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Sunday Politics


There have been multiple officials who have testified behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry. And a lot of what they've said confirms that the president did indeed withhold military aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into his rival Joe Biden and his son. With more subpoenas and testimonies expected, there is much left to uncover. Our own Mara Liasson is here with us, and she's the national political correspondent. And she's going to talk about what's happening.

Hi, Mara.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. What's coming this week? What can we expect?

LIASSON: We know that the House has asked to hear tomorrow from John Eisenberg, who's the National Security Council top lawyer. He's the one who's been described in other testimony as being the person who decided to put the rough transcript of the call with the president and the president of Ukraine into a special restricted access computer system called NICE. That stands for NSC Intelligence Collaboration Environment. Democrats say that's...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Doesn't seem like the best word, but yes.

LIASSON: (Laughter) Democrats say that's the sign of a cover-up. Republicans say he was just trying to prevent leaks. We don't know if Eisenberg will appear. We do know that the House has asked to hear from national - former national security adviser John Bolton on Thursday. Bolton has yet to receive a subpoena, but when he does, he will probably join the suit filed by his deputy, Charles Kupperman. And they say they won't appear before the House unless a court tells them to because the White House has directed them not to testify.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. The impeachment inquiry isn't the only big political story right now. The Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren finally came out with a plan for how to finance her "Medicare for All" plan without raising taxes, she says, for the middle class. Tell us about it.

LIASSON: Well, that's right. She's been pressed on this for weeks and weeks. Bernie Sanders, who has a similar plan, says, yes, taxes would have to go up for everyone, including the middle class. But Warren says she has another way to not directly tax middle-class taxpayers.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. So no middle-class tax hike, apparently. Does that mean Medicare for All will be an easy sell in a general election?

LIASSON: No, it doesn't. There are a lot of Democrats who are really worried that while Elizabeth Warren is clearly running a very skillful Democratic primary campaign, she is adopting proposals that will be extremely unpopular in a general election in battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Even in Ohio, in a poll of Democrats only taken by The New York Times and Siena College, voters preferred, by a 14-point margin, to build on Obamacare and add a public option - in other words, a voluntary Medicare buy-in. They preferred that over Warren's mandatory Medicare for All plan where private insurance is abolished.

And Democrats worry that when you dig into the details of Warren's pay-fors, there are a lot of taxes. Taxes go up on employers. That wealth tax on billionaires goes up from 3% to 6%. And even at - the Urban Institute, a liberal think tank, says that Warren has vastly underestimated the cost of this. She says it will be $20 trillion over a decade. They say it's actually 34 trillion.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. And speaking of how Democrats are seeing this, Nancy Pelosi, who is the most powerful Democrat in Washington, made her feelings about Medicare for All clear here on Bloomberg TV. Let's listen.


NANCY PELOSI: I'm not a big fan of Medicare for All. I mean, I welcome the debate. I think that we should have health care for all. Myself, I think, remember November. This is a time when we have to win the Electoral College.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She's clearly linking this with winning the election.

LIASSON: Yes, and she knows how to count votes. She said, as a left-wing San Francisco liberal, I can say to these people, what are you thinking?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Thanks, Mara.

LIASSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.