Impeachment

Donald Trump's Costanza Defense

The president’s lawyers argue that abuse of power is not impeachable unless it breaks the law.

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"Was that wrong?" George Costanza asks in a 1991 episode of Seinfeld after his boss confronts him with a report that "you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office." George says he has to "plead ignorance," because no one "said anything to me at all when I first started here" suggesting "that sort of thing was frowned upon."

Donald Trump's legal team is trying out a version of the Costanza defense, arguing that the articles of impeachment against him are constitutionally deficient because they do not allege any violations of the law. That claim is so dubious that even Trump's lawyers don't believe it.

The president is accused of abusing his power for personal gain by pressuring the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation of a political rival. The scheme allegedly included temporarily blocking $391 million in congressionally approved military aid.

The Government Accountability Office recently concluded that Trump's hold on that money violated the Impoundment Control Act. But the articles of impeachment do not mention that law or any other statute that Trump is accused of violating.

Is that a fatal flaw, as Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone insist? Not according to George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, the sole Republican witness at the House Judiciary Committee's December 4 impeachment hearing.

Turley, who harshly criticized the impeachment process as rushed and incomplete, warned that abuse-of-power allegations can be dangerously amorphous when detached from the elements required to prove a crime. He nevertheless conceded that "the use of military aid for a quid pro quo to investigate one's political opponent, if proven, can be an impeachable offense."

Turley emphasized that "high crimes and misdemeanors" are not limited to statutory violations. The phrase "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," he observed, "reflects an obvious intent to convey that the impeachable acts other than bribery and treason were meant to reach a similar level of gravity and seriousness (even if they are not technically criminal acts)."

Turley noted that James Madison, although he opposed including "maladministration" as grounds for impeachment, said the process was meant to address "the incapacity, negligence or perfidy of the chief Magistrate." Alexander Hamilton likewise said impeachment was aimed at "those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust."

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump's legal team, now takes what he concedes is the minority position, arguing that an impeachable offense has to be a crime. But he was singing a different tune during Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998.

"It certainly doesn't have to be a crime," Dershowitz said on CNN. "If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president, and who abuses trust, and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime."

Another Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claims the articles of impeachment are unconstitutional because "abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are not crimes of any kind." But during a 2018 discussion of Independent Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Giuliani declared that a pre-emptive presidential self-pardon, while legal, "would just be unthinkable" and "would lead to probably an immediate impeachment."

In other words, a self-pardon would not be a crime, but it would still be an impeachable offense. Similarly, a president who used his authority over the Justice Department to quash investigations of his friends and launch investigations of his enemies would be violating the public trust in a way that could justify impeachment, even if everything he did was technically legal.

Without a statutory basis, Sekulow and Cipollone argue, abuse-of-power charges effectively allow legislators to impeach the president because of policy disputes or partisan animus. But there is also a danger in letting a president off the hook because no one ever explicitly said his particular brand of misconduct was frowned upon.

© Copyright 2020 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Trumps not the one that had sex with the “cleaning lady” while President.

    Y’all gone full schizo on impeachment.

    1. So, is Sullum against sex, or against cleaning ladies?

      /sarc

    2. unreason is using “It’s not a lie if you believe it” as their defense of this joke Impeachment.

    3. Trump: Who doesn’t like cashmere? Find me one person in the world that doesn’t like cashmere. It’s too expensive.

      Sullum: Look at this. It’s 85 dollars marked down from 600.

      Trump: Wow. Excuse me, Miss?

      Sullum: Yes?

      Trump: How come this sweater is only 85 dollars?

      Sullum: (showing the dot) Oh, here. This is why.

      Trump: What? I don’t see anything.

      Woman: See this red dot?

      Trump: Oh yeah.

      Sullum: Oh it’s damaged. (grabbing the sweater)

      Trump: (grabbing the sweater back) Well it’s not really damaged. 85 dollars huh?

      Woman: There’s no exchanges on this.

      Trump: You think she would care about the red dot?

      Sullum: It’s hard to say.

      Trump: I don’t even think she’d notice it. Can you see it?

      Sullum: Well I can see it.

      Trump: Yeah, but you know where it is.

      Sullum: Well what do you want me to do? Not look at it?

      Trump: Pretend you didn’t know it was there. Can you see it?

      Sullum: It’s hard to pretend because I know where it is.

      Trump: Well just take an overview. Can’t you just take an overview?

      Sullum: You want me to take an overview?

      Trump: Please.

      Sullum: I see a very cheap man holding a sweater trying to get away with something. That’s my overview.

      –NB: Except, at the end of the day, Trump is President and given infinite lives across infinite universes, Sullum couldn’t possibly approach Seinfeld’s ability to entertain others.

      1. Infinite Trumps!

        1. Zero edit buttons.

        2. Not going to happen- black holes have no hair and just sixty succesive Trump clonings would get to the Chandasekar Combover limit- anything beyond 10 solar masses of Donalds would implode into the Black Hole of Queens

      2. “I was in the pool”!!
        /Shiff

    4. You’re right. It wasn’t Trump with the cleaning lady.

      It was Trump, with the porn star, before the botched payoff, in the hotel room, while his third wife was in the nursery, with the infant.

      Carry on, clingers. So far as your betters permit.

      1. Haha. Any day now, the clingers permit to carry on will be revoked. Just you wait and see!

      2. Where was Hillary and little Chelsea when Bill Clinton was banging chicks in Arkansas and the White House?

        1. Banging girls younger than Chelsea on Epstein Island

          fify

      3. Wait, where’s the Russian birth certificate?

        And last I checked, the porn star was having to pay him after her attempt at a lawsuit.

        No payoff exists.

        Who’s clinging here?

      4. you’re absolutely correct, at least the part about how we don’t give an eff about Trump banging a whore some fifteen years ago….our entire concern is what Trump does as PRESIDENT for our COUNTRY you pathetic dolt. Similarly, barry soetoro being able to articulately and convincing read a teleprompter does not somehow make him anything more than the worst president we’ve ever had (with due respect to FDR, the bushes, wilson, carter, jfk, et cetera who are clearly in the conversation) or excuse his high treason against the USA and several other countries nor his homoerotic allegiance to corrupt ruling class cunts.

    5. Yeah, I think Sullum is getting confused with the Clinton impeachment.

      1. When is Sullum not confused?

    6. ”Similarly, a president who used his authority over the Justice Department to quash investigations of his friends and launch investigations of his enemies would be violating the public trust in a way that could justify impeachment, even if everything he did was technically legal.“

      As in Obama…multiple times?

      1. Exactly! Where was this author when Holder was quashing investigations into the IRS, Fast and Furious, Clinton’s emails, the vast number of sudden and convenient “hard drive crashes” right after subpoenas, and so many more. Where was this author when Bill Clinton is meeting Lynch on her plane to “talk about grandkids”?

        What is this business with “technically legal”? I guess the real argument is, ‘let’s not worry if the law was really broken, cuz “orange man bad… must impeach”. ‘

        1. The black panthers
          Hezbollah

      2. The FF well-understood the “abuse of power” aspect. Yet they didn’t put it into the Constitution because abuse is more often a political argument than a legal one. Abuse by whose opinion? No, the FF dictated that breaking the law was required, and substantially at that because EVERY opposing political party always thinks that the president has abused his powers.

        Every administration since Washington has done something that the political opposition didn’t like and stretched or tried to stretch the powers of administration. The legal recourse here is through the courts and through legislation, not decapitation because “we get to define what abuse is… THIS year.”

        This idiocy is the equivalent of asking for the death penalty because someone took a questionable tax deduction, but without going through the process of even defining the legality of it.

    7. How do you know he didn’t have sex with the cleaning lady? He probably had her sign a non-disclosure agreement and then paid her off.

      If she ends up being the only one who doesn’t write a book about her experience working for Trump, we’ll know the reason why.

  2. Has anyone improved on Prof. Charles Black’s brief “Handbook” on Presidential impeachment, first published during Watergate?

    https://archive.org/details/impeachmenthandb00blac/page/n5

    The good professor suggested that an impeachable offense need not be a crime, but the closer it got to being a crime, the less the risk of abuse. (Conversely, some crimes wouldn’t be impeachable because they don’t rise to the level of misconduct that justifies kicking a Pres out of office).

    Bear in mind that in *this* impeachment the Dems say that delaying the aid to Ukraine endangered the national security. Having made that accusation, they need to prove it – namely that delaying military aid to Ukraine (with whom America has no treaty of military alliance) endangers *American* national security.

    Could the Dems have avoided this allegation and still have alleged impeachable misconduct? Perhaps.

    But they undertook to prove that prompt military aid to a non-ally was important to the national security. Can they prove that? And being Dems, can they prove that without also suggesting that the national security was in danger under Obama, before this sort of military aid started flowing?

    1. Prof. Black imagined a scenario where the Pres tried to run the government from Saudi Arabia, where he’d moved to be with his 4 wives. There isn’t (at least in the Swinging Seventies) a U. S. criminal statute against such behavior. But it would be an abuse of the public trust.

      Conversely, covering up an aide’s marijuana use would be criminal but not impeachable, according to Black.

      His Handbook is remarkably concise and common-sensical, I’d recommend it.

      1. I guess he never considered the 25th Amendment.
        Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

        Also Article I, Section 9 covers any gifts from a foreign power must be approved by Congress:
        No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

        Also Congress can cut funding for the travel and stay outside the USA. Congress could also create a law that makes it illegal for a President to live outside the USA.

        This Impeachment is a joke for many reasons and one of those reasons is that trump has done nothing wrong either illegally or in abuse of his office as far as I am concerned.

        The Impeachment Clause lists treason, bribery and other “high crimes and misdemeanors”. If anything was impeachable, the Founders would not anything specific since everything is impeachable.

        1. The 25th amendment was written for when the president was in a coma or otherwise not dead but not able to be president. That doesn’t count as gross incompetence.
          Writing laws against every possible immoral and inexcusable but not technically illegal situation is not a viable solution, especially as those would become post-facto laws, which are illegal by their very nature.

          You can acknowledge these self-evident facts while still quite reasonably asserting that Trump’s actions did not rise to the level here.

          After all, every action taken can be reasonably understood as within Trump’s power and authority. The justification that it was abuse of power seems to rely on Trump’s presumed motivations to bring up dirt on Biden while not actually wanting the investigation on the legitimate grounds that he presented.

          1. Point is that the US Constitution has numerous solutions to a President moving to Saudi Arabia.

          2. “Abuse of power” is a political opinion that is held by every opposing party of every sitting president since Washington, with the possible exception of Zachary Taylor, and only then because nobody remembers his 16 months of hiding behind his desk as the most forgettable president who never actually tried to do anything. High crimes are definable and objective. Abuse is purely subjective.

            Abuse is whatever you want to define it as. But fools are suggesting that their opinion can then be taken not only as objective fact, but evidence as well. Abuse is adjudicated by the courts and has been since day one. SCOTUS is routinely overturned and held back by the courts, and the Dems have used this quite regularly, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

            The FF certainly knew what abuse of power is, as it was the entire cause of the American Revolution. Yet they chose to not put it in the Constitution because they knew that every party would use it to decapitate their political opponent.

            In the current opinion of the Dem House, abuse of power is the equivalent of a one party majority vote of ‘no-confidence’ as it is done in England.

    2. The very theory that Ukraine was endangered ignores the previous 8 years of denials of requests under obama as him and hillary appeased russia. It is amazing how people straight ignore russias expansion into crimea. Or the use of Skolkovo to give US tech to russia used in their weapons programs.

      Also this theory there can be no delays on appropriations is completely ignorant to reality. Congress has passed many laws requiring review especially in matters of export and import of dual use or military items. Democrats are counting on the ignorance of americans on this regard.

      1. And it runs into the aid actually being delivered by the legally required date.

      2. Democrats are counting on the ignorance of Americans …
        I think that is now standard operating procedure.

        1. They even discuss it in some of the emails that have been leaked from the DNC server.

            1. Healthy people pay and sick people get the money.

              Sounds like insurance to me.

            2. AND, actually, every “law” is required to be transparent and unambiguous…

              https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/97-589.html

              We have accepted, for far too long, that laws have to be ambiguous and lengthy in order to be acceptable. This needs to stop, NOW!!!

      3. The biggest example of delay by the previous occupant of the WH was Obama’s delay in implementing his own namesake laws on Obamacare. Full implementation was delayed a full year, but Dems didn’t care about that delay because they knew it would have immediately flopped.

    3. Didn’t we technically have an agreement with Ukraine back from after the USSR fell that in exchange for them giving up all the nukes they suddenly found themselves with, we would back them if anyone ever invaded them?

      Now who was in charge again when the Russians decided Crimea needed a change of ownership?

    4. And being Dems, can they prove that without also suggesting that the national security was in danger under Obama, before this sort of military aid started flowing?

      I certainly agree with the sentiment, but how much do you actually think Obama sweated being on the hook for FBI snooping and Russian hacking? If we really wanted to take the Republic back we wouldn’t be initiating impeachment hearings at the beginning of a term, we’d be initiating criminal trials at the end. Problem is that more than half the Republic either doesn’t care or does and is actively opposed to such action.

    5. Remember too that the aid had to be delivered by Sept. 30th 2019, the end of the 2019 FY Budget…It was delivered Sept. 18th!…NO VIOLATION!

      Funny how under Obummy, who along with Uncle Schmoe, HildaBeast & George Sorrows fomented an IMMORAL & ILLEGAL coup of the duly elected Ukrainian Prez simply because he was pro-Russian they never gave the Ukraine any aid at all for the last 3 years of his presidency, so where was the urgency then?….It was Trump’s idea to give them the aid in the first place!

      The Democrat crimes in the Ukraine:

      https://www.wnd.com/2019/11/ukraine/

      1. A World Net Daily link? On Reason.com? Disgraceful.

        1. The Truth is the Truth!

    6. That allowing Russia to continue invading Ukraine endangers national security shouldn’t really need a whole lot more proof at this point.

      Obama was dangerously naive to not send more aid to Ukraine, but this was a policy difference, and we don’t impeach over policy, even if we think it endangers national security. Otherwise we would have impeached Trump in week 1 over the chaos he created at our nation’s airports the night of the trvel ban.

      In Trump’s case regarding Ukraine, he was subverting policy for his own personal gain. That’s an abuse of power.

  3. I don’t know, but I just watched Jerry Nadler shit his pants on the Senate floor. Holy fuck, that guy is insane. You think the Senate is the one on trial here and if they don’t summarily vote to have Trump burned at the stake, they’re just as guilty of treason as he is? Bad news for you, Jerry – it’s you that’s on trial here. And you’re doing a bang-up job of prosecuting yourself. How the hell you can rear up on your hind legs and slime half the country like that and think that’s a winning move is beyond me.

    1. How the hell you can rear up on your hind legs and slime half the country like that and think that’s a winning move is beyond me.

      The commenter John had a related point some time ago. His point was that it is one thing to malign a public figure, like a politician. They put themselves out there, they reap the shit. But Team D maligns ordinary people, supporters of POTUS Trump. That is something very different, and speaks volumes about their orientation, and what they intend to do once in power.

      And you’re right. It is a grave miscalculation to malign and have contempt for ordinary Americans whose only ‘crime’ is support of a particular political candidate. Hell, it was not even that. I’d venture a substantial amount of POTUS Trump’s support in 2016 was not from people who really liked him….they just despised Crooked Hillary.

      1. they just despised Crooked Hillary.

        And now they are going to despise the Democrats, in general, come November. I hope I live to read what historians are saying about this time period 50 years from now.

        1. some guy, one thing has become clear to me. Our elected leaders cannot resolve their differences, like adults. Therefore, We The People will resolve this impasse for them at the ballot box in November 2020.

          I personally cannot wait, so I can vote out the son of a bitch Andy Kim who voted for this travesty. He is one of those Team D freshmen who resides in a district won by POTUS Trump. He needs to go.

          1. Correction: Everyone needs to be voted out. Every time.

            1. I do not disagree.

            2. If even 20% of them were voted out in each election cycle, it would be a massive improvement.

          2. Have you spoken to any of the D faithful? Trump is manifestly guilty of crimes. What crimes? The ones that he obviously committed. What evidence? It’s obvious from the facts…and on down the never ending chain of comforting assertions.

            1. He’s guilty of winning the election and being Donald Trump. He’s been guilty of that since 11/9/16, and since the three-year fishing expedition failed to find anything worthy of impeachment, they have to go with that.

      2. That’s exactly it: They don’t just think Trump is a bad President. They think about half of the population of the country are monstrously evil for not rejecting him.

        I used to have trouble understanding how the left could keep ending up with gulags and pyramids of skulls, but I have to say that the last few years have made it more understandable.

        1. Sociopaths who want to control people can hide in plain sight or they would shunned by the majority.

          Trump’s election and subsequent great accomplishments in office for Americans has created a situation where Lefties must lash out and act their real crazy-selves or lose power forever.

          The GOP is a few states away from convening an Article V Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution and prevent some of the Lefty dirty tricks that have kinda worked for 100 years.

          Trump has replaced 2 SCOTUS justice and will likely replace RBG, and Breyer in his second term. Thomas might retire and Trump can replace him. That locks up the SCOTUS for the next 15-20 years. That is almost a whole generation under a non-Lefty Supreme Court.

          1. They’re more than a few states away from the 3/4 they’d need to ratify amendments.

            1. 34 states to convene and 38 states to ratify.

              CA, WA, NV, ID, WY, CO, CT, RI, ME are the only states to have nothing cooking with this Article V Convention.

              1. You are far more optimistic than I am if you think a handful of people in states like IL, MN, OR, VT, NJ, NY, MA, VA, etc stand a snowball’s chance of accomplishing anything. I wouldn’t even suggest that majority Republican States would actually support it when it comes right down to a vote. Both major parties would oppose it because they both have a stake in the current system.

          2. Not to mention that McConnell plans to fill every judicial vacancy possible as long as a Republican is in the White House.

            For as many disagreements and dislikes I have with and of Mitch McConnell, his holding up of Democrat judicial appointments during the Obama years probably saved the republic from collapse. It allowed an originalist President to fill the federal judiciary with originalist judges. If Shrillery had won, we’d be seeing far more of these lefty activist judges who’ve been covering for Obama administration abuses.

        2. Brett, we listen to some of these Bernie Bros on video, and it is truly frightening. They really would go ahead and imprison people simply for the act of voting for someone with whom they do not agree.

          And listening to AOC and that crowd, the logical extension and ramifications of their public comments is chilling.

          1. They also [and Senator Gulag himself] have also suggested that they will imprison head of companies they don’t like either, simply based on the fact that they don’t like them, and irrespective if whether there have been any laws that have been broken.

      3. 100% on point. And it’s not just with regards to Trump either. The more democrat politicians support this shit where you can’t support one thing if you don’t support the whole crazy platform then the more people are gonna be turned off and either just not vote, or vote for someone else. Think the woman’s march, and how it wasn’t ok to come if you were a conservative, or supported Israel, or disagreed with trans men being women.

        These fuckers are insane.

        1. If you look at comments on NYT and other Lefty outlets, the Lefty commenters try to spin what normal Americans (like peacefully own guns) do as if that crazy like Lefties are.

      4. It is amusing to watch them keep shooting themselves in the foot. I keep telling them”don’t change a thing”. Haha.

  4. The extraconstitutional “power of the purse” messaging misreads the Appropriations Clause as grabbing for Congress the executive power over line-item maximum spending.

    The Impoundment Control Act then grabs for Congress the executive power over line-item minimum spending.

    Taken together, they would transmogrify the strong executive into a micromanaged puppet of the nationally-unaccountable logrolling Congress fiefs.

    These congressional power grabs are high crimes and high misdemeanors on a budgetwide scale. Not executing them on a budgetwide scale – apart from respecting the top line total – would be the constitutional response, if Trump had in him the knowledge and the guts.

    A starting step towards that gut transplant would be for commentators to call out Congress for this grotesquely-unconstitutional, debt-multiplying scam.

    1. The extraconstitutional “power of the purse” messaging misreads the Appropriations Clause as grabbing for Congress the executive power over line-item maximum spending.

      I have never heard anyone make that argument before. Are you saying the constitution actually set up a dictatorship and that Congress has essentially no Constitutional authority at all? It’s just a deliberative body that the President can ignore at will?

      1. I don’t think that’s what James is saying (but I could be wrong). What I got from the comment was that
        a. according to the Constitution, Congress’ “power of the purse” is or should be focused on their ability to control or cut off revenues to the government.
        b. in aggregate, their ability to control the budget is absolute (which makes it not a dictatorship)
        c. Congress’ self-asserted authority to micromanage spending once the revenues have been brought in, however, is more questionable.
        d. Prior to 1974, if Congress said “Here’s a million dollars to run Agency X for the year” and the Executive said “Thanks but we only need $800k”, most people would have offered congratulations on the efficiency. But when people got angry at Nixon for underspending, they made that a crime.
        e. From what I can tell, the constitutionality of that new law has never been tested. Based on what I’ve found today, I am skeptical.
        f. James also talks (I think) about congress being able to limit not merely total revenues in to the government but also total revenues to individual programs or departments. In other words, even if the President has the power to say “no thanks” to the extra $ for program A, he can’t unilaterally divert those $ to program B. I haven’t found a specific law touching on that power but I think James may be overstating his case there.

        That said, this is only a problem if you let the federal government get involved in, well, everything. If you keep them cabinned to the responsibilities actually articulated in the Constitution (national defense, etc), the dangers of micro-managing or diverting funds becomes a lot less.

        1. If this is what James is saying, then yes I agree. Too bad we have let the federal government get involved in, well, everything…

  5. Did everyone see the rogue Republicans check in their spine at the door to the Senate!

    1. Romney lost like 20 points of support for quietly mumbling that he might have an independent thought about Trump not being god-emperor. The Republican party is not in a healthy place right now.

      1. Jeff already went full retard yesterday, trying to get ahead of him again?

        1. He’s actually right, for once. The GOP is too beholden to its President. That isn’t a particularly new or interesting observation, though. It’s been true of every President in living memory. That’s what we get for letting Congress give so much power to the executive.

          1. Is it the GOP being too beholden to the president or is it a general sense that the House did not produce a convincing case for whatever reason and it is not the job of the Senate to do the investigation for them?

            1. It could be that it is difficult to conduct a thorough investigation when The White House is full of mannequins.

              1. “It could be that it is difficult to conduct a thorough investigation when The White House is full of mannequins.”

                Why do fucking lefty ignoramuses make such stupid statements? Are they dumb enough to hope others might take them seriously? Or just plain dumb?

                1. “Why do fucking lefty ignoramuses make such stupid statements?”

                  I’m not sure. Maybe because everyone that disagrees with your day to day bullshit is a lefty in your view.

            2. It’s that Lefties are insane and to support the lunatics is bad for Americans.

              So GOP Senators will not be removing Trump from office.

      2. Tony is so good at massively distorting the simplest things.

    2. No, I didn’t. I saw two political parties confirm that this is a wholly partisan process, and the question of whether Trump actually did anything wrong isn’t even relevant here.

      Now go back to biting your pillow.

  6. So no one apparently is allowed to change their minds? Lawyer aren’t supposed to pick the best argument for the case before them if they previously made different arguments for another case? This is the best you can come up with?

    But there is also a danger in letting a president off the hook because no one ever explicitly said his particular brand of misconduct was frowned upon.

    Funny, that’s exactly the standard we use when cops find novel ways to rob, abuse, and murder citizens.

    1. Of course, Dershowitz as an attorney has to make the strongest plausible argument for his client, even if as an unaffiliated professor or pundit he might have come to a different conclusion.

      I agree with unaffiliated pundit Dershowitz and not with lawyer Dershowitz, but I acknowledge that lawyer Dershowitz’s position has enough plausibility that he can make it, and if it’s in Trump’s interest he needs to make it.

      Though I think Trump can be acquitted even if this argument is wrong.

      1. Exactly. This is just one of many arguments that will be made as to why Trump should be acquitted. It makes sense that this would come first… and so it did. You can point out that this argument doesn’t work if that’s what you believe, but you can’t say that Trump’s lawyers shouldn’t have made it in the first place. They’re just doing their jobs.

    2. “…But there is also a danger in letting a president off the hook because no one ever explicitly said his particular brand of misconduct was frowned upon…”

      What “particular […] misconduct”?

  7. “High crimes and misdemeanors” is left undefined in the constitution but we have 200 years of precedent and case law to guide us. And it’s a moot point anyway since there was no non-criminal abuse of power either. Your masturbatory fantasies are, well, just that. Even your shit brained 4th grade educated readers are probably embarrassed that you just spent 700 words engaging in the most base and simplistic question begging.

    1. It’s Sullum driving out of his lane. What did you expect?

  8. Impeachment and removal requires two items. 1) A truly dastardly act that materially harms the country or breaks the Oath of office, and 2) Unambiguous evidence of such act. A cum-stained dress or audio recording can suffice for 2, and paying off criminals who committed dirty tricks fulfills 1.

    With Trump we have neither.

  9. We all know what happened and we know it’s 100% true. Trump withheld military aid from an ally in exchange for an announcement that his likely Democratic opponent in the 2020 election was under investigation. The facts can’t be in dispute to anyone who’s not a partisan idiot.

    It is absurd to believe Donald Trump, who spent his whole career defrauding contractors, vendors, investors, creditors, customers, tax authorities, and the people, has any desire to expose corruption.

    As it has been for months, the only question is, do you care? If you don’t, make that case. Make the case that it’s perfectly okay for a president to do this. But knock it off with pretending Trump is innocent.

    1. To the contrary! Keeping the presidency out of the hands of any of that band of Democrat miscreants, thieves, and wanna-be despots could be interpreted as a noble act in defense of liberty. In Trump’s mind, this would not be criminal, but rather commendable.

    2. What day was the deadline for the aide to be delivered? And what date was it delivered?

      I guess you missed the part of the GAO report that says the delay lasted “six days”. So not even a week… How dastardly and devastating to our country! The horror!

    3. When did the idiot Schiff get an account t here?

      1. Schiff would never stoop to trolling. He’s got staff for that.

        1. Schiff is the type to get his hands dirty. Of his staff didnt troll hard enough you better believe he would jump in. He’d probably call his staff over and make then watch him type like JFree does with his friends.

    4. “The facts can’t be in dispute to anyone who’s not a partisan idiot…knock it off with pretending Trump is innocent”

      Hey, moron, people actually have a difference of opinion, and some interpret the FACTS to show Biden was obviously a crooked shit whose family was making bank in Ukraine in exchange for shielding Burisma from investigation into missing American monies and Trump had a legit reason to want him investigated. At least as legit as ‘Trump is a Russian Asset’ and ‘Trump withheld money for 6 days and was totally threatening’.

      1. That’s a pretty wild “interpretation” of the facts. Not to mention the most Pollyanna interpretation possible of Trump’s intent. Really, it’s just laughable. I really can’t understand how anyone can fool themselves to this degree.

        1. That’s because you’re stupid.

      2. Biden did not “shield Burisma from investigation.” Shokin was not investigating corruption, including at Burisma, and everyone wanted him gone and replaced with a stronger prosecutor. If anything, Biden’s actions–which were, of course, not his own, and done at the behest of Obama, Congress, and all our allies–made Burisma more likely to be aggressively investigated, not less.

    5. The facts are in dispute because none of what you describe happened. The aid was withheld but released and there was no announcement about an investigation into Biden. The only thing in dispute is everything that you’re saying. The case is entirely circumstantial and even if I grant everything you say is true there is still the problem of a chain of evidence or the inconvenient fact that it is not illegal for a president to engage in foreign affairs or to ask govs to “look into” or investigate things he deems interesting or pertinent to US foreign policy as that’s his job.

      1. The aid was released only after the whistleblower came forward. Zelensky had a CNN interview scheduled to make the announcement and canceled it once the whistleblower news came out.

    6. “It is absurd to believe Donald Trump, who spent his whole career defrauding contractors, vendors, investors, creditors, customers, tax authorities, and the people, has any desire to expose corruption.”

      Bullshit.
      It’s absurd to believe your attempt at mind-reading is worth shit.

    7. It’s more than OK to coerce a revelation that a candidate for president is under investigation for corruption!

      But aside from that, didn’t someone bring up a US statute that foreign aid is not to be paid out under conditions that indicate corruption by the recipient regime? Then it would’ve been required that the money be withheld until the scope of that corruption was determined, and thus guaranteed not to be extant in the program that was aided.

    8. Since when did Ukraine become an ally? And why wasn’t Obama treated to an impeachment trial for refusing to give aid to said “ally” when it was actually, physically, under attack? Your argument, like most of the democrat’s arguments, falls apart if you have more logical capacities than a rock and a longer memory than a goldfish.

    9. The problem with crufus’s “facts” is that not a single person has come forward to say “that’s what Donald Trump told me was his motivation for the aid being withheld”.
      Using what others think were his actions in the past is not proof of anything he has done recently and certainly not enough to tell the 60+ million voters, who put him in office, that their wishes must be disregarded.

  10. “The Government Accountability Office recently concluded that Trump’s hold on that money violated the Impoundment Control Act. ”

    The GAO is not a judicial agency. They have often been on the wrong side if a legal dispute that went to an actual court. Citing them as an authority is sophomoric. Also Obama was cited to have broken the law per GAO 7 times. If their interpretation was one if impeachment validity, then Reason seems to have missed the impeachment of Obama.

    The founders never meant for impeachment to be used as a partisan tool or a tax payer funded attack ad, which this is.

    1. “the use of military aid for a quid pro quo to investigate one’s political opponent, if proven, can be an impeachable offense.”

      This is the narrative Reason refuses to actually investigate, instead blindly pushes. The biden story was repeated in major newspapers back in 2016. It was in Politico, The Hill, and even the NYT. The allegations against Biden using his name have been around since he became a Senator.

      In 2017 a Ukrainian court had ruled members of its government sought to help Hillary. This was done through endorsements and the pushing of the black ledger against Manafort. This isnt even in question yet oddly never gets mentioned here.

      In his transcript Trump asked Ukraine to investigate the 2016 issues which had already been investigated at least once already by a Ukrainian court. He offers the help of the AG office to help. It is nearly 20p words later than Biden is brought up as a possible corrupt influence with Burisma, again a fact already known. Trump doesnt ask then to look into it for himself, but used the word we referring to the US. Lost in all this is that corruption does exist and one simply doesnt get out of it by running as a Democrat. Trump has been investigated for 3 years with the use of taxpayer money, yet isnt allowed to offer help in any investigation that may implicate his opponent. The rationalization required to believe that is unreal.

    2. Exactly how was this illegal by the GAO’s lights? The aid was forwarded by the required deadline, there was no “delay” by the letter of the law.

      1. It is a novel interpretation of the impoundment wording to mean delay of funds instead of excusing (non spending) of funds. GAO somehow ignored every other law Congress has passed on regards to military sales or transfers in its analysis. The regulations to get dual use or military items out of the US are large and lengthy. Any review or transfer takes analysis. OMB testified to this and reason seems to have ignores that deposition completely.

        By the way… why is nobody talking about how Schiff still hasnt released the full series of testimony transcriptions from his hidden bunker court?

        1. Jesse, I think the Senate voted last evening (I watched, as this is history in the making) to admit the entire House record, which presumably includes those ‘lost’ interview transcripts.

  11. The thing is at the Senate trial. The argument is no longer “can the president be impeached on this” , it is “can the prosecution prove that this article warrants removal”. This seems to depend on a great deal of inference rather than hard evidence on what the administration’s motives were in delaying the aid.

    There is also the Democrat’s assertions that anything that might harm Democrat electoral chances should be illegal. See Biden’s complaints about Facebook political ads, for instance.

    1. Bingo = The argument is no longer “can the president be impeached on this” , it is “can the prosecution prove that this article warrants removal”.

      Precisely.

      1. Yeah, but if we look at the last impeachment. Actual guilt is irrelevant. The party of the president will not vote to remove him. It would be a stain on the party.

        1. Vic, I think the ‘what the POTUS is guilty of, and the context’ really matters here. POTUS Clinton committed perjury (a felony) because he lied about sex acts with an intern. Yeah, it was totally scummy. Some might even call it predatory. But the considered judgment of the Senate was that while POTUS Clinton committed a crime, it was not enough to warrant removal.

          POTUS Clinton’s was impeachment-worthy, though.

          1. Personally I thought the Clinton impeachment was BS. I would agree that he did commit crimes, but the crimes did not warrant removal. Or impeachment for that matter.

            The problem with anti-Trump crowd is they expect removal on any crime. They are not giving this president the same leeway as a president they don’t like. They are literally trying to treat someone they disfavor differently than those they favor. That is the basis of discrimination. Something the Trump haters claim to be against.

            1. Perjury does not warrant impeachment or removal from office?

              All Bill had to do was admit under oath that he did have sex. He thought he could get away with it and he was correct.

  12. The bullshit from Nadler and Schiff lasted till 3 am. Whatever good graciousness they wanted to offer to get GOP cross over is gone now. The senate was repeatedly told ot was engaged in a coverup if they didnt vote with Nadler and Schiff, and senators were guilty of abuse if they voted against democrats. It was laughable. Nadler and Schiff continued to call the White House lawyers liars which led to an admonishment by Justice Roberts.

    This shit is already a clown show.

    1. Trump’s lawyers are liars. They lied all day. Fact check something for once in your life.

      1. Your still pathetic.

        1. You’re. Fucking auto correct.

        2. You spend minutes of your life going on the internet trying to explain why Donald Fucking Trump is a good president.

          1. He’s actually pretty good.

            Loved his speech at the World Economic Summit. He went all positive while sticking it to the negativists while Grrrreta was in the crowd watching and listening.

            It was one of the more refreshing speech I’ve heard in a long time.

            1. Excuse the double use of the word ‘while’ in the same sentence. But no edit button means I have to waste a post correcting my inelegant grammar.

          2. And you do realize he introduced prison reform (First Steps) right? Reform that helps the poor and minorities. Why do you hate minorities Tony?

            1. Nixon created the EPA. How much leeway do you give Democratic presidents who commit crimes and try to cheat elections with the help of foreign governments?

              1. You mean Crooked Hillary? Because she actually did try. And failed.

                Her husband wasn’t much better, considering his action wrt China.

                1. Clinton buddied up with China while he was still Arkansas’s governor.

                  The Concorde only landed once at LR’s Adam’s field (Bill and Hill airport) once and it was to bring Chinese businessmen to town.

              2. “…How much leeway do you give Democratic presidents who commit crimes and try to cheat elections with the help of foreign governments?”

                None.
                What does than have to do with Trump?

              3. You have absolutely no evidence that he has committed a crime, and it is perfectly reasonable to ask for an investigation of a person who is clearly corrupt. If that is an impeachable offence, I’m your little bitch boy. And we both know who the bitch boy is here, don’t we?

                Another thing we both know: no matter how hard you cry, Trump’s not going to be removed from office. Not only is he not going to be removed, he will win reelection and be your president for the next 5 years. The vast majority of Americans will either look back on him extremely fondly, or come to an understanding that their initial protestations were highly overblown. Meanwhile, you’ll probably still be whining like a little faggot in the Reason comments section.

          3. And you spend just as much time posting low-IQ, zero-evidence screeds to make yourself feel better about the fact that Trump is destroying you and yours on every conceivable level. He’s still going to be your president come nine months from now, and I just can’t wait to see how full-on retarded, how batshit insane you become.

            Donald Trump is not a good president. There’s no such thing. But he is the best president we have had in my lifetime, and he is sure as shit nowhere near as bad as you keep pretending he is. You would be happier (as opposed to how bitter, resentful, and pathetic you are now) if you would stop lying to yourself and simply disengage from politics. Also, you’re a stupid faggot.

      2. “…Fact check something for once in your life.”

        This from shitbag who is incapable of posting without a lie.
        Fuck off and die.

      3. Suck on handgun, asshole.

        1. That isn’t how a firearm works, you fucking inbred cockroach.

          Trumpers only exist because you’re all too stupid to know how to kill yourselves.

          Fix that issue and you’ll fix a large portion of this country’s problems.

          1. The only thing that will fix the country’s problems are you and your relatives getting the full Yazidi.

    2. The saw about trial lawyers:

      “If the facts are on your side, pound the facts. If the law is on your side, pound the law. If neither the facts or the law are on your side, pound the table.”

      Threatening the Senate with charges of conspiracy if the do not side with House prosecutors is pounding the table par excellence.

      1. I’d say they have moved beyond pound the table and moved into pound the jury territory. If this was a real trial this would be the prosecutor threatening to hang conspiracy charges on the jury if they didn’t convict.

        1. Jury tampering?

      2. Does congress have any authority to charge a Senator with anything in the first place? That seems like meddling in a State’s internal affairs on the face of it.

        1. Each house of Congress gets to decide all its own affairs relating to disciplining its own. By design to prevent lunatics like Democrats from lashing out as they disappear from national politics.

  13. The Mueller investigation decided Trump can’t be indicted for normal crimes. Republicans decide Trump can’t be impeached unless he commits normal crimes. He did commit normal crimes.

    Libertarians 100% have Trump’s back because they hate unaccountable politicians.

    1. Mueller testified to congress that the OLC guidance did not influence his report dumbfuck.

      1. The report that listed like 11 crimes Trump committed?

        1. The report listed no crimes he committed.

        2. Look tony, we know you live in a bubble of ignorance so you probably missed it. Under oath mueller testified they could not indict the president based on the evidence they had. He testified in congress guidance of convictions of a president did not play into it.

          Just because he included 11 counts of possible obstruction doesnt mean he was indicted on obstruction, mueller left that question to Barr, in violation of his direction as the independent investigator. He did this to push a political document, not legal, so dumbfucks like you could make incorrect claims as to what the report said.

          It is clear you didnt read the report nor listened to testimony around the report. Mueller was a failure.

          1. Donald Trump wants to fuck his daughter.

            1. Dude….really? Calm down. There is plenty of fodder top criticize POTUS Trump without maligning his daughter.

              1. I’m maligning the old man who wants to fuck his daughter, not the daughter. Her grifting is positively quaint by comparison, and as far as I know she is not a sexual deviant.

                1. Well that settles it. You’re definitely an idiot.

                  1. I think that was settled a while ago.

                2. Yeah Tony, you’re very persuasive. Personally, I am convinced. /sarc

                  1. Imagine if Obama said he wanted to fuck his daughter. Or is his wanting to fuck his daughter the reason you like Trump in the first place?

                    1. Poor tony.

                    2. “”Imagine if Obama said he wanted to fuck his daughter.””

                      You’re making shit up. Trump never said that. You complain about fact checking yet you say shit like this.

                    3. Tony is a dumb shit

                  2. Tony has had a rough 3 years and cannot come to grips that trump will be President for 5 more years.

            2. So you admit that you can’t even pretend to have valid arguments anymore? Remember asshole, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

    2. Did this make sense to you when you typed it?

      Because if it did, now i understand why everyone calls you an idiot. You are.

      1. It makes sense that Republicans think Trump can only be impeached for crimes that he can’t be indicted for in the first place, much the same way the work of Lewis Carroll makes sense if you accept the premise of absurdist fiction.

        1. You’ve completely misunderstood the findings of the Mueller report and the houses weak-ass investigation if that’s the conclusion you’ve drawn.

          Again, reinforcing the notion you are, in fact, an idiot.

          1. It found that he likely committed many crimes but could neither indict nor exonerate him. Straight from the horse’s mouth.

            1. I willing to bet you have committed many crimes that you have yet to be charged with.

    3. “…He did commit normal crimes.”

      You keep repeating that lie, but you’ve never ONCE presented any evidence.
      Fuck off and die.

    4. “”The Mueller investigation decided Trump can’t be indicted for normal crimes.””

      Wrong. Do some fact checking yourself.

    5. He did commit normal crimes.

      Name one and cite the law code.

    6. You are not a libertarian, and that is not remotely an accurate assessment of how libertarians feel about this. Trump clearly did not commit a normal crime because it’s been 3.5 years of investigation and you, Tony, still do not have a single shred of non-circumstantial evidence that he has. Investigating a corrupt person is not a crime.

  14. Of course this is the first argument they are making. Any good defense will make every possible argument to get their client acquitted. No matter how outlandish this argument may be, they still have to put it out there for consideration if there is any chance it might work. That’s their job.

  15. “Was that wrong? Should I have not done that? I tell you I gotta plead ignorance on this thing because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frowned upon…..” isn’t just known as the Costanza defense, it’s also known as qualified immunity and, while we all regularly rail against it, the courts regularly find it’s a perfectly cromulent defense so I’m going to have to go with “not an impeachable offense”.

  16. The jurors in this matter are not 100 senators but the people who will be voting in November. Everything said and done at the trial is directed to those potential voters and is a political decision, not a legal decision. I guess the Dems think they have a case that the voters will believe, just like the GOP decided, when Obama was president, that it was foolish to pursue impeachment and removal of the nation’s first bi-racial president for his abuses of power.

  17. From KDW at National Review today:

    ” Trump stands accused of attempting to weaponize government policy to disadvantage his political enemies by people whose entire party platform is dedicated to weaponizing government policy to disadvantage their political enemies.”

    And this is why it’s bad for liberty if Democrats win this. Greater evil, folks. Greater evil!

    1. Pretty much my position. The worst and most impeachable part of this entire affair is the fact that we did in fact gave millions and millions of dollars of tax payer aid that we do not have to a foreign gov.

  18. From KDW at National Review today:

    ” Trump stands accused of attempting to weaponize government policy to disadvantage his political enemies by people whose entire party platform is dedicated to weaponizing government policy to disadvantage their political enemies.”

    This is why it’s bad for liberty if Democrats win this.

  19. It’s aggravating watching the press try to make red meat out of this tofu burger.

    Until now I had assumed that withholding military aid for investigating corruption was ok. Come to find that when high ranking Democrats are involved it’s an impeachable offense. It just seems OBVIOUS that Biden’s behavior was unethical AT THE VERY LEAST.

    And the most ironic part is by withholding appropriated monies from Ukraine to get Prosecutor Shokin fired (for corruption) was exactly what Democrats are accusing Trump of as an impeachable offense (and announcing other deep staters wanted it too is no PROOF of Shokin being corrupt). Yet no one blinks an eye at this hypocrisy. Am I missing something??
    This is truly staggering to watch.

  20. Donald Trump’s legal team is trying out a version of the Costanza defense, arguing that the articles of impeachment against him are constitutionally deficient because they do not allege any violations of the law.

    Have you even seen Seinfeld? That’s not a version of the Costanza Defense. The Costanza Defense is ‘I didn’t know it was wrong – because its not wrong where I come from’. This defense is, literally, ‘I did nothing wrong’.

    You can see the difference in the clip itself. Costanza isn’t pleading innocence. He owns up to what he’s done, he’s just trying to play it off like he didn’t know it was wrong to do that at that company.

    1. Trump’s not even trying the ‘but everyone else does’ it defense.

    2. And Sullum, would you be comfortable with being issued a summons to court to stand trial – but at no point will the court tell you what you are accused of doing?

      If the articles don’t allege a crime then he’s not actually accused of abusing his power for personal gain, is he?

      1. Oh, but you see, Presidents need not be afforded such protections because this is not a criminal proceeding! /s

        I know I’ve seen that type of comment here (mostly on VC) and it really disturbs me that a bunch of libertarians, who really are supposed to be more ideological about freedom, would actually rely on the argument that someone does not deserve these legal protections for…reasons. They’ll harp all day about how essential it is for free societies to have due process and to know what you’re accused of, face your accusers, having standards, speedy trials, etc. but all that goes out the window the moment it hurts Trump.

  21. But the articles of impeachment do not mention that law or any other statute that Trump is accused of violating.

    Is that a fatal flaw, as Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone insist? Not according to George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, the sole Republican witness at the House Judiciary Committee’s December 4 impeachment hearing.

    Turley, who harshly criticized the impeachment process as rushed and incomplete, warned that abuse-of-power allegations can be dangerously amorphous when detached from the elements required to prove a crime. He nevertheless conceded that “the use of military aid for a quid pro quo to investigate one’s political opponent, if proven, can be an impeachable offense.”

    What the hell? That’s not the question here. The question is, if the man isn’t being formally charged with anything – if they won’t tell him what crime he’s being accused of (and they aren’t because, as you note, there is no crime listed in the articles) – then how the hell is he supposed to defend himself? How would this ‘trial’ be focused? Its basically set up so that they can throw anything they want at the wall for three days in the hopes that *something* sticks.

    1. Now, we know this process is political and he doesn’t have to be in violation of an actual law, let alone social norm, but the accusation he has to defend himself against *must still be leveled* – even if its only ‘we just don’t like your face’.

      Anything less is a mockery of American legal traditions and the rule of law. Its, literally, kafka-esque.

    2. Isn’t there something about a right to know the charges and the evidence against him?

      Oh, wait. This is a political process. Not a criminal one. But then shouldn’t Trump use a political defense?

  22. Comparing apple to blowjobs. Literally.

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/bill-clinton-fined-and-disbarred-over-the-monica-lewinsky-scandal/

    Claiming that Dershowitz is a hypocrite is extremely dishonest because it assumes that the same words mean the same things in different contexts. Protip: context matters. What Clinton did and what Trump did are not remotely comparable. We don’t even know what Trump did. Thus far Trump has been accused of nothing but third-hand opinions about something that may or may not have occurred somehow or another. His impeachment and trial is completely baseless.

    1. Snopes rhymes with dopes, for good Reason

  23. The president’s lawyers argue that abuse of power is not impeachable unless it breaks the law.

    This is a legitimate defense in any trial. If you’re in compliance with the law, you shouldn’t be found guilty of committing a crime as far as the courts are concerned. That’s why we have laws.

  24. > The president is accused of abusing his power for personal gain by pressuring the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation of a political rival.

    “personal gain” – did Trump get money? No. Did his family get money? No. Mr. Sullum, this is an unfair characterization. To be fair, this should read “political gain.” Which is something that politicians, you know, seek, via the exercise of… wait for it… politics!

    “political rival” – not yet. If someone who might someday run against you is a “political rival” then that applies to just about anyone. Granted some are more likely than others, but still, this characterization is overly broad. And if someone can immunize him or herself by running for office, that’s a big problem, seemingly right in Reason’s wheelhouse.

    And hey, you know, maybe getting other countries to announce investigations of US politicians who are indeed abusing their power for personal gain is a good thing! A little more of that, please. A bit of shame might go a long way. I would think that this would be something Reason would be in favor of, given that crony capitalism is one of the better arguments against capitalism.

    Let’s game this out. Trump has been impeached. Say he gets removed from office, or sufficiently damaged that he or President Pence loses in November, to… Biden! Who could never be accused of “abusing his power for personal gain!” That seems fair…

    It’s very dispiriting to see TDS infect Reason. SAD! Keep your eye on the ball, Reason! Don’t make the same mistake of the MSM and spend all of your powder unfairly attacking Trump. There is, and will be, plenty to attack him on fairly.

  25. The president’s lawyers argue that abuse of power is not impeachable unless it breaks the law.

    The same way that lefty media scum like you claim that the routine, mundane corruption of the sort that allows the entire Biden family to get fabulously wealthy by getting absurd jobs at absurd salaries that they would never get in a million years without Uncle Joe’s power and connections is just fine because no laws are being broken.

    What’s good for the donkey is good for the elephant, you stupid asshole.

  26. How much leeway do you give Democratic presidents who commit crimes and try to cheat elections with the help of foreign governments?

    There are not any crimes listed in the impeachment articles, T.

    1. “What about” undocumented online donations from foreign nationals to presidential campaigns?

  27. unless it breaks the law

    I.e. “high crimes”…which hasn’t been observed or proven in this case. But, you know, Orange Man Bad.

    1. Jacob is an idiot. A fucking idiot.

  28. But there is also a danger in letting a president off the hook because no one ever explicitly said his particular brand of misconduct was frowned upon.

    This is exactly like qualified immunity.

    Not only do I disagree with quialified immunity, I know that the supreme Court simply made it up ultra vires

    But the Supreme Court has never repudiated qualified immunity, so Trump should have the same benefit cops do.

  29. That claim is so dubious that even Trump’s lawyers don’t believe it.

    When has that ever stopped a lawyer?

  30. FFS
    So “abuse of power” means investigating the slime ball Biden’s who extorted the Ukrainians to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the corrupt company that Hunter sat on the board of.

    Who is neither Ukrainian nor is he in the energy business.

    Sure thing Jacob. What a dope.

  31. There were legitimate reasons to want Ukraine to investigate malfeasance by senior US officials.

    The fact that this aligns with Trump’s political benefit is an impeachable offense?

    Now do immigration enforcement.

  32. Has Reason gone full on Trump Derangement Syndrome too?

    Trump doesn’t even need a defense. He committed no crime or offense – the Bidens did! And that is at the center of all this.

  33. Impeachment should be reserved for treason level activity. And that’s almost certainly a crime.

    If a president tried to pressure a foreign leader into investigating his political opponent only for his own benefit, that’s not from some “not a crime but impeachable” category. That’s basically a crime. The democrats were never able to prove this.

    If Trump bought into some conspiracy theories and temporarily withheld aid out of overblown corruption concerns, that calls into question his judgment. But that’s not an impeachable offense.

    What is an impeachable offense that’s also not a serious crime? Gambling and addiction? No, there are ways to remove a president when he’s not mentally fit to do his duties. Affairs? No, Clinton covered that.

    Entering into a treaty with a terrorist nation or ordering missile strikes without congressional approval? That might qualify. But the democrats back then would have howled over impeaching a president over policy matters. “He’s being impeached because he’s black” would have been their sad rallying cry.

  34. Obama’s abuse of power included breaking the law. One case in point is when his Treasury Department approved a waiver for Iran to convert $5.6 billion in riyals to euros in 2016 when sanctions were in place and he did not get permission or even notify Congress of what he was doing,

    Reason seems to be subjective on this site.

  35. We do seem to hear a lot of arguments these days about what is or isn’t an impeachable offense. The arguments are fun (love the Constanza defense bit, guys. Keep it going!) , but should not be taken any more seriously than that. If the House impeaches and the Senate convicts the President (any President) of putting his gum under his desk, the Supreme Court is not going to intervene. They just don’t have any legal basis to stop it. Your never going to see a SCOTUS majority opinion that says “Why did we overturn it? Because it makes no fucking sense!” even it that were a completely true statement.

  36. Was Reason rolling this dude out for two opinion bits a whack when Obama was raping the the rules every other day? I don’t recall. I’m guessing we know what bumper sticker is on his Volvo.

  37. The Trump administration violated the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a decision released Thursday.

    “In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine,” the non-partisan government watchdog’s ruling said.
    “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”
    “An appropriations act is a law like any other; therefore, unless Congress has enacted a law providing otherwise, the president must take care to ensure that appropriations are prudently obligated during their period of availability,” the decision says.
    “The Constitution grants the president no unilateral authority to withhold funds from obligation.”
    If the White House wanted to withhold the funds, the president had an obligation to notify Congress and “provide detailed and specific reasoning to justify the withholding,” the decision said.

    Count 2 of the impeachment articles – Obstruction of Congress- IS A CRIME- Roger Stone was convicted of it,
    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ROGER JASON STONE, JR., Defendant. *
    COUNT ONE (Obstruction of Proceeding) From in or around May 2017 through at least December 2017, within the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendant ROGER JASON STONE, JR., corruptly influenced, obstructed, impeded, and endeavored to influence, obstruct, and impede the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry and investigation is being had by either House, and any committee of either House and any joint committee of the Congress All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1505 and 2.

    Obstructing Congressional or Administrative Proceedings (18 U.S.C. 1505) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years (not more than 8 years if the offense involves domestic or international terrorism), or both.

    1. And if the house weren’t so desperate to impeach a man they hate, they could have cited this law, but they didn’t, did they? If you’re a prosecutor you know under what law you are making your case. The House is in such hysterics that it didn’t occur to them to actually do their job.

  38. I”m not sure how this is the same thing at all. Impeachment is for “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Crimes and misdemeanors are defined by law, not by some individual’s outrage. The House could have found some spurious statute to cite but were too lazy to go that route. This sort of “technicality” is how the law works, and as many sleazy lawyers as there are in the House, they should have caught this obvious omission.

  39. “Similarly, a president who used his authority over the Justice Department to quash investigations of his friends and launch investigations of his enemies would be violating the public trust in a way that could justify impeachment, even if everything he did was technically legal.”

    As Obama did for Hillary?

  40. Sullum is a stone cold idiot. I think any politician who votes for gun control is ‘abusing power’. Thus, may I impeach him? Eat some more bagles Sullum boy, and put some bacon on them.

  41. We all know that Trump is guilty of what he is charged with, the only question is whether he should be removed from office for it now or whether to allow the people to decide in November.

    While he has largely done the things he promised when he ran in 2016, the guy’s erratic nature is dangerous to the Republic. It is clear that he would, if he could, establish an authoritarian regime reporting to his whims and not to the Constitution. All of that is clear to anyone who is paying attention.

    What is ironic is that the actions of the Democrats and their media allies has driven more and more Americans into Trump’s camp. The very real possibility that, after Trump is acquitted by the Senate, he will be in a stronger position than ever before, and will probably be facing a challenger from the Democrat extreme left (Bernie or Liz), means the likelihood of a second Trump term is increasing.

    I like where Tulsi came out on this: no impeachment, but censure, and let the voters decide in 2020. But the Dems have no choice — their constituencies will be satisfied with nothing less than Trump’s head on a spike. It will result in an impossible choice for those of us who love Liberty: a) vote for an even-more-emboldened autocrat, b) vote for a Socialist who is no less a statist than is Trump, or c) vote for a to-be-determined Libertarian who has zero chance of making a dent anywhere.

  42. Is the Impoundment Control Act anything like a George Waffen Bush faith-based asset forfeiture executive order? Specifically, does it wreck the banking system and cause a Great Depression?

  43. I’m not intending to defend Trump…don’t actually like him, but after repeated Senate, House and special council investigations, we are now 3 years into trying to overturn the 2016 election. Everything Trump is charged with, Obama also did…so what. Problem is this partisan circus bodes ill for the future. I could see a Republican Congress impeaching a President Biden for the same thing in2022, only they will have Biden bragging about the abuse of power on Utube. Enough, let the voters decide in November.

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