Tag Archives: GOP

Acquittal doesn’t necessarily mean exoneration

Given what most of us out here in Flyover Country expect will happen — that the U.S. Senate won’t kick Donald Trump out of office — I want to offer a word of warning to fellow news junkies as to what we’re likely to hear from the president of the United States.

He will shout, scream and holler that the Senate has “exonerated!” him. He will declare that the Senate’s failure to clear the very high — justifiably so — bar set by the nation’s founders means that his impeachment was based on nothing at all.

That’s not how many of us see it.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump on allegations that he abused the power of his office and that he obstructed Congress. They made the case in convincing fashion; their evidence is enough to warrant his removal from office … in my view.

Trump sought political help from a foreign government and withheld military aid to that government until it provided a “favor, though” to him and his re-election team. He has instructed his staff to ignore congressional subpoenas. Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress? Done deal, man. Again, that’s my view.

The Senate won’t find 67 votes to convict Trump. So, he’s likely to say the Senate has “exonerated” him. No. It won’t. His expected acquittal only will signify that an insufficient number of senators saw fit to convict Trump of what I believe are impeachable offenses.

We need to hear from witnesses in this Senate trial. Yes, even if they are provide evidence that clears Trump of wrongdoing. Trump is fighting that idea, which tells me he is hiding something. Someone deserving of “exoneration” doesn’t go to Trump’s lengths to keep witnesses from testifying. Am I right?

The trial begins next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has named the “managers” who will prosecute this matter on behalf of the House. Senators will sit quietly in the chamber and listen to what everyone has to say.

Then they will vote. Trump will escape with a narrowly defined acquittal. He’ll holler he was “exonerated!”

The irony? That false claim will be yet another Donald Trump lie.

Waiting for the next ‘trial of the century’ … to date

It now appears that Americans won’t have too much longer to wait for the next trial of the century.

Pass the popcorn and the Pepto.

Donald Trump is about to stand trial in the U.S. Senate on grounds that he abused the power of the presidency and obstructed Congress. The House of Representatives impeached him on those grounds. The vote was largely partisan. The vote at the end of the Senate trial figures to be equally partisan. Trump will not be tossed out of office.

Dang it, anyhow! That’s how the system works.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today she will send the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week. She has instructed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to prepare for the selection of House “managers” who will prosecute the case against Trump.

OK, it appears that Trump’s escape from conviction is a done deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is going to violate the oath he and his colleagues will take to be “impartial” in their deliberation, has declared his intention work hand in glove with the White House. He’s taking his cue from Trump’s legal team.

There might be witnesses called. I say “might,” because it’s not assured. It damn sure should be required.

Trump sought a political favor from a foreign government, Ukraine. He wanted that government to announce an investigation into Joe Biden, a potential 2020 presidential campaign foe. If it did as he asked, Trump said he would send military hardware to Ukraine to assist in its fight against Russia-backed rebels.

Abuse of power, anyone?

Trump also has instructed his key aides to refuse to answer congressional subpoenas to testify before House committees during their “impeachment inquiry.” He has usurped Congress’s constitutional authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch.

Obstruction of Congress? Anyone? Hmm?

I believe he has committed both acts. They are impeachable. They have earned him an early exit from the Oval Office. Except the nation’s founders set the bar quite high for that to occur: Two-thirds of the Republican-controlled Senate needs to agree with yours truly; the Senate will fall short of that high standard.

But … at least the trial will be over. Then our attention can turn to the election. It will be a barn-burner.

I am ready to rumble.

Waiting to hear GOP condemnation of Trump’s conduct

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

This much is becoming clear: Donald Trump will not be convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors in an upcoming U.S. Senate trial.

So is this much: Senate Republicans who are standing behind the president are remaining shamefully silent on what they think about the allegations that have been leveled against the president.

They aren’t arguing against the evidence. They aren’t saying the allegations that Trump are false, that he’d never do such a thing.

So, if they believe the allegations to be credible, why don’t they speak out against such conduct? They ought to declare that presidents shouldn’t solicit a foreign government for political help; that they shouldn’t withhold military aid until they get a “favor” from the foreign government; that they shouldn’t usurp congressional authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch by barring White House aides from answering congressional subpoenas to testify.

Nope. We’re getting none of that.

A generation ago, another president, Bill Clinton, got impeached because of an affair he was having with a White House intern. He lied to a grand jury about that relationship. He handed congressional Republicans a gift-wrapped reason to impeach him.

President Clinton also received plenty of condemnation from his fellow Democrats, who were ashamed and aghast at his conduct. They said out loud that Clinton had besmirched the office with his affair. They also said the conduct didn’t rise to the level of a Senate conviction.

This time? Republicans are keeping their lips zipped.

It makes me wonder whether they are so frightened of what this president do, how he might react that they are cowed to remaining silent when they ought to speak out against his conduct.

Is it true, therefore, that Donald Trump has seized the Republican Party by the throat and is strangling it … possibly to death?

Stop pandering to GOP, Mr. Former VP

Joe Biden now says he might consider asking a Republican to join him on a ticket to run against Donald J. Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Hold the phone! C’mon! The presumed Democratic primary frontrunner need not go there, at least not yet.

First of all, he doesn’t have the nomination locked up. On the contrary, many of us out here who might be inclined to support the former vice president are still anguishing over his continual verbal missteps, gaffes and need for “clarification.”

Second of all, who among the nation’s leading Republicans would he consider at this moment? None of them is speaking up against Trump. They’re exhibiting supreme political cowardice by enabling the president to continue to embarrass the nation and the office he occupies. Trump takes their silence as a tacit endorsement of his conduct, which has gotten him impeached by the House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Biden’s suggestion that he’d consider a GOP running mate came in response to a question in New Hampshire. It sounds to me like so much pandering to a potential Republican voting bloc that might be inclined to vote for a Democrat over a GOP president they consider to be an embarrassment.

Many of us are still waiting for a prominent Republican politician to offer a full-throated condemnation of Donald Trump. If one shows the guts to do such a thing, then we ought to talk about adding that individual to a Democratic ticket.

What is Biden thinking?

It’s time — maybe it’s past time — to acknowledge what I have been fearing for a while.

It is that Joseph R. Biden Jr. might not have the rhetorical chops to become the next president of the United States. For the life of me I do not understand his response to a Des Moines Register editorial board interview question concerning a possible subpoena by the Senate to testify during Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The former vice president had the bad form to say he would refuse to answer a subpoena. Yep, he would ignore it. It has me wondering now whether this is the right man to nominate to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency.

A friend of mine offered what I consider to be a stellar alternative response that Biden could have used in response to the question. It goes like this:

“Absolutely. I will be happy and proud to participate in any legitimate congressional investigation into Trump’s misbehavior. Once the Senate has shown it is serious about finding the truth by securing the testimony of Mulvaney, Giuliani and Bolton, I will proudly march onto Capitol Hill to explain how I did nothing wrong and supported legitimate U.S. policy aims in all of my interactions with Ukraine. I will then elaborate on how the honorable president I ably served for eight years would have never participated in such despicable behavior. I look forward to the moment the senate fulfills its Constitutional mandate by conducting a fair trial that seeks the truth about this stain on America’s honor.”

My friend goes on:

No. 1, you win the argument immediately and everyone who is not automatically supporting Trump gets it.

No. 2, you will never, ever be forced to testify because Trump and the GOP absolutely cannot afford to have those three testify under oath under any circumstances.

Sheesh. This isn’t brain surgery here.

Now the former VP has had to “clarify” what he said, although I am not sure the clarification actually cleared any of the rhetorical debris out of the way.

Dissent in GOP ranks? Not likely

Some in the media are reporting the seeming presence of “dissent” among Republican U.S. senators who are getting ready to join their Democratic colleagues in putting Donald J. Trump on trial for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The source of the chatter? Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s statement about being “disturbed” at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s assertion of taking his marching orders for the trial from Trump’s legal team.

Disturbed? Yeah, it’s disturbing, all right. It’s actually much more than that. How about, oh, reprehensible; or repugnant; or disgraceful. I could go on, but I won’t.

Murkowski is disturbed. I keep wondering if her disturbance will allow her to vote to introduce witnesses into the trial or, even more dramatically, allow her to vote to convict the president if the evidence she hears is enough to push her to the Democrats’ side.

I guess this is my way of suggesting that any thought of widespread “dissent” among GOP Senate ranks is far too premature to assess.

I know I sit out here in the middle of Trump Country, so I’m away from the action, as it were. Given what has transpired to date, the Republican power structure in D.C. is too loyal to the man and not to the U.S. Constitution which, in my view, he has failed to honor and uphold.

His abuse of power in bargaining for a political favor from a foreign government and his obstruction of Congress by denying aides from answering congressional subpoenas are enough to persuade me that Trump needs to go.

But … that’s just me. You know?

Does he really want to know what I think?

My congressman, Republican Van Taylor of Plano, wants to know what I think of the job Donald Trump is doing as president of the United States.

Hmm. Let me think about this one. My first reaction was to ignore the poll. I am having second thoughts.

I live in the Third Congressional District, which includes much of Collin County. It’s reliably Republican. Collin County voted for Trump in 2016, even though it borders Dallas County, which voted for Hillary Clinton.

Someone at Taylor’s office in Plano knows already how I feel about the president. It’s not good. He or she knows that. Yet the first-year congressman sent me this poll advisory via social media.

I’ll just have to stipulate once again up front: I want Trump defeated at the next election; moreover, I want him convicted in the Senate trial that will convene eventually to determine whether he committed impeachable offenses by abusing is presidential power and by obstructing Congress. I believe he did both things.

I am now thinking about answering the poll survey. I hope it gives me room to offer some commentary on whether I believe Donald Trump is unfit to serve as our head of state and commander in chief.

I believe he is. Unfit, that is.

McConnell seeks to become ‘most hated Republican’

I saw a quotation attributed to Sen. Mitch  McConnell in which he declares himself the nation’s “second most-hated Republican.” I presume he means Republican politician.

It appears to me that the U.S. Senate majority leader is angling to replace the nation’s most “hated” Republican by refusing to do the right thing when the Senate convenes its trial on that most hated GOP politician, Donald Trump. He might not allow any witnesses to be interrogated or any evidence to be introduced when the impeached president stands trial.

What is so astounding to me is that McConnell is engaging in such bald-faced, overt and obvious duplicity.

Twenty years ago the House impeached President Bill Clinton after Clinton lied to a grand jury about an affair he was having with a young White House intern. McConnell was then just another senator, but he was insisting on witnesses, insisting that the Senate hear evidence. Now it’s different. The president is of the same party as McConnell, so the majority leader wants to slam-bang the trial through without the benefit of hearing what witnesses might have to say.

Why, they might provide actual new information for senators to ponder. They might even testify in Trump’s favor. Or … they might testify against him.

That doesn’t matter to McConnell. He says he won’t be “impartial.” He is going to work to clear Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Indeed, that second charge is so remarkable in that the House has accused the president of usurping Congress’s legislative authority by shielding witnesses from testifying before House committees. You’d think that senators would be angry as the dickens at that notion, except that they aren’t.

Will the Senate majority leader overtake Trump as the nation’s most hated Republican? He might, even though Trump seems to have lapped the field … so far.

Hey, we still have a ways to go before this matter gets decided.

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.