Tag Archives: Democrats

Where is the ‘impartiality’?

Oh, how I hate playing the “both sides are wrong” card. I feel I must do so in this instance.

Republican Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate’s majority leader, says he is not going to be an “impartial juror” when the Senate commences its trial over the articles impeachment filed against Donald J. Trump.

McConnell’s comments have drawn a rebuke from fellow Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who said she is “disturbed” by his approach to putting the president on trial.

Now comes the view of a senior Democratic senator, Dick Durbin, who criticizes his fellow Democrats for refusing to maintain their own impartiality.

Both sides are guilty? I suppose so.

All 100 senators are going to raise their right hands and take an oath to be impartial jurors when Chief Justice John Roberts administers the pledge. They will say “so help me, God” at the end of the oath, which gives the pledge an air of sanctimony.

Will they be loyal to that sacred oath? Have they made up their minds to convict or acquit Trump? Is there a truly impartial mind among the 100 senators who will sit in judgment of Donald Trump? Or have every one of them pre-determined the president’s guilt or innocence, determining whether he has committed impeachable offenses?

Those of us on the outside have the liberty to make these determinations prior to hearing evidence. We’re not elected public officials. Those folks have the power to remove the president, or to keep him in office. They must maintain their impartiality for as long as they are hearing the case being presented.

I worry now that the trial that’s about to commence — hopefully sooner rather than too much later — will be akin to a sideshow with senators on both sides of the great divide guilty of the same sin.

House members are not listening to each other

Congressional Democrats are yapping about their desire to impeach the current president of the United States, Donald Trump.

Congressional Republicans are yammering about their opposition to their colleagues on the other side of the House floor.

They all are talking past each other. No one is listening to a word those on the other side are saying. Their minds are made up. They are making brief speeches. I suppose they are looking for a moment to shine before Americans who might be watching on TV. I happen to one of them.

I am not being persuaded by congressional Republicans. Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, are preaching to the proverbial choir.

The exercise we are witnessing on the floor of the House of Representatives is a waste of time. It’s time to vote. Impeach the president and send this matter down the hall to the Senate.

What about the other side?

My friends on the left — those who, as I do, support the impeachment of Donald Trump — will not like what I am about to say. They will accuse of me invoking that “both-siderism” mantra.

Fairness dictates that I say it. So, here goes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and many of his Republican acolytes deserve the criticism they are receiving for their unwillingness to look at all the evidence before deciding to find Trump not guilty of the transgressions that the House of Representatives will send to them.

However, those on the other side — the individuals who have decided to convict the president — are guilty of being as close-minded as those across the aisle.

I have heard countless Democratic senators say the same thing that McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham and other GOP senators have said, which is that they have seen enough already to make up their minds.

All 100 senators are going to take an oath when the Senate trial commences. The oath will pledge them to look with impartiality and without bias at all the evidence they will hear when the House managers and Trump’s legal team present their cases.

I am willing to concede that I have seen and heard enough to make up my own mind. Then again, I am not among the 100 Senate “jurors” who will take that oath. I am free to state my own bias, my own view and offer my own conclusion.

U.S. senators don’t have that luxury. For them, be they Democrat or Republican, to declare their intention before hearing a single word of testimony in a Senate trial is, shall we say, a violation of the oath they will take.

The irony is that they will sit in judgment of a president who’s been accused of doing the very same thing.

Irony awaits impeachment conclusion

There’s a certain sense of irony associated with what is about to happen in the U.S. House of Representatives and then in the U.S. Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed an impeachment inquiry for as long as she could, believing that impeaching Donald Trump would divide the nation more than it is already divided.

Then came that infamous phone call of this past July and the request from the president for Ukraine to help him with a personal political favor. Trump wanted to hold up some key military aid to Ukraine — which wanted it to fight the Russian-backed rebels — until Ukraine delivered on the favor; he wanted to find dirt on a potential political foe, former Vice President Joe Biden.

That did it! said Pelosi. We have to impeach the president. More to the point, she said we had to look into whether there are sufficient grounds to impeach him.

To my way of thinking — and to the thinking of millions of other Americans — the House found sufficient reason to impeach him. House members came up with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It’s as clear to me as the day is long.

Yet, the division remains. Democrats are virtually all in. Republican are virtually all opposed to what Democrats want to do.

So, the House will impeach Trump on two articles of impeachment. The Senate will conduct a trial. As near as anyone can tell, Democrats will have enough votes to send the matter to the Senate. Republicans, though, are in control of the upper chamber, so they’ll find Trump “not guilty.”

You see the irony? Pelosi’s fear of a divided nation is coming true — even in the face of what many of us consider to be overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump should be thrown out of office for putting his personal political fortunes ahead of the national interest.

What do you know? Dems and Repubs can work together!

The atmosphere in Washington, D.C. has gotten beyond toxic, with the impeachment of the president on the horizon. Democrats and Republicans can’t say anything nice to or about each other these days.

But wait! Amid all that impeachment rancor, exacerbated I should say by Donald Trump’s incessant and relentless Twitter barrage, we see the parties working together to craft a new North American trade agreement.

It’s called the USMCA, which is shorthand for a trade agreement among the United States, Mexico and Canada. It replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement that was hammered out by the Clinton administration.

Donald Trump vowed to scrap NAFTA and replace it with something else. He vowed to craft the best deal in human history. The president hasn’t quite delivered the goods all by himself. It turns out he needed some legislative help not just from his Republican allies, but also from his Democratic foes, er, enemies.

I haven’t yet studied the USMCA, but I understand it’s supposed to benefit Texas business interests, given our lengthy border with Mexico. It also contains some environmental protections that progressives wanted in a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

However, the good news amid all the toxicity that infects everything in D.C. these days is that both political parties can lay claim to a victory … that isn’t at the other party’s expense.

That’s not a bad outcome.

Trying to understand why it’s different now … with Trump

I don’t understand many things. They fly over my head and I am left just to scratch it and say, “Huh?”

One of those items concerns the pending impeachment of Donald Trump. Congressional Republicans are digging in against the impeachment; congressional Democrats are just as fervent in their belief that Trump has committed an impeachable act … or three.

I keep circling back to the most recent presidential impeachment, which occurred in 1998. Bill Clinton got impeached by the House of Representatives, which then was led by the GOP. Republicans had been looking for a reason to file articles of impeachment against the Democratic president almost from the moment he took office in 1993.

Then they found that reason: He lied to a grand jury about an affair he was having with a White House intern. The president took an oath to tell the truth; he violated that oath; the GOP said “aha!” … there’s your impeachable offense.

So the House impeached him. Why? Because he was too embarrassed to admit to messing around with a much-younger woman.

It had not a thing to do with his governance. It affected not a single policy decision. There were no matters of state or statecraft involved. He allowed a young woman to, um, pleasure him and then lied about it before a duly constituted grand jury.

One of the House impeachment “managers,” a young congressman named Lindsey Graham, bellowed righteously that an impeachment was necessary to restore the dignity of the office, which the president had besmirched with his conduct.

That congressman is now a senator and will be one of 100 jurors who will decide the fate of a fellow Republican, Donald Trump. His attitude now? He’s not interested in seeing any of the classified testimony from the witnesses who talked to the House Intelligence Committee. He’s made up his mind. The impeachment inquiry is a “joke,” he said.

Case closed. He don’t need to hear no stinking evidence. 

Therein rests the source of my confusion. Republicans who wanted to pry into the nitty gritty of a president’s personal life now sound as if they are disinterested in knowing the details into how another president might have compromised national security over a political favor he sought from a foreign government.

Which is the worse allegation? I would place my money on the possibility that my president offered a bribe to a foreign leader, which the U.S. Constitution spells out — by name — as a crime against the state.

I just don’t get it.

No need to wait for more witnesses; proceed with impeachment

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee has done its job. It has produced evidence to persuade millions of Americans — including me — that Donald Trump deserves to be the third president to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

So, with that I believe it is time for the House Judiciary Committee to begin drafting articles of impeachment. Then then panel needs to air it out in public, take a vote and if most of panel members agree with the articles to submit them to the full House for a vote.

Donald Trump has sullied the presidency, has committed violations of his oath, has committed impeachable acts … in my view! I know, there are others who think differently, which gets me to why I believe the time has arrived to get this matter settled.

After all we heard, the Republican resistance to impeachment seemingly has stiffened. If the GOP members of the House aren’t persuaded now to impeach this criminally negligent president, then they won’t be persuaded by anyone else who could come forward.

Almost anyone who has paid attention to this matter understands that it likely will be a partisan vote to impeach Trump in the House; there might be one or two Democrats who’ll vote “no.”

There might be a House vote completed by Christmas. Then it goes to the Senate, where the GOP resistance to doing the right thing is just as fierce as it is in the House.

Trump isn’t likely to be convicted in the Senate trial. Let’s put these individuals, all 535 of them in both legislative chambers, on the record. Do they endorse impeachment or do they oppose it? Put another way, do they stand for the Constitution or do they stand for the man who occupies the office of president, who in my mind has violated his oath to defend and protect it?

We must not have this Senate trial collide with the presidential election campaign. Several members of the Senate are running for president. They need to devote their energy to their effort to win their party’s nomination. Sure, they have a duty to administer justice in an impeachment trial. Let them do that duty and then release them to the campaign trail.

When should all this be completed? Hey, let’s try for, say, Easter.

We need not drag this process out any longer.

Let’s get on with it. Then let’s have that presidential — and congressional — election.

Both sides are digging in deeply

My aversion to making political predictions remains rock-solid, given my abysmal record in making them.

That said, this isn’t exactly a flash, but it seems more likely than ever that Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill aren’t going to change each other’s minds regarding the pending impeachment of Donald Trump.

We got a good look today at the intransigence on both sides. However, I am going steer clear of the “both siderism” argument here by declaring that congressional Republicans are those who need to have their heads examined.

William Taylor and George Kent sat before the House Intelligence Committee for about nine hours today. They answered questions from lawmakers on both sides. To my mind, they painted a clear picture of a president who sought foreign government assistance in helping his political future. He abused the power of his office. He has violated his oath of office. Donald Trump has committed an impeachable offense.

Republicans don’t see it that way. They say that even though what the president did was wrong, they don’t see his actions as impeachable. They are wrong. I believe the president deserves to be booted from office.

He likely won’t get the boot. The House impeachment will send this matter to the Senate. Republicans control the upper chamber. To convict the president of a crime against the Constitution would require a flip of 20 GOP senators. Most of them won’t budge.

Therefore, we are entering a most frustrating element in this process. It is that both sides are digging in. They both think they’re right. However, in this debate there only can be one correct side.

In my view, the winning argument belongs to the Democrats.

GOP demands more transparency … then rejects it!

I must have missed something in the translation.

Congressional Republicans have spent the better part of the past month or so trashing their Democratic colleagues because, they say, Democrats are conducting “secret” impeachment inquiry hearings into the conduct of Donald J. Trump.

Democrats are not doing anything in secret. Republican members of Congress have been taking part right along with Democrats as witnesses are deposed in private sessions.

So then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed suddenly this past week to hold a vote of the full House of Representatives to formalize the impeachment inquiry. The result of the vote will launch the public portion of the inquiry.

Yes, committees will open their hearings up to the public. Americans of all stripes will get to witness the hearings on TV in real time.

However, the vote that the House approved Thursday didn’t collect a single Republican vote. Not a one of ’em decided to endorse the public inquiry. What gives with that?

I feel the need to remind y’all that the vote in the House was to formalize the inquiry. It was not an impeachment vote. That will come later. Then again — even though it is highly remote — an impeachment vote might not occur. Suppose most of the House decides that they lack the evidence they need to decide on articles of impeachment.

I know. That seems so distant these days, given the mountain of evidence that is piling up that Donald Trump sought personal political favors from a foreign government. That is against the law and it violates the oath the president took. It’s impeachable, man!

Back to my original thought: If congressional Republicans demand more transparency in these hearings, why didn’t they vote for the measure that the Democratic House speaker laid at their feet?

Secrecy? What secrecy in impeachment probe?

Donald Trump and his Republican allies are yapping about “secrecy” in the impeachment inquiry underway in the House of Representatives.

They are all wet. They are dead wrong. They are blathering out of both sides of their mouths.

House committees are meeting behind closed doors. There is nothing “secret” about what’s going as they take depositions from witnesses with information to share regarding whether the president has committed potentially impeachable offenses.

All the committees are staffed fully by Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress. Their staffs are present, too. GOP lawmakers are able to ask questions of the witnesses, just as their Democratic colleagues are doing so.

What’s more, they are operating under rules established in 2015 by a GOP-led congressional majority.

These hearings are taking place the way the Watergate hearings commenced in 1973 and the way the “Benghazi hearings” occurred in 2012. House members took testimony in private then flung the doors open for the public to see and hear for itself much of what had been discussed in private.

Yet the Republicans are bitching about what they contend is an “illegal” impeachment inquiry. Give it a break, ladies and gentlemen of the right wing.

There will be a public moment or two of reckoning to take place. The House is going to open its doors in due course, possibly quite soon, for the public to see for itself what it is learning.

I am one American who is willing and quite anxious to see and hear what is occurring. I know the House will do what it has done before and what it is doing now under the rules it has established.

Republican attacks on the process seek to divert attention away from congressmen and women are examining. The process doesn’t worry me. What gives me pause and deep concern is what the process is going to produce.