democrat

Democrat stops just short of forcing House vote on Trump’s impeachment

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/democrat-stops-just-short-of-forcing-house-vote-on-trumps-impeachment/2017/10/11/23b998ba-aea6-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.d96a9fa170a0

 

A Democratic congressman stopped just short of forcing a House vote on President Trump’s impeachment Wednesday, pulling back under apparent pressure from his own party.

Rep. Al Green (Tex.) read his impeachment resolution on the House floor Wednesday afternoon, bringing it up under rules that would force a rapid vote. But less than an hour later when the House’s presiding officer called up the resolution for action, Green did not appear on the floor to offer it.

Green said to reporters afterward that he had wanted to allow more time for his colleagues to review the resolution before it was voted on, and he suggested that the House floor staff had misled him about the timing of that vote.

“Before I left the floor, there was an understanding with the parliamentarian and other persons who were there that it would not be voted on immediately,” he said.

According to multiple House Democratic aides, party leaders had prevailed upon Green not to offer the resolution and thus force his colleagues to cast a potentially troublesome vote.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other leaders have sought to tamp down calls for Trump’s impeachment, citing ongoing investigations into his campaign and administration being pursued by congressional committees and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Any move to impeach before those probes are complete, they have said, would be premature.

“I’m not an impeachment enthusiast,” said Rep. James E. Clyburn (S.C.), the assistant Democratic leader and highest-ranking African American in the House, noting that Republicans hold the majority. “Where are you going to get the majority of the votes? So it’s just an empty gesture.”

Republicans, on the other hand, were happy to schedule a vote. GOP aides said they planned to move to table Green’s resolution, killing it outright.

A vote to table Green’s resolution could have forced Democrats to explain to anti-Trump voters why they opposed removing the president from office, while a vote against tabling could have required them to explain to more-moderate voters why they took action against the president while investigations are underway.

“Many members are telling him that this is a fruitless effort and will end in a complicated vote that cannot be easily explained,” a senior Democratic aide had said. “Members don’t want this vote.”

Green, who first announced his intention to pursue impeachment last month, said he had not been asked to stand down before he came to the floor Wednesday. But he declined to say whether he had been approached after he gave his remarks.

“Any discussions I may have had are private, and I will not discuss them,” Green told reporters Wednesday, adding that he felt “not one scintilla” of pressure from party leaders.

Green did not rule out forcing a future vote on his resolution: “I will not indicate when, but I will indicate that it will be brought up.”

In nearly 20 minutes of floor remarks Wednesday, Green inveighed against Trump for having “produced a demonstrable record of inciting white supremacy, sexism, bigotry, hatred, xenophobia, race-baiting and racism by demeaning, defaming, disrespecting and disparaging women and certain minorities.”

“In so doing,” Green continued, Trump “has fueled and is fueling an alt-right hate machine and his worldwide covert sympathizers, engendering racial antipathy, LGTBQ enmity, religious anxiety, stealthy sexism and dreadful xenophobia, perfidiously causing immediate injury to American society.”

Green told The Washington Post in an interview last month that he was compelled to pursue articles of impeachment after seeing Trump denigrate pro football players who have engaged in silent protests during the playing of the national anthem before games. That, he said, was the final straw after what he saw as a string of impeachable offenses.

“There were many, many things that could have been the straw,” he said. “But these comments about free speech, which is something I cherish, they have caused me to conclude that now is the time to let the world know that there is at least one person in the Congress who believes that the president has gone too far.”

Green initially planned to file the resolution last week but delayed his plans after the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

There are no indications that Green’s resolution has anywhere near the majority support needed to pass, but even if it did, Trump would not be immediately ousted. The Senate would hold a trial based on the House impeachment article and ultimately decide whether the president should be removed from office.

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Leading Progressive Dem. Congressman: War With North Korea Is Grounds for Impeachment

http://www.alternet.org/world/war-north-korea-grounds-impeachment?akid=15973.275016.8oQxgm&rd=1&src=newsletter1080962&t=4

 

Ted Lieu is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing California’s 33rd congressional district since 2015. Rep. Lieu served in the JAG corps from 1995-1999 and as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 2000-2016. Lieu has been an outspoken critic of the war on Yemen, and more recently, of President Trump’s authority to unilaterally authorize a nuclear first strike. AlterNet contacted Lieu to discuss the legislation he’s introduced that would require congressional authorization for such nuclear strikes as well as his thoughts on President Trump’s treatment of North Korea.

Ken Klippenstein: What was your personal reaction when you first heard Trump’s threat to bring ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’ to North Korea?

Ted Lieu: My first reaction was, that’s an idiotic statement. It’s unnecessarily provocative. We know so little about the North Korean regime, we don’t know how they’re going to take that kind of incendiary language. It increases their chances for miscalculation.

KK: When Trump uses that kind of rhetoric, is it just bluster?

TL: I’ve learned to stop predicting this president. I have no idea what he’s thinking. What he’s thinking can change depending on the day of the week. The one thing that he has done in his first six months is massive inconsistency, as well as a series of false and misleading statements.

KK: You’ve said, ‘There are zero good military options against North Korea.’ What would military intervention look like?

TL: There are three reasons why there are no good military options. One is, we don’t know where all their nuclear weapons are; we don’t even know how many they have. So we have very little intelligence and data about this closed regime. So that makes any military conflict difficult because a lot of it is flying blind. If the actual goal is to get a de-nuclearized Korean peninsula, the only real way to do it is a ground invasion where you go find every possible nuclear weapon and you destroy it. That is not a good military option: a lot of people would die in that kind of invasion.

The second reason there’s no good military option is because North Korea has in addition to nuclear weapons, chemical weapons as well. They could lob chemical weapons into South Korea where 150,000 Americans live as well as multiple U.S. bases and over 2 million South Koreans in Seoul alone.

Third reason there’s no good military option is, in additional to nuclear and chemical weapons, North Korea also has a massive conventional military with all sorts of missiles and artillery that can hit South Korea, Japan (where over 50,000 Americans live as well as multiple military bases) and Guam as well. So if we, for example, launch cruise missiles on North Korea, they can decide to rain fire down on South Korea and kill hundreds of thousands of people. That would not be a good military option for us.

KK: You’ve introduced legislation that would require Congress to authorize nuclear weapons use. How would that function? And what would you say to people tentative about it because they think it would diminish our deterrence capability?

TL: When the framers designed the Constitution, they put in all sorts of checks and balances on the president. They put in an entire judiciary to stop the president. They put in an entire legislative branch to stop the president. And then they gave the greatest power they knew at that time, the power to declare war, to Congress. [Massachusetts] Senator [Ed] Markey and I believe there is no way that the framers would have allowed one person, the president, to launch thousands of nuclear missiles and kill hundreds of millions of people in less than hour, without congressional approval. That actually would be war. If you don’t call it war, you basically red out the constitution.

Our bill is very simple: it says basically only Congress can declare war; you, Mr. President, cannot launch a first strike of nuclear weapons without congressional authorization. It does not affect their current status quo of mutually assured destruction in any way. Mutually assured destruction does not rely on a first strike; it relies on the ability of the United States to annihilate anyone who strikes us. This bill does not address the ability of the president to respond in self-defense or with a second strike; it just says we should not be the aggressor and use nuclear weapons first.

KK: You’ve said Congress will start the impeachment process if Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller. Would Congress start the impeachment process if Trump pursues a military option in North Korea? Do you think that’s grounds for it?

TL: If he does it without congressional authorization and it’s not in self-defense, yes, I think that would provide grounds for impeachment. I do believe that. If he starts a war with North Korea without congressional approval, that would be grounds for impeachment.

KK: Have your Republican colleagues in Congress expressed any concerns to you about Trump’s rhetoric with respect to North Korea? Do they seem open to your proposal?

TL: Yes. It is a bipartisan bill. Republican congressman Walter Jones [of North Carolina] signed on earlier this year and we’re reaching out to other Republicans as well. There are a number of Republicans who are libertarian and have a very strict reading of the Constitution and they would agree with me that the current launch approval process is unconstitutional. We’re reaching out to a number of Republicans to see if they would co-author. I think they would likely vote for the bill, the only issue is do they sign as a co-author.

KK: Describe what you think is the solution to the North Korea issue.

TL: Having served in the military, it’s very clear to me that military force should always be the last resort and you’ve got to exhaust all other options. The Trump administration has definitely not exhausted the option of diplomacy. You have a total of zero talks with the North Koreans. They need to at least try diplomacy before they even consider going down the dark and bloody path of a catastrophic war.

A few days ago they signaled that the U.S. would be open to talks with North Korea—I thought that was a good sign—until Trump yesterday made his incendiary remarks. That’s another problem with the administration: you don’t really know what their strategy is. They have not articulated it to the American people. They go back and forth; they send conflicting signals. So it’s a very bad place for America to be in when our executive branch doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing.

KK: Do you think Trump’s threats degrade our credibility?

TL: If they’re not executed, yes. So now you have the problem where you’ve got Trump potentially backing himself into a corner with all these threats. At some point, either Trump is going to have to reverse himself and damage credibility, or he’s going to feel compelled to execute on those threats, which could cost the lives of a lot of people.

Ken Klippenstein is an American journalist who can be reached on Twitter @kenklippenstein or via email: kenneth.klippenstein@gmail.com

Karen Handel Wins Georgia Special Election, Fending Off Upstart Democrat

ATLANTA — Karen Handel, a veteran Republican officeholder, overcame a deluge of liberal money to win a special House election in Georgia on Tuesday, bridging the divide in her party between admirers of President Trump and those made uneasy by his turbulent new administration.

Ms. Handel, 55, fended off Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat and political newcomer who emerged from obscurity to raise $25 million from progressives across the country eager to express their anger at Mr. Trump. That fervor quickly elevated what would otherwise have been a sleepy local race into a high-stakes referendum on Mr. Trump and the most expensive House campaign in history.

The surprisingly easy victory for Ms. Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state and Fulton County official, averted a humiliating upset for Republicans in an affluent, suburban Atlanta district — Georgia’s Sixth — that they have controlled for nearly 40 years. And it showed that Republicans skeptical of Mr. Trump remained comfortable supporting more conventional candidates from their party.

The apparent success of relentless Republican attacks linking Mr. Ossoff to the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, and her “San Francisco values” also affirmed the efficacy of tying Democratic candidates in conservative districts to their brethren in more liberal parts of the country.

Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, addressing supporters after his defeat. “This is not the outcome any of us were hoping for,” he said. “But this is the beginning of something much bigger than us.” CreditChristopher Aluka Berry/Reuters

With 207 out of 208 precincts reporting, Ms. Handel had 52.6 percent of the vote to Mr. Ossoff’s 47.4 percent.

Addressing supporters in Atlanta, Ms. Handel noted with pride that she had become the first Republican woman sent to Congress from Georgia, and she pledged to represent all of her constituents, including Mr. Ossoff’s supporters. But she made clear that she would work to pass major elements of the Republican agenda, including health care and tax overhauls.

“We have a lot work to do,” Ms. Handel said. “A lot of problems we need to solve.”

For Democrats, the loss was demoralizing after questionable “moral victories” in two earlier special election defeats, for House seats in conservative districts in Kansas and Montana. Mr. Ossoff appeared so close to victory that Democrats were allowing themselves to imagine a win that would spur a wave of Republican retirements, a recruitment bonanza and a Democratic fund-raising windfall heading into the 2018 midterm elections.

Addressing a crush of cameras and supporters who spilled out of a hotel ballroom, a subdued Mr. Ossoff tried to strike a hopeful note as he conceded defeat.

In Sandy Springs, Ga., on Tuesday. Mr. Ossoff drew support from progressives across the country.CreditKevin D. Liles for The New York Times

“This is not the outcome any of us were hoping for,” he said. “But this is the beginning of something much bigger than us.”

The margin in Georgia was ultimately larger than even some Republicans had expected, with tax-averse voters in the outer suburbs overwhelmingly siding with Ms. Handel.

Yet the Republican triumph came only after an extraordinary financial intervention by conservative groups and by the party’s leading figures, buoying Democrats’ hopes that they can still compete in the sort of wealthy, conservative-leaning districts they must pick up to recapture the House.

Both parties now confront the same question: What does such a hard-won victory in the Lululemon-and-loafers subdivisions of Dunwoody and Roswell, where Mr. Trump prevailed in November, augur for Republicans who next year will be defending an array of less conservative seats outside the South?

Poll workers at the North Fulton Service Center in Sandy Springs on Tuesday. CreditKevin D. Liles for The New York Times

Even as Mr. Ossoff lost, Democrats’ spirits were somewhat lifted by the unexpectedly strong showing of their nominee in another special House election Tuesday, in South Carolina. In a heavily conservative district vacated by Mick Mulvaney — now the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget — African-Americans came out in force for a wealthy Democrat, Archie Parnell, and the Republican candidate, Ralph Norman, won by a narrower margin than Ms. Handel did in Georgia.

In the so-called jungle primary in Georgia — the initial special election on April 18 — Mr. Ossoff, one of 18 candidates on the ballot, captured just over 48 percent of the vote, an unusually strong showing for a Democrat but short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Ms. Handel came in a distant second, with just under 20 percent, as Republicans divided their support among a number of credible conservative contenders.

But Republican leaders were optimistic that the party’s voters would rally behind Ms. Handel in a two-candidate showdown.

Questions also lingered about whether the grass-roots coalition backing Mr. Ossoff — fueled by highly motivated anti-Trump activists who were, in many cases, new to political activity and organizing — could improve on its April showing in a runoff held at the beginning of the summer vacation season, in a district where people have the means to escape to the beach.

How We Analyzed It Live: Georgia’s Special Election

Karen Handel, a Republican, won a U.S. House seat in Georgia. It’s a reprieve for President Trump and a demoralizing blow to Democrats.

Ms. Handel and her supporters portrayed Mr. Ossoff as far too liberal for a district that, covering somewhat different territory, was represented from 1979 to 1999 by Newt Gingrich, a Republican and former House speaker. They also criticized Mr. Ossoff for his youth and inexperience and assailed him for living outside the district, although he was raised in it.

Mr. Ossoff’s allies, for their part, paid for an advertising campaign deriding Ms. Handel, a former chairwoman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, as a profligate spender while in office. And Mr. Ossoff ran television ads that rehashed Ms. Handel’s resignation from the Susan G. Komen Foundation over her belief that the group, which raises money to fight breast cancer, should cut ties with Planned Parenthood.

While Mr. Ossoff’s supporters showed great passion, Republicans were presumed to have a heavy mathematical advantage in the district, which Tom Price, now Mr. Trump’s health secretary, won by 23 points in 2016. And it was unclear throughout the contest how the two campaigns would ultimately be buffeted by tempestuous events in Washington, including Mr. Trump’s handling of the investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election, the House’s passage of an unpopular health care overhaul bill, and the attack last week on a group of Republican lawmakers by an anti-Trump liberal.

Republicans, fearing the symbolic and tangible repercussions of a loss in Georgia, spared no expense in propping up Ms. Handel’s candidacy. Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan all came to Atlanta to help her raise money, and conservative groups poured $12 million into the runoff, nearly all of it assailing Mr. Ossoff.

A “super PAC” aligned with Mr. Ryan, the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent more than $7 million from April to June.

Still, the $8 million gusher of liberal money that Mr. Ossoff enjoyed leading up to the April vote only intensified during the two-month approach to the runoff. He brought in another $15 million, much of it in small contributions from beyond Georgia’s borders. And national Democratic groups, persuaded that he had a strong shot at winning, rushed in with their own advertisements denouncing Ms. Handel.

Although they received enormous political and financial support from allies in Washington, the two candidates tiptoed around more polarizing national political figures. Ms. Handel rarely uttered Mr. Trump’s name of her own volition, preferring instead to highlight the district’s Republican lineage and warn that Mr. Ossoff would do Ms. Pelosi’s bidding. Only in declaring victory late Tuesday night did Ms. Handel make a point of offering “special thanks to the president of the United States of America,” a line that set off a boisterous chant of Mr. Trump’s name by the crowd.

Mr. Ossoff, for his part, sought to avoid being linked to Ms. Pelosi or labeled a liberal. He assured voters he would not raise taxes on the rich. And in pledging to root out wasteful spending and seek compromise, he sounded more like an heir to former Senator Sam Nunn’s brand of Southern centrism than a progressive millennial who cut his teeth working for Representative Hank Johnson, a DeKalb County liberal.

Voter turnout in April was already high for a spring special election, and it soared during the runoff, to more than 240,000, from more than 190,000. Nearly 150,000 voters cast ballots before the polls opened on Tuesday, nearly three times the early vote in the first round. And nearly 40,000 of those people had not voted at all in April.

By Tuesday, the fatigue among voters was palpable.

Some residents posted warnings demanding that campaign workers stop knocking on their doors.

“NO SOLICITATION!!!!!!!” read one sign, photographed and published on social media by a Handel supporter. “And no! We aren’t voting for OSSOFF! I have big dogs!!!”

The campaign so enveloped the Atlanta region that polling places in a neighboring district posted signs telling residents that they were not eligible to vote.

Democrat Jon Ossoff appears headed to runoff in Ga. House race

Democrat Jon Ossoff fought to capture a Republican-held House seat in Atlanta’s wealthy, conservative suburbs Tuesday with a groundswell of grass-roots activism and millions in donations fueled largely by antipathy to President Trump.

Shortly after midnight, unofficial returns showed that Ossoff had fallen below 50 percent of the vote, the threshold needed to declare an outright victory. Instead, with 48.6 percent, Ossoff appeared headed to a runoff against Republican Karen Handel, the top GOP vote-getter in a special election to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

If he is forced into a runoff, Ossoff could find it difficult to sustain the momentum he witnessed this past week in a traditionally Republican district that has been in GOP hands since 1979. Although Handel had earned less than 20 percent of the vote with 86 percent of precincts reporting, in a runoff she would be widely expected to rally Republican voters who had divided their votes among 11 GOP candidates Tuesday.

Just before midnight, at her election night party in Roswell, Handel thanked supporters and urged Republicans to unite. “Tomorrow we start the campaign anew,” she said.

Ossoff took the stage at his own party, his voice hoarse. “I know it has been a long evening, and it looks like it may be a longer one. We may not know the outcome for some time.” But, he added to the roaring crowd holding signs, “there is no doubt this is already a victory for the ages.”

“We will be ready to fight on and win in June if it’s necessary,” Ossoff said. “Bring it on.”

Handel’s showing was due to more than name recognition from her long tenure in state politics. She also benefited from $1.3 million in support from Ending Spending, a conservative advocacy group aligned with the billionaire Ricketts family.

National GOP groups, meanwhile, are readying new waves of television advertising.

Democrats had hoped to upend the national political landscape with a stunning victory in this round of voting, rousing their demoralized party just five months after Trump won the White House and stoking a burgeoning anti-Trump movement across the country. Ahead of next year’s midterm elections, they saw an opportunity to raise expectations about possibly winning back majorities in Congress.

Ossoff’s candidacy gave Democrats an exhilarating if brief taste of what it will be like to compete in a ruby-red district next year, when they have to win 24 seats to take back the House.

Republicans, at war with each other as much as with Democrats, were aiming to escape with a reprieve in the turbulent age of Trump. Facing more battles to come in 2018, the contest gave them little clarity about the party’s ideological drift and how much it should be tethered to the president in the future.

Trump quickly took credit for the likely runoff, tweeting after midnight: “Despite major outside money, FAKE media support and eleven Republican candidates, BIG “R” win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!”

Many Democrats moved quickly to frame the energy around Ossoff’s bid as a damaging referendum on Trump as he nears the 100-day mark of a presidency so far defined by an early stumble on health-care legislation and a GOP split into bickering factions.

Even as the campaigns waited for the count to finish, Ossoff’s team cast the incomplete results in a glowing light.

“While we await the final election results this evening, our first-place finish is a remarkable achievement that many said would never even happen,” said Ossoff campaign manager Keenan Pontoni. “It’s clear that Jon has incredible energy and support behind him that will only grow whether we win tonight or in June.”

Per Georgia law, a runoff ballot would feature the two top finishers from the crowded nonpartisan primary, which was called after Price, who had represented the district since 2005, vacated the seat to join Trump’s Cabinet. The district is a bastion of white college-educated professionals and upscale shopping centers.

Ossoff, 30, a former congressional staffer and political novice who catapulted to national notice, raised more than $8 million and drew heavy support from prominent Democrats and liberal organizers. They saw his campaign, as well as a special House election last week in Kansas where a Democrat narrowly lost, as symbolic battlegrounds for their recovering party.

Trump personally intervened in the final days, which risked becoming a political squall. On Tuesday, he tweeted that Republicans “must get out today and VOTE in Georgia 6” and warned that “Dem Ossoff will raise your taxes” and is “very bad on crime.”

White House officials, such as chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, paid close attention to the Georgia election, well aware of the implications for Trump’s political capital as the president attempts to jolt his agenda in the coming months.

Trump continued to weigh in on the race in the late afternoon, pointing out in a tweet that Ossoff “doesn’t even live in the district.” Republicans, he implored at 4:38 p.m. Eastern, “get out and vote!”

Ossoff acknowledged in a CNN interview that he lives with his girlfriend near Emory University, which is outside of the district.

“I’ve been living with my girlfriend, Alisha, for 12 years now down by Emory University where she’s a full-time medical student,” Ossoff said. “As soon as she concludes her medical training, I’ll be 10 minutes back up the street in the district where I grew up.”

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, intrigued, then asked, “So when are you going to marry her?”

“Well, I don’t want to give anything away,” Ossoff said. “I’ll give you a call when I have something to announce.”

The clip was quickly picked up by news outlets. Looking ahead to a likely run-off, national Republicans seized on Ossoff’s statement as another example of his lack of roots in the district, a critique that has been made repeatedly against the Democrat throughout the campaign. The Drudge Report, a driver of conservative Web traffic, made the story its banner, knocking the “Dem Trump slayer” as an interloper.

When asked Tuesday on Air Force One whether the Georgia race was a referendum on Trump’s first 100 days, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “I wouldn’t use the word referendum.”

“I think [Trump] hopes to have a Republican elected to that seat, and hopefully it will be someone to follow in Tom Price’s footsteps and be a leader from that district,” Sanders told reporters.

Earlier Tuesday, volunteers for Ossoff — mostly youthful, clad in navy blue T-shirts and carrying bundles of door-knocking materials — rushed excitedly around a low-slung campaign outpost in the Atlanta suburbs to stoke turnout.

At Ossoff’s cramped phone bank in Chamblee, situated between dental offices and piled with doughnut boxes and campaign posters, his staffers joked that the tweets amounted to an in-kind contribution that would incite their party’s base to show up. Trump’s messages also reflected how this once sleepy race had landed at the center of the political universe.

“The campaign has taken on a life of its own,” said Ossoff aide Alyssa Castillo, 20, who works in public relations for a distribution center in DeKalb County. “Whatever happens, this is the start of something bigger, that’s for sure.”

Celia Henson, a stay-at-home mother from Decatur who identifies as an independent Democrat, said Tuesday night that Trump retains his support “from most people around here who like him since nothing he does seems to get him in trouble.”

But more on-the-fence voters in the Atlanta suburbs, Henson said, have grown restless or uneasy about the president since his inauguration in January and since he has “kept tweeting.”

“This is a district where people care about respect, people being respected and they don’t like how he acts,” she said.

In the final, frantic hours of canvassing and phone calls, avoiding a runoff was the priority. “No run-off, vote for Ossoff,” read one poster at the Chamblee office.

“Look at the map,” Tish Naghise, an Ossoff field organizer, said as she pointed to a green layout of the district on the wall. “Hillary Clinton came close to winning here, but you have to do really well in Chamblee and Tucker, do well in diverse areas, if you’re going to have a shot of competing throughout this whole area.”

The Republican slate in the 6th District had been roiled in recent weeks by nerves about Trump and lingering internecine dramas over ideological purity and local loyalties. While some GOP candidates sought to align closely with Trump, others chose more cautious paths in an effort to navigate the president’s mixed popularity here.

Republicans’ failure to pass their plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system frustrated some suburban GOP voters about Trump’s effectiveness in cutting deals with lawmakers in Washington, as well as about the party’s promises.

The National Republican Congressional Committee dispatched staffers to Georgia to boost turnout among core GOP voters amid those grumbles. The Congressional Leadership Fund, an outfit aligned with the House GOP, has spent more than $2 million on a spate of negative television spots about Ossoff.

Several GOP candidates — Dan Moody, Bob Gray, Bruce LeVell, Amy Kremer — embraced Trump and cast themselves as his would-be allies in Washington. Others were supportive but not always enthusiastic, such as Handel and Judson Hill. One Republican, David Abroms, opposed the president. Most of the leading candidates bounced between those poles depending on the day or the latest controversy.

Republicans veered between wanting a typical party man to preferring a Trump-style hard-liner. In interviews, some voters genteelly tried to sidestep questions about loyalty to Trump, and the varying levels of support the President has seen from Republican candidates here in the 6th.

“We didn’t support Karen based on who she supported for President,” said Allison Newman, a 42 year-old special education teacher, when asked why she and her husband supported Handel. “We supported Karen based on her track record, she’s ethical and she’s a good person.”

Others said the Trump factor was paramount. “It’s important that he agrees with Trump on issues of trade and certain platforms of Trump’s campaign,” said Brendan Foy, 36, a volunteer for Gray who also served as a North Carolina field director last year for Trump. “I voted for him the same reasons Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania voted for him.”

LeVell, an African American jeweler and former Trump campaign adviser, as well as Trump-aligned conservative activist Kremer, never gained traction in a Republican district that is not dominated by grass-roots nationalism. Abroms, who campaigned with anti-Trump independent Evan McMullin, also failed to land on the political map.

Gray was seen by Republicans in recent days as having the best shot of outpacing Handel and making a runoff, since he began inching up in various eleventh-hour polls.

At Gray’s campaign office in Johns Creek on Tuesday, his effort to tie himself to Trump was obvious. A massive poster of Vice President Pence greeted visitors at the office entrance. To the right, a yard sign from the Trump campaign was propped against a stack of “Gray for Congress” signs. In a conference room, a photo of the president gave a big thumbs-up to phone-banking volunteers.

Brittany Evrard, 27, a volunteer for the Gray campaign, said Gray’s pro-Trump stance was “very much” part of what made up her mind.

But by early Wednesday morning, Gray was stuck at 10 percent in the returns.

One California Democrat Is Already Calling for Trump’s Impeachment and the Rest of the Country Could Be Soon to Follow

Over the weekend tens of thousands of Americans once more took to the streets to protest Donald Trump. In major cities and small towns across the country, citizens demanded that their president do what every president for the past 40 years has done: Release his tax returns. Trump’s response was to petulantly tweet that he did the impossible for a Republican by winning the Electoral College (the opposite is true; just ask George W. Bush) and suggesting that someone “look into” who paid the protesters because “the election is over.”

Evidently he thought that winning the election meant everyone would march in lockstep singing “We love you, President Trump!” like they do in North Korea. He’d better get used to protests because they aren’t going to stop. (The March for Science next weekend should really make him mad.)

The anti-Trump resistance is very much a grassroots effort, but there are leaders emerging. One of the most vocal is Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat who represents Los Angeles. Appearing at the Washington Tax Day march on Saturday, Waters put it bluntly: “I don’t respect this president. I don’t trust this president. He’s not working in the best interests of the American people. I will fight every day until he is impeached!” Then she led the crowd in a chant of “Impeach 45!” It doesn’t get any more resistant than that.

Waters has always been a tough and forceful politician, unafraid to take a position and speak her mind. She first came to national attention after the Rodney King riots when she went on TV and explained to America through gritted teeth that the African-American community in L.A. hadn’t just exploded out of nowhere. It was a message a lot of people didn’t want to hear, but she made sure they got it anyway. She’s been a thorn in the side of conservatives ever since then, once inspiring Ann Coulter to venomously spew that without affirmative action Waters “wouldn’t have a job that didn’t involve wearing a paper hat.” Right-wingers often lose their composure when confronted with such a strong, unapologetic African-American woman who is unafraid of getting right up in their faces.

Waters has been appearing on TV again lately, and she has plenty to say about all the various Trump scandals. Her message is very simple: Trump must be impeached. Obviously Republicans are outraged (as usual) insisting that such talk is downright seditious. Very few Democrats are ready to join her at this point either. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi believes such talk is premature at best; she has said that Trump is “incoherent,” “incompetent” and “reckless,” but insists those aren’t grounds for impeachment. According to Clare Malone at 538, Waters understands that Pelosi has an obligation to stay above the fray but says, “I don’t have the same responsibility.” She sees herself in a completely different role.

It may seem that Waters just has a pugilistic personality and is out front because it’s her political style to mix it up. But there is a strategy at work in this. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that a president was impeached for only the second time in history and it was over a “crime” that seems laughably insubstantial compared to the possibilities Donald Trump could face. Just for starters, Trump’s presidential campaign is being investigated in a counter-intelligence probe, and his conflicts of interest are so wide and so deep that almost anything could implicate him in a corruption scandal. Impeachment is really not a far-fetched proposition.

Back in the 1990s, President Bill Clinton’s administration was under siege from almost the moment he took office. There was one small-bore, semi-fictitious scandal after another, from Filegate to Travelgate to Haircutgate to Vince Foster’s suicide and of course the ancient Arkansas land deal known as Whitewater, from years before Clinton ran for president. The media lapped them up, reporting each new development with breathless excitement, piling them on top of each other until it seemed as though there wasn’t anything else happening in the world.

Some of the motivation for all this was simple partisan payback. Richard Nixon was a crook who’d been run out of Washington and Republicans were yearning to return the favor. Beating Jimmy Carter in 1980 was nice but it wasn’t enough. They wanted to rub the Democrats’ smug, self-righteous faces in the dirt and the Southern Gothic fever swamp that accompanied Clinton to Washington offered an excellent opportunity. But in spite of the Republicans’ deep desire to get Clinton, their primary game plan was merely to force his resignation (as had happened with Nixon). There was very little discussion of impeachment through all those years of endless scandal-mongering.

Only one man, Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., kept bringing it up despite strong pushback from House Speaker Newt Gingrich and every other member of the GOP leadership. Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said at the time, “I don’t think we have the kind of evidentiary basis to be talking about impeachment at this time. I don’t really think you should, when it’s such an important matter and it’s frankly still in the abstract.”

Barr kept at it. Before anyone had heard the name Monica Lewinsky or had read the salacious report ultimately produced by independent counsel Ken Starr, Barr had introduced H.R 304, directing the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether grounds existed to impeach the president. When the Lewinsky scandal broke, unanticipated by anyone (including Barr), the groundwork had been laid.

Waters is following the Barr model. Impeachment is the nuclear option of nuclear options, when it comes to Congress confronting the president. It’s the only means by which a president can be removed from office for cause and it isn’t easy to do, especially when the president’s party holds the majority. (Only two presidents have ever been impeached by the House — Clinton and Andrew Johnson — and neither was convicted in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required.) But if one of Trump’s many scandals should end up implicating him in a crime, it’s important that the Democrats and the American people be ready for it. Waters is getting the I-word out there into the atmosphere and priming Trump’s political opposition. It’s a job that takes guts and foresight and she’s good at it.

If the Democrats can pull off a wave election in 2018 and take back the House, they will be ready to follow an impeachment investigation wherever it leads. That will largely be thanks to Maxine Waters.

Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Louisiana Democrat Claims Declaration of Independence is Racist

http://www.renegadetribune.com/louisiana-democrat-claims-declaration-independence-racist/

 

by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple

Contrary to what political correctness and social justice advocates would have you believe, their ideas are not about protecting minorities. They serve only one purpose in our society, and that is to hamstring free speech and hobble the cultural cornerstones of our rights. On the surface these ideas may sound like they’re promoting sensitivity, but in reality they are tools of social engineering designed to break down our culture and language, and pave the way for a new oppressive society.

If you aren’t convinced, take a look at what happened in the Louisiana legislature last week when Representative Valarie Hodges tried to pass a bill that would have kids recite a portion of the Declaration of Independence in school. The bill was well on its way to passing, until Representative Barbara Norton said the document was unfair and that not “all men are created equal.” Watch her defend her objection with the most baffling logic you’ll hear all week.

 

The bill has since been shelved. This is how freedom dies in America. Not by a foreign invasion or the rise of a charismatic dictator, but by political correctness and abject stupidity.

Trump vows to win millions of Democratic votes in November

WASHINGTON – There may be much Republican hand-wringing over Donald Trump’s presumptive nomination to face against his Democratic challenger to the White House, but the boastful billionaire says he doesn’t care, and it doesn’t matter.

A growing chorus of senior Republican leaders have joined the “anything but Trump movement,” including 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the last two Republican presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush.

“Does it have to be unified?” Trump asked about the Republican Party.

“I’m very different than everybody else, perhaps, that’s ever run for office. I actually don’t think so,” he told ABC’s “This Week” in excerpts provided ahead of Sunday’s broadcast.

“I think it would be better if it were unified, I think it would be — there would be something good about it. But I don’t think it actually has to be unified in the traditional sense.”

Trump said he expected some Democratic voters to throw their support behind him to win the general election.

“I’m going to go out and I’m going to get millions of people from the Democrats,” Trump said.

“I’m going to get Bernie (Sanders) people to vote, because they like me on trade,” he added, referring to the Democratic candidate in an uphill fight to clinch his party’s nomination instead of Hillary Clinton.

Michelle Obama: We Must Teach Young Blacks To Always Vote Democrat ‘No Matter Who’s On The Ballot’

(by Pam Key, BREITBART) — Monday on TV One, a cable channel who’s programming is geared for African-American adults, first lady Michelle Obama told Roland Martin the candidate on the ballot and what they say or do should not matter to African-Americans because voting for a straight Democratic ticket best serves their communities.

The first lady said, “Thats my message to voters, this isn’t about Barack, It’s not about person on that ballot, its about you, and for most of the people we are talking to, a Democratic ticket is the clear ticket that we should be voting on regardless of who said what or did this, that shouldn’t even come into the equation.”

Longest-serving Jewish member of Congress says he’s backing Iran deal

http://www.jta.org/2015/07/28/news-opinion/politics/longest-serving-jewish-member-of-congress-says-hes-backing-iran-deal

(JTA) — The longest-serving Jewish member of Congress, who is also an Israel backer, said he will support the Iran nuclear deal.

Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., announced his support in a statement Tuesday explaining his decision.

Levin, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1983, called on Congress to “act to bolster the security of our ally Israel,” including increasing funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system and accelerating the co-development by the U.S. and Israel of the Arrow-3 and David’s Sling missile defense systems.

“I along with my brother and late sister when we were in our teens experienced with our parents great personal joy when President Truman announced U.S. recognition of Israel. It was something that we could take hold of amidst the unfolding horrors of the years before,” Levin said in the statement. “Israel’s security has and always will be of critical importance to me and our country. I believe that Israel, the region, and the world are far more secure if Iran does not move toward possession of a nuclear weapon. I believe the Agreement is the best way to achieve that.”

Levin’s statement came as the House Foreign Affairs Committee met to question three Obama administration officials about the agreement reached this month between Iran and six world powers led by the United States.

Congress has two months to consider whether to reject the deal to roll back sanctions in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program. Israel’s government says the deal does not go far enough and leaves Iran a nuclear threshold state.

On Monday, the State Department announced that Secretary of State John Kerry would visit the Middle East, including Egypt and Qatar, to discuss the deal but would not visit Israel.