History’s Rhyme, Part 5: Bad Faith, Unauthorized Acts and Crimes Against Humanity

[NB: Check the byline, thanks! /~Rayne]

It’s time to revisit the ongoing comparison of Nixon’s Articles of Impeachment with possible Articles against Donald Trump. Previous posts in this series:

History’s Rhyme: Nixon’s Articles of Impeachment — focus on Obstruction of Justice

History’s Rhyme, Part 2a: ‘Abuse of Power’ Sounds So Familiar — Abuse of Power (may include Public Corruption)

History’s Rhyme, Part 3: How Nixon’s Impeachment Unfolded — Watergate and Nixon’s near-impeachment timeline

History’s Rhyme, Part 4: Contempt Then, Contempt Now — focus on comparing charges of Contempt of Congress between Nixon and Trump.

An expansion of Part 2 into 2b addressing more abuses of power is planned in the near future. Trump continues to rack them up.

As noted in previous posts in this series, the House Judiciary Committee prepared five Articles of Impeachment against Richard M. Nixon during the course of its impeachment inquiry. Only three of the five were passed out of committee and approved by Congress. We all know Nixon resigned before the House could vote on the three approved articles.

The fourth article which was not approved pertained to Nixon’s Operation Menu — the covert bombing of Cambodia. Congress, which has the sole power to declare war, had not expressly approved this in its 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution. The bombings went unreported for four years and contributed to the destabilization of Cambodia.

A fundamental problem with this Article was that Congress bore some of the blame for the bombing; the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was written in such a way that it didn’t expressly preclude bombing of neighboring nations along the border with Vietnam. The resolution also did not constitute a declaration of war against North Vietnam, authorizing instead the use of military force to meet its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty. The legality of the military action in Vietnam was on thin ground, making action on any neighboring country even more questionable.

~ ~ ~

It’s not impossible this very same challenges will form the basis for another Article of Impeachment against Trump should he pursue military action against Iran without adequate approval from Congress.

But we already have seen Trump take action without Congressional approval and without the support of existing legislation behind him, beginning with his first week in office. His Executive Order 13769 to begin a Muslim travel ban was illegal; he persisted in pushing a ban focusing on Muslims with subsequent Executive Order 13780 and Presidential Proclamation 9645 until his Departments of Justice and Homeland Security arrived at restrictions which met the letter of existing law according to a now-stacked and partisan Supreme Court after several lawsuits. This is not a faithful execution of the law — 8 U.S. Code § 1158.Asylum — it’s whack-a-mole with innocent humans as collateral damage for no constructive reason or benefit to this country.

The sole benefit of the persecution of asylum seekers has been to curry favor with Trump’s voting base with campaign promises to stop them — and that’s corrupt.

When acting Attorney General Sally Yates announced the Department of Justice would not enforce the Muslim travel ban three days after Trump signed Executive Order 13769, she explained that the ban was not lawful. Trump rejected this opinion and fired her instead of relying on her expert opinion. He had to be told repeatedly by federal judges his executive order was not enforceable because it was unlawful.

People were detained unlawfully. People were unable to travel freely. The primary reason for their restriction was their religious identity — a violation of the First Amendment and its protections of religious freedom. It was a fundamental human rights violation under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the U.S. is a signatory.

Trump’s introduction of a “zero tolerance” policy implemented during the first months of his term in office has also denied freedom of movement to persons seeking asylum at the border. The policy’s implementation resulted in systematic crimes against humanity including enslavement; deportation; imprisonment; torture; sexual assault including rape; persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds; other inhumane acts.

None of this was authorized by Congress; none of this is in 8 U.S. Code § 1158. These acts also violate numerous U.S. laws as well as treaties. While there is not currently a treaty on crimes against humanity, Trump’s bad faith execution of U.S. law and existing treaties like the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the U.N. Convention Against Torture spell out many of these crimes.

Again, Congress did not authorize acts like:

— separating children from parents or guardians;

— holding children in cages;

— trafficking separated children into unauthorized adoptions without parental or guardian consent;

— deportation of minors without parent or guardian;

— failure to track minors so they can be reunited with parents and/or guardians;

— failing to provide reasonable care including adequate food and water, bedding, hygiene, heat and cooling, health care;

— transporting detained persons without notification to parents, guardians, family members;

— refoulement – deporting asylum seekers back to the place they fled;

— forced labor.

Nothing in U.S. law or treaties to which the U.S. has been a party or signatory authorizes this kind of treatment.

Further, Trump’s bad faith execution exacerbates a long-term problem with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — too many U.S. citizens have been denied their rights, stopped, interrogated, detained, and treated like aliens simply because they were not white.

Trump also systematically defies a court order issued in June 2018 prohibiting further separations of minors from their families at the border and instructing the Department of Homeland security to return minors to their families. The Trump administration weaseled around the court order, detaining entire families at military facilities — new concentration camps — while DHS continued to separate families on an irregular basis.

We’ve seen evidence of this systematic lawlessness based on inspections by Congressional tours of detention facilities — concentration camps in which asylum seeking minors were denied reasonable “safe and sanitary” conditions.

The number of illnesses and deaths attributable to Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy may never be fully known because the administration has done so much to avoid monitoring and oversight.

~ ~ ~

Other deaths which can be wholly attributed to Trump’s bad faith in executing his office are those of 2,975 Americans who lived in Puerto Rico (pdf) when Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017.

He had to be shamed into dispatching a U.S. Navy hospital ship to provide emergency health care even though the vessel had been waiting well in advance of the hurricane’s strike. It took nearly six weeks after it was dispatched for the vessel to berth and begin delivering care, though the Navy knew in advance of the hurricane that Puerto Rico might need medical support.

The manner in which the emergency aid was provided to the island was grossly negligent when not outright malignant — like the bottles of water left to sit on a tarmac for a year after the storm, or the recall of the hospital vessel U.S.S. Comfort long before its services were no longer needed, or the lack of effort on the White House’s part to work with Congress to assure aid money would be allocated and distributed in a timely basis.

Puerto Ricans were denied their right to equal protection under the law; they were not accorded the same access to federal aid as mainland citizens, in contrast to the assistance received by other Americans after Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Michael in 2017-2018.

And none of this had the imprimatur of Congress.

~ ~ ~

Unlike Nixon’s Operation Menu which only lasted 14 months, Trump’s derogation of Congress’s authority through his bad faith execution of laws is now into its 33 month. His malign acts increase in depth and breadth, now including the wretched refusal of Bahamians fleeing their hurricane devastated country, continued separation of families including Bahamian children.

And now an even more evil effort has begun: Trump wants to round up homeless people regardless of their citizenship and house them in unused Federal Aviation Administration facilities (read: place them in concentration camps).

There are homeless who work in Silicon Valley, homeless only because there isn’t affordable housing. Will he stop at them? Is he doing this to line his pockets in some way or as a campaign promise not shared with the public?

How has his effort combined with that of his cabinet secretary Ben Carson done anything to improve access to affordable housing when they are undermining civil rights protections for marginalized groups?

None of this effort targeting California’s homeless has been adequately debated by Congress let alone codified by law.

Will Congress do nothing at all to stop this creeping and inhuman fascism, these sustained attacks on human rights of citizens and non-citizens alike?

The 93rd Congress may not have passed the fourth Article of Impeachment against Nixon, but at least they understood and grasped the executive could and must be removed with the three articles they passed. It’d be nice if the 116th Congress was less supine.

186 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    It’d be great if certain House Democrats who claim they do not have enough facts to make a decision about an impeachment inquiry snapped out of their torpor and read a few newspapers or watched the evening news — the facts are right there.

    Two Democrats in particular who need a thump are Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8, D+36) and Steny Hoyer (MD-5, D+16). There’s absolutely NO excuse for these two Democrats to act as drags on the impeachment inquiry process. If you’re in their districts, call their offices every damned week until they get behind the formal inquiry. Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

    Bloody concentration camps we’ve seen on television, their fellow caucus members have seen, and they are content with aiding and abetting these gross violations of human rights. What embarrassments they are to the Democratic Party.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Funny, I was going to ask if I could pilfer some of this post into an email to my rep, Zoe Lofgren. She claims she saw the Nixon impeachment first hand as a Congressional aide. Maybe some of this will nudge her into throwing her knowledge and experience into an impeachment inquiry. Or not.

      • P J Evans says:

        She should be smart enough to see that the current occupant of the WH is wrecking the country faster than it can currently be fixed.

      • Rayne says:

        Go for it. Trump is far worse than Nixon — and we have the evidence he is NOW, don’t even need the impeachment inquiry.

        But this is still a democracy in name, a country of laws, and our representatives should exercise all due haste to fulfill their oaths of office by launching an impeachment inquiry.

        • Americana says:

          Yep, Trump is the modern incarnation of a politician even worse than Nixon. We’ve seen it in Trump’s rolling back of EPA regulations for industries that have committed some of the most dangerous pollution in American communities. Now Trump’s rolled back aspects of the Clean Water Act of Pres. Obama which addressed the ephemeral waters such as in wetlands that should be covered by federal law regarding Waters of the United States. Not only does this allow continued degradation and repurposing of all sorts of waterways but it sets a frightening standard for overall ignorance of how our waters percolate through our topographic features of our landscape to arrive in deeper aquifers. These sorts of tragic ecological choices by Trump will shape this country in ways that the ignorant won’t even recognize until it’s too late.


          • P J Evans says:

            Probably another change without proper public notice and hearings. Because then they’d get an earful from the public.

    • JamesJoyce says:

      Looks like some dem-o-rats forgot they were once the slaveowners as most re-thugs have forgotten they emancipated the slaves.

      This reality is no different than Scott being deemed inferior and money deemed speech.

      It is called protect the monied interests just like an Antebellum Senate protected the institution of slavery, and debtor servitude.

      Protect the “executive discriminator” like some social disease.


      • Rayne says:

        “dem-o-rats” — really? Have you looked at the composition of the Democratic Party compared to the GOP?

        And if you’re white, *you* are benefiting directly from the system created by the slaveholding class, NO MATTER WHICH PARTY YOU IDENTIFY WITH.

        I’m sitting here worried about my brown-skinned family members, all of whom are U.S. citizens, getting picked up by ICE for existing while brown and you’re going to lecture me, a Democrat, on my party protecting the slaveowners’ heirs and assigns which may include you.

        Jesus fucking Christ. *smh* I need a stiff drink to put up with this bullshit.

        • JamesJoyce says:

          Historically speaking I’m accurate. You missed the entire point?

          The American people are being systematically screwed, period; by the power of money and those addicted to power like a crackhead is to crack, or an alcoholic.

          So Thaddeus Stevens was a Democrat?

          Screw history ?

          • Rayne says:

            Historically speaking, I’m right — all white people in this country benefited from a white supremacist system.

            That includes the system which literally stole my father’s country from under his forebears.

            And I don’t see any Republicans doing anything remotely anti-racist to fix this. The closest they get is leaving their party.

            Seriously, fuck off with your history.

  2. P J Evans says:

    Add to the Hurricane Maria list that Medicaid for PR and USVI expires at the end of the month unless Congress reauthorizes it. That’s hundreds of thousands who will lose medical care because they’re poor (and mostly brown).
    And then there’s refusing to allow refugees from the Bahamas to enter or have temporary protected status – because they’re not white.
    I really have trouble understanding why it isn’t already pitchforks and torches, every week.

    • Rayne says:

      The re-authorization of Medicaid falls on Congress, not Trump, so I can’t include that unless he somehow obstructs such efforts.

      I debated about the temporary protected status issue but I think it’s part and parcel with the rejection of Bahamians seeking refuge here — absolutely unacceptable for an American president to be so chary with humanitarian aid, especially when American businesses have relied on the Bahamas as a tax haven.

      Unless, of course, that’s the grift: he’s got some personal problem with Bahamas, the tax haven.

      And yes, American cities should look like Hong Kong. Or more like Seoul, South Korea before its President Park Geun-Hye was impeached.

      • P J Evans says:

        It all feels like it’s part of the same thing (hating people who aren’t white), at this point. And since Mitch isn’t going to bring anything to the floor without being sure the WH occupant will approve of it – Ghu knows how he gets a guarantee on *that*, as that occupant can change his mind faster than he can turn around – everything is pretty much DOA.

      • Eureka says:

        It’s probably just because they are black people (as to the spirit of unhumanitarianism), but Trump did used to own a big gambling resort down there, the one on Paradise Island formerly associated with Merv Griffin (as w something in Atlantic City, NJ back in the day IIRC). It’s a (non-pedestrian) bridge’s walk over from Nassau.

        • Eureka says:

          It was back in the mid-late 80s:

          Atlantis Paradise Island
          Resorts International

          In general, just glancing through the public-facing info on complex deals-through-time, such as superficially detailed at those wikis, begs so many questions as to what hidden* corporate entities are out there, now, raking in piles of cash.

          Has anyone systematically reverse-engineered this: what, even obscure, businesses are booming past trend in the Trump era? (Maybe that’s just giving the Trumps too many cleverness points, though, vs. their plain-sight grift.)

          *to us plebs, if not to the money men

    • JamesJoyce says:

      “I really have trouble understanding why it isn’t already pitchforks and torches, every week.”

      Me too…

      Simple Answer: SOMA

      I guess people forget how Nazi used discrimination, to advance a political agenda. Picking precious metals from teeth?

      The problem is America is in a state of denial like many alcoholic Americans

      This is straight up Fascism 101

      Radical Candor has no effect on the brainwashed, played with fear and discrimination.


  3. foggycoast says:

    The Dems who are not voting for impeachment are simply weak and fearful. high crimes and misdemeanors are whatever congress say they are. they don’t need more facts, they need backbone. They’re fearful of losing their office, losing their donors or that impeachment proceedings will strengthen Trump’s hand. They’re simply afraid to do the right thing. And, by doing nothing they are in some sense complicit with Trump. They need to heed FDR’s words regarding fear. It’s just infuriating and demoralizing.

  4. e.a.f. says:

    At this stage of the game, I’ve given up all hope that Congress will act against dumb donnie. The list of crimes, goes on and on. Not much is done about it and each time dumb donnie does something, its worse than the time before. In my opinion, he knows he can get away with all of it and by the end of his term in office, the U.S.A most likely will not be a democracy, well perhaps, but more like Russia’s or Turkey’s.
    When the donnie started his concentration camp routine, I never thought it would be restricted to refugees, undocumented people. I always expected he would expand those who would be rounded up, just like hitler did. By the time the most Americans catch on to what is going on, it will be too late. In Hong Kong, they can get a million or more out to a protest. In the U.S.A. they’d be lucky if they can get a 100K out to a protest regarding dumb donnie’s activities. You do have to wonder given Hong Kong has approx. 7 M. and the U.S.A, 340M.

    • JamesJoyce says:

      A modern day Benito Mussolini is in the white house.

      Anybody who opposes modern day economic slaveowners is a socialist or communist?

      Fuck the fascist in the White House and the Chinese seeking to stifle dissent…

      Fascists never tolerate dissent of any kind while demanding loyalty.

      Trump is a maggot…

  5. d4v1d says:

    Congress is a derelict vestige of an institution that has never lived up to its founders’ ideals (the ideals espoused by the declaration of independence but realized by slaveholders? – and note where they located the capital). The freshman democrats who were elected in 2018 appear to be there to raise money for the next election, thinking achieving ‘stalemate’ is ‘job done.’ And Pelosi? ‘Don’t bother me. I’m busy raising more money.’ If it’s about the money, which party has won?

    • Rayne says:

      What would you suggest instead? An executive alone? An autocracy?

      Citizens have the biggest role in this. They’ve failed to hold their representatives to account at the polls at all levels of government. They have the government they deserve for their lack of engagement. The people could have done something about Congress in particular after the SCOTUS’ Citizens United decision but no — they were either too complacent or too racist, defaulting to a white majority GOP Congress thereby squelching any effort at reform.

        • Rayne says:

          Good. I don’t know how that asshole judge managed to become a coach for high school girls. His record on the Turner case should have been a red flag, IMO.

          I can’t help think of this quote:

          “All the lessons of history in four sentences: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power. The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small. The bee fertilizes the flower it robs. When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
          — Charles A. Beard

          Grind, mills, grind.

          • P J Evans says:

            I saw the story about him being out, and thought “WTF did they hire him?” Maybe he’s a good tennis coach, but not for a school.

            • Rayne says:

              If I had been a parent of a girl on that team, I’d have raised holy hell. I couldn’t trust him to protect my daughter; I won’t air out what else I’m thinking. Somebody in that school’s administration needs their butt kicked.

            • P J Evans says:

              I had to check my memory of where that district actually is: it’s Cupertino, most of Sunnyvale, and parts of San Jose and Santa Clara. Pretty much what passes for middle-class, even now.

        • Tracy Lynn says:

          I wondered where he went after he was recalled. That vote wasn’t even close. I have friends whose kids go there—none of them were on the tennis team, though.

        • bmaz says:

          Judge Persky did nothing wrong. He followed the recommendation of the probation department. He refused to put someone in jail just for the hell of it.

          It is hilarious how people clamor for criminal justice reform, less incarceration and intelligent alternatives. Persky did exactly that. He had a record of that. That is commendable. Until some professor at Stanford, Michelle Dauber, who did not then, and still does not now, know her ass from a hole in the ground about criminal law, much less sentencing law, got on her high horse.

          This was exactly the kind of case for more intelligent sentencing. And Turner has proved it by complying perfectly. I would have sentenced Turner, given how California jail sentences are routinely shortened by overcrowding, to a little more jail time as a condition of his probation. But that is nit picking.

          In case you do not know, and I bet absolutely nobody here yammering about it does, jail is a term and condition of probation. But the sentence Persky gave was well within his discretion, and was not all that inappropriate. Unless you are an ignorant crusading jackass like Michelle Dauber or an uninformed member of the outragetariat.

          Persky got a raw deal from a bunch of jacked up and uninformed twits that bought off on one sided bullshit propagated by Dauber. I would personally support Dauber being disbarred for her actions in this matter, but she does not even have a fucking law license, and never has.

          This is absolute crap. You are treating the man like he is Jeffrey Epstein. That is how we should treat judges you disagree with? Should they be put in prison too? Be put on the sex offender list?

          Were you in court? Did you see the evidence and witnesses so as to be able to evaluate it and them? No? Did you do a full investigation like the probation department did? No? Get your heads out of your asses.

          • Frank Probst says:

            Without getting into a debate about the jail time, I think it’s also worth noting that Brock Turner is obligated to register as a top-tier sex offender, probably for the rest of his life. I think that’s the main reason he’s been in the news recently for appealing his conviction. (I also don’t want to get into a debate over the pros and cons of sex offender registries. I just think it’s worth pointing out that it’s a BFD.)

            • Savage Librarian says:

              Just like it was for Epstein, hunh, Frank? You know what is a BFD, first Clarence Thomas and then Brett Kavananaugh. You know what else is a BFD? RAPE and victim blaming!

              • bmaz says:

                “Just guessing”, as you so casually put it, but I bet you do not know jack shit about me and mine. And you can take your “guesses” and fucking shove them. What kind of assumptive jerk are you?

                In reality, yes, I have had friends, and many clients (I will not talk further about my greater family or clients) that have. I have represented numerous rape victims over the years. And accused defendants.

                This is what I do for a living, whether in service to victims or defendants. I represent both. And have done so for both for three decades. But that is something you apparently know nothing about, rather you are blowing ignorant shit about that which you have not a clue, or experience, in a comment section of a blog. How heroic.

                I had no issue with you before, but as to this, you can go to straight to hell.

                  • bmaz says:

                    What? Nobody is “abusing” you. You made ignorant assumptions about me, my family and friends and our relative history. That is bullshit; you don’t know the slightest thing about any of us, and you especially know nothing about our history vis a vis sexual assault. And then you accused Frank of “RAPE and victim blaming!”? What in the world is wrong with you?

                    • Savage Librarian says:

                      Nope, I did not. And, yes, you are being abusive to Tracy Lynn and me. It’s hard to understand why you can not see this.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Yes, “Savage Librarian” that is exactly what you did. You said, and I am quoting:

                      Just guessing, but sounds like you and/or yours have never been raped.

                      As I said before, take your “just guessing” and shove it. You know absolutely nothing about “me and mine”.

                      Take your ignorant, and uniformed, outrage to some other forum. What is “hard to see” is your understanding of due process and facts. And if you want to make it a war with me, good luck.

                      Also, screw you. You know nothing of my family’s, or my clients’, experience, and you are a sick jerk for thinking you do.

                      You were not in the parking lots and schools. You were not in the police stations or churches. You were not in the courts. You were not anywhere. You make ignorant assumptions in a blog comment section.

                      Don’t pass go, and do not collect anything. Just fuck off.

            • bmaz says:

              Frank, that is actually a big deal. A huge one. And a term that is far more important than the relative “jail” term and condition of probation, which most here seem focused on.

              A lot of people seem to think “life” as to sex offender reporting status is too easy. Those are almost always people that know nothing of the court, probation and parole (where it even applies here) systems. Because they would rather express ignorance here without having ever spent a day in the trenches actually doing something.

              On the internet, this is not shocking. Here, with the level of commenters we have always engendered, it is truly shocking.

              I, have not, until recently, understood that this blog is growing to be a forum for this kind of nonsense.

              • P J Evans says:

                He’ll have it following him the rest of his life, restricting where he can live and work. (It makes more sense for people who are repeat offenders.)

              • Diggo says:

                bmaz: “I, have not, until recently, understood that this blog is growing to be a forum for this kind of nonsense”

                I think that’s a reflection of people feeling increasingly pushed to the limits of their understanding and way beyond tolerance by an administration which was completely unhinged from the getgo. I don’t think it’s a descent into Trolldom by regular visitors to this blog.
                Gramsci penned the phrase Cultural Hegemony to represent the methods power uses to maintain the status quo. The GOP & Trump have taken cultural hegemony through the Looking Glass into the realm of a witless Mad Hatter, where everything starts to look like perversion to anyone trying to peer behind the facade. Pushed beyond our limits, we instinctively overreact.

                • bmaz says:

                  A very fair statement. Almost everything seems in flux, perhaps in ways to different people at different times. That is okay.

          • Rugger9 says:

            There are a couple of things here since I lived in the county and actually graduated from the school where Persky is at now. I even had the opportunity to have a case before him, and the conduct in my case was better than most.

            As far as I know there is no released version of the probation department report that Persky relied upon for his sentence, and without that the criticism by Ms. Dauber, et al, lacks a proper reference.

            • bmaz says:

              That is exactly what I have been told; i.e. that Persky was an extremely attentive, and willing to get the right thing done, even if sometimes inventively, judge. That may not have made him prosecutors’ best friend, but it does kind of make him a decent judge. Not perfect, obviously (none are that I have ever encountered), but a decent one. Certainly not a candidate to be made out as an Epstein level outcast of society.

              Then came Dauber. I have not read the PSR either, but understand that it was consistent with Persky’s sentence.

          • Tracy Lynn says:

            Those of us who are here in Silicon Valley saw and read a lot of pre-trial media about this case. For instance, the press interviewed the two Stanford grad students who pulled Brock Turner off the young woman as he assaulted her. Both of them did testify at trial. So, no I wasn’t there at the trial, but I have a good idea what their statements were because I followed the trial —— it was in my backyard, so to speak. This wasn’t a he said/she said case.

            As for Michelle Dauber, I never heard anyone suggest she is a lawyer although she does teach at Stanford’s law school. What she did, though, is run a very focused campaign to recall Aaron Persky.

            Your comment about Persky isn’t wrong —— he did follow the sentencing guidelines. It seemed to those of us who don’t practice criminal law that had Turner been a person of color or a resident of East Palo Alto, Persky would have used the upper end of the guidelines to sentence him.

            • bmaz says:

              Now you are accusing Persky of being a racist?? Jeebus.

              Yes, I bet I read everything you read. That is the wonder of the internet. I also talked to lawyers who practice in or about Santa Clara regularly. My opinion was formed by all of it.

              All that said, Persky is such a heinous human being that all the oh so pure as driven snow non-lawyer Michelle Daubers of the world cannot even tolerate the man innocently coaching a high school team where he lives? Really?

              Keep in mind, it was Turner who committed the crime, not Persky. At some point, the outrage turns into ridiculousness. The hate of Aaron Persky is now light years beyond ridiculous. He was a judge who believed in less incarceration rather than more. He is not Charles Manson.

              • Tracy Lynn says:

                No. I am not calling Persky a racist. I wouldn’t go there. I’m trying to suggest that a 20-year-old with parents who can afford to send their kid to Stanford will get a a lighter sentence (within the guidelines, of course) than a 20-year-old kid from East Palo Alto, one of the poorer cities in the area. It was more about income inequality than race.

  6. BobCon says:

    War Powers is a great example of what ails Congress in general and the Democrats in particular.

    The long running issue is that it’s much easier for a president to launch a PR campaign in favor of war than it is for Congress to run its own campaigns. What is frustrating, though, is that it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Congressional oversight is weak because the GOP slashed funding for it when it ran both Houses, and Democrats have made no serious effort to revive it.

    This article highlights the problem:


    If the Democrats don’t fight for oversight at the budgetary level, they can’t fight oversight battles at all. And without investigations, there is no information or analysis to fight PR wars.

    The last significant effort to rein in executive branch war powers happened in the 1980s with the congressional Democrats pushing back against Reagan’s Contras, and that happened because Democrats were willing to pay for the investigative staff to push for accountability. John Dingell was able to scare defense contractors because he had the investigative firepower to dig through their books.

    But corporate lobbyists hate accountability, and the House leadership is committed to the current fundraising framework which depends on appeasing corporate interests, despite the fact that those same interests are heavily vested in permanent GOP control.

  7. Vicks says:

    Trump is not fit for office and it is freaking insane that the country has been manipulated into believing that he has to be caught red handed in a crime to remove him from office,
    Every day congress sits on their hands is another day of inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable, more dangerous alliances that benefit Trump personally and weaken our country and more opportunity to pillage this beautiful planet.
    This is not about the opposition disagreeing with policies, it needs to be shown how almost every decision Trump has made has served him and weakened our country.
    Do we really have to go though the wild ride of impeachment for corruption or abuse of power when we have a leader who can’t be bothered with staffing our country with the people needed to run the basics of our government?

      • Vicks says:

        I saw that yesterday and I saw the vote today.
        The whole things is insane.
        Republicans could put ANY candidate in Trumps place and they could get Mitch’s judges, and run a pro business administration.
        Why take the country down for Donald Trump?
        One would hope they care about the country, but if it really is all about the party it seems to me Trump is a giant risk.
        Evangelicals can almost get away with pretending there is distance between the criminal they contracted and themselves, but the Republican Party OWNS every security breach, every death, violation of the constitution, and every penny trump and his family have ripped off.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        An impeachment inquiry alone succeeds at many things, whether or not it leads to impeachment and trial.

        Even if the Senate votes to acquit Trump, it requires each Republican Senator and Blue Dog Democrat to put their stamp of approval on all things that would be listed in articles of impeachment. Not an albatross any of them would want to carry far.

        • BobCon says:

          My feeling is that at the rate things are going, McConnell will just Merrick Garland any impeachment effort by the House and let time run out by election day. No senator will go on the record who doesn’t want to.

          Still, there is every reason for the House to go ahead worth an inquiry, even though it should have started 6-7 months ago. Of course, the House leadership doesn’t seem to have its messaging together, which is a very bad sign,

          • Rayne says:

            So business as usual under McConnell’s leadership.

            I can’t wait for the day when women can line up and slap stickers that say, “Nevertheless, she persisted” on his tombstone.

            • P J Evans says:

              They’ll need to be waterproof and resistant to chemicals, given the number of people who plan to line up and do something else to the marker..

              • Savage Librarian says:

                Yes, I can see the potential for a cottage industry here. McConnell, Trump, Epstein, Weinstein, Kavanaugh, …the list can go on and on for both well known and not so well known perps and their enablers.

            • Vicks says:

              She “WILL NOT YIELD!!”
              Got home late last night, flipped on the tv and had myself a moment.
              By god there are still heros!
              I just asked google for the video, and saw they are already selling swag.

        • bmaz says:

          Earl is exactly right. And this has been the case from the start. A formal inquiry is a direly needed investigatory tool. Whether it leads to articles of impeachment, much less a Senate trial, is irrelevant. If so, fine. If not, okay.

          People who think whether or not Trump is convicted and removed by the Senate is the issue are biting off on a lie. A lie that has been perpetuated by Pelosi and Hoyer. The issue is investigatory power in the first instance. That is it.

          • Vicks says:

            “Elections have consequences” and the public has a right to know the details of their 2016 prize.
            “The consequences” need to be laid out like a giant pile of filthy laundry that can’t be dismissed with childish defenses.
            To keep up the metaphor, it’s NOT just a dirty sock here or there, it’s a shit ton of filth that has made its way into OUR whitehouse and started to infect everything it touches.
            If voters see it, smell it, and STILL shrug it off, it will be a terrible day for our country but at least we will know….

            • Ruthie says:

              Completely agree.

              I would add that there’s a lot of hand-wringing going on about whether Warren or Sanders will alienate independent/centrist voters. If those voters don’t already know enough about Trump’s corruption and incompetence, never mind the illegalities, to hold their nose and vote even for a candidate whose policy positions are “too far left” or “socialist”, I don’t have much confidence that they were actually ever persuadable.

      • bmaz says:

        PJ and Vicks – That “resolution” does not accomplish jack squat. It does NOT establish a formal impeachment inquiry. It does nothing substantive.

        Anybody who thinks it does is biting off on complete horse manure. It is just more subterfuge and can kicking down the road by Nadler because that is all Pelosi will allow him to do. Don’t buy into this fraud.

        • P J Evans says:

          I don’t know whether it is or not, but the Dem committee members seem to be trying to do the right thing. (I have no idea WTF Pelosi thinks she’s accomplishing in this, even though she seems to want the current occupant of the WH out. She seems to be off in some universe I can’t figure, where they must still be in the fist three months of a session and the Rs are going to miraculously come to their senses.)

          Yesterday they were beating back amendments by the GOP-T that would have restricted them in ways that the Rs would have screamed about if the Dems had tried to add the same ones in a GOP-T run House.

          • bmaz says:

            That was today as far as I know. And, no, they are not trying to do the right thing. They are pitching nebulous bunk, same as they have long been. There is no formal impeachment inquiry, and this resolution stunt does not change that whatsoever. Don’t fall for the lie.

            • Vicks says:

              Agree, and each candidate is alternating their vocabulary to suit how that want to be perceived by voters.
              Here is a thought that may widen perspective a bit.

              Those in favor of gun control are hammering home the fact that congress is refusing to do what the vast majority of the people in this country want.

              Those in favor of impeachment are hammering Pelosi and her kind for NOT doing what the people DON’T want.

              • P J Evans says:

                In 1973, people weren’t in favor of impeaching Nixon. That changed with the hearings showing everyone what he’d been doing. That’s what the House leadership keeps forgetting, possibly intentionally.

              • Eureka says:

                I see your point, Vicks, but the last part (“the polls”) is in some part on party -line soldiers talking down impeachment, repeatedly calling impeachment “divisive” (Bustos just yesterday; and as opposed to messaging about Trump et al.’s policies as “divisive”), and so forth.

                I’m too tired to go through their whole script but I think you get what I am saying. We’ll never know the measure of public sentiment swayed by dem leaders (or other prominent dems) repeatedly down-talking impeachment through time as opposed to even neutrality (versus overt support or whipping).

                ETA: & what PJ said. Slow on the keyboard here.

                • Vicks says:

                  Yes the biggest mystery of it all are who are these voters that don’t want to see an impeachment inquiry?
                  By that I mean those who don’t support Trump.
                  What happens to the view when you step back and try to have a conversation with someone who takes the time to vote (and takes the time to at least briefly process the question) but thinks that what Trump is doing to this country is not worth the effort to make it stop?
                  Serious question.
                  Are they apathetic, ignorant (of the facts) or have they accessed the details weighed the pros and cons giving a thoughtful answer?

          • Rayne says:

            One thing not being taken into consideration: what happens if a formal inquiry is launched with all the attendant hoopla and that mangled apricot hellbeast is triggered into a narcissistic meltdown?

            Is this what Pelosi is trying to finesse, knowing that McConnell is going to do dick-all to launch a senate investigation let alone move to toward conviction and removal? All of hellbeast’s criminality needs to be laid out before the public before the GOP primary finishes but we all know McConnell isn’t going to do anything about the inquiry’s results. What’s the worst case scenario if we were to proceed to a publicized inquiry within the next few weeks? Is it this meltdown?

            This bullshit about a concentration camp for California homeless combined with ICE conducting urban ‘warfare’ practice makes the threat of what a meltdown might trigger look even worse.

            EDIT: Still doesn’t excuse Steny Hoyer’s and Hakeem Jeffries’ complete refusal to entertain an inquiry let alone impeachment.

        • BobCon says:

          The key thing to look at is staffing. Until the HJC announces they are hiring the staff necessary for a serious effort, it’s not serious.

          House Judiciary brought on over 100 staff for Watergate. Until Pelosi commits those kinds of resources, it’s all academic, regardless of what kind of official status it has.

          The other thing to consider is time. If we get to November without a serious commitment, it’s over as far as any serious inquiry. No way does a substantive impeachment inquiry and vote get finished from January to October 2020.

  8. fpo says:

    Power begets money…begets more power…and the need to hang on to it. And the GOP is desperate.

    The GOP has known for years that trends in US demographics are working against them, that their traditional voter base is shrinking. Immigrants and people of color lean Democratic and represent a significant obstacle for the GOP. And gerrymandering at the state level (both parties do it, btw) has been the weapon of choice to counter demographic trends, followed closely by voter suppression activity and regulations. The GOP has been hard at work for over a decade.

    [ https://www.businessinsider.com/partisan-gerrymandering-has-benefited-republicans-more-than-democrats-2017-6 ]
    [ https://beta.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/04/how-democrats-win-north-carolinas-redistricting-battle-could-reverberate/ ]

    To say nothing of resorting to lies and deception:
    “North Carolina Republicans voted to override a budget veto while Democrats were at a 9/11 ceremony…”

    [ https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/north-carolina-republicans-vote-to-override-a-budget-veto-while-democrats-were-at-a-9-11-ceremony/ ar-AAH9p15?li=BBnb7Kw ]

    I see Trump as an unwitting tool for the GOP writ large, nothing more. His on-going racist, bigoted campaign and executive actions provide cover for the GOP to use whatever means they can get away with, increasingly with the backing of the courts, to stay in power. To give Trump sole credit/responsibility by way of impeachment belies the scope and depth of the treachery, and shields those behind Trump who stand to benefit ($$$ & power) long after he’s gone – not limited to politicians, of course. How many GOP pols have visited Russia since Trump took office?

    Absent a Congress that will obey the oath of their office – and I have zero confidence that they will – it’s down to us, the voters, to remove Trump from office, along with those that have been complicit in his Administration’s immoral, illicit and illegal activities, including at the state and local levels. While impeachment would seem to offer an obvious solution, increased voter registration and sensible voting law reforms (online registration/voting, Saturday or Sunday elections) will ultimately help restore some measure of reasonableness and equity, if not sanity, more consistent with the values/views/opinions of the average citizen.

    [FYI, third link ‘broken’ by insertion of blank spaces at the point where tracking code begins. Users may wish instead to search for that MSN article rather. /~Rayne]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I would say Trump is witless about most things, but his is not unwitting with respect to working with the GOP to maximize his and its power. Cheating is his standard operating operating procedure.

      There’s also that the Republican National Committee and Trump’s 2020 re-election organizations are now one and the same, much to the chagrin of GOP’ers who wantg to put a little daylight between themselves and Trump’s endless lies, cruelties, and gaffes.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        And now with McCabe likely indicted for lying, it seems as if the Justice Department has become the enforcement arm of the executive branch. When you add the GOP and the Senate, the feeling created is one of a soft coup d’etat.

        I can’t stop thinking about the book: How Democracies Die and the discussion of how autocrats can and historically have taken over democracies a little bit at a time.

        • pjb says:

          Has a grand jury returned an indictment yet? Last I heard, it was merely confirmed that DAG Rosen told mcCabe (or his counsel) that he approved of prosecution. This seems a very ill-considered prosecution if it does occur.

        • Tom says:

          I hope the Democrats have a plan for next November when Trump decides he’s not going to concede defeat on the grounds that his own internal polling clearly showed him winning a second term by a sweeping landslide and because the Democrat candidate obviously rigged the election results, perhaps with foreign assistance from, say, Tristan da Cunha. Trump will then announce that he has instructed AG Barr to carry out a sweeping and in-depth investigation to ensure that this sort of thing (i.e., an election determined by majority vote) never happens again.

          • Bay State Librul says:

            I agree with Tom.
            He will not leave the White House, since he will be indicted upon leaving.
            The Dems must have a plan in place to forcibly remove him from office.
            Trouble is… there is no precedent so maybe the Supreme Court can weigh in?

          • Marinela says:

            This is nuts and irresponsible to discuss this scenario. Just plays in their narrative to normalize somehow that Trump not conceding is even an option.

            First we need to win elections, then worry about Trump going out quietly. If democrats win the election, the last thing to worry is that a serial liar is not conceding. Loser not conceding is deeply unpatriotic. Period.

            This narrative played in 2016 and look how it turned out, with Hillary conceding. Let’s not count the chickens before they hatch.

            I am actually worried that Trump may get re-elected either fairly, or by cheating again. This is my worry. We cannot take another four years of this administration. We can handle the one time power switch I hope.

            • Tom says:

              I didn’t intend to be alarmist or sensationalistic with my comment. With all due respect, I think it would be more irresponsible not to try and foresee and forestall any attempts Trump might make to cling to power illegitimately in the event he loses the election next year. Again, with all due respect, it sounds a little superstitious to me to think that avoiding discussion of certain possible events makes them less likely to occur. But I share your concern–no, outright dread–that four more years of a Trump presidency would be a calamity for the country and the rest of the world.

          • P J Evans says:

            The Secret Service and the US marshals will have opinions about that move. Handcuffs/zip-ties may be involved.

            • Bill Smith says:

              I’m not sure where the US Marshals factor in but one of the Secret Service agent who trains the protective detail laughed when asked something along those lines and said that Trump’s post presidency protective detail would escort him out of the White House to his next accommodations, either provided by the public or himself.

            • Katherine M Williams says:

              But will they? TrumpGOP has managed to corrupt the DOJ and quite a few other supposedly independent agencies, how can we trust the Secret Service or Marshalls to remain honest?

              When Russia meddled in the US election -without, apparently, our own CIA etc even noticing let alone pushing back- to get their utterly corrupt man made president, that was pretty much an act of war.
              Russia is still waging war on the US through Trump, the GOP (especially the McConnell), and now the DOJ, ICE, and many other corrupted Agencies. I don’t get at all how the democratic leadership can really believe they will win in 2020. Especially if they don’t do their constitutional duty and impeach Trump (and a lot of his appointees). We know Russia is still meddling, with the assistance and approval of the GOP. We can’t expect fair elections if we don’t fight for them. The House must stop waiting for someone else: Mueller, the FBI, the Media, the NY State, whoever… to do their job for them.

              • Tom says:

                Given that Trump has shown himself to be such an easy mark, Russia, China, and North Korea all have a vested interest in seeing him win a second term. I can imagine them trying to give Trump the appearance of a foreign policy success in their respective areas of dispute with the U.S. in order to bolster his standing and credibility heading into the 2020 election.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ari Melber delivers another shambles of a program on the House Judiciary Committee’s “impeachment proceedings.” For starters, his producers brought out from his corner chair by the fire at his club former Senator Byron Dorgan to argue about House proceedings. He regurgitated Pelosi’s views, and dismissed the discussion as “arguing over words.”

    Last time I looked, that describes most of the work of all three branches of government in DC. But it did allow Dorgan to send the message his party leadership wanted sent: talk of impeachment is all talk; focus on the election, baby. Melber’s questions and the discussion were a mumble salad as distasteful as the misdirection coming from Nadler’s own committee.

    Oddly, the segment immediately after it, on the potential for Andrew McCabe’s indictment, was clear and concise. That proves he can do it when it suits his purposes. Holding a clear, concise, and pointed discussion on impeachment is not among them.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Melber did broadcast a useful clip from a Biden-Warren exchange from several years ago. Warren was testifying before Biden’s Senate committee against Biden’s controversial and extraordinarily anti-consumer 2005 bankruptcy reform legislation.

    Biden’s dismissal of the then Harvard Law professor – “You’re very good, professor” – drips with good ol’ boy misogyny.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        You mean the current obviously influential co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Immigration Task Force? Or were you responding to the comment above?

        • Eureka says:

          That’ll work, though I was going for the low-hanging fruit of his Biden-buddy flick at WaPo, attacking Warren as a big-money-taking “hypocrite” just in time for the debate stage.

          (ETA: I missed your add-on seeking clarification; yes it was a joking reply to your comment, bridging it to Ed’s latest:

          Ed Rendell in Washington Post: Too bad Elizabeth Warren is a hypocrite
          https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/ed-rendell-washington-post-oped-elizabeth-warren-joe-biden-20190912.html )

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Rendell is a machine politician from way back. Philly DA, two terms as Philly’s mayor, two as PA governor.

            Joltin’ Joe (“Sleepy Joe” is pretty accurate) is obviously the choice of the DNC’s richest patrons, which would include some of his former patrons when he was the Banking Senator from Delaware.

            He is a safe pair of hands for Wall Street and for capitalism as currently practiced in America. He personally closed the bankruptcy court door for many average Americans.

            His nomination ought to worry anyone who hopes that morning in America doesn’t involve the sheriff coming to throw your meager belongings onto the street as he serves your eviction notice.

            BTW, the photos chosen for that Enquirer reprint of Rendell’s WaPo OpEd is classic character assassination. Angry Liz, friendly Ed, concerned professional Joe. No editorializing there, nosiree.

            • P J Evans says:

              He’s somewhere down my list – below third. Not sure who’s in second, but it isn’t Biden or Sanders.
              But I’ll vote for the nominee, if the nose-holding part isn’t bad.

              • P J Evans says:

                This kind of sh*t is why Biden is below third on my list. From the liveblog over at Kos:

                Biden jumps in with Stephanopoulos in an effort to make Warren and Sanders seem like they are covering up.
                Warren: “I’ve never met anyone who likes their health insurance company. I’ve met people who like their doctors.” … Good answer.
                Sanders: “Let us be clear, Joe. In the United States of America, we’re spending twice as much as Canada or any other nation on Earth.”
                Biden: “It’s America.”

                No idea what Biden means by that, or why he’d think that was a good time to insert himself.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Biden’s, “It’s America,” is what you would expect from the Banking Senator from Delaware.

                Like Trump, Joe doesn’t think he needs to know what he means. He just has to say it without choking on his tongue.

                Joe’s angry at his rivals for supposedly not knowing how to pay for stuff they want to legislate. Warren is one of the few willing to say she’ll tax the rich, starting with doing away with the tax cuts that enrich them beyond belief.

                MMT, of course, would say that reining in the power of wealth through progressive taxation is important, but unrelated to how a currency-issuing state finances its policies.

            • Eureka says:

              (As an aside, I used that reprint link for the WaPo editorial because it is private-browsing etc.-friendly.)

              Former DNC chair Rendell is also known as somewhat of a spoiler with his well-placed-words. Representatives of most aughts-era campaigns were dissecting Rendell’s history on twitter in the wake of his (near) hail-mary for Biden (I note this because Ed says the Bernie Bots (his words) who hated him in 2016 love him today; As EoH has outlined, this camp and their strategies are not, ultimately, working for anyone but their own interests).

              Social media squall summarized at Politico– where they also reveal Ed’s new Trumpian-lite moniker for Warren supporters: “Elizabeth Elites”:

              Rendell lights pre-debate stink bomb

              • P J Evans says:

                At halftime, Warren is doing much better than Biden. Heck, *Sanders* is doing better than Biden, and some of the others have scored on him.
                Sanders, however, seems to think that reconciliation can be used for non-budget bills, at the direction of the president pro tem (meaning the VP). You’d think, as long as he’s been there, that he’d have learned about it by now.

                • Eureka says:

                  I apparently missed that part. My attention leveled-off to weaving in and out (shitty format, interspersed with insincere platitudes…etc…).

                • Eureka says:

                  Also, Warren is winning pretty much every time she speaks (great on Afghanistan just now, esp. how she explained from on-the-ground pov how they are not problems war/ mil can solve).

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                How Republican of Rendell to use a standard GOP trope. Karl Rove used it to excess and Trump uses it daily: attack your enemies by accusing them of your worst sins.

                No oxy-detergent can clean up all the mess. Straight denials spread the mess. It takes a creative, outside-the-box retort of the kind that Warren does well, but which most Democrats fumble at badly.

  11. JamesJoyce says:

    “When acting Attorney General Sally Yates announced the Department of Justice would not enforce the Muslim travel ban three days after Trump signed Executive Order 13769, she explained that the ban was not lawful. Trump rejected this opinion and fired her instead of relying on her expert opinion. He had to be told repeatedly by federal judges his executive order was not enforceable because it was unlawful.”

    So much for banning religious tests in America ?

    I guess Trump was never taught about Nuremberg Laws? He must haves missed that class on fascism too, since he is discriminating just like fascists while employing Benito’s techniques at modern day rallies?


    • P J Evans says:

      It isn’t religious tests – that applies to elected office – but freedom of religion and of association.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This debate format sucks. It seems intentionally designed not to winnow a large field, but to exhaust the viewer and make them stay away from the voting booth, which means the establishment wins, no matter who it puts in office.

    • P J Evans says:

      It isn’t actually a debate, but a multi-candidate interview by people who may be less than honest in their questioning.

  13. porthos says:

    The 116th represents the newest iteration of the legislative body that is becoming increasingly irrelevant and neutered. It’s toothless. That became all too evident as subpoenas were casually ignored and there was no penalty–no fines, no jail, no pay back of any note. Impeachment has become the only way to hold the president accountable. Acountability was once upon a time the price a president was expected to pay for a unitary presidency. That all seems so 18th century now. A neutered Congress, a conservative SCOTUS, a weak and terrified Senate and an AG who believes the Executive doesn’t need to be accountable or subject to Congressional oversight completes the perfect storm. There is no day of reckoning coming for the donald. He has built a solid wall around his presidency where everything is possible and nothing goes a step too far.

    When the Watergate investigation began in January 1973, there was no OLC memo to protect a president from indictment. By the time the articles were drawn up in 1974, the memo forbidding indictment had been written. It has shielded presidents ever since and is one more piece of the wall protecting the Executive. With threat of indictment completely off the table and with all the other bricks in the donald’s wall, there is very little left that the 116th can do except diagnose the crimes and the abuses with little ammunition to cure the blight that has infected the country.

  14. Eureka says:

    ~ #whipit

    Sarbanes (Oversight) thread yesterday, people the in replies seem to be interpreting this as what would count as coming out for impeachment inquiry (with at least three sets of language now on this issue– inquiry, investigation, formalizing investigation– not sure what to call it); he lists a few classes of Trump crimes they’re after:

    Rep. John Sarbanes: “I support @HouseJudiciary’s plan to formalize procedures for an impeachment investigation….”

    • Eureka says:

      Plus today, a watch-and-wait alert on John Lewis:

      ‘My time is growing near’: John Lewis dangles impeachment announcement

      …And Lewis himself says an announcement on impeachment is almost at hand.

      “My time is growing near,” the Georgia lawmaker told reporters this week. He added, “I’ve never been supportive of this so-called president. Before he was inaugurated I said he was not legitimate. So I have some very strong feelings.”

      As Democrats gathered support for an impeachment inquiry over the summer, lawmakers and aides privately described Lewis as one of the pivotal decision-makers on the subject. His outsize influence among members of the Congressional Black Caucus and among House progressives — dozens of whom have remained silent on a potential impeachment inquiry — could bring many of them on board.

      “No question about it. Who wants to be on the other side of John Lewis?” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus who has backed an impeachment inquiry. “When he speaks, everybody listens.”

      • BobCon says:

        The manner of his announcement is going to be a sign of whether or not the House Democrats can get their act together on messaging,

        It needs to show signs of backup from other members, preferably with other undeclared members in the mix. It needs to be followed by substantive hearings that get past the five minute per member nonsense. And it needs to include a commitment by Pelosi for major staffing and funding.

        If it drops with a solo statement on Twitter at 4:45 on a Friday, ugh.

        • bmaz says:

          The interesting thing here is that Lewis quite clearly recognizes that there is no formal and legitimate impeachment inquiry yet. Despite the disingenuous bleatings of Jerry Nadler, the House leadership understands the truth.

          Lewis would be huge, and he would create tremendous pressure on Pelosi, Hoyer and Jeffries. The problem is time is running out due to Nadler’s feckless faux action. By my count, there are only about 45 working days left for the House in this calendar year (and the actual figure is almost certainly less asthat figure includes “no vote” days in which most members are not around for). This has been the clock Pelosi and Nadler have been running out from the start. And they are still doing it.

          • BobCon says:

            Time is part of it, but staffing is also huge.

            The House Committees are making so few waves on investigations in large part because there are multiple bottlenecks due to staffing limits. Adding impeachment to the docket will stretch them even further.

            They need a team of comparable size and quality as what Mueller had, not just in terms of attorneys but support staff too. They don’t have anywhere near that.

            Which of course circles back to time. You can’t hire impeachment history experts and government accounting experts for emoluments arguments at the drop of a hat. It takes time to get them on board and up to speed.

            And that’s why it’s so frustrating that they blew off this past spring and summer.

            They could have built the team even if they weren’t ready to commit. Instead, they are forced to scramble, and I have little doubt any plans for the future will be truncated due to the lack of time and personnel.

  15. Bay State Librul says:

    The OLC Memo in my view is unconstitutional.
    What right do they have to shield a President.
    Can it be tested in Court?

  16. Bay State Librul says:

    Chilling piece of writing

    “All over the nation, families who had listened to the news looked at one another and said ‘Goodness me’ or ‘Whatever next’ or ‘I give up’ or ‘Well, fuck that’, before embarking on an evening’s viewing of colour television, or a large hot meal, or a trip to the pub, or a choral society evening. All over the country, people blamed other people for all the things that were going wrong—the trade unions, the present government, the miners, the car workers, the seamen, the Arabs, the Irish, their own husbands, their own wives, their own idle good-for-nothing offspring, comprehensive education. Nobody knew whose fault it really was, but most people managed to complain fairly forcefully about somebody: only a few were stunned into honourable silence.”

    The quote is from a novel written over 30 years ago by Margaret Drabble describing England

    Sound like USA circa 2017-2019?

    The quote was extracted from a piece in the The Paris Review by Lucy Scholes

    Thanks Rayne for fighting against this undeniable wave of depression, but it is sure pervasive.

    • Saint Mnemosyne says:

      It is beyond time for Rep Garrett Graves to pick up a full read of 100 years of solitude as he spewed farce over and over and over again on the floor of Congress.

    • Tom says:

      Why didn’t someone tell Joe they now have 8-tracks? FWIW, I still use my old Dual 1225 turntable that I bought back in ’76.

      • P J Evans says:

        I have the stereo my parents bought sometime in the 80s. No 8-track, I don’t think, but no CD player either. (The one they had before that had an 8-track.) It does have a turntable.
        Whether my vinyl is still playable is in question.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Slavery was outlawed about 150 years ago. Jim Crow continued its effects for a hundred years and was formally outlawed a few decades ago.

      But like the zombies destroying one or another group of survivors on television or in the movies, Jim Crow continues to exist in various forms: so-called federal wars on crime and drugs; three-strikes laws; de facto voter purges and de-registration drives; gerrymandering; differential enforcement of civil asset forfeiture programs and other laws; federal and state programs (e.g., Ag support programs) that discriminate against people of color and the poor; and much of the criminal justice system. To name a few.

      The legacy of slavery remains a fundamental part of today’s American social, legal, and political systems. And yet,

      When asked about how America should deal with the legacy of slavery, Joe Biden says kids need psychiatrists and their parents should play them records at night.

      This is a career and a mind that is over, and only he doesn’t know it.


      Joe Biden does not have the vision to see the problems. His safe pair of hands would do nothing to fix them.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Then there’s that great enabler of slavery – straight up racism.

        Donald Trump is doing his best to make it legit again. He has lots of helpers.

      • Frank Probst says:

        It looks even worse when you consider the facts that (a) this wasn’t some question out of left field, but rather one he should have been prepared for, and (b) he has African-American advisers on his staff to prepare him questions exactly like this, and to help him develop policy positions on issues that are important to the black community. He might as well have just started his answer with, “I’m not a racist, but…”

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Succinct description of the Trump family – https://twitter.com/djrothkopf – which thinks it can buy the presidency and pass it down like an inheritance, free of tax:

    Ivanka says she got her moral compass from her Dad. He inherited it from his whore-mongering grandpa, his KKK member slumlord Dad and his mentor, McCarthyite shill Roy Cohn.

    When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.

  18. Frank Probst says:

    OT to @Rayne:

    In today’s edition of “You were right, and I was wrong.”, it turns out that almost everyone at the top knew about Epstein’s donations to MIT. The best that the President of MIT can do is to say that he doesn’t remember signing the “thank you” letter to Epstein:


    And Harvard is starting to talk about the donations it received, too. Right now, they’re at the “We only took his money before his 2008 conviction.” stage of the bullshitting.

    • viget says:

      Frank Probst–

      Absolutely. When the story broke this AM, my first reaction was: “Now do Harvard.”

      Maybe we should plaster that picture all over the internet with Epstein in a Harvard shirt. I would love to knock them down a few pegs.

      • LaNita Jones says:

        Thought of that young man at Rand that had got killed on his bike. About time they all go back and read the whole of the Hoffman Report.

  19. AitchD says:

    Some idle thoughts:

    Nixon told Jack Anderson that he wouldn’t challenge the 1960 results, while believing the election was stolen by JFK, because he didn’t want to engender a Constitutional crisis or destroy faith in the electoral process (maybe he lied). John Kerry likewise let the tainted 2004 results stand. Likewise Clinton in 2016.

    Barbara Garson, author of the 1967 daffy but controversial way-off Broadway play “MacBird!”, was later asked if she really believed LBJ had JFK killed. She didn’t believe so, but she said, “If he did, it’s the least of his crimes”.

    Who can say what or who controls the levers? Agnew’s briberies could have been exposed in 1968. But no, his crimes were exposed only before he could become president following Nixon’s departure. Ford was appointed as VP and became the only unelected POTUS. Rockefeller was likewise appointed as VP.

    Without a doubt, a formal impeachment inquiry must begin, if only for the record. Is it really so certain that the Senate would not convict the beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt guilty Trump? There’s the possibility of a President Pence and another appointed VP.

    Gloucester in “King Lear” (after being tortured and blinded): “Like flies to wanton boys are we to the gods: they kill us for their sport”.

    Every pundit and politician: “The American people aren’t stupid”. Right, only H. L. Mencken was stupid.

    OT: Hey, the CNN debates next month will be held at my alma mater, Otterbein University (formerly Otterbein College).

  20. Rugger9 says:

    Moved up from the previous thread…

    It appears that when AG Barr and the Palace couldn’t get the Grand Jury to indict McCabe. I think Individual-1 will find an alternative path among his judges installed by MMMcT as Senate Majority Leader. A small win, nonetheless.


    And, this:

    The latter goes to the articles of impeachment Nadler is dangling.

  21. Vicks says:

    Have they started adding this (federalist society approved) US attorney to the enemy list yet?
    Now that I think of it, she did snub Trump and withdraw her nomination…
    I can’t help but think these people have been listening to the wingnuts for so long they really think they are all working towards some big reveal.
    I’m no lawyer but from what I’ve seen McCabe has a decent case against this regime, is he entitled to any of the evidence they were using in their attempt to dazzle the grand jury?

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This one’s for bmaz….

    The Honorable William Barr will present the Department of Justice’s Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service. Among its highest honors – and normally given for the successful prosecution of major criminals – the award this year goes to three attorneys: Taylor Owings, Douglas Rathbun, and Craig Minerva,

    for their service in support of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.

    They will share it, “with numerous other individuals from across the Department.” https://twitter.com/ShimonPro

    “A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms…. What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy?”

    Mr. Barr finds joy in shamelessly pleasuring the president and ensuring the extreme right’s dominance of American law and politics, and thus its economy. Corruption is just his baseball bat.

    • OmAli says:

      Trying to prevent the HJC from seeing Mueller’s Grand Jury evidence, and now keeping IC whistleblower’s report from SIC – will the Bar Association turn a blind eye to Barr, forever? wtaf?

      • bmaz says:

        Earl – Yep, saw it. Honestly, these DOJ “awards” have routinely been laughably bogus, though this one may take the prize. I remember once sitting in court and my phone lit up. It was Marcy. Phone was on quiet mode because if yer phone rings off in court, you are going to get a lecture from that person on the bench in the big chair. My case was not close to being called, so I walked out and into the lobby. The DOJ “awards” had just been issued. It’s been so long I can’t even remember who it was at the time, but it was gut bustlingly stupid.

        OmAli – Sadly, no. No “Bar Association” really has jurisdiction as to Barr. First, he is acting as a political appointee, not a practicing attorney. Second, individual bar associations never go after DOJ attorneys without a complaint passing through a DOJ subdivision known as the “OPR”. As you can guess, OPR is pretty much a joke that has been called “The Roach Motel”. And, on top of that, Barr is their boss.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The sort of Catch-22 Barr is trying to foist on Congress concerning access to GJ material regarding the as yet nonexistent impeachment inquiry.

  23. viget says:

    Umm… Folks…

    There’s been a huge story about Adam Schiff’s subpoena to the acting DNI that no one has commented on.

    Apparently, 4 days after the PD DNI submitted her resignation, an urgent whistleblower complaint was sent to the ICIG. She left her post 3 days later, but before the complaint was sent to her office to act on. The ICIG has confirmed that it was a valid, credible urgent whistleblower complaint in a letter to Schiff. The current acting DNI refuses to transmit the complaint to HPSCI as required to do by law.

    The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials


    • OmAli says:

      Trump likes the flexibility of Acting Directors. This one is twisting him/herself (sorry, I can’t keep up with ‘em) into a pretzel.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      WaPo describes the reason given by Maguire for withholding the whistleblower complaint this way: “because, in part, it involves confidentially and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the intelligence community.”

      What types of communications could be “privileged” in this context?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Word salad, spaghetti thrown at the wall. Standard delaying procedure in this regime. No privilege would exist in that context.

        Personal privacy issues are relevant, but not in the manner suggested. They are irrelevant to the legal obligation to inform Congress.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Another Trump appointee breaks the law. I’m beginning to see a pattern….

      I wonder whether this had anything to do with the panic related to forcing Sue Gordon to resign and prevent her from becoming acting DNI, even for a short time. Asking for a friend.

    • Saint Mnemosyne says:

      I’m not a doctorate and don’t know the placement of the hyroid but perhaps death by a thousand cuts is now covered under HIPAA.

    • Vicks says:

      Plenty of time for Trump’s fixers to locate the whistleblower and work their magic with the details.
      Our best hope is the whistleblower went in with a solid back-up plan and the IG is an honorable/man or women and will continue to fight this.
      I think someone has to say it.
      Screw constitutional politeness or etiquette.
      While new instances of corruption and cover up continue to be uncovered there is indisputable evidence that the president of the United States is destroying the lives and careers of those driving investigations into them
      This is a rouge administration and their actions must be countered as such.
      Power is being built using fear and intimidation and it is not just building fast, it is snowballing.
      Im sure our founding fathers would never have left us with our system of checks and balances if they knew they would be used as an excuse for cowardice.

      • Tom says:

        Speaking of back-up plans, I wonder if Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler are starting to wonder if there might be a knock at their door in the middle of the night, followed by a Presidential tweet in the early morning hours announcing that the Congressman have been arrested and detained for vague national security reasons and “treasonous activity”.

  24. OmAli says:

    This, from Josh Geltzer in an article by Dahlia Lithwick in Slate, yesterday: “What Happens if Trump Won’t Step Down?”

    “Then there’s been another development: change in intelligence community leadership. Think about the departure of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Coats more or less stood up for the intelligence community—publicly—at some key moments, such as when Trump rejected its views in favor of Putin’s at Helsinki. I think it’s important to inspect whoever Trump nominates as DNI (there’s currently an acting) to make sure he or she will tell Congress and the American people whether there’s really been foreign election interference that casts doubt on the accuracy of election results in 2020, or whether Trump’s just claiming as much.”

    And now, the Acting Director of DNI circumvents the HJC, sending disturbing whistleblower report to Bill Barr.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Informing Barr is not relevant to the legal obligation to inform Congress. Barr, of course, would investigate the whistleblower, not the underlying complaint.

      • Jonsie says:

        Pretty sure Beto was right about the county jail system in Texas. Which I guess would make oddly enough Radcliffe and when hell freezes over Gohmert correct too. Maybe they just call it whack-an-ai now instead of whackanut.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so community members get to know you. This is your fourth username – pick one and stick to it. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Tom says:

      The report in Slate is an update on the original story that Geltzer provided to CNN on February 23, 2019: “What if Trump refuses to accept defeat in 2020?” In the Slate article, Geltzer says that there are steps that can be taken now to reduce the chances of Trump being able to muddy the waters next November but that politicians are reluctant to take action.

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump is so nervous about losing the presidency – the redoubt that keeps his empire from failing and him from prison – he’s becoming a Nervous Rex.

  26. Observiter says:

    Humor me…If impeachment were successful, Pence would be president? At some point, the GOP (i.e., the controllers behind the curtain) could view Trump as expendable, as his base slowly erodes (farmers, etc.) and the economy finally nosedives?

    Re immigration from Mexico/Central America — remind me. Seems I remember folks from Mexico/Central America being strongly urged to come here for (low wage) jobs, and to serve as cheap labor for construction (etc.) to help break the unions, and for other reasons (including additional bodies to pay into social security). I find the GOP’s actions ironic. Ditto Russia.

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The MSM continues to celebrate Democrat Joe Biden’s success – he got through it and didn’t fuck up too badly – at the last candidates’ forum. The MSM is taking its lead on that issue from… Joe Biden’s campaign and Republican consultants.

    That’s like asking the Russians and North Koreans which American presidential adviser they would prefer to have across the negotiating table from them. The normal response is to pick the negotiator they most hate, not the one they like. But the MSM has adopted a very Trumpian standard in its coverage of Joe Biden.

    How should competing Democrats be fighting each other? Between now and next January, they should be battling hard, not trying to be congenial. Each represents a different energy, style, and approach to governance. Each has very different priorities – from playing nice and promising to restore a mythical past to promising systemic progressive change. Now is the time to make clear why theirs is the better way.

    As for the electability canard, a Democratic ham sandwich in a tailored outfit could beat Donald Trump – at least the top five on the menu board. The issue is what priorities should that administration work toward. Even recreating that mythical past will take a heckuva lot of work.

  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Re-upping the story about a credible allegation of egregious, sexually troubling behavior by Brett Kavanaugh, when a student at Yale. It is news. So, too, is that the FBI and the DoJ knew about it at the time of Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation, but refused to investigate it, despite having multiple independent witnesses.

    That’s a cover-up. So is the NYT’s headline (devised by a former Crimson editor?). In Orwellian fashion, it makes the story about Yale’s battles with gender and class neutrality – not Kavanaugh – and puts it on the OpEd pages as “news analysis.” It’s as if they are all initiates of Skull & Bones or Porcellian and the rest of us are townies hired to clean the kitchens.

    The latest tale about Kavanaugh’s drunken, sexually aggressive behavior occurred while three DoJ lawyers managed his vetting for the Supreme Court. Bill Barr just gave them the DoJ’s highest award – specifically for that work. I’m only surprised it didn’t come from the American Marketing Association.

    Bill Barr just pushed another timber in the eye of the rule of law and the American judicial system. Trump is a dolt. He wants what he wants when he wants it. Bill Barr, though, is a skilled professional in the mold of Dick Cheney. The destruction Trump visits on America is thanks to him and his peers, because they make it happen. That includes institutions like the New York bloody Times.


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Joyce White Vance – https://twitter.com/joycewhitevance – reminds that Heidi Przybyla – https://twitter.com/HeidiNBC – broke the story in Sept. 2018 that Trump’s White House directed the blindingly narrow scope of Kavanaugh’s vetting by the FBI.

      Its and DoJ’s leadership went along with it – for a nominee to one of the most important courts in the world – so that’s on them.

      But the blind vetting imposed by the White House, that’s another abuse of power item for the Articles of Impeachment.

    • Tom says:

      If Kavanaugh’s penis was so much on display, then the witnesses to his drawers dropping should be able to recall whether or not he was circumcised. If they can say, one way or the other, that bit of evidence should be able to help determine whether or not they’re telling the truth, though the reported accounts sound plausible to me given the other information we have on Kavanaugh.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        For a male born in hospital in America, say, 1950-1990, the odds of being circumcised were good. It would not sufficiently narrow down the field for identity purposes, unless it had a peculiar mushroom shape or tattoo.

      • Rayne says:

        Stop. We’re not going there. When a woman says she’s been assaulted and other credible witnesses say she was assaulted that’s enough.

        We’re not going to further victimize her by asking for prurient details.

        We’re in this mess — the entire Trump administration’s autocratic bullshit — because people didn’t believe women when they said Donald Trump assaulted them. Believe the women. Start questioning your own deeply-ingrained reluctance to do so.

        • Tom says:

          When I referred to witnesses, I was thinking more of Kavanaugh’s classmate, Max Stier, but I should have been specific about that. I also admit it was a foolish comment to make.

          I usually don’t blow my own horn, but in my near two decades as a child protection/family services worker, I developed a reputation as someone who was willing to go the extra mile for families, including abused mothers and other female caregivers; e.g., taking them to court, to lawyers appointments, to violence against women programs, and so on. Some of the other female caseworkers on my team would tell me that if they ever had an open CAS file, they hoped their worker would be someone like me. But I couldn’t expect you to know that.

    • BobCon says:

      The corroboration of Ramirez’s story and the evidence of another incident — both adding to the extensive case that Kavanaugh lied about his assaults — should have been front page news. The Times editorial swamp buried it.

      I can guarantee, by the way, that this will never, ever be acknowledged by the NY Times DC/Politics bureau. The two reporters who established the facts in this story are not in that bureau. The two reporters who wrote extensively to cast doubt on Ramirez last year, of course, were part of the DC bureau.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yes. To make my points clearer, the issues are:

        – Kavanaugh’s known and knowable abusive behavior and apparent crimes in covering it up.
        – The NYT’s egregious attempt indirectly to censor the work of its own reporters to hide that.
        – The FBI and DoJ’s leadership’s choice not to dissent (resigning is for Democratic Senators), but to willingly cooperate in not investigating Kavanaugh.
        – The determination by Trump and GOP Senators to hide that – and to empower abusive and potentially criminal behavior by putting it on the Supreme Court – in pursuit of a generation of conservative control over American courts and American lives.

        Eminently impeachable behavior on the part of Kavanaugh and Trump. Might be one reason Trump is so het up about it.

      • Rayne says:

        That is a very important point — the two journalists who did this digging weren’t part of the entrenched bureau.

        They were also women. There’s something about this piece of reporting not unlike the coverage by NYT’s Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey which broke open the Weinstein case, propelling the MeToo movement; NYT blew that, publishing a piece in the goddamn Book Reviews about Kantor’s and Twohey’s new book, revealing there were new details about the Weinstein case.

        I wonder how long it’s going to take that dumbass Dean Baquet to figure out the formula right there under his nose.

        • BobCon says:

          Times on Trump’s tax fraud — broken by non DC bureau reporters, never included in DC bureau reporting.

          Massive Times piece on Fox-GOP marriage by non DC bureau reporters — never included in Times DC/politics bureau reporting.

          Times 1619 piece documents deep roots of racism in politics — never addressed in Times DC/politics bureau reporting.

          The Times DC bureau treats other Times reporters the way stereotypical World Bank technocrats treat local experts — as naive superstitious bumpkins who need to be ignored, steamrolled and silenced.

          • Rayne says:

            If you happen to think of any particularly good reporting on Trump’s tax fraud I’d be interested in links. I may yet need to draft a comparison Article of Impeachment since the fifth article against Nixon was tax evasion, IIRC.

Comments are closed.