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Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn

Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn
By Alexander Bolton - 12/14/19 06:00 AM EST

President Trump’s race to rack up accomplishments heading into an election year is giving conservatives heartburn, with some worried he is striking deals that include giveaways to Democrats.

Several Senate Republicans this week vented their frustration with Trump’s trade deal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during meetings with the administration’s top trade official, Robert Lighthizer.

There’s also grumbling among conservative lawmakers over an agreement to expand benefits for federal workers, in exchange for a costly Space Force military branch, and a spending deal that is projected to add nearly $2 trillion to the deficit.

The year-end deal-making isn’t necessarily over. Negotiators are circling around a tax deal that would include an extension of earned income tax credits for low-income families who don’t pay federal taxes, a benefit typically unpopular with conservatives.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Dec 14, 2019, 07:16 AM (0 replies)

Mitch McConnell Doesn't Have The Votes For His Sham Trump Impeachment Trial


Posted on Fri, Dec 13th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Mitch McConnell Doesn’t Have The Votes For His Sham Trump Impeachment Trial

Mitch McConnell promised Sean Hannity that he was going to work with Trump to hold a sham impeachment trial, but he doesn’t have the votes yet to do it.

Here is McConnell laying out his plan for a sham trial:
There is only one problem. McConnell doesn’t have the 51 votes that he needs to implement his plan.

According to The Plum Line:

McConnell could of course refuse, and instead call a full Senate vote on a process that precludes witness testimony and the soliciting of documents — which McConnell reportedly favors, because he wants a quick trial with no circuslike calls for Hunter Biden’s head — and no damning new revelations. If that passed by simple majority, that would become the process.

Of course, McConnell might not have 51 votes for such a process — because a handful of vulnerable GOP senators might balk at voting for something so obviously rigged to protect Trump. Indeed, reporting indicates he doesn’t have those votes yet — which means he can’t yet do what he promised Hannity he’d do.

Mitch McConnell doesn’t have the votes to blow off Trump’s impeachment trial. There is still a chance that a few Republican Senators will come together and demand a full trial. If this happens, everything that Mitch McConnell promised relating to the structure of the trial will go up in smoke.

The sham trial is not a done deal yet, and if the American people push hard enough, it may never become a reality.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Dec 14, 2019, 07:08 AM (13 replies)

There's A Gay Guy Dressing Up As Mike Pence Collecting Money For Planned Parenthood

There's A Gay Guy Dressing Up As Mike Pence Collecting Money For Planned Parenthood
Kassy Cho BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on December 13, 2016, at 7:07 a.m. ET
Pix @ link~

Howard Sherman, an arts administrator who lives in Manhattan, was walking through Times Square earlier this month when he noticed a man bearing a striking resemblance to Vice President-elect Mike Pence dressed in short shorts.

Sherman, whose hobby is photographing the various characters in Times Square, told BuzzFeed News he then started taking photos of the man but did not engage with him in any way.

Sherman posted the photos to his Facebook page, where people soon helped him to identify the Pence lookalike as Glen Pannell, who Sherman then interviewed on his own website.

Pannell, a 51-year-old graphic designer and occasional actor, told BuzzFeed News that he decided to dress up as Pence and collect money for various causes because he was feeling very down after the election.

“The depression kept feeding on itself so I finally decided I had to do something, and it had to be bold and immediate, something I could point to at the end of the day and say, ‘Here’s what I did to make change,'" he said.

Pannell, who came out in his twenties, has so far collected money for Planned Parenthood, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Trevor Project — a national suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth — and hopes to collect for the International Refugee Assistance Project.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 13, 2019, 07:32 PM (12 replies)

Arizona Republican in denial about core impeachment detail

Republican U.S. Congressional candidate Debbie Lesko, right, celebrates her win with former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at her home, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in...
Matt York

Arizona Republican in denial about core impeachment detail
12/13/19 12:57 PM—Updated 12/13/19 02:05 PM
By Steve Benen

Since Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal first came to public light a few months ago, Republicans have confronted a question that’s simple but difficult to answer: should an American president press a foreign country to go after a domestic political rival?

A few too many GOP lawmakers – most notably Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Colorado’s Cory Gardner – struggled mightily with the question early on, refusing to say much of anything. Others soon realized this was unsustainable, conceded that presidents should not seek foreign campaign assistance, and looked for other ways to excuse Trump’s misdeeds.

This morning, however, CNN’s Manu Raju spoke to Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) about this foundational element of the overall scandal, and according to what the Capitol Hill reporter posted to Twitter, the exchange didn’t go especially well.

Q: Why is it ever ok for an American president to ask a foreign power to investigate a political rival? Why do you think that’s ok?

Lesko: “He didn’t. He didn’t do that”

Manu: He did ask Zelensky

Lesko: “He did not do that.”

It’s really not a trick question. Either it’s acceptable for presidents to ask foreign governments to go after domestic political rivals or it’s not. In this case, Trump’s allies can try to argue that it is acceptable behavior; they can make the case that it doesn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense; or they can agree with impeachment proponents and vote for the pending articles.

What GOP members – especially those on the Judiciary Committee, on which Debbie Lesko currently serves – shouldn’t do is pretend up is down and reality has no meaning.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 13, 2019, 06:11 PM (3 replies)

White House Limits Officials on Trump Calls


White House Limits Officials on Trump Calls
December 13, 2019 at 2:08 pm EST By Taegan Goddard

“President Trump’s senior aides have further restricted the number of administration officials allowed to listen to the President’s phone calls with foreign leaders since his July 25 call with Ukraine’s President was revealed and became the centerpiece of the impeachment inquiry,” CNN reports.

“Transcripts of Trump’s calls with world leaders are also disseminated to a far smaller group of people inside the White House, those administration sources say, continuing an effort to limit the number of people with insight and information about the conversations.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 13, 2019, 05:19 PM (2 replies)

House Democrat starts what should be groundswell, demands McConnell recuse himself from impeachment


House Democrat starts what should be groundswell, demands McConnell recuse himself from impeachment
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Friday December 13, 2019 · 2:56 PM EST

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Val Demings, a Florida Democrat, is demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recuse himself from the Senate's impeachment trial.

She accused McConnell of promising the White House to "sabotage" the trial. "No court in the country would allow a member of the jury to also serve as the accused’s defense attorney. The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation of that oath," she said in a statement. That's in response to McConnell's admission on Sean Hannity's Fox News show Thursday night that he would act on Trump's behalf. "Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with White House counsel," he said. "There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this."

He would be in violation of his oath, as Demings pointed out, referencing Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution which delineates "The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation." That oath, or affirmation, every senator will take says "that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [President Trump], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God."

Demings should not stand alone. Every Democrat—including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his team—should join her. And they should publicly shame any Republican senator still capable of feeling that emotion who is allowing McConnell to get away with this.

Sign the petition: Mitch McConnell must recuse himself from Trump impeachment trial.

Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 13, 2019, 04:51 PM (47 replies)

Appeals court divided on future of lawsuit over Trump hotel

Appeals court divided on future of lawsuit over Trump hotel
By Katelyn Polantz, CNN
Updated 4:22 PM ET, Thu December 12, 2019

Richmond, Virginia (CNN)Fifteen appellate judges in Richmond on Thursday spent three hours showing how deeply divided they are on whether they can curtail the President's business interests.

In some of the bluntest public arguments yet in court about President Donald Trump's hotel empire, the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals debated a major case challenging whether Trump can continue to accept emoluments, or profits, from his hotel in Washington while in office.

At times, judges took over from the arguing attorneys, the Justice Department, Trump's personal legal team and the DC and Maryland state attorneys general offices to argue for or against the President themselves.

"We are winging it. If this isn't off the rails, then I don't know what is," said Judge Harvie Wilkinson III, a Reagan appointee who's been on the federal appellate bench at least a half decade longer than any other judge in the wood-paneled room Thursday.

"There are, there are other suits involving congressional subpoenas and everything that presents closer questions, but this one's a lemon," he added. "It's the weakest of the cases that are springing up like jimsonweed against the presidency in this environment."

At this stage, a decision could control whether the case has months ahead of it still in court -- keeping the President's companies at risk as his opponents seek financial documents -- or whether it will be dismissed, a win for Trump. Either way, the issue is likely to eventually reach the Supreme Court.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 13, 2019, 04:11 PM (0 replies)

David Corn: With This Impeachment, Trump Is Getting Off Easy


11 mins ago
With This Impeachment, Trump Is Getting Off Easy
There’s so much more than Ukraine.
David Corn


There are other major Trump transgressions that Democrats as a whole have not seriously pondered for impeachment. Trump has blatantly violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits a president from accepting payments from a foreign state. Yet through his hotels and businesses, Trump has pocketed large amounts of money from governments and businesses overseas. He has committed this crime against the Constitution in plain sight. There have been lawsuits filed and some congressional criticism, but no turn toward impeachment as the remedy. (Trump’s trashing of this constitutional command is in sync with the rampant conflicts-of-interest and nepotism that flow throughout his administration and with his steadfast refusal to release his tax returns.)

And let’s not forget his illegal hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, which was made to keep the story of her liaison with Trump from affecting the 2016 election–and which eventually landed his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in a federal prison. (Cohen also was convicted of lying to Congress about Trump’s secret attempt during the 2016 campaign to negotiate a deal to develop a tower project in Moscow—an endeavor that Trump hid from the voters and that included his company asking Putin’s office for assistance.) A filing in the Cohen case noted that Trump “directed” Cohen to make the illegal pay-offs to Daniels and another woman. The president of the United States—a.k.a. “Individual 1″—was essentially named as a co-conspirator in a criminal case. That, too, could be worthy of an impeachment debate.

Much is rotten within the Trump presidency that could trigger the ultimate political punishment. But rather than throw a long buffet table of wrongdoing at the public, the Democrats resolved to present one easy-to-digest plate. As of now, the wisdom of this strategy has not been fully tested. Facing this strategy, ranting Republicans have deployed diversions, have denied basic facts, have decried the streamlined process, and have belittled the Ukraine case as not momentous enough for the most extreme verdict in politics. They have not had to confront the many other grievous offenses and malfeasances of Trump. It’s unlikely the Republicans’ tactics would be much different were they contending with a wider impeachment case. But they have the luxury of training their fire on a narrower target, as Trump attempts to trivialize this impeachment vote, as grave and weighty as it is, as nothing but petty politics.

In a way, Trump’s impeachment is like a Russian nesting doll—except in reverse. Usually, one starts with the largest doll and opens it to find a smaller one, which contains a smaller one, which contains a smaller one, and so on. Trump may be fortunate that this impeachment starts with—and is being fought over—one of the smaller dolls. But that doll does not stand on its own. It is the nub of larger corruptions that just might be too big for the political system to handle.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 13, 2019, 03:06 PM (1 replies)

Tantruming Trump Puts Impeachment Hit Out On Future Democratic President


Posted on Fri, Dec 13th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Tantruming Trump Puts Impeachment Hit Out On Future Democratic President

Trump claimed that Democrats were trivializing impeachment and suggested that Republicans would retaliate for him and impeach a future Democratic president.

Trump said:

But I got to see enough of it, and certainly I spoke to my people. It’s a witch hunt. It’s a sham. It’s a hoax. Nothing was done wrong. Zero was done wrong. I think it’s a horrible thing to be using the tool of impeachment, which is supposed to be used in an emergency. And it would seem many, many, many years apart.

To be using this for a perfect phone call, where the President of that country said there was no pressure whatsoever — didn’t even know what we were talking about. It was perfect; the relationship is perfect. I’ve done much more for them than Obama did for them. It’s a scam. It’s something that shouldn’t be allowed. And it’s a very bad thing for our country.

And you’re trivializing impeachment. And I tell you what: Someday there’ll be a Democrat President and there’ll be a Republican House, and I suspect they’re going to remember it. Because when you do — when you use impeachment for absolutely nothing, other than to try and get political gain —


Republicans aren’t going to remember this impeachment and take action in Trump’s name to get revenge. Democrats have followed the same impeachment rules and processes that were established by House Republicans when they were in the majority.

Democrats did not reinvent the wheel with this impeachment.

Republicans aren’t outraged by this impeachment. Candidates who have run on opposing Trump impeachment have lost.

The impeachment process hasn’t been cheapened or lessened. Trump is throwing a fit because he wants revenge, but he more likely to be voted out of office next year than get the vengeance that he craves.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 13, 2019, 02:59 PM (3 replies)

House Judiciary Republicans Tried To Protect Nixon Too, And Got Crushed For It

POLITICS 12/12/2019 03:12 pm ET
House Judiciary Republicans Tried To Protect Nixon Too, And Got Crushed For It
Yet today’s House Republicans are not likely to break with Trump in impeachment votes.
By S.V. Date

WASHINGTON ― If the chairs in the House Judiciary Committee meeting room could talk, the Republicans sitting in them Thursday probably wouldn’t like what they’d hear.

Nearly a half-century ago, their counterparts who protected then-President Richard Nixon suffered a hefty price for it just months later in the 1974 midterm elections: Five of the 10 members who voted against all three articles of impeachment saw their seats flip to Democrats. Four were defeated outright. The fifth retired, and the Republican hoping to succeed him lost.

“They were saying all summer long that there wasn’t enough evidence to say that Nixon knew” about the cover-up, said former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who was a lawyer on the Judiciary Committee impeachment staff in 1974 and is now running against President Donald Trump for the 2020 GOP nomination. “As soon as the tapes came out, they looked like idiots.”

In contrast, House Republicans as a whole lost only 25% of their seats that November ― still a staggering loss rate, but only half of that suffered by members of the Judiciary Committee.

But the history lesson of Nixon’s impeachment ― for covering up the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters to cheat in his 1972 reelection ― will almost certainly be ignored by today’s Republicans, both in the Judiciary Committee and the House generally.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 13, 2019, 11:45 AM (10 replies)
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