There were no revelations in today’s (Saturday, January 25, 2020) opening of the defense of the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) at his impeachment trial. If there had been, then NPR would have covered it in this special edition of the NPR Politics podcast.
From the brief ten minutes of the C-SPAN video that I watched, it was easy to tell that Pat Cipollone had been told not to waste his time on Saturday because of the bad TV ratings by the ratings-obsessed OHM.
I expect Monday and Tuesday to be also relatively without meaning because the defense has no case to present. Let’s set aside the perfect phone call. Just say it is irrelevant. There is no defense against the Obstruction of Congress article. The letter issued by the White House is grounds for removal of the president. All. By. Itself. …and it was written by? Pat Cipollone. The lead lawyer in the OHM’s defense. Pat Cipollone should have been disbarred already.
The only thing I’m interested in, when it comes to the defense, is if the attorneys working for the president will risk being disbarred for repeating lies they were told to repeat by the president. The sixteen hour question time that follows the defenses’ presentation should be interesting. We should know pretty shortly after it starts what the mood of the Senate is at that point.
As I have said previously, if the Senate doesn’t vote remove the OHM from office, then no president will ever comply with requests from Congress again unless it is something he thinks should be done; and every single Senator, Representative or employee of the executive branch can be investigated by foreign powers and have that dirt used against them by the president without repercussion. Any one of us could be targeted by a foreign power, and our own government would not be beholden to defend us. The stakes could not be higher, and I personally resent the lying done on behalf of the OHM. It’s bad enough that he lies constantly. Don’t insult me and the truth by repeating his lies again.
Day three of the prosecution of President Donald John Trump.
Two and a half hours into that video from C-SPAN they let Lindsey Graham go on and on lying through his teeth about the rightness and wrongness of the evidence and investigations. I noticed this before on C-SPAN and PBS. They let defenders of the president talk for hours and hours as long as the cameraman thinks that what he is getting has entertainment value.
Here’s the problem. Politics is not fucking entertainment. Politics is life and death. Blood and treasure. It isn’t fucking entertainment. All I need to discard every single thing that Lindsey Graham has to say on the subject of Donald Trump is to look up anything the Senator said before Donald Trump took the oath of office. The only question I have for Lindsey Graham is, what does Donald Trump know about him that he’s holding over Senator Graham’s head? What, exactly, is the dirt he has? Is it better than the dirt that Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump?
This day’s evidence mostly relates to the president’s obstruction of congress. An observation I’ve made previously, that his declaration that he will not comply with demands made by congress is in itself an impeachable act. No other president in history has done this. Why don’t they ask dear Lindsey that question? See how he wiggles out of that. No other president. Not Nixon, not Clinton, not Obama. Never in the history of this country has a president refused to comply with lawful orders issued by congress. Here are a few informational screenshots from the video.
In word and in deed President Trump has declared himself above the law.
That really is the important question here. If the shoe were on the other foot, Obama would have been clapped in irons within a week of even attempting what president Trump has done. Even attempting it. But Trump remains defiant. Nadler continues to enumerate exactly how, down through history, access to the president’s records has been assured by previous presidents, even those under investigation by Congress (president Polk NBC.com Think article Achive.org link) the OHM forced Speaker Pelosi’s hand. She had no choice but to call Trump’s bluff when he defied lawfully executed congressional subpoenas. Now we either have a republic, or we don’t. Either Trump is removed, or he isn’t.
The drug deal started before Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine. It was his election that caused the Trump administration to panic. Rudy had been working with prosecutors under the previous president of Ukraine, trying to get those prosecutors to open investigations into the Putin-created conspiracy fantasy that Ukraine had somehow worked to undermine the Trump election campaign.
The fact that Ukraine favored the election of Hillary Clinton, as did every single one of our allies (except possibly Saudi Arabia) is irrelevant. Or would be irrelevant if any other person was president other than someone like the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) Any other president would have understood that US allies were his allies, no matter their opinions on US political competitions. For the OHM, not wanting him to win the election was tantamount to betrayal on the part of every single one of our allies. But it was especially a betrayal by Ukraine. Why? Because Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine back in the Russian sphere of influence, and not part of the EU or part of NATO.
Donald Trump loves Vladimir Putin. He loves all the vicious dictators who currently hold power in the world. He wants to be one of them and has been working to make the US into a banana republic that he can rule over just like all his heroes do. But there is something special about Putin and Trump. One really has to wonder what kind of dirt Putin has on Trump that makes him so terrified of the Russian President. Because the OHM’s terror is palpable.
So Trump appears to be working for Vladimir Putin and against the interests of our allies in the region, whether he is conscious of this fact or not. It was because of the Putin fabricated conspiracy fantasy that Donald Trump, through Rudy, Lev and Igor, sought to remove ambassador Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine. You can’t have a corruption fighter in the ambassadorial residence if what you want done involves engaging in activities that are essentially corrupt.
Before Trump, oligarchs felt relatively defenseless in the face of American efforts to strip corruption from the Ukrainian judicial system. Because the Ukrainian nation depended on American support, a figure like Yovanovitch had the leverage to demand cleaner government. But the new U.S. president presented the possibility of salvation for the corrupt. Here was an American leader who operated in the style of an oligarch, who wanted to use the legal system to wound his political rivals. Trump seemed like he could be enlisted, with a properly calibrated message, to act on an oligarch’s behalf.
This is probably why Bolton instructed his subordinates not to even talk to Rudy. Instructed them to take no part in his drug deal and to inform the lawyers that he wasn’t involved. It was his unwillingness to do the presidents bidding in this matter that probably lead to his leaving/being fired. We won’t know unless and until he takes the stand and testifies. The trial continues after dinner.
Meanwhile, the publicity stuntmen working for Donald Trump just can’t seem to keep quiet.
This is why I quit listening to him and to them. Because they lie constantly. Paying attention to what they say is a complete waste of time. Donald Trump will always be the guy who stole from all his contractors on his building contracts. Caveat Emptor, America. Just ask them the question.
Make them confront exactly what it is they are doing.
This should be the question that every pundit asks every Republican who won an office in the election on November 6, 2018, since every one of them swore fealty to King Trump in order to win their elections. The question should be asked every time they hold a presser. It should be asked every time they are seen in public. It should be asked in front of their wives. Their children. Their families. Everyone needs to have the blatant corruption at the heart of every Republican victory last night spelled out in the most graphic, disgusting terms possible. Trump can get away with the shit he says every day? Ask that fucking question every fucking day until they crack.
“what does Trump’s cock taste like, Mr. Senator? Mr. Representative? Mr. Secretary?”
Maybe, just maybe, they’ll fucking wake up then. But I doubt it.
In the meantime. The weasel will try to squirm out of harm’s way. The Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) has already signaled that he’ll play ball with the Democrats. Nothing doing. Not unless he turns states evidence on all his Russian contacts, fires all his children, divests from all his businesses. And when I say divest I mean sell every one of his properties to the highest bidder with all proceeds going to pay off the design and construction professionals he’s screwed over the last forty years. He has to agree to replace his entire cabinet with people who will not attempt to undermine their departments. Essentially he has to agree to congressional oversight of everything in the presidential administration, and he loses control of the military. He has to rubber-stamp everything the congress sends to him and he has to tell all his supporters how much they’ll love it.
Oh, and he also will have to insist on IRS prosecutions for the entire DeVos family.
If. If he does all of that, he can stay president for two more years. No running for re-election either. Take your pension, sit down and shut up after January 20th, 2021. If he doesn’t go for all of that, the anal probes start moving in on January 20th, 2019. Or he could just quit now and take his chances. It’s all up to him now. Let’s see which way the weasel runs.
I spoke too soon post-election. Ann Coulter and the Joey Goebbels of AM radio, Rush Limbaugh, scared the OHM into demanding congress do his bidding instead of trying to do something that made sense, like bow to the will of the majority of US citizens. He said (paraphrasing)
Build my wall with your money since Mexico won’t pay for it!
Unsurprisingly the answer from Nancy Pelosi and her majority of the House has been no. Also unsurprisingly, the art school turtle,
The standoff cannot last, and the OHM will not be getting money for his wall from the Democratically lead house. They know what kind of thief he is already. If the shutdown doesn’t end in less than a month, I predict impeachment hearings will begin to be discussed seriously. The only thing standing in the way of the government reopening is the idiot sitting in the White House not doing the job he was elected to do.
The government stayed shut down from December 22, 2018 until January 25, 2019. 35 days. For more than a month, there was no United States government. Let that sink in. There was no capacity to do anything that required the federal government to operate for almost the entire month of January, 2019. The president turned the government back on at that point. The house passed some meaningless legislation so that the OHM could save face, and he grudgingly allowed the United States to continue to exist, until he changes his mind again.
…and the outrage rolled on through the year of 2019. Trump’s new flunky, AG William Barr, ensured that the Mueller investigation ended. AG Barr then lied about what was in the report, and refused to re-characterize his assessment of the report even after Bobby-Three-Sticks testified before the House. Mueller said in very precise terms (paraphrasing)
Weirdly, people keep telling me Mueller didn’t find anything. That isn’t what I heard in his testimony. What I heard him say was he found a lot of stuff. He just couldn’t prove any of it as a prosecutor tasked with building a case against Donald J. Trump, because that guy is the president and a president has to be impeached. That is the prosecutorial remedy for bad presidents.
Side note. On January 14, 2020, the new P.M. of the United Kingdom (soon to be just the Kingdom of England and Wales once again. After Brexit that is. AB? Editor.) the infamous Bojo is also on his knees sucking Donald Trump’s cock. I wonder if he has an opinion about the flavor? The BBC reports that Bojo wants to Replace Iran nuclear plan with ‘Trump deal’. That’s rich. Like there will be a Trump deal with Iran short of full-out war. Yeah, that will happen.
I’m watching the case being put before the Senate as I write this (January 22, 2019, 6:30 pm) I decided to move this article forward to the date of the impeachment trial in the Senate while watching the endless arguments yesterday (01/21/2020) over the rules that the Senate would follow during the trial. I have now updated the article with links to some of the OHM articles I’ve written since the 2018 elections. Time to get busy watching this rare political event unfold.
…but make no mistake. If the Senate acquits the OHM without calling witnesses, every Republican Senator who votes to acquit will have taken their turn at sucking the President’s cock. Every. One. Of. Them.
More importantly, every one of them will be investigated by the next president who takes control of the office, and that investigation could very well be conducted by foreign governments interested in seeking favor with the president of the United States. They should probably think pretty hard about acquitting the OHM. You never know who the next person who holds an office might be. Just ask Barack Obama if he’s happy about his current predicament. Ask him if he thinks the future turned out the way he wanted.
Editor’s note. I edited and moved this article forward for the first day of impeachment prosecution arguments (day three according to C-SPAN) because I wrote this article after the Democratic midterm victories thinking that we would see a change in the OHM’s behavior after the drubbing he suffered in that election. Once again, I was wrong. Against all the evidence of history, the Republicans and their president have continued on their merry way pretending that they haven’t got anything to worry about. The government shutdown derailed my train of thought, and I forgot about this article until I went back over the year’s articles trying to decide what I would use to anchor this first day of testimony that so many of us have been waiting for, for over a year. Finally, that day has come.
She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1995, and was on the Judiciary committee when the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton was being conducted.
She was an aide to Representative Don Edwards (D-Calif.), who sat on the House Judiciary Committee in 1973. She was sent to Washington to work on a bankruptcy bill but was swept up in the Nixon impeachment inquiry.
Everybody got sucked into the tornado that was the impeachment inquiry. I was a law student, so I wasn’t running the show, but I did work on it. You had a sense of how historic it was, how serious it was. But to be present was both an honor and also an obligation, and to be able to play a small part in something, it felt profound.
So she has a unique perspective on the subject of impeachment.
I remember when Bill Clinton was impeached. I remember that I was pissed off for having to explain what a blow job was to my then seven-year-old daughter. I understood that Bill Clinton had broken the law. I also understood that what the Republicans were doing was entirely for show. They had no intention of acting on the evidence against him in any real fashion; or perhaps they knew that the charges they could bring against him were insufficient to have him removed from office. They just wanted to embarrass a popular Democratic president, and perhaps keep the next president from being a Democrat.
…a task that they weren’t capable of pulling off without the help of the Supreme Court. I knew that if they had been serious about getting Bill Clinton out of the White House, they would have called him on fraternization. But then most of them would also have skeletons in their closets that they wouldn’t have wanted dragged out into public after conducting that trial.
What Bill Clinton did was a crime. However the crime was engaging in a sexual relationship with a direct subordinate, which should be much more of a crime than lying to the grand jury about the sexual relationship. Worse, it was apparently a common practice of his to engage in sex with his subordinates, as other women took pains to testify about. Even to sue him over.
I also remember when Richard Nixon left office. I was a little older than the daughter was when Clinton was impeached, but I remember the sadness and betrayal that many people felt. Betrayal by the president of the people he was supposed to represent. I don’t know how many of my relatives and neighbors supported him before he was found to be culpable by the tapes he was forced to release to the House of Representatives. But I do remember that Grandma didn’t have a single kind word to say about him, so she wouldn’t say much other than he got what was coming to him.
Nixon and Clinton both were compelled to release information to the impeachment inquiry that the House embarked upon against them. Both of them understood that the United States government was not just the president. It was the entire nation, figuratively. The U.S. Government is made up of at least the other two branches of government outside of the executive branch, and it is also made up of all the people who worked in all the branches of government that make up the government. It is and was bigger than any one person. That is perhaps the most telling argument against Donald J. Trump. He doesn’t admit that anything is bigger than he is. I doubt he even has the capacity to understand just how small he really is.
It is that lack of understanding that made these events we are witnessing inevitable. Nixon understood that if he was impeached he would be removed from office because the country had turned against him. He knew that he would face prosecution, and that he couldn’t be pardoned if impeached. So he left office on the heels of his even more crooked vice president, Spiro Agnew, the Bag Man of Rachel Maddow’s podcast.
…and Richard Nixon was pardoned by Spiro Agnew’s replacement, Gerald Ford.
Bill Clinton knew that what he had done was wrong and he apologized to the country. His behavior since that time publicly has been exemplary. I haven’t had to explain one other uncomfortable thing about him to a minor since that day.
Nixon knew when he was beat. Clinton knew how to appease the people who were rightly offended at his behavior. Donald Trump? He doesn’t acknowledge that others exist or that his behavior varies in any way from the absolute straight and narrow, even when caught red handed lying, cheating and stealing. That has been his standard of practice since I first ran across his name back in the days of Trump tower and the Trump Taj Mahal. Donald Trump doesn’t have the presence of mind to understand just how far out on a limb he is right now.
Zoe Lofgren knows how precarious his position is and hopes to hold him accountable for the crimes he has always gotten away with before. I wish her luck in her endeavor. Perhaps someone exercised caveat emptor after all.
Both action and inaction by the chief magistrate, if sufficiently dangerous to the republic, must be impeachable if impeachment is to serve its intended purpose. Even conduct motivated by a sincere and deeply held principle can be a constitutional “high Crime.”
The bar is lower for impeachment than it is for bringing charges against an average human being. That is because the behavior required for holders of high governmental office is more restricted than it is for average human beings. What we charge the officeholder with doesn’t have to be a crime at all. It just has to be behavior that is unbecoming of the officeholder.
If the impeachment provision in the Constitution of the United States will not reach the offenses charged here, then perhaps that 18th-century Constitution should be abandoned to a 20th-century paper shredder!
Has the President committed offenses, and planned, and directed, and acquiesced in a course of conduct which the Constitution will not tolerate? That’s the question. We know that. We know the question. We should now forthwith proceed to answer the question. It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision.
June 2017. Cast your mind back all those eons ago to when the firehouse of daily outrage had just been turned on long enough for everyone trying to drink from it to start to drown. This is where I was,
As for the content of that article, I’ll freely admit to just dumping a bunch of comments that I had made on the various subjects that had emerged over the course of six months as I tried in vain to keep track of all the crap that spewed from the White House under the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) I wanted to do a thorough job of cataloging every single outrage that flew past me as I consumed the daily news, but even I had started to drown at that point.
There was too much. Too much lying by Trump. Too much pain caused by Trump. Too much of too many people running down blind alleys trying to address some bullshit that had emerged from Trump’s ass and splashed across the front pages of every website on the internet. There was no way to keep track of it all.
…And that was the point. That was the plan, if the OHM can be said to have a plan. Keep the outrage going for long enough for him to get re-elected on the same outrage from 2016 that got him elected the first time. That is why he has never stopped campaigning. If he stopped, people who supported him might have time to think about what he had made them all do, and that wouldn’t help him in any way.
So I wrote Bullshit is Bullshit and then altered my news consumption in such a way as to eliminate all news that began with the phrase “president Trump said”…and I did this purposefully, since everything he says is designed to disguise and distract. I blocked his Twitter account. I blocked his son’s Twitter account. What they say has no meaning, and so listening to what they say is to engage in self-destructive behavior.
I started actively blocking his voice. Hearing his voice on anything still causes me to stop whatever it is I am watching or listening to, and skipping forward until the hated noise stops. I refused to listen to arguments that included anything he said. At least, I refused to listen as far as is possible in this Orange-tinted sewer that is today’s America.
That is where I’ve been since shortly after the OHM’s election. Biding my time. Waiting for the day that the rest of the country woke the fuck up. The first glint of dawning understanding appeared after the 2018 midterm elections revealed that the electorate was far more aware of what was going on than the news media had led us all to believe. Which was good news.
Then a month ago the new congress finally understood that they would have to impeach the OHM, just like I knew they would have to do when the 2016 election rendered a verdict that Trump would be president. It was just a matter of time. It would have been nice had the Republicans not been so venal as to think that their president was better than anyone else’s president would be, even another one of their own that wasn’t stealing from the American people hand over foot, and taking bribes from foreign governments to boot, they were quite happy to let the theft go on and pretend that the clueless rubes that put the OHM in the White House would be enough of a voice to keep them in power.
So 2018 taught them the lesson that they could be trounced by a dedicated opposition. Liberal was no longer a dirty word. Conservative was becoming a dirty word thanks to Trump (finally) and now the Democratic majority in the house had the numbers to impeach the president. But they fumbled around with reasons to impeach, as if there wasn’t blatant evidence against the president just by his being Donald Trump, the fraud. And then Trump, being Trump, handed them the perfect reasons to impeach him by first being caught asking for bribes on the one hand, and then refusing to cooperate with congress when they tried to investigate his behavior on the other hand.
You see, boys and girls, refusing to respond to a subpoena is itself a crime. Now, you can argue about jurisdiction and privilege, but you have to go to court to do that, and that would have been admitting that the president wasn’t a king in Trump’s eyes. So, he committed the same acts that got every president before him impeached by trying to cover up his crimes and claim he didn’t have to explain his behavior. He is dead-to-rights guilty of the high crimes and misdemeanors that he has been accused of, as well as many others that remain unwritten.
…but still the bullshit continues. Not just from him, but from everyone around him that feels obliged to cover for his indiscretions. I have no idea why they do this. He’d throw every one of them under the bus if it meant his cowardly ass didn’t have to go to jail for his many crimes.
I’ve been listening to several podcasts (some of them are mentioned here) that deal with the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. Most of them just deal with the facts, but one in particular seems determined to pretend that there is a balance to be struck between the bullshit spewing from Trump and his yes-men, and the truth. The first time that Brian Lehrer invited one of Trump’s yesmen on the show I had to delete it unlistened to because the bullshit was flying fast and furious every time the guy opened his mouth.
Was my response on Twitter. Then Brian Lehrer invites the same guy back again a few weeks later, as if the guest was worth talking to a second time. The bullshitter calls for more witnesses, as if there wasn’t a move to have more witnesses speak before the House committees, and then Trump blocked them from speaking. Which he is being impeached for, now.
Listening to the constitutional scholars speaking about Trump’s crimes later that same week, I found myself agreeing with the guest who was invited by the Republicans. Which was quite shocking. I don’t know what the hurry is. Why do we have to have this all done by the end of the year? Republicans were happy to pretend nothing was worth worrying about for two years while Trump stole the nation blind and Moscow Mitch shoehorned every judicial nominee he stole from Barack Obama through an otherwise catatonic Senate. Republicans were happy to talk about #Benghazi for three years. What’s the rush? I say we keep the impeachment hearings going until November 3rd, 2020. I suggest they hold hearings on election day, even. Draw it out. Reveal the crimes of all of Trump’s yes-men as well as all of his 40 years of financial and real estate crimes.
Paint it all in glorious technicolor detail, for all the world to see. The damage has been done already, anyway. No one will trust the United States again. Not for a generation.
Everybody and their dog is now talking about impeachment. It’s about fucking time. Where were they three years ago? Donald Trump was impeachable from the day he lied taking his oath, and we knew he was lying when he did it. We simply lacked the political will to do the work required to set the misfire of the 2016 election aside back when it would have made a real difference.
But hey, Nancy Pelosi is on board with impeachment, so everyone thinks they have to talk about it now. Now that the bus of the US federal government is on fire, plummeting downwards at a predictable rate of V = gt, now they want to apply the brakes. Well that’s fine. I’ll have another bottle of spirits over here in the meantime. If you don’t mind.
The comparative difference between Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton & Donald Trump is easy to discern. Donald Trump is a fraud, plain and simple. He has sold his Stormtrumpers a bill of goods that he could never deliver, and had no intention of delivering. This is his standard of practice. Donald Trump was a fraud way, way back. All the way back to the 1970’s & 80’s when he cheated on his taxes stealing the wealth of his father’s company. When he built his first building. When he bought out and then bankrupted his casinos. He is still a fraud, a tax cheat and a money launderer. All of this will come out, eventually.
All the other guys who have faced impeachment had some good thing they hoped to achieve in the public service. The same cannot be said of Trump.
This episode of the 538 Politics podcast is the best explainer I’ve run across on the subject of impeachment. Kate Shaw even picks up on what the guest on Today Explained missed (Exhibit C) She goes point by point through the process as it will most likely progress. Since we only have three cases of presidential impeachment to measure with, it will be hard to say exactly how this will manifest itself. Stay tuned.
Unfortunately for the people who don’t (or won’t) listen to podcasts, there isn’t a transcript for 538 podcasts, and therefore no quick reference for those who just want to get to the facts of the subject directly. You’ll just have to listen. (Editor’s note: Now you can watch, too. I haven’t seen the video which isn’t available on the podcast feed. Yet)
Which not only adds itself into WordPress articles as a playable embed, but you can find the transcript right in the embedded interface. Given what this episode is, a light brush over the subject of where the Trump impeachment goes from where we are now, it’s not too bad. If you understand the subject.
What did Laura McGann miss? The entirety of Scenario 9 is no mystery. Impeached officials, once successfully removed from office, can be barred from serving in public office again. Subject to a simple majority vote of the Senate. It’s right there in the rules. Or Wikipedia.
The Daily from the New York Times is more of a cautionary tale. The Times, in its usual attempts to prove that they aren’t liberal by literally (or audibly) embracing the most insane rantings of whichever pundit they choose to give publicity to, chose to give publicity to the guy who brought us Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, et all. His name is Mike Davis.
…everybody told us that he was sort of an unabashed advocate for Judge Kavanaugh and really sort of the torch-carrier politically through this process. And what he did in terms of not just managing the technicalities of the Senate investigation and the Senate process, but also waging this sort of cultural war for conservatives that was crystallized during the Kavanaugh confirmation process and is now being deployed as a defense against impeachment.
The fact that he was sort of an unabashed advocate for Judge Kavanaugh should have been the first reason not to give the guy a microphone and several uninterrupted minutes to rant. Just flat out don’t do that. There are far, far too many people who will not understand how to dissect his rantings with a skeptical eye. Mike Davis is a poster child for motivated numeracy if not the face on the poster advertising the shortfalls of relying on the reasoning of people who cannot divorce themselves from the things that they believe.
What do I mean by that? If everything Trump is accused of doing was something Obama had been accused of doing how would Mike Davis react? If asked that question on the podcast he would prevaricate. He might even understand the hypocrisy of saying that it would be different for Obama and thereby say “it’s no big deal” but that would be a lie.
We know what would have happened because we lived through eight years of outrage directed at what could objectively be determined to be the best president since Dwight D. Eisenhower (the tan suit, anybody?) If Dwight D. Eisenhower’s portrait is on display anywhere in Washington D.C., the place in the same building that would be appropriate for Donald Trump’s portrait is wherever the garbage is stored before being hauled to the landfill. Which is where Donald Trump’s portrait should go after that. The landfill. With the rest of the garbage.
The New York Times illustrates again exactly why I don’t spend money supporting their reporting. If I had money to support investigative journalism these days I’d have to give it to Vanity Fair, Propublica, The Guardian or The Atlantic. It is a sad day for journalism today, folks.
Impeachment is dangerous. And that danger – that very danger right there, the very nature of it — is why it must be done. And it is in the crucible of crisis, facing the greatest of dangers, when true, authentic greatness is forged.
Starting the second week in October, 2019, there are now three podcasts that I’ve found that deal specifically with the subject of impeachment and only that subject. The first one is Impeachment, Explained from the same people who bring you the podcast Today, Explained linked above. This is the first episode. It will come out weekly on Spotify.
Then there is the daily podcast from WNYC, called simply Impeachment. I like titles that just say what they are about. This podcast is compiled from content that is aired on the Brian Lehrer show.
…was the episode that followed up the voicemail I left two days previously asking why Trump hasn’t been impeached already based on his emoluments violations. I’m sure I’m not the only one asking that question. The Trump Doral debacle is, as the title suggests, a perfect slice of the subject.
The third podcast is Article II from MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki. Of the three, this one is the one I have the least hope for. I’m not sure why, it just seems that MSNBC manages to shoot themselves in the foot about every other time they try to do something. Since Bagman was such a hit and The Oath is making waves, I’m betting that Article II is doomed to failure. But I’ll give it a few weeks to see what Steve manages to pull out of the hat.
In testimony on Tuesday, Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, described what he saw as a high-stakes decision by President Trump to withhold $391 million in aid to Ukraine. Dan De Luce, national security and global affairs reporter for the NBC News investigative unit, recounts Taylor’s opening statement and whether it support the theory of a “quid pro quo.”
Then Wednesday the Republicans in the House of Representatives proved themselves unfit for office by staging a juvenile stunt during the hearings. Such is life in the US in 2019. I sent #ImeachTrump? #ExpelMcConnell! to the show as a comment.
The charge of high crimes and misdemeanors covers allegations of misconduct by officials, such as perjury of oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct, refusal to obey a lawful order, chronic intoxication, and tax evasion. Offenses by officials also include ordinary crimes, but perhaps with different standards of proof and punishment than for nonofficials, on the grounds that more is expected of officials by their oaths of office.
The above came up in a Google search as an example of what the phrase High Crimes and Misdemeanors means, and it is a pretty common example of the kind of confusion that I see among the non-legally educated public. I’ve heard this dozens of times from a myriad of places; and the confusion over this phrase, like the confusion over the purpose of the Electoral College, is about to drive me nuts unless I take the time to explain it at least once.
If you were to speak to lawyers about the meanings of these terms, you would get a completely different answer than you would get out of the general public or from the mass media or social media. Specifically, High Crimes and Misdemeanors is a phrase in the U.S. Constitution. It is a term of art, not a type of crime that we must define through some mystic process in order for it to be understood. The definitions already exist.
A misdemeanor is a known quantity defined by law, just like a felony is defined by law.
Felonies and misdemeanors are two classifications of crimes used in most states, with petty offenses (infractions) being the third. Misdemeanors are punishable by substantial fines and sometimes jail time, usually less than one year. Felonies are the most serious type of crime and are often classified by degrees, with a first degree felony being the most serious. They include terrorism, treason, arson, murder, rape, robbery, burglary, and kidnapping, among others.
There are many possible misdemeanors that could be charged against the sitting president, if a president could be indicted in the fashion that a normal citizen could be charged. I would go so far as to argue that this president should be charged as if he was a normal citizen considering that he is well beneath the quality of human being that I would define as normal, but the niceties of tradition and political maneuvering hamstring most of the arguments that would allow for the direct prosecution of a sitting president for provable crimes in your average courtroom in Washington D.C. or elsewhere.
Lacking the ability to bring charges against a sitting president directly, we have, by definition, to be able to remove a president without having to meet the high standards that a criminal prosecution would require; in other words, the bar for impeachment of a official is lower than the bar for convicting an average citizen. This is because the standards of behavior are higher for political officeholders than the standards of behavior for your average fry cook.
That is why the term high crimes is used in the U.S. Constitution rather than the legal term felony.
high crime : a crime of infamous nature contrary to public morality but not technically constituting a felony
specifically : an offense that the U.S. Senate deems to constitute an adequate ground for removal of the president, vice president, or any civil officer as a person unfit to hold public office and deserving of impeachment
It is worth noting (h/t to Chris Hayes) that treason and bribery are listed crimes which can be brought against a sitting president for the purposes of impeachment, and that both treason and bribery can be proven from the behavior of Donald Trump without even breaking a sweat trying. This is above and beyond the phrase high crimes and misdemeanors which covers everything a president might do that was beneath treason and bribery but still not things a president should do.
…and that is why I have maintained that Donald Trump was a fool to even try to run for the office of the president for three years running. This is still my opinion, and the evidence for this opinion has only increased over his time in office. Impeachment is a pro forma operation when it comes to Trump, inc. His crimes are known. I, a layman, have detailed his crimes across the hundred-odd posts on this blog that I’ve written about this subject, and there are many more crimes that I’m sure I’ve missed in the last three years of the non-stop Trump media orgy we’ve all lived through. As to the specific criminal charges relating to the 2016 election that could be brought against him, those are icing on the cake. They aren’t needed, although everyone seems to think they are what will determine the future of the Trump presidency.
They won’t, because they aren’t the crimes that can be proven here and now. The Mueller report documents the crimes of obstruction that could be brought against Donald Trump, but he rightly or wrongly refused to bring those charges against him. In any case, the job of accusing and then convicting a sitting president and removing him from office falls to the Senate once articles of impeachment are passed by the House of Representatives. The crimes that can be proven right here and now without a protracted redaction fight in the courts are the financial crimes documented by his corporate accountants, and these crimes are a subpoena away from being proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.
A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.
People who expect Trump to last another two years should probably hang onto their seats (yes, I’m looking at you) because it is liable to get really messy over the next 18 months. No one can tell you what will happen, because nothing like this has ever occurred in the history of the United States. We are in the moment of crisis when Rome became an empire and was no longer a Republic. We are in the twilight era when the USSR was ceasing to function, but continued to grind on for a decade and more through sheer inertia.
The impeachments should not be limited to Trump, either. The Attorney General, the Treasury Secretary, even the Vice President are all open targets based solely on their behavior within the Trump administration. The emoluments clause remains the albatross hanging around all of their necks, collectively. They have all conspired to allow Donald Trump to profit from the office of the president, allowed him to steal funds directly from all of us to further his own fortunes. This cannot be tolerated.
The Trump administration will end a longstanding requirement that certain nonprofit organizations disclose the names of large donors to the Internal Revenue Service, a move that will allow some political groups to shield their sources of funding from government scrutiny.
We The People not only expect but demand that we be told who buys whom and at what price, no matter how much power that person or group believes they have. This will be true for as long as as bribery, private financing for campaigns, is allowed. Mnuchin answers directly to Trump. He should be indicted along with Trump and the rest of his administration for high crimes and misdemeanors. This is no longer a request. #ImpeachTrump or join him on the dock to be charged with him. Pick one.
If you are afraid of where the truth might take you, if your loyalty is to a would be king and not the nation, then you are complicit. If you’re outraged at my words instead of at the thought of what that process might find, if you don’t want to know the truth, well, then you’re the problem.