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Pierce writes: "Congressman Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan, had a group of high school students sitting on the steps of the U.S, Capitol, and he was explaining to them what the impeachment process is, and why Amash has called for it, bringing down upon his head the wrath of flying monkeys everywhere."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (photo: Getty)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (photo: Getty)

Nancy Pelosi Must Defend the Essential Integrity of the Constitution

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

22 May 19

Initiate impeachment proceedings. It really is time.

n Tuesday morning, on the electric Twitter machine, I saw a picture that was both remarkable, and remarkably sad. Congressman Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan, had a group of high school students sitting on the steps of the U.S, Capitol, and he was explaining to them what the impeachment process is, and why Amash has called for it, bringing down upon his head the wrath of flying monkeys everywhere.

Now, let's be honest. If a sea cucumber ran against Justin Amash, I'd vote for it. But there's no question that Amash is sincere. He's stood in against the Chimpanzee Escadrille, and against his own caucus, and he has come back for more. And there he is, in front of the most prominent symbol of American legislative power, explaining to people more open-minded than his fellow Republicans are how it's time for that power to be engaged fully against a renegade and criminal presidency. Of course, none of those kids outside the building can vote inside, and that's what makes the photo so very sad. Amash's seminar al fresco would have benefitted legislators of both parties.

It really is time. Don McGahn blew off the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning, relying on a fanciful legal opinion that had no basis in the law. And, if this account in Politico is to be believed, the passions are rising within the majority caucus of the House.

[Jamie] Raskin — a former law professor — said he wasn't advocating impeaching Trump but suggested that opening an impeachment inquiry would strengthen their legal position while allowing Democrats to move forward with their legislative agenda. Pelosi dismissed this argument, asking Raskin whether he wanted to shut down the other five committees working on Trump investigations in favor of the Judiciary Committee.

“You want to tell Elijah Cummings to go home?” Pelosi quipped, referring to the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee. And in a Democratic Steering and Policy Committee meeting, Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee stood up and demanded Trump's impeachment. Pelosi then countered, "This is not about politics, it's about what's best for the American people," said a member who attended the meeting...

...During the Steering and Policy Committee meeting, Cohen said President Bill Clinton faced impeachment proceedings “over sex” while Trump is “raping the country,” according to two sources in the room. Cohen later confirmed his remarks. Pelosi pushed back on Cohen during the meeting and his assertion that she was simply afraid impeachment would cost her the House majority. “This isn’t about politics at all. It’s about patriotism. It’s about the strength we need to have to see things through,” Pelosi said, according to an aide in the room.

It is reported that the meetings got a little fiery. Good. They should be. This is not a question for the timid nor an issue for soft words. There should be a brawl over this matter, and, if you think these intra-party squabbles are loud, wait until an impeachment inquiry opens up. My guess is that civility will not be a priority, and good for that, too. Excising the corruption that entered the Republican party in the 1980s, and entered the White House in 2017, never was going to be gentle.

It really is time. Nobody supported Nancy Pelosi more than I did when lightweights like Tim Ryan and Seth Moulton came after her last year. I still don't see a legislative tactician of her caliber anywhere else in the caucus. But this is now beyond tactics, no matter how skillfully they might be deployed. This is a fight for the essential integrity of the Constitution, and pre-emptively ruling out any weapon in that battle is dereliction of the first order. It has been argued that an impeachment inquiry would divert legislative energy from other important issues and, what the hell, impeachment has no chance in the Senate anyway. So much of the leadership's strategy flows from that conviction. When Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, says, as he did Tuesday morning, that the Democratic triumphs in 2018 came because of candidates who "did not run on impeachment, did not run on collusion, did not run on obstruction," his point is that, in one way or another, impeachment is a political loser and that the new House majority has other important business before it.

But the simple fact is that no bill produced by a Democratic House has a chance in Mitch McConnell's Senate. In this, impeachment is no different from Medicare For All or a Green New Deal or a big infrastructure package or humane immigration reform. If passage in the Senate is the sine qua non for doing something in the House, then Pelosi, Jeffries and the rest of their caucus simply should give up and go home for the summer. In addition, an impeachment inquiry, which is all Raskin and the others were asking for, can serve as a powerful educational tool for the general public. The cause of removing a reality-show president needs a reality show of its own—a real one, with witnesses and testimony.

It really is time. We are not far from the day when some court—maybe even the Supreme Court—tells the president* to do something, and he tells the court to get stuffed. It will be too late to fire up the machine then. Better to have it warmed up and running already.

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+35 # chapdrum 2019-05-22 14:41
It's not difficult to imagine Wall St. CEO's weighing in on this to Pelosi and McConnell. With sheer predictability, Republicans in Congress are putting party ahead of country. Will Pelosi, Schumer, et al. rise to the occasion?
-4 # Texas Aggie 2019-05-22 21:43
The ouija board says, "You have got to be kidding!"
0 # Observer 47 2019-05-23 09:20
The answer to your question is, "no." Pelosi will continue to stonewall unless/until the majority of her colleagues stand up and summarily overrule her. Because to Nancy, it IS all about politics, 24/7/365.
+26 # Jaax88 2019-05-22 18:04
It seems that some GOPers in Congress are getting close to committing crimes themselves in terms of obstruction They can do all they want to protect Trump,but that is not the issue now. The viability of the Constitution and our government is the issue. Some to the actions of the GOP are destructive of the institution of our government. Is there such a concept of being a traitor to the government of the USA?
+5 # economagic 2019-05-23 18:43
"Is there such a concept of being a traitor to the government of the USA?"

You have just stated such a concept. But Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution defines "treason" as including only certain specific acts. The words "traitor," "treachery," and "treason," are closely related, so acts of "treachery" by a "traitor" would constitute "treason" according to the dictionary, but not necessarily according to the Constitution. Mere commission of unconstitutiona l acts could be subject to prosecution under other laws.
+15 # Inspired Citizen 2019-05-22 18:28
Anything to slow and impede this President is OK with me, but he won't be found guilty by a Senate supermajority of 2/3rds. That's a good thing: Mike Pence is much worse. The timing for the process would play into the President's hands going into the next election IMO. The effort should be to obstruct in Congress and do infrastructure and anything else new after the next election.

MEANWHILE, stop buying new stuff. The broad, collective left needs to go on a buying diet based on NECESSITIES ONLY. The liberal/progres sive left should quietly go about the process of putting the U.S. economy into a recession. Save money for now and spend it later to prevent another depression which is always painful for working Americans.

PELOSI is a neo-liberal. We need a green revolution to unseat her and the rest of the corporate-frien dly "Democrats" because humanity is facing near term extinction without one. That's WHY:

+22 # lorenbliss 2019-05-22 18:52
Good points all, Mr. Pierce. But the real bottom-line question is what will it take to end the Democratic (sic) Party's function as the Republican Fifth Column?
+5 # Observer 47 2019-05-23 09:23
+9 # tedrey 2019-05-22 21:26
U.S. Constitution, Amendment XXV, SECTION 4:

"Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."

First point. The Congress should *immediately* provide "such other body" immediately, so that the legislature cannot in future be faced by a situation in which a President cannot be even temporarily kept to his sworn duties except by his own chosen minions.

Second, The Congress (or the House) should immediately ask the Vice President whether, in view of the critical sitation, he has considered transmitting such a declaration to them, and if not, why not.
-8 # BKnowswhitt 2019-05-22 21:38
Using the judiciary as a form of political gain and thereby gaming the system set forth for what should be resolved in the next election . oh yeah .. 3 years running this fall then they only have to go one more year bashing Trump .. to get to their next sure winner .. heheheh .. abuse of power of the worst kind .. get some ideas and run on them PLEASE .. and as for Pelosi go back to CA and stay there would you?!!!!!!!!!!! !!
+15 # Texas Aggie 2019-05-22 21:41
What Mr. Pierce said. His point is so obvious that there can be no objection from any rational human being - that the excuse that the senate won't go along is irrelevant, that the purpose of the impeachment proceedings is to expose the misdeeds and crimes of Phat Boy and his coterie so as to curtail his ability to inflict further harm on the US and the world.
+4 # Citizen Mike 2019-05-22 22:06
Ah, the first crack appears in the Republican facade! From this point it can crumble and if we be patient, Trump will lose the support of his own party and not be nominated for a second term. Remember, Trump is his own worst enemy and everything he says digs him deeper into a hole. He never understood the importance of not making enemies and has insulted and alienated many whose support he needs to stay in office or to take effective executive action.
+2 # Wally Jasper 2019-05-24 06:48
Wishful thinking, Mike. Don't you remember how all the clowns fell into place as soon as the primary was over?
+9 # dbohj5l 2019-05-23 02:13
The cause of removing a reality-show president needs a reality show of its own—a real one, with witnesses and testimony. Genius end line.Liberal dose of common sense.
-2 # hectormaria 2019-05-23 08:46
Voting for Dems is a waste of time, they roll over when Trump or McConnell challenge them: DEMS THE INVISIBLE (I MEAN RISIBLE) PARTY, no wonder Republicans DO NOT RESPECT them. With a leadership team headed by Nancy and Chuck, we will lose to the Conservative machine once again because the base will be demoralized, stay home.
+5 # Jaax88 2019-05-23 08:55
It seems that some GOPers in Congress are getting close to committing crimes themselves in terms of obstruction They can do all they want to protect Trump,but that is not the issue now. The viability of the Constitution and our government is the issue. Some to the actions of the GOP are destructive of the institution of our government. Is there such a concept of being a traitor to the government of the USA?
+4 # Observer 47 2019-05-23 09:25
Question, Mr. Pierce: would you vote for the sea cucumber ONLY because Mr. Amash is a Republican, or do you actually have reasoned objections to his policies? I'm not a fan of Republicans in general, but neither do I offer blind loyalty to Dems. It seems that Amash is a rare and courageous example on his side of the aisle.
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-24 07:19
I don't think what Pierce talks about has anything to do with the essential integrity of the constitution. It is politics. We have been in an ever increasing hostility between Republicans and Democrats since Reagan and it is getting very ugly. The warriors on each side are vicious and ugly people.

But there is a REAL CRISIS IN THE ESSENTIAL INTEGRITY of the constitution and that is the crisis of our "freedom of the press." The First Amendment says,

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

It says congress shall pass NO LAW.

Now we see 17 new charges against Assange. This indictment directly means there will be no more leakers or whistleblowers. The indictment is made under the Espionage Act -- a law passed by congress that says a publisher can get the death penalty for publishing government secrets. That's what Assange is heading for.

Thomas Jefferson wrote many comments to this effect:

“an informed citizenry is the bulwark of a democracy.”

"An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people."

The Trump regime and his DOJ in the Assange case are shutting down investigative journalism. We depend on leaks and whistle blowers to be informed about what our government does.

cont'd --
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-24 07:32
The door of freedom of knowledge that democracy relies on is being closed. This was always the real intent of Russiagate. The major media has now fully become a lapdog press, publishing only the lies the government and powerful corporations tell them to publish. They have been intimidated by the indictments of whistleblowers and leakers over the last decade.

Now with Assange, we are facing the final coup de grace of the First Amendment. The Espionage Act -- a law passed by congress -- will become the law of the land with regard to government secrets.

Congress could repeal the Espionage if it could just wake the fuck up and get out of the pissing match with Trump. There isn't much time. The freedom of expression and reporting on internet is being shut down by the Trump regime. Internet corporations are linked with horrid right wing foreign government funded thinks tanks like the Atlantic Council to develop algorithms for excluding news that does not fit the "America First" model.

I wish journalists like Pierce would see what the real constitutional crisis is. Why pay attention to the antics two-bit actors in congress. Trump is bad but he's no worse than Bush, Clinton, Obama, Reagan, and the rest.

The First Amendment is our only bulwark against dictatorship. It is being dismantled.

I think RSN would get a lot more support from its readers if it became a leader in defense of the first amendment instead of a Demo Warrior site or Demo Pissing Warrior.
-1 # DongiC 2019-05-24 10:17
Time to stand up, Ms Pelosi and carry out your oath to uphold the Constitution. One never knows when one has to put life and limb behind one's words. I am sure you will do a fine job in the dangerous days ahead; I trust you completely.
0 # johnescher 2019-05-24 12:19
There is a lot to be said for the writing of Rodion Raskolnikov and Librarian1984.

Both of these post-ers however take the Pelosi view on impeachment and only give lip service to the lousiness of Trump.

If these two are going to stick to this view, they need to use their writing skills to make the progressive programs they insist are mutually exclusive alternative so lively and engaging that they dwarf all things Trump-- too big a challenge for anyone? We must all fight Donald Trump with hammer and tong and pre-impeachment hearings no matter where that may lead.

I am a seniors tennis player and therefore believe in decisiveness. I don't find enough of that in most RSN posts and the action of Nancy Pelosi.

If we only could rid ourselves of Donald Trump as easily as the Brits did Theresa May.
-1 # coberly 2019-06-06 08:57

makes a good point. too bad no one will do anything about it.

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