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The 2021 Impeachment, Trial and Acquittal of Donald John Trump

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  • #61
    Originally posted by tantalus View Post
    I am curious to hear from board members on this scenario.

    Imagine if Trump had been an excellent president (and when you have finished that intense mental workout) also imagine that the capital riots never occurred. The only think that actually did happen is that all of sudden after he lost the election, he told all the lies about the election process being rigged and stolen etc with zero evidence. Would that be a justifable reason for impeachment on its own?
    In addition to what Eric said, the Article of Impeachment notes Trump's illegal attempts to alter the results of the Georgia election, asking for votes to be "found".
    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

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    • #62
      Originally posted by astralis View Post

      he's not being impeached for -lying-. he does that every hour of his waking life. impeachment wouldn't have happened if he was JUST screaming at the top of his lungs that the election was stolen.

      he's being impeached for incitement.

      For sure, I do understand this.

      But I am curious what board members would do (in repect to the impeachment mechanism) if they were elected government officials and the president was consisitenly lying about the election...

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

        In addition to what Eric said, the Article of Impeachment notes Trump's illegal attempts to alter the results of the Georgia election, asking for votes to be "found".
        Good point. This is clearly a step worse than my hypothetical scenario. I should have added imagine he hadn't done that either

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        • #64
          Originally posted by tantalus View Post

          Good point. This is clearly a step worse than my hypothetical scenario. I should have added imagine he hadn't done that either
          If all Trump had done was merely undermine the validity of the entire democratic election process of the United States (lying non-stop on Twitter etc), then my answer would be no, I don't think impeachment was warranted.
          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

            If all Trump had done was merely undermine the validity of the entire democratic election process of the United States (lying non-stop on Twitter etc), then my answer would be no, I don't think impeachment was warranted.
            It seems reasonable to guess that most americans feel this way.

            Impeachment seems very open to interpretation (high crimes and misdemeanors"...). I get the clear distinction between words and actions. But words can also do incredible damage and have real world consequences. If our species ever advance further with ideas, we will likely view words and ideas in our minds every bit as real as punching somebody in the face and a far more effective tool. Words are not seen in this light with respect to impeachement .Congress previously referred to " behavior incompatible with the function and purpose of the office". If being the fairly democratically elected leader and then constantly questioning a fair election is not incompatible with office, I don't know what is.

            I think the best reason why he shouldn't be impeached for such behaviour is that nobody thinks he should (might makes right), but abstractly I find the case why he shouldnt weird and that it is some form of a mass delusion missing the obvious.

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            • #66
              Trump went several major steps beyond simply "constantly questioning a fair election", and that -still- was not, and is not, going to be sufficient to get him convicted.

              frankly, if Trump can't get convicted, I don't know what it would take to get the GOP to convict one of its own.

              and that's also clear with the Marjorie Taylor Greene case. she's a nutcase whom supported violence against legislators, a new Rep of a tiny constituency -- yet the House minority leader is afraid of directly punishing her, precisely because he knows that doing so would be extremely unpopular within his own party!

              bottom-line, institutional loyalty is far overwhelmed by partisan loyalty. the impeachment process is broken, as with many of the other processes of the US Congress (specifically the US Senate).

              If being the fairly democratically elected leader and then constantly questioning a fair election is not incompatible with office, I don't know what is.

              I think the best reason why he shouldn't be impeached for such behaviour is that nobody thinks he should (might makes right), but abstractly I find the case why he shouldnt weird and that it is some form of a mass delusion missing the obvious.
              ideally yes, but under the current system where one party is essentially radical in nature, that's not a good idea-- and that by itself is a troubling sign of concession to violence.

              after all, the GOP impeached Clinton for far less.
              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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              • #67
                Originally posted by astralis View Post
                Trump went several major steps beyond simply "constantly questioning a fair election", and that -still- was not, and is not, going to be sufficient to get him convicted.

                frankly, if Trump can't get convicted, I don't know what it would take to get the GOP to convict one of its own.

                and that's also clear with the Marjorie Taylor Greene case. she's a nutcase whom supported violence against legislators, a new Rep of a tiny constituency -- yet the House minority leader is afraid of directly punishing her, precisely because he knows that doing so would be extremely unpopular within his own party!

                bottom-line, institutional loyalty is far overwhelmed by partisan loyalty. the impeachment process is broken, as with many of the other processes of the US Congress (specifically the US Senate).

                ideally yes, but under the current system where one party is essentially radical in nature, that's not a good idea-- and that by itself is a troubling sign of concession to violence.

                after all, the GOP impeached Clinton for far less.
                Zero disagreements here.

                I will now say something potentially controversial which is that I view Trumps actions with regard to Stop the Steal to be logically much more of a smoking gun for impeachement than the direct actions he did on the day of the capital riots. But either way the outcome should be the same, impeachment.

                Some of the problems you have described orginate from democracy actually working, its just that "woking" involves idiots practising democracy or the self serving fearing the electorate, too much democracy. In some ways we expect too much of democracy, you have managed to change goverment with out significant blooshed, thats another victory for democracy even if the bar has been dropped.

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                • #68
                  Trump has walked into ‘jiu jitsu’ trap by refusing to testify at impeachment trial, legal analyst says

                  After refusing to testify at his Senate impeachment trial, Donald Trump has walked right into a “constitutional jiu jitsu” trap set up by Democrats who want to convict him, a legal analyst has warned.

                  Democrats, led by impeachment manager Jamie Raskin, called on Mr Trump on Thursday to appear as a witness at the Senate trial starting on 9 February, with claims he incited an insurrection on the Capitol.

                  The request laid down a challenge to the ex-president, who was not subpoenaed to testify, as expected. His lawyers denounced the request as a “public relations stunt.”

                  Mr Trump, responding to the request through adviser Jason Miller, separately called the process “unconstitutional”.

                  With Democrats already pointing to Mr Trump’s culpability, MSNBC’s legal analyst Danny Cevallos compared the request made by Mr Raskin as a “constitutional jiu jitsu” trap, with the former president risking a future criminal trial.

                  "Jamie Raskin is using a great bit of constitutional jujitsu here," Cevallos said on Saturday morning. "They did not issue a subpoena, they just requested or invited him to come testify and president Trump declined.”

                  He said that meant the Senate would be able to make “that negative inference from a defendant's silence, [that] is allowed,” which would set a precedent for any future criminal trial against Mr Trump.


                  Mr Cevallos’s remarks come after an independent reporter, Marcy Wheeler, argued that Mr Trump’s refusal to take part would be the safest route for the former president in front of the Senate, but could put him at risk of criminal prosecution afterwards.

                  “The House [will] assume Trump's entire claim to offering any factual response is false, as it is," wrote Ms Wheeler, who warned that by using the Fifth Amendment - which allows people not to testify against themselves - Mr Trump would be “admitting that his First Amendment speech might expose him criminally”.

                  Ms Wheeler pointed to Mr Trump’s impeachment lawyers, who on Tuesday revealed they would argue against claims the ex-president threatened “the democratic system, [or] interfered with the peaceful transition of power,” following the 2020 election.

                  However, Mr Trump baselessly claimed the presidential election was “stolen” or “rigged”, and avoided acknowledging Joe Biden as president elect until after the assault on Congress on 6 January by those who supported such claims.

                  Senators, who are split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, are not expected to convict the former president after 45 Republicans recently voted to dismiss the trial altogether.

                  Democrats believe a trial is necessary to provide a measure of accountability for the attack, while aiming to hold a separate vote to disqualify him from seeking office again.
                  ___________

                  Pretty hyperbolic and ultimately meaningless (Trump will get acquitted and won't face criminal charges), but still somewhat interesting.
                  Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    tantalus,

                    Some of the problems you have described orginate from democracy actually working, its just that "woking" involves idiots practising democracy or the self serving fearing the electorate, too much democracy.
                    it's not "too much democracy".

                    for instance, if we had a straight popular vote, Trump would have -never- been President at all.

                    which is actually a very potent argument that half the reasoning of the Electoral College -- an elite that would prevent an incompetent populist from taking power-- is completely out the window.

                    similarly, because of a mix of gerrymandering as well as rural over-representation, none of which is an example of "too much democracy" -- the GOP is actually -insulated- from popular opinion, and thus fears their own base more than they fear the general electorate.

                    that is why McCarthy is scared of punishing Marjorie Taylor Greene, and why he didn't lift a finger to protect Cheney.

                    if the GOP was susceptible to popular opinion, then their response to Trump being defeated by an even greater margin than he was in 2016 would have been to reject Trumpism.
                    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

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by astralis View Post
                      tantalus,



                      it's not "too much democracy".

                      for instance, if we had a straight popular vote, Trump would have -never- been President at all.

                      which is actually a very potent argument that half the reasoning of the Electoral College -- an elite that would prevent an incompetent populist from taking power-- is completely out the window.

                      similarly, because of a mix of gerrymandering as well as rural over-representation, none of which is an example of "too much democracy" -- the GOP is actually -insulated- from popular opinion, and thus fears their own base more than they fear the general electorate.

                      that is why McCarthy is scared of punishing Marjorie Taylor Greene, and why he didn't lift a finger to protect Cheney.

                      if the GOP was susceptible to popular opinion, then their response to Trump being defeated by an even greater margin than he was in 2016 would have been to reject Trumpism.
                      Ya excellent point and examples.

                      My point was more broadly that when we expect a responsible electorate to make informed decisions its an expectation too great to put on democracy's shoulders but I definitely agree with you that the GOP are too protected by gerrymandering and the EC.

                      It strikes me that EC makes sense in the context of a federal union being newly formed, now, not so much.

                      Edit. On my previous post I meant to say "working", not "woking".

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Lindsey Graham Says Trump Will Get 'Blame' For Capitol Riot, Dismisses Impeachment

                        Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday claimed the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump will be unconstitutional due to its timing, and predicted Trump will “get his share of blame in history” for the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last month.

                        “I think I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to end the impeachment trial, because I think it’s blatantly unconstitutional,” Graham, who has been one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, said in an interview with CBS’ “Face The Nation.”

                        Graham’s claim of the trial being unconstitutional is not based on the substance of the charge against the former president, who’s accused of inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government leading to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Rather, Graham’s argument hinges on Trump no longer being in office.

                        “We have never impeached a president once they are out of office,” Graham said Sunday. “I think this is a very bad idea.”

                        Only three U.S. presidents have ever been impeached, those being Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Trump. Trump is the only president to be impeached twice.

                        The Constitution is ambiguous on whether a former president can be tried in this manner. Democrats have argued that since the article of impeachment was submitted against Trump before he left office, he can still be held accountable via the impeachment process.

                        Because Trump is now a private citizen and not a sitting president, Graham instead suggested that criminal charges can be filed against him ― not that Graham thinks Trump did anything criminal.

                        “The president’s behavior in my view is not a crime, but he can be charged with one if people think he committed one, because he is now a private citizen,” Graham said Sunday.
                        _____________

                        Couple things: The idea that an official cannot be tried (he's already been impeached) once they're out of office flies in the face of precedent, specifically the impeachment and trial of William W. Belknap, Secretary of War for U.S. Grant. The Senate took a vote that confirmed that, yes, they do indeed have the right to try an official even if they're out of office.

                        Also, Graham slithers around the bloated orange elephant in the room by suggesting that Trump could be tried with a crime instead. Welp, it's awfully difficult for the Department of Justice to proceed with such a delicate matter when there is no Attorney General to decide on such things!
                        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by tantalus View Post

                          For sure, I do understand this.

                          But I am curious what board members would do (in repect to the impeachment mechanism) if they were elected government officials and the president was consistently lying about the election...
                          Late to this but...

                          Other than speaking out about a President lying there is nothing a legislator can do unless it is a lie under oath...then it does become impeachable.

                          But if he lies in a speech or to a reporter all I could do is grind my teeth.
                          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                          Mark Twain

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Impeachment is the ultimate check on executive (and judicial) power.
                            If one cannot be impeached (or arrested), then anything one does is above the law.
                            Since no one is above the law, then impeachment or arrest need to be available as a check on abuse of power.
                            Denying the legitimacy of impeachment just because it comes late in a term of office makes late-term abuse of power more attractive.
                            Trust me?
                            I'm an economist!

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Key Questions about Trump's Trial

                              The impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump will begin tomorrow. It could be a real humdinger or a nothing burger. Here are some key questions about the trial:
                              • Will Trump be convicted?: This is obviously the most important question and probably the easiest to answer. Unless the impeachment managers come up with some pretty convincing stuff, it is unlikely that there will be 67 votes for conviction. When asked to explain their vote, many Republicans will finesse the question of whether Trump is guilty or not by saying that the trial itself is unconstitutional—even though Trump was president when he was impeached and the Constitution clearly calls for a trial, even giving some of the details about it. The House votes last week on Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) are illustrative here. In the vote on Cheney, which was by secret ballot, most members of her caucus supported her even though she voted to impeach Trump. In the vote on Greene, most Republicans supported her because she is one of the Trumpiest members of Congress and the vote was public. Such is the power of Trump that in a secret ballot, Republicans support impeachment but in a public vote they don't dare cross anyone who supports him. The legal term for this is "cowardice" and it affects senators as much as it does representatives. It is probably a safe bet that if the vote in the Senate were secret. Trump would be convicted, but it is not so he won't be.
                              • What will Trump's lawyers say?: In the their brief filed last week, Trump's lawyers, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, suggested that their case will not rest on whether Trump did or did not incite an insurrection, but whether the trial itself is constitutional. That is probably the best argument, since the evidence clearly shows that Trump did incite an insurrection and the defense "that doesn't matter because the trial is not legitimate" avoids having to deal with the insurrection itself. They may also argue "process," saying that the lack of hearings in the House was mean because without them Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Trump) couldn't furiously defend his Dear Leader. Nevertheless, the lawyers are likely going to have to address the insurrection at some point because the impeachment managers are going to put it front and center. The defense's case, when and if they have to make it, there will be that the rioters are responsible for the riot, and no one else.
                              • How do the managers break through to skeptical senators?: The managers can't simply rely on the facts. The senators already know the facts. The managers have to make a pitch to the country—not the senators—based on emotion. If they can convince Americans that five people died on account of Trump's words and many senators and representatives would have died but for the bravery of the Capitol police, the senators will be between a rock and a hard place. They will have to choose between what Trump wants and what the voters want. That is the managers' only real hope.
                              • Will Trump show up?: The impeachment managers have asked Trump to show up and defend himself. Will he come? His gut is probably telling him to do it so he can make the case that he won the election and the rioters were patriots trying to defend the Constitution. However, his lawyers are telling him in no uncertain terms not to do it. The Senate could issue a subpoena, but that would take 2 years to resolve in the courts, so the Democrats aren't going to do it. If Trump were to surprise everyone and show up, he might incriminate himself so much that 17 Republican senators feel forced to vote for conviction.
                              • What happens if Trump is acquitted?: If 45 or so senators vote for acquittal, is Trump home free? Maybe not. There is a possibility that he could be censured by both chambers of Congress. Or worse yet, by majority vote of both chambers, Congress could, in one way or another, invoke the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits people who have engaged in an insurrection from holding public office. This provision was initially aimed at people who were officers in the Confederate government or army, but it isn't restricted to them.
                              Chief Justice John Roberts apparently has other things on his agenda for tomorrow, so he won't preside at the trial. President of the Senate Kamala Harris could have insisted on presiding herself, but decided not to, probably to avoid enraging Trump's supporters. Fortunately, the Democrats have a kindly old white man available to preside in the form of President Pro Tem of the Senate Pat Leahy (D-VT). Having Leahy in charge makes it impossible for Trump supporters to maintain that he was railroaded by a Black woman hell-bent on destroying him.

                              There may be dueling videos. The impeachment managers are likely to show a video of Trump encouraging the rioters and telling them to fight like hell followed by a clip of them forcing their way into the Capitol, invading the Senate chamber, and opening senators' desks to rifle through their private papers and other things, like this one:



                              That might just jog some of their memories and make them feel a bit queasy knowing what could have happened had Capitol security not whisked them all off to a secret hiding place.

                              However, Trump lawyer's might fight back with videos of civil unrest last spring and summer, with people rioting in the streets and attacking courthouses. Intermixed with clips of Democrats encouraging protests after the killing of George Floyd, the defense could try to make it look like everyone does it, so no big deal.

                              The senators would like to wrap the trial up in a week, but that may not happen. For starters, one of Trump's lawyers, David Schoen, is an orthodox Jew who says he is not permitted to work on the sabbath, so no Saturday trial. Of course, Leahy could overrule him and say that Castor could handle the defense on Saturday and then he could take over on Sunday to let Castor go to church, but then Trump would complain that he didn't have adequate legal representation. So, the trial will stop Friday evening before sundown if it is still underway then. On top of that, next Monday is Presidents' Day, a federal holiday, not to mention Susan B. Anthony's birthday. Then Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday, and Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, so the trial can't take too long or the Supreme Court will rule that it is interfering with too many religions.

                              While the senators probably aren't going pay too much attention to the actual evidence, they do tend to follow the polls. A new ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll shows that 56% of Americans want Trump convicted and barred from ever holding office again while 43% don't want him convicted. That margin is probably too small to sway many (if any) Republican votes. (V)
                              ________________

                              This is obviously political theater, but it needs to be formally presented and entered into the record for posterity, to enshrine words and deeds of the cowards and the enablers of insurrection in the pages of history.

                              "Nothing burger" or not, Donald Trump and his cult cannot be allowed to write the history of his attempted insurrection like the South was allowed to write the history of the Civil War.
                              Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                This is obviously political theater, but it needs to be formally presented and entered into the record for posterity, to enshrine words and deeds of the cowards and the enablers of insurrection in the pages of history.

                                "Nothing burger" or not, Donald Trump and his cult cannot be allowed to write the history of his attempted insurrection like the South was allowed to write the history of the Civil War.
                                Civics lessons stuff for sure, Joe.
                                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                                Mark Twain

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