Unlike Bill Clinton, Trump is unable to compartmentalize impeachment

Image: Bill Clinton
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivers a speech during the 20th anniversary of the Deployment of NATO Troops in Kosovo in Pristina, Kosovo on June 12, 2019. Copyright Florion Goga Reuters file
Copyright Florion Goga Reuters file
By Chuck Todd and Mark Murray and Carrie Dann with NBC News Politics
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First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.


WASHINGTON — The previous American president who was impeached talked Thursday about the current American facing impeachment.

And here was Bill Clinton's advice to President Trump: don't forget about focusing on your day job.

"Look, you got hired to do a job. You don't get to — every day's an opportunity to make something good happen," Clinton told CNN's Jake Tapper. "And I would say, 'I've got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry and they should just have at it. Meanwhile, I'm going to work for the American people.' That's what I would do."

But here's what Trump has been doing:

"While we are creating jobs and killing terrorists, the radical left, Democrats [are] ripping our country apart. They are trying to overthrow American democracy and erase the votes of tens of millions of Americans," he said last night at his rally in Louisiana.

"Now, the absolutely crazed lunatics, the Democrats, radical left, and their media partners standing right back there are pushing the deranged impeachment witch hunt, but doing nothing wrong. We did nothing wrong and they are doing nothing," Trump added.

Also from last night: "[Democrat Adam Schiff] is a corrupt politician, and frankly, he should be prosecuted. The only problem is he has immunity because he is a congressman and he made the statement in the halls of Congress."

More: "We have truth, the fact everything is absolutely perfect, perfect. And based on the poll numbers and other numbers, but based on the poll numbers, the people in this country are not buying it because we are going up and they are going down. Let's keep it going for a while."

And finally: "I have one problem. It has been very hard on my family. Whoever heard — impeachment is a dirty word. It has been very hard on my family. Me, what a life I lead. You think this is fun, don't you? But it has been very hard on my family, very hard."

Impeachment has been consuming Trump. And it was always one of the main dangers for him when Democrats decided to pursue impeachment proceedings against him.

Unlike Bill Clinton, Trump is unable to compartmentalize.

Impeachment inquiry update: It's Yovanovitch Day

The second public hearing of the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry takes place this morning starting at 9:00 am ET, when former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies, per NBC's Geoff Bennett.

Then, at 3:00 pm ET, David Holmes — the State Department official who apparently overheard President Trump asking Gordon Sondland about "the investigations" — gives his deposition behind closed doors.

And on Saturday, OMB official Mark Sandy is set to testify behind closed doors.

Next week's public-hearing schedule, according to Bennett:

  • Tuesday morning: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and VP aide Jennifer Williams
  • Tuesday afternoon: Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison
  • Wednesday morning: Gordon Sondland
  • Wednesday afternoon: Laura Cooper and David Hale
  • Thursday morning: Fiona Hill

The final race of 2019

On Thursday, Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin conceded to his Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear, after a recanvass of last week's original vote.

And Saturday brings us the final major race of 2019, when incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana takes on GOP challenger Eddie Rispone in the state's gubernatorial runoff.

A recent Mason-Dixon poll had the race essentially tied, with Edwards at 48 percent and Rispone at 46 percent.


An Edwards win would mean Democrats won two of the three GOV races of 2019 - in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi.

A Rispone victory would give the GOP two of those three governorships.

2020 Vision: Biden picks up endorsement from Bernie's backyard

Former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has endorsed Joe Biden, per NBC's Amanda Golden.

"This is the most important election in my lifetime and maybe in American history," Shumlin told Golden. "There is no one more qualified to put this country and help put this planet back together again than Joe Biden."

Don't forget: Shumlin also endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the 2016 race.


On the campaign trail today

Bernie Sanders is in California, where he holds a Green New Deal rally in Fresno… Kamala Harris also visits the Golden State… Cory Booker and Michael Bennet campaign in New Hampshire… And Jill Biden stumps for her husband in Iowa.

Dispatches from NBC's campaign embeds

Joe Biden had an enthusiastic night in Los Angeles, where he saw a large, excited presence greeting him rather than smaller crowds in the early primary states. NBC's Marianna Sotomayor reports: "Unlike a majority of his events in early primary states where turnout is lower and the crowd is largely majority white, the crowd was diverse in ethnicity and age… More importantly, their enthusiasm for Biden was high. The moment Biden stepped outside and behind the lectern that read "California for Biden," the crowd repeatedly chanted 'We love you Joe' while iPhones took over the sea of people. Biden also noted the energy, first looking at everyone in disbelief before saying, 'I'm not going to let this get to my head.'" Sotomayor also notes "Biden saw a similar crowd (young, diverse and enthusiastic) in Durham, North Carolina recently, which begs the question - is there more support for him outside of early primary states?"

Biden also answered Sotomayor's question on the impeachment proceedings, after the L.A. rally, when Biden offered a stronger response to questions about his and his son's decisions, "I didn't do a damn thing wrong. I did my job. I did what the rest of the world wanted me to do and my son didn't do a damn thing wrong. And so this guy has done something very bad, he's invited three foreign governments to try to interfere in our election process," Biden said. "He's allowing it to happen. It's an impeachable offense."

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 77.7 percent

77.7 percent.

That was Jon Huntsman's re-election percentage as governor of Utah in 2008.


Huntsman, who left the job in 2009 to serve as President Barack Obama's ambassador to China, enjoyed approval ratings nearly as high as 90 percent during his tenure as governor.

Huntsman is now running for Utah governor again after serving as President Donald Trump's ambassador to Russia.

The Lid: Jury duty

Don't miss the pod from yesterday, when we delved into how the impeachment trial could make life very complicated for the senators running for president.

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn't miss

The president saysthe impeachment inquiry has been "very hard on my family."

Nancy Pelosi used a new word to describe Trump's conduct: "bribery."


Keep an eye onthe dynamics of gender during today's impeachment hearing.

A career OMB officialis expected to break ranksand testify in the inquiry.

DOJis investigatingFlorida GOP Rep. Ross Spano for campaign finance violations.

Trump Agenda: The interview that never happened

Fareed Zakaria writes in a Washington Post op-ed about the interview he was supposed to have with Zelensky that never happened.

The Pentagonis prepping for Trump to issue pardons in three military justice cases involving war crimes.


Here's the latest on the Trump tax return fight.

2020: The lineup for Wednesday's debate is official

The line-up for the November debate is official.

Michael Bloomberg plans to spend$100 million in an online anti-Trump ad blitz.

Matt Bevin has conceded in the Kentucky governor's race after a recanvass.

Joe Bidenis proposing a $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan.


And the AP looks back at Barack Obama's relationship with Deval Patrick.

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