Monday, May 20, 2019

How Do House Dems Stop Trumpies' Stonewalling? Jailing Is One Option - But Impeachment Is Another

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One of the imbecilic cartoons circulating in the mainstream media that would have witless citizens believe impeachment is a frenzy or "fever" instead of a necessity with the criminal in the WH.

"In 2019, The Democrats confront the weakest president in modern history with a stronger case for impeachment than the one against Nixon."-  Former Clinton Senior Adviser Sidney Blumenthal, on 'All In', May 16.

"Contrary to Barr's portrayal, Mueller's report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific action and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment."  GOP Rep. Justin Amash

It's now become something of a joke piece- but shouldn't-  that House Democrats have one huge weapon left in their  oversight enforcement arsenal: sending the sergeant-at -arms to arrest anyone who flouts their subpoenas. Indeed, when Nancy Pelosi brought the subject up,  i.e. that she had the sergeant-at arms "ready with handcuffs", Trump's Toady AG Bill Barr "chuckled and walked away".  That shouldn't be nor should it be the stuff of late night jokes. In truth, not only Barr but Mnuchin, McGahn and anyone else who blown off subpoenas ought to be put "on ice" in the congressional jail.  (Or any jail - even Leavenworth if no specially designated holds are available in D.C.)

"But wait! That's unreal! That's too much!BWAAAAHAAA'"

Uh, no.  The Reeps and Trump right now have our "constitution on fire" in the words of one commentator, and our nation's future as a Republic is on the line. If you don't think the GOP will not pull out every weapon to protect the traitor Trump then you're not paying attention. And if they pull out every weapon to defend Trump as he mocks the rule of law, the Dems must pull out every weapon they have, bar none.  As NY Times columnist Charles Blow put it in a recent column: "The Democrats need to stop bringing letter openers to a gun fight."

Right now, the GOP Trumpies and Dotard himself are laughing all the way to court with dozens of court challenges to subpoenas as they have Dems locked in "process fights".  All they need to do is run out the clock and the Dems will lose, and waste time as they fight in the courts to try to get the traitors to respect House -issued subpoenas.  My take, and many more now, is for Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler and other House committee chairs to invoke the 1934 concept of "inherent contempt" and toss the asses of these stonewallers directly into the Capitol jail - marched there at gunpoint if need be.

No more laughing jokes, no more late night banter or talking heads (like Chris Matthews last week) opining "that's crazy".  No it's not, Chris, it's the law.  Besides, the other side - now unhinged and believing it will be uncuffed - is going full mad dog demagogue-Dictator on us.    As reported in Saturday's WSJ  ('Barr Could Spark Rule Change', p. A4),  Barr is already well underway with his counter investigation of the Russia investigation.  As he told the WSJ in an interview, echoing Josef Goebbels in his most atrocious propaganda snippets:

"Government  power was used to spy on American  citizens"

Referring to the surveillance of Carter Page and other members of the then Trump campaign, and which is total balderdash.  Barr here is totally enmeshed in the Devin Nunes playbook that it was Hillary, Christopher Steele and the FBI  who are the real culprits.  A meme long since slaughtered as specious but which the Trump traitors - including Barr - are now attempting to use to invert justice on its head, like Hitler did with the Enabling Act.

Why are they doing this? Because they can and the other side has shown no inclination to use any "nuclear" options - such as locking the fuckers up in the Capitol jail based on inherent contempt.

Worse, the mad dog himself- Trump - is now going full out Hitler  (taking his cue from his toady AG) by declaring all those who investigated him had "committed treason", e.g. (ibid.)

"My campaign was conclusively spied upon. ...TREASON means long jail sentences and this was TREASON!"

 - when he is and remains the only true traitor to this country, who has repeatedly violated his oath of office as revealed in the Mueller report, e.g.

As Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe elegantly summed up in an interview 2 weeks ago:

"What we have here is a situation where the Mueller report shows without any doubt that a hostile foreign power attacked the United States in this (2016) election  That Donald Trump welcomed that attack, benefited from it and then - the last couple of years - tried to cover it up every possible way.  That was with ten instances of felonious obstruction of justice."

Combine all the above with the fact Trump's toady attorney (Consovoy)  is trying to make the case - in expedited court hearings - that even congressional oversight in Watergate was questionable, and you will finally grasp we are in a genuine constitutional crisis. Not just on the verge of one. And how the House Dems meet it, whether in crouched position or head-on, will largely determine our future.

Take "inherent contempt" which now many talking heads are going to have to go back to school, or whatever texts on government they have, to review.  But it is essential they do before trying to explicate the full range of lawful alternatives available to stop the stonewalling and flouting of congressional subpoenas.

Legal expert Lisa Davis, speaking 6 days ago on 'Last Word' pointed out:

"Those powers go back almost two centuries actually. There is a lot of congressional power there but it's just that in this statutory era congress has not had to use them. That's because it's gotten the needed cooperation from  presidents and different administrations and been able to get referrals from the Justice Department.

Here, you have Trump and his lawyers, and interestingly the White House Counsel and his private counsel are all singing the same tune with this argument that congress does not have these powers to investigate the president or to seek these documents. That is in defiance of black letter law. These are settled rules that have been settled for many many years.

And as you pointed out, the inherent contempt powers (such as jailing) have rarely been used because it's been rarely necessary to be used....

This in many ways is like the David Frost-Nixon interview when Nixon infamously said 'if the president does it it must be legal'.  So  that's where we are. So even though there's no physical fire it's as if the Constitution's on fire and the Article I powers are being blotted out by these guys."

Which cannot be allowed to go on, so the Dems must now go "full nuclear", imposing not just fines on these scofflaws but jail time - long jail time under the inherent contempt clause. If it means  Barr, Mnuchin et al being frog marched out to the Capitol jail in cuffs so be it. That's what it's come to, but these fuckers have brought it on themselves, let's get that straight.

As one other House rep said in response to Davis: "It's just extraordinary we have come to this."  But we have and now is the time for Dems to grasp their Article I powers are being scuttled so it's time to lock and load.  

Of course, the Democrats' failure to act decisively and aggressively has only emboldened the criminal even more - and at the same time made the House Dems appear neutered- or political eunuchs. Meanwhile, the Murdoch-owned reactionary media has had a field day twisting facts when they've not making mock sport at the prospect of locking any Trump scofflaw up.

In the first case one beheld Trump asslicker Dan Henninger (WSJ, May 16, p. 13, 'Jerry Nadler's Dictator') actually writing - presumably not while on opioids or MJ candy:

"The ideological divide is between a government of limited power - which in fact Mr. Trump represents, and a government with wide coercive powers, represented by Mr, Nadler."

Of course this is a joke, given it's been Trump and his accomplices who've essentially fobbed off all lawful oversight and brought us to the present precipice.  Trump is the one who's issued blanket stonewalling of all House subpoenas thereby frustrating congress' Article I oversight powers. So Henninger has it ass backwards.  Apart from which, if one reads the Constitution one sees the congress - legislative branch powers supersede the executive's.  He must oblige when oversight is implemented not refuse or block witnesses from giving testimony. As now nearly 1000 former prosecutors have concluded, if it were anyone else but Trump he'd be long since behind bars.

Then there is the mock sport on the Ds invoking inherent contempt as symbolized by the same day WSJ editorial ('Did you bring your handcuffs?), e.g.

'Did You Bring Your Handcuffs?' - WSJ - The Wall Street Journal

But again, this is no laughing matter. We're in the midst of the worst constitutional crisis since the Civil War with Trump making every effort to adopt the power of a dictator or monarch.  Into this maelstrom long unused congressional powers are being invoked - given how the other side is dismissing subpoenas - which for any other citizen would have them locked up in a heartbeat.

But it may well be that this levity - including by the talking heads- is triggered by: 1) the fact the lock up -arrest powers haven't been exercised since 1935 (beyond most modern memory) and b) no one seems to believe there's a "real Capitol jail".

A NY Times piece, quoted Ms. Pelosi on the matter while she appeared at a live Washington Post event:

"We do have a jail in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration, we would have an overcrowded jail situation.   And I’m not for that.”

Well, would you be for them burning up the constitution - which they're now effectively doing by blowing off all your House subpoenas?  Look, Nancy, you don't have to lock "all of the people in the administration", just the top scofflaws - starting with Bill Barr.  Let him cool off in the 'can' for a month or so, or until he complies with the issued subpoenas. Or stay there and rot.

The Times article went on to note:

"There is, of course, no longer a functioning jail in the Capitol. But a senior Democratic aide pointed out that the Capitol Police have holding facilities nearby that could be used if necessary, and that the sergeant-at-arms is able to use spaces inside the Capitol building."

Well, then do it for god's sake! It's either that or go with impeachment of this orange, ambulatory fungus, which would essentially break the stonewall tactic. As I'd written earlier (May 9):

"The Dems have no choice, especially if the Trumptards continue to refuse to respond to subpoenas. Thus, the only way to obtain the evidence needed is to take the crisis to the next level - of impeachment. The House Dems then become the lawful prosecutors and must be given the evidence, including the unredacted full report and all ancillary evidence.  "

The case Sidney Blumenthal made last Tuesday ('All In') for going ahead is especially cogent given Trump "is vastly overrated, and only appears to be strong because of  his bluster."  Adding, he's the lowest rated president since polls were ever taken of presidents and "has never hit 50 percent". This makes him ripe for the pickings. Former Senator and Watergate investigator Elizabeth Holtzman agrees, but adds Dems ought to hold hearings first to "educate the public".   This is something I've been repeating since the Barr summary of Mueller's report saw daylight.

The ammo to impeach has now been added to with Republican House member Justin Amash having come out bluntly against Trump - after reading the full Mueller report- something his Reepo House cohort have yet to do. Amash probably beheld exactly what Mr. Blumenthal referenced in Part II of the report, i.e. "there are obvious cases of obstruction of justice that have been documented, stronger than those brought against Richard Nixon."  Blumenthal here emphasized it is the similarities to the Nixon case that bear attention, not those to the Clinton impeachment which was based "on a contrived and insubstantial case."

Elizabeth Holtzman agreed,  then adding: "What the Democrats need to do is educate the public about these terrible facts, this obstruction of justice, witness tampering and cover up. Whether it's worse or better than Watergate doesn't matter. But the Senate in the Watergate era did an amazing job educating the public, and that hasn't happened here because all these hearings have been behind closed doors, or in a 440 page report most Americans haven't read."

Meanwhile, Justin Amash's points with regard to the Mueller report and Trump are equally compelling, e.g.:

1- Attorney General Barr deliberately misrepresented Mueller's report.

2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.

3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.

4. Few members of congress have read the report.

Points 3 and 4 are especially noteworthy given they're aimed directly at Amash's GOP cohort: on the one hand protecting their party over the country, and on the other not bothering to read the full report, opting for Barr's crib note version instead.

What we now know is that the situation has reached crisis point and the House Dems need to act or be turned into laughing stocks or impotent clowns. The clock is ticking and will reveal whether in fact the Democrats have the testicular fortitude to bring Uzis and anti-aircraft cannon to this  political "gunfight" or stick with their letter openers - as Charles Blow fears. 

See also:
by P.M. Carpenter | May 20, 2019 - 5:45am | permalink

by Bill Blum | May 21, 2019 - 6:23am | permalink


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