The Newly Normal Impeachment Process

It's Been 44 Years Since Richard Nixon Resigned In Disgrace | Morning Joe | MSNBC

The Story:

The impeachment of a US President was once a very rare event. A child born in 1870 might have lived to be a century old and that lifespan would not have overlapped with a single serious impeachment/removal effort regarding any President of any party. But there have now been three occasions in the last half century in which the House of Representatives has geared up the impeachment machinery: 1974, 1998, and now in 2019. The extraordinary has been normalized.

Reluctance Overcome:

This time around the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was for months reluctant to put the impeachment machinery in gear. She evidently feared that doing so would interfere with other items of business more dear to her heart, such as the drafting of a law that would limit or lower the price of some prescription drugs.

But as of this writing Pelosi is completely on board with impeachment, and there may be a vote by the full House on the articles of impeachment by Thanksgiving.

The Thing to Know:

The House brings charges (its vote to do so is the act of impeachment proper) and the Senate then treats the “articles” of impeachment as counts of an indictment and it puts the President on trial on those counts. Chief Justice Roberts would preside over the trial. In the event of a 2/3 vote finding the President guilty, (that is, 67 votes “yes”), President Donald Trump will be removed from office.

Live: Baltimore Mayor Pugh’s lawyer holds news conference amid FBI, state probes

Live: Baltimore Mayor Pugh's lawyer holds news conference amid FBI, state probes

LIVE NOW. The Baltimore Sun broke the news of the embattled mayor’s intention to resign just minutes ago. Catherine Pugh is under investigation for a scandal involving sales of her self-published children’s book series.

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NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes, campaign donor indicted on corruption and bribery charges

A federal grand jury has indicted Hayes on conspiracy and bribery charges for their attempts to influence N.C. Insurance commissioner Mike Causey. By

A federal grand jury has indicted North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes and a major GOP campaign donor on conspiracy and bribery charges for their attempts to influence N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.

The indictment accuses Hayes, a former congressman, of trying to funnel bribe money to Causey’s re-election campaign. Hayes is also charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI. Hayes had announced Monday that he wouldn’t seek another term as NC GOP chairman, a decision he attributed to health concerns.

The indictment comes amid an investigation into the political donor, Greg Lindberg, by U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray. Lindberg has given millions of dollars to Republican groups in recent years, McClatchy newspapers have reported. He has also given money to Democrats.

Four people — Hayes, Lindberg, John D. Gray and John V. Palermo — were charged in the case, and all four made their first appearances in court Tuesday, the same day the indictment was unsealed. The four are accused of trying to bribe Causey with $2 million in campaign contributions to get him to take actions favorable to one of Lindberg’s companies — including the removal of an insurance department employee responsible for regulating that firm.

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They’re charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud (a charge generally associated with the behavior of public officials) as well as bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and aiding and abetting.

Each of the four pleaded not guilty.

The indictment says Causey contacted federal law enforcement officials with concerns about political contributions in January 2018 and has cooperated with the ongoing FBI investigation since then.

The indictment mentions another person in contact with Lindberg and Causey — “Public Official A” — but doesn’t name them or mention charges. Politico reported Tuesday afternoon that the official is Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker. Politico identified Walker using the indictment and records from the Federal Election Commission, the outlet reported.

Walker’s press secretary, Jack Minor, said Tuesday that the congressman “is not and never has been a target of this investigation, and has committed no wrongdoing. He has assisted the DOJ.”

Each of the four people charged was released on $100,000 bond, on the condition that they turn in their passports and report any travel to federal probation officials.

Hayes, 73, represented North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District from 1999 to 2009. He appeared in federal court Tuesday using a walker. His lawyers told federal magistrate David Kessler that he had surgery in February and that his mobility is limited.

HayesIndictment.png
Screen grab of page 18 of the indictment unsealed May 19, 2019. U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray’s office has been investigating Greg Lindberg, John Gray, John Palermo and NC GOP chairman Robin Hayes.

The NC GOP has been cooperating with the federal investigation for months but didn’t learn about the indictments until early Tuesday, party legal counsel Josh Howard said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

”Early this morning, the North Carolina Republican Party was made aware of several indictments surrounding the conduct of a major donor to both major political parties and two of his associates,” Howard…

FBI adds an anti-bribery squad focusing on South America

Aiming to crack down on money laundering and bribes to overseas governments, the FBI is stepping up its efforts to root out foreign corruption with a new squad of agents based in Miami.

The squad will focus its efforts not only on Miami but also in South America, a continent that has been home to some of the Justice Department’s most significant international corruption prosecutions of the last several years. The Miami squad joins three others based in the FBI’s largest field offices — Washington, New York and Los Angeles.

“We’re protecting the rule of law,” Leslie Backschies, the chief of the FBI’s international corruption unit, said in an interview Monday. “If there’s no rule of law, you’ll have certain societies where they feel like their governments are so corrupt, they’ll go to other elements that are considered fundamental, that they see as clean or something against the corrupt regime, and that becomes a threat to national security.”

The unit aims to identify violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a U.S. law that makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials. The FBI has also been doing outreach to companies in a variety of industries, from oil to pharmaceuticals, to teach them about red flags that could indicate corruption and encourage the companies to “self-report” potentially improper conduct to the bureau.

“One thing when I talk to companies, I’m like, ‘When you pay a bribe, do you know where your bribe goes? Is your bribe going to fund terrorism?'” Backschies said.

And so far, the cases the unit has brought have resulted in billions of dollars in settlements.

Last September, for instance, the Brazilian-owned energy company, Petrobras, agreed to pay more than $853 million to resolve investigations into allegations that executives paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to Brazilian politicians and political parties. And in December 2016, the Brazil-based construction conglomerate Odebrecht and another petrochemical company agreed to pay more than $3.5 billion to settle charges…

Report: Zahid made use of money politics

PETALING JAYA: Embattled Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been delivered yet another blow. This time, a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been lodged over his post as Umno president.

The report alleged that the former deputy prime minister bribed Umno members into voting him in as president during the party election in June.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operation) Datuk Seri Azam Bak confirmed that the report was lodged on Friday.

“We are looking into it,” he said. “We will investigate and if necessary, call him (Ahmad Zahid) in for questioning if there are elements of corruption.”

It is still unclear how much money was involved and how many…

Bribe allegations and ‘illegal immigrants’: smash-mouth politics in Republican runoff for Dallas County commission

Staff Photographer

What started as a quiet race for the Republican nominee for Dallas County commissioner has turned into a pitched battle over criminal allegations and illegal immigration.

The May 22 runoff election for northern Dallas County’s District 2 pits former State District Judge Vickers “Vic” Cunningham against attorney J.J. Koch. The Republican nominee will face a Democrat, Wini Cannon, and a Libertarian, Alberto Perez, in the November general election.

Koch, 38, an attorney who has represented police and worked in technology, has not shied from controversy. Last year, he filed a lawsuit seeking to oust Dallas County elections administrator Toni Pippins Poole.

Cunningham, 55, decided to get into the race because of that suit, saying he was concerned that Koch would be ineffective in the sole Republican seat on the five-member commissioners court because he had already alienated himself from many county officials. The lawsuit was later dismissed.

“He’s very combative, very in-your-face, New Jersey, smash-mouth politics,” Cunningham said, adding the Democrats will “make him sit in the corner. He would effectively remove himself from any representation on the court.”

Dallas attorney J.J. Koch, center, answers questions in an editorial board meeting as former Garland City Council member Stephen Stanley (left) listens and former state District Judge Vickers
Dallas attorney J.J. Koch, center, answers questions in an editorial board meeting as former Garland City Council member Stephen Stanley (left) listens and former state District Judge Vickers “Vic” Cunningham (right) takes notes at The Dallas Morning News. All were running for the Republican nomination for Dallas County commissioner in District 2.

But Koch said he knows from his legal career how to maintain good relationships with people on the opposite side. Besides, he said, he’s just speaking the truth.

In a recent email to supporters, Koch blamed Dallas County’s shrinking middle class on “illegal immigrants.”

“We have to speak truthfully about the problems we face,” Koch said this week. “Not to be hateful toward a group of people, but the fact that there are a lot of illegal immigrants here factor into different problems that relate to poverty.”

Koch’s comments drew condemnation from Commissioner Elba Garcia, a Mexican immigrant, who called them “fear-mongering” and “partisan grandstanding.”

Garcia declined to endorse a candidate, but…

Bribes — er, Incentives — for Amazon

Bribes — er, Incentives — for Amazon

WHEN AMAZON last week announced plans to build a $5 billion second headquarters in North America, officials from sea to shining sea immediately began to clamor for the privilege of hosting the new facility. Mayors of cities as diverse as Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Toronto declared their intention to vie for Amazon’s favor. Newsrooms ordered up stories on the frenzy: “Charlottewants to be home to Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters.” “Minnesota rushes to bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.” “Virginia plans to be ‘aggressive and competitive’ to land project.”

View Cartoon

Naturally, Boston and Massachusetts are getting in on the act.

“If Amazon wants an East Coast headquarters, I don’t see any city better in America than Boston, Massachusetts,” proclaimed Mayor Marty Walsh. His administration, he said, would be “laser-focused” on landing the project.

Amazon says it is seeking to build its new home in a metropolitan area with a large population, an international airport, and good schools. But as everyone understands, it also expect to be courted with publicly-funded “incentives” — some combination of property-tax abatements, job-creation credits, direct grants, sales-tax refunds, land-acquisition assistance, and the other varieties of corporate welfare that governments have concocted to lure businesses. Amazon knows how the economic-redevelopment game is played in what The Economist calls this “sweet land of subsidy.” (Just this week, Wisconsin agreed to pay Foxconn a staggering $3 billion in subsidies to construct a flat-screen factory in the state.) If cities and states are determined to compete for Amazon’s new campus by showering it with fistfuls of taxpayer dollars, the company can’t be blamed for pocketing the largesse.

But what…

Bribes — er, Incentives — for Amazon

Bribes — er, Incentives — for Amazon

WHEN AMAZON last week announced plans to build a $5 billion second headquarters in North America, officials from sea to shining sea immediately began to clamor for the privilege of hosting the new facility. Mayors of cities as diverse as Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Toronto declared their intention to vie for Amazon’s favor. Newsrooms ordered up stories on the frenzy: “Charlottewants to be home to Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters.” “Minnesota rushes to bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.” “Virginia plans to be ‘aggressive and competitive’ to land project.”

View Cartoon

Naturally, Boston and Massachusetts are getting in on the act.

“If Amazon wants an East Coast headquarters, I don’t see any city better in America than Boston, Massachusetts,” proclaimed Mayor Marty Walsh. His administration, he said, would be “laser-focused” on landing the project.

Amazon says it is seeking to build its new home in a metropolitan area with a large population, an international airport, and good schools. But as everyone understands, it also expect to be courted with publicly-funded “incentives” — some combination of property-tax abatements, job-creation credits, direct grants, sales-tax refunds, land-acquisition assistance, and the other varieties of corporate welfare that governments have concocted to lure businesses. Amazon knows how the economic-redevelopment game is played in what The Economist calls this “sweet land of subsidy.” (Just this week, Wisconsin agreed to pay Foxconn a staggering $3 billion in subsidies to construct a flat-screen factory in the state.) If cities and states are determined to compete for Amazon’s new campus by showering it with fistfuls of taxpayer dollars, the company can’t be blamed for pocketing the largesse.

But what…