House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment

Today marks the next stage in the Trump impeachment process. Fellow-blogger Brosephus has some thoughts on the process thus far, the evidence, and the fiasco that is certain to ensue as the republicans continue to attempt to defend the indefensible. He also provides a link to the live coverage and other valuable information. Thank you, Brosephus, for all this valuable information!

The Mind of Brosephus

Today marks the first day of impeachment hearings being held by the House Judiciary Committee.  This committee would be the one responsible for drafting any articles of impeachment that would ultimately be voted on by the entire House of Representatives.  Since impeachment is typically a once in a lifetime event, today’s hearing is basically going to be a history lesson on impeachment.  There will be historians and scholars who will testify about the aspects of impeachment.  It will likely be a drab hearing, but I still expect Republicans to do what they do best, which is try to muddy the waters while defending Trump.

As I did for the Intelligence Committee, I’m providing a live-stream of the hearings for those who can’t access it otherwise.  This is a historical event regardless of where your politics reside.  I agree with Democratic members of Congress that these allegations need to be investigated. …

View original post 442 more words

Impeachment Thoughts

To date, I have not weighed in on the impeachment hearings, except for a brief mention here and there.  That does not mean that I haven’t been paying attention, or that I haven’t got thoughts about it all, but only that I wanted to let things play out for a bit before offering my observations.

There has never been a doubt in my mind that Trump has committed any number of impeachable, even criminal actions, despite the fact that Attorney General William Barr would say that, as president, Trump is above all law.  The United States Constitution says otherwise.  My own opinion was that the impeachment process should have had its formal beginning when Robert Mueller’s final report was issued, for that report contained sufficient evidence that Trump had acted from self-interest in attempting to obstruct justice and invite foreign influence into the U.S. election process.  Nancy Pelosi, however, thought it best to wait, and at this point, I would agree that she was probably right to do so.

Trump’s attempt at extortion, his blatant attempt to coerce the newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to announce a sham investigation into the man Trump believed would be his main competition in next year’s election, carries more weight than the ‘obstruction of justice’ charges would have.  That said …

I think too much emphasis is being placed on the “quid pro quo” … something for something … than is necessary, and I find it distracting.  Whether one can put one’s finger directly on the ‘quid’ and the ‘quo’ is irrelevant.  For the record, the ‘quid pro quo’ has, in fact, been proven by multiple witnesses, but again, that isn’t the point.  The point is that Trump broke the law.  Trump acted dishonestly and attempted, as he did in 2016, to manipulate an election.  Trump sullied the office he holds, and it will be many years, likely decades, before trust in that office will be restored.

Over the course of the past few weeks, numerous witnesses have provided corroborating evidence that Trump acted improperly and against the Constitution.  It becomes obvious that Trump is guilty and that his cohorts are fully aware of the level of his guilt by the fact that there are so many attempts to misdirect or even halt the impeachment proceedings.  They are tripping over each other trying to provide lame excuses or justifications for what he did, mostly pointing their fingers at “democrats” in general with some unclear intent.  An innocent man, or even one who felt his misdeeds were justifiable, would welcome the opportunity to air the facts, to present his own side of the story, so to speak.

Yesterday, however, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a five-page letter to Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee saying that … well here, read the first two sentences for yourself …

I write in response to your letter of November 26, 2019, to President Trump regarding the purported “impeachment inquiry” currently being conducted by Democrats in the House of Representatives (“House”). As you know, this baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness.

Leave it to a lawyer to take five pages to say what could have been said in a single sentence.  Notice his intentional scorn for the proceedings by placing quotation marks around “impeachment inquiry”.  And his reference to the process as being “baseless and highly partisan”, while there are nearly as many republicans on the committee as there are democrats.  And his claim that it violates historical precedent … well, all he has to do is remember Nixon, remember Clinton, and there is the precedent.

The letter speaks volumes, though not quite the volumes the letter-writer intended.  What this letter says to me is that there is no valid defense on behalf of Trump, and so the strategy of Trump et al is to merely distract from the process by denying the validity of it.  Trump & Co have done everything in their power short of murder to keep key witnesses from honouring the congressional subpoenas and testifying.  The few who have come forth voluntarily and in spite of Trump are to be applauded for their courage.

An honest man would not go to so much trouble, engage in all the drama and theatrics, to attempt to halt a proceeding that is supported by the U.S. Constitution itself, the very document Trump has taken an oath to uphold.  Neither Richard Nixon nor Bill Clinton went to such lengths, and in fact both cooperated with the impeachment process to a greater or lesser degree.

For more than a month, Trump has disparaged the impeachment process claiming he was not given an opportunity to tell his side, to defend himself.  He was given the opportunity to do so, to have his attorneys present if he could not be there himself, and instead he once again deflected.  It is the opinion of this writer that he has no legal leg to stand on, that both he and his team of lawyers know it, and that if for any reason he is not impeached it will be a gross miscarriage of justice and will end any remaining perception of democratic principles.  His lawyers, as well as Attorney General William Barr, claim that he cannot be investigated or charged with a crime while in office.  The Constitution, however, disagrees.

An honest man, one with nothing to hide, wouldn’t work so hard at hiding so many things.

It’s Time For Action …

Don Trump’s taxes have been in dispute for years.  He is the first president since Reagan … more than thirty years ago … to refuse to make public his most recent tax returns.  His excuses have been many, none of them valid.  First, he said we weren’t smart enough to understand them, for their complexity was far beyond our ability to comprehend.  He fails to remember that among “we” are tax lawyers, accountants, and other professionals who would far better understand his returns than he himself does.  Then he said that nobody cared … another blatant lie.  His next excuse was that he was being audited, but that argument was struck down when the IRS said that while it was true he was under audit, there was no reason that should stop him from releasing his tax returns.

Then, in light of the fact that he refused to divest himself of certain business holdings once he held public office, coupled with the fact that there appears to be a connection between his businesses and certain Russians, the House Ways and Means Committee first requested, then subpoenaed the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service in order to obtain Trump’s tax returns.  And again, ran into a brick wall when Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, flat out refused to honour the subpoena, saying that in his opinion it had no legitimate purpose.

A week later, New York State lawmakers approved a bill that would authorize state tax officials to release the president’s state returns to any one of three congressional committees.  The state returns would include much, though not all, of the same information in the federal returns, and is readily available, whereas obtaining the federal returns could be a years-long process.

Representative Richard Neal from Massachusetts is Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, and as such is the person who would need to ask the state of New York for copies of the returns.  And … he is refusing.  Between this, and Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to open an impeachment investigation, I am beginning to wonder if the democrats are in cahoots with the republicans!!!

Neal claims he fears that getting the state returns would bolster Trump administration arguments that Congress is on a political fishing expedition — and not, as Neal has claimed, overseeing the Internal Revenue Service’s annual audits of the president.  While I have urged caution in a number of areas up to this point, my patience has worn thin … no wait … make that, my patience has worn OUT!  I agree with Representative Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee when she says …

“Whatever it takes to get it — I’m for it.  I believe that the president of the United States should follow the tradition of other presidents and reveal his tax returns.”

Every single day that Donald Trump remains in office he causes more damage to this nation.  He is wasting precious tax dollars on things like taking his entire family on a trip to the UK, when only he and Melania were invited.  His policies and ‘executive orders’ have wreaked havoc on our southern border where thus far six children have died while in ‘protective’ custody and thousands remain separated from their parents.  He has caused serious rifts between the U.S. and its allies by being offensive to their leaders and attempting to bully them into acting as he wishes.  He has placed people in high-ranking cabinet positions who are less qualified for their jobs than I am.  He has committed to sending $8 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, a nation whose crown prince ordered the brutal murder of one of our own journalists. He has imposed tariffs on imports from just about every nation we trade with … tariffs that cost We, The People of this nation. And the list goes on.

On a slightly more positive note …

On May 21st, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former campaign press secretary Hope Hicks, and former White House lawyer Annie Donaldson for documents related to allegations that Trump obstructed justice.  On June 4th, Trump directed the two women to defy the subpoena.  Both are now private citizens and are not subject to orders given by Trump.  Hope Hicks has, it is reported, turned over some of the documents requested, those relating to Trump’s campaign.

It is but a drop in the bucket, for Ms. Hicks’ attorney Robert Trout said in a letter to committee chairman Jerry Nadler that Hicks would not hand over documents related to Trump’s time in the White House and his presidential transition period because administration attorneys believe the papers may be subject to a claim of executive privilege by Trump.  Since when does the president of this nation have the right to claim “executive privilege” in order to cover up his own wrongdoing?  Did we learn nothing from Watergate?

I keep hoping that somehow, somewhere there is a person whose conscience calls on him or her to do the right thing, to put the well-being of the nation first, to tell what he or she knows.  I had hoped that person would be Robert Mueller, then I hoped it would be Don McGahn, but Mueller has chosen to err on the side of caution, and McGahn has shown his feathers.

All the games being played, all the political posturing, is going to come with a high price tag.  It already has, but it gets higher for every day he is allowed to rule as a king.  It seems to me that all the attempts to hide documents and threaten witnesses constitutes obstruction of justice in and of itself.  It’s time for Congress to get tough, for we can no longer afford to sit on our hands and wait for just the right moment.

Just Two Thoughts …

It occurs to me that those of us writing political blogs covering U.S. politics and the regime of Donald Trump spend more time correcting misconceptions that he creates than we spend being proactive and creative.  But so be it … we cannot let the fool on the hill get by with lies that go unchecked and with tarnishing the reputations of good people.

Image result for don mcgahnThe latest, of course, is Don McGahn, former White House counsel.  According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, McGahn testified under oath that Trump had given him a directive to order Rod Rosenstein, then-Deputy Attorney General, to fire Robert Mueller based on a ‘conflict of interest’ that did not, in fact, exist.  McGahn refused, and ultimately left Trump’s employ rather than break the law.

Naturally, Trump denied that he had told McGahn to fire Mueller …

“As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself.”

Ah yes, he could have, but that would have opened a can of worms and made him look even guiltier than he already did at that point.  Now really, folks, who are you going to believe … Trump who has told more than 10,000 documented lies since his inauguration, or McGahn who had the integrity to refuse an order and resign rather than break the law?

Then last month, the day after the redacted copy of the Mueller report was released to Congress and the public, Trump contacted McGahn and asked him to publicly declare that he doesn’t believe Trump obstructed justice.  McGahn refused Trump’s request.  Now if that doesn’t speak loud and clear that Trump is, to this day, obstructing justice, then I don’t know what it takes.  Are you listening, Mitchell McConnell??? 

Trump, needless to say, is in a state of rage …

“I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller. In fact, he was allowed to finish his Report with unprecedented help from the Trump Administration. Actually, lawyer Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!”

Image result for quotes about lies thomas jeffersonUnprecedented help from the administration?  I think not.  And if he wasn’t a fan of McGahn, why did he hire him in the first place?  More lies.  With apparently nothing better to do, Trump tweeted some 70 times on Saturday. Since he is so fond of giving everyone nicknames, I think his new moniker ought to be Tweety Twump.

McGahn is still, as of this writing, scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on May 21st, though Trump has ordered him not to.  I think that since McGahn is a private citizen, and since he has already testified before the Mueller team, that even Trump’s “executive privilege” cannot stop McGahn if he chooses to testify.  I hope that he will, I like and respect McGahn, however if he doesn’t, I hope that the committee will issue a warrant for his arrest for contempt of Congress.  Somewhere, somehow, Congress must find the chink in the armour and be allowed to do its job.


july-2The United States celebrates Independence Day on the 4th of July each year.  The celebration commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject and subordinate to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states.  Of course, it would take a war to make the declaration reality, but this is the date that is remembered for its significance.  In recent decades, the holiday is, for many, not much more than an excuse to picnic or grill out, drink lots of beer, and watch fireworks after dark.  Nonetheless, there is symbolic meaning to the day.

One of the most prominent events takes place in Washington, D.C., which includes fireworks on the mall.  Correction … it did.  Until King Donald Trump decided to take over the celebration and make it all about himself, rather than the people who fought for this nation’s independence back while his own ancestors were still living in Germany.

Trump has decided to move the fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River (who said it was up to him???), but that isn’t even the worst of it.  He has decided to hold a bloomin’ campaign rally from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial!  What an irony!  The man who was known as ‘Honest Abe’ … being defaced and devalued by the most dishonest president in the history of the United States.  The man who fought to free the slaves and end bigotry being smeared by the one who is “Making America Racist Again”!

This is supposed to be the people’s celebration, not Donald Trump’s.  That’s okay, though, for just as I said last year, in my heart, there is nothing to celebrate this July 4th.  Frankly, in this, the year 2019, I wish we were still a subject of the Crown.  Queen Elizabeth is a much kinder, more intelligent leader than the one we have.

Just A Few More Snarky Snippets

My friends … I don’t even know where to begin today.  When they say, ‘truth is stranger than fiction’, they aren’t kidding!  Nobody, in their wildest dreams, could have written the script for the madness and mayhem that is the federal government of the ‘United’ States today.


Good grief …

good griefFirst on the agenda is the fact that Trump’s approval rating has climbed.  He still hasn’t hit 50%, but according to the latest Gallup poll, he is at 46%, while according to the FiveThirtyEight aggregate of polls, he has climbed to 42.7, a 1.5% jump since last Thursday.  Why?  The only thing I can figure out is because his base, who largely do not bother to investigate facts, believe him when he says the Mueller report “completely exonerated” him.  It didn’t, and in fact it pointed out at least ten instances where he was guilty of obstruction that would have landed him in jail if he were not president.  But, Trump supporters don’t read the report.  They also don’t question why he is going to so much trouble to keep Mueller, McGahn and others from testifying if he believes he is exonerated.  They don’t ask why he isn’t encouraging those testimonies that would show us mean ol’ liberals just how innocent he is.

What’s even more concerning is that the jump in his approval rating is not necessarily among republicans but rather democrats and independents!  Among Democrats where Trump’s job approval has improved the most month-to-month, just 4% approved of the job he was doing in March compared to 10% who said the same in April. Independents went from 33% job approval for Trump in March to 39% in April.  Now, I don’t put much faith in the numbers of the polls, for each is biased in its own way, but it’s the trend that is relevant.  What the Sam Heck has he said or done that has democrats swaying in his favour?  Anybody?


Can he do that?

President-Elect Donald Trump Holds Meetings At Trump Tower

Judge Napolitano

Second, let’s talk about freedom of the press, shall we?  Remember a week or so ago Gronda wrote a piece about Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Senior legal analyst for Fox News, who wrote an OpEd whereby he opined that Trump is, in fact, guilty of obstruction of justice and should be charged as such.  Trump, needless to say, was not happy with the man who he once referred to as a “very talented legal mind”.  I made a comment at the time on Gronda’s post that I wondered how long it will be before he is relieved of his duties at Fox.  And now, Trump is hinting at just that just that to happen.

Trump retweeted an obscure Twitter account on Sunday morning …

trump-re-tweetIf Trump were just anybody, one might overlook it and say he was just blowing off some steam.  But, for better or for worse … mostly worse … he is the president of a nation of some 330 million people and thus is to be held to a higher standard than Joe Blow. This one bears watching, my friends, for this is about more than a difference of opinion or a dispute between Trump and the judge … this one may set a precedent in terms of freedom of the press.


And about those pesky subpoenas …

Last Thursday, Trump said he did not believe he would allow former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify to committees in Congress, saying McGahn had already spoken to the special counsel on the Russia probe.

“I would say it’s done. I’ve had him testifying already for 30 hours.”

I am not a lawyer and hesitate to make a proclamation about what can or cannot be done, but I’ve done a bit of research and as best I can tell a private citizen, which McGahn is and Mueller will soon be, does not have to take orders from the ‘man’ in the Oval Office.  Now, if he were being asked to testify about state secrets or the location of nuclear weapons stashes, that would be a different story.  But, McGahn is being asked only to clarify and elucidate his previous testimony before the special counsel.

Trump is also attempting to keep Mueller from testifying.  It was assumed that Mueller would resign from the DOJ in April, and I have no idea why the delay, unless it is for this very reason, to keep him from testifying.

And Attorney General William Barr has both ignored the summons to testify before the House Judiciary Committee last week, and refused to release the unredacted Mueller report as requested by subpoena by the deadline yesterday.

Mick Mulvaney, acting as White House Chief of Staff, said in early April that the democrats would never see Trump’s tax returns.  This was in response to a subpoena for six years’ worth of returns, something that every other president since Reagan has submitted voluntarily.  Then yesterday, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin refused to allow the Internal Revenue Service to release Trump’s tax returns.

ENOUGH!!!!!!!!

Either Donald Trump wants to be the president or he does not.  He cannot be considered the leader of this nation if he cannot even be held accountable to We the People who are paying his salary.  And before any of you say, “but he doesn’t take a salary” … yes, he does receive a salary.  If he donates it somewhere, that is his choice, but he does receive a salary of $400,000 per year.  As comedian Seth Meyers said, Trump should pay his taxes instead of donating his salary. And what are we getting in return?  Obstruction of justice, corruption extraordinaire, destruction of our environment, an average of twelve blatant lies each day, incited divisiveness of our nation, and a ‘man’ who believes himself to be above the law of the land.

Imagine what would happen if either you or I simply ignored or willfully defied a subpoena? Anybody know how to bake a cake with a saw in it? We do not have a president, folks, we have an autocratic wanna-be dictator who has trampled our Constitution, has trampled our democracy, and is trampling on our lives.


And now that I have managed to raise your blood pressure by at least 30 points, I shall leave you to ponder while I go clean my kitchen.  I had a bit of a cooking mishap this evening and there are grease and rice sticks all over the place!  Ever deep fry rice sticks?  I’ll tell you all about it later.

The View From The Other Side …

Earlier this week when I posted some political cartoons, our friend rawgod wrote a thought-provoking comment:

Political cartoonists take aggravating facts and give them life. And laughter.
But what about republican-leaning cartoonists, what are they putting out? How about giving us a glimpse from the other side (if there is one!)? I bet your readers would find them even funnier than these.

And admittedly, I typically don’t post the cartoons I run across that are opposite of my own beliefs, but … that makes me seem not very open-minded, doesn’t it?  In truth, I don’t run across many, for I don’t haunt conservative news sites, but I do see several a week.  So, I thought … “Why not?”  But, a funny thing happened on the way to the right … I became side-tracked by a few headlines …

  • Anti-Semitic New York Times Runs ANOTHER Cartoon Attacking Netanyahu

  • Jews Simply Must Arm Themselves. Now.

  • Parents Who Let Their Toddlers Choose Their Own Genders Are Either Mentally Ill Or Evil

  • Kids In Philadelphia Muslim Society: ‘We Will Chop Off Their Heads’ For Allah

  • Administration Expands Conscience Protections For Pro-Life Health Care Workers

  • Why Facebook’s War On ‘Hate’ Is Just A Thin Excuse To Censor Conservatives

  • Democrats Search for Ways to Downplay Trump’s Great Economy

And on and on and on it goes.  We have asked ourselves so many times in the past 2+ years how on earth Trump’s supporters can be so blind that despite his many atrocities, they still think he is great.  Well, folks, here is our answer.  They are being fed a daily diet of this cow poop.  They are being told that poor Trump is the victim, that Muslims, liberals and democrats are out to get them and they must be constantly on their guard.

I literally had to go take a shower at 2:30 a.m. after visiting several conservative news sites, for I felt filthy.  And while trolling through the conservative sites was enough to make me want to punch something, enough to raise my blood pressure, it also made me realize that … we need to know these things.  We need to know what these outlets are feeding their followers.  It is knowledge we really need to arm ourselves with.  Just a thought.

Anyway, I did not find the plethora of right-wing cartoons that I expected to find, but found enough.  I may do a second post next week, but I’ve spent about as much time on New York Post, Washington Examiner, Breitbart and The Blaze as I can stomach.  The ones I’m presenting today fall into three main areas:  Jerry Nadler’s call for Barr to testify before the House Judiciary Committee; the 2020 democratic candidates; and of course, Nancy Pelosi.

Naturally the invitation to Barr to appear before the committee is a fertile ground …

Nadler-BarrNadler-1

Nadler-committee

And it’s no surprise that both sides, actually, are finding humour in the sheer number of candidates vying for the democratic nomination …

2020-dem-candidates2020-dem-candidates-2

2020-dem-candidates-3

And then there’s Nancy Pelosi …

Pelosi-1Pelosi-2Pelosi-3Pelosi-4

And that is as much as I can take for today … this must be digested in small doses, else it causes massive indigestion, as I have learned.

Trampling The Constitution — Part I

Mueller-letter-page-1

Mueller letter to Barr – page 1

Mueller-letter-page-2

Mueller letter to Barr — page 2

The above letter was written to Attorney General William Barr by Special Counselor Robert Mueller on March 27th, just three days after Barr presented an abbreviated 4-page “summary” of the full report.  Mr. Mueller followed up with a subsequent phone call in which he again expressed his displeasure at Barr’s handling of the report.  Robert Mueller has spent the better part of two years digging and investigating the Russian’s influence over our election, as well as the relationships between Trump, his family, and his campaign staff with the Russians who were de facto interfering with our elections.  He is much more well-versed and knowledgeable on this topic than William Barr, who has only been in his position since February 14th, less than three months, but Barr purported to know more than Mueller about what Mueller’s own report said.

Yesterday, Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by Trump sycophant Lindsey Graham.  When asked about Mr. Mueller’s letter, Barr discounted it, saying he thought it was “a little snitty”, and concluded it was probably written by a staffer rather than Mueller himself.  Excuse me?  Under the circumstances, it seems to me that the letter was quite cordial. And, he called Barr in person to follow up, so that rather negates the idea that a ‘staffer’ wrote the letter.

I have heard it said numerous times over the past month that AG Barr is acting more like Trump’s personal attorney than the attorney general who took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.  I would agree.

Barr attempted to blame the media for Mueller’s displeasure of his handling of the report, but as you will note, at no point did Robert Mueller even mention the media.  He tried to argue that Trump directing Don McGahn to “get rid of” Mueller did not constitute obstruction of justice.  Barr claimed that Trump never told McGahn to “fire” Mueller but rather to remove him from his position due to alleged conflicts of interest.  First, there was no conflict of interest, and second, that is splitting hairs. In May 2017, the Department of Justice made clear that Mueller had no ethical conflicts and was perfectly capable of overseeing the special counsel investigation.  It was a month later that Trump told McGahn to get rid of Mueller.

Senator Kamala Harris asked Barr one simple question:  Did anyone in the White House ask or suggest that he open an investigation into a person or people?  Easy, right?  Barr, who has a good, solid education and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from George Washington University Law School, struggled to understand the meaning of the word ‘suggest’.  He stumbled about with that question, never actually answering it.  Now, you can make of that what you will, but … I take it as outright obfuscation, and why, unless there is something to hide, would he struggle with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question that contains the word ‘suggest’ … a word most of us knew and understood by age five?

Senator Patrick Leahy asked this question:

“Special counsel [Mueller] did uncover evidence of underlying crimes here, including one that directly implicated the president. Did we learn, due to the special counsel’s investigation that Donald Trump known as “Individual 1″ in the Southern District of New York, directing hush payments as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. That matter was discovered by special counsel [and] referred to the [United States Attorney for the] Southern District in New York. Is that correct?”

Barr answered simply: “Yes.”  This is, by the way, a felony.Barr-Senate-Judiciary-CommitteeOkay, so that covers the highlights of Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, though I do have more to say another time about Lindsey Graham, but that must wait.  Today, then, Barr was scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, but apparently yesterdays testimony must have given him a tummy-ache, for he is declining the ‘invitation’ to testify.  Not only that … the full un-redacted version of the Mueller report was subpoenaed with a deadline of yesterday, but it was not produced and all indications are that Barr has no intention of producing it.

Some House democrats have called to begin impeachment against Barr, but Nancy Pelosi, again the calmer head, prevailed when she suggested it would detract from the greater issue of the investigations into Trump, so they have decided to ‘give him a day or two’ to have a change of heart.  If he fails to do so, then they will seek a contempt citation against Mr. Barr.Warren-on-BarrPersonally, I am of a mind that we should impeach the entire corrupt administration and start over.  Of course, my opinion is largely irrelevant, so don’t hold your breath on that one.  However, we need to step back a minute and take a look at the big picture.  There is enough factual evidence, even in the redacted version of the Mueller report that we have, to know that Donald Trump did, in fact, obstruct justice.  However, he and his trained pets in the form of Barr, Graham, and others, are continuing to obstruct justice, making the case against them stronger by the day.  How so?  By ignoring subpoenas, or in Trump’s case, suing those who have received subpoenas, tying the matter up in court and disrupting the flow of information.

Folks, what Trump, Barr and others are doing is criminal.  It is a crime against the U.S. Constitution, and it is a crime against We the People, We the Citizens, We the Taxpayers.  I am not exaggerating when I say that our very system of ‘separation of powers’, of ‘checks and balances’, of ‘rule of law’ are being trampled as never before.  If Trump & Co. get by with this, if they are allowed to impede the investigative committees, then it will have been confirmed that Trump and his cabinet members are, in fact, above the law, that the law only applies to us peons, not to them.  And you know what the next step is, if that happens?  Think about it.

Game Over? I Think NOT, Donnie Boy!

The republicans are, once again, dancing in the streets and pouring champagne over each other’s heads.  Party hearty, republican friends, but guess what?  The game isn’t over, but has just begun.  The redacted report that we were given is only part of the story, but even that part is proof that Trump & Co are guilty of having conspired with Russian agents to rig the election in 2016 and put Trump in office.  What more there is, will eventually be discovered.  But … republicans?  Let me ask you a question.  Why, if Trump had nothing to hide and was guilty of naught, did he make this statement when apprised of the hiring of Special Counsel Robert Mueller …

“Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.”

And then he proceeded to berate the bearer of the news, then-Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Why, guys?  Doesn’t that sound like the voice of a guilty man?  Sure does to me.

Now on to the present.  Yesterday morning, as I noted in my snarky snippets yesterday, Attorney General William Barr felt it prudent to give us his version of the Mueller report.  Unnecessary and unwanted, but here are a few of the proven lies he told in that event:

  • … We now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign – or the knowing assistance of any other Americans for that matter.
  • … The Special Counsel’s report did not find that any person associated with the Trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of the materials.
  • … The White House fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims. (This one damn near caused me to choke to death!)

Even Fox News’ own Chris Wallace criticized Barr, saying …

“The attorney general seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions.”

Let us consider, for a moment, that even if Mueller’s investigation did not turn up indictable criminal activity on the part of Trump, it damn sure did turn up improper behaviour, especially toward the investigation itself.  According to the Associated Press …

Donald Trump tried to seize control of the Russia probe and force Mueller’s removal to stop him from investigating potential obstruction of justice by the president. Trump was largely thwarted by those around him.

Mueller laid out multiple episodes in which Trump directed others to influence or curtail the Russia investigation after the special counsel’s appointment in May 2017. Those efforts “were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” Mueller wrote.

I ask you … is this the ‘man’ you want to lead this nation?  Seriously?

Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, has appropriately determined that the committee needs to hear directly from Mr. Mueller, and as such sent him this letter …Nadler-letter-Mueller

This should make for some real interesting conversations in the White House.

Of course, the republicans are reading into the report what they wish to see … or more likely, are simply accepting Barr’s version, for that is what they want to believe.  Take the blinders off now, people … time to wake up from that little nappie.

“The report is one-sided, it has an incredible standard of proof. It’s that ‘we couldn’t be convinced that he didn’t obstruct justice,’. Can you prove that he did? That answer is, no they can’t. That is like a cheap shot, but if they can’t prove it, why don’t they just regurgitate all the garbage that they have? It’s all one-sided, a lot of it not true, a lot of it exaggerated. Even if it’s all true, which it isn’t, he didn’t commit a crime. He didn’t do anything wrong.” – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is preparing a rebuttal to the Mueller report

I liked what Jim Wright had to say, and I fully concur at this point …

Impeach Trump.

There is more than enough reason to begin impeachment proceedings. We impeached both Nixon and Clinton for far less than is in the Mueller Report.

So, impeach Trump.

Impeach him in the House. Take up the investigation, one he CANNOT stop or obstruct or redact, one his pet Attorney General and his cronies cannot impede, one that Trump himself has NO control over whatsoever, and impeach him if that’s where the evidence leads.

THEN if the Senate refuses to convict, if Mitch McConnell refuses to take up the impeachment, refuses his duty and the Senate stands by him, hang it around their dirty cowardly necks like a fucking albatross.

Make them own it in 2020. Make them own it forever.

Surely, if they can read, even the republicans in Congress must now agree that Donald Trump has committed, if not indictable crimes, certainly impeachable offenses.  He does not operate in the best interest of this nation.  He is a president in name only.  Game over, Mr. Trump?  Far from it.

Just One Snarky Snippet …

I mentioned in yesterday afternoon’s post that there had already been 510 gun deaths in the first 37 days of 2019.  Last year saw an increase in gun deaths to the highest level in more than 20 years, with almost 40,000 people killed in shootings.  This represents a total of 12 deaths per 100,000 people – up from 10.1 in 2010 and the highest rate since 1996.

Given the above figures, it only makes sense that our government would be looking into the situation and determining ways to reduce the number of deaths by firearms, right?  Right.  And they are.  Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on gun violence in eight years, since the republicans took a majority in 2011.  Republicans, you see, do not like to talk about gun control.

The hearing room was packed with advocates who had lost family members, friends or classmates, or had survived gun violence themselves.  And, of course there were the members of the Judiciary Committee – both democrats and republicans.  It didn’t get off to a good start, for when Representative Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary’s chairman, attempted to swear in the panel’s speakers, Republican Mike Johnson of Louisiana objected that Nadler had omitted the words “so help me God,” and asked him to repeat the oath.  Seriously???  Apparently so, for the speakers were forced to stand again and take the oath again, with the inclusion of “so help me God”.  Nadler had a bit of a smirk on his face, and who can blame him?

But wait … for it gets even better.

The discussion was about guns, the consistently high rate of gun deaths, and what sort of legislation might make our streets, our schools, shopping centers, public venues a bit safer.  Out of the blue, Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz seemed to lose sight of the topic and uttered …Gaetz

“If we really cared about safer streets, we would build a wall and secure the border.  I hope we do not forget the pain, and anguish, and sense of loss felt by those all over the country who have been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens. [Firearms background check legislation] would not have stopped many of the circumstances I raised, but a wall, a barrier on the Southern border may have, and that’s what we’re fighting for.”

Say WHAT???  Who invited this lunatic to the party, anyway?  Obviously, he is incapable of focusing on the topic at hand.  And he lies, for there are few who have “been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens”, as compared to those who have been victims of violence, particularly gun violence, at the hands of American citizens.

Now, it so happened that among the people in the hearing room were two men, Manuel Oliver and Fred Guttenberg, both fathers of Parkland shooting victims.  As you might imagine, they were offput by Gaetz disjointed, out-of-context outburst, and uttered a few words of protest.  Gaetz requested that the two men be thrown out of the hearing for “taking up [his] time”.  The rules of the hearing are that the public is not supposed to comment, but Nadler simply warned Mr. Oliver and Mr. Guttenberg, and they acquiesced.  But, Gaetz was not satisfied, saying …

“I’d observe three interruptions of my time by the same individual, and the chair is not exercising his discretion to remove that individual.”

What, exactly, did the two men say to Gaetz?  According to Mr. Guttenberg, “Manny told Gaetz his comments were not true, and I said our loved ones were killed by an American male.”  True statements of fact, but they didn’t seem to fit into Mr. Gaetz’ agenda, and anyway, facts have little relevance to many in the Republican Party, it seems.  Mr. Guttenberg also made note that a number of the republican committee members left after about the first fifteen minutes, including Steve Chabot (Ohio), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Arizona), and Tom McClintock (California).  Time to start the letter-writing if any of these jerks are in your state … let them know we expect them to take gun control seriously!

Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol

Even neoconservative political analyst Bill Kristol was disgusted by Gaetz’ behaviour, tweeting …

“The Founders were well aware the people would sometimes make unfortunate choices for their representatives. But even the Founders with the lowest expectations for popular government would have been astonished at the spectacle of @mattgaetz as a member of Congress.”

Gaetz mug shotMr. Gaetz, it would seem, has a few skeletons in his own closet.  First, here is his mug shot from a 2008 DUI arrest.  Even though he refused the breathalyzer test, he did not have his license suspended for a year as Florida law mandates.  Between 1999 and 2014, he received no less than 16 speeding tickets.  I hope his colleagues in the House never take him up on the offer of a ride to lunch!  Oh, and Mr. Gaetz keeps some really respectable company, too!  Take a look …

Gaetz-Stone

Roger Stone (left) and Matt Gaetz 

It’s gonna be a fun two years, folks.  Better buckle those seat belts for part two of the Voyage of the Trumptanic.