Impeachment

At House Impeachment Hearing, Legal Scholars Disagree on the Meaning of 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors'

The three witnesses for the Democrats said Trump clearly committed impeachable offenses, while the lone witness for the Republicans said he wasn't so sure.

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The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday held an impeachment inquiry hearing with four legal scholars, who were asked to offer their perspectives on the potential charges facing President Donald Trump. Despite the presence of "experts," the hearing proved to be yet another partisan back-and-forth that likely changed very few minds.

Each of the three witnesses called by Democrats testified that Trump's interactions with Ukraine constituted clear impeachable offenses. (Trump is the subject of an impeachment probe due to allegations that he withheld from Ukraine a White House meeting and $391 million in congressionally approved military aid unless President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced public investigations into Trump's political foes.)

"Soliciting a foreign government to investigate an electoral rival for personal gain on its own constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution," said Noah Feldman, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Specifically, Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate both Burisma Holdings—where former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter sat on the board—and a discredited theory that Ukraine engaged in widespread election interference to benefit 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. 

Pamela S. Karlan, the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School, invoked the motivations laid out at the Constitutional Convention, particularly the words of William Davie, a delegate to the meeting and the 10th governor of North Carolina. "One of the key reasons for including an impeachment power was the risk that unscrupulous officials might try to rig the election process. At the Constitutional Convention, William Davie warned that unless the Constitution contained an impeachment provision, a president might 'spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected,'" Karlan testified. "And George Mason insisted that a president who 'procured his appointment in the first instance' through improper and corrupt acts should not 'escape punishment, by repeating his guilt.'"

And Michael Gerhardt, the Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said the mechanism of impeachment reflected the importance of limited government. "A people, who had overthrown a king, were not going to turn around, just after securing their independence from corrupt monarchial tyranny, and create an office that, like the king, was above the law and could do no wrong," Gerhardt said. "If what we are talking about today is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable."

Meanwhile, Republican witness Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at the George Washington University Law School, expressed caution, likening the Trump impeachment process to an "impulse buy." 

Turley described the impeachment process as rushed, and although he said the evidentiary record may eventually be strong enough for a trial, he contended that it is too thin at present. "It has not been explained to me why you want to set the record for the fastest impeachment," he said. "You need to stick the landing on quid pro quo."

"The House testimony is replete with references to witnesses like John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Mulvaney who clearly hold material information," Turley noted, arguing that congressional investigators must hear from people in the president's inner circle before proceeding. Yet Trump has prohibited those people from appearing before Congress.

Turley also took issue with his fellow scholars' interpretation of what qualifies as "high crimes and misdemeanors"—the constitutional standard for impeaching a president. Those on the other side of the argument are looking through too vague a lens, he testified. "That's a favorite mantra, that it's sort of close enough for jazz," Turley said. "Well, this isn't improvisational jazz. It isn't good enough. If you're going to accuse a president of bribery you need to make it stick." 

Feldman countered that the bar is clear, and Trump met it. "High crimes and misdemeanors are actions of the president in office where he uses his office to advance his personal interests," he said, "potentially for personal gain, potentially to corrupt the electoral process, and potentially as well to corrupt the national security of the United States."

At one point, Karlan sparred with ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R–Ga.), who implied in his opening statement that the four law professors—one of whom he called before the committee—could not be trusted. "America will see why most people don't go to law school," he said. Karlan took issue with that.

"Here Mr. Collins I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts," Karlan said. "So I'm insulted by the suggestion that, as a law professor, I don't care about those facts."

And in a puzzling moment on the other side of the aisle, the Democratic counsel, Norman Eisen, asked Karlan if there was enough evidence to charge Trump with "the high crime and misdemeanor of obstruction of Congress." Karlan replied that, while she agrees as a citizen, the question extended outside the bounds of her expertise as a legal scholar. As if the proceedings were not partisan enough, Eisen replied, "We will accept your opinion as a citizen."

NEXT: A.G. William Barr Says Police Might Stop "Protecting" Us If We Aren’t Nicer to Them. If Only It Were That Easy To Get Rid of Bad Cops.

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  1. seems like an appeal to authority

    1. Legal professors aren’t even the authority on the Constitution or legal framework. Those who present in front of the USSC are far more scholarly. Briefs by law school professors rarely actually sway USSC opinions.

      The 3 media darling witnesses all openly despised Trump, 2 from literally the months after the election. One of them brought in Trump’s son to attack Trump himself, with a weird statement from a supposed unbiased scholar.

      The hearings were quite boring and more political posturing.

      1. If Harvard and Stanford law schools don’t take a hit from their “scholars” performance, it’s just another nail in the coffin of academia

        1. Well the thing is that Binion is flat out lying about Turley “not being so sure”, and misrepresenting what the other profs said too.

          Listen to Turley here, and you’ll see what an absolute lying sack or shit Binion is being above:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcoc6Y4Iusc&feature=emb_logo

          1. It flabbergasts me that Binion thinks he can get away with such deception.

            1. Heck, at least none of them disagreed about the meaning of the word “parody.” In many ways, this hearing was actually an attempt, and a much-needed one at that, to distract our seething urban populations from attending to the alarming result (no jail time at all?) of our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case, documented at:

              https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

          2. I loved the “A Man for All Seasons” quote. It is one that I have used myself, a few times.

          3. I’m not sure where you think Binion is misrepresenting Turley’s statement.

      2. can’t imagine trying to sit through that

        1. Catch Pelosi’s announcement this morning?
          Like a hostage video

          1. i do Good Morning Football with breakfast … Pelosi before noon is just no

      3. Legal professors aren’t even the authority on the Constitution or legal framework.

        Yeah – it seems like legal scholars would be some of the worst people to call.

        Part of the whole point of having scholars is that they are removed from a context where their opinions have any impact on anything so that they can explore far-out, potentially risky ideas with minimal consequences.

        These hearings are taking people whose professions incentivize taking bizarre, attention-grabbing positions in a consequence-free environment and presenting them as authorities.

        I agree that they should be talking to people whose careers depend on winning constitutional arguments, not people whose careers depend on making the most bizarre and convoluted arguments possible.

        1. I think there’s a dig at libertarians somewhere in there, but I’m too lazy to string it together.

        2. Why? This is the one time Congress can completely ignore SCOTUS’s opinions on ther constitution

    2. In just about any trial, each side has little trouble finding an “expert” who will testify in favor of that side’s position.

      That tells you about the value of most expert testimony.

      1. I once had cause to hire an expert witness to support our side in a construction claims case. Our claim was freakin’ flimsly, but his take was that as an expert witness, his job was not to tell us what argument to make, but to tell us whether he could support our argument.

        If you can’t get an expert witness to at least make a case for your side, it’s because your side is flat-out indefensible and you should have settled long ago.

        1. Yup.

          In a lot of bet-the-farm cases, the position an expert supports depends simply on whether the plaintiff’s or the defendant’s counsel called him first.

        2. In civil or criminal cases, experts are not allowed to interfere with the decision maker by providing their opinions as to the ultimate decision. So not expert can opine that the evidence shows the defendant is guilty, or that the defendant is not guilty. The law professors all knew that, and yet had little problem offering their views of the sufficiency of the evidence against Trump.
          Everyone has opinions but in an impeachment the process is purely political. No legal scholars needed. The Radical Dems may impeach if they have the votes. If they do, the Reprobate Repubs have the votes to prevail in the Senate, so Trump will most likely not be removed.
          Impeachment is a purely political process, as established in the Constitution, where corrupt politicians decide the outcome. This is a great spectacle to show Americans what politics is about.
          This also displays that the “rule of law” is a myth – invented by people wishing it were true or by people trying to con the public into believing that it is true.

          1. I was scrolling down until I found someone who pointed out the thing about experts and the “ultimate issue.” It’s not an appropriate question, they might as well just call random witnesses and ask if they want Trump impeached.

            Of course, this still isn’t a “trial” phase. It’s an inquiry and we’re still not even to the indictment phase. Maybe having witnesses to offer their opinions on the legal merits of the case is appropriate.

            The problem is there’s still some confusion about the facts. You you to stipulate what your underlying assumptions are: “Given this set of facts-some of which are in dispute-here’s my legal opinion.” Different legal scholars are going to have different opinions about the underlying facts, though.

            1. I’m still amazed at the lineup they chose.
              It’s like they chose the most hysterical “experts” they could find, as if their tantrums wouldn’t be discrediting

      2. striking one right now lol

      3. Oh come on, that goes too far.

        Just because there are charlatans with fancy titles out there does not mean that there don’t actually exist bona-fide experts of good character.

        1. I’m an expert on character. And yours is poor.

    3. One of the statements from one of these celebrated authority figures…

      “Every day Trump says something outrageous and people go, ‘ah, at least it’s not as outrageous as the day-before thing,’ the professor began. “I remember this during the campaign, where he would say things, and you would think, ‘okay, that’s the end.’ When he mocked John McCain for having been shot down. When he made fun of the reporter with the disability. When the infamous tapes about grabbing women came out, and you kept thinking… Donald Trump has sexually assaulted more women than 99.99% of all of the people who have entered this country illegally.”

      1. Glad to hear he was able to leave his personal biases out of his scholarly argument regarding high crime sand misdemeanors.

        1. Do you know who else committed sand misdemeanors?

          1. Erwin Rommel?

          2. Sex at the beach can be painful.

            1. Damned sand gets into everything.

      2. I don’t take male among male golfing buddies talking about “grabbing pussy” seriously.

        What is serious is the continuous echo chamber obsessive repetition of that “pussy grabbing” quote. Trump’s critics have repeated it millions times more than he said it. Trump made crude sex jokes in private (and his were tame compared to Bill Clinton’s, and those who denounce Trump over his were all for a third term for the Clinton Administration).

        Jeez. If you didn’t make racy jokes in the 1970s and 1980s, you were denounced as prudish, puritanical, a hypocrite if you weren’t a virgin, a freak if you were a virgin.

        Is that all his critics have? (That’s what she said.)

  2. I’m not sure being a “legal scholar” is really of much value in an impeachment discussion, or anywhere else for that matter. Maybe in Tamudic circles.

    1. We should Trump in two!

      1. Make that: We should cut Trump in two!

        (Oy.)

        1. Huh. I was thinking of card games. Maybe Spades?

  3. #TrumpUkraine is the biggest scandal in world history — surpassing even #TrumpRussia, which held that dubious distinction until recently. Of course it’s impeachable.

    I would also like to congratulate Karlan for this brilliant line:

    Fire words from Professor Pamela S. Karlan. “While the president can name his son Barron (Trump), he can’t make him a Barron (a rank of nobility or title of honour in England, often hereditary).” Wow.

    FIRE. WORDS.

    I haven’t heard a line that devastating since Obama unleashed “The 1980s are calling, they want their foreign policy back.”

    1. What if Barron identifies as a Barron? Did you ever think of that, wiseguy?

    2. WTF is a “barron”?

      1. The royal publisher.

      2. You put him on a hex and anyone with a city or town on the hex doesn’t get to collect resources when the number is rolled with the dice.

      3. It’s like an Aluminum Falcon

    3. I’m sure the good professor has an irrefutable citation to the idea that there’s no difference between a Barron and a Baron, she is a scholar after all.

    4. Really? You think that line is brilliant? Karlan is a partisan hack who once walked across the street to avoid walking in front of a Trump hotel. Also, I thought Russia was so powerful that they could change our election outcomes. Obama was/is the worst thing that ever happened to this country, just my opinion, of course. But it is how you got Trump, and will be getting him again in 2020.

    5. “The 1980s are calling, they want their foreign policy back.”
      The Republicans should run that clip non-stop.

  4. “High crimes and misdemeanors are actions of the president in office where he uses his office to advance his personal interests, potentially for personal gain, potentially to corrupt the electoral process, and potentially as well to corrupt the national security of the United States.” – Noah Feldman

    So any POTUS who talks to a book publisher or a speech consultant (meaning, to line up speaking gigs for money) while they are POTUS to discuss employment after they leave office is impeachable?

    1. What do the Dems think is going to happen next time they win? For the most part when I embark on a mission that may cause harm and/or distress to another I think about what could happen to me.

      1. The Dems think they’re going to have a permanent supermajority after this.

        1. I LOLed. Literally. Good job well done

      2. The definitions will change.

      3. I don’t know what they think, but I can guess that Republicans might be more inclined to impeach the next Democrat President or at least endlessly investigate them with secret warrants issued by secret courts.

        That’s just what we do here in America now.

        1. Meh. Barr will straighten it all out. Hillary will finally get locked up, Biden will be retroactively impeached, and Trump will finally get a double-wide in Arkansas (his lifelong subconscious dream.)

        2. “Republicans might be more inclined to impeach the next Democrat President”

          They might be inclined, but they don’t have the FBI and CIA leadership in their pocket like the DNC does.
          Owning the hearts and minds of the deep state is important.

    2. Obama’s hot mic moment with Russia applies directly to that quote. Using his privilege to stop Holder from testifying in Fast and Furious is another example. Passing ACA was one of Obama’s primary goals for re-election. Politicians campaigning on the clock (booker, warren, harris, etc) are all campaigning while being paid from taxpayer funds, how is that not a personal interest or personal gain? Any speech or interview that is friendly is done for personal gain..

      Where is the line to Noah?

      1. Does drone-killing two potentially adverse voters count as impeachable?

    3. Noah was calling for impeachment in March of 2017. He is kinda on board with the entire fiasco.

      And the cunty little bitch discussed once how she had to cross the street rather than walk in front of a Trump building.

      Remember…our best AND brightest.

    4. Read carefully: He says

      where he uses his office to advance his personal interests

      So if this hypothetical POTUS were talking to a book publisher, and said something like “if you don’t give me this book deal, I will instruct the IRS to audit your ass”, then yeah that ought to be at least a legitimate candidate for impeachable conduct, don’t you think?

      1. chem…that is my point. Please precisely define, “uses his office” because to me, that is a wide enough opening to drive a Mack truck through.

        With your IRS example, wouldn’t that endanger POTUS Trump’s predecessor?

        1. No, because everybody knows that he was just joking about siccing the IRS on his enemies, and that even though the IRS heard the joke, and did go after his enemies, it was purely coincidence. [/sarc]

      2. “where he uses his office to advance his personal interests, potentially for personal gain, potentially to corrupt the electoral process, and potentially as well to corrupt the national security of the United States.”

        — ALL accusations assumed to be “proven true” because President Trump wants Ukraine to investigate a Democrat Politician who as far as I can tell has [reasonable] causes to do so…

        Its funny how this impeachment process has ENTIRELY dismissed the very ‘root’ and ‘proof’ required to answer the lingering question of “personal interest” vs “US Justice interest” in whether launching investigation on Biden is supported by “reasonable cause”.

  5. Poor Billy. Stop drawing the short straw. The subheadline is pretty bad as well. Turley is not a pro-trump guy, he is openly anti-trump. He even accused Congress of abusing its power in the pursuit of this impeachment. Namely by claiming obstruction by refusing to wait for court rulings on subpeonas. Weird that was left out here.

    1. Billy will stop drawing the short straw once he stops masturbating in the corner during the morning assignment meetings.

      1. He can’t help it though. The room smells faintly of Katherine Mangu-Ward’s shampoo.

  6. Prof. Karlan: Too liberal for Hillary? (from back in 2016)

    “Would it be more fun, and better political theater, for President Clinton to nominate a brilliant, flamingly liberal nominee to the Court, in the vein of Stanford law professor *Pam Karlan* [emphasis added] or Judge Nina Pillard? Absolutely — but that’s not who Hillary Clinton is.

    “Notwithstanding the right-wing caricatures of her, Hillary Clinton is smart, sensible, and centrist. And there’s every indication that her Supreme Court nominee will be too.”

    https://abovethelaw.com/2016/08/hillary-clintons-supreme-court-shortlist-11-scotus-possibilities/

  7. I mean, if he wanted to gain politically wouldn’t a guilty verdict be required in an investigation into Hunter Biden? Otherwise, you have Trump engaging in a ‘witch hunt’ of political rivals that would probably, you know, hurt his campaign? Is there any doubt that’s how it would be reported?

    I guess as long as you assume that an investigation into Hunter Biden, that found him innocent, would help Trump that makes sense but recent events strongly indicate that such an investigation easily could have hurt Trump’s reelection chances. For evidence of that, I present the current narrative of the Democrat party.

    “Soliciting a foreign government to investigate an electoral rival for personal gain on its own constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution,”

    It sure looks like at least one of those ‘constitutional scholars’ assumes that right in his statement. It must have been for personal gain seems to be their assumption, since clearly there is nothing suspicious going on with Hunter.

    That seems like a pretty big assumption. It would be more believable if Trump insisted they find Hunter guilty. It’s a shitty quid pro quo if you don’t actually get what you want, which would be Hunter Biden found guilty. Any other result could easily hurt Trump.

    It just seems to be that for an investigation to be purely politically motivated, there would need to be no smoke as well as no fire but in the case of Hunter Biden there is at least smoke even if we don’t know there was a fire. I guess we could say the same about Trump, but we’d need to admit he’s been investigated quite a bit yet no obvious fire has been located to date.

  8. Wasn’t it claimed that Obama was a Constitutional scholar, too?

  9. Best argument by Republicans – Washington did it, Madison did it, Lincoln, Nixon, Clinton, and Obama did it and they didn’t get impeached. So why can’t Trump do it? (yes I know, they equated Benghazi with Trump’s shenanigans. I didn’t make the argument folks). This is the Bart Simpson argument. Everyone else is doing it so why can’t I?
    Oh yeah, and because one of the witnesses said defamation via tweet was impeachable that witness is dumb because Jefferson defamed people all the time and never got impeached. Oh my, I guess defamation by tweet is perfectly acceptable behavior. It’s amazing to see them stoop to the moral basement in order to defend Trump.

    1. I like how there’s the implied assumption that only modern Republicans are expected to behave morally. I also like how using established precedent is considered immoral.

      When talking about the law, it’s pretty reasonable to ask why you can’t do something when everyone else can and has done those things.

    2. I think you missed the actual argument made. It isnt “everyone else did it.” The argument is “if you read abuse with so broadly a scope, everybody is guilty.” And if that is the case then democrats are operating as a banana republic, using vague and widely scoped laws politically and not equally.

    3. It’s amazing to see them stoop to the moral basement in order to defend Trump.

      Just remember:

      The bar for acceptable conduct is always lower for Trump

      And yet, even though Republicans continue to lower the bar for him, Trump continually fails to reach it

      1. Bill Clinton fucked a 21 year old intern in the Oval Office. Trump is nowhere near that low.

        1. Trump crossed that line years ago.

          1. He fucked an intern in the Oval Office, years ago?

            1. He’s done much worse.

              1. Raped Juanita Broderick?

                1. You do realize that the evidence that Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick is essentially “believe all women” levels of evidence, right?

                  And if we’re going to do the “believe all women” thing, then there’s plenty more women who have claimed nasty behavior on the part of Trump.

                  1. So Trump hasn’t done worse

              2. “He’s done much worse.”

                Oh really? What?
                What’s a bigger abuse of authority than the president fucking a little intern in his office?
                What has Trump done that beats bombing babyfood factories, and Bosnia, and Somalia and Iraq?
                How many prisoners has Trump had executed for political expediency as governor?

              3. Sent his wife out to harass his ex-girlfriends?

      2. Just remember, the ends always justify the means. Orange man bad therefore no principle exists that is inviolable if it gets him (or any other republican for that matter) out of office.

        1. You know, Skippy, from time to time, Orange Man really is Bad. You’d see that if you weren’t just another Team Red booster.

          And no there are limits to what would constitute acceptable behavior. I wouldn’t support torturing or executing Trump, for instance. People in positions of power, however, deserve extra scrutiny. Wouldn’t you agree?

          I also don’t think Trump is like a great many other Republicans, which is a GOOD THING.

          1. Team Hysteric

          2. You just defended Bill Clinton for raping Juanita Broderick, while calling her a liar.

            Your opinion isn’t worth much.

      3. More partisan dishonesty from baby jeffrey.

      4. “If this Committee elects to seek impeachment on the failure to yield to congressional demands in an oversight or impeachment investigation, it will have to distinguish a long line of cases where prior presidents sought the very same review while withholding witnesses and documents,” Turley said, according to his prepared remarks. “Basing impeachment on this obstruction theory would itself be an abuse of power … by Congress. It would be an extremely dangerous precedent to set for future presidents and Congresses in making an appeal to the Judiciary into ‘high crime and misdemeanor.’”

        “In the current case, the record is facially insufficient. The problem is not simply that the record does not contain direct evidence of the President stating a quid pro quo, as Chairman Schiff has suggested,” Turley continued. “The problem is that the House has not bothered to subpoena the key witnesses who would have such direct knowledge. This alone sets a dangerous precedent. A House in the future could avoid countervailing evidence by simply relying on tailored records with testimony from people who offer damning presumptions or speculation.”

        “It is not enough to simply shrug and say this is ‘close enough for jazz’ in an impeachment,” Turley added. “The expectation, as shown by dozens of failed English impeachments, was that the lower house must offer a complete and compelling record. That is not to say that the final record must have a confession or incriminating statement from the accused. Rather, it was meant to be a complete record of the key witnesses that establishes the full range of material evidence. Only then could the body reach a conclusion on the true weight of the evidence—a conclusion that carries sufficient legitimacy with the public to justify the remedy of removal.”

        1. Turley is making a process argument. Which is basically the entire Republican defense at this point.

          Here is Turley at another point in time:

          “While the current debate over the impeachment standard can appear arcane and theoretical, these standards have concrete expression in cases involving the lives of average citizens and the conduct of Executive Branch officials. When Congress decides that certain criminal conduct does not rise to the level of impeachable offenses, it is defining a permissible parameter for future presidential conduct. Executive power will fill the space created by any decision of this body.

  10. “potentially to corrupt the electoral process,”
    I would agree with Feldman if Trump was asking that Biden be framed for something he didn’t do, but digging up dirt, real corruption, on the part of your opponent is not only not criminal but would be doing the U.S. a disservice if left unremarked.

    1. It makes me wonder if a sitting president is supposed to just keep his mitts off the corruption of potential rivals when dealing with the foreign government where the corruption is occurring.

      1. There’s about a half dozen legitimate ways Trump could have initiated an investigation into the Bidens without doing what he did.

        It’s a false choice to think that the only two alternatives are either (1) Bidens get off scott free, or (2) Trump uses foreign aid as leverage and sends his personal attorney to investigate his rivals.

        1. Now do the FISA warrants. You have never cared about process. The ends always justify the means.

          1. When you can’t argue the substance of the argument, argue against the person. Is that the strategy here?

            1. That pretty much your entire schtick

            2. What part of the inequity of “Trump is the only one for whom this is impeachable” are you not understanding?

        2. Go fuck your sophistry baby jeffrey. When trump or Barr went the other half dozen ways, see FISA investigation, the democrats still asked for an independent council and for Barr to exclude himself. Why are you such a dishonest shit?

          1. He didn’t even TRY the normal channels of investigation when it came to investigating Biden. He went straight to the sneaky backhanded shadow diplomacy.

            Well of COURSE the Democrats are going to have their own demands. But Trump is in charge of the executive branch, right?

            Why are you assuming that Trump is this powerless victim when he is literally the most powerful man in the country right now?

            1. What is one man vs the Collective?
              That’s the battle

        3. What “legitimate ways”, Jeff? Go through channels, get approval from the “interagency”, things like that? The boss, elected by the Boss, said “we’re doing this”, and some little piss ass Lt Col doesn’t get to second guess the COC. Same with every butt-hurt ambassador, etc.

          1. Like, oh I don’t know – special investigators, grand juries, actually using the formal mechanisms of international criminal investigations, actually doing things by the book in order to secure the rigorous investigation and conviction that he supposedly wanted.

            So why didn’t he do any of that? Hmm?

            Maybe it’s because he didn’t actually want a *real* investigation, all he wanted was the PR benefit of having a foreign government announce on CNN that they were investigating the Biden family.

              1. So why do you think Trump decided to use the back-channel surreptitious shadow diplomacy route with his own personal lawyer? You honestly think Trump wanted a sincere investigation but is so powerless that he had NO CHOICE but to use shady methods?

                1. Why?
                  Because the kinds of people he would have to get to pursue a legitimate investigation were the exact ones, who spent last week whining about how he wasn’t conducting foreign policy the way they wanted him to, like the ambassador, who denied visas to Ukrainian officials wanting to bring evidence to the US.
                  He’s surrounded by people who “know better than he does” and thwart what efforts he wants to make, requiring going around them.

                  1. Except Trump did go about it in an entirely legitimate manner

        4. What Trump asked for in the call is perfectly legitimate.

          You might, were you POTUS, have chosen one of the half dozen alternative ways, but irregular channels seem reasonable given the context of Trump’s justifiable suspicions about the FBI.

          People with power simply use power to get things done. The suggestion that President Zelensky isn’t man enough to tell Trump “No can do,” because POTUS is more powerful than any other world leader is laughable.

        5. There’s about a half dozen legitimate ways Trump could have initiated an investigation into the Bidens without doing what he did.

          Time to put up, chem. Fine, name them. I’ll be looking for an answer that details at least six alternate ways.

    2. That’s what I keep coming back to. What they’re really saying is that Trump had bad motives when he asked Ukraine to do something that was in America’s interest (i.e., investigating corruption that was very likely committed by a U.S. politician).

      1. They’ve used this tactic with everything trump has done including his attempt to undo the Obama EO on DACA.

      2. Do you really expect people to believe that the reason why Trump brought up Biden by name in that phone call was because he was innocently interested in the pursuit of justice?

        OF COURSE HE HAD BAD MOTIVES. This image of Trump as some type of heroic crime fighting Dick Tracy gumshoe is ridiculous.

        1. Do you really expect anyone to give a shit about anything you have to say?

        2. Do you really expect people to believe that you care whether Trump actually did anything wrong? Pretend principles are the best kind.

          1. Do you really think that ad-hominem is a reasonable substitute for an actual argumente?

            1. Its not an ad hominem to question your motives bud. And ad hominems aren’t fatal deficiencies either.

              Stop pretending you understand the concepts you’re mouthing.

        3. Again, more fucking ignorance from baby jeffrey. The obama administration literally prepared their nominees to discuss the Biden issue in the Ukraine you dumbfuck. Trump isnt the first one to question the arrangement dumbass. NYT, politico, the hill, etc all had stories on it. How is this different from 3 democratic senators writing to the Ukraine to give evidence of manafort to Mueller?

          Do you honestly not realize how fucking stupid you are?

          1. Oh right. So Trump brought up Biden by name, specifically, because he was “just fighting corruption”. Is Biden the only example of corruption in Ukraine? Why not bring up all the others? Huh? There’s a reason he brought up Biden by name specifically, and it wasn’t about “fighting corruption” in some broad sense. We know that he demanded that Zelensky make a public statement that the Bidens were going to be investigated, before agreeing to meet with him. Again – not to make a statement about “fighting corruption”, but to make a statement SPECIFICALLY ABOUT BIDEN. Why? Why single out Biden? Gee it’s a fucking mystery, isn’t it?

            1. He brought up Biden, by name, because Biden was the most egregious example of corruption, by virtue of boasting about what he had done in getting the prosecutor fired.
              Wait, I know – Trump had to have bad motives but Joe Biden’s motivation was as pure as the driven snow, amirite?
              Partisan hack, the name is pedo jeffy.

            2. Because he’s the former Vice President and the closest anyone will ever get to the corruption engaged in by Obama.

        4. Joe Biden is on video saying he got the investigator fired who was looking into the company where his son is on the Board. But Trump bringing up Biden’s statements to the now Ukrainian president is completely taboo because supposedly bad motives.

          This is an actual argument?

          1. Little Jeffy is a dishonest hack.

          2. There is actually dispute as to whether Biden’s supposed threat was the instigating event that caused Shokin to get fired, or if Biden was just exaggerating and overstating the role that he played.

            Biden visited Ukraine in December 2015 to make his threat, but the prosecutor was not fired until March 2016. It certainly didn’t happen over the course of six hours that Biden claimed that it did.

            1. So Biden was lying.

              1. There’s a good chance he was lying, yes.

                1. And this speculation is based on what, chem? Because you are speculating. VP Biden did not say he was lying in his 60 Minutes interview.

                  Let’s see if you can ‘put up’.

            2. “There is actually dispute”

              Then someone should investigate.

              Oh wait…

            3. Why is that relevant? Biden said on video he got the prosecutor who was investigating the company where his son sat on the Board fired.

              Whether Biden was lying or not, he is on video saying aid was withheld until this guy was fired. This guy was investigating the company where his son sat on the Board, and this guy was fired.

              But asking about it is forbidden because bad motives?

    3. “real corruption”

      I see it this way, if Trump was real that concerned about corruption in Ukraine then why didn’t he just use his option of rescission regarding the aid appropriated by Congress? It seems to me that would have shown his well intended concern to do right by the good ol’ US of A! But, he didn’t so there lies the problem.

      1. The problem seems to be that there are millions of psychotic collectivists whose totalitarian masters can’t point to any real problems during Trump’s presidency thus far and know they can’t beat him.
        Trump’s election and presidency is proof that the value determined by the establishments of government, media, academia is hollow and without inherent merit

        1. That same notion would apply to funny red cap wearing delusionist that believe Trump can do no wrong, wouldn’t you agree?

          1. Trump can do no wrong is just a partisan mirror of Hillary can do no wrong.

            The difference is the wrong “can do no wrong” doer was elected.

  11. What was their opinion on impeaching Bill Clinton in 1998?

    1. An actual documented crime with physical evidence actually happened with Clinton. Apples to rocks.

      1. Bill Clinton´s bad conduct did not involve his presidential duties and hence were not an abuse of his office.

        1. Monica Lewinsky got abused in his office.

        2. He just lied on the stand, an actual crime, verified with semen on a dress.

          Also if you review Texas vs Perry, the only case of record on abuse, there is no abuse for an officer to utilize the powers granted to him by the constitution.

        3. “Bill Clinton´s bad conduct did not involve his presidential duties and hence were not an abuse of his office.”

          This is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. Clinton would have never had Lewinsky as a subordinate if it weren’t for his position. Yeah, THOUSANDS of men find themselves in that position every day, where they are a manager over a young subordinate. And any time they do something inappropriate, they are abusing the power of their position. That this specific ability to coerce a subordinate isn’t unique to the president doesn’t change the fact that it was indeed a power he enjoyed as president. He had the power to bring her on, bring her into his office, screw her, and then send her on to kush jobs to keep her quiet until this blew up in his face. It is exactly the sexually harassing environment that every manager has the power to create and the responsibility to avoid.

          1. Real irony? The Dem argument is LITERALLY that yeah, sure… Trump said “favor” but the power deferential creates a scenario by which it becomes LITERALLY impossible for him to mean “favor.” To translate to Clinton, by suggesting he and Monica did what they did… the power deferential made it impossible for her to say no, thus it was not a suggestion but an actual implied demand that Monica was bound to follow for no other possible reason, despite her own view of her own experiences, than fear.

            But that was different…

          2. Overt, correct . This is the definition of sexual harassment.

        4. He perjured himself while in office.

          It directly implicates everything he said while in office. You couldn’t be more wrong.

    2. Why do we need to hear from legal scholars?

      This seems like another attempt for the dems to prove what they are doing is justified. The idea that they feel they need to provide a justification tells me they are not winning in the court of public opinion.

      1. Not meant as a reply to Michael.

      2. Several demoncraps have admitted that they don’t have public opinion on their side, by stating that Trump will be re-elected if they don’t impeach him.
        You don’t get re-elected if you don’t have popular support.

  12. Legal scholars can unanimously agree that Trump farting in an elevator full of children would be conduct worthy of impeachment. But, if nobody can place Trump in the elevator, and none of the children can testify to having their nostrils charred by Trump’s undoubtedly noxious internal gasses, impeachment is unwarranted.

    Legal opinions about unestablished facts should be treated like bad farts. The best medicine is to wave your hands and wait for them to evaporate.

  13. “Soliciting a foreign government to investigate an electoral rival for personal gain on its own constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution,” said Noah Feldman, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

    Just FYI, I didn’t know we were really worried about what constituted an impeachable offense, but more worried about IF Donald Trump did the things the Democrats assert (or noted) he did. Which, if I take the Democrats’ star witnesses as my guide, suggests he didn’t.

    1. Isn’t that what Hillary did?

    2. That’s how it works- just keep saying it over and over until it’s true. Then you don’t need evidence.

      It’s all such bullshit. What I really want to know, is when was the Ukraine election interference issue debunked and discredited, and by whom? They keep saying that, but I have yet to see it.

      I think the most compelling aspect of this whole debacle is that there are literally millions of people who are more inclined to believe DONALD FUCKING TRUMP, one of the sleaziest dirtbags ever to walk the streets of New York, than career federal bureaucrats. That really says a lot about the people’s faith in the institutions of government.

      1. +in-fuckin-finity

      2. That really says a lot about the people’s faith in the institutions of government.

        Indeed. This whole thing is exposing the foul stench of the swamp, and likely moving more people to see the value of draining it.

      3. That really says a lot about the people’s faith in the institutions of government.

        I am horrified as an American how the FBI has acted; I cannot believe that this institution has been so badly tarnished. I used to look up to the men/women of the FBI. They were the ‘straight arrows’ of American society. No longer. The FBI needs to be dismantled and rebuilt in a way that respects our individual liberties, and doesn’t pervert our political process.

        Brennan & Clapper belong in a cages, pure and simple. With Comey, it is a mixed bag, but he clearly acted in ways inimical to our national interest.

      4. “That really says a lot about the people’s faith in the institutions of government.”

        Blind faith in the FBI, for instance? The FBI who gave us CoIntelPro? …. The ghost of J. Edgar Hoover who placed himself over presidents still stalks the halls of FBI HQ. I went from buying the Whitehead “F.B.I. Story” in 1959 to deep disillusionment with the FBI by 1979.

        My current opinion of FBI mirrors Goethe’s thought on Germans: “I have often felt a bitter sorrow at the thought of the German people, which is so estimable in the individual and so wretched in the generality.” — Goethes Gespraeche (13 Dec 1813)

  14. Can we just have the civil war already?

  15. Biden isn’t his rival since there hasn’t even been one primary yet and investigating actions which everyone already knows about isn’t digging up dirt. I mean people warned Obama it was a bad idea back in ’14.

    1. Every person registered with the FEC as a candidate in the 2020 Presidential race is Trump’s rival.

      1. Biden is a senile old fool who can barely keep a coherent thought.

        But if his and his son’s involvement in Ukraine is a clean as we’re told it would actually help his campaign.

        Are they actually impeaching Trump for helping Biden?

        1. Agree that Biden is old and a bit senile.

      2. So, all of them are untouchable by Trump’s justice department?
        That’s just fucking stupid.

        1. It would be stupid, if that were true. Trump can launch a legitimate investigation into any of them. It has to be legitimate, though, so no personal involvement, not having his personal attorney as the point man.

          1. Why are you, an obvious partisan, the arbiter of legitimacy?

            Biden wasn’t his rival and the investigation was into Hunter. I don’t care about your opinion.

            Now what do you do guy?

            1. It cannot logically be said “the investigation was into X” because there was never an investigation. However, to say the investigation was only into Hunter contradicts the common narrative in Trump’s defense, which is that Trump wanted to get to the bottom of why Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor that was going to investigate Burisma.

            2. Also, please point out even one thing that I have said that is a partisan statement defending or promoting the Democratic Party.

      3. “every ncaa football team is Alabama’s rival”

        See how dumb you sound?

        1. I am speaking from personal experience of being familiar with FEC regulations from being involved with Libertarian campaigns. Legally, a candidate is a candidate is a candidate.

          There is no concept of leading candidate. Even if you are in the same party as Trump you are an opponent. Even after you lose the primary or drop out of a race your campaign still exists as long as it has money in its bank account.

  16. So far as I and most of America has been able to determine, nowhere do we see evidence that the President solicited anything from Ukraine for his personal gain. Why do these so called legal scholars fail to see this?

    1. The July 25 transcript is highly incriminating.

      1. Only to psychotics

      2. Actually… its not. Asking for a favor, absent any threat, is not wrong in any world of decency or justice. To claim that there IS a threat, you have to prove it. Each witness testified they do not have proof of any sort of threat. The transcript contains only the ask of favor, but no mention of threat. To read threat into the transcript is not proof but subjective conjecture, not textual evidence.

        Ergo… this whole thing is a sham.

        1. It depends on your starting point. If you believe Trump is guilty than you will perceive “favor” as part of Trumps guilt.

    2. Because they’really Marxists looking to change the results if elections that didn’t go their way despite their corruption of the process.

      I mean if we’really going to project motives onto Trump we might as well do everybody.

  17. Really hard to see how the Democrats hope to win hearts and minds with this snoozefest. I wonder what percentage of the population were glued to their TV screens binge watching. I couldn’t even bring myself to read the article let alone watch the hearings.

  18. I noted that Prof. Turley did not suggest that President Trump should not be impeached, but rather that the process should be more drawn out. In the end it doesn’t matter because no Republican will cross Trump. Maybe down the road when he is out of power but for right now take a week, take a month, take a year and it will make no difference to the Republicans.
    Best part of the hearing was Prof. Karlan slapping back at Collins. I don’t think he worked near hard enough to get that Georgia Senate appointment.

    1. Maybe down the road when he is out of power but for right now take a week, take a month, take a year and it will make no difference to the Republicans.

      Yeah, that is tribal politics for you.

      Not much different than how Democrats treated Obama. When Obama was in charge, it was lockstep solidarity. But now, Obama is being painted on the left as some type of crypto-conservative. It’s weird.

      I think in a few years, after Trump has left the scene, Republicans will finally come around and say “yeah, sticking up for that asshole all the time probably wasn’t the best idea”

      1. My god, the irony if everything you say. So far the democrats have given no evidence worthwhile. Turley even said as much. He said to slow down the process to find the evidence.

        You read this as “Trump is guilty!!!!” You ignorant tribalist sophist fuck. Literally everything you believe is based on narrative and ignorance. You can’t produce anything of value to back anything you state. It is why you run to thought excercises and strawman hypotheticals you dimwit.

        1. In this particular context I was contemplating more broadly about Trump’s completely boorish behavior. His obsessive tweeting, his thin-skinned narcissism, his valuing of loyalty over competence, his complete lack of policy knowledge or even interest in learning about policy, his needless antagonism of entire swaths of people, his generally immoral behavior, you know, the entire Donald Trump package, not just impeachment particularly.

          1. Not many here are relishing Trump’s boorishness. If he is going to troll Donkeys I would like to see it done with more class. But he is clever at getting under their skins, and that I wholly support. The pushback from Deep Staters is expected since he is making them terribly uncomfortable as well, fearing for their power and jobs. Their insubordination is criminal.

            1. Hate to think what the reaction would be if Trump was picking up dogs by their ears LBJ style.

    2. You should also note that Turley commented on the whole “this isn’t a criminal proceeding” canard:

      “It’s a dangerous thing to take a crime like bribery and apply a boundless interpretation,” the law professor warned. “These crimes have meaning.”

      “You can’t accuse a president of bribery and then, when some of us note that the Supreme Court has rejected your type of boundless interpretation, say, ‘Well it’s just impeachment. We really don’t have to prove the elements.’ That’s a favored mantra,” he explained.

      “This isn’t improvisational jazz. Close enough is not good enough,” Turley quipped. “If you’re going to accuse a president of bribery, you need to make it stick — because you’re trying to remove a duly-elected president of the United States.”

      “It’s unfair to accuse someone of a crime and when others say well those interpretations you’re using to define the crime are not valid, to say, ‘They don’t have to be valid because this is impeachment.'”

      The emphasis is there for you and Jeffy who like to play this “clown nose on/clown nose off” game.

      1. This was an important point that needed to made and Turley made it well. The perpetual goalpost shifting has completely destroyed any credibility the Democrats ever imagined they had on the subject of impeachment.

    3. Why am I not surprised you’re throwing in with that harpy karlan

    4. Here is Turleys actual words dipshit.

      “If this Committee elects to seek impeachment on the failure to yield to congressional demands in an oversight or impeachment investigation, it will have to distinguish a long line of cases where prior presidents sought the very same review while withholding witnesses and documents,” Turley said, according to his prepared remarks. “Basing impeachment on this obstruction theory would itself be an abuse of power … by Congress. It would be an extremely dangerous precedent to set for future presidents and Congresses in making an appeal to the Judiciary into ‘high crime and misdemeanor.’”

      “In the current case, the record is facially insufficient. The problem is not simply that the record does not contain direct evidence of the President stating a quid pro quo, as Chairman Schiff has suggested,” Turley continued. “The problem is that the House has not bothered to subpoena the key witnesses who would have such direct knowledge. This alone sets a dangerous precedent. A House in the future could avoid countervailing evidence by simply relying on tailored records with testimony from people who offer damning presumptions or speculation.”

      “It is not enough to simply shrug and say this is ‘close enough for jazz’ in an impeachment,” Turley added. “The expectation, as shown by dozens of failed English impeachments, was that the lower house must offer a complete and compelling record. That is not to say that the final record must have a confession or incriminating statement from the accused. Rather, it was meant to be a complete record of the key witnesses that establishes the full range of material evidence. Only then could the body reach a conclusion on the true weight of the evidence—a conclusion that carries sufficient legitimacy with the public to justify the remedy of removal.”

  19. Putzes fit and fiddle while Trump wipes his ass with the constitution daily. How dumb can you get?

    1. Which recent President followed the Constitution?

    2. Pen and a phone would like a word.

    3. How many Americans has he ordered executed extra-judicialy?

    4. Always about ass, cock, and balls with you disgusting progs.

  20. Trump solicited foreign election interference on live TV. Mulvaney straight up admitted the aid was conditioned on the investigations.
    Somdland said of course there was a quid pro quo. How fucking stupid are some of you mfers? It’s incredible.

    1. Keep telling the big lie and hoping it’ll finally be believed.

    2. Everything you just said was a lie.

      1. You’re are being lied to but not by me.

        1. Perhaps, but everything YOU posted was a lie.

      2. Reporter (M): (22:25)
        But to be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into into the Democratic server happened as well.

        Mick Mulvaney: (22:35)
        We do that all the time with foreign policy. We were holding up money at the same time for what was it? The Northern triangle countries. We were holding up aid at the Northern triangle countries so that they would change their policies on immigration. By the way, and this speaks to an important … I’m sorry? This speaks to important point because I heard this yesterday and I can never remember the gentleman who … Was it McKinney? Is that his name? I don’t know him. He testified yesterday. And if you go and if you believe the news reports, because we’ve not seen any transcripts of this. The only transcript I’ve seen was Sondland’s testimony this morning.

        Mick Mulvaney: (23:08)
        If you read the news reports and you believe them, what did McKinney say yesterday? Well, McKinney said yesterday that he was really upset with the political influence in foreign policy. That was one of the reasons he was so upset about this. And I have news for everybody. Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.

        1. Gosh, you left out the part immediately before that:

          What I found out was that zero or near zero dollars for Ukraine in lethal aid: we give them tanks, and they give them pillows. As vocal as the Europeans are about supporting Ukraine, they are really, really stingy when it comes to lethal aid, and they weren’t helping Ukraine, to this day they still are now, and the president did not like that. I know this is a long answer to your question but I’m still going. Those were the driving factors. Did he also mention to me in passing the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money.”

          Karl: “So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that it was ordered to withhold funding to Ukraine?”

          Mulvaney: “The look-back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate.”

          Karl: “For withholding the funding?”

          Mulvaney: “Which ultimately then, flowed. We were worried if we didn’t pay out the money it would be illegal, it would be unlawful. That is one of those things that has a little shred of truth in it that makes it look a lot worse than it really is. We were concerned about, over at OMB, about impoundment.

          I know I put half of you to bed, but there is the Budget and Impoundment Act of 1974 that says if Congress appropriates money, you have to spend it. We knew that money had to go out the door by the end of September, or we had to have a really good reason not to do it. And that was the legality of the issue.”

          Karl: “But to be clear, what you just described is a quid-pro-quo: the funding will not flow unless you’re getting an investigation into the Democratic server happened as well.”

          I wonder why you dropped that context, Mike? Just an oversight, I’m sure, since you’re just a neutral observer interested only in the rule of law and ethical practices.

          1. Yeah but, it was 3 days from being late, which we all know is the same as being late!

            1. Is your theory that the Trump White House carefully timed everything to make sure the aid was delivered on time? Do you realize that it only made the deadline because a special bipartisan effort was made to expedite the process, and even so about $14 million of the aid did expire.

              1. “Do you realize that it only made the deadline because a special bipartisan effort was made to expedite the process”

                So when you quoted Mulvaney we should take it at face value, but when Skippy quotes him Mulvaney is lying. Got it.

                It’d really be better if you just stopped pretending to be neutral.

                1. Basically.

                  Laursen is a fucking idiot. And dishonest as fuck, to boot.

              2. I wonder why you dropped that context, Mike? Just an oversight, I’m sure, since you’re just a neutral observer interested only in the rule of law and ethical practices.

                So Mike, why are you not directly answering skippy? Do you have anything to offer to address this?

                1. I did. You are looking at the wrong place in the comments thread.

                  1. Timestamps don’t lie.

          2. Re-read what Mulvaney said. Your quoted passage followed by mine. He is saying that the DNC investigation was part of the conditions for releasing the aid.

            1. The DNC e-mail “hacking” had nothing to do with Trump getting any help in the upcoming election, which is what you commies are saying he was trying to do.
              Or is it your contention that ANYTHING that shows the demoncraps for the dishonest, dishonorable people they are, will help his future electoral chances.
              If so, that’s a pretty broad brush you’re painting with.

              1. So, is that a tacit admission that there was a quid pro quo,
                as stated by Mulvaney above, that there must be an investigation of the DNC servers/Cloudstrike in order for the military aid to be released.

                1. Now it’s tacit admissions.

                2. More goalpost shifting you gutless hack. This fucking quid pro quo theory changes every day, and every time you comment, it changes again.

                  Idiot.

            2. “He is saying”

              I can read, thank you, and that is most assuredly not what he is saying.

              Pleaae stop insisting your interpretation is reality.

              1. I admit interpretation is necessary since Mulvaney spoke in incomplete sentences and some “word salad”, was interrupted frequently. So, I can see how your get your interpretation by parsing the words with a disposition to believing that he is making a denial that the DNC investigation is part of the deal rather than a defense.

  21. I see Billy continues to deny the evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. Amazing how the wokatarians are so credulous to the talking points these days.

    1. I’m not convinced Ukraine meddled, but it is certain that many news outlets reported that they had. Thus, it is not surprising that many believe they did, including Trump.

  22. Those distinctions follow from the meaning of “us” and “them” under subjective law.

  23. The other thing. Yes, the Ukrainians knew the aid was being held up. They aren’t fucking morons. Zelensky was going to announce the investigations. They had a deal. Fortunately it was called off at the last minute. You would know this had you listened to the testimony. God fucking help you people. I can’t imagine how else your stupidity is fucking you over.

    1. More fact-free speculation. Reality is truly optional for the left.

      1. Pod is referring to documented facts. Those facts cannot be wished away by calling them speculation.

  24. First, pursuing constitutional law in law school is the equal of majoring in Phys. Ed. in high school. It’s where the intellectually lazy people go.

    Two, impeachment being a political gesture, that fact necessarily means that it is subsumed by the governed. Well, it so happens that the governed-not professors, not politicians, not representatives-eschew this impeachment by a percentage of @50%, subject to whatever scripted poll you read.

    Finally, there’s a canary in the coal mine moment taking place amidst this circus. Namely, the entire backdrop of the democratic 2020 presidential race conditions itself largely on who can beat Trump; thus, there’s the presupposition he will be around in 2020-and that means they all quietly know this impeachment thing is a sham and doomed.

    Which tells us, as if we needed confirmation, that it’s just party politics and, worse, the tyranny of a majority.

    1. “First, pursuing constitutional law in law school is the equal of majoring in Phys. Ed. in high school. It’s where the intellectually lazy people go.”

      If you’re referring to constitutional law professors, then it would be amusing to see how this insight goes over at the Volokh section of Reason.

      Or among the constitutional litigators at the Institute for Justice, who are doing the Lord’s work in some of the most constitutionally underprivileged areas of the country.

      “Two, impeachment being a political gesture, that fact necessarily means that it is subsumed by the governed. Well, it so happens that the governed-not professors, not politicians, not representatives-eschew this impeachment by a percentage of @50%, subject to whatever scripted poll you read.”

      But this argument has a sting in the tail. Yes, a substantial part of the public is red-pilled enough to see through the impeachment effort, but what if a majority suddenly became persuaded that this impeachment thing was OK? Does Trump suddenly become impeachable? The 2/3 rule in getting a conviction is in there in the hopes that people will only be convicted on solid evidence of abuse of office, not on the basis of short-term assessments of public opinion.

      1. “…The 2/3 rule in getting a conviction is in there in the hopes that people will only be convicted on solid evidence of abuse of office, not on the basis of short-term assessments of public opinion.”

        Churchill was correct, except for ‘a republic’.

      2. I imagine you’ve never heard the expression the exception that proves the rule

  25. Or if the IRS, headed by his appointee, purposely harassed his political opponents? Obama could have been impeached several times over, as could his presidential predecessors going back to almost the ratification of the Constitution. And if the House was legitimately trying to wrest back its long-releinquenced power from the Imperial Executive, I’d approve. But it’s not; it a nakedly partisan kangaroo court, and threatens, by precedent, to turn our Constitutional system, with three distinct branches, into a parlimentary government, where a vote of no confidence is replaced by watered-down impeachment.

    1. Spot on. Also, we’re really screwed once the impeachment threshold sinks to the level of- as these progs appear to seek-“we hate the guy.”

      1. “…Also, we’re really screwed once the impeachment threshold sinks to the level of- as these progs appear to seek-“we hate the guy.””

        The entire 3+year fishing expedition has been spent in the hopes of finding the ‘wisping gun’; the Ds have spent the entire time trying to find *something* Trump has done which is not directly comparable to what that fucking hag and other Ds have done over the years.
        Note, it does NOT need to be worse, just that it must be that no one can ask why a D has not been charged with the same ‘crime’.
        Suffice to say, what the Ds hope Trump is charged with is “being the politician who kept that fucking hag from being POTUS, dammit!”
        To loyal Ds, that alone is a high crime.

  26. “but what if a majority suddenly became persuaded that this impeachment thing was OK? Does Trump suddenly become impeachable? The 2/3 rule in getting a conviction is in there in the hopes that people will only be convicted on solid evidence of abuse of office, not on the basis of short-term assessments of public opinion.”

    Trump becomes more impeachable, yes. Without debating the chicken-or-egg-first query, it seems an easy thing to stipulate that the pulse of the governed ( the body-politic) is a necessary though not sufficient condition for impeachment.

    That condition is implicit in the checks and balances process of the impeachment process; I.e., the house recommends, the senate convicts, such that the public sentiment is thereby represented to a maximum degree. Hamilton et al established this connection not by accident ( see Federalist 64/65).

    Indeed, Pelosi right now, armpits wet, is testing the political pulse-the national pulse of the governed before crossing the election rubicon. She dances under Damocles’ sword ( and, oh such joy to watch) while all her ideologues bleed her with a thousand cuts.

    Note: impeachment isn’t conditioned on the public sentiment of support for it, of course, but even Nixon collapsed Only after the latter became too pronounced. (E.g. when he lost the Goldwater crowd, the handwriting was on the wall.)

    1. There are two such calculations in play. The larger is “what will the people demand”, which right now doesn’t auger for conviction in the senate.

      But there is also “what does my base demand”. Many of these people ran on a promise of impeaching Trump. They are in districts that are not only safely democrat, but also have a large population of voters who are passionate about impeaching Trump.

      So those representatives absolutely have to do something. They won’t face any consequences at all for supporting impeachment. Quite the contrary.

      There are very few representatives sitting in swing districts. Even fewer are sitting in a district where the electorate might vote them out for attempting to remove Trump.

      So that’s the real math here….. is the risk of failure higher than the risk of failing to vote out articles of impeachment.

      1. Respectfully, to your fine analysis, Pelosi doesn’t give a crap about an individual district or the fait accompli of its representative ( minus her own).

        Her eyes are focused on 2020, and, pun intended, if she had 2020, she would circle the wagons now before watching herself-and party-dissolve into the Bull Moosers.

      2. There are 33 demoncrap representatives in districts that Trump took in 2016.
        Those are at profound risk of losing their seats if they vote to impeach.
        That’s enough to swing the majority to the GOP.

        1. Andy Kim (Team D, NJ D-3), who won election by less than 4000 votes, voted for this charade. He is one of those 33.

          Can’t wait until November 2020 to let Congressman Kim know what I think. He will never, ever get my vote.

  27. Seems pretty easy: “high crimes” are felonies and “misdemeanors” are misdemeanors. Negotiating with foreign leaders to investigate American corruption in their countries is neither. Last time I checked, Hunter Biden is not a candidate for elective office, so how can anyone claim anyone is “interfering with an election”?

    1. So he singled out Biden by name because Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate “American corruption”. Right.

      1. Yes, corruption by the guy who boasted of blackmailing a sovereign country into firing a prosecutor, they obviously didn’t want to fire.
        Joe Biden has worn far more hats than simply a potential candidate for president.

  28. So evidently, according to his defenders here, Trump is so powerless in his office that he was unable to use the normal channels and procedures to conduct a proper investigation into the Bidens – even though he’s the POTUS and all, and everything – and so he had NO CHOICE but to use his own personal lawyer, use foreign aid as leverage, and engage in this shady behavior.

    If Trump really has that little power as POTUS, then what should Trump *actually* get any credit for? Or blame for, for that matter? I hear here all the time that Trump deserves credit for cutting regulations. But does Trump *really* have the power to do that? How can he have the power to slash regulations like a mofo, but be totally unable to launch a proper investigation into the Bidens?

    I think the entire idea that Trump had NO CHOICE but to do what he did, is pretty laughable. It presumes that what Trump wanted was an actual legitimate investigation in the first place. Instead, all he really seemed to want was to have Zelensky go on CNN and announce that he was investigating the Bidens, *regardless* of whether there was actually going to be an investigation or not. That way Trump could go to his next rally and say “See? See? Even the Ukrainians think Biden is corrupt! I was totally right all along! Even the Fake News CNN Media said so!” He wanted the PR.

    1. Trump deeply distrusts the deep state, with good reason. He routinely uses unconventional ways to conduct business, does he not? Given that the Ukraine mess has been deep-sixed by the State Dept et al, it makes sense that he would ask others to look into it.

    2. chem…you have stated there were at least a half-dozen other ways POTUS Trump could have conducted an investigation that would be ‘kosher’. Can you name them, please.

      WRT VP Biden….does it trouble you at all that VP Biden’s son clearly traded on his father’s name for money with Ukraine and China?

    3. There’s that psychosis kicking in again, jeff

    4. Fuck you and your “normal channels” bullshit.

      The normal channels are whatever the fuck the President wants them to be. If Trump wanted to fly to Ukraine and take over the investigation personally, with a magnifying glass and a sidekick, he would be well within his rights to do so.

      You know you don’t have jack shit on substance, so you resort to arguing about procedure.

      Clown.

  29. The facile an even sophomoric analysis at Reason is really getting tiresome.

    You watched that mess and this was your primary take?

    Ok, here’s a clue: They started “impeachment” by calling a panel of “experts” to tell them what conclusions they should draw. That’s the number one take-home. They are taking this so super-seriously that they called in a bunch of “highly respected” academics to give them permission to say that this stuff qualifies as impeachable high crimes. You should be laughing them out of town on that one alone.

    Then, they brought in a bunch of partisan hacks to do the job. Anyone can search their history on the internet. This group has been calling for impeachment since the election, for crying out loud. Once you read that one of them said that Trump tweeting that he had been spied on was impeachable, that should have been all you or anyone else needed to hear.

    Even if you want to go with removing Trump from office, you can’t give them a pass on this shit-show. Packing a panel with 3:1 partisan hacks and then having them offer “serious legal opinions” that are simply political opinions is just embarrassing. And covering it as if it wasn’t an embarrassment is also pathetic.

  30. Ah, Trump said the attorney general would be calling him ( Zelenskyy), as would Giuliani. So, specifically, what excludes the AG from serving as the “normal channel” for an investigation into corruption, especially keeping in mind the president’s article 2 powers as CiC?

    1. Can we dispense with the whole bland “investigation into corruption” characterization? It was not, and IMO it gives Trump too much of the benefit of the doubt. It was about an investigation specifically into the Bidens. Trump didn’t say “I want you to investigate corruption”. He said that he wanted them to investigate the BIDENS, by name. This is what he said, according to the rough transcript:

      “The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son,. that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you ·can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

      He didn’t actually use the word corruption in this context. What he wanted investigated wasn’t that Hunter Biden may have done something corrupt, but about JOE Biden’s role.

      1. Yes, Joe Biden – the US government official – who used his position to grease the skids for his crack-head son to keep his sinecure.
        No one. NO ONE has testified that Trump was doing this because Joe Biden was one of the clown-car full of potential candidates.
        That’s something you commies have just pulled out of your collective asses.

      2. “It was not”

        Yes it was

        “and IMO”

        No one cares.

      3. //He didn’t actually use the word corruption in this context. What he wanted investigated wasn’t that Hunter Biden may have done something corrupt, but about JOE Biden’s role.//

        You really are irredeemably stupid, aren’t you?

        Hunter Biden isn’t a government official so *his* corruption is a non-sequitur.

      4. “…MO it gives Trump too much of the benefit of the doubt. It was about an investigation specifically into the Bidens. Trump didn’t say “I want you to investigate corruption”

        Have you read the whole transcript? I notice the Biden portion is what you cherrypicked and quoted, but for some curious reason you totally ignore or reject the initial exchanges ( paragraph) wherein Trump’s “favor request” is about Crowdstrike and the 2016 election meddling, inasmuch as the then just-released Mueller report analyzed.

        Moreover, Trump immediately interjects how there is an imminence to his attorney general’s role, and for Zelenskyy to expect his call. Giuliani is then mentioned by Trump as a compliment to the AG’s role, and how he will ride shotgun.

        All of that is the essential content of the initial exchange. Biden is only mentioned afterward, in the second or third group of exchanges, and as a continuum of the corruption dialogue.

        The point being, I’m not clear why you want to
        readily dismiss Trump’s initial exchange and bury your head in the sand regarding his emphasis on the 2016 election interference vis-vis the Muellar report, not to mention Trump’s inclusion of his attorney general.

        1. //The point being, I’m not clear why you want to
          readily dismiss Trump’s initial exchange and bury your head in the sand regarding his emphasis on the 2016 election interference vis-vis the Muellar report, not to mention Trump’s inclusion of his attorney general.//

          Because he’s a leftist hack gaslighting people with freshman year sophistry? After a few rounds with him on a variety of posts, any other conclusion really doesn’t make much sense.

    2. Furthermore, that he asked AG Barr to look into it is far less problematic to me than asking his personal lawyer. (That he asked BOTH to look into it is a big red flag for me, however, because it suggests that Trump sees both of them as both his personal lawyers.) I’d want to know what AG Barr did precisely after being asked by Trump to call Zelensky. Did he actually follow the normal rules? Did he follow the procedures? Or was this an “off the record” kind of deal? Perhaps Congress should get to the bottom of it. Don’t you think?

      1. They’re too busy with their latest iteration of the coup that started before Trump even took office.

    3. He mentioned the Attorney General in the July 25th phone call. Looking for something more substantial that mention, was there any actual case opened within the Department of Justice?

  31. Actually the definition is pretty easy:
    Anything the President of the opposing party does that you disagree with, even if your past President did the same thing.

  32. So the new plea of anyone accused of a Federal crime will be…

    “I’m actually planning to run for President next November, and this witch hunt run by the DOJ and AG at the direction of the President is an obvious attempt to discredit me.”

    1. Was the Department of Justice involved in the Ukraine investigation of the Bidens that Trump sought?

      1. So that’s the new talking point?

        1. It certainly seems to be.

          “Normal channels.”

          “Proper procedures.”

          It’s fucking bullshit. They’ve completely run out of substance so now they are pretending that Trump, the chief executive of the land, is absolutely bound to do things through the machinations of various federal agencies, otherwise everything he does is illegitimate and impeachable.

          “Well, he didn’t technically run the red light, but he did make a right, a left, and another left, and then went through the green light at the other end of the intersection. So, it’s basically the same, because, you know, he should have just sat there waiting for it to just turn green.”

          That’s basically the argument and it’s dumb as shit.

      2. “Was the Department of Justice involved in the Ukraine investigation of the Bidens that Trump sought?”

        By virtue of Trump mentioning in the 7/25 call that he would have AG Barr contact Ukraine, the answer is “Yes”.

        1. Did Trump of any of his White House staff work with Barr or the Department of Justice to open an investigation? Or was their involvement being mentioned in a phone call?

  33. “and a discredited theory that Ukraine engaged in widespread election interference to benefit 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.”

    Didn’t anyone tell you about an argument ad nauseam? Feel free to keep repeating this, but you’re wrong.

  34. Billy needs to check his anti-Trump bias. It’s obvious, and…
    If you have an obvious impeachable crime, which the dems state that they do, why do you need to put three extremely left wing, openly anti-Trump legal scholars at the hearing and then only allow the GOP a single scholar? If you had the goods on the president wouldn’t you want a fair hearing? 2 to 2?

    Answer: So CNN could run the headline that they had scholar’s concurrence on the basis for impeachment. That’s it, a left wing smear job with the media holding the left wing water.

    This has never been about the facts or evidence. It’s always been about the smear. Couldn’t touch Trump with the silly Russian allegations so now this which is nothing more than a staged political hit to appease the base and hopefully erode the presidents support going into 11/2020.
    Halt with the hatred, tribalism, and mental gymnastics for a moment. Clear your head and read the Jul 25 transcript. Do you see anything that has the president pitting aid against an investigation into Joe Biden? The president asked for a favor to look into possible corruption where there was an obvious conflict of interest?
    Bribery? Seriously?
    Ridiculous.

    1. Hit it out of the park….these nut jobs like red diaper baby Karlen..are the true threat to our liberty and have been since the 1930’s….bitter bitter people who hate our limited govt…bolsheviks is a better name for them..

      Reason really needs to get rid of the “cosmo” stuff and focus on America First Libertarianism…

  35. Are Democrats not investigating their political opponent for personal gain?

  36. Catholics allowed in that group or just bitter “the czar was a bad guy and American’s traditional limited govt and non interventionist foreign policy doesn’t fit in my socialist, secularist, and hyper identity politics types? Seriously if you had Nadler, Schiff and the rest were named Rizzuto, Martino…

    Trump is a loud mouth boorish President…but Karlan and the rest are threats to our liberty

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