Tag Archives: GOP

Absent an argument over the facts, then where do we stand?

Congressional Republicans have laid down their marker: They are not going to argue the facts surrounding the impeachment of Donald J. Trump.

Congressional Democrats are arguing that the facts are beyond dispute. They are acknowledged as being true.

So what is left, then, for Congress to consider? I am left to conclude only that the facts as presented either are impeachable or they are not. That’s what I get from all of this.

I happen to believe that a president who invites foreign involvement in our election has committed an impeachable offense. It is an abuse of the immense power of his office. Trump allies, I am presuming, believe otherwise. If that is their belief, then why are we not hearing them argue that point?

Moreover, I also believe that obstruction of Congress also is an impeachable offense. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress all the authority it needs to conduct an investigation into executive branch behavior. When a president orders all key witnesses to ignore congressional subpoenas, I believe that constitutes an impeachable offense.

What do congressional Republicans use to justify their resistance to these two articles of impeachment that are heading inexorably to a vote in the House Judiciary Committee and then to the full House of Representatives?

I am just a voter, a patriot and someone with a deep interest in our government. I believe the president has violated his oath of office. Believe me or not, but I am waiting to hear someone on the GOP side speak to the facts at hand.

That specific defense is not forthcoming, or so it appears as we hurtle toward impeachment.

So we’re left with one side arguing that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are impeachable offenses. The other side seems to believe they are not impeachable.

What is the rationale of those who cannot defend the indefensible?

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.

Are we about to complete an impeachment circle?

Maybe it’s just me, but I am getting this nagging notion in my noggin that this presidential impeachment saga is about to end where it began.

That is to say that the House of Representatives vote to impeach Donald Trump will not advance anything other than putting Democrats and Republicans on the record: do they support impeaching the president for high crimes and misdemeanors or do they stand with someone who many of us — including me — believe broke the law?

The House will receive two articles of impeachment. House members will vote on them, likely approving them on partisan grounds; Democrats will vote “yes,” with Republicans voting “no.”

Then it goes to the Senate. Senators will have a trial. Democrats will vote to convict; Republicans will vote to acquit.

What is gained? As near as I can tell, we’re going to complete a weird circle with this impeachment and trial.

Republicans remain beholden to Trump for reasons that escape me. Democrats have embarked on an impeachment journey they hoped would persuade enough Republicans to cross over, to vote their conscience, to support a Constitution they believe has been violated by a president who put his personal political future ahead of what’s good for the country.

He solicited a foreign government for political help; he sought a foreign government’s help in torpedoing the fortunes of a political foe; he withheld military aid until the foreign government delivered the goods; he benefited a hostile power — in this case, Russia — by withholding that military assistance.

None of that is impeachable? Is that what Republicans are telling us?

C’mon! It most certainly is!

However, the circle will be complete once the House impeaches Trump and the Senate likely acquits him.

To what end? All that likely will be left will be to defeat the president in the next election. On that score, I am all in.

Impeachment journey set to take another historic turn

(Photo by Jeff Malet)

It is becoming distressingly clear to me that the impeachment of Donald Trump is going to produce the Mother of All Partisan Battles on Capitol Hill.

Congressional Democrats have sought to make the case that the president has committed impeachable offenses. I happen to believe the evidence that I have seen — and I’ve seen only the portion of it that has gone public!

I need no more convincing that Trump needs to be impeached, convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors in the Senate and then shown the door out of the Oval Office. Sayonara, Mr. President.

It won’t end that way.

Congressional Republicans have fortified their defense of the president with diversions, accusations and vilification of the accusers’ motives. They have ignored publicly the evidence that shows how the president solicited a foreign government for dirt on a domestic political foe, encouraged that government to interfere in the 2020 election, endangered our national security by buttressing the fortunes of a hostile power and violated the oath he took when he took office.

The Senate won’t budge, either.

Where does this leave us? We are left with the upcoming election, which curiously is where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said initially this battle should conclude. I do not believe the speaker overplayed her hand by launching the impeachment inquiry. Nor do I believe she erred in instructing relevant House committees to draft articles of impeachment.

Believing that the outcome will retain Trump in the White House at least through January 2021, I look forward to watching the trial unfold. I want the Senate trial to commence and conclude in short order. The Senate Democrats who seek to become president need to spend time on the campaign trail and any effort to prolong the trial plays into Trump’s hands.

It won’t end the way I want it to end. However, my own partisan bias persuades me that the 2020 presidential campaign will be just as relevant and spirited as we all knew it would be.

It is also going to be filthy, but millions of us knew that would be the case as well.

What has happened to those ‘mainstream Republicans’?

As I watch congressional Republicans and other GOP members around the country seek to defend Donald Trump against the impeachable offenses that have been alleged against him, I am struck by a curious notion.

What in the world has happened to supposed adherents to a political philosophy/ideology that seems so terribly at odds with what has become the centerpiece of the impeachment effort against the president?

Donald Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a “favor, though.” He wanted Zelenskiy to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, before getting a White House meeting. He also held up military assistance appropriated by Congress for Ukraine to use against Russian-backed aggressors in Ukraine.

The Ukrainians are our allies. The Russians are not. And yet, Trump sought to pursue a posture that would benefit the Russians. What in the world … ? Moreover, by seeking dirt on a potential foe from a foreign government, the president of the United States is seeking another government to help him win another election.

Mainstream Republicans used to take great umbrage at any sort of softening of U.S. policy regarding the Russians and their ideological forebears, the communists who formed the Soviet Union after World War I. These days, we have an ostensibly Republican president currying favor with and kowtowing to Russian strongmen and oligarchs. Indeed, the Ukrainian initiative — the withholding of arms to fight Russian-backed rebels — looks for all the world to be yet another example of Trump licking the jackboots of the Russian thugs who run that once-great superpower.

All the while, Republicans in the House and Senate do or say virtually nothing that the president can interpret as stern criticism of this hideous policy. They remain complicit in the president’s violation of the oath he took to defend and protect the Constitution. They look and sound ready to stand by their man even as he continues the hijacking of their once-great political party, twisting and turning into something unrecognizable from the days when the GOP stood for national strength and resolve against an enemy of this nation.

I’ve said repeatedly that Donald Trump has disgraced the nation with his conduct. So, too, have his political allies who once stood strongly in favor of the very values that the president is flouting.

Cult of personality has captured the GOP

Donald Trump’s delusion is boundless.

He has embraced a new public opinion that suggests that today’s Republicans rate him a greater president than — get ready for it — Abraham Lincoln.

Sigh …

No, Mr. President, you aren’t. No matter what GOP faithful voters say today, Donald Trump in no way, shape or fashion can be compared favorably to President Lincoln, the man held up as the gold standard for Republican Party policy.

They called it the Party of Lincoln for good reason. He fought to preserve the Union against forces that sought to tear the country apart over slavery. Yes, that battle cost him his life when John Wilkes Booth shot him to death at the end of the Civil War. His fight was the most noble cause imaginable, given the context of the time.

What will the Party of Trump stand for when all is said about it? Let’s try, oh, insult, innuendo, chaos, confusion, betrayal of international allies, cozying up to dictators and, oh yes, impeachment.

That’s all I’ve got on this bit of fantasy.

Except this: I would be willing to wager real American money that they won’t build a memorial on the Washington, D.C. Mall in Donald Trump’s honor.

Sen. Kennedy: ‘I was wrong’ about Russia’s attack

What do you know about this?

It appears — and happily so — that Donald Trump’s penchant for refusing to apologize when he messes up isn’t contagious among fellow Republican politicians.

One of them, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, said over the weekend that Ukraine might have attacked our electoral system in 2016. The TV interviewer, Fox News’s Chris Wallace, asked him directly who he thought was responsible for the hack into the Democratic National Committee server. Kennedy said it could have been Russia, or it could also have been Ukraine.

Wallace pushed back, telling Kennedy that the U.S. intelligence community said uniformly that Russia was responsible. Kennedy didn’t take the bait in the moment.

The “Ukraine mighta done it” narrative has become a talking point among GOP politicians seeking to divert attention away from Russia and from Trump’s bizarre affection for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.

Then Kennedy had second thoughts about what he told Wallace and told CNN’s Chris Cuomo he was wrong. Sen. Kennedy said he misheard Wallace’s question, then affirmed that Russia was responsible.

That didn’t hurt a bit, I’ll bet.

If only the nation’s top Republican, Donald Trump, could swipe a page from Kennedy’s book of contrition.

Alas, it won’t happen. Not ever.

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.

Waiting for a response from my congressman

I did it. A little more than two weeks ago I sent a letter to my congressman, Van Taylor, a Plano Republican.

My letter was straightforward. I asked the young freshman lawmaker why he opposed the decision to make the impeachment inquiry public after he and other Republicans had called the private depositions a star chamber inquisition, or words to that effect.

I am sorry to report that I haven’t heard from Rep. Taylor, or anyone from his staff, or even from a gofer who works in his Third Congressional District office in Plano.

You may rest assured, if you’re inclined to be concerned about such things, that I’ll persist in seeking answers. I might write a second letter to Taylor.

Or … I might call his office some time next week. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do! I’ll call him. I don’t expect to get Van Taylor himself on the phone. I might get a district director or perhaps another staffer who could speak for the congressman, who was elected just this past year.

I’ve said before on this blog that I have met Van Taylor. I like him personally. I admire his military service as a Marine who has seen combat in Iraq; indeed, I am heartened to see more veterans from both political parties entering the halls of Congress.

My admiration for him and the level of personal regard I hold for him, though, does not excuse him — in my mind — from his decision to oppose sending the impeachment inquiry into the public domain.

I am quite certain he will vote “no” on impeachment articles when they are drafted and approved by the House Judiciary Committee and then sent to the full House.

I just want an answer to my question regarding the “no” vote on approving the impeachment inquiry. Hey, it’s a direct question. I expect a direct answer.

This fellow, after all, works for me … and not Donald J. Trump!

‘Jury tampering’ mixes with political necessity

I have laid out already the notion that the president of the United States, while launching a charm offensive with potential U.S. Senate trial “jurors,” might have committed an act of jury tampering.

However, I also am enough of a realist to understand that presidents who seek to govern effectively need to talk to legislators about the enactment of bills that become the law of the land.

Thus, Donald Trump is facing a serious governance quandary as he awaits the near-certain impeachment of him by the U.S. House of Representatives. The House then would hand it off to the Senate, which will put the president on trial for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Trump met with GOP senators this week to talk about the impeachment trial that is sure to occur. What did he discuss? Did he seek to persuade them to stand by him? That sounds like jury tampering to me.

However, what about their legislative initiative? Or the president’s legislative agenda? Or the agendas awaiting action by Republicans and, oh yes, Democrats in the Senate?

Were the president to invite senators to the White House to discuss those issues — and stay far away from the impeachment trial that will be looming soon in the Senate — well, that would be OK with me.

That, of course, requires that the president understand how government works and how he must be able to compartmentalize the issues that lay before him. President Clinton was able to do that when the House impeached him in 1998. This president is consumed by the impeachment battle and it is getting in the way of him doing the job to which he was elected.

Sigh …