For your reading pleasure today: three articles on how things are going here in the United States.
A World of Hurt
A good summing up.
To sum up the summary: the compleat lickspittles are busy licking spittle. Meanwhile, those with slightly more sense are truly in a world of hurt.
Off the Rails
Under the strain of a metastasizing impeachment probe on Capitol Hill and helming an administration run by a diminishing number of heavyweight officials of independent stature, the president is displaying the kind of capricious behavior that once might have been contained or at least mitigated, former officials say.
“The wheels are not off the car. The situation is way worse than that. The car has been impounded and we are now waiting to figure out what the fine is and to see whether or not we’re going to get the car back,” said former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. “Mulvaney is a good Catholic and in fairness to him, that was a full-blown Catholic confessional on Thursday afternoon.”
What Machiavelli Mitch Is Doing and Why He Is Doing It
Some of this is not surprising. But some of it is really interesting. Read on.
New York Times, As Inquiry Widens, McConnell Is Said to See Impeachment Trial as Inevitable
WASHINGTON — It was only a few weeks ago that the top Senate Republican was hinting that his chamber would make short work of impeachment.
But this week, Senator Mitch McConnell sat his colleagues down over lunch in the Capitol and warned them to prepare for an extended impeachment trial of President Trump.
According to people who were there, he came equipped with a PowerPoint presentation, complete with quotes from the Constitution, as he schooled fellow senators on the intricacies of a process he portrayed as all but inevitable.
Few Republicans are inclined to convict Mr. Trump on charges that he abused his power to enlist Ukraine in an effort to smear his political rivals. Instead, Mr. McConnell sees the proceedings as necessary to protect a half a dozen moderates in states like Maine, Colorado and North Carolina who face re-election next year and must show voters they are giving the House impeachment charges a serious review. …
The mood among Republicans on Capitol Hill has shifted from indignant to anxious as a parade of administration witnesses has submitted to closed-door questioning by impeachment investigators and corroborated central elements of the whistle-blower complaint that sparked the inquiry.
They grew more worried still on Thursday, after Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, undercut the president’s defense by saying that Mr. Trump had indeed withheld security aid from Ukraine in order to spur an investigation of his political rivals. Mr. Mulvaney later backtracked, but the damage was done. …
Mr. McConnell, his allies said, regards the impeachment fight in much the same way as he did the struggle last year to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, in which he was primarily concerned with protecting his Senate majority by insulating vulnerable incumbents. Then, as now, they said, Mr. McConnell is focused on keeping Republicans as united as possible, while allowing those with reservations about Mr. Trump’s conduct and their own political considerations to justify their decision to their constituents. …
Mr. McConnell reminded senators that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would preside over the trial, and would have wide latitude in handling motions that might be made, including any motion to dismiss the charges that Republicans might try to put forward to short circuit the process. …
On Wednesday, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, pushed for Senate Republicans to write a letter to Ms. Pelosi declaring that they would not remove the president. But some senators raised objections, worrying that some of their colleagues would not want to sign on, a result that would expose disunity among Republicans. Mr. Graham’s colleagues said they believe they staved off the letter, which they viewed as a mistake.
Mr. McConnell has made it clear that he plans to sit down with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, to see if they can find a mutually acceptable way to move forward as Democrats and Republicans did in 1999 when they unanimously agreed on the framework for the impeachment trial. The Senate is much more polarized now, though Mr. Schumer this week held out hope.