Not Quite Everything You Wanted to Know About Impeachment, But It’s Something

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​Whether you consider yourself a Republican, Democrat, Independent or any other political designation, I hope that you believe, as I do that the impeachment of a President (or Cabinet member or judge) should be considered as a last resort, taken with the seriousness and gravitas that it deserves.Unfortunately, with this President and his Administration flouting the rule of law, ignoring subpoenas, and its blatant public acts of corruption and solicitation of foreign election interference, he, Mr. Trump has given Congress no choice.

And all of that was before this quid pro quo with Ukraine and giving the green light for Turkey to invade the Kurdish territory in Syria.

The G7 at the Doral Resort was just another cherry on the top of the ever growing Trump Corruption Sundae.

It may be hard to wade through the Republican lies and disinformation campaign. Personally, I am disappointed in Republicans who in the past at least pretended to be pro-America. They’ve truly shown their true colors and loyalties especially McConnell, Graham, and Meadows. I’m less surprised by Pompeo, Mulvaney, Jordan, and Nunes. This couldn’t have been proved any better than their deliberate and illegal interruption of impeachment testimony in a secure room in the House just yesterday. The President’s involvement in their stunt is another impeachable offense.

However, my opinion doesn’t mean anything without the facts to back it up.

This post offers sources to read, follow, and listen to as they lay out the impeachment case and continue to offer reasoned perspectives. As new information comes out or readers suggest other sources, I will update this post. I will also add it to my Home page.

Please comment with any of your own recs.

Podcasts (I provide links through Player.FM which is where I listen to my podcasts, but you can listen anywhere you already listen to podcasts.)

Rubicon: The Impeachment of Donald Trump from Crooked Media

Impeachment Primer – Amicus 

Article II: Inside Impeachment from NBC hosted by Steve Kornacki 

Impeachment, Explained from Vox hosted by Ezra Klein 

Rachel Maddow Presents: Bag Man A series on the corruption of Vice President Spiro Agnew 

Twitter

Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi 

Preet Bharara 

Neal Katyal 

Richard Engel – on the ground in Syria 

or On Assignment with Richard Engel

Your own Senators and Representatives

Books and Other Publications

Neal Katyal is an attorney who served in the Justice Department, was the Acting Solicitor General during the Obama Administration from May 2010 until June 2011, taking over the position after Elena Kagan became Supreme Court Justice. He was born in Chicago, and has argued more Supreme Court cases than any other minority lawyer. He seems to always have cases before the Supreme Court. He drafted the Special Cousel regulations in 1999, and those are in continued use, and used to assign the parameters of the Mueller Investigation. He was one of Al Gore’s co-counsels before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore and teaches at Georgetown.

He has written his first book, Impeach: The Case Against President Trump, which is coming out on November 26th, just in time for those family dinner conversations, explaining impeachment to those of us asking the questions. It can be pre-ordered

It is also helpful to read the following:

Mueller Report (this link will automatically download to your device)

The opening statements of the testimony of Marie Yovanivitch, former Ukraine Ambassador (this link will also automatically download to your device)

The opening statement of testimony by Bill Taylor (this link brings you to google docs)

The Mueller Report

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Before Twitter makes me run away screaming, tearing my hair out, and before listening to a zillion podcasts with a million takes on the “Mueller report”, I have a few of my own takes that may be relevant to the average non-political, what has happened to our country, how can I make it better person.
First, as of this writing, no one has seen or read the “Mueller Report”; at least not those people on cable news and the internet who are talking about it. Special Counsel Robert Mueller finished his investigation – there is some debate as to whether or not it came to an end organically or if it was rushed to finish from orders from the Department of Justice – but the crux of the facts are that Mr. Mueller submitted his report to the Attorney General.

At that point, over the weekend, the Attorney General (Bill Barr) sent a four page letter to Congress, of his, let me repeat and emphasize – HIS perception of the lengthy report. Four pages isn’t nearly enough to do a substantial summation of the two year investigation.

That is literally all we know.

As far as the public is concerned, Attorney General Barr is the only one to have read the report, aside from Mueller himself.

A reminder from Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and DNC chair: “I confess to being disgusted with the American media in general. Just heard again in NPR that “the Mueller report cleared President Trump”. No one in the American media has read the Mueller Report.”

What we do know: 

1. The Trump campaign did not conspire with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

This is a good thing.

However, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t break protocols, share classified information, or set up their Administration to make things better for Russia (China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia as well), and the sanctions. We’ve already indicted thirteen Russian nationals for election interference as well as connected one Russian national to espionage, money laundering through the NRA, and have had Trump campaign officials and Administration officials plead guilty and are in jail currently or will soon be serving their jail sentence.

2. The President was NOT exonerated on the obstruction of justice charges.

How do we know this? Mr. Barr stated it in his four page letter to Congress.

3. This Administration is continuing to undermine the rule of law and prey on our most vulnerable citizens, most recently the disabled athletes of the Special Olympics and trans active duty military service members.

4. It is unusual and without precedent that a Special Counsel looking into presidential wrongdoing would send his report to and suggest that the Attorney General (appointed by the President in question) look into whether criminal charges should be filed, charged and brought to trial.

For one thing, the Department of Justice has a longstanding policy of not indicting a sitting President. Their intention has been that any legal ramifications for the President be adjudicated through Congress’ role of oversight and impeachment (if warranted).

For another thing, looking back at our two most known special counsel investigations – Watergate and Whitewater – in both of those instances, the Special Counsel sent their findings back to Congress to make their determination. It should be expected that Robert Mueller, by all accounts the straightest of strait-laced and examine each page by-the-book former Marine, former FBI director, special counsel would have sent his findings to Congress to determine the next steps; not to the handpicked Attorney General who has already expressed his opinion on Presidential liability in this specific case prior to being tapped as AG.

5. My feelings are that we need to remember that when the Trump Admin people and their surrogates (including essentially state-run Fox News) say there are no indictments we need to remind them that there were over thirty and the Department of Justice, which the special counsel is a part of, doesn’t, according to its tradition, indict a sitting president. There are also at least sixteen other related investigations ongoing into the Trump Organization and Administration’s fraud and malfeasance.

Please also remember that Mueller’s job wasn’t to find anyone “guilty“; it was fact finding. As stated by his attorney general, the President was NOT exonerated; not by a long shot.

6. Additionally, we don’t need a special counsel to tell us what we’ve witnessed over the last two plus years: this administration failing our most needy, promising to protect health care and pre-existing conditions and now taking that away, promising not to touch social security and medicare and now reducing the budget to unsustainable margins, raising the taxes of the middle class to give billionaires and corporations tax cuts that they do not put back into the economy as promised, starting a trade war with China and sending our farmers into bankruptcy, the disturbing policy of separating families at the border and putting kids in cages, sexual abuse in detention of children, deaths by negligence of children in detention, tracking minor girls’ menstrual cycles but refusing pre-natal and post-miscarriage health care, and detaining American citizens without due process, and a host of other promises broken.

7. We need to continue to speak out where we see bigotry and hatred, especially when it comes so easily from the GOP.

8. We also need to remind everyone, in particular that the press is not the enemy of the people. They are the enemy of authoritarians who like to do their work in the dark. Journalists shine a light on the corruption, although with this administration, a lot of it has been done in the light.

9. We also need to address the culpability and complicitity of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell who has singlehandedly allowed this undemocratic takeover of the Senate and the judicial branch, holding the American people hostage.

I will leave you with this tweet from former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, who I agree with one hundred percent:

“Again, I am relieved that our president did not conspire with Putin during the 2016 presidential election. Think about what a mess we’d be in as a country if he did. At the same time, Trump et al did a lot of things with Russians in 2016 that maybe weren’t illegal but were wrong.” (3/26/19)