Impeachment

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Thad
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:05 pm

Support for impeachment is now an outright majority in 538's aggregate tracker.

One interesting detail: Trump's approval rating hasn't declined much. It's lost more than a point (from 43.1% on September 24 to 41.8% today), which I think is significant, but it's still pretty remarkable how consistent it's been -- and how truly polarized his reputation is. (42% approve of him, 50% think he should be impeached, and the only "middle ground" between those groups is the 8% who think he should *maybe* be impeached.)

Now, we know his approval can go lower, because it has; his low is 36.5%. As for how it's so high now, I think Carville was right: it's the economy, stupid. There's a certain contingent of voters who, as long as the Dow is high and unemployment is low, don't care about anything else. Trump's actually polling terribly for as good as the economy is.

(And yeah I don't actually think the economy *is* that good, and people's myopic focus on the stock market and employment numbers ignores very serious problems with underemployment, lack of job security, stagnant wages, and declining benefits. And that's before we get into the leading indicators suggesting that we're headed for a recession, and the stock market's rollercoaster performance. But, for purposes of correlation with presidential approval ratings, the economy is good.)

That's one of the reasons I keep saying that a financial crisis is the likeliest thing to bring Trump down. I think there's a solid 30% who will never abandon him no matter what (that's about where Bush bottomed out), but I think there's another 10% on top of that who will turn on him in a heartbeat once his incompetence starts affecting them personally.

And even short of that incentive, it looks like he may be slowly bleeding support already. A 1.3-point drop in three weeks isn't huge, but it's not good news for him, either.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby mharr » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:34 pm


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Re: Impeachment

Postby Blossom » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:40 pm

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:25 pm

Seems like the right call to me. A vote is unnecessary; it's tradition, but it's not mandated in the Constitution. Republicans are demanding a vote because they want to put swing-district Democrats on the spot and negotiate terms that give them subpoena power so they can start investigating Biden and, probably, Clinton, because "investigate Hillary Clinton" is their answer to everything.

Fuck 'em. If there's one thing that the Republican leadership has made clear, it's that they have no compunctions violating traditions and norms and unilaterally pursuing their agenda while shutting out the opposition. There's no doubt in my mind that if the shoe were on the other foot and a Republican House started an impeachment inquiry against a Democratic president, they wouldn't hold a vote to accommodate the opposition.

I suppose there's a part of me that's wary of saying "this is what Mitch McConnell would do, so Pelosi is right to do it," but I think ultimately, prior bipartisan norms are dead and there's no point in Democrats pretending otherwise. The Speaker has the power to declare an impeachment inquiry; she doesn't need to ask for permission or offer any concession to an opposition party that wouldn't give her any if given the chance.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Friday » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:06 pm

I tend to agree. It's like you always say about the "both sides" the media still does. You're not going to get any respect from the other side by pandering to them. At this point, I feel safe saying we are in a full blown culture war. The other side regards us thoroughly as the enemy, and will not be impressed by anything we do to attempt to "bridge the gap."
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:10 am

I've heard that the House wants to wrap the impeachment vote up soon -- by the end of the year and maybe as soon as next month.

I think timing is important, and that seems too soon to me.

Not because I don't think they have a good case for impeachment already (Christ, I think they had a good case for impeachment his first weekend in office, when he was rounding up Muslims and denying them access to counsel), but because there are several court cases pending that would strengthen their hand.

For starters, there's Trump's taxes. A court has ordered Mazars to turn them over; Trump is appealing (a series of words which always feels weird to type). I think the appeals process should go relatively quickly, but the House should at least wait and see what's in there.

There's also the issue of Rudy and other various cronies refusing to comply with subpoenas. Now, Congress doesn't actually need to force the issue at all; merely telling his people to refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas is grounds for impeachment in and of itself. And on top of that, Congress has inherent contempt powers; it can order fines or arrests of people who don't answer subpoenas.

But so far they've opted for lawsuits instead, and I think that's a much smarter move. If the House starts imposing penalties by itself, then Democrats are opening themselves up to allegations that it's partisan strongarming; if they get the courts to agree with them, then that argument is a lot harder to make. (Trump and Fox will still make it, but they won't convince anyone who doesn't already agree with them.) Plus, just letting people flout subpoenas is a terrible precedent; there have to be consequences or *every* administration is going to start ignoring congressional oversight with impunity.

So I don't know what the right time is for an impeachment vote. December seems too early to me, and September seems too late. I'd say at least wait for Trump's taxes and for court orders for Giuliani and maybe Pompeo and Barr to testify; make them either violate a court order or show up and squirm on camera, and *then* impeach.

Of course, there's also nothing that prevents Congress from voting on articles of impeachment and then adding more later. But I think that holding multiple impeachment votes would be bad strategy, unless they were held very close together and the second set of articles was introduced before the conclusion of the Senate trial.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Brentai » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:26 pm

The correct time for an impeachment is January 21, 2021, as long as everybody's aware of that.
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Metal Slime » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:16 pm

They...they just admitted to doing it.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:31 pm

Metal Slime wrote:They...they just admitted to doing it.

Specifically, Mulvaney just held a press conference where he stated outright that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure them into investigating the Democrats.

Mulvaney is purportedly also the person who told Trump that releasing the summary of the phone call was a good idea.

You wouldn't think that I still have the capacity for surprise at how deeply, deeply stupid each and every one of these motherfuckers is, and yet...and yet.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Mongrel » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:45 pm

"Fire at chemical waste dump site intensifies."
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Mongrel » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:33 pm

Ahahahah, Trump just affirmed Mulvaney's statement.

ISHATMYSELFONPURPOSE.twitter

EDIT: Aw it's not as good as that. Apparently Trump only made a sort of general of support statement for Mulvaney after Mulvaney tried to walk everything backwards this morning.

So not quite as exciting.
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:44 pm

Some House Freedom Caucus dipshits barged into a classified impeachment hearing as a publicity stunt. At least one of them tweeted about it as it was happening; phones in a secure compartmentalized information facility are a no-no.

Every one of these clowns should be censured.

"They're trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election!" say reps who are trying to overturn the results of the 2018 election.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:28 pm

A judge has ordered the DoJ to release the grand jury material from the Mueller investigation to the House -- and specifically cited the White House's open refusal to cooperate with congressional subpoenas as justification.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:26 pm

Why Democrats Are Moving Quickly With Impeachment

On the one hand, I think the Dems are right to keep moving forward with the witnesses and evidence they can get, and not let the administration's stonewalling grind the proceedings to a halt.

On the other, this apparent fixation on holding an impeachment vote before the end of the year seems completely insane to me. This "we don't want impeachment to stretch into primary season" nonsense -- you guys know you're Democrats, right? The people who you're trying to get to vote for you in the primaries are *super pro-impeachment*.

And for my money, court rulings against Trump's stonewalling tactics are more important than impeachment itself. I think impeachment is necessary, but I also think it's largely a symbolic gesture that won't result in a conviction by the Senate. Impeachment isn't going to rein in the Trump Administration's illegal behavior, but if there's no consequence in the courts for, say, refusing to comply with subpoenas, then the next corrupt administration is going to take that as encouragement to do the same.

I think the Dems' best move is to keep the hearings moving but hold out longer -- a few months longer, if necessary -- for the courts to order Rudy, Bolton, et al to testify before they hold an impeachment vote. I'm sympathetic to the argument that they can't wait too long, but I really don't think January is too long.

(ETA: It is, of course, also possible that this "by the end of the year" ticking clock is an artificial media narrative, like all those times CNN reported that the Mueller Report would be released any day now, which started about a month into the investigation. I really don't know if this is the Democrats being dumb or the media being sensationalistic; both explanations are extremely plausible.)

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:39 am

Washington Post: House GOP looks to protect Trump by raising doubts about motives of his deputies

Karoun Demirjian and Rachael Bade wrote:House Republicans’ latest plan to shield President Trump from impeachment is to focus on at least three deputies — U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and possibly acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — who they say could have acted on their own to influence Ukraine policy.


Sondland's already changed his tune to acknowledge there was a quid pro quo.

I guess the advantage of trying to set Rudy up to take the fall is that whatever he says about Trump in retaliation, they can dismiss with "Look at all the crazy shit this guy keeps saying; you can't believe a word he says!"

Mulvaney...trying to set Mulvaney up to take the fall seems like probably not very good strategy. He's stupid enough to incriminate Trump even when he's trying to help him, he's self-interested enough that he'd turn on Trump in a heartbeat if Trump tried to throw him under the bus, and unlike Rudy he hasn't spent the past year being erratic and outlandish on every cable news show that will have him. Plus he seems like a dude who, while he may not have the receipts, can at least tell you where the receipts are.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:12 pm

The House Democrats have dropped their subpoena for Kupperman and opted not to subpoena Bolton. They've justified the decision by saying that Kupperman's lawsuit is a delaying tactic and they intend to keep moving forward.

I think this is terrible, but there's one possible scenario in which it would be acceptable. They already have a lawsuit against Don McGahn for ignoring a subpoena, and they haven't dropped it. It's possible that they're waiting for a ruling in that case and, once they get one, they'll issue fresh subpoenas to Kupperman and Bolton under threat of inherent contempt. While I think it's unlikely they'll use their power to have witnesses arrested and brought to the Capitol to testify, they can impose heavy fines on them. (And refer them to a grand jury for criminal indictment -- possibly right before, or right after, an election that could put less Trump-friendly people in the DoJ.) I don't know about Kupperman, but Bolton sure doesn't seem like he's willing to go to the mat to protect Trump. He's an utter bastard, but he's an utter bastard who Trump has recently insulted.

If, on the other hand, the House just lets this slide, then that's horrifying. If they signal that people in the Executive Branch can just ignore congressional subpoenas and face no consequences for it, that's going to have some truly dire long-term consequences.

(There's actually nothing stopping them from using inherent contempt right the fuck now, but the argument in favor of waiting for a court ruling is optics. It's a lot harder to paint it as a partisan political move when you've got a court ruling on your side.)

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Cait » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:08 am

And Bolton's been making the posturing that he really /wants/ to testify, but he knows he 'can't' without the cover of a court ruling that, gosh darn it, he really does have to follow a congressional subpoena, sorry base.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:19 pm

Yeah, Bolton is a party to the same lawsuit as Kupperman, seeking to get a court to determine whether they're obligated to obey an order from Congress or a contradictory order from the President. Mulvaney...who knows what the fuck he's doing? He announced an intention to join their suit, they told him to fuck off, today he said he won't sue, he just won't comply with the subpoena; who knows what he'll be saying tomorrow.

Schiff has said, outright, that he believes that the McGahn suit will settle this issue and he expects the other parties to abide by its result. I hope he knows what he's doing.

Bolton's lawyer has said Bolton has dirt that the House doesn't know about yet. That could be, as the kids say, big if true. But I don't trust that motherfucker an inch, and if he really wanted to testify, he'd do it. The lawsuit is a farce. "Can I just not comply with a congressional subpoena?" is not a serious legal question; it's just what Schiff says it is: a stalling tactic.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby McDohl » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:24 am

I've heard talking heads on MSNBC say that it's stalling to either preserve or promote a book deal Bolton has.

And I'm just like, "Bitch, who cares about your dumb book, all you can really say is 'Yeah, trump is garbo', which we could've told you already."

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Büge » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:57 am

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