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    • The NYTimes Reveals More Than It Means
      Watch this video. It’s only 39 seconds. It’s worth it. What’s interesting to me about this video is NOT what Bernie says, it’s the reaction. It’s how genuinely uncomfortable the people interviewing him (The NYTimes editors) are. They really think he’s saying something terrible. Something awkward. Something embarrassing. What is he saying? “I ignore the […] […]
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Every time I hear Collins…

… this is what I see in my head:

I understand that yelling, spouting confusing deceptive word salads and making Trump look like a pitiful human being is strategy to make viewers turn off the hearings.

But I can’t imagine that it’s winning anyone to their side. Plus metaphorically cutting his head off would be such a satisfying way to get him to STFU.

Let’s break this down, shall we?

This is what Trump tweeted this morning:

1.) He didn’t ask any of US if he should do this in our name.
2.) There is no benefit to our country by asking this favor because a.) Ukraine is strategically located between Russia and the rest of Europe so that it’s a barrier to Russian aggression. What aggression affects Europe affects the rest of the world. That’s why we have NATO, which Ukraine was hoping to join. So, it doesn’t do us any favors. b.) Receipt of this favor only means that Trump’s chances of winning the 2020 election might have been increased. It’s hard to see how that is beneficial to the 65,000,000 of us who didn’t vote for him and would prefer a strong NATO.
3.) Asking a desperate nation for favors (it had to be televised and it had to mention Biden and Burisma.) seems like a reckless, unethical, inhumane, and short sighted thing to do. Zelensky was forced to consider lying in order to protect his country. His own integrity would have been compromised if he had been forced into this corrupt scheme. And if I know anything about NPD level narcissists, they have a propensity to dangle money over your head indefinitely before they yank it away for more favors and groveling. (Trump probably called him from a different phone and told him he was unlikeable and an unlovable loser and then cut off the money anyway. That’s how it works. Don’t ask me if this is personal experience. It’s a long story. Just call me Cordelia.)

Might I mention that this differentiation between “me” and “us” is irrelevant? The request was improper, probably illegal if congress specified the money be spent by a certain day and OMB defied that by withholding it at Trump’s request. The more important words were “favor though”. That means that a favor was requested without our consent and in defiance of congressional intention and “though” implies conditionality (or something grammatical).

I think we’ve debunked his tweet, not that it will matter to Republican voters. By the way, he seems to be breaking a personal record on Twitter today. He doesn’t like to be impeached. Probably should have thought of that before he asked for that favor.

The Best Reason

There’s a post at WaPo about moderate Democrats defecting in order to not lose their seats. Don’t worry, it’s just a handful of cowards.

In the comments section, I found a reader whose argument for impeachment goes something like this:

If your office has more power than the Constitution, maybe you shouldn’t have the office.

That summed it up for me. The reasoning goes like this:

The Framers gave all branches of government checks and balance powers on the others. But in the end, they gave a lot of power to the Executive, ie the president. And then they wrote the oath. It’s very simple and short:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States

In other words, regardless of the power of the office, the president promises not to exceed his boundaries and step all over the other branches.

That means, if he gets a package of spending from Congress to protect our allies, he’s supposed to respect that legislation or go back to congress with a a better deal. He’s not supposed to dangle that money over the heads for personal gain. If he has the ability to talk to Congress to get the legislation done, he’s supposed to do it because that’s in the oath. Never mind that he can ignore congress if he wants to. He made an oath not to. We need to take that seriously.

Likewise, just because he has the power to withhold information from congress in terms of documents or witnesses, doesn’t mean he should. He agreed when he took that oath that he wouldn’t do such a thing. He agrees to stay within the boundaries of the Constitution. If he didn’t want to self-incriminate, he could take the fifth amendment. That’s what it’s there for. The fact that he didn’t turn over documents or take the fifth shows that he has no respect for the Constitution, which may have protected him.

Well, you might say, it doesn’t matter because we can’t indict a sitting president. But is that true? Is it written in the Constitution? It says that a remedy for a rogue president is impeachment. But if the office holder doesn’t respect the process, because he doesn’t respect his oath or Constitution, who’s to say he can’t be indicted?

You can’t have more powers than the Constitution gives you. It makes you not a president because the oath of office to defend the constitution means you agree to constraints. If you don’t agree to those constraints, there’s nothing in the constitution preventing the SDNY or whatever jurisdiction he’s been violating rules in lately, from indicting him.

Is there.

So, the commenter is right. If your office is more powerful than the Constitution, you shouldn’t have the office.

By the way, this is the oath that all congress members take:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

How many members of Congress are keeping their oaths?