The Note: Political warfare escalates in election’s wake

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The election is over. But the political warfare is set to get worse.

A direct consequence of the split-decision election is a deepening of the political divide. Democrats are set to take control of the House, powered by a triumphant left, while the remaining House Republicans and the larger Republican majority in the Senate will be Trumpier than ever.

Then comes an indirect consequence: the behavior of President Donald Trump. Between his threats of using intelligence leak inquiries as political retribution, the firing of the attorney general, and his White House’s actions against members of the media, Trump is signaling aggression and acrimony.

It’s Trump unbound. Yet, Trump is about to have more binding his actions than ever before: Democrats will soon have the power to compel testimony and force documents into the public realm, and Robert Mueller is finishing up his work.

The president is acting as if he’s never had more confidence in his own powers. But those powers are set to be checked as never before in this presidency.

President Donald Trump appears with Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony in Quantico, Va., Dec. 15, 2017.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

The national Democratic Party looks ahead, but its next steps are complicated and perhaps unclear.

Many of the Democratic candidates who won this week did so by focusing solely on kitchen table issues like health care, pay equity and family leave. During the campaign, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said it was too early to talk the possibility of impeachment; passing new bills was the goal instead.

But within hours of Democrats flipping majority control of the House, the president seemed to dare them.

The news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been forced to step down triggered fast and furious statements from some Democratic leaders saying that if the president were to also fire special counsel Robert Mueller, it would be considered obstruction of justice and an impeachable offense.

Plus, while several House Democrats won by championing a bump to the minimum wage and universal health care, Democratic candidates for Senate lost even after trying to distance themselves from a party that has been tracking to the left.

In states around the country, where Democrats flipped more 300 local legislature seats and netted five…

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