High Crimes and Misdemeanors–McConnell Version

In criminal law classes, lawyers-to-be learn about something called mens rea–a term that means “criminal intent.” In order to find someone guilty of a crime, it is necessary to prove that they intended to commit that crime. Otherwise, depending upon the facts involved, they may instead be guilty of gross negligence, or found not guilty by reason of incapacity.

If I had to defend Donald Trump against charges of treason, I would argue he lacked the mental capacity to understand what treason is.  After all, there’s plenty of evidence that he is seriously deranged and none-too-bright.

Mitch McConnell is another matter entirely.

NPR recently covered a speech by Joe Biden in which our former vice-President explained why the administration did not go public before the election with the information it had about Russian interference.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he and President Barack Obama decided not to speak out publicly on Russian interference during the 2016 campaign after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to sign a bipartisan statement condemning the Kremlin’s role.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden said the Obama administration sought a united front to dispel concerns that going public with such accusations would be seen as an effort to undermine the legitimacy of the election.

However, McConnell “wanted no part of having a bipartisan commitment saying, essentially, ‘Russia’s doing this. Stop,’ ” he said.

Essentially, McConnell blackmailed the President. If the administration accused Russia of meddling, he would accuse Obama of manufacturing the allegation in order to gain a partisan advantage.

The former vice president’s account echoes reporting that first appeared in The Washington Post in June describing a meeting that occurred the same month between Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, then-FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco and 12 key members of Congress.

I have previously shared my belief that Mitch McConnell is the most evil man in America, and that was before I knew anything about this particular despicable episode.

Politicians and scholars have various definitions of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” In my opinion, consistently advantaging the interests of your political party over your constitutional responsibilities and the welfare of the country qualifies.

I’m not talking about the various procedural games McConnell has always played; partisans in both parties engage in tactical efforts to advantage their “side” when they can. Refusing to hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee–simply ignoring the Senate’s obligation to “advise and consent”–is another matter entirely. Not only was it a dishonorable breach of duty, McConnell had to know that he was doing long-lasting damage to the legitimacy of both the Senate and the Court–and further polarizing the country. He didn’t care; “winning” was more important.

As outrageous as that was, McConnell’s willingness to put his party’s interest above the security of the country–to ignore an attack by a foreign power on the integrity of the U.S. election, an attack that he knew had occurred and that he has subsequently confirmed that he knew had occurred–is every bit as treasonous as Trump’s slavish subservience to that foreign power.

McConnell–not Trump– is the real leader of today’s Republican Party–a party that, as a recent article in the Nation charged, has been and continues to be shamefully complicit.

Russiagate isn’t just the narrow story of a few corrupt officials. It isn’t even the story of a corrupt president. It’s the story of a corrupt political party, the one currently holding all the levers of power in Washington. After Trump groveled before Putin in Helsinki, many Republicans in Washington proclaimed their solemn concern, just as they did when the president expressed his sympathy for the white supremacists in Charlottesville last year. But all of them are fully aware that they are abetting a criminal conspiracy, and probably more than one.

Congressional Republicans have made it abundantly clear that the delivery of tax cuts and ideologically acceptable Supreme Court Justices to their patrons is far more important to them than protecting the security of the country they are pledged to serve.

Trump is stupid and insane. McConnell is smart and evil. They are both corrupt, self-serving traitors. Congressional Republican know that–and protect them anyway. What does that make them?



  1. This post is exactly what I’ve been trying to say for months…IQ45 isn’t to blame for our state of affairs, it’s the GOP!!!! McConnell is in so deep, he can barely see the horizon to get out of this mess. We must go after these appeasers. We must attack them and remove them from office. He and his toadies, Pence and Ryan are the reason we are all so pissed off. Indeed they are despicable!

  2. Yes, Trump is stupid and insane. McConnell is smart and evil. And Obama and Biden??? I’d say not fit for the task. That “When they go low, we go high” mantra became an excuse to do nothing in the face of a terrible foe. To the Democrats it was more important to “look” like the good guys than to be the good guys. And what did it get this country??? I HAD A RIGHT TO KNOW THAT THE ELECTION I WAS VOTING IN WAS COMPROMISED. AND SO DID EVERYONE ELSE.

    Ask yourselves what would have happened if in October Obama gave a national prime time address on the Russian attack on the election. Trump may have still won, but maybe he wouldn’t. And if he did, Trump’s presidency would have been labeled illegitimate from the start which would have been at the very least a tool in defending the Obama legacy. So much for being above it all.

    And what is worse still? The Dems are still playing that timid, “Oh, let’s be polite at all costs” card. What wimps!!!!

  3. Except for the fact that the DNC refused to give their computers to the FBI after they were supposedly hacked. They gave their computers to a private vendor whose efforts ended up in the indictment last Friday against the “alleged hackers from Russia”.

    I’m sure anyone with a legal degree would scoff at the evidence constructed by the intelligentsia was done so by private interests. Biden and Obama are in deep with the DNC.

    The DNC and Joe Biden are as deep in shit as the GOP. Both parties have been compromised for decades. The problem is nothing happens to either party because the CIA and FBI are no better. As we’ve recently discussed, SCOTUS has been compromised for decades.

    All branches of our government and the Fourth Branch are compromised. The state government is no better since they use “local rule” justifications to warrant handing the rulemaking to compromised states like Indiana. The Koch’s personally control 23-24 red states.

    So where does justice come from for these sociopaths? Winning is more important than anything and those who have the most money usually wins. So money must be GOD.

    This creates the moral crisis discussed often on this blog. Morals come before the law. What if neither serves the collective? What if money or prosperity is now the highest power?

    The worldview for Pence and his toadies equates liberals with thieves since liberals steal MONEY from the chosen ones and pass along to those not chosen.

  4. “Trump is stupid and insane. McConnell is smart and evil.”

    The above quote points to the fact that Trump and McConnell are two sides of the same coin. McConnell’s wife is Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation, a Taiwanese immigrant; making another connection of two sides of another coin, their wives. Melania is a not-too-smart Slovanian immigrant who “Really doesn’t care…” and basically in a do-nothing position as First Lady while Elaine is a smart Taiwan immigrant in a Trump appointed high level government position with a great deal of power. As I mentioned yesterday, Justice Clarence Thomas (or “Uncle Thomas” as Earl Kennedy called him) and his wife are both raking in high levels of income due to their high level positions…and their personal connections.

    “Russiagate isn’t just the narrow story of a few corrupt officials. It isn’t even the story of a corrupt president. It’s the story of a corrupt political party, the one currently holding all the levers of power in Washington.”

    We must also look into familial connections as well as party connections of a number of government officials for a closer version to the truth of their power levels and how wide-spread they are. McConnell is indeed the most powerful and the most evil in this current administration; his evil is apparent on his face. When he smiles gloatingly after winning another round of contention, he appears Satanic. The more professional Trump tries to appear, the more ridiculous he appears. Both wives smile innocently from their powerful positions as they rake in paychecks from out tax budget.

  5. Sheila, I couldn’t agree with you more. Of course, political leaders do what they think they have to do to win elections. That’s their role, one that is not generally understood by those who are not involved in the political process. However, putting the country’s electoral security at risk for the sake of winning an election is a whole new level of corruption. History will not be kind to Mitch McConnell. He’s shown he doesn’t understand the principles upon which a liberal democracy functions.

  6. Sandy:
    I think McConnell understands those principles, he just prefers his handlers and their wealth (and his) to our democracy.

  7. Let’s don’t worry too much about what is happening right now, like African-Americans burning and stomping on the American flag out in California. There’s no urgency. I’m sure we can clean it all up with a Democratic Party SWEEP in the November elections. [if there is anything left to clean-up by then].

    Who would be dumb enough to win that election and be responsible for the clean-up? I give you the Democratic Party.

    Saying all of this is very THERAPEUTIC. Laughing, once in a while, is good for the soul.

    America is rapidly becoming ONE BAD JOKE.

    joke (jok) n. [L jocus] 1 anything said or done to arouse laughter, as a funny anecdote 2 a thing done or said merely in fun 3 a person or thing to be laughed at [right on point] –vt. joked, jok’ing to make jokes–jok’ing-ly adv.

  8. I have long contended that the Republicans are too crooked to rule and the Democrats too stupid. The Dems abondoned their beliefs when Clinton showed that moving right was the way to get elected. Obama started to correct that, but hadn’t the marketing skills to get far enough to continue the correction.

    On the other end, the Republicans began their descent to the 7th level when Nixon advised Ho Chi Minh that he’d give him a better deal, if only he’d hold out from the peace process a little bit longer. That’s the same deal Reagan offered the Ayatollah regarding the hostages.

    Yes the Democrats are not great, but to make them out to be just as bad as the Republicans is just plain nonsense.

  9. High Crimes and Misdemeanors

    Article ll Section 1 of the United States Constitution vests all executive power in a President. Ours is a “unitary” president as described by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 70. By this it is meant, these powers are vested in one person so that, as Hamilton continued to explain, a single person would have unconcealed accountability to the people.

    Executive power includes, among other things, faithful execution of the laws of Congress. This necessitates an administrative apparatus, which as early as Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, was expected (he insisted) to be filled by competent people irrespective of political views or affiliation. While this apolitical perspective struggled with the spoils system for many decades thereafter, Woodrow Wilson is credited by historians with affirming a bright line between “administration” and “politics”. Over the many years that have followed, there have been assaults and indeed breaches of the apolitical integrity of the faithful, impartial, apolitical administration of the laws. But increasingly, over these same years, congress and the judiciary have insisted on this integrity of the executive branch. Indeed, the “people” and the executive itself have viewed this the proper and necessary moral conduct. “Obstruction of justice” and “abuse of power” are now routinely thought of as impeachable offenses under violation of this principle under the rubric of “rule of law”.

    Enter Donald Trump. He clearly has no respect, or indeed simple understanding, of this mandate institutionalized in the constitution, and refined and affirmed by historic struggles, other branches of government and the “people” themselves. To him, “administration” is merely the wielding of political power. His politicization, and indeed his subjugation of every administrative department and agency tor his political will is well known and well documented, and need not be further enumerated here. But he does not comprehend that “public office creates a relation of trust and duty of a kind which requires all authority and influence pertaining to it be exercised with the same absolute conformity to moral standards, to the spirit of the constitution and the laws, and to the common interests of the people.” (Dorman Eaton 1880).

    Set aside for the moment whether there has been Treason or Bribery as referenced in Constitutional impeachment. I am also not citing his massive assault on the freedom of the press, due process and equal protection of the law, or many other direct constitutional transgressions. It is sufficient, in my view, that he has violated the proper exercise of executive power as set forth in the very first article of the constitutional presidency.

    Not only is this an impeachable offense but upon deep historic reflection, “The history of the world can be viewed as the rise and fall of public administrative institutions.” (Shafritz and Hyde in Classics of Public Administration)

  10. There are two possible reasons that McConnell & Co. are enabling this administration with regard to Russia.

    1. As Sheila says, they are willing to discard constitutional principles and good governance if it means they hold and expand their power to rule (not govern).

    2. Various Congressional leaders (possibly in both parties) are also compromised by Russia. The NRA dollars they’ve received appear to have come from Russia. Their own individual business interests might also be financed by Russian interests.

    For the life of me, I cannot think of any other possible reasons that any political party would behave this way. Whether it’s the first or the second reason, we are all in deep Red doo-doo.

  11. Russia, Russia, Russia treason, high crimes and misdemeanors. Since we are discussing actual crimes or criminal intent – can any one prove beyond a shadow of a doubt a single vote changed here in the USA because of Russian Hacking?? Can anyone prove beyond a shadow of a doubt any state system was hacked by the Russians?? When I went to vote in the 2016 election, I did not notice any Russians voting.

    The level of hysteria is in the red zone. CNN and MSDNC are spinning, hopping, weeping, wailing and gnashing their teeth. One expert after another demanding impeachment or something even darker. You have the impression that if some General took the troops to the WH and deposed Agent Orange they would be celebrating a victory.

    Who has damaged the electoral process more Russian Hacking or the PACs, Super PACs and Lobbyists camped out in and around Washington DC like some army of occupation??? Our McMega-Media will never pose that question on the air.

  12. Peggy,

    The other day you mentioned the term: USEFUL IDIOTS. Were you referring to Tony Judt’s essay in the London Review of Books in 2006? https://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n18/tony-judt/bushs-useful-idiots. The essay was entitled: “BUSH’S USEFUL IDIOTS: Tony Judt on the Strange Death of Liberal America”

    Many months before Tony died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 2010, we had a few lengthy E-mail exchanges. I did convince him that American Liberals had not been idiots but only FOOLS, as they appear to be once again.

    Tony directed the Remarque Institute at New York University and was one of the foremost social-democrats in the world.

  13. Why would a President, leaving office in three months allow McConnell to bully or blackmail him about information that was true? I follow your letters closely and value your insight and thinking, but on this one I think you have a partisan position that slants your view. Both of them are to blame, both McConnell and Obama failed us. Yes, only one is still in power, but as responsibility for this breach goes, I really don’t see why McConnell is any more to blame than Obama. The truth wasn’t revealed and both of them knew the truth. The only explanation is – they both thought at that particular time that it was to their own partisan advantage to do what they did.

  14. Sure, ML, blame the media for dispelling the reality of the situation. It’s their fault for telling us the truth objectively (most of the time). It’s their fault that Reagan turned public service television into a commercial enterprise. I should have guessed that all along.

    Meanwhile, what are YOU doing to fix the situation besides gnashing YOUR teeth? Are you knocking on doors? Are you working a phone bank? Are you passing out fliers? These, and many other things, are what we all need to be doing too – if we are able. It’s good to vent our frustrations and our disappointments, but while we still have the freedom to do so, WE the people must take action, if necessary, to gouge out this corrupt cancer in our governments at all levels.

  15. The impeachment process has been used many times for federal judges. It has been used only twice for the Presidency. Both times by Republicans for purely political purposes. Thereby Republicans have defined “high crimes and misdemeanors” as whatever the House Bill of Impeachment says they are. Impeachment proceedings of federal judges, if memory serves, have been initiated for agedness, incompetence and being dilitarious. Intent has never been a major factor in impeachment and only periferrally in Senate trials. There is a possibility Nixon maintained lack of intent as grounds for innocence even after accepting pardon. Talk of treason is not appropriate in the case of an ordinary citizen since we are not war with Russia. BUT , in the case of a sitting President, the House could expand the definition as Parliament did with
    Charles I.

  16. There have been discussions about whether Trump conquered the Republican Party or they recruited him or the whole thing was a tragic coincidence from that both were chasing power (including Vlad the Impaler) for different reasons and they collided.

    Not that it matters much.

    The argument that the GOP was as corrupt prior to marrying Agent Orange is certainly easy to support. Look at their candidates that lost to him.

    Now that whatever happened happened, the combination of Thugs One and Two and the GOP are all very busy dividing the spoils, us, and gluttony prevails over everything else.

    Just as Trump has redefined the country and the Presidency so has Mitch redefined the Legislative Branch in the same direction.

    Up until now it turns out much of our governance process was determined by tradition and not law so scoundrels willing to break tradition could do so without legal consequences. Boy does that have to change.

    For the first time ever we are facing an influx of people who have no regard at all for the country and its future. That motivation has been completely replaced by greed.

    As expected the costs ultimately will be exorbitant, maybe overwhelming.

    But some combination of we’s figured out a way for minority rule to sneak under the wire and that concept has now (temporarily we hope) replaced majority rule and the Constitution.

    It’s going to be tough to get our freedom back.

  17. Pete; there are deeply hidden reasons the Republican party dumped 16 qualified Republican possible presidential nominees and forced Trump on, not only the GOP but this entire country. Trump’s Russian real estate development wannabe situation has been known for many years; the Trump/Putin/Russia connection is no surprise to them or any of us who follow the daily news regularly. The reason is, of course, is follow the money, it always has been for Trump and Putin, following previous Russian leaders, wants to control the United States of America. He has never before had such a public opportunity and now he is being begged by Trump to take control.

  18. Thanks for the steel spiked shoe,into mcconnells er,,,im passing your daily rap sheet to those who dont even see this point,(and im from another planet in my working world) i see two other works, thenations, by david kolion, about a wider look at russiagate,and
    terry gross ,npr 7/19/18 carole cadwallers interview, perfect timing on all three of you.
    yesterday a fellow work buddy, said im too deep in politics, no, i said im trying to make you understand we only have one country,one democracy,and one constitution.look at what ignorance is distroying… none of them even read the news, and they just spew rumors that just show how ignorant they are.. and most of them are vets…

  19. So now Putin is publically complaining in the Russian press that there are elements in the United States who are trying to torpedo his talks with Trump. He is right, and I am one such element. We don’t need a kindergartener in secret discussions with a seasoned KGB operative that determine the fate of the United States and I hope (if he does in fact visit) that there are 10 million protestors in the streets of the district to register our complaint against the negotiated loss of our democracy. It’s time to quit whining about “Where are the Republicans?” because they are cowed into submission by this bully who promises them a tweet rebuke if they cross him and they have chosen their reelection prospects over their country. It is time for Democrats and patriots of any political stripe to do everything possible to stop this enemy-loving and ally-hating madman from destroying our country – anything short of violence lest that becomes the only alternative left to protect our teetering democracy.

    I well remember in law school that the criminal law professor defined mens rea as “a guilty state of mind,” and I submit that Republicans are now complicit in this obvious attempt to “overthrow the United States Government” from within and that their minds are infected with mens rea in such connection – or should be. It is not time to storm the Bastille just yet but not too early to gather our troops. Either Trump has to go, or we do. It has come to that.

  20. Gerald,

    “Either Trump has to go, or we do. It has come to that.”

    That’s called REALITY. Why don’t we try to stop escaping it and stay in it for at least a day or two, as a starter?

  21. Good to see some responsible rage stated on this blog. As with most successful movements, it takes emotion to drive it.

  22. Marv,

    I was thinking only of Russia’s efforts to disrupt governments. At the very least, 45 is a useful idiot for Putin, but I’m guessing he’s compormised in some way.

  23. Below; I have copied and pasted an E-mail I received today from Common Defense: “A grassroots organization of U.S. veterans and military families who are fighting to preserve the core values we swore to uphold and defend.” If their message below is being planned by Trump, can McConnell be far behind and is this considered “HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS…”?

    “We emailed you on Wednesday and said that Trump might as well be “forcing service members to march for Putin.” Originally, we meant it figuratively. Turns out, it could honestly be the truth. Because last night, CNN reported that Donald Trump is inviting Putin to DC in the fall, and that the talks are “already underway.”

    Here’s what has me worried: we know that Trump’s parade is rescheduled for November 10, the day before Veterans Day. And the only way he could make his disrespectful, egotistical parade even worse (or as he sees it, more glorious and ego-feeding) is to have Putin attend as well. That means our planned protest is more important than ever.”

    Vernon; does this count as “responsible rage” worthy?

  24. It is very simple and not at all profound that if the House and Senate were in the hands of the Democrats, we would all feel better. I cannot think of a single problem that would be solved, but we would be closer to the potential of doing something. I just want to be closer. That’s all, just closer. Right now that seems like paradise. Very simple. As we used to say, “pull the rooster’s tail.”

  25. So much for the Rage – >> Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who is running for re-election, used President Donald Trump’s praise for a new campaign ad, which features footage of the president lauding Donnelly for his work on the Right to Try measure. https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/07/20/in-sen-dem-sen-joe-donnelly-leans-on-praise-from-president-donald-trump-in-new-campaign-ad

    Donnelly, voted for Gorusch, Pompeo and Mommy Dearest Haspel to be confirmed so why not go for the Gold and use Trump in his campaign ad. Anything to get elected.

  26. Marv; sorry, but misery does love company and you would be some of the best company I know. I was also struck by the thought of the insult, in addition to the rage, to all of America’s military; past and present if Trump gets away with and combines his military parade and Putin visit. General McClelland repeatedly disobeyed President Lincoln’s orders to take action against the Confederacy; would our military actually want to parade for Putin in addition to Trump or could/would they rebel en masse and refuse?

  27. Stupid, insane, cruel (separating immigrant children for deterence bargaining chips), and transparently corruptible. As for McConnell, Obama’s mistake was in thinking McConnell would ever put anything including the country before partisanship. Obama should have done more but likely thought Hillary would win regardless.

    It will take a hard-headed taskmaster to repair the immense damage that Trump and Congress have wrought, but we’d better change Congress this fall or the damage can be cemented in court appointments that are in McConnell’s political image for the next 40 years.

  28. Know your nemesis…

    “Liberal Blind Spots Are Hiding the Truth About ‘Trump Country’” [Sarah Smarsh, New York Times] (Smarsh; she has the New Yorker imprimatur.) “Stories dispelling the persistent notion that bigotry is the sole province of ‘uneducated’ people in derided ‘flyover’ states are right before our eyes: A white man caught on camera assaulting a black man at a white-supremacist rally last August in Charlottesville, Va., was recently identified as a California engineer. This year, a white male lawyer berated restaurant workers for speaking Spanish in New York City. A white, female, Stanford-educated chemical engineer called the Oakland, Calif., police on a family for, it would appear, barbecuing while black…. To find a more accurate vision of these United States, we must resist pat narratives about any group — including the working class on whom our current political situation is most often pinned. The greatest con of 2016 was not persuading a white laborer to vote for a nasty billionaire with soft hands. Rather, it was persuading a watchdog press to cast every working-class American in the same mold” • Worth a read…


    I know it’s fun around this forum to deride those earning less monies….But…

  29. JoAnn,

    “would our military actually want to parade for Putin in addition to Trump or could/would they rebel en mass and refuse?”

    Good question. The situation will only be worse in November. I think the Civil War might have competition for having been America’s worst nightmare.

    As a former artillery officer, keep firing for effect [FFE], you’re right on target. You’ve become our ORIENTATION CANNON. You’re using the RIGHT WORDS with the effectiveness of loaded ammunition; your CALIBRATION is near perfect.

  30. For those of you blaming Obama, you have a point, but it is interesting that while history doesn’t repeat itself, it certainly does rhyme (I think that was Mark Twain’s observation).

    LBJ, in one of his White House tapes admitted that he knew the war in Vietnam was wrong, but he was fearful of the Republican accusing him of being “soft on communism”.
    Obama was fearful of McConnell accusing him of trying to sway the election.

    While Tom Wolfe used the term mau mauing to describe the actions of certain community organizers who could be described as being on the left, the right side of the political spectrum is very good at this same thing.

    As for Mitch, perhaps we need a new term. Cold war was coined for the situation where no direct military conflict existed and no declaration of war existed, but it wasn’t mere “competition”. Today we have a cold war with Russia. If we don’t want to use the word treason, what should we use. I am open to suggestions, but Mitch is clearly public enemy #1.

    One last thought on self-serving politicians and LBJ. He could have let the Dixiecrats kill the Civil Rights bill, but he didn’t; he twisted arms. He knew that this would cost the Democrats all of the southern states. LBJ had lots of flaws, but I don’t think any of today’s politicians on either side would make that choice.

  31. The reality that McConnell is truly, truly evil, accurately described by any unflattering adjective any of us can think of, as well as an essential fulcrum for the on-going damage the Republican/lining-our-own-pockets cabal is wreaking on the United States and the world at large – is self evident and not open to challenge.

    It is heartening to have this reality called out and elaborated through this blog and your comments.

    My hope is that when this fake governing structure finally collapses on itself, we do not forget that 45, his VP, and other enablers were supported (with vengeful glee) at every turn by McConnell. He deserves an ignoble fate like the rest of them.

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