Friday, January 3, 2020

Last Call For Impeachment Reached, Con't

Mitch McConnell isn't quite ready to bring up outright dismissal of impeachment charged against Donald Trump due to our unfortunate new war with Iran, but he's definitely sandbagging on witnesses and Pelosi is calling him out on it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) bashed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) refusal to commit to Senate impeachment trial witnesses, with a statement Friday that stopped short of suggesting she’d withhold the impeachment articles until he did.

“The American people deserve the truth. Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution,” Pelosi said in the statement. “The GOP Senate must immediately proceed in a manner worthy of the Constitution and in light of the gravity of the President’s unprecedented abuses.”

Since the House adopted impeachment articles alleging President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, the Senate’s Republican and Democratic leaders have publicly feuded over whether the Senate should agree to call additional witness for its trial when it hashes out a preliminary deal for the other trial procedures.

McConnell, in floor remarks Friday, reiterated his position that the Senate should follow the model of the Clinton impeachment trial, during which the senators did not come to an agreement on witnesses until after the initial stages of the trial were completed.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) meanwhile has accused McConnell of pushing off the witness decision so Republicans could make an end-run around it, and the Democrat is seeking the testimony top administration aides that the White House refused to make available for the House impeachment proceedings.

The night of the House impeachment vote, Pelosi wouldn’t rule out withholding the transmission of the articles until McConnell agreed to a fair trial. She has since downplayed the possibility that she’d delay the articles’ transmission as leverage for securing procedural concessions from McConnell.

Nonetheless, McConnell whacked Pelosi Friday for even flirting with the idea of delaying the transmission, claiming in his floor remarks that the House had developed “cold feet” about its impeachment case after for weeks touting an urgency in the allegations that required the House to move quickly.

Pelosi shot back in her statement that McConnell had “made clear that he will feebly comply with President Trump’s cover-up of his abuses of power and be an accomplice to that cover-up.”

Missing from the blistering statement, however, was any hint that she would hold off on sending the impeachment case to the Senate until McConnell gave in to the Democrats’ demands.

Pelosi is still playing it cool, but I have to say, the Trump regime war propaganda machine is already in full swing with this load of crap from Mike Pence:

Precisely none of the statements in those two tweets are truthful, and the attack will be used to justify a whole host of things this year.

The Red Rout Resumes, Con't

If there's one thing that remains constant from 2019 into this year, it's the continued retirement of House Republicans leaving their sinking ship.

Tennessee Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Roe announced Friday that he will retire at the end of the 116th Congress.

Roe called representing East Tennesseans in Congress for the past 11 years “the honor of my life” and said he always intended to serve five or six terms because he didn’t want to make it a second career. He practiced medicine for more than 30 years before being elected.

Roe, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said he’s proud the panel has achieved the goals he set for it, including increasing access to care and bringing true accountability to the department.

“I’ll leave Congress at the end of the year knowing that our nation’s heroes are better served today because of our work,” he said. “I am still hopeful that, before the 116th Congress adjourns, we will pass important reforms that improve outreach to veterans in crisis to address the suicide epidemic.”

Roe is among more than two dozen Republicans who have decided not to seek reelection next year.
He said he ran for Congress hoping that his experience as a practicing physician could have a positive impact on health care policy.

“The Affordable Care Act was signed into law during my first term, and much of my time was spent trying to undo some of the harm that was done to the patient-centered health care model as a result,” he said.

Roe was swept into office in 2008, ruthlessly primarying out then freshman congressman Dave Davis and he's been running on getting rid of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion ever since.  But even Trump is too much for him and he knows the GOP isn't going to win back the House any time soon.  He has arguably the safest district in the country, Tennessee's 1st district on the eastern border of NC in the Appalachians hasn't elected a Democrat since Rutherford B. Hayes was president.

But he's leaving.

There's a lesson there for those who wish to learn.

The Drums Of War, Con't

As I said yesterday, the Trump regime 100% wants impeachment off the front page, and the best way to do that is to escalate the conflict with Iran.  Trump just may have gotten his way, and he just may have entered America into a dangerous conflict with Tehran.

An air strike has killed Iranian Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and another senior Iranian-linked figure in Baghdad, Iraqi state television reported on Thursday.  
No one claimed immediately responsibility for the strike, which Iraqi television also said killed Abu Mehdi al-Muhandas, an Iraqi militia commander, near the Iraqi capital’s airport, but the death of Iran’s most revered military leader appeared likely to send tensions soaring between the United States and Iran. 
Soleimani, who has long been Iran’s most prominent military figure and is closely linked to the country’s foreign proxy groups, has taken on an enhanced role in Iraq as the country’s Shiite militia groups have gained new clout in recet years. 
Pentagon officials declined comment on the strike.

The strike comes amid already increased friction between Washington and Iran over what U.S. official say is a campaign of sustained agrees sin against the United States and its allies.

As Soleimani is the most powerful military person in Iran, second in power only to Supreme Leader Ali Khameni.  If this airstrike truly killed him, then Iran will almost certainly see it as an act of war, an assassination by the US, and they will respond in kindIran arrested three people in October in connection to what they say was an Israeli plot to kill Soleimani.

Soleimani has been Iran's point man in Syria assisting the Assad regime, supporting the Syrian government with both military and paramilitary assistance. Having said that, Iran has other military leaders who can step in to run Qods Force, so it's not going to break Tehran's back, but if Iran wants to take Trump's bait here and lash out, this was the bait to use.

One thing to get straight however: this man was behind Iran's terrorist military and proxy operations for twenty years.

From the start of the Syrian civil war, General Suleimani was one of the chief leaders of an effort to protect President Bashar al-Assad of Syria — an important Iranian ally — that brought together disparate militias, national security forces and regional powers, including Russia in recent years.

But that was far from the only front he operated on. American officials accuse General Suleimani of causing the deaths of hundreds of soldiers during the Iraq war, when he provided Iraqi insurgents with advanced bomb-making equipment and training. They also say he has masterminded destabilizing Iranian activities that continue throughout the Middle East and are aimed at the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“General Suleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “General Suleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.” 
It did not elaborate on the specific intelligence that led them to carry out General Suleimani’s killing. The highly classified mission was set in motion after the American contractor’s death on Dec. 27 during a rocket attack by an Iranian-backed militia, a senior American official said. 
In killing General Suleimani, Mr. Trump took an action that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had rejected, fearing it would lead to war between the United States and Iran. 
While many Republicans said that the president had been justified in the attack, Mr. Trump’s most significant use of military force to date, critics of his Iran policy called the strike a reckless unilateral escalation that could have drastic and unforeseen consequences that could ripple violently throughout the Middle East. 
“Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question,” Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, wrote on Twitter, using an alternate spelling of the Iranian’s name. “The question is this - as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”

We'll see what Iran's response will be.  This could get very ugly, very quickly. Will they risk a real shooting war over the assassination of their equivalent of DNI/Secretary of Defense?

Whoever talked Trump into giving this order may be counting on it.

But let's not forget.

Just two days into the new decade and an impeached president, facing a Senate impeachment trial for his crimes, has most likely started a bloody shooting war with Iran that will set back Middle East relations for years, endanger Americans all over the globe, and may end in direct military confrontation.  He did not inform Congress, nor did he seek approval of the assassination of a foreign target.  He just started a war with Iran in order to justify the Senate GOP dismissing his impeachment trial.

This is the crisis scenario we warned you was coming four years ago if Trump was elected.

Here there be dragons.  We're into the worst-case scenario section of the book now, and I don't know how this ends.  None of us do.


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