Tag Archives: House of Representatives

How’s This Working, Nancy? by Jim Kunstler

Too bad a bunch of people aren’t going to be pulled in front of the Senate impeachment trial—if it happens—to testify. From Jim Kunstler at kunstler.org:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been clinging to her bill of impeachment for one reason: hoping that a judge will rule to release all the evidence and depositions collected by Robert Mueller’s investigation. What’s wrong with that? Mr. Mueller failed to find any prosecutable crimes. That was the sum and substance of his two-year-long exercise in bad faith. In which case, all that material is officially and legally evidence of nothing. Impeachment is a political act and sealed evidence of nothing can’t be released to one set of political actors in a political quarrel for use as a political weapon. More to the point — and to Mrs. Pelosi’s real motive here — the material is not for impeachment but rather to use the Mueller dossier as political opposition “research” for the coming election.

There is no question that from the start of his investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller knew that the case was opened under false pretenses, since his very close friend, the erstwhile FBI director James Comey, also knew by early 2017 that all the predicating material was substantially false, and that it was procured by Mrs. Clinton. To carry it beyond that was a scheme by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to issue a series of “scoping” letters that increasingly widened Mr. Mueller’s purview to go fishing for crimes in every area and every chronological phase of the president’s life. That smacks of what’s known in Anglo-American law as attainder by process: first declaring someone an outlaw, and only afterward seeking a crime to justify it. Under our system, first crimes are established, then persons liable for them are brought to court to answer charges.

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Impeachment Is a Distraction: Heavily Scripted Vote Demonstrates That Democracy Really Is Dead, by Philip Giraldi

The only good thing about the House’s impeachment farce was that it couldn’t pass legislation during the representatives’ bloviations. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.com:

Watching the impeachment “vote” was hard work. With only a few exceptions, each Congressman rose for roughly 90 seconds and provided a prearranged, almost completely scripted-along-party-lines explanation of how he or she was casting one’s ballot. After four grueling hours of hearing self-serving lies like “no one is above the law,” I was hoping that one of them would either fall off the podium and fracture a leg or actually go mad and break out into a song and dance routine. The entire performance was the strongest possible argument for term limits that is possible to make.

However, one of the more truly interesting aspects of the proceedings was the Democratic Party view of Russia, which was cited constantly. According to most of the Democrats, Russian meddling was the decisive element in getting Donald Trump elected, and many of them also believe that there was collusion between the GOP candidate and President Vladimir Putin. It is a viewpoint that is totally at odds with the facts, even if one actually believes that there was a meeting in the Kremlin at which a malevolent Putin instructed his myrmidons to “get Hillary.” Slippery Adam Schiff, he of the intelligence committee, carefully referred to Russia as an adversary but many other Democrats kept using the word “enemy.”

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How Should the Senate Deal with an Unconstitutional Impeachment by the House? by Alan M. Dershowitz

Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are not even grounds for impeachment, which presents some novel and interesting legal questions. From Alan M. Dershowitz at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • These two grounds [of impeachment] — abuse of power and obstruction of congress — are not among the criteria specified for impeachment. Neither one is a high crime and misdemeanor. Neither is mentioned in the constitution. Both are the sort of vague, open-ended criteria rejected by the framers. They were rejected precisely to avoid the situation in which our nation currently finds itself.
  • So, what options would the senate have if the House voted to impeach on two unconstitutional grounds? Would it be required to conduct a trial based on “void” articles of impeachment? Could it simply refuse to consider unconstitutional articles? Could the president’s lawyer make a motion to the Chief Justice — who presides over the trial of an impeached president — to dismiss the articles of impeachment on constitutional grounds?
  • Regardless of the outcome, the damage will have been done by the House majority that will have abused its power by weaponizing the House’s authority over impeachment for partisan purposes — exactly as Hamilton feared.
Pictured: Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi speaks on December 10, 2019 in Washington, DC at a news conference, in which House Democrats announced two articles for the next steps in the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

If the House of Representatives were to impeach President Trump on the two grounds now before it, the senate would be presented with a constitutional dilemma. These two grounds— abuse of power and obstruction of Congress— are not among the criteria specified for impeachment. Neither one is a high crime and misdemeanor. Neither is mentioned in the constitution. Both are the sort of vague, open-ended criteria rejected by the framers. They were rejected precisely to avoid the situation in which our nation currently finds itself. Abuse of power can be charged against virtually every controversial president by the opposing party. And obstruction of Congress — whatever else it may mean — cannot extend to a president invoking privileges and then leave it to the courts to referee conflicts between the legislative and executive branches.

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The House Will Not Vote On Impeachment. It Will Censure Trump. By Moon of Alabama

Are House Democrats smart enough not to impeach Trump? From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.com:

The live TV impeachment inquiry circus is for now over.  The procedural parts are ready to begin. Both sides, the Republicans and Democrats, will have to decide which tactical moves they will now make.

Adam Schiff, who presided over the investigative part, wrote to his colleagues that he wants to immediately move forward:

As required under House Resolution 660, the Committees are now preparing a report summarizing the evidence we have found this far, which will be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee soon after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess.

Chairman Nadler and the Members and staff of the Judiciary Committee will proceed in the next phase of the impeachment inquiry.

Nadler will write up articles of impeachment which will be referred to the whole House to vote on them. No Republican is likely to vote for impeaching Trump. It would be political suicide to do so. The Democrats have 233 Representatives and need 218 votes for a majority decision. They can afford a few abstentions but not too many.

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President Trump’s Defense, by Robert Gore

Democratic representatives should think twice before they vote to impeach President Trump.

I thought I had said all I was going to say on “Ukrainegate” in my article “Make the Truth Irrelevant.” Then I read a column on the Internet by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan whose very title: “Trump’s Defenders Have No Defense” (WSJ, 11/21/19) bespeaks its idiocy. Unfortunately, it also represents a lot of what’s being peddled by the mainstream media.

How would Noonan or anyone else outside Trump’s circle know whether he does or does not have a defense when the rules of the only body that has pursued the case against him preclude him from offering a defense? In the House impeachment hearings, Trump’s defenders cannot call their own witnesses, cannot confront the whistleblower whose complaint launched the case, cannot challenge hearsay evidence and have it excluded, and cannot probe the motives or possibly illegal behavior of his accusers.

Noonan further embarrasses herself with the following: “As to the impeachment itself, the case has been so clearly made you wonder what exactly the Senate will be left doing. How will they hold a lengthy trial with a case this clear?” She reveals her own ignorance of the law and facts of this particular case, and complete lack of decency or sense of fair play, rendering such a judgment after hearing only one side of the case.

Noonan has prompted this analysis of possibilities concerning Trump’s defense in a Senate trial. It assumes that standard American judicial rules, procedures, and principles will be in force during the trial. Disclaimer: I am a lawyer, but I am an inactive member of the California Bar Association and have never practiced law.

The best case for a defense attorney is one in which the attorney can say: Assume what the prosecution is saying is true, my client has not broken the law or committed a crime. During his phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump asked for investigations of three matters, but he did not explicitly link receipt of US aid that had been held up to Zelensky conducting those investigations. Suppose, for argument’s sake, that he had either explicitly asked for that quid pro quo or that Zelensky could reasonably infer he was asking for such a quid pro quo. Trump’s first line of defense would be to challenge the ubiquitous characterization—at least among Democrats and the media―of such a link as a crime.

According to the transcript of the call, Trump asked Zelensky to look into the company Crowdstrike, which has been the only entity allowed to examine the DNC servers that were allegedly hacked by the Russians. In a related query, he alluded to possible Ukrainian involvement in initiating the Russiagate fiasco. Later in the phone call, he said: “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

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The BIG ONE, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Just like Russiagate, virtually every day we’re promised some huge new revelation that will depose Trump, once and for all. So far, they’ve all been big fizzles, just as they were in Russiagate. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Man, I don’t want to do this but I get drawn back in all the time. I haven’t followed the latest episode of the Schiffwives of DC live today, I wasn’t behind my laptop, but I did make a bunch of notes on my phone and mailed them to myself. And all the time I’m thinking: we do remember how this all started, don’t we?

Ukrainegate got started on the premise that Trump wanted to hurt Joe Biden for the 2020 election. But what we see today from Gordon Sondland, and before from Taylor, Volker, Vindman, et al, goes back to spring/summer 2019, a year and a half before the election. Isn’t that premise at least a little bit flimsy, then?

Yeah, Joe Biden was leading in the Dems polls earlier this year, but there are now 28 candidates if I’m not mistaken, and Biden is not shoe-in for the nomination. So is Trump playing the same kinds of games he’s accused of playing with Biden with a handful of others, Bernie, Warren, Buttigieg? How much of this makes sense to you?

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A partisan impeachment vote is exactly what the Framers feared, by Alan Dershowitz

Fortunately, while the House of Representatives can get away with a kangaroo impeachment, the Senate has to conduct an actual trial, with rules of due process, evidence, and the like. From Alan Dershowitz at thehill.com:

The House vote to establish procedures for a possible impeachment of President Trump, along party lines with two Democrats opposing and no Republicans favoring, was exactly was Alexander Hamilton feared in discussing the impeachment provisions laid out in the Constitution.

Hamilton warned of the “greatest danger” that the decision to move forward with impeachment will “be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties than the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.” He worried that the tools of impeachment would be wielded by the “most cunning or most numerous factions” and lack the “requisite neutrality toward those whose conduct would be the subject of scrutiny.”

It is almost as if this Founding Father were looking down at the House vote from heaven and describing what transpired this week. Impeachment is an extraordinary tool to be used only when the constitutional criteria are met. These criteria are limited and include only “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Hamilton described these as being “of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

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