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Impeachment Number Two


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GreyhoundFan

Here's a place to discuss the second impeachment of the OFM.

"House Democrats plan to focus impeachment trial on how rioters reacted to Trump’s remarks"

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The House on Monday formally delivered an article of impeachment charging former president Donald Trump with inciting the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, as Democrats prepared to use his own words as evidence against him in his Senate trial next month.

With solemn looks on their mask-covered faces, the nine House impeachment managers walked over to the Senate shortly after 7 p.m. Monday to deliver the article against Trump, setting in motion his second Senate impeachment trial.

While no final decisions on trial strategy have been made, House managers are concentrating on building their case around Trump personally — both what he said in the run-up to the Jan. 6 attack and at a rally that day, and how his words were interpreted within the White House and outside of it, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

The impeachment managers and their advisers have been meeting daily, scouring hundreds of hours of evidence — including footage scraped from the conservative social media site Parler and other sites — to build an elaborate timeline that is being constantly updated, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal discussions.

One idea under consideration: to produce a video that highlights how the rioters reacted to Trump’s remarks that day and shows footage of the violent mob inside the building.

But at the same time, allies of Trump are growing bullish that as more time passes since the fatal siege, the momentum in favor of convicting the former president and permanently barring him from public office is fading.

“There are only a handful of Republicans and shrinking who will vote against him,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) who has been advising Trump on the upcoming proceedings.

Trump’s coming Senate trial, which is not set to begin in earnest until Feb. 9, has ensured that the remnants of the Trump presidency are hanging over the first days of President Biden’s tenure, complicating his immediate agenda on Capitol Hill such as the confirmation of his Cabinet and passage of a massive coronavirus relief package.

Biden and his aides have assiduously avoided getting involved in the political morass of impeachment surrounding his predecessor, although the trial is likely to consume all of the oxygen in Washington once opening arguments begin next month.

Senators will be sworn in as jurors Tuesday, when Trump will receive the official summons. But the official trial proceedings will be delayed until the week of Feb. 8 under a delayed timeline first proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and later approved by Biden.

A handful of Republican senators, including McConnell himself, have made it clear they would consider voting to convict Trump. But it still remains highly unlikely that at least 17 GOP senators would favor doing so.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Monday that Democrats, in pursuing impeachment against Trump, were being “sore winners” and said there were not enough Republicans who would vote to convict him.

“Why are we doing this?” he added.

Only three Republicans were on the Senate floor Monday evening when the House managers arrived to deliver the article of impeachment: McConnell, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas.

“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lead impeachment manager, said on the Senate floor, reading the article. “He threatened the integrity of the Democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coequal branch of government.”

Senior GOP officials said they expected at least one Senate Republican to move to dismiss the charge against Trump quickly, although such a vote would serve primarily as an early litmus test of how receptive certain GOP senators would be to arguments that Trump fomented the riot at the Capitol and that he should be permanently barred from public office because of it.

The party remains split over how fiercely to back Trump during the impeachment, with Republican Party committee members debating whether to pass a resolution on the former president’s behalf over a long email thread throughout the weekend. A number of them have been pushing for a formal resolution of support of the former president.

The sharp debate over whether to back the president and the resolution ended when Henry Barbour, a GOP committee member from Mississippi, asked the conversation to be taken offline, according to people familiar with the emails.

The next two weeks will give both the president’s lawyers, led by South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers, and the nine House impeachment managers time to prepare briefs and their legal arguments.

House Democrats have already pulled together an extensive outline of the case and the constitutional arguments intended to rebut arguments from some Republicans that a former president cannot be constitutionally impeached, according to the people familiar with the discussions.

One item of particular interest to impeachment managers is a 10-minute video released Monday by Just Security, an online forum hosted by the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law, which shows how Trump’s words were heard and interpreted by those who ransacked the Capitol, according to the people familiar with the managers’ trial preparations.

The House managers believe visuals are central in prosecuting the case against Trump, because the evidence is in plain sight and will remind senators of what they experienced that day, when the rioters got perilously close to lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence.

Democrats are collecting key video clips of the siege and will probably contract with an outside firm that will weave together the images as evidence to be presented to senators, according to the people with knowledge of the plan.

Any rules regarding whether videos can be submitted during the impeachment trial will probably be handled in an agreement between Senate Democrats and Republicans setting up the parameters of the proceedings in advance. If not, senators can later vote whether to admit video evidence, as well as witnesses.

The House managers are operating under the expectation that there will be an opportunity for video presentations, the people said.

They are also deliberating the issue of presenting witnesses, including those who were caught up in the Capitol attack and those who may have interacted with Trump during the Jan. 6 riot and the days leading up to it. House Democrats have informally discussed with their Senate counterparts their desire to call witnesses during the trial, although — as with the video evidence — nothing has been finalized.

The prospect that footage of Trump could be used as evidence against him is a marked contrast with his first impeachment trial, when Democrats were forced to call a parade of witnesses to testify before a House committee — and then featured clips of their public testimony in the Senate.

In that trial, the case they sought to make, that Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress in pressuring Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his family, hinged on testimony about actions that occurred largely behind the scenes.

But this time, much of the evidence is in the public sphere, and Democrats say the senators themselves are effectively witnesses, having lived through the violent siege at the Capitol themselves.

Raskin, an expert in constitutional law and the lead impeachment manager, will also make the Democrats’ case to senators that it is constitutional to impeach a president even if he is no longer in office, according to a person briefed on the strategy.

Democrats and some Republicans, such as Romney, have said they believe a former president can be impeached. But other GOP senators who were infuriated by Trump’s conduct but nonetheless do not feel compelled to convict a president who is no longer in office have suggested the move may not be constitutional.

“It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country and then defeat Congress’s impeachment powers by simply resigning so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disqualify them from future office,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

John Bolton, the former Trump national security adviser who emerged as a vocal critic of the former president, savagely criticized the idea of a Senate impeachment trial Monday in a piece in the conservative outlet National Review, saying the exercise was ultimately impractical and would benefit Trump, not those who wish to see him banished from the national political stage.

“Like Impeachment 1.0, the 2021 edition is badly conceived, poorly executed, and likely to produce precisely what the first round did: results 180 degrees contrary to the objectives that impeachment supporters say they want,” Bolton wrote in the conservative publication.

Now ensconced at his private club in southern Florida, the former president is continuing to cobble together his legal and public relations team, which will differ significantly from the formal White House apparatus that surrounded him in his first impeachment trial last year. Trump is expected to stay in Florida during the trial, according to an adviser.

Jason Miller, who has served as a Trump senior adviser in both his presidential bids, is handling much of the communications work for impeachment, and the former president has asked a coterie of House Freedom Caucus members to flood the airwaves to defend him.

Trump’s team is planning to circulate additional polling in the coming days, paid for by his PAC, to warn Republican senators of the political consequences of voting to convict him.

Graham said he has reassured Trump that he will not be convicted and that it was a simple case.

“He’s thinking about the trial and decompressing,” Graham said. “I think he appreciates having some of the extra time he didn’t have in the past.”

Bowers, a longtime South Carolina GOP lawyer whom Graham connected with Trump, did not respond to requests for comment.

Graham and others said the president was likely to expand his legal team, but many of his longtime lawyers, including Jay Sekulow, Pat Cipollone and Rudy Giuliani, are either uninterested or not involved.

Sekulow, Cipollone and Giuliani did not return requests for comment.

In another difference from last year’s trial, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is not expected to preside over next month’s proceedings and in his place will be Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the president pro tempore and the most senior Democrat in the Senate, according to an official familiar with the matter.

The Constitution calls for the chief justice of the United States to preside over an impeachment trial for a sitting president. Otherwise, senators preside over proceedings for any official who is not in the White House, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the process.

Leahy’s role, first reported by CNN, began sparking some pushback from some of Trump’s conservative allies who argued that not having the chief justice preside delegitimizes the trial, although he doesn’t appear to be constitutionally required to do so because Trump is not the current president.

“If Chief Justice Roberts can’t be bothered to come over for the so-called impeachment, makes you wonder if this exercise is constitutional at all,” tweeted Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

A Supreme Court spokeswoman said Roberts had no comment on whether he declined entreaties to preside over Trump’s second impeachment trial. But Leahy defended his ability to be impartial in his presiding duties, which are largely ceremonial anyway.

“I’m not presenting the evidence. I am making sure that procedures are followed,” Leahy told reporters Monday. “I don’t think there’s any senator who — over the 40-plus years I’ve been here — that would say that I am anything but impartial in voting on procedure.”  

 

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McConnell's speech was simply stunning. He vilified Trump and excoriated  QAnon whack jobs, MAGAts, insurrectionists, all of them.  HOWEVER, when he said that he might have voted to convict if th

Good question  

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47of74

And that’s a number two that should be impeached. Then flushed by the courts into prison. 

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GreyhoundFan

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AmazonGrace

They will never indict.

Republican presidents are above the law.

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Ticklish
2 minutes ago, AmazonGrace said:

They will never indict.

Republican presidents are above the law.

I just...how is the American public so dumb? How are these congressman so self serving? It deeply saddens me to see them act in their own self interest of getting reelected, to possess so much hypocrisy in their words and actions, and yet the voting populace just eats it up and keeps electing them. It's maddening! And I feel utterly powerless to stop it because it seems there's no reasoning with the people voting for these politicians. 

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clueliss

Roy Blunt's statement (color me - not surprised) I hate to say this, but this is not going to go anywhere with Trump out of office. 

 

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fraurosena
15 minutes ago, Ticklish said:

and yet the voting populace just eats it up and keeps electing them.

To be fair to the American public, gerrymandering and voter suppression has a lot to do with it. If you look at the maps, you will see that in order to get elected, a Dem candidate needs three times the amount of votes than the R candidate, just because of the way the maps are drawn up. Elections are definitely not democratic in America.

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Ticklish
1 hour ago, fraurosena said:

To be fair to the American public, gerrymandering and voter suppression has a lot to do with it. If you look at the maps, you will see that in order to get elected, a Dem candidate needs three times the amount of votes than the R candidate, just because of the way the maps are drawn up. Elections are definitely not democratic in America.

Yes, I know. But there's still a scary amount of people who vote for those candidates and who have no problem with anything they say or do. 

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GreyhoundFan

Lindsey is shoveling an extra helping of stupid:

 

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AmazonGrace

More bonkers lawsuits re: impeachment.

Back in the Obama era, Orly Taitz sued a bunch of times over birtherism theories.

She thinks there is a First Amendment right for Trump voters to have him run and be elected in future elections.

 

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Howl

I'm sad that it appears the Senate republicans are holding fast to fascism and will NEVER hold Trump accountable, so no conviction. 

Expect McConnell to continue to be his vicious self, and then even worse if he is backed into a corner. 

Also pray to your preferred deity that none of the elderly Democratic senators, and there are quite a few,  kick the damn bucket this year. If you are into the imprecatory prayer thing, that elderly Republican senators peacefully pass over the Rainbow Bridge as soon as possible and find themselves in a liberal paradise for the foreseeable future. 

In the meantime, various states are reporting the number of Republicans changing their party status to  Independent or Democrat is in the thousands post insurrection.  No word that they are people defecting in the other direction. 

 

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SassyPants
On 1/26/2021 at 1:49 PM, clueliss said:

Roy Blunt's statement (color me - not surprised) I hate to say this, but this is not going to go anywhere with Trump out of office. 

 

Nixon resigned in disgrace before his term ended. Trump didn’t because he knew Republicans in the Senate lack integrity, morals and backbones. Nixon suffered forever consequences, will Trump? 

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fraurosena

Many Senate Trumplicans will never hold him to account. They are too afraid of Trump dobbing them in. Too many of them are guilty of things that are detrimental to their careers, and Trump has knowledge of them. 
It’s simply in their own interests to let him get away with it.

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GreyhoundFan

"5 arguments the GOP is making against impeachment, parsed"

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Whether former president Donald Trump deserves to be convicted in his impeachment trial is now up to the Senate. Trump clearly and repeatedly toyed with the prospect of violence by his supporters and promoted a bogus conspiracy theory about the 2020 election, which motivated some to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. But legally speaking, the bar for incitement is high.

But the GOP defense of Trump isn’t really bothering with his culpability. Instead, it has focused more on procedural and ancillary issues. First it was that a trial would be needlessly divisive. Then it was that a trial itself would be unconstitutional, given Trump is no longer in office. And sprinkled in between have been novel arguments about why Trump shouldn’t be convicted — arguments that generally don’t address his conduct.

Below are some of the most strained and overly simplistic ones.

Argument No. 1: It’s too divisive

It’s completely valid to say that an impeachment is divisive; it always is. We see very little bipartisanship when the House or the Senate votes on one. Trump’s two impeachments have been the most bipartisan in history, but Republican support was minimal. And on Bill Clinton’s impeachment and both of Trump’s, public opinion has been sharply divided.

Republicans’ argument is essentially this: It doesn’t help our country move forward from an ugly chapter in our history (the storming of the Capitol), especially when the new president has pledged to unite the nation. And there’s some truth to that.

But such divisiveness is only part of the equation. It should always be measured against both the nature of the alleged high crime and the need for accountability. Allowing a president to skate on such a thing isn’t something that should be undertaken lightly, because it could both absolve them of real culpability and set a precedent that, as long as a president creates divisions that need to be healed, Congress will shy away from impeachment. Republicans have largely pretended that this balancing act doesn’t exist.

Another key point is why we are so divided and in need of healing in the first place, irrespective of Trump. Although few GOP lawmakers subscribed to Trump’s more extreme conspiracy theories about the election, many of them offered a watered-down version of them and supported his challenges, without bothering to parse the details. Some of them who have rebuked the impeachment talk and called for coming together, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), continue to cast doubt on the election results in a way that suggests that their expressed fear about creating divisions is rather selective.

If the name of the game these days is truly unity over accountability — even if the questions you have about the validity of the election are ill-founded — it’s tough to do that while still feeding claims of a stolen election. Those also promote division, after all.

Argument No. 2: It’s unconstitutional

This appears likely to be the chief argument for the GOP moving forward: that Trump can’t be tried because he is no longer president. Paul forced a vote on this issue Tuesday, and 45 of 50 GOP senators voted with him. Among them, very notably, was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who had previously expressed an openness to convicting Trump.

The vote is seen as the death knell for a potential conviction. How could 17 GOP members vote to convict — the number that probably will be necessary — when just five said this whole thing was even constitutional?

As with the above, this claim isn’t ridiculous. We have no final word from the judicial branch on whether an impeachment trial of a former official is constitutional. We’ve had such trials before for former officials who weren’t presidents, but courts have not validated the proceedings. (I ran through all of this here.)

The counter-argument is that this is far from settled law, and the courts have generally deferred to the legislative branch on impeachment matters and setting their own rules. In other words, if senators wanted to convict Trump, they could probably make that decision themselves. Declaring it unconstitutional, as mentioned above, does avoid thornier issues.

Argument No. 3: It’s too rushed

A compelling argument against prohibiting post-presidency impeachment trials is the idea that it would give outgoing presidents free rein to do whatever they want in their final days. Without the ability to impeach and convict in a short period of time, after all, why not do whatever you want?

As I wrote last week, just because such a loophole might be thoroughly convenient doesn’t mean the loophole doesn’t exist. But Republicans have also alternately argued that, although they don’t believe a former president can be convicted, the process has also been rushed.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) made such an argument Wednesday.

“The President of the United States was impeached in 50 hours without 1 witness being called and he didn’t have a lawyer,” Graham tweeted.

The House’s wisdom in impeaching Trump without holding hearings or much else is indeed worthy of debate. But many of Graham’s colleagues have also argued that such procedures against a former president are invalid. The logical question that follows is: If the president is in his final days, what do you do? Do you let proceedings drag out, even if the accused knows they just have to run out the clock? What constitutional accountability is there for a president in his final days?

This doesn’t seem to be much of a concern for Trump’s defenders, but it’s probably worth asking what they think the remedy would be.

Argument No. 4: This is what Third World countries do

A variation on some of the above arguments is that we’re devolving into something less than first when we seek to sanction political leaders like this. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Wednesday likened it to what happens in Third World countries and Latin America.

“This is terrible for the country. It sets a terrible precedent. Only in the Third World do you see this habitual use of prosecutions of former leaders,” Rubio said. “You go through Latin America; virtually every immediate past president is under indictment or in jail.”

Rubio added on Fox News Channel that “it is pretty typical in the Third World that, after someone’s out of office, they lose, they leave, the party that takes power then prosecutes them. It happens all over the world. And that’s the precedent we’re creating here now.”

It bears noting that impeachment and conviction would not land Trump in prison, nor is it technically a legal prosecution; instead, it’s a thoroughly political one, in which the chief punishment probably would be preventing Trump from serving again. But it also bears noting that First World countries do prosecute their leaders — even legally, even putting them in prison, and even very recently.

In France, former president Nicolas Sarkozy was recently prosecuted for alleged corruption, and his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was convicted of embezzlement. Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of accepting bribes in 2015, and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting his own corruption charges. Two recent presidents of South Korea have been convicted, while another died by suicide after his own impeachment. And former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was recently convicted of tax fraud.

This argument, again, does nothing to address whether Trump’s conduct might warrant such unusual sanction. What if it’s truly worse than whatever alleged wrongdoing fellow First World leaders have been accused of? But even setting that aside, it ignores plenty of recent history.

Argument No. 5: But what about Democrats?

Whataboutism has become a plague on U.S. politics, and it also pertains here. Paul suggested on Tuesday that there was a double standard when it comes to Democrats doing similar things.

“What of Democrat[ic] incitement to violence? No Democrat will honestly ask whether Bernie Sanders incited the shooter that nearly killed [House Minority Whip] Steve Scalise [R-La.],” Paul said on the Senate floor, adding: “No Democrat will ask whether [Rep.] Maxine Waters [R-Calif.] incited violence when she literally told her supporters” to confront Trump administration officials in public.

“Is that not incitement?” Paul asked.

The comparisons to Trump, though, have very established limits.

The 2017 shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice in suburban Washington was perpetrated by a Sanders supporter, but there’s no evidence that Sanders did anything amounting to advocating such things. Paul cited the man’s expressed belief that his actions were warranted because of health-care policy and that Sanders had said the GOP health-care proposal would lead to death.

But even the GOP accusations at the time weren’t really about Sanders engaging in direct incitement, but rather whether he had otherwise radicalized the left. Sanders the year before also directly urged supporters not to get violent for his causes. And Scalise himself said he didn’t blame Sanders.

As for Waters, both the highest-ranking House and Senate Democrats rebuked her rhetoric about publicly confronting members of Trump’s Cabinet. The comments came at a particularly fraught time, after then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was then House minority leader, responded to a tweet about Waters’s comments by saying, “We must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea.” Then-Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) responded to Waters’s comments by saying that “harassment of political opponents” was “not American.” (Sanders also differed with Waters’s approach, advocating a less-confrontational one when asked about it.)

Pelosi and Schumer drew rebukes from their own allies for speaking out. They argued that Waters was being singled out for comments that didn’t directly advocate violence and that their comments played into the hands of Trump, who had attacked Waters relentlessly, including for her supposed lack of intelligence.

Although those Democratic leaders didn’t accuse Waters of inciting violence, as Paul suggests they perhaps should have, their comments went further than the vast majority of Republicans who have responded to what Trump said — and from the highest ranks of Democratic leadership at the time. And as noted above, Trump has repeatedly alluded to actual violence by his supporters, often in an approving or highly suggestive way. He also promoted various lies about the election. It’s just not the same as warning about bad health-care policies leading to death (which they literally can) or talking about public confrontations of politicians you disagree with.

Those past Trump comments, though, aren’t really being accounted for by Trump’s congressional allies.

 

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fraurosena

(subtitled, no sound needed)

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Ozlsn

I'm listening to the Axios "how it happened" podcast, following Trump from the election to the inauguration. It's really interesting and a good look into what was going on.

Also the Four Seasons Landscaping debacle is never going to stop being funny. 

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GreyhoundFan

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fraurosena

This. 👇

 

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AmazonGrace

He still has no legal team.

Everyone left because Florida Man wants them to argue massive election fraud.

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fraurosena

So, what happens if he has no representation once the trial starts?

Does he get one appointed, or... *dun dun dunnnn* ...will he have to represent himself?

Oh, Rufus, you know we’d all love to see that last option!

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Shrubbery

There is always Rudy, I suppose, provided he finds the right U.S. Capitol in time, and hasn’t been disbarred yet.  

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fraurosena
7 minutes ago, Shrubbery said:

There is always Rudy, I suppose, provided he finds the right U.S. Capitol in time, and hasn’t been disbarred yet.  

I think even the stable genius realizes that having Rudy defend him is not a good idea. 

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