Trump Impeached and Democrats Hold Last 2019 Debate

This week, with just 318 days till the 2020 U.S. presidential election, President Donald J. Trump was impeached. On Wednesday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 230 to 197 on the first of two articles of impeachment, abuse of power; and 229 to 198 on the second article, obstruction of Congress. Trump joins a select club of three U.S. presidents who have been impeached.

The votes on both articles of impeachment were split down partisan lines, with all Republicans voting against impeachment; two Democrats (two different ones for each article) voting with them; the remaining Democrats and the lone independent voting in support of impeachment; and one Democrat, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, voting “Present” instead of choosing either side.

“I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing. I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”

Some praise Gabbard’s courage, while others question it. Several Democrats who won their seats in Trump-supporting districts stuck their necks out and voted in favor of impeachment, despite the risk to their jobs come next election.

Tulsi Gabbard is right about the extreme and divisive partisanship of this impeachment process, however.

Weeks of heated debate did little or nothing to change anyone’s mind regarding whether Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses. Unlike with the previous two U.S. presidential impeachment proceedings, opinions were almost completely split down party lines.

Despite sworn testimony by reliable witnesses that Trump withheld military funds from Ukraine for a personal political favor, and despite the fact that Trump openly prevented the release of requested documents and blocked the testimony of White House staff who had firsthand knowledge of Trump’s conversation with Ukraine, all Republicans maintained that the impeachment inquiry was a “sham,” and that Trump did nothing wrong.

One must speculate as to why, if Trump “did nothing wrong,” he wouldn’t be glad to bring witnesses to testify that the conversation was “perfect,” as he claims. And with no real defense of Trump but flimsy, repetitive pseudo-defenses (“You just don’t like him” was one GOP refrain), as well as a battery of distraction techniques, one has wonder what’s keeping every last GOP lawmaker in such a lock step of loyalty to Trump and falsehood.

Following Trump’s impeachment in the House, the two articles will be sent to the Senate, who will hold a trial for Trump’s possible removal from office. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has already openly stated that he would not be impartial. As a result, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that she will delay sending the articles to the Senate until the Senate will promise a fair trial.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, spoke out in support of Trump and criticized the Democrats for their acts of impeachment. “This is just the continuation of the internal political battle, one party that lost the elections, the Democrats, and are now trying to find new ways by accusing Trump of collusion with Russia. But then it turned out there was no collusion, this can’t be the basis for impeachment.”

Perhaps the Republican lawmakers in the House got their instructions and speaker notes from Putin.

Impeachment dominated the week, but this week also brought the final Democratic presidential debate of 2019. The list of candidates has been whittled down from the original 24 in the first debate to just seven who qualified for this one. Candidates who were onstage Thursday evening were Vice President Joe Biden; Senator Elizabeth Warren; Senator Bernie Sanders; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar; and businessmen Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer.

Assuming the Senate does not remove him from office, Donald Trump plans to run for re-election. With each demonstration of how deep Trump’s lack of integrity goes, his base seems to dig in their heels a little more in support of him. The rest of the world, however (except, perhaps, for Vladimir Putin), holds out hope that one of the Democratic presidential candidates will claim presidential victory in 2020.
Trump impeached in historic House vote | CBS This Morning [2019-12-19]

White House ready for ‘fair shot’ on impeachment in Senate: ‘We will prevail’ | Fox News [2019-12-19]

Do Trump’s Tweets Indicate Impeachment Fear?

During Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation, the word “impeachment” was frequently tossed about in association with Donald Trump. In Trump’s most recent scandal, involving evidence that Trump may have used the powers of his office to get information from a foreign head of state about a political opponent, “impeachment” is no longer just a murmur.

Over the weekend, Trump sent out no less than 80 tweets to express his disdain for what he calls “another witch hunt,” as Democrats moved to go forward with an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s phone calls with the new president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Though Trump publicly tries to maintain a demeanor that alternates between indifference and scorn, the frequency and outrageousness of his recent tweets seem to indicate otherwise. Trump frequently tweets out preposterous pronouncements, but his tweeting over the weekend seems to have reached a new magnitude of extreme and threatening overtone.

“If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,'” Trump tweeted, quoting Pastor Robert Jeffress.

Republican House member Adam Kinzinger  (Illinois) responded, “I have visited nations ravaged by civil war.@realDonaldTrump. I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant.”

Trump attacked Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee via Twitter, claiming that Schiff had misrepresented Trump’s phone call with Zelenskiy, and suggesting Schiff be arrested for treason.

In response, Republican strategist Mike Murphy tweeted, ”Out. Of. Control. Treason? A POTUS saying this? #UnfitAndUnstable.”

Michael Steele, a former Republican National Committee chairman, said about Trump’s manic tweeting, “That’s the president wetting his pants a little bit. This has him nervous. There’s real concern here. The flashing tweets that keep jumping out is his way of trying to get control of something that he’s losing a grip on.”

Trump sent menacing-sounding tweets regarding the whistleblower whose complaint opened this investigation, as well. “…In addition, I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the ‘Whistleblower.’ Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!”

Trump’s tweets, along with his comments last week that the whistleblower was something “close to a spy,” and that in the old days, spies were dealt with differently, prompted three house members to respond: “…Threats of violence from the leader of our country have a chilling effect on the entire whistleblower process, with grave consequences for our democracy and national security.”

Over the weekend, lawyers for the whistleblower expressed concerns for their client’s safety, asking that leaders “condemn any intimidation against our client and others.”

It’s a little surreal that a U.S. president would say something that reasonable people would interpret as a potential threat to the safety of one of his constituents. 

It’s not improbable that Trump’s growing nervousness about an impeachment inquiry, coupled with his lack of impulse control, could cause him, in the weeks ahead, to build a stack of menacing or power-abusing tweets that in themselves could be grounds for an impeachment inquiry.

President Donald Trump fights back amid US impeachment inquiry |
Al-Jazeera [2019-09-30]

Pelosi says impeachment inquiry is worth losing the House in 2020 |
Fox News [2019-09-29]