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Grisham Warns ‘People Should Pay’ For Impeaching Trump

For months, congressional Republicans have complained that the impeachment of Donald Trump was delaying important policy, repeating the mantra “get back to work.” Now that the impeachment process is over, they are instead pushing for new investigations in retaliation.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham essentially admitted this plan on Fox News on Thursday, previewing Trump’s remarks set for the afternoon. “I think he’s gonna also talk about how just horribly he was treated and that maybe people should pay for that,” she said.

Here is what Republicans have already announced:

Investigation of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has not held public office since 2013 and has not been a candidate since 2016.

Still, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Homeland Security & Government Affairs chair, wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday to request “additional information” about a September 2019 State Department report on “security violations” related to a private email server she used during her tenure in Barack Obama’s cabinet.

Investigations of Joe and Hunter Biden

The origin of Trump’s impeachment was his explicit request that Ukraine’s president investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox Business that the Senate Foreign Relations would soon investigate the Bidens.

On Wednesday, Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced that they would investigate Hunter Biden.

On Thursday, the Trump administration began providing documents related to Hunter Biden, including financial records, to Johnson and Grassley, according to Yahoo! News.

Investigation of the anonymous whistleblower

In the same Fox Business interview, Graham also announced that “in the coming weeks” the Senate Intelligence Committee “will call the whistleblower” who first alerted Congress to Trump’s Ukraine quid pro quo.

“Why is it important? I want to find out how this crap started. If the whistleblower is a former employee of, associate of, Joe Biden, I think that would be important. If the whistleblower was working with people on [House Intelligence Chair Adam] Schiff’s staff that wanted to take Trump down a year and a half ago, I think that would be important,” Graham explained, suggesting multiple unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

“If the Schiff staff people helped write the complaint, that would be important. We’re going to get to the bottom of all of this to make sure this never happens again,” Graham added.

Investigation of House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff

Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed Schiff (D-CA) for his impeachment. Last month, he said, “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man.”

Trump warned, “He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that House Republicans would seek an investigation into Schiff. “After President Trump is acquitted, let’s get to the bottom of how this nightmare started,” he wrote on Twitter.

In remarks on a right-wing radio show, he demanded a probe to “get to the bottom of the lies of Adam Schiff that put this country through the nightmare.”

Punishing Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received a great deal of GOP ire after she tore up a copy of Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on national television on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) announced he was filing an ethics complaint against her, accusing the California Democrat of conduct “beneath the dignity of the House.”

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) also filed a resolution of disapproval, aimed at forcing a House vote to condemn the Speaker. She called Pelosi’s conduct “a breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Paul Attempts To Expose Whistleblower Despite Grassley Warning

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attempted to expose the alleged name of the whistleblower who triggered Donald Trump’s impeachment by putting his name on a sign on the Senate floor Tuesday.

As Paul argued against removing Trump from office, he included the name as part of an attempt to allege a “plot” targeting Trump.

Paul’s outing attempt comes just a day after fellow Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), warned against such attacks.

“Attempts by anyone to oust a whistleblower just to sell an article or score a political point—those are not helpful at all. It’s not the treatment any whistleblower deserves,” Grassley said.

Mark Zaid, the lawyer for the person named by Republicans as the whistleblower, has previously warned that attempts to expose his client could expose him to harm.

“Identifying any name for the whistleblower will simply place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm,” Zaid told CNN in November, after Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out a story from a pro-Trump site that published the alleged name.

Despite the warning, Republicans have tried to expose the individual as part of their efforts to defend Trump and oppose his removal from office.

In November, Paul called on the media to expose the whistleblower. “I say tonight to the media: do your job and print his name,” he said before a Republican campaign rally.

The demand was described as “very responsible” by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Trump’s most prominent and ardent defenders.

During the Senate impeachment trial in January, Paul made other attempts to publicize the name. Despite a warning from Chief Justice John Roberts that he would not read questions with the name, Paul submitted a question with the name. Roberts declined to read it out loud.

At a press conference right after his question was blocked, Paul again used the name.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Photo Credit: Matt Johnson

These 14 GOP Senators Supported Clinton’s Removal, But Not Trump’s

Donald Trump is expected to to be acquitted in his Senate impeachment trial on Wednesday, with most Republicans predicted to vote in his favor.

Among those standing steadfast with Trump are 14 current GOP senators who voted to impeach or remove President Clinton from office in the late 1990s. Many of those senators have since shifted their reasoning on why a president can’t  be removed from office.

Seven Republican senators serving today voted in 1999 to remove Clinton from office: Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Pat Roberts of Kansas, and Richard Shelby of Alabama.

An additional seven Republican senators were members of the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Clinton: Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rob Portman of Ohio, John Thune of South Dakota, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

All 14 senators who attempted to oust Clinton voted in January to protect Trump by preventing additional witness testimony during the Senate trial, and all are expected to vote against removing Trump from office.

Perhaps the most high-profile among them is Graham. Graham not only voted to impeach Clinton, but was one of the House managers attempting to persuade senators to remove him from office. During the Clinton impeachment, Graham called for witnesses to come before the Senate, demanded senators not make up their mind before the trial, and criticized past presidents for ignoring congressional subpoenas.

Two decades later, Graham reversed course.

“I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind,” Graham said in December 2019, weeks before the impeachment trial started in the Senate. “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”

Others who voted previously to oust Clinton have also had a change of heart.

Crapo for his part released a statement last month arguing that the founders “expressly rejected a system in which the President serves at the pleasure of the legislative branch.”

And Shelby, who once declared that the charge of obstruction of justice against Clinton was proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” concluded in January that Trump’s actions “[were] not worthy of removal from office,” and announced he would not vote to remove him from office.

Trump was impeached in December on two counts, abuse of power related to his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, and obstruction of Congress for his decision to block crucial witness testimony and hide evidence from House investigators.

Blunt made a similar case against Clinton, stating in December 1998 that “no president can be allowed to … thwart the investigative responsibility of the legislature.” He argued that true punishment was warranted and warned that a simple “censure” was not strong enough. Yet this time around, Blunt has indicated he will be voting to acquit Trump, declaring the outcome of the trial “virtually certain” despite mountains of evidence showing Trump wanted to use his office for personal gain.

McConnell, who voted in February 1999 to convict Clinton and remove him from office, accused the former president at the time of lying deliberately to the American people. He claimed his vote was one of “honor,” “principle,” and “moral authority.”

In Trump’s impeachment trial, McConnell has openly admitted to coordinating with the White House on Trump’s defense and said in December he had no intention of being an impartial juror. He, too, has implied that he will vote to acquit.

Others have pledged similarly that they will stand by Trump, claiming that the impeachment proceedings against him have been solely politically motivated by Democrats seeking to overturn the 2016 election. Many of those same lawmakers previously said the opposite during Clinton’s impeachment trial, with a few arguing that overturning the will of the people was necessary for justice to prevail.

Thune stated in December that he had no intention of voting to convict Trump and accused Democrats of “overturning an election where they didn’t like the outcome.” Yet when he voted to impeach Clinton in 1999, Thune had no such misgivings, stating there was “one standard of justice that applies equally to all, and to say or do otherwise will undermine the most sacred of all American ideals.”

Burr, a former congressman who voted to impeach Clinton in 1999, echoed Thune’s thoughts at that time, saying he could not “ignore the facts or disregard the constitution so that the president can be placed above the law.”

In January, Burr also said he had no intention of convicting Trump because “the American people [had] duly elected” him.

Inhofe is also among those who voted to convict Clinton previously but has called the impeachment process against Trump “a political sham” and declared before the beginning of the Senate trial that Trump was “not going to be removed from office — period.”

Portman for his part concluded that Trump’s actions were “wrong and inappropriate,” but has said he will refuse to vote to remove Trump from office because it would entail “taking him off the ballot in the middle of an election.”

Portman voted to impeach Clinton based on “evidence of serious wrongdoing,” saying, “I believe the evidence of serious wrongdoing is simply too compelling to be swept aside … I believe the long-term consequence to this country of not acting on these serious charges before us far outweigh the consequences of following what the Constitution provides for and bringing this matter to trial in the United States Senate.”

Wicker also voted to impeach Clinton, but when the House impeached Trump, he released a statement critical of the House investigation, adding he anticipated Trump would be acquitted in the Senate.

“House Democrats made a historic mistake today,” he said at the time. “… Their effort has never been about the facts or accountability. It was always about politics and damaging a president they cannot tolerate.”

Some of the senators involved in the Clinton impeachment episode, like Enzi, Moran, and Roberts, have not made public statements about their intentions in the Trump trial.

Grassley, for instance, falsely criticized the House impeachment as partisan, but pledged to “examine the evidence of the charges presented before the Senate and uphold my oath and duty as a juror.”

The Senate is expected to hold a final vote on Wednesday to determine if Trump should be removed from office. There is little expectation that proponents of removal will attain the 67 votes necessary to do so.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Awaiting Mueller Report, GOP Senators Focus On ‘Her Emails’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

As Attorney General William Barr prepares the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation report, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is reportedly recruiting other Republican senators help with a separate endeavor. As MSNBC reports, “a trio of top Republican senators” are demanding the Justice Department “hand over information on the handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.”

Graham, along with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Barr on Tuesday requesting documents pertaining to the department’s investigation of the former secretary of state.

The document request comes despite federal investigators clearing Clinton of criminal wrongdoing, and a separate Justice Department inspector general examination that reviewed the department’s probe. The trio of senators have requested a “classified briefing on steps the Justice Department plans to take in light of its inspector general’s 2018 report,” according to Politico.

“Now that the Special Counsel’s investigation has concluded, we are unaware of any legitimate basis upon which the Department can refuse to answer the Judiciary Committee’s inquiries,” Graham, Johnson and Grassley — who chair the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and Senate Finance Committee, respectively — wrote in their letter to Barr.

The lawmakers also claimed a portion of the inspector general’s report “raises significant issues associated with the FBI’s failure to review certain highly classified information in support of its Midyear investigation.”

As Politico notes, Graham has likewise pledged to investigate whether the DOJ and FBI attempted to influence the 2016 to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.