Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Is it a crisis yet?

The New York Times reported that the nasty guy asked then FBI Directory James Comey to end the investigation into the Michael Flynn/Russia mess. This is seen by many to be an obstruction of justice. Since this is one piece of the careful notes that Comey wrote, there is likely to be more.

Aphra Behn of Shakesville noted last Friday: If this had been done by Hillary Clinton articles of impeachment would have been filed within the hour. Yet, all we hear from GOP members in Congress is expressions of discomfort, saying the situation is “troubling.”

Melissa McEwan, also of Shakesville takes issue with the verbal combat of saying hypothetically “If Hillary had done …” as a way of showing how despicable the GOP is and how much of a double standard they have. But McEwan is adamant Hillary would not have done those things! It is possible to show how despicable the GOP is without trashing Hillary: (1) Just look at what they did to Obama. (2) Just look at what the nasty guy has messed up in less than 4 months (McEwan provides a helpful summary, in case you forgot).

Back to the GOP and their discomfort. Why? Why are they only saying it is troubling? Why not do more?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is getting rather brazen in his statements:
I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda, which is deregulations, tax reform, repealing and replacing Obamacare.
That prompted this from Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:
People have been saying for months that establishment Republicans had decided that they'd let Trump do almost literally *anything* as long as he agreed to sign a big tax cut and help repeal Obamacare. And now McConnell, faced with the ultimate consequence of this moral desertion, is happy to say it out loud.
McEwan adds:
McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, reductively refers to Trump's imperiling the nation as "drama from the White House," his primary concern about which is that it distracts from the Republican agenda.

There it is. There will be no checking and balancing.

I note the vice nasty guy would be just as gleeful in signing anything McConnell and Ryan produce.

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post speculates the GOP has a reason already ready – that they shouldn’t override the results of the election (one might get the impression they feel elections are sacred. Or something).

McEwan paired Sargent’s comments with those of Speaker Paul Ryan:
I don't worry about things that are outside of my control. I worry about things that are within our control—and that is whether or not we do what we are elected to do, which is to solve people's problems.
Yo, dude: Yes, the Constitution says writing articles of impeachment is something within your control. And, yes, the Constitution says your job is to protect the nation from a lawless president – that checks and balances thing. And, yes, you were elected to do that.

Which makes me conclude again: They want that. They want a president trampling all over the Constitution.

I’ve heard a lot of discussion over the last week on the difference between a general government crisis and a constitutional crisis. I even listened to an hour-long NPR program on the topic. At the time it was only the firing of FBI Director Comey. Some panelists said it isn’t a constitutional crisis because the nasty guy hadn’t done anything not permitted by law or the Constitution.

What about now with evidence of obstruction of justice? I would say no, because the Constitution lays out the remedy of impeachment.

So, take another step: What about a lawless president and a Congress refusing to step in with the Constitutional remedy?

In my opinion: Yes. Now the Constitution itself is in peril.

And many of the players at both ends of Pennsylvania Ave. don’t like democracy.

Between the time I wrote this and posted it (an evening at the Ruth Ellis Center was the between) came the news of the appointment of a special prosecutor. The appointment was made by the Deputy AG (because the AG has recused himself on this issue). This could be a good thing, or it could be a way of saying “See! Were doing something!” without actually doing anything. Though it looks like the guy selected is a good one.

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