Tag Archives: US Senate

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.

Sen. Klobuchar needs to tread carefully

I happen to agree with Meghan McCain, the outspoken daughter of an outspoken late U.S. senator.

Meghan McCain is asking U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, to stop using her father, John McCain, as a political prop.

Klobuchar recently has told of how she sat next to Sen. McCain while Donald Trump was delivering his inaugural speech. She mentioned that Sen. McCain kept saying the names of infamous dictators.

As MSN.com noted: “The arc that we are on, this arc of justice, started the day after that dark inauguration,” Klobuchar said. “The day when I sat on that stage between Bernie (Sanders) and John McCain and John McCain kept reciting to me the names of dictators during that speech, because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation. He understood it. He knew because he knew this man more than any of us.”

Sen. Klobuchar intended to honor the memory of Sen. McCain. I am pretty certain that in Meghan McCain’s mind, she has given Donald Trump grist to fire at the memory of the late senator, who the president already has said — since the senator’s death in August 2018 — he has “never liked.”

Trump hasn’t been bashful about criticizing Sen. McCain, even in death. That criticism continues to rankle Meghan McCain, who has been not bashful at all in expressing her disdain for the president or her undying love and admiration for her late father.

Meghan McCain said via Twitter: “On behalf of the entire McCain family (Senator Klobuchar), please be respectful to all of us and leave my father’s legacy and memory out of presidential politics.”

OK, so Meghan McCain hasn’t mentioned the president’s penchant for petulant patter, even toward her beloved father. There should be little doubt that she doesn’t want to hear Donald Trump insult her father any longer.

The president has said quite enough already about a man — John McCain — whose legacy of public service will last far longer than anything Donald Trump will ever do for as long as he is an active politician.

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.

Sen. Romney stands on principle in voting ‘no’ on judge

I know that a single U.S. Senate vote does not signal a trend, but I have to be heartened by a principled “no” vote cast by Utah’s freshman Republican senator, Mitt Romney.

The former GOP presidential nominee was the lone Republican to vote against the nomination of Beaumont lawyer Michael Truncale to be a U.S. district judge. Truncale won confirmation by a narrow 49-46 vote to take a seat on the bench representing East Texas.

Why the “no” vote from Romney? Because Truncale describe President Obama in 2011 as an “un-American imposter,” which quite naturally was seen by many as a play into the “birther” lie that plagued Obama during much of his presidency; you know, what he was born in Kenya and, thus, was ineligible to run for, let alone serve as, president of the United States.

“He said some things disparaging of President (Barack) Obama and having been the Republican nominee in 2012, I couldn’t sign onto that for a district judge,” Romney told CNN.

Romney has demonstrated that he won’t be Donald Trump’s “yes man” on all matters that come before the Senate.

Truncale received a grilling from Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats about the remark and he answered that “it is possible” he was expressing frustration over what he called Obama’s lack of “overt patriotism.”

Yeah, sure thing, bub. Suppose he was merely popping off at that false assumption. Doesn’t that, therefore, speak to the man’s judicial temperament, or the lack thereof?

Romney famously said during the 2012 Al Smith Memorial Dinner in New York that he and President Obama — who were locked in a fierce battle for the White House at the time — did not harbor personal “ill will” toward each other despite their widely divergent world views.

Sen. Romney’s “no” vote against Michael Truncale keeps faith with that declaration.

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.

Say it isn’t happening, that Roy Moore is coming back

This can’t be happening. If it is, then someone needs to give me the strength to endure what looks like a long, arduous and utterly hideous campaign season.

Roy Moore, the man accused of sexual dalliances with underage girls while he was an adult, might be running for the U.S. Senate next year against the man who beat him for the seat in Alabama.

Oh, the humanity!

New public opinion polling say that Alabama Republicans favor Moore if he chooses to challenge Sen. Doug Jones, who is running for re-election.

The story is tawdry. Women came forward and accused Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, of sexual misconduct involving minor girls. It all happened a long time ago. Moore proclaimed his innocence. He got the belated backing of Donald Trump, who stood behind his fellow Republican.

Moore lost the race to Jones, who took the Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions resigned to become attorney general in the Trump administration.

Hey, this is a big deal for all Americans. The Senate enacts laws that affect all Americans. I don’t want Roy Moore within spitting distance of Capitol Hill. Alabama judicial ethics officials suspended Moore twice from that state’s highest court.

Now he wants a chance to enact laws in the Senate? Please . . . no!