Tag Archives: US House

Let the trial begin … with witnesses!

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It looks as though the U.S. Senate is going to convene a trial next week. The president of the United States is going to stand trial on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress.

The trial of Donald Trump isn’t a purely legal proceeding. It’s damn close to one, though. It’s close enough to a courtroom trial that there needs to be witnesses called who have something important to add to the issue at hand.

That issue is: What happened precisely during that “perfect phone call” that Trump had with the president of Ukraine? Then-national security adviser John Bolton was present when Trump talked to his Ukrainian colleague; so was acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. The Senate needs to hear from them. What they did hear? Did the president ask a foreign government to interfere in our 2020 election? Did he withhold military aid to Ukraine until it announced an investigation into Joe Biden, a potential Trump foe?

The nation does not know what they know. We have not heard it from them directly. I am one American who wants to know what they heard. I want to hear ’em say it out loud, in public, under oath.

Will that occur? Will the Senate summon them? We don’t know.

In return, of course, Trump wants the Senate to call Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, who worked for the energy company for a handsome sum of money. There are allegations of “corruption” involving Hunter Biden. Except that prosecutors have said time and again that the younger Biden did nothing illegal.

The president also wants to call House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Why? Beats the livin’ malarkey out of me!

Let’s not turn this trial into a sideshow. It is serious. It is a sober event. It should be conducted with utmost decorum and dignity.

I am awaiting the start of this trial. I hope we get to hear from Bolton and others with direct knowledge of what happened … allegedly!

We need a serious trial. Not a circus.

Get on with Senate trial and then move on to the next fight

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

My impeachment fatigue is worsening. It’s wearing me out. I am tiring of hearing the same news reports time and again about the upcoming trial of Donald John Trump.

Let’s get the trial done, shall we.

I believe my worsening case of impeachment fatigue is brought on the realization — which I have known for some time, truth be told — that the U.S. Senate will not toss Donald Trump out of the White House. It will not muster up the constitutionally mandated courage to do the right thing and convict him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Trump is likely to keep enough Senate Republicans in tow to avoid being booted out with a two-thirds majority needed at the end of the trial.

I would say “that’s fine,” except that it isn’t. It’s just the way this hand will play out.

It appears, too, that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who presided over Trump’s impeachment in the House of Representatives, caved in her demand that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell guarantee a “fair” trial before she sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate. I guess every politician has limits on his or her patience and I reckon Pelosi reached her limit.

So, what now? We get a trial. Trump stays in office. Then he runs for re-election as the first president ever to do so with the cloud of impeachment hanging over him. How that plays out depends on (a) how adroit Trump is in parlaying himself as a “victim” and (b) how well the Democratic Party nominee is able to articulate the case that an impeachment is a major scar on the president’s legacy.

I will devote much of this blog, therefore, to making the case as well as I can that Donald Trump needs to serve just a single term as president, that the next president will have some major cleanup work to do to restore the dignity of the office.

The impeachment fatigue, I am hoping, will dissipate once we get a Senate verdict. Then I’ll be ready to move on to the next battle.

Let’s all get ready.

Do any minds ever get changed?

Watching the “debate” on the House of Representatives floor today over the impeachment of Donald J. Trump brings to mind something I heard many years ago from a Texas state legislator.

In early 1995 I had the pleasure of meeting the late state Sen. Teel Bivins, an Amarillo Republican. I went to his downtown Amarillo office, exchanged greetings with him and sat down for some discussion.

Bivins knew I had moved to Amarillo from Beaumont. I worked for the Beaumont Enterprise and then went to work for the Amarillo Globe-News. Bivins then brought up the name of a fellow state senator with whom he had a sometimes-testy relationship. He talked admiringly about the debating skills of Democratic colleague Carl Parker of Port Arthur.

Parker is a trial lawyer who possesses tremendous rhetorical skill. Bivins called Parker a “friend,” and then told me that he actually once witnessed how Parker’s intense debating ability changed the minds of one or two of his Senate colleagues on an issue that Parker was debating.

I thought about the tale Bivins told about Carl Parker and wondered if there are any such debaters squaring off today under the Capitol Dome. I ain’t hearing anything of the sort. They’re all dug in. No one is going to budge.

I am left to wonder if any minds could be changed were they to hear the thundering rhetoric that a Texas state senator could deliver when the chips were down.

House members are not listening to each other

Congressional Democrats are yapping about their desire to impeach the current president of the United States, Donald Trump.

Congressional Republicans are yammering about their opposition to their colleagues on the other side of the House floor.

They all are talking past each other. No one is listening to a word those on the other side are saying. Their minds are made up. They are making brief speeches. I suppose they are looking for a moment to shine before Americans who might be watching on TV. I happen to one of them.

I am not being persuaded by congressional Republicans. Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, are preaching to the proverbial choir.

The exercise we are witnessing on the floor of the House of Representatives is a waste of time. It’s time to vote. Impeach the president and send this matter down the hall to the Senate.

Legal victory = political draw

One of the more fascinating talking points to emerge from the public hearings into the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump’s presidency focuses on the legal vs. political aspects of the proceeding.

The argument goes something like this: If this were strictly a legal matter, House Democrats would have enough compelling evidence to convict Trump of the high crimes and misdemeanors that have been alleged against him. But it isn’t a legal proceeding. It’s a political battle and on that score, Trump is likely to survive impeachment and a trial that would occur in the U.S. Senate.

House and Senate Republicans seem to be aligned along a single thought: Yeah, the president did something wrong, but it’s not impeachable, let alone enough of a reason to convict him and toss him out of office.

Their Democratic colleagues, obviously, see it differently. They believe they have sufficient evidence in hand to impeach and convict Trump on crimes relating to his solicitation of political help from a foreign government and his efforts to cover it up and obstruct the pursuit of justice.

But … this isn’t a criminal matter. It’s a political one. Which is where Trump holds the winning hand.

He has bullied Senate and House Republicans into standing with him. To oppose Trump in this political fight would incur his wrath, which has proven to be quite formidable. They fear the president’s revenge and the support he continues to enjoy among that base of American voters in key states and congressional districts.

Were this a legal fight that operated under the rules of legal justice, in my view this wouldn’t even be a close call. Trump would be drummed out of office, sent packing to Mar-a-Lago … where he no doubt would launch a full frontal Twitter assault on a system that robbed him of the glory he believes he deserves.

Sadly, it is not. It’s a political fight that figures to last beyond the impeachment and trial and into the 2020 presidential election.

That is where this fight is likely to be decided.

Oh, I do hope Americans can snap out of their Trump-induced stupor to rid this nation of this poisonous politician.

‘Jury tampering’ mixes with political necessity

I have laid out already the notion that the president of the United States, while launching a charm offensive with potential U.S. Senate trial “jurors,” might have committed an act of jury tampering.

However, I also am enough of a realist to understand that presidents who seek to govern effectively need to talk to legislators about the enactment of bills that become the law of the land.

Thus, Donald Trump is facing a serious governance quandary as he awaits the near-certain impeachment of him by the U.S. House of Representatives. The House then would hand it off to the Senate, which will put the president on trial for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Trump met with GOP senators this week to talk about the impeachment trial that is sure to occur. What did he discuss? Did he seek to persuade them to stand by him? That sounds like jury tampering to me.

However, what about their legislative initiative? Or the president’s legislative agenda? Or the agendas awaiting action by Republicans and, oh yes, Democrats in the Senate?

Were the president to invite senators to the White House to discuss those issues — and stay far away from the impeachment trial that will be looming soon in the Senate — well, that would be OK with me.

That, of course, requires that the president understand how government works and how he must be able to compartmentalize the issues that lay before him. President Clinton was able to do that when the House impeached him in 1998. This president is consumed by the impeachment battle and it is getting in the way of him doing the job to which he was elected.

Sigh …

Will he resign or stay … and get pummeled?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly wants to serve in the U.S. Senate. How does he do that if he is serving in the Donald Trump administration? Obviously, he cannot.

He also is being dragged feet first into the impeachment inquiry sausage grinder that has cranked up in the House of Representatives.

Pompeo hails from Kansas. He once served in the House from that state. Sen. Pat Roberts is retiring at the end of 2020. Pompeo wants to succeed him.

Does he stay on at State or does he enter the campaign from Kansas? He ought to run for the Senate. I don’t believe he needs to be elected from that state, given that I believe he has disserved his fellow diplomats at State. How? By not standing behind one of his more stellar ambassadors, Marie Yovanovitch, who has been smeared by Donald Trump, who fired her from her post as ambassador to Ukraine.

The impeachment inquiry is getting messy for Pompeo. He now has been revealed to have been in on that phone call Trump made to Ukraine’s president in which he asked for a favor in return for weapons sent to Ukraine to use against rebels backed by Russia.

Yahoo.com reported that Pompeo wants out, that he wants to run for the Senate. The State Department denies it … naturally!

Since the denial comes from the Trump administration, I cannot accept it at face value.

I tend to believe the reports that Donald Trump is going to look for the third secretary of state who is willing to endure the misery the president seems all too willing to inflict on those he selects to serve.

Here is a tale of two impeachments

While the president of the United States keeps taking a victory lap after authorizing the mission that killed the Islamic State’s founder, it is time look at another matter that should concern Donald J. Trump.

The president is going to be impeached by the House of Representatives. The Senate will put him on trial eventually and likely will fail to convict him.

It will be the second presidential impeachment in 20 years. The House impeached President Clinton in 1998 and the Senate put him on trial the following year.

Is there a difference between these two matters? Let’s examine a critical difference.

Bill Clinton’s impeachment had everything to do with boorish personal conduct. The Republican-led House was looking for a reason to impeach Clinton, a Democrat. The president handed it to the House by lying under oath to a grand jury about a relationship he was having with a White House intern. Clinton denied the relationship. The House had evidence to the contrary.

The House impeached the president on perjury and on obstruction of justice.

Back to my point: Clinton’s impeachment had next to nothing to do with the job he was doing as president. In fact, he proved to be an effective and highly successful president. He worked with Congress to balance the federal budget and the economy was booming.

His impeachment was based on a disastrous personal decision he made. Clinton paid the price politically for that decision. He stands forever as an “impeached president.”

What about Donald Trump? The allegations staring this president down have everything to do with the conduct of his office. He has been accused of violating his oath of office by accepting foreign government assistance for personal political gain. He allegedly withheld military assistance to an ally in exchange for dirt on political foes.

There might be even more to be revealed before it’s done.

Donald Trump’s troubles far exceed in relevance to the conduct of his elected office anything that Bill Clinton did.

Clinton got impeached because he lied about marital infidelity. Donald Trump is going to be impeached over allegations that he has abused the immense power of his office.

The irony is that Trump likes to boast about doing things in fashions that dwarf his presidential predecessors. On this impeachment matter, what Donald Trump reportedly has done lends a certain quaintness to whatever it was that got Bill Clinton into so much trouble.

Secrecy? What secrecy in impeachment probe?

Donald Trump and his Republican allies are yapping about “secrecy” in the impeachment inquiry underway in the House of Representatives.

They are all wet. They are dead wrong. They are blathering out of both sides of their mouths.

House committees are meeting behind closed doors. There is nothing “secret” about what’s going as they take depositions from witnesses with information to share regarding whether the president has committed potentially impeachable offenses.

All the committees are staffed fully by Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress. Their staffs are present, too. GOP lawmakers are able to ask questions of the witnesses, just as their Democratic colleagues are doing so.

What’s more, they are operating under rules established in 2015 by a GOP-led congressional majority.

These hearings are taking place the way the Watergate hearings commenced in 1973 and the way the “Benghazi hearings” occurred in 2012. House members took testimony in private then flung the doors open for the public to see and hear for itself much of what had been discussed in private.

Yet the Republicans are bitching about what they contend is an “illegal” impeachment inquiry. Give it a break, ladies and gentlemen of the right wing.

There will be a public moment or two of reckoning to take place. The House is going to open its doors in due course, possibly quite soon, for the public to see for itself what it is learning.

I am one American who is willing and quite anxious to see and hear what is occurring. I know the House will do what it has done before and what it is doing now under the rules it has established.

Republican attacks on the process seek to divert attention away from congressmen and women are examining. The process doesn’t worry me. What gives me pause and deep concern is what the process is going to produce.

‘Human scum’? Is that right, Mr. POTUS?

Donald “Stable Genius” Trump wrote this message via Twitter earlier today …

The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!

Wow, man! That message comes from an angry politician. I mean, he is irrationally angry. He is, shall I say it, actually, um, mad! What needs to be determined by people with expertise on it is whether he is clinically “mad.” As in pathological.

The Never Trump Republicans in actuality are the real Republicans, the individuals who understand what their party historically stands for and those who have sought to preserve those principles relating to strong national security, distrust of dictators, free trade, strong alliances around the world.

Donald Trump is a classic Republican In Name Only, a RINO with no party background prior to running for the only public office he ever has sought.

So, for this president to say that Never Trump Republicans are “human scum” is to reveal someone who sounds increasingly desperate in the face of probable impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Millions of Americans, indeed, think the “scum” comment well could be a matter of someone projecting that label on others who think the very same thing of him.