The Senate Impeachment Trial of DJT

Jules

Super Anarchist
8,038
2,898
Punta Gorda
Let's start with some fact checking...


Distortions in Trump’s Legal Defense Against Impeachment



A look at some statements by President Donald Trump and his legal team as opening arguments approach in the Senate impeachment trial.


  • Published 20 January 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s defense against impeachment charges, as laid out in his legal argument, has distortions at its core.

Trump through his lawyers assails Democrats for trying to upend the results of an election, which is precisely the point of impeachment in the Constitution. The case asserts Trump committed no crime, a benchmark for impeachment that the Constitution’s authors avoided adopting in a well-documented debate.

A look at some statements by Trump and his legal team as opening arguments approach in the Senate impeachment trial:

TRUMP’s legal brief: “Anyone having the most basic respect for the sovereign will of the American people would shudder at the enormity of casting a vote to impeach a duly elected President. … House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way — any way — to corrupt the extraordinary power of impeachment for use as a political tool to overturn the result of the 2016 election and to interfere in the 2020 election.”

THE FACTS: This is an odd reading of constitutional history. Removing a duly elected president is exactly the goal of the Constitution’s impeachment clause, not a perversion of it.

The Constitution gives the House the sole power to impeach a president, which the House has done, and the Senate the responsibility of convicting or acquitting that president, which the Senate trial will do.

___

TRUMP, on Democrats who want witnesses to testify: “They didn’t want John Bolton and others in the House. They were in too much of a rush. Now they want them all in the Senate. Not supposed to be that way!” — tweet Monday.

THE FACTS: That’s false. Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, refused to testify. Democrats wanted him to. But they chose not to pursue a subpoena and risk an extended struggle in court. Bolton has signaled his willingness to testify at the Senate trial if he’s subpoenaed.

___

TRUMP’s legal brief: “The practical application of the Impeachment Clause by Congress supports the conclusion that an impeachable offense requires especially egregious conduct that threatens the constitutional order and, specifically, that it requires a violation of established law.”

THE FACTS: Egregious conduct, yes. But impeachment does not require a crime to have been committed.

The Constitution’s framers had a vigorous and well-documented debate over just that point. 

Constitutional scholars say the grounds for impeachment and removal from office — “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” — are a catch-all designed to redress any consequential abuse of power so long as that abuse hurts the country at large.

Months after the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Alexander Hamilton explained in the Federalist Papers that a commonly understood crime need not be the basis of impeachment. Offenses meriting that step “are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

To be sure, the commission of an actual crime can strengthen the hand of those seeking to remove a president, and the articles of impeachment against Trump do not accuse him of a crime.

Even so, the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, concluded last week that the Trump administration broke the law by freezing military aid to Ukraine that Congress had approved.

Its report said “the President is not vested with the power to ignore or amend any such duly enacted law.” The money was held up last summer on orders from Trump but released in September after Congress pushed for its release and a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian leader became public.

___

TRUMP: “Individuals who have stated for the record that they spoke to the President about the subject actually exonerate him. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland stated that when he asked the President what he wanted from Ukraine, the President said: ‘I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo.’” — Trump’s initial legal response, released Saturday by his lawyers.

THE FACTS: He omits key context on what Sondland told House investigators. 

As one of the officials most deeply involved in trying to get Ukraine to do Trump’s bidding, Sondland testified that there was indeed a quid pro quo in the matter and “everyone was in the loop.” Specifically, Sondland said it was understood that Ukraine’s new president would only get a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office if he publicly pledged to investigate the Bidens and the Democrats.

“Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ Sondland asked in his statement to the House Intelligence Committee. ”As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”

Moreover, on the more serious matter of withholding military aid to Ukraine unless the country investigated Democrats, Sondland testified that a this-for-that explanation was the only one that made sense to him.

Testimony from other officials shored up the picture of a president and his associates systematically trying to get Ukraine to do what Trump wanted during a period when the military assistance approved by Congress was put on hold without explanation.

___

TRUMP: “House Democrats ran a fundamentally flawed and illegitimate process that denied the President every basic right, including the right to have counsel present, the right to cross-examine witnesses.” — response to impeachment charges Saturday.

TRUMP: “’We demand fairness’ shouts Pelosi and the Do Nothing Democrats, yet the Dems in the House wouldn’t let us have 1 witness, no lawyers or even ask questions.” — tweet on Jan. 13, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

THE FACTS: Not true. The House Judiciary Committee, which produced the articles of impeachment, invited Trump or his legal team to come. He declined.

Absent White House representation, the hearings proceeded as things in Congress routinely do: Time is split between Democratic and Republican lawmakers to ask questions and engage in the debate. Lawyers for Democrats and Republicans on the committee presented the case for and against the impeachment articles and members questioned witnesses, among them an academic called forward by Republicans.

The first round of hearings was by the House Intelligence Committee and resembled the investigative phase of criminal cases, conducted without the participation of the subject of the investigation. Trump cried foul then at the lack of representation, then rejected representation when the next committee offered it.

 

Steam Flyer

Super Anarchist
40,924
7,968
Eastern NC
If you're innocent, argue the facts

If you're guilty, shout about how the other guy is a crook and pound the table a lot

Unfortunately I see the Trumpublicans riding this burning zeppelin all the way to the ground, just like in 2007. It'll be a LOT worse this time

- DSK

 

Fakenews

Super Anarchist
13,262
1,670
The House just sent a letter saying A member of Trumps legal time Pat Cipolinni is a fact witness in the trial...

 

Jules

Super Anarchist
8,038
2,898
Punta Gorda
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will allot each side a total of 24 hours to present their arguments in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, but the time must be confined to two working days, according to the text of his organizing resolution, which NBC News obtained Monday.

The proposal also suggests that none of the evidence collected as part of the House's impeachment inquiry will be admitted automatically. Instead, according to the text, the Senate will vote later on whether to admit any documents.

Arguments will begin Wednesday at 1 p.m., according to the rules McConnell laid out, setting up several long days for Senate jurors. Democrats protested that the rules would push arguments to late hours and make it harder to introduce evidence, although the rules do allow a vote on whether witnesses will be called to testify.

Arguments from 1PM to 1AM?

McConnell is such a child.  Wonder where he picked up that?

 

jocal505

moderate, informed, ex-gunowner
14,215
280
near Seattle, Wa
Dead-of-night stuff. No "walk and talk" interviews due to containment of journalists. Obfuscation all over the place, but the big red flag is no clear, prior commitment to witnesses and documents. A railroad job and a sham, shirley. A shame upon history, today.

About "no crime." I get it that no crime is necessary, but we now have new evidence from the GOA, that a crime was in play. 

My grandiose overview is this: we've had enough, this needs to get no curioser. We need some decent Republican senators in aisle six.

 

dacapo

Super Anarchist
13,306
1,388
NY
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will allot each side a total of 24 hours to present their arguments in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, but the time must be confined to two working days, according to the text of his organizing resolution, which NBC News obtained Monday.

The proposal also suggests that none of the evidence collected as part of the House's impeachment inquiry will be admitted automatically. Instead, according to the text, the Senate will vote later on whether to admit any documents.

Arguments will begin Wednesday at 1 p.m., according to the rules McConnell laid out, setting up several long days for Senate jurors. Democrats protested that the rules would push arguments to late hours and make it harder to introduce evidence, although the rules do allow a vote on whether witnesses will be called to testify.

Arguments from 1PM to 1AM?

McConnell is such a child.  Wonder where he picked up that?
the 1PM start time was set by Chief Justice Roberts as that's when he wants to start the day 

 

El Borracho

Sam’s friend
6,325
2,371
Pacific Rim
Does not seem like the simple incriminating facts of the case need but an hour to present. Unless they think the Senators are a dense bunch of fools and require grade school like repetition. And the exhausted public won't follow along if it is less than a Rollerball kind of pace.

Anyway, everyone but the dozen possible swing Senators might as well go home as their minds will not be changed.

That 1pm start makes no sense along side the two 12 hour days. Sounds like @Dog logic. Maybe Roberts can simply rule that 12 hours remain in a day that begins at 1pm?

 

bridhb

Super Anarchist
3,362
918
Jax, FL
If you're innocent, argue the facts

If you're guilty, shout about how the other guy is a crook and pound the table a lot

Unfortunately I see the Trumpublicans riding this burning zeppelin all the way to the ground, just like in 2007. It'll be a LOT worse this time

- DSK
I fear (but can't understand) this is all playing to a strong and fired up base that will ride this all the way to a re-election of Trump and possibly a flip of the house.  Thankfully I am usually wrong.  Maybe it is just the region of the country I live in but Trump's support seems stronger here than it was before the election.  More yard flags, more bumper stickers.  I have doubts that the dems can come up with an inspiring candidate from the current field.  The cannibalism has started. 

 

Sean

Super Anarchist
15,266
2,375
Sag Harbor, NY
I fear (but can't understand) this is all playing to a strong and fired up base that will ride this all the way to a re-election of Trump and possibly a flip of the house.  Thankfully I am usually wrong.  Maybe it is just the region of the country I live in but Trump's support seems stronger here than it was before the election.  More yard flags, more bumper stickers.  I have doubts that the dems can come up with an inspiring candidate from the current field.  The cannibalism has started. 
It’s all about turnout. I suspect the turnout will be massive on the anti-Trump side, not sure if Trump will draw much beyond his mindless 40ish%, but who knows?

 

jerseyguy

Super Anarchist
I fear (but can't understand) this is all playing to a strong and fired up base that will ride this all the way to a re-election of Trump and possibly a flip of the house.  Thankfully I am usually wrong.  Maybe it is just the region of the country I live in but Trump's support seems stronger here than it was before the election.  More yard flags, more bumper stickers.  I have doubts that the dems can come up with an inspiring candidate from the current field.  The cannibalism has started. 
And when (not if) that all comes to pass and we wake up in 2022 or 2023 and wonder where our democracy went, the immortal words of Pogo (Walt Kelly) should come back and haunt us: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

For an even more draconian view:




 

badlatitude

Super Anarchist
27,727
3,990
I support Leader McConnell in running this trial at night. Most Americans are at work during the day, and holding the trial at night, allows them to watch the trial in primetime.

 

Sean

Super Anarchist
15,266
2,375
Sag Harbor, NY
Pelosi rips McConnell -

https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/12120

Excerpt -

“Leader McConnell’s plan for a dark of night impeachment trial confirms what the American people have seen since Day One: the Senate GOP Leader has chosen a cover-up for the President, rather than honor his oath to the Constitution.  Shamefully, this sham proposal does not even allow for admitting the House record into evidence at the trial. 

 

Steam Flyer

Super Anarchist
40,924
7,968
Eastern NC
I fear (but can't understand) this is all playing to a strong and fired up base that will ride this all the way to a re-election of Trump and possibly a flip of the house.  Thankfully I am usually wrong.  Maybe it is just the region of the country I live in but Trump's support seems stronger here than it was before the election.  More yard flags, more bumper stickers.  I have doubts that the dems can come up with an inspiring candidate from the current field.  The cannibalism has started. 
It’s all about turnout. I suspect the turnout will be massive on the anti-Trump side, not sure if Trump will draw much beyond his mindless 40ish%, but who knows?
40% is enough to win if it's distributed among the states just right.

The bigger question is, how far has the Republican Party managed to corrupt the election machinery? How far has Russian hacking penetrated the vote-counting computers?

No doubt there are a lot of Trump supporters who are gaining enthusiasm, the question is what are the numbers? His rallies aren't even pretending to set record attendance numbers any more. Support for impeachment is creeping up percent by percent in the honest polls, even Fox News showed it over 50% a couple weeks ago.

I suspect that we'll either see a blue wave of historic proportions, even with the current 15% built-in Red slant; or we'll see a wonderful unanimous outpouring of affection for our Dear Leader and new President-For-Life, the anointed one: Donnie Littlehands.

- DSK

 

Sean

Super Anarchist
15,266
2,375
Sag Harbor, NY
Interesting polling from Monmouth -

https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_us_012120/

Should House impeachment managers be able to present new evidence in the Senate trial to support the articles of impeachment, or should they be limited to sharing only what was revealed during the initial impeachment inquiry?





 


Jan.
2020





Present new evidence


57%




Limit to what was in inquiry


37%




(VOL) Depends


1%




(VOL) Don’t know


5%




(n)


(903)




24.Some members of the Trump administration refused to testify in the House inquiry.  Should they be compelled to testify in the Senate trial, should they be asked to testify but not compelled, or should they not be asked at all?





 


Jan.
2020





Compelled


51%




Asked, but not compelled


29%




Not asked


16%




(VOL) Don’t know


5%




(n)


(903)




25.Should President Trump be compelled to testify in the Senate trial, should he be asked to testify but not compelled, or should he not be asked at all?





 


Jan.
2020





Compelled


40%




Asked, but not compelled


36%




Not asked


22%




(VOL) Don’t know


2%




(n)


(903)




26.Do you think members of the Trump administration made any promises or put any pressure on the Ukrainian president in return for investigating Joe Biden, such as giving or withholding aid, or did they not do this?





TREND:


Jan.
2020



Nov.
2019




Yes, made promises/put pressure


52%


45%




No, did not do this


34%


34%




(VOL) Don’t know


14%


21%




(n)


(903)


(908)




 

Blue Crab

benthivore
15,060
2,236
Outer Banks
board.40% is enough to win if it's distributed among the states just right.

The bigger question is, how far has the Republican Party managed to corrupt the election machinery? How far has Russian hacking penetrated the vote-counting computers?

No doubt there are a lot of Trump supporters who are gaining enthusiasm, the question is what are the numbers? His rallies aren't even pretending to set record attendance numbers any more. Support for impeachment is creeping up percent by percent in the honest polls, even Fox News showed it over 50% a couple weeks ago.

I suspect that we'll either see a blue wave of historic proportions, even with the current 15% built-in Red slant; or we'll see a wonderful unanimous outpouring of affection for our Dear Leader and new President-For-Life, the anointed one: Donnie Littlehands.

- DSK
That reads straight out of the NY Times editorial board's endorsements.  :D

 
Top