I was happy to see in a recent article by Ryan Lizza and Eugene Daniels, (writing for Politico Playbook), credit given for the tremendous successes of President Biden during the first two years of his first term. I don’t find many political writers giving the president credit he deserves. It was nice to see that while it may be easy to nitpick the President when his poll numbers are low, in fairness he’s been very successful considering the recalcitrance he’s had to overcome.
The following is a quote from the Politico article:
Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act will make Biden one of the most legislatively successful presidents of the modern era. We once noted that the mismatch between the size of Biden’s ambitions and his margins in Congress made it seem like he was trying to pass a Rhinoceros through a garden hose. It ended up being more like a pony, but it’s still pretty impressive.
—American Recovery Act: $1.9 trillion
—Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: $550 billion
—Chips and Science Act: $280 billion
—Inflation Reduction Act: $700 billion
That’s a nearly $3.5 trillion agenda. The scope of the issues addressed is notable: the pandemic and it’s economic fallout, highways, bridges, broadband, rail, manufacturing, science, prescription drug prices, health insurance, climate change, deficit reduction and tax equity.
He also expanded NATO, passed a new gun safety law and passed a bill to address the effects of vets exposed to toxic burn pits. Five out of seven of these laws — all but the two biggies, the ARP and IRA — received significant Republican support.
There’s not much debate anymore over whether Biden has been a consequential president. In the long run, his first two years may be remembered as akin to LBJ when it comes to moving his agenda through Congress.
The current political question is how much it will matter in the short term.
After the 3rd hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, the simple question that seems to come more clearly into focus is — did he or didn’t he fulfill the oath of his office as outlined in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution:
Article II, Section 1, 8 of the Constitution of the United States
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall 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.”
“I truly feel sorry for our friend. He’s never had a days peace. On the other side of this, he’s exposed a very dark side of the swamp that’s far worse than I ever imagined and I am not particularly optimistic for the future.”
Fox celebrity Sean Hannity to White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows – December 12, 2020
Testimony regarding non-privileged documents (including text and email communications) that Mr. Meadows has already provided to the Select Committee in response to the subpoena, and testimony about events that Mr. Meadows has already publicly described in his book and elsewhere;
Testimony and documents regarding post-election efforts by the Trump campaign, the Trump legal team, and Mr. Meadows to create false slates of Presidential electors, or to pressure or persuade state and local officials and legislators to take actions to change the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election;
Testimony and documents relating to communications with Members of Congress in preparation for and during the events of January 6th;
Testimony and documents relating to efforts by President Trump to instruct, direct, persuade or pressure Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes on January 6th;
Testimony and documents relating to activity in the White House immediately before and during the events of January 6th; and
Testimony and documents relating to meetings and communications with individuals not affiliated with the federal government regarding the efforts to change the results of the 2020 election.
On September 23, 2001, the Select Committee issued a subpoena to Mark Meadows, former White House Chief of Staff under former president Donald Trump. Meadows agreed to appear before the Committee to provide testimony on December 8, 2021. Meadows, on December 7, 2021 informed the Committee that he had changed his mind and would not appear the following day as originally agreed.
Instead, Meadows filed suit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the Select Committee. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, asks the court to invalidate two subpoenas that the panel had issued to Meadows and Verizon, the carrier for his prior personal cell phone, calling them “overly broad and unduly burdensome.”
On December 14, 2021, the House voted 222-208 to hold the former White House Chief of Staff in criminal contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the Committee.
The most recent filing by the Select Committee asks that Meadows’ suits be dismissed
Committee Report rationale for contempt citation
In it’s report filed in the House (Report:117-216), the Committee explains it’s rationale for the charge:
“To be clear Mr. Meadow’s failure to comply, and this contempt recommendation, are not based on good-faith disagreements over privilege assertions. Rather, Mr. Meadows has failed to comply and warrants contempt findings because he has wholly refused to appear to provide any testimony and refused to answer questions regarding even clearly non-privileged information — information that he himself has identified as non-privileged through his own document production.
Mr. Meadow’s relevant documents and testimony are necessary to the Select Committee’s investigation for many additional reasons. Mr. Meadows also reportedly participated in meetings and communicated with senior Department of Justice (DOJ) officials about unsupported election-fraud claims and litigation aimed at disrupting or overturning the election results. Mr. Meadows reportedly participated in a contentious meeting at the White House with private individuals and others linked to Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign during which Mr. Trump and others discussed seizing voting machines and invoking certain laws including the National Emergencies Act for election-related purposes because of purported fraud in the election. Mr. Meadows reportedly joined a January 2 call with Mr. Trump and State and Federal officials to discuss overturning certain States’ electoral college results on January 6, and later sent the former Vice President’s staff a memo drafted by a Trump campaign lawyer urging the Vice President to delay or decline the counting of votes from certain States. Mr. Meadows was also reportedly in contact with at least one of the individuals who planned and organized a January 6 rally, one of whom may have expressed safety concerns to Mr. Meadows about the event. In short, Mr. Meadows appears to have participated in, and been a witness to, critically important communications and events that took place before and on January 6, and the Congress is entitled to hear his first-hand testimony regarding his actions and knowledge. The Select Committee expects such testimony to be directly relevant to its report and recommendations for legislative and other action.”
CNN is reporting that former president, Donald Trump, has openly asked the most despised man in the world, the president of Russia, to release any damaging information he has on the Biden family. You would think, by now, Trump would be grateful for all the help Russia has provided over the years. Of course, were it not for Russia, he never would have been elected president. Even after that, he continues to kiss-up to the Russian government begging for favors, and opposition research against the duly-elected President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden.
I guess anything is considered fair play in politics, but again it strikes me as treacherous that an American citizen would stoop as low as begging a foreign government to dig up (or manufacture) dirt on an American citizen. In this case we’re talking about Trump, so of course, no action is considered too low, or too treacherous.
Trump has lost his mind, and doesn’t care who knows it. His followers will believe everything he says, until his dying day. He knows that nearly half the American people are cheering for his return to power and nothing can be done to dissuade them. I guess if you know your actions have no consequences, there’s really no risk.
Just imagine this — if Trump had won the 2020 election, there’s a very real possibility the American military would be in Ukraine — supporting the Russian army!
A Review of the Security, Planning, and Response Failures on January 6
On June 8, 2021, the Senate Committees on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and on Rules and Administration released their bipartisan report on the insurrection of January 6, 2021 at the Capitol of the United States of America.
The following is the first of a series of excerpts from the report. Several other sections will be highlighted in future posts.
On January 6, 2021, the world witnessed a violent and unprecedented attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Vice President, Members of Congress, and the democratic process. Rioters, attempting to disrupt the Joint Session of Congress, broke into the Capitol building, vandalized and stole property, and ransacked offices. They attacked members of law enforcement and threatened the safety and lives of our nation’s elected leaders. Tragically, seven individuals, including three law enforcement officers, ultimately lost their lives.
Rioters were intent on disrupting the Joint Session, during which Members of Congress were scheduled to perform their constitutional obligation to count the electoral votes for President and Vice President of the United States and announce the official results of the 2020 election. Due to the heroism of United States Capitol Police (“USCP”) officers, along with their federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, the rioters failed to prevent Congress from fulfilling its constitutional duty. In the early hours of January 7, the President of the Senate, Vice President Pence, announced Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris as the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States.
This report addresses the security, planning, and response failures of the entities directly responsible for Capitol security—USCP and the Capitol Police Board, which is comprised of the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms and the Architect of the Capitol as voting members, and the USCP Chief as a non-voting member—along with critical breakdowns involving several federal agencies, particularly the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), and Department of Defense (“DOD”). The Committees also made a series of recommendations for the Capitol Police Board, USCP, federal intelligence agencies, DOD, and other Capital region law enforcement agencies to address the intelligence and security failures.
The McConnell rules seem to be designed by President Trump for President Trump. It asks the Senate to rush through as fast as possible and makes getting evidence as hard as possible. The McConnell resolution will result in a rushed trial with little evidence in the dark of night.