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Monday, April 22, 2019

CORRECTION

An old friend vastly more knowledgeable in the law than I writes to correct me on one crucial point.  Mueller did not say that he found no evidence of a conspiracy.  He said that he found insufficient evidence to conclude that there had been a conspiracy, a very different thing.  I stand corrected.

6 comments:

David Palmeter said...

On the question of whether to impeach, E.J. Dionne's column in today's Washington Post is right on target, IMHO:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/robert-mueller-has-left-democrats-with-a-momentous-decision/2019/04/21/809d9248-63a9-11e9-bfad-36a7eb36cb60_story.html?utm_term=.1d47eb324dbe

David Zimmerman said...

E. J. Dionne counsels "patience," in the Democrats' debates over whether to impeach.

But Charles Blow, in today's NYT, is fresh out of patience. It too is worth a read:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/21/opinion/impeach-donald-trump.html

David Palmeter said...

Blow makes good points, as usual. But I'm still with Dionne on this. He doesn't say "No" to impeachment; he says "not now," not before the hearings which will make the case against Trump in he Mueller report far more public than it is now. All of those White House staffers who talked to Mueller, for instance, need to tell their stories to the public. In other words, the case for impeachment needs to be made by the House, not by the Mueller report alone. Then the pros and cons of impeachment can be weighed.

Blow's central point is that Congress needs to make clear formally that Trump's behavior is not to be tolerated--even if the Senate does not convict. I'm more of a pragmatist on that question: Does it help or hurt the Democrats' chances of defeating Trump (or Pence), holding the House, and taking the Senate in 2020? If so, by all means do it. If not, put his deplorable record before the public throughout the coming year, and talk on the campaign trail about health care, environment and the many other substantive issues that are likely to decide the elections.

marcel proust said...

To be explicit, the deplorable record includes both policy and the corruption documented in the Mueller report. Almost as good as impeachment is endless hearing a la the endless Benghazi hearings so at least much mud can be thrown.* So, yes, investigate, publicize, etc., up the wazoo. Take a page from the GOP playbook, one that can, in this case, be based on facts and reality.


*One thing that I have long believed, perhaps with insufficient evidence, is that in general, working class leaders and politicians are much less concerned with being scrupulously fair than UMC ones and are often much more successful in benefiting their supporters because the costs of their failures and benefits of their successes hit much closer to home (by the time they are leaders, they can likely avoid these costs and benefits, but they are close to people who cannot). Fairness and honesty are wonderful things but knowing how to use power is better (if it is used for goals that I can approve). Think Reuther vs. Woodcock, or Johnson vs. Carter/Clinton (or even Obama, though I think he had less freedom of maneuver as a Black man in the US).

marcel proust said...

And, while we're at it, have someone not connected to the hearings, etc., float a suggestion that Trump is a pig f***er, if only to get him to deny it.

marcel proust said...

(Sorry to clog the blogwaves. This will be my last for awhile):

From a message to Josh Marshall, at TPM/Prime. I include the text as well as the link, since TPM/Prime requires membership:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/prime-beta/galvanize
*********

TPM Reader GM chimes in on impeachment

I’m a former Republican who worked on several state and federal campaigns including as director of research against ***** in 2000 for *****. I fled the GOP before Trump but still retain enough GOP-ness to simply shake my head at the debate among Democrats about impeachment.


I don’t think impeachment will lead to Trump’s removal for the very obvious reason of the Senate. But I can tell you that if the Republicans had even 10% of the facts of national betrayal and personal gain that Mueller has provided to the country and the Democrats, the GOP would be wall to wall impeachment/investigation for a simple reason, you don’t have to actually attain your stated goal to politically justify an investigation or impeachment. The prosecuting party simply has to satisfy itself that the process will sufficiently damage the target to justify the risk that you will turn off some voters. Kevin McCarthy’s slip of the tongue (another one!) about the Benghazi investigations is a perfect example. Did the House succeed in stopping her nomination? No. Did they provide grist to keep their voters interested and motivated? Yes, for some of them. Did they damage Hillary meaningfully? Yes. McCarthy sure thought so and so do I.

Democrats are worried that if they simply reprise social issues like the Wisconsin judicial race, they will lose. I agree with that. But impeachment politics are not that. National betrayal, personal gain/enrichment, lying (and continuing to lie) resonate far more broadly than some of the more narrow social issues so important to Democratic voters.

Sen. Warren is right. Move for impeachment. Energize, persuade and deflate. Those are all different groups but impeachment should be pursued to communicate with all of them. When the law is not on your side (although I think it should be) argue the facts. And, boy, do the Dems have good facts. They would be nuts not to deploy them.