Tag Archives: impeachment

Whether to impeach or censure POTUS

When did a parent’s rebuke of your behavior or an expression of extreme disapproval stop you from doing something wrong ever again? Did it deter you? It didn’t always stop me from misbehaving.

I mention this because of a new poll that declares that most Americans want Donald Trump to be (a) impeached and removed from office or (b) censured by Congress.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll says that nearly 60 percent of Americans want the president to pay some sort of price, via punishment, for the way he has conducted himself.

The poll shows that Americans are split on the level of punishment. Thirty-nine percent of those polled believe Trump should be impeached, put on trial and then convicted of something.

Twenty percent want a censure, which is little more than an official scolding of someone in high office. Congress can censure the president, but it doesn’t deliver any actual punitive action. It only means that Congress is just so darn angry that its members want to express themselves via censure.

If someone were to ask me, to “poll” me, I would be on the fence. I am not yet ready to declare that Trump should be impeached. You see, I am continuing to place a huge amount of faith in what special counsel Robert Mueller delivers to Americans in due course. I want the investigation to end sooner rather than later, although I want Mueller to run all his traps and chase down every lead he can before issuing his report.

This poll, interestingly, suggests that about 40 percent of respondents don’t want Congress to take any action against Trump.

According to MSN.comThe poll results come as Trump faces criminal investigations in both Washington, D.C., and New York related to whether his campaign coordinated with Russian officials and actors to help sway the 2016 presidential election.

At the same time, federal prosecutors implicated Trump earlier this month in a separate case related to payments made to two women to keep them quiet about affairs they say they had with him.

I’m going to wait for the proverbial movie on this one. I just want to await the results of Mueller’s probe. If he produces something that suggests Trump has done deeds that could get him tossed, I am all in on impeachment. Then we’ll await the trial.

Censure? Forget about it. It’s nothing more than a slap on the wrist that means nothing, man.

Yes, we’re in trouble, but it’s not a mortal danger

Count me as one of millions of Americans who is concerned about the state of politics, policy and public discourse in this great country of ours.

Do not count me as one who fears for its survival. We’re going to survive and perhaps even prosper once we get past what is happening at this moment.

The president of the United States appears to be in trouble. Investigators appear to be closing in on some serious misdeeds; they might include criminal charges leveled against Donald Trump and his immediate family.

The president is lashing out, blasting and smashing at his foes. He disparages our intelligence community, our laws enforcers, our duly elected representatives who happen to disagree with the manner in which he governs.

There might be an impeachment on our horizon. Or not.

The United States has endured many more difficult circumstances than what we’re enduring now. We’ve been through two world wars, a Great Depression, the Civil War, political corruption of all stripes and types. We have impeached two presidents already and damn near impeached a third, who then quit the presidency just as the impeachment was about to occur.

I remain an eternal optimist in the beauty of the government our founders created in the late 18th century. It contains some marvelous self-correcting mechanisms. We have elections every couple of years. We get to vote on House membership every other year; we vote on a third of the Senate at that time. We vote for president every four years and we limit a single president to two elected terms.

Congress can block a president’s impulses. The federal court system is empowered to rule on the constitutionality of congressional or presidential actions.

The system works.

Are we in dire peril over what may transpire in the coming year, or perhaps in the coming weeks? I don’t believe we are. I believe instead that the system will hold up. It will rattle and clank at times. Ultimately it will protect all Americans.

I am keeping the faith in the wisdom of those founders. They knew what they were doing.

Trump inaugural actually dwarfed Obama inaugural . . . yes, it did!

Donald Trump has bragged about the stupendous size of the crowd that witnessed his inauguration. He, um, misspoke, er, lied about it.

What he’s never bragged about is the amount of money he raised for an event that in truth was a good bit smaller, with less bling than either of the inaugurations of Barack Obama or George W. Bush.

And that has become yet another focus of federal prosecutors who are looking at this man’s presidency.

Trump reportedly raised $107 million for his 2017 inaugural. Compare that with the $53 million raised for Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural, the one that heralded the start of a truly historic presidency.

The Obama inaugural featured headline artists galore, not to mention a crowd that totaled more than 1 million spectators. The Trump inaugural had, um, a lot fewer acts, a lot less pizzazz and drew a lot fewer spectators to watch the 45th president take the oath of office.

However, the Trump inaugural team banked a lot of cash.

That has presented prosecutors with a series of questions. Why did they raise so much money? For what purpose did the donors give that kind of dough? Is it all above board, legal, transparent? Did the new president’s team turn back any of it, the way Obama’s inaugural team did with some of the donations it received prior to the president taking office?

It looks to me as if we have a mushrooming investigation. It started with a look into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign with Russian operatives who interfered with our 2016 election. It appears to be spreading to include the president’s business dealings in Russia, along with the conduct of members of Trump’s transition team.

Hey, this kind of thing happens with these probes. Special prosecutor Ken Starr started looking at an allegedly shady real estate deal in Arkansas involving President and Mrs. Clinton; it veered into another area altogether, an inappropriate relationship between the president and a White House intern. Starr summoned the president to testify to a grand jury, the president lied to the grand jury about the relationship and, thus, handed congressional Republicans a pretext to impeach him.

Now we’re looking at inaugural fundraising?

Oh, brother. This is getting more confusing by the hour.

The Trump Story has turned into a stampede

I have sought to refrain myself from getting swept away by all the developments associated with the Donald Trump Story. It’s true but I won’t beg you to believe it.

The more I see and hear, the more I read and the more I try to understand it all, I am now of the opinion that this story has turned into a stampede that well could trample the president and those closest to him.

Three former top aides and friends — Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort — are facing prison time. They’re convicted felons. They are working, or have worked, in conjunction with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is investigating that Russian collusion matter.

Mueller is acquiring a mountain of evidence from all two of those men; the third, Manafort, has been caught lying to Mueller’s team.

Then we’re hearing reports of a leading tabloid newspaper burying stories about Trump’s relationships with at least two women to help him win the 2016 president election. We are hearing of allegedly illegal payments to those women. There might be campaign finance violations.

Meanwhile, the president cannot find a new White House chief of staff. He cannot fill key secondary positions within his staff. There are reports about his alleged “concern” about impeachment by the House of Representatives that in January flips from GOP to Democratic control.

I had hoped this story could wind down. That Mueller would finish his probe, tie a bow around it and present it to the public for our review, our analysis and our judgment.

Jiminy crickets, man. It’s getting more complicated, more complex, more controversial by the hour.

Donald John Trump is in trouble.

Impeachment: full of land mines, ready to explode

Our nation’s founders had plenty of flaws. They were damn smart, though, when crafting a governing document that sought to create a “more perfect Union.”

One of their nearly perfect notions was to set the bar for impeaching and removing a president quite high. It’s a two-step process.

The U.S. House of Representatives can impeach a president with a simple majority. Then it gets a lot harder.

The U.S. Senate would put the president on trial, but to convict a president the Senate needs 67 out of 100 votes.

That’s a high bar . . . by design.

Thus, I respect the presumed next House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to argue against impeachment. Why? Because the Senate seems to lack the votes to convict Donald Trump of anything the House would argue. Therefore, Pelosi — as shrewd a vote counter as anyone — isn’t going to put her reputation on the line by stampeding an impeachment proceeding through the House without some assurance that the Senate would follow up with a conviction.

Trump reportedly is telling aides he believes the next House — to be controlled by Democrats — will launch a bum’s rush toward impeachment in 2019. I am not so sure about that.

Pelosi is not going to follow the exhibit shown by another former speaker who whipsawed the House into impeaching a president. Newt Gingrich was speaker in 1998 when the House impeached President Clinton. The Senate acquitted Clinton on all the charges. Gingrich was left looking like a fool.

Nancy Pelosi does not want history to repeat itself.

Fair to ask: Is POTUS now in serious jeopardy?

For the nearly two years that Donald Trump has served as president of the United States, I have sought to refrain from saying out loud what others have opined.

It is this: Donald Trump might not finish his term as president?

I haven’t gone there. Until now.

For the first time in Donald Trump’s time as president, I am feeling some pangs of uncertainty about his political future. I am believing that there is a chance he won’t finish his term.

How might that occur? It won’t be through impeachment. I believe as others do that although the House of Representatives can impeach the president for still-unspecified reasons and/or charges, the Senate remains an extremely high hurdle to clear. If the president stands trial, the Senate would need to find 67 votes to convict him of any of the charges for which he would be impeached.

Trump might resign, a la President Nixon. The 37th president quit after the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment; Senate Republicans trooped to the White House to inform the president that he didn’t have the support in the Senate to acquit him in a trial. Then he resigned.

Why would Trump quit? It might occur if it becomes obvious — even to the president — that he has no path toward governing. The Senate that now has 53 GOP members could be in jeopardy of falling to the Democrats in 2020, following the House that flipped from GOP control to Democratic control in the 2018 midterm election.

There could actually be an indictment handed down by a legal authority once the special counsel completes his work. No one can predict what Robert Mueller will conclude when his painstaking investigation wraps up. Trump keeps yammering about “no collusion!” but not even he knows what Mueller has uncovered — if anything. I get the sense that he’s got some goods . . . if not the goods on Donald Trump.

Mueller’s recent sentencing memos regarding former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former Trump lawyer/friend Michael Cohen and former national security adviser Michael Flynn all suggest clearly that he has compiled a mountain of information and evidence that something has gone terribly wrong with the presidency of Donald Trump.

We are entering the murkiest of pathways into the president’s world. I am not sure how this all ends. That gives me reason at this moment to wonder whether the president is going to finish his term.

Deal or no deal with Russians?

Michael Cohen, the one-time fixer for Donald Trump, has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a whole host of issues relating to whether his former friend had dealings with Russians.

He took an oath to tell the truth. He lied. He has admitted to doing it.

As nearly as I can tell from a distance, I perceive that members of Congress take truth-telling to them quite seriously, especially when it involves witnesses they summon to speak to them.

Thus, Cohen’s admission of lying to Congress opens up the question of impeachment. I am not exactly pushing for an impeachment of the president of the United States.

However, the possibility now seems a bit more likely in light of what the one-time Trump pal has admitted to doing. Cohen now has revealed that he lied to Congress, he contradicts the very point that Trump has made to Congress, that he had “no deals” in Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

All of this opens up the gigantic door for House members — led by the new Democratic majority — to start asking some probing questions. Oh, yes . . . it also sends some clear signals to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is piecing all of this together while developing his final report on his probe into “The Russia Thing.”

One lies to Congress at his or her own peril. Even if you’re a member of the same party of those who run the show on Capitol Hill.

What if POTUS is impeached and convicted?

It’s true. I deal with hypotheticals on occasion. I churn ideas around in my noggin, wondering what might happen if certain events were to transpire.

Let’s talk briefly about a potential presidential impeachment.

First of all, I don’t really want to see Donald Trump impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. Believe me or disbelieve me if you wish. That’s just how I feel.

But if it were to happen sometime in 2019 with a new Democratic majority running the House, it’s good to wonder what happens at the end.

Presidential impeachment is stressful to the max … for the government and for partisans on both or all sides of a political dispute. It’s a huge deal, man! It’s happened just twice: Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 and Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998. They both were acquitted, although President Johnson escaped conviction by a single Senate vote. President Nixon quit in 1974 when the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment, assuring the full House would follow suit.

Donald Trump is facing the prospect — I won’t judge its probability — of impeachment but only if Democrats win control of the House after next month’s midterm election. Democrats need a simple majority in the House to impeach a president.

Then we have the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who appears to be winding it down.

Suppose, then, Mueller presents evidence of, say, collusion with Russians who attacked our 2016 election. Suppose, too, he finds evidence of obstruction of justice based on Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey. Finally, let’s suppose Mueller produces evidence that the president violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which says presidents cannot take gifts from foreign governments.

OK, so the House impeaches the president. Then it goes to the Senate, where there will be a trial presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts. Congressional Republicans so far have been standing by their guy, Trump. If Democrats take control of the Senate, it likely will be by a tiny margin … maybe a seat or two. That’s not enough to convict a president; conviction requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

But wait! What if the evidence is so compelling, so overwhelming that enough Republicans cross over to side with Democrats? And what if the president is convicted and tossed out of office? Vice President Pence takes over.

Here is where I am going with this.

Should the House and Senate then ensure that Trump’s presidency is not recognized? There might be a move to obliterate any evidence that Donald Trump served as 45th president. It cannot happen? Sure it can. Such a thing has happened in at least one statehouse: in my home state of Oregon.

The image of a former governor, Democrat Neil Goldschmidt, has been removed from the state capitol building in Salem. He was a successful governor and then a transportation secretary in the Carter administration. Then he admitted just a few years ago — after a newspaper investigation — that when he was mayor of Portland, he had sexual affair with an underage girl. Goldschmidt then vanished from public view, never to be seen again.

They took his portrait down in the state capitol rotunda, as if Goldschmidt never existed.

Does the same fate befall Donald Trump in the event he is convicted? I think it should, just as I am glad they removed Neil Goldschmidt from any recognition in my home state.

Do I want any of this to happen? No. I do not. I merely want the truth to be revealed about what the president knew, when he knew it.

I would actually settle for an apology. It would provide enough pain to the president to satisfy me. He’s never apologized for anything  in his life … ever! Right?

Impeachment needs to stay on back shelf

Leon Panetta is a Democratic Party wise man and elder whose wisdom needs to be heeded.

The former U.S. representative, CIA director, defense secretary, White House chief of staff — I think that covers it — says Democrats need to cool it with the “impeachment” talk regarding Donald J. Trump.

The 2018 midterm election is shaping up as a good year for Democrats. They well might take control of the House of Representatives when the ballots are counted. I am not going to say it’s a done deal, though; I am out of the political predictin’ business, as you might remember.

Suppose the Democrats take the House. They’ll chair committees. They’ll have subpoena power. They’ll have the numbers to impeach the president if they’re so moved to take that action.

Panetta’s advice is for Democrats to keep a lid on impeachment talk as they campaign district by district for control of the lower chamber of Congress.

As Politico reported: “I think the most important thing that the Democrats could do is allow Bob Mueller to complete his work,” Panetta said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” referencing Mueller’s work as special counsel for the Justice Department and his role in the ongoing investigation into Russia’s part in the 2016 presidential election.

He is right. Impeachment seems a good bet to follow if Democrats manage to wrest control from their GOP “friends.”

However, impeachment is one thing; conviction and removal from office is quite another.

If the House impeaches Trump, the Senate will need a two-thirds vote to convict him of whatever “high crime and misdemeanor” the House chooses to level against the president. President Clinton got impeached in 1998, but the Senate never came close to the two-thirds threshold during the trial it conducted.

Republicans are likely to make impeachment a campaign issue as they fight to fend off the Democratic assault on GOP control of Congress. If I hear Leon Panetta correctly, Democrats need to turn away from any impeachment discussion until — or if — they win control of the House in the midterm election.

I think I’ll root for a House flip.

Sen. Graham then and now on impeachment

Darn that public domain. Sometimes it can come back and bite public officials in the backside.

Take it away, Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The South Carolina Republican once helped prosecute President Bill Clinton when the 42nd president was being impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. Graham was a House member at the time.

He said way back then, “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role.” He added, “Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell dug up Graham’s former view of impeachment. Of course, that was when a Democratic president got into trouble. The GOP lawmaker had a different view about impeachment than he does today.

It seems that Sen. Graham thinks a president must be charged with an actual crime to be impeached.

According to The Hill: Graham said in a statement Tuesday that “the American legal system is working its will” but that “there have yet to be charges or convictions for colluding with the Russian government by any member of the Trump campaign” after another Trump associate, Paul Manafort, was found guilty of eight charges related to financial crimes.

Which is it, Sen. Graham? O’Donnell is imploring reporters to question Graham carefully about his apparent change of heart, mind or whatever.

Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is now a convicted felon. There well might be much more to come from special counsel Robert Mueller as he continues his probe into Russian involvement in our 2016 presidential election.

As for Graham’s earlier statements about “cleansing” the presidency, I have to agree that the current president has soiled it in many ways. The current president is absolutely lacking in “honor and integrity” at almost any level one can imagine.

I certainly will await Sen. Graham’s explanation on how his view on the basis for impeachment has, um, evolved.