Category Archives: IMPEACHMENT

Bookworm Beat 11/9/19: Illustrated edition with Trump virtues and Dem corruption

A monster illustrated edition that reminds you who Trump is and who the people are who wish to destroy him, along with the usual silly stuff and beauty.

We start with wisdom about impeachment and reminders about why we support President Donald J. Trump. Please consider sharing the first two posters, for they articulate core American principles people should know.





Some forgotten footage of Trump being interviewed back in the 1980s. He’s always been a doer and someone who loves America:


And now back to Deep State people who wish to destroy Trump. In poster immediately below, by the way, that’s Eric Ciaramella with a whole bunch of very powerful Democrats.










And now to the ordinary stuff, the stuff not about Donald J. Trump, that reminds us why, no matter how you feel about Trump the man, you need to support Trump the President:



























A reminder who we are as Americans:



And I’ll leave you with lots of laughs:



















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The Four C’s Of The Impeachment Sham — Constitution, Corruption, Comity & Coup (by Wolf Howling)

The House is considering three articles of Impeachment.  The Constitution is at issue in questions of Obstruction of Justice, Contempt of Congress and the form of the Senate Trial.  Comity and Corruption are at issue as to the Bidens and Abuse of Power.  And is this is an unlawful attempted coup?

The Constitution

The House is considering three Articles of Impeachment, one of which is expected to be for contempt of Congress.  The House claims that Donald Trump refused to honor lawful subpoenas for testimony and documents as pertains to the Ukraine. Was Trump within his rights to do so?  That is wholly a Constitutional question.  It is also closely related in at least one relevant part to a likely Second Article of Impeachment, namely Obstruction of Justice as to the Russian Hoax inquiry.

The only vote the House of Representatives has held to authorize an impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump was defeated overwhelmingly in January, 2017.  In response to the Ukraine IC IG matter, Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker, unilaterally declared an “impeachment inquiry” on September 24, 2019, and the House immediately began issuing subpoenas for witnesses and documents.  As to the latest vote held a week ago to formalize the procedures being used in the ongoing Star Chamber, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was adamant that the Resolution was not an authorization of an “impeachment inquiry.

Can anything less than a vote by the entire House of Representatives to authorize an “impeachment inquiry” be considered Constitutionally valid?  As I’ve discussed before, this is far from mere form.  If the House of Representatives approves a resolution for an impeachment inquiry, the House gains a power that it, by the explicit terms of the Constitution, does not otherwise possess — the judicial power to enforce subpoenas and requests for documents on matters outside its Art. I, Sec. 8 enumerated powers.  Without that power, the White House was acting lawfully when it refused to cooperate.  Tellingly, the House, rather than take those subpoenas to a Court to enforce them — and risk having a Court declare their proceeding unconstitutional — appears to be simply rolling all but one of their refused “subpoenas” into an contempt of Congress charge.

Then there is Part II of the Mueller Report.  We can expect the House to adopt Part II virtually in toto as an obstruction of justice charge.  There is a twist on this, however, and it is where this overlaps with the Contempt of Congress charge.  Without the judicial power of an impeachment inquiry, the House has no power to subpoena the Grand Jury testimony that Mueller referenced in his report.  The House subpoenaed the Department of Justice for that information and got the matter heard before an Obama judge (yes, John Roberts, there are progressive judges who rule by ideology, not the law) who ruled that the House was authorized to receive the material — and thus that their current “impeachment inquiry” was constitutionally sufficient.  The White House made an emergency appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court, which granted a stay, and the matter is now to be heard on November 12 before the D.C. Circuit. If the D.C. Circuit affirms the lower court’s ruling, the Trump administration will assuredly bring it to the Supreme Court, but there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will take up the case.

All of this brings up a huge, core Constitutional issue:  Which branch of government has the power to determine the meaning of the Constitution — specifically in this case, when the question is whether the House may claim judicial powers without a vote of the House of Representatives to authorize an impeachment inquiry? There is no doubt that Articles of Impeachment (other than Contempt of Congress) that the House votes upon would be facially constitutional.  So this question applies only to whether the President may be validly held in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with an impeachment inquiry that was never authorized by a vote of the full House of Representatives.

The Judicial Branch long ago claimed for itself the power to definitively interpret the Constitution, but that right to do so appears nowhere in the text of the Constitution.  Can the Senate summarily dispense with any claim for Obstruction of Justice as to this “impeachment inquiry” because the Senators believe that the House acted “unconstitutionally?”  Can the Senate do so in the face of a D.C. Circuit Court opinion to the contrary?  Could the Senate do so in the face of a Supreme Court refusal to hear an appeal from the D.C. Circuit?  And lastly, could the Senate do so even if the Supreme Court hears an appeal and concludes that the obscene House Star Chamber proceeding meets the standards for constitutionality?  Those are all valid questions that I believe should be answered in the affirmative, but that could have long term ramifications for how our nation operates.

A second Constitutional question that touches on this and all of the Articles of Impeachment concerns whether Donald Trump will be afforded the same due process rights at trial (rules of evidence, right to bring definitive motions, etc.) that are afforded all Americans in court?  As Supreme Court Justice Story said, in 1833 when remarking on impeachment:

It is the boast of English jurisprudence, and without it the power of impeachment would be an intolerable grievance, that in trials by impeachment the law differs not in essentials from criminal prosecutions before inferior courts. The same rules of evidence, the same legal notions of crimes and punishments prevail. For impeachments are not framed to alter the law; but to carry it into more effectual execution, where it might be obstructed by the influence of too powerful delinquents, or not easily discerned in the ordinary course of jurisdiction, by reason of the peculiar quality of the alleged crimes.

Under current Senate Rules, the President does not explicitly have those protections.  Under the modifications suggested here, he would gain them.  Assuming that the Senate does adopt those changes then before trial begins President Trump should move to dismiss Contempt of Congress Charges for failing to state a legal claim — i.e., the House did not vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, and thus the President did not obstruct a lawful process.  As to the obstruction of justice charge, President Trump should make a motion to dismiss the claim on the grounds that, even assuming all of the facts alleged in the Mueller Report to be true, it does not as a matter of law show a violation of the law or a political offense for which impeachment is warranted.  President Trump committed no underlying crime.  President Trump substantially complied with the investigation and he committed no act that resulted in the investigation being hindered.

Corruption & Comity

A third Article of Impeachment, according to Breitbart, will be for Abuse of Power.  The House’s Star Chamber proceeding is likely to result in a claim that President Trump abused his power by withholding aid from Ukraine subject to them investigating Joe and Hunter Biden for corrupt practices.

This is yet another Article that should be dealt with on a motion to dismiss.  The President’s practice and authority to negotiate with foreign countries for the aid they may receive from America is a well-established power of the Presidency, one that has been exercised by numerous other Presidents.  Thus negotiating foreign aid with the Ukraine cannot itself, be grounds for impeachment.  It is axiomatic that, to again quote Justice Story, impeachment may not be used tomake that a crime at one time, or in one person, which would be deemed innocent at another time, or in another person.  And in fact, the aid was ultimately released in full to the Ukraine in September, 2019, so there is no Constitutional concern with Congress’s power of the purse, nor any legal concern with the Impoundment Control Act of 1974.

That leads to the next question, whether what Trump was negotiating for — the facts surrounding Joe and Hunter Biden in the Ukraine and whether it involved corruption — was an improper purpose.  (It should be noted that Trump never in the transcript explicitly said that Ukraine’s receiving the money hinged on looking into the Biden matter. Indeed, it’s a stretch even to read into the transcript his having said such a thing implicitly.) As a textual matter, Article II § 3 of the Constitution requires the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  So when the President looks into possible legal violations, he is acting in fulfillment of his Constitutional duties.

That leaves the last question: Did President Trump have reasonable grounds to suspect that Joe Biden violated federal rules of ethics, and perhaps American laws, regarding corrupt practices?  That is a factual matter. Trump does not need to show actual guilt.  But he needs to be able to show that, based on the facts as he knew them, a reasonable person would suspect that there was enough evidence of corruption that further investigation was warranted.

As a threshold matter, the Joe and Hunter show went far beyond Ukraine.  It was both foreign and domestic.  As to the former, when Daddy became Vice President and was given control of foreign affairs in certain countries,  Hunter Biden became Joe Biden’s little lamb.  With apologies to Sarah Hale and a hat tip to the poetess Bookworm:

Joe Biden had a little Hunter,
That filled its nose with snow,
And everywhere Joe Biden went
Hunter was sure to go;
He followed Joe to Ukraine,
Romania & China too;
He sold his daddy’s name there,
But saying so sparked a coup.

Hunter Biden’s escapades are well documented in the Ukraine, Iraq, China and Romania, for we know that he followed his father into those countries (sometimes flying into them with his father on Air Force Two) and immediately struck lucrative deals with corrupt politicians or, in the case of China, the government itself.  Standing alone, these undisputed facts stink to high heaven.  The mere appearance of corruption is an ethical problem for Joe Biden.  It becomes a legal problem for Joe Biden if he used his position as Vice President to further his son’s enrichment or to protect him from investigation. And to be clear, based on the facts as we know them, if Trump and Trump’s children had done what Joe and Hunter Biden did, the call to impeach and jail him would be deafening.

When it comes to Ukraine, we know Hunter Biden was hired to sit on the Board of Bursima, a Ukrainian energy company owned by a man who is a suspect in billions of dollars of government corruption.  We know that Hunter Biden was not qualified for such a seat beyond his familial relationship to Joe Biden.  We know that people associated with Bursima then dropped Hunter Biden’s name to lobby the State Dept. in order to quash the corruption probes targeting their client.  We know that at least one American official raised this as a problem to Biden’s office.  And we know . . .

It is in fact an open question, not yet definitively answered, whether the prosecutor whom Joe brags about getting fired had an active corruption investigation into Bursima — and perhaps Hunter Biden as well.  That was the question Trump seemed to be asking the President of Ukraine to find an answer to in his 25 July phone call.  If so, there is more to investigate, such as what did Joe Biden know and when did he know it.

But according to Democrats, it is an abuse of power even to ask those questions.  They can go pound sand.  No one is above the law, not even a Democrat candidate for office.  The only thing Trump asked for is information from an investigation.  Was that pretextual or warranted?  The first might arguably be grounds for impeachment, the second cannot be.  Thus the only factual issue to determine whether to proceed to a full impeachment trial on abuse of power grounds is whether Trump was justified in seeking an investigation of Biden’s seemingly corrupt dealings.

Bottom line, we need to hear from Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, under oath at any Senate trial, to determine whether there was sufficient appearance of corruption for a reasonable person in Trump’s shoes to investigate.  Indeed, the rule changes I suggested for the Senate’s impeachment trial are in anticipation of precisely that reality.

Democrats are going nuts over that issue.  This from the Daily Beast, warning that “comity” in the Senate would be irreparably damaged by forcing the Bidens to testify:

Senate Democrats issued stark warnings on Wednesday that Republicans would severely damage the institution of Congress if they acquiesced to a push from Trump allies to haul former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for testimony about their actions in Ukraine.

A top Biden ally, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), told The Daily Beast that calling the 2020 presidential contender—who served for 35 years in the Senate—and his son for testimony “would be literally rolling a grenade down the aisle of the Senate” that would have “lasting consequences” on the upper chamber’s ability to work together.

“Look, Joe Biden is well known, widely respected, and frankly beloved by many in the Senate on both sides of the aisle,” said Coons. “The impeachment process is already disruptive enough. I think we should be approaching it with seriousness, not by entertaining conspiracy theories that are utterly unfounded. And I think it would be a very unfortunate move.”

Right.  As if the left overturning an election and pushing us to the brink of a second civil war over the proposition that they are above the law while the rest of us are below it is not exponentially beyond concerns of “comity” in the Senate.  Truly, screw these people.

Coup

And finally, here’s a question to pick up after what promises to be a failed impeachment attempt.  Mark Zaid, attorney for the whistle blower who orchestrated this Ukraine madness, tweeted in 2017:

#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately. #lawyers https://t.co/FiNBQo6v0S

— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) January 31, 2017

Zaid has since claimed that what he meant only a “legal” coup. There is no such thing. A coup is, by definition, an “illegal seizure of power from a government.” Now, if what Mr. Zaid had in mind was an unlawful abuse of the laws of this nation to effect a coup . . . that is still not legal. It is an act of sedition punishable at law.

We certainly now have evidence of Mr. Zaid’s state of mind. We have reason to suspect that his client was likely previously involved in the leak of classified information to the press in order to damage President Trump and may have spied on Trump on behalf of the FBI, both illegal acts.  Then we have long standing ties between the whistle blower and Adam Schiff’s staff and we have Adam Schiff’s own statement that they coordinated filing a whistle blower complaint.  Lastly, we have a grossly legally deficient whistle blower complaint that should never have been filed as such, and certainly never should have been addressed to Congress as a finding of urgent concern.  The IC IG did not conduct due dillegence in his investigation.

Now, that could all mean nothing.  Or, it could mean that certain people were conspiring to effect a bloodless coup.  There is enough here to warrant an investigation to determine the truth.  And prosecution would be warranted if what we discover is in fact a seditious conspiracy rather than a series of simple errors.  That would in fact be an unlawful coup.

The post The Four C’s Of The Impeachment Sham — Constitution, Corruption, Comity & Coup (by Wolf Howling) appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Part I: The faux grounds for Trump’s impeachment and his perfect defenses

The Dem’s have no statutory basis to demand Trump’s impeachment — and Trump has valid defenses to charges that his Ukraine dealings were an abuse of power.

This will be a two part post.  Part I deals with the law relating to impeachment.  Part II will deal with how the Senate should handle the trial of any Articles of Impeachment that come out of the House’s Star Chamber impeachment inquiry.

Introduction

Let’s assume for argument’s sake that the Democrats running the House’s Star Chamber impeachment inquiry do in fact come up with Articles of Impeachment.  What will they be?  And will the President have any affirmative defenses?

No less a legal and historical scholar than Maxine Waters claimed in 2017:

Impeachment is about whatever the Congress says it is. There is no law that dictates impeachment. What the Constitution says is ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ and we define that.

If true, that would leave the President with no defense other than that the Democrats are wrong on the facts.  Thankfully, Waters is  wrong.  To the contrary, the parameters for impeachment are defined at law and, because of that, the Democrats face insurmountable obstacles in impeaching Donald Trump for any and all acts related to his July 25 phone call with President Zelenksyy of Ukraine.

First, the House cannot validly impeach Trump for using the same powers other presidents traditionally wielded. Thus, if it has been custom and practice for presidents to negotiate using foreign aid as a tool, then Trump’s doing so is similarly beyond a valid impeachment charge.

Second, the House cannot validly impeach Trump for asking a foreign power to aid him in the legitimate exercise of his constitutional authority. Leaving aside whether Trump might personally benefit from the investigation, no American citizen (even, theoretically, Hillary Clinton) is above the law. The fact that an election looms does not change that fact. In other words, Democrats cannot avoid criminal culpability by insisting that investigations are illegal as an election draws near.

The Law of Impeachment

The Constitution, Article II, § 6, states that impeachment is a remedy that can be used to remove “civil officers” for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The Founders, writing a Constitution and not a hornbook, did not further define “high crimes and misdemeanors,” because they did not need to define it for it was a phrase well defined in British common law of the era.

Note: For those unfamiliar with the phrase, “common law” is nothing more than “judge made law,” as opposed to legislatively-created statutes. Past judicial decisions are looked to as for future decisions, a practice that, in 18th Century Britain, created most of the “law of the land” and defined many rights vested in British citizens.  Much of our Constitutional provisions and our rights as Americans come out of British law as it existed in 1787, and the “common law” is still an element of law in Britain and the United States today.

When the Founders relied upon recognized “common law” principles related to impeachment, they looked to the 500 years of British judicial history before 1787 (See John Hatsell, Precedents and Proceedings In The House of Commons, Vol. IV (Impeachment) (1796)).  It is that body of common law that defines “impeachment” as the term is used in the U.S. Constitution.  In his seminal study of the Constitution, Commentaries on the Constitution, 3 Volumes, (1833), Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story examined impeachment in Vol. II (§§ 794-96). He opened his examination by acknowledging the role common law played in understanding the doctrine:

The only practical question is, what are to be deemed high crimes and misdemeanours? Now, neither the constitution, nor any statute of the United States has in any manner defined any crimes, except treason and bribery, to be high crimes and misdemeanours, and as such impeachable. In what manner, then, are they to be ascertained?

After dispensing with commission of crimes in office as an obvious grounds for impeachment, Story addressed “political” offenses as grounds for impeachment, as well as the limitation upon those offenses:

. . . [T]here are many offences, purely political, which have been held to be within the reach of parliamentary impeachments, not one of which is in the slightest manner alluded to in our statute book. And, indeed, political offences are of so various and complex a character, so utterly incapable of being defined, or classified, that the task of positive legislation would be impracticable, if it were not almost absurd to attempt it. . . . Resort, then, must be had either to parliamentary practice, and the common law, in order to ascertain, what are high crimes and misdemeanors; or the whole subject must be left to the arbitrary discretion of the senate, for the time being.

The latter is so incompatible with the genius of our institutions, that no lawyer or statesman would be inclined to countenance so absolute a despotism of opinion and practice, which might make that a crime at one time, or in one person, which would be deemed innocent at another time, or in another person.  [Emphasis added]  The only safe guide in such cases must be the common law, which is the guardian at once of private rights and public liberties.

(At the bottom of this post, you will find a handy-dandy poster reflecting this principle, which you can share with friends on social media.)

Story then lists a wide range of offenses for which officials were impeached in Britain since the 14th century. almost all involving neglect, oppression, or exercise of arbitrary power.  Thus, contrary to what Maxine Waters claims, there are limitations on what constitute impeachable offenses. The official charged must have deviated from a historically established pattern and practice.  Democrats cannot validly impeach the President for duly exercising the powers of his office, nor for reasonably acting to advance malfeasors’ punishment for breaking the laws of the land.  Indeed, the President is bound by his office to enforce the laws of this nation.

More recently, Alan Dershowitz has also weighed in on what can legitimately constitute a charge of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  His view is more restrictive than Story’s, but the two agree that there are outer boundaries and that simple political offenses or, as Dershowitz frames it in the language of Madison, “maladministration,” do not constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors.

There is a debate among students of the constitution over the intended meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Some believe that these words encompass non-criminal behavior. Others, I among them, interpret these words more literally, requiring at the least criminal-like behavior, if not the actual violation of a criminal statute.

What is not debatable is that “maladministration” is an impermissible ground for impeachment. Why is that not debatable? Because it was already debated and explicitly rejected by the framers at the constitutional convention. James Madison, the father of our Constitution, opposed such open-ended criteria, lest they make the tenure of the president subject to the political will of Congress. Such criteria would turn our republic into a parliamentary democracy in which the leader — the prime minister — is subject to removal by a simple vote of no confidence by a majority of legislators. Instead, the framers demanded the more specific criminal-like criteria ultimately adopted by the convention and the states.

Of course, since 1789, it is U.S. History that defines impeachment in our country.  Notably, in the three past instances in which the House has impeached a president, each has been for an actual crime committed by the President.  The House impeached Andrew Johnson for violating a law of dubious constitutionality when he removed the Secretary of War. The Senate refused to convict.  The House impeached Bill Clinton when he committed a crime in a civil case by perjuring himself when asked about his having had sex with a White House intern. The Senate refused to convict.  Lastly, the House voted to investigate Richard Nixon, when he was an accessory after the fact to the criminal Watergate Hotel break-in. Nixon resigned.

The bottom line is that there are limitations on what grounds exist for impeaching a president, that a president cannot be impeached for engaging in a historically established pattern and practice, and that past presidential impeachments have revolved around criminal acts. So what have the Democrats got?

The possible bases for the Democrats’ Articles of Impeachment

I. Statutory bases for impeachment

When trying to predict the Democrats’ future actions, only three possible laws or legal conflicts come to mind — that Trump violated campaign finance laws, that he obstructed justice, and/or that he interfered with Congress’s power of the purse. As set forth below, however, none of those are applicable.

A.  Campaign Finance Law

The Whistle Blower asserted that Trump’s July 25 phone call, in which he sought information about the 2016 Russian hoax and potential corruption by Joe and Hunter Biden, broke two laws relating to election campaigns.  He cited 52 U.S.C. § 30121, which makes it illegal to accept any “contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national.  But no court has ever interpreted the term “other thing of value” to include mere information.  Even the highly partisan Mueller team, when explaining their decision not to prosecute Trump Jr.’s meeting at Trump Tower with Russians for the express purpose of obtaining facts detrimental to Hillary Clinton, stated at Vol. I, p. 187:

[N]o judicial decision has treated the voluntary provision of uncompensated opposition research or similar information as a thing of value that could amount to a contribution under campaign-finance law. Such an interpretation could have implications beyond the foreign-source ban, see 52 U.S.C. § 30116(a) (imposing monetary limits on campaign contributions), and raise First Amendment questions. Those questions could be especially difficult where the information consisted simply of the recounting of historically accurate facts.

B.  Obstruction of Justice

The House may go so far as to claim that Trump obstructed justice by refusing to cooperate with the House’s “impeachment inquiry” regarding the Ukraine matter.  This will not fly.

The House doesn’t normally have judicial power for the Constitution, at Article III, explicitly provides that the “judicial power” resides in the Courts.  The House can assume “judicial power” for a limited period of time only if and when the House of Representatives authorizes it.  Trump maintains that the House, which has repeatedly voted not to open impeachment inquiries against him, is operating unlawfully and his administration has no duty to comply.

Importantly, even as Trump has refused to respond to subpoenas, the House has assiduously avoided testing its subpoenas in Court.  Law professor Alan Dershowitz dealt with this issue in a recent article at Gatestone Institute, Impeachers Searching For New Crimes:

This brings us to President Trump’s directive with regard to the impeachment investigation. Under our constitutional system of separation of powers, Congress may not compel the Executive Branch to cooperate with an impeachment investigation absent court orders. Conflicts between the Legislative and Executive Branches are resolved by the Judicial Branch, not by the unilateral dictate of a handful of partisan legislators. It is neither a crime nor an impeachable offense for the president to demand that Congress seek court orders to enforce their demands. Claims of executive and other privileges should be resolved by the Judicial Branch, not by calls for impeachment.

C.  The Withholding of Aid

Aid for Ukraine was part of Public Law 116-6, which Trump signed on February 15, 2019.  Nothing in the law states specifically when the funds must be released (just as there was none in the 2016 law), with the only proviso being that the administration disburse before the fiscal year in question ends.* When it comes to Trump and aid to Ukraine, his administration transferred or otherwise made the 2019 funds available to Ukraine by September 10, 2019, well before the end of the fiscal year.

One can argue whether any president has inherent power to withhold aid permanently from a foreign country once Congress has authorized the money — something President George H.W. Bush did when he unilaterally cancelled aid appropriated for Yemen in 1991 — but that is not a question applicable to this situation.  Moreover, as David Rivkin points out at WSJ and in his blog, “Congress attempted to curtail this power [i.e., the President’s power over foreign aid] with the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, but it authorizes the president to defer spending until the expiration of the fiscal year or until budgetary authority lapses, neither of which had occurred in the Ukraine case.”  Thus, nothing President Trump did conflicted with Congress’s Constitutional power of the purse.

II.  Non-statutory basis for impeachment

Leaving the law behind, there seems to be a wide range of possible grounds for Democrats to impeach Trump (GrabieNews has so far compiled a list of 95 bases), almost all of which are ultimately nothing more than “orange man bad and we disagree with his policies.” That said, the only one that would pass the laugh test would be a charge that the President abused his power by conditioning foreign aid to Ukraine on opening investigations relating to the Russia hoax and to Joe Biden, a 2020 candidate for President.  This is the “quid pro quo” that will almost surely be in any Articles of Impeachment. Passing the laugh test, though, so that the media can relay it to a credulous public with a straight face, still does not make it a valid impeachment charge.

There are multiple problems with this quid pro quo argument, the first being that presidents have primary authority over foreign policy.  Historically, presidents have regularly used foreign aid as leverage when negotiating with foreign countries.  As David Rivkin explained:

More fundamentally, the Constitution gives the president plenary authority to conduct foreign affairs and diplomacy, including broad discretion over the timing and release of appropriated funds. Many presidents have refused to spend appropriated money for military or other purposes, on grounds that it was unnecessary, unwise or incompatible with their priorities.

Thomas Jefferson impounded funds appropriated for gunboat purchases, Dwight Eisenhower impounded funds for antiballistic-missile production, John F. Kennedy impounded money for the B-70 bomber, and Richard Nixon impounded billions for highways and urban programs. Congress attempted to curtail this power with the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, but it authorizes the president to defer spending until the expiration of the fiscal year or until budgetary authority lapses, neither of which had occurred in the Ukraine case.

Presidents often delay or refuse foreign aid as diplomatic leverage, even when Congress has authorized the funds. Disbursing foreign aid—and withholding it—has historically been one of the president’s most potent foreign-policy tools, and Congress cannot impair it. Lyndon B. Johnson used the promise of financial aid to strong-arm the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea to send troops to Vietnam. The General Accounting Office (now called the Government Accountability Office) concluded that this constituted “quid pro quo assistance.” In 2013, Barack Obama, in a phone conversation with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, said he would slash hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance until Cairo cooperated with U.S. counterterrorism goals. The Obama administration also withheld millions in foreign aid and imposed visa restrictions on African countries, including Uganda and Nigeria, that failed to protect gay rights.

So, all things being equal, Congress has no right to curtail the Executive’s historic powers. Again, to reiterate what Story said, Congress may not “make that a crime at one time, or in one person, which would be deemed innocent at another time, or in another person.” Moreover, under the statute as written, Trump had authority over the timing of aid to the Ukraine at least through the end of the fiscal year.

That being the case, we are left with one remaining question: Did Trump use his legitimate power towards an end that was itself an abuse of power?

The Democrats desperately want to answer that question affirmatively. They insist that asking for any investigative assistance into crimes that may have been committed in the 2016 Russia Hoax and any crimes committed by Joe Biden are so beyond the pale as to justify impeachment and overturn an election.  Their problem is that nothing that Trump did is an abuse of the power because the Constitution imposes upon the president the obligation to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  Indeed, it is ludicrous to suggest to the contrary, at least unless we are to amend the Constitution, explicitly or implicitly, to hold that progressives are above the law.  We will be in a shooting civil war before that happens, whether in fact or in deed.

Consequently, as Rivkin further states at the WSJ and in his blog,

Investigating Americans or Ukrainians who might have violated domestic or foreign law—and seeking the assistance of other nations with such probes, pursuant to mutual legal-assistance treaties—cannot form a legitimate basis for impeachment of a president.

Or as Andrew McCarthy states:

It is common for presidents to ask their foreign counterparts to assist Justice Department investigations. House Democrats will not acknowledge this because they seek to delegitimize the Barr/Durham probe as a Trump 2020 campaign initiative; but it is not.

The sole factual issue for this defense will be whether Trump had valid reason to request Ukraine’s assistance in investigation the Russia hoax and whether Trump had a reasonable basis to inquire further into Joe Biden’s possible criminal acts, specifically whether he violated 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-3 (Prohibited foreign trade practices by persons other than issuers or domestic concerns).

As to the former, the mere fact that the DOJ is reviewing the origins of the worst political scandal in our nation’s history, namely the attempted coup that was the Russian Hoax (let alone that it is now a criminal investigation), was a valid justification for Trump’s request for assistance from the Ukraine.  Moreover, President Trump had a predicate — i.e., a reasonable indication to believe that a crime may have been committed — to ask for assistance investigating whether, when Joe Biden demanded that the Ukrainian Chief Prosecutor be fired as a non-negotiable condition for receiving American aid, the Prosecutor was investigating Hunter Biden directly or indirectly through his Burisma ties.  Cry as the progressives might, this is a legitimate issue, one raised at the time internally during the Obama administration, one that Joe Biden proudly boasted about and, nevertheless, one that the Obama administration never investigated.

I can think of no other grounds for impeachment, though I am sure Schiff & Co. will have some inventive surprises.  In the next post, I will deal with how the trial in the Senate should proceed, given that the House has denied any due process rights, including the right to be represented at the hearings, to the President.  There are more than ample ways — fully Constitutional — in which the Senate can vindicate the rights of the President, hold a fair trial, and make the House Democrats rue their sins in the process.

____________________

*The law in 2016, which has the identical fiscal year proviso, was the law that applied when Biden was the Vice President. Thus, his threat to withhold the money did not violate the law. It was his threat to withhold the money to protect his son’s dubious business practices that raises eyebrows.

Impeachment

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The Impeachment & The Russia Probe

The Barr/Durham Russia probe is now a criminal investigation.  The NYT reports that the investigation is without basis and that pushing for Ukrainian assistance is part of the justification for the House Impeachment investigation.

It was apparent from Nancy Pelosi’s “fact sheet” released the other day (and blogged here) that the House is looking to assert that any investigation into the criminal origins of the Russian Hoax is an impeachable abuse of power by the President.  That was confirmed by an article in the NYT today (reprinted at SFGate) discussing that “Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William Barr to a criminal inquiry.”  Bookworm has already fisked the article in the post below this.  I’m writing to add emphasis to one portion of the article.  As the NYT reports:

The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Trump fired James Comey, the FBI director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.

Trump has made clear that he sees the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. That view factors into the impeachment investigation against him, as does his long obsession with the origins of the Russia inquiry. House Democrats are examining in part whether his pressure on Ukraine to open investigations into theories about the 2016 election constituted an abuse of power. . . .

Do read Bookworm’s fisk of the above article.

Progressives believe themselves above the law and will rip this country apart to keep it that way.  A recent poll found that two-thirds of people surveyed believe we are near a civil war in this country.  If the House succeeds in impeaching Trump over investigations into the Russia Hoax, I have no doubts that number will go much higher.

Oh . . . and . . .

NEW: @CBSNews has obtained a letter sent to the hill today from DOJ IG Horowitz updating committee leaders on the status of the highly anticipated FISA Report. He says, “I anticipate that the final report will be released publicly with few redactions.” pic.twitter.com/DFCh7txrrO

— Clare (@ClareHymes22) October 24, 2019

(H/T AOS)

The post The Impeachment & The Russia Probe appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Pelosi: All Investigations Of Democrats Are Illicit & Grounds For Impeachment

Nancy Pelosi’s “Impeachment Fact Sheet” asserts that investigating the Russia hoax constitutes an impeachable attempt to interfere in the 2020 election. 

In his July 25 phone call, President Trump asked the President of the Ukraine to assist in an ongoing investigation into Ukrainian assistance to the Democrats in the 2016 election, to locate the DNC server supposedly now being held in the Ukraine and, later in the conversation, “to look into” the situation surrounding Joe Biden and his son Hunter.  Pelosi now collectively labels all of those investigations a “sham.”

Nancy Pelosi just turned the corner on the Democrats’ already very dangerous game.  If the law is such that progressives can operate above it in this country — including attempting coups to overturn elections — while holding the rest of the nation below its protections, then however this ends, it will include the end of our near 250 year experiment in republican government based on our Constitution.  This all started with whitewashing Hillary Clinton serial crimes: first, recklessly mishandling our nation’s secrets; second, trying to destroy the Trump campaign and install her in the Presidency.  The only way this ends with this nation intact is for justice and the law to be applied equally across party lines, and for those who violated the law to be held accountable.

The propaganda Pelosi released Tuesday is many things, the most important of which is a preemptive strike to undermine what many expect Horowitz, Barr, and Dunham will find through their ongoing investigations; namely, that the Russia hoax was an attempted coup (it most certainly was) executed by unlawful means (and I will be amazed if it wasn’t).  Those investigations are tied in part to the Ukraine.  We know that, at the Democrats’ request, Ukraine did in fact play a role in the 2016 election hoax. As Politico reported in January, 2017:

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

Here is the “Fact Sheet” Pelosi released today, which I have reformatted for this blog, including removing the graphics. In it, in speaking of the investigations as to which which Trump asked for Ukrainian assistance, Pelosi refers to all collectively as “sham investigations” (bolded emphasis mine):

*************************

TRUTH EXPOSED

THE SHAKEDOWN

“Do us a favor, though . . .” — President Trump

On September 25, the White House released a record of President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, which paints a damning picture of Trump abusing
his office by pressing a foreign government to interfere in our 2020 elections.

President Trump has betrayed his oath of office, betrayed our national security and betrayed the integrity of our elections for his own personal political gain.

IN PRESIDENT TRUMP’S OWN WORDS

“I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine…. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.”

“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

“I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it.  I’m sure you will figure it out.”

THE PRESSURE CAMPAIGN

“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
– U.S. Ambassador Bill Taylor

In recent weeks, the nation has learned more about how President Trump abused the power of the presidency by using multiple levers of government – from Vice President
Pence to the State Department, including Secretary Mike Pompeo, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, and Ambassador Kurt Volker – to advance a scheme to undermine our 2020 elections for his political gain, and then to obstruct the congressional inquiry into that scheme.

Vice President Pence is entangled in this scandal. According to press reports, in September, Pence met with Ukrainian President Zelensky in Poland and “conveyed the news
that hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine was not going to be released amid concerns about the country’s lagging efforts to combat corruption.” The withholding of aid may have been an effort to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations into President Trump’s 2020 political rival to help the president’s reelection.

—–

Secretary Pompeo was a fact witness to President Trump’s stunning abuse of power.  The Secretary listened to the July 25 phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky in which Trump pressed the Ukrainian leader to interfere in our 2020 election by opening these sham investigations. [emphasis added] Secretary Pompeo appears to have said nothing to stop President Trump from this inappropriate pressure campaign.

Text messages between Ambassadors Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland and Bill Taylor paint the picture of a President who waged a months-long pressure campaign to shake down Ukraine for his own personal political gain, potentially using a White House presidential visit and critical military assistance to Ukraine as leverage:

THE TEXT MESSAGES BETWEEN U.S. OFFICIALS

State Department officials discuss a White House visit in exchange for a Ukraine statement:

[8/9/19, 5:35:53 PM] Gordon Sondland: Morrison ready to get dates as soon as Yermak confirms.

[8/9/19, 5:46:21 PM] Kurt Volker: Excellent!!! How did you sway him? :)

[8/9/19, 5: 47:34 PM] Gordon Sondland: Not sure i did. I think potus really wants the deliverable.

Concerns About Ukraine Becoming an “Instrument” in U.S. Politics:

[7/21/19, 1:45:54 AM] Bill Taylor: Gordon, one thing Kurt and I talked about yesterday was Sasha Danyliuk’s point that President Zelenskyy is sensitive about Ukraine being taken seriously, not merely as an instrument in Washington domestic, reelection politics.

[7/21/19, 4:45:44 AM] Gordon Sondland: Absolutely, but we need to get the conversation started and the relationship built, irrespective of the pretext. I am worried about the alternative.

Ambassador Taylor Sought Clarification and Expressed Concerns About Withholding U.S. Military Assistance in Exchange for Launching an Investigation:

[9/1/19, 12:08:57 PM] Bill Taylor: Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?

[9/1/19, 12:42:29 PM] Gordon Sondland: Call me
. . .
[9/9/19, 12:37:16 AM] Gordon Sondland: Bill, I never said I was “right”. I said we are where we are and believe we have identified the best pathway forward. Lets hope it works.

[9/9/19, 12:47:11 AM] Bill Taylor: As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.

COVER-UP

The President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election . . . I am concerned these actions pose risks to U.S. national security . . .”

– Unclassified Whistleblower Complaint

On September 26, the House Intelligence Committee released the redacted version of a whistleblower complaint filed with the Intelligence Community Inspector General, which the IG found to be of “urgent concern” and “credible.”

The White House’s record of the July 25 presidential call between Presidents Trump and Zelensky corroborates allegations made in the whistleblower complaint, in particular that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by using the U.S. government and outside actors to advance his scheme to shake down the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2020 elections.

THE WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT STATES

“I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference
from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. … The President’ s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.”

“I am also concerned that these actions pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.”

“[S]enior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call… the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system… used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature.”

“One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.”

*************************

As an aside, note that the House Speaker’s wholly inappropriate press release is quite selective.  Pelosi, in the text messages recited, includes the charge from Bill Taylor that Trump is withholding aid from the Ukraine for “help with a political campaign,” but leaves out Sondland’s reply:  ““Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s [sic] of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.”  Further absent is any exploration of Bill Taylor’s role in setting this scenario up for Adam Schiff.  It turns out that Taylor and a Schiff staffer met together in the Ukraine in August shortly before Taylor suddenly started sending emails this issue of a quid pro quo, something wholly aimed at the 2020 election.  If Taylor and a Schiff staffer had met on a tarmac, one one can readily imagine Pelosi asserting that they were discussing grandchildren.

Democrats’ decision to fold into the impeachment mix an ongoing (and wholly appropriate) investigation into the 2016 Russian Hoax is part of the progressives’ full court press to set themselves beyond the reach of justice.  In addition to Pelosi, progressive journalists are creating a cottage industry out of writing daily articles calling any investigation into the Russian Hoax unfounded and a “conspiracy theory” that a deranged President Trump, set on personal revenge, is pushing.  For instance, this from Politico’s Natasha Bertrand and Daniel Lippman, reporting on the Barr / Durham investigation that is now circling Brennan and Clapper:

President Donald Trump’s obsession with former CIA director John Brennan could be on a collision course with an ongoing Justice Department probe as Attorney General Bill Barr takes a more hands-on approach to examining the intelligence community’s actions in 2016.

Barr has been meeting with the U.S.’ closest foreign intelligence allies in recent months, making repeated overseas trips as part of an investigation he is overseeing into the origins of the Russia probe and whether any inappropriate “spying” occurred on Trump’s campaign.

As part of that investigation, Barr and John Durham, the federal prosecutor he appointed to conduct it, have been probing a conspiracy theory for which there is little if any evidence, according to several people with knowledge of the matter: that a key player in the Russia probe, a professor named Joseph Mifsud, was actually a Western intelligence asset sent to discredit the Trump campaign — and that the CIA, under Brennan, was somehow involved.

Trump, meanwhile, has become “obsessed” with Brennan, who frequently gets under the president’s skin by publicly questioning his mental acuity and fitness for office, according to a former White House official. On Brennan, “it was always, ‘he’s an idiot, he’s a crook, we ought to investigate him,’” this person said, characterizing Trump’s outbursts.

Since the beginning of his presidency, Trump has also repeatedly attacked Brennan publicly, . . .

This impeachment — and by it the attempt to shut down any investigation into the Russia hoax — resembles something one would expect to see in the old Soviet Union, never in America.  Democrats are holding secret proceedings. They are denying the defendant (i.e., the President) and his political party even the rudiments of due process.  The only thing progressives are selectively releasing are those things that they believe support their case.  They are hiding all else from the public.  And where they wholly lack facts . . . they are using anonymous hearsay and the imprimatur of the IC IG (itself likely an act of sedition) to tie it all together.  And all of this while their lackeys in the press repeatedly condemn the Russia hoax investigation as illegitimate.

And now I see this travesty “impeachment” is being run even worse than I thought, for Schiff is trying to prevent Republicans on his committee from gaining full access to transcripts from the hearings. As Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) explained yesterday:

(H/T CTH)

I will be amazed if we survive this as a nation.

Image credit: Nancy Pelosi caricature by DonkeyHotey.

The post Pelosi: All Investigations Of Democrats Are Illicit & Grounds For Impeachment appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Bookworm Beat 10/16/19: debates, impeachment theater, and European attitudes

In this Bookworm Beat, I admit I skipped the Democrat candidate debate, and instead focus on anti-democratic impeachment and snotty European attitudes.

(This is a companion post to the No. 25 Bookworm Podcast which I uploaded yesterday. The content is mostly the same, although not identical. It won’t matter much, I think, whether you prefer to read or listen.)

Ignoring the candidates debate. As a rather silly aside, am I the only one who, whenever I hear or see the phrase “candidates debate,” suddenly has a switch turn in my mind, followed by the lilting harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson?

I actually skipped last night’s candidates debate. After struggling through the first two Democrat candidates debate, I decided that I didn’t have the stomach for a third.

CNN is manipulating things to push the station’s preferred candidate (as we long suspected, but Project Veritas confirms); each of the candidates’ statements is heavily scripted, and they’re all pushing one form or another of socialism, from Warren’s and Biden’s hardcore desires to the socialism “lite” from Buttigieg and Gabbard. At this point, Democrat voters may still be deciding between six of one versus half a dozen of the other, but I know that it will be a cold day in Hell before I vote for any one of them.

The profoundly anti-democratic nature of impeachment. Although we don’t have completely direct democracy, thanks to the tempering qualities of the Electoral College, the president is still the People’s elected representative. That is, our Congress members or state governors do not get together behind closed doors and select a president. We, the People, get to go to the polls and tell our state electors whom they should vote for. We, the People, choose the President.

Impeachment means that Congress moves to kick out the People’s choice. View this way, impeachment is a very un-democratic process. This is especially true for the real Clinton impeachment and this most recent faux-Trump impeachment process: Neither is the result of a genuine groundswell of popular concern about a corrupt presidency; instead, each process represented the minority party’s effort to remove a sitting president. It’s true that Clinton committed a multitude of nasty, corrupt acts, but ultimately the impeachment was about perjury in a matter unrelated to his presidency, and that did not impress the voters at the time. In Trump’s case, it’s manifest that impeachment is simply an existential Democrat attack on Trump’s policies.

The Founders understood that impeachment counters the voters’ will, so they wrote into the Constitution that the House of Representatives — the branch of government that requires its members to go back to the voters every two years — must be the front line for impeachment. It’s the House that votes to initiate the process and it’s the House that, after the inquiry, votes on whether to refer the “trial” to the Senate (whose members only have to face voters every six years).

Under the system the Founders’ devised, the cord binding impeachment to democracy (and again, we’re taking small “d” democracy) is for the people’s representatives to be open about their conduct so that they can face the voters’ approval or wrath at the next election. Any other process, such as refusing to stand before the People and be counted or insisting that all proceedings take place in secret, amounts to nothing more than a government coup.

Mind you, I’m not speaking here about rules, textual analysis, or precedent. I’m simply talking about the difference between a government coup and the essence of representative government. Right now, we’re seeing the former and that should make everyone who is not gripped by severe Trump Derangement Syndrome very unhappy.

European attitudes tend to the snobbish. As long-time readers know, I’m a first generation American, for both my parents were European born. My Dad’s side of the family was a mixed bag: a poor Romanian Jew married the daughter of an exceedingly rich German Jewish industrialist; the daughter was cut loose without a penny; and my Dad grew up in a slum, then in an orphanage, and then made aliyah to British-mandate Palestine. He really couldn’t boast about his pedigree.

My Mom’s family, though . . . there was a whole lot of boasting going on there. On her father’s side, she came from an extremely distinguished Austro-Hungarian Jewish family, so much so that her grandfather received the Hungarian equivalent of a knighthood for his contributions to international patent law. On her mother’s side, she came from an old Hanseatic trading family that allied with an up-and-coming banking family. While everything vanished thanks to divorce and war, my mother’s background was, in its own way, pedigreed. My father, despite his communist youth, basked in that upscale feeling.

I therefore grew up in a household that was European in orientation and snobbish in outlook. I was reminded of both when I spoke yesterday with a relative on my Mom’s side. She was bemoaning the way in which one of my mother’s peers in the family raised her own children: The values were about “fine family,” “fine college,” “fine job.” In other words, superficial, but boast-worthy values. This was, my relative and I agreed, a very European idea. It was certainly the way I was raised.

America’s self-styled blue state elite has completely internalized those European values. The measure of a person is “fine college” and “fine job” (although, as Hunter Biden shows, lineage matters too). That’s true as well for soft-conservatives such as the Bushes. Their values strike me as more European than American. It’s a very superficial way of looking at people’s worth.

I internalized those values for most of my life. I was impressed by Ivy League credentials or big-monied, high prestige jobs.

Thankfully, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize how shallow and limiting those superficial European attitudes are. Although the Leftists are doing their best to kill the true democratic principles that long existed in America, that only makes me embrace them harder. I love being here in the Southeast where the people I meet don’t seem to be as obsessed with credentials. They seem to be more concerned with core values. You know, that “content of character” thing that Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about.

Admittedly, I’ve lived something of a hermit life for my first few months here in Tennessee, but I’ve been venturing out more and more and, thankfully, am meeting lots of new people. For example, one of the things I’ve done to help my podcasting is to join the local Toastmasters. It’s a great group of people and they really exemplify what I consider the true American attitude: friendly; supportive; great sense of humor, both outwardly directed and self-deprecating; and dedicated to self-improvement, which is a decidedly American concept.

I may be a late-to-the-table proud American, but I’m happy to say that these are my people!

The post Bookworm Beat 10/16/19: debates, impeachment theater, and European attitudes appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Can Pelosi & Schiff Get Away With Running a Star Chamber Impeachment?

What are the issues at the heart of the impeachment farce, and, as between the President and the progressives in the House, who has the superior legal argument?

Everything wrong with progressives today is playing out in the Star Chamber that Democrats are running as an “impeachment inquiry” in the House of Representatives.  The Democrats’ have dispensed with due process, precedent, and Constitutional limitation to create a juggernaut designed not to reach a just conclusion, but to ensure a vote impeaching the sitting President and bringing this nation half way to overturning the 2016 election.  Today’s progressives feel themselves above the law and believe the rest of us, including very much President Donald Trump, are unworthy of its protection.  Nowhere is that more apparent at the moment then in this impeachment farce.

The issues are two-fold.  First, may the House exercise the power to conduct an impeachment inquiry without formal authorization voted upon by the full House?  Second, is Nancy Pelosi constitutionally able to manipulate the House rules of impeachment to deny any due process or procedural protection to President Trump and to the minority members of the House?  In other words, is it true that Impeachment is nothing more than a particularly one-sided Grand Jury investigation?

A bit of background first.  A formal decision to investigate for impeachment is not a meaningless decision or a mere label.  At a minimum, once the House formally decides upon impeachment, the House accrues powers beyond that which it normally possesses.  Thus, it is a substantive legal question whether a House impeachment inquiry requires a House vote or whether the Speaker of the House can unilaterally announce the beginning of an impeachment inquiry. I know of no precedent in American or British history supporting Nancy Pelosi’s contention that she can accrue these formal powers of impeachment by simple fiat.  More on that below.

The House of Representatives normally only has “legislative” authority.  Thus House members are limited to investigating and holding hearings on matters that relate directly to producing legislation. As with so much in our Constitution, this is not a thing of bright line clarity.  But as is almost always the case, the fact that there’s no bright line does not mean that there is no line.  Perhaps the clearest example of line drawing outside of the impeachment context comes from recent House efforts to use a subpoena to force the IRS to release Trump’s tax returns.  When Trump refused to honor the subpoena, his attorneys pointed out that the House, while its members may have a political interest in reviewing Trump’s tax returns, have no legitimate legislative interest.

The House of Representatives accrues an additional power (i.e., “judicial power”) only when conducting an impeachment action.  That gives the House the power to overcome many claims of executive privilege for materials; to subpoena materials and testimony on topics beyond the House’s inherent legislative interests; and to access materials to which it otherwise has no legal right, such as grand jury testimony.When the House authorizes an impeachment, the question is no longer whether the House has a legitimate legislative purpose for its subpoenas, but whether the matter is relevant to its exercise of a judicial power on the specific matter before it.

Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, claims the unilateral right to assume this judicial power by fiat. Can Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats constitutionally get away with doing so?

The legal argument supporting Nancy Pelosi’s Star Chamber proceeding is set forth in that cutting edge repository of progressive legal analysis, Vox, in an article entitled “The White House argues the impeachment inquiry is “constitutionally invalid.” They’re wrong.”  WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! [Picture a child stamping its feet.]  Give me a break.

Here is the nub of the Vox argument, which contends that the House is free of any constraints on its ability to initiate and conduct an “impeachment” inquiry in whatever way it pleases, without deference to the Constitution’s language, to historic precedence, or to Due Process rights:

 The Constitution makes it clear the House has the “sole” discretion to impeach and the Senate has the “sole” ability to hold a trial.

In other words, impeachment is purely a function of the legislative branch; not the executive, and not the judicial. A 1993 US Supreme Court case around the impeachment of federal Judge Walter Nixon upheld this finding, saying the courts would not weigh in on Congress’s impeachment procedures because it could violate the separation of powers.

“The important thing is constitutionally, the president is making claims not supported by history, or fact, or previous judicial decisions,” Linda Fowler, a congressional and legal expert at Dartmouth College, told Vox. “This [letter] actually says Congress has no prerogative whatsoever with respect to the presidency.”

If your knee jerk reaction is not to believe anything that appears in Vox, you will be right far more often than you are wrong.  Let’s pull this apart.

The Constitution, Article I, Sec. II, Clause 5, states that “The House of Representatives . . . shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”  Note that the language on its face establishes unambiguously that the power belongs to the House of Representatives collectively, not to the Speaker of the House and not to a House Committee Chairman. This makes sense because, to the extent impeachment overturns the People’s will, it’s important for the next election cycle that the People’s representatives go on record with their stand on the issue.

True, the Constitution does not set forth the precise procedure the House must follow for impeachment.  That said — and I know you will find this surprising — contrary to Vox’s assertions, history does not support initiating a presidential impeachment using anything other than a resolution voted upon by the full House.

In our nation’s history, only three sitting presidents have been subject to impeachment proceedings. The House initiated Andrew Johnson’s impeachment after voting on a Resolution to Impeach, and only after that vote was counted did the House order the Judiciary Committee to meet and draw up articles of impeachment which the House then voted to approve and send to the Senate.  Over a century later, the process to impeach Richard Nixon began when the entire House voted on a resolution to send the matter for investigation to the Judiciary Committee.  And Bill Clinton’s impeachment likewise began when the full House voted on a resolution to begin the impeachment process.  While Vox claims that history does not support the position that only the full House can vote to begin the impeachment process, the reality of Presidential impeachments is exactly the opposite.

Because federal judges are more frequently subject to impeachment, when trying to understand the impeachment process for a sitting president (when safeguards should be at their highest), it’s helpful to look at judicial impeachment proceedings. The following is one of several procedural examples found in the Congressional Research Service Reports for 2011, and it focuses on a situation in which a judge is being impeached upon a third party complaint:

Rarely, a third party will attempt to jumpstart an impeachment investigation against a judge by sending evidence, petitions, memorials, or other communications to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee directly.  In the past 100 years, however, this has only happened on five occasions. Only one of these attempts successfully initiated an impeachment investigation against a judge. In this lone successful attempt, the U.S. Attorney General transmitted a report to the House Judiciary Committee in August 1913 to determine whether the House should make an impeachment investigation into the conduct of Judge Emory Speer (Southern District of Georgia).  Ten days after the receipt of the Attorney General’s report, Representative Henry Clayton of the House Judiciary Committee brought to the House floor a resolution authorizing the Judiciary Committee to investigate Judge Speer, as well as providing for the creation of a special subcommittee to assist in that investigation, to which the House agreed.  [Emphasis added]

And one can go back much further in time than the above example.  Indeed, the Founders adopted the impeachment process from Britain’s historical practice, which dates back to the 14th century.  For instance, in the 19th century series Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons, Vol. IV (Relating to Conference, and Impeachment), the author traces all of the impeachment proceedings in the House of Commons over a period of centuries, none of which, to the extent it can be ascertained, support initiating proceedings by anything other than a full vote of the body.

Next is Vox’s contention that there is a “1993 case” holding that procedural questions are non-justiciable, or as Vox puts it,  “courts would not weigh in on Congress’s impeachment procedures because it could violate the separation of powers.”  The case is Walter Nixon v. U.S.  When the case reached the Supreme Court, Walter Nixon was a federal court judge sitting in jail after having been found guilty of several offenses.  The House had formally impeached Judge Nixon, something he did not contest, nor did the Supreme Court consider it.  The question before the Supreme Court was whether the Senate, in its role as the trier of an impeachment, had adopted Constitutionally sufficient procedures by which to try Nixon. As Justice Rehnquist recounted in his opinion:

The Senate committee held four days of hearings, during which 10 witnesses, including Nixon, testified. S.Rep. No. 101-164, p. 4 (1989). Pursuant to Rule XI, the committee presented the full Senate with a complete transcript of the proceeding and a report stating the uncontested facts and summarizing the evidence on the contested facts. See id., at 3-4. Nixon and the House impeachment managers submitted extensive final briefs to the full Senate and delivered arguments from the Senate floor during the three hours set aside for oral argument in front of that body. Nixon himself gave a personal appeal, and several Senators posed questions directly to both parties. 135 Cong.Rec. S14493-14517 (Nov. 1, 1989). The Senate voted by more than the constitutionally required two-thirds majority to convict Nixon on the first two articles. Id., at S14635 (Nov. 3, 1989). The presiding officer then entered judgment removing Nixon from his office as United States District Judge.

Nixon thereafter commenced the present suit, arguing that Senate Rule XI violates the constitutional grant of authority to the Senate to “try” all impeachments because it prohibits the whole Senate from taking part in the evidentiary hearings. See Art. I, § 3, cl. 6. Nixon sought a declaratory judgment that his impeachment conviction was void and that his judicial salary and privileges should be reinstated.

In other words, Nixon contended that, once the formally voted-upon impeachment arrived in the Senate from the House, the Senate rules, which tried him before a committee rather than the full Senate, failed to meet constitutional requirements.  In announcing his majority opinion, Rehnquist held that, once a legislative branch is re-constituted as a court for impeachment purposes, it has the right to determine procedural matters that the Constitution (i.e., the text) does not address:

In the case before us, there is no separate provision of the Constitution which could be defeated by allowing the Senate final authority to determine the meaning of the word “try” in the Impeachment Trial Clause. We agree with Nixon that courts possess power to review either legislative or executive action that transgresses identifiable textual limits. As we have made clear, “whether the action of either the Legislative or Executive Branch exceeds whatever authority has been committed, is itself a delicate exercise in constitutional interpretation, and is a responsibility of this Court as ultimate interpreter of the Constitution.” Baker v. Carr, supra369 U.S., at 211, 82 S.Ct., at 706; accord, Powell, supra395 U.S., at 521, 89 S.Ct., at 1963-1964. But we conclude, after exercising that delicate responsibility, that the word “try” in the Impeachment Clause does not provide an identifiable textual limit on the authority which is committed to the Senate.  [Emphasis added]

Fortunately, the Constitution, at Art. I, Sec. 2, Cl. 5, does have text explicitly addressing whether certain members of the House (as opposed to the collective House via a vote) may initiate an impeachment proceeding. That language holds that “The House . . . shall have the sole power of impeachment.”  The key question, then, is what the Constitution means with the phrase “The House.”  Is it the entire body of the House, or can Nancy Pelosi contort the text to hold that “the House” merely means “the Speaker of the House” acting by fiat?

As noted above, to the extent impeachment overrides the voters’ will, there is a good argument to be made that the entire House must go on record via a vote in order that the People, during the next election cycle, can make their pleasure or displeasure known. This, of course, is what Pelosi is avoiding — she knows that she does not speak for a majority. Emotionally, her party members may be all in with impeachment, but as a practical matter, many know that the voters will kick them out of office if they take a formal stand.

But to return to the Vox argument, examining the text in Nixon v. U.S. establishes that, at the very least, that decision does not control — indeed, it never addresses — whether the House of Representatives may validly initiate an impeachment proceeding without a full, on-the-record vote of the House members. Contrary to Vox, a House Speaker announcing without a formal vote that “we’re doing an impeachment investigation,” is a question of first impression.  Indeed, there is no court case on point because, before progressives decided to turn the House into a Star Chamber with Trump and his voters below the law, this is an issue so far out of the normal and fair process that no American — nor, for that matter, any British citizen in pre-Revolutionary times — has had to litigate it.

The second question bedeviling Pelosi’s unusual “impeachment inquiry” concerns the deeply unfair and one-sided means by which Pelosi is conducting it.  Precedent has always been the case, in both England and America, that the accused may participate in his or her impeachment inquiry and that the minority gets procedural protections.  Outside of the old, hated Star Chamber, there is no historical precedent for procedures that hold proceedings in secret while shutting out both the minority party and the accused — yet these are the procedures Nancy Pelosi has adopted for her “impeachment inquiry.” What Pelosi and Schiff (who is effectively putting the Senate’s seal of approval on these proceedings) are doing is a mockery of due process.  So, are Pelosi’s bizarre procedures also immune from challenge?

That is a closer question.  Under Rehnquist’s sweeping holding in Nixon — to the effect that the Senate, when acting in a judicial capacity can make its own rules — the House rules, one sided as they are, are indeed immune to challenges. However, that’s too facile a conclusion. Unlike the Star Chamber now operating in the House, in the Nixon case, as Rehnquist made clear, even though the proceedings were held before a committee, rather than the entire Senate, Nixon had full due process rights, including a public trial.

The unique facts in Nixon meant that, while several justices agreed with the Court’s ultimate decision, they were troubled with the reasoning and therefore wrote concurrences explaining those concerns. Justice Souter, presciently, wrote in his concurring opinion that a situation could arise in which a Congressional body’s conduct was so devoid of constitutional protections that the Supreme Court could overrule its chosen procedures:

One can, nevertheless, envision different and unusual circumstances that might justify a more searching review of impeachment proceedings. If the Senate were to act in a manner seriously threatening the integrity of its results, convicting, say, upon a coin-toss, or upon a summary determination that an officer of the United States was simply ” ‘a bad guy,’ ” ante, at ____ (WHITE, J., concurring in judgment), judicial interference might well be appropriate. In such circumstances, the Senate’s action might be so far beyond the scope of its constitutional authority, and the consequent impact on the Republic so great, as to merit a judicial response despite the prudential concerns that would ordinarily counsel silence. “The political question doctrine, a tool for maintenance of governmental order, will not be so applied as to promote only disorder.” Baker, supra, at 215, 82 S.Ct., at 709. (Emphasis added.)

Put more simply, the question is not, as Vox would have it, whether the House may adopt its own procedures.  The question is whether the House has the right to adopt procedures that promote “disorder” — that is, rules that are so one sided as to wholly “call into question the integrity of its results.”  That, it would seem, is going to be something that can and should be litigated to the Supreme Court.  And it is beyond irony that the House Democrats, who have created this Constitutional crisis by jettisoning procedural precedents to create this farce of impeachment theater, will certainly argue vociferously that the Supreme Court must honor Nixon’s precedent to find the House’s precedent-breaking acts non-justiciable by the Court.  Does anyone else see a problem with that?

Some, in defending the one-sided rules the House adopted in order to manipulate an impeachment of President Trump, liken the House action to a Grand Jury proceeding wherein jurors determine whether the state has mustered a case strong enough to convince a majority of jurors that the matter should proceed to trial.  These proceedings are always held in secret and the accused has no right to appear and make a defense.  That is a ludicrous comparison to impeachment, where the House, an elected, representative body, is voting upon the very legitimacy of the People’s electoral choice.

Paul Mirengoff, writing at Power Line, addresses the argument that impeachment in the House can or should be treated as a Grand Jury proceeding:

. ., . As far as I can tell, the Democratic House wants to deny President Trump anything resembling due process. It seems to view its role as akin to a grand jury with the Senate acting as a regular jury. A suspected criminal has very few rights before the grand jury. His opportunity for due process is afforded at the trial stage.

This model has very little to recommend it, either by way of precedent or common sense, in the impeachment context. The two modern impeachment proceedings — of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton — weren’t handled this way. In both instances, the House adopted procedures that afforded the president due process.

The procedures approved by the Judiciary Committee for the Nixon and Clinton impeachments stated “[t]he President’s counsel may question any witness called before the Committee.” President Clinton’s attorney questioned Ken Starr when he appeared before the Judiciary Committee and President Nixon’s attorney questioned each of the nine witnesses that appeared before the Judiciary Committee.

The procedures approved by the Judiciary Committee for the Nixon and Clinton impeachments stated “[t]he President and his counsel shall be invited to attend all hearings, including any held in executive session.” President Clinton’s attorneys were allowed to call and question 14 expert witnesses before the Judiciary Committee.

Finally, it’s my understanding that in every prior presidential impeachment inquiry in American history, the full House voted to authorize the inquiry.

So far, it looks like Nancy Pelosi has rejected each of these precedents.

Common sense tells us that the grand jury model should not apply to the impeachment of a president. . . .

Nothing about this model makes sense in the impeachment context. Congressmen aren’t pulled in randomly off the street. They are the elected representatives of the American people. In an impeachment proceeding, all members of the House should be able to vote on the basis of the fullest, most fairly developed record.

This entails a proceeding in which the president receives due process — one in which his lawyers can attend all hearings, question all witnesses, and call witnesses of their own.

The president, moreover, is not an ordinary criminal defendant. He is the chief executive officer of the U.S. government and commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces. He typically, and in this case, was elected president by the American people. He should not be indicted as if he were a ham sandwich.

Impeachment isn’t a trifling matter, it’s a momentous one. It entails a trial that will bring the Senate to a halt. It will divide the nation and suck the oxygen out of all other political and policy discourse. The matter won’t be resolved by a plea bargain or one week trial in some faraway court room.

None of this is an argument against impeaching President Trump. But it does counsel strongly in favor of an impeachment proceeding that is both transparent and fair to the president — one in which he receives due process, including the right to have his lawyers participate fully.

And this is before even raising the argument that the substance of the House’s impeachment claim is not within the original meaning of “a high crime and misdemeanor,” a point made by Alan Dershowitz writing recently at the Wall Street Journal.  According to Mr. Dershowitz:

As for the allegations against President Trump, obstruction of justice is plainly a high crime, but a president cannot commit it by exercising his constitutional authority to fire or pardon, regardless of his motive. (It would have been an impeachable offense in Mr. Clinton’s case, but the facts were disputed.) Neither is it a crime to conduct foreign policy for partisan or personal advantage—a common political sin with no limiting principle capable of being applied in a neutral manner.

The Framers, by rejecting open-ended criteria such as “maladministration” and substituting more specific and criminal-like criteria, sent a message to future generations: Impeachment should not be a political measure governed by “the comparative strength of parties.” It should be based on “the real demonstration of innocence or guilt” of “the accused.” It is left to Congress to be reasonable and conscientious in interpreting the words “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors”—a tall order in our hyperpartisan age.

To finish, let me add a parting thought:  What is happening in the House — this abuse of power to manipulate the process of impeachment and strip the accused of all protections to reach a wholly political end — is rule by tyranny of the majority.  Another way to frame that is to frame it as our Founder’s did in the 18th century, “pure democracy,” something that – like socialism and communism – sounds good, but that has been shown unworkable and disastrous in the pages of history.

Our Founders knew the problems of this rule by tyranny of the majority and it is why they designed a Constitution to minimize its impacts everywhere they could foresee it as a problem.   As John Adams wrote, democracy unchecked by rules to protect the minority produces naught but “fraud, violence and cruelty.”  Alexander Hamilton wrote of it that its “very character” is “tyranny,” its very “figure deformity.”  And as Madison wrote, “A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party.”  Marvin Simkin, writing in the Los Angeles Times in 1992, gave those sentiments a more modern cast:Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote.

More openly than ever before in our Nation’s history, progressives desire pure democracy — at least so long as they hold a numerical majority by fair means or foul — for this country.  We are seeing it at the micro level in this impeachment proceeding, but we are seeing it at the macro level in everything else progressives do.  Whenever they achieve a majority, then they want the rules changed to a pure democracy so they can exercise unfettered power.  And with those rule changes come such things as Court packing, so that they will tie the hands of non-progressives and always rule over this country, even when out of the majority.

Our system of government is designed to respect the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority and the individual.  It is why our government is designed as a Republic rather than a democracy.  In the legal sense, “due process” exists to insure that the individual does not unfairly become the victim of the passions of someone cloaked in the power of government.  In the political sense, “checks and balances” exist to insure that, while the majority will is respected, the rights of the minority party are protected.  Are all of those to be tossed out now, sacrificed on the progressive altar of “orange man bad” and the belief that only progressives have an inherent and moral right to rule over the rest of us?

The post Can Pelosi & Schiff Get Away With Running a Star Chamber Impeachment? appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

No. 19 Bookworm Podcast – Bookworm Beat 9/26/19: Ukraine stuff and more

In this Bookworm Beat, I cover the motives behind the Ukraine whistleblower kerfuffle, things at college that scare parents, and gender neutral dolls.

(If you prefer listening over reading, the companion podcast to this post is embedded below, or you can listen to it at Libsyn or at Apple podcasts. I’m trying to make a go of my podcasting so, if you like the podcasts, please share them with your friends and on social media. Giving my podcast good ratings helps too.)

Thoughts on the Ukraine whistleblower scam.  As a preliminary matter, I’ve read both the Trump transcript, which was innocuous, and the “whistleblower’s” allegations, which are not only hearsay, but are as ephemeral and meaningless as chalk on a sidewalk before the rains come. Neither document even hints at a quid pro quo. The MSM knows this, which is why it uses ellipses to remove more than 540 words between Trump’s request for a favor and any reference he makes to Biden and his son.

I’ve learned, as others have, that Bill Clinton signed off on a treaty in the 1990s allowing cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine to investigate and prosecute crimes. I’ve seen the growing suspicion that Adam Schiff engineered this whole thing. And I’ve seen that John Solomon reports that he has hundreds of pages of documents showing the remarkable coincidence that the same prosecutor who was investigating Biden’s son was the person Biden demanded be fired – and remember that Biden did so using the weight of U.S. finances as a cudgel and then boasting about it later. I’m also fully cognizant of the fact that Hunter Biden is a morally lost young man who has made himself fabulously wealthy selling his complete lack of expertise to foreign governments such as China and Ukraine, countries that, at the time, hoped for favors from a Veep who claimed to have Obama’s ear.

All that’s the obvious stuff. I bet you know it too. What I find more interesting is the blind hatred and the actual motive driving the Democrats here. A post from Frank Bruni over at msn news exemplifies what I’m talking about. Bruni pretends to be terrified about impeachment, although he assures readers that “President Trump deserves to be impeached.” Bruni then spells out why Trump “deserves” to be impeached:

Arguably, it’s the only move, at least in terms of fidelity to the Constitution and to basic decency. From the moment that Trump stepped into the office of the presidency, he has degraded it — with words that a president has no business speaking (or tweeting); with ceaseless lies; with infantile and often unhinged behavior; with raging conflicts of interest; with managerial ineptitude; with a rapacious ego that’s never sated; and with foreign dealings that compromise America’s values, independence and interests. How can principled lawmakers not tell him, in the most emphatic manner available, that enough is enough?

Reading over the above, with it’s exuberant use of adjectives, I’m reminded that, just today, the Pope warned people away from adjectives. How boring! Also, how Big Brother-ish to limit people’s thoughts by limiting the words available to them.

What does Bruni’s avalanche of words (including adjectives) really mean? Let me run this through the logical translator:

  • When Bruni says “with words that a president has no business speaking (or tweeting)” he means “he hurt our feelings.”
  • When Bruni says “with ceaseless lies” he means “he’s made statements of fact with which we disagree or that we deliberately (and repeatedly) misinterpret.”
  • When Bruni says “with infantile and often unhinged behavior” he means “Trump’s being an ordinary guy who fails to live up to the hip, no-drama Obama cool image we basked in for eight years.”
  • When Bruni says “with raging conflicts of interest” he means “Trump was and is a successful businessman, rather than a Leftist member of the perpetual political class, and his success more than anything exposes the weakness of our policies and the strength of his.
  • When Bruni says “with managerial ineptitude” he means “we hate that Trump gets more done in a week than Obama got done in eight years and, worse, he’s managed to undo most of what Obama did manage to do.
  • When Bruni says “with a rapacious ego that’s never stated” he means “we deeply resent that Trump has figured out a way to circumvent the fact that 90% of the media is Progressive and refuses to acknowledge his accomplishments.”
  • When Bruni says “foreign dealings that compromise America’s values, independence and interests” he means “we can’t stand that Trump has used his Constitutional authority over foreign policy and national security to turn away from Obama’s love affairs with Islamic theocrats, such as Iran’s mullahs, and hardcore communists, such as Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, or Xi Jinping and, instead, has turned towards liberty-loving countries such as Israel, the Central European countries that threw off communism’s yoke, and the East Asian nations worried about a rapacious China.”

In sum, what Bruni really means is that Progressives hate everything Trump stands for, that they don’t trust the voters, those stupid, stupid voters who elected Trump in the first place, and that they must kick Trump out of office in 2020 or sooner, because he’s just a totally icky, white supremacist troglodyte.

Bruni ostensibly worries that impeachment, rather than driving Trump out of office, will solidify his hold on the White House. Moreover, he legitimately worries that the Democrat base will be enraged when, despite the House’s efforts, the whole initiative comes to a dead-end in the Senate.

Still, angry Progressives notwithstanding, when Bruni says he’s terrified he’s being disingenuous. Of course he knows impeachment will fail. Even the squad – that weird sister foursome of Omar, Tlaib, Occasional-Cortex, and what’s her name again –understands this. To the extent he’s Bruni is tapping the brakes here, he does so only to spare the fanatics too much disappointment when impeachment goes down in flames. But Bruni himself still really wants impeachment. Why?

Daniel Greenfield, aka Sultan Knish, nails what’s really going on here:

Impeachment plugs into the same narrative [as Russian collusion] which is not just about winning, but delegitimizing.

Democrats want to win elections. Radicals want to delegitimize the entire idea of elections. Pelosi wants to win an election. The radicals don’t want to win elections. They want to destroy them. Their real goal is to use blind hatred of Republicans to convince Democrats that elections are inherently illegitimate. All their arguments, whether about Russian Facebook bots or the Electoral College circle back to that.

The choosing of governments, it follows, is too important an issue to be left to mere voters whose voting machines and brains are all too easily hacked by disinformation campaigns and FOX News.

And the removal of President Trump from office is also too important to be left to those same voters.

This true motive, to delegitimize both Trump and the entire Constitutional, electoral system is something that I can assure you Bruni supports wholeheartedly.

Put another way, what we’re seeing here is the twin to the motive that Christine Blowsy-Fraud and other Leftists had when making their manifestly false and salacious claims against Justice Brett Kavanaugh – delegitimization. We suspected that, of course, but Blowsy-Fraud’s attorney totally gave the game away:

It will be fascinating to watch this story unfold, although it will be fascinating in the same way one watches a horror movie, frozen with fear as the killer sneaks up on his victim. The best outcome would be for this whole charade to destroy the Democrats.

When I read my Facebook feed, though, which is mostly made up of Democrats who became part of my life during the decades I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I see that they are true believers and will never give up. Instead, they’ll become only more outraged and enraged. This is a scary thought because most of them are college-educated and in positions of power over the culture and over up-and-coming generations. Their children also show every sign of following in their footsteps.

Maybe Democrats are wising up to problems with college. Those who know me know that I have a real bee in my bonnet about American college education. My hostility to higher ed isn’t new. Indeed, it goes back to my days at UC Berkeley, at the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s.

I excelled at Cal as a liberal arts major, which is not a boast. It’s a complaint. I’m not that smart and I didn’t work at all. I ought not to have excelled. The fact that I did so means that standards for liberal arts majors, even back then, were abysmal. Being marginally literate was enough to push you to the head of the class.

I also had a real problem with the Marxist gloss so many of the classes had. I didn’t realize it was Marxist because I was politically uninformed. I did realize, though, that teachers were contorting themselves in ridiculous ways to put a class veneer on medieval, Tudor, Stuart, and Hanover England. Their lessons made no sense, and one thing I do have is a fairly good BS meter.

That was all a long time ago, and things have only gotten worse. In my last Bookworm Beat post, I launched one of my obsessive attacks on today’s colleges and universities as the incubators for every bad idea in America. I’ll spare you and won’t repeat it here. I’ll say only that, if Americans want to return our country to its Constitutional roots, the best way for them to do so is to demand that their congressional representatives enact a bill to withdraw all federal funds (aka taxpayer money) from colleges and universities (although I might be amenable to a tiny, tiny carveout for research directly related to national security issues).

Given that I just went on this rant a few days ago, why am I doing it again? I’m doing it again because a couple of my true believer Progressive Facebook friends have been sharing a June 2019 article entitled “A Very Dangerous Place for a Child is College.” It’s fascinating and worth reading in its entirety.

The author, Louis M. Profeta, is an emergency room physician who decided to take on the road the information he’d learned from seeing college kids head into the ER.  His point, and it’s a good one, is that too many American kids are immature and naïve to the point of death or permanent disability.

Dr. Profeta’s crusade started a couple of years ago when he wrote his first essay on the subject, “A Sunday Talk on Sex, Drugs, Drinking, and Dying with the Frat Boys.” That’s the title. In fact, it’s not just about frat boys. Profeta is talking about young people generally who are drowning in data and who pull all the wrong lessons from what comes their way.

Thanks to that article, Dr. Profeta got a second gig as a college speaker. In his current article, he describes, not just the information he gives the students, but also the questions they ask him. These questions make sense only if you consider that this is the “hey, let’s eat Tide Pods” generation:

I hadn’t held anything back from the students. I warned them beforehand. I was coming from a different place, a place where doctors do rape exams, pump veins full of narcan and epinephrine, look at the clock and pronounce time of death and break horrible news to moms and dads. I had become kind of sick of it (giving out the bad news, I mean). It didn’t seem like much was working to change the tide of opiate abuse, reckless behavior, and other causes of death in young people so I figured I’d start going to the source and begging these students to, well, grow the fuck up.

Most loved the candor, the openness, the willingness of a seasoned ER doctor to answer uncomfortable questions about drugs and alcohol, sexual assault, and hazing, and a whole host of semi-taboo topics. But it was the questions when the “adults” were out of the room that made me say to myself, “Holy shit … so many of these ‘kids’ have absolutely no business being in college.”

“What about whippets, what if I just snorted one xanax, can you really soak a tampon in alcohol and get drunk, is cough syrup OK to mix with vodka, is ecstasy and molly the same thing, can’t you just strap a backpack to them to keep them from rolling over so they don’t choke on their own vomit, what about phenergan, what’s in skittles (not the candy), how many milligrams of THC can you eat and not die, are they starting to add stuff to coke (not the cola) that makes you more hyped, how much does it cost to go to an ER, will you call my parents if I go, how can you tell if your roommate is suicidal, what if you know your roommate is using heroin … should I tell their parents, how do I tell if the ‘bars’ I bought online are not fentanyl, I got raped last year … should I tell someone now, I think my roommate is going to probably kill herself…who do I tell?”

For a long time, Leftists have been assuring us that colleges are the “rapiest” places in the world. (No, this isn’t a non sequitur. Stick with me.) For example, here’s presidential wanna be, and chief groper and hair sniffer, Joe Biden, when he was still Veep, parroting that claim:

Of course, we’ve long known that parents don’t really believe that 20% of all college women will be raped. If they did, they’d never send their daughters to a place that has a higher rape rate than South Africa, a country that annually sees around 95 rapes per every 100,000 people.

Because the sex ratio in South Africa is roughly equal, that means that, out of every 50,000 women in South Africa, 95 of them can expect to be raped (and that includes women from ages 1 day old to 100 years old). If my math is correct, means that roughly .2% of the South African female population risks rape. In other words, I think we can all reasonably believe that Biden and the feminists have been exaggerating by at least a factor of 100 the risk of rape on American college campuses.

What isn’t exaggerated is what Dr. Profeta talks about. Progressive parents know in their heart of hearts that this the risks he describes are the real deal: It’s a youth culture saturated in drugs, depression, and dangerous behavior. Knowing this is what may make these Progressives finally turn their back on these colleges and have their children enter the real world, instead of pushing them into a dystopian Marxist fantasy-land, one that almost proudly assures parents that, by graduation 30% of all the kids could be diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

Certainly that’s what Dr. Profeta thinks should happen. He urges parents to save college for when their kids have grown up a bit:

We need to encourage our kids to slow it down, to take a longer path to college, perhaps. Expose our kids to real education—the kind of education that comes with a W-2, a boss, getting up early and working late and interacting with people who can’t afford a higher education. Make them appreciate the life experiences that come with nailing a 2 x 4, washing dishes, wheeling people to X-ray, picking up garbage, answering telephones. Make them earn their spending money BEFORE college and decide on their own if they’d rather use it on alcohol, weed, a four-block Uber ride, or laundry and food.

Teach them these things and send them off to school as adults.

Profeta’s advice is sound no matter how one looks at it. Not only will kids do fewer stupid things, it also means that young people who have indeed seen how the real world works will be less vulnerable to the social justice warrior, victimhood, Marxist politics preached at America’s institutions of so-called “higher education.”

As an aside, or maybe a follow-up, the crazy isn’t just in college. Our K-12 schools are staffed by graduates of these Marxist fantasy lands. That’s why we get stories about 5-year-old autistic boys being accused of sexual harassment for kissing a classmate on the cheek. And that’s why we get stories about a 6-year-old girl being arrested and led off in handcuffs and fingerprinted when she threw a tantrum at school and kicked a classmate. It’s hard for me to imagine the extenuating circumstances that could justify labeling a 5-year-old as a sexual harasser, especially one with autism, or cuffing a 6-year-old girl having a tantrum. The children were reacting, as children do; the adults were overreacting, as progressives do.

Not all college grads go into education, though. Most go into corporate America, which is how we get my next story, about a doll….

What happens when college grads get hold of dolls. Toymaker Mattel has admittedly taken a lot of grief over the years for Barbie, the impossibly voluptuous doll launched in the 1950s. I could never understand the outrage. I adored playing with my Barbies and, to the best of my knowledge, did not fight going to college or law school because of Barbie, nor did I develop a complex because I didn’t get a triple D bust, a 16 inch waist, 32 inch hips, and legs proportionately longer than Wilt Chamberlain’s with feet stuck in permanent high heel mode. To the extent I’m not normal, I blame my parents [joke] and a childhood in San Francisco [sort of a joke], not Barbie.

But as I said, Mattel got the flack. Fortunately, now that it’s fully staffed with woke college graduates, Mattel has a new plan: “Gender neutral dolls.

From that video, I want to focus specifically on the words you heard from Jess Weiner, a 1995 University of Pennsylvania graduate. Let me repeat them for you:

This will be really challenging for a population of people. We will challenge people’s points of view about how they think boys and girls should play. You know, it’s so funny parents often tell me that they want to raise their boys to be really wonderful fathers. How do we expect to raise wonderful, nurturing fathers if we don’t encourage nurturing play when they’re boys?

I raised a boy (and sometimes it seems as if I raised a dozen boys, because so many were always in my house). Asking them to play with dolls was anathema. They wanted to run, roll, tumble, tussle, yell, shoot play guns, do sports, and just about anything but play with dolls.

I raised my son, and my friends raised their sons, to be wonderful, nurturing people by helping them understand that, to be good men, they had to care for those weaker than they are, and that to be good people they had to be kind and, within the family unit, loving. Buying a Mattel doll wouldn’t have reinforced these ethical lessons about being a good man; they would have confused and disgusted the boys.

If you watch the whole video, you’ll see a few other people earnestly assuring parents that the way to raise the best boys and girls (but especially the best boys) is to get them playing with dolls who look like confused refugees from a San Francisco hipster Starbucks. As I  noted above, Weiner is a UPenn grad. Other voices are Lisa McKnight, a Denison University grad; Kim Culmone, a 1992 Louisiana State University grad; Linda Jiang, a 2013 Otis College of Art and Design grad; and Monica Dreger, a Boston University grad from (I’m guessing) the early to mid-1990s.

To give you a little idea about the colleges from which these women graduated, UPenn hosted a toxic masculinity seminar during this past year’s Super Bowl; Boston University just got hit with a $100,000 verdict against it in a lawsuit that John Doe brought because they mishandled sexual assault allegations against him; Denison was home to a professor who felt that the chant “all lives matter” was irritating and showed covert racism; Louisiana State University made news when the administration tampered with photos to remove crosses that students were wearing; Boston University is placing audience size restrictions on Ben Shapiro’s upcoming talk; and at Otis College, to the extent faculty members made political donations, 100% of those faculty members gave money to Maxine Waters.

Did I mention that we need to take federal money out of academia?

The only place in which I find gender confusion even marginally amusing is in the Kinks’ great song, Lola – which I’d like to believe never changed anyone’s sexuality:

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It’s a mixed up, muddled up, sup world, except for Lola
La-la-la-la Lola
Well, I left home just a week before
And I’d never ever kissed a woman before
But Lola smiled and took me by the hand
And said “Dear boy, I’m gonna make you a man”
Well, I’m not the world’s most masculine man
But I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man
And so is Lola

The post No. 19 Bookworm Podcast – Bookworm Beat 9/26/19: Ukraine stuff and more appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Bombshells But No Wrongdoing In Trump Phone Conversation with Ukraine’s President

Alternate title:  Ukraine, Donald Trump and Joe Biden — Quid Pro No

First, for all those of you deep in a dark fantasy of impeaching Trump, an oldie but a goodie

Watch.  Recapture the excitement as you waited expectantly for impeachment to overturn the election results but a few months ago.  This one has it all.  Progressive politics as religion.  An indictment of Trump for the high crime and misdemeanor of winning the 2016 election, of being the “worst” and, in addition, committing almost all forty of the fantasy crimes and wrongs articulated by the NYT that Bookworm addressed in her post yesterday.   After you’re done with the sing-along, might I suggest a safe space and some My Little Pony coloring books.  Hold on tight to your dreams.

For the rest of us . . .

President Trump this morning released the transcript of his phone call with President of Ukraine.  The transcript of the entire conversation is below.  A few comments on it first.

The Bombshells:

It appears that the DNC Server — the one that was hacked and set off the whole Trump-Russia mania — is in the Ukraine.  This from the memo (emphasis mine):

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it.  There are a lot. of things that went on, the whole situation .. I think you’re _surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.

Holy smokes!!!  What in the world is going on with that?  This stinks to high heaven.

One of the most corrupt aspects of the entire Trump-Russia coup attempt was the FBI’s failure to secure and investigate the DNC server. You remember, of course, that the DNC claimed Russia hacked its server. The DNC based this claim upon a report from Crowdstrike, a computer analytic firm that Perkins Coie hired on the DNC’s behalf. Because the DNC refused to hand its serve to the FBI / DOJ, those agencies could only clutch to their collective breasts a redacted, draft version of the Crowdstrike report. It was this report, based upon a server they never analyzed, that the FBI / DOJ used as a foundation for the Trump investigation.

What’s staggering is that the above conversation strongly indicates that the DNC server, which the DNC refused to allow even the FBI or Special Counsel Robert Mueller to examine, is being stored outside U.S. borders and in the Ukraine.  What the hell?

Further, it seems from what Trump said that people in the Ukraine were involved both in the hoax and in meddling with the 2016 campaign.  That was news to me.  I haven’t seen that information before, but here is the Washington Times today verifying it:

U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating Ukraine’s role in the 2016 FBI probe of President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, the Department of Justice confirmed Wednesday. . . .

“A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement.

Ms. Kupec said Ukrainians who are not government officials have already volunteered information as part of the probe. She also said that Mr. Barr has not yet contacted the Ukrainian government over the investigation. . . .

A few points: One, this is starting to sound like a Tom Clancy novel.  Two, it is no wonder that some people are near frantic to impeach Trump and short circuit the investigation into the Trump-Russia coup.  Three, the MSM is studiously ignoring any part of the transcript Trump released that doesn’t deal directly with Biden. This means that the MSM’s audience, unless its members are curious enough to read the transcript themselves, will never know about the peculiar relationship between the DNC and Ukraine or about the missing DNC server that triggered the whole Russiagate hoax. So, for example, you get this from the NYT:  Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden

Quid pro NO

Sorry, progressives, notwithstanding all your swamp fever dreams of impeachment, Trump did not propose a quid pro quo nor did he commit any wrongdoing vis-a-vis his phone conversation with Ukraine’s president.  Biden predicated previously-agreed-upon financial aid to Ukraine by demanding at the last minute that Ukraine agree to fire the prosecutor general investigating his son.  (“Nice little country you’ve got here. It would be a same if something happened to it.”) There is nothing in the transcript that sees Trump saying “I’m doing nothing for you unless you first do this for me.”

Nor did Trump propose aid in return for investigating Joe Biden’s corrupt act.  It is apparent that, while Trump’s request for a follow-up investigation occurred in the context of other agreed-upon exchanges of goods and services (so to speak), none of these other arrangements were contingent upon Ukraine agreeing with Trump’s request.

Most importantly, perhaps, as to those things the President of the Ukraine indicated that he intended to investigate, the only promises he made to President Trump were to conduct open and fair investigations and to provide honest information.

Crazy Nancy has given in to the radical fringe of her party (as an aside, it was not long ago that she was the radical fringe) and is still trying to keep the dream alive.  She issued this statement today, as slanderous as it was based on falsehoods:

The release of the notes of the call by the White House confirms that the President engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security.  The President has tried to make lawlessness a virtue in America and now is exporting it abroad.

“I respect the responsibility of the President to engage with foreign leaders as part of his job.  It is not part of his job to use taxpayer money to shake down other countries for the benefit of his campaign.  Either the President does not know the weight of his words or he does not care about ethics or his constitutional responsibilities.

“The transcript and the Justice Department’s acting in a rogue fashion in being complicit in the President’s lawlessness confirm the need for an impeachment inquiry.  Clearly, the Congress must act. . . .

You decide how far out of touch with reality she is.  This from the memo (emphasis mine):

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it  There are a lot. of things that went on, the whole situation .. I think you’re _surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended
with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

President Zelenskyy: Yes it is. very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. . . ., I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly .. That I can assure you.

The President: Good because I· heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.  A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. . . .  The other thing,
There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the
prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so
whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.

President Zelenskyy:  . . .  The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case.

This is Biden’s Waterloo

Biden is already in trouble, running a moribund campaign and falling behind Sitting Bull in the latest national poll.  This transcript turns the spotlight onto Biden’s corrupt act in the Ukraine, a topic that will be invoked endlessly as long as it is in the news.  And it is just going to get worse when all of the China corruption involving Hunter Biden is forced into the mainstream.  I can’t see how Biden survives it.  And the real irony of it all is that the “whistleblower’s” lead attorney has donated to Biden.

——————

Here is the memo of the conversation released today in it entirety:

Telephone Conversation with President
Zelenskyy of Ukraine
Pre·sident Zelenskyy of Ukraine
Notetakers: The White House Situation Room
July 25, 2019, 9:03 – 9:33 a.m. EDT

Residence

The President: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific.job. The way.you came from behind, -somebody who wasn’t given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It’s a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

President Zelenskyy: You· are absolutely right Mr. President.  We did win big and we worked hard for this. We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections and yes it is true that these were unique elections. We were in a unique situation  that we  were able to achieve a unique success. I’m able to tell you the following:  the first time, you· called me to congratulate me when I won my presidential election, and the second time you are now calling me when my party won the parliamentary election. I think I should run more often so you can call me more often and we can talk over the phone more often.

The President: [laughter] That’s a very good idea. I think your country is very happy about that.

President Zelenskyy:   Well yes, to tell you the truth, we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that.

The President:  Well it’s very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should ·really ask them about. When I.was· speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do  anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way, so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very  good to Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy: Yes you are·absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her. I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine.  It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest· partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than.the European Union and I’m very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation.  I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense.  We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United· States for defense purposes

The· President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it  There are a lot. of things that went on, the whole situation .. I think you’re _surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

President Zelenskyy: Yes it is. very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President,-· it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to· open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United· States and Ukraine.  For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will. personally tell you that one· of my assistants· spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also· wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly .. That I can assure you ..

The President: Good because I· heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.  A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor bf New York Ci:ty, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General.  Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States,· the woman was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that  The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.

President Zelenskyy:  I wanted to tell ·you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament; the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make· sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one. who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree·with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.

The President: Well, she’ s going to go through some things. I will. have Mr. Giuliani.give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to· the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot· of assets. It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible ·people.

President Zelenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States.  Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower. I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future. I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC.  On the other hand, I also wanted to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. As to the economy, there is much potential for our two countries and one of  the issues that is very important for Ukraine is energy independence.  I believe we can be very successful and cooperating on energy independence with United States. We are already working on cooperation. We are buying American oil but I am very hopeful for a future meeting. We will have more time and more opportunities to discuss these opportunities· and get to know each other better. I would like to thank you very much for your support

The President: Good. Well, thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out. I look forward to seeing you.

President Zelenskyy: Thank ·you very much. I would be very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you personally and I . . . get to know. you better. I am looking forward to our meeting arid I also would like to invite you to visit Ukraine and come to the city bf Kyiv which is a beautiful city. We have a beautiful country Which would welcome you. On the other hand, I believe that on September_l we will be in Poland and we can meet in Poland hopefully. After that, it might be a very good idea for you to travel to Ukraine. We can either take my plane and go to Ukraine or we can take your plane, which is probably much better than mine.

The President: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in· Poland because I think we are going to be there at that time.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much Mr. President.

The President: Congratulations on a fantastic job you’ve done. The whole world was watching. I’m not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President bye-bye.

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D-Day, T-Day, the Coup, and the Deep State

Here’s a big post offering a celebration of toxic masculinity, D-Day squared; two anti-Trump coup updates; and the deep state’s entanglement with the media.

D-Day & Toxic Masculinity:

Today is June 6.  Today we celebrate toxic masculinity — twice.

One thing we celebrate today is the 75th anniversary of American, British, and Canadian forces conducting a seaborne attack onto the beaches of Normandy to establish a foothold on the continent of Europe during WWII.  To the men, icons of Toxic Masculinity one and all, who took part, we salute you for your bravery and sacrifice. Some worthwhile links:

USA Today: D-Day: 17 stunning photos from 1944 show how hard the Normandy invasion really was

U.S. Army:  D-Day, June 6, 1944

Youtube:  Normandy — Surviving D-Day

National Geographic: ‘Top Secret’ maps reveal the massive Allied effort behind D-Day

BBC: D-Day: 10 things you might not know about the Normandy invasion

Then there is, of course, the alternative D-Day, also a celebration on June 6 of toxic masculinity (and other bits)  . . . first celebrated by Ms. Bookworm in 2015.

Coup Update

Democrat and deep state efforts to overturn the 2016 election continue apace. Two things in the news today as regards the effort.  One is the complaint by people targeted in the Mueller investigation at the incredibly heavy-handed tactics Mueller used in an attempt to have them implicate Trump.  This from RCI:

Now that Mueller has ended his probe finding no election collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, 10 witnesses and targets of his sprawling, $35 million investigation agreed to speak with RealClearInvestigations because they are no longer in legal jeopardy. . . .

Their firsthand accounts pull back the curtain on the secret inner workings of the Mueller probe, revealing how the special counsel’s nearly two dozen prosecutors and 40 FBI agents used harshly aggressive tactics to pressure individuals to either cop to crimes or implicate others in felonies involving collusion.

Although they interacted with Mueller’s team at different times and in different places, the witnesses and targets often echoed each other. Almost all decried what they called Mueller’s “scorched earth” methods that affected their physical, mental and financial health. Most said they were forced to retain high-priced Washington lawyers to protect them from falling into “perjury traps” for alleged lying, which became the special counsel’s charge of last resort.  In the end, Mueller convicted four Trump associates for this so-called process crime, and investigated an additional five individuals for allegedly making false statements – including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. . . .

Mueller, who studiously ignored the roles of Clinton and Obama in the Russia investigation and its origins, didn’t fail to indict Trump for lack of trying.  Indeed, given the arm twisting and expense innocent citizens were put through by Mueller, I am surprised some did not lie about Trump to save their skin. It speaks well of those associated with Trump that they did not.

Having spied on the Trump 2016 election campaign and initiated a (likely unlawful) thorough criminal investigation of Trump that would have made the Soviet Union’s Lavrentiy Beria (“Show me the man, I’ll show you the crime”) proud, the Left is now intent on overturning the election on the claim of a process crime — that Trump obstructed an investigation of himself for a crime that he didn’t commit. Leaving aside the law (18 U.S. Code § 1512(c)) and the fact that nothing Trump did rises to a level of actionable obstruction under that law, the Dems and deep state are hitting a bit of a snag, as it does not seem the Senate will cooperate with impeachment. Oooh, big problem, that.

Enter progressive “constitutional scholar” Lawrence Tribe — a true exemplar of Harvard’s finest — with an opinion piece in Wapo today, “Impeach Trump. But don’t necessarily try him in the Senate.”  Crazy Larry has been advocating impeachment of Trump since shortly after Trump was elected in 2016 on a number of constantly changing justifications.  Interestingly enough, one of Tribe’s later justifications for impeachment was Trump’s claim “that Obama had his ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower.”

When law professor Johnathan Turley laughed off the idea on Morning Joe, back in March, Tribe had a mini-conniption on Twitter: “Using power of WH to falsely accuse [Obama of an] impeachable felony does qualify as an impeachable offense whether via tweet or not,” he huffed.

“Falsely accuse”, eh?  Irony is the meat and potatoes of the finest schadenfreude, though it almost never registers with proggies.

At any rate, Tribe is clear that he wants to see Trump impeached.  But impeachment in the House, with nothing else, will have no impact on Trump and Trump’s chances for reelection in 2020 — except to possibly enhance them.  Thus Tribe argues that the House should go beyond simply voting on impeachment and hold full-scale impeachment hearings in the House proper:

It seems fair to surmise, then, that an impeachment inquiry conducted with ample opportunity for the accused to defend himself before a vote by the full House would be at least substantially protected, even if not entirely bullet-proofed, against a Senate whitewash.

The House, assuming an impeachment inquiry leads to a conclusion of Trump’s guilt, could choose between presenting articles of impeachment even to a Senate pre-committed to burying them and dispensing with impeachment as such while embodying its conclusions of criminality or other grave wrongdoing in a condemnatory “Sense of the House” resolution far stronger than a mere censure. The resolution, expressly and formally proclaiming the president impeachable but declining to play the Senate’s corrupt game, is one that even a president accustomed to treating everything as a victory would be hard-pressed to characterize as a vindication. (A House resolution finding the president “impeachable” but imposing no actual legal penalty would avoid the Constitution’s ban on Bills of Attainder, despite its deliberately stigmatizing character as a “Scarlet ‘I’ ” that Trump would have to take with him into his reelection campaign.)

The point would not be to take old-school House impeachment leading to possible Senate removal off the table at the outset. Instead, the idea would be to build into the very design of this particular inquiry an offramp that would make bypassing the Senate an option while also nourishing the hope that a public fully educated about what this president did would make even a Senate beholden to this president and manifestly lacking in political courage willing to bite the bullet and remove him. . . .

Only there’s a problem with that, one that a “constitutional scholar” really ought to be able to spot, even if he is a proggie.  While Article One Section II of the Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole power of impeachment,” Section III provides that the Senate “shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”  Ahhh, but the damn Constitution gets in the way of the best laid proggie plans yet again.  Maybe that’s why Crazy Larry never quotes the Constitution in his article.

If we do not have a civil war with blood in the streets in this country during my lifetime because progressives run roughshod over the Constitution, I will be amazed.

Lee Smith on Deep State & the Media

Everything journalist Lee Smith at Tablet writes is worth the read.  His latest, out today, is Spies are the New Journalists, decrying the relationship that has developed between the press and the intelligence agencies, one that is at the heart of the “deep state.”  As Smith writes, our nation is now one “where spies are . . . in charge of shaping the news, with the goal of advancing their own institutional agendas, prosecuting political hits, and keeping themselves and their political patrons beyond the reach of the laws that apply to everyone else.”  No kidding.  Step one to ending this is finding out who the multiple leakers were at the start of the Trump administration.  Does anyone doubt that it will likely be one or more of the top people at DOJ, FBI and or CIA?

Do read the whole thing.  Then celebrate the D-Day(s) appropriately.

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