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Thread: Impeachment Inquiry of Donald John Trump

  1. #256
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    That's the biggest thing about Trump that baffles the living hell out of me: How the military and civilian supporters of the military (usually those on the Right) can still support this man.

    Donald Trump has repeatedly, brazenly, unapologetically shit all over the most sacred totems of the military. And come away completely unscathed.
    We work/liaise regularly with DoJ and FBI employees and the same thing applies. On those few occasions where Trump's latest news bite comes up in passing conversation the result has been fairly uniform.

    As a group employees of both agencies tend to favour the conservative side of politics and if they vote, then they generally vote Republican. Without exception however they seem to detest Trump, not on the basis of his policies but rather his ethics (or lack there of). And this was the case even before the investigation into Trump commenced.

    Only a small sample group of course but IMO telling never the less.
    Last edited by Monash; 31 Oct 19, at 04:00.
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  2. #257
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    and not just the military, the entire national-security apparatus, diplomats, FBI...you name it, he's shat on it.
    There's nothing he can't shit on with impunity, so what chance does some immigrant nobody stand?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post

    Only a small sample group of course but IMO telling never the less.
    It's certainly gratifying to see that. But given that it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference to his base, well, that's still the worst part.

    Donald Trump is merely a symptom of a deep, rotting disease.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  3. #258
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    Fox News Guest ‘Regrets’ Explosive Espionage Claim, Says Trump Did Quid Pro Quo
    John Yoo tells Chris Cuomo he was referring to the Ukrainians, not Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

    The Fox News guest who seemed to accuse Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman of espionage ahead of his testimony in the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump now says he didn’t mean it that way.

    In a new CNN interview, John Yoo also admitted that Trump “seemed to ask for a quid pro quo” when he called on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden.

    Yoo made headlines earlier this week when Laura Ingraham accused Vindman of working “apparently against the president’s interests” while inside the White House. She also noted a New York Times report that said Ukrainian officials had approached him for advice on how to handle Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

    “I find that astounding,” Yoo said. “Some people might call that espionage.”

    The comments provoked outrage, with former CIA Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash calling it “absolutely despicable” and MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace slamming it as “chickenshit.”

    But on Wednesday, Yoo told Chris Cuomo he was referring to the Ukrainian officials, not Vindman.

    “I wasn’t questioning Lt. Col. Vindman’s patriotism,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for people who wear the uniform.”

    Based on Ingraham’s comments, Yoo said it seemed to him that the Ukrainians, not Vindman, were engaging in espionage.

    “I really regret the choice of words,” he said, adding that Vindman “did the right thing” by reporting his concerns with Trump’s call.

    Then, Yoo went even further and admitted that Trump’s actions amounted to a quid pro quo.

    “I don’t have any doubts about that because you can read them in the transcript of the phone call that the White House released,” Yoo said. The only question is whether it’s a “high crime and misdemeanor” worthy of impeachment or if it’s a matter best decided in next year’s election.
    __________________

    Certainly hope that Yoo did some stretching and warm up exercises before that massive leap backwards.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

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    as I said, a truly pathetic excuse on multiple levels, because even taking his words at face value, you'd have to be a special type of moron to equate foreign officials asking a NSC member for advice on handling someone's personal attorney to "espionage".

    but he knows that, so it's "some people might say"...a chickenshit answer indeed.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    i'm glad to see there's some semblance of pushback in conservative-world regarding the incredibly bigoted attack by Ingraham/Duffy/Yoo (the last two coming up with truly pathetic excuses for their behavior-- particularly disgusting coming from Yoo, seeing as how he himself is an immigrant), but it's damned revealing that this would be the angle that conservatives would go for literally an hour after the initial NYT report on Vindman's testimony came out.
    The pushback is the bare minimum that should be expected but these days our expectations are so low even when it comes to basic decency. Just a sign of the times.

    BTW, I'm still waiting on the condemnations from the left for Hillary Clinton calling Tulsi Gabbard a Russian agent. She is also someone who has served the country, most recently when she took time off campaigning to go and do it again. Didn't matter to Hillary or the left when they sullied her name and accused her of treason. Everyone whether on the right or the left seems to be sitting in a glass house these days.

  6. #261
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
    BTW, I'm still waiting on the condemnations from the left for Hillary Clinton calling Tulsi Gabbard a Russian agent. She is also someone who has served the country, most recently when she took time off campaigning to go and do it again. Didn't matter to Hillary or the left when they sullied her name and accused her of treason. Everyone whether on the right or the left seems to be sitting in a glass house these days.
    I wouldn't hold my breath lol.

    Given the current political climate you'd think she'd had the good sense to keep bullshit like that to herself, but nope. Another narcissist, although nowhere the level of Trump.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  7. #262
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    House Approves Trump Impeachment Resolution, Paving Way For Public Hearings

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution Thursday that formalizes the next steps in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. The final vote was 232-196, with former Republican and current independent Rep. Justin Amash voting yes and two Democrats voting no.

    The measure, which came after weeks of Republican criticism of Democrats for conducting their interviews behind closed doors, signals the beginning of public hearings in which staff counsel for both parties will be given equal time to question witnesses.

    “Sadly, this is not any cause for any glee or comfort. This is something that is very solemn, that is something prayerful and that we had to gather so much information to take us to this next step,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the House floor prior to the vote, adding, “Every member should support allowing the American people to hear the facts themselves, that’s really what this vote is about.”

    Trump reacted to the vote with a familiar refrain.

    @realDonaldTrump
    The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!


    White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham portrayed the vote as a partisan exercise.

    “The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,” Grisham said in a written statement.

    The two Democrats to vote no were Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

    Since late September, House Democrats have been building their case that Trump abused his powers as president by asking the president of Ukraine to announce an investigation of one of his political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden, and to cooperate with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to validate a right-wing conspiracy theory about the 2016 election. A July 25 phone call between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky alarmed multiple U.S. government officials and sparked a whistleblower complaint. In closed-door interviews conducted by the House Intelligence Committee, witnesses have testified that nearly $400 million in military aid was withheld by the Trump administration to compel the government in Kiev to comply.

    The aid was eventually released.

    Republicans in the House sought to portray the impeachment inquiry as politically motivated.

    “Democrats are trying to impeach the president because they are scared they cannot defeat him at the ballot box,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “Why do you not trust the people?”

    Democrats countered that suggestion by keeping the focus on the president’s efforts to procure an investigation of his political rival from a foreign power.

    “There is serious evidence that President Trump may have violated the Constitution,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will continue to lead the impeachment inquiry on behalf of the Democrats, though the president’s lawyers will have the opportunity to defend Trump in the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., which will vote on the articles of impeachment and send them to the floor of the House.

    The resolution clears the way for Republicans to call witnesses to appear before the Intelligence Committee, though they must first submit written justification for those they wish to question. Democrats, who have presided over the committee since retaking control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections, can deny Republican requests.

    The White House has blocked testimony by several witnesses called by House Democrats, and the resolution provides Nadler with a mechanism to enforce future compliance.

    “Should the President unlawfully refuse to make witnesses available for testimony to, or to produce documents requested by, the investigative committees ... the chair [of the Judiciary Committee] shall have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies, including by denying specific requests by the President or his counsel under these procedures to call or question witnesses,” reads the rules document obtained by Yahoo News.

    Should the House vote to impeach Trump, the U.S. Senate will conduct a formal trial that could lead to his removal from office. In that setting, lawyers representing the president will have greater leeway to call witnesses and cross-examine those who helped House Democrats make their case against Trump.
    _____

    As expected, the goalposts are quickly snatched away lol.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  8. #263
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    firestorm,

    BTW, I'm still waiting on the condemnations from the left for Hillary Clinton calling Tulsi Gabbard a Russian agent. She is also someone who has served the country, most recently when she took time off campaigning to go and do it again. Didn't matter to Hillary or the left when they sullied her name and accused her of treason. Everyone whether on the right or the left seems to be sitting in a glass house these days.
    HRC didn't call Gabbard a Russian agent though...she alluded to Gabbard as a FAVORITE of the Russians, and directly contrasted that immediately afterwards to Jill Stein-- whom she did explicitly say, twice, that Stein was a Russian asset. which is something I agree with. words matter.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...ntons-jab-her/

    plus, the whole kerfuffle is on a completely different level from calling a decorated veteran and a long-time national-security expert on the NSC a "double agent".
    Last edited by astralis; 31 Oct 19, at 20:47.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  9. #264
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    firestorm,



    HRC didn't call Gabbard a Russian agent though...she alluded to Gabbard as a FAVORITE of the Russians, and directly contrasted that immediately afterwards to Jill Stein-- whom she did explicitly say, twice, that Stein was a Russian asset. which is something I agree with. words matter.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...ntons-jab-her/

    plus, the whole kerfuffle is on a completely different level from calling a decorated veteran and a long-time national-security expert on the NSC a "double agent".
    From that link:
    “She is a favorite of the Russians,” Clinton added, still not saying who she was talking about. “They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. And, that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset. Totally. And so they know they can’t win without a third-party candidate. I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee they’ll have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it.”
    She's "also" a Russian asset. Also meaning in addition to. In addition to whom? It is clear she was speaking of Gabbard prior to that.

    This is exactly what I'm referring to. And regardless of whether you agree with this or not, she most definitely accused Gabbard of being a Republican asset or mole in the Democratic party. That is a vile slur on her in itself. Not one person on the left in the media even uttered a single word of criticism for any of this. They were all busy defending Clinton.

    BTW I call nonsense on Stein being a Russian asset either. I can't believe Clinton is still trying to blame her failure to defeat a despicable clown on other people. Stein had every right to contest. It would not have mattered if Clinton hadn't been so overconfident.

    And no the current mudslinging on Vindmann is not a whole lot worse. Simply because a charge like that made by a former Senator, SecState and Presidential candidate is much much more serious than one made by morons on Fox News. A neutral observer has to condemn both.
    Last edited by Firestorm; 31 Oct 19, at 21:57.

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    Firestorm,

    This is exactly what I'm referring to. And regardless of whether you agree with this or not, she most definitely accused Gabbard of being a Republican asset or mole in the Democratic party. That is a vile slur on her in itself. Not one person on the left in the media even uttered a single word of criticism for any of this. They were all busy defending Clinton.
    yes, the "Gabbard is being used by the GOP", that is what HRC was referring to. as for "left in the media", there were of course plenty of Gabbard supporters both on the media and on the Internet whom simply shot back with the standard "Clinton-is-a-warmongering-corporate-shill" argument.

    in short, standard politics. like the "George W Bush is dumb as a bunch of rocks and manipulated by Cheney" attack, or "Obama is a socialist out to take away your healthcare", or "Kerry is a French-speaking elitist".

    Vindman is 1.) not a politician, and 2.) not indulging in political mud-slinging, and 3.) being subject to that type of "double agent" talk is like the equivalent of the "Obama is a Kenyan" type of attack. it goes well beyond what is-- or these days, was-- in the pale.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  11. #266
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
    The pushback is the bare minimum that should be expected but these days our expectations are so low even when it comes to basic decency. Just a sign of the times.

    BTW, I'm still waiting on the condemnations from the left for Hillary Clinton calling Tulsi Gabbard a Russian agent. She is also someone who has served the country, most recently when she took time off campaigning to go and do it again. Didn't matter to Hillary or the left when they sullied her name and accused her of treason. Everyone whether on the right or the left seems to be sitting in a glass house these days.
    Russian? I think you mean "Republican."
    I know the two can be easily confused these days, but in the case of Hillary Clinton's comments about someone grooming a spoiler candidate it was in reference to the domestic terrorists, not the ones run from Moscow.

    And, for the record, a US-registered political party grooming a spoiler candidate does not qualify as treason.
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    i think HRC is exaggerating in calling Gabbard a GOP-groomed spoiler candidate-- after all, Gabbard is running as a Dem, and a deeply unpopular Dem at that.

    but it IS true that both the Russians and the US right-wing (funny how that works) are supportive of her. for the latter, they're being being as subtle as a dump truck: RedState and Tucker Carlson, for instance, have been quite public in talking up Gabbard, defending her repeatedly following the Clinton kerfuffle.

    i'm sure they're supporting her because they're -totally- into Gabbard's support of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. /s
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    WaPo/ABC Poll: Trump's approval falls among Republicans, nation split on impeachment

    WASHINGTON – A new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News shows President Donald Trump's approval fell to its lowest level yet among Republicans in the outlets' polling.

    Seventy-four percent of Republicans approve of Trump's performance as president, an eight-point decline from the outlets' September poll. However, 64% of Republicans "strongly approve" of Trump's performance, relatively unchanged from September.

    Thirty-eight percent of Americans approve of Trump's performance, 91% of Democrats disapprove.

    Polling by USA TODAY and Suffolk University from earlier this week reflected these results as well, as Trump's base of support dug in as the impeachment inquiry escalated and began to move into a public phase after a House of Representatives vote Thursday.

    The Washington Post-ABC poll still shows Americans evenly divided on impeachment, with 49% of survey respondents supporting impeachment and removal from office, and 47% opposing impeachment and removal.

    The divisions reflect the nation's partisan divides. Eighty-two percent of Democrats support impeachment and removal while 18% of Republicans supported it. Forty-seven percent of independents opposed it.

    Among Democrats, 13% opposed impeachment and removal compared to 82% of Republicans. Just under half (49%) of independents opposed it.

    In yesterday's vote to formalize rules for the impeachment inquiry, only two Democrats, Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, voted against the resolution, with all Republicans opposed.

    Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., left the Republican Party earlier this year and voted for the resolution.

    More: Collin Peterson, Jeff Van Drew, the only two Democrats who voted against a Trump impeachment inquiry

    The poll also asked respondents about the issues raised in the impeachment inquiry.

    When asked if they thought Trump did "something wrong" in his dealings with Ukraine, 55% of respondents said he did, and 35% said he didn't. Ten percent had no opinion.

    The Trump administration is accused of withholding military aid to Ukraine as part of a campaign to pressure the country to open investigations into Trump's political adversary Joe Biden. Trump has said the request to investigate was not political.

    When respondents were asked about the role of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who witnesses have characterized as a central figure in the pressure campaign, 60% of respondents said Giuliani's role in Ukraine policy was "inappropriate."

    The poll of 1,003 adults was conducted from Oct. 27-30, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
    _________________

    That's...odd. Given the completely solid GOP vote to the inquiry resolution, I was expecting current polling to show more support for Trump amongst Republicans, not less.

    I checked the slightly-right-leaning Rasmussen poll expecting to find a solid rebound after the al-Baghdadi raid and inquiry vote.
    He started the week with a -15 approval index, and sure enough it improved to -10 and then promptly deteriorated right back to -15 by today.

    Whatever kudos he was desperately trying to reap from the al-Baghdadi raid, it lasted a matter of days and then vanished. Almost like al-Baghdadi was no Bin Ladin or something.

    We'll see if this is a trend or not over the next few weeks, but I doubt it is. Trump seems to have gently ascending and descending waves of approval, but always within roughly the same range.

    If that 38% gets below 30% though, he's dead meat lol.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

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    National Security Council's Alexander Vindman Told To Keep Quiet About Trump Call: Reports
    The National Security Council’s Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified this week that a White House attorney told him to keep quiet about Donald Trump’s controversial phone call with Ukraine’s president, sources told Politico and The Washington Post.

    Vindman told House lawmakers Tuesday that after he expressed his concerns about the July 25 call, John Eisenberg, a top NSC legal adviser, told him to tell no one about his reservations, according to sources familiar with the testimony. Trump’s call — in which he pressed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden and his son — is now the focus of an impeachment inquiry by the House. Trump was withholding U.S. military aid to Ukraine at the time of the call.

    Vindman said Eisenberg took notes on a yellow legal pad about his concerns. Then Eisenberg and his deputy Michael Ellis decided to move a rough transcript of the call to a highly classified computer server, Politico reported. Days later, Vindman testified that Eisenberg instructed him to keep quiet about the call.

    The startling information exposes significant early concern within the White House about Trump’s call — but also reveals possible efforts to keep the contents under wraps not only through use of the classified server, which was first reported by the Post, but by instructing at least one official to keep it quiet.

    Trump has repeatedly characterized his phone call with Zelensky as “perfect.” But one of the Post’s sources asked: “If this is such a perfect call, why is everybody going to these extraordinary lengths? Why is the White House counsel telling people not to talk about it?”

    Vindman, the first witness to testify in the impeachment inquiry who personally listened to Trump’s call, testified that he was troubled about what he viewed as the president’s quid pro quo demands for a Biden investigation in exchange for U.S. military aid.

    Vindman also told lawmakers that the White House’s reconstruction of the conversation had key omissions, The New York Times reported.

    The NSC and Eisenberg have not responded to reports that Vindman was ordered to keep quiet.
    __________________

    The beautiful thing about Donald Trump is that he'll tell you exactly what you want to know, you just have to merely reverse what he's saying, e.g. "It was a beautiful call" = "It was shot through with corruption and extortion and my people are doing everything they possibly can to bury it six layers deep and deny anything untoward happened"
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

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    Trump and His Defenders Keep Tossing Around Legal Terms. Here’s What They Really Mean.

    “Due process.” “The right to confront your accuser.” “Hearsay.”

    In what can only be described as a cynical ploy, President Donald Trump and his supporters keep tossing out legal terminology to attack those who seek to hold him accountable for alleged misconduct in the impeachment inquiry currently underway in the House of Representatives. The idea seems to be to confuse members of the public by using legal terms that sound valid, but have no application to the matter for which they are cited.

    Trump claims on Twitter that Democrats believe that they can “impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights.” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone argues that the impeachment inquiry “violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.” Senator Lindsey Graham says that “You can’t get a parking ticket conviction based on hearsay.”

    All those terms may sound vaguely familiar from high school civics classes and true crime novels, but they do not apply here despite what Trump and his defenders suggest.

    Here, then, is your guide to discerning talking points from truth when it comes to legal jargon.

    Talking point: The impeachment inquiry violates due process because the House did not vote to approve it before it began.

    Truth: The Constitution gives “the sole power of impeachment” to the House of Representatives. The House may decide what rules it will use in impeachment, with no requirement that it must take a vote before initiating an impeachment inquiry. In fact, last week a federal judge issued an opinion in which she described this vote requirement argument as politically “appealing,” but “fatally flawed.” Nonetheless, the House took such a vote on Thursday, perhaps in an effort to silence these critics. Are the critics satisfied now? No! They say that the vote just proves that the Democrats knew that the inquiry had been invalid without a vote!

    Talking point: President Trump is being denied the right to confront witnesses against him and present evidence.

    Truth: Again, there is no requirement for the House to provide any of these protections, at least not at this inquiry stage of impeachment. If we are to look by analogy to the criminal justice system, the impeachment inquiry would be parallel to the indictment stage. In a criminal case, the facts are presented to a grand jury. The presentation is limited to the prosecution case. The defense does not attend grand jury sessions, cross-examine witnesses or present evidence. The grand jury then votes on whether to approve an indictment, which is merely a charge. If so, then, and only then, does the case proceed to trial. It is there that a defendant may call witnesses and cross-examine witnesses against him. President Trump is not being denied any rights because he is unable to call and question witnesses at the investigative stage.

    Talking Point: The impeachment inquiry is improper because it is being conducted in secret.

    Truth: In criminal cases, the investigation is conducted in secret for many reasons, including preventing witnesses from coordinating their stories. If the testimony is public, then witnesses can learn what prior witnesses have said, and then tailor their own testimony accordingly. Keeping the proceedings secret ensures that witnesses are incentivized to tell the truth. The subsequent trial is held in the open so that the public can have confidence in the process. The impeachment inquiry is similarly at this investigative stage and need not be conducted in public, where its integrity could be undermined.

    Talking point: The impeachment inquiry is relying on hearsay because the whistleblower did not have first-hand information.

    Truth: Hearsay is an out-of-court declaration used to prove the truth of the matter asserted. With some exceptions, courts require first-hand accounts in court by witnesses who observed the facts themselves. The purpose of the hearsay rule is to promote reliability in witness testimony.

    It is true that the whistleblower whose complaint started the inquiry indeed provided hearsay information that he learned from others. His information is not being used at trial, however. The parallel to the whistleblower in the criminal world is a tipster, who alerts police that a crime has been committed. The police then conduct an investigation, in which investigators talk to eyewitnesses and collect evidence, such as documents and other tangible things. This direct evidence is the evidence that is used at trial. The tipster does not testify at trial if he is not a first-hand witness.

    Here, the whistleblower alerted Congress that criminal or impeachable conduct may have occurred. The House is now gathering evidence by interviewing the officials with first-hand information and obtaining documents that could tend to reflect the events under investigation. That is the evidence that will be presented at a trial before the Senate, not the testimony of the whistleblower.

    Talking Point: The phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky contained no quid pro quo.

    Truth: Literally, quid pro quo means “this for that.” This myth can be debunked on three levels. First, the call is not the full scope of the misconduct. Impeachment investigators need to explore the meeting and calls between Ukrainian officials and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, and other diplomats to understand the full scope of the negotiations, and determine whether there was a quid pro quo, among other things.

    Second, impeachable offenses do not all require evidence of an illegal quid pro quo. The Constitution provides that a president may be impeached for “bribery, treason, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Impeachment of Trump based on an abuse of power by inviting foreign election interference would require no quid pro quo whatsoever.

    Third, there actually is evidence that Trump was trading military aid for election help. This exchange would be a quid pro quo for purposes of bribery, which includes demanding a thing of value in exchange for the performance of an official duty. A quid pro quo need not be explicit, and usually isn’t. Here, the demand for an investigation into the Bidens in exchange for receiving military aid may very well be a quid pro quo for purposes of bribery, an impeachable offense.
    ______________

    As if Trump gives a single shit about the legal process, unless it can help him stave off lawsuits, cheat a contractor, bury illegal activities and stall for time until a problem just goes away.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

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