Angry Robot

To Impeach or Not Impeach

I place a lot of stock in the opinion of Josh Marshall at TPM, who thinks, if I can summarize: impeachment that is sure to die in a Republican-controlled Senate is a waste of time, so Democrats should focus on the other ongoing investigations, and possibly pursue impeachment at a later date if the needle starts to shift. Here’s one article on the topic, and here’s a more recent one.

(Brief summary of how it works: the House of Representatives, now controlled by Democrats, would start an impeachment inquiry. This would be a “trial” in the House in which evidence is presented, testimony given, etc. They would then vote on articles of impeachment, and then the vote on whether to actually remove Trump from office is done by the Senate, and requires a supermajority of 67. The Senate is currently controlled by Republicans.)

On the other hand, there are some great points in this article. First, impeachment proceedings themselves will move the needle.

Richard Nixon’s approval rating was at 65 percent when his impeachment process began and only 19 percent of the public supported his impeachment. By the end, the numbers had flipped: his approval was 24 percent and support for impeachment was 57 percent.

Second, even if the Senate lets Trump off, this is a better position for Democrats than failing to impeach:

If the public believes Trump is guilty but the Senate lets him off anyway, he won’t ever be truly exonerated—he’ll be O.J. Simpson, assumed guilty but sprung by allies and circumstance. Some Democrats have argued that we should skip impeachment and vote Trump out instead. But if the House impeaches Trump and Senate Republicans fall in line to protect him, the argument that the ballot is the only way to remove him will be supercharged… By contrast, declining to impeach Trump validates his claim that Mueller exonerated him.

Finally, this sobering point:

Even more ominously, Trump’s weaponized Department of Justice under Barr, who has shown himself to be Trump’s eager and obedient partner in abusing the power of the state to advance the president’s political interests, will inevitably invent a pretext for investigating the Democratic nominee. Democrats should consider whether they’d rather engage that fight against a president who has been impeached for serious crimes, or against a president strengthened by the de facto exoneration bestowed when his opponents declined to pursue the evidence against him.

Here’s an article by Greg Sargent that goes into more detail about how impeachment proceedings against Nixon affected poll numbers. Essentially, support among Republican voters was never more than one third, but the proceedings galvanized Democrats and swayed independents.

Josh has just posted this morning on the topic, clarifying some points, but unfortunately it’s behind the paywall (totes worth paying for btw). Here’s the crux fo me:

Historically impeachment inquiries have lasted about eight weeks, give or take. So once you commence an impeachment inquiry I think you’re starting a timer that leads you to a vote on articles of impeachment in a couple months. It seems crazy to me to put a two month time limit on the mountain of things Democrats need to be investigating. In theory, you could just declare its open-ended and say it won’t be bound by any arbitrary timeline. This was actually my thinking at first. But that’s naive. This greases the skids for actual impeachment on a pretty short timeline and ‘when will they impeach’ will become the question that overwhelms everything else.

Two points here. First, even if you concede that the inquiry must not last longer than two months, that’s still a lot of time when you consider these would be televised daily – and of course there is a shit ton of evidence. Second, even if you are strategic about timing, potentially this leaves a fair amount of time for the various committee investigations to hold their hearings and present their findings. The earliest you would want to have the impeachment inquiry would be fall 2019 (no one watches TV in the summer). Perhaps you want the committees to get airtime in the fall; you hold the inquiry in the winter, or the spring of 2020. I’m not sure it works to wait until September 2020 given that the election is early November, and you want to have the Senate already have voted at this point.

I’ll say this much. I’d get cable again just to watch it.

‘Anyone Ever Seen Cocaine?’ What We Found in the Archives of Bernie Sanders’s Long-Lost TV Show

Bernie looked ancient at 45

How to Talk about Impeachment: Preventing Harm to the Country

Convincing

Recounts and Chaos Will Follow a Blue Wave in November

“The Bible says, ‘If you do this to the least of these, you do it to me,’ ” Sheila said, quoting Jesus. “But the least of these are Americans, not the ones crossing the border.”

How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System

This is fairly terrifying.

This is one of the best political ads I’ve seen.

Family Separation, Evil Via Policy and The Internal Contradictions of Trumpism

Performative cruelty and channel separation. This is excellent analysis.

For the Compton Cowboys, Horseback Riding Is a Legacy, and Protection

Meet the campaign connecting affluent techies with progressive candidates around the country

The Great Slate, from Pinboard’s Maciej Ceglowski

How the White House’s Tolerance for Wife-Beaters Exposed That It Was Harboring Counterintelligence Threats – emptywheel

Behold, Steve Bannon’s Hip-Hop Shakespeare Rewrite: ‘Coriolanus’

What.

This is how nuclear war with North Korea would unfold

Richard Painter says the DOJ demands on AT&T and CNN are ‘impeachable offense’

“ATT – Time Warner should take DOJ to court ASAP. Demand discovery of all Trump/WH communications on this deal,” Painter, an outspoken Trump critic, wrote, adding, “Use of antitrust enforcement power to punish CNN for exercise of First Amendment rights is an impeachable offense. The time is now.”

“I Hate Everyone in the White House!”: Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear the President Is “Unraveling”

Wow

Eric Reid: Why Colin Kaepernick and I Decided to Take a Knee

Should We Be Punching Nazis?

Josh Marshall:

Nazis deserve to get punched. A few sucker punches here and there probably send a salutary message. But it’s not always wise to give people what they deserve.

Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run

Trump’s Council of C.E.O.s in Disarray Following Remarks on Protest

Was just spouting off to y about how I expected all of his CEOs on advisory councils to have resigned by now, and at least that is in motion.

Warning: disturbing (thanks, y)

How the CIA Came to Doubt the Official Story of JFK’s Murder 

A bunch of JFK files have been recently declassified and they paint a strange picture; not what you’d expect. However, many more are still secret and intelligence agencies are lobbying Trump to keep them so. (thanks y!)

‘The moment when it really started to feel insane’: An oral history of the Scaramucci era

Via Funkaoshi. Looks like I picked a heck of a ten days to go on vacation and then get sick. My favourite part is “Pickle”.

Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon

Wow. Trump hires the top people.

Goodnight, sweet wince.