Several key Republican senators have said, should Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump – which seems likely—come to the Senate for trial, would be a mistake if dismissed.
CNN is reporting that several “key Republicans” have told them that the Senate should conduct a full trial of President Trump, should it come to that, “and not try to jam through a motion that would allow them to dismiss the case quickly on a partisan vote.”
For the same reason that they have forced the House investigation to now be conducted more out in the open, the Republicans advocating against swift dismissal believe that a comprehensive and public examination of the charges would be best for Trump, who wants to clear his name and stay in office, and best for the American people, who deserve to learn what happened, and also best for the Senate as an institution — to demonstrate that even in these harshly partisan times, a careful examination of the charges can be conducted.
“Unlike the process up to this point, I think it is important the Senate process be viewed as fair and serious and give serious consideration to whatever the House is going to bring us,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the Republican leadership, who added that he is “very doubtful that there will be some immediate attempt to try to dismiss the charges.”
It’s All Up to Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not said publicly that he wants to force a quick vote to end the case. But he also hasn’t yet outlined what he thinks an appropriate process should be, outside of acknowledging he is constitutionally required to put it on the floor.
Democrats feared McConnell might try to block a trial — in the way he blocked Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court — and were alarmed when the Kentucky Republican began running campaign ads for his reelection, vowing to stop impeachment.
“I haven’t heard anyone espousing a quick dismissal,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican. “I certainly think we need to hear it out from the House. This is a serious thing. When you are considering removing somebody from office or impeaching them in that way. I think you’ve got to hear it.”
Even if it were to go in that direction, it remains unclear if Republicans, who hold a 53-47 advantage over the Democrats, could even get enough votes to dismiss. Some senators, especially those running for reelection next year, may be wary of not giving the evidence a thorough review, but for now, most won’t comment on the record.
A key former White House staffer is refusing to testify in the ongoing Democrat impeachment probe. Charles Kupperman, the deputy to former National Security Advisor John Bolton, will not provide testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.
A letter from Kupperman’s attorney said his client isn’t contesting a constitutional right to testimony, but rather it’s President Trump who’s asserting testimonial immunity to confidential advisors such as himself. The letter says if the committee’s position prevails in court then Kupperman will comply. He filed a lawsuit last week, asking the courts how much he can cooperate after the White House invoked constitutional immunity for Kupperman.
CNN is reporting that The Justice Department and the House have both asked a federal judge to postpone the court hearing about Kupperman’s compliance with the request to appear, which was scheduled for Thursday, October 31. Two hearings are scheduled that will test the White House’s claim that its staffers are immune from testifying. The House and Justice Department agreed to seek the postponement, according to their filing Tuesday, because another court hearing they must attend is happening the same afternoon before a different judge. That case is about immunity from congressional testimony for another White House staffer, former White House counsel Don McGahn, as the House seeks his testimony in its impeachment probe.
The judge, Richard Leon of the US District Court in Washington, has not yet responded.
In the popular vernacular it’s known as a “butt call” or “butt dial. It means when you inadvertently call someone by mistake from your cell phone. Most times they result in a simple “sorry,” and a hang-up, but other times they can lead to a major embarrassment.
Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani seems to have recently suffered the latter. According to reports, in the calls that accidentally connected to an unintended party, Mr. Giuliani spoke about needing money and attacked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
As you probably know, lawmakers have demanded documents from Trump’s outspoken lawyer earlier this month as part of the presidential impeachment inquiry. In the past, he publicly admitted asking Ukrainian officials to investigate widely debunked corruption allegations against Mr. Biden. Three Democratic-led committees are currently investigating whether President Trump tried to pressure Ukraine’s president into investigating Mr. Biden in exchange for military aid.
What Did Rudy Say?
NBC investigative reporter Rich Shapiro says he received two voicemails from Mr. Giuliani in the space of a month. He described them as the result of “what is known, in casual parlance, as a butt dial.”
Mr Shapiro missed the first call, mid-afternoon on 28 September, because he was at a child’s birthday party. He had interviewed Mr. Giuliani for an article the day before. For the entirety of the ensuing three-minute voicemail – which Shapiro assumes that Rudy did not know was connected, nor being recorded — Giuliani reportedly attacked Mr. Biden and his family.
“Biden has been trading in on his public office since he was a senator,” Mr Giuliani reportedly said to an unidentified man. In the conversation, he brought up the discredited allegations that Joe Biden, when vice-president, stopped an investigation in Ukraine to protect his son Hunter.
“He did the same thing in China. And he tried to do it in Kazakhstan and in Russia,” Mr. Giuliani reportedly added. “They don’t want to investigate because he’s protected, so we gotta force them to do it,” Giuliani says near the end of the recording
In the second voicemail, left on the night of 16 October, Mr. Giuliani again inadvertently recorded a conversation with an unknown man.
“We need a few hundred thousand,” Mr. Giuliani reportedly said at one point, in a conversation that Mr. Shapiro says covered Bahrain and an unknown man named Robert.
Mr. Giuliani has not yet commented on the calls.
Apparently yielding to pressure from the GOP, House Democrats have introduced a resolution to formalize their impeachment inquiry and adopt rules to govern the proceedings. The resolution comes after sustained complaints by congressional Republicans and the White House that the inquiry hasn’t followed past precedent and violates the president’s due process rights.
But, illustrating the balancing act involved as the 2020 election cycle gets started, Democrats have adamantly denied that the document is an “impeachment resolution,” perhaps out of concern for how that label would play in more moderate swing districts.
The resolution directs the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Judiciary, and Ways and Means Committees to “continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump.”
Republicans, however, have countered that there is no “existing” impeachment inquiry because the House has not voted to open one as it did during the Clinton and Nixon impeachments — and Tuesday’s resolution does not explicitly open the probe, either.
“The resolution put forward by Speaker Pelosi confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote,” the White House said in a statement. “It continues this scam by allowing Chairman Schiff, who repeatedly lies to the American people, to hold a new round of hearings, still without any due process for the President.”
The White House statement continued, “The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee. Even then, the White House’s rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written. This resolution does nothing to change the fundamental fact that House Democrats refuse to provide basic due process rights to the Administration.”
What Does the Resolution D0 for Republicans?
The Democrats’ resolution specifies that ranking Republicans in the minority on the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees (Reps. Doug Collins and Devin Nunes, respectively) will have the authority, with the concurrence of committee chairs in the majority, to subpoena witnesses and compel their testimony — a major demand that the White House and top Republicans had made in recent weeks.
If the chair does not consent, the minority can appeal to the full committee. It is common in other proceedings for committee chairs to essentially have veto authority over subpoenas sought by ranking minority members.
The resolution further directs the Intelligence Committee, in consultation with the other committees, to prepare a report on its findings to the Judiciary Committee, which would actually write any “Articles of Impeachment.” In response to GOP complaints about Democrats’ selective leaks of opening statements and depositions, the document also authorizes the public release of testimony transcripts, with only sensitive or classified information being redacted.
And, the resolution permits Republicans to submit written demands for testimony and other evidence, to cross-examine witnesses, and raise objections.
There is no timeline given for the impeachment inquiry to conclude. The House Rules Committee, which is the gateway for most measures in the House, will meet Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET to prepare the resolution for the House floor, including by adding additional procedures. The full House will debate and vote on the measure Thursday morning, with a vote expected by midday.
President Trump referred to the impeachment process as a “lynching.” In colloquial usage, the word means that a person is being unfairly treated – outside the bounds of law and tradition. We often call our adversaries in such a situation as a “lynch mob.”
It is, of course, a rhetorical allusion – not a statement of literality. It is a “catch phrase” that has been in common use for generations.
In its current manifestation, it is also another example of how Trump hatred has distorted and reversed the norms of civil discourse. Within moments of Trump’s use of the word, the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement went into high gear – claiming that Trump is engaging in racist rhetoric.
According to virtually every Democrat presidential candidate, the use of the word was ripping open the deep wounds of slavery and segregation – alluding to an era in which more than 4000 people were summarily hanged without due process or the right of a fair trial. About three- fourths of the victims were black Americans.
According to such shameless race baiters as Al Sharpton, Trump’s use of the word was more evidence of his racist soul – minimally an insensitivity to the impact such language has on the African American community.
As with all anti-Trump narratives, the concocted lynching controversy was played out in the elitist east coast media for days and would be archived for periodic future use – whenever the propaganda press chose to pile on with a repetitious history of condemnations of Trump. It has now become a permanent addition to the media echo chamber.
As with much of the negative reporting on Trump, the lynching controversy requires a complete re-invention of history and reality. As an allusion the use of “lynch mob” and “lynching” have been as common as mosquitoes on a hot humid day in Georgia.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was one of the Democrat hopefuls who did not have much to say about Trump’s use of the word. Maybe that is because in a television interview during the Clinton impeachment hearing, Biden referred to the process as a … you guessed it … lynching.
In a total escape from logic and reality, Biden now claims that Trump used the word deliberately while he, Biden, used the word unintendedly – without malice aforethought. Really? Biden then added his use of the “L” word to his growing list of apologies of past statements and actions.
Democrat Congressman Jim Mc Dermott also used the newly forbidden word – and he even went further in a speech on the House floor during the Clinton impeachment hearing. He factiously suggested that Republicans were “… going to find a rope, find a tree, and ask questions later.” And how did his Democrat colleagues respond? They applauded.
Then-Senator John Kerry and then-Senate Leader Harry Reid were also among the verbalizers of the “L” word from the Senate floor, no less.
New York Congressman Jerry Nadler criticized House Republicans for criticizing the impeachment process by saying, “In pushing the process, in pushing the arguments of fairness and due process the Republicans so far have been running a lynch mob.”
Perhaps the most notable examples of using the “L” word came from New York Congressman Gregory Meeks and Illinois Congressman Danny Davis. Meeks called the impeachment of Clinton a “political lynching” and Davis referred to it as a “lynching in the People’s House.” Meeks and Davis are both black legislators. If “lynching” was such a hurtful racist word, you would think they – above all people – would have known that.
It is obvious what is going on here. Reality cannot stand in the way of maligning Trump – and that hypocrisy remains the dominant characteristic of the political class.
So … ignore the mock shock. And, if you want to get away from all the heavy political news of the day, you can always play “Hangman” online at hangmanwordgame.com – or as a “cool math game” at coolmathgames.com. There are other sites featuring what is described as a “classic fun game.”
FOOTNOTE: If there is any value in conjuring up the historic reality of lynchings in America it might be to remind us that virtually every lynching of a black American was done by Democrats with the tacit approval – or even participation of – the racist and segregationist Democrat leadership in Dixie. Repeated Republican attempts to make lynching a federal civil rights crime in the 1930s, were defeated by President Franklin Roosevelt and his Democrat allies in Congress. Just saying.
So, there ‘tis.
Yes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually said that – and the pro-impeachment press played her comment without rebuttal. That let her blatant and obvious political lie stand. That is what the elitist media do.
But what about … ?
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters calling for Trump’s impeachment BEFORE he was inaugurated. She raised that desire during the transition period when the Democratic Party, the political left and most of the east coast liberal media were in a state of shock. The knee-jerk mood on the left was to undo what the public had done – elect Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.
Since it is not possible to impeach a President before he takes office – despite what unhinged folks like Waters seem to think — the dazed left tried to get Electoral College electors to break faith by defying the vote of their constituents to elect someone – anyone else — to be President. That was not even the craziest idea emanating from the deranged left.
We can recall that there was even a totally idiotic effort to have the Congress refuse to seat President Trump – even though the Congress has no authority to do that. And the Congress can only impeach AFTER a person takes office. Duh! And that is exactly what they are trying to do now.
In offering up her mendacious talking point, Nancy appears to have conveniently forgotten that Maxine Waters repeated and repeated her call for an impeachment of Trump throughout his years in office. Pelosi seems to have forgotten that Texas Congressman Al Green entered a bill of impeachment in the first year of the Trump presidency. Other bills of impeachment were entered subsequently. These folks obviously came to Congress with malice of forethought to impeach Trump.
Did Pelosi forget about Minnesota Congresswoman Rashid Tlaib who told her young son that she was going to Washington to “Impeach the m*****f****r.” When she relayed that bit of dubious motherhood to the others in her freshman class, she was cheered and applauded vigorously.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made no secret of her intent to push for impeachment of the President as soon as she was sworn in.
Contrary to Pelosi’s contention that no one comes to Congress with a desire to impeach a President, it is more accurate to say that the vast majority of her Democrat caucus in the 116th Congress came there motivated by one unifying thought – impeach President Trump.
So, there, tis.
After a cadre of House Republicans stormed a closed-door deposition in a secure area and managed to disrupt the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry for hours, House Oversight Committee ranking member Jim Jordan kept the pressure on Democrats by pushing for more transparency — including public testimony from the whistleblower at the center of the probe. In an initial letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff Jordan — joined by House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes and Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul — called for the whistleblower to come out of hiding, so that his or her “sources and credibility” can be “fully assessed.” The committee chairs noted that Schiff had previously promised that the whistleblower would provide “unfiltered” testimony “very soon” concerning an Aug. 12 complaint.
But, the Republicans charged, Schiff abruptly “reversed course” after reports of the whistleblower’s potential political bias emerged, along with evidence that Democratic congressional committee staff had spoken to the whistleblower before the complaint was filed.
The Republicans asserted that evidence has since emerged that “contradicts” the claims in the whistleblower’s initial complaint, including that the Ukrainian president has said he felt no “pressure” during a July call with President Trump to investigate 2020 Dem front-runner Joe Biden, his son Hunter and Biden business interests in Ukraine, and the erroneous claim that Trump had asked Ukrainians to hand over a server. These and similar revelations of inconstancies have prompted Jordan and fellow Republicans to demand more information on the person’s sources.
The lawmakers further demanded testimony from any sources the whistleblower relied upon to draft the complaint, which contained only secondhand information.
House Republicans Storm the Inquiry
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., claimed that Schiff “fled with the testifying witness” when roughly 50 Republicans, including several not on one of those three committees, went “face-to-face and demand access to ongoing impeachment proceedings.”
Some Republicans asked to be arrested by Capitol police officers, Fox News has learned, hoping that it would help them make their case that Democrats are abusing the impeachment process.
Republicans said they took the dramatic step to storm the deposition because Democrats’ impeachment inquiry hasn’t been transparent, even as Democrats selectively leak some testimony and evidence to the press. The inquiry is being led by three committees made up of both Democrats and Republicans, but members of Congress not on those committees do not have access to any of the sensitive documents or interviews relating to the probe. Republicans also do not have co-equal power to subpoena witnesses or pursue evidence in the probe.
The standoff unfolded Wednesday morning after lawmakers held a news conference in which they accused House Democrats of lack of transparency. The Republicans specifically decried that the deposition was happening behind closed doors and said Americans should be able to read the transcripts of any interviews being conducted as part of impeachment.
Democrats have promised to release the transcripts when it won’t affect their investigation.
It seems pretty much a given that Articles of Impeachment will be drafted against President Trump in the House. However, it is also just as likely that he will not be convicted and removed from office in the Republican dominated Senate.
However, some political experts are predicting that while Trump will stay, the GOP majority in the Senate could be a victim of the fallout from an impeachment trial. Democrats are targeting President Trump. What they may get instead is the Senate, and could this really be their plan all along?
According to David M. Drucker, writing for the Washington Examiner, here is how and why this can play out.
In a Senate trial to adjudicate articles of impeachment sent up by the House, “at least a handful of vulnerable Senate Republicans risk the wrath of grassroots conservatives if they vote to convict and remove Trump from office. The same group, staring down impeachment with the 2020 primary season drawing near, could just as easily alienate general election voters with a vote to acquit the president,” writes Drucker.
He goes on to say that while Trump is unlikely to be convicted by the Senate, some Republicans will be tempted to support it.
“The House makes the articles of impeachment; we sit as a jury,” Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters Monday. “There isn’t any way you’re going to know how that plays out until it’s part of public discussion.”
As of the most recent polls, Republican voters are heavily against impeachment. Democrats are strongly in favor, and independents are leaning supportive. It is that dynamic that could squeeze Republican incumbents up for reelection in battleground states, forcing them to choose between appeasing a feverishly pro-Trump GOP base or distancing themselves from an unpopular president to appeal to swing voters and soft partisans. Among them are Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Susan Collins of Maine, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Martha McSally of Arizona.
“They were all going to have tough races to begin with, and Trump isn’t making it any easier on them,” said a Republican strategist, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.
Republicans Senators Will Be Bound By the Rules
Under Senate rules, Republicans during a trial would be severely limited from running interference for Trump. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would preside and hold significant power over motions, and that could present more problems for Republicans. Republicans could find themselves fending off accusations from the Right that they are abetting the Democrats if the trial goes poorly for the president.
“Senators don’t have an active role. The rules mandate that we sit silently,” Sen. Josh Hawley told the Washington Examiner. The Missouri Republican conceded that there would be virtually nothing he or his GOP colleagues could do to overturn rulings made by Roberts that might damage Trump. “It will be strange and it will be hard,” he said.
If you follow the recent polls – and God knows why you would – they indicate that a slim majority – around 52 percent or so – favor impeaching President Trump. Some polls even indicate that a majority of the American public favor removing him from office.
That gives Democrats a rationale for moving ahead with their three-and-a-half-year campaign to undo the 2016 election. It is now 99.9 percent certain that they will impeach the President. They are claiming popular support.
Since at least one or two Republicans in the House and Utah Senator Mitt Romney in the Senate have expressed support for the impeachment inquiry, Democrats also claim bipartisan support. A few outliers are not, however, an indication of bipartisan support.
But then there are those other polls – the ones that get much less notice by the east coast left-wing news media. Those are the state-based polls in such battleground states as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. In those key states, most folks OPPOSE impeachment. In those critical swing congressional districts in which a Democrat won in a district previously carried by Trump, the voters are very much OPPOSED to impeachment. The numbers generally run in the 53 to 40 range against — with the remainder undecided.
These numbers should scare the hell out of Democrats presidential candidates and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It could mean the re-election of Trump and the re-taking of the House by the GOP if they proceed with impeachment – and they have little choice but to impeach. If they did not vote to impeach, their radical base would go nuts and Trump would rightfully declare all their talk of criminal and impeachable behavior to be political nonsense.
The apparent disparity in the polling numbers between the national figures and the state-based figures reflects the same dynamic that gave Trump the majority in the Electoral College even as Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. It could happen again based on the current polling numbers.
It is the weight of the large populations in blue states. Such states a California, New York and Illinois produce HUGE numbers for the Democrats – ergo votes for impeachment. But no matter how lopsided the numbers, the votes in the Electoral College would favor Trump. You can win California with 90 percent of the vote, but if you lose Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, you are losing the election.
In 2016, California alone gave Clinton the votes needed to gain a majority of the popular vote. But it was Trump’s narrow victories in several of the key battleground states that gave him the Electoral College by a significant amount – and with it, the presidency.
If you translate the current polling numbers to votes in the 2020 General Election – and assume that Trump can carry states and congressional districts in which there is opposition to impeachment, much less removal – it is very possible that 2020 could be a repeat of 2016. The Democrat candidate might again win the popular vote – based on lopsided majorities in California and New York — and still, lose the Electoral College votes to Trump.
An additional danger for Pelosi is that many of those Trump congressional districts that flipped in 2018 will flop in 2020 – giving back the majority in the House to the GOP and sending Pelosi into retirement.
Pelosi & Company fully understand that it is extremely unlikely that the Senate will remove Trump from office. They are banking on inflicting enough damage on Trump and the Republican brand to enable them to win both the White House and the Senate. It is a high-risk strategy with no guarantee that it will not backfire. But Democrats are already well down the slippery slope of impeachment. Whether it is a good strategy for Democrats or a potential disaster, only time will tell.
So, there ‘tis.
For all of those who have been saying how “brave” it has been for Senator Mitt Romney to speak out against President Trump the way he has, meet “Pierre Delecto.” That is the name on a fictitious twitter account the Utah Senator created to anonymously criticize the president.
Two journalists from different publications have pieced together enough clues to confirm that Senator Mitt Romney has a secret Twitter account — under the amusing and vaguely French “nom de plume,” Pierre Delecto. The former Republican presidential nominee created the account in 2011, just before announcing his bid for the White House.
During an interview with The Atlantic this week, Romney mentioned to writer McKay Coppins that he indeed uses a secret Twitter account — “What do they call me, a lurker?” he said. Romney also maintains a verified personal account and an official one as senator from Utah. While Romney revealed his secret Twitter habit, he did not reveal the handle. That took some sleuthing by Slate writer Ashley Feinberg who assumed Romney would be following his family members with the secret Twitter persona, and by tracing the follower of his family, she discovered the common friend “Pierre Delecto.”
According to Feinberg, what was so telling about Delecto’s account was the content. His first follow was Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, Feinberg found. He also followed lesser-known Romney family members and quite a number of high-profile Republicans and political pundits. Feinberg also noted that of Delecto’s 257 “likes,” 30 were on tweets from Romney’s real Twitter account. She was confident that Delecto was, in fact, Mitt Romney himself – and she was right!
Meanwhile It’s Open Season on Mittens By the GOP
Despite the secret account, Romney has continued to be openly critical of the president, even publicly supportive of his impeachment, which has most of the GOP furious. Once conservative, now Trumpian groups such as the Club For Growth call him a “Democratic secret asset” for not completely discounting the idea of impeachment.
President Trump himself has lashed out at Romney’s disloyalty to him, and by extension the Republican Party. At a recent press conference the President complained that Republicans were not united enough in defending him against what he called “vicious” adversaries bent on removing him. Launching into a series of attacks on Democrats, Trump said that they were “vicious and they stick together. They don’t have Mitt Romney in their midst — they don’t have people like that.”
Romney, a frequent Trump critic, has called the president’s attempts to solicit dirt on a political rival “wrong and appalling,” making him one of the most outspoken Republicans on the president’s behavior in office, and has declined to rule out impeaching him. In a fiery speech last week, Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said the Syria withdrawal would be seen as “a bloodstain on the annals of American history.”