Then-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.”
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 tax. Stephen 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.
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 dumpers, WHYY-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.
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.
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.
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