Trump Is Desperately Courting GOP Lawmakers With Private Meetings and Air Force One Flights

WASHINGTON — The course of has now reached a brand new part, and which means Republicans and President are now not laughing it off. They’re taking part in to win.

President Trump informed reporters he was “too busy” to look at the hearings Wednesday, however behind the scenes, he and the White House are working extra time to shore up Republican assist — and ensure that there are not any defections.

On Wednesday, Trump invited 5 Senate Republicans — who will in the end be the jurors if the House votes to question — to the White House for his assembly with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This comes after weeks of Trump internet hosting dozens of rank and file Republicans, in addition to occasion leaders, for the whole lot from a World Series field to the LSU vs. Alabama soccer recreation.

Trump even introduced House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Peter King (R-NY.) with him to ringside seats.

“I assumed we’d be sitting up in a luxury box somewhere, but we were ringside — second row,” King gushed to VICE News. “A UFC crowd is not like going to the Metropolitan Opera. But he loved it. He kept saying, ‘These are my people. These are my people.’”

READ: And the largest loser on impeachment opening day is …

Trump, King & Co. didn’t speak impeachment on the battle, which they stayed at until previous midnight, however that every one modified once they obtained on Air Force One to fly again to Washington with the president.

“There was nothing formal about it, just more like talking,” King stated. “Like two guys in a bar but he doesn’t drink — thank god!”

Besides inviting lawmakers to high-profile sporting occasions, Trump’s additionally been holding non-public “legislative engagement” periods, like one a pair weeks in the past that Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) attended, the place impeachment got here up.

“I think it’s important the president and his team be able to tell their side of the story. Again, it’s unfortunate they haven’t able to,” Mooney informed VICE News after leaving the listening to.

The GOP has additionally been getting an help from a White House that’s lastly making an attempt to unify its messaging operation by getting its communications crew on the identical web page because the president’s authorized crew.

“Everybody on Capitol Hill has been taking this seriously, because we probably understand the partisan- aspects a little bit better than the White House.”

“Everybody on Capitol Hill has been taking this seriously, because we probably understand the partisan politics aspects a little bit better than the White House,” Mark Meadows (R-NC) informed VICE News simply off the House ground. “We know that he who controls the narrative controls the public opinion.”

Even if House Republicans had been taking it critically, this week they upped their preparation recreation. They carried out a mock listening to forward of Wednesday’s first public listening to, and occasion leaders gathered all the convention collectively firstly of the week to get their troops all on the identical web page, partly by passing out 18 pages of speaking factors.

“We’re unified because the facts are on our side,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) informed VICE News after the listening to.

READ: The 5 (weak) arguments Republicans are utilizing to defend Trump

Mooney was one of many Republicans who stormed the safe location (the SCIF) the place Democrats held the labeled briefings final month. He says the way in which Democrats started the method with the closed-door hearings soured many Republicans to the investigation, and the president has been serving to them unfold that message on social media to drum up assist from their conservative base.

“I’ve been doing video clips, and getting a lot of hits on them, to my surprise.”

“I’ve been doing video clips, and getting a lot of hits on them, to my surprise,” Mooney stated.

The GOP messaging has developed in current months. First it was there was no quid professional quo. Then it was making an attempt to make a scandal out of the closed-door portion of the investigation. But after White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney informed reporters there was a quid professional quo and it was fantastic and everybody ought to “get over it” – solely to be pressured to stroll it again later – many rank and file Republicans began to push that line of argument.

“Even if there was a quid pro quo, which would not have been appropriate, it would not be an impeachable offense,” Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) informed VICE News. “Bribery, treason, or a high crime and misdemeanor. So things that are comparable to bribery, increasing bribery, treason, which are mentioned, and then things like that.”

Cover: President Donald Trump arrives to the UFC 244 occasion at Madison Square Garden on November 02, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC through Getty Images)

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