The unimpeachable integrity of the Republicans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

The unimpeachable integrity of the Republicans

 2:10
Devin Nunes just tied the Mueller probe to the 2018 midterms

The Fix’s Aaron Blake analyzes the key takeaways from a secret recording of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. 

ColumnistAugust 10 at 6:38 PM

Finally, Rep. Devin Nunes has given Americans a reason to reelect Republicans.
They want to have an impeachment!
No, not that impeachment.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told donors that “most” Republicans are on board with impeaching Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, according to a recording broadcast this week by MSNBC. They just don’t have time “right before the election.” Hence the need to retain a GOP majority.
Rosenstein must have done something truly and utterly horrible, because these guys don’t impeach just anybody. In fact, they impeach nobody. Until now they hadn’t given a moment’s thought to impeaching a single member of the Trump administration:
Not Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who, Forbes reports, has been accused by former associates of siphoning or outright stealing roughly $120 million.
Not former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, who, while in office, got a bargain condo rental from a lobbyist’s wife, used his job to find work for his wife and had taxpayers procure for him everything from a soundproof phone booth to moisturizing lotion.
Not the former national security adviser who admitted to lying to the FBI,not the former White House staff secretary accused of domestic violence, not the presidential son-in-law who had White House meetings with his family’s lenders, not the housing secretary accused of potentially helping his son’s business, not the many Cabinet secretaries who traveled for pleasure at taxpayer expense, not the former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director who bought tobacco stock while in office.
And certainly not the president, whose most recent emolument bath was poured by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince: Bookings by his highness’s entourage spurred a spike in the quarterly revenue at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan.
What Rosenstein has done must be worse than all that, and worse than the behaviors of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that inspire no curiosity among House Republican investigators.
So what grave act of corruption has finally stirred them? Well, according to impeachment articles filed last month , Rosenstein “repeatedly failed to produce documents” that House Republicans demanded as part of their ongoing effort to discredit the Russia probe and revive investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Now that is pure evil. But it gets worse! Some of the documents Rosenstein provided “were heavily and unnecessarily redacted.”
This is nigh unto treason.
Among the allegations in the impeachment articles: “The Department of Justice, under the supervision of Mr. Rosenstein, unnecessarily redacted the price of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table.”
Has there ever been a higher crime committed?
The House Republicans are ideally positioned to sit in judgment of Rosenstein because of their own unimpeachable conduct. So above reproach are they that one of their first votes after swearing in was an attempt to kill the House ethics office.
But I quibble with Nunes (Calif.) on the timing of Rosenstein’s impeachment. It must be immediate, even if it postpones confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, for one reason: House Republicans are running out of prospective impeachment managers.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), an obvious candidate, resigned over his use of public funds to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit.
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), another ideal choice, resigned after word got out of a sexual-harassment settlement with a staffer the married congressman called his “soul mate.”
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) also can’t be of use. He resigned over allegations that he urged his mistress to seek an abortion.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) likewise won’t be available. He quit when a former aide alleged that he offered her $5 million to have his child as a surrogate.
But if Nunes acts soon against Rosenstein, he still has talented prospects to name as impeachment managers. May I suggest:
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who remains tentatively available to sit in judgment of Rosenstein, after his arrest this week on charges of insider trading. Five other House Republicans who invested in the same company but haven’t been charged are also available.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), assuming he has free time after battling allegations by seven former Ohio State wrestlers that he turned a blind eye to sexual misconduct when serving as a coach.
Others who could judge Rosenstein: Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who pleaded guilty to assault after body-slamming a reporter; Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who is retiring after a naked photograph of him leaked online; and Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), who is under investigation by the FBIover the alleged use of campaign funds for his children’s tuition, shopping trips and airfare for a pet rabbit.
Nunes himself is battling allegations that he got favorable terms on a winery investment and used political contributions to pay for basketball tickets and Las Vegas trips.
Let’s hope these trifles don’t distract him from the nation’s urgent business: impeaching Rosenstein for the high crime of redacting the price of a conference table.
Read more from Dana Milbank’s archivefollow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

Trust Trump, look like a fool. Just ask Nikki Haley

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Trust Trump, look like a fool. Just ask Nikki Haley.


President Trump with Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at the White House in July. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

 Opinion writer April 18 at 7:49 PM 

What makes Republicans in Congress think their trust in Trump will work out any better for them?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he won’t take up legislation blocking Trump from firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Why? “I don’t think he’s going to” sack Mueller, McConnell told Fox News.

subscribe
The story must be told.
Your subscription supports journalism that matters.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) expressed similar faith that Trump wouldn’t sack Mueller: “I have no reason to believe that that’s going to happen” because “I have assurances that it’s not.”

Courting disaster because of what they “think” and “believe” the erratic president will do? You may think your toddler won’t wander into traffic. You may even have her assurances. But that doesn’t mean you leave her in the front yard unattended.

When I followed the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations, it was often possible to predict presidential actions based on patterns: Clinton’s split-the-difference style, Bush’s verbal signaling, Obama’s caution. But here’s a handy rule of thumb for this administration: Those who claim to know what Trump is going to do are making it up. Nobody truly knows, because Trump himself often doesn’t know what he’s going to do before the moment he does it. Decisions are impulsive, the product not of reason but of the brain’s cortisol levels. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This is some of what we have learned lately from the Trump administration:

We are imposing new sanctions on Russia. We are not imposing new sanctions on Russia.

China isn’t manipulating its currency. China is manipulating its currency.

We’re getting out of Syria. We aren’t getting out of Syria.

We’ll decide about bombing Syria in 24 to 48 hours. We might not bomb Syria for a long time. We bombed Syria.

The bombing of Syria will be sustained. The Syria bombing was a one-time shot.

Trump will be talking to Kim Jong Un. Trump may not be talking to Kim.

Trump fired James B. Comey because of the Russia investigation. Trump did not fire Comey because of the Russia investigation.

We are leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We may rejoin the TPP. We are not rejoining the TPP.

Poor Haley had no reason to think the president would change his mind. Yet Trump made the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations look like a fool.

After a meeting on Friday about Russia sanctions, Haley went on “CBS Sunday Morning” and said the treasury secretary “will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn’t already.”

This was consistent with talking points distributed on Saturday by the Republican National Committee, saying America intends “to impose specific additional sanctions against Russia.”

But some synapse misfired in the presidential amygdala, and what Haley thought she knew was no longer the case. Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Haley had “some momentary confusion.”

Retorted Haley: “I don’t get confused.”

But she was confused: She believed assurances that Trump would do as expected.

Last Friday, Trump’s Treasury Department put out a report saying, “The Chinese currency generally moved against the dollar in a direction that should, all else equal, help reduce China’s trade surplus with the United States.” This is true: The dollar has fallen nearly 10 percent against the yuan since Trump took office.

But on Monday, Trump took the opposite position. “Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!” he tweeted.

Last month, Trump announced, “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon.” Now the White House was back to saying there was no timetable for an American withdrawal.

Last week, Trump signaled an imminent missile attack in Syria, saying via Twitter that Russia should “get ready” to shoot down “nice and new and ‘smart’ ” missiles. Criticized for telegraphing the strike, he then said the attack might be “not so soon at all” — a day before the attack. He said he was “prepared to sustain this response,” but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said it was a “one-time shot.”

The president has similarly reversed or contradicted himself this week on quitting the TPP trade pact and his justification for firing Comey. On North Korea, he said he would meet with Kim and raised the possibility he wouldn’t — in the same passage.

Now, Republicans in Congress are risking a constitutional crisis because of their “belief” that Trump won’t fire Mueller:

Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa): “I don’t think he would.”

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah): “I do not believe the president would.”

Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.): “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

They think they know Trump’s mind, huh? So did Nikki Haley.

Twitter: @Milbank

Read more from Dana Milbank’s archivefollow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

Congress And Ethics: In The Same Sentence? Really?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO NEWS)

Inside the House GOP ethics debacle

A surprise move by a group of House Republicans to gut an independent ethics office caught leaders flat footed — and sparked a national backlash.

lede_170103_paul_ryan_louie_gohmert_msm_1160.jpg
Speaker Paul Ryan and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert speak as Ryan enters the House floor. | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

Just hours after Republicans voted to gut the House’s independent ethics office, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s phone started lighting up with calls and texts.

The California Republican had tried to warn his colleagues about the political risks of defanging the Office of Congressional Ethics during a closed-door, secret ballot roll call Monday night. And after that vote, a number of lawmakers who agreed with McCarthy raised serious concerns about approving the controversial pitch in a public vote the next day.

By early Tuesday morning, McCarthy, Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of GOP leadership realized the proposal was about to tank the entire House rules package — and implode the first day of the GOP-led Congress. They convened an emergency closed-door conference meeting around noon to discuss removing the ethics provision — but it was too late. Donald Trump had tweeted his disapproval, and the public outcry had risen to such a crescendo that all anyone wanted to talk about was an obscure House office few people had ever heard of just 24 hours before.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who added that the ethics snafu was an unforced error. “Sometimes people have to learn the hard way.”

House Republican’s push to neuter the OCE on the first day of a new Congress turned into a major public relations fiasco after the press, the public and president-elect himself came out against the move Tuesday. Trump, after all, ran on a platform of “draining the swamp” of an all-too-cozy Washington — a pitch that didn’t mesh well with the proposal to rein in oversight of lawmakers’ ethical issues.

So the opening of the 115th Congress, which was supposed to center on Obamacare repeal and GOP unity, ended up being being overwhelmed by another issue. That Ryan was re-elected speaker on the same day with only one Republican defection — a positive sign for a GOP leader who’s faced restive conservatives in the past — became a mere afterthought, for example.

Republican leaders vowed to revisit the issue over the summer, although Tuesday’s problems could provide a lesson. Given that they control all of the levers of power in D.C., Democratic resistance won’t provide the political cover it used to over the last eight years. Washington belongs to Republicans — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

“I think a move in that direction would be bad policy and bad politics,” said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who blasted the refoms. “It’s probably not the way you want to start out [the new Congress].”

A number of Hill Republicans have been seeking to curb the powers of the ethics watchdog for years. Privately, they say the office is too aggressive, pursues baseless anonymous tips and has become an unfair burden, both financially and politically, on lawmakers. Each time members approached ex-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) about the matter, he deferred, saying this is something that should be done a bipartisan basis. But bipartisan reforms never materialized.

So Goodlatte, backed by a group of lawmakers who felt they had been wrongly accused by the OCE, devised a plan to rein in the office. They worked in secret for weeks, making sure word didn’t leak out to Democrats or the media. Then, just before House Republicans met to approve their rules package for the new Congress, they unveiled their amendment to scale back the powers of the OCE and put it under the House Ethics Committee’s jurisdiction.

The gambit caught leadership flatfooted, and Goodlatte’s side triumphed in the closed-door GOP meeting, but problems quickly developed. Democrats blasted Republicans for jamming through something so sensitive as their first act of the new Congress. Congress had created the office in the wake of Jack Abramoff scandal, which included the GOP lobbyist’s admission that he tried to bribe lawmakers. At the time, lawmakers hoped to stop anything like that from ever happening again.

Following a barrage of negative stories on Monday night, lawmakers were bombarded by a wave of phone calls to their offices criticizing the move. Republican leadership tried to change the narrative the following morning, although they never embraced Goodlatte’s proposal. Ryan put out a statement saying OCE was still independent despite the rules revisions, and McCarthy tried to argue the same during a press conference with reporters.

But that around the same time, Trump called out the proposal on Twitter.

“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it,” Trump said in one tweet, adding, “……..may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS.”

Those tweets, on top of the thousands of phone calls and the wave of negative press, sources said, were the nail in the coffin. Republicans who had supported the idea the night before started to second-guess themselves.

“I don’t think there was any problem with the merit of the policy that needed to be changed. I just think it was how it was done,” said longtime Trump supporter Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) “The perception is not good.”

Barletta said Trump’s tweets at Congress are going to send “some shockwaves through Congress”— and they should probably get used to it.

“It’s going to send shivers down the spines of some members,” he added.

Democrats, meanwhile, decided in a closed-door meeting that they would protest the OCE change when the rules package came to the House floor Tuesday. They were readying a plan to pull out their cell phones and start livestreaming a demonstration on the House floor — something that irked House Republicans during the June “sit in” on gun control. (Republicans also included a provision in the rules package to fine members for violating the prohibitions on photos on livestreaming specifically. )

Just after 11 a.m., GOP leadership met in the speaker’s office. By then, everyone was on the same page: It was time to strike the ethics change. Leaders convened an emergency conference, just hours before members were sworn in, to try to convince their colleagues to take out the OCE language.

McCarthy told Republicans they did not run for Congress to fight over an obscure office but to repeal Obamacare and do tax reform — and it was time to scuttle the rules change. He gave them an option: vote now to strike the Goodlatte amendment, or he would offer an amendment to do so on the floor himself, taking the fight into the public sphere.

He met some resistance. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who’s been under criminal and ethical investigation for years, was irate that leadership wanted the conference to back off. Young, as well as Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Raul Labrador (R-Utah) tried to get leadership to commit to reforming the office by a specific future date. GOP leadership would not.

Other Republicans said Trump should not have gotten involved in the matter to begin with. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) stood up to say Trump should not be meddling in internal House matters, according to several sources in the room. Shuster’s spokeswoman Casey Contres denied that he used those words, but acknowledged that he “did express, however, the importance of separation of powers and Congress establishing these rules — not the executive branch.”

In the end, even Goodlatte backed leadership’s propose to strike his provision, blaming the press and his adversaries for “gross misrepresentation” of his proposal.

The day left some members shaking their heads. Many, including Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), left the chamber Tuesday night crossing their fingers that the drama of the first day would not foreshadow the next two years to come.

“I think that there is going to be a lot of tough votes we will have to take and this wasn’t one of the toughest ones, so, I think we should learn from this,” he said. “Once you launch that ship, you’ve got to keep going… We need to go forth with more sense of purpose and direction.”

Heather Caygle contributed to this report.

LGBT Toronto Film Festival

Showcasing the best of short films and screenplays from the LGBT community. Screenplay Winner every single month performed by professional actors. Film Festival occurs 3 times a year!

Junior Economist

The Writer in The Scientific Teen / Youth Science Magazine

Lulu's Musings

Weaving together the threads of life

Odd Soul Traveler

Death to Comfort Zones

Southeast Asia travel

Don’t travel to work, work to travel!

Postcard Pretty

Travel guides and stories

staycation.wordpress.com

Santa Fe: Paradise in the Philippines

The Grey Traveller

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do. So throw off the bowlines,sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

Orlando for Beginners

For UK visitors to Orlando

Annlyel Online

I. Love. MOVIES!

%d bloggers like this: