Tag: Impeach

And the Balloon Goes Up

The House of Representatives has selected managers and transmitted the impeachment to the U.S. Senate:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped two trusted committee chairmen to lead the team that will make the case in the Senate for President Trump’s removal from office, supported by a relatively small cast of additional impeachment “managers.”

Confirming widespread speculation that swirled for weeks as she held back the articles of impeachment, Pelosi (D-Calif.) turned to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) to lead the House team. She made the announcement at a Wednesday news conference after keeping the cast of managers under tight wraps for weeks.

Joining Schiff and Nadler are Reps. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), Sylvia Garcia (D-Tex.), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.).

The seven-member team is smaller than the 13-member squad that presented articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton to the Senate in 1999, reflecting a more tightly controlled approach to the investigation.

I still think that they should have held on so they could incorporate the Parnas documents get testimony from John Bolton, et al.

Here’s hoping that Schiff is taking lead, because Nadler has been less than impressive.

Pass the Pop Corn

The House of Representatives have just released a treasure trove of documents incriminating Trump:

House Democrats just unveiled a trove of fresh impeachment evidence against President Trump in a surprise move that came just days before his impeachment trial is set to kick off in the Senate.

The files include a copy of a letter from Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani addressed to the President of Ukraine that casts Trump as fully aware of Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine — at a moment when Giuliani was publicly calling for the country to investigate Trump’s Democratic 2020 challenger, former vice president Joe Biden.

That letter, which requests a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, directly links Trump to a trip Giuliani described at the time as “meddling in an investigation.”

“In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th or Tuesday, May 14th,” Giuliani wrote.

Republicans have repeatedly defended the president by arguing that the evidence and testimony in the impeachment hearings haven’t linked him closely enough to efforts by those around him, like Giuliani, to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into Biden. But the letter says explicitly that Giuliani had Trump’s full backing and consent, at a time when Giuliani told The New York Times: “I’m asking them to do an investigation.”

The disclosures deliver a large new pile of hard evidence to Democrats on the eve of their Wednesday vote to send articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial. In December, the House voted to impeach Trump for abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to announce an investigation of Biden and for obstructing the Congressional investigation into what happened.

Giuliani’s letter and other documents released Tuesday were recently delivered to House Democrats by an embattled associate of his named Lev Parnas, a Ukranian-born businessman who helped Giuliani navigate the country and seek damaging information about Biden.


The new records include an apparent memo, written by Parnas, about getting Zelensky to announce an investigation of Biden. It’s a rare hardcopy piece of evidence suggesting what the whole scheme was about.

“Get Zalensky [sic] to Annonce [sic] that the Biden case will Be Investigated,” the note reads.

This is getting good.

I’m Not Sure That This Is Good News

A lot of people have been making hosannas over John Bolton’s announcement that he would testify if he were subpoenaed by the Senate for the impeachment trial.

I’m a pessimist about this.

Given that John Bolton is probably still sporting an erection from our recent assassination of an Iranian general*, and the former National Security Advisor has been aggressively called for war with Iran for decades, I do not think that he will do ANYTHING that would make it difficult for Trump to launch a war against Iran:

Awfully mustachioed of you, John. It was nice visiting your website, too.

I don’t trust this guy as far as the car threw me. He’s going to be the shot that brings down the elephant now that we’re just inches away from the war for which he’s been slavering his entire adult life? Please. At the very least, this is a bag job to give cover to whatever Mitch McConnell’s plan to chloroform the impeachment trial is. They can refuse to call him, and he’s covered. He can show up and refuse to answer—executive privilege, state of war, in these perilous times, y’know? But the idea that Bolton’s going to cooperate in any meaningful way, and that his testimony will advance the case against the president* in any meaningful way, requires a suspension of disbelief that rivals that of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Even if Bolton is a vindictive SOB, and he is, and even if he is probably VERY angry that Trump fired him, he will never, ever, do anything that might lead to peace with Iran.

Bolton really wants to send poor young Americans overseas to fight and die.

*Really sorry about that mental image.
No really, I am SINCERELY sorry about that mental image.
You were aware that in the late 1970s, he was frequently seen at the infamous sex club Plato’s Retreat, so I figure that there are WAY too many people who have seen his erection.

After Major Sh%$-Storm, Biden Clarifies

In an interview with the Des Moins Register, Joe Biden said that he would defy a Senate subpoena as a part of the impeachment investigation.

After his statement exploded, Biden “clarified” that he WOULD comply with any Senate subpoena, but he would call them out on their bullsh%$:

The shadow of impeachment clouded Joe Biden’s trip through eastern Iowa on Saturday after the former vice president confirmed he would defy a congressional subpoena if he didn’t believe there was a legal rationale behind it.

Biden told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board Friday he would not comply with a Senate subpoena during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. It confirmed a statement he made in an interview with NPR earlier in the month.

He began the day Saturday clarifying those remarks on Twitter before making appearances in Tipton, Washington and Fairfield.

“I have always complied with a lawful order and in my eight years as VP, my office — unlike Donald Trump and Mike Pence — cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight requests,” Biden tweeted. “But I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial.”

Seriously, Biden basically sold the entire impeachment effort down the river, and when it blew up, he “Clarified.”

This is, for a lack of a better term, pure malarkey.

Deep Thought

Trump’s fundraising for Senators who are jurors in his impeachment trial may qualify for bribery under federal statutes.

While Pelosi is waiting for the impeachment rules from McConnell, maybe she should start investigating that, and demand that the Senators in question recuse themselves.

(On Edit)

Actually, instead  of calling on the Senators to recuse themselves, they, and their staff, should be called by the House as witnesses.

About Those Anti-Impeachment “Democrats”

Jeff Van Drew (“D”-NJ) is looking to become a Republican, because, even in New Jersey, the state Democratic Party establishment finds him too cynical and too hypocritical to support.

To refresh your memory, he was one of 2 Democrats in the House to vote against initiating the impeachment investigation in the first place, and he was the “Democrat” most likely to vote against impeachment.

Since that time, his support has cratered, so he’s looking to switch party to save his ass.

This is actually a good thing, because it illuminates to other wavering “Democrats” the consequences of voting no.

The problem here is not one of values, it is one of integrity and guts, because, as the example that Jeff Van Drew shows, there is NO political upside for a Democrat to oppose impeachment:

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the conservative South Jersey Democrat who has vocally opposed impeaching President Donald Trump, is expected to switch parties in the coming days, according to three New Jersey Democratic sources, leaving a party he has represented for more than 20 years.

Van Drew didn’t just oppose the impeachment effort. He repeatedly touted his position on Fox News, winning direct praise from Trump on Twitter. “Thank you,” the president wrote in one tweet in September.

In turn, Democrats saw his support implode in polling and party leaders began distancing themselves from the congressman. This week the Democratic chairman of Atlantic County warned in a public letter that Van Drew would infuriate Democratic voters and could cost the party down ballot next year if he opposed impeachment. State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D., Gloucester), a longtime Van Drew ally, pointedly refused to endorse the congressman.

“Jeff stabbed us in the back, certainly,” said a seething Michael Suleiman, the Atlantic County chairman. “It’s disgusting. It’s a disgrace. Good riddance.”

He added, “Maybe he’ll be the new ambassador to Ukraine.” 

Oh ……… Burn.


Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Saturday that he and other top Democrats had made it clear to Van Drew that his impeachment stand meant he would no longer have Democratic support. “Despite knowing full well that the president has abused the powers of his office,” Murphy said, “Congressman Van Drew is now willing to enable Donald Trump just to try to salvage his own election.”

Van Drew in recent days asked party chairs to sign a pledge to support him, and they refused, according to Sulemain. Van Drew’s team also tried to persuade national Democratic staffers detailed to his race to continue to support him despite his switch to the GOP. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staff balked and alerted South Jersey Democratic officials, according to two people familiar with the conversations.

(Emphasis mine)

So, not only is he switching parties, he attempted to poach DCCC staffers for his campaign as a Republican.

The technical term for this is Chutzpah.


Indeed, Van Drew voted with Trump only about 7% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight, a data-focused news site. But the impeachment vote was a breaking point. Van Drew was one of two House Democrats to break ranks on opening the inquiry, and he has said he plans to vote against formal articles of impeachment against Trump next week.

These numbers does not matter.

There is a difference between a conservative Democrat and a disloyal Democrat, and Jeff Van Drew is clearly the latter.

About the IG Report on the Russia Investigation

So the report is out, and the DoJ’s Inspector General has testified, and there are two important takeaways:
  1. There is no no conspiracy, just business as usual for the FBI.
  2. Business as usual by the FBI is a complete sh%$ show with abuse of due process and of a complete disregard due diligence.

So the implication is that the FBI routinely plays fast and loose with our civil rights when they can operate in secret before a court that has largely captured by the state security apparatus:

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday that the FBI was justified in opening its 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign, but he told sharply divided lawmakers that he could not vindicate the bureau’s former leaders because of other major errors — effectively offering both political parties fresh ammunition in their feud over the Russia case.


Since his 434-page report was released Monday, Democrats have emphasized its conclusion that political bias did not drive the investigation into a possible conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia; Barr and fellow Republicans have said the report found so many flaws that the investigation should have never happened.

“Does your report vindicate Mr. Comey?” asked Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.).

“It doesn’t vindicate anyone at the FBI who touched this, including the leadership,” Horowitz responded. “Does it vindicate Mr. McCabe?” Kennedy asked, referring to Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe. “Same answer,” Horowitz responded.

The inspector general found 17 errors or omissions made by the FBI as it sought and received approvals to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Those applications were filed to the secret court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to oversee intelligence and terrorism cases.

In a perfect world, this report would lead to serious reform of the FISA court, which has routinely been used to undermine the constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
Of course, we do not live in perfect world, so I expect no reform.

Not Impressed

Jerry Nadler just announced 2 articles of impeachment.

Unfortunately, as BMaz notes at Emptywheel, “Pelosi and Nadler have turned impeachment into such a craven sh%$ and clown show that it is unbearable.” (%$ mine)

It’s pretty clear that, unlike Adam Schiff, both Nadler and Pelosi don’t want to do this, and want this over, and down the memory hole, before years end.

It is an exercise in cowardice and politically stupid, as it will energize the Maga types for a long time while putting the party activists back in the proverbial “Veal Pen”.

You need to uncover the totality of Trump’s corruption and general sleaze, like Sam Ervin did with the Watergate committee.

House Democrats unveiled two narrowly drawn articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday, saying he had abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress in its investigation of his conduct regarding Ukraine.

“We must be clear: No one, not even the president, is above the law,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said at a news conference where he was flanked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other House leaders.

At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Stupid and Short-Sighted

It looks like Pelosi is trying to have an impeachment vote before year’s end, which means that the credible investigations of obstruction of justice in the Mueller report, and efforts to get testimony from John Bolton and Don McGahn are not being undertaken.

Seriously, you are only going to get one shot at this.

You want everything that is an impeachable offense in the articles of impeachment, and you want them exposed to the public.

Nancy Pelosi wants to show that Democrats want to get thing done by ……… wait for it ……… passing an update on NAFTA, the USMCA, because it worked so well for the Democrats in 1994. (Hint, it DIDN’T)

I get that Nancy Pelosi is eager to sell out the American worker to trans-national corporations because she, and the Blue Dog and New Democratic caucuses, will find it easier to fund raise that way, but the last time the Democrats did this, they lost the house and the Senate.

This is both bad politics and bad policy.

Impeachment is about turning over rocks to see what is underneath, and you are not done yet.

Preach It Brother!

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) has said that he wants the clear evidence of obstruction of justice in the Mueller report included in the impeachment charges:

The third most senior House Democrat wants a vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump — and the charges against him to include obstruction of justice related to the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

That controversial strategic position, laid out by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., in a brief interview with McClatchy on Tuesday evening, is the strongest and most decisive statement yet by a member of the House Democratic leadership team.

It also comes amid a hushed internal debate over how best to proceed.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top lieutenants have, until this point, been circumspect about their intentions, even as the party’s impeachment inquiry heads into its final stages. And many members of the House Democratic Caucus have been operating on an assumption the California Democrat could deny efforts to incorporate the Mueller report into impeachment articles.


Clyburn’s comments were also significant in that they signaled an interest in expanding the scope of potential impeachment articles beyond the investigation into whether Trump worked to withhold assistance from Ukraine unless the foreign government agreed to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival.

“Obstruction of justice, I think, is too clear not to include” in impeachment articles, Clyburn said.

The so-called “pragmatic” democrats, Pelosi and her Evil Minions, want the impeachment to be narrowly focused on Trump’s behavior with regard to the Ukraine.

This is wrong and stupid.

First, it is clear that there will only be one chance to pass articles of impeachment, and second, by confining the impeachment investigation to Trumps attempts to capitalize on Hunter Biden’s sleazy, though legal, behavior, it reduces the legitimacy of the charges.

There is Stupid, Desperate, Stupid and Desperate, an Then There Is ………

There is so clueless and desperate that you feel compelled to consult with Mark Penn, the man who (mis)managed Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign. (He did not know that the Democrats do not have winner take all primaries)

Penn is now advising Donald Trump on impeachment:

As President Trump’s White House battles impeachment, he turned to a familiar face last week: Mark Penn, one of President Bill Clinton’s top strategists.

Penn visited the Oval Office for more than an hour last Monday, three people familiar with the meeting said, and provided polling data and impeachment advice for the president. Penn reassured Trump that he would not be removed from office, according to people familiar with the meeting, and encouraged him to travel the country as Clinton did when he was fighting impeachment over 20 years ago, officials said.


In a brief interview, Penn said repeatedly that he was not working for Trump. “It’s the second time I have ever met with the president. I’m not counseling him. I’m not advising him.” Penn said he discussed with Trump only publicly available data but declined to be specific on his advice. “I don’t get into presidential meetings.”

That is a distinction without a difference.

Penn is a hack and an incompetent, so while I am angry about his disloyalty to the Democratic Party, it’s better that this mook* is advising Trump as opposed to someone who has a modicum of competence.

*Not to be confused with 2016 Clinton campaign chair Robby Mook, who is also, ironically, a mook.

They’ve Got Tapes. They’ve Always Got Tapes

It looks like indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas has tapes of both Rudolph Giuliani’s and Donald Trump’s efforts to extract an investigation of Hunter Biden from Kiev, and he has turned them over to the House Intelligence Committee for the impeachment investigation:

The House Intelligence Committee is in possession of audio and video recordings and photographs provided to the committee by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who reportedly played a key role in assisting him in his efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.

The material submitted to the committee includes audio, video and photos that include Giuliani and Trump. It was unclear what the content depicts and the committees only began accessing the material last week.

“We have subpoenaed Mr. Parnas and Mr. [Igor] Fruman for their records. We would like them to fully comply with those subpoenas,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told CNN Sunday, with a committee spokesperson adding they would not elaborate beyond the chairman’s comments.

An attorney for Parnas, Joseph A. Bondy, also declined to comment, directing ABC News to a statement released earlier in the day Sunday reading in part, “Mr. Parnas has vociferously and publicly asserted his wish to comply with his previously issued subpoena and to provide the House Intelligence Committee with truthful and important information that is in furtherance of justice, not to obstruct it.”


However, some of the material sought by congressional investigators is already in possession of federal investigators within the Southern District of New York and thus held up from being turned over, according to sources familiar with the matter.


Giuliani’s relationship with Parnas and Fruman is the subject of a criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York, according to sources. That case will have its next court date early next month.

I rather imagine whatever the SDNY has in their grubby mitts will not be getting to the impeachment inquiry in the near term, since Barr has made it clear that his first, and perhaps only, priority, is to obstruct the Congressional investigation.

Still, the mention of tapes does create a sense of nostalgia in this political child of the Watergate era.

Oh, Snap!

It appears that Congressman Devin “Moo” Nunes just got caught soliciting foreign support for Trump’s 2020 campaign.

Likely ethics investigation to follow:

The top Democrat on the House armed services committee said Saturday that Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is likely to face an ethics investigation over allegations he met with an ex-Ukrainian prosecutor at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

“Quite likely, without question,” House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash) said when asked by MSNBC’s Joy Reid whether Nunes (R-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee’s top Republican and a longtime Trump ally, could be investigated.

CNN reported late Friday that an associate of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, has information on meetings Nunes allegedly had with former Ukrainian prosecutor general Victor Shokin.

The CNN report says that Lev Parnas, according to his attorney, put Nunes in touch with Shokin to help him gather damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings with Ukraine.

I do not expect any serious consequences for this, because it’s OK if You are a Republican. (IOKIYAR)

Shooting Someone at Noon on 5th Avenue

Donald Trump was right about his supporters, because the Republican response to the impeachment hearings indicates that Donald Trump could literally shoot someone on camera, and the ‘Phants would say, “No impeachable offense,” or, “Everyone does it,” or just, “F%$# you.”

Impeachment is, of course an inherently political process, but this is insane.

About F%$#ing Time

I have offered some criticism over the impeachment investigations because I find them too narrowly focused.

In addition to being mobbed up and egregious self dealing, it’s also clear that Donald Trump obstructed justice in his attempts to sabotage the Mueller investigation.

Well, now investigators for the House of Representatives have told a judge that they are investigating possible obstruction of justice in addition to rat-f%$#ery in the Ukraine:

House investigators are examining whether President Trump lied to former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, the House general counsel told a federal appeals court Monday in Washington.

The statement came during arguments over Congress’s demand for the urgent release of secret grand jury evidence from Mueller’s probe of Russia’s 2016 election interference, with House lawyers detailing fresh concerns about Trump’s truthfulness that could become part of the impeachment inquiry.

The hearing followed Friday’s conviction of longtime Trump friend Roger Stone for lying to Congress. Testimony and evidence at his trial appeared to cast doubt on Trump’s written answers to Mueller’s questions, specifically about whether the president was aware of his campaign’s attempts to learn about the release of hacked Democratic emails by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

“Did the president lie? Was the president not truthful in his responses to the Mueller investigation?” General Counsel Douglas N. Letter said in court.

“The House is now trying to determine whether the current president should remain in office,” Letter added. “This is something that is unbelievably serious and it’s happening right now, very fast.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is reviewing a lower court’s ruling that orders the Justice Department to disclose evidence the House says it needs as it holds public hearings about Trump’s alleged effort to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a potential 2020 political rival, former vice president Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden.

Last month, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia found that the House was legally engaged in a judicial process that exempts Congress from the secrecy rules that shield grand jury materials.

I understand that Nancy Pelosi wants the impeachment investigation narrowly focused and quick.
She is wrong.
Impeachment is an inherently political process, and showing that the criminality is pervasive, and flows directly from the Oval Office is a necessary part of the process.

The Onion Abides

There are times that it appears to be the only real news source in America, as evidenced by this headline:

Washington Post’ Impeachment Critic Gives Insipid Day One Inquiry 2 Out Of 5 Andrew Johnsons

I would note that The Onion‘s article is really not that different from some press coverage calling the impeachment hearings a “snoozer”.

Seriously, what the f%$# is wrong with the journalism schools?

I Did Not Know That He Could Lose His Sh%$ Even More

Trump, who on a good day is melting down, is having an epic meltdown:

President Trump doesn’t think House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry should get any media coverage.

Meanwhile, he’s ravenously consuming news about the subject — primarily through a friendly lens. From the Oval Office to the White House residence to Air Force One, he’s closely tracking how Republican members of Congress are digesting the latest revelations on his handling of Ukraine, and monitoring their statements for any sign of hesitation or perceived disloyalty.

“We’re getting f%$#ing killed,” Trump often gripes — a complaint about media coverage that is escalating in volume and frequency amid the impeachment probe, according to a Republican close to the White House. “He does make that comment literally every day.”

Trump is especially frustrated that the depositions by current and former officials — which have taken place behind closed doors, but nonetheless have leaked in some detail to reporters — “have to be covered at all,” according to a senior White House official.

“We should have no speculative coverage of what’s going on inside these private briefings, according to the very people who keep it private,” said another White House official. “Either let everybody see what’s happening as it happens or keep your mouth shut.”

Trump tells White House aides in private that he sees no need for leaks from the depositions because everyone can read the transcript of his call with the president of Ukraine, which he has repeatedly called “perfect.” He also is critical of witnesses he accuses of “pretending they know what he meant” on the call.

Seriously, I’m thinking that Mike Pence is aching to invoke the 25th amendment, and he’s just waiting for the right time.

Kind of Like Your Mother-in-Law Driving off a Cliff in Your Brand New Car

It appears that in an attempt to forestall impeachment, the Trump administration is going to war against the US State Security Apparatus.

It appears that Trump is leaning on British intelligence agencies to dig up dirt on US intelligence agencies:

As the impeachment hearings get more and more alarming for Donald Trump, with damning new evidence emerging every day, there appears to be increasing urgency in the parallel counteroffensives under way by the president’s team in an attempt to defend him.

There are attacks against the witnesses giving testimony by Trump and his supporters, including attempts to smear Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Ukraine expert at the National Security Council who this week provided crucial testimony about Trump’s telephone call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. And there have been the extraordinary scenes of congress Republicans breaking into the proceedings and disrupting them.

At the same time, overshadowed by the publicity around the impeachment, is the ever-broadening investigation by William Barr, the attorney general, which the White House sees as a game-changer. An investigation which is seeking nothing less than to overturn the conclusion of the US intelligence services and special counsel Robert Mueller that Russia interfered in the last US presidential election.


The attorney general is focusing on the theory, aired on far-right conspiracy sites, and raised by Trump and Giuliani, that Ukraine framed Vladimir Putin over the US election in a complex triple-cross operation by impersonating Russian hackers.

Trump and Barr have also been asking other foreign governments for help in investigating the FBI, CIA and Mueller investigators. The US president has called on the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison for assistance, while the attorney general has been on similar missions to the UK and Italy.

And the information being requested has left allies astonished. One British official with knowledge of Barr’s wish list presented to London commented that “it is like nothing we have come across before, they are basically asking, in quite robust terms, for help in doing a hatchet job on their own intelligence services”.

“Quite robust terms,” is official Brit speak for, “These motherf%$#ers are nuts, completely bonkers, mad as a hatter.”

I only hope that there is a way for both of them to lose.

I Missed This Yesterday

One of the problems with Congressional hearings is that each committee member gets 5 minutes to ask questions, which leads to grand-standing on their part, and filibustering on the part of the witnesses.

It’s one of the reasons that Mueller’s report, which clearly showed obstruction of justice, landed with a wet splat on the public consciousness.

Yesterday’s impeachment investigation resolution makes a serious attempt to fix this:

The House of Representatives voted 232-196 Thursday morning to approve a resolution laying out how public impeachment hearings will be conducted on “whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America.”


The most significant provision in the resolution exempts the Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings from a rule that ordinarily limits questioning of witnesses to five minutes per committee member. Though the resolution leaves the five-minute rule in place for most members, it allows Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff to extend his own question time to as much as 45 minutes, so long as he gives equal time to Republican ranking committee member Devin Nunes.

These are important changes because they will allow Schiff and the team of lawyers working for him to focus their time on the impeachment hearings and to spend significant amounts of time asking probing questions during those hearings. The new rules help ensure that the hearing will not be a disjointed process, constantly jumping from one questioner to the next, without giving anyone time to build a coherent narrative.

The resolution provides that “the chair may confer recognition for multiple periods of such questioning,” so Schiff could potentially spend an indefinite amount of time questioning witnesses if circumstances warrant such an extension.

And, in what could prove to be an especially consequential aspect of this provision, Schiff and Nunes may also delegate their questioning time to “a Permanent Select Committee employee.” That means that professional counsel, who have both the skill set to conduct an effective interrogation and the ability to devote all their time to preparing for hearings, will be able to question witnesses.

These inquiry-specific rules appear to be an acknowledgment that the House’s ordinary rules for committee hearings, which often turn hearings into feasts of grandstanding, are inadequate to the awesome task of impeaching a president.

If only this could be done on a more regular basis.