Tag Archives: impeachment

Who will be the GOP ‘hero’?

Bill Press is old enough to remember the Watergate scandal. He also is a fierce Democratic partisan who cheered the resignation of President Nixon in 1974.

He’s now a Democratic Party “elder” who writes commentaries on occasion and speaks for Democrats who are engaged in a fight with another Republican in the White House, Donald Trump.

He wonders now whether there are any Republicans who will stand up to Donald Trump the way they stood up in 1974 to Richard Nixon. Press isn’t holding his breath. Neither are many of the rest of us.

Trump is fighting with House and Senate Democrats over the president’s assertion of executive power/privilege at the expense of the legislative power. Congress is demanding that Trump turn over his tax returns; Democrats want to talk to key White House aides; they are insisting on seeing the full, unredacted report filed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Trump is having none of it.

Press wonders whether any of the Republicans in the House and Senate who are standing up for Trump will begin standing up to him if he continues his assault on the constitutional concept of “co-equal power” shared by those three branches of government: Congress, the White House and the courts.

He fears the worst. Press concludes in an essay: “The difference is, under Watergate, there were brave Republicans willing to stand up to their president: Bill Cohen of Maine and Lawrence Hogan of Maryland in the House; Barry Goldwater of Arizona and Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania in the Senate. Today, especially among cowardly Senate Republicans, we’re waiting for the first one with enough guts to stand up against Trump. It looks like it’s going to be a long wait.”

It took a GOP congressional delegation to troop to the White House to tell President Nixon he didn’t have the votes to withstand a Senate trial once the House impeached him. That’s when Nixon quit.

Is there a hero among the current crop of GOP lawmakers? I fear not.

AG held in contempt of Congress … to what end?

Well, here we go. Donald Trump has managed to make history once again.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has ruled that it now holds Attorney General William Barr in “contempt of Congress” for refusing to turn over the complete, unredacted report filed by special counsel Robert Mueller III.

To be honest, I don’t know what this really means in actual terms. A previous Congress once held another AG, Eric Holder, in contempt, but that went nowhere.

This one somehow feels different.

Trump has declared executive privilege in declaring that the White House will no longer allow anyone to testify before Congress; nor will it send over any documents that Congress might demand as it continues its constitutional role of oversight of the executive branch of government.

The president leads the executive branch, which the Constitution says is merely a “co-equal” arm of government. Its power is no greater or less than Congress, which comprises the legislative branch of government.

I’ll stand with Congress — no surprise there, I’m sure — in this dispute. Congress is seeking to assert the power granted by the Constitution. Donald Trump is asserting a vast array of executive privilege that he is seeking to block congressional inquiry.

I do not know how in the world the president can get away with this power grab.

A key House committee now has acted. It holds the president in contempt. That decision by itself is virtually meaningless, in my view. However, it is looking like a precursor to more legislative action intended to get to the bottom of this matter regarding obstruction of justice and whether the president is blocking efforts to find the truth.

Is there an impeachment on the horizon? A big part of me hopes that isn’t the case. House Democrats are in a position to impeach Donald Trump. Republicans who run the Senate — where an impeachment trial would occur — are in a position to dismiss whatever complaint comes to them from their colleagues in the House.

It’s taken a while to get to this place. It is an ugly spectacle to watch. It’s making me quite jittery.

AG walking dangerous line if he refuses to talk

I want to offer Attorney General William Barr a slice of unsolicited advice.

Do not, Mr. AG, follow through on your threat to be a no-show before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee later this week. If you do so, sir, you open the door a bit wider leading to a possible impeachment of the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

Barr is considering staying away from the House committee, which wants to question him regarding his handling of Robert Mueller’s report into alleged collusion and obstruction by Trump’s campaign in 2016.

The AG apparently doesn’t like what he senses will be a tough grilling by the panel, which is controlled by Democrats. There are some provisions being built in to questioning, forcing Barr to possibly stay away.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says he’ll have a hearing anyway, with or without the attorney general.

Look, I don’t want the House to impeach the president at least until it has completed its own investigation into some of the questions that Mueller left unanswered when he released his findings.

The impeachment train might become a runaway vehicle, though, if Barr stonewalls the House.

Don’t do it, Mr. Attorney General. Sit before the panel and answer the questions to the best of your substantial ability.

Sen. Graham embodies GOP hypocrisy on impeachment

I want to stipulate up front that I do not favor impeaching Donald J. Trump, at least not at this moment. I need more “proof” that he has committed an impeachable offense than what we’ve seen to date.

However, I am laughing out loud at the talk we’re hearing from Republican members of Congress who are performing a remarkable act of duplicity while ignoring the issues surrounding Trump’s troubles. These matters mirror in many instances the same issues that drove them to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1999.

The star of this duplicitous comedy is Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Two decades ago, he was a House member from South Carolina. He “managed” the GOP impeachment effort on the floor of the House; Graham, after all, is a lawyer who at the time of President Clinton’s impeachment served as a judge advocate attorney in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

He argued passionately that lying was an impeachable offense. Yes, the president committed perjury by swearing to tell a grand jury the truth, but then lied about his relationship with what’s-her-name.

The much younger Rep. Graham, though, took it farther. He said that efforts to block congressional inquiry into those matters were impeachable. Yes, he said that the Clinton team’s alleged effort to impede the congressional inquiry constituted a “high crime and misdemeanor” worthy of impeachment.

Isn’t that precisely what is happening now? Donald Trump has instructed his entire White House team to resist subpoenas being issued by various House committees. He even is seeking to block someone who no longer works in the White House — former WH counsel Don McGahn — from testifying. The president — to borrow a time-honored term born during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s — is “stonewalling” Congress on various matters that lawmakers deem important.

Where does Sen. Graham and most of his GOP colleagues stand on all of that?

Huh? Oh! The silence is deafening.

Put the brakes on impeachment

It’s getting hard for me to keep pushing on the brake pedal while the governmental vehicle keeps moving toward impeaching Donald J. Trump.

However, I have to insist that calls to launch immediate impeachment proceedings against the president are, at best, premature. At worst, they might be tantamount to a political death wish for those who oppose Donald Trump’s role as president of the United States.

The House of Representatives likely has the votes to impeach the Idiot in Chief. The Senate does not have the votes — or the courage –to convict him of any sort of “high crime or misdemeanor.”

The man appears to have at least attempted to obstruct justice in the Russia probe conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose report chronicles a systematic effort to derail the probe. It well might be impeachable.

However, the congressional wise men and women — led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi — are seeking to stop the impeachment talk until Congress does its own due diligence and investigates further what Mueller has concluded.

Pelosi knows the score. She can count votes. She understands that impeachment is a two-step process. The first step is an easy one. The second one, the Senate trial, requires a huge leap over the two-thirds rule requiring conviction.

Republicans still comprise a majority in the Senate. Does anyone really believe the GOP caucus has the stones to convict a president who has abused the awesome power of his office to end a serious investigation into the conduct of his presidential campaign?

It won’t happen. Impeachment is a non-starter. At least for now.

Impeachment is a loser . . . at least for the time being

Elizabeth Warren needs to shake the rocks out of her noggin.

The Massachusetts senator and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination thinks the House of Representatives needs to commence impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump now.

Don’t wait, she said. Do it now. Immediately if not sooner.

Warren is aghast at the dishonesty, duplicity, deception and dissembling that special counsel Robert Mueller revealed in the Trump administration. It all starts rotting at the top, according to Warren.

So, let’s get on with it, she said.

Wait a minute. I know Sen. Warren is aware of this, but impeaching a president carries a huge political gamble. Is she really saying that she believes the Senate would convict Donald Trump of unspecified “high crimes and misdemeanors” if the House actually were to impeach him? Let’s get real.

I, too, am flabbergasted by what Mueller has revealed in his 448-page report. He didn’t find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian election hackers in 2016. He also declined to clear Trump of obstructing justice, saying Congress has the authority to act. Some of the language Mueller used in that report is scathing in its tone.

Let us face a hard reality, though, shall we?

The House can impeach with a simple majority. No sweat, given that Democrats now hold a comfortable majority in that chamber. But then the bar gets a whole lot higher in the Senate, which needs a two-thirds majority to convict the president of any impeachable offense. Republicans still hold a majority in the 100-seat Senate. Does anyone seriously believe that enough Republicans will abandon the president and join Democrats in convicting him? Pardon me while I laugh out loud.

House Democratic elders, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, understand the reality of impeaching this president. The House could approve articles of impeachment, but the current Senate isn’t going to finish the job.

The political recourse rests at the ballot box. It’s that simple. To send the president packing, Democrats have to nominate a candidate who can make the case that the nation deserves far better than it has gotten, according to Robert Mueller’s finding.

American voters will take care of the rest.

Impeachment, no; election defeat, yes

Nancy Pelosi must have seen this coming.

The speaker of the House of Representatives said some time ago that she doesn’t favor impeaching Donald J. Trump. Then the special counsel, Robert Mueller, seemed to uphold Pelosi’s view that impeachment is a non-starter. He essentially cleared the president of colluding with the Russians who attacked our electoral system.

So now the task for Democrats has changed. They need to defeat Trump in November 2020’s presidential election. They might uncover more campaign grist from the congressional hearings they are planning in the weeks and months ahead. There seems to be plenty of campaign ammo to be loaded into their weapons.

For his part, Trump is preparing to batter the Democrats with Mueller’s findings. The “no collusion” mantra might as well become Trump’s 2020 re-election slogan. His dedicated base will glom on to it, citing what they insist was a “witch hunt” and an “illegal” investigation by the former director of the FBI; of course, it was neither a witch hunt or illegal.

Democrats must avoid overplaying their anger at Mueller’s findings. They spent a lot of time and emotional effort defending his integrity against the Trump attacks, which he mounted incessantly during the course of the past 22 months. They said Mueller’s integrity is impeccable; they praised his dedication and his thoroughness. So, he’s delivered them news they didn’t want to hear.

Democrats’ challenge now is finding a candidate who can stand up to Trump’s insults, his innuendo, his hideous rhetoric. They know what to expect, which I am quite certain will mirror what they heard from him on his way to election in 2016.

Impeachment now seems like a bridge too far.

As the speaker said, “He’s not just worth it.”

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.