For Republicans in Trump’s cover-up it wasn’t about ‘heads on pikes,’ it was all about the money

In the latest Daily Kos/Civiqs poll, fully 60% of Americans disapprove of how the U.S. Senate conducted Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. The behavior of Senate Republicans following that trial probably won't get many cheers, either. The three most closely watched Republicans during the trial, those who pretended to be open-minded and committed to doing their jobs, have all popped up in the last few days with slathering praise for the Trump administration which let loose all the money once the trial was done. It turns out the issue wasn’t the threat of heads on pikes at all. It was all about the bribes.

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Retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander tweeted to thank Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Trump for the investment of "$9 million in Tennessee to provide and improve high-speed broadband infrastructure projects for 3,744 rural households, 31 businesses and 41 farms."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski had Transportation Secretary and Moscow Mitch spouse Elaine Chao to thank for "a $20M Port Infrastructure Development Program grant to the Port of Alaska to help offset the 1st phase costs of the Port’s desperately-needed modernization program, enabling safe, cost-effective, & reliable Port operations." That's a whole 1% of the estimated cost for the port. Was it worth a vote to keep the worst president ever to sit in the Oval Office?

You know, of course, who else is getting in on the action:

Great news! 19 Housing Authorities in Maine have been awarded more than $9.5 million to preserve & modernize affordable housing units that serve individuals with disabilities & low-income individuals and families.

— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) February 13, 2020

Could they be more blatant? No. The answer is no. 

Senate Republicans are not bothered one bit as Trump’s abuses of power escalate

Donald Trump is going to war with the very idea of equal administration of justice in the United States of America, and the Senate Republicans who voted last week to acquit him of abuse of power are just nodding along, barely even pausing to furrow a brow. Trump has intervened in the sentencing of his old buddy Roger Stone and publicly thanked Attorney General William Barr for doing his bidding. He’s attacked the judge and a juror in the case. These are not trifling matters in a democracy, but Republicans just don’t care.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed it with a simple, “I do not have an opinion on that.” To Sen. John Cornyn, it’s “kind of immaterial” if Trump intervened to reduce a sentencing recommendation for a friend. “It doesn’t bother me at all, as long as the judge has the final decision,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley—of the judge Trump has been working to publicly intimidate. In translation: Trump’s escalating assaults on the rule of law change nothing for Republicans.

The list of Republican senators who just don’t give a damn goes on and on. Sen. Lindsey Graham is “comfortable the system is working,” even though he gave lip service to the principle that Trump shouldn’t be speaking out about specific cases in the courts. Sen. Lamar Alexander said that “politics should never play a part in law enforcement,” without mentioning Trump by name.

Another series of Republicans pretended not to know what the issue was, falling back on the old Paul Ryan favorite, “I don’t know the facts of the case; I haven’t been following it” (this time, that one came from Sen. Ted Cruz). 

The other thing that goes on and on is Trump’s abuse of power. The Washington Post reports that, according to a former senior administration official, when aides try to persuade Trump that he should stay out of legal cases, he says, “I have a right to say whatever I want.” According to that official, “He knows exactly what he’s doing. He knows that he has more power than anyone else in the government—and when he tweets, everyone has to listen to him.”

A Republican congressional aide told the Post, “It’s like bad weather. Nothing more, nothing less.” Yes, abuse of power and the destruction of democratic norms and institutions is just a little bad weather.

“We cannot give him a permanent license to turn the presidency and the executive branch into his own personal vengeance operation,” Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said Wednesday, addressing his Republican colleagues in a committee meeting. “If we say nothing—and I include everyone in this committee, including myself—it will get worse. His behavior will get worse.” 

Republicans are on board with that, is the problem.

Every day that goes by and every new abuse that Trump commits shows why it's so important to retake the Senate. Please dig deep to defeat vulnerable Republicans in 2020.

Trump cover-up achieved, Moscow Mitch returns Senate to acting as Trump’s conveyor belt for judges

This is some truly hilarious spin from Senate Republicans, pretending that they exist to do stuff for the nation post-impeachment. "Hopefully the better angels of people will begin to emerge, and we’ll see a willingness to focus on a common agenda. […] I think both sides have things they need to get done." That's Sen. John Thune, Moscow Mitch McConnell's No. 2, talking about all the bipartisan bills they're going to do now.

Of course that's not what is going to happen. "My preference I guess would be […] we start working on things that unite us," said Sen. Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota. "Not just as Republicans, but as a Senate, as a Congress, as Americans." Yeah, that's not happening either. Here's what's happening: According to The Hill"McConnell tees up five Trump judges after impeachment trial wraps." One of those judicial nominees is Andrew Brasher, nominated to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appellate court for Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, where he would be the sixth Trump nominee on the 12-member court. Yes, Trump will have half of this bench. Brasher is 38 years old.

It's time to end McConnell's destructive stranglehold on the republic. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as Senate majority leader.

Brasher is opposed by leading national, state, and local racial justice organizations. A coalition of 29 advocacy groups called for a halt to his nomination pending Trump’s impeachment, and remain opposed to him now. "In his short career as a lawyer," the Alliance for Justice says, "Brasher fought against voting rights, rights for women, communities of color, and the LGBTQ community and zealously worked to dismantle consumer, worker, and environmental protections."

Par for the course for Trump and McConnell, in other words. And of course he's a Federalist Society member. But his presence on this court would be particularly scary looking ahead to the 2020 election. Georgia will have two Senate races, and Florida is always a presidential battleground. Republicans will try every voter suppression tactic in the book in those states, and now there'll be a federal court overseeing those states that will rubber-stamp them. That's McConnell—he'll never stop cheating now. But he won't be able to overcome a nation united against him and a vote swarm to take back the Senate.

Moscow Mitch heaped with praise by Trump in ‘victory’ rally for making it all possible

Moscow Mitch McConnell featured big in impeached-for-life president Donald Trump's unhinged White House campaign rally on Thursday. "And Mitch McConnell, I want to tell you, you did a fantastic job," Trump said. "He understood this was crooked politics. This was crooked politics." Yes, if there's one thing the destroyer of the Senate and beneficiary of Russian largesse understands, it's being crooked.

"This guy is great, and I appreciate it, Mitch," Trump said later. He's "the greatest poker player," said the guy who has no impulse control. "Somebody said, 'You know, Mitch is quiet.' I said, 'He's not quiet.' […] He doesn't want people to know him." That might be the closest thing to truth Trump said. McConnell has worked very hard at keeping the depth of his evil from public view. "And they said, 'Is Mitch smart?' And I said, 'Well, let's put it this way: For many many years […] people have been trying to take his place, and to the best of my knowledge, I've never even heard the subject come up because they've been wiped out so fast."

It's time to end McConnell's destructive stranglehold on the republic. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as Senate majority leader.

What's Moscow Mitch doing now, besides basking in the sickly orange glow of his Dear Leader? Advancing five more judicial nominations to make sure that even the courts won't be available to rein in the newly anointed dictator.

We need to make sure that Trump is defeated, but just as critical, we need to make sure that McConnell never again has the power to use the Senate to create another Trump.

Moscow Mitch completes his cover-up, but not without some hitches and real jeopardy ahead

Moscow Mitch McConnell has a poker face. It’s lipless and chinless, but it’s still a poker face. But he has a tell he can't control when he gets angry: His face gets red. His face was very red on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon after Republican Sen. Mitt Romney delivered an honest-to-God inspiring and moving speech explaining why he would vote to convict impeached president Donald Trump on the first article of impeachment.

That vote, and the impassioned, honest, and eloquent speech that grounded it, will haunt every Republican in the Senate for the remainder of their careers. "Were I to ignore the evidence what has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history's rebuke and the censure of my own conscience," Romney said. That's a soundbite that can be used in every campaign against each of the Senate Leader’s vulnerable Republicans, for the rest of the year—and by Moscow Mitch’s own challenger. That speech and vote from Romney blast a big hole in McConnell's most important message: The Republican-controlled Senate is safe.

It's time to end McConnell's destructive stranglehold on the republic. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as majority leader.

When McConnell trotted out that message after the vote today, it rang hollow. "Every one of our people in tough races is in better shape today than they were before the impeachment trial started," he said, knowing that it was absolutely not true. He also knows that this will not be the end of revelations about Trump's illegal and impeachable behavior. He knows that this will only embolden Trump to do more outrageous and dangerous things. And he certainly knows that the American people’s anger will land on the Republicans who protected Trump.

Especially the majority leader who orchestrated the entire sham of a trial.

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Republicans have hell to pay for torching our republic. Make. Them. Pay. NOW

It is darkness in the daytime, and the only light is cast by the bonfire of despotism into which the Republican Party is pitching our Constitution.

Donald Trump has transgressed two of the oldest and gravest injunctions known to humankind—thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not bear false witness—and Republican senators have admitted that he is guilty.

It is our duty to win back the Senate. Please give before it is too late.

But for all their professed fealty to tradition, to law and order, to knowing right from wrong, they simply do not care. They have decided that it’s not against the law to commit a crime, so long as the wicked leader of their death cult is the criminal.

A reckoning is now due. The Republicans in the Senate have shown us that they will not deliver justice, so we must deliver justice ourselves.

While Republicans have confessed they will do everything in their power to rig these next elections, we must do everything in our power to ensure that they are free, that they are fair, and that Republicans lose—as badly as possible.

Let us show just how serious we are. We can contribute today to help unseat the most vulnerable Republican senators come November. The more we give, the greater the fear we will instill in them, and the more likely we are to prevail.

We are disgusted, we are dismayed, we are filled with sorrow. But we are also very, very angry, and we must channel that anger. Republicans want to put our democracy to the torch, but together we can douse those flames and build anew.

Please, give whatever you can right now. The future of our dear republic depends on it.

14 Republicans who voted to impeach, convict, and remove Clinton will vote to acquit Trump today

This afternoon, Senate Republicans will vote almost certainly with unanimity to acquit Donald Trump of the charges included in two impeachment articles brought against him—abuse of power and obstruction of justice. If that acquittal wasn’t already completely obvious, all doubt was removed last night by the enthusiastic fawning over the lawless Donald J. Trump’s spew of fabrications, exaggerations, and braggadocio in a speech of vindication and denial applauded by men and women who really, clearly don’t care about the gaping wound their decision will leave in constitutional norms. Not yet fatal to democracy, but this gives Trump the freedom to do something that could be.

Fourteen of those Republican senators who will vote today also voted on the impeachment of Bill Clinton 21 years ago. Eight of them, then members of the House, voted in favor of two articles of impeachment—perjury and obstruction of justice for lying under oath. Six others, who were already in the Senate then and still are, voted to convict Clinton. As you might guess, they had very different things to say about impeachment and what was impeachable at the time than they have said lately.

Below are some of their remarks during Clinton’s impeachment.

First, a look at the eight current Republican senators who were members of the House in 1998-99. All eight voted in favor of the articles of impeachment against Clinton.

Roy Blunt (Missouri)

"No president can be allowed to subvert the judiciary or thwart the investigative responsibility of the legislature," Blunt said, adding that Clinton had committed "serious felonious acts that strike at the heart of our judicial system. [...] Violating these oaths or causing others to impede the investigation into such acts are serious matters that meet the standard for impeachment."

Mike Crapo (Idaho)

"Our entire legal system is dependent on our ability to find the truth. That is why perjury and obstruction of justice are crimes," Crapo said. "Perjury and obstruction of justice are public crimes that strike at the heart of the rule of law — and therefore our freedom — in America."

Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)

He was one of the House impeachment managers in Clinton’s trial. "He doesn't have to say, 'Go lie for me,' to be a crime. He doesn't have to say, 'Let's obstruct justice,' for it to be a crime. You judge people on their conduct, not a magic phrase," Graham said. “[Impeachment is] not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office."

Jerry Moran (Kansas)

"I choose to be on the side that says no person is above the law; that this is a nation of laws, not men; that telling the truth matters; and that we should expect our public officials to conduct themselves in compliance with the highest ethical standards," Moran said.

Rob Portman (Ohio)

Portman said, “For myself, I believe the evidence of serious wrongdoing is simply too compelling to be swept aside. I am particularly troubled by the clear evidence of lying under oath in that it must be the bedrock of our judicial system.” He followed up with a press statement after he had voted, saying: “Committing perjury, obstructing justice and abusing the power of the presidency violate the rule of law that all citizens—even the president—must obey.”

John Thune (South Dakota)

Thune said, "There is one standard of justice that applies equally to all, and to say or do otherwise will undermine the most sacred of all American ideals. President Clinton has committed federal crimes, and there must be a reckoning, or no American shall ever again be prosecuted for those same crimes."

Richard Burr (North Carolina)

Burr said, "The United States is a nation of laws, not men. And I do not believe we can ignore the facts or disregard the constitution so that the president can be placed above the law."

Roger Wicker (Mississippi)

Wicker said that if Clinton urged Monica Lewinsky to lie, it "would amount to a federal felony, and that would mean serious, serious problems for President Clinton."

And here are the six Republicans who were in the Senate in 1998-99 and voted to convict Clinton:

Chuck Grassley (Iowa)

Grassley said that Clinton's “misdeeds have caused many to mistrust elected officials. Cynicism is swelling among the grass roots. His breach of trust has eroded the public's faith in the office of the presidency." The "true tragedy" of the case, he said, was "the collapse of the president's moral authority." He co-signed a statement during the impeachment proceedings pointing out that federal law "criminalizes anyone who corruptly persuades or engages in misleading conduct with the intent to influence the testimony of any person in an official proceeding."

Mike Enzi (Wyoming)

Bill Clinton "was intending to influence the testimony of a likely witness in a federal civil rights proceeding," Enzi said. "President Clinton was, in fact, trying to get Betty Currie to join him in his web of deception and obstruction of justice."

Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma)

Along with five other Republican senators, including Jeff Sessions and Pat Roberts, Inhofe signed a statement during the impeachment proceedings nothing that federal law "criminalizes anyone who corruptly persuades or engages in misleading conduct with the intent to influence the testimony of any person in an official proceeding."

Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)

McConnell said in a statement, "Do we want to retain President Clinton in office, or do we want to retain our honor, our principle, and our moral authority? For me, and for many members in my impeachment-fatigued party, I choose honor." He added, "The president of the United States looked 270 million Americans in the eye, and lied, deliberately and methodically. He took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of this nation, and he violated that oath. He pledged to be the nation's chief law enforcement officer, and he violated that pledge. He took an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and he willfully and repeatedly violated that oath."

Pat Roberts (Kansas)

In a statement, Roberts said that Clinton had sought to block the investigation into his actions. "Do these actions rise to the level envisioned by our founding fathers in the Constitution as 'high crimes and misdemeanors' so warranting removal from office? Our Constitution requires that the threshold for that judgment must be set by each senator sitting as a juror. Again, I believe an open-minded individual applying Kansas common sense would reach the conclusion that I reached."

Richard Shelby (Alabama)

The senator said after voting, “After reviewing the evidence, I believe that the House managers proved beyond a reasonable doubt that President Clinton obstructed justice. Therefore, I voted for his conviction and removal for the offenses charged in Article II. However, I do not believe that the House managers met the legal requirements of proving perjury beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, I voted against conviction and removal for the offenses charged in Article I.”

For your reading displeasure, let me also include the words of then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, since he could return to the Senate next year:

It has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that President William Jefferson Clinton perjured himself before a federal grand jury and has persisted in a continuous pattern of lying and obstructing justice. The chief law enforcement officer of the land, whose oath of office calls on him to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, crossed the line and failed to defend and protect the law and, in fact, attacked the law and the rights of a fellow citizen. Under our Constitution, equal justice requires that he forfeit his office. For these reasons, I felt compelled to vote to convict and remove the President from office. ...

“It is crucial to our system of justice that we demand the truth. I fear that an acquittal of this president will weaken the legal system by providing an option for those who consider being less than truthful in court. Whereas the handling of the case against President Nixon clearly strengthened the nation's respect for law, justice and truth, the Clinton impeachment may unfortunately have the opposite result.

Moscow Mitch: Master of covering up Trump’s election cheating

Moscow Mitch McConnell, so well-known for, among other things, his efforts to cover up Russia's interference on behalf of Donald Trump in the 2016 election, is now scorching the political ground of the Senate over the idea that an impeached Trump should be convicted and removed from office for trying to extort and bribe Ukraine into interfering on his behalf in 2020.

In a particularly loathsome and vile performance Tuesday, McConnell said, "It insults the intelligence of the American people to pretend this was a solemn process reluctantly begun because of withheld foreign aid." Which is really a leap, since the majority of the American people support Trump's impeachment and at least pluralities support his removal from office. If the intelligence of the American people is being insulted here, it's by the travesty he and fellow Republicans are inflicting on the republic.

It's time to end McConnell's destructive stranglehold on the republic. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as Senate majority leader.

"We must vote to reject the House's abuse of power," McConnell said, and "vote to keep factional fever from boiling over and scorching our Republic." Yes, this is the same McConnell who has been coordinating with Trump's lawyers—including Pat Cipollone, who turned out to be a material witness to Trump's attempted extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—at every step of the way in this process.

The man who says partisan fever "led to the most rushed, least fair and least thorough presidential impeachment inquiry in American history" is trying to keep "factional fever" from "scorching our Republic." That's really rich. There's only one answer from a smart American public: We end his Senate majority.

Pelosi serves well-deserved shade on McConnell, Chief Justice Roberts over sham impeachment

No one can twist a political knife quite like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Think of the now-legendary clapback at impeached president Donald Trump at last year's State of the Union address. She's the queen of shade, and you just knew that Mitch McConnell was going to be on the receiving end of some of that. It hit Saturday morning in a brutal tweet that cast a wide penumbra, taking in the potted plant who presided over last week's sham impeachment trial.

"It is a sad day for America to see Senator McConnell humiliate the Chief Justice of the United States into presiding over a vote which rejected our nation's judicial norms, precedents and institutions which uphold the Constitution and the rule of law," she wrote. Ouch. That's all she said. That's all she needed to say. Chief Justice John Roberts is going to come out of this thing looking like a tool, and it's because of McConnell's machinations. It's because there was no way McConnell was going to let this impeachment trial be anything but a travesty.

History is not going to look kindly on either of those men.

It's time to end McConnell's destructive stranglehold on the republic. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as Senate majority leader.

Senate Republicans officially vote five more times for a cover up

After a parliamentary inquiry from Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to Chief Justice John Roberts as to whether he was aware that presiding judge Salmon Chase broke ties in the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson, and Roberts said yes he was but he wasn't going to be doing that, the Senate Republicans killed the last-ditch efforts by Democrats to stop this cover-up of an impeachment trial.

The first was an amendment to subpoena Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, Michael Duffey and Robert Blair as well as documents from White House, OMB and the Defense and State Departments, the Senate Republicans voted to table it unanimously and it failed 53-47. On the second amendment, to subpoena John Bolton, Republicans Susan Collins and Mitt Romney voted with Democrats, but it was still killed, 51-49. The third amendment was to both subpoena Bolton and further that he be deposed in a session presided over by Roberts, then requiring one day for live testimony before the Senate within the next five days. Again Collins and Romney voted with Democrats, but this amendment was also killed 51-49. The final amendment was Sen. Chris Van Hollen's amendment to require that Roberts rule on motions to subpoena witnesses and documents, and to rule on any assertions from Trump of privilege. Chief Snowflake Roberts was defended unanimously by Republicans, and they killed that one 53-47. The underlying resolution governing the remainder of the trial passed again on a party-line vote of 53-47.

We have to end their stranglehold on the republic. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as majority leader.