Impeachment

The Impeachment End Game

Will we get to hear from the people in Trump's inner circle who might actually know whether he did or did not engage in impeachable misconduct?

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The question of whether we will hear testimony from any of the people in Trump's inner circle appears to have become the hinge on which the entire impeachment process is poised.

If you think about it, it is astonishing—bizarre, really—that we may well reach the end of this entire process without having heard from any of the people in a position to know the answer to the question: what was Trump doing, and why was he doing it?

There are two competing narratives regarding this question: the "Fighting Corruption" narrative and the "Digging Up Dirt" narrative.  In the former, he was doing what presidents often do: dangling a carrot or two (military assistance, a White House meeting) in front of a foreign leader in order to push that leader to take some steps that the president believes to be in the interest of the U.S. (fighting corruption, spending the money we give them judiciously). In the "Digging Up Dirt" narrative, he was dangling the carrots not to advance the interests of the U.S.—indeed, quite possibly in opposition to the national interest—but to inflict damage on his political opponents and thereby advance his own electoral prospects in 2020.

Most reasonable people, I think, would agree that Fighting Corruption is not an abuse of presidential power, but that Digging Up Dirt is. It follows that it is of exceeding importance that we find out which of the narratives is closer to the truth.

Now, let's pretend that we really and truly want to know which narrative is closer to the truth. If we really and truly want to know what the President was up to and why, we would surely want to hear from those in a position to provide evidence about that, evidence gleaned from their first-hand knowledge of the President's words and deeds. E.g., Messrs. Bolton, Pompeo, Mulvaney, and Giuliani. And, of course, from the President himself, under oath.

Yet here we are. If Mitch McConnell can hold the Senate Republicans together, we—and by "we" I mean the American people—will have heard from none of them, under oath, about any of this.

How we reached this ridiculous and sorry state of affairs goes something like this. The President publicly ordered his subordinates [here] "not to participate in [the House's] partisan and unconstitutional inquiry." Several senior Executive Branch officials publicly announced that they would obey that White House command, and that they would therefore not comply with any House requests (by subpoena or otherwise) for documents or live testimony, unless and until they were directed to do so by a final order of a federal court. House Democrats then made the decision not to take that question to the courts, on the stated ground that the process of obtaining a final judicial determination would take too long, and would push the hearings back into the midst of the 2020 election season.

I wasn't at all sure, at the time, that this was the right decision—at least, if "the right decision" means "the decision most likely to help resolve the question of what Trump did and why he did it"—and I'm still not sure. I'm not convinced that the process of obtaining a prompt judicial determination on the question of the validity of a House subpoena would necessarily have been so prolonged.  The President's legal position—that members of the Executive Branch are categorically immune from any compulsion to testify in an impeachment inquiry, at least whenever the President declares that proceeding "partisan and unconstitutional"—is very weak. It has virtually no support in the legal precedents (if you don't believe me, go back and read White House Counsel Cippolone's letter and find, if you can, the legal arguments contained therein); it is contrary to a number of Supreme Court precedents that, while not squarely on point, run in very much in spirit in the opposite direction; and it would, if accepted by the courts, effectively excise the impeachment remedy for presidential misconduct from the Constitution going forward, for without the ability to obtain testimony from those individuals carrying out a president's orders, how will we ever be able to obtain evidence of presidential misdeeds? I don't see why, in a case of great national importance where time is of the essence, the federal courts could not have disposed of the matter relatively quickly on an expedited basis without having to spend an inordinate amount of time resolving the question.

But that didn't happen, and it is, at this point, water under the bridge. The House Democrats made the decision to base their case on the evidence provided by more subordinate officials, individuals who were not in a particularly strong position to say what the President's involvement or motives might have been. That weakened, I think, the case against the President on Article I (though not Article II—see here). Without testimony from people interacting directly with the President on a daily basis, how can we possibly know what the President did and why he did it?  How can we choose between the two narratives? It's true that no "smoking gun" has been produced—but is that because Trump was Fighting Corruption and there is no smoking gun, or is it because he was Digging Up Dirt but the only people who were in a position to know that have not told us yet what they know?

The ball now is apparently about to move into the Senate's court. The Senate's Rules, assuming they use the Rules adopted for the Clinton trial, will permit, though they will not require, calling witnesses to testify.

If you were a Senator, and you actually wanted to get to the bottom of what happened, what's the argument for not seeking the testimony from Trump and those in his inner circle? Even if you currently believe the Fighting Corruption story—what reason would you have for not wanting to settle the matter and get the evidence that could well confirm that story and exculpate the President?

There is, I suppose, the "Nyah Nyah, you made your bed, now sleep in it" argument: "You, Democrats, had your chance, in the House hearings, to call all the witnesses you wanted to call, and you chose to build your impeachment case on the evidence you obtained thereby, and we're going to stick entirely to what you have come up with."

That's not the kind of argument, though, that you would expect from someone who really and truly wanted to know—and who thought it was important that we all know—what actually happened. And it does make one suspicious that Senators who take that position during the upcoming trial don't really and truly want to know what happened, does it not?

Moreover, circumstances have materially changed since the House hearings were held, so the "Nyah, Nyah" argument loses much of whatever force it may have had: John Bolton has announced that he has changed his position; whereas he had told the House that he would not comply with a House subpoena unless ordered by a court to do so, he is now "prepared to testify" if called before the Senate.

I want to hear what he has to say. Under oath, not just in his book.  I can't imagine anyone who genuinely wants to know whether Trump abused his power not wanting to hear what he has to say, under oath.

Co-blogger Keith Whittington posted a thoughtful essay here on the meaning of the special oath that Senators will take before the trial convenes, swearing to "do impartial justice" in impeachment proceedings. The duty to do "impartial justice," he writes,

… does not mean that Senators have to wait until the formal start of a trial to start assessing whether an officer has committed impeachable offenses or limit their deliberations to the specific evidence and arguments that the House managers and the counsel for the president might present on the Senate floor. It does not mean that they have to sit for the impeachment trial with an open mind and no prejudgments on the merits of the case. It does not mean that they have to refrain from making public statements about an officer's conduct.

But, he goes on, doing impartial justice surely does mean that senators "have a duty to conduct a trial that provides both sides an adequate opportunity to present their case, [and] a duty to consider the evidence and the legal arguments that are relevant to determining whether the president has committed an impeachable offense."  I know that justice is supposed to be blind, but it's not supposed to be willfully blind as to what actually happened.

It will only take four Republican Senators to do the right thing here; we'll see if they emerge from the Republican caucus. I hope they do.  Otherwise, a truly awful impeachment precedent will have been set, and it will come back to bite us in the ass in the future.  The President's strategy of total stonewalling will have prevailed, and any future president engaging in misconduct will surely forbid his associates from testifying as to his actions, thereby crippling our ability to uncover and punish it. Presidential impeachment—which, while flawed in many ways, has helped to keep most of the people we have elected as Chief Executive from doing truly awful things with the power we have placed in their hands—will no longer function as a deterrent to presidential misconduct.  Whatever you may think of the current charges against our current president, I don't think you should rejoice at that outcome.

 

NEXT: Neil Peart, Champion of Individualism

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  1. This strikes me as very similar to the Clinton impeachment. Very few Senators seemed to want to get to the bottom of where, and with what, Clinton touched Ms. Lewinsky.

    1. A consequence of the blackmail files Clinton accumulated during Filegate, and by his employing private investigators after Filegate was exposed. The “Ellen Rometsch strategy”, it was called.

      The House managers were too dirty to dare succeed against Clinton, as he demonstrated to Livingston. And Livingston was replaced with Dennis Hastert, who if anything was more easily blackmailed.

      And the Senators were too dirty to convict.

      1. Possibility. But that reads like a Jack Vance novel plot. I prefer to assume horses when I hear hooves, so the best explanation is that partisan is as partisan does. Dems were never going to convict Bill Clinton for anything, even when he admitted to lying under oath.

        1. that reads like a Jack Vance novel plot.

          I’m not familiar with Vance, but if that’s his typical plot I think I’ll leave it that way.

          1. Well, just think of any political thriller author, or for that matter some of the movies these days, and the shoe fits.

          2. I highly recommend Vance’s fantasy novels. The Dying Earth series is a real gem.

            1. Dying Earth is fantastic. Other favorites are the Demon Princes novels ande “Galactic Effectuator” stories. Besides Vance’s dry wit, he had an uncanny way of quickly sketching completely alien societies based on different ethics and values. Until now (just looked him up) didn’t realize he also wrote mysteries. Won both an Edgar and uncountable SF awards. I’m going to find some of his mysteries.

        2. Well, Filegate isn’t speculation, Clinton’s hiring of PIs after Filegate was exposed isn’t speculation, Livingston being taken down by the exposure of the sort of dirt that Filegate could have provided isn’t speculation, and Hastert being eminently blackmailable isn’t speculation.

          But I suppose there could be some other reason the House managers suddenly dropped most of the charges and went straight to a trial after winning a House vote to thoroughly investigate all potential charges. I’m open to suggestions.

      2. “A consequence of the blackmail files Clinton accumulated during Filegate, and by his employing private investigators after Filegate was exposed. The ‘Ellen Rometsch strategy’, it was called.”

        And, for people who DON’T go into conspiracy theories, there was the fact that, while they really, REALLY wanted him convicted, the people who wanted Clinton impeached were a minority of the voting population. We’d mostly decided that having sex with a woman who wasn’t your wife doesn’t disqualify you from being President, and lying about having sex with a woman who wan’t your wife, wasn’t, either. Now, lying under oath about it deserved some kind of sanction, but wasn’t disqualifying either.

        The D’s didn’t even bother to consider impeachment over Mr. Trump’s covering up the fact that (gasp) he might’ve had sex with a woman who wasn’t his wife.

    2. Well, there is a difference. All the boxes of evidence that were sealed up for 50 years. Actual proof of perjury for which he surrendered his law license. Things like that. But otherwise, it’s very similar. I mean, with Trump, we have – no boxes evidence, and the only thing hidden is the PROOF that various Democrats like Adam Schiff have sworn they’ve seen PROVING collusion. They have the evidence, the Democrats voted for impeachment. Just show it. I mean, why would they vote to impeach a POTUS without, like, you know, actual proof and evidence?

    3. If, as in the Clinton impeachment, a majority of the Senate has decided that the allegations, even if true, do not warrant removal from office then there is nothing untoward about the Senate, after the House Managers make their opening statement, then dismiss the impeachment.

      It’s quite common in criminal trials for the defense to ask for dismissal after opening arguments because they don’t think the facts as alleged by the prosecution fit the definition of the alleged crime.

      1. And that is exactly what the Senate should do.

  2. Senators aren’t morally required to say “the President is guilty of what the house accused him of doing, therefore I must vote to remove him from office”. They can and should be asking “should a sitting president be removed for the conduct accused by the House?”

    Otherwise the House could impeach for jaywalking and the senate would have to go along.

    I honestly think the Democrats would have gotten better political traction from treating this as the ordinary political scandal it is rather than grasping at impeachment at the first excuse.

    1. You seem to be arguing only two possibilities, that the Senate has to convict if the House impeaches, or that the Senate has to acquit. Almost as if you think the Senate is a jury which is supposed to weigh only the evidence collected during the House impeachment hearings.

      The Senate is the trial. They can collect their own evidence, they can ignore the House’s evidence, they can do whatever they want.

      1. I don’t think the Senate is a jury; I’m rejecting Post’s implicit assumption that it is a jury, to use your terms.

        I’m saying the senators should not feel obligated to remove a president just because he is guilty of some offense that does not warrant removing a president.

        1. So you’re saying the Senate is a jury, and that they should remember that they can nullify.

          1. The Senate is a jury, but they aren’t holding a criminal trial.

          2. The Senate isn’t quite like a jury, an impeachment trial is more like a bench trial with a panel of 50. The senators have the responsibility to answer questions of fact and of law; the Chief Justice may make initial rulings, but the members get the final say.

            1. 50? make that 100. Good thing nobody’s reading this anymore.

    2. I agree that Post’s post depends on this: whatever is proven must be an impeachable offence. But I don’t understand “the ordinary political scandal” conclusion. Does this mean everything that is alleged is “scandalous”? Or that it is “unimpeachable” politics? I think the public would be less exercised if Congress concluded that impeachment is unwarranted but this must never happen again, than if it was told it was tantamount to jaywalking. Surely *that* case has never been made, and is unlikely to be accepted by the public. Which is why we find a temptation to continue to dangle evidentiary doubt.

      1. “I think the public would be less exercised if Congress concluded that impeachment is unwarranted but this must never happen again, than if it was told it was tantamount to jaywalking. ”

        I’m quite certain that at least part of the public would be outraged if they were told, “Look, nothing that happened here is particularly unusual or awful.”, but that’s because they’ve been drinking the Koolaid for three years straight, and Trump being innocent of something is just unpossible from their perspective.

        1. “I’m quite certain that at least part of the public would be outraged if […]”

          You’re absolutely correct, regardless of how you choose to end this sentence.

  3. The basic problem here is that Trump’s interests and the interests of the Senators are divergent.

    Not necessarily in the sense of guilty party vs impartial seekers of truth, though.

    A case can be made for no witnesses. A case can be made for both the prosecution and defense calling witnesses. Letting one but not the other call witnesses would be blatant injustice.

    The most obvious way for Trump to demonstrate his innocence, as you don’t state, but the implication is clear, is for him to demonstrate Biden’s guilt. That he was seeking to expose corruption becomes much more plausible if he can demonstrate there was corruption to be exposed.

    If allowed to call witnesses, this is what he will be attempting to do: Indict Biden, and quite possibly a number of other prominent political figures who are implicated in Burisma’s corruption.

    This is where the interests of Trump and the Senators diverge. Trump is already indicted, accused, and proving his innocence, or at least making it plausible enough to destroy the case against him, is a clear goal.

    The Senators are not yet accused. But Trump’s defense could change that. Both directly in the case of Senators involved with Burisma, and indirectly in the case of Senators whose own crimes might be exposed in retaliation for exposing Senators’ Burisma connections.

    The interest of the Senators lies in preventing this from happening. This is why they want no witnesses. No witnesses means their own corruption goes unexposed.

    1. The most obvious way for Trump to demonstrate his innocence, as you don’t state, but the implication is clear, is for him to demonstrate Biden’s guilt.

      No. The most obvious way is to present testimony from Bolton, Giuliani, et al. he won’t do that, because it would demonstrate his guilt.

      Let him call Biden. All the Republicans will do is yell at Hunter Biden for taking the job, and point out that he really had no relevant expertise, etc. Then what? Joe Biden getting the other prosecutor fired to get Hunter the job really doesn’t compute. except in right-wing noise machine logic.

      The interest of the Senators lies in preventing this from happening. This is why they want no witnesses. No witnesses means their own corruption goes unexposed.

      The interests of the Republican Senators are to kiss Trump’s ass so they don’t get primaried. It’s not nearly as devious as you claim.

      1. In this case the objective actions alleged happen to be legal, and only the motivation could make them criminal. Can Bolton testify as to Trump’s motivations? He can certainly speculate about them.

        Here’s the thing: If witnesses are permitted, it won’t be the prosecution selecting the defense witnesses. It will be the defense.

        1. The bernard’s and Post’s of the world don’t get that….yet. They will in about a week and a half. I guarantee they’ll squeal like stuck pigs.

        2. Bolton, and Mulvaney, and Giuliani, can tell us what Trump said to them, and possibly provide documentary support.

          That’s more than speculation.

          1. Right, and immediately after they do that, you can claim that Trump’s statements were just a transparent pretext for his real motives.

          2. Technically true. However your belief that their testimony will go against Trump if it happens is pure speculation.

            1. Matthew, it’s speculation, no doubt.

              But given how hard Trump is fighting to stop it, I think the odds are on my side. I’d risk it.

              Brett,

              Right, and immediately after they do that, you can claim that Trump’s statements were just a transparent pretext for his real motives.

              I don’t think you should be accusing people of making fantastical claims. You’re pretty much the VC champion of that game.

              1. Bernard,

                If there was solid proof, it would’ve come out by now.

                1. This is risible since the President has prohibited those closest to the conversation from testifying.

                  1. If there was solid proof, there would’ve been some sort of leak by now.

                    There’s nothing there.

                  2. Nice try…It was the job of the House to litigate their subpoenas through the Courts. They deliberately chose not to. Sort of like a lawyer who strategically chooses not to file a motion, and then it blows up on them.

                  3. Why does the President not have the same right to argue before any court that he legal reasons for withholding testimony? Similar actions happen every day involving ordinary people.

                    What does the House have the right to impose conditions on how the Senate is to conduct a trial?

                2. Trump´s shutting down the availability of witness testimony gives rise to an inference that the testimony would be unfavorable to Trump. Let´s allow the House managers to call whom they will, with the President´s defense team also permitted to call whom they will in exculpation. IOW, let´s have a search for truth.

                  1. The time for a “search for the truth” was during the House investigation. The House had all the “truth” it needed to impeach. Now is time for the trial and evaluation of the evidence, such as it is, that was uncovered.

                    1. So in your view, trials are not meant to determine truth.

                      You aren’t even an “armchair” lawyer, because that’s raw stupidity that you’re peddling.

                      You’re in favor of a cover-up, but you don’t have the testicular fortitude to admit it.

                3. What NToJ said.

                  Besides, why rely on hypothetical leaks when we can get the straight scoop directly?

                  You guys are really getting desperate. Your arguments get worse by the hour.

                  1. The leftist guilty until proven innocent offense.

                  2. “Hypothetical leaks”.

                    Seriously? The Trump administration has leaked worse than any administration since…ever. If there was something serious, you’d know by now. You think Trump is somehow running a super-tight ship where there aren’t any leaks?

                    “When we can get the straight scoop directly”
                    1. You had the straight scoop. Trump released it, almost immediately.
                    2. You won’t believe testimony that comes out contrary to what your preexisting beliefs anyway.
                    3. Enough is enough. It’s not “testimony”, it’s always something new, another “investigation” on some vaguely illegal pretext to start to spin away.

        3. “Can Bolton testify as to Trump’s motivations” — Trump’s choice of point man speaks louder than Bolton ever could. Trump used the lawyer hired by Trump to represent only Trump, not the lawyer confirmed by the Senate to represent the United States.

          1. I would note that Trump was also defending himself against the Russian Collusion Delusion at the time Guilliani started working as his lawyer as he was not allowed to use the WH attorney. Hence the reason Guilliani was collecting evidence as opposed to the #ChickenSchiff led House Intel Committee which was manufacturing evidence on 2nd, 3rd, etc. hand gossip.

        4. ” If witnesses are permitted, it won’t be the prosecution selecting the defense witnesses. It will be the defense.”

          The thing is, Mr. Trump is inept, and insists on being the smartest guy in the room, which prevents him from hiring anybody more qualified than he is. So when his lawyer is selecting from the possible witnesses, there isn’t a winner among them, including the lawyer himself. So bring them on. There’s a reason the Senators don’t want to hear from witnesses from EITHER side…

    2. If Trump’s past actions, both in government and in private business, are any indication then the notion that he is interested in fighting corruption is laughable. At what point do Trump’s supporters acknowledge this, either publicly or to themselves quietly?

      I’ve never seen anything like this.

      1. You’ve never seen desperate, credulous people — those who have lost the culture war for example, and are either clutching at last-gasp straws to remain relevant or resentfully aiming a brick at a window of the winners — attempt to defend the indefensible in a manner that seems daft to others?

        1. I guess I have but there’s still a part of me that wishes they would acknowledge that the world is round and the sky is blue. I suppose this is the inevitable development of a socialization process but it’s unfortunate to say the least and it still surprises me. Oh well.

          1. People who have stuck with dying industries and declining communities against all odds?

            Birthers?

            People who chose quick pocket money over education?

            People who claim Donald Trump is a better president than George Washington, both Roosevelts, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln?

            People who fund televangelists, prosperity preachers, and faith healers?

            People who chanted “lock her up?”

            People who fight to keep creationism in science classrooms?

            People who believed a president could or would rework economic fundamentals to enable unskilled, uneducated white guys in can’t-keep-up towns to prosper — not only to prosper, but to do so at the expense of the marketably skilled, properly educated “elites” in modern, successful communities they resent?

            People who believed coal was coming back?

            People who believe a wall should be built, would be built, and would be funded by Mexico?

            People who see street pills, bigotry, disability claims, tobacco, lottery tickets, off-brand energy drinks, lottery tickets, superstition, and Donald J. Trump as solutions to their problems?

            These are the people whose poor conduct, judgment, and character still surprises you?

        2. yeah, I have. I read you all the time.

      2. The fact Trump is not known as a corruption fighter doesn’t mean he would not be very interested in exposing the Biden’s family corruption. After all he did seem interested in exposing Hillary’s exposing classified document corruption.

        Just because it’s selective doesn’t mean the corruption isn’t real. Post should also acknowledge there is a pretty fine line between digging up dirt and fighting corruption. If the dirt is real then that is fighting corruption, even if it benefits Trump to have it disclosed. It benefits the public too.

        1. As Mitt Romney tweeted:

          When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China’s investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated.

          1. Yet y’all had no problem with Obama admin spying and lying to FISC about the opposition party candidate!!!

            1. Read the IG report, Flame. Not spying, not lying.

              1. Are you sure you read the same report? They falsified documents. They told the FISA court that one of Steele’s sources seemed credible, and omitted that the source had said Steele was full of it.

                They absolutely lied, and insisting that surveillance isn’t spying because, reasons, just makes you look stupid.

                1. No, “they” did not falsify “documents.” One person (allegedly) falsified one document.

                  And that didn’t even happen until the third renewal of the FISA warrant application, so it obviously did not have much impact.

            2. Also, Obummy weaponized the IRS against his political opponents’ supporters & also Obummy’s FBI & DOJ went after Manafort when it appeared that he was going to work for Trump!

              1. If you think Mr. O “weaponized the IRS against his political opponents”, what was it that Mr. N got up to with the IRS re: political opponents?

    3. Letting one but not the other call witnesses would be blatant injustice.

      aka “The House Impeachment Hearings”

      1. “Letting one but not the other call witnesses would be blatant injustice.”

        The House invited Trump to come and participate in the hearings. Who was it that said nobody was allowed to participate in them?

    4. “A case can be made for no witnesses.”

      Not one which is at all consistent with senators’ duty to impartially determine whether an offense worthy of kicking the President out of office occurred.

      1. Either the House has the evidence to support its impeachment vote or it doesn’t. No different than than a prosecutor bringing an indictment then expecting the Judge and Jury to call additional witnesses to support the prosecution.

        1. Another dumb talking point you don’t understand. An indictment happens before a trial. Once a trial starts, then the prosecution does indeed call witnesses to testify. In this case, the trial hasn’t started yet. So it’s not “additional” witnesses — just witnesses.

          To the extent we make criminal trial analogies, the House managers are the prosecutors, and they’re the ones who want to call witnesses.

    5. “The basic problem here is that Trump’s interests and the interests of the Senators are divergent.”

      That’s somewhat dependent on the level of support for trump in their respective states and whether or not their seat is up for election/re-election in 2020. Since Senators don’t have the benefit of gerrymandered districts, and even the incumbents in “safe” states could be challenged in the primaries (where a small number or motivated voters can make a bigger difference), some of them could definitely be afraid to push back on trump even if they personally want him gone.

      It definitely seems like the bulk of the “never-trump” voices in the GOP have either retired, left the party, or recanted when faced with the threat of a primary challenger to their incumbency, and it seems like that wouldn’t be the case with a President lacking in solid public support. Unless the Dems (and their MSM proxies) figure out at some point that vilifying ideas dissenting from their own galvanizes a lot more people who don’t much like the man into being willing to vote against his opponents (which it currently seems they’re more interesting in doubling-down on) as a means of self-preservation, I’d think it’s possible that trump could actually be removed from office via impeachment and still win re-election (via electoral victory since the dynamics of CA make a popular vote win for any non-Dem unlikely) in 2020 if he’s not DQ’ed from future office as well.

    6. “The most obvious way for Trump to demonstrate his innocence, as you don’t state, but the implication is clear, is for him to demonstrate Biden’s guilt. That he was seeking to expose corruption becomes much more plausible if he can demonstrate there was corruption to be exposed.”

      That exposes the catch 22 and the illogical agrument for Trump’s abuse of power.

      Exposing corruption is a valid exercise of presidential powers.
      Using presidential powers to expose dig up dirt on a political opponent is not a valid exercise of presidential powers. The logic of which makes Biden immune from investigation.

      1. Using presidential powers to expose the corruption of a political opponent is valid. Using those powers to expose the corruption of only political opponents is not valid. Nor is using your personal attorney to co-opt official channels valid.

    7. “The most obvious way for Trump to demonstrate his innocence, as you don’t state, but the implication is clear, is for him to demonstrate Biden’s guilt. ”

      In the sense that Biden’s guilt (or innocence) has absolutely no bearing on Trump’s guilt (or innocence). It’s almost like they’re two entirely different people.

      If that’s too complicated for you, try this: If Biden is dirty… if all the links are in place, and the corrupt Ukrainians put the corrupt son of the corrupt (former) VP in a do-nothing job in order to influence Biden, Sr…. what did they get for their money? What acts did Biden do at their behest? To the best of my knowledge, literally nobody has come forward with an answer to that question, yet.

  4. It only takes four Republican senators to do the right thing, and it only takes seven numbers to win Powerball, and both are equally likely.

    If I were the Chief Justice, I would seriously consider calling up McConnell and telling him, “Mitch, I’m not going to preside over a charade. If you want to have a trial, fine, have a trial. Otherwise, I’ll send Clarence Thomas.” Maybe that would induce the Senate Republicans to do the right thing.

    1. The “right thing” is to bury this stupid proceeding as quickly as possible.

      1. Bob is right.

        1. I agree….Bob is right and we should get this sorry episode behind us. And hope and pray the permanent damage done to our country is not too great.

          1. What permanent damage do you surmise has been inflicted (especially if you accept that everything alleged occurred, but it was all inconsequential)?

            1. The damage isn’t from Trump’s actions, but Pelosi’s. Impeachment has now been downgraded to a political tactic.

              1. Brett sez:
                “Impeachment has now been downgraded to a political tactic.”

                Which causes me to respond:
                That just happened now? Where were you in the late 90’s? Coma?

            2. The permanent damage is normalizing the very thing that we avoided when the Senate refused to through Samuel Chase out of office under the Jefferson administration. Impeachment must be for crimes, not disagreement. Not trumped-up charges against relatively normal behavior. Once that seal is broken, it will not be able to be repaired again.

              Think about it. Whatever Trump’s motivation, he is getting impeached for investigating corruption. Do you want that precedent?

              1. Chase should have been removed.

                Pour encourager les autres.

              2. Thank you. The real damage to the Constitution isn’t this sorry incident, but the past 3 years of the Democrats going through issue after issue looking for something to tag him with.

                To paraphrase the Onion article from before the election, “Surely this will get him impeached,” says increasingly nervous man for 7th time.

                I don’t even support him, but I won’t crap on the Constitution for political expediency. Future generations that rely on it, too, look at us, ashamed.

                1. But you’re ok with the Constitution being crapped on, provided it’s a GOP member who does it.

                  Thanks for clearing that right up for us all.

              3. Think about it. Whatever Trump’s motivation, he is getting impeached for investigating corruption. Do you want that precedent?

                No. Trump did not investigate corruption. Whatever his motivation, he refused to investigate corruption, and instead secretly asked some foreign government to announce that it was investigating corruption, and then abandoned that request when it was exposed.

                1. Funny thing for this devoted corruption-fighter… he hasn’t asked his own government’s law-enforcement agencies to investigate any of this corruption. Wonder why that is?

      2. The problem with “burying this stupid proceeding,” even if I agree with you that it’s a stupid proceeding, is that not having a trial, complete with witnesses, will forever look like a cover up. If it really is a stupid proceeding, having a full trial will bear that out.

        1. So you expect the Judge and Jury to call witnesses?
          IIUC that is not how our legal system works.

          Just admit it, the House Progressive Dems screwed the pooch by not fighting in court for the witnesses they wanted. This is no different than a prosecutor filing an indictment then expecting the Judge and Jury to call witnesses to support his failed case.

          1. So you expect the Judge and Jury to call witnesses?
            IIUC that is not how our legal system works.

            No, you don’t “UC” (i.e., “understand correctly”). See David Nieporent’s response to your virtually identical comment above.

          2. “So you expect the Judge and Jury to call witnesses?
            IIUC that is not how our legal system works.”

            In today’s lesson, we learn that our legal system works over in the Courts, whereas this trial is in the Senate. These are held in totally different buildings.

    2. It takes a lot more than 4. In fact, you need 2/3rds to remove:

      “And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.” (Art I, Sec 3, Cl 6).

      1. He means four Republican Senators voting with the Democrats to give the Democrats control over the rules.

        1. That’s asking for a lot given a roaring economy, and with the base Tea Party sentiment still alive and very well — that the Republicans go along with the Democrats too much.

          1. Eh, there’s not doubt that plenty of Republican Senators personally despise Trump, the only question is whether they think voting with the Democrats politically survivable. The ones who were willing to end their political careers to hurt Trump are already gone.

            1. Is it asking to much to ask Republicans to look to what’s best for our nation, and even their own party, while deciding how they should proceed.

              Never mind. Of course it is.

      2. “It takes a lot more than 4. In fact, you need 2/3rds to remove:”

        It doesn’t take any, if you’re willing to wait until next January.

  5. “while not squarely on point, run in very much in spirit ”

    Spirit of the law!

    We are at the banging of the table phase now.

    Worst Post ever!

  6. Dispositive fact: Trump’s private lawyer (Giuliani) ran everything, while our public lawyer (Attorney General) knew nothing. This means Trump’s pursuit was private, not public.

      1. Giuliani’s client is Trump, Barr’s client is the United States. Trump’s choice of Giuliani over Barr shows Trump was advancing the interests of Giuliani’s client, not Barr’s.

    1. “This means Trump’s pursuit was private, not public.”

      The President can use whomever he wants to conduct foreign relations.

      1. It is, in fact, fairly routine for Presidents to send “private envoys” to do sensitive diplomacy.

        1. Yes. But can you come up with an example of a president doing this and ALSO–later on–having that president and/or envoy claim Attorney-Client privilege? I can’t.

          So far, Trump and Rudy are trying to have it both ways. (And succeeding, with Republicans without integrity.) Saying, “Rudy was doing official state business and not doing private legal work for me.” And also, “Rudy was acting as my personal lawyer, so atty-client privilege applies.”

          I am surprised that so many people who would otherwise support Trump do not have the basic integrity to say (at least to themselves), “Yeah, that really bothers me.”

          If President Obama (or President Hillary Clinton, or President Biden) were to do this, reflexive Trump supporters would, methinks, be screaming bloody murder. And that outrage would lead off all of Fox News’s evening shows for the next 12 months.

          1. In today’s Parnas document dump, Trump expressly was representing to Zelensky that he was representing Trump only in his personal capacity.

            1. David, what the fuck are you doing?

              Everyone knows that people aren’t allowed to talk about evidence demonstrating Trump’s guilt until an excuse has been conjured up, or he’s assassinated someone else to distract the country from his other crimes.

      2. “The President can use whomever he wants to conduct foreign relations.” — then what’s the point of the Senate confirmation requirement for ambassadors and top officials? What’s the use of the Senate confirming an Attorney General to manage investigations for the U.S., if the president can just outsource that work to whomever he wants?

        1. You can indeed ask that, but private envoys are still an established practice.

          And particularly unsurprising for a President faced with a hostile diplomatic corps.

          1. “private envoys are still an established practice” — for things like North Korea, where official channels don’t exist. What are examples of using private envoys to _bypass_ Senate-confirmed officials?

            And William Barr was appointed by Trump and hardly hostile. How is it “established practice” for presidents to bypass the AG on investigations of Americans? What would be the purpose? (Other than to stop the Senate-confirmed AG from acting as a check against improper requests.)

          2. “private envoys are still an established practice.”

            When one is conducting private business? Agreed, private envoys are indeed a well-established practice.

        2. “what’s the point of the Senate confirmation requirement for ambassadors and top officials? ”

          No point. Its just habit now.

          1. I disagree — I think the Senate confirmation requirement is a key check on the president. The Senate can insist on confirming only people who will refuse to follow improper orders if the president issues such. The Constitution says the president shall “take care” laws get executed by Senate-confirmed officials, not execute laws single-handedly by himself. This creates a check against improper acts by presidents.

            1. You are imagining how the senate actually functions.

              Everybody gets confirmed except when some controversy erupts. Its a rubber stamp for executive positions.

              Do you imagine people would actually answer “No” to “will you refuse to obey an illegal order”? Its the most softball of softball questions.

              1. This may come as a shock to Trumpkins, but some people take their oaths seriously, Bob.

                Richardson and Ruckleshaus acknowledged that Nixon had the right to order Cox’s firing. They refused to do so, and resigned instead, because they had promised the Senate during their confirmation hearings that they would not interfere with Cox.

                1. I’m not sure how much if any of that ethos survives. Bob’s brand of ends>means nihilism seems to be the 2020 GOP’s organizing principle.

              2. “Everybody gets confirmed except when some controversy erupts. Its a rubber stamp for executive positions.”

                Just ask Supreme Court Justice Merrick Garland.

    2. Dispositive fact: Trump was not allowed to use WH lawyer nor AG against the Russian Collusion Delusion. Guiliani was hired as his defense attorney so of course he would be gathering evidence in defense of his client.

      We shouldn’t forget that the Obama admin was spying on the opposition party candidate and campaign. Not to mention lying to FISC to cover their criminal actions!!!

      1. The impeachment articles notoriously have nothing to do with the Mueller report.

        Giuliani being involved in this separate arena is circumstantial evidence that Trump knew the stuff – stuff he’s about to be impeached about – wasn’t above board.

        And the IG report very much explodes your spying narrative. And your spinning off to criminal actions is just crazytown.

        1. The impeachment articles notoriously have nothing to do with the Mueller report.

          Exactly. Even if they were interested in a legitimate investigation of Biden, how would investigating Biden have defended Trump against the Russia investigation?

          1. “Even if they were interested in a legitimate investigation of Biden, how would investigating Biden have defended Trump against the Russia investigation?”

            Everyone knows that “but they do it, too!” is a complete and total defense for any wrongdoing.

        2. Crazytown is you thinking that the IG report is good news for your side. The whole predicate for the spying was a sham, including the forged document to push the idea that Carter Page was a Russian asset and not a CIA asset, and the lie about the sub-source for the Steele dossier being reliable, and somehow neglecting to say that the reliable source said it was crap. Also planting a news story and then using it to bolster the reliability of the SD was cute. And the list of goes on from there. But David says it wasn’t important because it was just one teeny forgery and besides shut up.

          Giuliani being involved in the Zelensky business isn’t circumstantial evidence that Trump knew what he was doing was wrong. If so why would Trump release the transcript of the phone call clearly indicating Rudy’s involvement?

  7. So what if Trump withheld foreign aid to dig up dirt on Joe Biden?

    1. So what Trump withheld foreign aid until Ukraine transferred $1 billion into his personal bank account?

      1. Sure, let’s replace exposing somebody else’s corruption with being corrupt himself. That’s a reasonable analogy.

        1. Brett,

          Your entire view is that it is plain Biden was corrupt, and Trump was engaged in a good faith effort to investigate the matter.

          That’s delusional.

          1. If Trump didn’t believe that Biden was corrupt, it wouldn’t make much sense for him to lean on Zelenski to do an investigation that would exonerate Biden, would it?

            1. They’ve already got that covered. Supposedly Trump was only asking for Ukraine to announce an investigation, not conduct one. That’s their position, anyway, and I expect them to stick to it.

              1. I don’t mind clingers relying on the credibility, insights, and integrity of Donald J. Trump — it will hasten their demise in the culture war. It can be aggravating in the short term, but the long-term benefit will be important.

                1. A visit from your alter ego is needed.

                  1. Perhaps the Volokh Conspiracy Board of Censorship banned that guy, in a rare display of consistency.

                    1. Um no, he made an appearance. Perfectly represented you. 🙂

                    2. So much for the thought that the Volokh Conspiracy does not engage in viewpoint-controlled censorship.

                    3. Poor Reverend….always quick to malign and demean others. Sort of sucks when someone (not me) does it to you. Clingers just gotta cling, I guess. 🙂

                    4. I do not consider being called a modern, educated, tolerant, reasoning “elite” to be demeaning.

                    5. I saw your alter egos (now plural) posting here today. They do indeed represent you perfectly.

                    6. Bigoted clingers dislike me. It is a burden I accept.

              2. Well, we know for a fact that he was asking Ukraine to announce the investigation. Whether he was only asking for that is less clear — something, again, that more testimony would help reveal.

                But even if Trump was asking for an investigation, why do you think he thought it would have cleared Biden? Trump supposedly thought Ukraine was totally corrupt. Why would an investigation by totally corrupt people come out accurately/honestly?

              3. First, that’s what the House testimony suggests.

                Second, if Trump really wanted an investigation of possible wrongdoing by an American citizen he could, and should, have referred the matter to the DOJ.

                That he didn’t tells you a lot, if you’ll listen.

                1. How is the DOJ supposed to investigate the dealings of a Ukraine based companies dealings in Ukraine?

                  1. https://www.justice.gov/criminal-oia : the DOJ can officially request that Ukraine investigate something we need investigated. Zelensky _asked_ for such an official request from the United States DOJ; none came. The only request was from Giuliani, who represents Trump the private individual — not the U.S. — so the only request made was on behalf of Trump the private individual.

              4. “That’s their position, anyway, and I expect them to stick to it.”

                FYI, if your position is based on facts, you don’t have to keep changing it.

            2. “If Trump didn’t believe that Biden was corrupt, it wouldn’t make much sense for him to lean on Zelenski to do an investigation that would exonerate Biden” — to _announce_ an investigation can do damage regardless of investigation result. See Comey 2016.

          2. My view is that it is plain that Hunter Biden was corrupt, it is plausible that Joe Biden was corrupt, and it is possible that Trump was engaged in a good faith effort to investigate the matter.

            If he can move the needle from “possible” to “plausible”, he wins. He doesn’t have to go all the way to “plain”, even Trump gets the presumption of innocence.

            1. In what way was Hunter corrupt? (I mean; it’s totally sleazy that he got this cushy job, based totally on him being the son of VP Biden. But if that sort of thing is “corrupt” in the sense I think you mean it; it means that hundreds of thousands of Americans are corrupt. My friend from law school got her first law job at her dad’s company, in spite of middling grades, and a total lack of interest in actually practicing law. Was that corrupt?)

              And I do not think you are using English correctly when you say that it’s plausible that Joe was corrupt. There was zero evidence of corruption at the time, zero Republicans expressed the tinniest bit of concern about Joe’s actions at the time, Fox News expressed zero concern about Joe’s actions at the time, etc..

              It is, of course, *possible* that Joe was corrupt. But that’s only in the existential sense, similarly to how it’s possible that your most recent post was corrupt, Marco Rubio’s last vote in Congress was corrupt, the last Oscars win for Best Director was corrupt, and so on. That fact that something is *possible* is sort of meaningless. The cops caught you with a smoking gun in your hand, seconds after hearing you fight with your ex-wife, with your ex lying dead in the street. Is it *possible* that you were framed? Sure, in the sense that one cannot rule out a complex set of ridiculous facts. But it’s sort of silly–and intellectually dishonest–to hang your hate on that premise. It’s why MSNBC does not go around claiming, “Well, it’s possible that Donald Trump possibly murdered Justice Scalia?” Was it possible? Sure, technically. But people who do say these things end up looking like complete fools or whores. (Examples like Trump claiming 5,000,000 fraudulent votes in 2016 none-withstanding.)

              1. Your friend’s father presumably had some interest in her wellbeing which motivated his employing her (in spite of middling grades and a total lack of interest in actually practicing the law.)

                The Ukraine’s most corrupt oligarch did not likely have any similar interest in Hunter Biden’s wellbeing. It is *plainly* Hunter Biden’s connection to the then VPOTUS that motivated Zlochevsky to employ him while his father was the White House’s point man on Ukraine (in spite of Biden’s lack of qualification, knowledge, or experience.) Absent some other explanation, a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch’s reason for so richly compensating someone with influence over the White House’s point man on Ukraine is *plainly* the obvious quid pro quo established.

                As to Joe: that he might be corrupt was plausible enough for senior White House advisors to voice concern over the arrangement. That other swamp dwellers and Fox News did not harass Biden over his son’s dealings at the time shows at most that they are opportunistic rather than principled (this should come as news to no one), not that no reasonable man would infer corruption from the entanglements.

            2. “it is possible that Trump was engaged in a good faith effort to investigate” — if his effort was on behalf of the United States and not himself, why did he have the lawyer for himself and not the lawyer for the United States run it? President must “take care” that laws be executed, not execute them himself. He must go through Senate-confirmed officers, so that they can be the Senate’s check on the president. How can flouting that fundamental check be “good faith”?

              1. Because he, with cause, does not trust the career state department.

                1. AG Barr isn’t “career state department”, he’s a Trump appointee. Try again: why bypass AG Barr? Normal way to request investigations that are in the U.S. interest is through the U.S. Attorney General, who can then officially request foreign help.

            3. ” it is plain that Hunter Biden was corrupt, it is plausible that Joe Biden was corrupt” — then what stopped the FBI from investigating and prosecuting them?

              1. Sheesh, after the IG report on the FISA warrant scandal, you have to ask that? The G men are corrupt, too.

                The FISA court, too, obviously: They picked a guy notorious for denying the FISA abuses were real to handle reforming the FBI’s FISA processes. That’s like hiring Bonnie to reform Clyde.

            4. “My view is that it is plain that Hunter Biden was corrupt, it is plausible that Joe Biden was corrupt, and it is possible that Trump was engaged in a good faith effort to investigate the matter. ”

              Fair enough.
              What’s your assessment of Mr. Trump’s ability to 1) select a defense, 2) get it out, and 3) stick to it, without lying? You’re focusing on whether or not he can get anyone, or enough anyones, to believe what he says.

          3. Bernard, you are the one who is delusional, for apparently believing that it’s not obvious that Biden was (is!) corrupt. Holy cow, what more do you need to see or know? Maybe Biden publicly declaring he had the investigator fired for looking into Burisma? Hunter’s pay stubs? Wow.

            1. Are you so delusional that you do not remember that what Biden actually did was much closer to pushing for the investigator to be fired for NOT INVESTIGATING BURISMA (and other companies)?

              If Joe had been corrupt, and if Hunter’s gig was illegal (as opposed to merely being sleazy), Biden would have pushed for this corrupt investigator to be *KEPT ON*, as that would best-ensure that Hunter would remain untouched?

              Is this a logic fail on your part? Or is there a more sinister explanation? [cue ominous music]

              1. santamonica811,

                ThePublius is not to be taken seriously. He’s one of the many here who just spew Fox talking points, because they lack the intelligence needed to question them.

              2. That’s not what the prosecutor says. The prosecutor says he was going to pull Hunter in for an interrogation based on Burisma.

                Then quickly he was pressured and fired….and the investigation into Burisma stopped.

                1. Ha! Ha! and the Donald told you that he would bring coal back. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you cheap. Whatever you SAY man!

                2. All Western lenders wanted that prosecutor fired. They’d lose billions if corruption went up. If firing him enabled corruption, why did they want him fired?

          4. It doesn’t have to be good faith. Transparent democracy has the beautiful effect of turning selfish desires into public good. Let me explain. Trump wanted Biden investigated and arrested for several reasons
            1: Personal revenge on the Obama administration for investigating him and his people for so many years.
            2: Disgracing Biden so he won’t have a chance in the election
            3: Looking good for the populace
            4: Getting rid of corruption for the principle of it.
            5: Fulfilling campaign promises (draining the swamp)

            These motivations range from noble to petty, and I can say with confidence that all had a part in his decision. However, does it really matter which was the dominant reason? The actions were the same in any case. Investigate a case where Biden’s actions were clearly at least questionable.

            It seems that Trump’s interests and America’s interests were aligned in thoroughly investigating the Burisma incident.

            1. “Trump’s interests and America’s interests were aligned in thoroughly investigating” — the Senate confirmed Attorney General William Barr to decide which investigations (and announcements of investigations) are in America’s interest. Investigations not approved by the U.S. Attorney General are by definition not in U.S. interest. Trump was free to fire Barr and ask the Senate to confirm Giuliani to the post. But he can’t just bypass the Senate’s choice and still claim to be acting in U.S. interest.

              1. “the Senate confirmed Attorney General William Barr to decide which investigations (and announcements of investigations) are in America’s interest. ”

                You seem to rather comprehensively misunderstand the relationship between the President and the Executive branch, who has the authority constitutionally, and who is merely delegated it for convenience’s sake.

                1. If the AG is just “for convenience’s sake”, why must the Senate confirm him? Why can’t the president just choose who will be most convenient?

                  The Senate’s ability to refuse confirmation is the Senate’s check on the president. The Senate can confirm only people who will refuse improper presidential orders.

          5. Hmmmm….Let me see if I have this right.

            The drug addled, sexually unrestrained, dishonorably discharged man, the son of a sitting VP, just happened to land a F/T position paying 50K+ monthly in the energy industry, despite having NO experience in that industry whatsoever. But this is not evidence of corruption. No siree Bob….nothing to see here.

            I mean, don’t all dishonorably discharged drug addicts land 600K a year jobs?

            Ok bernard11….

            1. XY,

              Lots of companies put unqualified people on their boards for name recognition and so on. Lots of sons of prominent politicians cash in on their family name, see, for example, G.W. Bush. That’s clearly what happened here.

              But that proves zero about Joe Biden, or even Hunter Biden, for that matter, no matter what Sean Hannity tells you.

              1. You are correct that companies put people on their boards for name recognition — for example, at the same time that Hunter Biden was put on Burisma’s board, so was the former president of Poland.

                But you are conceding too much when you say “unqualified.” Hunter Biden was not hired to dig oil wells, so the fact that he had no industry experience is completely besides the point. He was put on the board, which deals with issues of corporate governance, not day to day running of the company. Lots of board members bring something other than industry experience to their positions.

                For example, the most successful company in the world, Apple, has a board of directors that includes, in addition to Al Gore, Andrea Jung, James Bell, and Susan Wagner. None of these people have any experience with computers beyond using them. Gore, of course, is a former politician. Jung is the former CEO of Avon; Bell is the former president and CFO of Boeing, and Susan Wagner is the former head of Blackrock. Are they all unqualified? No, because their job isn’t to design computers. They have expertise in other areas, relevant to corporate governance.

                Ford’s board of directors includes some former KPMG execs, a couple of former Goldman Sachs execs, a guy from Big Pharma, a banker, a marketing exec, and an energy company exec. Not one of them could design an auto to save his or her life; heck, some of them probably haven’t even driven themselves around in decades. Not unqualified, though — that’s not their job.

                1. The Washington Post put it best, I think, in an article written shortly after Hunter Biden’s appointment to Burisma’s board: “The appointment of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst. You have to wonder how big the salary has to be to put US soft power at risk like this. Pretty big, we’d imagine.”

                  Well, now we know.

                  The Ukraine’s most corrupt oligarch paid Hunter Biden, at a time when his father was the White House’s point man on the Ukraine, at least $600K per year. Possibly for his corporate governance expertise. But *probably* because the most corrupt oligarch in one of the most corrupt nations on the planet was indirectly doing what corrupt people do – corruptly leveraging those that could be useful to him.

                  Am I wrong to say “probably?”

                  1. How do you quantify that someone is the the “Ukraine’s most corrupt oligarch”. Isn’t Firtash, Guiliani’s buddy in the running?

              2. Um, yeah bernard. Ok. WRT other children, how about Kerry’s spawn?

                Creepy Brain-Damaged Joe is going to be destroyed. He cannot even put together a coherent statement of 5 sentences. That is a fact. The man is a walking, talking (albeit incoherently) gaffe machine. I will be saddened to see an old man humiliated, but it is a choice he willingly made.

                You actually think that Americans look at this and say, “Oh yeah, it is all good. Perfectly legitimate for children of politicians to cash in on their parents political name”. Let me disabuse you of that notion right now. We are disgusted by it. And it extends to both major parties.

                We’ll address this the old-fashioned way, at the ballot box.

                In the meantime, there is an impeachment trial to conduct. My prediction is that POTUS Trump will not be removed.

                1. Creepy Brain-Damaged Joe is going to be destroyed

                  Umm, lay off the talk radio, maybe.

                  I don’t even disagree with your thesis, but you sound like a loon.

                  1. Sarcastr0….VP Biden is literally brain damaged. No joke. You look at him giving speeches before his brain aneurysm surgery. Then one year afterward. It is like two different men. He cannot put together a string of more than 5 coherent sentences. That is not age. That is something else entirely.

                    The presidency would kill him. Literally. I have no wish to see that happen. Nor do I wish humiliation to be visited upon him. Seriously. He has suffered enough in this life. He should have retired and played ‘King/Queen Maker’ behind the scenes.

                    1. Internet diagnoses do not put you further in the serious camp.

                      Heard the same thing about GWB and Hillary and now with Trump.

                      All of it is silly.

          6. I tuned out on this whole process shortly after it started, due to what I then perceived to be sharply (though not irreconcilably) conflicting evidence – with performance of my personal and professional responsibilities being more important than sorting this out. Thus intervening evidence may well render these comments unjustified, but I still tender them for what they are worth.

            It seems there should be no question there was corrupt conduct in the employment of Hunter Biden, presumably for the purpose of influencing his father. It seemed that an investigation was commenced in The Ukraine into this conduct. It appears that Joe Biden may have been successful in (or bragged about) aborting this investigation. It seems certain people or factions in The Ukraine considered the Prosecutor corrupt and thus deemed termination of the investigation justifiable. Then POTUS got involved.

            I consider the infamous “quid pro quo” to be immaterial. What I do consider material is the chronology, viz, whether:
            – an investigation was initiated,
            – the investigation was still pending, or, if not,
            – the investigation was terminated for unjustifiable reasons.

            If the investigation was already closed and there were substantial cognizable reasons for its termination, but POTUS urged its reopening, then there likely is an impeachable offense. However, if the investigation remained open but stalled, or if there were no substantial cognizable reasons for its termination, then the action of POTUS likely was justified.

            The first scenario consists of a governmental official possibly *interfering* in the internal affairs of another sovereign nation, consistent with the “Digging Up Dirt” narrative. The second scenario consists of a government official possibly *countering interference* in the internal affairs of another sovereign nation, consistent with the “Fighting Corruption” narrative.

            Given this I’m not sure that evidence on either, one, personal motivations, or, two, even the granting or withholding of aid, is necessary or, possibly, even material. Since the relevant evidence consists of actions and inactions in The Ukraine, introduction of testimony from witnesses with direct contact with POTUS is probably unnecessary.

            1. “Joe Biden may have been successful in (or bragged about) aborting this investigation” — he bragged about getting the prosecutor fired, whom all Western lenders wanted fired for _not_ fighting corruption.

              But point is, whatever investigations Trump was sought in Ukraine, he sought on behalf of _himself_, not on behalf of the U.S.: we know because he did it through the layer representing himself (Giuliani), not the lawyer representing the U.S. (Attorney General Barr). So he was pulling government levers (withholding aid/meetings) to get a _private_ aim.

              Had he routed his investigation requests through the Senate-confirmed Attorney General Barr, and had Barr agreed to convey them, there’d be no problem. But Barr would’ve refused them: he refused to endorse them after the fact. Trump simply can’t say he was seeking investigations on behalf of the U.S., when the person whom the Senate confirmed to manage investigations for the U.S. was completely bypassed.

          7. Biden openly admitted, correction BRAGGED, about his holding up US funds unless Ukraine fired a prosecutor. If that isn’t plain enough for you Bernard then I don’t know what could be plainer.

            BTW: There is far more evidence against Biden than against Trump including pictures, his own admission, etc. And we haven’t even touched the China influence peddling yet with VP Biden and SecState Kerry! Not to mention the Iran issues.

      2. That constitutes solicitation of a bribe.

        surely you understand the concept of solicitation.

        Just like if, in 2011, p[resident Obama issued a Dear Colleague Letter saying that universities had to transfer one million dollars into his personal bank account.

    2. I’m shocked if you see no problem with the President co-opting official government power to falsely portray that his political opponent is under criminal investigation.

        1. The President usurping the channels of government for his personal, political gain is corruption that is at the very heart of a “high crime.”

          1. Trump does not personally benefit from the outcome of an investigation against Joe Biden.

            Here is an armor-piercing question.

            http://ethicsalarms.com/2019/12/17/impeachment-ethics-update-holiday-edition-part-one/

            A recent exchange in a Facebook debate: I challenged someone who said that the President had extorted a foreign government to get “dirt” on a likely opponent in the election, thus personal gain. This, he said, was impeachable. After pointing out that the evidence of “extortion” is speculative at best, since a) no money was ultimately withheld, b) the government at issue says they did not feel extorted, and c), as many have pointed out, using such goodies as foreign aid and state visits as carrots to persuade governments to agree to various U.S. requests and demands that, among other results, might help a President or his party win an election is international politics as usual, and has only been called sinister during this administration.

            Then I asked, “If all the facts were the same, except that Joe Biden had not entered the Presidential race, would there be anything wrong, much less impeachable, about the President asking the Ukraine to investigate what appears to have been possible illicit influences on the Vice President of the U.S. through benefits being showered on his son?”

            No answer was forthcoming.

            1. “Trump does not personally benefit” — then why was Trump’s personal attorney, hired to do what benefits Trump personally, pushing for it?

              1. How exactly does Trump personally benefit?

            2. My emphasis:

              Trump does not personally benefit from the outcome of an investigation against Joe Biden.

              Trump benefits from an announcement of an investigation because it falsely portrays Biden as being under criminal investigation.

              If all the facts were the same, except that Joe Biden had not entered the Presidential race, would there be anything wrong, much less impeachable, about the President asking the Ukraine to investigate what appears to have been possible illicit influences on the Vice President of the U.S. through benefits being showered on his son?

              Maybe, maybe not. As with the actual case, we need to find out why the request was made, particularly in light of the president’s personal attorney being the conduit.

              1. Maybe, maybe not. As with the actual case, we need to find out why the request was made, particularly in light of the president’s personal attorney being the conduit.

                It does not matter.

                There is nothing wrong with the request.

            3. a) no money was ultimately withheld, b) the government at issue says they did not feel extorted.

              That’s the Sideshow Bob defense.

    3. “So what if Trump withheld foreign aid to dig up dirt on Joe Biden?” — he can hire private investigators with his campaign money to dig up dirt on Biden. But he can’t use tools of office for campaign purposes. E.g. if he flies to a campaign rally in Air Force One, his campaign must pay for that.

  8. Well said. Thanks.

  9. It’s an impeachment just in case someone did something they shouldn’t have. If there were actual conclusive evidence then we wouldn’t be hearing about wishing for someone to provide it.

    Impeaching for tactical gain, with tactical timing, is a new innovation in Washington partisanship. Look for more of it in the future unless the Senate response is clear. The Senate should repudiate tactical impeachment, telling the House to do their job as investigators, even if it takes extra time. Or don’t start the process at all if they’re not going to conduct it seriously.

    1. I agree, the process was a sham as were the articles. The Senate should reject them out of hand.

  10. If Obama had done something similar (withhold aid to Israel in pursuit of dirt on __________) he would be have been impeached and removed in a second.

    1. Yes, just like Bill Clinton was removed.

      1. The charge against Clinton was nothing like that.

        1. True, Bill Clinton was charged with actual crimes in the articles of impeachment which ended up costing him over $90,000 in fines and his law license.

        2. “The charge against Clinton was nothing like that.”

          Not talking about merits. Just that neither party is interested in removing its own.

          if Obama had done what Trump is accused of, he might have been impeached after 2011 but not removed.

          1. Oh, Obama did plenty that could have resulted in an impeachment for somebody else. Shipping all that money to a state sponsor of terrorism, for instance.

            But fat chance the Republicans were going to impeach Mr. “First Black President” without something so awful the Democrats would have been willing to take the lead.

    2. You mean Crossfire Huricane?

    3. Obama allowed his national security heads to go ahead with investigations of the opposing party’s nominee. The applications were flawed and the FISA court was deceived into granting warrants. This is a more serious crime than Watergate.

  11. How we reached this ridiculous and sorry state of affairs goes something like this….

    This is easy. The House did not build their case, because it was critically important to quickly vote on impeachment. Our country’s national security was threatened, was what they argued.

    Well Professor Post, the House made their decision and voted. They’re done. After the House managers present their case, the Senate will decide if witnesses are needed or not.

    The House has sole power to impeach. I didn’t hear you whine about that. The Senate has sole power to try. Now I hear whining. I am not surprised. Reality has a way of kicking you in the shins. I guess your shins hurt now.

    1. Which hurts more — his shins, or your jaw after obsequiously swallowing decades of American progress shaped by America’s liberal-libertarian mainstream against conservatives’ wishes and efforts?

      1. Reverend….I think you’re due a visit from your alter egos.

        1. You figure Bigoted Mini-Me persuades people that the liberal-libertarian alliance is the loser in these exchanges?

          1. No, I figure they (your alter egos) pretty much persuade people you are a useless piece of shit. You’re not disappointing me. 🙂

            1. Name-calling always convinces people you have a good point to make. You’re not disappointing anybody.

            2. How is that civility project progressing, Prof. Volokh?

              Still expect anyone to believe this blog does not engage in viewpoint-controlled censorship? When not biting at the ankles of strong schools for perceived insults to expression, of course.

  12. I think there’s a strong argument to be made that, regardless of the matter at hand (Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine), allowing a rushed and shoddy impeachment by the House to go forward and make the Senate do the real work would be a really poor precedent. It’s the House’s responsibility to investigate and acquire witness testimony and evidence. That they have no testimony from *actual witnesses* is due to terrible decisions on their part, and they don’t get to complain when the Senate doesn’t want to play ball.

    At this point I’d fully support a Senate decision along the lines of a judge throwing out the case because the prosecutor hasn’t met the minimum legal burden of proving the charges. Otherwise they just open the door for the House ramming an impeachment through whenever the opposing party takes control, and expecting the senate to do the real investigative work.

    Process matters. I dislike this president, and I think he probably did it for personal gain. But that should have made it easier to present a good case to the Senate featuring direct witnesses to the events alleged. That the House didn’t do that is inexcusable.

    1. I too wish the House had pursued the subpoenas. However, an ultimate decision likely would have required two court cases to make their ways to SCOTUS to at least resolve certiorari: one on Trump’s claim of categorical immunity, followed by another case on executive privilege. Perhaps the House was justified given the tight timeline.

      1. So tight that Nancy could sit on it for no reason whatsoever? Yeah, go with that.

      2. Josh, I think we agree on this part = I too wish the House had pursued the subpoenas. However, an ultimate decision likely would have required two court cases to make their ways to SCOTUS to at least resolve certiorari: one on Trump’s claim of categorical immunity, followed by another case on executive privilege.

        I wanted the Court to definitively outline the contours of Executive Privilege. What we see here is going to happen again. Another POTUS will be impeached. We would have some kind of precedent that would make it go faster the next time. And the time after that.

        1. I think the House knew this was a lame case and knew the case would get dismissed by the Senate. Their goal was to politically damage the President. Maybe they did; or maybe they helped him by making his supporters angrier and more likely vote in November.

          1. The latter = they helped him by making his supporters angrier and more likely vote in November

          2. Not just his supporters but Independents and Democrats too!

      3. What justified the House was Trump’s blanket claim of immunity from all oversight. No need to adjudicate that one. That ought to be open-and-shut, slam-dunk, throw the bum out impeachable. A Senate which tries to weasel out of that moral obligation—while at the same time trying connive some scheme to prevent their own selves and the truth from ever being seen in the same room together—well, a Senate like that becomes a bigger national catastrophe than Trump himself.

        1. lathrop, that is just rich. You know, I actually get amused with some of your posts. This is one. You sound like the Bad News Bears at the end of the movie (Wait til next year), and the impeachment trial has not even begun. LMAO.

          1. Notable that you apparently have no answer to what he actually wrote.

      4. The tight timeline is entirely the problem. It didn’t have to be tight.

        Also, the court cases could have started back in ~September. They’ve been wasting time for months.

        You know what wasn’t productive? The weeks they spent on impeachment hearings from ‘witnesses’ reporting hearsay. Completely wasted time.

        1. Well, SCOTUS doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to deal with cases involving Trump.

          Not surprising.

          1. It’s quid pro quos all the way down!

  13. Why would Bolton be willing to testify before the Senate and not the House? Very likely because what he said, what questions were asked, etc, wouldn’t be completely under control of HSCI chair Adam Schiff. The other side, the Republicans, would have to power to ask their own questions, and the President’s attorneys could do the same, as well as assert Executive Privilege, as necessary.

    1. Don’t be an idiot.

      Republicans asked plenty of questions – or at least had the opportunity to do so – during the House hearings.

      Of course they mostly just ranted and raved incoherently, but that wasn’t Schiff’s fault.

      1. The Republicans were allowed to ask questions that were approved by Schiff; other questions resulted in Schiff telling the person not to respond. They were allowed to call witnesses that were approved by Schiff; other witnesses were prevented from appearing.

        That’s not questioning, that’s a show tune.

        1. The only questions that Schiff ruled out of order were the ones designed not to uncover what Trump did or didn’t do, but to out the whistleblower.

          1. The “whistle blower” was already outed, that he’s Eric Ciaramella had been an open secret for weeks. Their goal was to impeach the whistle blower. In legal proceedings, you’re normally permitted to call witnesses and ask questions to impeach a prosecution witness.

            1. The whistleblower has still not been outed. That some far right wing outlets have claimed to know the name of the whistleblower does not establish that this is who he is.

              In any case, your premise is flawed because the whistleblower wasn’t a prosecution witness.

      2. “Republicans asked plenty of questions – or at least had the opportunity to do so – during the House hearings.”

        That’s total bullshit, Bernard, and you know it!

        1. Yeah, at this point I don’t think Bernard is deranged enough to buy his own defenses of what is going on. But he’s deranged enough to continue making them, anyway.

        2. It’s absolute fact. You’ve been fooled by getting your news from MAGA sources. But you can go look at the transcripts of the witness testimony yourselves; the Republicans had equal time to question. They just spent most of that time making speeches.

    2. Questions are in writing, first

    3. My conclusion is that Bolton doesn’t actually want to testify. If he did, he could have done during the impeachment investigation and any White House protestations of sweeping executive privilege would likely have been ignored. In the Senate though he can go through the motions of being cooperative knowing that the Senators will vote to respect WH objections.

    4. It’s also possible that Bolton’s testimony will be favorable for the President. Just because he hates the man does not mean that he likes the opposition party and their blatantly political move to remove Trump.

      1. Even if he hates Trump, that doesn’t mean he has anything he could say to hurt Trump that wouldn’t be perjury. The House indulged ‘witnesses’ testifying as to their assumptions and suspicions, the Senate is likely to restrict witnesses to testifying as to what they’ve observed first hand.

        1. Easy enough. The Senate can decide to use the Federal Rules of Evidence for the trial.

          I find it amusing that the prosecution wants the Judge and Jury to call witnesses. That crap would be thrown out of any US court and possibly result in sanctions against the prosecutor.

          1. The House managers sends up the witnesses according to the rules, IIRC.

            Not sure you’ve really thought through the implications of adopting the FRE here…

  14. Did he run guns to the Mexican cartels? Did he use tax law to punish his opponents? Did abuse “prosecutorial discretion” to the point where he subverted the laws he’s supposed to enforce? What laws did he break to be impeached?

    1. The law of “it’s her turn”

    2. Trump committed a high crime when he asserted blanket immunity from congressional oversight. Leave the other stuff alone. That is the part history will judge.

      1. Does it hurt being that ignorant Stephen?
        Or just normal for a Progressive prole?

        Every President since the founding of our nation, including Washington, used Executive Privilege. Especially for the closest advisers; not to mention several SCOTUS decisions upholding said usage!

        1. Unfortunately, FlameCCT is repeating talking points he doesn’t understand. Lathrop was not talking about executive privilege. He was talking about immunity. Trump is not arguing that the answers to certain questions are privileged — something which might or might not be true — but instead has asserted that his aides have blanket immunity from being questioned.

  15. This seems very much like what Ann Althouse calls “civility bullshit”: Republicans must behave more reasonably than Democrats, because otherwise the David Posts of the world will disapprove because they did not “do the right thing”.

    Never mind that the House could proceed with gathering evidence, or even add more articles of impeachment, the ball is presented as solely in Senate Republicans’ court.

    1. How does Republicans’ behavior with respect to stale intolerance and belligerent ignorance square with Ann Althouse’s formulation?

    2. Democrats in the House are immoral idiots, so that justifies Republicans in the Senate to be just as immoral and idiotic. Great argument! Why should anyone ever do anything just because it’s the right thing to do? Why should the Senate care what President Trump actually did? Just because that pesky constitution gives them that responsibility?

  16. “Will we get to hear from the people in Trump’s inner circle who might actually know whether he did or did not engage in impeachable misconduct?”

    We already know. He did not. Read the transcript.

    Or — he did, but it’s a misconduct that doesn’t even come close to the level of “misconduct” that Presidents have regularly engaged in over the last 160 years. Especially relevant in this vein is the Obama administration investigating and spying on the Trump campaign on a very thin and probably insufficient basis. And continuing to do so after the basis became even thinner by evidence and facts known to the investigators.

    1. As far as the question of more witness testimony, this is really only a question and argument over measuring the last squeeze of political juice that Democrats are going to be able to extract.

    2. It wasn’t even a thin basis. It was a basis they knew to be fraudulent when they used it. They literally contacted one of Steele’s sources, who said basically that Steele was BSing them, and told the FISA court that he’d seemed trustworthy, but not that he’d seem trustworthy while telling them Steele was full of it.

      1. Yeah it’s ludicrous. And they had 13 foreign countries collaborating. But Trump just mentions Biden in passing when there’s actual appearance of impropriety.

        1. The Dems believe that the laws don’t apply to them. That is why they make all these stupid mistakes. Their arrogance may come back to bite them

      2. To expound on this, my understanding is the IG opined that the very, very low bar for opening a counter-intelligence investigation (not criminal) was met, in his opinion, upon the initiation of the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation.

        However, the FISA warrants and everything else that came later is another matter. As I understand it, the IG report supports your contention that the FISA warrants were at best unsupported if not fraudulent.

        1. You don’t understand it.

          1. I’m surprised you didn’t support your assertion with any explanation or citations. Not.

            1. You want an explanation? Okay: the IG report does not say that the FISA warrants were unsupported or fraudulent.

              One would think that if one was going to discuss a specific document, the burden would be on the person who asserts that it says a particular thing to show that it says that thing. What “citation” do you want from me for something not being in there? “See the I.G. report”?

              1. Here’s an illustrative example of reporting on this.

                “SSA 1,” Horowitz’s report states, may have helped mislead the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) about material facts concerning former Trump adviser Carter Page and British ex-spy Christopher Steele, whose unverified dossier played a central role in the FBI’s warrant to surveil Page.

                https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fisa-courts-review-leaves-out-key-players

                1. The article you linked to show the IG report says what you say it says is criticizing the IG report for not saying that.

                  The Foxnews.com quote has enough weasel words even you should be able to see how much it’s reaching.

                  And the actual linked article is a pretty incredible piece of work, offering unsupported opinions by Republicans as proof the IG report is bunk.

                  You should at least read countervailing sources before you link propaganda.

                  1. What Sarcastr0 says, and also if one is going to talk about what an official report says, one should actually cite the report, not a story about the report.

                    1. “I don’t believe the news report, it’s propaganda, and I won’t cite anything to the contrary.”

                      Ok, cool, good game.

                    2. ML, you cited a FOX News piece criticizing the IG report as though it’s a better source of what the report says than quoting the report.

                      This isn’t not believing the news, it’s you not reading what you link.

                  2. Sarc, David: I really haven’t been following the impeachment stuff much at all, but I read ML’s article, and followed the link it had to the report in question, and searched for occurrences of ‘SSA 1’, who/whatever he/she/it/they is/are. And the bottom half of page 151, including footnote 288, does seem to imply that ‘SSA 1’ was maybe not all up-and-up with the FISA court.

                    Is your view that that material doesn’t support ML’s claim?

                    See also bottom of p. 165.

                    I freely admit I have barely looked at the report; since you seem to have looked at it in detail, is there context elsewhere in the report that negates those two pages?

                    1. The IG report did find the FISA process was shoddy. But it did not find any political motives or even intent. It also found that the crappy procedure did not materially effect the appropriateness of the Carter Page FISA determination.

                    2. Absaroka:

                      1) What Sarcastr0 said.

                      2) You’re letting yourself get sidetracked by ML’s later comments in this thread. ML’s claim was not that the FBI made some errors; that’s not in dispute. ML’s claim was that the “FISA warrants were at best unsupported if not fraudulent.” ML’s half-hearted citation supports the claim about errors; it in no way supports the claim that the FISA warrants were either unsupported or fraudulent.

                      Horowitz at no point said anything like that.

                      (To be clear, Horowitz did identify one bit of total (alleged) fraud: the alteration of an email to support an incorrect assertion. But that happened, as I noted elsewhere in this thread, on the third FISA warrant renewal, so even if it was dispositive it couldn’t possibly show anything at all about the previous warrants.)

                    3. Just to make sure I’m grokking this, the report states “Specifically, we found facts asserted in the FISA application that have no supporting documentation in the Woods File, facts that have purported supporting documentation in the Woods File but the documentation does not state the fact asserted in the FISA application, or facts that have purported supporting documentation in the Woods File but the documentation shows the fact asserted is inaccurate.” (Footnote 288)

                      Your view is that the article’s statement that “SSA 1 may have helped mislead the … FISC” is not supported by that part of the report?

                      My sense is that perhaps your view is that the report found a little fibbing here and there, but not enough to fairly characterize it as “FISA warrants were at best unsupported if not fraudulent.”??

                      That may well be true, although my sense is also that slipping a few fibs in amongst the truth does, rightly or wrongly, tend to make people skeptical of the entirety.

              2. You want an explanation? Okay: the IG report does not say that the FISA warrants were unsupported or fraudulent.

                Not it didn’t say those exact words, it just showed that with a shit ton of evidence. The whole thing was a fraud and a sham from the beginning and I think you know it. Lying to a court and forging documents are pretty strong evidence that the warrants you seek are unsupported and fraudulent. What could be more fraudulent than telling the court that a sub-source for the key document that supports your application for a warrant is reliable, leading the court to believe that the source verifies the document when it does just the opposite?

                Sarcastro will defend any Dem talking point regardless of how ridiculous it is. You flacking for this travesty is surprising.

  17. I like your framing of the two narratives. From what I can tell, though, there is no dispute in either narrative about what happened, only about why those things were done.

    1) I remain unconvinced that a partisan impeachment process is capable of reliably determining motivations.
    2) I’m not sure even if it were possible that we should try. While I agree that Congress has been grossly lax in exercising their constitutional prerogatives and maintaining the balance of powers, allowing impeachments solely over motivations (which are always fuzzy, indefinite and mixed) seems to me to push the pendulum so far back the other way that the natural consequence will be the kind of cripplingly weak Executive that doomed the Articles of Confederation.

    As a side note, I don’t think that testimony “under oath” is going to be one whit more credible than whatever Boulton writes in his book. The only threat testifying under oath ever had is the threat of perjury – and at this level of power-politics, perjury is a nothing-threat. It’s too easily seen by the person’s defenders as lawyerly gamesmanship – attempts to trap the person into something that can be twisted without regard for the inherent imprecision of English speech.

    1. Yeah, can you imagine? Bolton says something that makes Trump look bad, and the Justice Department brings him up on perjury charges? It would just turn into a new impeachment charge!

      Or he says something exculpatory, and the Senate Democrats refer him for perjury, and the DOJ refuses to act on it? Again, a new impeachment charge.

    2. I don’t think I agree with you regarding the deterrent effect of perjury. A bunch of the Watergate conspirators were found to have perjured themselves during the investigation and hearings, and they went to jail for it. Bolton can say, in his book, “I never met with X to talk about Y,” and when a tape emerges of a discussion between X and Bolton about Y, his credibility takes a big hit; but if he says that under oath, he could go to prison. It makes people think twice about lying.

      1. Assuming the perjury is over some clear-cut fact stated in simple terms with no possibility of misinterpretation, maybe. But I don’t think you’ll get many statements like that.

        And even if you do get one like your example, I’ve had lots of conversations that I honestly don’t remember. My wife is more than ready to itemize them for me. Convicting someone for what might be nothing more than a fallible memory is something that a lot of people could see as unjust.

        1. My wife’s memory is so good she can remember conversations I never had.

        2. Flynn endorses this position.

        3. “Convicting someone for what might be nothing more than a fallible memory is something that a lot of people could see as unjust.”
          …Scooter Libby’s and Gen. Flynn’s experiences have taught us all that you either say nothing, or you …don’t recall.

  18. I for one don’t like the idea of people being formally investigated due to frivolous accusations, especially when it’s done on the taxpayer’s dime and impedes a President that we legally elected.

    1. Yet I doubt you object to the repeated, unproductive investigations of Hillary Clinton conducted by Republicans, because bigoted culture war casualties chanted ‘lock her up’ for years.

      1. Are you suggesting the two investigations are analogous? Because with Clinton, at least we have physical evidence and public knowledge of blatant obstruction of justice.

        I don’t make Clinton my hill to die on and I’m well aware of the possibility that she might just be a moron who destroyed her emails because they had politically damaging yet perfectly legal contents, but I worked for a municipal govt for a while (City of Philadelphia) and one of the things I learned in ethics training is that the appearance of impropriety is just as bad and sometimes even worse than actual wrongdoing. For someone as intelligent and experienced as Clinton, I am confident she would never do something that stupid unless she really had something to hide.

        1. Also, Clinton wasn’t elected, so any investigation into her is not designed with the intent of obstructing her ability to implement policy.

          1. No way are you this dumb about the investigations of Hillary.

            And your appearance of impropriety standard has rather gone away on the Trump side on everything from his phone conversations to his properties to defense contracts to emoluments.

            So all you’re doing by discussing it is looking extremely hypocritical.

          2. Perhaps Hillary Clinton was appointed a senator, but I expect to learn she was elected. And, while she was a senator, investigated and accused by clingers.

  19. It is not the Senate’s job to do what the House was supposed to do.

    This is, and has been from the beginning, a political hit job and a sham by the House.

    The Senate should dismiss the charges out of hand.

    1. You are confused about what the House was supposed to do. And what the Senate’s job is.

      1. Is it not the prosecution’s job to gather evidence and witnesses before bringing an indictment?

        Are you really claiming it is the Judge and Jury’s job to gather evidence and witnesses for the prosecution?

        The easiest out for the Senate would be to state they will use the same procedures as a federal court including the federal rules of evidence.

        That makes it easy for the defense to seek a dismissal with prejudice especially when one considers the sham of an investigation by the House Intel committee led by dictator #ChickenSchiff.

        1. Is it not the prosecution’s job to gather evidence and witnesses before bringing an indictment?

          Only a sufficient amount to establish probable cause.

          Are you really claiming it is the Judge and Jury’s job to gather evidence and witnesses for the prosecution?

          No. I’m claiming that it’s the judge and jury’s job to allow the prosecution to call witnesses and present evidence.

  20. Sorry Charlie. Perhaps if you were concerned about these things while the house was running it’s show trial you would have some credibility. Back then guilt was overwhelmingly obvious to you from your posts and now in the hang-over morning light…not so much. So now to you it’s only right to give the DNC a few more shots to make a case, any case.

    1. What does the Democratic National Committee have to do with an impeachment trial?

      1. If we ever get those emails, maybe we’ll find out.

      2. Only DNC members voted for the rules used by the House investigation and only DNC members voted for impeachment.

        Basically the DNC screwed over its newest members in districts that were won by Trump by forcing them to vote for impeachment. Have you seen what is happening at their townhalls with their constituents? Hell, even #ChickenSchiff is having trouble at his townhalls over his dictatorial manner of investigating and producing no evidence.

  21. A lot of folks commenting here seem to like tyranny fine when it’s going their way. If you guys put more faith in process, and your guy is actually innocent, you could get a safer future for yourselves by opposing tyranny.

    A sham impeachment trial is tyranny. When the other side assembles sufficient political power to do as it pleases—because of this—they will not hesitate in the least over justification, nor will they give much thought to wisdom or restraint.

    1. lathrop, what is the problem? The Senate will have a trial. The House managers can make their case. POTUS Trump’s lawyers makes their response. The Senate asks questions, and then decide if there is a need for witnesses. That template already exists, and was used the last time. Shouldn’t be a problem.

    2. Why isn’t Trump impeached for committing an act of war against Iran without congressional approval, instead of the utter nonsense he has been facing right through Mueller and to now?

      Answer: Because the last thing anyone in Washington wants is to prevent tyranny. They just want to have it for themselves.

      1. Because Trump didn’t need Congressional approval to engage Iran. The War Powers Resolution does not simply limit the President, it defines the scope of Congress’ war-making power as well.

        If you’re upset over Presidents starting wars while disregarding Congress, I’d like to hear your opinion of Libya.

      2. Since when is killing a terrorist an act of war? Especially when said terrorist is hanging around with another terrorist in the area of operations already approved for strikes against terrorists?

    3. A sham impeachment investigation run under tyrannical rules it tyranny!

      Why do you support tyranny Stephen?

  22. The purpose of the Impeachment wasn’t to get to the truth about Ukraine. If the House wanted the truth they would have waited to hear from Bolton, the OMB, etc. And, if they wanted the truth, and they would have released the testimony of witnesses that had exculpatory information. They did not.

    Witnesses in a Senate trial will change nothing.
    Half the country will always believe Trump’s presidency is illegitimate because he stole the election and is a Russian Puppet-no matter the outcome of the trial. The other half is pretty darn happy with the jobs reports and China being brought to the table and are willing to give Trump a break for something that other leaders have done, but when Biden or Clinton did it, the problem was brushed away as nothing. Voters notice that kind of thing, and identify with Trump, especially if they’ve found themselves treated unfairly compared to someone else.

    When news came out today that the FISA judge appointed the person who falsified documents as the person in charge of cleaning up the process, in other words he is tasking the fox to guard the hen house, I think conservatives lost all hope of ever having a chance to manage their administration without constant interference from the Left.

    Schumer warned Trump: they have seven ways from Sunday to go after you. So, no matter if every witness testifies that Trump did not coerce Ukraine to dig up dirt, he was trying to find out about the election interference in 2016, he will always be guilty.
    As Pelosi says: He’s impeached forever.

    1. When news came out today that the FISA judge appointed the person who falsified documents as the person in charge of cleaning up the process,

      You are very very very confused. It comes from getting ones news from talk radio, or Trumpkin twitter feeds.

      The person who (allegedly) falsified a document was named Kevin Clinesmith, an FBI lawyer.

      The person appointed by the FISA court is David Kris, who (a) has never worked for the FBI, and (b) last worked for the DOJ in 2011, four years before Trump even announced he was running for president.

      1. Yes, he’s wrong about that. The guy they appointed is the one who claimed Nunes was lying about the FISA abuses, and who has defended the FBI at every turn. But he didn’t personally commit the abuses, he just denied they were real long past any point of reasonable doubt.

      2. David, there were better, less controversial choices available.

        The FISA Court must be dismantled.

        1. Kris isn’t controversial.

          Not a single person criticizing the appointment knew who he was or knows anything about him, other than what they may have seen on twitter.

  23. Maybe Post can explain the difference between “fighting corruption” vs “digging up dirt”, when the sought for dirt is evidence of corruption.

    None of that seems remotely impeachable.

    What would be impeachable is the fabrication of false claims against a political oponent, but no allegation has been even remotely supported regarding that one.

    1. Wouldn’t a press release from the Ukrainian government announcing an investigation falsely portray Biden as being under criminal investigation?

      1. I’m not sure how to parse that. If the Ukranians were to decide to investigate Biden, what would be false about reporting that to the press?

        If you’re suggesting that Trump was requesting a false accusation be lodged, then we’d need some reason to believe that. I don’t think Trump has ever pursued anything of that nature.

        1. Trump only required an announcement of an investigation, not an investigation. Such an announcement would falsely portray Biden as being under criminal investigation.

          1. Yet Burisma & board members incl. Hunter Biden were already under investigation in the Ukraine when VP Joe Biden demanded the prosecutor be fired? New prosecutor then dropped all Burisma investigations.

            Funny thing, the prosecutor that dropped the Burisma investigations has since been convicted of…. wait for it…. corruption!!!

            1. The investigation was on haiitus at the time.
              The new prosecutor did nothing of the sort.

              Are you just writing fiction now?

          2. Trump only required an announcement of an investigation, not an investigation. Such an announcement would falsely portray Biden as being under criminal investigation.

            Not if there were an actual investigation to announce.

            If you think that Trump asked for “don’t do any investigation, but do please announce that you are doing such an investigation”, you’re making that up. It’s not in the transcript or anywhere else. If you’re inferring it, that’s in your mind, not anywhere else.

            1. I am not claiming that Trump said “don’t do any investigations.” I am instead claiming Trump didn’t require an investigation to release the aid or host Zelensky at the White House.

  24. Do nothing Dems do nothing buy vote for a bunch of BS in articles of impeachment and now want to shift the blame of their complete failure to the Senate. Classic liberal move.

  25. So Bolton says he is willing to testify. But the privilege is not his to raise or decline, doesn’t it belong to the President. Can’t the President object and keep Bolton from testifying.

    1. Well, he can certainly object. How is he going to keep Bolton from testifying, short of the way he dealt with Soleimani?

  26. Sigh….

    Once again, Post makes this strawman argument that “The President’s legal position—that members of the Executive Branch are categorically immune from any compulsion to testify in an impeachment inquiry… It has virtually no support in the legal precedents (if you don’t believe me, go back and read White House Counsel Cippolone’s letter and find, if you can, the legal arguments contained therein);”

    Among other issues.

    1. The Cippolone letter isn’t the appropriate place to go for legal precedent. It’s not intended to convey such matters. It is a political statement, not a legal argument, and as such is easy to knock down according to legal standards (IE, a “strawman”

    2. Instead, previous OLC opinions (for example https://fas.org/irp/agency/doj/olc/testimonial.pdf ) should be used. This documents the many, many times that previous administrations have used the concept of testimonial immunity of close presidential advisors before congress to prevent close advisors from testifying. From the Truman administration to the Carter administration to the Clinton administration to the Obama administration. In the words of Janet Reno and Ted Olsen “”[s]ubjecting a senior presidential advisor to the congressional subpoena power would be akin to requiring the President himself to appear before Congress on matters relating to the performance of his constitutionally assigned executive functions.” “Yet Congress may no more summon the President to a congressional committee room than the President may command Members of Congress to appear at the White House. ”

    You may argue impeachment makes this different. That waving the magic impeachment wand negates decades of OLC opinions under multiple administrations. But perhaps a court should weigh in on that. Of course, asking for a court to weigh in would be “obstruction of Congress”…..

    1. Instead, previous OLC opinions (for example https://fas.org/irp/agency/doj/olc/testimonial.pdf ) should be used.

      Hint: OLC opinions are not legal precedents. Heck, I can write a report saying that I think I am immune from the law. But that’s just a statement about what I wish the law was, so citing it in support of my position that I am immune from the law is, well, not very persuasive. No court has ever adopted this position.

      But perhaps a court should weigh in on that. Of course, asking for a court to weigh in would be “obstruction of Congress”….

      Sigh. The president did not “ask for a court to weigh in.” In fact, the president took the position that courts could not weigh in.

      1. OLC opinions are not legal precedents….

        No, they are legal arguments. Moreover, they are the same legal arguments that have been used by generations of previous administrations, to justify generations of previous uses of immunity, without being challenged in courts. (They have been challenged by Congress, and have stood to an extent) That lends them at least some weight, especially in the absence of any court decisions

        “Sigh. The president did not “ask for a court to weigh in.””

        According to precedent, when an administration resists a subpoena on separation of powers grounds, Congress goes to the courts to enforce it, as the third branch. The president doesn’t go to the courts to “resist” it.

  27. The creative, rhetorical and polemical virtuosity on display among those intent on *not* addressing the main point of this post is genuinely striking. Apologies if I missed them amidst all the noise (my eyes admittedly glazed over at points), but I’d like to invite those (if any) with sincere principled arguments which either shoot down or render irrelevant Post’s perspective to respond here, by stating either
    1) Why you disagree that senators “have a duty to conduct a trial that provides both sides an adequate opportunity to present their case, [and] a duty to consider the evidence and the legal arguments that are relevant to determining whether the president has committed an impeachable offense.”, OR
    2) why you think “not seeking the testimony from [the President] and those in his inner circle” is consistent with carrying out that duty.
    Thanks.

    1. 1/ It was the House’s job to gather the evidence. They didn’t. They don’t get to make the Senate do their job for them.

      The Senate is judging the case, not build it. It was the House’s job to build it. The senate can review the House transcripts – they’re not sequestered and there’s nothing gained by recalling the witnesses. Only if the senators want to ask their own (different) questions would there be any need to redirect a witness.

      And if there are witnesses the House didn’t call, then they must not have needed them. When they vote on articles of impeachment, they’re saying they have a sufficient case against the officer in question.

      2/ I think it would be consistent with the duty the *House* has to investigate the matter. The senate’s job is to judge the case the House voted on, not pursue new avenues of research.

      Do you want to seriously argue its okay for the House as the investigative body to go ‘we’re sure there’s something impeachable here, go do the research for us’?

      If a prosecutor fails to prove the accused violated the statutes as alleged (burden of production), the accused is immediately acquitted by the judge. Similarly, the House has a burden of production here to acquire all evidence it feels is relevant and necessary. The prosecution has effectively already rested.

      The only new witnesses called during the Senate trial should be defense witnesses.

      1. It was the House’s job to gather the evidence.

        I mean, that’s just wrong. I don’t know where you got that idea.

        The Senate is judging the case, not build it.

        No. The Senate is trying the case. Guess what happens at a trial? Witnesses and evidence that were not examined by the grand jury get examined for the first time.

        And if there are witnesses the House didn’t call, then they must not have needed them. When they vote on articles of impeachment, they’re saying they have a sufficient case against the officer in question.

        A sufficient case to impeach, yes. But now the question is no longer whether to impeach, but whether to convict and remove.

        2/ I think it would be consistent with the duty the *House* has to investigate the matter. The senate’s job is to judge the case the House voted on, not pursue new avenues of research.

        You are completely wrong. (Your position is not only atextual and ahistorical, but nonsensical. Why on earth would it make sense for two different bodies to examine exactly the same evidence?) The Senate’s job is to try the official who has been accused by the House.

        Do you want to seriously argue its okay for the House as the investigative body to go ‘we’re sure there’s something impeachable here, go do the research for us’?

        No, of course not. It’s the job of the House to decide whether the official has done something impeachable. Which it did. That inquiry is now over. Now it’s the Senate’s job to try the official and decide whether to convict him.

        If a prosecutor fails to prove the accused violated the statutes as alleged (burden of production), the accused is immediately acquitted by the judge.

        Close enough to correct. The trial hasn’t yet started, however. The prosecutor gets to call witnesses — whatever relevant witnesses it wants — at the trial. Only after the prosecution has had a chance to do that would the judge entertain a motion for directed verdict of acquittal. So let’s call all the witnesses, and then we’ll see what happens.

        1. You’re confusing the impeachment trial with a regular trial, which is clearly different. (Among notable differences include no sequestration, and that the Senate is to render judgement on not just the facts, but the theory of impeachment and the punishment as well.) Articles of impeachment are not a grand jury indictment, they’re the prosecution resting. It’s the Senate’s job to judge that case the House has already assembled.

          I’d note that the Clinton impeachment didn’t have any witnesses until after the prosecution finished presenting their case. Only then did they even vote on whether to call witnesses or not. The entire presentation of the prosecution was based on the House investigation.

          1. Don’t confuse David with the facts….

            1. Watching a bunch of unqualified, half-educated clingers try to joust with Mr. Nieporent in this context is entertaining . . . and illuminative.

          2. You are confusing the impeachment trial with shit you made up. Articles of impeachment are indeed not a grand jury indictment, but that is the closest analogy. They are definitely not “the prosecution resting.”

            The constitution quite explicitly uses the terms “try” and “trial” to describe the Senate’s role. Not “judge the articles of impeachment.” There is no requirement that the House engage in any factfinding before impeaching, let alone that factfinding be completed or a report about it be issued. That is what a trial is for.

            For the Clinton impeachment, many witnesses were not needed because Starr (not the House) had spent years comprehensively assembling the evidence. But that in no way suggests that the Senate isn’t supposed to engage in factfinding.

            1. “There is no requirement that the House engage in any factfinding before impeaching, let alone that factfinding be completed or a report about it be issued. That is what a trial is for.”

              I just want to be clear: you’re saying the House can just impeach the president one day on whatever they want, having done no investigating, and expect the Senate to not only take it seriously, but do the investigation for them. That doesn’t sound at all problematic to you?

              1. Nah….since when have Leftists ever been denizens of reason and logic?

                1. There ought to be some sort of Monty Pythonesque trap door that opens under commenters who assert things as comically uninformed as DMN being a leftist.

              2. I think you’re confusing what DMN is saying about what the law requires and what ought to be done.

      2. ” The senate can review the House transcripts – they’re not sequestered”

        Ah, actually the ones House Republicans on the committee say were exculpatory are. Schiff had them classified.

        1. All transcripts except one have been publicly released.

    2. I think everyone knows Whittington & Poet’s intended meaning (and IANAL), but just to be explicit I think it would be more accurate in query 1) to to replace “impeachable offense” with “offense meriting removal from office.”

  28. Please, Eugene, get the VC the hell out of Reason. Commenters used to engage and be illuminating. Now they’re just Trump worshippers and conspiracy loonies.

    1. That is the Conspiracy’s carefully cultivated following.

      This is intended to make movement conservativism more popular, or something.

  29. Follow the professor’s line of reasoning. He concedes that Trump may have done absolutely nothing wrong, yet he has, in fact, been impeached. What if a prosecutor operated like that? “Yeah, I have no idea what happened, but I’m going to indict him anyway, and we’ll just figure it out at trial?” It’s the Alice in Wonderland impeachment. Impeach first; ascertain facts later.

    Of course, the “trial” analogy is not really precise anyway. It is the job of the House to make a case. It is the job of the Senate to evaluate the House’s case. It is not the job of the Senate to do the House’s work for it or to salvage the House’s half-assed case. The House chose to prioritize finishing fast over doing a competent, thorough investigation, and now it should be forced to live with that.

    1. Not what he said.

    2. Once again, this is complete bullshit. I do not know which right wing noise machine outlet is issuing these talking points, but they are completely wrong. You don’t understand regular criminal trials or impeachment.

      Prosecutors do indeed operate like that. The standard for indictment is whether there is probable cause to believe that the crime was committed. Not whether there is enough evidence to convict. There are, of course, some cases that are so straightforward that all of the witnesses have already been presented to the grand jury, but that is rare. (But even in those cases, all the evidence still is presented at trial; they don’t just say, “Look at what the witnesses already said.”)

      And while the impeachment trial is not required to operate using the same procedures as a criminal trial, it is in fact more than a mere “analogy.” The constitution says that the senate is to conduct a trial. Not to “evaluate” what happened in the House.

      It is not the job of the House to “make a case.” It is the job of the House to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to impeach. It has done that. Now it’s the job of the senate to try the case — to gather evidence, engage in factfinding, and then decide whether to convict.

      1. “Now it’s the job of the senate to try the case — to gather evidence, engage in factfinding, and then decide whether to convict.”

        They are only required to “decide whether to convict”, they do not have to do anything else.

        They can acquit without looking at a single fact or piece of evidence.

        1. They indeed have the power to do that. In fact, as the Supreme Court held in Nixon, they can do nothing more than flip a coin if they want.

          But what they have the power to do and what their oath ethically obligates them to do are not the same thing.

          1. Gee David….which part of The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present. do you not understand?

            The Senate’s job is not to develop a case. It is to evaluate it. And then render judgment. You seem to want the Senate to ‘morph’ their traditional role into something else, to get the result you want to get – which is the removal of POTUS Trump from office.

            That isn’t happening. What IS going to happen is a reckoning at the ballot box. Can’t wait until November.

            1. Wow! The “case” hasn’t been made yet. That’s the point. The case is made in a trial, and that is what the Constitution mandates the Senate to have. See those words “try” and “tried” in the section you quoted?

              Yes, they have SOLE power. Power to hold a trial, not to do whatever they want however they want. This really isn’t all that complicated. The Senate has to “…try the impeachment.” That’s what the constitution says, right?

            2. Commenter XY:
              I don’t want the Senate to “morph” its traditional role so I get the result I want (removal of Trump). I want the Senate to morph its traditional role in order to find out whether Trump did something to warrant his removal from office. The people who would know about that refused to testify in the House; the Senate should try to get them, because without them we don’t know what happened, what Trump did, and what his motives were. Trump partisans don’t seem to care to find out what happened – I wonder why that is?

          2. “ethically obligates them”

            Funny.

            They are politicians, they have no ethics.

            1. No, Bob, that’s you.

              The rest of us will continue to have standards for our politicians that they may or may not live up to.

  30. Mr. Post seems oddly incurious as to whether the impeachment “hearings” were “fighting corruption” or “digging up dirt.”

    The Senate hearings will give us a good opportunity to answer this question when Pelosi, Schiff, and Ciamarella are called to testify.

    1. How would calling three people without any firsthand information about what Trump did answer questions about what Trump did?

      1. The House called more than three people without any firsthand information about what Trump did.

        What the hell happened to you DN?

  31. The article above seems to be predicated on the idea that the House impeachment proceedings were done in an impartial manner to only find violations of the President’s Constitutional duties, and no party politics were involved. Given that the Democrats have publicly stated that they’d be after Trump by all possible means since November 2016, that seems a questIonable assumption, at best.

  32. The real problem here seems to be the speed at which legal decision are made. President Trump as a businessman realizes that the time it takes for a legal decision can be used to his advantage. He may lose but it will take so much time he may wear out his opponent or the matter will become moot. The answer here is to establish some means of fast tracking these questions in the courts so that answers can be arrived at in weeks rather than months or years. I am not a lawyer so I will ask this, can this be done with creating more problems that it solves?

  33. I think the House Leadership made the right decision by agreeing to proceed.

    I think advocates of impeachment are now in a “you pays your money you takes your chances” situation. At each stage in the process, they are going to have to hope that they can persuade a handful of wavering senators to agree to proceed to the next stage. There are and can be no guarantees. It’s just the way it is and they have to accept this.

    The Senate can basically do anything it wants on this issue. Constitutional responsibilities. But it acts alone in those responsibilities. And it has sole power to interpret them. No other body or power can force it to interpret its responsibilities in a particular way.

    It does not just act as a court of impeachment. It acts as the Supreme Court of impeachment. We are not used to thinking of any other body than the Supreme Court as having unreviewable supremacy to say what the law is and do whatever it wants. But here is an exception where another body has this power, and there is nothing we can do.

    1. Yes = I think advocates of impeachment are now in a “you pays your money you takes your chances” situation.

    2. According to the constitution, the Senate must “try the impeachment.” That doesn’t translate as “The Senate can basically do anything it wants.” That means some type of trial must take place. And that confers more responsibilities on the Senate than you are implying, I think.

  34. The senate’s procedures are constrained only by future voters.

    That’s how it works. That’s what the constitution says.

    Those who claim otherwise are making stuff up.

    1. dwshelf, the premise of constraint by voters breaks down if Senators are at liberty to hide everything. No documents, no witnesses, no trial, means no moment when the truth and the Senators can be seen in the same room together—and thus no moment of public accountability.

      For the Senator’s next opponent, showing the Senator hearing irrefutable testimony of impeachable conduct, supported by documents, and then voting to dismiss, is one thing. That enables electoral accountability.

      But dismissing the trial with no sign of evidence? The Senator gets a free ride. What is he accountable for? Nothing that anyone has put in front of him. That is just dodging electoral accountability.

      Your comment suggests a pro-Trump advocacy impervious to evidence—and opposed to evidence. With an eye to undermining accountability.

  35. The witnesses were listed and called by the House Intelligence Committee, unlike any previous impeachment. Unfortunately, only one witness called, by the majority, was a material witness and no witnesses for the defense were allowed to be called to the hearings. All of the rest of the witnesses used by the House offered only hearsay evidence and so their testimonies will not be viable in the Senate. While you bemoan the fact of no witnesses from the President, the fact is, he was never allowed any witnesses and it is perfectly legal and ethical to call no more witnesses in the Senate. That was Adam Schiff’s job. If he failed to do his job, then the beef is with him.

    Second, the article states, “Most reasonable people, I think, would agree that Fighting Corruption is not an abuse of presidential power, but that Digging Up Dirt is. It follows that it is of exceeding importance that we find out which of the narratives is closer to the truth.” The reality is that in the House, the truth WAS revealed and then later validated by the AG report. The act of digging up dirt and an abuse of power was done in the previous administration to then candidate Trump. It would seem that if you and others are so serious about “justice” being served, you would be chasing after that story too. But you aren’t.

    1. That was Adam Schiff’s job. If he failed to do his job, then the beef is with him. But the question isn’t “who do we have a beef with?” The question is: Did the President abuse his power.

  36. “It will only take four Republican Senators to do the right thing here; we’ll see if they emerge from the Republican caucus. I hope they do.”

    Note: “…to do the right thing….”

    Sounds like Post has made up his mind already. I guess that means he’s heard the evidence he needs.

    1. You missed my point. As I said in the O.P., “doing the right thing” here means “doing what is most likely to get the American people the information necessary to decide whether Trump abused his power.” Yes, I’ve made up my mind about that – Senators should call the witnesses who have not been heard from so that we can hear whatever incriminating, or exculpatory, testimony they might have.

  37. The House is providing the case of the prosecution, however strong or weak. Considering the ever-changing political nature of the charges I’ll go with weak. It is not the job of the Senate to do the job of the House but determine whether the case provided was sufficiently proven to convict. On its face, the answer is no.

    Personally I think the Senate should dismiss with prejudice on day one and put an end to this political farce.

  38. It appears that “true” libertarians want the jury to do the job of the prosecutors. The House showed that this is nothing but a political hit job by the way they held the hearings (partisan, without due process, without following historical precedent, and often in secret). The insistence that the Senate do “the right thing” seems absurd. The House either did it’s work or it did not. The Senate’s job is to judge the evidence that the house presents, not find new evidence. If you want to complain, complain to the House. They are the problem.

    1. “The Senate’s job is to judge the evidence that the house presents, not find new evidence.”

      Is that a Regent, Ave Maria, or Liberty law degree talking, or are you recounting something from a discount homeschooling outline your parents got at a thrift store?

  39. There’s some talk of witness reciprocity and that Republicans might use it to subpoena Schiff or even Pelosi during the trial, but I wonder whether the Senate actually has that power given that members of either House may not be “questioned in any other place”.

  40. It is puzzling that essentially all the commenters tacitly rely on a premise that there is no future following whatever the Senate does with the current impeachment. It is a mistaken reliance. That future exists, and given how much witness testimony and documentary evidence has yet to be seen, what happens later could embarrass a quick dismissal in the Senate now.

    Dismissed charges in the Senate will not end the investigative power of the House. Today’s loose ends may turn into tomorrow’s irrefutable evidence. What happens politically if Republican Senator’s dismiss these charges—while insisting on no witnesses and no evidence—and then those witnesses and evidence surface later? I see no sign that Republicans worry about that. Why?

  41. You, Sir, are an idiot. What my father used to call the massachusetts kennedies — educated fools.

    1. I’ll bet nobody ever called you educated.

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