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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Trump's Syria withdrawal earns rare bipartisan rebuke

Biden says Trump is abusing power

Numerous Republican Senators spent Monday criticizing the president's move to evacuate U.S. forces from two observation posts in Northern Syria, reports CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Eleanor Watson. There is concern that without a U.S presence in the region, Turkey will attack Kurdish forces who have been key allies of the United States in the fight against ISIS. 

Even allies of the president like Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Ted Cruz joined more outspoken critics of Mr. Trump like Senator Mitt Romney and Senator Ben Sasse in admonishing the move. Of the GOP candidates running for reelection in battleground states in 2020, Maine Senator Susan Collins and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst have criticized the president's plan. 

Syria isn't the only issue causing consternation among Republican senator. While no Republican senators have come out in favor of impeachment, a few of them have questioned the president's decision to ask foreign governments to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Romney is the most vocal of the president's Republican detractors in the Senate, but other GOP senators like Pat Toomey, Rob Portman, Collins, and Sasse have also expressed concern about the president's recent behavior. 

Many Republican senators, meanwhile, have taken the approach Ernst took last week when she answered a question on impeachment by saying the "whistleblower" should be protected and Congress should find all the facts in a bipartisan manner, but refrained from saying the president did something wrong. 

FROM THE CANDIDATES

MICHAEL BENNET

Senator Michael Bennet implored Senator Elizabeth Warren to elaborate on the cost of a "Medicare for All" health care plan. In an exclusive interview with CBS News following a health care panel in Manchester, New Hampshire, Bennet said he believes Warren is leading in the polls "not because of her health care plan ... I think she's leading because she's a very well-known candidate and she's run a good race."

According to a recent Monmouth poll, 56% of respondents believe health care plans should allow people to opt into Medicare or keep their private coverage, while just 23% of respondents favor replacing private insurance coverage with Medicare for All. Warren leads the presidential field according to the same survey, capturing 27% of support.

"Bernie's been very honest about what the bill would cost," Bennet told CBS News. "I think it's important for others like Elizabeth Warren who is supporting this legislation to be clear about how they're proposing the American people would pay for that. I think that's essential. The worst thing that we could do is nominate somebody who wasn't clear about that, and then in the general election have it be exposed by Donald Trump."

PETE BUTTIGIEG

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has released a plan, named "Affordable Medicine for All," to lower the cost of prescription drugs and to increase the accountability of pharmaceutical companies, according to CBS News Campaign Reporter Jack Turman

Buttigieg's plan aims to implement a $200 per month out-of-pocket cap on prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare. In addition, Buttigieg's "Medicare for All Who Want It" plan would cap out-of-pocket spending to $250 per month. The federal government will also have the power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to reduce prescription drug prices. 

The negotiated drug prices would be made available to people on public plans, including Medicaid, and people who retain their private insurance plan. "Time and time again, Washington has proven that it's either uninterested in or incapable of addressing this problem," Buttigieg said in a statement. "Instead of siding with Americans, politicians have stood with Big Pharma, as they did when Congress barred the federal government from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices for seniors." 

Buttigieg also said he would take action against rising prices on prescription drugs by exercising the government's "eminent domain" rights to strip patents away from some pharmaceutical companies that raise prices. 

The campaign said the plan would be cost-neutral due to the higher taxes pharmaceutical companies will be required to pay. The plan indicates a Buttigieg administration would increase the annual Branded Prescription Drug fee, which was created under the Affordable Care Act, for drug manufacturers.

KAMALA HARRIS

Kamala Harris unveiled her "Children's Agenda" on Monday, which includes a six month paid leave proposal, says CBS News Campaign Reporter Tim Perry. The plan also includes proposals to increase Head Start funding, expand pre-school for three- and four-year-olds, ensure all schools have access to a nurse or social worker, and to create a federal Bureau of Children and Family Justice.  

Addressing the six month paid leave proposal, the Harris campaign says "support will be available to small businesses to help cover the cost of replacement workers or overtime for other employees while an employee is out on leave." The campaign also says the paid leave program will be "funded through a mix of employer and employee payroll contributions and general contributions and general revenues."  

Portions of federal funding for the proposal will come from fines levied on corporations that "fail to close their pay gaps and tax increases on the top one percent and big corporations." While speaking to teachers in Des Moines, on Monday, the California senator said "there's been a real focus on what we need to do around children" during her career. She added, "I believe we should judge a society based on how we treat our children."

After touring an elementary school, Harris spoke to reporters about the president's plan to remove troops from Northern Syria and said, "When we're talking about the Kurds there is no good consequence from this imaginable." She added, "They will either be subject to harm or they're going to go to our adversaries for support because they will say America clearly doesn't stand with its friends."  

CBS News asked Harris if she would support the bipartisan sanctions that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen are proposing against Turkey if the country attacks Kurdish forces in Syria. Harris said, "It sounds like a good idea. I'll have to look at the details."

EARLY STATES

UP NORTH

Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski took to the streets of Manchester on Monday to criticize New Hampshire's Congressional Delegation for supporting the inquiry into President Trump's impeachment, says CBS News Campaign Reporter Nicole Sganga

"You cannot allow elected officials to subvert the will of the American people," he said. "Because the far-left wing of the Democratic Party with [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and Rashid Tlaib, they now run the Democratic Party. When Nancy Pelosi is the moderate, that should scare the hell out of the people in New Hampshire." 

Lewandowski has been publicly mulling a Senate bid to unseat Senator Jeanne Shaheen for months. Asked about his timeline, Lewandowski remarked, "Look, I am ready to go. But I've got a young family. Don't forget, this is the last primary in the country. The New Hampshire primary is not until next September, it's 11 months away from right now. We got all kinds of time. The filing deadline is next June. So I don't feel any amount of pressure to have to make a decision about getting into a Senate race, which is 11 months away." 

Lewandowski would not say the last time he spoke with Mr. Trump. Responding to the president's communications with Russia and the Ukraine, Lewandowski said, "Look, I don't know what he did that was illegal. He had a conversation with a foreign leader and the job of the president is to make sure no one's meddling our elections." 

He then diverted the conversation to Former Vice President Joe Biden. "What we have to do is hold the Biden family accountable for the wealth that they have achieved in the Ukraine. No one wants to talk about it. Joe Biden is on TV saying if this person isn't fired, we're going to hold a billion dollars. If that's not a quid pro quo, then I've never heard of one in my life. He's the vice president of the United States. Let's have an investigation." 

In a statement, New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said, "Corey Lewandowski is auditioning to join Trump's impeachment team, which seems an appropriate job for Lewandowski, who admits he's a liar and remains focused on selling White House access to his shady clients, including foreign interests." 

Elsewhere in New Hampshire, a special election to fill a state House seat is garnering an unusual amount of attention. 

Democrat Naomi Andrews and Republican Michael Vose go head-to-head Tuesday in one of the first post-midterm bellwethers for the Granite State. Both candidates have rallied support, canvassing neighborhoods in their efforts to replace former state Representative Sean Morrison, who resigned earlier this year. 

The position is just one of 400 seats in New Hampshire's lower house, a title that pays just $100 a year. Special elections are historically low-turnout and often idiosyncratic. President Trump carried the Republican-leaning district by a margin of 53-41 in 2016, while Barack Obama won it in 2012 by a narrower margin. 

Presidential campaigns have rallied for both candidates. On the Democratic side, teams for Beto O'Rourke, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren have knocked doors for Naomi Andrews. Presidential candidate spouses Amy O'Rourke (wife to former Congressman Beto O'Rourke) and John Bessler (husband to Senator Amy Klobuchar) personally campaigned alongside Andrews, knocking on doors with the local political contender. 

Senator Cory Booker met with Andrews behind the scenes at the New Hampshire's Democratic State Convention. Andrews has raised nearly $20,000 in funds ahead of the November 8 contest. Mr. Trump's campaign also hit the streets for Michael Vose, with New Hampshire campaign organizers hosting a "day of action" last month. 

District resident and longtime Republican Nancy Kindler has waved signs and canvassed for Michael Vose. The stakes are high, Kindler told CBS News Campaign Reporter Nicole Sganga. "It's the kick off for the 2020 election, so to speak."

OUT WEST

The Nevada State Democratic Party announced this week more than 80 locations for their "early voting period," where Democrats could record their presidential preferences in the "First in the West" caucus from February 15th to 18th. 

The list, which the party had initially planned to announce on October 1st, covers a wide range of locations across the state from restaurants to libraries. Asked by CBS News Campaign Reporter Alex Tin about the delay, State Party Chair William McCurdy offered little explanation at a press conference Monday outside the influential Culinary Union, whose headquarters will host one of the party's early voting locations. 

"We wanted to make sure that we had an opportunity to roll them out to all of you at a time in which we felt comfortable," McCurdy said.

RULES, RULES, RULES

DELEGATE MATTERS

Since the 2018 midterms, the Trump campaign has dispatched its party affairs staff to monitor and engage in 41 state party chairman's races and have advised 37 states that made legislative or party rule changes to the primary process, according to a Trump campaign official. CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Ellee Watson reports that the Trump Campaign has had a staff of at least six people working on the Delegate and Party Organization team since January.

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