Tag Archives: impeachment inquiry

Impeachment takes dramatic turn

Now we know what the U.S. House Intelligence Committee has compiled.

It says the president of the United States, Donald Trump, abused the immense power of his office to seek a political favor from a foreign government. It speaks to extended phone conversations between the president’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, with Ukrainian government officials. It offers evidence that Giuliani was conducting a covert foreign policy operation.

Some talking heads are suggesting there might be more evidence to gather. They are saying the impeachment process might take even longer than planned.

I am one American who is beginning to suffer from a bit of impeachment fatigue. I do not need to be persuaded any further of the president’s culpability. I want the Intelligence Committee to hand this off to the Judiciary Committee; I want the Judiciary Committee to conduct its hearings. I want Judiciary to approve articles of impeachment. I want the Senate to put Trump on trial. I want enough senators to vote to convict Trump and remove him from office post haste.

I am confident that all but the last event will occur.

No minds are likely to be changed. Trump’s stranglehold on the Republican Party is unlike anything I’ve seen while witnessing these impeachment proceedings. We went through this in 1973-74 and again in 1998-1999. Some Republicans voted to approve articles of impeachment against President Nixon in 1974. Some Democrats did the same when the House impeached President Clinton in 1998.

This time, it’s strictly partisan. By “strictly partisan” I mean precisely that: Republicans and Democrats are dug in. They aren’t moving. Republicans are standing by their man; Democrats want him kicked out of office.

So, let’s get on with this, shall we?

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.

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.

Trump decides to forgo offer to defend himself at Judiciary hearing

Who would’ve thought this might happen? Well, I guess I would have thought it.

Donald Trump and the White House legal team has informed the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and its chairman, Jerrold Nadler (pictured) that the president won’t participate in the panel’s hearing Wednesday over whether to impeach him. They’re going to rely exclusively on Trump’s defenders on the committee.

Well, this ought to be just special.

Judiciary Committee Democrats have given the president the opportunity to defend himself against allegations that he has abused the power of his office by soliciting a foreign government for personal political help; that charge lies at the heart of the pending impeachment of the president.

Did the president want to take part? Nope. He’s going to stand behind the deflecting shields held by the likes of Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Jim Jordan of Ohio. I’m sure both of them, among others will do their best to change the focus away from the president’s conduct to other matters, such as impugning the motives of those who have leveled the accusations.

Do you know what that means? It means a repeat of what we heard from GOP defenders on the House Intelligence Committee, which launched the impeachment inquiry before handing off to the Judiciary Committee.

And the president will accuse House Democrats of refusing to grant him a fair hearing.

Amazing.

Set to make impeachment history once again

Here we are, on the cusp of another politically historic event awaiting the U.S. House of Representatives.

The House Intelligence Committee is going to hand off to the Judiciary Committee, which then will decide whether to file articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump.

This shouldn’t be a close call. However, it’s likely to become a partisan vote, with Democrats voting to impeach the president and Republicans saying “no.”

I’m out here in the Peanut Gallery. What I have seen from the middle of Trump Country tells me that the president deserves to be impeached; he also deserves to be convicted in a U.S. Senate trial. The allegations leveled against him are far worse than anything that befell President Clinton in 1998 and rise at least to the level of what President Nixon faced in 1974 when he resigned.

House Republicans impeached Clinton for lying about an inappropriate relationship he had with a White House intern. Nixon quit before the House could impeach him for obstructing justice in the search for the truth behind the Watergate burglary in June 1972.

What does Donald Trump face? He is facing an accusation — which he more or less has admitted to doing — of soliciting a foreign government for a political favor. In exchange for the favor, which included digging up dirt on a potential political foe, the president would release weapons to Ukraine, which is fighting rebels backed by Russia.

The U.S. Constitution expressly forbids such activity. It cites “bribery” along with “treason” specifically as crimes for which a president can be removed from office. It isn’t treason, but it sure looks for all the world to me like bribery.

I fully expect to get some dipsh** responses from High Plains Blogger critics who think I’m whistlin’ Dixie with regard to the crimes I believe the president has committed. That’s fine. Let ’em gripe.

I stand by my assertion that Donald Trump has committed crimes that rise to the level of impeachment. They certainly are far more egregious than what ended up on President Clinton’s record.

The record as I’ve seen it pile up during the impeachment inquiry is replete with evidence of wrongdoing. The House and Senate Republican caucus, however, is equally replete with political cowardice among House members and senators who choose to stand with the president and refuse to stand for what they piously proclaim to be “the rule of law.”

And so, history is about to be made once again as one House panel passes the torch to another one. Let this lawful, constitutional and appropriate impeachment effort proceed.

Why not hear GOP version of events, too?

I have this kooky notion I feel like sharing. The House Intelligence Committee is going to issue a draft report Monday on its findings regarding the impeachment inquiry hearing it conducted with regard to Donald Trump, Ukraine and the allegation of, um, “bribery.” 

It will be a partisan report, authored by Democratic members and staffers. Why not allow the Republicans to issue their own version of events? Why not put the GOP response out there alongside the Democrats’ response and let the public decide which party is speaking to the issues and which one is seeking to deflect attention from the cause of this inquiry in the first place: the behavior of the president of the United States?

I am all for hearing how the Intel Committee Republicans justify their badgering, their hectoring, their seeking to undermine the motives behind the inquiry. I want the public to be able to digest both versions in real time and to decide which side has the facts on its side and which side is trying to provide cover for POTUS’s backside.

The Intel Committee will hand this investigation off to the Judiciary Committee, which begins its own hearings on Wednesday. I don’t know how the Judiciary panel will take. I hope they can wrap this up quickly, decide whether to adopt articles of impeachment and then send this matter to the House floor, where the Democrats are likely to impeach this presidential imposter.

But first … let’s hear how the GOP defends this guy’s impeachable conduct. Hey, fair is fair!

History about to be made … again!

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is set now to pick up where the Intelligence Committee left off. It will finish the job that the Intel panel started with the inquiry into whether to impeach Donald J. Trump.

The House will convene its own public hearings and will hear witnesses confirm — and some will possibly contest — the allegations that have piled up around the president.

That he sought foreign help for a political favor; that he abused the power of his office; that he withheld military assistance in exchange for that political favor; that he obstructed the pursuit of the truth behind each of the allegations.

There might be multiple articles of impeachment filed by the Judiciary Committee. The House of Representatives will take a vote once the articles are approved by the Judiciary panel.

Then it goes to the Senate, where the president of the United States will be the third such individual to stand trial before the jury of 100 senators. And, yes, the likelihood of a conviction appears remote at this moment. But … one cannot take anything to the bank just yet.

It will be a historic hearing. It will be full of thrusts and parries. Democrats, in my view, hold the winning hand. Republicans are seeking to bluff their way past the opposition.

Both sides are dug in. However, I say all this in the moment. I maintain a glimmer — and that’s all it is — of hope that sanity and reason might prevail in the Senate, that senators on both sides of the great divide will realize what many millions of Americans have concluded already.

It is that Donald Trump’s ignorance, arrogance and narcissism make him unfit for high public office.

Let the proceedings continue with somber reflection and sober deliberation.

Why do they deny hearing what the witnesses have said?

The much-anticipated public hearing on the impeachment inquiry being conducted by the House Intelligence Committee produced a serious exercise in frustration and futility.

At least for me it did.

The Intel Committee took into the public domain what it had heard in private about whether Donald Trump sought a “favor” from Ukrainian government officials who could dig up some dirt on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The term of art has become “quid pro quo,” the Latin phrase that translates to “something for something,” or “this for that.”

It is the basis for the pending impeachment of the president of the United States.

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged in the press briefing room that there was a quid pro quo, and then he told us to “get over it.”

Then came the testimony before the House panel from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who said that “yes,” the president sought a quid pro quo. He heard him seek it in real time and told the committee what he heard from the president. He said everyone was “in the loop” regarding the quid pro quo.

The memo of Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president even mentions the “favor, though.”

Why, then, do Republicans on the House committee and others on Capitol Hill keep saying there was “no quid pro quo”? What are they not hearing? Did they cover their ears when Sondland testified to that knowledge at the House hearings? Did they not hear Mick Mulvaney’s assertion of a favor and his scolding us to “Get over it”?

I know these are rhetorical questions. They won’t produce any answers. They simply serve to symbolize the futility and frustration that this impeachment inquiry has produced … so far.

Graham exhibits remarkable duplicity once more

Lindsey Graham may run out of ways to pi** me off, although it’s looking like he has a bottomless supply of duplicitous positions he can exploit.

The South Carolina Republican U.S. senator once said that Donald Trump was unfit for the presidency, that he is a shameless liar and that he was everything this side of being the Son of Satan. Now he is one of the president’s — yep, the same Donald Trump — most ardent Senate boosters.

He also said in 2016 that Joe Biden is the “nicest man God ever created.” He said that if you can’t admire Biden that “you’ve got a problem.” Biden, he said, “is the nicest man I’ve ever met in politics.”

What’s he saying now about the former vice president, who might challenge Donald Trump in 2020? Graham wants the Senate Judiciary Committee that he now chairs to examine whether Biden committed any crimes in Ukraine, or whether his son, Hunter, broke any laws while being paid by a natural gas company in Ukraine.

So, Graham wants to find dirt on the “nicest man” in the known universe? Is that what I understand?

The Bidens — father and son — have become the chief diversionary targets of Republicans seeking to shift the attention away from the president’s soliciting political favors from Ukraine; Trump asked Ukraine to look into the Bidens in exchange for the release of weapons the Ukrainians purchased to help in their fight against rebels backed by Russia. Ukrainian prosecutors, incidentally, have said the Bidens have done nothing illegal.

Can you say “quid pro quo,” which is fancy term for, oh, bribery or extortion?

I am left now to wonder which Graham view of Biden is the truth. The version he talked about in 2016 or the one he is tossing out there in defense of the individual he once derided as unfit for office?

I’ll go with the latter view, which confirms what I suspect about Sen. Graham, which is that he is utterly lacking in principle.

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!