The Folly of Impeachment (or, maybe not)?

The New York Times came out with a breaking news story today that reveals yet another accuser of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The central point is that one of his Yale classmates had come forward to say he had witnessed Kavanaugh expose himself to an unwilling female student, and that even though he gave all of this information to the FBI, the FBI never investigated the matter.

The fact that the FBI didn’t fully investigate the other allegations against Brett Kavanaugh while he was being considered for the Supreme Court shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point. The GOP made sure that the FBI’s scope was extremely limited, and gave them a short deadline to complete any type of investigation. It was clear during that time that the FBI made no effort to look into the reports made by other accusers, and that’s exactly the way the GOP wanted things.

So, naturally, the 2020 Democratic candidates now want to impeach Kavanaugh. At the same time, the House has taken it’s first baby steps into an impeachment inquiry of the Trump administration. 

The reality, though, is that nothing will come of any of it. The Democrats will crawl through the steps of some type of inquiry, but I suspect most of it is just for show for their constituents. See? We’re doing something!

The Democrats had zero chance of getting an impeachment inquiry moving while the GOP had control of both houses of Congress. Sure, they have control of the House, and now they can start proceedings and may even put together an indictment. But, it’s always been clear that it’s unlikely they’d ever get enough Republicans to flip in the Senate to actually impeach Trump.

But, now, Trump and the GOP have rigged the game even further. From other investigations in the House, we have seen that Attorney General Barr is wielding the Department of Justice as Trump’s personal law firm, and he’s done everything to obstruct any requests from the House committees.

Now, Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court. We know Kavanaugh believes in two things: that the President is above the law and cannot be indicted for breaking the law while he’s in office, and beer.

So, the impeachment proceedings will try to move forward, but Barr will actively block any requests for documentation. Trump officials will simply ignore any subpoenas to testify. If anyone actually does testify, Trump and Barr will scream “executive privilege” to keep them from giving any useful testimony.

Trump and Barr are effectively daring the House to try take the Trump administration to court for their obstruction, where they’ll simply appeal to the Supreme Court. Since Trump and the GOP have stacked the Court, all they have to do is wait. If a case goes before the Court, and the Court rules in Trump’s favor (which they will almost certainly do), they’ll set a precedent. 

Once that happens, Trump will do whatever the hell he wants, and there’s little anyone can do to stop him. 

Even if things don’t go that far, if the proceedings drag into 2020, Trump will use his “bully pulpit” to scream that the Democrats are only using impeachment as a way to try discredit him. They can’t beat him “fair and square”, so they’re “cheating” to try steal the election. Trump’s cronies will eat it up.

Should Trump lose in 2020, don’t expect him to go away gracefully either. If things look bad for Trump, you can bet he and the GOP will start screaming about voter fraud again. If the election is close (and even if it’s not), I fully expect Trump not to concede. 

Trump and Barr will challenge results in a few states, and if it gets to the Supreme Court, so what? All they need is Kavanaugh to back them. 

But, I think maybe there’s another way around this. Forget about impeaching Trump. Let’s take this new information about Kavanaugh and the FBI and impeach Kavanaugh. 

Here’s my thinking on this. Yes, impeaching Kavanaugh has the same problems as impeaching Trump. Even if the House convicts, there’s no way the GOP members of the Senate will flip, especially if it means implicating themselves in a scandal. And, yes, Barr will continue to obstruct the House in every way. 

Get enough information out to condemn Kavanaugh in the court of public opinion, though, and it may just be enough. I know, Dr. Ford’s testimony wasn’t enough before, but if you bring forth other witnesses, and also paint a picture that shows that the FBI made no effort to fully investigate the other accusers (and who ordered them not to), and then we may be on to something.

There’s no executive privilege to invoke, unless the House starts following the path of who prevented the FBI from investigating. Since it’s not Trump personally, he’ll grumble about it, but not as much. 

If the court of public opinion goes against Kavanaugh bigly, Trump will run like hell. Trump will start saying he “barely knew the guy”, etc. 

Then, you make Kavanaugh an issue in GOP Senate races, especially in ones that may be tight. 

Postpone the investigation until after the elections, but keep pushing it as an issue in GOP Senate races. 

The Democrats may still not win enough seats to get a super-majority in the Senate, but it could help them flip the Senate. 

And, if the Democrats win the White House and manage to finally get Trump out of there, they’ll remove Barr as well.

Then, finally, the House can begin a real impeachment hearing into Kavanaugh, who has no business being on the Court.

Maybe they don’t even need to move forward with anything until the election. If the Democrats were smart, they’d let the spectre of impeachment hang on Kavanaugh, and keep bringing up the fact that the FBI failed to do a complete investigation of all of Kavanaugh’s accusers and the possibility that Kavanaugh lied under oath. 

Trump is already screaming that Kavanaugh should sue the media for libel and have the DOJ back him up. Trump doesn’t realize that a libel suit (especially one backed by the DOJ) will just keep the media spotlight focused on Kavanaugh and his accusers. That’s exactly what Trump doesn’t want. 

Alas, all of this is wishful thinking. So far, the Democrats have shown that they are neither savvy or smart enough to build a strategy around such an idea. With Trump creating any number of new scandals every week, it would be nearly impossible to keep the media focused on Kavanaugh. 

Voting out Trump and impeaching Kavanaugh won’t completely undo the damage that the Trump administration has done (and continues to do) while in office, but, man, it would be a great start.

What’s a Poor Billionaire (ahem, ‘person of means’) To Do?

In the last week or so, we’ve seen at least a couple of billionaires announce or drop hints that they were exploring the idea of running for President.

Michael Bloomberg has been dropping hints for awhile, but the one out of left field has to be Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks.

Bloomberg has at least some experience as a former New York City mayor, but Schultz wants to follow the Trump playbook.

In the comics, these bored billionaires would become super heroes and fight crime: Batman, Iron Man, Green Arrow, Moon Knight, etc.

In the real world, some billionaires try to make a difference in the world through philanthropy, like Bill Gates.

But, then, there are these guys. Men who, like Trump, live in their own protective bubbles and have surrounded themselves with ‘yes men’ who happily praise any idea their bosses come up with.

After seeing two years of insanity of Trump, what makes these men want to run?

Are they bored, and looking for the next big thrill? Being President would certainly mean obtaining power at a level their fortunes can’t begin to touch.

Are they seeing what Trump is getting away with now and thinking: “Look at what Trump is getting away with, and he’s a fucking moron. Just imagine what someone with real intelligence could do with that kind of power.” They’re looking for new tax breaks or other policy changes that could help add more to their pockets and the pockets of their billionaire friends?

Are they seeing the winds of change blowing in after the 2018 midterms, with fresh Democratic faces advocating for things like Medicare for all and new taxes on the wealthy, and they want to ensure such things never happen?

Maybe they want to take a turn at being Putin’s puppet? 

As we’ve seen with the continued backlash in social media over Schultz’s announcement (which shocked Schultz and absolutely no one else), many Americans are simply not thrilled with the idea of another “Trump”, even an “anti-Trump” billionaire with zero experience running the country.

Sure, there’s the chance that a billionaire “independent” candidate could create a huge mess in 2020, like Perot and his charts did in 1992. This time, though, they could snag a huge batch of “anyone but Trump” voters, which might pull enough votes from a Democratic challenger and help re-elect Trump.

Or, maybe, that’s the plan? They may despise Trump and hate most of his policies. But, they have to love what he’s doing for the rich and corporations. What if one of them runs, not to win, but to steal enough “anti-Trump” votes to ensure that Trump wins re-election?

So far, though, Schultz also hasn’t helped himself by continuing to shoot himself in the foot, and chances are that, hopefully, his “campaign” will end before it even gets out the gate. After seeing the reaction to Schultz, the other billionaires appear to have decided to hold off a bit.

Maybe they should look into a buying a cape and dressing up as a bat?