Tag Archives: Senate GOP

Impeachment: Problematic, but necessary

I have traipsed all over the proverbial pea patch in trying to assess whether the U.S. House of Representatives should impeach Donald J. Trump.

At this moment, and it appears to be a permanent view, I stand in favor of impeachment as a necessary evil. Will a House impeachment result in Trump’s removal from the presidency of the United States? Probably not. The Senate’s Republican majority isn’t likely to follow the House Democrats’ lead in determining that Trump committed impeachable offenses that merit his ouster.

My former view was that impeachment would be an exercise in futility. So, my thought held, what is the point?

I have determined that the point is that Congress cannot let stand what it believes are acts that constitute egregious abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

It is all but proven that Trump sought personal political help from a foreign government. That’s a crime. The president of Ukraine and Trump spoke on the phone. The Ukrainian thanked Trump for supplying his country with military weaponry, but Trump then said he needed a “favor, though” in return for delivery of the weapons to be used against Russian aggressors.

Trump has sought foreign government help in digging up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential political foe in 2020. How in the world is that not an impeachable offense?

The president’s ouster as a result of impeachment remains unlikely at this moment. The Senate will hold a trial. Republicans occupy 53 of the body’s 100 seats. The U.S. Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to convict a president for him to be kicked out of office.

The way I see it, it is entirely possible for most senators to vote to convict Trump, just not enough of them to kick him out of the White House. I can think of possibly four Senate Republican votes to convict: Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Lamar Alexander and Johnny Isaakson; the latter two are not seeking re-election in 2020 and are immune from any retribution Trump might seek to level against them. Then again, a slim majority to convict Trump presumes all Senate Democrats vote to uphold the House impeachment.

Yes, this impeachment inquiry remains highly problematic. However, I believe now that it must proceed and it should result in articles of impeachment against the president.

Donald Trump has richly earned the inglorious title of “the nation’s third president to have been impeached.” Whether he can parlay that epithet into a winning re-election strategy remains to be seen.

If he does, then there will be something terribly wrong with our nation’s political system.

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.

Sen. Paul approves big tax cut, but blocks 9/11 relief bill

Let me see how this works.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was among the Republicans who voted for Donald Trump’s big tax cut in 2018, the one that helped a lot of rich folks and, oh yes, helped run up the national debt to its current level of $22 trillion.

Then the senator this week has blocked a bill to reinstate a relief bill aimed at helping 9/11 first responders battle ailments caused by the terrible terrorist attack on this country. Paul’s rationale is, shall we say, ironic to the point of hypocrisy.

He said the country’s debt is too steep. We need to find spending cuts to pay for the relief package, he said.

Hold on! But … Sen. Paul, your vote on the tax cut helped roll up that national debt! The debt has skyrocketed because you and your Senate colleagues along with the president wanted to slash taxes for wealthy Americans.

I should point out, too, that the 9/11 relief initiative got national attention because of the fiery and emotional testimony delivered by comic Jon Stewart (pictured with this post), sitting alongside first responders suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

This is disgusting in the extreme, Sen. Paul.

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.

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.

Pelosi masks her apparent frustration … but the mask is slipping

Nancy Pelosi must be the most frustrated politician in Washington, D.C. She is the speaker of the House of Representatives that likely has the votes to impeach the president of the United States.

But she doesn’t want the House to walk down that path. Why? Because she is taking the long view.

That brings me to the frustration she must be feeling.

Democrats control the House, but Republicans control the Senate. The House can impeach Trump with a simple majority vote. The Senate, which would put Trump on trial for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” must clear a much higher bar; it needs a two-thirds vote to convict the president on all charges. That’s 67 out of 100 senators; Republicans comprise 53 members, which means more than a dozen GOP senators need to believe that Trump is guilty of those crimes.

Frustration? Yeah! Do ya think?

Pelosi is trying to stiff-arm members of her Democratic House caucus, those who want at the very least to launch what they’re calling an “impeachment inquiry,” which is code for actually impeaching the president.

Pelosi’s frustration surely rests in the comparative rhetoric that came from Republicans in 1998 when they impeached a Democratic president, Bill Clinton. What did the president do to warrant impeachment? He lied to a grand jury about that seedy relationship he had with what’s-her-name. He, um, obstructed justice, in GOP members’ eyes.

Many of those formerly fervent pro-impeachment Republicans are in office today. They are saying that despite the mountain of evidence compiled by special counsel Robert Mueller, that Donald Trump is “exonerated” of obstruction charges. Mueller and his investigative team found at least 10 instances where the president sought to impede investigations into the Russian attack on our electoral system in 2016. Mueller, though, said he couldn’t indict the president because of a Department of Justice policy prohibiting charging a sitting president with a crime.

He left the issue of determining culpability  up to Congress!

Are we clear on that? He didn’t exonerate, clear, declare the president to be innocent of anything!

Senate Republicans, though, aren’t having any of it. They’re standing behind one of their own, the man who occasionally visits the Oval Office.

I’m tellin’ ya, that is what I believe is the source of Speaker Pelosi’s supreme frustration. I also believe the speaker’s patience is wearing thin. She did say she’d prefer to see Trump “in prison” rather than merely being impeached.

I’m hoping she stands firm for as long as she can. Senate Republicans need to be made to understand what many of us believe already: that the president of the United States has committed criminal acts.

Dial it back, Mme. Speaker

Surely the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives knows with whom she is dealing. Surely she knows that the president of the United States possesses a hair-trigger temper that ignites a mouth that speaks without filter.

Yet there she is, telling House colleagues she doesn’t want to impeach the president; she wants to see him sent to prison.

Ayye! How about dialing it back, Nancy Pelosi?

Donald Trump well might be goading the House to impeach him. He also knows what many of us know already, that the Republicans who run the Senate aren’t going to convict him. He’ll then be able to use a House impeachment against Democrats and pave the way toward a possible — if not probable — re-election in November 2020.

Pelosi is known to possess a first-class political mind; her political instincts are believed to be unparalleled. Thus, I am surprised to hear her say what she said, that her goal is to put the president of the United States in prison.

It’s one thing to comprehend the steep hill that awaits a potential impeachment vote in the House. It’s quite another to say she wants to toss the president behind bars.

I agree with the speaker’s reluctance — if only for now — to launch impeachment proceedings against the president. I only wish she would keep the “prison” thoughts to herself.

Speaker Pelosi is sure to launch the president into a hysterical response that only will serve to make us all just shake our heads in utter disbelief.

Let’s ‘walk and chew gum’

Washington, D.C., is the birthplace of countless clichés.

Such as, “At the end of the day,” we’re going to “kick the can down the road” while deciding whether to “walk and chew gum.”

The third — walking and gum-chewing — is the latest cliché du jour. It refers to lawmakers’ ability to investigate the president and legislate at the same time.

Donald Trump needs to learn that skill. Today, he demonstrated his inability to do what needs to be done for the benefit of the country he was elected to govern. He is angry with Democrats because they insist on getting at the truth behind questions about obstruction of justice, on the president’s personal finances and on whether he is covering up potential misdeeds.

Congressional Democratic leaders ventured to the White House today to meet with the president on infrastructure improvement, something Trump said he favors. Oh, but then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said something out loud about believing that Trump is “covering up” possible illegal activity.

The president hit the ceiling. He walked into the meeting room, didn’t shake any hands, didn’t sit down at the conference table. He stood and spoke for about 3 minutes and said he was done working with congressional Democrats on any legislative matters.

Then he walked out. Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said Trump’s actions this morning were “jaw dropping.” He said the president walked into the meeting room with no intention of working with Democrats on infrastructure.

This is what we’ve gotten? A president who once pledged to “unify” the country who now walks away from any possible major legislative effort because he is angry at Democrats who are keeping faith with their constitutional mandate?

I remain opposed to impeaching this guy because impeachment — at this moment — likely will not result in his removal from office. House Democrats would impeach Trump; Senate Republicans do not appear likely to convict him.

However, Donald Trump’s continued petulance and the chaos that results from legitimate questions, though, is giving me serious concerns about whether impeachment is inevitable.

Rep. Amash ‘outs’ himself; calls for Trump to be impeached

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash stands atop the back bench of the House of Representatives as a lone Republican voice.

The GOP lawmaker from Michigan has become the first in his political party to say that Donald Trump, the nation’s Republican president, has committed an impeachable offense . . . or three.

Will this relatively unknown legislator be the first of other Republicans to declare they are fed up with the president’s conduct, his disregard for the rule of law, his ignorance about checks and balances, his hideous conduct?

I have no idea.

It does fascinate me that this libertarian-leaning lawmaker who reportedly is at odds often with his party’s congressional leadership would be the first to say what many on the far left of the Democratic Party are saying: that Trump should be impeached immediately.

Of course, Amash used Twitter to make his views known. It does annoy me that so many people in public office are using that particular medium to make these grand pronouncements . . . but that’s a topic for another blog entry.

One lone voice in a particular party doesn’t signal a political tsunami in the making. After all, the House is just the accusatory chamber. The Senate, which still is run by the GOP, has to provide a two-thirds vote to convict a president of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see this Senate with its current partisan makeup following the trail that would be blazed in the House of Representatives.

Which makes all this talk a waste of time.

Sen. Romney stands on principle in voting ‘no’ on judge

I know that a single U.S. Senate vote does not signal a trend, but I have to be heartened by a principled “no” vote cast by Utah’s freshman Republican senator, Mitt Romney.

The former GOP presidential nominee was the lone Republican to vote against the nomination of Beaumont lawyer Michael Truncale to be a U.S. district judge. Truncale won confirmation by a narrow 49-46 vote to take a seat on the bench representing East Texas.

Why the “no” vote from Romney? Because Truncale describe President Obama in 2011 as an “un-American imposter,” which quite naturally was seen by many as a play into the “birther” lie that plagued Obama during much of his presidency; you know, what he was born in Kenya and, thus, was ineligible to run for, let alone serve as, president of the United States.

“He said some things disparaging of President (Barack) Obama and having been the Republican nominee in 2012, I couldn’t sign onto that for a district judge,” Romney told CNN.

Romney has demonstrated that he won’t be Donald Trump’s “yes man” on all matters that come before the Senate.

Truncale received a grilling from Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats about the remark and he answered that “it is possible” he was expressing frustration over what he called Obama’s lack of “overt patriotism.”

Yeah, sure thing, bub. Suppose he was merely popping off at that false assumption. Doesn’t that, therefore, speak to the man’s judicial temperament, or the lack thereof?

Romney famously said during the 2012 Al Smith Memorial Dinner in New York that he and President Obama — who were locked in a fierce battle for the White House at the time — did not harbor personal “ill will” toward each other despite their widely divergent world views.

Sen. Romney’s “no” vote against Michael Truncale keeps faith with that declaration.