Accountability and respect for the rule of law and Constitution are at the center of just about every story we cover on today's BradCast --- (and on most days...but especially today) --- particularly with an absolutely lawless Administration and criminal President becoming seemingly more lawless and criminal by the day. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]
Among the related stories on today's program....
The House Oversight Committee moved on Tuesday to vote on contempt charges against Carl Kline, former White House Personnel Security Director, who refused to show up to testify at the Committee on Tuesday despite being issued a lawful subpoena by Congress ordering him to do so. His attorney said he didn't show on the advice of the White House who directed him not to. Kline, on apparent orders from the President, had approved "top secret" security clearances for dozens of White House officials, including Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, after career security officials rejected those applications for numerous reasons, according to 18-year White House personnel office veteran Tricia Newbold, who revealed the cases during whistleblower testimony to the House panel last month;
Maryland's two-term Republican Governor Larry Hogan said in New Hampshire this morning that he is considering a primary run against Trump, after describing the revelations of the redacted Mueller Report as "very disturbing" and criticizing his own party for being "afraid" of challenging the President. If he jumps in, Hogan would be the second GOP Governor to try and win the nomination over Trump in 2020, along with Massachusetts' William Weld who has already declared;
In news of still other Republicans willing to courageously stand up to a scofflaw President from their own party, J.W. Verret, a former Trump transition team official and professor of law at George Mason University, unleashed an op-ed today making the case for impeachment in the wake of Trump's "criminal conduct," citing "roughly a dozen separate instance of obstruction of justice" revealed by the Mueller Report as his "tipping point";
But while a handful of Republicans may be willing to take on the President, Democrats in Congress, for their part, are still timidly moving ahead with extraordinary caution. On a conference call with and a letter to the Democratic House caucus on Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly vowed that the House would continue Congressional investigations to "uncover the truth" about Trump's "highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior in his alleged attempts to obstruct justice," while attempting to keep a lid on the growing calls for impeachment from her caucus. She did not rule out impeachment, but said "we aren't going to go faster, we are going to go as fast as the facts take us";
On Monday night, however, in what many have somewhat mischaracterized as Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris "calling for impeachment," the California Democrat, during a CNN town hall, did call for Congress to "take steps toward impeachment." We contrast Harris' exceedingly cautious approach to the clarion calls for equal justice under the law and impeachment proceedings as a Constitutional duty issued by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in recent days. She has been calling for same, in no uncertain terms, on the Presidential campaign trail since the release of Mueller's redacted report late last week, and said on Monday night on CNN, in response to charges that impeachment would distract from the 2020 campaign: "There is no political inconvenience exception to the United States Constitution."
A number of other Democratic hopefuls have been far more cautious and/or circumspect than either of those two, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who says he worries a focus on impeachment could backfire on Dems and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg who concedes Trump "deserves impeachment", but that it's up to Congress, not him, to take action in that regard;
With the noteworthy exception of Warren, many Dems (and media geniuses) have cited the fact that Republicans in the Senate are unlikely to vote to convict the President, as a reason to shy away from impeachment proceedings entirely. (A simple majority is needed to approve articles of impeachment in the Democratic-controlled House, but a two-thirds vote is needed for conviction and removal of the President in the GOP-majority Senate). Playing slave to that conventional wisdom, however, largely allows Republicans a veto on which Presidents may or may not be impeached.
Moreover, the convention wisdom should be challenged here, particularly given the statements that many of the currently seated Republican Senators have offered, on the record, in support of impeachment and removal from office for a President who has attempted to obstruct justice by witness tampering and lying to the American public. Trump was documented as having done so as many as ten different times, as per Mueller's Report.
Of course, the Senators who we quote directly today on the need to remove a President for those very same crimes were speaking against President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings back in 1998. But their arguments against Clinton apply directly to Trump. So, will those very same Senators --- there are 11 who voted in '98 and would be required to vote here --- hypocritically vote against conviction this time around, under arguably far more criminal circumstances, when confronted with their own words on the topic? Maybe, maybe not. We won't know, of course, unless Dems do the right and Constitutional thing by voting in favor of the rule of law and moving to impeach this lawless President. Even the clear demonstration of blatant GOP hypocrisy would be helpful to expose to the American people before the 2020 election, and perhaps serve to make specious impeachments against Democrats in the future more unlikely;
Finally, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, said after the release of the redacted Mueller Report that he is "begging the American People to pay attention" and contact their members of Congress about this in order to save democracy for future generations. "At the rate we're going," he warns, "it won't be there." We are urging the same. You can reach your member of Congress at 202-224-3121...
While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
* * *
MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
READER COMMENTS ON "To Impeach or Not to Impeach? That Is the (Democrats') Question: 'BradCast' 4/23/2019" (3 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink] ...
said on 4/24/2019 @ 3:56 pm PT...
No one with a brain expects impeachment to actually take Trump down because:
Pelosi is clearly slow-walking any investigation which MIGHT result in a Bill of Impeachment;
The Senate -with sufficient assistance from at least three so-called Democratic Senators- will not vote to convict no matter what, since they are getting the radical reactionary judges they want on the benches;
Trump could get the US embroiled in hot wars in Venezuela and Iran so as to claim a national emergency as the justification of him taking total power away from the Congress.
On this last, since the Democrats can't seem to compel Trump to deliver the subpoenaed tax returns, for Trump to take total control away from the other branches of government is increasingly looking like swiping sweets from the swaddled. I watch for signs of fight in Democrats as a group, but am constantly disappointed.
I'm looking for an isolated cave where I might live out my days in relative peace.
If I was as pessimistic and fatalistic as you, I'd want to find an isolated cave to live out my days as well!
Shit is pretty grim these days, for sure. But not quite as grim as you paint it. My recommendation: Make them be better, rather than settling for what you believe to be their worst.
Or find a cave, I guess.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink] ...
said on 4/26/2019 @ 2:40 pm PT...
"...Democrats in Congress...are still timidly moving ahead with extraordinary caution."
In 2005 and 2006, I was my small town's elected delegate to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention. And that first year, I spoke at one forum and said that, although I did not want to offend anyone, our party had a tendency to be too timid.
Some of us who take the oath are trained to walk through minefields where taking the wrong stand can be deadly. And yet some in politics are afraid to take a stand because it may be unpopular.
Previously on these pages, I have pointed out how, even if we pushed the Russian Connection aside, the gentleman from New York has been in violation of the Constitution from the moment he said, "So help me God." And because the oath requires us to support and defend the Constitution "against all enemies, foreign and domestic," he is the enemy of WE THE PEOPLE. Therefore he is the Chief Traitor, and he must go.
Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to take certain politicians seriously on either side of the aisle. The Democrats for the reason cited, and the Republicans because they think standing in lockstep and speaking nonsense makes it so. But the latter need to be put on the public stage during a Senate trial so that all Americans can see how desperately they are in need of a backbone transplant.