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Our Take: No More “Business as Usual”

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It goes without saying that American politics has never been the same, and will never be the same, since Donald J. Trump was elected President. Unfortunately, while this has brought about numerous positive developments for the country’s economy, culture, and military strength, it has also brought new lows the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

President Trump had every right to walk out of a planned meeting on infrastructure with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If anything, the attempt to even hold this meeting speaks to the sheer audacity of the Democratic leaders, thinking that they can relentlessly call for President Trump’s impeachment one minute, then turn around and pretend to hold “bipartisan talks” with him the very next.

Despite Pelosi allegedly holding the line against the more radical members of her caucus who are calling for impeachment, the Speaker appears to be caving, outrageously accusing President Trump of engaging in a “cover-up.” Of course there was no mention of any particular crime that was supposedly “covered up,” but she insists that there must have been some kind of cover-up, because she said so.

The anti-impeachment dam on the Democratic side is cracking. After months of the far-left calling for it, including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who also could not provide a single rational reason why), the wave has enveloped several of the Democrats’ most high-profile candidates for President. Now, after Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, have already joined the chorus of impeachment, the fast-fading “boy wonder” of Texas, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, is demanding impeachment as well.

Impeachment is fast becoming the only thing that the Democrats have to run on going into the 2020 election. These measures have led to endless harassment of President Trump, his staff, his former staff, and even his own family, and he has every right to say “enough is enough,” and refuse to cooperate with the Democrats on anything until these phony investigations end. If the Democrats are so determined to erode any concept of “business as usual” in Washington, they had better be prepared for that course of action to go both ways.


The Washington Post: Trump abruptly cancels infrastructure meeting with Democrats after Pelosi says he is ‘engaged in a cover-up’

By John Wagner, Rachael Bade, and Mike DeBonis

President Trump abruptly canceled a meeting with Democratic leaders on Wednesday, saying he was unable to work with them on legislation following comments by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that he was “engaged in a cover-up.”

Trump made an unscheduled appearance in the Rose Garden shortly afterward and in a meandering 10-minute address said he had left the meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) at which they were supposed to talk about working together on a $2 billion infrastructure plan.

“Instead of walking in happily to a meeting, I walk in to look at people who said I was doing a cover-up,” Trump said, adding that he can’t work on infrastructure “under these circumstances.”

Pelosi made her comments earlier Wednesday morning during a closed-door meeting with House Democrats called to discuss ongoing investigations of Trump and his administration. Despite her accusation of a cover-up, Pelosi and all but one of her six committee chairmen with investigatory powers tamped down talk of impeachment proceedings during the meeting.

Speaking to reporters shortly after Trump’s appearance in the Rose Garden, Pelosi and Schumer said they were taken aback by Trump’s behavior.

“To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop,” Schumer said.

Pelosi said Democrats had been prepared to deliver a signature accomplishment to Trump at a time when the nation’s roads, bridges, airports and other infrastructure are ailing.

“He just took a pass, and it just makes me wonder why he did,” Pelosi said. “In any event, I pray for the president of the United States, and I pray for the United States of America.”

A growing number of rank-and-file Democrats have called for the launch of an impeachment inquiry against Trump as frustrations build over the administration’s stonewalling of congressional probes.

But during Wednesday’s meeting, five of the chairmen who addressed the caucus focused on recent successes in court battles to force the administration to comply with subpoenas and counseled a more measured course advocated by Pelosi, according to multiple people in the room.

The meeting “reflected where most of this caucus is at,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.). “Have faith on the courts and have faith in process, and impeachment only if absolutely necessary.”

Addressing reporters afterward, Pelosi said Democrats had “a very positive meeting” and called for staying the course on investigations.

“We do believe that it’s important to follow the facts,” she said. “We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.”

In remarks to fellow Democrats during the meeting, Pelosi, according to multiple members, showed no sign of moving away from her approach.

“Stay the course,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), summarizing Pelosi’s remarks.

After the meeting, Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) argued that the committees should continue investigating and that Democrats should focus on legislation, saying that “the impeachment question is taking up all the oxygen in the room.”

“Look, in my mind, even if we impeach, the Senate isn’t going to do anything about it … so what is our goal?” she asked. “If we don’t want Trump to be the president … we’ve got to get him in 2020.”

During the meeting, House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was the only one of the chairmen to call for moving forward with impeachment proceedings, a stance consistent with her past advocacy for seeking to remove Trump.

“I never change my mind,” she told reporters afterward.

While other chairmen said they were outraged by Trump’s conduct, several offered reasons to follow Pelosi’s lead. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), for instance, warned that some freshmen lawmakers in swing districts could lose races if Democrats are too aggressive in pursuing impeachment.

Ahead of the meeting, Trump aimed a barrage of early-morning tweets at House Democrats questioning their priorities as they prepared to discuss investigations into the administration amid the growing calls for impeachment proceedings.

In his tweets, Trump claimed that Democrats are “getting ZERO work done in Congress” and are instead focused on what he called a continuation of a “Witch Hunt” into whether he sought to obstruct special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” Trump wrote in the fourth of his tweets that began before 6 a.m.

The president’s Twitter rant came about three hours before the Democratic caucus meeting called by Pelosi.

Democrats have become increasingly frustrated with the administration’s refusal to cooperate with congressional requests for documents and testimony. That included the White House’s refusal to allow former counsel Donald McGahn to testify at a hearing Tuesday about key aspects of Mueller’s report.

During the meeting, most lawmakers appeared to side with Pelosi, according to people in the room. Even some of those who had advocated opening an impeachment inquiry sounded more measured as they left the meeting.

“I can see both sides,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a Judiciary Committee member who has been one of the most aggressive advocates for impeachment.

“I think we’re better served to move forward with an impeachment inquiry at a minimum, but I can understand the other side’s logic.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who spoke up forcefully for an impeachment inquiry in a private leadership meeting Monday, declined to say after the meeting whether such an inquiry should now be launched.

“I just think we need to have a conversation about all the constitutional means that are available to us, and we’re having that conversation,” Raskin said.

One of the most vocal proponents of an impeachment inquiry, Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), rose during the meeting and spoke about the need for the House to ensure that “no one is above the law,” making the case that impeachment proceedings would elevate the seriousness of the House’s response to Trump.

“People understand the gravity of this moment,” Cicilline said afterward. “There was a very candid, respectful discussion about the best way to proceed. I think everyone recognizes that this isn’t just about Donald J. Trump, but it’s about protecting the rule of law in this country and the implications it has for the future of our democracy.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N. J), who sits on the Ways and Means panel and has been involved in trying to get Trump’s tax returns, was among those who advocated a more methodical approach.

He argued that a recent court ruling upholding a House subpoena of some of Trump’s financial records was good news for Democrats — and that they don’t need to launch an inquiry to get information they need.

“The law is on our side,” he said, according to one person in the room. Members who spoke after him echoed the sentiment.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.), one of the most liberal members in the caucus, retorted that the law might be on their party’s side but “the clock is not.” He and other Democrats have expressed concerns that Trump is merely trying to buy time to delay their investigations until after his reelection.

Pelosi called the caucus-wide huddle amid increased pressure from some of her members to begin an impeachment inquiry. Monday night, a band of frustrated House Judiciary Committee members — including powerful chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) — confronted Pelosi on her no-impeachment position and encouraged her to green-light an inquiry.

Pelosi refused, arguing that the caucus is not behind the move and that it would impede other committees in pursuing their investigations.

Pro-impeachment members, however, argue that an impeachment inquiry will enable investigators to more quickly secure documents and witness testimony that the White House has blocked at every turn. Since Monday, about 25 lawmakers have gone public to call for an inquiry to begin.

To ease the pressure and the tension, Pelosi had privately signaled that she will green-light more aggressive investigative measures, according to several lawmakers.

Pelosi, these lawmakers say, is also talking about so-called “inherent contempt” in a real way. That includes potentially tweaking House rules to allow chairmen to slap steep fines on Trump officials who ignore subpoenas.

Since taking control of the House in January, Democrats have passed several legislative measures, including bills on health care and ethics reform, that have not been taken up in the Republican-led Senate.

The tension over stepped-up House oversight of Trump comes amid continuing discussions of one potential issue on which both Trump and Pelosi have expressed hope for cooperation: investing in the country’s ailing infrastructure. Trump is scheduled to meet later Tuesday morning on the subject with Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others.

But prospects for a deal seemed to have dimmed since Trump held an initial meeting with Democratic leaders several weeks ago at which there was an agreement on a goal of spending $2 trillion on roads, bridges, rail, airports and other infrastructure.

In a letter to Pelosi and Schumer on Tuesday night, Trump wrote that it is his “strong view” that Congress should pass the trade deal his administration negotiated with Canada and Mexico before turning its full attention to infrastructure.

The White House has stepped up pressure on Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by the summer amid continuing Democratic concerns about parts of the deal.

During an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday morning, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders accused Democrats of “dragging their feet” on the trade deal and chastised them for talking about impeachment.

“Hopefully they’re going to have a come-to-Jesus moment where they realize what a terrible idea this is,” Sanders said of the planned Democratic caucus meeting.

In his morning tweets, Trump continued to question why Democrats were interested in hearing the testimony from his aides and others who were interviewed as part of Mueller’s investigation.

Mueller’s report concluded that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election “in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

The report did not find sufficient evidence to bring charges of criminal conspiracy with Russia against Trump or anyone associated with his campaign. It did not offer a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice.

Barr later concluded that there was not sufficient evidence for obstruction of justice, but House Democrats are continuing to pursue that issue.
“After two years of an expensive and comprehensive Witch Hunt, the Democrats don’t like the result and they want a DO OVER,” Trump said in one of his morning tweets. “In other words, the Witch Hunt continues!”

Later Wednesday morning, Trump returned to Twitter to justify blocking the testimony of McGahn, his former White House counsel, to the Judiciary Committee.

“He (Jerry Nadler) wants a show,” Trump said of the panel’s chairman. “He wants to use Mr. McGahn as a prop to spend three hours claiming that Mr. Trump tried to obstruct the Mueller investigation. YET MR. MUELLER WASN’T OBSTRUCTED IN ANY WAY, HIS COPIOUS REPORT WAS RELEASED FOR ALL TO SEE, & THERE WAS NO COLLUSION.”

Read the original article here.

AMERICA First is the newest nationally-syndicated radio show in the United States, part of the Salem Radio Network. The host, Sebastian Gorka PhD., served most recently as Deputy Assistant for Strategy to the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and is author of the New York Times bestselling book “Defeating Jihad.” His latest book is “Why We Fight: Defeating America’s Enemies – With No Apologies.” You can follow him on Twitter @SebGorka, on Facebook, and on Instagram @sebastian_gorka. AMERICA First is available on the iTunes podcast app, streams live at www.sebgorka.com, and is on YouTube. You can contact him here.

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