A Christmas gift for Mitch McConnell

Ahead of the House's historic vote on the articles of impeachment, CNN's SE Cupp blasts Republicans for protecting Trump, saying history will remember the party for enabling the President's "corruption and self-interest."

Posted: Dec 15, 2019 8:40 AM
Updated: Dec 15, 2019 8:40 AM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't on the holiday gift list of most Democrats but they're preparing to send him something anyway.

If as most people expect, the House votes to impeach President Donald Trump over the withholding of military aid to Ukraine, the matter will land in the Senate. McConnell faces tough choices over how to structure a trial early in 2020, with the Senate ultimately voting on whether to remove Trump from office.

"Unlike the House, where the minority party is more like a spectator when it comes to rules, Senate Democrats do have some power here," observed Joe Lockhart, who served as President Bill Clinton's press secretary during Clinton's impeachment. "Going after vulnerable Republicans up for re-election is one." Republicans hold a slim Senate majority but some of their members may have good reasons for breaking with their colleagues over the ground rules for the trial, Lockhart suggested.

Another factor, Lockhart wrote: "What Democrats want to avoid is a process that gives the President a virtual exoneration on all charges if it's a party-line vote. One thing they could do is ask House Democrats to delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate until the White House starts cooperating with Congress or a court compels them to."

McConnell has signaled that he will fall in line with Trump on trial strategy in the Senate, promising "total coordination" with the White House. It's a telling move, wrote Julian Zelizer: "We have reached this moment not because partisan polarization has driven Democrats to impeach Trump. We are here because one party — the GOP — was so hell-bent on preserving political power that it allowed the commander-in-chief's abusive behavior. And it is this sort of partisan protection that allows the President to push the boundaries of what is considered permissible in our democratic system."

The House needs to make full use of its power, including bringing criminal contempt charges against key witnesses who won't testify, argued Danielle Brian: "The House has the authority to compel witnesses to testify, and if it doesn't use that authority, it could accelerate the erosion of congressional oversight power. Make no mistake, the gaps in testimony are due to the Trump administration's blanket obstruction of any congressional oversight."

A historic vote

Whatever happens in the Senate, the reality is that a House vote this coming week could make Trump only the third President to be impeached. Most occupants of the White House, though, have been accused of misconduct, noted Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis in a piece about a recently reissued book on the topic.

Impeachment is extremely rare, for good reasons, he wrote. But he believes that this time it's the right remedy: "The seriousness of the charges against Trump is unprecedented. The blundered burglary at Watergate and Clinton's personal flair for sexual misconduct pale in comparison with the alleged threat that Trump's behavior poses to the balance of power enshrined in the Constitution...his entire presidency has been conducted on the belief that he stands above the law, is an elected monarch."

Are the two articles of impeachment against Trump solid? Two former federal independent counsels, Robert Ray and Michael Zeldin, who have been trading legal views at CNN Opinion, sharply differed on whether they clear the bar for impeachment. "We're about to witness the first impeachment of a President that does not allege that a crime has been committed, despite the Constitution's text that impeachable conduct is limited to 'treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,'" Ray wrote.

Zeldin countered, "Impeachment is a remedy intended to redress an abuse or violation of some public trust which, in the words of Alexander Hamilton, 'relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.' It is not like a trial known in our criminal courts requiring proof of specific statutory elements."

Read other takes on impeachment:

Michael D'Antonio: Trump desperately using lies, distortions to fight impeachment

Elie Honig: Donald Trump himself is Democrats' star witness

Rick Santorum: Nancy Pelosi gave in to the Trump haters

David Gergen and James Piltch: If Nancy Pelosi ran for president, she'd beat Trump

Ronstadt's 'delicious' takedown

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "never saw it coming," wrote Peggy Drexler. In his remarks at a State Department gathering to fete this year's Kennedy Center honorees, including Linda Ronstadt, Pompeo referred to her hit cover of "When Will I Be Loved."

"Ms. Ronstadt," he said, "thank you and congratulations. And I will say my job, as I travel the world, I just want to know when I will be loved?" When it was the singer's turn to speak, the audience gasped at her few words: "I'd like to say to Mr. Pompeo, who wonders when he'll be loved, it's when he stops enabling Donald Trump."

"One lesson anyone of any age, gender or level of fame can take from Ronstadt's bold statement is that the more women use their voices, and speak their minds, the more likely doing so will become the expectation, and not the exception." Drexler concluded.

'Preposterous hair' wins

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrated a huge general election victory, in a contest that saw support for his party's chief opponent, the Labour Party, plunge. "Those who dislike the Prime Minister usually find it hard to grasp how someone so frivolous, absurd, dishonest and shallow could be taken seriously by so many voters," wrote historian Dan Jones. "The point is that voters have priced in all those things and do not care. Johnson is amusing and he is recognizable. The year is 2019. Like Donald Trump, Johnson has an unmistakable diction and preposterous hair."

As for Johnson's adversary, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn "proved himself -- not for the first time but thankfully, it seems, for the last -- to be a dislikable, brittle and feeble political campaigner who is in the final analysis unelectable," Jones said.

What's next? Writing in Politico before the votes were cast, Ryan Heath observed, "Many Britons — as the Conservative election slogan notes — simply want to 'Get Brexit Done' regardless of how they voted. Johnson is, for once, betting that the idea of Great Britain is greater than him. That the country will pull together to reinvent itself for its post-Brexit era.... If he succeeds, Johnson will weaken the EU, strengthen NATO and pull closer to the United States."

It was a "Love Actually" style election, wrote Holly Thomas. In a campaign video, Johnson invoked the 2003 rom-com that featured Hugh Grant playing a prime minister. "Johnson's campaign material, which both whitewashes the reality of Brexit and confirms the capacity of 'Love Actually' to toxify everything it goes near, typifies an election characterized by false promises, misinformation and poorly-curated grandstanding from all sides."

IG report lands

Both parties seized on the long-awaited report by the Justice Department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz, on the origins of the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Democrats stressed that the report found no evidence that political motives prompted the investigation. Republicans zeroed in on the report's criticisms of the FBI's "Crossfire Hurricane" investigation.

Asha Rangappa, one of three former FBI agents who wrote for CNN Opinion, noted, "On the whole, the IG report dispels the charges of political bias against Trump, illegal spying on his campaign, and even 'treason' that have been levied against the FBI and DOJ."

Yet another investigation of the origins of the Russia probe is being conducted by prosecutor John Durham under the aegis of Attorney General William Barr. Both took issue with the Horowitz report this past week.

Josh Campbell wrote, "This ongoing investigation, coupled with Attorney General Barr's past comments that he believes FBI 'spying' occurred against the Trump campaign, could prove fateful for federal law enforcement. For an agency that has been shell shocked by three years of incessant political attacks, and at times subject to robust criticism by both sides of the political aisle, its darkest days may still lie ahead."

Expect "a cacophony of partisan debate for the foreseeable future -- at least through the 2020 election," wrote James Gagliano. "But all that will have little impact on the FBI, which is already hard at work in an effort to rebuild a once 'bulletproof' image that has been damaged over the actions of a few officials and battered by President Donald Trump and his surrogates."

Greta and the word

The Oxford word of the year is "climate emergency." So it was no surprise that TIME magazine named 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg its Person of the Year. And perhaps it is also no surprise that President Trump attacked her again via Twitter, saying she has an "anger management" problem.

Samantha Allen noted that other words of the year, along with Oxford's choice, tell a story. Merriam-Webster chose the pronoun "they" and Dictionary.com picked "existential."

"It's Generation Z's world now," she wrote. They "are inheriting a world nearing its 'point of no return' from generations who failed to address sweeping — even 'existential' — problems like climate change and gun violence...For many in Generation Z, it seems, the debates that have divided previous generations look a lot more like closed questions: Climate change is real. Gun protections are necessary. LGBTQ equality? That's a no-brainer."

Don't miss:

Roxanne Jones: I competed in pageants. I could never have imagined this milestone

Rafia Zakaria: The truth died in Afghanistan

Peter Bergen: Trump always has the Saudis' back

LZ Granderson: Someone tell Joe Biden he doesn't need to act like another Trump

Dean Obeidallah: Trump is trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. It must stop

Jill Filipovic: Houston police chief's furious shaming of the GOP over NRA and guns

David Phillips: What tourists don't get about White Island

Gene Seymour: Why 'Moonstruck' actor Danny Aiello was a hero to late bloomers

Lynn Smith: The Peloton ad is a faux controversy

Sara Stewart: Golden Globes nominations list looks like ominous backlash

Samantha Vinograd: Prisoner swap shows Iran may be eager to deal with US

AND...

RIP Caroll Spinney

Comedian Judy Gold, who was six feet tall by the time she was 13, was teased and bullied about her height, and almost every day someone called her "Big Bird," referring to the 8-foot-2 inch "Sesame Street" character. So when Big Bird's famous puppeteer, Caroll Spinney died this week, Gold might have had mixed emotions. Instead she saluted his work.

"His puppeteering prowess was exceptional. He is being remembered as a remarkable human being. And yet, when he walked down the street, practically no one knew who he was. And he didn't mind that at all....Spinney was -- like Big Bird still is -- all goodness. Spinney, just like Big Bird (and me), had one goal -- to make other people feel happy."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604184

Reported Deaths: 7620
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1248631774
Ramsey52480895
Dakota46804470
Anoka42746458
Washington27416291
Stearns22552224
St. Louis18137312
Scott17548135
Wright16370149
Olmsted13391102
Sherburne1201295
Carver1066448
Clay825892
Rice8196110
Blue Earth762543
Crow Wing681594
Kandiyohi667885
Chisago619752
Otter Tail585884
Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475381
Mower470733
Winona461251
Itasca459263
Isanti439964
McLeod430361
Morrison424662
Nobles407950
Beltrami407561
Steele397616
Polk389072
Becker386655
Lyon363853
Carlton352756
Freeborn346932
Pine335023
Nicollet331045
Mille Lacs311654
Brown307840
Le Sueur297226
Cass286032
Todd285632
Meeker263142
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211021
Wabasha20783
Hubbard196441
Dodge18783
Renville182446
Redwood176338
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena162823
Fillmore157410
Faribault154419
Chippewa153938
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138837
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122612
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11296
Murray107010
Swift106918
Koochiching95217
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Wilkin83213
Lake83120
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5938
Lincoln5843
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48293
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 370914

Reported Deaths: 6048
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58232640
Linn21204339
Scott20306247
Black Hawk16119312
Woodbury15238230
Johnson1461585
Dubuque13506211
Dallas1128999
Pottawattamie11223174
Story1071448
Warren583991
Clinton561493
Cerro Gordo553593
Sioux517074
Webster515494
Muscatine4880106
Marshall486676
Des Moines467271
Wapello4337122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth402981
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288261
Carroll286852
Crawford268540
Boone268434
Benton259655
Washington256751
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232351
Jackson225242
Clay216627
Kossuth216166
Tama211871
Delaware210943
Winneshiek198535
Page194522
Buchanan193733
Cedar192223
Hardin187444
Fayette186543
Wright185940
Hamilton181851
Harrison179973
Clayton171057
Butler166235
Madison164619
Mills163724
Floyd163342
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152652
Hancock150234
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133435
Shelby131537
Sac130920
Union129935
Louisa129749
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124717
Franklin123323
Guthrie123232
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113523
Howard104922
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96532
Monroe96330
Unassigned9560
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7598
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Van Buren56418
Ringgold56324
Wayne54423
Audubon53411
Adams3444
Rochester
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 83°
Mason City
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 85°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 85°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 83°
Father's Day is looking rather stormy
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Aaron's Friday Night Forecast (6/18/21)

Image

Family Service Rochester looking for volunteers

Image

Rochester Preps

Image

Hole In One

Image

Vaccine rate slowing in MN

Image

Minnesota DNR says we can all double-down on water safety this year

Image

There's a nationwide blood shortage

Image

Juneteenth is now a federal holiday

Image

Aaron's Friday Forecast (6/18/21)

Image

Runner attacked by deer on Austin trail

Community Events