Impeachment

More on Impeachment Inquiries and "Invalid" Impeachments

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Over at Lawfare I have a longish post examining House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone's letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the impeachment process. It builds a bit on a post here at the Volokh Conspiracy.

The Cipollone letter in particular is extraordinarily bold in its claims and rhetoric and extremely thin on plausible legal or constitutional argument. It only makes sense if the White House assumes impeachment is inevitable and that now they are fighting a political war in the Senate and the 2020 presidential race. The way in which the White House seems to be choosing to fight that fight may well have serious long-term repercussions that Republicans will come to regret.

Here's a taste of the Lawfare post:

The constitutional text on this issue is spare. The Constitution simply says that the House has the sole power of impeachment. Ultimately, if the House wants to impeach someone, it needs to muster a simple majority in support of articles of impeachment that can be presented to the Senate. How the House gets there is entirely up to the chamber itself to determine. There is no constitutional requirement that the House take two successful votes on impeachment, one to authorize some kind of inquiry and one to ratify whatever emerges from that inquiry. An impeachment inquiry is not "invalid" because there has been no vote to formally launch it, and any eventual impeachment would not be "invalid" because the process that led to it did not feature a floor vote authorizing a specific inquiry.

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. A vote may not be needed, but is useful to demonstrate the gravitas of the issue by getting a number of legislators to go on the record as stating it is serious.

    This is a low bar and reassures The People. It is not done here, when it could easily be. Why? Are people scared of going on the record with an actual vote?

    1. Always. About everything.

    2. “A vote may not be needed, but is useful to demonstrate the gravitas of the issue by getting a number of legislators to go on the record as stating it is serious.”

      That’s… his point. The President has shifted to the strategy of inviting a demonstration of “the gravitas of the issue” controlled entirely by the opposition.

      The “record” is what people are willing to say publicly. A majority of house members have already come out publicly in support of either (1) full on impeachment or (2) an impeachment inquiry. That vote would have been more awkward before the President rebuked Congress. Now it’s a foregone conclusion. Consider why the President might make that bet.

      1. Looking forward to such a vote. It’s a shame such tactics were needed to get one.

        1. I agree. It is a shame that Nancy P was so nervous about swing districts and therefore held off on the vote (at least for now) to protect Dems from red and purple districts.

          It’s a shame that the Trump administration does not have the integrity to cooperate with the investigation, rather than bending over backwards to look as guilty as possible. Hell; it’s shame that President Trump was too gutless to sit for in interview with Mueller.

          I think a lot of things are a shame lately. I suspect that pretty much every Democrat and Republican thinks the same thing (albeit with very different views of what has and has not been shameful).

          1. Trump is just following in Eric Holder’s footsteps.

            1. I know that the President is often thought of as scum, but saying “a prior lying cheat did it first!” Isn’t a very good defense, especially when he should have been impeached for it.

              1. It’s more than a “prior lying cheat did it first”. It’s “a prior lying cheat did it first…and it worked amazingly well, and the issue went away”

                It’s not a defense. It’s a successful solution.

        2. I agree with you that the President’s refusal to answer the subpoena was shameful. But we’ll get the vote, apparently.

    3. Uh, what’s lacking here? How about a resolution from the House (you know, the constitutional body that actual possesses the power of impeachment) delegating that power to a committee. No rule or precedent supports the novel concept of a presidential impeachment inquiry conducted under the whim of a committee chair or the speaker, notwithstanding what a “lawfare” blog writes (and weren’t these the same legal geniuses who thought the president was part of the intelligence community and subject to supervision by an IC Inspector General?)

      1. “How about a resolution from the House (you know, the constitutional body that actual possesses the power of impeachment) delegating that power to a committee.”

        The Oversight, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs Committees were all created by a resolution from the House, and their subpoena power has already been created by rules. For example, the House Oversight Committee changed its rules in 1997 to permit the (then Republican) chairman to issue subpoenas without consent of the committee’s (then Democratic) ranking member. Former Chairman Dan Burton (R-Indiana) used this power to issue more than 1,000 subpoenas primarily related to Bill Clinton. Darrell Issa (R-California) later used the committee to issue more than 100 subpoenas to the last administration.

        The Intelligence Committee’s rule allows the chair to designate a person to serve a subpoena. This can be done by a majority vote of the committee, or by the chair on its own initiative. The ranking minority member is currently entitled to consultation but cannot issue subpoenas.

        The Foreign Affairs Committee follows the same rules. They both adopted clause 2(m) of rule XI of the House. This rule change, which took place in 2015, was controversial at the time.

        1. Do you think an actual full House vote is constitutionally required for impeachment itself ?

          Or could the House properly delegate that decision – by a full House vote – to a Committee ? On the basis that how the House exercises its impeachment power is its own affair.

          I’m thinking tangentially about Senate confirmations. Occasionally Senate confirmations are blocked by a defection or two from the majority’s ranks, sometimes provoked by electoral squishyness from “moderates.”

          Can the Senate constitutionally delegate the business of consenting to judges, say, to the Judiciary Committee, to save squishy Senators from purple States the embarrassment of having to cast a vote ? Call it the Garland 2.0 strategy.

          1. “Do you think an actual full House vote is constitutionally required for impeachment itself ?”

            No, I don’t think the Constitution requires the full House to vote for impeachment. As a matter of prudence, I would disagree (politically) with any attempt by any House to impeach a President without a full vote. Impeachment is serious enough that it should be effected only by a full vote. My answer re: constitutionality is based primarily on non-judiciability, and also a lack of any direction in the Constitution. If the House votes to delegate the authority to a House committee, that’s not functionally any different than a full vote (although I think it would be bad form).

            “Can the Senate constitutionally delegate the business of consenting to judges, say, to the Judiciary Committee…”

            I think it would be constitutional. Again, I’d disagree with that politically, since the point is to get people on record to vote. But I don’t see anything in the Constitution that would prevent the delegation.

        2. NToJ, the issue isn’t whether a committee has the power to issue a subpoena under the rules with respect to matter within its jurisdiction. The problem is that no rule gives any committee jurisdiction over a presidential impeachment inquiry. This so-called “impeachment inquiry” has no authorizing rule and there certainly is no precedent for it. That’s why the democrats will not attempt to enforce any “subpoenas” issued by their kangaroo committees. This whole thing is a political farce and a disgrace.

          1. The problem is that no rule gives any committee jurisdiction over a presidential impeachment inquiry.

            He just cited the rules that did.

          2. There are not separate rules for issuing subpoenas “with respect to matter within its jurisdiction” and “impeachment inquiry”. The same subpoena rules apply to both. The Committee can decide for itself whether inquiries into impeachment are “matter[s] within its jurisdiction”.

          3. The House rules do not require a resolution to refer a matter to committee. Rule XII gives the Speaker the power to refer any “matter” to one or more committees, and that is what she has done. ( “The Speaker shall refer each bill, resolution, or other matter…”) Since she has referred the matter of an impeachment inquiry, the rules are satisfied. The rule only requires that a referral be “related” to a committee’s jurisdiction. Here “impeachment” is clearly “related” to the various committees’ jurisdiction, and even if arguably not, the decision is left to the discretion of the Speaker. A referral can be, and apparently has been, on occasion, overridden by House resolution. That is the only remedy for an improper referral. There are specific matters, such as investigation of House members that by parliamentary procedure require a resolution. See Jefferson’s Manual, Sec. 321. The absence of a specific rule or procedure in the case of impeachment therefore makes clear that the Speaker is authorized to make the referral, sans resolution. The Speaker’s referral of the matter to the various committees therefore means this is an official and formal impeachment inquiry as authorized by House rules.

  2. How “valid” is it if it’s entirely along party lines and 45 or so percent of the country treats it just another illegitimate game — along the lines of the Kavanaugh episode?

    Technically it may not matter, but the Senate can make short work of laughing it off. Or spend a short time on it and 3-4x as long counterpunching.

    That’s what you’re setting up. What’s the point? Orange man bad?

    1. If the Senate vote were entirely along party lines, would it also be inavlid?

      1. It would be the end of the matter. What is accomplished?

    2. It’s political theater

      1. Armchair, political theater is a principle reason to hold impeachments, and a powerful justification for the validity of the process. An impeachment demands a showing of some noxious breach of the public trust. It would be folly to proceed with removal from office if that breach could not be demonstrated publicly, to the satisfaction of most citizens. The more thoroughly such a breach can be demonstrated during the impeachment process, the more justifiable the impeachment becomes, and the better it conforms to its designed purpose.

        1. “Validity”….sure.

          If it was valid, you’d actually want to show a crime, show proof of the crime, then remove for the crime.

          The theater is designed for public opinion, as a was to “frame” the debate in such a way that the public will accept it. Set up a story, make the public believe the story, lie if you have to, as long as the public doesn’t discover the lie.

          Whether or not it’s strictly speaking legal, or true, or would apply to a member of the opposite party in exactly the same situation…that’s neither here nor there.

          Get yourself a bunch of “witnesses”. Make sure their identity isn’t revealed, so they can lie easily, and without repercussions for their lies. It’s so much harder to cross examine when you don’t know who they are. But that’s the point.

          1. It’s either conducted as a serious proceeding or it’s conducted as a show.

            1. Yes, yes, Ben.

              And we all know that as long as it’s a Republican doing whatever it is, that you’re ok with it. And if it’s a Democrat, then you’re against it.

            2. Stick around, Armchair. The time to evaluate the thoroughness is at the end of the process, not at the beginning. Innocent folks who impede getting to the end of the process will be doing themselves no favors. Quite a few of those will understand that. I expect many to show up with contributions to help the process along. Then you and I can revisit on the validity question.

    3. “What’s the point?”

      To secure responses to subpoenas that have been withheld by the Executive Branch?

      1. Executive branch can say No.

        1. Remember that answer when a Democrat is in the White House.

          1. Obama stonewalled investigations his entire Presidency. There’s no need to wait. I already remember it.

            1. Obama did nothing like this memo.

              1. Obama Administration did worse with less justification.

                1. If you really think that, you’re detached from reality.

                  1. Your having a selective memory isn’t the same as people who do remember those things being delusional.

                    The Obama White house routinely refused to respond to Congressional subpoenas. The only reason they didn’t refuse to respond to an impeachment related subpoena is because the Republicans didn’t bother issuing one.

            2. And I’m sure you were perfectly fine with Obama doing it, just as you seem to be with Trump doing it.

              1. I’m against double standards, so Obama doing it makes it ok.

                1. This is where I am too, and though you didn’t say it explicitly I think you’ll agree: they both should have been impeached for it.

                  But since the first wasn’t, the second shouldn’t either. On the other hand, if there were a binding commitment to always impeach going forward it’s easily worth removing Trump for that reward. The problem is just how to make it binding, since the side that would be giving up their President has already been told that their opponents are planning on stacking the Supreme Court as soon as they can.

                  “I promise to cheat in A, B, C, but if you agree to give up your President I’ll agree that we’ll punish D together the next time our guy does it, so long as we get to punish your guy now” isn’t a particularly convincing argument.

                  1. Consistency is nice, but it should not trump all other principles. This is not game theory.

                    1. Consistency is how you demonstrate you HAVE principles.

                    2. Demanding someone ELSE be consistent, or else you won’t abide by your principles is not a principled stand.

  3. My favorite theory right now, the only one that even makes sense considering trump’s approval rating has gone up, and now a full 20 percent less people want to see him impeached compared to a month ago, is that Google and the Media are playing the DNC. They want trump reelected because he makes them piles of money through clickbait trash.

      1. That’s Nate Silver. The laughing stock of politics. You might as well link The Onion.

        1. So tell us your source.

          1. Sure, it’s called reading comprehension. I guess they don’t teach you kids about it anymore since it works against advertising. It’s like critical thinking. They don’t teach that either anymore. Terrible for profits.

            “My favorite theory right now”
            ^ My is a word that indicates me. As in myself. Hope this helps.

            1. You fucking idiot, why do you think Flagrown cited polling data? Did you suppose he was responding to your “favorite theory” or challenging your claims that “trump’s approval rating has gone up, and now a full 20 percent less people want to see him impeached compared to a month ago…” Or did you just theorize these too?

              1. Sad little name calling child. Grow up and go away.

                1. Zo. First you should post, and only THEN start smoking your crack. But congrats on winning the “Dumbest post on the internet today.” award.

                  My suggestion is: If you’re gonna start pulling idiotic fake statistics out of your ass, you should really go for it. “Hey, polls show that *Democrat* and Independent support for the inquiry has gone down to 12% in favor.”

                  If you’re gonna try and set up your insanity defense for down-the-road, then THAT’S how you do it.

            2. My eight-year old has a habit of not flushing the toilet. We don’t hover over him, so most of the time we don’t realize this until later, when we walk into the bathroom and see the results. But sometimes we happen to be standing there when he comes out of the bathroom, and we say, “You forgot to flush.” Even though we were standing right there, and know the toilet wasn’t flushed, he says, “Yes, I did.” When we point out that we were standing right there and know he didn’t, he tries to keep a straight face, but then sheepishly goes back in and flushes. That’s pretty much your emotional level: you say things that aren’t true, that you know aren’t true, that we know aren’t true, and that you know we know aren’t true.

              Side note: the things my eight-year old is leaving in the toilet are pretty much identical to your posts.

        2. Your entire rebuttal is a logical fallacy.

    1. Where are you getting those numbers?

      1. Reality. Reality seems to be a more reliable indicator of facts than Nate Silver’s delusions.

        1. 538 just aggregates polling data. You’re the one who introduced polling data (“approval rating”, “a full 20 percent less people want to see him impeached compared to a month ago”) to the discussion.

          1. The best part? almost 80 percent of Democrats supported impeachment 4 months ago. You wouldn’t believe the numbers now.

            1. I’d believe it. The data is aggregated here.

              Dem support for/against:

              Monmouth 6/2019: 63/27
              Monmouth 9/2019: 77/17

              Fox News 6/2019: 74/18
              Fox News 10/2019: 85/9

              HarrisX 6/2019: 75/11
              HarrisX 10/2019: 83/8

              Morning Consult 6/2019: 65/18
              Morning Consult 10/2019: 83/11

              Quinniapac 6/2019: 62/32
              Quinniapac 10/2019: 85/10 (being charitable here)

              YouGov… I could go on.

          2. This fake nonsense isn’t even as polished as the fake russia nonsense we now know was concocted by the DNC with help from very real russians hired by Steele for the Fake DNC Dossier. I’m trying to imagine the kind of loser that gets played by the DNC with fake russia nonsense for 3 years, then falls for it all over again.

            1. Zo is getting his figures from that noted authority, Otto Hizass.

              1. Zo should post more because this thread is hilarious.

                1. Seconded! Do we need a full comment section vote on this?

  4. I gather the Cipollone letter won’t look good on a resume.

    Aside from that I just don’t see any downside for Trump from taking the position he’s taking in that letter. OK so impeachment is a political issue, so why accept any rules you don’t like as long as your political base supports you? The Republicans (from Mitch McConnell on down) have made it clear that no matter what evidence is turned up they will not allow the senate to remove Trump from office. There is no way in hell anyone in Barr’s DoJ is going to comply with anything. We don’t have a DoJ before it has been turned into Trump’s personal taxpayer-funded law firm. But the Republican senate is going to protect him as much as it protects Trump.

    So I just don’t see any downside to any Republican no matter what they do, other than the returns in the 2020 election. I think they will lose big there but for now they are acting like it doesn’t matter.

    1. Worked out pretty well for Eric Holder, just a flat rejection of any more info.

      1. When did that work out for Eric Holder?

        1. “When did that work out for Eric Holder”

          Exactly….

          But, to remind you. Eric Holder was subject to a number of subpoenas from the House, in regards to the Fast and the Furious scandal. After producing a few documents, Holder just said “no more” and Obama utilized executive privilege to withhold them. Interesting since the White House denied any involvement in the scandal.

          Holder was held in criminal contempt by the House, and referred to…himself for prosecution. Holder refused to prosecute himself, unsurprisingly. And the documents were never delivered. And, now you don’t even recall it off the top of your head.

          1. Hey who initiated the investigation into the Fast and Furious scandal? Oh yea, it was Eric Holder. Did the President prohibit Eric Holder from testifying? No, he testified, several times in fact. Do you know how many “a few documents” is in this case? Do you think it means dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? There’s a hint in the questions.

            This is all a weird flex. You keep harping on a program that was not started by the last administration, that the last administration put an end to, and which resulted in contempt against Holder for withholding a fraction of produced documents. The report issued by Congress said that the program started before the last administration.

            And isn’t that case still live?

            1. Wow. You just went all in defending Holder for the same actions you condemn Trump for. Defying a Congressional subpoena. When specific documents were requested, Holder just said “No.”

              You really gotta make up your mind here. Either it’s wrong, and Holder was wrong, or suddenly it’s OK.

              Which one is it eh?

              Oh, and yes, the case is still going. Congress went to the courts to get the documents. It’s what….4,5,6 years later, and they still haven’t been produced? Maybe Trump can follow the same manuscript.

              1. Holder for the same actions you condemn Trump for.

                One-offs are not the same as blanket refusals.

                Also the President is not the same as the AG.

                Also impeachment is different than a general investigation.

                Also, as NToJ pointed out, the factual predicate is pretty different as well, and not in Trump’s favor.

                1. The factual predicate is VERY different, and totally in Trump’s favor if we’re going to argue this. Trump at least has a plausible reason to exert executive privilege over the conversations.

                  According to Obama and Holder, the White House had nothing to do with Fast and the Furious. And they STILL withheld tens of thousands of documents under “executive privilege” (Tell me the logic on that one) in what was a blanket refusal.

                  But once again, you’re defending Holder and Obama for actions you condemn Trump for. Refusing a congressional subpoena. Wow.

                  1. “And they STILL withheld tens of thousands of documents…”

                    The contempt proceeding was based on 1,300 documents withheld by Holder, not “tens of thousands”.

                    I just want you to be very clear. Do you agree with the spokesman for John Boehner when he said that the “decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials” are guilty of misconduct?

                    And the DOJ offered to give Issa the documents if he would agree that it would resolve outstanding subpoena requests. Issa rejected that offer and moved forward with the contempt vote. If he wanted to have the documents, he could have fucking had them.

              2. “It’s what….4,5,6 years later, and they still haven’t been produced? Maybe Trump can follow the same manuscript.”

                Well the President is in control of the DOJ, so there’s no reason to continue fighting if the President wants the information AG Holder withheld to go public.

                “You just went all in defending Holder for the same actions you condemn Trump for.”

                That isn’t true, but go for it.

    2. Orbital, the returns in the next election pose a considerable potential downside. If that potential begins to be realized, all the mechanics you describe will play out according to a new script.

    3. The Republicans (from Mitch McConnell on down) have made it clear that no matter what evidence is turned up they will not allow the senate to remove Trump from office.
      That is some terrible reading comprehension. McConnell, on down, have made it clear there is no way the Senate will vote to impeach unless at least one impeachable offense is claimed.
      As of now, I have no idea what crime is being investigated. President Trump has not committed any impeachable acts.
      That’s why all this energy is being expended on arguing procedure.
      No named crime to talk about.

  5. I’m still intrigued about the second-to-last paragraph from the White House letter, and haven’t seen it addressed directly in most writing:

    Are there limits to what the House can subpoena? Cipollone claims yes citing Executive Privilege limits, the need to ‘aid legislation’, and references ‘oversight role’.

    Are the documents that the House is asking for outside of that normal scope? Cipollone claims yes.

    Can the House subpoena documents in the process of an impeachment? Cipollone also agrees with this, it seems. I don’t see any disagreements between him and the VC writers on these.

    Although all the other paragraphs are political blather, that one is genuinely crucial. I am really curious whether a House majority can constantly subpoena things from the Executive Branch under an always-ongoing impeachment inquiry. The talk of Grand Jury powers in the Lawfare post could result in exactly that. That slippery slope may be extremely close to happening.

    Is that what the debate right now is really about? It seems so crucial yet no one is talking directly to it.

    1. It is, and it’s actually a big deal. Any future oversight that is rejected for executive privilege could summarily be called an “impeachment inquiry” by a chair and re-demanded. Then what?

      1. “Unimaginable evil this is not. Our system is designed for confrontation. That is what “[a]mbition . . . counteract[ing] ambition,” . . . is all about.”

        -Justice Scalia

        1. Right, but then how did Executive Privilege come about at all, if that’s the case? That would make sense to me, but the system seems to have not been so extreme yet.

          1. Because presidents asserted it. Starting with Washington. Sometimes they win and don’t produce anything (Andrew Jackson, GWB occasionally). Sometimes they lose and end up producing (Washington, Nixon). Sometimes they produce things but resist attempts to subpoena (Jefferson). Sometimes they have to testify but successfully secure certain concessions (Clinton). Sometimes contempt orders issue in response to refusals (Trump, Obama). This is ordinary push-pull.

          2. Fu, the power to discipline extremes out of the process is found in politics, not in the process. If politics fails to do it, you may see ever-more vertiginous extremes, until politics takes note, and acts.

        2. Ah, random quotes.

    2. No response yet to FuManchu. Do subpeonas issued under an impeachment inquiry, pierce executive privilege?

      1. Do subpeonas issued under an impeachment inquiry, pierce executive privilege?

        A unanimous Supreme Court in Nixon so opined in 1974.

        1. So the only requirement the chairman of the Judiciary needs to demand materials that are well understood to be protected executive communications, is declare that he is conducting an impeachment inquiry? That’s it. Just in the first sentence of the subpoena, say, “under my power to conduct an impeachment inquiry I demand all the phone calls between the President and China.”

  6. Congress is authorized for standard normal oversight in the course of their legislative duties, and so-called “impeachment inquiries,” which typically require a resolution from Congress.

    If this is standard oversight…call it so. Then perhaps the Holder treatment will occur.

    If this is an impeachment inquiry, then get a resolution. The Democratic leadership in the House may think they don’t need one. The President clearly thinks they do, for it to be valid.

    Until there is…the Democrats can subpoena, the President will assume its only under the oversight authority, and reject the subpoena, asserting executive privilege, ala Eric Holder. Democrats can sue in court if they like. Maybe they’ll get the Holder timeline too in terms of document release.

    1. Armchair, I don’t really have strong feelings about a resolution, one way or the other. Except that since the resolution issue became contested, Trump’s side must lose.

      It is important to the integrity of the impeachment process that the Executive understand it has no role to play in setting the terms. The sole power to impeach is decreed to the House. The House cannot afford to play along, one-at-a-time, with what will become an endless list of illegitimate demands.

      1. The House can impeach whenever it wants.

        The President doesn’t have to put up with and endless list of nonsensical demands in a witch hunt. The House can impeach, or not, when it wants, in response. It’s strictly political, and doesn’t require the president to produce a single document.

        1. So Congress can impeach, but can’t actually investigate.

          That’s what you are reduced to arguing.

          1. Congress can investigate whenever it wants. If it actually votes to impeach, it may have broader subpoena powers, as enforced by a court.

  7. Well of course impeachment was inevitable. The Dems announced they had enough votes to pass articles just the other day. That is before any real investigation. You can’t impeach a President for making a simple phone call. This is a straight up political exercise, nothing more, nothing less.

    And I smelled a rat from the beginning. Many people wondered if this was really an exercise to get Biden out of the race and Clinton in it. Low and behold today it comes out that was basically the idea. Biden is tanking in polls which leaves Elizabeth Warren as the frontrunner. Warren is a joke and everyone knows it. So trode out Clinton again. That was the goal and is what is going to happen.

    1. You can’t impeach a President for making a simple phone call.

      This is even stupider than your usual comment. It’s the content of the call that matters, you idiot, not the fact that he made a call.

      Suppose Trump called Barr and told him to manufacture some BS and indict all the Democratic candidates. Would that be impeachable? Or would you say, “It’s just a simple phone call?”

      1. I read the transcript. It was a simple phone call. That is all. Quit trying to make it out of something it isn’t.

        1. Then you have no capacity for comprehension.

          When person A says “I want X from you,” and person B says “I want you to do me a favor though,” that’s a QUID PRO QUO.

          1. But there was no quid pro quo. Nothing at all. Nothing in the transcript. All that you can do is make up stuff about “reading into” and “implied intentions”. And when you boil it all down all that happened was a simple phone call.

            1. Not a transcript, just a summary prepared by the parties being investigated. If the “simple” phone call was so innocent, President Trump can release the actual tape of the entire call and we’ll all know what was actually said. Think he’ll do it?

              1. Oh wait, that is right, you have to move the goal posts because there was no quid pro quo. So now its not the real call. The real call will have the real quid pro quo. Either that or none of this happened and it was just a simple call.

                1. I’m not moving any goal posts, or making any claim about what was or wasn’t in the call. I’m just pointing out that the entire call was recorded, and if the recording was publicly released, we would all know what actually happened. Since you are convinced it was just a simple call, you should be calling for that to happen and you and all of President Trump’s supporters would be proved right.
                  And you still haven’t answered me, do you think President Trump will release the recording?

                  1. Need a source for the existence of a audio recording.
                    My understanding is Foreign leaders have been assured no recording is being done, in order to encourage complete candor in conversations.

              2. Not a transcript, just a summary prepared by the parties being investigated.
                The Intel Community is being investigated? I need a source for that . The call transcript is a group effort by 4 different transcribers from 4 different intel agencies. I had not seen reported these 4 are being investigated. Also, no hint from anyone claiming the transcript is not fully accurate in content.

            2. Of course there was a quid pro quo.

              That’s why, a few days before the call, Trump prohibited the duly-authorized aid from being released to Ukraine.

              That’s why, immediately after Zelensky said: “We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost. ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.”

              Trump responded with: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”

              In order to buy more Javelins, Ukraine was being told to dig up dirt on Trump’s political rival. That’s quid pro quo, and it’s an abuse of power because we’ve decided that asking for such things is goddamn illegal.

              Spare us your idiocy and remove yourself from the planet.

          2. Every single diplomatic conversation involves giving something of value in return for something of value.
            Try again. Keep your eyes closed tight to the truth, keep swinging hard, and you will eventually hit something.

            1. Very true, except what the President asked for was ILLEGAL.

              Since you’re offering advice on body parts to keep closed, might I suggest you take your own advice and apply it to your mouth.

              Your partisan denial of reality is not welcome.

      2. It’s just a simple phone call.
        I tell my attorney to take a course of action. Sometimes he explains my plan, would run afoul the law.
        I havent committed a crime, I considered a crime. Not being a lawyer I often dont understand legalities.

        1. Calling a hit man is also just a phone call.

          Trump didn’t just consider – there were actions based on his phone call, as well as actions taken beforehand whose corrupt purpose was revealed by the phone call.

          1. Speaking in generalities and vague terms is meaningless.
            President Trump Asked a favor about looking at Crowd Strike. Well within article 2 powers
            President Trump was confirming corruption of Ukraine govt was being addressed delaying millions of dollars to that previously corrupt govt. well withing article two powers.
            President Trump accurately accounted the facts of Vice President Biden demanding a prosecutor be fired before approving US backed loans totaling in the $billions (quid pro quo). Documents show the reopening of that investigation had restarted back in February,
            No corrupt purpose.

  8. I’m trying to imagine the kind of loser that gets played by the DNC with fake russia nonsense for 3 years, then falls for the backup plan when most of America wasn’t stupid enough to fall for the fake russia nonsense.

    1. Walk into a coffee shop in New York City and behold the mass of losers you seek to find…

    2. Do you have some more made-up polling data to back up your assertion? 83.7% of Americans weren’t stupid enough to fall for the fake Russia nonsense?

  9. Sounds like it’s time for the House to dust off its inherent contempt power and order the Sergeant at Arms to bring before the House the person or persons who are in contempt for ignoring a duly issued subpoena.

    1. I can’t wait to see how that would play out.

  10. The Supreme Court’s holding in Nixon that the full Senate needn’t here the evidence in a trial Before it convicts would seem to dispose of any claim the full house needs to initiate a pre-impeachment Inquiry.

    I think there might be two bases for these sorts of arguments. (1) purely political, the purpose is to give Republican senators a plausible-sounding reason to dismiss the impeachment without hearing any evidence, one they can sell to their donor base, and (2) Trump may hope that the justices he has put on the court will be In his pocket – he doesn’t seem immune from wishful thinking – and hence merely need a plausible-sounding argument to go to bat for him.

  11. A third possibility might simply be delay, to hope things get stalled in the courts until the next election, or until Congress gets distracted with other things.

  12. this all seems intended to create a claim for violation of due process to create the mother of all separation of power battles before the Supreme Court.

  13. I didn’t read the Lawfare post, but do I have this right?

    The President has executive privilege for this information. But if a Democrat uses the magic word “impeachment” then he loses the executive privilege?

    That doesn’t seem right.

    1. Magic words change everything.

      Remember the travel ban, when the magic word “animus” was supposed to make all the court precedents vanish and transfer control of the issuance of travel visas from the State Dept. to Obama-judges? It worked for a while. But then some adults stepped in and people had to go back to following the rules.

      Magic doesn’t last.

  14. Schiff tipped his hand early.
    OBSTRUCTION!!!!!
    Declaring any refusal for documents or testimony will add obstruction to the articles of impeachment.
    Not a surprise. We all know obstruction charges can do a tremendous amount of heavy lifting when you don’t have an actual crime.
    The Mueller sham defined the slimy practice.
    Meuller knew within a month, Russian conspiracy with the Trump campaign was all fabricated. The FBI had been more that a year trying to get somebody in Trumps circle to bite on the bait dangled by govt spies, Mifsud, Halper, and others. Nobody on the Trump campaign, or transition team, or administration could be entangled.
    Understanding that, Mueller just drug out the investigation, demanded documents, and interviews, all past Presidents had refused to provide, enacted executive privilege. President Trump open the books. Let it all be turned over. Even consented to allow his personal lawyer to be interviewed for over 80 hours.
    Dragging the investigation, was betting on eventually someone would do something to hang an obstruction charge on.
    Same thing here. Dems knew certain, they had fabricated the perfect whistle blower complaint. Anonymous person, relating second hand and third hand information about a phone call they would be refused access to. A whistle blower complaint filed in the IC, even though it involved no intel person, operations, or corruption. Why Intel? Because the law demands intel complaints labeled urgent and credible be forwarded to Congress.
    The perfect scam operation to impeach the President on obstruction and coverup….But, President Trump pissed in Nany’s mouth and released a phone call that is boring….and well within article 2 powers.

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