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Archive of Articles in the "Foreign Policy" Category

Friday Talking Points -- Snowflake-In-Chief Not Person Of The Year, Sorry

[ Posted Friday, December 13th, 2019 – 18:17 UTC ]

And so we come to the close of the most momentous week in Washington of the year. In one week's time, we've seen articles of impeachment move to the floor of the House of Representatives, an agreement between House Democrats and the White House to move forward on the U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement, a truce declared in the budget battles (that had threatened to shut down the government once again), Democrats agreeing to the creation of the "Space Force" in exchange for paid family leave for federal workers, a tentative trade cease-fire declared with China, the Senate unanimously backing up the overwhelming vote in the House to declare the Armenian genocide for what it was, the release of an inspector general's report that totally debunked most of the conspiracy theories about the initiation of the counterintelligence operation at the edges of the 2016 Trump campaign, President Trump being forced to pay a $2 million fine for misuse of his own charitable foundation, and the House passing a landmark bill to fight the greed of drug companies by finally using the federal government's buying power to force lower prices on prescription medication. Again: all of these rather large things happened in a single week.

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Democrats Go Narrow On Impeachment Articles

[ Posted Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 – 17:59 UTC ]

Today, House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. This is a historic development, since it has only previously happened on three other occasions. Somewhat surprisingly, the Democrats opted to only focus very narrowly in the charges they brought, limiting them to the fallout from Trump's attempt to get the Ukrainian government to do opposition research on a political opponent. Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership made a decision in drafting such narrowly-focused articles, since they had the option of including other obviously-impeachable offenses, but in the end chose not to.

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Friday Talking Points -- Rolling Down The Impeachment Track

[ Posted Friday, December 6th, 2019 – 18:48 UTC ]

The impeachment train is rolling right on down the track, and nothing's going to stop it now. That was the big news this week, without question. This has all been happening at breathtaking speed, when you consider the usual glacial pace of things getting done in Washington. Just this week, the House Intelligence Committee put out its report on impeachment, handed it off to the Judiciary Committee, who then held their first hearing, and by week's end Nancy Pelosi was calling for articles of impeachment to be drafted so that the House could vote on them in time for the Christmas break. That all happened in one week.

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The Phase Two Hearings Begin

[ Posted Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 – 18:31 UTC ]

Today, I watched some more daytime television. Eight-and-a-half hours of it, to be precise. Because it was time once again to view gavel-to-gavel coverage of an event that has only taken place three (or four, if you count Nixon) times in our nation's history: the impeachment of a sitting U.S. president. The House Intelligence Committee wrapped up its work for now by voting on and making public their report on their findings of fact, and by doing so handed the impeachment inquiry off to the House Judiciary Committee. Which held its first public hearing today by opening with four constitutional scholars as witnesses.

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What Will Bolton Do?

[ Posted Monday, November 25th, 2019 – 18:00 UTC ]

The biggest remaining question in the impeachment inquiry now is what John Bolton is going to do (or not do, as the case may be). The ball is now squarely in his court, after a federal judge ruled today that Don McGahn can indeed be compelled to testify before a House committee. The judge rightly rejected the "blanket immunity" claim that the White House tried to use to block McGahn's testimony, but of course the case won't be ultimately decided until it gets to the Supreme Court (unless the White House backs down, which seems highly unlikely at this point). Bolton could either use this initial ruling as a reason for deciding to testify, or he could continue to play it coy. This could be a crucial step in the entire impeachment inquiry.

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Friday Talking Points -- And Here We Are

[ Posted Friday, November 22nd, 2019 – 19:30 UTC ]

That title comes from Fiona Hill's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment hearings this week. When Hill confronted Gordon Sondland over the quid pro quo Trump was forcing Ukraine into, she angrily told him: "This is all going to blow up." To which she added, to the congressmen questioning her: "And here we are."

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Fifth Debate Roundup

[ Posted Thursday, November 21st, 2019 – 19:51 UTC ]

I'm veering away from the impeachment hearings today to write up my reactions to last night's fifth Democratic presidential debate. This morning's testimony was pretty powerful, and Adam Schiff's closing statement was one for the history books, but it'll all have to wait until tomorrow.

The Democratic field now has 18 people in it, as Wayne Messam formally dropped out but Michael Bloomberg formally took his place. Other than Bloomberg, the candidates who are still running but who didn't appear last night are: Deval Patrick, Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Joe Sestak, and Marianne Williamson. The ones who did appear on last night's debate stage: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, and Tom Steyer. Hopefully, by the next debate, that entire list will have shrunk a bit more, but these days you never know -- maybe it'll even get bigger!

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Two Plus Two Equals Four

[ Posted Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 – 17:24 UTC ]

You'll have to forgive me, but during this morning's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee by Gordon Sondland, I kept thinking of a few key passages from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. If you watched the hearing, you'll understand what I'm referring to. Here are the quotes that sprang to my mind during this extended math lesson:

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Day 3 Reactions

[ Posted Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 – 19:44 UTC ]

I'm starting to write this at about 10 hours in to Day 3 of the public impeachment hearings in the House Intelligence Committee. The five minute segments are continuing as I write this, but at this point they could go on all night. Or so it seems -- you'll have to forgive me for being a bit loopy, since I'm not used to sitting and watching 12 straight hours of television at a time, and certainly not beginning at six o'clock in the morning (my time). So today's review is going to be rather choppy, as I type up what seemed to me to be the high and low points of the testimony so far.

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Friday Talking Points -- Everything's Just Impeachy-Keen

[ Posted Friday, November 15th, 2019 – 18:13 UTC ]

Rather than our usual weekly roundup, we are going to focus today solely on the public impeachment hearings. This is due to them being the most important thing that happened politically during the week, as well as the fact that we're admittedly more than a little frazzled sitting down to write this, after getting up at 6:00 A.M. and staring at the television for over six hours straight. Normally we would have used a good chunk of that time to sift the news stories from the past week, but that's simply not possible today. Nor is it all that important, because as mentioned everything else really pales in comparison to what is being witnessed right now by the American public.

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