Tag Archives: House of Representatives

If I had an impeachment vote, I would …

… Vote to impeach Donald John Trump, the president of the United States.

I managed to watch a lot of the impeachment inquiry hearings that the House Democrats brought into our living rooms. I didn’t see all of it. I mean, I do have a life and I had to run some errands and do some other things that pulled me away from the TV set.

But I’ve heard enough to believe that Trump has committed at least two impeachable offenses.

He sought that political favor from Ukraine’s government; that favor would allow for Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 election, just as Russia did in 2016 when it sought to engineer Donald Trump’s election as president.

Trump sought that favor to bring down the political fortunes of Joe Biden, who well might be a 2020 opponent facing Trump.

That’s one impeachable offense.

He has sought to obstruct justice by prohibiting key White House aides from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was a no-show when subpoenaed by the Intelligence panel; so was former White House counsel Don McGahn.

That’s another potentially impeachable offense.

Trump has lied repeatedly throughout the impeachment inquiry. Now we hear that House Democrats want to examine whether he lied to former special counsel Robert Mueller during his probe into “collusion” regarding the Russian attack on our election in 2016. Trump provided written answers to questions from Mueller’s team. Was he truthful? Or did he commit perjury?

Yep, that’s impeachable offense No. 3 … maybe.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff noted passionately today that the “day after” Mueller filed his report that effectively cleared Trump of colluding with Russia, the president telephoned Ukraine to ask the favor that has gotten him into trouble now.

Schiff said that act provides evidence that Trump believes he is “above the law” and said there is nothing more dangerous than to have a president who holds that view.

If I had a vote on whether to impeach Donald Trump, I would vote “yes” to send this matter to the U.S. Senate, where the president will stand trial.

I have heard enough to persuade me of what I have suspected of the president all along.

Impeachment inquiry confirms many of our worst fears about POTUS

As I watch the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry drama unfold, I am drawn back to what many of us said about this man when he declared his presidential candidacy.

We said he was unfit for office. We wondered how in the name of political sanity could this guy ever get elected to anything, let alone to the presidency of the United States. We feared the worst about this guy’s instincts.

I do not relish watching this drama play itself out, let alone delivering evidence that our worst fears are being revealed to all the world.

Yes, I am acutely aware that not everyone shares the view of many of us. Many other Americans are lining up behind this guy. They are attacking the process that has produced the impeachment inquiry. They question the motives, even the patriotism and love of country of many of Donald Trump’s critics.

But at the base of all this drama we are left with wondering about the core values of the man who scored arguably the most remarkable political fluke in U.S. history by being elected to the only public office he ever sought.

He brought not one single moment of public service to the 2016 presidential campaign. He crafted his entire adult life around one goal: self-enrichment. He worried exclusively about his own fortune. He didn’t know a thing about the complexities of governing, let alone how the nation’s government was constructed.

Now we are in the midst of an inquiry to determine whether he should be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” What lies at the base of those crimes? Complete ignorance, or perhaps willful flouting, of what the Constitution prohibits.

It doesn’t allow a president to solicit foreign governments for political favors. That is what has been alleged against Donald Trump. Nor does it allow a president to profit from his public office. That allegation hasn’t been made formally, but it well might be in the offing once the House completes its impeachment inquiry.

This all arcs back in my mind to the very questions that so many millions of us had from the very beginning of this man’s candidacy for America’s highest and most exalted public office.

Donald John Trump had no business being elected to this office. Yet he was elected. He had some unforeseen help, to be sure. We now are watching the drama resulting from that election play out before our eyes.

It isn’t pretty. However, none of us should turn away. We need to stay alert and engaged while awaiting the final curtain.

And yes, many of us saw this drama coming.

Isn’t this ‘obstruction of justice’?

I must be missing something, or perhaps I am slow on the uptake.

The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to Capitol Hill to take his testimony behind closed doors; it’s part of the House impeachment inquiry into whether Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses.

Mulvaney was a no-show. He defied a lawful subpoena from the legislative branch of government.

Now, where I come from, that would be considered an obstruction of justice. Congress is doing its legally sanctioned duty to ask an executive branch staffer for information into a legally constituted inquiry into whether the president of the United States should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Republicans involved in this inquiry are giving the White House a pass on stiffing Congress. That’s hardly what they said in 1998 when the House was conducting an inquiry into whether to impeach President Clinton. Two decades ago GOP House members and their Senate colleagues said that subpoenas issued by Congress had the force of law and that anyone who gets a summons must appear before Congress.

What’s changed? How is this different?

Oh, wait! I got it! The president is a Republican. Therefore, he isn’t held to the same standard of accountability as his Democratic predecessor.

The House impeached Clinton on charges that included an obstruction count. Has the White House chief of staff delivered another evidentiary dirt ball that will land on Donald Trump?

Let’s put an end to the ‘coup’ garbage

So help me, I am about to go bonkers, nuts, batty if I keep hearing critics of the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry refer to it as a “coup d’état” that seeks to “overthrow” the government run by Donald John Trump.

Let us slam on the brakes!

The House of Reps is embarking on a process that likely will result in the impeachment of the president of the United States. The House will vote Thursday on a measure that will effectively codify that effort, putting all its members on the record: Do you support the inquiry or oppose it?

I should add that the Constitution does not require such a vote. The House, led by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has decided to do the right thing. It has relented to Republican demands that they have such a vote, not that it has assuaged GOP criticism of the process; Republicans have merely switched targets, changed the subject, “moved the goal posts.”

This “coup” crap has to stop!

So should this nonsense we keep hearing from Republicans about “overturning the results of the 2016 election.” The latest presidential election will stand forever as a victory by Trump over Hillary Rodham Clinton. The House impeached President Clinton in 1998, but it did not negate the reality of his 1996 re-election victory. Nor did President Nixon’s near-impeachment in 1974 overturn the results of his 1972 landslide re-election.

Donald Trump’s impeachment, when it occurs, will have been done in accordance with what the Constitution provides in Article I, which declares that the House has the “sole” authority to impeach a president. The absence of ground rules in the Constitution gives the House considerable latitude. The House is operating well within the authority it owns.

However, absent a credible defense against what has been alleged against Donald Trump, the president’s GOP allies in Congress and in conservative media have decided to attack the “process.” They are criticizing Democrats, if you can believe this, for doing precisely what the Constitution allows them to do.

Then the argument plows straight into the demagoguery associated with phony and dubious claims of a “coup d’état” against the president.

This is nonsense. It is — to borrow a Trump phrase — pure bullsh**!

Let the drama play out.

Yes, on House impeachment inquiry vote!

The U.S. House of Representatives is taking the correct course in its decision to call for a vote of its members on whether to proceed with its inquiry on impeaching Donald J. Trump.

The courts have ruled that the impeachment process is legal. They have said the House is on solid legal footing, despite what the president and his allies have alleged.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had dug in against staging a vote. However, with sufficient votes to support the inquiry and likely enough votes to impeach the president when that vote comes due, the speaker has decided to put the House’s officials imprimatur on the inquiry.

So it will be done Thursday.

Republicans have declared that an inquiry without an official vote somehow was less than legitimate. They are wrong. The House, though, plans to settle that issue once and for all as it proceeds toward all-but-certain impeachment possibly by the end of the year.

Let’s call the roll, shall we?

What if Senate provides a majority to convict Trump?

Let’s ponder for a moment the raw politics of impeaching the president of the United States.

It appears to be a near certainty that the House of Representatives is going to impeach Donald J. Trump on grounds that he violated his oath of office by seeking foreign government assistance for personal political gain.

I stood with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s initial reluctance to impeach Trump. Then came that phone call with the Ukrainian president that revealed a clear violation of the presidential oath. It has gotten even worse for Trump since then. Pelosi changed her mind, launching an impeachment inquiry.

I now endorse the inquiry. I also believe Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

But what will happen when Trump gets impeached, where Democrats hold a significant majority in the House? It goes to trial in the Senate, where Republicans command a narrow 53-47 majority. The House needs a simple majority to impeach; the Senate needs a two-thirds super majority to convict the president.

Do I believe the Senate will kick the president out of office? No.

However, consider this: Three GOP senators are bowing out after 2020. They won’t seek re-election. They are Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Mike Enzi of Utah and Pat Roberts of Kansas. What happens to these men’s conscience when they are freed from the pressure of seeking re-election in states that voted for Trump in 2016? Is it possible they could decide that Trump has committed an impeachable offense? These men flip and we have a 50-50 split in the Senate. But wait a second!

There are other senators who are expressing grave concern about Trump’s conduct. Enzi’s junior partner in Utah, Mitt Romney, is one. How about Susan Collins of Maine, who has spoken critically of the president from time to time? Might there be one or maybe two GOP senators willing to vote to convict, knowing that their votes won’t result in Trump’s removal?

Yes, there is a chance — although it’s still small, but it could be growing — that a majority of senators vote to convict the president of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but he remains in office by virtue of the high bar the founders set when they wrote the U.S. Constitution.

Furthermore, what about the House vote? A significant number of Republican House members have decided to step aside after 2020. They, too, might be motivated to vote their conscience rather than worry about retribution from a president who is known to retaliate against those who cross him.

The number of Republicans set to leave both congressional chambers very well might provide Democrats some measure of cover as they prepare to impeach Donald Trump.

If he is impeached, he will go down in history as an impeached president. If he clears the Senate trial, there might be a qualifier if more senators vote to convict him than acquit him. And how in the world is Donald Trump going to spin such an event?

Hey, strange things can — and do — happen atop Capitol Hill.

How does a rookie congresswoman’s endorsement matter so much?

For the life of me I cannot come to grips with the notion that a presidential endorsement from a freshman member of Congress is somehow seen by many on the left as a “game changer” in the 2020 race for president of the United States.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont who’s running in the Democratic primary.

Sigh …

Why does this matter at all?

The young woman known as AOC became a media star the moment she took office at the beginning of the year. She beat a longtime Democratic congressional heavyweight, Joseph Crowley, in the 2018 primary and then cruised to election in the heavily Democratic congressional district. She took office and immediately could be seen on damn near every media outlet in the country; even on Fox News, which has covered her every utterance, using it as fodder for its on-air critics of the self-proclaimed socialist.

I don’t have any particular animosity toward AOC, other than she has embraced a celebrity status that she hasn’t yet earned. Nor do I particularly care that she endorsed Sanders, the one-note samba candidate who peppers every response to every question with some reference to “income inequality.”

I actually want AOC to become a consequential public official. She has potential, but she hasn’t realized any of it just yet. The fact is that AOC needs a lot more congressional seasoning before I start to take anything she says with any sort of seriousness.

Maybe she’ll acquire the wisdom and seasoning she needs. Maybe she’ll emerge as a legislative champion, someone who puts her name on landmark bills that become the law of the land. Just maybe she will be able to present herself as one of the wise women of the U.S. House of Representatives.

At this moment, she is just another loudmouth rookie legislator who has managed to elbow her way to the center of the political stage. Trust me on this, too: She is far from being the only grandstander among the current crop of freshman congressmen and women, which is why I don’t take any of the others as seriously as I might when they obtain the wisdom I believe they will have earned.

So, she endorses Bernie Sanders for president? Pfftt.

Why not have a vote on impeachment?

I believe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is making a mistake by holding off on a preliminary vote among House members over proceeding on an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s conduct as president of the United States.

Pelosi said today she won’t hold that vote. She said there is no requirement to do such a thing. Although she is correct, that doesn’t make it any less important. The speaker did say that she is open to possibly reassessing that decision if circumstances warrant it.

Why is such a vote needed? It would put members of the House — on both sides of this debate — on the record: do they support the inquiry or not?

I see nothing wrong with establishing for the record who wants to proceed and who doesn’t.

I happen to support the impeachment of Donald Trump. He has committed impeachable offenses by seeking foreign government help in his re-election effort. He has endorsed the idea of foreign interference in our elections. That is a fundamental betrayal of the oath of office he took the moment he became president and he deserves only to be booted out of office.

I want to know who among our members of Congress — all of whom work for us — endorses the notion of impeaching Donald Trump or at the very least of proceeding toward that end through a comprehensive inquiry into all the offenses the president has committed.

This impeachment thing appears to be growing more tentacles

As I seek to follow the ongoing impeachment crisis threatening the presidency of Donald Trump, I am getting a sense that the story is getting bigger than many Americans would prefer.

Just three weeks ago we learned about a phone call that Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodormyr Zellenskiy in which he sought a favor from Ukraine in exchange for releasing money to help Ukrainians fight Russian aggressors.

The phone call prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch an impeachment inquiry. The thought as I understood at the time was that the House would move rapidly toward an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving. It would be a narrowly focused matter: whether the president violated his oath by seeking foreign government help in his re-election and seeking foreign help in digging up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential foe in the 2020 presidential election.

Now it seems as if this story is getting many more tentacles.

Trump appeared to suggest that the vice president, Mike Pence, had conversations with Ukrainians as well; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at first denied knowledge of the Trump-Zellenskiy phone conversation, then acknowledged he was “on the call”; questions have now arisen about Turkey and whether the president’s decision to abandon our allies in Kurdistan in the fight against ISIS is somehow related to a Trump Towers deal in Istanbul.

My head is spinning, man.

Does all of this come together quickly? Can there be an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving? Can the Senate commence a trial and make a decision by, say, spring 2020? Is all of this getting so muddy that we won’t have a resolution until after the 2020 presidential election?

As if it needed to get more complicated. The juxtaposition of a re-election fight and an impeachment muddies matters beyond anything the nation has experienced. President Clinton was a lame-duck second-term president when the House impeached him in 1998; President Nixon was in the same boat when the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment in 1974. Neither man faced re-election.

This whole scenario is vastly different. Moreover, it keeps growing in its complexity as more Cabinet officials get sucked into the debate over what they knew and when they knew it.

I need something to settle my nerves.

I also want this saga to end — either through impeachment and Senate conviction, or at the ballot box — with Donald Trump vacating the Oval Office for a final time.

Mr. Ryan is moving to Washington

I don’t know exactly why this is such a big deal, why the media are making hay about it, but it kinda/sorta is a big deal.

Former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is moving from his beloved hometown of Janesville, Wis., to Washington, D.C. Yep, he’s moving his family — all of ’em — to the nation’s capital city.

Why is it a big deal?

Here’s my take. Ryan made quite a big splash about how he loved getting out of Washington, how he cherished his time away from The Beltway, how he wanted to commune with the home folks to get a feel of what the rest of Middle America was thinking.

He’s now out of office. He left the speakership and the House of Representatives at the end of 2018. Maybe he’s had all the Middle America perspective he can stand.

Let’s remember, too, that Ryan ran for vice president in 2012 on the Republican ticket led by now U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. Indeed, I recall vividly during that campaign how Ryan espoused the virtues of going home, of how he wanted to spend as much time as possible away from the halls of power.

To be fair, Ryan is not selling his Janesville home. He and his wife will rent a house in the D.C. ‘burbs in Maryland. He plans to return home to Janesville. His foundation will be based back “home.”

It’s just that when a national politician makes a lot of noise about spending time away from the Center of the Political Universe, only to return to it, well … it does make me scratch my noggin.