Apr 24, 2018

Rahm Emanuel: Impeachment isn't "a political tool"

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

At an Axios event in Chicago yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel told me midterm Democratic candidates are unwise to rely on the allure of impeaching President Trump as an issue in November's races.

His advice: "I lived through the Clinton White House. This is a serious legal and constitutional, not political, issue. ... I couldn't be angrier at Donald Trump. ... That said, you don't just flippantly say: We're for [impeachment]."

  • "When we get to it, we collectively as a country will know it — as we did with, like, Richard Nixon."
  • "[Y]ou don't just treat ... the policy standard of impeachment ... as a political tool. It's a constitutional standard and, when that standard has been met, we'll know about it. ... This is a case where the best politics is good policy."

The backdrop: The N.Y. Times reported that Republicans are trying to energize their base and lure moderate voters by warning that Dems "will immediately move to impeach President Trump if they capture the House."

  • Liberal N.Y. Times columnist Charles Blow bluntly spells out the politics of impeachment: "It is quite possible that trying to impeach and remove Trump could have the opposite effect than the one desired: It could boost rather than diminish his popularity and an acquittal by the Senate would leave an even more popular president in office."

P.S. Rahm's big idea for governments ... One of the most common complaints to Chicago's 311 hotline is streetlights being out, and Mayor Emanuel told me the city is converting 270,000 sodium bulbs, one by one, to an LED smart grid model:

  • Some neighborhoods can be brighter or dimmer.
  • Why it matters: "Governments [need] to get where private sector is — being able not just to throw out mass information, but target residents, residents be able to communicate back ... It's a part of modernizing government services and making them more personal, more direct."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 766,336 — Total deaths: 36,873 — Total recoveries: 160,001.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 153,246 — Total deaths: 2,828 — Total recoveries: 5,545.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Rep. Nydia Velázquez diagnosed with "presumed" coronavirus infection.
  4. State updates: Virginia and Maryland issued stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states — Florida megachurch pastor arrested for refusing to call off mass services.
  5. World updates: Italy reports 1,590 recoveries from the virus, its highest ever.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Cuomo: Engaging in politics during coronavirus crisis is "anti-American"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health