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Saturday, January 05, 2019

QOTD: Michelle Goldberg

by digby

The following is from last night on Chris Hayes's show. The segment was about all the impeachment talk starting to bubble up in Washington. He notes that some Democrats have re-introduced their bills calling for an impeachment inquiry (there were several in the last congress) and makes the point that even sober, staid establishment experts like Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer making the case for it. The Democratic leadership is keeping their proverbial powder dry (although I see that as more of a strategic maneuver that may backfire, which I discuss later.)

Chris had Michelle Goldberg on and as is so often the case, I felt like she was channeling my feelings:

It's blowing my mind too.

By the way, the following segment with Elizabeth Holzman and Michael Waldman is also very instructive. The House has the power and the duty to investigate and hold public hearings and lay out the case for the American people.

And Chris's recurring point that the Democrats are gun shy because of the failed Clinton impeachment is correct. They are fighting the last war. Clinton had been investigated for a dozen small bore alleged crimes before and during his presidency that never went anywhere for his entire presidency, from the congress and two different Independent Counsels. It was obvious to everyone, left and right, that this was a political strategy and the voters knew it. He won re-election and carried a high approval rating throughout his second term by which point the probes had become so convoluted that they had gone down rabbit holes leading to obscure crimes in Arkansas that had nothing to do with Clinton at all. Ken Starr had announced his intention to quit. And then Lucianne Goldberg and Linda Tripp revealed the affair between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and they finally found their hook, which was extremely thin and without legal merit. The American people saw it exactly for what it was.

This is a completely different story for reasons I don't think I have to articulate. Aside from the massive tax fraud and criminal business behavior for decades which add up to hundreds of millions of dollars, we are looking at a criminal administration on every level, including basic graft, as well as gross abuse of power which he doesn't even try to hide. By saying they are "waiting for Mueller" the Democrats are essentially saying that they aren't convinced those things are impeachable. This means that when Trump suppresses the Mueller reports, as they have announced they plan to do with months of judicial delays based on executive privilege, the clock is going to run out.

The case against Trump must be laid out for the American people and for history. Win or lose in 2020 (and I don't think anyone should be so sanguine that they think he can't win --- I mean, we've been there --- and he cheats) this has to be laid out in one place. The Republicans will offer a counter-narrative that simply cannot be allowed to gain any legitimacy or we won't ever be able to move forward with the kind of reforms that are clearly necessary.

This isn't 1998. Buhleeme. They need to proceed with sober, dutiful intention to deal with this political crisis. It's one of the most serious this country has faced and it's happening at a time of grave global challenges. They simply cannot drop the ball, not this time.