Thursday, December 28, 2017

To Impeach or Not To Impeach— A Question That Is Vexing Democrats


When I say the question of impeachment is vexing Democrats, I don’t mean the millions of Democratic voters and small donors. They overwhelmingly want to see Trump impeached. I would venture to guess they want to see Trump in a cage. But I’m not venturing a guess about impeachment. Polls show that 49% of all voters support impeachment. But among self-identified Democratic voters that number climbs to an astronomical 85%. And that was back in late October. On Tuesday Kyle Cheney and Heather Caygle reported for Politico that if the Democrats take back the House next year— as seems likely (not not because of Democratic leadership which is widely disdained )— party leaders “will face an immediate, fateful choice: to pursue Trump's impeachment as the base demands, or to coax their allies away from the doomsday button… Democratic hostility toward the Republican president seems to intensify daily.” And that hostility will turn on stale hacks like Pelosi and Hoyer as soon as they put the kibosh on impeachment.

Those clueless and stale hacks— plus the Republican wing of the Democratic Party (the Blue Dogs and New Dems in Congress)—claim to “recall the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton [and] are wary of sparking a political backlash for appearing too eager to remove a president without buy-in from independents and even some Republicans. Their tallest task may be persuading fellow Democrats to cool their jets. How the party handles the explosive question of impeachment could determine whether its new majority is still standing two years later.” Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s heads on pikes is what they should really be worrying about.
"Impeachment, it's not something you ought to welcome. It's not something you ought to be ready to— it's not something you want," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who was elected by his colleagues last week to be the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, the panel that handles impeachment matters.

If Democrats retake the House, Nadler will instantly become the party's gatekeeper on the issue. In fact, his expertise in constitutional law— as well as his outsized voice opposing the Clinton impeachment in 1998— was a factor in his selection to lead committee Democrats. While he says impeachment would surely be on the table in a Democrat-led House, it's far from certain it would be the right call— politically or constitutionally. And it'll be up to his committee to tell voters why.

"If we were in the majority and if we decide that the evidence isn't there for impeachment— or even if the evidence is there we decide it would tear the country apart too much, there's no buy-in, there's no bipartisanship and we shouldn't do it for whatever reason— if we decide that, then it's our duty to educate the country why we decided it," Nadler said in an interview.

It's a risky proposition with an animated Democratic base demanding the party's leaders use the full range of their powers to target Trump. And some of that pressure is coming from within.

"I think a lot of the base would push strongly for impeachment. I think many of us feel like the lines have been crossed," said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), who supports impeaching Trump.

The debate is roiling House Democrats, with progressives forcing a debate over the issue even as vulnerable incumbents, particularly members in districts that favored Trump, worry it could jeopardize their future in Congress.

Earlier this month, 58 House Democrats led by Rep. Al Green (D-TX)— nearly a third of their caucus— voted to begin debate on articles of impeachment against Trump, despite calls by Democratic leadership to spike the measure. And now those on the other side of the debate are already fretting about how far their colleagues and the Democratic base will try to take the issue ahead of the midterms.

“I realize that maybe I’m in the minority in our party,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos (Worthless Piece of Shit Blue Dog-IL), one of 12 Democrats from a district Trump won in 2016, who opposes impeachment. “I know there are contrary views, obviously, with Al Green forcing us to vote on something that I think was entirely unnecessary and hurtful to people in certain districts.”

Democrats [technically speaking] like Bustos say they are waiting for the outcome of a special counsel investigation into Trump associates' ties to Russia, which has raised the specter of indictments in Trump's inner circle and even an obstruction of justice charge against the president himself. Other Democrats say the president's handling of race issues and business conflicts of interest already present grounds for impeachment.

But Huffman acknowledged that most members of the Democratic caucus aren't there yet, and he says many are nervous about the prospect of provoking a political backlash, as Republicans did after impeaching Clinton.

"I think there'll be a lot of nervousness about not repeating that mistake," Huffman said. "As someone who favors impeachment, I feel strongly it needs to be bipartisan. I think that's one of the things Republicans got wrong in '98. The bipartisan piece of it is assurance to the public that you're not just playing partisan games. We're a long way from Republicans joining us."

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), who has filed his own articles of impeachment against Trump, said he understands why some Democrats are reluctant to join the effort right now. But he said it would be a mistake to compare Trump and Clinton.

“There’s a difference between colluding with Russia to win an election and obstructing justice ... and having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky," Cohen said.

Still, some Democrats are trying to urge caution even as their liberal colleagues move full steam ahead. Rep. Gerry Connolly (Crappy New Dem-VA) acknowledged the "enormous antipathy" for Trump in the Democratic base but said impeachment must be treated as "a last resort remedy."

“Winning the House shouldn’t be seen as a referendum one way or the other on the question of impeachment. To insist otherwise calls into question the credibility of the entire effort,” Connolly said. “I think that is a huge mistake and a pitfall at all costs to be avoided.”

Connolly said if Democrats retake the House and decide to consider impeachment, they must prioritize "a fact-based process" that persuades non-Democrats of their course. "I don't take an oath to Tom Steyer or anyone else," he said. "I take an oath to the Constitution of the United States, and this is a constitutional process."

Several Democrats also noted that it makes little sense to pursue impeachment without Republican buy-in because the process would then surely be stopped cold in the Senate. The House requires a simple majority vote to impeach a president, but removal from office requires a two-thirds vote after a trial in the Senate— a threshold that Democrats are certain to be well short of in the next Congress.

Nadler argued that it makes little sense to pursue a partisan impeachment under those conditions. Huffman, though, said he disagreed, calling the House and Senate processes "apples and oranges." It's one of many thickets Democrats will have to wade through if they retake the House.

While Democrats like Cohen have no qualms about talking impeachment now, he acknowledged there would likely have to be a “smoking gun” to get Republicans and even wary Democrats on board.

For Democrats reluctant to even broach the topic, that may mean explicit evidence linking Trump to Russian collusion or obstruction of justice in Mueller’s report. Anything less, Bustos and other moderate lawmakers argue, and Democrats risk imperiling their House majority almost as soon as they take control.

“People in a swing district— I’m literally a 50-50 district— they just want us to get something done,” Bustos [the completely worthless piece of shit Blue Dog from Illinois who was mentored by Rahm Emanuel] said. “If we win back the majority and we don’t stay focused on what people want us to stay focused on, that majority will be short lived.”

No one wants to see Trump railroaded or impeached for partisan reasons. That’s why Democrats want to see the Mueller investigation play out fully. And that’s why Trump and his authoritarian-leaning allies in Congress, like Devin Nunes and Matt Gaetz, don’t. House Republicans impeached Bill Clinton, based on virtually nothing at all except their own psychosis, on December 19,1998. Five Democrats— who subsequently switched parties— voted for impeachment and 5 Republicans voted against it. The Senate acquitted Clinton on all counts on February 12, 1999. The following year the Republican majority shrank to just 3 votes. One impeachment manager, James Rogan (R-CA), lost his seat to a Democrat and that was the last time a Republican represented that seat. Among Democrats winning red seats were 5 horrible Blue Dogs, 2 horrible New Dems and one normal progressive Democrat. These were the winners that year: Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), Mike Honda (D-CA), Jane Harman (Blue Dog-CA), Adam Schiff (Blue Dog-CA), Susan Davis (New Dem-CA), Steve Israel (Blue Dog-NY), Brad Carson (Blue Dog-OK), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT) and Rick Larsen (New Dem-WA).

Let's end this post with a few words of wisdom from Orlando Democrat Alan Grayson, a firm advocate of a fair, robust impeachment trial: "It looks like even 'leading from behind' has become too much to ask for." America needs this guy back in Congress. There are 3 dead-weight Democrats representing the Orlando area now. None of them are leaders... just dead-weight. Orlando deserves better.

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At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let Mueller do his investigation. If for any reason Trump interferes, THEN nail his sorry ass - and make sure you get Pence also.

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Let's hope it's the progressives who do the leadership work & not the Blue Dogs DLC types along with Pelosi in 2018.

At 4:25 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

The discussion in this blog just sickens me. There should not be any discussion. There should not be a scale weighing two sides to the impeachment argument - it is like weighing a pea against an elephant. it is clear as day Trump should be impeached, along with members of his family and his crew of monsters, who put winning an election above country. It is so obvious that Trump is a traitor and is in bed with Russia and has been for many years, along with a slew of likely criminal activities regarding extreme money laundering of Russian money as well as enriching himself at our country's expense and ignoring the emoluments clause. There is enough evidence right now, that has been on the table for many months, showing grounds for impeachment. If the parties were reversed, the Republicans would have had Hillary in prison six months ago.

Comparing Trump's travesties to Bill Clinton's impeachment - are you kidding? He lied about sex and the Republicans went for it, full throttle.

Trump's egregious behavior is so high above the bar for what the Republicans impeached Bill for that it is absurd. And forget this bipartisan baloney. The Republicans have clearly shown themselves to be monsters and enablers and they do not deserve any respect as a party. They have done absolutely nothing bipartisan for years. They cannot be relied upon to do the right thing, as this recent tax bill travesty shows, as well as their efforts to discredit the FBI, the Justice Department and Mueller, suppress voting and gerrymander their way into office, seat Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and bypass any effort for bipartisanship and normal procedure in Congress. The Republicans are perfectly willing, with gusto, to heist our government.

And forget about the "what would be best for the country" argument. What would be best for the country is revealing all of the information from Mueller's findings and upholding the Constitution. Trump should be on trial, for all Americans to see, and go to prison as called for for his misdeeds. That is democracy. Obama made a HUGE mistake (with careful calculation on his part - he is not an idiot like Trump) by not going after the bankers for the crash or the Bush et al crew for lying their asses off and drumming up an unnecessary war that killed hundred and thousands of people, further messed up the Middle East and showered the military industrial complex with money, which put the USA is tremendous debt. Obama also is responsible for what is happening now because if he had done what was right back the and held people accountable, things would be very different now. Obama showed the American people that those in power can and should get away with it all. He did what he thought was "best" by sweeping it all under the rug and moving on and look where that got us.

The Democrats should go full force and hold Trump and his rotten crew accountable, including guilty Republicans who looked the other way. Just look at all the black men in prison for far lesser crimes. Justice must be served. Will the Dems do this? Doubtful with Pelosi in charge. The Dems attempt to present themselves as "above board" and "playing nice" whereas the Republicans could not give a poop. Playing by the rules means justice, Nancy - but no, she is just like Obama and would rather smooth it all over and move on. That will not serve this country well at all. But hey, if you look at our history, the robber barons usually got away with it all. Only FDR truly stood up to them and held them accountable. If Nancy follows this course, which she probably will, it will be to the detriment of the Democratic party and the country.

To not proceed with impeachment would be a travesty.

At 5:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone pretty much nails it, though length limits perhaps restricted her list of reasons to impeach. Emoluments is a slam dunk and would expose any in the senate who did not vote guilty as violating their oath to protect/defend the constitution.

It should be pointed out (on a political blogsite!!) that the Rs allowed that vote on the articles to expose Ds as either too rabid or too corrupt. And it succeeded. It failed spectacularly, which shall tend to discourage any future articles plus it got enough D votes to make them appear (to the Nazis) as too rabid, thus further dividing the electorate. Among the Rs better thought-out exercises on a predetermined outcome.

And where is the obvious motivation to quash impeachment? Corporations and billionaires and the religiously regressive will pay the "majority" Ds (Pelosi, hoyer, scummer, 150 others, their pacs, etc) YOOOOOGE to NOT impeach, as they seek more sustenance denials, more federal debt, further deregs and so forth. Does no one remember 2005-2010?

DWT gets more slanted every day it seems.

At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As 5:53 points out, expecting the DINO-Whigs to perform their Constitutional duties is almost like waiting for Godot - except that Godot would show up first. It's like the DINO-Whigs are allergic to impeachment.

LBJ didn't act when Nixon interfered with the Paris Peace Talks.

It took Republicans (exposed and embarrassed by the media they learned to hate with a passion) to finally act to remove Nixon.

DINO-Whigs did nothing about Reagan's colluding with the Iranians to hold onto the Embassy hostages until he'd been inaugurated.

DINO-Whigs did nothing about Reagan selling missiles to Iran and using the proceeds to fund the fascist Contras.

DINO-Whigs did nothing about Poppy Bush illegally invading Panama just to bust a drug-smuggling Noriega, all while flooding the streets with Columbian cocaine to fund the Contras.

DINO-Whigs allowed Bill Clinton to rule like a Republican and continue to import cocaine. The first threats to the elderly occurred during his watch.

DINO-Whigs did nothing about Acting President Cheney and the several illegal wars he conned his puppet Dubya into allowing, not to mention the incredible mismanagement of the economy.

DINO-Whigs did nothing about the destruction of voting integrity by the GOP, something which continues to haunt us today.

DINO-Whigs allowed Barack Obama to expand American corporatist colonial wars across SW Asia and Northern Africa, and did nothing about Hillary's corrupt overthrow of the Honduran government.

DINO-Whigs are complicit in plans to eliminate Social Security and Medicare while boosting the military budget to incredible levels and ensuring that the primary process is forever corrupted.

DINO-Whigs will never act to remove Trump from office even if they end up with a majority.

And you still think it's possible to make changes in such a system instead of forming a new one?

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would impeachment fix? A fear crazed hate based nation? Why not develop self driving AI political leaders programmed to produce the greatest benefit for the most people? Maybe then there will be less political accidents due to human error.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm all for it if there is even a hint of possibility that there are 67 votes in the senate for conviction. With good luck and hard work maybe we get a dem coalition of 51 in the upper house. Let's stipulate an incredible midterm tsunami that gets us to 55. Can you name 12 R senators who would vote to convict? Damned if I can. I'm willing to be persuaded here. Is there any plausible path to a conviction before 2020?

At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:19, impeachment, ironically, would probably result in more damage under president jesus h. pence and his Christian caliphate.

Nobody hates more and is more bloodthirsty, corrupt, dishonest and delusional than American Christians.

At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anyone who claims to follow Yeshua the Nazarene -yet knows the Old Testament far better than the New- is no Christian. By their actions do we know this about them.


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