In the midst of this holiday season, I found myself channeling Clement Clarke Moore and his epic holiday poem.
‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through the House
Impeachment was stirring, with considerable joust;
The Articles were prepared by the chairmen unfair,
In the hopes that Pelosi, no vote would she spare.
The members assembled all smug at their desks;
While visions of Trump gave Democrats no rest.
The Speaker with gavel and Schiff at his post,
They addled our brains with their long-winded roast.
When off to the right there arose such a clatter,
I ran to the chamber to see what’s the matter.
Away to the gallery, I flew like a flash,
I tore open the doors with a loud sounding crash.
The lights of the chamber seem dim and so low,
Giving an ominous look to the people below.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
A miniature Nadler I saw from the rear.
He was speaking to another in such somber riff,
And I knew in a moment it was his friend shifty Schiff.
To your seats now assemble, I heard Pelosi proclaim.
She gaveled and shouted and called each by their name.
Now Omar! Now Clyburn! Now Dingell and Pascrell
Come Shalala! Come Lujan! Come Waters and Swalwell.
To the front of the chamber, to your seats in this hall.
Now vote away! Vote away! Vote away all.
To their seats in the chamber each member they flew,
With the hands full of papers, and those Articles, too.
And then in a twinkling, the call of the roll,
With the secretary of the House taking the toll.
As I drew in my head and kept gazing about.
Down came the gavel with Pelosi’s great clout.
She was dressed in all black, from her head to her foot,
As the scheme of her caucus had now taken root
With the pretense of solemnity, she stood at the podium
With confidence in the outcome, despite its odium
A bundle of votes, she drew from the floor
Of the number she needed, there were quite a few more.
Her eyes, how they squinted, her lips pursed so tight
You could tell that the Speaker was ready to fight.
When the votes were all counted and their deed was then done,
Madam Speaker had warned against any expression of fun.
With a wink of her eye and a frown on her head
She gave warning to her members – a warning they dread.
The Republicans stayed loyal to the positions they held,
But four Democrats protested by refusing to meld.
While shaking a finger at those who oppose,
She picked up the gavel and in her hand it arose.
Banging on the rostrum, she declared with great might,
That Impeachment is accomplished on this cold winter night.
So, there ‘tis.
When I was younger, I feared that I might die young. One day I woke up and realized I had become too old to die young. I, like several of the candidates for President of the United States, have slipped into what I call the “red zone” of life – that time when anything can happen at any time.
Since I am in the age range of several of the leading Democrat candidates, I have given serious thought to that issue. It is almost a year until the next election. Will the septuagenarian candidates make it to election day without a trip or two to the hospital?
I posed that question because I did a mental inventory of my friends who are in the same age group. Almost every one of them has had a trip to the hospital or been diagnosed with a serious illness – not always life-threatening, but serious enough. Many required surgery – including myself.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has already hit the emergency room with a mild heart attack. Having had one or two of those in the past, I can attest to the fact that you can return to normal life for a while – but not the life one leads when they are 40, 50 or even 60.
The 95-year-old former President Jimmy Carter said it directly. He declared that no person over the age of 80 can handle the job of President. I think he is probably right – and two of the Democrat candidates – Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden – will enter the eighth decade of life during their potential first term in office.
Based on my own experience and general statistics, I see a very high possibility – maybe even a probability – that one or more of the older candidates will have a health scare before the election. It could change the entire trajectory of the campaigns — depending on who it is and when it might occur.
If it happens when they are a candidate, it is mitigable. If it happens after taking the oath of office, it can be a much more serious problem.
I know it is not politically correct to raise the issue of age, but as Biden often says – “come on, now. Get real”
So, there ‘tis.
House Democrats are about to impeach President Trump in the most partisan and shallow impeachment in American history. However, they are already calling on their counterparts in the Senate to be fair and vote their consciences – arrogantly assuming that a conscientious vote would be for impeachment.
The hypocritical narrative being played out all over the anti-Trump media is that the likelihood that the Senate will acquit Trump largely along partisan lines is some sort of travesty. It has been assumed for three years – and accepted as fact for several months – that the House Democrats would impeach Trump.
From the start of the unprecedented “impeachment hearings” led by California Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, it was a foregone conclusion that the Democrat majority on the Judiciary Committee – which has the Constitutional responsibility to conduct actual impeachment hearings –would simply vote Articles of Impeachment and send their recommendation to the floor of the House where Democrats would complete their pre-ordained plan.
Democrats Jerry-rigged the process from beginning to end – even before newly elected Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib announced that her primary mission in serving in the peoples’ House was to “impeach the mother (expletive deleted).” It was from beginning to end, an impeachment looking for a reason – even a bogus reason. As the Washington Post so aptly stated in a 2017 Inauguration Day headline, “The Campaign to Impeach President Trump has Begun.”
Now that they have accomplished their skullduggery, those very same House Democrats – and their echoing friends in the news media – are begging for what they describe as a nonpartisan action in the Senate. They are trying to shame – and even threaten – Senate Republicans to put country ahead of party – intimating that that can only be done by impeaching Trump.
Democrats point to an oath the senators will take in advance of the trial – a pledge that they will be open and fair-minded. They fear that the Republicans will vote along party lines. Hmmmm. What about the Senate Democrats? If that oath has any meaning in such a political situation – and it does not – at least it should apply to the Democrats, too.
The hypocrisy is so obvious that it is bewildering that Democrats would even advance such arguments since they only remind folks of the brutally partisan and baseless action they took in the House.
It is the Senate Democrats who should examine their consciences and the Constitution. They should reject the political motivations of the House Democrats and reject the flawed and tainted Articles of Impeachment passed on to them.
If this was a judicial process instead of a partisan political fiasco, the case would have been thrown out of court on the first Motion to Dismiss — and those prosecuting this case would be accused of prosecutorial misconduct.
The Senate will most certainly acquit the President – apparently rather expeditiously. It will be the equivalent of responding to a Motion to Dismiss. While I would like too see folks like the whistleblower and Hunter Biden brought to the stand, the case of the prosecution is so flawed that quick dispatching may be the most merciful and appropriate action.
So, there ‘tis.
As House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., abruptly wrapped up an all-day marathon hearing close to midnight on Wednesday, postponing votes on the articles of impeachment matter until Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that there is “no chance” that President Trump will be removed from office, once the matter goes to trial in the upper chamber.
Speaking to Fox’s Sean Hannity, McConnell said he even thought that could be some Democratic senators who would side with the GOP and vote to acquit the president.
“There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office. My hope is there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment. And Sean, it wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats.”
The remarks came as lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee held a heated markup session on two articles of impeachment related to Trump’s demand that the leader of Ukraine announce the opening of an investigation into a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter. One article focuses on abuse of power and the other on obstruction of Congress.
When the shelved vote takes place Friday morning, and the articles will likely pass on a party-line vote — the full House will vote on the articles next week, and, if passed, the Senate will hold a trial on the case against Trump in January.
Despite a nearly three-month investigation in the House, in which a parade of current and former administration officials voiced concern over Trump’s actions, McConnell said he doubted the merits of the Democrats’ evidence against Trump.
“The case is so darn weak coming over from the House,” he said.
The majority leader said that he has been coordinating with Trump’s legal team throughout the impeachment process, an arrangement that would continue if the Senate begins a trial. It would take a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove Trump from office, but the GOP holds a 53-47 majority, meaning at least 20 Republican senators would have to join every Democrat in voting to remove the president.
Such a result is about as likely as me inheriting a million dollars from a Nigerian prince!
McConnell also signaled that he hopes the impeachment process in the Senate will be “shorter” rather than a drawn-out effort that could detract from the 2020 election.
Leading LGBTQ activists are slamming Democratic candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg for his ties to the Salvation Army, an organization that the activists say is actively hostile to gays.
According to a recent report in Out Magazine, the South Bend mayor has participated several times in the “Red Kettle Ring Off” for the Christmas season in the Indiana city.
Out shared a link to reports of Mayor Pete attending the annual charity event in local South Bend media from 2015 and 2017, and at least one other photo from 2016 surfaced on Twitter. In 2018, he held the annual Mayor’s Night Out — an open-listening event to let residents quiz city officials — at a Salvation Army community center.
The magazine – which claims to have the highest circulation of any LGBTQ monthly publication in the United States — called the Salvation Army a homophobic organization “justified by religion,” noting among other things that it had claimed religious exemptions from a San Francisco ordinance on gay-partner benefits and that a 2012 spokesman had said gay relationships go “against the will of God.”
“Even famously homophobic chicken peddlers Chick-fil-A recently severed its relationship with the Salvation Army, and when you’re gay and less sensitive about anti-queerness than Chick-fil-A, that’s pretty bleak,” Out magazine wrote.
Pro-gay Twitter denizens were even less kind to “Mayor Pete.”
“Surprised he’s not eating chic-fil-a in this photo,” wrote one user, while another called him an “Uncle Tom.”
The long-awaited report from IG Michael Horowitz has dropped. The investigation into the origins of the FBI’s probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election found several procedural errors, but overall no indication of any “political bias” by the agency. The review also found that the FBI was justified in launching its July 2016 investigation into the campaign, known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”
The 434-page report is based on more than 1 million documents from the Justice Department and the FBI and interviews with more than 100 witnesses. It examined the procedures for obtaining the 90-day surveillance warrant and renewals of that warrant for Carter Page, a Trump campaign aide. Horowitz probed the use of the Steele dossier as justification.
While the report did not contain the anticipated bombshells hoped for and predicted by the GOP, it is not the end of the story for Republicans and allies of the president.
Soon after the report was released, Attorney General Bill Barr challenged its findings. In a statement to the press, Barr said, “The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.” reads.
U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is leading a separate review of the FBI’s investigation, joined the bar in rejecting Horowitz’s findings.
“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Durham said in a statement.
Durham noted that his investigation includes information from other entities outside the Justice Department, “both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.” Durham’s probe is a criminal investigation, which gives him the authority to issue subpoenas to witnesses and documents, as well as to impanel a grand jury, whereas Horowitz’s report was just as a procedural review.
Durham’s inquiry has had a broader scope than Horowitz’s, including a focus on foreign actors as well as the CIA, while Horowitz concentrated his attention on the DOJ and FBI.
What Should We Expect From Durham’s Investigation?
Still, Horowitz’s report offered several clues as to potential avenues that Durham may be pursuing. For example, Horowitz noted that the FBI omitted exculpatory statements by former Trump aide George Papadopoulos in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant application to surveil another ex-Trump aide, Carter Page.
Horowitz noted that the bureau, in its FISA application and subsequent renewals, completely failed to mention that Page had been “approved as an operational contact” and served as a valuable asset, presumably for the CIA, from 2008 to 2013.
Papadopoulos previously told Fox News he was convinced that the CIA was behind an “operation” in which he met intelligence community informants in London in late 2016 who tried to probe whether the Trump campaign had ties to Russia. He later said he would head to Greece to obtain money in a safe from the FBI or CIA that he said was intended to entrap him.
Additionally, according to Horowitz’s report, the CIA viewed the now-discredited dossier from British ex-spy Christopher Steele as an “internet rumor,” even though key bureau officials including former FBI Director James Comey sought to include the dossier in its highly sensitive intelligence community assessment on Russian interference, known as the ICA.
Sources previously told Fox News that a late-2016 email chain indicated Comey told bureau subordinates that then-CIA Director John Brennan insisted the dossier be included in the ICA. A Brennan representative pointed the finger back at Comey.
Current FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement that he accepted the report’s findings and acknowledged that “certain FBI personnel” had failed to comply with the FBI’s policies and standards of conduct. He wrote that the bureau “embraces the need for thoughtful, meaningful remedial action,” and in response to the report, Wray said that he has “ordered more than 40 corrective steps to address the Report’s recommendations.”
Last week, in an exclusive interview on “Justice with Judge Jeanine” Vice President Mike Pence responded to the House Intelligence Committee’s 300-page impeachment report, which listed the Vice President among other senior officials as “either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the president.”
He told host Jeanine Pirro, that he doesn’t believe “it’s a foregone conclusion” that House Democrats will secure enough votes to pass articles of impeachment.
The report also blames Pence for failing to produce “a single document” requested by panels and blocking the release of part of a transcript of his September 18 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Witnesses that actually testified before the Democratic committee actually testified that the subject of investigations never came up either before, during, or after my meeting with President Zelensky in Poland,” Pence told Pirro. “What did we talk about was what President Trump asked me to ask about.”
“When he asked me to go to Poland to represent him, he’d already scheduled a meeting with President Zelensky. And, the president sat me down and said, ‘Look, we are reviewing this aid, but I wanna know what he’s doing about corruption.’ President Zelensky was literally elected in a landslide and the parliamentary election for his party was a landslide on an anti-corruption agenda,” Pence explained. “And, the president said to me: ‘Find out what he’s doing on that — in a sense, you know — check him out, see what you make of him on that.”
Last Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced that Democrats would proceed with articles of impeachment against President Trump, declaring that the president’s conduct “leaves us no choice but to act.”
But, when Pirro asked, “Will the president be impeached?”
The VP responded, “I don’t yet know what’s going to happen in the House. I know that Speaker Pelosi has announced articles of impeachment, but I have to tell you — I served in the Congress for 12 years and I don’t think it’s a forgone conclusion… that the Democrats will be able to get the votes to pass articles of impeachment.”
The Latest From the Impeachment Hearings
However, Vice President Pence’s comments came before Monday’s contentious Judiciary Committee hearings where lawyers from both parties sparred in blunt terms over whether President Trump indeed abused his power in dealings with Ukraine — while committee members clashed repeatedly over a process, Republicans decried as a “rubber stamp.”
The hearing — which consisted of lawyers for both parties essentially making their closing arguments, including by showing video clips of key statements from witnesses, Trump and others — comes as the committee is expected to vote in the coming days on articles of impeachment against Trump.
The hearing sets off a pivotal week as Democrats march toward a full House vote expected by Christmas. In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Trump and his allies acknowledge he will likely be impeached in the Democratic-controlled House, but they also expect acquittal next year in the Senate, where Republicans have the majority. A vote to convict requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, where Republicans hold 53 of 100 seats. Regardless of what happens in the lower chamber, it is unlikely that any Republican senators would cross party lines and vote to remove Trump from office.
An ex-marine, who is running for Congress has called former NFL pro, — a national disgrace.
Jeremy Staat, who also played in 31 NFL games across four seasons, wrote to supporters in a recent fundraising email that Kaepernick is a “national disgrace and I’m tired of seeing him celebrated like he’s a hero.”
Last week, Staat – who served in Iraq and is now running for Congress in California – told “Fox & Friends that “[Kaepernick] knew what he was getting into when he decided to kneel and now he’s going to go ahead and capitalize” on his decision. He accused the former NFL quarterback of “essentially extorting the black community and using Nike as his little shiny horse, if you will, to ride in on.”
Staat’s comments came after Kaepernick spoke the week prior to the “Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony” also known as “Unthanksgiving,” on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. The event is intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Native Americans occupying the famous island, which previously served as the site of a federal prison. The protest, which began on November 20, 1969, lasted 19 months.
Kaepernick tweeted on Thanksgiving Day, “Spent the morning at the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on the 50 year anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz. The US government has stolen over 1.5 billion acres of land from Indigenous people. Thank you to my Indigenous family, I’m with you today and always.”
Kaepernick started a national firestorm when he decided to kneel during the national anthem before NFL games to raise awareness about perceived social injustices across the U.S. He accused NFL owners in a grievance of blackballing him from the league because of the anthem protest, but the two sides settled earlier this year. He has not played since 2016.
Staat, who is running for Congress as a Republican in California’s 8th district, said that he is tired of veterans being treated as second-class citizens and that instead of attacking law enforcement like Kaepernick, he wants to be part of the solution by helping President Trump in Congress.
“If you want to be part of the solution, go out and find ways to make the problem better. Don’t go out and attack individuals who are just doing their jobs,” he said, adding that he wants to reform the V.A. but is not going to “attack” doctors and nurses at V.A. hospitals.
Staat played alongside the late Pat Tillman at Arizona State before playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1998 to 2000. The former defensive end joined the Marine Corps in 2006 and deployed to Iraq the following year.
While billionaire superheroes like Tony Stark’s Iron Man, are unabashed capitalists, it seems that the Hulk wants to smash capitalism. Or at least that’s the feeling of Mark Ruffalo who portrayed the “Jade Giant” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The “Avengers: Endgame” and “Dark Waters” actor, who has been an outspoken critic of America’s economic and capitalist structure in the past, took to Twitter recently to share an article and ask for the country to consider getting rid of capitalism.
“It’s time for an economic revolution,” Ruffalo wrote. “Capitalism today is failing us, killing us, and robbing from our children’s future.”
The tweet was accompanied by a Nov. 21 op-ed from Time entitled, “How America’s Elites Lost Their Grip,” in which writer Anand Giridharadas lays out the case that Americans are increasingly in support of gutting the country’s capitalist economy in favor of a new system. The writer credits the rise of people like 2020 presidential hopefuls, democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for not only calling capitalism into question but making its removal seem more and more viable since 2016.
Although that “system” which he maligns, seems to be doing very well by Ruffalo. Ruffalo made $6 million for his role in “Avengers: Infinity War” and is worth an estimated $30 million.
The actor previously lent his support in the 2016 presidential election to Sanders before he lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton. Speaking on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in November, Ruffalo admitted that the years since, have only strengthened his support for Bernie.
“For me, I started with Bernie on this trip and… when I think about it, what I see is, he led then and now he’s leading now,” the actor explained. “He was never another party, he never had different views about these things. The rest of the United States has finally caught up to what this cat has been doing already for his entire career. And you know that when he gets into office, he is going to be fighting for us!”
In October, the “Hulk” actor took to Twitter to call for democratic socialism once again, writing, “Democratic Socialism says it’s a moral wrong that 57% of income is going to the top 1%. Universal health care. Medical & family paid leave.”
Congressional Democrats have now released their scathing nine-point impeachment report, which accuses President Trump of abusing his office for partisan advantage in the Ukraine scandal, and of then seeking to obstruct the probe of his misdeeds.
The landmark report says the Intelligence Committee’s investigation determined that President Trump used $391 million in aid to Ukraine and a White House visit for its president, as leverage to force the embattled nation to announce “unfounded” investigations into Joe Biden and his son, as well as a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.
The 300-page report comes less than 24 hours before the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin taking up the case with its first formal impeachment hearing Wednesday morning. The report is expected to be transmitted to that committee following an evening vote and would form the basis for any articles of impeachment to be drafted.
“President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign,” the report said.
It said the inquiry “uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election.”
White House Dismisses Report
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham swiftly hit back in a statement slamming the nature of the Intelligence Committee’s inquiry and claiming it failed to prove any wrongdoing on Trump’s part.
“At the end of a one-sided sham process, Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump,” Grisham said. “This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations. Chairman Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing.”
The Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., conducted extensive interviews with witnesses connected to the Trump administration’s relationship with Ukraine after an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint alleging that during a July 25 phone call, Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help Rudy Giuliani investigate Democratic activities in 2016, as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
That phone call was at the center of the report, which said that “The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage,” the report said. “In doing so, the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.”
Trump has denied wrongdoing and said his call with Zelensky was “perfect,” while maintaining there was no such quid pro quo tying aid to investigations. One key witness, E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, alleged a clear quid pro quo involving a White House meeting and a “potential quid pro quo” involving the aid — but also acknowledged he never heard those conditions from Trump directly.
Zelensky has also denied there was any pressure put on him or any talk of a quid pro quo between the two leaders, but he did recently criticize the decision to delay the aid.
Meanwhile, Republicans drafted a report of their own, which rejected most, if not all of the claims, made by the Democratic majority.
“The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” the GOP report said.
With the Intelligence Committee’s report in their hands, the Judiciary Committee is next going to call constitutional law experts to testify regarding the relevant legal principles involved in impeachment, before determining whether or not to approve articles of impeachment, which would then go to the full House for a vote.
If the House should vote to impeach, the Senate would hold a trial, where a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict.