Impeachment in the air (and poll results)

I’ll be brief. Things in the House of Representatives look as if the Democrats are moving slowly but surely towards impeachment proceedings against Trump. The President’s call to the Ukraine was the last straw. Nancy Pelosi is now wavering on her no-impeachment stand as one Democrat after another is making dump-the-Trump noises. Even Joe Biden said that he’ll favor impeachment if Trump doesn’t cooperate with Congress on several investigative fronts. (Trump now says he’ll release an unredacted transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.)

So, the results of yesterday’s poll may be prescient, though I’m disappointed that so few people voted:

This is one of those rare moments when we have constitutional crises occurring simultaneously in the US and UK. In today’s New York Times, though, conservative Ross Douthat floats the idea that Trump actually wants to be impeached, as he’ll supposedly stand to gain from it for four reasons (Douthat’s words):

  • First, if the Democrats impeach him they will be doing something unpopular instead of something popular.
  • Second, Trump is happy to pit his overt abuses of power against the soft corruption of his foes. 
  • Third, an impeachment battle would give Trump a last chance to solidify his hold on the souls and reputations of his possible Republican successors.
  • Which brings us to the last reason Trump might kind of like to be impeached: Because the circus is the part of politics that he fundamentally enjoys. 

Douthat isn’t obtuse enough to think that these are good reasons, nor that they’ll have the effect Trump thinks. In fact, Douthat says “The dictum about wrestling a pig (you get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it) doesn’t hold up if the pig keeps punching you; the dictum that it’s better to beat Trump at the polls than lose a Senate vote probably doesn’t hold up if you talk yourself into looking permanently supine in the face of indubitable corruption.”

And that’s my view. The House Democrats can’t simply sit by idly under the presumption that impeachment will damage the Democrats in 2020. I doubt it will, but we shouldn’t think much about that. For there are simply times when we have to take a stand against corruption and mendacity in the government. Now is that time.

Oh, and most people think Warren will be the Democratic candidate next year:

50 Comments

  1. Nicholas K.
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Senators Burr (R) and Warner (D) have issued a letter saying they want to speak to the whistleblower (who has expressed via lawyers that they wish to testify). The early reporting on Ukraine conversation is plenty damning, but there are indications that there are other things in the whistleblower report. So, releasing a transcript of one call will not suffice. I feel that what we know now is but a fraction of the misdeeds and that those other misdeeds are even more damning.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      The whistleblower wants to testify? Crikey. It’s all coming to a head over here and over there. Buckle up.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Now the Republican controlled Senate is asking for the whistleblower report.

        https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/462864-senate-passes-measure-urging-trump-officials-to-hand-over-whistleblower

        This is significant. The dam is cracking.

        • Mark R.
          Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          Yep, when McConnell allowed that vote, I think the ground has shifted.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          I wonder if McConnell has suddenly turned on tRump sensing that he’s doomed and wanting, at last, to seem to be on the right side of history.
          On the other hand, maybe McConnell has seen the report and thinks there’s nothing there so is working with tRump to make the Dems look foolish.

      • Charles Sawicki
        Posted September 25, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        Can they be trusted to provide a complete transcript? What is actually provided may not be helpful to Democrats. Will they allow the whistleblower to testify before congress. I suggest that they will not.
        I believe we will see that Mitch McConnell is still working for Trump.

        • Posted September 25, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          This is where cryptographic signing would help, were it possible. One wants tamper-proofing and also non-repudiation (on the part of the clerk who transcribed, if any).

    • Posted September 25, 2019 at 4:32 am | Permalink

      I think this is important because the transcript of that single phone call, by itself, probably will have enough weasel room for Trump to get out of it.

  2. Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    This just in. Nancy Pelosi to announce formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. Still not sure it is for the best, but apparently it is happening.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Looks like there might be a special select committee appointed. Announcement by Pelosi scheduled for 5 pm Eastern.

      Also, Adam Schiff has announced that he’s been in discussions with the whistle-blower’s lawyer and the whistle-blower will be testifying before the House Intelligence committee, possibly as early as this week.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Now this just in Trump has authorized release of “an unredacted” transcript of the call. But surely that’s old news now the way news is breaking, especially today.

      An “unredacted transcript” from Trump doesn’t cut it. I wouldn’t grant it any worth, unless there is corroborating evidence. Even if there is and he didn’t make any improper demands, so much went on before the call that the implications would be crystal clear to Volodymyr Zelensky. And in the event, we must hear from the whistleblower.

      Further, even if the transcript is accurate, I’ve heard that there’s more in the complaint that hasn’t yet been disclosed.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Don’t let tRump anywhere near the report with a sharpie!

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Well, cats are far more interesting but predicting what politician can or will do is mostly a disappointment. If no action is taken by the courts to release dozens of subpoena’s piling up the democrats will have little to hold hearing about. They also must let the professionals handle the questioning and leave the politicians out. It is amazing to me how stupid the congress has become since the days of Watergate. There is a great shortage of competent people in govt. to accomplish anything. A low class con man such as Trump has gotten much farther than should ever have happened. My confidence could not be lower.

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard the idea that Trump might welcome impeachment on the grounds that it will fail, either in the House or the Senate, and make him stronger. That might be; he has a unique view of the world.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Tr*mp is scarred shitless of a formal impeachment investigation; don’t be fooled by his bluster. That’s why he’s releasing the transcript (which won’t help him). He just projects as is the only way Republicans act in the face of guilt. He knows what he’s done, he’s dumb, but not that dumb. Guilty people know when they’re guilty, and Tr*mp acts like he’s guilty in everything he does. The whistle blower will soon speak, and I feel the great unraveling is beginning.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Trump will make like Aesop’s fox who finally gets the grapes, finds out they’re sour, and claims they taste delicious.

        • Mark R.
          Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          That is a sagacious comparison.

      • Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        He may well be scared sh*tless, but he is also, of course, completely and utterly ignorant of everything involved in impeachment. His fears and his behaviour are not good indicators for the actual danger he is or is not in.

        It looks to me like Dems always underestimate these sorts of situations. they’re up against the entire Republican machine, whose fate and credibility rest entirely on Trump coming through this unscathed, and also up against the utter cluelessness and indifference of half the US population.

        On the positive side, if this also blows up in the Dems’ faces again like it has every other time, at least it will remove any suspense about who is going to win the 2020 election.

        • Mark R.
          Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          Well, the Senate just passed a resolution to not block Schumer’s request for the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to see the complete transcript of the whistle blower’s complaint. It’s quite unusual for McConnell to do anything so “gracious”. So I don’t know if the entire Republican machine is on his side. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good number of them (the Romneys of the bunch) secretly hope he gets impeached. Once facts start coming out, I don’t think a majority of Americans will sleepwalk through this one. If history is any gauge, at this point during the Whitewater investigation the American electorate was less interested in impeachment than the electorate today. I don’t really know how this is measured, so it might be bogus.

          I agree with your last paragraph, though I believe truth will win out in America.

  5. GBJames
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  6. Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I feel like I’m watching an old western where the Indian scout warns the U.S. cavalry not to go into that canyon because it just doesn’t feel right and they ignore him. Oops!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I dunno, Gary, I feel like I’m watching Jimmy Stewart head out to the street to face down Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance. 🙂

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Who is Tom Doniphon in this, Pilgrim?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky might end up being The Duke, firing the kill-shot from the alley.

      • Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        OK, Ken, but whoever’s wrong has got to pony up for the popcorn.

        • Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          “Pony up”: no paronomasia intended.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 24, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            Made me go to the glossary on that one, Gary.

  7. Mike Anderson
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Trump has admitted to ordering a hold on the aid money for the Ukraine and admitted to days later pressuring Ukraine to investigate Hunter and/or Joe Biden. He doesn’t seem to realize it, but he’s admitted to a crime.

    The Dems can comfortably proceed with impeachment now that the (at least one) crime is so obvious and undeniable. I’m glad Pelosi was able to hold impeachment off until this point – Dems have a much stronger case now.

    It probably won’t result in the Senate convicting Trump, but it will make for interesting discoveries and sound bites.

    Due to Trump’s admission of the crimes and the obvious nature of the crimes, there’s no way this impeachment helps Trump.

    • EdwardM
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      “… there’s no way this impeachment helps Trump.”

      Famous last words. The Democrats are generally good at one thing – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. There is still plenty of time and opportunity for them to screw this up.

      But it has to be done – our democracy is at stake. Let’s hope the Democrats find some competency from within their ranks and they hit Trump hard enough to keep him from a second term (there is no chance of conviction in any event).

      • rickflick
        Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        As I recall, so long ago, watching the Nixon hearings, the senate was replete with smart people. Sam Irvin, Daniel Inyouye, Howard Baker, Lowell Weicker. I remember thinking how proud I was that such intelligent and even handed people were standing watch over our democracy. So, let’s give the House committees a chance, and see how they measure up.

  8. Ann German
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Bullying your way through the legislature didn’t work out so well for Boris Johnson . . . hope this signals an end to pussy grabber’s lawlessness. I LOVED listening, at 3:30 a.m. here in Montana, to the Baroness Chief Judge of the British Supreme Court announce the decision this morning that BoJo had acted
    “unlawfully” and that the Court was “pleased” to hear that he would be abiding by the Court’s decision.

  9. Mark R.
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    FINALLY!

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    It is quite possible the Ukraine business might encircle others in Trump’s administration who were directly involved, such as: Pompeo, also, the chief of staff and others. So this could be a group impeachment. It is kind of like murder, you don’t have to be the one with the gun to be convicted.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, and greasy Giuliani is in there somewhere too…

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I am not sure of his punishment because he is a civilian, nothing more than another Trump attorney. He had no standing to be in Ukraine doing any of this stuff. Kind of another Manafort. Maybe he can do hard time. That would be nice.

  11. David Jorling
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    This is pure wild speculation on my part, especially at this point in time. I would not completely rule out Trump being impeached and convicted and removed from office. Then maybe he would seek the Republican nomination again, may be nominated and still win in 2020. Is there any legal prohibition that would keep him from running in 2020, even as an independent? And if he should win, is there any legal prohibition that would keep him from being sworn in? I’m not aware of any, but if there are any constitutional scholars out there, I would appreciate any insights.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      If the flood waters rise so high Trump can’t hang on to at least 34 of the 53 Republicans in the US senate to avoid conviction at an impeachment trial, no way could he secure the 2020 GOP presidential nomination.

      The Republicans’ deepest fear is that Trump would decide to run on his own, as a third-party candidate, and take his cult-of-personality followers with him. It would cleave the GOP apart, likely for ever.

  12. Azreal
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    a grain of salt then.

  13. Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Of course that atrocious dumb-ass should impeached, and I wish the Democrats the best of luck. But I think when this is all over (i.e. when Trump dies in office in about 2028) the only truthful he statement he will have ever made will be the one about shooting someone on 5th Avenue and not losing any support. (Pro tip: stay away from 5th Avenue if Trump is in the area.)

  14. Mike Anderson
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Marianne Williamson has called for an impeachment inquiry.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/462861-marianne-williamson-calls-for-impeachment-inquiry

    That’s all we were waiting for – we can proceed now.

    • Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Of course her idea of an impeachment inquiry is to first hold a seance.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        If we’re going to get mystical, let’s break out the voodoo dolls.

  15. merilee
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  16. Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    When it comes to US politics, I think it’s yet more Yelling At Clouds or America, hilariously pretending to be a democracy.

    I believe that Trump’s actions have negative consequences to him or Republicans only when I see it. For the moment, I just don’t believe it. For years, the guy hardly went a day without a gaffe. Every other week he did something that would force every other career into an early retirement.

    It’s almost comical that now this story, whatever it is, would be a “last straw”. Americans are all serious about the Ukraine thing, but that’s really indistinguishable from the five hundred other things. He’s the serial adulterer who goes on tape that he sexually assaults women, gets elected, and Bible thumping Evangelicals adore him. It was bizarre before it even started.

    TLDR: bring it on. Even though he should have been impeached, and tried for his chicanery and treason long ago, reality so far has disagreed with everybody’s intuitions.

  17. Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Big deal. The Democrats have been planning to impeach Trump ever since he was elected. They’ve just been scrambling for enough evidence to actually pull it off.

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Trump just handed them the evidence on a silver platter.

  18. rickflick
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Borowitz: Panicky Trump Orders Dozen New Sharpies Before Releasing Ukraine Phone Transcript.

  19. dabertini
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Finally exoneration for Randall Schenck and it required a paradigm shift. Instead of doing what is popular, they are doing what is right. It’s about time.

    • Posted September 24, 2019 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Actually it is because when he committed his first offense, he was candidate Trump. When he committed this offense, he is President Trump.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 24, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        Legally speaking it shouldn’t make a difference since no one is above, or below, the law. However, political realities dominate these things.


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