The Road To Impeachment Is Long And Arduous-- But You Have To Start Somewhere
You remember when Darrell Issa was on Bill Maher's show last Friday? We covered it here, ran a video of the segment that shows how Maher and his audience pressured the gutless Issa into agreeing that any real investigation into Trump's relations with Putin requires a special prosecutor rather than a Republican white wash effort led by Richard Burr or Devin Nunes.
Issa told the audience that "You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office to take, not just to recuse. You can’t just give it to your deputy. That’s another political appointee." People who have followed Issa's singularly sleazy political career were gob-smacked that he would ever break with his beloved Trump so blatantly. The Regime is well aware that an independent special prosecutor can only lead to one thing-- impeachment (well... or resignation to avoid impeachment). By Monday, not even 3 days later, CBS News was already reporting that Issa was backing away from his call for a special prosecutor. Alan He reported that "Issa backtracked his call for a special prosecutor to look into Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election. 'I certainly could see where if there is an allegation of a crime at some point, the call for a special prosecutor makes sense. I think it’s very important to realize there’s been no allegation by any part of this administration or by anyone who’s been to the hearings about any crimes. So one of the challenges we have is a special prosecutor exists when you have an individual under suspicion. Currently we don’t have that.' A spokesman for Congressman Issa argues that he did not walk back his previous comments and rather was 'adding detail' and 'still supports an independent review of Russia-- not one led by political appointees or others who could create a conflict of interest.'" In other words, Issa hasn't changed his stripes one bit: he wants it both ways.
"The downfall," Dick Durbin told Bloomberg News on Monday, "does not come from the crime, it comes from the cover-up, and that’s what we’re dealing with now. We need to know if anyone in the Trump campaign had any direct conversations with someone from Russia. It’s hard to imagine how some of these leaks could have been so conveniently timed if there wasn’t coordination. It has to reach a point where we have public sentiment strong enough that we launch an independent, transparent investigation of what the Russians did to us. Think 9/11 [commission]." This is so not what the Trumpist Regime and Putin want to hear. I wonder if they watched the opening of Rachel Maddow's show Monday night. Now that is reporting! It's up top; if you missed it, please watch it. It's pretty amazing and ties together a lot of the kakistocracy's loose threads-- like the newly confirmed Secretary of Commerce, murder and Trump crony Wilbur Ross.
At no time should anyone expect anything better from anyone who would take a job working for Trump, people who, if Justice prevails at some time in the future, will likely face Nuremberg-style trials for what Bannon and Trump have in store for us. But what about members of Congress? Are they all going to make themselves complicit the way Issa has? Not just Issa-- no one is worse than the heads of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, respectively Richard Burr (R-NC) and Devin Nunes (R-CA). Both were told by the Regime to "leak" bullshit to journalists about Trumpanzee being innocent and both dutifully did just that-- just as their committees were beginning the process of "investigating" the Trump-Putin ties. Nunes admitted he contacted journalists at the request of a White House communications aide," probably Spicer. Burr made similar admissions. They are both compromised and unfit to have any involvement in any investigation of Trump and Russia.
Steve Benen was thinking the same way Durbin was-- the cover-up only makes these scandals worse. "While Burr and Nunes were supposed to be overseeing investigations into the Russia scandal, they were also cooperating with the White House, telling reporters not to take the Russia scandal seriously. In other words, the investigators were undermining their own investigation-- at the behest of those being investigated. There’s no shortage of questions about the developments, but there’s an obvious one near the top of the list: what happens now?
There was a push several weeks ago for a special, independent commission to uncover the facts, but Republican leaders refused, insisting the matter belonged in the hands of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Now, however, we know that those committees’ chairmen volunteered to serve as part of Team Trump’s public-relations operation, destroying any credible claims to independence they have on the matter.
Indeed, even after these developments came to light, Devin Nunes, a Trump cheerleader and member of the president’s executive transition committee, continued to carry water for the White House.
...The total of congressional Republicans who support a special investigative committee is, at this point, quite small. The club includes Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.),
and now Darrell Issa. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) didn’t fully endorse the idea, but he “left the door open to supporting an independent commission” following Michael Flynn’s resignation two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, nearly every relevant congressional Democrat has insisted that a separate investigation is entirely necessary under the circumstances. By their actions, Republicans have made the Democrats’ case far stronger.
Nunes: "The way it sounds like to me is, it’s been looked into and there’s no evidence of anything there... What I’ve been told by many folks is that there’s nothing there." Note the Trumpain "told by many folks" ruse. Nunes then tried conflated any serious investigation into Trump's shenanigans with Putin as-- wait for it-- McCarthyism "This is almost like McCarthyism revisited. We’re going to go on a witch hunt against, against innocent Americans …?”
At a press conference this morning, just before the House Judiciary Committee's markup of his Resolution of Inquiry (H.Res. 111), which will be the first legislative item Members of Congress will have to vote on concerning an investigation of Donald Trump's conflicts and Russia tie, Jerry Nadler called on Republican members to join over 130 Democrats in cosponsoring the Resolution. "The American people have many, many questions about Donald Trump," he asserted, "about his connections with Russia, about his business ties, and about his potential conflicts of interest. Is Donald Trump already violating the Constitution? Is he accepting payments from foreign powers-- so-called emoluments-- without the consent of Congress? Did Donald Trump’s campaign collude with Russia to intervene in our elections or to hack the DNC? We know the Russians broke our law to intervene in our election to try and rig the election in favor of Donald Trump. We are told that Trump campaign officials were in contact with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign. What were they talking about? Was the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians to illegally intervene in our elections? Did the candidate know or approve of working with the Russians to rig an American election? We must know the answers to these questions."
Now, many of these questions are not new. We have been asking them for months. But so far we have heard nothing. Nothing from the Trump Administration. Nothing from the Attorney General. And nothing from the Republicans in Congress. Despite our repeated efforts to seek out the truth, our calls have fallen on deaf ears.Voting along party lines today, the House Judiciary Committee rejected Nadler's resolution. The idea was to keep it from the floor, where every Republican would have go on record voting for or against requesting information on Trump's conflicts of interest and ties to Russia. After the vote, Ted Lieu, a member of the Judiciary Committee sent out a statement saying he is "disheartened that House Republicans would oppose efforts to bring transparency to the Trump Administration’s ties to Russia and business conflicts. In the past few weeks, we’ve heard of questionable interactions between Administration officials and Russian agents, yet congressional Republicans have refused to take any concrete effort to learn more about the connections. Moreover, the President has failed to adequately remove himself from his business, going so far as to host official events at his hotel. Still, Republicans have turned a blind eye to these clear conflicts of interest. The American people deserve to know the truth. We also deserve elected officials who don't shrink from their responsibilities as the people’s representatives, but do everything they can to put the interests of Americans first. Today’s debate-- or lack thereof-- suggests the contrary from my Republican colleagues."
“Well, not anymore. They can’t avoid us any longer. Today, we will have a debate and a vote.Today, we will find out who wants to know the truth and who wants to bury their heads in the sand. That is why this resolution is so important. It will finally put Members of the House Judiciary Committee on the record.
“A Resolution of Inquiry is a simple, but important, tool to obtain information from the Executive Branch. In this case, it directs the Department of Justice to provide the House of Representatives with any and all information it possesses related to any conflicts of interest, any ethical violations, and any improper ties to Russia by President Trump or his associates. That is it. A simple request for information.
“The information we request is absolutely necessary for us to be able to conduct proper oversight of this Administration. We need it so that we can do our jobs. This should not be a partisan issue. Members of the House should not object to a simple request for information. In addition, since Attorney General Sessions, who was in the Trump campaign, has refused to recuse himself from any investigation, it is not clear that he could be impartial, or that he will even conduct an investigation at all. Therefore, we must ensure that we in the House get access to any information the Department of Justice has so that we can do our own investigation.
“More than 130 Members have cosponsored this resolution. We have gotten phone calls from tens of thousands of our constituents who support it, and I have received more than 837,000 signed petitions calling on us to pass it. The American people want answers. They want the truth. The Judiciary Committee has a chance to help them get it. I look forward to the debate and the vote.
Let me just say again-- the DCCC has never fielded a candidate to challenge Nunes in his Central Valley district. Never. CA-22-- the eastern part of Fresno, plus Clovis to the north and Visalia and Tulare to the south-- is 46% Hispanic and 10% Asian and African-American. Whites are now a 40% minority and the DCCC should have been cultivating this changing district for years. They haven't. If there were to start in this cycle-- they would be starting fresh. if not now, though, when? One of the worst aspects of the DCCC is that there is now one there capable of thinking beyond the current cycle. They have-- at least since Pelosi brought Emanuel in to run/ruin it-- lacked strategic thinkers capable of even understanding that long term plans are just as important as immediate campaigns.