WTF Community

The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

Neither President Donald Trump nor his attorneys will participate in Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, they said late Sunday.

In a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler, White House counsel to the President Pat Cipollone said, “We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings. More importantly, an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with an semblance of a fair process. Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”

Cipollone said they would respond separately to the Friday deadline about their participation in future hearings.

This refusal to participate applies to this week’s hearing. As @dragonfly9 pointed out, Trump has until Friday to respond regarding participation in future hearings.


Looks like the decision came in at 5p today…i stand corrected :grin: @Pet_Proletariat and @Keaton_James

Same info here…

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.

Under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), adding that “an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair process.”

Nadler had asked Trump to indicate by Sunday whether the president himself or a White House attorney would attend Wednesday’s hearing, an offer that Democrats said was an attempt to afford due process to Trump as he faces a likely impeachment vote before the end of the month.



And the WH forfeits their right to participate in the scheduled proceedings this week. Seems like a seriously dumb move just to keep up the phony victim defense for the media.


This part is still important. It’s the rest of the schedule. Wednesday’s hearing will be boring but necessary to understanding further proceedings.

Update: More from WaPo

On Sunday evening, White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone told the House Judiciary Committee in a five-page letter that Trump would not participate in its first impeachment hearing, scheduled for Wednesday. The invitation from Chairman Jerrold Nadler “does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process,” Cipollone wrote.

Four constitutional scholars — three chosen by Democrats, one by Republicans — are expected to testify on the standards for impeachment. Nadler (D-N.Y.) told Trump he had until 6 p.m. Sunday to notify the committee that he or his attorneys would attend; he has given Trump until Friday to decide whether to participate more broadly in the impeachment process.

In his letter Sunday, Cipollone did not rule out participating in future hearings but asked Nadler to detail his plans for the upcoming proceedings, including whether he would allow further testimony and cross-examination of fact witnesses, among them those who already testified before the House Intelligence Committee. He also said Republicans should be able to call additional witnesses.


A good review of the pending cases for T and those he’s trying to not to speak under oath (ex WH lawyer - McGahn.) This is discussed on Mueller She Wrote with lawyer, Blake Anderson.

Gets in deep with when (hopefully) the array of cases are going to be decided. What courts are doing what? How T’s arguments in his cases are bogus…and seem frivolous and not worthy of Supreme Courts or other courts time? What’s an expected timeline on getting the results from the Supreme Court or District courts?

There is a ton of legal actions all coming at once, in combination with the Impeachment hearings starting this week. Thought the discussion was a good way to see where the end points could be with T’ 'n Co wanting to run out the clock and the House Committees and NY DA Cy Vance wanting to get the courts to rule on these things.

2 Mazars cases… Both want T’s tax returns

  • House Oversight Committee - Subpoenas for 1) T’s tax returns and 2) Deutsche Bank

  • NY District Attorney Cy Vance’s who is going to battle the statutes of limitations regarding T’s finances - and they are saying that Vance is looking at a misdemeanor charge (campaign finances) and a felony charge, among a lot of others into the T family businesses)

(Mazars cases Explained

2 cases relating to Mueller Report

  • House wants to get the redacted Grand Jury testimony from Mueller Report

  • McGahn Case - get him to testify, but WH/T says he has absolute immunity.

Important dates
Dec 13 Supreme Court could decide to not hear the T case (House Oversight Taxes)
Dec 13 - NY DA Vance Mazars case will be in court

January 3, 2020 - House’s case for the Mueller grand jury notes, and getting the unredacted version. In DC circuit court.
January 3, 2020 - McGahn case. Does he have absolute immunity?

And a bit on the very end…with no real answers on the mystery Company A that was never revealed from the Mueller Report.

The legal discussions begins at 1:05:33 on podcast…very interesting.


The Single Best Argument For Why Trump Should Be Impeached & Removed:

He tried to meddle in the 2020 election. It’s crazy to say that you have to let him participate in the 2020 election in order to render a verdict on his attempt to cheat in it.


Passage from The Bulwark’s article which once again tells us how corrupt he is…

Put another way, Donald Trump likes how he can line his and his family’s pockets with emoluments—at his D.C. hotel, his far-flung golf resorts, Mar-a-Lago. Now, with the potential of election loss next year, he makes “recourse to the most corrupt expedients.” He is indeed “violently tempted” to every effort to prolong his power.

Our Framers expected, our Constitution allows, and our national ideals demand that Donald Trump be prevented from cheating in the next election. Other than denying him the Republican party nomination, impeachment by the House and removal and disqualification by the Senate is the only remedy.


Watching the Senate Republicans and what they will do regarding an impeachment vote. It is an uphill battle to get any majority from the R’s to vote against him, given the tight 'loyal" leash T demands.

AB Stoddard writes in The Bulwark…conservative publication…it is these Senators who tow the T line in preservation of their own power.

…This week the impeachment process moves over to the House Judiciary Committee, where we will hear from Republicans over and over that these proceedings are an embarrassing failure. When the process reaches the House floor, either late this month or in January, we can expect Republicans to vote en masse against articles of impeachment and throw triumphant press conferences celebrating the Democrats’ political suicide. Somewhere senators are practicing their gleeful but disgusted chuckles.

It seems all but certain that a Senate impeachment trial won’t remove Trump from office, since reaching the necessary supermajority of 67 votes would require the support not only of all 47 Senate Democrats and independents but also of 20 Senate Republicans. Yet surely there are at least 12 Republican senators who could find themselves unable to absolve the president of his demonstrably impeachable conduct. A bipartisan majority vote declaring his actions a betrayal of his oath of office is still critically important. A partisan acquittal would represent a grave threat to the Republic: Trump would view it not only as approval of his past abuse of power and attempted bribery but as permission for more. This outcome, senators know, would invite Trump to break our system for good.

We have watched as Republicans have repeatedly squirmed, looked the other way, and normalized Trump’s lies, disdain for process and protocol, and constant undermining of constitutional norms, congressional prerogatives, judicial independence, the credibility of the Department of Justice, and the reputation of the intelligence community. Senate Republicans hoped things would never reach this point, but with Trump it was all but guaranteed that he would get himself impeached. Now as we near the final threshold, they must ask themselves: If this doesn’t merit impeachment, what does?..

The universe of possible Senate Republican votes against the president is small. It may once have included Ben Sasse, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, and Mike Lee. But Portman and Sasse have indicated they no longer dwell in this universe, Toomey will likely follow the pressure of the pack, and Lee seems to have his eyes on a black robe on the Supreme Court and so is likely to remain mum. Marco Rubio has spent considerable time and energy on the issue of election security—and like all his colleagues knows Trump is attacking the integrity of the 2020 election—but has made it clear he thinks the impeachment of Trump is a joke.

Likely the only Senate Republicans who will truly wrestle with this burden are three retirees who are leaving the Senate next year, another three rebels who seemed disinclined to fear the cult, and six others who are up for re-election. Lamar Alexander, Mike Enzi, and Pat Roberts are eyeing the history books and all revere the institution that was functioning as a coequal branch of government when they arrived. Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski have not been afraid to criticize Trump, and Richard Burr has run the most bipartisan committee in Congress through his own Russia investigation—and is serving his final term in the seat once held by Sam Ervin, who chaired the Senate Watergate committee.

For those Senate Republicans in tough re-election battles, a vote to sanction Trump isn’t going to save them, but if they are likely to lose their race anyway they may see the most important vote of their career a bit differently. Susan Collins is in a huge fight after a career as the most bipartisan senator in a state Hillary Clinton won. Cory Gardner is also facing a well-liked former governor in a blue state Clinton won. Martha McSally lost her race in Arizona last year and is now serving by appointment in the seat of the late John McCain. She is running in a swing state and will weigh her dependence on Trump against the Constitution and democracy she fought to protect as a combat pilot in the Air Force. Joni Ernst will have to hope every last devastated farmer shows up to vote Republican after Trump’s trade war has hit Iowa and his approval there is underwater. Her own approval and fundraising have been weak. Thom Tillis is also underwater in North Carolina where Democrats are investing heavily and where he was booed at a Trump rally. Tillis could lose his race even if Trump wins the state. Finally, John Cornyn, a former judge and attorney general of Texas, will be in for a fierce fight in a state Ted Cruz predicted would be “hotly contested,” with Democrats promising to run up massive margins after their record turnout in 2018.

Yes, all of these senators are still, sadly, long shots to vote against Trump. We know how much pressure they will face to put the man above their oath. Trump expects not a single betrayal—a perfect vote like his “perfect call.”


Spot on! :dart:

And here’s the other thing: An election cannot replace a legal determination of whether or not someone committed a crime.

I am so angry at Republicans who shrug their shoulders and say we should “just let voters decide.” Since when is guilt or innocence decided by a popular vote?

If the mayor of a small town was caught on video robbing a bank would he be let off because it was close to election time? Would it be OK to say, “We’ll just let voters decide if he robbed the bank.” No! That’s an absurd suggestion – so why is it being given any credence in regards to Trump?

We must determine if Trump committed a crime. That’s the reason the Founders established a procedure for a trial in the Senate. If the President is found guilty of bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors, the Constitution mandates that he shall be removed from office. Period.

A popularity contest is not a substitute for a trial.


This has been their line for a long time, though, that the only thing that matters is popularity, and they take that straight from Trump. He insists that if you’re popular, if you’re doing okay in one area (never mind that he’s NOT), then everything else is irrelevant.

This is ironic given they’ve entirely stopped bothering to listen to protests and complaints, where previously both might at times matter.


Absolutely. I’m just astounded when Trump cites the economy to claim immunity from impeachment. As if one has anything to do with the other. A recent example: “How do you impeach a President who has created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country?”

He’s like a mob boss in court who pleads, “How can you convict me of murder when I buy uniforms for the town softball team?”

And shame on Trump’s base that endorses this deceitful defense. They’re transparently saying, “Morals be damned as long as I’m getting what I want.” The rise of fascism in pre-WWII Germany was spurred on by the same rationalization.


Indirectly about impeachment - Feds now have “voluminous” number of records from Lev Parnas who consider Giuliani and T his pal. But Parnas is going rogue on them with some kind of immunity deal.


It’s NOT surprising though when you look at his track record; Trump always thinks transactionally.

“I did something for you, you should thank me now and do something for me.”

That’s why he pushed prison reform and low unemployment: he thought it would get him the black vote.

That’s why he’s given Israel everything on its wish list; he thought it would get him the Jewish vote.

And he fails to comprehend why neither of those tactics is working, and assumes that in both cases the people are being ungrateful and offensive for not taking his narrowly-focused, racist bribes.

So he thinks if he has a great economy, well, he’s winning. He’s always heard that presidents with good economies get re-elected. So that should work for him, right? One-track thinking. He can’t comprehend why people would be concerned about little things like corruption or greed or lying or the civil rights of other people.

When you only think of yourself, you assume everybody else does as well. It’s that old adage about how crooks assume everybody else is a crook; it’s not always true, obviously, but there is some basis to it, typically when it comes to those unable to think beyond their own narrow focus.


I understand Parnas went rogue because he took offense at Trump pulling his usual “I don’t know them” schtick. I mean, let’s face it, these guys had a company called Fraud Guarantee and a club called Mafia Rave. Bright they’re not.

In other news:

Chairman Nadler Statement on White House Refusal to Participate in First Impeachment Hearing


Impeachment process explained and what happens next for the Senate.

Good explainer from our friends at Lawfare.

…After months of public debate, the release of the Mueller report, and witness testimony both in private depositions and in public hearings, the House Judiciary Committee will have by then passed articles of impeachment against President Trump, and the full House of Representatives will have passed them as well. The suits entering the Senate will be the House’s so-called impeachment managers, those members named by the body to prosecute the House’s case in the Senate trial of the president.

They will enter the Senate chamber under a series of theatrical stage directions, which are laid out in a document entitled, “Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate when Sitting on Impeachment Trials.” The Senate’s impeachment rules are weirdly detailed, specifying speeches and oaths that different actors must recite and the specific times of day when things must happen. Yet they offer no rules of evidence or standards of proof and allow majority votes in the Senate to decide key questions that in any normal trial proceeding would be decided by judges under law.

Following these rules, the managers—led, say, by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff—will have alerted the Senate that they’re ready to present the articles, and Julie Adams, the secretary of the Senate, will have responded that the Senate will receive them. Schiff and the others will approach the Senate bar. The Senate’s sergeant at arms, Michael C. Stenger, will proclaim: “All persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against Donald Trump.” Following Stenger’s proclamation, the House managers will exhibit the articles, displaying their allegations against the president.

A few blocks away, Chief Justice John Roberts will have already received a request from the Senate—the first time in more than 20 years a chief justice will have received such a summons: He must arrive at the Capitol building the next day at 1:00 p.m. to preside over the consideration of the impeachment articles. The chief justice will return to the Senate daily—except on Sundays—while the articles are being considered and throughout Trump’s trial. No one is certain how long that may take.

The following day, the chief justice will arrive at the Capitol and take an oath administered by, in all likelihood, the president pro tempore of the Senate, Chuck Grassley. Roberts will then administer a special oath required by Article I of the Constitution to the senators present: ‘‘I solemnly swear … that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.’’

Meanwhile, a writ of summons will be delivered to President Trump. The writ will recite the impeachment articles and call on Trump to appear before the Senate, to file his answer to the articles, and to abide by the orders and judgments of the Senate in its consideration of them. Trump’s derisive tweets about the Senate process will give rise to the widespread inference that he has, in fact, received the Senate’s writ.

At 12:30 p.m. on the day designated for the return of the summons, the legislative and executive business of the Senate will be suspended, and the secretary of the Senate will administer an oath to the returning officer, testifying that he or she did indeed deliver the writ to Trump. Assuming that Trump declines to appear in person to deliver his answer, he will be defended by counsel of his choice, working in conjunction with the White House counsel’s office.

In this article, we attempt to imagine a Senate trial of Donald Trump given the rules under which such a trial will take place and given what we know or can reasonably infer about the ambient political environment in which the trial will happen. The goal is to think through the question of how House impeachment managers and lawyers for the president are likely to strategize litigation under the highly unusual rules that will govern it. Can Republicans dismiss the case quickly? Can Democrats force John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney to give the testimony both refused to give when asked by the House? Can Republicans move to turn the whole affair into a trial of Hunter Biden and his father? These questions, and others like them, involve the complex interplay of politics and quasi-legal proceedings in which Democrats will want to prove an actual case under a skeletal framework of rules that offers many degrees of freedom.


The Rules.

The Senate impeachment rules, as the imagined account above describes, choreograph the opening of the trial in some detail. They require that when the Senate receives notice from the House that it has appointed its managers to prosecute the impeachment trial, the secretary of the Senate must “immediately” inform the House that the Senate is “ready to receive” them (Rule 1). When the managers are introduced at the Senate bar and signify that they are ready to exhibit the impeachment articles, the sergeant at arms, at the direction of the Senate’s presiding officer, must issue the proclamation quoted above. Following the proclamation, the articles are to be exhibited, and the presiding officer of the Senate must inform the House managers that the Senate “will take proper order on the subject of the impeachment” (Rule 2). Following the presentation, the Senate must proceed to consider the articles no later than 1 p.m. the following day. The Senate shall “continue in session from day to day,” after the trial commences, unless the Senate decides otherwise, until a final decision is made (Rule 3). That decision can either be a final vote or a vote to adjourn the trial at any time along the way.



And now we’re at that moment where Trump just suggested using the Supreme Court he packed with partisans to overturn Congress’s Constitutional right to impeach.


Cross-posting, thanks.


Prosecutors: More Charges Possible In Case Of Giuliani Associates Parnas, Fruman

Prosecutors could bring more charges in the case of two Soviet-born associates of Rudy Giuliani — although it wasn’t precisely clear when, what or who else might be involved after a conference in New York City on Monday.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman face charges of conspiracy, false statements and falsification of records in connection with two alleged schemes to violate U.S. election laws. But it’s their work helping Giuliani dig up dirt in Ukraine that has put the pair under intense public scrutiny.

And a superseding indictment — which could add to or modify the existing charges — is likely, prosecutors said on Monday, but also adding that they’re continuing to evaluate the case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and FBI investigators are making their way through what prosecutor Douglas Zolkind called a “voluminous” amount of evidence in the case — around 9 gigabytes’ worth.

Clearing their way through that material — which includes electronic devices, phone records, bank records and more — would set the stage for the next steps.

That could include a superseding indictment that changes or adds charges or defendants. It also could be a milestone for Parnas, who has said that he wants to try to cooperate with Congress’ investigation of the Ukraine affair.

The U.S. attorney’s office would need to produce evidence to Parnas, who could then provide it to congressional investigators in response to a subpoena issued in October.

It isn’t clear when that might fit into the House impeachment process.

The House Intelligence Committee is expected to release its report about President Trump and Ukraine early this week; the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled an open hearing about impeachment for Wednesday.

The Ukraine affair

Giuliani and his Ukraine efforts have been front and center in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump. Democrats say Trump abused his power in an effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to open investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats.

Witnesses have described Giuliani as a major figure in that effort. He has refused to cooperate with the Democratic-led House inquiry — but the former New York City mayor is facing scrutiny in connection with the investigation into Parnas and Fruman.

Investigators have issued subpoenas to a range of companies and individuals who had dealings with the two men.

One of those companies is Ballard Partners, a Florida-based lobbying firm that reportedly made large payments to Parnas. An attorney for the company, William W. Taylor III, said the firm is complying with the subpoena.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, also is cooperating with prosecutors after receiving a subpoena for records and other information related to his interactions with Parnas, Fruman and Giuliani.

Parnas and Fruman made campaign donations to Sessions in 2018 and asked him for help getting the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, removed from her post. According to the indictment, Parnas and Fruman were working, at least in part, in coordination with a Ukrainian official.

After meeting Parnas and Fruman, Sessions wrote a letter to the State Department sharply criticizing Yovanovitch and her work.

Sessions lost his seat in the 2018 midterms.

Andrew Favorov, an executive with Ukraine’s state-controlled gas company, Naftogaz, has agreed to a voluntary interview with prosecutors, according to his attorney, Lanny Breuer.

Parnas and Fruman approached Favorov at an energy conference this spring in Houston with a proposal that involved removing Yovanovitch.

Yovanovitch was recalled from her post weeks later amid a smear campaign by Giuliani and others on conservative media outlets.

The pro-Trump political action committee America First Action says it, too, is cooperating with federal investigators. The group says it contacted prosecutors with the Southern District of New York and offered voluntarily to cooperate.


Not worth pursuing, nothing…but gee the GOP still says that Ukraine was interfering with the 2016 election.

The Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee looked into allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election and found no evidence to support the claims, according to sources familiar with the matter.

This squares with the overall conclusion of officials who have looked into the matter. Sources tell CNN that no US intelligence agency has ever produced a product accusing the Ukrainian government of interfering in the 2016 US election.

Some Republican lawmakers continue to misleadingly say that the government of Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election on the same level as Russia, despite the GOP-led committee looking into the matter and finding little to support the allegation. The committee went so far as to interview former Democratic National Committee operative Alexandra Chalupa – a central figure in theories that say Ukraine interfered in the election – before closing that aspect of their probe, according to the sources. Politico on Monday was first to report the committee’s exploration of Ukraine’s actions in 2016.

The committee looked into any possible Ukrainian interference* because – as committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, told reporters on October 4, 2017 – the investigation was to look into a number of measures, including "any collusion by either campaign during the 2016 elections."

Twelve days after he said that, sources tell CNN, Chalupa met with staffers on the committee for a more-than-two-hour meeting covering a range of subjects, including why she was so alarmed in 2016 to learn that candidate Donald Trump had hired Paul Manafort, who worked with corrupt Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Chalupa was never called back before the committee and investigators considered the matter closed, sources say. Chalupa could not be reached for comment.


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.