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Impeachment Hashtags Battle It Out on Twitter: Campaign Update

Ryan Teague Beckwith

(Bloomberg) -- As an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure the Ukrainian president into investigating Joe Biden and his son Hunter gained momentum this week, both supporters and opponents have headed to Twitter to duke it out via hashtags.

Supporters of impeachment used the hashtags #PresidentPelosi for the House speaker, who is third in line to the presidency, along with #coverup, #Ukrainegate, #ImpeachNow and saltier versions.

For her part, Pelosi chose the more staid #ExposetheTruth.

Not to be outdone, opponents pushed hashtags like #NothingToSeeHere, #NoQuidProQuo, #TrumpLandslide2020 and #QuidProJoe.

Biden Says Trump Fears Running Against Him (5:30 p.m.)

A “fully substantiated” fear of losing the 2020 election motivated President Donald Trump to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate the business dealings of Joe Biden’s son in Ukraine, the Biden campaign said Thursday.

Trump’s “willingness to sell out our national interest for his personal gain endangers our security and his attempts to cover it up put the stability of our democracy at risk,” the Biden campaign communications director, Kate Bedingfield said in a statement. “It is all borne from his deep, fully substantiated fear that Joe Biden will beat him.”

The statement was in response to the release Thursday by the White House of an unidentified whistle-blower’s complaint that said Trump had asked Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden in connection with his son Hunter’s business dealings with a Ukrainian energy company. The disclosure came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that her chamber would begin an impeachment inquiry of Trump.

Trump has acknowledged that he sought the investigation but denies that it was part of a quid pro quo with the Ukrainian president involving the sale of U.S. weapons.

Biden, as vice president, represented the U.S in pressuring Ukraine to fire its general prosecutor as part of an anti-corruption push by the U.S., European countries and others. The investigation into Hunter Biden was dormant for more than a year, Ukrainian officials say, and there is no evidence Biden did anything beyond his duties. -- Max Berley

Trump Woos Donors as Congress Holds Hearing (12:11 PM)

President Donald Trump spent the morning in New York, raising money for his re-election campaign, as Washington was consumed by a whistle-blower complaint about his dealings with Ukraine.

Trump was greeted at the fundraiser at Cipriani 42nd Street by protesters, one of whom held up a sign that said “whistle-blowers set us free.” A pizza shop next door displayed a pizza box with “we love Trump” written on it. The president’s remarks to donors were closed to the press.

The event was expected to raise $3 million for the Trump Victory fund, a joint account benefiting the president’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to a Republican familiar with the arrangement. On Wednesday, Trump spoke at a fundraiser at the home of hedge fund billionaire John Paulson that was expected to raise $5 million, the person said.

While Trump addressed donors Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee was questioning Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, about why he initially ordered the whistle-blower’s complaint withheld from Congress. -- Jordan Fabian

Warren and Sanders Share Union Endorsement (9:00 a.m.)

Elizabeth Warren nudged past Bernie Sanders for first place in a presidential endorsement vote by members of a California health care workers union, though the group’s board gave its backing to both progressive candidates.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers endorsed Sanders in the 2016 race. Warren’s position as the leading candidate in the union vote Wednesday is yet another reminder of how she is increasingly moving ahead of Sanders and is challenging former Vice President Joe Biden as Democratic front-runner.

The 15,000-member California union says Warren got 61% while Sanders had 50% in the balloting, which let members make up to three choices.

Warren is making strong gains in national polls, including a Sept. 11-23 Quinnipiac University poll that showed her essentially tied with Biden.

Labor groups are an essential voting bloc for Democrats. Earlier this month, Warren won the endorsement of the Working Families Party over Sanders, dealing a blow to the Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist. Sanders in August got an early endorsement from the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. The 2 million member Service Employees International Union, which has not endorsed a candidate, is hosting the leading 2020 contenders at a forum in Los Angeles Oct. 4 and 5. -- Laura Litvan

COMING UP

Democratic candidates will attend a presidential forum hosted by the 2 million member Service Employees International Union in Los Angeles Oct. 4 and 5. So far, Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are expected to attend.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union will host forums in Iowa and Michigan with Democratic presidential candidates on Sept. 29 and Oct. 13. Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have confirmed they will attend.

--With assistance from Laura Litvan, Jordan Fabian, Josh Eidelson and Max Berley.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in New York at rbeckwith3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John Harney

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