Tagged impeachment

Susan Collins Could be the Latest Senator to be Censured for Trump Conviction Vote

Susan Collins spent much of the last four years being very concerned about the actions of Donald Trump. Sometimes, she would act, like when she voted against a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Other times, she chose not to punish Trump. She voted to acquit the ex-president during his first impeachment trial, saying that he’d learned his lesson. She also went back on her word during the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court nomination process. read more

GOP Sen. John Thune Explains Why He Voted to Acquit Donald Trump Despite “Inexcusable Actions”

Last week, House impeachment managers made an incredibly strong argument against Donald Trump. The former president’s lawyers struggled to convince anyone that he was innocent.

Still, 43 Republicans decided to vote to acquit the president. When explaining why, though, many are hinting that they thought Trump was guilty. This was the tact taken by Mitch McConnell during his Saturday speech. read more

Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville is Playing Both Sides of the Impeachment Fence

Tommy Tuberville first became famous while coaching college football’s Auburn Tigers. The coach won an SEC championship in 2004 before coaching Texas Tech and the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Now a politician, Tuberville turned his coaching good will into an Alabama senate seat in November and has already been heavily connected to Donald Trump made to Tuberville during the Capitol insurrection.

Still the freshman Alabama senator is saying that he is keeping an open mind during the impeachment hearings. Jake Sherman reported on Thursday:

“Tommy Tuberville told us multiple times he is open minded & has not made up his mind about whether to vote to convict trump. ‘President Trump – he supported me a but I’m going to look at the facts. I thought this group did a good job. They showed things that I hadn’t seen.'”

Sherman continued, “He said the videos have been powerful. Noted he hasn’t been on a jury ever. Says it may be because ‘I was a coach and working all the time.” “I want to see what happens tomorrow. … this is a trial. They put their facts forward. Let’s hear what they do tomorrow.'”

He said the videos have been powerful. Noted he hasn’t been on a jury ever. Says it may be because “I was a coach and working all the time.”

“I want to see what happens tomorrow. … this is a trial. They put their facts forward. Let’s hear what they do tomorrow.” read more

Conservative Outlet The National Review Hints That Officer Brian Sicknick Died of Natural Causes

When Donald Trump incited the riot on the Capitol in January 6th, he inspired many horrific acts. 5 people died as a result of the riots. 2 police officers involved in the altercation later committed suicide.

The most shocking of the five deaths was that of Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick. Initial reports said that Sicknick was bashed in the head with a fire extinguisher during the melee.

The death of Sicknick has been a key component of House Managers arguments against Donald Trump during the impeachment trial. And it is devastating.

Conservative outlet The National Review is hinting that Sicknick died in a different way and is calling on House Managers to prove that the officer was killed by the actions of the rioters.

Andrew McCarthy writes, “

Clearly, if Officer Sicknick died because of something the rioters did, that is a serious matter. If that happened, former President Trump should be accountable, because he was instrumental in arranging the January 6 rally that turned violent, because he stirred up his supporters with provocative rhetoric, and because — as commander in chief read more

While Many GOP Senators Have Been Moved by Impeachment Trial, Rick Scott Calls it a “Complete Waste of Time”

Yesterday’s impeachment trial of Donald Trump opened with a stirring speech by Congressman Jamie Raskin. And the hearings have only become more emotional since.

While watching footage of the January 6th insurrection today, Republican Senator James Lankford became visibly upset. A number of GOP lawmakers have commented on how effective the Democratic case has been.

After watching today’s hearing, South Dakota’s John Thune said, “I think they were very effective. They had a strong, strong presentation put together in a way that I think makes it pretty compelling.”

Yesterday, another Republican, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana changed his mind on the constitutionality of the case. He told reporters, “House managers were focused, they were organized,” and “made a compelling argument. President Trump’s team were disorganized. They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand and when they talked about it, they kind of glided over, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.”

Scott, though, did not feel the same way as his Republican colleagues. “Look,” he said. “I’ve been clear that that I wish the president had said something faster when they broke into it, but, you know, I’ve watched what he said. He’s never said when somebody should break in — [he] actually said that people should do this peacefully. This is a complete waste of time,” he continued. “It’s not doing anything to help American families, it’s not helping people get jobs, it’s not helping get the vaccine out … it’s vindictive.”

Lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder was quick to point out some of Scott’s history in court rooms. He tweeted, “Rick Scott invoked the 5th amendment against self-incrimination 75 times in his civil depositions.”

Rick Scott invoked the 5th amendment against self-incrimination 75 times in his civil depositions https://t.co/VGujgdc11Q read more

Rudy Giuliani Suggests The Impeachment Trial is illegitimate Because the Jurors Were Also Witnesses

Rudy Giuliani My Cousin Vinny Press Conference

It will most likely not matter in the long run, but Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is not going well. While his lawyers have seemed unprepared, the Democratic impeachment managers have been making concise arguments.

Trump’s lawyers are in a reasonably tough spot. The evidence against their client is damning and they are struggling to argue their way out of it. Rudy Giuliani, who has also represented Trump in court, has a solution for them. The former New York City mayor thinks they should argue that the trial is illegitimate because the senators acting as the jury were also witnesses.

Giuliani made the comments during a Wednesday appearance on OAN. He told host Chanel Rion:

“I was very upset when — I think I believe — he (Trump lawyer Bruce Castor) basically said that the president’s argument about the — about fraud in the election was not., you know, really valid. I think they should put in all the evidence that they have for all of these different states that shows that when the president talks about this, whether you agree or not, the ultimate result should change. There was certainly a massive, massive amount of evidence that the press is making believe doesn’t exist.”

Rion then asked, “Mayor, Democrats are making this out to be like a judicial trial when there are basic rules they are breaking that would toss their case out immediately. Case in point, they are prosecuting a case when they themselves were the witnesses in that case. Doesn’t this compromise the fairness of a real trial.”

Giuliani answered, “Let’s assume this was an incitement to riot trial and a person showed up on the jury that was in the building at the time; that person would be thrown out and then disqualified immediately.”

WATCH: Nicolle Wallace Explains Why Democrats are Winning Impeachment Trial

Today began a battle between Republicans and Democrats over the impeachment of Donald Trump. The impeachment managers on the left started the proceedings with a powerful video and an emotional speech from Jamie Raskin.

The Republican response was such a disaster that it reportedly left Donald Trump fuming in Florida.

During her afternoon show, Nicolle Wallace broke down three reasons why the left is winning thus far. First, the MSNBC host claimed that Democrats have laid out a strong argument that the trial is constitutional.

Wallace continued, “I thought the next layer was that video, that that was the heart of their case, the horror. It’s like watching a documentary about Benghazi or Mumbai or any deadly attack premeditated and plotted and incited in full view, and carried out without remorse, without shame, and with clearly evil intent.”


The MSNBC host closed:

“And then I thought the top layer was the gut punch — was Congressman Raskin’s story of where he was and why. He was in Steny Hoyer’s office because he had just lost his son and he brought his family there because they were grieving together. And I thought one of the most powerful things he said was that he was being lifted up by Democrats and Republicans and he planned to give a speech that day, the day of the insurrection, about unity. And we all know what happened next.” read more

Mick Mulvaney: There’s No Chance Trump Can Be Stopped From Running Again

Donald Trump has been the face of the Republican party for the last 5 years. And if the ex-president gets his way, he will be the face of the GOP for many years to come.

Republicans who don’t want Trump to be a part of party’s future, they do have a chance to stop him. If the 45th president was convicted during his impeachment trial, he would be barred from running for office in the future.

During a recent interview, former Trump Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said there is no chance of this happening. He told Sky News Australia, “There’s absolutely no chance that Donald Trump will be convicted in this Senate trial, no chance that he will be disqualified from further office. They can’t remove him from the White House because he’s already left.”

The former South Carolina congressman continued, “I  will say this, it’ll be a little disappointing, given the gravity of the events of January 6, that there hasn’t been a more thorough investigation of the issue…It looks more and more like a political show trial than it does like an ordinary trial with evidence and decision making.”

"I don't think there's any chance of him being convicted"

Donald Trump's former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney explains why he resigned from the White House and shares his prediction for the US President's second impeachment trial. pic.twitter.com/Q9YLpMyUGy read more

Chuck Schumer on Censuring Trump: He Deserves Conviction and Nothing Less

Schumer accuses White House of writing impeachment trial rules

A few weeks ago, it seemed that Democrats might have the votes needed to convict Donald Trump in his upcoming impeachment trial. Senators like Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski seemed likely to vote against the 45th President.

Mitch McConnell, then seemed like he might be willing to convict Trump as well. It doesn’t seem, however, that Democrats would have the 17 votes they need from Republicans.

Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) created a bi-partisan compromise where Trump would be censured. Like with impeachment, if Trump were censured, he would be barred from ever running for public office again.

The votes don’t seem to be there for censure. Kaine said of the measure, “We don’t have enough support on the Republican side because they don’t want to bar Trump from running from office, and I don’t have enough support on the Democratic side because for most of my colleagues it’s impeachment or nothing.”

Sen. Kaine on censuring former Pres. Trump:

"We don't have enough support on the Republican side because they don't want to bar Trump from running from office, and I don't have enough support on the Democratic side because for most of my colleagues it's impeachment or nothing." pic.twitter.com/ltfgxBLCYA read more

Pelosi Will Send Articles of Impeachment to the Senate on Monday

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will send articles of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, an action that would soon kick off the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. Trump was impeached on January 13 on a single charge of inciting an insurrection after a mob of his supporters attacked the United States Capitol the week prior.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has expressed concerns that Trump will not have enough time to mount a legal defense before his trial date, which has yet to be scheduled. Even though Trump is no longer in office, the Senate can vote to convict him and bar him from ever holding public office again.

The news comes after outlets reported that Trump had hired South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers to defend him at trial. Bowers agreed to represent Trump on the recommendation of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a prominent Trump surrogate.

“I’ve known Butch for a long time, solid guy,” Graham said. “I think over time, they’ll put the team together.” read more

Trump May be Represented by Jim Jordan in Impeachment Case

Over the entirety of his business career, Donald Trump has been involved in over 3,500 lawsuits. He has quite a bit of experience with lawyers both good and bad.

During the Mueller Report, Trump had Ty Cobb, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow in his corner. In his first impeachment trial, Trump again had Sekulow representing him along with Pat Cipollone and Alan Dershowitz. Cipollone and Sekulow say they won’t return for a second trial.

But when the President tried to contest the election results back in November, his legal team looked a lot different. With any respected lawyer declining the case, Trump had to rely on his “elite strike force.”

This legal team, made up of Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Joe DeGenova was a walking disaster. Powell, who frequently spouted ludicrous conspiracy theories, is being sued for billions by Dominion voting machines.

Giuliani was even worse. Not only did he hold a press conference next to a sex shop, he also had hair dye drip down his face during one hearing and openly passed gas at another.

And now that Trump is facing a new impeachment trial, he may have run out of lawyers to replace the old ones. According to a report from Bloomberg, he could turn to supporters in Congress.

Bloomberg notes that Trump could be represented by Jim Jordan and Elise Stefanik. Jordan did attend and graduate from law school, but he has never passed the bar in any state.

While Stefanik attended and graduated Harvard, her degree was not in law and she has no legal training.

Jake Sherman: Mitch McConnell And Allies “Seriously Considering Impeachment”

Trump - McConnell

Few are more clued into the thinking in DC than Jake Sherman. So it was quite notable that he recently told Mediate that Mitch McConnell and his allies in the senate are “seriously considering impeachment.”

Sherman made the comments during an appearance on The Interview Podcast. He told host Aidan McLaughlin, “it’s very clear that if you put Republicans on truth serum, they would tell you that they are angry and they wish that Trump would go away for good.”

He then got into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who says he hasn’t made a decision on voting to convict Trump. “That’s a huge, huge statement from McConnell. He’s obviously seriously considering conviction. If he goes, then I think a lot of people could go. John Cornyn, John Thune, a whole host of his allies. Trump is now powerless.”

Sherman continued on Trump:

“The best way to think of it is, the transaction that Republicans conducted with Donald Trump for many years was, we’ll put up with the nonsense because we’re getting good policy and judges and good foreign policy out of it. That transaction has run dry. That transaction no longer exists because he’s out of office. Right now, they’re trying to move on to a new party in many respects. And people like Liz Cheney have made the calculus that that new party will be better without Trump. I think there’s probably a middle ground here that Kevin McCarthy is striking, which is, this is pretty bad, but we’re not going to impeach him because it’s not proper right now.” read more

Republicans in Disarray: Jim Jordan Wants Liz Cheney To Step Down From Leadership but Dan Crenshaw Has Her Back

Liz Cheney blames Democrats and impeachment for Syria

Early last year, an impeachment vote was held in the House. While the measure passed, no Republicans voted to impeach Donald Trump.

Today was a different story. All Democratic members of Congress voted to impeach Trump and they were joined by 10 GOP lawmakers.

The most interesting name among the Republican Reps was Liz Cheney from Wyoming. Cheney is the number 3 Republican in the House. She announced that she would be voting to impeach Trump on Tuesday night.

The decision drew immediate anger from some House Republicans. Among them was Trump sycophant and regular screaming embarrassment Jim Jordan. The Ohio Congressman told reporters, “We ought to have a second vote (for Conference Chair). The conference ought to vote on that.”

Matt Rosendale (R-MT) also blasted the Wyoming Rep. saying, “When Representative Cheney came out for impeachment today, she failed to consult with the Conference, failed to abide by the spirit of the rules of the Republican Conference, and ignored the preferences of Republican voters. She is weakening our conference at a key moment for personal political gain and is unfit to lead. She must step down as Conference Chair.”

EXCLUSIVE: Freshman Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale joins calls for Conference Chair Liz Cheney to resign from leadership after her call to impeach President Trump. The daughter of VP Dick Cheney, she is the highest ranking Republican to join Speaker Pelosi's impeachment effort. read more

Poll: Majority Support Trump’s Removal from Office Following Capitol Attack

Trump discourages Republicans from voting in Georgia runoff

The majority of Americans support removing President Donald Trump from office after he incited an attack against Congress, according to the latest Morning Consult/Politico survey.

53 percent of voters support the House’s impeachment proceedings, which kicked off earlier this morning. Impeachment articles are expected to pass and be sent to the Senate. 54 percent say the Senate should convict Trump on the charge of insurrection against Congress and remove him from office.

90 percent of Democrats say they support the impeachment proceedings while 80 percent of Republicans say they are against it, indicating a sharp divide along party lines. 47 percent of independents say they support impeaching and removing the president. 38 percent oppose the proceedings and 15 percent did not give an opinion on the matter.

The president’s approval and disapproval ratings also lie in stark contrast to previous polls, a sign that the insurrection has divided voters like no issue before or since.

While perceptions about the president worsened among independents, the decline was largely driven by a 15-point drop in Trump’s net approval rating — the share who approve minus the share who disapprove — among Republican voters, whose support for the president has been mostly unflinching over the course of his four years in office,” Morning Consult, which conducted the poll between January 8 and January 10, observes. read more

NYT’s Haberman: Trump is More Upset About Losing Golf Event Than Pending Impeachment

Donald Trump has been unhinged his entire presidency. Since the lost the presidency in November, though, he has become even more unhinged.

And all his crazy behavior and comments came to a head last week when a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol. And there will be consequences for his actions.

First, the Democratic led Congress will soon impeach Trump for a second time. The PGA also announced that they will be moving the 2022 Championship away from Trump‘s Bedminster Club.

According to Maggie Haberman, Trump is much more upset about losing the tournament than the looming impeachment. The New York Times scribe tweeted, “A lot has happened in the last week, including the president losing his Twitter feed, impeachment coming to the fore and the PGA withdrawing from Trump National. He’s ‘gutted’ by the PGA move, a person close to the White House says.”

He’s angry about impeachment, people who have spoken to him say. But the reaction to the PGA decision was different order of magnitude.

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 11, 2021 read more

Assistant House Speaker Says Impeachment Vote Could Happen as Soon as Next Week

Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) said a vote to impeach President Donald Trump a second time could happen as soon as next week. The House only needs a simple majority to initiate the proceedings.

“Donald Trump needs to be removed from office. And we are going to proceed with every tool that we have to make sure that that happens to protect our democracy,” Clark told CNN. “If the reports are correct, and [Vice President] Mike Pence is not going to uphold his oath of office and remove the president and help protect our democracy, then we will move forward with impeachment to do just that.”

Clark said that articles of impeachment could be brought to the House floor by the middle of next week.

“We have a president that incited a seditious mob to storm the Capitol. We now have five deaths from that and the harm to our democracy is really unfathomable,” she said.

Calls for impeachment have continued to grow since Vice President Mike Pence has not invoked the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Several members of Trump’s cabinet––including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos––have resigned even as Democrats and several Republicans raise fears that allowing Trump to remain in office could give him ample opportunity to stoke more violence.

Trump has reportedly been warned that he could face charges for inciting the riot, which killed five people after pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, spurred by the president’s baseless claims of election fraud.

You can watch Clark’s interview below.

“Donald Trump needs to be removed from office. And we are going to proceed with every tool that we have to make sure that that happens to protect our democracy,” Rep. Katherine Clark says as House Democrats eye quick impeachment vote if Pence won’t remove Trump from office pic.twitter.com/d1TxmTXLAt read more

Trump Says Mitt Romney “Couldn’t Be Elected Dog Catcher” in Utah Despite His 56% Approval Rating

Donald Trump mocked Mitt Romney on Thursday, claiming the Utah senator would struggle to win an election in the state. This is despite Romney’s huge popularity there.

The President made the comments, apparently unprompted, during an appearance in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He’s often taken aim at the Republican senator after he voted in favor of impeachment.

Utah, the home of our worst senator.. that’s Mitt Romney,” Trump said. read more

Trump Asked Pelosi “Are You Really Going to Impeach Me?” in Phone Call Last Year

Donald Trump phoned Nancy Pelosi and asked her if she really intended to impeach him for pressuring the Ukrainian government to find dirt on Joe Biden.

That’s according to a new book by Washington Post journalists Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan. Trump on Trial reveals the President called the Speaker of the House on 24 September, 2019 – just before the impeachment inquiry began.

The phone rang. Her assistant said the White House was calling. Hold for the president. At 8:16 a.m., Trump came on the line” the book recounts. read more

Prominent Conservative Calls for Trump’s Impeachment for “Fascistic” Election Delay Tweet

Judge speeds up Trump tax returns case

A prominent conservative has publicly called for Donald Trump to be impeached following the President’s suggestion that the election be postponed.

Steven Calabresi is the co-founder of the conservative Federalist Society – a major organization that works to put right-leaning judges on the bench. He voted for Trump in 2016.

However, Calabresi wrote in a New York Times op-ed that he thinks the President should be impeached.

“But I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election,” Calabresi wrote.

“Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist.”

“But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”

Calabresi pointed out that the U.S. has never postponed an election even during a world war.

“So we certainly should not even consider canceling this fall’s election because of the president’s concern about mail-in voting, which is likely to increase because of fears about COVID-19,” he wrote.

“President Trump needs to be told by every Republican in Congress that he cannot postpone the federal election.”

“Doing so would be illegal, unconstitutional, and without precedent in American history. Anyone who says otherwise should never be elected to Congress again,” Calabresi said.

Follow Darragh Roche on Twitter read more

John Bolton Blames Democrats for Botching Impeachment Despite Refusing to Testify

John Bolton has blamed Democrats for botching the impeachment process despite his own refusal to testify. The former National Security Advisor branded the inquiry “partisan.”

Bolton spoke to PBS about his new book, The Room Where It Happened. He responded to Democrats saying his testimony would have been vital.

“I think they know that the impeachment effort was a massive failure, and I think they’re looking for excuses,” Bolton said.

“The fact is, we have a model in this country of how to conduct a successful impeachment process. And it’s obviously what happened at Watergate. Nixon wasn’t convicted by the Senate, to be sure, but he did resign.”

Bolton pointed to Richard Nixon’s impeachment and argued Democrats should have built a “bipartisan base.” He did not acknowledge that politics has changed in any way since 1974.

“You know, when you run a partisan process, which is what the House Democrats did, it has consequences,” he said.

“And in this case, it was to push Republicans into a partisan corner in the House. They literally pushed away Republicans who might have been sympathetic to a truly nonpartisan approach.”

Bolton said he would not testify and House Democrats decided not to issue a subpoena because they believed he would fight it in court. Nonetheless, Bolton put the blame squarely on the Democrats.

“So, I think it’s — when the Democrats jump off a cliff and they’re halfway down, they look up and say to me and others they could have said it to, why don’t you join us, it rings hollow.”

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Adam Schiff: John Bolton’s Testimony Could Have Caused “An Unraveling of the Trump Defense” on Impeachment

John Bolton’s testimony could have fundamentally altered the outcome of President Donald Trump’s impeachment, according to Adam Schiff. Bolton did not testify at the time.

Congressman Schiff is Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and he spoke to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Monday. The Democrat claimed Bolton’s testimony could have been crucial.

The former National Security Advisor to Trump said at the time he would sue if the House subpoena’d him.

“John Bolton’s testimony may have led to other witnesses and an unraveling of the Trump defense,” Schiff said.

Bolton claims in his new book, The Room Where It Happened, that Trump should have been impeached for a number of other offenses. He accused the President of seeking election help from China.

Schiff, who led the Democratic impeachment efforts, has been on something of a media blitz criticizing Bolton for the past few days. This may be part of a push to interview him in the House.

However, Schiff defended the choice not to issue a subpoena during the impeachment hearings.

“Our decision has been vindicated by the fact that we are still in court now over a year later trying to get [Don] McGahn to testify,” he told Meet the Press on Sunday.

“Bolton said he would sue us if we subpoenaed him. We would still be trying to get John Bolton’s testimony today,” Schiff said.

“And given that the president was trying to cheat in the upcoming election, we couldn’t afford to wait another year to get John Bolton to testify.”

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John Bolton’s Book Will Allege “Trump Misconduct with Other Countries” Beyond Ukraine

John Bolton’s upcoming book will accuse Donald Trump of misconduct with countries other than Ukraine, according to a new report. The President was impeached for his treatment of the Ukrainian government.

The former National Security Advisor’s book The Room Where It Happened will allege “Trump misconduct with other countries,”, Axios reports.

There are no details yet about what Bolton will claim, but if his accusations are similar to the President’s pressure campaign against Ukraine, they could be very serious.

The White House has tried to delay publication of the book, but it will be released on 23 June.

Part of the epilogue has also been shown to the press.

“As if impeachment were not enough, I also found myself confronting the daunting challenge of fighting an incumbent President determined to prevent publication of a book about my White House experiences,” Bolton writes.

“Trump behaved typically, directing the seizure and withholding of my advisors’ personal and other unclassified documents, despite numerous requests for their return; obstructing my Twitter account; and making outright threats of censorship.”

“His reaction thus ranged from the mean-spirited to the constitutionally impermissible,” his book says.

“My reaction … my response? Game on.”

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Mitch McConnell Blames Impeachment For Trump Coronavirus Incompetence

Senate Democrats block McConnell coronavirus stimulus bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has claimed impeachment distracted the federal government from the Coronavirus. The Kentucky Republican suggested the impeachment trial made dealing with the global pandemic more difficult.

McConnell spoke to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday and took the opportunity to link impeachment to the pandemic.

Hewitt praised Republican Senator Tom Cotton for apparently realizing Coronavirus was a problem earlier than others.

“Let me talk to you a little bit about Senator Cotton,” Hewitt said.

“In your experience in the Senate, was Senator Cotton the first one to say hey, Leader, hey Mitch, this is a deadly situation that I do not trust to the Chinese? Was he first?”

“He was first, and I think Tom was right on the mark,” McConnell said.

“And it came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial,” he said.

“And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment. But Tom figured this out early, and he was absolutely right.”

McConnell’s claim is controversial, however. MSNBC analyst David Corn was quick to note that President Donald Trump went golfing toward the beginning of the outbreak. Others have made similar criticisms.

Though McConnell praised Senator Cotton, he has claimed China ‘inflicted’ the virus on the world and that the country will face a ‘reckoning.’

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Nancy Pelosi Let Us Know This House Is Not Accepting a Shoe-in Dictator from a Reality Show

Your repeated ripping – don’t miss this, folks - let us know that you were not having it; this House is not accepting a shoe-in dictator from a variety-reality show/rally. Your calm, deliberate hands, here in the last few seconds of this game, will become an iconic image of discipline, restraint, civility, and yes, diplomacy. Historic. Heroic. Classic. Classroom stuff.

Opinion: Trump Lawyers Try to Defend Trump by Impeaching Obama and Hunter Biden

Trump impeachment defense Russian propaganda

It was a busy day for Chief Justice Roberts as he presided over wonderland-quality injustice in two bodies.

He spent the morning allowing , for now, to implement the Cucinelli wealth test  for green card applicants until the legal issues are dealt with by the courts.

Then Chief Roberts presided over the McConnell-controlled Senate’s impeachment cover-up proceedings, where absurd doesn’t begin to describe what happened there. We watched as a principle in the impeachment of Bill Clinton turned arguments McConnell made at that time on their head.

This wasn’t merely about the usual partisan hypocrisy one expects from Republicans. Starr implied that the impeachment power should be dissolved. He did that by pointing to the fact that we inherited it from British law, and that if we kept ours, it would amount to adopting the British non-confidence vote.

This argument is mixing apples and oranges. The British non-confidence vote is applied to the Prime Minister, who is comparable to our Speaker of the House – not to our president. For the record, the British Parliament can’t get rid of their monarch (who is their head of state, as the President is ours) with a non-confidence motion. But, since Republicans were just hoping to bury potential testimony from John Bolton, that, if true, would prove there was in fact a quid pro quo – The GOP probably doesn’t care about the occasional fallacious argument.

Trump’s lawyers know they can’t defend Trump’s actions, that’s why they brought in the corrupt former Attorney-General of Florida, Pamela Bondi, to smear Hunter Biden. You may remember Bondi. She asked Donald Trump for a hefty campaign donation and shortly afterward decided not to pursue a fraud case against Trump University. Some people might call that pay to play or quid pro quo. I’ll just call it corrupt.

To be fair, Biden’s decision to work for Burisma was ethically challenged, but it was not illegal and again not comparable to Trump’s shakedown of Ukraine. For one thing, Biden didn’t shake down the Ukraine to get his son a job – even Republicans failed to find anything resembling proof to suggest he did.

Unlike Bondi’s deal with Trump or the deal Trump wanted to make with Ukraine President Zelensky, Biden was not using public money (tax dollars) for personal gain. It’s Trump’s attempt to use public money to gain personally that is an impeachable offense. It’s an abuse of power, the same thing Ken Starr argued was the basis for impeaching Bill Clinton when Clinton lied about having an affair. Voters are smart enough to know that there’s a huge difference between lying about sex and trying to use fake information from a foreign source to attack a political opponent.

There were still more clown car moments that looked like Republicans wanted a life line in their attempt to cover up Trump’s offenses against the Constitution and the American people.

At one point, one of Trump’s lawyers tried to impeach Barack Obama.
I’m not kidding; he basically substituted Barack Obama’s name and the debunked Russian conspiracy theory that claims Ukraine interfered in 2016.

While all this fantasy was going on, the Chamber was silent. Chief Justice Roberts did nothing to rein in the lies and conspiracy theories used to amuse Republican Senators and give them something to rely on when they try to explain why they voted for letting foreign countries choose our presidents.

For the record, House managers and Democratic Senators were silent as well, and that may be because the Senate’s credibility as a deliberative body is already on life support. By objecting at every lie, they would have come off like the Senate version of Trump’s frat boy caucus in the House.

And it could be that they are drafting questions for that phase when House Managers have the broadest opportunity to reintroduce facts and laws to these proceedings.

The departure of facts and law is an American tragedy unfolding before our eyes. If Trump’s lawyers lied in court the way they have here, they’d be sanctioned. I expect there would be ethics complaints that could result in disbarment. Every lawyer representing Donald Trump is bound by professional ethics and should be held accountable by the bar association. For all the jokes about lawyers and ethics, the fact is they are required to tell the truth before judicial tribunals – which includes this proceeding.

The greatest tragedy in all of this is that the Senate is not doing its job for the people of America. That means the Senate majority is fine with foreign countries choosing our presidents.

Opinion: Democracy Dies at Amazon, Are Trump and Bezos Really Such Strange Bedfellows?

Recently Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters for The Washington Post Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig published their assessment of Donald Trump’s presidency to date, seeking to step out of the news cycle and “assess the reverberations” of his administration throughout the nation. Titled A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America, the book layers scene after scene of Trump’s ineptitude, prioritization of self-interest over care for the nation’s well-being, and general lack of any moral compass or intellectual rigor.

As Dwight Garner, in his review for The New York Times characterized the tale Rucker and Leonnig weave, “It reads like a horror story, an almost comic immorality tale. It’s as if the president, as patient zero, had bitten an aide and slowly, bite by bite, an entire nation had lost its wits and its compass.”

The story is a compelling one, and one seemingly validated for Americans by what we have witnessed in the impeachment hearings played out in the House of Representatives and now in the ongoing trial in U.S. Senate.

The wealthy businessman Trump, corrupt to the core, is dismantling democracy and putting the nation’s well-being and security at risk for his own private gain and ego interests.

And yet we shouldn’t let the high drama of the very necessary impeachment process distract us from the more mundane threats to American democracy that seem to have become largely accepted in American life but which are no less deleterious to the American people and our supposed political ideals than Trump’s presidency is.

As an example of what I’m talking about, take  billionaire Jeff Bezos and his Amazon empire, which includes, by the way, The Washington Post.

The admonitory slogan of The Washington Post is, of course, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

The sentiment is a warm and fuzzy one for sure, even articulating a noble mission and role for the free press in sustaining our democracy.

And Jeff Bezos’ dollars nobly enable that mission.

But what he “gives” with one hand (it is a business after all), he taketh with the other, underscoring the severely limited application of democratic principles throughout American society.

And can we call a form of government that limits democratic rights in practice a democracy at all?

Bezos’ Amazon, for example, recently threatened to fire its employees who spoke out publicly against the company’s environmental policies.

As Annie Palmer reported for CNBC earlier this month, employees reported that Amazon’s policy on workers’ external communications was updated last September and now “requires employees to seek prior approval to speak about Amazon in any public forum while identified as an employee.”

The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice tweeted in response to the suppression of employee free speech:

How will the world remember Jeff Bezos in the era of climate emergency? Will he use his immense economic power to help, or not?Please tell @Amazon and @JeffBezos: Our world is on fire & desperately needs climate leadership. Stop silencing employees who are sounding the alarm.

It needs to be stressed, of course, that Amazon’s suppression of its workers’ speech is not illegal and certainly not unique.

In other words, Americans do not enjoy democratic rights in the workplace. U.S. law allows for the denial of First Amendment rights when you are at work, as I’ve written about previously for PoliticusUsa.

So, as conceived currently in our nation’s legal codes, the most sacred tenets of democracy are only applicable in American life on a part-time basis.  Ask Colin Kaepernick.

When you are at work for 40 to 60 hours per week, please know that democracy is on hold. Please leave your rights in your locker before you punch your time card.

Sometimes it’s even worse.

Remember Juli Briskman, a marketing executive at Akima, a government contracting firm, who was fired for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade while riding her bike? She wasn’t even at work. Because she had been photographed and the photograph had been published with great popularity, she identified herself to her company and was promptly called into a room and fired for violating code-of-conduct policies. Clearly, she did not have the right to express herself as she chooses, even outside of the workplace, without consequences for her employment.

Democracy dies in the workplace, and certainly at Amazon, where, similar to many companies, workers’ efforts to unionize are vigorously resisted. Like Target and Walmart, among others, Amazon has produced its own anti-union video that is part of employee training.

And the union structure, which collectively organizes workers and negotiates their rights and remuneration, is the main and really only means for workers to have a voice in their workplace, where they spend a good deal of their lives contributing to the world in which we all live.

Bezos and Trump have a long adversarial history, as they spar over the size of their . . . bank accounts.

Trump basically

foiled a Pentagon contract read more

Opinion: Trump’s Only Expert Witness Concedes He Committed Impeachable Offenses

Donald Trump had a devastating day during Wednesday’s impeachment hearings. Even his own constitutional expert, Jonathan Turley, conceded that swapping military aid for labelling a political opponent a criminal is an impeachable offense. This followed quibbling about procedure and a supposed need for more evidence.

If the professor’s performance at Wednesday’s impeachment hearing was any indication of what he teaches future lawyers, at Georgetown National Law Center, about the Constitution and especially about the impeachment power, his students should get a refund.

Turley’s testimony was advocacy. There is nothing wrong with advocacy at the right time or place. But this was supposed to be a scholarly review of the impeachment power – for the general public and for the Republicans who have forgotten what the Constitution says.

I say this understanding that advocacy can and does mean making categorically different arguments about the same facts and the same law depending on which side of a legal dispute you represent.

I say this embracing the president’s right to put on a defense – during the trial phase in the Senate.

The problem with Turley is his belief that the law and the standards for its application depend on who you are instead of what you’ve done. The danger is this is all-defining when it comes to systems of government.

Either the president is above the law, which actually makes him a king or a dictator; or he is accountable, which means there has to be at least one body that can investigate suspicious activities and hold him accountable. That is what makes the impeachment power a lynchpin of democracy.

The partisan contradictions in Turley’s testimony are numerous, but you can get the gist by comparing what he said to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and what he wrote in the Washington Post in 2014.

Turley 2014: An impeachable offense is anything Congress says it is.

Turley Today: a bad act is impeachable only if proven to a criminal law standard.

This is a partisan contradiction, a procedural contradiction, not a substantive one.

Turley also claimed former President Obama should be impeached for giving more Americans access to affordable healthcare. But today Turley says he can’t see why Trump should be impeached for withholding already approved defense weapons from our ally, Ukraine (now at war with Russia), in exchange for announcing an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Given his constitutional gravitas, I’m pretty certain Professor Turley understands why we don’t announce investigations early on. He is well aware of the problems ranging from giving the perp a heads up, to smearing innocent people in the minds of many and in this case, to giving a certain presidential candidate a leg up in a race he cannot win honestly.

I’ll even bet Turley knows that by pushing for the announcement of an investigation, Trump wasn’t really interested in stopping corruption. Trump just wanted to smear Joe Biden in a similar fashion to the way he smeared Hillary Clinton. You may recall Roger Stone colluded with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to dig up dirt on her.

Given the facts, the Trump camp does not have the law on their side. There is no doubt he abused his powers for personal gain. Mick Mulvaney as good as admitted it, as did EU Ambassador Sondland. Trump “no longer had confidence” in Ambassador Yovanovitch because she was all about helping Ukraine end corruption.

There are these facts, but Turley quibbled about there still being evidence to develop and otherwise threw out red herrings. With this, his testimony can best be characterized as advocacy – not as expert testimony by a scholar of constitutional law. And in the end, he still admitted that defense dollars for dirt is an impeachable offense.

The rule of law means the law remains the same and the standards for applying it remain the same for all people, regardless of party, race, gender, socio-economic status etc. Without question, we have serious problems when it comes to the consistent application of criminal laws that are applied thousands upon thousands of times.

But it shouldn’t be that hard for the law to have the same meaning and standards when there are only four cases to consider, as is the case with impeachment.

It shouldn’t be that hard for the law to mean the same thing and be applied the same way – unless you are handed the task of defending the indefensible in an impeachment proceeding.

As three of the four constitutional experts noted, the impeachment power exists because people like Donald Trump have always existed and always will. Even Turley had to admit that swapping military aid for labelling a political opponent a criminal is an impeachable offense.

It only takes one tyrant wannabe like Trump to succeed in destroying democracy to satisfy endless greed, an infinite lust for power and an unrelenting desire to wield absolute power absolutely.

Opinion: William Barr Foments the Growing Defiance of Democracy

Speaking before the Ohio Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling, West Virginia in February of 1950, Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy waved a piece of paper before his audience’s eyes, insisting he had a list of over 200 communists working in the state department.

He had, of course, no such list.  His anti-communist crusade is now widely characterized as, in fact, a “witch hunt.”

In similar fashion, Donald Trump repeatedly, if only metaphorically, waves around Article II of the Constitution claiming it authorizes him to do, in his words, “whatever I want.”

Of course, there is no such article. Well, the Constitution does certainly include a second article, but that article says nothing of the sort, granting no such authority to the president.

You wouldn’t know that, though, by listening to U.S. Attorney General William Barr who, in a speech recently delivered to the Federalist Society, continued promulgating the “unitary executive theory,” a rather distorted rendering of the Constitution premised on the assertion that this founding document endows the presidency with broad powers checked by little oversight.  According to Barr, “This is not ‘new,’ and it’s not a ‘theory.’ It is a description of what the Framers did in Article II.”

But let’s just read the opening of the second section’s second paragraph of this article, which states that the president,

 “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States . . .” read more

Let’s Connect the Dots of Democracy’s Demise Before It’s Too Late

Remember in 2016 when an armed Oregon militia group, led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Princeton, Oregon? They viewed the federally managed land as an encroachment on their land use rights as ranchers and as an example of the federal government’s overreach in asserting its authority against the people.

When the militia solicited public support for their occupation, they were barraged with packages of dildos through the mail—to their great dismay. They responded in videos, yelling “STOP SENDING US DILDOS!”  They looked like the idiots they were.

The tactic of sending dildos, as I’ve elaborated elsewhere, was a brilliant and joyous act of resistance to the armed takeover of public lands, building on a long tradition of using humor as a form of non-violent resistance to armed force.

As the nation watches—or perhaps ignores—the current impeachment hearings, the outcome of which will reveal much about whether the nation’s political leadership will endorse or undo an autocratic regime that has sought to undermine U.S. democracy, we have to connect the dots of several recent events which, assessed together, highlight the very ever-increasing threat to our democracy and the individual and collective rights our system bestows on us.

Dildos simply will not be enough this time. As much as laughter and humor can fuel resistance, we require an alertness and a “woke”-ness  to the destruction of democracy happening before our eyes well beyond, though no doubt encouraged and ignited by, Trump’s complete disregard for the Constitution, basic laws, civil rights, and the norms and procedures of democracy.

Here are just a few recent examples—dots to connect—that make clear the disregard for and destruction of democracy in our country that, more than a threat or worry for the future, is an actuality.

*Let’s return to Oregon where last June Republican state senators fled the statehouse and went into hiding to prevent a vote on a climate change bill to establish a carbon cap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Despite the Democrats enjoying a majority, without some Republicans present the quorum necessary to even allow a vote was lacking.  While this behavior disregards the truism that elections have consequences, to be fair this tactic has been used in the past by Democrats and Republicans alike as attempts to spur conversation and compromise to give the minority party a voice.  In 2011, Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin absconded to Illinois to avoid a vote on a bill designed to eviscerate collective bargaining rights for public employees. These lawmakers eventually returned and had to endure Governor Scott Walker’s bull-dozing of workers’ democratic rights.  Earlier this year, the same Oregon Senators pulled the same stunt in order to garner a compromise on another piece of legislation.

The shenanigans last June, though, reached a new level of defiance of democracy—and did not receive much national press coverage.

When Governor Kate Brown indicated she was contemplating deploying state troopers to round up the derelict senators, Senator Brian Boquist threatened to shoot and potentially kill any troopers who sought to apprehend him, telling the superintendent of the state police, “Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”

And the police received what they believed to be credible threats from militias around the state that the state capitol would be stormed in defense of these senators.

Let’s think about this situation and Boquist’s language. He said he wouldn’t “be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon.” And yet he’s the one not following governmental rules and breaking the law! This kind of dangerous and Orwellian language play echoes that in which we see Trump engage. As I’ve written about in the pages of PoliticusUsa, Trump refers to the process of impeachment, clearly detailed by our founders in the Constitution as a necessary mechanism to preserve our democracy against autocratic abuses of power, as a coup; that is, he presents democratic behavior as mob-like violations of democratic order and his own thuggish illegalities as normative.

In Oregon, democracy has been rejected by the likes of Boquist, who simply want their way and will engage in armed violence to get it—or at least threaten to.

*And remember last September 11 in North Carolina when House Republicans held a surprise vote to override the Governor’s veto of a two-year budget.  Democrats, who were attending a 9/11 memorial service, were told there would be no votes that day until the afternoon, and no votes were on the legislative docket. Republicans secretly convened early in the morning to vote on the override. House Speaker Tim Moore told CBS,

“It’s a great day for North Carolina.” read more

Opinion: Does Democracy Mean The People Can Elect A Criminal?

After last Thursday’s House vote to advance the inquiry into the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) labeled the proceeding a “soviet style impeachment process” and effectively accused democrats of hijacking the 2020 election, usurping the people’s democratic rights because of their sour grapes over the 2016 presidential election results.

“Clearly,” he said, “there are people that we serve with that don’t like the results of the 2016 election. That’s their prerogative. But the country next year will be deciding who our president is going to be. It should not be Nancy Pelosi and a small group of people that she selects that get to determine who is going to be our president.”

This idea that congress, instead of pursuing impeachment, ought simply to let the people decide Trump’s fitness for the presidency in 2020 and that anything less than allowing the people to determine who wields the power of the highest office in the land would compromise our democracy, has gained some currency in the national conversation.

Does this idea have any validity when measured against the principles, processes, and procedures spelled out in detail by the nation’s founders when they imagined our constitutional democracy?

Is it fair and historically grounded in American political thought to characterize the impeachment process the democrats have begun as an un-American, “soviet style” act?

On the surface, I suppose, letting the people decide if they want Trump as our president resonates with Abraham Lincoln’s famous, though certainly somewhat shorthand, characterization of the American political experiment as “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

How far does the power of the people in our constitutional democracy extend? Do the people have the unabated right and prerogative to elect somebody to office who the body of elected representatives knows to pose a threat to national security, who consorts with foreign powers for his own enrichment and to preserve his own power, and who abuses the power of the office?

Do these elected representatives have any decision-making authority in such a situation? Or does the will of the people override all?

Put another way, does democracy mean the people can elect a criminal?

To the great chagrin of the GOP, whose members have been doing their best to fill Americans’ minds with distorted renderings of what constitutes democracy, the answer to this question is that while the people can potentially elect a criminal to the presidency, our founders designed a constitutional democracy with an intricate system of checks and balances.

And this system, constructed in the Constitution, subjects the people’s electoral power to checks and balances as well.

The impeachment powers granted to congress are just such a check and balance.

Think about it, if members of congress possess intelligence and evidence substantiating that the person occupying the nation’s most powerful office has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” are they supposed to sit back and potentially let a criminal, a possible enemy of the nation and its people, have a chance to continue to wield the authority of the presidency?

If a president is impeached, he or she is barred from holding political office again. That is the check. The people are prevented from having a chance to elect someone the Senate convicts of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The founders created this check and balance precisely to institutionalize a reminder for the nation and the president that nobody is above the law, to discourage abuses of power, and to provide some means of investigating and addressing gross presidential misconduct.

In debate at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, North Carolinian William Davie insisted on the necessity of the impeachment clause as “an essential security for the good behaviour” of the president,” worrying that otherwise “he will spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected.”

James Madison, who himself would one day be president, foresaw that because of inherent power cloaking the office, “corruption was within the compass of probable events … and might be fatal to the Republic.”

Our founders understood what the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice neglected to ponder seriously when it issued a memo in 1973 declaring that a sitting president could not be indicted while in office, in part because an indictment would interfere with the president’s ability to do the job.

Think about it, though.

If the President is a criminal and, to put it more particularly, something of a suspected traitorous criminal who, a powerful accumulation of evidence suggests, may very well be involved in not only abusing and exploiting his office for personal gain at the expense of the American people but doing so by working with foreign powers, even enemy states, to the grave detriment of our national security, democratic institutions, and outright sovereignty, are we really to sit back and say, well, we really can’t bother him because he’s just too busy and the job too demanding?

I guess the thinking is if he’s too busy committing crimes, undermining the country, aiding and abetting foreign powers, we’ll just have to wait him out until his term is over because an equally problematic and complicit Republican congress wants to abet him in this subversion of our sovereignty and refuses to impeach him. read more

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