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GreyhoundFan

Impeachment 3: The MF Has Been Impeached! The Trial Has Begun!

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GreyhoundFan

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to present one or more articles of impeachment today. It's getting more real every day.

Continued from here:

 

Edited by GreyhoundFan

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Howl

The "Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election" narrative is being pumped by the GoP.  Jeff T nailed them today as well as another tweet; they are both spot. damn. ON. 

 

 

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GreyhoundFan

"The GOP: If it looks, swims and quacks like a duck, it’s an avocado"

Spoiler

Walk to the back of the impeachment hearing room, into the Republican cloakroom where lawmakers huddle during proceedings, and you’ll find a closed double door with a sign taped to it announcing:

“This is not a door. Thank you.”

Pay no attention to the latch, the push bar, the light visible through the crack, the wood panels: This is not a door.

It’s the perfect distillation of the defense of President Trump in these final days of the House impeachment proceedings. This is not a quid pro quo. This is not an abuse of power. This is not an obstruction of justice. It doesn’t matter if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck. This is not a duck. Thank you.

The White House declined to offer a defense of Trump as lawyers for the House Intelligence Committee outlined their findings Monday. This left Republicans to defend him with a blend of falsehoods, disruptions and conspiracy theories aimed at causing confusion in the mind of anybody tempted to conclude that a door is a door.

Just seconds after the gavel fell to begin proceedings Monday morning, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) interrupted: “I object!”

A few seconds later, a representative of Infowars, a pro-Trump conspiracy outlet, rose in the audience and started shouting: “Jerry Nadler and the Democrat Party are committing treason in this country! . . . You’re the one committing treason!”

At this, Gaetz flashed a smile at his fellow Republicans — and they proceeded to imitate the heckler over the next nine hours. They interrupted the hearings with no fewer than 42 dilatory points of order, requests, objections, appeals, inquiries and just plain outbursts.

“You’re going to try to overturn the results of an election!”

“This is so they can have a press conference!”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) alleged that a Democratic staff lawyer, Barry Berke, had bribed the committee with contributions: “How much money do you have to give to get to do this?” (Republican Rep. Greg Steube of Florida later derided Berke as a “New York lawyer.”)

But Monday’s session also allowed cross-examination of Intelligence Committee lawyers, which meant, for the first time, that Republicans had to answer for some of their more outlandish claims.

“Would you agree,” Democratic counsel Berke asked, “that Joe Biden was a leading Democratic contender to face President Trump in 2020?”

“I wouldn’t agree with that,” replied GOP lawyer Steve Castor with a dismissive shake of the head.

“President Trump was asking Ukrainian President Zelensky to have the Ukrainian officials look into Joe Biden?” Berke asked.

“I don’t think the record supports that,” Castor replied. (In the White House rough transcript of the call, Trump literally asks Volodymyr Zelensky to “look into” Biden.)

Castor further disputed that Ukraine’s announcement of a corruption investigation into Biden would have hurt him politically and that Trump hadn’t cooperated with the impeachment inquiry. Asked why he had mischaracterized witness testimony (he left out bits calling Trump’s call “inappropriate” and “political”), Castor replied: “We didn’t misquote her.”

Each time Castor got in trouble, Republican lawmakers interrupted with various objections and points of order.

“He’s talking about the motives and character of the president!”

“If this were a court of law, you’d be facing sanctions.”

“We have not administered the oath.”

When Democrats tried to table the interruptions, Republicans required them to do it in writing. Gaetz tried to block a 15-minute bathroom break, losing on a roll-call vote.

Castor kept right on inventing. He misquoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the 2020 election. He said Trump’s request for announcements of Ukrainian investigations of Democrats “was not asking for a favor that would help his reelection. He was asking for assistance in helping our country move forward from the divisiveness of the Russia collusion investigations.”

Uh-huh. And a door is an avocado.

Castor demonstrated his professionalism by showing up to testify with his files not in a briefcase but in a reusable shopping bag decorated with an assortment of bread. Republicans, likewise, decorated the dais once again, this time with posters asking “Where’s Adam?” and putting Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s face on a milk carton.

Castor asserted that he sees no “clear evidence that President Trump acted with malicious intent”; he found it all terribly “ambiguous.” By contrast, Republicans saw no ambiguity in everybody else’s malice. In their telling, “Joe Biden’s the one that’s done a quid pro quo,” Democrats had begun a “surveillance state,” committed a “clear abuse of power” and “made Joe McCarthy look like a piker.”

Those Trump backers under the influence of Infowars and Fox News will follow Republicans into that conspiracy funhouse. The rest of us will continue to believe that the hinged slab in the doorway is a door.

 

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GreyhoundFan

As usual, Auntie sums things up nicely:

 

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Dandruff

A little OT, but:  It occurred to me that real power is comfortable - that if someone has true power they're confident in it.  They don't worry much because mechanisms are in place to keep things going as they are.  But if the mechanisms aren't in place, or they fail, the power is vulnerable...and lessened.

I don't think that Trump is comfortable right now.  There's real opposition.  Seems that folks like Vlad and Kim have what he respects, covets, and will make deals (that he'll keep) for.  Their power is so entrenched that people think hard before voicing any contradiction from within.

I have no doubt that, while the GOP whines and distracts at the hearings, a certain someone and his cronies are continuing to make efforts to consolidate and solidify their influence.  So, I wonder...what's going on in the background right now?  Assuming Trump won't back down, what is he doing between tweets?

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GreyhoundFan

This is scary, but could be true: "Trump will survive impeachment — and be stronger for it"

Spoiler

Not to rain on the Democrats’ impeachment parade, but you might want to grab an umbrella.

I’ll be brief: President Trump will not be convicted by the U.S. Senate, and his positioning for reelection will have been strengthened by the process.

As even my blind dog knows, the House of Representatives on Tuesday announced two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Both of these accusations, according to Democrats, constitute an existential threat to the republic and raise the prospect that our three-pronged system of checks and balances hangs by a thread.

They have a point.

Trump abuses power with the frequency of Florida showers. And he did ignore House committee subpoenas for documents and witnesses, which sort of seems like obstruction. On the other hand, the White House considers the impeachment process a sham and, therefore, posits that the administration needn’t comply.

The reasons for the Senate’s likely resistance, meanwhile, are timeless — survival and power. No matter how much some Republicans may disagree with Trump’s methods, his style and his atrocious rhetoric — a daily slaughter of the English language heretofore confined to kindergartens and saloons — the GOP’s base is unbudgeable. My grudging suspicion is that, thanks to the Democrats, that base will expand.

As a compulsive interviewer, I talk to dozens of random people on a given day. Moreover, I happen to live amongst the indigenous peoples, if I may be humorous for a moment. That is, my daily life in the South involves what Beltway people refer to as “everyday Americans” — that is, folks who don’t regularly hop the Acela between Washington and New York or call themselves political junkies.

From self-identified Republicans, I hear: They’re wasting their time, speaking of impeachment. And from Democrats: He’s going to win in a landslide, isn’t he?

From such conversations, I’ve gleaned that, though some Republicans don’t like the cut of Trump’s jib, they long ago surrendered any hope of being reminded of George H.W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. Elegance, apparently, can be sacrificed for a strong economy, record-low unemployment, briskly moving business, a tough immigration policy and, not least, a president who finally stands up to China.

But another factor favors Trump, and this, perhaps, is how he wins. At a certain point during an impeachment proceeding, there’s no one left to like. Inevitably, the least likable person isn’t the target of impeachment but those who lead the effort. After slogging through the vile details of Bill Clinton’s affairs, it didn’t take long for independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr to be viewed as the villain for making us look. That was his job, of course, but I well remember the night in my kitchen when my husband, who was not a Clinton supporter, commented upon hearing the latest lurid development, “I’m beginning to feel sorry for Clinton.” Ultimately, Clinton was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate — and probably would have been reelected were third terms allowed.

Impeaching Trump could have a similar effect. When people examine the lineup of the president’s congressional prosecutors — Mother Superior Nancy Pelosi, the prim and pursed-lipped Adam Schiff and grumpy scold-meister Jerrold Nadler — it’s easy to imagine why some might rather take their chances with a player like Trump. Remember, life is a continuation of high school, and Congress is just one big gymnasium.

This isn’t to say that Republicans emerge as valiant crusaders for the moral good. Both sides have behaved poorly, and “winning,” alas, isn’t an option. We’re all gritting our teeth through nothing less than a trial of our system of government. But, for reasons as much psychological as political, Trump is going to survive impeachment — and he’ll be stronger for it.

The Donald is many things, but he’s plainly not smart enough to pull off a proper conspiracy. What kind of self-respecting villain asks a foreign leader for an investigation into his political opponent and then says, okay, just pretend and announce that you’re investigating?

The president is smart enough, however, to flip this impeachment against the Democrats as yet another witch hunt by a bunch of scoundrels, liars and thieves. All Trump needs is a fresh slogan and a new cap — and we can be sure they’re coming.

I think the Dems were in a catch 22 situation. If they didn't proceed with impeachment, they would alienate everyone to the left of center, and send the clear message to Rs and the Tangerine Toddler that he could do anything with zero pushback. However, impeaching when there's basically zero chance of removal will permit him to crow that he was "totally exonerated" at his klan rallies and it may energize RWNJs to come out in force in November 2020. I do think that the only hope is for the Dems to get their crap together and get out the centrist and liberal voters who may be demoralized.

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GreyhoundFan

"Senate Republicans look to hold short impeachment trial despite Trump’s desire for an aggressive defense"

Spoiler

Senate Republicans are coalescing around a strategy of holding a short impeachment trial early next year that would include no witnesses, a plan that could clash with President Trump’s desire to stage a public defense of his actions toward Ukraine that would include testimony the White House believes would damage its political rivals.

Several GOP senators on Wednesday said it would be better to limit the trial and quickly vote to acquit Trump, rather than engage in what could become a political circus.

“I would say I don’t think the appetite is real high for turning this into a prolonged spectacle,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), the second-ranking Senate Republican, told The Washington Post on Wednesday when asked whether Trump will get the witnesses he wants in an impeachment trial. “Members want to deal with the arguments, hear the case and hopefully reach a conclusion.”

The deliberations in the Senate come as the House Judiciary Committee is set to approve two articles of impeachment against the president on Thursday that will then be voted on by the full House next week. House Democratic leaders are bracing for some defections among a group of moderates who are concerned a vote to impeach Trump could cost them their seats in November.

But House Democrats are still expected to have more than enough votes to impeach Trump, which has put the focus on how the Senate will conduct its trial even if the GOP-controlled chamber would almost certainly vote to acquit the president.

The emerging Senate GOP plan would provide sufficient time, possibly two weeks, for both the House impeachment managers and Trump’s attorneys to make their arguments before a vote on the president’s fate, according to 13 senators and aides familiar with the discussions, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private talks.

Most notably, a quick, clean trial is broadly perceived to be the preference of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who wants to minimize political distractions in an election year during which Republicans will be working to protect their slim majority in the chamber.

The tension now is on whether to allow witnesses who could turn the trial into an even more contentious affair.

Trump’s desired witness list includes House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint about the president’s conversations with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky led to the House impeachment inquiry.

Senior Republicans said they see no need for controversial witnesses if their testimony won’t ultimately change the expected outcome.

At a Senate GOP luncheon this week, McConnell warned his colleagues against calling witnesses. “Mutually assured destruction,” he said, according to a Republican in the room.

McConnell is not sure Republicans have enough votes to only call Trump’s preferred list, the person said. Any agreement to call a witness would require 51 votes, and if Democratic votes were needed to end an impasse among Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) would demand his own list of witnesses as part of any compromise.

Under McConnell’s thinking, this could possibly mean calling Vice President Pence and top White House aides, such as acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, to testify.

“Witnesses would be a double-edged sword,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said.

McConnell has not publicly stated specifically how he wants a Senate trial to be conducted. Earlier this week, he laid out two potential scenarios: Once both sides make their case, the Senate could call a series of witnesses, which he said would be “basically having another trial.”

Or, McConnell said, a majority of senators will decide “they’ve heard enough and believe they know what would happen,” subsequently moving to a final vote.

His members are getting the hint.

“I think he’s indicated that he would like to get this over with and get to quite a few other matters that we can get done,” Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said. “In other words, get back to business.”

Even GOP lawmakers initially eager to summon high-profile witnesses have begun to back away from that approach.

Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was pushing for Hunter Biden to testify. But on Wednesday, he conceded that a trial with no witnesses that would run approximately two weeks in January was “kind of growing as the consensus.”

Despite the emerging view among Senate Republicans, the wild card remains Trump.

The president and his allies have said they are eager for a vigorous defense of Trump to counter the narrative Democrats have laid out in recent weeks as part an inquiry that has resulted in articles of impeachment charging that the president has abused his power and should be removed from office.

“He wants to have his opportunity, for the first time, to present his defense,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).

White House aides met with GOP senators last week to make the case for a more robust trial that would include live witnesses on the floor, rather than the videotaped depositions that were entered into evidence during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999.

“In this instance, we believe very strongly — given the fatally flawed process in the House — that if they were to elect against our better advice [and] send over impeachment to the Senate, that we need witnesses as part of our trial and a full defense of the president on the facts,” Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, told reporters following the lunch with Republican lawmakers.

Republicans privately hope that once the president sees that calling controversial witnesses will do nothing to change the outcome, he will relent on his initial demands.

Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders are bracing for the possibility of losing a handful of moderate Democrats on impeachment next week, as several centrists reconsider the political consequences of voting to oust Trump.

Lawmakers and senior staff are privately predicting they will lose more than the two Democrats who opposed the impeachment inquiry rules package in late September, according to multiple officials. Two senior Democratic aides said the total could be as many as a half-dozen. A third said it could be even higher.

Several moderates are concerned that polling has not shown more support for impeaching Trump, despite the party’s weeks-long effort to highlight allegations they argue merit removing the president from office. Some of the members have privately pushed for other options, including a censure vote, or have even considered “splitting the baby,” voting for one article of impeachment but not the other.

“I’m still thinking it over,” said Rep. Susie Lee, a centrist who hails from a GOP-leaning Nevada district Trump carried in 2016. “This is a very grave decision. . . . I’m hearing all sides of it.”

While the House is expected to easily pass the two articles, party leaders want to limit defections to deny Republicans the opportunity to crow that members of both parties opposed impeachment while only Democrats supported taking such an action. But Pelosi and others in leadership are also mindful of the political realities their more moderate members face back home and do not want to push them into a vote that could help cost them their seat in 2020.

Democratic leadership aides say they don’t intend to whip the vote, allowing each member to make his or her own personal choice on a historic roll call that many see as a legacy issue.

The impeachment articles allege Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Zelensky to launch an investigation of the Bidens, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In addition, they accuse the president of obstructing the House’s ability to investigate the matter.

“This is one of those issues where members have to come to their own conclusions; it’s just too consequential,” said Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.), a deputy whip. “I think this is one of those votes where people are going to be remember for a long time for how they voted on it.”

 

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fraurosena
5 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

This is scary, but could be true: "Trump will survive impeachment — and be stronger for it"

  Hide contents

Not to rain on the Democrats’ impeachment parade, but you might want to grab an umbrella.

I’ll be brief: President Trump will not be convicted by the U.S. Senate, and his positioning for reelection will have been strengthened by the process.

As even my blind dog knows, the House of Representatives on Tuesday announced two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Both of these accusations, according to Democrats, constitute an existential threat to the republic and raise the prospect that our three-pronged system of checks and balances hangs by a thread.

They have a point.

Trump abuses power with the frequency of Florida showers. And he did ignore House committee subpoenas for documents and witnesses, which sort of seems like obstruction. On the other hand, the White House considers the impeachment process a sham and, therefore, posits that the administration needn’t comply.

The reasons for the Senate’s likely resistance, meanwhile, are timeless — survival and power. No matter how much some Republicans may disagree with Trump’s methods, his style and his atrocious rhetoric — a daily slaughter of the English language heretofore confined to kindergartens and saloons — the GOP’s base is unbudgeable. My grudging suspicion is that, thanks to the Democrats, that base will expand.

As a compulsive interviewer, I talk to dozens of random people on a given day. Moreover, I happen to live amongst the indigenous peoples, if I may be humorous for a moment. That is, my daily life in the South involves what Beltway people refer to as “everyday Americans” — that is, folks who don’t regularly hop the Acela between Washington and New York or call themselves political junkies.

From self-identified Republicans, I hear: They’re wasting their time, speaking of impeachment. And from Democrats: He’s going to win in a landslide, isn’t he?

From such conversations, I’ve gleaned that, though some Republicans don’t like the cut of Trump’s jib, they long ago surrendered any hope of being reminded of George H.W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. Elegance, apparently, can be sacrificed for a strong economy, record-low unemployment, briskly moving business, a tough immigration policy and, not least, a president who finally stands up to China.

But another factor favors Trump, and this, perhaps, is how he wins. At a certain point during an impeachment proceeding, there’s no one left to like. Inevitably, the least likable person isn’t the target of impeachment but those who lead the effort. After slogging through the vile details of Bill Clinton’s affairs, it didn’t take long for independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr to be viewed as the villain for making us look. That was his job, of course, but I well remember the night in my kitchen when my husband, who was not a Clinton supporter, commented upon hearing the latest lurid development, “I’m beginning to feel sorry for Clinton.” Ultimately, Clinton was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate — and probably would have been reelected were third terms allowed.

Impeaching Trump could have a similar effect. When people examine the lineup of the president’s congressional prosecutors — Mother Superior Nancy Pelosi, the prim and pursed-lipped Adam Schiff and grumpy scold-meister Jerrold Nadler — it’s easy to imagine why some might rather take their chances with a player like Trump. Remember, life is a continuation of high school, and Congress is just one big gymnasium.

This isn’t to say that Republicans emerge as valiant crusaders for the moral good. Both sides have behaved poorly, and “winning,” alas, isn’t an option. We’re all gritting our teeth through nothing less than a trial of our system of government. But, for reasons as much psychological as political, Trump is going to survive impeachment — and he’ll be stronger for it.

The Donald is many things, but he’s plainly not smart enough to pull off a proper conspiracy. What kind of self-respecting villain asks a foreign leader for an investigation into his political opponent and then says, okay, just pretend and announce that you’re investigating?

The president is smart enough, however, to flip this impeachment against the Democrats as yet another witch hunt by a bunch of scoundrels, liars and thieves. All Trump needs is a fresh slogan and a new cap — and we can be sure they’re coming.

I think the Dems were in a catch 22 situation. If they didn't proceed with impeachment, they would alienate everyone to the left of center, and send the clear message to Rs and the Tangerine Toddler that he could do anything with zero pushback. However, impeaching when there's basically zero chance of removal will permit him to crow that he was "totally exonerated" at his klan rallies and it may energize RWNJs to come out in force in November 2020. I do think that the only hope is for the Dems to get their crap together and get out the centrist and liberal voters who may be demoralized.

I agree it’s a scary thought. But the article omits one glaringly obvious result of the Senate majority acquitting Trump: voter’s rage. It will drive many people to get out and vote, as it will be crystal clear that the only way to get rid of Trump is to vote him, and his trumplican coterie, out.

I don’t think Pelosi was in a catch 22 so much as being very strategic about impeachment. It’s not a coincidence she waited this long to start it. Her timing, forcing the Senate to hold an impeachment trial at the start of an election year is nothing short of brilliant. An acquittal will hand the Dems the best argument to get all the Dem voters, from centrists to socialists and everything in between, to get out and vote them out.

It wouldn’t surprise me if that was going to be their slogan: Vote Them Out!

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fraurosena

This thread was quite elucidating, and I recommend anyone interested in that period in history to read it:

 

This is the unrolled version: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1204924987100073984.html

Edited by fraurosena
adding unrolled version

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Smash!

I don't know where to put it, but as it's about voting security, I post it here. If this true what John Oliver says then all I can say is WTFH!:5624795ddab2a_32(34)::56247954ce69f_32(9)::56247954ce69f_32(9):

 

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fraurosena

Oh.

Prosecutors ask judge to revoke Giuliani associate Les Parnas's bail

Quote

Federal prosecutors are asking a district court judge to revoke bail for Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who is charged with campaign finance violations, according to USA Today.

In a letter on Wednesday to U.S. District Court Judge Paul Oetken, prosecutors for the Southern District of New York reportedly wrote that Parnas lied about his assets and attempted to mislead his pretrial supervising officer. Parnas, despite giving his net worth as just over $450,000, provided documentation of assets totaling $43,500, they added.

Prosecutors also wrote that Parnas did not inform them of a $1 million transfer he received from a Russian bank account in September, according to the newspaper.

"Parnas poses an extreme risk of flight and that risk of flight is only compounded by his continued and troubling misrepresentations to ... the government," prosecutors wrote. "Accordingly, the government moves to revoke Parnas' bail and seeks his remand pending trial."

Prosecutors said in the filing that $1 million transfer was sent to an account under Parnas’s wife Svetlana’s name and appeared to be “an attempt to ensure that any assets were held in Svetlana’s, rather than Lev’s, name,” according to Bloomberg.

“The majority of that money appears to have been used on personal expenses and to purchase a home,” prosecutors added.

Parnas had earlier asked the judge to lighten the conditions of the home confinement, which were imposed after he was released on a $20,000 bond.

Parnas and another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, were arrested in October in connection with an alleged straw donor scheme to contribute hundreds of thousands to numerous Republican committees.

Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, is not charged in the alleged scheme.

 He received one million dollars from a Russian bank account in September? I wonder what that was for... 🤔

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GreyhoundFan

From Dana Milbank: "My total lack of evidence proves my case!"

Spoiler

Senate Republicans haven’t yet said how they plan to handle President Trump’s trial, but on Wednesday they gave us some clues.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Ted Cruz (Tex.) and others brought in the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, to ask him about his report on the FBI’s 2016 probe of the Trump campaign, which delivered unwelcome news for the conspiracy crowd.

The report found serious errors, worrisome abuses and dubious policies, but it also found that investigators didn’t tap Trump’s phones, plant an informant at his campaign, entrap his advisers or execute any of the other conspiracy theories Trump and his defenders floated. To the contrary, Horowitz found no evidence of political bias and concluded that the probe had a legitimate purpose and factual, legal basis.

So Republicans settled on a creative approach: They simply disregarded Horowitz’s findings.

“They were on a mission not to protect Trump but to … protect all of us smelly people from Donald Trump,” Graham alleged. “That’s what this is about.”

Never mind that the inspectors found no such evidence in more than 1 million documents and more than 100 interviews over 19 months. “Whether you believe it or not, I believe it!” Graham announced.

Cruz, too, wasn’t about to let the findings get in his way. “You did not find evidence of political bias. That is a judgment that you have and I disagree with that,” Cruz told the inspector general.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) topped them all, arguing that the failure to find political bias proved there was political bias. “Is not the lack of evidence that you’re talking about itself evidence of bias?” he asked Horowitz.

Let this be a cautionary tale for anybody who still believes Senate Republicans might do things on the level. Even confronted with 434 pages of unbiased, exhaustively researched findings, they covered their ears and cried “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA.”

Politico reports that a small group of moderate Democrats in the House met about the possibility of censuring Trump instead of impeaching. Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) said it “might be a little more bipartisan.”

You poor, sweet child. In a rational world, Republicans would indeed be open to a way to rebuke Trump’s behavior without removing him. But this is not a rational world. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declared this week that Trump “did nothing wrong.” (He then asserted, falsely, that Horowitz found that the FBI “spied on a presidential campaign.”)

Now Senate Republicans are forming a copycat cuckoo caucus. FBI Director Chris Wray — a Trump appointee — is the latest of many political appointees and civil servants to say there is “no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election.”

So what? Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), joined by Graham and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), demanded Obama administration records to prove otherwise, declaring: “Contrary to the popular narrative in the mainstream media that Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election has been debunked, or ‘no evidence exists,’ there are many unanswered questions that have festered for years.”

Cruz, meanwhile, said on NBC that there is “considerable evidence” of Ukrainian interference, echoing comments by Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.).

Trump himself is now spreading a new conspiracy theory, telling a rally Tuesday night that Peter Strzok, one of the FBI officials in the 2016 probe, “needed a restraining order to keep him away from his once lover,” FBI lawyer Lisa Page. “That’s what I heard. I don’t know if it’s true.”

Next, Trump will push to turn the Senate impeachment trial into a circus. His aides have said they want witnesses — presumably, figures such as Hunter Biden and the whistleblower. Democrats, by contrast, may want to call in the likes of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and others who refused to participate in the House probe.

Whether to hold a serious trial, a Trumpian circus or skip witnesses entirely will largely be up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He has claimed he “does not really have ball control,” but that’s nonsense: Almost everything will be decided by a 51-vote majority, giving McConnell full control unless principled (Mitt Romney?) or vulnerable (Susan Collins?) Republicans defect.

Judging from Senate Republicans’ handling of the inspector general’s findings, McConnell will find it difficult to keep it honest, even if he wants to.

Calmly, Horowitz explained that he uncovered no evidence of political bias — not in emails and texts, not in interviews, not from anonymous whistleblowers on his hotline.

It didn’t matter to Republicans.

“I think there’s tons of evidence of bias,” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) chimed in.

Graham proclaimed the agents “biased,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) concluded that they “effectively meddled in an ongoing presidential campaign” and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) proclaimed the FBI’s “absolute maliciousness.”

No evidence required.

 

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fraurosena

From the article @GreyhoundFan posted above:

25 minutes ago, GreyhoundFan said:

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declared this week that Trump “did nothing wrong.” (He then asserted, falsely, that Horowitz found that the FBI “spied on a presidential campaign.”)

 
It's no wonder he's such a trumplican zombie:
In case you can't read the small print: McCarthy's campaign got a substantial donation by... Lev Parnas. In other words, McCarthy is paid by Russians. 
Edited by fraurosena

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fraurosena

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fraurosena

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fraurosena

Ouch!

 

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thoughtful
3 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

“I think there’s tons of evidence of bias,” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) chimed in.

 At least his name is honest.

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Alisamer
5 minutes ago, thoughtful said:

 At least his name is honest.

I would be (and am) unable to avoid calling him "Crapola"

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Howl
On 12/10/2019 at 2:19 PM, Smash! said:

Wondering what Lavrov is up to? Here's the answer

Thanks for this.  I discovered that I wasn't following Alexandra Chalupa on twitter and rectified that oversight STAT! 

Also, I want to know if Parnas' bail will be revoked and he'll be in the pokey/hoosegow/gray bar hotel/goal this weekend and poor Svetlana will be sleeping alone, or will she be a happy, relieved Svetlana?  

Rufus Reindeer on Little Cloven Hooves, Trump tweeted that Mar-a-Largo is open for business at Christmas, so come on down.  Basically, "If you want to do business, I'm IN." 

The emoluments clause and the Hatch Act held hands and jumped off a damn cliff because they just can't take it any more. 
 

Edited by Howl

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GreyhoundFan

"5 takeaways from the impeachment articles markup"

Spoiler

Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee are debating the two articles of impeachment Democrats wrote against Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The committee, which is led by Democrats, is expected to vote (and pass) those impeachment articles in a party-line vote by the end of the day Thursday, with the goal of voting (and passing) the articles in the full House sometime next week.

Here are four early takeaways.

1. Democrats are sure about impeaching Trump — on this committee

On Wednesday night at this hearing opened, Democrats gave speeches comparing impeachment to doing the right thing on women’s suffragism and civil rights.

But outside of this partisan committee, a handful (or more) moderate Democrats are having second thoughts about impeachment and may vote against one or both articles, report The Post’s Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis.

Defections during impeachment have happened before. Dozens of Republicans voted against articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton, helping two of the four articles Republican leadership proposed fail. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) almost surely still has the votes to impeach Trump.

But it’s a reminder that the conviction Democrats leading the impeachment hearings isn’t shared by the whole party. That’s a strong contrast with our second takeaway.

2. Republicans are still united behind Trump

They still aren’t defending Trump on the substance of the Ukraine allegations (at least, not accurately), but if every single one of the 24 House Democrats on the Judiciary Committee was convinced Trump should be impeached, all 17 Republicans on the committee argued with just as much fervor that Democrats are overreaching. We saw the same kind of unity in the Intelligence Committee, even among Trump critics like Republican Rep. Will Hurd (Tex.). It’s possible that no Republicans will vote for Trump’s impeachment.

Republicans’ loyalty to Trump is inspired by his base’s loyalty. The president’s approval ratings have remained largely static throughout controversies — about 40 percent overall, but 80 to 90 percent of Republican voters approve of the job he’s doing — and GOP opposition to impeachment is no different: A Washington Post average of national polls shows 87 percent of Republicans oppose impeaching and removing him.

There’s a reason Trump has commanded such loyalty, pollster Glen Bolger told me recently. He’s a singular politician, and voters chose him precisely because of who he is. “Republicans looked up at him and said, ‘He’s the anti-McCain, he’s the anti-Romney, and he’s just what we need.’”

So Democrats are trying to impeach a relatively unpopular president who is extraordinarily popular among his base. That helps us understand why, going into next week’s full House impeachment vote, Republicans are united, and some Democrats who represent districts that voted for Trump in 2016 are wavering.

Republicans are unified in another, more tangible way: They seem to be echoing Trump, who is live-tweeting the hearing, in their remarks. The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser pointed out one instance of that.

3. A notable deviation in how Republicans in Congress defend Trump

While Republicans are willing to defend Trump from impeachment, they’re not willing to go as far as he is, to say he did nothing wrong. Here’s what Trump tweeted Thursday morning:

But Republican leadership talking points for members on the committee, obtained by Politico, say “no impeachable actions occurred,” which is different.

Democrats tried to exploit this difference by framing impeachment in broad terms, like the rule of law or sanctity of elections. Here’s Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): “Forget about President Trump. Is any one of my colleagues willing to say that it is ever okay for a president of the United States of America to invite foreign interference in our elections? Not a single one of you has said that so far.”

And not a single one did, as of this writing Thursday morning.

4. A surprisingly substantial debate about what Trump did wrong

Shortly after the hearing got started, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) motioned to get rid of the article of impeachment accusing Trump of abuse of power. That led to an hour-plus debate about what Trump is accused of and whether it merits articles of impeachment.

If you’re reading this far into this piece (thank you), you are probably up to date on how both sides argue impeachment. Democrats say it’s common sense Trump offered political quid pro quos to Ukraine, using his unique power to command the federal government.

Republicans seemed to boil down their final arguments against impeachment to this: You should be accused of a crime to be impeached. Clinton was impeached for things that matched up to the criminal code: obstruction of a federal sexual harassment investigation into him and perjury for allegedly lying to a grand jury.

“The House of Representatives has never adopted alleged abuse of power as a charge in a presidential impeachment,” said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio). “Why? Because there’s no criminal statute describing what alleged abuse of power actually is. Abuse of power is therefore a vague, ambiguous term open to the interpretation every individual, because abuse of power lacks a concise legal definition.”

“I would just like to note ... somehow lying about a sexual affair is an abuse of presidential power, but the misuse of presidential power to get a benefit somehow doesn’t matter,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), debating the Republicans’ argument.

“This, my friends, is a legal document. You can breach and violate the laws of the Constitution. There are constitutional crimes,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) said.

A president doesn’t have to be accused of a crime to be impeached. The guidelines for what merits impeachment are vague;the Founders left it intentionally vague because they couldn’t have conceived of what crimes future presidents might commit, said constitutional experts who testified recently in the impeachment hearings.

Republicans’ constitutional expert at last week’s Judiciary hearing, Jonathan Turley, testified he thinks Democrats’ case would be stronger if they could match up what Trump did to a crime. (One problem with that is Trump has blocked key people, like acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney or former national security adviser John Bolton, from talking to Congress about what they know. And Democrats said they don’t want to wait months for courts to decide.)

My broader point is this: What was happening Thursday, debating and voting on amendments, is something Congress does all the time. But it’s not often broadcast nationally and live-streamed on the front pages of major newspapers. It was a look into America’s imperfect democracy.

5. Things got dramatic — and personal

On Wednesday night, lawmakers got five minutes each to speak generally about impeachment. In a reflection of how serious this moment is, it quickly got emotional on both sides. Republicans flexed their anger and outrage, with Chabot calling the impeachment something to make George Orwell proud and the “the most tragic mockery of justice in the history of this nation.”

Democrats used their time to link impeachment to their American stories, and what makes them believe in America’s democracy. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) talked about losing her son to gun violence and running for office as a result. Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) said this: “I come before you tonight as a descendant of slaves. Slaves who knew they would not make it but dreamed that I would one day make it. … Despite America’s complicated history, my faith is in the Constitution. And I say that today with perfect peace.”

The drama sometimes took a more reality-TV turn. On Thursday afternoon, as Republicans tried to steer the conversation to Joe Biden and his family, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) brought up Hunter Biden’s substance-abuse issues.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) replied: “The pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do. I don’t know what members, if any, have had any problems with substance abuse been busted in DUI. I don’t know. But if I did, I wouldn’t raise it against anyone on this committee.”

Gaetz was arrested for drunken driving in 2008.

 

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