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Dem candidates sound off on impeachment at debate in L.A.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 19: Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speak during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Seven candidates out of the crowded field qualified for the sixth and last Democratic presidential primary debate of 2019 hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A day after the House voted along party lines to impeach President Donald Trump — only the third time in U.S. history — seven Democratic presidential candidates were asked during the sixth presidential debate Thursday at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles how they would persuade a majority of Americans that impeaching the president is the right thing to do.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was chosen first by PBS moderator Judy Woodruff.

He pointed to international polling showing world confidence in U.S. leadership has fallen.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey,  26,000 people across 25 countries have more confidence in the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping than they do President Trump.1

Sanders and Warren

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked why more people are not in favor of impeachment.

“We have a president who is a pathological liar. We have a president who is a fraud. We have a president who has sold out the working families of this country,” he said.

“[Mr. Trump] wants to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid after promising he would not do that. We cannot have a president with that temperament who is dishonoring the presidency of the United States,” Sanders said.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren responded to the same question.

“The president originally promised to drain the swamp, but he came to Washington, broke that promise and has done everything for the wealthy and the well-connected, from tax breaks to ambassadorships,” she said.

Klobuchar and Buttigieg

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar asked about President Trump’s apparent reluctance to furnish witnesses for his Senate defense.

“If the president claims he’s so innocent, why doesn’t he have all the president’s men testify?” she asked.

“[President] Richard Nixon had his top people testify. We should be hearing from [Acting White House chief of staff Mick] Mulvaney. Witnesses have said it was Mulvaney who said we are going to withhold aid from a fledgling democracy to get dirt on a political opponent.

“We should hear from [National Security Adviser John] Bolton, who told his staff to go see a lawyer after they met with the president. If President Trump thinks he should not be impeached, he should not be scared to put forward his own witnesses,” Klobuchar said.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., said now is not the time for Americans to give up and give in to weakness.

“I think a lot of us are watching Washington go through the motions. And not expecting much but a foregone conclusion. But we cannot give in to that sense of helplessness because that’s what they want. They want us to be taken in by that sense of cynicism to the point where we give up on the process altogether,” he said.

“Here’s the good news, it’s up to us. No matter what happens in the Senate, it’s up to us in 2020. This is our chance to refuse to be taken in by the helplessness, to refuse and reject the cynicism. That’s is what this presidential election is about,” he said.

Steyer and Yang

Billionaire and liberal activist Tom Steyer said he was one who started the Need to Impeach Movement over two years ago.

“The American people deserve to see the truth of these [Trump] administration officials testifying under oath, so we can make up our mind,” he said.

“If we want Republican senators to do the right thing, we need their constituent to see the truth on TV and tell them: get rid of this guy or we’ll get rid of you,” Steyer said.

And finally, Andrew Yang closed out the question on impeachment.

The entrepreneur said Americans can’t agree on impeachment because they are getting their news from different sources and can’t even agree on basic facts.

Americans don’t trust the media networks to tell them the truth, he said.

If you turn on cable network news, he continued, you would think the president got elected because of racism, Russia, Hillary Clinton, Facebook and emails all mixed together.

Yang said Americans know better and know the loss of 4 million manufacturing jobs in the Midwest is why Mr. Trump was elected.

“The more we act like Donald Trump is the cause of all of our problems, the more Americans lose trust that we can actually see what’s going on in our communities and solve those problems,” he said.

“What we have to do is stop being obsessed over impeachment and start digging in and solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in the first place,” Yang said.

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Putin and Xi Outrank Trump in Global Confidence Poll