“Hello, medical supply delivery? I’d like to order hearing aids for two members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation, please.
“Yes, it’s quite urgent. Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney somehow heard ‘If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so’ as ‘the president is innocent.’
“No, I won’t be paying myself. Unlike most of their constituents Cheney and Barrasso have great taxpayer-funded federal health insurance. That should cover the cost.”
I can’t understand how Barrasso and Cheney heard Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s statement last Wednesday so differently than I did. Was I listening with my left ear while they were using their far-right ones?
No, that’s not the reason. Words are words, and Mueller’s were devastating to Trump and his supporters. At least they should have been.
Yet, in statements after Mueller’s news conference, where he took no questions, both Cheney and Barrasso said the former FBI director didn’t change their minds one iota about what was in his report.
Cheney said Mueller simply “confirmed what we already knew: there was no collusion and the Justice Department found that there was no obstruction.”
Barrasso said “The Special Counsel didn’t find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but did indict dozens of Russians for interfering in the 2016 election.” “That was confirmed again today by Special Counsel Mueller.” Nevermind the slew of indictments from Trump’s inner circle or the piles of evidence that Trump himself obstructed justice. Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?
What Mueller conveyed to the public on the last day of his distinguished federal career is that: A) The evidence suggests, nay screams, that Trump committed high crimes — obstruction of justice — while in office. B) The Special Counsel is unable to charge him with said crimes because of Justice Department policy. C) Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General lied to the American public about the conclusions of the most important investigation conducted in a generation. And D) Only Congress has the authority to see justice done in these matters.
So much for Trump’s self-proclaimed “exoneration.” Mueller’s investigation went out of its way to try to clear the president of any wrongdoing, but it did not clear him of anything.
Attorney General William Barr said Mueller told him that the DOJ policy did not play a part in his decision to not recommend any charges against Trump. That’s all the president’s ardent base — which categorically includes Barrasso and Cheney — needed to pronounce his innocence and declare “case closed.”
Mueller took pains to set the record straight, but, dang, it seems they hadn’t gotten those hearing aids yet.
Mueller said his only recourse was to refer the matter to Congress, which is the sole authority that can decide whether a president committed impeachable offenses.
His final report contains many of those, including four examples of clear evidence of Trump’s obstruction of justice: the president’s threat to remove Mueller, attempts to curtail the investigation, Trump’s instructions to then-White House Counsel Donald McGahn to deny his order to remove Mueller, and raising the possibility of a pardon for former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
More than 1,000 former federal prosecutors signed a letter stating that if Trump was not president, he should be indicted for obstruction of justice. What else does Congress need besides Mueller’s report?
Oh right, those hearing aids. I really should have ponied up for the expedited shipping.
As of this writing, only 50 Democrats and a lone Republican, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, have stated they would vote for impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump has obstructed justice, but she won’t even call for an impeachment inquiry because she claims it would hurt Democrats’ chances in the 2020 election.
I fully understand partisan politics. Job one is to send Trump back to private life ASAP where he’s no longer an existential threat to humanity. The 2020 election is likely the safest, speediest way to do that, and impeachment proceedings would actually make the route far less certain.
But this is about something far larger and more important than partisanship. It’s about the American Constitution and the separation of powers outlined therein. And thus far both the Democratic and Republican congressional leadership have totally abrogated their constitutional responsibilities to hold the president accountable for his actions.
Trump’s possible impeachment should have nothing to do with election considerations. Both major parties have an obligation to examine Trump’s conduct and determine if he has committed high crimes and/or misdemeanors that should result in his removal from office. If he hasn’t, he deserves to be cleared.
Pelosi maintains Trump wants to be impeached because it will stir up his base and guarantee his re-election. Judging by the president’s reaction last week when the “I-word” was invoked by a reporter (“It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word”), I think it’s safe to say he’s scared to death of being impeached.
Any House Democrat who fails to vote to launch an impeachment inquiry, Pelosi included, should be challenged in next year’s primary elections. One of the main reasons Democrats were voted into the majority is because people want to see them do the right thing regarding Trump’s criminal behavior, much of which has been on public display since he fired FBI Director James Comey.
Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that the reason he fired Comey was directly related to the Russian investigation. Then, during a meeting with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office, he admitted that he terminated the director to relieve himself of the pressure from the probe.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has declared any impeachment of Trump by the House will be dead on arrival in his chamber. The good news is that it’s not his call to make — the U.S. Supreme Court’s chief justice would preside over a Senate trial, and he doesn’t need McConnell’s permission to conduct one.
To his credit, the third member of Wyoming’s GOP delegation, Sen. Mike Enzi, didn’t weigh in on Mueller’s explanation of his findings. Instead, he has simply stated that if Trump’s impeachment is brought to the Senate, he will weigh the evidence and vote.
I don’t for a minute believe Enzi would vote to remove Trump from office, but at least he didn’t do what Barrasso did — refuse to even consider doing his duty and upholding his oath of office.
“If the House of Representatives wants to do what they seem to want to do, which is travel the path to impeachment, let them,” Barrasso told Fox News. “There’s going to be no appetite for that in the United States Senate.”
It was Republicans who had the courage to challenge Richard Nixon during the Watergate hearings and convince the disgraced president to resign. They were true profiles in courage, because they said no to partisan politics, weighed the evidence and knew that Nixon was, to use a famous Doonesbury character’s words, “guilty, guilty, guilty.”
It’s essential that Mueller testify before Congress, because only a tiny percentage of Americans are going to wade through his 448-page report to see all the evidence he compiled against Trump. Hearing him summarize his findings, coupled with other witnesses like McGahn, who must be compelled by the House Judiciary Committee to testify or be locked up, should convince voters that Trump is not fit to be president.
What will be the final outcome? I believe the House will vote to impeach the president, and, because Trump has proven himself to be a liar, bully and coward, he will resign rather than go through a Senate trial that will likely disclose other crimes. After all, there’s a reason why he and his associates are the subject of at least a dozen federal and state investigations.
After he leaves office, Trump will likely be pardoned by new President Mike Pence, who won’t be touched by the scandal (until then). Trump will then make more millions — he’ll still be a failure at business of course but now he’ll be able to cash in on the faithful followers who will line up in droves and pay good money to hear how his enemies railroaded him from the White House.
But first, House members need to honor their oaths of office and uphold the U.S. Constitution’s check-and-balance mandate and hold the president accountable.
In other words, do their damn jobs.