Casey: ‘There’s no question of obstruction’ by Trump | Friday Morning Coffee

U.S. Attorney General William Barr at the Justice Department, discussing the redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election (screen capture)

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

So let’s get one thing out of the way right away: if you were expecting U.S. Sen. Bob Casey to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, we’d urge you to skip ahead right now to today’s Heavy Rotation pick or today’s Gratuitous Hockey Link for news that would truly surprise you.

To be sure, Pennsylvania’s senior United States senator had plenty to say about America’s 45th president when we caught up with him during a stop in suburban Harrisburg on Thursday morning. And while the word “impeachment”did show up, it did not result in Casey calling for Trump’simpeachment.

That is partly a function of Casey being Casey, cautious and deliberative — almost to a fault.

But, perhaps more importantly, it’s also a function of the fact that, as a member of the Senate, Casey would be called to sit in judgment during any impeachment trial. And while he may privately believe that Trump should be exiled to some malarial colony for high crimes and misdemeanors, he can’t actually say that alone.

Appearances, at minimum, dictate that.

“Well, first of all, my role is going to be on the second part of [an impeachment proceeding]; which is if there is an impeachment [trial in the Senate], then you have to decide whether … that individual should be removed,” he said. “So I’ve got to consider the evidence when it gets there.”

But not to worry, there is an alternative:

“Remember, one of the best ways that people learned about Watergate was not through impeachment hearings, it was through Senate hearings that were called the ‘Watergate Hearings,'” Casey said Thursday. “So I would hope that we will try to continue to try to push for ways that more Americans can become engaged in terms of what’s in [the Mueller] report.”

Casey said his own review of Mueller’s 448-page door-stopper revealed clear evidence of Russian tampering in the 2016 election. And “yet there’s no administration initiative that substantial enough to meet the threat from Russia,” he said.

He continued, “There’s no question that there were multiple instances of obstructive conduct.”

A few more takeaways from our conversation with Casey:

Trump’s planned 5 percent tariffs on Mexico as a way to stem illegal immigration “make no sense,” Casey said. Administration officials on Thursday were trying to resolve some outstanding issues with the Mexican government before the planned tariffs kick on in Monday.

“And this is one of those rare moments where people in both parties are on the same page. It makes no sense to use a tariff in this manner, to force some kind of progress on immigration and border security,” Casey said of Republican senators who have voiced similar concerns about the White House’s heavy-handed tactics.

Meanwhile: A comprehensive agreement on immigration reform remains out of reach — even after House approval of a bill earlier this week that provides a path to citizenship for Dreamers and those with “temporary protected status.”

“I wish the President would just come to the House and the Senate, and have one meeting and say, ‘You know what, let’s dust off that 2013 immigration bill, which was … negotiated with a lot of conflict and division.”

The end product of that 2013 bill, which vanished in the House, was an “[investment] in border security that works use all the best technology,” Caseyreflected. “We know that ports of entry are where the big problem is [with illegal] drugs [coming into the United States], for example. We could invest in new infrastructure there. We could put people on a path to citizenship and deal with the guest worker issues. In other words, I don’t know why for the life of me, he doesn’t want to take on comprehensive immigration reform that we know has bipartisan support.”

And, yes, for God’s sake: The president does need to go to Congress and get permission before he starts World War III with Iran.

“We are long overdue,” for a new authorization of the use of military force, Casey said. “This is a bipartisan failure … The impediment here is [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell. He should allow a vote on the authorization of military force — or a series of votes. No one likes to do that. It’s difficult for a public official to do that. But I think it’s our duty to have that kind of debate, and to have that kind of vote, so we can update the authorization, which I think is pretty stale.”

Our Stuff:
Sarah Anne Hughes
 has all you need to know on the new drama surrounding embattled state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, who has refused another call to resign in the wake of a long-awaited report detailing ‘immature and unprofessional behavior.’

Gov. Tom Wolf’s $4.5 billion Restore PA plan has run into opposition from the most unexpected of places: Progressives who are concerned about its reliance on fossil fuels and a severance taxStephen Caruso has the details.

A Cumberland County state senator is looking for $125 million in new fundingfor Pennsylvania’s school safety grants, Elizabeth Hardison reports.

Hardison also has the story on Thursday’s abruptly canceled Harrisburg school board meeting.

Here’s our story on U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s visit to Cumberland County on Thursday, and his call for changes to the federal WIC program.

On our Commentary Page: The Top Democrat and Republican in the state House lay out their plan to bring the federal Obamacare exchange under the state’s wing – at no cost to taxpayers. And a consumer group gives the Legislature a big-up for rejecting a bailout for Three Mile Island.

Elsewhere.
The Inquirer
 has its own take on calls for Sen. Daylin Leach to resign.
PennLive asks whether Harrisburg school board members should be allowed to set policy while they’re under the shadow of a state takeover.
Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in suburban Harrisburg on Thursday. And, no pressure, Pa. Republicans, it’s basically all on you for 2020 (via The Post-Gazette).
The FBI has been called in to investigate a series of mysterious explosions in The Slate Belt, The Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

Higher fines and hidden cameras are helping Philly catch illegal dumpersWHYY-FM reports.
WESA-FM 
has its take on a proposed ban on the death penalty in Pennsylvania. One of its sponsors tells the station that it would ‘help promote healing.’
Thanks to rising costs, East Petersburg Township in Lancaster County will sever its police protection agreement with a neighboring municipality, LancasterOnline reports.
Former NAACP President Ben Jealous will keynote the Pa. Dems’ summer meeting, PoliticsPA reports.
How much you pay for highway tolls can depend on whether you bought your ez-Pass in the state or from outside it, Stateline.org reports.
Politico takes a look at the White House’s ‘high wire’ act on trade. 
Congressional Democrats will ask the Pentagon to study climate change threats at American military installations, Roll Call reports.

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf
 heads to southeastern Pennsylvania for a pair of events commemorating National Gun Violence Awareness Day. At 11 a.m., he’ll participate in an event at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown. At 3:30 p.m., he’ll participate in a similar event outside Philadelphia City Hall.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to our former PennLive colleague, Julia Hatmaker, who celebrates today. Congrats and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one from Armandinho that makes us feel like we should be on the beach, drink in hand, even this early on a Friday morning. It’s ‘Sol Loiro-Ao Vivo.’

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
St. Louis
 leaped out to a 3-2 series lead Thursday in its Stanley Cup final with Boston. The Blues downed the Bruins 2-1 at the TD Bank Center.

And now you’re up to date.

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

1 COMMENT

  1. Actually Bob there’s no question that you’re a lying partisan hack and always have been. The MSM and all the Democrats have been lying to the America people for over 2 years…”there is MOUNTAINS of evidence proving President Trump is a Russian agent.” Then the next lie “Trumps manufactured crisis at the border.” Democrats and you Bob stuck with that lie until arrests topped 1000 a day.

    THE STAMPEDE AT OUR SOUTHERN BORDER:
    Lets see, we have Democrat / Socialist / Activists in the Northern Triangle of South America & Mexico; even as you read this instructing the populations the “benefits” & laws of coming to the USA and to make sure you bring your children and use the the magic words…..”credible fear.”

    Then you have a Democrat House saying the crisis is “manufactured” as literally thousands attack our border daily? National Sovereignty is a myth to Democrats. The crisis is manufactured…by the Democrats themselves. Make no mistake about this, Democrats want this to happen and never stop.. They will with hold border security support allowing as many illegal aliens to enter the country as possible overwhelming our BP & ICE before assisting in border security (if ever).

    THE LIE OF TPS / DACA:
    To Democrats/Progressives/Socialists (whats the difference?) programs like Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) or the “visa lottery” program (Chuck Schumer’s idea) are permanent programs. There is nothing “temporary or deferred” about these programs to Democrats. These programs are designed to admit refugees (usually from the third world) then Democrats fight to keep them here permanently using the charge of racism, religion, guilt, against anyone opposed. Simple formula works great.

    The current migration at our border is costing taxpayers a Kings ransom. Fleeing persecution? or fleeing for freebies? they sure don’t stay in Mexico when they reach “safety” or ask or offered political asylum in Mexico. Why? because Mexico will give them NOTHING. So they make the long journey to our border, our generous Democrats, and our tax dollars. Notice how many have made the long, difficult, dangerous journey to our country 8-9 months pregnant?

    Just a few examples of the more outrageous costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children & grand children as has been passed on to us.

    * City emergency services Taxpayer pay for every police, fire, paramedic service call for illegal aliens in their city. Taxpayers also pay for all hospital, emergency room treatments, ambulances, medications….everything. Hospital wait times for citizens are negatively impacted.

    *Cost of educating illegal aliens is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers on average $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the millions spent on bilingual ED, instructors, special need children & day care. It is estimated nearly 100,000 illegal aliens graduate each year……you do the math. School class size are also negatively impacted by illegal aliens and our students suffer as a result.

    *Taxpayers in some states are funding “in state college tuition” discounts for illegal aliens. (AZ voted to terminate this taxpayer expense.) Cost to taxpayers over a billion dollars annually.

    *About one in five inmates in federal prison are foreign-born, & more than 90% of those are in the U.S illegally. This does not include local jails and state prisons. At roughly $24,000 per year expense per inmate.

    *$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate, process Illegal aliens in the criminal justice system.

    *$2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP, WIC, & taxpayer funded school lunches.

    *Mexico received 33 billion last year in remittance from our country. $120 billion total was sent out of the United States in total remittance last year.

    *Every child birth by illegal aliens in the U.S is paid for with tax dollars.In the US, the average cost to have a baby without complications during delivery, is $10,808, which can increase to $30,000 when factoring in care provided before and after pregnancy (July 9, 2018 google.)

    * Section 8 housing. Illegal aliens take full advantage of this program. Citizens & their families in poverty in many cases wait years behind non citizens for emergency housing.

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