[NB: I should write a script to auto-embed a reminder to check the byline. Update is at the bottom. / ~Rayne]
Over the past couple of weeks a number of uninformed but angry people have gone off on social media about the Democrats not impeaching Trump already — the 116th Congress only took their oaths last week, one House race in North Carolina remains undecided, and yet impeachment is supposed to have been launched and Trump marched into the sunset surf at Mar-a-Lago.
The stream of problems emanating from the White House will not be resolved by impeachment. It is NOT the end-all-be-all solution.
Impeachment AND removal from office stems the biggest problem, and it’s not on the House Democrats alone.
Read the Constitution: the House impeaches, the Senate convicts and removes.
Article 1, Section 2
…The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Article 1, Section 3
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Impeachment alone is merely a political slap on the hands, just an upgraded form of censure to be borne out in public through House debate and vote. After hearings beginning in the lame duck session of 1998, former president Bill Clinton was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate in early 1999, remaining in office to serve out his term. By itself, impeachment will not stop a lifelong scofflaw like Trump and may fuel negative sentiment whipping the Trumpian base into a frenzy by the 2020 general election.
Which brings us to the key challenge know-nothings have ignored while they pule about the Democrats ‘failing’ to impeach Trump already: the Senate remains under GOP control. Try complaining about the GOP Senate caucus’ moral and ethical intransigence for a change; of the current 53 GOP senators there are 21 who are most vulnerable to this charge yet have the power to make constructive change happen.
This map tells you which senators are the linchpins to removal:
These are the 21 states Class II GOP senators represent; these are GOP seats that are up re-election in 2020 or will be open, as in the case of Kansas’ Pat Roberts who will retire at the end of his term. These senators are the ones who should be held accountable at the polls if they do not restrain an out-of-control White House. They represent the votes necessary to convict and remove Trump, let alone votes to approve bills reopening government and override a veto (assuming two-thirds of the House would likewise support a veto override). Here are their names to make it easier to identify your GOP Class II senator if you have one:
Dan Sullivan (AK)
Tom Cotton (AR)
Cory Gardner (CO)
David Perdue (GA)
Jim Risch (ID)
Joni Ernst (IA)
Pat Roberts (KS) retiring
Mitch McConnell (KY)
Bill Cassidy (LA)
Susan Collins (ME)
Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS)
Steve Daines (MT)
Ben Sasse (NE)
Thom Tillis (NC)
Jim Inhofe (OK)
Lindsay Graham (SC)
Mike Rounds (SD)
Lamar Alexander (TN) retiring
John Cornyn (TX)
Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
Mike Enzi (WY)
These folks should be squirming already — at least those who must fly home should be. Imagine them needing to fly to their respective states having failed to reopen and fund government services like TSA security staffers and air traffic controllers.
This may explain in part why three of the senators who are among those who must fly the farthest from Washington DC are leaning toward reopening the government — that’s Lisa Murkowski (AK), Cory Gardner (CO), and Susan Collins (ME). They’re vulnerable in an entirely different way because the government shutdown is a bigger threat personally and professionally than Trump’s possible impeachment and removal.
With 66 total senators required to make up the two-thirds necessary for conviction and removal, the 18 remaining Class II GOP senators combined with Democrats and Independents provide the number needed with a little extra in case of a late flip-flop.
You know what to do: Congressional switchboard (202) 224-3121
Need a script? Celeste P. has you covered.
Yes, press them first on the government shutdown; addressing the shutdown’s damage to Americans’ livelihoods, safety, and security is a far more immediate need. A senator who doesn’t think Trump’s self-created crisis and corresponding shutdown must be stopped should be identified as vulnerable in 2020.
If these senators are persuadable on the shutdown, they may be persuadable on the question of conviction and removal of the president. (If they aren’t they’re probably co-conspirators and in need of investigation.)
If you call your GOP senator, feel free to share feedback from the call here. Let’s keep track of the Class II folks who really need a primary or a strong opponent in 2020.
UPDATE — 4:45 PM —
There may be 21 Class II senators who need to be nudged but one of them is in particular need of a political boot in his slackness.
McConnell walked into his office after leaving the Senate floor, where he objected to the Democratic request to re-open the government.
“I think the way out has been apparent for several weeks,” he told reporters. “It requires an agreement between a Democratic House, the Democrats in the Senate and the President.”
After the meeting broke up, members were fairly tight-lipped about any details. Some described what they were working on as a “framework” or “skeleton” they were trying to fill in.
“We’ve got a skeleton we’re trying to flesh out. It’s going to take work,” Tillis told reporters. (source: CNN)
Mitch McConnell is the primary gatekeeper enforcing the president’s unnecessary and unpopular wall; he’s the key hurdle between a continuing government shutdown and a return to order.
Sadly, McConnell’s refusal hurts his constituents directly — he’s literally telling them to fuck off and in some cases, die already.
— As of June 2017, there were 36,719 Kentuckyians who were employed by the federal government (source: Governing.com [from cached copy]);
— As of June 2017, there were 33,219 Kentuckyians who were active duty military relying on government services;
— As of 2017, there were 4.4 million Kentuckyians who relied in some way on food inspections because safe food nourished them, their family, friends, co-workers, or people in their communities on whom they depended in some way;
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. As an example, every federal employee who also relies on childcare but can’t pay for childcare because they are now unpaid may also lose their childcare provider. Providers require their services to be paid in cash even if the child isn’t there or their slot is freed up. Providers are also small business owners; they can’t afford massive cuts to their income and must find other revenue sources if they aren’t paid. It’s a major nuisance to find alternative, affordable, safe childcare, not to mention the expense to families.
With nearly 50% of Americans unable to scrape up $400 cash for an emergency, you can bet many of Kentucky’s federal employees have already blown through their reserves. Their inability to pay for goods and services will have a ripple effect throughout their communities — just like childcare providers, other business owners can’t afford cuts to their income stream.
The “fucken wall” only protects those who need the public to be distracted from investigations. One much needed investigation is the possible effect of foreign influence on members of Congress and their campaigns — including Mitch McConnell. His refusal to reopen and fund government including DOJ and FBI functions could be a means to prevent any investigation which might look into his own campaign donations.
Think about it: after the Citizens United decision in 2010, the NRA changed its donation pattern substantially from 2010 to 2012 to help pro-gun rights candidates.
Guess who received the 14th highest amount of gun rights contributions ($135,350) and the 6th highest amount of contributions from outside support for gun rights ($771,175)? Yup, McConnell brought in that much between 1989-2018 that we know of.
How much Congressional campaign money, including donations to McConnell, might have been laundered Russian contributions? Has the active investigation into accused Russian spy Maria Butina uncovered this figure? Has this investigation been affected by the shutdown?
Is this a personal reason why McConnell is so doggedly protecting Trump’s “fucken wall” in spite of the damage the corresponding government shutdown is doing to his own constituents and to the nation?
Sure hope Kentuckyians know to use the Congressional switchboard number (202) 224-3121 — assuming that hasn’t been defunded yet.
UPDATE — 12:40 AM 11-JAN-2019 —
Give me a “fucken” break with this bullshit:
President Donald Trump gave an Oval Office address and headed to the border. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have been holding regular press conferences to rebut him.
But when the shutdown ends, it will likely be the handiwork of the leader who’s stayed offsides: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
On Thursday, McConnell summoned a handful of fellow Republicans to his ornate offices to brainstorm a solution. The group, which included Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Rob Portman, dispatched Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby to give Vice President Mike Pence what aides described as a “skeleton” of a plan to re-open government and return to paying 800,000 federal workers.
“We aren’t there yet,” cautioned a top Senate Republican aide. They didn’t get there, either.
Handiwork my eye. Show me where McConnell did a goddamn thing except for the summoning. This entire article was a piece of fluff designed to puff up the soft-handed, wattle-necked waste of Kentuckyians’ votes.
If you live and vote in Kentucky, please, PLEASE call this wretch and tell him to get off his duff — euphemistically called the “sidelines” — and get the government reopened. He needs to find his nuts and tell Trump the wall doesn’t have support; McConnell never had a problem telling the last president to piss up a rope and that president had a helluva lot more support than this one.
McConnell also needs to get on the right side of history. He can torch the rest of his legacy cozying up to a corrupt narcissist or he can try to salvage what history remembers of him by getting a spine and upholding his oath of office instead of sucking up to an un-indicted co-conspirator.