Hitting the Oscillator: Today’s Senate Vote on Witnesses [UPDATE-5]

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

At 1:00 p.m. the U.S. Senate convenes and resumes consideration of the articles of impeachment as a Court of Impeachment.

A vote is expected on whether to call for/subpoena witnesses to appear before the Senate as part of this trial.

Last night Sen. Susan Collins said she would vote for witnesses:

But the timing of her statement was only minutes before retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander announced he wouldn’t vote for witnesses.

How convenient.

We don’t know yet where Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) stands on the matter of witnesses, only that as of last night she was “going to go reflect and decide whether she needs to hear more”.

Mitt Romney (R-UT) says he wants to hear from John Bolton.

And now the stakes have been raised yet again with a fresh report in The New York Times that Trump “directed” John Bolton to help him with what Bolton has called a “drug deal.”

I’m not linking to NYT. You’ll have to hunt this down if you want it because I’m not driving traffic to that outlet.

More to come very soon, I’m sure.

UPDATE-1 — 1:31 P.M. ET —

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chickenshit.

She fell back on partisanship as an excuse even though she was elected because she wasn’t partisan. Alaskans, you can do better.

It’s not partisanship when nearly an entire party turns its back on the rule of law.

Murkowski and her staff were too chickenshit to put this statement on her Twitter account.

It wasn’t going to be a fair trial — or really, a trial at all — if witnesses were never going to be called. Murkowski owns this lack of fairness.

UPDATE-2 — 1:40 P.M. ET —

Of extremely important concern is the possibility any Democrats may vote to acquit Trump.

I am FURIOUS about Sen. Gary Peters’ name coming up here. I know he’s sweating his re-election race here in Michigan, but if he votes to acquit he will give Trump the ability to say this was a bipartisan acquittal.

Absolutely NO Democrat should vote to acquit. None. There’s more than enough evidence on hand already to prove Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress, including Trump’s own on-camera words.

Call your senators and tell them to vote NO on acquittal: (202) 224-3121 or use Resistbot.

And Peters, I’m looking at you. You won’t win Republican votes by voting to acquit because a Republican votes for a Republican.

UPDATE-3 — 1:52 P.M. ET —

At 12:59 p.m. Lev Parnas’ attorney tweeted,

in response to Trump’s denial about the NYT’s story today.

Sure would like to know what the story was behind the timing of NYT’s publication. How snug all of this is.

UPDATE-4 — 2:05 P.M. ET —

Sen. Collins has no good reason to smile.

Collins would do well to consider why she is the most unpopular senator next to Chief Obstructionist Mitch McConnell. No amount of laundered Russian money pumped in her campaign through PACs and other entities can make her popular.

UPDATE-5 — 2:30 P.M. ET —

Looks like it’ll be a wrap on this abortion of governance next Wednesday.


Read Caldwell’s Twitter thread for more on the negotiation.

Can’t even begin to imagine what kind of autocratic megalomaniacal bullshit Trump will pull as soon as the votes have been tallied.

This post will be updated periodically; new content will appear at the bottom.

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184 replies
  1. Rapier says:

    A fan is an impeller, which might oscillate. The proper comic allusion in this type of situation is; the feces hit the impeller.

    • Rayne says:

      Wasn’t going to write the word “feces” in my header. And the popular phrase is “feces hitting the rotary oscillator.”

      The news about the impeachment trial also oscillates as does the opinion of several key senators.

      But thanks anyhow for the language policing.

        • P J Evans says:

          yes – but that actually is the phrase he used, in a context where most people, including Brits, would use the more earthy version.

          • Rayne says:

            Are you really going to continue to police my language too? Really?

            Our democracy is burning down and you’re expecting me to comply with a British science fiction author’s personal term of art?

            Take a break. Seriously.

            • P J Evans says:

              That is NOT what I was doing. I was responding to the first comment, after which it went off the rails.

            • Rapier says:

              It would be better for all concerned if you deleted this entire sub-thread. Telling dad jokes as the United States Senate is about to pass our own Enabling Act was a mistake. Inappropriate and then I never considered it would be taken seriously. The joke I mean, that would be taken seriously. People better take the Enabling Act allusion in dead seriousness. I’ve been waiting for something like it and now here it is.

              Do you want to resist? Sell all your stocks. Sell.

  2. P J Evans says:

    Two things:
    Alexander says the articles has been proven, but they don’t meet the “high bar for impeachment”. WTF is he trying to say? because the impeachment part is over, it’s now about voting to convict or not, and if the charges are proven, a vote for conviction is the correct (also right) thing to do.
    And there’s that letter Schiff sent earlier this month, that Cipollone was a fact witness, which seems to be what NYT has just discovered via Bolton’s manuscript (I think they got an advance reading copy, which is A Thing), and which the media have mostly been ignoring.

    • ThomasH says:

      My question to Sen Alexander is, considering he said he has concerns about trump’s action, but they don’t meet his “high bar” to convict in the impeachment: what about censure? Is that an option? WTF though! He knows, we all know trump is guilty of both articles of impeachment and, much more!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Sowing cornfusion is the GOP’s stock in trade. It’s like telling poor people the wrong voting date or to bring their birth certificate to the voting booth. Enough people already think that the rarely used word impeachment means trial or removal. Continuing to misuse it is a freebie.

      The false claim that a vote to convict and remove requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a similar form of propaganda.

      The civil trial standard, in fact, is preponderance of the evidence. That is, a simple majority will do – one ounce more on the convict and remove side rather than acquit.

      The propaganda version is not meant to persuade Senators -who know better – but to confuse the general public and give Goopers political cover for their reprehensible conduct.

    • gk says:

      Over at The Bulwark, Mr. Kristol opines that Alexander is throwing the whole issue of Trump’s guilt to the Iowa Caucuses. Republicans in Iowa should for Joe Walsh Monday, and New Hampshire Republicans should vote for Walsh or Bill Weld next week. I can’t decide if this is simply wishful thinking or unadulterated BS.

        • Badger Robert says:

          I have to agree. It was an arranged vote. They think they are safe now. I suppose so. But the wheelchair and the inability to speak with having to recover his tongue every few sentences is coming. Maybe he hold for 6 months, but I think cumulative decline will only grow.

  3. harpie says:

    Thanks Rayne! I’ve been following the breaking news Bolton story. There are a LOT of angles!

    BREAKING Trump Told Bolton to Help His Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Book Says
    The president asked his national security adviser last spring [early May] in front of other senior advisers [Mulvaney, Giuliani, Cipollone] to pave the way for a meeting between Rudolph Giuliani and Ukraine’s new leader.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/us/politics/trump-bolton-ukraine.html
    Jan. 31, 2020, 12:00 p.m.

    added: there’s a second comment in moderation. they were also targeting George Kent.

    • harpie says:

      Not only Yovonavitch but also George Kent:

      “After pushing out Yovanovitch…During the Oval Office conversation, [Giuliani] also mentioned a State Department official with the last name of Kent, whom Bolton wrote he did not know. Giuliani said he was hostile to Trump and sympathetic to George Soros”

    • harpie says:

      Great thread about this from Susan Simpson:
      https://twitter.com/TheViewFromLL2/status/1223292881470984193
      12:12 PM · Jan 31, 2020

      For more background on this, check my recent post on the events that led up to Giuliani’s failed meeting with Zelensky – and how it resulted in Lev Parnas having an emergency meeting with a Zelensky advisor instead […]
      But the pressure from Giuliani/Parnas/Fruman wasn’t JUST about the Biden investigation – it was Biden investigation + giving control over Ukraine’s state-owned gas company to people who could help steer contracts to Giuliani’s clients. ABC News link] […]

      DRUG DEAL

    • P J Evans says:

      Rubio is a no, even after saying that the charges were proven.

      Friday, Jan 31, 2020 · 10:32:08 AM PST · Mark Sumner

      If the statements from Alexander and Murkowski were not already enough of an indictment of the process in the Senate, Marco Rubio’s is genuinely worse.

      Rubio admits that the House made its case and Trump is guilty. He admits that Trump’s actions are impeachable. And he still isn’t going to vote for even bringing in witnesses.

  4. P J Evans says:

    Nadler isn’t there today:
    https://twitter.com/RepJerryNadler/status/1223301592549556224

    I am sorry to not be able to stay in Washington for the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial but I need to be home with my wife at this time. We have many decisions to make as a family. I have every faith in my colleagues and hope the Senate will do what is right.

    I hope that it goes well for them. It sounds like his wife is losing her fight with cancer.

    • P J Evans says:

      I called his DC office and left a message thanking him for all his work on this. (The 818 number for his Burbank office doesn’t work.)

    • Peterr says:

      Schiff also did two other things.

      One is that he highlighted Cippolone’s presence in meetings in the Spring, where (per the NYT story) Trump talked about pressuring Ukraine. Schiff hammered at the audacity of Cippolone and his team talking about the House managers hiding evidence, when he himself WAS A FACT WITNESS to this stuff and he said nothing about it. The other thing Schiff did was to say that the House managers would reserve the balance of their time, so that they would be able to respond to the presentation by the President’s lawyers.

      Folks, that was a threat. A very polite, quietly stated, but very pointed threat. Schiff was daring Cippolone to stand in the well of the Senate and say ANYTHING about why calling witnesses is unnecessary.

  5. klynn says:

    It is unfortunate that Jennifer Williams testimony and Bolton’s manuscript sections that have leaked have not moved the dial for Lisa M or Lamar.

  6. harpie says:

    Does anyone know where I could find a list of the number of votes cast for each member of the Senate the last time they were elected?

    • harpie says:

      Luckily for me, Marcy recently retweeted this:
      https://twitter.com/AriBerman/status/1223382830232850433
      6:09 PM · Jan 31, 2020

      51 GOP Senators who represent 19 million fewer people than 49 Senators supporting fair trial are blocking impeachment of a president who committed crimes worse than Watergate, lost popular vote by 2.9 million votes & suffered largest midterm election defeat in US history

      Just previous to this, Berman tweeted:
      https://twitter.com/AriBerman/status/1223379339380711429
      5:55 PM · Jan 31, 2020

      The 49 Senators who voted to call witnesses represent 170 million Americans
      The 51 Senators who blocked witnesses represent 151 million Americans
      In the US Senate the majority doesn’t rule.
      Thank you @imillhiser for doing the math [link to spreadsheet]

      I, too, GREATLY thank @imillhiser for doing the math!

  7. foggycoast says:

    i’d think the response to dershowitz and alexander’s nonsense is that the senate does not get to decide what is impeachable. the house does. they only get to decide if trump is guilty of the two changes, abuse of power and obstruction of congress. alexander and others have already agreed that he has then that’s the verdict….guilty.

    • foggycoast says:

      this is where they should turn to roberts to decide if the senate is there only and just to decide if trump is guilty of those charges, mot whether they are impeachable. they are, because the house has deemed it so.

    • skua says:

      As I understand it;
      The Senate has in the past declined to vote on impeachment articles.
      Basically the Constitution gives the Senate sole power in the trail.
      If the Senate majority want to enable and reward Trump for damaging the nation by declaring him “acquitted on all articles” then they have the Constitutional authority to do so.

      And it is voters in elections who get to evaluate and respond to their work product.

      • P J Evans says:

        They get to deal with the fallout from saying the evidence is enough to convict, at the same time they refuse to convict.
        It’s not the legality of their actions, it’s the immorality.

        • skua says:

          And the destruction of perceived limits on abuse of executive power.

          That is what has me wondering if I’m seeing qualitative change.

      • foggycoast says:

        right. but the current argument for no witnesses is that the charges are not impeachable. by definition they are, the house has said so. so let the senate vote on guilt or innocence of the charges not decide whether they are impeachable. sole power for that is with the house.

  8. Molly Pitcher says:

    I know that the events in Congress take center stage today, but I wanted to remind everyone to hold good thoughts for Quebecois who is having his cancerous kidney removed today.

  9. P J Evans says:

    Rudy is mad at Bolton now.
    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/1/31/1915450/-Giuiliani-confirms-latest-Bolton-bombshell-in-the-most-Rudy-way-possible

    “I think he’s making some of it up. He’s sure making up—I wouldn’t call it making it up, but he’s acting like a real scumbag by never telling me that he objected once, & then saying I was a time bomb, or a firecracker or something,” he told Times reporter Ken Vogel. Hand grenade, Rudy. He called you a hand grenade.
    How much more confirmation of the story do you need than Rudy complaining that Bolton never once told Rudy he objected to Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine? And right after Trump totally denied the claim, saying he “never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani.” The meeting Bolton never told Giuliani he objected to that he totally wasn’t directed to set up.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Rudy is mad, period. He’s also as profligate and greedy as Trump. Birds of a feather and all that.

  10. Robert Britton says:

    Cowards. Dishonorable, loathsome cowards.

    It is time for Americans to Rise Up and Rage against the corruption and the cancer. Enough is enough to believe that our system of checks and balances will right the wrongs. It won’t because our system is corrupted by greed, foreign influence, criminals, mobsters, and the weak and pathetic who cower in the shadows.

    Cowards like John Bolton, James Mattis, Rex Tillerson. Not a testicle among them.

    Cowards like Murkowski, Alexander, and so many others.

    Worse, the vile coward sitting in the Senate like a paper weight as he allowed lies, gaslighting, and injustice to occur. Oh no! Don’t you dare disrespect these hallowed halls of the world’s greatest deliberative body! Wouldn’t want to see that!

    But let’s turn a blind eye to justice, to fairness, and support the Constitution.

    Chief Roberts, you just also showed that you are a farce, a partisan, and a weak, unethical “justice” who has not even the first inkling of what your role means.

    And then there are the corrupt who willingly sold out America and our Constitution for a few more weeks of holding office in the Trump Era.

    I will not forget the cowards. I will not give the corrupt the forgiveness they may one day ask for. I will rise up and continue to fight against this foul cesspool of corruption exuding now at all levels of our government.

    Evil may have won today. But the fight is not over!

    Weak, pathetic, quivering pussies who hide in the shadow, your time will come where the light will shine. There’s no place you can run to escape from the damage and destruction you just caused to our county.

  11. drouse says:

    It’s days like this that make me think that the only people writing the history of our times are going to be archeologists.

    • rip says:

      Yes, combing through the detritus of a earlier failed civilization. Obvious signs of some glorious times and then indications of rot. Perhaps internal or brought on from foreign forces.

      Archeology will never a “dead” science.

  12. Fran of the North says:

    This is another punch to the gut for all who believe the the U.S. is something better than it has been for the past 3 years.

    If there is a silver lining to this, it is that possibly. POSSIBLY! the outrage of the left and center will continue to keep this sham in the public eye via the MSM and social media. It would be sweet revenge if the very tactics that his houghtiness used to win in 2016 were to be the cause of his downfall in 2020.

  13. JAFive says:

    Schiff needs to subpoena Bolton to come in on Monday morning the second that the Senate votes down the witnesses motion.

    • Badger Robert says:

      There have been sufficient disclosures. Trump represents their last hold on power and they are going to go down with him.

  14. e.a.f. says:

    it took all of 3 years for Trump and the Republican Congress people to destroy the American democracy. Its about how long it took Hitler to lay waste to other countries and start sending people to the death camps. Americans ought to study more history in their school system.

    If Trump is acquitted, because “if the President does it, its not a crime” I can hardly wait for the formation of more concentration camps. the contracts to maintain them might even go to the trump organization. If people don’t think it can happen, look at what happened to Germany and then to the other European countries once the Nazi’s rolled in.

    Will people of Iranian descent be banned from voting, because the “president” deems it in the best interest of the country? How about people of Mexican descent or African Americans? What if the President deems it in the best interest of the country if he arrests the next candidate for the Democrats or Hillary Clinton. the Republican senators have laid the ground work and the Conservatives hold the balance of power on the American supreme court.

    If any one wonders how Germany and the rest of Europe wound up in the mess it did in the 1930s and 40s, now you know.

    Politicians and police of the invaded countries co operated with the Nazis, just like in my opinion, the Republican Senators are co operating with Trump and his “crew”.

    • EchoDelta says:

      I disagree. This achievement was based on fifty or more years of planning, funding, organizing, and programming.

      • cavenewt says:

        I agree with EchoDelta. The Republicans started working on this during the Reagan administration with Lee Atwater, and Newt Gingrich carried it along.

        The Republicans have spent decades gradually taking over state legislatures, while the Democrats were busy being unherdable cats.

      • Sandwichman says:

        I agree in principle with EchoDelta but disagree in time span. The term “banana republic” is more than a hundred years old and refers to a geopolitical fact that was already established by 1904 when O. Henry coined it. The modifier refers to the role of the United Fruit Company in installing regimes friendly to their operations and disposing of those who might impose unwanted costs.

        This, and not “the Constitution,” was the model of freedom and democracy that the U.S. exported to the world and it became the model for the fifty-year dismantling of democracy in the U.S.A by the Banana Republicans and their Citizens United Fruit Company Supreme Court.

      • P J Evans says:

        Schiff read former senator Warner’s letter into the record.
        McTurtle has called for a quorum vote, but it’s being delayed while he discusses something with Schumer.

        C-Span says Dersh has officially withdrawn from the defense team. (Thanks for f*cking us over, Dersh, and you’re still responsible for the consequences of your sh*tty arguments.)

        • P J Evans says:

          Ah, this is what seems to be going on:
          Friday, Jan 31, 2020 · 1:47:32 PM PST · Mark Sumner

          McConnell is apparently preparing an amendment that would set the scheduled for the end of the trial. But if he can’t get Schumer’s agreement, Democrats can offer amendments to that amendment, each of which would get two hours of debate.

          • P J Evans says:

            Oh, better:
            Friday, Jan 31, 2020 · 2:06:14 PM PST · Mark Sumner

            From the sound of it, McConnell left out some necessary steps in the resolution passed at the start of the trial. So to get the votes on the witnesses and articles he has to introduce an amendment to schedule them. Since that is in the form of an amendment, it’s subject to amendment. Semi-endlessly.

            Hey, where’s that article about how McConnell was so great at this?

            Probably time to start placing bets on how late this is going to run.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            I feel like Barr has the video evidence taken from Epstien and they have been used to ‘encourage’ Dersh to blow up any shreds that were left of his reputation in this bizzare perfomance for Trump.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Susan Collins must be expecting her post-Senate career to be especially lucrative, because this performance is guaranteed to quicken her removal from office.

  16. holdingsteady says:

    Rayne,
    Thank you for stating that Alaskans can do better! It motivated me to call Lisa again, and ask her to change her mind. She has the gall to call the trial unfair and say congress is failing and yet not vote for witnesses and documents … I told her that means she is contributing to the unfairness and failure.

    • bmaz says:

      Keep in mind that it is not just witnesses and new documents, the full detailed House impeachment report is not even in the record.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Do we know if she was forced out or not? If this was about the time she planned to retire, then good for her! If she’s leaving because of pressure from the Administration or just plain exhaustion from everything that’s happened in the last year, then obviously this is a bad thing.

      • harpie says:

        According to that report, she’s been telling colleagues that she was planning to retire.

        Note: Mary Louise Kelly is reporting this. She’s the reported Pompeo attacked.

  17. klynn says:

    Oh my. One interesting development, one sad news.

    It would be great If it were possible to ask for recusals from those named in the Bondi letter.

    Even better for a recusal from Cipollone since he is a fact witness.

  18. MattyG says:

    Open thread so here goes. Is Parnas evidence that Putin is (a) cutting DT loose. Or (b) executing Phase 2 of Operation GOP whereby a load of receipt shinola is timed to hit the oscillator at a very “delicate” moment in US political history.

  19. Frank Probst says:

    So is there any consensus on what happens to Bolton’s book now? On the one hand, Bolton learned how to play the bureaucracy of the government from The Dark Lord (Dick Cheney) himself, so he’s presumably anticipated most of the obvious ploys to keep his book from being published. On the other hand, you’ve got Trump and Barr, who think they can do whatever the hell they want. Among their MANY options would be to insta-classify everything in Bolton’s book, or to just let it sit in pre-approval hell until they’re both out of government. What do people think?

    I’m kind of curious about what his book contract looks like. I don’t think you give someone $2 million for a book using a boilerplate contract, or even a standard contract that deals with the issue of pre-approval. And if there’s any sort of “morals clause” in there, would it cover breaking the law by revealing classified information?

  20. tinao says:

    Lose the battle, but win the war. It is time to start registering the youth vote. They are the ones who will inherit this scorched earth, and I don’t think they will vote against their best interests.

    • Ollie says:

      tineo: so you don’t think people will vote against their interests? lol I think anger and hatred have done quite well in getting their blowholes to do just that/over and over again.

  21. Ckymonstaz says:

    Strange the way this slow moving trainwreck to a forgone conclusion still created a lump in my throat and ache in my heart today as the votes came in

    ps. pardon my French but the urge to blow up mcsally’s office voicemail (being from AZ I’ve done so respectfully many times) and tell her to F*#K all the way off and if she gets bored to go [email protected]#K herself and then [email protected]*K off some more is tough to fight right now

  22. Savage Librarian says:

    Down Pat

    Mitch got the pitch down Pat,
    straight to and from their autocrat.
    When Murkowski came to bat,
    she pretended it wasn’t all that.

    The coaches are all in on the scam,
    Bad faith hits another grand slam.
    They don’t care we know it’s a sham,
    They say aloud they don’t give a damn.

    The base’s loaded for another steal,
    A grand bargain with a sunk deal,
    Even the grifters called it surreal,
    Sitting next to the Presidential Seal.

    Cheating just to walk a hall
    that allegedly is owned by all,
    the GOP’s written on the wall,
    “We gladly cause our republic to fall.”

    Turkish candy and Russian delights
    mean more to them than our rights,
    Republicans hide behind dirty fights:
    Last to leave, turn off the lights.

  23. P J Evans says:

    It isn’t over until it’s over: keep after your senators!
    Friday, Jan 31, 2020 · 3:30:38 PM PST · Mark Sumner

    So, this is the apparent deal.
    The Senate will return to session at 7 PM.
    Votes on Friday evening will be limited to 4 or 5 proposed amendments from Democratic senators. (no idea what they will be)
    McConnell will not hold debate or vote on acquittal tonight.
    On Monday, both legal teams will give closing arguments, and some senators will give Senate floor speeches. Still no vote.
    On Wednesday, senators will complete floor speeches and McConnell will call a vote on the articles in the afternoon.

    • bmaz says:

      Meh, it is over. The resolution specifies there shall be no more motions to open the record prior to the final vote on the articles.

      Schumer gets to make four amendment motions that are immediately being tabled by the GOP vote. It is so pathetic.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          “A coward dies a thousand deaths, the gallant never taste of death but once.”

          Given how defenders of the Constitution and accountability are cast as Caesar, and the Republicans as the lean and hungry Cassius, how fitting that the quote is from Julius Caesar.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Was McConnell wearing a suicide vest as he forced the GOP off a cliff like lemmings?

        This is a Pyrrhic victory for the ages.

        GOP to citizens, “We don’t give a sh!t what you think; just shut the f*ck up and don’t expect fairness, competence, justice, or integrity while our funders continue to loot you and yours.”

        Usually, McConnell and his BananaRepublican$ are able to maintain their charade of sanctimonious public service. This time, it’s being publicly exposed.

        Short term, it’s ugly. Long term, perhaps an important social catalyst.

        For Quebecois: hang in there and keep your spirits up. Healing is a process: be patient.

  24. errant aesthete says:

    As anguished as I feel as a human being and as humiliated and shamed as an American citizen, I am grateful to be spared the upcoming weekend’s media blitz featuring the newly appointed occupant to the thrown bloviating throughout the land about his history-making exoneration on Sean Hannity’s Super Bowl interview on Sunday, and his majesty’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nice to see that Bernie is raising the hackles of the conservative Democratic establishment. More to come, especially when he picks his running mate.

    For those who might see the ultra-conservative war hawk John Bolton as a hero – admittedly, few here would – remember that one of his first decisions as National Security Adviser was to terminate the senior director for global health security and biothreats and disband his office. He did not “see global health issues as a national security priority.”

    The administration has also drastically cut funding for the CDC. The better, I suppose, to decrease the population surplus to requirements. Wilbur Ross thinks that will be great for the US economy, which proves that ignorance and dementia are not limited to the White House.

    Meanwhile the WHO and US declared the coronavirus a global threat.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/31/us-coronavirus-budget-cuts-trump-underprepared

    • Eureka says:

      Ronald Klain, Obama’s ~ ebola response czar, had a thoughtful piece on this in The Atlantic yesterday. On one point in particular — China’s rejection of CDC’s offer to assist — he stresses how some diplomacy could have changed that outcome. Another good point was that Obama’s ebola response was perhaps one of the greatest never-to-be-sung accomplishments of his admin, because success.

      Now Trump Needs the Deep State to Fight Coronavirus
      Coronavirus Is Coming—And Trump Isn’t Ready
      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/now-trump-needs-deep-state-fight-coronavirus/605752/

    • Eureka says:

      This was an excellent thread on Wilbur Ross’ inanities and supply chain realities, and reminded me of Rayne’s writings on these issues as they’ve come up in the past:

      Matt Stoller: “What an embarrassing trivialization of a serious supply chain resiliency problem. If you spend five minutes researching our dependencies you start realizing how screwed we could be for getting food, medicine, machinery, etc….”
      https://twitter.com/matthewstoller/status/1222876334705270786

      • Eureka says:

        Thread cont. :

        What an embarrassing trivialization of a serious supply chain resiliency problem. If you spend five minutes researching our dependencies you start realizing how screwed we could be for getting food, medicine, machinery, etc.

        [quoting Rupar tweet video of Ross: “Secretary Wilbur Ross says coronavirus will be good for [checks notes] American jobs: “I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America.” “]

        In 2004 the U.S. lost half its flu vaccine supply because of a shutdown in a factory in the UK. [usatoday link]

        U.S. drug supply shortages are so severe hospitals and insurance companies funded a coop to begin manufacturing generics. And China has 80-90% market share in chemical inputs. [biopharmadive link]

        China controls 90% of our supply of Vitamin C, which is a widely used food preservative.

        There are an endless number of problems with our dependencies. We have a government committee set up just to analyze the ones with China, which are the most severe. [uscc.gov link]

        As @sidhubaba wrote New York City nearly ran out of food after Sandy because of thinned out supply chains. It could have gotten extremely ugly. Just In Time manufacturing plus globalization is… dangerous. [citylab link]

        As I understand it, China has the market on pretty nearly *all* so-called nutritional supplement ingredients (used for a variety of purposes, including medical), beyond vitamin C.

        • P J Evans says:

          When I went in last week to refill a prescription, the pharmacy tech told me I was lucky, because they’re having a hard time getting that particular very common generic drug. (I take two a day; some people need more than that.)
          They were also having shortages of flu vaccine in December.
          I think Wilbur ought to work at a job where he has to deal with this stuff every day.

            • Eureka says:

              I’d say that should be scheduled for April 15th, but that’s for plebeians. Make it whatever the typical quarterly extension day is for the rich and famous.

          • Hika says:

            I know it’s ageist, but seriously, biology wins out at some point and you just shouldn’t have octogenarians occupying important, demanding public service roles. In a country of 320+ million it is just daft. And I won’t start on what I think of the septuagenarian field of presidential candidates and the lack of better, younger options.

            • P J Evans says:

              It really depends on the person. One of my aunts was still teaching college classes at 70, and lecturing there until she was past 90.
              Other people, like Trmp, should have been retired at 55.

  26. harpie says:

    Earlier today, when Popehat was FormalThreatHat, he retweeted https://twitter.com/ElieNYC/status/1223282333794676745
    11:30 AM · Jan 31, 2020

    I do not think Roberts will vote for witnesses.
    I do think that, when McGahn’s appeal and the baseless claim of “absolute immunity” gets to his desk, the events of the last week make it *more* likely that Roberts will join the liberals and slam it, HARD.

    Roberts has now seen, first hand, the national danger involved in allowing such a claim to be surfaced in any way. Sekulow’s arguments were designed for the Senate. When Noel Francisco makes basically opposite arguments before Roberts, he won’t be able to deny the hypocrisy.

    Roberts was prepared to vote for the Census question, until the leaked Republican documents made such a vote embarrassing to him. I *think* Sekulow has just made voting for absolute immunity similarly embarrassing.

    And, not for nothing, but ALLOWING Trump to get away with it,
    but buttoning it up so that DEMOCRATS can’t get away with the same thing, TRACKS PERFECTLY with Roberts’s partisan career.

    Popehat is now SHRUGHAT.

    Just now, Laura Rozen Retweeted
    https://twitter.com/BresPolitico/status/1223400018385592320
    7:17 PM · Jan 31, 2020

    Roberts tells Schumer “it would be inappropriate for me” to vote in case of a tie!

    /2 This is huge issue. Roberts rejects the precedent from the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial in 1868. “I do not regard those isolated episodes 150 years ago as sufficient to support a general authority to break ties,” Roberts said.

    /3 More Roberts: “I think it would be inappropriate for me, an unelected official from a different branch of government, to assert the power” to break ties if the Senate deadlocks.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      How predictable of the archconservative Catholic Republican John Roberts. He forgets that his status as Chief Justice is secondary to his status as a locum for the Vice President, who normally sits as President of the Senate.

      Breaking tie votes is virtually the only responsibility of that job.
      But the Founders prohibited the Vice President from presiding at impeachment trials of the President, because his tie vote could make him President. They sought to protect the country and the Vice President from so obvious a conflict of interest.

      Mr. Roberts wears a cloak of disinterested impartiality. But his refusal to fulfill his job tilts the playing field in predictable ways. Ms. Warren was too gentle with him. More than his credibility will be tarnished by his performance at this trial.

      • P J Evans says:

        He didn’t enforce the trial rules that had been voted on. That’s someone who’s bought and paid for, in advance.

  27. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    The only thing that gives me hope is broadening the scope of time and remembering how openly and brazenly corrupt politics was in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, and how the people (well, those not repressed from voting) got sick of it. Open corruption was frowned upon for a period of time after that.

    We were never going to win this fight with a single witness or vote or trial, but by bringing corruption to the forefront of public awareness. Maybe this will be a tipping point for a bit.

    Still it hurts that president pussygrabber faces no consequences.

  28. Vicks says:

    https://www.senate.gov/reference/Index/Impeachment.htm
    The first sentence on the Senate’s own freaking webpage on impeachment.

    “Impeachment
    If a federal official commits a crime or otherwise acts improperly, the House of Representatives may impeach—formally charge—that official. If the official subsequently is convicted in a Senate impeachment trial, he is removed from office.”

    How about a taste of what the Senate’s educational website teaches Americans about “the Senate’s Impeachment Role?

    https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Senate_Impeachment_Role.htm
    “The Senate sits as a High Court of Impeachment in which senators consider evidence, hear witnesses, and vote to acquit or convict the impeached official.”
    Those a-h*les better get their Sharpies out and FIX THIS before some 8 year old working on a paper for school blows up their defense.

    • FL Resister says:

      Donald Trump did not turn over a single document or consent to a single witness. The Senate Republicans have just endorsed the obstruction of an official House impeachment for Trump’s using $391 million of congressionally approved funding as leverage for politically damaging slurs to his main political opponent.
      Thud.
      Lady Liberty is hitched to a misogynistic, abusive, law breaking authoritarian.
      The official court who tried her complaint has just determined the abuse shall continue without consequences.

      • Vicks says:

        “Life is like a grindstone whether it wears you down or polishes you up depends on what your made of”
        Look at the shortsightedness of the group formally as the Republican Party.
        Look at the complete trash they have let into our White House.
        Now look at what our founders laid the foundation for and what this country has overcome.
        This failure in the senate handed an entire campaign season worth of sound bites and material for the good guys.
        This election is going to be epic. This election is where history will really be made.

  29. pdaly says:

    I’m trying to figure out how the bumper sticker should read now:

    Previously: “Elections have consequences”
    Then: “Gerrymandered elections have consequences”
    Now: “Gerrymandered elections with the invited election interference by foreign powers have consequences”

    There must be a simpler way to say it.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      The Senate and geriatric senators who have been in DC for two generations are a bigger issue.

      Wyoming has fewer people than many Congressional Districts (average pop = 700,000+), a la Wikipedia:

      The [WY] state population was estimated at 577,737 in 2018, which is less than 31 of the most populous U.S. cities including Denver in neighboring Colorado.

      Not simpler, but still relevant:
      How is it a ‘fair election’ when 39,512,223 Californians get the same number of Senators as 577,737 Wyoming citizens?

      LA alone has over 18,000,000 residents.
      Only Texas, New York, Florida, and California have more residents than that single US city. (Pennsylvania has <13,000,000.)

      The Founders did not foresee the demographic implications of two senators per state. The center cannot hold, because the underlying demographics are too skewed.

      • pdaly says:

        Looking at the 2016 voting results for Wyoming, N.Dakota and S. Dakota, it would take only an additional 200,000 Democratic transplants from Los Angeles to each of these three states to turn the states comfortably from red to blue. What about a tiny house caravan?

  30. Badger Robert says:

    What happened to the thread that hypothesized that the Russians bought an entire political party, for much less than the cost of a war? Wasn’t that an inherent weakness, that the politicians would collapse the public interest to benefit a foreign power in exchange for private gain? No one thought too much about an entire party being greedy for cash.
    8: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

  31. Badger Robert says:

    Putin likes it when Americans argue with each other. But he wants more than that, much, much more. And Mr. Parnas is hiding his international sponsors.

  32. orionATL says:

    it probably has been pointed out previously, but sen. mccconnell’s determination not to allow witnesses, plus the republican senators’ complicit-with-trump vote to refuse to allow witnesses, guarantees a clean road for schiff and his committee to continue to hold hearings in the house on testimony by bolton and by parnas (and others who will surely come out of the woodwork) as a fuller understanding of the persistence and enormity of president trump’s 4-year-old cheat-to-win campaign effort becomes clearer and clearer.

    • P J Evans says:

      They can keep impeaching him, and they can keep sending bills over to the other chamber.
      We know the Senate will be complicit (and torpid) until at least New Year’s, but that shouldn’t prevent the House from doing its job.

        • bmaz says:

          After this debacle, there is not a chance in hell Pelosi is going to do that. She did not want to do it to start with and will not head down that road again. “Impeachment” is over. Kaput. There may be some regular oversight hearings if House committees can find willing witnesses or stumble into documents, but the ability to leverage the enhanced Constitutional impeachment footing, and its heightened ability to supersede executive privilege, is done. It is back to the feckless regular legislative purpose footing that Trump has fought off all along and is emboldened to do so even more now. This has been a giant cockup by Pelosi.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            If she wanted as little accountability as possible, she’s done well. I don’t imagine big donors are fond of it. Everybody can hide behind, Elections and all that. Time for more Earl Grey.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            To your last point, I don’t think either Pelosi or Schumer have been effective at orchestrating a PR campaign that plants this cockup in the GOP’s lap. Once bothsiderism gets to it, that responsibility could get lost in the shuffle.

            • P J Evans says:

              I gather Schumer was the one responsible for yesterday’s motions. He has a long history of being ineffective.

          • BobCon says:

            In normal times I think you are right, although I think it’s an interesting question what Pelosi does if Trump decides to force her hand.

            I don’t rule out the possibility that he decides to openly do something ten times more reckless than the Ukraine fiasco.

            It’s hard to imagine what he could do to shock the conscience of the GOP, but I don’t rule out anything with that man.

            • bmaz says:

              Naw, Pelosi is done. She didn’t want to do this one, even on the dumbass Ukraine phone call. By doing that, and only that, and in a reckless hasty manner, she has inoculated all the other crimes.

              There is not a chance in hell that Pelosi wants anything more to do with “impeachment”. And anybody who thinks there will blithely be more and continuing impeachment (and there are quite a few) is on some serious hallucinogenic drugs.

              • BobCon says:

                I understand where you are coming from, but I believe Trump is capable of something like ordering internment camps for anyone with a Chinese name, including fourth generation citizens, as a response to Coronavirus.

                I can imagine him openly defying a Supreme Court order or ordering CBP agents to fire on peaceful protestors.

                I think the odds are against anything that extreme, but the brakes are getting very weak.

            • bmaz says:

              Generally, yes, absolutely. There are minor exceptions, such as where a lawyer might submit a pre-trial affidavit as to a related, but collateral fact, maybe make an avowal to the court et.

              But, in a trial, yes, that is true, and especially so when Cippalone blithely appeared, all the while concealing his true status. Completely unethical.

              • Bay State Librul says:

                Thanks, appreciate your analysis.
                And the remedy…..

                Sanctions from the ABA.
                Declare a mistrial
                Disbarment?
                Slap on the wrist

                • bmaz says:

                  The ABA has no jurisdiction or power whatsoever and cannot “disbar” anybody. They are a useless joke.

                  No, there is not mistrial capability. In fact, McConnell has insured that no matter what, even if Trump murdered the Constitution on 5th Avenue between now and Wednesday, the record cannot, under any circumstances, be opened up to consider that.

                  As to an ethics complaint to any actual bar authorities (presumably DC) Cippilone is a member of? Sure. But the DC Bar is famous for almost NEVER going after governmental officials, and they are unlikely to here. And that is being kind. Short of a referral by John Roberts (Lol, that will never happen) or Pelosi and Nadler, there is no way the DC Bar will ever give serious consideration. Nadler might be game, but Pelosi will not.

                  Some day, people will understand why I have been complaining so profusely about Pelosi. I am sure there are another few rounds of fucking idiocy claiming what a “masterful” and tactical “genius” she is. What a joke.

                  • Bay State Librul says:

                    Remand.
                    I, Chief Justice Roberts, remand the case of Donald John Trump back to the House of Representatives for further proceedings.
                    According to the definition of a trial as stipulated in the handbook of legal terms is “a hearing before a judge and/or jury at which evidence is taken and witnesses examined with the aim of resolving the issues between the parties involved.”
                    I have decided that this trial did not meet this basic threshold ab initio.
                    It is so ordered under pain of mortal sin. Signed JR

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    Lawyers who stuff their cards into the hands of people strapped to hospital gurneys have something to worry about. But DoJ officials and partners at K&E or Covington? Not a chance.

                  • errant aesthete says:

                    “Some day, people will understand why I have been complaining so profusely about Pelosi.”
                    -bmaz

                    With all due respect Mr. bmaz: Might you be good enough to refrain from your unbounded relentlessness on the topic of Pelosi to allow those of us who are undecided or unthinkably dense to reach that “day” on our own.

                    • bmaz says:

                      So, you are advocating that I should straight up lie to people to calm your over sensitive fee fees?

                      Yeah, no, right or wrong, that is not going to happen here. Every principal here speaks his or her mind. We are not here to pander to the “undecided” and/or “dense”. Those are your words, not mine, for I would have never gone there but for your prompt.

                      So, seriously, you want people at this blog to be namby pamby bullshit because you cannot make up your mind? Nope. Come with better facts, not that your fee fees were momentarily triggered.

  33. Eureka says:

    This was the halftime performance at the Lakers Kobe memorial game. I was going to wait for a sports thread, but they keep taking the full-length versions down, and if you can catch it it’s a beautiful song (some bars of the recorded version were played during the intro segment):

    “Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth performed “See You Again” during halftime. …”
    https://twitter.com/TSN_Sports/status/1223474096010416133

    • Eureka says:

      It’s been a long day without you, my friend
      And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again

      We’ve come a long way from where we began
      Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again

      When I see you again

  34. OldTulsaDude says:

    Too Little, Too Late

    It’s over, call it a day.
    Sorry that it had to end this way.
    No reason to pretend,
    we knew it had to end
    someday, someway.

  35. pdaly says:

    But Dershowitz isn’t finished with his attempts at defending Trump. Last night on Fox, Dershowitz was telling Hannity/Trump that Pelosi’s comment ‘Trump will always be an impeached president’ should be challenged– that the impeachment should somehow be dropped. Dershowitz likened it to an indictment. It is only used to start a trial, but once the person is found not guilty we don’t continue to refer to that person as ‘indicted’.

    Ugh!

    Dershowitz also claimed Trump did not have a fair trial! (agreed! Although Dershowitz was not clamoring for witnesses)

      • bmaz says:

        Dersh is, and has been, a sideshow for Fox News and their cult. The path of this “trial” was baked in from the start.

          • bmaz says:

            They did not get jack shit on the record except one limited document. And, apparently, the House impeachment report and a gazillion pages of attachments that not a fucking sole read, including most Democrats.

            You know what a real record in a real trial record is? Things that are placed in front of EVERY juror. Not things they can blithely ignore and pretend do not exist.

            This is also why all the media and pundits that have called this a “trial”, and people that refer to the 100 Senators as “jurors” like this nonsense is the equivalent of a civil trial, much less a criminal trial, are so full of shit.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, shit, it is hard to argue with an esteemed voice like Richard Wolffe, fired by even MSNBC for being such a complete douchebag, when he opens his current brilliant piece with:

      “Jared Kushner is a genius. It’s all too easy to overlook the sheer brilliance of Donald Trump’s son-in-law….”

      • holdingsteady says:

        Wolfe’s sarcasm maybe didn’t come across soon enough… later he calls Jared a slumlord… anyway, I enjoyed his writing this morning, but maybe wasn’t worth posting.

        But LeCarre’s acceptance speech was really great and I don’t regret posting that one.

        • bmaz says:

          Naw, it is just that Wolffe has been a hollow dope jackass since he joined MSNBC from his sinecure under a George Bush related lobbying firm.

  36. Rugger9 says:

    It’s been a while since it has made the rounds, but does anyone know the progress of the Convention of the States Project (no, I’m not linking to wingnuttia, Google it if you like) on getting past the 2/3 34 state threshold for calling a new Constitutional Convention per Article V? It strikes me as a plausible way for Individual-1 to wipe out his Constitutional term limit that was put into place after FDR and once opened, there is nothing to stop the Rs from putting all of their wet dream wish list in there.

  37. harpie says:

    1] Trump’s legal team gave thousands in contributions to Republican senators ahead of impeachment trial
    Trump’s lawyers also gave thousands to Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz before the trial began
    https://www.salon.com/2020/01/29/trumps-legal-team-gave-thousands-in-contributions-to-republican-senators-ahead-of-impeachment-trial/
    JANUARY 29, 2020 11:00AM (UTC)

    President Trump’s legal team made numerous campaign contributions to Republican senators overseeing the impeachment trial.
    Former independent counsels Ken Starr and Robert Ray, who both investigated former President Bill Clinton ahead of his impeachment, contributed thousands of dollars to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last year before they joined the president’s team, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CFPR). […]

    2] Trump allies are handing out cash to black voters
    Organizers have begun holding events in black communities where they lavish praise on the president while handing out thousands of dollars in giveaways.
    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/29/trump-black-voters-cash-giveaways-108072
    01/29/2020 05:08 AM

    Allies of Donald Trump have begun holding events in black communities where organizers lavish praise on the president as they hand out tens of thousands of dollars to lucky attendees.
    The first giveaway took place last month in Cleveland, where recipients whose winning tickets were drawn from a bin landed cash gifts in increments of several hundred dollars, stuffed into envelopes. A second giveaway scheduled for this month in Virginia has been postponed, and more are said to be in the works. […]

    • Vicks says:

      Doesn’t the fact that thousands were given to senators that were already devoted followers make you want to know what kind of sort of pre-gifts, threats or promises were worked out with those who would have a real need to be motivated?

  38. harpie says:

    People are coming over for the game today, and I couldn’t feel any less celebratory…want to go back to bed.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      THAT is precisely the reason I am grateful the Niners are playing today. I am sick at my stomach watching Lamar Alexander and Chuck Todd right now. Profiles in fecklessness.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        I think even Todd almost upchucked.
        Bleck. If I believed in hell, I’d say there was a special place there for all this detritus. But I think they might have to build lots of towers there to accommodate all of them.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        By all means, unwatch Toddler Chuck. He makes his mentor – the cozy centrist, Tim Russert, whose questions were as hard to bite into as egg custard – look like a flaming liberal. Fatuous is too kind for Chuck.

  39. orionATL says:

    another legacy of our president – mainstreaming white racism, especially among young adults:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/03/paul-kersey-michael-j-thompson-white-nationalist-report

    “… The Leadership Institute is one of the longest-standing institutions in the US conservative movement, focused on training young activists. It claims to have trained 200,000 such young conservatives over 40 years, in skills including public speaking, campaigning and fundraising….”

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