Saturday, June 1, 2019

Joseph Welch to Donald Trump - You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency.

We always can learn from history - if we have a mind to - and a mind that can. Here is some history of the Army-McCarthy hearings from the U. S. Senate.

Wisconsin Republican senator Joseph R. McCarthy rocketed to public attention in 1950 with his allegations that hundreds of Communists had infiltrated the State Department and other federal agencies. These charges struck a particularly responsive note at a time of deepening national anxiety about the spread of world communism.

In the spring of 1954, McCarthy picked a fight with the U.S. Army, charging lax security at a top-secret army facility. The army responded that the senator had sought preferential treatment for a recently drafted subcommittee aide. Amidst this controversy, McCarthy temporarily stepped down as chairman for the duration of the three-month nationally televised spectacle known to history as the Army-McCarthy hearings.

The army hired Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to make its case. At a session on June 9, 1954, McCarthy charged that one of Welch’s attorneys had ties to a Communist organization. As an amazed television audience looked on, Welch responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy’s career: “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

Those were the most famous words spoken by Welch, but there were more, even more cutting, words directed at McCarthy that resulted in overwhelming applause from the audience. See this YouTube video.

Overnight, McCarthy’s immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, 48 years old and a broken man.

Imagine that the hearings were never televised, McCarthy’s base remained uninformed and thus unshaken, and that Welch’s damning question was never heard by America. Some might regard such hearings and the conveying media as a “circus.” But as this history makes clear, the circus can serve a useful purpose.

Special Counsel Mueller is said to not want to participate in House hearings that could, or would, degenerate into a media circus. Read on.

The Jim Jordans and Mark Meadows’s are licking their GOP chops at the thought of “grilling” Mueller - should Mueller ever appear before the House Judiciary Committee. Team Trump Now Wants Mueller to Testify Before Congress in Hopes of a Grilling. The president has said he doesn’t want the special counsel to talk on the Hill. But after Mueller’s statement Wednesday, Trump’s team is itching for it. But there is another side to such an appearance.

Robert Mueller Just Told Congress to Do Its Damn Job explains Joan Walsh at he Nation.
Mueller came as close as possible to saying that he would have indicted Trump for obstruction of justice, if Justice Department policy allowed him to do so.

… “Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider,” he said. But then he delivered the most important information in his 10-minute statement: “If we had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not.”

Respected intelligence analyst Marcy Wheeler tweeted immediately: “Shorter Mueller: That was an impeachment referral, damnit, now act on it.” Presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren both used the same “impeachment referral” language. May all the 2020 Democrats join in, and soon.

Significantly, while Mueller made it clear he’d rather not testify before Congress, he did not say he would refuse to do so, if asked. “Any testimony would not go beyond our report. The work speaks for itself. I would not provide any information that is not in the report.”

While that might sound disappointing, it isn’t. Having Mueller delve into the details of a 445-page report (plus its footnotes) would be must-see TV. Just imagine Mueller being asked by the House Judiciary Committee to narrate the more shocking details of his investigation.

Here’s an example: Let Mueller run down his attempts to confirm whether and how President Trump ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, and then to cover up the fact that he ordered McGahn to fire Mueller. …

Mueller closed by making two very powerful points. For one, he thanked the lawyers and FBI agents who worked on his investigation, praising them for being “fair and independent” and for acting with “the highest integrity.” At a time when Attorney General William Barr—whom Mueller took pains not to criticize—wants to investigate these investigators, Mueller made a strong stand on behalf of their professionalism and decency.

Second, Mueller chose to end his statement with the finding the president apparently will not accept: “There were multiple, systematic attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.” He clearly doesn’t believe American leaders are taking that seriously enough, and I agree with him.

This is a bad day for Donald Trump. But it’s also a tough day for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and any other Democratic leader who is trying to slow-walk an impeachment inquiry. In the long relay of justice, Robert Mueller just handed you the baton. Run with it. Today.

If you do not, then answer Eugene Robinson’s question in the Washington Post: If Trump doesn’t warrant impeachment, who does?

What would a president have to do, hypothetically, to get this Congress to impeach him?

Obstruct a Justice Department investigation, perhaps? No, apparently that’s not enough. What about playing footsie with a hostile foreign power? Abusing his office to settle personal grievances? Using instruments of the state, including the justice system, to attack his perceived political opponents? Aligning the nation with murderous foreign dictators while forsaking democracy and human rights? Violating campaign-finance laws with disguised hush-money payments to alleged paramours? Giving aid and comfort to neo-Nazis and white supremacists? Defying requests and subpoenas from congressional committees charged with oversight? Refusing to protect our electoral system from malign foreign interference? Cruelly ripping young children away from their asylum-seeking parents? Lying constantly and shamelessly to the American people, to the point where not a single word he says or writes can be believed?

President Trump has done all of this and more. If he doesn’t warrant the opening of an impeachment inquiry, what president ever would?

I’ve been back and forth on the wisdom of taking that step [impeachment], but there’s one question that nags me: If the impeachment clause of the Constitution wasn’t written for a president like Trump, then why is it there?

… Trump’s going to claim “no collusion, no obstruction” anyway, and he’ll say if Democrats really thought he had committed a crime, they would have the guts to impeach him.

And that’s a way for Dems to lose - to fail to fight for the soul of our country.

The Trump era will end someday, and we’ll all have to account for what we did, or failed to do, to fight for our nation’s soul. Mueller gave our elected representatives in Congress a clear road map for holding Trump accountable. Ten years from now, even one year from now, I wonder what we’ll think of those who decided not to take even the first step.

So, as the AZ Blue Meanie put it, Dear Nancy Pelosi: Duty Calls.

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