Thursday, November 28, 2019

Follow The Money

If you are scornful toward the Democratic Party and want to ignore very recent American history, you  are Dylan Ratigan and tweet

House leadership decided to launch an impeachment inquiry when it did because, as Paul Kane noted at the time in The Washington Post

after texting and holding conference calls, several dozen freshman Democrats stepped out from the protective shield of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). They were ready, particularly those with national security backgrounds, to push to impeach the president whose election had propelled so many of them to run for office last year.

“It’s interesting. We’re all trained to make hard decisions in tough climates,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), a Navy helicopter pilot and Russian policy expert who served as a federal prosecutor before winning a longtime GOP seat in 2018. “This was actually not that hard a decision. This was such a clear violation of our norms, such a clear violation of our national security.”

.... Sherrill and six other freshmen with credentials in the military, defense or U.S. intelligence published an op-ed in The Washington Post calling for an impeachment inquiry after Trump acknowledged that he pressed Ukrainian leaders to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a leading Democratic rival for the 2020 election.

That proved seismic, helping move other wavering Democrats from swing districts off the fence.

It proved seismic because Pelosi needed those seven and the others.

It was seismic because this is 2019 and the Democratic Party, formerly perceived as the party of  "godless Communism," wants to position itself as the defenders of national security. The seven, perhaps recognizing this erogenous zone, wrote

Our lives have been defined by national service. We are not career politicians. We are veterans of the military and of the nation’s defense and intelligence agencies. Our service is rooted in the defense of our country on the front lines of national security.

And it proved seismic because five of the seven are women and (pick one; my choice is the second) this is 2019 or Nancy Pelosi views herself as a mentor of strong Democratic women succeeding in national politics.

With all that, the focus on Ukraine/Bidens probably was an error.  Kane quotes the Clinton Administration veteran, Donna Shalala of Florida, remarking “The caucus is going to stick together, the speaker speaks for us now. And my district will understand why we have to stand up now.”

But it is a truism of American politics that unless the USA is involved in a shooting war or there is panic about terrorists, few voters care about foreign policy. And now, Democrats appear to be trying to impeach a President over a country called "Ukraine," which a lot of people don't know about and many don't care about.

Numerous voters hear "Ukraine" and "Biden" and believe that it's simply a matter of two parties squabbling over a partisan issue, a misconception reinforced by ludicrous GOP claims that Democrats are trying to overturn an election (in which their candidate was preferred by fewer voters than the other, but never mind).  However, if Speaker Pelosi had chosen, the House could have considered additional charge(s) and

That would be Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, which bars federal officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign governments. It is derived from the Latin word "emolumentum," meaning "profit" or "gain." And another prohibition in Article II prohibits the president from receiving domestic emoluments.

Trump's continuing ownership of hotels and restaurants, such as Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., where foreign leaders often stay, has spurred three federal lawsuits. Two courts of appeals are scheduled to hold oral arguments in December.

Deepak Gupta, an attorney litigating two of the lawsuits, says Trump's presidency is "a walking, talking Emoluments Clause violation" because Trump never divested himself of his real estate holdings.

"The Framers were obsessed with the possibility of corruption," Gupta says.

Corruption. That is something to which people respond more than they do to "Ukraine" or "the Bidens" or "quid pro quo." They also respond to the reality that they are being cheated, ripped off, and plundered- or would, if Democrats had not decided virtually to ignore it.

Nancy Pelosi, who stated in June that she wants Donald Trump "in prison," not impeached, presumably has her eyes on the prize and recognizes a worthy goal when she sees it. But first, Trump must be removed from office, through the impeachment process (unlikely) or defeat in November of 2020, lest the statute of limitations kicks in.  Hopefully, she's still dedicated to the sentiment she expressed 5+ months ago and sees clearly what I don't.

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