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Morning Hot Dish

Angie Craig and Dean Phillips on how they got to impeachment

By J. Patrick Coolican

Good morning.

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a major figure on the Hill and a rhetorical target of President Trump in recent months, died early Thursday.

What I'm chewing on for Sunday HotDish: We usually regard presidential election years as better for the DFL (and Dems nationally) because their core voter blocs -- young people and communities of color -- are less likely to vote in midterms but more likely to come out in presidential years. But what if high turnout is going to help Republicans next year? It would work like this: Trump activates white working class voters, who are also not always reliable voters, but make up a whopping 45 percent of voters nationally and closer to 55 percent in Minnesota? Any thoughts? patrick.coolican@startribune.com.

Jessie Van Berkel with a rich and readable story on Rep. Angie Craig's decision to support an impeachment inquiry despite representing a district that narrowly went for Trump in 2016.

JVB also sent me some director's cut footage, if you will, that didn't make the story, of Rep. Dean Phillips, who is another centrist-ish Dem who has moved toward impeachment since Ukraine news:

Phillips, who decided to support the impeachment inquiry at the same time as Craig, said he previously believed the country should serve as the judge of Trump’s behavior in the next election. But Phillips said the call with the Ukrainian president was “so egregious that I could no longer rationalize anything but fulfilling my oath to the constitution and at the very least supporting the inquiry.” He is a Foreign Affairs Committee member and has been sitting in on inquiry depositions the past two days. Phillips said House Republicans make up about half the people at the table and had equal time for questions. While some Trump supporters are angry about his decision, he said he has heard from a “growing chorus” of independents and Republicans who support the investigation.

More post-debate coverage: FiveThirtyEight and Ipsos polled the same group of Dems both before and after and sees Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar with the biggest bump, though Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders also had good nights. The most complete and insightful analysis and roundup comes from Minnesota's own James Hohmann, who judges Warren the dominant force in a debate that also revealed her weaknesses going forward. Also of interest was Warren's answer about whether trade policy or automation has caused job loss. AP fact check said she was wrong, but that set off economics Twitter, with many commenters correctly noting that there's a raging debate about this and that it's far from settled.

If Joe Biden's debate performance was only so-so. his campaign finance report was straight bad -- including nearly $1 million in private jet travel, which is a sign of high priced consultants, which are often the worst kind. Daily Beast reporting. Not a private jet but I'm jealous of former Rep. Jason Lewis, now running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Tina Smith, who nabbed a $11K RV for the campaign last month. This is my retirement home!

Klobuchar campaign says they raised $1.1 million in the 24 hours after the debate.

And The Torey Van Oot with smart takeaways from the campaign finance reports.

Gov. Tim Walz, who got the photo he wanted out of our story about a state tour to sell his infrastructure wish list, will have a news conference this morning at 10 to hammer Republicans on insulin.

A correction from Wednesday: Rep. Ilhan Omar will not be joining AOC for a Bernie Sanders rally in New York, though of course she did indeed endorse him. Apologies for the error.

A DFL challenger to Omar, via Pat Condon:

John Mason, a Minneapolis-based DFL activist is holding a press conference today to talk about his recently announced challenge to Omar. Certainly a long shot against the very well-known and well-funded Omar, Mason said in a phone interview that he will seek the 5th District DFL endorsement but also intends to challenge Omar in next August’s primary even if he doesn’t get it. Expect to hear him argue, he said, that Omar is too divisive a figure to effectively represent the 5th. Mason said he previously volunteered for Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns.

Also, Rep. Tom Emmer got a challenger in Tawnja Zahradka, a former Mrs. Minnesota and businesswoman.

It's gotta be tough to work for the state's IT agency so let's give them their due: National Association for Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) selected Minnesota’s Medical PreCheck and Locator App to receive a State IT Recognition Award. Congrats!

Former Senate majority leader and current lobbyist and politico Amy Koch was hit by a car near the Starbucks on Snelling. She's a little banged up but seems to be OK. From experience: That whole area is a mess for pedestrians, and it's likely to get worse with new development. Watch out for pedestrians and cyclists -- we're people too!

High schooler interested in government? Here's information about the high school page program at the Legislature.

What's going on at U of Minnesota Duluth? An emeritus philosophy professor now living in Wisconsin lost a defamation lawsuit to a Sandy Hook dad after the he spouted nonsense conspiracy theory that Sandy Hook never happened: AP.

Pozner testified during the trial that he's been repeatedly harassed by people who don't believe the Sandy Hook shooting occurred, including through messages posted to photos of his son on a memorial website. He said Fetzer's writing caused him to worry about his safety and his family's safety and how his surviving children could be treated. One of his two daughters is Noah's twin.

Wall Street Journal has an EMBARRASS, MINN. dateline for this story about concerns about a mining tailings dam planned there, similar to one in Brazil that burst in January, killing 270 in a "tsunami of sludge." Sorry about the paywall--subscribe to newspapers!

How bad are Trump’s problems with Senate Republicans? That’s the key question in the next few months as the House nears an impeachment vote that will lead to a Senate trial. This exchange between Trump’s stalwart ally Sen. Lindsey Graham and a Trump Iran specialist, is a bad sign for Trump. Graham argues that Iran is massing troops on the Syrian border and ready to take the oil fields, and that America's withdrawal from the region has strengthened Iran while creating the possibility that ISIS will return.

The Internet is brilliant: Trump's instantly infamous letter to Erdogan set to Star Wars opening.

I gave a fair amount of ink earlier this year to Alex Berenson's book, "Who Will Tell the Children," which warns about the dangers of THC and marijuana legalization, so it's only fair to share this very tough review by German Lopez that argues Berenson's work is less than scientifically rigorous. No matter where you stand on this issue, it's a good piece about where things stand in the scientific debate and the potential policy challenges for states considering legalization.

Pop culture! Adam Sternbergh wants a "Succession" spinoff about the Pierce family and I think this is a great idea -- they could satirize a different kind of elite American family -- bumbling and malignant in their own way like the Roys but with a phony veneer of decency and civic duty.

Correspond: patrick.coolican@startribune.com.

Have a great day and a great weekend all!

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US envoy key to Ukraine probe distances himself from Trump

Gordon Sondland plans to tell House impeachment investigators that he was disappointed Trump directed him to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine policy.

U.K., E.U. reach tentative Brexit deal; still needs ratification

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson now faces the Herculean task of selling the accord to his recalcitrant parliament — including his allies in Northern Ireland.

Radio silence on 911 scanners as Hennepin County sheriff encrypts emergency calls, radio conversations

The public can no longer hear the Sheriff's Office emergency dispatches in real time.

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