A Bill Of Particulars

I find myself quoting Dana Milbank a lot these days. Milbank, a columnist for the Washington Post, is the kind of writer I appreciate; much like Gail Collins of the New York Times, he is both informative and witty.

In his column yesterday, however, Milbank did us all a service; given Pelosi’s decision to commence impeachment proceedings, he lays out what I would label “a bill of particulars.” Milbank’s list illustrates the truth of an observation from Lawfare: “Trump’s misconduct presents what the military calls a target-rich environment.”

I cannot improve upon it, so I am taking the liberty of quoting the entire list.

Milbank begins that list by asking an obvious question: what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if a Democratic President–Elizabeth Warren, for example–was accused of doing the things Trump has clearly done, and  the GOP has simply shrugged off?

● Defies congressional power of the purse by unilaterally raiding the Pentagon budget to finance her pet projects?

● Rejects the authority of congressional oversight, disregards subpoenas and refuses to furnish documents, including a whistleblower complaintabout the president deemed “urgent” by the intelligence community?

● Is found by an independent prosecutor appointed by her own administration to have engaged in 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice but is not charged because regulations prohibit such a move against a sitting president?

● Approves and reimburses secret payments, in violation of campaign-finance law, to a person threatening to put out damaging information about her?

● Fires an FBI director who refuses to call off a probe of one of her close associates?

● Rescinds the security clearance of a former CIA director critical of her, as well as the press credentials of journalists who criticize her administration?

● Persuades a foreign leader not to admit Republican members of Congress into his country?

● Grounds the jet used for official business by the congressional leader of the Republican Party?

● Repeatedly releases highly classified intelligence, some to a foreign enemy and some only to Democrats?

● Threatens to cut off highway funds and disaster aid to states and territories controlled by Republicans, and declares she has the “absolute” right to move criminals to jurisdictions governed by Republicans?

● Funnels millions of taxpayer dollars to her own businesses, pressures federal agencies and international organizations to do business with her personal enterprises, invites foreign governments to pay millions of dollars to her businesses, and rejects a law requiring her to provide Congress with her tax returns?

● Calls for a boycott of the parent company of a media outlet critical of her, threatens an antitrust action against the owner of another media outlet critical of her, says she can unilaterally order businesses to disinvest from a country and calls for federal punishment of individual businesses she doesn’t like?

● Circumvents the Constitution’s advice-and-consent provision by running the government with “acting” officials (unqualified but loyal to her) not confirmed by the Senate?

● Offers to pardon those who commit crimes enforcing her policies, questions the authority of certain judges because they are GOP appointees and pardons a political ally who ignored court orders?

● Without congressional approval, establishes a de facto network of internment camps, run under inhumane conditions, for a class of people she disdains?

● And, finally, asks and coerces foreign governments to sabotage her Republican opponents’ campaigns?

When you see the whole list–which Milbank suggests isn’t even complete, it is impossible to justify the enormity of what the GOP has enabled and protected. I can’t help wondering what Trump’s toadies in the House and Senate will tell their grandchildren when those children study the history of this  retrograde and destructive Presidency.

How will they respond to the inevitable questions? What did you do, grandpa/grandma, while that mentally-ill, racist ignoramus was dismantling our government, spitting on the rule of law, and violating the Constitution on a daily basis?


  1. As many other astute students of political history and current events have suggested, Trump is merely the end result of years, perhaps decades of ingrained corruption in our political process. The single-most critical point along this fetid pathway was the egregious Citizens United v. FEC decision to allow corporations to be people and money, speech. That opened the Pandora’s box of demons for unregulated capitalism to do what it is compelled to do.

    Todd and I agree completely, that pure capitalism in its own right, with acolytes like Milton Friedman and Antonin Scalia will destroy anything it is allowed to touch. If not regulated, capitalism, by its very nature, will consume and consume until there are no more resources to consume. Of course, creatures like Ayn Rand never asked the question: “Then what?”

    Well, we’re now seeing “then what”. The moguls who own the Republican party don’t care what happens while they’re still alive. Hell, they’ll destroy the entire planetary ecosystem in order to make the quarterly reports sing. Trump is the instrument of acceleration, and the amoral, unethical and totally corrupted GOP is just doing what their paymasters tell them to do.

    There is no honor amongst these thieves in silk suits. There is no country to respect or nurture. There is only money. Oh, and this money also buys the weakest of the weak minds who approve of and vote for these self-destructive wretches…like Trump and Kevin McCarthy.

  2. They can tell their grandchildren that Trump is what they had been waiting for. And that Trump allow them to be who they really wanted to be. and they can remember exactly what they were doing the moment they decided Trump would supplant Christ as their Messiah. And how their newly-minted Messiah allowed them to boldly deny science of any sort. And with their messiah’s blessing, they were allowed to engage in what used to be unholy activities against their fellow man. Widow’s? Orphans? The poor? The elderly? Foreign residents? The infirmed? Well, they can all be damned, because we got while the getting was good right then. That’s the great thing about their newly-minted Messiah, he just gives them cover to be who they were really meant, and want to be. They proudly tell these stories as they sit around flickering fires in their floating cities on a planet covered with water.

  3. Read your Constitution; the Legislative branch is designed to control the Executive branch to protect the entire country from partisan, destructive acts accomplished by one man…or woman…sitting in the Oval Office. We have lived with the Republican partisan control stalling and/or ending Democratic progress by President Obama (the colored guy) and for the past 2 1/2 years supporting, encouraging, aiding and abetting the APPOINTED White Nationalist as he lies and commits illegal and possibly treasonous acts on a daily…at times hourly…schedule.

    “When you see the whole list–which Milbank suggests isn’t even complete, it is impossible to justify the enormity of what the GOP has enabled and protected. I can’t help wondering what Trump’s toadies in the House and Senate will tell their grandchildren when those children study the history of this retrograde and destructive Presidency.”

    We need to name names of those cowering in the shadows of the Senate who refuse to vote out Mitch McConnell who is the primary enabler of Trump’s dirty deeds and has allowed him to reach the current level of high crimes as the United Nations is meeting here. Trump’s appointees are cowering in public by following suit and following Trump’s orders to support him. The Senate majority could trump Trump by removing McConnell in a single vote but refuse to uphold their own oath of office to uphold the Constitution. We know the names of the 2 from Indiana; we need to see the “Bill of Particulars” in the form of a full list of names and the states they represent.

  4. What Vernon said…

    My only confusion is Nancy Pelosi calling a meeting to inform the Dems that they must focus only on the phone call to Ukraine. As Millbank points out, there is a complete list of impeachable items when taken individually or as the aggregate, so why only focus on bribing another country?

    Also, didn’t Trump ask Russia to do the same on Hillary?

    Makes you wonder what else he’s done while in the WH that we don’t know about…vintage Richard M. Nixon’s tapes.

    This is going to be fun to watch…there a few freshman congresswomen who will enjoy the proceedings.

  5. Every American should absolutely be outraged by each and every item on the “bill of particulars”, but we’re not. Have our attention spans become too short to care about anything that happened more than 24 hours ago? Have we become so inured to the sleaze that it seems a normal circumstance? We had best shake off the ennui if we want to be the country we think we are.

  6. Todd,

    I’m not so sure that Pelosi will limit the articles to this Ukraine fiasco. All six committee chairs are hard at work putting together cases. Now that impeachment is on the table, the courts should move a lot faster. The stonewall at the White House is starting to crack and crumble. My major hope is that its collapse lands on Barr as well as Trump.

  7. That’s assuming that history is accurate in its accounting of this administration. If we don’t enforce laws on them, I have little faith this will be recorded & taught in history. More like buried & never spoke of or becomes a corrupt way to govern.

  8. One of the reasons that Nancy Pelosi was so reluctant to launch an impeachment investigation is that she understood the resources it would sidetrack from the House’s day job of legislating and also the DNC would similarly be affected by dilution of campaign resources. This of course is compounded by the fact that it appears that all Republicans involved will readily lie at every opportunity so facts have to be dug up and supported by irrefutable evidence. Much of the work involved will be shouldered by Congressional staffs who are busy people to start with.

    So far the results of her change in position have unfolded exactly like that. Trump and Republicans lie at every opportunity and Congress is and must poke at every single detail to find the evidence as to why is each statement a lie.

    I suppose that every prosecuter knows all of that.

    The snowball has started rolling down the hill and we’re hoping for an avalanche.

  9. Grandchildren should also ask: What terrible thing did you do grandma/grandpa that Trump used as blackmail to make you protect his crimes?

    Prosecutors should go after every one of Trump’s private investigators. Identify them, follow them, confiscate their records, and thereby discover whom among legislators that Trump blackmailed into acquiescence or retirement.

  10. Listening to the testimony this morning has only served to reinforce my OPINION that no one appointed by this administration is capable of answering yes or no to any question. For whom is it “prudent” to delay and ruminate over a course of urgent action the IG has already identified? It sure isn’t prudent for We, the People. The tap dancing and sidestepping is nauseating to listen to as it tells me that we will never get back what we have lost. The confidence and trust slain by the corrupt power brokers running the con on us rubes will take generations to restore, if ever. In the meantime, the planet and all of its occupants are in mortal danger

  11. The GOP is as expected closing ranks around President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence. One of the lines of defense is the continuing “persecution” of President Agent Orange for defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016. One after another the allegations against President Agent Orange have been proven to be false, per the defenders in the GOP.

    The GOP sees a target rich environment concerning the Biden’s of influencing peddling on behalf of VP Joe Biden for his son Hunter Biden.

    In May 2014, Cyprus-registered Burisma Holdings, one of the largest natural gas companies in Ukraine, announced that Hunter Biden had joined its board.

    Hunter Biden’s compensation for serving on the board was apparently routed through Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC, a U.S. company set up by one of his business partners, Devon Archer, who also served as a Burisma director. Bank records from 2014 and 2015, disclosed in unrelated litigation, show the company receiving funds from Burisma and paying more than $850,000 to the younger Biden. He remained on the board until this year (2019.

    The GOP if nothing else has always been excellent at deflection and counter attacks.

    One thing about Impeachment:

    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

    There are 53 Republican Senators, which means it would take 66 Senators to convict President Agent Orange. Does anyone think the Republicans will defect??? President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence controls the GOP and elected Republicans know that.

  12. The idealist’s daydream….the GOP Senate will not impeach and they and Trump go down in a massive defeat as the American people get fed up with corruption….

  13. All: The Senate does NOT impeach. They try and convict.

    I agree that the proceeding should go forth. Let the Republicans wear their no votes to criminal behavior by their president. Let them explain to their voters why they support criminal behavior and law-breaking.

    Lester, I hope you’re right. The 5th Avenue crowd will vote for Trump and Republicans no matter what. They are permanently conned and their minds are completely compromised. BUT if the rest of the citizenry doesn’t get off their asses and vote, we’re headed for the kind of fascism so brutally described in Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here”…..written in 1935. Read it. The parallels, like those with Hitler’s regime, are very creepy and scary.

  14. JD; just moments ago Adam Schiff asked Murphy if something involving crime or fraud should be investigated. Murphy’s answer, “I’m not in a position to decide what should be investigated.”

    Monotonous; “The GOP if nothing else has always been excellent at deflection and counter attacks.” I missed the name of the Republican who considers Whistle Blowers only to be leaking information and should not be protected.

    “● Rejects the authority of congressional oversight, disregards subpoenas and refuses to furnish documents, including a whistleblower complaintabout the president deemed “urgent” by the intelligence community?”

    This “Particular” has been in evidence throughout the current “hearing” from the Acting Director of National Intelligence. Who; by the way stated he will be leaving that position in about 6 weeks, is he in an “Acting” position or an “Office Temp”?

  15. Vernon, the GOP will wear the Medal – Defenders of Trump-, proudly back in their safe districts and safe Senate Seats. They really have no other choice, they know the power President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence have over their base.

  16. While there is a possibility of impeachment by the House, it’s extremely unlikely that there will be a trial in the Senate overseen by the Chief Justice. With Republicans the majority in the Senate, and McConnell in control there, it just won’t happen unfortunately (IMO).

  17. Instead of impeaching Trump (a slam dunk as the evidence mounts), he should be tried for treason and dealt with accordingly. It is his intention to do what he can to bring down this country as long as his actions benefit his bank account. He despises decent people with ethical principles they refuse to abandon. He now assumes he can get away with anything, including the implication that whistleblowers should be shot. His diseased mind and soul are a clear and present danger to the U.S. and democracy in general. Giuliani, Barr, Nunes and McConnell should meet the same fate. All of them despise America and see politics as a con game for the powerful.

    How ironic it is that they are about to fall thanks to a conscientious member of the intelligence community which they despise for exposing the truth. Trump, obviously, can’t handle the truth and wants nothing to do with it.

  18. Terry – You hit the nail on the head with this description of trump…..

    “It is his intention to do what he can to bring down this country as long as his actions benefit his bank account. He despises decent people with ethical principles they refuse to abandon. He now assumes he can get away with anything, including the implication that whistle blowers should be shot. His diseased mind and soul are a clear and present danger to the U.S. and democracy in general.”

  19. Why do so many believe that the Senate will not convict Trump? It would be the perfect opportunity for the evangelicals to get their guy in the White House as president. That group alone could pressure enough Republicans to vote ever so self righteously against Trump and thus hand Pence the prize.

  20. Todd – a little background – back in my post-doc days, a staff scientist gave a talk on why he focused his research on human disease – his final reason was Mom – so she could understand what he did- I know my family’s eyes glazed over when I tried to explain my “pure” science research

    So it is with impeachment – Pelosi knows that Trump has provided the country with a simple and easy to understand crime – they have seen crime dramas and The Godfather and know about a “favor” – She can include other articles if the committees can complete their work despite White House stonewalling, but she has this “in our face”, easy to understand, and obvious set of crimes to start off. That actually should be enough.

    Lester – I so agree with you – I look forward to the Republican Senators’ continued support for Trump and to the campaigns against their re-election.

  21. Sheila, I am reminded of something you told me years ago. I have not left the republican party,it has left me.

  22. I like Larfare’s term “target rich enviroment” which is appropo in this instance. I think Republican pundits are emboldened by the result of being able to direct the narrative about the Mueller Report. In retrospect,it was a long , laborious, complicated & confusing report to the average voter. Bill Barr took it over, even referring to it as his “Baby”! The Mueller report was conducted in a closed system, behind closed doors and accounted for by a partisan DOJ. Republicans are resorting back to their playbook from that successful propaganda campaign, but this anticipated impeachment is different from the Mueller Investigation. The Levensky/trump transcript shows POTUS’s wrong doing that was covered up by White House & DOJ. The timing of Pelosi’s official impeachment announcement shook out the transcript, with Senate supporting. I think Republicans think they can explain this away too. I question that. Impeachment hearings are public hearings, something that a lot of Americans would watch. If the House connects the dots, and paints a clear picture of what’s going on, the Senate would have to own what’s obvious.

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