Some Brief Thoughts on Impeachment

The Democrats could have, but did not, make the case that Trump is unfit to hold office

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

I was listening to NPR in my car today and heard one of the House managers make the case that I though the Democrats should have made all along–that Trump's Ukrainian mess was not a one-off, but part of a very troubling pattern of behavior by the president that renders him unfit to hold office. This includes everything from insulting a gold star mother to asking Russia to hack Hillary's emails to constant lies and deceptions, and so on.

Influenced by co-blogger Keith Whittington, I have come to the conclusion that impeachment should be reserved for presidents who are not just incorrigible in misbehaving, but incorrigible in ways that Congress can't easily control through normal checks and balances. There is a good case to be made that this describes Trump. But while a House manager tried to make it today, that's not what the impeachment hearings were about, nor is that what is in the articles of impeachment.

What we do have is obstruction of justice and the Ukrainian situation. With regard to the latter, I think that the Democrats would have an open-and-shut case for impeachment if they could show either that (1) Trump really did not believe that the Bidens had done anything wrong, and thus tried to sic the Ukrainians on them solely because Biden Sr. is his political opponent; or (2) that Trump tried to get the Ukrainians to make up damaging evidence, rather than simply launch an investigation. Instead, we have dubious behavior that is "impeachable," but probably every president has engaged in impeachable behavior. (Certainly Obama engaged in a fair amount of impeachable conduct, but even in my book about his misbehavior, I never suggested he be impeached). In the annals of presidential misconduct, it's relatively small beans–unless, of course, it's part of a broader pattern of misbehavior, which is exactly what the Democrats, in their rush to conclude the impeachment process before the campaign season, chose not to investigate and allege in the impeachment articles.

I'm also dubious of impeachment unless there is a clear public majority in favor of it, which is one of the reasons I opposed impeaching Bill Clinton. After all, unlike in a parliamentary system where new elections are usually called when the PM is removed, in the U.S. the Vice-President takes over, and nobody voted for him to be president.

All that said, I have been contemplating a question that I'm unsure of the answer to: Let's say I were a Senator voting my conscience, and I believed the following: (1) Trump's conduct is "impeachable"; (2) I wouldn't normally vote to convict on the level of misbehavior alleged in the articles of impeachment, especially in the absence of strong public support for it; and (3) allegations and evidence not put forward by the House persuade me that Trump is unfit to be president. Should I vote to convict?

NEXT: To Defend Trump, Ken Starr Invokes Martin Luther King

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  1. We’ve sat through the nightly parade of “What has Trump done wrong today?” for three uears now. Yes, some of his statements are idiotic and indicative of no self-editing capability.

    However, how would doing what you have suggested change anything? See first sentence above.

  2. So, we should impeach every Republican ever elected from this point forward if the bureaucracy does not like him, but we should leave Democrat presidents alone. Great way to build confidence in the system.

    1. Because Republicans only plan on electing unethical incompetents from this point forward? That’s a great way to build confidence in the Republican party. Surely you realize that Trump is uniquely flawed (and not even really a Republican, or what used to be a Republican).

  3. David, why in your mind would it be necessary that ” Trump really did not believe that the Bidens had done anything wrong, and thus tried to sic the Ukrainians on them solely because Biden Sr. is his political opponent.” Aren’t the allegations here most akin to either malicious prosecution or defamation, neither of which would require proof of the defendant’s subjective knowledge that the prosecution was unfounded/the accusation was false? Why isn’t showing either common law malice or actual malice enough?

    1. Because it’s not against the law, or unethical, or impeachable to use the powers of your office go after lawbreakers. And the same goes for going after lawbreakers when going after them might benefit you politically. If there was reasonable suspicion that Hunter Biden was a serial killer no one would argue that Trump should take no action because doing so would make Joe Biden look bad. But if he’s doing it with the sole purpose of using his office to make Biden look bad, with no suspicion that there was actually any untoward conduct, that might be grounds for impeachment. Might….

      1. Right, but that’s apparently not what David’s arguing here. He’s not saying that Biden has to be a lawbreaker or that Trump has to show a reasonable suspicion that Biden was a lawmaker. He’s saying that as long as Trump sincerely believed Biden was a lawbreaker, whether that’s a reasonable belief or not, then that’s enough to exculpate him.

        1. Well, if he’s delusional that’s a separate issue.

          1. “Delusional” is not “high crimes and misdemeanors” any more than “unfit” is. Senators take an oath to the constitution, not to their personal preferences.

            (I know it’s hard to keep a straight face when talking about politicians and oaths, but the entire discussion is hypothetical.)

          2. You wouldn’t have to be delusional to think the situation with Burisma and the Bidens was corrupt.

            But Lindsey Graham has promised an investigation into Burisma and Biden.
            I hope we can get the answer to these questions:

            What did the State Department say or do when Hunter joined Burisma’s board about potential conflicts of interest?

            What was the timeline about Shokin’s investigation of Burisma, Burisma’s contacts with the state department and the state department calling for Shokin to be fired and Joe threatening to withhold aid unless he was fired.

            If the sequence of events is
            1. Shokin moves on Burisma
            2. Burisma Lobbyists contact the State department using Hunter’s name.
            3. State Department and Biden call for Shokin’s removal.
            4. Shokin fired.

            1. Nah. The sequence is :

              1. Shokin was not investigating Burisma.
              2. Shokin refused assistance to a British investigation of Burisma
              3. Obama told Biden to pressure Ukraine.
              4. State Department policy demanded Shokin’s out.
              5. A publicly articulated U.S. policy goal demanded Shokin out
              6. Bipartisan support from Congress demanded Shokin out
              7. The European Union demanded Shokin out
              8. The World Bank demanded Shokin out
              9. The IMF demanded Shokin out
              10. The European Bank for Reconstruction & Devlopement too
              11. Every reform group in Ukraine demanded Shokin out.

              What you’re peddling, Kazinski, isn’t dishonesty on the level of spin, but black-is-white truth-means-nothing agitprop lying. It can’t stand a five minute review of the facts. But Trump tried to extort election collusion from another country thru this crude obvious lie. You know what that sounds like?

              Abuse of Power. Meriting impeachment, if you put country before party….

              1. ” Meriting impeachment”

                He was impeached so you should be happy.

                1. I’d be happier, Bob, if you’d agree it merited impeachment.
                  You know: Country before party & all that……

                  1. I didn’t realize my opinion meant so much to you.

                    [embarrassed emoji]

              2. “As prosecutor general, Shokin’s office opened one case involving the gas company but only under pressure from the Ukrainian parliament.

                In an email interview with The Post, Shokin said he believes his ouster was because of his interest in the company…

                Had he remained in his post, Shokin said, he would have questioned Hunter Biden. “All I can say is that the appointment of Hunter Biden as a member of the Board of Directors of the energy company is rather questionable from the point of view of effectiveness. After all, this person had no work experience either in Ukraine or in the energy sector,” he wrote. ”

                This is from a Washington Post article three days before Trump’s Ukraine call.

                https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-vice-president-biden-said-ukraine-should-increase-gas-production-then-his-son-got-a-job-with-a-ukrainian-gas-company/2019/07/21/f599f42c-86dd-11e9-98c1-e945ae5db8fb_story.html

                1. The Ukrainian parliament pressured Shokin to investigate Burisma in the first place, and then dismissed him… based on that investigation? Does that seem plausible to you?

                  1. What’s clear is that the most immediate precipitant of Shokin’s dismissal was Biden’s explicit quid pro quo demand attached to a billion dollars in loan guaranty.

                    Now, did Biden have a pure heart and simple motive of fighting corruption? I.e.: Was Biden, in fact, demanding that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General be fired, because he was not doing enough to investigate the criminal corruption of a company where his own son Hunter was collecting millions for sitting on the board due only to his name?

                    Maybe. It could very well be. I’m not going to presume anyone guilty. But there seems to be, to make an understatement, a plausible question here.

                    In Biden’s favor, I suppose, is that he wasn’t going rogue here, which would be completely nuts. There were others, aligned with Biden, who also wanted Shokin gone. Others in the Obama administration of course, somebody in the UK, some undoubtedly fine folks in the IMF apparently, some “activists,” and whoever else. So, what does it all amount to? Just a gobsmacking conflict of interest, but otherwise happenstance with “no real ‘there’ there”? I don’t know. And neither do you.

                    1. Well the investigation into the company concerned conduct that predated Hunter Biden’s joining the company. (And that investigation was not initiated by Shokin, but by the UK, first, and then Shokin’s predecessor.)

                    2. You can be legally liable serving on a corporate board, even if past corrupt actions were not initiated by you, if you fail to meet reporting standards for said corruption. If illegal acts were occurring at Burisma prior to Biden joining their board and they were still ongoing or affecting other operations, that makes it worse that he didn’t have the conscience to speak up, especially given his father’s position in the matter.

                    3. Just a gobsmacking conflict of interest, but otherwise happenstance with “no real ‘there’ there”? I don’t know. And neither do you.

                      Maybe not. But what NToJ does know, and I know, and you should know, is that (a) Biden didn’t keep his actions a secret; everything the U.S. was doing there was reported to Congress. A GOP congress, at that; (b) neither a GOP-run House nor a GOP-run senate thought there was anything worthy of investigation; (c) the DOJ, under the various leadership of Loretta Lynch, Jeff Sessions, and William Barr, did not think there was anything worthy of investigation.

                    4. ” So, what does it all amount to? Just a gobsmacking conflict of interest, but otherwise happenstance with “no real ‘there’ there”? I don’t know. And neither do you.”

                      Looks like an investigation is called for.

                    5. “No investigation thus far” and “did not think there was anything worthy of investigation” are two wholly different things and quite the logical leap.

                    6. “Looks like an investigation is called for.”

                      Well jeez add that to the long list of failures by President Trump. He’s let you down, again.

                    7. No, he called for an investigation.

                      Then someone got wind, and was worried about his exposure, and tried a big ol’ whistle-blowing impeachment stampede instead.

                    8. “In Biden’s favor, I suppose, is that he wasn’t going rogue here, which would be completely nuts. ”

                      Trump wasn’t going rogue here, either; I hear he had the President of the USA in agreement with him, too, just like Biden.

                    9. “Then someone got wind, and was worried about his exposure, and tried a big ol’ whistle-blowing impeachment stampede instead.”

                      Why would President Trump care about a whistle-blower? If he believed an investigation was warranted, why did he first try and hide it from the American public, and then deep six it when things went public? Why not just, in the first instance, ask Barr to investigate Hunter Biden? And then announce it? What’s up with the weird cloak and dagger stuff? And then why abandon course, if, as we were told, the call was “perfect”?

                    10. “If he believed an investigation was warranted, why did he first try and hide it from the American public, and then deep six it when things went public? Why not just, in the first instance, ask Barr to investigate Hunter Biden? And then announce it? What’s up with the weird cloak and dagger stuff? And then why abandon course, if, as we were told, the call was “perfect”?”

                      Bar conspiracies about the transcript being forged, there’s an adage that goes something like this. “It is always better to tell someone you have a problem than to be told you have one.”

                      I can’t speak for Trump, but if I was trying to investigate corruption that involves a foreign country, I wouldn’t want anyone tipped off. I would deny it as much as possible until the actual infrastructure is set up and investigation already underway. It’s also pretty embarrassing for Trump’s policy since he’s always criticizing other nations for not contributing their fair share to global causes. We give all this money to Ukraine and our stable genius art of the deal aficionado can’t even get foreign cooperation for an investigation that involves a Ukrainian firm and associates?

                      As for Barr, we won’t know these details because it’s ongoing, but Barr and Trump have in fact discussed an investigation. We knew that almost a year ago and Trump was very public about it. He announced that months before this so called impeachable phone call. It’s really easy to find because Trump talked about it at length in an interview with Politico. Barr attested to this as well during Senate hearings. We also know that Trump didn’t send Giuliani just for the Bidens. Both Trump and Giuliani talked about Crowdstrike as well as Manafort and this all occurred well in advance of this manufactured controversy and these so called “cloak and dagger tactics.”

                    11. awildseaking,

                      “…but if I was trying to investigate corruption that involves a foreign country, I wouldn’t want anyone tipped off.”

                      Some suggestions on how to not tip anyone off. First, don’t hire your loudmouth, idiot personal attorney to do the investigation, because he talks to everyone. Second, the President said he was withholding aid from Ukraine because it was a corrupt country. If you wanted to not tip people off, why would you tell the leader of a country you think is corrupt?

                      Re: Barr, both he and the DOJ have said that Trump never asked him to investigate. Trump has said he never sent Rudy to investigate. The cloak and dagger stuff is that under your theory, at least one of these people is lying.

              3. But you are leaving out the reinstatement of a court decision in February 2016 that re-seized Burisma’s assets, after the 2015 seizure decision had been voided.

                I’ve read several fact checks that claim it was insignificant, but actually since the assets had been seized, then released, then there was nothing insignificant about reinstating the decision and re-seizing the assets. So claiming that the flurry of calls, and the firing of Shokin a month later couldn’t be related is just a talking point.

              4. GRB – The democrat explanation of why Shokin was fired is illogical.

                Consider how illogical it is
                1) Burisma hired Hunter to increase presure on Ukraine to Investigate Burisma.
                2) Joe Biden & the Obama administration withheld $1b to increase pressure on Ukraine to investigate Burisma who was paying Hunter for his vision and insight.
                3) Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin because he wasnt investigating Burisma.

            2. The birthers have a new crusade!

              No wonder you guys get stomped by your betters in the battle to shape American progress.

              1. Now now. we’ve talked about this before. Get a grip or your tenuous grip on reality will be lost forever after the president’s reelection.

                1. I doubt there are enough half-educated bigots and superstitious goobers left in America to give Trump another chance at an Electoral College trick shot. Four years of improvement of our electorate — less white, less bigoted, less rural, less religious — will have consequences.

                  Even if Trump manages to squeak by again, the clingers are doomed demographically over time. American progress will be shaped by better Americans, those in the educated, decent liberal-libertarian alliance.

                  1. I can see the battle is over and the grip on reality is already lost

          3. Good to know that one can escape all scrutiny for potential criminal activity just by running for office. Avenatti better enter the race soon.

  4. ” if they could show either that… Trump tried to get the Ukrainians to make up damaging evidence” — the announcement of “independent” decision by Ukraine to investigate, when in reality the decision was coerced, would be made-up damaging evidence of credibility of the charges.

    1. Absolutely true. And wasn’t that repeatedly emphasized in the testimony of multiple witnesses? Trump didn’t care about the process or result of any Ukrainian investigation. Any normal investigation moving slowly behind the scenes was useless to him. All he ever wanted was the public announcement.

      Gordon Sondland was told to demand a commitment in writing from President Zelensky for a public announcement. That was the price for a meeting between the two presidents. This was before Trump switched to military aid as his extortion tool.

      Trump required another country to “officially” put Biden in the crosshairs. That’s what he wanted for a campaign commercial. If the decision to “investigate” was a coerced lie, how is that less a fabrication than manufacturing evidence?

      It would be nice to see Professor Bernstein address the point….

      1. The point being that you are irrationally convinced Trump wanted to put his name to a public, high profile investigation announcement, which would obviously draw ire given Biden’s candidacy, simply to damage him? As opposed to talking shit about Biden with his own interview footage, the Schweizer novel, third party investigations, Hunter family court proceedings, and all the other readily accessible public shit that we can read and watch to show how questionable Biden’s character is? And Trump wants a fucking letter at that? With all these recordings, leaks and testimony proving that he definitely wants an investigation, so that way his opponents can attack him forever wondering where that investigation is and why he wants it?

        Your “point” requires an assumption that Trump is a vegetable. Good luck having anyone else waste their time on such a silly idea.

        1. As I note a few comments above, your only “scandal” concerning Joe Biden is bullshit no honest person takes seriously. Why do you think Trump couldn’t go to Barr? A bigger toady you’ll never find as Attorney General, but even he couldn’t create a Joe Biden “scandal” when every single fact disproves it.

          You see, that’s why:

          (1) Trump needed Giulliani, a sleazy burnt-out incoherent husk.

          (2) Two low-grade hoods from central-casting

          (3) A buffoon like Gordon Sondland. His job had nothing to do with Ukraine, but he was willing to be an obedient yes-man if allowed to feel important.

          (4) Rick Perry, who was only on board for this clown show until he could secure a Ukrainian natural gas deal for one of his choice campaign contributors. He did, then quickly bailed.

          (5) Secret dealings with the most corrupt figures found in Ukraine. including Shokin, Lutsenko, Poroshenko, and Firtash. Yep, DJTs “concern about corruption” meant allying myself with the worst criminals in the country. A desperate Trump thought they might sell him Biden dirt.

          (6) Muscling out a United States ambassador precisely because of her reputation against corruption. Sure, Trump could have demanded her resignation anytime, but instead screamed “take her out” to the crooks Parnas & Furman, who then payed ex-congressman Pete Sessions to smear her.

          (7) Multiple attempts to extort foreign collusion in the next election, ultimately using military aid to a country under invasion from a U.S. foe.

          (8) Repeated lying to the American people (but everyone’s used to that from Trump by now).

          Getting it now, awildseaking? If any of your Biden bullshit had the slightest truth, value or weight, then Trump wouldn’t have needed this whole dumpster-fire production. It’s precisely because your Joe Biden garbage can’t stand honest scrutiny that Trump needed to extort a fake “investigation” from a country desperate for military aid.

          1. And there you go, you’re just sticking your head in the sand and calling it bullshit while lying through your teeth.

            Trump did go to Barr. We have it on record from multiple sources and Barr’s own sworn testimony that he had discussed investigations with Trump. Giuliani went to Ukraine months in advance of this call and ran into a lot of opposition. The current regime didn’t want to open that can of worms. We have him on the record for that as well.

            1. Trump did go to Barr. We have it on record from multiple sources and Barr’s own sworn testimony that he had discussed investigations with Trump.

              Of course he discussed investigations with Trump. But not investigations of the Bidens.

          2. Grb – “As I note a few comments above, your only “scandal” concerning Joe Biden is bullshit no honest person takes seriously. ”

            On the flip side – you want us to believe that Burisma hired Hunter so that Biden and the Obama administration would put pressure on ukraine to fire Sorkin and restart the investigation into the Burisma corruption. That is basically the argument you are trying to make with the defense of Joe & Hunter’s actions.

        2. ” you are irrationally convinced Trump wanted to put his name to a public, high profile investigation announcement” — Trump _wouldn’t_ put his name to it, he’d say Ukraine _independently_ saw probable cause to investigate; the announcement would “forget” to mention that Ukraine was covertly coerced to make it.

          “As opposed to talking shit about Biden with his own interview footage” — that’s much less damaging than an ostensibly independent, official announcement would be. Trump’s own talk about Hillary weighed much less than Comey’s announcement of restarting the email probe. Comey’s announcement damaged Hillary even though the investigation found nothing new; Trump tried to engineer the same thing to damage Biden.

      2. Who told Soundland to make the demand???? No one testified to any knowledge of such a thing. All the testimony was distilled inferences from group think gossip. Unless mind reading is a real thing.

  5. Here’s a question for you David.

    You make a case about a pattern of behavior. You have an entire book on the misdeeds of President Obama. From using the power of the government to spy on political opponents (both Democrat and Republican), to Obstruction of Congress, to unauthorized wars in violation of the war powers acts to assassination of US citizens without a trial.

    Yet you never suggested impeaching Obama? Why. Not.? If you’re making an argument about a pattern of behavior deserving of impeachment, you literally have an entire book on Obama’s “Lawless” pattern of behavior…

    1. Because the public didn’t care. And the Republicans didn’t start by trying to use their other powers when they controlled first one than both houses of Congress to counteract him.

      1. The issue here is, then it’s entirely “the public” (ie public opinion) that appears to define what’s impeachable and what isn’t. Rather than more concrete facts.

        So, if there’s enough “dirt” thrown up by the press, then impeachment is on the table. And if the press chooses “not” to throw up the dirt, then impeachment isn’t on the table. (It’s also why the one of the reasons the GOP didn’t try impeachment, among other reasons, but that’s a political argument for later.)

        The really big problem with this argument, is that the Presidents who NEED to be impeached, almost always have the press in their back pocket supporting them already. This is most easily seen in other countries (IE Venezuela and Chavez, for instance). If impeachment is “only” on the table when the press and public opinion is against you…then there’s a big flaw in the system.

        1. “The issue here is, then it’s entirely “the public” (ie public opinion) that appears to define what’s impeachable and what isn’t. Rather than more concrete facts.”

          This is a feature, not a bug. The system you’re proposing is that only really popular presidents get impeached. But if you’re proposing a change, it’s not a “problem with this argument”, it’s a problem with the Constitution, which expressly empowers elected people to decide impeachment and removal. One alternative would be to have the Supreme Court do it, but that can’t happen without an amendment.

          1. No, I’m proposing that Presidents be impeached when they break the law. Whether or not they have popular support.

            The system David proposes, that impeachment can’t be done if popular support is high enough, basically says “The president can break the law at will, and shouldn’t be impeached as long as he keeps the public opinion on his side”.

            Which is wrong.

            1. “No, I’m proposing that Presidents be impeached when they break the law.”

              Alrighty then.

              1. If we’re going by what the GAO says…

                https://bongino.com/flashback-seven-times-the-gao-said-the-obama-administration-broke-federal-law/

                By the way, I’m glad to know you think Warren should be impeached.

                1. Where did I say that every President who breaks the law should be impeached? You said:

                  “I’m proposing that Presidents be impeached when they break the law.”

                  I was merely pointing out that this President broke the law. I don’t think President Trump should be impeached merely for breaking some law. If he jaywalks, I don’t view that as disqualifying. I frankly don’t even think technical violation of the Impoundment Control Act is sufficient for impeachment. If you still believe “Presidents [should] be impeached when they break the law” what say you about this violation of the law? Are you prepared to say President Trump should be impeached? Or are you just floundering for some basis to accuse me of bad faith, to justify your own special pleading for this President?

      2. Because the public didn’t care…

        Well look at our good fortune. We will know in just a matter of months if the public cares, won’t we?
        Back to my original question. Why are the Democrats hell bent on denying the people their right to determine if a pattern of evidence exists, that warrants voting the President out of office.
        Democrats truly believe voters are too stupid to be trusted with self governing decisions.

        1. Why are the Republicans hell-bent on denying the public access to evidence that will help them decide?

          I know the answer. Do you?

    2. Obama was “using the power of the government to spy on political opponents”? Can you point me to some evidence of that?

      1. Crossfire Hurricane. And I understand there’s a story out there about a “pee” dossier and the FISA court, but that’s just crazy.

  6. No, you let the people (and states/electors) who elected the President continue to have their guy in office. You don’t substitute your (whimsical?) preference for theirs. Because doing so undermines our democratic heritage and turns the Presidential election, and democracy itself, into a show with no substance.

    If you want to amend the constitution to take away Presidential elections, use the Amendment process for that.

    1. Exactly. You have faith in the democratic process.

      If you only support the democratic process when it gives you what you want. But when it gives you something you don’t want, you work against it and undermine it to put your choices in place…

      It’s not really democracy. It’s a sham, like the Republic of Russia or the People’s Republic of North Korea. A “Democracy” so long as the vote supports the current rulers.

      1. You seem to miss the fact that Trump was actively trying to subvert democracy by enlisting foreign help. If Trump uses his powers as President to tilt the election in his favor, that is more precisely like the Republic of Russia or the People’s Republic of North Korea. Using a constitutional process to remove a President that the vast majority of people believe did something inappropriate is playing by the rules of our Republic. In fact, not doing so where a Senator feels as Bernstein does would undermine the legitimacy of our system of government. Our system was designed for Senators to act in accordance with their conscience.

        If you just want democracy, then Hillary won the popular vote and you should be upset about that. If you want our leaders decided pursuant to the Constitution, the impeachment and removal is just as consistent with democracy as is the electoral college.

        1. 1. ..”Foreign help”.

          -Once again, you’re submitting your preferences (and what you consider “foreign help”) for the preferences of the people as a whole. Other people consider “foreign help” to be things like “soliciting donations from overseas” and “holding campaign rallies in foreign countries” and “Getting Ukrainians to investigate corrupt campaign officials for you”. You’re using your preferences to overturn general democracy.

          2. “Vast majority”

          -If you have a vast majority, wait for the election in 8 months. Make it legitimate.

          3. “then Hillary won the popular vote…”

          -We don’t have a direct 100% Democracy, for several reasons. We have a Constitutional Representative Democracy, designed to diffuse power across the country and across different government branches, in order to protect minorities of many different types, and protect against the tyranny of the majority. I support that system, for many reasons. Perhaps you do not.

        2. “You seem to miss the fact that Trump was actively trying to subvert democracy by enlisting foreign help.”

          What do you think Hillary campaign did with the Steele apparatus?

          What did you think Obama did with his donation credit card system when he turned off the controls to prevent foreign donations?

          1. Joe_dallas : What do you think Hillary campaign did with the Steele apparatus?

            What a black hole of ignorance this statement is! First, you have the bizarre use of the word “apparatus”, which I presume is supposed to lend a tin-foil-hat sheen to the sentence. Then, comes the breathless horror that a candidate would hire a firm to do opposition research, or that that firm would hire a well-respected expert. Finally, we come to something truly embarrassing:

            Apparently our Joe is ignorant of the fact Hillary did nothing with Steele’s research. Absolutely. Totally. Nothing. She didn’t even leak it pre-election. Steele took it to the FBI and they also buried it throughout the campaign. The only leaks from the Bureau insisted there was no connections between Trump & Russia – these leaks coming right before Comey sabotaged the Clinton campaign days before the election, insuring Trump’s victory.

            Not a good example to put against Trump’s long campaign to extort foreign election collusion for his personal benefit. Maybe Joe can do better if we give him another chance…..

            1. Apparently our Joe is ignorant of the fact Hillary did nothing with Steele’s research. Absolutely. Totally. Nothing.
              There is no way to reach that conclusion. If you mean she used the prescribed number of cut-outs to achieve the goal, you may be right.

            2. “She didn’t even leak it pre-election. ”

              “Leaking” to select media outlets where they have people on their payroll is part of the Fusion GPS service; When you hire them, they don’t just generate the dirt, they shop it around for you, too. It’s a package deal.

              Only the Steele dossier was such a steaming heap the media wouldn’t bite. Not until after the inauguration, when the media’s standards had declined even further, and even then it took Comey briefing the new President on the dossier, for no other purpose than so that the media could use that as a hook to justify running with it.

        3. “vast majority of people believe did something inappropriate”

          But the majority does not support removal according to most polls. See Real Clear Politics or 538 averages.

          Impeachment has made Trump more popular/

          “WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has risen to 49%, his highest in Gallup polling since he took office in 2017.”

          1. No, impeachment has not made Trump more popular. His approval rating continues to sputter in the low-to-mid 40s. You can check either RCP or 538 to see that. Cherrypicking a single poll is worthless.

            1. As you say, polls schmolls.

              All the same, when Adam Schiff started his inquiry in late September 2019, the betting markets had Trump at a 43% chance of re-election. Today he’s at 56%.

              As Machiavelli said – it’s better to be re-elected than loved. Or something like that.

            2. Well actually just last week RCP said that Trump reached his highest average approval rating of his presidency, but it’s down a point since then.

              But just keep in context that his approval rating in Wisconsin on election day was 35, and he still won the state. You don’t have to be popular to win an election just be more popular than whoever you are running against.

              Also Trump’s approval rating on “handling the economy” is 56-39% on the RCP average, Gallup has it at 63-35. Whether people approve or disapprove of Trump personally is nowhere near the whole story on how well they think he is doing his job.

              1. “Well actually just last week RCP said that Trump reached his highest average approval rating of his presidency, but it’s down a point since then.”

                Where did they say that? The RCP average is available here.

                “Whether people approve or disapprove of Trump personally is nowhere near the whole story on how well they think he is doing his job.”

                Well general approval is certainly a better indicator of “the whole story” than cherry-picking Job Approval on Economy. What about Direction of Country and Job Approval Foreign Policy?

      2. “Exactly. You have faith in the democratic process.”

        Strange comment. Because upstream you said the people can’t be trusted because something something media and “public opinion”.

        1. That’s not what I said.

    2. Impeachment is a process spelled out by the constitution. If you really feel impeachment “undermines our democratic heritage” – whatever that means – use the amendment process for that.

      1. It says “high crimes and misdemeanors”, not “unfit”. If you want it to say “unfit”, then use the amendment process.

        1. Your previous statement I was answering didn’t say anything about “unfit.” I suppose I agree with that. I certainly agree with your implication that impeachable acts doesn’t mean anything Congress wants it to mean, a la Gerald Ford.

    3. Gee, I can’t possibly think of any reason why we shouldn’t let a president abuse his power in order to tilt elections in his favor! Let the democratic process have its way, even if elections are not longer fair or free!

      1. Everything is “an abuse of power to tilt elections” when you make up enough details and when all word meanings can be changed for partisan advantage.

  7. As for your question…The answer is, if you wouldn’t normally vote to convict, then you shouldn’t vote to convict.

    Let’s put this in a different context, a criminal trial (which is a common metaphor).
    A Senator is on trial for “lying to an FBI investigator”. The prosecution makes a reasonable case that the person did in fact lie to the FBI, but you don’t really buy it. You wouldn’t normally vote to convict. But, you don’t particularly like the Senator’s policies, and don’t think he is a good senator based on other items the Senator has done. He is “unfit” in your opinion to be Senator. A criminal conviction would remove this senator.

    Do you vote to convict?

    1. The question was not “you don’t like him” but “is unfit”. A world of difference.

      1. Not for some people.

  8. I wonder what damage this impeachment may have done to Congress. I’ve had a few thoughts.

    The count of “Obstruction of Congress” was really “Obstruction of the House of representatives” where the House didn’t consult either the Senate (the other half of Congress) nor the Courts to obtain support for their demands. Is it possible for a future House to demand some performance from a future President and when acquiescence is not forthcoming to Impeach that president for “Obstruction of Congress” on it’s own?

    Secondly we had some weeks of the Speaker of the House publicly “negotiating” with the Senate, attempting to put conditions on how the Senate would handle the trial. That seems a pretty clear violation of the Senate’s prerogative to make it’s own rules and be have the sole power to try an Impeachment.

    I don’t know it either of these situations has ever arisen before but it seems almost like the House was attempting to take over Congress.

    1. I understand what you’re saying. But surely if the constitution gives only the House of Reps the power to impeach the president, it must also mean that the House of Reps, acting on their own, has some power to investigate the president, including the power to impel some degree of cooperation from the executive.

      1. …it must also mean that the House of Reps, acting on their own, has some power to investigate the president..

        Yes.

        including the power to impel some degree of cooperation from the executive

        No.

        The House is given the sole power of impeachment, which give or take the shenanigans about whether a mere resolution is good enough, or whether Articles have to be formally delivered to the Senate, plainly involves some formal act of impeachment that the House can do, and nobody else.

        But the Constitution offers the House no special powers to investigate prior to impeaching. But it doesn’t necessarily require special powers. Newspapers are free to investigate things, private citizens are free to investigate things – and Members of the House can investigate things.

        So the House does have some power to investigate, but it does not require any special Constitutional grant of power to do so. It can do so merely by exercising the natural liberties of its members, just like the natural liberties of every citizen.

        But neither private citizens, nor newspapers, have any legal power to impel co-operation from anybody. Nor, absent some specific grant of power does the House.

        Now you might say that investigating an impeachment without impelling power would make for pretty thin soup. The House, you might argue, needs impelling power to mount a serious impeachment investigation. If so, the Constitution provides the solution. The Necessary and Proper Power. If the House wants impelling power in connection with investigating impeachments, all it has to do is pass a Bill to give it such power, persuade the Senate and President to sign up to it and there’s the impelling power, all wrapped up and legal.

        So if impelling is necessary (and proper) to the House’s impeachment power, then that power can be acquired by Act of Congress. But as with any such Act, it is reviewable by the courts and those against whom the impelling is directed can challenge it in court. The intervention of the courts doesn’t infringe the House’s sole power of impeachment at all. It is the normal application of Article III to a dispute between the House claiming the impelling power under a statute, and the impellee.

        Moreover we have proof positive that the the House’s sole power of impeachment is wholly unaffected by a lack of impelling, since the House has just gone ahead and impeached without attempting any impelling.

        1. Thank you for some actual legal analysis. So tired of Orange Man Bad-level of dissertation…

          1. Orange Man Good-level is equally annoying.

        2. “But as with any such Act, it is reviewable by the courts and those against whom the impelling is directed can challenge it in court.”

          A couple points. First, your assumption is that Congress has to pass an act to issue a subpoena, but that’s not the law, currently. SCOTUS has held that the power to issue subpoenas is inherent in the legislative investigative process, and so that power exists before acts. (How could Congress determine what laws to pass if it can’t perform legislative investigation?) See, e.g., Eastland v. US Servicemen’s Fund (1975) (“The power to investigate and to do so through compulsory process plainly falls within [the legitimate legislative sphere].”).

          Second, even if a separate Act were necessary, it is not the case that every Act of Congress is reviewable. Since SCOTUS does not review subpoenas, see Eastland, again, there’s nothing for SCOTUS to review. It’s possible that SCOTUS will one day expand its review of the scope of “legitimate task of Congress” but current law is deferential, as SCOTUS isn’t going to get involved in telling the people’s representatives what the people’s business is.

          Third, besides avoiding political questions, SCOTUS is also bound by the Speech or Debate clause, which gives Congress emmbers total immunity for the issuance of a subpoena. (Again, Eastland.)

          That doesn’t mean Presidents are powerless against Congressional subpoenas, but the assertion of executive privilege is reviewable. US v. Nixon (1974). And I don’t know how you read that case without also concluding that the House does, in fact, have some recognized power to “impel some degree of cooperation from the executive”.

          1. Yeah. Although, the House’s power here is not enhanced or enlarged by Nancy Pelosi uttering the word “impeachment inquiry” in a press conference. Nor even by a House vote passing a resolution to begin an impeachment inquiry, it seems to me.

            1. It doesn’t need to be. The House’s power to issue subpoenas to the President is not conditioned on the House’s impeachment power, either. It’s enough for it to be within the “the legitimate legislative sphere”. Is investigating the President within the legitimate legislative sphere? Yes, of course. That is true both with respect to actual impeachment inquiries, or just run of the mill Benghazi investigations. The President doesn’t get to tell Congress what Congress thinks is important enough to issue subpoenas for. (The President can, in response, assert its own prerogatives, like executive privilege.)

              Congress doesn’t have to have an “impeachment inquiry” or an “impeachment” before issuing subpoenas to the Executive Branch. The authority to issue such subpoenas preexists an actual impeachment inquiry. Even in US v. Nixon, the authority to issue the subpoenas was not premised on any impeachment investigation.

        3. “But the Constitution offers the House no special powers to investigate prior to impeaching. But it doesn’t necessarily require special powers. Newspapers are free to investigate things, private citizens are free to investigate things – and Members of the House can investigate things.”

          Private citizens and newspapers cannot issue subpoenas. The House does have that “special power.”

          You make an interesting assertion that the constitutional power to impeach does not carry any inherent grant of investigative powers. Is that just your opinion? Are there court opinions that back that assertion? I’m not asking rhetorically, it’s just hard for me to believe that sole impeachment power does not also confer some type of investigatory power. I realize none is specifically granted by the text.

          1. Yes, it’s just my opinion, based on the point you note : “I realize none is specifically granted by the text.”

            As NToJ points out, SCOTUS has plucked an “inherent” power out of its rear end, in Eastland. But that is obviously one of those text-free, conclusion-first justification-second efforts by the court that we need to see reversed.

            The court’s line of reasoning is admirably summed up by NToJ’s “How could Congress determine what laws to pass if it can’t perform legislative investigation?” ie it’s is entirely goal seeking and wholly unmoored from the Constitutional text.

            The textually justified answer, both as regards legislation and impeachment is as I described before.

            First, you can do plenty of investigation without any special grant of power. In reality, as to legislation, the great bulk of the investigation consists of interest groups doing the serious legwork and lobbying Congress to enact the proposals that the interest groups want enacted. The lobbyists possess no special grant of power.

            Second, to the extent that some special grant of investigative power is indeed necessary to exercise the legislative or impeachment power, the Constitution provides a specific mechanism for such power to be granted in law. The Necessary and Proper Clause.

            The existence of an explicit mechanism specifically setting out how a legal right is to be acquired is, in any normal legal analysis, conclusive proof that no inherent right may be implied.

            Plucking “inherent” powers from judicial rear ends because some unspecified-in-the-text power is thought necessary for Congress, or one of its House’s, to exercise a specified-in-the-text power is simply an end run round the explicit Constitutional process. Which is that these subsidiary powers do not exist, unless duly enacted.

            1. “…ie it’s is entirely goal seeking and wholly unmoored from the Constitutional text.”

              Your argument is mystifying. If you think the N&P (set aside the Speech or Debate clause for a moment) is sufficient, why do you keep insisting that there is no textual basis for congressional subpoena powers? Congress’s implied powers have been alive since the beginning of the Republic. The House held Robert Randal in contempt in 1795. The Senate followed suit a few years later against William Duane.

              1. No the N&P clause is not, of itself, sufficient to create special legal powers to Congress or either House. The N&P clause is, of itself, sufficIent textual authority for Congress to legislate to create such powers in statute. If and when Congress does create such powers in statute, it’s the statute from which the powers derive. They are not already there in Constitutional penumbra. They have to be created by statute. No statute – stick within your enumerated powers.

                And the statutory powers are reviewable by the courts facially (ie are those powers indeed N&P to the exercise of an express constitutional power) and as applied (ie are the powers being exercised within the terms of the statute, and without infringing anyone’s constitutional rights.)

                Absent text free judicial invention there’s nothing in the speech and debate clause that gives Congress, or either House of it, any inherent power to compel anyone to do anything. The S&P clause simply grants Congresscritturs a privilege against arrest, or being challenged for what they have been chattering about in Congress.

                The fact that the unmooring from the text started a long time ago does not affect the fact that there’s no textual justification for assuming inherent Congressional powers that aren’t mentioned in the text. The text requires both that Congress pass an actual law, and that the actual law is confined within the textual boundaries of the N&P clause.

                1. “No the N&P clause is not, of itself, sufficient to create special legal powers to Congress or either House.”

                  As you note, that isn’t prevailing law. But, in any event, there already statutes. 2 USC 194. There’s also FRC(rim)P 17, per the Rules Enabling Act (28 USC 2072).

                  “No statute – stick within your enumerated powers.”

                  Impeachment is an enumerated power, though. Do you think there are any implied powers that do not require legislation? Does Congress have to pass a law to determine how it counts votes for impeachment? Subject to presidential veto? To the extent the military is in an executive branch, do you think Congress can subpoena the executive for information to inform what “Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces” Congress wants imposed?

                  “The S&[D] clause simply…”

                  That’s an important “simply” if the person seeking to resist a congressional subpoena is attempting to do so by resort to federal court actions against Congress, right?

                  1. I may have the wrong statute authorizing the FR of Crim Procedure but it’s in there somewhere.

                    1. Not important. I’m talking about the legal principles not the specifics.

                      The point is that for Congress, or either House, to acquire incidental necessary and proper powers, not enumerated in the Constitution, an actual statute is required, made pursuant to the N&P clause.

                      Consequently such a power, if it exists, is statutory and so necessarily judicially reviewable when exercised against an unwilling citizen. It’s not a “political matter” or a co-equal branch’s constitutional turf.

                    2. @Lee,

                      What I don’t understand is that when it comes to Congress’s implied powers, you require the strictest of textualism to support anything they do. But when it comes to the broad power of judicial review–nowhere explicitly provided for in the Constitution–every conceivable question that the judiciary could be asked is impliedly part of their powers.

                      Set that aside. The Political Question Doctrine is nothing more complicated than the recognition by the judicial branch that there are questions it cannot answer, by dint of the fact that the Constitution has vested that power in some other coordinate branch, that SCOTUS doesn’t have the tools, expertise, or power necessary to answer the question, or some combination of both.

                      There is no question that SCOTUS can’t answer. It could review every case based on a coin flip. The issue is whether SCOTUS, in giving an answer, is exercising its constitutionally authorized power. And there are questions that SCOTUS recognizes are outside its constitutional realm. SCOTUS is entitled to make that determination, and there’s nothing in the constitution obligating SCOTUS to answer what it concludes are political questions.

                      Your insanely narrow view of implied powers reminds me of the scene in A Few Good Men when Kaffee is asking the private how he figured out where the chow line was, since it isn’t in the manual. Does Congress need a statute to tell them how to order lunch? Which enumerated power entitles Congressmen to order lunch? Are internal Senate and House rules reversible unless supported by some legislation? If no one at the beginning of the Republic recognized the rule you say is constitutionally mandated, that doesn’t shake your confidence at all? You know better about what the Constitution intended than the people who actually ratified it?

                    3. every conceivable question that the judiciary could be asked is impliedly part of their powers

                      Definitely not. But if a litigant comes to court claiming that Congress is breaching his constitutional or statutory rights, then his claim is a case or controversy that is explicitly within the courts Article 3 powers to resolve. If the courts’ judicial reviewing goes beyond reviewing such cases and controversies then why would the court have any power to get involved ?

                      The Political Question Doctrine is nothing more complicated than the recognition by the judicial branch that there are questions it cannot answer, by dint of the fact that the Constitution has vested that power in some other coordinate branch

                      Which is precisely why I have been at pains to point out that the sort of powers we are talking about – the not mentioned in the constitution powers – have not been vested by the Constitution in Congress. If they exist they have been vested by Congress as statutory powers.

                      Does Congress need a statute to tell them how to order lunch? Which enumerated power entitles Congressmen to order lunch? Are internal Senate and House rules reversible unless supported by some legislation?

                      You’re skipping by points we have dealt with already. Congressmen do not require an enumerated power to order lunch for the same reason that you and I do not require an enumerated power to order lunch. Everyone has the liberty to order lunch, unless some Constitutional or statutory provision restricts it. But the power of a Congressman to take your lunch, or to forbid you from eating it, or to require you to switch out some of the fries for green vegetables does not exist any more than your or my corresponding power, absent some actual law.

                      Likewise, Congressmen have every right – without a constitutional grant of power – to do whatever newspapermen may do without a constitutional grant of power. But they have no greater right than a newspaperman to compel witnesses or seize papers, unless that right is expressly granted by the Constitution, or pursuant to the N&P clause, by statute.

                      And we’ve already dealt with the fact that the House’s power to make its own rules is expressly provided for in the Constitution.

                      If no one at the beginning of the Republic recognized the rule you say is constitutionally mandated, that doesn’t shake your confidence at all? You know better about what the Constitution intended than the people who actually ratified it?

                      Well here we get to the difference between original meaning and original intent. I’m not an “intent” kinda guy, except to the extent that a tiebreaker may be required where the text is (genuinely) ambiguous or vague.

                      While we’re on the craziness of each other’s views, do you not think it is a little odd that you should be finding implied Constitutional powers, unmentioned in the text, and justifying your discoveries by reference to the argument that such powers must be implied otherwise some explicit power could not be exercised properly ? When there is an actual, explicit, clause in the Constitution telling you what procedure to adopt if you find that an explicit Constitutional power needs bolstering with something extra ?

                  2. Does Congress have to pass a law to determine how it counts votes for impeachment?

                    No. The House has a direct constitutional grant of power to determine such matters in Article 1 – “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings”

                    So any statute purporting to require the House or Senate to proceed in a particular way would be plainly unconstitutional.

                    To the extent the military is in an executive branch, do you think Congress can subpoena the executive for information to inform what “Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces” Congress wants imposed?

                    On what authority ? The Constitution grants the power to make such Rules, not to subpoena anyone. If there has been a N&P justified statute granting the Cogress power to issue subpoenas to acquire such information, then sure.

                    That’s an important “simply” if the person seeking to resist a congressional subpoena is attempting to do so by resort to federal court actions against Congress, right?

                    Not sure I get your point. It seems unlikely that anyone unenthusiastic about receiving a congressional subpoena would be trying to arrest a Congresscrittur. Or to interfere with Congresscritturs going to and from their House. Or to question any Congresscrittur about what said crittur had declaimed within said House.

                    The subpoena recipient would simply be resisting the application of force against himself.

                    Declining to submit to an act of force by Congress is not the same as trying to prevent or punish a Congresscrittur for demanding such an act of force.

                    You seem to be conflating people talking about something, and the Constitutional immunity conferred on such talking; with people actually laying hands on citizens and a wholly imagined Constitutional immunity conferred on such hand laying.

                    The S&D clause forbids other people (ie the executive) from trying to punish or interfere with Congresscritturs going about their attendance in Congress and speechifying there. It has nothing to say about Congresscritturs interfering with citizens going about their lawful occasions. It confers protection against questioning in respect of speech and debate – it does not suggest that the laws or resolutions made by Congress are immune from judicial review if they infringe the rights of citizens.

                    Moreover it confers a privilege on individual Senators and Representatives, it does not confer any power on Congress itself.

                    1. “On what authority ? The Constitution grants the power to make such Rules, not to subpoena anyone. If there has been a N&P justified statute granting the Cogress power to issue subpoenas to acquire such information, then sure.”

                      The Constitution also doesn’t explicitly authorize Congress to communicate with the military. Does Congress require a statute to communicate with the military brass?

                      “It seems unlikely that anyone unenthusiastic about receiving a congressional subpoena would be trying to arrest a Congresscrittur.”

                      They might sue members of Congress to enjoin enforcement of a subpoena. Which is what happened in Eastland.

                      “Declining to submit to an act of force by Congress is not the same as trying to prevent or punish a Congresscrittur for demanding such an act of force.”

                      Yes, but asking a federal court to declare that you don’t have to answer the subpoena, is a bit different than merely not answering it. (The purpose of the federal court order is to avoid being found in contempt of Congress.)

                      “Moreover it confers a privilege on individual Senators and Representatives, it does not confer any power on Congress itself.”

                      This isn’t the law. It extends to Congressional committees, and aides and counsel of the members, among others.

                    2. Does Congress require a statute to communicate with the military brass?

                      See lunch above.

                      They might sue members of Congress to enjoin enforcement of a subpoena. Which is what happened in Eastland.

                      They might. And how would that involve a breach of the S&D clause ?

                      Yes, but asking a federal court to declare that you don’t have to answer the subpoena, is a bit different than merely not answering it. (The purpose of the federal court order is to avoid being found in contempt of Congress.)

                      No. The purpose of seeking an order from the court is to prevent Congress doing something unpleasant to you – ie enforcing a subpoena. A federal court would have no power to prevent Congress from issuing you with a subpoena unsupported by any poena. For there would be no case or controversy. And in fact that is exactly what happened in the recent impeachment. The House issued poena-less “subpoenas” – poena-less, under current law, because unsupported by a House resolution. Why they chose to do this is not clear, but one strong possibility was that it was entirely deliberate – they did it that way so that the White House could not bring a case to court trying to prevent the witnesses appearing. Willing witnesses could appear under the color of a dummy subpoena.

                    3. It occurs to me that in discussing poena-less “subpoenas” I missed to opportunity to illustrate what the S&D clause does cover.

                      If ouside the House, Mr Carmelo Ongresscrittur says “Mr NTO Justice is by all accounts, a notorious child molester, who has only escaped justice by bribing judges, we must drag his sorry butt into the House and grill him on his scandalous crimes”, Mr Ongresscrittur runs some risk of exposing himself to a suit for defamation.

                      But if Mr Ongresscrittur says this in the House, and persuaded by his arguments the House subpoenas Mr Justice, then Mr Ongresscrittur is privileged against a defamation action by Mr Justice, because Mr O’s speech in the House may not be questioned in another place. But – notwithstanding any nonsense the courts may have come up with previously – Mr Justice has every right to bring an action to enjoin enforcement of the subpoena (assuming it has some poena behind it.) For that “questions” the validity of the subpoena, it doesn’t “question” Mr Ongresscrittur’s remarks in the House.

                      It does not infringe Mr Ongresscrittur’s privilege against any comeback for his speech – it challenges Congress’s claim to impose unlawful penalties. (If, in Mr Justice’s case, they would be unlawful.)

            2. Very interesting, Lee. I’m not sure I agree completely. Thanks for the response.

    2. where the House didn’t consult either the Senate

      As Alpheus says, the House has the sole power of impeachment, and it can do it any way it wants.

      That said, the Senate has the sole power to try impeachments and it can do that any way it wants. And it seems to me that once this current episode is put to bed, the Senate could usefully amend its rules to distinguish between :

      (a) impeachments which the House has chosen to perform after a process that meet a standard which the Senate thinks make them worthy of a full trial in the Senate, and

      (b) other impeachments

      Type (b) might be designated to be either ignored or dismissed without a hearing on a simple majority vote.

      Prof Bernstein has detailed elsewhere some of the procedural, er, shortcomings of the House’s efforts this time around, and I expect the Senate could draft a set of requirements for an impeachment to be worth their time and effort to hold a full trial.

      This would not of course impinge on the House’s power to impeach using tarot cards if that’s what the House chooses to do. It would simply give the House fair warning as to how the Senate planned to exercise its sole power to try impeachments.

      1. An easy out for the Senate would be passing a rule that impeachments will use the Federal Rules of Evidence. That provides a fairly clear line for the acceptance/dismissal of evidence. Not to mention that it’s good for citizens, States, even branches of the federal government in federal courts then it should be good for the Legislative and Executive branches for Constitutional Impeachment.

        1. The Senate is not going to vote to limit its own power. Rules passed can come back to be used against itself. See Harry Reid.

          1. Putting Senate rules in place does not limit the Senate’s power, since the Senate can always change its own rules whenever it wants.

            Putting in a rule requiring at least a C+ effort from the House would simply encourage the House to make a C+ effort. The Senate, in the current effort, has made itself hostage to an F effort by the House, clogging up its own workings and absorbing the political flak for having to sort out the House’s (deliberate) effort to sic the witness problem on the Senate. If it had a rule saying anything below C+ will not be entertained, it could simply point to its long standing rule and say – obvously the House did not intend that we take this seriously. So we won’t.

            If a time came when the Senate wished to entertain an F grade House effort, nothing would stop it changing its rule to permit a full trial. It might be a tiny bit embarrassing but as for the Harry Reid example, is it likely that Cocaine Mitch really think that he will come to rue a time when the Senate’s rules prevent it, without a modicum of embarrassment in changing the rules, taking up a hatchet job from the House ? Not very.

  9. I honestly don’t see why you shouldn’t vote to convict on evidence not presented, but that you’re none the less aware of, (Kind of the point of the original “jury of ones peers” is that they wouldn’t be ignorant of the situation!) but it is somewhat troubling that, if evidence isn’t presented, the defense has no opportunity to rebut it.

    So you should be really certain the evidence isn’t subject to rebutting, if you’re going to do that.

    1. That’s not really what he’s saying. He’s saying “I know this guy did other bad things that weren’t presented, so I’m going to convict him, even if I wouldn’t normally convict on this charge.” And some of those “bad things” are subjective. For example he “insulted a Gold-Star family..” For these purposes, let’s group a bunch of them under the title “uncouth”

      So, the argument goes “I wouldn’t normally impeach on these charges, but Trump is an uncouth fool who doesn’t deserve to be president. So I will vote to impeach him to get him out of office”.

      And it an EXTREMELY dangerous argument to be making. Because if David is going to make that mental argument (IE, voting to convict based on something else), then that rationally allows other people to vote to convict on such grounds.

      For example you could get the following situation “Normally, Joe wouldn’t convict Obama on these charges, but…Obama’s black, and Joe doesn’t think black people deserve to be president.” Or insert another crime there. And that’s the type of thought pattern being rationalized.

      1. Which is exactly why the fire wall of 67 votes in the Senate to remove. To protect against lawyers and scholars from making emotional, decisions, unmoored from reality.

    2. The vote to not get witnesses is best compared to a motion for a directed verdict.

      In a civil or criminal trial, if at the end of the plaintiff’s case, they haven’t proven their case, the defense can move for a “directed verdict”. If granted, the judge finds for the defense and moves on to sentencing. The idea is that even without a defense, the defendant will win. Therefore, you can skip half the trial. It’s fairly rare for a case that flimsy to even get to court, but it does happen, especially in pro-se cases.

      1. No; that’s a really terrible analogy. Refusing to hear witnesses means that it’s not “the end of the plaintiff’s case” yet.

        1. “Refusing to hear witnesses means that it’s not “the end of the plaintiff’s case” yet.”

          C’mon David, that is a silly statement.

          The Senate decided that the House record was all the evidence that they would admit. If a judge ruled that a witness was not to be allowed to testify and the case would go to the jury on the existing record, would the plaintiff’s case be still open?

          1. “If a judge ruled that a witness was not to be allowed to testify and the case would go to the jury on the existing record, would the plaintiff’s case be still open?”

            No, but the judge would get overruled for excluding relevant evidence. That’s another reason this is a stupid analogy.

            1. Depends, no? A trial judge can exclude cumulative evidence and has to abuse his/her discretion to be reversed.

              The House managers repeatedly argued they had proved their case beyond all doubt, that the evidence was overwhelming. So any new witnesses were cumulative and could be excluded.

              1. Sure, if the Senators who voted against witnesses concluded that Bolton and the President and the President’s documents would all substantiate the statements of Taylor and Sondland etc., and if this were a normal trial, they could have excluded that evidence. Under those circumstances, though, the trial court would direct the verdict against the defendant.

                My sense, though, is that there are some Senators who do not believe the President’s ill-motives have been proven, but are nonetheless opting not to hear any more evidence about it.

              2. A litigant/prosecutor saying that their evidence is overwhelming is not the standard for evaluating whether evidence is cumulative.¹ The other side makes a motion to exclude witnesses/evidence as cumulative. I did not hear Trump’s lawyers arguing that we didn’t need to hear from Bolton and Mulvaney and such because so many other people had already established that Trump gave these orders. I heard the exact opposite — Trump’s lawyers arguing that the impeachment managers hadn’t actually produced firsthand evidence from anyone who had spoken to Trump. So it could not be cumulative.

                ¹Also, overwhelming and cumulative are similar concepts, but aren’t actually the same thing. Direct evidence is not cumulative merely because there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence.

                1. You don’t hear a lot of things David. Like clear arguments that whatever Bolton would or would not say was irrelevant.

                  1. There were no such arguments. Trump’s lawyers repeatedly said that the voluminous evidence of an illicit QPQ should be discounted because most of the people testifying to it had not spoken directly to the president. Bolton was going to testify that he had heard it directly from the president.

                    (Of course, that’s based on leaks to the paper about what Bolton said in his book. We don’t know for certain what Bolton’s testimony was going to be, but we can certainly infer it from the fact that Trump and his defenders were desperate to keep him from testifying.)

                    1. There were no such arguments? You might want to re-listen (or maybe listen to for the first time) Prof. Dershowitz. But apparently it’s too damn easy just to react ignorantly when your errors are pointed out. You’re a good democrat David.

        2. Yet the House Managers presented 17 witnesses and evidence in their presentation. So how can you say that there were no witnesses? If there were no witnesses then how could the House Managers present a case?

          BTW: Is it normal for a prosecutor to walk into court and expect the judge, jury, and defendant to do the prosecutor’s work for him/her? Also, what would happen to a prosecutor that requested a last minute witness based on a hearsay leak of what the potential witness supposedly wrote?

          1. Yet the House Managers presented 17 witnesses and evidence in their presentation. So how can you say that there were no witnesses? If there were no witnesses then how could the House Managers present a case?

            Who said that there were no witnesses? But that’s just not how a trial works: “We let you put on some witnesses, so these people with relevant information don’t get to testify.”

            BTW: Is it normal for a prosecutor to walk into court and expect the judge, jury, and defendant to do the prosecutor’s work for him/her?

            The question is nonsensical, so it can’t be answered. Not sure what you think the prosecutor’s work was, or what judge, jury, or defendant was being asked to do it. Certainly if the prosecutor wants to call a witness and the witness doesn’t show up, yes, it’s quite normal for the prosecutor to expect the judge to help secure the presence of that witness.

            Also, what would happen to a prosecutor that requested a last minute witness based on a hearsay leak of what the potential witness supposedly wrote

            He’d call the witness and let the jury hear the testimony. What did you think would happen?

          2. Actually there were 18 “witnesses.” The 18th being the ICIG who may have exposed this orchestrated farce for what it is. Let’s hope the Senate Intel Committee will continue its investigations of this abuse of the whistleblower process.

            1. The ICIG was not a witness to anything Trump did with respect to Biden and Ukraine, which is what this impeachment was about.

              1. Exposing the connivance between the so-called “whistleblower,” schiff/schiff’s staff, and others to orchestrate this farce is extremely relevant and would bear on the credibility of a lot of parties who testified in the House hearings. I wonder why Mr. Schiff is hiding the transcript?

                1. Exposing the connivance between the so-called “whistleblower,” schiff/schiff’s staff, and others to orchestrate this farce is extremely relevant and would bear on the credibility of a lot of parties who testified in the House hearings. I wonder why Mr. Schiff is hiding the transcript?

                  Assuming that there actually was any such “connivance” between the whistleblower and Schiff/Schiff’s staff, it might bear on the credibility of the whistleblower and Schiff/Schiff’s staff. It’s hard to see how it could bear on the credibility of William Taylor or Fiona Hill or Gordon Sondland or Marie Yovanovitch or Kurt Volker or the like.

                  1. Not sure. Were any of them among the sources used by the so-called whistleblower? And what about the porcine lt. col. vindeman? What info did he feed to the “whistleblower” with knowledge that it would be feed to schiff and his ilk?

                    1. What difference does any of that make?

                      The whistleblower’s complaint was fully vindicated by the quasi-transcript.

                      Suppose I tell the cops that I heard a rumor that David Nieporent was behind the big jewelry heist. They follow up and find a lot of evidence against him. Why is my testimony at all relevant? I have nothing to testify to.

                      All the screaming about the whistleblower is just a red herring, and a rotten one at that. It stinks.

                      Oh, and btw, Trump fans shouldn’t be insulting other people for being, as you put it, “portly.”

        3. The Plaintiff is the one that decided the evidence presented is without challenge and overwhelming.

  10. David,
    You would have had the integrity to vote in favor of new witnesses and documents. So, after you heard from, and read, this new evidence, I would see no problem with you ultimately deciding to vote against removal/conviction. But then, you’re not a moral or intellectual whore, which puts you miles above 51 of the 53 Republican senators.

    1. Put the blame where it deserves. With the Democrats in the House who failed (and have still failed) to get the witnesses.

    2. If the House wanted more witnesses and documents, they should have seen to it before they rushed this sloppy case to the Senate. The Senate conducts impeachment trials, not investigations.

      Your calling the entirety of the Republican Senate delegation moral and intellectual whores speaks volumes of you, and the speciousness of your argument.

      1. He didn’t call “the entirety of the Republican Senate delegation moral and intellectual whores”.

        1. No, just > 96% of it.

        2. He should’ve called the entirety of the Democratic House Caucus “whores” for their utter failure to get the witnesses they said they so desperately wanted.

          They didn’t even subpoena Bolton! They STILL haven’t subpoenaed Bolton! They are #failures.

          1. No need to bicker, there are plenty of whores on both sides to make all of you correct.

            1. They are all whores.

      2. If the House wanted more witnesses and documents, they should have seen to it before they rushed this sloppy case to the Senate. The Senate conducts impeachment trials, not investigations.

        Trials involve calling witnesses and presenting documents.

        1. “Trials involve calling witnesses and presenting documents”

          —That have previously been entered into evidence

          1. —That have previously been entered into evidence

            No. There is no “previously.” Things aren’t entered into evidence (witnesses aren’t “entered into evidence” at all) before the trial.

            You should stick to studying the law of armchairs, because you don’t know the first thing about actual law.

            1. “Things aren’t entered into evidence (witnesses aren’t “entered into evidence” at all) before the trial. ”

              The House record was admitted into evidence by the rules resolution passed by the Senate on January 22.

              “witnesses aren’t “entered into evidence” at all”

              Transcripts and videos of prior witness testimony are sometimes admitted without live testimony. That happened here as well.

            2. Nice try David however many facts, witness testimony, and evidence are entered into the record prior to and during the trial.

              I notice you continually fail to mention that prosecutors are also required to turn over all evidence, including exculpatory material, to the defense. Yet the House Managers failed in that simple duty also.

              1. I notice you continually fail to mention that prosecutors are also required to turn over all evidence, including exculpatory material, to the defense.

                I also fail to mention that the Cincinnati Bengals won the Super Bowl this past weekend, mostly because it’s not true.

                Prosecutors at a trial are required to disclose exculpatory evidence in their possession (or that of the police), not “all evidence.”

                Yet the House Managers failed in that simple duty also.

                Setting aside that this requirement applies only in criminal proceedings, and therefore did not apply here, and therefore the House Managers could not have “failed” in a “duty” that they did not have, in what way did they neglect to do this? What exculpatory evidence did they have in their possession that they refused to turn over to Trump?

                1. David Nieporent,

                  You’ve been pretty comprehensively proven wrong here. Discovery is a real thing, both in civil and criminal trials. And it happens before the trial.

                  If you’re going to use the trial metaphor, The House should’ve gotten the witnesses BEFORE the Senate trial.

                  1. Have you ever been to trial? Witness lists are not exchanged until discovery is over. Which means there are often witnesses that neither party has had “Discovery” (whatever you think that means) over. The House doesn’t have to “gotten the witnesses” (again, what do you mean by this?) beforehand. They can just put them on their list of witnesses, and call them. Which is what they did.

                    1. Really? When did the House put them on their list of witnesses? Can you point to this full list of witnesses that was submitted? Provide a record? Something official? No?

                    2. @Armchair Lawyer,

                      I mean, they did. The House asked for witnesses during the impeachment investigation. They heard from witnesses. Some were even denied by the White House.

                      For the formal request for witnesses at the trial, look to Senate Amendment 1295. You can read the amendment here. The big vote, against the witnesses, that everyone has been talking about all week, was to table Amendment 1295.

                  2. I’m beginning to think that the impeachment/removal as criminal trial metaphor is more misleading than helpful. Both sides use it when it helps their argument, and points out that it doesn’t apply when it hurts their argument.

                  3. How many cases have you tried in your armchair? Did you attend armchair law school? (Maybe you took the Law School Armchair Test to get in?) Or did you read for the armchair bar?

                    You simply don’t have the first clue what you’re talking about. Discovery is indeed a real thing in civil cases; in criminal cases, the amount of discovery available varies by jurisdiction, but is often virtually none. Moreover, other than Brady/Giglio disclosures, any discovery is purely a matter of statute or the FRCrP; if there’s no preexisting rule, no other disclosure is required. So it’s meaningless to talk about what the House managers didn’t do if there was no rule in place that required it. More importantly, you don’t even seem to grasp what discovery requires.

                    If you’re going to use the trial metaphor, The House should’ve gotten the witnesses BEFORE the Senate trial.

                    I have no idea what “should’ve gotten the witnesses” is supposed to mean. If this were governed by the federal rules of civil procedure, the only thing the House would have been required to do before trial was identify the names of witnesses it was considering calling. If this were governed by the federal rules of criminal procedure, the House would not even be required to do that.

                    (Caveat: the rules are different for expert witnesses, but we’re talking about percipient witnesses here.)

                    So, no. You are 100% wrong, and that’s only because one can’t be more than 100% wrong.

                    A prosecutor could call Bolton, Mulvaney, etc. at a hypothetical criminal trial of Trump. A prosecutor is not required to have deposed them before trial. A prosecutor is not required to have interviewed them before trial. A prosecutor is not required to have had them previously testify in front of the grand jury.

                    1. Sigh….

                      1. Discovery is real. And it’s both in criminal and civil trials. You haven’t disproven this. You’ve simply talked around it a lot. I clearly do know the “first thing” I’m talking about, as you’ve confirmed. Discovery is a real thing.

                      2. Discovery in a CIVIL trial requires disclosing the WITNESS LISTS to the defense.

                      3. Discovery in a Criminal trial often also requires disclosing witness lists to the defense, not just the expert witnesses, and at both the state and federal level. There are limited exceptions.

                      4. A prosecutor may not have had to depose Bolton or Mulvaney. (It would be…unwise…not to depose them first) Outside of very limited situations, they would have needed to submit a witness list including their names. Any hard evidence (IE “a book”) would have needed to be subject to discovery and examination by the defense before the trial.

                    2. Let me add on one other thing…

                      You’re talking out both sides. On one end you’re saying

                      “Trials involve calling witnesses and presenting documents.”
                      But on the other side you’re saying
                      “So it’s meaningless to talk about what the House managers didn’t do if there was no rule in place that required it. ”

                      You can’t have it both ways. You can’t argue about the generalities that a trial involve witnesses, so there should be witnesses, then argue that it’s “meaningless to talk about” if “there’s no rule in place that required it”

                      There’s no rule in place that requires an impeachment to have witnesses. So is it meaningless to talk about?

                    3. 2. Discovery in a CIVIL trial requires disclosing the WITNESS LISTS to the defense.

                      Well, that’s not true in federal court. You do have to disclose the names of people with relevant information in discovery; you do not have to produce an actual witness list until the pretrial order, which is after discovery is closed.

                      3. Discovery in a Criminal trial often also requires disclosing witness lists to the defense, not just the expert witnesses, and at both the state and federal level. There are limited exceptions.

                      Wrong. The caselaw is overwhelming (I’m not going to bore everyone with citations) that the government does not need to provide a witness list pretrial, unless a judge specifically orders it. FRCrP 16 is the rule that governs pretrial discovery, and it says nothing about witness lists. (There is a separate statute that requires disclosure in capital cases.)

                      Moreover, everything you’re saying here is a red herring, because the argument Trumpkins make about Bolton/Mulvaney/etc. is not that their existence was not disclosed or known to Trump. The argument that Trumpkins make about Bolton/Mulvaney/etc. is that the House should have questioned them under oath before the trial began, and there is no rule of civil or criminal procedure in any jurisdiction in the United States that requires a prosecutor or plaintiff to do any such thing.

                      A prosecutor may not have had to depose Bolton or Mulvaney. (It would be…unwise…not to depose them first)

                      You are completely mistaken. There are virtually never depositions in federal criminal proceedings, and in general one does not depose one’s own witnesses; one deposes the other side’s witnesses. (It would be wise to talk to them first, but not always possible.)

                      Outside of very limited situations, they would have needed to submit a witness list including their names.

                      Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

                      Moreover, it’s another red herring, because in cases where disclosure of witness lists is required, it’s because there’s an actual written rule or court order requiring it. Since there was no such rule here, the House had no obligation to do it.

                    4. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t argue about the generalities that a trial involve witnesses, so there should be witnesses, then argue that it’s “meaningless to talk about” if “there’s no rule in place that required it”

                      You would be correct if I were arguing that the Senate were legally required to allow witnesses. But that’s not my argument. They’re not. They’re not legally required to listen to the witnesses that the House did secure evidence from. (Indeed, as I noted elsewhere, they’re not even legally required to conduct any sort of trial; they can flip a coin if they want.)

                      So I am indeed speaking in generalities about what a trial is, because Trumpkins are arguing in mistaken generalities about the Senate’s role in impeachment. I am also arguing that they took an oath when the trial began, and that does not morally permit them to ignore relevant evidence out of partisan spite. (If there were an existing senate rule requiring a disclosure of witnesses,¹ and the House failed to comply with that rule, then the senate would be justified in refusing to hear from them.)

                      ¹But see my comment above – this dispute isn’t about disclosure of witnesses, but about whether the House should have secured their testimony before the trial began. And there is no rule anywhere ever that requires such a thing before a trial.

                    5. “2. Discovery in a CIVIL trial requires disclosing the WITNESS LISTS to the defense.”

                      I think you’re confused here. Discovery can often require the other side to identify witnesses to the underlying event or subject matter of the dispute. So, in a slip and fall case, if the plaintiff says she fell at the defendant’s location, and that three of her friends identified the wet floor that she fell on, the defendant can properly ask her to identify (in discovery) who the friends are (so the defendant can depose them, maybe). But the plaintiff is not obligated to provide the defendant a list of witnesses the plaintiff intends to call until discovery is closed. I, as the plaintiff, am entitled to withhold my strategic decisions about through whom and how I intend to prove my case, until after all discovery is over.

          2. SCOTUS doesn’t hear from witnesses.
            All of the back and forth debate should first set one ground rule.
            This is 1. A political undertaking. 2. A legal undertaking

            The debate launches itself into the deep grass of legal and constitutional precedents, but always crawls out the other side, revealing a totally political venture limited only by political repercussions

            1. (If there were an existing senate rule requiring a disclosure of witnesses,¹ and the House failed to comply with that rule, then the senate would be justified in refusing to hear from them.)

              What!?
              So if the Senate writes a rule saying it will not hear witnesses that have not been deposed by the House Impeachment Managers, put it up for a vote and the vote passes the Senate, you are just fine with the Senate not hearing new witnesses

              As compared the Senate voting to refuse to hear witnesses that have not been deposed by the House Impeachment Managers. d

              Only a pretend lawyer would offer up that bit of legal wisdom.

              1. So if the Senate writes a rule saying it will not hear witnesses that have not been deposed by the House Impeachment Managers, put it up for a vote and the vote passes the Senate, you are just fine with the Senate not hearing new witnesses

                No, of course I’m not “just fine with” that; that would be a really stupid rule/policy.

                But if it were in place in advance, so that the House was on notice that the Senate would only hear witnesses that had previously been deposed, then it would be reasonable to apply that rule.

        2. Wait, did we not hear for WEEKS that the impeachment trial is not a judicial, but political process? What is this bleating about no witnesses and documents. There were no less than 17 witnesses whose testimony was presented, and north of 25K documents entered into the record.

          The House assured us – repeatedly – that this case was ironclad. Well guess what? Then we don’t need witnesses, do we? The House proved their case…..or did they?

          The Senate will render their verdict tomorrow. The American people will render THEIR verdict in November.

          1. Which is exactly why the Democrats are being so adamant. Allowing something this important to get in front of the Voters to decide, is a transfer of power unacceptable, to our betters

        3. We were told repeatedly that impeachment need not meet any specific standards of evidence since it was a purely political process and could be whatever the house wants.

          Now that shoe is on the other foot and the trial need not meet any of your expectations as it is merely political and whatever the Senate wants it to be.

        4. Have you actually ever managed any litigation David? Do you really think one side goes through discovery, conducts depositions, presents a witness list, and then during the trial says, gee I have no case unless I conduct some additional discovery on some witnesses and evidence that I had declined to pursue during the discovery phase? That’s when the motion to dismiss is granted, just in case you’re curious. But that’s not even an apt analogy Clarence Darrow because this is a constitutional process that assigns a role to the House to establish an impeachable offense. It is not role of the Senate to sift through new witnesses to discover something impeachable.

          1. Have you actually ever managed any litigation David?

            My colleagues at the law firms where I’ve worked for the last 19 years certainly think so. (Little do they know that I spend most of my day pointing out that fake lawyers commenting on the Internet don’t know what they’re talking about.)

            Do you really think one side goes through discovery, conducts depositions, presents a witness list, and then during the trial says, gee I have no case unless I conduct some additional discovery on some witnesses and evidence that I had declined to pursue during the discovery phase?

            I think that the House managers did not say, “Gee I have no case.”

            I think that you’re making shit up if you claim that the impeachment stage of the process is a “discovery phase.”

            because this is a constitutional process that assigns a role to the House to establish an impeachable offense. It is not role of the Senate to sift through new witnesses to discover something impeachable.

            Of course it isn’t; the House has already determined that there was something impeachable. That’s not the Senate’s role at all. The Senate’s role is to conduct a trial to decide whether removal is appropriate (which involves both deciding whether it’s been proven and whether it merits removal). Which involves listening to evidence, old and new.

            Once again: at a trial when the prosecution calls a witness, the defendant doesn’t get to jump up and cry out, “Your Honor, the defense objects! The prosecution should have questioned this person before the trial began! They didn’t, so they can’t call him now!”

            1. A 19 year legal veteran who doesn’t understand the discovery process? Not very believable David. But I guess you could be a legal secretary or paralegal.

              1. A 19 year legal veteran who doesn’t understand the discovery process? Not very believable David.

                Indeed, it isn’t. So you may want to check your premises.

                (Actually, it’s not at all unbelievable; there are many lawyers who aren’t litigators. No reason a transactional lawyer who last dealt with discovery in Civ Pro in law school would know much about it. But I actually am a litigator, so that doesn’t apply.)

                1. Uh huh, if you say you are. Good thing you’ve got that clever pseudonym.

                  1. Just calling another commenter a liar without bringing any proof is a pretty poor move.
                    Even in what this comment section has become, you’re standing out.

                    1. Spare me your hypocritical BS. Clowns like you specialize in insults and not very clever insults at that.

                    2. I notice you still have brought no proof DMN is lying about his background, but have still not retracted your baseless accusation.

                      I know what you are. You know what you are. No need for namecalling at all.

      3. “If the House wanted more witnesses and documents, they should have seen to it before they rushed this sloppy case to the Senate.”

        Yes and if Dianne Feinstein was concerned about a credible accusation against Brett Kavanaugh, she should have brought it to her committee right away, rather than sitting on it and lying in wait until the 11th hour.

        But she wasn’t, and they don’t. That’s not what this is about. This is about scorched earth political dirty tricks and war by other means.

        https://spectator.us/democrats-dirty-secret-dont-want-witnesses/

  11. The author posits that Trump’s public behavior, insulting a gold star mom etc. make him unfit to hold office and the house should have made that case. Well articles of impeachment had already been introduced because Trump insulted a football player and separately WOCs among other things and even Pelosi couldn’t take them seriously but the public at large would? Seems unlikely to me that piling inconsequential BS like the author suggests onto charges for which they were never able to identify an underlying crime would win any hearts and minds. In point of fact this entire enterprise was nakedly partisan from it’s inception and failed to gain any public support outside of the partisans it was apparently designed to placate. It also seems that the Democrats actually didn’t want bipartisan support as the house managers went out of their way to alienate potential Republican swing votes in the senate by claiming Trump would have their heads on a pike if they crossed the party line, which the senators vehemently denied. Senator Warren even dragged the chief justice into their partisan charade. How many votes for conviction did that produce? “Unfit for office” because the president said bad things is a ridiculously low bar for removing an elected president. The case the house presented was already weak. Prosecuting the case the author suggests would have only made it weaker.

    1. Sen. Murkowski made it clear that Sen. Warren impugning the integrity of the Chief Justice was one of the factors in her decision to vote against additional witnesses.

      Personally I found it amusing that Lieawatha Fauxcahontas and her complete lack of integrity would make such an accusation.

  12. Yeah, I’ve been contemplating some things too. Of course there is the stench of corruption surrounding Hunter. Even the Obama administration couldn’t excuse Biden’s gross conflict of interest (and this is the tip of a corrupt iceberg). Then there is the highly dubious “whistleblower.” I never understood why this joke of a “complaint” was taken seriously in the first place. It makes the Steele “dossier” look professional in comparison. Schiff’s antics are making democrats look absurd enough as it is. Just wait until this whole farce is exposed.

  13. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    All that said, I have been contemplating a question that I’m unsure of the answer to: Let’s say I were a Senator voting my conscience, and I believed the following: (1) Trump’s conduct is “impeachable”; (2) I wouldn’t normally vote to convict on the level of misbehavior alleged in the articles of impeachment, especially in the absence of strong public support for it; and (3) allegations and evidence not put forward by the House persuade me that Trump is unfit to be president. Should I vote to convict?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    If Democrats voted their conscience every Republican President since Eisenhower would be impeached before they stepped into office. Ditto Republicans. Not a really informative thing. Strategically though the Dems, at least the smarter ones relatively speaking, didn’t want to start this business in the first place but were forced by The Twitter bluecheck/HUFFPAINT extremist wing of their party.

    1. Yes.

      This portion of the debate argues for a Parliamentarian form of Government, and a vote of no confidence.
      Thanks, but no thanks, I prefer what we have.

  14. How about voting to convict based on Schiff’s Loony Tunes speculation that Trump could give/sell Alaska to the Russians if he’s not removed from office this week?

    And he’s allegedly the brains in that outfit.

    1. They love making up dramatic stories like that.

    2. That wasn’t Schiff’s speculation. That was the argument by Trump’s lawyer.

    3. Gotta love bug-eyed #ChickenSchiff and his partner in crime J. Wellington #Wimpy!

  15. You know the answer to your question, David.

    1. Colossal Douchebag has spoken.

  16. This is an easy question. The jury instructions to the Senators instruct them to apply the relevant legal standards to the facts presented at trial. Regardless of how you “feel” about President Trump or whether you believe he is “unfit,” you must apply the relevant legal standard to the presented facts. Per #2, you would not normally vote to impeach based on the evidence. The inquiry should end right there. Your answer is “No.”

    But your #1 and #3 seem to mesh together – you believe Trump’s conduct is “impeachable” because you believe his pattern of behavior (not offered as evidence during trial) makes him unfit to be President. As a juror, however, you must discard that outside evidence.

    On the facts presented solely in the record and the relevant legal standard you must apply, you vote “No.”

    1. IIUC courts routinely disallow “prior bad acts” to be used against a defendant.

      1. As always, you don’t understand correctly. There are restrictions on how prior bad acts can be used. They can be admitted for many purposes. Including sentencing.

  17. No way. Maybe a pattern of bad-but-not-quite-impeachable-on-its-own conduct might possibly be enough (I don’t think so but would consider). But even assuming it is, that express case should be vetted in the House and then the Senate. The procedures don’t exist for nothing.

  18. If Trump really is a horrible fascist, racist dictator who runs roughshod over the Constitution every day then the Democrats had, if you were to believe the media, perhaps one of the easiest jobs in the world proving it to not only the public but enough that they could have at least roped in some Republicans in the House into voting for impeachment and probably some Senators who would have forced witnesses to show further how horrible a President he is and how unfit to serve he has become.

    None of that happened though. In fact, he was such a horrible dictators and a threat to democracy that the Dems had to hold the articles of impeachment for a whole month allowing him to be that evil fascist dictator unchecked for that time period.

    When Trump is acquitted the Dems only have themselves to blame. Nothing else and no one else.

  19. The answer to the questions raised are akin to the questions raised by those who found the drinking habits of Ulysses S. Grant repulsive. When questioned about the personal character of Grant in relation to his drinking no less than President Lincoln replied: “I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”

    For today maybe that would translate to “tell me how Trump tweets out those insults, because I’d like to see every president get RESULTS FOR THIS COUNTRY LIKE PRESIDENT TRUMP !!!!!!!

    #MAGA #KAG Trump 2032 !!!!!!!!!!

  20. All that said, I have been contemplating a question that I’m unsure of the answer to: Let’s say I were a Senator voting my conscience, and I believed the following: (1) Trump’s conduct is “impeachable”; (2) I wouldn’t normally vote to convict on the level of misbehavior alleged in the articles of impeachment, especially in the absence of strong public support for it; and (3) allegations and evidence not put forward by the House persuade me that Trump is unfit to be president. Should I vote to convict?

    I think the answer is definitely yes, and here’s why: analogies to criminal proceedings, like all analogies, are only helpful up to a point. The senate is something like a jury, but it is not performing the same function as a jury.

    If the senate were purely a jury, then it would only be answering the question, “Did the House prove that the president do what the articles of impeachment said he did?” But we know that the senate is not limiting its inquiry to that; we have senators explicitly saying, “Yes, I think the House proved the charges, but I’m not going to vote to convict because I don’t think those charges warrant removal.” In other words, in an impeachment, the sentencing phase of a criminal trial collapses into the guilt phase. And in the sentencing phase, the court considers aspects of the defendant’s character beyond the charges themselves. (Yes, yes, Apprendi, but that only applies if the sentence is increased beyond the prescribed statutory maximum, and anyway Apprendi is really about the role of the judge vs. jury, and in impeachment those collapse into one, too.)

    So the answer to your question, under my framework, is that if you’re a senator and you don’t think Trump did what the articles of impeachment accuse him of, then you ought to vote to acquit. But if you do think he did what the articles of impeachment accuse him of, then you ought to consider everything you know about him to decide whether to remove him from office.

    1. IIUC you are saying that if the House proved that the President committed a legal, Constitutional action then the Senate should convict the President because the House proved he committed said action?

      That would be like convicting the President because he “voluminously” campaigned for reelection and the House impeach him for campaigning in a manner they don’t believe is appropriate. However the House proved he/she campaigned for reelection so of course the Senate should convict him.

      Do you realize how ignorant that sounds?

      1. Here’s a free hint: every time you start a comment with IIUC, it’s going to be wrong.

    2. Good analysis. When Schiff talked about Trump’s pattern of misbehavior, Schiff explicitly said he was addressing the question of what Senators should do if they concluded that Trump had done what he was accused of doing. In a criminal proceeding, he would have made the argument during the sentencing phase.

    3. “Yes, I think the House proved the charges, but I’m not going to vote to convict because I don’t think those charges warrant removal.”

      No what the “Jury” is saying, is, “While the prosecution are identifying the actions as crimes, we the jury reject that representation, therefore, not guilty.”

  21. I agree Trump has done nothing any other President has not done. That leads to a question, was Trump set up? Who told him about the Biden’s Ukraine connections? How was the whistle blower put into position? How were the whistle blower(s) connected to the person that told him about the Biden’s? Was Trump told this was normal and okay by these people and shown what Obama had done? Trump was not a Washington insider, so could have been influenced.

    1. ” Who told him about the Biden’s Ukraine connections?”

      I believe this was from a right wing conspiracy. As was “crowd strike”. It is not that President Trump was set up, instead he is not smart enough to see a conspiracy for what it really is. More likely he know but likes to feed conspiracy theories. Remember when he said Senator Cruz’s dad was part of the Kennedy assassination.

      1. Right…
        It was media reports, from media that are not favorable to Trump, that exposed Burisma, Bidens, etc. IIRC the WaPo had an article just a few days before the call. Hell, even SecState Kerry’s step-son, Chris Heinz, wanted nothing to do with this crap when it started. He stepped away from his partners, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer.

  22. It certainly would have helped the Dem’s cause if they hadn’t been so transparent with their rage about losing the election. Loss of power was and still is the driving force behind all of the attacks on Trump. When the facts aren’t in your favor, pound the table.

    1. Then add in they received nothing from the Mueller report on Russian Collusion Delusion; which they were counting on just as the Starr report was used during Clinton impeachment.

  23. I think Trump is dangerous, I think he’s even more dangerous now that the Senate has utterly caved to protect him, and I think everyone knows that Trump is only going to try to push the envelope still further, now that he has his perceived “vindication.”

    I also agree with the common belief (reiterated and amplified by the media) that Republicans in the Senate were never going to “convict” the president for what many of them now openly admit that he did. I even think there’s a plausible case for saying that he shouldn’t be removed, not so close to an election, not with political tensions as high as they are now.

    But I do think that the Senate has massively disserved our country by refusing even to subpoena documents or witnesses to testify. We could have put Bolton under oath and get some facts on which we all must agree. We could have gotten the documents that Trump has been withholding and drawn our own conclusions on whatever they contained. We would at least have had a record on which both sides must agree.

    Instead, we have Bolton’s allegations, filtered through the media, untested by the threat of perjury. Trump will continue to abuse his authority to try to stop his book from being published, so each side will just continue to have its own facts. We never got the documents that would show us the precise details of what Trump and his aides were thinking at the time that they were cooking up their “drug deal,” so again we’re just left, on the one hand, with Trump’s repeated declarations of innocence, and on the other, with perfectly reasonable inferences from a patchy evidentiary record.

    So that’s what we’re really left with, here. Instead of the 2020 election being a referendum on Trump, on an agreed set of facts, both sides will just continue to believe whatever they want to believe, and it’ll be a continued, exhausting fight for mere power.

    1. Instead we have last minute allegation just like the Kavanaugh hearings. Not to mention that it is leaked hearsay about what was supposedly written by Bolton in his book. I also find it amusing how LTC Yevgniy Vindman, twin brother of LTC Alexander Vindman just happens to be the one who reviews material for the NSC before being released for publication. Also it was NSC not WH that stopped the release because the book contained classified and national security information that cannot be released.

      Seriously Simon, why do you continue to believe BS, especially from Schiff who told us for 2+ years that he had evidence on Trump? Only to find out he was punked by a couple of guys and had no evidence of Russian Collusion Delusion.

      1. Instead we have last minute allegation just like the Kavanaugh hearings.

        Nothing “last minute” about Bolton’s assertions. This has been out there since the whistleblower first came out, when the impeachment process began.

        Not to mention that it is leaked hearsay about what was supposedly written by Bolton in his book.

        Making process arguments when you can’t dispute the substance.

        I also find it amusing how LTC Yevgniy Vindman, twin brother of LTC Alexander Vindman just happens to be the one who reviews material for the NSC before being released for publication.

        I don’t know what you think this talking point establishes.

        Also it was NSC not WH that stopped the release because the book contained classified and national security information that cannot be released.

        The National Security Council is not an independent organization. The president himself is a member, as are several of his cabinet members and the vice president. In addition, Trump himself has the authority to vary classifications, at will, which he and his staff have already done multiple times in order to prevent us from learning about his “drug deal” in Ukraine.

        We have every reason to expect that the “NSC” will use the clearance process to delay the publication of Bolton’s book as long as possible.

        Seriously Simon, why do you continue to believe BS, especially from Schiff who told us for 2+ years that he had evidence on Trump? Only to find out he was punked by a couple of guys and had no evidence of Russian Collusion Delusion.

        I believe the facts. I don’t get them from Schiff. Unlike you, I don’t rely on a twitter feed to figure out what to think about the world.

    2. I even think there’s a plausible case for saying that he shouldn’t be removed, not so close to an election, not with political tensions as high as they are now.

      I strenuously object to this part of what you said.

      It is not “so close to an election.” The election is nine months away. That’s a long time. It’s 20% of Trump’s term — and even more relevantly, Trump still has 25% of his term left to serve.

      Even if the election were 9 weeks away rather than 9 months, it wouldn’t change my view that impeachment is appropriate. (Andy McCabe was retiring the very next day, but that didn’t stop Trump from firing him.) The idea is to protect the polity from the president. (Or other officeholder; when Judge Sam Kent was caught, he was told to quit immediately or be impeached. So he announced that he’d retire, effective in a year. Congress didn’t say, “Oh, ok; that’s coming up soon; we don’t need to act.” They said, “No dice,” and impeached him immediately.)

      But the notion that the president can commit crimes with impunity because he’s going to face election eventually is ridiculous. Let’s keep in mind that Trump’s corrupt scheme started no later than the spring of 2019. But it took 6 months to be uncovered, and then several more months (which Republicans pretend was “rushed”) to impeach him. So basically the case you argue is “plausible” is to say impeachment is inappropriate for any crime the president commits within the last two years of his term.

      1. I strenuously object to this part of what you said.

        I actually agree with your analysis. But I’m willing to concede, to Republicans, that removing Trump at this point, in this manner, carries significant risks of its own.

        I mean, this is what “agreeing to disagree” looks like in the Trump era. Trump has gotten a blank check from the Senate to do whatever he feels he must do in order to be re-elected. He will absolutely exploit that to its fullest potential. But no Republican will ever agree that he must be removed from office before he does enduring damage to our politics. So, personally, I am at least trying to appeal to those who can admit to the facts and acknowledge the value in establishing a set of facts we can all agree on. Which the Senate has denied us.

    3. I was wondering if an actual practicing lawyer (a reasonable inference, trolls) would actually post anything rational on this neofascist circle jerk. Thanks for that, Simon. And also Nieporent, who based on my recollection would have appeared to veer to the left – but no. The VC is here for clinging trolls with “some college” or BSBA degrees to explain everything to us. All hail Mark Levin, cancer patient Rush Limbaugh, and the Dear Leader. (But not anyone named Romney).

    4. Again you fail to hold Democrats accountable for how they conducted their constitutional duties. Don’t transfer their political ineptitude onto Senate Republicans

      1. The constitutional duty of the House and the Senate is to uphold the Constitution and to impeach and remove a president who is a danger to this country.

        I appreciate that the House’s approach to investigating the Ukraine “drug deal” was relatively rushed, and they opted not to fight out subpoenas in court (fights, it’s worth noting, that would be required only because of the president’s unlawful obstinance). I’m willing also to concede that they made a political calculation to try to prosecute this case prior to the 2020 election; the court fights would likely have dragged on for years.

        But none of that is a constitutional failure. We have the facts. We know what Trump did, and even many Republicans are willing to admit to it. The constitutional duty at this point is to decide whether this president, given these facts, ought to remain in power. What do you think our founders would say?

        All of the arguments about “due process,” etc., are total red herrings. The president isn’t being sued, and he’s not facing jail time. If he were to be removed from office, the only consequence for him would be a lifetime of adulation in a Florida golf resort of his choosing, and all the graft he could possibly desire. All that matters is what he did, and whether our country can abide by that.

        Trump supporters totally know what he did. They just make arguments about “due process” to try to claim that they don’t have to behave as though they know what he did, since no one has produced satisfactory “evidence” to “convict.” It is stuff straight out of 1984, and damn scary.

        1. I co-sign this.

          I would just add that the “the House rushed” is disingenuous, being used by the same people who then argue that it’s already too close to the election to remove a president. If the House had decided to litigate all of those subpoenas, at best we’re talking about March or April. (Remember that it’s a two-step process. First the House needs to defeat this blanket immunity argument. Then once it does so, then it forces these witnesses to show up, and then the witnesses refuse to answer any questions about their dealings with the president on the grounds of executive privilege. So then the House needs to litigate that, and unless a court is willing to rule that executive privilege doesn’t apply at all — it should, but may not be willing to go that far — then it’ll have to be litigated on a case-by-case basis.) And if 9 months before the election is too late to remove a president, then 7 months is certainly too late.

          1. So explain to all of us non lawyers exactly how the process speeds up because the Senate would call the exact same witness, with exactly the same power to seek judicial review?

            1. It wouldn’t, except to the extent witnesses appear, and we know at least one would have in order to boost book sales. (Giving myself points for mentioning Romney’s name on the 4th before the events of the 5th, you clingers need to pay more attention).

  24. I can’t really disagree with much of this overall. But let’s not forget the gold star parents were deployed as purely political tools to attack Trump. And, Trump never “asked Russia to hack Hillary’s emails.” That was nothing but a hysterical lie from the very start, as any person in their mind paying attention could see at the time.

    With that said, I agree that it would have been more accurate for Dems to focus on a “broad pattern of misbehavior,” although to be fair, it would be more difficult and time-consuming to conduct such a wide-ranging and non-specific inquiry.

    I just think Congress can do whatever it wants in this area. Almost anything is “impeachable” in theory. The prosecuting side wants to pretend that something being “impeachable” is a big hairy deal and means the President must be impeached and removed, or the country is doomed. The defending side, likewise, wants to pretend that “impeachable” is a really high bar, and argue the President cannot be impeached and removed on the charged basis, rather than the reality of their case which is that the President should not be impeached and removed.

    I’m extremely doubtful that a Senator should vote to convict and remove a President based on “allegations and evidence not put forward by the House” (emphasis on the allegations, here). But again maybe a Senator can do whatever they want.

    1. Hell, if there had been such a broad pattern of misbehavior then they should have had all the evidence needed from the Mueller report. Not to mention that Trump WH cooperated with Mueller investigation including thousands of documents as well as personnel including the WH counsel for over 30 hours of testimony.

    2. “But let’s not forget the gold star parents were deployed as purely political tools to attack Trump. ”

      Yes, and he used his usual sledgehammer response to attacks in return.

      What other gold star parents has he attacked since?

      1. Democrats deployed the Gold Star families as political operatives. That they took fire from the political opposition, is not remarkable.

  25. What the post by Bernstein and the comments above prove, is that I was quite right when prior to the 2016 election I posted right here on VC that one of Trump’s most endearing qualities was he scared the heck out of all the right people. Glad to see I wasn’t wrong then, and he’s still scaring all the right people.

    1. ne of Trump’s most endearing qualities was he scared the heck out of all the right people. Glad to see I wasn’t wrong then, and he’s still scaring all the right people.

      At one time Republicans were known as the party of ideas. Now they proudly proclaim themselves as the party of pwning-the-libs.

      1. Pwning the libs while Making America Great Again. Its a two-fer baby !!!!!!

  26. I was listening to NPR in my car today and heard one of the House managers make the case that I though the Democrats should have made all along–that Trump’s Ukrainian mess was not a one-off, but part of a very troubling pattern of behavior by the president that renders him unfit to hold office. This includes everything from insulting a gold star mother to asking Russia to hack Hillary’s emails to constant lies and deceptions, and so on.

    And then it’s much easier to accuse the Democrats of trying to overturn the election. The last two incidents you refer to literally occurred during the campaign.

    (1) Trump really did not believe that the Bidens had done anything wrong, and thus tried to sic the Ukrainians on them solely because Biden Sr. is his political opponent; or (2) that Trump tried to get the Ukrainians to make up damaging evidence, rather than simply launch an investigation.

    This may have in fact been true, we don’t know because Trump ordered staff to defy the subpoenas, and when a senior staff was willing to testify the Senate refused to let him testify.

    Frankly, I think the GOP’s “trial” is better described as a cover up aimed at ensuring more damning evidence didn’t emerge.

    Whether or not you find what we know of the conduct is one thing, but what is unforgivable is the active resistance to perform a proper investigation. There were major new facts emerging over the course of the trial!

    I’m also dubious of impeachment unless there is a clear public majority in favor of it.

    As this point I’m pretty sure Trump could literally attempt to fix the vote count, and Fox News with the assistance of the GOP, would keep at least 40% of the company united in resisting impeachment.

    1. And then it’s much easier to accuse the Democrats of trying to overturn the election. The last two incidents you refer to literally occurred during the campaign.

      It’s not like that would have been a difficult case to make. The Democrats were already trying to nail him for directly colluding with the government of Russia to get him elected–the very first thing Hillary said on election night after her loss was confirmed was, “The Russians did this.” Everything that the Democrats have done since then has been based on that core assumption.

      All the Republicans would have to do is point to every action that the Democrats took from that point up until Mueller said that they couldn’t find evidence of collusion, after which the Democrats pivoted to the Ukraine phone call. You have foghorns like Rashida Tlaib blatantly claiming on Election Night 2018, before she even took office, that they were going to impeach him, and long-time reps like Maxine Waters claiming she woke up every day thinking “I’m going to get him.” Proving malice aforethought wouldn’t exactly be difficult.

      If the Democrats really thought they had a case for impeachment here, they wouldn’t have issued such milquetoast charges and gone with ones that were far more detailed and had far stronger teeth to them. The fact that they didn’t indicates that they had to come up with something prior to the 2020 election to try and appease their base when the collusion claims blew up in their face, so Schiff and Nadler decided to hang their hat on this.

  27. Why isn’t the greater pattern of incorrigible behavior an aggravating circumstance weighing in favor of conviction? Or perhaps the better pair of questions is, (1) isn’t the Ukraine debacle sufficient evidence of grounds for impeachment? and (2) Should the other aggravating circumstances have been considered in voting for removal?

  28. “The Democrats could have, but did not, make the case that Trump is unfit to hold office”

    Not that it would have made a difference if they had.

    1. Although, they did make a pretty good case that a large number of Senators are unfit for office.

  29. I know this is a legal blog. I’m not a lawyer and my comments won’t attempt to follow legal precedent or practice. My comments are based strictly on common sense. Given that there is little case law or precedent to guide this area, common sense seems appropriate to me. Also note that for this purpose I am addressing hypothetical conditions and not referring to the actual events of the recent impeachment proceedings. My purpose in writing this is to show that one cannot arbitrarily state that a crime has to be committed to be convicted of impeachment.

    This is to address those who assert that impeachment should only apply to crimes. That is, that to be convicted of impeachment, the office holder must have committed a crime. That otherwise, it is the voter’s will that should be supreme and the office-holder is otherwise only subject to the next vote.

    I believe this assertion is easily impeached (yes, intended). In just a few moments of consideration I was able to think up several conditions that would warrant impeachment (and conviction) that are not crimes. Further, I think any reasonable person would not want an office holder to continue in office should any of these conditions be true.

    In particular, if these conditions are not identified or are hidden from the electorate and only become apparent after the election, then these are certainly impeachable conditions. I believe they are impeachable anyway, but, for sure, if the electorate did not or could not have known about these, then it is inappropriate to wait for the next election.

    Debauchery. I’m talking serious, egregious activities. Debauchery is not illegal, but if there were wild orgies in the white house and sex parties in the rose garden, would we really want that person to continue to represent our country, our people and our values? Yes, it is unlikely, it is wildly hypothetical. Nonetheless, if it happened, we would not want to wait for the next election to evict this person just because, technically, it is not illegal.

    Conscious disregard or rebuke of responsibilities of the office. Once in office, if the office holder didn’t come to work, didn’t do the work that was expected and ignored their responsibilities, would we want them to remain in office until the next election? Not showing up for work (or not doing work if there) is not illegal, but, again, not something that should be allowed or ignored just because it is not a crime.

    Severe physical, mental or emotional impairment or affliction. Yes, I know there’s the 25th Amendment in the case of the president (but all of these apply to any office), but if for some reason that was not used or did not apply, would we want the situation to persist just because it isn’t a crime?

    Disrespecting the office. If the office holder committed acts that were offensive to the electorate and to the office, even though not crimes, they should be impeached. Examples that come to mind are recent reports of judges who had sex in their offices and chambers. Other examples could be someone who belittles other people, treats people with contempt, insults people. In other words, someone who does not deserve to represent the people in that office simply because, if they were on a kindergarten playground and demonstrating those activities, you would want to immediately stop it – and you certainly wouldn’t want your kids playing with that person.

    All of the above examples apply to any office. This final example is specific to the presidency.

    Indications of tendencies to monarchy or tyranny. If a president started acting in ways that indicated they were using the office to establish a monarchy or dictatorship, I think we would all agree that the person should be removed from office extemporaneously.

    Again, none of these are crimes. That is, there is no specific federal law that applies to any of these situations. I’m sure with some creative thought, smarter people could identify even more examples where we would want impeachment to apply.

    We elect our office holders primarily based on our expectations regarding their character. Character cannot be legislated, but if the office holder does not satisfy the standards of office that are expected by the electorate, they should be removed. Company executives and officers can be removed from their jobs for exhibiting poor character choices and it is the responsibility of the corporation’s Board of Directors, who represent the owners, to see this is done. It should be no less for elected officials. After all, they are employees who are paid for by our taxes. And our elected representatives are in the position of responsibility regarding their oversight.

    The point is that we cannot arbitrarily deny the applicability of impeachment solely because there is not already a law against the activity.

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