It’s either feast or famine with climate change forums for the Democratic presidential primary.
After the Democratic National Committee refused to hold a climate-specific debate, two separate events will now be held for the 2020 Democrats to discuss the issue.
Our colleague Maanvi Singh reported for yesterday’s live blog:
A Climate Forum on September 19 and 20 will be open to 2020 presidential candidates from both parties. The event will be hosted by Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, in partnership with MSNBC and environmental news outlet Our Daily Planet.
CNN will also be holding a Democratic town hall focused on the climate crisis a few days earlier, on September 4. …
DNC Chair Tom Perez has forbidden an official debate centered on climate change (though ‘forums’ or a ‘town halls’ are be allowed), arguing that such a debate would favor candidates like Washington governor Jay Inslee, whose entire campaign is built around environmental issues.
MSNBC host Ali Velshi announced this morning that he and Chris Hayes would moderate the two-day forum. But CNN is enforcing a polling requirement for its town hall, and so far, some candidates who have released climate plans (including Inslee and Kirsten Gillibrand) have not met the threshold.
Menawhile, environmental activists are encouraging the networks to examine the ways in which climate change disproportionately affects marginalized communities. A former longtime official at the Environmental Protection Agency tweeted this about CNN’s town hall:
US economic growth slows
The Commerce Department announced that US economic growth slowed in the second quarter of 2019.
Our colleague Dominic Rushe reports:
But the decline was less than expected – thanks to a consumer spending spree – and the report showed signs that there is continuing momentum in the US’s decade-long economic expansion.
US gross domestic production (GDP) – the broadest measure of the economy’s health – grew at an annual rate of 2.1% in the second quarter, the three-month period between April and June.
The figure is a marked slowdown in the 3.1% growth that the US achieved in the first three months of the year and comes as other major economies have warned that their growth is slowing, too.
But economists had been expecting economic activity to have slowed to below 2% over the last quarter as the US’s ongoing trade disputes with its largest trading partners took their toll and businesses cut back on investments.
Five more House Democrats have announced their support of launching impeachment proceedings against Trump since Robert Mueller testified.
Perhaps most notably, representative Katherine Clark of Minnesota joined the effort yesterday. The announcement makes Clark, the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, the highest-ranking Democrat to support impeachment.
But pro-impeachment Democrats had hoped that Mueller’s appearance on Capitol Hill would spark a stampede of support for their cause. That has not materialized, perhaps to the relief of Nancy Pelosi.
The House speaker has not come around to the idea of impeachment, instead encouraging her caucus to continue investigating Trump and see where the evidence leads.
With the House now adjourned for a historically long recess, pro-impeachment Democrats worry about losing momentum for their cause. But the six weeks they spend back in their home districts could give them a sense of where their constituents stand on impeachment. They’ll likely either come back deflated or energized.
Good morning, live blog readers – and happy Friday!
Senate Republicans’ refusal to consider bills aimed at improving US election security is looking worse by the minute. Since special counsel Robert Mueller testified that Russian election interference is happening “as we sit here”, Mitch McConnell and members of his caucus have twice rejected legislation to beef up election security.
And now the first volume of a report from the Senate intelligence committee has documented, in detail, how Russia coordinated “an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure” during the 2016 election. According to the report, Russian cyberactors targeted all 50 US states and “were in a position to delete or change voter data” in Illinois’ voter database, although the committee found no evidence that they did so.
The damning findings could put more pressure on McConnell to advance one of the several bills Democrats have proposed. But even if Congress could pass a bill, many are skeptical that Donald Trump would sign it – after he has spent nearly three years downplaying the effect of Russian interference. He could view the legislation as a swipe at the legitimacy of his 2016 election victory.
But the writing is on the wall: this will happen again in 2020. The only question is whether America will be prepared for it.
Here are some other things the blog is keeping its eye on:
- Nancy Pelosi will hold a press conference at 10.45am EDT. She will almost certainly be asked about where her caucus stands on impeachment, as roughly 100 Democrats have come out in favor of launching an inquiry.
- Pelosi will also meet with representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after weeks of sparring between the moderate and progressive wings of the House Democratic caucus.
- The House has adjourned for a historically long recess after passing the budget deal negotiated between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The chamber will not return until 9 September.
That’s all still to come on this beautiful Friday in Washington. Stay tuned.