Judiciary Committee Approves Articles of Impeachment

The Judiciary Committee has voted to impeach Donald Trump on two impeachment charges: Abuse of power and Obstruction of Congress. Next week there will be a full House vote.

The articles of impeachment are here.

Republicans seem to be straining their vocal cords in vain as they advance a bunch of crackpot nonsense -- like insisting the impeachment charges must match a specific federal offense. Or the charges aren't serious enough to topple Trump. (But lying about sex with an eager and willing intern is enough for a full house impeachment vote?)

The Senate is unlikely to impeach Donald Trump, but he will forever have a well-deserved big ugly stain on his blue suits that no cleaner on the planet will be able to remove.

"Discredited, unpopular, dishonest, ineffective, and crass" will be just some of the adjectives the history books will use to describe him.

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    It's sad that it had to come to this. (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Dec 13, 2019 at 01:44:35 PM EST
    But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was absolutely prescient all those months ago in March when she first resisted calls for impeachment from some of the more enthusiastic newcomers in her caucus. "He's just not worth it," she said in disdain before predicting -- quite accurately, as it turns out -- that he would instead self-impeach.

    Rudy Giuliani has insisted that he's working as Trump's lawyer pro bono, but as we learned not too long ago, Rudy's associate Lev Parnas actually paid him $500,000 for that work. Therefore, if Parnas himself was being paid by Russian sources as the federal attorneys at SDNY have alleged in their court filings this week, this means the Russians are essentially subsidizing Trump, paying for Giuliani's work themselves so he didn't have to lay out a dime of his own money.

    I think it's pretty obvious why Trump has long been serving the interests of Vladimir Putin. It's long been known that his Trump Organization was being bankrolled primarily with Russian capital a decade ago. As Sal Tessio (Abe Vigoda) confessed to Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) at the end of "The Godfather" his reasons for betraying the Corleone family, it's just business and was nothing personal. Trump's only concern has always been self-interest and self-preservation. He does what he does because he's on their payroll.

    I've heard it argued this week in the media that Republicans don't care about history. I would argue instead that Republicans today have by and large become so willfully ignorant in their single-minded pursuit of short-term agendas that they clearly have no sense of history. That is, they've long been living solely in the immediate moment, with no particular regard for the potential consequences of their actions. And after all, history is by and large the story of actions and their consequences.

    "[T]he digital age has become a multiplying force for disinformation. And too many Americans, I'm sad to say, really are falling for it. The most gullible, ironically, are those on the right--traditionally hardline opponents of Moscow."
    - James Bruno, "What's Behind the GOP's Disinformation Machine?" The Washington Monthly (December 13, 2019)

    We are truly in uncharted waters as a country, with one of our two major political parties essentially acting as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kremlin. Republicans have forsaken the GOP's once-proud legacy as the Party of Abraham Lincoln to instead become a collective cult of personality devoted almost solely to the veneration of a spoiled trust fund baby-turned-Grade B reality TV star. This is likely not going to end well for them.

    That's because one potential consequence to any attempt by Senate Republicans to short-circuit Trump's impeachment trial is the very real possibility that still more evidence emerges tying the Trump campaign to Russian interests after he is acquitted, which would render GOP congresscritters vulnerable to charges of having enabled, aided and abetted ongoing Kremlin efforts to undermine the integrity of the 2020 election. That's likely not going to sit very well with a majority of Americans.

    "Faster your seatbelts," Margo Channing (Bette Davis) warned her guests at a fateful dinner party in All About Eve. "It's going to be a bumpy night."


    Interesting take (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 13, 2019 at 02:11:58 PM EST
    The False Romance of Russia

    But in the 21st century, we must also contend with a new phenomenon: right-wing intellectuals, now deeply critical of their own societies, who have begun paying court to right-wing dictators who dislike America. And their motives are curiously familiar. All around them, they see degeneracy, racial mixing, demographic change, "political correctness," same-sex marriage, religious decline. The America that they actually inhabit no longer matches the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant America that they remember, or think they remember. And so they have begun to look abroad, seeking to find the spiritually unified, ethnically pure nations that, they imagine, are morally stronger than their own. Nations, for example, such as Russia.

    He is not alone. The belief that Russia is on our side in the war against secularism and sexual decadence is shared by a host of American Christian leaders, as well as their colleagues on the European far right. Among them, for example, are the movers and shakers behind the World Congress of Families, an American evangelical and anti-gay-rights organization that Buchanan has explicitly praised. One of the WCF's former leaders, Larry Jacobs, once declared that "the Russians might be the Christian saviors of the world." The WCF even has a Russian branch, which is run by Alexey Komov, a man in turn linked to Konstantin Malofeev, a Russian oligarch who has hosted far-right meetings all across Europe. At the WCF's most recent meeting, in Verona, senior Russian priests mingled with leaders of the Italian far right, the Austrian far right, and their comrades from the American heartland.

    I see (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 02:54:28 AM EST
    this. Evangelicals love Putin and see Russia as the last great white hope.

    A Continuing Threat. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Fri Dec 13, 2019 at 03:11:06 PM EST
    ..."In all of this, President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversion of the Constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the US.

    Wherefore, President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-government and the rule of law.  President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the U.S."

    If, as predicted, Trump is acquitted by the Senate, especially, if in keeping with a Trump-McConnell coordinated and hoaxical trial, will, with high confidence, remain a threat to democracy.  Indeed, there is unlikely to be so much as a pause in his misconduct between now and then.

    It is known that Trump's reaction to the end of the Mueller testimony was to quickly move, the next day, to the impeachment-ready smoking gun call shaking down Zelensky.

    Trump, with confidence that McConnell has his back, no doubt feels he is out of danger and will
    continue his crime spree unabated. But, he has learned a lesson: do no let people of principle listen-in on his calls to foreign leaders. He has restricted his calls and read-outs to a very small cohort.  And, of course, Rudy is still on the prowl for something, anything, that the Igors and Levs of his universe can manufacture or dig up.

    Trump is so untrustworthy and crooked that the Articles conclude by calling him unfit, not only for this office, but, for no office in the US. Not even the proverbial dogcatcher.

     This recognition of distrust is not unlike that for his fraudulent handling of his own charitable Foundation. A $2 million fine, and being barred from involvement with any charity without oversight by NY government.

    The House (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Fri Dec 13, 2019 at 08:10:55 PM EST
    Judiciary vote for the two Articles of Impeachment was 23 yes, 17 no.  It would have been 24 yes and 17 no, but for Rep. Ted Lieu being missing owing to an urgent cardio-vascular procedure. Rep. Lieu (D CA), age 50, experienced chest pains this week resulting in a stent procedure to address blockage. Scans and laboratory testing did not indicate a heart attack or other heart damage.

    Mr. Lieu has been an effective voice in efforts to hold Trump accountable. Surely he was disappointed in not being able to participate in this week's proceedings as were those of us who appreciate his cogent arguments.  He is expected to return next week.

    I love Ted Lieu. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 02:56:52 AM EST
    He represents the best of America and also how much immigrants add to the country. Thanks for the update on him and his health.

    Lieu on Twitter (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Towanda on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 03:52:30 PM EST
    often is witty and has become one of my favorites.

    So, I also saw this news with sadness. He is so young to need stents.


    Would the Obstruction Charge be a Slam Dunk (none / 0) (#4)
    by RickyJim on Fri Dec 13, 2019 at 06:57:38 PM EST
    to pass the Senate, if instead of voting on it now, the House went to court to enforce the subpoenas and after losing there, Trump still ordered his aids not to testify and refused to hand over documents?  So what if there is a delay of a few months?  It still beats a quick dismissal or not guilty verdict in the Senate.

    They addressed that (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Repack Rider on Fri Dec 13, 2019 at 08:26:02 PM EST
    Nadler pointed out that it took eight months to get the first ruling, and that the administration is trying to run out the clock by tying up every decisions in a branch of government that has nothing to say about the power of impeachment, which rests solely with the House.

    Failing to answer a legitimate Congressional subpoena is prima facie evidence of obstruction.

    Don't fall for the administration's cheap trick of trying to involve the courts.


    I'm not Falling for Anything (none / 0) (#11)
    by RickyJim on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 10:30:14 AM EST
    When Judge Sirica ordered Nixon to hand over the tapes, the case went directly to the Supreme Court and 3 weeks after hearing the case, it affirmed Sirica's decision.  I am waiting for the House to ask the Supreme Court for expedited consideration of their case.

    I admit the Democrats may have a timing strategy so as to maximize impeachment's effect on the 2020 election.  If so, I don't know what it is.


    Really (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jmacWA on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 10:48:28 AM EST
    I am waiting for the House to ask the Supreme Court for expedited consideration of their case.

    You think this Republican biased court gives a rats posterior about what a unbiased supreme court did?  The current GOP molded court will do all in its power to give tRump what he wants, i.e. no ruling before the rigged senate trial


    Yes, Really (none / 0) (#13)
    by RickyJim on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 11:04:10 AM EST
    Burger, Powell and Blackmun voted for Nixon to hand over the tapes.  Burger was elevated to Chief Justice by Nixon and Powell and Blackmun were Nixon appointees to the Court.  Another Nixon appointee, Rehnquist, recused himself.  Supreme Court justices are not in need of Republican Party support to keep their jobs.  

    Republicans these days (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by leap on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 03:07:15 PM EST
    are not like the ones 40 years ago. The ones currently on the SC are especially loathsome.

    I think they (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 11:35:04 AM EST
    Expedited the tax case.  If by "expedite" you mean hear by March and decided by June.

    But I believe they are calling it expedited  

    Still.  Might not be bad timing for us.


    That's not really expedited (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 05:19:32 PM EST
    Every case accepted before mid-January can and will be decided by the end of June each year.

    It did not sound expedited (none / 0) (#18)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 06:55:22 PM EST
    But I thought I heard that.  Maybe I misunderstood

    Please don't kid yourself by believing ... (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 02:01:41 AM EST
    ... that Senate Republicans are going to be reasonable and rational when it comes to President Trump. The sad truth of the matter is that Trump isn't the only Republican whose hands are dirty here. There are a number of fairly notable GOP officials in Washington and elsewhere who've benefited from Russian interference in U.S. politics, and who are desperate in their own efforts to avoid similar public scrutiny:

    Dallas Morning News | May 18, 2018
    How Putin's oligarchs funneled millions into GOP campaigns - "Buried in the campaign finance reports available to the public are some troubling connections between a group of wealthy donors with ties to Russia and their political contributions to President Donald Trump and a number of top Republican leaders. And thanks to changes in campaign finance laws, the political contributions are legal. We have allowed our campaign finance laws to become a strategic threat to our country.

    "An example is Len Blavatnik, a dual U.S.-U.K. citizen and one of the largest donors to GOP political action committees in the 2015-16 election cycle. Blavatnik's family emigrated to the U.S. in the late '70s from the U.S.S.R. and he returned to Russia when the Soviet Union began to collapse in the late '80s.

    "Data from the Federal Election Commission show that Blavatnik's campaign contributions dating back to 2009-10 were fairly balanced across party lines and relatively modest for a billionaire. During that season he contributed $53,400. His contributions increased to $135,552 in 2011-12 and to $273,600 in 2013-14, still bipartisan.

    "In 2015-16, everything changed. Blavatnik's political contributions soared and made a hard right turn as he pumped $6.35 million into GOP political action committees, with millions of dollars going to top Republican leaders including Sens. Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham."

    It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to publicly acknowledge and repudiate Trump's repeated actions on behalf of Russian interests, when their party's survival at this point depends upon their not comprehending and acknowledging their own sins in that regard.



    I have this friend (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 11:02:16 AM EST
    who has been active in Republican politics here in GA for 30 years. He seems to think that the GOP is really going to remove Trump. I think he is crazy. I see no evidence of them moving that direction at all and maybe even further away from it every day.

    I liking this idea (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 09:08:22 AM EST
    The democrats might try to hold the articles and not pas them to the senate.  At least right now.

    The idea is the just take out the last line that is the referral to the senate.  And just sit on it for a while to see what he does next.

    It doesn't seem very likely
    Lawerence Tribe who wrote about this a while back, suggested it actually, just said he thought Mitch might try to take it up anyway.  Which he said he probably could.

    One thing fee sure.

    Anyone who says they know what is about to happen is talking out of their butt.

    Here (none / 0) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 14, 2019 at 09:14:53 AM EST
    Considering (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 18, 2019 at 06:11:42 PM EST
    Interesting (none / 0) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 02:13:59 PM EST
    Democrats Push Amash as Impeachment Manager

    December 15, 2019 at 2:27 pm EST By Taegan Goddard 52 Comments

    "A private campaign is underway to draft Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of President Trump, a bid to diversify House Democrats' appeal to voters with a rare conservative voice," the Washington Post reports

    It is interesting (none / 0) (#22)
    by KeysDan on Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 03:57:47 PM EST
    However, if the goal to benefit from "a rare conservative voice", I think that will have a narrow appeal.

     For Republicans, that conservative voice only counts if it comes from a body living vicariously through Trump. Amash surely does not ride well with them anyway and will, of course, be subjected to blistering tweets.

     For Democrats, it may deny an opportunity for a competent rising star, perhaps one in a "frontline" district or electorally critical state, to be showcased (e.g. Mary Gay Scanlon).

     Independents are always a question---just how independent (Republican leaning).  

    But, it might lessen some of the media "partisan", along party lines, each side has a point, reports from guys in diners.


    Amash is a smart articulate guy. (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 16, 2019 at 09:03:25 AM EST
    And he speaks wing nut.

    I think it's a good idea


    Amash should not be rewarded (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Towanda on Wed Dec 18, 2019 at 12:54:00 PM EST
    for opposition to many Democratic principles and actions.

    The only thing that he agrees with Democrats about is Trump.  


    There were (none / 0) (#24)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 16, 2019 at 09:42:24 AM EST
    thirteen Republican managers in the impeachment trial of President Clinton.  The Speaker has not yet announced the number for Trump's trial, but if the number is in that range, my thoughts and your thinking on Justin Amash can be accommodated so as to make a good manager team.

    Amash, as you say, speaks the language offering ideological diversity despite the Republican Party disfavor he inhabits.  Speaker Pelosi will provide managers with not only competence, but also, with demographic diversity.  Being telegenic will be a plus.