Trump’s impeachment: give your take

Despite Rashida Tlaib’s incendiary words of two days ago, the fact remains that Donald Trump has shown himself the most incompetent American President of our time—or perhaps all time. He’s shut down the government over his wall, creating an impasse that seems unbreakable, embroiled us in a debilitating, no-win trade war with China, ended intervention in Syria against military advice, and either fired or forced out many of the more moderate and competent people in his administration. His attacks on his opponents and on the press are constant and unconscionable. And the Mueller investigation, I suspect, will show him as an accessory to at least one crime and probably more.

The government is being led by a petulant, tantrum-throwing child who shows no scintilla of adult maturity. What’s worse, his narcissism and mindlessness has the possibility of embroiling us in a war. I didn’t think that was possible, but as his Presidency proceeds, I find it less and less unthinkable. My disgust is turning to a palpable fear.

Today’s New York Times has a piece by op-ed writer David Leonhardt calling for Trump’s impeachment which he sees as more exigent than simply waiting until 2020 to try voting him out. (Click on the screenshot.)

The Constitution specifies that impeachment is designed for Presidents (or others) who are guilty of “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors”. Gross incompetence or mental illness is not among these failings, though it should be. (I also believe that Trump is diagnosably mentally ill.)

Leonhardt sees these four Trumpian actions as falling under the Constitutional provision for impeachment. (You can read the op-ed for details.)

  1. Using the Presidency for personal enrichment
  2. Violating campaign finance law
  3. Obstructing justice
  4. Subverting democracy (this seems to me the weakest charge, including as it does the impugning of journalists as “enemies of the people”

Leonhardt is more optimistic than I.

It’s not only that Trump is unfit to be president and that Republicans know it. It also may be the case that they will soon have a political self-interest in abandoning him. If they did, the end could come swiftly. The House could then impeach Trump, knowing the Senate might act to convict. Or negotiations could begin over whether Trump deserves to trade resignation for some version of immunity.

Finally, there is the hope — naïve though it may seem — that some Republicans will choose to act on principle. There now exists a small club of former Trump administration officials who were widely respected before joining the administration and whom Trump has sullied, to greater or lesser degrees. It includes Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster and Jim Mattis. Imagine if one of them gave a television interview and told the truth about Trump. Doing so would be a service to their country at a time of national need. It would be an illustration of duty.

We took a vote in 2018 on whether Trump would be impeached, and whether he’d be found guilty. I won’t link to that here lest it influence your vote now, but this time I’m asking you to vote in three easy polls, one giving your opinion and two giving your prognostication. To wit: do you think Trump should be successfully impeached (found guilty; impeachment is simply a vote to have a Congressional trial); do you think he will be impeached (by the House); and, if so, do you think he will be convicted (in the Senate)?

Vote below; you can answer all three regardless of your votes on #1 and #2. My own votes are yes, yes, and no, respectively.

Poll #1

Poll #2

Poll #3

And I welcome your comments below.

289 Comments

  1. dd
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Neither the Iraq war nor the financial crisis occurred during Trump’s administration.

    (The financial crisis has huge Democratic fingers, like Clinton’s, in it….and of course, Republican.)

    Should Middle East intervention be the forever war?

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      No. Time to leave. Trump is right on this issue.

      • Mark R.
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        And why is Trump “right” on this issue? What has he said that convinces you he is “right”? Your statement is far-reaching and lacks nuance or understanding of the complexities in the region. Yes, the US caused a lot of the current problems in the Middle East, but why does that mean we should abruptly leave and let violence and chaos fill the void?

        I’ll ask one of many salient points, this one in regards to Syria: why are we allowing one of our only allies in the region, the Kurds, to fend for themselves? You think simply leaving is going to fix all of America’s problems in the region? Brevity of thought and action is Trump’s bailiwick, cultivated by Twitter. I have come to the conclusion that thinking Trump is “right” on any issue is folly.

        Leaving the Middle East at this point is a HUGE gift to Putin and Erdoğan. Apparently, Trump has been scolded on this as now he talks about some vague “time-line” bullshit.

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          Having troops in the Middle East has been a complete waste of lives and treasure, from the Bush Gulf War down to and including what we are doing today. I was against the Gulf War, the Afghan War, the Iraq War and anything else that I may have failed to mention. At some point it is time to stop the waste. Now is a good time.

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

          If Trump is right on this issue, it is by the “stopped clock” principle.

  2. dd
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Neither the Iraq war nor the financial crisis occurred during Trump’s administration.

    (The financial crisis has huge Democratic fingers, like Clinton’s, in it….and of course, Republican.)

    Should Middle East intervention be the forever war?

  3. Ken Pidcock
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I don’t think that Trump should be impeached by the House. If conviction is less than possible, what’s the point other than to rally disaffected Republicans? Let it fester until his corruption can’t be ignored by his party.

    • JezGrove
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I agree absolutely. With no possibility of the Senate voting for conviction, launching the impeachment process is totally pointless and will only strengthen his base. Sad to say, but the incumbent lacks even Tricky Dicky’s morals – Nixon resigned rather than face the music; Trump wouldn’t take the honorable way out. The disgrace of the President being caught lying apparently no longer exists, as evidenced by Trump’s behavior since the spat over the size of the crowd at his inauguration. I guess you could say he started as he meant to go on.

      • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Whether Trump resigns depends on whether he believes his own BS. I think he does but it’s hard to be sure. If he does, he will always think he’s being treated unfairly.

        It may also be the case that being president affords him some protection from being tried for various crimes. If so, he’ll try to stay in office in order to postpone any judgement day as long as possible.

        • Diane G
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          …then maybe make a last-minute deal with Pence that he’ll retire, so that Pence will be able to say he was once President, however briefly, if Pence in return promises to pardon him.

          • Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I could see that happening. I really hate that presidents have the pardon power. Everyone should be equal in the eyes of the law.

            • Diane G
              Posted January 6, 2019 at 12:51 am | Permalink

              Governors, too. Why should some poor schmuck be executed just because some politician with aspirations (Bill Clinton, Dubya Bush…) thinks it’s good to “look tough on crime.”

              • GBJames
                Posted January 6, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

                I don’t see how the refusal to use the power is an argument against pardon power.

              • Diane G
                Posted January 7, 2019 at 1:53 am | Permalink

                “I don’t see how the refusal to use the power is an argument against pardon power.” –GBJames

                Didn’t mean to imply that it was, just providing one example of how immoral the status quo (in certain states) can be.

            • GBJames
              Posted January 6, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

              It isn’t the pardon power, per se, that is a problem. The issue (as I see it) is the absence of defined constraints on the power.

              • Posted January 6, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

                Sure, some pardons seem reasonable. Still, I doubt we could successfully define the line between good and bad pardons beforehand. Some of the good pardons are when someone is in jail when they shouldn’t be. I would like to see those dealt with by criminal justice reform, not pardons. Trump pardoning his buddies in crime would clearly be an abuse but so is letting a President off the hook “for the good of the country” or “to bring the country together”. I say pardon power should go.

      • Harrison
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Much like with the present shutdown crisis where the House has already passed legislation to re-open the government, the fact that the Senate is holding firm does not mean that the Senate is in a position of strength. It actually means that all eyes are on them and everyone is holding them responsible.

        I don’t think House Dems should impeach now, but I have little doubt that after a few rounds of investigations that the public case against the President will be strong enough to impeach before the year is through.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      This is my opinion too. I had to vote “No Opinion” on all three. We are not yet at the stage where enough Republicans will face the reality of Trump because their voters aren’t there yet. There are still too many GOP senators that rely on Trump voters for their seats.

      Further, to try to impeach now is overreaching in the same way the GOP did with Bill Clinton.

      At some point, enough of Trump’s supporters will reach a point where they can’t deny Trump’s criminality. I believe the Mueller investigation will assist with that. When that happens it will be time to impeach.

      Until then, Democrats must wait. If they go too soon they will make Trump seem the victim he pretends to be and he will become a martyr.

      • rickflick
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        I agree that “no opinion” makes sense pragmatically. My vote was, yes, yes, yes, simply because as these things unfold they can go one way or the other, and we are being asked to prognosticate. I’m feeling optimistic. In truth, you don’t know for sure if the sun will rise tomorrow morning. But, let’s hope so.

      • Posted January 6, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        I basically agree Ms Hastie, although my votes were yes, yes, no. If the poll were more nuanced, my actual thoughts were 1) yes, he should be impeached — the evidence is pretty overwhelming that he’s there entirely to enrich himself, a few friends from mar-a-lago, and promote Russian propaganda. 2) the house might be convinced to impeach him. 3) the republicans are such roll-over toadies they won’t do anything.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted January 6, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          Please call me Heather! I’m not important or worthy and even if I was, I’m not keen on even the most basic of titles.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 6, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

            Ha! Don’t you hate it when you have to fill in a form and the “title” section is required?

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted January 6, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

              Yes I do!

              When I was younger and people had only just started using “Ms” it was even worse.
              A lot of people would pass judgement depending on which one you used, and it really Pi$$ed me off that men were just “Mr” and a woman’s title depended on her marital status. A woman was only valid as an attachment to some man.
              Miss = no one wants to marry you
              Mrs = you’re worthy of marriage
              Ms = a lesbian or a radical feminist who’s definitely not married as no man would have her. (And just thinking women should be equal to men = “radical feminist” in the 1970s.)

              • Posted January 6, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

                Funny post. 🙂 “Ms” should be written without a period because it isn’t a contraction of anything. Thanks for that.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 6, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

                And don’t forget, Ms is going to want equal pay!!!

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 6, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                I was 9 when women in NZ got equal pay for the same job. I was shocked that it was ever any different. I just couldn’t understand why women were paid less for the same job. I asked my father about it, but he thought the new law was bad and women shouldn’t get equal pay. We ended up having this debate and he was unable to answer my questions, reasoning etc. He got really, really angry with me and eventually stormed off in a rage spitting the word “feminist” at me. I didn’t understand what I’d done. From my pov I was only seeking to understand. I didn’t call myself a feminist when I got older for years because of that.

                I did (and do) call myself “Ms” though when I didn’t/don’t have a choice and had/have to provide a title. It always annoys me though that I have to.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 6, 2019 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

                My father was quite liberal on many issues but was still of his own era. It’s natural I guess.
                Equal pay in U.S.A! Someday.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 7, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

                You have the sort of equal pay I’m talking about I assume. Back in the day the pay rate for many jobs used to be prescribed – not just for government workers but all those who worked for an hourly wage. The rate for women was always less than that for men. In 1972 it was changed so that men and women had to be paid the same for the same job – there were no separate rates for men and women.

                Like the US and everywhere else, in NZ, the average women’s wage is less than the average men’s wage. Another NZ stat = women have had a higher average education level than men for over a century (so no one can blame that)!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted January 7, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

                Yes, I remember some teachers using “Ms” and the kids in our primary school asking her why that was so. She explained it as you did saying that why should she have to indicated if she is married or not while a man does not. It was seen as quite radical – something “those feminists” did.

              • Posted January 7, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

                Hi Heather, I am responding to your post of: January 6, 2019 at 8:29 pm.

                I think it’s mighty hard to define “equal work” at least in my line of work: Engineering. Juggling: Design inputs, user needs, materials, environmental conditions, functional requirements, manufacturability, maintainability, safety, regulatory requirements, international standards, cost, schedule; and then pushing a project through the sausage factory of implementation (with may levels of complexity), getting the project submitted to the regulator and approved, demands a large an diverse set of skills.

                There’s no one at my work who can do “equal work” to what I do. Some can do parts of it. Some can do some parts better than I can. But the whole package? No. (I’ve been at this for 35 years.)

                We may have the same title; but we don’t do equal work.

                I wouldn’t bust my ass like I do if I didn’t think I would be rewarded for it: Rewarded MORE than those who can’t do what I can do. (I’d rather be home in my shop, or hiking, playing my guitar, or making photos. The one thing I’m short of is time.)

                There’s one woman* at my workplace who has the same title as I do (Technical Fellow). And I am certain she gets paid MORE than I do. She also has a more prominent presence in the organization than I do. And she should: She is better than me in certain key areas of expertise. And she’s been here longer than I have (I’ve been in engineering, generally, longer than she has. I have also worked in three different industries; she has always been in this one (medical devices)). But I’m better in other areas than she is.

                My point is: Except for very simple, highly defined/constrained jobs, good luck trying to define “equal work”.

                (* There are very few technical fellows. In our org., there are 2 women TFs and 3 men TFs — 2/3 is higher than the ratio of women to men in the org.)

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 7, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

                If you check out my response to rickflick you’ll see what I was talking about. It wasn’t in relation to quite specialized jobs like yours obviously is, but in relation to the way wages in NZ for the average person used to be calculated. Most people were paid according to a rate negotiated between unions and the government (whether or not they were union members). That whole system is now gone the way of the dinosaur, but at the time it meant lower rates for women were the law. (If I could remember what the system was called I’d provide a link. It’s how my wage was decided when I first started work. Maybe another NZer can remember?)

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 7, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

                Also, the situation like you describe is one of the reasons the whole system was scrapped. There were many others too, but that was an important one.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 7, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

                I see your point. Not easy is it? It seems to me any organization that can do all the things you and your colleagues can do, it can also design a reimbursement scheme that is fair.

              • Posted January 8, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

                Hi Heather,

                I read your second post to Rick and that totally makes sense: Codifed in law? Good grief, I would have been just as outraged!

                My organization has made a concerted effort to hire young women entry-level engineers and has been successful at it. And I will say this: The young women are, basically, indistinguishable from the young men in their performance — well, perhaps the young women are a bit better, on the average (but that’s likely a random result).

                My point is: Seek good women candidates and you will find them.

                My workplace here has a higher percentage of women engineers than any I’ve worked in before. And, though there has some little shifting in the percentages since I was at university (in the Pleistocene; it was 10:1), engineering at university is still largely dominated by men. So: Getting that higher percentage has not been an accident.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 8, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

                Studies have shown that the more balanced almost any workplace is in terms of gender, the better it operates. Too many women or too many men just doesn’t operate as well as a more even split.

                It’s really interesting to read what’s happening in your workplace. Good on your organisation for making the effort to employ more women. It’s always good to hear about that happening. I’m glad it’s working out and proving that more women in a traditionally male-dominated field can be a positive experience.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted January 6, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

              As an aside, Ann German sent me this:

              • Diane G
                Posted January 6, 2019 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

                Pretty important to click through to see the rest of that meme…

  4. S
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Totally unrleated issue; have you read what James Tour, chemistist, said about evolution? Do you know if any biologist replied to his “concerns”?

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      His “concerns” aren’t worth addressing:

      So what should be taught in schools regarding evolution, in my opinion? As I wrote, I am not a proponent of intelligent design for the reasons I state above: I cannot prove it using my tools of chemistry to which I am bound in the chemistry classroom; the same tools to which I commensurately bind my evolutionist colleagues. A better approach would include more teaching about common descent using basic genetics arguments. But there should also be coverage of legitimate scientific puzzles such as macroevolution’s weak underpinning for the origin of body plans, the unexplainable functional differences between the modern human brain and that of other hominids, the ENCODE and orphan gene findings and disagreements, the huge difficulties regarding the theories on the origin of first life, and the mystery of information’s origin in the sequence of the nucleic acids. Such deliberations would be exciting and scientifically enlightening to students, and they would be changing with time as more data becomes available. In a secular classroom, one need not include an intelligent designer in order to provide the students with an appreciation for the science or an overview of the theories’ shortcomings. I think that, upon this approach, diverse camps could respectfully agree and lawsuits would be unnecessary.

      He’s basically an Intelligent Design advocate, but not as savvy as many of them. Then there’s this.

      Based upon my faith in the biblical text, I do believe (yes, faith and belief go beyond scientific evidence for this scientist) that God created the heavens and the earth and all that dwell therein, including a man named Adam and a woman named Eve. As for many of the details and the time-spans, I personally become less clear. Some may ask, What’s “less clear” about the text that reads, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth”? That is a fair question, and I wish I had an answer that would satisfy them. But I do not because I remain less clear. So, in addition to my chemically based scientific resistance to a macroevolutionary proposal, I am also theologically reticent to embrace it. As a lover of the biblical text, I cannot allegorize the Book of Genesis that far, lest, as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof said, “If I try and bend that far, I’ll break!” God seems to have set nature as a clue, not a solution, to keep us yearning for him. And if some day we do understand the mechanisms for these macroevolutionary changes, and also the processes that led to the origin of first life, it will not lessen God. As with all discoveries, like when the genetic code in the double-stranded DNA was discovered, they will serve to underscore the magnanimity of God.

      As a scientist and a Christian (Messianic Jew), I am unsure of many things in both science and faith. But my many questions are not fundamental to my salvation. Salvation is based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah), my confession in him as Savior and my belief in his physical resurrection from the dead. Indeed, the physical resurrection is an atypical example where God works beyond the normally observed physical laws of science in order to accomplish his purposes. Therefore it’s called a miracle. And thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

      His assent to God’s de novo creation has already been debunked by scientists. The guy is meshugge, and serious scientists shouldn’t pay him any attention. Why do you ask me to?

      And why do you put an irrelevant comment on a thread about Trump?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        When the protagonist uses the word

        unexplainable

        then he has already tagged himself as a God Squaddy, even if he doesn’t recognise the affliction himself.
        “Unexplainable” is a concept from theology – it doesn’t exist in the natural sciences. The closest approximations are “unexplained” (which positively begs for developing and testing an explanation), “I can’t think of how to explain this” (a schizoid counter-personality to the well known Argument From Personal Incredulity), and “I don’t know what type of evidence could test explanations of this” (another call for more minds to the problem).
        This habit of marking any idea as being open to rational analysis and testing against evidence is the core of the process of science, and is both infuriating to the godly, and for many literally blasphemous. The concepts of “orthodox” (correct- or right- thinking) versus “heterodox” (different thinking) may be a better match than blasphemous/ non-blasphemous.

        And why do you put an irrelevant comment on a thread about Trump?

        I would guess that he was looking for the option to “start a new topic” which is found on many blogs, but which your website doesn’t have. You and I know the correct approach is to put one’s question, link, whatever, into an email to you (address on the “Research Interests” link above – which I have to admit is less than obvious). But clearly this visitor didn’t figure that out. Well, it’s clear to me, anyway.

        • Steve Pollard
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          Not sure what a “chemistist” is supposed to be; but on the assumption that he meant “chemist”, as an ex-chemist I am appalled and ashamed at the dumb credulousness and ignorance of James Tour, whoever he may be.

          And a pox on S for trying to hijack this thread.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            “S” failed. No “salvation for him by that strategy.
            He (?, probably) didn’t even ripple the pond.

  5. Serendipitydawg
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Two wordS: Dead Zone.

    Impeach him now, before it’s too late!

    😀
    😀
    😀

    • Mark R.
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      That’s not the first reference to Dead Zone I’ve heard the past year. But he is the type of person who would put a baby up for canon fodder to protect his sorry ass. Unfortunately, I don’t think his base would care if the baby died and he lived.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        I am not surprised, it keeps striking me – I really must let it go.

        In truth, I think the malign influence of The Urantia Book just made me yearn for light relief. I can only apologise to all in the USA and remind you all that the UK, as well of the rest of the world, is on edge while he is there.

  6. Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Yes, unknown ,no. Impeachment difficult. So much wealth and self interest in those in control who profit at all of our expense, impeachment u likely some say we are only a republic not a democracy. Wow

  7. Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I voted yes, no opinion, no. Here’s my reasoning:

    1. He should be removed from office one way or another, as soon as possible, short of assassination.

    2. Whether the House should impeach depends on information the public doesn’t yet have. It would be a mistake to impeach without a certainty of conviction in my opinion.

    3. Given what we know now and the current political situation, there’s zero chance the Senate would convict.

    • Mark R.
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      I think your third statement can’t be reasonably answered until your second statement is. If Mueller and the new House uncover a certainty of conviction, and lay it out clearly for the public many (R) Senators will jump ship. They care about their own skins before their Criminal in Chief’s.

      • Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        “Given what we know NOW and the CURRENT political situation …”

        If the House were to send articles of impeachment to the Senate tomorrow there would be no conviction — not even close. After Mueller’s investigation, maybe.

        I think a more likely outcome is for Trump to resign in return for a pardon for himself and possibly his family.

        • Mark R.
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          I completely agree that the House shouldn’t do anything impeachment-wise until the Mueller investigation and the House’s investigations are complete. I read over the “now and current” caveat.

  8. Kirbmarc
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think that the Republican Senators will drop Trump unless the economy takes a turn for the worse and the Republican base abandons him first.

    Trump is still very popular with the GOP votes (a recent Gallup poll puts approval for Trump at 85% among Republicans). If the economy tanks and Trump become as unpopular as George W. Bush was at the end of his second administration, then maybe he’ll be deserted by the Republican political machine, too.

    Otherwise I don’t see it happening. The Republican Party doesn’t have much to offer to its base beside Trump. Trump’s populism is stupid, pointless, counterproductive and vile, but it’s popular. The neocon strategy of bailouts and long and bloody military engagements is incredibly unpopular. Tax cuts for the ultra-rich aren’t incredibly appealing, either.

    Quite frankly the Republican Party is in shambles and after Trump’s eventual downfall (whether it happens because he’s removed from office or because he loses the 2020 election) I think that they’ll likely suffer a long and devastating series of losses before they can rebuild themselves.

    • Hemidactylus
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      You misunderestimate GOP capacity to rebirth itself from the ashes. One would think the 2006 taking of the House by Dems, economic collapse, and election of Obama to have been their swan song. Cue Tea Party tilt and 2010 midterms. There still exists what David Brock called in 2004 the noise machine and I doubt the American electorate is going to undergo a fundamental shift from post Civil Rights Southern Strategy, law and order dog whistles, conservative Democrat conversion to GOP, Limbaugh propaganda and Fox News Overton Window public opinion displacement overnight. And that doesn’t cover the conspiratorial underbelly on social media and ability of INFEKTION style manipulation from outside our home grown echo chambers.

      The disgraceful fall of Trump might last one election cycle of PR issues for GOP before a rebound.

      • Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Despite the periodically stated wish for GOP to disappear, I don’t think anyone here seriously wants one-party system for the USA (or any other country, for that matter).

        • Harrison
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          Given that major political party collapse has happened multiple times in the past and never once resulted in one-party rule, but rather always a new party rising or an elevation of a current third party to national status, why on Earth would you assume otherwise?

          Wanting the current cancerous Republican party gone is not the same as wanting permanent Democratic rule. Libertarians would probably be the ones to step in and fill the void.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    My answers were yes, yes, and no as well. I still think Trump will resign before impeachment begins & he will secure pardons for himself & his crime family. He’ll simply say he is leaving to concentrate on his family or he is leaving to concentrate on his business because it is clear that the system is rigged against him…now would be the perfect time because he could blame the shut down on those damn Democrats who wouldn’t give him his way!

    I read yesterday that he wants to force funding for his ridiculous wall by declaring a national emergency. Good grief.

    • amyt
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      My understanding is that he can declare a national emergency but any funds still have to be approved by Congress (both houses).

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and it is unlikely Congress would approve. However, it would play into his narrative that “it’s rigged”, “everyone is against me”, etc. And that would be good timing for him to exit if he feels that rats are leaving the sinking ship or that he faces trouble with the Muller report.

        • Mark R.
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          The Mueller investigation will follow Trump whether or not he exits. Actually, the Presidency is protecting Trump, exiting will leave him a lot more vulnerable.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

            And I suspect he will find a way around that.

            • Mark R.
              Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

              Not until he’s King or Emperor…I have more confidence in America’s institutions (for now) and don’t believe that will happen.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted January 5, 2019 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

                As I’ve said before: if, at the end of this presidency, we aren’t digging through the snow of a nuclear winter, looking for a can of beans, the democratic checks and balances would have held.

                However, as a citizen of a country who is the US’s closest ally, one that shares and exchanges close intelligence, historically and recently has fought in wars (and died) alongside, and shares an undefended border and yet was labelled a risk to national security in order to exact punishing tariffs against it while being continuously threatened with the destruction of its economy by this lunatic president, you can forgive me if from over here, things look entirely more shakey.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 5, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

                “Shakey”? Very (sorry)Canadian of you. I was expecting a more visceral adjective but then realized where you’re from. Well said though in spite of that.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted January 5, 2019 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

                Oh, among. Canadians, I’m a bad Canadian but mostly only among the middle class.

              • Mark R.
                Posted January 6, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

                Diana…couldn’t reply to you directly since the thread is too long. I see your point and thanks for sharing it.

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I vote yes to all three but then I am most optimistic in this regard compared to nearly all here. I think they have the goods on him for impeachment but do not think they will act until very late this year or next year. Everything moves very slow, both government and justice. They need to get the results of Mueller’s investigation. They may also decide to indite – the leaders of the democratic party do believe this is a possibility. They also need to let the new democratically run committees get their investigations going. Remember the House has been doing nothing but obstruction for the past two years and those days are over.

    Remembering something Pelosi said the other day. You do not impeach for political reasons and should not avoid impeachment for political reasons.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I agree. My thinking is pretty much the same.

      1. Should be impeached – yes. There is enough evidence already and Mueller’s report will seal the deal.

      2. Will be impeached – yes. As House investigations proceed, evidence will be lined up like ducks in a puddle.

      3. Will be convicted – yes. 6 months or a year from now, republicans will have had enough. They will feel that Pence can do their bidding with less fuss.

      The possibility of resignation at some point along this optimistic scenario is high.

      • Filippo
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if it theoretically possible for Trump to do something bad enough that at least a plurality of his base would turn against him.

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          A video of him basically admitting that he is manipulating his base might do it.

          • GBJames
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            No. They would respond “They’re all like that.” Or some such.

            • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

              When they say “They’re all like that”, wouldn’t they be referring to the elite politicians, of which Trump is not a member (by their reasoning). They are the swamp he claimed to drain. The video I am imagining would put him squarely in that swamp. Still, I have no faith in the reasoning powers of his voters so you might be right.

              • GBJames
                Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

                You’re forgetting how cults work.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            I think only a video of Trump kicking someone else’s pet might turn the hardcore deplorables against him.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

              Nah, he was defending the American people against that pet. Only elitists have pets and pets represent the tyranny of the elite.

            • Posted January 6, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

              He’d be sure to claim the pet was sneaked across the Rio Grande illegally.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        It seems our position is still pretty small but it is early. I read the article and it is pretty good. Not sure why he thinks the process should begin immediately other than he thinks waiting increases the risks. That is only a prediction, however, and you don’t impeach because of risk. You impeach because you have items and the proof / evidence to back up the items. That is why it is important to get the Mueller results and that is where much of the evidence arrives. The collusion or conspiracy will come with Mueller. Some of the solid evidence will come from jail bird Manafort. It is very likely he was directly involved in deal making with the Russians, including inserting the Ukraine stuff into the Republican platform. He also has direct info on the removal of sanctions on Russia as part of the deal. All of this is why the answer to collusion is yes and this will convert many of the Trump supporters. Direct evidence of things like conspiracy tends to change minds, even stupid ones.

        Another thing I will say is, several people here, in their comments still seem to think that impeachment is a political move or operation. That is absolutely wrong. That is how you lose – just go back to the attempt to get Clinton or even Andrew Johnson. That was politics and it did not work.

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          The reasoning behind “impeachment is political” is that a President can be impeached for virtually any misbehavior as long as Congress thinks so. It doesn’t have to be a violation of some law.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

            But you see your comment assumes political because it also says you can be impeached for “anything”. I believe I stated the examples where political purposes were tried and they failed. Andrew Johnson was first. He refused to enact much of what the congress wanted for reconstruction. This pissed off the congress and they impeached but fail one vote short. It was purely political. Clinton was also political – the republicans tried to get him out for doing what many of them do as well. Fooling around with another woman. The folks who made the constitution did not say, impeach him for political reasons, at least I do not see that in there.
            Nixon was going to be impeached for proper reasons. Reasons that made sense. He decided to pack it in before they did it.

            • Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

              Political is not about impeachment’s success or failure but about it being a glorified popularity contest and not a criminal prosecution. I agree that attempting impeachment without being sure of success is a big mistake regardless of which party is doing the impeaching.

            • Posted January 8, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

              So what you are saying is that all the recorded cases of US presidential impeachments were done so for political reasons. Doesn’t that refute your case?

              I think we can agree that the Nixon case was not political, although he jumped before he was pushed, but do you think that the Senate that exists today would have voted to convict Nixon? I’m not so sure. I don’t think they’ve got the integrity to put justice before their grasp of power.

              • GBJames
                Posted January 8, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

                I think an issue here is the fact that the word “political” has more than one use/meaning. Often people mean “nothing but partisan bickering over unimportant matters”. Other times it is used to characterize the fact that elected people are the ones involved in the action. There are broad and narrow usages of the word and sometimes more than one meaning applies. Conversations get confused as a result.

              • Posted January 8, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

                Well put. Impeachment is political because it is a judgement made by Congress and not the Judicial branch. Of course, partisan posturing will be part of it too. They are politicians after all.

        • Posted January 8, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

          Of course impeachment is political. It can’t not be given that it is invoked by a group of partizan politicians and the charges will be judged by a group of partizan politicians.

          Why is there so much renewed interest in impeachment right now? It’s because the party that opposes Trump is now in power.

          Everybody keeps telling me that the evidence against Trump is damning. So why hasn’t the House started impeachment proceedings yet? Politics.

          • Posted January 8, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            I think you go to far here. The reason they haven’t started the impeachment process is because they await Mueller’s report and the results of their own investigations. It is merely rational, not political, to get all the data before acting on it.

            • Posted January 8, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

              People keep telling me that there is already loads of evidence against Trump. So why hasn’t impeachment started already? It’s because there isn’t enough evidence to make the Senate convict. And that is a political decision.

              • Posted January 8, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

                #1: It would probably not be a good idea for Dems to launch impeachment without significant support from the GOP. #2: They need to go with the worst charge they can bring which means waiting until Mueller and House investigations are done to see what they find. Why do I need to keep repeating this?

              • Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

                I don’t know. Why do you keep repeating that?

                Waiting for the GOP and waiting until you have the worst possible charge are both politically motivated decisions.

                If you weren’t behaving in a political way, you’d impeach as and when you have evidence of an impeachable offence and you’d trust the Senate to convict based on the facts of the case. You wouldn’t wait until you knew the outcome of the trial (if that’s the correct term for what the Senate does) before starting.

              • Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

                So what if they are politically motivated? Impeachment is a political process, not a legal one. As for trusting the Senate, the Trump-loving (or fearing) GOP controls it at the moment so no reason to trust it.

                I know you know all this. Do you really have a point to make here? It seems like you are just being argumentative.

              • Posted January 12, 2019 at 5:37 am | Permalink

                I do apologise. I thought you were trying to argue the opposite point i.e. that impeachment is non political. Looking back, I see it was Randall doing that.

              • Posted January 12, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

                No problem. It is easy to get tangled up in these threads.

      • pablo
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        I wish you were right but the GOP won’t risk pissing off Trump’s base.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      There are so many comments here and so much has already been said.

      What else can I say other than echoing those comments and resonating your post here with my cartoon created in the parlance of political satire, recently published at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-quotation-fallacy/best-quotation-to-win-an-exclusive-loyal-contract-to-make-pig-boss-company-great-again/

      I thought that it is the least that I can do in the post-truth era, very graphically speaking!

      That cartoon should be more than enough to convey the central question of this post, considering that a picture is worth a thousand words!

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Here is the exact link to the cartoon:

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      By the way, since today is National Bird Day, SoundEagle🦅 is far more vocal than usual on this blog.

  11. JB
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I think impeachment isn’t practical given the current status: he still has too many friends who will protect him and his missteps probably don’t rise to the level it would take to impeach.

    Having him _survive_ an impeachment would be awful: he’d take on martyr status (in his own mind) and we’d never hear the end of it.

    My prediction: we’re stuck with him until 2020 and there’s a good chance he’ll lose provided the Dems don’t put up someone really awful again. Biden should beat him. Bernie… I’d worry…

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Biden is a boring candidate who will not attract any republicans and will take the energy out of the more progressive Democrats. He’ll lose to a motivated Republican party.

      • Filippo
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        You’re right, to the extent that the Amuricun electorate has to be entertained and its collective ego stroked.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Hillary was boring to the pro-Berniites, but she would have won handily except for complacency among the Democratic voters.
        So many factors, but a big factor was that many Democrats stayed home after hearing for months and months that Hillary was going to win. It was thought to be a sure thing.

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but Hillary bears at least some responsibility (perhaps most) for the lack of voter enthusiasm. She never seemed to really believe in anything except the inevitability of her being elected President. Her speeches were terrible.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        I dunno, I’d kinda like to see Uncle Joe take Trump out behind the bleachers and give him an ass-whupping he deserves, just like he promised (you know, metaphorically speaking). 🙂

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          I think Biden would react to Trump’s attempts at ridicule with just the right amount of corn pone humor. On the other hand, Warren seems to show the worst response: outrage and taking his jabs at face value. When he criticized her Native American heritage claims, she should have just let them go or made a good joke about Trump’s heritage.

          • tomh
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

            I doubt Biden could get the nomination, and shouldn’t even try, IMO. I don’t think the new wave of Democrats will overlook his performance at the Clarence Thomas hearings, when, as judiciary chairman, he allowed Anita Hill to be savaged. His abject apologies since have done little to help him.

            • Mark R.
              Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

              He was also a disaster when it comes to student debt. He voted “yea” for The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in 2005, which W. Bush happily signed into law; this was a huge gift to the banksters. He essentially voted against Americans with crushing student debt to declare bankruptcy. This will haunt him if it ever gets serious.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, I’m not backing Biden, either; it’s just that the notion of him kicking Trump’s lumpy orange ass on the schoolyard kinda tickles my fancy.

                There’s nothing more ridiculous than the thought of a pair of septuagenarians going at it with fisticuffs! 🙂

    • davidintoronto
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Even if Trump _didn’t_ survive impeachment/conviction, he could still be a martyr to a very divided country. And this could help ensure President Pence’s (re?)election in 2020. Dems might be better off just letting the dumpster fire burn.

  12. Joseph McClain
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Impeachment proceedings would just give Trump a stage for more histrionics. The process could easily last until 2020. Conviction isn’t likely. Maybe the threat of impeachment would prompt a resignation. Who knows? But as noted above, Trump would likely emerge as a martyr and Americans love a martyr.

    • Blue
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      +1. Within my view, these of your statements, Mr McClain, are accurate.

      Too, the base of Mr Trump’s supporters are, to this very shutdown hour, not only solidly in lockstep with him but also determinedly oblivious to the hypocrisy and sexism of their own screeds against progressives and liberals including folks like Congresswoman Tlaib. My direct relatives, at least two … … a brother and two other men, our cousins … … amongst these of Mr Trump’s raging hypocrites.

      So, no, no platform for more flagrant histrionics; and, if ordinary men as the likes of those of my tribe still grandly wave banners and sport at my gym their bloodied red – MAGA sweatshirts for him, there is .no. chance that the biggie – boys of the United States Senate will, instead, don their Rightous Pants and do The Right Thing .for. the Rest of Us Plebs. Let alone, .for. all of our safeties against … … w a r.

      Formerly, … … One Quaker,
      Blue

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      However this plays with either impeachment or resignation before 2020, or his losing in 2020, we can look ‘forward’ to more years of Trump histrionics once he is out of office. He will continue to rail about whatever is going on, and the media will stampede to put microphones in his face so all of us have to hear it.
      I am beyond sick of him, but even after he dies we will somehow continue to hear from him.

      • Joseph McClain
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Well, there may be other avenues. A “regular” court prosecution for any of a number of violations (emolument clause, election finance, sexual assault—there is a long list) could conceivably lead to an “allocute-then-shut-up” plea deal. Hell, a fella can hope, anyway.

      • Mark R.
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        I too think that “after he dies we will somehow continue to hear from him.” But I think we’ll continue to hear from him in the same way we continue to hear about Mussolini and other despots. History is not going to be kind to DJT, that’s one thing about the future we can be sure of.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        “… we can look ‘forward’ to more years of Trump histrionics once he is out of office.”

        Let’s not forget that the bastard was ready to undermine American democracy with all his blather and bullshit about the 2016 election being “rigged” when it looked like he was going to lose. This nation as an ideal, and the institutions and norms that undergird it, means nothing to him.

  13. Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    While I would impeach Trump in a heartbeat, I fear any impeachment effort that ends in failure. This would embolden Trump, give him, his supporters, and the GOP an easy rallying cry for the 2020 election. The alternative, of course, is that we have to endure Trump for two more years. Even though there’s some risk that Trump will do substantial, irreversible damage to the country and the world, this is mitigated by his incompetence and the constant checking of him by the media, courts, and now the Democrat-led House.

    Calls for his impeachment before Mueller delivers his report is a serious mistake. His violations we known about so far are not ones that the GOP and voters care much about. While I think they are serious, they are easy for supporters to dismiss. Obstruction of justice is just Trump defending himself. Many candidates violate campaign finance laws and they just pay the fine. Every President makes money from the position by writing books, speaking, etc. Incompetency is in the eye of the beholder. In order to maximize chances of a conviction, we have to prosecute Trump on the most heinous of his crimes, something we will not know until Mueller reports.

  14. tomh
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree with a lot of people who say the current Senate would never convict him. I think it would be much more damaging to the Republican party if they convicted one of their own, rather than just let it run its course for the next two years.

    I think the best case against him is made by the emoluments case (Trump profiting from office) brought by the AGs in D.C. and Maryland, in which every legal challenge has gone against Trump. However, the court has granted the Justice Dept. request for an indefinite stay because of the government shutdown, and postponed all deadlines, contingent on the government reopening. Of all reasons Trump has for prolonging the shutdown, this may be the strongest.

  15. andrewilliamson
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    No yes no.

  16. Historian
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    That Trump deserves impeachment and removal from office is beyond question. David Leonhardt at the NYT provides the reasons why this is so in the op-ed cited (I don’t know where the name Fandos came from). However, until it is clear that the Senate will remove him, impeachment by the House will be both a symbolic and political act. Although I am not absolutely certain as to what the long term ramifications would be of impeachment without removal, in contrast to my previous view, I think the House should take action. It would show to the world that a majority of the American people reject the moral turpitude and threat to democracy of the current occupant of the White House.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      I posted by mistake the wrong NYT op-ed, written by Fandos. I’ve changed tha name to Leonhardt, thanks.

    • Diane G
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      “David Leonhardt at the NYT provides the reasons why this is so in the op-ed cited (I don’t know where the name Fandos came from).”

      Was reading through the comments sure that someone else would have mentioned this by now… 😉

      • Diane G
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, stopping said reading right before Jerry’s comment above… 😳

  17. DrBrydon
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    No, no opinion, no. First, I don’t think he should be impeached, yet. There is not sufficient consensus among the voters that anything he has done warrants impeachment. Impeachment is not a legal process, it’s a political one, and it would be terrible for the country if it were done on a pure party line basis. It would look like (and probably be) election nullification. Whatever we say about him—stupid, unqualified, bigoted, childish, mercenary—Trump still has support from nearly half of voters according to polls. Let’s face it, lots of people dislike Trump just because he is a Republican (as they did the Bushes and Reagan), and need no other justification. At the same time, though, a lot of people support him because he isn’t a Democrat, and because he drives them nuts. Will the House impeach him? Don’t really know, but Pelosi has shown this week that she isn’t going to put up with children’s hour. Will the Senate convict? Not at present.

  18. GBJames
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I’ve changed my position since the last poll. This time I went with “yes”, “yes”, and “yes”. The first two go without saying. The pressure to impeach will not be containable.

    I’m still a little bit unsure about the Senate. I used to be convinced that the Republican Senators would never vote to convict. But I think things are beginning to change and once the evidence is presented in public, in Congress they won’t be able to ignore it anymore. In addition, Trump will continue to behave worse and worse.

  19. CAS
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Don’t waste time in the House trying to impeach Trump unless the Muller report contains evidence of cooperation with Russia or very clear evidence of criminality. I think that it will be a very bad day for Trump when the report comes out.

  20. Michael Fisher
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    In the spirit of the government shutdown, Conan is laying off some of his staff:

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      That’s effin’ hilarious!

    • rickflick
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Yup. Goooood comedy.

  21. Jenny Haniver
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t care how he departs, impeachment, resignation, whatever. I just want it to happen very, very soon. I doubt that he’d resign, but I’m willing to be disabused of that notion. He’s a solipsist par excellence, IMO; and increasingly, my feeling is that he’s the kind of person who thrives on stirring up trouble, then when his schemes and plots are thwarted and he knows he’s going down, he destroys everything around him that he can in the process. He doesn’t give a damn about anything but himself, so if he falls, everything else does, too — not just domestically but globally. Just about every day, his comments give evidence of this — now he’s threatening to call a state of emergency and/or turn the shutdown into a “forever shutdown” if he doesn’t get his wall. He does not give a flying fuck what happens to the people affected or anything else, and reports are that he wants to call the shutdown a “strike” (so he can blame the victims); but even if he does get what he wants, he’ll never be satisfied.

    As for his threat to declare a national emergency if he doesn’t get HIS wall, even before this statement, numerous people have expressed fears that he’d declare a national emergency in order to take over the reins of government himself — this would be the perfect opportunity.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      I agree about Trump declaring a national emergency in order to build his wall. It is the kind of move an incipient dictator would make. On the other hand, Congress will not take kindly to being circumvented, even the GOP. The GOP backs Trump because they want to stay in power but a Trump dictatorship reduces that power. Some time later, dictator Trump might disband Congress as an unnecessary drag on his power.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        It is the kind of move an incipient dictator would make.

        The guy who does fire security at the White House is going to have to keep on his toes … oh … dear …
        He’ll be on unpaid work, or forced leave, won’t he?

    • tubby
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I half expect him to go full scorched earth if he gets primaried or loses the general election.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        You’re doing nothing for my thinking of burning Reichstags, are you?

  22. FB
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Is there any reliable way to tell mental illness from stupidity?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Probably not but what difference does it make. I mean do you keep him on if it’s all mental?

      • FB
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        I think it makes a difference in regards to the 25th amendment.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          Well, the 25th amendment is not even being considered here – it is impeachment on the subject. Besides, you have to get half of his cabinet to go for the 25th and that’s just not going to happen.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Makes me remember the contest between McMurphy and Harding to determine the “bull-goose loony” of the Oregon mental hospital in Cuckoo’s Nest. Harding said he was craziest because he voted for Eisenhower. McMurphy won when he claimed he’d voted for Eisenhower twice, the second time when Ike wasn’t even on the ballot.

      For my money, voting for Trump in 2016 qualifies one as politically stupid; to vote for him a again, you’d hafta be crazy.

      • Posted January 6, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        “. . .voting for Trump in 2016 qualifies one as politically stupid; to vote for him a again, you’d hafta be crazy.”

        Glad you qualified “stupid” with “politically,” Ken, since political savvy is not something I’ve ever claimed or even aspired to. As for “crazy,” if the Dems were crazy enough to run Hillary in 2020, I’d vote for Trump again in a heartbeat. Short of that, I can’t imagine what would prompt me to. (But leave it to the Dems to come up with something.)

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted January 6, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          “Politically naive” would’ve probably been a fairer and more temperate way to word it, but I was trying to play off FB’s stupid/crazy dichotomy in the original comment to this sub-thread.

          I figure someone from the Pacific Northwest such as you, Gary, must be a fan of Kesey’s novels, no?

      • rickflick
        Posted January 6, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        “For my money, voting for Trump in 2016 qualifies one as politically stupid; to vote for him a again, you’d hafta be crazy.”

        Well put. The only caveat is that for 35% of a population to be classified as “crazy” in some clinical way, is kind of at odds with the notion that “crazy” is defined as abnormal behavior. In fact, that number of people must be recognized as a gradation of “normal” for the species.

  23. Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Yes, he should be impeached. Emoluments and abuse of power.

    No opinion (don’t know) if the House will impeach. The House will make a political decision based on how it affects Democratic chances in 2020.

    No, the Senate will not convict. Duh.

  24. tubby
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    The Senate will never impeach Trump. Pence may be impeachably dirty too depending on the Mueller investigation, and Pelosi is number three in line. At least 40% of the country will accept whatever Trump and McConnell say about pretty much anything.

  25. Posted January 5, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  26. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    No, Yes, and No.
    Removing him by impeachment is an implicit recognition that he got the presidency legally. In the same sense as John Cooper Clark, speaking as an outsider, I simply do not understand why America still has this “electoral college” stratum of jerrymandering.

    Gross incompetence or mental illness is not among these failings, though it should be.

    I don’t disagree. But that should go for all elected offices. I hear news of slightly underweight lawyers having been seen in the wild, and clearly the profession needs the huge income boost such a policy would bring.

    (I also believe that Trump is diagnosably mentally ill.)

    Who diagnoses the diagnosticians, to abuse … Cicero?
    Some presidencies ago the spoilsports of the Shrink’s governing body ruled out remote diagnosis, for pretty good reasons. (Personally, I too like to have my specimen on the stage to be prodded, probed, and occasionally dipped in acid during diagnosis.) Not that that stops non-professionals. But even if one restricts oneself to professional shrinks, with couch time, to making the diagnosis, all you do is move the question of “sane/ nutter” from the body politic to the membership of the Professional Shrink Club. I don’t know what your (readership) relationship with professional assessments is, but if I’m looking to renew my medical certification for work, there are some professionals I wouldn’t go to and others who I know have laxer interpretations of standards for their professional (i.e. paid) opinions. After all, a certificate says, only, that the subject was sane on the date that I examined him/her/it/them. The next day – no guarantee.

    Fandos sees these four Trumpian actions as falling under the Constitutional provision for impeachment.
    Using the Presidency for personal enrichment
    Violating campaign finance law
    Obstructing justice
    Subverting democracy (this seems to me the weakest charge, including as it does the impugning of journalists as “enemies of the people”

    Line 1 – is a question for forensic accountancy. Where is that tax return?
    Line 2 – didn’t that occur before he took office? It may be an indication of character and mushroom-headedness (per @StormyDaniels), but I’ll leave the relevance of that to the lawyers [hums : Jaws theme].
    Line 3 – and he doesn’t even try to hide it.
    Line 4 – Does the US constitution actually require the upholding of democracy? Again, one for the lawyers, even unto the seventh generation. I believe there is a constitutional law professor in the vicinity of Chicago who may have an informed opinion on the relationship between Constitutional Law and the Presidency. But if the phrasing includes anything like “our system of government”, or fails to actually define “democracy”, then I’ll bare arms and get popcorn.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      To my best knowledge, he did get the presidency legally. There were doubts about election fraud in some states, but as far as I know, nothing was proven. Whatever can be said about the Electoral College, it is in the current valid US law.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        It is legally permisiable for legal systems to be insane.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      I find your comment against impeaching Trump interesting. I don’t think I’d want to legitimize his election by way of impeachment but I honestly don’t know. The illegitimacy of his election might be a moot point now.

      As for diagnosing Trump, Bandy Lee, a psychiatrist at Yale, has been informally diagnosing him for quite some time. She’s edited a book, “The Strange Case of Donald Trump,” about what she and some other shrinks see as his mental illness(es). Of course, she’s the first to make the disclaimer that theirs are not formal clinical diagnoses; however, they do carry the weight of psychiatric expertise, so the disclaimer comes off as a perfunctory statement for legal reasons. I for one find her non-diagnosis diagnosis to be quite compelling. I’d also love to see the results of an fMRI of his brain.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        I, in respect of my professional standing, do not consider him to be a coprolite. That is only regarding his vital stastus ; the vertical orientation (when photographed), doens’t count, but the 16th century mindset … is also irrelevant. Unfortunately.

  27. Martin Weiss
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    If he is impeached, and I think
    he should be, Senate leadership
    will argue a point not to put him on
    trial and I am not sure they have to?

  28. Dan B.
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I am not able to read the article and only can comment on the the summary. Based on the summary, there does not appear to be legal grounds for impeachment, “high crimes and misdemeanors”. However politics trump Constitution and Presidents Johnson and Clinton were impeached.

    Violation of the untried emolument clause is unlikely. It seems intended to prevent bribery; not indirect enrichment like staying at a hotel. Presumably George Washington’s cotton sold at a premium because he was the President.

    Trump is unstable,irrational and lazy. Perhaps his Presidency will end like Nixon’s when Republican leaders go to the White House and tell him it is time. The other alternative is the 25 Amendment which in relevant part states:

    Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
    Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.[5]

    • DrBrydon
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Aside from looking like a coup, using the 25th would never get two-thirds support in either House.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      If Mueller could prove that Trump offered a substantial quid pro quo for donations to his campaign it might be an emoluments violation that even the GOP could get behind.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      He seems to think that he can unilaterally abrogate Constitutional amendments or parts of them, for instance the 14th Amendment. If he declared a national emergency because of the wall, couldn’t he simply do away with the amendments he doesn’t like? And if he did away with the 14th Amendment, who knows what would happen. Not only would citizens from Latin America be in grave danger, He’d probably round up and dump black Americans in Africa after coming up with some nonsensical s* that they’re not really American citizens, only 3/4ths a human and they’re all the things that he calls the Latin Americans trying to get into this country. I realize this sounds fantastical, the stuff of overheated fiction; but as we’ve seen with Trump, things just keep getting more fantastical by the day.

  29. Posted January 5, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, I chose to assume each of your poll questions had “before the 2020 election” implicitly added. Everything changes after that.

    I put no opinion for should he be impeached because I don’t know enough about the legal requirements and what evidence there actually is against him.

    I put no for “will he be impeached” and “no for will the Senate convict him”.

    The last two answers can’t really be separated. If Trump is impeached but not convicted, it would be a catastrophe for the Dems. For this reason, the House will not impeach as long as the Senate has any chance of acquitting. Furthermore, the optics are better for the Dems if they are not seem to be trying to remove a sitting Republican president from office except via a general election.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      If we still had to discuss impeachment AFTER the 2020 election, I would be very, very unhappy.

  30. Maximus Entropy
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, Clintos and Obamas weren’t that rich when they arrived in the white house, amd they are now worth millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Trump has gotten poorer since becoming president by hundreds of millions of dollars. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/06/donald-trump-fortune-fallen-forbes-worth-amazon-jeff-bezos?
    If this blog is not facrual about Trump getting richer, the rest is questionable facts and likely just opinion.
    Is Trump the liberals’s incarnation of evil? If so, that proves that intelligent (though not in great amounts) design is actaully real.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Excuse me? I’ve never said anything about Trump’s wealth one way or the other, much less the Obamas or the Clintons.

      So? The upshot is that you’re being a dolt, implying that I lied about Trump’s wealth and therefore everything else is questionable. You, Maximus Entropy, don’t belong on this site.

      As for your last sentences, they may sound good to you but they don’t make any sense at all.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      After two terms as the so-called “leader of the free world,” one can make big dollars on the book and lecture market. What’s the surprise there?

      And what’s your basis for claiming that “Trump has gotten poorer since becoming president”? How in the world would YOU know THAT, given that Trump refuses to release his tax returns (based on the bullshit excuse that they’re “under audit”), and given that he lies habitually and compulsively about EVERYTHING, especially his finances?

      • Posted January 6, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        And what’s your basis for claiming that “Trump has gotten poorer since becoming president”?

        It’s in the article he linked. Did you read it? Basically, the thesis is that a lot of his businesses are losing money.

        Whether Forbes’ estimate of his wealth is accurate is a question you’ll have to ask them. I was always under the impression that Trump’s financials were pretty opaque. All the same, you should probably be challenging the article rather than having a go at the person for not citing an article when he clearly has.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted January 6, 2019 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Fair enough, Jeremy.

          I’ve read from a few sources regarding how some of Trump’s businesses have lost money since he took office, but we have no idea what kind of hidden income streams (or promised income streams) may have increased. The “emolument clause” civil lawsuits pending against Trump, and the public records disclosing how he’s milked the US government for costs and expenses at Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago, suggest he’s enriched himself while in office.

          Trump loves to brag about how much money he’s worth, but, as you suggest, he remains as opaque as possible regarding any underlying financial documentation. If he’s actually lost money while in office, it’s not for want to trying to turn a profit at the public teat.

          • Posted January 7, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            It seems obvious to me that Trump profits from his Presidency. When he vacations at his own properties, doesn’t the government pay the bill? And it’s not just Mar a Lago. Even more significant is the fact that Trump is a brand. My understanding is that they make most of their money from licensing the Trump name. Trump becoming President obviously boosts that enormously. Perhaps if he leaves in disgrace his brand will be damaged but that remains to be seen.

            • rickflick
              Posted January 7, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

              It’s also highly likely, I think, that tRump is selling off bits of US foreign policy to the soviets and the Saudis with profits going into the tRump organization. It’s a bit difficult to prove a quid pro quo, of course, but it’s become quite obvious to me. I’m hoping Mueller has some taped conversations.

              • Posted January 7, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

                Yes. I should have said that Trump is making money from his presidency without even considering any of the ones we don’t know about yet and that we expect will come out in either Mueller report or investigations done by the newly Dem-controlled House. The House may be more effective than Mueller in going after Trump’s financial plots as they have fewer constraints on what they look into.

        • Posted January 7, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Trump only does things for two reasons:
          1. Self aggrandizement
          2. Enriching himself

          Why does he persist in hiding his finances? Follow the money. Follow the money. This is what will get him in the end.

          • Posted January 7, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            And #2 is just a special case of #1.

            • GBJames
              Posted January 7, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

              “Follow the money” is the important bit.

            • Posted January 8, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

              I was going to put it the other way ’round! 🙂

          • rickflick
            Posted January 7, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            “This is what will get him in the end.”

            That’s why I think he should, and will be impeached, and convicted(or he’ll resign). He’s the worst president and probably the most corrupt ever. If you can’t impeach him, you might as well remove the impeachment process from the constitution.

          • Posted January 8, 2019 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            So there’s plenty of speculation and innuendo regarding Trump’s finances, but the person who I am defending claims he’s lost money overall and cites an actual article from the media which itself cites the Forbes rich list.

            Now it could be that there are flaws in the Forbes methodology but nobody, so far, on this thread has attempted to refute it. Instead the arguments come down to “Trump is venal and egotistical, therefore he must be using his position to enrich himself”. Or to put it more succinctly “I think Trump is corrupt, therefore he is swindling us”.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted January 8, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

              The person you’re defending raised the demonstrably false innuendo that Barack Obama and Bill Clinton enriched themselves while in office. In fact, there wasn’t the hint of any scandal that either had done so.

              As for Trump, he is the first president in modern history who has not placed his assets into a “blind trust” while in office. He instead (supposedly) turned the management of his properties over to his children, who’ve made every effort to monetize their father’s presidency.

              The manner in which Trump himself has attempted to profit from the presidency in violation of the US constitution’s “Emoluments Clause” is documented here. The way he has soaked the government for expenses at his properties is documented here. In addition, an amusement park with which Trump is associated received a half billion dollar loan from the Chinese government within days of Trump’s having lifted sanctions on the Chinese tech giant ZTE. Trump also doubled the membership fees at his Mar-a-Lago club immediately being elected president.

              • tomh
                Posted January 8, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

                There’s an article in today’s Wash Post about this very subject. 7 key questions about what President Trump’s company faces in 2019

                Bottom line: Difficult to tell, income down in many places, up in others, all very secretive, with expansion coming in 2019, new hotel lines opening (some without his name on them.) There is this caveat, however, “Trump’s business and its executives are facing an unprecedented level of legal scrutiny from state and federal authorities — and it is likely to increase this year.”

              • Posted January 8, 2019 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

                The person you’re defending raised the demonstrably false innuendo that Barack Obama and Bill Clinton enriched themselves while in office.

                That has no relevance to the fact that they provided a citation for Trump’s fortune going down not up.

                The manner in which Trump himself has attempted to profit from the presidency in violation of the US constitution’s “Emoluments Clause” is documented here. The way he has soaked the government for expenses at his properties is documented here.

                Neither of those links show that Trump has actually profited from the presidency. They make allegations and show how Trump’s actions make it easier for him to do so but if the best that there is is that businesses that he owns have been able to increase ticket prices, that’s not really that impressive.

                It is entirely possible that Trump is screwing the tax payer and yet his overall fortune is going down. It’s known that, in the past, Trump has used a number of questionable tactics to lower his costs. It’s a documented fact that he stiffs subcontractors. I would not be at all surprised if it turned out that he used illegal immigrants to keep labour costs down. Maybe the scrutiny his businesses receive as a result of him becoming president means that they can no longer operate profitably.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted January 8, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

                @Jeremy:

                Trump has clearly endeavored, in derogation of all norms concerning the American presidency, to profit personally from the office he holds. If he has been incompetent in accomplishing that goal — as he has been utterly incompetent at everything he has set his hand to excepting an unreality television show that was scripted for him by others — that in no way diminishes the fundamental corruption of his presidential administration.

              • Posted January 8, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

                If you try to rob a bank and fail, you’re still guilty.

  31. Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    As a outsider I get most of sTrumped stuff from this site.
    That said, I take the veiw of a martian. When we invade we will bottle him for crimes against the universe, no one should have hair like that and get away with it.
    Seriously though, earthlings should all be red from embarrassment or blue from holding your breath in disbelief!
    If I were an earthling it would gaul me that the Putin is getting a good laugh, he doesn’t deserve it.
    As for trying to bring China to its knees, hey buddy 5000 years to what!
    Get a grip,…. no, let it go orange one and stay away from children.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Be careful or Alice Walker might take you for a reptilian!

  32. Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I answered “No” to all questions. So far, all attempts to attack Trump based on legal procedures have failed, and I expect the same for future attempts. As for the first question, even if impeachment is likely, I find Pence even worse than Trump. I start to suspect that all US presidential candidates pick a vice whom nobody would want as president (McCain carried this tactic too far).

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Your comments are so far off from real I am not sure why I bother to comment. You read no news. You have no newspapers? Maybe you just look at FOX?

      So far 33 people and 3 companies have been indited and or plead guilty in the on going Mueller investigation. Trump himself is an unindicted co-conspirator with witnesses to this.

      You think Pence is worse than Trump – that is a ridiculous idea that makes little sense. And I’ll just remind you since keeping up with any news is difficult – The grand jury for Mueller has just been extended for 6 more months.

      • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        I don’t read newspapers – and don’t watch Fox, either.
        I know that many people and companies have been indicted by Mueller, but so far, I don’t see this affecting Trump a bit. I suspect that for him, it is like renewal of epidermis.

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          Even Trump disagrees with you. He spends a lot of time tweeting about the “witch hunt”. He invents issues in order to drag the media’s attention away from the investigations, etc. It most definitely is having an effect.

        • Mark R.
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          “…so far, I don’t see this affecting Trump a bit.”

          Ahhh, you did hear about the blue tsunami in the House, right? This was a direct result of Trump’s corruption, and believe me, it will be affecting Trump a lot more than “a bit”. And if you don’t think the Mueller investigation isn’t affecting Trump, then you haven’t been paying attention. He is becoming more and more isolated, unhinged, unpredictable and paranoid; he can’t keep any competent people around him, his disapproval rating is on a steep incline and his administration is woefully understaffed and ineffectual; it’s all there out in the open for anyone to see. (I’m not criticizing you for not paying attention…I know a lot of good people who don’t.)

      • Diane G
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        You do know that Maya is Bulgarian, right? While all news is available universally these days, she may read more articles with Eastern European viewpoints than, say, USians do…

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Totally untrue. Trump policies have often been modified, delayed, or halted due to the court’s actions. The fact that he comes up with his “solutions” without discussion, or any kind of legitimate process, makes his moves vulnerable to lawsuits. Often defenses his team makes in court are contradicted by Trump’s own words.

  33. Peter Nonacs
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    It all comes down to McConnell. If he says Trump has to go, the votes will be there. The thing I cannot understand is why McConnell prefers President Trump to President Pence. Both will advance whatever conservative agenda he wants, and at least the latter will be dependably boring in behavior.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      It may be as simple as he doesn’t want to hand the Dems a victory. Besides, he’s got to pay attention to their base, too.

  34. Steve Pollard
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    As an outsider, watching this slow-motion car crash with mouth agape, I thought Leonhardt’s article was pretty good. Not sure I have any right to vote, but I voted YYN anyway.

    One of Leonhardt’s points was that any impeachment should take place only after “a series of sober-minded hearings”. I think this is crucial. Shooting from the hip, as that silly woman Rashida Tlaib did the other day (“We’re going to impeach the motherf***er”) is exactly the wrong way to go about it.

  35. Stan
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I voted No on question 1. I prefer that he be allowed to go down in flames on his own rather than be forcibly removed from office. I also am not fond of the idea of Pence taking over. I regard him as just as dangerous as Trump, but more likely to get re-elected than Trump would be in 2020. These are tough choices because I despise them both so much though.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see why you think Pence will win in 2020. If Trump leaves early, either from impeachment or disgrace, it will taint Pence as well. There’s no way he comes off as a force against Trump. Instead, he’s backed Trump every step of the way. Pence has hooked his wagon to Trump for better or worse.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      I think Trump is VERY likely to be re-elected in 2020, especially if the Democrats continue working for him. I am not sure that Pence could be elected. To me, he has zero charisma and little else to offer.

      • tomh
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        The Democrats are working for Trump? He’s VERY likely to be re-elected? I’m lost,this is just bizarre.

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          I agree that it is bizarre, but this does not mean that it is untrue. His election was regarded as bizarre (and rightly so) from the moment he announced his candidacy, yet it came true.

          Saying that the Democrats are working for Trump, I mean that they create the impression of being concerned more about illegal immigrants than about voters, they have not yet presented any electable presidential candidate and, in recent days, they allow 3 of their newly elected congresswomen to steal the show with off-the-wall statements and behavior.

          • rickflick
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            Well, not exactly. The newly elected members of the house are young and inexperienced. They are not yet under the control of the party leaders. Comments they make in the first week of there arrival are not the signal of what lies ahead. A party needs a certain amount of discipline. It takes time for a large, diverse group to form an effective force. Give them time.

            • Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

              They are inexperienced but they also seek attention. As a CNN commentator explained, it is a sort of tragedy of the commons. While experienced Dems want to hold the party together, these newbys can take advantage of it by drawing attention to themselves.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 6, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

                True.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        I agree about Pence. He’s just like a sack of jelly sitting there.

        • rickflick
          Posted January 6, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          He sits quietly in the corner until the conditions are right. Then he’ll shed his exoskeleton and emerge as a venomous snake.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 6, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            Haha. He does have that “man in snake’s scales look about him”. Which is so unfair to snakes who can look quite sweet sometimes.

  36. Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I still believe that impeachment is a fool’s errand, given what we know at the moment. If there is overwhelming substantive material in the Mueller report regarding impeachable offenses, Trump will quit because of the witch hunt. Pence will pardon, but hopefully state jurisdictions will pursue criminal charges.

  37. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes, yes, and “no opinion” (meaning only that I am uncertain).

    I’ve very little doubt Trump will be impeached by the House of Representatives and tried in the Senate (unless he resigns first, which I consider far from an impossibility).

    Trump’s conviction in the Senate will be a difficult uphill slog, of course, given the two-thirds majority needed for impeachment and the Republicans’ current 53-47 advantage. Much will depend, quite obviously, on the contents of Robert Mueller’s report, due out perhaps as early as next month. Donald Trump clearly does not have the unalloyed best interests of the United States at heart; he may well turn out to be some sort of Russian “Manchurian candidate.”

    A couple things give me encouragement regarding a potential trial in the Senate: First, Republicans must defend 22 senate seats in the 2020 election (compared to the mere nine seats they had to defend in 2018). Two of those seats are in blue states — Cory Gardner’s in Colorado and Susan Collins’s in Maine. Several others are in swing states like Iowa, Arizona, and North Carolina. Senators facing reelection will be hard pressed to support Trump if the evidence against him gets as bad as I suspect it will.

    Second, Trump has virtually no goodwill at all among Republicans in the senate. Bluntly put, not a one of ’em would piss on Trump if the spun fiberglass passing for a coiffure atop his head were to catch fire. They have no loyalty to Trump, personal or party. Trump became a Republican only to run for president and, as every regular Republican realizes, he is a detriment to the party’s long term survival.

    None of the sitting GOP senators endorsed him for president during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, and most were ready to dump him from the ticket after the release of the Access Hollywood hot-mic “pussy-grabbing” tape. The only thing keeping any of them in line behind him is their abject fear of incurring the wrath of Trump’s rabid white-nationalist base. Should Trump’s Republican support drop at all in opinion polls, Republican senators may defect from him en masse.

    Things like Trump’s presidency tend to fall apart slowly at first, piece-by-piece, and then all at once (the way some environmentalists fear might happen with the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets). Any way you cut it, we’re in for a hell of ride in politics this year.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Even in really bleak places like Kansas it has turned on him. We now have a Democrat for governor and one of the Senators who has been in there since Christ was a private has announced he is done in 2020. So there will be a mad dash for that seat and who knows. I don’t think the farmers here are putting out much love for Trump either. They grow more soybeans and other crops here than I thought. If Mueller gets the conspiracy part all nailed down to go with countless obstruction charges and maybe some big money from Russia and Saudi.

      When he was running his mouth for about an hour, I think yesterday or the day before, he said, out of the blue – Russia invaded Afghanistan back in 1980 because of terrorism. Some reporters jumped all over this because it is totally false. Later it was found that Russia (Putin) is pushing this propaganda for some reason and this has to be where Trump got it. It proves Putin is still pumping him full of nonsense like this to spread the propaganda he wants. There is not one person in the U.S. or even in Trump’s zoo who believe this one.

      • Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        The problem, of course, is that it doesn’t matter what the truth is. If a member of the opposite party says it, it’s a lie. If my party says it, it’s either true or I don’t care, I like the person who said it anyway. This is the state 90% of the populace seems to be in. (And since I said it, 90% must be true).

      • rickflick
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        I think if we’re lucky the republicans in the Senate (and the House, for that matter) will quickly draw away from tRump. His base will remain loyal, but the representatives of his base are not his base. For the most part they are (semi)decent human beings who are just scared of a quick end to their careers. But when tRump begins to stagger, they will abandon him overnight. All they need is a trigger. The Mueller report should be that trigger.

        • tomh
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          I think you must be watching different Republican senators than I am.

          • rickflick
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            Lindsey Graham is so gawd awful he’s amusing. They are all opportunists, but I think when the rhubarb colored salesman has had his 15 minutes or months of fame, they’ll abandon him like the plague. Watch how quickly they revolt.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

            It’s awfully early to start counting votes, but let’s give it a preliminary try:

            Let’s take as a given that all 47 senators who caucus Democratic will vote to remove Trump from office. That means they’ll need 20 Republican votes. I think Susan Collins and Cory Gardiner (both of whom are up for reelection in blue states) will sign on. Likely, so too will Iowa’s Joni Ernst and NC’s Thom Tillis, since both are up for reelection in swing states that went blue in the midterms. And we have Martha McSally, who lost to a Democrat a couple months ago, but who’s been appointed to fill John McCain’s empty seat in AZ and is up for election in 2020. Also up for reelection in 2020 is Lindsey Graham. Unless the Russians have pics of a boy-toy leaving Lindsey’s bachelor pad, the only thing holding him to Trump is his hope that one day Trump will appoint him Secretary of Defense of State. Once those plans are dashed, he’ll revert to his anti-Trump form of 2016.

            Beyond that, we’ve got never-Trumpers like Nebraska’s Ben Sasse (insufferable though he may be) and the new junior senator from Utah, Mitt Romney. We also have Marco Rubio, who hates Trump. Ted Cruz hates him, too, and isn’t up for reelection in Texas for another six years so won’t stand with Trump against a rising tide, even if he’ll never stand on principle.

            Richard Burr of North Carolina has tried to do an honest job running the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, so if the evidence is there, I think he’d vote against Trump. Also, Louisiana’s John Kennedy and Oklahoma’s James Langford are right-wing peckerwoods, but they’re patriots, too, so if there’s strong evidence that Trump’s a traitor, they’ll vote to throw the bum out.

            What’s that give us 10 or 11 of the 20 needed? With any luck, maybe we find the other half among the Republicans with enough patriotism, or at least political self-interest, to see the writing on the wall.

            Point being, however difficult the route, there may be a path to the Promised Land.

  38. tomh
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    @ #28
    “Violation of the untried emolument clause is unlikely. It seems intended to prevent bribery”

    On the contrary, this is the most likely legal pitfall for Trump. Emolument is defined as “a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office,” and there is no doubt that Trump is profiting from his office, as the current case in Maryland shows. Bribery is nowhere mentioned in the Constitutional Clause prohibiting emoluments.

  39. rickflick
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I just learned Mueller’s grand jury has been extended for another 6 months. Rumors he was getting ready to spring his report on the world were, it seems, premature. Yikes! It’s going to be one humongous document.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Yep, I said that back about comment 31 but no matter. This should simply tell everyone that he is not done and there is more to come. He still may put out some kind of mid report, just not the finished item. I think he still has work to do on Roger Stone and that other character that works with him. Until you get some of these crooks into court you can tell what they will do. Manafort continues to lie I guess thinking that Trump is going to get him off. He may be sadly mistaken. His jail time looks like the rest of his life as the guy is 69 I think.

  40. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    “try voting him out”.

    With what? If criticism, such as impeachment does not work with populists, Democrats has no popular alternative that people will trust. And there seems to be little effort, at least as outsiders can see, to find a viable alternative.

    As I said yesterday, looks like US will suffer another 6 years of Trump.

    a petulant, tantrum-throwing child

    Rather a person we now know was raised to be a grifter, which early learned his one trick pony show. (So it is ironic if he wrote a book about it.) That trick has been claimed by insiders in media to be suggesting perverse deals – such as having the government shut down for months or years – make a ruckus, but then come back to the table to make an ordinary deal.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Trump won’t win in 2020 unless Dems offer up another candidate as bad or worse than Clinton. After all, he barely won in 2016 when so many people gave him the benefit of the doubt. His story about being good at business and smarter than everyone else had at least some thinking it might be plausible. He won’t have that in 2020. Pile on the results of the Mueller investigation and, even without impeachment, I don’t think Trump will get far.

      • Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        I fear this is exactly that the Dems are going to do.

      • revelator60
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Clinton was a flawed candidate, but not exactly a bad one. She easily won the popular vote, and would have likely won the electoral college if (a) Comey had not kneecapped her so soon before the election and (b) many people assumed Trump would lose and thus didn’t bother voting. I think the media also owes her something of an apology for printing all those nothingburger stories about emails and the Clinton Foundation but taking its sweet time to give us the truth about Trump’s completely fraudulent foundation, his real source of wealth (Daddy Trump’s tax fraud), etc. As Jonathan Chait said, Trump wasn’t really vetted until after the election.

        In any case, there are no Democratic candidates for 2020 who will have been in the public eye–for better and worse–more intensely than Clinton. My opinion is that Biden is too old (and even more of a “neoliberal” than Clinton) and so is Sanders. Warren is PCC’s justified favorite and richly qualified to straighten out the economy. And it may have been wise that she got the Indian-ancestry nonsense out of the way long before the election. Harris and Booker feel a little green to me, but Brown and Klobuchar are experienced and intriguing dark horses.

        • tomh
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Warren will be 71 when the election rolls around, compared to Biden’s 77, and Sanders at 79. I, for one, am tired of these 70 somethings who want to go out in a blaze of glory (and I’m 74.) Please, Dems, find some young blood.

          • Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            + 1

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            In my life as an American voter, which dates back to Nixon-McGovern in 1972, the nation has tended to oscillate between opposites — from Nixon to Carter, from Carter to Reagan, from Reagan/Bush to Clinton, from Clinton to Dubya, from Dubya to Obama, and from Obama to the disaster we have now.

            The potential candidate who strikes me as most opposite to Trump is Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar — intelligent, experienced, qualified, moderate, thoughtful, well-spoken, and sane.

            I also think the Dems will do best in 2020 with a balanced ticket — ideologically, racially, geographically, and by gender. Assuming for the sake of argument that Trump is the Republican incumbent running for reelection, I think the ideal ticket for the Dems would consist of Klobuchar or Sherrod Brown paired with Cory Booker or Kamala Harris — one from column A, one from column B, either one occupying the top or the bottom of the ticket.

            At least that’s my “winter book,” this far out from the 2020 presidential run.

            • Robert Bray
              Posted January 6, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

              + 1 My daughter lives in Minneapolis and has kept me informed about the political art that Klobuchar consistently demonstrates.

              • Posted January 6, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

                She impressed me in the Kavanaugh hearings.

          • Harrison
            Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            Republicans hate “career politicians.” Dems hate old people.

            The thing they share is the disdain for experience and expertise in government. I think I’ve had enough of seeing political neophytes running the country to last a hundred lifetimes.

            If your concern is “health,” then say that instead. But keep in mind that while health correlates with age there are hale and hearty 70 year olds and decrepit 50 year olds.

            • tomh
              Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

              So you would value, say, Biden’s “experience and expertise in government” over a neophyte like, say, Obama. Yeah, I don’t see it. There are younger folks with experience if that’s what you’re looking for.

              • Harrison
                Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

                Obama’s accomplishments were Nancy Pelosi’s accomplishments. He would have been very ineffectual without her, but she would have been just as good at her job with Biden or Clinton or anyone else in the White House.

            • Historian
              Posted January 5, 2019 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

              Health is the issue, not the political positions of Sanders and Biden. I do not know what are the odds of a person contracting a serious physical or cognitive disease by the early 80s, but I suspect It is high. We cannot count on either of them remaining well for the first term, no less two. We would be voting for the vice presidential candidate even more than the presidential. I hope the Democrats are able to find a candidate in his/her forties or early fifties. Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Obama were in this age bracket when first elected. We need not worry that “youngsters” can’t be good presidents.

              • Harrison
                Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

                You and others say: “We shouldn’t have so many old people in leadership positions.”

                I and others argue: “Experience is a qualification.”

                You and others hear: “We shouldn’t have YOUNG people in leadership positions.”

                Yeah, nobody said that, so cut the crap.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted January 6, 2019 at 12:57 am | Permalink

            Mr Inslee is also 68, but he’s pretty good on Climate change

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          The Indian-ancestry nonsense is not out of the way and cannot be, because it is of Warren’s own making. You disagree? Time will show. Meanwhile, I thank Ceiling Cat that (1) there is a term limit for POTUS; (2) I am not a Kurd or a Ukrainian.

        • rickflick
          Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          The “bad press” Clinton got was, don’t forget, exacerbated by Putin and his misinformation campaign via social media – thank you Mr. Zuckerberg. Thank you Mr. Assange. She was not charismatic but she was competent and would have made a good president.

        • Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

          The fact that Clinton almost won against a candidate as bad as Donald Trump just makes it worse. And please don’t suggest that Clinton run in 2020. We have to be able to do better.

        • Posted January 7, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          HRC lost to the Creature because only about 80,000 Dem voters, strategically scattered in WI, OH, and PA did not bother to vote.

          And, I think they can be accounted for with just the Russian interference (sowing lies about HRC constantly on social media, etc.).

          This is the one thing I want all Dems reading this thread to do: Make sure you tell your friends to get out there and vote!

          • GBJames
            Posted January 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

            My friends all vote. I need to tell people who aren’t my friends. Except for the guy next door who had a Trump sticker on his pickup truck.

            • Posted January 7, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

              During the midterm elections I was reminded of one class of “friends” that might need an extra push to get out and vote: your kids, nieces, nephews, grand-kids, etc. Young people of voting age often aren’t into politics and don’t bother to vote.

              • GBJames
                Posted January 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

                In my case, that class of friends all vote. Even my upstairs tenants voted. Sadly, the guy next door did, too. 😉

              • rickflick
                Posted January 7, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

                Yup. My son-in-law had never voted. His wife made him do it this time.

              • Posted January 8, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

                +1!!!!

              • Posted January 8, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

                GB: I was so pleased when Walker lost this past election. Well done! I never want to see his ugly mug or listen to his ignorant drawl ever again!

          • Posted January 8, 2019 at 1:34 am | Permalink

            Russia’s propaganda machine specifically targeted the Internet, and none of the rust belt states break into the top 10 for connectivity.

            I think Michael McQuarrie’s piece in the BJS actually does a better job of accounting for the issue.

            https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1468-4446.12328

            Basically it was down to the economy, Trump presented a rejection of economic policies which had historically disadvantaged the Rust Belt, while Clinton was entirely unconvincing in her tepid opposition to the TPP.

            The next general will need to focus on the issues of the economy, including building up the inland states in a way that attracts young, Democratic voters to old, Republican areas.

            That’s how you can build lasting victories – you have the youth vote, make rural living more attractive to them.

  41. Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Best he be voted out. Impeachment would be a cowardly act, especially on technicalities rather than the original premise for the investigation. Is Quitting the war, any war really a bad decision? made all the more difficult because of those whose reputation and agendas depend on it. His behaviour despite the generally critical view of it is an effective counter to the Democrat narrative, certainly more effective than the last two previous Republican wannabe presidents, to the point where he captured the presidency. Trumpian success will be (and is) a function of Democratic failure to recognise its part in Trumps success – this will eventually swing the other way, but not whilst Trump is in power (which is the real reason for long shot attempt at impeachment – which is genuinely the wrong reason for impeachment). He is likely win in 2020.

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      It’s curious that you say his a successful President and yet can’t point to any of his successes. You know why? Because there haven’t been any. He can’t even get his Big Fat Wall constructed nor Obamacare dismantled. And he’s shut down the government because even a Republican congress wouldn’t give him a wall. Yet you seem to like this malignant narcissist, a man who has not an empathic bone in his body: not for any other humans, and certainly not for the American public.

      As for him being “likely to win in 2020”, I’m not so sure he’ll RUN in 2020.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      What war are you talking about? There is conflict in various parts of the world but I am not aware of a war to quit. You do sound like something from his base. Is that what you are…base? Some of those sentences are real tongue twisters.

      • Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Simon apparently means the war in Syria. But I don’t think it is the right way for a superpower to quit a war. And as we see, some adult has apparently intervened, and Trump is now saying there is no schedule yet of the withdrawal…

    • Mark R.
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      “He is likely win in 2020.” When I read statements like this, I can only think: here’s someone who has not been paying attention and has no idea how he actually won in 2016. And you obviously haven’t been paying attention to facts like the blue tsunami and the fact that Trump’s approval rating is in the toilet.

      I guess I’ll have to remind you about the 2016 election; he lost the popular vote by 3 million and won the electoral college by winning 3 states (PA, WI and MI, all of which voted out Republicans in 2018) by 80,000 votes. He squeaked in and think of all the help he had: free non-stop media coverage (and BAD coverage at that), Russia help, Comey help. Clinton was a flawed candidate to be sure, but she has also been beleaguered (mostly unfairly) by the Right for almost 30 years. Oh well, if you’re looking for bliss…

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        I’m always surprised nobody mentions the large discrepancies between exit polls and actual count. In four states, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida this discrepancy swung the result from Ms Clinton to Mr Trump, giving him the EC win.
        Discrepancies larger than the margin of error shout: “Fraud!!”. I never understood why that was not properly investigated.
        More ominously, if it happened then, and nothing is done about it, it may happen again.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      “Impeachment would be a cowardly act, especially on technicalities rather than the original premise for the investigation.”

      Good thing then that Bill Clinton’s Oval Office blow job happened a decade before he took office during a failed condo project in Arkansas called “Whitewater,” huh?

      You clearly have no idea whatsoever, SimonS, what a long shot an incumbent president who (despite all the help he could get from Vladimir Putin) backed into office by minus 3 million votes; who has presided over a an administration plagued by scandal, corruption, and incompetency; and who has never once had an approval rating over 50% (or a disapproval rating below 50%) is for reelection.

      If you really think Trump “is likely to win in 2020,” I will cover all the wagering action you care to lay.

      • Mark R.
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        I’m a betting man. I will also cover any wagering action that this wreck of a president wins another 4 years.

      • Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        I want you guys to make a public bet here and now!

  42. maryplumbago
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Great article! Thanks

  43. Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    No, no and no. I am fully willing to accept the ruin of this country for two more years if it destroys the Republican Party at this point. People need to pay for their stupidity. It’s nothing we can’t recover from and I want them ground to dust. But I don’t think he’ll be impeached because I think that Pelosi is too smart for that (albeit for totally different reasons that I have). And there isn’t enough evidence that the senate is fed up with him enough. 34 of 53 republican senators is enough to get him off the hook. I can list off the top of my head a lot (ND, FL, GA, MS, LA, KS, ID, KY, TN) starts the list (that’s 18).

  44. Posted January 5, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    The House should wait for Mueller, then proceed. I believe there is impeachable offenses already in the Press and with proof (emolument clause). If the Rule of Law ® is to be respected the Senate must do their job. Even Trump would know to resign before that happened (his ego won’t let him be a Prezident that will be remembered as a Removed Tumor).

  45. phoffman56
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a USian, only a human living in America with its original meaning, namely North plus South America. So I did not vote.

    A question now occurs, stimulated by Drumpf’s recent behaviour: whether the U.S. is theoretically much closer to degenerating into a (presumably racist/fascist) dictatorship than is any of the other western democracies (where I don’t include former USSR satellites like Hungary and Poland as western democracies). Then there would be more than the 6 more years of this ‘superb’ USian president for you USians (and the rest of the world unfortunately) to ‘enjoy’.

    First, in case you haven’t heard of this, there is an amusing story about Godel claiming to have deduced with his impeccable logic that the US constitution makes this a legal possibility. You’ll find the story in several biographies of Einstein: he and (IIRC) Morgenstern around 1948 were accompanying Godel over to the formality of a judge granting Godel his USian citizenship. But the companions felt the need to divert the man for fear of him haranguing the judge on this matter re the constitution, and maybe not getting the citizenship. Anyway the diversions apparently worked, or maybe the judge didn’t give Godel the chance to blow his chance.

    However, it now almost sounds like even I could produce such a deduction, without needing 7th order quantified modal logic or whatever.

    Suppose:

    1/ Party R gets their Drumpfian president voted in, even just barely, maybe even dishonestly.

    2/ Party R also manages to squeeze about 10 million US Senate votes evenly distributed in the 17 least populated states, despite losing very badly in the rest. So Party D has a 66 to 34 majority there. But that makes an impeachment conviction ‘impossible’–those
    34 senators from states with less than 30 million total population are filling their Swiss bank accounts in the style of present-day US politicians (or at least Drumpf’s administration).

    3/ Party D also has a huge majority in the House.

    4/ Now President Assinine Z. Drumpf simply vetoes everything coming from Congress. When wanting something to be the law, he (or she) simply declares a national emergency and declares it now is the law (viz. the actual Drumpf’s recent bloviation about how he might get his wall).

    Surely you lucky people now, with 1/ to 4/, have your dictatorship–oh yes, one of the Drumpfian laws gives him (or her) lifetime presidency, plus some royalty-like succession, and presumably freezes the membership of the Senate somehow.

    I’d be interested to hear the flaws in this, especially if any other than those in the last paragraph. The latter presumably has a constitutional block, but even so, the rest gives a 4-year dictatorship, lots of time to rig the next election and prolong the fascism.

    • Hemidactylus
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      What if a judiciary decision gets triggered? Ideally the Supremes are somewhat independent of a sitting president? If things get bad enough (ok dystopia seems already here or around the corner depending on personal political bias) the Senate could be on board for some sort of counter measure. Party R has Romney and used to have McCain who each seem(ed) to have backbone. Not sure what I can generalize from that. Wishful thinking?

      I am lately dyspeptic when it comes to using certain words such as fascism. MAGA does sound palingenetic and there’s some serious nationalism going on amongst some of Trump’s base. My invoking ultranationalist rebirth comes from Roger Griffin’s *Fascism* as does my hesitance. Is our current state of affairs at a point that warrants the label? FWIW social Darwinism and the naturalistic fallacy (sensu Moore) cause me grief too but those are not applicible here. Trump does have some sort of authoritarian bent, but does that coupled with similar tendencies of his base translate into an overarching political system we could accurately call fascism?

      You are right that we USians are claiming monopoly on American. To make America great again would mean extending more a helping hand toward neighbors characterized as rapists or migrants harboring terrorists en route to our sacred border. Some of these countries such as Guatemala have been harmed by the US (fruit, coup, syphilis experiments).

    • another fred
      Posted January 6, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      None of that is necessary. We have a law, the Defense Production Act of 1950, that sets up a virtual dictatorship in the event of an emergency. The law was passed to provide continuity of government in the event of a nuclear attack, but has been vastly enlarged. Many laws passed since that time have “emergency” provisions, all that is needed is for an emergency to be declared.

      Like any dictatorship, there will still have to be a fair amount of popular acquiescence for the rule to take root and grow, but that is how it will start. I don’t think there is a chance that a Trump dictatorship could take root and grow. When it comes to the USA it will begin as something more benign, something with which a greater proportion of the population will agree.

    • phoffman56
      Posted January 7, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      This recent op-ed in NYTimes

      seems to answer in the negative a central argument by me above.

  46. Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Impeachable offenses aside, I’ve never encountered, in public or private life, a more repellent, dishonest, amoral character, and it bothers to no end that a significant percentage of the voting public falls for his transparent bullshit, corruption, and incompetence.

    • Harrison
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Some people would support Baron Harkonnen if he promised to own the libs.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 5, 2019 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        Well, the spice must flow!

    • Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Amen Stephen. I have shortened my Trump descriptor to despicable human.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Well said. +2.

    • Diane G
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      + 3

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Sadly, I have met people just like him. I describe them as Gargamelian.

    • Posted January 7, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Well said Stephen: Full agreement.

      I’ve had a few Drumpf supporters on FB whine about how those naughty liberals don’t like them because of their support for Drumpf.

      Well guys [these whiners on FB], you have more evidence of malfeasance from Drumpf than any president since, at least Nixon (I think this Admin. will go down in history as the most corrupt since Harding’s) — and it doesn’t shift your support one iota.

      Paying off porns stars to cover up your affairs (AND doing it in a way that violates federal election law!)? No problem!

      Actively colluding with a hostile foreign power to subvert US institutions? No problem!

      Etc., etc., etc.

      In short: Drumpf said “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” (23-Jan-2016, Iowa Campaign rally)

      And it’s true. That’s all I need to know about you. (And you worried about HRC’s email server! Huh!)

  47. another fred
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    I think Yuval Noah Hariri (at 1:48 through 1:52) is right. If Trump is impeached it will be very destructive. Be careful what you wish for.

    https://samharris.org/podcasts/138-edge-humanity/

    • Samedi
      Posted January 6, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      The comments here show people so blinded by their personal antipathy for Trump that they are unable to analyze the Trump presidency with any level of dispassion and objectivity. For a web site devoted to science this is deeply disappointing. It is important to understand why Trump won and why something similar is now happening in Europe. The potential negative impact on the US if Trump were impeached and actually removed from office is another interesting topic. You won’t find any good discussion of that in the comments above either since people are too busy name-calling and emoting.

  48. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Yes, no opinion and no opinion.
    There is no doubt he should be impeached.
    He obviously committed impeachable offences. From emoluments and obstruction of justice to conspiring with a hostile foreign power.
    I’m not sure the House will impeach him. It would not be wise to do so now. The House should only impeach when there is bipartisan support. The findings of the Mueller (or other) investigation might just do that (as already mentioned by many here). Without that bipartisan support, the Senate will not convict and impeachment will be counterproductive.

  49. Rhona Perkins
    Posted January 6, 2019 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    I think Rep. Tlaib’s comments are reprehensible and she needs to be schooled on conduct befitting her office..I have despised Trump and all that he represents(basically his own greedy interests) for the last 30 years but there is no excuse for such language by t. In my opinion, the same should be said of Rep. Tlaib. She demeans her(our) cause.
    As for Trump , he demeans the Presidency, our government and the United States of America. He is a disgrace to this country because of his amoral nature, his outright greed and incompetency. It sickens me that he occupies the White House.

    • Posted January 6, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Ill-considered for sure but reprehensible? Was it “impeachment” or “MF” that makes it reprehensible? In the age of Trump, neither one even moves the dial for me.

  50. Posted January 6, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Trump will or should be impeached. Being a repugnant human being is not grounds for removal from office, and impeachment is not a gauge for measuring the intensity of one’s dislike.

    The Democrats, I fear, are beginning to believe their own rhetoric when it comes to Trump. They’d do better to focus on coming up with a viable candidate for 2020. Otherwise, we’re going to end up with Trump leaving office in 2024 and the Mueller investigation still winding down (I never thought they could drag it out till the mid-terms, which shows you how much I know about all this).

    • rickflick
      Posted January 6, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      I think he should be impeached, but it has nothing whatever to do with the fact that he is a repugnant human being.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 6, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Donald Trump has been compromised by the Russians (and, quite likely, the Saudi Arabians, and perhaps other nations as well). The public record of his actions and statements and his campaign’s numerous and unexplained contacts with Russians — and Trump’s incessant lying about those actions and statements and contacts — leave no other plausible explanation in the world inhabited by William of Occam and me. His lying, and many other acts designed to interfere with the Russian investigation, demonstrate further that Trump has engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to obstruct justice. In so doing, and in other respects as well, he has abused the powers of the office of the US presidency. Further offenses are undoubtedly to be revealed when Robert Mueller issues his report.

      These “high crimes” make those alleged in the bills of impeachment returned against Bill Clinton (and voted out of the House judiciary committee) against Richard Nixon pale by comparison.

      Donald Trump well deserves to be impeached.

  51. tomh
    Posted January 6, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    “Being a repugnant human being is not grounds for removal from office”

    Seriously? You think that’s the reason people want to impeach him?

    • Posted January 6, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      “Seriously? You think that’s the reason people want to impeach him?”

      Not really. I think the Dems want to impeach Trump because they still can’t accept that he won in the first place. It’s a bit like the U.S. Figure Skate Association not being able to figure out how someone like Tonya Harding got where she did and looking for ways to get rid of her. Like Tonya, Trump is very accommodating.

      • PromethiusIOI
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        At least there is one person in the comment section with some sense. I like this blog over all the other non religious ones i used to frequent because when they started going crazy social justice warrior Coyne seemed to still be one of the last at least reasonable ones. Since Trump’s election it has only gotten worse and when i look at this comment section on this issue i feel as tho i accidentally went to pharyngula. Nothing they have found about Russia i have seen rises to the level of collusion. The president talking to foreign nations or his businesses making money is not collusion. Quite frankly, I do not give a tinkers damn about his personal life and find him a bit repugnant. But all this catastrophizing and moralizing by everyone is making me go from apathetic when i voted for him the first time to downright enthusiastic for the chance to vote for him in 2020. MAGA

        • Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:15 am | Permalink

          All the lying doesn’t bother you? And what about the incompetence? What about all the turnover in his administration? That tells me that even people that like his ideas end up losing respect for Trump once they work with him. Most of them have come out publicly calling him nuts, a moron, or similar. What about the ballooning of the national debt? It’s pretty easy to make the case against Trump without bringing in collusion with Russia.

        • Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

          He’s an unindicted co-conspirator in a felony to which his partner in crime has pled guilty. Now we find out (due to Manafort’s lawyers’ incompetence) that during the campaign Manafort, his campaign chairman, gave polling data to a Russian intelligence agent AND LIED ABOUT IT! This occurred before the Russians targeted crucial swing states with their social media disinformation.

        • GBJames
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Promethius. Tied to a rock. Unable to escape. Every day his organs are gnawed out again by the Orange Creature.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 11, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

            🙂

          • Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

            That was Prometheus. (You’d think that someone choosing a mythology-based handle would get the spelling right.)

            • GBJames
              Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

              A typo that can’t be edited? Who would imagine such a thing.

        • Douglas E
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          A bit repugnant – kinda like a bit pregnant 🙂 Trump is a despicable person, and that spills over into his policies. His lies get bigger every day – “I never said Mexico would pay for the wall” being his latest whopper. He and Mitch are destroying the lives of thousands of federal workers.

          • tomh
            Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

            Not doing the rest of us any favors, either, from the FDA shutting down routine food inspections of seafood, meat, and vegetables, to air traffic controllers missing their paychecks (Jan 10 pay stubs showed net pay $0.00.) Hardest hit, of course, are the most needy, for instance thousands of low income tenants who rely on federal assistance through HUD are out of luck. A program that provides food assistance to more than 7 million low-income pregnant women, new mothers and young children (WIC) has funding to last through January. The longer the shutdown the more people affected.

            And Trump proudly declares the shutdown may last for months or years if he doesn’t get his wall.

            • Diane G
              Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

              Were that to happen, lives would start being lost. I’d hope right-minded citizens would start picketing the Senate & White House, by the thousands.

          • PromethiusIOI
            Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

            Great. You are the paragon of morals and virtues? Who should we chose to vote for oh wise one? Is Trump the only person who is refusing to fold up? Of course you care about a bunch of federal workers. *yawn*

            • Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

              Remember this, “Promethius”?

              I like this blog over all the other non religious ones i used to frequent because when they started going crazy social justice warrior Coyne seemed to still be one of the last at least reasonable ones. Since Trump’s election it has only gotten worse and when i look at this comment section on this issue i feel as tho i accidentally went to pharyngula.

              That was your comment, and most of the others you’ve tried to post today have been rude or snarky. You don’t need to argue civilly, so please go to Pharyngula where the tradition of uncivil argument is alive and well.

              I guess you need to go elsewhere; I don’t want to make an unsafe space for you.

              • Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

                Thanks Jerry. Generally the stronger the words the weaker the argument. And yes Promethius, I am a paragon of virtue especially when compared to the POSPOTUS; faithfully married to one woman for almost 50 years, held in high regard by thousands of friends, colleagues and students, have productive and responsible kids who still like me, and so on. And again yes, I do have empathy, that the POSPOTUS does not, for the federal workers and all of the others who ate suffering because of the pernicious nacarsist in the White House.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

                It’s disappointing someone would criticize another’s empathy toward workers who are working without pay or workers who are effectively laid off. Federal workers are normal people with mortgages and families like everyone else. They aren’t millionaires that don’t need the income.

              • Diane G
                Posted January 12, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

                +1 Diana!

  52. Marion
    Posted January 6, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    As much as I despise Trump, Mike Pence scares me. He’s a religious fanatic and has the government experience to actually accomplish his intolerant agenda.

    • Posted January 7, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Yes, but he doesn’t have Trump’s charisma, base, willingness to bully, lie, etc. Without them, Pence is just another wacko ultra-conservative GOP politician.

      • Diane G
        Posted January 8, 2019 at 12:28 am | Permalink

        Agree! And Pence will not even try, let alone get away with, outrageous speech, lies, and behavior like Trump’s. Nor will he be able to dodge the press as well. And his erstwhile colleagues in the Senate won’t be cowed in the least.

  53. Brad Anderson
    Posted January 7, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    “diagnosably mentally ill”

    I like your blog a lot, Jerry, but stay in your lane. Weaponizing mental illness diagnosis is a bad, bad precedent.

  54. Posted January 8, 2019 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Despite Rashida Tlaib’s incendiary words of two days ago, the fact remains that Donald Trump has shown himself the most incompetent American President of our time—or perhaps all time.

    I don’t think so actually. I’d say that title still goes to Shrub the Younger, who landed America in two wars, one of which was based almost entirely on lies.

    GW Bush also wrecked the US standing on human rights by officially endorsing torture, and his failure on the economy crashed the entire world.

    Yeah you can say that Bill Clinton’s decisions were the real cause of the housing crash, but it all happened around the end of GW’s reign, he had plenty of time to correct those policies.

    GW is also why I don’t think that impeachment is likely to happen. When Bush left office there were fairly popular calls for charging him with war crimes, because he is a war criminal, Nancy Pelosi made it clear that the Democratic Party wouldn’t do that.

    And the reason they won’t do that is because it sets precedents, and the Democratic Party expect to end up winning the presidency in a few years. All of Trump’s over-reach in terms of his powers produces precedent of any overreach a Democratic president would want to commit.

    As to whether they should? Get rid of Trump and you’ve got Pence. Does that sound appealing to you?

  55. PromethiusIOI
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    No No and No. I will vote for him again in 2020.


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