An Article of Impeachment Against Donald J. Trump

David Leonhart has a carefully put together article of impeachment, based on Trump’s obstruction of justice. Ten points are based on publicly available evidence. Mueller has more.

Of course, the Republican House will not act on this. Which is why we must flip the House this November.

Impeachment is a political act. I’ve been trying to step back from the immediate furor and look at the bigger picture. There are a great many problems beyond obstruction of justice. A responsible Republican Party would form a delegation to talk with Trump about coming clean or resigning. Fortunately, the Mueller investigation continues; in any case, they have more information on these issues than I do.

I jotted down some notes over the weekend. Here’s my list of those problems.

Did the Russians route money to the Trump campaign through the NRA? Why were there so many contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians? Paul Manafort? Michael Flynn? George Papadopoulos and the mysterious Dr. Mifsud? Carter Page? What were the functions of Papadopoulos and Page on the campaign team? What was the June 9, 2016, meeting with Russians about? Was Cambridge Analytica part of this? What about the connections between a Trump computer and Alfa Bank?

Why did Trump share highly classified Israeli intelligence with the Russian ambassador?

Then there are the conflicts of interest – the family businesses, including Ivanka’s investments in Azerbaijan and business in China; the hotels and other properties. That gets into the emoluments clause and the use of those properties for government business.

So many people had access to highly classified information, more than previously given access to President’s Daily Brief. Michael Flynn. Jared Kushner’s inablity to get a security clearance.

And the constant lying. What are they hiding?

The Republicans in Congress have some problems of their own, which, in addition to their tribal loyalties, may have been holding them back from saying much to Trump. There are indications that they may have partaken of Russian help in their campaigns. Why are some who might have been the equivalents of Barry Goldwater speaking to Richard Nixon, like Lindsay Graham and Thom Tillis, suddenly turning around?

And what role does Fox News play in all this beyond supplanting the President’s Daily Brief?

Looks to me like there is more than enough for impeachment, certainly for a stern talk by any Republican legislators who are not implicated in Trump’s crimes. I find it helps to look at the bigger picture from time to time, even if it is depressing.

 



Open Thread: Fighting the Repubs’ Current Ransom Attempt

(I’m putting this together at 6am, before going to bed, in the knowledge that it may be outdated by the time it appears on the front page. Do your worst, Trickster God!)

From the Washington Post, “Lawmakers call on Trump to drop bid for legal immigration cuts”:

Lawmakers in both parties said Sunday that the immigration debate should focus narrowly on efforts to legalize young immigrants known as “dreamers” and beef up border security, suggesting that President Trump’s demands to slash legal immigration levels are likely to sink a deal.

Democrats have voiced fierce opposition to a White House plan, released late last week, that featured a path to citizenship for 1.8 million dreamers in exchange for $25 billion for his border wall and sharp cuts to family immigration visas.

Though Democratic leaders have grudgingly offered wall funding, they have accused the president of leveraging the dreamers as “ransom” to severely constrict legal immigration, calling it a wish list for “anti-immigration hard-liners” and “white supremacists.”

Congress members, including some Republicans, said Sunday that the negotiations have gone too far afield ahead of a March 5 deadline after which 690,000 dreamers in an Obama-era deferred action program could begin to lose their protections from deportation…

Negotiators from both parties said after meeting with Trump at the White House two weeks ago that they had agreed to narrow the talks to four categories — the future of the dreamers, border security, cuts to family immigration and the diversity visa lottery, which Trump wants to eliminate.

Trump’s plan would terminate the ability of U.S. citizens to apply for green cards, awarding permanent legal residence, for their parents and siblings. The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute estimated that the proposal could annually drop the number of green cards by at least 288,000 — 36 percent of the total number last year….


Read more



Monday Morning Open Thread: (Fighting for) Respect


(Full clip here; explanation here.)
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Apart from dishing the Grammys, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?

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Meanwhile… “Oh mah garsh, Jethro, it’s a trend!” Will Bunch, in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

There are no sooty coal mines underneath the steep, foliage-shrouded streets of Mount Airy, no Formica-wrapped diner where men in flannel shirts and steel-toed boots load up on painfully bitter coffee and heaping platters of cholesterol while dissecting last night’s Hannity, no driveways where an unemployed factory worker parks his Chevy truck next to a “Make America Great Again” yard sign.

No, life on these blocks centers around a joint on Carpenter Lane called Weavers Way, the venerable corner food co-op that launched in the twilight of the hippie era in 1972, where today senior citizens and young social workers wander down from rambling old-stone houses with their reusable canvas bags to load up on bulk spices, home-baked muffins, or maybe a treat like pumpkin gingersnap ice cream…

Welcome to the throbbing heart of Anti-Trump Country, a land where — if you believe in polls — the majority of Americans reside, and yet a place that the mainstream media seem determined to ignore.

I decided to come to the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhoods of Mount Airy and Germantown after reading the 26th, or maybe it was the 206th, “Report from Trump Country,” where some wire-rimmed reporter from New York or D.C. parachutes into small-town Ohio or Kansas to hang out in a bacon-drenched breakfast spot to discover that the locals who watched six hours of Fox News Channel the night before still love it when Trump blasts the liberal “fake news” on Twitter, no matter how many promises the president breaks on bringing their jobs back or replacing Obamacare with “something really terrific.”…

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Tragic coda, via commentor Gin & Tonic, “Mired in squalor, but still voting for Putin”:

In Soviet times, “monotowns” dedicated to a single industry were part of a proud industrial heritage. Today some are still home to about 14m Russians, or 10% of the population, but many others have been bulldozed and burnt. One of the ghost towns in the far north, Khalmer-Yu, has been used for military target practice. Putin, who relishes any opportunity to show off his manly prowess, went up in a bomber to launch missiles at an abandoned block of flats.

A few brave souls linger in Roza, a former coal-mining town named after Rosa Luxemburg, the German revolutionary. It is perched on the edge of a crater two miles wide. The air is filled with sulphurous smoke from burning subterranean coal seams that have caused land on the edge of the settlement to subside.

More than 4,000 have departed in search of better lives. Most of those who remain are jobless. “People are upset, angry and disappointed,” said Liubov Artiomova, 49, at the counter of the All You Need dress shop. “I rarely get any customers. All we do is exist.”…

Kurdyavtseva, a mineworker’s widow, suffers from severe asthma and her grandson needs to see a dentist — two of his front teeth are black. “There’s no dentist round here,” she said. “And we can’t afford to go anywhere else. All of my pension goes on getting us something to eat.”

She could barely afford to feed the child and her two sons. In spite of the hardship, she will vote for Putin on March 18. “Who else? He gave us a good life in the past. Others have let him down.”

If you’re old, like me, you can probably remember back when it was a point of American pride that even our most isolated, ill-educated hayseeds had an independence unimaginable to the dumb kulaks mooing adulation for whichever Strong Soviet Daddy was standing at the front of today’s parade review…



Sunday Evening Open Thread: BET’s SotU Rebuttal

No disrespect to my homeboy Joe Kennedy III, but some people seem to be gleeful that “Auntie Maxine” will give her own response to Trump on Tuesday. Per the Bustle:

While Rep. Joe Kennedy will be giving the official Democratic State of the Union response, frequent Trump critic Waters will be giving her own statement on BET immediately following Trump’s speech. She’ll be joining Angela Rye’s State of the Union, along with several other activists and public officials. BET has announced that the show will air quarterly and will discuss the most important issues facing black people in America.

“Queen Maxine is going to hit the facts quick, she’s going to do it as only she can, but we’re not going to linger over his nonsense,” Rye, a political commentator/analyst and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, told The Root in an interview. Rye said the Tuesday evening show will focus on what Trump’s first year has meant for black Americans…

This assumes, of course, that Lord Smallgloves can be coaxed or intimidated into showing up live, and that he doesn’t cap his “speech” by setting fire to the podium or his own hair.

No matter what you personally think of Rep. Waters’ skills, take heart: She will be less ridiculous than the Tea Party responses to President Obama’s SotU, because more ridiculous than those people one cannot be. And watching the ensuing attacks from both the right and the alt-left should be entertaining, because that lady will brush a dude aside with sufficient force to severely bruise his public status.

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Are we gonna live-blog Tuesday’s Big Event? On the one hand, rubbernecking the inevitable disaster; on the other, do we want to run up Donny Dollhand’s viewing stats, which he’ll pay more attention to than he does to even the most positive/negative reviews of his actual performance?



Saturday Morning “NO WHITE HOUSE” Open Thread

“Politics is the study of who eats… and who gets eaten.” So, when it comes to humans, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid *everything* political. But the Oval Office Firehose of Bullshit can overwhelm the best of us. Also, I keep setting aside interesting articles that never get linked.

So, let’s try a Saturday-morning experiment: How many comments can we thread before somebody Fails to Read the F***ing Header?
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And apart from that one restriction, what’s on the agenda for the day?

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I’ll confess, I always assumed that liquid lead must somehow be poured into cored wooden cylinders, but noooo. Definitely click over for the Christopher Payne photos that go with Sam Anderson’s text:

A pencil is a little wonder-wand: a stick of wood that traces the tiniest motions of your hand as it moves across a surface. I am using one now, making weird little loops and slashes to write these words. As a tool, it is admirably sensitive. The lines it makes can be fat or thin, screams or whispers, blocks of concrete or blades of grass, all depending on changes of pressure so subtle that we would hardly notice them in any other context. (The difference in force between a bold line and nothing at all would hardly tip a domino.) And while a pencil is sophisticated enough to track every gradation of the human hand, it is also simple enough for a toddler to use.

Such radical simplicity is surprisingly complicated to produce. Since 1889, the General Pencil Company has been converting huge quantities of raw materials (wax, paint, cedar planks, graphite) into products you can find, neatly boxed and labeled, in art and office-supply stores across the nation: watercolor pencils, editing pencils, sticks of charcoal, pastel chalks. Even as other factories have chased higher profit margins overseas, General Pencil has stayed put, cranking out thousands upon thousands of writing instruments in the middle of Jersey City…



You Call That a Cat? THIS is a Cat…(With a Depressing Postscript)

Tikka has been in fine form lately, so I thought I’d share the force of his personality on a blog that can always use some more afternoon thread.

Here he is recently, showing some signs of mental wear and tear:

Tikka does not like strangers. And by strangers he means just about everyone who isn’t me.  He’ll tolerate my son and spouse, but after that?  We’ve had a lot of relatives staying over the last month or so, my wife’s sister for one, who is very much a cat person, and my own sister, likewise — she’s a pillar volunteer at the local pet shelter and all that good stuff.

My S-I-L has learned not to engage Tikka, and in his turn he now merely growls when she passes, and only very rarely whacks her as she goes.  My sister knows Tikka hates her, but can’t resist making eye contact. The result is increasing cat madness.  Those two bipedal monsters have both returned home now, and my fair feline is calming down quite a bit.  Hence this, taken about an hour ago:

A Cat In Full — and don’t you ever doubt it.

And now to some heavier material.  I’m very much looking to the next posts in Cheryl’s series on gender and national security (first one here). As we wait for those, you might want to check out this by Andrew Bacevich [corrected link], a professor at B. U. (and a retired U.S.A. Lt. Col.) focusing on national security.

A taste:

What makes a Harvey Weinstein moment? The now-disgraced Hollywood mogul is hardly the first powerful man to stand accused of having abused women. The Harveys who preceded Harvey himself are legion, their prominence matching or exceeding his own and the misdeeds with which they were charged at least as reprehensible.

…As far as male sexual hijinks are concerned, we might compare Weinstein’s epic fall from grace to the stock market crash of 1929: one week it’s the anything-goes Roaring Twenties, the next we’re smack dab in a Great Depression.

…All of this serves as a reminder that, on some matters at least, the American people retain an admirable capacity for outrage. We can distinguish between the tolerable and the intolerable. And we can demand accountability of powerful individuals and institutions.

[But] compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country’s various military misadventures of the present century.  Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars.  Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated “terrorism,” as President George W. Bush promised back when today’s G.I.s were still in diapers.

…war has become a habit to which the United States is addicted.  Except for the terminally distracted, most of us know that.  We also know — we cannot not know — that, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. forces have been unable to accomplish their assigned mission, despite more than 16 years of fighting in the former and more than a decade in the latter…

Bacevich isn’t quite talking about what Cheryl’s begun to lay out.  But it seems to me that the two may be striking some of the same notes.  Anyway, I am as I have long been astonished, angered, and deeply saddened by the way so many of our leaders — lately but not always mostly Republicans — have been so profligate with other people’s kids.

 

The old Lie.

Damn — that’s a downer ending for a cat post.  Sorry. The times are what the times contain.



The Dutch Watched Cozy Bear Hack The Democrats

A remarkable article has just come out in deVolkskrant.

The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD, in 2014, hacked the computer network of a university building next to Red Square in Moscow. They saw an operation that they identified as Cozy Bear, also known as APT 29. They were able to read security cameras in the building and have pictures of some of the Cozy Bear group, which numbers about 10. They see Cozy Bear hacking into the US State Department and the Democratic Party. They notify US intelligence. According to the article, the NSA and FBI are able to counter the attacks, but it doesn’t say how. The NSA is able to watch the Russians changing their methods, which is very useful. Possibly not so useful now, but things may have changed still further since then.

The Dutch were in Cozy Bear for over a year. They learned a lot, and we can be sure that not all of it is in this article. They say there is “no question” that the Kremlin is behind the hacking.

The US sent cake, flowers, intelligence, and technology to AIVD.

However, Trump’s denial of Russian hacking and concomitant leaking from the US intelligence services about help from “a Western ally” have irritated the Dutch. Intelligence services shouldn’t leak. The Dutch are now more careful about sharing intelligence.

The sources for the article are “six American and Dutch sources who are familiar with the material, but wish to remain anonymous.”

Seems an interesting time for this article to appear, with Republicans scurrying around trying to fog up the issue in the best traditions of Russian disinformation.

Much more detail at the article.