Impeachment Semi-Open Thread

As readers no doubt know all too well, Donald Trump has been impeached. You can read the two articles of impeachment here.

I have to confess I am posting on this development with some reluctance. As much as I view Trump as a dangerously incompetent and personally corrupt President, it is hardly controversial to recognize that the Democrats have gone about the impeachment in a manner that isn’t capturing the hearts and minds of the group they need to win in order to take back the Presidency in 2020, independents. It’s been obvious from the outset that the Democrats were highly unlikely to be able to convict Trump in the Senate, and Trump has demonstrated again and again his fondness for fighting, even on issues like The Wall, where he lost early on, so there was zero reason to think that an impeachment would lead to a resignation or less desire on his behalf to campaign in 2020.

Not surprisingly, the vote was largely on partisan lines, with three Democratic party defections (including Tulsi Gabbard, who voted “present”), all from districts that had gone to Trump in 2016.

But the move that caught everyone, including reporters at the hearing, on the back foot, was Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement that she had not set a time for sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The lack of any preparation of the public for this move, after all of the Democratic Party braying that they’d impeach Trump by Christmas, implying an eagerness to move the process forward, makes them look at best too clever by half and at worst, unserious or even worried about fallout. Lambert has pointed out repeatedly in Water Cooler that Peak Impeachment Enthusiasm occurred in October; support for the process has fallen and Trump’s popularity have risen since then.

Jerri-Lynn points out by e-mail: “This idea of delaying the Senate trial is Tribe’s idea – if you can believe his twitter feed (and have the stomach to read it).” For instance:

However, having the right to do something (delay the timing when the previous signals had been all systems go) isn’t the same as it being politically sound to exercise that option. And it isn’t clear that the ability to delay is tantamount to leverage, which is what Tribe seems to think.

The Wall Street Journal suggests there are practical reason for pausing, that the Democrats want to get some business concluded before proceeding to the divisive and all-consuming Senate trial. The Senate has not set a schedule for January because impeachment takes precedence over all other business and requires Senators to sit six days a week. From the Wall Street Journal:

Sending the articles automatically triggers a trial. There have been discussions on waiting until after the government is funded, according to the aide, and possibly until after the passage of a new North American trade deal.

The Democrats appear to be trying to put a completely different face on the delay, that they are tussling with the openly partisan Mitch McConnell over the rules for the hearing. Note that with the Clinton impeachment, this process took place behind closed doors and was approved with a 100-0 vote. This outcome appears implausible now.

The Democrats want a full-blown trial, including calling witnesses like John Bolton, whom the White House directed to turn down House invitations to testify. The Republicans want a fast trial to declare victory and move on.

The Democrats to be hanging their hopes on a longer process to keep Trump under the hot lights and secure Republican defections in a Senate vote from the likes of Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney. However, there are also Democrats who may cross the aisle like Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. However, even the Financial Times points out that a long trial could result in the Republicans producing evidence that bolsters Trump. And let us not forget that having Warren and Sanders hostage to the Senate trial means they can’t campaign.

As Politico describes it, the Democrats are trying to pin the partisan tail on the Senate Republicans, and are threatening to keep investigating Trump in the House in the meantime. Again, this has the potential to come off as “Fire, aim, ready,” confirming the point the Republican constitutional expert Jonathan Turley made in his testimony, that the Democrats might well have a case for impeachment, but the evidence in hand didn’t add up to one.

Final thoughts. Noam Chomsky made a critically important point I managed to miss as to why the Democrats focused on the Ukraine hairball of all things. Apparently illegal wars that cost the US trillions in treasure and ruin what was left of our good name are fine, but crossing certain lines in party blood sport are not.

The Dan Westneat of the Seattle Times points out the dangers of this focus:

As someone who believes President Donald Trump deserves to be impeached, I can also say this: The Democrats have blown it in making the case against him.

As a reporter I covered the last impeachment of a president, in 1998 of Bill Clinton. It sure feels to me the Democrats have made the same mistake this time that the Republicans made back then.

Which is: The case is just too small.

Guilt is not an issue….

But the problem Republicans ran into in the ‘90s was that the public felt the punishment didn’t match the crime. Polls then showed a hefty 79 percent of the public agreed Clinton was guilty. But the gravity of lying about consensual sex was too slight, too thin, to merit dumping him from office.

Democrats have a similar scale problem here. Trump did it — or more accurately, he tried to do it. He’s incorrigible about it, too. So he won’t have a smidgen of hesitation about abusing his office again if it means gaining some personal advantage.

But because the Trump impeachment case has been so tightly confined to this one episode with Ukraine, it has lowered the stakes. It all but invites a shrug: Ukraine got its aid eventually, and they aren’t investigating rival Joe Biden’s son anyway, so … whatever. Public support for ousting Trump is about 50-50 and hasn’t much budged in months.

The plural of anecdote is not data, but I asked a relative, a former union shop steward who likes in Upper Michigan, meaning the sort of Rust Belt area the Democrats need to win back, what people in his community thought about impeachment (he’s been on the City Planning Commission and is now on the local library board, so he does mix in circles beyond mill employees). His response:

No in town one much cares. They think it’s a waste of time and money.

As much as Trump is a terrible President, the Democrats are managing to make him look better.

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  1. vlade

    IMO, Democrats painted themselves into a corner, where they could not back out, but knew well enough that all this will do is hand Trump a stump weapon.

    1. Titus

      With who? His so called base? No one’s mind was changed at the national level. Not so on the state and local levels. Further, it doesn’t matter who the Dems put up or even get elected, the Senate isn’t going to flip, unless a meteor hits the earth. We are in a very bad place as a people and civilization. One real likely response to climate climate is the very real possibility of nuclear war. Nothing seems to matter to those that it should. Thus nothing positive will get done. Not to argue with you Vlad, I’m just thinking out loud.

      1. vlade

        It gives Trump something to talk about. Talking (regardless of the quality) is Trump’s strongest weapon, so giving him more stuff to talk about is not good.

        Otherwise, I tend to agree with you. It looks like we’ve reached peak human :( (actually, likely some time ago).

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        I think it won’t be long before we’ll be hearing about all kinds of technological moonshots that will allow humans to keep multiplying and living destructively for at least the near term. It would be better to have our moonshot aimed at how we might change who we are so that we reduce our numbers voluntarily over time and drastically cut our consumption now.

        I think it’s possible to argue that our politicians, as cynical and manipulative as they are, are afraid to “pull a Carter” by bringing up the topic of our level of consumption. Bloomberg would chide us deplorables for our consumption of sodas, but he would never take on his own class’s love for private jets and multiple domiciles. Obama whispered about the down-and-outs’ clinging to guns and religion when the most critical problem is woke liberals clinging to their Subarus and trips to Tuscany.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Three years squandered on a preposterous conspiracy theory by the #McResistance TM is likely to rouse Trump’s base, alienate Independents who are still undecided or might have considered voting against him, and depress Democratic turnout.

          When the full range of media and National Security State misdeeds becomes apparent with Durham’s report (and indictments?), it’s going to get bad for the Ds, and there might finally be some accountability for this disgraceful episode.

          And thus, no matter how cruel the Gods may be, we can take some consolation in their sense of irony and humor, in conferring Victimhood on the likes of Donald Trump, and in the #McResistance TM being hoist on its own petard.

          Sadly, after that grim bit of humor, we’ll have to then face four more years of you-know-who.

            1. urblintz

              I’ve posted this, my favorite quote, before but can’t resist it as a response to your comment:

              “God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” – Voltaire

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The easiest attack is usually the economy. Mittens being an actual robber baron couldn’t hit Obama, and nonsense such as Benghazi fed the narrative that Obama would do good things if he didn’t have to work at it.

            For Trump to keep his base, he can blame do nothing democrats, and if Team Blue nominates another “I’ve got mine to hell with everyone else” type, they won’t make the inroads they expect when the alternative is a real Republican. The whining of a handful of Bush family loyalists won’t make inroads as Trump is still small potatoes compared to choose anyone of the monstrosities of the W years.

      3. jrs

        Yea it’s strictly partisan. Impeachment is neither a winner nor a loser probably at all for the presidential election. Trumps base is a bunch of diehards with an approval rating that never falls below that diehard percentage.

        The only REAL RISK is it takes the only decent candidates the Dems have away from the campaign trail! Sanders and Warren have just been dealt a real risk by this. Latest poll, Mayor Pete couldn’t even @#$# beat Trump (!), though who knows how voters ultimately vote. I don’t pretend a crystal ball. But it’s going to be a distraction from the campaign trail. That’s bad.

        1. Ignim Brites

          Impeachment will be huge issue in Nov. since obviously Republicans will argue that a vote for a Democrat for Congress is a vote to re-impeach. It really doesn’t matter in this respect when the Senate trial is held. Impeachment will be the dominant issue in 2022 and 2024 also regardless of who is President and which party contols the House. But the delay is interesting in light of the aphorism: It is better to lose the election than lose the party.

  2. The Rev Kev

    When this whole impeachment fiasco started a few months ago, I gave it a miss because I could not see the point in the whole thing. When it came time to go to the Republican Senate, I guessed that it would quickly die and I am predicting that the Republicans will vote in lockstep without any defections here. I am sure that Yves made the same observation herself back then too.
    Of course the impeachment proceedings gave the Democrats perfect cover over other stuff that they were doing recently. A few days ago, for example, they caved into the Republicans on the Defense budget and gave Trump everything that he had on his Christmas wish-list in it. What did surprise me, however, was how the Democrats made a proper dog’s breakfast out of the whole thing with “secret” witnesses and extremely flawed “experts”. It was a right cluster****.
    The Democrats now do not seem to be in a hurry to send these articles onto the Senate. It may be that they want to spin these proceedings out right up to November next year if they can. Trump may insist that when it goes to the Senate, that more rigorous legal standards are followed and questions asked about these so-called “witnesses”. The danger here for the Democrats is that they know where such questions will lead and below is one such ” secret witness” and who it might lead to-

    1. Redlife2017

      You know, at first I thought – jeez, I’m sure people get pictures randomly all the time with Obama in the White House, it was probably just a random encounter. But of course, it isn’t. Mr Ciaramella wanted the picture and it was offered to him when Obama was leaving office. Oh man. Trump and his people must be creaming over that. The Demos just can’t help themselves and Trump will (in my opinion – and I’m a lefty) rightfully stomp on it.

      On another note – I did read the Chomsky article and I had to wade through the Syria stuff (I actually disagree heavily with him with the US staying in Syria to protect the Kurds. They needed to make an alliance with the Russians and the Syrian government. Political settlements suck, but depending on Trump for your safety is obviously not a good idea.) But back to impeachment – he mentions something that most people completely gloss over. You see, the Democrats have form:

      “First notice something, they’re going after Trump not on his major crimes but because he went after a leading Democrat. Does that remind you of anything? Yes. Watergate. They didn’t go after Nixon on his major crimes. They were off the record. It was because he had attacked the Democratic party.”

      Ah yes, the break-in! Because the Demos were totally cool murdering millions in Indochina. It’s so much worse when you have your party headquarters broken into by an organisation called CREEP. Think of the poor locks that got destroyed…(please note sarcasm!)

      Chomsky continues:

      “So yes, they’ll [the Democrats will] protect themselves. Is it the right thing to do? I mean Trump is impeachable 100 times over. You know, he’s a major crook. There’s no doubt about it. Is it politically wise? I frankly doubt it. I think it’ll turn out pretty much like the Mueller report, which, that I thought was also a political mistake.”

      Hahahahaha…the Mueller report. Weren’t there votive candles with his image on them? Why yes…yes there were.

      1. pretzelattack

        mueller votive candles will probably be worth something some day, assuming we don’t hit the jackpot first. i read a novel on the jackpot theme (the second sleep by robert harris) recently; i expect many such novels to come, as society wakes up.

        1. Phillip Allen

          Should any of the Mueller candles, or the RBG ones, etc., et al, exist come the Jackpot, they will still be worth something, if only for the candle itself and the recyclable glass.

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        Saint, Santa Claus (as per SNL), Incorruptible G-Man, War Hero, Justice-delivering father figure… Mueller was an ever-changing vehicle for the self-delusion and magical thinking of liberals with TDS. He was going to deliver us from Evil; thus the religious overtones, happily embraced by people who otherwise love to mock believers.

        To then see Mueller almost instantly disappear down the #McResistance TM memory hole when unable to satisfy their wish-fulfillment fantasies (while they still hold fast to the underlying premises of Russiagate and take the rest of us off a cliff), is a case study in human folly.

        Here’s a YouTube clip from May, in which journalist Aaron Mate discusses the psychological underpinnings of Russiagate with his father, Gabor Mate, a renowned doctor, author and expert on emotional trauma. Very enlightening, though he’s kinder than I would be…

    2. flora

      Well, there’s a certain value in keeping the kayfab going whilst behind the scenes they give Trump (and their donors) everything he wants.

      “Squirrel” ! ;)

  3. Pat

    1. They really couldn’t impeach on Trump’s larger crimes. As Yves says he is brazen and a fighter. He also has no problem tearing down the status quo if it takes down those going after him, traditional old school NYer. Think “f*ck me, NO, F*ck YOU!” Too many glass houses and rice bowls would be broken. In truth, this still isn’t narrow enough to stop major collateral damage, but anything else put too much of a target on party leadership.

    2. The biggest drivers of this in the House were all from deep blue highly tribal Democratic strong holds. We already know most of the beltway is in a bubble. These folks live in a double thick bubble. Pretty sure any of them might have said my favorite online delusional comment of 2016 – “It’s going to be a landslide. No woman or minority is going to vote for him.” Just as they were shocked by the Mueller report, they are probably flummoxed that impeachment is getting less popular. Despite the clearly political base of this they were sure it was just going to get more and more popular with even those mythological moderate Republican voters.

    Just my two cents…

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Yes, the ‘Heel In Chief‘ is already eating this up, reveling in it. And by next November it will cease to register on a numbed electorate. What will register is Trump clotheslining whichever hapless Dem ‘baby face’ is unfortunate enough to step into the ring against him (barring a 1930-style global crash, Bernie won’t get there. Prove me wrong, please). The wages of neolib sin is Trump, America. He is the worse angel of our nature, and we deserve every horrid moment.

      To be a heel in wrestling means to be willing to be hated by everyone. There is no electoral college in wrestling. And therein lies the beating heart of Donald Trump’s all-consuming internal conflict. His biggest fear is not going over as a babyface. But he is a natural heel. In the wrestling ring that is his mind, he is an American hero, but the only reason he ever went over is because he played a decent villain, gleefully firing people on a reality television show. It’s an existential crisis that even the plastic fantastic miasma of professional wrestling can’t resolve: you cannot be a heel and be loved at the same time.

      1. Titus

        The problem with smart people is they tend to view the actions of others as somehow being a byproduct of being ‘smart’. Trump is not a smart guy, his motives aren’t deep, he is all about one thing and one thing only: himself. The US and the world for that matter can go to hell and he just doesn’t care. Dems – Republicans all the same. All bad. Right now 20% of the electorate is holding 80% hostage. What to do. No easy answers. If people want to save the country instead of destroying it, now would be a good time to start.

        1. tegnost

          Really? I thought the problem with smart people is all of their blind spots and equivocations. Truthfully there are many kinds of smarts, and many of them are contradictory.

        2. ambrit

          Not to quibble excessively here, but in the ‘circles’ I was tangential to in High School and College, the “smart” people I encountered thought that everyone else was stupid, and treated most people “appropriately.” Their social interactions revolved about cliques and factions, just like regular humans. The truly intelligent people I encountered were in a class of their own. No social cliques for them. Just a circle of like minded ‘aficionados.’ Many of them were quite friendly. They had nothing to prove on the social scene. Most were self contained.
          From what I have read of history, that 20% has always held the rest in thrall. The kicker is, which 20% is in charge at any one time.
          It reminds me of a joke I seem to remember reading in an old Attic Comedy. Two people are discussing an election. One finally comes out and says; “Anyone who wants political power should be denied it.”

          1. Tomonthebeach

            I think what you describe regarding amorphous “smart” classmates is more a stereotypical projection or perhaps a rationalization for excluding them from mainstream social circles. I never heard a “smart” classmate smug or disparage classmates with lower grades. Truly smart people realize that forming friendships are rarely a function of IQ. Often viewed as “nerds,” smart kids did not so much form elite cliques as you portray as wind up socially exiled (even bullied) to the nerdy section of the cafeteria reserved for “like-minded aficionados.”

            In grad school, I ran several groups for highly precious kids (e.g, high school sophomores accepted into junior year of college). Most were quite insecure made worse by adult classmates who at times disparaged them for excelling in class. Thus we focused on understanding why some adults acted like jerks had that it had nothing to do with their worth as human beings. That seemed to ease the transition from kid to very young adult and help them bond with older classmates.

            1. ambrit

              Perhaps we are using different definitions of “smart.” The cliquish ‘smart’ sets I encountered were often self defined as ‘achievers’ and ‘future leaders’ etc. In their world, ‘smart’ was better enough than the ‘average’ to bestow upon them ‘special’ status. Many of these people I describe actually aimed at government careers or the C-suite. This behaviour was evident in High School.
              The truly ‘smart’ classmate I slightly interacted with in High School fit the “self contained” definition I mentioned earlier. He won a ‘First Place’ in the Westinghouse Science Talent search his senior year. A very nice guy.
              I agree you are right about the ‘push back’ really ‘smart’ students get from older classmates, who imagine they are ‘competing’ with the younger ‘bright’ kids. I don’t know about science fields, but in law and the humanities, I can personally attest to “overachievers” pulling all sorts of dirty tricks to depress their comperes grades so as to artificially enhance their own final ranking. I personally had a situation where I was part of a note taking and course reading group where we all took notes in several classes and shared within the group. If you missed a class, you could utilize the note data base to catch up. A certain person gave the entire group deceptive notes on a very early class he attended. The rest of us almost flunked the class mid term test because we had been reading the wrong sections of the texts, on this person’s say so. That was a socially defined “smart” person. It was a hard learned lesson in trust for the group.
              So, perhaps I should be more careful in my usages. ‘Smart’ is not the same as ‘intelligent.’

        3. QuarterBack

          Trump is not a smart guy, his motives aren’t deep, he is all about one thing and one thing only: himself

          IMO the top crust of politicians and businessmen is awash in narcissistic sociopaths. Sadly, the system in place during my lifetime makes it practically a foregone conclusion. On the whole world stage, it is almost impossible to become a billionaire or party leader without either being a Scrooge McDuck (“Mine! Mine! Mine!”j, by serving one.

          Party leader politicians are extremely effective at hiding their nature by adeptly wielding the shroud of decorum. An honor among thieves protocol is the glue that holds this path to power (and retention thereof) in place. It is a third rail of politics.

          Trump, by being Trump, has broken the whole (corrupt) system’s balance. His narcissism and brashness are impossible to ignore. But he has also called out the others in the herd breaking the shroud of decorum leaving the whole bunch naked and exposed to the citizens of the world. General and overwhelming disgust of the status quo is the ubiquitous bi-partisan norm.

          Trump May be a train wreck, but he is not the cause of ANY of our fundamental problems. He is only the glaring symptom that we cannot hide nor deny. The sooner we accept this fact, and the sooner we accept the homogeneity of our toxic political ecosystem, then the sooner we can begin the hard task of healing together.

          We are in a real mess my friends – a mess of our making.

      2. pretzelattack

        matt taibbi has a chapter on trump’s kayfabe in “hate, inc.”.
        the highway is for gamblers, better use your sense,
        take what you have gathered from coincidence

        –bob dylan.
        trump took his experience as a wrestling promoter and used it to win the presidency. he may have been as surprised as anyone that it worked.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Trump is doing what he was hired to do, give a giant middle finger to the cretins who assume they are something special, because they tell themselves exactly that, over and over.
          Remove him and you up the ante, the status quo is not coming back.
          Shall we play?

  4. proximity1

    the Democrats are, I suspect, banking on keeping the House and delaying the trial of impeachment charges on the hope that they can win a U.S. Senate majority. For that, at a minimum, six of their eleven (Class II) senators (whose terms run out on in January 2021) must be re-elected or six Republican senators in that same class must fail to be re-elected or, if necessary, in addition, one Republican senator’s defeat for each first-run or incumbent Democrat senator, respectively, who fails to be elected or re-elected.

    That has to occur in the 2020 races or, assuming that Trump shall be re-elected (without which the point is in certain senses moot–not that the Democrats would desist even then) the 2022 races at the latest.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If that was the strategy, they’ve utterly botched the execution. Why the big rush to wrap up a vote by Christmas? The regularly messaged reason was to get a trial done early enough so as not to impinge on campaigning….or rather, to have the results in early enough so as to figure out how to spin it.

      Having made impeachment seem hugely urgent, to now say, “Nah, this was just a positioning strategy for 2021 (when the new Senate comes in)” make them look like liars or afraid that the polls aren’t going their way or utterly confused and internally divided. None of those explanations is a plus.

      1. Jen

        And what of the presidential election? Are they already planning to lose?

        If I were being completely foily, I might postulate that Pelosi, seeing Bernie surging in the polls, might be holding off so as to send the articles to the senate at a time that would do the most damage to his campaign by keeping him off the trail.

        That would require me to give her credit for actually having a strategy, instead of merely being incompetent.

        1. hunkerdown

          Ah, the old competence bromide. She’s quite competent at managing a political machine. She wouldn’t have gotten this far if she didn’t know exactly what she was doing and who she was doing it for.

          Underestimate those whose theory of the world would have you go die (because markets) at your own peril.

          1. Jen

            Based on the Politco article in the links this morning which suggests Pelosi’s strategy is to declare victory “We Impeached Trump!” and move on, I stand by my priors.

        2. Big Tap

          Pelosi has done it again. For the second time this decade she has figuratively slit her members throats. First was the Obamacare vote and now this. She could of allowed some vulnerable Dems to vote ‘no’ on impeachment so they had a chance to be reelected in Trump winning districts but Pelosi didn’t care. Yesterdays vote will foretell a Republican Congress in 2021 probably with Trump as president. No wonder Trump openly supported Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. She needs to retire or lose her next election.

      2. Synoia

        And let us not forget that having Warren and Sanders hostage to the Senate trial means they can’t campaign.

        So the D leaders are Biden their time?

        Looks like a plan to me.

        1. deontologist

          Any impeachment trial will have the corruption charges against the Bidens as a central issue. That represents for his Senator-opponents, and especially for Sanders and Warren, a very clear conflict of interest requiring that they *not* participate in the (farcical) impeachment trial.

      3. proximity1

        “If that was the strategy, they’ve utterly botched the execution.”

        These are fanatics. Their most ardent supporters are as well. This situation is a genuine political “Rorschach test.”

        Why the big rush to wrap up a vote by Christmas? The regularly messaged reason was to get a trial done early enough so as not to impinge on campaigning….or rather, to have the results in early enough so as to figure out how to spin it.

        For two intimately related reasons. First, despite their fanaticism, they can see that, with every week that passes, their “case” suffers in the opposition press (Fox News, Washington Examiner, etc) as more details emerge of their ridiculously trumped-up charges and the conspiracies behind them. We still know only part of the vicious stuff that was going on back when Lisa Page sent a text to Peter Strzok,

        (Page) “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

        and Strzok replied,

        “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,”

        Many of Trump’s key pursuers are themselves in jeopardy of serious criminal liability. Rod Rosenstein, Sally Yates and Jeff Sessions are out, no longer running things at the Justice Department, William Barr is both competent and serious when it comes to the law in this case.

        Having made impeachment seem hugely urgent, to now say, “Nah, this was just a positioning strategy for 2021 (when the new Senate comes in)” make them look like liars or afraid that the polls aren’t going their way or utterly confused and internally divided. None of those explanations is a plus.”

        True. But the Democrats are neither admitting this openly nor offering it as an explanation and they’re not about to do so. Besides, never mind for a moment that they “look like liars” or like they’re “afraid that the polls aren’t going their way” or that they are “utterly confused and internally divided.” All those things are facts: some of the most important among them are liars, are afraid that the polls aren’t going their way (exactly, they’re not) and are at least divided if not also confused.

        And, second, they’re in a rush because they are now in too far to either back out or even alter course. If this were poker, they’d have been “all in” since they mounted a criminal conspiracy to thwart, first, Trump’s election campaign, and, when that failed, his presidency. Robert Mueller was hired to find some pretext on which they, now quite desperate, could excuse their previous plotting.

        When, in 2017, attorney Mark Zaid foolishly “Tweeted”, “Coup has started,” he was not joking.

        Unless this is somehow derailed, it shall prove career-ending and reputation-ruining stuff for some very important people. With Barr as A. G., people are going to be sentenced to serious prison terms unless Trump’s re-election is prevented somehow. At this point, there is not much which is beyond them to contemplate and attempt.

        “None of those explanations is a plus.”

        You overlook that things were never supposed to happen the way they turned out. These people had become very used to thinking of themselves as virtually untouchable by the law. There is video of Hillary Clinton laughing out loud at the suggestion that she might eventually face criminal charges, that was for her unsecured home-based e-mail-server which she used for official & sensitive State Dept. communications.

        According to their plans, there was no way that Trump could possibly be elected. Of that they were completely certain. The polls–from media powers which were on their side–proved that Clinton couldn’t lose. All the key power posts they held; they’d written the rules, put out the public version of reality and had it repeated endlessly to the public. They denounced their critics as wackos and they had record-breaking donations in electoral war-chests.

        Never in their wildest dreams did they ever imagine the nightmare which has come to pass. They’re still at the poker table, still “all in”, and it has come to light that they have been marking and stacking the cards, that they’d hired a corrupt dealer and, now, that deck has been withdrawn. In the current hand, they’re holding “garbage” and Trump, Barr, and others are calling their bluffs.

        Only recently some press pundit proposed what amounted to “letting Trump off” with just a censure in return for his promise not to seek re-election.

        These people are desperate, know they’re guilty as hell, have not a legal leg to stand on and that this is going all the way to a bitter end. Their bitter end if they can’t come up with something.

  5. Biph

    I view this in largely the same way I do the Clinton impeachment political theater for the impeaching parties base, but this one will be over far enough from the election that it’s effect will be negligible, unlike the Repubs in 1998 who lost a few races because the impeachment and trial took place much closer to election day.

    1. DHG

      By next week it will be, He was impeached, really, it will be off the radar with the constant drumbeat of babble from the MSM

    1. Adam1

      It could also explain Pelosi’s sudden desire to delay. If she’s concluded that the Senate really is just going to ram rode this done, better to delay until some time in January to ensure Sanders and Warren don’t have time to personally canvas and tour IA and NH where personal meetings are important to wins. That would benefit Biden for sure.

    2. JTMcPhee

      In this shemozzle, one might ask what the Dem Party, LLC, has as its Prime Directive. My take is that it’s protecting the Spoils System ™ from which their class profits so admirably, at any cost. By keeping the unbeneficed, and their current Great Hope, Sanders, completely away from the levers of power.

      So prolonging the process, with timing to maximize damage to the Bernie Bus, would be the optimum. Already established that the DemCorp does not want to rule, let alone govern as mopes would understand the term.

      The Bernie campaign must be wasting a lot of energy trying to game out the many ways the Dems could play this out, trying to figure out how to keep momentum going if and exactly their guy is sidelined by having to attend the Trial of the Century.

      What kind of political economy do we want, anyway? And how do us mopes go about achieving it?

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Absolutely: dupes aside, the #McResistance TM secretly prefers Trump to a Sanders even getting the D nomination. They get to bray and strike moral poses, while being enriched – fundraising, book deals, clicks, ratings: ka-ching!) – by him.

      Trump and his phony opposition have (temporarily) overturned the laws of thermodynamics, and created a a perpetual motion machine of venality.

    4. jrs

      To win the impeachment (in the House only of course, as I don’t see any miracle by which he gets impeached in the Senate though it’s a nice fantasy) and end up losing the election itself to Trump would be literal tragedy. Maybe not for Pelosi, but for everyone else.

    5. Skip Intro

      It’s worse than that… as evidence about Biden’s emoluments emerges, right-thinking Democrats will need to double-down on the infallibility of Biden, and he will be propped up by sheer cognitive dissonance enough to be placed in the nomination on the 2nd vote. The Ukraine story is looking increasingly like a trap the dems couldn’t resist.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Isn’t part of the tragedy that it’s a trap of the Democrats’ own making?

        Russiagate propaganda and delusions (combined with magical thinking about what impeachment could accomplish) were not something imposed on them; they willingly did this to themselves, and us.

        Trump is going to go bats#*t crazy with this next fall, to his great benefit, and all thanks to the #McResistance TM, i.e., factions in the national security bureaucracy, the purportedly anti-Trump corporate media, and the Clinton/Obama/Donor Class wing of the Democratic Party. Their venality and herd-like groupthink, bears a lot of responsibility for this train-wreck-in-motion.

        1. Skip Intro

          Your insightful diagnosis illuminates just why this trap was so irresistible. They forgot their gaslight isn’t the sun…

  6. Bob


    Could it be that Ms. Pelosi is playing the only negotiating card she has?

    And what will she trade it for ?

  7. jeremyharrison

    The manner in which the House executed the Impeachment Inquiry was like dropping a dead fish into the laps of the Independent voters, and the voters in the swing states. The polls are flashing so.

    Now, withholding it from the Senate so the Senate cannot conduct a trial is like dropping a dead whale into those same laps.

      1. pretzelattack

        artfully presently like most menu photos–on a bed of organic brown rice, with a couple of lemon slices– and the dish comes with a side of vick’s vaporub you can discreetly rub under your nose.

  8. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    How very little discussion of the fact: no treason, bribery, or high crimes. The Dems said it was about “upholding the law” but then made a “case” in which no laws were broken. “Oh oh it’s our solemn duty to the Constitution”…really? So you chose a path that The Constitution and the framers specifically put in safeguards to protect against? “Oh oh he is corrupt!” said the monumentally and equally corrupt party, OMG they couldn’t even find a different country from the one where their main man Biden is on friggin video corrupting to the max.

    When RussiaGate turned into a giant face plant they knew they had nowhere to hide the reality that they had no interest whatsoever in opposing the man on policy so they grabbed the next available fantasy show to distract the voters from that fact for a little bit longer.

    And just how far past time is it for Madame Speaker to go bake cookies for her great great grandchildren. And please take the fossilized DiFi with you, eighty-friggin-nine years old.

    Sad day for the country

      1. The Historian

        Do you really think the Pelosi’s do their own grocery shopping? They are rich enough to have staff for that. I can’t imagine ever seeing Nancy in a grocery store unless it was for some political purpose. People with her wealth have to be careful with that indiscriminate mixing with the hoi polloi.

        1. jeremyharrison

          Yes, her servants probably do the shopping, but can’t have them tramping Hepatitis A and Typhus into her kitchen from the bottoms of their shoes…..

        2. jrs

          uh how difficult is it for anyone, including the proles, not to do their own grocery shopping if they don’t want to? Come now we live in an era of grocery delivery from most supermarkets.

    1. jrs

      It is sad, as Trump is engaged in bribery without any doubt with both the Ukraine and emoluments. And everyone can understand bribery, it s not complex and arcane, but they didn’t go there. And it’s not soft bribery either, not that that is good either, but he’s been so out in the open about it, so blatant.

    2. joe shmoe

      My rhetoric isn’t good. I just base my judgement on connecting dots and based on snippits of evidence that is irrefutable and straight from the horses mouth.

      Judgement: Trump is pursuing the fight against corruption.
      Evidence: Oprah Winfrey is gushing over Trump man years ago in an interview where he says if corruption gets out of control he will jump in and become president.

      Judgement: Our government is corrupted and trying to overthrow a duly elected president.
      Evidence: To much too list here. So simply listing one video with recent relevance depicting that our Judicial system is broken with corruption. Look at this video within the context of a huge, expensive Mueller investigation that found nothing but crimes related to parallel construction and unrelated to the original Russian collusion mandate. Where did the real “quid pro quo” occur?

      1. flora

        Well, having grown to certain age and its attendant skepticism, if not cynicism, I’m disinclined to accept anything “straight from the horses mouth” as proof of much. That said, however, thanks for the links. Corruption is the one thing the msm et al seems determined steer ‘the conversation’ away from. “All is for the best in this, the best, of all possible worlds.” – Voltaire (an enlightenment philosopher) in his novel “Candide”

        1. joe shmoe

          Thanks for responding.

          I guess this is what I mean by lack of rhetoric on my part. What I intended to get across with ‘horses mouth’ is that we can count on the fact that ‘they’ said it, now I agree with you, whether the content of their message is accurate or not is a different debate. I just wanted to point out that over two decades ago Trump made a claim and its come to fruition. Regardless of what you think of him, that is an impressive accomplishment. In terms of character what does it mean? I guess reliability (i.e., if I say I’m going to do something and I do it, its evidence the person holds in high regard their promises). That is valuable for us, we know what to expect. Keep in mind that is just one data point, there is other evidence of this in his internet footprint.

          I had to look up the quote, because I don’t know what it means. Are you referring to my naivety or Trumps? Or are you referring to insurmountable odds? Or none of the above?

          I would be careful with fatalistic attitude.

          There are people on the planet who are incredible and single handidly change the world. That is the premise of capitalism, we don’t know where they come from, and we don’t know what drives them, but as long as they don’t stomp on other people’s inalienable rights, they must be free to do as they like. That is our fatal flaw, we can’t look beyond our capabilities, our ego, so how can it be possible?

          History time and time again has shown how our human race has benefited from these people even after they are persecuted. History time and time again has shown socialist tyrants who think they know what’s best for everyone and they cause misery and pain to the human race.

          Trump is slipping in to stop the socialist on the brinks of completing the dismantling of the founding principles of this country. He is enabling the great people to pull us into the future by their accomplishments.

          We should be grateful and be supportive.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    At The Conservative Treehouse, Sundance theorizes that the purpose of the articles of impeachment was to create an argument in pending court cases for the “legal” release of information discovered during mueller’s investigation.

    Remember, the Mueller evidence was gathered during a counterintelligence investigation, which means all things Trump -including his family and business interests- were subject to unbridled surveillance for two years; and a host of intelligence gathering going back in time indefinitely. A goldmine of political opposition research.

    Obviously if Jerry Nadler could get his hands on this material it would quickly find its way into the DNC, and ultimately to the 2020 democrat candidate for president. This material would also be fuel for a year of leaks to DC media who could exploit rumor, supposition, and drops of information that Andrew Weissmann and team left to be discovered.

    We know from the alignment of interests it is likely Jerry Nadler and his legal Lawfare contractors are well aware of exactly what Weissmann and Co. created for them to discover. The problem for the House team(s) is they need legal authority to obtain it and then utilize it to frame and attack President Trump.

    Apparently Sundance’s idea is that house attorneys can argue that the information is needed for a pending senate trial, making it more likely that the courts will release grand jury testimony which is supposed to remain secret. A quick senate trial would make that argument moot, and the information would not be available for use against Trump in the presidential campaign.

    It’s an interesting theory, and seems to explain the rush to “impeach” on pretty thin grounds, and then refusing to follow through based on the composition of the senate, which is nothing new.

    Plenty more at the link, which is worth a read when trying to understand what the hell is going on.

  10. foghorn longhorn

    Was watching some Carlin the other day,
    “If you are born in this time, you are born into a freak show. If you are born in the usa, you got a front row seat.”

    The only thing missing are the clowns, we want clowns, damn it!

    1. The Historian

      Wasn’t this impeachment process a circus? I thought there were plenty of clowns in that freak show!

    2. jrs

      If we are born in this time, we are born to die, as the excellent Lana Del Rey song goes. Well that’s ALWAYS so, but I mean we get a front row ticket to die in the end of the world, complete ecosystem collapse. That’s the time we got to be born in! Wee …

  11. Louis Fyne

    Tulsi gabbard is the only Democrat who’ll come out of this looking better than before. In my opinion

    Election night 2020 is going to be a wild night

    1. ChrisPacific

      She is getting attacked relentlessly for it on my Facebook feed. Apparently she didn’t feel she could vote no because he was obviously guilty, and didn’t feel she could vote yes due to procedural concerns similar to the ones Lambert raised a while back (she had previously expressed concern that it be brief, targeted and not turn into a partisan circus, although she was a little difficult to hear over the calliope music and elephants in the background).

      Lots of people are apparently viewing it as a kind of Democrat loyalty test that she failed.

  12. Alternate Delegate

    I’m confused. Refusing to forward the charges to the Senate may be the only sensible thing Pelosi has done.

    “We will forward the charges to a Senate that is prepared to do its duty.”

    Refuse to treat with Mitch’s clown show. Now that you have a majority on record for impeachment, keep putting through all the other charges (yes, including Mueller’s). Keep adding to the bill. No need to present the bill to the customer who can’t / won’t pay.

    But this is doing basically what is necessary for putting Trump in prison after office. Also, for securing a precedent that pardoning yourself and your partners in crime doesn’t count.

    (And if Trump actually does shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, you forward the charges before the body is cold, and even the clowns will vote for removal.)

  13. Local to Oakland

    My guess is that it is important that they had a public impeachment hearing the day the Horowitz Fbi report dropped. It would have made a bigger splash otherwise.

    Trump’s stated motive for the Ukraine call is related to the Fbi surveillance of his campaign. I think he feels the investigation, and the fact that a different candidate would have been given a defensive briefing re suspicions about his staff as an existential insult.

    My sense is that they had always planned an impeachment with this timing based on Mueller. Someone just wouldn’t give up that plan when circumstances changed.
    That doesn’t leave time to build a thorough record.

    1. anon in so cal

      Of course the “suspicions” about Trump’s staff were concocted “suspicions,” which apparently refer to the shenanigans occurring as early as March of 2016 in London, involving Mifsud and Papadopolous. Mifsud attempted to entrap P and the Trump campaign with promises that Russia had “dirt on Hillary Clinton.” So, the real outrage was not that these suspicions were not shared but rather that they were generated in the first place.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, and unhinged vectors of TDS in the media pumped the moronic implausibility that Trump has been a Russian asset since the 1980’s (as per the Steele report), yet simultaneously had a s#*theel College Republican-type volunteer, who still had his high school Model UN participation on his resume, involved in deep cloak and dagger stuff during a campaign Trump never expected to win.

        How embarrassing, yet there’s not a hint of self-reflection among these people…

  14. Carolinian

    Trump did it — or more accurately, he tried to do it.

    Was that ever even proven? Doesn’t the transcript show otherwise? Why do even skeptics take news reports at face value?

    And far from not changing people’s minds some polls are now showing Trump’s approval rating to be going up. The reality that it is the Dems who are trying to break down the Constitutional order (in the name of saving it) and their “principles” are on the same level as Newt Gingrich who tried this stunt earlier–not a complement.

    1. marym

      Transcript shows he did it (pg 2-3). Mulvaney said he did it. Trump said he did it (timeline entry Sept. 22 and 23, 2019). Links below.

      Far from the worst thing he’s done, or Bush or Obama have done, and surely not a greater threat to “our democracy” than voter suppression or money in politics. So it was absurd to base impeachment on it, unless it had been part of a broader set of issues of corruption, self-dealing, and harm.

      1. Carolinian

        On the other hand Turley said “not on this record,” Zelensky denies it and there have been claims that Schiff edited his version of the transcript to make well separated statements look like a quid pro quo.

        Guess my point is that something shouldn’t be treated as undisputed by supposedly objective sources when they are in fact disputed.

        1. marym

          The transcript (the partial readout that is the “transcript” referenced by media and byTrump when he says “read the transcript”) was posted on the WH website.

          1. Carolinian

            I can’t claim to be following this as closely as you but apparently there was an edited version of the WH transcript that was issued by Schiff’s office and that is what I am referencing.

            Honestly, for some of us, this is all “wake me when it’s over.” I’m opposed to all impeachments and I’m not even sure about Nixon’s.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Lambert read the entire press conference where Mulvaney reportedly said Trump “did it.” The press cherry picked and misrepresented what he said. That is why he made a statement mere hours later saying he did not say Trump did it. It was not a walkback. It was an effort to counter the distortion of what he had said.

      3. integer

        I’ve read the transcript a few times and regardless of what the anti-Trump media says, there was no quid pro quo, bribery, or extortion. I’ve read a lot of your comments in the years since Trump was elected and imo you have never been objective on anything Trump-related, despite your efforts to appear so.

  15. petal

    Sorry, still waking up and it was very cold out this morning, so please forgive my writing. When I went to the Sanders rally in the Autumn, he swore Trump would be impeached by Christmas(which has happened). He made it seem like the goal was to get him out of office before the 2020 election. Then the D candidate can just walk into the WH. The crowd lapped it up and went wild. I reckon they think they can’t beat him head on, so they are going to beat him by removing him from office through impeachment.

    Here is what I wrote in my piece about the Warren rally:

    “She said she believes in the rule of law including for the President(big applause). Congress has a Constitutional responsibility to begin impeachment proceedings. She said she read all 442 pages of the Mueller report and that it said a hostile foreign government interfered in the 2016 election, Trump welcomed that help, and did all he could to obstruct the investigation. In Ukraine, Trump openly broke the law by using taxpayer money as bait to have the Ukrainian government go after Trump’s rival. She said he did this in China as well. She has a fundamental belief that no one is above the law, and it is time for some accountability in Washington, and this is a “really perilous time for our country.””

    To me, the mindset reeks of defeatism, and sneaking in the back way. I am an unaffiliated(independent) voter in NH. They have been losing me and this was the last straw. Instead of focusing on things that could/would make my life better, or fixing what needs to be fixed or calling attention to those things, they are screwing around on this impeachment garbage and to me that seems like empty virtue signaling, nothing more. Ignore the voters at your peril. They are going to blow it again, just watch….”Here, hold my beer.”

    Have a good day, all. Cheers.

    1. petal

      Or, they think if they cannot remove him through the impeachment process, the impeachment itself will be a millstone around Trump’s neck come election time, and that will cause enough of an advantage for the D’s to beat him.

      1. ambrit

        The impeachment will cement Trump’s ‘base.’ Nothing says ‘movement’ better than some persecution. Trump has been spinning the entire march to impeachment as a persecution of him, and through him, the ‘deplorables’ as a class. Never mind that his actual policies are hurting the ‘deplorables.’ This is a case where ‘appearance’ beats ‘reality.’

    2. jrs

      I don’t care if the left plays dirty or clean. I only care that we implement needed social changes. The obsession with playing clean is a fools errand when the other side is dirty as all get go. But this winning should be by running a good candidate? Well yea, ideally – tell it to Corbyn though. While the absolute worst candidates around the world keep winning. But I do worry this deals a heavy blow to both Sanders and Warren if it distracts from the campaign trail.

      Throw Trump out of office and then elect Sanders I say, but in reality, Dems don’t actually have the power to do the first and Reps are unlikely to.

      1. petal

        But don’t claim you’re all clean when you’re not. Any “change” they then try to enact will be followed around by stench a la Pigpen from Charlie Brown. And it will undermine it. Not to mention it’s handing ammunition to the other party. I see it as trying for a short term gain that won’t last instead of a solid, long term gain. Shortsighted. And Warren is doing enough damage to herself on her own.

      2. inode_buddha

        You won’t get any social changes by playing dirty — thats how we got into this mess in the first place.

  16. Local to Oakland

    The Spectator wrote an article saying that Pelosi’s move to hold back the articles of impeachment from the Senate is equivalent to a bill of attainder. If true, that’s a problem.

    1. Alternate Delegate

      And why would you believe that? “Two plus two is five.” “Ignorance is Knowledge.” “Writing down what the King did wrong is exactly like throwing someone in the Bastille without trial.”

  17. anon in so cal

    According to Larry C Johnson, the FBI and CIA were planning to go after every candidate, including Bernie Sanders, if the candidate appeared to be a threat to Hillary Clinton’s victory. This suggests the permanent war state had big plans for HRC, including escalating the hostilities against Russia in Syria.

    Adam Schiff’s closing statements suggest impeachment was always and only about Russia. Trump’s phone call to Zelensky suggested to Dems that there was a pause in U.S. aid to Ukraine. The aid is used to assist Ukraine’s attempted ethnic cleansing of Russians in the eastern provinces.

    I keep repeating that both parties refuse to acknowledge or investigate the 2014 U.S. putsch in Ukraine, which is the crux of the issue.

    1. integer

      This suggests the permanent war state had big plans for HRC, including escalating the hostilities against Russia in Syria.

      Clinton’s support from prominent neocons made it fairly obvious that this was the case.

  18. ptb

    Re: Pelosi’s move to delay (or just a suggestion at this point?)

    Hmm, when the impeachment investigation started, I was not expecting it to leave the House, but this is not what I had in mind. Certainly doesn’t give the impression of confidence.

    Maybe just delaying a week to see what the polls say now that they’ve kinda-sorta pulled the trigger. (would be quite lame)

    Maybe they’re buying time to finish buying or selling some stocks ;-)

    Maybe they don’t want to do all the high stress behind the scenes horse trading over the holidays. Or maybe they do but it’s just not done yet. I can totally see Pelosi trading McConnell a couple dozen conservative judge confirmations in exchange for the Senate allowing Dems bring a few witnesses.

    What I don’t see is how a delay puts any pressure whatsoever on the Senate.

    1. marym

      McConnell doesn’t need Pelosi to stack the judiciary.
      Slate 12/18/2019

      While the House of Representatives debates articles of impeachment against Donald Trump on Wednesday, the Senate will confirm 13 of the president’s judicial nominees. The continued churn of Trump’s judicial confirmation machine ensures that the impact of his soon-to-be-tainted presidency will be felt for decades.

      Because Senate Republicans unilaterally changed the chamber’s rules, the Senate is able to expedite the confirmation of these nominations in little more than a day. It remains unclear whether Democrats will force every vote or minute of available debate to slow the process down, even a little. Each nominee will be elevated to a lifetime appointment on a federal district court. Trump has already placed 120 judges on district courts; after Wednesday’s vote, he will have appointed nearly one-fifth of all district court judges. (He has also appointed 50 judges to the federal courts of appeals—more than a quarter of all appellate judges—as well as two Supreme Court justices.)

  19. inode_buddha

    ““We will forward the charges to a Senate that is prepared to do its duty.””


    A. — this is all just a show to make the Dems feel better
    about having “done something”, or;

    B. — She is waiting for a Senate Majority to actually convict and remove.

    Either way, this gives the Dems some breathing room in which to maneuver before the elections.

    As for myself, I cannot believe the sheer hypocrisy of these people. Hypocrisy is not what we are electing them for nor is it what we are paying them for. Most of Congress should be sacked ASAP.

  20. p. fitzsimon

    I wrote my congressman to delay handing the articles to the senate until they received an agreement from mcconnell on witnesses and procedure that would provide some semblance of a rational and reasonable trial. It would be folly to allow the senate to proceed unimpeded. To do otherwise would put the wistleblower and other witnesses in harms way. Let the articles hang if necessary until Trump leaves r in November or four more years.

  21. Bill Carson

    Trump supporters are coming out of the woodwork on my facebook feed. While these people were going to vote for Trump anyway (i.e., “OnlyTrumpers”), it certainly has heightened their resolve to go to the polls. And many of those people are in the working class and might otherwise have been reachable by the Sanders camp.

    1. notabanker

      Is the “base” voting for Trump? Are are they voting anti-Democrat? Did the Brits vote for Bojo or did they vote against Labour?

      I don’t think Sanders will have any issue beating Trump, but I think it is a stretch that he will be given the opportunity. Any other candidate they put forth loses.

  22. Harry Stottle

    Renowned Professor Tribe writes: “Senate rules requiring the House to “immediately” present its articles of impeachment to the Senate clearly violate the constitutional clause in Article I giving each house the sole power to make its own rules.” This brilliant logician actually is arguing that the clause which gives “each house the sole power to make its own rules” prohibits the Senate from making its own rules.

  23. farmboy

    Does this somehow “inoculate” the Bidens in Ukraine for their perfidy? If Trump isn’t guilty then how can the Bidens or anyone else be ?

  24. rps

    The Democrats have been at war since the election results of November 8, 2016, but not with President Trump. They’re at war with “We the People” living in the rust belt of America, the fly-over America, the breadbasket regions of our country. They’re at war against the people who provide the daily food for the East and West Coast tables. They’re at war against the hardworking people trying to scrape together a living because their livelihoods have been ravaged by trade policies such as NAFTA and WTO. They’re at war against the people who do the living and dying in their rural communities; in a Country where their land, their work, has been bought and sold by foreign entities. American land no longer owned by Americans. They’re at war against families who send their children off to Wars in foreign lands; not for democracy and freedom as they were told; but for politicians greed and corporate gains of resources. They are the people who were sold lies by ideologue politicians pocketing 30 pieces of silver. They are We the People of this Country Hillary Clinton dismissed with a backhanded smirk as the Deplorables.

    Today, in their echo chamber of anger against a president the breadbasket of America voted for as the winner of the 2016 election, the Democrats are proclaiming on the Hill the glory of an inglorious war against We the People who refuse to submit to defeat.

    To quote a line from Apocalypse, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like victory.”

    They’re wrong about that smell. That gasoline smell of victory is the smell on the Democrat party Hill gone up in smoke and the rising tide of We the People-

    1. jrs

      Enjoy your food stamp and disability cuts.

      Yes I criticized Obama all the time when it mattered, W back in his heyday.

  25. NoBrick

    “But Seriously”, “You Cannot Be Serious” with all your eulogiums and exhortations on the
    constitution, starting with your “the founders knew or they thought, or they meant” assumptions.

    The rhetoric, based on mind reading-“the art of conjecturing or stochastics” has yet to
    provide “salvation” to the subordinates of “club members” credentialed by family histories,
    elite schools, or votes. The vote of “we the people” doesn’t undermine the cabal of
    UNelected dictators calling the shots or dropping the bombs.

    Reducing the “conflict” to a ride on the high horse of “popular” indignation, pitched by
    the “savior” opinionaters, doesn’t change the pudding. Pretending “it’s” settled by the
    vote is still pretending.

  26. JeffK

    Regarding Seattle Times; Danny Westneat’s point comparing Clinton and Trump impeachments:

    …”Democrats have a similar scale problem here. Trump did it — or more accurately, he tried to do it. He’s incorrigible about it, too. So he won’t have a smidgen of hesitation about abusing his office again if it means gaining some personal advantage.”…

    Lying to congress about a consentual sexual affair with Ms. Lewinski is at the opposite end of the “scale” from lying about extortion for political advantage. This is not a similarly scaled infraction. We have every reason to believe that Bill Clinton’s behavior was corrected after his infraction was made public. In contrast, we have every reason to believe that Donald Trump will continue to seek foreign influence in his reelection because he has done so since the extortion allegation was made public. That behavior needs to stop.

    Westneat was likely suggesting that he thought that leaving out the findings of the Mueller investigation, and proceeding with just two impeachment articles from the Ukraine affair was too thin a case. He overlooks the problem that the Intelligence and Judicial committees could not generate sufficient evidence for further articles without the testimony of Don McGhan and others who were stonewalling or ordered not to testify, and whose appearance before these committees was likely to be held up indefinitely in the courts.

    Westneat then jumps to the GOP talking points – no crime / no foul / no pressure = not impeachable offense. So, if a robber holds you up, demanding all of of your money, but you just happen to have left your wallet at home, it is still a robbery. It is a crime. The criminal needs to be prevented from repeating robbery (attempted and successful) and needs help correcting their antisocial behavior. If you are a crazy person and decide that the best way to move around the city is to lie down and roll horizontally down the sidewalk to your destination you will likely be arrested for disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor) even though you cause no harm to the other sidewalk travelers walking normally. There might not be a specific law that addresses rolling horizontally on city sidewalks, but the judge, acting in the best interests of society, may require the sidewalk roller to undergo some corrective action to modify his behavior. Two ends of the scale of “no harm / no foul”. Both individuals need behavior modification to coexist in an orderly society.

    What I found irritating about the impeachment hearings was that the same no crime/ no foul defense was repeated over 50 times, as if the impeachment hearing was a trial. It was not. The hearing was to debate whether there was necessary and sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to support the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of congress. They didn’t need ALL of the evidence yet to be discovered to proceed with the official allegation, just the necessary and sufficient evidence – which Collins jumped all over with his “clock and calendar” – rush to judgement tirade. There were many instances where the democratic leadership called out the flawed logic and weak tactics of the GOP defense, yet they persisted, over and over as if saying it many times was a defense in its own right.

    The impeachment inquiry/proceedings of the past month taken together with the zeitgeist of apprehension swirling around the democratic presidential candidate’s campaigns makes me concerned about what I believe about democracy and what it actually is (or ever was). But, it’s important that the ideal be maintained and our shortcomings not signal that this is as good as it gets or will ever be. The torch will be passed, hopefully to more capable and talented people.

  27. teacup

    I personally liked Ralph Nader’s impeachment analysis in his interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. The clip is on YouTube. He is pissed at Pelosi for the narrow scope of what Trump is being accused of, that if you’re gonna impeach, throw everything and the kitchen sink at him, namely, what he called the ‘kitchen table’ items that the general public would better identify with, “…he’s shredded, destroyed the life saving, injury prevention and disease reduction programs of the federal government..”

    1. john ashley

      Pelosi is not a virgin here, she has to try to keep a narrow focus lest the gravy train be broken up out of fear of prosecutions over there.
      Reminds of the drug lords who will do anything to avoid extradition.

      All that money and favors doled out over the years and somehow most of it never does any good in the countries it goes to.

      Does it really go where you think?

      I knew some ruskies and even an afghan once, but they are dead now, of course!

  28. Clive

    I can’t add anything useful (my poor enfeebled brain has enough to contend with, so I’ve been deliberately avoiding impeachment-gated-community-gate or whatever this thing is that keeps interrupting my enjoyment of the evening news) except to say a huge thanks to the ever-excellent Naked Capitalism commentariat contributions above.

    I have also thoroughly enjoyed the furious Twitter war that has apparently erupted over the New York Post “Swamp Mistress Pelosi” headline. Cheered me up no end, that has.

  29. Tom Bradford

    From the point of view of a non-American the most depressing aspect of this entire business is the way respect for – or even any semblance of respect for – the truth, the actual facts, ethics, morals, objectivity, impartiality and respect itself has been buried by purely tribal partisanship and naked political maneuvering. In this affair the antics of members of both parties have utterly destroyed any claim the USA might once have had to any leadership-by-example of proper government and democracy in action. A once great Nation that was once the leading light of the world is displaying to all and sundry the petty squabblings of a third-world banana republic over the power to exploit and get rich which has in its size its only advantage, like that of a school-yard bully.

    How fortunate it is that “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” in New York Harbour has her back to you all, else she would be weeping at America’s fall.

  30. ptb

    So it seems Congress is out for the year with the matter unresolved. I wonder if the hold-up may involve how to tie up loose ends involving Giuliani and pals importing Ukraine allegations involving the Biden’s. This also is the origin of the Trump-Zelensky matter.

    Giuliani, the former mayor of 9.11, may be angling for a more prominent spot in the Trump administration (something that would be genuinely dangerous IMO). For all the trouble he caused (constitutional semi crisis, possibly changing the course of the next election), he would be tricky to prosecute, for historical reasons.

    Lengthy New Yorker article from this week presents a view of the Ukraine-Biden-Trump-Zelensky stories, with the narrative revolving around the figure of Lutsenko. It seems everyone involved is hopelessly corrupt, although importantly, not Biden

    Clear as mud.

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