And the Momentum for Impeachment is Real…We start out the week with Part 1 on the important news of the day as it relates to Trump. The Dems are all amped up about this newfound momentum for impeachment from the Mueller report, plus Trump’s defiance in allowing documents & witnesses to help expose the truth, while most Dem presidential candidates are calling for an impeachment inquiry for political gain. We do have a lawless president repeatedly defying the Constitution, but there’s a strong political component to impeachment & Trump is being protected by his loyal cult. It actually seems correct what Trump said about his most loyal followers, that they wouldn’t leave the prez even if he shot somebody on 5th Avenue, so what other explanation is there for being under the spell of his mesmerizing trance than it really is a cult.
No American president has ever deserved impeachment more than Trump. Timing is everything, so we just need more solid evidence to turn the tide towards a majority of Americans agreeing with impeachment. I’m just not yet convinced actually declaring impeachment hearings right away is the best way to proceed for now, since the most important thing is to keep the various investigations going along with securing the proper documents & key witnesses to bring out the facts. Granted, the evidence so far is rather conclusive Trump has violated the law in several ways. From obstruction of justice to illegal campaign finance payments & tax fraud, it appears America is living under a criminalized presidency. With any other president doing similar crimes at any other point in history, our American president would be long gone by now. But the GOP & their media echo has become that cult of personality living inside a nearly impenetrable bubble, so it would take something dramatic to puncture the bubble’s exterior in making impeachment count.
Overall with over a dozen ongoing probes in Congress & federal/state jurisdictions following credible trails of serious malfeasance, it’s likely more crimes will be uncovered soon, from which point I would say the next major bombshell headline of criminal behavior on the part of Trump should provide the impetus for impeachment proceedings. Until then, the congressional probes could instead be named Trump criminal proceedings as a weekend MSNBC host suggested, which they do must act with haste. So in another words, let’s strategically wait on officially declaring impeachment to ride the coming wave of momentum that would occur when news of the next Trump crime is made public. The one big exception to that wait-&-see strategy would be if declaring impeachment hearings could clearly help access the important documents & witnesses (perhaps strengthening their subpoena power) the White House is so vociferously blocking. Here are some perspectives on that impeachment question by clicking on these links, which an impeachment vote in the House is likely at some point, but the timing should be based on the evidence still to come out:
Let the Hearings Commence
Congress is going to hold hearings starting next week about the Mueller report even without Mueller, including a testimony from John Dean a la Watergate. It’s obviously a ploy to sway public opinion but probably a good idea. The American people need to develop an appreciation for how serious this situation truly is, since it’s only our constitutional rule of law & free democracy on the line. These articles reveal how those congressional hearings are about to heat up in order to keep building up that momentum for impeachment:
More Cover-Ups Going On
Trump is obstructing justice into the investigations worse now than at any time during the Mueller probe. That right there says a lot about the Trump presidency, that any other president in history who would thumb his nose at the Constitution by defying subpoenas & a court order would have been blockbuster headlines, but for Trump it’s just par for the course & barely a blip on the radar. We’ve become numb to his constant waves of shenanigans & mayhem. Inside these links we see Trump instructed two former White House aides not to turn over documents requested by a congressional subpoena:
Then we see Trump & his AG crony Barr defied a court order to turn over transcripts of Michael Flynn’s discussions with Russians. It was disappointing to see the judge in that case decided to give them a pass today, when a contempt of court could have been forthcoming. See excerpts posted below pulled from the second link:
Criminal prosecution exacts punishment; impeachment upholds the Constitution and prevents further assaults on it. Many Americans, but far from a majority, think President Trump has committed impeachable acts but are wary of impeaching without hope of removal. However, if there is an indication that severe damage to the Constitution will occur unless Trump is removed, the House must act, and then engage public opinion to pressure the Senate. On Friday, we might have reached that breaking point. The Post reports: “Federal prosecutors on Friday declined to make public transcripts of recorded conversations between Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the United States in December 2016, despite a judge’s order.” The Justice Department argued that the documents need not be released because “it did not rely on such recordings to establish Flynn’s guilt or determine a recommendation for his sentencing.” Moreover, “Prosecutors also failed to release an unredacted version of portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn that the judge had ordered be made public.” Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe tells me, “Even if the district court’s order to release the Flynn-Kislyak transcripts goes further than justified by the sentencing matter before the court, I would’ve thought that, in a government of laws, the only way to avoid compliance is to take an appeal to a higher court.” The government made its arguments to the court, did not obtain a stay to our knowledge and did not seek an emergency appeal. From all appearances, the Trump administration has deliberately and willfully defied a court order.
“Normally when prosecutors don’t want to make something public for national security reasons, etc., they file a document under seal with the judge explaining that reasoning and requesting relief from the presumption that things should be made public,” says former prosecutor Mimi Rocah. “The fact that the government didn’t do that here is puzzling. Instead, they took a very unusual tact of refusing the judge’s order publicly, which suggests that they didn’t think the judge would go along with keeping the material under seal.” Rocah continues, “While it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have legitimate motives, the disrespectful and atypical nature of their action makes me suspicious. And it certainly doesn’t mean the judge is just going to say, ’Okay, let’s just forget I asked.’ ” How will Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, infamous for his tough treatment of prosecutors, react to this act of defiance? He could haul the prosecutors and their boss, Attorney General William P. Barr, into court to explain why they shouldn’t be held in contempt for violation of a court order. The court may or may not decide to exact punishment — at a time the president is challenging two court decisions upholding subpoenas for financial documents and the administration stands in defiance of a law requiring production of tax records upon the request of the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The House should, as a distinct part of its pre-impeachment fact-finding, hold “Hearings on the Defiance of Court Orders and Refusal to Produce Mandated Production of Witness and Documents and Subpoenas.”
Make no mistake, Trump’s conduct resembles conduct that was the basis Impeachment Article 3 against Richard M. Nixon. (“In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.”) The committee and the House don’t need Robert S. Mueller III or any other Trump witness to proceed. The result could be impeachment hearings against Trump or against Barr. If allowed to continue this conduct, the Trump administration will do permanent and serious damage to the Constitution. For this alone, impeachment and removal may be required.
The Grand Illusions stirred up by the President & Attorney General
Think about the abuse of power going on, with Trump & his cohort AG Barr refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas, but are far more interested in pursuing a ridiculous wild goose chase by investigating the investigators during the origins of the Russian probe in 2016. In reply to a question that basically calls Barr out for being a lapdog for the prez, asking whether he was concerned about how history will record his actions, he basically answered by saying everyone dies. Huh? He doesn’t seem to care less about his legacy, so he must feel free to cause as much carnage & damage as possible while he’s still alive. That weird conflated logic is presented in these links:
Yep, the Momentum for Impeachment has been Ratcheted Up
It’s too soon to tell for sure, but a couple of events this week may turn out to have been turning points in the Trump era. First, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a conservative Republican held a town hall meeting in his district to explain to his constituents why he has decided the president should be impeached. He was surprisingly well received. We learned that even some conservatives appreciate someone who has the courage to buck the party leadership on an issue of principle. Perhaps there’s a lesson in that for Democrats. The other event was the first comment anyone has heard from the sphinx-like special counsel Robert Mueller. More than few reporters and pundits called it a “game-changer,” if only because Mueller’s appearance proved that personal testimony is much more effective at telling a story than expecting people to read a 400-page report. If Mueller didn’t say anything on Wednesday that he hadn’t already said in the report, what he said was received very differently.
Some of that was understandable, since Attorney General William Barr’s interpretation of the report was highly misleading and he has repeatedly put himself in front of the cameras to muddy the waters ever since the report was turned over. Barr even raced to a TV studio while on vacation in Alaska to respond to Mueller’s comments, clearly intending to get in the final word. As Salon’s Amanda Marcotte observed, the right-wing punditocracy (and Donald Trump) are very well aware of what Mueller said, and what he meant. They reacted with the vitriolic hysteria one would expect. The reason is obvious. They know that in his restrained way, Mueller made one thing very clear on Wednesday: His report was intended to be taken up by the Congress as an impeachment referral. But Mueller’s statement on Wednesday, summing up his investigation with a focus on his reasons for not charging Trump with a crime — despite all the evidence of criminal behavior documented in Volume II of his report — showed once again that Mueller and Barr have very different points of view about the obligations of a special counsel and the responsibilities of the Department of Justice. We now know for sure that Mueller does not agree with Barr’s decision to declare that Trump did not obstruct justice.
Mueller Farmed Out the Rest of the Investigations
His implicit message: my institution (the justice department) cannot indict a sitting president. But your institution (the House) can vote to impeach Donald Trump and mandate a Senate trial for obstruction of justice and possible other “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Much of Mueller’s statement served as an explanation of the constraints that he felt because of a justice department legal interpretation that he cannot indict a sitting president. As Mueller bluntly put it: “A special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy.” Then Mueller, in the same procedural step-by-step tone of a legal indictment, went on to deliver one of the most important sentences of his tenure as special counsel: “The constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.” Mueller could not have been clearer about impeachment if he had stepped before the cameras with a scarlet I pinned to his suit. Up to now, the debates over impeachment roiling the House Democratic caucus have either been political (“It will cost us seats in 2020”) or moral (“How can we tell our grandchildren that we did nothing in the face of Trump’s lawless behavior?”).
Mueller did his part & has handed the ball over to Congress & other prosecutors. The momentum for impeachment needs to be kept going since the signs of crimes are so abundant. Here is the opening to time.com/5598470/robert-mueller-investigation-haunt-donald-trump, where clicking on that link you can read the details of these 5 categories mentioned:
1. Some Mueller-inspired investigations are still ongoing
2. Trump and his allies face other criminal and congressional investigations
3. Mueller’s findings have changed the debate
4. The facts that Mueller laid out are not going away
5. Trump can’t stop thinking about Mueller
When Robert Mueller spoke publicly this (last) week for the first time since his appointment as special counsel, he said that his report released in April speaks for itself and that he was resigning from the Justice Department to return to private life. But while Mueller may have finished his job, the impact of his work will linger. The legacy of Mueller’s investigation will continue to affect Donald Trump for the rest of his presidency and beyond. Here are all the ways that Trump and his Administration will have to deal with the fallout from the Russia investigation (goes onto describe those 5 categories).
There are numerous valid reasons for impeachment as explained inside this next link. It would take educating more of the public as to the substantive signals of crimes, plus having enough GOP politicians escape the evil influence of the cult & echo to rediscover their moral conscience:
Did the Mueller statement change minds? It’s discussed in this video:
Another item on the congressional docket for next week:
An important warning to our intelligence community: Trump is trying hard to politicize you to save his own skin at your expense:
Yep, Trump may not have the mental stability to serve:
The prez is tearing away at the fabric of society & destroying our honor:
It’s hard for a racist to change his stripes:
The party was once rationally conservative. They’ve gone so far to the extreme right they’ve become radicalized pseudo-conservative:
Trump is in this entirely for his own glorification & self-enrichment. And that selfish corruption has branched out to all those on the Trump train:
Another deplorable scumbag who latched onto the Trump campaign:
The Noise & the Signals
Trump is a master at using the noise to steal the headlines & distract away from the corruption, dishonesty & lawlessness he has perpetrated all around us. We must tune out the noise & focus on the signals, as seen in this commentary from the last part to washingtonpost.com/opinions/disregard-trumps-ground-noise-focus-on-the-signal:
It is easy to be blinkered by the ground noise generated by from the president’s Twitter feed, or from his ministers of propaganda, or from his quivering quislings on Capitol Hill. It is difficult to brush aside the steady stream of lies and half-truths that insult our intelligence. But the good admiral would tell you that you have no other choice unless you want to fly your fighter jet straight into the side of a mountain. Ignore the ground noise and search for the signal, instead. That may seem difficult but, after three years of Trumpian madness, it is imperative. The signal is the Mueller report. Read it. The evidence inside is both impeachable and indictable. It also documents that the Russians tried to undermine U.S. democracy and that the president and his team, rather than reporting the interference, welcomed our enemy’s help.
William P. Barr is ground noise. The attorney general has been caught lying to the American people with his letter, lying to Congress with his testimony and lying to the media in his interviews. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times accurately labeled Barr as Trump’s minister of disinformation. She is right. His words are now as meaningless as Kellyanne Conway’s or Roger Stone’s. The signal is the United States’ $22 trillion debt; record deficits; a fading bond market; trade wars with Mexico and China; a $16 billion welfare scheme for farmers; tariff taxes; a bloated defense budget that funds military-industrial complex programs that the Pentagon does not even want; a Middle Eastern war taxpayers are underwriting for the benefit of a bloodthirsty Saudi prince; and rising tensions in the Persian Gulf also aimed at mollifying that same leader, who had a Post contributing columnist tortured and killed.
Focus also on the pattern of behavior. After the economic crisis, Donald Trump endorsed the Wall Street bailout and praised the feds for giving billions of dollars to bankers whose greed had crushed middle-class workers. A decade later, the populist plutocrat championed tax cuts for multinational corporations and millionaire members inside his clubs. As Trump told a group of wealthy Mar-a-Lago Club members the day he signed the tax bill into law, “You all just got a lot richer.” In this one respect, Trump was right. His Palm Beach buddies did make millions from “tax reform,” but as with the tariffs he keeps touting, it is working-class Americans who will ultimately pay the tab.
Ignore the noise and focus on the signal coming from North Korea, where the building of a nuclear program continues unimpeded. The president’s bewildering response to this growing threat has been to adopt the party line of North Korea’s Communist Party and profess his love for the dictator who tortured and caused the death of a U.S. college student for trying to bring a poster home. A strong warning signal also gets sent every time Trump chooses to accept the word of a former KGB agent over the professional conclusions of the FBI, CIA, the director of national intelligence and Homeland Security leaders that the president, himself, appointed. That signal may lead us back to the Mueller report as well as Trump’s personal pursuit of riches. And focusing on that signal may lead us to better understanding why the president has been so willing to sell out American democracy to Russian dictators and Saudi Arabian sheikhs.
These ceremonial foreign trips aren’t accomplishing much, especially with Trump meeting with a UK prime minister on the verge of leaving power. Most Brits dislike our prez even more than we do. As Americans, we always hope on these foreign trips our own leader doesn’t embarrass us, but with Trump that’s a tall order. He did go off on his typical barrage of lies which includes saying his GOP approval ratings are at a record 94%, & stating there were very few British protesters during his trip while blaming it on fake news. Such trips are mainly serving as a reminder how our president has degraded our standing in the world & our nation can no longer be counted on as the international guarantor of free democracies. That point is especially emphasized as Trump keeps treating rogue tyrannical regimes around the world with more respect than our closest allies. But Londoners took it in stride with a sense of humor, having their baby blimp flying around:
There are lots of bad guys in the world ruling their countries with an iron fist, pursuing unbridled power for themselves rather than advancing freedoms for their people. Tragically (& incredibly) with Trump at the helm, we can no longer distinguish whether our nation might have been transformed into one of the bad guys: