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IMPEACH

Mitch McConnell Should Be Forced to Defend Trump — There’s Only One Way to Do It, and It’s Brilliant: Columnist

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In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Jonathan Alter laid out the case that Democrats should proceed immediately with impeachment hearings on Donald Trump that would have the added benefit of putting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the position of having to defend the president.

With the Democratic House Judiciary Committee expected to vote this week on how to proceed forward with impeaching the president, Alter suggested McConnell could be collateral damage in an inquiry into Trump’s crimes and corruption.

Admitting that it was unlikely that the GOP-controlled Senate would vote for impeachment if it passed out of the House, Alter suggested that there is still a benefit that could help the Democrats take down McConnell who is facing re-election.

“I could also mean something else: attacking Trump and McConnell at the same time. It may be that a winning Democratic impeachment strategy is coming into view, one that simultaneously upholds the rule of law and yields political dividends,” he wrote. “I call it ‘Stain and Blame’ —stain Trump by impeaching him, and blame McConnell when he is acquitted in the Senate. ”

To make his case, Alter used the impeachment hearings of former President Bill Clinton as a case study in post-impeachment fall-out.

“The Clinton trial took place in a Republican-controlled Senate and was presided over by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who wore a special robe embroidered with ribbons he adopted from a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. The prosecutors in the case were 12 ‘House Managers’ (including then-Rep. Lindsey Graham); the defense was handled by Clinton’s private lawyers—including a brilliant, wheelchair-bound litigator named Charles Ruff—and one Democratic senator, Dale Bumpers,” he explained before noting the proceeding were “humiliating” for Clinton.

“This time, the trial in the well of the Senate would be presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts, who, like Rehnquist, would run it like a quasi-trial, with evidence, witnesses (who would likely appear in person) and summations. Nadler and others from the House Judiciary Committee would serve as prosecutors. Trump would have private lawyers defending him. The senators would be the jury,” he continued as he once again conceded the GOP controlled Senate would likely not impeach Trump.

But…

“If the Clinton case is any indication, a week-long Senate trial would wrap up only a month or so after impeachment. That means the whole thing would be over in January or February. The Democrats could shower blame on McConnell for the acquittal and move on,” he wrote. “By summer, Democratic members would have had plenty of time to refocus their attention on constituent concerns. No Republican challenger can credibly argue in October of 2020 that the incumbent Democrat ignored constituents for a brief period 10 months earlier while he or she voted for impeachment. People can’t remember what happened two weeks ago, much less 10 months ago.”

“With one exception: The impeachment of the President. The memories of that are long. Despite his acquittal, impeachment—a convenient shorthand for all of his despicable qualities—would hang around Donald Trump’s neck all the way to Election Day. And he would be stained forever in history, his just deserts,” Alter concluded.

You can read more here (subscription required).

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IMPEACH

Kellyanne Conway’s Husband Scorches Democrats for Not Impeaching Trump in Blistering WaPo Op-Ed

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President Donald Trump has been “emboldened” by congressional inaction, according to a powerful new op-ed published Friday evening by The Washington Post.

The bipartisan appeal was written by prominent Republican attorney George Conway, who is the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Neal Katyal, who served as the acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration.

“A whistleblower in U.S. intelligence lodged a complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general so alarming that he labeled it of ‘urgent concern’ and alerted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Though the details remain secret, apparently this much can be gleaned: The complaint is against the president. It concerns a ‘promise’ that the president made, in at least one phone call, with a foreign leader. And it involves Ukraine and possible interference with the next presidential election,” the two wrote.

“The complaint is being brazenly suppressed by the Justice Department — in defiance of a whistleblower law that says, without exception, the complaint ‘shall’ be turned over to Congress,” they continued.

“We also know this: As he admitted Thursday night on CNN, the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has been trying to persuade the Ukrainian government to investigate, among other things, one of Trump’s potential Democratic opponents, former vice president Joe Biden, and Biden’s son Hunter about the latter’s involvement with a Ukrainian gas company,” they added.

Related: George Conway Tweets Links Tying Trump to Accused Child Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein

Conway and Katyal explained the implications of the scandal.

“So it appears that the president might have used his official powers — in particular, perhaps the threat of withholding a quarter-billion dollars in military aid — to leverage a foreign government into helping him defeat a potential political opponent in the United States,” they explained. “If Trump did that, it would be the ultimate impeachable act. Trump has already done more than enough to warrant impeachment and removal with his relentless attempts, on multiple fronts, to sabotage the counterintelligence and criminal investigation by then-special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and to conceal evidence of those attempts.”

Trump’s Ukraine scandal is “even worse” than his Russia scandal, the two argued.

“Unlike the allegations of conspiracy with Russia before the 2016 election, these concern Trump’s actions as president, not as a private citizen, and his exercise of presidential powers over foreign policy with Ukraine. Moreover, with Russia, at least there was an attempt to get the facts through the Mueller investigation; here the White House is trying to shut down the entire inquiry from the start — depriving not just the American people, but even congressional intelligence committees, of necessary information,” they note.

The also offered harsh criticism of House Democrats.

“It is high time for Congress to do its duty, in the manner the framers intended. Given how Trump seems ever bent on putting himself above the law, something like what might have happened between him and Ukraine — abusing presidential authority for personal benefit — was almost inevitable. Yet if that is what occurred, part of the responsibility lies with Congress, which has failed to act on the blatant obstruction that Mueller detailed months ago,” they argued. “Congressional procrastination has probably emboldened Trump, and it risks emboldening future presidents who might turn out to be of his sorry ilk.”

Read the full column.

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IMPEACH

Some Among Democratic Base Grow Increasingly Frustrated as Pelosi Issues Statement Chastising Trump Over Whistleblower

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Statement  Does Not  Say ‘Impeachment’

Some among the Democratic base appear frustrated with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who has not been supportive of the majority of House Democrats who want to impeach President Donald Trump. Friday afternoon the Speaker quietly issued a lengthy statement responding to the bombshell news that a whistleblower has filed a “credible” and “urgent” complaint with the intelligence community.

Pelosi’s statement, which was not posted to her social media accounts as of this writing, made its way through Twitter via a handful of reporters.

“If the President has done what has been alleged, then he is stepping into a dangerous minefield with serious repercussions for his Administration and our democracy,” Pelosi said, as a Politico congressional reporter pointed out:

Nearly two-thirds of House Democrats support impeaching Trump, or beginning a formal impeachment inquiry at the very least, according to Politico. But the majority of the nation does not, nor do a majority of Democratic voters, according to recent polls.

“Only 37 percent support beginning impeachment proceedings, while half oppose it,” Politco reports, citing its own polls.

Speaker Pelosi’s statement concludes with this:

“We will continue to follow the facts and explore every possible option to ensure the American people get the truth. We would hope that Republicans would join us in supporting the Constitution.”

Some online are calling her statement “weak,” while others are disappointed with the lack of specific threats of action, and others are expressing exasperation with the Speaker not supporting impeachment:

RELATED STORIES:

Watch: Nancy Pelosi Brilliantly Explains Why She Has Disinvited Trump From Delivering State of the Union

Nancy Pelosi Comes Out Swinging: Mocking Trump in Every Direction

White House Wanted to Catch and ‘Deport’ Caravan Migrants – to the Streets of Nancy Pelosi’s District as Political Payback

 

 

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IMPEACH

Trump Tries to Reframe Whistleblower’s Allegations as Just ‘Dicey’ Conversation – Declares ‘Nothing Said Wrong’

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Knowing that Fox News has barely covered the explosive allegations from an anonymous intelligence official’s whistleblower complaint, President Donald Trump Friday morning was hard at work trying to reframe the allegations to his base.

Based on multiple Washington Post reports, the whistleblower is alleging President Trump committed repeated acts that were considered so troubling the intel community’s inspector general called the whistleblower’s complaint “credible” and “urgent.”

They include Trump apparently withholding U.S. Military aid from Ukraine in an attempt to strong-arm that nation’s new president into digging up dirt against his top political opponent, Joe Biden.

If true, legal experts say, it is not only impeachable, but a criminal offense.

Trump Friday morning is claiming there are multiple whistleblowers, which if true is news, and they are “highly partisan,” which he puts in quotes as if to suggest the media has characterized them that way, which is false.

He also suggests the media is minimizing what the complaint alleges: he claims the media is calling his threat to withhold military aid merely “a ‘dicey’ conversation.”

And he’s of course claiming “there was nothing said wrong,” but then, curiously seems to admit to a conversation, saying “it was pitch perfect!”

Here’s how Trump is spinning what could possibly be the end of his presidency:

 

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