Documentation. Witnesses. Facts. Truth. That's what they're afraid of.

Friday, September 27, 2019

A New Hope?

When I see the headline worded this way, I'm convinced this is entirely a headfake to make Trump's people use up all the ammo they have right off the bat, or Pelosi already thinks she can remove Trump from office.

If it were Nadler, maybe. But given all of the shit he's been gathering and hinted to us about since even before the Dems won the House, there is no universe in which Schiff leads an inquiry in which he shows the public only a bit of it unless it's all he thinks he needs. If it were Nadler, maybe. But given all of the shit he's been gathering and hinted to us about since even before the Dems won the House, there is no universe in which Schiff leads an inquiry in which he shows the public only a bit of it unless it's all he thinks he needs.

There is a section of the Mueller report in which it's made pretty clear that the report is aimed to be handed off to Congress to take the investigation off of his hands, and advancing it through impeachment or other means.

My assumption has been, and I think that I'm right, is that it was because Mueller saw the writing on the wall -- he wasn't going to be allowed to continue much longer.

I wrote this five months ago: "... it's kinda like at the end of Rogue One, with Mueller as the dude who's running from Vader before the doors close trying to hand off the Death Star plans."

So who is Adam Schiff in this analogy?

That's right. Obi-Wan Motherfucking Kenobi.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Holy Hell, Impeachment is Coming

I thought I'd been too optimistic on this. Turns out, maybe the opposite.

I already had Crow, but Spanberger was on my Out list, and Luria and Slotkin were on my Maybes.

This is the rest of the Maybes:

Here are the five left on my "Too Close to Call" list. Contact them and watch this space. We may only need one, but we'll take them all.

This is moving quickly. 157 have announced now.

My tally: 217 in, 14 out, 5 too close to call. One away.

OK, Make That Seven

Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), the Congressperson in the bluest seat on my "Maybe" list is in on impeachment.

That's big. I've been saying for months that the Democrats will impeach when the press starts to understand that they *HAVE* to. It's starting to look like that now:

My count is now at 214 in, 15 out, 7 too close to call.

Here are the seven left on my "Too Close to Call" list. Contact them and watch this space:

Saturday, September 21, 2019

You Want Impeachment?

Obviously, if you're looking for someone who wants to dive headfirst into an impeachment vote, you're on the wrong blog.

But if you do, stop screaming at Pelosi. Per my epic post from last weekend, if you want an impeachment vote to happen, call these eight (links to their contact info):

You get these eight to come out for it publicly, you'll get a vote. Guaranteed.

I don't think you will, because I don't think the case that will get their constituents to support that move has been assembled yet, but if you do get any of them to put it on the record, let me know.

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter Ten

Back to Chapter Nine

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter Nine

Back to Chapter 8

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter Eight

Back to Chapter Seven

Monday, September 16, 2019

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter Seven

Back to Chapter Six

Sunday, September 15, 2019

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter Six

Back to Chapter 5

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Laying My Impeachment Bets

As hopefully everyone reading this knows by now, the impeachment process is rolling along:

Some people, if not most, continue to seem to think Pelosi is not on board and that she'd like to see the whole thing go away.

As I said last week (and many other times), this simply is not true:

She indicated as much this week:

Pelosi was dogged by questions about the issue in her weekly press conference Thursday and grew frustrated when asked if she would concede that the House is conducting an impeachment investigation. 
“Do I concede? Have you not been paying attention to what we’ve been doing for the last three months? We are legislating ... we’re investigating, as six committees have been doing for months ... and we are litigating. … I stand by what we have been doing all along,” Pelosi responded. “I support what is happening in the Judiciary Committee, because that enables them to do their process of interrogation and investigation.
Pelosi tried to shut down further questions about impeachment, saying she wouldn’t comment further, but was later asked if she’s uncomfortable referring to the Judiciary Committee’s work as an “impeachment” investigation. “Why is it that you’re hung up on a word over here when lives are at stake over there?” Pelosi asked, arguing that reporters are the only ones focused on the issue. 
As reporters pushed back, Pelosi added, “I travel the entire country. Come with me sometime. And you’ll hear what the American people are saying. They understand that impeachment is a very divisive measure, but if we have to go there, we’ll have to go there. But we can’t go there unless we have the facts.”

Same as it's been for months. In the meantime, the number of Democrats (plus Justin Amash) that supports impeachment has grown. Six months ago, it was a handful. A month ago, it was at 118. I predicted several times this summer that it'd be 140 when the Dems returned from recess. As of yesterday, it's 147.

And, as I also predicted repeatedly, things would really start to heat up when Adam Schiff got into the investigative mix. Well, hello!

So where do things go from here?

Politico has a nifty tool which keeps count of Congresscritters who have said they'd vote for impeachment.

I've said often that while many have screamed at Pelosi since the beginning of the year that she has to start whipping votes for impeachment, that's just not how whipping works. Whipping is not about getting the first votes; it's about getting over the finish line, and that I thought she and Hoyer would begin that when they had 30-50 votes left to get. Being that they need 218 and they have 147, including Amash, that's a minimum of 21 votes. That's not a lot. Corey Lewandowski's testimony will probably draw over at least one or two, and if Schiff's new findings come out, they could do another 10. If Lawrence O'Donnell can ever get a source for his Deutsche Bank assertion, that'd be huge, and there's a lot more in the works. But who will those votes be?

Politico's tool does more than just count. It also shows who is and who is not publicly on board, and where their districts fall on the partisan scale.

The further left you go on the chart, the less it went for Clinton in 2016 and more for Trump, and the red dots are representatives from districts Trump "won." (though if you believe the polling that shows that the Comey letter alone probably moved the polls 3-4 points in the last ten days of the cycle and generalized it, almost 20 more of those districts would've gone blue then).

I'll start from the right side and move left myself shortly in looking at the individual dots, but this week, an obvious starting point emerged, as the legendary Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) gave us a preview:

Despite his silence, advocates for Trump's removal see the civil rights icon — a man Democrats describe as the conscience of their caucus — as a singularly powerful potential ally, one of the last publicly undecided lawmakers who could change the calculus inside the Democratic caucus. And Lewis himself says an announcement on impeachment is almost at hand.

 "My time is growing near," the Georgia lawmaker told reporters this week. He added, "I’ve never been supportive of this so-called president. Before he was inaugurated I said he was not legitimate. So I have some very strong feelings."

Uh, "not legitimate?" "so-called president?" Aside from the fact that I have said for months that any impeachment should have Trump's illegitimacy and election theft as its starting point, and thus my heart fluttered when I read that, it's pretty clear which way he's leaning. And with him, likely comes most, if not all, of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Lewis, who is in a D+73 district, tied for the second highest under the holdouts, makes 148. Which other CBC members have not come out yet? From right to left:

  • Rep. Gregory Meeks, D+73 (NY)
  • Rep. Frederica Wilson, D+68 (FL) -- Uh, I'd say she's a safe bet.
  • Rep. Alcee Hastings, D+62 (FL)
  • Rep. Eddie Johnson, D+61 (TX)
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings, D+56 (MD)
  • Rep. Marc Veasey, D+49 (TX)
  • Rep. David Scott, D+44 (GA)
  • Rep. Terry Sewell, D+41 (AL)
  • Rep. James Clyburn, D+37 (SC)
  • Rep. Al Lawson, D+25 (FL)
  • Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D+22 (VA)
  • Rep. Sanford Bishop, D+12 (GA)
  • Rep. Steven Horsford, D+5 (NV)
  • Rep. Jahana Hayes, D+4 (CT)
  • Rep. Colin Allred, D+2 (TX)
  • Rep. Antonio Delgado, R+7 (NY)
That's 16 more. Which would be 164, only six short of my minimum. Does the fact that 17 members, most of whom are in very safe districts, of a caucus that wrote this regarding the fight under Trump:

We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, people who built this country and its wealth while toiling, fighting, and dying for our collective freedom. To deny our history or surrender in the struggle for a more perfect union would dishonor their sacrifice. That is something we simply will not do.

... are holding back impeachment votes regarding Trump tell you anything? As Elizabeth Warren, herself an avid supporter of impeachment might say, they've "got a plan for that."
This is what the bottom of the chart looks like if the CBC comes out in lockstep for impeachment (not a given, but play along).

Not nearly as many blue dots... but who's the next group?

We can quibble about whether we think the leaders are going to come out for impeachment, but as I think they are and by 164 they're getting really close. So the next group I think are givens are Pelosi and the committee chairs, mostly to just get them off the list:

  • #1, in the safest Democratic district of this whole group -- Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D+78 (CA)
  • Rep. Adam Schiff, D+50 (CA)
  • Rep. Steny Hoyer, D+32 (MD)
  • Rep. Richard Neal, D+21 (MA) -- He can't come out until the courts give him Trump's taxes so the Republicans can't go to the courts and say he's on a partisan hunt. I think that's soon.
  • Rep. Collin Peterson, R+31 (MN) -- Yes, I know he's conservative and from the most conservative district among them, but at some point his chair's at risk if he doesn't fall in line
Now we're at 169, and the chart looks like this:

From there, I'd like to go in the other direction for a bit. These are the ones that perennially deserve to be primaried, because they're either so stubbornly conservative compared to their district, or in one case, compromised:
  • Ed Case, D+33 (HI)
  • Tulsi Gabbard, D+32 (HI)
  • Henry Cuellar, D+20 (TX)
  • Jim Cooper,  D+18 (TN)
  • Daniel Lipinski, D+15 (IL)
I've filled those in in black.

Let's put some points back on the board. On Thursday alone, three members from California's delegation joined the calls for impeachment (Zoe Lofgren, Katie Hill, and Lou Correa). I think that Pelosi can strategically deploy pretty much all of the other California members as things progress:

  • Anna Eshoo, D+53 (CA)
  • Jimmy Panetta, D+47 (CA)
  • Mike Thompson, D+45 (CA)
  • Linda Sanchez,  D+40 (CA)
  • Susan Davis, D+35 (CA)
  • Jim Costa, D+22 (CA)
  • Jerry McNerney, D+19 (CA)
  • TJ Cox, D+16 (CA)
  • Ami Bera, D+11 (CA)
  • Raul Ruiz, D+9 (CA)
  • Gil Cisneros, D+9 (CA)
  • Josh Harder, D+3 (CA)
Cox won by a nose in 2018 and the incumbent he defeated, David Valadao, is challenging him again. So he'd probably be the last one in. But it is a D+16 district.

After California, the chart looks like this:

That's 181 up, five down. 

Here's another group I'm going to put on the "In" board -- members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus:

  • Debbie Dingell, D+26 (MI)
  • Lois Frankel, D+20 (FL)
  • Rosa DeLauro, D+16 (CT)
  • Angie Craig, R+1 (MN)
  • David Loebsack, R+4 (IA)
  • Andy Kim, R+6 (NJ)
  • Matt Cartwright, R+10 (PA)
I'm comfortable putting everyone on this list in white. The first three are just waiting for someone in leadership to ask -- they're very reliable progressives in reliable districts. Loebsack is retiring, so he doesn't face political consequences. Andy Kim had a very close race in 2018 and Cook currently lists his race as a Tossup, but he doesn't have a serious challenger yet and he's not a hard "no":
I am really not trying to approach any of this from a political standpoint. I am not trying to think through in my mind what is going help win an election or what is going to help. Look, we have to serve the Constitution.
Angie Craig is on the fence, but talk of "wanting to see more information" means I think she can be convinced given the information I expect to come out (see Conspiracy, Proof of). Cartwright's the one who is most iffy, but he said in March he supports it if "we find out he did something treasonous.” Well, we will. Both of their races are also Lean Democratic.

188 up, 5 down, and we're here:

Now some iffy ones... it is leadership's responsibility to not make party members that are legitimately vulnerable take votes that might kill their reelection chances if they don't need them. I'm going to put them in a couple of categories. The first is comprised of members who won their 2018 elections by three points or fewer:
  • Elaine Luria, R+3 (VA)
  • Cynthia Axne, R+4 (IA)
  • Abigail Spanberger, R+7 (VA)
  • Ben McAdams, R+7 (UT)
  • Jared Golden, R+10 (ME)
  • Xochitl Torres Small, R+10 (NM)
  • Joe Cunningham, R+13 (SC)
  • Kendra Horn, R+13 (OK)
  • Anthony Brindisi, R+16 (NY)
All of these are in pretty Republican districts. Everyone is labeled a Tossup. Let's start with ones who are Blue Dogs -- openly conservative Democrats. Other than Luria, Axne, and Golden, every member on this list is one. I'm not going to say Blue Dogs aren't gettable -- Luis Correa joined on with impeachment this week, and Sanford Bishop and David Scott are also members of the CBC in safe seats, but the ones on this list that are Blue Dogs I'm taking off the table because they're both conservatives and fighting for their political lives.

188 in and 12 out.

That leaves Luria, Axne, and Golden.

At last check, Luria was on the fence but was open:
“Going down the path of impeachment would be very divisive for the country,” she said in a statement. “We need to have all of the facts before we consider such an option, and I support the important investigative work being done by the appropriate committees in the House."
Axne was in a similar place as of last week, but it appears off the table for Golden and his district:
Golden, the newest and youngest member of Maine’s congressional delegation who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District, on Wednesday said that he recently held a town hall meeting in Millinocket and that no one there raised the topic about whether Trump should be impeached.
“We didn’t get one question about impeachment, about Mueller, about ‘the squad’ [four minority women members of the House of Representatives], about socialism versus Donald Trump — none of this BS that I think drives the silent majority of Americans absolutely insane,” he said.
I'll put Luria and Axne in gray. 188 up, 12 down, 2 maybe.

Now let's look at the rest of the Blue Dogs; the ones who are conservative but weren't in particularly close races in 2018:
  • Vicente Gonzalez, D+17 (TX)
  • Stephanie Murphy, D+7 (FL)
  • Kurt Schrader, D+4 (OR)
  • Charlie Crist, D+3 (FL)
  • Joe Courtney, D+3 (CT)
  • Mikie Sherrill, R+1 (NJ)
  • Josh Gottheimer, R+1 (NJ)
  • Tom O'Halleran, R+1 (AZ)
  • Jefferson Van Drew, R+5 (NJ)
  • Max Rose, R+10 (NY)
Gonzales hasn't said a whole lot about impeachment, and nothing in two months. From July: “I believe the best way to impeach Trump is to defeat him in 2020.” I'm comfortable with him in the maybe category because he's in a heavily Democratic district. O'Halleran has been a soft oppose so far and I'll put him in the same category.

Murphy's a "not yet," so in for me. Schrader has basically said he won't defy Pelosi and not much else, and his seat is safe, so I'll put him as an "in." Crist is also safe and is open to it after more investigations. Courtney is open to it, as is Sherrill, and both of their seats are likely to be safe.

Gottheimer appears to be a lost cause, and Van Drew wants to shut down investigations. Rose is out, too.

193 up, 15 down, 4 maybe. It's hairier than I expected, because the Dems can't afford more than 18 No votes unless they get Republicans to replace them.

Back to the good side... the next group I'll call "Leadership adjacent." Those who should be gettable because of a historic closeness with progressive House leadership, or the Clintons or Obamas. The first I was looking at was John Sarbanes, son of Paul Sarbanes, of Sarbanes-Oxley fame. He's actually already in, bringing the confirmed count actually to 148. He's from a D+31 district in Maryland.

There's nothing on the record from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but she was into the idea two years ago, so she's on my list, being from a D+26 Florida district. Donna Shalala is from a D+20 in Florida and also is open.

196 up, 15 down, 4 maybe.

I didn't mean to get this far down the rabbit hole, but I guess now that I have, I should finish the job!

Let's start with the remaining Dems from D+20 or higher districts:

  • Albio Sires, D+54 (NJ)
  • Robert Scott, D+32 (VA)
  • Stephen Lynch, D+26 (MA)
  • John Larson, D+23 (CT)
All of them appear to be waiting patiently for the investigations, so I'll put them in.

200 up, 15 down, 4 maybe.

Dems from D+10 to D+19 districts:
  • Kathy Castor, D+18 (FL)
  • Joseph Morelle, D+16 (NY)
  • Peter Visclosky, D+13 (IN)
  • Ed Perlmutter, D+12 (CO)

None of these four appear to have strong opinions on the topic, and all are safe. 

204 up, 15 down, 4 maybe.

Here are the remaining ones from Democratic-leaning districts:

  • Chrissy Houlihan, D+9 (PA)
  • Dean Phillips, D+9 (MN)
  • Thomas Suozzi, D+6 (NY)
  • Sharice Davids, D+1 (KS)
  • Susan Wild, D+1 (PA)
  • Lizzie Fletcher, D+1 (TX)
  • Cheri Bustos, R+1 (IL)

Houlihan's pushing investigations:

Wild also wants more investigations before deciding, as does Fletcher. Bustos seems pretty close and will almost definitely follow Pelosi, given that she chairs the DCCC.

Phillips is practically in

Suozzi seems pretty doubtful but not out.

Davids hasn't said much on the topic, but I generally trust her.

I've got 210 up, 15 down, 5 maybe.

Finally, the remaining ones from districts that went for Trump in 2016:

  • Susie Lee, R+1 (NV)
  • Conor Lamb, R+3 (PA)
  • Haley Stevens, R+4 (MI)
  • Abby Finkenauer, R+4 (IA)
  • Ron Kind, R+5 (WI)
  • Elissa Slotkin, R+7 (MI)

Lee is open to it, as is Stevens. Kind hasn't said much.

Lamb seems unlikely, but hasn't said no. Same with Finkenauer, as well as Slotkin.

My final prediction -- Obviously, I'm being generous because I believe that Democratic leadership is preparing a big impeachment push; others disagree. 213 in, 15 out, 8 too close to call. 

In other words, when the chips are down, there are 15 Democrats that I believe will side with Trump and eight that could go either way.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter Five

Back to Chapter 4

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter Four

Back to Chapter 3

Saturday, September 7, 2019

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter Three

Back to Chapter 2

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter Two

Spoiler: I did it anyway. I just did it a bit more informally than I did the previous chapters.

Back to Chapter 1

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Chapter One

Back to the Introduction 

Monday, September 2, 2019

My Read of Seth Abramson's Proof of Conspiracy -- Introduction