Impeachment goes public—Buttigieg on Wall Street—Indy Democrats control council

“Don’t confuse me with the facts,” the Indiana congressman replied.

Days until the 2020 election: 357

Days until the Iowa caucuses: 83

By Adam Wren and design by Kris Davidson

In 1974, at the apogee of Watergate, an Associated Press reporter buttonholed an Indiana Republican congressman for his thoughts on whether Richard Nixon should be impeached.

“Don’t confuse me with the facts,” the congressman replied. “I've got a closed mind. I will not vote for impeachment. I'm going to stick with my president even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot.”

The congressman was Rep. Earl Landgrebe from Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District. He made the comments the day before impeachment. The quote made the sixth graf of his obituary.

As impeachment goes public Wednesday, I’m introducing a new occasional feature of IMPORTANTVILLE: the Earl Landgrebe Award. It will be given to the most vociferous—if incurious—Hoosier defender of President Trump during the proceedings.

[Editor’s note: The award can be considered a badge of honor if you support Trump or a mark of shame if you don’t—choose your own adventure].

This week’s inaugural winner: Rep. Jim Banks.

Banks is an articulate, likable congressman on the rise, one who has occasionally voted against Trump—on spending issues, for example. In a 2017 profile in The Atlantic, here's how the writer Molly Ball described him:

A self-described movement conservative and protégé of the irreverent Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, Banks voted for Trump “with reservations.” He disagrees with Trump on issues like foreign policy, trade, and fiscal policy, to name a few, but he voted for the president’s health-care bill, describing it as a step in the right direction.

Banks has evidently been persuaded by Trump since then. On impeachment, for example, Banks has been a reliable defender of the president. Here he is on Fox 59’S In Focus yesterday:

At this point, we’ve all read the transcript. President Trump has been very transparent. He's released the transcript of the phone call. All of us are just as qualified to be a whistle blower because we've read the transcript.

This isn’t accurate. For example, based on the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, we know that there were significant omissions in the transcript. Here’s the New York Times:

The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.

Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military ribbons, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.

And here is Banks on the whistleblower, almost all but outing him:

I think the American people deserve to know his background and his motivations....He’s associated with Vice President Biden. He’s a Democratic operative and appointee that was a holdover from the Obama administration. We’ve sort of concluded that he has political motivations for why he came forward as a whistleblower.

Problem is, the testimony of Vindman—a career military official—corroborates and expands on what we’ve learned from the whistleblower.

A spokesman for Banks did not reply to a request for comment by press time.

IMPORTANTVILLE TAKE: Confuse me with the facts.

Good afternoon, and welcome to IMPORTANTVILLE. Happy Veterans Day to all who have served.

VETERANS DAY READ: “Remains of South Bend Marine coming home nearly 80 years after Pearl Harbor,” via Mary Beth Spaulding in South Bend Tribune:

Nearly 80 years after he died at Pearl Harbor, the recently identified remains of a local Marine are soon expected to be laid to rest.

Pfc. Marley Arthurholtz, of South Bend, was just 20 when he perished aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was hit by Japanese torpedoes on Dec. 7, 1941.

A nephew of Arthurholtz, Henry Linscott, of Orangevale, Calif., said Sunday he was recently notified through the Marine Corps that the remains of Arthurholtz had been identified earlier this fall and would be interred near South Bend on Dec. 7, the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which marked America’s entrance into World War II.

WHERE’S VEEP? He participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and delivered remarks at the Department of Veteran Affairs’ National Veterans Day Observance.

  • WHAT HE SAID: “So, it’s Veterans Day in America, the day we honor all of you who stepped forward and answered the call to defend this nation at home and abroad. You came from the rest of us, but we know you are the best of us. And on this day and every day, we honor your courage, your patriotism, and what you’ve done for us.

    You put on the armor, you stood in the gap, and you defended our freedom. You counted our lives more important than your own. You stood for a cause greater than yourselves.”

WHERE’S PETE? He’s on the last leg of a four-day bus tour of New Hampshire, where he delivered a Veterans Day Address in Rochester.

  • WHAT HE SAID: “[I]n the dust of a war zone, I learned to trust with my life people with whom I had nothing in common except the flag velcroed to our shoulders. The folks who got in my vehicle did not care whether I was a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent, they cared whether my M4 was locked and loaded. They didn’t mind whether my father immigrated to this country with or without papers, whether I was going home to a girlfriend or a boyfriend—they wanted to know whether I had selected the route with the fewest IED threats. They just wanted to get home safe, as I did.”

AROUND IMPORTANTVILLE

  • NBC Political Reporter Vaughn Hillyard lays out why Pence is a key figure in impeachment hearings.

  • Indiana Republicans now control 70 mayors’ offices, holding a historic margin of 25 more mayoralties than Democrats.

  • GOP insiders are mentioning Bill Hanna as a possible contender for CD1, a seat that will be vacated by Rep. Pete Visclosky. He is currently the president and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and served under the RDA board of directors and the administrations of Govs. Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, and Eric Holcomb.

IMPORTANTVILLE READS

James Briggs, Indy Star: “Democrats took over Indianapolis. Now, they have to lead.”

To get a sense for just how well Democrats did, consider this: The party had identified nine difficult council races that might have been winnable in a best-case scenario. Democrats swept them all, plus picked up victories in places where they didn’t even expect to compete.

Democrats’ longshot victories included Brown in a district that includes Geist; Keith Potts in a district that includes Broad Ripple; Crista Carlino in a district that includes Eagle Creek Park; Ethan Evans in a district that, like Brown’s, borders Hamilton County; and Jared Evans, an incumbent, who nevertheless won re-election as a Democrat in a district that supported President Donald Trump in 2016.

Pete Seat, Medium: “Buttigieg’s Fatal Flaw

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. Amid comparisons to former President Barack Obama and an impressive on-the-ground grassroots organization, he has firmly supplanted the septuagenarian crowd to cement his status in the top tier of the Democratic race for president. Of course, he’s had several of these “moments” in the past several months. Each saw his stock rapidly rise and then fall back down to Earth. But no matter how many “moments” come his way between now and the Iowa caucuses, he still faces the same obstacle on his path to the nomination that he has faced all along.

And, no, it’s not his work for global consulting firm McKinsey and Company, or his tenure as mayor of South Bend, or the fact that he is in a same-sex marriage — although all of those have given Democratic primary voters pause to some degree in polls and focus groups. His actual fatal flaw is the same fatal flaw that felled Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008 and again in 2016: an inability to even feign empathy.

This is a major hurdle for his candidacy because Democrats, especially in Iowa, have long tended to pick the candidate who was not only more authentic in their minds, but who more openly displayed empathy and connected with their hearts. Barack Obama was eminently more empathetic than Clinton in 2008, John Kerry emotionally fused his campaign with the plight of veterans convincingly in 2004 and Al Gore had a lock box in 2000 (and who couldn’t empathize with that?). But that trend of empathy-fueled caucus winners came to a halt three years ago when Democrats picked Clinton in Iowa and then chose her as their nominee. In doing so, they opted for the head, or the next in line, instead of the heart.

Ben White and Daniel Strauss, Politico: “‘The new candidate of the young elite’: Buttigieg battles Biden and Bloomberg for the center lane

Pete Buttigieg was quickly locking down a solid lane in the Democratic primary: a young, vibrant, gay, Midwestern, war veteran mayor with progressive ideas and plenty of money — but both feet planted in fiscal prudence.

Young Wall Street and tech-entrepreneur types were starting to fall in love — with his poll numbers and fundraising totals underscoring the Buttigieg boomlet. He was the “Parks and Recreation” candidate in the Democratic field and an alternative to 70-somethings Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who are both looking to lock down the hyperonline progressive, anti-Wall Street crowd as well as blue-collar workers across the Midwest.

Quint Forgey, Politico: “Buttigieg praises Obama after reporter acknowledges misquoting candidate

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., on Monday hailed Barack Obama’s legacy after a journalist acknowledged misquoting the Democratic White House contender as making a statement critical of the former president’s time in office.

Evan Halper of the Los Angeles Times tweeted Monday morning that a line in his Sunday story on Buttigieg’s campaign, in which the candidate referred to the “failures of the Obama era,” was erroneously reported.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading and subscribing.

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