Final Days of Democracy Reads: It’s all over as the Fat Man Tweets

"Liberty Head ver. XII #218," Peter Max

“Liberty Head ver. XII #218,” Peter Max

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Susan B Glasser puts it this way “THE SENATE CAN STOP PRETENDING NOW”. As I’ve lurched through my life, I always thought the most dangerous theory of constitutional law was the idea of a “unitary executive” on steroids and testosterone.  It seemed destined to run in to some one thrown into the presidency on false pretense and not up to the vast responsibility and morality that entails.  But, impeachment was supposed to checkmate that … right?

Well, the kid that took civics in high school, constitutional law at university, and lived through Watergate, several specious wars up to and including the Iraq invasion is now facing the bottomless pit of possibility that we’ve just lost our system of checks and balances.  I politic therefore I blog.  Today, I blog from depression and desperation.

What happens when Trump just gets away with everything unconstitutional that he’s done?  What happens when he gets his notion that he’s above the law constantly fed by the Republicans in Congress?  Well, if we thought we saw lawlessness in the past, we’re about to go on the big kids roller coaster of anything goes!

Around 10 p.m., Alexander and Murkowski joined with another fervent Trump critic turned defender in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, to pose a question to Trump’s defense team. “Isn’t it true,” they asked, that, even if Bolton testified and everything he said was accurate, it “still would not rise to the level of an impeachable offense, and that therefore his testimony would add nothing to the case?” Sensing where this was going, Trump’s lawyer Patrick Philbin hastened to agree.

“It’s over,” one Democratic senator said to another, according to a reporter in the gallery. And, indeed, it was. The question offered a preview of the Alexander statement to follow. A few minutes later, Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, gave a truncated closing statement that suggested that he, too, knew what was about to happen. “They are afraid of the witnesses,” Nadler said. “They know Mr. Bolton and others will only strengthen the case.” On that note, the trial adjourned at 10:41 p.m. Nineteen minutes later, Alexander’s office tweeted out his statement. Murkowski did not join in, at least not yet. “I am going to reflect on what I’ve heard, reread my notes, and decide whether I need to hear more,” she told reporters; her office said she would announce her decision on Friday morning. Her colleague Susan Collins, meanwhile, announced that she would vote yes for the witnesses. Mitt Romney followed suit first thing Friday morning, as well. But how much did it matter?

All fifteen previous impeachment trials in the U.S. Senate, including the two previous Presidential-impeachment trials, had witnesses. But Lamar Alexander has spoken. Donald Trump’s stonewalling will succeed where Nixon’s failed. Perhaps Alexander has done us all a favor: the trial that wasn’t really a trial will be over, and we will no longer have to listen to it. The Senate can stop pretending.

"Statue of Liberty Ver. III #358"

“Statue of Liberty Ver. III #358”, Peter Max

What’s left to give us any hope that this horrid man will be thrown to history to pillage?  What can we do to ensure that he won’t fix our next elections or just refuse to leave the White House if soundly trounced?  Is there any hope in these final hours of Senate Failure?  Jordain Carney at The HIll writes “Three ways the end of the impeachment trial could play out”

The Senate is expected to convene by 1 p.m. on Friday. Senators are warning that if Republicans successfully block witnesses, senators are likely to move quickly to Trump’s acquittal on Friday night or early Saturday.

Before a vote on witnesses, both Trump’s legal team and House managers get up to two hours each to make their cases to the Senate, according to a resolution passed last week on the rules for the trial.

What happens after that? There are a few scenarios to watch for.

Scenario One: The Senate rejects calling witnesses and moves to acquit Trump

This appears to be the most likely outcome, as the pool of potential Republican votes is quickly shrinking.
n a stark turnaround from just days ago when Republicans were caught flat footed by allegations from former national security adviser John Bolton, GOP senators are voicing renewed confidence that they will be able to defeat the request for witnesses.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stopped short of declaring victory but told reporters, “I’ve never been more optimistic that we’re in a good spot.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) added that he expects a vote on “final judgement” to happen by Friday night

Image result for paintings by famous artists of liberty

The Statue of Liberty,Steve Penley’s portrait of Lady Liberty.

 

This has been a difficult time to live in and to understand especially for those of us that have been steeped in American History and the development of our Constitutional Republic.

This is from Jonathan Chait at NY Mag: “The Republican Cover-up Will Backfire. The House Can Keep Investigating Trump.”

Toward the end, the impeachment trial’s strategic purpose narrowed into an obsessive quest to produce evidence. Democrats have defined victory not as removal, but as winning a procedural vote to allow more testimony, especially by John Bolton. The House managers have designed their arguments not to reinforce Trump’s guilt but to underscore the need for more testimony. They seem to have given little attention to the question of whether such a victory would actually serve their larger strategic purposes at all. Republicans may have succeeded in blocking all new evidence and driving toward the rapid conclusion they seek, bu the tactical victory may well become a strategic defeat.

If the several days that have passed since the Bolton revelation have proved anything, it is just how uninterested Republicans are in holding Trump to account for his misconduct. Initially, even Trump’s staunchest supporters conceded that pressuring Ukraine to investigate Trump’s rivals would be, if true, unacceptable. (Lindsey Graham: “very disturbing”; Steve Doocy: “off-the-rails-wrong.”) As evidence of guilt accumulated, their denial that this unacceptable conduct took place narrowed to a tiny, highly specific claim: No witness testified that Trump personally ordered them to carry out a quid pro quo. Bolton is the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

It is probably for this reason that Republicans have fallen back to a quasi-legal argument offered by Alan Dershowitz: Even if true, abuse of power is not an impeachable offense. While Dershowitz’s reasoning is ahistorical, legally absurd, and opens the door to aspiring strongmen, it signals the party’s determination to acquit Trump regardless of the facts. Democrats hoped to persuade four Republicans to allow new evidence, and thus to extend the trial for perhaps a few weeks, prove Trump’s culpability even more thoroughly than they have. But this would only proceed to a partisan vote to acquit.

From my Friend John Buss who has drawn what I feel and have tried to express here and that is my infinite frustration that the Republican Party has put this horrid human above the law.  And for what?  WHAT?  I ask you?  Thirty six year old judges that have never even argued a case?  No primary opponents?  Kompromat held in the deep state?

Image

This is about all I’m capable of today.  We have a Republic and we may not be able to keep it.  It’s truly depressing

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


45 Comments on “Final Days of Democracy Reads: It’s all over as the Fat Man Tweets”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I don’t see a link for the Susan Glasser article.

  2. dakinikat says:

    • dakinikat says:

      More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents, President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.

      Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense.

      Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, who had recently won election as president of Ukraine, to ensure Mr. Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought, in Mr. Bolton’s account. Mr. Bolton never made the call, he wrote.

      The previously undisclosed directive that Mr. Bolton describes would be the earliest known instance of Mr. Trump seeking to harness the power of the United States government to advance his pressure campaign against Ukraine, as he later did on the July call with Mr. Zelensky that triggered a whistle-blower complaint and impeachment proceedings. House Democrats have accused him of abusing his authority and are arguing their case before senators in the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump, whose lawyers have said he did nothing wrong.

    • dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. dakinikat says:

    ummm .. wtf?

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

    • lililam says:

      I am just furious and heartbroken. If nothing else, this will uber-energize the Dems to overwhelm the elections up and down the ticket. Then, the real work of indicting Cippollone (who is totally misinterpreting his role as White House counsel, as well as lying under oath), Trump, and the whole crew will be a sight to behold.

  7. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Wow Lisa – profile in courage.

      • jslat says:

        No, she was blaming the House (Congress.) Not an act of courage!

        Here’s her full statement

        “I worked for a fair, honest, and transparent process, modeled after the Clinton trial, to provide ample time for both sides to present their cases, ask thoughtful questions, and determine whether we need more.

        “The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena.

        “Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.

        “It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another.
        “We are sadly at a low point of division in this country.”

      • jslat says:

        She gave herself cover by calling the House case rushed and flawed. Then lamented the division in the country. She didn’t want to be the vote that tied. Perhaps she would have voted yes if she did not have that position.

      • jslat says:

        Got It! Snark acknowledged. 🙂

    • quixote says:

      So, because “Congress has failed” Murkowski is going to make it fail.

      Sure, Jan.

  8. roofingbird says:

    Rubio thinks Trump is convictable but won’t vote for it. His reason, that this was not bipartisan, is belied by the fact that we have a Dem led House and Repub led Senate, ergo bipartisan. I can’t believe this Cippalone false flag didn’t get burned.

  9. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      So, individual donors — nah. Rich candidates, yes.

      The DNC controlling candidates by limiting participation based on % in polls before the debates and so far before the primaries seems to have ensured that only media favorites stay in. Anyway, the debate formats aren’t that helpful in getting a sense of a candidate.

  10. dakinikat says:

    And this will be Robert’s Lifetime Legacy: “The legacy defining moment for Chief Justice Roberts, brought to you by Elizabeth Warren. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) submitted a question to the House impeachment managers, which was read by the chief justice, targeting the actions taken by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his party to block efforts to subpoena witnesses. “At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government,” Roberts read, “does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, or Constitution?”

    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/31/legacy-defining-moment-roberts-forced-read-warrens-question-about-his-legitimacy?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR3YNZl1WTyA9PPC6LNZENIptfX3CpCilDGTkbqBFTKI8mX3Ne03hVhu7rQ

  11. dakinikat says:

  12. NW Luna says:

  13. dakinikat says:

    • dakinikat says:

      “Mr. Parnas would testify to the efforts he and a handful of Republican operatives engaged in over a period of months, to remove Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and gather ‘dirt’ on Joe and Hunter Biden. Mr. Parnas would testify that those holding various roles in this plot included GOP super PAC America First, President Trump, Vice President Pence, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Bill Barr, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Congressman Devin Nunes, Nunes’ Staffer Derrick Harvey, Journalist John Soloman, Attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, Mr. Giuliani, and others. He is prepared to review and explain relevant phone records, text messages, and other evidence in connection with these activities.”

  14. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      *looks up how to get rid of US citizenship*

      • quixote says:

        Ever since a few billionaires, some years ago, got rid of US citizenship to save on taxes by becoming Singaporeans or whatever, they jacked up the price of doing so.

        Now it’s over $8000. I’m sure that really gives billionaires pause. And of course has no effect on people like us.

  15. dakinikat says:

  16. Virginia Holder says:

    This is revenge for Watergate. Since then,Republicans have manipulated the bureaucracy, the courts, the media and dissestablished the common good. The rights of women and minorities have eroded.to the extent many are disenfranchised now. The Unitary Executive theory has no place in a constitutional government. The democracy we have inherited , has been garroted. We are seeing the end.

    • dakinikat says:

      Trump can do anything he wants as long as they get deregulation and crippled government, tax breaks to the richest, and appoints judges who don’t know what they’re doing but will do what the party wants.

  17. dakinikat says: