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  1. #101
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Trump’s Turnberry Scandal Violates the Other Emoluments Clause

    Last week’s revelations that the military has spent millions propping up President Donald Trump’s Scottish resort and the failing airport that provides primary access to it represent more than just additional Trumpian schemes to debase the presidency for personal enrichment. They reveal fresh constitutional violations and signal a grave new chapter in Trump’s kleptocratic presidency, in which he ever more severely imperils national security and brazenly solicits constitutionally impermissible payments from foreign states and taxpayer coffers alike. It’s thus especially fitting that the House Judiciary Committee appears poised to expand its impeachment inquiry to encompass these latest twists on the seemingly endless tales of unconstitutional emoluments, both foreign and domestic.

    A great deal of attention has centered on the foreign emoluments clause of Article I, Section 9, which bars officeholders from receiving anything of value from foreign states without congressional consent. Few realize that the Constitution contains two separate emoluments clauses, each with a uniquely important role. Trump has long been impermissibly accepting payments from foreign governments (even recently lobbying to host the next G-7 at his faltering Doral, Florida, resort) in contravention of the foreign emoluments clause. The military’s Turnberry entwinement and Vice President Mike Pence’s 181-mile commute to stay at Trump Doonbeg violate a distinct constitutional provision: the domestic emoluments clause of Article II, Section 1, which prevents presidents from receiving payments from federal or state accounts, save their congressionally predetermined salary.


    ---------- Post added at 04:02 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:26 AM ----------

    House Democrats unveil impeachment probe parameters

    President Donald Trump's attorneys would be permitted to review some of Congress’s impeachment-related evidence under a set of procedures unveiled Monday by the House Judiciary Committee, part of a plan to spell out the panel’s authorities as it intensifies its consideration of articles of impeachment.

    The measure, obtained by POLITICO, would also allow smaller groups of lawmakers on the Judiciary panel’s subcommittees to consider evidence — a step that could streamline and hasten its review. It would also allow committee staffers for both the Democratic and Republican sides of the panel to question witnesses for an extra hour, part of an effort to elicit more useful information.

    The Judiciary Committee will vote on the resolution on Thursday.

    “The unprecedented corruption, coverup, and crimes by the president are under investigation by the committee as we determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment or other Article 1 remedies,” Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “The adoption of these additional procedures is the next step in that process and will help ensure our impeachment hearings are informative to Congress and the public, while providing the president with the ability to respond to evidence presented against him.”

    Though the measure is largely technical — it’s titled “Resolution for Investigative Procedures” — it is the first effort by lawmakers to acknowledge the committee’s consideration of whether to recommend Trump’s impeachment, following a six-week recess during which many House Democrats expressed confusion about the status of impeachment proceedings.
    Resolution here.
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  2. #102
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Trump flails and ties himself in knots over whistleblower charges

    President Donald Trump appeared to be attempting to cover up both his actions that are now the target of a whistleblower complaint filed by an intelligence official, and his knowledge of what the allegations are. He failed miserably.

    Speaking to reporters late Friday morning in the Oval Office the President was asked about the allegation, which include a “promise” he allegedly made, likely to the president of Ukraine. They charges, many believe, are that he used $250 million of U.S. military aid as leverage for Ukraine officials to dig up dirt on his top political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

    “Yeah, and I think that one of the things that seems very clear, as we line up the timelines, is this controversy almost began the moment that the Mueller testimony wrapped up, that Mueller testified on July 21st, the first of the telephone calls that part of this complaint started July 25th,” said Graff. “It’s almost as if Donald Trump precisely understood the roadmap and what he could do that sort of fell within the lines that Mueller had already decided was not a crime, and wanted to sort of charge ahead … this is like a robber going out and robbing another bank because he knows exactly how to do so.”

    While former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report did not actually clear the president of wrongdoing — and highlighted ten potential episodes of obstruction of justice — it concluded that there was no available means outside of the impeachment process to charge him with a crime.


    ---------- Post added at 07:32 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:15 AM ----------

    House Judiciary to Consider (passed) Procedures Regarding Whether to Recommend Impeachment:

    Full text here.

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler announced the House Judiciary Committee will consider procedures on Thursday for future hearings related to its investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to President Donald Trump. Additionally, Chairman Nadler announced the Committee will hold a hearing on September 17th with Corey Lewandowski, President Trump’s former campaign manager. Trump asked Lewandowski twice to deliver a message to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the Mueller investigation, making Lewandowski a critical witness to presidential obstruction of justice. The Committee subpoenaed Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn, who also witnessed President Trump’s repeated obstruction, for the same hearing.

    The new procedures provide that:

    Chairman Nadler will be able to designate full or subcommittee hearings as part of the investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment.

    Committee counsel may question witnesses for an additional hour beyond the 5 minutes allotted to each Member of Congress on the Committee. The hour will be equally divided between the majority and the minority; thirty minutes for each side.

    Evidence may be received in closed executive session. This allows the Committee to protect the confidentiality of sensitive materials when necessary, such as with grand jury materials.

    The President’s counsel may respond in writing to evidence and testimony presented to the Committee.



    Chairman Nadler released the following statement:

    “President Trump went to great lengths to obstruct Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, including the President’s attempts to remove the Special Counsel and encourage witnesses to lie and to destroy or conceal evidence. Anyone else who did this would face federal criminal prosecution.

    “The Mueller report resulted in 37 criminal indictments, 7 guilty pleas, and revealed 10 possible instances where President Trump obstructed justice. At least five of which we now know to be clearly criminal. Trump’s crimes and corruption extend beyond what is detailed in the Mueller report. The President is in violation of the emoluments clauses of the Constitution as he works to enrich himself, putting the safety and security of our Nation at risk. He has dangled pardons, been involved in campaign finance violations and stonewalled Congress across the board, noting that he will defy all subpoenas.

    “No one is above the law. The unprecedented corruption, coverup, and crimes by the President are under investigation by the Committee as we determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment or other Article 1 remedies. The adoption of these additional procedures is the next step in that process and will help ensure our impeachment hearings are informative to Congress and the public, while providing the President with the ability to respond to evidence presented against him. We will not allow Trump’s continued obstruction to stop us from delivering the truth to the American people.”


    ---------- Post added at 08:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:32 AM ----------

    Lewandowski Hearing:

    The most striking moment of Corey Lewandowski’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday came near the end of a long day, when the former Trump campaign manager was surprisingly open in revealing his disdain for the truth. For much of the testimony, Lewandowski alternated between filibustering by slow reading the Mueller report and filibustering by saying he was under White House orders to be silent. He clearly delighted in stymying House Democrats, even as he used the hearing to tease his potential run for Senate in New Hampshire. (During a break, Lewandowski tweeted out a link to the website for a brand new super PAC, “Stand With Corey.”)

    At the end, though, came a few key moments when Lewandowski was made to all but openly confess his own lies. This critical portion of the hearing was a disaster for Lewandowski and showed why Democrats should be champing at the bit to hold more hearings like this one, rather than fulminating and hand-wringing over whether they are even taking part in an impeachment inquiry. Lewandowski’s confession should, at minimum, preclude him from ever being booked on a television news program again and in a sane world would instantly doom his nascent Senate run.

    Following the frustrated questioning by House members, Barry H. Berke, a private attorney who consults for the committee, put on a cross-examination that should be mandatory viewing for every law student in the history of time. For starters, Berke got Lewandowski to admit that conversations with the president for which Donald Trump was claiming some imaginary version of privilege to block his adviser’s testimony had been recounted in detail in Lewandowski’s own book. Crucially, Berke then further pressed Lewandowski into conceding that he had overtly lied in interviews on national television about matters cited by special counsel Robert Mueller as potential episodes of obstruction of justice by Trump. Finally, Berke opened the door to new questions about whether Lewandowski was granted immunity from criminal prosecution in exchange for his Mueller testimony—questions Lewandowski refused to respond to one way or the other, and that would speak to the potential criminality of his and the president’s behavior.

    It’s important, though, to focus on the lies. First, Berke asked why Lewandowski had told NBC’s Meet the Press early last year that he had not been asked to give testimony for Mueller’s investigation at a time right before his then-secret testimony actually happened. “Oh, I’m sorry.
    Nobody in front of Congress has ever lied to the public before. I’m sorry,” Lewandowski said sarcastically. Pressed further, he clarified, “When under oath, I have always told the truth.”

    Then Berke turned to an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber from last February, in which Lewandowski said he couldn’t recall any conversation he had with Trump about Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The central obstruction episode in the Mueller report involving Lewandowski—which came straight from his testimony to the special counsel—involved the president requesting that Lewandowski deliver a message to Sessions: that he should ignore his recusal and circumscribe the investigation into Russia’s election interference and presidential obstruction of justice. Berke played the Melber clip, showing the witness asserting “I don’t ever remember the president ever asking me to get involved with Jeff Sessions or with the Department of Justice in any way, shape or form, ever.” Lewandowski had already testified, earlier in Tuesday’s hearing, that the events described in the Mueller report were true and that Trump had him take dictation about a message he should deliver to the attorney general demanding that he limit the Mueller investigation. After playing the MSNBC interview in which Lewandowski said the opposite, Berke asked, “That wasn’t true, was it?”

    Lewandowski’s response was stunning: “I have no obligation to be honest to the media. Because they’re just as dishonest as anybody else.” Berke sought to clarify: “So you’re admitting, sir, you were not being truthful?” Lewandowski replied, now in full Dada: “My interview with Ari Melber … can be interpreted any way you like.”

    A back-and-forth continued until Lewandowski conceded again: “I have no obligation to have a candid conversation with the media whatsoever, just like they have no obligation to cover me honestly, and they do it inaccurately all the time.” Berke pressed once more: “You are admitting that on national television you were lying there?”

    “They have been inaccurate on many occasions,” Lewandowski finally conceded, “and perhaps I was inaccurate that time.”

    The main thrust of Berke’s very effective questioning was to demonstrate that Lewandowski, contrary to his testimony, knew that what Trump had asked him to do was wrong—and possibly criminal—which is why he concealed it from the public. But we should also pause, please, to just let the other key takeaway soak in: Lewandowski, on the same day he rolls out a Senate run, says in a nationally televised hearing that he has no duty to be truthful “with the media.” Someone who has been a paid contributor for CNN, then One America News Network, and who has appeared on Fox News and the Sunday talk shows seems to make a distinction between lying “to the media” and lying to the unsuspecting American public that consumes the media.


    This is next-level gaslighting. The same witness who announced to the world that he owes a duty of truth under oath, but that he may lie to the press with impunity, is launching a run for high office. The person who spat the words “fake news” at his hearing, in response to questions he didn’t like, boasted about actually creating and disseminating fake news when caught in a lie. There is a special grade of nihilism required to dismiss all unflattering media stories as fake, but the nihilism of dismissing one’s own lies to the press as justified is truly astounding.

    Going forward, any news program that books Lewandowski should be shunned, unless he comes with a chyron that read “Possible Liar.” No serious news reporter should ever quote him again without noting that he testified under oath that he is untruthful in his dealings with the press. His political campaign should be covered with the presumption that every press interview may be false. Let’s be clear: Lying to the press is the same as lying to the public. The press asks questions as proxy for the public. It’s not a defense to say you don’t like the press, or the segment of the population that consumes that press, because you are now not just a public official lying to the public, but a public official admitting to and condoning lying to the public.


    On Tuesday, Lewandowski did us the classic Trump era favor of saying the quiet parts aloud: He lies to the media. Hardly a surprise from the man who banned the Washington Post from Trump campaign events and was charged with battery for grabbing a Breitbart reporter at a campaign event. He’s seeking to benefit from public doubt in the honesty of the press by seeding more. No reporter should ever speak to him again, and any New Hampshire Senate run should be marked by media refusal to believe anything he says unless it happens under oath. Whatever your feelings about Lewandowski or Trump, the press will only contribute to its own diminishment if it ever quotes a self-confessed liar again. And yes, he was invited on cable news Wednesday morning. And no, it was not about him dancing with a star.

    In the meantime, Democrats should also take a lesson from Lewandowski’s self-immolation and the further implication of the president in crimes. It’s not just that there is still such a thing as truth, and that truth will still out, but that impeachment hearings can indeed be quite effective—so long as a professional is doing the questioning.

    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  3. #103
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    During your time-out, maybe you can read about the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

    In a wiki article, this line jumps out: "The impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson had important political implications for the balance of federal legislative–executive power. It maintained the principle that Congress should not remove the President from office simply because its members disagreed with him over policy, style, and administration of office." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeac...Andrew_Johnson

    Democrats have wanted Trump impeached since before he came to office, because he had the audacity to deny Hillary Clinton a victory. Before Democrats began their official impeachment inquiries in the House, they pronounced him guilty, and said he should be removed from office. Isn't the impeachment effort really in progress because your side won't accept Trump's election, despises his personality and style, and disagrees with his policies? Oh, you mask it in claims of impeachable offenses, but isn't it really a political agenda in search of supporting facts?
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  4. #104
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Isn't the impeachment effort really in progress because your side won't accept Trump's election, despises his personality and style, and disagrees with his policies? Oh, you mask it in claims of impeachable offenses, but isn't it really a political agenda in search of supporting facts?
    No, if that were the case they'd have started impeaching him in his second day in office.

    This is because the orange idiot has finally messed up sufficiently to warrant the attempt to remove him.

    BTW: citing editorial opinions from Wikipedia is largely meaningless. Its a great source for information, but it is in no way authoritative on the meaning of political events. Johnson avoided impeachment by a single vote. One mans opinion was the difference between him being removed from office or not. I'd hardly say that is any kind of swift rebuke of the articles of impeachment that were offered.
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  5. #105
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    No, if that were the case they'd have started impeaching him in his second day in office.

    This is because the orange idiot has finally messed up sufficiently to warrant the attempt to remove him.

    Democrat activists have wanted Trump impeached since day 1.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ump-has-begun/

    58 House Democrats voted to impeach Trump two years ago in December, 2017.
    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/...te-fail-282888

    Note that those voting for impeachment cited Trump being a bigot and unfit for office, not any crimes. It was his style and agenda that drove their effort. Pelosi and Hoyer only said the time was not yet right, without rejecting those reasons. They wanted Trump impeached, but didn't have enough to gain public support. But now, as you suggest, he may have given them enough to achieve the goal they've had in mind all along.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    BTW: citing editorial opinions from Wikipedia is largely meaningless. Its a great source for information, but it is in no way authoritative on the meaning of political events. Johnson avoided impeachment by a single vote. One mans opinion was the difference between him being removed from office or not. I'd hardly say that is any kind of swift rebuke of the articles of impeachment that were offered.
    I think it is an accurate summary. The impeachment was by politicians who didn't like Johnson's actions as President.

    From further down in the article:

    In 1887, the Tenure of Office Act was repealed by Congress, and subsequent rulings by the United States Supreme Court seemed to support Johnson's position that he was entitled to fire Stanton without Congressional approval. The Supreme Court's ruling on a similar piece of later legislation in the 1926 Myers v. United States affirmed the ability of the president to remove a postmaster without Congressional approval, and stated in its majority opinion "that the Tenure of Office Act of 1867 ... was invalid".[47]

    Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, one of the ten Republican Senators whose refusal to vote for conviction prevented Johnson's removal from office, noted, in the speech he gave explaining his vote for acquittal, that had Johnson been convicted, the main source of the President's political power—the freedom not to agree with the Congress without consequences—would have been destroyed, and the Constitution's system of checks and balances along with it:[48]

    Once set the example of impeaching a President for what, when the excitement of the hour shall have subsided, will be regarded as insufficient causes, as several of those now alleged against the President were decided to be by the House of Representatives only a few months since, and no future President will be safe who happens to differ with a majority of the House and two thirds of the Senate on any measure deemed by them important, particularly if of a political character. Blinded by partisan zeal, with such an example before them, they will not scruple to remove out of the way any obstacle to the accomplishment of their purposes, and what then becomes of the checks and balances of the Constitution, so carefully devised and so vital to its perpetuity? They are all gone.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  6. #106
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Democrat activists have wanted Trump impeached since day 1.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ump-has-begun/
    Those are not members of congress. They have no power and no grounds to impeach the president.

    58 House Democrats voted to impeach Trump two years ago in December, 2017.
    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/...te-fail-282888
    Much better, but it, by and large, was not supported by most Democrats and the democratic leadership helped squash it. It was not a serious effort, just grandstanding.

    Note that those voting for impeachment cited Trump being a bigot and unfit for office, not any crimes. It was his style and agenda that drove their effort. Pelosi and Hoyer only said the time was not yet right, without rejecting those reasons. They wanted Trump impeached, but didn't have enough to gain public support. But now, as you suggest, he may have given them enough to achieve the goal they've had in mind all along.
    They probably don't have enough to persuade the GOP to turn on Trump. It takes a lot to turn a dog on its master. But they do have a pretty good case and its persuaded quite a lot of people. Mind you, that isn't really their doing. Trump did this to himself by being an idiot. If he hadn't tried to strong-arm another country into doing his political dirty work, he wouldn't be in this situation. He could have just hired a private investigator as the dems did. That's sleazy but legit. Instead, he tried to use his political office to coerce another government to do it.



    I think it is an accurate summary. The impeachment was by politicians who didn't like Johnson's actions as President.
    Again you are welcome to your opinion, it doesn't mean all that much to me. Ultimately, he was acquitted so that's that. If one vote changed, he'd be convicted. That's how impeachment works. It is inherently political. It is one of the checks and balances in our system.

    And in this case, this is not about Trump's policy. It is about his abuse of the power of his office to gain a domestic political advantage.
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  7. #107
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    But they do have a pretty good case and its persuaded quite a lot of people.
    I don't know how one can say this when we don't know the state of the case at all. The only thing that we hear is leaks from a closed door investigation.
    To comment on the state of the "case" is an appeal to ignorance.

    What we do have is propaganda that may be persuading people, But this one sided conviction process is a poor basis for making a final decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by sig
    That's how impeachment works. It is inherently political.
    I don't think that is necessarily the case. I mean when the "process" reaches the senate, there is an actual trial as I understand it. With an actual judge, with defense and so forth.
    That doesn't sound inherently political.. and if it is.. then I have no idea why a judge would preside over it.

    I mean, the definition of " high Crimes and Misdemeanors" may be a political definition... but that doesn't make the process inherently political.
    for example, what is a "controlled substance" is a political definition. Tomorrow we could vote and make there be no such thing as a controlled substance.. or make some new thing a controlled substance.
    However, if there is a trial with a judge and you are before him, that isn't a "political process".

    A "political process" is different in my mind then a process of justice. If you view impeachment as not a process and application of justice, but simply a tool for political posturing. Then I will have to disagree.
    Underlying the Constitution is the implication that something was done by the person that was WRONG. Not simply unpopular.
    where as political processes are all about what is popular.


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  8. #108
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I don't know how one can say this when we don't know the state of the case at all. The only thing that we hear is leaks from a closed door investigation.
    To comment on the state of the "case" is an appeal to ignorance.
    I'd say your claim that we don't know much is an appeal to ignorance. You apparently aren't aware of all of the relevant information out there and are using that lack of awareness as the basis for arguing that we don't know much.

    We actually have a lot already. We have the transcript from Trump's call with Zelinski. Mick Mulvaney admitted to a quid pro quo during a press conference. We have the contents of text messages between Taylor and Volker. We KNOW that Trump withheld military aid for Ukraine that was approved by Congress (which is apparently illegal by itself). Witnesses have spoken to the media. Maybe YOU don't know much but I have seen plenty of evidence to give me reason to think I have a basic idea of what happened.

    There is plenty of information out there that one can use to draw a conclusion. The notion that it's all basically a Democratic propaganda campaign and there's really nothing there flies in the face of all of the confirmed factual information. I mean the released call transcript came from the White House.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    What we do have is propaganda that may be persuading people, But this one sided conviction process is a poor basis for making a final decision.
    The phone transcript is not propaganda. And the final decision will be made in the Senate which has a Republican Majority. So if he's removed from office, it's pretty much guaranteed that it will be based on hard evidence as Republicans are not going to be persuaded by "Democratic Propaganda".


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I don't think that is necessarily the case. I mean when the "process" reaches the senate, there is an actual trial as I understand it. With an actual judge, with defense and so forth.
    That doesn't sound inherently political.. and if it is.. then I have no idea why a judge would preside over it.
    But everyone is still free to vote along party lines. The evidence could be completely conclusive that Trump committed impeachable offenses and everyone is free to aquit him.

    And from my view, and it's a pretty reasonable one, Trump will not be removed from office if a significant portion of the Republican base still supports him no matter what is revealed in the Trial. Because if the base still likes Trump and a Republican Senator votes to remove him, that Senator is putting his reelection is severe jeopardy. He will likely lose the primary to a Pro-Trump challenger. So even at the trial level, it's still very much political. Unlike a typical criminal trial, there is no legal obligation to convict even if the evidence proves he did it beyond a reasonable doubt.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    A "political process" is different in my mind then a process of justice. If you view impeachment as not a process and application of justice, but simply a tool for political posturing. Then I will have to disagree.
    Underlying the Constitution is the implication that something was done by the person that was WRONG. Not simply unpopular.
    where as political processes are all about what is popular.
    But Trump's popularity is indeed a primary factor in whether he gets removed from office. If 100% of the Republican base still want him as President no matter how wrong his actions were, the Republicans in the Senate are very unlikely to convict him. So if Trump is clearly guilty but still popular, he probably will not be removed from office.
    Last edited by mican333; October 24th, 2019 at 02:20 PM.

  9. #109
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Democrats have wanted Trump impeached since before he came to office, because he had the audacity to deny Hillary Clinton a victory. Before Democrats began their official impeachment inquiries in the House, they pronounced him guilty, and said he should be removed from office. Isn't the impeachment effort really in progress because your side won't accept Trump's election, despises his personality and style, and disagrees with his policies? Oh, you mask it in claims of impeachable offenses, but isn't it really a political agenda in search of supporting facts?
    Sounds like some interesting questions worthy of their own thread. This, however, isn't a debate thread as was made clear in the first post. Rather, its intended to collect all of the information during this historic process.

    ---------- Post added at 06:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:44 AM ----------



    Rep. Adam Schiff's full opening statement on whistleblower complaint | DNI hearing

    Concerning the July 25th call between Trump and Zelensky - Rather than lying, as the republicans have contended, Schiff made it clear that he was characterizing the conversation:

    "shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words this is the essence of what the president communicates"

    ---------- Post added at 06:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:53 AM ----------

    Volker's opening statement:

    Former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker

    Deposed on October 3

    Volker, who was the president’s envoy to Ukraine before he resigned on September 27, gave Congressional investigators a trove of text messages between himself, E.U. ambassador Gordon Sondland and Bill Taylor, the U.S.’s top diplomat in Ukraine. Among the texts was the now-infamous exchange in which Taylor told Sondland, “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

    Volker Testimony Long Form by acohnthehill on Scribd



    ---------- Post added at 07:20 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:57 AM ----------

    Other testimony: (not those who have refused to respond or have been blocked from testifying)

    State Department Inspector General Steve Linick

    Met with investigators and provided records on October 2

    Linick turned over documents President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani sent to the State Department in the Spring which reportedly included conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Guiliani has said the State Department promised him they would look into the accusations. Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel, Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings, chairs of the three committees conducting the impeachment inquiry, said in a joint statement the documents “raise troubling questions about apparent efforts inside and outside the Trump Administration to target specific officials.”

    Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson

    Deposed on October 4

    The details of Atkinson’s seven-hour closed-door testimony have not been released, but House Intel Chair Adam Schiff said in a statement that the inspector general explained to impeachment investigators why he found the whistle-blower complaint about Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian president Volodmyr Zelensky both urgent and credible.


    ---------- Post added at 07:26 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:20 AM ----------

    E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland

    Blocked from testifying on October 8; has refused to turn over documents

    Sondland abruptly canceled plans to appear before Congressional investigators on Tuesday. In a statement, his lawyer blamed Pompeo, who has said State Department employees will not be allowed to testify. House Democrats responded by announcing they will issuing subpoenas for both Sondland’s testimony and additional text messages on his personal devices.
    Sondland did finally testify. His opening statement:

    Sondland Statement 191017 by ABC News Politics on Scribd

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  10. Thanks Sigfried thanked for this post
  11. #110
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I don't know how one can say this when we don't know the state of the case at all. The only thing that we hear is leaks from a closed door investigation.
    To comment on the state of the "case" is an appeal to ignorance.
    Hardly. There is a great deal of direct information available if you take the time to read it. There is additional evidence being collected by the investigation but frankly, there is more than enough that is public knowledge already.

    I don't think that is necessarily the case. I mean when the "process" reaches the senate, there is an actual trial as I understand it. With an actual judge, with defense and so forth.
    That doesn't sound inherently political.. and if it is.. then I have no idea why a judge would preside over it.
    It is because ultimately it is decided by the votes of senators and the judgment they are making is neither based on criminal law or civil law. There are rules governing the process, but it is not a legal proceeding in the sense that other courts are about the law.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  12. #111
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Since republicans have made this about the process I'd ask that we talk about actual process goings-on. Sure comparisons can be made to the past.


    Sen. Lindsey Graham introduces resolution condemning Trump impeachment inquiry



    Here, Lindsey Graham is complaining about the president not being able to participate in what is essentially an investigation and compiling of an indictment against himself. If you've ever served on a grand jury you'd know this is preposterous. Yet Graham compares this to the Clinton impeachment proceedings where the investigation had already been completed by Starr. In this case the DoJ has refused to investigate so it falls to the House. Indeed, the DoJ (Barr) has refused to even cooperate with the house as has been the order to the entire executive branch primarily citing executive privilege (that didn't work with Clinton).

    ---------- Post added at 10:23 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:12 AM ----------

    And let's never forget the Republican's "Stair Stunt" wherein they delayed the lawful and rules-following procedure for FIVE HOURS. They ordered pizza and brought electronic devices into a location that is designed to be secure.

    According to people familiar with the matter, some Republican lawmakers brought their cellphones into the secure area — a significant violation of House rules. Another person said the room had to be fully swept for potential security breaches, and Democrats said the Republicans compromised national security by bringing electronics into a secure area.

    An official working on the impeachment inquiry said some GOP lawmakers “refused to completely remove” their devices even after being reprimanded by security personnel and the House sergeant-at-arms, adding the House parliamentarian concluded the GOP lawmakers who stormed the facility violated House deposition rules.
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    OMB and State department officials subpoenaed in House impeachment inquiry

    House Democratic impeachment investigators have issued subpoenas to three Trump administration officials whose testimony was previously scheduled, in a sign the Democrats are trying to compel testimony from Trump officials who are apparently reluctant to appear.

    The committees said subpoenas have been issued to acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought, OMB's Associate Director of National Security Programs Michael Duffey and State Department Counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl. The subpoenas call for Duffey to appear on November 5 and Vought and Brechbuhl to testify on November 6.

    The committees leading the Democratic impeachment inquiry — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — have issued subpoenas to current State Department and Pentagon officials the morning of their testimony, in an effort to combat the Trump administration directing officials not to participate. But these appear to be the first subpoenas that would seek testimony from officials who were unwilling to testify when they had been initially scheduled.
    It's not clear whether the subpoenas will prompt any of the three officials to participate. All had been scheduled for depositions earlier this month that were then removed from the deposition calendar.

    Both OMB and the State Department — in addition to other federal agencies and the White House — have already failed to comply with House subpoenas from the impeachment inquiry for documents.

    Vought tweeted on Monday that he and Duffey would not participate in their depositions that had been scheduled for this week.
    "As the (White House) letter made clear two weeks ago, OMB officials - myself and Mike Duffey - will not be complying with deposition requests this week," Vought tweeted.

    The committees leading the Democratic impeachment inquiry — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — have issued subpoenas to current State Department and Pentagon officials who have appeared for closed-door depositions on the morning of their testimony, in an effort to combat the Trump administration directing officials not to participate. But these appear to be the first subpoenas that would seek testimony from officials who were unwilling to testify when they had been initially scheduled.

    The three chairmen signaled in their letters to the officials that defying the subpoenas would become part of their case of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.
    "Your failure or refusal to appear at the deposition, including at the direction or behest of the President or the White House, shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against the President," the lawmakers wrote.


    ---------- Post added at 02:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:38 PM ----------

    The White House letter about the impeachment inquiry here. October 8, 2019



    Judge Andrew Napolitano: Trump says impeachment inquiry is unfair. Is he right?

    the demands of the White House legal counsel for the traditional adversarial system presided over by a neutral judge are based on the president's wishes, not on any due process or other known constitutional standard.
    The due process Trump seeks – notice, hearing, fairness, counsel, cross-examination, confrontation, neutral judges – is only relevant during a trial. The House does not conduct trials; the Senate does. There and only there, if we get there, will the president have his due process rights.

    Judge hands Democrats a victory in impeachment inquiry

    A judge on Friday ordered the Justice Department to give the House secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, handing a victory to Democrats as they gather evidence for the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

    In a ruling that also affirmed the legality of the impeachment inquiry itself, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordered the department to turn over the materials by Oct. 30. A Justice Department spokeswoman said it was reviewing the decision. The administration can appeal.

    In a 75-page ruling accompanying the order, Howell slashed through many of the administration’s arguments for withholding materials from Congress, including that there was need for continued secrecy. The judge said the materials could inform lawmakers as they decide what witnesses to call for an impeachment inquiry and what additional lines of investigation should be pursued.

    “The reality is that DOJ and the White House have been openly stonewalling the House’s efforts to get information by subpoena and by agreement, and the White House has flatly stated that the Administration will not cooperate with congressional requests for information,” Howell wrote.

    While the Justice Department said it could not provide grand jury material under existing law, “DOJ is wrong,” she wrote. And though the White House and its Republican allies argued impeachment is illegitimate without a formal vote, she wrote: “A House resolution has never, in fact, been required.”

    The judge also rejected the Justice Department’s argument that impeachment does not qualify as a “judicial proceeding.” That distinction matters because, though grand jury testimony is ordinarily secret, one exemption that allows it to be legally disclosed is in connection with a judicial proceeding.

    “To the extent the House’s role in the impeachment context is to investigate misconduct by the President and ascertain whether that conduct amounts to an impeachable offense warranting removal from office, the House performs a function somewhat akin to a grand jury,” the judge wrote.
    Last edited by CowboyX; October 26th, 2019 at 01:56 AM.
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    And let's never forget the Republican's "Stair Stunt" wherein they delayed the lawful and rules-following procedure for FIVE HOURS. They ordered pizza and brought electronic devices into a location that is designed to be secure.
    And twelve of them were allowed to attend the hearing. So some of them, if their actual intent was to be present during the hearing, could have just walked in and sat down. But since their intent was apparently to make it look like something nefarious was going on when it really wasn't, they stormed the room demanding to be let in.

  15. Likes CowboyX liked this post
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Whistleblower Complaint - August 12, 2019

    Whistleblower Complaint by Anonymous LGS4Ky on Scribd



    ---------- Post added at 11:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:49 PM ----------

    Coalition of Inspectors General slam DOJ opinion on whistleblower complaint

    A coalition of Inspectors General is urging the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to withdraw or modify its opinion that the whistleblower complaint regarding President Donald Trump's communications with Ukraine was not of "urgent concern," a determination that initially blocked the allegations from reaching Congress.

    In a new letter sent to Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel this week, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, which is composed of federal government inspectors general, slammed an OLC memo that "effectively overruled the determination by the ICIG regarding an 'urgent concern' complaint" that the ICIG concluded was "credible and therefore needed to be transmitted to Congress."

    "This letter from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, on behalf of the undersigned federal Inspectors General (IG), expresses our support for the position advanced by the ICIG and our concern that the OLC opinion, if not withdrawn or modified, could seriously undermine the critical role whistleblowers play in coming forward to report waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct across the federal government," it states.
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert

    Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, plans to tell House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he was so troubled by President Donald Trump's July phone call with Ukraine's President that he reported his concerns to a superior, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by CNN.

    Vindman will also tell lawmakers that he felt Trump's efforts to press Ukraine for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son undermined American national security.
    Read the statement below:

    Opening Statement of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman
    Before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform
    October 29, 2019


    Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, thank you for the opportunity to address the Committees concerning the activities relating to Ukraine and my role in the events under investigation.
    Background
    I have dedicated my entire professional life to the United States of America. For more than two decades, it has been my honor to serve as an officer in the United States Army. As an infantry officer, I served multiple overseas tours, including South Korea and Germany, and a deployment to Iraq for combat operations. In Iraq, I was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart.
    Since 2008, I have been a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia. In this role, I have served in the United States' embassies in Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. In Washington, D.C., I was a politico-military affairs officer for Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs where I authored the principle strategy for managing competition with Russia. In July 2018, I was asked to serve at the National Security Council.
    The privilege of serving my country is not only rooted in my military service, but also in my personal history. I sit here, as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant. My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night. He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream. I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.
    For over twenty years as an active duty United States military officer and diplomat, I have served this country in a nonpartisan manner, and have done so with the utmost respect and professionalism for both Republican and Democratic administrations.
    Introduction

    Before recounting my recollection of various events under investigation, I want to clarify a few issues. I am appearing today voluntarily pursuant to a subpoena and will answer all questions to the best of my recollection.

    I want the Committees to know I am not the whistleblower who brought this issue to the CIA and the Committees' attention. I do not know who the whistleblower is and
    I would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower.

    Also, as I will detail herein, I did convey certain concerns internally to National Security officials in accordance with my decades of experience and training, sense of duty, and obligation to operate within the chain of command. As an active duty military officer, the command structure is extremely important to me. On many occasions I have been told I should express my views and share my concerns with my chain of command and proper authorities. I believe that any good military officer should and would do the same, thus providing his or her best advice to leadership.

    Furthermore, in performing my coordination role as a Director on the National Security Council, I provided readouts of relevant meetings and communications to a very small group of properly cleared national security counterparts with a relevant need-to-know.

    My Service on the National Security Council

    When I joined the White House's National Security Council ("NSC"), I reported to Dr. Fiona Hill, who in turn reported to John Bolton, the National Security Advisor. My role at the NSC includes developing, coordinating, and executing plans and policies to manage the full range of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic national security issues for the countries in my portfolio, which includes Ukraine.

    In my position, I coordinate with a superb cohort of inter-agency partners. I regularly prepare internal memoranda, talking points, and other materials for the National Security Advisor and senior staff.

    Most of my interactions relate to national security issues and are therefore especially sensitive. I would urge the Committees to carefully balance the need for information against the impact that disclosure would have on our foreign policy and national security.

    I have never had direct contact or communications with the President.

    The Geopolitical Importance of Ukraine

    Since 2008, Russia has manifested an overtly aggressive foreign policy, leveraging military power and employing hybrid warfare to achieve its objectives of regional hegemony and global influence. Absent a deterrent to dissuade Russia from such aggression, there is an increased risk of further confrontations with the West. In this situation, a strong and independent Ukraine is critical to U.S. national security interests because Ukraine is a frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.

    In spite of being under assault from Russia for more than five years, Ukraine has taken major steps towards integrating with the West. The U.S. government policy community's view is that the election of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the promise of reforms to eliminate corruption will lock in Ukraine's Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity.

    Given this perspective and my commitment to advancing our government's strategic interests, I will now recount several events that occurred.

    Relevant Events

    When I joined the NSC in July 2018, I began implementing the administration's policy on Ukraine. In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy. While my interagency colleagues and I were becoming increasingly optimistic on Ukraine's prospects, this alternative narrative undermined U.S. government efforts to expand cooperation with Ukraine.

    April 21, 2019: President Trump Calls Ukraine President Zelenskyy

    On April 21, 2019, Zelenskyy was seen as a unifying figure within the country. He was the first candidate to win a majority in every region of the country, breaking the claims that Ukraine would be subject to a perpetual divide between the Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking populations. President Zelenskyy ran on a platform of unity, reform, and anti-corruption, which resonated with the entire country.

    In support of U.S. policy objectives to support Ukrainian sovereignty, President Trump called President Zelenskyy on April 21, 2019. I was one of several staff and officers who listened to the call. The call was positive, and President Trump expressed his desire to work with President Zelenskyy and extended an invitation to visit the White House.

    May 21, 2019: Inauguration Delegation Goes to Ukraine

    On May 21, 2019, I was directed by Ambassador Bolton and Dr. Hill to join the delegation attending President Zelenkskyy's inauguration. When the delegation returned, they provided a debriefing to President Trump and explained their positive assessment of President Zelenskyy and his team. I did not participate in the debriefing.
    Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected President of Ukraine in a landslide victory.

    President Oleksandr Danylyuk Visit -- July 10, 2019

    On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D.C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland also attended, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
    The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

    Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push. Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.

    Following the debriefing meeting, I reported my concerns to the NSC's lead counsel. Dr. Hill also reported the incident to the NSC's lead counsel.
    Election Call -- July 25, 2019

    On July 21, 2019, President Zelenskyy's party won Parliamentary elections in a landslide victory. The NSC proposed that President Trump call President Zelenskyy to congratulate him.

    On July 25, 2019, the call occurred. I listened in on the call in the Situation Room with colleagues from the NSC and the office of the Vice President. As the transcript is in the public record, we are all aware of what was said.

    I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government's support of Ukraine. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security. Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC's lead counsel.

    Conclusion

    The United States and Ukraine are and must remain strategic partners, working together to realize the shared vision of a stable, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine that is integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community. Our partnership is rooted in the idea that free citizens should be able to exercise their democratic rights, choose their own destiny, and live in peace.

    It has been a great honor to serve the American people and a privilege to work in the White House and on the National Security Council. I hope to continue to serve and advance America's national security interests.

    Thank you again for your consideration, and now I would be happy to answer your questions.


    ---------- Post added at 12:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:00 AM ----------

    This would be held on October 31, 2019:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday the House would vote on Thursday to formalize the procedures of the impeachment inquiry into Trump and Ukraine, in what will be the first time the House will go on the record on the proceedings.

    The vote signals a move into the next stage of the investigation following several weeks of closed-door depositions, as Democrats said the resolution would establish rules for public hearings, provide due process rights for the White House and allow information to be transferred to the committee that would ultimately consider the articles of impeachment.


    ---------- Post added at 12:22 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:08 AM ----------

    Kupperman defies suponea: October 28, 2019

    Investigators in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump hoped to talk to Charles Kupperman on Monday. But the former White House official failed to show up.

    As they gather evidence behind closed doors, House investigators had been expected to press Kupperman to corroborate key elements of a top U.S. diplomat's account that Trump built a shadow foreign policy team around his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival — and that Trump held up U.S. military aid for Ukraine as leverage.

    But Kupperman, who had been the top aide to then-national security adviser John Bolton, filed a lawsuit on Friday describing himself as caught between two competing orders. He wants a court ruling on whether he should comply with the House subpoena to testify — or comply with a White House order to stay away because the nature of his job as adviser means he is exempt from the congressional order.
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Nunes Aide Is Leaking the Ukraine Whistleblower’s Name, Sources Say


    A top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes has been providing conservative politicians and journalists with information—and misinformation—about the anonymous whistleblower who triggered the biggest crisis of Donald Trump’s presidency, two knowledgeable sources tell The Daily Beast.

    Derek Harvey, who works for Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, has provided notes for House Republicans identifying the whistleblower’s name ahead of the high-profile depositions of Trump administration appointees and civil servants in the impeachment inquiry. The purpose of the notes, one source said, is to get the whistleblower’s name into the record of the proceedings, which committee chairman Adam Schiff has pledged to eventually release. In other words: it’s an attempt to out the anonymous official who helped trigger the impeachment inquiry.

    On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that GOP lawmakers and staffers have “repeatedly” used a name purporting to be the whistleblower during the depositions. The paper named Harvey as driving lines of questioning Democrats saw as attempting to determine the political loyalties of witnesses before the inquiry. A former official told the Post that Harvey “was passing notes [to GOP lawmakers] the entire time” ex-NSC Russia staffer Fiona Hill testified.

    “Exposing the identity of the whistleblower and attacking our client would do nothing to undercut the validity of the complaint’s allegations,” said Mark Zaid, one of the whistleblower’s attorneys. “What it would do, however, is put that individual and their family at risk of harm. Perhaps more important, it would deter future whistleblowers from coming forward in subsequent administrations, Democratic or Republican.” Zaid has represented The Daily Beast in freedom-of-information lawsuits against the federal government.


    The whistleblower is not Harvey’s only target. Another is a staffer for the House intelligence committee Democrats whom The Daily Beast has agreed not to name due to concerns about reprisals against the staffer. Harvey, both sources said, has spread a false story alleging that the whistleblower contacted the staffer ahead of raising internal alarm about President Trump’s July 25th phone call attempting to get a “favor” from Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to damage Trump’s rival Joe Biden.

    In right-wing circles, contact with Schiff is meant to discredit the whistleblower as partisan.

    The eagerness of Republicans to go after the intelligence committee staffer so alarmed Democrats that they raised the issue with GOP leadership, according to a senior official on the intelligence committee.

    “We are aware of these unsupported and false attacks on a respected member of our staff,” the official told The Daily Beast. “It is completely inappropriate, and we have previously urged the Republican leadership to address this situation.”


    The official would not comment on any aspect of the depositions’ proceedings.

    Trump, who has called the whistleblower treasonous, has speculated baselessly that Schiff is the source of the whistleblower’s account of the Zelensky call, even though Schiff was not on the call and Trump’s own summary of the call corroborated the whistleblower’s second-hand account.


    Derek Harvey’s career has been extraordinary. As a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, he played an important role in the 2007-8 troop surge in Iraq. David Petraeus kept Harvey aboard for an intelligence billet at U.S. Central Command. Harvey aligned with another member of the counterinsurgency coterie, DIA Director Mike Flynn, and followed Flynn onto Trump’s White NSC from there, Harvey became a crucial aide to Nunes, a pivotal Flynn and Trump ally. There is no reasonable definition of a Deep State that excludes Derek Harvey from elite membership.

    Harvey has a history of passing on information to damage colleagues. As The Daily Beast reported in March, an April 2017 email senior State Department official Brian Hook sent to himself, titled “Derek notes,” contained descriptions of State Department officials suspected of disloyalty or troublesomeness. Examples of such disloyalty included “butter[ing] up to Clinton people,” Hook wrote. The email is currently being examined by a State Department inspector general investigation into department politicization.

    Harvey is not the only Nunes ally involved in the Ukraine story. A former Nunes staffer who now works on the NSC, Kash Patel, gave Trump damaging information about Ukraine, Politico recently reported. Patel was a driving force behind Nunes’ efforts in 2017 and 2018 to discredit the origins of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections with Russian election interference.

    Far right news groups like the Gateway Pundit blog and the OANN TV network have run pieces naming their guess at the whistleblower’s identity. The official identified by OANN and Gateway Pundit has been a target for fringe conservative media figures even before the whistleblower filed his complaint to the DNI Inspector General’s office. GOP criticism of the whistleblower has focused on their contact with Democratic investigators as people like Harvey spread the idea that they were in cahoots. That line of attack went into overdrive on Oct. 2, when Schiff’s camp confirmed that the whistleblower reached out to the Intelligence Committee before filing a formal complaint in order to get “guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the intelligence community.” But the whistleblower, per a spokesman for Schiff, did not tell the chairman the content of the complaint nor the identity of the whistleblower.


    “In fact, none of the legal team saw the Complaint until it was publicly released by Congress,” Zaid said. “To be unequivocally clear, no Member or congressional staff had any input into or reviewed the Complaint before it was submitted to the Intelligence Community Inspector General.”
    That inspector general, Michael Atkinson, has said in letters to top lawmakers that the whistleblower’s complaint was credible and urgent. Though Joseph Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence, did not believe he had to notify the Intelligence committees of the complaint as required by law, he nevertheless testified before lawmakers on Sept. 26 that the whistleblower “followed the steps every step of the way.”
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    NYT: Vindman testifies that WH omitted key phrases in Trump-Ukraine call

    The National Security Council's top Ukraine expert testified Tuesday that the White House memo of President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "omitted crucial words and phrases," the New York Times reports.

    Why it matters: Trump has pointed to the memorandum as proof that Democrats' impeachment inquiry against him — spurred by his call with Zelensky — is a "con job." Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's testimony did not mention the motive of the White House in omitting key references to the Bidens and Burisma Holdings by Trump and Zelensky.

    Vindman, a decorated Iraq War veteran, is the first official from the White House who listened to the phone call between the two leaders to testify.
    Details: Vindman said he was unable to correct the memorandum for leaving out "Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption" and "an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president ... of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter," per the Times.

    Vindman testified that the memo's third set of ellipses actually corresponds with Trump saying there were recordings of Biden.
    He said "some of his edits appeared to have been successful," aside from the two involving Burisma — which Hunter Biden served on the board of in 2014 — and the former vice president.
    Background: Trump pressed Ukraine's president to investigate his potential 2020 presidential election rival Biden during their July 25 call. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani encouraged Ukraine's government to investigate Biden's son for months before the call.


    ---------- Post added at 02:30 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:22 AM ----------

    Missing words and a screaming match: Inside a wild day of impeachment testimony

    One of the Times' examples of how Vindman wanted to adjust the transcript contradicts what the White House said about the transcript when it was released.
    Asked in September why there were three ellipses, a senior White House official said they "do not indicate missing words or phrases" but "refer to a trailing off of a voice or pause. If there were missing words or phrases, they would be represented by brackets or redactions. This is the standard practice that is followed for all records of Presidential phone calls."
    However, the Times reports that one of the changes to the transcript sought by Vindman was regarding replacing an ellipses: "The rough transcript also contains ellipses at three points where Mr. Trump is speaking. Colonel Vindman told investigators that at the point of the transcript where the third set of ellipses appears, Mr. Trump said there were tapes of Mr. Biden."

    Vindman emerged as another key witness, corroborating Fiona Hill and providing the latest twist in an impeachment inquiry that offers something new every day. He is the first witness to offer testimony in the inquiry who actually listened to the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
    He said he raised a red flag immediately afterward.

    Concerns after call -- He did convey his own concerns at the White House about Trump's pressure on Ukraine after the July 25 call.

    Told Sondland pressure was inappropriate -- Vindman detailed a confrontation with US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland weeks before Trump's call with Zelensky at which he and Hill told Sondland that pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations was inappropriate.

    "I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push. Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate," Vindman said in his opening statement.

    Contradiction -- Sondland had said in his testimony that he had never heard any such concerns after that meeting.

    "But if Amb. Bolton, Dr. Hill, or others harbored any misgivings about the propriety of what we were doing, they never shared those misgivings with me, then or later," Sondland said.
    Who did Vindman tell? -- If he and Hill notified the top lawyer on the National Security Council, that would seem to be a man named John Eisenberg, who CNN has also reported is the official who directed that the transcript of the call be placed in a more secure server.


    ---------- Post added at 02:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:30 AM ----------

    Mueller Report (obstruction) + Ukraine + Current Obstruction looks to possibly be in play for impeachment

    Appeals court temporarily stops House from getting grand jury secrets for impeachment inquiry

    Howell had ruled in a lengthy, biting opinion last Friday that the Justice Department must give the House secret grand jury transcripts, exhibits and other details collected by Mueller.

    She also gave legal validity to the House's impeachment inquiry, calling it a judicial proceeding and etching away at legal arguments the White House has tried to make in this and other cases to impede cooperation in the probe.

    The judge described her belief of how the House's impeachment proceedings picked up investigating where the Mueller investigation left off.

    "Impeachment based on anything less than all relevant evidence would compromise the public's faith in the process," Howell wrote on Friday. She also noted that the grand jury details are especially needed by Congress "when the Executive Branch willfully obstructs channels for accessing other relevant evidence."

    The House says it is considering Trump's actions towards Ukraine as grounds for impeachment, as well as his possible efforts to derail the Mueller investigation and newer attempts to block the House's pursuits. The House has told the court it needs to review the confidential Mueller grand jury materials so it can consider multiple articles of impeachment.
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    House Democrats unveil plan for public impeachment hearings:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eaJ...ew?usp=sharing

    ---------- Post added at 02:41 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:36 AM ----------

    and the expected response from republicans:

    McConnell: Impeachment measure denies Trump 'basic rights'

    WASHINGTON — The House Democrats' impeachment resolution would deny President Donald Trump the "most basic rights of due process," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday in a floor speech sharply criticizing the leaders behind the measure.

    McConnell went after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., saying that "instead of setting a high bar, House Democrats seem determined to set a new low." The resolution, he said, would deny the "most basic rights of due process" to Trump, such as having his lawyer participate in closed-door depositions by the committee.

    The House is expected to vote on the measure Thursday as Democrats look to counter protests from Trump and his Republicans allies that the impeachment process is illegitimate and unfair. The resolution calls for open hearings and requires the House Intelligence Committee to submit a report outlining its findings and recommendations.

    Democrats compare the committee's role in the impeachment inquiry to a fact-finding grand jury proceeding in which the accused does not have rights to counsel. They say the resolution establishes rights comparable to episodes such the 1998-1999 impeachment and trial of President Bill Clinton. In Clinton's case, independent counsel Ken Starr conducted an extensive investigation and delivered boxes of sworn testimony that he said likely constituted grounds for impeachment.
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  21. #119
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    Bill Taylor opening statement here:

    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  22. #120
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    Re: The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

    The (Full) Case for Impeachment A menu of high crimes and misdemeanors.


    The crimes for which impeachment is the prescribed punishment are notoriously undefined. And that’s for a reason: Presidential powers are vast, and it’s impossible to design laws to cover every possible abuse of the office’s authority. House Democrats have calculated that an impeachment focused narrowly on the Ukraine scandal will make the strongest legal case against President Trump. But that’s not Trump’s only impeachable offense. A full accounting would include a wide array of dangerous and authoritarian acts — 82, to be precise. His violations fall into seven broad categories of potentially impeachable misconduct that should be weighed, if not by the House, then at least by history.


    I. Abusing Power for Political Gain

    Explanation: The single most dangerous threat to any democratic system is that the ruling party will use its governing powers to entrench itself illegitimately.

    Evidence: (1) The Ukraine scandal is fundamentally about the president abusing his authority by wielding his power over foreign policy as a cudgel against his domestic opponents. The president is both implicitly and explicitly trading the U.S. government’s favor for investigations intended to create adverse publicity for Americans whom Trump wishes to discredit. (2) During his campaign, he threatened to impose policies harmful to Amazon in retribution for critical coverage in the Washington Post. (“If I become president, oh do they have problems.”) He has since pushed the postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, and the Defense Department held up a $10 billion contract with Amazon, almost certainly at his behest. (3) He has ordered his officials to block the AT&T–Time Warner merger as punishment for CNN’s coverage of him. (4) He encouraged the NFL to blacklist Colin Kaepernick.


    II. Mishandling Classified Information

    Explanation: As he does with many other laws, the president enjoys broad immunity from regulations on the proper handling of classified information, allowing him to take action that would result in felony convictions for other federal employees. President Trump’s mishandling of classified information is not merely careless but a danger to national security.

    Evidence: (5) Trump has habitually communicated on a smartphone highly vulnerable to foreign espionage. (6–30) He has reversed 25 security-clearance denials (including for his son-in-law, who has conducted potentially compromising business with foreign interests). (31) He has turned Mar-a-Lago into an unsecured second White House and even once handled news of North Korea’s missile launch in public view. (32) He gave Russian officials sensitive Israeli intelligence that blew “the most valuable source of information on external plotting by [the] Islamic State,” the Wall Street Journal reported. (33) He tweeted a high-resolution satellite image of an Iranian launch site for the sake of boasting.


    III. Undermining Duly Enacted Federal Law

    Explanation: President Trump has abused his authority either by distorting the intent of laws passed by Congress or by flouting them. He has directly ordered subordinates to violate the law and has promised pardons in advance, enabling him and his staff to operate with impunity. In these actions, he has undermined Congress’s constitutional authority to make laws.

    Evidence: (34) Having failed to secure funding authority for a border wall, President Trump unilaterally ordered funds to be moved from other budget accounts. (35) He has undermined regulations on health insurance under the Affordable Care Act preventing insurers from charging higher rates to customers with more expensive risk profiles. (36) He has abused emergency powers to impose tariffs, intended to protect the supply chain in case of war, to seize from Congress its authority to negotiate international trade agreements. (37–38) He has ordered border agents to illegally block asylum seekers from entering the country and has ordered other aides to violate eminent-domain laws and contracting procedures in building the border wall, (39–40) both times promising immunity from lawbreaking through presidential pardons.


    IV. Obstruction of Congress

    Explanation: The executive branch and Congress are co-equal, each intended to guard against usurpation of authority by the other. Trump has refused to acknowledge any legitimate oversight function of Congress, insisting that because Congress has political motivations, it is disqualified from it. His actions and rationale strike at the Constitution’s design of using the political ambitions of the elected branches to check one another.

    Evidence: (41) Trump has refused to abide by a congressional demand to release his tax returns, despite an unambiguous law granting the House this authority. His lawyers have flouted the law on the spurious grounds that subpoenas for his tax returns “were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses and the private information of the president and his family, and to ferret about for any material that might be used to cause him political damage.” Trump’s lawyers have argued that Congress cannot investigate potentially illegal behavior by the president because the authority to do so belongs to prosecutors. In other litigation, those lawyers have argued that prosecutors cannot investigate the president. These contradictory positions support an underlying stance that no authority can investigate his misconduct. (42) He has defended his refusal to accept oversight on the grounds that members of Congress “aren’t, like, impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020.” (43) The president has also declared that impeachment is illegal and should be stopped in the courts (though, unlike with his other obstructive acts, he has not yet taken any legal action toward this end).


    V. Obstruction of Justice

    Explanation: By virtue of his control over the federal government’s investigative apparatus, the president (along with the attorney general) is uniquely well positioned to cover up his own misconduct. Impeachment is the sole available remedy for a president who uses his powers of office to hold himself immune from legal accountability. In particular, the pardon power gives the president almost unlimited authority to obstruct investigations by providing him with a means to induce the silence of co-conspirators.

    Evidence: (44–53) The Mueller report contains ten instances of President Trump engaging in obstructive acts. While none of those succeeded in stopping the probe, Trump dangled pardons and induced his co-conspirators to lie or withhold evidence from investigators. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Trump had directed him to lie to it about his negotiations with the Russian government during the campaign to secure a lucrative building contract in Moscow. And when Cohen stated his willingness to lie, Robert Costello, an attorney who had worked with Rudy Giuliani, emailed Cohen assuring him he could “sleep well tonight” because he had “friends in high places.” Trump has publicly praised witnesses in the Russia investigation for refusing to cooperate, and he sent a private message to former national-security adviser Michael Flynn urging him to “stay strong.” He has reinforced this signal by repeatedly denouncing witnesses who cooperate with investigators as “flippers.” (54–61) He has exercised his pardon power for a series of Republican loyalists, sending a message that at least some of his co-conspirators have received. The president’s pardon of conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza “has to be a signal to Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort and even Robert S. Mueller III: Indict people for crimes that don’t pertain to Russian collusion and this is what could happen,” Roger Stone told the Washington Post. “The special counsel has awesome powers, as you know, but the president has even more awesome powers.”


    VI. Profiting From Office

    Explanation: Federal employees must follow strict rules to prevent them from being influenced by any financial conflict. Conflict-of-interest rules are less clear for a sitting president because all presidential misconduct will be resolved by either reelection or impeachment. If Trump held any position in the federal government below the presidency, he would have been fired for his obvious conflicts. His violations are so gross and blatant they merit impeachment.

    Evidence: (62) He has maintained a private business while holding office, (63) made decisions that influence that business, (64) and accepted payments from parties both domestic and foreign who have an interest in his policies. (65) He has openly signaled that these parties can gain his favor by doing so. (66) He has refused even to disclose his interests, which would at least make public which parties are paying him.


    VII. Fomenting Violence

    Explanation: One of the unspoken roles of the president is to serve as a symbolic head of state. Presidents have very wide latitude for their political rhetoric, but Trump has violated its bounds, exceeding in his viciousness the rhetoric of Andrew Johnson (who was impeached in part for the same offense).

    Evidence: (67) Trump called for locking up his 2016 opponent after the election. (68–71) He has clamored for the deportation of four women of color who are congressional representatives of the opposite party. (72) He has described a wide array of domestic political opponents as treasonous, including the news media. (73–80) On at least eight occasions, he has encouraged his supporters — including members of the armed forces — to attack his political opponents. (“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”) (81) He has threatened journalists with violence if they fail to produce positive coverage. (“If the media would write correctly and write accurately and write fairly, you’d have a lot less violence in the country.”) (82) There have been 36 criminal cases nationwide in which the defendant invoked Trump’s name in connection with violence; 29 of these cited him as the inspiration for an attack.
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

 

 
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