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  1. #101
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    Oct 2012
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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.

  2. #102
    I've been given a "timeout"

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    Oct 2012
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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.


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