Tag Archives: US House

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.

My gut is rumbling: Trump just might survive this mess

I hate it when my gut starts to rumble. I get this queasy feeling down deep about certain matters occurring.

One of them is forcing a serious gut-churn way down yonder. Donald Trump, my innards are telling me, just might survive all this mess he has created. He appears likely at this moment to be able to avoid conviction in the U.S. Senate, if it is handed articles of impeachment from the U.S. House of Representatives; but even impeachment isn’t a lead-pipe cinch, even though the entire Democratic House majority is on board with an impeachment inquiry and potentially with actual impeachment.

Donald Trump has proven to be the master of evasion and, no, I am not referring to young Donald “evading” military service during the Vietnam War. Think for a moment about all the incidents during the 2016 presidential campaign that would have shattered a candidate’s dreams of winning the White House.

He said the late John McCain was a Vietnam War hero “only because he was captured”; he mocked a Gold Star family that criticized him at the Democratic National Convention; he mimicked and ridiculed a New York Times reporter afflicted with a crippling physical disability; Trump then admitted on that “Access Hollywood” recording to grabbing women by their pu*** because his “celebrity” status allowed him to do whatever he wants.

Imagine another politician, Democrat or Republican, getting away with that hideous campaign behavior. It boggles my mind.

So, now he’s president. He has acknowledged asking a foreign government for re-election help. He has admitted to asking an overseas power for help in digging up dirt on a potential 2020 opponent. He is on record telling Ukrainian officials that they can have help to fight the Russian-backed rebels if they did him a “favor, though,” meaning they had to do the favor before he would release the military assistance.

What does the current strife mean for the president? It means, to me, that his slipperiness has been able to deliver him from what should have been certain political doom.

Has this guy’s luck run out?

I hope it has. I fear he might find a way to avoid catastrophe.

Yes, it’s time to impeach the president of the United States

You may now count me as an American who has changed his mind on whether to impeach the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

I had been in the camp of those who said impeachment was a potential political loser. I had joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in digging in against impeaching Trump. Why not wait until the 2020 presidential election? Why allow the Democratically controlled House to impeach Trump, only to allow the Republican-controlled Senate to acquit him?

That’s all changed. In my view, the president has delivered impeachable offenses to the House and to the Senate.

We had that memo taken from the transcript of the phone call Trump had on July 25 with Ukrainian President Volodyrmyr Zellenskiy, when Trump asked Zellenskiy for help in getting him re-elected. Oh, and then he asked for that “favor, though,” when he indicated he would withhold shipment of arms to Ukraine until after Zellenskiy did as Trump had asked.

The president is not allowed to seek foreign government assistance in that manner. It’s in the law. It is implied in the Constitution. Trump has broken the law and broken faith with the oath he took to defend the Constitution.

The House must not wait any longer than it needs to wait.

As for the Senate, I remain skeptical about that body’s collective courage, doubting senators will be able to muster the two-thirds majority it needs to convict the president and, thus, boot his sorry backside out of office.

Trump won’t cooperate with the House committees seeking information about what the president said and when and to whom he said it. He keeps insisting that he did nothing wrong, that his phone conversation with Zellenskiy was “perfect.” OK, then, why does he dig in and resist at every turn? Why does Trump insist that he didn’t ask Zellenskiy for dirt on a political foe, Joe Biden, when the memo already published suggests that he did that very thing?

He blasts the media, Democrats and even the few Republicans who’ve shown the guts to criticize the president. Trump says the impeachment drive is “illegitimate” and calls it an attempted “coup” to reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Come on! The House is pursuing a legal attempt to hold the president accountable for his own acknowledged actions.

And then we have the whistleblower, acting under the protection of a law that aims to protect these individuals who reveal corruption in our government. One of them has filed a report with credible evidence that Trump has sought to use the power of his office for personal political gain. He or she has “indirect” knowledge. Then we hear about a second individual with “direct” knowledge of what already has been alleged.

Trump wants to reveal the identity of this individual, or both individuals. He is threatening them with the same punishment we hand out to those convicted of espionage.

If that isn’t witness tampering, or obstruction of justice or abuse of power then there is no standard that fits any of those misbehaviors.

Donald Trump needs to be impeached. The House needs to act with deliberate speed.

Nadler: POTUS ‘ought to be impeached,’ but first …

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has declared his belief that Donald Trump “ought to be impeached.”

I happen to agree with him — to a point.

Nadler believes the president has committed impeachable offenses. So do I. He seems to think the House of Representatives has the votes to impeach the president. As do I.

But … there’s this matter about whether the public is fully on board. Nadler is hedging enough to forestall any rush to impeach the president. I am not sure the public is sufficiently behind an impeachment effort to make it stick, or to persuade enough U.S. senators to convict Trump and toss him out of office after a trial for the charges the House would bring against him.

The conviction bar is far higher than the impeachment bar. The House — with its 235-200 Democratic cushion — needs a simple majority to lodge a formal complaint against the president. The Senate requires two-thirds of its members to convict Trump; Republicans control 53 seats. I do not believe there are enough GOP senators who have the courage to convict to boot the carnival barker out of the office to which he was elected.

There is Chairman Nadler’s conundrum.

The Judiciary Committee has effectively launched impeachment proceedings against Trump. Will it produce enough actual, concrete, tangible evidence that Trump has committed a “high crime and misdemeanor” to warrant impeachment?

Sure, but the process has to play out. It’s a political event, to be sure. Some Democrats keep talking about doing their “constitutional duty.” Fine, but to what end?

If the goal of impeachment is to persuade enough Americans and their elected representatives in the House and Senate to kick Trump out of office, then I believe the pro-impeachment brigade has more miles to march.

Impeachment probe heads down potentially dubious path

Count me as one American — admittedly a fervent anti-Donald Trump American at that — who wonders about the wisdom of marching down a potentially perilous path toward impeaching the president of the United States.

Congressional Democrats appear poised to expand the investigation into whether to impeach Trump to include the most recent charges related to assorted allegations of corruption.

I want to caution the Democratic caucus about the perils of this probe.

It appears at this moment to be virtually an all-Democrat effort in the House, which would impeach the president. They need only a simple majority to essentially file the formal complaint against Trump. Even with the added allegations that Trump is possibly benefiting from his high political office, Republicans remain stone-cold silent on it.

What happens if the House of Representatives, with its 35-seat Democratic majority, impeaches the president? It goes to the U.S. Senate, which is still controlled by Republicans. Is the GOP majority going to convict Trump of anything?

Hah! Not with a two-thirds conviction provision written into the U.S. Constitution. I am not even sure the Senate could must up even a simple majority to convict Trump and kick this utterly unfit individual from the presidency.

Which brings me to my fundamental point: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has dragged her feet on impeachment for good reason. She knows the Senate ain’t gonna convict Trump. So, why rush to judgment? Why not wait until after the November 2020 election when the political calculus might be radically different.

Donald Trump could be removed from office by the voters and/or the Senate could flip to Democratic control. If the first thing happens, then the nation might get to watch a criminal proceeding launched against a former president. If the Senate flips from R to D, though, that doesn’t guarantee anything; the Constitution still requires a two-thirds vote to convict an impeached president.

This is dicey stuff, folks.

Wyoming: where few folks live, where U.S. rep wields huge clout

RAWLINS, Wyo. — This is a charming town in the south-central region of a sprawling state. It sits somewhere between two fictitious towns to which I refer when I’m trying to illustrate sparse population: Resume Speed, Wyo., and Bumfu*, Egypt.

Here’s the deal with Rawlins, and with Wyoming: The state shares the rare distinction of having three statewide representatives in Congress; by that I mean two U.S. senators and one U.S. House of Representatives member. The other states are North and South Dakota, Alaska and Montana.

But let’s talk about Wyoming.

Its lone U.S. rep is a young woman named Liz Cheney. You might have heard of her. Her parents are Dick and Lynn Cheney. Dad Cheney has considerable political credential: former vice president, former secretary of defense, former congressman — from Wyoming, no less, former White House chief of staff. The dude’s been around, you know?

He passed his political interest on to his daughter, Liz, who recently moved to Wyoming so she could run for Congress from the state that ranks No. 10 in geographical area among all 50 states.

She faced down carpetbagger accusations, given that she grew up Back East, while Dad was serving as congressman, defense secretary during the Bush 41 administration and WH chief of staff for President Ford.

I don’t know how well Liz Cheney has acquainted herself with Wyoming’s unique issues. The state has a couple of impressive national parks, it is teeming with spectacular beauty; they mine a lot of coal in Wyoming; driving across the magnificent landscape one sees a lot of wind farms as well. They all require federal attention.

Given that Rep. Cheney represents the same constituencies as Sens. John Barraso and Mike Enzi, Wyoming gets a three-fer in political clout. Cheney is not bashful, either, about wielding her power, as the second-term House member already is chairing the House Republican Caucus.

Oh, and gerrymandering, the task that allows state legislators to carve up their states according to population trends? Not an issue in Wyoming. No such thing as “gerrymandered congressional districts” here.

There might come a day when the state gets a second House member. For now, all the state’s 580,000 residents should appreciate having a U.S. representative who answers to them.

Mr. Sam knew his place

BONHAM, Texas — The plaque pictured here offers an important civics lesson. It tells of the late Sam Rayburn’s role as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and also as a rank-and-file member of the legislative branch of the federal government.

The great Mr. Sam said he didn’t work “under” eight presidents, but that he worked “with” them. Listen up! Pay attention!

Too many presidents over many decades have fancied themselves as bigger than their office, occupying an office bigger and more powerful and meaningful than the other two co-equal branches of government.

Yes, Donald Trump, I refer to you as well.

Rayburn served in the House with eight presidents, the first of whom was Woodrow Wilson; the last of them was John F. Kennedy. Rayburn died in November 1961.

He was the Man of the House, even when he wasn’t pounding the gavel as its speaker.

I came back to the Rayburn Library and Museum today to show my visiting brother-in-law — who is quite a student of history — this place my wife (his sister) and I visited for the first time just a few weeks ago.

I didn’t see the plaque on our first visit. I feel compelled to offer these few words as a tribute to the understanding that Speaker Rayburn had about Congress and its role as a partner in the making of laws that govern all Americans. He was a student of government and knew he was duty bound to work within the system, reaching across the partisan divide, to find common ground in search of the common good.

There is a huge lesson that needs to be learned in the present day. Donald Trump, then the Republican nominee for president, declared in the summer of 2016 that “I, alone” can repair the things that he said were ailing the country. Uh, Mr. President, good government is most definitely a team sport, requiring all branches of government — even the judiciary — to play a role in the crafting and interpretation of law.

Sam Rayburn knew what has been lost on occasion in the present day. Legislators dig in against the president, who digs in against the men and women who serve in Congress. Nothing gets done. They all seek to declare political victory, when in reality they all fail.

Given that we have only one president at a time, the onus for failure — at least in my mind — falls on the doofus in the White House at the moment.

I cannot stop thinking at this moment how the great Sam Rayburn would react to the bullying and showboating he would witness from down the street at the White House.

My guess? He wouldn’t stand for it.