And Then the President Asked to be Impeached


White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has now released his response to the myriad House impeachment inquiries. It is quite the document, and can be read in all its glory here.

This is best understood as a political document. It might be worth unpacking its assertions about the respective constitutional powers of the House of Representatives and the White House and past constitutional practice, but those assertions seem mostly beside the point.

Cipollone, on behalf of the president, has thrown down the gauntlet. The White House will not offer documents or testimony that might put the president's or the administration's conduct in a better light. The House can either choose to impeach the president based on what it knows or can discover without the president's cooperation, or it can move on. The president has dared the House to impeach him, and he has now chosen to mount his defense against possible removal in the Senate and in the court of public opinion.

Members of Congress of both parties should understand the institutional stakes here. If this president can simply issue a blanket refusal to cooperate with any congressional oversight of executive branch activities, then Congress should expect that future presidents will try to build on that example. Perhaps the Democrats in the House are overreacting to the available information about how the Trump administration has entangled its electoral interests with American foreign policy. If so, the Senate can render its judgment on that in an impeachment trial, and the voters can render their judgment on election day in 2020.

But even if the Republicans are not convinced that there is much of a fire beneath the smoke surrounding the Ukraine matter, they should think carefully about whether they want to facilitate a future president treating Congress the same way when the White House is once again in Democratic hands. Congress has played its own role across recent administrations in escalating conflict between presidents and legislatures of opposite parties. Past presidents have also attempted to straight-arm Congress. This is a dramatic escalation in White House tactics of obstruction. The shoe will eventually be on the other foot, and how Congress reacts to this White House will have consequences down the road.

NEXT: Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! The October Term 2020 of FantasySCOTUS is now in session

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  1. Boom. Time for Pelosi and company to put up or go home. Either authorize a real impeachment inquiry, or go back to normal oversight.


    “Your recent letter to the Acting White House Chief of Staff argues that “[ e ]ven if an impeachment inquiry were not underway,” the Oversight Committee may seek this information as a matter of the established oversight process. 28 Respectfully, the Committees cannot have it both ways. The letter comes from the Chairmen of three different Committees, it transmits a subpoena “[p]ursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry,” it recites that the documents will “be collected as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” and it asserts that the documents will be “shared among the Committees, as well as with the Committee on the Judiciary as appropriate.”29 The letter is in no way directed at collecting information in aid of legislation, and you simply cannot expect to rely on oversight authority to gather information for an unauthorized impeachment inquiry that conflicts with all historical precedent and rides roughshod over due process and the separation of powers. ”

    “If the Committees wish to return to the regular order of oversight requests, we stand ready to engage in that process as we have in the past, in a manner consistent with well-established bipartisan constitutional protections and a
    respect for the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution. “

    1. Indeed. If “the House” wants the President to cooperate in an impeachment investigation, “the House” can damn well vote to have an impeachment investigation for him to cooperate with.

      All we’ve got now are a few members of the House presuming to exercise the power of the entire House, without bothering to gain the agreement of a majority. They’re individual members, and until they hold that vote and win it, they deserve to be treated as individual members, not the whole chamber.

      1. You guys were whimpering in a different direction when Sen. McConnell refused to permit the Senate to vote on anything lacking majority support among Republicans in the Senate, or to permit the Senate to consider the Garland nomination.

        Much of this will be solved by replacement of the clingers by better Americans.

      2. This can’t be right. If House members want to determine whether articles of impeachment are appropriate, they might need to receive information from the President to make that determination.

        It’s also a dangerous strategy because the House members could immediately neuter the response letter by reissuing the subpoenas by removing “impeachment inquiry” from the requests.

        1. They need more information just to vote on opening the inquiry? Why? If the inquiry comes up snake eyes then they can drop it. They just don’t want to be on record voting for the inquiry if the needle moves against them.

          1. “They need more information just to vote on opening the inquiry? Why? If the inquiry comes up snake eyes then they can drop it.”

            If a whistleblower came out and said that President Democrat raped him in the oval office on September 15, and the President denied it by saying he was not in the oval office on September 15, a request from Congress for WH records corroborating the President’s defense would be the sort of information I would expect Congress to exercise over the President. And if the WH refused to let anyone show up and testify to corroborate the President’s defense, I would view that as suspicious.

            1. I have a feeling that if you were cross-examining someone and they came up with that answer that you would be quick to say “Just answer the question.”

              1. A telling pivot away from your own position towards NToJ’s.

                If you disagree, say why. Don’t just go for speculative bad faith.

                1. We are talking about opening the inquiry not the inquiry itself which is what NTofJ is talking about. Your side has been saying for a while now that you already have a smoking gun. Ok put the House members on record starting the ball rolling.

                  And wtf is “speculative bad faith?”

                  1. You’re speculating that NoTJ doesn’t have the courage of his convictions based on some fanfiction your wrote starring him. That’s kinda a weak comeback.

                    I’m also not buying the switching between ‘you need no evidence to open an inquiry, so no need for subpoena power’ to ‘look at the complete lack of a case the Dems have – their inquiry is illegitimate.’

                    What quantum of evidence is needed is up to the House, not you or I. Stonewalling their inquiries is obstructing justice, whether you’re guilty of anything or not. (Especially since criminal guilt or innocence has not bearing on impeachability)

                    1. I didn’t say he didn’t have the courage of his convictions, I said he didn’t answer the question. And if he let a witness get away with a filibuster answer like that then he would look like “a fucking idiot on the record.”

                      And I haven’t switched any position. I have never said they couldn’t do what they are doing, I am just asking for a reason other than “just because.” We all know the reason, they are afraid that things won’t go as swimmingly as they keep telling themselves it will.

                      The Dems are going to issue their subpoenas etc, the WH is going to say lolgf and eventually (quickly probably) it will go to SCOTUS. I don’t know what they will rule but this whole thing is just the phony war before the real deal gets going.

                    2. You’re assuming just because doesn’t work when asking a procedure question.

                      Just because is not an uncommon level of procedural requirement. Like how a prosecutor can decline to prosecute just because.

                      We all know the reason
                      Usually a sign you’re letting your certainty convince you of other peoples thinking. Usually an incorrect assumption.

                      You’re a Civil War 2 is just ’round the corner chucklehead?

                  2. “You’re a Civil War 2 is just ’round the corner chucklehead?”

                    Um maybe you don’t know what the phony war was? You know that period before Germany invaded France.

                    And have you ever heard me once say anything about CW2? You get more ridiculous all the time.

                    1. And if I said this is the lull before the storm you undoubtedly would have said “Oh you’re one of those Stormfront guys, huh?”

              2. Sure, if I wanted to look like a fucking idiot on the record.

        2. There’s enough information. Put up and authorize a real impeachment inquiry, or go back to normal oversight.

    2. Citations to actual legal authorities are remarkable for their absence here. Try citing House rules, judicial decisions, Congressional precedents, etc.

        1. Per the Constitution, the House has sole power of impeachment, and each house of Congress is authorized to adopt its own rules.

          1. There are no /specific/ House /rules/ on impeachment, but — just to be thorough — the 2017 version of “House Practice” (GPO) states:

            “B. Procedure in the House
            §6. In General; Initiation and Referral of Charges Generally
            Under the modern practice, an impeachment is normally instituted by the House by the adoption of a resolution calling for a committee investigation of charges against the officer in question.”

            It goes further, but that addresses the issue at hand. To my mind, Pelosi is being clever in /not/ having the House adopt a resolution because that would require a vote that could well harm Democratic members from “Trump” or otherwise “Republican” districts. It is “clever” in the same sense that Reid’s invocation of the nuclear option was “clever” and McConnell’s refusal to hear Garland’s nomination was “clever.”

            1. This was a pain to find.


              Page 614 of the document (which is 624 of the pdf, because they never match of course)

    3. Keith has previously addressed this silly “kangaroo court” point, so unless you have anything to add, perhaps you should abstain from further obfuscation.

      The idea that Trump would cooperate with an “authorized” impeachment inquiry – whatever that means and not that it’s the President’s role to decide – is utterly preposterous. This is a flimsy procedural argument, based on no legal principle whatsoever, designed only to deflect and mislead. And you either know it, or are too stupid to be worth paying attention to.

      1. Trump didn’t shut down Mueller’s investigation even after proclaiming his ignorance for two years.

        And he released the transcript and WB complaint within a week of this story leaking. So he’s hardly hiding the ball here. Maybe instead of side-eyeing, we should ask Dems to put their cards on the table since they’re the ones who called the fracacta impeachment inquiry in the first place.

        1. He didn’t release the verbatim transcript. He released a reconstructed transcript that both corroborated the whistleblower’s account and suggested that the verbatim transcript might contain more detail. It’s just like Barr’s “summary” of the Mueller report – an initial disclosure intended to distract the gullible from more damning disclosures to follow.

          If Trump doesn’t have anything to hide, why won’t he let various officials testify as to what they witnessed?

          1. The aid has been released.

            The Ukrainians had started an investigation into Burisma before the phone call.

            You people literally have nothing.

            1. The short delay in the aid is the world’s most important issue. Voters in Wisconsin and Michigan care about the precise timing of Ukraine aid more than they care about their jobs and their wages.

          2. To my knowledge no one has suggested the transcript is incomplete to the point of fabrication. I doubt any information that was left out is going to materially change the tenor of the call. Plus, are we saying Zelensky is lying about it too? It’s not like he’s been mum on the nature of the call.

            You don’t get to play that game after we sat through the Mueller investigation for two years with no charges or convictions for collusion or obstruction of justice. So Trump doesn’t have endless amounts of patience for yet another House Democrat/Intel community/MSM hatchet job. Big deal.

          3. SimonP,

            If you really don’t trust the accuracy of the reconstructed transcript which was created by the intelligence community, by people who do this kind of stuff regularly; how is it you trust the whistle blower report to be accurate since he/she comes from the same intelligence community you purport not to trust to do a good job on a transcription?

        2. “And he released the transcript and WB complaint within a week of this story leaking. So he’s hardly hiding the ball here.”

          The ball being hidden here is the one that was asked for in the subpoena. You must (1) know this or (2) be too stupid to know this or (3) expect the rest of us to be so stupid that we can’t tell that you’re completely full of shit.

          1. Uh huh…sure…

            Or maybe Trump and company are getting tired of the consistent witch-hunting.

            1. I am sure every President gets tired of consistently receiving subpoenas from Congress. Traditionally they have responded with documents, or assertions of specific privilege over documents, and not a blanket rejection of the subpoena.

              Even executive privilege is limited to those matters within its scope. That’s not what this latest letter is about, though.

    4. we stand ready to engage in that process as we have in the past, in a manner consistent with well-established bipartisan constitutional protections and a
      respect for the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution. “

      IOW, we won’t engage at all.

      1. Balderdash. There’s been plenty of engagement with legitimate oversight in the past.

        Naked political manipulations… “Uh…we need Trump’s tax returns because…uh we want to make sure just Trump is being audited correctly”….no..

    5. The Democrats have a problem. They want material well protected by Executive Privilege, notably the mountain of evidence collected by the Mueller Investigation. They have two investigatory powers: 1) oversight and legislation, under Article I, Section 1, and 2) impeachment under Article I, Section 2. Their Oversight power is almost assuredly insufficient to overcome Executive Privilege in this case. That is because they are effectively trying to investigate the President, whose legitimacy stands on its own, being set out in Article II. Congress didn’t create the Presidency, so cannot investigate (by subpoena, etc) this coequal branch of government under their oversight power.

      That leaves using their Impeachment power, which in the Nixon case was sufficient to overcome Executive Privilege. Except that a formal impeachment inquiry has not been instituted by a vote of the House, with Due Process Rights preserved for both the minority and the accused (President here). Instead, you have one person, the Speaker, unilaterally declaring that an impeachment inquiry has been initiated. The person who coincidentally stands second in line for the Presidency, behind the VP. The Judiciary is not about to override Executive Privilege for this sort of informal impeachment.

      So, the House Dems have done two things. First, they are deliberately confusing and trying to merge these two Congressional powers (oversight and impeachment) under two different sections of Article I, together, for the best of two worlds. And, typically, instead of threatening contempt (which would require the Judiciary to enforce), they are threatening to find the President, his cabinet secretaries, etc, to have Obstructed Justice. Which may just be used as grounds for opening a real impeachment inquiry. Of course, it isn’t Obstruction, since the President had no legal duty to provide the House with what they want.

      1. This is a real impeachment inquiry.

        You don’t need a vote to open an inquiry.

        1. No, they don’t, and neither do I. But until they bother holding a vote, they’ve got as much right to compulsory process in it as I would.

          Sarcastro, this is a very basic point about governance: The power of the legislature is the power of the legislative body, not it’s individual members in isolation, who are just people.

          The power of the legislature is invoked by holding votes. Until they hold that vote, and win it, this just just some random people making demands. Once they hold that vote and prevail, it’s the full constitutional authority of The House behind the demands.

          A handful of people who just happen to be members of the House are trying to exercise the power of the House without holding the vote that would demonstrate the House actually agrees with what they’re doing.

          1. The idea that the default is that an institution is governed by votes to determine a majority is just made up.

            Institutions are governed by their rules. And the rules say that inquiries are opened by committee chairs.

            They could say anything; the President doesn’t get to look into those procedures and say ‘I don’t like this, so I’m not going to obey.’ That’s not how oversight works.

            Even in criminal cases, the way you challenge unfair procedures is you make a motion. It’s not that you throw a tantrum and don’t show up to court.

            1. As many people have pointed out…this isn’t a conventional trial.

        2. Following rules and upholding norms is the standard for others. Sarcastr0’s team gets to casually skip that stuff because they are
          the chosen of the “arc of history” and because Orange Man Bad.

          1. What rules are you talking about, here?

            There’s no “rule” that says that the House has to vote, as a body, to open an impeachment inquiry. There’s no “rule” that says that a congressional subpoena needs to be complied with only if it serves (in the executive’s view) a legitimate “legislative purpose” or is issued under (in the executive’s view) some duly-appointed authority of the House.

            These are “rules” being manufactured out of whole cloth by a president who does not view himself to be accountable anyone, and you are playing a dangerous game by supporting his efforts.

            1. There’s no “rule” that says that the House has to vote, as a body, to open an impeachment inquiry

              What is the difference between a Representative acting in his individual capacity and the House acting in its legislative capacity?

              How do we know that the House has opened an impeachment inquiry, rather than Speaker Pelosi opening an “impeachment inquiry”?

              If Speaker Pelosi can exercise the House’s authority without a vote why does the House bother with voting for legislation? Let the Speaker decide which measures the House supports.

              1. This is such a weird ask. There are 226 votes for an impeachment inquiry or impeachment straight up. There are four Republicans and nine Democrats who are against an impeachment inquiry but support continued investigation into the Ukraine incident. But now the President has said he will not entertain further investigation short of impeachment. So (1) there are already enough votes for an impeachment inquiry (or impeachment) and (2) there are 13 swing voters who want more investigations without an impeachment. Is the President daring the 13 to switch over to impeachment? (Not that they need it.)

                As an example, here are three Republican congressmen on further investigations (that have just been rebuked by the President):

                “I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes”

                “I’m not for the formal, you know, the impeachment inquiry that came up last week, but it is the right of any committee … I think there are legitimate questions that have to be asked and people are going to be required to answer them. You need to know what the answers are”

                “There are questions that need to be answered and Congress must continue to perform its oversight role, but none of that needs to happen under the banner of an impeachment inquiry”

                1. “There are 226 votes for an impeachment inquiry or impeachment straight up. ” So why not just vote? Why the cold feet?

                  1. I don’t think they have cold feet. The majority owns all the committees and can conduct inquiries. That’s how Congress works. I suspect now that the WH has responded “No, because no formal inquiry” they will proceed to a vote on formal inquiry. Just like when Watergate graduated to an impeachment inquiry after Nixon purged tapes in response to a Congressional subpoena that was (at the time) not related to his impeachment.

                    My suspicion is that this was a delay tactic by the WH, intended to let the dust settle and get the public further removed from the Ukraine news cycle. Or an attempt to change the subject. Or just typical random, chaotic movement from an unhinged beast. But public opinion is turning, and this refusal is generating its own narrative already. Maybe that will result in more public opinion turning, maybe not. We’ll know in about a week or two.

                    1. They are afraid to record a vote.

                    2. I am sure the 226 House reps who came out in favor of an impeachment inquiry before the President stonewalled, are terrified of an actual vote.

                      How does the President’s position square with Representative Mark Amodei, who thinks we need “oversight process” but no impeachment “inquiry”? How can that “oversight process” proceed when you (and the President) insist that it must be an “inquiry”?

            2. Actually, there is. The statute that authorizes Congress to request tax returns, and the Supreme Court that interpreted it, requires that the request be within Congress’ “legitimate legislative sphere.” Requesting his tax returns for the bad faith purpose of using them to harass people with whom he’s done business is not legitimate.

            3. In order for there to be an impeachment process (rather than the usual congressional clown show) an impeachment inquiry resolution would have to be created and voted on. That resolution would list the rules.

              Impeachment is a serious undertaking. I know it can be hard for rabid partisans to understand. It helps if you think of the US government as being the government of all Americans rather than just your fraction.

              1. “Impeachment is a serious undertaking. I know it can be hard for rabid partisans to understand.”

                I’m rabidly UNpartisan. The D’s in the House are free to talk about impeaching the President. They’re free to look into reasons why they might want to impeach the President. If enough of them vote that way, they might even impeach the President, unless their leadership continues to quash that noise.

                People who are unhappy about it are free to vote for candidates who didn’t/wouldn’t do it. Many, if not most of them, probably did last time, too. At the same time, people who prefer their leadership blatantly corrupt can vote for Reps who support their worldview, as well. The fact that this issue breaks down fairly consistently on partisan lines is purely a coincidence, I’m sure.

      2. Trump´s obstruction of the impeachment inquiry is itself impeachable conduct. The relevant precedent is the third Article of Impeachment of Nixon approved by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974.

        1. That would be the Judiciary Committee.
          Three Committees claim to have impeachment powers. None of them are the Judiciary Committee.
          Learn the answer as to why the Judiciary is NOT in impeachment mode, and learn why this is NOT impeachment.

        2. That’s a callable bluff. What goal does an impeachment action accomplish if 45+% of Americans consider it completely illegitimate and hostile?

          1. Impeachment (that is not just the inquiry) is up to 48.8% support against 43.6% against. Begin inquiry is higher.

            1. It’s early days. No one knows where this will go with the public. One thing is for sure though, one side will win and the other will lose, bigly.

              1. “One thing is for sure though, one side will win and the other will lose, bigly.”

                Last time around, both sides lost.

            2. Small changes in the percentages don’t change the fundamental question. Obviously.

              1. I think the idea is that an impeachment inquiry could reveal evidence that increasing popular support for impeachment.

                1. Not likely. Not if it’s being conducted as a show.

  2. I’m afraid the precedents have already been set – Holder and Clapper are the most obvious – but certainly the House can walk back those precedents and decide “this time we mean it!”

  3. If House Democrats want to impeach the President, then they should impeach the President. If they’re not sure how to do that, then they can look at the process that was followed the last time a President was impeached. Until then, I don’t fault the President for refusing to participate in yet another mermaid safari.

    1. “If House Democrats want to impeach the President”

      They do not. How do I know this? The President remains unimpeached.

      Now, plenty of non-Congressional Democrats would like to see him impeached, and a few of the Congressional ones have gotten themselves into the news by suggesting it.

      But whether or not President Trump deserves to be removed, the D’s running the House seem to want American voters to do the job.

      1. A vote to impeach presupposes an investigation appropriate to the task.

        1. “presupposes” is a lawyer word for assume? Where does the presupposes reside in the constitution? The constitution gives article I powers to impeach to the House of Representatives, not the Speaker of the House. OR do the words House of Representatives presuppose Speaker of the House?

          1. ” The constitution gives article I powers to impeach to the House of Representatives, not the Speaker of the House.”

            The House is free to designate its own rules about how and why its powers may be invoked, and they’ve chosen to give the Speaker broad powers.

            1. They haven’t voted to delegate THIS power to the Speaker, last time I looked.

              1. Subpoena power is delegated to committee chairs as of 2015, when the GOP changed the rules to allow them to go after Obama harder.

              2. They… haven’t delegated the power to speak for the House to the Speaker of the House?

                That’s an… interesting assertion.

  4. 3 years of witch hunts that have found nothing. The Democrats lost the 2016 election, they can’t beat Trump at anything so now their attempting a coup.

    1. The argument that impeachment seeks to overturn an election is specious. In the event of a president violating his oath of office, the possibility of impeachment is baked into the electoral cake.

      Moreover, the result of a successful impeachment and removal would be the duly elected vice-president succeeding to office. Overturning the election result would require installation of Hillary Clinton as president.

      1. The “overturn the election” idea also seems to forget that there was an even more recent election that gave the Democrats the majority in the House. So who’s more legitimate? The President elected in 2016 with 46% and 62 million votes? Or House Democrats elected in 2018 with 60 million?

        There isn’t actually a good answer to this question for what it’s worth. Which is one of the problems with presidential systems generally and the US system in particular.

        1. First of all, the fact that the congress turned Dem in 2018 means exactly dick. Second of all, how much do you want to bet that even with the majority, they don’t have the votes?

          If this is your argument, then you’re grasping for straws that don’t even exist.

          1. Why does it mean dick? Or more accurately, for what does it mean dick?

            My argument is simply that claiming impeachment is an illegitimate attempt to overturn an election is complicated by the fact that the House majority was elected more recently.

            1. No, your point was that the Dems taking the house had more legitimacy. Your word. And you’re completely incorrect in that assertion. The point I made was that even if your point WAS valid, the votes for impeachment are the real test, and they know that if they tried, they’d lose. That’s why a vote hasn’t been attempted.

              1. Dude. It wasn’t my word. I literally said that:

                “There isn’t actually a good answer to this question for what it’s worth. Which is one of the problems with presidential systems generally and the US system in particular.“

                How is that saying that the House had “more” legitimacy. I am quite literally saying there isn’t a good answer to the legitimacy question at issue here.

                1. The “overturn the election” idea also seems to forget that there was an even more recent election that gave the Democrats the majority in the House. So who’s more legitimate?

                  Note the last sentence, last word in particular.

                  1. The one with the question mark phrased as a question? That’s also followed by the two competing theories both phrases as questions? That word?

                    The VC threads might not be a federal court, but trying to adhere to Rule 106 is good practice nonetheless.

            2. Did 2010 overrule the 2008 election? It’s a stupid assertion.

              1. Okay. Let’s assume that in 2011-2012 House Republicans decided to impeach Obama for (fill in the blank with your best example).

                If Obama and Democrats said that House Republicans were trying to “overturn the election” would you accept that logic? Would you say the election in 2010 was meaningless to the question?

      2. “The argument that impeachment seeks to overturn an election is specious.”

        The argument that impeachment isn’t an attempt to overturn the election is specious.

        “Moreover, the result of a successful impeachment and removal would be the duly elected vice-president succeeding to office.”

        I’m sure the coup plotters already have impeachment plans for Pence.

        1. If Pence is dirty, he is just as subject to impeachment as Trump. But if he succeeds Trump, Pence will nominate the successor vice-president, subject to Congressional confirmation.

          1. “If Pence is dirty”

            The Democrats are dirty, so they’d just manufacture some “evidence” against him as well and continue on with their coup.

            The truth is never an obstacle to extremists.

          2. subject to Congressional confirmation

            🙂 yeah, that’ll happen

        2. Yes, they’ve already talked about impeaching Pence at the same time as Trump, so they can proceed straight to Pelosi.

          1. “Yes, they’ve already talked about impeaching Pence at the same time as Trump, so they can proceed straight to Pelosi.”

            Right. And the R’s in the Senate can be expected to go along with this plan, because…

            1. I suppose for the same reason they can be expected to go along with impeaching Trump? Magical hand-waving?

              1. Magical handwaving is the bedrock foundation of Democrat party principles.

              2. If public opinion turns. Republicans supported Nixon, until they didn’t.

                1. Yep and Democrats supported Clinton until…they came up roses.

                  1. Clinton’s approval rating nationally never dipped below 55% during the entire impeachment proceeding. His disapproval peaked at 36%, around the time the Starr Report issued. In contrast, President Trump’s highest approval has never exceeded 50% in aggregate polling, he’s currently sitting at around 42% approval and 53% disapproval. Americans in favor of Clinton’s impeachment never reached 45%. And disapproval never fell below 50%.

              3. “I suppose for the same reason they can be expected to go along with impeaching Trump?”

                There’s a chance they (the R Senators) might prefer President Pence. There’s not quite as large a chance that they’d prefer President Pelosi.

      3. Unless the devout Christian and anti-LGBTQ VP is next in the queue. That opens the door for a Democratic to move into the WH without obtaining 270 EC votes

      4. The argument that impeachment seeks to overturn an election is specious.

        When it’s the 14th thing in a row trying to “get” the president because of policy differences, I will reserve a healthy doubt Democrats are crying and wailing at the fate of the nation. “Beware the Pharisees. They stand on the corners praying, where people can see them.”

    2. And the Democrats won the 2018 election for the House.

      1. Individual representatives won.

    3. Actually, they found quite a bit, Barr notwithstanding.

      What flavor is that Kool-Aid?

      1. Lol. They found things completely unrelated to the trump campaign. 40 million dollars and 3 years will do that. In fact they found so much judges are now overturning some of their findings such as Flynns business partner. Then they also found over a dozen non judicial indictments, at least they wont have those overturned.

        But they sure got Manafort for stuff that happened well outside trumps campaign… so yay?

  5. The house is contending this is a judicial investigation which allows them to do things such as subpoena documents (including mueller information) and possibly tax documents (confidential by law). In so doing they have also barred the GOP Reps and Senators from participating in subpoena power or calling witnesses. They’ve also barred them from various interviews and evidence including not allowing WH council to sit in on any depositions. The White House letter is completely right I’m its assessment.

    1. Not for nothing, but the House Republicans had previously sidelined the Democrats in subpoena decisions during their investigation into the Obama administration.

      1. I’m sorry, but when was it that the GOP tried to impeach Obama? This point is even more anorexic than the point you made about the house turning Dem.

        1. Although they did not actually start the process there were multiple claims that he should be impeached which had varying levels of support.
          If there was any supporting evidence you can be sure he would have been impeached once the Republicans took the House.

      2. On actual oversight duties for congressional executed laws. Not for an impeachment inquiry. I’m sure you’ve note the difference here. The examples you mention investigate implementation of congressional laws, the latter an investigation of the president. Slight difference dont you think?

        1. No, not really. Each House of Congress is entitled to make its own rules. The House of Representatives gives the minority no power to independently issue subpoenas for investigative purposes. Your sudden discovery that the minority is entitled to do so when an impeachment is possible is not grounded in any principle I can see.

          1. Except in every previous impeachment inquiry. So much for principle. You’re asking for a deviation from precedent, not me wonder why…

            1. This is fascinating. Minority members of the 1868 and 1998 Houses of Representatives were given the power to issue subpoenas before the impeachment votes? Tell us more about this little-known chapter of history.

              1. H.R. Res. 581, 105th Cong. (1998) and H.R. Res. 803, 93rd Cong. (1974) gave the minority members authority to issue subpoenas during the Nixon and Clinton impeachments.

                1. No, the minority had the power to issue subpoenas only if the full committees agreed, which is to say the majority had to go along.

              2. It’s only little known to people who weren’t paying attention at the time.

          2. So if the House decided that any white man with orange hair should be impeached, they should? If the house can make any rules it wants.

            I wish the people on your side could see how utterly insane this view sounds to normals.

            1. Yup, they can. It’s a political process. They can be held accountable for their votes. And those who vote to excuse Trump’s corruption can be held accountable for theirs. See how that works?

              1. Yes. What it means to me is that progressives subscribe to the theory that the ends justify the means. And that as long as they can’t be held accountable politically, they should be able to do any single thing they want.

                Like I said, do you have any idea how insane that sounds to normals?

                1. They can be held accountable politically, honeybunch. There’ll be an impeachment vote. Probably soon.

                  1. You do realize that getting what you want results in your life being ended, no?

                    1. Violent threats. Always the sign of the winning argument.

                2. If they get away with doing this to Trump, just think what they will do to the rest of us. The WI John For investigations will look like child’s play.

                  1. Wait, do you think House Democrats are going to investigate you personally if they manage to send articles of impeachment to the Senate?

              2. “See how that works”?
                I do. I do understand.
                I learned from Pelosi. She knows how it works. Better that almost anyone. Her political acumen is without question.

                Precisely why she is avoiding a vote of the full house. Political fallout for Dem House members.

          3. Sure, each house is entitled to make its own rules, and the executive branch is entitled to ignore them, as Eric Holder did. You didn’t condemn him, how can you condemn any member of the Trump administration?

            1. Sure, each house is entitled to make its own rules, and the executive branch is entitled to ignore them

              WTF kind of king do you want?

              You an’t use Holder to say infinite Presidential stonewalling is okay.

              1. Why can’t we use Holder to say that infinite Presidential stonewalling (not really infinite, only until Jan 20, 2025) is okay?

                Double standards again. You supported the last king.

                1. What double standard? The last President produced documents in response to congressional inquiries.

          4. Legally. Oversight and legislation power is granted under Article I, Section 1, while impeachment is under Section 2. Different sections of Article I for different Constitutional powers.

            The House majority leadership is trying to blur the difference, but if you read their subpoenas, they are claiming the ability to investigate the President as part of their impeachment, utilizing their oversight power. But their oversight power doesn’t extend to the President and a formal Impeachment inquiry, that could possibly pierce Executive Privilege has not been passed by the House.

            1. Impeachment without oversight is a dead letter. Your interpretation is absurd.

              1. No, you’re (purposely?) confusing two things. The fallacy of equivocation.

                Congress “oversight” power, the power to investigate to confirm that the executive branch is properly executing the laws. Subpoenas to that end have to be relevant to the topic: The executive branch’s enforcement of laws. And the various committees have been pre-authorized to do this, by legislation.

                Congress has impeachment power, and to that end can investigate damn near anything the Executive does. But to invoke that power, they have to actually vote to open up an impeachment investigation. They haven’t done that.

                The already authorized subpoena power only covers “oversight” related inquiries. That you can claim impeachment is a form of “oversight” doesn’t make it “oversight” in the relevant sense. If they want to investigate matters related to impeachment, they can, but they need a House vote authorizing it.

                1. “But to invoke that power, they have to actually vote to open up an impeachment investigation.”

                  You say this with such conviction, you must actually believe it is true. But why do you believe this?

                  1. Because the impeachment power is a power of Congress, and Pelosi isn’t Congress.

                    Congress acts by holding votes. Congress hasn’t acted yet.

                    1. Congress’s actions are not defined by majority votes, they are defined by each branch’s own rules.

                      As is set forth by the Constitution.

                    2. Stating the same thing more firmly is not evidence that it is correct.

    2. Impeachment is analogous to a grand jury´s presentation of an indictment — the charging instrument which frames the issues for trial. The accused does not get to subpoena/call witnesses before the grand jury, nor does counsel for the accused appear and question grand jury witnesses.

      1. Except for all of the other times a president was impeached. Care to try again?

        1. No, actually, neither Andrew Johnson nor Bill Clinton got to call witnesses in the House before the impeachment vote. Care to try again?

          1. H.Res.581 – Authorizing and directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States.

            The minority leader or his designatee was explicitly permitted to issue subpoenas on his own say so, unless the majority leader challenged them, in which case a vote would settle the matter.

            This is the participation by the minority that Pelosi is preventing by avoiding holding that vote.

            1. Minority members of a committee issuing subpoenas is not even vaguely the same thing as the accused confronting witnesses, and at any rate the minority’s subpoena powers were expressly subject to the agreement of the majority. Which is to say: the minority could, and can, suggest investigative targets, but had no independent power.

      2. Such a dumb simile I’ll ignore it.

        You asked for citations above, yet provide none for you baseless assumption.

        1. Reasoning by analogy is valid argument. No wonder you ignore the analogue.

          1. Even in an indictment the defense is allowed to argue that there isn’t enough for an indictment. That’s not happening here. So try again.

            1. When and where did you get your legal training, if any? The accused does not get to question the sufficiency of grand jury evidence. Even if an indictment is facially invalid, that question is raised post-indictment before the trial court.

              1. There is an exception for police officers who have been in high profile shootings though…

        2. It’s so dumb those leftists at the Heritage Foundation made the same mistake.

          1. Lol. Using anti trump conservative groups doesnt really help. I linked national review above.

            1. I don’t think they’ve changed their annotated constitution because of Trump. And it’s completely consistent with the text and structure of the Constitution.

          2. Your article also doesnt support the belief that trump is not given 4th amendment privileges or denied executive privilege. While the line was used in the heritage, the article you link goes into no detail on the powers of the house, so the article is quite useless.

            So now cite an article that claims the house has grand jury powers to subpoena in private or issue warrants for search. Your heritage link asserts neither. So why did you bother even citing it?

            1. You should maybe tell Trump’s lawyers, who have been running around arguing that the House can *only* issue subpoenas when they pertain to an impeachment inquiry or have a legitimate legislative purpose. Here’s the opinion holding that even those limitations are baseless:


              1. And yet this very site discussed some weeks back the Supreme Court ruled Congress could interrogate the executive branch over that legislative purpose, i.e. how they are implementing laws, and not for the private discussions and planning of another branch, as Congress has no authority to make other branches justify themselves in the course of their own direct duties.

    3. tax documents (confidential by law).

      Have you read the actual laws? If so, you are illiterate, or so bought into Trumpist BS that you have given up your ability to think rationally, assuming you ever had that ability.

      1. This is what’s known as an ad-hominem argument. You don’t attack what he said; you attack him. If you’re so familiar with the actual laws, then quote the one that either proves your assertion or disproves his.

        1. I’m a different person, but if you’re interested, 26 USC 6103(f)(1) states:

          “Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.“

          So the law says the House Committee on Ways and Means can request any returns and the Secretary of the Treasury “shall” turn then over. He or she has no discretion to not comply. But they can only be seen in executive session unless the taxpayer consents to publicizing them.

          So while the are generally confidential, they can’t be kept from the appropriate congressional committees.

          1. The law says they get to filch through his papers looking for stuff to tag him with, in violation of the 4th Amendment, yes we know.

            And barring that, a leak within 14 nanoseconds of reception. This we also know.

            1. 4th Amendment applies to tax records? Who knew?

            2. To elaborate on SarcastrO’s point: So far as I know, no court has ever suggested that the Fourth Amendment bars one government agency (Congress) from obtaining a document possessed by another government agency (the IRS). Assuming for the sake of argument that your concern about leaks is valid, the remedy is to repeal the statute. The Fourth Amendment is inapplicable.

              1. I’m seeing Fourth Amendment arguments pop up here a lot now. I’d love to hear Orin Kerr’s thoughts on whether and how the Fourth Amendment applies to Congress itself.

                1. I would be interested as well. But bear in mind that while there may be a good argument that the Fourth Amendment limits the power of Congress to use its subpoena power to obtain documents from private parties, that’s not what we have here: This is one public agency seeking a document from another public agency.

              2. The Fifth Amendment is also inapplicable, although that’s a more complex point. If Trump admitted criminal activity in his tax return, the Fifth Amendment would bar the use of the statements in his return against him, because the information is compelled. (I’m not talking about tax fraud; I’m talking about something like a pharmacist who admits improper sales of opiates in his return, and pays taxes on his profits.) But the Fifth Amendment only applies in criminal cases, and impeachment is not criminal.

              3. I’ll point out that Congress is not a government agency, it’s a separate branch. That doesn’t always matter, but as an example of when it does, take congressional subpoenas of classified documents that the executive doesn’t want to hand over because they say they’re not subject to disclosure – this is resolved by the Executive giving them to a judge (the Judiciary) who will read them and determine if they’re subject to disclosure to Congress. If it were all within the Executive (agency to agency) then it wouldn’t go through a judge at all.

                And that’s the difference that matters, because Congress passed a law that said they could get tax returns under certain circumstances, and the Executive doesn’t want to hand them over, so the issue is: did Congress comply with the duly enacted law in their request (so they get them), or did they not (in which case they won’t). Not being an expert in this, it looks like Congress is entitled to them, even though it’s for nefarious purposes, which really just means it’s a terrible law.

  6. Every occurrence of Republican hardball increases the prospect of an enlarged Supreme Court.

    Carry on, clingers.

    1. “Let us win or we will start cheating” is certainly an innovative, if not particularly effective, strategy.

      1. Following the rules constitutes cheating?

        Were you whimpering this way when Arizona Republicans enlarged the Arizona Supreme Court a few years ago?

        Get a grip, clinger. America’s future will not be based on bigotry and backwardness no matter how hard you pine for good old days that never existed.

        1. “America’s future will not be based on bigotry and backwardness”

          So you’re going to lose then?

      2. If anyone was saying that it would be derivative of “Let us do whatever whenever or we will start a civil war”. So, not innovative.

    2. You can’t increase the probability of an event past 100%, and packing the Court became certain as soon as the Democrats are capable of it at least several years ago.

      1. I belive AK’s point is that the GOP’s bad-faith attempts to cover for Trump’s corruption make it more likely that voters will give Democrats that power sooner rather than later.

        1. Hah! You keep dreaming about this nonsense.

        2. Well, then he could have said so. It’s bad enough the way he raves, I’m not going to invent raving for him when he doesn’t make his point clear.

          Historically, the Democrats define “hardball” as not rolling over and playing dead, so I don’t see how the Republicans can refrain from it and actually have any point in existing as a party. If the price of that is that the Democrats will try to beat them in the next election, well, they were going to try that anyway.

          Here’s the contrary argument: The Republican base are normally demoralized by the knowledge, proven multiple times, that electing Republicans is largely futile because they take dives. The best way to energize them is to demonstrate to them that the people they elect will actually try to win.

          1. America’s electorate is becoming less rural. Less white. Less bigoted. Less religious. Less backward.

            Unless you guys find a way to reverse the diminution of the Republican base — I recommend perfecting a machine that mass-produces uneducated, intolerant, superstitious, credulous, economically inadequate, cranky, elderly, rural southern males and having the Federalist Society figure a way to register the newly minted clingers to vote — I doubt energizing the dwindling clingers would accomplish much beyond enriching direct mail houses and selling more catheters, gold bars, and low-quality life insurance through Fox News.

            1. Can’t you get TLTT to tag you out? He’s more interesting.

    3. The Democrats are violating the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments, they’re promising the destroy the Supreme Court and now their attempting to remove the President via a coup with legal trappings.

      They want to disarm us and destroy our country. But an armed populace is an insurmountable obstacle to their authoritarian ambitions. So yah, we’re clinging to our guns. This ain’t Venezuela.

      1. an armed populace

        Been hearing this for everything from the ACA to gay marriage. Hadn’t happened yet.

      2. You overlooked their plan to quarter soldiers in your house.

      3. Feel free to go “the full LaVoy” any time you please, LiborCon.

        Hastening the replacement of a single bigoted, superstitious, half–educated right-winger would be no big deal.

        Or, you could stick around long enough to realize that progress isn’t so bad.

    4. Thanks for reminding us that Democratic Senators explicitly and officially threatened the Supreme court. Now we have the Democratic representatives explicitly and officially threatening the President.
      This is looking more like an attempt to take over the government by the Democrats. The further they stray from established precedent the more this looks like tyranny.

    5. Conservatives have more bullets than you disgusting animals have ballots. Even if you legalize every semi-retarded third worlder already here.

  7. Ok, I’ve now read Cipollone’s response, and it strikes me as quite reasonable.

    In the history of our Nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the President without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step. Here, House leadership claims to have initiated the gravest inter-branch conflict contemplated under our Constitution by means of nothing more than a press conference at which the Speaker of the House simply announced an “official impeachment inquiry.

    Is he wrong? No, he isn’t wrong, this is exactly what is going on. A supposed “impeachment investigation” has been initiated without any vote, on the say-so of a mere handful of members of the House.

    1. Seeing as there’s a sample size of two impeachments in U.S. history, and neither the Constitution nor the House’s rules requires two votes, no, I’d say this is baseless as a justification for ignoring a subpoena.

      1. There being prior impeachments mean there’s precedence. Also, that doesn’t answer the question: why call for an impeachment inquiry without taking a vote? I think the first thing any judge will want to know is why the House is ignoring its own rules.

        1. Seeing as the judge doesn’t have the power to enforce the House’s rules, no, I don’t think the judge will care at all.

          1. The judge does have the power to enforce a subpoena, or rule that certain testimony/documentation cannot be compelled due to executive privilege. So yes, I think he’ll care and I think if Democrats want to actually win they will come up with a good explanation to that question.

        2. Do you have a citation to such House rules?

          1. It’s pretty well known that House rules state that a full vote has to be taken to open an impeachment inquiry. It was done the other two times a President impeached; I doubt the majority were just trying to be sweethearts about it.

            I’m sure you can Wiki that though. I’m not doing your homework for you.

            1. Your recollection of the Nixon impeachment process seems flawed, Owen Taylor. The impeachment inquiry, as I recall, began months before the vote of the entire House.

    2. As I recall, the full House vote on the Nixon impeachment was conducted months after the inquiry commenced.

      In any event, I doubt the House majority is in the market for procedural pointers from clingers.

    3. He’s wrong if you take “launch an impeachment inquiry” to mean launch an investigation that leads to impeachment. Watergate investigations started long before impeachment. Congress subpoenaed the Nixon tapes in July 1973. That was months before the House voted on an impeachment inquiry, which might not have happened but for the information that was on the Nixon tapes (and the information that was not on the tapes), gathered prior to the impeachment inquiry.

  8. In letters to State Department employees, the Committees have ominously threatened without any legal basis and before the Committees even issued a subpoena that “any failure to appear” in response to a mere letter request for a deposition “shall constitute evidence of obstruction.” Worse, the Committees have broadly threatened that if State Department officials attempt to insist upon the right for the Department to have an agency lawyer present at depositions to protect legitimate Executive Branch confidentiality interests-or apparently if they make any effort to protect those confidentiality interests at all-these officials will have
    their salaries withheld.

    Are you denying this is true, or are you claiming that this is a reasonable thing to do?

    1. Use a bit of common sense here. If the State Department witnesses could exonerate Trump, why is he preventing their appearance?

      That interference with the investigative process gives rise to a strong inference that the testimony, if given, will be adverse to the president.

      Trump is disregarding Molly Ivins´ First Rule of Holes: stop digging.

      1. Simple, he wants the house to vote for impeachment. Why? So that it becomes election fodder and the Dems get absolutely slaughtered in any election outside one of their strongholds, especially with the IG and Durham investigations starting to heat up..

        1. I’m not sure people love Trump as much as strong supporters and pundits think that they do.

      2. Exonerate Trump how? We have the transcript. Having State Dept. officials to opine about what they think Trump’s real intentions were is going to lead to nowhere. Doubtful Trump said, sotto voce, that he was just saying he’s looking into corruption so he can really just dig up dirt on Biden, but shhhh.

        1. State Department personnel can shed light on why Congressionally authorized military aid to Ukraine was not delivered until mid-September, long after Trump requested help in smearing a political rival. Trump´s interference with the fact gathering process gives rise to an adverse inference.

          1. You’re a slave to the state
            Aka (debatably) useful (certainly) idiot

            1. That guy’s a slave to the state.

              You are an obsolete bigot destined for replacement.

              Where is the hope for America?

          2. Ukraine had a right to US $ on a specific date?

            1. You know god damn well this isn’t about Ukraine’s rights, asshole.

      3. Why don’t you show some sense, and explain why the Democrats would demand that witnesses be punished if the administration has counsel present?

        1. TheIr usual argument to things like that is to claim it didn’t happen.

    2. Both? Tell us what you think.

  9. Let’s add this on. Now House Democrats want the “whistleblower” to be kept absolute secret in his or her identity, but still testify, and use that testimony towards impeachment proceedings. Anonymous witnesses are exceedingly rare in US proceedings, and typically barred by the 6th amendment.

    Yes, impeachment proceedings aren’t a criminal trial. But due process is extraordinarily important, and this type of end-around due process, especially in impeachment proceedings, is extremely unsettling. Using “anonymous witnesses” to impeach the president has all types of unpleasant overtones.

    1. Well if the President hadn’t accused him/her of treason, maybe they wouldn’t think they needed to do that.

      1. And the house has threatened to lock trump and executive up including solitary confinement. Did he act on it? Would he see the death penalty? No. Then fuck off with your idiocy.

        1. “And the house has threatened to lock trump and executive [officials] up including solitary confinement”

          When? I know there’s been discussions about using the Sergeant at Arms by some pundits but when has the House threatened to do such a thing?

            1. 1/435. You might need to talk about Brett Bellmore about the definition of “the House.”

              1. So 1/435 does not reach your threshold to represent “the House”
                Except when its the Speaker of the House at a press conference declaring the House is officially conducting an impeachment inquiry?

                1. Is there a House rule that specifically empowers the Speaker to do that?

        2. “Did he act on it?”

          Hey, whoa, are we already out of those woods? Trump resigned? I’m so glad to hear it. Unfortunately, back in this world, Trump doesn’t know who the whistleblower is and thus can’t “act on it.” The point is to keep it that way.

      2. Balderdash. The promise to prosecute or sue someone through the legal system someone for their perceived illegal actions in no way whatsoever justifies an anonymous witness.

        Do you have any idea how many witnesses are threatened with legal action in the US? It is only ILLEGAL, justifiable threats (IE, we’re gonna kill your family) that possibly justify anonymous witnesses.

        I’m going to be frank. You should be embarrassed to be defending such action. A “trial” where the “prosecution” uses a bunch of secret anonymous witnesses to prove its “case”? It’s an abortion of due process and justice.

        1. “It’s an abortion of due process and justice.”

          I guess that’s why the party of abortion on demand is doing it that way, then.

        2. Correct. The standard for anonymous witnesses should be extremely high. Off the top of my head, 1) protecting the privacy of minor children, 2) national security, 3) bona fide serious threats

        3. Others have pointed out that a House impeachment hearing is not a criminal trial, in fact it is not a trial at all. It is the equivalent of a grand jury proceeding, where due process doesn’t mean the subject can confront witnesses or rebut their testimony, or even know what their testimony was. Those arguments may apply at the Senate trial (I believe they should, but it is up to the Senate whether they do), if the witnesses testify then too.

          1. In fact, I pointed it out in the OP, that the hearing is not a criminal trial. In fact, here’s what I said.

            “Yes, impeachment proceedings aren’t a criminal trial. But due process is extraordinarily important, and this type of end-around due process, especially in impeachment proceedings, is extremely unsettling.”

            It is…not…a Grand Jury Proceeding, which is done in secret, under full confidentiality, but a very public airing of the evidence for political purposes.

        4. “A “trial”…”

          The House is not conducting a trial. The trial is in the Senate.

          “It’s an abortion of due process and justice.”

          The analogy is unintentionally apt.

    2. ” Anonymous witnesses are exceedingly rare in US proceedings, and typically barred by the 6th amendment. ”

      You know better. The sixth amendment applies to criminal proceedings, which an impeachment inquiry is not. There isn’t any sort of due process limit on impeachment. The members of the House decided whether or not to impeach, the Senators decide whether or not to remove, and then both face voters who decide whether or not to punish them (electorily) for their choices. Not a guarantee of due process anywhere alone the line.

      1. So your belief is the constitutional protections dont apply to the president if the House decides to go after him. It’s a stupid fucking theory, but it is yours so hold it tight.

        1. Well SCOTUS ruled quite definitively that Senate impeachment trials are nonjusticiable political questions in Nixon v United States (1993). Since the House has the “sole power” of impeachment SCOTUS would rule the same way presumably. (Unless the conservatives on the Court want to say Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas were actually all wrong about a textual interpretation of the Constitution).

          But assuming that the due process clause could apply: Which life, liberty, or property interests does the President have at stake in an impeachment?

          The House can’t execute him. So it’s not a life interest.

          They can’t imprison or sentence him. So no liberty interest. Unless you reaaaaallllly want to stretch the contours or substantive due process.

          The property interest is actually trickier because government employees do have some level of property interest in their jobs. But as far as I know that’s never been applied to an elected official. And if it ever is, you can thank a bunch of liberal SCOTUS justices for creating the government entitlement doctrine. Irony!

          1. Trump has a property interest in continued salaried employment. The process that is due, however, consists of impeachment by the House and a trial by the Senate with minimal procedural requirements (oath or affirmation, two-thirds vote for removal). As the Walter Nixon case indicates, the rules adopted in pursuance thereof present nonjusticiable political questions.

      2. Do you really think they’re going to get away with allowing either person to testify in secret? This is where the reminder that this is a political process goes double for the ones pushing for impeachment.

      3. Typically I don’t respond to your comments. However this one stuck out.

        “There isn’t any type of due process limit on impeachment”.

        Unbelievable. What a mockery of everything our country stands for.

        If you’re going to get rid of due process for a trial to get rid of the highest authority in the government, just do it. Don’t make a mockery of the system. Don’t make a “trial” where there’s no due process for the “defendant.”

        1. Its not a trial yet! In fact it won’t be a trial until he is impeached by the House and those Impeachment Articles are sent to the Senate for trial. At that point in time due process will be required and it will be up to the Senators and Chief Justice Roberts to make sure that it is.

        2. Is it unbelievable? These perverts said the same thing when Kavanagh was being railroaded.

        3. Just so you understand, if a government informant tells the FBI that you’re engaged in a criminal endeavor, you don’t get to confront the witness pre-trial (for obvious reasons). And the House will never hold an impeachment trial.

  10. Your current effort is founded on a completely appropriate call on July 25, 2019, between President Trump and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. Without waiting to see what was actually said on the call, a press conference was held announcing an “impeachment inquiry” based on falsehoods and misinformation about the call.

    Does he have the timeline wrong? No, he doesn’t. They claimed to be initiating an impeachment inquiry, (Though without bothering to get a vote authorizing it.) before knowing the content of the call that supposedly justified it.

    If anything, I’d call that letter temperate in light of what is going on.

    1. There is plenty to justify impeachment in the memorandum summarizing the content of the July 25 call which Trump released.

      1. No, there isn’t, other than Orange Man Bad.

        1. Lol. The NPC meme is a hilarious exercise in lack of self-awareness.

          “How do we show how libtards are single-minded sheep who only know how to hate Trump?”

          “I know! We can attribute the same three word phrase to them and repeat it forever in the same way with no variation or creativity whatsoever!”

          1. I was replying to the comment before mine, which suggested that there were impeachable offenses, yet stated none. Why don’t you try to keep your knee from jerking and follow the conversation at hand?

            1. I just like making fun of the use of “Orange Man Bad.” It’s an unoriginal knee-jerk insult used to criticize supposed unoriginal knee jerk reactions to Trump. Therefore, it’s hilarious to me.

              1. So much projection.

                not guilty

                Not a single post by any of “yall” is distinguishable from another.
                You’re parrots, though less valuable than actual birds

                1. What flaws or socially unacceptable I desires am I projecting and whom am I projecting them on to?

          2. It works because you guys are 99% groupthink. Ask for reasoning, get talk about feelings.

            I hope your politician/soulmate arrives for you soon so your dreams can be fulfilled.

        2. I read the memo. I agree there is potentially impeachable conduct evidenced by the memo. The quid pro quo, for instance.

      2. Please elucidate how trump asking the Ukraine to investigate corruption illegal while involving 13 foreign countries to hurt trump with the Mueller investigation is not.

        1. Mueller did it to carry out his mandate from the Acting Attorney General. Trump did it to help his own re-election chances?

        2. Mueller was not a candidate for office.

          When President Zelensky raised the topic of defensive missile purchases, President Trump kvetched about a lack of reciprocity vis-a-vis Ukraine and asked for help in smearing a political opponent. All of this occurred while military assistance which had been approved by Congress had not yet been delivered.

          Trump is dirty by the words of his own mouth.

          1. “Mueller was not a candidate for office”.

            OK, I hereby announce that I’m running for president. Therefore, I’m immune from any charges stemming from anything I’m illegally doing right now.

            Is this really the argument you want to make? If you’re a lawyer, I’m even more concerned about our justice system than I already was.

            1. Hell of a non sequitur. Try again when you´re sober.

        3. Trump didn’t ask the Ukraine to investigate corruption because Trump doesn’t care about corruption. Hint: if your defense requires people to believe that Trump is a principled fighter of corruption, you’re not going to win. Trump is a walking, talking conflict of interest, and has been from day 1.

          1. Pure conjecture and opinion. In a real court of law, not a single shred of what you just said would be admissible.

            And you people are attorneys?

            1. Impeachment is a political process, dear. If Trump’s congressional defenders have to go with “I believe Donald Trump is an anti-corruption crusader,” that’s not going to go well for them.

              1. You keep pointing out that impeachment is a political process, and that entitles Congress to pretty much make up any rule they see fit. Well so is Trump telling them to stuff it sideways unless they have a real vote. Yet I don’t think you’ll give the same weight to that view.

                1. Unfortunately, my love, congressional subpoenas are enforceable in court, so Trump doesn’t have the last word on this. But at any rate, “NO I WON’T GIVE YOU ANY DOCUMENTS OR TESTIMONY, ALL OF WHICH WOULD SHOW HOW VERY, VERY INNOCENT I AM” is not going to be a strong position for him or his friends in Congress.

  11. If this president can simply issue a blanket refusal to cooperate with any congressional oversight of executive branch activities…

    Good thing that’s not what’s happening here!

    1. We have now reached the theory of the executive being subservient to the legislative.

      1. Well they are in most functioning democracies that have track records of avoiding slides into authoritarianism and military rule….so there might be something to that idea.

        1. If you think we’re “sliding into authoritarianism and military rule”, then you’re flat out insane.

          1. Well that’s just what political science says presidential systems are more susceptible to. Juan Linz wrote about this. It’s also evident in Latin America which has routinely had Presidents implement authoritarian governments despite the existence of elected legislators.

            Parliamentary systems, by contrast, have this problem less. (They have their own problems of course, and are not immune to slides into authoritarian governments, but nonetheless they appear to be less susceptible to this problem.)

            But the United States is probably in less danger of it than other presidential systems because of its tradition of strong federalism and its tradition of strong judicial review, which make it much harder for a President to claim dictatorial powers.

            But most importantly, at least in this moment, is the fact that our current President is too cartoonishly buffoonish to be taken seriously by any of the people he would need to accomplish such a feat. I’m not sure we’ve ever had a president whose self conception was in such stark contrast to his abilities and how people view him. It truly is amazing.

            1. I’m quite sure your self conception is literally psychotic and you’re consumed by resentment.
              Its pathetic

              1. Resentment of whom?

                I don’t think I conceive of myself as being psychotic. If you’re saying that I am psychotic, you’re probably missing the mark there too. As far as I know the only mental health condition I have is depression, but that’s medicated. I haven’t had any episodes of hallucination or the like that would indicate psychosis. Thanks for your concern!

                1. Upthread he’s threatened posters with death. His comments tend to be ‘No U!’.

                  They’re not sending their best.

        2. Properly, the executive IS subservient to “the legislature”. The question here is whether a handful of members who are conspicuously avoiding holding a vote stand in the place of “the legislature”.

          I say, they ain’t “the legislature” until they hold that vote, and win it. Until that moment, they’re just individual people. “The legislature” does things by holding votes.

      2. We have now reached the theory of the executive being subservient to the legislative.

        That is how it’s set up. The legislature can remove the executive, not vise versa.

        1. Glad you’ve come around to my position on legislative supremacy.

          But, as I said above, repeatedly, this isn’t “the legislature” acting until they hold a vote. Legislative supremacy DNC supremacy of individual legislators. It can only be invoked by the legislature acting together as a legislative body, by voting to do things.

          1. The Constitution explicitly declaims your definition of what the legislature is.

            1. You mean, “implicitly,” right?

              The legislature is whatever they say it is, historically by voting in rules that delegate some of their collective power to individuals. The question is a) did they do so for the people claiming to wield the power of the a House? And b) if not, are they required to do so before individuals can wield their collective power?

              I tend to think a) I have no idea and b) yes, otherwise we don’t know their intent to delegate power but b1) if they had done so in a prior term, I don’t think that carries over as the house rules are they they’re a new entity each cycle, while the senate is continuous.

              1. No. By saying each body gets to set it’s own rules, the Constitution is excluding externally directive paradigms like Brett’s in favor of a internally decided paradigm.

  12. There are several problems with this article, but this statement in particular is objectively false (i.e. you lied).

    “The House can either choose to impeach the president based on what it knows or can discover without the president’s cooperation, or it can move on.”

    No, the House can actually do what they have claimed they are doing, open a formal inquiry. The letter does not indicate or imply that the White House will not cooperate with such. It merely says that it won’t participate in the kangaroo court currently being convened in the House.

    Please amend your post. There is no need to resort to blatantly inaccurate statements. You demean yourself and you demean the site when you do and you make a mockery of the name “Reason”.

    1. A formal inquiry doesnt deny the president 4th amendment protection or executive privilege. They are coequal branches.

      1. Thanks, Jesse, for inadvertently explaining that this “you have to open a formal inquiry” argument is stupid and meaningless. Nothing about taking an “inquiry” vote is going to change a thing. The “impeachment requires due process, therefore you have to let us dox the whistleblower” arguments will still be there, and will be just as bad.

        1. Taking an inquiry vote would mean the inquiry wouldn’t take place, because it would lose. So yeah, it actually kind of means a lot.

          1. Nope. Almost every House Democrat has already come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry. Pelosi simply isn’t going to concede that there has to be a vote for the House to investigate.


            1. Yeah, there’s a difference between what they say, and how they vote on a recorded vote. Which is why they haven’t held that recorded vote: Either they’re not confident they’d win it, or they fear political consequences for some of the members whose votes would be recorded.

      2. This is not a criminal proceeding. the 4th does not apply at all.

        Executive privileged deals with Article III tribunals. It would not apply here either.

        1. Could the House get active nuclear launch codes then? It’s executive privilege (because of national security) that protects them.

          1. The close hold on launch code isn’t based on executive privilege.

  13. I find myself fascinated by the thought of how the current SCOTUS would rule if they were asked to rule on this issue. Yes I know the inclination is strong to regard them all as just partisan hacks and most of them are beholden to the Republican party and Trump specifically. Yet they all have some level of scholarship and legal discipline in their natures.

    So would their legal training prevail? Or would they cave in and go ahead and say the executive is basically immune from all congressional oversight? It is hard to imagine they would do that but after Bush v. Gore you can’t say it is impossible.

    Anyone here have insight on this? I would really like to know.

    1. The Roberts Court tends to attempt to rule as narrowly as possible. I suspect that they would rule on the due process elements only and find in favor of the President.

    2. Oh, I get it. If you don’t think the president has no right to defend himself in an “impeachment” inquiry, you’re a partisan hack. Got it.

      Your irony meter is completely out of synch, but it does give hilarious read outs…

      1. No, you’re avoiding the point: Until they hold that vote, the House, as an institution, with Constitutional authority, isn’t doing squat. It’s just random members who aren’t entitled to exercise the House’s authority.

        Holding that vote is HOW they get that authority.

        To make this clear, suppose a handful of Republicans, back in Obama’s first term, when he had a majority of both chambers, had announced they were conducting an impeachment inquiry, and started issuing subpoenas and threats. Would this have any legal significance?

        No, it wouldn’t, and for the same reason Pelosi’s action doesn’t: House majorities exercise power, not random members.

        1. And the House gave its “random members” broad subpoena power without requiring additional authorization by the full House, so that’s all taken care of!

    3. “Or would they cave in and go ahead and say the executive is basically immune from all congressional oversight?”

      We call this a false dichotomy.

      1. Trump is currently arguing that he’s immune from oversight because the Dems are being unfair.

        1. No, he’s currently arguing that he’s subject to oversight, but this isn’t oversight, it’s an impeachment inquiry, and he’s not subject to THAT until they hold a vote and the HOUSE decides to conduct one.

          1. Yes, because the subject of oversight has the sole authority to determine whether and how oversight occurs. Another good point by Brett.

            1. This is rather similar to a home owner hearing a knock at the door. It’s a police officer, who asked to be let in.

              The home owner says, “Come back when you’ve got a warrant.”

              Does saying that imply that the home owner has sole authority to determine whether and how his house is searched? Or merely that the home owner is entitled to demand that the police follow the formal procedure if they’re going to demand compliance, instead of just ask for it?

              Again, at such time as the House actually votes to conduct an impeachment inquiry, and Trump still stonewalls them, you’ll have a valid complaint. Until then, it’s not the House knocking on the door, just some random members of the House without the House’s authority delegated to them.

              1. No, Brett, the constitutionally-derived oversight powers of congress are nothing like the police needing a warrant to enter a premises. Again, I beg you, save this drivel for Hegemony and all those other morons. They’ll eat it up and regurgitate faster than even you can.

        2. You’re better than this
          The letter clearly states the White House will comply with the Houses oversight functions, Or the White House will comply with the Houses power of Impeachment Inquiry, The House just needs to define their actions.

          1. No, the letter says this is an illegitimate political kangaroo court and the President need not comply.

    4. Let me say this more clearly. Congressional oversight doesnt mean the house can do whatever the fuck they want nor have whatever information they want. They can oversee the execution of powers they have granted him through legislative authority. They are coequal branches. Did all the liberals here fail 5th grade civics?

      1. And the President gets to decide what’s legitimate? Do you see the problem with your logic?

        1. All they have to do to have the power to investigate, is hold that vote to investigate, and get a majority with a quorum present. That’s all.

          Until they do that, it isn’t just the President who’s entitled to notice they’re not legitimate. Anybody can do it.

          1. Which is a requirement you have made up out of whole cloth.

            Even this letter cites it briefly, but the general point about illegitimacy is not hinged on the lack of a vote. Congress could vote, and this little tantrum put out by the OLC(!) would still apply.

    5. OM, insight? Nah. Just modestly-informed speculation.

      I take Thomas, Alito, and Kavanaugh as in the tank for Trump. All have extensive records which show they act as unprincipled right wing partisans, first, last, and always.

      Roberts has shown signs of principled reasoning, except on one class of cases. Unfortunately, that class includes a Trump impeachment case of any description. The class encompasses all the cases which affect which party gets to hold office—in short, the cases which directly affect political outcomes. On those, Roberts has been down-the-line partisan, always voting for results Republicans prefer.

      So that looks like 4 certain votes for Trump. Assuming the Democrats are as programmatically consistent as always, and go the other way, that leaves Gorsuch as the only point of uncertainty. His political partisanship is long-standing, and extreme. But he knows how to write principled-sounding opinions. Those sometimes almost convince me he has a judicial temperament hidden under the partisanship.

      I don’t think Gorsuch is a toss-up; I think he is most likely a Trump vote. But it looks like whatever chance there may be that the Court would not back Trump would depend on how Gorsuch votes. On balance, it does not look promising for Democrats.

      It seems too risky for Democrats to depend on the Court for anything. They certainly should not take anything to the Court on their own initiative. Democrats would be wiser to insist on their “sole power,” prerogative, and their inherent power to enforce that power with contempt citations, fines, and imprisonment of defiant obstructionists.

      If “sole power” means anything, it means nobody else gets a say— including the President. And including the Court.

      Nobody thinks the Court has any claim to intervene in a presidential pardon, or a congressional declaration of war, which are other examples of constitutional sole power decrees. The two sole power decrees regarding impeachment ought to be viewed alike with those others.

      The House has sweeping powers with regard to impeachment. The obligation of every other part of government is to stand aside and let the House do its constitutionally prescribed work. No obstruction. No litigation. Just cooperation. After that, the Senate gets its own sole power chance to check and balance the work of the House. And then the voters get their say on all of it.

      That is the constitutionally prescribed process. It is intended as a direct exercise of the People’s sovereign power—within prescribed boundaries, but with the full force of sovereignty behind it. Those who oppose it stand on the same ground as anyone who would argue for cancelling the next election.

      1. The House has sweeping powers with regard to impeachment. The obligation of every other part of government is to stand aside and let the House do its constitutionally prescribed work

        You just settled the debate before us.

        “The House as sweeping powers” As of yet, “The House” has not voted to exercise those powers. Unless “the House” is in fact a few members of the house.

        1. Iowan, your comment is beside the point. Taking your objection as well founded, for the sake of argument, who do you suppose is constitutionally empowered to constrain the House?

      2. Sure, SL, but what you’re forgetting is that sole is actually a fish. What the founders — pause for reverence — intended was for congress to have authority over any crimes the president commits against the fishing industry.

  14. Given that the President has chosen to entangle Mr. Pence in its latest scheming, the interesting question is whether they can impeach the President and the Vice-President together, and elevate Ms. Pelosi to the Presidency in one operation.

    I’d guess there’d be approximately 0 Republican Senators willing to go for this plan, even if the guilt of Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence were manifestly obvious. It would be interesting to read the resultant tweetstorm, however (assuming Twitter didn’t disable the Donald’s account before it could issue.)

    “TREASON! COUP! so sad”

    1. “Latest scheming”. No, no partisan hackery there…

    2. Not an interesting question if you’re not a dumbass

  15. But even if the Republicans are not convinced that there is much of a fire beneath the smoke surrounding the Ukraine matter, they should think carefully about whether they want to facilitate a future president treating Congress the same way when the White House is once again in Democratic hands.


    “But even if the Democrats do not think they can make much progress with impeachment without excluding the Republican minority from the process altogether, they should think carefully about whether they want to facilitate a Republican majority treating the minority the same way when the House is once again in Republican hands.”

    There, fixed that for you.

    How strange that the corpses of ancient “norms’ are only visible when the machine gunners are wearing red.

  16. If so, the Senate can render its judgment on that in an impeachment trial, and the voters can render their judgment on election day in 2020.

    This seems to be to be the smart move for Trump to make. The more the impeachment is fixed in the voters’ minds as a political operation rather than a dealing with high crimes and misdemeanours operation, the better for Trump and the worse for the Dems.

    I have to say I’m a bit puzzled at the Dem approach. Making the procedure so crashingly one sided simply adds to the number of voters who will dismiss it as either pure hackery or he said, she said stuff. If there was an actual case, it would be much more in D interests to play it like a real investigation.

    1. The odd part is that it isn’t changing a single mind. Voting Dems hate Trump with a passion, so they’d vote for anyone who pushes impeachment. Trump’s voters are dug in just as tight. The media’s working on keeping the ignorant in their current state, but I suspect it isn’t going to work.

      1. Latest polling shows the impeachment shifting independents towards trump. That on the latest news that trump is at 15% African american vote and over 40 with Latin groups… both numbers better than 2016… and you can see why Democrats are desperate. REP green said it best when he said if they dont impeach him, he will win 2020.

        1. You mean the poll that shows 58-38 support for an impeachment inquiry? And that support for said inquiry has gone from 6% of Republicans to 28% in a few weeks?

            1. Sorry, not believing a WaPo post. Their numbers are heavily biased, and have been since the 2016 elections.

                1. Heck, *I* wouldn’t oppose an impeachment probe, if they ever get around to voting to have one.

                  I think it would be a joke based on the current evidence, but maybe they’d actually find some real charges if they looked.

                  But at the moment there’s no impeachment investigation, there’s just a handful of members playing pretend.

                  1. Yes, I’m sure every respondent among that 55%/58% was steeped in these procedural minutiae. “I support an impeachment inquiry provided that there is an express House resolution to that effect before any investigative steps are taken!” America, land of congressional procedure wonks.

                    1. That’s not actually the rationale, at least for me.

                      I strongly support an investigation, contingent on a vote, because a willingness to vote also locks those who vote into a specific set of factual claims and a belief that a high crime or misdemeanor occurred, and makes it more difficult to distance themselves from it if it later turns up nothing. That signals to me that the representatives are more confident in their assertions, because they’ll pay a price for being wrong.

                      What I don’t support is an open ended investigation of “wrongdoing”* for which no political price is ever paid, as it’s been understood for hundreds of years that anyone can be convicted Of something, given enough time.

                      *I might be in favor of a fourth branch who has independent power to investigate corruption and governmental lawbreaking, with compulsory process that cannot be avoided, and whose exclusive power is to refer to the House for a mandatory impeachment vote. But that’s very different than what’s on the table.

                    2. Robert, you’re making a policy argument on a procedural question.

                    3. Sarcastro – yes, I’m addressing the policy underlying the procedure.

                      Maybe this will help make sense of the point I’m trying to convey. For a number of years I was the guy called in to fix broken departments, because I’m not sentimental – I don’t have a tendency to keep things that no longer meet my needs, and so when a process is ineffective I’m the right person to make a change. In my niche area I’m so well known that clients have “borrowed” me to fix their problems, and I have a somewhat famous example of spending millions on a project (which had a huge ROI), and as soon as it was done starting it’s replacement, because it was built for the business of the day, not where the leadership wanted to take it.

                      With that background in mind, one thing I’ve never accepted from anyone when asked “why does it work this way” is an answer if “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Instead, I insist on finding out why – even when the answer is “because that was the quick fix and we never got back to making it better,” precisely because the rationale beneath the procedure is important to know to determine if the procedure meets your needs.

                      In this case, the House can do whatever it wants, any way it wants, regarding impeachment. But how do we know what they’ve done? Historically it was through votes. And why was it via voting? Because that’s one of the few ways a multi member body and indicate its preferences.

                    4. I strongly support an investigation, contingent on a vote, because a willingness to vote also locks those who vote into a specific set of factual claims and a belief that a high crime or misdemeanor occurred,

                      It’s unclear why anyone should want anyone to be locked into anything before the investigation takes place. (I am being ironic; it’s actually entirely clear why someone wants that. They want to lock Republicans into a nothing-to-see-here vote, so that those Republicans will have a harder time voting for impeachment later.)

                      In this case, the House can do whatever it wants, any way it wants, regarding impeachment. But how do we know what they’ve done? Historically it was through votes.

                      Well, obviously impeachment itself requires a vote. But if you meant to refer to an impeachment inquiry, your claim is false. (The worst part of people using Trumpkin talking points is not just how boring they are, but how they don’t even bother to do a tiny bit of research before repeating them.) No presidential impeachment inquiry has ever started with a House vote.

          1. Polls 3 days before the 2016 election show Candidate Trump has zero path to electoral collage victory.

            1. Another bit of foolishness that will never die. I don’t know if they teach mathematics or statistics in Iowa schools but a 35-37% chance to win, which was roughly Trump’s part of the equation through most of the campaign, is not a “zero path to electoral collage victory.” [sic]

      2. It will change the minds of independents, which will be the swing vote in 2020. Impeachment in any form is a win for Trump and he can play it any way he wants and still win. He can comply. He can fight. he can ignore. etc. Whatever he chooses he has already won.


        1. Dear Leader is invincible and can do no wrong!

          1. he can do plenty of wrong but not in this case. Impeachment is a clear loser with independents. They will turn on Dems as they did on the GOP under the Clinton farce. It is a solid win for Trump and he knows that they longer it drags on the worse it will become for the Dems. Which is why the Dems want to move it so quickly now and have it over and done (by done meaning shut down in the Senate) before the election takes full swing next year. Overhang on this will simply be a win for Trump.

    2. The best the democrats have attempted in high crimes is a theory that political dirt is a campaign contribution. This requires ignoring literally every campaign in history. It also requires a judicial theory that has never been upheld in court.

      1. Opposition research is a thing of value that political campaigns routinely pay good money for. Campaign finance laws prohibit soliciting or receiving something of value from foreign nationals.

        Trump is chargeable with knowledge of the Mueller report, which addressed the concerns attendant to the Trump Tower meeting attended by Trump, Jr., Kushner and Manafort. Mueller addressed the thing of value question, while noting some difficulty in assigning a specific dollar figure in that context.

        1. Defining speech as something of monetary value, and therefore bannable, doesn’t sit quite right with the First Amendment.

          1. Do you have any authority that foreign nationals have a First Amendment right to contribute to federal election campaigns?

            1. Your premise is that speech is a campaign contribution, and that’s simply false.

        2. You’re paying for the service.

          If political dirt was a thing of value, then when a news reporter breaks some news against Trump, they would be making a campaign contribution to some Democrat.

          And that’s just absurd.

          1. Most of the media is basically a PAC.

        3. How many ‘hops’ from the candidate are required to solicit information of value from foreign sources? We know the DNC hired a foriegn national as a consultant and that consultant worked directly with the Ukraine govt to get dirt on Trump campaign workers.
          So the DNC is one hop from the candidate. The contractor would be a second hop, and the Ukraine govt would be a third hop.

          So three hops is OK. Is two hops good also?

          1. When you bring this up, they will shift the argument to being one about campaign finance violations.

            See, the Steele Dossier was totally legit foreign influence because it was paid for!

            Just like they do with the Russian Collusion hoax. When they are the aggressors, Trump was a Putin Toady being investigated, when they are defending it they go “What, you don’t think we should investigate Russian interference in our elections?”

            Clapper’s recent crying on TV about being investigated is the perfect example of this duplicity.

  17. And the Trumpists sink ever deeper into Trump’s delusional universe.

    1. Projection. It’s whats for dinner!

    2. Bernard, but have you noticed there are fewer of them now? Really, just a small assortment of names, repeating themselves in this thread. Didn’t there used to be more?

  18. LOL the author thinks politicians have shame about being perceived as hypocrites.

    1. Top pols are akin to psychopaths. They can lie convincingly precisely because they don’t care what you think about them. They pretend to care about your feelings, but absolutely do not on any motional level. They are the opposite of shy people, who care too much what others think about them.

  19. “If this president can simply issue a blanket refusal to cooperate with any congressional oversight of executive branch activities, then Congress should expect that future presidents will try to build on that example.”

    Is that what they are doing? Remember we just had a years long investigation with impeachment talk the whole time. As I understand it the president complied with each and every subpoena and so on during this laborious farce.

    1. If you’re talking about the Mueller investigation, you do not understand at all. Lots of witnesses lied and withheld evidence. Did Trump tell them to? We’ll probably never know, but it’s unlikely that they were all acting independently.

      1. No, lots of witnesses did NOT lie and withhold evidence. That was an opinion piece, but your own hatred of Trump blinds you to that fact.

        1. It reflected what Mueller himself found, sweetheart.

          1. If Mueller had proof the witnesses were lying, he could have prosecuted them for perjury. It’s not like he was shy about doing that even where the interviewing agents thought all that was going on was human memory being imperfect.

            If he thought they were lying because they didn’t say what he’d wanted them to say, well, cry me an ocean. That happens sometimes.

      2. We don’t have to speculate. We have the Muller Report. The Trump campaign had no foreign contacts related to the election. In fact, no American citizen had any such contact.
        On obstruction, the Special Counsel refused to make a recommendation, despite his charging documents required him to make a criminal referral, or write a declination. A prosecutor that refuses to prosecute, by default, communicates lack of confidence in pursuing action

        1. We have the Muller Report. The Trump campaign had no foreign contacts related to the election. In fact, no American citizen had any such contact.
          That’s nowhere near what the Report found.

      3. “If you’re talking about the Mueller investigation”

        No. You can call it that, but let’s be clear that the investigation was going on for a year already when Mueller took it over.

        This is the heavily conflicted Robert Mueller who, it turns out, apparently lied under oath about the fact that he was seeking the FBI director post. So on top of being best buds with James Comey, the key figure whose firing led to a special counsel appointment, Mueller was also a reject for the job he wanted under Trump (and lied about it).

        As to your point, I will consider your supposed instances of someone here or there being uncooperative with this scorched-earth “investigation” that was out for the blood of anyone near the President. Nonetheless, it appears the President was remarkably cooperative overall with the 2-year special counsel witch hunt where Mueller “employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.”

      4. Just for the record, by the way, the media was beating the impeachment drums since before Donald Trump even won the Republican nomination.

  20. ‘But even if the Republicans are not convinced that there is much of a fire beneath the smoke surrounding the Ukraine matter, they should think carefully about whether they want to facilitate a future president treating Congress the same way when the White House is once again in Democratic hands.’

    I do not think this is a persuasive argument. In the eyes of many Republicans, the Democrats often forgo Constitutional process and Legislative Norms, Traditions, and Protocols when it suits them. The fact of starting an impeachment preceding without a full House vote is just one of many examples. They do not really see any value in maintaining historical and legal processes if the Dems aren’t going to do the same. In fact, I am pretty sure they see it as fighting fire with fire.


    1. Oh, I’m so old, I can remember when Mitch McConnell ignored a Supreme Court nomination for nearly a year. Tell me more about the GOP’s abiding respect for norms.

      1. Can you explain to me what rule or law McConnell broke?

        1. Kai was just droning on about “norms” and “traditions,” so I pointed out that the GOP does not care about these things. What rule of law is the House breaking?

      2. Exactly, the GOP learned from Reid and others before them that there is no downside to breaking rules.

        And in the case of McConnell, there was no established norm that the Garland vote had to occur quickly given the proximity to the election. The fact that the voters keep rewarding the GOP with more senate seats in the wake of such a decision…shows support by the sovereign 🙂

        1. You mean the sovereign People, whose rule is self-government on majoritarian principles? That’s what an election for 1/3 of the Senate shows? A Senate election in which more people voted for Democrats than Republicans, by the way? Oh, wait . . . I can’t make that argument, because I would have to explain the whole system of American government to you from the ground up. Forget it.

          1. No, you can’t make that argument, and have people take you seriously, because Senate elections aren’t a representative sample of the nation in any given year.

  21. “But even if the Republicans are not convinced that there is much of a fire beneath the smoke surrounding the Ukraine matter, they should think carefully about whether they want to facilitate a future president treating Congress the same way when the White House is once again in Democratic hands. ”
    Soooo, like Holder and Lerner then.

  22. I love that Cipollone’s memo cites articles from the New York Times and The Washington Post in its factual assertions. It’s fake news … until it’s not fake news!

    1. It is the core fact source for FISA warrants

      1. Circular reporting/intelligence.

  23. Trump´s lawyers appear to be arguing to a D.C. federal district court that United States v. Nixon would be decided differently today. Let´s see how far that flies.

  24. Before we get to the president’s “obstructionist” behavior in responding to Congress, one must ask whether Congress’ behavior in threatening impeachment without observing basic due process, by investigating impeachment without a vote or valid subpoena, and by citing politics and process as the basis for “high crimes and misdemeanors” warrants any respect whatsoever. The House practices establishment politics at its worst. It’s as if 535 Marie Antoinettes were begging for the pitchforks.

    1. The House would be well within its prerogatives to regard obstruction of its investigation as impeachable conduct. Please recall the third Article of Impeachment of Nixon approved by the House Judiciary Committee.

      1. You lost.
        You’re going to continue to lose.

        1. We lost what? Nixon resigned.

      2. The Judiciary committee keeps coming into the debate.

        Why is the Judiciary committee absent this “impeachment” ?

        Hint, the answer explains the lie being told by Pelosi

  25. Republicans’ best outcome? Trump resigns, and gets a pardon from Pence. That way, no impeachment to bring everything out in the open before the election. I wonder how long it will take the senators to figure out that is the only way to get their fat out of the fire.

    1. That’s cute, you believe the Pelosi has any notion of voting to send this to the Senate.

      1. Iowan, care to explain to me why that is relevant?

    2. Nothing — literally nothing — in Trump’s history or personality suggests there’s even a scintilla of a hint of the tiniest percent chance that Donald Trump would ever consider the possibility of perhaps imagining a scenario in which he would resign his office, let alone actually doing so. The man has constructed a reality in which he is the greatest most mind-bendingly awesome and superior intellect, leader and businessman that has ever or will ever live. And there is no apparent circumstance that could challenge let alone alter that reality.

  26. Personally I don’t think Impeachment has ever been the objective. I think talk of Impeachment to cast doubt, embarrass, and cause uncertainty in voters minds has been the point of Impeachment talk. We will see if it worked in the election. The Democrats could talk about the run away spending and ever ballooning deficit under Trump, but they actually want to increase that insanity, so that won’t work for them.

    1. Well, no, the objective is just to put an asterisk next to Trump’s name, for various purposes; Campaigning against him, justifying opposing any nominations he might make, justifying packing the court down the road, making his administration radioactive so he can’t hire people.

      But they’d take his removal in a heartbeat if they could get it.

  27. It might be worth unpacking its assertions about the respective constitutional powers of the House of Representatives and the White House and past constitutional practice, but those assertions seem mostly beside the point.

    That is disappointing, the “unpacking” is what I read law blogs for.

  28. To recap, it is already said the president cannot be indicted for federal crimes. That has been expanded to the president cannot be investigated for federal or state crimes. And that has led to the idea that the president is not subject to impeachment unless the president is okay with being impeached. Two conspirators have written against varying aspects of this, the rest have no opinion apparently. And of course there’s the usual batch of commenters blasting their usual batch of disingenuity, confusion and agitprop in favor of the administration’s position that no law binds the POTUS.

    I usually cringe when people talk about this or that president will refuse to leave office at the end of two terms because the idea is absurd. Until Trump, I don’t recall any president even joking about such a thing. But as someone pointed out on Twitter, for now we are hearing the potus shouldn’t be impeached because there’s an election around the corner. Yes, it’s the same election the administration has apparently been seeking foreign help to ratfuq, but an election nonetheless. Moving towards 2024, with no election before him, if a president who cannot be indicted, cannot be investigated, and cannot be impeached unless he says so decides he wants to stick around, what is to be done?

    1. A reminder: Imagining that somebody would do something awful isn’t actually evidence they’d do it.

      The President can certainly be impeached without his agreement. He can even be investigated without his agreement.

      But doing so actually requires the House, not a few members of that body, to make the decision to investigate.

      1. No, it doesn’t, Brett, and you know it so don’t bother bringing that nonsense around me. The majority sets the rules in the house same as the senate. If Articles of Impeachment are brought forth the entire house will vote on it. That’s the process and, again, you know it. So save the bs for the rubes.

        But I’m glad you came because I’d like a taste of Brett2025 regarding the hypothetical. I’ll set the stage and start you off with a couple fairly obvious likely talking points and you work your magic.

        The setting: December, 2025. Regardless of which candidate won (because the gop’er probably said some unkind words about Trump during the campaign or, like, one time, two decades ago), the administration’s lines are the same:

        The winning candidate is unqualified for the presidency having never served as president of the United States before.

        Everything is running perfectly under Trump but there’s more work to be done and changing course at this time is a bad idea.

        Trump has made America great and nobody can ever match him.


        The word “serve” (as in cannot serve more than two terms) used to mean “elected”. Since the president cannot run in 2028, he cannot be elected, so staying in office is completely legitimate.

        Okay, there’s your stage. Let’s hear Brett2025!

      2. “But doing so actually requires the House, not a few members of that body, to make the decision to investigate.”

        Still flatly incorrect.
        Literally anyone can decide to investigate, and then proceed to do so.

  29. F*** off, slavers.

  30. Those that support Trump, if Pelosi gets a majority vote in the House and Trump continues to refuse to honor Congressional subpoenas and continues to obstruct all investigations, will you support that action?

    1. Given that I’d support Trump using the military to stage a coup, I’d certainly support him obstructing investigations.

      1. Let’s everybody take seriously the guy who supports Trump staging a coup against, I guess, himself!

      2. Given that what you say serves only to delegitimize the side you’re supposedly on, I’ll do the rest of the Trump supporters in the thread the courtesy of ignoring your impotent meeping.

    2. They will not. Primarily because it’s likely to be a party line vote. My educated guess is that those who claim they simply want the process to be followed will switch to “Not one Republican voted in favor so this is another illegitimate TDS-based show for the democratic base and we won’t stand for it.” And if there are one or two or a handful of Dems who vote against, all the better for their “arguments”.

      1. Oh, and Amash voting in favor won’t matter because he’s no longer One of Us, so don’t even bother mentioning Amash should he vote in favor.

    3. They’re desperate, Sarcastro. They will try whatever is available. After a lifetime of watching others shape American progress against their wishes, and against a background of evolution of the electorate that diminishes their political prospects daily, they feel cornered and beleaguered. They will lunge toward anything within reach in an effort to prevent — or, more accurate, delay — more progress.

      Some Republicans and conservatives are likely to peel away as revelations and outrages accumulate. I expect most of them, however — especially the evangelicals, hard-core bigots, gun nuts, and anti-abortion absolutists — to not only stay the course but become more strident.

    4. While there are some Republicans in the country who will, those people don’t post here.

      1. I want to nail some of them down now, before events may require them to take a different stand than they posit today.

        So far, no luck. Though some above in the thread seem to indicate so.

  31. I’m planning to run for President, sans party affiliation.

    The one plank in my campaign platform is to dispatch Seal Team Six against spammers. “Tom from Microsoft” with the Indian accent? You’ll never call anyone at dinnertime ever again. “Rachel from Card Services” who wants to tell me how I can save money on my credit card bill? Windowless cell. To all the widows of the former Nigerian Oil Minister, who just need a little bit of help to move some money out of Nigeria? Your kids will be orphans. Run a malware scheme that knocks out a hospital? You get dropped into the Ebola exclusion zone.
    That’s my platform.

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