“Sorry About That”: How The Lynching Controversy Offers A Preview For An Impeachment Trial

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent controversy over President Donald Trump’s use of “lynching” and what it portends for any Senate impeachment trial.

Here is the column:

This week Americans saw a preview of the likely impeachment trial of President Trump. No, it was not the testimony of William Taylor, the acting United States ambassador to Ukraine, who certainly added damaging information on an alleged quid pro quo demanded by Trump. Rather, it was the kerfuffle over Trump using the word “lynching.”

Trump thought it was appropriate to compare the investigation of his alleged misconduct to lynchings, a word more often reserved for racist murders carried out in this country for decades. It was yet another Trump tweet that caused many of us to cringe over his language. Former Vice President Joe Biden expressed shock that Trump would use the term. Republicans and Democrats joined in objecting to his tweet.

Then the stories began to surface of some of the same politicians using the same word in the past, including Biden, who actually used it in the same context of impeachment. This is all a foreshadowing of what would come with the impeachment of Trump. The problem in Washington has never been a lack of corruption, just a lack of clarity. The public is in store for a drawn out process that takes the hypocrisy over this one word and multiplies it a thousandfold in a trial over self-dealing in office.

As I have said before, there is no question that the use of public office for personal gain is an impeachable offense, including the withholding of military aid in exchange for the investigation of a political opponent. You just have to prove it happened. If you can establish intent to use public office for personal gain, you have a viable impeachment offense. The problem then becomes not the charge but the members of jury.

The Senate may be the worst jury in world. As someone who has tried a case before that body, I would move to strike half of them for cause in a real courtroom. In that impeachment trial of a judge, I had jury figures like Republican Senator David Vitter, who had escaped criminal charges over his admitted use of prostitutes in Washington. Indeed, he sat there in judgment of a judge accused of improper conduct involving gambling and other acts, such as the payment of a stripper by a lawyer.

Trump would be judged on self-dealing by a jury that would include Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, charged with corruption for exchanging official acts for gifts from a wealthy doctor. All politicians are self-dealers who use their offices to advance their ambitions. It is in their blood. The fact is that “public service” often means “self-service” to those in political power. Watching a trial on self-dealing with this jury is like having Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman sit on a college admissions board. They certainly have experience, just not the right kind.

That is why the “lynching” controversy is so instructive. Biden expressed absolute revulsion with Trump using the term. “Impeachment is not lynching, it is part of our Constitution. Our country has a dark shameful history with lynching, and to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent. It is despicable.” He is certainly correct, but that is not what he believed when a Democratic president was being impeached.

During the impeachment of President Clinton, Biden declared, “History will question whether or not this was a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that, in fact, met the standard.” To make matters worse, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Representative Gregory Meeks, and other Democrats also have used the term.

When confronted with his own use of the term, in the same context with the same underlying point, Biden insisted there was no comparison. Him using the “despicable” word was merely incautious, while Trump using it was “deliberative.” Biden apologized but added that Trump “chose his words deliberately today in his use of the word ‘lynching’ and continues to stoke racial divides in this country daily.” The same act is apparently a venial sin for a Democrat but a mortal sin for a Republican.

The same spin will be required in any trial, as shown by the business dealings of Hunter Biden. Joe Biden dismissed any controversy as entirely without merit, but the windfall payments to his son from a Ukrainian company will not be so easily set aside in a Senate trial. A respected ambassador said he was so concerned about those dealings with one of the most corrupt Ukrainian figures that he raised the matter with the staff of the vice president. He said he was shut down in his efforts.

The same is true of the outrage over seeking investigations or evidence from foreign governments. The Clinton campaign denied that it funded the dossier investigation of Trump until the media proved that it had lied. Former British spy Christopher Steele sought information from foreign sources, including Russian intelligence. The Obama administration investigated Trump campaign officials and sought information from foreign governments on alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

None of that excuses Trump if he demanded quid pro quo on Ukraine. The question is whether a compelling case can be made if Democrats have to excuse the actions of themselves. It will not be enough simply to claim their corrupt contracts or foreign inquiries were not as “deliberative” as those of Trump. If a case can be made against Trump, it will require a narrative that offers the public some clarity to distinguish the conduct of the defendant from those sitting in judgment in a Senate trial.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He also served as the last lead counsel in a Senate impeachment trial and testified as a constitutional expert in the Clinton impeachment hearings. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

387 thoughts on ““Sorry About That”: How The Lynching Controversy Offers A Preview For An Impeachment Trial”

      1. Olly, I don’t know if they are that stupid. It is clear that a lot of Democrats hate Trump more than they love this country. Trump has done well but that inflames them even more. Just look at the past administration of Obama. This headline and a snippet from the article says it all. It references al-baghdadi’s death.

        Obama Successfully Hunted Trump Campaign Aides Instead of Terrorists

        But in 2016, rather than successfully hunting down terrorists including Mueller’s captors, Obama and his top national security officials hunted down Trump campaign aides. Baghdadi’s death should be a reminder—an infuriating one at that—of how the Obama administration, particularly the CIA and FBI, squandered vital resources in service to a politically motivated investigation into Trump and his presidential campaign rather than focusing their efforts on the legitimate threats facing the country.

        https://amgreatness.com/2019/10/28/obama-successfully-hunted-trump-campaign-aides-instead-of-terrorists/

        1. Continuing with another excellent article on the subject.

          Why Legacy Media Are Freaking Out Over Baghdadi

          “It takes effort to try to spin the unalloyed good news of the Trump administration’s success [against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] as a net negative, but corporate media were up for the challenge,” Mollie Hemingway writes for The Federalist.

          There are 3 big reasons that publishers such as The Washington Post quickly tried to change the story, according to Hemingway:

          1) Positive News Coverage Hurts Media Efforts To Destroy Trump

          2) ISIS Founder’s Death Complicates Media’s Syria Narrative

          3) Trump Foreign Policy Successes Undermine Media Impeachment Drive

          “It’s understandable some in the media want to destroy their political opponent, but they could do a better job of hiding their anger at achievements that are undoubtedly good for America and make the country safer.”

          https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/28/the-real-reasons-why-legacy-media-are-freaking-out-over-trumps-successful-baghdadi-mission/

    1. Based on the evidence you present DSS, he should go to jail. He must have been involved in collusion, at least there is more evidence of collusion here than there is for Trump.

  1. An excellent op-ed about the “Our Bankrupt Nomenklatura”

    Anon is in love with Hillary so I have copied the reference to Hillary: Hanson discussed many personalities including Trump.

    “Shouldn’t Hillary Clinton also take the MoCa Test? At times she seems completely delusional—or is she a bit unhinged?

    In one of the strangest paradoxes in American history, Clinton apparently does not accept or cannot remember that she hired Christopher Steele, a foreign national, through the use of three deceptive firewalls—the Democratic National Committee, the Perkins Coie law firm, and Fusion GPS—in order to smear candidate Trump from bought Russian sources. She also simply will not admit that other campaign aides in 2016 were working to get dirt on Trump as well from disgruntled Ukrainians.

    While fleeing from this reality, she had concocted a fantasy that Donald Trump won the Electoral College not because her hare-brained campaign team sent her southward to win a “mandate” by flipping unflippable red-states Georgia and Arizona, while neglecting a supposedly secure blue wall in the north.

    Now she apparently believes an erstwhile, post-election ally, third-candidate leftist Jill Stein, was a Russian “asset” used by Moscow to draw votes from her candidacy, while current Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard likewise is in the de facto service of the Russians. Who knew that outsiders Trump, Stein, and Gabbard were all Russian moles variously working against Hillary’s interests?

    And all this from Hillary Clinton, who inaugurated the 2009 disastrous Russian appeasement scheme known as “reset” by pushing a red plastic Jacuzzi button in Geneva, and who was instrumental in green-lighting North American uranium sales to Russian interests, which interests through third parties had donated to her foundation and indirectly paid Russians to interfere in the 2016 election to destroy her opponent?”

    https://amgreatness.com/2019/10/27/our-bankrupt-nomenklatura/

    1. “Kristine Coratti Kelly

      Verified account

      Regarding our al-Baghdadi obituary, the headline should never have read that way and we changed it quickly.

      11:26 AM – 27 Oct 2019”

        1. There were three different headlines, not five, as Paul is asserting, and AFAIK. The person who wrote the “austere religious scholar” headline should be out of a job. (If there were in fact two others, Paul, please let us know.)

          https://www.foxnews.com/media/washington-post-al-baghdadi-obituary-headline-isis

          Excerpt:

          The story first appeared to run under a headline that referred to al-Baghdadi as the “Islamic State’s ‘terrorist-in-chief.'” It was unclear why or who decided to change the “terrorist” label to “austere religious scholar.”

          The Post then changed the headline again, settling on “extremist leader of Islamic State.”

          Washington Post Vice President of Communications Kristine Coratti Kelly told Fox News, “Regarding our al-Baghdadi obituary, the headline should never have read that way and we changed it quickly.”

    1. This paragragh was enough for me:

      “If you fail to see that you live in the Soviet Union of the 1970’s or 1980’s, or rather something slightly even more repressive than the Eastern Bloc of that time, it may be you don’t know about the threats, financial ruin, and mob violence that Trump supporters and anyone really who steps out of line has been subject to since at least 2016—but actually since some time before that.”

      Poor baby. Maybe Karen can give him comfort.

    1. Thank you for posting that DSS. There’s a lot to digest there, but for now, a few points jumped out at me.

      What is going on now is a widespread rejection of the ruling authorities and their beliefs, on the part primarily, but not only, of the American youth at large. This is similar to the rejection of communism by dissidents and youth in the Soviet bloc in the 1970’s and 80’s, and driven by similar causes.

      The anti-male and anti-White rhetoric of the new left is extreme. The racial attacks on whites in particular approaches exterminationist propaganda seen only in, e.g., the Hutu against the Tutsi in 1990’s Rwanda.

      If you fail to see that you live in the Soviet Union of the 1970’s or 1980’s, or rather something slightly even more repressive than the Eastern Bloc of that time, it may be you don’t know about the threats, financial ruin, and mob violence that Trump supporters and anyone really who steps out of line has been subject to since at least 2016—but actually since some time before that.

  2. “Lynching: Selected Resources: Films”

    https://guides.library.cornell.edu/lynching/film

    The first two:

    Strange Fruit

    Call Number: Africana Library Video 515
    Publication Date: 2002
    This documentary takes a historical look into the anti-lynching song “Strange Fruit,” first made famous by Billie Holiday. Abel Meeropol’s (he used the pseudonym Lewis Allen) a school teacher from the Bronx wrote the poem, and later set it to music. The film examines the development of the song, as well as a look at the history of lynching.

    Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till

    Call Number: Africana Library Videodisc 140
    Publication Date: 2005
    This is the film that helped the United States Justice Department reopen the case in which a 14 year-old Chicago boy was lynched in Money, Mississippi, in 1955. Some argue that this lynching touched off the modern civil rights movement. Three months after Till’s body was recovered, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began.

    1. The last film listed on Cornell’s site:

      Lynching the Heinous Past

      Publication Date: 2001

      Documents the history of lynching in the United States. The film is punctuated by reproductions of picture postcards depicting lynches, collected by James Cameron, who has created a museum in Milwaukee dedicated to keeping alive this memory of man’s inhumanity.

        1. Mississippi Goddam

          by Nina Simone

          The name of this tune is Mississippi goddam
          And I mean every word of it
          Alabama’s gotten me so upset
          Tennessee made me lose my rest
          And everybody knows about Mississippi goddam
          Alabama’s gotten me so upset
          Tennessee made me lose my rest
          And everybody knows about Mississippi goddam

          Can’t you see it
          Can’t you feel it
          It’s all in the air
          I can’t stand the pressure much longer
          Somebody say a prayer
          Alabama’s gotten me so upset
          Tennessee made me lose my rest
          And everybody knows about Mississippi goddam
          This is a show tune
          But the show hasn’t been written for it, yet
          Hound dogs on my trail
          School children sitting in jail
          Black cat cross my path
          I think every day’s gonna be my last
          Lord have mercy on this land of mine
          We all gonna get it in due time
          I don’t belong here
          I don’t belong there
          I’ve even stopped believing in prayer
          Don’t tell me
          I tell you
          Me and my people just about due
          I’ve been there so I know
          They keep on saying ‘Go slow!’
          But that’s just the trouble
          ‘Do it slow’
          Washing the windows
          ‘Do it slow’
          Picking the cotton
          ‘Do it slow’
          You’re just plain rotten
          ‘Do it slow’
          You’re too damn lazy
          ‘Do it slow’
          The thinking’s crazy
          ‘Do it slow’
          Where am I going
          What am I doing
          I don’t know
          I don’t know
          Just try to do your very best
          Stand up be counted with all the rest
          For everybody knows about Mississippi goddam
          I made you thought I was kiddin’
          Picket lines
          School boy cots
          They try to say it’s a communist plot
          All I want is equality
          For my sister my brother my people and me
          Yes you lied to me all these years
          You told me to wash and clean my ears
          And talk real fine just like a lady
          And you’d stop calling me Sister Sadie
          Oh but this whole country is full of lies
          You’re all gonna die and die like flies
          I don’t trust you any more
          You keep on saying ‘Go slow!’
          ‘Go slow!’
          But that’s just the trouble
          ‘Do it slow’
          Desegregation
          ‘Do it slow’
          Mass participation
          ‘Do it slow’
          Reunification
          ‘Do it slow’
          Do things gradually
          ‘Do it slow’
          But bring more tragedy
          ‘Do it slow’
          Why don’t you see it
          Why don’t you feel it
          I don’t know
          I don’t know
          You don’t have to live next to me
          Just give me my equality
          Everybody knows about Mississippi
          Everybody knows about Alabama
          Everybody knows about Mississippi goddam, that’s it

          Songwriters: Nina Simone
          Mississippi Goddam lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

          1. ‘In the 1970’s her music fell out of fashion in the United States; she divorced her husband and manager, Andy Stroud, and beset by financial problems she left the country in 1973, living in Liberia and Barbados before settling in France. In a 1998 interview, she said she had left the United States because of a racial situation she called ”worse than ever.”’

            https://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/22/arts/nina-simone-70-soulful-diva-and-voice-of-civil-rights-dies.html

            1. She was an extremely talented signer, throwing such emotion into her voice. I’ll bet she didn’t stay in Liberia because of the violence.

              This fact does not change the definition of lynching, or any other word the PC police are trying to change or restrict. Context is important.

                1. 1) Why are you using a sock puppet?
                  2) Why did you link to an explanation of the song Strange Fruit? Are you trying to say that the word “lynching” can only refer to the terrorizing of black people? Someone should inform the dictionary.

                  A great many crimes were perpetrated upon slaves, and later black people under the Jim Crow South. Slavery was a global tragedy. And yet, one cannot simply declare, for political expediency, that the definition of certain words has changed. A political movement many not take control of any particular word in the English language…however much they may try.

                  What, exactly, is your point? Do you believe that lynching only refers to what the Klan did to black people, and nothing else? Do you believe that using the term lynching metaphorically is racist or belittles black people. If so, why, and will you then take pains to excise it from around two hundreds years of literature and the cultural vernacular? What will the punishment be for Biden, who called Bill Clinton’s impeachment a lynching?

                  This is just another manufactured crisis by the Left. They’ll milk this. Maybe they will try impeachment effort #13 over the use of the term lynching. Then, it will all die down, and they’ll go back to using lynching metaphorically in common parlance, just like everyone else. Just GOOGLE “how to use lynching in a sentence.” Funny thing is, it does not have a racially charged meaning in the examples. Oops. Does the fact of this word’s definition in any way imply that its use against black people was okay? Why no, it does not. It obviously does not. This is just yet another false accusation that crumbles when one applies common sense.

                  If Leftists continue in this vein, then we should grassroots a research dive into the Way Back Machine, and dig up every time critics used that word in a sentence that did not mention the terrorism of black people. In fact, someone needs to do that right now to show the absurdity of it all.

                  1. Karen asked:

                    1) “Why are you using a sock puppet?”

                    I’m not. I posted a comment as “Anonymous.”

                    2) “Why did you link to an explanation of the song Strange Fruit?”

                    Why does anyone post what they post.

                    Anyway, either those who read it will understand…or they won’t.

                    1. “Anonymous” – using multiple pseudonyms are called sock puppets.

                      All you did was post to the explanation of Strange Fruit. Everyone knows it was about the Klan lynching blacks in the South. Nina Simone was a famous activist.

                      The question was, if the Klan lynched black people, does lynching only refer to black people? No. It does not. It has a well established definition that refers to mob injustice. It is commonly used metaphorically.

                      The Left is seizing upon yet another word in the English language and trying to restrict its usage, changing its definition.

                    2. “The Left is seizing upon yet another word in the English language and trying to restrict its usage, changing its definition.”

                      Karen S generalizes: “the Left”…”the Left”…”the Left”…

                      Stop generalizing.

              1. Can we deconstruct the Leftist norms inhabiting decolonialism and find in them useful words for our own resistance, as native born Americans, against our own corrupt administrative elites? Let’s find out!

                Llast week i studied the work of Franz Fanton a little. he was a black doctor from Martinique who first worked for the French, and then switched over to become a voice for the Algerian native war against the French occupation. and oh what a nasty war that was. Jean Paul Sartre, a philosopher but more so a man of the Left, of course liked the Algerians who opposed his own Patrie, his own Fatherland. He wrote a preface to Fanton’s book “The Wretched of the Earth.” in 1961.

                Sartre hated France apparently, if not the “imperialist” West as a whole, and his bad words for it were lauded by the European far left. Jean Paul Sartre wrote these words at the end of his preface. Sartre evidently hated his fellow Frenchmen and Europeans, it drips with every paragraph in this essay in which he endorses the murder of his own fellows to aid in the Marxist cause of decolonialism…..

                “Europeans, you must open this book and enter into it. After a few steps in the darkness you will see strangers gathered around a fire; come close, and listen, for they are talking of the destiny they will mete out to your trading-centres and to the hired soldiers who defend them. They will see you, perhaps, but they will go on talking among themselves, without even lowering their voices. This indifference strikes home: their fathers, shadowy creatures, your creatures, were but dead souls; you it was who allowed them glimpses of light, to you only did they dare speak, and you did not bother to reply to such zombies. Their sons ignore you; a fire warms them and sheds light around them, and you have not lit it. Now, at a respectful distance, it is you who will feel furtive, nightbound and perished with cold. Turn and turn about; in these shadows from whence a new dawn will break, it is you who are the zombies.”

                in other words, the natives are the good guys, the French are bad. But what if instead of “Europeans” we were to say, “District of Columbia Swamp Creatures?”

                maybe then we might say about our oppressors:

                “the élite shows itself in its true colours — it is nothing more than a gang. Our precious sets of values begin to moult; on closer scrutiny you won’t see one that isn’t stained with blood”

                yes, that’s all the Swamp is to us. a gang, divided into factions. we sent in our leader in the election, and they’re trying to lynch him. according to the newspapers, the DC nomenklatura can do no wrong, and Trump can do no right. But let’s see in turn how that turns out, and where we stand in turn.

          2. Lincoln planned compassionate repatriation for their own benefit; a sense of nationhood and self-esteem. No resolute black leader ever appeared to effect that end. Moses took the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt “to the promised land” before the ink was dry on their release papers.

            Oil and water do not mix. Emulsifiers are required to maintain a temporary intermixture. The political emulsifiers of affirmative action, welfare, forced busing, quotas, etc. are unconstitutional.
            ___________________________________________________________

            “If you build it they will come”

            – Shoeless Joe Jackson
            ___________________

            If you tear it down, they will go.

            Mr. King, tear down this wall – the wall of the welfare state.

        2. Nina Simone, “Strange Fruit”. The year is 1959. The Democratic terrorist organization, the KKK, is still active. There was recently a lynching of a young black man in the news, if I recall the background of this video correctly. She used her voice and her art to fight terrorism.

          https://youtu.be/-DGY9HvChXk

          The modern activists today yearn to be relevant. They are like those people whose real lives are boring, so they spin marvelous tales of their brave exploits, either in their own minds, or to others. They pretend that it’s the 1950s, and they are fighting for justice.

          The United States is one of the least racist countries in the world. This fact they cannot accept, because what are they to do, then? They manufacture crises to police pronouns, bathrooms, and they fight for boys to outcompete girls in their own divisions. They fight for an economy-killing social change with petroleum based keywords and screens, trying to destroy fossil fuels, and thereby, our modern standard of living. Even asphalt roads would be banned. Would that help black communities somehow?

          They wish so badly to be the supermen of some existential crisis, that they self identify as heroes of another era. It doesn’t matter if the facts don’t bear that out. They believe they exist in that era, so we all must conform to their delusions, and pretend that our country has systemic racism. Meanwhile, Democrats still harass conservative blacks for not voting how they are told.

          1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Fruit

            Some context:

            “Strange Fruit” is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. Written by teacher Abel Meeropol as a poem and published in 1937, it protested American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. Such lynchings had reached a peak in the South at the turn of the century, but continued there and in other regions of the United States. The great majority of victims were black.[2] The song’s lyrics are an extended metaphor linking a tree’s fruit with lynching victims.[3] Meeropol set it to music and, with his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, performed it as a protest song in New York City venues in the late 1930s, including Madison Square Garden.

            The song continues to be covered by numerous artists, including Nina Simone, UB40, Jeff Buckley, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Robert Wyatt and Dee Dee Bridgewater and has inspired novels, other poems, and other creative works. In 1978, Holiday’s version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[4] It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.[5] It was also dubbed “a declaration of war … the beginning of the civil rights movement”.[6]

  3. We all know how much the Left loves a good lynching, founders of the KKK, Hillary loves Byrd, Hitler loved FDR’s socialism, on and on …..

    1. Byrd recanted and apologized for his early membership in the KKK. Strom Thurmond never did for his actions fighting to keep Jim Crow the law of the land and was a loved member of the GOP until his death in 2003.:

      “I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there’s not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.[a][7]”

      1. Interesting. A photo in a yearbook, or a costume from the 1980s, can get somoen’s life destroyed today, no matter how many times they claim they have matured. But being a member of the Klan is perfectly forgivable.

        Personally, I favor personal growth and redemption where possible.

  4. Judge rules Congress will get Mueller Grand Jury evidence, and the WH legal efforts helped their case..

    “WASHINGTON — A federal judge handed a victory to House Democrats on Friday when she ruled that they were legally engaged in an impeachment inquiry, a decision that undercut President Trump’s arguments that the investigation is a sham.

    The declaration came in a 75-page opinion by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court in Washington. She ruled that the House Judiciary Committee was entitled to view secret grand jury evidence gathered by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

    Typically, Congress has no right to view such evidence. But in 1974, the courts permitted lawmakers to see such materials as they weighed whether to impeach President Richard M. Nixon. The House is now immersed in the same process focused on Mr. Trump, Judge Howell ruled, and that easily outweighs any need to keep the information secret from lawmakers.

    And in a rebuke to the Trump administration, she wrote that the White House strategy to stonewall the House had actually strengthened lawmakers’ case. She cited Mr. Trump’s vow to fight “all” congressional subpoenas and an extraordinary directive by his White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, that executive branch officials should not provide testimony or documents to impeachment investigators.

    “The White House’s stated policy of noncooperation with the impeachment inquiry weighs heavily in favor of disclosure,” Judge Howell wrote. “Congress’s need to access grand jury material relevant to potential impeachable conduct by a president is heightened when the executive branch willfully obstructs channels for accessing other relevant evidence.”…”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/25/us/politics/house-impeachment-subpoenas.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    1. But in 1974, the courts permitted lawmakers to see such materials as they weighed whether to impeach President Richard M. Nixon. The House is now immersed in the same process focused on Mr. Trump,

      There was a process followed to impeach a PresidentNixon, but apparently lawmakers don’t believe the same process should be followed for a Mr. Trump. Maybe if they actually respected the people that elected him president and if they actually thought they were impeaching a President instead of removing a Mr. from that office, they might turn this from a fishing expedition into a legitimate impeachment process.

      1. OLLY – when the 2nd in command of the Oversight Committee is being investigated for Ethics Violations with 2 staffers, one male and one female, you have to meet in the dark.

          1. OLLY – nude pictures of her and the female staffer are on the web. There is also a nude with a bong and what appears to be a German Iron Cross on her groin area.

            1. It’s a mess. I am unclear if her tattoo refers to the Nazi iron cross, or if it has some other meaning. If she was a Republican, mobs would claim that there was no other possible definition of the symbol than the Nazi Iron Cross. I’m pretty sure she is not a Knight Templar.

              She has admitted to a threesome, or “throuple” as they are calling it nowadays, with a staffer. That may be an ethics violation. The staffer has accused her of abuse. She has also been accused of an affair with a male aid, which she denies. That may be an ethics violation. They are also looking into use of funds. She has also been accused of sleeping with a lot of other people. Her former roommate said that he had to move out, because she was also in a throuple with a different female back them, and they were not discrete. He would come home to find them all sleeping with each other right there. He said it got so uncomfortable that he had to move out.

              If she was a male, the media would be screaming that she resign, because female accusers should be believed.

              In any case, she shows questionable judgement.

              1. Karen S – I saw the photo with the Iron Cross, I cannot tell why she did it, just that it is a poor choice. She has blamed everyone but herself for the photos (in which she is the glowing star).

                1. There appear to be a lot of photos. She was also listed on wifeswap websites, according to the latest articles. I do not know if the listing was verified. There was an almost frantic note to her hedonism, going back for years, allegedly, according to a former roommate.

                  I wonder what the votes are going to do. She is currently under an ethics violation. Regardless of what they find, I wonder if the voters are going to recall her.

                  There is currently a statewide effort to recall Gavin Newsome, but I don’t know what the point is. Unless Republicans and Libertarians can educate the voters in CA that they are destroying the state, they would just vote in someone just like him.

                  The hostility against business owners in CA is sobering. While CARB is driving many out of business, declaring that their pre 2010 heavy vehicles may not be registered as of January, Mexican-registered vehicles are free to pollute all they want. They just have to document leaving the state every 10 days, not a problem for a foreign business. CA businesses are offloading their vehicles out of state, flooding the market, where they continue to emit in air that is free to move about the country. But they don’t have the money to shell out $200,000 on a new CARB-compliant vehicle, which is also weaker than their previous ones. Trying to modify the engines of their existing vehicles wastes $40,000 only to blow up the engine anyway. Our state just took valuable assets away and the ability to work from many people, without compensation or a vote. CARB is an unelected bureaucratic ruler of many areas of business.

                  Every time a wealthy person relocates to another state for the tax advantage, it takes over a thousand middle class people to make up the tax revenue loss. But the middle class are leaving, too. The latest analysis shows CA is over a billion dollars in the hole, mostly due to pensions strong armed by the unions.

                  The bill is coming due in CA. We are going to get in such dire straights that we’ll need austerity measures, and that is never popular with the masses. No. They want free stuff. Sock it to the rich and give me more stuff. In fact, give me their stuff. They will never vote for someone preaching fiscal responsibility, or any other kind of responsibility. They will vote for the freebies until the state collapses. Entire cities have already filed bankruptcy. More will follow, brought by the deep blue policies of a Democrat super majority state.

                  1. Karen S – there is always the possibility that the entire state burns down and has to be rebuilt by insurance companies. The government could start from scratch. I think CA is going to lose Electoral votes after the next census.

                    1. No kidding. Our state burns every year. We pump out orders of magnitude more smoke and pollution than we save, and yet those in power would rather spend their money on high speed rail and climate change than fire prevention and suppression, or water resources.

                      I don’t think insurance companies want California. Many are canceling policies.

                      We just found out we’re bailing out PG&E. They were negligent. But we’re paying for it.

                  2. “More will follow, brought by the deep blue policies of a Democrat super majority state.”

                    Karen, and the regs, here…playing their blame-game. In this case, it’s Karen.

                    1. Anonymous – Republicans have had no power for many years in CA. CA has a Democrat super majority, which means they don’t even need to negotiate with Republicans.

                      All of this lies squarely at Democrats feet. Republicans don’t have a say in anything in CA.

                      How’s the Democratic paradise going?

                      Mexican heavy trucks can pollute, but Californians may not register their pre-2010 heavy vehicles in January. This has driven a lot of people out of business, including water haulers for those whose wells ran dry.

                      Road Diets, in which Democrats willfully and with malice close open lanes of traffic in congested areas, to worsen it. This is an attempt to force people, against their will, into mass transit. It slows down fire trucks (in a fire state), ambulances, and makes people spend more time away from their families. People roar down residential side streets looking for a way out. It’s the modern day version of “Escape from LA”.

                      It consistently ranks among the most hostile environments in the country against businesses.

                      Studies show taxpayers are leaving the state.

                      But go ahead. Deny the Democrats who have had control of the state for years have anything to do with it. It must be a complete and total coincidence that jacking up the taxes coincided with taxpayers leaving. It is completely unrelated that pro-homeless policies coincided with a surge of homelessness and feces in the street.

                      Notice how one must entirely suspend reason and logic to believe the Leftist arguments? In order to believe that using “lynching” in a sentence not discussing blacks in the Jim Crow South is wrong, one must ignore the definition in the dictionary, uses in literature, uses in television and movies, and the English language. But apparently, there are those willing to do it. Just to stick it to the President. It makes them look petty and foolish.

                      What black people suffered long ago should not be used to political advantage.

              2. ” If she was a Republican, mobs would claim that there was no other possible definition of the symbol than the Nazi Iron Cross.”

                Karen, you are absolutely correct. Democrats would be hanging her if she were Republican. However, Matt Gaetz, the Republican Congressman from Florida showed who is really more tolerant. He twittered:

                “This is just absurd. The only person who seems to have a gripe is @RepKatieHill’s soon-to-be ex.

                Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo/text?

                Katie isn’t being investigated by Ethics or maligned because she hurt anyone – it is because she is different.”

                  1. Paul, All the rules and regulations were written by hypocrites. The only question in my mind was she hurting anyone or intending to hurt anyone. She had sex. So what? She was filmed naked. So what?

                    My understanding is that the pictures were 2 years old and to this date no one outside of a private dispute complained. All were willing adults. All people have a right to choose their own morality but don’t have a right to choose it for another. Communities have a right to to their standard of morality as well but have no right to look behind closed doors.

                    1. Paul, why should it be against the rules?

                      Mellinda Gates, prior to her marriage, was an employee of Bill Gates.

                    2. “Allan – it is against the Rules of the House of Representatives.”

                      Paul, so what? I will repeat the question you left unanswered. “why should it be against the rules? Mellinda Gates, prior to her marriage, was an employee of Bill Gates.”

                      …And then repeat the statement about those that made the rules: “All the rules and regulations were written by hypocrites.”

                    3. Allan – it should against the rules because it is a power thing and it annoys the Democrats. 😉

                    4. Paul, we can joke about things and be contrarian all we like but this is serious business. In essence it is the individual vs the state. An example is below. It seems that with Benedict Arnold you dispensed with positive character traits and adopted negative ones for hero worship while protecting the rights of an ignoble individual who was willing to sacrifice his own men and dispense with law and morality.
                      —-

                      Elizabeth Warren Wants To Trans Public Schools Harder Than Obama Did
                      In her plan, Warren says she would exceed the legally unauthorized steps President Obama took to force the nation’s public schools to allow boys into girl locker rooms, showers, sports teams, overnight accommodations, and more.
                      By Joy Pullmann

                      https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/28/elizabeth-warren-wants-to-trans-public-schools-harder-than-obama-did/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=1e0c225158-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-1e0c225158-84104567

                    5. Allan – did you see that the Bernie Bros are threatening to vote for Trump if Bernie is not nominated. This is so much fun. I ran out of popcorn last week.

                    6. Paul, I do not find it difficult to believe that Bernie supporters will vote for Trump. Bernie is a socialist, not a good philosophy, but who says his supporters are philosophers that even understand the differences in ideology. Many are free thinkers, individualists and people who are looking for “fairness”

                      They can understand the idea of “fairness” under the law so to them the Anon’s of the world and the Hillary’s are elitists who believe they should be dictators and dictate to others but not themselves. They see the Hillary’s enrighing themselves and lying where there is no “fairness” in her acts.

                      To them Trump is a step in the right direction, but he is not a socialist so in the end it won’t matter to them becuase they aren’t looking for the bad things in socialism, only the perceived equality.

                    7. “why should it be against the rules? Mellinda Gates, prior to her marriage, was an employee of Bill Gates.”

                      Public sector vs Private sector, for one. Rules vs Laws, for another. In the Navy, violating regulations regarding fraternization had punitive consequences. Here is an excerpt from Navy guidance on this issue. Replace the subjects with members of congress and it essentially reads the same. If a private sector organization sets similar rules, they aren’t trying to regulate what their employees do in their private lives. They are trying to minimize or eliminate altogether negative variation opportunities those private lives might have in their business processes. Here is part of the Navy guidance:

                      6. Responsibilities and Prohibitions a. Prejudice to good order and discipline or discredit to the Naval service may result from relationships between officers, enlisted, students or staff, which do not respect differences in grade, rank, or the staff-student relationship,as described above, but is not limited to, circumstances or conduct which: (1) Call into question the senior’s objectivity; (2) Results in actual or apparent preferential treatment; (3) Undermines the authority of the senior; or (4) Compromises the chain of command.
                      https://www.public.navy.mil/netc/nstc/NSTC_Directives/NSTC_Instructions/NSTCINST%205370.1B%20-%20NSTC%20Fraternization.pdf

                    8. “Public sector vs Private sector, for one.”

                      Olly, that may be one view but that brings us to my second point. We have a system of public justice created by hypocrites and seems to protect liars.

                      “Rules vs Laws, for another. In the Navy, violating regulations regarding fraternization had punitive consequences.”

                      The navy is a different type of organization, one where such rules are expected and should be observed though I would like it if the rules were followed throughout the ranks. The navy depends on uniformity and rules for close contact where individual rights are necessarily limited. Congress represents the people and such rules inhibit the individual.

                    9. We have a system of public justice created by hypocrites and seems to protect liars.

                      Is your objection with the rule, or is it with the hypocrites and liars elected to public office? Because if it’s the latter, then we are in agreement. If anything, the rule is ineffective.

                      The navy is a different type of organization, one where such rules are expected and should be observed…

                      The principle purpose of the regulation is the same. The main difference is while politics are a part of the military, violations of the UCMJ provide little room for senior enlisted and officers to remain protected. An E-1 can file a report against an O-9 and if it doesn’t follow the process, there is a path outside of the military. Think WPA. But when the lawmakers who have oversight of violations within their own hen house, then what rules are effective?

                    10. OLLY – the biggest problem with the House Ethics Committee is that is split 4-4, so nothing gets done. Usually it is pressure from the party hierarchy that gets the ball rolling to get them out of the House.

                    11. Olly, there should be less rules rather than more and should take human nature into account. We don’t want to inhibit positive interaction of the sexes. One of the reasons rules are broken is because they are not practical and that is why so many that support the rule are hypocritical, they can’t live under it.

                      “The principle purpose of the regulation is the same. “

                      But, most organizations don’t require the same discipline as the military.

                    12. there should be less rules rather than more and should take human nature into account.

                      If men were angels, no… Federalist 51

                      That’s so old timey. No, I think we’ll be okay if the fox sets the hen house rules and then the fox will keep an eye on things.

              1. Karen, the Iron Cross predates the Nazis. It goes back to at least WWI and possibly further back than that. It’s not considered a Nazi symbol.

              2. And is issuing denunciations of her estranged husband. Typical. My sympathies go out to her mother and father and to her husband’s parents (all of whom would do everyone a favor by reflecting reality back at the perpetrators here, rather than being ‘supportive’).

                1. DSS – she payed the “abused wife” card for the papers and the “wronged woman” card because of the release of the photos, which seem to have been on a Reddit site r/Would you f**k my wife? for years. She has not blamed the bong on anyone. It was illegal regardless.

    2. Republicans lost a battle in attacking the process. They better start advancing substantive defenses instead of the juvenile swarming of the SCIF. Who elects these people?

      1. “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If both are against you, pound the table.”

      2. We didn’t lose any battles. The process is a scandal. The problem is that partisan Democrats have no interest in meticulous procedures. It’s all about what they want. (What we learn in this forum is that street-level Democrats have a criminal mentality).

        1. What is scandalous in the proceedings TIA, other than the fact it’s apparently not going well for the leader of your cult?

          1. LOL! Yeah, it’s not been going well for 3 years. Once the IG and Durham reports drop, it’s really not going to go well.

              1. That’s the least I can do for you. Rest assured that I will be right here for you when you’ll undoubtedly struggle to cope with the findings. Buckle up buttercup.

    3. Anon, the left is trying to destroy laws meant to protect people and the nation. What foreign leader will now talk privately to the President knowing every word might be released. Think of the Cuban Missile crisis. Grand Jury secrecy is now in doubt and that doesn’t help Grand Jury procedings or our criminal justice system.

      If and when some of Obama’s dealings go before a Grand Jury shall the public convict Obama on statements that legally would not be considered criminal since the standards in front of a Grand Jury are not the same legal standards held at trial? A conviction of Obama based on that low legal standard would be horrendous. It would be similar to saying that Obama wasn’t born in America based on the evidence of the book Jacket and Obama’s capitalization of it at the time.

  5. Federal Judge Validates Impeachment Inquiry

    DOJ Must Hand Over Material From Russia Probe

    House Democrats won an important victory in federal court on Friday when a judge ordered the Justice Department to surrender now-secret material from the Russia investigation — and, more broadly, validated the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

    Chief District Judge Beryl Howell signed an opinion that rejected the Justice Department’s argument that it must preserve the secrecy of grand jury and other material and denied Republicans’ case that House Democrats’ inquiry is invalid.

    “The need for continued secrecy is minimal and thus easily outweighed by [the House committee’s] compelling need for the material,” Howell wrote.

    She continued: “Tipping the scale even further toward disclosure is the public’s interest in a diligent and thorough investigation into, and in a final determination about, potentially impeachable conduct by the president described in the Mueller report.”

    As special counsel, Robert Mueller worked with a grand jury under Howell’s supervision for nearly two years hearing witness testimony, issuing subpoenas and filing criminal charges.

    The workings of such grand juries are largely secret, and the Justice Department had argued that it should not give House investigators anything beyond what Mueller had issued publicly already.

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., argued that Congress was entitled to all the underlying material and the portions of the Mueller report that had been redacted to protect the grand jury process or for other reasons.

    Howell agreed and said the Justice Department must give Nadler’s committee the grand jury materials by Wednesday, although it wasn’t clear whether Attorney General Bill Barr might ask for more time or appeal the ruling.

    “The court’s thoughtful ruling recognizes that our impeachment inquiry fully comports with the Constitution and thoroughly rejects the spurious White House claims to the contrary,” he said. “This grand jury information that the administration has tried to block the House from seeing will be critical to our work.”

    The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

    1. Regarding Above:

      Edited from: “Judge Orders DOJ To Hand Over Mueller Material, Validates Impeachment Probe”

      Well here we have it, a Federal Judge has rule the impeachment inquiry is valid. Yet Trump and Republicans continue to attack the process; especially after William Taylor’s damming testimony this week.

      1. Damning ?? “the stakes of what “he saw as an illegitimate scheme” to pressure the Kiev government for political help by suspending American security aid.”

        That’s an opinion, subjective, and it’s not against the law to hold funds, sanction, or anything else if the receiving government fails to act as we see fit, in order to receive a handout.

        What do we have? “a Federal Judge has rule the impeachment inquiry is valid.”
        As though that is the last word on the subject.

        1. Orwell – We have multiple corroborations of the President’s actions now, including from a GOP Senator, State Dept texts, the testimony of Taylor, Hill, and our ex-ambassador, and of course the WB and WH memo on the phone call. If you review all that, I seriously doubt you’ll be back here claiming Trump’s innocence, though it is true “there’s one born every minute” and maybe you will.

          1. Anon1 – according to Rep. Ratliff, Taylor fell apart on cross. If you need an explanation of that, ask some of the practicing attorneys on here.

            1. Yeah, could I get your attention by quoting Maxine Waters?

              What do you expect him to say?

              “He has been regarded as one of the most conservative members of Congress.[6] He is a prominent Trump supporter.[7] President Donald Trump announced on July 28, 2019, that he intended to nominate Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence (DNI),[8][9] but abruptly withdrew his name five days later.[10] Ratcliffe withdrew after Republican senators raised concerns about him, former intelligence officials said he might politicize intelligence, and media revealed Ratcliffe’s embellishments regarding his prosecutorial experience in terrorism and immigration cases.[11][12][13]”

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ratcliffe_(American_politician)

          2. The testimony by Taylor said nothing of importance and was spun to the left as he is far left. His cross exam was reported to show his testimony to fall apart. Mueller fell flat in front of the American public. That is why this time everything is secret because they are falling flat as well and the narrative you read is based on selective leaks from Schiff not much that different than the phony transcript of the call Schiff read in Congress.

            Fools can continue to believe differently but what fools wish to believe is completely different than the truth.

          3. Anon1, gotta give ya credit as a comedian. Thing is, your deflection isn’t really funny.

            You mean we have Schiff for brains leaks of ‘corroborations’. If there were any REAL proof against Mr. Trump, he’d been on trial months ago.

            If there were any real evidence against Mr. Trump, schiff for brains wouldn’t have to hide in the basement. He’s hiding down there trying to manufacture evidence, but it’s not working out so well.

            There is one born every minute. You are the proof of that! Along with all those who fellow travel with the fascist dimms & parrot their propaganda, good sock puppet that you are.

            Spouting pelosi & shcumer talking points & soros’ chucky’s cherry picked leaks are hardly evidence against Mr. T, but there you go repeating the indefensible.

            SamFox

      2. James W, not to worry. Activist fed activist judges get overruled a lot. Judge shopping for a particular outcome usually doesn’t work for long. Ask the 9th Circus.

        Like was said, an appeal has most likely already been written & filed.

        SamFox

  6. SIDEBAR – Man Bites Dog – A story custom made for the animal lover in Professor Turley.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Wounded buck fatally skewers hunter who took it down A wounded buck is still on the loose after allegedly goring to death the hunter who shot him, Arkansas wildlife officials said Thursday. Experienced hunter Thomas Alexander, 66, took down a deer near Yellville, Arkansas, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials said. When he returned to dress it, it leaped up and skewered him with its antlers. “I don’t know how long he left it there, but he went up to check it to make sure it was dead,” commission spokesman Keith Stephens told KYTV-TV. “And evidently it wasn’t.” Alexander was able to call for help and was conscious when emergency personnel got there, reported WOFL-TV, but stopped breathing and died by the time he arrived at the hospital. “He apparently went over to the buck and it got up and attacked him,” Stephens told KYTV, noting that the hunter “had several puncture wounds on his body.” It’s not uncommon for wounded deer to injure their human attackers, the commission’s Corp. Joe Dale Purdom told CNN. But he said it was the first time he’d seen such an attack be fatal. More usual is for the deer to jump up and run away. There was some question as to whether the antler wounds themselves were the cause of death, or whether something else such as a heart attack had killed him, KYTV noted. Nonetheless, there were no plans for an autopsy, Stephens said, “so we may never know what actually happened.”

    – New York Daily News

  7. https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-impeachment-subverts-the-constitution-11572040762

    This Impeachment Subverts the Constitution

    It’s nakedly political and procedurally defective, and so far there’s no public evidence of high crimes.

    By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley

    Oct. 25, 2019

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi has directed committees investigating President Trump to “proceed under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry,” but the House has never authorized such an inquiry. Democrats have been seeking to impeach Mr. Trump since the party took control of the House, though it isn’t clear for what offense. Lawmakers and commentators have suggested various possibilities, but none amount to an impeachable offense. The effort is akin to a constitutionally proscribed bill of attainder—a legislative effort to punish a disfavored person. The Senate should treat it accordingly.

    The impeachment power is quasi-judicial and differs fundamentally from Congress’s legislative authority. The Constitution assigns “the sole power of impeachment” to the House—the full chamber, which acts by majority vote, not by a press conference called by the Speaker. Once the House begins an impeachment inquiry, it may refer the matter to a committee to gather evidence with the aid of subpoenas. Such a process ensures the House’s political accountability, which is the key check on the use of impeachment power.

    The House has followed this process every time it has tried to impeach a president. Andrew Johnson’s 1868 impeachment was predicated on formal House authorization, which passed 126-47. In 1974 the Judiciary Committee determined it needed authorization from the full House to begin an inquiry into Richard Nixon’s impeachment, which came by a 410-4 vote. The House followed the same procedure with Bill Clinton in 1998, approving a resolution 258-176, after receiving independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s report.

    Mrs. Pelosi discarded this process in favor of a Trump-specific procedure without precedent in Anglo-American law. Rep. Adam Schiff’s Intelligence Committee and several other panels are questioning witnesses in secret. Mr. Schiff has defended this process by likening it to a grand jury considering whether to hand up an indictment. But while grand-jury secrecy is mandatory, House Democrats are selectively leaking information to the media, and House Republicans, who are part of the jury, are being denied subpoena authority and full access to transcripts of testimony and even impeachment-related committee documents. No grand jury has a second class of jurors excluded from full participation.

    Unlike other impeachable officials, such as federal judges and executive-branch officers, the president and vice president are elected by, and accountable to, the people. The executive is also a coequal branch of government. Thus any attempt to remove the president by impeachment creates unique risks to democracy not present in any other impeachment context. Adhering to constitutional text, tradition and basic procedural guarantees of fairness is critical. These processes are indispensable bulwarks against abuse of the impeachment power, designed to preserve the separation of powers by preventing Congress from improperly removing an elected president.

    House Democrats have discarded the Constitution, tradition and basic fairness merely because they hate Mr. Trump. Because the House has not properly begun impeachment proceedings, the president has no obligation to cooperate. The courts also should not enforce any purportedly impeachment-related document requests from the House. (A federal district judge held Friday that the Judiciary Committee is engaged in an impeachment inquiry and therefore must see grand-jury materials from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, but that ruling will likely be overturned on appeal.) And the House cannot cure this problem simply by voting on articles of impeachment at the end of a flawed process.

    The Senate’s power—and obligation—to “try all impeachments” presupposes that the House has followed a proper impeachment process and that it has assembled a reliable evidentiary basis to support its accusations. The House has conspicuously failed to do so. Fifty Republican senators have endorsed a resolution sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham urging the House to “vote to open a formal impeachment inquiry and provide President Trump with fundamental constitutional protections” before proceeding further. If the House fails to heed this call immediately, the Senate would be fully justified in summarily rejecting articles produced by the Pelosi-Schiff inquiry on grounds that without a lawful impeachment in the House, it has no jurisdiction to proceed.

    The effort has another problem: There is no evidence on the public record that Mr. Trump has committed an impeachable offense. The Constitution permits impeachment only for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The Founders considered allowing impeachment on the broader grounds of “maladministration,” “neglect of duty” and “mal-practice,” but they rejected these reasons for fear of giving too much power to Congress. The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” includes abuses of power that do not constitute violations of criminal statutes. But its scope is limited.

    Abuse of power encompasses two distinct types of behavior. First, the president can abuse his power by purporting to exercise authority not given to him by the Constitution or properly delegated by Congress—say, by imposing a new tax without congressional approval or establishing a presidential “court” to punish his opponents. Second, the president can abuse power by failing to carry out a constitutional duty—such as systematically refusing to enforce laws he disfavors. The president cannot legitimately be impeached for lawfully exercising his constitutional power.

    Applying these standards to the behavior triggering current calls for impeachment, it is apparent that Mr. Trump has neither committed a crime nor abused his power. One theory is that by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Kyiv’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and potential corruption by Joe Biden and his son Hunter was unlawful “interference with an election.” There is no such crime in the federal criminal code (the same is true of “collusion”). Election-related offenses involve specific actions such as voting by aliens, fraudulent voting, buying votes and interfering with access to the polls. None of these apply here.

    Nor would asking Ukraine to investigate a political rival violate campaign-finance laws, because receiving information from Ukraine did not constitute a prohibited foreign contribution. The Mueller report noted that no court has ever concluded that information is a “thing of value,” and the Justice Department has concluded that it is not. Such an interpretation would raise serious First Amendment concerns.

    Equally untenable is the argument that Mr. Trump committed bribery. Federal bribery statutes require proof of a corrupt intent in the form of a quid pro quo—defined by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Sun-Diamond Growers (1999), as a “specific intent to give or receive something of value in exchange for an official act.” There was no quid pro quo in the call. Mr. Zelensky has said he felt no pressure, and the purported quid (military aid to Ukraine) was not contingent on the alleged quo (opening an investigation), because the former materialized within weeks, while the latter—not “something of value” in any case—never did.

    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.

    Further, there is credible evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election at the request of senior Obama administration officials. The Justice Department is investigating this as part of its broader inquiry—now a criminal investigation—into efforts to target the Trump campaign in 2016 and beyond. It is certainly legitimate for the president to ask Ukraine to cooperate.

    In addition, the president’s constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” implies broad discretion to investigate and prosecute crimes, even if they involve his political rivals. 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.

    It’s legally irrelevant that a criminal investigation may be politically beneficial to the president. Virtually all exercises of constitutional discretion by a president affect his political interests. It would be absurd to suggest that a president’s pursuit of arms-control agreements, trade deals or climate treaties are impeachable offenses because they benefit the president or his party in an upcoming election.

    Using a private party such as Rudy Giuliani to carry out diplomatic missions is neither a crime nor an abuse of power. While the State Department’s mandarins have always lamented intrusions on their bureaucratic turf, numerous U.S. presidents have tapped people to conduct foreign-policy initiatives whose job—whether in the government or private sectors—did not include foreign-policy experience or responsibility. George Washington sent Chief Justice John Jay to negotiate the “Jay Treaty” with Britain. Woodrow Wilson used American journalist Lincoln Steffens and Swedish Communist Karl Kilbom as special envoys to negotiate diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. A close Wilson friend, Edward House, held no office but effectively served as chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris Peace Conference after World War I.

    Nor is it illegal or abusive to give a diplomatic assignment to a government official whose formal institutional responsibilities do not include foreign affairs, such as the energy secretary. JFK relied on Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to negotiate with Moscow during the Cuban missile crisis.

    Although the impeachment inquiry has been conducted in secret, what we know suggests it has become a free-ranging exploration of Mr. Trump’s foreign-policy substance and process, with the committees summoning numerous State Department witnesses. Congress could properly undertake such an inquiry using its oversight authority, but by claiming that it is proceeding with an impeachment inquiry, it has forfeited this option.

    If the House impeaches Mr. Trump because it disapproves of a lawful exercise of his presidential authority, it will in effect have accused him of maladministration. The Framers rejected that amorphous concept because it would have allowed impeachment for mere political disagreements, rendering the president a ward of Congress and destroying the executive’s status as an independent, coequal branch of government. If the House impeaches on such grounds and the Senate concludes it has jurisdiction to conduct an impeachment trial, it should focus first and foremost not on the details of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy, but on the legal question of whether the conduct alleged is an impeachable offense.

    Alexis de Tocqueville observed in 1835: “A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.” What House Democrats are doing is not only unfair to Mr. Trump and a threat to all his successors. It is an attempt to overrule the constitutional process for selecting the president and thus subvert American democracy itself. For the sake of the Constitution, it must be decisively rejected. If Mr. Trump’s policies are unpopular or offensive, the remedy is up to the people, not Congress.

    Mr. Rivkin and Ms. Foley practice appellate and constitutional law in Washington. He served at the Justice Department and the White House Counsel’s Office during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations. She is a professor of constitutional law at Florida International University College of Law.

    1. Alexis de Tocqueville observed in 1835: “A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.”

      Attorney General Bill Barr is leading the legal profession to return America to its religious foundations. Where are the attorneys when it comes to propagating this important foundational message?

      Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers Remarks to the Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame

      As John Adams put it, “We have no government armed with the power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

      As Father John Courtney Murray observed, the American tenet was not that:

      “Free government is inevitable, only that it is possible, and that its possibility can be realized only when the people as a whole are inwardly governed by the recognized imperatives of the universal moral order.”

      How does religion promote the moral discipline and virtue needed to support free government?

      First, it gives us the right rules to live by. The Founding generation were Christians. They believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man. Those moral precepts start with the two great commandments – to Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind; and to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.

      But they also include the guidance of natural law – a real, transcendent moral order which flows from God’s eternal law – the divine wisdom by which the whole of creation is ordered. The eternal law is impressed upon, and reflected in, all created things.

      From the nature of things we can, through reason, experience, discern standards of right and wrong that exist independent of human will.

      Modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as other-worldly superstition imposed by a kill-joy clergy. In fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.

      They reflect the rules that are best for man, not in the by and by, but in the here and now. They are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.

      By the same token, violations of these moral laws have bad, real-world consequences for man and society. We may not pay the price immediately, but over time the harm is real.

      Religion helps promote moral discipline within society. Because man is fallen, we don’t automatically conform ourselves to moral rules even when we know they are good for us.

      But religion helps teach, train, and habituate people to want what is good. It does not do this primarily by formal laws – that is, through coercion. It does this through moral education and by informing society’s informal rules – its customs and traditions which reflect the wisdom and experience of the ages.

      In other words, religion helps frame moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline.

      I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years religion has been under increasing attack.

      On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square.

      On the other hand, we see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.

      By any honest assessment, the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.

      https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-remarks-law-school-and-de-nicola-center-ethics

    2. “Impeachment subverts Constitution.”

      Communists have “subverted,” nullified and abrogated the Constitution since “Crazy Abe” Lincoln.

      “Crazy Abe” Lincoln started it 13 years after Marx published his manifesto in London; only a boat and a train ride away. Comrade Lincoln was a zealot for eliminating classes in society. He denied constitutional secession, suspended Habeas Corpus, prosecuted an unconstitutional war, confiscated absolute private property, conducted heinous total war against defenseless civilians and corrupted the 1864 election to persist in his dictatorship – then his illegitimate successors improperly ratified the unconstitutional “Reconstruction Amendments” under the duress of brutal post-war military occupation. Lincoln said that America would be destroyed from within. “Crazy Abe” was talking about himself.
      ___________

      “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

      – Abraham Lincoln

  8. Lynching, taken from “Lynch’s Law.” Charles Lynch.

    Original definition: organized but unauthorized punishment of criminals, became a common phrase, as it was used by Lynch to describe his actions as early as 1782. In several incidents in 1780, Lynch and several other militia officers and justices of the peace rounded up suspects who were thought to be a part of a Loyalist uprising in southwestern Virginia. The suspects were given a summary trial at an informal court; sentences handed down included whipping, property seizure, coerced pledges of allegiance, and conscription into the military. Lynch’s extralegal actions were legitimized by the Virginia General Assembly in 1782. (Wikipedia)

    Modern definition: the administration of summary punishment, especially death, upon a suspected, accused, or convicted person by a mob acting without legal process or authority. (Websters)

    Variations of the term, such as “lynch law,” “judge lynch,” and “lynching”, were standard entries in American and British English dictionaries by the 1850s. In 1811, a man named Captain William Lynch claimed that the phrase, already famous, actually came from a 1780 compact signed by him and his neighbors in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to uphold their own brand of law independent of legal authority. The obscurity of the Pittsylvania County compact compared to the well-known actions of Charles Lynch casts doubt on it being the source of the phrase. (Wikipedia)

    As any fan of Westerns can tell you, posses and hangings are quite common, both of the guilty as sin, and the wrongfully accused, saved by Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, The Lone Ranger, The Cartwrights, Marshal Matt Dillon, and a variety of other Western characters.

    To claim that “lynching” must always refer to the murder of innocent black people completely disregards the entirety of the culture of the United States. Hangings are a key theme in Western movies, lore, and history, which did not typically involve black victims at all. It typically centered around righting an injustice of the wrongfully accused or targeted man. It is a commonly used figure of speech.

    The PC police needs to stop demanding control over the American English language.

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