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To impeach or not to impeach, that is the question

If this was a fair world, the answer would be crystal clear. We have never had a president who is more corrupt or willing to violate the constitution. If any other president had done 1/20th of what Trump has done, he would have been impeached after yesterday’s report.

And yet, the House of Representatives still hesitates. It hesitates because it knows that the Senate will never, never, never vote to convict. (Never say never).

That makes the whole impeachment procedure look like Team D vs Team R. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out why Team R, who is constantly wrapping itself in the flag, singing God Bless the USA and is addicted to security porn is so intent on protecting the least patriotic, most cowardly, ungodly, criminal sadist in the Oval Office. But that’s where we are. The perception is that we have two teams, ready to go to the mat over Trump.

You can almost imagine Vladimir Putin taking off his shirt and rubbing, well, whatever it is Russian mafia state leaders rub when they’re excited. What could be better than sowing even more division, enmity and chaos in your adversary’s country? It makes him tingle in places … ok, let’s not go there. You get the point.

It’s just one part of his plan to amp up the entropy. After all, his intelligence units are already making Bernie Sanders an inevitability. He probably likes Mayor Pete too. What better way to divide Democrats than to pit the white guys against all those women whose fury and drive managed to take back the House last year? Eggsellent, eggsellent.

Why impeach anyway? Do Democrats really need this? Do you think my congressman, Conor Lamb, wants to impeach Trump? He thinks he got in office based on the strength of his contingent of older, white guys. He seems to have completely forgotten about the slice of Mike Doyle’s District he got last year through redistricting that made the old white guy vote almost irrelevant. And anyway, are we saying that old white veterans have no concern for the honor and dignity of the country?

So that’s what Nancy’s dealing with. She’s got to make sure her contingent keeps the House next year.

I think there may be a little too much gazing into the crystal ball at this point.

One thing is for sure though. Trump has a history of getting away with things in the past and then doubling down on his worst instincts when he thinks he can get away with even more. You can look it up from the time he was fined by the feds for not renting to African Americans 40 years ago. He’ll do whatever he thinks he can get away with. That’s not forecasting. That’s just his nature.

And what does he want? Who knows but he’s got all his “acting” cabinet officials and Supreme Court justices all lined up. If he is a ruthlessly vengeful man who’s enraged by the damage to his image, I can easily imagine him deciding that if he’s going to go, he’ll take the whole place with him. You know, ship some DACA recipients to the desert in summer via cattle car, take all their stuff, dare anybody to make him stop as the death toll from heat exhaustion starts to climb. Maybe his Supreme Court will finally overturn Roe v Wade. That will cause anger, protests, and chaos. Maybe he’ll do something stupid on the financial front like refuse to pay our debts and watch our global credit rating plummet. Or allow Russia to have a free hand with the election next year, physically prevent African americans from voting, change the voting machines like they do in Minsk or East Bumfuck, Russia. Sure it’s unconstitutional but who’s going to stop him? Attorney General Bill Barr? Lololololol!!!!

He should be encouraged to resign. That would be the best scenario. The rest of us just want to get on with our lives and solve the healthcare issue, fix the consumer financial services problems, tackle global warming, make life more affordable and just and fair for regular people.

If we could strike a deal with Trump, pay him off to the tune of $10 billion and promise not to prosecute him when he leaves the White House, we would be saving ourselves money in the end. He could give some dorky speech where he makes it sound like a great sacrifice on his part and the networks would roll their eyes and read the prepared script that says what a hero of the working class he is who gave up his throne after the biggest inauguration crowd EVER blah blah blah. Then he could jump on his plane to a remote island and we’d all get back to business.

That’s the best scenario.

If I were Nancy, that’s what I’d be rolling around in my mouth with that Lifesaver as I contemplate my next move. Just pay him off for God’s sakes.

Or get rid of all of Trump’s droogs one by one until there is no one left to protect him.

Start with Bill Barr.

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43 Responses

  1. Impeach now… Imagine how it’s going to look when the next Democrat in office is impeached in the first 2 weeks for something outrageous… like wearing a brown suit.

    tRump has demonstrative impeachable acts, sitting by and doing nothing is a sign of weakness. If you want to win the Senate in 2020 try showing why the other side has to be thrown out for protecting a traitor.

  2. It’s such a difficult question, and you have laid it out in effective detail. I was thinking about the “buying Trump out” idea yesterday, but it just seems so depressing to actually reward him for all of his evil deeds. And then of course, where does this money come from? And it would indeed make Trump look like some martyr, as the deal would be where he resigned because of health reasons; and the right wing noise machine would say that the Democrats drove him out, and should be punished.

    My persistent thought is that we absolutely cannot lose the next Presidential election, or the country is forfeit. So the best way to win it, is the course we should take. Now, obviously, the Senate will not convict, not unless some “smoking gun” came up. If they voted now, even after the redacted Mueller Report every Republican would vote to acquit. Apparently Fox was running headlines yesterday saying that it is all over, the President is completely exonerated, everyone should apologize to Fox. I think the only way to get rid of Trump is through the ballot box. But House hearings are very important, as they will be public, and they might penetrate the frightening zone of brainwashing propaganda that the Right has created. And then, if more things are learned, perhaps impeachment will be another effective tool to damage Trump, and to get the story out there. But we would ultimately face a headline of “Trump Acquitted!,” unless we somehow scheduled this so that the Senate trial were after the election.

    I do completely agree that Trump might do anything. He has to know that once he leaves office, he will be indicted in some jurisdiction. And it is indeed true that he might just issue orders to subvert the election, figuring that, as before, it will be too late to do anything about it until afterwards, and maybe not even then. He’s got his armed troops ready to start a civil war. And it’s not as if there is not this group of fascist/religious billionaires out there, like the Mercers, who would enourage all of it. Even so, the “buying him off” could be safest course, if we could possibly stomach it.

    Except that Trump is not really his own genre, there are other Republicans out there who might not have his “charisma,” but would carry out most of the same policies. I read a WAPO article about Jeb Bush as governor of Florida, and he apparently completely and literally shut the Democrats out of the process, locking them off down the hall on occasions. And never forget Cheney and Armey and DeLay back in the 2000’s. It is not like there are all these decent Republicans out there whose better natures will be unlocked once Trump leaves. Ah, and McConnell, of course, who would not hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee, because he would have been confirmed. It is such a risk either way. But somehow, at least in our better dreams, we have to so discredit the entire Republican Party, that they cannot control any branch of government for many years. That is very hard to do, of course. But if we ended up in a few years with A President Rubio or Haley, our country and the world would still be burning up, and the courts would be further stacked with right wing zealots. We need a sea change, and I don’t know how best to get that. My tendency now is to trust Pelosi’s instincts on this. She is not always right, but she has a pretty good sense of political realities. Show me the best way to get rid of Trump as soon as possible, and still win big in the election, and I’m all for it.

    • I think this needs to start with a House special investigation, just as Watergate started with a Senate special investigation. Like Pelosi, I think an impeachment proceeding is premature, because a conviction in the Senate is unobtainable at this point. I think it’ll backfire politically and might cost us the House and the Presidency in 2020. No prosecutor pursues an indictment when he knows he can’t possibly convict.

      But a full, public investigation is obviously essential. Given the content of the Mueller report, I think it’s Congress’s duty to conduct one. Depending on what additional information it turns up, impeachment might be possible.

    • “his armed troops”

      A bunch of antique flatulences on Hoverounds, trying to aim their Personal Freedom Phallus Substitutes through eyes glazed over with cataracts? 😆 😆 😆

      The real danger is not another Civil War; it’s more mass shootings and OKC-type bombings by nutty individuals and small nutty groups.

      • Well, yes, that is what I was envisioning as a Civil War; I suppose that I should have made it more specific. I don’t think that we are going to have the Blues and the Grays, but this would actually be worse, because it would be civilians at risk.

  3. Impeach, let the senate vote against conviction and explain why for the world to hear. Get all the corruption out in the open and on the record, even if only half the country believes it. It is the right thing to do. Conscience, karma and the Constitution demand it. Trump and the GOP are a flesh eating bacteria. Even if it is a losing battle, let’s stand up to this consummate evil and be on the right side of history. Buying him off, is not for me, especially with Pence behind him and a Republican Senate. I also think we are doing a disservice to future and past generations if we don’t investigate and confirm that the election was stolen; he aided and abetted fraud against the American people and is illegitimate. He did not win fair and square. No way I am going to reward that. It may also be the last best, defense against a second term for this malignancy.

    • I don’t want any arrangement that precludes later prosecution (like the Nixon pardon). Whether he’s impeached or not, I think he belongs in prison.

      • I agree and a pardon will not be a warning to anybody else who is thinking of doing the same thing. They will think they can do it too and get away with it because someone is going to pardon them.

  4. Speaking of prosecution, Vice interviewed a couple of former SDNY prosecutors a few weeks ago who expressed the opinion that the OLC’s guidance on not prosecuting sitting Presidents was just that: *guidance*, and that they would feel free to ignore it and proceed against Trump if they had the evidence. Mueller hints at this in the report, even though he apparently didn’t refer anything on Trump for prosecution. William, you’re an attorney, right? What’s you view of this? I don’t think there’s any statute or precedent on this, but IANAL.

    • Propertius, at least in my understanding, this is only guidance, there is certainly no law or judicial ruling to that effect. I saw a Maddow show where it was pretty well established that these guidelines came out of Watergate, and it was an effort by the AG to set things up so that they could get rid of Agnew first for crimes he had committed in Maryland, because if Nixon were to be removed or leave first, and Agnew became President, he would be indicted before he could pick a VP, and then the Speaker would become President. Something like that, anyway. But they are just guidelines, and since there is not one high court decision validating them, I don’t know why there is this need to follow them. What if a President conspired to have someone murdered? Not indictable? That makes no sense. Or if he did a bunch of illegal things to stay in office, so he could not be indicted by rule? Again, it would seem to defy judicial logic to say that he should be protected from indictment on any crime he might have committed, or even still be committing.

      I see no reason why SDNY or any agency could not indict the President. This would of course be challenged, and then you ultimately have the Supreme Court to decide. Tellingly, if such a case were to have come up ten years ago, or certainly in the Watergate era, I think that the ruling would be that a sitting President can be indicted. With this current Court, it is less certain. But there is no legal precedent to say that a sitting President is not subject to indictment, and I’d like to see it tested in court.

  5. To be clear, I didn’t mean to impeach now solely on the basis of the Mueller report. The House committees need to do their investigations first and they need the full, unredacted report. Mueller discovered a lot but his remit was narrow. I still want the financials. I just don’t want impeachment off the table for political reasons. It must be done because it is warranted. There are a ton of lawyers in Congress, surely they will know when they have a persuasive case to impeach. I hate the “let the voters decide” in 2020 option.

    • I agree, Cats. If further investigation and impeachment is not pursued, “exonération” by default is the name of the game. Therefore, if nothing is done, Trump could very well win a second term due to the perception that he was on the right to begin with. There may be no choice but to go forth with investigation and impeachment, despite the real possibility of losing either way.

      Regarding the OLC memo to not indict a sitting president, my recollection is that it is less than guidance, as the author said it was written as a hypothetical to support the ouster of Agnew, unless I am conflating all sorts of things, which is possible. If it is guidance, however, it is not dispositive and holds less weight than statute of regulation.

      • It’s a good point; something has to be done, if only to advance the true narrative that the report had very significant facts in it. Democrats need to work as a unified force in this, but that is not very easy for Democrats,, particularly in the middle of a campaign.

  6. Or, not of

  7. I made the mistake of clicking the Ian Welsh link in the left column.

    I then made the even greater mistake of reading it.

    He and his regular gang of commenters have gone mad.

    • And yet, I could so easily have become one of them, or one of the cr@wd@ds. I don’t know what saved me.

  8. Nancy is a first rate parliamentarian, vote counter, and tactician. In this way she is the equal of McConnell. Trouble is, she is not nearly enough of a strategist. McConnell and the Rs were willing to vote for all sorts of things that Obama would veto, just to make their point and build their base. Like voting to repeal ACA 52 times, But futile as such gestures appeafed, they led to getting their guy in.

    Similarly: Dems have to grow a spine. If they don’t show they stand for something, who will take the trouble to go out and vote for them?? And sometimes growing a spine entails willingness to lose battles in the service of winning the bigger war. Which leads me to the subject of impeachment.

    If the Dems don’t open serious hearings, get all the facts, and move forward if the facts so warrant, they will have crippled the Constitution forever. Unless there is oversight, we will have a dictator, and not a president, It’s that simple, and yes, this is a priniciple that voters will fight for if Nadler fulfills his mission of investigation — and civic education.

    • OR
      she knows that denying us an totally justified impeachment is the best way to keep her voters good and mad leading up to 2020. We know he’ll think he can get away with anything and he’ll be even more loathesome than before. It will be the responsibility of the Republicans to rein him in, which they won’t until they see their own election prospects starting to fade. It’s like threading a needle. On horseback. At a full gallop.

      • With all respect for what you do and for you as hostess of this site, I have to agree to disagree on this. Nancy made a catastrophic bluncer in filing to impeach W. in 2006. In so doing she allowed all these things to stand: Lying us into a war which was clearly the worst foreign policy bludner since Vietnam. Torture. The laughably rampant corruption of the Iraq occupation — remember the no bid contracts, Halliburton, and the unaccounted for cash (in actual Benjamins) that sloshed around in the billions of dollars. Not to mention, Rummy’s wanton and avoidable destruction of Iraq’s antiquities, some of which dated from the dawn of human civilization in Ancient Mesopatamia.

        The 2008 general election race was tight until Lehman Brothers failed. Absent that, McCain would have won. But if Nancy had stood up to Bush/ Cheney, she could have sealed the Republicans fate earlier — and possibly precluded Trump.
        Brilliant as Pelosi was in stopping W from cutting Social Security — and in pushing ACA through the House– she seems to be all too prone to blowing the main chance when history hands it to her.

        • My typo above. In pafragraph 2, I meant to say that “McCain COULD have won,” NOT that McCain “WOULD hve won.”

  9. I would say open up an impeachment inquiry based on the report. As I understand it, Trump and the GOP would have a harder time trying to hide evidence or win in court with an inquiry but yet it would not be full blown impeachment but could lead to that. Heck an 18 month impeachment inquiry would be fine with me.

  10. If i understand Rachel correctly, Mueller’s road map on obstruction can be used in one of two ways: impeachment while in office or indictment after he leaves office. The kicker: the statute of limitations on obstruction is five years and calculated on the date of the last instance of obstruction which i believe is sometime in 2017. If trump gets reelected, the limitation will run out while in office and he skates on those charges. Soooo, impeach on the report and hold other provable crimes aside to pursue after he leaves office?

    • I don’t know, but there may be some mechanism of tolling the statute of limitations while he is in office, if he truly is off limits to indictment during that time. I don’t believe he is off limits, though. If he truly is beyond the reach of indictment, tolling of the SOL would be a very strong argument, but would likely only happen if an indictment is attempted and failed, as the inability to indict would need to be shown and is speculative at this point.

  11. Written by Bruce Bell and Dave Somerville. Sung by Willie Nelson.

  12. Dave Somerville, the lead singer of the Diamonds. I was just learning a bit about them, after hearing “The Stroll” for the first time recently. I see that he was also in the Four Preps.

  13. A simple bit of logic, deliberately ignored by Republicans, and missed by some media: If there were, for example, a very damaging document, the unearthing of which would be devastating; and someone ordered it to be burned, this has to be obstruction of justice in itself. To say otherwise, and that, “only if it actually had been burned, would it amount to obstruction,” is ludicrous, because it if had been burned, there would be no extant document, and no justice. Successfully obstructing justice can mean that we never even find out about the original thing that was burned.

    If McGahn had carried out Trump’s orders to fire Mueller, there would be no Mueller report for us to even know that there was an order, or indeed anything else. To try to argue that the intended act must actually take place all the way to the desired conclusion (someone is poisoned; the witness is transported to an unextraditable place; the documents are destroyed); for there to be actual obstruction, is only something that Republicans could invent, since their position with regard to their actions is always, “if you can’t prove it, if there is no smoking gun left undisposed of, it didn’t happen.” This is such an illogical argument, that it is very frustrating to see some media bring it up as if it merits any consideration. Republicans’ position is that if a witness is ordered to be murdered, and the murder is not carried out, it is not obstruction; whereas if it is carried out, the witness is dead, so he cannot testify, and the case is over. In other words, they win either way. This may seem ludicrous, but it is in essence and extrapolation, exactly how Republicans argue every matter. Whether the American people are in general too uneducated, or partisan, or brainwashed, to understand that this is exactly the reality created by complete totalitarians, is the question.

  14. I think the dems may be complicating what they should do in responde to the Mueller Report.

    I understand all of the politics involved in deciding “what to do”, but I do believe that this is the time to put politics aside and for Congress to do the right thing. After all, it was politics that got us into this mess.

    The House members should TAKE A STAND against the corruption and evil that trump and his minions represent. The Revoluntary War was all about taking a stand against the rule of a King. This time is no different in so many ways because trump is a despot who wants to rule not govern.

    I do not believe that the dems doing nothing for 18 months will make the American people even more angry at trump. I think it will only serve to undermine our resolve in stopping trump. The House must move swiftly in having Mueller testify along with his prosecutors. Bring Cohen back in to respond to the Mueller Report. We should be hearing about the crimes trump has committed every day by the dems because it is imperative that the message is that trump has not been exonerated but is guilty of high crimes, colluding with the Russians and obstruction of justice and even the redacted Mueller Report supports that with evidence.

    Taking a stand willl be the impetus that will ignite the American people to oust trump from the WH. To ensure trump’s defeat in 2020, it will take a massive voter turnout to succeed. I am convinced that Trump and Russia will stop at nothing to keep him in power and so must stop at nothing to make sure they fail.

    • Agree.
      1000%

    • I totally agree too! If we do nothing there will be nothing worth protecting. If we don’t have the courage to defend this country we don’t deserve to govern it! Impeach NOW!

    • ALso Agree 100%. Especially your next to last paragraph. The Republicans will continue to do evil. If the Dems do nothing, then the evil stands, and people could feel defeated and without recourse.. There is a horrible risk that Dem inaction will lead to apathy and further institutionalization of Trump and his policies going forward.

  15. Someone (can’t remember her name but she worked on the Watergate prosecution) made a strong case for public hearings with the witnesses identified in the report. She said that seeing and hearing people testify publicly as to what they saw, heard or participated in is far more persuasive than ploughing through a 400+ page report. Sounded like the most effective way to get the message of this corruption across to the American people. Even his base would be likely to watch that.

    Tara Day O’Dell (sp?) also made a good point on Joy’s show about simply repeating from now on the principle that no one is above the law.

    I still haven’t heard anyone comment that based on the Russian influence and interference campaign, their expressed intent to help trump and sanders and hurt Hillary, the hugh difference in the popular vote and the polling data for the battleground states given to Kilimnik that the 2016 electoral process was obviously tainted and the results highly suspect. (Hell we don’t even have to mention gutting the VRA, blatant voter suppression, Comey, the FBI and the media to make that point.) Also, didn’t I hear recently that there is evidence that the Russians accessed the voting systems in all 50 states? Why can’t they even give we Hillary supporters that much satisfaction?

  16. Off topic: Happy 4/20! :mrgreen:

  17. Happy 82nd birthday to George Takei! 🙂

  18. My preference is that individual 1, who acted within a corrupt enterprise subverting our electoral and financial systems, be punished as the crook he is under the criminal code. Impeachment in my view would let him off easy.

    • ‘Impeachment in my view would let him off easy.

      How so?
      There are many investigations on him in the SDNY, that he’ll face after leaving office.
      The issue as presented by E. Warren is the “corruption” brought by Trump and his mobsters to the Executive branch and the Republican Senate.
      After the bulk of evidence, not to impeach would set a precedent for future president to be “above the law”.

      I hear RD’s concept of a chess game approach. Yet, for a cancer like trump’s, a bold move is a must.
      Strip him off from any governmental powers as soon as possible. There’s plenty of instances to go after him after his removal.

      The 2020 political outcome for Dems, is a fight “we as Americans” will have to face and win.

  19. y frustration with the media continues. The headers on news stories, and chryons on air, often seem to fixate on a Democratic party undergoing internal skirmishes. “Dems divided on impeachment” and the such.

    However, one thing the Trump admin did which was called an “unforced error” by a panelist on a recent 538 podcast, was the attempt to clumsily obfuscate regarding the report prior to its release, especially the BS presser held by Barr (not to mention the 4 page summary that was anything but accurate).

    It has created frustration and unhappiness within the media, who now feel they’ve been had.

    I recall RD’s essay comparing the Clintons’ decades of building good will and friendship with people of great influence and Trump’s burning bridges with anyone who has the bad fortune to work for/with him.

    There is no question based on the books written so far and, of course, Muelller’s report, that he is greatly disliked, or pitied, held in contempt or feared by those around him.

    We have yet to see a verifiable report of any individual who values him as a cogent, complex individual.

    Well, Hannity, maybe. His kids? Not exactly ringing endorsements.

    So, without a network of solid loyalty based on years/decades of Trump demonstrating he is a man of his word, he is destined to lose. Even evil people need to prove their creds.

  20. Happy Easter!

    (knock knock)

    ANGEL OF THE TOMB (who, for some reason, has a voice like Tommy Chong’s): Who is it?

    ANGEL OF DEATH (who, for some reason, has a voice like Cheech Marin’s): It’s me, man. The Angel of Death. Sorry I’m late; I’ve come to collect Jesus.

    AoT: Who?

    AoD: Jesus.

    AoT: Jesus?

    AoD: Yeah, man, Jesus. You know, the Boss’s Son.

    AoT: Jesus’s not here, man.

    Happy Easter! :mrgreen:

  21. Clearly, there are many different ways to look at all of this, and some strong and convincing points have been made here. And I would love to see Trump impeached, it would be gratifying and cathartic. But I see impeachment as ultimately more of a political process than a moral one. You have to have the public, or at least a majority of them, behind you. In criminal law, you could indict and try someone even if he/she is very popular, and still convince a fair judge or jury to convict. But pragmatically, you cannot impeach and convict someone when the public is not strongly for it. The members of Congress are not going to find some higher moral calling than their constituents do. Unless they see a swelling public tide, they are going to take the more cautious course. Certainly Republicans would need to face a tide of anger before even one of them voted for impeachment.

    I’m not even sure that there are currently enough votes in the House for impeachment. We elected an impressive group of frosh House members, ,many of them from very purple districts. Impeachment could easily cost them their seats, and cost the Democrats the House in 2020, to go with a Senate which is probably 90% or so likely to stay in Republican hands, and a President who dooms us if he is a Republican, and has little power if a Democrat, if both houses of Congress are Republican. We only need to lose 18 or 19 seats for that to happen. The only path to impeachment which would not cost us much more than we would gain, is if initial investigative. hearings help to solidify the evidence in a way that the public begins to favor impeachment. I do not think that impeachment, at least in the current climate, is nearly as much a moral issue as it might be portrayed. That is because it cannot succeed in ousting Trump before his term ends, which means that the 2020 election be gamed out in cold political terms; and I certainly understand that this effect can be open to debate. It just seems to me that there is more to be lost, again in those utterly crucial pragmatic election-related terms, than gained here. I have always loved the quixotic idealism of the musical “Man of La Mancha,” where heroically trying and failing is a triumph in itself. But I don’t think we can dare afford to lose this one, so we must choose the most politically advantageous course.

  22. The only path to impeachment which would not cost us much more than we would gain, is if initial investigative. hearings help to solidify the evidence in a way that the public begins to favor impeachment.

    Well said and thank you for it.

    It has to be a methodical path to solidify the evidence and gather public support, with the unmistakable goal of removing trump from office and without dwindling off the focus.

    • The other issue behind a successful timing path for impeachment is the unity of the Democrat Party.

      So far the many candidates running for president, presents a nebulous diaspora; a subject on its own for another blog.

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