The Pied Pipers of the Left

    With Trump’s inauguration still weeks away, Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect is calling for progressives to begin building a public case for impeachment by “keep[ing] a running dossier [on Trump’s illegal actions] and forward[ing] updates at least weekly to the House Judiciary Committee.” Salon’s Heather “Digby” Parton is echoing Kuttner. It’s a terrible idea.

    There is no chance it will succeed. The only way to remove a president is first for a majority of the House of Representatives to vote for impeachment and next for two thirds of the Senate to vote for conviction. Given the extant evidence, neither the Republican House nor the Republican Senate will accede to the wishes of those seeking Trump’s removal.

    Success means failure. If the impeachment efforts did against all odds succeed, Mike Pence would take command. There is good reason to believe Pence would do even more harm to the body politic than Trump will.

    Objectively, any prospective case against Trump is thin at best. Kuttner implicitly acknowledges this when he writes “[t]here will be no lack of evidence.” (Emphasis supplied.)  Kuttner seems to feel surer footing when claiming “Trump has already committed grave misdeeds of the kind that the Constitutional founders described as high crimes and misdemeanors.” But his follow-up sentence undermines this claim with the presumption that “Trump will be in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which unambiguously prohibits any person holding public office from profiting from gifts or financial benefits from ‘any king, prince or Foreign state.’” (Emphasis supplied.)

    It is true that Trump’s hotels and resorts will receive additional business due to spending by foreign governments. Whether this amounts to a violation of the Emoluments clause, much less rises to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor, is an open question and one that will not be answered in the affirmative by the sitting Republican Congress.

    Making impeachment based on the Emoluments clause even less likely is the fact that Trump won a majority of the electoral college even though voters knew full well of his international business interests.  Indeed, many cited the width and breath of Trump’s financial holdings (even if wildly exaggerated) as a reason for voting for him. They believed his wealth made him less likely to be seduced by gifts or financial benefits.

    Kuttner also cites Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin as possibly undergirding an impeachment claim based on treason. But again the specifics are unconvincing. Kuttner says that if Trump suppresses an investigation into Russian manipulation of the Presidential election he might be committing a “crime” giving aid or comfort to our “enemies.”

    Note that the qualifiers Kuttner employs in support of his argument demonstrate its pusillanimity.  Note too that Trump has not suppressed any investigation and almost certainly will not do so. His attorney general will simply opt not to pursue one against the Russians. Moreover, even if Trump directly suppressed such an inquiry, he would probably not be committing a crime and, in any event, Russia likely does not meet the definition of an “enemy.”

    By pursuing impeachment before inauguration, progressives will cement in many minds the notion that we are not above partisan bickering and that our first loyalty is to the Democratic party rather than to the public's well-being.  We would also be wasting precious time and energy fiddling while Trump and the Republicans Congress are burning our house down.

    We on the left should of course monitor Trump’s actions for evidence that he is contravening the interests of the American people or violating the law.  We should publicize every word and deed that could hurt his standing with the electorate or create fissures within the Republican party.  What we should not do is announce in advance our intention to push non-starter impeachment claims based on facts of which the public was aware when it elected him.


    I think it more likely that the impeachment card is one that Ryan will keep tucked in his vest--Pence is surely Trump's best insurance against an assault from the left.  Ryan will meanwhile have a convincing argument should there be any cavils about letting people die in the streets (which was a point of remarkable difference between Trump and his current and prior Repugnant presidential hopefuls).

    It's probably a bit late to be warning the Clintonites not to do something else extra foolish and self destructive. It's the one skill they seem to have perfected and along with being stark raving mad is what they will be forever forgotten for.

    it's time to sit back with a glass of Trump wine and enjoy the show while the Clintonites rush past, hair on fire, heading for their cliff and oblivion.

    the one skill they seem to have perfected 

    Along with getting 3 million more votes than Trump.

    That powerless number, 3 million, will cause Clintonites butt-hurt forever along with waves of nausearing victimhood, not much of a basis to build a new party on. It is surprising that so many educated Clintonites are ignorant about how our republic of united states functions or that they cannot change that reality.


    The Clintonite media is in a feeding frenzy because some poor souls don't believe in the authority of the beloved Clintonite led CIA but many people will remember that this attack on democracy was the gift of the Red Queen and is continuing through the efforts of her quislings. What worries  me is that Trump might throw the Clintonites a political lifeline which would be a huge mistake. He needs to hold their head underwater until no bubbles appear and then move on.

    What, you ran out of fish oil and no stray cats to kick? You can try ordering sushi and not paying - hear it's a blast.

    Let's do some crimes!

    Peter has gone full Trump-einsatz-groppering.

    3 million Clintonites to drown until no bubbles come up, Clintonite media frenzy, and now Clintonite CIA atttacking democracy. Talk of Red Queen, quislings, cliffs and oblivion.

    Is this Peter rant the 2 minutes hate of 1984 or the 4th Reich? 

    Will Clintonites have to be rounded up and ordered to wear yellow H's so Hillary haters can do what Peter gleefully imagines?

    I dont care if it works.

    1) will it hurt the Republicans?

    2) will it help our brand and viability?

    As close as we get to "what would Jesus do?"

    Thanks PP.  I agree with you.  "Working" means hurting the Republicans - either electorally or slowing their agenda.  I don't see how the Kuttner plan could "work" absent some new findings of illegal activity by Trump that dismay a good part of his or (to the extent they do not overlap) the Republican base.

    Chip chip chip away. How do you eat an elephant?

    Well, I was in Africa on a photographic safari once, and the people who ran our camp liked to play a joke on anyone who was having a birthday.  They got a dried pile of elephant dung and put icing and candles on it.  The joke became obvious when it could not be cut (hard as a rock).

    The take-home message:  You don't have to EAT the elephant...just expose its shit for what it is.

    Nope, eating shiyt is the ild way, even if can't be swallowed. The answer to this one is "1 byte at a time". Excluding the trunk and tail, of coursen. Now back to Hal's piece...

    But you have to admit....the way to get to trump is to show that he is just a joke.  It is one area that trump has shown himself to be vulnerable.   We all know that his skin is thin, so why not use that?   

    I am available FOR FREE to do this.  I am not a twitterer, so that may be a problem.

    Pence is more likely to cheerfully sign a bill that ends SS and MEDICARE than Trump.  Starting a war?  Probably 50:50.  Trump is more likely to go nuclear, and is more likely to do stupid things in response to any small affront.  I do, however, think that trump is an unknowing Russian operative.  The things he will do for Putin will be done because Putin flatters him, not because he realizes he has been compromised.  

    Impeachment, IMOP should not be the goal; documenting his lies, his stupidity, his financial chicanery, and how his policies will actually hurt his supporters should be hammered through Every. Single. Day.

    I don't have a lot of hope for getting the following messages out, since it isn't already, but:

    There is so much evidence to show that SS can easily, and painlessly be financially stabilized.  

    MEDICARE is a far less expensive program because, even though the elderly require more medical care, almost all of the dollars that go in to MEDICARE are spent on medical care.  

    The ACA is actually seeing LOWER premium increases than private policies were before the ACA.  A deductible of even $4,500 is chump change if you need a big surgery or cancer treatment.  Considering that routine care is free, it is a great value, and will be a WALL against bankruptcy.  Why are these simple messages not out there?  I just don't get it.  

    Edited to add to first paragraph, and to remove offensive comment about another blogger.  Sorry, guys!

    CVille, you have already been warned about the troll talk, and you have personally promised me to be respectful to your fellow bloggers. If we have to warn you again, you'll be suspended.

    Sorry, I honestly dont remember that saying that someone is posting troll-like stuff is against the rules.  Honest.  My comment was about responding to intentionally provocative and insulting comments without any substance.

    But OK, you make the rules, and I accept that. This is morning, and so I am more likely to remember from here on out.  I apologize for my comment. I will remove it.

    Thank you. Any name-calling or insults directed at other bloggers or their writing is off limits.

    PS If you feel that a comment or post does not merit a response, then you should simple refrain from responding.

    OK, but please read the "Clintonista" name-calling with the same viewpoint,  The adjectives are far worse than if he had called us trolls, and we all know who Peter is referring to.  I assume you do too.  I didn't name him, and he doesn't name us.

    I have not responded to Peter for quite some time because I think he just posts to get negative attention.  From now on I will neither respond to his posts, nor will I comment on others who waste their time responding to his posts.  

    Once again -- you have a hard job and I respect it.  

    Thanks CVille Dem.  Your comment sets forth the right path forward for Democrats in my opinion.  They must incessantly discuss their plans for improving the economic prospects and security of working and middle-class Americans and point out whenever and wherever possible how Republicans are undermining them.

    The only way to accomplish anything is to reduce trumps power (a VERY challenging task!). The only way to possibly do that is with truth.  The media will not be much of a help unless there is an Edward R Murrow out there.

    i see David Farenthold and Dan Rather as possibilities.

    I don't think it will happen on the news, it'll happen on the late night shows.


    He cannot maintain equanimity when laughed at.  We have to turn him into Erdogan (Trump only wishes he could get a comic indicted in Germany or jail a tea refusenik cafe owner...).

    Dan Rather is really stepping up. I have missed him. He is a strong voice in these crazy times.

    You and I agree on this entirely! 

    There are real actions we can all take. 


    Let's do this.


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