Thursday, March 02, 2017

Is Today's R Word Recuse or Resign?


I was a close friend of Harvey Milk's when he was serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with Dianne Feinstein. He was very progressive and she was very conservative. His intense dislike for her in our conversations in the back of his Castro Street camera shop colored my own feelings towards her. Harvey was assassinated by a crackpot Republican who had just resigned from the Board and Mayor George Moscone was killed the same day but the same GOP maniac. When Feinstein ran in the special election to win the mayoralty, I supported Jello Biafra. That was in 1978 and I'm proud to say I've never voted for her for anything she's ever run for. She's a weird amalgam of a Democrat and a Republican and, sure enough, today she called on Comrade Sessions to either recuse himself from any of the scandals involving Putin and Trump (Putin-Gate) or resign.

By early this morning, just hours after the Sessions explosion, the Republican position was moving slowly towards embracing recusal while the Democrats had moved on to demanding resignation. (Remember, over a week ago PPP was already reporting that the public was already demanding-- 58% to 29%-- that the investigation into Putin-Gate be independent of Trump toadies like Sessions, Nunes, Burr, etc

Although there were still plenty of ultra-partisan reactionaries sticking with the Regime-- Ted Cruz for example was on Morning Joe early Thursday insisting that "The underlying meeting is a nothing burger"-- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was on the same show whimpering that he thinks it would be "easier" if Sessions recuses himself from any Putin-Gate investigations. "I don't have all the information in front of me, I don't want to pre-judge, but I just think for any investigation going forward, you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation. That there's no doubt within the investigation...I think it would be easier from that standpoint, yes." Someone got to him quickly and he walked back the comments he made on national TV stating he is not calling for Sessions to recuse himself. nMichael Wolfowitz was quickly asking "Which is the lesser: McCarthy's "intelligence or his courage. (I think it is a tie: both statistically undetectable.) Though given that conclusion, his slip on Sessions yesterday might be telling. It is really hard to get Rep. McCarthy to say anything close to controversial (could be a first)."

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, probably tired of being a punching bag in both DC and back in Utah quickly came out for recusal, as did Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman. By early Thursday Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were following Elijah Cummings' lead on demanding that Sessions resign, not recuse. The leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) released a joint statement demanding Sessions resign or be fired. Pocan: "Lying under oath about contacts with Russian officials supersedes recusal. Attorney General Jeff Sessions must resign and the American people deserve an independent investigation." Ellison went even further:  "Since it has now come to light that Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have lied under oath about meeting with Russian officials during the campaign, we must be entirely clear on one thing: perjury is a felony and may be punishable by prison for up to five years." And Grijalva did;'t hold back either: "Jeff Sessions is unfit to serve the American people, and he should resign immediately. He lied at his Senate confirmation hearing about meeting with Russian authorities twice during the campaign. Given the dark clouds surrounding this administration’s ties to Russia, and the aid Trump received from the Kremlin during the election, these lies are clear grounds for dismissal. Moreover, the Department of Justice must put in place a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump administration and campaign’s connections to Russia."

By this morning other Democrats publicly demanding Sessions resign included Elizabeth Warren, Jerry Nadler, Ted Lieu, Bernie, Jamie Raskin, Nanette Barragan, Ruben Kihuen, Ro Khanna, Judy Chu, Yvette Clarke, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, Lloyd Doggett, James McGovern, Chellie Pingree, even Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin! Little Marco called for a Special Prosecutor on NPR and Lindsey Graham demanded recusal but most congressional Republicans were waiting to be told what the official GOP position was supposed to be.

Ted Lieu's strong, clear message on this to his constituents on the West Side of Los Angeles should serve as a model for how Members of Congress should explain this rapidly unfolding mess-- Putin-Gate-- to their voters back home:
America, we have a problem. In less than two months, two senior Trump Administration officials have been caught red-handed making false statements about their contacts with high-ranking officials of the Russian Government. The duplicity on the part of Mike Flynn and now on the part of Attorney General Sessions underscores the absolute necessity for independent investigations. I call for the immediate appointment of two special prosecutors. One to investigate all Trump Administration ties to Russia and the second prosecutor to investigate Sessions for perjury.

Lying to Congress by an Executive Branch official is so serious that there's a specific law criminalizing it, 18 U.S.C. 1001. Moreover, a massive trust gap now exists between the American people and the top law enforcement officer of the United States.

In order for Congress to provide essential oversight of the Executive Branch, we must have faith that the testimony we receive from government officials is true. Sessions lied to Congress under oath during his confirmation hearing when he said, 'I did not have communications with the Russians.' As a Member of the House Judiciary Committee with oversight over the Department of Justice, I can no longer trust our Attorney General. Jeff Sessions must tender his resignation immediately.
Paul Ryan, who would clearly rather be talking about how to take health care away from millions of Americans, said he doesn't see any reason for Sessions to recuse himself unless he himself is the subject of an investigation. (He must be living in a #Alt-Facts universe.) Tom Cotton and Orrin Hatch were still defending Sessions, the latter claiming he is "disappointed Democrats are distorting the facts to impugn AG Sessions's character." And Hatch said he isn't concerned about Sessions but said-- and this is a quote I'm not making this up-- "My concern is, why are our Democratic senators so doggone rude to a former senator?"

And guess which little flip-floppitty worm has flip-flopped again-- Comrade Darrell Issa, who was pressured by the White House and the GOP leadership after he told the Bill Maher audience last Friday that there was a need for a special prosecutor, to take it back. He took it back Monday and-- voilà-- this is what he had to say this morning: ""The news breaking overnight reaffirms what I called for in an interview last Friday, that we need an independent review by a credible third party and that Attorney General Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation into Russia.  We need a clear-eyed view of what the Russians actually did so that all Americans can have faith in our institutions. The Putin government is a bad actor whose actions should be carefully scrutinized-- and regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on-- we have a vested interest in fully understanding exactly what happened and how to prevent it from happening again."

Meanwhile the "official Democratic position" comes down to this: Sessions had to resign and a Special Prosecutor had to be appointed-- as well as an independent 9/11 style Commission to get to the bottom of Putin-Gate. The DNC want as far as insisting that "for Trump to remain legitimate, he must come clean. The time for coverups and dodges is over. We know too much already, pretending nothing happened is just not credible. Something very strange happened in our election. Trump’s team knows more than they are telling. The American people deserve to know what happened to their election... We know top Trump aides were communicating with Russian spies, which is bad enough. An investigation needs to uncover whether they were coordinating, which would be illegal, if not treason. There are ongoing investigations into the Russian contacts of at least six top Trump associates, three of whom have already been forced to resign.
       Paul Manafort, former campaign manager (resigned over the summer)
       General Michael Flynn, former National Security Adviser (resigned)
       Carter Page, former foreign policy adviser (resigned in September)
       Roger Stone, longtime friend and political adviser
       Michael Cohen, personal lawyer
      Jeff Sessions, early supporter and surrogate turned Attorney General
 The FBI is reportedly looking into whether money was funneled from Russia to help the Trump campaign."

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At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait till they get to Wilbur Ross

At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Maybe democracy will hold after all. I fervently hope so! This would make America great again!

This Russia stuff is not going away despite the Republicans' attempts to cover it all up. What will be exposed about Trump may well ruin him. Just desserts for the Orangeman. And maybe for the Republican party. Traitors and treason abound.

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Pruitt and Mnuchin lying to congress during confirmation? Not wrt Russia, but still lying. Or is it NOT lying as long as it isn't Russia? Someone needs to specifically define "perjury". Only wrt meeting Russians and getting blown? Just tell me what it is.. ok?

Sessions, the "rule of law" guy, clearly and obviously committed perjury. He admitted it, then denied it, now is finessing it. It's perjury. Oh wait... only Perjury if you are a democrap/t? Maybe that's the line of demarcation.

Just fucking tell me!!!

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Beauregard recused himself, the fix must be in and the "investigation" is going to come up empty.

He did NOT invoke the independent counsel law. It's still in-house. The fix is in.


At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democracy died with Bush v Gore, and was buried by Citizens United. It's taken this long for the effects to spread about the nation, covered over by the brainless blathering of the so-called media about inconsequential bullshit to distract We the People so we wouldn't interfere. Heck of a job, GOPpers!

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm of the belief that democracy was destined to die anyway. 1980 proved that an electorate under just a little stress (relative to, say, the great depression) would believe mythical arithmetic from an actor playing a candidate and forfeit a great deal of their constitutional guarantees.

It's now 37 years later, and voters never woke up.. in fact, have become even more catatonic and pavlovian in their voting.

This is far worse than the south voting religiously FOR slavery for the first century + of the republic. This stupidity and evil are pandemic in all 50 states. And americans surely know better... well the 60% who don't approve of drumpf's flailing anyway. But, in a clever twist of logic implemented by our founders... 60% is often NOT a majority.


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