Will the Senate Expel Roy Moore If He’s Elected?

Some Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have suggested that if Alabamians elect Roy Moore to the chamber in the special election, they’ll expel him. This promise from the GOP might be the best way that leadership can signal to Republican voters that they can vote for Moore despite the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him. If he is elected, they will handle the problem.

But the chances of McConnell and his colleagues following through on this threat are extremely small. Historically, the House and Senate have been very reluctant to deploy their most punitive power.

Under the Constitution (Article I, Section 5) the House and Senate each have the authority to punish its members for “disorderly behavior.” Under the rules Congress has adopted, each chamber has three options for dealing with problematic colleagues. The House and Senate can censure or reprimand a member by a majority vote. This, the least of the possible acts of punishment, is a formal condemnation that still allows the person to remain in office. The House and Senate can also each exclude someone by a majority vote, which prevents an elected member from taking their seat because they lack the technical credentials. Finally, the most severe punishment available to the House and Senate is to expel a seated member for improper behavior, which requires the consent of two-thirds of the membership.

Both chambers have been willing to exercise the least drastic power without much hesitation. During the 19th century, there were numerous censures in the House of Representatives when decorum broke down—ranging from physical acts of violence to unruly language. William Stanberry was censured in 1832 for insulting the speaker; Lovell Rousseau was censured in 1866 for assaulting a member. The Senate famously censured Joseph McCarthy in 1954. Democratic Senator Thomas Dodd was censured …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

Donna Brazile’s Tell-All Is Troubling For the Wrong Reasons

“Why am I supposed to be the only person that is unable to tell my story?” asked Donna Brazile, during the early days of her media blitz. Apparently she shouldn’t have worried. Her campaign memoir, Hacks, just debuted at number three on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Still, I suspect Brazile’s urge to speak her truth—and her anger at anyone who might be trying to stop her—is genuine. Being a political operative, even a high-level one, is an act of self-censorship. You don’t express yourself. You help other, more important people express themselves. You forgo the pride of authorship for the chance to make a difference. It’s a reasonable tradeoff.

Until it isn’t. For some of us, there comes a time when our own voices bubble up. We want to be heard. And if we’re lucky enough to find publishers, we write books.

I say this from experience. My own political memoir, Thanks, Obama, came out two months ago. In many ways it’s quite different from Brazile’s. Where she spent decades in the upper echelons of Democratic politics, I entered the White House as a junior-level speechwriter when I was 24 and left as a mid-level one five years later. Also, while far from perfect, my experience in politics was positive, which is bad for book sales but good for mental health.

Even so, I empathize with Brazile’s hunger for self-expression. I know how it feels to decide (or be tricked by your ego into thinking, or both) that you have a story worth telling.

And I know what it’s like to grapple with a new set of responsibilities. It’s a question I thought about constantly while writing Thanks, Obama, and again while reading Hacks. What do operatives-turned-authors owe not just their publishers and readers, but the people and organizations they used to …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

The Gun Control Legislation That Even Republicans Like

Republicans and Democrats have found gun legislation both sides agree on. But that doesn’t mean it will pass.

In the wake of mass shootings in Nevada, Texas and California, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, an outspoken advocate of gun control, introduced a bill to strengthen the federal background check system for gun sales. Debates over gun control on Capitol Hill nearly always give way to inaction in the face of Republican opposition. But Democrats aren’t alone in supporting this new legislation: It is also backed by Republican Senators John Cornyn, the second highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, Orrin Hatch, Tim Scott and Dean Heller.

The legislation doesn’t call for expanding restrictions on gun purchases, it’s meant to stop people from buying guns when they were never supposed to be able to in the first place. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, relies on state and federal officials to report mental health and criminal conviction records that legally bar individuals from purchasing firearms. But those records don’t always make it into the system.

After a gunman killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas earlier this month, the Air Force conceded that it failed to report the shooter’s prior domestic violence conviction, an action that if it had been taken might have prevented the purchase of the firearms used in the shooting. The new legislation is intended to make sure that something like that never happens again.

Any Republican who decides to back the legislation can argue that they just want existing laws to be enforced. And it looks like the GOP won’t have to fear backlash from the gun lobby. “We applaud Sen. John Cornyn’s efforts to ensure that the records of prohibited individuals are entered into NICS,” Chris Cox of the NRA said in a statement. “The National …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: ‘He Will Not Step Down’

Today in 5 Lines

President Trump blasted Minnesota Senator Al Franken after the lawmaker was accused of forcibly kissing and groping a woman, but did not mention Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct. During a rally in Alabama, Kayla Moore said her husband isn’t letting the allegations get to him: “He will not step down.” Reverend Jesse Jackson, the 76-year-old civil-rights leader, announced that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority resigned amid questions about the slow rate of repairs to the island’s electrical grid. And in a statement on Facebook, Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill defended “heterosexual males” amid allegations of sexual misconduct, and described his own sexual history.

Today on The Atlantic

It ‘Looks Like Hypocrisy’: Marie Griffith, the author of the forthcoming book Moral Combat, explains why American Christians are defending Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. (Emma Green)

What She Knew: Liberals seem eager to acknowledge the sexual-misconduct allegations against former President Bill Clinton. But when will they admit that Hillary Clinton likely knew about them? (Caitlin Flanagan)

The Specter of Fake News: Republicans’ constant attacks on the mainstream media have come back to haunt them. (Rosie Gray and McKay Coppins)

Radio Atlantic: Andrew Anglin achieved notoriety after he founded the Daily Stormer, the world’s biggest website for neo-Nazis. Anglin and his mob of followers have terrorized people around the world, and their influence has been cited by the perpetrators of fatal violence. What lessons should be learned from Anglin’s radicalization? And what is society’s best response to his ideas? In this episode of Radio Atlantic, Luke O’Brien and Rosie Gray join Jeff and Matt to discuss these questions, and how far-right extremism is evolving.

Follow stories …read more

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