Tag Archives: Nancy Pelosi

Obstructing justice is an impeachable offense … isn’t it?

Robert S. Mueller III filed a lengthy report that concludes among other things that the president of the United States obstructed justice regarding the lengthy investigation into the Russia Thing.

If a president can be impeached for obstruction of justice in 1998, why is it different in 2019? That’s the quandary with which I am wrestling at this moment.

House Republicans declared in 1998 that a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, should be impeached because he obstructed justice while former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr looked into that sexual relationship with the White House intern. Oh, and he committed perjury while talking to a federal grand jury.

Two strikes against Clinton were enough for the GOP to launch an impeachment proceeding against a Democratic president. The impeachment succeeded, but then the Senate trial produced an acquittal on all the counts.

Therein lies the conundrum that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing. The House has the goods to impeach Donald Trump. Mueller’s report cited at least 10 instances where the president sought to obstruct justice. He said it again in testimony before two congressional committees in July. Why didn’t he file a formal complaint? Mueller said the Office of Legal Counsel policy prohibits him from indicting a “sitting president.”

I happen to stand with Pelosi’s decision to go slow on impeachment. She doesn’t want to proceed with impeaching Trump if there is no appetite among Republicans in the Senate to convict him of a complaint brought to them by the House.

I say all this, though, while scratching my noggin. If obstructing justice was enough to impeach a president 21 years ago, why is this instance so radically different that congressional Republicans cannot do so again now?

I think I know the answer. Congressional Republicans are playing politics with a growing constitutional crisis.

Has an impeachment ‘inquiry’ commenced?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler are at odds.

Pelosi doesn’t want to impeach Donald Trump; Nadler wants to proceed now with impeachment.

It looks as though Nadler is winning this argument. He appears to have commenced what has been called an “impeachment inquiry.” That means ostensibly that the Democratic caucus is going to examine whether to launch a full impeachment proceeding against Trump. They think they have the goods. Maybe they do.

But wait a second. If the House decides it has enough to impeach Trump over obstruction of justice in connection with the Russian hack of our 2016 election, then the bar gets really high.

A House impeachment is the easy part. Democrats need a simple majority to impeach. Then the Senate gets to put the president on trial. They need 67 (out of 100) votes to convict the president. The GOP occupies 53 Senate seats. They are as firmly in Trump’s corner as Democrats are as firmly intent on giving him the boot.

An impeachment “inquiry” looks to me like an exercise in futility for those who want to remove the president from office.

I personally don’t think it’s enough just to say Donald Trump has been impeached. I want him out of office, too. Impeachment, though, isn’t going to do the job.

Unless someone drops a serious bomb that persuades Republicans they are standing with a crook.

Whether to impeach or mount anti-Trump election effort

Today I feel one way about impeaching Donald Trump. Tomorrow I might feel differently.

Well, that’s how it goes for me. I cannot settle on a course of action regarding the president of the United States. I believe he is a criminal. I believe he is unfit for office. I believe has obstructed justice … which is an impeachable offense.

Does that mean the House of Representatives should launch an impeachment “inquiry,” let alone actual impeachment proceedings? No.

I now believe — at least that’s my belief today — that the only option now for getting rid of Donald Trump will occur at the next presidential election.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with the rest of the House Democratic caucus might have been waiting with bated breath for former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony this week before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees. They wanted a “gotcha” moment to occur. It did not present itself. Mueller said what many millions of Americans know already, that Trump has obstructed justice.

Committee Republicans did their job. They sought to impugn Mueller’s integrity, his impartiality, his fairness. They didn’t persuade me, but I was not the one whose attention they sought; they sought to energize the Trump base of voters. Mission accomplished.

Congressional Republicans appear to be as dug in as ever against impeaching the president. Democrats appear to be a bit more demoralized today than they were the day before Mueller took his seat before the House panels.

But … an election is coming along. November 2020 will present Trump foes perhaps their final opportunity to rid the nation of the scourge of this president, the guy who doesn’t believe what Mueller — and other intelligence experts have — that the Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Can they make the case? Can they deny Trump the Electoral College victory he covets to take office for a second term as president?

I believe at this moment that is the only viable course available for those of us who want Donald Trump removed from the presidency.

However, that could change. I mean, there’s always another day.

If I were King of the World, I would …

… Go full throttle toward impeaching Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States.

But I’m not. Neither, of course, is Donald Trump, even though he said falsely this week that Article II of the U.S. Constitution allows him to do “anything” he wants.

I listened to a lot of Robert Mueller’s testimony today. Part of it was in my car tuned to National Public Radio. My wife and I drove this morning to Bonham for an appointment and on our way home stopped for a tour of the Sam Rayburn Library and Museum. I was struck by a passage I saw attributed to the late great speaker of the U.S. House, “Mr. Sam,” which was that one should tell the truth always because you never have to “remember what you said.”

Donald Trump hasn’t told the truth a single time since questions arose about the Russian hacking of our election in 2016. He has lied time and time and time again. His lies have piled up on top of each other.

Mueller today told the world that Trump obstructed justice and that Trump lied when he said that the 22-month-long investigation cleared him of obstruction.

Now, is that enough to impeach the president? Yes. Is it enough to convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors? Yes! Not just yes, but hell yes!

However, I don’t run things in Washington, D.C. I am just a chump blogger out here in Trump Country. I also recognize the political realities that are staring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the face. They are serious, stark and foreboding.

She could call for an impeachment vote in the next 20 minutes and likely could get enough House Democrats to impeach the president. Then what? It goes to the Senate, where Trump would stand trial. Did you hear any Republican House committee members sound as if they would endorse conviction in the Senate? If you did, then you heard something that was lost on me.

I’ve heard enough to impeach Donald Trump. However, conviction is a far more difficult hurdle to clear.

If I were King of the World, I would order the Senate to convict this carnival barker/con man/fraud/presidential imposter.

If only I could.

Impeachment now seems more distant

I have one immediate response to the long-awaited testimony from former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

It is that I believe impeachment of Donald Trump has been moved farther away from Congress than it was before Mueller delivered his testimony.

Why do I say that? I didn’t see a single Republican hero step forward during the daylong grilling. I heard no Republican ask a single question that challenged Trump’s phony assertion that Mueller’s 22-month-long investigation absolved him of collusion and obstruction of justice.

Mueller made it clear. His lengthy report did not exonerate Trump. He said that this president could be indicted after he leaves office. Which means to me that the president committed a crime (allegedly!). Except that Mueller could not indict him because of Office of Legal Counsel policies prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president.

So … what does all this mean?

It means to me that we haven’t budged at all from where we were at the beginning of the day.

Democrats have dug in that they either want to impeach Trump now or want to wait until more information becomes public. Republicans have dug in as well, defending a president they have known for a long time has committed a criminal act while running for president and while serving as president; Trump has obstructed justice, according to Mueller.

I want to compare what we heard today briefly to what transpired during the Watergate hearings of 1973 and 1974. Today we heard Republicans to a person stand firmly behind the president, ignoring the evidence they have heard. The Watergate Republicans, though, were able to muster enough courage to ask probing questions of White House senior aides, officials and campaign staffers.

Let’s remember that GOP Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee asked the signature question: What did the president know and when did he know it? Moreover, the Republican chief counsel, future Tennessee U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, asked the White House aide about the infamous tape recording system that President Nixon had installed in the Oval Office. After that it was game over!

We didn’t get that today.

Impeachment is now farther away than ever. This should not be the end, though, of Congress’s probe.

Then and now: Clinton and Trump

First, I’ll stipulate that I agree with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to proceed with impeaching Donald J. Trump, at least for the time being.

She knows the political consequences can be difficult to overcome if such an event were to occur. The divisions would be deep. An acquittal by the Republican-controlled Senate could be devastating for the country.

Republicans are standing behind the president. They aren’t listening to the evidence that keeps mounting that Trump committed crimes while running for president and while serving as president.

Which brings me to the key point: How is it that Republicans today are so reluctant to proceed with their constitutional duties when two decades ago they were hellbent on impeaching a previous president for a whole lot less than the charges that are piling up against the current one?

In 1998, the GOP-led House impeached President Clinton. The reason was twofold: He lied to a grand jury that asked him about a relationship he had with a White House intern. Clinton took an oath to tell the truth; he reneged on the oath. The GOP said we cannot have a president who is “above the law.” Republicans threw in an obstruction of justice charge for good measure.

The House “manager” of the impeachment proceeding against Clinton was none other than a fresh-faced South Carolinian named Lindsey Graham, who said in effect that the House could impeach the president for damn near any reason it saw fit.

Today, that same Lindsey Graham is now a U.S. senator and he’s saying something dramatically different about Donald Trump. Despite what the special counsel, Robert Mueller III, said that he didn’t “exonerate” the president after his lengthy investigation into collusion with Russian election hackers, Graham keeps insisting that Mueller “cleared” Trump of obstruction of justice.

No. He did nothing of the sort.

Mueller only concluded that he couldn’t indict a sitting president, citing Justice Department policy; he also said such an indictment would be “unconstitutional,” although that terminology baffles me.

There is a huge mountain of evidence that suggests that Trump sought to obstruct justice by getting a former White House counsel to fire Mueller. That he canned FBI director James Comey to stop the FBI”s probe into the “Russia thing.” That he ordered the payment of hush money to a porn actress to keep her quiet about a fling she and Trump had in 2006, even though Trump denies it ever occurred.

I understand Pelosi’s predicament. I agree with her. However, for the life of me I cannot accept the Republicans’ refusal to budge on this president’s conduct when they were so anxious to pull the impeachment trigger on another president.

Oh, wait. Clinton is a Democrat; Trump is a Republican.

Gosh, do you think Republicans are putting their party over what’s good for the nation?

Impeachment moves closer to edge of the table

A Texas Democratic member of Congress, Al Green of Houston, filed a motion to impeach Donald J. Trump. The U.S. House of Representatives voted today on Rep. Green’s motion and, to no one’s surprise, turned it down.

What does it mean? To my way of thinking — and I am swaying in the growing gale-force winds on this matter — it looks to me that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s calculation that impeachment is a loser for Democrats.

Ninety-five Democrats voted for motion to impeach. It is far from the 218 votes needed for the House to impeach this president. Democrats occupy 230 House seats, so the bar remains quite high.

House Republicans remain solidly behind the president … for reasons that baffle me, given the evidence that Donald Trump has broken the law while serving as president. But that’s another story.

Pelosi can count votes. She knows the House Democratic caucus isn’t totally lined up with the impeachment faction within its ranks. She also knows that the Republican-controlled Senate isn’t going to convict the president of any “high crimes and misdemeanors” that the House would bring forth in an impeachment.

Green’s impeachment motion was based solely on the racist tweets that Trump launched against the four congresswomen with whom he is engaged in that ridiculous feud. That is a non-starter.

Now, there might be more grist to chew on after former special counsel Robert Mueller III talks next week to the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees. However, I am not taking that to the bank, either, given the GOP caucus’s stubborn resistance to looking analytically at what Mueller dropped on our laps at the end of his 22-month probe into alleged collusion with Russians and obstruction of justice.

I am thinking at this moment that the best way — perhaps the only way — to rid the nation of Donald Trump is to remove him from office at the 2020 presidential election.

But … that could change.

Memo to AOC: You’re playing with fire

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is beginning to get on my nerves. As in really getting on my nerves.

The rookie New York City congresswoman is seeking to disrupt the political power structure within the Democratic Party by challenging one of her fellow Democrats, who also happens to one of the more skilled politicians ever to lead the U.S. House of Representatives.

AOC needs to mind her manners. I don’t mean to suggest that she sits silently on the back bench of the House. I do mean to suggest that Ocasio-Cortez is getting far more attention than she deserves this early in her congressional career.

Pelosi vs. AOC heats up

The freshman lawmaker is re-igniting her feud with Pelosi by hitting back at the speaker, who criticized Ocasio-Cortez and other far-left pols in the House for their outspokenness. She said all they have is “social media” and added that there’s no outright support among the rank and file to back them up.

AOC, of course, said she does have “public sentiment” on her side, which is to demand immediate impeachment of Donald Trump. Pelosi is digging in against that idea, saying it is too early and that she wants significant Republican buy-in were she to initiate impeachment proceedings against the GOP president.

I tend to side with Pelosi, although the evidence does seem to be mounting that the president has committed impeachable offenses. Pelosi, the shrewd pol that she is, understands that to impeach the president in the House cannot guarantee removal from office, given the Republicans’ control of the Senate, which must put the president on trial. Moreover, the bar for conviction is much higher than it is for impeachment; the Senate needs 67 votes to convict, while the House only needs a simple majority to impeach.

Pelosi is the veteran here. She is the politician with lots of wisdom and knowledge of how the system works. She also is every bit as ideologically progressive as AOC and her other congressional newbie allies.

The only difference is that Speaker Pelosi knows better than to rush headlong into a confrontation that she well could lose.

Pelosi knows how Boehner felt?

She likely would dislike the comparison, but I’ll make it anyway: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is feeling some of the pain that was inflicted on one of her predecessors, former Speaker John Boehner.

Indeed, Pelosi handed the gavel over to Boehner when Republicans took control of the House in 2011; she was speaker during the previous congressional session, but the Democrat had to surrender her speakership to the GOP and to Boehner.

What happened to Boehner? He ran into the TEA Party buzz saw that made his speakership a form of holy hell. He eventually quit the House and disappeared from public life.

Now it’s Pelosi’s turn to deal with renegade elements within her political party. The culprits this time are the likes of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. They are the progressives in her Democratic caucus who don’t want to wait any longer before launching impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. They’ve seen enough and want action … now!

Pelosi ain’t budging. She doesn’t want to impeach the president, at least not yet. She wants more evidence. She wants some Republican buy-in, but so far she isn’t getting it.

Will this intraparty fight doom her speakership the way the GOP’s internal struggle sent Speaker Boehner heading for the door? Oh, I doubt it. However, it does go to show that divergent views do have this way of causing sleeplessness among political leaders, no matter which side of the aisle they do business.

Impeachment talk has me rattled

I am willing to give you a pass if you believe I am foursquare, solidly and irrevocably behind impeaching the president of the United States, Donald John Trump.

Except that I am not.

Really. This impeachment discussion is giving me serious heartburn.

I am torn into itty-bitty pieces over this matter. I am terribly conflicted and I am anxious — yes, anxious! — for some sort of resolution.

On one hand, I have supported U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s notion that the House shouldn’t impeach Trump just yet. She is seeking patience. She wants more information to come forth. She well might be stalling, waiting for a presidential election a little more than a year from now to “settle” this matter for her … with Trump losing his re-election effort.

On the other hand, we have those among House Democrats who say it’s not about politics. It’s about “the Constitution,” they say. They argue that it is their “duty” to ensure that the president is “held accountable” and that “no one, not even the president, is above the law.” They are hellbent on launching what they call an “impeachment inquiry,” which is another way of saying they want to commence impeachment hearings.

What if the House impeaches the president? He will stand forever as one who has been impeached. Trump would become the third president to have been impeached by the House. Never mind what the Senate might do. Senators led by gutless Republicans seemingly aren’t going to convict Trump of any of the complaints brought to him. Many of us see the danger that this individual poses to the country. The Senate GOP leadership is ignoring it, to their everlasting shame!

Does the president run for re-election on the basis of his being an impeached president? How does that play out here among the rest of us in Flyover Country. Well, you know that my mind was made up when the 2016 election results came in: I have wanted him gone since the beginning of his presidency. But I digress.

Another downside of impeachment? You can kiss any type of reform legislation goodbye for the remainder of Trump’s term. The president and the House will have declared war on each other. Immigration reform? Climate change legislation? Infrastructure plans? Hah! Forget about it!

And what in the name of good governance will happen if hell freezes over and Trump is re-elected?

Good grief!

I am on the fence, folks. I cannot get my footing anywhere near stable enough to declare either “yes” or “no” on impeaching this clown.

Someone needs to pass the Pepto.