Tag Archives: impeachment

Poll: Voters evenly divided on impeachment for Trump

New  data from the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling  finds Donald Trump’s popularity as president has declined dramatically over the past two weeks.

PPP’s first poll of Trump’s presidency showed voters were evenly divided, with 44 percent approving of him and 44 percent disapproving. Trump’s approval rating now is 43 percent, while his disapproval has gone all the way up to 53 percent.

If voters could choose they’d rather have both Barack Obama (52/44) or Hillary Clinton (49/45) instead of Trump, according to the survey.

And, three weeks into his presidency, voters are already evenly divided on the issue of impeaching Trump, with 46 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed.

Support for impeaching Trump has crept up from 35 percent two weeks ago to 40 percent last week to its 46 percent on Feb. 10.

Here’s what else the PPP survey showed:

• Voters think Trump is over-reaching to make a country safe that they already consider to be safe. About 66 percent of those surveyed consider the United States to be a safe country, to only 23 percent who consider it unsafe.

About 45 percent of voters support Trump’s executive order on the travel ban.

PPP emphasized that those who do support the order may be under-informed — or something else. About 51 percent of Trump voters told PPP that the Bowling Green Massacre — which his administration has referenced  but which did not happen — shows why Trump’s immigration policy is needed.

In another question, 32 percent support a 20 percent tax on items imported to the United States from Mexico. And in general, only 37 percent of voters want the wall if U.S. taxpayers have to front the cost for it.

• Voters are concerned by the implications of Trump’s fight with the Judiciary.

About 53 percent of voters say they trust judges more to make the right decisions for the United States; about 38 percent trust Trump more.

However, among Trump voters, 51 percent think he should personally be able to overturn judicial decisions he doesn’t like.

 

• Voters continue to have a lot of basic transparency concerns when it comes to Trump. About 62 percent think Trump needs to fully divest himself from his business interests and 58 percent want him to release his tax returns.

• Voters are concerned about a repeal of Obamacare. About 47 percent of voters say they support the Affordable Care Act and 65 percent want Congress to keep the ACA and “fix parts that need fixing.”

Hundreds of thousands of petitioners call for Trump’s impeachment

More than half a million people have joined the campaign and signed the petition at ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.orgwhich calls on the Congress to initiate an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

The petitioners cite constitutional violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause and Domestic Emoluments Clause, as well as violations of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 — also known as the STOCK Act.

“On Inauguration Day, we issued the call for Congress to investigate whether President Trump should be impeached for violating the Constitution by holding onto his business interests,” said Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People. “In just 11 days, over half a million people joined the campaign and the movement grows with every new revelation. Donald Trump is profiting from the presidency at public expense — and people are suffering as a result.”

Norman Solomon, co-founder and coordinator of RootsAction.org, added, “A groundswell for impeachment is underway at the grassroots. In districts around the country, House members will face escalating calls from constituents who believe that the president must not be above the supreme law of the land. This historic movement is just getting started.”

The petitioners say Trump’s personal and business holdings in the United States and abroad present unprecedented conflicts of interest and place him in direct violation of the Constitution.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause reads says: No person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under (the United States), shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” The purpose of this provision is to prevent foreign influence or corruption. “Emoluments” from foreign governments include “any conferral of a benefit or advantage, whether through money, objects, titles, offices, or economically valuable waivers or relaxations of otherwise applicable requirements,” even including “ordinary, fair market value transactions that result in any economic profit or benefit to the federal officeholder.

The Domestic Emoluments Clause says: The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

This provision, which Congress cannot waive, intended to prevent corruption.

The petitioners say there is sufficient basis to investigate other potentially impeachable violations. For example, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 is a federal ethics statute that specifically includes the president. Among other provisions, it prohibits the president from using nonpublic information for private profit and from intentionally influencing an employment decision or practice of a private entity solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation.

Action alert

Impeach Donald Trump Now is a nonpartisan campaign led by Free Speech For People and RootsAction.org. To join the campaign, read the proposed impeachment resolution or to learn more, go to www.ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org.

 

GOP’s closing argument: ‘If Clinton wins, we’ll do nothing but hound her’

Republican lawmakers are trying to delegitimize a Hillary Clinton presidency before it’s clear there will be one. They’re threatening to block her Supreme Court nominees, investigate her endlessly, and even impeach her.

The effect that all this would have on the nation seems to be of no concern to Republican Party officials. Their focus is strictly on partisanship and revenge, not the greater good. Their rhetoric is all-the-more striking because newly elected presidents traditionally enjoy a honeymoon period with Congress and the public. For Clinton, the honeymoon is over even before it’s clear she’ll be elected.

It’s come to this: The best argument Republicans can make for Donald Trump is that if Clinton is elected, they’ll do nothing but persecute her — public business be damned!

Charging Clinton with “high crime or misdemeanor” is how Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin described the GOP’s agenda in a Clinton presidency to the Beloit Daily News. Forget creating jobs, addressing gun violence, the growing threat of global terrorism. The Republicans’ goal is is to take out Clinton — quite literally according to Trump, who’s virtually called for her assassination in a couple of stump speeches.

GOP Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, in Fox News interview, gleefully predicted that Clinton’s use of a private email server as Secretary of State would lead to her impeachment. He was all but salivating on camera at the prospect.

GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Richard Burr of North Carolina and John McCain of Arizona have suggested that they’ll oppose any and all Supreme Court nominations Clinton might make. It apparently hasn’t occurred to them that they’re threatening to shirk their constitutional duties. Shouldn’t that behavior be an impeachable offense? It’s certainly more destructive to our democracy than charges of mishandling email — charges that have been dismissed once already by the FBI.

“You’ve got some Republicans in Congress already suggesting they will impeach Hillary. She hasn’t even been elected yet!” an astonished President Obama told a crowd in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “How does our democracy function like that?”

Well, it goes like this. In the House, Republicans have already spent more than two years and $7 million investigating Clinton’s role while secretary of state in the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. Never mind that Clinton’s prosecutors are the same budget hawks who believe government overreach and wasteful spending are the deadliest of sins — and never mind that they belong to the party that, based on phony evidence, created the most perilous global crisis since the Civil War.

None of Clinton’s obsessed GOP opponents seem concerned about the inevitable and potentially far more serious investigations certain to be leveled at Donald Trump following the election. Trump’s potential “high crimes and misdemeanors” are also getting a publicity pass from the FBI, even though, unlike allegations against Clinton,  “many of Trump’s are fully documented in court cases and legal proceedings,” as The Atlantic pointed out.

Trump faces a civil trial for fraud and racketeering under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act over his disgraced “Trump University.” He faces child rape charges in this month. A dozen women have charged him with sexual assault.

Trump’s ascendancy to the White House could potentially open — or reopen — thousands of cases deriving from his shady business dealings: stiffing of contractors and investors, avoiding taxes, hiring illegal immigrants, skirting trade laws, misusing his so-called shell of a “charity,” and so on.

Clinton’s transgressions, if true, as pretty par for the course for someone who’s spent decades in public life and political office. Trump’s, on the other hand, are off the charts for anyone considering a run for even a minor political office.

Yet GOP lawmakers, who are likely to retain their majority in the House, show no sign that they see the glaring imbalance. Some pundits have suggested that their end goal is to get veep candidate Mike Pence in the White House, where he can culminate their efforts to take abortion rights away from American women, reignite pogroms against LGBT Americans and, most especially, ensure that the corporate lords of GOP campaign coffers can continue to advance their grip over society.

Sadly, the threats against Clinton by right-wing congressional leaders are nothing new. For eight years they’ve struggled to delegitimize President Barack Obama’s presidency and to block nearly every effort he’s introduced to help working Americans. If Clinton is elected, the nature of their work in Washington will not change one iota; it will merely be redirected from a black man to a woman. When they say that a Clinton presidency will be a continuation of the Obama administration, they know what they’re talking about, because they’re the very people who will ensure that it is.

Perhaps all this is why the GOP’s top congressional leaders, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, have passed up opportunities to dispute some of the outlandish anti-Clinton comments from their rank-and-file.  Instead, they’ve co-opted those crazy charges to help make their closing argument on why to vote for Trump, which is essentially this: “If Clinton wins, we’re going to waste the next four to eight years trying to find her guilty of something.”

Not only is that the most cynical, negative and irresponsible idea underpinning a campaign in American history, but, given Trump’s cartloads of legal baggage, it’s also among the most disingenuous.

 

Analysis: Republicans lost 5 House seats last time the GOP pushed impeachment

The last time Republicans unleashed impeachment proceedings against a Democratic president, they lost five House seats in an election they seemed primed to win handily.

Memories of Bill Clinton and the campaign of 1998 may help explain why Speaker John Boehner and the current Republican leadership want no part of such talk now, although conservatives increasingly clamor for it. And also why President Barack Obama’s White House seems almost eager to stir the impeachment pot three months before midterm congressional elections.

Republicans have already “opened the door for impeachment” with their plans to sue the president over allegedly failing to carry out the health care law, White House aide Dan Pfeiffer told reporters. In something of a dare last week, he also said any further action Obama takes on his own on immigration will “up the likelihood” of a  Republican-led move to remove Obama from office.

The Democrats’ campaign committee from the House of Representatives used reports of tea party Republicans meeting to discuss impeachment in an emailed fundraising plea sent Sunday. They warned “the fate of Obama’s presidency is at stake.”

Pfeiffer and Democratic fundraisers aren’t privy to the inner workings of the House Republican leadership. Boehner, who is, insists at every public opportunity that the lawsuit is one thing, impeachment is another — and not on the table. The planned suit results from a dispute over the balance of powers between the president and Congress, he said last month, and the House “must act as an institution to defend the constitutional principles at stake.”

Republicans dispute suggestions by Democrats that the suit’s true purpose is to release pressure from the party’s more extreme supporters for impeachment.

One Republican committee chairman, Congressman Pete Sessions, said in a brief interview that Clinton deserved to be impeached, but Obama does not.

The 42nd president “broke the law,” he said of formal allegations that accused Clinton of lying under oath to a grand jury and obstructing justice in connection with his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Contrasting the former president with the current one, Sessions said: “Breaking the law is different from not fully enforcing the law.”

At least one senior Republican isn’t as definitive. Interviewed on Sunday on Fox, Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, newly elected to the Republican leadership, repeatedly declined to rule out impeaching Obama.

For his part, Sessions spoke a few hours after he opened a meeting of the House Rules Committee with what could well have been a case for impeachment: sweeping allegations that went far beyond the boundaries of the planned lawsuit.

“The president has unilaterally waived work requirements for welfare recipients,” the Texas Republican said. The chief executive “ended accountability provisions in No Child Left Behind,” an education law dating to the George W. Bush era, he said.

The president “refused to inform the Congress of the transfer of what is known as the Taliban five,” Sessions went on. “And ignored the statutory requirements of the Affordable Care Act,” he said, using the formal name for the 4-year-old health care law also known as Obamacare.

However compelling the complaints, no judge will ever rule on most of them.

Three months before the November elections, Republicans intend to limit their lawsuit to a narrower claim, that he has failed to faithfully carry out the health care law that, according to polls, remains poorly received by the public.

“In 2013, the president changed the health care law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it,” Boehner said in a statement last month. “No president should have the power to make laws on his or her own.”

Republican officials say they decided to narrow the focus of the court case after being advised by lawyers that their chances of succeeding would be stronger.

None of this seems likely to satisfy the political right, as 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin recently made clear. “It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of America we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment,” she wrote.

Yet her opinion is not widely shared among non-Republicans, and Democrats quickly sought to use calls like the one from Palin to raise campaign funds.

In a CNN survey last week, more than half of all Republicans said they favor Obama’s impeachment, but that level that fell to one-third of the overall electorate. Among independents, 63 percent opposed it.

A lawsuit is also generally unpopular, but less so than impeachment would be, the poll indicated.

When it came to the lawsuit, 41 percent of the country backed it. Support was 75 percent among Republicans, while independents opposed it by 43-55.

As a junior member of the leadership in 1998, Boehner had a seat at the table when Republicans decided to inject Clinton’s impeachment into that year’s elections.

Republicans held their majority, but Democrats gained five seats, a rarity in midterm elections for the party in power in the White House.

Clinton was impeached in a post-election session of the House, later acquitted in the Senate and remained in office. Then-Speaker Newt Gingrich fared worse. Under pressure from his rank and file, the Republican gave up his post and left Congress soon after the election debacle.

In the upheaval, Boehner lost his leadership post for a decade.

Documents detail Nixon, Bill Clinton ties

In the final months of his life, Richard Nixon quietly advised President Bill Clinton on navigating the post-Cold War world, even offering to serve as a conduit for messages to Russian President Boris Yeltsin and other government officials, newly declassified documents show.

Memos and other records show Nixon’s behind-the-scenes relations with the Clinton White House. The documents are part of an exhibit opening today (Feb. 15) at the Nixon Presidential Library, marking the centennial of his birth.

Clinton has talked often of his gratitude to Nixon for his advice on foreign affairs, particularly Russia. In a video that will be part of the exhibit, Clinton recalls receiving a letter from the 37th president shortly before his death on April 22, 1994, at a time when Clinton was assessing U.S. relations “in a world growing ever more interdependent and yet ungovernable.”

“I sought guidance in the example of President Nixon, who came to the presidency at a time in our history when Americans were tempted to say, ‘We’ve had enough of the world,”” Clinton says in the video. “But President Nixon knew we had to continue to reach out to old friends and to old enemies alike. He knew America could not quit the world.”

The documents from late February and early March 1994 show Nixon, then 81, in his role of elder statesman. It was two decades after he left the White House in disgrace during Watergate.

The exhibit is an attempt to present a fuller picture of Nixon. It includes the wooden bench he often warmed as a second-rate football player in college, and illustrates events often eclipsed by the scandal that drove him from office.

Media reports from the time discussed interaction between Nixon and Clinton before his trip, including a phone call. The records, provided to The Associated Press by the library, fill in the backstory, detailing Nixon’s advice as well as his willingness to assist U.S. interests abroad.

They include a confidential National Security Council memo from a senior Clinton aide who spent three hours with Nixon, shortly before the former president would make his 10th, and final, trip to Russia that year.

The aide, R. Nicholas Burns, writes that Nixon is generally supportive of White House policy on Russia but thinks the administration has not been tough enough when it comes to Russia’s dealings with its neighbors. Nixon also advises that U.S. aid to Russia should be linked to U.S. security aims, such as nuclear balance and a reduced threat from the Russian military, rather than emphasizing the value of domestic reforms there.

Nixon also offered to carry messages to Yeltsin and others as his own, the memo says.

The documents, released through Clinton’s presidential library for the exhibit, also include talking points Clinton apparently used in his call with Nixon.

Nixon’s trip to Russia was followed closely in the media, in part because Yeltsin froze the former president out of the Kremlin and took away bodyguards and a limousine the government had provided for him after Nixon held meetings with Yeltsin adversaries.

Yeltsin later backed off and urged Russian officials and parliament members to meet with Nixon.

In another glimpse into their relationship, a handwritten note will be on display from Nixon to Clinton that praises the former Arkansas governor’s 1992 presidential campaign that helped put him in the White House. Nixon said the campaign was one of the best he had ever witnessed.

“The strongest steel must pass through the hottest fire. In enduring that ordeal you have demonstrated that you have the character to lead not just America but the forces of peace and freedom in the world,” Nixon wrote.

Clinton in his younger days was no fan of Nixon _ as a college student in the 1960s, he opposed escalation of the Vietnam War. And his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was a young lawyer advising a House committee when she helped draw up impeachment papers against Nixon.

But Clinton’s views changed. He led the nation in paying tribute to Nixon at his funeral in California in April 1994, declaring, “May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.”

He later told interviewer Larry King that he was deeply grateful for Nixon’s counsel since he took office and wished he could call the former president for advice.

Clinton echoed that statement in the video tribute.

“After he died, I found myself wishing I could pick up the phone and ask President Nixon what he thought about this issue or that problem, particularly if it involved Russia. I appreciated his insight and advice and I’m glad he chose, at the end of his life, to share it with me,” Clinton says.

Move rejected to impeach Md. AG over gay marriage

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A committee on Wednesday rejected a resolution to impeach the state attorney general over his opinion that gay marriages legally performed elsewhere must be recognized in Maryland.

The state House Judiciary Committee, by a 14-6 vote, turned down the measure introduced by Delegate Don Dwyer, R-Anne Arundel, earlier in the day to the state’s House of Delegates.

Dwyer argued that the entire House should vote on the resolution, which he brought against Democratic Attorney General Doug Gansler. The opinion issued in February means agencies in Maryland must now recognize out-of-state gay marriages until the Legislature or courts decide otherwise.

“It is clear that this opinion usurped the authority of the Maryland General Assembly,” Dwyer said while explaining the resolution for more than 10 minutes on the House floor and requesting a vote by the full House.

But the House decided it should be referred to the House Judiciary Committee instead. A vote that would have required the entire House of Delegates to vote on the impeachment failed 39-101 after sparking a debate on the issue.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general declined to comment. Gansler issued the opinion at the request of an openly gay state senator.

Maryland law defines marriage as between a man and woman, but Gansler wrote that the state generally acknowledges couples married elsewhere. Maryland is one of six states that does not specifically address the validity of same-sex marriages from other states.

Delegate Susan Krebs, R-Carroll, said a vote by Maryland lawmakers on the recognition of same-sex marriage was long overdue, noting that the Legislature has put off settling the matter in her eight years in Annapolis.

“This body needs to resolve the issue — not the courts, not the attorney general,” Krebs said.

Delegate Luiz Simmons, D-Montgomery, said referring the resolution to the appropriate committee was a measured response to addressing the charges. He said “the people’s House should not be transformed into the people’s colosseum.”

“What about the validity of the petition? What about the basis of the charges? This should not be a dictatorship of who’s got the loudest voice and who’s the most extreme view,” Simmons said.

Dwyer described the hearing before the committee as “a kangaroo court of sorts, at best.” He also criticized House Speaker Michael Busch for not letting the matter receive a vote by the entire House body.

Dwyer, who has long opposed gay marriage and had been planning to bring the impeachment allegation for weeks, had said he was willing to be escorted out of the chamber, if Busch, D-Anne Arundel, ruled him out of order in bringing articles of impeachment. But the House debated the matter for nearly an hour without incident.

Still, the debate was impassioned. Some lawmakers with opposing views sometimes talked over each other, forcing the speaker to pound his gavel or ask people to sit down.