Stuff to Read About Impeachment

ABC News has an audio tape of Trump screaming that Marie Yovanovitch must be “taken out.” Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were present at whatever event was taped. I’m seeing other news sources saying the tape was leaked by Fruman.

David Graham, The Atlantic: Republicans Are Making a Kafkaesque Argument.

If nothing else, the tape shows, again, how much evidence we still haven’t seen about the Ukraine affair. And it underscores the elaborate, slippery dance that Senate Republicans are performing. First, they vote against gathering new witnesses and evidence at the start of the impeachment trial. Second, they complain that Democratic managers are offering no new evidence. Third, they say that it is pointless to call witnesses who might provide new evidence, because the White House will simply block them. In Trump’s Washington, Kafka seems quaint.

Charles Pierce:

It is possible that the president* was suggesting Parnas treat Yovanovich to a nice dinner and a movie, but I doubt it.

It is here where we all should remember that, if he had wanted to, the president* could have fired and/or recalled Marie Yovanovich himself and not given any reason at all. He’s the president*. He can do that. Of course, there would have been gossip, and some inconvenient news coverage, and Yovanovich likely would have made a lot of noise, but there would have been no doubt that the president* was within his rights to do what he did.

Instead, because he left his guts somewhere in Queens, he had to get Rudy Giuliani and his band of Volga Bagmen involved, which ultimately forced every one of them, including the president*, to lie and obstruct Congress and, thereafter, lie about how they obstructed Congress. They are the Gang That Couldn’t Obstruct Straight. So now it is clear that both Parnas and Igor Fruman, his partner in sleaze, have flipped like circus acrobats, and god alone knows what else will come out. Who knows how many tapes exist of the president* proposing who knows how many crimes? I would think, given recent developments, the president*’s relationship with Saudi Arabia might be a target-rich environment.

This may be the best column Dana Milbank ever wrote — John Roberts comes face to face with the mess he made.

Roberts’s captivity [as the impeachment judge] is entirely fitting: He is forced to witness, with his own eyes, the mess he and his colleagues on the Supreme Court have made of the U.S. political system. As representatives of all three branches of government attend this unhappy family reunion, the living consequences of the Roberts Court’s decisions, and their corrosive effect on democracy, are plain to see.

Ten years to the day before Trump’s impeachment trial began, the Supreme Court released its Citizens United decision, plunging the country into the era of super PACs and unlimited, unregulated, secret campaign money from billionaires and foreign interests. Citizens United, and the resulting rise of the super PAC, led directly to this impeachment. The two Rudy Giuliani associates engaged in key abuses — the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, the attempts to force Ukraine’s president to announce investigations into Trump’s political opponents — gained access to Trump by funneling money from a Ukrainian oligarch to the president’s super PAC.

Gabriel Sherman writes at Vanity Fair that Trump is unraveling.

Trump’s circle is waking up to the notion that impeachment is a serious drag on his campaign. “Impeachment is drowning out all his accomplishments,” a Republican insider said. But impeachment is only one aspect of the problem. Inside the campaign there is an intensifying debate between Trump and his advisers about whether the campaign should run on base-incitement issues like immigration or a moderate-appealing message about the economy that could win back suburban voters. “They’re all trying to get Trump to run on general election issues and not get caught up in side issues,” a source close to the campaign said. “But Trump is focused on other stuff and going after [Joe] Biden.” …

… Meanwhile, Trump has been in a particularly foul mood as impeachment drags on. Trump recently told some Republicans that he decided to say “fuck it” and kill General Qasem Soleimani, according to a source briefed on the conversation. Trump’s mood has the West Wing bracing for a new round of staff turmoil. According to sources, Trump is unhappy with Kushner’s recent Time cover story, which showed Kushner posing solemnly inside the magazine’s iconic red border. One source said there is speculation inside the West Wing that Trump may rein in Kushner by bringing in Kushner antagonist Chris Christie to replace acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. According to one source, Kushner, perhaps realizing the problems the cover could cause, lobbied Matt Drudge not to link to the article.

During hours of arguments, on Thursday afternoon and late into the night, that were meant as a prebuttal to Trump’s forthcoming defense, the House managers sought to anticipate and undercut the arguments of the President’s lawyers. The best witnesses they called were all the President’s men. The managers presented video clip after video clip demolishing the President as a mere parrot of Russian propaganda, who repeated Russian-inspired falsehoods about the 2016 campaign and his Presidential rival Joe Biden, even as he withheld crucial aid to Russia’s enemy, Ukraine. There was “no information” to support Trump’s insistence that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election; it was “completely debunked,” a “fictional narrative” divorced from anything having to do with U.S. foreign policy or its national interest. Trump’s accusers were not #NeverTrump Republicans or Democrats. They were senior officials in the Trump Administration. It was devastating.

Glasser also writes that many Republican senators became excited at the mention of Biden. It turns out they were thinking this would give them an opening to subpoena Biden. Then some of them probably remembered they weren’t to allow witnesses, because Trump and McConnell want the trial over by the end of January. Can’t stomp on the SOTU, you know.

9 thoughts on “Stuff to Read About Impeachment

  1. I read Dana Milbank's column, and see it as projection. I doubt if Roberts realizes any of this. If anything, it's a feature not a bug.

    One thing we can count on with Republicans is that they're dumb and they almost always over-play their hand. If they acquit (likely) I'm thinking the Senate is within reach.

    I'm wondering what phone calls the R Senators are getting from their constituents. I'm certain this is one of the reasons why Moscow Mitch is rushing the hearing – to wrap it up fast before it has a chance to blow up. No dummy he.

  2. Seems to me that the Repugs should realize they've been given a gift. Pelosi and the House managers have served Trump up like a Christmas turkey. He's been cooked to perfection. And all the repugs have to do is find the courage and have the faith to reset the table. Give Trump the boot and reclaim the party with the same rabid agenda except add a sense of virtue to rebuild its image. Trump is a canker whose time has come. He has alienated virtually every segment of society to the point where his prospects of reelection have been greatly diminished. To my mind he's an extremely risky bet in carrying the party further. The greatest value he could be to the GOP is if they cash him in and redeem themselves.

     It could be wishful thinking on my part, or perhaps sound analysis, but Trump has reached his political zenith.His act has worn thin, And the time for the GOP to recalibrate is now. Pelosi has given them the perfect opportunity for a reset. They need to cash Trump's self serving ass out.. and they would look good, moral, and virtuous in doing it.

    If the blind lead the blind, they both fall in a ditch.


    • Such excellent guidance, Swami, there is just one problem.  This would break the sacred rule of Republicanism.  This rule flatly prohibits doing something that makes perfectly good sense.  It defies the parties  trend toward total Idiocracy.

    • Swami, as usual, your analysis is exquisite.  The problem is they have painted themselves into such a corner that they can't take advantage of an obvious gift like this if it even remotely looks like a victory for the democrats.

  3. I agree with moonbat. The premise of Dana Milbank's column is John Roberts feeling and suffering the punishment he deserves. Maybe Milbank has sources that can confirm it, though that seems far fetched. Despite Roberts' squirming, he might well see the election of Trump as an example of how democracy can fail in another way. He can blame the celebrity-obsessed media and ignorant, desperate, vulgar voters for the ignorant, desperate, vulgar, reality show president more than his own part in weakening the principle of "one person one vote". There's no reason to think he's upset about the no-longer-sensible electoral college, since "Constitutional Originalism" is all the rage among right intellectuals. At least when it serves their purposes.

    Since long before the design of the Constitution, "the tyranny of the majority" and "mob rule" have been a concern of those who govern. Republicans have made no secret of their contempt for the opinions of the masses. They've been expert in leading a percentage by the noses using venal and corrupt propaganda that's severely dumbed down the national political conversation. They've also enthusiastically misused raw power, especially Moscow Mitch.

    Republicans have worked through, it seems, countless channels to advance a combination of corporate feudalism and plutocracy, if not outright oligarchy. That's what we're up against.


  4. I'm cautiously optimistic about taking the Senate and having another impeachment trial next term. It was brilliant to only present two articles this round, saving ammunition for later.

    I disagree with Swami – I don't think Trump's in trouble at all. His base is solidly behind him. The R's, with Russian assistance will find a way to once again install a president with enough electoral college votes but without the the popular vote. This impeachment thing is a sideshow that McConnell had to get out of the public mind as fast as possible. Check.

    The wild card in all of this is Mike Bloomberg. He's not going the traditional campaign route, through small states like Iowa, but instead is building massive operations in swing states, such as Florida. His politics aside, I love people who can think strategically and who have the resources to execute their strategy.

    The California primary is about two+ months away, March 3rd. It was moved up, and coincides with several other states on the same date. Whether this was a good idea or not remains to be seen, but it places huge demands on candidates' resources to compete here. And so there's going to be a shakeout. My fear is that Biden is going to be the one who emerges from the mashup.

    • Loved the song.  A few of the comments  described Trump as the antichrist.  I have been thinking that for quite a while.  I am not a Christian so cannot take that literally.  However, the minds of humans are very powerful and if enough think that way, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If it is true  now all we have to do is wait for the return of Christ.  Metaphorically, of course.  But we will recognize it in the way humans treat each other.  It is the Christ consciousness.


    When RepubliKKKLANS were screaming about Obama being a "Tyrant" and a "King," that all they wanted was a white one?!?


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