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Why big donors are giving more radical Republicans a pass

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Yahoo Finance's Alexis Christoforous and Rick Newman discuss companies that are postponing political donations after some Republicans voted against certifying President-elect Biden's electoral victory.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: A growing number of companies have actually halted donations to GOP lawmakers, and other companies are cutting ties altogether with President Trump. For more on this, want to head to our Rick Newman, who has been following the story for us. And I guess, Rick, you say the bigger story here is all the companies who are sitting back and actually doing nothing right now.

RICK NEWMAN: I think that's it. So we've had a few companies have said they're actually interested in doing something about this. I'm only aware of four, however, that are willing to target the 147 Republican members of Congress who voted against certifying Joe Biden's legitimate electoral victory.

Those are-- Marriott said they're going to suspend donations to those companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Commerce Bank, and American Express. What seems to be catching on as the more popular trend is companies saying, we're just going to pause donations to all politicians. Some of the banks have done, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank.

I think Google just said they're going to do that. And I expect there will be more companies doing this. But again, this is just-- they're just saying they want to pause donations to all politicians of both parties and not do anything that particularly targets those 147 Republicans.

So I think what's almost certain to happen here is these companies are hoping-- assuming this will sort of blow over a few months from now, the pressure on them to stop these donations will ease up. And I think, let's say, six months from now, we're just going to go right back to where we were, which is with tons of corporate money flowing into both parties, including the campaigns of these 147 Republicans.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, that does seem to be the way these things go, right? Because it's in the news and top of mind at the moment. You see all these companies sort of rallying around the cause, and then it sort of-- it sort of dissipates. I want to switch gears for a moment because there's a story that's developing right now coming out of the Trump administration, Rick.

It looks like President Trump is putting Cuba on the list of countries that are considered to be state sponsors of terrorism. And of course, this is going to be difficult now for Joe Biden as the incoming president to try and do any business with Cuba. He's been making lots of decisions like this, sort of, in the 11th hour. What does all this mean for the US and for Joe Biden?

RICK NEWMAN: I don't think most people who follow Cuba consider it to be a legitimate sponsor of terrorism akin to, say, Iran or North Korea. I mean, it's certainly not on that level. This is highly political. This has a lot to do with the politics in Florida.

There are a lot of Cuban emigres in Florida who are real hard-liners against the Castro regime in Cuba and the communist government there. And they have been pressuring Washington for a long time to take exactly this type of move against Cuba. So I think this is about the Trump administration kind of perhaps rewarding some of those people in Florida.

I mean, let's remember, Trump did win Florida in both the 2016 and 2020 election. He won by small margins, and the Hispanic vote there is very important. So I think that's a factor here. Biden can reverse this. So I think it's probably more symbolic for Trump to do this than anything else.

I think Biden will reverse it, he favors normalizing relations with Cuba, as President Obama did during his term. But Trump is putting a roadblock in the way, and it's just going to take a little time for Biden to dismantle it. Plus, I don't think this is going to be-- probably not on his top 10 priority list on day one.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, I would think not. There are a lot of other fish to fry. All right, Rick, before we let you go, I'd like your thoughts on what's happening right now in DC with these efforts to impeach the president. At the end of the day, is Nancy Pelosi and company trying to make sure that Trump cannot and will not run again in 2024?

RICK NEWMAN: Nancy Pelosi is trying to do that. I think she also wants to-- I mean, Trump has driven a wedge through the Republican Party. He has completely split the party between people who feel they need to remain loyal to Trump and then what you might call the sort of old traditional wing of the party, the Reagan party of good government, let's say.

Nancy Pelosi wants to drive that wedge as deep as she can. I think she-- and she knows what she's doing. So I think she's actually been pretty effective at that. Let's assume that the House does vote to impeach Trump again, since she does seem to have the votes to do that, and they do seem to be speeding it along.

I think it makes sense for Congress to return and try to wrap up-- try to have a vote on this before Inauguration Day. And if they can't vote on it by Inauguration Day, then Chuck Schumer becomes majority leader. He has a very interesting challenge, which is to get, I think the number is 17 Republicans to go along with all the Democrats in the Senate.

Right now, the thinking seems to be that the votes are not there to convict, but it seems close. That could change. So I think the Senate needs to go through with this and put everybody on the record. You know, what do you think about Trump's future and what he has done here in his last few weeks in office? You for it or against it? And let everybody know.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, a lot can happen here between now and nine days when Joe Biden is sworn in as our next president. Rick Newman, thank you.