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The Impeachment, Trial and Acquittal of Donald John Trump

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    This is what a dementia-addled narcissist looks like in full-on meltdown mode.

    He actually doesn't understand what was wrong with that phone call...which is reasonable in his version of reality because he doesn't understand why US officials can't bribe foreign officials and the White House is currently "looking at" changing the law...

    ...and he thinks it "just" happened, so apparently a full month ago is the definition of "just" happened.

    But yeah, he's got all his marbles all right, nothing to see here.
    “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


    • Trump is struggling to convince even his own base that they shouldn't hear new evidence in his impeachment trial

      President Donald Trump has spent the last several months waging a full-blown war on his impeachment.

      But it doesn't look like he's managed to convince even his own base that the Senate trial now underway really is a "hoax" that should be over as quickly as possible.

      A new CNN poll found that a large majority of Americans — 69% — think the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during the trial — a key issue which Democrats strongly favor and most Congressional Republicans reject.

      Notably, Republican voters are divided on the issue with 48% in favor of calling new witnesses and 44% opposed to hearing new witnesses.

      This is a win for Democrats, who are fighting for the Senate trial to include witnesses who weren't heard during the House impeachment process.

      House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a month, freezing the process while she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell duked it out over the terms of the trial. Pelosi's central ask is that McConnell allows a vote on whether to call witnesses.

      McConnell ultimately refused to guarantee that witnesses will be called, but some swing-state and moderate Republican senators have indicated they might side with Democrats on that point.

      It remains to be seen whether Democrats can convince any of their GOP colleagues to defect, giving them the necessary 51 votes to alter the trial rules.

      A slim majority — 51% — of Americans think the Senate should convict and remove the president on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, according to the poll.

      58% believe that Trump abused his office for personal political gain and 57% think he obstructed congressional lawmakers from investigating him.
      “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
      ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


      • White House to Block Possible Testimony from Lev Parnas

        The White House will block any attempt to summon Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

        Parnas, who was involved in Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, made explosive claims regarding President Trump’s involvement in Ukraine during a series of interviews released on Wednesday.

        “President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas said in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the President.”

        Parnas accused Attorney General William Barr of being aware of Giuliani’s and Trump’s actions but Barr denied that he had any knowledge of such dealings.

        In testimony during House impeachment hearings, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch alleged Parnas and associate Igor Fruman, along with Giuliani, were working to oust her in order to advance Parnas’s and Fruman’s business interests. The two are also thought to have worked with former top Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko to obtain information on the Bidens.

        The Ukrainian businessman was indicted in October on campaign-finance charges, and is accused of disguising donations to Republican candidates to advance his personal interests and those of other Ukrainian politicians.

        President Trump’s impeachment defense team, which includes heavyweight attorney Alan Dershowitz and former Clinton impeachment manager Ken Starr, announced on Monday it will call on the Senate to “swiftly reject” the articles of impeachment.

        “The Senate should speedily reject these articles of impeachment and acquit the President,” reads a trial brief released by the team. “All that House Democrats have succeeded in proving is that the President did absolutely nothing wrong.”

        Democrats allege President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate corruption allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden.

        I'd love to know Trump's justification for blocking Parnas. He doesn't work for Trump and Trump supposedly "doesn't even known him".

        So why is Trump so afraid of Parnas testifying?
        “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
        ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


        • ummm....he's a private citizen. White House can't tell him jack
          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain


          • "Absolute immunity"! But realistically the subservient GOP will just refuse to call witnesses or ask for documentation.
            Last edited by snapper; 21 Jan 20,, 17:48.


            • Trump says he'd 'love' to show up at his Senate impeachment trial and 'stare in their corrupt faces'

              President Trump is already fantasizing about abruptly showing up at his Senate impeachment trial, warning a reporter that she might just convince him it's a great idea.

              Trump spoke in a news conference Wednesday after the impeachment trial against him began in the Senate, and he was asked whether he might appear during it. That idea, specifically the concept of showing up and intensely staring at Democrats, instantly seemed quite appealing to Trump.

              "I'd love to go," Trump said. "Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't that be beautiful? ... Sit right in the front row and stare in their corrupt faces. I'd love to do it."

              Asked why he doesn't do so if he'd love to so much, Trump told the reporter, "Don't keep talking, because you may convince me to do it," although he added that his lawyers "might have a problem" with the prospect.

              Trump during this press conference touched on a variety of impeachment related issues including the possibility of former National Security Adviser John Bolton testifying, which Trump said he'd like to see happen except that "it's a national security problem." Besides, Trump said, "You don't like people testifying when they didn't leave on good terms."

              Trump the Coward and his vivid fantasy life lol. He's a walking perjury case and his lawyers know it. They'd tackle him before he got two steps outside the Oval Office.

              And his excuse for keeping Bolton off the stand "You don't like people testifying when they didn't leave on good terms". Oh, well that doesn't hang a giant guilty sign around your neck now does it.
              “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
              ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


              • Opinion: Why Trump's Threadbare Legal Argument Will Probably Work

                Let’s dispense with one thing off the bat: President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense is — in addition to being riddled with false factual claims and misleading characterizations — legal claptrap.

                It’s also likely to work.

                The essence of the argument, which appears in a 110-page brief submitted Monday by the president’s ragtag legal team in advance of his Senate trial, is that Trump can’t be impeached for behaviors that are not actual crimes.

                “Every prior presidential impeachment in our history has been based on alleged violations of existing law — indeed, criminal law,” the brief states. Since House Democrats did not charge the president with committing any specific crimes in abusing his power or obstructing Congress, which are the grounds for the two articles of impeachment that the House of Representatives adopted last month, Trump must skate, the reasoning goes. You can almost hear the lawyers swallowing their pride.

                That’s because their argument is, in the words of one legal scholar who recently published a book on the history of impeachment, “constitutional nonsense.” “High crimes and misdemeanors” — the founders’ standard for impeachment — has always been understood to refer to a unique class of offenses, those arising from what Alexander Hamilton called “the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”

                The federal criminal code didn’t even exist when the Constitution was drafted, yet the framers were aware of the innumerable ways an executive could abuse or violate his trust. They were also aware that impeachment was a long-established remedy for such abuses.

                In his authoritative 19th-century legal treatise, Justice Joseph Story of the Supreme Court explained that impeachable acts are by their nature impossible to define in advance. There are many “purely political” offenses that qualify, he wrote, “not one of which is in the slightest manner alluded to in our statute book.”

                This view is not remotely controversial. And yet Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor and self-professed liberal who has lately taken to defending Trump against all comers, insists that everyone’s got it wrong. That includes, apparently, Dershowitz himself, who argued back in 1998 that “if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.” Now, Dershowitz argues that to be impeachable, a president’s behavior must be, if not criminal, at least “crime-like”— an argument that could charitably be described as legal-like.

                Perhaps it should come as no surprise that a president who described the Constitution as “like a foreign language” would cling to such a legally preposterous claim. But to be fair to Trump and his lawyers, it’s the only one left. The evidence amassed during the House impeachment proceedings — that he shook down a foreign government in the service of his own reelection campaign — is overwhelming, and Trump has yet to counter any of it with so much as a single piece of paper or word of testimony. He has given himself no option but to say, in effect: “Yeah, I did it. So what?”

                This is the Trumpian equivalent of, “It’s a free country!” And yet as every grade-school child quickly discovers, that does not mean you can do whatever you want.

                So why is Trump’s argument almost certainly going to work? Because the Republican majority in the Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, knows that its own survival is tied to Trump’s, and cares more about its grip on power than its fidelity to constitutional governance.

                That’s why McConnell is doing all he can to deep-six the impeachment trial with as little fanfare, and as few witnesses, as possible. He knows the “So what?” gambit becomes harder to sustain in the face of testimony from firsthand witnesses to the president’s Ukraine scheme — people like John Bolton, the former national security adviser, and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, both of whom have said they would be willing to testify.

                An embarrassingly small clot of Republican senators have said they are open to voting to hear from these and possibly other key witnesses. Let’s hope they stick to their guns. For the rest, Trump’s defense brief offers what he might call a perfect solution: He won’t make them respond to serious legal arguments if they won’t hold him to account for his inexcusable behavior. In this bargain, as with so much else over the past three years, the president and the Senate are made for each other.
                “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
                ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


                • Barr Once Contradicted Trump's Claim That Abuse of Power Is Not Impeachable

                  WASHINGTON — Scholars have roundly rejected a central argument of President Donald Trump’s lawyers that abuse of power is not by itself an impeachable offense. But it turns out that another important legal figure has contradicted that idea: Trump’s attorney general and close ally, William Barr.

                  In summer 2018, when he was still in private practice, Barr wrote a confidential memo for the Justice Department and Trump’s legal team to help the president get out of a problem. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, was pressuring him to answer questions about whether he had illegally impeded the Russia investigation.

                  Trump should not talk to investigators about his actions as president, even under a subpoena, Barr wrote in his 19-page memo, which became public during his confirmation. Barr based his advice on a sweeping theory of executive power under which obstruction of justice laws do not apply to presidents, even if they misuse their authority over the Justice Department to block investigations into themselves or their associates for corrupt reasons.

                  But Barr tempered his theory with a reassurance. Even without the possibility of criminal penalties, he wrote, a check is in place on presidents who abuse their discretionary power to control the executive branch of government — impeachment.

                  The fact that the president “is answerable for any abuses of discretion and is ultimately subject to the judgment of Congress through the impeachment process means that the president is not the judge in his own cause,” he wrote.

                  He added, “The remedy of impeachment demonstrates that the president remains accountable under law for his misdeeds in office,” quoting from a 1982 Supreme Court case.

                  Barr has long embraced a maximalist philosophy of executive power. But in espousing the view that abuse of power can be an impeachable offense, he put himself squarely in the mainstream of legal thinking. Most constitutional scholars broadly agree that the constitutional term “high crimes and misdemeanors” for which an official may be impeached includes abuse of power.

                  But in a 110-page brief Monday, Trump’s impeachment team — led by Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel and a former aide to Barr in the first Bush administration, and Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow — portrayed the article of impeachment claiming that Trump abused his power in the Ukraine affair as unconstitutional because he was not accused of an ordinary crime.

                  “House Democrats’ novel conception of ‘abuse of power’ as a supposedly impeachable offense is constitutionally defective,” they wrote. “It supplants the framers’ standard of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ with a made-up theory that the president can be impeached and removed from office under an amorphous and undefined standard of ‘abuse of power.’ ”

                  Contrary to what Barr wrote 20 months ago, the Trump defense team also insisted that the framers did not want Congress to judge whether presidents abused their discretion and made decisions based on improper motives.

                  “House Democrats’ conception of ‘abuse of power’ is especially dangerous because it rests on the even more radical claim that a president can be impeached and removed from office solely for doing something he is allowed to do, if he did it for the ‘wrong’ subjective reasons,” the Trump team wrote.

                  A spokeswoman for Barr declined to comment. A spokesman for Trump’s impeachment defense team did not respond to a request for comment about the tensions.

                  But Barr’s view was no passing thought. His 2018 memo emphasized that presidents who misuse their authority by acting with an improper motive are politically accountable, not just in elections but also via impeachment.

                  Between elections, “the people’s representatives stand watch and have the tools to oversee, discipline, and, if they deem appropriate, remove the president from office,” he wrote. “Under the framers’ plan, the determination whether the president is making decisions based on ‘improper’ motives or whether he is ‘faithfully’ discharging his responsibilities is left to the people, through the election process, and the Congress, through the impeachment process.”

                  The result of Barr’s main argument in 2018 and the Trump team’s theory in 2020 is identical: Both posited that facts were immaterial, both in a way that was convenient to counter the threat Trump faced at that moment.

                  If Barr’s obstruction of justice theory is correct — and many legal scholars reject it — then Mueller had no basis to scrutinize Trump’s actions that interfered with the Russia investigation.

                  Similarly, if the Trump impeachment team’s theory is correct, the Senate has no basis to subpoena documents or call witnesses. The lawyers are implying that even if Trump did abuse his power to conduct foreign policy by trying to coerce Ukraine into announcing investigations that could help him in the 2020 election, the Senate should acquit Trump anyway.

                  Another member of Trump’s legal team, Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and criminal defense lawyer, is expected to make a presentation to the Senate trial this week laying out in detail the theory that abuses of power are not impeachable without an ordinary criminal violation.

                  Critics of Dershowitz’s arguments have pointed to the seeming tension with comments he made in 1998, when he did not have a client facing impeachment for abuse of power: “If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.”

                  In an interview this week, Dershowitz argued that his position now was not inconsistent with what he said in 1998, pointing to his use then of the phrase “technical crime” and saying that he is arguing today that impeachment requires “crimelike” conduct.

                  Dershowitz went further Tuesday, saying on Twitter that he had not thoroughly researched the question in 1998 but recently has done so. “To the extent therefore that my 1998 off-the-cuff interview statement suggested the opposite,” he wrote, “I retract it.”

                  No comment. None needed.
                  “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
                  ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


                  • Dershowitz has now brought himself down to the level of ambulance chasing lawyers and the witnesses ambulance chasing lawyers hire for a buck. He deserves no respect from what I see.


                    • GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz praised Democrats' impeachment presentation and skewered Trump's defense as looking like 'an 8th-grade book report'

                      Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is one of President Donald Trump's most vocal defenders in Congress.

                      He has repeatedly gone to bat for the president and shielded him amid a snowballing impeachment process in which Trump was charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The president is standing trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, which is widely expected to clear him of wrongdoing.

                      But Gaetz doesn't seem impressed with Trump's defense so far.

                      After the first day of opening arguments on Wednesday, during which seven House impeachment managers — acting as prosecutors — laid out their case against the president, Gaetz told Politico they presented their case to the public as if it were "cable news," and he praised their use of multimedia.

                      Meanwhile, the defense team's case looked like "an eighth-grade book report," Gaetz told Politico. "Actually, no, I take that back," he said, adding that an eighth-grader would know how to use PowerPoint and iPads.

                      Other Republican lawmakers also offered grudging praise of the Democrats' performance.

                      Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told reporters during the first day of the prosecution's opening arguments that the evidence itself was news to many senators.

                      "Nine out of 10 senators will tell you they haven't read a full transcript of the proceedings in the House," Kennedy said. "And the 10th senator who says he has is lying."

                      House impeachment managers took center stage again on Thursday for the second day of opening arguments. On Wednesday, they gave senators — and the public — an overview of Trump's months-long scheme to force Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations targeting his rival while withholding vital military aid and a White House meeting that Ukraine's president desperately sought.

                      On Thursday, the impeachment managers began laying the constitutional groundwork they said supports Trump's impeachment and removal from office.

                      Arguments began at 1 p.m. ET and are expected to go until roughly 9:45 p.m. Democrats will get one more day to make opening arguments, after which Trump's defense will get a chance to mount a rebuttal.

                      Color me surprised and shocked...and Gaetz better watch out that he doesn't get thrown under the Trump bus for those remarks.

                      Meanwhile Kennedy addressed one of the many elephants in the room, that the Senate (meaning the GOP) hasn't paid the slightest attention to what happened in the House....which is interesting when you consider how many Republicans have bashed the House for not doing its job.
                      “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
                      ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


                      • Trump will have hard time blocking potential Bolton trial testimony

                        WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump would have a tough time blocking John Bolton's testimony in his U.S. Senate impeachment trial by invoking the legal doctrine called executive privilege if his former national security adviser is subpoenaed as a witness, according to legal experts.

                        The Republican-controlled Senate has not yet decided whether to allow any witnesses or new evidence in the trial that will determine whether the Republican president is removed from office after being impeached on Dec. 18 by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on two charges.

                        Bolton refused to cooperate with the House inquiry but made a surprise announcement on Jan. 6 that he would be willing to testify in the Senate trial if subpoenaed to do so.

                        Democrats have said they are eager to hear testimony by Bolton, who was involved, as his own lawyer said, in "many relevant meetings and conversations" involving issues at the heart of Trump's impeachment. The House accused Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress arising from his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden.

                        Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the impeachment an "attempted coup."

                        Bolton left his post in September after disagreements with the president. Trump said he fired him. Bolton said he quit.

                        Trump has indicated he may seek to use executive privilege to prevent Bolton from testifying. Under this doctrine, a president is able to keep certain communications private, particularly those implicating national security, if disclosing them would undermine executive branch functions.

                        Legal experts said Trump's executive privilege claim would be weak.

                        Bolton's testimony is "clearly critical to issues before the Senate, and that outweighs any privilege that applies," said Michael Stern, a former lawyer for the House when the chamber was controlled by Republicans.

                        Mark Rozell, a constitutional scholar who wrote a book about executive privilege, said he believes Bolton could be questioned without revealing sensitive national security information.

                        "To me, it looks like the president is just trying to protect himself," said Rozell, dean of George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government in Virginia.

                        NIXON RULING

                        The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1974 case involving a judicial subpoena to then-President Richard Nixon that a president's need for confidentiality must be balanced against Congress's need for testimony or documents. Nixon that year resigned as president in the Watergate corruption scandal.

                        Legal experts said the Senate's right to evidence is particularly strong when it is considering whether to remove a president as opposed to conducting routine executive branch oversight.

                        Testimony in the House impeachment inquiry revealed that Bolton objected to an effort by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others to pressure Ukraine outside of regular diplomatic channels. "I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this," Bolton said, according to a witness in the House investigation, referring to U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

                        The Senate is expected to vote on whether to call witnesses after hearing opening arguments from House Democrats making the case against Trump and the lawyers defending the president. In a 100-seat chamber with 53 Republicans, Democrats would need four Republicans to join them to win any vote to call witnesses.

                        Asked about invoking executive privilege if Bolton were to be subpoenaed, Trump told Laura Ingraham of Fox News on Jan 10: "I think you have to - for the sake of the office."

                        Trump, speaking in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, said Bolton's testimony would pose national security concerns.

                        "He knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader, and it's not very positive and I have to deal on behalf of the country?" the president asked.

                        Andrew Kent, a constitutional law professor at Fordham University in New York, said there is a strong argument that executive privilege does not apply to impeachment whatsoever.

                        A claim by Trump that executive privilege applies to Bolton could be ruled upon by Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, Kent said. Senate rules allow Roberts, who has typically avoided perceived partisanship, to instead let the senators decide, Kent added.

                        Trump could also file a lawsuit and ask a federal judge to block Bolton from testifying, Stern said, but that maneuver would likely anger the Republican senators who voted to hear from Bolton.

                        "He won't win, legally, and it could backfire politically," Stern said, referring to Trump. "Once the majority of senators have said they want to hear from Bolton, going to court is just going to rub senators the wrong way."

                        Trump and McConnell both know that they have to keep Bolton off the stand at all costs. Acquittal or not, Bolton knows virtually everything and is a first-hand witness. He's also not easily brushed away as a "liberal" or even a "never-Trumper".
                        “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
                        ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


                        • GOP’s ‘Drug Deal’ for Trump Keeps Bolton From Testifying About Him

                          However the Senate trial turns out, it is immensely gratifying to know that the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil Republicans were pinned in their seats for two hours and 20 minutes with only flat water, bubbly water, or milk to drink on Wednesday afternoon as House manager Adam Schiff, with the skill of a practiced trial lawyer, outlined the case against Donald John Trump.

                          He may be “shifty Schiff” to Donald Trump and his allies, but any fair-minded impeachment watcher will tell you that Schiff did a masterful job detailing the building blocks of Trump’s corruption with regard to Ukraine, the lies he told along the way, the cast of enablers who sought to hide the truth—and finally, the public servants who came forward to testify about what they witnessed.

                          Schiff presented enough evidence to rebut the White House argument that the House managers had a weak case. He put to bed any notion of the quick dismissal GOP leader McConnell might have once envisioned. But for all the Democrats’ success and skill in presenting their case, getting witnesses and documents that would totally nail Trump remain just out of reach.

                          Four Republicans would have to break ranks and side with the Democrats, and even the usual suspects—Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski—are not sure bets.

                          Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump’s legal team, cautioned against calling witnesses like former National Security Adviser John Bolton because the White House would invoke executive privilege to prevent him from testifying. That could take weeks, maybe months, for the courts to resolve, Dershowitz said.

                          Schiff points out that Trump often cites executive privilege but has never invoked it. Why? Schiff suggests that maybe it’s because he doesn’t want to cite particular documents or passages within documents, which would be required. Otherwise, Schiff leaves it up to the viewer’s imagination why Trump waves around executive privilege but stops short of claiming it.

                          “Until now, it’s been invoked as a generalized mobster threat,” says Bill Galston, a senior fellow in the governance program at the Brookings Institution. It will come into play only if the Senate votes to call witnesses, and Trump wants to block those witnesses. “Then, if the White House invokes executive privilege, we’re in a new situation,” says Galston.

                          “He’s probably being told by his lawyers that once he invokes executive privilege, he will set in motion a process he can no longer control,” Galston told the Daily Beast. “If I were his lawyer, I would tell him not to play this card until he had to.”

                          The reason? Trump couldn’t count on the courts to dither away weeks and months. His claim of executive immunity would likely get fast-tracked to the Supreme Court, which Trump thinks of as his court. Chief Justice Roberts might have a different view after listening to the evidence against Trump.

                          If Republicans decide to go for witnesses, with Bolton and budget chief Mick Mulvaney topping the Democrats’ wish list, Trump would immediately move to silence them under a blanket of executive privilege. Ultimately the Supreme Court would be called upon to test Trump’s claim of executive privilege and whether it would hold up, unlike President Nixon’s effort to protect the Watergate tapes.

                          There are a couple of key differences. The Nixon tapes involved conversations with already indicted administration figures, so there was criminal behavior. This made it easier for the Supreme Court to decide that executive privilege didn’t apply. But if Trump’s claim reaches the Supreme Court, it would test whether executive privilege applies in the absence of a crime.

                          It appears as if Schiff is trying to goad Trump into invoking executive privilege. But Democrats worry that today’s court could narrowly side with Trump on executive power.

                          If there are not enough Republicans to join with the Democrats to compel witnesses, Trump doesn’t risk anything in brandishing executive privilege as a sword to dissuade potential testimony that could be damaging.

                          After each side presents its arguments, and the senators get a chance to have Chief Justice Roberts pose their questions, there will be a vote next week as the trial concludes to determine whether witnesses will be called.

                          “That’s the ballgame,” says Galston, “and everything else is a kabuki dance.”

                          Bolton is at the center of the kabuki dance with a much ballyhooed book he is writing that he touts rather shamelessly as a tell-all about his time at the White House and the “drug deal” that he warned against while serving as Trump’s national security adviser. He has eyewitness information that McConnell, acting on Trump’s behalf, doesn’t want to risk revealing to the voting public.

                          From McConnell’s perspective, better to shut down the trial next week if he has the votes to do that than give Bolton a platform. It’s not about executive privilege; it’s about executive power, and keeping it. No one in all the hours of bloviating has said word one about what Bolton might say in his forthcoming book that could undermine the confidentiality of the executive privilege that Trump finds so sacred.

                          As someone who held a top-security clearance, Bolton is subject to what’s called “pre-publication review” by intelligence agencies, including the White House. The rules are a bit murkier if he’s responding to a subpoena. But McConnell has a plan for that. Any witnesses that are called would be deposed privately, and the majority party would decide what is released publicly.

                          Given the unshakable wall of GOP support in the Senate, Trump is certain to be acquitted. But that acquittal will carry an asterisk that could prove damaging in November if Republicans vote against allowing witnesses, when polls show more than 70 percent of the country, including 64 percent of Republicans, want to hear from witnesses.
                          “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
                          ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


                          • Looks like the defence team is going to concentrate on Schiff. It's certainly a target rich environment.
                            In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.



                            • Originally posted by Parihaka View Post
                              Looks like the defence team is going to concentrate on Schiff. It's certainly a target rich environment.
                              Well they certainly can't concentrate on Trump, or his actions, other than to say "What he did is not a crime and even if it was, so what?". So, they gotta do something, right?

                              GOP Senators can greatly aid the process by continuing Trump's total obstruction any witnesses or documents from the Executive Branch, especially Bolton. Last thing you want is that man under oath and on the record.

                              Well, except of course Rudy.

                              Or, god forbid, Trump himself lol.
                              “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
                              ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


                              • Senate should remove Trump, majority of independent voters say in Fox News poll

                                Half of registered voters and a majority of independents think the Senate should convict President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial and remove him from office, according to a Fox News poll released Sunday.

                                Trump was impeached in the House last month on articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemming from allegations that he leveraged military aid to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations for his own political benefit. Trump has denied acting improperly and his legal team has accused Democrats of trying to subvert the will of the voters.

                                Fifty percent told Fox News that Trump should be convicted and removed and 44% said he should not. Registered voters' impeachment opinions largely fell along party lines, with 81% of Democrats favoring the president's removal and 84% of Republicans opposing it. Independents said Trump should be removed by a nearly 20-point margin, with 53% in favor of conviction and 34% opposed.

                                The poll was conducted from Jan. 19-22, which was after the Senate trial technically was underway but before the House impeachment managers and the president's legal team were able to make their cases.

                                Democrats have argued the Senate should subpoena additional witnesses and documents before rendering its verdict. But 48% of voters said the Senate already has all the information it needs, while 44% said it should hear from additional witnesses.

                                The results of the impeachment question are little changed from other Fox News polls released since the allegations regarding Ukraine surfaced in September. A survey from the cable news network conducted from Dec. 8-11, which was before the House voted to impeach Trump, found 50% thought he should be removed and 46% did not.

                                Though voters said the economy is doing well, and many gave the president credit for that success, there was little other positive news from Trump in the poll, which also found him losing to every leading Democratic presidential hopeful in a hypothetical general election matchup.

                                Here's a look at some of the other poll results:

                                The economy
                                A 56%-majority approved of the president's handling of the economy, while only 38% disapproved. Twenty percent rated the economy as "excellent" – a number which never topped 3% during former President Barack Obama's time in office – and another 35% rated it as "good." And just 14% rated the economy as "poor" (that number never got lower than 23% in the Obama era).

                                Forty-two percent of voters said Trump was the "most responsible" for the current economy, while 9% said Obama and 7% said big business.

                                Despite the general positive takes on the economy, 55% of voters said it did not give everyone a "fair" shot.

                                The economy, however, was the only issue in the survey where more voters approved than disapproved of the job Trump was doing. On guns, immigration, foreign policy, health care, government spending, race relations and the environment, a majority disapproved of Trump's performance.

                                The election
                                Voters are geared up for the election with 55% saying they are "extremely" interested in it and 27% saying they are "very" interested. At this point in 2012 during Obama's reelection campaign, those numbers were 32% and 34%, respectively.

                                In the Democratic primary, the poll found former Vice President Joe Biden's lead nationally had slipped from a 7-percentage point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to a 3-point one, 26%-23%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was third at 14%, followed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 10%, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 7%, entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 5% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota tied with billionaire Tom Steyer at 3%.

                                In every hypothetical matchup presented in the survey, voters preferred the Democratic candidate by various margins. Here is the breakdown:

                                Biden 50%, Trump 41%

                                Sanders 48%, Trump 42%

                                Warren 47%, Trump 42%

                                Buttigieg 45%, Trump 41%

                                Bloomberg 49%, Trump 41%

                                Klobuchar 43%, Trump 42%

                                Foreign policy
                                Though 47% of voters thought Trump did the right thing by ordering the drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, compared with 37% who thought it was the wrong move, 48% said the action had made the U.S. "less safe" while 27% said it made the U.S. "safer."

                                Sixty-one percent said Trump should get Congress to consent before taking military action, while 23% said he should not.

                                Overall, more voters thought Trump had made American weaker (47%) than stronger (42%) during his time in office.

                                The poll's margin of error was plus or minus three percentage points.
                                “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
                                ― Dwight D. Eisenhower