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Obstruction, Impeachment, Shutdown
The GOP congressional priorities.
You may have heard of Vivek’s great contribution to American literature, his 2022 opus:
Original title, no? But vaguely reminiscent of this one, circa 1992:
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Meanwhile, in the GOP Congress…
From CBS a few weeks ago: “Congressional effort grows to strip funding from special counsel's Trump prosecutions.”
In a series of new proposals, House Republicans are attempting to prohibit the use of federal money to pay for Smith's investigation and criminal cases against Trump.
At least three different efforts are already underway, according to a CBS News review. Though they are unlikely to generate any large number of supporters and are being criticized as political posturing, the proposals could eventually derail fragile negotiations to avoid a government shutdown or emergency funding for natural disaster relief in Hawaii and Vermont. And they could be a wedge issue inside the Republican party on Capitol Hill.
Quick update: The last time we saw Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-MAGA), he was describing the January 6th attack on the Capitol as a “normal tourist visit,” by which he meant a normal tourist visit where five people are killed and dozens of police officers injured.
Clyde is back.
On Monday, Clyde signaled he would propose two amendments to an appropriations bill that would defund the various prosecutions of former President Trump. The Clyde Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies fiscal 2024 appropriations bill would “prohibit the use of federal funding for the prosecution of any major presidential candidate prior to the upcoming presidential election on November 5th, 2024.”
“The American people get to decide who wins the White House — not Deep State actors who have shamelessly attacked Donald Trump since he announced his first bid in 2015. It is imperative that Congress use its power of the purse to protect the integrity of our elections, restore Americans’ faith in our government, and dismantle our nation’s two-tiered system of justice. I’m fully committed to helping lead this effort, and I call on my House Appropriations colleagues to join me in this righteous fight.”
Impeaching Biden for…. TBD.
In recent weeks, McCarthy has privately told Republicans he plans to pursue an impeachment inquiry into Biden and hopes to start the process by the end of September, according to multiple GOP sources familiar with the conversations. While McCarthy has already publicly threatened to launch an inquiry if allegations from IRS whistleblowers hold up or if the Biden administration does not cooperate with requests related to House Republicans’ Hunter Biden probe, sources say that McCarthy has sent even stronger signals about his intentions behind closed doors.
This is, of course, a bit problematic for My Kevin, whose grip on power remains tenuous. But Trump wants what Trump wants, and he is DEMANDING an impeachment for something, something, something.
On Sunday, the former president bleated: “Biden is a Stone Cold Crook-You don’t need a long INQUIRY to prove it, it’s already proven” And he demanded that the GOP, “Either IMPEACH the BUM, or fade into OBLIVION.”
All of this puts Kevin in a vice. His majority depends on members from districts that voted for Biden and moderates are beyond queasy at the prospect of any impeachment, much less a Trump-induced effort sans actual evidence. As
Trent Crimm Eric Garcia of the Independent notes, “Kevin McCarthy has to choose between his House majority and Trump on Biden impeachment.”
Who’s Up for a Shutdown?
Complicating GOP efforts to obstruct the Trump investigations and impeach Joe Biden is their apparent determination to force a fiscal car crash this fall. Firebrands who hold My Kevin’s testes in a lockbox are threatening to shut down the government if they do not get deep (and politically impossible) spending cuts.
Normally, this kind of thing is resolved with a last-minute compromise or continuing resolution that pushes the ultimate decision down the road. But yesterday, the 175-member Republican Study Committee drew another red line, by opposing a so-called “clean” CR.
“A ‘clean’ CR would simply serve as a continuation of the [fiscal year] 2023 omnibus ‘monstrosity’ by extending Pelosi’s bloated spending levels and Biden’s failed policies,” the memo, obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital, said.
This sort of thing explains why Goldman Sachs predicts that a government shutdown is “more likely than not” this year.
On Monday’s podcast, Will Saletan I discuss Ramaswamy’s BS, and debate Schadenfreude.
Client from Hell
After a particularly bad day in court, in which Trump’s lawyers did his bidding and humiliated themselves, Trump lashed out at both the prosecutor and the judge. Really, what could go wrong?
Nota Bene: He probably can’t appeal.
BONUS: Another Real Man of Political Genius weighs in:
There’s No Deus ex Machina
The fourteenth amendment won’t save us from Donald Trump.
Eminent jurists are promising that it will. They argue that language in the Fourteenth Amendment, adopted after the Civil War, should debar the coup-plotting ex-president from appearing on a ballot for any office ever again. Their learning is undisputed. Their judgment is another story.
The project to disqualify Trump from running for president is misguided and dangerous. It won’t work. If it somehow could work, it would create problems worse even than Americans already face. In an ideal world, Trump’s fellow Republicans would handle this matter by repudiating his crimes and rejecting his candidacy for their presidential nomination. Failing that—and it certainly seems as if that hope is failing—opponents of Trump must dig deep and beat him at the polls one more time.
There is no cheat code to win this game.
1. The Drama of Donald
JUDGE CHUTKAN’S MARCH 4 DATE may not hold, but you can count on two things: Trump trying to postpone it, and the date not retreating more than two months.
By the currently scheduled trial start date, voting will already be underway in the earliest 2024 primaries—indeed, the next day, March 5, will be “Super Tuesday.” Judge Chutkan has already said that “the fact that [Trump] is running a political campaign currently has to yield to the administration of justice.” Still, to avoid interfering excessively with his electioneering rights, the judge is likely to want the trial to occur well before the July 2024 Republican National Convention.
2. Pro-Lifers Should Change Tactics
THIS NOVEMBER, PENNSYLVANIANS WILL ELECT a new judge to the state’s Supreme Court. Though the election will not determine the partisan tilt of the court, as was the case in Wisconsin’s race in April, the contest is nevertheless shaping up as another donnybrook pitting pro-life and pro-choice forces against one another. It doesn’t require a Ph.D. in political science to guess how this one is going to turn out. Pro-choicers have won every single ballot contest since the Supreme Court handed down Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health in June of 2022.
It’s time for the pro-life movement to face reality: The attempt to limit abortions through the law is a failure.
3. California Pride Flag Shooting Was a “Crime Against Unity”
On Saturday, a shooter who had written hate manifestos against black people killed three of them at a Dollar Store in Jacksonville, Florida. Eight days earlier, just before my family arrived in Lake Arrowhead for a mini reunion, shop owner Lauri Carleton was also killed by a young man with a gun. He shouted anti-gay slurs about the Pride flag at her mag.pi clothing store in nearby Cedar Glen, then shot her with a semiautomatic Smith & Wesson 9-millimeter handgun that was not registered to him.