Tag Archives: impeachment inquiry

Immigrant patriots get slimed by House GOP members

What do Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Fiona Hill and Marie Yovanovitch have in common?

Two things: They all are naturalized U.S. citizens and they all have been smeared and slimed by congressional Republicans who have questioned their loyalty to the country they chose to call their home. Moreover, they all have chosen to serve their country with distinction, valor and heroism.

They all testified over the past two weeks before the House Intelligence Committee, which conducted its inquiry hearings into whether to impeach Donald J. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.

First up was Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who Trump recalled earlier this year, citing his prerogative as president to do what he did. He smeared the decorated envoy prior to removing her and then afterward, even while she was testifying to the House panel about what she saw and heard regarding Trump’s asking the Ukrainian government for a personal political favor.

Then we heard from Lt. Col. Vindman, a Ukrainian immigrant who came to this country with his family when he was a toddler. The National Security Council adviser joined the Army and has served for two decades as an infantry officer, receiving the Purple Heart after he wounded in battle in Iraq. GOP lawmakers and their friends in the conservative media have questioned Vindman’s loyalty to the country, suggesting he was secretly more loyal to his native Ukraine than to the nation he has served heroically.

Finally, we had Fiona Hill, the British immigrant and former NSC adviser who testified this week about her concern over whether the nation was sacrificing national security for the sake of a “political errand” being run by European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland on behalf of the presidents of the United States and Ukraine. She, too, has been dismissed in some circles because she is, um, an immigrant.

These people all represent the best of this great nation. They are proud patriots who love this country deeply and have stepped forward to serve with the highest honor imaginable. They represent millions of Americans who are themselves immigrants or the direct descendants of immigrants who chose to venture many thousands of miles to build new lives.

That their loyalty would be questioned at any level by anyone is shameful on its face.

‘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 …

Is this a case of ‘jury tampering’?

Hey, hold on for just a minute or maybe two!

The House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach the president of the United States in connection with allegations that he solicited a personal political favor from a foreign government. Once the House approves the impeachment articles, the matters goes to the Senate, which then will have a trial.

Why, then, is Donald Trump schmoozing with “jurors” who will have to weigh the evidence presented to them and decide whether to convict him of assorted high crimes and misdemeanors.

Trump launched a charm offensive by inviting some Republican senators to the White House. He talked with them — privately, of course. Some of those GOP lawmakers include at least a couple of them who might be inclined to want to convict the president. I refer to Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine. Hey, there might be a lame-duck GOP senator in the mix, too.

I know it’s not a fully legal proceeding that the Senate will launch. It’s a political one, steeped in partisanship. However, some legal principles are brought into play here. One of them surely must be this quaint idea that “defendants” shouldn’t “tamper” with the jury pool.

The Senate’s 100 members are going to serve as jurors in this upcoming trial. The Republican members need not hear sweet nothings whispered into their ears by the Republican president whose conduct in office has brought us to this sorry and sad chapter of our nation’s political life.

Discussion and debate over Trump crimes has become futile

It is crystal clear to me that we have crossed a line as this saga over Donald Trump’s conduct as president of the United States is playing out.

The line defines the terms over which both sides can debate and discuss the merits of the argument over whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

I believe he has committed multiple impeachable offenses. I believe he deserves to be kicked out of office. However … I am not going to have a vote in either of those decisions, other than being able to vote for or against the elected representatives who will make that decision ostensibly on my behalf.

U.S. Rep. Van Taylor of Plano and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas are up for re-election in 2020. How I cast my vote in the election next year well might depend exclusively on how they vote on Trump’s impeachment and Senate trial. They’re both Republicans; they both have defended the president against the onslaught of the evidence.

Do you get my drift here?

But I am going to continue to speak out through this blog, which I distribute on various social media platforms. I likely won’t seek to change anyone’s mind. I realize at this point in this drama that folks’ minds are made up, they have dug in, they won’t be swayed to change by those on the other side of the great divide.

As I told a High Plains Blogger critic who challenged my lack of discussion on this impeachment matter, I already suffer from high blood pressure; I take a mild medicine to curb it. I do not need to t have my BP spike over angry exchanges.

I am not enjoying this process as it is.

Maloney channels Jordan

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney got rough and tough today with Gordon Sondland. The New York Democrat asked the U.S. ambassador to the European Union “who would benefit” from an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Sondland was a witness at the impeachment inquiry hearing being conducted by the House Intelligence Committee. So, Maloney asked the question. He asked it repeatedly. Maloney’s voice became brusque. He bristled at Sondland’s initial semi-response.

I watched the exchange today and, to be honest, it made me uncomfortable. Then I recalled what I have witnessed from the get-go from a member of the Republican lineup on the committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Jordan was brought onto the committee to act — as I see it — as the designated hatchet man for the GOP House minority. He has been roughing up witnesses throughout the impeachment inquiry process, not to mention tossing insults at his Democratic committee colleagues, including Chairman Adam Schiff.

So, was Maloney totally out of line today? Maybe at some level. Sondland said he had testified in good faith to the committee, but Maloney wasn’t taking that bait. He mentioned that Sondland’s initial closed-door testimony didn’t go well and that he had to issue a clarification of what he said initially.

“I appreciate your candor,” Maloney said in a near-shout at Sondland, “but look what it took to get it out of ya.”

As a spectator with an admitted bias about these proceedings, I am left to suggest only that Sean Maloney was channeling his colleague Jim Jordan. He was dishing out just a little of what Jordan has been delivering all along.

Corruption, Mr. President? That really concerns you?

Donald J. Trump’s proclaimed interest in rooting out government corruption around the world rings about as hollow as anything the president has declared since he entered the political world.

Trump has asserted that corruption in Ukraine was at the root of his concern over former Vice President Joe Biden’s business concerns and those of his son, Hunter. It was corruption that prompted the president to ask the Ukrainian president for help in investigating the Bidens before he would release money for weapons that Congress had appropriated for use by Ukraine in its struggle against Russia-backed rebel forces.

Oh … really?

Let’s take a quick look at some indisputable facts.

  • Russia is among the most corrupt nations on Earth. Strongman Vladimir Putin orders the killing of those who oppose him. He runs the nation with an iron fist. Organized crime has run rampant ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Where is Donald Trump’s outrage there? Once again, why hasn’t the president condemned the Russians for their blatant and malicious attack on our electoral system in 2016 and their effort to do the same thing, or maybe worse, in 2020?
  •  Turkey also is corrupt. It also is run by a strongman. It has slaughtered Kurds along its border with Syria and Iraq; and the Kurds have been allied with the United States in the never-ending struggle to put down the Islamic State.
  •  North Korea is the world’s pariah state. It is a chief sponsor of international terrorism. Kim Jong Un orders the murder of opponents. His government allows mass starvation of North Koreans. Has the U.S. president ever tied his “love affair” with Kim Jong Un with demands to bolster human rights?

All of this just touches the outlines of corruption in governments on every continent on Earth. Why has the president remained silent on the issue … until now?

It’s more than just a wild coincidence, it seems to me, that Donald Trump’s interest in “Ukrainian corruption” just happens to involve business dealings concerning a potential political rival; that would be Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Donald Trump is no more interested in curbing corruption than he is in apologizing for defaming his fellow Americans.

He is a disgrace.

Sondland brings it, but won’t change many GOP minds

Gordon Sondland brought it today to the House Intelligence Committee.

He said Donald Trump linked aid to Ukraine with a personal political favor. Sondland said everyone within earshot knew it. He has confirmed what has been reported for months: that Trump asked a foreign government for personal political help and put our nation’s security at risk by withholding weapons slated for Ukraine, which uses them in its war with Russian-backed rebels.

There. That said, I have some bad news to offer. The U.S. ambassador to the European Union’s testimony today likely did not change many — if any — Republican minds on whether to impeach the president, let alone remove him from office.

This is the huge hurdle facing those in the House who want to impeach the president. No matter how many witnesses they trot out to implicate Trump in what I believe are impeachable offenses, the Republicans who serve in the House and Senate remain locked in to their fealty to a president who likely doesn’t give a rat’s tush about any of them individually.

What might move the needle? I suppose these lawmakers will need to hear from their constituents back home. Perhaps there might be enough of their “bosses,” the voters in their states or congressional districts, who will express appropriate outrage at what the nation is hearing in these public impeachment inquiry hearings.

I am left simply shaking my head.

Gordon Sondland told the nation what many of us knew already. That Donald Trump’s transactional philosophy has put the nation in peril. Why? Because he was interested in digging up dirt on political foes and doesn’t give a flying crap about corruption in Ukraine. 

Will he resign or stay … and get pummeled?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly wants to serve in the U.S. Senate. How does he do that if he is serving in the Donald Trump administration? Obviously, he cannot.

He also is being dragged feet first into the impeachment inquiry sausage grinder that has cranked up in the House of Representatives.

Pompeo hails from Kansas. He once served in the House from that state. Sen. Pat Roberts is retiring at the end of 2020. Pompeo wants to succeed him.

Does he stay on at State or does he enter the campaign from Kansas? He ought to run for the Senate. I don’t believe he needs to be elected from that state, given that I believe he has disserved his fellow diplomats at State. How? By not standing behind one of his more stellar ambassadors, Marie Yovanovitch, who has been smeared by Donald Trump, who fired her from her post as ambassador to Ukraine.

The impeachment inquiry is getting messy for Pompeo. He now has been revealed to have been in on that phone call Trump made to Ukraine’s president in which he asked for a favor in return for weapons sent to Ukraine to use against rebels backed by Russia.

Yahoo.com reported that Pompeo wants out, that he wants to run for the Senate. The State Department denies it … naturally!

Since the denial comes from the Trump administration, I cannot accept it at face value.

I tend to believe the reports that Donald Trump is going to look for the third secretary of state who is willing to endure the misery the president seems all too willing to inflict on those he selects to serve.

This impeachment debate is getting personal … and graphic

I just performed a rare — for me, at least — social media act.

I severed a social media relationship based on something this individual posted. I don’t like admitting it, but I am doing so now.

Here’s my side of the story.

The impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s conduct as president has drawn some amazing commentary on both sides of the great divide among Americans. It has stormed onto social media in ways I did not expect.

This evening on Facebook, I got a message from someone I know — although not well — that made me wretch. It contained an encrypted picture that had a note that it contained a graphic image; I had to click on a link to view it, so I did.

It turned my stomach. It showed a terrible image of what was described as a U.S. envoy being tortured; juxtaposed with that image was a picture of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch with a caption that said she had her “feelings hurt” by Donald Trump.

I put the encryption back on the picture and then “unfriended” the person who posted it from my Facebook network.

Yes, this is the kind of anger that the Donald Trump Era of Politics has brought us. I do not like it. Not in the least.

Although I have to say that the debate over Donald Trump’s fitness to serve as president and the inquiry into whether he should be impeached is revealing a lot about people I thought I knew. I am finding that some of my many acquaintances harbor some pretty nasty tendencies, such as the picture that one of those individuals posted on a social media platform.

I have lived through two serious presidential crises. The first one involved President Nixon and the Watergate scandal; the second one concerned President Clinton and the White House intern scandal. Nixon was on the way to getting impeached, but he resigned the presidency; the House impeached Clinton but he was acquitted by the Senate at trial.

In neither of those crises do I remember the intensity being exhibited by partisans on both sides of that divide. However, the image I looked at today — yes, I saw the warning, but looked anyway — goes so far beyond the pale that I parted company with someone who I thought was better than that.

I am afraid this tumult is going to damage a lot more relationships.

No one is above the law, including the POTUS

It has been said time and time again, that “no one is above the law, and that includes the president of the United States.”

It’s an article of truth to be sure. Our laws apply to all Americans.

Which brings me to this point: How does the president of the United States, Donald Trump, get away with smearing, defaming and slandering individuals?

The latest example? Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The former envoy was removed from her embassy post earlier this year by Donald Trump, who has the authority to change ambassadors. That is his call. We all get that.

However, he smeared Yovanovitch while recalling her from her post in Ukraine. The envoy is noted for her diligence and diplomatic skill. She has been honored and decorated over her 33-year career in the foreign service. Then the president calls her “bad news” and blamed her — and this is rich — for what went wrong in Somalia, where she was posted prior to her Ukraine assignment. He made the Somalia reference while Yovanovitch was testifying — in real time — during the congressional impeachment inquiry that is under way on Capitol Hill.

The president offered no evidence of any “bad news” element. Nor has he explained in anything approaching detail why he thinks badly of Yovanovitch.

Is he above the law? Or must he adhere to the same laws as the rest of us? I’ve long believed that presidents of the United States are not deities, nor are they dictators. They are our elected heads of state and government, but they are citizens … just like the rest of us.

I just am baffled by how this individual — the president — gets away with saying the things that fly out of his mouth. He has defamed Marie Yovanovitch’s exemplary reputation.

Don’t such laws that protect citizens against such abuse exist when they regard the president?