Russia Monitor: The Growing War Within Our Walls

Here are my principal conclusions:

1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.

2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.

3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.

4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), @justinamash Tweet (5/18/)19


“There are always political elements to our choices, but those should be a matter of tactics, not objectives. Those who think that impeachment, or sending a subpoena to Trump Jr., or holding Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt, reduces to a set of political choices confuse two different elements of decision-making.”

— Political theorist Danielle Allen, Stop Calling Impeachment A Political Decision.

By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (5/9/19)

Dear Fellow Readers,

Democrats will impeach Trump. The process has already started. I offer my conclusion in case you don’t want to sit through eight seasons of Game of Thrones to find out what happens, though that is still the episode before the final, we won’t know how that turns out til we do.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) has become the first GOPer to call for impeachment of Trump. Is this historic? Maybe, maybe not, let’s not rush past this but take a minute to know more about Amash and maybe more about our predicament. And Amash is right.

If you follow the Twitter link you’ll see his elaborations on his point though his summary does justice. And it’s twitter, so if you’re bored with other social media feel free to peruse the not so helpful responses. The very first response from @laurenthehough takes exception to the first two points referring to these as propaganda. I feel like Lauren’s native language must not be English if he can so easily discount Trump lawyer and Attorney General Barr’s version of the Mueller report versus the actual report, but we’ll come back to this.

Amash has now been around for a few election cycles and ask any Michigan liberal about Amash and Flint water and you’ll get an earful; here’s a bit of history and color:

“The 39-year-old congressman, who was elected during the tea-party surge of 2010 and is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, is no stranger to standing alone on issues of constitutional principle, whether or not his views buck the Republican Party or its dear leader. The lawmaker so prides himself on his adherence to principle that he reportedly broke down in tears after accidentally missing one vote in Congress — the only vote he has ever missed. This makes him the most likely member of his party to reject Trump, and also to reject doing nothing about Trump’s misconduct.”

Few see Amash as a likely hero but we’ll leave that to history.

You can read Amash’s full comments via the linked article. The story morphs into commentary about impeachment and we’ll follow it there while summarizing Amash as a ‘Loner’ in almost all ways.

Impeach Trump

Here’s the Impeachment view by Chas Danner from the same ‘New York’ article.

“But while Democratic voters and lawmakers are keenly interested in Trump’s transgressions, they are hardly united on the question of whether to impeach him. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has not ruled it out, but she has continued to resist what are now growing calls from Democratic lawmakers to begin impeachment proceedings. Instead, Pelosi has been pointing to the ongoing investigations into the president and promoting a wait-and-see approach. That decision is much more about setting the party up to defeat Trump in 2020, however, than it is waiting to see what additional information the more than 20 congressional probes turn up, if and when Trump and his allies are no longer able to withhold it.”

I dare anyone to quickly read that paragraph and come back with a succinct summary of what to expect from Democrats. Anyone looking for certainty will find frustration but welcome to politics.

If you are set on achieving certainty and have already banged the table and demanded IMPEACHMENT, this is for you…

Stop Calling Impeachment A Political Decision

Harvard political theorist Danielle Allen offers this clarity:

“…Impeachment is just a political process.” This has become the common wisdom of our corrupt era.

“In fact, impeachment is a constitutional mechanism, and the Constitution is a legal document. Impeachment is the legal mechanism designed by the framers to permit the republic to hold the president accountable for wrongdoing while in office. True, impeachment does not proceed through the court system — but that makes it no less legal. True, impeachment is a mechanism assigned to Congress, and therefore to elected politicians. But plenty of judges throughout this country are elected and are politicians, and that in no way diminishes their responsibility for legal and constitutional procedures.”

What I like best about Allen’s comments is this clarification:

“There are always political elements to our choices, but those should be a matter of tactics, not objectives. Those who think that impeachment, or sending a subpoena to Trump Jr., or holding Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt, reduces to a set of political choices confuse two different elements of decision-making.”

It is Allen’s statement of a core belief that brings some light to the maddening confusion of daily events.

“…If we pursue the common good, and find politically effective ways of doing that, we build healthy societies. The view that everything is “just politics” reduces the world to the amoral pursuit of power or domination over others. If we pursue only power for our party, we create a world riven by amoral efforts at mutual destruction. In other words, we bring war inside our walls. If we pursue only our own self-interest, we destroy the social bonds that enable the growth of social trust — itself a public good that supports wealth, prosperity and broad well-being.

“The corruption revealed by the Mueller report may warrant impeachment. But if you hear someone tell you that is a “political” question, don’t buy it. The framers certainly did not. They created this legal mechanism as a tool for pursuing the common good, and that’s how we should think about it. Otherwise we’ve allowed the corruption to enter ourselves.”

If you believe beyond a doubt that Trump is corrupt and that Barr is nothing more than his protector is there any other choice? There always is, but playing this out as a purely political challenge feels like looking for a unicorn.

Let’s look at two sides of this debate.

Barr’s Inquiry Into Trump-Russia Inquiry Is Corruption Eating Itself

For those who think there is a political resolution to our constitutional crisis, author Richard Wolff offers this crushing blow as his sub-head: This investigation by the attorney general should scotch any illusion that Trump would be held in check by Washington’s institutions.”

“What happens to a government when the man in control is a delusional conspiracy-theorist desperate to cover up his own corruption?”

Trump and his cultists, specifically the ones that are congress and the justice department, the institutions that should defend the Constitution and would protect us:

“Now it’s clear those institutions are hollowed-out shells. Where Republicans used to crow about the constitutional duties of congressional oversight, they now think the whole notion is some kind of partisan game. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, appeared on Fox Business to advise that the president’s son, Don Jr, should ignore a subpoena to appear before the Senate intelligence committee.

“Graham has long ago transmogrified himself from a military lawyer and McCain Republican into an apologist for the pro-Russian grifters who run this White House.”

Wolff challenges the notion that Barr will lead an honest process to investigate – NOT TRUMP – but what lead to the investigation of Trump. If Barr released the full Mueller report and let Mueller and former White House counsel Don McGahn testify we’d be on the right path. But that and more is resisted while new facts are promised.

If you don’t believe Wolff, maybe take Barr’s word for how Congress and our department of justice are being used against us. This from the guy that assures us that there was spying on Trump. A guy that is famous for parsing ‘maybe’ in direct questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) but can offer ‘spying’ with reasoned certainty:

“Mr. Barr told Fox News he had been asking whether “government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” in opening the Russia inquiry. “A lot of the answers have been inadequate and some of the explanations I’ve gotten don’t hang together,” he added.”

The man that offers certainty over ‘spying’ while hiding Mueller and the full Mueller report from public offers his commitment to find the right answers about alleged ‘abuses’.

Which leads us to another popular belief…

Frustrated House Democrats Pin Their Hopes On Mueller

You have to love Barr’s folksy representation of how a Mueller appearance before Congress is “Bob’s call”. Where the hell is ‘Bob’ and why can’t he speak for himself?

This is an excellent example of Democratic hand-wringing while being stone-walled on every request for any information from the White House be it relevant to investigation of Trump corruption or any legislative initiative. Mueller testifying may help put things back on track:

“Democrats’ big fear — expressed during interviews with two dozen lawmakers over the past week — is that public interest in the Mueller report is ebbing. Any appearance by Mr. Mueller, however noncommittal or boring it turns out to be, is one of the only means to snap the issue of Mr. Trump’s actions back to center stage, they said, along with testimony from someone like Mr. McGahn.”

But if Democrats see this as a last shot and choose to put their collective heads down to work on legislation with no hope of passage as doing the ‘people’s business’… Here’s how Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) sized up the current situation:

“Republicans say even that is wishful thinking. Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump, said Democrats were living in a fantasyland to think that there were still minds to be changed about Mr. Trump or that Mr. Mueller, put under cross-examination by Republicans, would be able to do it.”

Meadows is right – few minds will be changed about Trump-Russia.

The critical issue at hand is the Democratic Party and how minds will be changed about it based on this historic moment.


At least they are working 24/7 to keep our elections safe. Right?

If you feel like Trump-Russia and impeachment is not important you must assume our future elections are safe. Well The Department Of Homeland Security has redeployed cybersecurity staff to the border.

With the 2020 elections rushing toward us, The Daily Beast subhead paints the picture: Employees are encouraged to set aside their infrastructure and cybersecurity work to go to the border because ‘serving the needs of the homeland is the cornerstone of what we do.’

And Florida can’t decide how extensively Russians compromised the 2016 election but be assured, Trump cultist Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is on the case.

Here is absurdity; you can’t make this up. Gaetz is one of the leading Russpublicans and deniers of Russian influence but now demands, “I would expect DoD to know a lot more than they do about the tactics, targets and methods of Russian election interference”. Later criticizing: sufficiently engaged or informed on critical aspects of the Russian election interference. They don’t even know which two Florida counties were hacked.

Amash is in favor of impeachment, Gaetz now demands answers to what he says never happened, while Barr promises to fairly investigate the investigators.

Every path may lead to having to defeat Trump at the polls for the 2020 election. But what we do between now and then will determine the outcome, and the course of the nation.

Do you believe Trump unchecked will defeat himself? Do you believe that passing legislation in the House that will never receive a vote in the Senate will defeat Trump? Do you believe that a Democratic party that ignores its constitutional responsibility will be rewarded at the polls?

Do you believe that impeachment is the choice that leads to punishment of the Dems at the polls – that whistling past the ‘known’ out of fear of a future ‘unknown’ is the political calculus for success?

Do you believe that impeachment is our responsibility to confront a system that has been corrupted?