Monday, June 3, 2019

Last Call For The Reach To Impeach, Con't

The House Democratic leadership continues to smash flat any real talk of impeachment and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, I would expect.  House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn has totally reversed himself in less than 24 hours after Nancy Pelosi collared him this afternoon.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn on Monday walked back remarks suggesting that Democrats will impeach President Donald Trump, reversing course to say he’s “farther” from backing impeachment than most of his caucus.

Clyburn’s comments came after a private leadership meeting Monday evening in which Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated that she didn’t support launching impeachment proceedings right now despite a growing push within the caucus.

“I’m probably farther away from impeachment than anybody in our caucus,” Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters Monday night. “We will not get out in front of our committees. We’ll see what the committees come up with. I’ve said that forever.”

Asked by POLITICO whether he thought impeachment proceedings were inevitable, Clyburn simply said no.

The No. 3 Democrat’s comments stand in contrast to what he said Sunday, suggesting it was only a matter of time before House Democrats began impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“That’s exactly what I feel, I think we’ve already begun it,” Clyburn told CNN’s Jake Tapper when asked whether House Democrats would try to remove the president from office.
Clyburn went on to say that his caucus was still pursuing a methodical series of steps — including several committee probes, a slew of subpoenas, upcoming contempt votes and multiple court cases — with no timeframe for when that might culminate in official impeachment proceedings.

How long can Nancy Pelosi keep up this Schrödinger's Impeachment Box routine?  Undercover Blue at Digby's place weighs in:

Clyburn says moving forward on impeachment is about timing. Pelosi first wants to make a case to the American people. But as Trumpism soils America's image worldwide, how much time have they and the country got? If Democrats in leadership feel any urgency to perform that educational service, they are not showing it. They appear to be waiting for opinion polls to turn in their favor before moving aggressively to rein in an increasingly monarchical administration. Somehow, opinion will move on its own and allow them that freedom. Chicken and egg?

"Democrats rely on polling to take the temperature; Republicans use polling to change it," messaging specialist Anat Shenker-Osorio wrote in 2017. Leaders shape public opinion. They don't wait for it.

As I keep saying, we're going to have to save ourselves from Trump.  Don't count on House Democrats to act.  Make sure you're registered to vote.  Make sure your friends and family are too.  All of this is for nothing if Trump (or Pence) is elected in November 2020.

Mail Mitch The Money

If you're wondering why GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been silent on Trump's trade war, it's because his wife is Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and Chao's family is getting extremely rich off of trade politics and has been for years.  Chao's 2017 trip to Beijing was canceled over ethics questions, but the US-China trade war is raising an army of new matters.

Ms. Chao has no formal affiliation or stake in her family’s shipping business, Foremost Group. But she and her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have received millions of dollars in gifts from her father, James, who ran the company until last year. And Mr. McConnell’s re-election campaigns have received more than $1 million in contributions from Ms. Chao’s extended family, including from her father and her sister Angela, now Foremost’s chief executive, who were both subjects of the State Department’s ethics question.

Over the years, Ms. Chao has repeatedly used her connections and celebrity status in China to boost the profile of the company, which benefits handsomely from the expansive industrial policies in Beijing that are at the heart of diplomatic tensions with the United States, according to interviews, industry filings and government documents from both countries.

Now, Ms. Chao is the top Trump official overseeing the American shipping industry, which is in steep decline and overshadowed by its Chinese competitors.

Her efforts on behalf of the family business — appearing at promotional events, joining her father in interviews with Chinese-language media — have come as Foremost has interacted with the Chinese state to a remarkable degree for an American company.

Foremost has received hundreds of millions of dollars in loan commitments from a bank run by the Chinese government, whose policies have been labeled by the Trump administration as threats to American security. The company’s primary business — delivering China’s iron ore and coal — is intertwined with industries caught up in a trade war with the United States. That dispute stems in part from the White House’s complaints that China is flooding the world with subsidized steel, undermining American producers.

Foremost, though a relatively small company in its sector, is responsible for a large portion of orders at one of China’s biggest state-funded shipyards, and has secured long-term charters with a Chinese state-owned steel maker as well as global commodity companies that guarantee it steady revenues. 
In a rarity for foreigners, Angela and James Chao have served on the board of the holding company for China State Shipbuilding, a state-owned enterprise that makes ships for the Chinese military, along with Foremost and other customers. Angela Chao is also on the board at the Bank of China, a top lender to the shipbuilder, and a former vice chairman of the Council of China’s Foreign Trade, a promotional group created by the Chinese government.

Angela Chao, speaking in an interview in New York on Friday, said that her board positions were unremarkable, emphasizing that Foremost did business around the world. She denied that the company had a “China focus” beyond what most dry bulk carriers have in a world dominated by Chinese manufacturing. “We are an international shipping company, and I’m an American,” she said, adding, “I don’t think that, if I didn’t have a Chinese face, there would be any of this focus on China.”

James Chao was not made available for an interview; a representative of the company received written questions from The Times two weeks ago, and the company responded with a fact sheet on Friday.

Though Foremost worked in the late 1960s on American government contracts to ship rice to Vietnam, according to James Chao’s biography, it has almost no footprint left in the United States, save for a modest corporate headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. It registers its ships in Liberia and Hong Kong and owns them through companies in the Marshall Islands.

Since Elaine Chao became transportation secretary, records show, the agency budget has repeatedly called to cut programs intended to stabilize the financially troubled maritime industry in the United States, moving to cut new funding for federal grants to small commercial shipyards and federal loan guarantees to domestic shipbuilders.

Her agency’s budget has also tried to slash spending for a grant program that helps keep 60 American-flagged ships in service, and has tried to scale back plans to buy new ships that would train Americans as crew members. (In China, Ms. Chao’s family has paid for scholarships and a ship simulator to train Chinese seamen.)

In other words, Elaine Chao is making China's maritime shipping industry great again at the cost of the US.  Now Trump's trade war with China means that her family is getting rich, and it's coming at the expense of US taxpayers who are getting stuck with billions in new tariffs.

They're all in on the grift.  

Peace Plan In Pieces, Rest In Peace

In a meeting with Jewish leaders, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apparently told the truth about just how much of a disaster Trump's "Mideast Peace Plan" is, the only real surprise is that it's taken this long for someone to leak just how worthless Jared Kushner is as a diplomat.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a sobering assessment of the prospects of the Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan in a closed-door meeting with Jewish leaders, saying “one might argue” that the plan is “unexecutable” and it might not “gain traction.” He expressed his hope that the deal isn’t simply dismissed out of hand. 
“It may be rejected. Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘It’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out,’ ” Pompeo said in an audio recording of the private meeting obtained by The Washington Post. 
“The big question is can we get enough space that we can have a real conversation about how to build this out,” he said.

The remarks are the most unvarnished comments to date from a U.S. official about President Trump’s “deal of the century,” an effort to resolve the intractable Israeli-Palestinian dispute he has entrusted to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and former lawyer Jason Greenblatt.
The unveiling of the plan has been repeatedly delayed, a point Pompeo noted. 
“This has taken us longer to roll out our plan than I had originally thought it might — to put it lightly,” he said at a meeting on Tuesday of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a New York-based group that addresses concerns of the Jewish community. 

The Trump regime is just like any other company where the boss's dipshit son-in-law gets put in charge of a major project that everyone knows he's going to screw up, only this project is America's Mideast Peace Plan and the smoking wreck is going to essentially finish off any hope of a two-state solution and doom the Palestinians to a slow genocide in an open-air concrete prison zoo.

And for Pompeo to essentially toss Kushner under the bus on this and then fill the bus with concrete and roll the whole mess into the Dead Sea, well.  It could be an uncomfortable trip to the UK this week for the Trump clan.


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