Semafor: Trump and Biden are competing to QB the Super Bowl of tax policy

I spoke to Joseph Zeballos-Roig for his Semafor piece with Jordan Weissman on the massive tax policy stakes of the 2024 election. In their comprehensive look at the looming “Super Bowl of Tax,” they asked me who is most influential in Trump’s orbit on these issues. (I don’t think they took my answer of “the last person he talked to” as seriously as it easily intended.) My response:

“He gravitates toward donors and other people he views as successful; people he sees on CNBC and Fox Business; and people he trusts as loyal whose positions line up with his instincts,” said Liam Donovan, a GOP strategist. “That’s the Venn Diagram, and it sometimes results in a hodgepodge of policy prescriptions.”

Read the full piece here.

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NY Mag: The Swiftboater Coming for Biden

I spoke to David Freedlander for his New York Magazine piece on the new-look Trump campaign and its formidable senior staff:

Trump has notoriously liked setting aides against each other, vying for his affection, like when he made Reince Priebus his first White House chief of staff and Steve Bannon “chief strategist” with both of them leaving the new administration within seven months. But people close to Trump today say that even he is tired of the antics, and with the 2024 election now possibly determining whether or not he goes to prison, he has opted for a more professional approach.

“2016 was a totally shambolic operation, just a guy on a plane surrounded by a rotating cast of jokers,” says Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist. “By 2020, you had a more professionalized operation, but the campaign was led by his web designer until the home stretch. He came close with the B-team, and now we get to see what happens when you bring in some of the most shrewd, calculating, and ruthless operators in the party.”

Read the full piece here.

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NYT: Trial Will Test Trump’s Limits of Reaping Political Gain From Legal Woes

I spoke to Maggie Haberman for her New York Times story with Jonathan Swan on the political implications of the various Trump criminal proceedings.

Yet Mr. Trump was elected in 2016 despite a lengthy trail of negative incidents related to his character. And polls vary on how many of his supporters who say they will back him would abandon him if he is convicted in a criminal case.

“After the past eight years, that self-selection alone is enough to tell you they won’t have much trouble explaining away an adverse legal ruling, let alone one on dubious grounds,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist.

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Read the full piece here.

It’s a bit too glib to say LOL nothing matters–conviction is bad, full stop, and given the profound closeness of the past two elections, a stiff breeze could swing the electoral college one way or another.

But at the end of the day, the diminishing poll of Trump supporters who tell pollsters they would reconsider in the event of a hypothetical conviction are still people willing to say they’d support Trump. Intuitively that would be a meaningful threshold, and when you dig into the data, these tend to be strong Republican leaners who are likely to come home when faced with a binary choice.

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HuffPost: Why It’s So Hard To Force The House To Vote On The Senate’s Ukraine Aid Bill

I spoke to Jonathan Nicholson for his Huffington Post piece on the challenge of getting around House leadership to move a bill that otherwise has majority support.

“It’s a dreadfully slow, cumbersome, and brittle process that is not well suited for anything dynamic or urgent,” said Liam Donovan, a former Republican Hill staffer and a partner at lobbying firm Bracewell LLP.

Donovan said forcing the Senate bill onto the floor could take at least 40 days using a new discharge petition, and using the petition originally set up for the debt limit would mean sending the bill back to the Senate for final passage, which would also add time.

“In other words, it’s a terrible option that may eventually prove to be the cleanest dirty shirt,” he said. Donovan noted another option for giving aid to Ukraine may be forthcoming negotiations over how to avoid a government shutdown: “The big question in the meantime is how the House deals with regular appropriations, and whether these conversations can be merged.”

Read the full piece here.

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