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High Crimes, Misdemeanors and Devin Nunes

Did I recommend Slow Burn a Podcast about Watergate? Host Leon Nayfog takes listeners to the backstory about Watergate and how a seemingly inconsequential break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 1972 lead to the resignation of Richard Nixon.

At the beginning, no one had any idea how serious the initial crime and subsequent coverup would be. Republicans circled the wagons at first, trying to protect their guy and brushing the whole investigation off. But slowly, over the course of two years as more information leaked out, public sentiment started to shift. By the summer of 1974, the president who had won the White House in a landslide had a 25% approval rating.

Today’s episode is about the impeachment process. What we should have learned back in 1972-74 was just how full of holes the Constitution is. There are only a few terms that refer to concrete actions, such as treason, that are punishable by impeachment. “High crimes and misdemeanors” was ill-defined. Elizabeth Holzmann, Democratic House Representative from Brooklyn was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee that was tasked to draw up articles of impeachment. She said they first had to understand what high crimes and misdemeanors meant. And here is the key: at the time the Constitution was drafted, the US had no criminal code. So, high crimes and misdemeanors referred to a political act and/or an abuse of power.

See where I’m going here?

If not, review the way Trump harassed Andrew McCabe, his subordinate, about his wife losing the seat she was running for in Virginia or how he lost his temper when McCabe allowed Comey to take a government flight back to Washington after he was fired. Trump does not understand self-restraint. He is a mean spirited, vengeful man and he abuses the people who work for him. You might think that he’s just a tough boss but it goes farther than that.

Ok, so Holzmann says she sympathized with her Republican colleagues because some of the districts they represented went big for Nixon. And there were a couple Republicans who had the guts to impeach Nixon but they thought they were the only ones. It turns out they weren’t.

I bring this up because Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican representing NJ-11, representing the working class but particularly the swank suburbs of Passaic County, indicated yesterday that he was retiring at the end of his term. That’s one more Republican who will have a little more leeway to vote his conscience, provided he has one.

But what about Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence committee and zealot who appears to be ready to burn secret government assets in order to protect the president from scrutiny? He’s a Republican from California’s Salinas valley. We can pretty much guess how his constituency of rural residents and farmers voted in 2016. Still, the tax “reform” bill is going to slam California’s residents and there was little ambiguity about the fact that the Republicans and president’s intent in passing it was partially to punish the blue states.

I have to wonder how far Devin Nunes’ approval rating has to drop before he starts feeling the heat. Where is the resistance movement in Fresno? What are they up to?

And what about the recent signs that the media may be regretting what it did to Hillary Clinton? How about the op/ed by Jeffrey Toobin admitting that he willfully engaged in false equivalency coverage of Clinton or WaPo’s recent post about Hillary Clinton’s still steadfast supporters who would vote for her again. Or the outburst of cheering at the Grammys the other night when she read a passage from Fire and Fury in a skit on best spoken word?

Is it any wonder that Trump is still obsessed with Hillary and her win over him?

We like her. A lot.

Nayfog ended the first season of Slowburn with a series of whatif questions. The resignation of Richard Nixon was never assured. So many things had to happen and so many people had to agree to do the right thing and put the country before their own personal fortunes. It’s less likely that Republicans will hold Trump accountable even though his high crimes and misdemeanors are at least equal to Nixon’s while his personality, character and intelligence doesn’t even come close to that the worst president we have ever had.

Who is going to stand up to him?



BiFF is in town. We’re going to watch the state of the uniom speech tonight. Stay tuned for a live blog later.


Tweet du Jour:



Sometimes it’s difficult to know who to follow on twitter when it comes to matters dealing with the department of justice. I’m recommending Preet Bharara, the US Attorney that Trump fired last year. The reason is because Preet doesn’t come off as a partisan hack and he doesn’t get your hopes up about the Mueller investigation. He tells you straight on what is happening based on his personal experience and what the limitations of the justice system are. For example, don’t get the idea that Robert Mueller is some kind of liberal hero. He doesn’t have an agenda. He’s just doing his job to get to the truth and serve justice. If there’s no there there, Mueller is not going to act like some kind of partisan Javert and keep digging and digging until he finds something on Trump. Preet also seems to be a guy with good ideas about how to keep this from happening again. So, follow Preet and be sure to subscribe to his podcast. You’ll get a good background for following what’s going on without BS or bias and you’ll be a much harder target for misdirection and obfuscation.

20 Responses

  1. This is a good development. Bharara and Whitman have teamed to codify norms and traditions into law so that someone like ‘trump’ next time cannot get away with it.

    • oh, and Nunes like mfers. I think Nunes is already in trouble. the problem is that he is not alone. There are a bunch of Rs complicit in all this with connections to Russian money.

  2. Rep. Devin Nunes, Trump’s stooge, attacks FBI
    By the Editorial Board
    January 25, 2018 01:07 PM
    Updated January 26, 2018 03:46 PM
    What, pray tell, does Rep. Devin Nunes think he’s doing by waving around a secret memo attacking the FBI, the nation’s premier law enforcement agency?…

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/editorials/article196633904.html#storylink=cpy

    Hard to believe we can do absolutely nothing to remove Daffy Don from office. And it’s harder to accept that we have allowed ourselves to become hostages to such a corrupt political process. The fault a broken, extremely broken 2 party political system. Just imagine, if Democrats had aggressively fought the FBI bias against Clinton instead of using it as a political cudgel to keep her from criticizing Obama-Biden and Sanders. Don’t believe, then review Biden’s Clinton email comments during the campaign that in my view, says it all. Would sabotage be too strong a descriptor for the Obama=Biden DOJ investigation of Clinton’s email server, that surely is what it became.

  3. If Democrats get a hold of both chambers in the Congress in 2018, I think America is screwed.

  4. Agree about Preet Bharara and him setting realistic expectations about Mueller. I didn’t listen to his last two podcasts because one was Katy Tur and the other was Maga Maggie, dislike them both very much.

    We sit here in dismay watching what is happening to this country, (have you read the latest atrocities by ICE?), but there are all these more powerful men and women who maybe able to save the republic better than us. What are they doing? Isn’t there anyone on the R side to reach Paul Ryan and slap some sense into him or his partner in crime, McConnell?

    • Yeah, I was really disappointed in Katy Tur. She was clearly the target of much of Trump’s bullying of the media. She could have gotten hurt.
      But she cheerfully has no opinion about politics. Both sides, it’s all the same to her. She’s got a nice job. Why have ethics and standards?

      • And Katy doesn’t vote, what does that say?

      • My beef with her was that she was paraphrasing trump’s nonsense in a way that sounded much better than it actually was. My last straw was her interview with James Taylor and she was repeating trump’s talking points to him about Hillary asking what about that, that he didn’t even know where to start.

  5. LOL – so Drumph should be impeached because he was mean to poor widdle Andy McCabe? Geez, you guys are really reaching now.

    • Andy McCabe is just the tip of the iceberg.

      Actually, he owes McCabe’s wife an apology. That’s what a decent person would do. But we know it will never happen because decent people don’t say stuff like that in the first place.

  6. “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

    • How many people who want to throw out the immigrants are ready to pay much higher prices at their favorite grocery stores and restaurants, because all the foreign food industry workers got shipped back to their native countries?

      How many of those people are ready to wait longer times for medical attention because all the foreign doctors got shipped back to their native countries?

      Those are the only two examples I can think of offhand, but I expect other people here can provide other examples.

      • Oh, and how well do they think those expulsion laws would actually be enforced in the face of the business community’s near-unanimous opposition to strict enforcement?

        Do they think they actually have a louder voice in the GOP than Monty Burns? 😆

  7. What I love is that 44 years ago tonight (30th), Nixon gave his SOTU speech, said the country was done with Watergate, it was time to end the investigation, blah blah. And what, 7? 8? months later, he resigned. 🙂

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