Trump will be impeached
For only the third time in American history a president is going to be impeached. The vote for each article of impeachment was along party lines: 23 Democrats, 17 Republicans, yet another example of just how fractured Congress is — and the nation as a whole. And the lengths the GOP will go to in their defense of their lawless president.
But let’s back up a few days when this blurb was first started.
Wednesday, December 9, 2019
Sometimes we see and hear things on TV that are so absurd we burst out with hysterical laughter. That happened three times Monday in the space of about two hours and all three times were somewhat related.
First, during the House Judicial Committee hearing when House Intelligence Committee counsel Stephen Castor was reading his opening statement and used the word “whatever” to describe certain allegations against President Trump. The whatever being abuse of his office, obstruction of Congress, bribery (many of us call it extortion) and obstruction of justice, if they choose to add in the recommendations from Part II of the Mueller Report.
Then the hearings were interrupted by “Breaking News” on MSNBC in which they reported the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report that declared there was nothing improper about the predicates of the Russia/Mueller Report and that there was no political bias in the investigation. Then the network reported that Attorney General William Barr claimed the DoJ report proved the Russia/Mueller report was inappropriate.
With all due diligence the IG found fault with the way the FBI applied for FISA warrants pertaining to the investigation of Carter Page, but they found the overall investigation into Russian meddling was not started because of the Carter Page query, nor was it started because of the Christopher Steele Dossier. It began when the FBI received information from an Australian diplomat. They did find that the information gleaned from the Carter Page investigation had no bearing on the overall Russia investigation.
After he first claimed the IG report proved the president’s conspiracy theories, Barr said he disagreed with the IG report.
Then Barr’s hand-picked investigator of the investigators, John Durham, said he disagreed with the IG report, coming to conclusions even though he hasn’t concluded his investigation. In other words, he and AG Bar are looking for evidence to support their claims that the Russia investigation was politically biased and started improperly.
It’s pretty laughable. We will be hearing and talking about the DoJ IG report for days, maybe weeks.
The main show of the day was the 10-hour hearing that featured only two witnesses: the GOP counsel Stephen Castor and Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman, both of the House Intelligence Committee. They were questioned by Democratic counsel Barry Berke and GOP counsel Ashley Callan. Both produced fireworks. Ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) denunciation of the process — not the evidence — of the hearings, which restricted the GOP’s efforts to introduce Vladimir Putin talking points as evidence, although Collins did trash former Vice President Joe Biden for holding aid to Ukraine until they fired a corrupt official. The melodrama on display from the GOP, especially Reps Jim Jordan of Ohio — who has to yell at every witness — and country club rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Has he ever had to perform a hard day’s work? Well, he was an associate attorney in a law firm for a while so that might qualify.
More absurdity: the Republicans wanted the Democrat judiciary counsel declared a witness, not a staffer because he was a witness is a different committee’s hearings. Berke asked Cantor directly if the president had asked the Ukrainians to investigate Joe Biden and he said “No” and that it was “ambiguous.” This, despite all the fact witnesses that said that’s exactly what happened and the president himself standing on the front lawn of the White House telling reporters that’s exactly what he wanted from the Ukrainians.
Ambiguity … (sigh) … it’s mind-blowing to hear these Republicans deny the facts. Imagine how difficult it is to sit there on that committee and listen to the GOP’s top counsel deny facts, with a straight face.
Some of the best drama came when the GOP committee members, after prompting from Castor, threw Trump-appointed Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland under the bus. Cantor claimed Sondland exaggerated his claims about speaking with President Trump, although other witnesses testified that Sondland was often in direct contact with the president.
In his questioning, one Republican congressman brought debunked Russian propaganda into the hearing when he was questioning Stephen Cantor.
One of the other humorous moments of the hearing: Castor brought his materials into the hearing room in a Whole Foods shopping bag.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
The Judiciary Committee began its mark-up hearings for the two Articles of Impeachment: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. The Democrats that control the House of Representatives had come to those two articles after deliberating for about a day. Led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), they chose to keep the focus narrow on articles that would be much simpler for the American public to understand. They didn’t want it complicated with articles drawn up from the Mueller Report or separate articles for each instance of obstruction. Very simple, easy for the average American, who doesn’t follow any of this too closely, to understand.
The Republicans made the two days of mark-ups entertaining. At one point they accused the Democrats of having a tantrum — because Hillary lost in 2016. But for anyone watching it was easy to see which side was going absolutely insane. Several members yelled every time they spoke. Members like the ranking member, Doug Collins (R-GA) and GOP wrestling coach Jim Jordan of Ohio. He still claims he had no idea the Ohio State athletic doctor was sexually abusing the students under Jordan’s care, despite the number of former athletes that testified he did know.
No less a drama queen was Louie Gohmert of Texas. Louie wanted to bring in the debunked, Russian conspiracy theories that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election and that the Bidens, Joe and Hunter, were corrupt players in the Ukrainian crimes.
Another star Republican drama queen was Florida’s Matt Gaetz who made the mistake of entering into the record information about a police report that alleges Hunter Biden left cocaine and paraphernalia in a rental car. Within minutes Twitter was inundated with tweets featuring Gaetz’s mug shot from his DUI arrest. Luckily he has a rich and well-connected daddy who got him out of that jam.
We’re now calling it “The Anchorman Defense,” after the scene in the movie when all the newsmen are yelling and the one, played by Steve Carrell, “I don’t know what we’re yelling about!”
For two days the Republicans introduced amendments to the articles of impeachment, changes that would weaken or eliminate the articles altogether. They knew none of them would be adopted, but they also knew it would slow down the process and allow them to perform their melodramatic outrage in front of television cameras.
They said a lot of dumbshit things to defend the president, trying to link the FBI agent and DoJ lawyer who were caught sending anti-Trump text messages on their work phones, to the Democratic Party, as if it was some sort of grand scheme. If it wasn’t laughable, it was stomach turning.
The sad part is they had no defense for the president’s criminal acts and only objected to the process, claiming it was unfair. Unfair because they couldn’t call witnesses that would promote the Kremlin-created conspiracy theories on which the president is hanging his defense.
After 14 grueling hours of GOP stalling tactics, including their tantrums, Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler closed the hearings for the day (night), scheduling the final votes for the articles of impeachment for Friday morning. The reaction from the GOP was epic. Ranking member Doug Collins called the vote “grisly,” and said words could not describe how inappropriate the mark up hearing was. He also claimed the the chairman and his staff no longer had any integrity.
In the past few days Trump’s chief government stooge, AG William Barr, has claimed it was the Obama Administration and the news media that interfered in the 2016 election. He claimed Obama used the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to frame Russia and Trump for the election interference and that the Obama Administration spied on the Trump campaign.. It’s a good bet we will more of Barr’s lies used in the Senate trial of President Trump. The Republican Party has gone all in for Vladimir Putin, promoting the debunked stories. If Moscow Mitch McConnell allows witnesses in the trial the GOP plans to call Joe and Hunter Biden, House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, the as yet un-named whistleblower and others who are not related to the facts of the case.
Moscow Mitch has in fact been on Fox News declaring Trump will be acquitted, despite the oath he will have to take once the trial starts that says the senators must be impartial. He doesn’t even bother to hide his contempt for the facts. Even though in the so-called transcript of that perfect call, Trump clearly wants a favor though and then his acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and his million-dollar donor Gordon Sondland said he did it. If this was going into an actual court of law it would be a slam dunk conviction. On top of that Moscow Mitch said he was in lockstep with the White House lawyers who will be representing the president during the Senate trial.
There might be a few Republicans that base their decision on the facts, but not enough to remove Trump from office. But Trump could very well be only the third president impeached in the House of Representatives and he will be impeached for putting the national security of this nation at risk. Saturday morning Joy-Ann Reid said that after the Senate trial Trump would be the O.J. Simpson of presidents. Even though he gets acquitted people will be looking sideways at him and saying, “Yeah, but he did it.”
After yet another trip to Eastern Europe to get some help with the Putin conspiracies, Trump’s favorite lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was at the White House on Friday, presumably to put their bogus storyline together. Which is probably why Barr has been saying the bullshit he’s been spewing the past few days.
The Republicans in the Senate are planning to let Donald Trump off the hook, but Trump will have that asterisk next to his name.
Photos are YouTube screenshots
Top photo: Ranking member Doug Collins going full drama as Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler sits and listens
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.