John Yarmuth joins Democrats seeking to impeach Donald Trump

Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth joined a handful of Democratic colleagues who introduced articles of impeachment this week against President Donald Trump, but the representative says the measure is largely symbolic.The resolution, introduced by six House Democrats, says Trump has committed five separate impeachable offenses.It says Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey; violated the Constitution by accepting profits for his businesses from the U.S. and foreign governments; undermined the federal judiciary's independence; and threatened the freedom of the press. Related: Democrats' Russia strategy: Organize protests and avoid impeachment talk Yarmuth said he signed onto the effort after the group made an addition about Trump's threats last month to challenge licenses for broadcast news networks.Specifically, he cited the president slamming NBC News over a report that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called the president a "moron" after discussing the country's nuclear arsenal."With all of the fake news coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license? Bad for country," Trump said in a tweet.If such an article were brought to the House floor, Yarmuth said he would vote for impeachment."That in my opinion is an impeachable offense, to use government to censor media, so I wanted to go on the record saying he's committed an impeachable offense," said Yarmuth, who is a former publisher of LEO Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Louisville. Read this: Paul and Massie endorsed Moore, but now they're silent on allegations Local Republicans issued a statement Thursday ripping Yarmuth for joining the impeachment effort. The GOP said it is another example of Yarmuth forgoing bipartisan solutions on taxes, immigration and health care to "cater to the most fringe elements of the Democratic base.""Given Continue Reading

KING: Of all the strategies to defeat Donald Trump, none is more important than this one

I see a lot of people talking about impeachment this morning. I get it. Donald Trump is a scoundrel. This much is undeniable. His firing of FBI Director James Comey is undoubtedly suspicious. If Twitter polls were how we impeached people, we'd be in a good place right now. Sadly, that's not how this thing works. If you want to dream of Trump's impeachment, that's fine, but don't waste a single second of your time fighting for such a thing right now. This Republican Congress is not going to impeach Donald Trump. They are all in so deep with him that impeaching him would be an indictment on themselves. They helped get him here. These are the same people, mind you, who blocked President Obama's Supreme Court nominee for nearly a year simply because they felt like it — effectively stealing the nominee from him. They don't have the guts, backbone, will or moral high ground to impeach Trump. They are down in the dirt with him. Instead, for those of us who desperately want to defeat Trump, we should put nearly all of our eggs into one essential basket — voter turnout. Let me give you some context for just how dismal voter turnout is right now. This past weekend, France had its lowest voter turnout for a presidential election in a generation. Nearly 75% of voting age adults cast a ballot. That's down from a turnout of nearly 85% in France just a decade ago. And still, the lowest turnout in decades for France is better than we've had in any presidential election in the United States since 1896. In fact, we haven't had a turnout of 60% or more in this country since the 1960s. The highest voter turnout in my lifetime was when Barack Obama was first elected in 2008 and even then only 57.1% of voting-age adults cast a ballot. Here's how other countries compare: 87.2% of those eligible voted in Belgium, 85.2% in Turkey, 82.6% in Sweden and 80.4% in South Korea. In fact, voter turnout in the United States drastically trails Continue Reading

Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake say Donald Trump woes a drag on GOP agenda

President Donald Trump's mounting political woes are becoming an obstacle to Republican policy ambitions on Capitol Hill, Arizona's GOP senators said Wednesday."We're just trying to get an agenda through. It's been tough with all the drama over there," Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said of Trump's White House, which has faced controversy after controversy this week.With the White House and both chambers of Congress under Republican control, the president and his party have charted a far-reaching legislative agenda, including the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, a major rewrite of the U.S. tax code, and funding construction of a wall along the 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border."This city is awash with controversy, and we need to get it sorted out," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told The Arizona Republic. "We have important challenges, such as the reform of 'Obamacare' and tax reform and taking care of our military. Hopefully we can get these issues resolved so we can continue to focus all of our attention on the other important priorities we have."Already reeling from outrage over the president's May 9 firing of FBI Director James Comey, new revelations this week include a report that Comey documented Trump suggesting in February that he "let go" of the investigation into Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Trump also is accused of inappropriately sharing highly sensitive intelligence with Russian officials.The White House has denied the account of the president's Feb. 14 conversation with Comey, reported Tuesday by the New York Times, and argued it was "wholly appropriate" for Trump to share with the Russians "whatever information he thinks" advances U.S. security interests.But the proceedings took another turn Wednesday with the announcement that the Justice Department has named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel for the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between Continue Reading

Democratic lawmaker to file articles of impeachment over Trump’s Charlottesville response

Rep. Steve Cohen announced Thursday that he would introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump following the president's comments about the violent attacks in Charlottesville, Va., saying the president had "failed the presidential test of moral leadership.""As a Jew and as an American and as a representative of an African American district, I am revolted by the fact that the President of the United States couldn't stand up and unequivocally condemn Nazis who want to kill Jews and whose predecessors murdered 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, and could not unequivocally condemn Klansmen whose organization is dedicated to terrorizing African Americans," the Tennessee Democrat said in a statement.Cohen wouldn't be the first Democratic lawmaker to formally call for impeaching and removing the president from office. Last month, Rep. Brad Sherman of California, joined by Rep. Al Green of Texas, introduced articles of impeachment over alleged interference in the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.Still, while criticism of the president over his Charlottesville response has poured out from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, any resolution to impeach Trump would need support from the House's Republican majority to move forward. More: Democratic lawmaker files articles of impeachment against President Trump Impeachment: Donald Trump's worst nightmare? Texas Rep. Al Green calls for President Trump's impeachment on House floor Cohen attacked the president's comments that blamed the violence on both left-wing protesters and white supremacists."Instead of unequivocally condemning hateful actions by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Klansmen following a national tragedy, the president said, 'There were very fine people on both sides," Cohen said in a statement. "There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen."Cohen also said the protests in Charlottesville reminded him of Continue Reading

Sen. John McCain now calling President Donald Trump’s scandals ‘Watergate size’

Sen. John McCain turned up the rhetoric on embattled President Donald Trump on Tuesday night, saying the building scandals that have put his White House in turmoil are now "Watergate size and scale."McCain, R-Ariz., made the comments, which were first reported by the news website The Daily Beast, at a dinner in Washington, D.C., in which he accepted the International Republican Institute's Freedom Award."I think we’ve seen this movie before. I think it appears at a point where it’s of Watergate size and scale. ... The shoes continue to drop, and every couple days there’s a new aspect,” McCain was quoted as saying by the Daily Beast.In the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, President Richard Nixon resigned from office when it became clear that he was facing impeachment and removal from office.Two top Arizonan Republicans of the era — Sen. Barry Goldwater and House Minority Leader John Rhodes — delivered the grim news to Nixon in August 1974.McCain, who has had a long-running public feud with Trump, for months has been calling for Congress to create a select committee to investigate Russian meddling in last year's presidential election.For a week, Trump has been under severe criticism for his May 9 firing of FBI Director James Comey amid an FBI investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians during the 2016 race.On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Comey had documented in a memo a Trump suggestion that he back off a probe of Michael Flynn, Trump's controversial former national security adviser who had links to Russia."I hope you can let this go,” Trump allegedly told Comey in February, according to the Times. The White House has denied the account, but the report has renewed allegations of abuse of power and possibly even obstruction of justice from the president's critics.The latest twist came after the Washington Post reported Monday that Trump divulged extremely sensitive Continue Reading

Impeachment: Donald Trump’s worst nightmare?

WASHINGTON — Well, that didn't take long.Less than four months into Donald Trump's presidency, members of Congress are tossing around the word "impeachment." The British tabloids gush headlines such as, "Will he be impeached?" Bookies there put the odds at 33%.It's a term — and a process — with a rich and ignominious history.Two presidents have been impeached, and neither was convicted. A third resigned in disgrace rather than face near-certain conviction. Only eight people have been impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate — all federal judges.The process is spelled out in the Constitution: Article II, Section 4 specifies that "the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."But what other crimes are impeachable offenses was left for Congress to sort out. President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for abuse of power, President Bill Clinton 130 years later for perjury and obstruction of justice. Both were acquitted in the Senate.President Richard Nixon resigned on Aug. 8, 1974, after three articles of impeachment were drafted charging him with obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress. He later was pardoned by his successor, President Gerald Ford.When he served in the House, Ford famously declared that "an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.”The allegations swirling around President Trump — from contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign and sharing classified information with them once in office, to asking FBI Director James Comey to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn — could provide the seeds for formal charges in the future.Or not: Jonathan Turley, Continue Reading

Did Donald Trump Jr. break any laws by seeking damaging information from Russia on Hillary Clinton?

WASHINGTON – Emails released by Donald Trump Jr. Tuesday show he was excited about the possibility of the Russian government providing him with damaging information about Hillary Clinton during last year's presidential campaign."If it's what you say I love it,” the president’s eldest son wrote to an intermediary eager to set up a meeting where Trump Jr. was promised information that would "incriminate" Clinton.  Related: But is that evidence of any crime?Here’s a look at some of the legal issues that could be in play, based on what we know now. Maybe.There’s a lot more to learn from the ongoing investigations by a special counsel and congressional committees, which are whether Trump associates colluded with Russia. The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a campaign of cyberattacks and fake news to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump.“I don’t think we’re at the end. We’re at the beginning,” said Ron Hosko, a former chief of the FBI's criminal division, of the latest bombshell revelation. “It gives Bob Mueller, who has fairly wide latitude, plenty of potential questions to ask and to probe.” Mueller, a former FBI director, is the special counsel overseeing the Justice Department's Russia investigation. However, while collusion has been the hot topic in Washington for the last several months of investigations, that's not the only thing that can could potentially get Trump Jr. in hot water, experts sayLegal analysts said Trump Jr. may have breached campaign finance laws that forbid foreign contributions — even in-kind contributions. "A meeting with a foreign national known to have ties to a sensitive foreign regime raises a host of legal issues, including under campaign finance law because what is being offered is potentially an illegal foreign in-kind Continue Reading

THEMAL: Who is the real Donald Trump?

"Who is the real Donald Trump" is an issue that USA Today last week put to psychiatrists and politicians. It is a question that has become ever more troubling in my mind after the frightening Charlottesville event.Is it the president who condemns racism while at the same time refusing to condemn marchers for white power? Is it the scripted Trump who assures the country that it will unite but does not admit his own equivocation?Those white supremacists, racists, neo-Nazis, fascists, Klansmen and Confederates claim they marched in Charlottesville in defense of the statue of Robert E. Lee. The statue was a mere excuse to openly flaunt their un-American philosophy. Other voices: Deep social studies teaching can help heal our social divides Jason Levine: My Hard Knocks' Jameis Winston dilemma They were emboldened to rally, carry torches and even Nazi flags, and to display weapons, in a message of hate that used to be largely confined to websites.Where was effective White House leadership and healing? This column reflects some of my mental debates since that fraught August weekend.My first point: Pres. Trump was not wrong to state that there was violence on both sides, that armed marchers were met by club-swinging counter-demonstrators. First counterpoint: What was morally wrong for Trump was to equate the agitators with their opposition. How can he say, "I think there is blame on both sides…You had some very bad people in that group. You also had some very fine people on both sides.”Hate is never fine.Second question: How should Americans resist racist demonstrators and the organizations that spout hate messages and who think the president supports them?Some anti-Trump demonstrators think violence the answer, but all they are doing is to give a bad name to the much greater numbers of peaceful marchers.Second response: The answer should not be the antifas and their allies, whose agenda goes well beyond resisting white power. They are Continue Reading

Donald Trump Jr. bags pheasants with Rep. Steve King on opening day in northwest Iowa

AKRON, Ia. — Game birds were flushed, shotguns were fired and frisky dogs were busy retrieving their prey Saturday as Donald Trump Jr. joined a group of outdoorsmen for the opening day of Iowa's pheasant hunting season.Amid crisp October temperatures that dipped below freezing Saturday morning along the Iowa-South Dakota border, the president's son hunted with U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, and about 30 others clad in blaze orange at the Hole N' the Wall Lodge near Akron in northwest Iowa's Plymouth County. Reporters who observed Trump Jr. from a short distance saw a pheasant emerge in flight near him in a field of tall grass. He pivoted toward the bird, fired his single-barrel shotgun, and feathers flew as the bird dropped to the ground. Trump Jr. wasn't available to talk with the media afterward, but he reportedly shot at least three or four other pheasants earlier in the morning."He is a very, very good shot," remarked King. "It was a beautiful, clear day in Iowa, and the sky was so full of feathers that one could be convinced that the angels were having pillow fights."By midday Saturday, the group of hunters had bagged a total of 95 rooster pheasants after spending a few hours climbing up and down through some hilly land in the preserve that offered ideal habitat for game birds.Trump Jr., 39, a businessman and former reality TV personality who is known for his love of the outdoors, arrived at the 1,000-acre privately owned retreat Friday night and was scheduled to stay through Sunday morning. He was among an estimated 50,000 hunters who dotted Iowa's countryside Saturday. State natural resources officials said they expect the 2017 pheasant hunting season will be a repeat of last year, when  Iowa hunters harvested about 250,000 roosters.King annually hosts a pheasant hunt and a campaign Continue Reading

5 questions — and answers — about Donald Trump and conflicts of interest

WASHINGTON — Federal laws that bar government employees from having conflicts of interest between their financial holdings and government duties generally don’t apply to the president or vice president.For decades, however, presidents have organized their finances to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. In most cases, they have established blind trusts run by independent trustees to oversee parts or all of their holdings.In President-elect Donald Trump’s case, he's made it clear that he does not plan to relinquish ownership of his vast real-estate and branding empire, as recommended by ethics watchdogs.Instead, he will transfer management responsibilities to two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, along with corporate executives. He says "no new deals will be done" during his tenure in office."Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my businesses before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the presidency," Trump said in a series of tweets Monday night.No. Presidents have to disclose many of their assets and debts in broad ranges to the Office of Government Ethics, but there’s no requirement that they sell off their assets before taking office.Other executive branch officials — from cancer researchers to Cabinet secretaries — must recuse themselves from deciding matters in which they have conflicts, set up blind trusts or divest holdings that clash with their official duties.For instance, Henry Paulson, the former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, sold nearly $500 million in stock to comply with conflict-of-interest rules when he was named Treasury secretary in 2006. In 2013, President Obama’s billionaire Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker agreed to sell her shares in more than 120 companies, public records show.Trump's Cabinet picks, which range from billionaire investor Wilbur Ross for Commerce to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Continue Reading