June 25, 2019 / by 

 

Livestream Tonight: The Investigation — Mueller Report in 10 Acts [UPDATE]

[NB: As always, check the byline. Thanks! /~Rayne]

Tonight only at 9:00 p.m. EDT (sorry, Rachel Maddow) the (nonprofit-?) organization Law Works will stream a live play based on the Mueller Report.

Read about the program at Variety, which calls this a “star-studded” “live reading” of the report.

This is one way to educate a portion of the public who can’t or won’t read the Special Counsel’s report. One might wonder if members of Congress might give this a shot or if they will continue to avoid the truth about the Trump campaign and administration.

If you happen to stream this Law Works’ production, share your thoughts here.

This is an open thread.

UPDATE — 9:15 p.m. EDT —

Running into 500-502 errors at Law Works’ site. Streams a little jerky through their Twitter account.


To The Phones: Stop the Gulf of Tonkin, Iran Edition

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

Some crazy bullshit happened last evening, probably while our fearless Agent Orange Chaos was under the influence of anti-anxiety medication/two scoops/Hannity’s fluffery:

This is like a half-assed Gulf of Tonkin event, a deliberately staged precursor to war. The Gulf of Tonkin was the rationale for the Vietnam War which resulted in 58,318 dead and 303,644 wounded U.S. military personnel and nearly 4,000,000 total dead, along with billions in defense expenditures.

It’s not like we haven’t seen other similar bullshit lies leading us into war, and some of the key lies propelled by the same news outlet quoted above, written by NYT’s Judith Miller. NYT has clearly prepped itself for more of the same — just look at the specialty Twitter account it set up called “NYTimesAtWar.”

We’re being dragged into a wholly unnecessary war because other non-US factions want to use our military for their ends. We have total shit for soft power right now because Trump doesn’t believe in diplomacy unless he’s conducting it with some other Big Authoritarian Man[™]. He will definitely trash anything the previous administration negotiated as part of the JCPOA (read: something a black man did). Trump’s also pliable depending on when he’s approached and by whom — like this propaganda by Fox News yesterday catching him first thing in the morning when he watches television, conditioning his responses for the day:

And again today, after the attack last night was canceled, Fox News is again beating the drum for war and tacitly questioning Trump’s manhood:

Who else was working on Trump’s head all day yesterday, pushing this bullshit narrative based on manufactured evidence?

Thankfully the House has finally voted this Wednesday to end the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) which has been used to support all manner of military action against real and claimed terrorist threats:

The House of Representatives voted today to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Presidents have used the AUMF to justify never-ending wars that lack Congressional approval.

This is the first time in nearly 18 years that a chamber of Congress has repealed this law. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), was included in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 2968). Designed to take effect eight months after being signed, Congress would need to pass a new AUMF or the administration would need to remove military personnel from current conflicts during that time.

Prescient timing, or no? Whatever the case, if factions within the Trump administration were going to rely on the 2001 AUMF to execute their attacks on Iran, the support is gone in the House.

This is where YOU come in. The Senate hasn’t voted on the Defense Appropriations Act including the rescindment of the 2001 AUMF; it could be stalled once again on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk. Stalled or not, the Senate needs to hear from its constituents about this absurd run up to war — denounce this incompetent attempt at launching war without adequate Congressional approval and ask for an investigation into whatever happened last evening to launch an attack without a legitimate AUMF and then reversed the attack mid-flight. This behavior is irrational and only more likely to trigger events the American people have no desire to see happen.

If you need another briefing and a script for making your calls to your senators, visit @Celeste_pewter’s TinyLetter page.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Do call your House reps and praise them if they supported the rescindment and admonish them if they didn’t. They need to know constituents are paying close attention.

The really scary/aggravating part of last night’s near-miss was that fossil fuel corporations can’t be happy about this. If they aren’t happy and they weren’t consulted, who’s running our foreign policy besides a guy responsible in no small part for hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the Iraq War and another Christianist doofus too stupid to realize he’s being used as a pawn by other non-Christian geopolitical forces?

This is an open thread.


Whip It Good: Impeachment Inquiry Edition [UPDATED-7]

[NB: Check the byline, thanks! Updates at the very bottom. /~Rayne]

CNN published a report this weekend tallying the House Democrats who have already expressed support in one way or another for an impeachment inquiry. The head count stood at 63 out of 235 Democrats on Saturday, along with lone Republican Justin Amash (R-MI).

There are many possible reasons why House Democrats haven’t yet expressed support for a Constitutionally empowered inquiry, not the least of which is simple chickenshit worry about polling for the 2020 race. I say chickenshit because 2018 was a huge wave and the reasons which drove that wave have not subsided. They have only increased in intensity.

Can you think of anyone in your circle of friends and family whose taxes have gone down since the Trump tax bill passed? Can you think of anyone who’s found their grocery bill or their rent has gone down? What about medical bills — has anyone you know experienced a drop in prescription drug costs or health care insurance premiums?

And what of other matters like personal privacy or the ability to vote? Have those matters improved for the average Americans you know?

Now we can add more rural Americans to the discontented having been ignored while their states have been inundated, just as coastal residents in hurricane-damaged states have also gone without timely attention and aid.

The blue wave will continue. Its power needs to be focused. We have some time to address that. But we also need to develop that focus with more effective investigations into the Trump administration’s public corruption and abuses of power as well as obstruction of justice and oversight. An impeachment inquiry will provide the teeth necessary to obtain evidence and testimony, and it’s well past time to get the House Dems on board.

Here’s the whip list below — I will update it as I see reports in the media.

Your job as a citizen is to exercise your civic duty and contact your representative to find out where they stand on an impeachment inquiry, and to convey your opinion supporting one.

Do share your results in comments; we’ll watch to see how long it takes for the media to catch up with any changes in this whip count.

Let’s roll, people. Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

State Last First, Middle, Nickname Party Affiliation Impeachment Inquiry Y/N House Judiciary Committee
Alabama Sewell Terrycina Andrea “Terri” Dem
Arizona Gallego Ruben Dem
Arizona Grijalva Raul M. Dem Y
Arizona Kirkpatrick Ann Dem
Arizona O’Halleran Tom Dem
Arizona Stanton Greg Dem Y    🔺
California Aguilar Pete Dem
California Barragán Nanette Diaz Dem Y
California Bass Karen R. Dem
California Bera Amerish “Ami” Dem
California Brownley Julia Dem
California Cardenas Tony Dem Y
California Carbajal Salud O. Dem
California Chu Judy Dem
California Cisneros Gilbert “Gil” Dem
California Correa Jose Luis “Lou” Dem
California Costa Jim Dem
California Cox Terrance John “TJ” Dem
California Davis Susan A. Dem
California DeSaulnier Mark Dem Y
California Eshoo Anna G. Dem
California Garamendi John Raymond Dem
California Gomez Jimmy Dem
California Harder Josh Dem
California Hill Katherine Lauren “Katie” Dem
California Huffman Jared W. Dem Y
California Khanna Rohit “Ro” Dem
California Lee Barbara Dem Y
California Levin Mike Dem
California Lieu Ted W. Dem Y    🔺
California Lofgren Zoe Dem see comment
California Lowenthal Alan S. Dem Y
California Matsui Doris K. Dem
California McNerney Gerald Mark “Jerry” Dem
California Napolitano Grace Flores Dem Y
California Panetta James Varni “Jimmy” Dem
California Pelosi Nancy Dem
California Peters Scott Dem
California Porter Katherine “Katie” Dem Y
California Rouda Jr. Harley E. Dem [1]
California Roybal-Allard Lucille Dem
California Ruiz Raul Dem
California Sanchez Linda T. Dem
California Schiff Adam B. Dem
California Sherman Brad Dem Y
California Speier Jackie Dem Y
California Swalwell Eric Michael Dem Y    🔺
California Takano Mark A. Dem see comment
California Thompson C. Michael “Mike” Dem
California Torres Norma J. Dem Y
California Vargas Juan C. Dem Y
California Waters Maxine Dem Y
Colorado Crow Jason Dem
Colorado DeGette Diana L. Dem Y
Colorado Neguse Joseph “Joe” Dem Y    🔺
Colorado Perlmutter Edwin G. “Ed” Dem
Connecticut Courtney Joseph D. “Joe” Dem
Connecticut DeLauro Rosa L. Dem
Connecticut Hayes Jahana Dem
Connecticut Himes Jim Dem
Connecticut Larson John B. Dem
Delaware Rochester Lisa Blunt Dem
Florida Castor Katherine Anne “Kathy” Dem
Florida Crist Charlie Joseph Dem
Florida Demings Valdez “Val” Dem Y    🔺
Florida Deutch Theodore Eliot “Ted” Dem
Florida Frankel Lois J. Dem
Florida Hastings Alcee L. Dem
Florida Lawson Jr. Alfred “Al” Dem
Florida Mucarsel-Powell Debbie Dem Y   🔺
Florida Murphy Stephanie Dem
Florida Shalala Donna Elvira Dem
Florida Soto Darren Dem
Florida Wasserman Schultz Debbie Dem
Florida Wilson Frederica S. Dem
Georgia Bishop Jr. Sanford Dixon Dem
Georgia Johnson Jr. Henry C. “Hank” Dem
Georgia Lewis John R. Dem
Georgia McBath Lucia Kay “Lucy” Dem
Georgia Scott David Albert Dem
Hawaii Case Edward E. “Ed” Dem
Hawaii Gabbard Tulsi Dem
Illinois Bustos Cheri Dem
Illinois Casten Sean Dem Y
Illinois Davis Danny K. Dem Y
Illinois Foster G. William “Bill” Dem
Illinois Garcia Jesus G. “Chuy” Dem Y
Illinois Kelly Robin L. Dem Y
Illinois Krishnamoorthi S. Raja Dem
Illinois Lipinski Daniel William “Dan” Dem
Illinois Quigley Mike Dem Y
Illinois Rush Bobby Lee Dem Y
Illinois Schakowsky Janice D. “Jan” Dem
Illinois Schneider Bradley Scott “Brad” Dem
Illinois Underwood Lauren A. Dem
Indiana Carson Andre D. Dem
Indiana Visclosky Peter J. Dem
Iowa Axne Cindy Dem
Iowa Finkenauer Abby Dem
Iowa Loebsack David Wayne “Dave” Dem
Kansas Davids Sharice Dem
Kentucky Yarmuth John A. Dem Y
Louisiana Richmond Cedric L. Dem Y    🔺
Maine Golden Jared F. Dem
Maine Pingree Chellie M. Dem Y
Maryland Brown Anthony Gregory Dem
Maryland Cummings Elijah E. Dem
Maryland Hoyer Steny Hamilton Dem
Maryland Raskin Jamin B. “Jamie” Dem Y    🔺
Maryland Ruppersberger III Charles Albert Dutch “C.A. Dutch” Dem
Maryland Sarbanes John Peter Spyros Dem
Maryland Trone David Dem
Massachusetts Clark Katherine M. Dem
Massachusetts Keating William Richard “Bill” Dem
Massachusetts Kennedy III Joseph Patrick “Joe” Dem
Massachusetts Lynch Stephen F. Dem
Massachusetts McGovern James P. “Jim” Dem Y
Massachusetts Moulton Seth W. Dem Y
Massachusetts Neal Richard E. Dem
Massachusetts Pressley Ayanna S. Dem Y
Massachusetts Trahan Lori Loureiro Dem
Michigan Dingell Debbie Dem
Michigan Kildee Daniel T. “Dan” Dem Y
Michigan Lawrence Brenda Lulenar Dem Y
Michigan Levin Andy Dem Y
Michigan Slotkin Elissa Dem
Michigan Stevens Haley Dem
Michigan Tlaib Rashida Dem Y
Minnesota Craig Angela Dawn “Angie” Dem
Minnesota McCollum Betty Dem Y
Minnesota Omar Ilhan Dem Y
Minnesota Peterson Collin Clark Dem
Minnesota Phillips Dean Dem
Mississippi Thompson Bennie G. Dem Y
Missouri Clay Jr. William Lacy Dem Y
Missouri Cleaver II Emanuel Dem
Nevada Horsford Steven Alexzander Dem
Nevada Lee Susan Kelley “Susie” Dem
Nevada Titus Alice Costandina “Dina” Dem
New Hampshire Kuster Ann McLane “Annie” Dem
New Hampshire Pappas Christopher C. “Chris” Dem
New Jersey Gottheimer Joshua S. “Josh” Dem
New Jersey Kim Andrew “Andy” Dem
New Jersey Malinowski Tom Dem Y
New Jersey Norcross Donald W. Dem
New Jersey Pallone Jr. Frank Dem
New Jersey Pascrell Jr. William J. “Bill” Dem Y
New Jersey Payne Jr. Donald M. Dem
New Jersey Sherrill Rebecca Michelle “Mikie” Dem
New Jersey Sires Albio Dem
New Jersey Van Drew Jeff Dem
New Jersey Watson Coleman Bonnie Dem
New Mexico Haaland Debra A. “Deb” Dem
New Mexico Lujan Ben Ray Dem
New Mexico Torres Small Xochitl Dem
New York Brindisi Anthony J. Dem
New York Clarke Yvette D. Dem Y
New York Delgado Antonio Dem
New York Engel Eliot Lance Dem
New York Espaillat Adriano Dem Y
New York Higgins Brian M. Dem Y

see comment

New York Jeffries Hakeem S. Dem
New York Lowey Nita M. Dem
New York Maloney Carolyn Bosher Dem Y
New York Maloney Sean Patrick Dem
New York Meeks Gregory Weldon Dem
New York Meng Grace Dem
New York Morelle Joseph D. “Joe” Dem
New York Nadler Jerrold Lewis “Jerry” Dem
New York Ocasio-Cortez Alexandria Dem Y
New York Rice Kathleen M. Dem Y
New York Rose Max N. Dem
New York Serrano Jose Enrique Dem
New York Suozzi Thomas R. “Tom” Dem
New York Tonko Paul David Dem Y
New York Velázquez Nydia Margarita Dem Y
North Carolina Adams Alma Shealey Dem Y
North Carolina Butterfield Jr. George Kenneth “G. K.” Dem Y
North Carolina Price David Eugene Dem
Ohio Beatty Joyce B. Dem
Ohio Fudge Marcia L. Dem Y
Ohio Kaptur Marcia Carolyn “Marcy” Dem
Ohio Ryan Timothy J. “Tim” Dem Y
Oklahoma Horn Kendra Dem
Oregon Blumenauer Earl Dem Y
Oregon Bonamici Suzanne M. Dem Y
Oregon DeFazio Peter Anthony “Pete” Dem
Oregon Schrader Walter Kurt “Kurt” Dem
Pennsylvania Boyle Brendan F. Dem Y
Pennsylvania Cartwright Matthew Alton “Matt” Dem
Pennsylvania Dean Cunnane Madeleine Dem Y    🔺
Pennsylvania Doyle Michael F. “Mike” Dem
Pennsylvania Evans Dwight Dem Y
Pennsylvania Houlahan Christina Jampoler “Chrissy” Dem
Pennsylvania Lamb Conor James Dem
Pennsylvania Scanlon Mary Gay Dem Y    🔺
Pennsylvania Wild Susan Ellis Dem
Rhode Island Cicilline David N. Dem Y   🔺
Rhode Island Langevin James R. “Jim” Dem
South Carolina Clyburn James Enos “Jim” Dem
South Carolina Cunningham Joseph K. “Joe” Dem
Tennessee Cohen Stephen Ira “Steve” Dem Y    🔺
Tennessee Cooper James H. S. “Jim” Dem
Texas Allred Colin Dem
Texas Castro Joaquin Dem Y
Texas Cuellar Henry R. Dem
Texas Doggett II Lloyd Alton Dem Y
Texas Escobar Veronica Dem Y    🔺
Texas Fletcher Elizabeth Pannill “Lizzie” Dem
Texas Garcia Sylvia R. Dem
Texas Gonzalez Vicente Dem
Texas Green Alexander “Al” Dem Y
Texas Jackson Lee Sheila Dem Y
Texas Johnson Eddie Bernice Dem
Texas Veasey Marc Allison Dem
Texas Vela Filemon B. Dem Y
Utah McAdams Ben Dem
Vermont Welch Peter F. Dem
Virginia Beyer Jr. Donald Sternoff “Don” Dem Y
Virginia Connolly Gerald Edward “Gerry” Dem
Virginia Luria Elaine G. Dem
Virginia McEachin Aston Donald “Donald” Dem
Virginia Scott Robert Cortez “Bobby” Dem
Virginia Spanberger Abigail A. Dem
Virginia Wexton Jennifer T. Dem
Washington DelBene Suzan Kay Dem see comment
Washington Heck Dennis “Denny” Dem
Washington Jayapal Pramila Dem Y    🔺
Washington Kilmer Derek Dem
Washington Larsen Richard Ray “Rick” Dem
Washington Schrier Kim Dem
Washington Smith David Adam “Adam” Dem
Wisconsin Kind Ronald James “Ron” Dem
Wisconsin Moore Gwendolynne S. “Gwen” Dem Y
Wisconsin Pocan Mark Dem Y
Alabama Aderholt Robert Brown GOP
Alabama Brooks Jr. Morris J. “Mo” GOP
Alabama Byrne Bradley Roberts GOP
Alabama Palmer Gary GOP
Alabama Roby Martha GOP
Alabama Rogers Michael Dennis “Mike” GOP
Alaska Young Donald E. “Don” GOP
Arizona Biggs Andy GOP
Arizona Gosar Paul Anthony GOP
Arizona Lesko Debbie GOP
Arizona Schweikert David GOP
Arkansas Crawford Eric Alan “Rick” GOP
Arkansas Hill James French “French” GOP
Arkansas Westerman Bruce GOP
Arkansas Womack Stephen A. “Steve” GOP
California Calvert Kenneth S. “Ken” GOP
California Cook Paul GOP
California Hunter Duncan Duane GOP
California LaMalfa Doug GOP
California McCarthy Kevin GOP
California McClintock Thomas “Tom” GOP
California Nunes Devin Gerald GOP
Colorado Buck Kenneth R. “Ken” GOP
Colorado Lamborn Douglas L. “Doug” GOP
Colorado Tipton Scott Randall GOP
Florida Bilirakis Gus Michael GOP
Florida Buchanan Vernon “Vern” GOP
Florida Diaz-Balart Mario GOP
Florida Dunn Neal Patrick GOP
Florida Gaetz Matt GOP
Florida Mast Brian GOP
Florida Posey William “Bill” GOP
Florida Rooney Francis GOP
Florida Rutherford John GOP
Florida Spano Vincent Ross “Ross” GOP
Florida Steube Greg W. GOP
Florida Waltz Michael “Mike” GOP
Florida Webster Daniel “Dan” GOP
Florida Yoho Theodore Scott “Ted” GOP
Georgia Allen Richard Wallen “Rick” GOP
Georgia Carter Earl Leroy “Buddy” GOP
Georgia Collins Douglas Allen “Doug” GOP
Georgia Ferguson IV Anderson Drew “Drew” GOP
Georgia Graves Jr. John Thomas “Tom” GOP
Georgia Hice Jody B. GOP
Georgia Loudermilk Barry D. GOP
Georgia Scott James Austin “Austin” GOP
Georgia Woodall III William Robert “Rob” GOP
Idaho Fulcher Russ GOP
Idaho Simpson Michael Keith “Mike” GOP
Illinois Bost Michael J. “Mike” GOP
Illinois Davis Rodney L. GOP
Illinois Kinzinger Adam GOP
Illinois LaHood Darin McKay GOP
Illinois Shimkus John M. GOP
Indiana Baird James R. “Jim” GOP
Indiana Banks James E. “Jim” GOP
Indiana Brooks Susan W. GOP
Indiana Bucshon Larry D. GOP
Indiana Hollingsworth III Joseph A. “Trey” GOP
Indiana Pence Gregory J. “Greg” GOP
Indiana Walorski Jackie Swihart GOP see comment
Iowa King Steven A. “Steve” GOP
Kansas Estes Ron GOP
Kansas Marshall Roger W. GOP
Kansas Watkins Steve GOP
Kentucky Barr Garland “Andy” GOP
Kentucky Comer James R. GOP
Kentucky Guthrie Steven Brett “Brett” GOP
Kentucky Massie Thomas H. GOP
Kentucky Rogers Harold Dallas “Hal” GOP
Louisiana Abraham Jr. Ralph Lee GOP
Louisiana Graves Garret GOP
Louisiana Higgins Clay GOP
Louisiana Johnson James Michael “Mike” GOP
Louisiana Scalise Stephen J. “Steve” GOP
Maryland Harris Andrew P. “Andy” GOP
Michigan Amash Justin GOP Y
Michigan Bergman John W. “Jack” GOP
Michigan Huizenga William P. “Bill” GOP
Michigan Mitchell III Paul GOP
Michigan Moolenaar John GOP
Michigan Upton Frederick Stephen “Fred” GOP
Michigan Walberg Timothy L. “Tim” GOP
Minnesota Emmer Jr. Thomas Earl “Tom” GOP
Minnesota Hagedorn James “Jim” GOP
Minnesota Stauber Peter Allen “Pete” GOP
Minnesota Stauber Peter Allen “Pete” GOP
Mississippi Guest Michael Patrick GOP
Mississippi Kelly John Trent “Trent” GOP
Mississippi Palazzo Steven McCarty GOP
Missouri Graves Jr. Samuel B. “Sam” GOP
Missouri Hartzler Vicky Jo GOP
Missouri Long Billy GOP
Missouri Luetkemeyer W. Blaine GOP
Missouri Smith Jason T. GOP
Missouri Wagner Ann L. GOP
Montana Gianforte Greg GOP
Nebraska Bacon Donald John “Don” GOP
Nebraska Fortenberry Jeffrey Lane “Jeff” GOP
Nebraska Smith Adrian M. GOP
Nevada Amodei Mark Eugene GOP
New Jersey Smith Christopher Henry “Chris” GOP
New York Collins Christopher Carl “Chris” GOP
New York Katko John M. GOP
New York King Peter T. “Pete” GOP
New York Reed II Thomas W. “Tom” GOP
New York Stefanik Elise M. GOP
New York Zeldin Lee Michael GOP
North Carolina Budd Theodore Paul “Ted” GOP
North Carolina Foxx Virginia Ann GOP
North Carolina Holding George Edward Bell GOP
North Carolina Hudson Jr. Richard Lane GOP
North Carolina McHenry Patrick Timothy GOP
North Carolina Meadows Mark Randal GOP
North Carolina Rouzer David Cheston GOP
North Carolina Walker Bradley Mark “Mark” GOP
North Dakota Armstrong Kelly M. GOP
Ohio Balderson Troy GOP
Ohio Chabot Steven J. “Steve” GOP
Ohio Davidson Warren GOP
Ohio Gibbs Robert Brian “Bob” GOP
Ohio Gonzalez Anthony E. GOP
Ohio Johnson Bill GOP
Ohio Jordan James D. “Jim” GOP
Ohio Joyce David P. “Dave” GOP
Ohio Latta Robert Edward “Bob” GOP
Ohio Stivers Steve E. GOP
Ohio Turner Michael R. “Mike” GOP
Ohio Wenstrup Brad R. GOP
Oklahoma Cole Thomas Jeffery “Tom” GOP
Oklahoma Hern Kevin R. GOP
Oklahoma Lucas Frank D. GOP
Oklahoma Mullin Markwayne GOP
Oregon Walden Gregory Paul “Greg” GOP
Pennsylvania Fitzpatrick Brian K. GOP
Pennsylvania Joyce John GOP
Pennsylvania Kelly Jr. George J. “Mike” GOP
Pennsylvania Marino Thomas Anthony “Tom” GOP
Pennsylvania Meuser Daniel P. “Dan” GOP
Pennsylvania Perry Scott G. GOP
Pennsylvania Reschenthaler Guy L. GOP
Pennsylvania Smucker Lloyd K. GOP
Pennsylvania Thompson Glenn William “G.T.” GOP
South Carolina Duncan Jeffrey D. “Jeff” GOP
South Carolina Norman Jr. Ralph W. GOP
South Carolina Rice Jr. Hugh T. “Tom” GOP
South Carolina Timmons IV William R. GOP
South Carolina Wilson Addison Graves “Joe” GOP
South Dakota Johnson Dustin “Dusty” GOP
Tennessee Burchett Tim GOP
Tennessee DesJarlais Scott Eugene GOP
Tennessee Fleischmann Charles J. “Chuck” GOP
Tennessee Green Mark E. GOP
Tennessee Kustoff David GOP
Tennessee Roe David Philip “Phil” GOP
Tennessee Rose John W. GOP
Texas Arrington Jodey Cook GOP
Texas Babin Brian GOP
Texas Brady Kevin Patrick GOP
Texas Burgess Michael C. GOP
Texas Carter John Rice GOP
Texas Cloud Michael J. GOP
Texas Conaway K. Michael “Mike” GOP
Texas Crenshaw Daniel “Dan” GOP
Texas Flores William “Bill” GOP
Texas Gohmert Jr. Louis B. “Louie” GOP
Texas Gooden Lance GOP
Texas Granger Kay N. GOP
Texas Hurd William “Will” GOP
Texas Marchant Kenny Ewell GOP
Texas McCaul Michael T. GOP
Texas Olson Peter Graham “Pete” GOP
Texas Ratcliffe John Lee GOP
Texas Roy Chip GOP
Texas Taylor Nicholas V. “Van” GOP
Texas Thornberry William McClellan “Mac” GOP
Texas Weber Randy GOP
Texas Williams Roger GOP
Texas Wright Ron GOP
Utah Bishop Robert William “Rob” GOP
Utah Curtis John GOP
Utah Stewart Chris GOP
Virginia Cline Benjamin Lee “Ben” GOP
Virginia Griffith H. Morgan “Morgan” GOP
Virginia Riggleman III Denver Lee GOP
Virginia Wittman Robert J. “Rob” GOP
Washington Herrera Beutler Jaime Lynn GOP
Washington McMorris Rodgers Cathy Ann GOP
Washington Newhouse Daniel Milton “Dan” GOP
West Virginia McKinley David Bennett GOP
West Virginia Miller Carol Devine GOP
West Virginia Mooney Alexander Xavier “Alex” GOP
Wisconsin Duffy Sean P. GOP
Wisconsin Gallagher Michael John “Mike” GOP
Wisconsin Grothman Glenn S. GOP
Wisconsin Sensenbrenner Jr. Frank James “Jim” GOP
Wisconsin Steil Bryan George GOP
Wyoming Cheney Elizabeth “Liz” GOP
North Carolina Jones Jr. (RIP) Walter B. GOP Open
North Carolina GOP Vacant Office

Side note: Have you ever noticed how many members of Congress are Juniors or II/III/IV in their family?

None will be women.

UPDATED — 12:00 a.m. 18-JUN-2019 —

Rep. Katie Porter from CA-45, a moderately conservative district including Orange County, threw her support behind an impeachment inquiry.

I saw a mention of 67 Dems now supporting an inquiry but I only have 64. If you know of any other House members who have now said they support an impeachment inquiry, please let me know. Thanks.

UPDATED — 5:00 p.m. 19-JUN-2019 —

Thanks to community member harpie who shared a link to NBC’s latest whip count which showed 66 House Dems and 1 House GOP member supporting an impeachment inquiry. NBC’s list deviated from CNN’s in that NBC did not include Brenda Lulenar Lawrence (D-MI) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Newly added supporters are in boldface.

[1] NBC also showed Harley Rouda as a Yes in a previous iteration but has now offered a correction:

CORRECTION (May 30, 2019, 1:25 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated the position of Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Calif., on beginning an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Rouda has said he supports an impeachment inquiry only if Trump does not comply with congressional subpoenas, not before.

Nice fence sitting, Rouda, hope your pants are adequately padded. Does this include obstruction by staff/ex-staff who refuse to comply with subpoenas or no? Anybody in Rouda’s district want to call and find out which side of the fence Rouda is on today after Hope Hicks refusal to cooperate with the House?

UPDATED — 5:00 p.m. 19-JUN-2019 —

Adding Brian Higgins (D-NY) as a Yes:

UPDATED — 7:30 p.m. 20-JUN-2019 —

Community member harpie shares these latest additions to the Yes column:

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA)

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

And community member P.J. Evans shares this link reporting Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) has also joined the Yes chorus.

Productive day on the Yes front. Wonder how much was because of Hope Hicks’ and White House intransigent responses to questioning. House GOP caucus is still fully behind the scofflaw-in-chief, save for Justin Amash (D-MI).

UPDATED — 7:45 a.m. 21-JUN-2019 —

I’ve made a change to the spreadsheet to indicate which members of the House Judiciary Dems support an impeachment inquiry. 13 out of 24 members currently do — that’s critical mass. Chair Jerry Nadler is a likely supporter given his submission of a resolution last year for impeachment, but as chair he may be obligated to hold back until he has reached some threshold internal to the committee. Here’s the breakdown:

House Judiciary Committee Democrats   🔺 = For Inquiry
Cedric Richmond, Louisiana   🔺
David Cicilline, Rhode Island   🔺
Eric Swalwell, California   🔺
Greg Stanton, Arizona   🔺
Jamie Raskin, Maryland   🔺
Joe Neguse, Colorado   🔺
Madeleine Dean, Pennsylvania   🔺
Mary Gay Scanlon, Pennsylvania, Vice Chair   🔺
Pramila Jayapal, Washington   🔺
Steve Cohen, Tennessee   🔺
Ted Lieu, California   🔺
Val Demings, Florida   🔺
Veronica Escobar, Texas   🔺
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Florida   🔺
Hakeem Jeffries, New York
Hank Johnson, Georgia
Jerrold Nadler, New York, Chairman
Karen Bass, California
Lou Correa, California
Lucy McBath, Georgia
Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas
Sylvia Garcia, Texas
Ted Deutch, Florida
Zoe Lofgren, California

If your representative is one of the House Judiciary Committee Dems who have not yet thrown their support behind an impeachment inquiry, your calls matter the most right now. With all HJC Dems on board, Nadler has the political will power aligned to begin pursuit of an inquiry.

UPDATED — 1:30 p.m. 21-JUN-2019 —

Add another Yes on the board supporting impeachment inquiry:

UPDATED — 5:50 p.m. 21-JUN-2019 —

Two more House Dems now support an impeachment inquiry — one of them is a House Judiciary member, too. That’s 14 of 24 or 58% of the committee now behind an inquiry.

Rep. Debbie Muscarsel-Powell (D-FL):

And Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) changed his position.

If you call your representative, please share the results of your call in comments. Thanks. If comments close here soon because the post gets knocked down by other content, I will put up a new Whip It post.


A Fine Crop of Golf

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

I’m fried. I’m mentally and emotionally burnt right out, which is probably the aim of Agent Orange Chaos — to grind us all down until we roll over and allow this country to be a haven of corruption.

Imagine everything you need becoming even more transactional than it is now — systematically corrupt. Need a new cable TV line installed? Pay a bribe for access. Need to move to a different apartment? Pay a bribe to access a better list of buildings. Need a specialty item for your health, something that can’t be obtained through Amazon? Pay a bribe.

Sure, we’re used to paying fees for access in many different ways. But Americans are not used to the kind of petty and persistent corruption which is endemic in other parts of the world. Instead we pay taxes to support a legal system which is supposed to ensure fair dealing. Imagine paying these taxes and not having any expectation of justice AND paying bribes or extortion all along the way.

We’re so unused to and under-educated about the idea of corruption touching everything we do that I think we suffer from cognitive dissonance. It’s right there in front of us and yet we fail to recognize for what it is and for the slide in our ethical standards it represents.

One example niggling at me is Trump and his goddamned golf. You’ve probably read some of my posts about golf before in which I spell out the possibilities for corruption if one owned a golf course and how normative the golf life is to a class of people.

Our country is drowning right now, staring at multiple crop failures across a huge expanse of farm land, and our fearless leader is surely off golfing on our dime instead of looking into how to help farmers weather both the affects of the deepening climate emergency and the fallout from fearless leader’s hacktastic tariffs.

Corruption. Skimming money off us while farms and farm land drowns.

And too many farmers who will receive federal aid are not universally single family owned farms but mega corporate oligarchs — like the crooked Brazilian meat packing billionaires who will receive $62 million in aid for distribution to the farms supplying them meat.

But you know in your gut this won’t happen. And it’s corruption.

Journalists have covered the Brazilians raking in cash from our tax dollars, fortunately. They saw the problem and reported on it. But the public hasn’t mustered adequate outrage because this hasn’t yet hurt them in the wallet.

Wait until winter when holiday baking begins.

I don’t need to wait that long to feel it. I’m plenty pissed off because it’s another Saturday, another day at the golf course, and we’ve completely lost count of that orange mooch’s sponging. Which of his courses is he at, with our Secret Service personnel renting more golf carts to follow him around while he plays another round cheating both at the game and at life?

Ah, and there it is, he’s leeching us dry yet again with each crappy swing of his club:

As of the end of the day he’s been in office 876 days — which means he has spent 29.7% of his total time at one of his properties, 22.2% of his time in office play golf at one of his clubs.

Corruption. Just makes me want to puke.

We’re just supposed roll over and let them grab our taxpaying pussy while they tee off on our dime. They’ll argue our legitimately-elected representatives don’t have the right to oversight when he’s manipulating our tax system for his own personal gain to our collective detriment.

Like the New York park land he donated after he was refused permits to develop a couple million dollars of property into golf courses — Trump org declared them worth $26 million to write off the capital loss and reduce the taxes paid.

What really pisses me off is the story no reporter has yet covered as far as I can tell: if Trump’s Bedminster NJ golf course is classified as farm land for tax purposes so he can avoid paying tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes, is Trump org going to claim federal relief for this farm, too?

It’s right there under our noses. So corrupt and he and his oligarchic sponsors want this to become the norm.

Fuck that. If this guy was your direct employee you’d have fired his ass  already.

This is an open thread.


Trump’s Greenlight: Asking for Foreign Aid and Assistance via Prime Time TV

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

The balls on this guy. It’s no wonder Trump walks like he does, having to drag around abnormal fleshbags of unmitigated gall and corruption everywhere he goes.

By now most of our regular readers have seen Trump interviewed by ABC News’ George Stephanopolous. In case you haven’t:

This is still stunning for its in-your-face indifference to campaign finance law:

Asked by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office on Wednesday whether his campaign would accept such information from foreigners — such as China or Russia — or hand it over the FBI, Trump said, “I think maybe you do both.”

“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump continued. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.” …

There’s a lot packed into this exchange with Stephanopolous, the most obvious being Trump’s blow off of Title 52 USC 30121 which prohibits candidates and campaigns from receiving anything of value from a foreign national. Specifically:

52 U.S. Code § 30121 – Contributions and donations by foreign nationals

(a) Prohibition It shall be unlawful for—
· ·  (1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—
· · · · (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;
· · · · (B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or
· · · · (C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or
· · · · (2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

(b) “Foreign national” defined As used in this section, the term “foreign national” means—
· ·  (1) a foreign principal, as such term is defined by section 611(b) of title 22, except that the term “foreign national” shall not include any individual who is a citizen of the United States; or
· ·  (2) an individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 1101(a)(22) of title 8) and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by section 1101(a)(20) of title 8.

Emphasis mine.

“Directly or indirectly” may include the kinds of contributions the National Rifle Association made to candidates’ campaigns with Russian money, especially after guidance from Maria Butina and/or her boss Aleksandr Torshin, and/or her American handler, Paul Erickson.

“Other thing of value” may include polling data or stolen emails or manipulation of the media since any of these items might otherwise require a candidate’s campaign to buy these items. We don’t yet know exactly what Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik exchanged on August 2 — including 75 pages of “gibberish” polling data and likely high-level analysis and specific post-meeting performance — 2016 but if it was important enough to warrant sustained prevarication, it was something valuable.

Trump can no longer claim stupidity and ignorance after the Special Counsel’s Office investigation into Trump-Russia. His blow-off reveals a deliberate mindset, an intent to violate the law if the opportunity presents itself.

Even merely listening to an offer of aid or assistance directly or indirectly from a foreign national is problematic because the offer itself may be valuable.

“There isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump said, which is what his son, son-in-law, and campaign manager did in June 2016 during the Trump Tower meeting. Their presence merely to listen was a greenlight advising foreign nationals that Trump’s campaign was willing and approved help from outside the U.S. to influence the U.S. elections.

And that’s what Trump did during his interview with Stephanopolous: he greenlighted more foreign aid and assistance to help his campaign.

He did it from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. He never once slowed Stephanopolous to tell him “I can’t talk about campaign efforts while being interviewed as president in the office of the presidency.”

Was he soliciting for his campaign while on camera? For all the hullabaloo today about Kelly Anne Conway’s egregious and repeated Hatch Act violations, Trump’s likely violation campaigning while on our dime got lost.[1]

Not only did he express a willingness to violate campaign finance law and allow himself to be influenced in the process, not only did he commit a Hatch Act violation, fail to separate his work as president from work for his personal re-election campaign,[1]  but he pissed on Republican candidates known and as-yet unknown who may choose to primary him.

He didn’t differentiate for which opposition he was open to receiving an opposition research pitch from foreign entities. He did not say he was interested in hearing solely about Democratic candidates.

Nor did he entertain listening solely for his presidential race. Opponents aren’t just those running against you in a campaign. One could argue that Trump has the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus at his disposal but he can’t be sure they would provide campaign data or offer to perform dirty tricks on behalf of the POTUS. A foreign entity, especially a hostile one? Sure.

Which is exactly what the Russian Internet Research Agency did in 2016 targeting Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz during the Republican primary.

In spite of the 2016 attacks and Trump’s express willingness to entertain foreign assistance, the Republicans have just plain rolled over for Trump. You think the House Democratic leadership is feckless? Bah. Republicans are utter dupes.

Trump telegraphs the defense he’ll use — and the attack he attends to take — when he calls the material he’s soliciting “oppo research.” The aid Trump’s campaign received in 2016 wasn’t opposition research on Hillary Clinton; it was stolen emails leaked to generate negative sentiment about Clinton. It was micro-targeted negative messaging aimed at vulnerable populations to persuade leaners and suppress tentative voters, and a bunch of unauthorized but welcomed advertisements. It was likely more in the form of attempts on voting infrastructure, whether merely to collect data or to manipulate the system.

When Trump called it “oppo research,” he was establishing what he believed was a parallel — what the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) acquired through its law firm, Perkins Coie, which in turn purchased opposition research from Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS obtained the services of former MI6 officer Christopher Steele to continue a dossier originally started on behalf of Washington Free Beacon in late 2015. Trump and other campaign minions like Carter Page have frequently claimed the opposition research dossier was “dodgy” and illegitimate, and yet Trump feels entitled to opposition research without restrictions, as if Clinton and the DNC had not followed campaign finance laws.

Whatever the quality of its contents, the Steele dossier was a campaign expenditure, a compilation of information ultimately paid for by the campaign and the DNC — wholly legal — and the material was contracted by an American entity from another American entity.

What Trump’s campaign received in 2016 — goods and services were given to the campaign directly and indirectly by foreign entities like the Internet Research Agency — were NOT legal.

Trump will do whatever he can to muddy the distinction between wholly legal campaign expenses and contributions or things of value received from foreign nationals in order to protect his chances at re-election and lay the ground work to attack his last campaign opponent.

There’s one more disturbing nit about Trump’s solicitation. What Trump has done in his greenlighting on camera is solicit foreign assistance. This does not rule out solicitation of foreign direction.

At what point is the Department of Justice’s National Security Division engaged when the president greenlights or solicits foreign assistance and direction?

Should the presidential campaign be under counterintelligence investigation right now and forward?

Not that there aren’t already ample reasons for the Trump 2020 campaign to be scrutinized given the number of Chinese nationals hanging out at Mar-a-Lago, with at least one allegedly bundling donations for Trump’s re-election.

Might make one wonder if Trump’s greenlight on ABC is after the fact — and not after the fact about the 2016 election.

______

[1] Edited to reflect the Hatch Act does not apply to the president — however, this is problematic as Trump has shown repeatedly, including in this interview. At what point is he talking about accepting ‘foreign assistance and direction’ from foreign nationals or other nation-states for the purposes of his personal re-election campaign and accepting the same for U.S. interests? His personal interests are not one-for-one the same as the nation’s interests, unless of course he’d like to deed over all his businesses.

I’d also like to point out the phrase ‘foreign assistance and direction’ is the distinction the DOJ uses to differentiate non-domestic from domestic terrorism. That the president was entertaining the idea of using ‘foreign assistance and direction’ to aid his campaign whether spelled out in those specific terms or not surely worries U.S. intelligence community members who recognize the inherent risks.

The Hatch Act should be revisited with Trump and the office of the presidency in mind not only because of his greenlighting foreign pitches of assistance to his campaign. Throughout the last two years Trump has spoken at rallies which have occurred in tandem with special and mid-term elections in order to sway locals to vote for the GOP candidate. His arrival and support at each of these venues comes at the expense of public funds — local, state, federal  — and not the GOP or Trump’s campaign committee. He has also stiffed at least ten cities for additional expenses related to his attendance at rallies, a form of additional tax the citizens didn’t approve in advance. But they’re forced to produce additional security because he’s the president even though he’s there to campaign.

The job of the presidency must be separated from campaigning, and no campaigning should happen without the campaign absorbing the expense. Add this to the Hatch Act: the president should NOT be immune.


Thread: House Intelligence Committee Hearing on Special Counsel’s Report

This post is dedicated to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing already underway; it began at 9:00 a.m. EDT. I will add content here going forward.

Topic of today’s hearing: Lessons from the Mueller Report: Counterintelligence Implications of Volume 1 (Open)

Panelists:

Stephanie Douglas — 23-year FBI veteran, former Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch
Robert Anderson — 21-year FBI veteran, former executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch
Andrew McCarthy — former Assistant United States Attorney

Not certain why this hearing isn’t airing on C-SPAN since it’s in the schedule.

You can follow the hearing via live tweet stream from Courthouse News’ Brandi Buchman (click on the link at the date to open the thread):

I’ll add more content about this hearing soon — check the bottom of the post for new content.

~ ~ ~

Other important hearings today:

09:52 a.m.: House Oversight Votes on AG Barr & Commerce Sec. Ross In Contempt of Congress (CSPAN link)
10:00 a.m.: House Armed Services Committee on National Defense Authorization Act
10:00 a.m.: House Foreign Affairs Committee on “Emergency” Arms Sales

TBD: Senate Intelligence Committee closed door session with Donald Trump Jr. (his second appearance)

~ ~ ~

EDIT — 10:25 a.m. —

Because there’s no feed on the HPSCI meeting I’ve got the House Oversight hearing on right now. I am bloody sick of assholes like Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan talking (in Jordan’s case, yelling) over the chair Elijah Cummings in their desperation to stop this hearing.

It’s not just bullying in an effort to protect their orange liege in the White House but outright racism.

They’re voting right now and I’m so pissed off I don’t even no what they’re voting on.

EDIT —  10:45 a.m. — 

The Moscow Project also  has a live tweet thread covering the HPSCI hearing; the site has been inserting relevant supporting content along the way.

Over at the House Oversight Committee hearing, Jim Jordan is YELLING yet again about not being able to add a racist and unconstitutional question to the U.S. Census. “Why are we here?”

BECAUSE RACISM, that’s why; the GOP can’t win elections without relying on denying marginalized citizens their vote. Read the Constitution, knuckledragger. Take a breath once in a while during your racist filibustering. And get a sports jacket.

I suppose this is where I’d better make sure anyone reading this doesn’t mistake it for Marcy’s work. Check the byline as always.

EDIT —  10:56 a.m. — 

Ugh. House Oversight Committee hearing probably deserved a thread of its own but then I’d be giving real estate to these whiny white men like Rep. Jody Hice droning on and on that all efforts have not been exhausted (after a year of multiple requests in multiple forms, mind you) and that the majority is rushing this process.

FINALLY. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brings the heat. She’s noting the constitutionally-mandated nature of the Census and asking why the question about citizenship was added. This is the video capture you’re going to want to view later.

EDIT —  11:28 a.m. — 

Rep. Rankin’s turn to YELL on behalf of the House Dems. I feel his pain; I’m yelling at the television about these GOP jackasses doing their utmost to prevent accountability on this Census question. They really, REALLY don’t want to go into this issue at all, aiding and abetting a cover-up going all the way to the White House.

Another cover-up, mind you.


Thread: House Judiciary Committee Hearing with John Dean

Here’s a post dedicated to the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing today at 2:00 p.m. EDT. I will add content as we go along.

Former White House counsel John Dean will testify today. You’ll recall he served under Richard M. Nixon’s administration. The right-wing media sphere has already been making noise about the HJC taking testimony from a convicted felon.

Except he’s *their* convict, a Republican who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for his role in covering up Nixon’s Watergate scandal. I’m sure he’ll have plenty to say about criminality in the White House and subsequent cover-ups.

More here later — bring related chatter here.

UPDATE — 2:30 p.m. —

Via CNN: Justice Department strikes deal with House Democrats over Mueller report evidence, Nadler says

Yeesh. This is like Watergate all over again. Back then Nixon had agreed to accommodate the HJC with access to some of the Oval Office tapes, but the person who would screen them was Senator Stennis who had a hearing disability. We won’t know if Barr truly fulfills the spirit of this agreement with Nadler or pulls a Nixonian Stennis compromise. The HJC took Nixon to court.

Minority Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) attacked Dean as expected and attacked the hearing saying the committee’s priorities are upside down. If the country had been attacked as Nadler said then committee should be focused on that.

Which we all know is bullshit since the House has already passed legislation  — the very first bill of the 116th Congress, H.R. 1 For The People Act 2019 — intended to secure elections from attack by foreign influence which paid legislators to skew districts via gerrymandering, manipulated races by way of dark money donations to legislators, and hid additional financial influence through undisclosed financial statements including tax returns.  That bill is sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk, buried under ~150 other bills he’s bottlenecked. If Collins has a problem with priorities he should have a chat with McConnell and ask why McConnell is uninterested in protecting this country’s elections.

UPDATE — 2:35 p.m. —

Following John Dean’s opening statement, former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance is up. Nice to see a familiar face which will be helpful in news coverage. She’s definitely read the Special Counsel report, and she’s able to explain what she’s seen in it as a former prosecutor which would spur her to indict.

UPDATE — 2:40 p.m. —

Heritage Foundation’s John G. Malcolm, vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government. “Less enthusiastic” about Mueller because he didn’t make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” for Barr, blah-blah. Followed by apologia for Trump who must surely be innocent because he was so cooperative providing “over a million pages of documents, allowed key members of his staff to be interviewed, and submitted written answers to questions.” Sure, sure, right.

You know this is what Collins will tee off, the beat down on Mueller’s job performance while disregarding SCO report Volume II, pages 1-2 in which Mueller explains why he can’t make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment.”

UPDATE — 2:45 p.m. —

Another familiar face, former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, has also read the SCO report. She’s explaining the obstruction of justice charges she read in the report.

I’m sure the GOP will come out swinging but it’s really tough to get around this wham-wham-wham beat down ticking off the obstruction.

____

I’ll add the panelists’ statements here after the hearing. ~Rayne


History’s Rhyme, Part 4: Contempt Then, Contempt Now

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

I’ve previously looked at example Articles of Impeachment against Trump in this series of posts:

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

I still plan to return to do Part 2b to address more abuses of power in the near future. He’s racking them up faster than I can record and draft the rest of Article 2.

I’m still working on Article 4 and more related to violations of treaties and foreign policy failures, as well as human rights violations.

Let me note at this point the curious coincidence that The New York Times’ editor has published an article today with spiffy graphics comparing Nixon and Clinton Articles of Impeachment to articles Trump might face. What a topic; what amazing timing, six weeks after I began this series…

~ ~ ~

As noted before, the 93rd Congress’ House Judiciary Committee drafted five Articles of Impeachment against Richard M. Nixon in 1974. Only three of the five were passed by the committee; the first two were related to Obstruction of Justice and Abuses of Power. The misuse of government resources to spy on individuals and political opponents combined with Nixon’s efforts to thwart subsequent investigations into these abuses were impeachable on their own.

Nixon, however, doubled down and tried to withhold materials responsive to the Senate Watergate Committee’s, the special prosecutor’s, or the House investigation into the abuses of power which were revealed by the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate break-in.

How very familiar this feels, given how utterly uncooperative Trump and his administration have been in response to House Committee requests and subpoenas.

In July 1973 the Senate Watergate Committee and special prosecutor Archibald Cox both requested tapes recorded in the Oval Office; Nixon refused to comply.

On October 19, Nixon instead offered a compromise: Senator John C. Stennis would listen to the tapes for the special prosecutor’s office. Stennis had a hearing disability making this compromise untenable; Cox refused the offer.

Nixon ordered the Attorney General Eliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. They chose to resign instead. Next at bat was the Solicitor General Robert Bork who fired Cox on October 20, 1973. The resignations and Cox’s firing became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.”

Cox’s successor Leon Jaworski subpoenaed the tapes on April 16, 1974. The White House offered only partial compliance by offering edited transcripts of the tapes on April 30.

Jaworski and the House Judiciary Committee insisted unedited actual tapes must be released in full; a deadline of May 31 was set for compliance.

Nixon’s special counsel James D. St. Clair went before Judge John Sirica of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to quash the subpoena. Nixon’s motion was denied. Sirica ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes by May 31, 1974.

Special prosecutor Jaworski and Nixon appealed directly to the Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon. The court began to hear arguments on July 8.

The court delivered a unanimous decision on July 24, affirming the D.C. District Court’s order that subpoenaed materials be transmitted to that court.

Three days after the legal battle over the tapes ends, the House Judiciary Committee drafted and began to pass three of five Articles of Impeachment.

Sixteen days after the United States v. Nixon decision, Nixon resigned rather than face a trial before the Senate.

~ ~ ~

The third Article of Impeachment against Nixon was the simplest of the three the House Judiciary Committee passed. In essence it said Nixon had

…  failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. …

This itemization was sandwiched an opening and a closing statement in total, Article 3 was a whopping 281 words long. Short and sweet, it only addressed contempt of Congress and not Nixon’s failure to comply with the special prosecutor’s requests or the Senate Watergate Committee’s requests.

Now compare that to a theoretical Article 3 against Trump:

Article 3 – Contempt of Congress

In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce testimony, papers and things as directed by duly authorized requests and subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

On the matter of Security Clearance:

The House Oversight Committee, while investigating the White House and Transition Team disregard for established procedures for safeguarding classified information, requested voluntary testimony from U.S. Defense Department’s Carl Kline on four occasions – January 23, 2019, February 11, 2019, March 1, 2019, and March 18, 2019. Mr. Kline failed to respond to these requests, and the White House refused to make him available. After testimony from whistleblower Tricia Newbold on April 1, 2019, the Committee received last-minute letters from Mr. Kline’s lawyer and the White House saying he would voluntarily comply. However, they made clear that he would not answer questions about specific officials, specific security violations, or specific security clearance adjudications, but instead would speak only about general policies and procedures.

On the matter of 2020 Census:

During the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Trump Administration’s secret efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, Secretary Ross and other Department of Commerce (DOC) officials asserted multiple times before House Oversight Committee (May 8, 2018), House Committee on Appropriations (March 20, 2018), the House Committee on Ways and Means (March 22, 2018), the Senate Committee on Appropriations (May 10, 2018) that the decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census arose from a request from the Department of Justice in December 2017. Internal documents dated March 10, 2017; April 5, 2017; May 2, 2017; July 21, 2017; August 9, 2017; and September 16, 2017 made public show that Secretary Ross took steps to add the citizenship question to the 2020 Census months before the DOJ’s request. The House Oversight Committee identified priority documents, extended deadlines, and offered to review certain documents in camera. The White House continued to avoid compliance with requests for information necessary to determine the real reason Secretary Ross added the citizenship question, obliging the Committee to subpoena Secretary Ross for testimony and documents.

On the matter of Potential Foreign influence on the U.S. Political Process:

As part of their oversight authority and their subsequent investigation into allegations that Russia and other foreign entities to influence the U.S. political process during and since the 2016 U.S. election, both House Committees on Intelligence and on Ways and Means have sought Donald J. Trump’s financial records to determine whether U.S. financial system was used for illicit purposes including unlawful influence through foreign banks operating in the U.S. with longtime relationships with Trump and past ties to Russian money laundering. Subpoenas were served on Deutsche Bank and Capital One for records related to their business transactions with the Trump family and Trump Organization. On April 30, 2019, the Trump family and Trump Organization filed a lawsuit against these financial institutions to prevent them from complying with the Congressional subpoena, thereby obstructing the Committees’ investigation. The D.C. District Court ruled on May 22, 2019 against the Trump family and Trump Organization but they have since filed an appeal.

On the matter of the Special Counsel’s Investigation:

The House Judiciary Committee, while investigating the Trump administration for possible obstruction of the Special Counsel’s investigation into foreign interference with the 2016 election, has subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn to appear before the committee to discuss Donald J. Trump’s attempt to remove Special Counsel Rober Mueller and possible subornation of perjury. Special Counsel had previously interviewed Mr. McGahn while Mr. McGahn was still employed as White House counsel. Mr. McGahn no longer works for the White House and was subpoenaed after his employment ended. Donald J. Trump has since said he does not want his aides to testify before Congress. He also said, “We’re fighting all the subpoenas.” Attempts to obstruct justice and suborn perjury are not reasons for compelling confidentiality.

— TO BE CONTINUED — ]

Donald J. Trump has willfully disobeyed, or directed, or authorized disobedience by executive branch officials of such requests and subpoenas. The requested and subpoenaed testimony, papers, and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential acts, direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President.

In refusing to produce these testimony, papers, and things Donald J. Trump, substituting his judgment as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the Article II powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by Article I of the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In all of this, Donald J. Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Donald J. Trump, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Take careful note: this theoretical article of impeachment is not complete, both because I haven’t fully documented every occasion when Trump and his administration have failed to comply with Congress’s requests and subpoenas, and because noncompliance is ongoing. The itemization of acts of contempt of Congress could be at least twice as long.

What else should be added which would qualify as contempt of Congress by the Trump administration?

~ ~ ~

Now here’s where it gets sticky, before I even look at another theoretical Article of Impeachment as I intend to do. We are at the point right now in the timeline that the Senate Watergate Committee, Special Prosecutors Cox and Jaworski, and the House Judiciary Committee were at in between October 1973 and May 1974, before the House began an impeachment inquiry. Trump and his administration have already ignored or rejected requests for testimony, papers, and things issued by both the Special Counsel’s Office and by Congress.

What Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not do was fight all the way to the Supreme Court to revisit United States v. Nixon.

At this point I want to make very clear what follows is my personal speculation, along with a reminder that I am not a lawyer.

I believe Mueller did not want to take the demand for Trump’s testimony and other papers and things all the way to the Supreme Court because the court’s current composition and its decisions have not instilled confidence in its ability to recognize the United States v. Nixon decision as settled, let alone trust the court will recognize Congress’s Article I powers of oversight and its co-equal status.

I believe Mueller recognized that Trump has no respect for the law or norms; it would be a horrible sacrifice to disturb the court’s decision in United States v. Nixon only to have Trump refuse to recognize the authority of any decision the court made against him.

I believe Mueller may have made an impeachment referral for exactly this reason — the solution isn’t to take this matter to the Supreme Court which is what Trump wants, before a bench which was skewed in 2016 by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow former President Obama his nominated choice, Merrick Garland.

The solution is for the House to impeach Trump based on his ample failings to date as president.

Further, I believe it is up to the public to demand the Senate do its duty to try, convict, and remove Trump from office before he does any more damage to the nation including undermining Congress’s Article I powers. As long as Trump remains in office he poses a threat to the Constitutionally-described three co-equal branches of government which have served this nation since ratification of the Constitution 230 years ago.

Some will say that we can remove Trump ourselves as voters at the polls in 2020. Should we really wait that long when we have already made a choice at the polls to elect representatives who are enabled by the Constitution to rectify gross failings of civil officers who have committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

~ ~ ~

A republic, if you can keep it,” Ben Franklin explained when asked what form our government would take upon leaving the Constitution Convention.

What will you do to keep it? I’m looking at you, all 538 members of Congress elected to represent us, who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.

I’m looking at you, the people referred to in the Constitution’s Preamble; will you call your representative and two senators and insist on impeachment and removal?


History’s Rhyme, Part 3: How Nixon’s Impeachment Unfolded [UPDATE-2]

[NB: Check the byline, thanks!  UPDATES at bottom of post. /~Rayne]

I’ve previously looked at example Articles of Impeachment against Trump in these posts:

History’s Rhyme: Nixon’s Articles of Impeachment — focus on obstruction of justice

History’s Rhyme, Part 2: ‘Abuse of Power’ Sounds So Familiar

I’ll return to do Part 2a to address more abuses of power in the near future. I’m still working on Articles 3 and more related to violations of treaties and foreign policy failures, as well as human rights violations.

This post is one that I didn’t foresee needing. Where the previous posts in this series have direct parallels to the Articles of Impeachment against former president Richard Nixon, this post is about the sequence of events leading to Nixon’s eventual resignation in 1974.

What follows is an abbreviated timeline including what I think were the biggest benchmarks between the beginning of Nixon’s first term in office and his resignation. If I miss something you believe was instrumental in his exit, let me know in comments.

I wanted to look from a 50,000 foot level at the amount of time it took for Nixon to leave office from the beginning of investigations into the Watergate break-in, and particular actions on the part of investigators and Congress as well as Nixon and some of the co-conspirators. I’ll offer observations after the timeline.

Keep in mind as you read this that impeachment and removal are spelled out in the Constitution:

Article I, Section 2, subsection 5: 

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Article I, Section 3, subsection 6: 

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Article I, Section 3, subsection 7:

Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Article I, Section 4:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article III, Section 2, subsection 3: 

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

~ ~ ~

Timeline of Richard M. Nixon’s terms in office including impeachment effort

20-JAN-1969 — Nixon inaugurated and installed in office.

18-MAR-1969 — Unauthorized by Congress, secret bombing of Cambodia under ‘Operation Menu‘ begins.

09-MAY-1969 — NYT revealed secret bombing based on information leaked by an administration source. Nixon demanded the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) find the source of the leak; then National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger‘s NSC aide Morton Halperin was illegally wiretapped for 21 months.

XX-OCT-1969Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo photocopy what would become known as the ‘Pentagon Papers‘ — compiled study of the Vietnam War commissioned in 1967 by then Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

~ ~ ~

26-MAY-1970 — Secret bombing of Cambodia under Operation Menu ended.

~ ~ ~

XX-FEB-1971 — Ellberg discussed the Pentagon Papers with NYT reporter Neil Sheehan, turning over some of the materials to Sheehan.

XX-FEB-1971 — Illegal wiretap of NSC aide Halperin ended.

13-JUN-1971 — NYT began publishing portions of the Pentagon Papers

20-JUN-1971 — Senator Mike Gravel entered thousands of pages of the Pentagon Papers into Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds’ record to assure public debate.

~ ~ ~

17-JUN-1972 — Five “plumbers” were caught breaking into Democratic Party headquarters in Watergate; these burglars include a GOP security aide.

20-JUN-1972 — Based on a tip from anonymous source referred to as ‘Deep Throat,’ Washington Post reported that one of the burglars had Howard Hunt’s name in an address book as well as checks signed by Hunt in their possession. Deep Throat also said Hunt was affiliated with Charles Colson, Nixon’s Special Counsel.

20-JUN-1972 — Recordings made in the Oval Office this day eventually contain erasures including an 18-1/2 minute gap. Some of the material recorded included a conversation between Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman.

23-JUN-1972 — Nearly a week after the burglary at DNC offices, Nixon and Haldeman were recorded discussing how to stop the investigation into the break-in. Nixon agreed upon Haldeman’s suggestion that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Richard Helms and Deputy Director Vernon A. Walters should contact FBI’s Acting Director L. Patrick Gray and ask the FBI to stand down on the investigation, calling it a matter of “national security.” This conversation would become known as the “Smoking Gun” tape. [UPDATE-2]

01-AUG-1972 — Washington Post reported one of the Watergate burglars had a $25,000 cashier’s check in their bank account.

15-SEP-1972 — G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Hunt, and the five Watergate burglars — the first Watergate Seven — were indicted by a federal grand jury.

29-SEP-1972 — Washington Post reported that former Attorney General John Mitchell used a secret GOP slush fund to pay for opposition research including intelligence on the Democratic Party.

07-NOV-1972 — Nixon reelected in landslide. The race had been substantively shaped by dirty tricks conducted by Nixon’s aides.

~ ~ ~

08-JAN-1973 — The first Watergate Seven are tried by Judge John Sirica.

30-JAN-1973 — G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord, former Nixon staffers, were convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping related to the break-in of DNC offices in Watergate.

07-FEB-1973 — Senate Watergate Committee formed by 93rd Congress under S.Res. 60, to investigate the break-in at DNC, “all other illegal, improper, or unethical conduct occurring during the presidential election of 1972, including political espionage and campaign finance practices,” and subsequent cover-up.

21-MAR-1973 — White House counsel John Dean, who’d been tasked with tracking and updating Nixon on the progress of the Watergate investigation, discussed the hush money payments to the team of burglars calling the mounting obstruction of justice a “cancer on the presidency.”

17-APR-1973 — Dean informs Nixon that he had been cooperating with the U.S. Attorneys investigating the Watergate break-in. Nixon is informed the same day by U.S. Attorneys that White House counsel Dean, Chief of Staff Haldeman, and aide Ehrlichman were involved in the cover-up.

30-APR-1973 — Nixon fires Dean; he had asked for the resignations of Haldeman and Ehrlichman as well as Attorney General Richard Kleindienst who had been friends with Haldeman and Ehrlichman.

17-MAY-1973Senate Watergate Committee hearings began.

19-MAY-1973 — Special prosecutor Archibald Cox appointed to begin investigation into presidential impropriety.

25-JUN-1973 — Dean testified before the Watergate Committee. He had been granted limited immunity and eventually pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, for which he eventually served several months in prison. [UPDATE-1]

13-JUL-1973 — White House aide Alexander Butterfield testified before Congress that Nixon secretly taped phone calls and conversations in Oval Office.

18-JUL-1973 — Nixon had recording system disconnected in White House.

23-JUL-1973 — Nixon refused to turn over presidential tapes to Senate Watergate Committee or to special prosecutor.

20-OCT-1973 — Nixon fired Special Counsel Archibald Cox and replaced him with Leon Jaworski (Saturday Night Massacre).

23-OCT-1973 — In the furor of the public’s displeasure about the firing of Cox, Nixon agrees to release some of the Oval Office tapes.

17-NOV-1973 — Nixon said during a Q&A on TV, “Well, I’m not a crook.

21-NOV-1973 — A number of erasures amounting to 18-1/2 minutes were discovered in released Oval Office tapes. Nixon’s personal secretary Rose Mary Woods claimed responsibility for the erasures, blaming the loss on accidentally depressing a pedal on a transcription device while answering the phone.

~ ~ ~

01-MAR-1974 — The second Watergate Seven, all advisors and aides to Nixon, were indicted by a grand jury; Nixon was named an unindicted co-conspirator.

18-APR-1974 — Special prosecutor Jaworski subpoenaed Nixon for his presidential tapes.

09-MAY-1974 — House Judiciary Committee launched impeachment hearings.

24-JUL-1974 — Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn tapes over to investigators.

27-JUL-1974 — Over the course of three days, the House Judiciary passed three of five articles of impeachment which include charges against Nixon of obstruction of justice and other unlawful acts, abuse of power, and failure to uphold his oath of office.

XX-AUG-1974 — A White House tape from 23-JUN-1972 was released; referred to as the “Smoking Gun” tape, Nixon and co-conspirator Haldeman are heard plotting obstruction of justice.

07-AUG-1974 — A few key GOP Senators told Nixon there are enough votes in the Senate to convict and remove him from office.

08-AUG-1974 — Nixon gave his resignation speech to the American public over national broadcast television.

09-AUG-1974 — Nixon resigned.

~ ~ ~

I was a tweenager at the time the Watergate Committee hearings commenced. I remember watching them on black-and-white television and thinking them the most boring events in the world at the time. There was nothing else on to watch; it didn’t help that it was during summer vacation in remote northern Michigan and there was only one television station.

But now I wish I’d paid attention to those suited old white dudes droning on in the Senate and in the House. I might have realized much sooner there is something very different about the way the Trump-Russia investigation has unfolded compared to the Watergate investigation.

Note very carefully when the first Congressional hearing was held in May of 1973.

It took roughly 15 months to remove the president from the beginning of these hearings until Nixon was persuaded to resign instead of being forced out by conviction and removal by the Senate.

The first hearing was convened by the Senate Watergate Committee — not the House Judiciary, and without the additional implicit constitutional power conferred upon a House impeachment inquiry.

Why is the Senate under Mitch McConnell’s leadership utterly supine in the face of attacks on our election infrastructure by a hostile nation-state?

Why has McConnell done absolutely nothing to further the investigation into the attacks nor into the possible obstruction of justice the Special Counsel’s report outlined, from which the Special Counsel could not exonerate Trump?

Why is McConnell doing nothing at all except waving through a train of poorly-qualified and often compromised presidential nominees for various posts including judgeships with lifetime appointments?

Why is McConnell proving the value of John Dingell’s recommendation that the Senate be abolished since McConnell has refused to submit at least a hundred of the House’s passed legislation for a Senate vote — including a bill which is intended to bolster election security?

By the time the House Judiciary Committee began its impeachment hearings almost exactly one year after the Senate Watergate Committee hearings had begun, the House did not have much to do. Only three months transpired between the launch of the House Judiciary Committee hearings and Nixon’s resignation.

Only a little over two months passed between the House Judiciary beginning impeachment proceedings and the passage of the three Articles of Impeachment which encouraged Nixon’s departure.

For all the complaining about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership with regard to investigations into Trump-Russia and subsequent impeachment, the press has not held McConnell to account for his failure of leadership.

Of course McConnell is a Republican and belongs to the same party as Trump; the Senate is led by the GOP now and both houses of Congress were majority Democratic Party in 1973-1974. But this is a nation of laws; a Republican-appointed, Republican-approved Special Counsel conducted an investigation which did not lead to the exoneration of the president. The GOP-majority Senate helmed by McConnell is just as capable of conducting an investigation into alleged White House misdeeds, could form a dedicated investigatory committee just as the 93rd Congress did back in 1973.

But no. Not Mitch McConnell, who has been compromised in several ways that we know of and has himself obstructed both the investigation into Trump-Russia and prevented the public from knowing they were under attack.

What else do you see in this timeline which is relevant to today’s investigations into Trump-Russia, Trump’s obstruction of justice, his abuses of power, and other failures to uphold the oath of office?

~ ~ ~

While House Committees have already begun hearings into Trump administration activities as part of their oversight responsibilities, formal impeachment proceedings have not yet begun. Following are the anticipated next steps which should happen sooner rather than later; compare them to the Nixon timeline:

  • One of two paths open the impeachment process: 1) A resolution to impeach a civil officer may be referred to the House Judiciary Committee, or 2) a resolution to authorize an investigation as to whether grounds exist for impeachment is referred to the House Committee on Rules; the resolution is then referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
  • The House Judiciary drafts and approves a bill for House consideration and approval outlining the authorization to investigate fully grounds for impeachment, the powers the investigative committee may use in the course of its investigation, and the budget for such an investigation.
  • As specified in the authorizing bill, the House Judiciary or other House committee, perhaps even select or special for the purpose of the investigation alone, conducts its investigation and reports as required by its authorization or House rules.
  • Assuming adequate grounds for impeachment have been found, the House Judiciary drafts and approves articles of impeachment outlining the “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” against the civil officer in question.
  • The entire House votes to impeach the civil officer based on the articles approved by the House Judiciary; it votes on a resolution to inform the Senate of the impeachment.
  • The Senate, being responsible for trial and possible conviction, should take up a trial at this point with the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice presiding. What’s not clear is if the Senate can refuse to begin a trial once the House has impeached; once the Senate begins, the steps it takes are governed by the Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate when Sitting on Impeachment Trials.

This last bullet point is no small hiccup.

You can learn more about Congress’s power to impeach and remove civil officers by reading these two Congressional Research Service papers:

Impeachment and Removal, R44260 (pdf)

Recall of Legislators and the Removal of Members of Congress from Office, RL30016 (pdf)

I note the first was prepared in 2005 during the Bush administration. I wonder who requested this paper; I also wonder who requested the second paper in early 2012.

That second paper might be a particularly worthwhile read if one were interested in how to go about removing an obstructive member of Congress or a cabinet member who has proven unsuited to their office. Imagine what could happen if enough Senators decided they needed to change things up on their side of the legislative branch.

UPDATE — 03-JUN-2019 — 

Timeline items (highlighted in yellow above) have been added related to Nixon’s White House counsel due to new developments reported today:

Former White House counsel John Dean will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on June 10, committee chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Monday. The hearing, titled “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes,” will also feature former U.S. attorneys and legal experts. (via HuffPo)

John Dean will convey the import of the Special Counsel’s report since Trump’s White House counsel Don McGahn will not comply with the House Judiciary request for his appearance to testify.

UPDATE — 05-JUN-2019 — 

A reader pointed out the origin of the “Smoking Gun” tape, a conversation on June 23, 1972, was not included in my timeline and has now been added (highlighted in turquoise above). The tape captured Nixon’s direct involvement in obstruction of justice less than one week after the break-in at the Democratic Party HQ in the Watergate complex. We may not have anything quite as tidy as the “Smoking Gun” produced by the Special Counsel’s investigation, but repeated efforts by Trump to shut down the Trump-Russia investigation documented by witnesses are quite damning when combined with the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the harassment and termination of FBI employees Andrew McCabe and Peter Strozk.


Whip It, Whip It Good: Who’s Read the Report? [Updated]

[NB: Yeah. Not Marcy. Post has now been updated to reflect Special Counsel’s statement today. /~Rayne]

By now you know Robert Mueller gave a statement today in which he both resigned as Special Counsel and offered a summation of the Special Counsel’s report on the Trump-Russia investigation.

Marcy has a post up summarizing Mueller’s statement.

Bottom line: the evidence needed to launch an impeachment inquiry is in the Special Counsel’s report.

He further made a remark about Attorney General Bill Barr’s release of the report which should be scrutinized carefully.

Mueller’s statement makes yesterday’s piece on Rep. Justin Amash in the Washington Post more important. Amash published a Twitter thread yesterday criticizing Attorney General Bill Barr’s handling of the Special Counsel’s report:

Amash now has primary opponents including Michigan state representative Jim Lower. This bit is telling:

Two Republicans have filed to run against him in the primary; one of them, state Rep. Jim Lower, told The Washington Post that he raised $60,000 since Amash’s impeachment tweets. The wealthy DeVos family, a force in western Michigan and supporters of Amash’s previous campaigns, said through a spokesman last week that they would support another Republican for the 3rd Congressional District seat; Lower said he’d been in touch with the family.

In an interview, Lower said he had not read Mueller’s report but agreed with the assessment of most Republicans that it ended questions about Trump’s conduct. On Monday, as he greeted voters at a Memorial Day event, several Republicans told Lower they were ready to help him get Amash out of office, citing his criticism of the president.

“Those voters do not want the president to be impeached, and they disagree with the congressman’s conclusion,” Lower said. “Throughout this primary campaign, I will be the voice for those voters.”

Lower is yet another Republican legislator who has made a pro-Trump assessment without having read the Special Counsel’s Report on the Trump-Russia investigation.

He’s absolutely certain Trump didn’t do anything wrong but he couldn’t tell you what in the report exonerates Trump because he couldn’t be bothered with reading it.

Now Lower is a state level elected at the moment, running for the House in 2020 with the aim of replacing Amash. What of the other elected Republicans who are already in the House and the Senate who are pro-Trump? Have they read the report? Have their staff members read the report?

The report’s been out now for more than a month; if they read 5-10 pages a day they should have finished reading it by now so they don’t have a legitimate complaint that the report is too long.

And yet many GOP electeds may stick their neck on the line for Trump, going to stake their credibility on something they haven’t read.

Note Mitt Romney’s feedback about the Special Counsel’s report, keeping in mind Romney was once in the anti-Trump camp:

We should take Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) at his word when he says, as he did on CNN’s “State of the Union,” that he has read the entire Mueller report. He told the show’s host, Jake Tapper: “I just don’t think that there is the full element [of intent] that you need to prove an obstruction of justice case. I don’t think a prosecutor would actually look at this and say, okay, we have here all the elements that would get this to a conviction.”

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee added, “I think, in part — one of the things that is difficult in order to make a case for obstruction of justice or impeachment is whether or not there was intent. And when there’s not an underlying crime, I think it’s difficult to put together an effective case to prosecute for those crimes.” So Romney is merely “troubled by it” and found it “very disappointing, for a number of reasons.”

Here’s Romney a month earlier:

Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah Republican, said Friday that he was “sickened” by President Trump’s behavior as detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s newly released report.

The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee shared his reaction on social media after reviewing the sprawling report summarizing the special counsel’s investigation into the 2016 race and related matters.

“It is good news that there was insufficient evidence to charge the President of the United States with having conspired with a foreign adversary or with having obstructed justice. The alternative would have taken us through a wrenching process with the potential for constitutional crisis. The business of government can move on,” wrote Mr. Romney.

“Reviewing”??

Yet nearly a thousand prosecutors feel there was ample evidence in the report to conclude Trump obstructed justice. Did Romney really read the report? Is he going to stake his credibility and rally behind Trump based on a bad interpretation of what he may have read, which may or may not be the entire redacted report?

The Washington Post this past week surveyed members of Congress to learn who had and hadn’t read the report. It won’t surprise you that the number of Republicans who haven’t read it outnumber Democrats who haven’t read it.

But now they’ve had a long holiday weekend to read it. Have they? Are they still going to claim that the report exonerates Trump even after Robert Mueller clearly said today Trump isn’t out of the woods?

Are they still going to ignore the hundreds of federal prosecutors across the country who say the report reveals Trump obstructed justice?

Let’s find out. If you’re up to it let’s make phone calls to find out if the lawmakers have still not read the report.

Share your findings in comments and I will update this chart.

Let’s whip it good.

One last observation: Rep. Amash’s townhall last night in a staunchly GOP city, home of the DeVos family, drew a capacity audience and earned him a standing ovation.

Amash stressed how appalled he was at the conduct spelled out in Volume II of the Special Counsel’s report and that he felt those who read the report would likewise be offended.

Why aren’t more GOP members of Congress offended? Because they can’t be bothered to read it?

Whip it — Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

WaPo used these questions which are still a pretty good script for callers:

1. Did members of [lawmaker]’s senior staff read the executive summaries for both Volume I and II of the redacted Mueller report, or not?

2. Did members of [lawmaker]’s senior staff read the redacted Mueller report in its entirety, or not?

3. Did members of senior staff brief [lawmaker] on the contents of the redacted Mueller report, or not?

4. Did [lawmaker] read the executive summaries for both Volume I and II of the redacted Mueller report, or not?

5. Did [lawmaker] read the redacted Mueller report in its entirety, or not?

Make the calls. Whip it good.

Copyright © 2018 emptywheel. All rights reserved.
Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/author/rayne/