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]

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