A Little Late-Night Honesty

Beto has had it with reporters.

Also, Nebraska State Senator John McCollister has had it with his silent Republican colleagues:

A majority of House Democrats now favor impeachment.

Cloudflare has left 8chan on its own, and reports are that it’s down already.

It’s so easy to soften what we say, to be polite. We’re taught to do that from childhood. But it’s time to say things clearly and simply, to take a stand.

 








More Like This Please

h/t News and Guts

Politico:

DEMOCRATIC AD-MAKER MARK PUTNAM has cut the first paid ad from the hearing, funded by TOM STEYER’S Need to Impeach, a spot that’s going to grab many eyeballs in the coming days. The group is spending in the mid-six figures to air the ad on CNN and MSNBC before and after the second presidential debate (which airs tonight and Wednesday night on CNN live from Detroit). Needless to say, this is prime time for millions of politically active TV viewers.

Yeah, I know Tom Steyer. But I think every candidate should do something similar. Make it a series of increasing complexity and edited to give the finger to all the “oh, it was sooo boring” pundits (who should all drunk stumble into the tar pits in LA and be lost forever, IMHO).

Open thread







The Cruelty Is the Point

The House Democrats released a report on what’s being done in our name at the border. CNN has a summary here and links to a PDF of the complete report here.

The report says 18 infants and toddlers under two years old were snatched from their parents and held “for 20 days to half a year.” It details the pointless and cruel ways hundreds of kids have been shuffled around like lost baggage and in some cases held after their parents were deported without them. Here’s the conclusion of the executive summary:

The information obtained by the Committee indicates that the Trump Administration’s decision to separate thousands of babies, toddlers, and children from their parents and put them in government custody for months or years is causing immense suffering. This staff report provides numerous case studies that illustrate their trauma in stark terms. These child separations were not required by law and were not in the best interest of the children. Instead, the policy of separating children from their parents appears to be a deliberate, unnecessary, and cruel choice by President Trump and his Administration.

There are horrifying new details in the report, but we’ve known about the abuse for a long time. We’ve also known Trump uses family separation as a “deterrent” for a long time, and there was extensive coverage of the child camps in recent weeks.

Despite these facts, Trump’s approval rating ticked up slightly. He’s still historically unpopular, having never cracked 50% approval in a reputable poll despite a strong economy, etc. But still, somewhere north of 40% of our fellow citizens think he’s doing a good job, child caging and all.

The cruelty is the point with Trump, and the same must be said of anyone who approves of him. They’re either enjoying the spectacle of pain and heartache inflicted on desperate people, or their indifference amounts to a depravity in its own right. Shameful.








Impeach the Motherfucker III

According to The Times, the U.S. is taking “more aggressive digital action” in Russia’s power grid “in a warning to Moscow and in a demonstration of its abilities,” explicitly to brush Putin back from further election interference. Yesterday afternoon, Ryan Goodman, professor and former special counsel to the DoD, highlighted this excerpt from The Times article (source):

So, Pentagon and intelligence officials are taking action independently because everyone’s afraid if they clue Trump in, he’ll blurt out details to a hostile foreign power’s officials or quash the effort altogether. My gratitude that at least someone is taking the threat of Russian interference seriously is tempered by the knowledge that, under normal circumstances, unelected officials shouldn’t freelance U.S. foreign policy. There’s a norm that will be difficult to reestablish.

Anyhoo, yesterday evening, Trump confirmed that efforts to counter Russian interference in U.S. elections either have to take place behind his back or not at all:

Recall former DHS Sec Kirstjen Nielsen’s failed attempt to put plans in place to deal with Russian interference in the upcoming election. One of the primary duties of the DHS secretary is to ensure election security. But in a bid to save her job, Nielsen focused on caging kids instead when she was told that bringing up Russian interference wounds Trump’s ego. [Mother Jones]

When former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen began to prepare a plan to address potential Russian interference in the 2020 election, she was told by President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to refrain from discussing the issue in front of the president, according to a report from the New York Times.

A senior Trump administration official recalled to the Times that Mr. Mulvaney said it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level,” because Trump considers any discussion of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to be a challenge to the legitimacy of his presidency.

The DHS is the federal agency primarily responsible for election security, but despite Nielsen’s growing concerns about Russia’s continued involvement in the 2018 midterms, she abandoned her effort to organize a meeting with the White House in the hopes of creating a cohesive strategy for 2020 after pushback from Mulvaney. The issue therefore did not gain traction within the White House and has resulted in a lack of public awareness regarding the latest potential attempts of Russian election interference.

These are two instances we know about where Trump’s ego and unwillingness to address urgent threats compromised national security.* Mitch McConnell was complicit before and after the 2016 election, refusing to join a bipartisan effort to counter foreign interlopers prior to the last presidential election and refusing to bring a bipartisan election security bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote now.

We know what’s going on here. Trump always abandons his responsibilities as president when they conflict with his personal interests and is keen to avoid any suggestion that someone other than his magnificent self was responsible for his glorious victory. McConnell and the Republicans have known for some time that they can’t harness white grievance to secure power to enact plutocrat-friendly policies forever, which is why they started laying the groundwork for minority rule long before Trump came along, rigging elections and cheating in every conceivable way.

The House is the last line of defense. The situation demands an impeachment inquiry focused on Trump’s attempts to thwart an investigation of previous election interference and failure to protect the country from foreign interlopers going forward. Hearings would expose Republican complicity and, if House leadership follows Laurence Tribe’s recommendation, deny McConnell the opportunity to “exonerate” Trump via acquittal in the Senate — all while underscoring the corruption of the Republican Party.

I have a ton of respect for Nancy Pelosi, who knows a lot more about congressional procedures and political strategy than I can ever hope to learn. My hope is she’s being deliberate about impeachment because she has a strategy to not only expose Trump but also his corrupt enablers in Congress. I sincerely hope so, because lawlessness will continue until lawbreakers are held accountable, and past a certain point, it will be too late.

*Thanks, it must be said, to The Times. Their garbage Beltway reportage notwithstanding, the paper still breaks some incredibly important stories.








Tribe’s Impeachment Compromise

Constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe wrote an op-ed for The Post suggesting a compromise that would allow the Impeach the Motherfucker NOW! crowd and Team Proceed Cautiously Because 2020 Is Everything to meet in the middle. The compromise is predicated on the notion that a House impeachment needn’t function explicitly as a prosecutor or grand jury that refers its findings to the Senate for trial — Tribe says the House can conduct an inquiry “in which the target is afforded an opportunity to participate and mount a full defense” and skip the referral.

He cites precedent during the Watergate impeachment proceedings, when Nixon’s attorney appeared to defend Nixon against charges leveled by the House. Since Nixon subsequently resigned, there was no need to refer the articles of impeachment to the Senate, but Tribe says the House Judiciary Committee in that era drafted findings that included “determinations of fact and law and verdicts of guilt to be delivered by the House itself, expressly stating that the president was indeed guilty as charged.” On that basis, Tribe surmises that “an impeachment inquiry conducted with ample opportunity for the accused to defend himself before a vote by the full House would be at least substantially protected, even if not entirely bullet-proofed, against a Senate whitewash.”

Here’s Tribe’s conclusion:

The point would not be to take old-school House impeachment leading to possible Senate removal off the table at the outset. Instead, the idea would be to build into the very design of this particular inquiry an offramp that would make bypassing the Senate an option while also nourishing the hope that a public fully educated about what this president did would make even a Senate beholden to this president and manifestly lacking in political courage willing to bite the bullet and remove him.

By resolving now to pursue such a path, always keeping open the possibility that its inquiry would unexpectedly lead to the president’s exoneration, the House would be doing the right thing as a constitutional matter. It would be acting consistent with its overriding obligation to establish that no president is above the law, all the while keeping an eye on the balance of political considerations without setting the dangerous precedent that there are no limits to what a corrupt president can get away with as long as he has a compliant Senate to back him. And pursuing this course would preserve for all time the tale of this uniquely troubled presidency.

Go read the whole thing — I almost certainly bollixed up some key points by summarizing. But if I’m understanding Tribe correctly, he offers an intriguing alternative here.

Since the Senate won’t do its job, the House will need to get creative, and televised hearings that fully explore Trump’s corruption and abuse of power while not subjecting the process to a Republican cover-up sounds like a good option to me. What say you?