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Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

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#1647

AG Barr is getting ahead of the IG Report on what the FBI did…but now Barr does not agree with it. Like the Mueller Report, Barr is putting shade on the results.

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.

The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horo­witz, is due to release his long-awaited findings in a week, but behind the scenes at the Justice Department, disagreement has surfaced about one of Horowitz’s central conclusions on the origins of the Russia investigation. The discord could be the prelude to a major fissure within federal law enforcement on the controversial question of investigating a presidential campaign.

Barr has not been swayed by Horowitz’s rationale for concluding that the FBI had sufficient basis to open an investigation on July 31, 2016, these people said.

Barr’s public defenses of President Trump, including his assertion that intelligence agents spied on the Trump campaign, have led Democrats to accuse him of acting like the president’s personal attorney and eroding the independence of the Justice Department. But Trump and his Republican allies have cheered Barr’s skepticism of the Russia investigation.

The attorney general has privately contended that Horowitz does not have enough information to reach the conclusion the FBI had enough details in hand at the time to justify opening such a probe. He argues that other U.S. agencies, such as the CIA, may hold significant information that could alter Horo­witz’s conclusion on that point, according to the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.


#1648

The witnesses:

  • Noah Feldman
    • Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law and Director, Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law
    • Harvard Law School
  • Pamela S. Karlan
    • Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic
    • Stanford Law School
  • Michael Gerhardt
    • Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence
    • The University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Jonathan Turley
    • J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law
    • The George Washington University Law School

#1649

Outrageous really how partisan AG Barr is…

Including a comment from WAPO’s comments section that sums him up.

Barr is a political operative who uses big words and hides behind Catholic piety to cover his partisan worldview. He’s a Republican first. Play the film back. Sessions recuses himself for the Russia thing. Trump cries for his Roy Cohn. Barr writes an audition piece proclaiming absolute executive power. Trump hires Barr. Mueller issues a report. 24 hours later Barr says the report exonerates Trump, swaying the national narrative. At Trump’s behest Barr chases conspiracy rabbits down a hole, mainly Russian memes. And today we find that Republican voters re-elected men who’d been indicted for crimes. That tribe needs to be soundly defeated.


#1650

READ: Installment II here :point_down:

News:


#1651

READ: Republican Report On The Impeachment Inquiry


(David Bythewood) #1652

Trump Misquotes Ukrainian President in Latest Impeachment Defense

President Trump misleadingly claimed that the Ukrainian leader said he had “done nothing wrong.”

The latest defense of Trump is a total scam. Republicans just confirmed it themselves.


(David Bythewood) #1653

Trump Is the Founders’ Worst Nightmare

Once in the Oval Office, a demagogue can easily stay there.

Donald Trump’s Republican congressional allies are throwing up different defenses against impeachment and hoping that something may sell. They say that he didn’t seek a corrupt political bargain with Ukraine, but that if he did, he failed, and the mere attempt is not impeachable. Or that it is not clear that he did it, because the evidence against him is unreliable “hearsay.”

It’s all been very confusing. But the larger story — the crucial constitutional story — is not the incoherence of the president’s defense. It is more that he and his party are exposing limits of impeachment as a response to the presidency of a demagogue.

The founders feared the demagogue, who figures prominently in the Federalist Papers as the politician who, possessing “perverted ambition,” pursues relentless self-aggrandizement “by the confusions of their country.” 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.

Of course, all the presidents who have faced impeachment mounted a political defense, to go with their legal and constitutional case. And it is not unusual that they — and, even more vociferously, their allies — will attack the process as a means of undoing an election.

The difference in Mr. Trump’s case is not merely one of degree. Richard Nixon despised his opposition, convinced of their bad faith and implacable hatred for him. But it is hard to imagine Mr. Trump choosing (and actually meaning) these words to conclude, as Nixon did, a letter to the chair of Judiciary Committee: “[If] the committee desires further information from me … I stand ready to answer, under oath, pertinent written interrogatories, and to be interviewed under oath by you and the ranking minority member at the White House.”

Mr. Trump has instead described Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, as a “corrupt” politician who shares with other “human scum” the objective of running the “most unfair hearings in American history.”

These remarks are not merely one more instance of Mr. Trump’s failure to curb his impulses. This is his constitutional defense strategy. Mr. Trump’s White House counsel, informing the House of the president’s refusal to cooperate, declared that the impeachment process is unconstitutional and invalid — a “naked political strategy” — and advised that the president would not participate. It matters that the president’s lawyer, in a formal communication with the House, used rhetoric that might have been expected from the hardest-core political supporters. Once again, contrasts with past impeachments are illuminating. Bill Clinton’s White House counsel Charles Ruff testified before the House Judiciary Committee, pledging to “assist you in performing your constitutional duties.”

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.

This is how the Republican Party has become Mr. Trump’s party. It is also why that party will not conceive of its role in impeachment as entailing a constitutional responsibility independent of the president’s political and personal interests. It has come to see those interests as indistinguishable from its own. In this way the constitutional defense of the case against Mr. Trump and the defense of his own interests become one and the same. As another fabled demagogue, Huey Long of Louisiana, famously announced: “I’m the Constitution around here now.”

The implications for the constitutional impeachment process are dire. Until Mr. Trump, modern impeachment has ended with some generally positive assessment of its legacy. Nixon’s resignation appeared to indicate that serious charges could bring the parties together in defense of the rule of law. “The system worked” was a popular refrain, even if this was a somewhat idealized and oversimplified version of events. The Clinton impeachment suggested that the standards for an impeachable offense required a distinction between public misconduct and private morality, and Congress reclaimed its responsibility for impeachment from an independent counsel statute that was allowed to lapse.

The Trump impeachment is headed toward a very different summation. 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.


#1654

:boom: Ok…another loss for T…

Key Points

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Deutsche Bank and Capital One can hand over years of President Donald Trump’s financial records in compliance with House Democrats’ subpoenas.

The ruling offers another loss in the courts for Trump, who has fought attempts to obtain his financial records through multiple lawsuits.

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Deutsche Bank and Capital One can hand over years of President Donald Trump’s financial records in compliance with House Democrats’ subpoenas.

The ruling in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals offers another loss in the courts for Trump, who has fought attempts to obtain his financial records, including his tax returns, through multiple lawsuits.

Neither the White House nor a lawyer for Trump immediately responded to CNBC’s request for comment on the ruling.

The case is likely destined for the Supreme Court, where the president has already appealed two other lower court decisions requiring the disclosure of his financial records.


#1655

:eyes:


#1656

READ: House Intel Report :boom:

https://intelligence.house.gov/report/


#1657

Trump Impeachment Report Released by House Panel

The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released a report documenting the impeachment case against President Trump, laying out the conclusions of its inquiry into allegations that he abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election and then impeded attempts by Congress to investigate.

The report is based on two months of public and private testimony from diplomats and other administration officials who described a campaign by the president and his allies to get Ukraine to announce investigations of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats, while withholding nearly $400 million in military assistance and a White House meeting for Ukraine’s president.

The report’s approval, expected on Tuesday evening, will set in motion the next phase in the impeachment of Mr. Trump, accelerating a constitutional clash that has happened only three times in the nation’s history. Both parties are poised for a fierce, partisan debate in the House Judiciary Committee over whether to draft articles of impeachment — most likely based on the evidence in the report — that could go to the House for a vote before Christmas.

If a majority of the House voted to approve articles of impeachment, the president would be impeached. The proceedings would then move to the Senate for a trial.


#1658

The calls listed on the Trump Impeachment report are damning for Nunes pertaining to speaking with Lev Parnas. A lot of back and forth, and a lot of questions as to why Nunes did not recuse.


and a pithy statement from Ari Melber MSNBC


#1659

More regarding phone calls

Call records included in an impeachment report released by House Democrats Tuesday show that House Intelligence Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) had a number of contacts in April with Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas, an associate of Giuliani’s who has since been indicted for campaign finance violations.

Why it matters: The call records constitute some of the only new revelations from the report, which mostly relies on witness testimony that has been released to the public.

The big picture: The April contacts came in the midst of a smear campaign against former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, which was led by Giuliani, Parnas and John Solomon, a Trump-friendly journalist who formerly wrote for The Hill.

  • The Daily Beast has reported that Parnas, who helped introduce Giuliani to Ukrainian officials in his quest to dig up dirt on Trump’s rivals, also helped arrange meetings for Nunes in 2018, when the top Republican was investigating the origins of the Mueller investigation.
  • Nunes has dismissed the entire impeachment inquiry as a hoax and part of a continued effort by Democrats to take down President Trump. He is likely to face new scrutiny about his involvement with key players at the center of the inquiry.

Impeach%20Records%20Axios%202


(David Bythewood) #1660

Adam Schiff Spells Out Why Trump Is A Danger To America


The post below has a video of Adam Schiff’s statement.



https://www.npr.org/2019/12/03/784368506/rep-adam-schiff-the-uncontested-facts-show-this-president-solicited-a-bribe?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter


#1661

I feel like I should apologize for being a downer here, but I must say I’m deeply disappointed that the House Intel Committee did not apply the two crucial words of “bribery” and “extortion” when laying out Trump’s nefarious acts. Their report does not use the word “extortion” to describe Trump’s demand that Ukraine’s President must announce investigations before military aid would be released. Nor does the report use the word “bribery” to describe Trump’s offer of a White House visit in exchange for Ukraine’s President announcing investigations. A search of the document shows that the word “bribery” is only used when the report quotes the Constitution, defining impeachable offenses as “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Because the words “bribery” or “extortion” were not used in the report, we’re seeing tepid headlines like this one from CNN.

Trump%20accused%20of%20misconduct

Not the headline I was hoping for.

To me. today has a feeling of déjà vu, recalling the day the Mueller Report was released. I was angry then that Mueller refused to say in plain English that Trump committed criminal acts and he would have been indicted if he weren’t President. Instead, Mueller used language so convoluted that, at times, you really had to strain to understand what he was driving at (yes, he was following a DOJ policy memo, but it’s debatable whether or not he needed to apply it with such zeal). Now today, I’ve got to admit I have a similar sinking feeling. This time it appears to be the Democrats who won’t just spit out in clear terms what Trump did. It was extortion. It was bribery.

I’m ready and willing to be talked out of my depression here. Maybe I’ve got this all wrong. Perhaps the words “bribery” and “extortion” will be introduced later during the House Judiciary hearings and then incorporated into the articles of impeachment. I’ll be counting on Rachel Maddow to enlighten me tonight and restore my optimism. :bulb:

UPDATE: I jumped the gun here! Thanks @Windthin for posting this:

Rep. Adam Schiff: 'The Uncontested Facts Show This President Solicited a Bribe

The fact that Schiff is making the bribery case verbally in his statements to the nation is music to my ears! Perhaps the committees just don’t want to put it in writing quite yet. Faith restored. :sunny: :rainbow:


#1662

Thanks for airing your frustrations regarding are they (Dems/Mueller/Schiff/Pelosi) going to bungle it again - @Keaton_James

What we all want is to have the Dems with Schiff in charge to hit-em-over-the-head with facts, details and convincing evidence of bribery, extortion, abuse of power, obstruction and the like. Yes we want a full TKO :boom:

The Pelosi/Schiff/Nadler calculation is right now IMHO is that they have the facts lined up with testimony, and all sorts of receipts to get T on charges of how he’s used the office for his own personal gain, via bribery and the other articles they are defining as abuse of power, along with Obstruction etc.

The gist of it is the House can and WILL Impeach him. They have the votes, they have the public support. It may never get passed the Senate but that maybe good enough, because of all the party-line loyalist Republicans. This is enough perhaps to damage his reputation, and dampen his zest for self-service and slow his 2020 roll.

That said…here’s an article on what perhaps the Founding Fathers thought was an abuse of power…ie, asking for a favor ie, bribery or forcing one for a favor, extortion, but in essence this is saying anything a President does the Congress deems wrong can be impeached. So semantically it does not make a huge difference. Maybe the Dems/Schiff are worried about the constant R refrain of, well the military support was delivered, and just asking is not bribery and case closed. Not sure…but I am so sure they are being very careful with their words.

Unlike the guy in London representing us who spouts every idiocy possible. :clown_face:

The Constitution invokes the concept of “bribery” without explaining what the term encompasses. Scholars say that silence is likely because the meaning of the term was well understood from English common law and parliamentary practice.

The Founders intended for the concept of bribery, for impeachment purposes, to broadly cover any “corrupt abuse of power to obtain personal benefit,” three lawyers for the nonprofit group Protect Democracy wrote on the website Lawfare. They recently compiled a survey of early American and English writings and precedents about bribery, as well as discussion in more contemporary scholarly works on impeachment.

Why does it matter if this is “bribery” specifically?

Primarily for political messaging. Critics of Mr. Trump have generally been talking about the scandal in terms of more abstract concepts like “abuse of power” and the Latin phrase “quid pro quo,” which means exchanging one thing for another.

Those phrases can be difficult to understand and raise the question of whether they amount to an impeachable offense. Ms. Pelosi’s sharpened rhetoric was part of a shift in which Democrats and other critics of Mr. Trump have sought to talk about their allegations using a more plain-English term — and one that is explicitly impeachable.

What about extortion?

Some analysts have cited extortion as another framework for thinking about Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine. One version of this offense is when a public official unlawfully obtains something of value, like an illegal fee, from another person by threatening to take or withhold some official action in a way that would harm the victim.

Last month, when Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, gave a news conference in which he appeared to admit that the arrangement was a “quid pro quo” — which he later walked back — he also told reporters to “get over it” because it is routine for the United States government to hold up foreign aid to get a recipient country to change some policy.

As a description of using foreign aid as a lever in foreign policy, Mr. Mulvaney was correct. But the question boils down to whether Mr. Trump was seeking to coerce Ukrainian officials into actions to benefit the United States or to benefit himself.

Does it matter whether an attempted bribe succeeded?

Not legally.

Mr. Trump’s defenders have repeatedly argued that Mr. Trump committed no impeachable offense because he ultimately released the military aid to Ukraine in September, even though Mr. Zelensky had not announced any investigations.

Critics note that Mr. Trump released aid to Ukraine only after the White House learned that a whistle-blower had filed a complaint attempting to tell lawmakers that Mr. Trump was using his official powers to coerce Ukraine into helping his re-election campaign, and amid increasing and bipartisan pressure from Congress for the security assistance to be released.

In any case, while the impeachment process is not a court of criminal law, if it were, arguing that the scheme failed would be no defense: The federal statute specifically designates even an attempt to solicit a bribe as a crime.

Jonathan Chait of New York magazine has colorfully labeled this the “Sideshow Bob” defense, after a character in “The Simpsons” whose plot to kill Bart Simpson was foiled. In a 1994 episode, the imprisoned Sideshow Bob denounced his conviction for attempted murder: “Convicted of a crime I didn’t even commit. Hah! Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry? Do they?”


#1663

You have to laugh at this…but the Republican Report on Impeachment is just pure ire. I read this blog…and you can have yourself a little chuckle maybe.

I’ll have a bit more to say about the Republican pre-buttal to the HPSCI Impeachment Report put out last night. But a good summary of the report looks like this:

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The report uses the word “Democrat” 226 times, all part of a ploy to suggest that facts presented in the impeachment hearing were a partisan plot.

It fails to acknowledge, however, that zero of the witnesses who testified were Democrats. Two (Jennifer Williams and Tim Morrison) testified they were partisan Republicans. Gordon Sondland didn’t testify to the point (indeed, in his statement he highlighted his past work with Democrats), but he got his position by dumping $1 million into Trump’s inauguration. The rest testified to being non-partisan.

Three of the witnesses — Kurt Volker, Morrison, and Sondland — were Republican witnesses. The testimony of the three of them, plus that of Bill Taylor, fully substantiates that Trump demanded investigations before he’d release aid to Ukraine.

The facts presented in the impeachment inquiry are not Democratic claims. They are non-partisan or Republican facts.

But in the Republican party in 2019, every fact that is damning to Donald Trump — even those shared by Republicans — is treated as a partisan conspiracy.


#1664

Summary of the Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

November 22nd - December 3rd


Calendars:


General Congressional News:


New Documents:


:newspaper: Timeline has been updated. Breaking news starts below. :point_down:


#1665

cross-posting :pray:


#1666

The Impeachment Inquiry Report unfolds like the plot of a political thriller

Just browsing through the report and was struck by how compelling the headings are. They form a succinct summary of the damning evidence against Trump and lay out the sequence of events almost like the plotline of a political thriller – they are impactful and easy to remember – great talking points for your next encounter with a TCSD (Trump Crime Syndicate Denier).

My favorite heading: The President’s Hand-picked Agents Begin the Scheme

In copying these from the report, I left the links active so you can bop over and read the details in any section.

If you have time to read only one section, I recommend Schiff’s Preface in which he eloquently and persuasively lays out Trump’s criminal acts (yes, he doesn’t actually use the word “criminal” – he’s being careful with his language at this point, but the word “criminal” is bound to pop into your head). Boy does Schiff have a way with words!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

THE TRUMP-UKRAINE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY REPORT

INTRODUCTION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Preface [by Adam Schiff]

  2. Executive Summary

  3. Key Findings of Fact

  4. Report

THE REPORT

I. The President’s Misconduct: The President Conditioned a White House Meeting and Military Aid to Ukraine on a Public Announcement of Investigations Beneficial to his Reelection Campaign

II. The President’s Obstruction of the House of Representatives’ Impeachment Inquiry: The President Obstructed the Impeachment Inquiry by Instructing Witnesses and Agencies to Ignore Subpoenas for Documents and Testimony

_____________________________________________________________________________________