Now that the prospect of impeaching President Donald Trump for Russian collusion has collapsed, congressional Democrats appear to have latched onto the bizarre idea of impeaching the president for allegedly saying something inflammatory that he’d reportedly meant as a joke.
According to CNN and The New York Times’ infamous “anonymous sources,” during a trip to the border last week the president ordered then-U.S. Customs and Border Protection head Kevin McAleenan to block migrants and asylum seekers from entering the US. (possibly in violation of the law) and then promised he’d pardon him if he got in trouble for doing so.
Congressional Democrats such as Ted Lieu, who spent years touting the since-debunked Russian collusion delusion conspiracy, believe this behavior may be grounds for impeachment.
Dear @realDonaldTrump: Dude, you can’t tell a federal employees to violate the law and then say you will issue a pardon. That’s the kind of stuff that can get you impeached.
Also, why are you trying to eliminate pre-existing conditions health care coverage? https://t.co/DXbesW0xUm
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 12, 2019
Other Democrats and the members of their increasingly radical base appear to feel similarly:
Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio after he was found in contempt for his violation of immigration laws.
Now Trump reportedly promised a pardon to the Customs and Border Partrol head if he violated the law at Trump’s urging.
The rule of law is withering away, and the GOP says nothing. https://t.co/cOBfNsN9D4
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 12, 2019
Honestly, how do you NOT move to impeach Trump for instructing a high-ranking immigration official to break the law — possibly even engage in human rights abuses — with the promise of a pardon if he’s jailed?
— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) April 13, 2019
.@SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer @AdamSchiff @RepSwalwell god forbid we mention impeachment ever. reality host white nationalist lunatic president who subsists on BBQ @LAYS potato chips now saying he’d pardon people breaking the law. https://t.co/megw9q0vay
— Mocean Worker aka Adam Dorn (@moceanworker) April 12, 2019
In any other administration, in any other reality, a president instructing someone to break the law and promising a pardon would lead to impeachment. We are very, very broken. https://t.co/OubGBwI0NK
— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) April 12, 2019
Offering a public official something of value -such as pardons – as an inducement to commit a crime is a flat out felony. In normal worlds, Trump would now being go through impeachment. In the criminal world of the GOP, offering presidential pardons as bribes is just another day.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) April 12, 2019
So Trump told him to break the law and he would pardon him? How is this not grounds for impeachment and removal?https://t.co/F7Pw7TyR5P
— Dr. DaShanne Stokes (@DaShanneStokes) April 13, 2019
Trump’s authoritarian escalation continues. He told Border Patrol agents to violate the law to enforce his immoral agenda & told the head of CBP he’d pardon him if he was jailed for breaking the law.
This is extremely dangerous.
Where is the resistance from Democrats? #Impeach
— Kai Newkirk (@kai_newkirk) April 12, 2019
Except that there are two glaring problems with this line of thinking. First, the “anonymous sources” cited by both CNN and the Times noted that the remark may have been made in jest.
CNN: “It was not clear if the comment was a joke.”
Times: “One of the people briefed on the conversation said it was possible Mr. Trump had intended the comments to Mr. McAleenan as a joke.”
Second, the Department of Homeland Security has denied that the conversation even occurred.
“At no time has the president indicated, asked, directed or pressured the acting secretary to do anything illegal. Nor would the acting secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law,” DHS spokesperson Tyler Q. Houlton reportedly said.
The president has also denied that this conversation ever occurred.
“Another Fake Story on @NBCNews that I offered Pardons to Homeland Security personnel in case they broke the law regarding illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. Of course, this is not true. Mainstream Media is corrupt and getting worse, if that is possible, every day!” he tweeted Friday.
The story was actually picked up by NBC News from the Times, but his underlying point still stands. The entire left-wing media have a tendency of using sketchy “anonymous sources” to run highly sensational stories accusing him of doing or saying this, that or the other.
Another Fake Story on @NBCNews that I offered Pardons to Homeland Securiy personnel in case they broke the law regarding illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. Of course this is not true. Mainstream Media is corrupt and getting worse, if that is possible, every day!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2019
CNN has chosen to fully accept the latest conspiracy theory.
When asked Friday evening by former White House lawyer Jim Schultz why the network has again taken to acting as if “the sky [is] falling” again, CNN host Chris Cuomo claimed it’s yet another sign of the president’s allegedly (and mostly disproven) “problematic behavior.”
Is it, though?
According to Schultz, all the president has been doing is “saber rattling.”
“It’s political saber rattling. We can argue all day whether it’s the right tone or whether it’s the right thing to say but the bottom line is that’s not tyrannical or violating the Constitution. What he is doing is political saber-rattling to get folks to the table to try to deal with this issue,” he said.
Listen to the discussion below:
“There hasn’t been an executive order to violate the law. That doesn’t happen,” Schultz added, the point being that, despite a million+ conspiratorial claims from Democrats and their media allies of Trump allegedly violating the law, he has yet to actually violate the law a single time.
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