Editor’s Blog

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Don’t Believe the Hype, Unless Someone Substantiates the Hype

As President Trump has — unsurprisingly — dramatically ramped up his refusal to comply with any congressional scrutiny and oversight, the impeachment debate has moved in a new direction. Or at least one part of the existing argument has become much more salient. That is this: the claim that by moving into a formal impeachment process, perhaps as little as beginning a formal impeachment inquiry, the House will strengthen its ability to compel cooperation from the executive branch on all the documents and testimony it is now trying to get. In other words, whatever you think about the politics or wisdom of impeachment, Democrats need to start the process because that’s the only way they’ll have the standing to do effective investigation.

The problem is I see no evidence this is true. Read More

Full Picture Coming Into View

A lot more evidence emerging about the depth of the compromise of the Trump team in the government’s sentencing argument for Maria Buttina. Get used to the phrase “spot and access.”

Not Fast Enough

I’ve said a number of times that I think impeachment under the present circumstances is a mistake. There are two reasons. The lesser of them is the near impossibility of removing President Trump from office. The greater one is that moving quickly toward impeachment rather that holding it as a cudgel in the process of on-going investigation gets in the way of aggressive investigations. If people want to apply pressure, that’s where to apply it. Yesterday it was revealed that Chairman Cummings had agreed to delay the Oversight Committee’s subpoena deadline until after a court hearing on May 14th, when a court holds a hearing into President Trump’s suit against Cummings and the Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA.

This is a mistake. Read More

Oh

Steve King says facing the House scapegoating him for white supremacist comments gave him “better insight” into what Jesus faced when he was crucified.

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Book Recommendations on the History of the Book and the News

I just got this very heart-warming note from TPM Reader RM about some earlier book recommendations. I replied by recommending two other books I just finished. So I thought I’d share the recommendations with you as well.

I just want to thank you for your frequent book recommendations. You have been especially helpful to me in finding good reading for my 93-year old mother who is an avid reader and history buff. She is reading the Empires of the Word right now and is really into it. This is probably the 3rd or 4th book rec from you that I’ve given her and they are a hit.

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Must Read

Nothing else you read today will be as important as this. A corrupt Supreme Court already signaling its support for the GOP’s plan to lock in Republican political dominance against the threat of future majorities.

At the Court
Trump and Massive Resistance

I’ve hinted at this in a few posts. It’s time to confront it head on. The White House isn’t doing the standard tussling with Congress about oversight: some stonewalling, some negotiation, taking some questions of privilege to court. It’s more accurately characterized as massive resistance. The Congress has a constitutionally mandated responsibility to oversee the executive branch. They are flatly refusing to comply with ordinary document production and testimonial requests across the board. It’s not a difference of degree but of kind. In itself it is an impeachment worthy refusal to follow the constitutionally mandated framework of American government. It’s up to Democrats to make this clear. Read More

The Big Picture

“Projected warming over the next century will likely place global temperatures in a range not seen in millions of years of geologic history,” according to a newly issued summary by the American Meteorological Society of the current state of play on climate change:

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OHIO STATE HOUSE, COLUMBUS, OHIO, UNITED STATES - 2018/12/12: A protester seen holding a coat hanger which is an emblem of the pro-choice movement during a protest against the controversial Heartbeat Bill or HB258, which bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill would make it much more difficult for women to seek an abortion in the state of Ohio. The bill was passed by members of the Ohio Senate with a vote of 18-13. Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich has said he would veto any such bill should it be passed by the Senate. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Oh

Before border militia leader Larry Mitchell Hopkins was arrested over the weekend after detaining migrants trying to cross the border (he was arrested on a firearms charge) the FBI learned that Hopkins was telling people he and his militia “were training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, because of these individuals’ support of Antifa.”

Expectations Management and a Bit of Advice

I’ve been exchanging emails with various TPM Readers over the course of the day. If anything it’s tending to confirm my sense that the intra-Democratic acrimony over impeachment is driven less by disagreement than the understandable intensity of people’s feelings and anger over President Trump.

For example I’ve had a number of readers take issue with my viewpoint on this or ‘Democratic leaders’ (I scare quote only to make clear it usually isn’t specific to an individual) say, “No one is saying he should be impeached right away!” Read More

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The Mirage of Impeachment

In the rush of debate and intra-Democratic acrimony about impeachment over the weekend, I wanted to link back to this post from last August. Some of the details are different. But the gist is really the same. Many people who are furious at the President’s crimes and coverups want him impeached right now and think anything short of immediate of articles of impeachment amounts to some kind of civility fetish or refusal to fight his lawlessness. That’s not true. The problem with immediate impeachment is that it takes focus away from investigations which can actually have an effect. I would add that if you want to take the existing and on-going investigations and rebrand the Judiciary committee’s probe as an impeachment inquiry, fine, whatever — as long as it is truly open-ended and can run indefinitely. In any case, I encourage you to read this post.

Ukraine Elects a President

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a Jewish comedian who plays the President of Ukraine on TV, has been elected President of Ukraine by a landslide margin of 73% of the vote, according to a just released exit poll.

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Gist

The simple takeaway from the Mueller Report is the President betrayed his country and spent two years lying and breaking the law to try to hide that fact. He should resign and be tried for his crimes.

Trump’s Mirror

Unsurprisingly, President Trump is stewing and angry about the Mueller Report. This report from CNN notes that Trump is angry about the picture of a lying President and chaotic White House. But what really gets to him apparently is the image of a President whose staff routinely ignores his orders.

Here’s one noteworthy paragraph … Read More

Join Us in DC on May 9th!

If you care about Congressional oversight of President Trump and you’re going to be in the DC area on the evening of May 9th, join us for a special TPM Event on congressional oversight in the Trump Era. Details after the jump. Read More

Muellermania

If you’re an Inside member and you missed yesterday’s briefing and Q&A on the Mueller Report with me and Allegra Kirkland, the recording is now online in your account portal on the upper right.

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during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress.
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