Posts Tagged ‘United States Senate’

There are no good outcomes: Thoughts on Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and impeachment

January 31, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 31, 2020

Author’s note: This post contains brief references to sexual assault and suicide. MEM

Over the years, I’ve come to believe something that I suspected but tried to suppress at the time: That Bill Clinton disgraced and endangered his office of the presidency by conducting an extramarital affair in the White House and then lying about it under oath.

The affair displayed bad judgment on a number of levels, not least because it potentially exposed him to blackmail. The perjury ultimately cost Clinton his ability to serve as a lawyer (although he hadn’t practiced in years). Shortly before Clinton left office, Robert Ray, the special counsel who succeeded Kenneth Starr, announced that the president has surrendered his Arkansas law license for five years and accepted a $25,000 fine.

As Starr’s investigation and impeachment effort proceeded throughout 1998 and into 1999, I generally scoffed at the Republican endeavor to remove Clinton from office. The Grand Old Party had always despised “Slick Willie,” a hatred that prompted Hillary Clinton to coin the infamous phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Right-wing nuts and grifters — it was hard to think of them in any other way — had spent years accusing Clinton of committing sexual assault, exploiting a savings and loan association to salvage what turned out to be a bad investment in the Whitewater Development Corp., facilitating international arms and drug smuggling through an airport in Mena, Ark.; and killing a high-level White House attorney.

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The theoretical impartial senator and the very real imperial president: Thoughts on the impeachment trial

January 29, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 29, 2020

If there were such a thing as a truly impartial senator, then he or she might be in quite a pickle right now.

Before start of the ongoing proceedings against the president, senators took the following oath: “I solemnly swear [or affirm] that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: so help me God.”

The House of Representatives’ impeachment managers have presented an impressive case; the president’s defenders have mounted a vigorous defense. There are flaws in each.

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What if the Senate impeachment trial results in conviction?

January 24, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 24, 2019 2020

I’d originally planned to post a review of Ted Chiang’s outstanding recent anthology Exhalation this week, but life got in the way.

There was the big January charity Scrabble tournament, which took up most of Saturday and Sunday and about half of Monday. Then, of course, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began, and I found myself concentrating on National Public Radio’s audio feed from the Senate floor. (I was also, to be honest, playing word games as I listened.)

At any rate, there have been a few distractions from writing. However, I here present a few musings prompted by the impeachment trial.

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What the likely official (non)response to Carolina Rising’s dubious activity says about accountability in politics

October 22, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Oct. 22, 2015

I wanted to revisit Robert Maguire’s investigation into Carolina Rising, which I mentioned earlier today in Recent Readings. The group is ostensibly a 501(c)(4) social welfare nonprofit, but Maguire, writing for the Center for Responsive Politics, raises questions about whether it engaged in illegal campaign activity. Most of the organization’s $4.8 million was spent on advertisements in support of Thom Tillis, then the speaker of the state House of Representatives and now North Carolina’s junior U.S. senator.

Carolina Rising was founded by Dallas Woodhouse, a former head of the state chapter of the Koch brothers–funded Americans for Prosperity who was recently chosen to head the North Carolina Republican Party. (Woodhouse’s twin brother, Brad, is a prominent liberal; last year, their mom called C-SPAN during a segment featuring both siblings to say that she hoped they’d be able to abstain from political bickering over Christmas.)

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One Wondrous Sentence: A moderate’s opinion

December 17, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, from a feature on retiring U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), gives one moderate law-maker’s view on the political process in Washington, D.C., as a deadline approaches.

She’s especially critical of Obama and congressional leaders who are “going to put the country through this emotional travail, whip-sawing Americans, leaving them to wonder as to whether or not they have the capacity to work together” to avoid the impending “fiscal cliff,” the series of tax increases and major spending cuts set to take effect next year.

Source: author, “Olympia Snowe leaving the Senate, but says she won’t stop fighting,” The Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2012. (Link is to second of two pages.)

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