Friday, December 20, 2019

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

Acting WH Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is expected to quit after Trump's Senate impeachment trial.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is widely expected to leave his current position once the Senate wraps up its impeachment trial and the intense scrutiny of the West Wing settles down, according to five aides and confidants to President Donald Trump.

Trump allies and White House aides, who have been nudging the president in recent weeks to find a new leader for the team as it delves into a crucial reelection campaign, have been circulating lists of potential replacements for weeks.

Mulvaney no longer wields much control over White House staff. Lately, he has been left out of major personnel and policy decisions, and he is not driving the strategy on impeachment even though he occupies what is historically the most powerful job in the West Wing.
“He is there. I’ll leave it at that,” said a Republican close to the White House when asked about Mulvaney’s status. “He’s like a kid. His role at the dinner table is to be seen and not heard.”

The news Thursday that Republican Rep. Mark Meadows would not seek reelection and would instead work in some capacity for the president was interpreted throughout the White House and Trump world as Meadows morphing into Trump’s chief of staff in waiting — ready to assume the position in a second term if Trump wins reelection. Meadows has been spotted around the West Wing in recent weeks and has been one of Trump’s key advisers throughout the House impeachment process. He is also close to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his most trusted advisers, whom the outgoing congressman often speaks with multiple times per week.

A spokesman for Meadows declined to comment. The White House press office did not respond to a request for comment.

So continuing the thread from yesterday, Mulvaney's number is pretty much up and Mark Meadows will take over.

"Got my president impeached" doesn't exactly look great on your resume, but Mulvaney has basically been a ghost since his disastrous September presser all but assured Trump was going to get impeached.

Mulvaney basically admitted on national television that Trump's Ukraine call on July 25 was a messy quid pro quo, and that opened the door to everything that followed.  He couldn't be fired during the impeachment process because he'd have been forced to testify in the House proceedings.  She still should be, but that's a fight for a different day.

Besides, "after the Senate trial" might be a while.  The White House is now arguing because Pelosi hasn't named impeachment managers and sent the articles to the Senate, impeachment never actually happened so it should be ignored.

The White House is considering making the argument that President Trump has not officially been impeached, given that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not transmitted the articles of impeachment to the Senate
, two sources involved in the president's impeachment defense told CBS News.

The House voted to impeach Mr. Trump on two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — on Wednesday. However, Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that the House would wait to deliver the articles until the Senate had laid out the rules for the trial.

"When we see the process that's set forth in the Senate, then we'll know the number of managers we'll have to move forward, and who we would choose," the California Democrat said. The House must vote on a resolution designating impeachment managers to prosecute the case against Mr. Trump in the Senate before delivering the articles.

The White House is considering making the case that Mr. Trump has not been impeached based on an opinion piece by Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman on Bloomberg's opinion page Thursday. Feldman was one of the legal experts called by Democrats to testify before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month and has advocated for Mr. Trump's impeachment and removal from office.

"Impeachment as contemplated by the Constitution does not consist merely of the vote by the House, but of the process of sending the articles to the Senate for trial," Feldman wrote in Bloomberg. "Both parts are necessary to make an impeachment under the Constitution: The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial."

"If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn't actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn't truly impeached at all," Feldman wrote.

However, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe wrote on Twitter that he disagreed with Feldman's analysis, saying that "under Art. I, Sec. 2, Clause 5, he was impeached on Dec 18, 2019. He will forever remain impeached. Period." That portion of the Constitution says that the House of Representatives "shall have the sole Power of Impeachment."

Tribe is correct, but expect the White House to argue that Trump was never impeached until his base believes it, with the goal of de-legitimizing the process to the point that the Senate can simply dispose of it with a simple majority vote.  If the Senate chooses to do that before Pelosi send the articles over, well then, it's Constitutional Crisis number 14 or 15 of the Trump era.

The Red Rout Continues

A decade of campaign finance violations have caught up to the number three Republican in the House, Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington state, as the House Ethics Committee has sanctioned her for repeated violations of House rules.

The committee's extraordinarily long review described "sloppy practices" and record keeping stretching back to 2008, which contributed to the improper use of campaign funds. The Ethics Committee also found evidence that McMorris Rodgers' staffers "used official resources, including official staff time, congressional office space, and travel funds, for political activities."

"The extensive record compiled by the Committee in this matter demonstrates that the offices of Representative Rodgers frequently exhibited an indifference to the laws, rules and regulations relating to the use of official and unofficial resources," concluded the panel, which is chaired by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) but equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.

"This indifference led to myriad instances of resources being used inappropriately. While in some of those instances, the misuse appeared to be a minor deviation from expected conduct, at other times the impropriety was more severe."

As a result of the long-running string of ethical and legal violations, McMorris Rodgers was ordered to reimburse the government $7,576.

The ethics panel noted that McMorris Rodgers accepted responsibility for the findings and has "taken steps to prevent such conduct from happening in the future."

The panel also praised her for full cooperation and acknowledged that McMorris Rodgers likely was unaware of the "full extent" of her office's transgressions, though it concluded that she should have known.

“Over the course of six years and four Congresses, the congresswoman and her staff voluntarily cooperated with the [Ethics] Committee in full, as it noted in its report, producing 66,500 pages of documents and submitting to over 30 witness interview requests," said a McMorris Rodgers' spokesperson in a statement. "We are pleased that the committee has ended its review and we can finally put this matter behind us."

McMorris Rogers's district covers eastern Washington and Spokane, so it's practically Idaho.  It's a fairly Republican district (R+8) and this has been going on for several terms, so I'm not sure this is going to exactly hurt her chances for reelection.

Still, smart Democrats should use this to point out she's not fit for office and should be voted out.

The Christian Thing To Do

Out of the blue, Mark Galli, editor of the Billy Graham-founded evangelical magazine Christianity Today, called for the removal from office of one Donald J. Trump.

In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.

The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.

That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.

Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.

But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we wrote this:
The President's failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best. And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.
And this:
Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.
Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.

That's the equivalent of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch going off on a count of five (three, sir) in the middle of the biggest megachurch you can find.

"Donald Trump is as immoral as Bill Clinton" is a hell of an argument, but at least it's an argument.  Where Christianity Today has been during the three years it apparently took them to stumble across the fact that Donald Trump has been an immoral gangster, well.

That's a different argument, I suppose.

So white evangelical Christian support for Trump is only at 99.999%.  How awful for him.


Related Posts with Thumbnails