Impeachment Vote, USMCA, FBI Report; Highlights of This Week

In just 325 days, American voters will decide who will be the next President. While many Democrats say they’ll vote for any of the Democratic candidates if it means defeating Trump, Trump’s base holds steadfast in their support of him. Even through his latest controversy, involving Ukraine, 80 to 90 percent of Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing, and 87 percent oppose impeaching Trump, or removing him from office, according to a Washington Post average of national polls.

This week, on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would proceed with two articles of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump: abuse of power, and obstruction of Congress. The former article has to do with his withholding $391 million in military aid on the condition that Ukrainian president Volodomyr Zelenskiy publicly announce an investigation of Trump’s political opponent, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter. The latter article is based on the the fact that Trump and the White House refused to cooperate with Congress’ requests for documents, and blocked White House staff and others from testifying.

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee debated the two articles of impeachment in preparation to vote on them. Though evidence to support both articles is plentiful (and it’s indisputable that the Trump administration did not cooperate with the investigation), the GOP’s unwavering and united stance that the president did nothing wrong was almost surreal, and their defense of Trump consisted mainly of distraction tactics.

After approximately 14 hours of hamster-wheel-like deliberation on Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 23-17 along party lines in favor of both articles of impeachment, sending the articles to the full House for a vote.

Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), had exhorted his GOP colleagues to “do the right thing,” despite their apparent fear of retribution from Trump.

One GOP lawmaker suggested that Democrats should spend their time on passing laws instead of on impeachment.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, however, has argued that not going forward with impeachment would be letting Trump “cheat just one more time.”

Despite the GOP’s claim that impeachment has prevented Congress from working on other issues, and despite Trump’s pronouncement that they are the “Do-nothing Congress,” the House of Representatives has passed nearly 400 bills, according to Vox and other sources. Most of them have been stalled by Mitch McConnell’s Senate.

One bill that was finalized this week with bipartisan support, including that of Trump, was the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement). The agreement modernizes 25-year-old NAFTA, supporting freer markets and fairer trade, and promoting more robust economic growth in North America. In this deal with Trump, Democrats are handing him a win with one hand while supporting his impeachment with the other.
Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) has called it the “Farm Workers’ Bill of Rights, essentially.”

Other bills finalized by Congress this week include a spending bill, a prescription drug pricing bill, a paid family leave bill and a defense bill.

Also this week, the U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General released a report examining the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The report found a number of failures on the part of the FBI in its investigation of the Trump campaign, but held that the investigation was justified, and found no politically motivated conspiracy against Donald Trump. FBI Director Christopher Wray backed up the report’s findings, and emphasized that the investigation was justified, and that it had found no conspiracy against Donald Trump.

In response to Wray, Trump tweeted, “I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”

Some are speculating as to what Trump meant by “current Director of the FBI.”

As we’ve seen so far during the Trump presidency, everything is up for grabs, and everything could change on a dime. (Or on $391 million.) Only 325 more days till the election.

Democrats and Republicans go head-to-head debating articles of impeachment | Washington Post [2019-12-11]

Trump calls USMCA ‘the silver-lining to impeachment’ | Fox Business

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