Tag Archives: US Senate

Let the trial begin …

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer has made it official.

The U.S. Senate will commence the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump on Feb. 8. That’s fine for a couple of key reasons.

The House will send the Senate the single impeachment article on Monday, triggering the eventual start of the trial. The House of Representatives impeached Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection. You saw what he did on the Sixth of January, inciting the riot that stormed Capitol Hill while Congress was meeting to certify President Biden’s victory on Nov. 3.

Why is the delay in the trial a good thing?

For one, Donald Trump is entitled to the best defense he can get. A delay allows the former president to assemble a legal team to defend him in the Senate. For the life of me I don’t know how you defend what I witnessed was the indefensible. Trump’s team will try to accomplish what I consider to be the impossible.

Secondly, delaying the trial enables the Senate commence on the important task of confirming President Biden’s Cabinet nominees and get to work on important legislation concerning pandemic relief, climate change, immigration reform and other issues the president has deemed critical.

I get that the Senate can “walk and chew gum at the same time,” as senators have noted. Delaying a trial won’t do any harm to determining the outcome. A delay allows Trump’s team to get its stuff together; it also allows House managers to do the same.

And so … let the trial begin eventually and let Congress get to work repairing the damage that the former president inflicted on our government.

Commence the trial quickly

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. senators say it so often it sounds practically cliche, but I get their point.

They say they “walk and chew gum at the same time,” that they can conduct an impeachment trial and debate, discuss and enact policy matters crucial to running the country simultaneously.

I’ll take them at their word. Which is my way of suggesting that senators need to commence Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial quickly while deliberating over the confirmation of President Biden’s national security team.

Trump will be out of office. It doesn’t matter one little bit whether he is president of an ex-president. What he did on Jan. 6 was punishable and he needs to be held accountable for inciting the riot that sought to subvert our democratic process.

The terrorists who stormed into the Capitol Building sought to end the congressional act of ratifying Biden’s victory in the election. They acted on a message delivered on The Ellipse from Donald Trump. Trump’s impeachment came with 10 GOP House members voting “yes.” It was a bipartisan impeachment!

And so the trial will begin. I do not want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to delay sending the single impeachment article to the Senate. I want her to do so quickly to enable the Senate to prepare to put Trump on trial for inciting the mob to run rampant over the very Senate floor on which our distinguished senators will convene the trial.

Think for just a moment about that. Senators will conduct a trial in the very crime scene that Trump created by inciting the rioters to act in the manner that they did.

Can this jury of 100 senators hear the evidence submitted in the trial in the morning, break for lunch, and return in the afternoon to consider who President Biden has nominated, say, for defense secretary, CIA director or the director of national intelligence?

Of course it can! And it should!

Senate steepens Biden’s hill to climb

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As if President Biden doesn’t already have a steep hill to climb when he takes office in 10 days …

The U.S. Senate will not have confirmed a single one of his Cabinet nominees by the time he assumes the presidency. Why? Well, senators have been consumed by matters involving the hideous antics of Biden’s immediate predecessor, Donald Trump.

The president-elect has been rolling out his nominees systematically since winning the election. He has completed that task, along with naming top staff-level appointees who do not require Senate confirmation.

It would be in the nation’s best interest for senators — who return to work no later than Jan. 19 — to focus immediately on confirming the president’s national security team. That would include the secretaries of defense, state and homeland security along with the director of national intelligence and the CIA director. We also might want to toss in the treasury secretary for good measure, given that our economic strength remains a key component of our national security.

Too many Republican senators, I am saddened to point out, have swallowed the “widespread voter fraud” lie that Donald Trump fed them as he fought to cling to power. hey have taken their eye off the task at hand, which is to help ensure a smooth transition of power. One of those senators happens to be the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who now surrenders that title to Democrat Chuck Schumer when the next Congress returns to work.

I don’t have any doubt that President Biden, with his vast government experience, will be able to navigate through the initial stages of the presidency without a full complement of Cabinet officials on hand.

The onus belongs to the Senate, though, to ensure that the new president is staffed fully as soon as is humanly possible.

Because, unlike Donald Trump, the new president will actually listen to and heed the advice he receives. The national security team is foremost among the advisers on whom he will rely.

Loony bin adds 11 GOP senators

(Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The Republican congressional cabal of kooks today grew by 11 members.

I cannot believe these once-serious-minded individuals have done this, but they have declared their intention to object to President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory when the Senate and the House of Representatives meet Wednesday to, um, certify the results.

They have joined their moronic Missouri colleague, Josh Hawley, in filing some sort of empty-headed protest over Biden’s victory, citing “widespread voter fraud” for which no one on Earth has presented a shred of evidence even existed.

Here’s the best part: One of the Gang of 11 dipshi** is none other than Sen. Ted Cruz, the Houston Republican whom I long ago dubbed the Cruz Missile.

To his credit, John Cornyn, Texas’s senior U.S. Republican senator, didn’t sign on to this idiotic ploy.

What these clowns/morons/know-nothings/idiots are seeking to do is commit what I consider an act of sedition. They are staging an open rebellion against our democratic process. They have joined 140 of their House GOP colleagues in contesting an election that Joe Biden won — and Donald J. Trump — lost in what election officials have declared to be the most secure election in U.S. history.

The 11 GOP Senate nimrods want to delay the outcome for 10 days while they conduct an audit of the process. Good ever-lovin’ grief, dudes! The courts have tossed out every one of Trump’s own challenges to the veracity of the election. The Electoral College has met as prescribed by the Constitution and declared that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take office on Jan. 20.

11 Senate Republicans say they will oppose Electoral College results Wednesday | TheHill

We have a bizarre drama playing out on the world stage. Republican members of Congress want to make some kind of show about their resistance to a Democrat winning election over one of their guys. What they are revealing to the world is an absolute disregard for the democratic process, which until this election cycle was thought to be an impenetrable barrier against the kind of dangerous insurrection that appears to be taking shape.

Finally, think also of this reality: The individual for whom they are embarking on this moronic mission, Donald J. Trump, is encouraging them to commit what I consider to be a subversion of the electoral process we all should honor.

This is as reprehensible as it can get.

GOP wants to win by ‘not voting’?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

OK, how am I supposed to process this bit of idiocy?

Republicans want to hold onto their fragile U.S. Senate majority. Two GOP senators from Georgia — David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler — are engaging in runoffs set for Jan. 5. Perdue is running against Jon Ossoff; Loeffler is facing off against the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock.

What does the nation’s top Republican, Donald Trump, want Georgia voters to do? He wants them to boycott an election he says is “rigged.” Yes. That’s how he wants the Senate Republicans to retain their majority. Just stay home because you don’t want to participate in a “rigged election,” says Trump in an impassioned message to Georgia voters.

By all means, Georgia Republicans, don’t vote. Ossoff and Warnock can win, giving Democrats a 50-50 tie in the Senate, which means Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris could break ties votes.

Yep, Donald Trump is pitching an idiotic strategy.

Biden enters office with loads of credibility

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President-elect Biden’s efforts to transition from private citizen to the highest public office in the nation has been difficult to watch from afar.

Donald Trump keeps trying to stymie his successor’s efforts to reach full speed on domestic, scientific and foreign policy matters.

However, I am going to take some comfort in the knowledge that Biden brings to the presidency owing to his nearly five decades in public service.

The president-elect served 36 years in the U.S. Senate before becoming vice president in 2009. During that time in the Senate he chaired the Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees for a total of 24 years. He built friendships and assorted professional and political relationships with hundreds of folks in this country and abroad.

Biden hasn’t yet received the kind of high-level briefing afforded customarily to presidents-elect, but he is able to reach beyond normal channels to experts from around the world for advice and  counsel.

The president-elect’s years of experience in public service will serve him well as he takes office, even if he is unable to obtain the kind of cooperation that outgoing president’s usually offer.

My hope springs eternal that eventually Donald Trump will put the country’s interests first and allow the transition to proceed as it should.

If that hope is never realized, I am going to believe that President-elect Joe Biden will be able to parlay his vast experience into an effective presidency … even as he struggles to get our new government up to speed.

Due diligence anyone … anyone?

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Who needs due diligence when you have a power-hungry hypocrite in charge of a U.S. Senate confirmation process?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course. Due diligence is as important as it always is when considering whom to seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. That ain’t stopping Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from unleashing the confirmation hounds on a nominee Donald Trump intends to send to the Senate upon the death of the iconic Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Let’s see how this goes. The presidential election is 46 days away. Trump hasn’t yet pitched a name at the Senate. He will do so quickly, or so we are led to believe. McConnell said the Senate will receive the nominee’s name, the Judiciary Committee will conduct a hearing and then the Senate will vote on the nominee … before we decide the presidency and before we decide who sits in the Senate!

How in the name of legislative due diligence is that supposed to happen?

Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, say the Senate should wait until after the election. Yeah … do ya think?

A number of Republicans might lose on Election Day. Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Collins, and possibly even McConnell in Kentucky are prime targets for defeat. How does a lame-duck Senate session vote, therefore, on a Supreme Court nominee when several of the body’s members won’t be there to stand before their constituents?

Let us not forget how McConnell stonewalled President Obama’s pick to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia in early 2016, with McConnell saying that the president didn’t have the right to make an appointment during an election year. We’ve got that now, only magnified by an untold factor given the closeness of the next election!

Back to my point: How also does a Senate do the kind of due diligence required to thoroughly examine the quality of the person nominated by the president to serve as a member of nation’s highest court?

My view is that it cannot. The Senate must not steamroll a nominee to the Supreme Court in a fashion that screams political expediency.

Mitch McConnell’s hypocrisy is on full and inglorious display.

He sickens me.

Former AG faces intriguing political fight

Take away the upcoming presidential contest between Donald Trump and Joseph Biden and you are left with a boatload of intriguing down-ballot contests all across the nation.

The most interesting, intriguing, maddening and bizarre? It’s likely occurring in Alabama.

Two Republicans are running in a July 14 primary runoff to see who faces Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones in the fall. One of the GOP candidates is former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville; the other is a former U.S. senator and attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

Donald Trump has endorsed Tuberville. He detests Sessions, the guy he picked for AG, who he then fired because — as Sessions has noted — the AG “followed the law.”

Sessions finally has begun firing back at Trump’s idiocy, declaring that Alabamans will determine who should represent them, not a president’s “personal feelings” about one of the candidates.

This is weird, man.

Sessions wants his former Senate seat back. He is running as a supporter of Trump’s agenda. Trump’s campaign has declared it doesn’t want Sessions to stand with Trump. POTUS stands with Tuberville, declaring that Sessions “let our country down.” Oh, how did he do that?

By recusing himself from the FBI investigation into whether the Trump campaign collude with Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system in 2016. How could Sessions have led a Justice Department probe into a campaign in which he was an active participant? He couldn’t! Which is why he recused himself and allowed the appointment of Robert Mueller III as the special counsel.

That recusal and Mueller’s appointment enraged Trump. As did the investigation that Mueller conducted. He ended it by saying he didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute Trump, but stated pointedly that his findings did not “exonerate” Trump from wrongdoing.

All of this seems to put Sessions in a tough spot as he campaigns in a state full of voters who still seems to adore the carnival barker/con man/liar/philanderer in chief.

Go figure.

Two-fer endorsements: Idea is catching on?

This must be a new thing, more or less, in the world of newspaper editorial endorsements.

Editorial boards face a lengthy list of candidates for a specific office; they interview the contenders; they can’t settle on a single candidate to endorse … so they go with two of ’em!

Hmm. The New York Times did so when it endorsed U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic Party presidential primary contest.

Now it’s the Dallas Morning News doing the same thing regarding the Democratic primary contest for the U.S. Senate now occupied by Republican John Cornyn. The DMN couldn’t decide on a single candidate, so they offered up Texas state Sen. Royce West and former Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards for readers to consider.

I believe that’s a bit of a cop-out on the part of the newspaper.

I get the paper’s semi-endorsement of West. He hails from Dallas. He has represented the city in the Legislature for a long time. He is a powerhouse legislator. He’s a hometown guy, sort of a “favorite son.” 

Edwards also impressed the Morning News editorial board. She’s well-educated and well-grounded in public policy.

However, shouldn’t newspapers that seek to lead a community make the same tough call that their readers will have to make when they enter the voting booth to cast their ballots for political candidates?

I am in the process of making up my own mind on who gets my vote in the upcoming Super Tuesday primary election. We’ll get to select someone to run for president along with a whole lengthy array of candidates on all manner of public offices up and down the political food chain.

We have to pick just one for each race. I had been kinda hoping for a bit of guidance from my newspaper on who to ponder in this race for U.S. Senate. I guess I’m on my own.

Not so fast on the high fives, POTUS’s legal team

Conservative media personalities and other defenders of Donald John Trump have been back-slapping and high fiving the legal team that represented the current president in the Senate impeachment trial that appears to be barreling toward acquittal.

The Senate has rejected in a 51-49 vote a motion to allow new witnesses and other evidence into the Senate to testify about the case against the president.

It is true that Trump’s legal eagles seem to have won the argument on the floor of the Senate. How much of a hurdle, though, was it for them to clear? Not much of one, if you want to know my view on it.

To me the result was equally clear. Trump abused the power of his office by seeking foreign government political help and obstructed Congress by ordering his staff to ignore congressional subpoenas. The president should be removed from office!

Republicans control the Senate. To a person the GOP majority has stood behind Trump. POTUS legal team hasn’t changed a single mind. It hasn’t needed to turn any votes in their favor.

In fairness, I need to suggest that there might be a Democratic senator or two (or three) who could vote to acquit the president. They likely will be senators who represent states that Trump won in 2016 and they might be senators who are up for election or re-election this year. I present to you Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Doug Jones of Alabama and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Were they persuaded by the presentation given by Trump’s team? Allow me a brief chuckle. I doubt it. They were swayed by the political dynamics back home.

So here we are. We’re going go get an up/down vote on Wednesday. The deal is done. The result, if you’ll excuse the cliché, has been “baked in.”

Republicans will stand with Donald Trump while Democrats will stand with the Constitution of the United States.