Reid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid says he’s cancer free White House gets jolt from strong jobs report Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump MORE (D-Nev.) is warning Democrats not to underestimate President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE in 2020.

“I used to think that Donald Trump was not too smart. I certainly don’t believe that anymore,” Reid told CNN’s David AxelrodDavid AxelrodMark Cuban says he’s decided not to run for president The Hill’s Campaign Report: Senate map shows signs of expanding The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump touts reopening as virus fatality forecasts trigger alarm MORE during an interview on “The Axe Files” aired late Saturday.

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“I don’t think he’s intellectually a powerhouse, but he is basically a very, very smart man,” he added. “No matter what the subject, any argument he involves himself in, it’s on his terms. You’re always arguing against him. He’s never, never willing to debate an issue on terms that aren’t his.”

When asked what advice he would give to a candidate running against Trump, Reid responded: “Well, what I say initially and I say it right here in your show, anyone that thinks Trump’s going to be beaten easily should have another think coming.”

Reid also weighed in on the Ukraine scandal that’s sparked an impeachment inquiry against Trump, saying the president’s actions can’t go “unpunished.”

Reid said the “evidence is very clear” that Trump was withholding aid to Ukraine to pressure its president to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE and his son.

After Axelrod noted there is “almost zero chance” Trump would be convicted in the upper chamber, Reid also  said he is disappointed with what the Senate has become.

“I’m also tremendously disappointed in what the Republican senators have not become. They have not become the Mark Hatfields of the world, the John Chafees, the John Heinze who are Republican senators who did what they thought was the right thing to do,” he said.

“And we have these Republicans who are afraid to speak out against things that he does that are absolutely wrong and they know they’re wrong. The only person we’ve gotten to say anything is Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMilley discussed resigning from post after Trump photo-op: report Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Attorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury MORE and [Ben] Sasse who said something out of Nebraska. Other than that, they don’t say anything.”

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–This report was updated at 1:31 p.m.

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