Tag Archives: Bill Clinton

Where is the outrage?

Hang on just a doggone minute … or two!

Donald Trump flew on Air Force One this week with Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. They talked at length, reportedly, about this and/or that. Rosenstein at this moment is up to his eyeballs in an investigation involving the president’s 2016 campaign and whether it “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

I’ll now flash back to that election year. Former President Bill Clinton met on an airplane with then-AG Loretta Lynch. They reportedly talked about grandkids and other personal matters. The Justice Department was investigating that e-mail matter involving the ex-president’s wife, Hillary Clinton, who was running for president herself.

Republicans went ballistic. They became apoplectic, accusing the former president of trying to influence the AG. Indeed, the ex-president had no direct say in anything involving the DOJ.

GOP pols didn’t believe him and Loretta Lynch when they said they didn’t discuss anything about the e-mail matter.

Where is the outrage now, with the current president meeting at length with the current deputy AG who is involved in an on-going investigation into the president?

Hypocrisy, anyone?

Perjury: a SCOTUS dealbreaker for certain

The FBI has embarked on an investigation into whether Brett Kavanaugh is a suitable choice to take his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nominee stands accused of sexual assault. He has denied it vehemently. His accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, has affirmed her allegation with equal vehemence. He said, she said … blah, blah, blah.

The fate of Kavanaugh’s court nomination, however, might hinge on whether he lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee about how much beer he drank while he was in high school. No kidding, man! That’s the deal — maybe, perhaps, possibly.

If the FBI determines that he lied under oath to the Senate panel, well, it’s over. Kavanaugh shouldn’t be seated on the nation’s highest court.

Let us also remember that in 1998, the U.S. House of Representatives — led by its Republican majority — was looking for a reason to impeach President Bill Clinton. The president gave it to them when it was determined he lied — also under oath — to a federal grand jury about whether he had a sexual relationship with a White House intern.

The House impeached the president. The Senate tried him, but he was acquitted.

The clear lesson here for Judge Kavanaugh is that the oath he took to tell the whole truth before the Senate committee is every bit as binding as the oath that President Clinton took to tell the truth to the grand jury.

‘Great job’ doesn’t preclude impeachment

Donald J. Trump Sr. was in full rant mode in Billings, Mont., earlier this week.

He went to Montana to stage a campaign rally and then launched into a bizarre riff about the possibility of his being impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. He mentioned Rep. Maxine Waters, the Democrat who vows that Trump will be impeached. “I’m doing a great job,” Trump bellowed, wondering how he could be impeached even though his presidency — he says — is the most successful in the history of the republic.

Trump seems to assert that a president who does a “great job” shouldn’t be impeached. We can debate until hell freezes over whether Trump is doing anything approaching a great job. We’ll save that one for another day.

However, let’s review a bit of recent history … shall we?

President Bill Clinton also was doing a great job during his second term in the White House. The economy was on fire. We were heading toward a balanced federal budget. Joblessness was low. Times were good.

Then the president committed what Republicans believed was an impeachable offense. Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr was conducting a wide-ranging investigation that turned up a relationship that the president had with a young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Starr summoned the president to talk to a grand jury, which then asked him about the relationship. The president who took an oath to “tell the whole truth” didn’t tell the truth. He committed perjury.

Boom! There you have it! Republicans had their impeachable offense!

The House impeached the president who was doing a “great job.” Clinton went to trial in the Senate. He was acquitted on all charges.

So … for the current president to suggest that he shouldn’t be impeached because he’s doing a “great job” is to ignore recent political history.

Donald Trump well might be found to have committed an impeachable offense. Impeachment, let us remember, has nothing to do with the president’s performance in office. It has to do with conduct.

Sen. Graham then and now on impeachment

Darn that public domain. Sometimes it can come back and bite public officials in the backside.

Take it away, Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The South Carolina Republican once helped prosecute President Bill Clinton when the 42nd president was being impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. Graham was a House member at the time.

He said way back then, “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role.” He added, “Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell dug up Graham’s former view of impeachment. Of course, that was when a Democratic president got into trouble. The GOP lawmaker had a different view about impeachment than he does today.

It seems that Sen. Graham thinks a president must be charged with an actual crime to be impeached.

According to The Hill: Graham said in a statement Tuesday that “the American legal system is working its will” but that “there have yet to be charges or convictions for colluding with the Russian government by any member of the Trump campaign” after another Trump associate, Paul Manafort, was found guilty of eight charges related to financial crimes.

Which is it, Sen. Graham? O’Donnell is imploring reporters to question Graham carefully about his apparent change of heart, mind or whatever.

Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is now a convicted felon. There well might be much more to come from special counsel Robert Mueller as he continues his probe into Russian involvement in our 2016 presidential election.

As for Graham’s earlier statements about “cleansing” the presidency, I have to agree that the current president has soiled it in many ways. The current president is absolutely lacking in “honor and integrity” at almost any level one can imagine.

I certainly will await Sen. Graham’s explanation on how his view on the basis for impeachment has, um, evolved.

Pence’s values might come back to, um, haunt him

Vice President Mike Pence is considered generally to be a goodie-two-shoes. He’s a straight arrow, a man of impeccable moral rectitude.

He once wrote in the 1990s that presidents of the United States who are unfaithful to their spouses and lie to Americans should be removed from office post haste.

Interesting, eh? You bet it is!

Because now the vice president works in an administration led by serial philanderer and a pathological liar.

CNN reports: Pence made the argument in two columns in the late 1990s, where he wrote that then-President Bill Clinton’s admission of an affair with a White House intern and prior lies to the public about the matter, possibly under oath, meant Clinton should be removed from office.

There’s more from CNN: Dismissing the idea that the president is “just the like the rest of us,” Pence wrote, “If you and I fall into bad moral habits, we can harm our families, our employers and our friends. The President of the United States can incinerate the planet. Seriously, the very idea that we ought to have at or less than the same moral demands placed on the Chief Executive that we place on our next door neighbor is ludicrous and dangerous.

“Throughout our history, we have seen the presidency as the repository of all of our highest hopes and ideals and values. To demand less is to do an injustice to the blood that bought our freedoms.”
To my way of thinking, Donald Trump has devalued the presidency to levels I have not seen in all my years watching the office and the men who have occupied it.
What say you, Mr. Vice President, about the man in charge?

Hey, did POTUS break a law?

History may be about to repeat itself. I put the emphasis on “may be,” as in “maybe.”

The FBI seized papers and other material from former Donald Trump lawyer/friend Michael Cohen and then discovered a recorded evidence that he and Trump discussed payments to a former Playboy model who has contended she and Trump had an yearlong affair before Trump became president.

How is history repeating itself?

Follow the bouncing ball  …

The U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton in 1998 for committing perjury to a federal grand jury, which asked him about an affair the president was having with a White House intern; Clinton lied when he denied the relationship.

The House then learned about that infamous blue dress. The Republican majority then had its cause for impeachment: The president took an oath to follow the law; he didn’t when he lied to the grand jury. Thus, the impeachment.

Special counsel Robert Mueller now has all the evidence seized in that FBI raid of Cohen’s office. He recorded conversations with the president over the payment to the Playboy model, Karen McDougal.

Did the president, then, possibly violate campaign finance laws when he paid off the model, perhaps to keep her quiet, just as he paid the hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels? Did he break the law by failing to disclose the payment as required by law of those who are running for president?

Is there another law broken here? Are there, um, grounds for impeachment? It might sound specious to those who think the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.” Then again, there were those on the other side who said the same thing about the Kenneth Starr examination into President Clinton’s behavior.

To be sure, the GOP majority in the House isn’t likely to go along with an impeachment resolution. Democrats most certainly would, which then makes the upcoming congressional election all the more critical. Do you get my drift? Of course you do!

Conviction, quite clearly, is another matter — as the GOP found out in 1998 and as Democrats could learn in, say, 2019.

Yes, presidents can be investigated and indicted

Having offered admittedly muted praise for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, I now want to challenge an assertion he has made about whether presidents can be indicted.

He has changed his mind on that one. Kavanaugh once worked for Kenneth Starr while Starr was investigating President Clinton, who eventually got impeached for lying to a grand jury and for — that’s right — obstruction of justice.

Kavanaugh was up to his armpits in assisting the counsel’s task of finding criminality in a president’s behavior.

Then he switched gears. Kavanaugh has since written that presidents have too much to do, too much on their plate to be distracted by potentially criminal investigations. Let me think. Is he providing cover for, oh, the guy who nominated him to the Supreme Court?

Here’s my point.

Of course presidents can be investigated. They aren’t above the law. They must be held to the same standard as their constituents, which is the entire country.

President Clinton was able to perform his presidential duties while he was under investigation and, indeed, while he was being impeached by the House of Representatives and tried by the Senate.

The same is true for President Nixon, who was under investigation for myriad offenses relating to Watergate. The House Judiciary Committee passed articles of impeachment and then the president resigned. Was he able to do his job while all of this was occurring? Of course he was!

My strong hunch is that the Senate Judiciary Committee that will consider Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination will ask him directly and pointedly about what he thought while working for Kenneth Starr and what he thinks these days now that Donald Trump wants him to serve on the highest court in the land.

I hope someone on the panel asks him: What made you change your mind, Judge?

Hillary talked for hours; now it’s Trump’s turn

Evan McMullin, who ran for president as an independent in 2016, poses an interesting thought via Twitter.

McMullin wrote: Hillary Clinton testified to the House Benghazi Committee in public for 11 hours and won’t even sit with the special counsel for a minute. Now, why is that?

He might have posed his question rhetorically, but I think I can answer it for him.

I believe it’s because Donald Trump doesn’t want to get trapped into lying under oath, which I believe is entirely possible, if not probable.

You should recall that the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton in 1998 for lying to a grand jury. He took an oath to tell the truth. He didn’t. The House used perjury as the basis for its impeachment.

Special counsel Robert Mueller might want to summon the president to talk about whether his 2016 campaign colluded with Russians who interfered in our election. Trump, in my view, cannot tell the truth. He is not wired for truthfulness.

It’s dangerous for him to talk to a meticulous lawyer, such as Mueller.

Yes, POTUS can ‘obstruct justice’

I am not a lawyer, but you know that already.

However, I know enough about history to understand this basic truth: Presidents of the United States can “obstruct justice.” Indeed, two of them — Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon — were accused of obstructing justice. One of them got impeached partly on that accusation; the other came within a whisker of being impeached before he resigned the presidency.

Thus, I am baffled in the extreme by lawyers serving the current president who says he cannot obstruct justice because, well, he’s the president. They are saying in effect that Donald J. Trump is above the law.

I beg to differ. I offer a strenuous objection to the notion that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, cannot determine that Trump obstructed justice in the hunt for the truth behind “the Russia thing.”

I don’t quite understand the logic being offered by Trump’s legal team that suggests Mueller cannot accuse the president of obstructing justice. Trump himself has acknowledged on network television that he fired FBI Director James Comey because of “the Russia thing”; then he told Russian visitors to the Oval Office that his dismissal of Comey had relieved him of pressure from the Russia probe and whether the Russian government meddled in our 2016 presidential election.

To my way of thinking, that constitutes at the very least circumstantial evidence of obstruction, but I know that Mueller’s team doesn’t operate on circumstance; it needs hard evidence. Whether it comes up with anything actionable remains to be seen.

As the nation watches this investigation lurch toward some conclusion, many of us are conflicted about the argument being offered that the president can do anything he wants — because he is the president.

Richard Nixon famously told David Frost that very thing, that the president cannot break the law simply by virtue of his office. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee eventually saw it quite differently when it approved articles of impeachment against the president.

I am pretty sure the law hasn’t changed since the 1970s. The current president took the same oath to follow the law that all of his predecessors took. The law in my view allows for presidents to be accused of obstructing justice.

Where’s the outrage from the right?

Let’s flash back for just a moment.

In 2016, former President Bill Clinton encountered Attorney General Loretta Lynch on an airport tarmac. Clinton boarded Lynch’s airplane and supposedly talked about this and that, grandkids and assorted family matters. Clinton said they didn’t discuss anything pertaining to the e-mail matter; Lynch confirmed Clinton’s account of the encounter.

The Justice Department at the time was investigating the ex-president’s wife and her use of a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state. Oh, yes! Hillary Rodham Clinton also was running for president.

The right wing became unglued. Clinton sought to influence an on-going investigation, Republican operatives howled.

Should the ex-president have boarded the AG’s plane? No. The optics of it looked bad and President Clinton should have known better.

But then …

Just this week, a Republican politician, Donald J. Trump, “demanded” that DOJ investigate and investigation into Russian meddling in our 2016 election. He has leveled an accusation that the FBI spied on his campaign for “political purposes.”

So, the question is this: Where is the outrage over a sitting president interfering in an active Department of Justice investigation?

Trump’s demand seeks to undermine the DOJ, the FBI and the probe being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in our electoral process.

No outrage? No calls for yet another probe?

Weird.