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Nancy Pelosi just wrote Donald Trump's name in the history books


Nancy Pelosi just wrote Donald Trump's name in the history books
Chris Cillizza
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated 4:11 PM ET, Thu December 5, 2019

(CNN)Don't miss what happened in Washington on Thursday morning: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi virtually guaranteed that President Donald Trump will be only the third president in American history to be impeached by the House.

"Sadly, but with confidence and humility ... today, I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment," said Pelosi just after 9 a.m. ET.

With those words, Pelosi formalized the likelihood of an outcome that had been anticipated from the day earlier this fall when she blessed the impeachment inquiry surrounding Trump's conduct toward Ukraine. By announcing that formal articles of impeachment will begin to be drawn up by the House Judiciary Committee, Pelosi is taking a big step toward the expected end goal of a floor vote to impeach Trump. And given the Democrats' majority in the House -- and the likelihood of few, if any, defections on the vote -- impeachment is now a near-certainty.

Yes, as I just noted, this is an outcome that everyone who knew anything about the way Pelosi (and Washington) works has expected for months now. But it's still a hugely important historical marker that, no matter how it ends up, will be one of the major moments (if not the major moment) of Trump's presidency.

We've had 44 presidents. (Grover Cleveland was president twice in non-consecutive terms, making it so that Trump is the 45th president.) Only two -- Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton -- have been impeached by the House. Assuming Trump's name is added to that ignominious list between now and the end of the year, it will mean that -- still -- less than 7% of all the people who have been elected president have been impeached while in office.


So, take a step back. Shrug off your impeachment fatigue. And realize that Pelosi made history on Thursday. Trump is going to be impeached. That's a very big deal.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 5, 2019, 05:25 PM (5 replies)

The Republican's Star Impeachment Scholar Is a Shameless Hack


The Republican’s Star Impeachment Scholar Is a Shameless Hack
Jonathan Turley’s testimony was so inconsistent, it contradicted his own previous statements on impeachment.
By Elie Mystal
Today 10:47 am


The fourth professor, requested by Republicans on the committee, was Jonathan Turley from George Washington University Law School. Republicans know that all they have to do to outflank the Democrats is serve up talking points Sean Hannity can use on his show. They tapped Turley to do the easy work of poisoning the well with more misinformation.

Turley did not disappoint. He told Republicans what they wanted to hear right from his opening statement:
“I’m concerned about lowering impeachment standard to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. I believe this impeachment not only fails to satisfy the standard of past impeachments, but would create a dangerous precedent for future impeachments…. This would be the first impeachment in history where there would be considerable debate, and in my view, not compelling evidence, of the commission of a crime.”

Turley beclowned himself with his remarks, because this is not the first time Jonathan Turley has testified about impeachment. In 1998, testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment hearing, Turley said, “No matter how you feel about President Clinton, no matter how you feel about the independent counsel, by his own conduct, he has deprived himself of the perceived legitimacy to govern. You need both political and legal legitimacy to govern this nation, because the President must be able to demand an absolute sacrifice from the public at a moment’s notice.”

It’s impossible to explain the shameless hypocrisy of Turley’s conflicting statements without concluding that his testimony, in both hearings, was offered in bad faith. Can Turley really expect us to believe that he would support impeachment if Trump lied about what he got on Volodymyr Zelensky’s blue dress, but would also support Bill Clinton’s right to extort a foreign power to influence an American election? Turley can’t square his Trump testimony with his Clinton testimony; all he can hope for is that people are too polite to call him a hypocrite to his face.

Jonathan Turley is punking us. The only dangerous lowering of standards we saw at the hearing was the smuggling of Jonathan Turley onto a panel of experts, the rest of whom were able to testify with academic integrity.


You don’t need a law degree to know that everything Jonathan Turley said yesterday was drenched in his own hypocrisy. His testimony was an attempt to distract and dissemble, offered at the behest of the Republican Party, which tapped him likely because it couldn’t find a legal scholar with less partisan baggage to make the same bad-faith arguments. Ken Starr or Jeanine Pirro would have been too obvious for the Republicans’ purposes; Turley’s the hack they call when they don’t want to look like they’re calling in a hack.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 5, 2019, 05:03 PM (20 replies)

Mitch McConnell Is Fully Prepared to Shut Democrats Out of Impeachment

Mitch McConnell Is Fully Prepared to Shut Democrats Out of Impeachment
The Senate majority leader told reporters Tuesday that if he can’t strike a compromise with Chuck Schumer on the rules governing Trump’s trial, Republicans will just figure it out themselves.
By Alison Durkee
December 4, 2019

The impeachment process against Donald Trump took a substantial step forward Tuesday, as the House Intelligence Committee voted to send its damning impeachment report to the House Judiciary Committee, which will draft articles of impeachment. But while the process has so far been a Democratic-dominated affair—no Republicans on the Intelligence Committee voted to advance the report—Republicans may soon be the ones calling the shots. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested Tuesday that when impeachment makes its way to the Senate for a trial, he's prepared to let his slim GOP majority take the reins on setting the rules.

McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he’s preparing a “back-up plan” for figuring out the Senate rules, in case he's not able to strike a bipartisan deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on how to structure the proceedings. And that plan, apparently, is to try and cut Democrats out entirely. “The first thing Sen. Schumer and I will do is see if there’s a possibility of agreement on a procedure,” McConnell said. “That failing, I would probably come back to my own members and say: ‘OK, can 51 of us agree how we’re going to handle this?’” The Majority Leader added that he wasn’t sure if he’d prefer a bipartisan deal or working solely with Republicans, telling reporters, “it would depend on what we would agree to.” Should both the bipartisan and partisan negotiations fail to figure out the trial procedure, the task would fall to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will be presiding over the trial. Roberts would submit motions to the Senate about the procedure, which could then be passed with 51 votes.

McConnell's potential decision to force the impeachment procedure through with only Republican support would stand in stark contrast to former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, in which a bipartisan compromise on the trial rules passed in a vote of 100-0. (The Senate leader is said to be otherwise planning to model the proceedings on Clinton’s five-week-long trial, the Washington Post reported in November.) Schumer, for his part, hopes McConnell’s partisan contingency plan won’t come to pass. “The best way to do something that’s important and almost as hallowed a procedure as this, is in a bipartisan way, so I hope that Leader McConnell will make every effort to come up with a bipartisan solution working with me. I’m certainly willing to work with him,” Schumer told Politico.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 5, 2019, 11:41 AM (61 replies)

Why the missing testimony from the impeachment inquiry matters

Orion Rummler
Why the missing testimony from the impeachment inquiry matters

As impeachment moves into its next phase, House Democrats lack testimony from major players in the Trump administration about allegations that the president withheld military aid and a coveted White House meeting to pressure Ukraine into investigating his domestic political rivals.

Why it matters: House Democrats have cited the White House's blanket refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry as evidence of obstruction for a potential article of impeachment.

At the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, Democrats displayed a sign in which "obstruction of Congress" was listed as one of three impeachable offenses they say Trump has committed.

One of the main Republican criticisms of the inquiry has been that many of the witnesses do not have firsthand knowledge of Trump's decision-making and have relied on "hearsay" evidence. Many of those who would have that knowledge, however, have been blocked by the administration from testifying.

The key missing witnesses

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said at a press conference in October that Trump froze military aid until Ukraine agreed to investigate a conspiracy theory about the DNC server hacked by Russia in 2016 — before walking the comments back entirely.

Former national security adviser John Bolton was “personally involved in many of the events” at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, according to a letter from his attorney. He told former Russia adviser Fiona Hill to alert White House lawyers about a possible Ukraine quid pro quo, calling it a "drug deal" cooked up by Mulvaney, Rudy Giuliani and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence were both "in the loop" about efforts to pressure Ukraine to announce the investigations, Sondland testified. "It was no secret," he added.

Giuliani has said he kept Trump apprised of his efforts in Ukraine, and multiple witnesses believe that he spoke for the president when it came to Ukraine matters. Call records obtained by the House Intelligence Committee show that Giuliani was on the phone with the White House more than a dozen times on the day that Trump forced out former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Between the lines: House Democrats won a major victory last month when a federal judge rejected the White House's claims that its aides are "absolutely immune" from congressional subpoenas.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 5, 2019, 11:27 AM (4 replies)

Judge Says Thousands of Detainees May Sue a Prison Company For Using Them As a "Captive Labor Force

Judge Says Thousands of Detainees May Sue a Prison Company For Using Them As a “Captive Labor Force”
Immigration detainees allege that the GEO Group is violating a federal anti-slavery law.
Madison Pauley

Early one morning, Abdiaziz Karim was sleeping in his new dorm in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center when an officer woke him up. The guard pointed out graffiti on the wall and a light fixture smeared with toothpaste and demanded that Karim, a Somali waiting for an asylum hearing, clean them. When Karim protested, the guard got angry.

“He said to me he would write me up, or I’m going to go to segregation or if I don’t clean this, it will affect my case,” Karim recalled during a deposition he gave last month as part of a lawsuit against the GEO Group, the private prison company that operates the detention center in Adelanto, California. So he cleaned the wall. “Because I realize that if I don’t do those things, it will affect my case; I was not going to get bond; I was not going to get released.”

Since 2014, a series of lawsuits filed in federal courts from Washington to Georgia have collected similar allegations of coercive labor practices inside for-profit immigration detention centers run by GEO and its main competitor, CoreCivic. The lawsuits claim that the companies that operate the detention centers are violating minimum wage, unjust enrichment, and anti-slavery laws by coercing detainees to work for free, or, in some cases, $1 per day, by threatening them with punishment and depriving them of basic necessities. These cases have the potential to undercut GEO and CoreCivic’s profits from ICE detention, which accounts for about a quarter of their revenues, according to SEC filings. Northwestern University political science professor Jacqueline Stevens estimates that in 2012, savings from detainee labor accounted for approximately a quarter of each company’s net profits.

Karim, who spent two years in Adelanto before losing his asylum case and being deported to Somalia in August, is one of a group of former detainees who have brought a class-action lawsuit against the GEO Group for allegedly profiting off “a readily available, captive labor force.” Last Tuesday, a federal judge in California allowed the lawsuit to proceed as a national class action, with Karim and his three co-plaintiffs representing the tens of thousands of detainees who have been locked up in GEO facilities since 2007. Andrew Free, a Tennessee-based attorney representing the detainees, none of whom are still in detention, welcomed the ruling as a breakthrough. “For the first time, everybody who’s locked up in a GEO immigration prison, and who’s subject to the allegedly illegal policies, now has someone that they can look to as a voice, to bring their own treatment to light,” he says.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 5, 2019, 10:15 AM (2 replies)

Connie Schultz: Beware of Mike Pence

Beware of Mike Pence
By Connie Schultz
December 5, 2019 6 min read


From Politico: "For Pence to be an effective surrogate in 2020, campaign officials say his reputation must be preserved. If the goal is to build a winning coalition that includes seniors, suburban women and swing-state residents suffering from Trump fatigue, someone has to be the nice guy."

Let's talk about this "nice guy."


As I've offered before, a snapshot of that record:

As a radio show host, Pence defended presidential candidate Pat Buchanan as "four square in the mainstream." At the same time, William F. Buckley was denouncing Buchanan as an extremist who questioned the historical record of the Holocaust.

As governor of Indiana, Pence refused to pardon a black man whom everyone, including the parole board and the prosecutor, agreed had served nearly a decade in prison for a crime he did not commit. He also ignored a lead-contamination crisis of Flint-like proportions in the poor, mostly black city of East Chicago.

Pence also signed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, so that business owners who don't like same-sex couples — that includes Pence, who said same-sex marriage could cause "societal collapse" — to legally deny them services. The backlash was so fast and fierce — and potentially damaging to Indiana's economy — that Pence signed a revised version of the law.

In 2016, right before he became the enabler-in-chief for candidate Trump, Pence signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. As NPR reported at the time, the law banned "abortions due to fetal abnormalities and also requires aborted fetuses — and those from miscarriage — to be buried or cremated."

What a nice guy.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 5, 2019, 08:48 AM (19 replies)

How bizarre is this that Giuliani is in the Ukraine?

Scoping out housing?


Trump lawyer Giuliani travels to Europe to meet ex-Ukraine prosecutors as House moves toward impeachment, report says
Published Wed, Dec 4 20191:36 PM ESTUpdated 5 hours ago

Posted by babylonsister | Wed Dec 4, 2019, 10:55 PM (11 replies)

White House Holds Fire Drill To Distract Reporters During Impeachment



Posted on Wed, Dec 4th, 2019 by Jason Easley
White House Holds Fire Drill To Distract Reporters During Impeachment

The White House held a planned fire drill that caused surprised reporters to evacuate in the middle of the Trump impeachment hearings.

The Washington Examiner reported:

White House spokesman Judd Deere told the Washington Examiner the evacuation was a “fire drill.” He was not able to provide details on when it was planned.

The alarm caught many journalists off-guard. Most could not recall a similar evacuation of workspaces.

The evacuation was over within about 10 minutes, but social media users raised questions about the timing. “Trumps trying to clear house, literally!!!” one wrote. “That’s not at all sketchy. This is what it’s come to,” wrote another.

The administration has no defense for impeachment, so they are playing games and trying to cause any distraction that they can think of to disrupt the media coverage that is dominating the news. The White House could have held the fire drill at any time.

It is interesting that they chose to schedule the fire drill for the first day of Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings. There is no low that is too petty for the Trump administration. The fact that they didn’t clue reporters in on the drill is another sign that this was an effort to disrupt and distract.

What’s next? Is Trump going to raise the terror alert level to red as witnesses testify?

The White House could be participating and clearing the president’s name. Instead, they are holding fire drills and trying to disrupt media coverage.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Dec 4, 2019, 06:26 PM (6 replies)

Pelosi to Democrats: 'Are you ready?'

Pelosi to Democrats: 'Are you ready?'
By Mike Lillis and Juliegrace Brufke - 12/04/19 12:26 PM EST

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) marshaled her troops at a closed-door meeting in the Capitol, asking whether they were ready to move forward with impeachment as more and more Democrats question whether a floor vote should be held before Christmas.

During the meeting in the Capitol basement Wednesday morning — where staff and cellphones were not allowed — Pelosi posed a simple question to her caucus: "Are you ready?"

She received an enthusiastic response from the Democrats in the room.

Pelosi's question to her caucus, first reported by CNN, came a day after Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released an extensive report detailing the findings of their two-months-long investigation into Trump's handling of foreign policy in Kyiv. The report painted a damning picture of Trump leveraging U.S. military aide to Ukraine to press that country's leaders into announcing anti-corruption investigations targeting his political rivals — the episode at the center of the Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

Pelosi used Wednesday's meeting to deliver a simple marching order for the caucus: "What the Speaker said is, 'Read the report,'" said Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.).


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Dec 4, 2019, 06:03 PM (16 replies)

Rick Wilson: The Traitors Among Us


December 4, 2019 2:55PM ET
The Traitors Among Us
Donald Trump likes to call his opponents traitors — but if he’s looking for treasonous behavior, he should look within his own party
By Rick Wilson


The traitors will sit in Congressional hearings on impeachment knowing the truth about Trump’s extortion racket and of the grubby, sleazy plan Trump sent Gordon Sondland, Rudy Giuliani, et al to carry out, and tell lie after lie, the bigger the better.

The traitors cheer when Trump rides roughshod over the military chain of command and the Universal Code of Military Justice, freeing men who killed civilians, abused and violated the warrior ethos, and broke the very laws of war they swore to uphold. They’ve gone from respecting hard men carrying out tough missions to fetishizing the outliers, edge cases, and the war criminals.

You can spot the traitors simply by watching their television shows, as they look you in the eye and tell you to your face they side with Russia. Tucker Carlson wasn’t winking and nodding to the camera; it was where he’s landed politically — a pro-Putin schill on a network that looks away from their pet president’s grotesque subservience to the Russian leader who helped elect him.

The traitors are ass-deep in oligarchs, eagerly selling access to the president, the secretary of state, the attorney general, and of course, the president’s venal pack of lucky-sperm-club spawn.

And if you can’t spot the treason yet, you will soon enough. That’s the thing about spies, traitors, and those who betray their country — they rarely stay hidden forever.

The traitors are the ones who, when this is all done and dusted, will sit in the dock at some new Nuremberg trial and claim their innocence of the worst charges and penalties not by claiming their actions were “just following orders” but that they were “just following Trump.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Dec 4, 2019, 05:13 PM (0 replies)
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