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Trump ‘may not even be a free person’ in 2020, Elizabeth Warren says

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 10/2/2019 David Weigel, Felicia Sonmez

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa —Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told voters on Sunday that President Trump might be unable to finish his term, firing back at him for the first time since his reelection campaign attacked her rollout.

“By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not be president,” Warren told an audience here. “In fact, he may not even be a free person.”

Warren had not previously hinted that the scandals surrounding the president could keep him from seeking a second term. In her previous trip to Iowa, she rarely mentioned Trump by name.

But her campaign, which has faced more direct attacks from Trump than other Democratic candidates, appears to see the question about Trump’s own viability as way to stop engaging with everything the president says.

Warren formally kicked off her bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination before a crowd of about 3,500 supporters in Massachusetts on Saturday. She is part of a rapidly expanding Democratic White House field that includes Sens. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.).

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is expected to announce her bid Sunday afternoon, and Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.) hinted in a Sunday morning interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he, too, may pursue a run.

Warren’s remark comes as Trump’s legal woes are deepening and as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia probe has closed in on several key members of the president’s orbit.

A little more than halfway into his first term, nearly every organization Trump has led in the past decade is under investigation. The mounting challenges include civil suits against Trump’s private company and charity, as well as several looming investigations by House Democrats.

And with last month’s indictment of Trump’s longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone, the Mueller investigation has now led to charges against 34 people and guilty pleas from six Trump associates.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt,” and in his State of the Union address last week, he claimed that “ridiculous partisan investigations” could hurt the country’s prosperity.

“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” Trump said.

The idea that scandals might force Trump from office is widespread among Democratic voters, and other candidates have hinted at it, as well.

“Impeachment, prison, not reelected, runs off and hides on a Caribbean island — I don’t care,” said Andrea Taylor, a 44-year-old respiratory therapist in Cedar Rapids. “I just don’t want him to keep hurting our country.”

At a Saturday morning town hall in Marshalltown, Iowa, Booker had an exchange with a voter who said she wanted a candidate tough enough to beat Trump. The New Jersey Democrat replied that he was ready for the fight — but that he was unsure whether the president would be on the ballot.

“Should I be our nominee and Trump also be their nominee — I’m not sure that he will be — you will see the toughest person standing against him,” Booker said.

Sonmez reported from Washington.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announces her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in Lawrence, Mass., on Friday. © CJ Gunther/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announces her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in Lawrence, Mass., on Friday.

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