September 27, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) says she now supports an impeachment inquiry days after dismissing it as too divisive.

The 2020 Democratic candidate announced Friday her support of a "swift" and "narrowly-focused" impeachment inquiry into President Trump, saying this comes after she looked "carefully" at the transcript of Trump's conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as the whistleblower complaint it sparked, the inspector general memo, and Trump's "comments about the issue."

Gabbard throughout her campaign had been taking the opposite position, arguing in a CNN interview days ago that impeachment would be "terribly divisive." She did not change her mind following the release of the rough transcript of Trump's conversation with Zelensky showing he pushed for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden's son, saying in an Wednesday interview with The Hill, "Most people reading through that transcript are not going to find that extremely compelling cause to throw out a president that won an election in 2016."

In her statement, Gabbard notes this earlier resistance but says she "unfortunately" now supports an inquiry because "if we allow the president to abuse his or her power, then our society will rot from top to bottom." She adds, however, she hopes the inquiry will not descend into a "long, protracted partisan circus that will further divide out country and undermine our democracy."

Gabbard was among the final Democrats in the House to not publicly take this position, with NBC News reporting 226 members of Congress now back an impeachment inquiry. Brendan Morrow

11:35 p.m.

In her response to why she would make a better president than Democratic frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during Tuesday night's debate in South Carolina, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) compared their plans to expand Medicare-style health care to all Americans. Sanders let his body do the disagreeing, and if this whole president thing doesn't work out, his face has enough expressiveness to anchor, say, an HBO show about a curmudgeonly old man who frequently throws up his hands at the world.

Here's Warren's full answer on why plans and legislative strategy matter, with her face included. Peter Weber

11:13 p.m.

A 23-year-old American soldier based in South Korea has tested positive for the new coronavirus COVID-19, the U.S. military announced Tuesday.

The soldier is stationed at Camp Carroll in Waegwan, and is the first U.S. service member to come down with the virus. He is under quarantine at his home, which is off base.

There are 1,146 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea, with more than half of the patients living in the city of Daegu. The soldier visited a military base in Daegu on Friday, and then returned to Camp Carroll. There are 28,500 U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea, and the military said health professionals are "actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether any others may have been exposed." Troops have been told to avoid nonessential meetings and stay on base, The New York Times reports. Catherine Garcia

10:45 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) defended himself against accusations that he is not "pro-Israel" enough, saying he is "very proud of being Jewish" but fully aware of the "suffering of the Palestinian people."

If elected, Sanders would be the first Jewish president. During Tuesday night's debate in South Carolina, he said he once briefly lived in Israel, and "what I happen to believe is that right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through [Prime Minister] Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country. And I happen to believe that what our foreign policy in the Mideast should be about is absolutely protecting the independence and security of Israel. But you cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people. We have got to have a policy that reaches out to the Palestinians."

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is also Jewish, said "the only solution here is a two-state solution. The Palestinians have to be accommodated. The real problem here is you have two groups of people, both of whom think God gave them the same piece of land. And the answer is to obviously split it up." Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) agreed that there has to be a two-state solution, and said President Trump favors Israel by "putting a thumb on the scale on just one side." Israelis "have a right to security," she said, just like Palestinians "have a right to be treated with dignity and have self-determination. ... But it's not up to us to determine what the terms of a two-state solution are. We want to be a good ally to everyone in the region." Catherine Garcia

10:39 p.m.

Media insiders are labeling the South Carolina Democratic debate a "disaster" following a messy and often out-of-control evening that frequently devolved into shouting matches between the candidates. The event marked CBS News' first foray into hosting a debate this election cycle, and the moderators — CBS Evening News anchor Norah O'Donnell and CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King — often appeared to be overpowered by the seven candidates they were supposed to be keeping in line.

TV regulars at rival networks, including former DNC head and Fox News contributor Donna Brazile, Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski, and The View's Meghan McCain, expressed horror over how the night unfolded:

Brian Stelter, the chief media corespondent for CNN, confirmed the industry's general reception of the debate:

Sean Illing of Vox was even blunter: "These are the worst moderators in the history of moderation," he tweeted. Jeva Lange

10:12 p.m.

The recent comments made by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) about Cuba and its former leader Fidel Castro were bound to come up during Tuesday's Democratic primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

When the topic eventually made its way into the chaos, Sanders' fellow candidates zeroed in on his past praise for certain aspects of the Cuban government, such as its literary program and health care system. Sanders once again clarified he was merely pointing a few good things about the Castro regime, which he describes as otherwise authoritarian. But that wasn't good enough for his competitors.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, for example, said such comments could have consequences for Democrats down the line, suggesting the party could lose House and Senate races because of them. "We're not going to win these critical, critical House and Senate races if people in those races have to explain why the nominee of the Democratic Party is telling people to look at the bright side of the Castro regime," Buttigieg said.

Sanders once again argued he has routinely condemned authoritarianism before pointing out that the U.S. government supports Saudi Arabia despite its human rights violations. Tim O'Donnell

9:55 p.m.

If he didn't get his message across during the debate, all former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg had to do was wait for the commercial break.

During Tuesday night's Democratic debate in South Carolina, 60-second ads for Bloomberg aired during the first two commercial breaks. This didn't go over well on Twitter, where people, like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, were upset at CBS for letting Bloomberg purchase the ad time:

Over the last three months, Bloomberg has spent more than $500 million of his own money on campaign advertisements. Catherine Garcia

9:36 p.m.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have been pummeled at a Democratic debate less than a week ago, but the crowd in South Carolina sounded surprisingly sympathetic to the billionaire candidate on Tuesday night. Attacks on Bloomberg often spurred the audience to loudly boo, while his attacks on his opponents would receive enthusiastic cheers:

The tone was so markedly different from that of the debate in Nevada that many viewers were suspicious of the authenticity of the hecklers:

Tickets to attend the South Carolina debate were prohibitively expensive, some have pointed out; the only way to obtain a ticket was to sponsor the debate, with such sponsorships ranging from $1,750 to $3,200 each. Whether that meant the demographic of the attendees naturally skewed toward a group that was more tolerant of billionaires — or if the hecklers' seats were being paid for by someone else — wasn't immediately clear. Jeva Lange

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