any way it can be released, so the public can decide for themselves?

Things could have changed, but my understanding is that recordings of such calls are generally not kept, which is why they rely upon people's recollections to piece together a rough transcript.

I've read several books by Obama staffers (Plouffe, Rhodes) that take a very measured look at their time in White House. It doesn't appear there will be similar takes from the Trump WH. (BTW, do you think Anon is Kelly Anne Conway?)

I would strongly bet that Anonymous is no longer in the administration. Beyond that, it's a crapshoot. It doesn't need to be White House, and it doesn't need to be a Cabinet official. That covers a lot of people.

Will he or won't he -- what's your read? This whole "waiting on a court decision" thing sounds fishy to me. But regardless of that, if he does actually end up testifying, will his mustache testify separately?

I would bet that he testifies eventually. I wouldn't be surprised if Democrats are happy to have him toward the end -- whether in the impeachment proceedings or at a Senate trial.

Other than Bevin, GOP won the other 5 statewide races in Kentucky by a LOT. Including Mitch's protege as AG. Is Mitch secretly smiling at Gov-Elect Beshear?

I wouldn't be shocked if he isn't a tiny bit OK with Bevin (who primaried him in 2014) getting pushed out. But the fact that Republicans won 5 out of 6 statewide races in a ruby-red state like Kentucky is hardly a surprise.

Your article titled William Barr "would do anything for Trump, but he won't do that" Cracked me up! Loved the Meatloaf reference.

I've seldom been prouder of myself than I was on Thursday morning.

For those who haven't seen the piece: click.

How serious is his opportunity here? Will the MAGA crowd that loves Trump vote for a guy he says betrayed him?

I think it helps him that the field might be crowded. Could be harder in a one-on-one race.

Don't underestimate how much goodwill Sessions has in that state. He's been there a long time. I would also be surprised if Trump actually does much to try and stop him, knowing that the backup plan could be Roy Moore. And also remember Alabama voters didn't exactly listen to him the last time he endorsed in an Alabama Senate primary, when he picked Luther Strange over Moore. Oops.

Good lord. Whatever happened to obscenely rich guys just buying themselves an island?

I did some math last night.

There are approximately 600 billionaires in the United States. Nearly 1 percent of them are running for president or have considered it:

1. Trump

2. Steyer

3. Bloomberg

4. Zuckerberg

5. Howard Schultz

 

Weren't you also proud of your dance moves in WaPo Tik Tok video?

"Proud" definitely isn't the word.

in Senate trial not in hearings? (like you just implied might happen with Bolton)?

Of course. I don't know of anything that would prevent it, and I'm not sure how you could justify it. It's a new trial, where new information could come up. How could you not call new witnesses based on that information?

waited till now so he wouldn't have to get his wingtips dirty walking around the Iowa State Fair.

It is an inferior state fair to its neighbor to the north, so I can't blame him.

Is he seriously thinking about entering the race? Does he have a chance? (There hasn't been a major party candidate with facial hair since Thomas Dewey in '48.)

I reached out to his spokesman today and got a "no comment." Remember, though, that Alabama deadline is today and New Hampshire is next week. There's a reason Bloomberg is filing now; Holder would need to do the same, and he needs signatures too.

Will you trash the Dakotas like you do WI and IA? Does Minn have a shot against Penn St?

1) The Dakotas are more like a little brother/sister than a rival.

2) I think there is a 90% chance Penn State wins, but if you had told me there was a 10% chance Minnesota would by 9-0 and probably go to the Big Ten title game, I'd have taken that!

It would be a bit rich for the GOP to want to call witnesses in a senate trial who have refused to appear - even under subpoena - before the house part of the process. Could someone decline to appear - even under subpoena - if they were called? What action could the Cheief Justice take to compel them?

Well, I mean, he's the chief justice. So you don't really need to go through the lower courts. I think he can just make the call right then and there, but I'm hardly an expert on this.

Among the contenders, Buttigieg is still in his 30s and everyone else is in his or her 70s. Is there no one in the range of, say 45-65 years old who's made of presidential timber? Has there been a lost generation or two?

It's an interesting theory. It might be happenstance more than anything. Even Warren is relative newcomer to politics, so it's not like they haven't built the bench in recent years.

Can we just plug the Trump boys, Ivanka, Rand Paul, Meghan McCain, Abby Huntsman, et. al., and have them duke it out to prove which one REALLY made it without their daddy's help?

Forgot about Rand Paul. And he was recently feuding with Liz Cheney!

Have you read it yet?

Not sure dropping the book during impeachment was ideal. I won't be getting to it. I'm sure I'll learn the big stuff. Plus, it sounds like it doesn't dwell too much on individual events? That's pretty disappionting.

All in their 70s? Harris? Booker? Castro? Yang?

I think they were referring to the top tier. Harris has fallen out of it. The others have never been in it.

closed door hearings after all the complaining about how the hearings were behind closed doors?

::Insert the largest shruggie in the world::

Would he really try to shut down the government? It was so unpopular last time.

Yeah, but that doesn't mean it will matter over the long run. Shutdowns tend to be forgotten.

I've got to jump off to work on the Vindman and Fiona Hill transcript. Sorry!

Everyone have a great weekend. Go Gophers. Go Tigers (for my editor Natalie Jennings). And go Liverpool.

-Aaron

In This Chat
Aaron Blake
Aaron Blake is a senior political reporter, writing for The Fix. A Minnesota native and graduate of the University of Minnesota, Aaron has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Hill newspaper. Aaron lives with his family and trusty dog, Mauer, in Northern Virginia.
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