Monday Reads: Impeachment Edition

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

Does the rule of law matter to Republicans any more?  Is it all about installing a radical theocratic and corporate agenda now and letting who ever will do it run amok through everything we stand?

So, is it about to end and will the Republicans actually do it?

Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor have supposedly found sources that told them that a grand jury returned sealed indictments against Trump, Manaford, Flint and others.   I’d write this off under normal circumstances but these two–from very different political viewpoints–seemed to be scooping the MSM on nearly every thing these days.  They have at least one good source between them.

Separate sources with links to the intelligence and justice communities have stated that a sealed indictment has been granted against Donald Trump.

While it is understood that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution means that, until Mr. Trump is impeached, he cannot be prosecuted, sources say that the indictment is intended by the FBI and prosecutors in the Justice Department to form the basis of Mr. Trump’s impeachment. The indictment is, perhaps uniquely, not intended or expected to be used for prosecution, sources say, because of the constitutional position of the President.

The biggest issue is that none of the MSM has picked up on anything yet or is unable to verify the details or won’t do it yet.  However, today, Morning Joke and Meeka inkled this: Morning Joe says FBI close to exposing the president: ‘It’s a criminal issue — and Trump knows that’.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough believes President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey because he sensed the investigation was getting close to revealing whatever criminal actions he’s trying to hide.

The “Morning Joe” host compared the situation to the Showtime series “Billions,” which depicts a U.S. attorney pursuing a hedge fund billionaire named Bobby Axelrod, and he said the FBI had found strong evidence against Trump and his associates.

“The FBI has started pulling that string, and they are still pulling that string where it leads is not just an election issue, it is a criminal issue — and Trump knows that,” Scarborough said.

John Heilemann, the co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics and an MSNBC political analyst, agreed that Comey’s firing was not an irrational action or a political miscalculation, but rather an effort to stop or slow the FBI investigation into his ties to Russia.

“The reason he did this is not because he’s out of his mind,” Heilmann said. “He did this is because, as you said Joe, I think he recognizes — he looked over at the FBI and said, this guy James Comey came to the White House, I asked him, if we believe this story, asked him for his loyalty, he wouldn’t give me his loyalty. He’s been investigating since last July, he’s now taking daily briefings on this matter, rather than weekly, he’s now asking for more prosecutors. Donald Trump knows what’s at the heart of this. I don’t know what that is, but he does, and he’s saying this guy knows, too.”

Scarborough said he’s heard from FBI sources that the investigation had gathered steam in recent weeks, and he said Comey was fired in response to that development.

“They have already found the string and they are pulling on it, based on my contacts inside the FBI and they are starting to tug on that string, and they are going to keep tugging, keeping going, and it’s accelerated because of the way he fired Comey, and he knows it,” Scarborough said.

So these two aren’t my favorite sources but we’re getting closer to the end game.  Also, there’s supposedly a RICO investigation dealing with money laundering Russian donations to the RNC that’s heating up.  We’re dealing with major criminal enterprises if all this is true and they can prove it.  Just for side giggles,  Meeka and Joke also mentioned that the White House Mommy hates President Swiss Cheese for Brains.

 

Steve Benson / Creators Syndicate

Former Trump Adviser and Campaign Manager Paul Manfort still appears to be a vital link in investigations second maybe to only General Flynn. Newsweek‘s Graham Lanktree follows the money and the investigation by top NY Lawyers today.  Manafort’s lawyers appear to be on the offense trying to stop leaks.

New York state’s attorney general has begun an investigation into the real estate dealings of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to reports.

Manafort has made millions of dollars worth of real estate investments in the U.S. in recent years, using shell companies to purchase properties in New York, Florida, Virginia, and Los Angeles.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has opened an investigation into Manafort’s real-estate transactions, sources told Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. The outlets confirmed that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has also opened a separate investigation into Manafort’s real-estate dealings.

Sources told the WSJ last week that in an unrelated matter the U.S. Justice Department requested Manafort’s bank records in April as part of its investigation into whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Russia as it worked to influence the 2016 election.

Last month The New York Times revealed Manafort took out $13 million in loans from Trump-tied businesses soon after he resigned from the campaign last August amidst a scandal.

Manafort was forced to step down after he was accused by the Ukrainian government’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau of receiving $12.7 million in off-the-book payments from the country’s former President Viktor Yanukovych—an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Manafort advised the ousted leader’s election campaigns from 2004 to 2010. He has also worked as a political operative for dictators in Asia and Africa.

Manafort told The Times that “there is nothing out of the ordinary about” the loans and that he is “confident anyone who isn’t afflicted with scandal fever will come to the same conclusion.”

Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni hit back at leaks of the latest investigations in a phone call with Bloomberg Saturday, stating that “if someone’s leaking information about an investigation, that’s a crime.”

The disconnect between Republicans and reality continues as Vox reports:  ‘Trump admits he fired Comey over Russia. Republican voters don’t believe him.

President Donald Trump has said the real reason he fired James Comey from the FBI was because of the bureau’s investigation into links between Trump’s 2016 campaign associates and Russia. But that doesn’t seem to have gotten through to the majority of Republican voters.

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Republicans still believe the White House’s first rationale for Comey’s firing — that the FBI director was dismissed for poorly handling the investigation into Hillary Clinton emails — according to a recent public poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal. Overall, 38 percent of Americans still believe Clinton’s emails were behind the firing, according to the poll conducted from May 11 to 13.

Trump’s decision to fire Comey still isn’t playing well with the American public overall — only 29 percent of Americans approve of the decision, while 38 percent disapprove. And the reactions continue to be partisan; 58 percent of Republicans approved of Trump’s decision, while 66 percent of Democrats disapproved. This is a continuation of early public polling on Comey’s firing from multiple outlets that showed Republicans were largely brushing off the Comey story.

One thing has changed however: Overall, 78 percent of surveyed Americans said they prefer a special prosecutor or independent investigation into the possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, including 68 percent of Republican voters. This has been a major call among Democratic lawmakers in Washington, and a demand Republican congressional leaders have been quick to push against. But among American voters, this poll suggests there is more bipartisan support.

The NBC/WSJ poll results suggest Republicans nationally are largely in step with their leaders in Washington on the Russia issue. News of Comey’s firing created some divisions among Republican politicians, who have expressed concern with Trump’s decision to fire a man currently investigating the administration. But overwhelmingly, Republican leadership has toed the White House’s line on Comey’s dismissal.

Chuck Todd is already saying Republicans are in the ‘danger zone’ for midterms.   I’m so completely over these folks and their horse race style political coverage but let’s look at the why, at least.

There are two ways to look at the new national NBC/WSJ poll we released Sunday. The first way: President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey didn’t significantly change the president’s overall standing. Trump’s job-approval rating dipped one point from 40% in April to 39% now, which is well within the poll’s margin of error. And his fav/unfav score is 38% positive/52% negative — again basically unchanged from April.

But here’s the second way to view the poll: Trump’s 39% job rating is a screaming alarm bell for the Republican Party when you think about the midterms, which are still more than 500 days away. To put Trump’s 39% into perspective, George W. Bush didn’t reach that level in the NBC/WSJ poll until October 2005, so after the Social Security debacle, after the Iraq war turned south, and after Hurricane Katrina. And the GOP lost the House and Senate the following year. And Barack Obama NEVER reached 39% in our poll — his lowest approval rating was 40% in September 2014, right before Democrats lost the Senate (after losing the House in 2010).

Now a president’s job-approval rating isn’t the end all-be all for determining what happens in a midterm environment, although political scientists will tell you that it plays a considerable role. What’s more, there’s more than a year and a half between now and November 2018, so a lot can change. But if you see Trump’s 39% and think, “Hey, all things considered, it doesn’t look THAT bad for the president,” remember that we’re 116 days into Trump’s presidency, and he’s where George W. Bush was in October 2005 and about where Barack Obama was in September 2014. But this is also why the pressure is on Democrats to win at least one of two competitive special congressional elections coming up in the next month — in Montana on May 25, and in Georgia on June 20.

Congressman Al Green is all about impeaching Trump.  The Texas Democrat announced his intentions to see it done.  Green joins Maxine Waters in the effort to impeach Kremlin Caligula.

Texas Representative Al Green has called for impeachment proceedings to begin against President Donald Trump, saying that the president has put the US democratic process at risk.

In calling for Mr Trump’s impeachment, Mr Green specifically referenced the firing last week of former FBI Director James Comey, and remarks made by the president afterward. After firing Mr Comey, Mr Trump said he had considered the Russia investigation when firing the former FBI chief. He later tweeted that Mr Comey better hope that there aren’t recordings of conversations between himself and the president before he begins to speak out about what happened.

“These acts, when combined, amount to intimidation and obstruction,” Mr Green said during a press conference in his southwestern Houston district. “If the president is not above the law he should be charged by way of impeachment by the US House of Representatives.”

However, the key to this atm is in the hands of Congressional Republicans. 

During an appearance on CBS’s Face The Nation, The Washington Post’s David Ignatius relayed the growing fear of Trump among Republicans, “Talking this week to several prominent Republicans, people who have not been sharp critics of Donald Trump, I heard the same thing, which is: This guy scares me. And I think the reason that people were scared this week is that they saw impulsive behavior, they saw a kind of vengeful, brooding about past slights. They saw a willingness to be — to be — just basically to lie to the country, not to tell the truth. And I think — one person said to me, there are no guardrails on this presidency. Another person said, this is Richard Nixon on steroids. In other words, this is kind of a hyperactive — so, I think that’s where we are at the end of the week. A lot of people are scared. And they wonder, how do we get out of this?”

The whispers that Republicans are looking for a way out have been getting louder off the record ever since the President accused Barack Obama of wiretapping him.

Republicans really appear to have believed that they could manage Trump. What they are finding out is that they greatly underestimated Trump’s capacity for misuse of executive power, the Russia scandal, and Trump’s own mental and emotional instability.

I do believe this is the beginning of the end but I have no idea how long–and more important how deeply damaging–this struggle will be. I hate to think that I heard most of this first from Louise Mensch or Jennifer Rubin but it is what it is.

Every single Republican must make a decision: Insist on full-throated, independent investigation of the firing, or be party to a possible cover-up. Every candidate for office in 2018 must be asked a question: If it is determined that Trump fired Comey to interfere with the Russia probe, would that representative vote for impeachment/senator vote to convict? Yes, it really has come to that.

I’ll just say I took it more seriously when I heard it from Lawrence Tribe.

The time has come for Congress to launch an impeachment investigation of President Trump for obstruction of justice.

The remedy of impeachment was designed to create a last-resort mechanism for preserving our constitutional system. It operates by removing executive-branch officials who have so abused power through what the framers called “high crimes and misdemeanors” that they cannot be trusted to continue in office.

No American president has ever been removed for such abuses, although Andrew Johnson was impeached and came within a single vote of being convicted by the Senate and removed, and Richard Nixon resigned to avoid that fate.

Now the country is faced with a president whose conduct strongly suggests that he poses a danger to our system of government.

Well, it’s Tricky Dicky from Yorba Linda
Hip hip hip hurrah.
Tricky Dicky from Yorba Linda
Hip hip hip hurrah.
He walks, he talks, he smiles, he frowns,
He does what a human can,
He’s Tricky Dicky from Yorba Linda,
The genuine plastic man, oh yeah,
He’s the genuine plastic man, oh yeah,
He’s the genuine plastic man.

We need an update for “Don the Con from  Mar-a-Lago. Hip hip hip hurrah.” And read this about Trump and “inconvenient data”.  It’s just another way to fatten us all up for the big grift.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?