Impeachment Inquiry Open Thread: McConnell Has Reached the Bargaining Stage

If you want to make [Murphy the Trickster] God laugh, tell him your plans. Of course ‘LeaderMcConnell’ will do his chelonian best to squash the whole thing with a quickness, licitly or not. But it’s past the point where he can plausibly deny there’s a case for impeachment, or that a public show of anger at the idea will move either the Democrats or the voters to desist.

Per the Washington Post, “McConnell tells Senate Republicans to be ready for impeachment trial of Trump”:

An air of inevitability has taken hold in Congress, with the expectation Trump will become the third president in history to be impeached — and Republicans believe they need to prepare to defend the president. While McConnell briefed senators on what would happen during a Senate trial, House GOP leaders convened what they expect will be regular impeachment strategy sessions.

In their closed-door weekly luncheon, McConnell gave a PowerPoint presentation about the impeachment process and fielded questions alongside his staff and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who was a manager for the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton…

During the meeting, Graham lobbied his colleagues to consider a public declaration in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), which would describe Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seeking an investigation into a domestic political rival as “unimpeachable.” Some senators, however, pushed back against that idea, arguing that Trump would assume that those who did not sign the document would be persuadable on a vote to oust him…

The GOP’s internal reality check on Trump’s impeachment comes as House Democrats have had success securing damaging testimony from current and former State Department and National Security Council officials, many of whom are voicing long-held concerns about Trump’s actions on Ukraine…

Timing was a looming question in the Senate GOP meeting. McConnell said that he expected Pelosi to hold an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving and that the Senate should try to dispose of the issue by Christmas. But he also noted that motions of dismissal of the charges in an impeachment trial are handled at the discretion of the chief justice, who presides over the trial.

In this case, John G. Roberts Jr. would have the final word on how quickly the Senate could move, potentially complicating the GOP’s effort to short-circuit what could become a lengthy trial…






122 replies
  1. 1

    Another pusillanimous Republican source –

  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    Some senators, however, pushed back against that idea, arguing that Trump would assume that those who did not sign the document would be persuadable on a vote to oust him…

    Note that this means that there are Senate Republicans who would not want to sign such a letter. How many, we don’t know, but enough that it would be embarrassing for the Party.

  3. 3
    lamh36 says:

    @MarthaRaddatz
    Secretary Mattis lets loose “I earned my spurs on the battlefield; Donald Trump earned his spurs from the doctor”.

    9:37 PM – 17 Oct 2019

    https://twitter.com/MarthaRaddatz/status/1185021937812148225

    Sorry Mattis…no one forced u to work for Chump!

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Fair Economist says:

    Roberts is nasty twisted partisan Republican, but he is a strong believer in putting on a show of fairness. I don’t think he would OK a quick dismissal, because that would be an obvious sham.

  6. 6
    clay says:

    Is there any reason to think that Pelosi would hold an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving? Or is Mitch just wishful thinking? If I were Pelosi, I’d want hearings to stretch out well into next year. Not only for the politics, but because it’ll take at least that long to get to the bottom of the 12-layer dip of corruption that is the Trump administration.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    McConnell tells Senate Republicans to be ready for impeachment trial of Trump

    With all due apologies to the late great Terry Pratchett, The Turtle Moves.

  8. 8
    clay says:

    @dmsilev: Heh. Just like on Discworld, this turtle is carrying all kinds of elephants on his back.

  9. 9
    dmsilev says:

    @clay: That seems fast. It’s only a month from now, and there’s a long list of people to talk to, attempts to get the White House to disgorge documents, etc. I could imagine things winding up early next year, but much sooner than that would surprise me.

  10. 10
    Martin says:

    My guess is the G7/Doral idea is a check to see which GOP senators are going to turn on him. Trump is going to burn down as much of the GOP on his way out that he can.

    My guess is also that the GOP must be considering the 25 amendment in order to try and preserve Pence. If this goes to impeachment, I don’t see how Pence doesn’t get sucked into it. Barr and Mulvaney and Pompeo are already toast. Perry may be as well. But if you 25th amendment him out of there, you at least stand a chance that the House will drop the matter with Trump gone. I don’t think Dems would, but fuck, the GOP needs to try something. They’re in absolute free-fall right now, and Trump is showing no indication of doing anything other than make it worse.

  11. 11
    Martin says:

    @clay: I think she will. My guess is that they’ll have articles about Ukraine drafted and voted on, and then proceed onto other matters. They can continue to draft and vote on article even after the first ones are sent to the Senate. Given the state of things, I can’t believe there won’t be plenty of new shit to impeach over.

  12. 12
    Mary G says:

    McConnell wants it over by Christmas, so I think the Democrats should stretch it out until spring. There are certainly enough crimes. Why give our short-term-memory-challenged voters nine months of spin about how unfair and biased the process was? Since he’s resisting subpoenas and doesn’t want people to testify, they can say they can’t wrap it up until the courts rule on them. Turn the stalling tactic back on them. It Twitler keeps going on showing his ass like he has in the last week, committing four or five offenses a day, Moscow Mitch will be begging to impeach him or pull the 25th Amendment trigger.

  13. 13
    Elizabelle says:

    McConnell would not schedule a hearing for Merrick Garland, but now wants to speed up impeachment, the better to stop the investigations in their tracks?

    Tell the fucker to go pound sand.

    No reason Nancy Pelosi and the House have to follow his preferences, and it is in their interests to drag this out longer. More shoes to drop.

  14. 14
    clay says:

    @dmsilev: That’s my feeling. I wonder if McConnell assumes Pelosi is as corrupt and venal as he is, and figures she’ll quickly cram a vote through because that’s what he’d do in her shoes? It may not occur to him that she actually wants it done right!

  15. 15
    dmsilev says:

    @Martin: I don’t give Trump credit for that much strategic thinking. The G7 thing is because he wants money, considers it his due to take a cut of taxpayer expenditures, and there’s no one left who either can or will explain to him what a bad idea it is.

  16. 16
    Dan B says:

    I want as many people as possible exposed for their corruption and assaults on the constitution of the USA. If we get Pence at the same time that would be great since he would plunge the country into Gilead if he could. But Trump looks set to do immense damage if he’s still in the White House, along with Stephen Miller, Mulvaney, Barr, and Pompeo, and DeVos, Chan, Mnuchin, and Ross. These are the people Pence would keep on board to realize his perfect Christianist dreams.

  17. 17

    @dmsilev:
    The whole thing makes them look weak. If they had done it behind closed doors and gotten more than enough Senators to sign it, it would be a power play saying that there was no way the Ukraine business was going to result in Trump leaving office. But discussing it in public without lining the people up looks like panic. Refusing to do it because you’re afraid of how many people will refuse to sign looks incredibly weak. It’s basically an admission that there are enough persuadable Republican Senators that removal from office is a serious possibility.

  18. 18
    Eljai says:

    I’m sure Nancy Pelosi will take McConnell’s feelings on the matter into account.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA 😂😈

  19. 19
    Mary G says:

    I know he's speaking at a dinner meant for jokes, but this is just an absurd and undignified way for Mattis to make his first public critiques of the president. After indefensible silence, this will surely undercut the gravity of any future words he might have on the subject. https://t.co/BvV8iw8WYM— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) October 18, 2019

  20. 20
    Geoduck says:

    @Martin: Booting a still-functioning president via the 25th is harder than via impeachment. (And yes, as far as the amendment’s legalities are concerned, the Shiatgibbon is still functioning.) It will not get invoked unless he has a stroke and ends up in a literal medical coma.

  21. 21
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mary G: self-described paleo-conservative Tom Nichols

    Tom Nichols @ RadioFreeTom
    41m41 minutes ago
    I don’t think anyone should be chuckling at Mattis’s brush off of Trump’s insult. It’s his facile way of dodging the reality that he knows a lot about what happened in this White House, including what are now obviously impeachable acts directly related to his time as SECDEF.

  22. 22
    NotMax says:

    @Mary G

    To this day it defies comprehension how Bush caught virtually no flak from the “Nope, no WMDs under here!” video.

  23. 23
    Ken says:

    I wonder if McConnell ran this timeline by Trump. The White House certainly seems to be doing its best to prolong the process, by refusing to turn over documents, blocking witnesses, and otherwise stalling.

    It’s similar to what Pelosi told Trump a few weeks ago – “Tell your people to obey the law.” Unless that starts happening, this is going to take a while.

  24. 24

    @Martin: The 25th amendment would be a higher bar than impeachment, not only would the cabinet have to say he’s unable to carry out his duties, he could say he’ OK and both houses would have to override that by 2/3’s. And Trump could assert he’s able to resume office as many times as he likes.

  25. 25
    SFAW says:

    During the meeting, Graham lobbied his colleagues to consider a public declaration in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), which would describe Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seeking an investigation into a domestic political rival as “unimpeachable.”

    Fuck you, Lindsey, your treasonous motherfucker.

  26. 26
    dww44 says:

    @Mary G: Yep. Mattis on a pedestal no longer. His unwillingness to speak out when it mattered the most has taken that impeccable reputation of his down several notches. And, he doesn’t seem to be saying or doing the things that would restore it.

  27. 27
    dmsilev says:

    @SFAW: Remember Graham’s mewlings about how he’ll be Trump’s worst nightmare re:Syria? That was six whole months ago, I mean yesterday it just feels like six months.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    @Mary G: @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    As for the remark itself and where and how it was said, who cares? But I think it is true, that at this stage, after Trump’s incompetent and malfeasant decisions directly involving the military have seriously harmed national security, Mattis needs to start talking publicly about what he knows.

  29. 29
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Geoduck: They didn’t 25th Wilson and he was paralyzed from a stroke.

  30. 30
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @SFAW: Susan, Cory, Martha, would you like to publicly declare you’re either all-in for trump, or not? I’m sure no one will notice.

  31. 31
    Ken says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I assume you’re being funny, but if not, the 25th was after Wilson.

  32. 32
    SFAW says:

    I think the before-Christmas thing is because O’Connell has read the Constitution:

    Article X CLEARLY states that no impeachment can take place in an election year, so he would not be allowed to hold a trial. I think that part of the Constitution is sometimes referred to as the “Biden Rule,” because of Zebediah Biden, one of the authors of the Constitution, and the main driver behind Article X.

    I think someone should forward this info to either Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, or Fax & Friends — or maybe to all three.

  33. 33
    jl says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: 25th was ratified in the late 1960s. Too late for Wilson admin.

  34. 34
    Martin says:

    @dmsilev: I think Trump is good at testing personal loyalty. Nothing beyond that, though.

  35. 35

    @clay:

    Or is Mitch just wishful thinking?

    Mitch is wishful thinking. McConnell is moderately competent, evil in a way that awes even other Senators, and good at playing the media (because he knows they want to be played). Nancy has handed him his ass in almost every confrontation, because McConnell’s biggest weakness is that he thinks he’s the greatest genius in Washington rather than merely pretty good.

    @Martin:

    If this goes to impeachment, I don’t see how Pence doesn’t get sucked into it. Barr and Mulvaney and Pompeo are already toast.

    In what sense? None of them are going to be removed from office by impeachment. The odds of Trump being convicted in the Senate are tiny. Anyone else, especially Pence, negligible.

  36. 36
    frosty says:

    A PowerPoint presentation! To his caucus!! There is nothing more formidable, Speaker Pelosi must be quaking in fear!!!!

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    They didn’t have the 25th Amendment in Wilson’s time.

  38. 38
    NotMax says:

    McConnell must have a team of plastic surgeons on speed dial. After this week’s statement that Democrats “have wasted no time throwing fairness and precedent to the wind” by rights his nose should be three feet long.

  39. 39
    jl says:

    @SFAW: I think that’s the part of the Constitution where you have to roll up a copy up to your ear like an old hearing trumpet, and it whispers secrets to you, if you have the right attitude. If you shake it just right in December, you get Jingle Bells, too.

  40. 40
    Kay says:

    @SFAW:

    Lindsey, your treasonous motherfucker.

    It’s pathetic though. That he tried to lobby “his colleagues” into some “we love President Trump” petition and failed.

  41. 41
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @jl: This changes what? Wilson of was paralyzed and on death’s door and his wife just filled in for him, if there ever was a president who should have resigned it was Wislon. The 25th is not going to happen.

  42. 42
    Martin says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I realize that. I’m just suggesting that the GOP may be willing to offer the Dems a guaranteed elimination of Trump (because they would vote accordingly) rather than the risk of impeachment.

    I’m presuming here that there will be enough Republicans, given the current trajectory, to not doom their political career by voting to keep Trump in office. Dems risk is that the GOP won’t ever come around. The GOPs risk is that the Dems will uncover so much dirt (magnified by Trumps incompetence and lashing out) that they also lose Pence, and get a President Pelosi going into 2020.

  43. 43
    mrmoshpotato says:

    A Republican source inside the Trump-Pelosi meeting described attendees as “shaken” and “shell-shocked” by the President’s demeanor.

    “He is not in control of himself. It is all yelling and screaming.”

    I’m sorry. Are these Russthuglican assholes surprised by this? How far up their own asses have they had their heads for the past 4+ years?!

  44. 44
    SFAW says:

    @jl:

    I just hear the ocean roar.

  45. 45
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @clay:

    Is there any reason to think that Pelosi would hold an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving? Or is Mitch just wishful thinking?

    Will Dump stop criming by Turkey Day? Will he ask the turkey to pardon him?

  46. 46

    @NotMax:

    After this week’s statement that Democrats “have wasted no time throwing fairness and precedent to the wind” by rights his nose should be three feet long.

    This is McConnell’s power. He may well be a true psychopath. He has the rare ability to feel no guilt, to obey no social restraints and to do the things that no one else is willing to do because of their sense of unwritten rules. Most of the horrible things he has done were easy, just no one else was so venial as to, say, never allow a Democratic president to sit any Supreme Court justices

  47. 47
    Barbara says:

    @Martin: It is hard enough for a single person to marshal logic and courage to defy opposition and do the right thing -‘- but persuading more than 15 Republican senators? The hurdle is too high.

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I only bring it up because there is an impeachment risk, something Wilson didn’t face. The question is how the GOP wants to try and gain some degree of control over this fiasco, because right now, they have none until that vote to remove Trump from office. They may not even have control over whether Pence gets impeached (but not removed), or Barr, Mulvaney, Pompeo.

    McConnell wants to speed this up so that they have time to repair some things prior to 2020 (like find a new candidate) but Dems can keep filing articles for the next year. Think of it like a plea deal – we’ll dump Trump via the 25th, and you step off of impeachment of the others.

  49. 49
    SFAW says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    This changes what? Wilson of was paralyzed and on death’s door and his wife just filled in for him, if there ever was a president who should have resigned it was Wislon. The 25th is not going to happen.

    That looks like kind of a non-sequitur. Also: getting “25thed” is not the same as resigning, and vice versa

  50. 50
    Mary G says:

    Turkey is rubbing it in but good:

    Mike Pence's request for a temporary cease-fire seemed to be “face-saving, for the U.S. side,” the Turkish official in the Foreign Ministry said. “It was as easy a negotiation as we’ve ever had,” the official said. https://t.co/6U6qa5lh0p— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) October 18, 2019

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    I wonder if McConnell ran this timeline by Roberts. SCOTUS already booked half of December for oral arguments, and Rehnquist didn’t miss any of them in 1999.

    I’m pretty sure that Nancy Pelosi knows how to read a schedule, so I doubt this is a coincidence. But I don’t expect her to give the Republicans a full run-down of her plan, either.

  52. 52
    Martin says:

    @Barbara: This is strictly self-preservation. No moral strength needed.

  53. 53

    @Martin: Then they’d just vote to convict Trump quickly and Pence would appoint a new VP and try to get the House and Senate to approve. With the 25th, Pence would be Acting President and Trump would come back again and again requesting reinstatement. The hell would never end for them.

  54. 54
    Mary G says:

    Erdogan had prepared for a confrontational meeting, but the mood softened when it became clear the U.S. officials were asking only for what the Turks regarded as token concessions. In return for a brief pause, there'd be no U.S. sanctions or requirement for a Turkish withdrawal.— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) October 18, 2019

  55. 55
    topclimber says:

    @Mary G: I wouldn’t be so sure. First comes the mockery, then the hammer. Should Mattis actually grace us with a real critique of Dear Leader, it will be more than a pouty response to Trump’s barbs because he has already put him in his place.

    As to whether he will actually speak up, who knows? But if he does, his words will be no weaker because of a few jokes.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    McConnell is the sociopath to Trump’s narcissist, both hanging out in Cluster B in the DSM.

    Sociopaths are good at mimicking acceptable social behaviors to get what they want and to cover up their crimes. Narcissists aren’t. But they both lack empathy.

  57. 57
    Geoduck says:

    @Martin: They aren’t going to lose Pence. If Moscow Mitch absolutely has to toss the Shitgibbon over the side, he will do it in a heartbeat, but he will never ever let Nancy Pelosi become president, no matter the fallout. (And if the Shitgibbon goes and is replaced with Pence, any new VP has to confirmed by both chambers of Congress, not just the Senate.)

  58. 58
    Geoduck says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: With the 25th, the booted President doesn’t have to request reinstatement. He just sends a letter to Congress saying “I’m fine”, and he’s President again. Both houses of Congress then have to vote who they support, the President or the VP. The 25th isn’t designed for this situation, it’s for something like Wilson, as previously mentioned.

  59. 59

    @Mnemosyne:

    But they both lack empathy.

    McConnell is a stage beyond that. He likely is a sociopath. I’ve met one, and they’re pretty horrible. But it’s not just that he doesn’t value other people. He’s immune to the unwritten rules of society, to considerations of morality. You see a lot of people doing big immoral things, but they work within the system without even knowing it. McConnell is one of those people who sees the system from outside, and obeys it only when he has a deliberately self-serving reason to.

  60. 60
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Elizabelle: I’d like to see a turtle pound sand. It would be funny. :)

    Also, centipede of shoes to drop.

  61. 61
    hilts says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    McConnell is the sociopath to Trump’s narcissist,

    As a professor of German history wrote in the New York Review of Books wrote about a year ago, Mitch McConnell is “the gravedigger of American democracy.”

  62. 62
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Brian Williams: Jim Mattis served with distinction as Defense Secretary.

    I missed that day.

  63. 63
    CaseyL says:

    Pelosi has made it clear she will do things her way, on her timetable, and when the numbers line up properly. I was one of the people who got impatient and angry with the long delay; now I trust her implicitly.

    But I wonder now if any of it will matter. News media are giving a lot of play to the Moody’s poll showing Shitgibbon is likely to be (re)elected. This depresses the hell out of me. People say they don’t recognize America any more. I do: This is the America that profited from slavery and genocide, and saw no good reason to give up either one.

  64. 64
    Wag says:

    One subject that I haven’t heard anyone bring up is the GOP circular firing squad that will result from a Trump (and Pence, too, please fsm) impeachment power vacuum. If the House holds off until after Christmas to send Articles to the Senate, then there’s no way in hell that the trial is over before the Iowa caucus, the New Hampshire primary, or ever Super Tuesday. The GOP will have to go overtime to find a candidate, and the infighting might be spectacular.

  65. 65
    Duane says:

    @Mary G: If McConnell wants the impeachment process over quickly he should tell Trumpov to stop committing impeachable acts. That might help.

  66. 66
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @NotMax: That’s because Sad-dam 9/11ed us, you pajama-boy libtard.

  67. 67

    @Geoduck: True, the 25th amendment has be used a number of times, usually when the President has been under anesthesia.

  68. 68
    TS (the original) says:

    @SFAW:

    Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a lawmaker who was present during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, reportedly cautioned Republicans about expressing an opinion on the inquiry, since they’ll serve as jurors.

    Sen Collins is concerned

  69. 69
    janesays says:

    @Geoduck: This.

    The 25th Amendment involves a lot more than the VP and a majority of the Cabinet declaring that the president is incapacitated. If that were to actually happen, it would make Pence the acting president, but it wouldn’t actually remove Trump from the office (though it would at least temporarily strip him of the powers of the office). And Trump would immediately object to the declaration of incapacitation, at which point Congress would have to settle the matter. In order for the invocation of the 25th Amendment to stick despite a president who formally objects to that invocation, 2/3 of both houses of Congress must reach the conclusion that he is in fact incapacitated in order for Pence to retain the position of acting president and the powers of the presidency.

    But even then it wouldn’t actually permanently remove Trump from office, and at that point we get into completely uncharted territory as far as how to deal with the situation over a long period of time. Could Trump resubmit his declaration of fitness for the job every month, and if so, would Congress be forced to take up the issue and debate and vote on it every month? It’s really not clear, because the 25th Amendment wasn’t really designed to permanently remove a president from office, and the sort of incapacitation it was intended to address was presumably the kind in which the president would not physically or mentally be able to even challenge the invocation – ie, he would be in a persistent vegetative state or some other truly incapacitating physical condition.

    In any event… impeachment and removal is a more likely outcome than a 25th Amendment invocation which results in Pence serving as acting president for the remainder of Trump’s term in office. And while impeachment is extremely likely, removal still is not. At least not at this point.

  70. 70
    randy khan says:

    @Mary G:

    McConnell wants it over by Christmas, so I think the Democrats should stretch it out until spring.

    I’m expecting McConnell to soon start saying that the Democrats would have voted to impeach already if they really meant it. He wants it over as fast as possible. Pelosi and company should not be in any rush (and contra to one comment above, I don’t think there should be any votes until they have a package of resolutions to consider. There’s value in not approving some of them, particularly for the moderates.

  71. 71
    Wag says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    That because the 25th Amendment wasn’t approved until 1967

  72. 72
    Redshift says:

    @mrmoshpotato: The bubble is a powerful thing, aided by, as that foreign correspondent pointed out recently, mainstream media translating Trump’s appearances into normal presidential activity instead of transcribing how insane he acts all the time.

  73. 73

    @Barbara:

    It is hard enough for a single person to marshal logic and courage to defy opposition and do the right thing -‘- but persuading more than 15 Republican senators? The hurdle is too high.

    I’m not sure I buy that. It’s not as if convincing each one is an independent exercise. Each one who turns against him makes it that much easier for the next one. Just one Republican Senator coming out and saying unequivocally that Trump deserves to be thrown out of office would be a major shock to the system. It would let wavering Republican voters a reason to back it, and it would give the media an excuse to talk about the crack in the Republican wall. That makes it much easier for the next one to do the same, which magnifies the effect on public opinion. By the time a handful of Republicans come out publicly in favor of throwing Trump out of office, it will be practically over; enough of the rest will come around in a hurry.

  74. 74
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @SFAW: Slap Lindsay with the Constitution!

  75. 75
    lumpkin says:

    By repeating his ridiculous timeline McConnell is trying to set expectations in the minds of the public and especially in the minds of the dopes in the media. He wants it to become a widespread notion that it should all be wrapped up by year end so he can accuse the Democrats of dragging the process out for political reasons. And if the press follows SOP it will work.

  76. 76
    SFAW says:

    @TS (the original):

    Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a lawmaker who was present during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, reportedly cautioned Republicans about expressing an opinion on the inquiry, since they’ll serve as jurors.

    Thanks for that info, but get back to me when the prosecution kicks potential jurors for being predisposed one way or the other.

    Also: do we know how deeply her brow was furrowed? That’s the only true indicator of how concerned she is.

  77. 77

    @lumpkin:

    By repeating his ridiculous timeline McConnell is trying to set expectations in the minds of the public and especially in the minds of the dopes in the media.

    That makes sense. McConnell has a long and mostly successful history of taking advantage of the media’s desire to normalize everything Republican. He blatantly lies and they report it with no fact checking. His control of the narrative has been increasingly shaky during the Trump period, I think because Trump dominates the narrative (without controlling it, just by being so constantly awful).

  78. 78
  79. 79
    SFAW says:

    @mrmoshpotato:

    Slap Lindsay with the Constitution!

    No problem, as long as I can wrap it around a large sock filled with lead ball bearings.

  80. 80
    lumpkin says:

    To add to what I wrote above – I wouldn’t be surprised if McConnell used the Democrats’ refusal to follow his ridiculous timeline as justification to refuse to hold the trial at all because the Democrats unfairly drug it out too close to the election.

  81. 81
    randy khan says:

    @CaseyL:

    News media are giving a lot of play to the Moody’s poll showing Shitgibbon is likely to be (re)elected. This depresses the hell out of me.

    It’s not a poll; it’s a model intended to predict who would win baed on economic factors. There are multiple reasons to doubt it, starting with the minor detail that the model would have gotten 2016 – you know, the most recent Presidential election – wrong and that Trump never has polled as well as the economic news would suggest he should.

  82. 82
    Geoduck says:

    @lumpkin: Eh. That would look at lot worse than a quick “nothing to see here” sham trial.

  83. 83
    Mary G says:

    @lumpkin: He can try.

  84. 84
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @NotMax: Three feet? McTurtle’s nose is three miles long!

  85. 85

    @janesays:

    It’s really not clear, because the 25th Amendment wasn’t really designed to permanently remove a president from office, and the sort of incapacitation it was intended to address was presumably the kind in which the president would not physically or mentally be able to even challenge the invocation – ie, he would be in a persistent vegetative state or some other truly incapacitating physical condition.

    Or a temporary incapacitation from which he was expected to recover. I think the biggest thing is that they were assuming that the President’s incapacitation would be him being physically unable to carry out his duties, not of him being physically capable but so mentally unwell that it was a danger to the country for him to try.

  86. 86
    TS (the original) says:

    @randy khan: I was bothered about that – until I read it. Typical business wanting to build up a GOP win. I don’t think the 2020 election will be based on the economy – unless it collapses. Good or bad – will not help trump.

    I’m watching the late version of Rachel – she cheers me up.

  87. 87
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @CaseyL:
    Trump is on his way to an easy win in 2020, according to Moody’s accurate election model:

    “If the economy a year from now is the same as it is today, or roughly so, then the power of incumbency is strong and Trump’s election odds are very good, particularly if Democrats aren’t enthusiastic and don’t get out to vote,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and co-author of the paper along with Dan White, the firm’s director of government counsulting and fiscal policy research, and Bernard Yaros, an assistant director and economist. “It’s about turnout.”

    Three models show Trump getting at least 289 electoral votes, assuming average turnout. His chances decrease with maximum turnout on the Democratic side and increase with minimum turnout expected.

    Emphasis mine. We don’t know what will happen over the next year and the model was wrong in 2016, even though Moody’s has made assurances that they’ve accounted for the “voting patterns” that favored Trump then in this model. This is not a normal election cycle, and I have no hard evidence to support this, but I doubt most people give a shit about the economy anymore like they used to. It’s not even a great economy to begin with. People care about health care and education, foremost

    “Our ‘pocket¬book’ model is the most economically driven of the three. If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition,” the report said. “This shows the importance that prevailing economic sentiment at the household level could hold in the next election.”

    That “if” is doing a lot of work imo

  88. 88
    Canadian Shield says:

    Sadly the approve/disapprove numbers don’t seem to be changing by much. The base is still there, it’s boggling but it seems to be the reality. An additional % point in favour of impeachment here or there isn’t going to move the R’s in Congress. I’m not sure what it would take, if anything could, at this point to have the base turn.

  89. 89
    Redshift says:

    Hmm, I don’t think I’ve ever had a comment in moderation before.

  90. 90
    Redshift says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Here’s the other part I would have highlighted: “particularly if Democrats aren’t enthusiastic and don’t get out to vote”. To my knowledge, that hasn’t been true in any election since 2016, so it’s a pretty unreasonable assumption.

  91. 91

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Weren’t Moody the folk who told us that subprime mortgage backed derivatives were just fine?

  92. 92
    danielx says:

    @SFAW:

    Actually a bar of soap would do it, forget the ball bearings

  93. 93

    @Redshift: Wow, that’s quite an accomplishment. But you know what you did this time.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    We’re not disagreeing at all. I’m just pointing out that a sociopath like McConnell is better at hiding his true nature than a narcissist like Trump is because sociopaths can mirror other people’s behavior to better hide their crimes. Narcissists can’t.

  95. 95
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @randy khan:

    Exactly. Not only is the model based only on economic factors, it’s also making the assumption that economic factors are all that matter to voters, and I’m not convinced that’s the case anymore, particuarly considering Trump isn’t polling as well as the “strength” of the economy suggests he should be, as you pointed out

  96. 96
    Redshift says:

    As others have pointed out, the obvious counter to McConnell trying to sell a narrative that the Dems are dragging things out for partisan reasons is to highlight that we’d be happy for things to move along quickly, but the unprecedented obstructionism at all levels of the administration is what’s slowing them down.

    And unlike McConnell’s fairy tale, it has the advantage of being true!

  97. 97
  98. 98
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    No idea, to be honest

    @Redshift:
    Well, like 2016, the race in 2020 is likely to be ratfucked all to hell by both foreign and domestic actors. It’s entirely possible that turnout and enthusiasm could be dampened by disinformation campaigns aimed at the eventual Dem nominee, whoever they are

  99. 99
    jl says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: The link says that the model was validated using ‘backtesting’
    That is, IMHO, a weirdo financial analysis technique for model validation and a very low bar. It can’t pick up the most common problems in statistical modeling, such as overfitting and mistaking chance patterns for systematic effects.
    And note that the model only misfired once, but that was in 2016, which is, I think, by far the election that will be most similar to 2020.

    I think important to remember that we have to act like we are underdogs in the 2020 election, hope for the best but prepare for the worst, because the stakes are so high. But this model is not going to terrify me. And, chances the economy will be as good as it is now in a year is pretty low.

    Good news is that turnout apparently plays a critical role in the model results. What Democrats do will have a big impact on turnout, it’s something we can to some extent control.

  100. 100
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: “Haha Graham is kinky.” *groan* *sigh* 🙄

  101. 101
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @SFAW:

    lead ball bearings

    You know they make non-lead ball bearings these days. :)

    And if you want to go old school, sack full of doorknobs. Duh.

  102. 102
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Redshift:

    particularly if Democrats aren’t enthusiastic

    These silly writers. “Enthusiastic” is not a synonym for “fucking pissed off at this Russthuglican shitshow.”

  103. 103

    @mrmoshpotato: Hmmm, didn’t know Lindsay is a Kinks fan.

  104. 104
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @SFAW:

    lead ball bearings

    I wonder what they get used for? [Wikipedia confirms they exist] I mean, lead is -soft-, and ball bearings are meant to take -load-.

  105. 105
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: You trying to kill me here?

  106. 106
    CaseyL says:

    @randy khan: You’re right; model not poll.

    I’m trying to be hopeful, but it’s hard with so many things turning to shit so fast. And I don’t even watch the news anymore! I just follow what’s going on online!

  107. 107
    Millard Filmore says:

    @lumpkin:

    By repeating his ridiculous timeline McConnell

    In my dreams: “If McConnell wants to remove Mr Trump from the Presidency before Christmas, he can let the Congress know in writing.”

  108. 108
    Ruckus says:

    @Elizabelle:
    This.
    Turtle is trying to speed up the process so the worst of the crap that they are all involved in won’t be uncovered. And they might get rid of trump just to make that happen. I don’t expect that, but they are up against the wall and it isn’t getting better. Most of them know how bad it really is but they will hang on as long as they can and/or try to minimize the damage.
    I say keep the process going for a few months, let them do the 25th or wait it out for all of it. Fuck the republican party, they deserve far more than they will ever have to pay for this fuck up named trump.

  109. 109
    Amir Khalid says:

    @dmsilev:
    Trump probably believes that profiting from the presidency is a brilliant idea — one that no president before him had the genius to think of, or the brass balls to exploit.

  110. 110
    Ruckus says:

    @Chetan Murthy:
    They used to be used as the shot in a shotgun shell. I don’t think they are any longer.
    They are used in ball milling machines, which are driven drums filled with a material that you want to turn into a powder and lead balls. They work because they are dense for their size and the material being ground is relatively soft.

  111. 111
    David Evans says:

    @Ruckus: Shotgun ammo may be lead balls, but they are not bearings. Though this may be a case where language is changing and “ball bearing” is acquiring a secondary meaning of “ball too small to play games with”.

  112. 112
    Mohagan says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: The model says it is based on Democrats not being motivated to vote. That doesn’t seem to align with the reality we saw in 2018 and what I expect in 2020. Broken glass, etc.

  113. 113
    SFAW says:

    @Chetan Murthy:
    JHC. I meant it figuratively, not literally, wise guy. I would have said “XX gauge lead buckshot,” and no doubt someone would have told me “it’s a clip, not a magazine” (or vice versa) or “do you mean grapeshot” (if that even exists) or similar. And, yes, I’m well aware — and was when I wrote it — that lead is too soft a material to be used as ball bearings.

    I also did not specify the material of the sock, so I’m sure you can tell me that standard sock-grade material could not support the weight of lead balls without tearing.

    Next time I’ll be sure to research every minute point of every descriptive image, so that I don’t run afoul of the Balloon Juice Absolute Accuracy in Posting Corps.

    I guess I should be glad I didn’t type anything about “the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor.”

    ETA: It probably wasn’t clear in this reply: I’m not really peeved about it, just playing the role of peeved chops-buster.

  114. 114
    SFAW says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    or the brass balls to exploit.

    or lead ball bearings.

  115. 115
    SFAW says:

    @mrmoshpotato:

    And if you want to go old school, sack full of doorknobs. Duh.

    I’d need to do an extended period of weight training before I could lift that. I chose something small enough to wrap the Constitution around it, but heavy enough to make an impression.

  116. 116
    JAFD says:

    @janesays: Old codger here, reminiscing. 25th Amendment is reaction to JFK assassination making Sam Reyburn – then House Speaker, and an old codger – next President if LBJ passed before Jan 20 1965.
    It was a different world then.
    Certainly none of ‘the great and good’ of ’64 forsaw a President growing senile, and his party, controlling one house of Congress, determined to keep him in office…

  117. 117
    SFAW says:

    @JAFD:

    JFK assassination making Sam Reyburn – then House Speaker, and an old codger

    John McCormack, not Rayburn. [Rayburn died in 1961]

  118. 118
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @janesays:

    But even then it wouldn’t actually permanently remove Trump from office, and at that point we get into completely uncharted territory as far as how to deal with the situation over a long period of time. Could Trump resubmit his declaration of fitness for the job every month, and if so, would Congress be forced to take up the issue and debate and vote on it every month? It’s really not clear, because the 25th Amendment wasn’t really designed to permanently remove a president from office, and the sort of incapacitation it was intended to address was presumably the kind in which the president would not physically or mentally be able to even challenge the invocation – ie, he would be in a persistent vegetative state or some other truly incapacitating physical condition.

    One might argue — and the Supreme Court might accept — that when 2/3 of both houses of Congress declare the President to be incapacitated despite his claim that he’s not, it’s final.

    I can see a reason the GOP might prefer to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, despite its difficulties. It would short-circuit the impeachment hearings and eventual trial that would expose more of their crimes.

  119. 119
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Ken: 47 years and 4 months later, to be exact. (WW’s incapacitating stroke: 2 Oct 1919. Ratification of 25th Amendment: 10 Feb 1967)

    Kudos to those of you who are (somewhat belatedly) realizing that Section 4** of the 25th is utterly unsuited to resolving the current mishegoss.

    I invite anyone still stuck in that illusion to read through the text of Section 4 several times & then play some what-if games assuming that a POTUS allegedly “unable to discharge the powers & duties of office” refuses to go meekly to the sidelines. It’s not hard to come up with a multitude of ways his barely-legal team could throw spanners into the works & a plethora of possibilities that 25/4 doesn’t even consider that would make the Gordian knot look like a twist-tie. And this alone should convince anyone that Section 4 was narrowly directed at transferring the nuclear launch codes to a functioning individual when POTUS is unconscious (coma or general anesthesia) or obviously out of his/her fucking mind.

    (** Edited to add number originally omitted)

  120. 120
    artem1s says:

    I’m looking forward to the Twittler meltdown once Faux News picks up this report from the Post. The temper tantrums should be epic from both the WH and the Senate GOP. I wonder how many of these guys will be begging McConnell to keep Shithole away from their campaign stops, townhalls, and holding rallies in their states. Every deal is a bad deal in this scenario.

  121. 121
    artem1s says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    play some what-if games

    Dolt’s brazen stubborness works for him here. Unfortunately, I think there are some in the GOP leadership who would have trouble imagining all the ways forcing a 25th scenario could go wrong for them. Dense earned his moniker. I think he’s dumb enough to assume God will make it all come out right. And the Tea Party Gohmert Squad may not care if the government is thrown into complete chaos due to a fight between two branches of the government. They may even call it a bonus. So I don’t think the GOP leadership has completely ruled it out. But I’ve never thought it was a viable option for saving the democracy from fascism.

  122. 122
    J R in WV says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    They didn’t 25th Wilson and he was paralyzed from a stroke.

    There was no 25th Amendment back then. Here are some dates:

    Congress approved the 25th Amendment on July 6, 1965, the States completed ratification by February 10, 1967, and President Lyndon Johnson certified the amendment on February 23, 1967.

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