Tag Archives: US House

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.

Chairman Nadler: We are in a constitutional crisis

I believe I will stand with U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who today declared that the United States of America has become ensnared in a “constitutional crisis.”

Is it worse than, say, the crisis that led to President Clinton’s impeachment in 1999? Or worse than the Watergate matter that came within one House vote of impeaching President Nixon, before the president resigned in 1974?

I do not know how bad this has gotten.

However, I believe Chairman Nadler is correct. We are in a crisis of a highly serious nature. The Judiciary Committee had just voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress before Nadler made his “constitutional crisis” declaration.

Donald John Trump has stuck it in the ear of Congress, invoking “executive privilege” and denying lawmakers access to anything — or anyone — involved in matters relating to The Russia Thing.

The president is suggesting Congress has no power to carry out its constitutional duties. Attorney General William Barr has refused to release the complete and unredacted report filed by special counsel Robert Mueller — and has refused to testify before Nadler’s committee.

The fight is on!

Where it goes remains anyone’s guess at this point. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to oppose immediate impeachment procedures against the president. Why? She knows the danger of impeaching the president, only to have him walk away with an acquittal in a Senate trial. Pelosi can count votes as well as — or better than — most members of Congress. I happen to concur with her view about the impossibility of an impeachment, at least at this juncture.

None of that lessens the dangerous territory into which the nation is heading, according to Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

House Democrats are furious. Trump is angry with them. It has become a monumental game of chicken between the two co-equal branches of government. Neither side is likely to blink.

The end game well could produce the ugliest battle any of us have ever witnessed.

I don’t know about you, but I do not yet have the stomach to witness it. The potential for permanent damage to our system of government is scaring me sh**less.

Trump once again speaks from ignorance of government

Donald Trump’s blunderbuss tendency has seized control of him once again. Who would’ve thunk that?

He said via Twitter that if the U.S. House of Representatives impeaches him he is heading immediately to the Supreme Court to get the justices to intervene on his behalf, to block an impeachment.

D’oh! Except for this little bit of information that Trump either ignores or does not know exists: The U.S. Constitution does not give the SCOTUS any authority to act.

The U.S. Constitution says the House shall have “sole authority” to impeach and that the U.S. Senate shall have “sole authority” to put the president on trial for the impeachable offenses brought by the House.

Get it? The high court cannot intervene in a political action by one of the other co-equal branches of government.

The only role the court plays involves only one of its justices. The chief justice would preside over a Senate trial. Chief Justice William Rehnquist fulfilled that role during President Clinton’s impeachment trial; Chief Justice John Roberts would get the call if the House impeaches Donald Trump.

So, with that we have seen yet another example of the president of the United States not knowing what he’s talking about.

Who knew?

Impeachment is a loser . . . at least for the time being

Elizabeth Warren needs to shake the rocks out of her noggin.

The Massachusetts senator and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination thinks the House of Representatives needs to commence impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump now.

Don’t wait, she said. Do it now. Immediately if not sooner.

Warren is aghast at the dishonesty, duplicity, deception and dissembling that special counsel Robert Mueller revealed in the Trump administration. It all starts rotting at the top, according to Warren.

So, let’s get on with it, she said.

Wait a minute. I know Sen. Warren is aware of this, but impeaching a president carries a huge political gamble. Is she really saying that she believes the Senate would convict Donald Trump of unspecified “high crimes and misdemeanors” if the House actually were to impeach him? Let’s get real.

I, too, am flabbergasted by what Mueller has revealed in his 448-page report. He didn’t find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian election hackers in 2016. He also declined to clear Trump of obstructing justice, saying Congress has the authority to act. Some of the language Mueller used in that report is scathing in its tone.

Let us face a hard reality, though, shall we?

The House can impeach with a simple majority. No sweat, given that Democrats now hold a comfortable majority in that chamber. But then the bar gets a whole lot higher in the Senate, which needs a two-thirds majority to convict the president of any impeachable offense. Republicans still hold a majority in the 100-seat Senate. Does anyone seriously believe that enough Republicans will abandon the president and join Democrats in convicting him? Pardon me while I laugh out loud.

House Democratic elders, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, understand the reality of impeaching this president. The House could approve articles of impeachment, but the current Senate isn’t going to finish the job.

The political recourse rests at the ballot box. It’s that simple. To send the president packing, Democrats have to nominate a candidate who can make the case that the nation deserves far better than it has gotten, according to Robert Mueller’s finding.

American voters will take care of the rest.

‘I, alone’ is turning out to be a prophetic boast

I believe successful governing is a team sport.

At the highest level of U.S. government, it involves two of three branches working hand in glove to find common ground. The executive branch and the legislative branch develop relationships at the top of their respective chains of command.

Presidents become friendly with the speaker of the House and the Senate leadership. They need not become friends, but friendliness does not require actual friendship. When they belong to competing parties, that relationship becomes even more critical.

However, that’s changing. It changed when Donald J. Trump took the presidential oath in January 2017. Now he is competing with a House of Reps that is run by the competing party. Trump and the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, do not get along.

Sigh . . .

I long for the way it used to be when President Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill would savage each other publicly, then slip into the House cloak room for an adult beverage after hours. They reportedly would laugh about the language they used on each other. They understood how to govern. O’Neill was the crusty Democratic pol with decades of experience in Washington. Reagan was new to D.C., but had eight years of governmental executive experience as governor of California.

Oh, man, it’s all different now. The speaker has decades of experience legislating. Pelosi is tough, shrewd, steely. Donald Trump also is new to Washington, but he doesn’t have a clue about governing and how to negotiate with the other side. The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, also expresses extreme distaste for Trump as president.

Trump told the Republican convention in the summer of 2016 that “I, alone” can repair what ails the nation. No, he cannot. However, he’s trying like hell to make that boast come true.

It will not work. It cannot possibly work. Donald Trump is not a team player. A man with not a single moment of public service experience before becoming president of the United States cannot possibly do what needs to be done all by himself.

The nation is going to suffer for as long as this individual remains in its highest elected political office.

Mo Brooks cites ‘Mein Kampf’? What the . . . ?

Of all the works that a member of the U.S. House of Representatives wanted to use to illustrate a point, he chooses to stand on the floor of the People’s House and invoke the words of the 20th century’s most despicable tyrant.

Wow! How do you process that one?

Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, sought to defend Donald Trump against Democrats’ attacks on him over the course of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into The Russia Thing. By now you know how that turned out: Mueller found no credible evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian goons who attacked our electoral system.

Why in the name of ethnic genocide does Brooks choose to reference passages to “Mein Kampf,” written in 1925 by the future chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler? Brooks cited a passage that Hitler used to talk about “the big lie,” which was a screed that sought to foment his upcoming campaign to launch the Holocaust against Jews.¬†Brooks sought to label Hitler and the Nazis as “socialists.” They were not. The National Socialist Party of Germany was a fascist organization bent on world conquest.

And think for a moment about the juxtaposition of where he did and who he was quoting.

It was in that very chamber where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Congress to declare a “state of war” between the United States and Japan after the “dastardly attack” that had occurred the prior day, Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.”

The next day, Germany declared war on the United States. The fight was on and the rest, as they say, was history.

And so Rep. Brooks chose to defend the current president of the United States with rhetoric penned by the monster who sought to eradicate Jews from Europe? He sought to conquer the world. He said the Third Reich would last a thousand years; he missed his goal by 988 years.

That a member of Congress would quote from such a monster on the floor of the nation’s Congress is a shameful act.

Democrats split over impeachment

So, here we are.

Congressional Democrats comprising the fiery left-wingers and the “establishment” wing are at each other’s throats over whether to impeach Donald John Trump.

The firebrands want to impeach the president now. They’ve heard and seen enough to persuade them that Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. Thus, it’s time to impeach — in the words of one of the House rookie Democratic bomb throwers — the “motherf*****!”

Oh, but wait. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is slamming the breaks on that move — at least for the moment. She opposes impeachment. Pelosi, one of the experienced hands on Capitol Hill, doesn’t want to go there.

“I’m not for impeachment,” she says.

Pelosi speaks wisely

I happen to agree with Pelosi. Yes, that’s right. Critics of this blog think I am frothing at the mouth to impeach the president. Not true.

I want to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller III to finish his job of investigating whether there was “collusion” between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russian government goons who attacked our electoral system.

Moreover, I also believe Pelosi’s mind can change if Mueller’s report reveals some impeachable nastiness. There’s also the Southern District of New York, the federal judicial district that is looking deeply into possible criminality. The SDNY also needs to finish its work as well before we should determine whether there are grounds to impeach Donald Trump.

But for now the speaker is speaking wise words of caution. She is a seasoned politician who knows if she has enough bipartisan support to proceed with impeaching the president. She has calculated that she doesn’t have it. Impeaching the president would be a loser for her and House Democrats.

Pelosi is a wise woman.

Just as Republican members of Congress engaged in fights between establishment politicians and TEA Party fanatics, Democrats are engaging in something quite similar at the other end of the big political spectrum.

The GOP establishment had the country’s best interests when it fought with the TEA Party over spending. The Democratic establishment has the upper hand over the issue of impeaching Donald Trump.

But . . . let’s wait.

Almost forgot about this guy’s bad manners!

D’oh!

I almost forgot this item. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican who tweeted a threat to Michael Cohen on the eve of Donald Trump’s former friend’s expected blockbuster testimony before Congress, has acted boorishly before.

He tweeted a threat of exposing alleged affairs Cohen had with women who aren’t his wife. Bad form, dude. That kind of witness intimidation can get you in serious trouble.

But then there’s the tirade he launched during a House committee hearing with survivors of the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre. He threatened to boot them out of the committee hearing because he didn’t like the tone they were using while giving testimony about gun violence.

I just hate it when members of Congress act like horses’ asses.

You may spare me the “both sides do it” crap. I get that already. I’m talking about this clown.

A member of Congress, a guy who writes federal laws that affect all Americans, needs to act with some measure of decorum and dignity. Matt Gaetz is sorely lacking in both qualities.

Why not a maximum age for POTUS?

Garland, Texas, resident Cynthia Stock poses an interesting question today in a letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News.

She notes that we have a minimum age for U.S. senators (30 years); she doesn’t mention that you have to be at least 25 years of age to run for the U.S. House and 35 to run for president.

Stock wants to know why we don’t impose a maximum age for presidential candidates. Hmm. Let me think. Does she have a couple of senior citizens in mind, such as 77-year-old Sen. Bernie Sanders (who’s running for the Democratic nomination) and former VP Joe Biden (who might run for POTUS in 2020)?

The nation needs fresh ideas, fresh vision, fresh leadership, she writes. I wonder if “fresh” is code for “young.”

That’s not a half-bad notion, the more I think about it.

I oppose term limits for members of Congress. I suppose you could take that argument even farther by repealing the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that limits presidents to two elected terms; perhaps we could replace it with another amendment that places upper-end age limits on presidential candidates. Or would that amount to “age discrimination”? I’ll have to think about that.

Stock, though, makes another good point. She notes how the presidency has aged so many of its officeholders. President Franklin Roosevelt was not even 65 years of age when he died in April 1945 of a cerebral hemorrhage; same for President Johnson when he died in January 1973. The presidency took savage tolls on both those wartime presidents.

They were not old men when they died. The office made them much older than their years on Earth.

I’m not endorsing what Ms. Stock has proposed. I just thought it to be worth noting.

Tax returns? Are they about to surface — finally?

Donald J. Trump’s mysterious tax returns might be about to see the light of day. Finally!

More than two years ago the one-time real estate mogul and reality TV celebrity announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. He then declined to do what other major-party candidates had done since 1976, which is release their personal income tax returns for public scrutiny.

Trump cited a “routine” tax audit. The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t comment on specific audits, but it said immediately that an audit doesn’t preclude release of returns.

That didn’t persuade Trump to do the right thing. He has kept ’em out of public view.

Now comes the House of Representatives with its new Democratic majority. The House Ways and Means Committee appears primed to get those returns, hold hearings and then will seek to release them. The president is likely to fight that effort — even though he says he has nothing to hide!

Wow! What do you think about that?

Republicans suggest Democrats are applying a double standard, that they aren’t demanding it of over presidential candidates. Others, though, have released those returns. Only the president has declined to follow a 40-plus-year political custom.

Think for just a moment:

  • Does a “routine” tax audit drag on for years? No. It doesn’t.
  • Has the president ever produced a letter from the IRS notifying him of an audit? I haven’t seen it. Have you?
  • If the president says there’s nothing to hide, no wrongdoing to be discovered, why doesn’t he release them? Well, I believe he is lying.

That leaves us with his tax returns still in hiding.

The House Ways and Means Committee says it is seeking the tax returns simply for “oversight” purposes, that it isn’t motivated by any “gotcha” effort. Whatever the motives, it is important — for the sake of the transparency that Trump advocates — for the public to see precisely how the nation’s top elected official has earned his fortune.

The president calls it “harassment.” He blames Democrats for conducting a witch hunt. He insists he has done nothing wrong, just as he said that there’s no evidence of “collusion” with Russian election thieves. His behavior and bullying of special counsel Robert Mueller III suggest something quite different.

I remain one of those nosy-Nora Americans who has every right to insist on seeing how the president of the United States has earned his fortune, whether he has followed the letter of the law.

Let us remember this critical point: The president works for us. We are the bosses. Not him.