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Impeachment

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Photo by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) argued on Friday morning that if President Joe Biden "should be impeached" if he isn't able to evacuate every American and Afghan who helped the United States during the 20-year conflict.

Graham said Friday morning in an interview on Fox & Friends:

If we leave any Americans behind, if we leave thousands of those Afghans who fought along our side behind bravely, Joe Biden deserves to be impeached for a higher crime and misdemeanor of dereliction of duty. If we leave one American behind, if we don't get all those Afghans who stepped up to the plate to help us out, then Joe Biden, in my view, has committed a high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution and should be impeached.

Graham makes his impeachment threats against Biden even as he was one of the loudest opponents of the two impeachments Former President Donald Trump faced during his time in office.

In October 2019, when Democrats first began the process of impeaching Trump for abuse of power for pushing Ukraine to investigate Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Graham said, "Impeachment over this? What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger. Democrats have lost their minds when it comes to President Trump." Graham said he wouldn't be an impartial juror in that impeachment trial.

In January, when Democrats started a second impeachment process, this time for Trump inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Graham argued that impeachment is too divisive and shouldn't happen.

"Any attempt to impeach President Trump would not only be unsuccessful in the Senate but would be a dangerous precedent for the future of the presidency," Graham tweeted on January 8. "It will take both parties to heal the nation."

During the impeachment trial in February, Graham said he found the evidence Democratic impeachment managers presented — including that insurrectionists were reading Trump's tweets during their attack — to be "offensive and absurd."

While Graham is arguing that the United States should take in Afghan refugees, he has a different take on Central Americans seeking asylum at the border. He introduced a bill in August 2019 that would make it harder for those migrants to both apply for and get asylum.

Graham's comments come as the United States is attempting to speed up evacuations of Americans and Afghans who aided the U.S. military from the country after the Taliban resumed control this weekend.

Remaining American forces are working through chaos following Biden's decision to carry out a deal the Trump administration struck with the Taliban to pull U.S. troops from the country after the decades-long conflict.

In recent days, Trump and his former officials have been trying to distance themselves from the deal the administration negotiated with the violent fundamentalist group. Biden said in a speech Monday that the deal left him with the choice of either withdrawing troops as planned or facing another escalation of the conflict that's cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Ken Starr testifies before Congress in 1998 about his investigation of former President Clinton.

Photo by Rebecca Roth (Public domain)

Reprinted with permission from Chicago Sun-Times

Perhaps you recall the eminent "Judge Starr" of Republican legend and song, a pious Christian avatar of justice and sexual propriety. Back when he was dutifully investigating President Bill Clinton's sex life — "our job is to do our job," he'd tell TV crews staking out his suburban driveway, a soft-handed househusband obediently taking out the trash — Kenneth Starr posed as a man of firm moral views and unimpeachable integrity.

Fawning newspaper profiles depicted Starr as an uxorious fellow whose favorite pastime was going for Sunday drives with his equally pious wife, singing hymns together. Never mind that said profiles were often written by the same reporters to whom independent counsel Starr's prosecutors had been leaking damning, albeit misleading, tidbits about Bill and Hillary Clinton's impending indictment for "Whitewater" crimes.

Indictments that never came, for the simple reason that bringing trumped-up charges against prominent people endangers prosecutors more than defendants. The same psalm-singing crusader eventually published the infamous Starr Report, narrating in near-pornographic detail each and every one of Bill Clinton's furtive grapplings with Monica Lewinsky.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh mostly wrote it.

Forcing a shamefaced Clinton to face a nationally televised sexual inquisition probably saved his presidency. Millions of sinners in the TV audience cringed to see it, a possibility that never seemed to have occurred to the sanctimonious Starr or his journalistic enablers. Angry with Clinton for being such a damn fool, I never saw it coming myself.

So now comes Starr's professed former mistress to drive what should be the last nail in the rotting coffin of his reputation. Former GOP public relations executive Judi Hershman has published an essay entitled "Ken Starr, Brett Kavanaugh, Jeffrey Epstein and Me" on Medium.

I confess I never thought the man had it in him for motel room romance.

That Starr is a world-class sexual hypocrite has long been obvious. Do you know how hard it was for a name-brand Republican holy man to get himself fired as president of Baylor, the world's largest Baptist university? Covering up gang rapes by the school's football team did it. Even Starr's practice of running onto the field in a cheerleading costume couldn't save him after the truth emerged in 2016.

To hear her tell it, Starr's former mistress is anything but a woman scorned. "Our affair ran its course after a year or so of occasional encounters and a steady exchange of affectionate texts and emails," she writes. "No fireworks, no drama." Rather, it was watching a recorded interview with one of the Baylor victims that "helped me understand how I could have been blind for so long to the pattern of misogyny coursing through Starr's career."

Shedding crocodile tears, Starr made a show of empathy, but then proceeded to do nothing on the victim's behalf. "Shamelessly and effectively," Hershman writes, "he shoved rape allegations under the carpet in the name of Christianity."

Starr's role in helping negotiate a sweetheart deal for serial child rapist Jeffrey Epstein (13 months in jail with daily 12-hour passes) also troubled her. "I confess I did not recognize Jeffrey Epstein's name at the time, but I knew what statutory rape was," Hershman writes, "and I couldn't understand why Ken Starr would be involved with him. 'Is this a church thing?' I asked. 'Are you trying to "cure" him? Why would you do this!"'

"Everyone deserves representation, Judi," Starr responded, adding, "He promised to keep it above 18 from now on."

As the world knows, Epstein failed to keep his promise. A man would have to be painfully naive to think a convicted pedophile ever would. Or deeply cynical to pretend to believe him. Take your pick. Starr's efforts on behalf of the billionaire child rapist also included a covert smear campaign against the female prosecutor who'd prepared a 60-count federal indictment against his lowlife client.

"Somehow," Hershman comments, "Starr's role as the nation's parson always comes back around to sex."

Also money, I'd add. Not for nothing was Starr once a tobacco company shill. I'd also observe that for a woman with no ax to grind, Hershman deploys some awfully sharp edges.

She even recounts a 1998 episode in which Kavanaugh, then Starr's prosecutorial understudy, staged a full-on primate rage display: physically intimidating and chasing her around a conference table over a disagreement she doesn't describe. She says she'd all but forgotten his "feral belligerence" until she watched him go ballistic over Christine Blasey Ford's allegations at his Senate confirmation hearings.

She thinks he's got no business on the Supreme Court.

But at least Starr himself never got there, to his eternal regret and the nation's good fortune. Instead, he ended up in that shyster's purgatory: defending Trump against impeachment.

"It's not just the hypocrisy," Hershman thinks, "it's the damage Starr's sham moral authority has done — to our nation, to our people."