Tag Archives: Senate

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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Is the End of the Brutal War in Yemen Finally at Hand? by Gareth Porter

Dare we hope? From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:

When the new Congress convenes Jan. 3, it is expected to pass a House resolution upholding congressional war powers and ending all direct U.S. involvement in the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen. But hopes remain high that H. Con. Res. 138 will help to end the Yemen war itself. Congressional strategists and activists who have been working on the issue believe passage of the war powers measure will force Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the negotiating table.

Together, they are challenging the position of some former Obama administration officials who have warned the war powers resolution alone cannot bring the conflict to a close. Those former officials, led by Brookings Institution fellow Bruce Riedel, say that cutting off the Saudi pipeline of spare parts is the only way to prevent further airstrikes, which have been central to the Saudi war strategy.

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Trump Warns Shutdown Will Last “For A Very Long Time” If Dems Vote ‘No’ On The Wall, by Tyler Durden

The real reason government types worry about shutting down government is that people would discover how unessential it really is. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Update: 

*U.S. DEMOCRATIC LEADER SCHUMER SAYS SENATE DOES NOT HAVE VOTES TO APPROVE TRUMP’S BORDER WALL REQUEST

*TRUMP SAYS VERY GOOD CHANCE HOUSE FUNDING BILL WILL NOT PASS IN THE SENATE, WE’RE VERY PREPARED FOR A LONG SHUTDOWN

***

One day after the House passed a spending bill that included $5.7 billion in funding for the president’s border wall (over the objections of Nancy Pelosi, who famously declared during last week’s contentious meeting with the president that the votes simply weren’t there), President Trump, who is insisting that he won’t sign a spending bill unless it includes funding for his border wall (after briefly ‘caving’ on the wall fightearlier this week), tweeted this morning to urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to fight for the border wall “as hard as he fought for anything”.

After the spending bill passed the House, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer insisted that it wouldn’t pass the Senate. Trump wants McConnell to change that.

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Senate Votes in Favor of Resolution to End US Support for Saudi-Led War in Yemen, by Middle East Eye

Well what do you know? For once the Senate did the right thing. From Middle East Eye at theantimedia.org:

Despite pressure from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to maintain Washington’s steadfast support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen, the US Senate has voted in favour of advancing a resolution that would end US involvement in the devastating conflict.

US Senators voted 63-37 on Wednesday afternoon to move forward with a resolution to end Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition.

While procedural, the successful vote discharges the resolution from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and clears the way for a Senate-wide debate on its contents, which is expected to take place next week.

US Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the resolution’s co-sponsors, said US lawmakers should send a message to the Saudi government “that [they] will not continue to support a catastrophic war led by a despotic regime that has a dangerous, destructive and irresponsible military policy”.

“No more. Enough death, enough killing, enough destruction,” Sanders said in the Senate ahead of the vote.

The result of the vote signals a deepening rift between US lawmakers and US President Donald Trump, who has pledged his administration’s unwavering support for Riyadh despite the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Fourteen Senators from the president’s political party voted in favour of the resolution. Among those includes Lindsey Graham, who has repeatedly voiced his outrage over Khashoggi’s murder.

Every member in the Democratic Party voted to adanced the resolution.

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