Tag Archives: Bill Clinton

This impeachment thing appears to be growing more tentacles

As I seek to follow the ongoing impeachment crisis threatening the presidency of Donald Trump, I am getting a sense that the story is getting bigger than many Americans would prefer.

Just three weeks ago we learned about a phone call that Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodormyr Zellenskiy in which he sought a favor from Ukraine in exchange for releasing money to help Ukrainians fight Russian aggressors.

The phone call prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch an impeachment inquiry. The thought as I understood at the time was that the House would move rapidly toward an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving. It would be a narrowly focused matter: whether the president violated his oath by seeking foreign government help in his re-election and seeking foreign help in digging up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential foe in the 2020 presidential election.

Now it seems as if this story is getting many more tentacles.

Trump appeared to suggest that the vice president, Mike Pence, had conversations with Ukrainians as well; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at first denied knowledge of the Trump-Zellenskiy phone conversation, then acknowledged he was “on the call”; questions have now arisen about Turkey and whether the president’s decision to abandon our allies in Kurdistan in the fight against ISIS is somehow related to a Trump Towers deal in Istanbul.

My head is spinning, man.

Does all of this come together quickly? Can there be an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving? Can the Senate commence a trial and make a decision by, say, spring 2020? Is all of this getting so muddy that we won’t have a resolution until after the 2020 presidential election?

As if it needed to get more complicated. The juxtaposition of a re-election fight and an impeachment muddies matters beyond anything the nation has experienced. President Clinton was a lame-duck second-term president when the House impeached him in 1998; President Nixon was in the same boat when the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment in 1974. Neither man faced re-election.

This whole scenario is vastly different. Moreover, it keeps growing in its complexity as more Cabinet officials get sucked into the debate over what they knew and when they knew it.

I need something to settle my nerves.

I also want this saga to end — either through impeachment and Senate conviction, or at the ballot box — with Donald Trump vacating the Oval Office for a final time.

Impeachment has nothing to do with success

Donald Trump keeps yapping and yammering the same thing repeatedly.

House Democrats “can’t impeach” a president who presides over the “best economy in history,” or someone who has managed to “restore and rebuild our military that had been depleted,” or is “making America great again.”

Actually, the House of Representatives can impeach a successful president. The House did that very thing in 1998 when it impeached President Clinton for far less than what is on the table today. Clinton lied to a grand jury about a sexual relationship he had with a White House intern. That was all House Republicans needed to hear. They impeached the president, who then stood trial in the Senate, which acquitted him.

What were the presidential atmospherics at the time? Oh, let’s see: The president, working with a GOP-controlled Congress, managed to cobble together a balanced federal budget; private-sector payrolls were exploding; we were at peace, relatively speaking.

The House still impeached the president.

You see, the president’s job performance has not a damn thing to do with whether he deserves to be impeached.

I am more than willing to accept that Donald Trump has presided over a successful economic condition. However, the House is considering whether to impeach him over improper contacts he has had with foreign governments and whether he sought foreign help in his re-election effort and whether he has asked foreign governments for dirt he can toss on the campaign of a potential presidential foe, former Vice President Joe Biden.

I won’t argue whether the current economic prosperity is facing any risk of imploding. As I said, the economy is not the issue. Nor is world peace. Nor are any of the issues on which a president can claim credit.

Impeachment is a narrowly focused political exercise. Its aim is to determine whether a president has committed a “high crime and misdemeanor” while serving in the nation’s highest office. There appears to be ample evidence of the commission of such a transgression.

None of this will result in Donald Trump changing his tune. He’ll keep blathering about what a great job he has done, apparently thinking that enough Americans will buy into it and suggest that all that happy talk means it’s all right for a president to solicit foreign interference in our electoral process.

Actually, it isn’t all right. It is an offense worthy of impeachment, conviction and removal from office.

Just think … they impeached Bill Clinton for lying about sex!

If there is a hint of reflection among congressional Republicans who are resisting calls to impeach Donald J. Trump on allegations that he is endangering national security, they need to ponder what their political forebears did 20 years ago.

President Bill Clinton in 1998 became the subject of a special prosecutor’s probe into a real estate deal in Arkansas, where Clinton served as governor before he was elected president in 1992. The investigation broadened way beyond its initial mandate.

Prosecutor Kenneth Starr then started sniffing out reports of a relationship Clinton had with a White House intern. He summoned the president to testify before a federal grand jury about that relationship. Clinton took an oath to “tell nothing but the truth.” He didn’t uphold that oath. He committed an act of perjury because, apparently, he was too embarrassed to reveal what went on with him and the intern.

Congressional Republicans decided to launch an “impeachment inquiry” into that matter. They then impeached the president ostensibly for committing a felony: that would be perjury.

However, the complete impeachment context has to include sex. The House impeached Clinton because he had a sexual relationship with a young woman working in the White House.

The Senate acquitted Clinton in the trial it held.

Here we are, two decades later.

Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry of his own. The allegations are no longer really allegations. Trump has said it out loud, that he has sought help from Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. He doubled down after that by saying China should do the same thing.

What’s more, Trump withheld arms shipments to Ukraine until it agreed to aid in his re-election effort. Those shipments include weapons Ukraine wants to deploy against Russian troops who have invaded Ukraine.

Ukraine is an ally. Russia is an adversary. Hmm. Can you say, “national security threat”?

Republicans in the House and Senate so far have been far too reluctant to climb aboard the impeachment hay wagon. These folks, I need to remind everyone, belong to the same political party of those who were so very quick to impeach an earlier president for lying to a grand jury.

What in the name of constitutional defense is more critical: a president’s personal misbehavior or a president who violates his oath to adhere to the nation’s governing framework?

Where is the GOP outrage over this fundamental betrayal?

Republicans in Congress continue to astonish and astound me.

We see a growing mountain of evidence that the president of the United States, Donald John Trump, has betrayed the oath he took when he became president. He vowed to defend the Constitution, then he — by his own admission — solicits foreign government help in getting re-elected, something that the Constitution expressly forbids.

Almost all of Trump’s GOP allies in Congress remain silent. They express no outrage over this blatant, purposeful flouting of the Constitution … which they all vow to defend and protect!

OK, a few of them have spoken out. Sen. Mitt Romney is one. So is Sen. Ron Johnson. And Sen. Ben Sasse. The rest of ’em? Silence, man!

Think back just a few years ago when President Barack Obama showed up in the White House press room wearing a tan suit. Do you remember the GOP response then? I do. They worked themselves into a virtual frenzy over the alleged “disrespect” the president showed by wearing something other than a dark suit while speaking to the nation on matters of state.

Indeed, Republicans also got mighty worked up in 1998 when another president, Bill Clinton, lied to a grand jury about an affair he was having with a young White House intern. Why, we can’t have a president who acts as if he is “above the law,” they said then. The House of Representatives impeached him, then put him on trial in the Senate, which then acquitted the lame-duck president of the charges brought against him.

Where in the name of constitutional protection is the righteous outrage now?

Have these individuals been taken hostage by the cult of personality that Donald Trump has developed and nurtured while serving as president of the United States?

The president put his hand on a Bible and swore to God Almighty he would protect and defend the nation’s governing document. He has failed to keep that pledge.

Where is the outrage?

It’s easy, Mr. POTUS: you get impeached for violating your oath

Mr. President, a recent tweet from you compels me to offer an answer.

You wrote this, which I want to share with readers of this blog: How do you impeach a President who has created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country, entirely rebuilt our Military into the most powerful it has ever been, Cut Record Taxes & Regulations, fixed the VA & gotten Choice for our Vets (after 45 years), & so much more?…

I have an answer.

An impeachment has nothing to do with all the assorted duties of your office. It has, in this instance, everything to do with whether you have violated your oath.

A lot of folks in Congress — not to mention tens of millions of Americans — believe you are guilty of violating your oath.

You took an oath to defend the Constitution and to protect Americans against our enemies. Then this past summer you chatted up the Ukrainian president, who thanked you for the assistance you had given to his government’s struggle against the Russian aggressors. During that conversation, the Ukrainian head of state sought assurance that would provide arms to help Ukraine fight the Russians. You said, sure … but then you said had a favor to ask “though.” You wanted help with your re-election effort and you sought that help from a foreign government and you wanted that government to dig up dirt on a potential foe.

There’s your impeachable offense, Mr. President.

All that other stuff about the economy, the military, taxes, veterans issues, regulations have nothing to do with what we’re discussing.

Bill Clinton was impeached, too, because he lied to a grand jury about his dalliance with the intern. Meanwhile, the economy was rocking along; he worked with Congress to balance the federal budget. President Clinton was doing a good job, but Republicans impeached him anyway. Or don’t you remember that?

I don’t yet know how I feel about whether the House should proceed with impeaching you, Mr. President. I’m struggling with that one.

Here’s the deal, though: Impeachment has nothing to do with the job you are doing. Oh, I guess I should say that you are overstating your accomplishments. You forgot to mention pi**ing off our allies, failing on your promise to make Mexico pay for The Wall and the litany of insults and innuendo you have hurled at your foes.

But you did ask just how we could impeach a president who’s done all you claim to have done.

I hope I have answered it for you.

Mr. President, you have violated your sacred oath.

Impeachment story is giving me fits

I have to admit something that makes me highly uncomfortable: The impeachment saga involving Donald John Trump is giving me fits.

I do not know on which side of the fence to plant myself. To proceed full bore toward impeachment. Or to put impeachment on the back shelf and wait for the 2020 election to play itself out.

Trump deserves to be impeached. Of that I am certain. He asked a foreign head of state for help in his re-election effort; he sought that help while seeking to do damage to Joe Biden, a potential 2020 election opponent. Moreover, he seems to have withheld a military aid package in exchange for the help he sought from the Ukrainian president.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has switched gears. She once resisted impeachment. She now has called for an “inquiry” into whether Trump should face impeachment.

Oh, the dilemma.

Does the speaker now want to risk the consequences of impeaching Trump in the House only to have the Senate acquit him?

Impeachment is a highly political process. Its aim is to remove someone from office. If one doesn’t get the boot after being impeached, then the process is deemed a failure.

Then there is this complication of embarking on an impeachment trek in the middle of an election year. How in the world does this play out?

Two presidents have been impeached already. The first one, Andrew Johnson, had inherited the office upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. There was no provision for selecting a vice president in 1868. Johnson escaped conviction by a single vote after a Senate trial. The House impeached Bill Clinton in 1998. He already had won re-election to a second term, so there was no election awaiting him. He, too, was acquitted by the Senate.

Trump is running for re-election under this storm cloud of doubt and despair.

Thus, my stomach is turning. My head is spinning.

I support impeachment at one level because Donald Trump has violated his oath of office. Then again, my more cautious side compels me to believe it might be wiser to defeat this con artist/flim-flammer/fraud at the ballot box in November 2020. If he loses, then pursue criminal charges against him after he leaves office. If he wins, dust off the impeachment portfolio of evidence and go full bore yet again.

I hate this story and the agony it is causing. I only can imagine what it must be doing to the principals.

How should an impeached POTUS fare on Election Day?

Donald J. Trump is facing an extraordinary political hurdle as he campaigns for re-election as president of the United States.

It has been revealed that Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zellenskiy chatted by phone and that Trump sought to hold up a pledge for military aide to Ukraine over a “favor” that would provide dirt on Joe Biden, a potential political rival.

Trump has been accused now of jeopardizing national security because the president is abusing the power of his office.

Congressional Democrats are hurtling toward impeaching the president. What happens if the House actually impeaches him by, say, Thanksgiving?

Here’s where the hurdle stands in his way: What happens if the House impeaches Trump while he is in the midst of a re-election campaign? This unprecedented territory!

President Nixon won re-election in a landslide in 1972 and then quit the presidency in 1974 as the House was preparing to impeach him over the Watergate burglary/cover up. President Clinton won re-election in 1996 and then got impeached in 1998 because he lied to a grand jury about his relationship with a young White House intern; he, like Nixon, had no more campaigns to wage.

Donald Trump’s predicament is unparalleled. If the House impeaches him, he might be forced to run for re-election while shrouded under the darkest of political clouds.

None of this, of course, presumes what the Senate will do were it to receive the formal complaint against the president. I am wondering whether it will move to conduct a trial quickly or wait until after the election … for reasons I don’t quite understand.

I remain a bit reluctant — although decreasingly so — to push the House to proceed with an impeachment. I still would prefer an election to determine whether Donald Trump stays in office. However, the evidence of wrongdoing, corruption and frightening abuse of power well might compel the House to act rapidly.

Will it impeach the president as he prepares to run for re-election?

If it does, I will wait with bated breath to see how Donald Trump seeks to use an impeachment as a reason to re-elect him.

Hold on. This well might get mighty rough.

No, Rep. Turner … impeachment is no ‘assault on electorate’

U.S. Rep. Michael Turner offered a preposterous assertion today while preparing to question acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on the matter involving Donald Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president.

The phone call has accelerated calls among congressional Democrats to impeach the president, citing allegations that he has solicited a political favor from a foreign head of state.

Rep. Turner, a Republican from Ohio, said that any impeachment of the president would be “an assault on the electorate” as well.

I heard it this morning. My jaw dropped.

Impeachment is no … such … thing. It is not an assault on the electorate.

Let’s back up a bit through history.

President Nixon got caught covering up a scandal involving the Watergate break-in. He was re-elected in a historic landslide in 1972, winning 49 states and rolling up about 62 percent of the vote.

Congress didn’t get around to investigating the scandal until 1973. Then in 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against the president. He resigned shortly thereafter. Was that impeachment effort an assault against an electorate that voted overwhelmingly to re-elect him? No. It was an act of righteous anger by Congress over the president’s abuse of power.

President Clinton was summoned to testify before a federal grand jury in 1998. He took an oath to tell the truth, then he lied to the grand jury about a relationship he had with a White House intern. House Republicans declared that a president who perjured himself was unfit for the office. They impeached him after he had been re-elected by an Electoral College landslide and after he won a healthy plurality of the vote among Americans.

Was the Clinton impeachment an “assault on the electorate”? No. It was, according to the GOP, an effort to preserve the sanctity of the law that all Americans are obligated to obey.

Donald Trump’s troubles center on allegations that he has violated the Constitution by soliciting a political favor from a foreign head of state. According to the notes of a phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, Trump well might have held up military aid funds in exchange for dirt on a potential political foe, former Vice President Joe Biden.

An “assault on the electorate”? Hardly. Let me remind y’all that Trump got fewer votes than his 2016 opponent, but managed to squeak out an Electoral College victory. Yes, he was elected according to the Constitution, but this impeachment effort does not constitute an assault on an electorate, a minority of whom voted for the president.

This effort needs to play out. Rep. Turner, furthermore, needs to focus on the issue before him and stop making dubious assertions about “assaults” on the American electorate.

Do not worry about U.S. government’s strength

Donald Trump can boast all he wants about how impeachment is “good” for his re-election chances and for the Republican Party. The truth has to be that in his private moments he is worried to the max.

To be candid, so am I. So should the rest of the country be worried about the course on which this man’s presidency is about to take.

It’s about impeachment, man!

The House of Representatives has taken on this task three times in the nation’s history: Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton all have traveled down this perilous path.

Johnson and Clinton both were impeached and acquitted in Senate trials; President Johnson survived by a single Senate vote, by the way. Nixon quit the presidency as the House Judiciary Committee submitted articles of impeachment to the full House of Representatives.

Now it well might be Donald Trump’s turn.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed sadness at what she has announced, that the House will launch a full “impeachment inquiry.” Yes, she should be sad. So should the rest of us, even those of us who out here who detest the man who occupies the office we hold so dear.

He has denigrated, defaced and disgraced the office. He has insulted our allies, stood shoulder to shoulder with some of our international opponents, some of whom are dictators/killers/tyrants. His behavior has been reprehensible.

Now we hear reports that he allegedly sought a foreign government’s help in bringing down one of his political foes at home.

Is this the kind of thing that gives anyone joy? Are we supposed to cheer the prospect of the House traipsing down the impeachment path? Hah! No. We aren’t.

We should be sad. We should be worried.

I don’t worry about our system of government. Our nation’s founders crafted a system built to withstand this kind of tumult and turbulence. Indeed, as President Ford told us during his inaugural address moments after being sworn in after President Nixon left the White House for the final time, “Our Constitution works.”

If the House proceeds with impeachment, the burden then falls on the Senate to conduct a trial.

Therein rests what I consider to be where this matter could derail. Republican senators who comprise a Senate majority do not appear at this moment ready to join their Democratic colleagues in convicting the president of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

This will play out over time. It will get ugly. It will soil and sully our system of government and our politics.

It will sadden all of us as we await an outcome. However, I will argue that we shouldn’t worry about the strength of the government system under which this drama will unfold.

How about an independent probe into Epstein death?

Jeffrey Epstein was under the “watchful eye” of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was being held in a Manhattan jail cell. He was arguably the most notorious criminal in federal custody, a guy who needed the DOJ’s relentless and unblinking attention.

Then he hangs himself. The DOJ is denied the opportunity to put a known pedophile on trial for allegations of sex trafficking underage girls.

The multimillionaire also had two high-profile relationships, with Bill Clinton and Donald Trump … a former and current president of the United States.

Now we hear from Attorney General William Barr blasting to smithereens the security detail at the Manhattan jail. He has called Epstein’s death a monumental failure.

Really, Mr. AG? Well, who is responsible for that failure? I contend that the AG himself is to blame. This happened on Barr’s watch.

The medical examiner has reportedly determined Epstein’s cause of death. There appears to be no evidence of “foul play,” or so we’re led to believe. I won’t join conspiracy theorists who have ideas and notions aplenty about what happened to Epstein.

However, does the DOJ investigate itself? Does the Justice Department look deeply into this a**hole’s death?

I don’t know how the DOJ does that. Nor do I accept that the department can peel away all the layers to expose the truth behind what happened to this guy.

Epstein was put on suicide watch in late July after he was found unconscious in his cell; he reportedly had ligature marks on his neck, suggesting an attempt at hanging himself. Then they removed the suicide watch. Then we hear that the security staff was overworked and didn’t keep an eye on this bastard at all times, allowing him to string himself up inside the jail cell.

That sounds like incompetence. I believe the incompetence goes far beyond the walls of that correctional facility.

Attorney General Barr needs to step aside. He needs to find an independent investigator to take over and determine how such a high-value, high-profile and infamous prisoner can kill himself while he’s in the hands of a federal agency charged with keeping him alive while his notorious case works its way toward adjudication.