The Count Down To Impeachment Has Now Begun

Written by on March 4, 2019

A lot of people I hired to play concerts at Stony Brook died young and not long after they played their shows– Jim Morrison (27), Jimi Hendrix (27), Janis Joplin (27), Otis Redding (26), Tim Buckley (28). Tim Hardin died in 1980, age 39, still young, still tragic… but at least not right after his concert at my school! Last Thursday on Nicole Sanders’ show I held the phone up to me speakers and let her listeners hear at little of “Reason to Believe,” my favorite Tim Hardin song. I did it because a member of Congress, in response to me asking about Jerry Nadler having said “I view this president and his conduct as the greatest threat to the democratic system and to the constitutional government since the Civil War, whether it’s threatening the newspapers or threatening the judiciary or calling people who criticize him treasonous,” told me to be sure to watch Nadler on Sunday. The implication was that he would announce that the preliminary steps towards impeachment hearings were beginning.

(Unless ABC News has removed it, as they’ve been doing all day), this is a video of George Stephanopoulos’ whole show, but don’t worry– Nadler was the first guest. In the intro– with Nadler sitting right across from him– Stephanopoulos used the “I” word. First question: “Did you learn anything from the Michael Cohen hearing this week that would lead you to open an impeachment investigation?” Listen to how Nadler– no doubt having gone over the wording carefully with Pelosi– handled the question. He didn’t flat out say “yes,” as he should have, but gave us plenty of reason to believe.

Stephanopoulos was trying to get him to admit they were beginning the impeachment process. Nadler deftly danced around it, although he said, flatly– seemingly in contradiction of the bullshit Pelosi has been spouting all year– that what his committee has to do is not sit around waiting for Mueller. “Crimes and impeachable offenses are two different things. There can be crimes that are impeachable offenses and impeachable offenses that are not crimes. They’re just two different tests. But we have to lay out for the American people and we can’t depend on the Mueller investigation for this. The Mueller investigation, number one, we don’t know when it’s ending despite lots of rumors, number two it’s focused on specific crimes. And we have to focus much more broadly on abuses of power and what I said a moment ago… We are starting this investigation, we will– tomorrow we will be issuing document requests to over 60 different people and individuals from the White House, to the Department of Justice, Donald Trump Jr., Alan Weisselberg to begin investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power… [W] will be releasing the list tomorrow.”

He aded that his committee’s investigation will go “far beyond collusion. We’ve seen all the democratic norms that we depend on for democratic government attacked by the administration. We’ve seen attacks on the freedom of the press, the press called the enemy of the people, we’ve seen attacks on the Department of Justice, attacks on the FBI, attacks on– on judges. All of these are very corrosive to liberty and to the proper functioning of government and to our constitutional system. All this has to be looked at and the facts laid out to the American people.” When Stephanopoulos asked him if he thinks Trump obstructed justice, Nadler sad, flatly, “Yes, I do… It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice. It’s very clear– 1,100 times he referred to the Mueller investigation as a ‘witch hunt,’ he tried to– he fired– he tried to protect Flynn from being investigated by the FBI. He fired Comey in order to stop the ‘Russian thing,’ as he told NBC News. He– he’s dangled pardons… he’s intimidated witnesses in public… We have to do the investigations and get all this. We do not now have the evidence all sorted out and everything to do– to do an impeachment. Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen. You have to persuade enough of the– of the opposition party voters, Trump voters, that you’re not just trying to… We may or may not get there but what we have to do is protect the rule of law.”

All the members of the Judiciary Committee I spoke with are eager to get going with this. Ted Lieu was in Selma, Alabama with John Lewis yesterday, but when he got back this morning, he told me that “Unlike last term, the House Judiciary Committee will actually conduct oversight over the Executive Branch. Instead of holding stupid hearings about why Republican legislators don’t get enough likes on Facebook, we will be holding hearings on whether any crimes were committed by Executive Branch officials and those within their orbit. We have launched a massive investigation into Trump, his family and his associates. We do not work for Trump. We are part of a separate and coequal branch of government. And we intend to honor our oath of office.”

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