Tag Archives: Trump impeachment

Biden has reversed himself on the subpoena issue?

Good ever-lovin’ grief, Mr. Vice President.

Joe Biden went from declaring his intention to do what Donald Trump has done by refusing to honor a  Senate subpoena, to “clarifying” his remarks to essentially reversing himself by saying that, yep, he would show up to testify if asked to do during a Senate impeachment trial.

My head is spinning so rapidly I’m coming down with a case of vertigo.

Biden wants to be the next president of the United States. He’s the prohibitive favorite among Democrats still running for the office. However, keeps saying things that fly out of his mouth that require mid-course corrections. The subpoena matter is the latest.

I took him to task initially on this blog for telling a Des Moines Register editorial board that he would refuse to comply with a Senate subpoena; he said such a summons would distract the Senate from the issue at hand, which is Trump’s conduct as president. Republican senators want to question Biden and his son Hunter on their business dealings in Ukraine.

On one score, Biden is right; that is not the issue. At issue is whether Donald Trump abused the power of his office by soliciting a foreign government for a political favor and whether he obstructed Congress by demanding his key aides refuse to answer House subpoenas. To my mind, the answer is “yes” on both matters.

The former VP cannot play the game that Trump has played. So now he says he would comply with a Senate summons … if they ever get that trial started.

Great! Why didn’t he say that the first time?

What is Biden thinking?

It’s time — maybe it’s past time — to acknowledge what I have been fearing for a while.

It is that Joseph R. Biden Jr. might not have the rhetorical chops to become the next president of the United States. For the life of me I do not understand his response to a Des Moines Register editorial board interview question concerning a possible subpoena by the Senate to testify during Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The former vice president had the bad form to say he would refuse to answer a subpoena. Yep, he would ignore it. It has me wondering now whether this is the right man to nominate to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency.

A friend of mine offered what I consider to be a stellar alternative response that Biden could have used in response to the question. It goes like this:

“Absolutely. I will be happy and proud to participate in any legitimate congressional investigation into Trump’s misbehavior. Once the Senate has shown it is serious about finding the truth by securing the testimony of Mulvaney, Giuliani and Bolton, I will proudly march onto Capitol Hill to explain how I did nothing wrong and supported legitimate U.S. policy aims in all of my interactions with Ukraine. I will then elaborate on how the honorable president I ably served for eight years would have never participated in such despicable behavior. I look forward to the moment the senate fulfills its Constitutional mandate by conducting a fair trial that seeks the truth about this stain on America’s honor.”

My friend goes on:

No. 1, you win the argument immediately and everyone who is not automatically supporting Trump gets it.

No. 2, you will never, ever be forced to testify because Trump and the GOP absolutely cannot afford to have those three testify under oath under any circumstances.

Sheesh. This isn’t brain surgery here.

Now the former VP has had to “clarify” what he said, although I am not sure the clarification actually cleared any of the rhetorical debris out of the way.

Turnabout isn’t always ‘fair play,’ Mr. Former VP

My politically induced heartburn is flaring up again. The cause is the statement by former Vice President Joe Biden, who says he would deny a Senate subpoena if he’s called to testify during the upcoming impeachment trial of Donald John Trump.

Dang it, Mr. Vice President! You cannot do that.

Here’s the deal: Critics such as me and millions of others have been hammering Trump over his refusal to let key White House aides testify after being summoned by lawfully authorized congressional subpoenas. That means fairness requires Biden to show up if the Senate does the same thing to him.

I happen to agree with Biden that a Senate subpoena would divert attention away from the allegations that have been leveled against Trump, that he abused his power and obstructed Congress; he sought a foreign government’s help for political purposes and has gotten in the way of Congress performing its oversight functions as prescribed in the Constitution. Thus, the Democratically controlled House impeached Trump.

Now comes the trial. The GOP controls the Senate. Republicans want Biden to testify in a trial. The idea stinks. However, it’s a lawful request if that’s what the Senate decides to do.

Just as I’ve said all along about Trump, if he’s got nothing to hide, he shouldn’t obstruct Congress. The same can be said of Biden. I happen to believe that the former VP didn’t break any laws with regard to Ukraine; prosecutors there have said so. Neither has his son, Hunter, who’s another key player in this drama.

My heartburn is only going to worsen the longer this idiocy plays out. That’s what my sense of fairness is doing to me. I just want to ask Joe Biden to spare me from having to reach for the Pepto.

I fear this trial is going to produce an unwelcome result, no matter whether Biden testifies or sits it out.

Hearing it often doesn’t make it any easier to swallow

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

I keep hearing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say up front, out loud and for the record that he intends to conduct a Senate trial of Donald Trump in “coordination” with the White House.

I hear it. I believe it even less than the previous time I hear it. I keep shaking my head at the abject brazenness of what McConnell is saying.

McConnell is seeking to grease the presidential trial in Trump’s favor. He’s already got enough Republican senators in his pocket who will acquit the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. They likely will hold together when the time arrives for a vote: up or down on Donald Trump.

What continues to astound me is that McConnell is now resisting the notion of calling witnesses to testify before the Senate. He said precisely the opposite thing 20 years ago when a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, was impeached for obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury about his affair with a White House intern.

What’s more, trials cannot be considered valid, fair and impartial when the de facto “foreman” of the jury — in this case, McConnell — is working hand in glove with defendant’s legal team.

In the name of fair trial, what am I missing here? I do not get any of this. None of it makes sense. It is scrambling the eggs in my noggin.

C’mon, Mr. POTUS, you’ve been impeached

I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, Mr. President, but let me be as crystal clear as I possibly can.

The House of Representatives has impeached you on two counts: one for abuse of power, the other for obstructing Congress.

I watched the vote happen this past week in real time. So did millions of other Americans. One former Republican voted to impeach you; two Democrats bolted on one count, three of them voted “no” on the other one.

Still, the impeachment stands for the record. It stands for history. You’re going to your grave eventually “impeached president,” or words to that effect, on your obituary.

I don’t get this strategy you and your legal team are employing, suggesting that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to send over the impeachment articles immediately to the Senate means you aren’t actually impeached. Of course you are!

It’s a silly game designed to confuse everyone. I trust your lawyers know better, but then again they work for you and are obligated to do your bidding while they represent you in this matter.

Your lawyers are citing the arguments of a Harvard law professor who says that until articles are submitted to the Senate, there is technically no impeachment. What the heck does that mean? The articles are going to the Senate, Mr. President. The speaker simply wants some clarity on the nature of the trial the Senate plans to conduct before she sends ’em over. The Senate will get them in due course. I want them sent over sooner rather than later, too.

How about ending this idiotic game-playing? Let’s get down to brass tacks: Your task is to persuade us — including me — that you really didn’t ask Ukraine for political dirt on Joe Biden and that your blanket order to deny cooperation with congressional subpoenas aren’t impeachable offenses. I believe they are.

You’ve been impeached, Mr. President.

So … with that I wish you a Merry Christmas.

We’ll see you on the other side.

‘Our Constitution works’

I am fond of recalling the words of a brand new president who took office in the wake of a dark time in American history.

Gerald Rudolph Ford placed his hand on a Bible, recited the presidential oath of office, then stood before the world to declare that “our Constitution works.” He succeeded Richard Nixon, who quit earlier that day to avoid being impeached. The Watergate scandal brought down the Nixon presidency.

Yes, the Constitution worked just as it should during that time.

It is working now as another president faces the unforgiving assurance that every morning he awakes for the rest of his life, he will be an “impeached president.”

Yes, the Constitution works, just as President Ford declared on Aug. 9, 1974.

No matter the outcome of the Senate trial that is pending, the Constitution will have done its job. If the president is cleared, it will have worked. If he is convicted and removed from office, it will have performed as the framers constructed it.

Almost no one believes the current president will be kicked out of office. A failure to convict him doesn’t mean failure for the Constitution. It means only, to my mind, that an insufficient number of senators were willing to put duty to the nation ahead of fealty to a president. That doesn’t besmirch the Constitution, under which the House impeached Donald Trump and the Senate conducted its trial.

It is good at times like this to take a step back and look at the big picture. The framers crafted a brilliant governing document. It’s a bit clunky at times, but that’s the nature of a representative democracy, which is as Winston Churchill described it: a lousy form of government, but better than anything else ever produced by human beings.

My faith in the system remains as strong as ever, regardless of the outcome that more than likely awaits the nation at the end of this process.

I shall cherish the words that President Ford spoke moments after assuming the nation’s highest office: Our Constitution works.

What is there to hide if the phone call was ‘perfect’?

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

There is so much about Donald Trump defense strategy and the approach taken by his Republican allies in Congress that I do not understand.

The House of Representatives has impeached the current president on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate is supposed to put Trump on trial. Democrats want to call witnesses. Republicans are fighting that push.

All the while, Trump calls the impeachment a sham, a joke, a hoax, that there’s nothing to see, that the operative phone call with Ukraine’s president was “perfect.”

If Trump and Ukrainian President Vlodyrmyr Zelenskiy engaged in that perfect conversation, then why in the world are POTUS and his GOP allies resisting the demands to hear from witnesses in the Senate trial?

If they clear the president of wrongdoing, wouldn’t it make sense to hear them do so? If there is nothing to hide, then why does Donald Trump act and sound like he’s, um, hiding something from public view?

The appearance of a handful of key witnesses, critical White House aides, wouldn’t necessarily drag the trial into the far distant future. They might work in Trump’s favor; or, they might have precisely the opposite effect.

What’s more, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who today is resisting any witnesses in the Trump trial, was all in for witnesses when President Clinton went on trial in 1999 after the House impeached him. Is he driven solely by partisan concerns?

Why, that just can’t be, given McConnell’s criticism of the House impeachment, which he said was fueled by partisan hatred of Donald Trump. Isn’t that what he said?

If the Senate is going to put the current president on trial, then let’s have witnesses. Let’s see the evidence. Let’s then ask senators/jurors to deliberate over what they see and hear and then let’s demand they make their decision based on what has been presented.

With no witnesses or evidence presented at trial, then there’s nothing to consider.

Where I come from, that sounds like a sham.

This SOTU speech will be one for the books … believe it!

When do you remember the bizarre juxtaposition of a president’s political predicament and a State of the Union speech before a joint congressional session and, indeed, before the entire world?

Donald Trump gets to deliver a State of the Union speech in early February while being impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors; or, the Senate trial required by the House of Representatives impeachment will have concluded and Trump will still be president; or the trial won’t yet have begun, but it will hang over the joint session like the proverbial storm cloud.

Holy smokes, man!

Trump will get to deliver his version of what he thinks of the condition of our nation. He’ll be speaking more than likely to roughly half the chamber. That would be the Republicans who support him. He won’t give much of a damn about the Democrats who will be sitting on their hands (more than likely) during the applause lines Trump will deliver from the podium.

It has been customary for members of the House and Senate of the president’s own party to whoop and cheer his comments while the “loyal opposition” sits quietly. You can bet the farm/ranch/mortgage/your life savings that we’ll see that in spades during the upcoming State of the Union speech.

It’s going to be a bizarre event. Yes, it’ll be worth watching.

Although I hate making predictions of this sort, I am pretty sure the president is going to make quite the ruckus about impeachment while he stands before the nation. I will await the reaction from the legislators assembled before him.

Get the popcorn ready.

McConnell accuses House of rushing … so he wants to do the same?

Where do we stand with this Senate trial of Donald Trump, the third president in U.S. history to be impeached?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the House of Representatives of rushing through an impeachment process to achieve the outcome it received. Then, well, what do you know? Now he wants to do the same thing with a hurry-up Senate trial with no witnesses called, no evidence introduced.

The House impeached the current president on two counts: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Congress then split from Washington for a two-week Christmas break.

What is most maddening, though, is the notion that McConnell doesn’t intend to be an “impartial” juror, which is part of an oath he will take when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts takes the gavel and presides over the Senate trial. McConnell’s mind is made up. Let’s get this deal done, he said, acquit the president and then get on with legislating and, oh yes, that election.

At one level, I want this trial to be over sooner rather than much later. However, I do believe it is only correct for there to be witnesses from whom the Senate will hear testimony. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer wants to hear from White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton. What is so damn wrong with that? McConnell is having none of it.

I realize we aren’t talking about a trial that follows all the rules of a strict judicial proceeding. However, the judge in this case — Chief Justice Roberts — will issue an oath for the jurors to take; that oath will include a pledge to be impartial. How can McConnell take that oath with a straight face when he promises to work with the White House and to take his cue from the president’s legal team?

I am shaking my head.

By all means, let’s get this trial done. Let us get it done the right way and in a way that mandates a fair trial that allows witnesses to testify in public and for the Senate to examine all the evidence that House members assembled in reaching their decision to impeach Donald Trump.

Trump’s reaction to criticism reveals what many of us suspected

Donald Trump’s bizarre response to an editorial published in a mainstream evangelical publication appears to affirm what many of us have thought all along about the current president of the United States.

Which is that he doesn’t know a thing about the publication he is criticizing.

Christianity Today has come out with an essay calling for Trump’s removal from office. It was written by the magazine’s editor in chief, Mark Galli. It’s a brutal critique of Trump and the circumstances surrounding his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives.

What did Trump do in response? He called it a “far left magazine.” He said the magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham knows nothing about a “perfect transcript of a routine phone call.”

My point is that Christianity Today is not a “far left magazine.” It is a mainstream publication that appeals to the broad, diverse world of evangelical Christians. Galli has sought to make the point that the evangelical movement is not a monolith. It comprises a wide-ranging school of thought among Christians who adhere first and foremost to the tenets of Christianity, starting with their devotion to Jesus Christ.

Does anyone who knows anything at all about the president believe that he shares that view, that he has any understanding of the Bible, or the teachings that Jesus and his apostles offered the world? No!

Trump is, as the author Jonathan Alter described him this week, a “religious reprobate.”

So, for Trump to refer to Christianity Today as a “far left magazine” only reveals to many millions of us what we know already: that Donald John Trump is a pandering fraud.