Things That Matter

Democrats End Months Of Caution, Announce Formal Impeachment Inquiry Of President Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has officially announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The announcement comes after a whistleblower filed a complaint about Trump asking the Ukranian government to investigate presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son. Hunter Biden joined the board of Ukraine’s largest private gas company Burisma. The Obama administration supported an investigation into Hunter to confirm no conflicting interest with the vice president’s official business in the country. Now, Trump asked the Ukranian government to launch an investigation into the businesses dealings and it has been alleged that Trump threatened to withhold funds from Ukraine if they did not. Trump has denied the allegations but it was enough for Speaker Pelosi to announce an official investigation. Here’s what we know so far.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry for Trump today.

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The startling news comes in the wake of his admission that Trump spoke to the president of Ukraine to get information on Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son and their dealings with Ukraine. President Trump also admitted to withholding military funds before the call was made.

“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Rep. Pelosi told the press, according to The New York Times.

While some Democrats and Trump opposers have been calling for Trump’s impeachment for quite some time, Democratic presidential candidates have been more vocal about it in the past couple of months. It seemed like Rep. Pelosi was waiting for the right time to move forward.

Rep. Pelosi’s announcement today is a departure from the cautious tone the leading Democrat has publicly held.

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In March, Rep. Pelosi told The Washington Post the wasn’t “for impeachment. Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it. No. I don’t think he is. I mean, ethically unfit. Intellectually unfit. Curiosity wise unfit. No, I don’t think he’s fit to be president of the United States.” She then scolded herself for “coming across too negatively.”

All along, the House Judiciary Committee has collected articles of impeachment on President Trump. The only way to impeach a president is to have the proper articles of impeachment — which is the evidence that shows the president has engaged in wrongdoings that go above executive privilege. The steps now would be to collect the articles of impeachment and bring them to a vote before the House of Representatives. A committee can be set up to vet the articles, however, that is not necessary. If the House votes in a majority on one article, that is essentially an indictment that the president has committed an impeachable offense. 

The Trump Administration is, so far, playing it cool by saying this latest call for impeachment is “nothing new.”

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“The Democrats continue to weaponize politics when they should be working on behalf of their constituents, which is nothing new,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, according to CNN. “President Trump is working hard on behalf of our country here in NYC while they continue to scream the word impeachment. Nothing new here.” 

The complaint filed by the whistleblower about Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s president is a very important revelation in these proceedings.

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Initially, when news first broke about a whistleblower having first-hand knowledge that President Trump spoke to Ukraine about wanting knowledge against Biden for the purpose of his presidential election, it wasn’t a big deal. 

We’ve heard a myriad of things against Trump, but without proof, it doesn’t lead to much. So, when the whistleblower said there was a call, and then Trump admitted to it, that changed everything. Trump tweets scandalous things all the time. He says outrages things all the time, but saying and doing is two different things. Having proof is also important. Now that the public knows there’s a recording, and that Trump admitted to the call, those on Capitol Hill have demanded the transcript of the call and Trump is apparently going to release it soon. 

If there’s proof that Trump asked a foreign government to interfere in the next presidential election, he will be impeached. That would be the best-case scenario. There’s still an impeachment process, and Republicans hold the key because they’re the majority in the Senate.

While the transcripts could be important in these proceedings, what should be released sooner is the formal complaint by the whistleblower. There is skepticism that the Trump administration would release an undoctored version of the transcript. Releasing the whistleblower’s full complaint would offer a more honest and transparent account of the call.

So now what? Now we wait. The first hurdle is getting 235 Democrats in the House to support the inquiry. That is likely to happen. 

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After that, here’s how the process will move along, according to the New York Times

“When the full House votes on articles of impeachment, if at least one gets a majority vote, the president is impeached — which is essentially the equivalent of being indicted.”

“Next, the proceedings move to the Senate, which is to hold a trial overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.”

“A team of lawmakers from the House, known as managers, play the role of prosecutors. The president has defense lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury.”

“If at least two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed, and the vice president takes over as president.”

What many political pundits and critics are concerned of is the willingness of the Senate to move forward if an article for impeachment is approved by the House. While the Constitution states that after the House passes an article that the Senate will hold a trial to finalize the impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stonewalled any legislation passed by the House. Notably, Sen. McConnell blocked President Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy and he would be able to block an impeachment, which many expect him to do. Only time will tell if the Senate will follow through with their obligation to uphold the constitution and protect our democracy.

READ: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls For Donald Trump’s Impeachment After Mueller’s First Public Remarks

Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

Things That Matter

Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is once again touting what he sees as the benefits of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The Vermont senator first made comments praising parts of Castro’s Cuba in a 1985 interview. Now, 15 years later, Sen. Sanders is standing behind his idea that not everything is bad in Cuba in a 60 Minutes interview.

Senator Bernie Sanders is facing backlash from critics after his 60 Minutes interview because of his comments on Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

In the 1980s, Sen. Sanders was caught on camera more than once praising parts of the Castro regime in Cuba. He points to the health care and education systems as parts of the government that works for Cuban people. The comments resurfaced in 2019 and caused a backlash against the senator in the Cuban diaspora, whose pains are still fresh from the overthrow of the government.

Now, in a “60 Minutes” interview, the Vermont senator has doubled down on his comments that some of the Cuban government is good.

Anderson Cooper – “What is Democratic Socialism?”

Bernie Sanders – “When Donald Trump was a private businessman in New York, he got $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury housing. That’s called Socialism. What Democratic Socialism is about is saying, ‘Let’s use the federal government to protect the interest of working families.’”

BS – “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba. But, you know, it’s simply unfair to say that everything is bad. You know, when Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?”

AC – “There were a lot of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba.”

BS – “That’s right and we condemn that. Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear. I do not think that Kim Jung Un is a good friend. I don’t trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine.”

The comments have sparked some backlash on social media from Cubans and Cuban-Americans.

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Senator Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American, has been a vocal opponent of Socialism. He has used the crisis in Venezuela to solidify his point about the dangers of the government system he believes Sen. Sanders wants to start in the U.S. Yet, Sen. Sanders’s point is not that the Castro regime is good. In the “60 Minutes” interview, the senator made it clear that he does not support the Castro regime and the brutality it caused for the Cuban people. However, he does believe there are things we can learn from the Caribbean island about offering health care and education to the population.

One point of contention with the senator’s comments is that the Cuban people didn’t fight back because of the new programs.

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The Castro regime is known to have oppressed dissidents and political opponents. Speaking out against the authoritarian regime was not safe. People were jailed, killed, and exiled for standing up to Castro’s rise to power. Families fled the island and settled around the world to escape what they saw as a justifiable threat to their lives and sovereignty.

Some people are sharing personal stories of their families’ treatment under the Castro regime.

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The generational trauma created by the Castro regime is still felt today. Some people used Sen. Sanders’s comments as a chance to tell a fuller story of the government some have praised for their social services.

A clip of President Barack Obama speaking on the same social issues in Cuba is also circulating.

President Obama worked tirelessly to reopen relations between the U.S. and Cuba. He was the first sitting president to visit the island when it was announced that diplomatic ties were reopened between the two countries. Part of being able to open those relations was eliminating the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allowed Cuban nationals to stay in the U.S. after migrating. This allowed Cubans to be deported back to Cuba, something that hadn’t happened since Cubans first started to flee their homeland. In response, Cubans illegally in the U.S. have been subjected to ICE raids and detention for the first time because of President Donald Trump’s increasing escalation against the immigrant community.

There is a lot of concern from Democratic supporters that the comment could cost the party Florida in the general election if Sen. Sanders is nominated.

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The Cuban and Cuban-American population in Florida is a key demographic to win the state in general elections. His comments cherry-picking what is and is not good about the Cuban government is having a resonating effect in Florida. Cuban Democrats and Republicans in the state are untied in rebuking the senator’s comments as glossing over the true victimization and terror millions faced.

READ: Bernie Sanders Praises Fidel Castro And His Revolution In Cuba During Resurfaced Interview From 1985

AOC Has A D.O.G And It’s Making Its Rounds About Capitol Hill

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AOC Has A D.O.G And It’s Making Its Rounds About Capitol Hill

Just when we thought Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) couldn’t shake up the D.C. scene more than she already has, it turns out the congresswoman has a new trick up her sleeve.

Earlier this year in January, news surfaced that the congresswoman had adopted a French bulldog by the name of Deco. In a post to her Instagram page, the progressive Democrat welcomed the pup into the world with a post writing “Hey boo boo! Hi, welcome to our family.”

Now it turns out, AOC’s new pup is meant for the community, so you might have a chance to hang with him if you’re in his side of the hood

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Responding to a question on Twitter about whether she intended to bring the dog to work, AOC said Deco is meant to be a dog about town.

“The goal is to train him to be a community pup,” she shared in a post that featured him taking a nap in her lap. “Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc. But first, naps.”

According to People.com, AOC’s new Frenchie had been nameless for a few weeks and the congresswoman eagerly collected name suggestions from her followers on twitter.

“He doesn’t have a name yet!,” Ocasio wrote in an Instagram in January. “We are thinking something Star Trek-related or Bronx/Queens/NYC/social good related.”

Ultimately Ocasio-Cortez did pick a name from suggested from her community.

“As we took [the dog] for a walk…a neighbor suggested we name him after an artist,” AOC explained in an Instagram story. Ultimately the congresswoman and her boyfriend Riley decided to not go for an artist’s name but one inspired by the early 20th-century art deco movement. “We loved the idea, and decided to name him after one of Riley & I’s favorite design styles: Art Deco — which also is inspired by themes of optimism & social and technological progress, and is a fixture in iconic NYC architecture,” she later explained said.

Turns out, AOC’s new French is rocketing to stardom just like his mother.

Earlier this week, Representative Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.) shared a photo of herself hanging out with Deco for the very first time and used it as a chance to hype up AOC.

“Making the Capitol better one puppy snuggle at a time: @AOC & Deco,” Pressley tweeted in a post