US Politics

What should we expect from President Trump at the NATO Summit?

Well, the hope is that he stays on script, thanks other European countries for contributing more to NATO. The worry is that he gets mad at Emmanuel Macron, that he gets involved in U.K. politics, and it all goes off the rails. We'll wait and see.

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Mike Bloomberg is now officially in the race. How does this change 2020 for the Democrats?

Not clear that it changes it at all. Bloomberg's bet is that he can spend tens of millions of dollars between now and Super Tuesday, on March 3rd, and get a bunch of votes and a bunch of delegates on that day. If that happens, it's bad for Joe Biden, it's bad for Pete Buttigieg, because he takes votes away from the moderates. It would help Warren and Sanders. But he could also fall completely flat and be out of the race after Super Tuesday.

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Why is President Obama warning Democrats about nominating a candidate who is too progressive?

Well, he's something of a moderate himself. And he's worried that if Democrats nominate a super progressive candidate, particularly on issues like health care, they will lose moderate voters, suburban voters, swing district voters, and hence the key states they need to win to beat Trump. So that's why he's warning.

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What should we expect now that impeachment hearings go public?

Well, it's a huge week for Democrats, starting Wednesday. They'll take testimony from State Department officials saying that they believe there was a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine aid in return for an investigation of Joe Biden. They need to both shape public opinion and try to crack the GOP wall of support for Trump.

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Pete Buttigieg is rising in the polls in Iowa. Is he a legit contender for the nomination?

He is, particularly if Joe Biden continues to falter and moderates are looking for a place to go, people who aren't comfortable with Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. But he's got very little support in the African American community. Hard to win the Democratic nomination without it.

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Who was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and what does his death mean for ISIS?

Well, obviously, he was the world's number one most wanted terrorist. The self-declared head of the Islamic State, the caliph, the head of the caliphate that at one time ruled over some 10 million people. His death is an enormous blow to ISIS as he was the spiritual leader and the strategic leader. They will find another leader. ISIS is not going away. But this is a major win for the fight against terrorism and ISIS and a major win for the Trump administration.

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Is Mick Mulvaney's time as White House Chief of Staff coming to an end?

I think there's a good chance that it is, given his disastrous press conference and then shaky performance on Fox News over the weekend. You got anonymous leaks coming out of the White House of folks who would like to see him gone. The thing is, Trump hates firing people so he could hang around for a little while, but he is on thin ice.

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Is the trade war with China finally over?

No, it's not. We have a truce now, a temporary truce, a pause in tariff hikes but none of the major issues have been dealt with. Trump could change his mind at any time. I think he realizes though that if he presses on with a trade war, he is looking at a recession going into his re-election. So, we may have a truce that lasts for a while.

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