ITMFA III: The Search for Articles of Impeachment
November 29, 2019 12:36 PM   Subscribe

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has invited President Donald Trump to its first impeachment hearing, scheduled for Dec. 4, starting a new phase of the inquiry that could lead to formal charges against the president within weeks. In the meantime, Lawfare has written a Starr Report, based on the impeachment investigation hearings, which serve as "the narrative backbone for the articles of impeachment the House Judiciary Committee will now prepare and on which members will vote." posted by katra (1220 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
 
[Note of reminder: let's keep this focused specifically on stuff tied pretty directly to the impeachment hearings and process details and news coming off that, not on the broader schmear of Trump admin or US politics stuff in general. We may be in a relative lull on that front for a few days, so it's okay if the thread itself is likewise not too busy.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:01 PM on November 29, 2019 [16 favorites]


If you're not yet aware of impeachment.fyi you should check it out; it's a daily roundup of what's happened and great if you're sick of checking the news multiple times a day.
posted by karlshea at 1:07 PM on November 29, 2019 [26 favorites]


Dems ask Trump if he wants lawyers at impeachment hearings (AP)
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee asked President Donald Trump on Friday to say whether he’ll send his attorneys to participate in impeachment proceedings before the panel. Rep. Jerrold Nadler also is asking Republicans on his committee which witnesses they plan to ask permission to subpoena.

The letters from the New York Democrat came as the House impeachment probe enters a new phase with a hearing next week on whether Trump’s actions might constitute impeachable offenses. [...] Nadler instructed Trump and top panel Republican Doug Collins of Georgia to respond by the end of next week.
Nadler asks Trump if he 'intends to participate' in impeachment hearings (Guardian)
In his letter on Friday, Nadler quoted Adam Schiff, the chair of the House intelligence committee who has said his panel’s report will be submitted to Congress “soon after the Thanksgiving recess”.

“That report,” Nadler wrote, “will describe, among other things, ‘a months-long effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest’ and ‘an unprecedented campaign of obstruction in an effort to prevent the committee from obtaining documentary evidence and testimony’.”

Nadler also underlined his own committee’s investigation of alleged obstruction by Trump detailed in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference and links between Trump and Moscow.
posted by katra at 1:27 PM on November 29, 2019 [14 favorites]


Thanks for this post, katra - excellent links, nice and brief.

I had to check my calendar to learn that December 4 is less than a week away - it's Wednesday. (My brain is still on Thanksgiving time.)

That Lawfare "Starr report" is GREAT, but I wish they had a short summary at the top. It's a lot to make sense of; just something like this might help:

* the testimony shows how Rudy Giuliani pursued objectives in Ukraine for the benefit of his business partners as well as the political interests of his client, President Trump, and
* the development of what Amb. William Taylor called the “irregular channel” for achieving the president’s objectives in Ukraine, and
* how a White House meeting the Ukrainians badly wanted came to be conditioned on Ukrainian willingness to announce highly political investigations
* The Conditionality Spreads
* Sondland describes quite unambiguously a corrupt demand on Trump’s part for something personally valuable (investigations of political opponents) in return for being influenced in the performance of two official acts (granting a White House meeting and releasing hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance) in a fashion that at least raises a serious question under the federal bribery statute

Plus maybe a very abbreviated timeline of the most important dates.

Still - I'm really, really glad smart people are out there laying things out like this. I hope the Judiciary Committee's hearings provide us with more clear testimony about this ongoing corruption.
posted by kristi at 1:31 PM on November 29, 2019 [20 favorites]


Maybe not, but the title rings Star Trek in my ears. Nice touch.

Soaking this information, stat.
posted by filtergik at 1:46 PM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


Committee has invited President Donald Trump to its first impeachment hearing

Also known as, "Would you like to perjure yourself now, or will you wait until the case is more solid so you can cause some confusion by committing perjury in a direction nobody was asking about?"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:10 PM on November 29, 2019 [57 favorites]


Committee has invited President Donald Trump to its first impeachment hearing

I love the way that the Judiciary Committee's rule say "The President or his counsel". I wonder if they're going to send anyone who has been subpoenaed?
posted by mikelieman at 3:43 PM on November 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


Former GOP Rep. says some Republicans secretly 'disgusted' by Trump's behavior (NBC News)
"I think my former colleagues are in a situation where they understand their base pressure. The base has not yet bolted from the president and I think that's why they're standing with the president for the moment," former Rep. Charlie Dent, R- Penn., told CNN. "But there's no question having spoken to many of them privately they're absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president's behavior," he said. "They resent being put in this position all the time."
Where’s Lindsey? After G.O.P. Outcry, Graham Emerges as a Trump Defender (NYT)
Privately, some of Mr. Trump’s most ardent defenders worried that Mr. Graham would become yet another Republican committee chairman in the Senate who was failing the president. That is how they regarded Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, after he issued a subpoena in May for the younger Mr. Trump during his panel’s investigation into Russian election interference. In that case, Republican allies of the president declared war on the Intelligence Committee and turned several Republican senators against Mr. Burr. Some party leaders say that Mr. Graham has reason to worry about the same fate — and that voters might follow suit.
Pompeo suggests debunked Ukraine election meddling theory should be probed (Reuters)
His comments contrasted with his own endorsement of a 2017 U.S. intelligence community assessment that Russia pursued an influence operation of theft and dissemination of Democratic Party documents, fake news and other means to benefit Trump over his 2016 Democratic foe, Hillary Clinton. [...] Pompeo dodged a question of whether he would testify in the inquiry after Trump tweeted that he would “love” for senior officials to appear.
posted by katra at 6:40 PM on November 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


"Starr" Report, really? Just got finished listening to Slow Burn's second season on the Clinton Impeachment and naming this after Ken Starr, who really was engaged in a witch hunt (if you doubt this, just listen to the second season, I beg you) is a dumb, dumb move.
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:03 AM on November 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


Pompeo suggests debunked Ukraine election meddling theory should be probed

It's interesting that Trump and Pompeo seem to be setting up the idea that Republicans are the party of Russia and Democrats are the party of Ukraine.

I wonder if Republican voters are aware of that or even care.
posted by JackFlash at 7:57 AM on November 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


"But there's no question having spoken to many of them privately they're absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president's behavior," he said. "They resent being put in this position all the time."

And yet they keep assuming the position. Lack of spine probably helps.
posted by nubs at 8:00 AM on November 30, 2019 [20 favorites]


Questions over next steps as Judiciary moves into impeachment spotlight
...the Judiciary Committee’s first move may be explain to Americans what impeachment is and how it works. If Nadler follows the model of the Clinton impeachment — which he opposed in 1998 — Judiciary will begin with a public hearing on the definition of an impeachable offense.

The second set of hearings would entail Schiff and other chairmen presenting their findings formally to the Judiciary Committee, with the overwhelming bulk of that material coming from the Intelligence panel’s review of the Ukraine scandal.
...
A third phase could allow the White House and Trump to present exculpatory evidence and call witnesses. And a fourth — and final — phase would be the consideration of articles themselves before the panel sends them to the House floor.
How Nadler’s Impeachment Hearings Will Differ From Schiff’s
...it would appear Nadler is contemplating letting committee counsel for each side get first shot at teasing out key points from witnesses before the committee members weigh in, which was also a prominent feature in Schiff’s hearings.

For consumers of the hearings on television, the key thing to understand is that there are 41 members of the Judiciary Committee, compared with only 23 members of the Intelligence Committee. So the hearings will be longer even if Nadler sticks to one round of questioning per witness.

Another key question is whether the tone of the hearings will improve from what we saw in the Intelligence Committee, given the gravity associated with the proximity of formal articles of impeachment. That’s not likely.
...
Each day of the hearings, then, will be long and exhausting. The overall timetable is reasonably clear: to consider and report articles of impeachment with time enough for the full House to debate and enact them before Christmas. That is a very narrow three-week window, and it’s possible the White House will decide to exercise its prerogatives to participate in the hearings strictly in order to screw up the timing. The limited time available could also help convince Nadler and Pelosi to limit the scope of impeachment to the Ukraine scandal, with perhaps an article or two relating to the obstruction-of-justice incidents so thoroughly laid out in the Mueller report.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:35 AM on November 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think Democrats are making a mistake to send the articles to the Senate by Christmas. Under that timeline the Senate votes by the end of January; early Feb at the latest and then Trump spend the rest of the year talking about how we have to move on and now that he’s been exonerated at trial.
posted by interogative mood at 9:37 AM on November 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


I think Democrats are making a mistake to send the articles to the Senate by Christmas. Under that timeline the Senate votes by the end of January; early Feb at the latest and then Trump spend the rest of the year talking about how we have to move on and now that he’s been exonerated at trial.

If the Senate will fail to convict, is it better for that to be as soon as possible or closer to the election? I would argue it would be better for it to be as soon as possible because it won't be a huge news story around the election and will be harder to make a part of the campaign strategy for Trump.

Having it sooner rather than later also allows for some buffer room for any Senators that might be up for re-election to gather their courage and have conviction for once, based on the theory that by the time the general election comes around, the impeachment will be a faint memory in the goldfish brain of the american people.

Really we should have done this 2 years ago, but now that it's happening, I think it should be sooner rather than later.
posted by dis_integration at 10:21 AM on November 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


I am sure Pelosi and McConnell have both carefully scrutinized the primary calendars for each of the states where a Republican senator is up for reelection. If the Senate trial can be pushed back past all of those primaries, when the Tr*mpist base is in control, it'll be a heck of a lot easier to get those Republicans to vote to convict.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:08 AM on November 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Six degrees of Rudy: Giuliani's web tangles three Trump controversies (NBC News)
All roads lead to Rudy.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is in the news constantly for his role in the impeachment inquiry. But while Giuliani's efforts to have Ukraine launch investigations politically beneficial to Trump are much discussed, it's not the only way he and his associates have woven themselves into the fabric of Trump's world.
Rudy Giuliani Has a Foreign-Lobbying Problem, and It Just Got Bigger (Mother Jones)
Even before the news Wednesday about Giuliani’s negotiations with Lutsenko, Trump had badly undermined Giuliani’s claim that all his efforts were on the president’s behalf. “I didn’t direct him,” Trump told conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday. “Rudy has other clients other than me,” Trump said. [...]

[Joshua Rosenstein, who heads a FARA practice at Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, a DC law firm] said Giuliani’s work for the city of Kharkiv may also require FARA registration, given that Pavel Fuks, the Ukrainian mogul who paid Giuliani for the work, has said he understood he was hiring the former mayor to lobby in the US for the city and to secure American investments for it. [...] And Giuliani’s speeches on Iran are especially problematic. That’s because Giuliani surely knew his calls for the overthrow of the Iran’s regime were in effect a call to change US policy, and one he made while being paid by a group urging such a change, Rosenstein said. “I cannot find a way that he would exempt for that speech,” the lawyer said, referring to an address on Iran that Giuliani gave this summer in Albania.

Citing press reports on Giuliani’s activity, Democrats in the Senate since last year have urged the Justice Department to investigate whether he is violating FARA. In the last few years, Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort; Manafort’s former associate Rick Gates; and former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn have all been prosecuted at least in part for violating FARA.
posted by katra at 11:08 AM on November 30, 2019 [9 favorites]


The calculus over when to hold an impeachment trial is so complicated. If it stretches into primary season, it means a number of top Dem presidential candidates can’t campaign until after the trial completes. If it happens after the primaries, then a Senate acquittal could deliver Trump re-election. In some ways, it would be better to get the trial out of the way now and to find some other way to keep Trump’s impeachable crimes and Republican hypocrisy in the national conversation until the 2020 election.
posted by SakuraK at 11:16 AM on November 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


If the Senate trial can be pushed back past all of those primaries, when the Tr*mpist base is in control, it'll be a heck of a lot easier to get those Republicans to vote to convict.

I don't think it's particularly accurate to think of any remaining Republicans as afraid of being primaried by a Trumpist wave. Even the class of 2020 came up through the Tea Party ranks. If they're still running, it's not because they're desperate to defend the genteel conservatism of Gerry Ford; it's because they're Trumpist true believers or simply will never vote against Trumpism.
posted by Etrigan at 11:57 AM on November 30, 2019 [7 favorites]


Here’s the Proof that Trump’s “No Quid Pro Quo” Call Never Happened, a followup by Susan Simpson on her tweet thread on the same subject.
posted by peeedro at 2:11 PM on November 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


I don't want Quid Quo Pro. I want Zelenksy to publicly investigate Biden before giving aid.
I don't want to do any business in Russia. I want Cohen to go to Russia to take care of business.

Does this work? I've got to try this. I'm not robbing you. Now fill this bag full of money.
posted by xammerboy at 2:34 PM on November 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


I'm not robbing you. Now fill this bag full of money.

I think it's more like: "I don't want to rob you. I want Jones to fill this bag with your money."
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:46 PM on November 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


The Origin of the Sharpie Quid Pro Quo Denial: An Effort to Craft a Cover Story on the Pages of the WSJ (Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel)
Before I got caught up in Thanksgiving preparations, I started a post trying to recreate Susan Simpson’s analysis showing that the September 9 “no quid pro quo” call between Trump and Gordon Sondland never actually happened. Thankfully, she was already doing all that work, in a long post at Just Security. [...] Go read her post, which is meticulous and convincing.

Since she’s done that, I’d like to move onto where I had wanted to go from there, to unpack how that less-damning story got seeded. The story first appears in an October 7 WSJ article purporting to preview Sondland’s testimony. The article was part of a series of articles, all involving Rebecca Balhaus, in which quid pro quo participants Kurt Volker, Sondland, Rick Perry, and Ron Johnson worked out a cover story. (I don’t fault Balhaus, at all, for reporting these stories; she killed the early reporting on this. But it’s quite clear now she was lied to in an effort to coordinate a false story, and she might consider describing how these stories came together given that these sources did lie.)
posted by katra at 3:04 PM on November 30, 2019 [12 favorites]


Trump said: "I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. I want Zelenskyy to do the right thing."

How likely is it that Trump used the words "quid pro quo" in a sentence? It's like saying "I don't want 2nd degree arson to happen to the house. I want the house to burn down on its own while I douse it in gasoline and light it on fire."
posted by xammerboy at 4:29 PM on November 30, 2019 [9 favorites]


I don't doubt Trump used that language. I have significant doubt that Trump or any of the chucklefucks surrounding him understand that saying "I'm not asking for a quid pro quo" and then immediately asking for a quid pro quo doesn't actually keep them out of legal hot water.

They probably also think that asking a cop if they're a cop before selling the cop some weed will keep them out of trouble, too.
posted by wierdo at 5:34 PM on November 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


I don't doubt Trump used that language. I have significant doubt that Trump or any of the chucklefucks surrounding him understand that saying "I'm not asking for a quid pro quo" and then immediately asking for a quid pro quo doesn't actually keep them out of legal hot water.

All of sov-cit law revolves around "One Weird Trick" that unlocks extra-legal powers. e.g.: Gold fringed flag in courtroom makes it an Admiralty court. File a motion to deny jurisdiction and they'll have to let you go.

It never works inside an actual courtroom, however.

See Also: Tax protester conspiracy arguments
posted by mikelieman at 5:46 PM on November 30, 2019 [12 favorites]


In my experience, people with their heads that far up the sovereign citizen movement's collective ass don't make it long in government positions. Anything is possible under Trump, of course, but I feel like it can't be that simple. Rudy has personally prosecuted more than one sovereign citizen fantasist in his life, after all.
posted by wierdo at 6:11 PM on November 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Intelligence Committee to begin circulating draft Ukraine report Monday (Politico)
Members of the House Intelligence Committee will begin reviewing a report Monday on the panel's investigation of President Donald Trump's efforts to press Ukraine to investigate his Democratic adversaries, a crucial step in the House's fast-moving impeachment inquiry.

Lawmakers on the panel will get a 24-hour review period, according to internal guidance sent to committee members and obtained by POLITICO. On Tuesday, the panel is expected to approve the findings — likely on a party-line vote — teeing it up for consideration by the Judiciary Committee, which is in turn expected to draft and consider articles of impeachment in the coming weeks.
Collins requests extra witnesses at first Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing (CBS News)
The Republican ranking member of the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Democratic committee chairman on Saturday requesting extra witnesses be added to the panel Wednesday at the committee's first impeachment hearing. Congressman Doug Collins also asked that Republicans have the opportunity to select some of the witnesses.

"To ensure fairness and restore integrity to the ongoing impeachment process, I request an expanded panel and a balanced composition of academic witnesses to opine on the subject matter at issue during the hearing," Collins wrote in his letter to Chairman Jerry Nadler. Four academic experts are scheduled to appear on Wednesday, although the identities of those witnesses are not yet publicly known. [...]

Collins hinted at the identity of one of the witnesses called by the Democrats on the committee, citing an article by Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe where Tribe called for Mr. Trump's impeachment in 2017. Tribe also wrote a book on impeachment in 2018.
posted by katra at 6:43 PM on November 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Stop Saying That Impeachment Is Political (Adam Gopnik, New Yorker)
Recall that both modern-day impeachments in this country were launched against Presidents who had won overwhelming reëlection victories. Impeachment in this sense is anti-politics; it presumes that there exists a constitutional principle that overrules the politics of popularity. The point of an impeachment is not to do the popular or the poll-tested thing but to have the courage to do an unpopular thing, because what is at stake is a larger, even existential matter. [...]

It is the unprecedented gravity of our moment, still perhaps insufficiently felt, that makes this confrontation essential, whatever the political consequences. Pelosi, too, now acknowledges this fact. As she told The New Yorker in September, about Trump, “He has given us no choice. Politics has nothing to do with impeachment, in my view.” The political consequences of impeachment are no longer the primary or even the secondary issue at stake; more important is the survival of the principle of the rule of law against the unashamed assertion of arbitrary power.

Postponing a reckoning until the next election implies that what is at issue in Trump’s attempted extorting of the Ukrainian government are a series of policy choices, which voters may or may not endorse. According to this reasoning, if Watergate had happened during Nixon’s first term, and he had been reëlected anyway, attempted political burglary and obstruction of justice would have become acceptable practice. By invoking law against arbitrary power, the Democrats may not “win,” and who knows what the political outcome will be, but, as Pelosi says, there is no longer a choice. Law and arbitrary power remain in eternal enmity. You pick your side.
posted by katra at 7:53 PM on November 30, 2019 [18 favorites]


Yes, but a lot of people don't understand that impeachment is a political, not legal process. I see people on t.v. complain that they don't understand the law around impeachment. There is no law. Did the president do something that merits firing him? That's all congress and the senate need to decide and then vote on. There is no weighty, labyrinthine law or legal history to sift through or understand.
posted by xammerboy at 9:20 PM on November 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


I have significant doubt that Trump or any of the chucklefucks surrounding him understand that saying "I'm not asking for a quid pro quo" and then immediately asking for a quid pro quo doesn't actually keep them out of legal hot water.

I kind of feel like what Trump understood, but I didn't, is that claiming the crime is not a crime does exonerate you if you're rich and powerful.
posted by xammerboy at 9:25 PM on November 30, 2019 [17 favorites]


Yes, Trump is used to getting away with crimes, over 50 years.
posted by mumimor at 2:35 AM on December 1, 2019 [8 favorites]


More than used to. He craves crimes. Obeying the law is for suckers, in his eyes.
posted by Harry Caul at 5:15 AM on December 1, 2019 [15 favorites]


Yes, but a lot of people don't understand that impeachment is a political, not legal process. I see people on t.v. complain that they don't understand the law around impeachment. There is no law. Did the president do something that merits firing him? That's all congress and the senate need to decide and then vote on. There is no weighty, labyrinthine law or legal history to sift through or understand.

Which is kind of hilarious if you think about it because Republicans have for decades been doing their damnedest to erode all possible worker protections.

The Democratic Party should be pushing the line that the American people are the boss of the president and congress represents the will of the people and the White House is under essentially Republican 'right to work' rules and "You're Fired".
posted by srboisvert at 5:40 AM on December 1, 2019 [18 favorites]


I think there are psychological benefits to wrapping this up as soon as possible. Even if we're prepared for it, it's going to be something of a shock to see Republican senators vote to keep this malevolent menace to our sovereignty, despite all evidence. It will be sad, another failure of the American Experiment. Let's get through this, absorb the blow, and move on to the realistic opportunity to change course: November 2020
posted by angrycat at 6:16 AM on December 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think the House Democrats should announce that they intend to take their duties seriously and make clear that they will use Mitch McConnell's playbook and publicly thank Mitch for his leadership in this area. They should then announce, every day, cite it like a mantra -- that they will purposefully, relentlessly, and resolutely, investigate each and every indiscretion, irregularity, and blatant unlawful act committed by Republicans, White House Staff, Cabinet Members and the President. Give the GOP not one moment of rest. Democrats are already being accused of doing this. How many times did Nunes and Jordan say "WITCH HUNT" during the hearings? Well, I say, give them a witch hunt. Democrats need to do to the Republicans what Republicans have been doing to the Dems. We already know it's a winning strategy.
posted by pjsky at 7:03 AM on December 1, 2019 [19 favorites]


House Democrats won’t wait on possibly insider testimony, Florida Dem says (Politico)
A court ruling could push current and former White House aides to testify in the impeachment inquiry — but Rep. Val Demings said Sunday that Democrats won’t be waiting on the final decision. “We're not going to play games with them. The American people are not going to, I think, tolerate any games,” the Florida Democrat, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.” [...] “If they comply with the document request, I believe it shows a good faith effort on their part to further cooperate with the inquiry,” Demings added. [...]

Later on ABC, Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said witnesses like Bolton and Mulvaney should “absolutely” testify. It would be in the president’s advantage to have them do so now, he said. The California Republican added: Trump “has to weigh that against the enormous, catastrophic damage that would do to the doctrine of executive privilege. ... I understand why he's making the decision that he is to defend that doctrine of executive privilege.”

What about having his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani testify? “Well again, I think more information is better than less in every aspect of an inquiry,” he said.
Doug Collins wants Adam Schiff to testify before House Judiciary Committee (Politico)
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee would have House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff testify in their impeachment hearing and claimed the parameters of the impeachment investigation were skewed against the president.

"If he chooses not to" testify, Collins said Sunday of Schiff (D-Calif.), "then I really question his veracity in what he's putting in his report." [...] Speaking with hist Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,“ Collins complained that Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) gave Republicans on his committee an unrealistic timeline to digest the findings of the Intelligence Committee's report.
posted by katra at 8:58 AM on December 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Justice’s election-year conundrum: How to probe team Trump (Politico)
Legal experts see signs that DOJ is laying the groundwork for a potential criminal probe into whether the president and his top advisers broke federal laws by withholding a White House meeting and nearly $400 million dollars in foreign aid from Ukraine unless the country’s new leaders agreed to investigate Trump’s political rivals.

In Washington, D.C., the FBI has already contacted an attorney for the whistleblower who first revealed the scheme. In New York, federal prosecutors are expanding a probe into Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who played a pivotal role in the Ukraine campaign. And on Capitol Hill, lawmakers busy with impeachment are collecting documents and testimony that could help fuel any DOJ probe into the president and others around him who were involved in the scheme.

“We’ve done investigations based on a lot less than what we’ve heard already,” said Mimi Rocah, a former assistant U.S. attorney from the Southern District of New York.

[...] a senior DOJ official also said [DOJ spokeswoman, Kerri] Kupec’s Sept. 25 statement shouldn’t be taken as the final statement on the matter. Instead, the person said Kupec was only speaking to the specific issues the inspector general had raised after reviewing the whistleblower complaint about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine. The comment, the official said, shouldn’t be seen as ruling out the possibility that DOJ would examine other issues tied to the Trump-Zelensky call.

Legal experts and several Democratic lawmakers say those other issues could include a conspiracy to commit bribery and extortion by conditioning an official government act — a presidential visit and the release of financial aid — on Ukraine’s opening of political investigations that Trump considered valuable. Trump’s actions also raise other potential violations of federal laws governing the solicitation of campaign contributions from a foreign national, the lawmakers and legal experts added.
posted by katra at 9:06 AM on December 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


Legal storm clouds gather over Rudy Giuliani, America's tarnished mayor (Guardian)
Analysts say an indictment is likely as prosecutors focus on Giuliani’s work for Trump and himself in Ukraine
The net tightened again last week when it emerged a grand jury had issued a broad subpoena for documents relating to Giuliani’s international consulting business as part of an investigation of alleged crimes including money laundering, wire fraud, campaign finance violations, making false statements, obstruction of justice, and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

[...] in no version of events does Giuliani appear not to be in big trouble.

The immediate source of his current problems is the work he did in Ukraine over the last two years for himself and on behalf of Trump, who instructed the Ukrainian president to speak to Giuliani in a 25 July phone call. Giuliani wanted the Ukrainians to announce an investigation of Joe Biden, Trump’s chief political rival, according to US officials who testified in the impeachment hearings. In pursuit of his errand, Giuliani contacted current and former Ukrainian prosecutors, multiple Ukrainian presidential administrations and multiple Ukrainian oligarchs, according to testimony.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani offered the oligarchs help with their problems with the US justice department in exchange for help with his project to harm Biden, a charge Giuliani has denied.
posted by katra at 9:12 AM on December 1, 2019 [11 favorites]


RE: hopelessly tying up government like Moscow Mitch. A winning strategy for Repubs because they hate democracy and indeed government itself. Not so much a winning strategy for Democrats who want to show that a functioning government that obeys sensible norms is a good thing.
posted by rikschell at 9:14 AM on December 1, 2019 [17 favorites]


So are we going to go after emoluments or nah? Is there any part of that grift that will be punishable once he's out of office?
posted by bink at 11:59 AM on December 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Republicans to mount aggressive campaign against impeachment as spotlight turns to Judiciary panel (WaPo)
The Judiciary Committee is set to hear Wednesday from four constitutional scholars who are expected to testify on the standards for impeachment — three chosen by Democrats, one by Republicans.
House panel to vote on Ukraine report as Trump mulls defense (AP)
Schiff has said ``there’s nothing for me to testify about,’’ that he isn’t a ``fact’’ witness and that Republicans are only trying to ``mollify the president, and that’s not a good reason to try to call a member of Congress as a witness.’’

Coming after two weeks of public testimony, the findings of the House Intelligence Committee report are not yet publicly known. But the report is expected to mostly focus on whether Trump abused his office by withholding military aid approved by Congress as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch investigations into Trump’s political rivals. Democrats also are expected to include an article on obstruction of Congress that outlines Trump’s instructions to officials in his administration to defy subpoenas for documents or testimony.
Fox News' Judge Napolitano outlines likely articles of impeachment against Trump (Axios)
Napolitano said House Democrats have evidence to impeach the president for bribery, election law violation, obstruction of justice and witness interference. He added that they may also have evidence that Trump lied under oath in written answers to former special counsel Robert Mueller about his conversations with Roger Stone regarding WikiLeaks.
posted by katra at 12:33 PM on December 1, 2019 [7 favorites]


White House won’t take part in first House Judiciary impeachment hearing (Politico)
The White House informed House Democrats on Sunday that it will not participate in the Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing, excoriating Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as a “baseless” and “partisan” exercise in scathing five-page letter to the panel’s chairman. [...]

It also means Trump will lean heavily on his closest GOP allies on the panel — including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Ratcliffe of Texas and Matt Gaetz of Florida — to mount an impeachment defense during the Judiciary panel’s first hearing on Wednesday featuring legal scholars. [...] Notably, Cipollone left open the possibility that the White House would participate in future hearings.

Wednesday’s hearing will be largely a discussion of constitutional issues, with lawmakers set to hear from a panel of constitutional scholars and law professors about the impeachment process — and whether an assortment of allegations against Trump meet the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors” outlined in the Constitution.
posted by katra at 6:19 PM on December 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


i think it neither excoriates nor scathes, the letter. it seems to aspire to scathe, but fails to evoke real fire, as best i can tell; it would like to excoriate but hasn't mastered anatomy. it seems to be trying to shame nadler with nadler's own words in prior like circumstances, an attack republicans are immune to but which may still work against democratic representatives and audiences, and, regardless of veracity, wafts the odor of hypocrisy across the proceedings. am dubious that prior circumstances presented as like are really so like as presented at all, based on every other time president horrorshow's lawyers have invoked an authority or precedent.

but i don't have a great sense of what sort of process is, in fact, due in committee proceedings of this sort. i suspect the grand jury analogue might not be particularly useful down in the granular detail. nor did i read the authorities cited in the footnotes, understanding as i do by now, that the president's men do not broadly, fairly survey available precedents and authorities nor fairly characterize the import of those sources they do cite. obviously i should read/have read impeachment inquiry procedures et al to better inure myself against/withstand/engage/rebut the disinfo, but egad i'm tired.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:50 PM on December 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


get the trial out of the way now and to find some other way to keep Trump’s impeachable crimes and Republican hypocrisy in the national conversation

Nothing's stopping them from having more impeachment hearings on a new topic, including the delightful option of whatever perjuries he commits during this one.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:49 PM on December 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


I find myself wondering if they're really going to do it. Are they really going to sit there and argue that the president isn't beholden to any laws whatsoever?
posted by xammerboy at 9:13 PM on December 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


I find myself wondering if they're really going to do it. Are they really going to sit there and argue that the president isn't beholden to any laws whatsoever?

Not a Republican president at any rate. The remaining Republican voters have sung out in one voice that they want Trump to be king. Republican leaders can either go along with it or be kicked out at the next primary.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:39 PM on December 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


I’d sign up to watch more impeachments which drag the rest of Trump’s once and future crimes into the light, but I think a lot of less politically engaged people would view that as Democrats being sore losers. The first impeachment will carry the most weight and the most public support, which is why the strategy is so important.
posted by SakuraK at 9:40 PM on December 1, 2019 [8 favorites]


Speaking with host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,“ Collins complained that Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) gave Republicans on his committee an unrealistic timeline to digest the findings of the Intelligence Committee's report.

Rep. Collins was able to digest the several-hundred-page "redacted" Mueller report made available in April and produce sound bites in no time at all. He'll rally.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:12 PM on December 1, 2019 [16 favorites]


xammerboy, the President's lawyers have already argued in court that he is subject to no laws.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:12 PM on December 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Lisa Page Speaks: ‘There’s No Fathomable Way I Have Committed Any Crime at All’ – The former FBI lawyer and ongoing Trump target breaks two years of silence in this exclusive interview. And she has quite a lot to say., Daily Beast, Molly Jong-Fast, December 2, 2019:
It’s not often that you interview a subject who has no interest in being famous. But recently, I did just that when I sat down with Lisa Page the week before Thanksgiving in my hotel room in Washington, D.C. Page, of course, is the former FBI lawyer whose text-message exchanges with agent Peter Strzok that belittled Donald Trump and expressed fear at his possible victory became international news. They were hijacked by Trump to fuel his “deep state” conspiracy.

For the nearly two years since her name first made the papers, she’s been publicly silent (she did have a closed-door interview with House members in July 2018). I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11, 2019.

That was the moment Page decided she had to speak up. “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she says. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

She is also about to be back in the news cycle in a big way. On Dec. 9, the Justice Department inspector general report into Trump’s charges that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign will come out. Leaked press accounts indicate that the report will exonerate Page of the allegation that she acted unprofessionally or showed bias against Trump.
...
May every individual, agency, and organization whom The Donald has publicly attacked find equal courage to take their reputations back from the Chief Liar and Fraud.
posted by cenoxo at 1:54 AM on December 2, 2019 [56 favorites]


What Trump said at his Minneapolis rally (The Independent, October 11, 2019). He has no shame because he has none whatsoever.
posted by cenoxo at 2:10 AM on December 2, 2019 [7 favorites]


What Trump said at his Minneapolis rally (The Independent, October 11, 2019). He has no shame because he has none whatsoever.
posted by cenoxo at 6:10 PM on December 2 [3 favorites +] [!]


I dunno if it's just me, but I listen to a lot of podcasts, and you know what they're saying lately? See it used to be, "Man, everybody just needs to calm down and give him a chance (and fuck cancel culture). And Hillary was shady too.". Now they're saying "yeah, he sucks, but you gotta admit he's funny. And Hillary wasn't funny. And she was shady too."

So I want Lisa Page and Peter Strzok to crush him, and I want that rally to haunt Republicans for decades to come.
posted by saysthis at 6:18 AM on December 2, 2019 [19 favorites]


Some journalist just needs to start asking any GOP they come across: is it cool for the President to act out an orgasm of civil servants he hates in front of the public? In front of a crowd that no doubt contains children?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:47 AM on December 2, 2019 [10 favorites]


I think the boy scout speech disproves any Surely This vulgarity arguments.
posted by benzenedream at 7:56 AM on December 2, 2019 [24 favorites]


WaPo: Trump seizes on Zelensky interview to argue case should be closed
Zelensky issued a fresh denial during the interview with Time magazine and three of Europe’s leading publications that he and Trump ever discussed a decision to withhold U.S. military aid to Ukraine in the context of a “quid pro quo” involving political favors. But Zelensky also questioned the fairness of Trump’s decision to freeze the aid a time when Ukraine is trying to get back territory seized by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.

“Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing,” Zelensky said. “I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.”

In a tweet, Trump characterized the interview somewhat differently. “Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls,” Trump wrote. “If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!”
Not enough Pinocchios for Trump’s CrowdStrike obsession (WaPo)
In the space of 10 sentences, Trump told four whoppers. Ukraine does not have the server, the FBI did not need physical possession to investigate, CrowdStrike was not founded by a Ukrainian, and it is not a Ukrainian company. It is dismaying that despite all of the evidence assembled by his top aides, Trump keeps repeating debunked theories and inaccurate claims that he first raised more than two years ago.

There are some days when we wish we were not limited to just Four Pinocchios. We were tempted to display 16 Pinnochios, four for each false statement. But this claim will certainly end up on our list of the Biggest Pinocchios of 2019.
posted by katra at 7:59 AM on December 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


Some journalist just needs to start asking any GOP they come across: is it cool for the President to act out an orgasm of civil servants he hates in front of the public?

The problem is there's an easy out. "We don't agree with him but it's just Trump being Trump." A slightly more targeted version might work though. Focus on the armed forces. Is this what you fought for, what you want America to be? Maybe the police unions. If Trump was attacking you're wife this way, would you approve?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:00 AM on December 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


Trump Is the Founders’ Worst Nightmare (Bob Bauer, NYT Opinion)
The last of the papers, Federalist No. 85, linked demagogy to its threat to the constitutional order — to the “despotism” that may be expected from the “victorious demagogue.” This “despotism” is achieved through systematic lying to the public, vilification of the opposition and, as James Fenimore Cooper wrote in an essay on demagogues, a claimed right to disregard “the Constitution and the laws” in pursuing what the demagogue judges to be the “interests of the people.” Should the demagogue succeed in winning the presidency, impeachment in theory provides the fail-safe protection. And yet the demagogue’s political tool kit, it turns out, may be his most effective defense. It is a constitutional paradox: The very behaviors that necessitate impeachment supply the means for the demagogue to escape it.

As the self-proclaimed embodiment of the American popular will, the demagogue portrays impeachment deliberations as necessarily a threat to democracy, a facade for powerful interests arrayed against the people that only he represents. Critics and congressional opponents are traitors. Norms and standing institutional interests are fraudulent.

President Trump has made full use of the demagogic playbook. He has refused all cooperation with the House. He lies repeatedly about the facts, holds public rallies to spread these falsehoods and attacks the credibility, motives and even patriotism of witnesses. His mode of “argument” is purely assaultive. This is the crux of the Trump defense, and not an argument built on facts in support of a constitutional theory of the case. [...] The demagogue may be boundlessly confident in his own skills and force of political personality, but he cannot succeed on those alone. He can thrive only in political conditions conducive to the effective practice of these dark arts, such as widespread distrust of institutions, a polarized polity and a fractured media environment in which it is possible to construct alternative pictures of social realities. Weak political parties now fall quickly into line with a demagogue who can bring intense pressure to bear on party officials and officeholders through his hold on “the base.” As we have seen with Mr. Trump, the demagogue can bully his party into being an instrument of his will, silencing or driving out dissenters. Republican officeholders know that Mr. Trump can take to Twitter or to Fox News or to the podium at rallies — or all of the above — to excoriate them for a weak will or disloyalty.

[...] A demagogue can claim that Congress has forfeited the right to recognition of its impeachment power, then proceed to unleash a barrage of falsehoods and personal attacks to confuse the public, cow legislators and intimidate witnesses. So long as the demagogue’s party controls one of the two chambers of Congress, this strategy seems a sure bet. When this is all over, we will not hear warm bipartisan praise for how “the system worked.” The lesson will be that, in the politics of the time, a demagogue who gets into the Oval Office is hard to get out.
posted by katra at 8:09 AM on December 2, 2019 [17 favorites]


Some journalist just needs to start asking any GOP they come across: is it cool for the President to act out an orgasm of civil servants he hates in front of the public?
I just heard an analog to this approach play out on On Point on NPR. It wasn't referencing the rally, but they did question a former Trump campaign official for GA in 2016 on many other offenses. The result?
The rep just stalled and argued every single fact, court result, judgement, fine, offense on its face. Just straight up lied and distorted very recent history in the moment.

Chamberlain managed to show the world there is nothing to be gained by negotiating with nazis. Journalists need to stop giving any of them a platform. When there is a war on facts and norms and justice, don't meet your enemy where they want you to.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:15 AM on December 2, 2019 [33 favorites]


Journalists need to stop giving any of them a platform. When there is a war on facts and norms and justice, don't meet your enemy where they want you to.

Guardian: "Speaking to reporters before he left for London, Trump falsely claimed the Ukrainian president had cleared him of wrongdoing in a recent interview with Time magazine. [...] In reality, Volodymyr Zelenskiy criticized Trump for holding up Ukraine’s military assistance and said that the US president had harmed his country’s economic [prospects] by calling it corrupt.

[...] Zelenskiy added that Trump’s claims of corruption in Ukraine could spook companies with capital in the country. “The United States of America is a signal, for the world, for everyone,” the Ukrainian president said. “When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals.”"
posted by katra at 8:26 AM on December 2, 2019 [10 favorites]


Are they really going to sit there and argue that the president isn't beholden to any laws whatsoever?

The latest defense of Trump is a total scam. Republicans just confirmed it themselves. (Greg Sargent, WaPo Opinion)
They have largely adopted the posture that making these demands of Zelensky was justified — that it was the correct thing to do.

In an alternate universe in which reporters and commentators fully reckoned with this state of affairs, any process objections would be immediately dismissed as pure bad faith and misdirection rather than being treated as one of two competing but equivalently legitimate and sincerely felt arguments in a conventional political skirmish.

One can envision some Republicans sincerely believing Trump’s conduct was justifiable while also harboring sincere process objections. But accepting this requires extensive denial about the spectacular bad faith we’ve already seen, from the up-is-down inversion of witness claims into their diametric opposites, to the reflexive reversion to conspiracy theories hermetically sealed off from factual penetration entirely. [...]

Republicans have made up their minds: Trump did no wrong. The process objections lay the groundwork to create the impression that if few or no Republican minds end up getting changed, it’s because the case against Trump was mishandled and not because changing Republican minds was never possible.
posted by katra at 8:40 AM on December 2, 2019 [10 favorites]


benzenedream > I think the boy scout speech disproves any Surely This vulgarity arguments.

T’was merely a precedent: the closer Trump gets to impeachment or the 2020 election (whichever comes first), the more he’ll need to shock and scandalize.

“I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.” ― P. T. Barnum
posted by cenoxo at 9:43 AM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


PTBARNUM
BAN TRUMP

We were warned.
posted by emelenjr at 9:47 AM on December 2, 2019 [57 favorites]


So one of the political parties of the United States just admits they want a king? Want a Supreme Leader!

Republicans would probably have been fine with crowning Ronald Reagan king, but they were absolutely open about considering the president as king with Dick Cheney et al's espousal of the "unitary executive" theory (which doesn't apply to Democrats, of course).

Of course, their desire for a king is an admission that they can't get a majority of loyal Americans to approve their agenda. Their fascism is a sign of weakness, not strength. If their agenda actually had popular support, they wouldn't need it.
posted by Gelatin at 9:58 AM on December 2, 2019 [24 favorites]


By the way, it isn't even worth asking "would you be comfortable with Democrats having the same power" when time and again Republicans respond to electoral defeats by lame-duck changes to the government's power to favor them.
posted by Gelatin at 10:12 AM on December 2, 2019 [8 favorites]


Fox News' Judge Napolitano outlines likely articles of impeachment against Trump (Axios)
Napolitano said House Democrats have evidence to impeach the president for bribery, election law violation, obstruction of justice and witness interference.


I tried listening to the interview (link in the article) and found myself wishing the interviewer would shut the hell up and let the guy from Fox News speak. Napolitano was generally driving toward substance and talking about rules and procedures as written, while the interviewer kept wanting to go for the horserace stuff. After about ten minutes, I gave up.

Dude has someone whose biggest claim to fame is being a talking head on a propaganda network telling him, "Look, the facts are bad for the president," and the interviewer keeps running away from the facts... on an outlet called Reason.

It's not just the big mainstream media groups that can't cover this stuff right. Even niche outfits are hung up on the stupid bullshit out of Trump's mouth.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:01 AM on December 2, 2019 [10 favorites]


Yep, just checked, this is definitely the impeachment thread, so I'm not sure if this is where to put this, but it's a thing...

Trump just started a new trade war with … Brazil and Argentina? (Vox)

Question mark is in the article's headline, but it's what I thought too. The conspiracy theorist in me says this has to be some Wag the Dog business, as in the Trump Administration is looking for opportunistic distraction, and the Trade War is Trump's signature Neverending War, with new fronts available in every other country in the world.

Is there rhyme and reason to it, or is this just more random chaos unrelated to the impeachment? I truly do not understand why he would call Argentina and Brazil "currency manipulators". It feels too random not to be bumbling n-dimensional chess.
posted by saysthis at 11:16 AM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Trump is blaming Brazil and Argentina for the Fed increasing rates a quarter of a percent.

The cruelty is the point.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:30 AM on December 2, 2019


N.B. “Currency manipulator” Argentina has an interest rate floor of 62.5% right now. If the peso is in the toilet it’s not for lack of trying by the Argentine Central Bank.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:32 AM on December 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


Trump just started a new trade war with … Brazil and Argentina? (Vox)

Rudy Guiliani's $1.6 Million Amazon Adventure Has Become an Issue in the Brazilian Election (The Intercept, Oct. 4, 2018)

How Rudy Giuliani’s Pursuit of Money and Power May Cost Donald Trump Dearly (TIME, Oct. 31, 2019)
Giuliani’s foray in Armenia is just one of his many gigs. Around the same time that he traveled to Yerevan, he was paid by a global consulting firm to send a letter calling for changes to Romania’s anti-corruption program, a position that contradicted the U.S. State Department’s stance. He attended an event by Congolese lobbyists that left them with the impression he would work with them on the Trump Administration’s position on sanctions on the country. His firm secured a $1.6 million deal to do security work in a Brazilian province in the Amazon.

After joining Trump’s inner circle, his dealings became more freewheeling. He regularly conducted business on his cell phone while holding court at upscale cigar clubs in New York and Washington, and after nearly two decades of work abroad, foreign officials, businessmen and journalists knew where to reach him. But even as he has become an increasingly ubiquitous public figure, much of his work remains undisclosed.
posted by katra at 11:45 AM on December 2, 2019 [8 favorites]


Bolsonaro better hope that his chat with Trump to get the Brazil tariffs repealed bears fruit. He's just another in a long line of Trump followers to learn that it doesn't matter who you are - Trump will turn on you in an instant if it benefits him, or even if the whim strikes.
posted by azpenguin at 11:52 AM on December 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


>I tried listening to the interview (link in the article) and found myself wishing the interviewer would shut the hell up and let the guy from Fox News speak.

It seems to get better after the 10:00 mark or so.
posted by rhizome at 1:22 PM on December 2, 2019


I am absolutely certain that, in addition to all other reasons for his trade wars, Trump is eyeing late summer or early fall of next year as A time when he could suddenly rescind tariffs/trade wars, causing a huge jump in the markets, which he could then crow about during election season.

It’s his M.O....create a massive problem through stupid interventions, and then, mainly by backing down or calling off his stupid interventions, miraculously get credit for “solving” the problem.
posted by darkstar at 1:32 PM on December 2, 2019 [29 favorites]


I am absolutely certain that, in addition to all other reasons for his trade wars, Trump is eyeing late summer or early fall of next year as A time when he could suddenly rescind tariffs/trade wars, causing a huge jump in the markets, which he could then crow about during election season.

Then Trump is about to find out that the US economy is much bigger and slower to react than, say, a failing business for which one can cook the books to temporarily make look healthy before leaving the suckers to hold the bag. It's taken this long for Trump's stupid policies to ruin Obama's economy, and I'm genuinely surprised the indicators aren't worse, which means it'll likely get work (a lackluster holiday season, for example) before it gets better.
posted by Gelatin at 1:37 PM on December 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Impeachment Wild Cards Trump Confronts in a Senate Trial (Bloomberg/Yahoo)
McConnell and Trump, though, do have a different math problem. Call it the Rule of Four: it would take only four Republican defections to give Democrats an advantage in setting the rules for who testifies, how long the process goes on and other procedural steps that will set the tone and tempo for the trial. [...]

Any senator can subject a ruling by Roberts to a Senate vote, where the Republican majority would have the upper hand. But they may be reluctant to take the political risk of overturning the chief justice to protect Trump, given the certainty Democrats would accuse them of enabling a cover-up.

[...] Republicans likewise could feel pressure to call witnesses who refused to testify in the House -- Secretary of State Michael Pompeo; Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney; former National Security Advisor John Bolton; and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. The administration argued they shouldn’t have to testify in what they considered an unfair House process, but it would be harder for Trump to argue that the process in a GOP-controlled Senate isn’t fair. [...]

While it’s highly unlikely at this point that Trump would get convicted by the Senate on any charge, the stonewalling by the administration raises the risk that a new witness or document could emerge close to the beginning of a Senate trial, through a leak or even a court order. [...]

While no Republican has publicly supported Trump’s impeachment so far, numerous GOP senators have endorsed letting the trial play out. Several Republicans have insisted they are keeping an open mind about the outcome, despite a weeks-long effort by Trump to woo them in meetings at the White House. That could have consequences when it comes to setting the parameters for the trial.
Trump campaign to blacklist Bloomberg News (Axios)
President Trump's 2020 campaign announced Monday it will no longer allow reporters from Bloomberg News to obtain credentials to cover Trump campaign events.
posted by katra at 1:46 PM on December 2, 2019 [7 favorites]


...as James Fenimore Cooper wrote in an essay on demagogues...

Summarized from Wikisource – The American Democrat/On Demagogues (1838) by James Fenimore Cooper [Wikipedia bio], here’s a dozen ways to recognize a demagogue:
  1. The peculiar office of a demogogue is to advance his own interests, by affecting a deep devotion to the interests of the people.
  2. The true theatre of a demagogue is a democracy, for the body of the community possessing the power, the master he pretends to serve is best able to reward his efforts.
  3. The motive of the demagogue may usually be detected in his conduct. The man who is constantly telling the people that they are unerring in judgment, and that they have all power, is a demagogue.
  4. In this instance, the people are flattered, in order to be led; as in kingdoms, the prince is blinded to his own defects, in order to extract favor from him.
  5. The demagogue always puts the people before the constitution and the laws, in face of the obvious truth that the people have placed the constitution and the laws before themselves.
  6. The local demagogue does not distinguish between the whole people and a part of the people, and is apt to betray his want of principles by contending for fancied, or assumed rights, in favor of a county, or a town, though the act is obviously opposed to the will of the nation. This is a test that the most often betrays the demagogue, for while loudest in proclaiming his devotion to the majority, he is, in truth, opposing the will of the entire people, in order to effect his purposes with a part.
  7. The demagogue is usually sly, a detractor of others, a professor of humility and disinterestedness, a great stickler for equality as respects all above him, a man who acts in corners, and avoids open and manly expositions of his course, calls blackguards gentlemen, and gentlemen folks, appeals to passions and prejudices rather than to reason, and is in all respects, a man of intrigue and deception, of sly cunning and management, instead of manifesting the frank, fearless qualities of the democracy he so prodigally professes.
  8. He who would be a courtier under a king, is almost certain to be a demagogue in a democracy.
  9. ...Americans, who have made themselves conspicuous abroad for their adulation of rank and power, have become zealous advocates of popular supremacy, on returning home. Several men of this stamp are, at this moment, in conspicuous political stations in the country, having succeeded by the commonest arts of courtiers.
  10. There is a large class of political men in this country, who, while they scarcely merit the opprobium of being termed demagogues, are not properly exempt from the imputation of falling into some of their most dangerous vices. These are they ... who imagine it a necessary evil in a democracy to defer to prejudices, and ignorance, and even to popular jealousies and popular injustice, that a safe direction may be given to the publick mind. Such men deceive themselves, in the first place, as to their own motives, which are rather their private advancement than the publick good...
  11. As the greatest enemy of truth is falsehood, so is the most potent master of falsehood, truth. These qualities are correlatives; that which is not true, being false; and that which is not false, being true. It follows, as a pervading rule of morals, that the advancement of one is the surest means of defeating the other.
  12. [In contrast,] All good men desire the truth, and, on all publick occasions on which it is necessary to act at all, the truth would be the most certain, efficient, and durable agency in defeating falsehoods, whether of prejudices, reports, or principles. The perception of truth is an attribute of reason...
Remind you of anyone in these latter days?
posted by cenoxo at 2:14 PM on December 2, 2019 [25 favorites]


GOP rebuttal claims Trump didn’t commit impeachable offenses (Politico)
[...] Republicans say the evidence is unconvincing and instead shows Trump had “genuine” concerns about corruption in Ukraine. The report seeks to legitimize Trump’s long-held skepticism of the country amid claims that some of its government officials sought to damage Trump’s electoral prospects in 2016. The document also seeks to justify Trump’s push for an investigation into Biden’s son Hunter over his role on the board of a Ukrainian energy company — even though the former vice president is a potential political rival. [...]

The GOP report also seeks to push back against Democrats’ argument that Trump and his administration have obstructed the impeachment inquiry by not providing key documents and ordering senior officials not to testify. The report states that those actions represented “a legitimate response to an unfair, abusive, and partisan process, and [do] not constitute obstruction of a legitimate impeachment inquiry.” [...]

Wednesday’s hearing will feature a panel of four law professors who will discuss impeachable conduct as outlined in the Constitution. The witnesses are Noah Feldman of Harvard, Pamela S. Karlan of Stanford, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina and Jonathan Turley of The George Washington University.
This is what Ukraine’s ‘interference’ looked like, according to Republicans (Philip Bump, WaPo)
During the first public impeachment hearing held by the House Intelligence Committee last month, top Republican Devin Nunes planted his party’s goal posts for what it sought to uncover. “First,” the California congressman said, “what is the full extent of the Democrats’ prior coordination with the whistleblower, and who else did the whistleblower coordinate this effort with? Second, what is the full extent of Ukraine’s election meddling against the Trump campaign? And third, why did Burisma hire Hunter Biden, what did he do for them, and did his position affect any U.S. government actions under the Obama administration?”

None of those questions has anything to do with the point of the impeachment inquiry, which is to consider how President Trump leveraged his position to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations of the Bidens and of a theory Trump had about 2016 election interference.
posted by katra at 2:18 PM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Some journalist just needs to start asking any GOP they come across: is it cool for the President to act out an orgasm of civil servants he hates in front of the public?

Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of many never-Trumpers, fired 11,000+ civil servants in one go.

So I am not sure why you think Trump's behavior is violating Republican standards. He is cruder but even the decorous republicans probably wank in private at the thought of sticking it to any and all workers, including civil servants.
posted by srboisvert at 2:21 PM on December 2, 2019 [9 favorites]


I am reminded of the Soviet dissident, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. His great crime was to simply state that he wouldn’t lie. That he wouldn’t allow others to lie on his behalf. He wasn’t looking to be a hero, he was just refusing to lie.

If a GOP member says they’re “troubled” by Trumps behavior, or that they find it “distasteful” but not impeachable, they’re indicating they know they are participating in a lie. We need how to figure out how to let them know we see what they are doing and that there is an avenue for change.

We aren’t asking them to be a hero - we are just asking that they stop participating in a lie.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 2:35 PM on December 2, 2019 [21 favorites]


even the decorous republicans probably wank in private at the thought of sticking it to any and all workers
I couldn't tell if that was an autocorrect or not.

Regarding having Shiff testify- I would be fine with that, and it only seems fair to invite the ranking member as well.
posted by MtDewd at 2:56 PM on December 2, 2019 [6 favorites]


The federal judge in Washington who ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with a congressional subpoena will not put that ruling on hold while it’s appealed. <TPM
posted by Harry Caul at 4:00 PM on December 2, 2019 [29 favorites]


Wednesday’s hearing will feature a panel of four law professors who will discuss impeachable conduct as outlined in the Constitution. The witnesses are Noah Feldman of Harvard, Pamela S. Karlan of Stanford, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina and Jonathan Turley of The George Washington University.

WP bios for Noah Feldman, Pamela S. Karlan, Michael Gerhardt, and Jonathan Turley.
posted by cenoxo at 5:10 PM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


Have the Sergeant at Arms take custody of Don McGahn, bring him in front of the committee and let him take the 5th in front of the entire country.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:29 PM on December 2, 2019 [7 favorites]


and let him take the 5th in front of the entire country.

Yeah, these guys are gonna have to start showing up and acting like the gangsters they are.
posted by valkane at 5:41 PM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah, these guys are gonna have to start showing up and acting like the gangsters they are.

Barr disputes key inspector general finding about FBI’s Russia investigation (WaPo)
Attorney General William P. Barr has told associates he disagrees with the Justice Department’s inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report — that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to justify launching an investigation into members of the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the matter. [...] Barr has not been swayed by Horowitz’s rationale for concluding the FBI had sufficient basis to open an investigation on July 31, 2016, these people said.
posted by katra at 5:52 PM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


lucky for mr. barr, the inspector general does not require his agreement.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:21 PM on December 2, 2019 [9 favorites]


Barr needs to be impeached, too.
posted by zakur at 6:32 PM on December 2, 2019 [29 favorites]


New charges likely in case against Giuliani associates (Politico)
A new indictment — which could include additional charges or additional defendants — is likely in the case, assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Zolkind said at a pretrial hearing in federal court in Manhattan, as investigators pore through a mountain of potential evidence in the case.

“The government’s investigation is ongoing, and we think a superseding indictment is likely,” he said. “No decision has been made.” [...]

Also at Monday’s hearing, Judge J. Paul Oetken said he plans to allow Parnas, a Ukrainian-born businessman, to turn over evidence to Congress in response to a subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee.

Many of Parnas’ records were seized by the FBI in raids on his home and elsewhere around the time of his arrest last month at Dulles International Airport as he prepared to board a flight to Vienna with Fruman. The judge said it would be in the “public interest” to allow the documents to be sent to Congress, which requires his approval under an order imposed in the criminal case.

[...] The government seized nearly 30 devices including several cell phones, laptops, hard drives and iPads, Zolkind said. “It is voluminous,” he said. “The FBI’s technical team is going through the process of extracting that material as quickly as possible.”
posted by katra at 7:42 PM on December 2, 2019 [14 favorites]


Does anyone know if there has been any detailed, technical discussion of the requirements of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, how it typically works, and whether the hold on the Ukraine funds violated the law? Also, I'm assuming that some of the documents being requested by the House are relevant to determining whether the Impoundment Control Act was violated. Is that right?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:53 PM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Barr disputes key inspector general finding about FBI’s Russia investigation

He's on a mission. Just wait until Barr comes up with Obama's Kenyan birth certificate.
posted by JackFlash at 7:58 PM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


BarrRepublicans has [sic] not been swayed by

reason, compassion, love, nor reality ever since [t]he[y] learned to walk on [t]h[e]i[r]s hind legs like the Farmer.
posted by riverlife at 8:08 PM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know if there has been any detailed, technical discussion of the requirements of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, how it typically works, and whether the hold on the Ukraine funds violated the law?

The Role of OMB in Withholding Ukrainian Aid (Jacques Singer-Emery & Jack Goldsmith, Lawfare)

Trump’s Hold on Ukrainian Military Aid was Illegal (Sam Berger, Just Security)
posted by katra at 8:23 PM on December 2, 2019 [6 favorites]


Barr needs to be impeached, too.
Barr needs to be impeached first.
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:24 PM on December 2, 2019 [15 favorites]


Attorney General William P. Barr has told associates he disagrees with the Justice Department’s inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report...according to people familiar with the matter.

So it's bullshit. He'd be singing it from the top of the Washington Monument if he had any kind of firm footing. I imagine he's sending out feelers and threads to see if anybody can find any basis for it, but if he's not going public (I suppose we'll see in the next few days) it's not something he'll say under oath or sign his name to. This is assuming that the leaker isn't just bullshitting by themselves and saying that Barr told everybody. "Mom said you have to give me half of your Halloween candy."
posted by rhizome at 8:28 PM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Epstein-Barr suicide report should be coming out any day now, but Mr Barr has been very busy flying around wasting tax dollars and threatening foreign officials.
posted by benzenedream at 9:06 PM on December 2, 2019


Democrats quietly debate expanding impeachment articles beyond Ukraine
Members of the House Judiciary Committee and other more liberal-minded lawmakers and congressional aides have been privately discussing the possibility of drafting articles that include obstruction of justice or other “high crimes” they believe are clearly outlined in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report — or allegations that Trump has used his office to benefit his bottom line.

The idea, however, is running into resistance from some moderate Democrats wary of impeachment blowback in their GOP-leaning districts, as well as Democratic leaders who sought to keep impeachment narrowly focused on allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:13 PM on December 2, 2019 [14 favorites]


I say fuck it: laundry list time. Everything and the kitchen sink. And see how Robert's evidentiary, testimony, and appearance decisions go down. (Maybe I'll head back over to slack, sorry)
posted by j_curiouser at 10:09 PM on December 2, 2019 [15 favorites]


The document also seeks to justify Trump’s push for an investigation into Biden’s son Hunter over his role on the board of a Ukrainian energy company — even though the former vice president is a potential political rival.

Note that this "defense" is an admission that Trump did ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival, as is the contention that Trump obstructed the investigation but had reasons.

Message: Even the Republicans admit he did it.
posted by Gelatin at 4:03 AM on December 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


My argument for expanding the impeachment articles is Trump displays a pattern of self-dealing in every interaction, from using Trump Org as a piggy bank to emoluments to charging the Secret Service for golf cart use at Mar-A-Lago. Ukraine fits that pattern. The man simply doesn't know how to act except in his personal self-interest.
posted by SPrintF at 5:52 AM on December 3, 2019 [12 favorites]


Everything and the kitchen sink

Agreed. Stuff like Trump's charity and Trump U. should be in it as well because 80% of Fox viewers are probably unaware. Lay out all his dirty laundry in a way it can't be ignored.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:41 AM on December 3, 2019 [12 favorites]


Impeachment: We're drawing near the endgame — and, man, is it gonna get ugly (Heather Digby Parton, Salon)
House Judiciary Committee will begin to frame articles of impeachment this week. Republicans won't go quietly

[…] We don't yet know how Nadler plans to run the hearings but I think everyone hopes he follows Schiff's example. A draft of possible impeachment proceedings from September indicates that Nadler plans to allow committee staffers "designated by the chairman and ranking member" to "ask questions of witnesses for a total of one hour, equally divided across the parties (in addition to the normal questions from members)," so it's likely that the hearings will at least have an hour or so of meaningful exchanges.

But that's going to be tough. This committee is one of the most rancorous in the House and it has twice as many members as the Intelligence Committee. Many of them are showboating egomaniacs on a good day. Both Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, who were highly combative during the Intelligence Committee hearings, also sit on Judiciary, so we can expect more of their red-meat performances. And we can be sure that Trump's most loyal guard dog, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, along with borderline crackpot Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, will be looking for ways to upend the proceedings.

[…] if anyone thinks that the circus atmosphere will be over once the House votes on impeachment and it moves to the more staid and dignified Senate, they should think again. Republican senators are behaving little better than Gaetz and Gohmert.
See Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Sen. John Kennedy, R-La
This is crazy talk, but it's very likely where the impeachment process is headed both in the House and the Senate. The most sober and dignified part of the process is probably behind us, unfortunately.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:42 AM on December 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Supreme Court Has the Power to Expedite Impeachment Cases (Becca Damante and Brianne Gorod, Slate)
Failure to do so would be a gift to Donald Trump.
The court has no mandate to be slow. On the other hand, slowing down the process allows more time to build up the articles of impeachment; either by adding more articles, or strengthening the existing ones with more evidence.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:51 AM on December 3, 2019


Second Circuit Court of Appeals just denied a preliminary injunction and a stay for the Deutsche Bank/Capital One case. There’s a 7 day stay for Trump to appeal to the Supreme Court but things are moving. Trump must be shitting bricks at the walls closing in.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:50 AM on December 3, 2019 [15 favorites]


fuck it: laundry list time

while awaiting release of the HPSCI majority report on that committee's impeachment investigation, i glanced over at the minority's report. haven't been able to stomach much of its counterfactual assertions and strident verbiage, but thought it worth highlighting
Democrats introduced four separate resolutions in 2017 and 2018 seeking to impeach President Trump. In January 2019, on their first day in power, House Democrats again introduced articles of impeachment. That same day, a newly elected Congresswoman promised to an audience of her supporters, “we’re going to go in there and we’re going to impeach the mother fucker."
(footnote references omitted, expletive restored). it is so kind of devin nunes' trained monkeys to provide all those citations in one place, so i tracked them down.

H. Res. 438, 115th Cong. (2017), introduced by Rep. Brad Sherman offers one article claiming the president "prevented, obstructed and impeded the administration of justice during a Federal investigation" in connection with the flynn investigation and comey firing. (H. Res. 13, 116th Cong. (2019) appears to be the same article introduced by the same representative in the new congress). H. Res. 621, 115th Cong. (2017) introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen lists five articles: obstruction of justice, violations of the foreign emoluments clause, violation of the domestic emoluments clause, abuse of power by undermining the federal judiciary and rule of law, and undermining freedom of the press. H. Res. 646, 115th Cong. (2017), and H. Res. 705, 115th Cong. (2018), both introduced by Rep. Al Green offer three articles, 646 charging that he "has harmed the society of the United States...sowing discord among the people by associating the majesty and dignity of the presidency with causes rooted in white-supremacy, bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, white nationalism or ne-Nazism on one or more... occasions...., and "has harmed the American society by publicly casting contempt on individuals and groups, inciting hate and hostility, sowing discord among the people of the United States, on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, and sexual orientation....," while 705 charges "he has harmed American society by attempting to convert his bigoted statements into United States policy...."

acts decried in none of those nine unique articles have been abated or remedied. throw 'em in.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:03 AM on December 3, 2019 [13 favorites]


In January 2019, on their first day in power, House Democrats again introduced articles of impeachment.

Yes, that's because some aspiring office-holders are capable of observing the world around them and making plans regarding what they intend to do once they take their seats, as opposed to some people who show up on their first day at work and are surprised when nobody knows how to operate the light switches.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:07 AM on December 3, 2019 [15 favorites]


In January 2019, on their first day in power, House Democrats again introduced articles of impeachment.

Elections have consequences. The House Elections of 2018 were a mandate for impeachment. It is the will of The People.
posted by mikelieman at 8:22 AM on December 3, 2019 [27 favorites]


and see marcy wheeler's pithy summary of the minority report.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:27 AM on December 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


That's a weird defense. "My client must be innocent, because prosecutors keep filing charges against him!"

(Actually, as I pointed out before, the House Republicans' defense doesn't actually claim innocence -- it admits Trump did what the call summary and testimony say he did -- it just claims he had a good reason. The entire defense is an admission of guilt, with an excuse.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:28 AM on December 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


the House Republicans' defense doesn't actually claim innocence -- it admits Trump did what the call summary and testimony say he did -- it just claims he had a good reason.

I really don't understand this "defense." Even granting that Trump had a good reason, e.g. an interest in fighting corruption generically, withholding funds in the manner Trump did violates the law -- a law specifically designed to prevent Presidents from doing the sort of thing that Trump did. At least, that's the way it looks to me, having now read some things about the Impoundment Control Act. Violating a law specifically designed to keep Presidents from doing what Trump did seems impeachable independent of motive. (Though, come on, the fact that the administration didn't even try to get the legally required approval from Congress to withhold funds suggests that they knew what they were doing was wrong.) Moreover, unlike the bribery charge, violation of the Impoundment Control Act was a completed crime. Being caught simply led them to stop violating the law.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:43 AM on December 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


Rep. Al Green offer three articles, 646 charging that ...

I initially read this as saying that there were 646 charges brought under those three articles. And ... the number didn't surprise me or make me wonder if I had misunderstood something.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:46 AM on December 3, 2019 [10 favorites]


I really don't understand this "defense."

That's because it's a lousy defense, but it's the best they could do given the overwhelming evidence of Trump's guilt, and it'd be nice if the so-called "liberal media" would say so instead of quoting both sides and then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
posted by Gelatin at 8:50 AM on December 3, 2019 [19 favorites]


From the bullet-point summary near the beginning of the minority report:
The evidence does not establish that President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Burisma Holdings, Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, or Ukrainian influence in the 2016 election for the purpose of benefiting him in the 2020 election.
The italicized (by me) part is doing a lot of work there.
posted by mabelstreet at 10:14 AM on December 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


Hmmm....yeah that impound control act (at first blush) doesn't seem to accommodate any bullsh-uh-mitigating circumstances. Let's add that one at the top.
posted by j_curiouser at 11:04 AM on December 3, 2019


HPSCI majority releases draft Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report. press release notes it will "be voted on this evening," i suppose by HPSCI.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:23 AM on December 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


Hmmm....yeah that impound control act (at first blush) doesn't seem to accommodate any bullsh-uh-mitigating circumstances. Let's add that one at the top.

I found this account from the House Committee on the Budget to be helpful. Their letter requesting documents is also worth reading. Seems to me that the budget committee could easily hold its own hearings with testimony from legal experts and from OMB staff where the goal is to make clear that the withholding of funds was illegal on its own, independent of whether there was improper motive for doing so. The refusal to produce documents and make witnesses available then looks very clearly like obstruction of justice or obstruction of Congress's oversight powers, and the violation of the law serves as the sort of "underlying crime" that the right wing has been so concerned with in their complaints about obstruction of justice charges coming out of the Mueller investigation.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 11:41 AM on December 3, 2019 [13 favorites]


The evidence does not establish that President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Burisma Holdings, Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, or Ukrainian influence in the 2016 election for the purpose of benefiting him in the 2020 election.

The italicized (by me) part is doing a lot of work there.


And yet conservatives in general and Trump in particular are quick to presume that any personal or philosophical antipathy is evidence of bad faith acts, even if there's no evidence of the acts themselves. As only one example, they are convinced that Peter Strozick and Lisa Page are guilty of wrongdoing because they were, rightly, appalled at the idea of a Trump presidency.

No one can point to anything either of them did wrong, but they didn't like Trump, so they must have.

They shouldn't be allowed to have it both ways.
posted by Gelatin at 11:48 AM on December 3, 2019 [24 favorites]


From the Preface of the Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report:
Those watching the impeachment hearings might have been struck by how little discrepancy there was between the witnesses called by the Majority and Minority. Indeed, most of the facts presented in the pages that follow are uncontested. The broad outlines as well as many of the details of the President’s scheme have been presented by the witnesses with remarkable consistency. There will always be some variation in the testimony of multiple people witnessing the same events, but few of the differences here go to the heart of the matter. And so, it may have been all the more surprising to the public to see very disparate reactions to the testimony by the Members of Congress from each party.

If there was one ill the Founding Founders feared as much as that of an unfit president, it may have been that of excessive factionalism. Although the Framers viewed parties as necessary, they also endeavored to structure the new government in such a way as to minimize the “violence of faction.” As George Washington warned in his farewell address, “the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Today, we may be witnessing a collision between the power of a remedy meant to curb presidential misconduct and the power of faction determined to defend against the use of that remedy on a president of the same party. But perhaps even more corrosive to our democratic system of governance, the President and his allies are making a comprehensive attack on the very idea of fact and truth. How can a democracy survive without acceptance of a common set of experiences?

America remains the beacon of democracy and opportunity for freedom-loving people around the world. From their homes and their jail cells, from their public squares and their refugee camps, from their waking hours until their last breath, individuals fighting human rights abuses, journalists uncovering and exposing corruption, persecuted minorities struggling to survive and preserve their faith, and countless others around the globe just hoping for a better life look to America. What we do will determine what they see, and whether America remains a nation committed to the rule of law.

As Benjamin Franklin departed the Constitutional Convention, he was asked, “what have we got? A Republic or a Monarchy?” He responded simply: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
posted by katra at 11:48 AM on December 3, 2019 [31 favorites]


Whoa! that's of lot of detail on phone logs between OMB, Giuliani, Nunes(!), Parnas, and Sekulow going back months. (starts around p 152)
posted by Harry Caul at 11:58 AM on December 3, 2019 [13 favorites]


Whoa! that's of lot of detail on phone logs between OMB, Giuliani, Nunes(!), Parnas, and Sekulow going back months.

If memory serves me correctly, Nunes was Trump's mole -- or one of Trump's moles -- in Congress during the Russia investigation. In fact, I seem to recall, he would brief the White House, not his fellow committee members, on damaging information he learned during Mueller's investigation.
posted by Gelatin at 12:20 PM on December 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


Devin Nunes steps aside from House intelligence committee's Russia inquiry (Guardian, Apr. 6, 2017)
Nunes had faced deep criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans for diverting the focus of an inquiry deeply damaging to Trump over to murky and morphing allegations that Trump was the subject of improper leaks. He had initially and untruthfully denied that the Trump White House had aided him in supplying the material for those allegations, prompting Democrats to accuse Nunes of a cover-up.

But in alleging last month that Obama officials mishandled classified information on Trump, Nunes appeared to reveal the existence of a surveillance-court order. That apparent “unauthorized disclosur[e] of classified information” prompted the House ethics committee to launch an investigation into Nunes, ethics committee chair Susan Brooks and top Democrat Ted Deutch said in a statement.
Ethics Committee clears Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (CNN, Dec. 7, 2017)
The House Ethics Committee has cleared Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes in its investigation into whether he disclosed classified information to the Trump White House, which could create an avenue for Nunes to return to the helm of the panel's Russia investigation. [...] The Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it was closing its investigation into Nunes after determining the information that he had disclosed was not classified. [...]

In April, Nunes temporarily stepped aside from his role as the head of the committee's probe into Russian election meddling amid questions about his decision to provide information to the White House about the "unmasking" of Trump officials at the tail end of the Obama administration.
posted by katra at 1:01 PM on December 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


WaPo: Schiff says phone records show ‘considerable coordination’ with White House
Schiff also was asked about the fact that Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, appears multiple times in the cellphone records.

Schiff replied that it was “deeply concerning” that there may be evidence that a lawmaker was complicit with Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine, although he stopped short of definitively saying that such evidence exists and declined to say whether Nunes should recuse himself from Tuesday night’s committee vote.

“It may be up to others to evaluate the conduct of members of Congress,” Schiff said.
Guardian: A lawyer for Lev Parnas, the former associate of Rudy Giuliani’s who aided the Trump lawyer’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations into the Democrats, suggested congressman Devin Nunes should have recused himself from the impeachment inquiry. [...] The impeachment report from Democrats on the House intelligence committee showed Parnas and Nunes were in communication as Giuliani began spreading baseless corruption allegations against Joe Biden.
posted by katra at 1:13 PM on December 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


Guardian: Nunes in contact with Giuliani as he started peddling Biden accusations, report says
Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, was repeatedly in contact with Rudy Giulaini as the president’s personal lawyer started spreading baseless corruption allegations against Joe Biden, according to the impeachment report. [...]

CNN reported late last month that Nunes, who has been one of the president’s most ardent defenders against the impeachment inquiry, met with a former Ukrainian prosecutor in an effort to get dirt on Biden.
Trump abused power of presidency, Dems conclude in impeachment report (Politico)
The report also includes new details, including phone logs and records describing a more extensive set of contacts than previously known between Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — whom Trump deputized to lean on top Ukrainian officials — and the top Intelligence Committee Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

The call logs, which the committee obtained from telecommunications company AT&T, also show contacts between Giuliani and Kash Patel, a former Nunes aide who joined the National Security Council in February, in addition to other communications between an indicted Giuliani associate — Lev Parnas — and an Intelligence Committee GOP aide. Nunes and Parnas also exchanged several phone calls earlier this year, the logs showed.
posted by katra at 1:20 PM on December 3, 2019 [17 favorites]


Moreover, unlike the bribery charge, violation of the Impoundment Control Act was a completed crime.

He withheld funds from Ukraine, and also Lebanon? The Trump administration has quietly released more than $100 million in military assistance to Lebanon after months of unexplained delay that led some lawmakers to compare it to the aid for Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry. (AP, Dec. 2, 2019)

Lebanon wasn't enthused about its assigned part in Jared Kushner's Middle East plan.
Trump Mideast plan hits nerve in Lebanon, stirs old fears (Reuters, June 24, 2019) U.S. President Donald Trump’s vision for Mideast peace has hit a raw nerve in Lebanon, reviving fears of any plan that would permanently settle Palestinian refugees in the country and shift its Christian-Muslim sectarian balance.

Sen. Chris Murphy, (D-Conn), tweeting on Nov. 26, as he returns home from Lebanon trip: Cutting off LAF funding is the dumbest thing we could do if we are trying to weaken Hezbollah. As stopping Ukraine aid helped Russia, here the hold empowers Iran to step into the vacuum. And it could lead to the collapse of the country which would be a national security disaster. The bottom line is simple: (1) in a way this is Ukraine again - it's not legal for Trump to hold funding that Congress authorized; (2) whatever his reason, defunding the Lebanese military does the exact opposite of our policy goals, and signals another abandonment of a key ally.

(Murphy's a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the ranking Democratic member of the subcommittee on the Middle East and Counter-terrorism. He's pleased the funds were released. Tweet from yesterday: It shouldn’t have taken a trip from a U.S. Senator and a public shaming campaign to unlock aid for Lebanon. The founders gave Congress foreign policy powers as a check against an imperial presidency. Where are all those Republicans who used to care about executive overreach?)

Were this aid merely withheld, or was there an actual intimidation phone call, or Giuliani-led luncheon, or big-donor Trump surrogate backstage maneuverings to hang a lampshade on the withholding? Is anyone keeping a tally of inexplicably-undistributed-by-Trump-decree-though-Congress-approved foreign funding?

On preview - Nunes was cleared that December, then released that memo in the new year. Pelosi says Rep. Nunes ‘disgraced’ House Intelligence Committee, demands removal as chairman over FBI Russia memo (CNBC, Feb. 1, 2018) The link has her letter to then-Speaker Ryan; it's her call now, and it's not like Nunes has improved any.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:21 PM on December 3, 2019 [20 favorites]


Oh, wow, understatement. No wonder he's been so sweaty.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


SURELY THIS!!
posted by Melismata at 1:24 PM on December 3, 2019 [14 favorites]


State Dept. official rejects claims of Ukrainian election meddling (Politico)
The State Department’s No. 3 official on Tuesday flatly rejected a conspiracy theory pushed by President Donald Trump and his personal attorney that it was Ukraine who systematically interfered in the 2016 election, not Russia. In a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on U.S. policy toward Russia, David Hale, the department’s undersecretary for political affairs, succinctly summed up the findings of the U.S. intelligence community in response to questioning from the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez.

“Secretary Hale, did Russia interfere in the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump?” the New Jersey Democrat asked. “Yes, the intelligence community assessed that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at our presidential election,” Hale replied, reading from what appeared to be a prepared response. “Was the Kremlin’s interference in our 2016 election a hoax?” Menendez followed up, echoing the president’s own language, and eliciting a swift “no” from Hale.

“Are you aware of any evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election?” Menendez continued, to which Hale responded: “I am not.” [...] After more back and forth, Menendez returned to the subject. "Is our national security made stronger or weaker when members of the administration or members of Congress insist on repeating debunked Russian lies?" he asked.

"That does not serve our interest," Hale answered. Hale’s series of responses is a departure from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told reporters a week ago that he saw merit in investigating such allegations.
posted by katra at 2:10 PM on December 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


Nunes’ role exposed and 8 more takeaways from the Intel report (Politico)
Dems accuse Trump of attacking witnesses

Democrats say Trump also may have broken federal criminal laws by attacking and intimidating witnesses. They cite four specific examples where the president turned to Twitter to go after people who were called to testify before the House committee, as well as the whistleblower who was the subject to more than 100 public statements during a two-month period. [...] Violations of the law on witness intimidation, the Democrats note, carry prison sentences of up to 20 years.

Nunes plays big role

Nunes has railed against the impeachment inquiry and repeatedly accused Schiff of lacking transparency throughout the six-week investigation leading up to the report. Nunes never disclosed his calls with Giuliani or Parnas, despite the pair featuring prominently in the impeachment proceedings.

Mueller mentioned more than a dozen times

Robert Mueller’s name appears more than a dozen times including the footnotes, starting with the fact that the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky came the day after the special counsel testified to the House about the findings from his investigation into Moscow meddling in the 2016 campaign. [...] Later Mueller mentions address Giuliani’s efforts to undercut the special counsel probe by circulating the conspiracy theory that Ukraine — and not Russia — had been responsible for the 2016 election interference as well as Victoria Toensing’s brief role with her husband as members of the Trump personal legal team.

So many phone calls

[...] by the looks of their report, they hit the jackpot. Call logs cited by the House reference numerous contacts among the many players in this saga, down to the minute and second. There are 16 calls, for example, between Giuliani and Parnas between April 1 and April 7 as the Trump associates worked to undermine Yovanovitch. In the same time period, Parnas and Solomon have 10 calls. The House report also describes multiple calls between Toensing, Giuliani and Parnas; Giuliani and Nunes; Giuliani and the White House (followed by one that came soon after, lasting 8 minutes and 28 seconds, with an unidentified number); Giuliani and OMB; and even a 48-second call between Giuliani and a number associated with then-national security adviser John Bolton.
posted by katra at 3:37 PM on December 3, 2019 [15 favorites]


Reminder, Parnas was talking about Yovanonvitch's ousting months before it took place: Profit, not politics: Trump allies sought Ukraine gas deal (AP News, October 7, 2019)
In early March, Fruman, Parnas and Sargeant were touting a plan to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the company, Andrew Favorov, according to two individuals who spoke to the AP as well as a memorandum about the meeting that was later submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, formerly known as Kiev. [...]

According to Dale Perry and the other person, Favorov said Parnas told him Trump planned to remove U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and replace her with someone more open to aiding their business interests.

Dale Perry told the AP he was so concerned about the efforts to change the management at Naftogaz and to get rid of Yovanovitch that he reported what he had heard to Suriya Jayanti, a State Department foreign service officer stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv who focuses on the energy industry. He also wrote a detailed memo about Favorov’s account, dated April 12, which was shared with another current State Department official. Perry recently provided a copy of the April memo to AP.
Burisma is what, the largest independent gas company in Ukraine? Used to buy equipment from Halliburton, which is also in Ukraine now? "Ukraine is presumed to have Europe's third-largest shale gas reserves at 1.2 trillion cm. Burisma declined to comment on speculation that one of the motivations for the Kremlin's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict has been to stifle the development of shale gas. Both Shell and Chevron decided to freeze and pull out from their shale projects in Ukraine after conflict flared up." (Petroleum-Economist.com Aug. 8, 2017, Burisma and the case for Ukrainian energy independence.) It's "follow the money," and for the last 30 years or so it's always a certain kind of money.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:28 PM on December 3, 2019 [20 favorites]


AP Interview: Ex-Polish president defends Biden and Burisma (AP)
When Hunter Biden was tapped for Burisma, Kwasniewski had a short phone call with him in which he told him Burisma was determined to be well-managed and transparent.

Kwasniewski also recalled telling him that if Burisma succeeded in tapping into Ukraine’s gas deposits, it would help Ukraine gain energy independence from Russia, which is key to its broader struggle to exist as a sovereign nation. [...]

He said Burisma now produces about 25% to 30% of the gas on the Ukrainian market and Ukraine — where Russia in past winters has turned off the gas flow as a form of political pressure — is in fact becoming “less and less dependent on Russia.”
posted by katra at 5:19 PM on December 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


This is especially disgusting and terrifying: Senate Republicans Warm to Theory of Ukrainian Election Interference
Some Republican lawmakers are warming to the allegation that Ukraine’s government meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections, even though a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of any systematic effort by Ukraine to interfere.
posted by PhineasGage at 5:55 PM on December 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


'I'm not going to take any sh--': Nadler girds for battle (Politico)
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler had a blunt message as he privately addressed Democrats the day before his panel assumes a starring role in the impeachment inquiry.

“I’m not going to take any shit,” Nadler said in a closed-door prep session Tuesday morning — a rare cuss word from the lawyerly Manhattan Democrat that prompted some lawmakers to sit up in their chairs, according to multiple people in the room.

Nadler’s warning shot referred to likely GOP antics to try to undermine the first impeachment hearing in the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. But it wasn’t lost on Democrats that Nadler’s message could also apply to those in his own party who have closely scrutinized his role in the House's impeachment probe.
posted by katra at 6:42 PM on December 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


Huh, so it really still is all about doing for Putin. And here I thought Trump was acting on his own coked-out movie mobster fantasies. Perhaps the Democratic congresspeople might consider highlighting the ongoing treason they have discovered. The dots are clearly evident, so maybe somebody ought to go ahead and connect them now that it's clear the Republicans aren't going to take the easy way out.
posted by wierdo at 6:49 PM on December 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


John Kennedy gets serious pushback on Ukraine mess (Politico)
As the House moves forward with its impeachment inquiry, President Donald Trump’s staunch allies have attempted to shift the focus to Ukraine. And Kennedy has emerged as the most prominent senator in this process, making Sunday show appearances that have perplexed his Senate colleagues by offering some level of equivalency between Russian and Ukrainian influence in 2016.

“I draw a completely different conclusion from his,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said. “And it’s my understanding he has now changed his mind a bit. But as a member of the Intelligence Committee I have seen no evidence at all that the Ukrainians were involved. And indeed it is more likely that this is part of Russian disinformation campaign, in my judgment.” [...]

While Kennedy’s comments earned him a shout-out from Trump on Twitter Monday, lawmakers have only raised more questions. [...] Many Senate Republicans won’t criticize Kennedy directly, though they made clear that Russia, not Ukraine, presents the actual threat to the United States.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) cited testimony from State Department officials. “They said there’s no evidence that Ukraine interfered in our election,” the Utah Republican said. “Of course leaders in other countries are pulling for one candidate or another. That’s to be expected but there’s a big difference between pulling for someone ... and interfering in the way Russia did.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, agreed that it’s common for countries to prefer one presidential candidate over another. “I think it’s important to distinguish op-eds… from the systemic effort to undermine our election systems," Rubio said. “There’s no way to compare any other efforts to what Russia did in 2016. … There’s nothing that compares not even in the same universe.” [...]

“Everything I’ve seen from the intelligence community and our Intelligence Committee puts it squarely on Russia.” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 GOP senator. “Maybe he’s seen something I haven’t … I haven’t seen any evidence.”
posted by katra at 7:02 PM on December 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


Adam Schiff: Trump’s Ukraine actions constitute bribery. ‘That’s exactly what’s gone on here.’ (WaPo)
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff said in an interview Tuesday that President Trump’s actions vis-a-vis Ukraine meet the constitutional definition of bribery — but that it’s the Judiciary Committee that must decide whether to recommend impeaching him on those grounds.

“This is certainly, I think, what the founders had in mind when they used that word in the Constitution,” Schiff (D-Calif.) said, defining “bribery” as “the offer of or performance of official acts, in exchange for something of value; the betrayal of a public trust to get something of personal or political value. “That’s exactly what’s gone on here.” [...]

The document concluded that Trump and his subordinates “conditioned official acts on a public announcement by the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, on politically-motivated investigations, including one into President Trump’s domestic political opponent.” [...] The report states plainly Democrats’ belief that Trump has obstructed Congress, and that it is a crime to intimidate witnesses, perhaps foreshadowing two additional impeachment articles.

It also accuses Trump of having “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.” But when asked whether Democrats also believed Trump’s actions meet the constitutional standard for the impeachable offense of treason, Schiff said he had not considered that. He said he does believe, however, that Trump’s actions represent high crimes and misdemeanors.

Though the Intelligence Committee hands off its work this week, Schiff has committed to continue the investigation “to know the full extent of other people’s involvement in the Ukraine scheme.” He added that the panel will look back to determine whether Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to pressure Ukraine’s previous president as well.
posted by katra at 7:19 PM on December 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


G.O.P. Senators, Defending Trump, Embrace Debunked Ukraine Theory (NYT)
Most Republican lawmakers have backed away from the theory. But Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Tuesday that there was “no difference” between the far-reaching Russian interference his panel documented over the course of a multiyear investigation and Ukrainian officials who openly preferred Hillary Clinton’s candidacy over Mr. Trump’s.

The statement was all the more remarkable because his panel investigated the claim, according to a congressional official with knowledge of the inquiry, and could find no evidence that Ukraine engaged in an interference campaign similar to Russia’s. Mr. Burr had alluded to that finding in a statement to CNN on Monday night: “I don’t think anybody interfered in the same way Russia did.” [...]

[Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee] said on Tuesday that he was “1,000 percent confident” that the hack of the Democratic National Committee “was by Russian operatives, no one else.”

“I think it’s always wrong to say things that can’t be proven,” Mr. Graham added. “It was the Russians.” [...]

Democrats on Tuesday were scathing in their rebuke of the Republican embrace of the Ukraine claim. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said it was “appalling” that Republican lawmakers were “repeating the lie invented by” Russian intelligence services. “I have a simple message for my Republican colleagues,” Mr. Schumer said. “Stop spreading Putin’s propaganda.”
posted by katra at 7:51 PM on December 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


goddamn nunes' trained monkeys are artless.

consider at p. 18-19, when, supporting the premise that "multiple democrat witnesses testified that these ukranian actions during the 2016 election campaign likely also colored president t****'s views....," the author offers "Ambassador Volker said:" and then drops in the blockquote. naturally, a reader expects to see in that blockquote the words of ambassador volker, but not here. instead a passage of hearing/testimony transcript beginning with a speaker other than ambassador volker (designated "Q" in the trx) feeding a leading question to elicit "A" (Volker), "That is correct," then another leading question and another "that is correct," followed by a third, the response to which was, "Yes. I believe so." then a similar bit from sondland. so what volker said was "that is correct" twice and "yes i believe so."

the writing style foul got my attention; i might have just scanned on fluidly past it as more unexamined bullshit, but the dangling colon was right there at the page break, enticing me. what did ambassador volker testify? i credulously turned (scrolled whatever) the page and it wasn't what volker said but some dialog starting with not-volker! and what volker, eventually, did say was not much. surely if, in the transcript of his testimony or deposition, ambassador volker had said it more directly, that would be the blockquote, but no: he must not have. i trust devin nunes' trained monkeys zealously examined those transcripts and this is the best they found on that point. why include it at all? and why risk drawing a critical gaze such as This One with your clumsy lawless composition?

i guess two is "multiple": it is the first multiple of one and itself. but can volker and sondland be viewed as "democrat witnesses" from any perspective? does merely agreeing with a proposition one is fed count as testifying?

it is interesting to note the bulk of the opposition activity ukranian senior government officials committed against the president's campaign cited in the minority's report (here i defer to nunes' judgment: i'm betting you threw in everything you had here, shitheel) amounts to one tweet and one facebook post by internal affairs minister avakov; a member of parliament's statement to the press about most parliamentarians being on hillary clinton's "side" at the end of a paragraph about ukraine's "pro-western course" and evidently not about the u.s. election; a facebook post from a former prime minister; and the column by ambassador chaly doing exactly what an ambassador should be doing in response to a stupid, dangerous comment by a deliberately ignorant candidate. hardly opposition; not remotely systematic.

it was hard to read that paragraph without thinking of our president's behavior on social media as everywhere else. it was hard to read that "pro-western course" but "we love hillary" passage and not conclude that statement suggests our president represents the opposite of "pro-western" which, in context, i'm taking to be putinian russia (& some wicked insight & subtlety from leshchenko). nevertheless, minister avakov's criticisms are mildly indecorous, however clear and accurate. what were the president's cabinet, staff and senators saying about the candidate on facebook and twitter in 2016? "no record found"? funny.

got a few other sections to examine on the question of what the minority of the house intelligence committee thinks is established with respect to the 2016 ukraine gov't's efforts to oppose our president's campaign. am afraid that anywhere i look at close, in this document, will fray and fall apart, like the finest, most friable of diaphanous gossamer gauzes, into a cloud of pulverized, spoorified fractal bullshit wafted about on rage, so, really, not fine at all: not even marginally okay.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:32 PM on December 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


Mitch McConnell Is Fully Prepared to Shut Democrats Out of Impeachment
McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he’s preparing a “back-up plan” for figuring out the Senate rules, in case he's not able to strike a bipartisan deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on how to structure the proceedings. And that plan, apparently, is to try and cut Democrats out entirely. “The first thing Sen. Schumer and I will do is see if there’s a possibility of agreement on a procedure,” McConnell said. “That failing, I would probably come back to my own members and say: ‘OK, can 51 of us agree how we’re going to handle this?’” The Majority Leader added that he wasn’t sure if he’d prefer a bipartisan deal or working solely with Republicans, telling reporters, “it would depend on what we would agree to.” Should both the bipartisan and partisan negotiations fail to figure out the trial procedure, the task would fall to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will be presiding over the trial. Roberts would submit motions to the Senate about the procedure, which could then be passed with 51 votes.

McConnell's potential decision to force the impeachment procedure through with only Republican support would stand in stark contrast to former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, in which a bipartisan compromise on the trial rules passed in a vote of 100-0.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:19 PM on December 3, 2019 [10 favorites]


McConnell's potential decision to force the impeachment procedure through with only Republican support would stand in stark contrast to former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, in which a bipartisan compromise on the trial rules passed in a vote of 100-0....

It would, however, be entirely in line with McConnell's behaviour as Senate Majority Leader since forever.
posted by bardophile at 9:33 PM on December 3, 2019 [29 favorites]


Rep. Devin Nunes Sues CNN for Hundreds of Millions of Dollars, Calls It the ‘Mother of Fake News’ (Law & Crime)
The 47-page lawsuit, filed by attorney Stephen S. Biss in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, came out swinging. You might recognize Biss’s name from the Twitter/Devin Nunes’ Cow lawsuit, the Fusion GPS lawsuit, and the Ryan Lizza lawsuit. These lawsuits have sought anything from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Nunes has not prevailed.
Chris Cuomo Pushes Back on Devin Nunes’ Lawsuit Against CNN (Mediaite)
CNN’s Chris Cuomo pushed back on Republican Congressman Devin Nunes’ defamation lawsuit, which attacks the network for using indicted businessman Lev Parnas as a source: “How does Mr. Nunes explain this: four separate calls with Parnas with his name of them?” [...] The lawsuit specifically referenced this November 22nd CNN story, which cited Parnas’ attorney, Joseph A. Bondy, saying that Parnas was willing to testify under oath to Congress that Nunes met with former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in Vienna, Austria in 2018 to gather political dirt on Joe Biden. (CNN has now published a report on Nunes disputing this claim.)

Cuomo, however, zeroed in on the hypocrisy of Nunes’ claims, based on the latest impeachment inquiry bombshell, which revealed Nunes himself had been in contact with the now-indicted Parnas four separate times in the spring of 2019, according to subpoenaed call logs. [...]

“The timing is key,” he said. The four calls happened at the “same time Trump mouthpiece and Fox employee John Solomon starts publishing stories hyping the Russian-backed fiction: Ukraine actually messed with the 2016 election, not Russia. Solomon was working the phones with Giuliani. Giuliani was in touch with Nunes and Parnas, as well as the folks in the White House and the OMB. Mick Mulvaney still runs it, he’s the acting Chief of Staff. They’re in control of when the aid goes.”
posted by katra at 9:48 PM on December 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


Watch Live: The Trump Impeachment Hearings – House Judiciary Committee – Day 1 (PBS)
The House Judiciary Committee is taking up public impeachment hearings, starting on Wednesday. The Wednesday hearing is slated to examine the premise of “high crimes and misdemeanors” through testimony from 4 scholars and experts. [...] The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET. Watch live in the video player.
Watch LIVE On December 04 | 9:30am ET | C-SPAN3
The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing with legal experts to discuss the constitutional framework for potentially drawing up articles of impeachment against President Trump.
The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump (House Judiciary, Youtube)
The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment
posted by katra at 10:10 PM on December 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


Devin Nunes’ Net Worth: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know, Heavy.com, Stephanie Dube Dwilson, February 1, 2018:
  1. Devin Nunes’ Net Worth Is About $158,001
  2. Nunes’ Biggest Assets Are Wineries, But the Rumored Russian Connection Appears To Be a Stretch
  3. Nunes Was Ranked the 366th Wealthiest Person in the House in 2016
  4. His 2016 Campaign Raised More than $2 Million But Only Spent About $1.3 Million
  5. Devins and His Family Live in Tulare, California
For the sake of argument, let us generously assume Nunes is currently worth $2,000,000.

There’s about 44,000,000 registered Democratic voters in the USA. If we set up a crowdfund and manage to get just $1 each from only 10% of Democrats, that’s $4,400,000. We keep $400,000 for ‘expenses‘, and bribe offer Nunes $4,000,000 if he leaves Congress for eternity, and never runs for any office higher than County Commissioner again.

He doubles his net worth and gets more time to spend with his family, and the country saves much time, money, and eye-rolling by not dealing with his ridiculous claims and lawsuits.

Deal?
posted by cenoxo at 6:14 AM on December 4, 2019


Uh no. A crowdfunded-from-dems $4mil golden parachute for Nunes? Let's go with prosecution and likely jail time instead.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:19 AM on December 4, 2019 [57 favorites]


Top House Democrat wants Mueller findings in impeachment articles against Trump
The third most senior House Democrat wants a vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump — and the charges against him to include obstruction of justice related to the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

That controversial strategic position, laid out by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., in a brief interview with McClatchy on Tuesday evening, is the strongest and most decisive statement yet by a member of the House Democratic leadership team.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:24 AM on December 4, 2019 [6 favorites]




Send articles to the floor, and let the Representatives pick which ones they want to vote for.

Clinton faced 4 articles, and the House passed 2.

Johnson got 11 articles, and the Senate only voted on 3 (they voted on 1, failed, waited 10 days, voted on 2 more).
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:50 AM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Impeachment Hearings Just Confirmed Voters’ Preexisting Opinions (Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Laura Bronner, FiveThirtyEight)
Overall, though, opinion on impeachment seems to have hardened as a result of the public testimony instead of persuading people to change their position. […]
There seems to be measurable fraction of survey takers who are for impeachment but not for removal. I have no idea if this will turn out to be significant or not.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:01 AM on December 4, 2019


There seems to be measurable fraction of survey takers who are for impeachment but not for removal. I have no idea if this will turn out to be significant or not.

Given that everyone and their brother has been predicting that the Senate would never convict, does that cohort mean that they're in favor of impeachment even if the Senate won't convict?

Just this morning, by the way, Steve Inskeep was interviewing House Intelligence Committee chair Schiff and -- typically -- framed the likely refusal by Senate Republicans to convict as a problem for the Democrats, completely ignoring the implications of Republicans ignoring the uncontested evidence of Trump's guilt and voting protect him just out of partisanship. It fell to Schiff to point out how afraid Republicans are of being primaried.
posted by Gelatin at 7:06 AM on December 4, 2019 [15 favorites]


The Impeachment Drive Climbs Into the Clown Car (Jeremy Stahl, Slate)
Up next, a pointless hearing before the House’s most incompetent committee.

[…] Based on everything we know about the committee’s past oversight efforts, statements by Republican committee members and the president’s defense team, and the details of the panel itself, one thing seems clear: Compared with the staid and productive fact-finding work conducted by the House Intelligence Committee over the past few weeks, this hearing will almost certainly be a disaster.

If this hearing fails to produce further public momentum for impeachment—or ends up being outright counterproductive—it won’t be entirely the fault of the Democrats in charge of the committee. In many ways, the process and dynamics of the Judiciary Committee have been set up to produce a bad result.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:07 AM on December 4, 2019


There seems to be measurable fraction of survey takers who are for impeachment but not for removal. I have no idea if this will turn out to be significant or not.

Given that everyone and their brother has been predicting that the Senate would never convict, does that cohort mean that they're in favor of impeachment even if the Senate won't convict?


Yes. The suggestion is that they're pro-impeachment, and pro-let-the-voters-decide in 2020.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:08 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


For my own clarity, I needed to puzzle their "logic" out.
"Trump did impeachable things, but we shouldn't use the Constitutional remedy for Trump doing those impeachable things."
posted by mikelieman at 7:15 AM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


Trump's misconduct 'worse than any prior president', expert to say in hearing (Guardian)
“The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favor from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president,” Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor, planned to say, according to a copy of his opening statement first obtained by Politico.

The witness called by Republicans, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, planned to offer an opposing view. “If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president,” Turley’s opening statement says.
Impeachment witness calls Trump’s actions ‘worse than the misconduct of any prior president’ (Politico)
Gerhardt, along with Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman and Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan, will argue that Trump's conduct far exceeds the bar set in the Constitution — high crimes and misdemeanors — to warrant impeachment and removal from office.
posted by katra at 7:16 AM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


The exact wording on the question can throw a large, large monkeywrench into those survey results. 538 has the exact wording of the questions.

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/impeachment-polls/?ex_cid=rrpromo\

For instance, look at the Quinnpac polls Nov 21-25. Different results because they asked differently worded questions.

Do you think that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, or don't you think so?
1,355 registered voters
45% / 48%
No +3

420 Republicans
4% / 94%
No +90

447 Democrats
86% / 9%
Yes +77

379 independents
45% / 43%
Yes +2

vs.
As you may know, the House of Representatives has begun a formal impeachment inquiry to determine whether or not to bring impeachment charges against President Trump. Do you approve or disapprove of this impeachment inquiry?


1,355 registered voters
54% / 42%
Yes +12

420 Republicans
12% / 86%
No +74

447Democrats
93% / 5%
Yes +88

379 independents
58% / 37%
Yes +21
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:19 AM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


‘Bunch of brawlers’: Judiciary panel’s most aggressive members ready to rumble in impeachment probe (WaPo)
Defenders of President Trump often describe the impeachment inquiry as a “circus.”

But after the partisan theatrics expected during Wednesday’s first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, they might need a stronger word.
posted by katra at 7:20 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Why have no Republicans turned on Trump? (Thom Hartmann, Salon)
It’s all about the bucks, in this post-Citizens United America.
Money lifted the Republican party to where it is today. It bought them control of the Judicial Branch. It will keep the Republicans in power as long as it is there. So as long as it keeps flowing in, everything is good.

One wonders though, what would cause the billionaire class to lose faith in Republicans and stop investing in them.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:25 AM on December 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


They asked whether you support the inquiry or the actual impeachment by the house for that, but 538 is factoring them the same for whether or not people support impeachment. But yeah, the wording will matter. Mentioning their authority to do so in the question will probably tick up support.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:27 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


“If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president,”

"Among modern impeachments"? So just the one, then. Not much of a benchmark.

"the shortest proceeding"? An open and shut case with multiple corroborating witnesses and documents doesn't need a lot of time to develop.

"If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand [on] the narrowest grounds ever used" (emphasis added). Ah, so the Democrats should definitely include more articles, then.

Turley was a vocal supporter of Clinton's impeachment. How he squares that circle I don't know. Frankly I wonder if he's trying to get Trump's attention for a judicial appointment.
posted by jedicus at 7:31 AM on December 4, 2019 [12 favorites]


Watching the opening statements it's still the case that Republicans are living in a bizarre parallel world. It's also clear that Nadler is having great trouble in controlling the room unlike Schiff.
posted by Erberus at 7:42 AM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's also clear that Nadler is having great trouble in controlling the room unlike Schiff.

It's a bigger room, and the Republicans are getting more desperate to derail.
posted by Etrigan at 7:46 AM on December 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


Prof. Karlan for the snap on Rep. Collins, yes she did read all the transcripts, and she is insulted that he would imply otherwise.
posted by katra at 7:55 AM on December 4, 2019 [19 favorites]


for those not following along live, it appears the new defense today is that its illegitimate to not have Adam Schiff come in and give testimony in front of the committee.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:59 AM on December 4, 2019


Trump team on Capitol Hill amid ‘serious misconduct’ probe (AP)
In a 53-page opening statement obtained by the AP, Republican witness Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, will say that the Democrats are bringing a “slipshod impeachment” case against the president based on secondhand information. Still, Turley doesn’t excuse the president’s behavior.

“It is not wrong because President Trump is right,” according to Turley. He calls Trump’s call with Ukraine “anything but ’perfect,” as the president claims. “A case for impeachment could be made, but it cannot be made on this record,” he says.
posted by katra at 8:03 AM on December 4, 2019


So, Turley says he’s nervous about lowering the bar for impeachment, and that this does not rise to the level of past impeachments? He’s talking about appearing in front of the panel when Clinton was impeached for lying about a blowjob. Here we have an extremely well documented conspiracy directed by the president with direct evidence that the president committed multiple crimes, and yet this doesn’t rise to the level of past impeachments? If you’re trying to portray yourself as not being a hack, it ain’t working.
posted by azpenguin at 8:22 AM on December 4, 2019 [22 favorites]


"Among modern impeachments"? So just the one, then. Not much of a benchmark.
depends of how you feel about "modern".

My third as an adult. I was grown up and remember Nixon.
posted by baegucb at 8:24 AM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


Trump’s impeachment participation strategy: Insult, sit out, wait (Politico)
[...] on Wednesday, the White House is expected to be a complete no-show at the House Judiciary Committee’s biggest impeachment hearing yet — no attorney to represent President Donald Trump’s interests, not even a staffer to sit in the audience. The approach is part of the Trump administration’s strategy for the final stages of the House impeachment process, according to half a dozen people familiar with the situation: refuse to engage unless certain demands are met, blast Democrats from the outside in the meantime and wait for a friendlier Senate landscape. [...]

Even if the House does give the White House earlier notice about its hearing plans, numerous Trump advisers say the president’s team shouldn’t — and likely won’t — participate. The White House didn’t send anyone to fill the seats the House Intelligence Committee reserved for Trump officials during the two weeks of impeachment hearings that concluded late last month. Instead, informal Trump allies peppered the audience, including former 2016 deputy campaign manager David Bossie and a few House GOP members, including Gaetz and Meadows, who are not on the Intelligence Committee. [...]

Instead, Trump has resorted to tweeting and talking to the media incessantly about impeachment. In London Tuesday for a meeting of NATO leaders, he spoke to reporters for 121 minutes — much of it about impeachment. [...] If the process moves to the Senate, though, the White House will likely reconsider its no-engagement strategy. Trump’s advisers believe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would set ground rules that are more favorable to the president’s legal team.
posted by katra at 8:26 AM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


Turley's main complaint is that the House didn't subpoena key witnesses (presumably he means Bolton, Mulvaney, Giuliani, etc). But he doesn't address the fact that the White House made it clear that it would invoke executive privilege and that the witnesses in question would resist any effort to compel them to testify. And in fact that's just what happened in the cases where a subpoena was issued And so Schiff, rightly, said we will assume that such extraordinary efforts not to cooperate would be taken as further evidence of guilt. (Remember: the 5th Amendment is a right not to testify if doing so would be self-incriminating; it's not a right to refuse to appear.)

He also calls the self-interested White House memorandum of Trump's call with Zelensky a transcript and argues that because there's no explicit corrupt intent in that self-interested memorandum that Trump therefore could not have had one.

Fundamentally, Turley wants the whole thing to wind its way through the courts before the House votes on impeachment. I think this is at odds with the Constitution granting the House the sole power of impeachment. There is no requirement to give the courts a first say in the matter.

But moreover, Turley completely fails to address the fact that the huge number of Trump judicial appointees and the conservative majority on the Supreme Court (two of which were appointed by Trump himself!) means that it's quite likely that all of this wished-for litigation would take months at best (and so the Republicans would shout about interminable proceedings), bring the process perilously close to the election (and so the Republicans would shout election interference), or even go on past the election (at which point the process would either be moot or the Republicans would shout about trying to overturn the election).

In analyzing this process in a political and electoral vacuum, Turley only shows the weakness of his arguments. To the extent they hold water at all, they do so only in the abstract.
posted by jedicus at 8:30 AM on December 4, 2019 [21 favorites]


In a 53-page opening statement obtained by the AP, Republican witness Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, will say that the Democrats are bringing a “slipshod impeachment” case against the president based on secondhand information. Still, Turley doesn’t excuse the president’s behavior.

Turley is one of those pompous lawyers who fancies himself as a "constitutional scholar." He certainly loves to hear himself talk. He spent more than 80 pages in his opening statement advocating the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.
posted by JackFlash at 8:31 AM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


odinsdream, those PNG summaries of the key findings are GREAT. Thank you for creating them and sharing them!
posted by kristi at 8:33 AM on December 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


Guardian: Legal expert criticizes Trump's refual to cooperate with impeachment inquiry
Chairman Jerry Nadler asked University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt what concerns should be raised by Trump’s refusal to cooperate with congressional subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry.

“When the president does that, the separation of powers means nothing.” Gerhardt said.
posted by katra at 8:34 AM on December 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


"Among modern impeachments"? So just the one, then. Not much of a benchmark.
depends of how you feel about "modern".

My third as an adult. I was grown up and remember Nixon.


Nixon wasn't actually impeached. Admittedly that's a fine distinction, since he almost certainly would have been impeached had he not resigned, but nonetheless. Many of Turley's arguments turn on fine distinctions, and he was sloppy there in order to make for stronger rhetoric.
posted by jedicus at 8:34 AM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


‘Are you ready?’: Pelosi makes clear to Democrats impeachment is coming (WaPo)
According to multiple Democratic lawmakers who attended a closed-door Capitol meeting, Pelosi announced no firm decision or timeline in moving toward Trump’s impeachment. But, a day after Schiff delivered a 300-page report detailing charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against Trump, she made clear what lay ahead in the House.

“Are you ready?” Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked her colleagues, after describing the grave constitutional circumstances posed by Trump’s alleged wrongdoing surrounding his dealings with Ukraine and his subsequent decision to stonewall the House investigation into it.

The caucus, according to multiple members, erupted with shouts of approval.

“We’re moving forward,” said one member, summarizing the thrust of Pelosi’s remarks and speaking on condition of anonymity to candidly describe a private meeting. “We’ve got a job to do whether people want to testify or not.”

Pelosi then turned the room over to Schiff (D-Calif.), who received a standing ovation before saying a word, the members said.
posted by katra at 9:10 AM on December 4, 2019 [17 favorites]




Awful kind to Trump of NYT to rush more ephemeral crazy Giuliani/Russian propaganda into a headline on the day of the Judiciary Committee hearings.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:32 AM on December 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


will say that the Democrats are bringing a “slipshod impeachment” case against the president based on secondhand information. Still, Turley doesn’t excuse the president’s behavior

I mean it is true that they have testimony from only one of the principal actors (Sondland) and everybody else just reports things they overheard / saw happening.

But even if Trump went to Congress and said, "I did it folks, big league. I wanted the dirt, for the missiles!" the GOP would not vote to convict, so *shrug*
posted by dis_integration at 9:38 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Guardian: Giuliani reportedly meets with former Ukrainian prosecutors amid impeachment scrutiny
From the department of “you really can’t make this up”: the New York Times is reporting that Rudy Giuliani traveled to Europe this week to meet with former Ukrainian prosecutors who have pushed baseless corruption allegations against Joe Biden.
Emphasis added.
posted by katra at 9:38 AM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


it is incongruous to hear the constitutional scholar from the right disparaging an originalist approach in favor of a recent supreme court opinion construing a particular statute.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


I mean Turley has some provocative ideas, . . .but then there's all the facts, evidence, testimony and public admissions of guilt.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:43 AM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


it is incongruous to hear the constitutional scholar from the right disparaging an originalist approach in favor of a recent supreme court opinion construing a particular statute.

The original founders established the Electoral College in part to keep a demagogue like Trump from holding office in the first place, and the Emoluments Clause to prevent the obvious conflicts of interest he has exhibited from day one of his presidency, so so much for supposed conservative reverence for "originalism."

pushed baseless corruption allegations against Joe Biden.

Emphasis added.


That's getting there; we've been hearing words like "baseless," "discredited," or "debunked," but the word the media needs to use is false.
posted by Gelatin at 9:46 AM on December 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


"You know why they're called the Framers, don't you? Because they wrote the Constitution to frame Donald Trump!"

...god, I wish I didn't actually expect to hear that defense before this shit is over.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:47 AM on December 4, 2019 [12 favorites]


Turley is spending a long time just avoiding ever uttering the phrase 'unitary executive theory'. He did drop the in-the-club wink though by mentioning he's 'friends with Bill Barr for a long time'.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:52 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


lawyers, as a class, are partisan. woah.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:00 AM on December 4, 2019


Hmm, kind of weird how often Turley uses the "impulse buy item" metaphor for the impeachment process. Which is a Republican talking point currently being used by all the usual suspects. Hmmmmm.
posted by FakeFreyja at 10:07 AM on December 4, 2019 [8 favorites]




Good god Turley is completely for sale, isn't he?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:13 AM on December 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


Guardian: A New York Times reporter noted that Jonathan Turley’s argument about the impeachment inquiry moving at a record pace is actually up for debate.
Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) Turley keeps saying this would be a record-fast impeachment but it really depends on how you count it. In the Clinton case, the House voted to impeach him 72 days after it authorized an inquiry. It has now been 71 days since Pelosi opened the inquiry into Trump. December 4, 2019

Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) Of course Trump and Republicans argue that Democrats have been pursuing impeachment since the day Trump was inaugurated. In that sense, then, [impeachment] so far has been going on 1,048 days. December 4, 2019
posted by katra at 10:14 AM on December 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


Doug Collins just said it's impossible to know what the framers of the constitution thought. The guy from the party that has, for my entire life, claimed to have direct knowledge of the inner desires of those same framers.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:26 AM on December 4, 2019 [45 favorites]


I really wish I recognized Turley from something other than his appearances as an argumentative talking head on cable news. We can't find someone with a serious background for this stuff? We have to get a guy who is by nature going to filter everything thru the TV ultra-drama lens?
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:36 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) Of course Trump and Republicans argue that Democrats have been pursuing impeachment since the day Trump was inaugurated. In that sense, then, [impeachment] so far has been going on 1,048 days.

By that standard, the Republicans began impeaching Bill Clinton by January 1995 at the absolute latest. Trump loses..again.
posted by wierdo at 10:39 AM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


He's a Republican witness. They want it to be a TV spectacle, because they're protecting a TV spectacle of a President. Perfect casting on their part.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:39 AM on December 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


Oh, that makes sense, I assumed he'd been called by a democrat due to having seen him so much on MSNBC.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:42 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Doug Collins just said it's impossible to know what the framers of the constitution thought. The guy from the party that has, for my entire life, claimed to have direct knowledge of the inner desires of those same framers.

It isn't like they committed any of their thoughts to paper at the time.
posted by Gelatin at 10:52 AM on December 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


you know, the fact that Rudy is ACTIVELY CRIMING at this VERY MOMENT is either the hilarious or scariest thing I've heard in--well, this is the year of our Lord, 2019, so I'd say a few days
posted by angrycat at 11:05 AM on December 4, 2019 [24 favorites]


> former Ukrainian prosecutors who have pushed baseless corruption allegations against Joe Biden...

That's getting there; we've been hearing words like "baseless," "discredited," or "debunked," but the word the media needs to use is false.


The word they need to use is "fake." They are "fake claims" connected to a "fake scandal" because they were trying to make "fake news." Headline should be something like "Biden Scandal Is Fake News."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:07 AM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


No, the word to use is “lie” as in, a deliberate mistruth intended to obfuscate and mislead.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 11:25 AM on December 4, 2019 [13 favorites]


There are no magic words. People afraid to live in a different and foreign-feeling country are desperate, and Trump signaled to them that he will do what is necessary to preserve the culture they grew up in, even if it means imposing minority rule. They don't care that he lies.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:35 AM on December 4, 2019 [38 favorites]


Doug Collins just said it's impossible to know what the framers of the constitution thought. The guy from the party that has, for my entire life, claimed to have direct knowledge of the inner desires of those same framers.

Be kind to Doug. His fee-fees are very hurt today. He just missed out on the open Senate seat in Georgia in a series of events that would be absolutely hilarious if it didn't involve an awful lot of horrible people and 50% of my representation in the Senate.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:41 AM on December 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


People afraid to live in a different and foreign-feeling country are desperate,

Or even their own, entirely familiar country whenever it appears to be anything less than a fascist state.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:52 AM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


Be kind to Doug. His fee-fees are very hurt today. He just missed out on the open Senate seat in Georgia in a series of events that would be absolutely hilarious if it didn't involve an awful lot of horrible people and 50% of my representation in the Senate.

Lou Dobbs was utterly furious. I swear those people at Fox are a god damned cult.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:19 PM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


Turley wrote a piece for WaPo in 2014, declaring that it was a myth that an impeachable offense must involve a violation of criminal law

Five Myths About Impeachment
1. An impeachable offense is anything Congress says it is.

People pushing for President Obama’s impeachment have cited rationales ranging from the border crisis to Benghazi to Obamacare to the dismantling of “our constitutional republic, our national security, our electoral system, our economic strength, our rights and liberties.” In other words, anything goes.
WHOOPS. To be fair, Obama was black and a Democratic president. These people have absolutely no shame.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:23 PM on December 4, 2019 [32 favorites]


Turley is giving me serious 'Mayor E. B. Farnum' from Deadwood vibes.
posted by Harry Caul at 12:31 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


you know, the fact that Rudy is ACTIVELY CRIMING at this VERY MOMENT is either the hilarious or scariest thing I've heard

Giuliani is performing the role of Paul Drake in a Perry Mason mystery. In the middle of the trial Perry would send his investigator Paul off on some secret mission and at the critical moment Paul would appear in the courtroom, dramatically hand Perry a piece of paper which would blow the case wide open.

Giuliani fancies himself as Paul Drake and imagines blowing the impeachment case to hell with a dramatic piece of new evidence.
posted by JackFlash at 1:02 PM on December 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


Giuliani fancies himself as Paul Drake and imagines blowing the impeachment case to hell with a dramatic piece of new evidence.

Is it not at all possible that he's simply trying to find a new home? I mean that was basically what Parnas and that other joker were trying to go doing when they got caught at Dulles airport, wasn't it?

I know I have a simple mind...
posted by Namlit at 1:06 PM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


Overheard on NPR: "70% of Americans believe the President did something wrong, but only 50% believe he should be removed from office. So, the American voter makes a big distinction between what the President did and the need to impeach him."

So, half the country wants him kicked out on the street, and your take-away is that "The American Voter" wants him to get a slap on the wrist.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:31 PM on December 4, 2019 [41 favorites]


Will not be surprised if Giuliani just keeps extending his stay outside the country for really plausible reasons like, "here I am in Morocco for the second month in a row getting to the super-dee-duper bottom of the Biden crime family scandal. Which took place in Ukraine."
posted by Horkus at 1:51 PM on December 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


Even the Republican expert Turley said the President might have committed an impeachable offense, but that we shouldn’t impeach the President before we hear from Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton... both of whom refuse to testify. Might I suggest we impeach the President now, and invite those two other gentlemen to testify in the Senate trial?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:08 PM on December 4, 2019 [19 favorites]


Read the article Turley wrote instead of the tweets that seem to misrepresent what he wrote. He concludes that point with:
But Congress’s exclusive power to impeach does not license it to abuse that power, any more than the Supreme Court’s final say on laws gives it license to deliver arbitrary rulings. The framers carefully defined the grounds for impeachment as “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” — language with British legal precedent. They clearly did not want removal of the president subject to congressional whim.
Whole article here
posted by interogative mood at 3:02 PM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm 100% on board with opposing impeachment based on "congressional whim". I want impeachment based on "congressional findings of high crimes and misdemeanors".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:05 PM on December 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


And the British legal precedent concerning "high crimes and misdemeanors" doesn't require the sort of crimes that could get a non-head-of-state arrested, so we're all in agreement.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:06 PM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


Listening to Doug Collins give his closing statement makes it clear that he is talking to FOX News and not those assembled in the office.

“Where is fairness?” Really.
posted by snortasprocket at 3:25 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]




What Do Scholars Say About the Impeachment Power?
Then-Rep. Gerald Ford once defined an impeachable offense as “whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” But legal scholars have concluded that impeachment is considerably more law-governed, and constrained, than Ford suggested. They draw on clues from the Founders, the text and structure of the Constitution, and the history of presidential impeachments (and near-impeachments) to make varying arguments about the impeachment power and the range of impeachable offenses.

For this post, we read 11 of the leading scholarly works on impeachment so that you don’t have to.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:41 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


How does Judge Napolitano still have a job at Fox News? I swear he keeps blowing the whole charade by calling people on their Trumpist bullshit from time to time.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:16 PM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


What Do Scholars Say About the Impeachment Power?

Some of Dershowitz's remarks are ... troubling:
Dershowitz goes on to propose that “[i]f the House of Representatives were to impeach a president on grounds that are not included in the constitutional criteria, the president’s lawyers could file a motion in front of the chief just to dismiss the ‘indictment’ ... on the grounds that the Bill of Impeachment is insufficient as a matter of constitutional law.” Following “principles of law that hark back to Marbury v. Madison and its progeny,” Dershowitz finds that “if the chief justice were to conclude that the Bill of Impeachment did not state a constitutional claim, he would be required to dismiss it.”
A variant that I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see soon: What would happen if a President were impeached and then brought suit at the Supreme Court on the grounds that the House had acted unconstitutionally?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:27 PM on December 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


If 67 Senators are not going to vote to convict; then why would Robert’s want to subject himself and the Supreme Court to the resulting shitstorm from that kind of ruling. If 67 Senators are voting to convict then I’m even more skeptical he’d want to stand in their way. In the era where Trump won an election by negative 3.5 million votes I guess anything is possible; but I’m not going to lose sleep over his crazy suggestions.
posted by interogative mood at 8:21 PM on December 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


Trump says he'll turn to Supreme Court if Congress begins impeachment (Politico, Apr. 24, 2019)
“I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump said. “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Although Trump claimed he would seek the Supreme Court’s help if the House were to impeach him, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1993 that authority for impeachment trials resides in Congress and ”nowhere else.”
posted by katra at 8:24 PM on December 4, 2019 [13 favorites]


I can think of reasons for Trump to go to the Court and for Roberts to take the case there. Just immediate gut-level reactions: If the Court says that the House's action was unconstitutional, then the Senate Republicans don't even have to take a vote, which might be damaging to some of them later; moreover, Trump gets a much stronger vindication of his claim that it's a partisan witch hunt; and Roberts takes more power to the Court.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:50 PM on December 4, 2019


Barr’s fishing expedition fails.

The prosecutor handpicked by Attorney General William P. Barr to scrutinize how U.S. agencies investigated President Trump’s 2016 campaign said he could not offer evidence to the Justice Department’s inspector general to support the suspicions of some conservatives that the case was a setup by American intelligence, people familiar with the matter said.


Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office contacted U.S. Attorney John Durham, the prosecutor Barr personally tapped to lead a separate review of the 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, the people said. The inspector general also contacted several U.S. intelligence agencies.


Among Horowitz’s questions: whether a Maltese professor who interacted with a Trump campaign adviser was actually a U.S. intelligence asset deployed to ensnare the campaign, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the inspector general’s findings have not been made public.


But the intelligence agencies said the professor was not among their assets, the people said. And Durham informed Horowitz’s office that his investigation had not produced any evidence that might contradict the inspector general’s findings on that point.


Spokespeople for the inspector general’s office, Durham and the Justice Department declined to comment.


The previously unreported interaction with Durham is noted in a draft of Horowitz’s forthcoming report on the Russia investigation, which concludes that the FBI had adequate cause to launch its Russia investigation, people familiar with the matter said. Its public release is set for Monday.
posted by Sublimity at 9:06 PM on December 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


Jonathan Livengood, there is a doctrine in constitutional law referred to as a "political question," which describes a narrow category of cases where the Court will not act because the constitutional authority is reserved to the political branches. For example, from the Cornell LII:
It was long assumed that no judicial review of the impeachment process was possible, that impeachment presents a true “political question” case, i.e., that the Constitution’s conferral on the Senate of the “sole” power to try impeachments is a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of trial procedures to the Senate to decide without court review. That assumption was not contested until very recently, when Judges Nixon and Hastings challenged their Senate convictions.907

In the Judge Nixon case, the Court held that a claim to judicial review of an issue arising in an impeachment trial in the Senate presents a nonjusticiable “political question.”908 Specifically, the Court rejected a claim that the Senate had departed from the meaning of the word “try” in the impeachment clause by relying on a special committee to take evidence, including testimony. But the Court’s “political question” analysis has broader application, and appears to place the whole impeachment process off limits to judicial review.909
There are many reasons to worry for American democracy right now, but it also seems important to recognize that past precedent and the design of the Constitution do not appear to support extensive worrying and doomsaying about direct court intervention in the impeachment process.
posted by katra at 9:19 PM on December 4, 2019 [13 favorites]


The Case For/Against Impeachment – Bill Bramhall's editorial cartoon for Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, New York Daily News.
posted by cenoxo at 9:25 PM on December 4, 2019 [18 favorites]


Imagining a Senate Trial: Reading the Senate Rules of Impeachment Litigation (Hilary Hurd & Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare)
Critically, and contrary to common mythology and parlance, the chief justice is not the “judge” in an impeachment trial. The Senate itself is both judge and trier of fact, and the chief justice serves as its presiding officer. The rules thus require the chief justice to direct “all forms of the proceedings” (Rule 7) and, in so doing, “to make and issue all orders, mandates, writs, and precepts authorized by the rules” (Rule 5).

Importantly, the chief justice may rule on questions of evidence—including, but not limited to, questions of relevancy, materiality, and redundancy of evidence and incidental questions (Rule 7). But the chief justice does not have to play this role, and he is not the final word on matters when he does. Should he decide that he wants to rule on a particular question, his ruling stands as the judgment of the Senate (Rule 7) unless a senator seeks a vote on the question—“in which case it shall be submitted to the Senate for decision without debate.” Should the chief justice not want to rule on an evidentiary question, he can simply submit it to a vote in the first instance (Rule 7). Upon all these questions, the vote must be taken “in accordance with the Standing Rules of the Senate” (Rule 7).
posted by katra at 9:32 PM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


The lawfare column is worth the time. Good catch, k. Dershowitz is the sole advocate of 'there has to be an actual crime, i.e. violation of federal criminal code'. He seems obtuse and over-simple compared to the rest, who acknowledge the phrase high-crimes-and-misdemeanors as it was well known during the constitutional convention. Anyway, I recommend a read. Even though it won't change anything.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:37 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


katra, I appreciate the links! Your comments are routinely very informative. Thanks! I don't intend to be doomsaying. However, it seems to me that the clearest lesson from Trump's Presidency is that Constitutional and institutional constraints depend on people of good faith following established norms. I've pretty much given up trusting that anyone on the political right is going to follow any norms that they find inconvenient if they think they can get away with it. I don't have any faith that the Court -- especially as currently constituted -- will bind itself by stare decisis if Trump challenges an impeachment. Maybe they would. Maybe they will! But I wouldn't put any money on it myself.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 9:38 PM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


I can think of reasons for Trump to go to the Court and for Roberts to take the case there.

This is not a thing in regards to impeachment.
posted by xammerboy at 9:49 PM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


katra, I appreciate the links! Your comments are routinely very informative. Thanks!

I think we're ultimately having an academic discussion considering the likely outcome in the Senate, but thank you. As a lawyer, I can't ever tell you what a court will do, but I also think that Chief Justice Roberts' apparent interest in preserving a nonpartisan Supreme Court should not be underestimated. I am trying to gently push back on despair, because I think Trump/Putin has not damaged our democracy so badly that we need to be describing our institutions as little better than a dictatorship, i.e. subject only to the good faith of people following established norms.

We have a variety of checks and balances, and many are currently active, from whistleblowers to congressional investigations, to an active impeachment process and courts increasingly moving towards compelling witnesses and record custodians to participate. In the meantime, the 2020 election is underway, as Trump's apparent criminal enterprise becomes increasingly exposed and the GOP is forced to cosign for it.
posted by katra at 10:44 PM on December 4, 2019 [26 favorites]


* Although, "forced to cosign for it" is not quite the right terminology, because the GOP is of course choosing to cosign on it if they fail to convict in the Senate.
posted by katra at 10:52 PM on December 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


When Does Ordinary Republican Partisanship Turn into Treason?
The president is already there. His party is close behind.
posted by growabrain at 2:42 AM on December 5, 2019 [5 favorites]


as a lawyer, I can't ever tell you what a court will do, but I also think that Chief Justice Roberts' apparent interest in preserving a nonpartisan Supreme Court should not be underestimated.

Roberts is interested in preserving the perception of a nonpartisan SCOTUS. But that still means there seem to be lines he is unwilling to cross.
posted by Gelatin at 3:00 AM on December 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


I believe it's a moot point, because there's no way the Party of Treason would convict Trump. But if it did happen that they were ordered to do so, the orders would undoubtedly be relayed to their tame judges who would vote accordingly.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:54 AM on December 5, 2019


Roberts is interested in preserving the perception of a nonpartisan SCOTUS. But that still means there seem to be lines he is unwilling to cross.

I would have thought that Bush v Gore was already pretty close to crossing the Rubicon. When the judgement states that the majority's "consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities" it's kind of indicative of some internal doubt regarding the viability of the logic.
posted by jaduncan at 4:14 AM on December 5, 2019 [5 favorites]


it's kind of indicative of some internal doubt regarding the viability of the logic.

I was perhaps overly generous. What I meant by that is "almost certainly indicative that it's a knowingly partisan hatchet job."
posted by jaduncan at 4:29 AM on December 5, 2019 [13 favorites]


“I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump said. “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

What this suggests to me is that going to the courts is a thing that Trump is used to. It might be worth reviewing all his old cases to see if there's a particular judge who's consistently done him favors.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:36 AM on December 5, 2019 [10 favorites]


Trump’s Cover-Up Is Fully and Necessarily Impeachable – Constitutional scholars tell the House Judiciary Committee that obstructing the impeachment inquiry is totally impeachable., The Nation, John Nichols, December 4, 2019:
...
Yes, of course, what Nadler described as “a concerted effort by the President, and by his men, to solicit a personal advantage in the next election”—with a scheme to get a foreign country to go after a rival—is an impeachable offense.

But it is not the sole impeachable offense that the committee is required to consider, as Nadler acknowledged in his opening statement:
“When Congress found out about this scheme and began to investigate, President Trump took extraordinary and unprecedented steps to cover up his efforts and to withhold evidence from the investigators. And when witnesses disobeyed him—when career professionals came forward and told us the truth—he attacked them viciously, calling them traitors and liars, promising that they will ‘go through some things.’”
The chairman’s focus on Trump’s obstructions of Congress—along with his obstructions of justice and related abuses of power—signals an important turn in an impeachment inquiry that must not be narrowly focused on the Ukraine imbroglio. The inquiry must recognize this president’s extreme disregard for the system of checks and balances as outlined in the Constitution, as Nadler recognized on Wednesday.
“No other president has vowed to quote ‘fight all of the subpoenas,’ as President Trump has promised.

“In the 1974 impeachment proceedings, President Nixon produced dozens of recordings. In 1998, President Clinton physically gave his blood. President Trump, by contrast, has refused to produce a single document and directed every witness not to testify. Those are the facts before us.”
And those facts point to the conclusion of Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, a former US deputy assistant attorney general, who told the committee,
“What has happened in the case today is something that I do not think we have ever seen before: a president who has doubled down on violating his oath to faithfully execute the laws and to protect and defend the Constitution.”
...
Every time The Don’s minions defensively knee-jerk with “But the phone call” or some other excuse, they must be answered with “Defend the Constitution, not the man.”
posted by cenoxo at 5:44 AM on December 5, 2019 [27 favorites]


Speaker Pelosi just directed the chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment. I didn't realize how much I miss a calm, measured, and somber national address from a political leader.
posted by cmfletcher at 6:14 AM on December 5, 2019 [12 favorites]




Isn't it only treason if the alleged traitor colludes with a country the US is at war with, to the point where making a treason accusation for colluding with X is tantamount to a declaration of war on X?
posted by acb at 6:50 AM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm all for globalism, but you have to draw the line at actively working against your own country's interest in direct favor of another. I agree that it's all too easy to throw around the label if care is not taken, but if not this then what could possibly qualify? It's not as if we are short on admissions of guilt here.
posted by wierdo at 6:53 AM on December 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


Given Pelosi's announcement this morning, it seems we'll be moving ahead with articles of impeachment sooner rather than later. As we've discussed repeatedly, there are parallels between impeachment in the house and indictment by a grand jury. Given that the investigations are still ongoing (with HPSCI and SDNY) plus the criming seems to also be ongoing (with Rudy back in Ukraine) is there some parallel to a superseding indictment? It sure seems like we might need one.
posted by bcd at 7:00 AM on December 5, 2019


Isn't it only treason if

For the umpteenth time. It depends on whether or not we're in a court of law or just using the colloquial definition. For the former, yes, for the latter, no.
posted by VTX at 7:02 AM on December 5, 2019 [18 favorites]


What articles of impeachment are we expecting? I assume at minimum it will be...

-Soliciting a bribe / abuse of power w.r.t. the quid pro quo from Ukraine

-Obstruction of Congress w.r.t "all the subpoenas" and staff testimony

-Obstruction of Justice w.r.t. the Special Counsel Investigation

Not sure how they could possibly leave that last one out if they are impeaching anyway. The evidence is all laid out for them already, and the whole Ukraine thing started as an effort to frame Ukraine for the Russian election interference Mueller was investigating. If you're taking the political risk of impeachment anyway, I don't think adding that article ads much to that risk.

But is that it? How about the accusations of witness intimidation? Does that just become evidence for the "obstruction of congress" charge?

Add on "emoluments" just for completeness? How about the campaign finance stuff involving Michael Cohen and the hush money? Insufficiently proven?

I assume they'll stay away from equally impeachable but more partisan matters like family separation, the fake "national emergency," and promising pardons to border patrol agents who break the law. But part of me thinks, if no Republicans are going to vote for it anyway, might as well...
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:23 AM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


The president is already there. His party is close behind.

This is kind of terrifying. The thing about fascists (and cryptos) is that they fully support government remaining neutral towards everyone while they don't have power. For them to be openly conducting corrupt acts and discarding the principle of government neutrality, it means they feel they can cast off the mask of liberal ideals.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:29 AM on December 5, 2019 [5 favorites]


I really really really want Schiff to be right when he says this isn't the end of the Dems' investigation push, but just a recognition that any attempts at election meddling have to be addressed immediately and not allowed to hang around into the election year. I see the point some commentators are making that allowing a January/February trial could easily push it out of the public consciousness by election time, but holding off also undercuts the (extremely true) argument that Democrats had to act because of the immediate seriousness of Trump's crimes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:35 AM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


In this context is "Crossing the Rubicon" a metaphor, analogy, or a simile?
posted by interogative mood at 7:44 AM on December 5, 2019


In this context is "Crossing the Rubicon" a metaphor, analogy, or a simile?

Well, metaphor, I think, although you could make the case that it has become an idiomatic phrase, and so requires no knowledge of a reference to be understood.
posted by thelonius at 7:48 AM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


'No one is above the law': read Nancy Pelosi's full impeachment statement (Guardian)
The full text of the House speaker’s announcement that she is ‘asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment’
Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections. His actions are in defiance of the vision of our founders and the oath of office that he takes to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment. I commend our committee chairs and our members for their somber approach to actions which I wish the president had not made necessary.
posted by katra at 8:13 AM on December 5, 2019 [17 favorites]


Guardian: Pelosi says impeachment inquiry is about Russia, not Ukraine
Asked by a reporter whether there was an “aha” moment when she decided to back impeachment, Nancy Pelosi said the decision has been slowly building for more than two years -- since the start of the Russia investigation.

This is a noteworthy comment because some Republicans have argued the inquiry is moving far too quickly, an opinion echoed yesterday by a legal witness called by the House minority yesterday.

“This isn’t about Ukraine; this is about Russia, who benefitted from the withholdding of that military assistance,” Pelosi said. She then added her oft-repeated line about the investigation, “All roads lead to Putin.”
Guardian: It’s worth noting that, contrary to Trump’s claim about Democrats having “given up” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report [...] Chairman Jerry Nadler mentioned Mueller’s report in his opening statement during yesterday’s hearing, and the special counsel’s findings on how Trump obstructed the investigation could be factored into one of the forthcoming articles of impeachment.
posted by katra at 8:20 AM on December 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


Joey Michaels: East Bay Times: An open letter to all of you privately disgusted Republicans
Sixty years ago, Martin Luther King issued a warning: “If you fail to act now, history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

King was addressing white racial moderates, but it is remarkable — and disheartening — how well his warning fits you, who have prioritized your own political backsides above truth, above honor, above national interest. As the country lurches toward a precipice from which it will not recover, you count votes. In a time that demands every good man and woman raise their voices, you embrace the appalling silence instead.

War criminals are set free. And appalling silence.

A Russian attack unanswered. And appalling silence.

Children dying in our care. And appalling silence.

Except we are given to understand that in private, you grumble from time to time. And Lord, what are we supposed to do with that information? Are we expected to sympathize with your dilemma? Please.
YUS. "Where is your courage? Who broke your moral compass?"

Unasked: "Who's funding your public-facing support for Trump? Is it Russian blackmail, Russian or US oligarch financing, or both?"
posted by filthy light thief at 8:28 AM on December 5, 2019 [31 favorites]


YUS. "Where is your courage? Who broke your moral compass?"

The electorate.

Unasked: "Who's funding your public-facing support for Trump? Is it Russian blackmail, Russian or US oligarch financing, or both?"

The electorate.

The Republican electorate wants an authoritarian demagogue to punish the "other". Whether these reps stand up or not, whether they remove Trump or not, this problem is not going to go away. Trump's removal only buys us time. The next Republican demagogue will not be as inept. The next Republican Congressional Caucus will not be privately incensed. Gödel was sure as hell right. The bar for impeachment is so high that a tyrannical minority can wrestle full control if they want to throw as many spanners into the works as possible. All they need is one election.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:37 AM on December 5, 2019 [18 favorites]


Isn't it only treason if the alleged traitor colludes with a country the US is at war with, to the point where making a treason accusation for colluding with X is tantamount to a declaration of war on X?

We are in a new Cold War with Russia, whether we want to admit it or not.

The sooner we admit it, openly and meaningfully, the better. Pretending to deny it only makes us more vulnerable to the sort of nightmares we now suffer.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:18 AM on December 5, 2019 [15 favorites]


-Obstruction of Justice w.r.t. the Special Counsel Investigation

Not sure how they could possibly leave that last one out if they are impeaching anyway. The evidence is all laid out for them already, and the whole Ukraine thing started as an effort to frame Ukraine for the Russian election interference Mueller was investigating.


There's precedent, too. The Republicans basically copypasted the Starr Report as their articles of impeachment against Clinton.

It'll be hilarious when the Democrats use the Mueller report that Trump said exonerated him as part of the basis for their articles of impeachment. And the members of the media who took their cues from the partisan Attorney General Barr -- twice! -- rather than actually reading the report will likely have some explaining to do.
posted by Gelatin at 9:30 AM on December 5, 2019 [7 favorites]


The electorate.

Who are directed by Fox News and their ilk, who benefit from the involvement of current and former GOP politicians as special guests or new hosts. But Fox News isn't alone.*

In other words, it's a self-made chicken-or-egg thing.

* While Ronald Reagan broke broadcast news standards (Snopes) with the demise of the Fairness Doctrine (Wikipedia), cable news doesn't provide the "balance" that one would hope (PDF), as presented in this Standford survey of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC political representation, which all skewed significantly Republican.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:30 AM on December 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


Right-wing media get their direction or at the very least coordination from Russian disinformation. Think back to the “Hillary’s health” debacle. IIRC Assange texted Stone and said to push the angle that Hillary wasn’t healthy. Right-wing media and Russian bots all started pushing that angle nearly simultaneously. How often did Fox talk about Hillary’s health?

(Side note: IIRC Assange said “I think you’ll be mighty rewarded by your media” or something along those lines. Very similar to the language Trump used when he said the “Russia if you’re listening...” speech)
posted by gucci mane at 9:48 AM on December 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


I hope everyone who used to dis them will take a moment to offer a silent apology to Mitt Romney, who was widely derided for citing Russia as America's greatest enemy, and Nancy Pelosi, who so many here and elsewhere thought was opposed to impeachment rather than expertly letting the pressure and facts build up.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:06 AM on December 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


offer a silent apology to Mitt Romney, who was widely derided for citing Russia as America's greatest enemy

Sorry, no apologies to Romney. He's an idiot. He was calling for more battleships and aircraft carriers and missiles. He was still fixed on the old Cold War. Not the same thing at all to the Russian threat today.
posted by JackFlash at 10:14 AM on December 5, 2019 [19 favorites]


I owe the same apology to Mitt Romney as I owe to a broken clock that is also a fascist and pet abuser.
posted by Horkus at 10:15 AM on December 5, 2019 [44 favorites]


Think back to the “Hillary’s health” debacle.

Jerome Corsi Told Roger Stone WikiLeaks Had Dirt on Hillary’s Health. Then the Attacks Started. (Daily Beast, Nov. 29, 2018)
Then, just as Corsi said would happen, WikiLeaks promoted two leaked emails that suggested Clinton suffered health problems as secretary of state.
Stone Indictment Details Apparent Ties to Wikileaks, Assange (US News & World Report, Jan. 25, 2019)
"Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps," the person wrote to Stone, according to the indictment. "Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign chairman] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC. That appears to be the game hackers are now about. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke – neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle."
Roger Stone’s conviction, and Trump’s ugly response, further demonstrate the president’s corruption (Paul Waldman & Greg Sargent, WaPo Opinion, Nov. 15, 2019)
The trial revealed that Stone regularly communicated with WikiLeaks about when emails stolen by Russia would be released, and kept people inside the Trump campaign, and Trump himself, informed of the effort. And Stone was convicted of taking multiple steps to deceive Congress and investigators in ways that distanced himself and the Trump campaign from those facts.
posted by katra at 10:20 AM on December 5, 2019 [15 favorites]


The most hilarious (!) aspect is that the emails didn't prove squat. And here we are with a president making felonious moves in public, and it just keeps rolling rolling rolling. What a world.
posted by valkane at 10:51 AM on December 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


Nancy Pelosi: "Don't mess with me" (CNN, Dec. 5, 2019 live update)
As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was walking away from the microphone at her weekly press conference, a reporter asked her: "Do you hate the President, Mrs. Speaker?"

Pelosi stopped and said: "I don't hate anybody."

She then walked back to the microphone, and said that while she believes Trump is a "coward," that's only about his political positions.
"I think this president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think that he is cruel when he doesn't deal with helping our Dreamers, of which we are very proud of. I think he is in denial about the climate crisis. However that's about the election," she said.
She continued: "This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the President's violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word 'hate' in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone."

"So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that," she said before walking off the podium.
Ooh, the Religion card has been played in response! But only after calling out the ways Trump is harming the US.

Meanwhile, 'It's A Fluid Process': Republicans Huddle With White House On Senate Trial -- (Claudia Grisales for NPR, December 5, 2019)
"I think that [White House officials] just wanted to help us ... get an understanding of where they're coming from and how they see it," said Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D. "It's a fluid process ... there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding this."

The argument of whether to call witnesses goes to a central debate among Senate Republicans on how long a trial could take and what it could look like. Some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, a key Trump ally, have warned that calling witnesses could force an impeachment trial to drag on.
The only uncertainty is if the Republicans think that Trump can "win" this.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:58 AM on December 5, 2019 [23 favorites]


her weekly press conference

Remember when The White House used to have press conferences?
posted by valkane at 11:03 AM on December 5, 2019 [20 favorites]


Who Will Betray Trump? (Tim Alberta, Politico)
Venting privately about the president has become a hallowed pastime in Republican-controlled Washington, a sort of ritualistic release for those lawmakers tasked with routinely defending the indefensible, and [Representative Francis Rooney, R-FL] had long indulged without consequence. [...]

But as summer turned to fall, Rooney wasn’t just bitching and complaining anymore. He was talking about impeachment. And he was talking not in a manner that was abstract or academic, but concrete and ominous. [...] The question, Rooney told his friends, was not whether there was clear evidence of wrongdoing, but whether the president himself was culpable—and if so, whether congressional Republicans were going to cover for him.

All the president’s allies agreed Rooney was a problem. But there was no obvious solution. The congressman had yet to say anything menacing about Trump in public; taking some type of punitive measure against him, be it a closed-door belittling or a presidential tweet-lashing, would be strange and possibly counterproductive. If the overarching goal was to keep Republicans unified in the face of impeachment’s advance—for the sake of immediate political advantage, if not also for the president’s legacy—keeping Rooney close made more sense than alienating him.

Ultimately, Republican leaders in Washington and Florida settled on a simple course of action. They would beat Rooney at his own game, doing nothing to undermine him openly but instead orchestrating a whisper campaign aimed at sowing doubts about his devotion to the president. The focal point would be Florida’s 19th, Rooney’s bloody red district, which Trump had carried by 22 points. That way, if and when Rooney broke ranks, the uprising back home would appear instant and organic. The recoil wouldn’t just scare Rooney straight; it would provide a cautionary tale for any Republican tempted to follow his lead.

Rooney knew the trap was being laid, but he didn’t bother avoiding it. On Friday, October 18, the congressman appeared on CNN and said there was “clear” evidence of a quid pro quo based on acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s own description of events. Asked whether he was ruling out voting for impeachment, Rooney replied, “I don’t think you can rule anything out until you know all the facts.” He also added, “I’m very mindful of the fact that back during Watergate everybody said, ‘Oh, it’s a witch hunt to get Nixon.’ Turns out it wasn’t a witch hunt. It was absolutely correct.”
10/19/19: GOP Congressman Open to Impeachment on Friday, Retires on Saturday (Peter Wade, Rolling Stone)
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:36 AM on December 5, 2019 [20 favorites]


As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was walking away from the microphone at her weekly press conference

Noting for the record that the White House doesn't do regular press conferences any more, but the People's House does.
posted by Gelatin at 11:39 AM on December 5, 2019 [15 favorites]


Josh Marshall's 4 reasons why moving forward with impeachment is the right decision (TPM Premium post):
1. "...if the most damning information – both substantively damning and politically damaging – is still to be uncovered, why stop now?

"...here's why it doesn't make sense to wait. Going back for yet more evidence grants the specious premise that the case hasn’t already been made. Indeed, it concedes the bogus premise that there is anything the President’s supporters would accept as proof.

"...That is not only a fool’s errand. It forces Democrats to cede all power to the President’s defenders."

2. "...not allowing the President’s obstruction or the court’s lethargy to dictate the pace of events has allowed Democrats to maintain the initiative pretty much throughout....I have little doubt that this dramatically assisted House investigators in securing the testimony they did. It also signals and demonstrates strength, which is both politically advantageous and tends to force positive outcomes."

3. "...Investigators likely have a good six weeks to keep investigating before they have to present their evidence in a senate trial. And, as we’ve noted earlier, they are probably more likely to secure testimony from Giuliani, Bolton, Mulvaney, Pompeo et al at trial than through the conventional judicial process. Nor is there any block on the House continuing to investigate these crimes after the trial is over, assuming President Trump is acquitted. I am not assuming these things will happen....But we shouldn’t rule out the possibility – much more than notional – that more evidence will be produced in advance of and for trial."

4. "...The best way to make clear that the evidence is overwhelming and the case is proven is to act like it, which is to say, move forward with impeachment.

"...It is neither necessary nor wise for Democrats to live inside GOP mind games, to chase the assent of people who are determined and committed never to assent. They should let the facts speak for themselves because they are in fact shouting. This is not a factual dispute but an ideological one, a choice between civic republicanism and authoritarianism. In such a contest, clarity and power means everything."
posted by Lyme Drop at 12:08 PM on December 5, 2019 [32 favorites]


I would like to see that Nancy Pelosi speech done by Lucy Liu as her Kill Bill speech, the one where she starts off by cutting the head off a guy, very politely addresses the crowd of mob bosses from atop the table on which she just killed the guy, and then roars terrifyingly at the assembled mob bosses

that's horribly blasphemous, but that's the righteous do-not-fuck-with-me vibe I get from that account
posted by angrycat at 12:35 PM on December 5, 2019 [9 favorites]


As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was walking away from the microphone at her weekly press conference, a reporter asked her: "Do you hate the President, Mrs. Speaker?"
Pelosi stopped and said: "I don't hate anybody."


I absolutely hate this gotcha shit and I hate that she has to play to America's holier-than-thou sensibilities to navigate it. Our society is deeply in the tank for cheap redemptions for white dudes, no matter what they do--whether they're fictional or real. We are trained and expected to preach forgiveness and patience no matter what. Rapists? Domestic violence? Cops literally gunning people down in their homes for no reason at all? We're expected to forgive.

The reality is she'd be flamed for it all across the media, but dear God I wish she could have said, "He's gone out of his way to earn it, hasn't he?"

Dude outright orphaned hundreds of kids through family separations. He instituted mass child abuse. He let Puerto Ricans die in thousands. He tossed our allies over his shoulder into likely ethnic cleansing. And we have no idea how many women he has raped and assaulted, but it's damn sure more than zero.

Tell me why I shouldn't hate him.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:49 PM on December 5, 2019 [58 favorites]


Tell me why I shouldn't hate him.

Note that Speaker Pelosi didn't say you shouldn't. She said that she didn't accept Rosen's bullshit gotcha framing.
posted by Etrigan at 1:01 PM on December 5, 2019 [16 favorites]


To love America is to love all Americans?

I feel sorry for him to be honest, I don't think it's possible for him to ever actually experience happiness the way you or I do. I hate what he's done and what he's doing but I don't hate the man for all that I hope he rots away in prison until he's 120.
posted by VTX at 1:09 PM on December 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


I absolutely hate this gotcha shit

It depends. Pointing out that things like, say, that Jonathan Turley used to have diametrically opposite opinions about impeachment when it was about a Democratic president is useful because it suggests that the speaker is acting on a partisan basis and not in good faith. (A useful mental shorthand is "the speaker is a Republican."*)

Unfortunately, lazy reporters and those lacking basic critical thinking skills (or pretending to) have watered this process down by pretending that seemingly any contradiction is a "gotcha," and sadly even a good explanation somehow seems to reinforce the resulting perception that "everyone does it." Since that reinforcement puts Democrats and Republicans back on an equal footing, it brings the media into its phony "balanced" comfort zone. That it benefits Republicans by letting them off the hook for blatant hypocrisy goes unnoticed, or at least unmentioned.

*Yes, Democrats can act in partisan, corrupt, or bad-faith ways too, but these days essentially Democrats are the only ones held to any standard -- how to pay for health care, for example, or cutting loose politicians who sexually harass. And the false equivalence of "both sides do it" helps Republicans get away with it.
posted by Gelatin at 1:12 PM on December 5, 2019 [10 favorites]


I hate that she has to play to America's holier-than-thou sensibilities to navigate it.

This might be getting into derail territory, so I'll keep this short. I'm a former Catholic, and I don't think she (I forget which commentator described her as a "turbo Catholic") is playing at all. A Catholic should never hate. You cannot square wishing ill on someone with "love your neighbor with all your heart". Her anger is legit about the reporter accusing her of sin.
posted by Jpfed at 1:20 PM on December 5, 2019 [19 favorites]


ZeusHumms: Who Will Betray Trump? (Tim Alberta, Politico)

What a shitty title, and header graphic. Trump has betrayed the country for personal gain (numerous times, even before he was president), and any action against him now more equivalent to police procedures than the betrayal of Jesus, as implied in the (cheeky! joking!) article framing.

Anyway, we've clearly seen over the past few years of the Trump administration is that the acts of bravery and courage from GOP members of the House and Senate come shortly before, or after, they announce their retirement.

The 2020 Congressional-Retirement Tracker -- For the second consecutive election, more Republicans than Democrats are forgoing reelection, a potentially ominous sign for the GOP in 2020. (Russell Berman for The Atlantic, November 11, 2019; updated at 12:55 p.m. ET on December 5, 2019)
Congressional retirements are an early indicator of the political environment, and for the second consecutive election, more Republicans than Democrats are heading for the exit.
...
In all, 19 GOP House members and four senators are forgoing reelection next year without declaring their candidacy for another office, while just seven Democrats in the House and one in the Senate are retiring outright. The trend mirrors 2018, when more than two dozen Republicans retired [The Atlantic] ahead of the midterms, foreshadowing the blue wave that swept in a Democratic majority.

The announcements may indicate that GOP members have little confidence that their party will regain power in the House anytime soon. It’s a familiar dynamic: In 2006, after Democrats won back the House majority for the first time in a dozen years, Republicans saw a high number of retirements in the following term. The departures helped Democrats pick up even more seats in the 2008 election.

In the Senate, Republicans are losing four veteran committee chairmen: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, and Mike Enzi of Wyoming. While Alexander, Roberts, and Enzi represent solidly red states that will likely stay Republican in 2020, Isakson’s decision to resign at the end of 2019 for health reasons sets up a second Senate election in Georgia, where David Perdue is already up for reelection next year. The Democrat Stacey Abrams nearly won Georgia’s governorship in 2018, making the race for Isakson’s Senate seat potentially competitive next year—and one that could have big implications for control of the chamber.

In the House, the GOP departures point to a pair of ominous trends for the party: the loss of several members of its dwindling contingent of minority and women lawmakers, and an exodus from Texas (or what Democrats are already calling a “Texodus” [Vox]).
Emphasis mine -- the GOP representation is becoming more white and male, a trend that was also apparent in the 2018 election, when the number of Republican women in the Houseplunged to a 25-year low (USA Today).

This is a round-about way of saying there are some positive signs ahead of 2020, for the Dems, and for a more diverse and representative representation, which I think could continue to be bolstered by Trump's impeachment proceedings. Yes, I realize that if he's absolved of wrongdoing by the Senate, that could shift this dynamic, or the left could use it to push higher engagement in the 2020 election.

[And this is a reminder that you could say Trump won based on certain swing counties, so it's all about turn-out in 2020 -- How do Democrats win in 2020? These battleground state leaders have some advice. (Aamer Madhani for USA Today, Oct. 19, 2019) ]
posted by filthy light thief at 1:27 PM on December 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


Note that Republican retirements may signal a disgust with Trump or the realization that the president is historically unpopular, but it doesn't mean that -- ha, ha -- principled Republicans will suddenly find their voice to oppose him. The media may point at fear of Republican primary voters, but only rarely will it admit that Republicans are also -- if not more so -- afraid of alienating powerful Republicans who hire lobbyists, fund cushy think tank jobs, book television appearances, and sponsor book contracts. Wingnut welfare is a thing, and there's a lot of money at risk for a Republican who refuses to play ball. And those primary opponents have to be funded and promoted by somebody.

It's almost like the media likes to pretend that Republicans aren't actually beholden to powerful monied interests (and yes, in a away that Democrats are not).
posted by Gelatin at 1:33 PM on December 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


I feel sorry for him to be honest, I don't think it's possible for him to ever actually experience happiness the way you or I do. I hate what he's done and what he's doing but I don't hate the man for all that I hope he rots away in prison until he's 120.

Agreed. Now, Mitch McConnell, on the other hand...
posted by contraption at 1:49 PM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


katra: In London Tuesday for a meeting of NATO leaders, [Trump] spoke to reporters for 121 minutes — much of it about impeachment.

But he made some time to say a new China trade deal could wait until after 2020 election -- President Donald Trump appears to be downplaying the chances for a US-China trade deal (Zeke Miller for the Associated Press, December 3, 2019)
Speaking in London, where he is attending a NATO summit, Trump said he had “no deadline’’ to end the 16-month trade war between the world’s two largest economies, which has caused economic damage for both sides.

“In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election," Trump added.

The president has previously suggested that China wanted to wait until after the election to negotiate a deal.

Stocks began sinking right after Trump’s latest rhetoric shot at the Chinese leadership. His brash remarks could amount to either a short-term negotiating gambit or a sign of his willingness to run for re-election without a breakthrough in the trade war. At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 400 points.

Later Trump dismissed the tumult on Wall Street, choosing instead to highlight how much stock prices have risen since the start of the year.
Speaking of which, From Reagan to Trump: Here's how stocks performed under each president (Matt Egan, Annalyn Kurtz, Tal Yellin and Will Houp for CNN, Published January 18, 2019, and as of posting this, last updated on November 29, 2019)

I was going to ask why Trump's erratic behavior and statements that upset the stock market would be enough for the GOP to stop backing him, but looking at that page, he's behind Obama's status (S&P +44%), tied with Clinton (+38%), and ahead of Reagan and GB. And proof that GOP doesn't care about stock growth: GWB was -20% on S&P at this time in his presidency, but on the slow climb back up to breaking even with where it started when he took office.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:27 PM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


To elaborate on my earlier comment. Julius Caesar was a populist leader who was facing prosecution for war crimes and corruption during his governorship of Gaul. He has avoided prosecution by remaining in office. However his term was expiring and the Senate had barred him from standing in the next election and ordered him to step down from leading the army in Gaul and return to Rome. Instead he took his army and marched towards Rome, crossing the Rubicon river along the way which had been the border of Gaul and the limits of his military authority. He ultimately won the war against the Senate and the Roman Republic ended. I see a lot of historic parallels here.
posted by interogative mood at 2:47 PM on December 5, 2019 [12 favorites]


I absolutely hate this gotcha shit

It's not even a gotcha, it's just a rude question, and if you think about it, a personal-boundary question. Catholicism aside, even if she did "hate" him, however Rosen meant it, is it anybody's business what her innermost thoughts are? I wonder what information Rosen thinks he's entitled to.

In fact, it's the inverse of the "white man's intent" excuse. Not, "we should go easy because he didn't mean it," it's "should we go harshly because she did mean it?"

In the House, the GOP departures point to a pair of ominous trends for the party: the loss of several members of its dwindling contingent of minority and women lawmakers

Everything is dragged to the right by college-educated white men. Everything. It makes sense that the party is dominated by them, but at least then they're sequestered, eventually making the party small enough to be drowned in the bathtub. Don't give them room to breathe, make them answer for it all.
posted by rhizome at 3:16 PM on December 5, 2019 [9 favorites]


Make them answer for it? They just dodge any question and attack relentlessly. It’s like trying to break a brick wall using your skull.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:55 PM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Jerry’s Revenge: The feud between Trump and Nadler dates back to the ’80s. (Fred Kaplan, Slate)
The fight began in early 1985, when Trump, then an up-and-coming real estate tycoon, paid $115 million for an abandoned rail yard on Manhattan’s West Side and unveiled plans to turn its 76 acres into the largest development in all New York City: six 75-story high-rises holding 8,000 apartments and 10,000 parking spaces, a massive shopping mall, TV studios, and—looming above it all—a 150-story skyscraper, where he would live on the top floor, above the clouds. The complex would be called Television City.

Standing in the way of this gargantuan project was a group of neighborhood activists and celebrities. Nadler was their state assemblyman, and he led the protest against Television City—a role that he continued playing after he was elected to Congress in 1992. A crucial part of Trump’s plan involved relocating a stretch of the West Side Highway, which would otherwise obstruct views of the Hudson River. The move, estimated to cost more than $300 million, would require federal funding. From his new perch in Washington, Nadler did all he could to block the subsidy.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:47 PM on December 5, 2019 [19 favorites]


At what point does Devin Nunes get to be put under oath? He seems to be involved with all this stuff. His cow likely will not testify (lacking certain human skills).
posted by baegucb at 5:11 PM on December 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


To be fair, Devin Nunes lacks human skills too.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:14 PM on December 5, 2019 [13 favorites]


To be fair, Devin Nunes lacks human skills too.

Congratulations. You’re the proud defendant of an $875 million defamation lawsuit.
posted by orange ball at 5:17 PM on December 5, 2019 [24 favorites]


Devin Nunes was a proud cosponsor of the H.R.1179 - Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act. Another thing on the Dem to-do list: actual SLAPP reform.
posted by benzenedream at 6:07 PM on December 5, 2019 [16 favorites]


Nancy Pelosi, who so many here and elsewhere thought was opposed to impeachment rather than expertly letting the pressure and facts build up.

She sat on her hands and did nothing until new crimes became explosively public in a manner that even she could not ignore. We've learned more through the impeachment inquiry investigations in a few weeks than we did in the last few years of her negligent, cowardly, and collaborationist leadership. Had she pushed for these types of investigations from the beginning who knows where we would be now.
posted by xammerboy at 10:00 PM on December 5, 2019 [24 favorites]


Sorry, that's a little harsh, but all the Nancy hagiography has been rubbing me the wrong way.
posted by xammerboy at 10:11 PM on December 5, 2019 [7 favorites]


Phone logs in impeachment report renew concern about security of Trump communications (WaPo / reprint)
President Trump has routinely communicated with his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and other individuals speaking on cellphones vulnerable to monitoring by Russian and other foreign intelligence services, current and former U.S. officials said.

Phone records released this week by the House Intelligence Committee revealed extensive communications between Giuliani, unidentified people at the White House and others involved in the campaign to pressure Ukraine, with no indication that those calls were encrypted or otherwise shielded from foreign surveillance.

The revelations raise the possibility that Moscow was able to learn about aspects of Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival months before that effort was exposed by a whistleblower report and the impeachment inquiry, officials said. [...]

The disclosures provide fresh evidence suggesting that the president continues to defy the security guidance urged by his aides and followed by previous incumbents — a stance that is particularly remarkable given Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign for her use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state.

The connection to the Ukraine campaign is also troubling because of how Moscow could exploit knowledge that Trump was secretly engaged in efforts to extract political favors from the government in Kyiv. [...] “It’s absolutely a security issue,’’ the former aide said, saying foreign intelligence agencies could be listening in on the president’s unsecured calls with Giuliani. “It’s a bonanza for them.”
posted by katra at 10:45 PM on December 5, 2019 [17 favorites]


I've been a Nancy the Impeacher stan since the beginning. I mean, these are people too you know. The few months they took for the basement interviews felt like they took a while, but I'm sure it was a fuckin' trip.

While I can see reading her as "meaningless, politicians are always vague," there was never anything in what Nancy said that foreclosed on impeachment. It's an interesting pessimism-optimism line.
posted by rhizome at 11:10 PM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


She sat on her hands and did nothing until new crimes became explosively public in a manner that even she could not ignore. We've learned more through the impeachment inquiry investigations in a few weeks than we did in the last few years of her negligent, cowardly, and collaborationist leadership.
Everybody can probably agree that the pace of news during the Trump presidency has a tendency to distort people's perception of how much time is actually passing, but it's still worth remembering that the 2018 mid-term elections were only a little more than a year ago and the new Congress was not seated until January of this year. Pelosi's current stint as Speaker of the House dates back only to January 3, 2019, just a smidge over 11 months in calendar time, even if it's been several subjective decades (or possibly longer if you're one of the mods..)

I certainly have had my own reservations concerning some of her statements and I don't think she's above criticism by any means but it would be best, I think, if any such criticism was founded on solid factual understanding of the circumstances and timing involved.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:32 PM on December 5, 2019 [53 favorites]


...foreign intelligence agencies could be listening in on the president’s unsecured calls with Giuliani.
So Russia, if you're listening...

Is there any speculation that Russia might throw Trump under the bus?
If their main interest is in increasing political destabilization in the USA, might that be better served by helping Trump get defeated or impeached? (New civil war..., whatever)
Or are they better off with him in office, still vulnerable to blackmail? Is there a line in Vegas for this?
posted by MtDewd at 4:26 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


If their main interest is in increasing political destabilization in the USA they'll keep him center stage as long as possible. He's the grift that keeps on grifting.
posted by Harry Caul at 4:51 AM on December 6, 2019 [13 favorites]


Regarding Trump’s phone habits: bet your ass that his calls to Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity were the ones he insisted on doing from his cell phone in his residence, if he didn’t want them catalogued for all the world to see. And here we see one of the critical junctures in the right wing/foreign disinformation cycle. Trump and his flying monkey discuss some harebrained thing, someone else listens in, the disinformation bots spin up “supporting information” or “popular interest”.
posted by Sublimity at 5:56 AM on December 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


I don't think she's above criticism by any means but it would be best, I think, if any such criticism was founded on solid factual understanding of the circumstances and timing involved.

That's a year too late for getting information on Trump's tax returns, impeaching Trump for emoluments violations, ignoring Trump's obstruction of justice violations, and so on. All of this could have been done immediately or nearly so. Instead, she made public statements to the effect that the crimes outlined in the Mueller report were not worth pursuing. It's all been noted by reporters, other Democrats, etc. Suggesting that Nancy was strategically waiting for just the right time to impeach Trump ignores all her public statements and actions for the last year where she was quite clear impeachment was something she was not going to pursue.

She had her reasons, I get that. She didn't want to ruffle Republican swing voter's feathers. You can agree or disagree with her strategy, but let's not revise history to suggest Democrats were doing all they could as fast as they could to hold Trump accountable.
posted by xammerboy at 6:04 AM on December 6, 2019 [18 favorites]


All of this could have been done immediately or nearly so.

It really couldn't. This is just Monday morning quarterbacking. The tax returns case is now on its way to the Supreme Court. Most of the time between Jan 3rd has been taken up by those court cases, which always move slowly. Could the Democrats have started the process a bit sooner? Sure, but they would have had to weaker case. They took the time to lay the groundwork, because losing a few weeks earlier is not better than winning.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:08 AM on December 6, 2019 [19 favorites]


The winning occurred last November, with seats filled.
Currently this is all just inspiring the troops with action taken, instead of more inexplicable waiting and stalling. It ends in a couple months with the McConnell cult voting for acquittal. Then we'll see what the plan becomes.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:35 AM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's definitely the case that many people in the party were pushing for impeachment to begin much sooner than Pelosi wanted (and some suggest that she is only begrudgingly doing it now). My bet is that if you asked Jerry Nadler he'd say we could have gotten the ball rolling on this in the spring.
posted by dis_integration at 7:40 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not the Onion (or Monty Python): "North Korea threatened Thursday to resume insults of U.S. President Donald Trump and consider him a 'dotard'"
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:49 AM on December 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


Well Zelensky is attacking corruption in Ukraine, past and present. But not in a way that Team Trump is gonna like, LOL. Ukrainian Fugitive Who Claimed to Have Dirt on Biden Firm Is Arrested
"After fleeing Ukraine in 2016, Onyshchenko claimed to have evidence of widespread corruption by then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and he said he’d contacted the FBI with his claims. Two sources familiar with the events confirmed that he did meet with U.S. law enforcement officials in 2016 in an effort to build goodwill. The sources said Onyshchenko appeared to want to share information in hopes of obtaining a visa to travel to the U.S. The U.S. Justice Department confirmed meeting with him at the time but said it had “no plans to have further meetings or communications” with him after that, according to RFE/RL. His allegations were widely seen in Ukraine as part of a Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation campaign meant to undermine the Ukrainian government as it sought to strengthen ties with the West."

" . . The fugitive Ukrainian was stripped of parliamentary immunity in 2016 and accused of embezzling some $64 million from a subsidiary of Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state-owned gas company. A former member of ousted Kremlin-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanuykovych’s Party of Regions, Onyshchenko was also accused by Ukraine’s Security Service of treason in late 2016 of allegedly helping Russian intelligence destabilize Ukraine. "
posted by Harry Caul at 7:50 AM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee: Impeachment hearings must include analysis of Trump's mental health (Igor Derysh, Salon)
Bandy X. Lee, a professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and president of the World Mental Health Organization, has spoken out about the president's mental health for years. She is the editor of "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President" and convened a conference on Trump's mental health at Yale in 2017.

Lee, along with Dr. John Zinner and Dr. Jerrold Post of George Washington University and more than 400 signatories, is leading a petition to the Judiciary Committee urging lawmakers to consider the views of mental health experts as they examine the possible criminality behind the Ukraine scandal.

The petition calls for the committee to enter a statement from the mental health professionals into the official record.
Seems unlikely.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:51 AM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Graham Pours Cold Water On Trump, House GOP Push To Subpoena Schiff (Nicole Lafond, TPM)
“I don’t have any desire to subpoena Adam Schiff. We’re not going to do that,” Graham said, according to several reporters. “When members start subpoenaing each other as part of oversight, the whole system breaks down. … You got two different bodies here. Are we going to start calling House members over here when we don’t like what they say or do? I don’t think so.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:58 AM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


Gee, I wonder what could be making Graham less open to subpoenaing House members, he asked.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:07 AM on December 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


Is there anyone in the world who believes Graham is going to stick to his Principled Stance as soon as pressure is applied?
posted by Etrigan at 8:23 AM on December 6, 2019 [7 favorites]


More than 500 law professors say Trump committed ‘impeachable conduct’ (WaPo)
The signers are law professors and other academics from universities across the country, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan and many others. The open letter was published online Friday by the nonprofit advocacy group Protect Democracy.

“There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress,” the group of professors wrote. “His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution.”

Those who signed on to the Protect Democracy letter said they “take no position on whether the President committed a crime.” Earlier this year, Protect Democracy gathered signatures for a similar letter, in which hundreds of former federal prosecutors signed on to a statement asserting that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings would have produced obstruction charges against Trump — if he were not a sitting president.

“But conduct need not be criminal to be impeachable,” the group of professors wrote. “Impeachment is a remedy for grave abuses of the public trust.” The group noted in particular that Trump’s conduct seemed to be directed at affecting the results of the 2020 election, and thus it was not a matter that could be left to voters at the polls.
posted by katra at 8:35 AM on December 6, 2019 [14 favorites]


Pressure builds for Giuliani as associate enters talks over potential plea deal (Guardian)
The lawyer familiar with the investigation, who requested anonymity since he was not authorized to discuss it, said: “There are some plea negotiations under way with regards to Parnas,” and the federal prosecutors in New York’s southern district which brought the charges; but he noted that “a proffer by Parnas’ attorney [has] not been accepted at this time”.

Ex-prosecutors say a plea deal would probably require Parnas to offer more information about Giuliani and probably others he had contacts with, including possibly Trump and the Republican congressman Devin Nunes. Ex-prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig said plea deals typically require defendants to provide truthful testimony about other possible defendants which in Parnas’s case would include Giuliani. “That prospect has to make Mr Giuliani uncomfortable,” he said. “It might also make Representative Nunes and President Trump uncomfortable as well.”

Similarly, ex-federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin said that having a prosecutor signal more charges as likely against Parnas and Fruman “substantially increases pressure on Parnas to work out a deal”. Zeldin added that “additional charges could include such crimes as failure to register as a foreign agent, money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.” Convictions of these crimes carry substantial prison terms.
posted by katra at 8:47 AM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler: Speaker Pelosi Goes from Slow-Walking to Sprinting (As is often the case with her blog: don't read the comments unless you love hearing from people who think Pelosi is secretly determined to make impeachment fail.)

I think Wheeler is probably right that there are compelling reasons to slow down and let more evidence come in. On the other hand, there are also compelling political reasons to "sprint" -- particularly considering "sprint" in congressinoal terms is a leisurely stroll.

Wheeler isn't a political pundit, so it's not wrong that she's focusing on her area of expertise, but we're far enough into the process, and the divisions between the sides are so deep, that I don't think either of McGahn showing up and refusing to answer questions or getting even more evidence that Lev Parnas was criming are going to move the needle.

What we know is already damning. The true believers don't give a fuck. What are we waiting for?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:49 AM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


What are we waiting for?

Are Kulyk, Lutsenko, and Shokin the Three Ukrainians that Show Bill Barr Is Part of the Conspiracy? (Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel)
While Kulyk is (or was) technically still part of the Ukrainian government at this time — he is reportedly being fired in Volodymyr Zelensky’s efforts to clean up Ukraine’s prosecutors office — Rudy always cites three people to support his conspiracy theories about Ukraine.

If these three men already have shared information with Durham, it would be proof that the investigation is about collecting disinformation, not evidence. Which is probably part of the reason Barr is claiming to doubt the outcome of the IG investigation. Because without any predicate for an investigation into the origin of the investigation into Trump, it becomes clear that it’s nothing but the use of DOJ resources to further a conspiracy to help Donald Trump get reelected.
Ukraine’s Zelensky is making headway against corruption. But the fight risks angering Trump. (WaPo)
Zelensky’s new prosecutor general, Ruslan Ryaboshapka — “100 percent my person,” Zelensky told Trump in July — last week gave a dismissal notice to Kulyk, a key player in the effort to provide Giuliani with political ammunition of dubious accuracy. Kulyk denies meeting Giuliani, but former associates say he prepared a seven-page dossier that his boss later passed along to the former New York mayor.
posted by katra at 9:03 AM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


Giuliani just confessed to the crime. He also revealed something bigger. (Greg Sargent, WaPo Opinion)
Two new developments attest to this point: a remarkable pair of revelatory tweets from Giuliani, and a tour de force of reporting in The Post, which reveals that Trump routinely communicated throughout the whole saga with Giuliani on unsecured devices, which may have been vulnerable to monitoring by Russia. [...] “The conversation about corruption in Ukraine was based on compelling evidence of criminal conduct by then VP Biden,” Giuliani tweeted, referring to Joe Biden, the intended target of “investigations” Trump and Giuliani pressured Ukraine to announce. To empirically grounded observers, this will blow up a key Trump defense: that in conditioning official acts on getting Ukraine to announce the investigations he wanted, he was correctly concerned with cleaning up corruption there.

After all, Giuliani just confirmed that in pressuring Ukraine, “investigate corruption” actually meant, “smear Trump’s political rival.” We already knew this — Giuliani and Trump have said it publicly for months — but that’s an unusually stark way to admit it. [...] The Biden corruption narrative Giuliani has worked to validate has been thoroughly debunked. But Giuliani can make it true by saying it, and by producing fake “evidence” backing it up.

[...] Making this narrative “true,” via the triumph of disinformation, is at the core of this entire scandal. It is why the White House meeting and hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid were conditioned on getting Ukraine to release statements validating that narrative with disinformation, along with another fictional narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in 2016, in collusion with Democrats.

Meanwhile, Giuliani is literally producing a fake “documentary” that will “prove” these theories. Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr, is traveling the world to try to validate parts of the Ukraine-2016 lie, and he’s even preparing to dispute the Justice Department inspector general’s conclusion that it’s nonsense.

You cannot watch House Republicans, or Sean Hannity, rant about this bundle of theories without concluding we’re witnessing something very different from routine political lying here.
posted by katra at 9:26 AM on December 6, 2019 [41 favorites]


we’re witnessing something very different from routine political lying here.
aka 'winning'. Attach whatever grievances you have to Donald's, and forget scruples, ethics, standards, rules. You're not gonna have an identity separate from him anymore, so you won't need them.
posted by Harry Caul at 10:12 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


All of this could have been done immediately or nearly so. >> It really couldn't. This is just Monday morning quarterbacking

The tax information could have been requested the day after Democrats were elected, but they refused to even ask for it. If the emoluments and tax info requests had been part of an impeachment inquiry the court process could have been fast tracked - as we've just seen. These requests for information, investigations, and court cases were deliberately slow walked.

WASHINGTON ― Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) can ask for copies of Donald Trump’s federal tax returns whenever he wants, but Neal is in no hurry and seemingly doesn’t care if Democrats don’t get the documents before the next election.

This is all old news, but it's important, especially when we have upcoming elections. The Democratic establishment fell down on their job. I will vote for whoever runs against Trump, obviously, but this lifelong Democrat will not forget.
posted by xammerboy at 10:13 AM on December 6, 2019 [11 favorites]


What we know is already damning. The true believers don't give a fuck. What are we waiting for?

I'm with you, but one of these guys could literally tell us that Trump personally told them that he was withholding aid to screw Biden and help Russia. Lev Parnas claims to have video. I would at least like to be reassured that's not actually video of Trump shooting someone on 5th avenue before passing on his evidence.

First impeachment investigations were undeniably avoided and slow walked, and now we're passing up getting testimony from first person witnesses? I'm even in favor of playing no games and not letting these hearings drag into the campaign season, but do this right.
posted by xammerboy at 10:29 AM on December 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Neal Says Request For Trump's Tax Returns Is About Policy, Not Politics (Arjun Singh, WGBH News, Apr. 26, 2019)
Neal put in a request for Trump’s tax returns between 2013-2018 on Apr. 3, arguing that his committee needed to conduct oversight of the Internal Revenue Service’s policy of auditing the taxes of sitting presidents. [...] A spokesman for the administration said on Fox and Friends Tuesday that Trump has no intention of turning over his tax returns to the committee. The administration is currently suing House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings for a similar request Cummings made for Trump’s financial records from the accounting firm Mazars USA.
Understanding the Two Mazars Subpoena Cases Before the Supreme Court [UPDATED to reflect 11/25 stay of mandate] (Just Security)
[UPDATE, evening of 11/25: The Court, without recorded dissent, granted the application to stay the mandate, and gave Trump until noon next Thursday, December 5, to file his petition. The House should be able to file its opposition in time for the Court to consider the petition at its December 13 Conference.]
Trump asks Supreme Court to block subpoena for financial docs (Politico, Dec. 5, 2019)
In a lengthy filing Thursday, Trump’s lead personal attorneys Jay Sekulow and William Consovoy argued that the Supreme Court should take up the case because it was the first time a president’s personal records have been subpoenaed by Congress. [...]

The D.C. District Court and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals both sided with the House, determining that the subpoena is valid and ordering Mazars to turn over the documents. The courts sharply rejected Trump’s legal arguments and upheld the House’s broad authority to issue subpoenas and investigate alleged presidential misconduct. [...] Lower courts have also recently upheld House Democrats’ subpoena to Deutsche Bank for the president’s financial records and other tax documents. Trump’s lawyers are likely to appeal those rulings to the Supreme Court, too.

The Supreme Court is already scheduled to meet Dec. 13 in a closed-door conference to consider the separate plea from Trump aimed at overturning the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ order ordering the president to hand over his tax returns to a grand jury in New York overseen by District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
posted by katra at 10:40 AM on December 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


first time a president’s personal records have been subpoenaed by Congress.

The Republican Congress didn't subpoena any personal records of Clinton? They tried him based on personal conduct.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:09 AM on December 6, 2019


Neal put in a request for Trump’s tax returns between 2013-2018 on Apr. 3, arguing that his committee needed to conduct oversight of the Internal Revenue Service’s policy of auditing the taxes of sitting presidents.

This is key. Trump is going to argue in court that Democrats have no legitimate legislative or oversight purpose for reviewing his tax returns. That they are just going on a "fishing expedition" looking for something to embarrass him.

If Neal had demanded the tax returns on Jan. 3rd, it would certainly LOOK like they were doing exactly that.

But other than generally suspecting Trump of being a bad guy who was probably guilty of something, what legitimate reason DID the committee have for demanding the returns?

Well, it seems presidents have cheated on their tax returns before, and that the IRS did not do a good job of catching this at audit, possibly because there is political pressure on the upper levels of the IRS not to displease their boss...
Turns out Richard Nixon publicly released his tax returns while they were under audit in 1973, at the height of the Watergate investigation.

But Watergate wasn't the reason, according to tax historian Joe Thorndike.

In the summer and fall of that year, "Nixon was engulfed by a controversy over his personal taxes. An outsize charitable donation was the proximate cause, but the scandal expanded to include numerous issues with the returns Nixon had filed between 1968 and 1972," Thorndike noted in a soon-to-be-published paper.

Interestingly it was that very tax controversy -- not Watergate -- that gave rise to one of Nixon's most famous quotes, Thorndike found. "People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook," Nixon told reporters in November 1973. "Well, I am not a crook."

He even went so far as to invite the Joint Committee on Taxation to also examine his returns. It did, and found Nixon owed another $476,431 -- or about $2.5 million in today's dollars. The IRS came to a similar conclusion.
This kind of conflict of interest at the upper levels of the IRS is exactly why the Constitution gives Congress oversight powers for the executive branch. The committee is fully within its rights to check in on the IRS and make sure it is auditing the president accurately, and not giving him a pass due to pressure or politics.

Okay, so why didn't Neal make that claim on Jan. 3rd?

Because exercising oversight does not usually involve filing a lawsuit immediately. First you request documents and review them if they are given. You interview the responsible officials. You do your best to figure out what is going on with the information that IS available to you. And only if you are not given sufficient information to do that, do you go to court to demand more.

Neal made a good faith effort for three months to investigate whether the IRS was doing an adequate job of auditing the president. Then he had plenty of lack of cooperation to cite when he sued. It will be almost impossible for any court to deny him access to Trump's tax returns given the law and these facts. He did it right, and anyone who holds his meticulousness against him on election day is someone who is more interested in signaling than in winning.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:14 AM on December 6, 2019 [51 favorites]


first time a president’s personal records have been subpoenaed by Congress.

The Republican Congress didn't subpoena any personal records of Clinton? They tried him based on personal conduct.


Starr did all the legwork. Gingrich et al did everything based on his report.
posted by Etrigan at 11:38 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


From the WaPo article above:
None of this is to endorse in any way the “Trump is a Russian asset” narrative, and no one should assume Trump has deliberately left us vulnerable to Russian disinformation. Indeed, it’s often hard to say where Trump’s own disinformation ends and where Russia’s begins.

But what we can say is that the disinformation employed by Giuliani, Trump and his GOP defenders in many ways overlaps with Russian disinformation. They share tropes and narratives, and some common goals.
I’m sorry but this doesn’t square it away for me. The only reason “no one should assume Trump has deliberately left us vulnerable to Russian disinformation” is because people in the media and elsewhere are too chickenshit to call him on it. Everything Trump has done has deliberately left us open to Russian disinformation.

Otherwise, good OpEd. I asked in one of the previous threads whether this entire thing was a way to manufacture information. Also, a year ago I made a comment about this issue:
Conservatives literally live in their own reality, and believe in an entirely different set of facts about the world than anybody else, which is then backed up by “officials”, like Trump. What I mean by this is that, separate from the fact that each person experiences their own “lived experience”, which is why you have things like identity politics in the first place, there is still an objective reality. The most current example is Puerto Rico, where some 3000 people died. That’s real, that is our objective reality, but conservatives are living in a reality where that didn’t happen, and they’re able to point to Trump’s numbers as evidence for their reality, as he is the memetic engineer of that reality. He creates the false reality and the others jump into it. And look, I didn’t even “editorialize” that statement to say “where 3000 people died due to negligence”, because that isn’t the point. I stated a fact, and the conservative reality is now entirely against that fact. If the government had come out and said that those 3000 people died due to other factors, by smudging the record (which they have been doing, e.g. saying people died of “old age”), that would simply be a manipulative lie, but they’re countering the actual reality of the situation.
Replace “Puerto Rico” with the appropriate wording and you’re seeing the creation of an entirely different reality via Giuliani and this entire scheme, and they’re using the power of the state and the creation of fake documents to do it. Ukraine didn’t interfere in the election, but in a different timeline where Zelensky had gotten onto that CNN program and announced investigations into Biden, we very well could have witnessed in real time the distortion and falsification of reality as we know it.

This is far more serious than just politics, this is a metaphysical and philosophical issue with the sociological ramifications of a gigantic psychological warfare campaign against all of us.
posted by gucci mane at 12:41 PM on December 6, 2019 [15 favorites]


You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:53 PM on December 6, 2019


Everything Trump has done has deliberately left us open to Russian disinformation.

Indeed, and I regret not highlighting this in my earlier comment with an excerpt from the WaPo article:
Former White House chief of staff John Kelly and intelligence officials made a concerted attempt in 2017 to get Trump to use secure White House lines, even after the president had retreated to the residence in the evenings, officials said. But when Trump realized that this enabled Kelly to compile daily logs of his calls, and the identities of those he was speaking to, Trump became annoyed and reverted to using his cellphone, officials said. "He was totally paranoid that everyone knew who he was talking to," a former senior administration official said.

Aides were so determined to push the president to use hardened landlines that they gave him a tutorial on how foreign governments could listen to his calls, former administration officials said. Aides said that Trump's habits improved but that he still frequently used a cellphone they viewed as less safe. The president now uses a government cellphone that is routinely scrubbed, administration officials say, but it is still viewed as less safe than using the secure lines.
posted by katra at 12:55 PM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


This is far more serious than just politics, this is a metaphysical and philosophical issue with the sociological ramifications of a gigantic psychological warfare campaign against all of us.

Seems like it's normalizing gaslighting as government procedure.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:57 PM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


Well, it seems presidents have cheated on their tax returns before,

An additional reason to look into Trump's tax returns is to verify the testimony of Michael Cohen to the House, where he said that Trump inflates and deflates his assets depending on the outcome Trump desires.
posted by mikelieman at 1:15 PM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


Neal did it right, and anyone who holds his meticulousness against him on election day is someone who is more interested in signaling than in winning.

Neal had the absolute right to request those returns and did not. Many Democrats have openly said the reason is he wanted the GOP’s buy-in for his retirement security legislation. His argument, that he wouldn't have a good reason to request those records without "due diligence" work is laughable considering the thousands of public articles that have called that oversight into question. The path he chose guarantees we will not see Trump's tax returns until after the 2020 election. That's a pretty strange definition of "winning".
posted by xammerboy at 1:15 PM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


A powerful Dahlia Lithwick essay today, The Women Who Still Speak Up:

It is worth recalling that Pamela Karlan—like Fiona Hill before her, and Yovanovitch before her, and Thunberg, and Carroll, and Karen McDougal, and Christine Blasey Ford, and Debbie Ramirez, and Sandra Diaz, and Lisa Page, and all the other women who have subjected themselves to the raging Trump campaign of abuse—was simply speaking the truth. In the face of lies, imaginary conspiracies, smear campaigns, and disinformation, each was simply relating the facts as she knew them.
posted by growabrain at 1:44 PM on December 6, 2019 [21 favorites]


and all the other women who have subjected themselves to the raging Trump campaign of abuse

Yes, the list is endless, but the absence of Stormy Daniels' name is glaring. Like I'm having a hard time wondering why she's not there.
Imagine where we'd be if she hadn't spoken up.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:50 PM on December 6, 2019 [19 favorites]


White House tells House Democrats to end impeachment inquiry, less than an hour before deadline for Trump to agree to participate (Seung Min Kim, WaPo)

The deadline was 5PM ET, for hearings on Monday.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:01 PM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


i'd be interested to hear cippolone's ranking of contenders for "the most unjust, highly-partisan and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation's history," which the currently-contemplated impeachment would displace. would also accept top five "most unjust," "most highly-partisan," and "most unconstitutional" impeachment attempts listed separately by category. while we're at it, which are the most just, the least partisan and the most constitutional attempted impeachments?
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:15 PM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


A White House spokesman said Friday that Trump “welcomes” a Senate trial and wants to offer “serious witnesses,” including the anonymous whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and the Bidens.

None of whom are witnesses. I can't even....
posted by xammerboy at 2:23 PM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Offer Schiff and Joe Biden as witnesses as long as Trump and Mulvaney agree as well.
posted by Justinian at 2:30 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


why wouldn't joe biden enjoy the same breadth of "testamentary immunities" concerning activities undertaken during his tenure as vice president as that asserted by the president shields the words and conduct of his staff and himself?

(apart from the fact that there is no such immunity).
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:35 PM on December 6, 2019 [17 favorites]


Guardian: The letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to the House judiciary committee does not explicitly say Trump will not participate in Monday’s impeachment hearing, but an administration official reportedly confirmed he would not be sending a representative.
Jim Acosta (@Acosta) Senior admin official acknowledges the letter doesn't specifically state the WH won't participate. But that's what the letter means, according to a senior administration official. "The letter communicates that we will not participate in this process," the official said. https://t.co/AL569ghbNp December 6, 2019
posted by katra at 5:15 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


As impeachment tide swirls around Trump, Giuliani drops anchor in Ukraine (WaPo)
Current and former officials in Washington expressed astonishment at how Giuliani — apparently on behalf of the president — seemed to be mocking impeachment investigators, if not the very idea that either he or his client should answer any articles of impeachment. “It’s unbelievable to me the open way in which the administration and Giuliani are still pursuing this,” said Jeffrey Edmonds, who served as Russia director at the White House National Security Council under both Barack Obama and Trump. “It is a way of . . . asserting that everything that we’re doing is perfectly normal, perfectly fine and we’re going to keep doing it.” [...]

Giuliani’s trip also represented an affront to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose government was welcoming a high-level State Department diplomat at the same time and hoping to return relations with the United States to normal after more than two months at the center of an American political maelstrom. [...] The disruption in U.S.-Ukraine relations caused by Giuliani’s activities and the resulting impeachment inquiry have led some Ukrainians to fear that Zelensky, who promised an end to the conflict during his campaign, will cut a bad deal with Putin, owing partly to a growing sentiment in Kyiv that Ukraine can no longer count on support from the United States.

Such concerns appeared to be far from Giuliani’s mind. During his trip, he sat down with a mustachioed Ukrainian lawmaker who has promoted Russian interests in Ukraine and once studied at a KGB academy in Moscow. He was accompanied by a former Ukrainian diplomat who has won renown in U.S. right-wing circles by alleging Ukraine colluded with the DNC to undermine Trump in 2016. He received a bon voyage message from a former Ukrainian parliamentarian, who once sent a peace proposal to the White House that would have lifted sanctions on Russia and recognized the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea. [...]

“The fact that Giuliani is back in Ukraine is like a murder suspect returning to the crime scene to live-stream themselves moon dancing,” said Dan Eberhart, a prominent Republican donor and Trump supporter. “It’s brazen on a galactic level.” [...] At the White House, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley sidestepped the matter. “That’s a question between Rudy and the president,” Gidley said. Privately, however, two officials involved in the White House’s impeachment response said Trump aides were not told Giuliani was traveling to Ukraine and do not view it as helpful.
posted by katra at 7:03 PM on December 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


Former White House chief of staff John Kelly and intelligence officials made a concerted attempt in 2017 to get Trump to use secure White House lines, even after the president had retreated to the residence in the evenings, officials said. But when Trump realized that this enabled Kelly to compile daily logs of his calls, and the identities of those he was speaking to, Trump became annoyed and reverted to using his cellphone, officials said.

Every GOP stooge that harped on Clinton's emails should be forced to respond to this. Isn't this a potential security breach far worse than the (was it three?) confidential emails found on her server.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:41 PM on December 6, 2019 [17 favorites]


Every GOP stooge that harped on Clinton's emails

They don't care, the hypocrisy is the point. They are all bullshitters.
posted by benzenedream at 8:09 PM on December 6, 2019 [12 favorites]


They don't care, the hypocrisy is the point. They are all bullshitters.

My point is not to try to make them care, but to show them off on radio and TV for what they are.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:24 PM on December 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


Every GOP stooge that harped on Clinton's emails should be forced to respond to this. Isn't this a potential security breach far worse than the (was it three?) confidential emails found on her server.

According to Andy Wright at Just Security (Oct. 9, 2017)
[...] White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s personal smart phone was compromised for months, although he reportedly uses it infrequently relative to his government-issued device.

Private email account interaction with official White House email accounts presents several potential legal issues, including record preservation, security, and subpoena compliance. [...] I generally caution against outrage over any use of private email for official purposes. [...] However, if White House officials use separate technology architecture in order to avoid preserving a record of their communications or in order to obstruct investigative activity, it is a much more serious issue.

[...] The second security issue is vulnerability of the private email account or hosting device to exploitation by cyberespionage. This was one of the major concerns when it came to Clinton’s use of a private server, although evidence has never surfaced that her server was compromised. Kelly’s personal smart phone is a good example of this concern.

[...] The more immediate political consequence of these stories is how White House staff use of private accounts and personal devices will affect ongoing criminal and congressional investigations. While the purpose of the PRA is record creation and preservation, it has long been politically relevant in the context of subpoena compliance. [...] Widespread use of non-archived devices raises investigators’ suspicions.
posted by katra at 8:31 PM on December 6, 2019 [12 favorites]


Thanks for all these invaluable links and summaries, katra - srsly, do you have a Patreon we can all support?
posted by PhineasGage at 9:23 PM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


the same breadth of "testamentary immunities"

ahem. "testimonial immunity" per the hon. judge ketanji brown jackson. probably totally different. my bad.
(& may they neither inherit nor direct the liquidation of their estates unimpeded, too!)
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:03 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all these invaluable links and summaries, katra - srsly, do you have a Patreon we can all support?

Thank you and to everyone here - I'm often riffing on what is being said in the thread, and I very much appreciate the challenge, as well as the encouragement. And srsly, let's help fund Metafilter!
posted by katra at 10:35 PM on December 6, 2019 [35 favorites]


So I finally got to this article linked above, and to me, what's really shocking is that the entire Republican leadership has stopped protecting America or wanting to protect America. This blatant cramming can only happen because the Republican Party lets it happen.
It's not about Trump's so-called base: if Republican senators and congressmen went out in public and told the truth, people wouldn't rally behind Trump.

And all the current ills are so obviously linked together, this global conspiracy is about ignoring global warming, so fossil fuel producers can continue to spread their poison, it's about undermining the regime of citizens' rights and protections that EU has till now been expanding gradually, and it's obviously about preserving white male supremacy. It's about making the 80% poorer and to benefit the 1%. And even if it is not one grand plan, it is a set of interdependent plans with common goals.
posted by mumimor at 3:37 AM on December 7, 2019 [22 favorites]


this global conspiracy is about ignoring global warming, so fossil fuel producers can continue to spread their poison

I think that’s part of it but the majority of energy companies at least pay lip service to climate awareness or are doing something (not enough). But the outright denial serves Putin the most, as he’s betting on a thawing Arctic Circle to open up land and more fossil fuel access. Putin is the key beneficiary far beyond oil company execs.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:45 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I was thinking of the Kochs in the US and the Saudis, maybe Bolsonaro in Brazil? But also of all the politicians all over the world who refuse to take on fossil fuel regulation, who I more and more feel are bought by fossil fuel lobbyists, and who generally are aligned with the Trump world view.
posted by mumimor at 4:00 AM on December 7, 2019


And "cramming" was supposed to be criming
posted by mumimor at 4:05 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Mumimor, given how often the GOP reflexively supports (with their silence) The Don’s habitual past and present criminal activities, I think most of us would agree with “cramming”.
posted by cenoxo at 5:28 AM on December 7, 2019 [4 favorites]


Former White House chief of staff John Kelly and intelligence officials made a concerted attempt in 2017 to get Trump to use secure White House lines, even after the president had retreated to the residence in the evenings, officials said. But when Trump realized that this enabled Kelly to compile daily logs of his calls, and the identities of those he was speaking to, Trump became annoyed and reverted to using his cellphone, officials said.

Which means Trump is more comfortable with foreign governments listening to the entirety of his calls than to his fellow Americans simply knowing who he talked to and for how long.

It also, of course, confirms that Trump feels he has something to hide.
posted by Gelatin at 5:45 AM on December 7, 2019 [39 favorites]


Although there are no doubt many other reasons, Giuliani's current mission AND Trump's refusal to participate in his impeachment investigation together appear to be a loud and proud display of pure power. Knowing that he won't be removed from office, they can paint him as invincible to the large part of the electorate who is barely keeping up.
posted by Miss Cellania at 6:36 AM on December 7, 2019 [5 favorites]




Trump saying he won't testify unless Biden testifies shows that pure ignorance and stupidity reign.
posted by xammerboy at 7:54 AM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


Former White House chief of staff John Kelly and intelligence officials made a concerted attempt in 2017 to get Trump to use secure White House lines, even after the president had retreated to the residence in the evenings, officials said. But when Trump realized that this enabled Kelly to compile daily logs of his calls, and the identities of those he was speaking to, Trump became annoyed and reverted to using his cellphone, officials said.

Which means Trump is more comfortable with foreign governments listening to the entirety of his calls than to his fellow Americans simply knowing who he talked to and for how long.

It also, of course, confirms that Trump feels he has something to hide.


Previous presidents have gotten called on the carpet for using White House phones for campaign purposes (Hatch Act).

What are the odds, Ukraine aside, that Trump and his staff resisted using White House resources while soliciting for campaign donations?
posted by srboisvert at 9:28 AM on December 7, 2019 [8 favorites]


What are the odds, Ukraine aside, that Trump and his staff resisted using White House resources while soliciting for campaign donations?

Always Be Grifting. I wonder if there's any White House activity that doesn't promote the campaign in material ways?
posted by mikelieman at 9:38 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


What Congress Should Consider in Drafting Articles of Impeachment (Barbara McQuade, Lawfare)
While senators will base their decision at trial on the articles of impeachment that are before them, it is impossible to un-ring the bell with regard to information known to them about Trump’s conduct toward Russia, obstruction of justice, emoluments, and all manner of other bad conduct in office. For that reason, the risk of under-inclusion is lessened in impeachment proceedings, a fact that favors a less-is-more approach. [...] When considering the goals of protecting the public and deterring corrupt behavior, three appropriate articles of impeachment emerge: (1) inviting foreign influence in U.S. elections; (2) risking harm to national security by withholding military aid for personal reasons; and (3) obstructing Congress in its oversight function.

Testifying before Congress, Noah Feldman argued that inviting election interference alone is an impeachable offense on the grounds that foreign influence would corrupt our election process and allow adversaries to control the leadership of our country. Rigging an election is particularly harmful because elections then become inadequate as a way to remove a corrupt president from office. [...]

In addition to election interference, drafters should also frame the articles in terms of harm to national security. By withholding the release of nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, the president arguably violated the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, a post-Watergate law that prohibits the executive branch from withholding spending authorized by Congress. While President Trump has authority to determine foreign policy, he has yet to articulate a sound policy reason for withholding the aid, and testimony from government officials suggests there was none. [...]

Finally, the articles of impeachment should also include contempt of Congress. Early on, Trump vowed that he would be “fighting all the subpoenas.” [...] This is an astonishing display of contempt for a co-equal branch of government. When Trump’s supporters complain of a lack of evidence for impeachment, they should be reminded that the cause is an obstructive president. In some proceedings, when one party prevents the other from obtaining evidence, the court permits an adverse inference that the evidence would have been damaging to the uncooperative party. Trump’s recalcitrance interferes with the House’s ability to conduct its oversight function and violates the president’s oath of office to support and defend the Constitution and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. His contempt for the authority of Congress offends our tripartite structure of government. To deter such behavior in the future, this obstruction should be a basis for a third article of impeachment.
posted by katra at 10:04 AM on December 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


Schiff: Pence aide provided new impeachment evidence — but VP's office classified it (Politico)
A national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence submitted additional classified evidence to House impeachment investigators about a phone call between Pence and Ukraine's president, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff revealed Friday.

In a letter to Pence, Schiff (D-Calif.) asked the vice president to declassify supplemental testimony from the aide, Jennifer Williams, about Pence’s Sept. 18 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, arguing that there is no “legitimate basis” to keep it secret. “The Office of the Vice President’s decision to classify ‘certain portions’ of the Sept. 18 call … cannot be justified on national security or any other legitimate grounds we can discern,” Schiff wrote to Pence, requesting a response by Dec. 11. [...]

Schiff’s letter represents the first sign that House impeachment investigators are still actively pursuing the Ukraine investigation, even after they compiled a 300-page report detailing what Democrats say is a campaign by President Donald Trump to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his political rivals.

Schiff has indicated that his panel intends to file “supplemental reports” if investigators obtain new information they believe to be relevant to the impeachment probe.
posted by katra at 10:09 AM on December 7, 2019 [10 favorites]


From katra’s Lawfare link above (emphasis mine):
...Testifying before Congress, Noah Feldman argued that inviting election interference alone is an impeachable offense on the grounds that foreign influence would corrupt our election process and allow adversaries to control the leadership of our country. Rigging an election is particularly harmful because elections then become inadequate as a way to remove a corrupt president from office. Here, Trump allegedly invited interference into the presidential election when he asked Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into Trump’s political rivals.

It is enough that Trump sought interference in the fair administration of elections by inviting a foreign government to become involved in the U.S. presidential election, even if it is not tied to withholding military aid and a White House visit. This conduct alone should be the basis of an article of impeachment....
In this case, ”adversaries” could be shorthand for “enemies, foreign or domestic”.
posted by cenoxo at 11:11 AM on December 7, 2019 [7 favorites]


In this case, ”adversaries” could be shorthand for “enemies, foreign or domestic”.

Emphasis mine. This is the treason stumbler, too: "enemy" is defined as a country we have declared war against. You'll see it elided a bit, news stories calling Russia enemy-like, or that people believe Russia is our enemy, or "see" or or or. So there's a bit of license around the "enemy" word, but you won't find the government itself defining, well, pretty much any country as I see it as an enemy. It's frustrating and confusing, but since Congress declines to declare war anymore, an educated populace is going to have to be the key against being jerked around and propagandized and disappointed when policy changes against a country portrayed like "hey, I thought they were our enemy!" Nope, not really.
posted by rhizome at 11:55 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ya know, I think we can do without super powers declaring war on each other. I'm willing to let that one go.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:03 PM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


It is enough that Trump sought interference in the fair administration of elections by inviting a foreign government to become involved in the U.S. presidential election, even if it is not tied to withholding military aid and a White House visit. This conduct alone should be the basis of an article of impeachment....

It's significant that this very fact constitutes the topic sentence of the whistleblower complaint:
In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.
posted by Gelatin at 12:11 PM on December 7, 2019 [13 favorites]


True, I’m using ‘enemy’ in a general sense, not in a strictly Constitutional sense.

The concluding paragraph of the Lawfare article distills everything down to the basic problem and solution:
...If the purposes of impeachment—protecting the public and deterring this president and future presidents from engaging in similar conduct—are kept in mind, the articles practically write themselves. Impeachment is not about reversing the results of an election. It is about removing from office a president whose conduct poses a threat to American democracy and proclaiming that certain types of misconduct by a president will not be tolerated in this country.
posted by cenoxo at 12:17 PM on December 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


Ya know, I think we can do without super powers declaring war on each other. I'm willing to let that one go.

Absolutely. The way I think about it is that the treason statute should be updated for a non-war-declaring nation. There's a troublesome gap between capital-T Treason and a mish-mash of lesser technical charges (or charges that can be criticized as technicalities). Batting around "treasonous" as an adjective doesn't cut it.
posted by rhizome at 12:18 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Just to be clear, no one is saying this rule applies just to our enemies. It's illegal to encourage any foreign power or person to interfere in our election.
posted by xammerboy at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


The way I think about it is that the treason statute should be updated for a non-war-declaring nation. There's a troublesome gap between capital-T Treason and a mish-mash of lesser technical charges (or charges that can be criticized as technicalities). Batting around "treasonous" as an adjective doesn't cut it.
The applicable restriction here is not a mere statute, it's an explicit restriction on the crime of treason that is established in the US Constitution itself. Article III, section 3 reads:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
It's not going to change without a constitutional amendment or a convention to re-write the constitution.

What's more, the authors of the constitution had good reason to fear making the charge of treason an easy one to use against one's political enemies and frankly I think they still apply today. While we might earnestly wish to see Trump and his cohort answer for their behavior does anyone actually believe that if a charge of treason were easy to sustain the party that holds "lock her up" chants at their rallies would be shy about using it as a weapon themselves?

Some other mechanism is needed to act as a check on bad behavior by the executive, and the part of the current situation that most urgently needs to go is the BS theory that they are using to assert that the executive cannot effectively be checked by any laws.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:55 PM on December 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


House Dems refresh Nixon-era impeachment report for Trump (Politico)
The staff of the House Judiciary Committee on Saturday issued a historic report laying the groundwork to impeach President Donald Trump, outlining in Constitutional terms what the panel believes amounts to an impeachable offense.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler described the 55-page analysis as the heir to the only similar report produced by the Judiciary Committee, which was released during the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon. That document was updated during the Bill Clinton impeachment but not fully rewritten.

Democrats view the new, Trump-era document as a touchstone in the nation’s centuries-long struggle to define and apply the most charged tool the Constitution provides to Congress: the power to remove a president. It is also a key step toward an impeachment vote later this year, after the Judiciary Committee began public impeachment hearings last week. [...]

"A President who perverts his role as chief diplomat to serve private rather than public ends has unquestionably engaged in ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors’ — especially if he invited, rather than opposed, foreign interference in our politics,” the report says. [...]

“There is no power in the Constitution that a President can exercise immune from legal consequence. The existence of any such unchecked and uncheckable authority in the federal government would offend the bedrock principle that nobody is above the law,” the panel wrote. “[T]he exact forms of Presidential wrongdoing that they discussed in Philadelphia could be committed through use of executive powers, and it is unthinkable that the Framers left the Nation defenseless in such cases.”
posted by katra at 1:03 PM on December 7, 2019 [12 favorites]


katra, I'm seconding PhineasGage's appreciation - thank you SO MUCH for all your fantastic comments.

And for this most recent comment, thanks for including the link to the PDF of the Judiciary Committee's staff report - I don't always click in to linked articles, but it is fantastic to get direct access to the primary source. Thank you!
posted by kristi at 1:11 PM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


By withholding the release of nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, the president arguably violated the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, a post-Watergate law that prohibits the executive branch from withholding spending authorized by Congress. While President Trump has authority to determine foreign policy, he has yet to articulate a sound policy reason for withholding the aid, and testimony from government officials suggests there was none.

Three things I don't like about this framing.

1. It's not just arguable that Trump violated the Impoundment Control Act. He did violate it. This is just a matter of counting days.

2. Related to #1, it's not enough that the President has a "sound policy reason" for withholding aid. The President has to communicate that reason to Congress and get permission in order for withholding aid to be legal. Just having a really good reason doesn't make the withholding legal.

3. It's probably true as a practical matter that the President determines foreign policy. But unless we adopt a very strong reading of the so-called vestment clause, it's not correct to say that the President has the authority to determine foreign policy. The Congress determines foreign policy. The President executes and directs the execution of foreign policy.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 1:17 PM on December 7, 2019 [16 favorites]


A President faithful only to himself—who will sell out democracy and national security for his own personal advantage—is a danger to every American. Indeed, he threatens America itself.

From the Judicial Committee report linked to by Katra above. Mighty fine reading. A stirring reminder (not that we needed it but still) that the impeachment process exists for an important reason. Thanks, Katra!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:32 PM on December 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


While President Trump has authority to determine foreign policy...

From the House Judiciary Committee report on Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment:
[at 23 - 24] The President’s important role in foreign affairs does not disable the House from evaluating whether he committed impeachable offenses in that field. This conclusion follows from the Impeachment Clause itself but is also supported by the Constitution’s many grants of power to Congress addressing foreign affairs. Congress is empowered to “declare War,” “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations,” “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” “define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations,” “grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal,” and “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.”123

Congress also has the power to set policy, define law, undertake oversight and investigations, create executive departments, and authorize government funding for a slew of national security matters.124 In addition, the President cannot make a treaty or appoint an ambassador without the approval of the Senate.125 In those respects and many others, constitutional authority over the “conduct of the foreign relations of our Government” is shared between “the Executive and Legislative [branches].”126 Stated simply, “the Executive is not free from the ordinary controls and checks of Congress merely because foreign affairs are at issue.”127

In these realms, as in many others, the Constitution “enjoins upon its branches separateness but interdependence, autonomy but reciprocity.”128 Accordingly, where the President uses his foreign affairs power in ways that betray the national interest for his own benefit, or harm national security for equally corrupt reasons, he is subject to impeachment by the House. Any claims to the contrary would horrify the Framers. A President who perverts his role as chief diplomat to serve private rather than public ends has unquestionably engaged in “high Crimes and Misdemeanors”—especially if he invited, rather than opposed, foreign interference in our politics.
posted by katra at 1:36 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is the treason stumbler, too: "enemy" is defined as a country we have declared war against.

Some thoughts on this. I'd be interested to get reactions from the lawyers. (But having written this, I have to run some errands, so I'll have to read replies later today, if there are any.) It's not clear to me that "enemy" is defined in terms of declared war. Seems to me that it's in terms of "hostility" or "open hostility," both of which are considerably vaguer than "declared war." Moreover, it seems really wrong to say that what matter is that the U.S. has declared war. Suppose some foreign government declared war on the U.S. and then arranged with a citizen here to help with an attack before the U.S. government knew that war had been declared. Wouldn't that be treason?

Or take an example closer to reality. Suppose a U.S. citizen had helped to plan the 9/11 attacks but did not participate in the attacks themselves. Wouldn't that rise to the level of treason? Looks like a person owing allegiance to the U.S. who gave aid and comfort to enemies in pursuit of an open act of hostility to me.

Two things are then really unclear to me. First, it's unclear how much work the "openness" is doing. Suppose the 9/11 attackers had been able to carry out their campaign entirely in secret and took no credit for it afterward. Wouldn't it be just as much a hostile act? Why isn't it just the hostility that matters? Second, it's unclear where the line is between acts that are obviously hostile enough to warrant a treason charge -- such as literally levying an open-field, declared war -- and acts that are clearly not, such as imposing tariffs. Suppose Russia had managed to actually change votes in the 2016 election. Would such an attack on our elections count as a hostile act? It seems that it would be sufficient to warrant a declaration of war. As it is, there were some Republicans, notably Nikki Haley, who said that the Russian meddling that was actually carried out constituted an act of war. How seriously should we take such claims?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 1:38 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


There is at least circumstantial evidence that Trump provided classified information to Putin, so— if not treason —espionage could be a section of the articles.
posted by thedward at 1:49 PM on December 7, 2019 [5 favorites]


This is the treason stumbler, too: "enemy" is defined as a country we have declared war against.

The HJC report at 17 defines Impeachable Treason as follows:
Under Article III of the Constitution, “treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”66 In other words, a person commits treason if he uses armed force in an attempt to overthrow the government, or if he knowingly gives aid and comfort to nations (or organizations) with which the United States is in a state of declared or open war. At the very heart of “Treason” is deliberate betrayal of the nation and its security. Such betrayal would not only be unforgivable, but would also confirm that the President remains a threat if allowed to remain in office. A President who has knowingly betrayed national security is a President who will do so again. He endangers our lives and those of our allies.
posted by katra at 1:57 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is the treason stumbler, too: "enemy" is defined as a country we have declared war against.

Is defined where? Certainly it is nowhere defined explicitly in the constitution.

According to a statue of congress:
50 USCS § 2204 [Title 50. War and National Defense; Chapter 39. Spoils of War], enemy of the United States means any country, government, group, or person that has been engaged in hostilities, whether or not lawfully authorized, with the United States;

So it is pretty clear that no declaration of war is required.

And if you want to go further down the rabbit hole, from a different statue entirely:
10 USCS § 948a.The term “hostilities” means any conflict subject to the laws of war.

Lots of conflicts are subject to the laws of war even though no war was ever declared.
posted by JackFlash at 2:04 PM on December 7, 2019 [11 favorites]


any country, government, group, or person that has been engaged in hostilities

I guess it becomes a matter of whether or not ‘interfering in our elections’ counts as ‘engaging in hostilities.’ I would vote a hard ‘yes’ on that one, as our elections are precisely the thing that makes us a representative democracy.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:27 PM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also from the well-written Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment – Report by the Majority Staff of the House Committee on the Judiciary, December 2019 [PDF, pp. 10-11]:
IV. Impeachable Offenses

As careful students of history, the Framers knew that threats to democracy can take many forms. They feared would-be monarchs, but also warned against fake populists, charismatic demagogues, and corrupt kleptocrats. In describing the kind of leader who might menace the Nation, Hamilton offered an especially striking portrait:
When a man unprincipled in private life[,] desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper ... known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense [sic] of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.49
This prophesy echoed Hamilton’s warning, in Federalist No. 1, that “of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.”50
Touché!
posted by cenoxo at 2:46 PM on December 7, 2019 [33 favorites]


It would be better for everyone if we replaced "treason" with "betrayal of the nation", it covers the same ground by avoids the "but actually, treason is..." derail. "Betrayal of the nation" is impeachable as a high crime.
posted by mikelieman at 3:12 PM on December 7, 2019 [15 favorites]


It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.

Trump: Giuliani 'wants to go before Congress' about Ukraine trip (Politico)
President Donald Trump on Saturday said his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani wants to testify before congressional impeachment investigators about his most recent trip to Ukraine.

“He has not told me what he found, but I think he wants to go before Congress,” Trump said to reporters at the White House before a trip to Florida. “I hear he has found plenty.”

Trump added that Giuliani will “make a report” of his findings to submit to Attorney General William Barr and Congress. “He has a lot of good information,” Trump said. “I have not spoken to him about that information yet.”
posted by katra at 3:40 PM on December 7, 2019 [4 favorites]


President Donald Trump on Saturday said his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani wants to testify before congressional impeachment investigators about his most recent trip to Ukraine.

“He has not told me what he found, but I think he wants to go before Congress,” Trump said to reporters at the White House before a trip to Florida. “I hear he has found plenty.”
Jesus Christ, can someone please sit the national media down and explain to them how this game works? Maybe show them 50-year-old Peanuts strips about Lucy and the football?

There is no legitimate journalistic purpose served by repeating, without severe skepticism, things the Trump administration claims about its intentions or desires unless demonstrable, measurable steps are being taken towards implementing them. Reporters covering the administration should know by now how unreliable are Trump officials' promises concerning forthcoming information (I'm almost sure we're still waiting for details that were promised "in a few weeks" prior to the inauguration.) So the only real effect of uncritically repeating this promise is to give some readers the vague impression that "well, I hear he has found plenty..", deliberately created and almost certainly false.

Do better, reporters and editors -- we're counting on you.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:58 PM on December 7, 2019 [43 favorites]


WRT Giuliani’s report, it’s just another lying blast of hot air from The Don as he flees to his sanctuary in Florida. He emits more downdraft than the Presidential helicopters.

Also from the Politico article: On Saturday, Trump reiterated his claim that the impeachment inquiry investigating his actions on Ukraine was "a hoax."
posted by cenoxo at 4:23 PM on December 7, 2019


“He has not told me what he found, but I think he wants to go before Congress,”

This is typical Trump "just make the announcement you're investigating Biden" BS. "I think" is doing a lot of work there, but I imagine the whole piece is "Rudy came up with some bullshit theory story, and it sounds solid enough to resist questioning. I'm hinting to him that he has to go to Congress, but it's going to take some work because why would Congress even want to hear from him when he's practically under indictment?"

Once again, Trump's priority is to grab the news cycle. This is pretty weak sauce, though. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is as evidence of how far Rudy's star has fallen. When Trump is your only cheerleader, you are effed. America's Mayor!
posted by rhizome at 4:40 PM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


Trump added that Giuliani will “make a report” of his findings to submit to Attorney General William Barr and Congress. “He has a lot of good information,” Trump said.

Congress should first demand Trump's long promised report on Obama's birth certificate. Same old bluff and bluster:

"I have people that have been studying [Obama's birth certificate] and they cannot believe what they're finding."
"An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud."


Trump is becoming predictable and boring, just like his old reality TV show which took a ratings dive. I really think a significant number of Trumpers are going to cancel him out of boredom.
posted by JackFlash at 4:55 PM on December 7, 2019 [10 favorites]


Trump is the same guy who in the last 24 hours has claimed there needs to be regulation over the pandemic of people flushing toilets 10 to 15 times and the light bulbs that make him look orange.
posted by Harry Caul at 5:39 PM on December 7, 2019 [13 favorites]


Do better, reporters and editors -- we're counting on you.

Trump HJC Defenders Claim Ukraine Aid Withheld To Fight Corruption While Rudy Rounds Up Fired Corrupt Ukrainians To Help Trump
(Jim White, emptywheel, Dec. 4, 2019)
Just as the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing was getting underway today, Inside Defense published yet another debunking of one of the central Republican defenses of Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine[,] by pointing out that the Defense Department, back in May of this year, certified that Ukraine had made sufficient progress in fighting corruption so that the defense assistance funds designated for Ukraine could be released. [...] Despite the fact that this has been widely known for months, Republicans continued to claim that Trump was very concerned about corruption in Ukraine and that was the only reason he withheld the aid.

And yet, also around the time the hearing started, we also learned of yet another foreign trip for Rudy Giuliani in his world tour aimed at protecting Trump against impeachment. As usual, Marcy was way ahead of this move, asking yesterday if Yuriy Lutsenko, Viktor Shokin, and Konstantin Kulyk were the three former Ukrainian prosecutors who had provided statements to John Durham in Bill Barr’s “investigations” aimed at protecting Trump. In what can only be seen as confirmation of her suggestion, the New York Times told us this morning that Rudy met Lutsenko yesterday in Budapest and was in Kiev today to meet with Shokin and Kulyk [...]

Even Ken Vogel, who had the lead byline on this story, has to admit that these former prosecutors are corrupt [...] Isn’t that interesting? We are being asked to believe that Trump withheld aid Ukraine desperately needed in its war with Russia because of his concerns about corruption. And yet, as Team Trump is doing its best to protect him, they feel that his best defense lies with some of the most corrupt of those Ukrainian officials who have been removed from office. They have provided statements that Bill Barr is likely depending on in his investigation and we learned in today’s Times article that Rudy was also traveling with a team from a wingnut media organization to film a “documentary” providing a “Republican alternative to the impeachment hearings”.
posted by katra at 8:13 PM on December 7, 2019 [7 favorites]


Trump’s New Favorite Channel Employs Kremlin-Paid Journalist (Kevin Poulsen, Daily Beast, Updated Nov. 2, 2019)
If the stories broadcast by the Trump-endorsed One America News Network sometimes look like outtakes from a Kremlin trolling operation, there may be a reason. One of the on-air reporters at the 24-hour network is a Russian national on the payroll of the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik.

Kristian Brunovich Rouz, originally from the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, has been living in San Diego, where OAN is based, since August 2017, reporting on U.S. politics for the 24-hour news channel. For all of that time, he’s been simultaneously writing for Sputnik, a Kremlin-owned news wire that played a role in Russia’s 2016 election-interference operation, according to an assessment by the U.S. intelligence community. [...]

Rouz joined OAN at a time when his Russian employer was coming under heightened scrutiny over its role in Putin’s election interference, and its efforts to expand its American influence. [...] The move came just months after a declassified U.S. intelligence assessment named Sputnik, and its sister television outlet RT America, as players in Putin’s election-interference campaign. By September, the FBI was investigating Sputnik for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The next month, Twitter announced it would no longer accept ads from Sputnik or RT.

The FARA issue was resolved in November 2017, when Sputnik formally registered with the Justice Department as an agent of a foreign power. One America pushes some of the same false stories as Sputnik and RT, but with none of the legal entanglements. [...]

Over time, the network became increasingly dedicated to conspiracy theories and fake news, and became overtly supportive of Russia’s global agenda. [...] Though it’s available in only a handful of cable markets, OAN’s viewership includes some influential figures, including the president of the United States. According to Media Matters, Trump has fallen for at least two fake stories after seeing them on OAN.
posted by katra at 8:47 PM on December 7, 2019 [21 favorites]


I imagine Rudy is actually doing a great service to Ukrainian intelligence. Anyone he gets his radioactive fingerprints on is going to be marked for further scrutiny. I'm sure they'd love nothing more than to 'bring him in', it must be infuriating to watch him crime away while he's protected by the POTUS, but they are watching. He will lead them to villains they can prosecute, and Trump's aegis won't last forever, eventually they'll come after him too. Perhaps with a more cooperative POTUS who really is interested in getting to the bottom of Ukrainian corruption.
posted by adept256 at 8:58 PM on December 7, 2019 [8 favorites]


From Nadler's report, and I'm only on the first page:
Impeachment is the Constitution’s final answer to a President who mistakes himself for a monarch.
It's like a breath of fresh air.
posted by Rykey at 1:35 AM on December 8, 2019 [33 favorites]


Poor Trump — can’t drain the swamp, can’t flush the toilet!
posted by growabrain at 2:36 AM on December 8, 2019 [4 favorites]


Watchdog expected to find Russia probe valid, despite flaws (AP)
The Justice Department’s internal watchdog will release a highly anticipated report Monday that is expected to reject President Donald Trump’s claims that the Russia investigation was illegitimate and tainted by political bias from FBI leaders. But it is also expected to document errors during the investigation that may animate Trump supporters.

The report, as described by people familiar with its findings, is expected to conclude there was an adequate basis for opening one of the most politically sensitive investigations in FBI history and one that Trump has denounced as a witch hunt. It began in secret during Trump’s 2016 presidential run and was ultimately taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller. [...]

The release of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review is unlikely to quell the partisan battles that have surrounded the Russia investigation. It’s also not the last word on that investigation. A separate internal investigation continues, overseen by Trump’s attorney general, William Barr and led a U.S. attorney, John Durham. [...]

But the report will not endorse some of the president’s theories on the investigation, including that it was a baseless “witch hunt” or that he was targeted by an Obama administration Justice Department desperate to see Republican Trump lose to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

It also is not expected to undo Mueller’s findings or call into question his conclusion that Russia interfered in that election in order to benefit the Trump campaign and that Russians had repeated contacts with Trump associates.
posted by katra at 7:19 AM on December 8, 2019 [6 favorites]


Impeachment inquiry: Nadler may add Mueller counts against Trump (Guardian)
The Democratic chairman of the House judiciary committee, Jerry Nadler, has not ruled out including evidence from the Mueller report in articles of impeachment against Donald Trump that could be published as early as next week.

On Sunday, Nadler told CNN’s State of the Union evidence showed the president’s conduct during the Ukraine scandal was part of “a pattern”, indicating “that the president put himself above this country several times”.

On Monday Nadler’s committee will hold a critical hearing. Democratic and Republican lawyers from the House intelligence committee will testify following a months long investigation of the president’s behaviour during the Ukraine scandal.

[...] While Nadler made no commitment to including evidence from Mueller, he argued on CNN that Trump “sought foreign interference in our election several times both in 2016 and in 2020. That he sought to cover it up all the time. And that he continually violated his oath of office. “And that all this presents a pattern that poses [a] real and present danger to the integrity of the next election.”
posted by katra at 8:23 AM on December 8, 2019 [4 favorites]


Cruz promotes conspiracy that Ukraine "blatantly interfered" in U.S. election (Axios)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Ukraine "blatantly interfered" in the 2016 election, repeating a conspiracy theory that experts warn has been promoted by Russian intelligence services. [...] Cruz is one of several Republican senators who have refused to disavow the allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, despite receiving a briefing from intelligence officials that this is an alternative narrative being propagated by Russian security services.
Mark Meadows claims Trump did not ask Ukraine to investigate rivals (Politico)
[CNN's Dana] Bash pushed back on Meadows’ claim, noting Trump specifically asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden.
Gaetz says Giuliani’s trip to Ukraine is ‘weird’ (WaPo)
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a close ally of President Trump, broke from him Sunday to express concern that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, traveled to Ukraine as House Democrats are poised to move ahead on Trump’s impeachment.

“It’s weird that he’s over there,” Gaetz said on ABC News’s “This Week.” “It would seem odd having him over there at this time.”

The rare rebuke from the congressman came as the House Judiciary Committee, on which he sits, is working to draft articles of impeachment against Trump that it could vote on as soon as this week.
posted by katra at 9:28 AM on December 8, 2019 [4 favorites]


Trump impeachment gains momentum as vote on charges possible this week (Reuters)
As an alternative to an article based on the Mueller report, House Judiciary Democrats have said they could instead use those findings to demonstrate a repeated pattern of alleged misconduct by Trump to support formal charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. [...]

Republicans are demanding that Nadler postpone Monday’s hearing to give them time to review additional material from the impeachment investigation led by the House Intelligence Committee that was turned over to the Judiciary panel on Friday.

“It is impossible for Judiciary members to sift through thousands and thousands of pages in any meaningful way in a matter of hours,” the committee’s top Republican, Representative Doug Collins, told Nadler in a weekend letter.

Nadler dismissed the contention, saying that the documents presented on Saturday were basically the intelligence committee report released earlier in the week to both Republicans and Democrats. “They have had adequate time,” Nadler said on CNN.
Nadler: Impeachment would be a guilty verdict in 'three minutes flat' (CNN)
Nadler said he was confident in Democrats' "solid" case for impeachment, expressing optimism about the matter as the party moves closer to drafting articles. He thinks his party's case "if presented to a jury would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat."

"There is considerable direct evidence," Nadler said, adding that "it ill behooves a President or his partisans to say you don't have enough direct evidence when the reason we don't have even more evidence is the President has ordered everybody in the executive branch not to cooperate with Congress in the impeachment inquiry."
posted by katra at 9:58 AM on December 8, 2019 [15 favorites]


Adept256 > ... Rudy is actually doing a great service to Ukrainian intelligence. Anyone he gets his radioactive fingerprints on is going to be marked for further scrutiny. I'm sure they'd love nothing more than to 'bring him in', it must be infuriating to watch him crime away while he's protected by the POTUS, but they are watching. He will lead them to villains they can prosecute...

After being cultivated by another useful idiot, let a hundred sunflowers bloom. I imagine a number of intelligence agencies are watching Gullible’s Travels.
posted by cenoxo at 10:47 AM on December 8, 2019 [4 favorites]


Lindsey Graham says he won't call Adam Schiff as witness in Senate trial (Axios)
Schiff has also drawn ire for releasing phone records in the House Intelligence Committee's Ukraine report that showed contacts between ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Rudy Giuliani.

"Here's what I would tell Adam Schiff," Graham said. "Do you really want to start calling other members, Republican members of Congress in oversight? Do you want me to call you to the Senate as part of Senate oversight?"

"I'm not going to participate in things that I think will destroy the country," Graham added. "We're not going to turn the Senate into a circus." [...] “When 51 of us say we’ve heard enough, the trial is going to end," Graham said. "The president’s going to be acquitted. He may want to call Schiff, he may want to call Hunter Biden, he may want to call Joe Biden. But here’s my advice to the president: If the Senate is ready to vote and ready to acquit you, you should celebrate that."
Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump (The Hill)
After Collins, Romney and Murkowski, there is a larger group of GOP senators who have publicly or privately expressed concern over Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine and his attempt to persuade Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to conduct a corruption investigation.

The group includes GOP lawmakers such as Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), who is not seeking reelection. [...]

Other potential defectors on an impeachment vote are Republicans facing tough reelections such as Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.), who is seeking another term in a state that voted for Clinton in 2016, and Martha McSally (Ariz.), a top Democratic target.
posted by katra at 7:29 PM on December 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


WATCH LIVE: The Trump impeachment hearings – Judiciary Committee – Day 2 (PBS)
Republican and Democratic counsels from each of the committees are expected to present at the hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. ET. Watch live in the video player above.
The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Presentations from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and House Judiciary Committee (judiciary.house.gov, YouTube)
Presenter list
Watch LIVE On December 09 | 8:45am ET | C-SPAN3
The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to hear evidence in the on-going impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
posted by katra at 7:38 PM on December 8, 2019 [4 favorites]


The Battle of the Impeachment Reports: Do the Parties Disagree About the Facts?, Lawfare, Mikhaila Fogel, December 8, 2019:
To listen to the noise, rancor and confusion between the parties on display in the impeachment hearings, you might think there is a great deal of dispute about what happened in L’Affaire Ukrainienne. The president's allies complain of unfair process and foregone conclusions. Democrats accuse their colleagues of pedaling conspiracy theories and ignore Republican complaints altogether.

Most of the yelling, however, has relatively little to do with disputes about the factual record—that is, the record of what the president actually did. Members of Congress can’t seem to agree on whether the president had corrupt intent, whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, or whether Trump’s actions warrant impeachment. But much of the record is not in dispute.

By comparing the facts alleged in the so-called Schiff report approved by the House Intelligence Committee and the minority report prepared by Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan and Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Michael McFaul, we get a window into some important questions: How much of the factual record is really disputed by the two sides? And how much do the Republicans concede in their defense of the president?

The answers, respectively, are not much and quite a lot. Beneath the noise lies a substantial amount of agreement about the actions the president took. And once the noise is stripped away, it may be easier for those who are undecided on impeachment to evaluate the president’s conduct. Below, I’ve lined up the key factual findings of the Schiff report—which appear below in bolded italics—and held them up against relevant discussions in the Republican report.
...
Details in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 9:01 PM on December 8, 2019 [10 favorites]


Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump (The Hill)

Unlikely at best; at worst, clickbait.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:02 AM on December 9, 2019 [4 favorites]


> IIRC Assange said “I think you’ll be mighty rewarded by your media”

As we were just reminded in the hearing, it was Trump who said that:
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” the Republican presidential nominee told reporters.
posted by katra at 7:06 AM on December 9, 2019 [5 favorites]


Seven Outright Falsehoods in GOP Staff Report on Impeachment
Not everything in the report is a lie. In many instances, it is clear that, where possible, there was great care taken to avoid outright mistruths, through the careful phrasing of arguments to suggest a more sweeping defense than is actually offered, or through focusing on irrelevant and ambiguous witness testimony while ignoring direct and clear testimony to the contrary.

But staying within the bounds of the factual record – or even within the bounds of reasonable subjective interpretation of the record – could only get House Republican staff so far, and much of the report doesn’t just dance around the truth so much as it strides into deliberate falsehood. In order to depict the events at the heart of the Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry in a light that could at all be construed as a defense of President Trump’s conduct, it appears that some outright lies were needed.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:21 AM on December 9, 2019 [15 favorites]


But staying within the bounds of the factual record – or even within the bounds of reasonable subjective interpretation of the record – could only get House Republican staff so far, and much of the report doesn’t just dance around the truth so much as it strides into deliberate falsehood. In order to depict the events at the heart of the Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry in a light that could at all be construed as a defense of President Trump’s conduct, it appears that some outright lies were needed.

I wish the media would move on from simple "fact checking" to the obvious conclusion that lies are basically an admission that the truth does not support one's case, and so those cases do not deserve "balanced" or equal treatment at all.

As I said before, the basis for the whistleblower complaint -- that Trump abused the office of President by asking a foreign leader to interfere in the US election on his behalf -- has been entirely borne out by the public record, including the call summary Trump released that he claims exonerates him, and even the Republicans don't dispute the fact that Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. That's an open and shut case for impeachment right there, and it's too the Republicans' shame that they will likely give Trump a pass to save their own political, and post-political, careers.

Rules lawyering about "quid pro quo" or "corruption" is just a distraction from the impeachable conduct that everyone agrees happened.
posted by Gelatin at 7:42 AM on December 9, 2019 [16 favorites]


Protester disrupts opening of impeachment hearing (Guardian Live Blog)
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:45 AM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]




So not "protester" so much as "provocateur." Let's see if the so-called "liberal media" falls for it. (Ron Howard narrator voice: They're going to fall for it.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:12 AM on December 9, 2019 [10 favorites]


Read Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman's opening statement (Politico)
The Intelligence Committee has produced to you a nearly 300-page report, and you have afforded me the opportunity today to walk you through some of the evidence underlying it. Admittedly, it is a lot to digest. But let me say this: the President’s scheme is actually quite simple, and it can be boiled down to four key takeaways:

First, President Trump directed a scheme to pressure Ukraine into opening two investigations that would benefit his 2020 reelection campaign, not the U.S. national interest. Second, President Trump used his official office and the official tools of U.S. foreign policy—the withholding of an Oval Office meeting and $391 million in security assistance—to pressure Ukraine into meeting his demands. Third, everyone was in the loop—from the Vice President and the Acting Chief of Staff, to the Secretary of State and Secretary of Energy. Fourth, despite public discovery of this scheme, which prompted the President to release the aid, he has not given up. He and his agents continue to solicit Ukrainian interference in our election, causing an imminent threat to our elections and our national security.

In June of this year, while sitting in the Oval Office, President Trump told a reporter that “he’d take” information on his political opponent from a foreign country. This followed a nearly two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that found that Donald Trump’s 2016 political campaign expected that it would “benefit electorally” from foreign help, which it knew about and utilized to win the election. Candidate Trump welcomed the help in 2016, but in 2019, he launched an extensive scheme to use the awesome power of the Presidency to leverage official presidential acts in order to get that help again.

President Trump’s actions and words show that there is every reason to believe that he will continue to solicit foreign interference in our elections. This undermines the very foundation of our democracy: our independent and sovereign right to choose our elected officials, including and especially our Commander in Chief. Ultimately, this Committee and the House of Representatives must determine whether such conduct poses a clear and present danger to our elections and to our national security such that it warrants the impeachment of the 45 th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
posted by katra at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2019 [34 favorites]


Possible pardons loom for former Trump aides (Politico)
“For the president’s sake, he should be looking at the political implications,” said Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King. “I’d say for all the specious reasons that have been manufactured by the Democrats, they’d probably call that reasons number infinity-plus-one and infinity-plus-two to impeach the president. So, I’d say let’s get this through first and then take a look at those circumstances.”
The Eight Counts of Impeachment That Trump Deserves (David Leonhardt, NYT Opinion)
7. Abuse of pardons.

The president has wide latitude to issue pardons. But Trump has done something different: He has encouraged people to break the law (or impede investigations) with a promise of future pardons.

And he didn’t do it only during the Russia investigation. He also reportedly told federal officials to ignore the law and seize private land for his border wall, waving away their worries with pardon promises.
posted by katra at 8:40 AM on December 9, 2019 [20 favorites]


They had reason to believe in those promises: Donald Trump pardons Joe Arpaio, former sheriff convicted in racial profiling case (The Guardian, Aug. 26, 2017) Donald Trump on Friday pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio, the hardline Arizona lawman who was convicted of contempt of court in July for defying a judge’s order to stop racially profiling Latinos. Trump signaled his intention to grant the pardon at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, when he suggested Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job”.
[Arpaio was convicted on July 31, and was due to be sentenced Oct. 5.]
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:41 AM on December 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


Watchdog report: FBI’s Russia probe justified, no bias found (AP)
The FBI was justified in opening its investigation into ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia and did not act with political bias, despite “serious performance failures” up the bureau’s chain of command, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog said in a highly anticipated report Monday. The findings undercut President Donald Trump’s claim that he was the target of a “witch hunt.”

The report from the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed for the first time that the FBI had also sent an informant to record a conversation with a “high-level Trump campaign official,” who was not considered a subject in the Russia probe. The official was not identified by name.

The report also found the bureau was justified in eavesdropping on a former Trump adviser and that there was not documented or testimonial evidence of any political bias. [...]

Barr rejected the inspector general’s conclusion that there was sufficient evidence to open the investigation. “The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said in a statement.
Guardian: FBI director accepts watchdog findings
FBI director Christopher Wray says he accepts the DoJ watchdog’s findings (essentially that the FBI was justified in investigating Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign over evidence of improper links with Russian operatives, but that the FBI was sloppy in some of its execution).

Attorney general Bill Barr says he has full confidence in Wray.
The report is available at justice.gov as a pdf.
posted by katra at 10:47 AM on December 9, 2019 [15 favorites]


In the judicial committee today, Republican counsel(s) are throwing Sondland directly under the bus, using the fact that he changed his testimony regarding meetings and used "I can't recall"-type language hundreds of times in deposition to indicate he is an unreliable witness. They're also trying to intimate that he was rogue, off on his own, doing things that he assumed the President wanted (sound familiar?).

Things are pretty nutty in there today, but that's par for the course.

Member questions start now, which will be a shitshow.
posted by Room 101 at 11:33 AM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]


NYT: The hearing turns testy as the committee’s Democratic attorney confronts his Republican counterpart.
[...] Barry Berke, the Democratic lawyer took aim at Stephen Castor, the Republican lawyer from the committee, grilling him aggressively.

In one testy exchange, Mr. Berke accused Mr. Castor of mischaracterizing the testimony of Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence. Mr. Berke noted that the Republican impeachment report said Ms. Williams thought the call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine was “unusual.”

“Isn’t it a fact that she said the call struck her as ‘unusual and inappropriate’? Isn’t that what she said?” Mr. Berke insisted.

“It wasn’t a block quote,” Mr. Castor said, grimacing and scowling several times as Mr. Berke pressed him for an answer.

The remarkable back-and-forth between the two lawyers for the committee sparked more procedural objections from Republican lawmakers on the panel, who repeatedly tried to object to Mr. Berke’s questioning of Mr. Castor.

“Point of order, he’s badgering the witness” said Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a former Republican chairman of the committee. Mr. Nadler slammed his gavel, refusing to concede the point.

“He’s not,” Mr. Nadler said.
posted by katra at 11:35 AM on December 9, 2019 [5 favorites]


In the judicial committee today, Republican counsel(s) are throwing Sondland directly under the bus, using the fact that he changed his testimony regarding meetings and used "I can't recall"-type language hundreds of times in deposition to indicate he is an unreliable witness.

This is exactly what is so stupid about Trump's defense. He has denied that he wanted a quid pro quo, yet his ambassador Sondland testified that Sondland was executing a quid pro quo.

So, why hasn't Trump fired him? According to Trump and the Republican defenders, Sondland was acting contrary to Trump's policies. They say he was lying under oath.

So, why hasn't Trump fired him? The answer is obvious. Trump hasn't fired Sondland because he is happy with Sondland's actions.
posted by JackFlash at 11:43 AM on December 9, 2019 [15 favorites]


Trump hasn't fired Sondland because he is happy with Sondland's actions.

And he said so, very publicly, within 24hrs of Sondland testifying.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:44 AM on December 9, 2019 [4 favorites]


Representative Gohmert (R-TX) says he has never seen this situation where lawyers are testifying to Congress instead of fact witnesses.

Representative Gohmert was an adult during both the Nixon and Clinton impeachment proceedings, so he probably should have been paying better attention
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:37 PM on December 9, 2019 [31 favorites]


The Dallas Observer on Rep. Gohmert (attorney, former judge, Tea Party member):
Texas’ Louie Gohmert Helps Lead America’s Dumb Revolution (Oct. 24, 2019) as part of the Gaetz squad: Gohmert, along with several fellow acolytes of President Donald Trump, decided that the best way for them to show their fealty to dear leader was to storm a deposition being taken in a secure room on Capitol Hill as part of the continuing impeachment inquiry into the president.
East Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert Stars at the Mueller Hearing (July 25, 2019) After Gohmert called Mueller 'an anal opening' ahead of testimony: Mueller, Gohmert yelled, "perpetuated injustice" by hiring a team that hated the president and dragging out his investigation for two years when he knew the president was innocent.
Louie Gohmert Goes Full Gohmert at House Reparations Hearing (June 19, 2019) Gohmert, as he so often does, brought a spoon to an intellectual gunfight.

A year ago:
Louie Gohmert Makes Fox Business Sorry They Let Him on the Air (Dec. 18, 2018) In the next hour of his show, Varney apologized on behalf of the network. “Congressman Louie Gohmert for some reason went out of his way to bring up George Soros and made unsubstantiated and false allegations against him. I want to make clear those views are not shared by me, this program or anyone at Fox Business," [host Stuart] Varney said.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:16 PM on December 9, 2019 [12 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Let's please stick to impeachment in here, rather than going off on big derails. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:05 PM on December 9, 2019




Goddamn it, that's too narrow. I mean, Jesus Fucking Christ, once again the Republicans commit light treason and the fucking chickenshit Democrats let them skate. There should be a minimum five counts.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:59 PM on December 9, 2019 [6 favorites]


  1. Abuse of power
  2. Obstruction of Congress (should probably be Contempt of Congress, which was an article against Nixon)
  3. Obstruction of justice
  4. Violation of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974
  5. Violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause
  6. Violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause
posted by kirkaracha at 7:17 PM on December 9, 2019 [19 favorites]


There is no bad-faith argument the GOP won’t make in defense of Trump.

“Two!? All this gnashing and wailing and you can only manufacture two charges? What a sham!”

That being said, three years of criming by this administration and they can only come up with two charges? What a fucking waste. If the GOP is going to turn themselves into water boys for fascism, fine. But make them answer for every charge you can reasonably make. Don’t let history call you cowards for only advancing two charges.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:52 PM on December 9, 2019 [5 favorites]


two would cover the activities addressed by the intelligence committee.
what about all the other committees with open investigations?
wouldn't the judiciary committee want to hear from them?
what about the judiciary's own investigations?
what about what the house in general feels about the referrals for impeachment outlined in vol. ii of the mueller report?
more hearings!
more hearings better conceived and executed than today's--wtf even with the committee counsel as witnesses!?
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:03 PM on December 9, 2019 [2 favorites]


The One Episode From the Mueller Report That Democrats Must Include in Impeachment
Tomorrow morning we’ll find out if the House got this one right or wrong. Because, to put it bluntly, it would be a huge mistake to not including an article related to Mueller. It would be a mistake substantively and a mistake strategically. And the House Judiciary Committee’s recent hearings on impeachment show why.

The argument here is not that the House should include any or every plausible article based on conduct described in Mueller’s report. To the contrary, it would be unwise to be so overbroad. But there is a single, specific article of impeachment that should be included: one describing how the president of the United States obstructed justice by directing White House Counsel Don McGahn to create a false internal record denying that the president had instructed him to have Robert Mueller fired as Special Counsel.
...
While there are other compelling examples, the McGahn episode is the single strongest episode of obstruction of justice in the entire Mueller Report. The facts of what occurred are established by clear evidence and are supported by both documentary records and the testimony of multiple White House officials. It is also an example of obstruction that is unambiguous on the law—it presents a clear criminal violation.

And that’s exactly why the Democrats would be nuts not to include this episode as an article of impeachment.
This may come as a shock, but the Democrats are nuts.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:16 PM on December 9, 2019 [9 favorites]


I don't know why the House wouldn't want to include all of the Mueller-identified obstruction. But then, I didn't understand why impeachment hearings weren't started immediately after the Mueller report was released. You don't need a separate article for each act. Just include one article for obstruction of justice, and then list all of the various acts of obstruction as pieces of evidence for the impeachable offense of obstructing justice.

It would be worth including obstruction of justice in the impeachment articles now if for no other reason than that the Ukraine scheme is a continuation and extension of the Russian interference scandal. But also: Why wouldn't you want (at minimum) to have Flynn, Comey, Christie, McFarland, Coats, Rogers, Sessions, Lewandowski, Priebus, McGahn, and Cohen testify in a Senate trial as witnesses to obstruction? Having more witnesses helps to establish a pattern of obstructive, deceptive, and abusive behavior on the part of Trump, which (again) should enhance the charge of obstruction of Congress.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 1:37 AM on December 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


Further angle on the question of treason. In the abstract, if we are offering military assistance to a country X that is in an open, armed conflict with another country Y, does country Y count as an enemy of ours? If it is in our interests to support some country X against Y, is hostility from Y against X hostility against us? Against our national interests? Is there a clear distinction to be drawn between hostility towards us and hostility towards our national interests?

Looking at the Wiki on the Budapest Memorandum and some reporting from 2014, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said, “Vladimir Putin is fully conscious that by declaring war (on Ukraine), he is also declaring war on the guarantors of our security, the United States and Britain.” What is the significance, then, of giving aid and comfort to Russia in that conflict, where we have (minimally) pledged to respect Ukraine's independence and sovereignty, and perhaps have offered rather stronger "security assurances"? (There seems to have been some debate back in 2014 about the extent of U.S. obligations to Ukraine under the Memorandum: see here, here, and here.)
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:15 AM on December 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


Press conference just wrapped up. As expected, two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Strong statements, references to Benjamin Franklin, assertion that the president continues criming as we speak. The Congresspeople did not take questions.
posted by box at 6:23 AM on December 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


Objection Sustained: House Republicans throw a daylong tantrum about impeachment procedure. (Jim Newell, Slate)
The reason that a majority of the House is prepared to impeach Trump next week is because a majority of the House considers his actions with regard to Ukraine to be impeachable, as they don’t anything else. A majority of the House felt that the Mueller report looked backward at an election that had already happened and preferred to let voters adjudicate its finding for themselves before voting in the next election. A majority of the House felt, and feels, that even some of Trump’s worst policy decisions—the travel ban, family separation—are still policy decisions that the president has a right to, and that can be pushed back against through public opinion and ended through the next election. A majority of the House now feels, though, that Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine shows an abuse of power to secure the next election for himself, throwing the viability of that election in doubt, and thus necessitating his removal now.

This impeachment isn’t the result of the Ukraine scandal passing House Democrats’ three-year auditions for the just-right impeachable offense that they could really “run” with. It’s the collapse of the Democratic Party’s three-year conspiracy to avoid impeachment.
Emphasis mine.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:47 AM on December 10, 2019 [15 favorites]


This impeachment isn’t the result of the Ukraine scandal passing House Democrats’ three-year auditions for the just-right impeachable offense that they could really “run” with. It’s the collapse of the Democratic Party’s three-year conspiracy to avoid impeachment.

As has been noted before, two of those years the Dems had no power or real potential to push impeachment beyond motions that were ignored or denied by the Republican majority in the House.

The Mueller investigation was authorized by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on May 17, 2017, mere days after May 9, 2017, when President Donald Trump dismissed the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey. The Special Counsel investigation ran from May 17, 2017, to March 22, 2019, and if I recall correctly, most Dems were waiting for those reports before broaching the topic of impeachment.

I write "most" because Texas Democrat Al Green pressed the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach the president three times, and each time lacked support for the process to advance (Texas Tribune, July 17, 2019):
For more than a year and a half, Green has been a man on an island in his effort to impeach Trump. The eight-term representative from an overwhelmingly Democratic district in southwest Houston first introduced articles of impeachment in December 2017, when the Republicans controlled the House. He did it again in March of this year, after Democrats had reclaimed control. Both times, Green’s efforts were roundly defeated.
Refinery 29 has another recap of the times some Democrats tried, and were blocked, from starting the impeachment process (Sept. 24, 2019).

The "conspiracy" didn't include all Democrats, and others have noted that the delays in starting the impeachment process were due to wanting a solid case against Trump, which would have sufficient support to proceed. Sadly, polling shows that opinions are still divided strongly along party lines (Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2019), as they have been since the summer, and generally fall in line with Trump's low but stable popularity.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:41 AM on December 10, 2019 [13 favorites]


House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) emphasized what he characterized as “extreme restraint” in pursuing Trump’s impeachment in a statement issued after the two articles were unveiled.

“House Democrats never sought impeachment, instead demonstrating extreme restraint as we watched this president engage in actions and behavior that we believed to be abhorrent and anathema to our nation’s highest principles,” Hoyer said.
“However, in offering a bribe to the president of Ukraine in return for his government’s involvement in a scheme to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, President Trump put himself before our country,” Hoyer continued. “This misconduct is what our Founders envisioned with horror when they created the process of impeachment to prevent a president’s abuse of power for personal gain.”
posted by Harry Caul at 7:51 AM on December 10, 2019 [7 favorites]




I really hate that they only wrote up two. That's pathetic.

I thought that too, but i also acknowledge its strategic. Any move they made had to be weighed against the likely counter move - they kept it to the clearest and simplest stories (he withheld 391M in aid to further his electoral hopes, and usurped congresses rightful powers to investigate and impeach by directing his people to not comply) to limit the ability of Rs to glom on to superfluous stuff - Mueller was a media trainwreck and they would have gladly taken any opportunity to say that Dems were dragging back up the discredited mueller investigation. Hell, as it is they are going with your framing - "3 years of investigations and only two articles of impeachment?"

Dont play into their framing - 2 is plenty, hell one would be enough.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:41 AM on December 10, 2019 [25 favorites]


It's a little misleading because it's not like the 2 articles are 2 one-line entries in a bulleted list and we're going home with no further detail. The second article covers 3 sub-points related to obstruction of justice by addressing orders given to the WH, orders given to executive branch agencies as a whole, and orders given to the heads of those agencies. I think this is a pretty brutal article that will be tough to defend. The Ukraine stuff at least has the fig leaf of the Biden scam, but the specifics of this article include actual active elements of the defense they're using to defend the other charges. They will need new arguments to defend both simultaneously. "These mean democrats made me do it!" is pretty much the extent of their defense for this right now. If they were investigating legit corruption per their defense to the Ukraine charge no coverup is required here, and yet... We'll see where they take it but at least I see the makings of a pretty compelling public case here.

A kitchen sink impeachment would be more satisfying but I honestly don't know if it would make any difference vs a more focused approach. I can see how this more limited set of charges might result in more airtime and more focus on the basic idea that they cannot defend which is that there was a coverup here.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:50 AM on December 10, 2019 [18 favorites]


I'm inclined to agree that Republicans will freak out no matter the number--either it's "only these two little betrayals of his office which aren't a big deal, c'mon you guys," or it'll be "they're throwing the kitchen sink, this is ridiculous." A broader impeachment might give more rhetorical excuses for senators to vote against.

...except his administration has kidnapped over a thousand kids from their parents, abused and traumatized them, and effectively orphaned a great many of them. He's been in violation of the emoluments clause from day one. He abuses the hell out of his power to pardon. That stuff fucking matters.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:52 AM on December 10, 2019 [26 favorites]


This very morning NPR, as usual, framed the expected Republican refusal to convict Donald Trump on even these most obvious and blatant of charges as a problem for the Democrats(?!). (This is, of course, the same NPR that marveled that Obamacare is popular now when it wasn't a decade ago, as if the media's relentless repetition of phony Republican spin had nothing to do with the latter.)

You have members of the media complaining about how boring and difficult to follow the past hearings have been, and they've been straight and to the point detailing of abuse of power.

You have a portion of the media that's habitually in the tank for Republicans -- and then you also have Fox News.

The Democrats are operating, as ever, in a media headwind. Sure, you know and I know that Trump is guilty, guilty, guilty! Sure, we know he committed many more crimes than these. Sure, its disappointing the Democrats didn't throw the book at Trump when they have a library's worth of misdeed. But these are charges that are straightforward enough that even national political correspondents can understand them, and whose proof is equally easy to understand. And even so the media will report Republican lies on an equal footing. But even then, these charges will also make it nice and sparkling clear that Senate Republicans are prepared to betray their oaths in giving Trump a free pass for betraying his. There's no ambiguity or question about it.

One only hopes the Democrats begin attacking Republicans -- every Republican politician -- for doing so.
posted by Gelatin at 8:55 AM on December 10, 2019 [12 favorites]


Democrats ditch ‘bribery’ and Mueller in Trump impeachment articles. But is that the smart play? (Aaron Blake, WaPo)
In the end, Democrats have decided they would rather not debate specific crimes in […] detail and will instead make a broader case about abuse of power and of a coverup. And that’s actually pretty par for the course; while President Richard M. Nixon’s articles of impeachment laid out what can only be understood as bribery — they said he had approved “the surreptitious payment of substantial sums of money for the purpose of obtaining the silence or influencing the testimony of witnesses” — they didn’t use the actual word.

But that was also an era in which people weren’t so ensconced in their partisan camps. You have to wonder whether a more focused impeachment argument that relied upon more specific offenses and more extensive public evidence might have been more compelling.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:58 AM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]




Do I dare hope that they're planning to introduce other articles as they get more momentum in the form of court decisions, released documents, additional witnesses, etc.?

No, I dare not. I do not so dare.
posted by Rykey at 9:05 AM on December 10, 2019


Oh, do let's dare. I can't bear the thought that he is going to get away with the most blatant and extreme violations of the emoluments clause. And, y'know, camps and babies in cages and stuff. Surely the other committees didn't stop working on their articles, did they?
posted by bink at 9:14 AM on December 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


Senate coalescing around postponing impeachment hearing until January (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos)

Senate looks for holiday truce on impeachment trial (Burgess Everett, Politico)

Reasons vary from Senator to Senator, but signs point to a postponement. Apparently Trump isn't happy with that though. Supposedly he wants the Senate to vote on this before their recess. Should the trial start right away, the Senate could be in session over Christmas.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:16 AM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


What's more important, Christmas or America?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:19 AM on December 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


A lot of the "file moar charges!" talk here seems to come from the sentiment, which I share, that this mofo is a vile crook whom we want to see not just removed from office but utterly humiliated today and in the history books forever. But this is at heart a public persuasion effort. I agree with the House leadership so far that going with a sharp, focused set of charges helps our chances of persuading middlin' voters, whereas a long list would leave them more likely to accept the Fox "News" arguments that this is just a partisan political effort.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:19 AM on December 10, 2019 [7 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: Nadler just said that I “pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election.” Ridiculous, and he knows that is not true. Both the President & Foreign Minister of Ukraine said, many times, that there “WAS NO PRESSURE.” Nadler and the Dems know this, but refuse to acknowledge!

"Ay, I wasn't threatenin' no-one, was I threatenin' you Volodymyr?"
"No, boss!"
"You're damn right Volodymyr, and you best remember I wasn't threatenin' if you wants to keep your teeth, capiche?"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:23 AM on December 10, 2019 [10 favorites]


The articles of impeachment both refer to how the specified High Crimes and Misdemeanors are just the latest in a series. I am glad the Democrats are keeping this process simple so it is harder for Republicans to go down rabbit holes and claim that it's their duty to investigate distant and irrelevant things instead of the plain facts in front of them. Most of them will still do that, of course, but the breaches of both their jury oath and their oath of office will be that much more stark.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:28 AM on December 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


I just saw an BBC News opinion piece by Jonathan Turley that says the impeachment case is very thin. He's clearly making the rounds to de-fang the process. Maybe someone can enlighten me on this, given that:

* During the testimony from consitutional scholars, Turley was the only one who seemed to be totally anti-impeachment, and I assumed he was a Republican hired gun/yes man, AND
* He testified in favor of the Clinton impeachment, BUT
* His Wikipedia entry paints a picture of a liberal who called for prosecuting the Bush admin for war crimes and who opposes the death penalty.

What's his angle?
posted by freecellwizard at 9:31 AM on December 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


Obtuse.
posted by orange ball at 9:33 AM on December 10, 2019 [62 favorites]


House Minority Leader McCarthy today referred to Turley as a "liberal Democrat lawyer", in order to say that even this "liberal Democrat lawyer" thinks this case is weak.

Turley's purported liberal leanings are a selling point for his pro-Republican behavior. It's why he gets the job.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:33 AM on December 10, 2019 [9 favorites]


Yeah, he's a grifter.
posted by Justinian at 9:35 AM on December 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


What's his angle?

He's the hired goon Republicans can trot out as their "impartial" constitutional scholar. They can't help themselves though; they frequently put their talking points in his lines down to the same wording.
posted by FakeFreyja at 9:36 AM on December 10, 2019


Who Is Jonathan Turley? Republicans’ Lone Expert on Impeachment DINO and "one of the 100 top Irish lawyers in the world."

On impeachment: "The House should not falter in maintaining a bright line for presidential conduct."

Oops, that was about impeaching Bill Clinton.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:36 AM on December 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


What's his angle?

Turley was a constitutional lawyer during the Clinton impeachment, then reinvented himself as a terrorism expert in the immediate wake of 9/11, then became an expert in international military law during Iraq. He'll go along with whatever it takes to get on TV.
posted by Etrigan at 9:38 AM on December 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


No wonder his dog is so angry
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:39 AM on December 10, 2019 [9 favorites]


Most of them will still do that, of course, but the breaches of both their jury oath and their oath of office will be that much more stark.

I mentioned Obamacare a moment ago, and with the articles of impeachment, it appears that one lesson Democrats have learned from Obamacare is that 1) Republicans will argue in bad faith and b) the media will amplify Republican talking points, true or not. At least now the media has their cue to tut-tut about "only two articles?" instead of "so many articles?" -- there's little doubt they'd have done the other had the Democrats thrown in the kitchen sink.

Let's also hope Democrats learned, and it proves true, that one doesn't run away from one's own party's priorities, and that impeachment becomes seen by the public to the point that opposing it is another anchor around the Republicans' electoral prospects.
posted by Gelatin at 9:45 AM on December 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


I think it's important to note that the main stated purpose of the speed with which the impeachment inquiry has rolled is protecting the 2020 elections. There's absolutely nothing to prevent Congress for addressing other malfeasance later, but these two articles are the ones that are (1) the easiest to prove; and (2) the most pressing when it comes to fortifying election security. YMMV.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 9:54 AM on December 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


What's his angle?

Money.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:54 AM on December 10, 2019


For an example Jonathan Turley's commitment to intellectual consistency, here's a 1998 WaPo story about his law school students (and colleagues) feeling miffed that he was devoting more time to his on-air appearances than teaching his classes. Turley said Bill Clinton should be impeached for "neglecting professional duties", so two students emailed him in an experiment: one asked for an appointment, the other pretended to be a television producer. Turley only responded to one of those emails, guess which.
posted by peeedro at 9:56 AM on December 10, 2019 [36 favorites]


Post-impeachment vote this is all theatre to rally the Democratic base.
The GOP has performed their cheers in the committee hearings. Come January to November it will be up to the Democratic party to utilize whatever fallout can be gathered from McConnell's strategies in the Senate trial, and shout it out loud.
posted by Harry Caul at 10:13 AM on December 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


What's his angle?

Funny you should mention. As with everything in Trump's orbit, it boils down to JL Gotrocks.
posted by rhizome at 10:16 AM on December 10, 2019


There's absolutely nothing to prevent Congress for addressing other malfeasance later

I don't believe it's politically impossible to issue articles of impeachment more than once.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:24 AM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


I know there’s a lot of crazy shit happening, but I think insufficient attention has been paid to this thing that happened:

1) The purpose of the Department of Justice’s Inspector General is to be able to conduct investigations independent of the influence of the Attorney General. The Inspector General completed a report saying the origins of the Russia probe were valid.
2) US Attorney Durham works for the Attorney General. He is currently conducting an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.
3) US Attorney Durham thought it would be a good idea, BEFORE he has completed his investigation, to say that the supposedly independent investigation of the IG, which has BEEN COMPLETED, was WRONG.

That seems like an extraordinarily unprofessional thing to do, unless your profession is merely trying to keep President Trump happy.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:34 AM on December 10, 2019 [33 favorites]


This may come as a shock, but the Democrats are nuts.

Or there are enough skeletons in their closets and if there becomes a National discussion about bad-thing X they will then be subject to losing their access to the levels of power.

The interesting future point would be Trump is not impeached, is re-elected, both the Senate and House have enough Not-Republicans to draft/pass/then impeach Trump on all the things listed and not in this set of Articles of Impeachment. Already the "the voters decided/let teh voters decide" is being done and is the will of the voters to put Trump back in the kind of thing the Supreme Court would agree with?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:48 AM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


I mean Trump has pretty much set up the Supreme Court to do whatever he wants, so hell yeah they'd agree with him. Like Bush vs. Gore on steroids.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:12 AM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


There's absolutely nothing about the voters' decision affecting the House of Representatives' sole Power of Impeachment or the Senate's sole Power to try all Impeachments, but that wouldn't stop the Republicans on the Supreme Court for finding something. Maybe under the ink blot.

The interesting future point would be Trump is not impeached

Renewing my plea to distinguish between being impeached (the House) and being convicted (the Senate). At this point it would be shocking if the House doesn't impeach Trump along mostly partisan lines.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:25 AM on December 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


PhineasGage: A lot of the "file moar charges!" talk here seems to come from the sentiment, which I share, that this mofo is a vile crook whom we want to see not just removed from office but utterly humiliated today and in the history books forever.

While none of us can tell the future, Trump's near-term future is still not looking positive on multiple fronts.

For example, AG James Secures Court Order Against Donald J. Trump, Trump Children, And Trump Foundation (Nov. 7, 2019, NY AG press release)
AG James Achieves Restitution of Misused Funds, Dissolution of Foundation, and Restrictions on Charitable Activity After Donald J. Trump’s Abuse of the Trump Foundation

Trump to Pay $2 Million in Damages for Illegal Activity During 2016 Election
And then Trump-appointed judge sided with NY officials in Trump tax return lawsuit (The Hill, Nov. 11, 2019).

In short, these articles of impeachment are just the start for Trump. There's a whole Wikipedia list of lawsuits involving Donald Trump's actions as president. Some have been dismissed, like some of the lawsuits (plural!) around potential sexual misconduct and assault, or settled, like Department of Commerce v. New York (Wikipedia), which revolved around the decision of the United States Census Bureau under the Trump administration to include a question asking whether respondents are United States citizens or not.

But more are still pending.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:31 AM on December 10, 2019 [15 favorites]


Today's temperature in Sochi is a comfortable 55˚F.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:43 AM on December 10, 2019


The inspector general report just blew up Trump’s lies. So Barr is rushing to the rescue. (Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent, WaPo Opinion)
It’s important to reiterate right up front the actual argument that Trump World made for literally years. Not just that mistakes were made in the launching of the investigation. Not just that applications for this or that wiretapping warrant were mishandled.

No, the Trump argument has been that the entire investigation was built on top of deeply nefarious motives — that is, that the “deep state" was corruptly conspiring to prevent Trump from being elected president — and that it all was illegitimate. This was the argument of the president of the United States: that a law enforcement investigation into a foreign attack on our democracy was a “hoax" and a “witch hunt.”

Implicit in this position is the idea that when law enforcement officials learned that Russia was trying to sabotage a free and fair U.S. election, they shouldn’t have done anything. But it’s worse than that: Trump World’s story has been that law enforcement was riddled with corruption from top to bottom, and that they were the ones trying to corrupt and rig the election — that is, the real crime wasn’t Russian sabotage of our election but the effort to investigate it.

The inspector general report just wrecked numerous claims that Trump and his propagandists have made to justify that narrative.

Perhaps this is why Attorney General William P. Barr, who has been himself working to invalidate that investigation, rushed to Trump’s rescue. [...] Remember, Barr didn’t merely claim there had been “spying” on Trump’s campaign. As Just Security co-editor-in-chief Ryan Goodman points out, Barr tried to imply that numerous law enforcement leaders had failed by permitting this, which was obviously designed to feed the “deep state” conspiracy that Trump wanted Barr to validate. [...]

Barr is in the process of completing his own “review” of the investigation, and it’s plainly obvious that he is going to try to use it to cast doubt on these inspector general conclusions. [...] There is no need to grant Barr even the slightest presumption of good faith this time around. It isn’t just that history on the special counsel’s report; it’s that he already told us what his intention is, by implying at the outset with his “spying” comment that there just might be something to that “deep state” plot, and, now, by telling us exactly how he’s going to try to dispute the inspector general’s findings, as well.
posted by katra at 12:05 PM on December 10, 2019 [16 favorites]


Richard L. Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California–Irvine School of Law and author of forthcoming Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy, writing in Slate: "These Two Articles of Impeachment Are More Than Good Enough."
posted by PhineasGage at 12:06 PM on December 10, 2019 [13 favorites]


Trump lashes out at FBI director Wray over Russia investigation report (Guardian)
Wray also spoke to ABC on Monday, pushing back on the conspiracy theory that Ukraine intervened in the 2016 election, a line followed by Trump and his supporters as impeachment continues.

He said: “We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election.”
Barr thinks FBI may have acted in 'bad faith' in probing Trump campaign's links to Russia (NBC News)
In indictments and the report written by special counsel Robert Mueller, prosecutors identified, by one count, 272 contacts between the Trump team and Russia-linked operatives, some of which have never been explained.

Mueller said he did not establish coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, but he also said the Trump team strategized about how to benefit from the fruits of Russia's election interference, particularly the disclosures of hacked Democratic emails.

The recent trial of Trump operative Roger Stone showed the extent to which the Trump campaign was trying to get information from Wikileaks, which had been identified as working closely with Russian intelligence.
posted by katra at 12:13 PM on December 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


katra: Perhaps this is why Attorney General William P. Barr, who has been himself working to invalidate that investigation, rushed to Trump’s rescue.

Can we call Barr part of Trump's Shallow State? Because he's one of the many Trump picks, who are nominally part of the government and should govern for the good of the country at large, but instead are stooges for Trump. And their rebuttals and responses are Russian propaganda and lies.

Speaking of personal goals: Growing divide between Trump and McConnell over impeachment trial (Kaitlan Collins and Phil Mattingly for CNN, updated 12:21 PM ET, Tue December 10, 2019)
President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are both looking ahead to the Senate impeachment trial, but there is a growing divide between the two over what that trial should look like, CNN has learned.

In conversations with the White House, the Kentucky Republican has made clear he hopes to end the trial as soon as he can, an effort to both get impeachment off his lap and protect his conference from potentially damaging votes should the process break out into partisan warfare. That will include a continuous whip count until McConnell feels he has the votes to acquit the President and end the show. He has even floated a 10-day minimum during these talks, one person said.

But the show is exactly what Trump wants. He's made clear to advisers privately that rather than end the trial as quickly as possible, he is hoping for a dramatic event, according to two people familiar with his thinking. He wants Hunter Biden, Rep. Adam Schiff and the whistleblower to testify. He wants the witnesses to be live, not clips of taped depositions. And he's hoping to turn it into a spectacle, which he thinks is his best chance to hurt Democrats in the election.
Has "the show" really benefited Trump? Or is it benefiting him enough, in that the GOP base is Team Trump, and that's probably enough for him to survive the Senate?
posted by filthy light thief at 12:14 PM on December 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


Small group of Democrats floats censure instead of impeachment (Sarah Ferris and Melanie Zanoma, Politico)
'It's an unlikely outcome, but it underscores lingering angst among some moderates.'

Those Democrats, all representing districts that Trump won in 2016, huddled on Monday afternoon in an 11th-hour bid to weigh additional — though unlikely — options to punish the president for his role in the Ukraine scandal as the House speeds toward an impeachment vote next week.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:22 PM on December 10, 2019


Under the right circumstances, Trump could alienate Senate Republicans, annoying some enough to vote to convict. Those circumstances would be unlikely, but not impossible.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:26 PM on December 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


> It's an unlikely outcome, but it underscores lingering angst among some moderates.

Nothing like being launched into the sun to take care of a lingering sense of angst.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:26 PM on December 10, 2019 [7 favorites]


The fact that Trump’s offenses consist of cheating a forthcoming election means that anything less than demanding his removal from office is an acceptance that cheating in that forthcoming election is acceptable, as it will be in future elections. It’s the abandonment of democracy.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:30 PM on December 10, 2019 [55 favorites]


We have the articles of impeachment. Now what?
"Prevailing feeling was we were better off with two because the obstruction of justice brought in a whole bunch of things, and it was a mixed bag of tricks, and the consensus was we were better off standing with two rock solidly and not spread ourselves too thin."

It doesn't take much reading between the lines there to understand that Democratic leaders poll their caucus on how many of them could be for certain impeachment articles and settled on the two they believed gave them their best chance to avoid any large-scale defections.
...
The goal for Democrats is to limit the rebellion to just Van Drew, who seems like a lost cause, and Peterson, who represents a district that Trump won by 30+ points in 2016. If you start to see 10 or more of those Trump-district Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans, that will be a major blow to the party.
Profiles in Chickenshit
posted by kirkaracha at 12:49 PM on December 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


I disagree strongly with Chris Cilizza’s “reading between the lines” that the decision to have only two articles of impeachment was due to a possible rebellion among House Democrats. It’s more likely to stem from the desire to have a focused and easily-understandable narrative of criminality that is more appealing to the public and less easily nit-picked by more-moderate Republicans.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:54 PM on December 10, 2019 [11 favorites]


People in the media are reacting to the articles of impeachment as if they wouldn't have spent the next 3 months debating about the precise meaning of bribery, whether it was met in exact and literal terms, and talking about how well, it's a little fuzzy and that charge can't be proven, so unfortunately the whole thing is DOA... Chris Cillizza would've been one of the loudest voices in that chorus.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:59 PM on December 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


Are we still talking about Chris Cilizza like anything he says is serious or in good faith? Fuck that guy. And speaking of trash: Trump boosters on Twitter are literally casting Trump as Thanos in a call for support--in the moment Thanos loses.

I would like to say, once again: Thanos didn't call his entire garbage army down from space because he felt like he was winning that fight with Cap.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:10 PM on December 10, 2019 [12 favorites]


Under the right circumstances, Trump could alienate Senate Republicans, annoying some enough to vote to convict. Those circumstances would be unlikely, but not impossible.

It's not a question of annoyance, it signs their death in any primary race. It turns out that people won't choose an entire country over losing their singular job. So 53 people, and any 20 of them could basically willingly not run for re-election and they would end this charade from the GOP.

Our democracy is held hostage by 53 people who don't want to lose their jobs. No annoyance with Trump would push them unless they were already okay with not being reelected as a Republican senator.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:13 PM on December 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


Well, there always was and still is the option that they could tell the electorate the truth. The problem is that some of them, like McConnell himself, are wrapped into the corruption.
posted by mumimor at 1:19 PM on December 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


There are only 20 Republican Senators up for reelection in 2020.
posted by PhineasGage at 1:20 PM on December 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


The fact that Trump’s offenses consist of cheating a forthcoming election

Not sure if one wants THAT phrasing as the upcoming election still needs Joe Biden to actually get to a point where Joe Biden becomes a subject of cheating.

A situation can exist where the final impeachment vote comes after the 1st few Primary states happen and Mr. Biden won't have the Joe-mentum to win and thusly the thing which could make Trump the 1st inpeached President was over someone who never makes it to the general election. And perhaps both Joe and Donald don't make the primary cut so the sad tumbone plays in the background while pointing out the whole impeachment effort started over a situation that can't end up happening.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


I can only imagine what these chucklefucks think the appropriate reaction to the Soviet Union rigging the 1980 election so Carter won, with his knowing participation, would have been. It would have been wrong for the FBI to investigate? It would be OK for him to have tried to rig the next election for his party?

I include most of the media, too. Especially the morons ostensibly on the left bellyaching about exactly which articles pass the House and otherwise treating this like the usual policy argument bullshit. They bear no less responsibility than the morons at NPR stumping for idunnohowcouldanybody. Fox is gonna Fox, but the rest of the media needs to get their shit together.

At a time like this you still argue, but you don't do it in fucking print or on the goddamned television. You do it here or someplace like it. Otherwise, you're giving aid to the bullshit artist in chief by actively helping his efforts to deflect, distract, and overwhelm the public with mountains of irrelevant bullshit.
posted by wierdo at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2019 [11 favorites]


Influencing (or attempting to) the primary is still rigging an election, rough ashlar. Biden's chances are entirely irrelevant. It is exactly this sort of shit that serves to obfuscate the seriousness of the offenses in the public's mind.
posted by wierdo at 1:39 PM on December 10, 2019 [14 favorites]


It's still cheating if he was only trying to influence the primary to get the person he saw as the strongest candidate out of the race. That's literally what Nixon did.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:40 PM on December 10, 2019 [18 favorites]


Similarly, the fact that Trump released the military aid after he got caught does nothing to lessen his initial crime of attempting to use the aid as leverage for personal gain. It’s the malign intent and the actual attempt that matters, not the results.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:47 PM on December 10, 2019 [9 favorites]


Pentagon confirms $35 million in aid still being withheld from Ukraine despite impeachment inquiry -- The White House's unusual decision to freeze millions in aid to Ukraine in July is central to the impeachment probe (Salon, November 20, 2019)

And today I learned that John Rood, a senior Pentagon official certified in May that Ukraine should receive $250 million in U.S. military aid because it had made sufficient progress combating corruption. Rood said he never got a “very clear explanation” from the White House as to why the funds were delayed over the summer. (Marcy Wheeler on Empty Wheel, Dec. 4, 2019).


NPR has an interesting look back on the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. Nixon's impeachment got to the point where there was bipartisan support, but Clinton's was wholly partisan, and there's this interesting bit of history:
Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, then the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, recalls that his Democratic colleagues thought initially that Clinton was cooked.

"Members of the Democratic caucus were anticipating being pressured to vote to get rid of him by their constituents," says Frank. "And the opposite happened. Public reaction with our constituents was: you don't impeach a guy for this."
Looking at the present situation:
Twenty-one years later, the lesson that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took from the Clinton impeachment was that unless she could get some Republican buy in, the effort was doomed.

"She said, in fact, it ought to be compelling, overwhelming, and bipartisan," says New York Times reporter Peter Baker, a co-author of Impeachment: An American History.

"They do think it's compelling, and they do think it's overwhelming. But they don't have the bipartisan," adds Baker. "And it may be that it's impossible in this day and age to get to bipartisan."

Indeed, the political transformation over the last 45 years has seen moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats become almost extinct. Extreme partisan gerrymandering has ushered in an era in which members of Congress from both parties are less worried about winning over swing voters than they are about a primary opponent from the base of their own party.
Ah, the continued gifts of gerrymandering - hyperpartisan politicians.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:57 PM on December 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


the persons are trivial. the president used his office and official acts to coerce a foreign government's participation in sabotaging a presumptive rival in an upcoming national election: to solicit foreign interference in elections. but rough ashlar's point about the phrasing remains sound. it is not mere right wing disinfo. however, because it is sure to be used so, we or our champions in media/politics (if any), ought to be prepared to address it.
ukraine didn't want a meeting with donald trump, but a meeting with the president in the oval office.

i am skeptical that marginally diminishing joe biden's reputation via self-impeachment is the extent of donald trump's efforts corruptly to influence upcoming elections, or the extent of ongoing foreign government efforts to interfere in the upcoming elections.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:17 PM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


...influencing...cheating....released the aid...

Influencing isn't a problem - asking a foreign nation is the law violation is it not? If influencing an election is an issue then Tulisi has a lawsuit chance, the media pushing Trump in 2016, the emails from the DNC about Sanders, claims of Google/Facebook doing whatever in 2016 all would be actionable.
Cheating in elections - its common enough and allowed it seems. Getting the other sides playbook (Regan/Carter), side negoations with VietCong (Nixon), screaming mobs over Chads which hang (Bush/Gore), Chicago's dead voting,

Influence concerns via mass broadcast media can be argued as abandoned with the end of the fairness doctrine. And now with mass media being links users can post - what reasonable way can influence that is not from a place of truthful information be enforced by law?

Released the aid - now others pointed out the law violated which was about how if Congress has approved money it has to get handed out UNLESS you go back to Congress and tell 'em why. At least a few of the Congress-kritters were calling Trump out on the issue of the delay on getting the money to Ukraine. Now the holding back of money approved by Congress SHOULD be an item on the list. This not handing out the cash Congress approved is an issue for the co-equal branch idea like the obstruction charges...so WHY is the aid issue not on the table? While Joe Biden was boasing about how he was claiming he was going to withhold aid in a video a timeline seems to show the bragging is malarky so not charging Trump isn't goning to protect Biden.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:18 PM on December 10, 2019


Cheating in elections - its common enough and allowed it seems

Honestly there's so much cheating going on it would be unfair if the President HADN'T attempted to use $400 million in taxpayer money to extort a vulnerable ally for personal political gain
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:25 PM on December 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


Kindly stop playing word games, thanks. He illegally withheld aid in order to pressure a foreign head of state to announce a baseless investigation of a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in order to create bad press for that candidate and boost his own chances in the general. That's all of a piece. Whether we describe it as election meddling or a violation of the power of the purse or soliciting a bribe is a matter of terminology, the underlying act is the same in all three.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:27 PM on December 10, 2019 [13 favorites]


I'm glad they called it what it unambiguously is: "Abuse of Power".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:28 PM on December 10, 2019 [9 favorites]


For fuck's sake, the media by definition can't corruptly influence an election because they don't hold public office. You can argue (and I would agree) that they hold positions of trust and should do better, but that isn't the law. It is the law that you cannot use your government office to influence elections.
posted by wierdo at 2:42 PM on December 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


I also wished for a laundry list of abuses and crimes, but two broadly titled articles based on some very incontrovertible (to the rational individual), and multiply-sourced facts isn't a bad play. Get this to the Senate and raise hell about getting so-called 'exculpatory' witnesses to testify at trial is the only thing that might jar some R votes for removal. Not that I have any hope for conviction in these Idiocratic times, but the optics of arguing insufficient evidence verses the obstruction article is the best hope I see for the 2020 Senate campaign ads for those running against incumbent Republican Senators. And I don't see our timeline brightening until November 2020 at the earliest.
posted by Johnny Waterbed at 2:43 PM on December 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


The strongest documentary evidence against the President was the phone memo published by the President. Similarly, at his trial, the strongest witness against the President is going to be the President, even if he's outside the building. The fate of the accused depends on how effectively that witness persuades the jury and the electorate that the accused needs to be gotten rid of.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:47 PM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


He illegally withheld aid

That is all that is needed. Congess allocated money and has a way to have it withheld if one contacts Congress to justify the witholding.

The justification being given by Trump COULD have went to Congress and therefore been in compliance - so why is Congress as a co-equal branch not taking the hold back as a 3rd issue?

The facts show the money was held back, correct? There WAS some Congress-kritters part of a Ukraine working group who reached out to ask about the holding back so the lack of proper informing of the Congress can be considered because there would be no reason to have Ron Johnson in a meeting about the holdback if the holdback contact had happened, correct?

If the above is true, why is the money holding back not #3 on the list? Biden's bragging being a problem? Not putting people like Ron Johnson on the dime? Or does Congress not want to establish enforcement of not handing out the funds they approve? Not willing to put Johnson on the dime BECAUSE he's an elected official is problematic as what's Congess members supposed to do if allocated funds aren't being handed out? Does the statue need Congress to fomally say 'where's the money at ______' so the holding back become a crime under the idea of giving notice and giving a chance to correct?

Where was the process failure on notification of Congress on why the money was held back beyond just doing an illegal thing?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:53 PM on December 10, 2019


You are asking a question I answered in the same post you responded to. Please stop.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:56 PM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


[rough ashler, give it a break in here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:25 PM on December 10, 2019 [10 favorites]


Essay in The American Consevative: The Case for Impeachment is Overwhelming
posted by Sublimity at 3:38 PM on December 10, 2019 [10 favorites]


It looks to me like the House will vote on articles of impeachment; just before congress goes out on its winter break; but probably delay sending them to the Senate until everyone returns in mid-January. That creates a window of 3 weeks or so for a stealth campaign to pressure Senators. During this break the logistics of the trial will be worked out, so we'll have a pretty good idea when the Senate returns from the Holidays in mid-January exactly how long and how the trial will proceed. There will probably be some theatrics in the interim with Lindsey Graham and others trying to get the Senate to reject the articles immediately.
posted by interogative mood at 4:18 PM on December 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


Somebody (maybe here?) suggested Nance hold onto the articles for a while, just to give McConnell a fuck-you. Wait til April and see what kind of asshattery comes out of Twitter.
posted by j_curiouser at 4:28 PM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Trade-Offs in the Articles of Impeachment (Scott R. Anderson, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Margaret Taylor, Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare)
The draft articles of impeachment released on Dec. 10 by House Democrats reflect a series of careful and intentional strategic choices. [...] It is written in clear language, without lawyerly turns of phrase or technicalities. It is designed to tell a straightforward story in terms that are easy to understand. It is, in short, a document meant to be readable by Americans, not just by lawyers. [...]

The point, rather, is to tell a story that is both well-supported by witness testimony before the House Intelligence Committee and that jibes with the instinct of most Americans that soliciting a foreign government to damage a domestic political opponent is wrong. [...] Keeping things simple will allow the House impeachment managers to tell a single narrative through-line leading to two counts: The president abused his power in his interactions with Ukraine and then proceeded to try to block Congress from investigating his misconduct. [...]

Yet for all the political benefits of this approach, it comes at a cost, too. [...] The articles drafted by the House pay a price in their lack of completeness—which is the flip side of their streamlined simplicity. The trade-off of being able to tell a clean and concise story, after all, is that broad and sweeping narratives are ruled out. By focusing narrowly on Ukraine, the House risks forfeiting the ability to tell the full story of Trump’s efforts to leverage the power of the presidency to target his political opponents. [...] It may be easier to tell the story of how Trump tried to turn Ukrainian law enforcement to his own purposes, but what about his abuses of American law enforcement?

The same can be said of the article related to obstruction of Congress. [...] this article of impeachment fails to capture how Trump’s actions represent an outright assault on the very notion of legislative oversight. This strategy ignores broader assertions outside the context of impeachment of absolute immunity and the frivolous claims of executive privilege over the testimony of individuals who have never even served in government. [...] While the refusal to comply with demands for information related to impeachment represents a heightened breach, the essence of the constitutional injury lies in the aggregate pattern. And while the articles incorporate these broader patterns by referencing Trump’s “previous” activity, that’s hardly enough to communicate the scope of the abuse.
posted by katra at 5:02 PM on December 10, 2019 [7 favorites]


What the Heck Happened to Jonathan Turley? (Julie Rodin Zebrak, Washington Monthly)
Twenty-five years ago, I sat in the front row of his law class. Now, he’s someone I hardly recognize.
Celebrity is addictive.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:35 PM on December 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


Something else I noticed on Washington Monthly thanks to ZeusHumm's link: How John Solomon Undermined Journalism

It's not interesting so much for the particular who, but for highlighting a common pattern of behavior among many political "reporters" of late. Also because if it's true his sources' clients were in fact getting special treatment from prosecutors because of false statements about Trump's political enemies it further establishes the Ukraine thing as being part of a pattern of behavior of Trump corruptly using his office to try to get himself reelected.
posted by wierdo at 6:53 PM on December 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


And after reading more of the links from that article, I have only one question. Why is John Solomon still getting paid to work as a journalist when he is very much part of the story himself and apparently has a long history of clearly unethical practices? People have been fired and universally criticized for far less.

If you're actively participating in the story, you aren't acting as a journalist (with respect to that story, at least). If you then fail to clearly disclose that fact to your readers, you clearly have a conflict of interest and are demonstrating a lack of ethics and contempt for your readers.
posted by wierdo at 7:38 PM on December 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


He went from The Hill, which is a refuge for hacks and barely-rewritten press releases, to Fox News. So the answer is, he's not.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:50 PM on December 10, 2019 [11 favorites]


East Manitoba > ...at his trial, the strongest witness against the President is going to be the President...

interogative mood > It looks to me like the House will vote on articles of impeachment; just before congress goes out on its winter break; but probably delay sending them to the Senate until everyone returns in mid-January...

Good – another month for The Don to sit, stew, and publicly incriminate himself about the Impeachment charade, coup, fairy tale, fake, farce, hoax, kangaroo court, scam, sham, witch hunt, etc.. Can’t his attorneys write “STFU!” in Sharpie on a sticky note and put it on his TV screen?

It’s also another month to keep reminding Senate Republicans how unfit Trump is for any political office, and how he regards them as nothing more than apprentices.
posted by cenoxo at 8:12 PM on December 10, 2019 [7 favorites]


Impeach Trump. Save America. – It is the only thing to do if our country’s democracy is to survive., New York Times - Opinion, Thomas L. Friedman, December 10, 2019:
...while the founders wanted to reserve removal of a president for elections by the people, they understood that there could be situations when removing a president might be necessary to protect and preserve our very framework for holding free and fair elections. That framework is the Constitution and the rule of law — and this is one of those situations.

If we say, as Republicans do, that what Trump did is not an impeachable offense, we are telling ourselves and every future president that — in direct contradiction of what the founders wrote in the Constitution — it is O.K. to enlist a foreign power to tilt the election your way. Can you imagine how much money candidates could raise from Saudi Arabia or China to tilt a future election their way, or how many cyberwarriors they could enlist from Russia or Iran to create fake news, suppress voting or spur outrage?

The integrity of our elections would be shattered, and we would never again have a legitimate president — a president, who, whether or not you liked him or her, was at least seen as legitimately elected. That would be a prescription for permanent political chaos, as no future presidents’ authority would be respected if they were elected on the basis of foreign interference.
...

We care about having a president who does not lie 20 times a day. We care about having a president who does not demean his opponents and mock their physical appearance. We care about having a president who does not take the word of Russia’s president over that of his own intelligence services. We care about having a president who is not caught up in conspiracy theories, which he then makes everyone around him chase. We care about having a president who values our nonpartisan public servants. We care about having a president who wants to be the president of the whole country, not just his base.

And most of all, we care about having a president who takes seriously his oath to preserve and protect our Constitution. Without that, we will end up one day morally and financially bankrupt.
posted by cenoxo at 10:08 PM on December 10, 2019 [21 favorites]


The Moustache said that? Motherfucker is right as often as the pitch drops, but that article sounds ok.

Caveat: Doesn't excuse any Iraq/Afghan/Saudi/freedom bombs bullshit.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:33 PM on December 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


Friedman saying something right worries me. I don't believe it has ever happened. So either he is somehow wrong or this is the first stage of the apocalypse.
On the other hand, Frank Bruni's comment is well-written and angry: The Perverse Servility of Bill Barr
The wonder of this wretched moment has never been the existence and stench of a bad egg in the Oval Office. That’s hardly strange, given how ably shamelessness serves ambition. The wonder is how many other bad eggs the current president has assembled or hatched. The wonder is this fluffy, funky omelet of unscrupulousness.

All these supposedly godly men — Barr, Pompeo, Mike Pence, Ben Carson, Rick Perry and more — cluster around such a demonstrably godless one. They rationalize that Trump’s indulgence of certain religious factions absolves him of his sins. Barr is the principal agent of that absolution.

He’s also a paragon of hypocrisy, telling Pete Williams of NBC News that the F.B.I. investigation of Trump’s campaign was an ominous abuse of government power for partisan aims. That description better suits the conduct for which Trump is about to be impeached. I don’t know how Barr kept a straight face.

Actually, I do. Since betrothing himself to Trump, he has had ample practice. In the Notre Dame speech, without any palpable sense of irony, he urged a “moral renaissance” and delivered this priceless line: “No society can exist without some means for restraining individual rapacity.” I agree.
posted by mumimor at 2:20 AM on December 11, 2019 [24 favorites]


The Perverse Servility of Bill Barr
. . is also looking more and more like one in the service of Putin, whose christian ethnofascist speeches Barr's have come to imitate in the past couple of months.
posted by Harry Caul at 4:46 AM on December 11, 2019 [6 favorites]


Is there a German word for someone who has ruined his reputation later in life by proving that they were merely a shallow wretch without a soul? If not, can make Giuliani a word like Quisling?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:50 AM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


'Goebbels' still holds.
posted by Harry Caul at 5:59 AM on December 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


Is there a German word for someone who has ruined his reputation later in life by proving that they were merely a shallow wretch without a soul?

What if the reputation was built on lies and taking credit for other people's work?
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:41 AM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Maybe: Der blaue Engel. (for film buffs)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:53 AM on December 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


On impeachment, Democrats have done the remarkable in a remarkably short amount of time (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos)

Sums up everything nicely.
What House Democrats accomplished in a little over two months while their Republican counterparts ran a Russian disinformation campaign was nothing short of astonishing given the roadblocks in their way. It's far from perfect, but given this political moment, it's pretty damn good. And most importantly, it provides American voters with a solid framework for the upcoming election cycle as we hurdle toward 2020: Donald Trump sought foreign help to steal the election out from under the American people, and left to his own devices, he will do it as many times as necessary to try to ensure his victory.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:29 AM on December 11, 2019 [18 favorites]


Reports suggest that the Senate will not give Trump the circus he wants. Don't believe the reports (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos)
Trump has made it clear that he wants the Senate trial to take place immediately, and [Moscow Mitch] McConnell seems to be attempting to oblige him on that point. The Republican Senate leader already informed the public that the trade deal that the House managed to pass while still working on impeachment is simply too, too much for him to handle. So it’s being shelved until after the impeachment is complete. That could mean that Trump gets one of those things he really craves: himself on every Christmas morning television in America. Like the Grinch, the pre-spirits Scrooge, and leftover stuffing all rolled into one.
'Total nonsense': Democrats rip McConnell on delaying USMCA vote until after impeachment trial (Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY)
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:39 AM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Why Democrats sidelined Mueller in impeachment articles (John Bresnahan, Heather Caygle & Kyle Cheney; Politico)
And Democrats are still connecting Mueller to impeachment — at least paying lip service to his investigation, even if they've largely kept it out of the articles themselves. Democrats intend to expound on Mueller’s evidence in a lengthy report that will accompany the articles of impeachment when they’re voted out of the Judiciary Committee later this week.

That report will spell out what Democrats allege is a “pattern” of impeachable conduct by Trump, beginning with his efforts to obstruct Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. It will then suggest Trump committed an impeachable abuse of power when he pressured Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals ahead of the 2020 campaign.

The story of the House decision to exclude a standalone impeachment article on Mueller’s findings is a complicated one of internal jockeying among Democratic factions and 2020 political anxieties. But at its core it was also a practical judgment.

Democrats have been locked in lengthy and successful court battles to obtain Mueller’s secret grand jury evidence, as well as to force some of his top witnesses to testify. But it’s not clear when those cases will be resolved.

One issue facing lawmakers and aides was that the pending litigation may have provided the Senate with a pretense to ignore a Mueller-focused article of impeachment altogether. Senate Republicans, some feared, would simply cite the ongoing court cases and drop the article altogether.

The Ukraine probe, on the other hand, is largely unburdened by ongoing litigation.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:47 AM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Watch live: Michael Horowitz testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee (CBS/Youtube)

Notable Statements on Inspector General's Report (Mikhaila Fogel, Lawfare)

The Inspector General’s ‘Witch Hunt’ Report: A Quick and Dirty Analysis (Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare)
When you see folks crowing about errors in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications and the misconduct described in the inspector general’s report released on Dec. 9, take a deep breath and try to remember the allegations that sparked this review of the Russia investigation. It wasn’t that long ago. You can do it if you try. The allegations weren’t about sloppy handling of a FISA application, serious though that issue undoubtedly is. They weren’t even about an FBI lawyer altering an email. They were about whether the FBI’s Russia investigation was a malicious “WITCH HUNT!” [...]

On Dec. 9, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz declared in more than 450 pages that the “Witch Hunt” narrative was nonsense. Yes, the investigation had problems—some of them serious. But the problems were not political in character. There was no effort to “get” candidate Trump. There was no “insurance policy.” There was no coup. There was no treason. [...]

The investigation was not an investigation of the Trump campaign. It was four investigations of individuals—Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn—associated with the campaign but about whom there was specific reason for concern. In other words, investigators were not spying on the Trump campaign. They had concerns about specific people and their relationship with Russia, just as the FBI has always said. [...] The report makes clear that the Steele dossier had nothing to do with the predication of the investigation.
posted by katra at 7:58 AM on December 11, 2019 [25 favorites]


The Crossfire Hurricane Report’s Inconvenient Findings (Julian Sanchez, Just Security)
As the report recounts, “Crossfire Hurricane”—the FBI’s codename for its probe of potential links between Russia’s election interference operation and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign—originated in the summer of 2016 with a tip from the Australian government (a “friendly foreign government” in the report): Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos had been drunkenly repeating an academic acquaintance’s startling assertion that the Russian government had thousands of potentially damaging e-mails related to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The intelligence community was already seeing the outlines of an unprecedentedly brazen, multi-pronged effort to meddle in the presidential election benefit: Now here was an indication that the Trump campaign might be not just an unwitting beneficiary of Russian efforts, but a knowing participant. The FBI quickly focused on four individuals in Trump’s orbit with ties to Russia: Page, Papaodopolous, campaign chair Paul Manafort, and national security advisor Michael Flynn.

While FISA surveillance of Page and Papadopoulos was apparently contemplated in August, Justice Department attorneys determined investigators lacked probable cause to establish that either was acting as an “agent of a foreign power,” the critical showing they’d need to make to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. That changed in September, when the FBI got wind of former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s research into Trump’s Russian ties—opposition research indirectly commissioned by the Democratic National Committee, and now notorious under the collective moniker “The Steele Dossier.” Steele’s reporting, gathered from a network of sources and sub-sources, purported that Page was a key figure in a “well developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government. The FBI would lean heavily on Steele’s reporting in its petition to the FISA Court for a warrant authorizing electronic surveillance of Page.

As the Horowitz report documents, even that first application, submitted in October 2016, contained a series of notable omissions or misstatements, though whether they would have made a difference to the FISA Court’s assessment of the evidence is anyone’s guess. [...] It’s worth emphasizing, though, that the picture Horowitz paints remains fundamentally at odds with claims that FBI or DOJ leadership conspired to mislead the FISA Court, plotting to use surveillance of a peripheral campaign advisor as the lynchpin of some Rube Goldbergian scheme to undermine the Trump Administration. [...]

What they do show, however, is that the much-ballyhooed Woods Procedures, designed to ensure that representations to the FISA Court match the information in the FBI’s case files, are no guarantee that the Court is getting a complete picture. [...] The investigators working Crossfire Hurricane well understood they were charged with a Sensitive Investigative Matter—one destined to draw a level of scrutiny unprecedented in the history of FISA. Under the circumstances, you might expect them to operate with especially scrupulous exactitude. If the Horowitz report reflects what we find when we start turning over rocks under those conditions, what kind of errors and omissions might we expect to uncover in the case files of FISA targets less likely to inspire congressional hearings? It’s past time to find out.
posted by katra at 8:18 AM on December 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


House panel to edit Trump articles of impeachment in rare evening session (Tom McCarthy, Guardian)

Interesting tense in this article. The evening session will start with lots of speeches, and there's a morning session tomorrow with debate and voting by the House Judiciary committee.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:32 AM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Attorney general sharpens attacks on FBI’s Russia probe, dismaying some in his own department (WaPo)
“He seems a lot more of a Kool-Aid drinker than I expected,” said one Justice Department employee, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer frank assessments of the attorney general. “Once you start eroding public confidence in the bureau, that’s got an impact on our ability to get convictions in our cases.” [...] Matthew Axelrod, a former senior Justice Department official during the Obama administration, called Barr’s remarks “a shockingly inappropriate departure from normal.”

“By undercutting the comprehensive work of the independent inspector general and spouting White House talking points, AG Barr is eroding public confidence that he is acting in the best interests of the institution he leads,” Axelrod said. [...] David Laufman, a former Justice Department national security official involved in the Russia case, said Barr’s comments were “not entirely unexpected,” given some of his past conduct in the job.

“What was unexpected, however, was the corresponding issuance of a press release by U.S. Attorney John Durham, amidst a pending criminal investigation, seemingly aimed at undermining the validity of the IG’s key finding regarding the predication of the counterintelligence investigation,” Laufman said.
Horowitz pushes back at Barr over basis for Trump-Russia probe (Politico)
Horowitz also seemed to criticize a senior prosecutor Barr has tasked to examine some of the same events, U.S. Attorney John Durham, suggesting that it was improper for Durham to issue a highly unusual statement Monday disagreeing about the basis for the Russia probe. The watchdog said he knew of Durham’s view but was taken aback that he would announce it publicly while his investigation is still underway. “I was surprised by the statement,” Horowitz said.

“Ongoing investigations are--need to be protected from outside influence,” the inspector general added moments later in response to a question about the propriety of such comments. “Until you’re done with the investigation, you shouldn’t be reaching your conclusions until you reach that point. Giving preliminary, ideas, advice, guidance, statements, can be misleading, and you should not reach final conclusions until you get to the end of the investigation.” [...] Horowitz also offered some more insight into the disagreement, reporting that Durham said he believed that the evidence obtained by the FBI in the spring and summer of 2016 warranted opening a preliminary investigation, but not the “full” counterintelligence investigation the bureau launched at the end of July of that year.
posted by katra at 9:55 AM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


ZeusHumms > Daily Kos > What House Democrats accomplished in a little over two months while their Republican counterparts ran a Russian disinformation campaign was nothing short of astonishing given the roadblocks in their way. It's far from perfect, but given this political moment, it's pretty damn good.

No political strategy is ever perfect, and – to borrow a military maxim – no strategy survives first contact with the opposition. The important thing is that Congressional Democrats are gathering weapons and ammo and getting off the beach.
posted by cenoxo at 10:00 AM on December 11, 2019 [13 favorites]


Trump assaults facts to survive impeachment (Analysis by Stephen Collinson for CNN, updated 11:30 AM ET, Wed December 11, 2019)
On the day that Democrats proposed two articles of impeachment against him, the President and his courtiers laid down a fresh fog to obscure the evidence that incriminates him.

The President also issued a mocking defense of his conduct at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Tuesday night -- arguing that the charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress are "not even a crime."

"Everyone said this is impeachment-lite. This is the lightest impeachment in the history of our country, by far. It's not even like an impeachment," Trump said.
Cool. Cool cool cool. So, you'll leave now? Because "impeachment lite" is still impeachment.

Also, I'm reading this as we haven't really caught him on actual crimes, which he also has committed.

And looking back through prior posts, I see that ZeusHumms linked this article on Oct. 23: Whitaker Used To Be Acting AG. He Just Declared Abuse Of Power Is ‘Not A Crime’ (Talking Points Memo).
Former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker made an unnerving claim during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday evening.

While discussing Democrats’ impeachment efforts with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Whitaker criticized Democrats for collecting “secret testimony and “selective leaking to preferred outlets.” He warned that a possible future Republican majority in the House could seek “payback,” calling Democrats’ probe illegitimate.

He then made a stunning claim based on his experience as a former prosecutor: “Abuse of power is not a crime.”

“I’m a former prosecutor and what I know is this is a perfect time for preliminary hearings, where you would say ‘Show us your evidence. What evidence of a crime do you have?’ Abuse of power is not a crime. Let’s fundamentally boil it down, the Constitution is very clear that there has to be some pretty egregious behavior and they cannot tell the American people what this case is even about.”
Team Trump has been pushing those goalposts pretty hard for months now.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:02 AM on December 11, 2019 [10 favorites]


"At a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump called the FBI ‘scum’ amid the release of an IG report on the FBI's investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign." (MSNBC, Dec. 10, 2019)

"There’s a precedent for administrations butting heads with federal law enforcement, but a sitting president referencing “scum” at the FBI is a new one." (MSNBC, Dec. 11, 2019)

"Trump stressed his popularity among members of the public and the FBI. [...] 'I have, by the way, I have the FBI. You go into the FBI and take a poll of the real FBI, not the scum on top, not Comey and that group of people that are total thieves,' he said." (Politico, June 15, 2018)
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:09 AM on December 11, 2019 [19 favorites]


He then made a stunning claim based on his experience as a former prosecutor: “Abuse of power is not a crime.”

I dispute the premise, but even if we stipulate that it isn't impeachment is not a criminal matter.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:13 AM on December 11, 2019 [11 favorites]


He then made a stunning claim based on his experience as a former prosecutor: “Abuse of power is not a crime.”

Shall we take that statement as an admission that Trump abused his power? I say yes.
posted by Gelatin at 11:27 AM on December 11, 2019 [41 favorites]


it is galling, over at the horowitz hearing, to hear republican senators find that having found no evidence of bias implies that the evidence of bias is well hidden, in the IG report, who, as to the mueller report, found evidence insufficient to make a conclusion of criminal conspiracy with russia to conclusively demonstrate that there is no such evidence. among other galling occurrences there. nice to see senators klobuchar and harris tho.
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:59 PM on December 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


Just when you thought Trump’n’stuff couldn’t get weirder:
'Dossier' author Chris Steele met Ivanka Trump years before Russia scandal, source says, ABC News, Julia Macfarlane, December 9, 2019

Oops: Ivanka Trump Has Been “Personal Friends” With Christopher Steele for Years, Vanity Fair, Bess Levin, December 9, 2019
It’s rat kings (WP) all the way down: “In folklore, rat kings are associated with various superstitions and were often seen as a bad omen, particularly associated with plagues.
posted by cenoxo at 1:06 PM on December 11, 2019 [11 favorites]


DOJ Inspector General Tells Congress His Report Does Not 'Vindicate Anybody' (Brian Naylor for NPR, December 11, 2019, updated at 4:20 p.m. ET)
The Justice Department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz, is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his report on the origins of the FBI's probe into the 2016 Trump campaign's possible ties with Russia.

The 400-plus page report, released Monday, found that the FBI had ample evidence to open its investigation — despite allegations of political bias.

But, Horowitz told the panel on Wednesday, "Our review identified significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised."

He said the FBI failed to adhere "to its own standards of accuracy and completeness" when it filed applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act regarding former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

"The activities we found here don't vindicate anybody," he said in response to a question about whether former FBI Director James Comey should feel vindicated about how the bureau handled the investigation.

The report found that the bureau's decision to open an investigation "was in compliance with Department and FBI policies, and we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced" the decision.
But in lengthy opening remarks at the hearing, Senate Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., likened the FBI's actions to the work of Republican J. Edgar Hoover. Oh, the poor, poor Republican party! Wait, are you saying you are Russians and/or Russian Sympathizers? If that was his subliminal message, he messed it up by asserting, counter to claims by the president and other Republicans, that Russia — not Ukraine — was responsible for meddling in the 2016 election.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:27 PM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Graham, just like Trump, never misses an opportunity to get all salacious with the Strzok and Page texts in the Horowitz hearing. Trump even miming orgasms in his campaign rallies.

But apparently Graham didn't read the entire Horowitz report. Turns out there were texts by other FBI agents as well:

“If you hear talk of a special prosecutor … I will volunteer to work [on] the Clinton Foundation,” a supervising agent wrote the day after Trump won, also comparing Trump’s election to "watching a Superbowl comeback."

The supervising agent explained to Horowitz that he expected Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to win, “but as the returns [came] in … it was just energizing to me to see ... [because] I didn't want a criminal to be in the White House."


Two other agents also discussed the results of the election.

“Trump!” the first agent wrote.
“Hahaha. Shit just got real,” the second agent replied.
“Yes it did,” the first agent said.
"I saw a lot of scared MFers on ... [my way to work] this morning. Start looking for new jobs fellas. Haha,” the second agent said.
“LOL,” the first responded.


It turns out that FBI agents have all sorts of opinions on politics, just like normal people.
posted by JackFlash at 1:38 PM on December 11, 2019 [42 favorites]


From a CNN reporter's twitter:
SDNY has asked a federal judge to revoke Lev Parnas’s bail and have him detained, alleging in a court filing Wednesday that he has made false statements to the government regarding his assets and income & that he misled his pretrial services officer in Florida.
The full implications here remain to be seen, but it is certainly a good reminder that the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. It was a good call not to invite him to testify before the HPSCI as some were pushing for.
posted by bcd at 3:20 PM on December 11, 2019 [6 favorites]


it is certainly a good reminder that the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

That's always the difficulty with building cases against mobsters like Trump. Most of your important witnesses are criminals. Because most of his associates are criminals.
posted by JackFlash at 5:06 PM on December 11, 2019 [19 favorites]


I swear, you can only believe "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" by ignoring literally all of American history.

But here we are, so I guess a lot of people manage it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:08 PM on December 11, 2019 [6 favorites]


Apparently McConnell is trying to get 51 of the 53 Senate Republicans to agree to a motion to accept the evidence in the public record as sufficient to render a verdict thus avoiding a trial and witnesses. Then they will hold a second vote immediately and acquit the President with 51 votes; so Trump can campaign on the claim that was exonerated.
posted by interogative mood at 8:21 PM on December 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


He may be exonerated but he'll still be an impeached president. Trump was trying to hang an "under investigation for corruption" tag on Biden and it is now fairly likely that Trump will have an "impeached President" tag hung on him.
posted by bz at 8:50 PM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Why doesn't he only need 50 Republicans? Does Pence not cast a tiebreaker for issues such as this?
posted by Justinian at 10:09 PM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


When the Republicans acquit Trump — and they will, by hook or by crook — it will sit alongside the Bush v Gore incident and the Merrick Garland affair as another in the Republicans’ display case of trophies commemorating their betrayal of our democracy and of the US Constitution.
posted by darkstar at 11:15 PM on December 11, 2019 [28 favorites]


another in the Republicans’ display case of trophies commemorating their betrayal of our democracy and of the US Constitution.

But it was worth it because of the tax cuts. Totally worth it.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:06 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


another in the Republicans’ display case of trophies commemorating their betrayal of our democracy and of the US Constitution.

But it was worth it because of the tax cuts. Totally worth it.


It's a Sunday morning in the 'burbs. Though the family are Christian, they haven't gone to church this morning, but are enjoying a family brunch. Mom and dad are proud of Jim Jr. who is very smart and reads the news online. But having a smart kid is different from raising an average jock, mom and dad know all about it. Today, Jim Jr. has a question: President Trump has been impeached and acquitted on party lines. He asks, "dad, I don't get this. Why did the Republicans acquit the President? It seems everyone agreed he did the things and that those things were bad for the nation". Dad clears his throat, "Jimmy, I've been waiting for you to ask about this, because it's a talk every young man has to have with his dad. You see, sometimes men have to make tough decisions, to make civilization move on. Think of President Truman and the atomic bomb." This somewhat confuses Jim Jr., "Dad, I don't quite get the analogy? Those Japanese were really bad guys and they probably deserved it, but I can't really see what the tough decision is here?" "Well son, I know you can't see it right now, we are lucky to have a wonderful life here, but our American way of life is under threat from Communists and Liberals, and President Trump is perhaps the only man who can save it. He may be a bit unusual, that's why the Senate has to act decisively. There are big things at stake."
At this point, Jr. is not at all sure that he understood anything, and dad notices. But it's normal for young men to be confused, why just recently we've heard of Brett Kavanaugh's wild days, and of Don Jr.'s years of doubt.
Mom hasn't said a word about politics since 2016.
posted by mumimor at 1:53 AM on December 12, 2019 [28 favorites]


it is now fairly likely that Trump will have an "impeached President" tag hung on him.
The most likely response will be Trump demanding the Senate pass a resolution that magically wipes the impeachment away, striking it from some supposed historical record, in a pseudo official way.

(It's similar to the 'no admission of guilt' deal in his 1973 case of racial discrimination. Trump lost the case, had to take actions decided by the court, but fought for two years to get a public 'no admission of guilt' stamped historically on the decision. He's repeatedly minimized the case over the years, pushing that pain down.)

When the House refuses to honor his face saving resolution, he'll resort to some strange executive order declaring the same thing. Anything to crow about the conspiracy(s) against him, and placate the pain of his narcissistic injury. It doesn't have to be real in any way, it just has to work for him to be able to ignore criticism.
posted by Harry Caul at 2:59 AM on December 12, 2019 [20 favorites]


interogative mood: Apparently McConnell is trying to get 51 of the 53 Senate Republicans to agree to a motion to accept the evidence in the public record as sufficient to render a verdict thus avoiding a trial and witnesses. Then they will hold a second vote immediately and acquit the President with 51 votes; so Trump can campaign on the claim that was exonerated.

If McConnell really wants to speed past the trial, then I guess he considers impeachment as much of a hot potato as Pelosi has. That's surprising insofar as he could instead try dragging it out into many months of the Look At The Corrupt Bidens Show, while simultaneously keeping all senators off the campaign trail.

Still, it's possible that (a) this was a strategic leak and his plans are the opposite -- or (b) it's genuine because even the combined powers of himself and John Roberts aren't enough to maintain a sham trial against Democratic opposition -- or (c) it will happen quickly because that's what Dear Leader wants, the "fastest impeachment exoneration in history!", and it's rare to get away with defying Dear Leader.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:50 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Some orange guy is tweeting like a madman this morning. Panic much?
posted by Harry Caul at 6:06 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are now claiming that, while of course people *shouldn’t* abuse their power, “Abuse of Power” doesn’t qualify as a High Crime or Misdemeanor. A quick glance at Wikipedia shows that historically, the Judiciary Committee has recommended Federal officials be impeached for Abuse of Power on at least seven occasions, including somebody named “William Clinton”
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:09 AM on December 12, 2019 [24 favorites]


Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are now claiming that, while of course people *shouldn’t* abuse their power, “Abuse of Power” doesn’t qualify as a High Crime or Misdemeanor.

Wow, the cycle of "He didn't do it --> Everyone does it --> It's not really a crime --> Fuck you" is really contracting these days.
posted by Etrigan at 7:22 AM on December 12, 2019 [35 favorites]


As expected, if bribery was included, they would have gone with no bribery, but since it wasn't, the only crime worthy of impeachment is bribery since listed in the Constitution. Every single stement out of Trump's defenders was a falsehood.
posted by benzenedream at 7:26 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Senate Republicans look to hold short impeachment trial despite Trump’s desire for an aggressive defense
McConnell has not publicly stated specifically how he wants a Senate trial to be conducted. Earlier this week, he laid out two potential scenarios: Once both sides make their case, the Senate could call witnesses, which he said would be “basically having another trial.”
"Another trial"? Motherfucker, the Senate is the trial.

McConnell’s plan for sham trial reveals depths of Trump’s corruption
If Mitch McConnell goes through with his reported plan to hold a sham impeachment trial that acquits President Trump without calling witnesses, it will provide the perfect coda for the corrupt and farcical way Trump’s defenders have handled this saga all throughout.

In so doing, the Senate majority leader and other assorted Trump propagandists will be unabashedly enshrining their position as follows: We’ve already decided in advance that the full facts will not persuade us to turn on Trump, no matter how damning they are, so why should we listen to them at all?
Ceterum censeo, Trumpo delenda est
posted by kirkaracha at 7:29 AM on December 12, 2019 [20 favorites]


There’s something beautiful about House Republicans saying the process was unfair because the President wasn’t defended (despite being invited to have a defense), while the Senate Republicans are the only ones trying to DENY the President the opportunity to defend himself.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:32 AM on December 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


There’s something beautiful about House Republicans saying the process was unfair because the President wasn’t defended (despite being invited to have a defense), while the Senate Republicans are the only ones trying to DENY the President the opportunity to defend himself.

There's nothing beautiful about any of this. It's just profoundly dispiriting.
posted by Gadarene at 7:37 AM on December 12, 2019 [31 favorites]


The Republicans are throwing all sorts of crap against the wall and the press is eating it up to get their "both sides" horserace content going. Forget actually trying to uncover the truth, they're giving full voice to avowed liars and letting those lies go unchecked. The myth of the liberal media continues, because that's all it has ever been - a myth.
posted by azpenguin at 7:40 AM on December 12, 2019 [18 favorites]


Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are now claiming that, while of course people *shouldn’t* abuse their power, “Abuse of Power” doesn’t qualify as a High Crime or Misdemeanor.

Which, again, means that Republicans are now conceding that Trump did abuse his power and declaring that they won't hold him accountable for it, but somehow the so-called "liberal media" think it's the Democrats' problem if Republican Senators vote in partisan lockstep to let Trump off the hook for something they never would -- and never did -- let a Democrat get away with.
posted by Gelatin at 7:50 AM on December 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


There's nothing beautiful about any of this

I was referring to what our previous president called “The Audacity of This Shit”
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:00 AM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


the Judiciary Committee has recommended Federal officials be impeached for Abuse of Power on at least seven occasions, including somebody named “William Clinton”

Interestingly, in the Clinton impeachment, the abuse of power charge is the one that got the fewest votes (148 - 285). In my mind, that was the single strongest charge, although it also meant the Republicans would have had to then address the sexual improprieties of their own membership. Thus the failure of that impeachment charge.

Had Clinton been convicted (or at least forced out of office), we would not be in this mess we are in today. Ah, the dangers of partisan blinders. If only the founders had something to say on this subject...
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:03 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Is...this the time when I can confess that I always thought Bill Clinton was a shit? And that I actually wanted him to be impeached and for Al Gore to step up? Because he cheated on his wife with a White House intern, in the White House, bringing disrepute on the office of the President, and then lied about it under oath, which is a crime. Both were impeachable acts, in my opinion.

I’ve always dimly viewed his nickname “Big Dog” to be an unseemly acceptance by the left of this unethical use of power. And it was primarily my dim view of Clinton that led me to have such a late conversion to supporting Democrats.

(The 2000 Bush v Gore fiasco is what finally woke me up.)
posted by darkstar at 8:24 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


House Democrats brace for some defections among moderates on impeachment of Trump (Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis, WaPo) (previously)
In fact, Democratic leaders have said they don’t intend to whip the impeachment vote, allowing each member to make his or her own personal choice on such a historic roll call that many see as a legacy-defining issue.

[…] The quiet hand-wringing comes despite Pelosi’s catering to moderates throughout the impeachment process. When the inquiry began, centrists implored the speaker to keep proceedings dignified, solely focused on Ukraine and national security — and to sideline the House Judiciary panel known for its more liberal impeachment proponents. She did that.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:25 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


> Had Clinton been convicted (or at least forced out of office), we would not be in this mess we are in today.

Only in the sense that our demise would have been hastened, and wouldn't be in any mess at all on account of not being, period. The butterfly effect makes it impossible to falsify any counterfactual history, but I see no path toward better outcomes that starts with "replace Bill Clinton with Al Gore, who is mercilessly attacked and probably himself impeached by an emboldened Contract On America Caucus".
posted by tonycpsu at 8:34 AM on December 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are now claiming that, while of course people *shouldn’t* abuse their power, “Abuse of Power” doesn’t qualify as a High Crime or Misdemeanor.

As evident by the fact that they've immediately, consistently issued official somber condemnations of Trump's abuse of power as per se wholly unacceptable in a democracy, along with unequivocal warnings that if his abuses of power ever *do* cross the line into high crimes and misdemeanors, they will join their Democratic colleagues in holding him accountable in the form of impeachment.
posted by Rykey at 8:55 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Matt Gaetz turning his time into a tell-all on Hunter Biden's driving record and problems with addiction is a new ironic low from these cult members. Jeesh.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:07 AM on December 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


“The Audacity of This Shit”

GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert publicly identifies person purported to be whistleblower (Politico)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) on Wednesday night publicly named a person that some Republicans and allies of President Donald Trump claim is the alleged whistleblower who first brought the Trump-Ukraine scandal to light.

Gohmert identified the person, who POLITICO is not naming, during remarks at a Judiciary Committee meeting on articles of impeachment against Trump. Gohmert named the person as he ticked through a list of witnesses he said the committee should hear from before voting on impeachment.

[...] Gohmert said the persion he identified was someone he considers a "fact witness." Asked if he was worried about the appropriateness of identifying the person publicly or whether he might have violated whistleblower protection statutes, Gohmert said, "You need to do your homework."
Previously: Trump’s attacks fuel alarm that whistleblower protections fall short (Politico)
There’s little stopping Trump’s congressional allies from revealing it, either. Members of Congress can be held accountable for violating congressional rules—for example, a member of the House Intelligence Committee illicitly disclosing information gleaned by that panel could be censured by the House. But lawmakers “can’t be legally held accountable for their official actions by any other tribunal,” said Kel McClanahan, executive director of the National Security Counselors law firm.
posted by katra at 9:18 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Because he cheated on his wife with a White House intern, in the White House, bringing disrepute on the office of the President

It was a simpler time. Today's standard for disrepute is somewhere lower than the president of the United States publicly performing fan-fic dialogue of people fucking.

And it was primarily my dim view of Clinton that led me to have such a late conversion to supporting Democrats.
(The 2000 Bush v Gore fiasco is what finally woke me up.)


Gore should've made a clear distinction between Clinton's personal behavior and his policies, criticized the behavior, and continuing the policies. Clinton was popular, even after being impeached.

Instead, Gore backed away from the administration's record and chose DINO/scold Joe Lieberman as his VP candidate when better choices were available. "Don't change horses in midstream" would probably have worked better than complaining about the horse himself.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:26 AM on December 12, 2019 [13 favorites]


For those keeping score at home: 9am - it's not abuse of power cuz it was about corruption, not the Bidens. 11am - it's not abuse of power cuz those Bidens are awful right? 12:30pm - it's not abuse of power cuz it's normal and Obama did it.

And today's 'Alexandra Chalupa' mention score is currently at 2.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:33 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Presumably they left enough time in the day so they can get to: "It's not abuse of power. What's the point of power if you can't use it how you see fit?"
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:40 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Is...this the time when I can confess that I always thought Bill Clinton was a shit?

No, I don't think we need to do this again. This isn't a megathread.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:45 AM on December 12, 2019 [19 favorites]


Had Clinton been convicted (or at least forced out of office), we would not be in this mess we are in today.


Um, no. The Trump presidency has been the eruption of a boil in American society that has been festering for 40 years, namely the use of racism in service to oligarchy, and disregard of truth in service to power. If you really think Jim Jordan would recoil in shame from a historical precedent, you should listen to any random sentence that falls out of his mouth defending Dear Leader.
posted by benzenedream at 9:45 AM on December 12, 2019 [31 favorites]


[Hey folks let's really not try and post-game THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND again please.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:50 AM on December 12, 2019 [30 favorites]


In Colorado, When It Comes to Trump, Cory Gardner Is Exactly Where He Wants to Be, Westword, Chase Woodruff, December 12, 2019:
If you’re an avid consumer of Colorado political news, there’s a particular genre of story about Senator Cory Gardner that you’ve likely read dozens of times over the last three years. The latest version comes from the Colorado Sun, which surveys a wide range of pollsters and pundits on Gardner’s effort to “walk the tightrope” of winning reelection in a state where Republican President Donald Trump remains deeply unpopular with voters, and wonders if Gardner’s support for Trump has a “breaking point.”

It’s easy to understand why this story gets told, over and over again. Journalists tend to cover political contests through the lens of strategy and tradecraft, and Gardner’s Trump-era predicament is good fodder for that kind of coverage. Democrats are eager to paint him as two-faced, or gloat about his long reelection odds. Republican operatives want to create the impression that he’s at least somewhat conflicted about an unpopular president.

But the persistent focus on Gardner’s supposed strategic dilemma — story after story breaking down polling crosstabs and demographic trends and armchair political consulting — too often misses the forest for the trees. It has needlessly complicated a very clear picture: Cory Gardner loves Donald Trump! Donald Trump loves Cory Gardner! They are close allies, eagerly working to secure one another’s reelection and continue enacting their shared vision for the country.

Gardner is not walking a tightrope; he is not “threading a needle”; he is not “in a bind” or a "pinch"; he is not “between a Trump and a hard place.” He’s exactly where he wants to be — serving as a loyal, valued member of Trump’s Republican Party, proudly celebrating a long list of major victories that the party has won since Trump took office in 2017, and looking forward to four more years of the same.
...
posted by cenoxo at 10:40 AM on December 12, 2019 [9 favorites]


Harry Caul: Matt Gaetz turning his time into a tell-all on Hunter Biden's driving record and problems with addiction is a new ironic low from these cult members. Jeesh.

The ever-disgusting UK Daily Mail had a typo in its report just a few minutes ago:

"But it was not just the complex Ukraine dealings of the vice president's son that Gaetz raised – he immediately referenced Hunter's struggles with Ukraine use, a problem that got him kicked out of the U.S. Navy."

posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:47 AM on December 12, 2019 [9 favorites]


In fact, Democratic leaders have said they don’t intend to whip the impeachment vote, allowing each member to make his or her own personal choice on such a historic roll call that many see as a legacy-defining issue.

[…] The quiet hand-wringing comes despite Pelosi’s catering to moderates throughout the impeachment process. When the inquiry began, centrists implored the speaker to keep proceedings dignified, solely focused on Ukraine and national security — and to sideline the House Judiciary panel known for its more liberal impeachment proponents. She did that.


This is fucking awful.
posted by Gadarene at 11:05 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Let’s see how many people who voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry actually vote against articles of impeachment before we start another Pelosi Failure Despair Spiral.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:11 AM on December 12, 2019 [15 favorites]


Let’s see how many people who voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry actually vote against articles of impeachment before we start another Pelosi Failure Despair Spiral.

I'm not blaming her; I'm blaming the centrist congress-sheep in Democratic clothing who apparently don't believe in the importance of preserving the rule of law or in consequences for rampant crime, corruption, abuse of power, and venal self-dealing.

But that number you reference should be zero, and it is inexcusable if it is not.
posted by Gadarene at 11:31 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't really see a counterfactual where Pelosi engineered the impeachment proceedings in such a way that it would compel these "moderates" to vote any differently. The only thing they fear is losing their jobs, and they believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the only way they can keep those jobs is placating the MAGAhats.

That's not to say I wouldn't have done things differently for other purposes. But if people really believe she could have coaxed more impeachment votes out of moderates, I think the burden of proof is on them to show how that would work.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:39 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Essentially, we shouldn't have been catering to those scared congressional moderates anyway, because the result is a significantly neutered, narrowed, and shortened process that will almost certainly result in acquittal in the Senate and a public/media sense that any further attempts to hold Trump (and Barr, and Pompeo, and Nunes, and Pence, and) accountable for misdeeds past, present, or future will be poor sportsmanship from the losers as the news cycles roll on, during which time we still don't know some massively important things (what was on the calls with MBS, Putin, and Erdogan? what other calls are improperly sequestered? what's in the tax returns? what's going on with Lebanon?) while other things are out in the open (obstruction, Michael Cohen, the National Enquirer, domestic emoluments, foreign emoluments, sexual assault, children in goddamn cages, abuse of executive privilege, any manner of unfit behavior, a billion other things) and will likely go unpunished and uninvestigated, and the public will remain uneducated when it counts, because the question of whether Trump should be removed from office prior to the election will have been "decided" and now we should really leave it to the electorate.

There was a moment, at the beginning of the inquiry, when public sentiment had turned and momentum was growing. That moment could have happened a year ago, given what we've known, but it happened at last. We had finally grasped the nettle and were seeing results. We had the news cycles. And that moment is being squandered because the fears and small-c conservative predilections of a handful of congressmembers are being catered to over the interests of the nation writ large during a process where, as soon as this goes to the Senate, the Democrats lose virtually all control of the narrative, Trump gets acquitted, and the media moves on.

We are screwing this up and history will not judge us kindly.
posted by Gadarene at 11:45 AM on December 12, 2019 [11 favorites]


That's not to say I wouldn't have done things differently for other purposes. But if people really believe she could have coaxed more impeachment votes out of moderates, I think the burden of proof is on them to show how that would work.

There is, at least in theory, a strong case to be made to Democratic congressmembers of all stripes regarding the importance of preserving some measure of congressional authority against the rampant and blatant arrogation of the executive. To say nothing of rule of law.

There is a similarly strong case that in virtually all of those districts impeachment is sufficiently popular with self-identified Democrats and independents, to the extent it is pursued vigorously and with clarity, to make the risk of losing those seats reasonably small. That every time bad things about Trump are publicized, he -- and the moderate congressmembers will be shocked to hear this -- gets less popular across the board other than to people who would never vote Democratic anyway. That things like corruption and self-dealing, stealing millions of dollars from taxpayers to put in Trump's own pocket, are actually seen as kitchen table issues if framed well. That they don't need to be scared.

The moderate congressmembers should at least be whipped (if only). The leadership is not even attempting to whip them.
posted by Gadarene at 11:53 AM on December 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


>Essentially, we shouldn't have been catering to those scared congressional moderates anyway,

We were warned about the Moderates. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]" 16 April 1963
posted by mikelieman at 12:00 PM on December 12, 2019 [28 favorites]


Hell, those poor Kurds. That is the consequence of not impeaching sooner and less timidly. It is morally incumbent on Democrats to make as forceful and compelling case as possible -- to do whatever it takes to drag as much as they can into the light while they have the pulpit and the cameras, for as long as they can, to make it clear that it is not and should not be business as usual while a corrupt, insane, pliable white nationalist occupies the White House (for example, say, not to announce any fucking trade deals with him!) -- in order to make it less likely, if only just, that what is happening to the Kurds, what is happening to children separated from their families, what is happening to the countless victims of this administration's breathtaking cruelty, will keep happening or will happen somewhere else...especially if they believe that impeachment is a dead letter in the Senate and that the media will treat acquittal as somehow meaningful or dispositive of the charges against the president. The pointless and horrific betrayal of the Kurds could, just possibly, have been avoided. What else can possibly be avoided? Why isn't a Democratic House doing everything in its power to try?
posted by Gadarene at 12:11 PM on December 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


Holy shit no one anywhere is ever going to care about some perceived benefit of not whipping votes and letting people listen to their "conscience" (read: constituents and worst parts of themselves). There will not be a footnote on the impeachment that reads "and these Democrats, without undue influence by the machinations of legislative politics, chose with their hearts free, to vote to impeach." Not whipping votes is an abdication of duty. There is no spin.
posted by avalonian at 12:18 PM on December 12, 2019 [10 favorites]


Party whips only work when there are consequences for crossing the floor. It's hard to see how the Democratic Party leadership could enforce a whip at this point, without control over electoral funding or the ability to reward their supporters with plum appointments. The fact that Republicans can enforce a whip (apparently) isn't because they have stronger wills: it's because they've ceded party administrative power to a bunch of kooks and conspiracy theorists.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:18 PM on December 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


There was a moment, at the beginning of the inquiry, when public sentiment had turned and momentum was growing.

Not really. It has grown slightly among Democrats, but among Republicans it is as solid as ever - 90% oppose impeachment, it hasn't budged at all. No Republican senator is ever going to vote against 90% of their supporters.

The only way you get rid of Trump is to vote him out in the 2020 election. So then the question becomes the best strategy for doing that. Opinions differ.
posted by JackFlash at 12:19 PM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


The only way you get rid of Trump is to vote him out in the 2020 election. And then somehow convince him to leave when he refuses. That guy is not willingly walking into any court or jail.
posted by Harry Caul at 12:21 PM on December 12, 2019 [10 favorites]


then lied about it under oath, which is a crime.

And yet this is a viewpoint of the court system about lying - page 93 of this PDF. Perhaps when the DNC is in Milwaukee a reporter who wants to explore perjury he can talk with the Milwaukee DA's office holder who was cited in "The lies have it" Dershowitz cites. The cite if you don't want to look at the PDF - As prosecutor E. Michael McCann has concluded, ‘‘Outside of in-come tax evasion, perjury is . . . probably the most underprosecuted crime in America.’’

And if you are upset about perjury how about this issue in Milwaukee and the $500 fine as a sense of how those who hold power treat such.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:22 PM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not really. It has grown slightly among Democrats, but among Republicans it is as solid as ever - 90% oppose impeachment, it hasn't budged at all. No Republican senator is ever going to vote against 90% of their supporters.

The only way you get rid of Trump is to vote him out in the 2020 election. So then the question becomes the best strategy for doing that. Opinions differ.


I respectfully disagree with most of this.

I am 100 percent certain that there is a tipping point where Trump becomes more of a liability to Republican senators than, charitably, a necessary embarrassment. Because I am 100 percent certain that there is a tipping point where public opinion significantly moves against him even among identified Republicans.

Maybe it's a tipping point based on extremity of misdeed -- let's say the details of a payout to Jane Doe over the claims that he raped her when she was thirteen comes to light, which prompts corroborating witnesses, which prompts... Or the readout of the call with MBS has Trump clearly implicated in plotting the murder of a journalist. Maybe it's a tipping point based on sheer volume; lord knows there is enough to dig into. Maybe it's a tipping point based on framing; he has literally appropriated millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer money for his personal gain. But I am certain that at least one tipping point exists and is potentially (if not likely) achievable, if the Democrats were to persist with vigor. It's like bankruptcy, slowly and then all at once.

Anything else is tinged with defeatism.
posted by Gadarene at 12:32 PM on December 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


There. Is. No. Tipping. Point.

Look at the shape of that graph as compared to previous Presidents in their first term. Now consider the quantity and "sheer volume" of the "misdeeds", and try to locate any of those on that graph. Trump's support among Republicans is stable because he's giving them what they want. Why would any of the hypotheticals mentioned make a dent when similarly awful things he's done haven't?

He's giving them tax cuts. He's giving them right-wing judges. He's owning the libs. That's all they care about.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:45 PM on December 12, 2019 [39 favorites]


So would Pence.
posted by Gadarene at 1:18 PM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


There are credible allegations of rape against the President, there are credible allegations of fraud, he is an unnamed co-conspirator in election finance law violations, there are manifest daily violations of the emoluments clause, there are transcripts of him extorting a foreign leader to assist in his 2020 election (which is several crimes in one), there is literally a tape of him bragging about his proclivity for sexual assault.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thirty times, don't tell me the thirtyfirst time is going to be a tipping point.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:27 PM on December 12, 2019 [29 favorites]


Also, who is he giving tax cuts and right-wing judges to? The Republican electorate as a whole doesn't prioritize that, not really, not tangibly. They're not seeing the benefit.

Owning the libs, I will grant you.

And -- I recognize this is True Scotsman-ish, but it is true -- to the extent that the electorate hasn't "cared about" Trump's corruption or his lawlessness or his spilling of national secrets to Russia or his consistent placement of dictators' interests above those of the country or his laughably shoddy information security or his complicity in the deaths of American allies, it's because the Democrats in Congress and the media haven't done a good enough job leading on those issues, consistently, vocally, and continuously. We tend to feel like the facts speak for themselves. They don't. And if we have a headwind that the Republicans don't, with the mainstream sports team both-sidesism and the disinformational influence of Fox News and Sinclair...well, we have a headwind. That doesn't mean that we should stop shouting with every breath about the things he has done until we make people care the way they cared, in the end, about arrant bullshit like Benghazi or Her Emails. They have a louder megaphone, but we have grimy strata upon strata of facts on our side. If we assume that half the country is entirely impermeable, and if we use that assumption to curb our own attempts to educate, inform, and inflame, then the republic is already lost. It's already lost! So maybe, instead, we give it the ol' college try on the off chance that there's something redeemable in the American experiment.
posted by Gadarene at 1:29 PM on December 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


I mean we are worried whether moderate Democrats will continue to defend Trump at this point. No, his crazy base is not about to turn on him.
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:30 PM on December 12, 2019 [15 favorites]


Trump White House Already Scripting How Impeachment Trial Will Play Out? WH Counsel Just Walked Into McConnell’s Office (David Badash, New Civil Rights Movement)
Just how much control will the Trump White House have over the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump?

Consider this.

The White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, just walked into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. […]

And Cipollone was accompanied by Eric Ueland, a former member of the Trump transition team who Trump tried to hand a top State Dept. job to but was forced to pull his nomination. A recent promotion has elevated him to now serving as the White House Director of Legislative Affairs, after spending years working for then-Senator Jeff Sessions.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:33 PM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Gadarene, I'd say your case here is more "Murc's law-ish" rather than "True Scotsman-ish". You are looking at the outcomes, looking at Democrats you believe aren't doing enough, and making a causal inference. Republicans also have agency, as do billionaire donors, media outlets, Russian bot campaigns, and any number of other entities that factor into the public's awareness of and favorability toward POTUS45.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Look, we've seen what happens when the Republicans in the Senate are put on the defensive, as in the first week of public hearings. It gets messy for them. They get disorganized and unwilling to defend things. They hide. They evade. At the very least, it keeps them off attack mode.

Why not make that the default state of affairs and see if, one day, cracks form? What possible downside is there? The alternative is that we say "well, we've made our case on this narrow and compelling front; if someone isn't persuaded, they're unpersuadable" and cede the narrative floor back to the outright lies of the opposition.

Keep them on the defensive! The not-so-secret secret is that most Republican lawmakers don't like being asked to defend Doral as a G7 site or the Kurds being abandoned or Giuliani committing crimes in plain sight. Or, yes, sexual assault, or emoluments, or fraud, or any of it. Why just pick one thing? Keep at them about them all, constantly! Lord knows there are enough things to hold up to the light and demand that they answer for.
posted by Gadarene at 1:37 PM on December 12, 2019 [29 favorites]


Gadarene, I'd say your case here is more "Murc's law-ish" rather than "True Scotsman-ish". You are looking at the outcomes, looking at Democrats you believe aren't doing enough, and making a causal inference. Republicans also have agency, as do billionaire donors, media outlets, Russian bot campaigns, and any number of other entities that factor into the public's awareness off and favorability toward POTUS45.

I agree with your last sentence entirely. I am saying that we are foregoing the fullest limits of our own agency in the face of it, at exactly the point when we should be pressing it most assiduously.
posted by Gadarene at 1:38 PM on December 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


Trump White House Already Scripting How Impeachment Trial Will Play Out?

Are we supposed to believe that they haven't been scripting and re-scripting it the whole time?

Mitch and Kevin can bring the hammer down on congressional Republicans on the basis of stonewalling, but keeping a new story straight among a couple hundred men (and one or two women)? I don't see it. There will be one or two new adjectives to emerge from this, but I think the Cippolone at Mitch's meeting is probably significant in other ways. We'll see.

And Cipollone was accompanied by Eric Ueland, a former member of the Trump transition team who Trump tried to hand a top State Dept. job to but was forced to pull his nomination. A recent promotion has elevated him to now serving as the White House Director of Legislative Affairs, after spending years working for then-Senator Jeff Sessions.

Sessions you say? A buddy of Stephen Miller's? Getting the band back together? On a mission from God? I really don't see how adding more evil dummies (colloq.) to the stew is going to provide anything other than delaying tactics. Hmm, now that I think about it...
posted by rhizome at 2:48 PM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


From the Guardian liveblog of the impeachment hearings:
The phrase of the day has been “strike the last word” — if you’ve been following the last 8+ hours of impeachment debate, you’re likely to have heard this sentence repeated a lot. As NBC suggests, “if ‘strike the last word’ were an impeachment drinking game, no one would survive.”

But what does it mean?

It’s basically a parliamentary convention that allows lawmakers to speak a bit longer.

Technically, each amendment is meant to be debated for 10 minutes — five minutes of discussion for the amendment and five minutes against. But other members who want to talk more can offer a “pro forma” amendment.

[. . .]

Seriously though, please don’t turn this into a drinking game.
posted by soundguy99 at 2:55 PM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Too late!

I listened to some of the debate today. The Democrats are primarily making reasonable arguments. The Republicans are accusing the Democrats of having a blood lust to impeach the president from the moment they took control of the House. (I mean, sure, some of them and many Democratic voters were, but the leadership dragged their feet on it for months.)

They're also lying. (No surprise there.) Complaining that the president didn't get due process and wasn't allowed to present witnesses when he was invited to and declined, and also blocked people from appearing.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:15 PM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


To hell with civility -- I wish more of the Dems would confront the Republicans directly about the dishonest things they say.
posted by litlnemo at 5:35 PM on December 12, 2019 [26 favorites]


The President Just Admitted in Court He Ran a Crooked Charity and We're All Just Gonna Shrug It Off?

In 1989, it appears he used Foundation money to pay Donald Trump Junior's $7 initiation fee for the Boy Scouts.

If only that were the worst thing he did involving the scouts.

This gish gallop of crime... there's no bottom to it. It's sisyphean to enumerate them all, by the time you're done there are more. Right now, his lawyer is in Ukraine still pursuing the same hoax he's being impeached for.

So the strategy has been to be specific, nail him for one indisputable big fat crime. Let me tell you, the acquittal won't be specific. The senate will acquit, and the tweet will say COMPLETE and TOTAL EXONERATION for all crimes past and future. Not just the Ukraine stuff, for stuff that hasn't even happened yet.

And he will be emboldened, remember it was the next day after Mueller's testimony that the Zelensky called was made. He doesn't learn not to do it, he learns he can get away with it, so just keep criming.
posted by adept256 at 7:16 PM on December 12, 2019 [33 favorites]


Is there a man dumber than Louie Gohmert?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:29 PM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


McConnell said this tonight, live on Fox:
Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House Counsel. There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position as to how to handle this.
This used to be the quiet part you weren't supposed to say aloud. He isn't even bothering to spin that like with blocking Garland. They've gone firmly past the, "hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue", stage and are fully embracing, "fuck you, what are you going to do about it?"

And that, of course, is the question - what to do about it? The institutions certainly aren't going to save anyone making less than well into six figures a year.
posted by bcd at 8:03 PM on December 12, 2019 [33 favorites]


Democrats face post-impeachment dilemma: What if Trump offends again? (Politico)
A post-impeachment Congress will present a tricky dynamic for Democrats, who are still working to ink a series of high-profile legislative deals with Trump while vowing to continue an aggressive set of investigations against him, though this time without the threat of impeachment as a cudgel.

Several House committees are deep into legal battles to obtain the president’s personal financial records. The House is also engaged in numerous court cases meant to force the release of these documents as well as compel the production witnesses and evidence connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe that the White House has blocked from lawmakers. Two of those court cases will be heard by a federal appeals court on Jan. 3. Another series of favorable court rulings over the next few months could net Democrats reams of embarrassing materials and witnesses that could add new layers to their case against Trump. [...] Separately, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has vowed to continue his panel’s Ukraine investigation, even when it’s no longer in the context of impeachment, though the White House is still signaling that that it will continue to throw up more roadblocks once impeachment is over.

Democrats also cite polls showing Americans, in a bipartisan way, reject Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine even if the public is more evenly divided about the prospect of impeachment. The lawmakers leading the impeachment inquiry see it as a vindication of their efforts in a starkly divided political moment, and suggest it points toward the need for more oversight of the president in a post-impeachment Congress.

In fact some lawmakers say the impeachment drive has already been successful in halting Trump’s malign ambitions. “There’s absolutely no question that had we not launched this investigation he would have successfully extorted Ukraine and right now, you guys would be writing about the Ukrainian investigation of allegations of corruption against Joe Biden’s family,” said freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a former State Department hand who hails from a district Trump won in 2016.
posted by katra at 8:03 PM on December 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


“What if” he offends again? Lol. I think you misspelled “when.”
posted by Weeping_angel at 8:17 PM on December 12, 2019 [26 favorites]


House Judiciary Committee abruptly adjourns after marathon debate, will vote on articles of impeachment Friday morning (WaPo)

Developing story. Decision made, apparently, without consultation.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:32 PM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House Counsel.

McConnell is saying this because otherwise the strategy of standing down and voting on impeachment without debate or questions will look like Republicans don't want to defend Trump. It has to look like Trump is bored and just wants this over with instead.

From what I've read, Trump wanted Senate Republicans to mount a serious defense of his actions. My guess is they leveled with him: We can't defend the indefensible.
posted by xammerboy at 8:55 PM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House Counsel. There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position as to how to handle this.

McConnell is betraying the independence and the privileges of Congress by his deference to the executive branch. I keep waiting for someone tired of his shit to challenge him to a duel, but sadly, The Framers' original intent is ignored.
posted by mikelieman at 8:56 PM on December 12, 2019 [15 favorites]


In 1989, it appears he used Foundation money to pay Donald Trump Junior's $7 initiation fee for the Boy Scouts.

They robbed their own charity for Iraq war veterans to pay for Trump's campaign.
posted by xammerboy at 8:58 PM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Vote on articles of impeachment delayed after marathon debate (Guardian)

14 hours of deeply-partisan debate that went nowhere.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:03 PM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


that was less a debate than those atrocious spectacles involving would-be party nominees at podiums on tv are debates.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:30 PM on December 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House Counsel. There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position as to how to handle this.

So Moscow Mitch is Trump's puppet? Would saying that a lot bother either one of them?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:41 PM on December 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Putin's got two hands.
posted by bink at 11:32 PM on December 12, 2019 [11 favorites]


Hell, he has a whole troup of hands.

McConnell is betraying the independence and the privileges of Congress by his deference to the executive branch

I feel like this might be a flaw in the Constitution: what if the majority of one branch of government abdicates their (traditional) responsibilities? What if the Supreme Court said, "Nah, it's all good. We're taking the year off." or, "Whatever the President says is fine with us. :hammock: :sun: :eggplant: :squirt:"
posted by rhizome at 11:47 PM on December 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


So in 74, Goldwater and Co marched to the WH to give Nixon the news, but in 19 WH counsel saunters over to McConnell’s office to declare victory. Ugh, these are not good times.
posted by Harry Caul at 2:08 AM on December 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


To hell with civility -- I wish more of the Dems would confront the Republicans directly about the dishonest things they say.

Lying and refusing to argue in good faith is uncivil, a fact that the fainting couch brigade never seems to mention. So by insisting the Democrats act with genteel politeness in the face of relentless and ongoing hostility, the tone police give the Republicans and their lies an undeserved advantage.
posted by Gelatin at 4:28 AM on December 13, 2019 [18 favorites]




Rudy Giuliani pal Lev Parnas lied about his wealth and should be locked up: feds

I'm surprised he got bail at all considering they nabbed him at the airport with a one way ticket outta there. Now they say he's an extreme flight risk? That sounds like he was going to load himself into a canon.
posted by adept256 at 5:37 AM on December 13, 2019


Schiff was on The Late Show during the hearing.

Id be this audience was bigger.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:13 AM on December 13, 2019


The Dems should already now be sending the second part out as an ad in all the states where Republican senators are up for election next year.
posted by mumimor at 6:22 AM on December 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


The sad fact of the matter is Trump could literally shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and the Republican Senate would acquit. There is no changing their minds, because there is no changing their constituents' minds. So I think bemoaning the approaches the Dems are taking (or could've taken) just seems pointless. I know we're not supposed to give into general despair on the megathreads, but for anyone who's watched these proceedings, there's no evidence any approach would work.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 6:56 AM on December 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


(Janet voice) Not a megathread.
posted by Kelrichen at 7:11 AM on December 13, 2019 [26 favorites]


It was weirdly reassuring to see Michelle Goldberg's piece in the NYT today and have my emotions put into words so clearly: "Democracy Grief is Real.
posted by PhineasGage at 7:24 AM on December 13, 2019 [15 favorites]


I know we're not supposed to give into general despair on the megathreads, but for anyone who's watched these proceedings, there's no evidence any approach would work.

My theory of political change continues to be that external events mostly outside of our control (say, the economy suddenly tanking) are what decide the majority of elections but that we're only in a place to take advantage of changing circumstances if we have a strong organizing ground game everywhere. Which is to say, proceed with grim determination.
posted by sugar and confetti at 7:33 AM on December 13, 2019 [12 favorites]


House Judiciary Committee votes to impeach Trump, capping damaging testimony

History is made. On to the next step ( the full House vote).
posted by Kelrichen at 7:42 AM on December 13, 2019 [22 favorites]


The latest guessing game is figuring out Pelosi’s picks to prosecute impeachment trial (Paul Kane, WaPo)
With Democrats confident of having a majority to impeach Trump next week, a new parlor game has broken almost into the open. It’s the next step in the process in which Pelosi has unilateral power to appoint members to serve as impeachment managers in the Senate, presenting their case in what would be only the third impeachment trial of a president.

Many Democrats would like the opportunity to fulfill such a rare, historic role, but they know Pelosi has declared this period “somber” and “prayerful,” cautioning that it would be a task undertaken with “humility.”

In other words, showboats need not apply to be an impeachment manager. If the speaker sees a Democrat openly campaigning for the appointment, trying to boost his or her profile, she will almost certainly knock that candidate off the list.
As a result, possible members of this group are being very deferential.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:52 AM on December 13, 2019


I'm deep in redstate and there have been non-stop, hateful ads on primetime and during local newscasts targeting my Representative Kendra Horn for her yes vote on the inquiry (first woman OK rep and first D in a long time in my district). I've seen nothing from Dems supporting her. We are in heavy MoronMAGA land and she was part of the Blue Wave in 2018. Dem leadership is losing the marketing war in my state. I'd be willing to bet she votes No on the articles.
posted by HyperBlue at 8:09 AM on December 13, 2019 [12 favorites]


Well, maybe it’s positive anecdote time, sample size of 1: in my neighborhood in a purple, Central California district, we have one loudly Trump-supporting neighbor (down the street, thankfully). This neighborhood is VERY central Cal, which is to say quite diverse with maybe 55-60% non-white folks of varying religious faiths. My congressperson’s parents literally live around the corner from us.

Our MAGA-loving neighbors spent a lot of money on a giant Trump 2020 re-election flag, and have been proudly displaying it next to their front door around the clock for months now. I walk by it every day (sometimes twice) while walking our dogs, and every day I just sigh and move along. When the closed hearings started, my wife and I talked about how that flag might be a kind of barometer for Trump support—at least to us, it became one. So as the hearings moved along, and more stuff came out, and clear narratives emerged, I kept waiting and waiting, but through rain and shine, that damn flag, still there every day. Televised hearings started and things got really bad, and....as of last week, the flag has been taken down and not displayed since.

This probably means nothing. But it has made my walks a bit more pleasant, and I’m just hoping that maybe this is all starting to get through to people. In our neighborhood, the local barometer says that the worm has turned for DJT. Maybe, just maybe.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:26 AM on December 13, 2019 [38 favorites]


Thanks for the words of encouragement and the gentle correction on "megathread" nomenclature.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 8:57 AM on December 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


‘No Choice’ or ‘a Sham’: Where Every House Member Stands on Impeachment

Support articles of impeachment: 141
No: 143
Undecided or unclear: 12
No response yet: 135

218 for a majority
posted by kirkaracha at 9:21 AM on December 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


This royal court gossip bullshit can't die soon enough.

Sweet sentiment, but politics is MADE OUT OF PEOPLE...!
posted by PhineasGage at 9:21 AM on December 13, 2019


No response yet: 135
Dear NYT, it's near the holiday recess, articles were just voted on 2 hours ago, and many Reps know to tell their constituents first about their stances on important votes not just let them hear about it in shill news outlets.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:35 AM on December 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


From the article on democracy grief that PhineasGage linked upthread:
Like several therapists I spoke to, Engel said she’s had to rethink how she practices, because she has no clinical distance from the things that are terrifying her patients. “If we continue to present a facade — that we know how to manage this ourselves, and we’re not worried about our grandchildren, or we’re not worried about how we’re going to live our lives if he wins the next election — we’re not doing our patients a service,” she said.
The author does point out one (hopeful) exception to the grief analogy:
Democracy grief isn’t like regular grief. Acceptance isn’t how you move on from it. Acceptance is itself a kind of death.
posted by mabelstreet at 9:37 AM on December 13, 2019 [22 favorites]


Paul Campos, LGM
At least a couple of things flow from all this:

(1) A straight party line vote can be interpreted in one of three ways: Trump is obviously guilty, but the GOP is a corrupt party that has jettisoned any commitment to its constitutional obligations; Trump is obviously innocent, but the Democratic party is conducting a witch hunt; or the question of whether or not to impeach is actually a very difficult and close one, and the party line vote thus represents the unfortunate triumph of partisanship over principle on the part of Both Sides.

The right wing scream machine will of course continue to push the second claim 24/7. The legacy media will, naturally, choose the third frame, for reasons that are too obvious to belabor. The fact that the first explanation is indisputably the correct one will have no impact on either of these outcomes.

(2) After Trump is acquitted if not sooner, he will immediately engage, probably openly or semi-openly, in even more flagrantly impeachable conduct than he did in the Ukraine matter. This was his reaction to the Mueller probe (recall that his infamous phone call with Zelensky was literally the day after Mueller’s testimony before Congress, which marked in Trump’s mind the end of the danger to him from that quarter.

(3) Trump’s impeachment will, as a historical matter, end up marking an important milestone in the deterioration of the American constitutional system, as more and more people come to appreciate the farcical nature of these proceedings, despite or perhaps because of the solemnity with which they are being covered by the legacy media. Indeed that solemnity is, under the circumstances, if anything even more farcical than the proceedings themselves.
Democracy grief, indeed.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:54 AM on December 13, 2019 [26 favorites]


and the party line vote thus represents the unfortunate triumph of partisanship over principle on the part of Both Sides.

So we're to the point of lampshading "both sides?!"
posted by rhizome at 11:09 AM on December 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm really interested to hear how the GOP frames their defense of President Trump.

The Democrats have laid out their case for the first article, abuse of power. And the Republicans have obfuscated that enough that it really hasn't stuck in the minds of the public as an offense that deserves removal from office. So I expect to hear the same arguments they made in the House process during the Senate process.

The second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, seems so straightforward to me. And defending Trump's obstruction is as damaging to the legislature. So they'll have to make a pretty compelling case to vote that down.

Or maybe I'm overthinking this. It could be that the President's defense will be as simple as "this was a Democratic power grab." In which case, it'll come down to elections.
posted by eisenkrote at 12:30 PM on December 13, 2019


Or maybe I'm overthinking this. It could be that the President's defense will be as simple as "this was a Democratic power grab." In which case, it'll come down to elections.

Depends on Dem response, I suppose. I would love to see how "Yeah, what of it? What do you call [list of Trump actions]? You're right to call it a Democratic power grab, since the goal is to help Democracy fight back, and to fight back in the name of the Constitution," or something similar goes over. Take the bull by the horns and take the wind out of Hannity's sails.

I think Republicans might be (wisely) capitalizing on the anti-authoritarian left as a stereotype that the left is more than willing to adopt for itself as a whole. By far the worst boss I ever had was an anarcho-ACAB Wiccan (I'm not anti-Wicca) stage actor with a side of CTO, who utterly abdicated any kind of leadership, even in our tiny department. This can be made pervasive, I feel, so to the degree that that stereotype can be undercut will be the degree to which the Dems have convincing ammo to the right. If we're just going to be all "you shouldnt'a done it," a terminal case of the "s'postas," we're toast.
posted by rhizome at 12:46 PM on December 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


House Democrat calls on McConnell to recuse himself from impeachment trial (Marty Johnson, The Hill)
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) on Friday called on Senate Majority Leader [Moscow] Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to recuse himself from the Senate impeachment trial, citing the GOP leader's remarks the previous night [on Fox News] about coordinating with the White House. […]

Demings accused the GOP leader of promising to "sabotage" the trial.

"No court in the country would allow a member of the jury to also serve as the accused’s defense attorney. The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation of that oath," she said in a statement.

Demings, who sits on the House Intelligence and Judiciary panels that have led the impeachment inquiry, pointed to Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution. The section states: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.”

The "Oath" is defined by Senate rules and would read: "I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [President Trump], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God."
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:07 PM on December 13, 2019 [24 favorites]




The second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, seems so straightforward to me. And defending Trump's obstruction is as damaging to the legislature. So they'll have to make a pretty compelling case to vote that down.

Senate Republicans would only consider obstruction of Congress to be damaging to the legislature if they weren't already in complete agreement with Trump's strategy. They don't care about damage to the legislature. They care only about damage to their own policy agenda, which has the same first and most important plank as Trump's agenda: keep Trump in the White House at all costs. The Senate Republicans want him the White House so that he can keep appointing Federalist Society judges, dismantling the federal regulatory regime, and passing anything that Mitch McConnell allows a vote on. Trump wants to be in the White House because it's the only thing keeping him out of bankruptcy and prison.

It's possible that one or two Senate Republicans will lose their seats for voting to acquit, but it's extremely unlikely that they will lose their majority over it, and preserving the majority is all that matters to McConnell. He's done the math. He only needs 51 whipped votes to ensure a show trial, and he only needs 34 to ensure an acquittal, if Trump insists on a "real" trial that he can turn into a reality show.

In Cook PVI terms, McConnell only needs the states that are as red as Alaska. For perspective, he doesn't even need Texas, South Carolina, or Georgia, among several other red states.

The Senate will not convict, and the Democrats will have used their only chance at impeachment short of Trump being caught on multiple video tapes taking a sack of cash with a dollar sign on it while saying "I am accepting this illegal bribe in exchange for vetoing the Republican-sponsored law that you want me to veto, which I would have otherwise signed." The value of the impeachment is solely in establishing material for use in the 2020 election. The Democrats need to acknowledge the political reality and start framing this as a rigged trial. That's the only way to get out ahead of the inevitable acquittal.
posted by jedicus at 1:15 PM on December 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


The Democrats need to acknowledge the political reality and start framing this as a rigged trial. That's the only way to get out ahead of the inevitable acquittal.

After all, Trump spent considerable time in 2016 framing his potential loss as the result of a rigged election. With the Senate Republicans fully prepared to violate their Constitutional oaths, Democrats should remind loyal Americans that Republicans rigging the Senate trial is wrong.
posted by Gelatin at 1:28 PM on December 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


"It doesn't matter if the trial is rigged since we made our decisions before it began." -R Senators, probably.
posted by ryanrs at 2:09 PM on December 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Supreme Court accepted the three Trump subpoena cases about his financial records, which is bad -- if they'd refused to hear them, the lower court rulings would have held and the records would have had to be turned over.

Additionally, hearings are scheduled for March, which is also bad. We might not get a ruling on this until June.
posted by suelac at 2:33 PM on December 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


It also means that at least four justices agreed to hear the case. It should have been a slam dunk refusal since one court and one appeal has already gone to New York's favor. This means that the Republicans on the court are determined to cover up for Trump.

Elections have consequences.
posted by JackFlash at 2:38 PM on December 13, 2019 [14 favorites]


On the other hand, it looks like there were no dissents to the decision to grant cert. It’s hard to read too much into these tea leaves, but I’m willing to entertain the possibility that the justices are looking to significantly rein in the scope of executive privilege claims. But that delay is no good at all.
posted by un petit cadeau at 2:55 PM on December 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


I’m willing to entertain the possibility that the justices are looking to significantly rein in the scope of executive privilege claims.

If they really wanted to rein in executive privilege, they would have done the right thing and refused the case. Trump's tax records would be in the New York attorney's office tomorrow. Obviously, the conservatives on the court don't want that to happen.

And there are no dissents in a writ of certiorari. There are no signatures at all. They just take a hand count to see if at least four justices consent.
posted by JackFlash at 4:06 PM on December 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


the supreme court issue is more complicated than elections have consequences. i seem to recall one merrick garland being appointed by a duly elected president. we are beyond the point of events depending on elections in this way. we need a functioning law enforcement mechanism by which the rule of law can be enforced upon all three branches of gov't.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:21 PM on December 13, 2019 [26 favorites]


Does such a thing exist? I'm despairing that it does not.
posted by bink at 5:03 PM on December 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


And there are no dissents in a writ of certiorari. There are no signatures at all. They just take a hand count to see if at least four justices consent.

There are no dissents, but justices can and do write "statements respecting" the decision to grant or deny cert.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:05 PM on December 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Let's not unnecessarily despair about the subpoenas until the votes are in. Only two of them are completely in hock to Dear Leader, so we may well get a grudging partial win. It will be interesting, though perhaps not instructive, to see what the timeline turns out to be. It's entirely possible, for example, that Trump's minions wanted to grant cert in an attempt to slow roll the case while others want to make an unambiguous statement in favor of the clear and established precedent so that Congress can exercise its oversight duties.

Even in the twisted originalist mindset that would refuse to allow Congress to delegate its powers, Congress must be allowed to exercise its enumerated powers freely. Hacks, of course, will say anything, as will people under duress.
posted by wierdo at 6:02 PM on December 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


for example, that Trump's minions wanted to grant cert in an attempt to slow roll the case while others want to make an unambiguous statement in favor of the clear and established precedent so that Congress can exercise its oversight duties.

That's not how it works. If you want to set precedent, you simply refuse to hear the case. Then the lower court's ruling, validating the subpoena, unambiguously becomes the law of the land. You don't delay it for six months or more unless that is your intent.
posted by JackFlash at 6:13 PM on December 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


On more than one occasion, the Supreme Court has heard cases specifically to reinforce a point of law against a party that repeatedly throws spaghetti at the wall in order to finalize a dispute.

This isn't the usual patent, copyright, and criminal law stuff where they are mainly concerned with circuit splits on points of interpretation of statute, individual Constitutional rights, and procedural errors. It's unusual, but so are the circumstances.

Regardless, the point I was trying to make is that there is no reason to despair, at least about this one particular thing. That's not to say I see any particular reason to be hopeful, either. It's just another thing to sit with until it happens. There's far too much of that these days, by design of our attackers.
posted by wierdo at 6:27 PM on December 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


A Great Big Gift Not on Trump’s Disclosure Form: Giuliani’s Legal Advice (NYT)
For the past 20 months, President Trump has received free personal legal services from one of America’s highest-paid lawyers, who has traveled around the country and across the ocean to defend him in the special counsel’s inquiry and press Ukraine to investigate a political rival and unfounded conspiracy theories. The lawyer, of course, is Rudolph W. Giuliani, but Mr. Trump did not mention Mr. Giuliani or his unpaid labor on the annual financial disclosure he filed in May, which requires that the value and source of gifts — including free legal work — be publicly listed. [...]

Mr. Giuliani [...] began representing the president around April 2018, during the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. [...] And though the special counsel finished his work in March, Mr. Giuliani has continued to act on the president’s behalf by pressuring officials in Ukraine to announce an inquiry into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., one of the Democratic front-runners to oppose Mr. Trump in 2020. These actions were “100 percent in my role as the defense lawyer of the president,” Mr. Giuliani said in October. He traveled extensively, paying his own expenses, he said, or piggybacking them onto work for other clients.

[...] There remains one possible loophole that Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump could turn to as an explanation. Under federal campaign finance law, if an individual lawyer provides legal advice to a candidate without compensation, “the work is considered personal volunteer activity,” the Federal Election Commission says. But the law limits any unpaid travel expenses associated with the free legal services — meaning a trip to Europe by Mr. Giuliani as part of this work would turn into an illegal contribution to Mr. Trump, unless the expense was reimbursed by the campaign. [...]

Mr. Giuliani, other campaign finance lawyers said, might have a hard time defending the assertion that all of his legal advice to Mr. Trump relates to his status as a candidate, given that much of the effort involves actions Mr. Trump has taken while serving as president. It also would add weight to the argument that the work Mr. Giuliani was doing on Ukraine was related to Mr. Trump’s re-election effort, two of the lawyers said. “If what he is doing for the president is for the campaign, how does he argue that the Ukraine corruption issue is not about the election?” asked Larry Noble, the F.E.C.’s former general counsel. “They are inconsistent arguments.”
posted by katra at 7:07 PM on December 13, 2019 [12 favorites]


Inconsistent. Well, yeah
But that's still not gonna get it to scotus before the emperor is crowned. (Am I doing the void thing right?)

But also, I find myself in a place of ignorance - deeper than usual...I don't know which acronym I should be yelling at dccc, dlc, dnc, uscsfrwca (union of slightly concerned super fuckin rich white centrist asshole candidates)...

Uh, LESS MONEY ON HOOKERS AND BLOW AND STUPID PISSING IMMORTALITY CONTESTS, MOAR MONEY ON POST-DOC PSYCHOLOGISTS AND FORMER CHINESE AND SOVIET BLOC PSYOPS PROFESSIONALS.

cuz, expecting the facts to just sink in to the magahats ain't never gonna happen. the press dgaf if it happens. and, IT'S YOUR JOB TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. DO YOUR JOB.

Thoughts? About which acronyms to lean on.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:55 PM on December 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


The Supreme Court's decision to accept cert does not signal that the Court is inclined to rule in Trump's favor.

Marty Lederman is a Georgetown Law professor. His article from November 25 gives a good overview of the legal issues involved. Lederman's predictions on how the Court will handle the appeal have been accurate so far:
Because the merits of Trump’s objections in the two cases are so weak, I hope that, if the Court ever reaches the merits, it will unanimously reject the claims, just as it did in United States v. Nixon and in Clinton v. Jones, both of which involved claims about protecting the President’s functions that were more compelling than those Trump raises here.

But will the Court grant the certiorari petitions—and, before that, Trump’s application for a stay of the mandate in the Mazars case?

I agree with Steve Vladeck that it would not be at all surprising if the Court, simply as a matter of comity to the President, grants the motion to stay the mandate. [UPDATE: It did so.] Nor would I be surprised if the Court, for the same reason, grants the petitions themselves. If it does so, it would be a mistake to read too much into such grants: As I explained above, the Court should still reject the claims on their merits, as it did unanimously in Nixon and in Jones.
So it is unsurprising that the Court accepted cert, but it would be shocking it the Court ruled in Trump's favor.
posted by lumpy at 8:02 PM on December 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


The Supreme Court's decision to accept cert does not signal that the Court is inclined to rule in Trump's favor.

Yes and no. Prof. Lederman is correct about the Nixon and Clinton cases, but in general the Supreme Court reverses the lower court 70% of the time (this should not be too surprising: if it wanted the lower court decision to stand it could simply deny the appeal, in most cases). So just on the odds one would expect reversal, although not overwhelmingly so.
posted by jedicus at 8:13 PM on December 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


ty, smart-lawyer-people
posted by j_curiouser at 8:48 PM on December 13, 2019


So just on the odds one would expect reversal, although not overwhelmingly so.

This is true for a random case about which we don't know anything. But not necessarily for a specific case about which we know stuff. Given that we know the SC was much more likely to take up this case than a random case, we can't draw the inference that they are more likely than not to overturn it as we would expect for a random case.
posted by Justinian at 10:24 PM on December 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


ok. i'm not certain that it was among the three subject cases, but among some of the opinions i've read (of the dizzying array of seemingly exceptionally consequential of cases opened or ongoing during this misministration) i feel as though i recall the court considering (and overcoming... for our purposes) a distinction between the house of representatives' constitutional power to legislate and its power to investigate, with the president's lawyers suggesting that the investigatory power is limited to (or most significant during) impeachment investigations. i think this was at an "impeachment is in the air" date, some time before the leadership of the majority party announced that certain committee investigations were officially impeachment investigations. i took that announcement, by leadership, then, to be in response to that ongoing challenge among the courts, however frivolous it may have been shown to be in the appeals opinion.

so, if the supreme court won't hear and consider these cases until after an impeachment is concluded, will the investigatory power still be zenithing under the official impeachment notice aegis, or is that power to investigate diminished after one impeachment? i can see that mattering to some of those persons on that court, should those persons decide to view that as mattering. i think someone told me adam schiff has publicly stated that he/we/they can open more impeachment proceedings as they become necessary, which is kind of a demoralizing thing to hear from the team captain in advance of the big game, notwithstanding that i have advocated a harassing campaign of weekly serial impeachments, one article at a time, to gum up the senate. we could start with the corrupt department heads, ross, barr, perry spring to mind. i'm sure there are more. (if they're not of the president or vp, then the chief justice doesn't have to preside, according to rules; i think there's controlling authority -- nixon 1993(?) -- that lets it be done by senate subcommittee in cases of lesser officers like judges because the senate has the power to try impeachments)

either way, i guess, notwithstanding varying individual biases, tendencies, levels of honor that may be present, those nine people are going to think harder and more carefully about that array of questions they might consider, and their implications with respect to the constitutional order and tradition of jurisprudence, than any nine people in congress. those folks have strong personal and institutional incentive to preserve their institution and its reputation. surely? surely more than we have seen exhibited in the house of representatives.

i'd like the house, having received the committee articles, to hold on to them while other committees step up to headline their own hearings. more resolutions pass the judiciary committee. articles accrue. and then maybe a ruling on the total testimonial immunity claim. a pause to take in that evidence (maybe while another committee takes a turn before the cameras). and then the house will have to hold its own hearings on each article and mark up each article and pass them. at that point, they may deliver them weekly, or however quickly moscow mitch can win by causing his bloc to flagrantly disregard the prescribed oaths and dismiss each in sequence.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:48 PM on December 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


those folks have strong personal and institutional incentive to preserve their institution and its reputation. surely?

Surely you remember the year 2000, when the Supreme Court decided the case of Bush v. Gore, stating intentionally that the decision does not set precedent, but that they were going to do it anyway.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:07 AM on December 14, 2019 [15 favorites]


Impeachment is rare. Republicans’ histrionics are historic. From Dana Milbanks Impeachment Diary, WaPo
Heckuva job, Putin.
posted by mumimor at 9:27 AM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I wish for the mainstream to stop calling it histrionics or some other "there goes Trump, blowing things out of proportion again," and start calling it part and parcel to a raw exercise of power. It sounds cutesy to Milbank for Congresspeople, Senators, the President and his friends to stomp, "Well I never! Democrats delayed a vote like the tyrants they are," "Shifty Schiff and his witch hunt," and so on, but -- and I know the WaPo is never going to let one of their marquee names take the lead on this -- consider the fact that it's a short jump from what Trump is saying to what Trump wants to do. Is Trump going to put Pelosi in jail? Unlikely, but if everybody within earshot begins to demand that he do so, well who is he to stifle the democratic engine? Maybe cancel elections, it's been an issue for (prediction) OVER FOUR MONTHS so let's not be do-nothing about it. Witch hunt? Who will be the first witch sacrificed? We'll read it as a CNN BREAKING strap atop their webpage and Chyron™.

Things are building to a point to where Trump will be able to do stuff just becase he wants to, just like (e.g.) Mitch is basically stopping all voting in the Senate. Who's going to make Mitch start putting bills up for vote? Nobody. He'll just get away with it, it'll start to pale next to Stephen Miller's wet dreams and certain strata of society will go "Boy that was really something what happened back there" while driving past a disaster of a society out in the world where we all (used to) commute and go to parks.

There are people, I'm sure several in this administration, who have been studying the Constitution their entire careers, looking for holes. They're going to find them, and some have even been found, and the next time we see one exploited we'll register our surprised, say something must be done, then either fade away or learn that in fact, nothing can be done, because it's something that's actually missing from the Constituion. This is where the right's crush on Originalism starts to cause some more serious problems than what we've already seen. IANAL.

Where does Trump's power lie? Where doesn't it lie? Where doesn't it lie but society's does? I feel like these things will need to be figured out.
posted by rhizome at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


If you missed Saturday morning cartoons, here's a follow-up to Exceptional_Hubris' earlier comment wrt Rudy Giuliani's (fake)-fact-finding mission to Ukraine for One America News (OAN):
WATCH: OAN Begins Posting The Tinfoil-Hatted Fruits Of Giuliani’s Trip To Ukraine, TPM, Josh Kovensky, December 9, 2019:
...One America News began on Sunday to release clips from its trip with Giuliani last week to Budapest, Hungary and Kyiv, Ukraine. The videos present a panoply of allegations revolving around Marie Yovanovitch, George Soros, and the Franklin Templeton investment firm.

Based on interviews with deeply compromised characters such as former prosecutors general Yuriy Lutsenko and Viktor Shokin, OAN heralds the “documentary series” as debunking the impeachment narrative put forth by House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Among other things, OAN host Chanel Rion claims to have been told that 1,000 Ukrainian troops were ordered to the capital “within hours of news breaking of our presence.” She also says that the group decided to leave the country abruptly after they learned that “media was closing in on our location.”

Upon arrival at the airport, Rion added, they were greeted by dozens of black Mercedes cars. Both Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk and global right-wing boogeyman George Soros were spotted in the area, Rion reported.

A Pinchuk spokeswoman told TPM in a statement that the oligarch “vigorously den[ies]” the report. “[Pinchuk] had NO idea and NO interest when and where this crew was going to depart,” the spokeswoman told TPM. “In addition we’d like to mention that Mr Pinchuk doesn’t use Mercedes and he has no idea about the visits to Ukraine of Mr. Soros for the last several years.”

TPM could not immediately confirm the report.

Hold your nose and peek into the fever swamp here: OAN’s Chanel Rion gives debriefing on Ukraine trip, December 8, 2019 [YT].
Can You Believe This? Rudy Is Conjuring Up New Biden ‘Dirt’ In Ukraine!, TPM, Josh Kovensky, December 13, 2019:
Rudy Giuliani has yet another new anti-Joe Biden theory ready to go, conjured up during his trip to Hungary and Ukraine last week.

The latest Rudy eruption makes the fantastical and unsubstantiated allegation that the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, under the tenure of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and under the direction of Vice President Joe Biden, diverted a whopping $5.3 billion in American aid that was intended for the embattled former Soviet republic.

It gets better though. Soros is involved. Of course.

Biden and Yovanovitch, as Rudy’s theory goes, moved the funds to the embassy’s “favored” non-governmental organizations which, you may not be surprised to learn, allegedly have ties to the billionaire philanthropist and bogeyman of the right.

This latest confabulation from Rudy is similar but distinct from his other new conspiracy theory, ostensibly related to the investment firm Franklin Templeton, that he and his pro-Trump allies in the right-wing media are pushing.

This latest confabulation from Rudy is similar but distinct from his other new conspiracy theory, ostensibly related to the investment firm Franklin Templeton, that he and his pro-Trump allies in the right-wing media are pushing.

Giuliani has promoted elements of the newest theory on his Twitter account.

| The Accounts Chamber in Ukraine found an alleged misuse of $5.3B in U.S. funds
| during the Obama administration while Biden was “Point Man.”
| Obama embassy urged Ukrainian police NOT to investigate!
| Stay tuned to find out why.
| — Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 6, 2019

The Ukrainians pushing it have featured in One America News’ “documentary,” which is comprised of interviews with an array of dubious former Ukrainian officials conducted last week in Budapest and Kyiv. ...
Parts 1 and 2 of the OAN 'documentary' apparently aired on OAN TV channels December 7-8, but they haven't posted any online links to them.
posted by cenoxo at 11:06 AM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


Paranoia runs deep, into your majority it will creep:
Is a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial?
The Hill, Douglas MacKinnon, Opinion contributor, 12/14/2019

Can 20 U.S. senators withstand the potentially irresistible temptation to reverse the results of the 2016 election and remove a president a number of them openly or privately dislike?

Since Donald Trump announced his intention to run for the White House on June 16, 2015, many of the entrenched elites across the various power centers of Washington and beyond have spent many of their waking hours trying to stop or unseat him.

The political charade of an impeachment “investigation” is but the latest example. But that impeachment charade could harbor the greatest threat to Trump’s presidency.

Over the past week, I have heard from three seasoned Republicans who fear that President Trump and the West Wing are seriously underestimating the potential danger of a Senate trial. Human nature and common sense dictate that, despite the well-meaning resolution circulated by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) condemning the House impeachment process, it's important for the White House to understand that the weight of history is settling upon the shoulders of these senators — some of them quite weak — and because of that pressure, private conversations are taking place and a trap may be sprung for the president in that trial.

A potential trap set by seemingly loyal Republican senators.

Those I spoke with, like others, worry that the impeachment process, especially a potential conviction in the Senate, will forever poison the integrity of our constitutional and congressional processes and put every future president at risk of having his or her election reversed for partisan and ideological reasons.

But such is the lingering animosity about Trump by many in the GOP establishment, and there very well may be enough Republican senators willing to topple the first domino and set in motion a chain reaction — no matter the consequences.
...
We can only hope. Keep this possibility alive.
posted by cenoxo at 6:04 PM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


Not to be outdone by Mitch, now Lindsay has gone on CNN and announced:
I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here... I will do everything I can to make it die quickly.
posted by bcd at 6:05 PM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


"reverse the results of the 2016 election"

Augh. It's not reversing anything. Hillary won't magically become president should Trump be convicted, Pence will. This framing drives me nuts.
posted by litlnemo at 6:37 PM on December 14, 2019 [42 favorites]


The New York Times

Opinion

Impeach.

By The Editorial Board

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists
whose views are informed by expertise,
research, debate and certain longstanding values.
It is separate from the newsroom.


Dec. 14, 2019

[Photo - Al Drago for The New York Times]

posted by cenoxo at 6:43 PM on December 14, 2019 [10 favorites]


"reverse the results of the 2016 election"

What about the results of the 2018 election? The Democrats took control of the House in a blue wave that was largely driven by revulsion of Trump. I guess the voters only count sometimes.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:47 PM on December 14, 2019 [19 favorites]


Those I spoke with, like others, worry that the impeachment process, especially a potential conviction in the Senate, will forever poison the integrity of our constitutional and congressional processes and put every future president at risk of having his or her election reversed for partisan and ideological reasons.

Jesus. Impeachment and removal would reestablish the integrity of our constitutional and congressional processes. Trump is being impeached because he committed crimes. On TV!
posted by kirkaracha at 7:51 PM on December 14, 2019 [12 favorites]


It's not meant to make sense.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:03 PM on December 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


It seems like it's already the case that every president is at risk of having his or her election reversed for partisan and ideological reasons, anyway. Especially/particularly Democrats. This is precisely what the GOP did to Obama as much as they were able, which has been documented at length elsewhere on this site. Bill Clinton was on the receiving end of the prototype iteration.

Speaking of ideology, I think there is a pretty clear motive for pretending this is not the case and acting as if some horrible precedent might be set by impeaching Trump. This is just the kind of falsely nuanced rules lawyering smarmy bullshit deployed to shield thoughtless exercise of power we should probably have come to expect from the Trumpist wannabe-junta by now.

At the same time, this White House has precisely the level of competence necessary to sprint headlong into the Senate trial thinking it's sewn up in their favor when it really isn't. As much as I long for the et tu, Lindsey? moment, I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:48 PM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


Yeah, this "reversing the election" bullshit needs to be called out and rejected for what it is. If I get fired from my job for stealing from the company, that's not "reversing" my being hired. If I get convicted for killing somebody with my car, that's not "reversing" the results of my driver's license exam. And if a president is removed for violating their oath of office, it's not "reversing" their election. It's advancing justice and democracy.
posted by Rykey at 1:54 AM on December 15, 2019 [46 favorites]


Over the past week, I have heard from three seasoned Republicans who fear that President Trump and the West Wing are seriously underestimating the potential danger of a Senate trial. Human nature and common sense dictate that, despite the well-meaning resolution circulated by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) condemning the House impeachment process, it's important for the White House to understand that the weight of history is settling upon the shoulders of these senators — some of them quite weak — and because of that pressure, private conversations are taking place and a trap may be sprung for the president in that trial.

A potential trap set by seemingly loyal Republican senators.


That's hilarious language, from upside-down land. However if it were true (go outside, turn around three times and spit), could Mitch McConnell's statements be an attempt to bully people into submission? And if so, what can he do about it? The threat is that they can be primaried out by a Trump-sponsored idiot, but that only works for those who are up for reelection in 2020 (including Mitch himself). The rest can do whatever they want.
I can see that if you are playing a longish leadership game, having even more crazy candidates up for election next year will certainly decimate the Republicans more than if only the normal ones are up. But for the individual senator, that's a very hard game to play.
posted by mumimor at 6:24 AM on December 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


Those I spoke with, like others, worry that the impeachment process, especially a potential conviction in the Senate, will forever poison the integrity of our constitutional and congressional processes and put every future president at risk of having his or her election reversed for partisan and ideological reasons.

Haha, yeah, as felonious monk pointed out, that ship sailed with Bill Clinton. I don't intend to re-litigate whether he should have been impeached on the charges he was, but the fact is that the Republicans' entire investigation was meant to come up with a pretext for impeaching him, and when the Whitewater investigation came up empty, they went with what they had.

As far as reversing the results of the election goes, there's also the fact that nearly three million more people voted for Trump's opponent, and he squeaked into office on an Electoral College technicality, so even if the point were otherwise valid (Ron Howard narrator voice: It isn't), there's the fact that the American people wanted someone else.

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was genuinely popular. Republicans have bluffed the so-called "liberal media" into assuming that that's the default state for decades no, but the fact is that Trump is not and never has been popular, and neither is the Republican agenda of "transfer the other half of the nation's wealth to the top 1%." Republicans are good at pretending they're more popular than they are, and the media is good at believing it, but as the 2018 elections showed, decent, loyal Americans are not at all on board.
posted by Gelatin at 6:53 AM on December 15, 2019 [9 favorites]


What’s Different About This Impeachment (Nicholas Kristof, NYT Opinion)
It’s not the offense, but rather one party’s rejection of reality.
Republicans at the time made much of the argument that Clinton’s misconduct made him morally unfit for the presidency. But if that’s the standard for impeachment, then what do we make of a president who is a serial liar, apparently committed tax fraud, has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 25 women and paid a porn star $130,000 in hush money to keep their affair from voters? Or who just this month was forced to pay $2 million after “a shocking pattern of illegality” involving the use of his charity to promote his own interests? [...]

The famous quote that everyone remembers from Watergate (said by a Republican!) is, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?” That is never asked this time around, as Representative Eric Swalwell has noted, because we largely agree that President Trump knew everything from the start. It was Trump himself who pressured Ukraine and, in a rough transcript we have all seen, who asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

[...] After the Watergate break-in, there was no immediate epiphany about its seriousness. Nixon was re-elected that fall by a huge margin. [...] It wasn’t until just before Nixon’s resignation that a majority favored his removal from office.

Yet now we regard Nixon’s behavior with widespread revulsion, and someday I believe we will feel similarly about Trump’s. I worry about the political consequences of impeachment, but still favor it as a way to create accountability and establish norms against abuses of power to interfere in elections.

What’s different from Watergate is not the nature of the misconduct, but the shamelessness of the defense.
posted by katra at 9:05 AM on December 15, 2019 [14 favorites]


the shamelessness of the defense.

Lindsey Graham invites Rudy Giuliani to Judiciary panel to discuss recent Ukraine visit (Politico)
“Rudy, if you want to come and tell us what you found, I'll be glad to talk to you,” Graham said. “We can look at what Rudy's got and Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and anything else you want to look at after impeachment. But if Rudy wants to come to the Judiciary Committee and testify about what he found, he's welcome to do so.”
Emphasis added. And in related news: Schiff: Acquittal in impeachment would not be a failure (Politico)
He also said that the misconduct has not stopped. “So this misconduct goes on, the threat to our election integrity coming up goes on,” he said.
The lies have it: Republicans abandon truth in Trump impeachment defence (David Smith, Guardian)
This is further augmented by social media. Under the headline “Fact-based impeachment can’t penetrate the pro-Trump Web”, the Washington Post highlighted how Friday’s impeachment hearing was watched by a private Facebook group with more than 75,000 members under the banner “The Trump deplorables”.

It reported: “The defense mounted by Trump’s allies made perfect sense to those following live on social media, in groups sealed off from general scrutiny, where facts are established by volume, and confirmation comes from likes. The effect of social media is to jack up the tenor of everything.”

This calibrated, multi-pronged Republican assault has left the nation in what some call a state of “truth decay” as all sense of shared reality breaks down. The tactics offer a chilling preview of how the president intends to fight next year’s election.
posted by katra at 9:31 AM on December 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was genuinely popular.

Just a correction since this is a myth propagated by Republicans. True, Reagan was revered by Republicans, much like Trump, but not the nation as a whole. His approval numbers dipped into the 30s during the early 80s Volcker recession and into the 40s for his last two years as a result of the Iran-Contra scandal.

Reagan's numbers across his administration were about on par with Clinton and Obama. Republicans deify Reagan but nobody else should.
posted by JackFlash at 9:42 AM on December 15, 2019 [32 favorites]


Yeah, one of the hard parts of getting older is witnessing the deification of Reagan.
posted by mumimor at 9:53 AM on December 15, 2019 [12 favorites]


witnessing the deification of Reagan

Along with the collective amnesia about George W. Bush ever having been president.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:58 AM on December 15, 2019 [7 favorites]


But Reagan's popularity was distributed. It's not like the rural / urban divide of Trump's popularity.
posted by xammerboy at 9:59 AM on December 15, 2019


Reagan won 58.5% of the popular vote in 1984 and won the electoral vote 525 to 13. Even Mass voted for him. No republican could ever hope to get near a number like that now.
posted by octothorpe at 10:03 AM on December 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


But Reagan's popularity was distributed. It's not like the rural / urban divide of Trump's popularity.

Not particularly different. Republicans loved him and Democrats hated him, same as now. The rural/urban divide isn't anything new. It has intensified over the years as the rural areas get poorer and the cities get richer, but that isn't really different.
posted by JackFlash at 10:07 AM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


‘We’ve seen enough’: More than a dozen editorial boards call for Trump’s impeachment (WaPo)
Many papers backing impeachment have described a slow-building choice amid hearings into whether Trump abused his position to pressure a foreign power for personal political gain. [...] The list includes the Los Angeles Times, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Tampa Bay Times, the Orlando Sentinel, the Boston Globe, the New York Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Chronicle. [...]

Papers silent so far on moving impeachment to the Senate have also been willing to criticize Trump and his supporters. The [Houston] Chronicle argued for an impeachment inquiry even before the Ukraine scandal, pointing to revelations from the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Trump is “dangerously reckless,” the Arizona Republic has said. The Columbus Dispatch blasted Republicans who called the impeachment inquiry unconstitutional, saying they are “willing to assault our democracy in order to preserve their places in it."
posted by katra at 10:25 AM on December 15, 2019 [10 favorites]


The Ukrainian gas company/election corruption that Giuliani is decidedly NOT talking about: Ukrainian foreign influence operation bankrolled by secret donors in coordinated effort <OpenSecrets

In which Yulia "Nazi Braids" Tymoshenko of the Fatherland Party is backed by shell company money in her pursuit of support from US interests and promising them liquified natural gas industry play in Ukraine. All the usual suspects show up.

" Tymoshenko gained international attention after special counsel Robert Mueller uncovered Paul Manafort’s role in an influence operation targeting her with disinformation. She was again thrust into the spotlight after a former National Security Council official’s Oct. 30 testimony before House impeachment investigators noted that a foreign agent representing Tymoshenko was pushing for the ouster of then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
That foreign agent, former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.), was hired by ITBC just weeks after the Maryland-based company’s 2018 incorporation. The secretive limited-liability company’s ties to Tymoshenko were not revealed until July 2018, when the Livingston Group distributed a letter proposing that Tymoshenko meet with Trump.
Livingston told ABC News “there was no connection between our clients nor of our efforts and those of [Rudy] Giuliani.” But records show that one of the Livingston Group’s foreign agents, former Rep. Bob McEwen, introduced Trump’s personal lawyer to Tymoshenko, as first reported by OpenSecrets in May.
“She wanted to meet with me because she wanted me to support her for president,” Giuliani later told CNN. “She probably wanted me to tell the President that she was the best one to win.” Giuliani told OpenSecrets by text that he did not support any candidate in Ukraine’s 2019 presidential election, adding “but I do like her and respect her.”
posted by Harry Caul at 10:26 AM on December 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


‘We’ve seen enough’: More than a dozen editorial boards call for Trump’s impeachment

I'm not impressed. Over 500 newspapers endorsed Clinton compared to 30 endorsing Trump in 2016. I don't think newspaper editorials carry much weight these days.
posted by JackFlash at 10:58 AM on December 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


Over 500 newspapers endorsed Clinton compared to 30 endorsing Trump in 2016. I don't think newspaper editorials carry much weight these days.

Hillary Clinton Officially Wins Popular Vote by Nearly 2.9 Million (ABC News)
posted by katra at 11:08 AM on December 15, 2019 [9 favorites]


Tymoshenko has long been a target of Russian disinformation and has suffered significant persecution, including imprisonment and torture.

And Opensecrets is bullshit.
posted by adept256 at 11:24 AM on December 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


Over 500 newspapers endorsed Clinton compared to 30 endorsing Trump in 2016. I don't think newspaper editorials carry much weight these days.

Newspapers exist within the reality-based universe, while the GOP exists within a universe where power makes itself into reality. They know that their base does not read newspaper editorials and thinks that people who do read them are suspicious and probably traitors.

So the Republicans don't care, and will bend the world to their (heinous, vicious) will if they can.

In that sense, yes, newspaper editorials don't matter at all.
posted by dis_integration at 11:30 AM on December 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


On impeachment, Democrats can put Republicans on defense. Here’s how.
Following [the 1999] model, Reynolds says, Senate Democrats could now demand that Senate Republicans agree to a similar process: one that would allow for votes during the trial on requests from House managers to admit documents that the impeachment inquiry subpoenaed — but was denied.

That process could also allow a vote during the trial (per requests from the House managers) on whether to hear testimony from witnesses like Mulvaney, Bolton, Giuliani and others.

Democrats could demand that the Senate hold a vote on setting up such a process. If McConnell allowed such a vote, and it passed by simple majority, that process would structure the impeachment trial, Reynolds notes.

McConnell could of course refuse, and instead call a full Senate vote on a process that precludes witness testimony and the soliciting of documents — which McConnell reportedly favors, because he wants a quick trial with no circuslike calls for Hunter Biden’s head — and no damning new revelations. If that passed by simple majority, that would become the process.

Of course, McConnell might not have 51 votes for such a process — because a handful of vulnerable GOP senators might balk at voting for something so obviously rigged to protect Trump. Indeed, reporting indicates he doesn’t have those votes yet — which means he can’t yet do what he promised Hannity he’d do.
posted by rhizome at 11:32 AM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


Senate GOP defends Trump, despite oath to be impartial impeachment jurors (WaPo)
Senate GOP leaders have been telling allies that they want to limit the trial to a short proceeding, omitting any witnesses from testifying. That isn’t sitting well with House Democratic leaders, who contend that senators should use their trial to secure evidence and testimony that the White House prevented House investigators from accessing. [...] Nadler added that senators should “demand the testimony” of people like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, “who at the president’s instruction have refused to testify.”

There are some Senate Republicans who want to hear from witnesses at the trial. But they aren’t thinking about Pompeo, Mulvaney and Bolton; they’re thinking about the whistleblower and Hunter Biden.

“You can be sure we’re going to allow the president to defend himself,” Cruz said, adding: “That means, I believe, if the president wants to call witnesses, if the president wants to call Hunter Biden or wants to call the whistleblower, the senate should allow the president to do so.”
Trump impeachment: Democrats fume as Republicans rally behind president (Guardian)
Jerry Nadler, chair of the judiciary committee which drew up the articles of impeachment after Schiff’s intelligence panel staged hearings, told ABC Trump posed “a continuing threat to the integrity of our elections now”. Asked why impeachment mattered if the outcome in the Senate was a foregone conclusion, he said: “This is not a one-off. Impeachment is not a punishment for past behaviour.

“This president sought foreign interference in the 2016 election, he is openly seeking foreign interference in the 2020 election and he poses a continuing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections to our democratic system itself. “We cannot permit that to continue.”
posted by katra at 11:32 AM on December 15, 2019 [9 favorites]


The juxtaposition of rhizome and katra's comments is perfect.

"Here is how Democrats could shame Republicans, if Republicans had a sense of shame."

"Here is how Republicans will drink Democratic tears."
posted by tonycpsu at 11:39 AM on December 15, 2019 [19 favorites]


And Open Secrets is bullshit.
Well they'll be surprised and saddened to hear that.
posted by Harry Caul at 1:21 PM on December 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


This ain't it, Dems.

That's 30 freshman Democrats, or roughly 13% of the Democratic caucus. Keep that in mind when blaming leadership for poor strategery.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:59 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


Hard disagree. Past impeachments have used over a dozen House managers, so the role wouldn't make Amash the guy, merely part of a team. And he's been consistently, intelligently anti-Trump, including making strong arguments for impeachment well before the Dem leadership got on board. I don't want to put him in charge of a committee or anything, because being anti-Trump is pretty much all he's right about, but there's no healthcare policy angle to the impeachment proceeding. It's his one strength as a Dem ally and we should use it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:11 PM on December 15, 2019 [13 favorites]


If 233 House managers were required, I would absolutely put Amash in as the 233rd. Short of that, no Republican belongs in any leadership role in impeachment proceedings. He can show his bona fides during the floor debate, and by casting a vote in favor of impeachment, but this club should be for Democrats only. In 2019, bipartisanship is a sickness.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:48 PM on December 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


Amash is in no way an ally. He is slightly embarrassed by Trump's twitter activities but he has voted for every Trump legislative initiative right down the line as a loyal Republican, including the Trump tax cuts for the rich and for Obamacare repeal.

He's like all NeverTrumpers. Loves Trump's policies but not necessarily his histrionics. It's appearances that offend him.
posted by JackFlash at 4:46 PM on December 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


If there’s any chance of removing Trump from office, it’s going to require votes from senators that love his policies but think the histrionics have gone too far. I don’t think anyone believes Amash to be an “ally” to the Dem’s, they simply understand that the enemy of our enemy can be genuinely useful even if they’re not our friend.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:22 PM on December 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


Right, exactly, convicting Trump would require votes from not simply not-allies but active enemies.

Nobody believes that will happen but it is what would be required.
posted by Justinian at 5:25 PM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Amash is not a senator so is useless garbage. No Republican senator is going to be influenced by a Republican traitor in the House.

From the Democrats point of view Amash is and always will be a Republican. But from the Republican view he's a dirty traitor.
posted by JackFlash at 5:44 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


He's like all NeverTrumpers. Loves Trump's policies but not necessarily his histrionics. It's appearances that offend him.

Three things worth pointing out here. First, Amash is at minimum a more serious Never Trumper than any other Republican or former Republican in an actual elected position in the federal government. Have any other elected Republicans (as opposed to pundits such as George Will) officially left the party because of Trump? Have any other elected Republicans called for Trump's impeachment?

Second, while Amash is conservative with respect to economic / redistributive policies, he has been one of the most liberal members of the 116th Congress with respect to "other votes" according to DW Nominate. And specifically, his overall party loyalty in the 116th Congress has been 63%, as compared with 92% for the median House Republican.

Third, there has to be space for people who think that Trump has done things that go well beyond "histrionics" and into impeachable acts while still disagreeing with us about economic and social policies. I don't think that's just about appearances. It takes seriously that Trump's abuses of power and contempt for the Constitution and rule of law must be resisted, regardless of his policies. I take it Amash occupies that space. And I think we should be trying to grow that space, not shrink it.

I'm not sure whether all of that adds up to giving Amash an important role in the impeachment process. But I don't think the newbie House Democrats are making an obvious mistake by suggesting that Amash be part of a team presenting the case to the Senate.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 5:57 PM on December 15, 2019 [28 favorites]


I have to say I'm unmoved by the chorus of "pfft, I don't like it." reasoning.

In other news:

@SahilKapur: New: Chuck Schumer writes a letter asking Mitch McConnell to call up Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton, among others, to testify at the Senate impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.
posted by rhizome at 6:31 PM on December 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


Second, while Amash is conservative with respect to economic / redistributive policies, he has been one of the most liberal members of the 116th Congress with respect to "other votes" according to DW Nominate. And specifically, his overall party loyalty in the 116th Congress has been 63%, as compared with 92% for the median House Republican. Third, there has to be space for people who think that Trump has done things that go well beyond "histrionics" and into impeachable acts while still disagreeing with us about economic and social policies.

The "other votes" second dimension of DW-Nominate currently explains about 2% of roll-call voting; DW-Nominate is overwhelmingly dominated by a single, partisan dimension these days. The "space" for folks who vote with Trump and Republicans 63% of the time is the howling wilderness of Independent, not a party for whom that amounts to hundreds of votes for evil.
posted by chortly at 6:41 PM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


> I have to say I'm unmoved by the chorus of "pfft, I don't like it." reasoning.

If this snark is in response to the Amash nonsense, I'm afraid the burden of proof is on those who wish to push aside a Democrat to make room for a member of the President's political party at a time when Democrats are already losing a member over this very issue. Party unity matters, and it's in short supply these days. The one thing most Democrats can agree on is that Trump deserves to be impeached. What value can Amash realistically bring, even under the assumption that he operates in good faith the entire time?

Participating in this event is a privilege. Amash being on the team means that a Democrat is not on the team. That is not a trade worth making for an appearance of bipartisanship that will convince no one.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:30 PM on December 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


Amash being on the team means that a Democrat is not on the team. That is not a trade worth making for an appearance of bipartisanship that will convince no one.

I suppose a lot of the calculation depends on whether it's true that bipartisanship here will convince no one. Seems to me that the appearance of bipartisanship affects the way media covers the case. I'd also like to know whether Amash's presentation of the case resonates with conservative voters, especially in Michigan (where he's a representative), Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

We also need to know the value in the other pan of the balance. What's the value of having the next Democrat on the team, as opposed to Amash? Your framing makes it sound like Van Drew is switching parties because he wasn't allowed to participate in the impeachment or isn't being properly valued by the Democratic Party leaders or something. But he's switching parties because he opposes impeachment, in part at least because he thinks it's unpopular in his district. Right? Am I missing something here?

I guess I'd like to know what evidence we might look for that could push one way or the other. Have there been any focus groups on reactions to Amash's presentation of the case against Trump? How does polling in his district look? Etc.

I'm not sure I trust Amash enough to have him on the team prosecuting the case against Trump. But at the same time, I think there's potentially some considerable upside to including him.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 9:16 PM on December 15, 2019 [7 favorites]


Senate Democrats want to subpoena four witnesses in the impeachment trial (Li Zhou, Vox)
Those witnesses are acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Mulvaney’s senior advisor Robert Blair, and Associate Director for National Security at the Office of Management and Budget Michael Duffey. They’re all current or former members of President Donald Trump’s administration who have direct knowledge of his discussions with Ukraine about political investigations and military aid. All four were called to testify as part of the House inquiry, though they declined to show up.
These four were mentioned in a letter Schumer has sent (PDF download) to McConnell outlining how Democrats wish to handle the trial.
In his letter to McConnell, Schumer explains what he envisions the rules resolution looking like for the Trump trial, including the schedule of the proceedings, the witnesses he’s interested in subpoenaing, and the documents he’d like to request from the White House. He notes that, unlike in the Clinton trial, Democrats are interested in one resolution that includes provisions governing all three issues.
See letter or article for more details.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:23 PM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


According to the Washington Post article linked above, is an Independent who left the Republican Party earlier this year.
The thinking, according to these people, is that Amash would reach conservative voters in a way Democrats can’t, potentially bolstering their case to the public. He also would provide Democrats cover from GOP accusations that they’re pursuing a partisan impeachment; Amash is one of the most conservative members of the House and a vocal Trump critic.
...
Democrats supportive of the idea — a group that includes conservative Blue Dogs as well as liberal members — applaud Amash for his courage in standing up to Trump and his own party. While Amash was not part of the House investigative process, he’s a former lawyer known for his strict interpretations of the Constitution and is well-versed in the writings of the Founding Fathers.

Democrats also argue that Amash’s vastly different views on policy also make him a prime choice.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:46 PM on December 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


> I suppose a lot of the calculation depends on whether it's true that bipartisanship here will convince no one. Seems to me that the appearance of bipartisanship affects the way media covers the case.

We don't really have a lot of natural experiments on impeachment floor proceedings to test your assertion, but given how complaints about partisanship tend to be very one-sided, it seems to me that a single GOP defector isn't going to be a very compelling story. Maybe he becomes the star of the show and has a viral video moment or something, but the odds seem long given that it's always Democrats that concessions are demanded from, not Republicans.

> I'd also like to know whether Amash's presentation of the case resonates with conservative voters, especially in Michigan (where he's a representative), Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. [...] I guess I'd like to know what evidence we might look for that could push one way or the other. Have there been any focus groups on reactions to Amash's presentation of the case against Trump? How does polling in his district look? Etc.

The data we have on this is very limited, but what we do have suggests it's not going to go well for him in his home district:
MI-03: Last month, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash became the first congressional Republican to call for an impeachment inquiry into Trump, and the first publicly available poll since then indicates he's in for trouble if he tries to seek re-election as a Republican. MIRS News has published a survey from Practical Political Consultants that finds Amash trailing his GOP primary challenger, state Rep. James Lower, by a 49-33 margin. MIRS informs us that the pollster isn't affiliated with any candidate in the district, and that the head-to-head matchup had a sample size of 335 likely GOP primary voters surveyed from June 5-9. The poll did not test Afghanistan veteran Tom Norton, who is also in the race.
Now, that doesn't mean that purplish districts in Ohio or here in Pennsylvania won't respond differently, but the act doesn't seem to be playing well for him at home, and living here in Western PA, I can't see how it would do any good here, either.

> What's the value of having the next Democrat on the team, as opposed to Amash?

Aside from the intangibles of letting a member of the party be part of something important vs. someone who disagrees with the party on basically everything else, it's quite likely that Democrats have a much more cohesive strategy that Amash may or may not want to be a part of. He could at any point decide to go off script -- not even in a trying-to-tank-the-whole-thing kind of way, but just in a "my way is better, so screw what Nancy and Jerry and Adam and whoever else say." It's a whole lot of risk and uncertainty to throw into the mix to be able to technically say a Republican was part of the show.

> Your framing makes it sound like Van Drew is switching parties because he wasn't allowed to participate in the impeachment or isn't being properly valued by the Democratic Party leaders or something. But he's switching parties because he opposes impeachment, in part at least because he thinks it's unpopular in his district. Right? Am I missing something here?

That wasn't my intent. Van Drew is obviously switching parties because he's a spineless fuck who'd happily watch the world burn if it got him another term. But regardless of his reasons, he's one less vote for impeachment, and the media is certainly loving the chance to do the Dems in Disarray dance again. Now add to that letting a Republican take a starring role in what is, in addition to being a very important in American history, the culmination of years of hard work on the part of Democrats. I just don't see it being received well by the rank and file of the party.

> I'm not sure I trust Amash enough to have him on the team prosecuting the case against Trump. But at the same time, I think there's potentially some considerable upside to including him.

To be meaningful in any way, the ceiling on that upside has to be enough to get Republican votes for impeachment in the Senate. I'm really having trouble imagining a sequence of events that starts with Justin Amash as a floor manager and ends up with Mitch McConnell not literally choking the shit out of any Senate Republican who tries to vote to convict Trump in a Senate trial.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:25 PM on December 15, 2019 [7 favorites]


I'm not surprised that Amash is having a bad time in his district, but the question I'd like to have answered is slightly different. I'd like to know how if at all his position on impeachment has affected conservative opinion in his district. If conservative opinion in similar districts runs 90-10 against but in his district it runs 80-20 against or 70-30 against, that would (I think) be some evidence that he is an effective messenger to conservatives with respect to impeachment. Similarly, if in a focus group panel of conservatives who listen to an Amash presentation on impeachment, 7 out of 10 oppose impeachment when the baseline is 9 out of 10, that would be some evidence that he is an effective messenger. Etc.

I don't expect Amash will or could convince a majority of Republican voters that impeachment is a good idea. And I definitely don't expect he'll sway anyone in the Senate. But I don't think that's how to measure his value. I think his value is measured by how many conservative voters he would convince on the margin. (What I want is an estimate of how many votes he moves as compared with having a team consisting entirely of Democratic representatives.) So, I disagree with you about what meaningful upside would look like in this case. Without a miracle of some sort, the Senate is a lost cause. So the Senate isn't really the politically interesting question at this point. The question is how the trial affects voters going into the 2020 election.

I agree with you on risk, and I think that is the strongest reason against. Probably the risk is enough on its own to make Amash a bad idea on balance. I also accept the following conditional: If the rank and file aren't on board with having Amash on the team, then he shouldn't be on the team. Convince me of the antecedent, and I'll be convinced entirely! We started this conversation with 30 Democratic representatives saying they liked the idea. Was that getting lots of push-back from other Democratic representatives?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 12:11 AM on December 16, 2019 [7 favorites]


Last week: The rules to this process have been a ridiculous partisan sham!

This week: For our first rule, the senate floor is lava.
posted by adept256 at 5:34 AM on December 16, 2019 [23 favorites]


Find your local Impeach and Remove rally across the United States, tomorrow night, Tuesday Dec 17, 5:30 pm local time.
posted by Sublimity at 6:05 AM on December 16, 2019 [13 favorites]


Democrats accuse Trump of criminal bribery in report accompanying articles of impeachment
Democrats accuse Trump of criminal bribery in a 658-page report released early Monday that explains the two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — that the full House is scheduled to consider on Wednesday.
...
“The first Article of Impeachment charged President Trump with an abuse of power as that constitutional offense has long been understood,” the report says. “While there is no need for a crime to be proven in order for impeachment to be warranted, here, President Trump’s scheme or course of conduct also encompassed other offenses, both constitutional and criminal in character, and it is appropriate for the Committee to recognize such offenses in assessing the question of impeachment.”

“Applying the constitutional definition of ‘Bribery’ here, there can be little doubt that it is satisfied,” it continues. “President Trump solicited President Zelensky for a ‘favor’ of great personal value to him; he did so corruptly; and he did so in a scheme to influence his own official actions respecting the release of military and security assistance and the offer of a White House meeting. Although President Trump’s actions need not rise to the level of a criminal violation to justify impeachment, his conduct here was criminal.”
We didn't include a bribery article because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by kirkaracha at 6:39 AM on December 16, 2019 [10 favorites]


Strategy advice from John Dean (via Will Bunch (via Atrios)):
Sending out again: Let’s impeach him now and NOT send it to the Senate rather keep investigating in the House, and add such supplemental articles as needed! Just let it hang over his head. If the worst happens and he is re-elected, send it to the Senate. But keep investigating!!
Dean is not alone in suggesting this. There’s a growing sense among those who believe that Congress has a duty -- both to the American people and to future presidents -- to call out high crimes and misdemeanors that impeachment is actually the be-all-and-end-all sanction, considering that a kangaroo court awaits in McConnell’s Senate. Indeed, people with access to Trump say that -- while he believes impeachment will help him in the 2020 campaign (and he may be right) -- he also sees the looming vote as a huge humiliation. As it should be.

But if the realistic goal of impeachment is not to remove Trump from office but to define both his legacy and the limits of presidential power for the history textbooks, it should also be more thorough and all-inclusive, Thus, Dean’s rallying cry to “Keep investigating!” I agree. For example, not impeaching Trump for his massive violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments clause -- an issue that’s been dropped in the race to a Ukraine impeachment -- might make it easier for future presidents to profit off the vast power of the White House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a brilliant strategist but not an outside-the-box thinker. It’s hard to imagine Pelosi and the Democratic leadership embracing a radical idea like Dean’s -- but they should. And it’s not only because impeachment is the sanction that Trump and America needs right now, while an exoneration in the Senate would be dangerous for democracy.

It’s also a great idea because -- by impeaching Trump and not sending the articles to the Senate for a trial -- it allows Democrats to hold the trial over the head of the president for the rest of his term. That prospect addresses a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds: What if the president is cleared by the Senate and immediately commits an even worse crime?
posted by tonycpsu at 6:55 AM on December 16, 2019 [20 favorites]


It’s also a great idea because -- by impeaching Trump and not sending the articles to the Senate for a trial -- it allows Democrats to hold the trial over the head of the president for the rest of his term. That prospect addresses a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds: What if the president is cleared by the Senate and immediately commits an even worse crime?

We do have precedent for this, unfortunately. Thanks Donald.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:21 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Looking ahead: After impeachment and acquittal, expect a vicious Republican counterattack (Heather Digby Parton, Salon)
Republicans don't even pretend to care about laws or norms now. What they unleash after this could be really ugly […]

It's clear that impeachment is just a bump in the road for Trump and the Republicans. Once it's over, they plan to continue with the lies and smears and betrayals without even taking a breath. The main lesson [Republicans] have learned from his leadership is that it's a waste of time to even pretend to care about the rule of law or the Constitution unless it serves their partisan political needs. That ugly genie is out of the bottle now, and I don't know what it will take to put it back in.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:29 AM on December 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


After impeachment and acquittal, expect a vicious Republican counterattack

I've been expecting that since November 2016, and I haven't been wrong yet.
posted by Etrigan at 7:40 AM on December 16, 2019 [11 favorites]


Impeach and then hold the articles pending possible further articles of impeachment. Point out the Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on tax returns for March with a ruling likely in June. Let the GOP explain and defend the delay.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 7:49 AM on December 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


Say that it wouldn't be proper for the Senate to vote on such a weighty issue so close to the election, before the people can have their say. Call it the McConnell rule.
posted by InfidelZombie at 7:57 AM on December 16, 2019 [10 favorites]


Don’t get cute.

If you impeach, appoint some managers (typically a dozen or so) and get going.

If the defense is going to be Full Smear Biden let’s get it over with before Super Tuesday.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:01 AM on December 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


Democrats accuse Trump of criminal bribery in report accompanying articles of impeachment

If you can’t get past WaPo’s paywall to their report link, here’s a direct House link to the 658 page document posted on 12/16/2019:
- - - - -
IMPEACHMENT OF DONALD JOHN TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
DECEMBER --, 2019.—Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed
Mr. NADLER, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following
REPORT together with DISSENTING VIEWS
[To accompany H. Res. 755]

https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20191216/CRPT-116hrpt346.pdf

The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the resolution (H. Res. 755) impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors, having con- sidered the same, reports favorably thereon pursuant to H. Res. 660 with an amendment and recommends that the resolution as amended be agreed to.
The amendment is as follows: ...
- - - - -
posted by cenoxo at 8:04 AM on December 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


"Partisans argue past each other during impeachment proceedings" stories are pretty comfortable for the media. My hope is that Amash becoming an impeachment manager may give them an incremental push away from this bad framing.

We have every indication that Amash is driven by principles rather than cynical opportunism, which means that in the narrow context of impeachment, Dems can count on him acting in alignment with them and in good faith. Susan Hennessey believes his legal skills would be an asset as well.
posted by Jpfed at 8:14 AM on December 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


Senators have a choice: convict Trump or crown him (David Cay Johnston, Salon/DCR)
Letting Trump get away with contempt of Congress will make the legislative branch as irrelevant as the Roman Senate
Aside from comparisons to Rome, the article makes an appeal to Senators to consider the precedent that letting Trump off the hook would create. I suspect that Republican Senators don't care or look that far forward. Might be better to appeal to their sense of vanity and point out that acquitting Trump would reinforce the idea that he owns each and every one of them.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:20 AM on December 16, 2019 [7 favorites]


Has a FOIA ever been submitted simply for checks issued by the federal government to Trump-owned companies? Domestic emoluments is the simplest argument to make - the constitution allows for a salary to the President and that’s it - no other payments are allowed. All we need is a copy of the check stub to prove a violation. This doesn’t require parsing earning statements and there is no congressional approval out clause like there is with foreign emoluments.

Considering how quickly things moved on the Ukraine issue, there is no excuse why there shouldn’t be significant information known at this point to congress and the public about room stays, conference room bookings, etc. There haven some news reports about Secret Service at Mar-A-Lago and AF pilots staying at a resort in Scotland. Not to mention Barr’s holiday party at Trump DC. But I’ve seen very little in the way of actual dollars.

This is a failure of House Democrats that we don’t have this information to add to the existing articles of impeachment.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:26 AM on December 16, 2019 [11 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler (@emptywheeler on Twitter) makes the case for Amash; I feel she makes some good points. Whether or not he would be a net positive is beyond my ability to speculate, but if he ends up being chosen at least it seems there are reasons besides "hey let's look bipartisan!"
posted by mikepop at 8:27 AM on December 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


Fox News Poll: Trump job approval ticks up, views on impeachment steady (Dana Blanton, Fox News)

Apparently, the polling operation is not directed by the news operation.
Currently, 45 percent of voters approve of the job Trump’s doing, up from 42 percent in late October. Over half, 53 percent, disapprove. That lands the president almost exactly where he started the year, as 43 percent approved and 54 percent disapproved in January.

The poll, conducted Sunday through Wednesday, also finds 50 percent want Trump impeached and removed from office, 4 percent say impeached but not removed, and 41 percent oppose impeaching him altogether.
Results and methodology on Scribd.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:34 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Wheeler is great at evaluating legal matters, but much like the Lawfare crew, often suffers from Engineer's disease when it comes to assessing politics. The idea that Amash could conceivably flip Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz is farcical. These men have shown their true colors, and they are all-in on Trumpism. Mike Lee's a Trump 2020 campaign co-chair, for fuck's sake. They've all kissed the ring at this point, and there's no going back.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:35 AM on December 16, 2019 [21 favorites]


Judiciary Committee impeachment report alleges Trump committed 'multiple federal crimes' (Politico)
President Donald Trump committed criminal bribery and wire fraud, the House Judiciary Committee alleges in a report that will accompany articles of impeachment this week.

The report, a 169-page assessment of the case for Trump’s removal from office, contends that Trump committed “multiple federal crimes” — ones that Democrats addressed under the broad umbrella of “abuse of power,” the first article of impeachment against the president.

“Although President Trump’s actions need not rise to the level of a criminal violation to justify impeachment, his conduct here was criminal,” the panel’s Democrats argue, labeling Trump’s behavior “both constitutional and criminal in character” and contending that the president “betrayed the people of this nation” and should be removed from office. [...]

Democrats emphasized that proving a criminal violation is not required to justify impeachment. “The Framers were not fools. They authorized impeachment for a reason, and that reason would have been gutted if impeachment were limited to crimes,” the report states. [...]

The committee contends that Trump’s actions were part of a pattern than began with his “welcoming” of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and continues to this day. In fact, the panel’s Democrats cite his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s trip to Ukraine just last week as evidence that Trump intends to continue the alleged scheme. Trump’s lack of remorse over the Ukraine allegations, Democrats claim, is evidence that he poses a “continuing threat if left in office.”
posted by katra at 8:41 AM on December 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


i have precisely zero time for political analyses that focus on reasoning rather than power. the united states senate isn’t a debating club, it’s a seat of power. it’s a place where power is seized and where power is exercised. insofar as people in the senate — indeed, in any legislature &mdash: follow abstract principles, they do it only within the field of possibility allowed them by the power blocs available to them. anyone who thinks of politics primarily in terms of principles and reasoned argumentation is basically a patsy.

that’s the chief reason why i have found myself increasingly unable to follow federal level united states politics for any span of time. so much of the coverage is deliberately blind to the actual politics going on. it’s infuriating. it’s infuriating because it’s anger-making to see people who get paid good money to write write dumb things, and it’s infuriating because the dumb press is through its dumbness an accomplice to the crimes of the powerful. no, wait, not the crimes of the powerful, the evils of the powerful — this is about morality, not the law, except insofar as the law is a tool to enforce morality.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:50 AM on December 16, 2019 [37 favorites]


Media pushes 'Dems in disarray' over impeachment—again (Eric Boehlert, Daily Kos Community)
Poised to pass two articles of impeachment in the full House this week, Democrats have remained extraordinarily united throughout the process while nearly half the country stands in favor of taking the drastic action of removing Donald Trump from office. Yet press coverage in recent days has suggested (surprise!) that Democrats are in a state of disarray, a favorite fallback position for much of the Beltway media, where Democrats are constantly portrayed as scrambling and being outsmarted by Trump and the GOP. In the process of focusing on Democrats and the alleged struggles impeachment presents, news outlets continue to eliminate Republicans from the entire process. The GOP, apparently, faces no impeachment fallout, only Democrats.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:25 AM on December 16, 2019 [9 favorites]


Senators have a choice: convict Trump or crown him

TIME’s King Me. cover, June 18, 2018 (by artist Tim O’Brien).

It’s missing the thorns, though.
posted by cenoxo at 11:01 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


A Senate Impeachment Trial Isn't Really a Trial and It Was Never Meant to Be, Harlow Giles Unger, History News Network [Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Georgetown University], 12/15/19:
Can a trial be called a trial if…
  • …as many as one hundred men and women who share the same workplace sit on the jury--after openly discussing the case with each other, the public, and the press?
  • If some jurors are close friends or bitter foes--of each other and the defendant?
  • If the defendant has helped some jurors obtain jobs?
  • If the defendant appointed the judge to the bench?
  • If the judge cannot rule from the bench or control the course of the trial?
  • If conviction requires only a two-thirds majority of jurors?
  • If the only penalty is unenforceable removal of the defendant from his job?
Obviously not!

Nor was it meant to be.

The proceeding described above was designed for one and only one person: the President of the United States of America, and it was not meant to punish but to deter further wrongdoing. It was the Constitutional Convention’s attempt to solve an insoluble dilemma: how to give one or two governmental branches the power to prevent wrongdoing by a third branch in a government of three separate-but-equal branches.

The very question was a contradiction in terms, and the Founders knew it. They realized that only those who elected the President should have power to remove him—presumably by voting him out of office at the end of his four-year term. But they sought a more immediate remedy in case the President’s actions presented a present danger.
...
Any criminal prosecutions come after impeachment, which – as stated previously in these ITMFA threads – may be one reason why The Don is so afraid of getting put back on the street. YOU’RE FIRED!
posted by cenoxo at 12:01 PM on December 16, 2019 [14 favorites]


If the only penalty is unenforceable removal of the defendant from his job?

Why does this keep getting assumed? If a citizen is in the White House without authorization I'd think there would be some pretty well understood procedure for removing that person whether it's police or the secret service.

Having been president doesn't imbue that person with special powers and we can only get them to leave if they agree to go.

I mean, if I managed to sneak my way into the White House, plopped my ass down behind the resolute desk and told everyone I was the President of the US and refused to leave everyone is confident that I'd be forcibly removed right? Well, if they manage to convict that asshole then no matter what he says or does he is no longer president of the US, his orders are no longer valid and any member of the executive that follows his orders is de facto joining a coup attempt. I'll acknowledge that that's a very real threat but it's weird to assume it so all this "Trump will never leave office" stuff is just so weird to me.
posted by VTX at 12:38 PM on December 16, 2019 [18 favorites]


I think [Amash's] value is measured by how many conservative voters he would convince on the margin. (What I want is an estimate of how many votes he moves as compared with having a team consisting entirely of Democratic representatives.) So, I disagree with you about what meaningful upside would look like in this case. Without a miracle of some sort, the Senate is a lost cause. So the Senate isn't really the politically interesting question at this point. The question is how the trial affects voters going into the 2020 election.

Lots of known unknowns there. A miracle to save us? I'm not sure that's the best framing, this is still relatively a democracy and predicting is still hard, especially about the future.

I've watched people rail against Republicans as selfish, amoral autocrats who would happily propose grinding up children for dog food if Purina held a fundraising party. How this pool of malleable ethics suddenly acquires overriding principles to resist all comers is a huge mystery. I think the closest we can say any consistency that exists is in the exhortation to protect Trump. That's not an insurmountable wall! Trump is the bad guy in a John Hughes movie.

Non-democrats (I won't call them Trump Supporters as a group) have just as much of a chaotic soup of self-interest and ego going on in their lives, in addition to the daily BS that Trump is foisting upon the public. Not all of the people who signal support in polls are hardcore, and their opinions can be swayed like any other centrist (def: a person who can be successfully courted by another political party).

Hopeful, ideological, sure, but all of us should not have to think so much about current politics, and the fact that we do so is a sign of regression.

Consequently I feel that this current state is fragile and that whole swaths of the voting public could be swayed with just as little information as was required to harden them for voting for Trump in the first place (AKA the tiniest promises that are so far unkept). One day or a week's news could make any number of people we know express the same kind of binary thinking that got us into this mess. "Huh, I didn't know that. What a dick!" and the next thing you know, they aren't voting for Democrats or anything, but they do feel like Trump has to go.

This isn't a revolution, it's cleaning house in the way that getting new carpet is a way to clean your floors. Some people will say "well they aren't that bad," and then you rent a Rug Doctor and most of the stains don't come out and that resistance turns into "Ugh, I hate them, can't get rid of them soon enough." You know people who think and act like this, I just know it, and that same mechanism operates in politics. Trump is not immune to following in the footsteps of pick-your-favorite persona non grata. It doesn't take much information nor time.

the united states senate isn’t a debating club, it’s a seat of power. it’s a place where power is seized and where power is exercised. insofar as people in the senate — indeed, in any legislature — follow abstract principles, they do it only within the field of possibility allowed them by the power blocs available to them

Right: hit 'em in the votes and polls, even when they say they don't pay attention to them or that people who are turning away from them as candidates and as Senators are being seduced by lies from the left. I truly believe that stuff like a phone tree/campaign and billboards and all the other proletarian attention-grabbing strategies can have a positive effect here.
posted by rhizome at 12:46 PM on December 16, 2019 [8 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler (@emptywheeler on Twitter) makes the case for Amash;

I mean I don't know how much any of this matters because I cannot imagine a scenario where the senate convicts.

Once Amash takes the role, he will be put through the Fox News shredder, become a pariah to the GOP, a target on Hannity or whatever, and then it will be no different than if they gave the job to Ocasio-Cortez. So why bother with someone who isn't even on your side, and who you can't *really* trust?
posted by dis_integration at 1:10 PM on December 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


Once Amash takes the role, he will be put through the Fox News shredder, become a pariah to the GOP, a target on Hannity or whatever, and then it will be no different than if they gave the job to Ocasio-Cortez. So why bother with someone who isn't even on your side, and who you can't *really* trust?

You just made me shift toward pushing for Amash, if it means that Fox News etc. are going to waste time going after him instead of the Democrat whose place he takes.
posted by Etrigan at 1:19 PM on December 16, 2019 [14 favorites]


Is the focus on Amash distracting from anything else the public should be paying attention to?
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:44 PM on December 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


Barr quietly updated the DoJ website with legal opinions supporting executive privilege and immunity a few days ago. I haven't seen much discussion of that, though it's potentially a huge power grab for the executive and puts pieces in place for a legal fight.

Barr is positioned to be very dangerous indeed, see this foreboding twitter thread from Walter Shaub:

Ex-Ethics Chief Walter Shaub Warns William Barr Will Try To Interfere In 2020 Election.

It's important not to make the same mistake twice. Some people underestimated Barr's ruthless partisanship before. No one should do that again. Like Trump, Barr is capable of doing anything he can get away with—and that includes interfering in the 2020 election, if we let him.
posted by adept256 at 2:14 PM on December 16, 2019 [21 favorites]


Trump’s subpoena-defying claims legally flawed, ex-GOP lawmakers argue (Politico)
Twenty former Republican lawmakers, officials and legal experts are urging a federal appeals court to reject President Donald Trump’s claim that his former White House counsel, Don McGahn, can ignore a House subpoena. [...]

While many right-leaning lawyers like Attorney General Bill Barr have asserted that the founders’ view of the Constitution mandates an expansive, muscular view of executive authority and executive privilege, the new friend-of-the-court brief argues that a truly “originalist” view of the showdown calls for the courts to force McGahn to appear, especially given the ongoing impeachment fight.

“The idea that a president and his current and former advisors enjoy absolute immunity from subpoena — particularly during impeachment proceedings — finds no support in early American practice,” the GOP ex-officials contend. “During the early republic, Congresses and presidents recognized that Congress had nearly untrammeled authority to request documents and testimony to support impeachment proceedings.”

Signed on to the brief are several prominent former lawmakers, including former Sen. Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.), and ex-Reps. Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.) and Jim Leach (R-Iowa). Former Justice Department official Stuart Gerson and prominent conservative lawyer George Conway are also among those asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to endorse Congress’s right to question senior executive branch officials about potential misconduct.

“Placing the president and his aides above the law would be truly un-American. Early U.S. Congresses and courts subpoenaed presidents, and the presidents complied with those subpoenas. That should remain the case today,” said another signer, former Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.). With many originalist judges and legal scholars fond of approaching the Constitution with their best approximation of an 18th-century eye, the brief cites various examples from the late 1700s and early 1800s that the ex-officials contend show the founders favored Congress enjoying robust access to executive branch secrets.
posted by katra at 2:25 PM on December 16, 2019 [14 favorites]


House vows to continue impeachment probes regardless of Senate outcome (Politico)
In a filing to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, House General Counsel Douglas Letter argued that the House’s demands for grand jury materials connected to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation were still urgent because such evidence might become relevant to the Senate’s expected impeachment trial next month.

But Letter went further to note that even apart from the Senate trial, the House Judiciary Committee intends to continue its impeachment investigation arising from the Mueller probe on its own merit. [...] “The committee has continued and will continue [its impeachment] investigations consistent with its own prior statements respecting their importance and purposes,” Letter wrote in a filing Monday as part of the House’s bid to obtain Mueller’s grand jury evidence.

[...] Democrats had strongly considered charging Trump with obstruction of justice based on Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. [...] Letter’s suggestion that the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation is ongoing cites a report released earlier Monday by the panel outlining the impeachment case against Trump. In that report, Democrats argued that Trump committed criminal bribery and wire fraud when he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals.

But the panel also emphasized that it had been stymied by Trump in its effort to obtain testimony from Mueller’s central witness, former White House counsel Don McGahn, as well as its bid to access Mueller’s grand jury materials.
posted by katra at 2:47 PM on December 16, 2019 [10 favorites]


Can Trump be impeached a second time after the house passes the first impeachment? I don’t recall seeing if that’s a possibility or if impeachment a one and done kind of thing.
posted by misterpatrick at 2:58 PM on December 16, 2019


Legally, yes. Politically, probably not.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:01 PM on December 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


The Ukrainian Prosecutor Behind Trump’s Impeachment
How the efforts of Yuriy Lutsenko and Rudy Giuliani to smear Joe Biden led to a Presidential crisis. (new yorker)


I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way,” Giuliani said. “She was going to make the investigations
difficult for everybody.
- Guiliani

oh, rudy, don't ever stfu.
posted by adept256 at 3:21 PM on December 16, 2019 [13 favorites]


I think he doesn't care because there's literally nothing that anyone can do to Rudy. The second he gets into jeopardy with the feds, Trump can pardon him out. You know, as long as Rudy stays loyal. What is Congress going to do? Impeach Trump and fail to remove him again?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:37 PM on December 16, 2019


Who's going to compel him? To compel you need to be able to prosecute for contempt of congress and Barr has refused any prosecutions for contempt of congress coming out of the House. Barr already killed his referral and Ross's. Short of having the sergeant at arms throwing people in closets until they decide to actually testify, things are all stitched up.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:46 PM on December 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


Barr might be on his way out in a year.
posted by rhizome at 4:49 PM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


Trump impeachment: Democrats push for Bolton to testify in Senate trial (Guardian)
The demand that John Bolton, the former national security adviser fired by Trump in September, and the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, should testify was the opening salvo in an effort to force the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, to negotiate over the proceedings. The two are key eyewitnesses to many of the most contentious elements of the Ukraine scandal.

“Trials have witnesses. That’s what trials are all about,” Schumer told reporters at a press conference on Monday. “To engage a trial without the facts coming out is to engage in a cover-up.”

[...] Though the Republicans are in the driving seat, their control is not beyond challenge. Were the Democrats to persuade just four Republicans to vote against party lines they could reach the 51 votes needed to determine some features of the trial.

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Schumer implied that getting those four votes was not out of the question, though he would give no names of potential targets. “There are a good number of Republicans who are troubled by what the president did,” he said, “who want to see all the facts.” Speculation has focused on senators including Mitt Romney of Utah, who has criticised Trump relatively strongly, and moderates Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
posted by katra at 5:37 PM on December 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


More On-the-Fence Democrats Back Impeachment of Trump (WSJ)
Democrats have largely united behind impeachment. By Monday afternoon, at least 17 from the 31 Democratic-held districts that Mr. Trump won in the 2016 presidential race had announced they would support the abuse-of-power and obstruction of Congress charges, according to a Wall Street Journal survey, with two saying they are opposed.

With the new announcements of support, and assuming no unexpected defections, Democrats have enough votes to impeach the president.
posted by katra at 6:10 PM on December 16, 2019 [10 favorites]


Were the Democrats to persuade just four Republicans to vote against party lines...

I love the framing here, issued in the same way I might say "If I could just add four zeroes to my paycheck, I could be retired by the end of the year". Collins voted for Kavanaugh, Romney pays nothing but lip service, and the article doesn't even list a potential fourth defector because there isn't one.
posted by 0xFCAF at 7:55 PM on December 16, 2019 [19 favorites]


Hundreds of Historians Speak Out on Impeachment (NYT)
Not long ago, Sean Wilentz, a professor of American history at Princeton, talked to other historians who were frustrated about not having an easy way to voice and organize their concerns over Mr. Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign. So, working with Brenda Wineapple, the author of a recent book on President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, he drafted a statement and sent it to a long list of historian friends.

The resulting text, which they shared with The Times, now has over 750 signatures from historians across the nation, including some of the field’s most well-known figures: Robert Caro, Ken Burns and Ron Chernow. (Read the full statement here.)

“President Trump’s numerous and flagrant abuses of power are precisely what the Framers had in mind as grounds for impeaching and removing a president,” the statement says. “The President’s offenses, including his dereliction in protecting the integrity of the 2020 election from Russian disinformation and renewed interference, arouse once again the Framers’ most profound fears that powerful members of government would become, in Hamilton’s words, ‘the mercenary instruments of foreign corruption.’”

The statement “is a form that historians and others have used over the decades to express collective opinions. It’s a kind of petition to the public,” Mr. Wilentz said. “We have a civic role, as keepers in some ways of the nation’s heritage, as people who have devoted our lives to studying this country.”
posted by katra at 8:33 PM on December 16, 2019 [17 favorites]


Russia’s State TV Calls Trump Their ‘Agent’ (Daily Beast)
Shortly after Giuliani’s return to the United States, Russian state television started airing video clips of his OAN (One America News Network) “documentary.” It purports to prove Kyiv’s meddling in U.S. elections and accuses former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch of “lying under oath in Congress to whitewash [Joe] Biden’s corruption.” [...]

Putin has expressed undisguised delight with the crusade led by Trump and Giuliani to whitewash Moscow’s interference in the U.S. elections and pin the blame on Kyiv. Last month, the Russian president smugly remarked “Thank God no one is accusing us of interfering in the U.S. elections anymore. Now they’re accusing Ukraine.”

Rossiya-1 reporter Valentin Bogdanov surmised that by now the majority of American Republicans believe that Ukraine interfered in the U.S. elections, with the show airing various clips from Fox News.

The absurdity of such claims spawned by the Russian security services puts the hypocrisy of the Republicans on full display. The Kremlin, having argued for years that democracy is a sham and the West is devoid of morals and principles, can now showcase the GOP as its “Exhibit A.”
posted by katra at 9:00 PM on December 16, 2019 [12 favorites]


Federal Criminal Offenses and the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump
This collection of leading legal experts discusses a range of federal crimes that apply to the conduct of President Donald Trump, based on the evidence produced by the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry. These crimes include all of the federal offences listed in the Chapter headings, except for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In that Chapter, the author concludes that the impeachment inquiry did not examine the relevant evidence for one of the elements of the crime, although a lot of that evidence has arisen in investigative reports by journalists. The final Chapter includes an important federal law that does not trigger criminal liability, but does implicate the President’s constitutional obligation to ensure the laws are faithfully executed.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:04 PM on December 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


katra > Shortly after Giuliani’s return to the United States, Russian state television started airing video clips of his OAN (One America News Network) “documentary.”

One America News’s Ukraine-Rudy Giuliani exposé is a stunning piece of propaganda, Washington Post, Aaron Blake, December 16, 2019:
[YouTube – Part III (Full Closing): OAN Investigates with Chanel Rion and Rudy Giuliani - Ukrainian Witnesses, One America News, Dec. 14, 2019[*]]

President Trump has pointed Republicans who believe Fox News is too fair and balanced in the direction of a relatively new cable news destination: One America News Network.
And to see the channel’s supposed exposés on former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and Ukraine, you begin to understand why.

The reports are a mélange of innuendo, slanted language, Trumpian talking points and dramatic music, without any real pretense. It’s the kind of thing that would completely look at home if it were on low-budget state TV. A sampling from the closing segment of its investigation this week:
  • “Democrat impeachment led by failed and frustrated screenwriter turned Hollywood congressman Adam Schiff has turned into full-blown and public investigation of an international scandal involving not Donald J. Trump, but the Bidens, the Democratic Party and our U.S. State Department.”
  • “an impeachment hoax that amounts to a coup”
  • “Some will call it treason.”
  • The Russia investigation moved to “target innocent people to indulge the FBI’s personal hatred for President Trump” — as it shows images of George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn, both of whom pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.
  • A reference to the “real whistleblowers — whistleblowers not huddling in Adam Schiff’s basement” (there is no evidence the Ukraine whistleblower worked with Schiff personally)
  • Calling Hunter Biden the “drug addict son” of Joe Biden
For more on the rather remarkable presentation of this investigation, click on the video at the top.
...
More details follow in the article (alternate link if you hit WaPo’s paywall); *Part I and Part II of OAN’s ‘exposé’ are also on YT; more about OANN on Wikipedia.

If The Don & Rudy: Useful Idiots Show produces Buckeye NewsHawk Award-winning “documentaries” (that are aired on Russian TV), is there any doubt how low they regard the intelligence of the American electorate, including their base?
posted by cenoxo at 12:46 AM on December 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


Collins voted for Kavanaugh, Romney pays nothing but lip service, and the article doesn't even list a potential fourth defector because there isn't one.
Indeed, we've seen McConnell's game of guess-the-votes before. Collins among others, is his willing pawn.
posted by Harry Caul at 3:30 AM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Every time that I see the acronym "OANN", I cannot help but immediately think of onanism.
posted by snortasprocket at 4:57 AM on December 17, 2019 [26 favorites]


Has there ever been a time that Collins hasn’t voted the wrong way? Except, of course, when the vote was not dependent upon her and she was “released” to vote the right way?

I’m tired of hearing people dangle Collins’ name out there like she’s some kind of moderate. She’s not. Sure, she votes against evil occasionally, but only when it’s a meaningless gesture. When her vote matters, she’s a reliable conservative tool.

I’m in awe at how long she has been able to play Lucy-with-the-football on her votes, and still have people wonder credulously if, maybe this time, she’ll do the right thing.
posted by darkstar at 6:08 AM on December 17, 2019 [34 favorites]


Indeed. If you will only cast a "principled" vote when your vote is mathematically meaningless and at no other time, the votes are hardly principled.
posted by sugar and confetti at 6:14 AM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Every time that I see the acronym "OANN", I cannot help but immediately think of onanism.

With just a slight reordering of their name, you get “One Network for America’s News” (ONAN). Since they’re jerking off their audience, it fits better.

Ridicule is one thing The Donald cannot stand.
posted by cenoxo at 6:29 AM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


> Has there ever been a time that Collins hasn’t voted the wrong way? Except, of course, when the vote was not dependent upon her and she was “released” to vote the right way?

it is indeed remarkable that collins could for so many years coast on olympia snowe’s reputation for moderation.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:32 AM on December 17, 2019 [15 favorites]


A pair of recent articles from NPR: Impeachment Timeline: From Early Calls To A Full House Vote (Brian Naylor, December 17, 2019)
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on two articles of impeachment against President Trump. A handful of congressional Democrats have been calling for Trump to be impeached even before they won control of the House in the 2018 election. But the majority of the caucus didn't back Trump's removal until this past fall. Here's a look at how we got here.
They recognize Reps. Brad Sherman of California and Al Green of Texas for being the first Dems in the House to call for impeachment, when they filed an article charging Trump obstructed justice, two months after the president fired then-FBI director James Comey, and it goes from there.

House Slated To Impeach Trump This Week — How It Will Work And What Comes Next (Deirdre Walsh, December 16, 2019)
What's happening this week?

...
The House Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday to set the parameters for the debate and discuss any proposed changes to the Judiciary Committee's resolution. Any lawmaker who wishes to speak on the impeachment resolution can appear at the hearing. But the panel has nine Democrats and four Republicans, so it is expected to vote to keep the text of the articles approved by the Judiciary Committee intact and set how many hours lawmakers will have to debate each of the two articles.

House Democratic leaders have scheduled a floor vote for Wednesday, according to two senior House Democratic leadership aides.

Depending on how much time leaders decide to set or how much time members take to speak on the floor, the debate could take most of the day. If it goes late into the evening, there is a chance leaders will shift the final vote to Thursday.
...

Are any Republicans expected to break with their leaders on impeachment?

No, Republicans voted unanimously against the House resolution starting the impeachment inquiry, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has sounded confident that the conference will again stick solidly behind the president. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the No. 2 House GOP leader and the party's vote counter, is actively whipping votes against the articles, and the vote is viewed as a test of party loyalty.
The article lays out next steps pretty clearly, which is helpful because I haven't looked into any of this.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:20 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Disparate group of Republican senators worry White House and GOP leaders ahead of impeachment trial (Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly for CNN, December 17, 2019)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's high-profile push for witnesses to testify in the Senate's expected impeachment trial of President Donald Trump shifted attention and political pressure on Monday to a handful of Republican senators who have worked diligently to avoid the spotlight.

The disparate group's views on the trial are a concern to the White House and GOP leaders, who are worried some could break and vote with Democrats on key trial-related issues, sources tell CNN.

If four of them were to buck calls from GOP leaders for a short, witness-free trial, it could upend the process and create the kind of wild uncertainty Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has been carefully "coordinating" to avoid in ongoing talks with top White House officials.

The group includes moderates up for reelection, like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who may want to show independence from Trump; seasoned veterans, like Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who are retiring and who may not feel politically bound to support the President; and outright critics of Trump, like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who have challenged his unorthodox presidency and who may want to learn more about the allegations of a quid pro quo with Ukraine that is at the heart of the impeachment.
Interesting to hear that there's a possible break in the unified front of the GOP in the senate, but no such division in the House. Maybe that's because it's easier to toe the party line when the Dems are in power and driving the discussion against Trump, whereas in the Senate the Democrats have limited power to open the discussion.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:25 AM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


I just learned from a NYT opinion piece that the are pro impeachment protests planned for tonight.

I've been surprised/worried that no one had tried to activate the protest machine... Heard earlier that maybe protests would happen once the articles were determined, but damn, the timing kinda sucks at this point...
posted by kaibutsu at 7:41 AM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Interesting to hear that there's a possible break in the unified front of the GOP in the senate, but no such division in the House.

John McCain was a senator 👎
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:43 AM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Interesting to hear that there's a possible break in the unified front of the GOP in the senate, but no such division in the House. Maybe that's because it's easier to toe the party line when the Dems are in power and driving the discussion against Trump, whereas in the Senate the Democrats have limited power to open the discussion.

Maybe these Senators sense an opportunity to press Moscow Mitch for additional favors in exchange for their vote.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:54 AM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


You can gerrymander a House district. You can't gerrymander a state senate race.
posted by JackFlash at 8:04 AM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


I've been surprised/worried that no one had tried to activate the protest machine...

One of my friends was napping on my sofa in front of the tv. She had a lot to drink and I didn't want her to go home. I put a blanket on her and wanted to give her a pillow. I softly asked 'do you want a pillow'?

Her eye opened a slither, looked at me, then at the tv. The tv had Trump impeachment news on it, she must have been sorta watching it. And then she said

Burn down the palace.

And went back to sleep.
posted by adept256 at 8:08 AM on December 17, 2019 [27 favorites]


I just learned from a NYT opinion piece that the are pro impeachment protests planned for tonight.

I've been surprised/worried that no one had tried to activate the protest machine... Heard earlier that maybe protests would happen once the articles were determined, but damn, the timing kinda sucks at this point...


It's the same group of us who set up the "Mueller firing rapid response" system. For me it started with the "March for Truth" demanding a congressional investigation and a special counsel when Comey was fired, then there was the "vigil to confront corruption" in which we held candles and called for campaign finance reform and lobbying reform, and then, though Mueller was never fired, we pulled the trigger on the "Mueller firing" events after Sessions was fired and Whitaker illegally appointed (with limited turnout because no one likes Sessions.) And then we hosted "release the report" protests when Barr was sitting on the Mueller report. There were also some petition deliveries and town hall type events.

Anyway, that's the "protest machine" we're talking about here. And while on the one hand I would say "temper your expectations. I've never gotten more than 300-500 people to show up at any of those events in my area" I would also say that we've gotten over 1000 RSVPs for tonight for my event, all within the last couple of weeks. So I am currently estimating this will be at least 3x bigger than our previous efforts. But also instead of the usual 1-2 protests in my area, there are 4, and two of them are both over 1000 RSVPs.

So this may turn out to be a big night. I am a little nervous.

But yes, please do go attend your local protest tonight. You can find it at impeach.org
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:15 AM on December 17, 2019 [26 favorites]


oh, rudy, don't ever stfu.

Giuliani digs in deeper on Ukraine as Trump is on the verge of being impeached (Politico)
“Yovanovitch needed to be removed for many reasons most critical she was denying visas to Ukrainians who wanted to come to US and explain Dem corruption in Ukraine,” Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, wrote on Twitter. “She was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE and that’s not the only thing she was doing. She at minimum enabled Ukrainian collusion.” In a related post, Giuliani wrote that he possessed new “documentary evidence” proving that Yovanovitch perjured herself before House impeachment investigators.

Giuliani's claims, for which he has provided no evidence, cut against the sworn testimony of several State Department officials and diplomats, who characterized Yovanovitch as an anti-corruption champion and consummate professional before the president summarily removed her after Giuliani's urging. The former New York City mayor's statements also suggest he was much more influential in Trump's decision to pull Yovanovitch than the president and his allies have publicly admitted — and that he was motivated to seek her ouster because she stood in the way of Trump's favored political investigations. [...] “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way,” Giuliani told The New Yorker in a story published Monday. “She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”

Appearing Monday on Fox News, Giuliani said of Yovanovitch: “I didn’t need her out of the way. I forced her out because she’s corrupt.”

And in an interview Monday evening with The New York Times, Giuliani said he told the president “a couple of times” earlier this year how Yovanovitch was impeding investigations that could benefit Trump, who proceeded to connect Giuliani with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
posted by katra at 8:45 AM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Russian disinformation network said to have helped spread smear of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine (WaPo)
The story that appeared on The Hill website on March 20 was startling.

Marie Yovanovitch, the American ambassador to Ukraine, had given a “list of people whom we should not prosecute” to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, according to a write-up of an interview Lutsenko gave to the conservative columnist John Solomon. Five days later, an image of that purported list appeared in a post on the website Medium and on a number of other self-publishing platforms in locations as disparate as Germany, South Africa and San Francisco. In less than a week, the Medium essay had been translated into Spanish and German and posted to other websites.

Now, a social media analysis firm, Graphika, has traced those posts to a Russian disinformation campaign — in the first evidence that a network of accounts involved in spreading disinformation before the 2016 election also participated in circulating the false claims about Yovanovitch that led earlier this year to her recall from the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. [...] The Russia-based operation, which also sought to blame Britain for interfering in the 2016 election, represents a warning about the evolving methods and wide-ranging goals of disinformation as Americans enter a volatile election season, four years after Russian actors used social media to sow discord and boost Trump’s candidacy for the White House. The “known Russian operation," as Graphika called it, involved doctored visuals and sought to cover its tracks using single-use accounts on discussion forums and other crowdsourced websites, as well as on the news aggregation site Reddit. [...]

Allegations about the list are significant because they inflamed the false narrative that Yovanovitch was involved in covering up wrongdoing in Ukraine. In fact, she said in sworn testimony last month, Ukrainians threatened by her anti-corruption work were the ones who sought her dismissal. They found an ally in the president’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who conducted what witnesses described as a “campaign full of lies and incorrect information” against the diplomat, who was recalled on May 20.
posted by katra at 8:51 AM on December 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


McConnell Rejects Calling Mulvaney or Bolton for Impeachment Trial
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, on Tuesday rejected demands by Democrats to call four White House officials as witnesses during President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
...
“It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to ‘get to ‘guilty,’” Mr. McConnell said. “That would hardly be impartial justice.”

“If House Democrats’ case is this deficient, this thin, the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it here in the Senate,” he added. “The answer is that the House should not impeach on this basis in the first place.”
posted by kirkaracha at 8:52 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid that winter weather on a Tuesday night will lead to meager turnout again which will just embolden the MAGAhats. My local one is early enough that many people can't get to it due to rush hour, even if they wanted to.

A show of force planned out for a weekend day down the line would be better than small and easily ignored protests that just depress the good side and boost the opposition.
posted by Candleman at 8:53 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


“It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to ‘get to ‘guilty,’” Mr. McConnell said. “That would hardly be impartial justice.”

That’s funny. Since it’s the Senate’s job to actually try the case, and all. Which means calling witnesses and bringing forth evidence. But I guess that’ll fly with the low-information Fox viewers.
posted by darkstar at 8:54 AM on December 17, 2019 [16 favorites]


s“It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to ‘get to ‘guilty,’” Mr. McConnell said. “That would hardly be impartial justice.”

“If House Democrats’ case is this deficient, this thin, the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it here in the Senate,” he added. “The answer is that the House should not impeach on this basis in the first place.”


Second only to waking up the day after Election Day 2020 to headlines reading "America to Trump: You're Fired!," I hope Democratic enthusiasm and McConnell's low popularity conspire to give him the boot, and he can spout this kind of gleeful bad faith from outside of a position of power.
posted by Gelatin at 8:56 AM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Rick Gates sentenced to 45 days in jail.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:05 AM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Rick Gates sentenced to 45 days in jail, 3 years probation for conspiracy and lying to FBI in Mueller probe

"The jail time can be served over weekends or on a schedule developed in agreement with federal officials."

So, not so much jail time as taxpayer-funded AirBNB. Cool.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:06 AM on December 17, 2019 [18 favorites]


I'm afraid that winter weather on a Tuesday night will lead to meager turnout again which will just embolden the MAGAhats. My local one is early enough that many people can't get to it due to rush hour, even if they wanted to.

A show of force planned out for a weekend day down the line would be better than small and easily ignored protests that just depress the good side and boost the opposition.


If you can organize something better please do so. I would caution that there are no times that work for everyone.

For right now I'm throwing my fortunes in with the people who are doing SOMETHING, even if it may not be the perfect thing. And I disagree that small protests depress the good side OR boost the opposition. Getting out into the real world and making a statement, unafraid, with a few hundred (or a few dozen, or a handful) of people who agree with you is a great feeling. Protests don't just work by intimidation. They also knit movements together. And I think there's a lot of historical evidence that persistence counts as much or more than scale. The important thing is not that we protest in just the right way. It's that we don't STOP protesting.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:08 AM on December 17, 2019 [26 favorites]


I guessing that Rick Gates received consideration for his cooperation with investigators. His testimony was key in the convictions of Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.

That's the way mobster prosecutions work. You start at the bottom and roll your way up to the top, offering deals for cooperation.
posted by JackFlash at 9:10 AM on December 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


So, not so much jail time as taxpayer-funded AirBNB. Cool.

Do you not think his cooperation with the special counsel warranted a more lenient punishment?
posted by Baphomet's Prime at 9:12 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


You don't have to guess -- it's right there in the linked article. That doesn't make it any easier to stomach.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:13 AM on December 17, 2019


Do you not think his cooperation with the special counsel warranted a more lenient punishment?
As part of Gates’s plea, he admitted to conspiring to defraud the United States with Manafort, including keeping $3 million himself. He also pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during an interview in which he was trying to secure a plea deal.

The charge of lying concerned Gates’s claim that a March 2013 meeting with a lobbyist and a congressman did not include a discussion of Ukraine.
Nope.
posted by katra at 9:17 AM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Mitch McConnell wants a show trial — but Democrats don't have to give him one (Matthew Rozsa, Salon)
McConnell has promised a Senate trial shaped to Trump's whims. Democrats can fight back, if they have the guts.

Republicans have handed Democrats a political gift by making it clear they plan on acquitting President Trump after the most minimal Senate impeachment trial possible. The question is whether Democrats can seize this opportunity. In a divided Congress, House Democrats control one important weapon. According to many legal experts, they can withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate — meaning that no impeachment trial can occur until the Republican Senate leadership agrees to some approximation of a fair and thorough process.
Harvard Law professor Lawrence Tribe suggested an example in a letter to Salon:
[…] The “prosecutor,” here whoever Speaker Pelosi designates as the House Managers, should proceed to pin down the indictment by having the full House vote for the two Articles of Impeachment approved last week by the Judiciary Committee, but should then hold that indictment in abeyance, letting it hang like the fabled Sword of Damocles over the heads of both the president and the Senate Majority Leader and those in his caucus who, like Senator Graham, have admitted they will happily violate their oaths of office and break the special oath they will take for purposes of impeachment.
Said indictment should only be released when trial details have been fully agreed upon.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:23 AM on December 17, 2019 [16 favorites]


According to many legal experts, they can withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate — meaning that no impeachment trial can occur until the Republican Senate leadership agrees to some approximation of a fair and thorough process.

Of what value would any agreement McConnell makes be, knowing there would be no consequences for breaking it once impeachment moves to the Senate?
posted by Gelatin at 9:28 AM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


Mobster prosecutions are always difficult because your key witnesses are also criminals. The goal is to get the folks at the top of the pyramid so you offer deals to those lower. In this case, they got two people directly tied to Trump -- Manafort and Stone.

Normally you would next roll Manafort and Stone to get Trump. But in this case prosecutors couldn't offer them as good a deal as Trump himself, a full pardon, so that's as far as it went.

I expect Trump to pardon Manafort and Stone immediately after the 2020 election -- if not before celebrating an impeachment acquittal.
posted by JackFlash at 9:29 AM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Of what value would any agreement McConnell makes, knowing there would be no consequences for breaking it once impeachment moves to the Senate?

Consequences is the key term here. Presumably the Chief Justice would enforce any such agreement. Otherwise, if Moscow Mitch can't be trusted to do even this, then what's the point of actually passing the indictment to the Senate?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:31 AM on December 17, 2019


The question is whether Democrats can seize this opportunity.

"I am not a member of any organized party. I am a Democrat." — Will Rogers
posted by kirkaracha at 9:38 AM on December 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


if Moscow Mitch can't be trusted to do even this, then what's the point of actually passing the indictment to the Senate?

It's notable that McConnell signalling loudly that he can't, in fact, be trusted to run a legitimate impeachment trial is the only actual defense Trump and his allies actually have against the House passing the articles of impeachment, and this defense is almost certainly as doomed as all the others the Republicans have rolled out and then abandoned.
posted by Gelatin at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


I posted the info for the Impeach rallies tonight a ways upthread. It was a once sentence post in a fast moving thread.
There are flashier visuals flying around Facebook that grab more attention.

The weather is absolute shit where I am but my ass is going to be out there.
posted by Sublimity at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2019 [9 favorites]




Ranking member Cole and Doug Collins holding up Rules committee meeting, still trying to shake down whistleblower's identity, and accuse Schiff, decry phone logs in the report. D-Raskin defending pretty much by himself on this.
posted by Harry Caul at 10:11 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I am fascinated with the idea, though, that the House could vote to impeach, and then sit on the impeachment until after the 2020 elections, and then pass the impeachment to the Senate.

I mean, if Trump is voted out in 2020, then it’s moot. And if McConnell is still in charge of the Senate in 2021, it’s also pointless.

But if Trump is re-elected and the Dems took the Senate (highly improbable) in 2020, would a Democratic Senate be able to try the impeachment in the 2021 session?
posted by darkstar at 10:15 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I mean, if Trump is voted out in 2020, then it’s moot.

No, it isn't. Trump would still have the three-odd months from November to January in office, and plenty of opportunity to do further harm. That loyal Americans recognize Trump's unfitness for office -- again -- does not absolve Congress from acting to remove him.
posted by Gelatin at 10:22 AM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


And so not to abuse the edit window, even if the Democrats took the Senate, it's vanishingly unlikely they would achieve the two-thirds supermajority they would need to convict. If they took the majority, however, they could at least call for a more fair process than the partisan rubber stamp McConnell promises.
posted by Gelatin at 10:23 AM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Yes, I mean it would be moot by the time the Democrats got into office. They would get control of the Senate the same time Trump was smearing feces on the Oval Office doorknob on his way out.
posted by darkstar at 10:25 AM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


I am fascinated with the idea, though, that the House could vote to impeach, and then sit on the impeachment until after the 2020 elections, and then pass the impeachment to the Senate.

I hate the idea of doing anything other than proceeding directly from impeachment in the House to a Senate trial. I want Trump impeached and removed as much as anyone, and anticipate a farce of a trial in the Senate, but I don't believe in shenanigans like that. I think delaying the handoff to the Senate would look terrible

The Democrats should've had a broader and more inclusive set of articles, with longer televised hearings. But they didn't. I believe they only have one realistic shot at impeachment politically.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:35 AM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


OK, so let's send that one shot at impeachment to what you admit is a quick and certain death in the Senate so we aren't accused of using shenanigans.

Wait, let me come in again.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:54 AM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


I believe they only have one realistic shot at impeachment politically.

The Dems could file endless articles of impeachment until Trump is gone. And they should. It isn't as if the Republicans have said "Politically, Trump only gets to break the rules once".

The gish gallop works for Republican criming so the dem's should try and counter with a truth flood.
posted by srboisvert at 10:55 AM on December 17, 2019 [18 favorites]


If he should get kicked out of office, they should act like he should get kicked out of office. It’s stupid to say he’s committed crimes but shouldn’t be removed until some future more politically convenient time. If he should be removed, then try to remove him.

Plus, I don’t want to see Joe Biden win a bunch of primaries and then get called as a defense witness in the Senate trial and slandered for weeks on television when it’s too late to replace him.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:20 AM on December 17, 2019 [15 favorites]


Given that the House is prepared to vote on impeachment already, what is the current argument against first subpoenaing all of the people they invited to testify but declined to officially subpoena previously? When those subpoenas are challenged, that fact can be added to the case presented in the Senate, and if/when the courts decide on the subpoena's legitimacy, the House can continue its investigation and pass revised articles later. There isn't any double jeopardy standard for impeachment. Make Trump the first President to be impeached more than once. He's certainly earned it.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 11:24 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


> If he should get kicked out of office, they should act like he should get kicked out of office.

Everyone knows he's not getting kicked out of office under present circumstances. To what audience is this death march toward dismissal of charges intended to appeal to? There's nothing stupid about prioritizing the real world implications of your strategy over spherical cow hypotheticals.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:30 AM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


So... Trump wrote a letter to Pelosi today.

Yes, that letter, with those words and sentences in it, is published there on the official White House website.
posted by bcd at 11:42 AM on December 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


Dear President Trump:

I feel that you should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters.

Very truly yours,
Rep. Nancy Pelosi
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:48 AM on December 17, 2019 [41 favorites]


That letter is risible, and definitely has Trump's fingerprints on it (the electoral college count, the random punctuation, the overuse of exclamation points, the up-is-down lies) but there's absolutely no way he wrote anything that long so I would love to know whose job it is to mimic his insane style but also manage to crank out more than 280 characters.
posted by axiom at 11:53 AM on December 17, 2019 [27 favorites]


I don't know, each paragraph is basically unrelated to the rest except on loose theme, so this letter is basically one of those Tweet reader things, just a nicely formatted string of twitter posts. That being said, "History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade" is both a true statement, but not for reasons they purport, and also one obviously not authored by Donald Trump.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:56 AM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


That letter should be considered an invocation of the 25th Amendment.
posted by Etrigan at 12:00 PM on December 17, 2019 [22 favorites]


"I said do us a favor, not me, and our country, not a campaign."
posted by box at 12:05 PM on December 17, 2019


So...he admits it yet again. Fantastic.
posted by agregoli at 12:07 PM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


That letter should be considered an invocation of the 25th Amendment.

In the Before Times the idea that any president would have written a letter like that would be unimaginably insane. Now it's just Tuesday.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:09 PM on December 17, 2019 [25 favorites]


"I said do us a favor, not me, and our country, not a campaign."

My dude, if your "perfect" "transcript" had only said, "...do U.S. a favor, though" you'd be in the clear.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:11 PM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Dear President Trump:

You mad, bro?

Very truly yours,
Rep. Nancy Pelosi
posted by Lyme Drop at 12:12 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


The letter is an extremely cynical bait to Trumpists. The majority of Trump voters aren't very smart and will not be able to see how ridiculous it is. The will embrace it because they have no clue, and also because they don't want to have a clue, and avoid alternative versions of reality.
But there are many, many Trump supporters who have all the clues and know this is bullshit, and that is why they will embrace this. Their intent and purpose is to keep their privilege as long as possible. They can't know if that is twenty minutes or twenty years, but they are too scared to care.
Finally there are the people who have all the clues and know the consequences and still decide to keep going, because "apres nous le deluge". They are just thinking to score as much as possible before the end, whatever that is.
I can see that there is only nuance between the last two groups, but I feel that nuance is important, because the last group are the leaders.
posted by mumimor at 12:14 PM on December 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


"History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade" is...a true statement

not true: the judgment of history will occur, by definition, _after_ this impeachment charade has proceeded, not contemporaneously.
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:18 PM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


That letter is risible, and definitely has Trump's fingerprints on it (the electoral college count, the random punctuation, the overuse of exclamation points, the up-is-down lies)

As usual he gets the Electoral College count wrong, saying it was 306-227. He actually got 304 due to faithless electors.

And any exclamation points more than zero in an official letter from the president of the United States is overuse in my book.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:24 PM on December 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


The filename includes a "-final" which invites a lot of questions. Plus, it's hosted on Wordpress! (!!)

It remains completely chilling that the President is threatening the Speaker of, basically, being un-American and unconstitutional here. He's outright declaring that Pelosi et al are interfering with elections. And obstructing justice. This is, still, completely extraordinary. He's a moment away from suspending the House just because oh why not.

And on my city's local news site, the impeachment isn't even above the fold anymore. It's like story 48 out of 52.
posted by hijinx at 12:29 PM on December 17, 2019 [16 favorites]


Everyone knows he's not getting kicked out of office under present circumstances

"Everyone" doesn't know, because "present circumstances" are unstable. I mean, you can see that here in this thread, on social media, all the places that everyone™ likes to hang out!
posted by rhizome at 12:32 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


The letter is an extremely cynical bait to Trumpists.

I disagree. It's the classic tactic of accusing one's opponents of what one is doing, or plans to do. The letter is designed to blunt the obvious accusations that Republicans are violating their oaths with similar charges, however baseless, so the media can report both sides and then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
posted by Gelatin at 12:32 PM on December 17, 2019 [12 favorites]


If we've learned nothing else these last 4 years, it is that anything can happen.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:33 PM on December 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


So... Trump wrote a letter to Pelosi today.

If someone disabled his exclamation point key, he would be rendered speechless.
posted by JackFlash at 12:35 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


If we've learned nothing else these last 4 years, it is that anything can happen

Six months ago, everyone™ was saying Pelosi is never going to go for impeachment!
posted by rhizome at 12:35 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


The letter is an extremely cynical bait to Trumpists.

It's also further evidence that our President is a whiny little punk crybaby
posted by dis_integration at 12:36 PM on December 17, 2019 [21 favorites]


My very astute NYT Opinion Column is that impeaching Trump will drive him absolutely nuts and that's funny as hell
posted by theodolite at 12:39 PM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


President Trump’s written tirade to Nancy Pelosi, annotated (WaPo)
More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.
For what it’s worth, in Salem the accused could technically respond by filing defamation charges against their accusers, but they were rarely successful. And otherwise the accused had their rights almost completely trampled.

It bears noting that, in this case, Trump is likely to escape any formal punishment. Democrats have noted that the House impeachment process is akin to the investigative phase, while the Senate hold a more formal trial. Trump will undoubtedly be allowed to put forward a robust defense in the Senate.
posted by katra at 12:44 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


i read
you are turning a policy disagreement between two branches of government into an impeachable offense--it is no more ligitimate than the executive branch charging members of congress with crimes for the lawful exercise of legislative power
as a threat (following a lie).
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:45 PM on December 17, 2019 [12 favorites]


Note that Trump also gets in a "Democrat Lawmakers" slur in the first paragraph.
posted by Gelatin at 12:46 PM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Pelosi should red-pencil it and send it back docking points for misspelling Democratic Party.
posted by JackFlash at 12:49 PM on December 17, 2019 [13 favorites]


"D-. Come see me. (Bring your lawyers.)"
posted by tonycpsu at 12:49 PM on December 17, 2019 [16 favorites]


Joking aside, it is useful to see the Trump lawyers' entire defense laid out in one place, soup to nuts.
posted by JackFlash at 12:54 PM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Whoever wrote this letter could have saved much time and electrons by shortening it slightly:
Dear America,

I am not a crook or liar, everyone who hates me is are does.

But I am THE PRESIDENT, so there, nyaaaah.

Sincerely yours,
The Don
posted by cenoxo at 12:56 PM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Joking aside, it is useful to see the Trump lawyers' entire defense laid out in one place, soup to nuts.

I see what you did there.
posted by Gelatin at 12:57 PM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


WaPo reporter Matea Gold: New Post-ABC poll on impeachment finds huge partisan gulf on almost every question -- except whether Trump should allow top aides to testify.
posted by Jpfed at 1:05 PM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Since it's inconceivable that Trump himself would use the word "indelible" I have to wonder whether this was written by someone who's slyly mocking the president. I mean, yes, this will be in the "permanent and indelible record." Future scholars will marvel.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:06 PM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Trump makes his closing argument, cobbling together his greatest Twitter hits
Nearly every thought he articulated over the course of six very Trumpian pages already exists on a server maintained by Twitter, Inc. Every point he makes is one that’s appeared before, in 280 characters on his favorite social media website.
...
Again, though, you’ve heard this all before. Allow us to demonstrate, using tweets and retweets offered by the president, many of which are simply quotes from people appearing on Fox News.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:25 PM on December 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


My sense is that much of the American public are assuming that “impeachment” is the same as “removing from office.” If McConnell manages to have a no-trial and Republicans quickly acquit, many people will only at that point realize what’s actually happening. I was talking to my dad about this, and what finally made him understand the stakes was explaining why the word “defenestration” exists (because there was a need for it, because that’s what happens when power doesn’t yield to the masses).

To call the next several weeks unpredictable is massive understatement. We are in truly uncharted waters.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:35 PM on December 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


To call the next several weeks unpredictable is massive understatement. We are in truly uncharted waters.

I'm dreading the next State of the Union address.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:10 PM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Trump has a weird verbal tick/trick: "“It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!” He could have said "You are doing a terrible thing..." but he didn't.

The tick/trick is similar to "I'm not saying it, but..." and "a lot of people are saying...." It puts the claim out of his hands and into the aether. And, reliably, the aether (the media) pick it up as a generalized claim and not an accusation from a responsible person.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:15 PM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


[One deleted. Don't scold people in this thread for voting for Trump, come on.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:23 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


Hey odinsdream, great description of that letter. Maybe you and Ivanka Trump should start a new clothing business together selling Bananapants™ - making them in China, of course.
posted by PhineasGage at 2:25 PM on December 17, 2019


Absolutely miserable freezing rain in Boston but hundreds have turned out for the impeachment rally with more arriving every minute. William Weld is here and speaking.
posted by Sublimity at 2:41 PM on December 17, 2019 [19 favorites]


"For once again, before it becomes a feigned guarantee against despotism, the law is the invention of the despot himself: it is the juridicial form assumed by the infinite debt. The jurist will be seen in the despot's procession up to the time of the late Roman emperors, and the juridicial form will accompany the imperial formation, the legislator alongside the monster." - D&G AO p213
posted by Richard Saunders at 2:46 PM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


McConnell: 'I'm Not Impartial' About Impeachment (Kelsey Snell for NPR, December 17, 2019)

The headline says it all, but the article has a longer quote:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed the impeachment process against President Trump as a political proceeding rather than a judicial one.

"I'm not an impartial juror. This is a political process. There's not anything judicial about it," McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. "The House made a partisan political decision to impeach. I would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate. I'm not impartial about this at all."
Moscow Mitch is (still) 100% Team Trump.

We're not to the (currently improbable) point when Republicans in the Senate stand with their county and turn against a Republican president. Republicans Turned on Nixon. Here’s Why They Won’t Turn on Trump. -- As was not the case in 1974, Republicans now have counterfactual media that allows or compels them to ignore blatant lawbreaking. (Harold Meyerson for The American Prospect, October 1, 2019)
Nixon’s tribe bowed to the e