“Nobody is Above the Law”
— Impeach and Remove Events on Tuesday 12/17/19.
“You can vote against impeachment but still disagree with some of the policies and some of the behavior.”
— Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX)
By Dan Peak
Commoner Call (12/16/19)
The House Judiciary Committee passed two Articles of Impeachment on Friday morning, December 13. A vote on the Articles by the full House is anticipated for Wednesday. The two articles are for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The Resolution to impeach can be found here.
If the full House votes to impeach this week a Senate trial is expected in January.
Impeach.org is calling for demonstrations in 450 cities across the country on the eve of the expected vote, Tuesday evening. The opening quote includes a link to find the closest to you; there are events planned for Richland Center and La Crosse.
Republican committee members used parliamentary procedure to drag proceedings into the night so few people would see the vote; after a 14-hour session on Thursday Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) suspended for the night and the Friday morning vote took only 10 minutes for a 24-17 party-line vote.
Impeachment by the House is the result of Trump’s broad attempt to bribe Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce Biden investigations to undermine a personal political opponent. If not for a whistleblower complaint that, in spite of administration best efforts, surfaced hours before Zelensky was interviewed on CNN to announce his planned investigation, Trump would have succeeded.
Trump’s illegal effort to force a foreign government to aid in his reelection effort was not a single phone call, it was a months long effort by Trump, Sec. State Mike Pompeo, VP Pence, chief of staff Mulvaney, Sec. Energy Perry, attorney general Barr, personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and many more persons in the various departments of government to execute the crime, hide the evidence and obstruct an investigation.
Trump Did It! This is not in doubt. The second opening quote is from Rep. Hurd (R-TX), one of the more moderate Republicans, if there is such a thing (he’s not standing for reelection). Consider his personal assessment – he disagrees, but will not vote for impeachment. He’s one of the few that offer a more honest explanation while most duck for cover or vie for Fox News coverage with anger and lies. If you have any interest in this non fact-based defense, or somehow want to challenge your own sense of balance, see House Republicans’ Trump impeachment strategy is simple: Distract, deceive and yell.
Next up will be the Senate trial. The Senate is led by a Republican majority. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Senate Leader has already declared, via Fox News of course, that he is coordinating closely with White House Counsel – you can hear his comments here , or read about his plans here. Democrats justifiably questioned McConnell’s impartiality, but how is that a serious question after McConnell’s denial of a hearing for Obama SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland keeping the seat open for a year until an election that resulted in bringing Trump to the White House and giving Republicans the opportunity to nominate now Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Anyone expecting impartiality from McConnell?
Is anyone expecting impartiality from Sen. Lindsey Graham who now heads the Senate Judiciary Committee? Graham has also already gone on record with, “I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here… I will do everything I can to make it die quickly.”
Senators are jurors for an impeachment trial. As such they will take an oath “that they will perform their duties honestly”. Graham will take that oath; do we expect that he will honor that oath? As conservative Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin says, Don’t worry, Sen. Graham. No one thought you’d be fair.
The Senate impeachment rules say Majority Leader McConnell is to coordinate with Minority Leader Sen. Schumber (D-NY). As mentioned above, he is not. But there is still a path to a more fair Senate process.
The Bulwark editor-at-large and Never-Trumper William Kristol points out that as few as three Republican Senators can stand for reason and provide for fair rules of process. If this were to happen, the Senate Republican candidates for a bi-partisan process are likely the few best Senate Republican candidates to vote for Impeach and Remove. We’ll all be watching this process closely, but I’ll highlight this singular opinion amongst all the noise of what we might expect.
Authors Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman acknowledge Trump’s flip-flopping “between self-pity and combativeness”. We’ll give the space to Graham again:
“He doesn’t like what’s happening,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and who has spoken with the president several times this week. “He thinks it’s unfair. But I think he’s resolved himself that they’re going to do it, they’re out to get him. I think he’s more determined now to win than ever.”
And to Graham for one final view:
“What Mr. Trump’s advisers worry about is the snapback of his anger once the impeachment process is over. They predict he will be furious, and looking for payback.
“Mr. Graham said he warned Mr. Trump against that in a phone call on Wednesday night. “I just told him we know how impeachment ends, then after that your fate’s in your own hands,” Mr. Graham said. “Get back to being president and have a good story to tell.””
One final impeachment view
A Sunday release of a Fox News poll shows this about Trump:
Abused his power? Yes – 53% / No– 38%
Obstructed Congress? Yes – 48% / No – 34%
Committed Bribery? Yes – 45% / No – 37%
That’s right, the collective ‘we’ see Trump as having done exactly what the House Articles of Impeachment say he did – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
In the meantime, much of the legal challenges being defended by Trump are heading to the Supreme Court. Trump’s “immunity from investigation while he is in office” will be heard in March, when the Supreme Court will take up Trump’s broad claims of protection from investigation.
Blocking citizens from voting
And don’t forget – not only will we have an election in 2020, count on Republicans to limit access to the polls in any way possible. They are already doing this – check your voter registration. Judge Orders More Than 200,000 Wisconsin Voters Purged From Rolls.
Trump is charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. While the charges result from Trump’s abuse of Ukraine vulnerability for personal gain, we can both point to how he welcomed election support from Russia and obstructed an investigation, and we each can build lengthy lists of his other many abuses of power – cruelty that hurt many people within the United States and outside the United States.
Trump will stand trial for these charges.
No matter what happens next, Trump is permanently marked — stained — as a president formally charged with crimes while in office. Say what he will, we know he is hurt by this.
If Trump reacts in anger as a result of being fairly held accountable, who amongst us would say this is any different than what he would have done anyway as he feels his way into the full extent of his authoritarian appetite like a bumbling Lord Voldermort.
Impeach and Remove. Maybe I’ll see you Tuesday evening.
(Commoner Call cartoon and photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2018/2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
La Crosse Impeachment Rally, Tuesday, 5-6 p.m.
A rally of La Crosse area residents supporting the Democrats effort to impeach Trump will meet Tuesday from 5-6 p.m., at Cameron Park to hear a few speakers lay out the facts and make the case why every American needs to support the House in passing the Articles of Impeachment and demand that the Senate impeach Trump and remove him from office next year.