But history, rather than repeating itself, has become inverted with the blunt and deadly application of American military might. It’s like bizarro world, because the elements are largely the same, just reversed.
But the constant is that the problems created by despotic leaders in the Middle East — and US responses to them — carry on from President to President to President.
‘There will be no haggling’
It’s been three weeks since the House voted to impeach Trump on two articles over his attempts to pressure Ukraine’s President into helping to damage former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election. There has been no movement toward the next step laid out in the Constitution, a Senate trial. (Also, it is now less than four weeks before the first vote of 2020 — the February 3 Iowa caucuses.)
He was referring to his declaration that he has the votes to carry on with a trial and punt on whether to call witnesses like John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, after the House presents its impeachment case.
Time for the trial
There are growing signs that even Democrats are done waiting.
While most Democrats said that when to send the articles was the speaker’s decision to make, they made clear that the trial should start soon, hoping for as early as next week.
Here’s what they said:
- Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats, said that “it’s probably time” to begin the trial, but added he would leave the decision on sending the articles to Pelosi. “I think Mitch McConnell made clear what he’s moving forward in terms of rules,” he said.
- Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said: “My hope is that we’ll be able to get the trial started next week.” Murphy added: “I think if we’re trying to create leverage on the Republicans, that leverage really exists when we put them on the record on motions to call witnesses.”
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the senior Connecticut Democrat, added: “I’m ready to begin the trial tomorrow. As a former prosecutor, I’m ready to go to court.”
War powers vote is set
The resolution, sponsored by freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, a former CIA analyst, will be considered by the Rules Committee to set the parameters for the debate on Wednesday night, she said.
The decision to move forward with the bill follows Pelosi’s initial announcement over the weekend that the House will take up a measure similar to one introduced in the Senate by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.
GOP senator unloads re: Iran
The war powers issue, unlike impeachment, is drawing sharp criticism of Trump from Republicans, specifically from anti-interventionist conservatives like Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Which means the vote, when it comes to the Senate, will be a very interesting moment for Trump, whose party has been essentially unified behind him on the Ukraine scandal. (War powers matters are privileged under Senate rules and so this resolution will get a vote).
Lee unloaded on the administration after what was supposed to be an intelligence briefing for lawmakers. Lee was not impressed with what he heard. He pointed out that Congress is a coordinate branch of government in charge of funding and authorizing military activity.
“They had to leave after 75 minutes while they’re in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public. I find this absolutely insane.”
What are we doing here?
The President has invited foreign powers to interfere in the US presidential election. Democrats impeached him for it. A Senate trial is next. It is a crossroads for the American system of government as the President tries to change what’s acceptable for US politicians. This newsletter will focus on this consequential moment in US history.