Democrats jostle for prized impeachment manager gig | POLITICO


As the House barrels toward a vote next week to impeach President Donald Trump, behind-the-scenes jockeying has intensified to secure a coveted, high-profile job: impeachment manager.

These Democratic lawmakers, handpicked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will effectively serve as prosecutors making the case to the Senate that Trump deserves to be removed from office over his alleged misconduct centering on the Ukraine scandal.

Source: Democrats jostle for prized impeachment manager gig – POLITICO

The Trade-Offs in the Articles of Impeachment | Lawfare


If read as one would read a criminal indictment, the document’s brevity might seem strange. But that’s not the point. The point, rather, is to tell a story that is both well-supported by witness testimony before the House Intelligence Committee and that jibes with the instinct of most Americans that soliciting a foreign government to damage a domestic political opponent is wrong.

It is designed to make things easy for House Democrats heading home for the holidays, who will be encouraging constituents to read the document for themselves.

It is designed to support simple talking points for members to justify impeachment to their constituents in town hall meetings.

Second, the document’s simplicity is clearly intended to facilitate a trial strategy as well—to set up a Senate trial that tells a clean story. The articles, after all, are not a press release; they are a litigation document.

Keeping things simple will allow the House impeachment managers to tell a single narrative through-line leading to two counts: The president abused his power in his interactions with Ukraine and then proceeded to try to block Congress from investigating his misconduct.

Source: The Trade-Offs in the Articles of Impeachment – Lawfare

UK votes to decide the fate of Brexit, again | Reuters


After failing to deliver Brexit by an Oct. 31 deadline, Johnson called the election to break what he cast as political paralysis that had thwarted Britain’s departure and sapped confidence in the economy.

The face of the “Leave” campaign in the 2016 referendum, 55-year-old Johnson fought the election under the slogan of “Get Brexit Done”, promising to end the deadlock and spend more on health, education and the police.

His main opponent, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, 70, promised higher public spending, nationalization of key services, taxes on the wealthy and another referendum on Brexit.

Source: UK votes to decide the fate of Brexit, again – Reuters

With the Return of Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Elections Raise Alarms for Democracy


Which Sri Lanka appears in headlines in the years to come will depend to a large degree on the ramifications of the recent presidential election held on Nov. 16, when voters pivoted sharply, handing a landslide victory to a familiar but divisive face from the past and turning their backs on a disappointing reformist government.

The winner was Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former defense minister and brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He trounced his main challenger, Saith Premadasa, of the governing United National Party. Yet Rajapaksa received almost no support from outside his own ethnic group, the mostly Buddhist Sinhalese population that makes up about 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s population. Ethnic Tamils account for about 15 percent, and Muslims approximately 10 percent.

The Rajapaksa family has dominated Sri Lankan politics for decades. Gotabaya—who, like Mahinda, is widely known by his first name—played a central role in what is arguably the bloodiest, most controversial chapter in the country’s history.

Source: With the Return of Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Elections Raise Alarms for Democracy

Is Russia Meddling in the U.K. Election? Perhaps—But the Real Problem May Be Gullible Voters


“If you’re just looking for foreign influence via Russia,” it is easy to miss why Russian tactics work so well, he added.

“They understand the way media system works in liberal democracies now…they all have a very, very good understanding of how social media has become woven into the fabric of election campaigns, in a way that wasn’t the case five years ago.”

“There will come a point where you’re probably just going to have to say, ‘Look, some of this is self-inflicted—it’s British citizens, it’s party activists,” Chadwick predicted.

Citizens are still largely unprepared to handle disinformation online—one 2017 survey indicated that as many as 96 percent of Brits could not tell the difference real and fake news.

“Social media platforms seem in general not to have grasped that the societies in which they thrive and make profits for their shareholders need to be protected if that situation is going to be continued,” Giles said. “They are one of the main instruments in destroying the system that they depend on.”

Source: Is Russia Meddling in the U.K. Election? Perhaps—But the Real Problem May Be Gullible Voters

How does UK voting work – and what happens afterwards? | The Guardian


After a six-week campaign, the UK goes to the polls on Thursday (Thursday night in Australia) in a vote to determine whether the Conservative party’s Boris Johnson or Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn will form government.

Johnson has been telling voters “let’s get Brexit done”, while Corbyn has been emphasizing this is the “last chance to save the National Health Service.”

Source: How does UK voting work – and what happens afterwards? | Politics | The Guardian

What Pete Buttigieg Says He Did at McKinsey | The Atlantic


Everything about Buttigieg can seem McKinsey—in part because of the two and a half years he spent there, but mostly because he’s exactly the kind of smart and serious Ivy Leaguer who goes to work at a consulting firm; it’s the surest way to cash in on a fancy education when you’re not sure what else to do.

How, for example, did he begin to tackle his problems attracting black voters?

By releasing “a comprehensive and intentional dismantling of racist structures and systems” that he called his Douglass Plan, as though it were a deliverable for a consulting client. His campaign structure, likewise, is a collection of some of the best operatives in politics, building what they believe will be a much more efficient and successful structure for a presidential campaign.

Source: What Pete Buttigieg Says He Did at McKinsey – The Atlantic

Why Democrats sidelined Mueller in impeachment articles | POLITICO


On Dec. 2, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on a trip to a climate change conference in Spain, she held a conference call with about a dozen of the most vulnerable Democrats who delivered her the House.

Their message to Pelosi: Keep impeachment focused only on the Ukraine scandal. The obvious but unsaid implication was she should exclude a standalone article of impeachment against President Donald Trump based on the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which described numerous instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump.

Source: Why Democrats sidelined Mueller in impeachment articles – POLITICO

The Inspector General’s ‘Witch Hunt’ Report: A Quick and Dirty Analysis | Lawfare


On Dec. 9, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz declared in more than 450 pages that the “Witch Hunt” narrative was nonsense.

Yes, the investigation had problems—some of them serious. But the problems were not political in character. There was no effort to “get” candidate Trump.

There was no “insurance policy.” There was no coup. There was no treason.

Source: The Inspector General’s ‘Witch Hunt’ Report: A Quick and Dirty Analysis – Lawfare

Disasters, downturn challenge New Zealand’s Ardern going into election year | Reuters


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern faces tough challenges as she heads into a general election campaign next year, with economic growth slowing, divisive referendums looming and a country reeling from disasters both natural and man-made.

Two years since she became the world’s youngest female leader, Ardern remains hugely popular overseas thanks to her compassionate but decisive response to a mass shooting, her appearances on high-profile U.S. chat shows, and her ability to combine motherhood and leadership.

But the reality back home is a little different, with Ardern and her Labour Party’s popularity slipping in opinion polls as voters worry her government has not yet made good on promises including tackling rising levels of homelessness and urban poverty.

Source: Exclusive: Disasters, downturn challenge New Zealand’s Ardern going into election year – Reuters