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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "pelosi"

Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group t-17 Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine upshot Trump The Blog swing states removal poll pelosi New York Times impeachment cohn battleground Abuse of Power

Some of the best polling news Trump has received in awhile, and ironically it comes from his friends at the New York Times.

Compounding the irony, some of the worst polling news he’s received this year came last week from … Fox News. Impeachment makes for strange bedfellows.

Some polls, like Fox’s, will tell you that Americans support impeaching and removing the president on balance. That’s noteworthy but the leadership of both parties will pay closer attention to what swing states think for obvious reasons. The Times wanted to know how the Democrats’ impeachment push was doing in the six states most likely to decide the next election — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona. They discovered that voters there do support the impeachment inquiry, by a 50/45 margin.

But when you ask how many are ready to take the fateful next step and remove Trump based on what’s currently known, a small but significant minority of seven percent switches sides. Impeachment/removal polls at just 43/53. Wha’ happened?

The Times’s Nate Cohn dug into the numbers to find out who those seven percent are.

This 7 percent slice of respondents tends to be younger — 33 percent are 18 to 34 — and nearly half are self-identified independents. They could prove tough for Democrats to convince: 51 percent say that the president’s conduct is typical of most politicians, perhaps suggesting that they hold a jaded view of politics that would tend to minimize the seriousness of the allegations against him.

I would not have guessed that some younger adults, a famously left-leaning group, would be more hesitant to remove Trump than others in the contingent that supports an impeachment inquiry. Another interesting bit of data from Cohn:

Westlake Legal Group t-18 Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine upshot Trump The Blog swing states removal poll pelosi New York Times impeachment cohn battleground Abuse of Power

That trend is also true among Democrats specifically, a group that otherwise favors impeachment and removal overwhelmingly. Among Dems overall, 83 percent want Trump out. But among Dems who are following the Ukraine story “not very closely,” 21 percent oppose impeachment.

Which way does all of that cut for Pelosi? Before you answer, read this NBC piece about how House Democrats are preparing to present their impeachment case to the public. The key words are “abuse of power.”

House Democrats are zeroing in on a framework for their impeachment case against President Donald Trump that will center on a simple “abuse of power” narrative involving the president’s actions regarding Ukraine, according to multiple people familiar with the deliberations…

[O]ne person familiar with the strategy said “abuse of power” when it comes to Ukraine is the “big point that Pelosi has been hammering home” and the umbrella under which “this all fits to connect it and help the public understand.”…

Pelosi is also considering a separate article on obstruction or contempt of Congress related to the administration’s blanket rejection of subpoena requests for documents and witnesses related to its inquiry into Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, according to multiple sources involved in the deliberations.

The Ukraine quid pro quo and the White House’s refusal to comply with Democratic demands for evidence will all go under the “abuse of power” heading. Looking again at Cohn’s data, though, I wonder if “abuse of power” might be especially unpersuasive to that stubborn seven percent that’s so jaded about politics that they’re inclined to see Trump’s behavior as business as usual in Washington. Seems to me that that group might logically demand something more — probable cause of an actual federal statutory crime, for instance, or strong evidence that Trump himself was sufficiently aware that the Ukraine business was shady that he took steps to conceal his motives — in order to distinguish what he did from normal Beltway scumbaggery. Think of all the ways the average politician abuses his power, man. Isn’t Pelosi abusing her power when she serves special interests and lobbyists instead of the public?

As others have noted, the sheer cynicism of a political culture capable of electing Trump as a sort of purgative might also be what rescues him from impeachment in the end.

In fact, peek into the crosstabs and you’ll find that a plurality of all Americans agrees that what Trump did was “typical” of politicians, not something extraordinary. How do you sell an “abuse of power” narrative in those circumstances?

Westlake Legal Group w-2 Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine upshot Trump The Blog swing states removal poll pelosi New York Times impeachment cohn battleground Abuse of Power

On the other hand, the fact that the people who are following the impeachment saga the least closely right now are also the people who are least likely to support it suggests that there may be room for Democrats to grow their support here. Cohn notes elsewhere that impeachment polling lately has been flat after an initial burst of enthusiasm when the first bombshells about Trump and Ukraine began being reported. But maybe that’s because the news itself has plateaued; right now there’s little to report apart from the secretive questioning of witnesses being conducted by Adam Schiff’s committee. That is, the “not following closely” group has had no compelling reason to start following the story closely over the last weeks. But obviously that will change once the articles of impeachment pass, and it will change in a big, big way once the trial of Donald J. Trump is being held on C-SPAN for hours each day in December. Many more Americans will soon be following the Ukraine matter more closely than they have been, whether they want to or not. What happens to the numbers on removal once they are?

You could turn that question around, though. Instead of assuming that following the story closely is leading people towards support for removing Trump, it may be that preexisting support for removing Trump is leading people to follow the story closely. If you’re a Trump fan, it stands to reason that you wouldn’t be eager to follow the Ukraine story closely to this point. If you’re already predisposed to ignore unflattering news about the president because you like him and think his enemies are out to get him, how likely is your opinion to change after an impeachment trial realistically? We may be looking at the same 43/53 swing-state split two months from now that we’re looking at today.

And look: For impeachment purposes, there’s arguably no difference between 53/43 in favor of removal and 43/53 against. Senate Republicans aren’t going to remove the president based on a margin as slim as that either way. The significance of Cohn’s results is that impeachment may not be much of a club for Democrats in next fall’s election either. At a minimum, what they want from this process is an effective talking point they can use to beat Trump at the polls. “Republicans in the Senate didn’t have the guts to oust the president, but the polls show that swing-state voters disagree with them and fully intend to correct that mistake in November.” Per the Times, swing-state voters do not disagree. If this really does settle as a 43/53 issue in places like Michigan, we may not hear the Democratic nominee hammering impeachment on the trail much next year. In which case, what will Dems have gained from this?

The post Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine appeared first on Hot Air.

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Pelosi: Trump hosting the G7 at his own resort is “completely out of the question”

Westlake Legal Group p-1 Pelosi: Trump hosting the G7 at his own resort is “completely out of the question” Trump The Blog resort pelosi New York Post National murdoch Geraldo Rivera g7 fox doral appropriations

I take it this is her way of threatening to block appropriations for the G7, although I’m not sure how that would work. Normally Congress would just hand the executive branch a bunch of money for the event and the president would handle the arrangements, including the choice of locale, right? Is Pelosi suggesting that some sort of condition will be attached to the appropriation barring it from being used at a Trump property?

If so, that’ll set us up for a fun news cycle next year when Trump decides to ignore that condition and hands the money to Trump National Doral anyway.

Silver lining, I guess: If Pelosi succeeds in roadblocking funding for the G7, Dems can’t impeach Trump on emolument grounds for awarding himself the event.

She hit Trump for his G7 choice last night on Twitter too, citing Andrew Napolitano’s segment on Fox Business to support her case. At long last — Fox/Pelosi synergy. Fox isn’t the only Rupert Murdoch property that’s criticizing Trump today for awarding himself a no-bid contract, either. The New York Post has an editorial out titled, “Move the summit, Mr. President.” (“[V]oters expect and deserve clear signs that their president is working for them — not promoting himself.”) I think he will end up moving it. The grief he’s getting and will continue to get for it over the next eight months just isn’t worth it to him.

But it’s worth something. WaPo looked at Trump National Doral’s business fortunes over the last few years and realized why Trump is keen to drum up some interest in the property.

The summit will also come to Doral at a particularly good time — June, when Miami is steamy and its business usually drops off sharply. In 2017, the hotel reported that June was its second-slowest month, with just 38.3 percent of its rooms occupied. Only August, at 31.1 percent, was slower…

“They are severely underperforming” other resorts in the area, tax consultant Jessica Vachiratevanurak, who had been hired by Trump, told a county official last year in a bid to lower the property’s tax bill. Vachiratevanurak said the club’s net operating income — a key figure, representing the amount left over after expenses are paid — had fallen by 69 percent as of 2017

In recent years, Doral has turned to Trump’s political allies to replace some of its lost revenue. This past weekend, for instance, it hosted a pro-Trump group called American Priority. Shown at that event was a violent video depicting Trump shooting, stabbing and beheading members of the media and some Democratic opponents, according to the New York Times.

Times are tough for the business, probably due to some patrons disassociating themselves from Trump for political reasons, so logically the resort has tried to leverage Trump’s political allies to offset the losses. Hosting the G7 is just a grander international version of that strategy. Ideally for Trump, the prestige associated with the event will wear off some of the resort’s stigma among anti-Trump Americans and the Doral’s bookings will increase afterward. Unless Pelosi blocks it, of course.

But maybe Trump isn’t fully committed to the idea. The mayor of Doral told WaPo that he hadn’t a word about this until Mick Mulvaney mentioned it on television, never mind that accommodating thousands of guests and security details for many world leaders will be a logistical challenge for the city. Possibly Trump sent Mulvaney out there to announce it as a trial balloon, to see what sort of pushback he’d get. If people rolled their eyes but otherwise ignored it on grounds that it’s just another case of the president being grubby, full speed ahead. Time to call the mayor. If instead there was an outcry, which there has been, he’ll scrap it. I think he’ll scrap it.

Of course, it’s also possible that Trump has (or had) every intention of hosting it at Doral and just didn’t think to let city officials know. Why not surprise ’em later?

He’s gonna scrap it. If a Trump buddy like Geraldo is willing to go on the president’s very favorite news show on his very favorite network to criticize him over his decision, Trump will recalculate.

The post Pelosi: Trump hosting the G7 at his own resort is “completely out of the question” appeared first on Hot Air.

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Graham: I want Senate Republicans to send Pelosi a letter stressing that this Ukraine business isn’t an impeachable offense

Westlake Legal Group lg Graham: I want Senate Republicans to send Pelosi a letter stressing that this Ukraine business isn’t an impeachable offense zelensky Ukraine The Blog Senate republicans pelosi impeachment billy graham

So here’s a variation on the strategy I wrote about on Monday night. Some Republicans like Tucker Carlson and Rob Portman have settled on the view that what Trump did with Ukraine is bad — but not impeachable. That’s a smart position to stake out early in the process since it attempts to remove the subject from the realm of facts to the realm of law, where matters are much less uncertain. After all, Democrats could turn up damning evidence of Trump’s conduct. Imagine Gordon Sondland testifying that the president was worried about Joe Biden beating him next fall and told him that the Burisma investigation would help avert that. If the GOP concedes the Democrats’ point that this is an impeachable offense if it’s proved then Trump’s fate is in Adam Schiff’s hands.

The safer play is to say, “Yes, yes, Trump behaved inappropriately in asking Ukraine’s president to investigate the Bidens but that’s just not enough of a crime to justify removing a sitting president from office. Scold him, censure him, but let the voters issue a verdict on his job.” Taking that position renders the Democratic investigation largely moot (although if they can prove Trump intended a quid pro quo, that would change the game) and leaves Trump’s fate in Senate Republicans’ hands. It doesn’t matter what facts Pelosi and Schiff produce; we don’t execute people for speeding and we don’t oust presidents over petty nonsense like trying to influence the coming election by jumpstarting a foreign probe of the then-frontrunner from the other party.

That’s the strategy Lindsey Graham endorsed this morning on Fox, more or less. The difference is that Graham, as Trump’s foremost apologist in the Senate, won’t even concede that the call with Zelensky was inappropriate. Carlson and Portman are happy to do that knowing that it doesn’t really matter and, if anything, might mollify Trump critics a bit to see members of his own party criticizing him (mildly) for something they’re angry about. Graham can’t even be bothered. Portman can adopt the “bad but not impeachable” line on this if he likes; Graham’s taking the “not bad and therefore certainly not impeachable” approach instead. And he wants his colleagues in the Senate to tell Pelosi that right now.

That’s clever inasmuch as a letter like that would operate a bit like a judicial order granting a motion to dismiss before a trial takes place. Graham is accusing the Democrats of failing to state a claim. Instead of waiting around for them to impeach, why not let them know up front that the Senate sees nothing actionable here? Maybe it’ll convince Pelosi not to bother with impeachment. (Highly unlikely.) Maybe it’ll be a morale booster to Republican voters who are worried about what Trump might be guilty of. (More likely.) Maybe it’ll provide a pretext for McConnell to hold a truncated/expedited trial after Trump is impeached, since Republican “jurors” will already be on record as saying that no high crime or misdemeanor was committed as a matter of law. (Likely.)

Not everyone in the Senate will sign such a letter, of course. Romney won’t. Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, and Ben Sasse won’t. Various Republicans for various reasons will want to communicate to voters that they’re troubled by what Trump is accused of and are determined to let all the facts come out before reaching a conclusion. Call that the “nominally undecided” group. The next group, Portman’s “bad but not impeachable” faction, might not sign such a letter either. Obviously they disagree with Graham that Trump did nothing wrong. And even if he drafted the letter to avoid the question of whether Trump behaved appropriately or not and focused instead on whether there’s an impeachable offense here, Portman probably still wouldn’t sign it. He’s worried enough about the politics of this issue to have made a point of saying that what Trump did is bad. He won’t want to leap head-first into a GOP effort to prejudge the Democratic impeachment articles by insisting that there’s no crime even in a worst-case scenario.

All Graham needs to settle this matter, though, is 33 other Republicans to join him. If 34 GOPers in the chamber out of 53 are willing to commit to the position that nothing Trump did or conceivably could have done is impeachable then the impeachment and removal effort is officially doomed. Are there 33 other Republicans who are so cowed by Trump and his voters that they’d be willing to take that position right now?

I wouldn’t rule it out.

I assume Graham’s letter idea is being coordinated with the White House, in which case it’s part of a two-pronged strategy. The first prong is to make the case aggressively that the Democratic inquiry is a sham; it’s unfair, it’s an affront to due process, therefore any facts it produces are inherently suspect. That was the thrust of Pat Cipollone’s letter last night. Cipollone is playing offense. Graham’s letter would be playing defense, trying to frame the terms of the debate for the coming impeachment trial in the Senate. It doesn’t matter which facts the Democrats’ sham inquiry produced. There’s simply no crime here. Case dismissed.

The absolute best part of the clip, by the way, is the bit at the end when Graham exhorts Fox viewers to pray for the Kurds, as if they’re at risk of being victimized by a hurricane or some other disastrous natural force which America is powerless to influence. He took a similarly dubious view in a tweet this morning when he asked people to “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration.” The Trump administration? I’ve only heard of one person within “the Trump Administration” who supports the decision to bug out of northern Syria as Turkey prepares to immolate American allies. It’s interesting, if not at all surprising, that Lindsey refuses to name that person.

It’s amazing how able he is to compartmentalize his disgust at Trump’s Syria policy with his zeal in defending Trump on impeachment, frankly. They’re two distinct matters, granted, but politicians use leverage they have over one matter to exact concessions on unrelated matters all the time. Pundits keep warning that Trump is playing with fire by antagonizing Senate Republicans on Syria at the very moment that they’re about to take his fate in their hands on impeachment, but is he really playing with fire? Graham is heartbroken about abandoning the Kurds and yet here he is on Fox trying to blow up the impeachment effort on the president’s behalf before it even reaches the Senate. With ass-kissing like this, why should Trump feel pressure to throw the Senate GOP a bone on foreign policy?

The post Graham: I want Senate Republicans to send Pelosi a letter stressing that this Ukraine business isn’t an impeachable offense appeared first on Hot Air.

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White House lawyer sends letter to Dems: We cannot cooperate with your very unfair impeachment probe

Westlake Legal Group n White House lawyer sends letter to Dems: We cannot cooperate with your very unfair impeachment probe Trump The Blog sondland pelosi nadler impeachment House executive privilege executive democrats cipollone

You already know what this is about. Trump previewed it in his tweets this morning defending his decision to block Gordon Sondland from testifying. The White House has decided that it’s done cooperating with the House’s impeachment probe — and not for any traditional legal reason, really, like executive privilege, although White House counsel Pat Cipollone does include that in his list of grievances in this eight-page rant. It’s done cooperating because, it says, the probe is simply too unfair. It’s too secretive, it’s too one-sided, it hasn’t been properly authorized via a formal House vote. Trump’s not getting due process, Cipollone argues, therefore the White House is no longer required to comply with subpoenas or make anyone available to testify.

Coincidentally, they’ve arrived at this decision at the very moment that Sondland, a firsthand witness who once allegedly told Ron Johnson that there was a quid pro quo happening with Ukraine, was about to talk.

You can read the whole thing here. Most of it resembles a talk-radio monologue, not a letter from the White House counsel, which is befitting of its true nature. This is a PR document aimed to rally righties around Trump as he goes about obstructing the probe, not something for Democratic lawyers to mull over. Cipollone dispenses with the legal claims in Section I, which runs only a few pages. Here’s the bottom line:

Westlake Legal Group 1 White House lawyer sends letter to Dems: We cannot cooperate with your very unfair impeachment probe Trump The Blog sondland pelosi nadler impeachment House executive privilege executive democrats cipollone

And again a bit later:

Westlake Legal Group 2-1 White House lawyer sends letter to Dems: We cannot cooperate with your very unfair impeachment probe Trump The Blog sondland pelosi nadler impeachment House executive privilege executive democrats cipollone

What this is, in other words, is a constitutional crisis pitting the House’s authority to pursue impeachment of the president against a variety of claims by the White House — due process, for starters, and executive privilege secondarily. It’s highly likely that House Democrats would win that battle if it went to court, that judges would decide that the House has broad discretion in how to conduct impeachment proceedings and that the issue is generally nonjusticiable. The alternative, a win for Trump, would grant future presidents the power to short-circuit any impeachment proceeding by identifying alleged unfairness and using that as a pretext to withhold evidence. Probably a court will say that Sondland should testify and the White House should turn over requested materials and then plead its case about fairness to the two juries in impeachment — the Senate, first and foremost, and the electorate more generally. It’ll be especially hard for Cipollone to convince a court to side with the White House, I think, given that the Senate is controlled by the president’s own party. If Trump were at risk of being railroaded by a Democratic-controlled Congress, that might give a judge pause, As it is, everything in this letter can and will be cited by Republican senators as reasons to acquit Trump once the matter reaches them.

Some critics of the letter this evening are predictable…

…others are marginally more interesting:

Nunziata used to be Marco Rubio’s counsel. As for what Democrats do now, in a sense it doesn’t matter: Trump knows he’s getting impeached one way or another so he’s seizing the opportunity here to put some meat on the bone for his “witch hunt” defense once it happens. Having Cipollone do it instead of the White House comms department is smart too since it gives him some (self-serving) legal authority for the claim. It’s not just Trump who says it’s a witch hunt, it’s his own extremely well-respected attorney!

Pelosi’s going to have to make a choice and it comes down to this.

1. Impeach Trump for obstruction immediately. She’d rather not do that since it would take the focus off his Ukraine behavior and turn public opinion into a referendum on whether the impeachment process was fair or not. At a minimum, if Dems go this route, they’ll impeach him for obstruction *and* for making the Biden request to Zelensky, irrespective of whether there was a quid pro quo. The advantage of impeaching him ASAP is that it’ll save time, as Pelosi doesn’t want the process dragging on for months so that Republicans can argue that voters should settle it at the ballot box instead.

2. Start holding people in contempt and fight Trump on that point first. Some Trump cronies are practically begging her to do so:

Does Rudy think he has a free-floating privilege not to cooperate with Democrat-run probes? He’s not a member of the administration so he can’t rightly claim executive privilege. His work for Trump in Ukraine appears to have been diplomatic, not legal, so there’s no attorney/client privilege. If Giuliani won’t cough up documents, Pelosi may have to hold him in contempt. Same goes for Sondland if he won’t testify. Dems might even consider the nuclear option of “inherent contempt,” in which they impose their own sanctions on uncooperative witnesses without court help (up to and including imprisonment). But an aggressive offensive involving contempt risks bolstering Trump’s claim that Democrats have resorted to dubious procedures to prosecute their vendetta against him. If Trump is running around telling voters that Pelosi has gone crazy with Trump-hatred, what are they going to conclude if she has Rudy Giuliani thrown in the congressional brig or whatever? Trump was right!

The other problem with contempt is that it’ll be challenged in court and that could drag out for much longer than Pelosi wants. There’s an upside to it too, of course: Nothing would validate the impeachment inquiry in the public’s eyes like having a court, especially the Supreme Court, side with Democrats on the constitutional dispute. But there’s no telling if the courts will review the matter urgently because of its national significance. And of course Pelosi’s taking a big risk counting on a conservative-leaning SCOTUS to side with her against Trump. I think it’s worth the risk to her to go this route, though, knowing that John Roberts is highly unlikely to join a 5-4 party-line vote in Trump’s favor given his worries about perceptions of the Court’s independence. And a favorable SCOTUS ruling for Dems might be the only thing that can really damage Trump’s and Cipollone’s claim that this is a procedural fiasco. Winning a court battle will give the inquiry legitimacy. But at the expense of time.

The post White House lawyer sends letter to Dems: We cannot cooperate with your very unfair impeachment probe appeared first on Hot Air.

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Schiff: Preventing Sondland from testifying is strong evidence of obstruction

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Ed is exactly right about Trump’s strategy in holding Sondland back, I think. He’s going to boycott the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry on grounds of procedural unfairness — namely, there hasn’t been a formal House vote to open the inquiry, which would have given Republican members more power over the proceedings, and there’s been way too much secrecy already in how Schiff is questioning witnesses. For cripes sake, he’s reportedly considering how to interview the whistleblower while obscuring his/her identity so that Republicans on the Intel Committee won’t find out who it is and leak the information. The White House believes, or at least wants the public to believe, that the only winning move in this wargame is not to play. The system is rigged! They won’t help Schiff run his “kangaroo court.”

But it’s noteworthy that Byron York’s Republican sources in the House are nonetheless “baffled” by Trump’s decision.

The problem right now with Trump’s approach of signaling scorn for the Democrats’ sham process is that the public doesn’t agree that it’s a sham and even seems to be growing more convinced of its necessity if you believe WaPo’s data this morning. Every poll I’ve seen over the last two weeks has found at least plurality support for House Dems opening an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s conduct towards Ukraine. Trump is hoping, I guess, that a new round of “witch hunt” attacks on the process will bring some wayward Republican voters back over onto his side. (The most alarming number in the WaPo poll was support for the inquiry rising to 29 percent even among *Republicans.*) But blocking Sondland could have the opposite effect by convincing fencesitters that Trump really does have something to hide and has now resorted to outright obstruction of the investigation in a desperate attempt to protect himself. Schiff even utters the O-word at the end of the clip below.

Sondland is no minor witness, remember. Potentially he’s the key to the whole mystery of whether Trump really did intend a quid pro quo with Ukraine involving military aid and the Bidens. Read this post for background. Sondland reportedly told Ron Johnson flat out in August that a quid pro quo was in the works, and Johnson would be a difficult witness for Republicans to discredit for obvious partisan reasons. Sondland also reportedly worked on a Trump-pleasing draft statement for Ukraine that would have committed the government to investigating “corruption,” including the Biden/Burisma matter, although the statement was never actually issued. And Sondland was the guy responsible for that strange text exchange with Bill Taylor in September in which Taylor complained about what looked to him to be a quid pro quo. Sondland went quiet for several hours after that text and reportedly spoke to Trump directly in the interim before texting back to Taylor that of course our president would never attempt to trade military aid for something of value to him like a Biden probe.

There are a lot of questions for him. The impeachment case may rest on him. If Trump won’t let him testify, how can Democrats not proceed with obstruction?

Maybe Trump’s strategy, as Ed speculated, is simply to drag this out. Yes, House Democrats would probably win a court fight to compel Sondland’s testimony but they want to wrap up impeachment ASAP, not sit around paralyzed for months while the courts mull it over. The longer it takes, the closer we get to the election, the easier it is for Republicans in Congress to say that it’s too late to impeach and we should just let voters decide the matter in November. Realizing that, Democrats may decide not to even bother with forcing Sondland to testify and proceed instead to impeach Trump for obstruction. What happens then, I assume, is that Senate Republicans acquit on grounds that Trump has some sort of insuperable executive privilege that lets him withhold evidence from Congress whenever he likes. They’re gonna acquit him no matter what; it’s a matter of finding the reason. The question is how the public reacts to all of that. With more Americans already in favor of conducting an impeachment inquiry than opposed, which side “wins” the PR war if Trump starts blocking people from testifying, gets impeached, and then is acquitted half-heartedly on grounds that he has a moral right to obstruct unfair investigations?

If today’s WaPo poll means anything, it means Democrats are increasingly unlikely to suffer a major backlash from impeachment. The higher support for investigating Trump and Ukraine goes, the more eager voters will be potentially to side with the Dem narrative that Trump’s refusal to cooperate is obstruction of a legitimate probe, not a righteous refusal to participate in a sham Star Chamber proceeding.

The question today is whether Pelosi wants to play hardball over Sondland or not. Democrats could impeach him for refusing to testify, I assume, but that would risk making the impeachment process seem more petty than it already is and Sondland certainly wouldn’t be convicted by the Senate anyway. He’s willing to testify, after all. It’s Trump who’s holding him back. What Dems could do instead is move to hold him in contempt and then request an expedited disposition in court if/when Sondland challenges them. If the courts comply and rule in their favor, that’s a big win for them. If the courts decide to take their time with the matter, Pelosi might just drop the court battle and move to impeach Trump for obstruction instead.

Here’s Schiff speaking after Sondland failed to show, followed by Jim Jordan.

The post Schiff: Preventing Sondland from testifying is strong evidence of obstruction appeared first on Hot Air.

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Time For The Democrat Party Rank And File, To Rise Up

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Oliver Cromwell
Courtesy of Historic-UK.com

Rank and file Democrats who care about their party and their country, need to rise up and wrest back control of the Democrat Party. Today’s Democrat party bears absolutely no resemblance to the party of our fathers and grandfathers. They are nowhere near being a loyal opposition party—a party that might disagree on methods, but nevertheless values and supports shared national objectives.

Why? The Leadership. The Leadership of today’s Democrat party can be divided into two camps. One, is the corrupt old guard of Tammany Hall or Daly Machine days. That camp has always corrupted the power of office for personal enrichment. They are the ones who came into government with personal net worths of less than a million dollars and then somewhere along the way and despite a government pay check of less than 200 grand per year, manage to amp their personal wealth up into 10’s even 100’s of millions. The most recently open and notorious member of that camp is of course, former Vice President Joe Biden, Democrat Presidential Primary candidate and along with his son, subject of a Ukrainian corruption investigation.

Then there is the new breed, who are flat out, insane. They advocate the murder of children in the womb. Even if one of their intended victims manages to survive the procedure and lies gasping for life on a stainless steel clinic table, they are still willing to see it killed. While busily screeching for a “living wage!’ they are busily importing more uneducated, low-skilled, some criminal, some diseased people who, drive down wages, take entry level jobs, denying low skill Americans the opportunity to get a leg up and who refuse to assimilate into our culture.

Speaking of culture, they browbeat normal Americans into believing they must actively promote child abuse in the form of genital mutilation of minors in order to promote the “transgender” agenda. On more than a few occasions they have used the full force of law to drive real Americans into penury for defending their right NOT to participate in ceremonies promoting deviant and disordered behavior.

The list goes on and on….and it ain’t just the Democrats. There is a special circle in Dante’s Inferno reserved for pusillanimous RINOs such as Mitt Romney, YEB! or like Jeff Flake…John McCain is already keeping a seat warm for him. They are flat out evil. The only reason they give any consideration at all to the folks they purport to represent, is so they are available on a two year and four year cycle to flip the lever “D.”

For our Republic to survive, it needs two healthy parties who each believe in the Constitution and the American culture of individual liberty. Lifetime Democrats need to get rid of these leaders—and right now. They should borrow from Oliver Cromwell

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place. Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

Hat Tip: “civil_truth,” a loyal RedState commentor

Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

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Chris Matthews: Shouldn’t Democrats be looking at impeaching Mike Pence too?

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Via Newsbusters, this is a fun gotcha to ask Senate Democrats because there’s an obvious answer to his question but it’s an answer Democrats can’t say out loud.

The answer is that no matter how dirty Pence’s hands turn out to be in this Ukraine mess, Democrats can’t make a move on him. Trump is already screaming about a “coup,” trying to turn Americans against the impeachment process; the rebuttal to that from the left is that if they were going to stage a coup, it sure as heck wouldn’t end with Mike Pence as president, which is what’ll happen if their impeachment effort succeeds. Start talking about *Pence* being impeached and removed too, though, and suddenly the “coup” argument becomes more tenable. Democrats are trying to get rid of both Republicans in order to make Nancy Pelosi president. Any small, tentative support Dems currently enjoy among moderate Republicans would go up in smoke if that perception took hold. And of course Senate Republicans would never, ever allow it. In some worst-case scenario where both Trump and Pence were impeached, they’d find a reason not to remove Pence in the name of maintaining Republican control of the White House.

But as I say, Democrats can’t say “It’s Trump we hate, it’s Trump we’re after, and so we’re giving Mike Pence a completely free pass for political reasons, to reassure Republican voters that they’ll still rule the executive branch.” Instead they’ll be forced to concoct excuses for the VP when the media coughs up stories like this:

[T]he president used Pence to tell Zelensky that U.S. aid was still being withheld while demanding more aggressive action on corruption, officials said. At that time — following Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelenksy — the Ukrainians probably understood action on corruption to include the investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Officials close to Pence insist that he was unaware of Trump’s efforts to press Zelensky for damaging information about Biden and his son, who had served on the board of an obscure Ukrainian gas company, when his father was overseeing U.S. policy on Ukraine.

Pence’s activities occurred amid several indications of the president’s hidden agenda. Among them were the abrupt removal of the U.S. ambassador to Kiev; the visible efforts by the president’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to insert himself in the U.S.-Ukraine relationship; as well as alarms being raised inside the White House even before the emergence of an extraordinary whistleblower complaint about Trump’s conduct.

Perhaps most significantly, one of Pence’s top advisers [national security advisor Keith Kellogg] was on the July 25 call and the vice president should have had access to the transcript within hours, officials said.

Trump had also told Pence earlier in the year not to attend Zelensky’s inauguration. And WaPo’s White House sources claim that Pence “probably” would have had the notes of Trump’s famous phone call with Zelensky in his briefing book when he traveled to Poland to meet the Ukrainian president in September. Between those notes and Kellogg’s personal awareness of what was said on the call (supposedly Kellogg didn’t see the call “as unusual or flag any concerns about it to the vice president”) and the inauguration cancellation and the mysterious hold-up in military aid and the other things mentioned in the excerpt, Democrats could argue that Pence should have realized — and probably did realize — what was going on when Trump sent him to Warsaw and had him press Zelensky on unspecified “corruption.” It was a pressure campaign, with a very particular result in mind.

But they’re not going to argue that. Maybe some of their 2020 candidates will try to drag Pence into it as a way of virtue-signaling to the left that they’re ready to impeach anyone and everyone in the Trump administration, but party leaders will seize any excuse available to ignore Pence’s role in this. “I can believe that Mike Pence was so disengaged from what his own government is doing that he failed to recognize what was going on under his nose.” Or “As much as I dislike Mike Pence, I think we need to focus on the mastermind here.” Or even some meritorious excuses — “We can’t be sure Pence was in on it since he never specifically mentioned Biden to Zelensky.” Or “I blame Keith Kellogg, who was on the call, instead of Pence for not bringing the call to Pence’s attention.”

Worst-case scenario for Pence here, realistically, is that the impeachment push somehow gains momentum and Democrats end up censuring him in the House. Imagine how annoyed Pelosi must be, though, to see the friendly confines of MSNBC raising this uncomfortable question for her at a moment when she’s trying to convince the public that Trump — and only Trump — must go.

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Pelosi Quotes Scripture While Continuing To Advocate For The Mass Murder Of Innocent Children

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Today, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi held a news conference. It was a wide ranging propaganda effort aimed at supporting her party’s ongoing refusal to acknowledge their electoral defeat in 2016. Initially, Pelosi focused on legislative efforts, under the guise of “helping the American people.” Once she blew through a few phrases on infrastructure needs and prescription drugs (obviously designed to appear as though the Democrat caucus is interested in other things besides “impeachment,”) she then segued to the real point of her tirade. This of course, was the Democrat Party’s continuing effort to overturn the results of a Presidential election, cleverly misnamed, “Congress’s Constitutional Duty.”

Her comments (along with those of her henchman, Adam Schiff) regarding Presidential actions during a phone call with the President of Ukraine, were false on their face. But that’s not the major issue here; we expect Democrats to boldly lie to get their way. My beef with today’s latest Democrat shot at the President, is that it is one of the most abject case of depraved, immoral hypocrisy I’ve ever seen.

As Speaker Pelosi segued into her impeachment pitch, she tried to establish a moral foundation for it by quoting our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ saying, “For what profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul.” She followed that up throughout her opening comments and answers to reporter questions with, “We will consider this prayerfully,” or words to that effect—at least 7 times by my count. How dare she. How. Dare. She.

Speaker Pelosi, who constantly claims to be for the common man, has constantly and consistently advocated for the murder of innocent children in the womb. Lately that support has extended to the murder of children who manage to survive the abortion process and now lay gasping for breath on a cold, stainless steel butcher’s table. And now she quotes scripture and claims that she is considering her actions prayerfully?!

I don’t have the ability to come up with the prose that adequately describes the evil that this prayerfully, professed Catholic woman represents, so with apologies to Winston Churchill…

This wicked woman, Pelosi the repository and embodiment of many forms of soul-destroying hatred. This monstrous product of former wrongs and shame.

I can only hope that the current titular Vicar of Christ on Earth, Pope Francis, can tear his attention away from the non-existent problem of climate change and instead, focus his energy on the 56 MILLION babies butchered Worldwide each year, 630,000 in the United States—their murders actively supported by Nancy Pelosi. Perhaps the Pope should excommunicate her—just as a good start.

Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

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McConnell: We have no choice but to hold a trial in the Senate if the House impeaches Trump

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Liberals on social media have spent the past few days spitballing scenarios in which McConnell somehow shuts down the impeachment process without following through with a full trial on the merits. What if instead of holding a trial he decides to dispense with the matter by calling a snap vote on the Senate floor as soon as the articles of impeachment arrive? Party-line, 53/47, and just like that it’s all over? Or what if McConnell screws them again like he screwed them in 2016 by refusing to even take up the matter? He ignored Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court; he could ignore the House’s articles of impeachment, thus sparing the purple-state Republicans in his caucus who are facing reelection next year from a difficult vote. Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution says that “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.” But the Senate also has the sole power to confirm SCOTUS nominees. McConnell declined to exercise the latter power. Why wouldn’t he decline to exercise the former?

No doubt Trump will end up pressuring him to do so, privately and maybe publicly. “The Senate should not dignify the Democrats’ witch hunt with a hearing! PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” McConnell could even analogize to court proceedings to justify his refusal to hold a trial, insisting that the evidence produced by the House is so thin that he’s going to use his authority as majority leader like a judge and dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim.

But no, he surprised everyone by telling NPR today that the Senate will indeed hold a trial.

Whether he feels duty-bound by the Constitution to do it or bound by political reality is unclear. Cocaine Mitch may figure that impeachment is simply too momentous to sneer at it by refusing to even hear the evidence. Americans might get angry at that show of scorn, and certainly Schumer would leverage it by insisting that the only way to hold Trump accountable in a second term is to elect a Democratic Senate majority. It would be the ultimate statement of how deep in the tank Senate Republicans are for the president — so deep that they won’t even deign to formally consider the charges against him. It’d be a bad look. McConnell’s going to at least check the box of holding a hearing.

But maybe not do much more than check the box:

[Trump] heads into what appears to be a rapidly unfurling impeachment inquiry unprepared temperamentally, and with a depleted staff, many of whom are shrugging off the seriousness of what the president faces…

Having a formal war room, or rapid response operation, “would be overreaction on our part,” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president. “It would be playing on the Democrats’ turf.” And if impeachment succeeds, Trump officials are anticipating a Republican-held Senate that would not permit witnesses to testify at length and would not convict him.

Mr. Trump, aides said, shares that view, and on Thursday he expressed no interest in building a war room to respond to what he views as an effort by congressional Democrats to harass him. In contrast to the Mueller investigation, which required the White House to turn over millions of documents, his aides feel there is little for them to do at the moment.

Being as unprepared as possible and counting on his ability to bullsh*t his way through a crisis is extremely on-brand for POTUS. In any case, a cursory Senate proceeding seems likely, with McConnell doing just enough so that Republicans can say to voters back home, “We looked at the evidence, okay?”, but not so much that it risks producing uncomfortable testimony that’ll make the acquittal vote more uncomfortable for the GOP. McConnell’s as eager to move on from this as Pelosi is; the shorter the trial, the sooner the vote, the better for the party in putting this all behind them.

One thing Trump *is* reportedly doing to help his defense is meeting this afternoon with the head of the NRA to discuss, er, a quid pro quo:

President Trump met on Friday with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, to discuss how the N.R.A. could provide financial support for the president’s defense as he faces political headwinds, including impeachment, according to two people familiar with the meeting.

It was not clear whether Mr. Trump asked Mr. LaPierre for his support, or if the idea was pitched by the N.R.A. But in return for the support, Mr. LaPierre asked that the White House “stop the games” over gun control legislation, people familiar with the meeting said.

Hand the president a check and maybe your legislative priorities will become his legislative priorities. That’s how political fundraising generally works, but rarely is cash exchanged for a specific political favor as plainly as is alleged here.

Meanwhile, Democrats are moving quickly to build a case:

The big news is that they’ve subpoenaed documents from Mike Pompeo with an explicit warning that “The subpoenaed documents shall be part of the impeachment inquiry and shared among the Committees. Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.” If Pompeo refuses on grounds of executive privilege, this will go straight to court for a test of whether Congress’s power of impeachment trumps (no pun intended) the president’s power to conduct foreign policy as he sees fit, without legislative interference. Imagine Trump’s reaction if/when Gorsuch and Kavanaugh side with Congress on that.

Watch the clip below, which Trump tweeted out this afternoon and which apparently is going up on television as an ad. He might not be preparing an extensive legal impeachment defense but he’ll certainly eagerly participate in the messaging war. Exit question: Is Rudy Giuliani trying to do PR damage to the president? Turn on cable news at any hour this week and you’re apt to find him there ranting and berating his critics. Sometimes he sounds borderline nutty, yammering at an Atlantic reporter yesterday, “It is impossible that the whistle-blower is a hero and I’m not. And I will be the hero! These morons—when this is over, I will be the hero.” His role in the Ukraine matter is Trump’s chief liability; if POTUS had gone through official channels like the DOJ and State Department to contact Ukraine about evidence of corruption by the Bidens, it’d be much harder to claim that his interest in the matter was aimed at benefiting himself politically. Sticking his crony Giuliani on the case as some sort of unofficial “corruption” envoy working outside of U.S. diplomacy makes the matter look much shadier than it had to. Republicans in Congress are now openly begging Giuliani to go away and Rudy himself is in some legal jeopardy for his role in the Ukraine process. There’s a nonzero chance if damning evidence emerges of a quid pro quo that Trump will try to make him the fall guy in order to protect himself. What will Rudy do then?

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