You are what you watch: How media consumption is driving impeachment divisions

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: U.S. President Trump delivers remarks at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Hollywood, Florida
President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Hollywood, Florida, Dec. 7, 2019.Loren Elliott / Reuters

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By Chuck Todd, Chuck Todd and Mark Murray

WASHINGTON — Media consumption matters in the fight over President Trump’s impeachment.

In fact, it appears to be pretty much the whole ballgame.

In last month’s national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, a majority of Americans (53 percent) said they approved of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of Trump.

That included 72 percent who said they regularly consume MSNBC or CNN, 69 percent who consume liberal news, 59 percent who watch broadcast media, and 57 percent who get their news from social media.

But it was a different story among those who consume conservative news (33 percent approval) and those who watch Fox News (30 percent).

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Similarly, nearly half of Americans in the NBC/WSJ poll (49 percent) said they supported Trump’s impeachment and removal. And that included strong majorities of MSNBC watchers (70 percent), liberal news consumers (70 percent) and broadcast news viewers (57 percent).

But once again, that sentiment wasn’t shared among conservative news consumers (30 percent who backed impeachment and removal) and Fox News watchers (29 percent).

Yes, party identification matters so much, too.

Still, don’t miss the angle on media consumption.

You are what you watch.

And it raises the all-important question: Would Richard Nixon have resigned from office in 1974 if there had been a Fox News back then?

Impeachment inquiry update

Today at 9 am ET, the House Judiciary Committee will hold its second impeachment inquiry hearing, with presentations from lawyers from both parties on the findings of the Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the president. Both the majority and minority counsels for the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees will present their evidence and reports regarding possible articles of impeachment, NBC’s Alex Moe reports. After the presentations, the two counsels for the Intelligence Committee will take questions from staff and then members.

All of this comes as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler says that his panel will “presumably” present articles of impeachment against the president this week.

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Protesting Pete

NBC’s Priscilla Thompson reports that Pete Buttigieg drew a big crowd in Coralville, IA, yesterday — but he also faced protestors for the second time in a week.

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“When the mayor took the stage, a handful of demonstrators unveiled white banners with bright pink writing that read, ‘0% with black voters in S.C.,’ ‘Climate plan fatally lacking,’ and ‘We need more than Pete,’” Thompson writes. “After a few minutes, the protestors left. As they walked out, Buttigieg quipped, ‘We welcome and support and hope to win over anybody who is not yet with us, and we appreciate and respect what anybody else has to say,” adding that he would ‘humbly suggest that it’s better to lift up your own candidate than trying to tear down others.’”

On the campaign trail today

Both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren hold town halls in Nevada, with Sanders’ taking place in Carson City and Reno, and Warren’s taking place in Las Vegas with the Culinary Workers Union… Julian Castro and Marianne Williamson spend their day in the Hawkeye State… Tulsi Gabbard, John Delaney and Michael Bennet are in New Hampshire… And Tom Steyer stumps in South Carolina.

Dispatches from NBC’s campaign embeds

Elizabeth Warren campaigned Sunday in South Carolina, where she made the case that she would be the best candidate for supporters of Kamala Harris to turn to, per NBC’s Deepa Shivaram: “Kamala and I share a lot of the same views, we fight for a lot of the same things, and I've tried to lift up Kamala's work,” Warren said. “I'm going to do everything I can to lift up Kamala's voice when I get the opportunity, of course she's strong and she'll keep lifting it up for herself. But I really want to see the issues that she raised continued to be brought forward. I make that commitment.”

Shivaram also noted: “Interestingly, Warren got a question from a kid who wanted to know what she will do about the rise in hate crimes in America. She was also asked a similar question [on Saturday] in Rochester, N.H., and both times, Warren gave a more generic response about bringing the country together and how Donald Trump is pitting people against each other. Her answer never included anything about actually addressing racism and white nationalist violence, despite the fact that Warren released a plan to combat domestic terrorism and white nationalist violence.”

Data Download: The number of the day is … $1.9 million

$1.9 million.

That’s how much Elizabeth Warren has received for her private legal work over more than 30 years, according to a new release by her campaign.

Warren, who had been under pressure from Buttigieg to release more information about her past work for corporate clients, published the list of case work and compensation on Sunday night. Buttigieg’s team has pushed for her to release her tax returns dating back to the same period, but Warren’s campaign has declined, arguing that the new information it has provided actually offers more specificity about her sources of income than tax returns themselves.

The next question to ask: Will Warren’s latest release be enough, or will her rivals keep up the pressure for more?

The Lid: Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

Don’t miss the pod from Friday, when we looked at last week’s emerging and escalating Elizabeth Warren-versus-Pete Buttigieg fight.

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn’t miss

A new report from the Washington Post reveals confidential documents showing that senior U.S. officials misled the public about the progress being made in the Afghanistan war.

Joe Biden is betting that his No Malarkey tour is getting the job done to win over Iowa voters who are looking for stability.

But Steve Kornacki writes that history may not back up Biden’s early-state strategy.

Alex Seitz-Wald looks at why Republicans aren’t close to a breaking point with Trump.

It’s official: Duncan Hunter will resign after the holidays.

Trump Agenda: Russia, if you’re listening ...

Democrats and Republicans are moving in opposite directions when it comes to their views of Russia.

Rudy Giuliani’s foreign policy freelancing is continuing to alarm some others in the Trump administration and beyond, the Washington Post writes. (And the New York Times looks at how Giuliani “led Trump to the brink of impeachment.”)

The shooting at a naval base in Pensacola by a Saudi gunman is further complicating Trump’s treatment of the Saudi government.

A Justice Department IG report into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia is expected to be released today.

Attorney General William Barr isn’t being shy about jumping into the culture wars.

2020: Silver State checkup

The AP looks at how the campaigns are doing in Nevada.

Elizabeth Warren says that a ticket with two women could beat Trump.

Cory Booker is not happy about the Democratic debate qualification rules.