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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Trump uses Facebook to fundraise off impeachment

Senator Michael Bennet on "The Takeout"

President Donald Trump's presidential campaign is pumping money into impeachment-related Facebook ads. CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Ben Mitchell reports that between Tuesday (the day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry) and Wednesday, the Trump campaign spent close to $500,000 on ads that tell users they're part of the "Official Impeachment Defense Task Force." 

The ads also tell users the House Democrats "want to take YOUR VOTE away," and encourage them to "contribute to the Impeachment Defense Fund." According to the left-leaning digital consulting firm Acronym, the Trump campaign likely spent more on digital ads in 24 hours than any campaign has spent in the same time period this cycle. The effort appeared to bear fruit: on Wednesday, Mr. Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale announced the campaign had raised $5 million in small dollar donations in just 24 hours.

In other news, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are spending $10 million to run an ad to attack Joe Biden over the Ukraine issue. Mr. Trump tweeted out the ad Friday afternoon. 

FROM THE CANDIDATES

STEVE BULLOCK

On Friday, Montana Governor Steve Bullock unveiled his "Comprehensive Public Lands Plan" in celebration of National Public Lands Day Saturday. The plan aims to defend public lands from "exploitation" while fighting climate change and expanding access.  It is the first plan of Bullock's "Great Equalizers" policy initiatives.  

According to CBS News Campaign Reporter Tim Perry, highlights of this plan include conservation efforts to keep public lands public, working through the $21 billion maintenance backlog on Department of Interior and U.S. Forest Service lands and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The plan also calls for achieving net-zero emissions on public lands by 2030 and supporting clean energy projects on public lands.  

Finally, Bullock calls for Native American Tribes to partner with the federal government in federal land management and providing equitable access to public lands. In a statement provided by the campaign Bullock said, "Americans have always said our shared stewardship of our public lands is really one of our country's great equalizers — we all own them."

BERNIE SANDERS

What you hear around Washington regarding Bernie Sanders' campaign is very different from what you'll find on the road, reports CBS News Campaign Reporter Cara Korte. Newspaper headlines say that he's slipping in the polls to Elizabeth Warren. This is true. However it's also true that he's consistently holding some of the most emotional events of any candidate, particularly when the topic of health care comes up. 

Sanders and his supporters still engage in emotional and impassioned dialogues that demonstrate the fierce devotion some have to the Vermont senator. Supporters weep to Sanders as they reveal personal struggles, and in turn Sanders provides comfort.

One attendee recently told Sanders that debt collectors entered her son's room while he was being cared for in the ICU. "They had to call security on me because I lost my mind," she said. "There's no way out for us other than you, Bernie."

On the road it's clear that Sanders' appeal burns bright in the eyes of his supporters. His challenge this election is to get that fire to not just burn bright, but burn wide across the country.

TOM STEYER

Tom Steyer marched with striking UAW members in Reno today, outside a GM facility in northern Nevada, says CBS News Campaign Reporter Alex Tin

The California billionaire has already spent millions in his long-shot presidential bid, including the first and largest to date television ad buys in Nevada. While far behind the race's frontrunners, Steyer has polled better than candidates (i.e. Julián Castro) who have held dozens more campaign stops in the state.

"I think this is all about message," Steyer said, citing his condemnation of "corporate greed."

He dismissed accusations tying the campaign's ad budget to his relative success in the state, telling CBS News: "That's a way of getting out the message but the whole question is do people hear something that's true and different? And if it isn't, nothing else matters, and if it is, nothing else matters."

ELIZABETH WARREN

Elizabeth Warren on Friday morning released a plan to strengthen congressional independence from corporate lobbyists by reinstating and modernizing the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). CBS News Campaign Reporter Zak Hudak says the OTA was defunded in 1995, but previously provided research and analysis to members of Congress. 

The idea fits well into Warren's stump speech, in which she uses Congress' initial bipartisan interest in fighting climate change early on to illustrate that "bought and paid-for experts" have given politicians an "umbrella" of doubt to hide under when corporate interests don't want them to move forward on things like new emission standards. Warren wants this new OTA to be led be a single director, be able to self-commission reports, be prepared for rapid response and have its own in-house experts. 

This plan also calls for increased funding to go to congressional support agencies like the Congressional Research Service, Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office, which have seen their budgets nearly halved over the past 40 years. Warren's plan would also increase the pay of congressional staffers to "competitive salaries." This is the fifth plan Warren has released that specifically targets what she calls "Washington corruption."

ANDREW YANG

Asked by a voter how an economic recession would impact his campaign, Andrew Yang gave a blunt response today in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, according to CBS News Campaign Reporter Nicole Sganga. The entrepreneur told Granite Staters, "I think that if we do have a downturn over this next period, it would likely be good for my campaign because I'm so focused on this set of issues. And I think it would actually increase the appeal and appetite for some of the measures I'm describing." 

Yang continued, warning of possible resentment among disenfranchised Americans in the wake of the 2008 economic recession and 2016 presidential election. "We saw what happened in the financial crisis, where we prioritized the banks. We saw what happened with this latest Trump tax cut, where we prioritized the big corporations, where they got the vast majority of the $1.5 trillion cut." 

On a much lighter note – following some social media hype, Yang says his team is working on finalizing a date for a basketball match up between him and Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz. "We're probably going to do it in DC or Texas. Give him home court advantage. He deserves it," Yang quipped. "After all, he's a sitting senator who has decided to play me in basketball."

IN THE STATES

TEXAS

The ninth annual TribFest took off Thursday night with a conversation between Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith and Congressman Will Hurd, who announced in August he will not be running for re-election. Hurd is one of five Texas GOP representatives who is not running for re-election in 2020, though he said at the festival if he did run it would be a "four-peat." 

Hurd, Kenny Marchant and Pete Olson are all retiring Texas House members who won by less than 5 percent in 2018, which is giving hope to some Democrats who are looking to flip the state blue in 2020. As CBS News Broadcast Associate Aaron Navarro & CBS News Associate Producer Ellee Watson have reported, Texas Democrats are pushing to register at least 2.6 million voters and put 1,000 field organizers on the ground. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is also targeting six districts in the state after flipping two seats blue in 2018 and the Democratic National Committee has increased investments in the state party by 33 percent, compared to this time in 2015. The Republican Party of Texas has also launched their own voter registration and engagement effort, and a super PAC dedicated to registering Republican voters, "Engage Texas," has raised close to $10 million dollars. Hurd, who won re-election by just over 925 votes in 2018, said at TribFest, "Texas is a jump-ball. Texas is purple."

Five presidential candidates in total are expected to make an appearance at the festival — Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Beto O'Rourke and Steve Bullock.

CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE

House lawmakers are heading out back to their districts this weekend and many will have to answer questions about their stance on impeachment. CBS News Political Unit Broadcast Associate Aaron Navarro & CBS News Intern Malika Budd counted at least 30 town halls have been announced for House Democrats from swing districts. 

When Congresswoman Mikie Sherill of New Jersey was asked by Navarro on Wednesday what she'd tell her constituents, she emphasized that she didn't run on impeachment and will look to focus on local issues instead. "I'm afraid this might derail us from the things we've got to do. And we don't really have a choice in North Jersey, we've got to get infrastructure done. We've got to get taxes down, we've got to get health care costs down. So people in my district, that's what they want to focus on, that's what I want to focus on," she said.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin of Michigan said on Wednesday that she will do "everything [she] can to explain to people" how she came to support the impeachment inquiry. "Because my hope is, even if they disagree with the decision, they give me the benefit of the doubt that I was judicious about it and that I did it based on my background and a sense of integrity to the oath that I took," she said. 

CBS News Political Correspondent Ed O'Keefe reports that these lawmakers were sent back with guidance on talking impeachment in a memo from House Democratic Leadership. In the memo, Democrats are suggested to hone in on the national security implications of the whistleblower complaint and President Trump's contacts with Ukraine. "President Trump's abuse of power jeopardizes our national security and the integrity of our elections, and dishonors his oath of office 'to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,'" the memo says.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

Here is a roundup of the Political Unit's reporting for CBSN and CBSNews.com this week: 

TRAIL MARKERS

·         Monday Daily Trail Markers // By Cara Korte

·         Tuesday Daily Trail Markers // By Bo Erickson

·         Wednesday Daily Trail Markers // By Jack Turman

·         Thursday Daily Trail Markers // By Cara Korte

CBSNEWS.COM

·         2020 Democratic candidates embrace the selfie line // By Caitlin Huey-Burns & Sarah Ewall-Wice

·         "A Kennedy is a Kennedy": Joe Kennedy III launches Senate challenge // By Nicole Sganga & Ellee Watson

·         Buttigieg presents himself as electable Democrat on Iowa bus tour // By Jack Turman

·         Darrell Issa announces run for Congress against fellow Republican // By Aaron Navarro

·         Democratic candidates team up for gun control video // By Ellee Watson

·         Emotional town halls become center piece of Bernie Sanders' campaign // By Cara Korte

·         "It's past politics": Freshman Democrats explain shift on impeachment, despite reelection risks // By Aaron Navarro

·         Senate votes to kill national emergency declaration along southern border // By Ellee Watson

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