Nel's New Day

January 22, 2020

Dems Begin Impeachment Case

Filed under: Immigration,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:56 PM
Tags: , ,

As the impeachment trial started yesterday with an exhausting 13-hour session, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) crowed about the way that his Senate minions also obstructed justice. His most revealing statement—thus far—was when he bragged:

“Honestly, we have all the material. They don’t have the material.”

DDT couldn’t have been talking about the “material” that his legal team had because they had no defense to the evidence presented by the House managers as they passed motions, including requests for “first-hand” documents and witnesses. All ten motions were tabled, nine of them by 53 votes, the number of GOP senators. One motion, the one to have live testimony instead of videotaped depositions, received one GOP vote, that from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), but was still tabled.

The lack of materials on DDT’s legal team table [top center] compared to the piles of papers in front of House managers [center] indicates the lack of evidence. These are some of the lies told by Pat Cipollone, Jay Sekolow, and minor DDT team members:

False Claim: Republicans didn’t have access to key information during House impeachment inquiry because they weren’t allowed into the secure facility where congressional member review classified information about the impeachment inquiry. Fact: GOP House members not only had access to the area, but many of them also used it. The dozens of House Republicans who stormed the area were among 48 members of one of the three committees taking part in the process of inquiry. 

False Claim: Rep. Adam Schiff “manufactured” DDT’s comments during the July 25 call to Zelensky. Fact: For dramatic effect, Schiff was clearly paraphrasing the call transcript that had already been made public and said that his summary was “shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words.”

False Claim: House Democrats delayed the delivery of articles of impeachment longer than they did. Fact: McConnell postponed the trial until January.

False Claim: DDT “was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses” during the House inquiry. Fact: DDT was invited to himself or assign lawyers question witnesses during the open hearing of the impeachment inquiry. The person who made this false claim was invited to question House witnesses.

False Claim: DDT denied all subpoenas because of executive privilege, his right that he can keep his sensitive conversations with staff secret. Fact: DDT has never invoked executive privilege. 

False Claim: The transcript for DDT’s phone call to Zelensky was released. Fact: DDT’s version of the transcript was released; the real transcript is hidden in a highly secure computer server.

False Claim: Security assistance funds were not mentioned in the July 25 call between DDT and President Zelensky. Fact: Zelensky thanked DDT for the Javelin antitank weapons and wants to order more. DDT responded, “I have a favor to ask, though.”

False Claim: House Democrats have done nothing but attack DDT. Fact: The House has sent over 400 bills, 275 of them bipartisan, to the Senate, bills that Majority Leader McConnell refused to forward to the floor of the Senate. It has also passed a budget and a trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

False Claim: House Democrats started trying to impeach DDT from the day that they came to Congress in 2018. Fact: A few Democrats talked about impeachment last year, but the impeachment inquiry did not start until a whistleblower reported that people reported DDT was trying to extort Ukraine for his personal election gain.

False Claim: Other presidents have withheld aid for foreign countries just as DDT did. Fact: DDT withheld aid for his personal political benefit not for the good of the country.

As Schiff pointed out, DDT’s legal team has no argument on the merits so they “attack the House managers” for distraction. Regarding the GOP vote against demanding that DDT comply with subpoenas, Schiff pointed out that a vote for DDT means that Congress can never again demand subpoenas from any president for any issue.

Even the lawyer called by Republicans to defend their case in the House Judiciary Committee won’t support DDT’s current legal team’s statements. Jonathan Turley refused to swallow the myth that “abuse of power” is not actually an impeachable offense. He said that DDT and his defenders are making a “mistake by reducing the definition of impeachable conduct to the criminal code. It is an argument that is as politically unwise as it is constitutionally shortsighted.”

Despite her accusation that impeachment is a conflict of interest for senators running for president, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) illegally left the Senate trial to appear on the Fox network. One of the rules, set by Republicans, is that “Senators should plan to be in attendance at all times during the proceedings.” Breaking the rules is “punishable by imprisonment.” Blackburn said that the House should have heard from more witnesses in its proceedings if they wanted, ignoring the fact that DDT blocked their appearances even when some of them were subpoenaed.

To show how warped Blackburn’s reasoning is, DDT refuses to release 20 emails between Mick Mulvaney’s top aide Robert Blair and member of the OMB Michael Duffey about the freeze on the Ukrainian military aid package despite a court order that he do so. Blair and Duffey are two key witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the extortion along with chief-of-staff Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.

Today, even more GOP Senators broke McConnell’s rules: about 21, one-third of the total, wandered in and out walked out of the chamber during Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) presented arguments, and others chatted during Rep. Jason Crow’s (D-CO) arguments. Some GOP senators, all jurors, said they left because they were bored. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) disagreed with how much his colleague know, saying that they are “hearing the prosecution’s case for the first time.” Not only can they not “do impartial justice,” they can’t even be courteous enough to stay to hear the information. Meanwhile 11 million people in the U.S. are watching the trial. 

Adding to the GOP arguments against impeachment such as “no crime,” so what, and “things happen,” law professors Richard W. Painter and Bandy X. Lee listed a fourth reason in an op-ed for Law & Crime:

“We believe that Donald John Trump should not, and cannot, be tried for impeachable offenses, as set forth by the House of Representatives, because of his apparent mental incapacities.” 

Lee is a Yale University professor in law and forensic psychiatry; Painter, who teaches law at the University of Minnesota, was the chief White House ethics counsel for George W. Bush. They cited DDT’s saying he didn’t know Lev Parnas when “mountains of evidence” show that he does and “Sharpiegate,” in which invented erroneous information on the path of Hurricane Dorian instead of admitting he made a mistake.

According to the authors, DDT’s “Twitter storms” demonstrate a “serious level of dysfunction.” The data shows that DDT’s state of mind makes it “unfathomably dangerous” for him to be “authorized to order the use of nuclear weapons.” In that mental state, he should be “temporarily removed from office under the 25th Amendment”—not subjected to an impeachment trial, “unless he is found to be mentally competent to stand trial under the principles of justice well established in the United States…. Until there is an evaluation, the determination that he is competent to stand trial cannot be made nor assumed.”

A CNN survey shows that 69 percent of respondents want witnesses who did not testify before the House impeachment inquiry in the Senate trial. A plurality of Republicans, 48 percent, agree. Seventy percent think that DDT acted unethically, and 63 percent believe he probably broke the law. Of voters, 58 percent say DDT abused the powers of his office to benefit himself politically, and 57 percent say he obstructed the House impeachment inquiry. And 22 GOP senators are up for re-election this year.

DDT’s anxiety ratcheted up as he left the cocoon at Davos (Switzerland) and returned to non-stop media attention on his impeachment trial. His reason for preventing John Bolton from testifying is fear. Before he flew home, DDT said, “You don’t like people testifying when they didn’t leave on good terms.” Trump said at a news conference before departing from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “And that was due to me, not him.” DDT’s 140 tweets today was a record for one day. The Republicans will acquit the man who Schiff compared to a “despot,” meaning the mentally-imbalanced George III, but the impeachment process has already damaged DDT’s legacy.

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