Tag Archives: Congress

POTUS’s ‘goading’ continues at full throttle

At the risk of sounding as if I’m repeating myself: Donald Trump is really starting to pi** me off.

As in royally, man!

I happen to subscribe to the Speaker Nancy Pelosi doctrine of presidential impeachment. She doesn’t want to impeach the president. She knows how divisive such an act would be. She also can count votes.

The speaker likely has the votes in the House to actually approve articles of impeachment. The Senate, though, is far more problematic. Why? Because it is full of Republican cowards who are afraid to stand up to a president who is usurping their constitutional authority to investigate the executive branch of government.

And this is where my anger really boils at Donald Trump.

He has “instructed” a former White House counsel to skip a House committee hearing. The ex-counsel, Don McGahn — the guy who said Trump ordered him to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in an effort to obstruct the probe in the “Russia thing” — has agreed with the president. He won’t show up.

Therefore, we have another demonstration of presidential executive overreach.

The court system has declared that Trump must turn over his financial records to Congress; the president will defy that order, too.

Trump has instructed his entire White House staff to ignore congressional subpoenas, angering the legislative inquisitors even more.

Thus, we now have a situation that Pelosi described not long ago. Donald Trump is “goading” the House to impeach him knowing that he would survive a Senate trial that is still run by Republicans. Indeed, only one GOP House member has declared that Trump has committed offenses worthy of impeachment. The Senate GOP caucus? Crickets.

I get the argument that some are pushing that House Democrats have a “constitutional duty” to seek impeachment if the president continues to flout the law. I also understand the political consequences of the House impeaching and the Senate letting the president wriggle off the hook.

This guy, Donald Trump, is giving me a serious case of heartburn. No amount of Pepto is going to cure it.

Trump ‘goading’ Democrats to impeach him?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has initiated a most fascinating talking point, which is that Donald Trump is “goading” Democrats into impeaching him, that he wants it because of the divisive impact it would have on the nation.

You know what? I happen to agree with her.

Pelosi stands against the idea of impeaching Trump. She can’t count votes. There likely are enough House votes to impeach Trump, but Pelosi doesn’t believe — and neither do I — that the Republican-controlled Senate would convict Trump in a Senate trial.

Trump knows it, too.

So he’s denying House and Senate committees any access to anything or anyone to answer questions about the Robert Mueller report. He is usurping congressional prerogatives granted the legislative branch in the U.S. Constitution. Congress wants to exercise its authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch.

Trump is now wanting the House to impeach him, or is daring House members to attempt such a move?

Pelosi has signed on to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s assessment that we have entered into a constitutional crisis. I believe them both. We have. It is going to get even uglier.

So here we go. The chaos president — as some have described him — is taking headlong into a maelstrom that suits this carnival barker just fine.

This is how you “make America great again”?

Hah!

Chairman Nadler: We are in a constitutional crisis

I believe I will stand with U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who today declared that the United States of America has become ensnared in a “constitutional crisis.”

Is it worse than, say, the crisis that led to President Clinton’s impeachment in 1999? Or worse than the Watergate matter that came within one House vote of impeaching President Nixon, before the president resigned in 1974?

I do not know how bad this has gotten.

However, I believe Chairman Nadler is correct. We are in a crisis of a highly serious nature. The Judiciary Committee had just voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress before Nadler made his “constitutional crisis” declaration.

Donald John Trump has stuck it in the ear of Congress, invoking “executive privilege” and denying lawmakers access to anything — or anyone — involved in matters relating to The Russia Thing.

The president is suggesting Congress has no power to carry out its constitutional duties. Attorney General William Barr has refused to release the complete and unredacted report filed by special counsel Robert Mueller — and has refused to testify before Nadler’s committee.

The fight is on!

Where it goes remains anyone’s guess at this point. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to oppose immediate impeachment procedures against the president. Why? She knows the danger of impeaching the president, only to have him walk away with an acquittal in a Senate trial. Pelosi can count votes as well as — or better than — most members of Congress. I happen to concur with her view about the impossibility of an impeachment, at least at this juncture.

None of that lessens the dangerous territory into which the nation is heading, according to Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

House Democrats are furious. Trump is angry with them. It has become a monumental game of chicken between the two co-equal branches of government. Neither side is likely to blink.

The end game well could produce the ugliest battle any of us have ever witnessed.

I don’t know about you, but I do not yet have the stomach to witness it. The potential for permanent damage to our system of government is scaring me sh**less.

Not sure how all this ends well for POTUS

I just don’t know how Donald John Trump’s stonewalling Congress is going end well for the president of the United States.

He is digging in on all fronts. No witnesses should testify before congressional committees; no documents are forthcoming; he wants to stop the special counsel, Robert Mueller, from testifying before Congress.

How does any or all of it not constitute an obstruction of justice?

The battle is coming. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler plans to file contempt of Congress complaints against Attorney General William Barr. Where it goes, of course, is anyone’s guess.

Unlike many previous presidents, this one seems resistant to “compartmentalizing” these relationships. He flies into rages at any challenge of the legitimacy of his election in 2016. He takes quite personally any criticism of any sort, from any source.

He has declared all-out war against Congress. He doesn’t understand, let alone appreciate, that the legislative branch of government has just as much power as the executive branch.

The collusion issue is a goner. Obstruction of justice remains in play.

Congress is seeking to assert its role in governmental oversight. One would think its Republican members — who comprise most of the Senate and a healthy minority of the House — would be willing to stand up for the legislative branch’s role. They aren’t. They are rolling over for the president.

Again, I must ask: How in the name of good government does this end well for the president?

Congressional toxicity is flaring to dangerous level

So . . . just how toxic is the atmosphere in Congress, if not in all of Washington, D.C.?

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff provided a critical example.

Committee Republicans today demanded that Schiff resign as chairman of the committee. Donald Trump has called on Schiff to quit Congress altogether. GOP Intelligence Committee member Mike Conaway of Midland said Schiff no longer has the standing to lead the committee and said he should resign immediately.

Schiff has been a stern critic of Donald Trump. He maintains that the president’s campaign did collude with Russians despite special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings to the contrary.

Schiff then took the microphone after Conaway’s lecture and gave it right back to his GOP colleagues. He held firm on his assertion that there was collusion. “You might say that’s all OK,” Schiff said. “You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I think it is immoral, I think it is unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt.”

Yes, it is highly toxic on Capitol Hill. The mood between Congress and the White House is equally toxic.

Why mention it? Because it seems different now than any era I can recall. President Bush 43 managed to maintain working relationships with the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy; President Reagan famously befriended House Speaker Tip O’Neill, his after-hours drinking buddy; President Bush 41 also maintained strong friendships with House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski; President Clinton managed to work with House Speaker Newt Gingrich to craft a balanced federal budget.

These days we hear Donald Trump calling Adam Schiff “pencil neck.” He is throwing out “traitorous” and “treasonous” terms to describe Democrats behavior during the special counsel’s probe into alleged collusion; and, yes, Democrats have tossed those terms at the White House, too.

Good government requires leaders of both political parties to find common ground. Dear reader, there ain’t a bit of commonality to be found these days. Anywhere!

It is going to get more divisive, more toxic the deeper we plow into the 2020 election season. After that remains anyone’s guess.

It is no fun — none at all — watching these men and women tear each others’ lungs out. Too many important matters are going unresolved because of the outright hatred one senses among politicians across the aisle that divides them.

Mo Brooks cites ‘Mein Kampf’? What the . . . ?

Of all the works that a member of the U.S. House of Representatives wanted to use to illustrate a point, he chooses to stand on the floor of the People’s House and invoke the words of the 20th century’s most despicable tyrant.

Wow! How do you process that one?

Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, sought to defend Donald Trump against Democrats’ attacks on him over the course of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into The Russia Thing. By now you know how that turned out: Mueller found no credible evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian goons who attacked our electoral system.

Why in the name of ethnic genocide does Brooks choose to reference passages to “Mein Kampf,” written in 1925 by the future chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler? Brooks cited a passage that Hitler used to talk about “the big lie,” which was a screed that sought to foment his upcoming campaign to launch the Holocaust against Jews.¬†Brooks sought to label Hitler and the Nazis as “socialists.” They were not. The National Socialist Party of Germany was a fascist organization bent on world conquest.

And think for a moment about the juxtaposition of where he did and who he was quoting.

It was in that very chamber where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Congress to declare a “state of war” between the United States and Japan after the “dastardly attack” that had occurred the prior day, Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.”

The next day, Germany declared war on the United States. The fight was on and the rest, as they say, was history.

And so Rep. Brooks chose to defend the current president of the United States with rhetoric penned by the monster who sought to eradicate Jews from Europe? He sought to conquer the world. He said the Third Reich would last a thousand years; he missed his goal by 988 years.

That a member of Congress would quote from such a monster on the floor of the nation’s Congress is a shameful act.

Trump’s victory dance takes on vengeful look

Donald Trump won a significant victory with Robert Mueller’s findings that the president’s campaign did not “collude” with Russians.

Now the president is launching what is looking like a revenge mission to strike back at those who he says have done him wrong.

We’re hearing reports that he is going after media personalities, media organizations, political foes, former intelligence officials who have been openly critical of him.

Wow! C’mon, Mr. POTUS. The man needs to accept the special counsel’s findings with a semblance of gratitude for the service he has done. Then he needs to get about the task of actual governing.

I shall point out that Democrats in Congress, not to mention millions of Americans beyond the Beltway, are upset with what Mueller has concluded. They wanted the special counsel to decapitate the Trump administration with a finding that said Trump’s campaign did collude with Russians.

The president characteristically has misstated the obvious. He said Mueller has given him “total exoneration.” No, he hasn’t done anything of the sort. Mueller said the obstruction of justice allegation has yet to be settled. Mueller said he didn’t find enough evidence to bring a complaint, but added that the absence of such evidence doesn’t clear the president.

I fear the matter has gotten muddied up even more.

Trump’s collusion battle appears over. The president can declare victory. He should have done so with a brief statement issued on White House stationery and then be done with it.

But . . . it’s not over.

Yes, we’re going to endure more pitched battles.

Help!

Mueller’s finding contains good news

I try to be a fair-minded fellow. I have been highly critical of the president of the United States, but I also am willing to acknowledge good news about him when it presents itself.

Robert Mueller III has determined that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign did not “collude” with Russians who sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

That is good news for the United States of America.

It means that Mueller’s exhaustive 22-month probe into alleged collusion came up empty. He found insufficient evidence to bring charges related to collusion, which is not by itself a criminal act.

Does this mean I think better of the president? Or does it mean that our electoral system isn’t in jeopardy from foreign hostile powers sowing discord and causing havoc? No. None of that is true.

Donald Trump is as unfit to be president today as he was prior to the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation and I will use this blog as a forum to make that point for as long as he sits in the Oval Office. What’s more, Mueller has determined — along with our nation’s intelligence professionals — that Russia indeed interfered in our election. That is a serious national security concern that needs our nation’s fullest attention.

Mueller’s findings have provided significant confirmation that Donald Trump was not a Russian “asset” who knowingly coordinated with Russia to disrupt our election.

Let’s also understand that the obstruction of justice matter — the other 800-pound gorilla — remains an open question. Mueller did not “exonerate” Trump on that score. He took a non-committal stance on whether the president obstructed justice in the search for the truth regarding “The Russia Thing.” Congress will have more to say on that matter, as will federal prosecutors working out of the Southern District of New York.

On the matter of collusion with Russia and whether the president and his campaign team conspired with the bad guys, well . . . that chapter appears to be closed.

Thus, irrespective of what it might mean for the president and his political future, Robert Mueller has delivered a healthy helping of good news for the country.

No high-fives, or condolences just yet

To those who support Donald Trump and those who oppose the president, I want to offer a word of caution for plainly different reasons.

The Trumpsters out there are high-fiving each other over Robert Mueller III’s submission of a report to Attorney General William Barr; he did so without recommending any further indictments into his probe of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians who attacked our electoral system.

They’re repeating the president’s mantra: no collusion.

Whoa! Hang on here, man!

We don’t know anything of what the special counsel’s report says.

The anti-Trump factions are expressing some level of disappointment. They wanted Mueller to deliver some heads — and maybe even some genitalia — on a platter when he turned in his report to Barr. That didn’t happen. Mueller didn’t recommend any more indictments.

To both warring camps I want to offer the same words of caution. It is premature to gloat or glower over what Mueller has completed.

We do no know a thing!

Are we clear? Good!

Join me in waiting for the AG to let Congress know what Mueller has submitted. I guarantee you that a federal government branch with 535 blabbermouths in both legislative chambers cannot possibly keep a secret.

Once they know . . . we’ll all know.

What if Trump changes his mind?

The thought occurs to me. Here goes . . .

Donald Trump has said he wants special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged collusion, conspiracy and obstruction of justice to be made public. The president said he doesn’t object to the public seeing what Mueller produces.

But the president is known to change his mind. Sometimes on a whim. On a dime. Without warning.

What might happen if after seeing an outline of the report’s findings the president changes his mind? Suppose he calls Attorney General William Barr and instructs the AG to keep the report from Congress. Don’t release it to the public.

My question: Would such an act constitute an impeachable offense?