Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Republican Senators Are Running Around Like Chickens Without Heads


Everybody keep your powder dry

That Bolton book release over the weekend sure did turn the impeachment trial on its head! Susan Collins' campaign sent out an emergency e-mail yesterday: "Susan has and continues to be a voice of reason that we can ALWAYS count on. But right now, she needs to know if she can count on us. As we type this, Democrats are ramping up their efforts to see Susan defeated. Millions of outside dollars are being poured into Maine to slander her name and completely vilify Susan. We need your help to fight back... The road ahead is going to be difficult." It sure is! Example: Trump's discreet former chief-of-staff, John Kelly, said he believes Bolton over Trump in a speech at a Sarasota, Florida Library Association Town Hall lecture series. "If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton. Every single time I was with him... he always gave the president the unvarnished truth."

Manu Raju's CNN report suggested that Bolton's revelations "could" turn the tide of the whole case of subpoenaing witnesses. "The President's legal team resumed its second day of arguments just after 1 p.m. ET Monday, but all of the attention will be focused on the Republican senators sitting in the chamber and how they react to Sunday night's New York Times bombshell that Bolton's draft manuscript says Trump told him US security assistance to Ukraine was conditioned on investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden."
Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, acknowledged that the Bolton news would "make the dynamic different" but argued it doesn't change anything.

"I'm not going to deny it's going to change the decibel level and probably the intensity of which we go about talking about witnesses," he said.

Both parties are turning their eyes toward two Republican senators in particular: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is not running for reelection.

"I stated before that I was curious as to what John Bolton might have to say," Murkowski said in a statement Monday. "From the outset, I've worked to ensure this trial would be fair and that members would have the opportunity to weigh in after its initial phase to determine if we need more information. I've also said there is an appropriate time for us to evaluate whether we need additional information-- that time is almost here. I look forward to the White House wrapping up presentation of its case."

Alexander declined to comment to reporters on his way into the Senate Monday.
Romney told the Washington Post that he thinks "it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton."

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said she read the NY Times revelations and she's "curious" to know what Bolton has to say about Trump and Ukraine. And Collins issued a statement saying she's always been likely to vote to call witnesses and that the Bolton book "strengthens the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues." Even Trump apologist and enabler Lindsey Graham is tap dancing around this now.

Kelly Loeffler, the former Democrat, just appointed to fill Johnny Isakson's Georgia Senate seat-- and who under attack by the Trumpist right in an election coming right up-- took a much more pro-Trump stance, slamming Romney to please Trump and his supporters: "After 2 weeks, it’s clear that Democrats have no case for impeachment. Sadly, my colleague Senator Romney wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander Donald Trump during their 15 minutes of fame. The circus is over. It’s time to move on!"

Many Republican senators are just avoiding the media altogether. At the Senate GOP Monday luncheon, Moscow Mitch cautioned his other fellow Republicans to hold off. The last thing he wants is a stampede of Republicans announcing they're backing calling impeachment witnesses.
He and other GOP leaders warn that issuing subpoenas for Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and other witnesses being demanded by Democrats, could extend the trial indefinitely.

The GOP leader reminded colleagues at a closed-door meeting in the Mansfield Room that they don’t need to decide the need for witnesses now because they have already voted for an organizing resolution for the trial that sets up a debate on that question after both sides have presented their opening arguments and senators have had 16 hours to ask questions.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), who attended the lunch, said McConnell gave senators “the wisest counsel” by telling them “remember we passed a rules package that gives us an opportunity to vote on this very issue of witnesses after we hear both sides and ask our questions.

“It seemed wise at the time and it seems even wiser now,” Cramer said.

In other words, keep your powder dry.

“He just reiterated that a couple times as did some other people just to remind us that we have dealt with this and we don’t have to deal with the next step of it until the end of phase one,” Cramer added.

Democrats need four Republican defections to win a vote on witnesses, and two possible swing votes, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), were keeping a low profile Monday morning.

Murkowski and Alexander said they were going to stick with their timelines, which is to wait until phase one of the trial is over before deciding on the need for new subpoenas.

Murkowski said in a tweet Monday afternoon “there is an appropriate time for us to evaluate whether we need additional information,” adding “that time is almost here” while Alexander highlighted his effort to ensure a vote on witnesses by week’s end.

"I worked with my colleagues to make sure we have a chance after we've heard the arguments, after we've asked our questions to decide if we need additional evidence and I'll decide that at that time," he said.

Republican leaders spent much of Monday downplaying Bolton’s claim in hopes of keeping the call for witnesses within their conference to two Republican senators.

“To me the facts of the case remain the same. There is nothing new here to what the House managers have been saying,” Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (WY) told reporters Monday.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune (SD) echoed that point, arguing he doesn't "think it changes the facts,” and Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) said Bolton’s claim doesn’t change the House manager’s case fundamentally.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), an adviser to the GOP leadership, said he was suspicious of the motives behind the leak given that Bolton is trying to sell a book.

“It seems awfully manipulated, the whole sequence,” he said.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said Bolton’s manuscript “added some fuel to the fire” but doesn’t change Republicans’ view that the impeachment effort is fundamentally driven by political motives and would interfere with the voters' choice in 2016 and ability to choose in the next election.

“I think what it’s done is take an already hot topic and added some fuel to the fire,” he said.

“For me, from a place like Indiana, it still goes back to the origination of how this occurred: Wanting to malign the president from before he was even inaugurated,” Braun said.

Cramer warned that voting for a motion to consider additional witnesses and information could turn the trial into a fishing expedition.

“I just hate to start going down that path,” he said. “My concern is if the Senate becomes the House managers favorite fishing pond, when do you stop pulling fish out?”

“Given how weak the argument is, I don’t see why we should let that happen. If it does happen then I’m afraid ... it could become a very open-ended situation,” he added.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), emerging from the GOP lunch, said Bolton’s reported claim doesn’t appear to have shifted the landscape much within his conference.

Rounds said GOP colleagues don’t think Bolton would “change the focus” of the House managers’ argument but acknowledged “the question is whether or not he would be a material witness to anything that was necessary.”
And by the way, Susan Collins wasn't the only one who sent out an e-mail after the Bolton revelations. Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker, one of the Democrats vying to take on Moscow Mitch, wrote that "McConnell has the power to either respect our Constitution and the rule of law, or to bring shame upon our country through a sham coverup. It is utterly unpatriotic for Mitch to not bring witnesses and new evidence into the Senate impeachment trial after reading what Bolton has put in his book. The fact that McConnell has not already set rules allowing for witnesses in the trial is exactly the reason Booker feels compelled to run against him.This isn't about Republicans or Democrats; it's about justice. Yet, you wouldn’t know that from watching Mitch. Mitch always puts his partisan vendettas over the needs of Kentuckians, and our country."

Andrew Romanoff, the Colorado progressive running for the Senate seat Trump ally Cory Gardner is holding, also sent out an alert to her followers. "Did Donald Trump withhold foreign aid in order to force an investigation into a political rival? The evidence says yes-- which must be why Cory Gardner doesn’t want to hear it. Gardner voted last week to block the witnesses and documents a fair trial requires. But now he may get a do-over. A new book shows the President demanding that Ukraine investigate the Bidens-- and this time the evidence comes from Trump’s own former national security advisor, John Bolton. The Senate should subpoena both Bolton and his manuscript...  Gardner and his Republican colleagues had a chance to subpoena Bolton last week. They voted no, and they’re not likely to budge now. But we can’t let the President or the Senate off the hook. The White House is engaged in a cover-up, and Cory Gardner’s silence is complicity.

Iowa Senate candidate for Joni Ernst seat, Admiral Mike Fraken (ret.) told me he thinks this whole thing is going to go badly for the GOP. "The silence is deafening from Senator Joni Ernst today; while most GOP Senators are voicing logical or illogical positions on exploring all germane additional evidence, Joni is inaudible. Iowans are not the loud, boisterous type, true…but we do like to see justice served after all the evidence is presented. So maybe Sen Ernst ought to speak up."

The progressive up against John Cornyn in the Texas Senate race is Cristina Ramirez and, like Mike Franken, she seems very offended by the Republican stance on protecting the country. "This isn’t about a party, a president or an election," she told us this morning-- "our entire democracy is on the line. Our President has used his office to betray the American people. Of his own admission, he has withheld foreign aid for his re-election and lied to the American people. We don’t just call that dishonest, we call that corruption, we call that criminal-- the Government Accountability Office has even published a report saying so. And Trump has done all of this with the support of people like his good friend John Cornyn. If Cornyn truly cared about verifying the facts of the impeachment case, he would allow Bolton to testify."

Labels: , , , , , , ,


At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republicans have long been practicing for when Ray Kurzweil's Singularity makes every human an I/O device for the Ultimate Computer. They already don't know how or when to take a step when walking without direction and permission from the party leadershit.

Right now, the GOP is allowing Republican Senators to babble incoherently in order to vent any pressure that might be building up as more of Trump's criminal outrages are revealed. That way there won't be any problems when the GOP leadershit decrees that Trump is found not to have committed the acts listed in the impeachment charges and to vote to reject any further action.

At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

they're throwing all their undies against the wall to see which one sticks... those will be run up the flagpole.

the end result is not in doubt. they are just trying to find a lie to use that will minimize the damage when they SHALL ACQUIT no matter what.

What DWT should do is find out whether the count will be 56 or only 53. sinema, jones and manchin will really want to vote to acquit. we already know this. Until you are sure that these 3 are going to cross the aisle to vote with their own party, it is kind of pointless to start wondering about lisa, susan and lamarr. the latter 2 are never going to go against their own party. you should know this.

you also forget that the democrap party really doesn't want to remove trump. they need him to run against because biden, pete and amy give their voters nothing to vote FOR.


Post a Comment

<< Home