Tag Archives: House of Representatives

Sen. Ernst says Dems have ‘lowered impeachment bar’?

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst is an Iowa Republican who on Wednesday will vote to acquit Donald John Trump of the crimes for which the House of Representatives impeached him.

Her statements, though, about whether a President Biden would be impeached requires a rebuttal.

She said that House Democrats have “lowered the (impeachment) bar so far” that it would be too easy for future presidents to be impeached by future members of Congress.

I cannot believe she said that. On second thought, yes I can believe it, as she is a member of the GOP cabal that is putting political party over the Constitution.

The House did not lower the impeachment bar. House members impeached Trump because he solicited a foreign government for a political favor; he also threatened to withhold military aid that had been sent to that government which is in the middle of a civil war with rebels backed by Russia. Abuse of power … anyone?

The House also impeached Trump for conducting an unprecedented obstruction of Congress by refusing to turn over any documents to congressional investigators and by barring any White House aides from answering subpoenas to tell Congress what they know about transpired. I believe that is a clear-cut case of obstruction of Congress.

To my way of thinking, that ain’t setting the bar low. The House acted just as it should have acted.

The current president of the United States has gotten a pass from his political allies in the Senate — such as Sen. Ernst — who have refused to act on what they should know to be a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

McConnell accuses House of rushing … so he wants to do the same?

Where do we stand with this Senate trial of Donald Trump, the third president in U.S. history to be impeached?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the House of Representatives of rushing through an impeachment process to achieve the outcome it received. Then, well, what do you know? Now he wants to do the same thing with a hurry-up Senate trial with no witnesses called, no evidence introduced.

The House impeached the current president on two counts: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Congress then split from Washington for a two-week Christmas break.

What is most maddening, though, is the notion that McConnell doesn’t intend to be an “impartial” juror, which is part of an oath he will take when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts takes the gavel and presides over the Senate trial. McConnell’s mind is made up. Let’s get this deal done, he said, acquit the president and then get on with legislating and, oh yes, that election.

At one level, I want this trial to be over sooner rather than much later. However, I do believe it is only correct for there to be witnesses from whom the Senate will hear testimony. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer wants to hear from White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton. What is so damn wrong with that? McConnell is having none of it.

I realize we aren’t talking about a trial that follows all the rules of a strict judicial proceeding. However, the judge in this case — Chief Justice Roberts — will issue an oath for the jurors to take; that oath will include a pledge to be impartial. How can McConnell take that oath with a straight face when he promises to work with the White House and to take his cue from the president’s legal team?

I am shaking my head.

By all means, let’s get this trial done. Let us get it done the right way and in a way that mandates a fair trial that allows witnesses to testify in public and for the Senate to examine all the evidence that House members assembled in reaching their decision to impeach Donald Trump.

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.

Pelosi: It’s time to impeach Donald Trump

Well, there you have it. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared that the time has come to impeach the president of the United States.

She said this morning that she makes that assertion with sadness in her heart. Pelosi said Donald Trump has brought this moment onto himself.

Pelosi resisted the idea of impeaching the president for a good bit of time. Then came that infamous phone call and the request he made of a foreign government for personal political help. That did it.

The speaker has directed the Judiciary Committee to begin drafting articles of impeachment. So, the committee will proceed I presume with all deliberate speed.

I am going to take her at her word that she doesn’t “hate” Donald Trump. She fielded a reporter’s question today about whether she and here fellow Democrats hate the president and that their visceral feelings toward him are driving their push for impeachment. Pelosi fired back, telling the reporter to “don’t mess with me” by accusing her hating anyone. She said her Catholic upbringing taught her to “pray” for the president, which she said she does every day.

The impeachment process is now moving ahead. There will be no more delay. That suits me just fine.

The Intelligence and Judiciary committees have compiled enough evidence to lay out those articles of impeachment.

I am one patriotic American taxpayer who is ready to see this drama play out toward its conclusion.

Still waiting to hear from my congressman

Gosh, it’s been about a month since I wrote my congressman a letter. I asked him directly for a response to a question that had been nagging at me. He hasn’t delivered his answer.

Van Taylor is a Plano Republican representing the Third Congressional District of Texas. He’s been in office only since this past January. Maybe he’s been too busy trying to find his way around the massive U.S. Capitol Building.

I asked him why he voted “no” on sending the impeachment inquiry into the public domain. He and other Republican lawmakers had yapped about so-called “secrecy” regarding the closed-door testimony the House Intelligence Committee was receiving from witnesses.

Taylor said “no” to taking it to the public. How come? I want to know.

OK, I’ve been a little busy the past couple of weeks. I still intend to phone his office. I have a couple of business cards from key staffers. I plan to call his Plano district office, the one closest to his constituents. I happen to one of them.

Van Taylor, who I have described as — and still believe him to be — an earnest young man. He’s a Marine Corps veteran who saw duty during the Iraq War. I certainly salute his veteran status.

I do not salute his recalcitrance over this issue of taking the Trump impeachment inquiry into the public. I need to know why he voted against bringing it into the open.

I’m his boss. He answers to me, not to Donald Trump.

Will ‘Texodus’ cause loss of clout in Congress? Uhh, yes, it will

A headline in the Texas Tribune asks a question that borders on the preposterous.

“As experienced Texan congressmen retire, will the states’ sway in Congress decline?”

I have the answer: Yes. It will decline.

Both congressional chambers rely heavily on seniority. The more senior the members of the House and Senate, the more powerful committee assignments they get. They ascend to chairmanships or, if they’re in the House, they sit as “ranking members” of the minority party; a ranking member is deemed to be the senior member of the party that doesn’t control the chairmanship.

My former congressman, Republican Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, is retiring at the end of next year; he won’t seek re-election to his umpteenth term in the House. He serves as ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, a panel he chaired until Democrats took control of the House after the 2018 election.

Congressional power ebbs and flows. Texans who worry about such things need not fret over Texas’s loss of clout in the House. Indeed, if the state is turning into more of a “swing state,” Texas Democrats might find themselves elevated to positions of power formerly occupied by their Republican colleagues.

For the time being, though, the retirements of six Texas members of Congress does create a dwindling clout for the state on Capitol Hill.

However, it is likely far from a terminal ailment.

Expecting impeachment to drag this campaign into the ditch

If we try to project how this impeachment saga will play out, we ought to be left with a distressing prognosis.

It is that no matter how it ends, the upcoming 2020 presidential campaign is likely to be dragged into the deepest dietch you can imagine.

Donald Trump at this moment is likely to survive a trial in the U.S. Senate after the House of Representatives impeaches him for various high crimes and misdemeanors.

If you’re a Democratic challenger, you might want to talk about issues of the day. Things that ought to matter to Americans who will be voting for president of the United States. But then you’ll have to deal with Trump’s manic obsession with the impeachment.

He is unable to set impeachment into one cranial compartment while concentrating (more or less) fully on the upcoming issues debate. No way! He is obsessed with impeachment.

When the House impeaches him, my hope is that it is done soon. I also hope the Senate can dispense with the trial soon. I do not want the impeachment and trial to hang over the campaign. Alas, it will hang anyway, given Trump’s inability or unwillingness to put it into perspective in the event he survives the Senate trial.

I can imagine now that he is likely and quite willing to keep mentioning the impeachment as he campaigns for re-election. He will use the impeachment and trial as a sort of shield against legitimate criticism that could come from his political foe.

You know: his refusal to acknowledge climate change as the existential threat it has become; his continuing effort to pi** off our valued allies; Trump’s inability to cut the deficit as he promised he would do; the president’s poor choice of key aides and Cabinet members; the fact that so many top level positions remain vacant or are filled by “acting” Cabinet members or agency heads.

The president will ensure that we do not forget that the House impeached him and that the Senate “acquitted” him, although it might be on a technicality, given the high bar set by the Constitution for removal after a Senate trial.

Yep, the 2020 presidential campaign is heading for the ditch.

Impeachment seeks to overturn election? Damn right! So what?

The most tiresome mantra coming from Donald J. Trump’s defenders is the one that suggests that the pending impeachment of the president by the House of Representatives is a “ploy” to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

To which I say: Yeah? So … what?

Of course it would “overturn” those election results. That’s what impeachments are intended to do, despite contentions from those who speak nobly of “defending the Constitution.”

Donald Trump has committed what I believe are impeachable offenses. He sought foreign government assistance to further his personal political future. He sought to sic that foreign government onto an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, intending to damage the political fortunes of a potential 2020 presidential campaign rival. He has obstructed justice. Trump has abused his power.

Impeachment must be the recourse that the House must follow.

Is it the aim of the impeachers to sully Trump’s reputation, to seek his ouster? Sure it is. When the House impeaches Trump, the Senate will put the president on trial. The Senate likely won’t boot him out, given the high bar set in in the Constitution to convict a president of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Then the president must campaign for re-election with the impeachment cloud dangling over his noggin. I hope he loses because of it. He doesn’t deserve to be president and shouldn’t have been elected — in my view — to the office in the first place.

Yes, I want the 2016 election results overturned by the election. It is not one bit different from what the GOP sought to do in 1998 when House members impeached President Clinton, who two years had won re-election with a smashing victory. And, let us not forget that President Nixon faced impeachment in 1974 by a heavily Democratic House just after being re-elected in 1972 in a historic landslide.

So what if this impeachment intends to “overturn the election”? It’s the potential natural consequence of what is about to transpire in the House of Representatives.

In the infamous words of acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney: Get over it!

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!

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.