Former CIA chief, Trump-critic Panetta explains why POTUS has ‘good chance of winning’

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(Image: MSNBC screenshot)

A former Obama administration official believes President Donald Trump could score a 2020 victory if Democrats choose an “ideological” nominee to run against him.

Former Secretary of Defense and CIA director Leon Panetta offered his views on Trump’s prospects during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews.

(Video: MSNBC)

Panetta spoke about the Democrats efforts against the president, following last week’s announcement of two articles of impeachment, and lamented the way the process could play out in the Senate.

“I think what history will say is that this is the most depressing moment in the history of the United States Senate” if politics plays a part in the process and an impeachment trial dies quickly, he told Matthews.

“Can you answer one short question – if you don’t want to answer it, don’t” the MSNBC host said to the former director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“Who’s the favorite – Democrats or Trump – next November?” he asked.

“I would say right now it depends on who the Democrats nominate to be their candidate,” Panetta replied.

“If they nominate somebody who can appeal to the entire country, then I think the Democrats have a good chance of winning in November,” he added. “If they elect somebody who is ideological, then I think Trump has a good chance of winning. That’s what it comes down to.”

Earlier this month, Panetta had compared the Trump administration to the Mafia in a discussion with Matthews about the closest people surrounding the president.

“It looks more like… how the mafia operates in terms of having one central individual and a lot of other people basically catering to that individual,” Panetta, who served as former President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff, said. “That’s the fundamental problem in the White House right now. There are no grown-ups in the White House to tell this president when he’s going to do the wrong thing.”

According to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are currently leading in the still-crowded Democratic 2020 field of contenders.

The party’s top four 2020 hopefuls vying for the nomination are made up of Biden at 24%, followed by Sanders at 22%. Coming in at third place in the polling, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is at 17%, followed by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 13% and other candidates following.

The poll also showed that this week’s upcoming Democratic debate in Los Angeles could have an impact on the 76% of Americans who said they might change their minds on the candidate they are currently supporting.

In light of Panetta’s remarks, the poll showed an interesting view by those surveyed indicating that Democratic voters are more interested in getting a “nominee who has the best chance of beating Trump than someone who shares their position on most issues.”

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Frieda Powers

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