Around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, as acting ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. was telling the House Intelligence Committee that an aide heard President Donald Trump through the phone asking European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland about “the investigations," Trump campaign spokesman Nina McLaughlin fired off an email 

“It’s important to note just how much of a sham Ann Kuster, Chris Pappas, and the rest of House Democrats have made this impeachment charade,” she wrote, terming the hearings a “partisan witch hunt.”

Josie Albertson-Grove - Granite Status

New Hampshire Reps. Kuster and Pappas are not members of the House Intelligence Committee and were not part of Wednesday’s hearings. Both have said they support the inquiry, but neither has said they will vote to impeach.

“While I have not prejudged the outcome,” Kuster wrote in a statement, “I trust the constitutional process and I believe that this inquiry is a crucial step to protect our national security and our democracy.”

As Taylor and assistant deputy Secretary of State George Kent were testifying, Kuster was busy in another committee, her office said, working on legislation around prescription drug prices and youth tobacco use.

Pappas was otherwise occupied Wednesday in a Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, his office said. The day before, two veterans-issues bills Pappas introduced with Republican legislators passed in the House.

“I remain focused on the issues that First District residents care about most,” Pappas said in a statement, but said he was following the process closely.

2020 governor’s race

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is preparing to wade into the 2020 governor’s race. The association, an arm of the Democratic Party, supports candidates in gubernatorial races.

“We view New Hampshire as a top pick-up opportunity,” said David Turner, the association’s communications director. “We view Gov. Chris Sununu as really vulnerable.”

He said he thought Sununu’s post-legislative-session strategy of highlighting his vetoes of paid family leave, higher minimum wage and three gun control bills would work against him.

“We feel like we have a good opportunity to take advantage,” he said.

Turner said the association would not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary — state Sen. Dan Feltes and Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky are both running — but would work with the state Democratic party to prepare for the general election, with a focus on Sununu’s record.

Joe Sweeney, a spokesman for the state Republican party, scoffed. “I think they said the same thing in 2018, and then the DGA did nothing in New Hampshire,” he said. “People in New Hampshire like Gov. Chris Sununu.

In other blood-in-the-water news, the Republican National Committee and a 501 (c)(4) or “dark money” group called the American Action Network are both buying ads criticizing Pappas this week. Both groups term Pappas vulnerable in 2020 — though no one has yet announced a run against him.

Mayor Pete draws comparisons

During his weekend tour of New Hampshire, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg was working to draw comparisons to former President Barack Obama — he too was a young man with a funny name, full of hope for the future, Buttigieg said on the stump.

This weekend, the campaign is holding a volunteer training in New London, dubbed the “Pete Summit.” Eugene Chow, a New Hampshire spokesman for the Buttigieg campaign, compared the effort to the “Camp Obama” training in Chicago in 2007.

This probably isn’t the comparison Buttigieg is looking for, but you know who else has been training a lot of volunteer organizers? The Trump campaign. About 75 women attended a training earlier this month in Hampton Beach — and volunteer training has followed several campaign events and protests around the state.

Unexpected guest

An unexpected guest showed up at the New Hampshire GOP’s fundraising dinner Wednesday: Anthony Scaramucci, one-time White House communications director-turned-Trump foe.

We’re told he paid at the door.

The Mooch was introduced along with Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., in town to file his candidacy papers Thursday to run against Trump in the Republican presidential primary.

He was met with a mix of cheers and boos from the gathered Republicans — mostly boos.

Contact Josie Albertson-Grove at jgrove@unionleader.com. Granite Status is published every Thursday.

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