Author Topic: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment  (Read 1404 times)

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2019, 12:27:09 pm »
CNN banner: "WHITE HOUSE ADMITS TO QUID PRO QUO WITH UKRAINE"


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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2019, 10:37:28 am »
Tuesday, 22nd October 2019
Whistleblowers and the Rule of Law
by Reuben A. Guttman




In the United States, law students learn that law is both substance and process. Substance is the proscription or obligation and process is the mechanism for enforcing compliance. Absent a compliance enforcement mechanism, the substance is of no consequence. An unenforced law is tantamount to no law at all.

Americans obsess about the process mechanism’s fairness and enforcement logistics.  Consistent with our entrenched mistrust for government, evidenced by the checks and balances of our three-branch government, we do not leave matters solely in the hands of politicians. Our laws also allow for citizen participation in enforcement. Major pieces of legislation including our civil rights, environmental, antitrust, and housing laws allow individuals to bring suits to enforce law. Not only do citizen suits leverage compliance enforcement, they also ensure compliance when government prosecutors lack the resources or the political motivation to enforce the law.

Our legal history is replete with examples of sweeping reform generated, not only by legislative bodies, but also by individuals and their lawyers making themselves heard through the legal system. Landmark cases including Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka[1], Loving v. Virginia[2], and Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur[3] were initiated by individuals and led to the eradication of discriminatory practices. These cases are testaments to the power of one person represented by (at times) overworked and inexperienced lawyers motivated by the fear of failure and the passion to do good.

Our rule of law is special because it provides mechanisms for individuals to effectuate change. Such mechanisms are essential when elected officials fail to act or when the accepted practices of reputable institutions – including large corporations – harm the voiceless. The people who ask hard questions and shed light on impropriety are called “whistleblowers.” A myriad of laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation and some laws – including the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act – reward considerable risk-taking. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who stuck their neck out and blew the whistle; they are responsible for safer products, a healthier environment, and a more trustworthy government.

Now Congress – relying on a confidential report made by a whistleblower to the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community– is investigating whether the President sought the help of the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden. The process established by the rule of law is now in motion. The inspector general investigated the whistleblower’s concerns and the matter has moved forward to another branch of government for oversight and possible corrective action. This is fully consistent federal law.[4]


For the important role they play, whistleblowers should be considered more American than apple pie. But that is not how they are always treated. Consider President Trump’s tweet from October 9, 2019: “[t]he Whistleblower’s facts have been so incorrect about my no pressure conversation with the Ukrainian President, and now the conflict of interest and involvement with a Democrat Candidate, that he or she should be exposed and questioned properly. This is no Whistleblower...”

President Trump fails to appreciate the process governing whistleblowing, let alone intelligence community whistleblowing. If he wanted to educate himself, he need look no farther than his own appointee’s website. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence website contains this message from Inspector General Michael Atkinson:



“Whistleblowing has a long history in this country. Over 240 years ago, on July 30, 1778, the Continental Congress unanimously enacted the first whistleblower legislation in the United States, proclaiming that "it is the duty of all persons in service of the United States, as well as all other the inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which comes to their knowledge." To this day, Federal law (including the Constitution, rules, and regulations) encourages, consistent with the protection of classified information (including sources and methods of detection of classified information), the honest and good faith reporting of misconduct, fraud, misdemeanors, and other crimes to the appropriate authority at the earliest time possible.”


Consistent with efforts to chill the whistleblowing tradition, the President of United States now demands disclosure of the whistleblower’s identity, an examination under oath, and exposure of biases. Here again, the President fails to appreciate the role of whistleblowers. Sometimes – as is the case here – whistleblowers are merely a catalyst causing regulators or legislators to scrutinize a situation, gather evidence, and judge the facts against the law. The whistleblower may raise an issue based on information that would be inadmissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. It is the ensuing investigation, document collection, and witness interviews that matter. Afterwards, whistleblower testimony or bias is irrelevant.

By analogy, the whistleblower is no more than a booster rocket propelling the space shuttle into orbit, or in the legal world, a trial. A whistleblower may very well be motivated by bias; perhaps they did not get all the facts right. Yet, what is put before the trier of fact is not necessarily whistleblower testimony, but evidence gathered because a whistleblower caused an investigation.


In the current situation, the whistleblower’s allegations generated enough concern to motivate an investigation of what may be unimpeachable admissible evidence. Whatever the outcome of the Congressional investigation, we will have seen the rule of law at work, with its role for individuals and countervailing branches of government. It is a system where -- on any given day – the nation’s most powerful person can be called to account by an individual who thoughtfully raised questions. For those studying these current events, this is once again a lesson in how individual whistleblowers are essential to our legal tradition.




















Would You Like To Know More?
https://www.acslaw.org/expertforum/whistleblowers-and-the-rule-of-law/

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2019, 01:39:42 pm »

As the impeachment inquiry proceeds, here's what is on the cocktail menu at Washington D.C.'s Capitol Lounge during these troubling times:



« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 03:12:56 pm by Battle »

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2019, 05:29:17 pm »
Friday, 16th November 2019
Executive Privilege Should Have No Power When It Comes to an Impeachment

by Jonathan Shaub




The House of Representatives has now begun the public phase of its impeachment process.


But during its closed-door sessions last week, more than 10 current and former executive-branch officials — including Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and the top National Security Council lawyer, John Eisenberg—refused to show up.


Each had been subpoenaed to appear.


Compliance with a subpoena is not normally optional, of course.

But the witnesses declined to appear, at the Executive Mansion’s direction.


The Executive Mansion argued that the Constitution’s separation of powers prohibits Congress from requiring close presidential advisers, such as Mulvaney and Eisenberg, to testify, and prohibits Congress from requiring any executive-branch official to appear for a deposition without a government lawyer present, two “prophylactic” constitutional doctrines—one old and one new—that the executive branch says are necessary to protect executive privilege.


These doctrines purport to allow current and former executive-branch officials to refuse to comply with a congressional subpoena.

But they have never before been applied to a formal impeachment inquiry.

Nor has executive privilege.


When the Democrats reclaimed the House of Representatives in the 2018 Mid-Term election(s), a common refrain was that the terrain in Washington had shifted.



The Democrats would now have the constitutional authority to conduct oversight of the Trump administration, including by issuing subpoenas to demand particular documents or to require witnesses to testify.



Understanding that shift, Donald Trump said he was ready to adopt a “warlike posture” in response.

The warlike posture, or at least posturing, did not take long to emerge.



In April, Trump announced that his administration would “fight all the subpoenas.”


And, amid a flurry of oversight on various matters, the administration responded aggressively to information requests and suggested it would not comply.


But behind the posturing, the letters sent from executive-branch agencies and the Executive Mansion to congressional committees sounded very similar to letters sent during the Obama administration to Republican-controlled House committees and, before that, during the George W. Bush administration to Democratic-controlled House committees.

In the past, after the bluster and posturing came compromise, at least in the large majority of disputes.


This time, however, neither side intended to back down.

What the ensuing months have demonstrated is that the executive branch can rely on executive privilege, along with a constellation of doctrines arising out of it, to render congressional oversight virtually impotent, at least as long as officials are willing to follow the Executive Mansion’s direction not to appear.

The roots of the executive branch’s constitutional theories are long-standing and, in many instances, bipartisan.


The administration’s claim that former Executive Mansion Counsel Don McGahn is absolutely immune from compelled testimony, for example, garners almost all its support from a 2014 opinion issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) during the Obama administration.

As the clashes between the two branches have escalated, however, the Trump administration has expanded these existing doctrines to stake out aggressive new positions about executive privilege, immunity, and the limits of Congress’s oversight authority.

And the administration has developed new prophylactic rules that it argues are constitutionally required to protect executive privilege, including that a witness subpoenaed to appear for a deposition need not comply with the subpoena if a government lawyer is not permitted to attend.

But the House has now formally authorized an impeachment inquiry.
 

Impeachment and oversight are distinct constitutional authorities belonging to Congress, and there is good reason to think that impeachment, unlike everyday oversight, fundamentally alters the balance of power between the two branches.


As Raoul Berger, the conservative legal historian and scholar, wrote in 1974, the impeachment power “constitutes a deliberate breach in the doctrine of separation of powers, so that no arguments drawn from that doctrine (such as executive privilege) may apply to the preliminary inquiry by the House or the subsequent trial by the Senate.”

Office of Legal Counsel issued a letter opinion on November 1st arguing, in essence, that impeachment does not change anything.

And in a subsequent letter supporting Eisenberg’s immunity, it claimed that

“the commencement of an impeachment inquiry only heightens the need to safeguard the separation of powers.”


OLC’s letter opinion reasoned that the House of Representatives is akin to a grand jury when it exercises its constitutional impeachment authority, and that courts have applied executive privilege to demands for information from grand juries.

It relied on the foundational Supreme Court decision on executive privilege — United States v. Nixon — which involved a grand-jury subpoena to President Richard Nixon for the Watergate tapes.


Although the Court held that the tapes did enjoy a presumptive privilege, it ultimately concluded that the privilege was overcome by the grand jury’s need for them.

But, as some advocates have been known to remark about Supreme Court briefs, the “bodies”— that is, the unfavorable precedents or issues the author wants to gloss over—are buried in the footnotes.

In the five-page letter opinion, the “body” is the entire historical understanding of executive privilege in the context of impeachment.


And that history is buried and dismissed in the first footnote.

There, the opinion quotes a prior Office of Legal Counsel memorandum on impeachment stating that “precedents relating to the subject of executive privilege in presidential impeachment are meager, confused and inconclusive.”

But, unlike a traditional Office of Legal Counsel opinion, the letter opinion omits any direct discussion or analysis of the wealth of historical information and presidential statements about the application of executive privilege to impeachment.

What’s the right answer, then?
 

May the president assert executive privilege to withhold information during an impeachment inquiry?


The answer, as a historical matter, is almost certainly no.


(This conclusion and others in this essay are solely my personal views and are not made in my official capacity as Assistant Solicitor General for Tennessee.)

The authority of the House to demand information as part of an impeachment inquiry arises out of the Constitution’s declaration that the House of Representatives shall have the “sole power of impeachment.”

And that constitutional authority derives directly from the authority of the House of Commons in the English Parliament.

James Wilson, one of the principal architects of the Constitution, described the House of Commons as having the “character of grand inquisitors of the realm.”


He recognized that “the proudest ministers of the proudest monarchs have trembled” at a censure from the House of Commons, and “have appeared at the bar of the house to give an account of their conduct, and ask pardon for their faults.”


For that reason, George Washington and his advisers agreed that the president’s authority to withhold documents from the House would not apply to impeachment.


In one instance, the House had requested information relating to the controversial Jay Treaty, which had led some to call for Washington’s impeachment.

Washington and his advisers concluded that the president had the constitutional authority to withhold the documents unless the House opened a formal impeachment inquiry.

And a number of other presidents who have asserted their constitutional authority to withhold documents from Congress at times have also recognized that an impeachment inquiry would be different.


President James K. Polk probably stated it most clearly, opining that in the exercise of the impeachment power, the House could “penetrate into the most secret recesses of the Executive Departments … command the attendance of any and every agent of the Government, and compel them to produce all papers, public or private, official or unofficial.”

And President Theodore Roosevelt once ordered an official to turn over to him all the papers demanded by Congress, and then informed a senator that “the only way the Senate or the committee can get those papers now is through my impeachment.”


Two other past statements bear particular mention.

Attorney General Robert Jackson’s memorandum on the confidentiality of law-enforcement files remains the seminal document on which the executive branch relies to withhold such information from Congress.

But at the end of the analysis, Jackson noted,

“Where the public interest has seemed to justify it, information as to particular situations has been supplied to congressional committees.”

And he then identified one such situation:

“Pertinent information would be supplied in impeachment proceedings … for the good of the administration of justice.”

Nixon, not one to cede executive authority lightly, argued through his personal counsel that he did not have to provide information subpoenaed by a Senate committee.

But he acknowledged that a request from the House in an impeachment inquiry would be different.

He reasoned that the president “is answerable in only one constitutional proceeding . . . the deliberate action of the whole Congress under the Impeachment Clause.” 

And although he initially suggested he may attempt to assert executive privilege in the Watergate investigation, before impeachment proceedings had begun, he eventually recognized it was not available.

Given this history, how can executive-branch officials repeatedly refuse to testify in the impeachment inquiry?

The immediate answer is straightforward:

They have not relied on executive privilege.

Instead, they have relied on testimonial immunity or refused to appear because government counsel would not be allowed to attend.

But the straightforward answer is misleading.

The reason Office of Legal Counsel originally concluded that an official could refuse to comply with a deposition subpoena if government counsel were not allowed was because the exclusion of government counsel would unconstitutionally interfere with executive privilege.

And the origin of immunity lies in the fact that almost all the information the presidential adviser would testify to would be presumptively privileged.

The recalcitrant witnesses have not asserted executive privilege.

But ultimately, executive privilege is the foundation of their constitutional argument that they can refuse to comply with the congressional subpoenas.

If executive privilege does not apply to impeachment, that foundation crumbles.

And the prophylactic defenses crumble along with it.

The November 1st letter opinion attempts to shore up that foundation to prevent that from happening, at least until a court says otherwise.

But the fundamental problem with the opinion is that it never addresses the truly pertinent question.

It concludes that executive privilege applies, and can be overcome only by some undetermined showing of congressional need.

And, it reasons, because the privilege theoretically could apply, then the rule that government counsel must be allowed in a deposition applies as well.

What is missing is the most relevant logical step:

whether executive privilege would be overcome by Congress’s need for information in a formal impeachment inquiry.

And the fact is, it almost certainly would.

Almost every president who has addressed the question, not to mention scholars and other executive-branch officials, has concluded that executive privilege, even if theoretically applicable to impeachment, would almost always be outweighed by Congress’s need to conduct a comprehensive inquiry, in the same way it was outweighed in Nixon by the grand jury’s need for the Watergate tapes.

The analogy to Nixon at the heart of the Office of Legal Counsel letter opinion thus highlights the opinion’s fundamental error and omission:

the necessity of balancing interests.

The administration is currently asserting not only that qualified executive privilege applies to impeachment, but that the privilege remains so important, even in impeachment, that it warrants absolute protection.

On that basis, more than 10 witnesses have refused to testify.

And more will likely do the same if the House or Senate continues to issue subpoenas and officials continue to follow the Executive Mansion’s direction.

Ultimately, the president may not need to assert executive privilege at all.

These absolute, prophylactic doctrines such as immunity and the deposition-counsel rule do not just protect executive privilege; they ultimately protect the president from ever having to undertake the balancing of public interests that has historically been at the core of executive privilege and that the Supreme Court found to compel disclosure in Nixon.

Lucky for him.

Otherwise, he would be faced with either providing the information sought or contradicting a long history of presidents and other executive-branch officials who have concluded that the public interest requires full disclosure from the president during an impeachment investigation.
















Would You Like To Know More?
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/executive-privilege-should-have-no-power-when-it-comes-to-an-impeachment/ar-BBWOiE6?ocid=spartanntp
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 10:20:47 pm by Battle »

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2019, 10:26:50 am »
"I'm just saying"

"Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes. We followed the President's orders."

« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 09:42:43 pm by Battle »

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2019, 06:39:14 am »
Monday, 2nd December 2019
"The Entire GOP is a Russian Asset"
by Ken Meyer





Joe Scarborough got the ball rolling by saying drumphf’s self-interests are “baked into the cake,” but then he asked,

“What about these Republicans? These so-called conservatives? People who stood by me as we fought against Russian influence and the spread of communism and fought for conservative values?”

“You have Republicans going on national television, repeating Putin talking points,” Scarborough said.



“The United States Senate even got a warning from the intel agencies, drumphf’s intel agencies, that this is propaganda that Vladimir Putin has been trying to push for the past several years.”

Scarborough topped off his thoughts by saying,


“The question is, why is the Republican Party, why are conservatives who blame to be against Russian expansionism and authoritarianism, why are they willingly repeating Russian talking points made up by an ex-KGB officer?”

This was a recurring topic on Morning Joe, for later in the program, Financial Times national editor Edward Luce joined Scarborough in mocking various Republicans for their subservience to drumphf.

When Scarborough noted that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was once recorded saying he thinks Putin pays drumphf, Luce said:



“to essentially say that he’s a Russian asset is therefore now, if you extrapolate from Kevin McCarthy’s words, to say that the entire GOP is a Russian asset.”


















Would You Like To Know More?
https://www.mediaite.com/tv/morning-joe-slams-republicans-repeating-putin-talking-points-the-entire-gop-is-a-russian-asset/

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2019, 11:32:20 am »
Tuesday, 3rd December 2019

Some useful information:

The Impeachment Report | Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence









Would You Like To Know More?
https://intelligence.house.gov/report/

https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/20191203_-_full_report___hpsci_impeachment_inquiry_-_20191203.pdf

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2019, 02:09:19 am »
PREFACE

 
This report reflects the evidence gathered thus far by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in coordination with the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States.
 
The report is the culmination of an investigation that began in September 2019 and intensified over the past three months as new revelations and evidence of the President’s misconduct towards Ukraine emerged.  The Committees pursued the truth vigorously, but fairly, ensuring the full participation of both parties throughout the probe.   
 
Sustained by the tireless work of more than three dozen dedicated staff across the three Committees, we issued dozens of subpoenas for documents and testimony and took more than 100 hours of deposition testimony from 17 witnesses.  To provide the American people the opportunity to learn and evaluate the facts themselves, the Intelligence Committee held seven public hearings with 12 witnesses—including three requested by the Republican Minority—that totaled more than 30 hours. 
 
At the outset, I want to recognize my late friend and colleague Elijah E. Cummings, whose grace and commitment to justice served as our North Star throughout this investigation.  I would also like to thank my colleagues Eliot L. Engel and Carolyn B. Maloney, chairs respectively of the Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees, as well as the Members of those Committees, many of whom provided invaluable contributions.  Members of the Intelligence Committee, as well, worked selflessly and collaboratively throughout this investigation.

Finally, I am grateful to Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the trust she placed in our Committees to conduct this work and for her wise counsel throughout.
 
I also want to thank the dedicated professional staff of the Intelligence Committee, who worked ceaselessly and with remarkable poise and ability. 

My deepest gratitude goes to Daniel Goldman, Rheanne Wirkkala, Maher Bitar, Timothy Bergreen, Patrick Boland, Daniel Noble, Nicolas Mitchell, Sean Misko, Patrick Fallon, Diana Pilipenko, William Evans, Ariana Rowberry, Wells Bennett, and William Wu. 

Additional Intelligence Committee staff members also assured that the important oversight work of the Committee continued, even as we were required to take on the additional responsibility of conducting a key part of the House impeachment inquiry. 

Finally, I would like to thank the devoted and outstanding staff of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, including but not limited to Dave Rapallo, Susanne Sachsman Grooms, Peter Kenny, Krista Boyd, and Janet Kim, as well as Laura Carey from the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2019, 07:42:12 am »
Wednesday, 4th December 2019




In his farewell address, President George Washington warned of a moment when  “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

The Framers of the Constitution well understood that an individual could one day occupy the Office of the President who would place his personal or political interests above those of the nation.
 
Having just won hard-fought independence from a King with unbridled authority, they were attuned to the dangers of an executive who lacked fealty to the law and the Constitution.



In response, the Framers adopted a tool used by the British Parliament for several hundred years to constrain the Crown — the power of impeachment. 

Unlike in Britain, where impeachment was typically reserved for inferior officers but not the King himself, impeachment in our untested democracy was specifically intended to serve as the ultimate form of accountability for a duly-elected President. 

Rather than a mechanism to overturn an election, impeachment was explicitly contemplated as a remedy of last resort for a president who fails to faithfully execute his oath of office  “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 05:24:19 am by Battle »

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2019, 03:29:05 pm »
Wednesday, 4th December 2019




Accordingly, the Constitution confers the power to impeach the president on Congress, stating that the president shall be removed from office upon conviction for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” 

While the Constitutional standard for removal from office is justly a high one, it is nonetheless an essential check and balance on the authority of the occupant of the Office of the President, particularly when that occupant represents a continuing threat to our fundamental democratic norms, values, and laws.

Alexander Hamilton explained that impeachment was not designed to cover only criminal violations, but also crimes against the American people. 

“The subjects of its jurisdiction,” Hamilton wrote, “are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.
 
They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”


Similarly, future Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court James Wilson, a delegate from Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention, distinguished impeachable offenses from those that reside “within the sphere of ordinary jurisprudence.”

As he noted, “impeachments are confined to political characters, to political crimes and misdemeanors, and to political punishments.” 

As this report details, the impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection. 

In furtherance of this scheme, President Trump conditioned official acts on a public announcement by the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, of politically-motivated investigations, including one into President Trump’s domestic political opponent. 

In pressuring President Zelensky to carry out his demand, President Trump withheld a White House meeting desperately sought by the Ukrainian President, and critical U.S. military assistance to fight Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2019, 02:32:52 am »
Thursday, 5th December 2019



The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential re-election, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage. 

In doing so, the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.

At the center of this investigation is the memorandum prepared following President Trump’s July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukraine’s President, which the White House declassified and released under significant public pressure. 

The call record alone is stark evidence of misconduct; a demonstration of the President’s prioritization of his personal political benefit over the national interest. 

In response to President Zelensky’s appreciation for vital U.S. military assistance, which President Trump froze without explanation, President Trump asked for “a favor though”:  two specific investigations designed to assist his re-election efforts.

Our investigation determined that this telephone call was neither the start nor the end of President Trump’s efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy for his personal gain. 

Rather, it was a dramatic crescendo within a months-long campaign driven by President Trump in which senior U.S. officials, including the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Acting Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Energy, and others were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.

The investigation revealed the nature and extent of the President’s misconduct, not withstanding an unprecedented campaign of obstruction by the President and his Administration to prevent the Committees from obtaining documentary evidence and testimony. 

A dozen witnesses followed President Trump’s orders, defying voluntary requests and lawful subpoenas, and refusing to testify. 

The White House, Department of State, Department of Defense, Office of Management and Budget, and Department of Energy refused to produce a single document in response to our subpoenas.



Ultimately, this sweeping effort to stonewall the House of Representatives’ “sole Power of Impeachment” under the Constitution failed because witnesses courageously came forward and testified in response to lawful process. 

The report that follows was only possible because of their sense of duty and devotion to their country and its Constitution.

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2019, 07:03:20 am »
Thursday, 5th December 2019




Nevertheless, there remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue, even as we transmit our report to the Judiciary Committee. 

Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts. 

The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress. 

Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began.

The damage the President has done to our relationship with a key strategic partner will be remedied over time, and Ukraine continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support in Congress. 

But the damage to our system of checks and balances, and to the balance of power within our three branches of government, will be long-lasting and potentially irrevocable if the President’s ability to stonewall Congress goes unchecked. 

Any future President will feel empowered to resist an investigation into their own wrongdoing, malfeasance, or corruption, and the result will be a nation at far greater risk of all three.

The decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry is not one we took lightly. 

Under the best of circumstances, impeachment is a wrenching process for the nation. 

I resisted calls to undertake an impeachment investigation for many months on that basis, notwithstanding the existence of presidential misconduct that I believed to be deeply unethical and damaging to our democracy.
 


The alarming events and actions detailed in this report, however, left us with no choice but to proceed.

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2019, 11:33:11 am »
Friday, 6th December 2019



In making the decision to move forward, we were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president. 

Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized.   
 
Having witnessed the degree to which interference by a foreign power in 2016 harmed our democracy, President Trump cannot credibly claim ignorance to its pernicious effects. 

Even more pointedly, the President’s July call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, in which he solicited an investigation to damage his most feared 2020 opponent, came the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified to Congress about Russia’s efforts to damage his 2016 opponent and his urgent warning of the dangers of further foreign interference in the next election.

With this backdrop, the solicitation of new foreign intervention was the act of a president unbound, not one chastened by experience. 

It was the act of a president who viewed himself as unaccountable and determined to use his vast official powers to secure his reelection.
 
This repeated and pervasive threat to our democratic electoral process added urgency to our work.
 
On October 3, 2019, even as our Committee was engaged in this inquiry, President Trump publicly declared anew that other countries should open investigations into his chief political rival, saying, “China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” and that “President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens.”

When a reporter asked the President what he hoped Ukraine’s President would do following the July 25 call, President Trump, seeking to dispel any doubt as to his continuing intention, responded: 

“Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens.  It’s a very simple answer.”

By doubling down on his misconduct and declaring that his July 25 call with President Zelensky was “perfect,” President Trump has shown a continued willingness to use the power of his office to seek foreign intervention in our next election. 

His Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, in the course of admitting that the President had linked security assistance to Ukraine to the announcement of one of his desired investigations, told the American people to “get over it.” 

In these statements and actions, the President became the author of his own impeachment inquiry. 

The question presented by the set of facts enumerated in this report may be as simple as that posed by the President and his chief of staff’s brazenness: 

is the remedy of impeachment warranted for a president who would use the power of his office to coerce foreign interference in a U.S. election, or is that now a mere perk of the office that Americans must simply “get over”?

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Re: A Lifelong Republican Ex-Judge Just Called For Trump’s Impeachment
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2019, 09:45:07 am »
Tuesday, 10th December 2019




Those watching the impeachment hearings might have been struck by how little discrepancy there was between the witnesses called by the Majority and Minority. 

Indeed, most of the facts presented in the pages that follow are uncontested. 

The broad outlines as well as many of the details of the President’s scheme have been presented by the witnesses with remarkable consistency. 

There will always be some variation in the testimony of multiple people witnessing the same events, but few of the differences here go to the heart of the matter. 

And so, it may have been all the more surprising to the public to see very disparate reactions to the testimony by the Members of Congress from each party.


If there was one ill the Founding Founders feared as much as that of an unfit president, it may have been that of excessive factionalism.
 

Although the Framers viewed parties as necessary, they also endeavored to structure the new government in such a way as to minimize the “violence of faction.”


As George Washington warned in his farewell address,


“the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Today, we may be witnessing a collision between the power of a remedy meant to curb presidential misconduct and the power of faction determined to defend against the use of that remedy on a president of the same party. 

But perhaps even more corrosive to our democratic system of governance, the President and his allies are making a comprehensive attack on the very idea of fact and truth. 

How can a democracy survive without acceptance of a common set of experiences?

 
America remains the beacon of democracy and opportunity for freedom-loving people around the world.
 

From their homes and their jail cells, from their public squares and their refugee camps, from their waking hours until their last breath, individuals fighting human rights abuses, journalists uncovering and exposing corruption, persecuted minorities struggling to survive and preserve their faith, and countless others around the globe just hoping for a better life look to America.
 

What we do will determine what they see, and whether America remains a nation committed to the rule of law.

 

As Benjamin Franklin departed the Constitutional Convention, he was asked,


“What have we got?  A Republic or a Monarchy?”
 

He responded simply:
 

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”