BOOKER BEAT

Cory Booker discusses impeachment and debate eligibility

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, the New Jersey Democrat who’s running for president, says it’s not a matter of if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is going to transmit the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, only of when.

“I think what she’s just trying to do is to make sure the best possible case for a fair trial happens,” Booker said  on Meet the Press Sunday morning, amid reports that Pelosi was delaying the hand off of the impeach articles approved by the House last week in an effort to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to conduct a full trial there. “I think she’s just trying to say: ‘Hey, let’s not make this a circus, a partisan circus. Let’s just get to the facts and get this trial conducted rightly and then behind us.’”

During his appearance on the venerable NBC News program, Booker also said: “To have this all happening in a context that Mitch McConnell is openly saying he will violate his oath and not be impartial, that we have a situation here that to me is just very simple. You’re going to have a trial, have the firsthand witnesses. If you’re innocent, have acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney come before the Senate, swear to an oath, settle this whole thing.”

Booker once again lamented the fact that he didn’t meet the fundraising and polling qualifications for Thursday’s sixth Democratic presidential debate. With the bar set even higher for the January debate ahead of the Iowa caucus, he might come up short again,

“What you hear from local media in Iowa and people is, ‘Why is some DNC officials in Washington determining who we get to evaluate?’ Because here on the ground, our campaign is third or fourth in net favorability. Our campaign is number one or two in overall endorsements from local leaders. We’re picking up county chairmen, local mayors, state reps.”

“We now, according to Des Moines Register, have one of the top teams organizing on the ground, setting up,” he said. “Our campaign is surging right now.”

Booker did a big ad buy during last week’s debate, in recognition of the importance of getting his name, face and message on the airwaves to reach many more people than he can with the individual campaign stops he’s doing now, crisscrossing Iowa once again.

Booker’s campaign also released the names of his big donors, among them, influential New Jerseyans raising millions of dollars for his presidential run. They include Gov. Phil Murphy and George Norcross — the state’s chief executive and the South Jersey power broker who are at odds over New Jersey Economic Development Incentives awarded made in Camden to Norcross and his associates.

The list includes those who have raised at least $50,000 for Booker and includes New Jersey music legend Jon Bon Jovi and New Jersey’s senior Sen. Bob Menendez.

In June, progressives expressed disappointment when Booker’s campaign accepted fundraising from Norcross, and from Joe DiVincenzo, complaining that Essex County executive had taken federal dollars to house immigrant detainees in the county jail.

Booker said he just had one of the best fundraising periods of his campaign, speculating that he had benefited from a backlash by those angered about his absence from the debate stage.