Impeach the MF
July 27, 2019 3:56 AM   Subscribe

The House Judiciary Committee is officially opening an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. The House judiciary committee wrote an article in the Atlantic to explain they are now moving forward on an official impeachment inquiry Why we’re moving forward on impeachment

PBS reports most clearly on this development:
This is different and significant, because now House leadership, Jerry Nadler — and Nancy Pelosi is on board with this as well — are saying, we are launching an impeachment investigation.

They are formally declaring that they are looking into whether they will have to file later articles of impeachment. That's what Pelosi was talking about.

Ultimately, will they decide to file those articles of impeachment? She has not made the decision yet. But they have made the decision to begin a formal investigation on the road to impeachment.
Video from the House Judiciary committee announcing impeachment inquiry. (Twitter)
posted by rainydayfilms (214 comments total) 92 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, good.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:18 AM on July 27 [14 favorites]


It’s about damn time.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 4:49 AM on July 27 [25 favorites]


It’s amazing this is getting no attention, because this is exactly the step I have been calling my reps to begin.

As a reminder, from Wikipedia, there are three steps, and this is the first one. Many in the Megathreads have been commenting that the house was already beginning an impeachment inquiry, and it looks like they were right. The difference is now they are calling it that.
At the federal level, the impeachment process is a three-step procedure.

First, the Congress investigates. This investigation typically begins in the House Judiciary Committee, but may begin elsewhere. For example, the Nixon impeachment inquiry began in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The facts that led to impeachment of Bill Clinton were first discovered in the course of an investigation by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Second, the House of Representatives must pass, by a simple majority of those present and voting, articles of impeachment, which constitute the formal allegation or allegations. Upon passage, the defendant has been "impeached".

Third, the Senate tries the accused. In the case of the impeachment of a president, the Chief Justice of the United States presides over the proceedings. For the impeachment of any other official, the Constitution is silent on who shall preside, suggesting that this role falls to the Senate's usual presiding officer, the President of the Senate who is also the Vice President of the United States. Conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds vote. The result of conviction is removal from office.
posted by rainydayfilms at 4:51 AM on July 27 [27 favorites]


It’s amazing this is getting no attention

Oh, I don't know. It might make people pleased with the Democrats, which is the last thing that the tycoons who own every news organization would want.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:07 AM on July 27 [59 favorites]


This will end badly. It will play like a political hit job, and it will probably boost his numbers.
posted by Optamystic at 5:09 AM on July 27 [17 favorites]


This will end badly. It will play like a political hit job, and it will probably boost his numbers.
posted by Optamystic


Epony-something.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:13 AM on July 27 [29 favorites]


This will be fine. Not to do it would have been crazy.
A lot of Trump supporters know he is a crook, they just also assume that all politicians are crooked. By letting him get away with crimes, the House was confirming that notion. If the Republicans in the Senate vote against impeachment, they will confirm the general perception among their own voters that they are corrupt. Some may not vote at all, some will change sides.
This is not the Starr investigation, at all, and I think that even the most trumpist Trumpists can see that, even if they won't admit it. They won't change their minds, but a lot of Republicans who are already worried and skeptical will. Farmers hit by the idiotic tariffs and the anti-immigration policies. Military folks who see a total lack of even common sense on defense, let alone policy. Business people who see the economy slow-crashing in spite of the relatively good numbers.
posted by mumimor at 5:30 AM on July 27 [80 favorites]


This will end badly. It will play like a political hit job, and it will probably boost his numbers.

This has been said in many ways, and the alternative has always been that they did nothing, and Trump would crow that despite the claims, they never impeached him.

They have to do the right thing, because Trump's going to spin any result as personally and politically motivated. They have to do the right thing, because his base is motivated by hate and emotion, not reason.

The mythical undecided voter does not exist anymore. Only the unmotivated voter. Trump's very likely already hit his maximum motivation, but there are a lot of potential Democratic voters who were feeling demotivated because it looked like there would be no action. The Democratic Party needs to demonstrate that even if the Republican Party quashes it, they've got plans to improve the nation. The time for 12th dimensional chess is over. They now need to look like they're revving up, just waiting for the American people to give them the green light.
posted by explosion at 5:33 AM on July 27 [181 favorites]


This will end badly.

It's already badly.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:35 AM on July 27 [319 favorites]


This will end badly. It will play like a political hit job, and it will probably boost his numbers.

It is very, very important that the Democrats not discuss, document, catalog, publicize, or respond to Trump’s numerous and ongoing crimes. To do anything other than roll over and shut up plays right into his hands. He desperately wants his wrongdoing to see the light of day. He yearns for impeachment more and more with each passing second. Stop your ears! Lash your hands! Resist the siren call “Impeeeeeeeeach meeeeeeeee....Impeeeeeeeeeeeeach meeeeeeeeee....”
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:39 AM on July 27 [101 favorites]


Yeah, I think the Clinton / Starr circus has colored people’s impressions of what impeachment is. There seems to be rampant confusion. Here’s my uninformed take on what’s happening:
1. Articles of impeachment were filed in January. (Vox)
2. The house judiciary has been investigating various things, but not officially calling it “an impeachment inquiry”
3. Now that the White House has been full obstructionist, the House judiciary made a filing yesterday that said “impeachment inquiry” clearly.
4. I believe they did that for a few reasons:
- the Mueller hearing did not produce fireworks, but it did produce some on the record facts. They used it in their video announcement.
- recess is starting, so Nadler has a few weeks without a bunch of Republicans mucking up his court actions.
- there’s a court fight over the documents Congress wants, and asking for them under an impeachment inquiry has more power.

Anyway, I am not the smartest on this, but there is rampant confusion out there so hope that was helpful.

And I’ll stop posting, I’m just SO excited about this. Finally.
posted by rainydayfilms at 5:41 AM on July 27 [48 favorites]


Until the CSPAN cameras roll, interrupting daytime television programming on all "major" channels for hours on end, this just smells like hope (odorless and invisible).
posted by filtergik at 5:43 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


Beyond possible outcomes, political manoeuvring, "do you want president Pence" or whatever else, the core issue at stake here is accountability; specifically, are there any consequences whatsoever for a person occupying the highest office in the land behaving in a manner unethical and/or illegal?

To my mind, if we decide the answer is "no", then we might as well hang up the entire idea of checks and balances or possibly even the democratic process. Accountability is a vital part of democracy, and the answer to an elected official quite flagrantly obstructing justice should never be "oh well, guess we better wait until election day and hope to vote them out in an election they will almost assuredly tinker with through the same big data gaming they engaged in last time".

This is why I think starting the proceedings is important. Not because there's any clear indication that things will go one way or the other, but because criminal and unethical behavior from an elected official at the top of the executive branch needs to have at least greater consequences than what a minimum wage worker caught stealing on the job would face.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:51 AM on July 27 [98 favorites]


Aya, I made the same arguments about Nixon and W. So far, the high crime that merits an impeachment appears to be getting an extramarital blowjob, and then only if it's a Democrat. We shall see if blatant corruption is enough to get the House to actually impeach a Republican.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:01 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


I've tried expressing this hope/question a dozen ways, but it's not coming together:

Is the timing and electoral (gerrymandered math) for the Senate such that a blue Senate wave powered by the opportunity to remove from office (or otherwise act on an impeachment) a viable reality?

I'd like that reality. Where the R base is too ashamed to show up to the point where a progressive Warren/D Congress comes to be.
posted by abulafa at 6:14 AM on July 27 [6 favorites]


About goddamned time the Democrats showed a little backbone. Even Pelosi is on board. She's tough as nails when she wants, unfortunately, she hasn't seemed to want, other than trying to keep AOC et al, in line. I don't need them to win, I just need to see they're willing to fight.
posted by evilDoug at 6:38 AM on July 27 [12 favorites]


Is the timing and electoral (gerrymandered math) for the Senate such that a blue Senate wave powered by the opportunity to remove from office (or otherwise act on an impeachment) a viable reality?

No.

More specifically, I sure hope not.

The next Senate election is the same time as the next Presidential election; 1/3 of Senators are up for re-election at a time. It seems unlikely that voters in enough red states would send enough pro-removal Senators to Congress to produce a two-thirds majority, yet also re-elect Trump. The Senate takes office on January 3; the President takes office on January 20. If he were voted out, the Senate would somehow have to be motivated to hurry up and try him in that 2 1/2-week interval. Which, they could do; in addition to removal they can also bar him from ever holding federal office, which is something, but it would seem pretty moot at that point.

An impeachment can carry over from one Congress to the next; Bill Clinton was impeached in the lame duck session in 1998 and tried in the subsequent Senate in 1999, so that part wouldn't be an issue. But the only circumstance in which arguments over removal could have a practical effect on the composition of the Senate are if there's a second term, which I would prefer to avoid.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:55 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


electoral (gerrymandered math) for the Senate

the senate cannot be any more or less gerrymandered than it always is by virtue of assigning voting rights to acres instead of people
posted by entropicamericana at 7:08 AM on July 27 [19 favorites]


If the Republicans in the Senate vote against impeachment, they will confirm the general perception among their own voters that they are corrupt. Some may not vote at all, some will change sides.

Consider this: By waiting this long, The House investigations may not be over in time for a vote in the House AND a vote in the Senate before Nov 2020

All the investigation, and no opportunity for the traitors in the Senate to actually give Trump a pass.

If their only result is ensuring, "The formal investigation of Donald Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors continues, learning $SOME_NEW_OR_OLD_ITEM" appears in the news regularly, it's a win.

Iit sucks the air from the room for each and every Republican racist who would be on tv doing something other than responding to "The Impeachment Inquiry announced...."

Time is short between now an November 2020. This ensures the Republicans racists don't get to play offense.
posted by mikelieman at 7:08 AM on July 27 [29 favorites]


"do you want president Pence"

If that's what it takes to get rid of Trump, yes I want President Pence. Yes, yes, a million times. YES.
posted by tclark at 7:37 AM on July 27 [36 favorites]


Pence is evil but not utterly batshit. A slight improvement, but the best we can hope for under the circumstances.

I can't believe this is happening. I'm on a trip right now so can't pay much attention to this, but damn.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:40 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


the senate cannot be any more or less gerrymandered than it always is by virtue of assigning voting rights to acres instead of people

The Senate has been gerrymandered before (there’s a reason why there are two Dakotas) and could be again. Statehood for DC and Puerto Rico, for instance.
posted by Automocar at 7:52 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


i am loathe to admit that the democratic party leadership is doing something right, but nevertheless what they're doing is a necessary but not sufficient part of defeating the republican party. i've held for a while that the presidential candidates and the congressional representatives have two distinct roles to play. the presidential candidates must present a positive vision for the future — whoever it is has to present the establishment of a free democracy in the united states as fresh, fun, and modern, something like what the successful campaign against pinochet did in chile back in the 1980s — while the congressional representatives must beat on trump with whatever blunt objects are close at hand while also stabbing him with whatever sharp objects are close at hand.

ideally the presidential candidate for the democratic party shouldn't even utter the word "trump" once. his face and wretched voice shouldn't appear in any of the presidential candidate's ads, which should instead show us how nice it will be to live in a world where trump is a forgotten nonentity. every single presidential campaign ad, every presidential campaign speech needs to be a happy little vacation from living in a dictatorship. they can only offer us that vacation if congress takes up the task of handling the negative stuff.

anyway. i wish they had struck while the iron was hot, before the news media could print all their "let's treat the mueller hearings like they were a television show and then pan that show" columns. but i'm satisfied that they're at least starting something.

okay i admit it i'll take and/or manufacture every opportunity to reference the 'no' campaign against pinochet. ignore the cheesy (but at the time modern!) 80s quality of that ad i linked above and think about how neatly it turns pinochet, a dictator who ruled through terror, a person almost as bloodthirsty and murderous as trump, into a ridiculous clown. and it does it without even mentioning pinochet at all! my favorite little scene is the snippet at 1:24 — it's less than a second! — of a silly costumed king's crown falling off. it makes overthrowing a dictatorship look easy and fun. and it worked!
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:56 AM on July 27 [27 favorites]


There’s no point in talking about Pence. None of this actually ends in removal. You either like the symbolic gesture for its symbolism, or you think it’s people doing the job they are supposed to do or, if none of the above, it’s a waste of time.
posted by argybarg at 8:00 AM on July 27 [11 favorites]


jenfullmoon: "I can't believe this is happening."

I mean, neither can I, because it isn't? As much as I want Democrats to actually do something / impeachment to be happening, this sure doesn't seem to be it.
Our investigation will seriously examine all the evidence as we consider whether to bring articles of impeachment or other remedies under our Article I powers.
It seems to me that the words "consider" and "all other remedies" should be seriously dampening all of our enthusiasm / expectations here.
posted by namewithoutwords at 8:00 AM on July 27 [10 favorites]


GOT VOTES?
posted by sammyo at 8:06 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Pence also lacks the factors that make Trump compelling to his base. He has no charisma, he's not a reality TV star or former celebrity. He's not a magnetic, rabble-rousing figure.

No matter what the end results are - and at this point it's very, very hard to predict - this is something that Democrats can point to and say they are doing come 2020. It's much better than "you gave us a House majority with which we did little." (I know, the House is doing the best they can with what they have and are passing/vetoing legislation, but it's the optics.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:08 AM on July 27 [12 favorites]


I feel like I'm crazy? There's no such thing as an "official impeachment inquiry", is there? The only official actions are the filings of motions of impeachment and the vote? I suppose what they mean is "we're looking into the possibility of impeachment" but that's the opposite of official?

As far as I can tell, what makes something an official impeachment inquiry is calling it an official impeachment inquiry. No more and no less?
posted by Justinian at 8:24 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


Yes. The fact that they're calling it that is a momentous piece of news.
posted by Scattercat at 8:31 AM on July 27 [19 favorites]


Does anyone actually know what happens next, what will work, how the nation will respond, and what it all means? I feel totally out of my depth in my own country. I feel like all the people who are projecting certainty are whistling past the graveyard.
posted by argybarg at 8:32 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


To follow-up with Justinian's question though, is there some legal framework that gives the investigations of the House more weight once they are pursuing impeachment? Because it seems up to this point that the Administration's basic approach to congressional inquiries is to ignore them, and they have seen no consequences thus far.
posted by pjenks at 8:37 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


I feel like all the people who are projecting certainty are whistling past the graveyard.

For every person who KNOWS this is the thing that saves us all, there's at least one other person who KNOWS it's nothing but a performative waste of time. Both groups are wrong, because all of this is unprecedented and nobody actually knows shit.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:41 AM on July 27 [83 favorites]


How the ever-living fuck is this not front page on the New York Times?
posted by sexyrobot at 8:42 AM on July 27 [20 favorites]


One of Trump's legal arguments for the administration not complying with subpoenas is that in his eyes, the House is supposedly just fishing for damaging personal/physical information rather than performing an official function. Issuing subpoenas in the context of an impeachment hearing weakens that argument -- bringing articles of impeachment is an explicitly enumerated power of the House in the constitution.
posted by bassooner at 8:44 AM on July 27 [16 favorites]


This will end badly. It will play like a political hit job, and it will probably boost his numbers.

His numbers are going to go up regardless as we get closer to the election, as currently "undecided" voters (or non-voters, depending on the poll) pick a side. I doubt an impeachment investigation is going to affect it that much.

My experience of the remaining diehard Trump supporters--basically anyone who still self-describes as a "Republican" now that the Trumpist takeover of the party is complete--are basically bullies. They want to "own the libtards" etc. And the more one-sided that fight is, the more satisfying it is for them. They don't want a stand-up boxing match, they want to watch Republicans crush Democrats. They want slaughter. They want to watch a defenseless enemy, onto which they can project everything they've ever failed at in life, get pummeled. That's satisfaction. That's what Trump promises and attempts to deliver.

So Democrats might as well start punching back; bullies hate a victim who throws a fist back in their direction. Who knows--it might even keep Trump off guard and seize a bit of the initiative from him. The guy is clearly used to bossing people around and getting his way; when things don't go to plan, he flails and looks like the mendacious twit he is. Constantly pushing him, and forcing him to react, is better than the reverse.

At the very least, keeping the discussion focused on Trump's misdeeds and general embarrassing nature is better than letting him drive the discussion and try to focus it on his meager accomplishments, real or imagined. IMO, only an ongoing impeachment process can compete with the sort of crazy shit that comes out of the WH on a regular basis, in terms of winning the news cycle.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:46 AM on July 27 [74 favorites]


How the ever-living fuck is this not front page on the New York Times?
This is a weekend, in July
posted by mumimor at 8:47 AM on July 27 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: all of this is unprecedented and nobody actually knows shit.
posted by notyou at 8:53 AM on July 27 [38 favorites]


It is the third story on the front of nytimes.com. Number two is Trump's verbal attack on Elijah Cummings and his district; number one is SCOTUS allowing 2.5B in Pentagon funds to be diverted to The Wall, pending further appeals and decisions.

A thing that happened that involves two billion dollars and moving forward on the denigration of the nation, the Preznit demonstrating his unfitness to lead, then Democrats taking a tiny baby step towards opposition seems like proper newsroom triage to me.
posted by delfin at 8:55 AM on July 27 [23 favorites]


This will end badly. It will play like a political hit job, and it will probably boost his numbers.

Didn’t end so well for Nixon. A month into the Watergate hearings support for impeachment was at 19%. 13 months later he was gone.

And if you bring up Clinton, well that was a truly popular president with approval in the 60s and an even better economy. And a blatantly partisan hack job about a blowjob. In the time we’ve had since the Mueller Report came out, Rs has already impeached Clinton after the Starr Report. And let’s not forget Rs won the presidency and both Houses in the next election after impeachment and Senate acquittal.

Plus the big thing with impeachment hearings is the airing and finding of other crimes. Like emails with Clinton from Benghazi. And Lewinsky from Whitewater. Why do you think Trump and Rs are fighting this tooth and nail? They know there’s dirt and crimes to be found.
posted by chris24 at 8:59 AM on July 27 [30 favorites]


You know what would be awesome? Not trying to take the moral high ground for Democrats by acting like Bill Clinton wasn't at the very least a sexual harasser of people who worked for him. Trump can be an odious human being and have committed plenty of acts worthy of impeachment without dragging up "lol Bill just got a blowjob" as if what he did wasn't super fucking vile and frankly worthy of impeachment itself, even if the assholes on the right who pushed for it did it for cynical reasons.
posted by tocts at 9:13 AM on July 27 [52 favorites]


I hope this is the end of Trump, and that he drags feckless, cowardly centrism down with him.
posted by Reyturner at 9:21 AM on July 27 [10 favorites]


How the ever-living fuck is this not front page on the New York Times?

Because they are fascists who support Trump.
posted by agregoli at 9:26 AM on July 27 [12 favorites]


#ITMFA
posted by growabrain at 9:26 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


I feel like I'm crazy? There's no such thing as an "official impeachment inquiry", is there? The only official actions are the filings of motions of impeachment and the vote? I suppose what they mean is "we're looking into the possibility of impeachment" but that's the opposite of official?

Not sure where this is coming from. Official acts by official representatives of the government are official.
Committees convening, filing court motions, subpoenas to witnesses, sworn testimony, etc. are all official acts and when done officially for the purpose of determining if impeachment is warranted would make it an official impeachment inquiry. This is essentially the (official) House procedure to start the (official) vote.

Drinking beer in the House Pub with your buddies and saying "do you think we should impeach?" would be the opposite of official, but this is what they are moving past.

To follow-up with Justinian's question though, is there some legal framework that gives the investigations of the House more weight once they are pursuing impeachment?

Sure. One example: Getting the grand jury testimony from the Mueller investigation. The House wants it, Justice won't give it (citing federal law) and thus you go to court. The court will need to determine if there is a legitimate and important interest in the House having it.

Saying "we have started impeachment proceedings" really makes a strong case that you are pursuing an action explicitly empowered in Article I as something you have the sole power to do.

TBF there's a legal argument that you don't need this if you are the House and that judges should still grant you everything legitimate you are asking for, but seems to me an action that automatically wins that part of the argument puts you ahead.

I imagine here will be quite a few things on this level.
posted by mark k at 9:27 AM on July 27 [13 favorites]


without dragging up "lol Bill just got a blowjob"

There’s no lol in my comment either literal or figurative. It was not claiming moral high ground for Ds. It was a general description of events, and whether fair or not there’s a difference in public perception of a sex scandal vs. treason/fascism/racism/whatever else Trump’s done. Approval ratings for Clinton vs Trump and polled support for impeachment both reflect that.
posted by chris24 at 9:38 AM on July 27 [14 favorites]


It honestly doesn’t matter now whether this eventually ends in Trump’s removal, what will happen with President Pence, will this backfire at the pollls, do you have enough Senate votes to convince.

It’s about some key democrats doing their goddamn jobs. They deserve feedback from their constituents: yes, this is what we expect from you, more of this please.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:48 AM on July 27 [68 favorites]


I think the reason the impeachment of Bill Clinton ended up making him rise in the polls was that the Republican ringleaders of the effort were so smarmy and transparently hypocritical, and just hadn't laid the groundwork like had been done with the Watergate hearings. If the Democrats do this right, I think it could work. A majority of Americans aren't buying Trump's con games.
posted by Bee'sWing at 9:54 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


This is good news. This needs to be done regardless of Pence. Worry about Pence later. That's like saying we can't prosecute Capone, that'll just get us Frank Nitti.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:59 AM on July 27 [19 favorites]


There is zero chance of Pence outside Trump dying! Impeachment will go nowhere in the Senate, people.
posted by argybarg at 10:06 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


"You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try."
posted by entropicamericana at 10:11 AM on July 27 [20 favorites]


Depends on what is found. Given what is publicly known now, probably not. But there are lots of areas where there hasn’t been any investigation. Finances/taxes for one. If we find he’s been money laundering for Russian oligarchs/mob? The tune changes. That’s why you investigate the most obviously corrupt and criminal president, because who knows what you’ll find and what that will do to the political environment.
posted by chris24 at 10:13 AM on July 27 [14 favorites]


So...How many Republicans in Congress (both houses) are super-duper evangelical christians? You know...Pence clones. Is there any viable scenario where they would hold their noses and vote with the Dems, in order to get Trump out of there and enshrine Pence as the leader of the new theocracy? That has been the conservative evangelical wet-dream for decades now, and this moment might be the closest they could ever come to the top of the mountain.

I know it’s far-fetched bit, hey, we’re living in a nightmare already, so...
posted by Thorzdad at 10:14 AM on July 27 [5 favorites]


There's a reason the thing Trump is most scared of is an unravelling of his business. He's sold himself to a lot of rubes as the master of the deal, the great businessman. I can't even remember how many +50 white men I've heard tell me that government should be run like a business. If that collapses, even part of the 27% may change their minds.
posted by mumimor at 10:17 AM on July 27 [15 favorites]


But there are lots of areas where there hasn’t been any investigation. Finances/taxes for one.

Right now the Democrats seem focused on getting the Mueller grand jury testimony released rather than furthering investigation of Trump's finances. And the grand jury testimony is, by all knowledgeable accounts, both the least useful and least likely to succeed avenue.

Getting Trump's tax returns would be the first and quickest step in investigating his finances, and so far the Democrats have not aggressively pursued the returns. They've made occasionally mouth noises about it but they haven't pushed the issue. We'll see if they are serious soon enough.
posted by Justinian at 10:24 AM on July 27 [7 favorites]


I can't even remember how many +50 white men I've heard tell me that government should be run like a business. If that collapses, even part of the 27% may change their minds.

His average approval's 42.5%; theoretically, possibly, some of the 15% of soft support could erode. But unless Trump stops being a racist bully, that 27% will love him until they die.

And all those +50 white men? They never literally meant that government should be run like a business in any sense of capitalist benevolence or efficiency or overall profit: they mean the government should be "like a business" in that it serves to benefit the rich and privileged and to grind the bottom of the socio-economic hierarchy into dust.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:28 AM on July 27 [37 favorites]


There aren't enough votes in the Senate to remove Trump now. That doesn't mean there won't ever be enough votes.

Right now Senate Republicans have the excuse that there's a lot of misrepresentation of what the Mueller report said, and Trump's other crimes haven't drawn much attention.

Comprehensive and fair impeachment hearings in the House would expose Trump's crimes in detail and build public support for removing him from office.

No one likes Trump. The Senate Republicans backing him are backing him out of fear of him and losing office if they oppose him. If public opinion moves towards removal from office, the smart move for them might be to dump him and claim they opposed him all along.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:31 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


And even if they won’t convict despite evidence of major crimes and public opinion turning, then it’s a hammer in the election against their and Trump’s obvious criminality and corruption.
posted by chris24 at 10:37 AM on July 27 [7 favorites]


Palmer Report @PalmerReport
Donald Trump's day so far:

- Total meltdown about West Baltimore
- Trump's a fucking racist
- He clearly isn't taking the impeachment news well
- Mike Pence has new scandal
- Epstein scandal gets uglier
- It's all going to come out
- Trump is going to prison
- It's till only 1pm
posted by bitteschoen at 10:39 AM on July 27 [11 favorites]


These Twitter hot takes are killing me. Can we have actual sources for things with no typos? What new scandal for Pence?
posted by agregoli at 10:48 AM on July 27 [13 favorites]


Best to avoid Palmer Report, he's a fabulist and a grifter.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:48 AM on July 27 [10 favorites]


agregoli - it’s in the link, first in the thread - here - and here from more reputable news sources

(and sorry the Palmer Report popped up in my timeline, I’m not even following it or wasn’t even that familiar with it but someone I follow liked it so I saw it and it made me laugh)
posted by bitteschoen at 10:56 AM on July 27


Pence appeared at a gay-owned club in Aspen during the Republican Governor's Association meeting (which Sarah Huckabee Sanders also visited), and no one has reimbursed the county sheriff for the $24,000 he spent on extra security for the event (Trump does this a lot, so I'm not sure I'd call it a new scandal, except for the Pence element).
posted by box at 10:58 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


There’s no lol in my comment either literal or figurative.

It's entirely possible to make the case against Trump, and even to compare his polling / the public perception of those bringing the charges / etc to how things went with Bill Clinton, without once reducing Clinton's actions to having been simply "a blowjob" (or, previously in this thread, "an extramarital blowjob"). And in fact, your point can be made without even describing what it is he did, yet you felt the need to throw that in there.

So yeah, whether you think a "lol" is there or not, there is a distinct impression given by your comment that you view Clinton's actions as having been trivial or a source of amusement when you decide to throw that in there.
posted by tocts at 11:02 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


As I said in my earlier comment, I think the public thinks/thought that it was not as significant an issue/crime as Trump's actions. As reflected in how they poll. If you'd prefer I'd said the Lewinsky affair than blowjob, then let's have the mods change it. But your impression of my supposed thoughts is inaccurate, I've explained why twice now, and I don't appreciate the continuing insinuations.
posted by chris24 at 11:09 AM on July 27 [11 favorites]


I’m glad to see politicians taking Never Again seriously. Trump is a dangerous authoritarian who must be removed from office for our democracy to survive. To do nothing in the face of the existential threat he poses would be to give up. May they have the fortitude and resources necessary to get the job done.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:12 AM on July 27 [16 favorites]


Oh, and as I've mentioned here before, I was a Republican who first voted Dem for Obama. I was very much anti-Clinton back then and thought and think he's personally a slime ball even after my later political transformation. So no, was not excusing Bill with a supposed implied laugh.
posted by chris24 at 11:18 AM on July 27 [8 favorites]


I think we should stop this derail here and now. But I also want to remind everyone that the past is a different place. I was an adult feminist woman who was a victim of sexual assault during the Clinton presidency, and I didn't think he should be indicted. Mainly because he didn't commit a crime. What happened was normal, not least amongst the Republican accusers.
I didn't and I don't agree with his "feminist" defenders, who blamed the victim. But it was part of the reality for ambitious young women when it happened, and the Republicans were if anything worse abusers of that reality. As a young professor back then, I'd counsel students who were abused by their teachers, but refused to go with me to the police because they rightly thought that would end their careers and didn't want to be martyrs for what they saw as a lost cause.
Today, we would see things differently, and I am thankful for that, at work at university, I am always there for students who feel their teachers are abusing their power. But I'm not aware that consensual sex between adults is a crime, even today. Bill Clinton abused his power, and cheated on his wife, but he did not commit a crime in the legal sense of the word.
What Trump had done and is doing are serious crimes.
posted by mumimor at 11:21 AM on July 27 [69 favorites]


I want them to drag this out. Take it well into election season. Keep getting bits and pieces into the news. If they can do it with a phony baloney BENGHAZI!!1! investigation, we can do it with a legitimate criminal one.
posted by azpenguin at 11:36 AM on July 27 [14 favorites]


Well this is good news for me personally, because a while back, commiserating with friends who don't follow so closely, I said something like "don't worry, he'll be impeached." Make me look credible, Congress!
posted by dbx at 11:37 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


I haven't thought deeply but this debate keeps reminding me of tactical voting. Do you want the symbolic gesture or do you want Pelosi etc. spending time and resources on the next election, kind of thing. Do you want impeachment because it is a long-term signal and deterrent to future presidents, or do need to secure the 2020 victory because the alternative of losing 2020 would also have bad long term consequences? I imagine that a two-party system constrains the resources of one party to focus on and pursue strategies?

The other thing I noticed is that Pelosi's message (at least in the news) has always been, impeach when the time is right when the strongest case is made for it... And of course that translates into, she doesn't actually want to impeach. So it would have been good to know what the criteria/bar for the strongest case actually are.
posted by polymodus at 11:39 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


I feel this is tilting at windmills, but good on them for trying.
posted by tommasz at 11:51 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


So I could be very wrong about this, but here goes.
Even if Trump is impeached and it goes to the Senate there is 0 chance he will be removed from office. You will not find the 18 or 19 Republicans needed to get a 2/3 majority. Even if it's 65-35, all you will hear from the blathering Cheeto-in-Chief is a parade of tweets saying "INNOCENT, INNOCENT, WITCH HUNT, PELOSI PELOSI PELOSI SCHUMER"

The only word Fox News loves to plaster on the screen more than Clinton is Pelosi, and in an election where literally 1% of the vote in a few small places determined the president, there's enough vitriol aimed at the Speaker that it could have downstream impact.

Pelosi, despite what anyone may think about her, has as much experience in political calculus as anyone in elected office today. The goal for the Democrats needs to be House/Senate/Presidency. Like I said, I could be wrong but I think she's ran the numbers and figures slow-rolling impeachment and keeping herself out of the limelight* produced the best 2020 outcome ever so slightly. Even if it's only a slim 1% margin, those are the same margins Trump won with in MI/WI/PA....every inch matters.


*Which is why I bet behind closed doors she's THRILLED about The Squad taking heat off of her because generally speaking most Americans don't care about them.
posted by splen at 12:03 PM on July 27 [5 favorites]


[One deleted. Just a nudge, because we're trying to step away from catchall US politics megathreads: let's try to stick to impeachment-inquiry stuff in here, and if there's Pence news, for now it can go in the still-open last catchall unless it warrants its own thread. Just trying to give some guidance here about returning to single-topic threads; I know this is a transition time for expectations. ]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:03 PM on July 27 [12 favorites]


I am interested to see how this progresses. I wonder, since impeachment is so uncommon, if attempting to make predictions on how this will progress based on previous occurrences might be less than useful. Our data points are Nixon Era and Clinton Scandal, which already are so very much unlike one another. Maybe impeachment proceedings are inherently weird outlier data points, and I think we all agree we live in a weird outlier part of history.

My feeling is that the best approach for understanding this (and seeking the best personal course for political action) is to sit and watch it unfold on its own terms.
posted by Gymnopedist at 12:16 PM on July 27 [5 favorites]


There is something to be said for standing up and being counted. We have arrived at a Historical Moment and if there's nothing else you can do but be counted, maybe you do that.

There is also something to be said for not demonstrating your powerlessness to really do anything. A failed attempt at holding Trump accountable is gonna look, to a lot of people, like 'well, they couldn't make it stick; they must not have anything on him--I guess all the stuff they're saying about him is politically motivated.'

So, I dunno. I've got mixed feelings about it. Maybe it'll end in disaster, but there's a case to be made that it's already ended in disaster. In any case, shining a light on Trump is not gonna show anything pretty, so let your love light shine.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:31 PM on July 27 [8 favorites]


Our data points are Nixon Era and Clinton Scandal

What, no Andrew Johnson? Nobody's eager to relitigate the 1868 Democratic primary?
posted by jackbishop at 12:46 PM on July 27 [16 favorites]


Other data points are Reagan and Bush I, and Bush II. We didn't do anything about Iran-Contra, lying us into Iraq and torture and the ramifications were the Republican Party continued to spiral to extremism and lawlessness and landed on Trump.

Pursuing impeachment and what happens then isn't the whole equation. What happens if you don't try to hold people accountable also matters.
posted by chris24 at 12:54 PM on July 27 [72 favorites]


Also there is some appeal to this as a Noble Doomed Cause; the Democrats become scrappy underdogs fighting a corrupt powerful system. That's a better story than them just giving up or not trying. Underdogs often lose, of course, but they might win more hearts and minds.

And we've all spent a lot of time on the megathreads discussing about the power of narratives over logic and reason.
posted by emjaybee at 1:02 PM on July 27 [34 favorites]


I've lived through 1.5 impeachments. My grandmothers mother said "Andy Johnson was a soul in perpetual spin"
2.5 impeachments fur Menschengedenken.

This is serious and Trump should purse his lips and round the wagons. So. Watch the VP very closely politics wise.

"From the early 20th century forward, the preferred method of selecting managers has been by a House Resolution naming the number and the persons of the committee of managers. In some instances, the House has, by resolution, fixed the number of managers and authorized the Speaker to appoint them. Managers also have been elected by ballot of the full House with a majority vote for each candidate."

If the committee is being formed, wasn't Hillary Clinton on Nixons?, then it's serious.
posted by clavdivs at 2:08 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


And we've all spent a lot of time on the megathreads discussing about the power of narratives over logic and reason.

I would argue that it's not just about narratives vs. logic/reason; it's also about denying Trump is ability to continue to posture unopposed.

Fundamentally, Trump knows how to posture, particularly for his base but also for the sorta squishy middle of US voters who might actually be swayed one way or another. And I get it: he's going to declare victory no matter how things actually go down. However, if we don't impeach, we basically leave him to do it with no real force pushing back on it. He's going to do victory lap on top of victory lap about how how come if he's so bad they never impeached him, etc. It will be stupid. It will be pretty obviously bombast.

It will also, sadly, work.

I know Innuendo Studios has probably been overexposed here, but I kinda keep going back to his videos on Controlling the Conversation and Never Playing Defense. Trump (and his allies) are masters at this shit. The fact that we know what he's saying is bullshit doesn't matter; posture and tone, what he looks like to the average viewer, matters far more, and a president who keeps talking about how all his opponents are weak and bad and have nothing on him who continues to not be impeached regardless of what gets reported looks like winning.
posted by tocts at 2:19 PM on July 27 [21 favorites]


@emjaybee And as (at least) the last few years have shown, the Dems love nothing more than to be a Noble Loser.
posted by softlord at 2:21 PM on July 27


If the committee is being formed, wasn't Hillary Clinton on Nixons?, then it's serious.

Goldwater. But again, election.

I'm curious about the "state" of HJC right now, if they have flipped any switches that give them extra powers, or if they're using the same ol' word processor templates they always have, just a little more focused. That is, is this investigation just a submarine committee investigation the same as if they made a big public deal about it.

Regardless, there's something to be said for playing the process like an iceberg.
posted by rhizome at 2:22 PM on July 27


Reasonable people reading the Mueller report have to see that there is a massive unsolved serious collection of criminal activity. That's exactly what it describes. You can't just ... NOT DO ... Anything about it after it's out without just saying you're giving up on everything. The whole concept of Justice and National Security and the system of our very government. That's what declining an impeachment investigation and all that follows from it means.
posted by odinsdream at 3:21 PM on July 27 [34 favorites]


Reasonable people reading the Mueller report have to see

And yet.

To me, this is the strongest argument for a fully-declared, unequivocal We Are Investigating This President For High Crimes And Misdemeanors Leading To Impeachment.

The only alternative is "well, obviously he did the things that no president should have done, but we're afraid to call him out on it."

If things continue as they have been, the Republicans can and will argue that Democrats complained that Trump was a danger to the country but didn't even try to impeach him.

And the shittiest thing is that they won't be wrong.
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:59 PM on July 27 [28 favorites]


I'm confused. Is this actually happening? Or are they talking about how it might happen? I'd expect some response from Warren, but nothing.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:27 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


Reasonable people reading the Mueller report have to see that there is a massive unsolved serious collection of criminal activity. That's exactly what it describes.

I don't think so, though, in that what I saw from the news was stuff like:

"Mueller repeated that he did not find evidence of a conspiracy between Trump and Moscow"--Guardian July 27 on impeachment steps

"At this point, it is up to Congress to act on the evidence of multiple counts of obstruction of justice committed by the president, and to continue our investigation into whether he has committed other high crimes and misdemeanors"--Atlantic op-ed Scanlon et al

The issue is that any underlying crime is effectively blocked from investigation, whereas everything Mueller found so far was circumstantial. That's why he repeatedly said the above and why the statement is clear to distinguish between obstruction and underlying crime. In a way, these two quotes kind of conflict. The problem here is that since Mueller in Part I could not prove conspiracy, then you (or Scanlon in this case) have to somehow evaluate whether Mueller's effort was sufficient or not. It's like in science: you're told there's no evidence of something, but does that mean you conclude there's nothing or does that mean you should keep looking? How does a system decide that? Etc.
posted by polymodus at 4:59 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Earlier this year, when the border-wall funding was the center of conflict between Congress and the executive branch (a conflict now mostly moot by a 5-4 SCOTUS vote, bleccch) I made this observation:
It is weird how Pelosi has almost total power over whether Trump (and his party by extension) accepts a deal based on her labeling something a "wall" or "fence". It's about symbols more than anything; if she called it a wall, the budget would be signed and the whole party (sans Ann Coulter) would agree with McCarthy that she and the Democrats "caved". Her not doing so means instead that the consensus for most people is that the Democrats are holding firm (and I would agree; it's good for them to do so and it's also good if the narrative is that they're doing so). But it's the same thing regardless. Philosophers of language, eat your heart out.
It feels like "impeachment" has similar qualities. The only 100% unequivocal point at which we can say "impeachment" is happening is when it will have already happened -- that is, when (if it comes to this) a vote to impeach occurs, and that vote is won, resulting in impeachment. At that moment, of course, it will no longer be in the hands of the House. That's probably not something we want any time really soon.

Before that are a lot of separate steps, and the particular step that prompted this thread is one of them. If you want to say he's now "under" impeachment or whatever, you'll be in the minority (and I don't think I'd agree with you?) but you won't be wrong-wrong.

Given this ambiguity that exists at just about every step before a final vote in the House, I worry more than a little about various people expressing impatience that the MF hasn't been impeached already (as opposed to a committee to determine an inquiry to declare blah blah blah). This extends from my worry that (a) the not-unfounded notion of Democrats being all-talk-no-action has become melded with (b) the probably-correct assumption that Pelosi doesn't want to impeach into (c) "They need to impeach, if they do then they are fighting the good fight, but if they don't then they are doing essentially nothing."

Impeachment is sort of orthogonal to tough action, in my view. It might strengthen some legal avenues, it might complicate others. It can be done meekly or with gusto. Yet the concept has become an odd umbrella for "the work" in a larger sense.

For instance: a sentiment I see a lot is that people who oppose impeachment are saying we can afford to wait until the election to fix things, and are being naive about the probability the election will be skewed/stolen by vote suppression, foreign hacking, and outright refusals to cede office. I'm not sure how to unravel that because the relationship between those issues seems unarticulated.

It might be argued that we need impeachment to rally the Democratic base enough to overwhelm those factors, which is definitely possible. It could be suggested that we need to try everything that might, however miniscule the odds, unseat the president. Or the unspoken assumption could be that if not-impeaching looks low on hope, impeaching must be correspondingly hopeful, which ignores what I believe to be the reality that all our options are lousy and difficult, and we have to pick the least-bad one rather than the best. But I see "Impeach because we can't afford to wait for an unfair election" so often without any larger explanation, and all I can do is infer "impeachment" as a stand-in for "fighting".

(Further, what I actually want to see in that area is more House Democrats straight-up alleging that vote-registration records were hacked, because we have very little great reason to think they weren't. By shifting the Overton window there, it might become more possible to have at least a modicum of election security in the several states.)

emjaybee: Also there is some appeal to this as a Noble Doomed Cause; the Democrats become scrappy underdogs fighting a corrupt powerful system.

softlord: @emjaybee And as (at least) the last few years have shown, the Dems love nothing more than to be a Noble Loser.

This is why it always surprises me a tad when the electoral-politics question gets dismissed on the basis that doing the right thing should come first. If you feel that the party continually takes the role of the sucker, dotting each I and crossing each T while Republicans ruthlessly prioritize victory, why should that change for impeachment?

I think impeaching (which I guess I would define as "Even Pelosi uses the I word") is a solid 2020 winner, and I think that's the reason to do it. If the reason were "To hold wrongdoers accountable", then we shouldn't even have an inquiry, we should have a 5-minute session affirming that yes, DJT admitted obstruction of justice on camera to Lester Holt, so therefore, obviously he gets impeached, okay Senate, the ball is in your court. Following the actual letter of the law, avoiding even a hint of theater in favor of strict loyalty to the Constitution, would mean something like that, and would probably be the ultimate sucker move here. Instead, we have to play the game of educating the public.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:59 PM on July 27 [11 favorites]


The thing that's not clear and will probably never be clear is whether evidence is actually lacking or whether evidence that can be revealed without compromising intelligence sources and methods is lacking. I strongly suspect that the whole exercise has been to find sanitized evidence that could (in principle) be used in open court or, alternatively, be used in congressional proceedings. It's inconceivable that there isn't classified evidence that's completely off limits.

Everything makes so much more sense viewed through this lens.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:12 PM on July 27 [9 favorites]


"I think impeaching (which I guess I would define as "Even Pelosi uses the I word") is a solid 2020 winner, and I think that's the reason to do it."

How do you figure? Do you think your average person on the street is going to become outraged at the malfeasance when it's laid bare, disturbed at the things that 45 says and does under the pressure, or would it be something else?
posted by Selena777 at 5:23 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Very good question. I think it's mainly about opportunity cost rather than benefit. There is no possible timeline between now and the next election where politics won't be "about" DJT or similar matters. There's not going to be a serious, sustained attention to healthcare or even (sadly) something as critical as global warming. As such, the conversation about the malfeasance has to be conducted in a way that keeps this regime (comparatively) on its toes.

Trump himself tends to fold under pressure. (A good example, fittingly, is the multiple times he tried to fire Mueller -- it was never a complete try, just a barked order that didn't get fulfilled and which he managed to forget about later.) The opportunity here isn't that he'll say one specific thing so outrageous that voters turn against him in a fell swoop. It's that his receiving even the merest pushback will cross his circuits. He'll focus even less than usual on conducting the presidency and associated acts of grift and cruelty. He'll overrule his staff with an I'm-my-best-advocate routine that worsens things further. He won't lapse fully into Colonel Jessup but he'll teeter in that direction.

The easy mistake for us is to picture the future as a blank canvas. But there's already a default palette, and it's one that the regime paints for the media's consumption. A narrative of impeachment, if that's established, will somewhat correct for this, even as it brings its own complications. That blank-canvas fallacy is, of course, much more comforting than the idea of any headaches at all, but the point is no headache-free path is available. (I also think that Joe Biden, as a prospective nominee, had this blank-canvas, no-headaches-if-it's-him appeal to people, at least until more recent months when he started saying more stuff.)

So I should amend my comment from "solid winner". It's not that at all. It's just the best chance we have.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:40 PM on July 27 [7 favorites]


He'll focus even less than usual on conducting the presidency and associated acts of grift and cruelty.

I don't believe his personal attention has been necessary for the administration to proceed at full speed with dismantling various government regulatory agencies, freeing up restrictions on oil drilling, gagging scientists, compromising public education, etc., etc. His public acts, speeches, tweets, and so on are largely a smokescreen obscuring the real harm being done. The media pay more attention to his outrageous statements than they do to the extensive damage being done to the government and society, because that would require more of their personal attention, and it's easier to report on his stupid tweets.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:48 PM on July 27 [12 favorites]


There's no such thing as an "official impeachment inquiry", is there?

Someone else gave a good answer above, but I want to highlight that there is such a thing and there are immediate practical benefits. If you ask for information or to interview a witness because you are investigating the president for the purposes of impeachment, congress has a well understood constitutional right to do so, and courts have historically fast tracked such requests.

An impeachment inquiry doesn't necessarily lead to impeachment, but given how the White House, the courts, and even Democrats have been stalling the process of investigating Trump, the investigations for the reason of impeachment are arguably required if they are to move forward at any kind of reasonable pace. The inquiries won't lead to impeachment necessarily, but it does suggest Democrats are finally getting serious about getting needed answers to questions.

This is the beginning, not the end.
posted by xammerboy at 6:56 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Winston Churchill
posted by kirkaracha at 7:04 PM on July 27 [11 favorites]


The state of affairs of the last twenty or so years has been that the Democrats have been playing by pre-1996 rules, where Congress was viewed as a place that, while the parties would debate and go against each other, collegiality and serving America rules the day. Reaching across the aisle was not uncommon.

The GOP is playing by Gingrich rules. Scorched Earth. Don't work with the other side--don't even go to lunch with the other side. As long as Our Vision is achieved, who cares? The Ends Justify the Means. They represent, at best, the people who voted for them, and no one else.

I agree there is a case to be made for impeachment hearings as an exercise of checks and balances, if it were truly done objectively and without a predetermined outcome. However, the current state of affairs precludes it, and in fact, undermines it. I'm sure the House committee will do a thorough and unbiased job, will put forth airtight conclusions, and go to the full House. Trump would be impeached on more-or-less party lines.

However, the GOP in the Senate, ruled by Mitch McConnell, is full of True Believers in Trump, people scared of Trump supporters who would primary them, or opportunist who let Trump be as crazy as he wants, as long as he signs the bills and appoints the judges that they want. No matter how justified, impeachment fails in the Senate.

In short, no matter how good a job the police do, and no matter how air-tight the case the prosecutors put together, everyone knows before the judge gavels the court to order how the jury will vote.

Impeachment under those circumstances is not a check-and-balance on Trump or any other president. Such a failure would be seen as legitimizing this behavior--not just as an issue in the election ("regardless of what Trump has done, he was not impeached for it, so it must be OK"), but as a stamp of approval of anything that has happen. Executive orders to overrule anything congress puts forth? Sure. Round up any group you feel like and put them into concentration camps? Why not. Invite a foreign nation to tamper with our elections? Go for it!

An impeachment hearing might provide a hammer in the next election, but it only removes Trump if it prevents his reelection. A GOP Senate won't remove him. If the hearings move past the election and there is a Democratic Senate, his removal would be seen as a partisan attack (and a severe constitutional crisis*). None of these scenarios acts as checks-and-balances--it would be dismissed as one form of partisan maneuvering or another.

Maybe a House inquiry would uncover some sort of clear, smoking gun (a videotape of Trump and Putin plotting the whole shebang), that would make it impossible for the Senate not to impeach him. I doubt such evidence exists--it would have come out by now. Personally, I say keep your powder dry. We only get one shot at it. If (when) it fails in the Senate, it doesn't just keep Trump in office, it would be seen as legitimizing everything he's done.

*In my view, the only way impeachment removes Trump is if the GOP votes him out--at least mainstream Republicans would buy into it. His base would simply call them RINOs.
posted by MrGuilt at 7:20 PM on July 27 [13 favorites]


It's already badly.

Ahh, but wait until you see how badly it can get.

This will be a big wet fart, because the Senate will never convict. It'll just rile up a bunch of Nazi fucks. Don't get me wrong, of course we should do it. But we also should have done it a million years ago before we were in this balls-out post-truth hell world.
posted by so fucking future at 8:10 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


The two-minute House Judiciary video in this FPP's tweet link should be retweeted by every center-to-left person on Twitter.

This is the type of messaging I want to see from Democrats. One message, fairly simple to understand, good use of video evidence, and they are emphasizing a value or principle. They are saying it's their job to uphold the Constitution.

I wasn't expecting much but I teared up a little at the end. (Metafilter:) So now I put on my predicting hat and I feel like it's the type of thing that could bring marginal voters to their senses about 45; messaging that is simple, repeated, shows strength. It's not a coincidence that this is not being reported very much yet and one shitty site I sometimes check doesn't even mention it. I thought it might be "pinned", even, but there is nothing. Democrats are playing a power card and the enemy isn't used to that. Good.
posted by sylvanshine at 8:28 PM on July 27 [21 favorites]


A reminder that the Constitution does not require the Senate to hold a trial on articles of impeachment. (Written in January, before the process began.)
posted by bryon at 9:56 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


[A couple deleted; don't keep retreading ground we've already covered.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:13 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


In as much as Trump is being Impeached for a lot of things; all his supporters will rail around him in a similar fashion to how Clinton's supporters railed around him. They will forget the subject; write it off as irrelevant; and as a waste of a presidents time.
posted by Afghan Stan at 10:31 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


David Roberts spells out where I've ended up too regarding impeachment:

Ordinary people don't follow politics closely and don't know very well what's normal, what's unusual or alarming, what's in & out of bounds. They absorb these things via "social proof," by watching how leaders of their various tribes behave. [. . .]No set of facts is going to communicate *for itself* that something's alarming, unusual, a break from the norm, cause for mobilization. The way that's communicated is when people see their leaders ACTING AS THOUGH those things are true.

We can complain all we want about how the Republicans will never vote to convict, but at this point if the Democrats don't think these offense are impeachable I'm not sure why we should expect voters to punish Republicans for acting the same way.
posted by mark k at 10:32 PM on July 27 [52 favorites]


In as much as Trump is being Impeached for a lot of things; all his supporters will rail around him

Trump's actual supporters are all racists, whom we don't need to effect change.

The people we do need, need to be hearing on the news, "Today, the House's impeachment inquiry announced", "The President, responding to allegations that...", etc. over and over and over. Until it becomes the new normal.

The Trump 2020 campaign will likely double down on "The Big Lie" (We're winners, and everyone else stinks! ) and dwindle down to the 27%. The question in my mind is, "Can they jimmy the Electoral College with only those 27%+/-"

It's a good strategy. Let's see if the team can execute and deliver.
posted by mikelieman at 11:19 PM on July 27 [29 favorites]


If Trump got 27% he wouldn't win a single state.

But there's simply no way he will get less than low to mid 40s, and likely no less than mid to high 40s. No matter what happens.
posted by Justinian at 1:30 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Trump won with 25.67 % of the country’s votes in 2016.
posted by Harry Caul at 3:06 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Don't be disingenuous. The previous comments were about percentage of actual voters and not total possible voters. That a pitifully low number of people actually vote in the US is known but not relevant.
posted by Scattercat at 4:12 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]


That a pitifully low number of people actually vote in the US is known but not relevant.

Of course it’s relevant. Engaging people who don’t usually vote is going to be easier than peeling off people who have decided that they’re basically okay with open racism.
posted by Etrigan at 5:39 AM on July 28 [29 favorites]


It sounds like it should be easier, but history shows that getting nonvoters to vote is actually really, really hard. So I think this question of "which is easier -- flipping swing voters or motivating non-voters?" is actually not obvious at all and needs empirical data to answer it.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:24 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


[A couple deleted. We've been through the whole "calling Trump supporters racist is why you get Trump / the same as being racist" over and over and we're not dipping into that sludge again. Also, folks, different issue, but maybe drop the "well, actually" extended back and forth about the 27%? Let's just agree that the original mention was about voters, not the percentage of all possible voters, and that both persuading nonvoters to vote and Trump voters to switch are good things. Thanks. ]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:57 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


Until the CSPAN cameras roll, interrupting daytime television programming on all "major" channels for hours on end, this just smells like hope (odorless and invisible).

“Never deprive someone of hope: it might be all they have.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.

I think this smells like victory, but it will be a long, hard battle.
posted by cenoxo at 7:43 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


It'll just rile up a bunch of Nazi fucks.

Ignoring them doesn't make them go away.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:54 AM on July 28 [33 favorites]


It sounds like it should be easier, but history shows that getting nonvoters to vote is actually really, really hard. So I think this question of "which is easier -- flipping swing voters or motivating non-voters?" is actually not obvious at all and needs empirical data to answer it.

That data is available and has been covered in a number of past (as in, 2016 and previous) elections. Voters tend to have quite significant party loyalty, and the two major US parties instead focus almost exclusively on get-out-the-vote or voter suppression activities. The swings in number of eligible voters who actually voted between Obama elections and the elections before or after his presidency are significant, for example. And Republicans wouldn't be so focused on gerrymandering and disenfranchising non-white and working class voters in states they control if that didn't actually make a difference and swing elections.
posted by eviemath at 8:29 AM on July 28 [14 favorites]


Trump ‘richly deserves impeachment,’ House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says:
“My personal view is that he richly deserves impeachment,” Nadler said of Trump on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He has done many impeachable offenses. He’s violated the law six ways from Sunday.”

“But that’s not the question. The question is, can we develop enough evidence to put before the American people?” he added.
A new set of goalposts have appeared.
posted by peeedro at 9:17 AM on July 28 [12 favorites]


Those were always the goalposts, to make some kind of shift in the American perception. The really remarkable thing here (even if perhaps it has happened before) is a House leader outright saying the President has "violated the law six ways from Sunday". That's not normal stuff! And having more of that not-normal stuff be the story is the whole point of impeachment, which, in itself, is an act of theater whereby "inquiries" get an extra adjective in front of them and mayyybe courts decide that means something.

(So many non-impeachment things would be non-theater, like arresting Bill Barr. Has the clock for doing that elapsed yet? The reason I consider that relevant is that I don't see why witnesses wouldn't refuse to testify in a post-I-word universe just as they do now. I can see a court saying they ought to appear to a hearing, but refusing to allow anyone but the Department of Justice actually enforce it. So we need to take the enforcement into our own hands... somehow.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:06 AM on July 28 [24 favorites]


So many non-impeachment things would be non-theater, like arresting Bill Barr

The House doesn't have the power to arrest anyone. And if they did they couldn't charge him with anything except through the impeachment process, which again would require the Senate to convict.

Yes, there's this theoretical stuff I've seen floating around about the sergeant at arms detaining people in the not-actually-existing House prison but that's totally unrealistic. Barr has the institutions that have the manpower to march into someone's home or place of work and take them away in handcuffs. The House doesn't. The House would basically be asking Barr to surrender himself.

Impeachment & conviction is this really unambiguous power Congress has to check a lawless president. It's really the only path available if a president isn't going to respect court orders, precedent and the rules governing what executive agencies can do. Everything else imagined involves some n-dimensional chess moves that collapses the second the executive branch decides not to give the benefit of the doubt to some novel/unprecedented exercise of supposed Congressional authority.

I get that impeachment + conviction seems unlikely but that doesn't actually make the other stuff more likely to work.
posted by mark k at 11:39 AM on July 28 [8 favorites]


It would be a bad day with the potential to start a civil war or coup, but presumably any actual by the House would be done by some of the few thousand people in the Capitol Police, who don't report to the executive branch in any way.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:58 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


I like to think of myself as up to date on the news, but I'm genuinely confused here: is he being impeached or not? Pelosi made it sound like "no" the other day, but then there was a joint op-ed from some House members saying they were, then Nadler here acting like they haven't started yet, but apparently there was a 53-page document from him the other day saying actually yes? I'm lost.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:02 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


It is Schroedinger's Impeachment. He is currently neither being impeached nor not impeached.
posted by Justinian at 12:09 PM on July 28 [14 favorites]


@GCU: The remit of the Capitol Police really doesn't involve that sort of thing, in contrast say to the US Marshals Service. It's the same sort of "theoretically possible but practically a huge stretch" move that I was referring to.

@Rhaomi: It's the first step of a potentially very long process, metaphorically the equivalent of something like impaneling a grand jury. At any step of the process they could decide not to go further.
posted by mark k at 12:13 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


I'm just waiting for my dad to see it on Fox News and start bitching about it to me. I don't want to hear it. As far as I'm concerned, the MF can rot in hell. Jail is too good for him.
posted by kathrynm at 12:15 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


I don't see why witnesses wouldn't refuse to testify in a post-I-word universe just as they do now.

White House lawyers are arguing that congress does not have the power to investigate matters that not directly related to creating new laws. It's a bit of crazy argument, but it has successfully stalled the investigations. However, congress has two constitutional powers: to make law, and to impeach the president. It's a lot harder to argue that congress does not have the power to investigate the president for impeachment reasons. It's written into the constitution, and there is plenty of historical precedent.

I should add that this is the reason for the impeachment inquiries. It's not to impeach the president necessarily. It's so investigations into him can continue at all. If congress wants to see the full Mueller report or Trump's tax info or look into Emolument related complaints, this is the last move they have to play to do so by the 2020 campaign season. You can, in theory, be totally against impeachment, and still be for the inquiries. Personally, it doesn't seem to me that congress had any choice but to launch the inquiry investigations.
posted by xammerboy at 3:06 PM on July 28 [17 favorites]


The only change congress is making here is saying "We are not investigating the president to make new law regarding national security or corruption. We are investigating the president because we may want to take a vote to impeach him."

The difference matters to the courts. If congress is looking to make new law, then what new law, and how do their investigations potentially apply to said possible future law? How much latitude does congress really get to investigate matters related to new law? If congress is looking to impeach, then investigate away.
posted by xammerboy at 3:15 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Also, public confusion over what the impeachment process means (i.e. that it doesn't necessarily mean an immediate vote to impeach, and will likely be a long process), is one of primary reasons Pelosi said she was reluctant to pursue it. She believed most people would believe it meant congress was taking a straight vote on impeaching the president immediately, and would either be disappointed or angry.
posted by xammerboy at 3:23 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Maybe Pelosi could have used the dozens of times she publicly appeared to downplay any moves towards impeachment to educate the public about the process? This isn't hard to explain, and it's not the public's fault that it requires explanation. The press conference right after Mueller's testimony would've been an excellent time to lay that out clearly, but instead she decided to add on to the confusion and point at a silly chart and read figures off of it that anyone at her level should have in her head.
posted by odinsdream at 3:28 PM on July 28 [21 favorites]


would either be disappointed or angry

¿Porque no los dos? I've been enjoying a zesty blend of despair and rage since November 2016.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:41 PM on July 28 [9 favorites]


The House doesn't have the power to arrest anyone. And if they did they couldn't charge him with anything except through the impeachment process, which again would require the Senate to convict.

These days, all bets are off, and The House has whatever power they want, and if they're wrong, in a few months or years a court can correct them.

The job of a Sergeant at Arms to literally drag in people to appear before a tribunal , using the big stick if needed.

I say, send him over to DOJ to bring Barr to the House to testify, and let's see how it plays out.
posted by mikelieman at 3:44 PM on July 28 [14 favorites]


but I'm genuinely confused here: is he being impeached or not?

It's fairly simple, imo: at the moment he is being investigated -- information relevant to "high crimes and misdemeanors" is being requested, subpoenaed, and collected -- by House committees with jurisdiction. They have asserted potential impeachment is a motive for their actions. Individually, representatives may have various expectations about how this plays out, what will be found, and what articles of impeachment should contain, but articles of impeachment can be introduced for a House vote only after the committee(s) and House leadership approve them.

He is "being impeached" after specific articles of impeachment are approved and introduced in the House for a vote. He has "been impeached" when and if those articles are passed.

Then it's in the hands of the Senate. The penalty of a guilty vote in the Senate trial is removal from office.
posted by lathrop at 5:28 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


I should add that this is the reason for the impeachment inquiries. It's not to impeach the president necessarily. It's so investigations into him can continue at all.

I se the abstract point being made. Even if an impeachment investigation does not result in a vote, it gives congress the power to bring all Of Trump’s dirty business to light.

The problem is optics: any action that falls under the formal umbrella of “impeachment,” be it an investigation, vote or Senate trial, that does not result in Trump’s removal from office, will be. Iewed, by Trump and his supporters , as validation of everything he has done. He won, and in spite of all the partisan witch hunts, they couldn’t nail him. Trump is right!

In the current environment, it has to go all the way.
posted by MrGuilt at 5:56 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


public confusion over what the impeachment process means is one of primary reasons Pelosi said she was reluctant to pursue it

I'm not going to miss trying to make sense of the shifting rationals for not starting. That one wins the award for the worst of them all though.
posted by diogenes at 6:05 PM on July 28 [7 favorites]


The problem is optics: any action that falls under the formal umbrella of “impeachment,” be it an investigation, vote or Senate trial, that does not result in Trump’s removal from office, will be. Iewed, by Trump and his supporters , as validation of everything he has done

Pfft, optics. I watched Chief-of-Staff Mulvaney this morning, yammering about "innocent until proven guilty," so they're already setting the stage to downplay the ostensibly-legal things that Trump will be revealed to have done. "As long as it's not illegal, you can't impeach!" They would love for this to be true, which it isn't, so they're softening up their marks as a contingency.

This impeachment process is all pluses as far as I can tell. My theory of Pelosi keeping her powder dry is still in play!
posted by rhizome at 6:06 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


I still want to know why Nadler wasn't on the "Why We’re Moving Forward With Impeachment" letter. Isn't that kind of odd?
posted by diogenes at 6:18 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


My theory of Pelosi keeping her powder dry is still in play!

Is this the "timing" theory? Why would you say something was a bad idea, bad for the country, and likely to backfire if you were just waiting for the right moment to start?
posted by diogenes at 6:20 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


I would say yes to the reasonableness, appropriateness, and strategic value of a "timing" theory. With Pelosi prominently (if not notoriously) hanging/holding back -- with the "conservative" or "prudential" members of the Democratic caucus -- for all the reasons adduced above in favor of caution, deliberateness, ripening, and gathering facts for the most persuasive and damning bill of impeachment, the stage is set for her and others in leadership to join and facilitate an eventual shift in the center of gravity of public opinion in overwhelming favor of impeachment.

The persuasive narrative is of careful and sober Democratic legislators being "forced" to support impeachment based on what evidence has accumulated.
posted by lathrop at 7:46 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


Is this the "timing" theory?

No, it's the "she's watching the wave grow before she gets up on her surfboard, and she doesn't want anything under 20ft" one.

Look at her words over the past few months. Everybody talks about how she won't do anything, but her neck sticks out a little further every time.
posted by rhizome at 7:48 PM on July 28 [7 favorites]


These days, all bets are off, and The House has whatever power they want, and if they're wrong, in a few months or years a court can correct them.

The job of a Sergeant at Arms to literally drag in people to appear before a tribunal , using the big stick if needed.


This is pure green lanternism.
posted by mark k at 8:20 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Trying to arrest the fascists in power with one cop is foolhardy.
posted by LarsC at 8:28 PM on July 28


The Democrats have more dry powder than Tony Montana
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:08 PM on July 28 [19 favorites]


Fun fact: the precedent most often cited in articles by the NYT and others for why subpoena's "must be related to, and in furtherance of, a legitimate task of Congress" is Watkins v. United States (1957), which was a ruling against the House Committee on Un-American Activities for over-reaching its authority in demanding at that a witness reveal the names of other members of the Communist Party. So where one stands on these authority issues can vary a bit depending on how one views the activities of Congress at the time.

For much more on Congressional contempt law, see this CRS report from 2017, clearly written with an eye towards Trump. As others have said, the upshot is that in the modern era, enforcement of contempt charges is purely through the courts. The last time Congress apparently enforced "inherent contempt" via the Sergeant at Arms was 1934 (see Jurney v. MacCraken 1935, p. 146 note 2 for the Sergeant at Arms bit, though I still can't figure out where he was taken or for how long). There was a long history of Congress self-enforcing inherent contempt before than, and an even longer history of English law upon which they were drawing, but it seems to have largely died nearly a century ago, and in any case was rarely if ever practiced upon the executive, mostly just peons like MacCraken, an airline executive.

Anyway, within the modern, court-enforced context, the CRS report makes two things clear: first, as with the HUAC example above, sympathies for Congress's subpoena powers shift completely depending on who is on the receiving end, such as Harrriet Miers (Bush) or Eric Holder (Obama). Second, the Miers case was basically dropped in September of 2008 because the appeals court realized that that Congress would be over in January 2009 and there was no way to decide things that quickly (and it had already been over a year percolating up through the courts); and the Holder case began in 2013 and for all I know is still in limbo, though clearly dead with the departure of Obama. The upshot is that, as the CRS report states, since contempt charges lapse with the end of each Congress, there's almost no way to get them through the legal system in time to do any good unless there is some miraculously expedited hearing by a very sympathetic court.

So since the "inherent contempt" is both lapsed and was almost never used against the executive even in the old days, the legal referral to DOJ can just be ignored by them absent a court ruling, and the courts tend to take more than 2 years to decide anything of this magnitude, one can see why the pragmatists in Congress aren't too enthused about compelling executive-branch folks to testify. Other parties, sure -- Deutsche Bank, Trump affiliates, his tax returns, etc, etc -- but this makes it look like Mueller was basically our only plausible shot at forcing any reluctant executive folks on the record.

Though I personally am an idealist -- Congress should have broad subpoena powers, even when the target is Eric Holder -- and an optimist -- so keep trying, you never know what might happen...
posted by chortly at 9:54 PM on July 28 [7 favorites]


In short, no matter how good a job the police do, and no matter how air-tight the case the prosecutors put together, everyone knows before the judge gavels the court to order how the jury will vote.

In practical terms, the real actual jury is the American people. This wasn't true in 1812 or 1868 or whatever. But in both Nixon's case and Clinton's case, it was, in my opinion. The "prosecutors" behaved like they were arguing their case to the public, not to congresspeople. They focused on questions of character and morality, and not legalistic points. The end results in both cases (resignation / non-removal) reflected public opinion polling.

This case is different in that I fully expect the Senate to behave differently and not reflect public opinion (because that's what they've been doing on every other issue). But it's also different in that this is all lining up with the election, and the public will get a direct vote.

"self-impeachment" is an infuriatingly stupid concept, losing an election is not impeachment, but an impeachment attempt that is addressed to the voting public may very well be effective.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:04 PM on July 28 [9 favorites]


[A couple comments deleted; if posting links in this thread, be sure they are related to impeachment or the impeachment investigation. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:01 AM on July 29


The poll dates are from before Mueller, but still interesting.

Media-ite: Buried Bombshell: Fox News Poll Shows Only 45 Percent of Americans Oppose Impeachment
While Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi still appears reluctant to dive into the impeachment pool, and the House Judiciary Committee limbers up on the diving board, a new Fox News poll shows that while support for impeachment has ticked down slightly, opposition to an impeachment inquiry has gone down to just 45 percent.


In June, that poll showed 50 percent of Americans favored beginning an impeachment inquiry, including 7 percent who said Trump should be impeached but not removed as president. In July, 47 percent said he should be impeached, including 5 percent who said Trump should be impeached and not removed.
Also, we’ve had 13 House Democrats come out publicly for impeachment since Mueller. We’re now up to 107, almost half the caucus. And the third ranking Senate D Patty Murray also came out for it.
posted by chris24 at 6:43 AM on July 29 [11 favorites]


No, it's the "she's watching the wave grow before she gets up on her surfboard, and she doesn't want anything under 20ft" one.

In this metaphor, are you assuming she wanted the wave to grow? The evidence suggests the opposite.

for all the reasons adduced above in favor of caution, deliberateness, ripening, and gathering facts for the most persuasive and damning bill of impeachment

I just don't get it. If your final goal is impeachment, you don't undermine and disparage the process of impeachment. What am I missing? How do you square that circle?
posted by diogenes at 6:47 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


We’re now up to 107, almost half the caucus.
It’s actually gone up to 109 now! here’s the full list

(meanwhile Trump was tweeting still last week "Newest Poll: Only 11% in favor of starting ridiculous impeachment hearings." Where does he get his poll figures from?)
posted by bitteschoen at 6:48 AM on July 29 [11 favorites]


I understand he has a full-time proctologist to extract them for him.
posted by Grangousier at 7:10 AM on July 29 [12 favorites]


No, it's the "she's watching the wave grow before she gets up on her surfboard, and she doesn't want anything under 20ft" one.

...And she's insisting that her surfboard works only in Lake Erie, and not at all off the coast of Hawaii, so why bother going down there?
posted by Rykey at 7:17 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Pelosi had staged a massive press conference after the Mueller hearings and said something like:

"Never before have we heard such damning testimony about a president's actions. Mueller has proved Trump's guilt beyond any doubt. His campaign assisted a terrorist attack on this country. He personally covered for them and continues to cheer Russian terrorists. Thanks to his obstruction of the Mueller investigation, we may never know if we are able to have free elections again! In any other country at any other time they would call this treason!"

Try and control the narrative? Rather than sitting back and appearing skeptical about the whole thing? By the way, I was going for a hyperbolic statement, but I think I failed. That statement would actually be pretty much on the mark.
posted by xammerboy at 7:25 AM on July 29 [45 favorites]


I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Pelosi had staged a massive press conference after the Mueller hearings and said something like

I'd have settled for anything that was in concert with what Judiciary said and did the very next day, rather than antithetical to it.
posted by diogenes at 7:48 AM on July 29 [13 favorites]


This is what I want to see, what the Democrats, when impeachment proceedings begins, should do:

1. The day television coverage of the proceedings begins, get the most staid, respectable-looking person up there on the stand.
2. Remind the American people what impeachment is. Remind them that the last impeachment done against a president was for getting a fucking blow job.
3. Start the long list of reasons Trump should be impeached, and remind that just one of them needs to be demonstrated to prove Trump is unfit for office.

The Mueller Report is part of it, certainly, but there's a ton more than that. The emoluments clause is there in any case. Every way Trump has flaunted Congress' authority. Mention that, according to Trump's Department of Justice, the only way a sitting President can be tried for crimes is by getting him out of office first. The Republicans in the Senate probably won't impeach him, because they're crooks, but it's important to show the 59% of the US population who has never supported Trump that the Democrats are just as horrified as they are.

At this point, only the most stupid and/or kool-aid high Republicans can still think impeaching Trump is a political power play. Those people exist, and because the news media in the US sucks mightily right now, the 24-hour news channels are going to find every one of them and ask them what they think about impeachment, because "balance." The news is another thing we have to change to finally fix this country and get it working for folk again.
posted by JHarris at 9:31 AM on July 29 [10 favorites]


> I'd have settled for anything that was in concert with what Judiciary said and did the very next day, rather than antithetical to it.

well you know what they say, you should strike when the iron is lukewarm.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:32 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]



well you know what they say, you should strike when the iron is lukewarm.


Stand up, ye victims of oppression, for the tyrants are mildly concerned about your repeated looks of disapproval
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:43 AM on July 29 [15 favorites]


The day television coverage of the proceedings begins,

is there, like, even a slim possibility of television coverage...other than c-span? i suspect this is another of those assumptions arising from past impeachment events.

did any broadcasters preempt regular programming to air, say, the recent mueller testimony?
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:32 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


diogenes: I'd have settled for anything that was in concert with what Judiciary said and did the very next day, rather than antithetical to it.

"Maybe start the impeachment ball rolling and maybe don't" is not antithetical to "Probably start the ball rolling, we'll see". I keep seeing a lot of black and white imposed on Pelosi's nuanced words.

"Impeachment" itself exists on grey areas. (For instance, some people have proposed methods for "impeaching" without ever letting the matter go to the Senate, which I only half-understand and whose qualification for "impeachment" is obviously debateable.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:32 AM on July 29


You Don't Have to Commit a Crime to be Impeached
..."high crimes and misdemeanors," a term of art in British impeachment proceedings for four centuries before the Framers adopted it, was understood to reach a wide range of offenses that, whether or not criminal in nature, indicated behavior incompatible with the nature of the office.

For James Madison, impeachment was the "indispensable" remedy for "incapacity, negligence, or perfidy" on the part of the president—categories of conduct dangerous to the republic, only some of which will also constitute crimes.
...
As Justice Joseph Story explained, the remedy "is not so much designed to punish an offender, as to secure the state against gross official misdemeanors. It touches neither his person, nor his property; but simply divests him of his political capacity."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:50 AM on July 29 [24 favorites]


"Impeachment" itself exists on grey areas. (For instance, some people have proposed methods for "impeaching" without ever letting the matter go to the Senate, which I only half-understand and whose qualification for "impeachment" is obviously debateable.)

Not really, though.

Article I, section 2, clause 5 of the Constitution gives the House of Representatives “the sole power of impeachment.”

Article I, section 3, clause 6 says, "The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:02 AM on July 29 [5 favorites]


Former Republican President Gerald Ford, a man who greatly benefitted from the false image of being a bumbling but nice person because it caused many to overlook his aggression and vindictive nature, set the standard for impeachment back when he was Speaker of the House:
An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers to be at a given moment in history; conviction results from whatever offense or offenses two-thirds of the other body considers to be sufficiently serious to require removal of the accused from office.
The context for that is Ford discussing his own repeated efforts to impeach Supreme Court Justice William O Douglas for no reason except that he despised him and thought he was too liberal.

As with so many things in modern politics, the Republicans set the real standard but Democrats are trying desperately to cling to some imagined rule that doesn't really exist and that Republicans never respect or obey.

Ford set the standard. If a majority of the House votes to impeach Trump for having ugly hair then that's an impeachable offense per the Republicans. For Democrats to try and uphold a higher standard is foolhardy and self destructive. The Republicans said you can impeach for absolutely anything at all, and they not only would but have impeached Democrats for nothing.
posted by sotonohito at 11:04 AM on July 29 [20 favorites]


I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Pelosi had staged a massive press conference after the Mueller hearings and said something like:

"Never before have we heard such damning testimony about a president's actions. Mueller has proved Trump's guilt beyond any doubt. His campaign assisted a terrorist attack on this country. He personally covered for them and continues to cheer Russian terrorists. Thanks to his obstruction of the Mueller investigation, we may never know if we are able to have free elections again! In any other country at any other time they would call this treason!"


To the best of my knowledge I have never made a comment on any internet forum or message board just to say "This" but here goes:

This.
posted by nequalsone at 11:16 AM on July 29 [15 favorites]


"Maybe start the impeachment ball rolling and maybe don't" is not antithetical to "Probably start the ball rolling, we'll see"

I can't really parse that sentence, but neither one of those makes sense as a setup for the following day's "Why We’re Moving Forward With Impeachment" from Judiciary.
posted by diogenes at 11:20 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


The Judiciary hasn't even committed to a process that will definitively and unavoidably reach a vote on whether to reccomend articles to the House. (Sensibly so insofar as retreat, if it occurrs, should be low-key and not a media spectacle, the way it would be with a committed "No" vote.) They're just leaving the door wide open to such a process. I'd say they're moving forward with pre-impeachment, and the headline is the simpler and more eye-catching way of saying such.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:13 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Tom Tomorrow, Twelve Dimensional Democracy Chess with Nancy Pelosi
I do pledge to give Trump many disdainful looks, which can be used in these "memes" the young people enjoy so much.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:56 PM on July 29 [15 favorites]


I'd say they're moving forward with pre-impeachment, and the headline is the simpler and more eye-catching way of saying such.

That headline was written by the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, so I'm not sure why it requires adjustment.
posted by diogenes at 1:14 PM on July 29


The Judiciary hasn't even committed to a process that will definitively and unavoidably reach a vote on whether to reccomend articles to the House.

All of our previous debate was about the wisdom of starting the process. The process is now started. Who is arguing that the Judiciary "committed to a process that will definitively and unavoidably reach a vote on whether to recommend articles to the House"? It isn't me.
posted by diogenes at 1:18 PM on July 29


I'm saying that a definite path to a Judiciary drafting of articles and/or vote on those articles is simply what some people would use as their line in the sand for "impeachment is happening versus impeachment is not happening". But at the same time, other people would treat "We're moving forward with impeachment" to mean "impeachment is happening". (Is it possible to "move forward" with something that isn't happening? Maybe! I don't know!)

My larger point is that it's all semantics, with a wide spectrum for analysis and discussion about what "counts" as what. (I used the term "pre-impeachment" but I'd never expect anyone else to do so, when the stronger term "impeachment" works just as well thanks to that wiggle room.) That's why I don't see any stark contrast with Pelosi, only a mild contrast at most.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:28 PM on July 29


I'm saying that a definite path to a Judiciary drafting of articles and/or vote on those articles is simply what some people would use as their line in the sand for "impeachment is happening versus impeachment is not happening".

But the Judiciary Committee said that the actions they took last week were their line in the sand for "impeachment is happening." Isn't the Judiciary line in the sand more important than other lines drawn by "some people"?
posted by diogenes at 1:40 PM on July 29


I see progress. More than some predicted, slower than many wish.
posted by M-x shell at 1:46 PM on July 29 [15 favorites]


With Pelosi prominently (if not notoriously) hanging/holding back...for all the reasons adduced above in favor of caution, deliberateness, ripening, and gathering facts for the most persuasive and damning bill of impeachment, the stage is set for her and others in leadership to join and facilitate an eventual shift in the center of gravity of public opinion in overwhelming favor of impeachment.

Another component of this tactic is letting others informally make accusations that the Trump supporters will respond to, and then gathering those together in order to prepare the best case for impeachment with regard to what defense theories will be employed. It is always invaluable to know in advance how the enemy will respond to any given attack.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:56 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


That would be more convincing if the other side wasn't also learning during all your trial attacks. Neither side is static.

I've personally changed my mind quite a bit since January of this year, but I've come around to thinking that spending time strategizing and looking at polls on the pro-impeachment side undercuts the strongest argument: Namely, that the stuff we already know is really bad shit for which impeachment is required as a matter of principle.

Former Republican President Gerald Ford . . . set the standard for impeachment back when he was Speaker of the House

FWIW he was minority leader, never speaker.
posted by mark k at 8:41 PM on July 29 [13 favorites]


Remind them that the last impeachment done against a president was for getting a fucking blow job.

This trope, which has appeared in several political threads lately, obscures what the actual charges were: lying to a grand jury and obstruction of justice. Two other articles—another perjury charge and abuse of power—failed. By sounding ridiculous (and I know it was ridiculous, but I’m talking about optics), the blow job explanation undermines the seriousness of both the impeachment inquiry/investigation as well as being impeached.

We could be leveraging the Clinton impeachment against Republicans more by comparing what they allegedly found to be unforgivable behavior with Trump’s many objectively worse deeds. Republicans were also calling for Clinton to resign. I know IOKIYAR, but it brings home just how long they’ve been craven power-hungry hypocrite and that might help motivate some recalcitrant voters or push fence sitters to our side.
posted by carmicha at 9:44 PM on July 29 [8 favorites]


We could be leveraging the Clinton impeachment against Republicans more by comparing what they allegedly found to be unforgivable behavior with Trump’s many objectively worse deeds.

Oh, the quotes are a treasure trove of hypocrisy.

These top GOP senators once claimed obstruction of justice should trigger impeachment
“The president would seek to win at any cost,” said McConnell, while giving a closed-door impeachment statement as a senator in 1999. “If it meant lying to the American people. If it meant lying to his cabinet. If it meant lying to a federal grand jury. If it meant tampering with witnesses and obstructing justice.”

“We must decide whether perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors,” McConnell added. “Based on the Constitution, the law, and the clear Senate precedent, I conclude that these offenses are high crimes and misdemeanors.”
...
“If you determined that he committed the crime of perjury and you determined that he committed the crime of obstruction of justice, based on the precedent of the Senate, I think you would have a hard time saying under the situation of this case that, that’s not a high crime,” [Lindsey Graham] said in 1999.
...
“I believe, based on the evidence before the Senate, that the president lied to these witnesses so they would repeat those lies before official court proceedings. That is obstruction of justice,” [Chuck] Grassley said.
A look back at Clinton's impeachment reveals the GOP's searing hypocrisy
Here's Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talking to CNN in 1999 about impeachment proceedings against then-President Bill Clinton: "The problem is lying under oath and obstructing justice. The subject matter is not what is significant here; it's lying under oath and obstructing justice."
...
When Graham was still a representative in the House, he offered a notably low standard for impeachment. "You don't even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic ... Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office," he said.
...
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, now a CNN commentator, also was very concerned about the impact of presidential lying at the time: "He lied to protect himself from being prosecuted for a crime. I could think of no other lie that is a more egregious lie... I fear that if this country is confronted with a serious crisis over the next two years, that his ability to marshal the American public behind what he tells them is the truth would be diminished."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:06 PM on July 29 [25 favorites]




The problem with the hypocrisy argument is that I presume there are likewise Democrats on the record who say something like "it wasn't obstruction, and even if it was, the underlying activity wasn't actually a crime, and thus it doesn't merit impeachment." Ie, much what the Republicans are saying now.

[After a minute's googling...] Such as:
"You may choose to believe that the president was disingenuous, that he was not particularly helpful to Paula Jones's lawyers when they asked him intentionally vague questions, or that he is a bum," argued committee Democrat Jerrold Nadler of New York. "But that doesn't make him guilty of perjury."
So yeah, Trump's obstruction is much more egregious than anything Clinton did, but that requires digging into the actual substance of the two cases; by themselves, the gotcha quotes mainly just tend to emphasize the false symmetries between the two.
posted by chortly at 11:36 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


It's inconceivable that there isn't classified evidence that's completely off limits.

If classified evidence exists which can not be used to get the nuclear football out of the hands of a likely Russian agent, the relevant intelligence agencies are so corrupt they might as well be Trump's personal bodyguards.
posted by benzenedream at 12:04 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


Also, this might be dreaming, but if Trump is proven to have signed off on forcible child separation, can kidnapping be one of the charges?
posted by benzenedream at 12:05 AM on July 30 [9 favorites]


So yeah, Trump's obstruction is much more egregious than anything Clinton did, but that requires digging into the actual substance of the two cases; by themselves, the gotcha quotes mainly just tend to emphasize the false symmetries between the two.

I think it's possible that highlighting GOP hypocrisy here may still reach voters outside the orbit of Republican propaganda. Bill Clinton is a past problem, and the half-remembered details are about who he had sex with and whether he was cagey responding to questions about it. What to do about Trump is a present urgent question, and we're talking about conspiracy with a foreign power and obstruction into investigations over that, enriching himself using the office, and also generally being a shithead in an era when, sure, the rich are getting richer but employment for your average voter doesn't look anywhere near as good as the late 90s.

I will absolutely admit, though, that hypocrisy won't even slightly move those within the GOP. And that has little to do with Republican propaganda. What can hypocrisy even really mean to those whose fundamental principles include "protect the ingroup, bind the outgroup?" That makes hypocrisy something to cheer. And that's the voters. The party power players, enshrining a society of privilege for they and themselves is their actual God. Hypocrisy isn't a negative experience for the monsters and McConnells among the GOP, it actually gives them a warm feeling that everything is right with the world.
posted by wildblueyonder at 12:27 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


This trope, which has appeared in several political threads lately, obscures what the actual charges were: lying to a grand jury and obstruction of justice. Two other articles—another perjury charge and abuse of power—failed. By sounding ridiculous (and I know it was ridiculous, but I’m talking about optics), the blow job explanation undermines the seriousness of both the impeachment inquiry/investigation as well as being impeached.

Of course you are right about this, but on the other hand, there is something else as well. By painting Clinton as a rather slimy self-indulgent and corrupt personality, the Republicans succeeded in forever branding both the Clintons as "not quite trustworthy" far beyond their own ranks. Which was an important factor during both Hillary Clinton's run for president. It doesn't make sense, and the layers of hypocrisy in there are dense, but it worked.
Now there is an actual slimy self-indulgent and corrupt personality in the White House and I think that is worth bringing to the fore.
posted by mumimor at 1:05 AM on July 30 [9 favorites]


So many non-impeachment things would be non-theater, like arresting Bill Barr

The House doesn't have the power to arrest anyone. And if they did they couldn't charge him with anything except through the impeachment process, which again would require the Senate to convict.


They do have the power to remove the Attorney General's salary and support expenses from the Federal budget so long as he refuses to recognize Congress' legitimate oversight authority, and the same for every political appointee of the Executive Branch.
posted by Gelatin at 10:18 AM on July 30 [17 favorites]


Yep, as soon as 2/3 of the House and Senate are onboard it will be done, and then litigation begins.
posted by sjswitzer at 11:14 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Gelatin: They do have the power to remove the Attorney General's salary and support expenses from the Federal budget so long as he refuses to recognize Congress' legitimate oversight authority, and the same for every political appointee of the Executive Branch.

That's a perfect examble of the bind here. I can think of very little that would turn the public more quickly against Democratic oversight than if said oversight were the impetus for a shutdown, and further, if Democrats refused to budge, even a little, until demands were met. Unless I'm very mistaken, the power of the purse on that front is all-or-nothing (the Attorney General's salary isn't subject to some kind of annual re-approval by both houses except as part of the larger budget), so good luck explaining that one to voters.

This country certainly leans left in its policy preferences, but it's not gung-ho for that degree of Actually Enforcing the Laws against men in suits, not to the point that the economy is threatened thereby. When Pelosi and others discuss impeachment as some kind of alternative to "kitchen table issues", and further imply that the second can become the national topic of conversation by sheer force of "messaging", that's just dumb. But, weilding the budget as leverage would very explicitly make anti-corruption enforcement at odds with the bread and butter. The anti-Dem ad writes itself: "Do you want the CDC to prevent outbreaks, or do you want this guy you hardly know dragged in for a phony investigation that he already resolved?"

Impeachment makes more sense, and so too (in my opinion) does calling up the Capitol Police and just seeing what flavor of constitutional crisis happens as a result.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:06 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


I wrote to my useless Democratic rep, Ed Case, about why he and fellow useless Hawaii rep Tulsi Gabbard haven't come out in support of impeachment when the evidence of Trump's malfeasance is overwhelming and they live in the bluest state in the nation. His response, in summary, was that there's not enough evidence because we've not read the full Mueller Report but oh by gosh by golly as soon as there is enough evidence he'll join the call. He insisted in today's message to me that the majority of Democrats in Congress agree with him on this. Profiles in courage.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:21 PM on July 30 [10 favorites]


Taylor Mahlandt in Slate asks Is It Normal for Foreign Allies to Edit Drafts of Presidential Speeches?
The Issue

In May 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump delivered a major speech on his “America First” energy policy, detailing how he would “make America wealthy again.” Fast-forward to July 2019: The New York Times reports that campaign officials sent drafts of that speech to representatives of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for edits and made slight changes to it at their behest.

The vetting was orchestrated by Thomas Barrack, a California businessman with a network of connections in the Middle East, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager who is now in prison for financial crimes. Weeks before Trump gave the speech, Manafort asked Barrack, “Are you running this by our friends?” He was. The most important of the “friends” in question was Rashid al-Malik, a well-connected Emirati businessman who was passing the speech on to various UAE and Saudi government officials. […]
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:21 AM on July 31 [18 favorites]


There were a few more public calls for impeachment yesterday - I’m not sure if this whip count is the most up to date, but it’s at 113. 112 Democrats and Justin Amash.

The inquiry has definitely already started in the judicial committee, but I guess the next step is to bring an impeachment resolution to the house? I am hoping for televised hearings thereafter. It is massively confusing what the step by step process is for this.
posted by rainydayfilms at 3:43 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


1. Any rando can submit a resolution calling for impeachment, at any time. They can even bring it to the floor automatically (Al Green did this). In general, though, this gets referred to the Judiciary Committee, who will ignore it, because...
2. The Judiciary Committee holds hearings, (tries to) take testimony, investigates, etc. They do this anyway, so they don't necessarily need special authorization to do so. If there was some sort of special investigative committee, the House and/or Senate could pass a resolution to set one up, but the Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction here otherwise.
3. If they decide to, the Judiciary Committee writes their own resolution listing articles of impeachment.
3a. This is when Nixon resigned.
4. The House decides (so, the Speaker decides, but see #1, anyone can call for a vote) to call a vote on the articles of impeachment. They would likely vote on each article separately: there were 4 articles of impeachment against Clinton, and the House passed 2 of them. There can be some time that elapses between 3 and 4 depending on scheduling.
5. If any article passes the House, then the President is impeached, and the House appoints managers to prosecute the trial in the Senate.
6. At some point the Senate holds a trial. Ordinarily, the end of a Congress kills all outstanding legislative business. But an impeachment can be tried in the next term, if that's how the scheduling works out. Clinton was impeached in the lame duck session between the elections of 1998 and the end of the term, and tried by the new Senate in 1999.
7. "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:38 AM on July 31 [16 favorites]


We’re now up to 107, almost half the caucus.
It’s actually gone up to 109 now! here’s the full list


109 yesterday, 117 today: I'm liking this trend!
[the CNN list is consistently 5-6 congress-critters short of the ActBlue Members for Impeachment list. I suspect the ActBlue list is more feverishly-watched and up-to-date.]

If your rep isn't listed, maybe give them a call/email/fax(?). "The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing." – Robert Mueller
What could that process be? :P
posted by ButteryMales at 10:39 AM on July 31 [11 favorites]


109 yesterday, 117 today: I'm liking this trend!

Thank you for that link. 235 Democrats in the house, that's half a member away from half of the caucus. My Democratic rep is not on the list and just received a phone call. I asked about his stance on impeachment and got a wishy-washy answer. He wants the Mueller Report made available to congress/read into the record. Oh, has he read the Mueller Report? No idea.

I was also able to mention that while I held my nose and voted for him in the last general election I think he's a pro-prosecutor, pro-business, pro-military, Caspar Milquetoast who got elected on his daddy's name and has shown no leadership or reason for me to vote for him again in my solidly blue, progressive-heavy district.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:18 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


My Rep finally signed on yesterday. I haven't seen a negative response to her tweet yet.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:45 PM on July 31 [4 favorites]


In my dreams, this goes almost exactly like the series finale of Seinfeld.
posted by softlord at 6:10 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


I sent this to my Rep on Friday (he came out in support of impeachment in mid-June):

"It took me a while to send this, but thank you very very much for your support for formally initiating the impeachment process. Discovering as much as possible about 45's inauguration finances, his tax returns, his campaign's interactions with foreign agents, etc., is crucial for the 2020 elections to have a chance of being fair.

To my mind, 1. (lack of) formal impeachment investigations, and 2. "bread and butter issues" like health care, housing, jobs, are not separable:

It's harder to improve housing, health care, jobs, student loans, etc while Kremlin-influenced domestic and international policies steadily defund and disintegrate American infrastructure and institutions.

Thank you again for your voting record on impeachment, and for what I'm sure has been considerable time and energy in talking to your colleagues about it."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 6:16 PM on July 31 [8 favorites]


My Rep finally signed on yesterday. I haven't seen a negative response to her tweet yet.

Oh it'll come, and there's an excellent chance it'll come from someone with a long number attached to the end of their handle.
posted by JHarris at 2:09 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


109 yesterday, 117 today: I'm liking this trend!

118 now! Majority of House Dems :)
posted by diogenes at 5:42 AM on August 1 [14 favorites]


On a less optimistic note:

"The timeline for Mueller grand jury materials, which wouldn't see potential oral arguments until at least October, could prove frustrating for Democrats hoping for a more expedient impeachment process."
posted by diogenes at 6:43 AM on August 1


119!
posted by agregoli at 7:29 AM on August 1 [5 favorites]


It’s time to take action, then. I don’t think it’s time for an impeachment vote; I think it’s time for ongoing public hearings. Televised. Every day. Continue to bring the malfeasance by his administration out, in front of everyone, over and over. Once the truth is so obvious that only the most partisan and corrupt could deny it, THEN you call for a vote to impeach. Maybe the Senate would vote to remove from office, maybe they wouldn’t, but they’d still have to hold a trial, if only to protect their own power. But honestly, I don’t care if the vote to impeach happens NEXT August; to me, exposing all the corruption in a way that’s unavoidable is the most important step.
posted by Kelrichen at 7:41 AM on August 1 [21 favorites]


Did any of the candidates for President *not* come out for impeachment? I think Biden managed to avoid getting pressed on it but I can't remember if everyone else did since there were too many middle aged white men on stage and I got confused.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:02 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Also I can't remember if someone was mulling about it here or elsewhere, but a silver lining to things being dragged out is that there might not be enough time for the Senate to bury a referral for impeachment by the time the election season really gets going in (oh god) 12 months.

That would be kind of ideal since then next summer Dems could directly run on "We impeached and the Senate is refusing to have the trial." Whereas if they drew up articles and impeached Trump tomorrow, it would be ancient history by 2020 since Americans have the attention span of a five-year-old at Toys-R-Us.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:08 AM on August 1 [4 favorites]


Just a reminder that you can contact your senators, too - even though they don't get to act directly until the House does their thing, senators can speak out in support of impeachment, and several already have - 2 top Dem senators give boost to impeachment effort, Politico:
Senate Democrats have lagged behind their House counterparts on calling to begin impeachment proceedings. Including Murray and Stabenow, just 12 of the 47 Senate Democratic Caucus members have endorsed those proceedings compared to nearly half the 235 House Democrats...
That's 12 so far - can we make that 30? or 40?

Also a reminder that calling to say "thanks" definitely counts as making your voice heard, and is appreciated by the people answering the phones.

I get the impression that not a lot of people are making calls right now, so if you have the time and energy, please call your representatives - ask them to act, thank them if they have, express your dismay if appropriate. And if you'd rather not make a phone call, FaxZero is a great alternative, as is using the contact form on your congressperson's website.
posted by kristi at 10:26 AM on August 1 [6 favorites]


24 Ds have come out for impeachment and 6 Rs have announced their retirements since Mueller supposedly flopped. Well done media, those optics were 20/20.
posted by chris24 at 6:14 PM on August 1 [28 favorites]


Does 538 have an impeachment chart / info graph somewhere?
posted by mrzarquon at 9:24 AM on August 2


Does 538 have an impeachment chart / info graph somewhere?

CBS News, Impeachment Tracker

New York Times, Full List: Who Supports an Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump?

NPR, Who In The House Is Calling For Impeachment?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:45 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


AP: Impeachment Summer? August Town Halls May Decide Next Steps
[F]reshman lawmakers […] will likely decide when, if ever, House Democrats start formal efforts to impeach the president.

Neither [Andy] Kim [(D-NJ)], nor [Elissa] Slotkin [(D-MI)], nor [Abigail] Spanberger [(D-VA)] supports impeachment. But with half the House Democrats now in favor of beginning an inquiry, the pressure will only mount on the holdouts to reach a tipping point. And with lawmakers returning home to voters during the August recess, what happens next may prove pivotal.[…]

For lawmakers, though, the calculus is not so simple. Voters in many of these districts helped elect Trump in 2016, but flipped to give Democrats control of the House in last year’s election. Many of the first-term Democrats already face challengers for 2020 and are trying to balance the divergent views in their districts. While some voters want impeachment, others have different priorities.

New Jersey lawmaker Kim, a former national security official, told some 80 voters at a town hall in Riverside to remain even-keeled and to trust in the investigative process that House Democrats are pursuing.
The town halls for this freshmen reps sound like they're already heated:
“I don’t think getting caught up in the knife fighting and name calling is going help us get out of this pit,” Kim said.

That caused some from the crowd to retort that pursuing impeachment wasn’t “knife fighting” but part of the Constitution.

“Just do the investigation into impeachment,” said Marianne Clemente, of Barnegat. “Just so that we’re doing something” to show Trump he’ll be held accountable, she said. “If we let him get away with this, we can kiss our democracy goodbye.”

Some of the loudest applause from the audience came when one constituent stood up and said Trump was “destroying our country.”

Another voter said the congressman’s focus on other issues, like health care, was like “cutting the grass while the house is on fire.”
If your rep isn't on the pro-impeachment list, they need to hear from you this month.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:04 PM on August 3 [10 favorites]


Politico: Nadler: ‘This is formal impeachment proceedings’
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said publicly for the first time on Thursday that his panel is conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, adding that the committee will decide by the end of the year whether to refer articles of impeachment to the House floor.

The committee has said as much in recent court filings as it seeks former special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury materials and testimony from his investigation’s star witnesses. But it was a rare rhetorical escalation from the New York Democrat, who has privately pushed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to support a formal inquiry of whether to remove the president from office.

“This is formal impeachment proceedings,” Nadler said in a CNN interview. “We are investigating all the evidence, gathering the evidence. And we will [at the] conclusion of this — hopefully by the end of the year — vote to vote articles of impeachment to the House floor. Or we won’t. That’s a decision that we’ll have to make. But that’s exactly the process we’re in right now.”

That timeline would put an impeachment battle in the middle of the Democratic presidential primary contests, which begin in early 2020 — a concern for Democrats who believe that the window to act on impeachment is quickly closing.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:06 AM on August 9 [7 favorites]


Nancy Pelosi Still Hasn’t Learned the Biggest Lesson From Watergate (Jacob Rosenberg, Mother Jones)
[Interview:] Author Rick Perlstein wrote the book on Nixon, who resigned 45 years ago. […]

The “gate-ification” of all these scandals seems to have confused the politics of the impeachment process. When is it justified? Is it possible to push for impeachment without playing politics?

Well, I think that for certain Republican partisans the idea became [after Watergate] that the Democrats used extra-democratic means to take down a Republican president. And of course, this was a profound misinterpretation of what really happened. The investigation was not only a truly bipartisan process—the most aggressive pursuers on the Watergate committee in the Senate were two Republicans, Howard Baker and Lowell Weicker—it was also trans-ideological. The guy who was the head of the Watergate committee was Sam Ervin, who was very conservative.

The difference between Watergate and our current political culture is that we’re accursed with these so-called institutionalists. We have special prosecutor Mueller who, famously, is obsessed with coloring only within the lines that are drawn for him. We have Nancy Pelosi, who is loathe to be seen as breaking any of the norms. But if it weren’t for people who are willing to be anti-institutional, Richard Nixon might still be president.

A lot of liberals are frustrated because they feel like Donald Trump is not getting the sort of investigation that his crimes deserve—that people are so obsessed with the appearance of propriety that they’re helping the malefactors get away with injustice. I think a lot of that intuition is correct. I think that’s one of the things the story of Watergate teaches us. […]

Do you think Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have learned the right lessons from the Watergate saga and Ford’s pardon?

I think that the lesson that she has not been able to learn from Watergate is that true patriotism takes risks, and justice requires disruption. You have to risk a great deal of dissonance and acrimony if you really want to achieve something resembling genuine healing.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:41 AM on August 9 [13 favorites]


So, who had “Epstein dies while in federal custody” in the Tying-up Loose Ends raffle?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:36 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


So, who had “Epstein dies while in federal custody” in the Tying-up Loose Ends raffle?

Me
posted by rhizome at 8:40 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


New York Daily News: Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel splits with Nancy Pelosi in call for impeachment

I just stumbled across this article, and it's confusing as hell.

Rep. Eliot Engel warned Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he was planning to break ranks with her on impeaching President Trump... Engel said Pelosi didn't approve his decision, but did not stand in the way, either... "I'm one of her friends and I gave her the respect to let her know that I was going to come out for impeachment..." Engel is in line with much of the rest of the New York delegation in seeking impeachment, with a notable exception being Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee which would start impeachment.

How is Engel's "coming out for impeachment" different than Nadler's "These are formal impeachment proceedings"? Does Pelosi support what Nadler is doing?
posted by diogenes at 5:31 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Does Pelosi support what Nadler is doing?

If I had any guess about what Pelosi's strategy could be, her continued insistence that the Judiciary, Oversight, Ways and Means, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services and Intelligence Committees carry on investigating Trump without formally calling for an impeachment inquiry appears to be her way of letting their work continue objectively and staying above the political fray. If this is accurate, then she's trying to lead from behind. Should she declare Trump must be impeached at this stage, then Team Trump could argue that she's prejudicing the proceedings.

Of course, it's possible she simply doesn't want to start a political knife-fight with Trump by coming out as the leader of the impeachment movement. If she sets herself up as a target, Trump could turn the situation into the kind of personal grudge match that he absolutely loves. He knows that the media will report that as a him-vs-her story instead of a legal or political one, plus her national approval ratings are no better than his own.

How is Engel's "coming out for impeachment" different than Nadler's "These are formal impeachment proceedings"?

Assuming that the NYDN has accurately glossed Engel's statements, he's ready to go forward with an impeachment inquiry based on the Mueller Report's findings of apparent obstruction of justice that the Special Counsel couldn't formally charge Trump with because of DoJ policy. Their reporter writes, "Engel said he believes the best way to clear up ambiguity is to move to impeachment."

Of course, Engel can't really start an official impeachment inquiry from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, so the responsibility falls to the House Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, Nadler hasn't made any new statements about impeachment, and since Congress is out of session for the August recess, he can't do anything officially.

However, Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman reported on Monday, "House Judiciary designated its subpoena lawsuit against Don McGahn as "related" to Dems' petition to unseal Mueller grand jury materials. Judge asked them to explain why. They argue the goal of both cases is getting info about whether to impeach Trump"

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6255916/8-12-19-House-Judiciary-Response-Show-Cause.pdf: "These cases are properly related under Local Civil Rule 40.5(a)(3)(ii)-(iii) because both seek key evidence for the Judiciary Committee’s investigation into whether to recommend articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump for potentially criminal obstructive conduct."

So it looks as though the Dems are leaning into impeachment, one way or another, instead of formally announcing it's begun, like a declaration of war.

See also: What if the House Held Impeachment Proceedings and Nobody Noticed? (Lawfare)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:31 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


WaPo Opinion by Danielle Allen : Don’t Forget There’s an Impeachment Inquiry Underway
The world is full of catastrophe, along with a sense that dark clouds of impending recession are massing on the horizon. Congress, though, is on recess. The exception is the House Judiciary Committee, which has come back early, most prominently, to draft gun-control bills. It also continues its quiet, important work exploring whether the president of the United States should be impeached.[…]

Happily, the House is moving forward with its constitutional obligations. The Judiciary Committee has publicly affirmed that it is conducting an impeachment inquiry. Last week, the committee subpoenaed Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, and Rick Dearborn, a former campaign aide and White House deputy chief of staff for policy, to give public testimony on Sept. 17, as the committee moves forward with its “investigation into obstruction, corruption and abuse of power by Trump and his associates.” The committee is asking the right questions — the narrow, legal ones.[…]

What hangs on this process is the all-important question of whether our laws and Constitution have any meaning. They have meaning only if we act on them. If we do not, our legal system ceases to have authority and legitimacy. If we care to consider obstruction of justice illegal, and if we care that presidents execute the laws faithfully, then we have no choice but to demand that the responsible officials bring this process to conclusion by rendering a legal judgment — not a political judgment — on whether the evidence requires impeachment.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:42 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


The NYT’s Julie Davis updates: “In conference call this afternoon, Pelosi told House Democrats, “the public isn’t there on impeachment," but repeated what she has said before about how growing clamor for it among members gives her "leverage." "If & when we act, people will know he gave us no choice."”
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:05 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Hopefully it's before Trump cancels Congress.

Didn't it used to be "Congress isn't there on impeachment?"
posted by rhizome at 7:07 PM on August 23


Right? That's the thing, and I know Pelosi knows how bad it can get. If Flores gets steamrolled, I can imagine a tiny leap to any number of marginal groups getting swept into the camps.
posted by rhizome at 10:40 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


“the public isn’t there on impeachment,"

A majority of the Democrats in the House support impeachment. Presumably they are reflecting the will of their constituents. So a majority of the voters who made Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House support impeachment.

Her very next words in that conference call were that impeachment is "divisive." Maybe if you want the public to "get there" you should point out why it's important and necessary rather than disparage the process.
posted by diogenes at 6:03 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


Pelosi told House Democrats, “the public isn’t there on impeachment,"

Reminder that public support was under 20% when impeachment hearings against Nixon began, and polling for the last year or so says between 35% and 45% support it now.

If Flores gets steamrolled, I can imagine a tiny leap to any number of marginal groups getting swept into the camps.

FYI, Congress is apparently deciding whether or not to give ICE a budget hike today.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:32 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


polling for the last year or so says between 35% and 45% support it now

And that's with nothing but muddled and contradictory messaging coming from Democratic leadership. Pelosi is constantly saying that it would be divisive and bad for the country. Imagine if they had made any effort to leverage the Mueller report and Mueller's testimony. Imagine if the press conference after Mueller's testimony had been something other than a shrug emoji. That number would easily be over 50%. The only reason it isn't a majority is that they don't want it to be a majority.
posted by diogenes at 8:02 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


  • Pelosi told House Democrats, “the public isn’t there on impeachment,"

  • FYI, Congress is apparently deciding whether or not to give ICE a budget hike today.


  • so glad we elected a democratic house in 2018 to hold trump accountable
    posted by entropicamericana at 8:04 AM on August 26 [6 favorites]


    NBC: House Judiciary Committee Subpoenas Former White House Aide Rob Porter—The former staff secretary's close proximity to President Donald Trump could be crucial to the Democrats' investigation of possible obstruction of justice in the Mueller probe.
    The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Monday to Rob Porter, a former White House aide whose close proximity to President Donald Trump is potentially of significant value to Democratic lawmakers amid growing calls for a formal impeachment inquiry.[…]

    “As I’ve said before, any other American would have been prosecuted based on the evidence Special Counsel Mueller uncovered in his report," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in a statement announcing the move. "Rob Porter was prominently featured in the Special Counsel’s description of President Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice by directing then-White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire the Special Counsel, and then ordering him to lie about it."[…]

    The subpoena seeks testimony from Porter before the committee Sept. 17, the same date it also summoned Lewandowski and Dearborn.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 11:31 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


    amid growing calls for a formal impeachment inquiry

    I continue to not understand how the chair of of the House Judiciary Committee can say "this is formal impeachment proceedings," but it isn't actually formal impeachment proceedings. Or was Nadler playing games with "impeachment inquiry" vs "impeachment proceedings."

    Does Pelosi believe that the public is "there" on the impeachment proceedings that already started, apparently with her blessing? I'm so confused.
    posted by diogenes at 12:45 PM on August 26


    Not sure how much of "the public" Dem leadership actually listens to in between all the swanky Georgetown shindigs thrown by the NYT columnists they dish to about the perfidious AOC.
    posted by zombieflanders at 12:50 PM on August 26 [3 favorites]


    That actually happens, by the way. For instance, right after Mueller testified and Congress went into recess, the very first thing senior Dems did was run off to Maureen Dowd's palatial townhouse. They didn't rush home to deal with concerns about concentration camps or climate change, they went to party with one of the worst "journalists" around.

    Naturally the DC press saw reporting on this as terribly uncivil.
    posted by zombieflanders at 1:03 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


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