Tuesday, January 28, 2020


What the hell is she thinking?
Just after President Trump’s defense lawyers ended arguments in their Senate trial Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California became the first Democrat to suggest that she could vote to acquit him, despite serious concerns about his character.

“Nine months left to go, the people should judge. We are a republic, we are based on the will of the people — the people should judge,” Feinstein said Tuesday, after the president’s team finished a three-day presentation in his defense. “That was my view and it still is my view.”

Still, she indicated that arguments in the trial about Trump’s character and fitness for office had left her undecided. “What changed my opinion as this went on,” she said, is a realization that “impeachment isn’t about one offense. It’s really about the character and ability and physical and mental fitness of the individual to serve the people, not themselves.”

Asked whether she would ultimately vote to acquit, she demurred, saying, “We’re not finished.”
I am reminded that Feinstein became a senator when she won a special election to replace Republican Pete Wilson, who'd just been elected governor. Wilson would go on to champion the anti-immigrant Proposition 187, which passed in 1994 but helped push California Hispanics toward the Democratic Party, leaving the state's GOP in a state of disrepair from which it still hasn't recovered.

Feinstein, however, seems to believe that it's still the early '90s and that her state is still purple. And no, she's not doing this because constituents contacting her office are deeply divided:
Feinstein told reporters that her office had received roughly 125,000 letters in support of the impeachment last week, and about 30,000 against it.
Feinstein votes against Trump more than 75% of the time. Does she believe she'll be rewarded for siding with him on one occasion? Let's see how that goes:
... the USMCA was the TRUMP administration’s top legislative priority, and to its credit, the White House steered it through a Congress beset by partisanship by partnering with House Democrats. And on Wednesday, the WHITE HOUSE is hosting a big signing ceremony for the deal.

OF COURSE, IT IS UNDENIABLE FACT THAT DEMOCRATS played a big role in this deal -- just ask the White House, which told reporters for months that the fate of the bill was in Speaker NANCY PELOSI’S hands. Her trade working group negotiated with USTR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER -- and earned plaudits from many in the administration for being honest brokers.

BUT NOW THAT IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE, DEMOCRATS are out in the cold. In a closed-door meeting Monday night, PELOSI briefly mentioned that President DONALD TRUMP would sign the trade deal this week, touting the provisions that Democrats helped get added. She mentioned the White House ceremony, and said, “not that Democrats were invited,” according to multiple people in the room.

WAIT. HOW ABOUT WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN RICHIE NEAL (D-Mass.), whose committee was the center of gravity in getting the deal tweaked and passed? Not invited, sources told us. Rep. ROSA DELAURO (D-Conn.), a member of the trade working group? She said she didn’t get the invite.

REP. HENRY CUELLAR -- one of the biggest champions of the trade deal in the House Democratic Caucus -- said he was not included in the event. But two officials in his district -- Laredo’s Democratic Mayor Peter Saenz, and a local county commissioner -- did receive the invite to the White House. “It’s a little petty of him,” the Texas Democrat said in an interview, referring to the president. “Actually, there were more Democrats who voted in favor than Republicans in the House side.”

WE HEARD LATE MONDAY that the White House was considering a few invites to friendly Democrats. There was some internal tension, though, because, as several White House sources pointed out, there may be someone in the building who isn’t exactly interested in celebrating with Democrats because of impeachment.
Maybe Trump would be nicer to Feinstein because it's impeachment, his real #1 priority, and he's desperate for a Democratic defector -- but even if Feinstein votes his way, he'll rebuff her and insult her the minute she does something he doesn't like afterward. So what's the point?


UPDATE: Now there's this:

Good to know -- but then what was all that hedging about?

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