Tag Archives: POTUS

POTUS gives foes the ammo they now need to, um, impeach

Am I allowed to change my mind, to suggest that the evidence now has reached a form of critical mass that qualifies as an “impeachable offense”?

Of course I am!

I believe it has arrived in the form of an interview that Donald Trump granted ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in which the president said he would accept negative information on a political foe from a foreign government.

Bingo, bango! There you have it. The president then said the “FBI director is wrong” when he said just a month ago that anyone who gets that kind of “opposition research” should report it to the FBI. How does it feel, Christopher Wray, to take a shiv straight in the back?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been fervent in our belief that impeachment is not in the cards, at least not until there is compelling evidence of wrongdoing. Well, it might that the president has provided it that evidence with his reckless pie hole spouting off how he would do precisely what has been alleged that he did during the 2016 election: that he would use information on a foe provided by a hostile foreign power.

I had stood with the speaker in her resisting calls for impeachment.

Today, after digesting what I have heard from POTUS, I am having second thoughts.

This is a dangerous man serving as our head of state.

White House still signifies dignity, power and majesty

I have made no secret on this blog about my intense loathing of the man who lives in the big ol’ house behind us in this picture.

Two years ago, my wife and I ventured to Washington, D.C., to visit the two young folks in this picture: our niece Andrea and her husband Loren. They showed us a marvelous time in the few days we spent in the nation’s capital.

Our walking tour took us to the White House. We stood on Pennsylvania Avenue and gazed at the place along with other turistas who were gathered along the fence.

It dawned on me in the moment and it occurs to me now that despite the intense political differences one might have with the individual who sits in the Oval Office, the presidency is far bigger, far more important than the knucklehead who serves in the office.

The building is a lasting symbol of the nation and its greatness.

To be crystal clear, Donald Trump never will earn my support. I didn’t vote for him in 2016. He won’t get my vote in 2020. However, my dislike for him as an individual and what he represents does not diminish for one instant, doesn’t take away any bit of love I have for my country or the respect I continue to hold for the office of the presidency.

I suppose that is why I want my president to be better than the rest of us. I want the president to represent us with dignity, class, grace, even a bit of elegance.

I want that individual to be worthy of taking up residence in that beautiful structure. After all, it is our house. Yours and mine.

Thus, it was a thrill to lay eyes on it two years ago.

Way to go, Mr. POTUS: arrive in UK and then insult London mayor

Donald Trump has delivered a stern message to his hosts in the United Kingdom.

He don’t need no stinkin’ diplomacy.

The president of the United States landed in London and then immediately hurled an insult at that city’s presiding elected official, Mayor Sadiq Khan, who he called a “stone cold loser.”

Oh, yes. He also said that Mayor Khan is doing a “terrible job as mayor” and has been “foolishly nasty to the visiting president of the United States.”

I suppose I need to mention that Khan is a Muslim, the first Muslim ever elected mayor of London. Khan also has taken umbrage at the president’s travel ban to the United States by all Muslims, which I suppose means that Khan can’t ever visit the former Colonies on official business. I mean, it’s not as though there might be some business to be done with the UK’s stellar political, economic and military ally … correct?

The president won’t listen to anyone, but he needs to understand something about diplomacy. It’s OK to think certain things about politicians, or perhaps say things in private to them. Why unleash these Twitter tirades into the universe, entering those epithets into the public domain and insulting the mayor of one of the world’s great cities?

What’s more, the president relies solely on empty platitudes, never once citing a specific example of why a fellow elected official is doing such a “terrible job.” That’s how this POTUS rolls, as we Americans have learned all too well.

Sadiq Khan isn’t the “stone cold loser” in this instance, Mr. President.

You are!

Unable to find constitutional reference to POTUS indictment

It’s been three days since Robert S. Mueller III issued his extraordinary statement about why he reached certain conclusions about Donald Trump’s alleged collusion and obstruction of justice.

I want to focus briefly on a particular point that the former special counsel made in his nine-minute recitation before the nation.

It’s the part where he said that he and his legal team looking into the Russian attack on our electoral process in 2016 could not indict the president because of a Department of Justice policy that prohibits indicting a sitting president.

Then he said such an indictment would violate the U.S. Constitution.

I believe my eyebrows raised just a bit the moment I heard Mueller make that assertion.

I have a copy of the nation’s governing document on my desk. I have been poring over it. I have looked through Article I, which lays out congressional authority and through Article II, which spells out presidential authority. I have looked through all the other original articles in the Constitution, all the way to Article VII.

I cannot find a single reference that protects the president of the United States from indictment. I cannot locate anything at all that speaks even tangentially about the issue.

I am not going to quibble and quarrel with Robert Mueller, a fine lawyer and a former FBI director. He’s a great man with impeccable integrity. I honor the work he did while compiling his report to the nation and I certainly honor his decades of public service.

Moreover, I understand how DOJ policy could prohibit an indictment. However, a policy is much less binding than anything codified in the U.S. Constitution. Policies can be rescinded. Agencies that enact policies can change them. The Constitution is a different sort of creature. To amend anything, you need a bill to come out of Congress and you then need a super-majority of states to ratify the law.

So I am asking: Can anyone find a constitutional reference that declares that presidents cannot be indicted?

POTUS can stop declaring ‘no obstruction’

Well, that was a remarkable non-event.

Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III called a brief press event today to tell the world a few things.

He is closing up his shop and going back to becoming a private citizen. Mueller said he will not talk to Congress, as he has said all he is going to say about the 22-month investigation into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with the Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Oh, and he said that he did not clear the president of obstruction of justice, leaving the door wide open — still! — for Congress to do whatever it deems necessary to correct whatever ills it deems need correcting.

I want to join the millions of Americans who grateful for the work turned in by the former FBI director. He is, as one of Trump’s lawyers called him, “an American hero.” He is a patriot and a man of impeccable integrity and character.

As for his decision to forgo any congressional testimony, I have ruminated a bit about that and I accept his decision to call it good. The 448-page report he filed at the end of his probe ought to serve as the defining document of what he concluded.

Mueller and his team did not find sufficient evidence that Trump and his campaign conspired to collude with the Russians. He also said that despite evidence of obstruction of justice that he would follow Department of Justice policy and decline to indict a sitting president.

I accept those findings, too.

He also did not “exonerate” the president of obstruction of justice. Do I believe Donald Trump’s hysterical claims of “no collusion, no obstruction”? Or do I accept the more studied and serious analysis from Mueller that had there been grounds for exoneration he would have said so? I’ll go with Mueller. Trump, meanwhile, can yammer, stammer and blather all he wants about there being “no obstruction.”

Mueller has left it clear that the issue of obstruction now rests in the laps of 100 U.S. senators and 435 U.S. House members.

They have more work to do.

As for Mueller’s work, it’s over.

Thank you again, Mr. Special Counsel. You have performed a marvelous public service.

POTUS pans Biden, speaks well of Kim Jong Un? Wow!

Donald Trump ventured to Japan for a state visit, to meet the new Japanese emperor, attend a sumo wrestling match, play some golf with the Japanese prime minister, talk a bit about trade . . . and then bash former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and say nice things about the world’s weirdest tyrant, Kim Jong Un of North Korea.

Biden wants to win the Democratic Party presidential nomination next year and run against Trump. He’s taking the fight right to the president, saying some harsh things about his tenure in the White House.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un — who Trump has said he “loves” — launched missiles while threatening our allies in the region. What does the president say about Kim? He has faith that Kim will keep the promises he made to Trump to, oh, dismantle his nuclear weapons program.

Except that intelligence experts say he is doing no such thing. They say he is accelerating the development of those weapons.

It’s really strange, the way I see it.

A U.S. president attacks a potential foe while standing on foreign soil and then makes an expression of good faith about a man who is known to be one of the world’s most murderous despots.

What in the world has happen to what we used to consider to be normal bilateral relations? What has become of our inherent mistrust of one of the world’s most reclusive, unpredictable tyrants? Must I remind everyone that Kim Jong Un’s grandfather invaded South Korea in 1950, intending to conquer that nation and launching the Korean War, which killed more than 33,000 American service personnel?

I don’t get it, man!

Sen. Warren errs in turning down Fox News town hall invitation

Let me try to sort this out.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has turned down an invitation to participate in a presidential campaign town hall session sponsored by the Fox News Channel. She contends that Fox — Donald Trump’s favorite cable network — peddles in hate, bigotry and falsehoods. She won’t take part because Fox operates a “hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists.”

So, the Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination, is turning down the chance to grab a “megaphone” and challenge the network? Is that what she is doing here?

That is a bad call, Sen. Warren. It is self-defeating. It’s also an act of political cowardice.

I happen to agree with her about the manner in which Fox presents its view of “news.” I rarely watch the network. I cannot stomach the opinions expressed by its cadre of right-wingers.

However, I am not a candidate for president of the United States. Sen. Warren, a Massachusetts lawmaker, is among the 20-plus Democrats seeking their party’s 2020 nomination.

“It’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class,” she wrote in explaining her decision to stay away from the Fox town hall.

Good grief, senator! Stand up and speak your piece. Tell the public why it should reject the Fox world view. Tell us why the president is unfit for the office he holds.

What’s more, she ought to face the tough questions that would come from a Fox-sponsored town hall audience were she to stand before it.

That’s what presidential candidates — let alone presidents of the United States — should do.

Let the power struggle commence … and play out

A power struggle between the legislative and the executive branches of the federal government is now in full swing.

I am going to side — no surprise here — with the legislative branch in its fight with the other guys.

Attorney General William Barr — quite likely with the full blessing of the president of the United States — has decided to be a no-show at today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing. The committee, controlled by Democrats, wants to know more about Barr’s receipt of the report filed in March by special counsel Robert Mueller III on the matter involving “collusion” and “obstruction of justice” with regard to the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russians.

Barr has the answers. He is not giving the House committee any of them.

The struggle involves whether the House controls the parameters of these hearings or whether the White House gets to choose which rules it will follow and which of them it will ignore.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says the House is in charge. He says the White House cannot dictate how Congress does its job. He points out correctly that Article I of the U.S. Constitution lays out Congress’s exclusive power and declares that the legislative and executive branches are “co-equal,” meaning that neither branch is more powerful than the other.

Barr stayed away because he didn’t want to be quizzed by committee lawyers. Cry me a river, Mr. Attorney General.

The way I see it, that’s just too damn bad.

The House gets to call the shots here. Not the AG. Not the POTUS.

Barr’s appearance Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary panel raised many questions that House members want to flesh out, as if they didn’t have a full plate of questions already. One of those questions might be why Barr didn’t read the supporting evidence that Mueller provided in his full report before issuing his four-page summary of its findings.

We won’t hear from the AG, at least not yet. Nadler says he is considering whether to file a contempt of Congress citation against the attorney general.

He is allowed to do that, too. The Constitution gives the chairman that power.

The struggle is on.

First things first, Mr. VPOTUS: you gotta be nominated

This is just my view, but my sense is that the national political media are getting ahead of themselves with regard to Joe Biden’s entry into the 2020 presidential campaign.

The former vice president is the 20th Democrat to enter his party’s primary. A lot of highly qualified, well-heeled, articulate candidates have been in the game for a good while.

Yet the media have become focused on Biden’s campaign rollout and the ire he is incurring from Donald Trump, who is responding to Biden’s direct criticism of him.

I hope Biden keeps getting under Trump’s skin. The president deserves to be rankled and riled. I want him to lose the next election. I want him gone from the White House. He has disgraced the office. He has sullied and soiled our nation’s good name. He has proven to be an incompetent imbecile, a lying narcissist.

However, I am not yet willing to say that the former VP is the man who should beat him. Biden has a towering hurdle to clear if he hopes to win his party’s presidential nomination. He has to get past those 19 other Democrats. That’s just for starters.

I just want the media to stop inching toward treating Biden as if he’s the presumptive nominee already.

UVA declines invitation to visit White House … what gives?

The list is now up to three.

The University of Virginia won the NCAA men’s basketball championship with a stunning victory over Texas Tech University. Then the White House invited the Cavaliers to be feted by Donald Trump.

The Cavs’ response? No can do, Mr. President.

They now join the University of North Carolina and Villanova University in declining to take part in what most of us thought was a part of D.C. normalcy. Teams win national championships, then travel to the nation’s capital to be honored by the president of the United States.

That was until Donald Trump became president of the United States. Now we find the president politicizing these events, criticizing pro football players for kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. He infuriates players, who then balk at coming to the White House. The Golden State Warriors this past year won the NBA title, chafed at going to the White House and then the president disinvited them.

Now the third straight men’s college basketball team has said “no thanks” to the White House, citing what school officials called “scheduling conflicts.” Sure thing, man.

When you think about it, what we’re seeing is an ongoing trend involving this president.

Donald and Melania Trump haven’t attended a Kennedy Center Honors event that pays tribute to artists who contribute to the world’s culture. The president refuses to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, I presume because of his antipathy toward the “enemy of the American people.”

These once-pro forma events have become news in and of themselves because of the president’s clumsy relationships with national institutions.

So the drama continues.

The UVA Cavaliers won’t break bread with the president. I fully expect Donald Trump to say something inappropriate — if not downright stupid — in response to the NCAA men’s champs’ decision to stay away.