Monday, 19 March 2018

Explaining why it's really hard to impeach a US president and other news and views

Can Donald Trump Be Impeached? New York Times Book Review
Andrew Sullivan, reviewing two recent books, explains why "It’s really hard to impeach a president."
And so the impeachment power was both strong and weak. Strong as it hovered as the ultimate sanction for any president who might push his luck, but weak insofar as it was deliberately limited to the offense of subverting the Constitution itself or betraying the United States in foreign affairs: the famously grave and yet vague Anglo-American terminology of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which included “great and dangerous offenses.” These were essentially serious political crimes, which was why they had to be dealt with in the political arena rather than the courts. They amounted to one core idea: If the president was to start acting like a king, he could be dispatched.
But if he was to start acting like an idiot, he could not be impeached. If he was psychologically disturbed but not mentally incapacitated, ditto. If he pursued ruinous policies, or faced enormous unpopularity, or said unspeakably reckless things, he could not be impeached. If he committed a whole slew of crimes in his personal capacity, he’d be answerable to public opinion and regular justice, but not subject to losing his job. If his judgment was unstable, his personal behavior appalling or if he were to make the United States a laughingstock in the opinion of mankind, the impeachment provision did not apply.
Trump Continues Barrage Against Special Counsel Mueller, Fired FBI Deputy McCabe - NPR
Congressional Republicans say they still support special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference even as the president continued his offensive Sunday against the investigation, as well as a recently fired high-ranking FBI official, Andrew McCabe.
Trump sent a flurry of tweets Sunday morning, in which he painted the Mueller-led special counsel probe as a politically biased witch hunt.
Poisoning of Russian ex-spy puts spotlight on Moscow’s secret military labs - Washington Post
Since the start of Putin’s second term, a construction boom has been underway at more than two dozen institutes that were once part of the Soviet Union’s biological and chemical weapons establishment, according to Russian documents and photos compiled by independent researchers. That expansion, which includes multiple new testing facilities, is particularly apparent at secret Ministry of Defense laboratories that have long drawn suspicions from U.S. officials over possible arms-treaty violations.
A mole among trolls: Inside Russia's online propaganda machine - Public Radio International
After Russian journalist Vitaly Bespalov published an exposé on the Internet Research Agency, Russian state media responded with its own piece disparaging his claims along with mocking his lifestyle, tattoos and liberal political views.
Federal Agency Courted Alcohol Industry to Fund Study on Benefits of Moderate Drinking - New York Times
Scientists and National Institute of Health officials waged a concerted campaign to obtain funding from the alcohol industry for research that may enshrine alcohol as a part of a healthy diet.
Do Not Read This Editorial While Walking - New York Times
Should you be reading this on some electronic device while crossing the street, please stop. Right now. Traffic may be swirling around you. Your inattentiveness puts you in harm’s way. And if by chance you’re in Montclair, Calif., while reading this and crossing the street, you’d best keep an eye out not only for cars but also for the police. You’re breaking the law. ... Montclair made it illegalto cross streets while on a phone, texting or listening to music with buds in both ears. Fines of $100, and as much as $500 for repeat offenses, will go into effect in August.

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