Tag Archives: impeachment

There remain many more hurdles for Trump to clear

Robert Mueller III’s submitting of a report to Attorney General William Barr signals the end of a long, national marathon.

The special counsel turned his findings over to Barr today. He’s done. Finished. He can go home now, put his feet up and relax.

I have been watching and listening to cable news broadcasters wonder about the report and whether it means that Donald Trump is home free.

I can answer that one. No! It doesn’t mean that at all!

The wait begins

We don’t know the contents of what Mueller has found. He said today there are no more indictments coming from his office; Mueller didn’t talk about what federal prosecutors in New York might do.

Mueller began this probe two years ago into whether the Donald Trump campaigned “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016. Has he found collusion? It beats me, man. We’ll know eventually.

If the special counsel finds no criminal activity to prosecute, that doesn’t mean he didn’t find unethical behavior; it doesn’t preclude Mueller scolding the president for conduct that he might find reprehensible.

With no finding of criminality, does that end any talk of impeachment? Well . . . no. The impeaching of a president is a political act. There need not be criminal acts involved for the House of Representatives to impeach a president. The House came within a chip shot of impeaching President Nixon in 1974, but it did not have a criminal charge to hang on him; Nixon quit before the full House actually voted.

The question of impeachment will center on whether Mueller has found enough misbehavior to warrant such a drastic act. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to impeach the president. Why? She knows the Senate won’t convict him in a trial.

So, where do we stand?

AG Barr is believed to be preparing to decide in fairly short order whether to release the findings to Congress and then to Americans out here among us.

I hope he makes as much of it public as possible.

If the AG does the right thing, then we’ll know all we need to know.

Worst-case result from Russia probe? Let’s wait for it!

I actually think about things such as this, so I’ll share it with you.

What is the worst-case scenario that could erupt upon the submission of special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report to Attorney General William Barr? In my mind, it’s not what you might think.

The worst case well could involve a finding by Mueller’s legal team that Donald Trump did not commit any crimes associated with the alleged “collusion” with Russian government officials. He might determine that there are no grounds for potential impeachment. His findings well could clear the president of doing anything wrong.

I have declared my willingness to accept whatever result Mueller produces. He’s a pro. Mueller’s integrity is beyond reproach, despite what Trump says to the contrary.

The worst case involves more directly what I expect to be the president’s reaction to those findings.

We all know that Donald Trump has an incurable Twitter fetish. He tweets day and night. He watches TV and tweets about what he sees. The president listens to the love heaped on him from Fox News and other right-wing media outlets and expresses his undying love for them. He tears into the “fake news” media and anyone who says a single critical thing about him.

I am trying to fathom how Americans are going to withstand the Twitter torrent, the tirade and tumult that well could erupt if Mueller produces a report that says, “Sorry, I got nothin’.”

Is this president wired to accept those findings like a gentleman? Will he simply shrug and thank Mueller for his service to the country and then put the issue to bed? Oh, no! I don’t believe that would happen.

Of course, I also shudder to think what he would do if Mueller comes up with a different conclusion, or if the federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York hand out some more indictments involving, oh, let’s see . . . Ivanka and Jared, Don Jr., or perhaps even the Big Man himself.

There are political remedies for that occurrence and I suspect that congressional Democrats and even their Republican colleagues might come to a meeting of the minds on how to react to that development.

It’s the exoneration that gives me pause. Not by itself, mind you. But it’s how POTUS will respond.

I’m so anxious for this chapter to close.

Democrats take page from Republicans

It wasn’t that long ago when congressional Republicans were clawing at each other. You had the TEA Party wing vs. the Establishment wing.

The TEA Party cadre was far more ideological, far more zealous in pursuit of its agenda. The TEA Party wing ended up driving John Boehner out of the speaker’s chair and out of public office. They tore a page out of the Democrats’ playbook that called the shots during the 1960s, when the Hawks battled the Doves over whether to fight the Vietnam War.

A decade later, Republicans have (more or less) settled in behind the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

Which brings me to the Democrats’ current state of play. The progressive wing is battling the Democratic version of the establishment wing.

The progressives want to impeach the president now. The more seasoned of them say “no.” They’re fighting openly with each other.

One big difference? I do not expect Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give up the fight. She doesn’t want to impeach the president, at least not  yet. The progressives in her caucus aren’t hearing the last part of it; they seem to hear “no impeachment” and go ballistic.

My own advice to the Democrats’ far-left wing is to wait for the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to finish his job. Attorney General William Barr is going to let his collusion probe finish under its own power.

If Mueller produces the goods, then they can talk openly about impeachment. Not beforehand.

Pipe down, Rep. Waters . . . will ya?

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters is dead set on impeaching Donald John Trump. She is so anxious to boot the president out of office she says it is “past time” to file articles of impeachment against him.

Well . . .

Allow me this brief rejoinder to the California Democrat: No, ma’am. It isn’t “past time.” Impeachment needs to wait for some work to be finished.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is up to his armpits in evidence that he is preparing for a final report on “The Russia Thing.”

Trump’s denigrating of our nation’s intelligence chiefs’ assessment of threats against the country got Waters’ temperature up. She’s been an ardent and vocal critic of the president. She needs little to get fired up over her desire to impeach him.

I oppose the president at almost every level, too. However, I am going to use this forum — my blog — to assert that we must wait for Mueller to finish his work before we decide whether to proceed with impeachment.

With that, Rep. Waters, I urge you to settle down and let the special counsel finish his important task.

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.