Thursday, December 12, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence on Impeachment

This business of high crimes and misdemeanors goes to the question of whether or not the person serving as President of the United States put their own interests, their personal interests, ahead of public service.
         Michael Pence, House of Representative, July 25, 2008

     Mike Pence's words on impeachment are one of three epigraphs that Neal Katyal quoted in the beginning of his book,  Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2019.

     Katyal calls Pence's words the "Pence Standard," and cites it several times in his book, all the while making the case why Donald Trump needs to be impeached. Katyal believes that Pence's quote "perfectly distills why our founders believed Congress has an obligation to hold accountable a President who abuses the power of his office."

     Pence's quote is actually a statement he referenced from a witness's report during a congressional hearing on July 25, 2008.   The hearing was entitled "Executive Power and its Constitutional Limitation," and is well worth revisiting, as is Pence's reasoning for using the quote.

     The Democrats controlled the House in 2008, and the July 25, 2008 hearing was the second session of the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Executive Power and its Constitutional Limitations.  John Conyers, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, called the hearing to  discuss the separation of powers and the perceived excesses of the executive branch of President Bush.

     The Judiciary Committee previously held 45 separate hearings on perceived executive abuse of power, including the manipulation of intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the ordering of the illegal use of torture, the outing of Valerie Plame, the firing of U. S. Attorneys for political purposes, and the obstruction of congressional oversight by ignoring subpoenas of witnesses called to appear before Congress.

     It should be noted that the House never voted to authorize a hearing of the Judiciary Committee on the topic of Impeachment. Nevertheless, that's exactly what the July 25, 2008 hearing was about under the guise of another name.

     Each member of the Judiciary Committee was permitted to make an opening statement, and in his Pence began by addressing the elephant in the room:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I note this hearing is entitled "Executive Power and Congressional Limitations." And I want to say that I accept the Chairman's assurance that it was not his intention to convene a hearing today on the topic of impeachment. But I know that many here on both sides of the rostrum and many looking in are anxious to debate whether the 43rd President of the United States should be impeached. And I would like to address myself to that issue in my opening remarks.
     Pence went over the reasons why a President could be impeached: for treason bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.  Pence immediately ruled out treason and bribery, and that left high crimes and misdemeanors.  He then referred to the testimony of Stephen Presser, Professor of Legal History at Northwestern University School of Law, who testified that high crimes and misdemeanors pertained to actions where "the President put his personal interests above the Constitution and the laws of the Nation, thereby violating his oath of office."  Pence maintained that since 9/11 President Bush always put the country's interests ahead of his own.

     Later, when it was Pence's turn to question the witnesses,  he directed his questions solely to Presser. In his report to the Committee, Presser elaborated that James Madison and George Mason argued about whether the term malAdministration, differences in the administration of and pursuit of different policies, should be included as a basis for impeachment.  Madison won the argument and the term malAdministration was not included in the Constitution.

Pence then asked Presser this rhetorical question:
It seems to me, though, you make a point in your report that this business of high crimes and misdemeanors goes to the question of whether or not the person serving as President of the United States put their own interests, their personal interests, ahead of public service.

     Pence then recounted Presser's testimony ten years earlier in the allegations against President Clinton.  Presser had testified that if the allegations against President Clinton were true, that Clinton engaged in deception, lied under oath, concealed evidence, tampered with witnesses, and, in general, obstructed justice, that it showed that President Clinton put his personal interests above public service.  Pence then continued:
Mr. Pence: Do you see any evidence of any of these policy differences with the current Administration the same types of -- same type of conduct that would be high crimes and misdemeanors?
Mr. Presser: No, sir.
Mr. Pence: That is the briefest law school professor I have ever met in my life....
Fast forward to January 2020 and the Impeachment Trail of President Donald J. Trump.  If 100 Senators of the United States applied the Pence Standard, that the President of the United States put his own personal interests above the country's interests, would President Trump be found guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and removed from office?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Moral Code of John and Joan Q. Citizen: Impeachment, The Final Roll Call

     "Duty, Honor, Country' – those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be...

     The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral law and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promoted for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong...

     Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle.

     Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our process of government: whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be; thse great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country...."

    Douglas MacArthur, Farewell Address at West Point

     In this current crisis, it is time for civilian voices to be heard. No matter what party they belong to, John and Joan Q. Citizen must echo the moral code of the soldier:      'Duty, Honor, Country.'  As citizens, we have the responsibility, no, the duty, to hold our elected officials to the highest standards – to perform their duties in accordance with the rule of law.

     John and Joan Q. Citizen know what needs to be done.  But do they have the honor, the integrity, to say and do what's right for the good of the country?  The soldier has to say, "Mine is not to reason why; mine is but to do or die."  Our Congressional Representatives must pledge allegiance to their party or they may not get re-elected.  Half of them say, "Impeach! Impeach! Impeach!"  The other half says, "Yes Sir, Yes Sir! Three Bags Full," while thinking, "Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!"  What do John and Joan Q. Citizen have to say?  What should they say?

     Clearly, we are in a crisis! These are the times that try men's souls....  

     We, as citizens, must strip away our party affiliation, re-examine our own moral code, and apply it to the situation at hand.

     If President Obama, or any other President, solicited foreign interference to help win a Presidential Election, would we impeach him?

     If President Obama, or any other President, withheld military aid to a country at war with Russia until that country investigated a political opponent in an upcoming election, would we impeach him?

     If the President obstructed justice while impeding an investigation of his actions, would we impeach him?

     Civilians have a moral code they must abide by too.  Most Democrats, I believe, would choose country over party.  And if President Obama did all the actions above, Democrats, I believe, would still want him impeached;  no one, not even  President Obama, is above the law.  The question is, do Republicans have that same moral code.  Will they choose country over party?

This is the final roll call.  Let your voice be heard.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Gate

Donald Trump had it made in the shade!  Robert Mueller couldn't prove that Trump colluded with the Russians in interfering with the 2016 Presidential Election.  And Attorney General Barr absolved Trump of any wrongdoing in obstructing the investigation.  All Trump had to do  now was to keep from incriminating himself!  But he couldn't do it. Or rather, he did do it; incriminate himself, I mean.

Donald Trump tried to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 Presidential Election!  Specifically, Donald Trump tried to bribe President Zelensky into announcing that the Bidens were being investigated.  If Ukraine did that, Trump would release the $400 million dollars in military aid that Ukraine needed to defend itself against the Russians.  And when a whistle blower sounded the alarm, Trump released a transcript of his July 25th phone call with  President Zelensky, saying his phone call was "perfecto" and that he did nothing wrong.  Mick Mulvaney, Trump's Chief of Staff, then told the world, "to get over it."

But everyone couldn't get over it. And now we have the impeachment hearings.  Witnesses are coming out of the woodwork. History will record what happens: whether Donald Trump is impeached, or whether the Republicans can keep him in the White House until the next election.

Impeachments, thank God, don't happen too often.  Only three Presidential impeachments have occurred: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon (Watergate) and Bill Clinton (Blowjob-Gate).  There's no term for Andrew Johnson's impeachment. If there were, Tenure-of-Office Gate might be the best term for him.  As for Trump, Ukraine-Gate appears to be what history will record for Trump's current difficulties.  As for Republicans, they may want to call it Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Gate, WTF-Gate, or simply What-the-Fuck Gate.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Turks, the Kurds, and the Turd.

The Turks and the Kurds have been fighting each other for centuries. But both the Turks and the Kurds were our allies, particularly the Kurds, who were fighting ISIS in Syria.  For months President Erdogan of Turkey has threatened to invade northern Syria, and displace the Kurds who were living there.  Erdogan wanted to create a safe zone to resettle two million refugees of the Syrian War, while at the same time annihilating his mortal enemy, the Kurds.

Until Sunday, October 6, 2019, the United States had demanded that Erdogan keep his troops north of the border.  And to help defuse the situation, the United States even convinced the Kurds to move their defensive placements further south and away from the border.

However, on Sunday, October 6, 2019,  Donald Trump, the President of the United States, called President Erdogan of Turkey.  And during the phone call, Donald Trump inexplicably gave Erdogan the green light to invade Syria.  President Trump ordered American forces to retreat from the area.  He ordered American forces to stand down while Turkey invaded Syria and began killing Kurdish fighters and civilians.

The European nations appealed to the United Nations Security Council, but Russia AND the United States refused to join in a statement condemning Turkey's action.

Donald Trump now has Kurdish blood on his hands.  The United States of America, you and I,  and all of our elected representatives now have Kurdish blood on our hands.   What can we do about it?

Why? Why did Trump abandon the Kurds?  What kind of dirt does President Erdogan of Turkey have on King Donald the Turd?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

De Lolme, Cassius, and Publius on Impeachment

     With the current interest and yes, disinterest, in the topic of impeachment, I decided to open the pages of three books on Constitutions in my library.  I wanted to see what our forefathers might have been thinking regarding impeachment when the Constitution of the United States was being discussed in 1787 and 1788.

     The Constitution of England by J. L. De Lolme was first published in Amsterdam in French in 1771.  De Lolme was born in Geneva, but had to emigrate to England because one of his political writings upset the leaders of Geneva.  An enlarged English edition of his book was first published in London in 1775, with new editions in 1777, 1781, 1784, 1800 and several more afterwards.  Elbridge Gerry, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson had copies of De Lolme's book on the Constituion.  Elbridge Gerry was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, but refused to sign the United States Constitution because it did not contain a Bill of Rights.

     The following paragraphs were extracted from the 1800 edition of The Constitution of England.  The words in each paragraph were identical to those printed in the 1777, 1781, and 1784 editions.

     ... But who shall be the judges to decide in such a cause?  What tribunal will flatter itself that it can give an impartial decision, when it shall see, appearing at its bar, the government itself is the accused, and the representatives of the people are the accusers?
     It is before the house of peers that the law has directed the commons to carry their accusation; that is, before judges, whose dignity, on one hand, renders them independent, and who, on the other, have a great honour to support in that awful function, where they have all the nation for spectators of their conduct.
     When the impeachment is brought to the lords, they commonly order the person accused to be imprisoned.  On the day appointed, the deputies of the house of commons, with the person impeached, make their appearance: the impeachment is read in his presence; counsel are allowed him, as well as time to prepare for his defence; and at the expiration of this term, the trial goes on from day to day, with open doors, and every thing is communicated in print to the public.
     But whatever advantage the law grants to the person impeached for his justification, it is from the intrinsic merits of his conduct that he must draw his arguments and proofs.  It would be of no service to him, in order to justify a criminal conduct, to allege the commands of the sovereign; or, pleading guilty, to produce the royal pardon*.  It is against the administration itself that the impeachment is carried on; it should therefore by no means interfere: the king can neither stop not suspend its course, but is forced to behold, as an inactive spectator, the discovery of the share which he himself have had in the illegal proceedings of his servants, and to hear his own sentence in the condemnation of his ministers.
     An admirable expedient!  which, by removing and punishing corrupt ministers, affords the immediate remedy for the evils of the state, and strongly marks out the bounds within which power ought to be confined: which takes away the scandal of guilt and authority united, and calms the people by a great and awful act of justice: an expedient, in this respect, so highly useful, that it is to the want of the like that Machiavel attributes the ruin of his republic (92-94)....
*In a note De Lolme recalled that the Earl of Danby pleaded the king's pardon during his impeachment in 1678.  It caused such a ruckus that parliament was dissolved.  A law was since  enacted which said "that no pardon under the great seal can be pleaded in bar to an impeachment by the house of commons."

     In 1888 Paul Leicester Ford's Historical Printing Club published a collection of Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States Published During its Discussion by the People 1787-1788.  The reception the book received proved that the writings were only neglected because they were unknown.  In 1892, his Historical Printing Club published Essays on the Constitution of the United States Published During its Discussion by the People 1787-1788.  Ford reasoned that since the Federalist made the essays that were published in the newspapers of New York City popular, his book would make the essays that were published in the newspapers of other cities popular as well.

     One of the essays in Ford's book was written by a lawyer and politician who wrote under the pseudonym of Cassius.



Friday, December 21, 1787

For the Massachusetts Gazette.

To the Inhabitants of this State.

(Continued from our last)
     Section 1 of article II. further provides, That the president shall, previous to his entering upon the duties of his office, take the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear ( or affirm) That I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. Thus we see that instead of the president's being vested with all the powers of a monarch, as has been asserted, that he is under the immediate controul of the constitution, which if he should presume to deviate from, he would be immediately arrested in his career and summoned to answer for his conduct before a federal court, where strict justice and equity would undoubtedly preside....
     Section 4, of article II. says, The president, vice-president, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of reason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.––Thus we see that no office, however exalted, can protect the miscreant, who dares invade the liberties of his country, or countenance in his crimes the impious villain who sacrilegiously attempts to trample upon the rights of freemen.
     Who will be absurd enough to affirm, that the section alluded to, does not sufficiently prove that the federal convention have formed a government which provides that we shall be ruled by laws and not men? No, surely but an anti-federalist (38,39)....
     Cassius, it turns out, was James Sullivan (1744-1808).  Sullivan shared John Hancock's political views, and Hancock rewarded him  by appointing him the Attorney General of Massachusetts in 1790.  Sullivan would later succeed Hancock as Governor.  On a side note, Elbridge Gerry unsuccessfully ran against both Hancock and Sullivan, but finally became governor in 1810.

     The Federalist was first published in 1788 in New York by J. and A. McLean.  It is No. 519 of Everyman's Library series, was first published in the series in 1911, and was reprinted twelve times.  My copy was reprinted in 1917.  The Federalist contains 85 essays, most of which first appeared in the newspapers of New York City.   Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison all wrote under the pseudonym Publius, and sought to persuade the people of the State of New York to adopt the Constitution.  Alexander Hamilton was the author of Federalist No. LXV.


From the New York Packet, Friday, March 7, 1788


To the People of the State of New York:

     The remaining powers which the plan of the convention allots to the Senate, in a distinct capacity, are comprised in their participation with the executive in the appointment to office, and in their judicial character as a court for the trial of impeachments. As in the business of appointments the executive will be the principal agent, the provisions relating to it will most properly be discussed in the examination of that department. We will, therefore, conclude this head with a view of the judicial character fo the Senate.
     A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions , and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.
     The delicacy and magnitude of a trust so deeply concerns the political reputation of every man engaged in the administration of public affairs, speak for themselves. The difficulty of placing it rightly, in a government resting entirely on the basis of periodical elections, will be as readily perceived, when it is considered that the most conspicuous characters in it will, from that circumstance, be too often the leaders or the tools of the most cunning or the most numerous faction, and on this account can hardly be expected to possess the requisite neutrality towards those whose conduct may be the subject of scrutiny.
     The convention, it appears, thought the Senate the most fit depositary of this important trust. Those who can best discern the intrinsic difficulty of the thing, will be least hasty in condemning that opinion, and will be most inclined to allow due weight to the arguments which may be supposed to have produced it (332,333)....
     On a side note, which is an end note as well, Alexander Hamilton cites De Lolme in The Federalist  LXX.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

OMG! Trump Wants to Buy Greenland!

Donald Trump wants to buy Greenland from Denmark, and thus expand the territorial waters of the United States.   And he will name it Great Greenland!  He has even offered to cede Puerto Rico to Denmark!

Such a purchase would indeed expand the territorial waters of the United States because Greenland is melting.  OMG, Oceans Melting Greenland, is a five-year NASA project to measure the effects of ocean water on Greenland's rapidly melting glaciers.  The project is in its fourth year, and in a recent CBS news report, OMG estimates that Greenland is melting six times faster than it was in the 1980s.

Donald Trump, however, wants to purchase Greenland.  On Fox News last night, he stated, "I, and I alone, can stop Greenland from melting!"

The purchase of Greenland, however, requires the approval of the Senate.  But Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has already stated he will use the nuclear option in order to ratify the Great Greenland Purchase.

Friday, July 26, 2019

To Impeach or Not to Impeach, That is the Question

To impeach or not to impeach, that is the question
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of Trump's outrageous fortune,
Or take a vote against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.  To die––
To sleep no more....


Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
Until the recorded votes of the 2020 election are taken;
And all his yesterdays have lighted this fool
The way to dusty defeat. 

 Out, out brief candle!
45 is but a walking shadow, a poor player
Who struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. His term is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing.

Monday, July 22, 2019

On The Future Whitening of the Statue of Liberty: God Forbid!

Let's call a spade a spade:  Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," had nothing whatsoever to do with the phrase, "Make America White Again."  And the use of the word "spade" here has nothing whatsoever to do with black people, or even brown-skinned people for that matter.  To think otherwise would be unpatriotic and blasphemous.  It would be Fake News.

Likewise,  Donald Trump's desire to cover the Statue of Liberty with a coat of white paint has nothing whatsoever to do with his immigration policy.  It is Fake News that he only wants white people to emigrate to the United States.   It is simply a matter of Location. Location. Location.  White people come from Europe.  Therefore, Liberty Island is the best place for them to enter the United States.  Black people, and brown-skinned people for that matter, come from South America and Central America.  Therefore, the Border Wall is the best place for those kind of people to try to enter the United States.

If black people, and brown-skinned people for that matter, can safely scale the fifty-foot Border Wall without getting shredded to bits by the barbed wire on top of it, then they can apply for one of the fifty asylum slots available for southern border immigrants this year.  Next year  it will be twenty-five!  And that is not Fake News!

Now that the 2020 election is over, we can honestly call "a spade a spade,"  so to speak.  And we will!  So from here on in,  countries in South America and Central America shall be called what they are: shit-hole countries.  Beginning this Sunday, black people, and brown-skinned people for that matter, will be rounded up by ICE and deported back to where they came from: shit-hole countries.  Then and only then can we "Keep America Great White Again."

And as our ever-faithful evangelicals say, "God Bless America!"

Monday, June 10, 2019

Mueller, My Fellow Americans, and Me:
Finding Truth and Justice the American Way

Yep.  That's me lounging at the beach reading a book––not just any book: I was reading The Mueller Report.  I wanted to find and learn the truth myself.

The Attorney General of the United States, William Barr, had read the Mueller Report and stated:
...the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.  Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting President.

Yet,  Newsweek recently reported that "more than 1,000 bipartisan former prosecutors have now signed their names on a petition maintaining that, if Trump weren't President of the United States, he would have been indicted on multiple charges for obstruction of justice."

Can over 1,000 former federal prosecutors be wrong? Was the Attorney General of the United States attempting to hide the truth and therefore protect the President?  Did the President of the United States of America actually attempt to obstruct justice?

May 29, 2019: Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III  
The Report Speaks For Itself

In his report and again in his statement on the 29th of May, 2019, Robert Mueller stated that, according to the opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel of the Justice Department, a sitting President cannot be indicted or prosecuted.   Mueller went further in his report and added:
...if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice we would so state.  Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.  The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.  Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
After reiterating in his May 29 statement why he couldn't indict or prosecute a sitting President, Mueller suggested an alternative action, "The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing."  Here, he is indirectly referring to the constitutional process of impeaching a President.  In essence, The Mueller Report itself is a roadmap for impeachment––if Congress decides to go that route.

I will verify that The Mueller Report speaks for itself.  After reading the report, I agree with more than 1,000 bipartisan former federal prosecutors that Donald Trump would have been indicted on multiple charges of obstruction of justice if he was not President of the United States.  No person, not even the President of the United States, is above the law.

Believe it or not, there are some Republicans who still believe that the rule of law is the American way of finding truth and justice.  One such group, aptly named Republicans For The Rule of Law wants their fellow Americans to read The Mueller Report, either in its entirety, or, as a minimum, to read the executive summaries of the report.

Read the Executive Summaries of the Mueller Report

 Recently, the Republicans For The Rule of Law  announced that it will be hand delivering pre-highlighted copies of The Mueller Report to Republican Congressmen for them to read.   But will the Congressmen read it? Will they do anything about it? Will you, my fellow Americans read it?  Will you do anything about it?

Beginning today, the House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the findings of the Mueller Investigation.  The purpose of the hearings is to inform the Americans who have not read the report.  The Mueller Report speaks for itself.  All you have to do is listen.

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Constitutional Crisis Over the Mueller Report

This is my first post of this year.  And for good reason.  I could not fathom that 63 million Americans voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.  Or that almost 90 percent of the Republican Party still backs Trump.  I thought it best to wait for the Mueller Investigation to be completed before posting to this political blog again.

In the meantime, life went on as usual.  The Press kept Democrats informed of how the Mueller Investigation was going.  Meanwhile, Fox News kept Republicans informed of well Trump was running the country.  Trump himself was still upset that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself, and finally, he fired Sessions in November 2018, appointing Matthew Whittaker as the Acting Attorney General.  Whittaker's sole qualifications for the job was that he publicly acclaimed that Trump did not either collude with the Russians or obstruct justice.

The Trump Administration, however, was already working on promoting someone else for Attorney General:  William Barr, who had served as Attorney General under Bush 43, and aided him during the Iran Contra Affair.  Barr's primary qualifications for becoming Trump's Attorney General is that he firmly believed that a President could not obstruct justice.  In fact, he advertised for the job circulating a nineteen-page memo around the Justice Department arguing that Trump could not be charged with obstruction in the performance of his executive actions.   The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed Barr as the Attorney General on Feb 14, 2019.  The stage was now set.  Democrats and Republicans were still awaiting the completion of the Mueller Investigation.

On March 22, 2019, Attorney General Barr announced that Robert Mueller had submitted his full report on the investigation to the Justice Department.  And on March 24th, Barr released a four-page summary of the principal conclusions of Mueller's findings.  Barr reported that Mueller's investigation "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election." Barr, however, as we found out later, muddied the waters with respect to announcing the results of the Obstruction of Justice investigation.  Mueller, for reasons not stated by Barr, did not reach any legal conclusions as to whether any of Trump's conduct described in the report constituted a crime.  Mueller simply listed Trump's actions in ten situations where obstruction may have occurred.  And Mueller said that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."  Since Mueller did not come to a legal conclusion, Barr felt it was his duty to make the legal determination.  In his summary Barr wrote:
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.  Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting President.
Barr went on to reason that since the President was not involved in a crime related to Russian election interference, that Trump's actions, "many of which took place in public view," could not be construed as obstruction.  Republicans were delirious.  Trump was ecstatic!  No collusion! No obstruction!  Soon, Trump and the Republicans turned vindictive, calling for investigations of "the treasonous politicians and government officials who initiated the investigation."

Barr said he needed time to get the necessary portions of Mueller's report redacted before he could release the Mueller Report to Congress and to the public.  For three weeks all the public heard was "No collusion. No obstruction.  Collusion Delusion."  When the redacted Mueller Report was finally released on April 18th,  Democratic Congressional leaders loudly complained that Barr had misrepresented the results of Mueller's investigation.

The House Committees, now controlled by the Democrats, were determined to consider the evidence of the Mueller Report and continue their investigations of Trump and his administration. And they requested the unredacted version of the report. But as far as Trump and the Republicans were concerned, the investigation was over.  Barr had ruled in favor of the President.  Game over.

All hell broke loose the night of April 30th, 2019.  The Washington Post and then the New York Times leaked a March 27, 2019 letter that Robert Mueller had written William Barr.  Mueller memorialized the letter by submitting it through official channels.  In his March 27 letter,  Mueller mentioned a March 25th letter he had sent to Barr which contained redacted introductions and summaries that Mueller wanted Barr to release to Congress and to the public.  Barr refused to release the introductions and summaries.  Mueller further complained that Barr's four-page summary of March 24th "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance" of Mueller's work."  Mueller warned that Barr's summary and the subsequent confusion over the results of the Mueller Investigation "threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed a Special Counsel: to  assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations."

Attorney General Barr appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1st.  He was assailed by the Democratic members of the Committee, but supported by the Republican members of the Committee, some of whom called for reopening investigations of Hillary Clinton's Email Server, as well as calling for an investigation of how the Russian investigation was initiated in the first place.

Attorney General Barr was scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee the next day, May 2nd, but did not appear.  Barr also ignored a House subpoena to provide Congress with an unredacted version of the Mueller Report that was due on Monday May 6th.  The House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on Wednesday, May 8th on whether to hold Barr, the Attorney General of the United States, in Contempt of Congress.

In the meantime, the Trump Administration cited executive privilege to forbid current and former Trump Administration officials from testifying in Congressional Oversight Investigations.  Moreover, the Trump Administration has refused to honor all subpoenas for records requested for Congressional Oversight Investigations, in effect stonewalling Congress's Constitutional Oversight Responsibilities.

And that is the Constitutional Crisis.  The Trump Administration's decision to ignore Congressional subpoenas effectively thwarts the constitutional responsibility of the Legislative Branch (Congress) to provide oversight over the actions of the Executive Branch.  Being charged with Contempt of Congress currently has no teeth. Moreover, the Trump Administration figures it will be a slow, slow process, probably all the way up to the 2020 election, if Congress seeks redress through the courts.  If a Trump Administration official is charged and convicted of Contempt of Court, what is stopping Trump from pardoning the official?

And that is how things stand as of the week of May 6, 2019.  The House Judiciary Committee is working behind the scenes to set a date for Robert Mueller to testify before the Committee possibly as soon as the 15th of May.  There are several issues that only Mueller can resolve.  Did Mueller agree with Barr's decision to exonerate Trump? Did Mueller decline to charge Trump with obstruction because of the Justice Department's policy that a sitting President cannot be indicted?  Did Mueller provide the results of the obstruction investigations as a road map to impeachment? Why didn't Mueller issue a subpoena to force Trump to testify before the Grand Jury?  Did Barr curtail the investigation in any way?

Getting Mueller to testify should upset the judicial apple cart of the Trump Administration.  Once Mueller testifies, public outcry should negate Barr's Summary of misrepresenting Mueller's findings, and Trump will once again be in the hot seat.  But voting him out of office will be a far better alternative than trying to impeach him.  The Republican Party has stooped so low that they might always be "for Trump" and never again be "for Country."

It is at this crossroad in American history that we should look back forty-five years to the Watergate break-in and the Watergate Tapes.  In 1974, the Watergate Grand Jury identified President Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator of the Watergate break-in.  Special Prosecutor Jaworski obtained a subpoena from the grand jury ordering President Nixon to turn over the tapes relating to forty-two Presidential conversations.  President Nixon claimed executive privilege and the case was eventually expedited all the way to the Supreme Court.  One Supreme Court Justice, William Rehnquist, recused himself because he had previously served as Assistant Attorney General in the Nixon Administration.  The other eight Supreme Court Justices ruled unanimously that executive privilege was not absolute and that the needs of a judicial court overrode that privilege.  Jaworski had proved that the tapes likely contained evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Nixon: the Nixon-Haldeman tape, the smoking gun that led to Nixon's resignation.   Will the Supreme Court have to step in again?  And will the two Trump appointees recuse themselves?