Friday, July 26, 2019

Last Call For The Reach To Impeach, Con't

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler has finally had enough, and is going forward with impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, among other things.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Friday that negotiations with former White House counsel Don McGahn over an outstanding subpoena for his testimony, but if the outstanding issues are not resolved soon, the committee plans to go to court to seek enforcement of the subpoena early next week.

Nadler told reporters at the Capitol that the committee would also be filing an application for the grand jury material underlying former special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"The Department of Justice policies will not allow prosecution of a siting president," Nadler said. "The House is the only institution that can now hold President Trump accountable for these actions. To do so, the House must have access to all the relevant facts."

He added, "We will continue to seek testimony from key fact witnesses," and he added that "our work will continue into the August recess."

McGahn, who was prominently featured in the Mueller report, told the special counsel's team during hours of interviews that the president had ordered him to fire Mueller, and he refused. He has already defied a subpoena by the House panel, declining to testify when the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel claimed executive privilege.

Asked about the growing calls among the Democratic caucus to file articles of impeachment for Mr. Trump, Nadler did not rule out the possibility.

"We may decide to recommend articles of impeachment at some point. We may not," he said. Several of Nadler's colleagues referred to their next step in their inquiry as an "impeachment investigation" into the administration.

This is the Pelosi plan: get the information necessary to impeach Donald Trump into the hands of House Democrats.  Whether or not SCOTUS will agree, or whether or not this will be tied up in the courts until a Trump second term, we don't know.

But the dice have been rolled.  This path, by the way, is exactly what Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent recommended this morning.

Fortunately, there is an answer to this problem: The House Judiciary Committee can launch an impeachment inquiry independently, without any vote by the full House.

In an interview, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, suggested to me that it’s only a matter of time until the committee formally considers drafting articles of impeachment on its own.

“Somebody has to write articles of impeachment to focus this investigative and analytical process,” Raskin told me. “If not the Judiciary Committee, who is going to do it? This is our job.”

Raskin suggested that this is where the process is inevitably heading already.

“The Constitution leaves it up to Congress how to structure impeachment proceedings,” Raskin told me. “There are many different ways to get there. It can arise from floor action. It can arise within the Judiciary Committee itself.”

“I’m convinced that articles of impeachment are going to originate from the House Judiciary Committee,” Raskin said. “The question is just when.

The timeline on the inquiry part of impeachment has been answered, and that is now.

No wonder then that Trump is now specifically calling for investigations into President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

President Trump on Friday lashed out at Democrats over their ongoing investigations into his administration, suggesting there should instead be probes into former President Obama's book deal and other activities under his predecessor.

"They want to investigate, they want to go fishing and I watched Bob Mueller and they have nothing," Trump said of Democrats during an Oval Office gathering to announce an agreement with Guatemala.

"It’s a disgrace," he continued. "We want to find out what happened the last Democrat president. Let’s look into Obama the way they’ve looked into me. From day one they’ve looked into everything we’ve done."

"They could look into the book deal that President Obama made. Let’s subpoena all of his records," Trump continued. "Let’s subpoena all of the records having to do with Hillary Clinton and all of the nonsense that went on with Clinton and her foundation and everything else."

It's about damned time, Democrats.  Trump is terrified and is already lashing out in response to Democrats being serious.  He will start putting you in jail in order to save himself if you don't stop him...

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Yesterday I talked about how Robert Mueller's testimony on Wednesday included the fact the Russians are currently attacking our voting systems and have been since 2016, and that Republicans refuse to lift a finger to stop them, blocking measures to help beef up voting system security yesterday. Now we find out the Russian attack on our voting system in 2016 was so massive that they hit all 50 states over three years and absolutely interfered in the presidential race.

The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded Thursday that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time, but at the demand of American intelligence agencies the committee was forced to redact its findings so heavily that key lessons for the 2020 election are blacked out.

The report — the first volume of several to be released from the committee’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference — came just 24 hours after the former special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, warned that Russia was moving again to interfere “as we sit here.”

It also landed hours after Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, personally stepped forward to block consideration of a package of election security bills.

While details of many of the hackings directed by Russian intelligence, particularly in Illinois and Arizona, are well known, the committee’s report describes a Russian intelligence effort more far-reaching than the federal government has previously acknowledged.

It concluded that while there is no evidence that any votes were changed in actual voting machines, “Russian cyberactors were in a position to delete or change voter data” in the Illinois voter database. The committee found no evidence that they did so.

While the report is not directly critical of either American intelligence agencies or the states, it described what amounted to a cascading intelligence failure, in which the scope of the Russian effort was underestimated, warnings to the states were too muted, and state officials either underreacted or, in some cases, resisted federal efforts to offer help. 

Once again, the Russians were deep into our voting registration and tally systems in all 50 states and could have done anything they wanted in 2016.

Once again, Mitch McConnell was aware of all of this from the beginning.

Once again, McConnell and the GOP have done everything they can to block efforts to increase security in voting registration and tally systems.

And if you don't believe the Russians changed any votes while being in a position to do so in all 50 states, well, I don't know what to say.  The Senate Intelligence Committee may have found "no evidence" but that's like saying police knew of a group of bank robbers had access to a bank vault but there was "no evidence" of anything taken...admitting to the crime would have of course destroyed the bank, and that's what's happening here.

Of course, as several of you have suggested in the comments over the last few months is that the Russians broke into the bank vault only to discover another robbery in progress.

Only in this case, it's our election systems.  But it's fine, right?  The good guys will prevail?

Plat du Jour: Jambons Cuits à la Vapeur

Europe is broiling under all-time record temperatures, well above 40 degrees Celsius, and the world should get used to baking like this right up until the last Republican who says anthropomorphic global warming is a hoax dies from heat exhaustion.

Never in recorded history has Paris been hotter than it was on Thursday.

The same was true of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, as temperatures rose and records tumbled one by one across Western Europe, scorching the continent and sending residents scrambling to seek relief from a dangerous heat wave.

In Paris, the temperature soared to 42.6 degrees Celsius (108.6 Fahrenheit), breaking a record set in 1947, 40.4 degrees Celsius, according to the French national weather service, which said the temperatures could rise further. Some 20 million people in northern France were expected to be affected by the heat.

In the Netherlands, temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), shattering the record high set only a day earlier, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute said. In Germany, the northwestern town of Lingen hit 41.5 Celsius (106.7 Fahrenheit).

And for the second time this week, Belgium measured its hottest day, with a temperature of 40.6 Celsius in Kleine Brogel (105 Fahrenheit) on Thursday passing the mark set a day earlier, 40.2 Celsius. The authorities issued a code red alert for the first time since the weather warning system was put in place 20 years ago.

“It’s really shocking to have this heat in Brussels,” said Francesca Van Daele, a student of political science at the Free University of Brussels-VUB. “Our urban planning is not really made for heat waves like this.”

The hottest summers in Europe in the past 500 years have all come in the past 17 years, scientists say. Several heat waves have been linked to human-caused climate change. In the years ahead, they say, many more are likely to scorch temperate zones like northern Europe.

We're maybe a generation away from London having Barcelona's climate, and Barcelona having Cairo's climate.  But it's all sunspots and cloud cover and really we should just continue to drive SUVs and strip mine the mountains and belch carbon into the air because everything will be fine.

We won't be around when the generational cohort after today's Gen Z are born in 2020 and after and they grow up in a world with dozens of hundred-degree days, critical water and food shortages, and resource wars.  Maybe they'll forgive us posthumously, but I doubt it.

They'll remember my generation especially as cowards who helped elect Trump and wrecked the planet.  Hopefully they'll rise up and remove anybody currently over 40 from ever having any sort of political power again and bury us all as the Moron Generation.


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