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Trump-backing group airing anti-impeachment ads in Michigan

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

A nonprofit group that supports President Donald Trump is airing anti-impeachment ads in Michigan, encouraging viewers to ask the state's U.S. senators to "end the witch hunt."

The ads from America First Policies, the nonprofit affiliate of the pro-Trump super political action committee America First Action, began airing Tuesday and will run through Monday.

They come as Trump's impeachment trial continues in the U.S. Senate. It would take a two-thirds vote in the GOP-controlled Senate to remove the president or at least 67 votes. Republicans hold a 53-47 edge in the chamber. 

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House voted to impeach Trump on Dec. 18, charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over allegations he withheld aide to Ukraine to spur an investigation to politically harm former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic candidate for president.

The Trump-connected nonprofit plans to air $200,000 in anti-impeachment TV ads in Michigan with another $100,000 spent on digital "efforts" in Michigan and Pennsylvania combined, according to the organization. The group doesn't have to disclose where its money comes from. It raised $22.1 million in 2017, according to the most recent tax filing available through the Internal Revenue Service.

Michigan and Pennsylvania are two of the battleground states that helped swing the 2016 election to Trump, who won Michigan by just 10,704 votes.

The new ads feature footage of Michigan's two Democratic U.S. senators, Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township.

America First Policies, a nonprofit that supports President Donald Trump, began airing anti-impeachment ads in Michigan on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.

"The radical left is wasting America's time with its impeachment scam when they could be confirming conservative judges," the ads allege. "Call Sen. Peters and Sen. Stabenow, tell them end this travesty, oppose impeachment."

On the screen, text adds, "Tell them end the witch hunt."

In December, Stabenow released a statement, saying she would approach the impeachment trial "with great seriousness and a heavy heart."

"The fact is, we are where we are because of the actions of President Trump," Stabenow said. "His behavior and abuse of power have forced the hand of everyone who cares deeply about our country, the truth, and the integrity of our democracy."

Peters, who is up for reelection this year, called the charges against Trump "very serious." 

"We must have a fair and non-partisan process, and I will thoroughly evaluate the facts that are presented to the Senate," he said last month in a statement.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced its own ad effort on Monday. The campaign described as a "seven-figure national ad buy" criticizes Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, for blocking legislation on prescription drugs.

The DCCC ads will air in the Detroit market, according to a press release.

"Democrats in Congress passed a bill to lower drug costs and make health care more affordable," the ads say. "It’s time for Mitch McConnell and the Republicans to start working for us. Not the special interests."

House Democrats passed a bill in December that would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and offer new benefits for seniors, according to the Associated Press. The Senate has been working on its own prescription drug price plan. 

cmauger@detroitnews.com