Tag Archives: Trump impeachment

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.

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.

It’s all about politics

Blogger’s Note: This blog post appeared originally on KETR-FM’s website.

Whether the president of the United States is impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives is going to rely solely on a grim political calculation.

Democrats run the House these days. They seem hell bent on impeaching Donald Trump. The numbers of House members calling for an immediate impeachment “inquiry” is growing. Almost all the pro-impeachment voices come from the Democratic caucus; one Republican House member, Justin Amash of Michigan, has joined that chorus.

Do you want further evidence of the political aspect of impeachment? I offer you a survey done by the Texas Tribune, which has sought answers from the entire 38-member Texas congressional delegation.

How do you think it shakes out?

Read the Texas Tribune survey on this link:

https://www.texastribune.org/2019/06/05/did-texas-lawmakers-read-mueller-report-we-asked/

The Tribune asked all the state’s House members and its two senators, Republicans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, two key questions: “Have you read the Mueller Report in its entirety?” and “Do you think the report warrants any legislative action?”

I’ll give you three guesses how the answers shook out … and the first two guesses don’t count.

Yes, the state’s Democratic House members – those who responded to the Tribune – said they had read the report and said that Congress should begin at the very least an inquiry into whether to launch a full impeachment hearing against the president.

The Texas GOP delegation sounded, um, a good bit differently. Not all of them responded, either; indeed, Sen. Cruz didn’t respond, which – to be honest – kind of surprised me.

But those who did read the report came to vastly different conclusions about what it said and what Congress should do in response.

One Republican House member, Will Hurd of the 23rd Congressional District, came close to breaking ranks with his caucus. He told the Tribune: “I have read the Mueller Report and I hope that I get the chance to ask Robert Mueller some questions as a member of the House Intelligence Committee.”

To be honest, my favorite response came from freshman GOP U.S. Rep. Van Taylor of the Third Congressional District, who happens to be my congressman, and from GOP Rep. Roger Williams of the 25th Congressional District. Did he read the report? Taylor and Williams said “Yes.” Should Congress take any legislative action? Taylor and Williams said, “No.” Hey, no need to explain themselves, correct? Well, I believe they should lay out some detail on why Congress need not pursue any legislative action.

My point here is that despite the flowery rhetoric we hear from many Democrats and other political progressives about their concern for the U.S. Constitution and why the nation’s governing document is their reason to seek impeachment, I am inclined to believe even more strongly that the issue revolves solely around politics.

The response from the Texas congressional delegation – comprising a healthy Republican majority – makes the point abundantly clear.

Trump turns ‘fealty’ into a litmus test for GOP candidates

So … just how weird has the political climate gotten in the Age of Donald John Trump?

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, the lone Republican (so far) to call for the president’s impeachment, has just quit the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus. It’s not that Amash doesn’t fit the conservative mold for the Freedom Caucus. It’s because he doesn’t bow at the sound of Donald Trump’s name.

As Politico reports: Amash “faces a far more uncertain political future in the age of Trump, in which fealty to the president has often become a litmus test for the GOP.”

But here’s what I don’t quite grasp. Trump isn’t a true-blue Republican. His trade tariffs send “establishment Republicans” into orbit. The president has developed a classic “protectionist” trade policy that used to be popular among pro-union political progressives. Trump has slathered this policy under a coating of “putting America first,” which played well on the 2016 campaign trail. He was able to sucker enough voters to get him elected.

Trump has gone soft on Russia, the traditional adversary of U.S. geopolitical interests and the bogeyman among Republicans.

Donald Trump upset the political equation in a major way three years ago just by winning the presidency. Now he has captured the GOP and turned it into something few of us recognize.

Justin Amash once was thought to be a traditional libertarian conservative. He’s now an outlier among the GOP. Why? Because he cannot stand by idly while the president obstructs justice.

Go figure.

Dean testimony provides a preview of what we might see

John Dean sat before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today to offer the panel some historical context. He wasn’t there as a “fact witness” with specific knowledge of the matters involving Donald Trump’s conduct during the most recent presidential campaign.

However, he was there to provide some historical perspective gleaned from his role as White House counsel during the Watergate scandal of 1973-74.

I agree that Dean was a dubious “expert,” given his own culpability in the crimes committed during President Nixon’s administration.

However, we might have gotten a preview of what we could expect if the House Judiciary panel decides to launch a full-blown impeaching proceeding against Donald Trump.

What might that include? It might — indeed, it likely will — include Republicans on the panel who will seek to denigrate the credibility of every Trump critic who seeks to make the case for impeaching the president.

We heard it today from GOP members who sought to ridicule Dean’s appearance. By “ridicule,” I mean to suggest that they inferred that since Dean wasn’t there to discuss the “facts” of the Trump matter, they would ask him questions about subjects that had nothing to do with the issues at hand. They sought to suggest that as a convicted felon who lost his law license he had no credibility on anything.

Did we hear anyone of the GOP members defending Donald Trump’s character? Did they speak to the president’s honesty, his integrity, his courage, his commitment to public service?

Umm. I didn’t hear it. Did you?

What I heard was an effort to denigrate, disparage and disrespect a witness who took an oath to tell those members of Congress the truth.

I believe it’s good to keep this conduct in mind if the House Judiciary Committee decides to launch impeachment proceedings yet again.

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.

Possible trail to be blazed toward impeachment of POTUS

Follow me on this journey for just a few moments. I think I’ve discovered a possible path that could lead to an impeachment of Donald J. Trump.

Congressional Democrats who chair key House committees are set to vote on whether to hold U.S. Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress.

A contempt of Congress decision by the full House doesn’t have much legal impact, given that Congress lacks the authority — as I understand it — to send the cops out with handcuffs to arrest individuals found in contempt.

However, a contempt resolution does open the door for litigation by Congress, which then can sue for records it seeks from the AG, the former White House counsel and, yes, even the president.

So, a lawsuit goes to a judge, or a panel of judges.

Then you have the possibility of the federal court system standing behind Congress, therefore ordering the president, AG and anyone else to do what Congress is asking. Turn over the records, or else!

What happens then if Donald Trump orders Barr to ignore the courts? What happens if the president gets an order from the courts to hand over, say, financial records to Congress?

Right there, ladies and gents, is a violation of the law.

We then would have a president of the United States who has broken federal law. He would have sanctioned others to do the same.

It occurs to me: Wasn’t that the pretext that GOP members of Congress used to impeach President Clinton, because he lied under oath to a federal grand jury about his relationship with a much-younger White House intern? Didn’t they insist in 1998 that we cannot have a president who breaks the law, who perjures himself?

They couldn’t sanction what they called “lawlessness” then. What about now? Would be OK this time with congressional Republicans for POTUS to ignore a duly constituted court order?

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.

Impeachment is all about politics

Elizabeth Warren actually has said with a straight face and in an earnest-sounding voice that impeaching Donald J. Trump is not about politics, but is about “the Constitution.”

Baloney!

It’s all about politics and for Sen. Warren of Massachusetts, one of 23 Democrats running for president in 2020 to say otherwise is, shall we say, empty rhetoric.

That is why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is correct in digging in on the issue of impeaching Trump.

At least until the House and Senate finish their tedious work in determining whether to proceed.

Impeaching a president is all about removing that individual from office. The House would draft articles of impeachment; its Judiciary Committee would recommend whether to impeach; if it votes “yes,” then the full House votes on whether to file the complaint.

If the House votes to impeach, then the Senate puts the president on trial. Here is where the bar gets high; senators need a two-thirds vote to convict. Senate Republicans occupy 52 seats in the 100-member body. Is there a realistic chance that a dozen or so GOP senators are going to vote to kick Donald Trump out of office?

That is the calculation that keeps Pelosi from pulling the impeachment trigger in the House.

Thus, it’s all about politics. Sen. Warren.

To be sure, I happen to agree that Trump has committed a crime. I believe he has obstructed justice. I also believe former special counsel Robert Mueller was hamstrung by Justice Department policy prohibiting an indictment of a sitting president.

Republicans continue to stand with a president who has committed the very “crime” that drove GOP lawmakers to stampede toward impeaching a Democratic president two decades ago.

Pelosi knows the steep hill she faces if the House were to proceed with an impeachment.

So, let’s quit the high-minded rhetoric about the Constitution. Impeaching a president is the epitome of political action. If the House is going to impeach the fraud masquerading as the president of the United States, it had better do it right.

Or else … the pols don’t want to consider what will happen if they get it wrong.

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?