September 25th 2019
My, but we live in interesting times, don’t we?
Following US politics right now is a bit like Kremlin-watching from aboard an out-of-control train. A whole lot of mysterious goings-on, happening far too fast to make any real sense of it. Here’s a caveat that any forecast I make is likely to be invalid ten minutes later because Developing News. So I won’t embarrass myself by trying.
Let’s see: 48 hours ago, 135 Democrats favored a formal start to the impeachment process. As of this evening, 219 do—a House majority.
The DNI office formally turned the whistle-blower report over to the House this afternoon, amidst swirling reports that the Trump appointee threatened to resign if Trump interfered with either the turning over of the report, or the Director’s plans to testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week. Trump denied the reports, but then, he would, wouldn’t he?
There was an astonishing report that he told President Zelenskiy today at their meeting that Nancy Pelosi was no longer Speaker of the House. Nobody is quite sure what the hell he meant by that, but if he fired her, she apparently didn’t get the memo. The poor dear still thinks she’s Speaker of the House.
Trump went out of his way to implicate Mike Pence in the mushrooming scandal. He told the media not once but several times to get transcripts of Pence’s calls to the Ukraine. He may have decided to throw his veep to the wolves in hopes it will take the heat off of him, an action that for Democrats would be Christmas and Mardi Gras and New Years’ Eve all rolled into one. The would love to go straight from President Trump to President Pelosi and avoid having to deal with the psuedo-religious freak.
The edited transcript the White House released of the phone call, which included 11 minutes of conversation in a 30 minute call, reminded everyone that Trump and Bob Barr are both liars who don’t mind altering evidence in order to obstruct justice. Mueller report “summary,” anyone? Barr will be in the same prison wing as Trump, Pence and McConnell before this is all over.
However, it also highlighted their utter incompetence. Not only did the transcript make it clear that Trump did withhold funds and press for the Ukraine to try and find dirt on Hunter Biden, but by the use of a single word, “though,” Trump make it clear that the aid was to be conditional on them finding something Trump could use against the man Trump feels most likely will be running for President against him next year.
Yesterday, the Senate unanimously passed a demand that the Whistle-blower report be released to the House Committee. Yes, it’s required by law, and there’s no wriggle room on the issue, but respect for the law never stopped McConnell’s pack before, did it?
This afternoon, a GOP flak named Mike Murphy, with close ties to the Senate, told MSNBC that a discreet poll of GOP senators found 30 of them that might support impeachment at this time. It was already fairly clear that the GOP at large, while perfectly happy to work Trump’s corruption and viciousness to their advantage, were heartily fed up with the thankless task of protecting his ass.
Trump has the remarkable ability to demand loyalty of ‘his’ people, and then piss on their heads. And most Republicans have wet heads right now. Republican solidity is about to vanish, I think. Should be fun to watch!
Once the Ukrainian president was safely away from Trump this afternoon, a spokesman in the Ukraine, Serhiy Leshchenko told ABC News, “It was clear that [President Donald] Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case. This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood.”
As a part of that story, ABC has a good recap of what happened with Hunter Biden and the Kyiv government, and shows how utterly futile Republican efforts to try to rebrand events as “The Biden Ukraine Scandal” are both futile and sad. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ukrainians-understood-biden-probe-condition-trump-zelenskiy-phone/story?id=65863043
It was a part of GOP talking points the party released to the faithful (including, of course, Faux News) this morning. We know this because the charming incompetents of the GOP accidentally sent the same memo to all the Congressional Democrats, who gleefully showed it to the press. Ooops.
The pace, already torrid, may actually accelerate tomorrow. Keep an eye on the news. These are historic times.
And as the old Chinese curse has it, these are also interesting times.