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babylonsister

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How Trump Lost an Evangelical Stalwart


How Trump Lost an Evangelical Stalwart
The editor in chief of Christianity Today explains his scathing editorial about the president’s behavior—and the damage he argues his fellow Christians are doing to the Gospel.
Emma Green
December 19, 2019


Evangelicals just received an ultimatum: Abandon President Donald Trump, or betray your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Christianity Today—the magazine founded by the famous preacher Billy Graham, and the longtime forum for mainstream evangelical thought—has published an editorial calling for Trump to be removed from the White House. The editor in chief, Mark Galli, acknowledged that “the typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square.” But the facts are “unambiguous,” Galli wrote. “The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Within hours of the article’s publication, the magazine’s website had crashed and Galli had been invited to speak on CNN and NPR, among other outlets. To be clear, Galli’s editorial in no way signals that evangelicals are about to defect, en masse, from Trump or the Republican Party. Christianity Today, also known as CT, mostly appeals to well-educated readers who are moderate in every way, including politically and theologically. Much of its readership is international, and many older print subscribers might not even register the small, seismic event that just happened on CT’s website. And polling over the past few months has consistently shown that white evangelicals remain among Trump’s staunchest supporters.

What’s significant about Galli’s statement is how directly he makes the case that his fellow Christians have a responsibility to call out Trump’s immoral behavior. Otherwise, he writes, they risk damaging their ability to share the Gospel with the world. Christians have been divided over Trump since he became a serious presidential candidate in 2016. Now, less than a month away from retirement, Galli wants them to unite against the president.

I spoke with Galli shortly after his editorial was published this evening. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

more...

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/12/christianity-today-trump-removal/603952/
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 05:03 PM (5 replies)

David Remnick: Trump's Impeachment and "Impeachment Lite"

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/trumps-impeachment-and-impeachment-lite


Trump’s Impeachment and “Impeachment Lite”
By David Remnick
December 19, 2019
As the House approved two articles of impeachment against him, Donald Trump pretended as if none of what was happening in Washington mattered.


The shock of Donald Trump’s election, in November, 2016, obscured a tragedy of equal moment—the eclipse of reason, fact, and ethical judgment in the Republican Party.

snip//

There was a time, not so long ago, when Lindsey Graham recognized, and said publicly, that Trump was “unfit for office”—and when Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, and so many other Republicans in Congress recognized Trump for the moral vacuum that he is. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, once called Trump “a terrible human being.” Rick Perry, his Secretary of Energy, saw him as a “barking carnival act” and deemed his candidacy “a cancer on conservatism.” Ted Cruz called him a “pathological liar” and “utterly immoral.” They used to care. But things have changed.

At the same time, nearly every loyalist who leaves the Trump White House—James Mattis, Gary Cohn, H. R. McMaster, John Kelly, Rex Tillerson, et al.—comes clean, on or off the record, about despising Trump. They describe in detail the President’s countless acts of duplicity and incompetence. Only fearful, humiliated ex-Trumpers in need of campaign support, such as Jeff Sessions, who is again running for the Senate in Alabama, abase themselves and speak of his virtue. Nikki Haley, who seems intent on being Trump’s successor (or perhaps Mike Pence’s replacement on the ticket), refers to Trump as “great to work with” and “truthful”; in 2016, she said that he was “everything a governor doesn’t want in a President.”

In other words, when it comes to Trump, everyone knows. As the Republican caucus members fell into line on Wednesday, they revealed themselves. No one defended Trump on the merits, on the facts—not with any conviction or coherence. Who came to praise his character or values? No one. Instead, there were only counter-accusations, smoke-bomb diversions about procedure, ill will, and even talk of the President’s martyrdom. Barry Loudermilk, a Georgia Republican with a name fit for Mencken, was distinguished in his metaphors, yet hardly eccentric among his caucus, when he said, “Before you take this historic vote today, one week before Christmas, keep this in mind: when Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers. During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than Democrats have afforded this President in this process.” Democrats, in fact, had offered the President the chance to defend himself, but he had declined to do so. His “defense” was to hold back as much evidence and as many witnesses as he could.

No one marshalled any evidence to dispute that the President had dispatched Giuliani and others to assist him in manipulating and muscling the Ukrainian government into doing him a “favor.” No one denied with any conviction that Trump had asked for foreign help in 2016 (“Russia, if you’re listening…”) and was looking for it this time around, too. Not only had Trump not apologized or denied it, he doubled down. Hadn’t he asked the Chinese, in October, to carry out an investigation of the Bidens right there on the White House lawn?

Republican members may sincerely admire the judges whom the President has appointed, the tax cuts for the wealthy that he has supported, and the ad-libbed trade war that he has waged. But they also know that Trump is, as Adam Schiff put it in the most eloquent speech of the day, a cheat. On July 24th, Trump watched as the special counsel Robert Mueller testified, damningly but ineffectively, in Congress. On July 25th he called the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, and asked for his “favor.” On July 26th, he called his million-dollar campaign donor and Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, at a restaurant in Kyiv, to make sure that the Ukrainians were going to do it—that they were going to investigate the Bidens, on his behalf. He didn’t care about corruption in Ukraine, or the war Russia was waging against Ukraine. He cared only about “big stuff,” as Sondland put it. He cared about himself. And he was willing to extort an ally to get what he desired.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 04:43 PM (0 replies)

Pelosi has McConnell and Trump's, uh, you know, in a vice

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/12/20/1906974/-Pelosi-has-McConnell-and-Trump-s-uh-you-know-in-a-vice

Pelosi has McConnell and Trump's, uh, you know, in a vice
Laura Clawson
Daily Kos Staff
Friday December 20, 2019 · 11:35 AM EST


Donald Trump has been impeached. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has the articles of impeachment in hand, but she’s not just turning them over to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for him to make them disappear in “total coordination” with the White House, as he’s pledged. No, Pelosi says that she’s holding on to the impeachment articles until McConnell provides a Senate trial process that Senate Democrats can agree to.

Pelosi says that all she needs to see is a “fair trial” process, and then she can transmit the impeachment articles and name impeachment managers. But she knows who she’s dealing with, saying, “I don’t think anybody expected that we would have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”

Trump and McConnell are trying to make out that they have the upper hand here, but they want those articles of impeachment in the Senate, where McConnell can make them go away quickly. That’s why McConnell is trying to bait Pelosi by suggesting she’s too scared to send the articles to the Senate. This is not succeeding. “Oh pfft,” Pelosi told Politico. “Fear is never a word used with me. You should know right away. I’m never afraid and I’m rarely surprised.”

McConnell has met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about parameters for a Senate trial, but says they are at an impasse. That’s the impasse that Pelosi is trying to help break by giving McConnell a little incentive to be reasonable. As long as McConnell holds out, bent on providing a Senate process that is not remotely impartial, Trump could remain impeached but not yet acquitted.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 04:26 PM (4 replies)

Senior GOP Pol Says Trump's Attack On Dingell May Cost Him Michigan

https://www.nationalmemo.com/senior-gop-pol-says-trumps-attack-on-dingell-may-cost-him-michigan/


Senior GOP Pol Says Trump’s Attack On Dingell May Cost Him Michigan
Alex Henderson December 20, 2019
Reprinted with permission from Alternet


While President Donald Trump was being impeached in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night, he was firing up his base with a MAGA rally in Battle Creek, Michigan — where the president, not surprisingly, angrily railed against Democrats. One of his targets was the late Democrat John Dingell, who represented Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1955-2015. Trump suggested that Dingell was in hell, and Fox News’ Chad Pergram is warning that doing so could hurt the president politically in 2020.

On Thursday morning, Pergram (who covers Congress for Fox News) went to Twitter and reported, “Multiple sources tell Fox Trump is playing w/fire by taking on the Dingells in the swing state of Michigan.” A source described by Pergram as a “senior GOP congressman” told Fox News that Trump “could lose Michigan alone on this one.”

Dingell, as Pergram notes, was the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history. The late Democrat, who was 92 when he died on February 7, 2019, entered the U.S. House of Representatives when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president and stayed for half a century.

snip//

Michigan is among the Rust Belt states that is considered vitally important to Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Although Michigan had been considered a blue state, Trump sent shock waves through the nation when, in 2016, he became the first Republican to win Michigan in a presidential race since the late George H.W. Bush in 1988. But it was a close race: Trump defeated 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by only about 10,704 votes in Michigan.

For decades, John Dingell was a fixture in Michigan politics; he was reelected time and time again. And the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee — whether it turns out to be former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren or someone else — could easily use Trump’s anti-Dingell comment to tar and feather him in Michigan, which has 16 electoral votes.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 04:08 PM (14 replies)

Trump vs. John Roberts: A 2020 battle for the Supreme Court's reputation


Trump vs. John Roberts: A 2020 battle for the Supreme Court’s reputation
Between the impeachment trial and a series of cases about presidential power, Roberts will struggle to keep the high court out of the political muck.
By DARREN SAMUELSOHN
12/20/2019 05:05 AM EST

snip//

Enter Roberts, who won Senate confirmation back in 2005 after promising to act more like a baseball umpire than a baseball player as a justice. He’s an institutionalist at heart, people who know him say, and his primary aim is to ensure Americans trust the Supreme Court to undergird American democracy. In 2020, that’s going to be a tall order.

“I don’t think he has a choice,” Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said in an interview. “It’s just one of those things in life. Look, I don’t want to be in these hearings that the Judiciary Committee has forced upon the country right now for impeachment. But I’ve got to be there because I’m the ranking member. And we’re going to forcefully fight for what we think is right. Justice Roberts will do the same. He’ll do his job. And he’ll also do his job in those cases.”


But Roberts doing his job has different connotations for the right and the left, putting him in an almost impossible bind. Conservatives already distrust Roberts for his decision in 2012 to side with the court’s four liberal justices on a narrow 5-4 ruling upholding a central element of President Barack Obama’s health care law. They’re expecting him to defer to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during the Trump trial while a few months later leading the court’s new conservative majority to back the president’s refusal to comply with the subpoenas.

Conversely, Trump critics and those on the left say that a Roberts failure to check the president’s authority could cause the court to be seen as a rubber stamp for conservatives.

“The court needs to not side with Trump on these subpoenas,” warned Richard Painter, a former ethics attorney in the George W. Bush White House and frequent Trump critic. “If they do that they destroy the credibility of the court. The chief justice knows that. The credibility of the court is gone. We could easily have a situation where we start adding justices. It really could get very bad for John Roberts, and he knows it.”


more...

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/20/trump-john-roberts-supreme-court-reputation-088287
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 09:54 AM (9 replies)

Trump said he believes Ukraine interfered in 2016 election because 'Putin told me'



Washington Post: Trump said he believes Ukraine interfered in 2016 election because 'Putin told me'
By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Updated 7:31 PM ET, Thu December 19, 2019


Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump once stated explicitly that he believes that it was Ukraine -- not Russia -- that meddled in the 2016 election because Russian President Vladimir Putin "told me," The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing a former senior White House official.

Multiple former officials told the Post that Trump's insistence that Ukraine attempted to stop him from winning the White House led many of his advisers to fear that the conspiracy was shaped by Putin himself.

The officials told the paper that Trump became more insistent about the conspiracy after his private meeting with Putin in July 2017 at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

News of Putin's potential role in shaping Trump's views on Ukraine comes just one day House of Representatives took the historic step to impeach him following an investigation into allegations he pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals while withholding US security assistance and a White House meeting.

more...

https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/19/politics/trump-ukraine-putin-white-house-officials/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0EAgJ1vnZRvIjavb0aZlMmHA8XTujEc7W5qhMF5MYcTNIrsl3DCahoDAM
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 09:34 AM (6 replies)

The Rude Pundit: Note to Democrats: Don't Fuck Up the Post-Impeachment Process

http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2019/12/note-to-democrats-dont-fuck-up-post.html

The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
12/19/2019
Note to Democrats: Don’t Fuck Up the Post-Impeachment Process

snip//

The fact that Nancy Pelosi is holding back on sending the impeachment articles over to the Senate has enraged Republicans because it upset the script and showed that maybe, just maybe, this time Democrats weren't going to accept the Republican rules in this game. Now, it's time to mobilize the public and market the shit out of the removal of Donald Trump from office.

Democrats need to be gearing up for the greatest battle of our recent lives. They need to go big, with everything from billboards on the highways to ads out the wazoo. I mean pounding the fucking message until it drowns out other shit. This is How the World Works Now. We are never out of campaign mode, and nothing is so serious or important that it can't be marketed to the hilt. To pretend otherwise is to cede the ground on convincing everyone to the Republicans. It would once again allow them to set the terms of the argument.

Fuck that. Create a new playing field, one where the dominant message is this: "You are only a good American if you support removing Donald Trump from office." It's that simple. We punish criminals, and Trump is a criminal; ergo, get him the fuck out of there.


This will require a massive amount of spending, as well as Democrats sucking up their reticence to really get down in the shit pool with Republicans and slug it out. But if you don't get dirty, the GOP will take it as weakness and exploit that until there is nothing to impeachment and the whole thing will have been just to put an asterisk next to Trump's name.

Sure, it's something. But it's not enough. If you win this messaging war, you can shift the narrative, and that's the real game changer. It means that even if not a single GOP Senator changes their closed, Trump-owned minds, the voters will know what the deal is.

Barring a miracle, Trump won't be removed by the Senate. But if Democrats succeed only a bit at this war, they will finish the job in November.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 08:45 AM (11 replies)

'I'm never afraid and I'm rarely surprised': Pelosi emboldened

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/20/nancy-pelosi-interview-088292


'I'm never afraid and I'm rarely surprised': Pelosi emboldened
The speaker reflects on Trump and a tumultuous year back in the majority in an interview with POLITICO.
By HEATHER CAYGLE and JOHN BRESNAHAN
12/20/2019 05:05 AM EST


Speaker Nancy Pelosi is heading into the holidays emboldened, finishing a tumultuous year back in the majority by both impeaching President Donald Trump and then muscling through the House his biggest legislative win on trade — a signature issue for him — all within 24 hours.

Pelosi was assertive and upbeat during a year-end interview in her speaker’s suite Thursday, punching back at her GOP critics, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“Oh pfft,” Pelosi told POLITICO, waving her hand dismissively when asked about McConnell’s suggestion she was “too afraid” to send him the articles of impeachment against Trump, which would trigger a Senate trial on whether to oust the president.

“Fear is never a word used with me. You should know right away,” Pelosi added. “I’m never afraid and I’m rarely surprised.”


snip//


With much of the legislative lifting done for the remainder of the 116th Congress — next year is an election year — Pelosi said she felt very confident about Democrats retaining their majority in November.

And more than 30 House Republicans have already announced their retirements or left office, a sign that the GOP is not optimistic about taking back power. On Thursday, Rep, Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a top Trump ally and major force in the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, announced he wasn't going to run for reelection.

“It means that they know they’re gonna lose,” Pelosi declared. “And if you win, you’re going to serve in the minority under a Democratic president. You may want to spend more time with your family.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 08:27 AM (12 replies)

Evangelical magazine founded by Billy Graham calls for Trump's removal

https://www.axios.com/christianity-today-evangelicals-supports-impeachment-92956ccb-241c-48d7-bad3-d3e4ddd2d64d.html


Marisa Fernandez
14 mins ago
Evangelical magazine founded by Billy Graham calls for Trump's removal


An editorial published Thursday by Christianity Today, a magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham, called for President Trump's removal from office in the wake of his impeachment, deeming him "grossly immoral."

"We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. ... To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence."


Why it matters: Christianity Today is an influential mainstream magazine for evangelicals, with 4.3 million monthly visitors on its site and hundreds of thousands of print subscribers. President Trump won 81% of the evangelical vote in 2016, a group that makes up about 25% of the electorate, according to the Pew Research Center.

Billy Graham's son, Franklin, is an ardent supporter of President Trump. He told "Axios on HBO" in November that he supports the president because he "defends the faith."


Highlights: The editorial calls Christianity Today's stance a moral choice — similar to how the magazine reacted when former President Bill Clinton was impeached.

"[T]he facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral."

"Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. ... None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character."

"That [Trump] should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments."
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 19, 2019, 07:22 PM (28 replies)

Charles P. Pierce: Turns Out Mitch McConnell Might Have More Soft Spots in His Caucus Than Nancy Pe

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a30286805/nancy-pelosi-impeachment-send-senate-mitch-mcconnell/


Turns Out Mitch McConnell Might Have More Soft Spots in His Caucus Than Nancy Pelosi Does
The dynamics of the impeachment fight are changing, even if it remains unlikely the president* will be removed by the Senate.
By Charles P. Pierce
Dec 19, 2019


It hardly bears repeating any more, but Speaker Nancy (Don’t Make Me Turn This Car Around) Pelosi doesn’t make many bad moves. (These Politico quotes from Tim Ryan, who challenged her for Speaker and who subsequently got whipped like a red-headed mule, are nothing if not an important validation of this.) She is playing the current moment like a master, and I say this as someone who had doubts all along about holding back the articles of impeachments from the Senate.

Mitch McConnell’s speech to the Senate on Thursday proved me wrong about it. He really had nothing, mainly channelling Louie Gohmert outtakes and, with every one of those he spun out, he handed Pelosi more leverage. His partisans claim that, sooner or later, he’s simply going to call the question. Some Democrats seem nervous about this, too. I don’t think he’d dare. For the first time, I think, several worms have turned.

Bear in mind, thanks to the intervention of an automobile into my daily affairs, this is all speculation based on information gleaned from only those sources available to the rest of y’all. But I think McConnell made a huge mistake earlier when he pretty much announced that the oath he’ll have to take as a juror in a Senate trial isn’t worth the powder to blow it to hell. (Lindsey Graham is in a similar box.) It’s hard to make the case that the House process was slipshod when you’ve pretty much admitted the Senate process is a sham. That gifted Pelosi and her team with leverage that they didn’t previously have.

snip//

And that’s something else that’s changed in the last week. Outside of Jeff Van Drew, Collin Peterson, and half of some guy from Maine, the Democratic members of the House who were supposed to be timorous about the whole impeachment business have proven themselves to be winter soldiers of the first rank—especially Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Joe Cunningham of South Carolina. Meanwhile, there are somewhere between four and eight Republican incumbents in the Senate who have to be casting phasers-on-stun side-eye down Pennsylvania Avenue in the general direction of Camp Runamuck. McConnell has more potential mushiness in his caucus than Pelosi turned out to have in hers, and Pelosi doesn’t have a half-maniacal president* in her ear, either.

All of this doesn’t make conviction and removal of the president* any more likely than it was before Wednesday’s vote, but it’s not something you can hand-wave away, either. The cliches that sustained the impeachment narrative are no longer operative. Worms are turning.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 19, 2019, 07:00 PM (6 replies)
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