Schiff Raises Bribery As A Possible Impeachable Offense

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has caused a stir in suddenly injecting the possible use of bribery as a basis for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Converting the Ukrainian controversy into a bribery theory is both constitutionally and historically unsound. It would undermine the credibility of the impeachment effort by struggling to reshape the facts into a more compelling criminal image. Impeachment cannot be an exercise in creative reconstruction. It is not license for imaginative or untested theories of criminality. The House needs to establish a clear and credible theory of impeachable conduct based on well-established definitions. Ironically, I testified on this issue in the Clinton impeachment hearings but last had this argument (over broadening such definitions for purposes of impeachment) with my opposing counsel in the last impeachment trial: Adam Schiff.

Note: I will be doing commentary today with CBS and BBC on the impeachment hearings.

Schiff told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep “Bribery, first of all, as the founders understood bribery, it was not as we understand it in law today. It was much broader. It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you’re offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation’s interest.” He added that you only have to show that the president was “soliciting something of value.”

That limitless definition would convert most of the conversations between presidents and other heads of state into potential bribery cases. Presidents often try to get every concession from aid in such conversations. Some of those concessions may clearly advantage a president as a political matter. Likewise, presidents may perform other acts that would meet such a definition. President Bill Clinton not only pardoned a family member but gave a pardon to a leading Democratic donor. The pardon of fugitive Marc Rich was widely and correctly ridiculed as an absurd and corrupt use of the authority. Was that a thing of value being offered or given in return for favors?

I previously wrote a series of academic pieces on the inclusion and meaning of these terms in the Constitution, including SENATE TRIALS AND FACTIONAL DISPUTES: IMPEACHMENT AS A MADISONIAN DEVICE, 49 Duke L.J. 1(1999). In that work, I discussed how the most relevant debate on this standard occurred on a single day and constitutes a couple of pages of record, including an exchange between the main protagonists, Mason and Madison. Mason objected to the use of Treason and Bribery as too limited. For that reason, he wanted to add a broader term “maladministration.” That broader meaning of impeachment was rejected. I also discussed this history as a witness during the Clinton impeachment hearings. As I testified, the trial of Warren Hastings weighed heavily on the forging of the impeachment standard. The former governor of India was charged with “mismanagement and misgovernment in India, including acts of extortion, bribery, corruption, confiscation of property, and mistreatment of various provinces.”  Notably, in light of that trial, people like Mason felt that bribery was not broad enough.

The First Congress criminalized the acceptance of anything of value in exchange for making a favorable judgment or disposition by judges. See Crimes Act of 1790, 1 Stat. 112, 117. That law, which remain in effect, prohibits “being influenced in the performance of an official act.” However, if anything, the Court has limited that definition including the decision in McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355 (2016).

Congress did not pass its first criminal provision on bribery until 1853 that covers both “bribes” and “presents” when they were given “with intent to influence” federal officials. Indeed, things that are barred today as corrupt gifts were not barred under early English and American notions of bribery. See Edward Coke, The Third Part of the Institutes of the Law of England 145 (1670).

 There are legitimate issues concerning abuse of power for Congress to consider. As I have written, this is shaping up as the most narrow impeachment of a president in history. Redefining the same acts as different crimes is an approach that will not broaden that foundation and will only raise questions of the legitimacy of the effort.

347 thoughts on “Schiff Raises Bribery As A Possible Impeachable Offense”

  1. Call it what you will, Jonathan. “Redefining the same acts as different crimes” is what prosecutors do all the time. You start with the facts and then proceed to, or revise, the theory of the case. Legal academics, like you, can write tomes about what “bribery” means. But to the average viewer of the televised impeachment hearings this week it is clear Trump crossed the line. He used the power of his office to to extort the president of the Ukraine to try to dig up dirt on Joe Biden–Trump’s likely opponent in the 2020 election. That’s a clear abuse of power. Splitting legal hairs about what to charge Trump with in an attempt to obfuscate the process won’t distract from the “legitimacy of the effort”, i.e., to hold Trump accountable for undermining the Constitution and the rule of law.

    1. Dennis, the only thing JT writes about the impeachment are irrelevancies like this, mixed with false hoods he never retracts (“no QPQ”, “no collusion” about a report which specifically excluded that as an a-legal concept), and columns aimed at the democrats as if Trump were a passive, polite, and proper subject of the investigation.

    2. “He used the power of his office to to extort the president of the Ukraine to try to dig up dirt on Joe Biden–Trump’s likely opponent in the 2020 election. That’s a clear abuse of power. ”
      “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said there was “no blackmail” in a phone call with Donald Trump that is at the heart of a possible attempt to remove the US president from office.

      “This is not corruption, it was just a call,” Mr Zelensky said on Thursday. …

      Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Kiev on Thursday, Mr Zelensky said of his 25 July call with Mr Trump: “There was no blackmail. It was not the subject of our conversation.”

      He said the purpose of the conversation was to arrange a meeting with Trump, and there were no “conditions” from the US side.”

      Oh, who to believe? The non-victim victim or the wishful certain fool. I’ll go with the non-victim for 2020, Alex.

      Gosh you guys are thick.

      1. Yeah, Mespo, Zelenksky still has to deal with Trump (and Russia) until God knows when. So he’s not about to issue statements saying Trump tried to shake him down

      2. Mespo continues in his ridiculous exertion that a witness under duress is believable as long as he’s for his side. I know you don’t have any other defense, but not on planet earth buddy.

        1. zelensky is a head of state. he’s under no duress from trump. but you probably don’t use much care tossing about terms like duress do you.

          moreover….. if trying to prove something like bribery or maybe extortion, something like that which depends on a quid pro quo, and the party on whom the pressure is supposedly exerted says they saw no qpq, then that is the key witness who blows the case for those who are trying to make it.

          this is not ridiculous this is actually just basic “proof of facts”

    3. What makes you think Trump believed he could create a political advantage by urging Ukraine to open an investigation into the Bidens?

      After all, Trump’s own lived experience is that the partisan investigation of him did not hurt him politically. Your side hired a foreign spy to create a dossier filled with disinformation to create the impression of wrongdoing. Then laundered it through the media and the US intelligence apparatus for the purpose of opening an investigation. Then a gang of highly paid, partisan Democrat lawyers with unlimited resources to waste interviewed hundreds of witnesses; issued almost 500 search warrants and over 2800 subpoenas. Trump survived.

      His own lived experience is that he was not hurt politically after a brutal investigation. Why would he believe the Bidens would be hurt by an investigation in which they are found to have engaged in no wrongdoing?

  2. Schiff said he wanted to “just conclude by saying, because I can’t let it go unanswered, some of my colleagues made the statement repeatedly that I met with the whistleblower, that I know who the whistleblower is.”

    “It was false the first time they said. It was false the second through 40th time they said it, and it will be false the last time they say it. With that, this concludes this portion of the hearing.”

    1. Wonder how they will handle it when Lindsay Graham issues a subpoena for the so-called whistelblower to testify?

      1. Interesting, but what kind of AH would want that to happen? As a federal employee, can Graham be prosecuted? I would hope so, or the law has no teeth.

      2. “Wonder how they will handle it when Lindsay Graham issues a subpoena for the so-called whistelblower to testify?”
        The Dims will stomp their feet and the Repubs will issue it. The blower will go to court and lose in a preliminary injunction hearing and show up claiming threat to life and limb. The Repubs will accommodate him and disguise him in a private session where he’ll be savaged as the partisan he is. The transcript will leak out. His name will be confirmed. The impeachment will fail and this guy will play martyr-victim like that harpy, Christine Blase’ Ford.

        1. For an attorney, how does mespo not get that the guy who gives the cops the tip is irrelevant after the evidence from other sources is developed?

          “Yeah, we got that jail house stooge dead to rights. He used to be in the mafia too! There goes their case and all that testimony from the accountants and the hit man!”

          Funny s..t!

  3. John Podesta (remember him? Hilary’s campaign chairman) has been less than forthcoming about his relationship with the Russian government. “What he doesn’t like to talk about is the business he’s done with a Kremlin-backed investment firm and the lengths he’s gone to avoid scrutiny of this relationship,” the Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 23.

    Something I wrote in these comments was referenced today in the Hearings.

  4. Hughes and Loral, large contributors to Clinton’s campaign coffers, gave the Chinese technology to deliver nuclear payloads.

    “They were able to accomplish this with indispensable assistance provided by the Clinton White House that allowed them to circumvent technology controls instituted for national-security purposes by previous administrations,” writes Horowitz.

    It pays to be informed.
    On a scale of 1—-100, with Trump’s alleged impeachable activity at 10, Clinton was/is at infinity and way beyond. If leftists truly loved America, they would prosecute this traitor.

    1. Prosecute the traitor?! Fully agree.

      The Democrats and their media wanted to usher Clinton BACK into the White House, only this time wtih his God-awful incompetent, corrupt, lying, cheating, power-hungry, power-tripping wife in charge. We thank God every day for President Trump.

  5. “Supercomputers underpin the technology of nuclear and missile warfare, and not only for firing and controlling the missiles. A supercomputer can simulate a nuclear test and is thus crucial to the development of nuclear warheads. But, according to a Washington Post editorial: ‘In the first three quarters of 1998 nine times as many [supercomputers] were exported [to China] as during the previous seven years.’”

    You understand President William J. Clinton sold top secret satillite technology to China through Loral Space. The Clinton administration overruled national security officials in order win approval for a Loral deal that gave Red China critical missile technology. Loral’s chief executive officer became the Democratic National Committee’s largest donor and McAuliffe became DNC chairman.

  6. I get really tired of clueless left wing nuts telling us what the founders thought.
    We have the actual founders words. Not merely in the declaration and the constitution, but also the federalist papers and many many other writings of our founders.

    Washington would have had a problem with Trump’s actions in the Ukraine – he would have had a problem with the entirety of US foreign policy.
    Have would have had a problem with all the treaties and commitments and aide and entanglements we have.

    He and most of our founders likely would have considered foreign aide from our government unconstitutional, and if not at the very least a very bad idea.

    But all that said – none of the founders would have accepted this “thing of value” nonsense that now pervades the left.

    This “thing of value” nonsense absolutely fails even the most trivial reductio ad absurdem.

    In the specific instance Trump asked Zelensky to keep his campaign promise to investigate corruption.
    He specifically a long list of things he hoped Zelensky would investigate.

    All of them could be a “thing of value”, Zelensky meeting with Trump is a “thing of value”. Trump taking the phone call is a “thing of value”.

    In this case Trump asked Zelensky to do something that is not only a campaign promise – but his JOB – to investigate alleged misconduct where there is reasonable suspicion that a crime has occured.

    You have to be clueless to fail to grasp that there exists far more than “reasonable suspicion” that VP Biden’s conduct regarding the Ukraine may have violated actual laws.
    It certainly fails even the simplest ethics test.

    By this lubdicrous “thing of value” argument – anyone who goes tot he police and asks them to investigate a crime is engaged in bribery.

    Or if you narrow the scope a bit – anyone in government who asks has engaged in bribery.

    There are several letters from Senators to the Ukrainian Government asking either that they investigate or that the not investigate – all would be examples of bribery, by this ludicrously stupid argument.

    Any time a congress person asked anyone in any branch of governmnent to look into something for a constitutent – that would be bribery by this stupid definition.

    Can we quit trend to warp the law and constitution totally to “get Trump” ?

    Most of us – and the american people grasp that the impeachment of Bill Clinton was a mistake. And Clinton actually committed numerous very real crimes.
    Crimes significantly more serious than those that Mueller has sent people to jail for.

    Yet here we are with Trump trying to warp the law and constitution to “get Trump”.

    We have already made a serious mistake.

    House democrats have already set a new norm for the standards for investigating presidents and conducting investigations.
    When Trump is long gone – we will still be stuck with the fallout from this.

    It does not matter whether it is future democrats or future republicans mirroring the conduct we have today. You can be certain it will come.

    Both parties in the senate over and over threatened to “change the rules” to get their political way. Until Harry Reid deployed the “nuclear option” it was just threats.
    Reid barely got a few months of freedom to do as he pleased before Republicans took over the senate and have used Reids new rules to reshape the judiciary as has never been done before.

    Democrats clearly lost that battle.

    We do not know how this impeachment will play out – but we can be pretty certain that we will repeat this fiasco over and over in the future.

    Things will have to get alot worse – before there is hope they will get better.

  7. “The coup has started. First of many steps: Rebellion and impeachment will follow ultimately.”

    – Mark S. Zaid, Whistleblower Attorney, January 2017

    In the first of many steps, President Trump’s administration was and is pursuing corruption in Ukraine and the treasonous criminal

    perpetrators of an ongoing coup d’etat in America.

    The Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious scandal in American political history.

    The co-conspirators are:

    Eric Ciaramella, Bill Taylor, George Kent, Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Andrew Weissmann,

    Comey, Christopher Wray, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Laycock, Kadzic, Yates, Baker,

    Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Sir Richard Dearlove, Steele,

    Simpson, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Azra Turk,

    Kerry, Hillary, Huma, Mills, Brennan, Gina Haspel, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power,

    Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Holder, Brazile, Sessions (patsy), Nadler, Schiff, Obama et al.

  8. “One of the key technological breaks China received, without having to spy to get it, was the deliverance of supercomputers once banned from export for security reasons,” writes Horowitz.

  9. “Unlike the administrations that preceded it, the Clinton administration accepted millions of dollars from the military and intelligence services of at least one hostile foreign power. All of this was done in exchange for illegal campaign contributions from a massive totalitarian country determined to eclipse the U.S. as a world superpower.”
    Matthew Vadum

    1. yeah there’s a blast from the past

      I have a feeling that some other politicians have accepted illegal chinese money donations too.

      if I were FBI I would start with AOC who has in her backyard the fastest growing population of mainland Chinese migrants in the USA right there in Queens. Who just love to deal in cash.

      or they could just work the office of DiFi who had the Chinese spy for a chauffeur for years. Tons of Chicom money flowing into California real estate the past decade I’m sure. They probably have spread some around to make “Guanxi” there with other politicians there too

      maybe they can flip this Saikat guy

      “Two political action committees founded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s top aide funneled over $1 million in political donations into two of his own private companies, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.

      The cash transfers from the PACs — overseen by Saikat Chakrabarti, the freshman socialist Democrat’s chief of staff — run counter to her pledges to increase transparency and reduce the influence of “dark money” in politics…”

      i wonder if that guy is related to the lady on npr by same last name?

  10. well if that’s it I can go back to sorting my sock drawer. wow what a let down on the drama from Democrats.

    Pelosi’s gonna let Schiff take the blame for this farce i can see it

    1. At that point, she’ll be re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This became a farce when GOP committee members were denied a chance to call witness or to ask questions of Democrat witnesses. If “high crimes and misdemeanors” are impeachable and the GOP retakes the House/retains the Senate after the 2020 election… no, Republicans will put Congress back to work running the country.

      1. when the smoke clears, it will be a long time before politicians want to mount an impeachment attack again.

        anybody who’s not on the defense team should be gearing up to get out the vote in 2020 and this farce is reason number one.

    2. Mr. K:
      “Pelosi’s gonna let Schiff take the blame for this farce i can see it.”
      No doubt. She’ll saw this limb off. She already said she might not report out articles of impeachment. She’s been to this premier and knows the movie plays more like “Cleopatra” than “Ben Hur.’

      1. Mespo,

        I can’t say I’ll see any response here & that’s fine.

        I just seen your post & was thinking maybe Pelosi has a bigger plan?

        I recall someone saying Schitf wanted to run for Sen Feinstein’s Sen seat last year but she didn’t resign.

        If Pelosi takes out Schitf & Feinstein retires Pelosi might be able to get her daugther or her nephew the Cali Gov Newsom?

  11. Step over the blood on the floor and the witness backpedaling to Chevy Chase (“I’m not a star witness to anything.”) and behold the proffered “star witness” being devastated by a wrestling coach albeit a damn bright one with a law degree. Imagine what Gowdy or Graham will do to him. This is great cross-exam:

    1. Yeah impressive for ignorant people who haven’t heard much of the evidence yet and don’t know that Zelensky planned a CNN appearance to make the announcement he was extorted to perform when the funds were suddenly provided. That was 2 days after the WB news hit the fan and the jig was up in the WH. There is also the fact that State Dept lawyers had ruled that the WH could not legally continue to hold the funds and had to release them.

      No doubt Fox will play this one up for the LIV who watch that network. Too bad there are more witnesses to come to fill in the blanks.

      Your welcome. Let me know if you need anymore help.

        1. John Burgoyne:

          Fair enough. Wait for Gowdy and Graham and the Republican’s counsel. Taylor will walk out of there just an empty tweed jacket with a tattered repp tie.

        2. Jordon looks and sounds like a wrestling coach

          And no doubt you wish he had you in a Leg-trap camel clutch.

          Are you fricking kidding? That is your critique?!? He looks and sounds like a coach?

          Sister, get your id out of the gutter. At least Anon makes a fool of herself smelling less camelish

        3. Well he is a wrestling coach accused by multiple witnesses of knowingly ignoring blatant sexual abuse of his players by faculty staff.

          “Referee says he told Rep. Jim Jordan that Ohio State doctor performed sex act in shower
          The referee said the response of Jordan and another former coach was, “Yeah, yeah, we know.”

          A professional referee says in a lawsuit filed Thursday that disgraced doctor Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him in a shower after a wrestling match at Ohio State University, and that he reported the encounter directly to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was then the assistant coach.

          “Yeah, that’s Strauss,” Jordan and then-head coach Russ Hellickson replied, according to the lawsuit, when the referee, identified in court papers as John Doe 42, told them about the incident. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Ohio, implies that Jordan’s response to the incident, which the referee said happened in 1994, was essentially a shrug.

          John Doe 42 is the second person to say he told Jordan directly about either being approached or molested by Strauss, who was found by independent investigators to have sexually abused 177 male students over two decades.

          Former Ohio State wrestler Dunyasha Yetts was the first person to say he spoke to Jordan directly about Strauss. He previously described how he went to see Strauss for a thumb injury, and when the doctor tried to pull down his pants, he stormed out and complained to Jordan and Hellickson.

          “It’s good that people are starting to come forward and say the truth, which is that Jordan and the other coaches knew what was going on and they blew it off,” Yetts told NBC News.

          The lawsuit was filed by 43 survivors against Ohio State, claiming the university’s “ingrained culture of institutional indifference” enabled Strauss to sexually abuse former students and athletes from a half-dozen other sports.

          It cites instances of Strauss “drugging and raping athletes” and said Strauss preyed on underage boys who participated in athletic events on the campus….

          An investigation commissioned by the university and conducted by the Perkins Coie law firm found that what Strauss was doing was an “open secret” and that the coaches and administrators at Ohio State knew for two decades that the doctor was abusing students but failed to stop him, according to a report released in May.”

            1. Paul:
              “Anon1 – you trying muddy the reputation of Jordan?”
              Far from it. He’s the pinnacle of reasoned debate. What you think are ad hominem, tu quoque, non-sequiturs, diversions, deflections, projections, profane rants and frustrated lashing outs are, in fact, the musings of a superior mind which cries out like a spoiled child for attention. I won’t give it to him.

              1. It seems Republicans had another wrestling coach in Congress. His name was Dennis something. What became of him?

    2. ha ha Taylor’s laughing cuz its a joke

      he doesnt consider himself a star witness

      they dont have a star witness., it’s a bust on day one

    3. Taylor said in his first two meetings with the Ukrainian president, that delaying security aid for the investigation did not come up, because they did not know about it, and had no way of knowing about it. No linkage was discussed.

      On the third visit, Politico had released an article that Trump had predicated aid on the condition that Ukraine investigated the Bidens to help him in the upcoming election. Taylor said this was the first they’d heard about it. Again, no linkage was required in that meeting.

      So, their star witness said that Ukraine was not aware of aid being withheld on condition of investigating the Bidens.

      Quid pro quo requires a mutual understating. Otherwise, how will the pro be provided for the quid? You know, like fire the prosecutor within 6 hours or you will not receive over $1 billion in aid.

      I wonder if Ukraine will be afraid to either investigate the Biden’s, or to provide any damaging information, for fear they will be accused of meddling in an American election. Did this just give the Biden’s a get out of jail free card?

      CNN said tonight that Republicans have a legitimate argument that, so far, there was no direct quid pro quo. It’s all I heard it from someone 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th hand. Even the Democrat media is not looking upon this favorably.

      1. The aid was withheld and direct communications between Trump’s goons and Ukrainian officials – we have the texts – was setting up a public announcement – on CNN’s Fareed Zacharia.

        None of whom have attested to that.

  12. Did the whistleblower help arrange phone call between former VP Biden and the former President of Ukraine (Poroshenko) complaining about prosecutors behavior toward Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden was a member of the board?

    Did the whistleblower participate in an effort by VP Biden to call the President of the Ukraine (Poroshenko) after Burisma owners’ houses were raided by Ukrainian authorities?

    Did the whistleblower actively participate in an effort to back Ukrainian officials off a Burisma investigation after U.S. State Department received complaints from Burisma’s American board members?

    Did VP Biden talk to Ukrainian President Poroshenko about prosecutors efforts to investigate Burisma, the gas company where Hunter Biden served as a board member?

    tweets by Lindsey Graham

    1. Who cares. The WB is no longer critical to the case as his allegations have been backed up with evidence. Attempts to focus on him are attempts to distract, not defend Trump from the charges.

      1. Who cares. The WB is no longer critical to the case as his allegations have been backed up with evidence.

        Anon1 has retreated to the “I say it’s spinach” strategy. (See “Collusion has been proved”).

        1. Like Shifty Schiff, Anon1’s actually moved on to the goats and cabbages defense:

          The cabbage farmer sues his neighbor for goat-eaten cabbages.

          The obviously guilty neighbor responds :

          ” You had no cabbages.

          “ ‘If you had any cabbages, they were not eaten.

          “ ‘If your cabbages were eaten, it was not by a goat.

          “ ‘If your cabbages were eaten by a goat, it wasn’t my goat.

          “ ‘And if it was my goat, he was insane.’ ”

        2. Maybe you can manage to – you know – actually counter my opinion on the facts of this case intelligently and specifically.

          Probably not.

  13. Prof. Turley says that “Converting the Ukrainian controversy into a bribery theory is both constitutionally and historically unsound.” Prof. Turley misses the entire point of the political theatrics. The purpose of the proceedings is to undermine the U.S. Constitution and the will of the people.

  14. Nothing could be more clear after 3 years of this coup than this, and Joe Biden highlighted it. Democrats and their political allies truly believe in the following “legal” maxim: We choose truth over facts. What we have seen to date is a pursuit by anti-Trump forces to impeach this President based on their feelings of what the truth is. What we have seen to date from those defending this President is based on what the facts are.

    What I want to know is this: Is impeachment supposed to be based on a feeling of what the truth is, or is it supposed to be based on what can be proven by facts?

    1. The facts are clear and supported by multiple witnesses and hard evidence.. Trump tried to extort the Ukrainian government using tax payer funds and the power of his office for personal gain.

        1. Mr. K:

          You think Anon1 is purple or red now that his impeachment fantasy is coming to a screeching halt? I’m going with purple! Schiff is now getting it, no one is buying this hearsay laden wishful thinking. You can tell by his smug retribution and refusal to call anyone who might give Trump favorable testimony. He’s the Kangaroo-in-Chief in this farce of a hearing. Trump is empowered by feeble attempts to reach up to his bootlaces by this conspiracy of dunces.

          1. it’s really a let down, i was almost hoping for them to pull a rabbit out of the hat, in spite of my liking for Trump. you know, just to kind of make it all feel more worthwhile

            what a stain on the history of Congress! this farce makes the Clinton impeachment look serious by comparison, even considering the dubious subject material.

            1. While mespo confuses his wishful thinking with the juries, tell us what makes you think the hearing is a farce:

              1. There isn’t sufficient evidence to support the charge.
              2. The alleged crime is not impeachable.

              Maybe you can elaborate.

      1. The facts are clear and supported by multiple witnesses and hard evidence.

        So with so many facts, multiple witnesses and hard evidence in this much anticipated public impeachment inquiry, what is the theme Schiff laid out at the very beginning of his opening statement as a foundation for impeachment? Did he focus on the alleged impeachable acts of President Trump?

        In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire. In the following years, thirteen thousand Ukrainians died as they battled superior Russian forces.

        No. It was a bleeding-heart walk down bad-memory lane. And then time and again, the two witnesses were asked about what they perceived the Ukranians would feel about…

        Contrast Schiff’s approach with Justice Robert H. Jackson’s opening statement (first paragraph) before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Did he find it necessary to go back 5000 years, 2000 years, 100 years and set the foundation for justice? It wasn’t necessary as the facts, multiple witnesses and hard evidence were on his side.

        The privilege of opening the first trial in history for crimes against the peace of the world imposes a grave responsibility. The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated. That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.

        1. Schiff’s point was the seriousness of the funds withheld in Trump’s extortion attempt. Both sides tried to get the witnesses to go further than their experience would justify, and both witnesses admirably held back. SOP in hearings, but it doesn’t negate the landed blows, especially because of the professionalism and reticence of the witnesses

      1. That’s exactly right loupgarous. Their pursuit of justice approach begins with the truth of what they feel, which leads to an investigation for proof of what they feel and ends when their truth is not supported by facts. We saw this with the Mueller investigation, we saw this with the Kavanaugh confirmation and we’re seeing it with this impeachment boondoggle.

  15. Wait Till Will Get To Those Soviet-Born Money Bundlers

    Not long before the Ukrainian president was inaugurated in May, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s journeyed to Kiev to deliver a warning to the country’s new leadership, a lawyer for the associate said.

    The associate, Lev Parnas, told a representative of the incoming government that it had to announce an investigation into Mr. Trump’s political rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son, or else Vice President Mike Pence would not attend the swearing-in of the new president, and the United States would freeze aid, the lawyer said.

    The claim by Mr. Parnas, who is preparing to share his account with impeachment investigators, challenges the narrative of events from Mr. Trump and Ukrainian officials that is at the core of the congressional inquiry. It also directly links Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to threats of repercussions made to the Ukrainians, something he has strenuously denied.

    But Mr. Parnas’s account, while potentially significant, is being contradicted on several fronts. None of the people involved dispute that the meeting occurred, but Mr. Parnas stands alone in saying the intention was to present an ultimatum to the Ukrainian leadership.

    Another participant in the meeting, Mr. Parnas’s business partner, Igor Fruman, said Mr. Parnas’s claim was false; the men never raised the issues of aid or the vice president’s attendance at the inauguration, lawyers for Mr. Fruman said.

    Mr. Giuliani denied Mr. Parnas’s contention that he had delivered the warning at the direction of Mr. Giuliani. “Categorically, I did not tell him to say that,” Mr. Giuliani said.

    The dispute represents the clearest indication yet that Mr. Parnas, who was indicted along with Mr. Fruman last month on campaign finance charges, has turned on Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani.

    Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, both Soviet-born businessmen from Florida, worked with Mr. Giuliani for months in Ukraine outside normal diplomatic channels to further Mr. Trump’s interests. The men have been subpoenaed to testify before Congress, and Mr. Parnas’s lawyer has said his client will comply to the extent he can without incriminating himself. It is unclear if Mr. Parnas will ultimately be called to testify.

    Mr. Parnas’s account of the meeting, if corroborated, would reveal the earliest known instance of American aid being tied to demands for Ukraine to take actions that could benefit Mr. Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. It would also represent a more extensive threat — to pull Mr. Pence from the inaugural delegation — than was previously known.

    The meeting in Kiev in May occurred after Mr. Giuliani, with Mr. Parnas’s help, had planned a trip there to urge Mr. Zelensky to pursue the investigations. Mr. Giuliani canceled his trip at the last minute, claiming he was being “set up.”

    Mr. Giuliani is under investigation by Manhattan prosecutors and the F.B.I. over whether he illegally engaged in lobbying for foreign interests in connection with the Ukraine efforts. He has denied any wrongdoing, saying he was working for his client, Mr. Trump.

    That investigation grew out of one into Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman. An indictment unsealed on Oct. 10 accused the men of illegally routing a $325,000 contribution to a political action committee supporting Mr. Trump through a shell company and linked them to an effort to recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was the subject of criticism from many of Mr. Trump’s allies. The men were also charged with funneling campaign contributions from a Russian businessman to other American politicians to influence them in support of a marijuana venture. The two men, and two co-defendants, have pleaded not guilty.

    “Giuliani Associate Says He Gave Demand For Biden Inquiry To Ukrainians”

    The New York Times, 11/10/19

    1. JOhn Burgoyne:

      Yep we’re taking the word of some indicted Russian money launderers looking for a deal!! Hahahaha

      It’s not the reading, John; it’s the understanding of what you read that apparently is the problem.

        1. John Burgoyne:

          I deal with unsavory folks all the time — ahem — it doesn’t rub off on my clients. Lawyers do what lawyer’s do and that is to promote their client’s interests. I’d meet with the Devil himself if it was in the client’s interest to so so. I once met with a convicted serial rapist who was a witness in a civil case my client needed to win. Credible? Maybe so, maybe no but that’s not the point now is it? Was my client a rapist, too? Welcome to the human condition. It’s messy.

          BTW, Your actual view of the world would easily fit into a soda straw.

          1. Mespo doesn’t explain why Guiliani was dealing with these guys, implying it was some legal strategy in defense of his client (Trump). What would the goal have been? They had compromising pictures of Trump?

            Occan’s razor says they were indeed working together given the multiple times they socialized with both Guilani and his “client” and the money they collected and donated to the “client”.

            Typically mespo primarily relies on insults not justified by anything John writes or that mespo somehow has earned with his weak response.

            1. lol this is ridiculous. one grows tired of the constant associational smears. as lawyers we mostly laugh them off.

              my crim law professor gave a good speech about representing a serial murderer on appeal. it’s our system.
              the defendant was a loathsome individual but he had rights that needed legit representation to advance on appeal.
              people who want to tear the right of lawyers to represent people want to tear down due process itself.
              i admired my professor for that work. i realize a lot of people don’t feel the same way about such things.

              we can see today’s Democrat leadership and their version of due process on display in this impeachment circus.

              if they can railroad trump, they can railroad any of us

              1. Nothing about Guiliani’s hanging out with the Maralago twins had anything to do with typical lawyers work, unless their mixed up with mob-like enterprises. He wasn’t interviewing them as witnesses.

      1. One was born in the Ukraine and one was born in Belarus. John Burgroin is technically correct that they were “Soviet born”.
        To be consistent, I expect John B. to also refer to Lt. Col. Vindman as “Soviet born”, as well as President Zelensky.
        All were born as “Soviets”, before the Soviet Union broke up.

    2. Regarding Above: Donald Trump claims he never met these Soviet-Born mystery men but it appears they showed up at various events where Trump was featured. Parnas and Fruman are, without a doubt, the most incriminating sub-plot to the Ukraine Scandal. The big question is ‘where’ did the get that $325,000 they routed to Trump’s political action committee. I believe that when the spotlight eventually shines on these 2 characters, it won’t look good for either Giuliani or Trump.

      The above article was edited to save space.

      1. “The big question is where did they get that $325,000”.
        Maybe one or both worked for Burisma. I understand that they pay very well, like $50,000 a month to newcomers.

      2. Every native-born Ukrainian over the age of 28 is “Soviet-born”. If that’s all you have… (shakes head sadly).

    3. Trump’s Former Lawyer Representing Soviet-Born Money Bundlers

      The professional relationship between Mr. Parnas and Mr. Giuliani is at the heart of the suggestion that materials in the case might be protected by executive privilege, which is the president’s power to limit access to executive branch information about sensitive or confidential issues.

      On Wednesday, Mr. Parnas’s lawyer noted Mr. Giuliani had been retained by Mr. Trump and Mr. Parnas at the same time.

      That raised the possibility that the White House might invoke executive privilege to protect some of the voluminous evidence in the case, the lawyer, Edward B. MacMahon Jr., said. It also meant, he said, that some of the evidence in the case was subject to attorney-client privilege, which preserves the confidentiality of communications between lawyers and clients.

      “These are issues we need to be very sensitive to,” Mr. MacMahon told the judge. “I’m not telling you I know how to resolve this.”

      Earlier John M. Dowd, a lawyer representing Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman in the impeachment investigation, went even further, arguing that the two men had helped Mr. Giuliani on behalf of Mr. Trump, and so their work was covered by executive privilege.

      At the time, the House committee directing the impeachment inquiry requested that Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman testify and provide documents about their work in Ukraine for Mr. Giuliani.

      They refused. In a letter to Congress, Mr. Dowd, who was once a lawyer for Mr. Trump, argued not only that Mr. Parnas’s and Mr. Fruman’s work for Mr. Giuliani was confidential under the executive privilege rule, but that, effectively, the two also had attorney-client privilege with Mr. Giuliani and possibly, by extension, with Mr. Trump.

      Edited from: “Trump’s Links To 2 Indicted Giuliani Associates: What We Know”

      The New York Times, 10/24/19

          1. Mespo, Tabby, ‘who’ are these guys and ‘where’ did they get the $325,000 they routed to Trump’s political action committee??

            And Mespo for an alleged lawyer, I never see any lawyerly answers from you. It’s like you an Olly consult the same insult book by Ann Coulter. The idea seems to be that your righteousness is beyond any question. Therefore you don’t need to even need to engage in any real debate.

            1. Therefore you don’t need to even need to engage in any real debate.

              First of all, thank you for the honorable mention. Secondly, the record (archives) will reflect numerous efforts on my part (and others) to engage with you in a debate by using evidence from multiple sources and by asking you direct questions. The evidence will further reflect you have routinely been unable to refute the evidence nor do you attempt to answer the questions directed to you.

              Perhaps if you would provide your definition of real debate, then I will have clarity into whether I will engage in it.

              1. “Too lame to intelligently discuss facts and defend a position”….says the Anon1….

                the very same Anon1 who just made the ‘intelligent’ comments such as —> “I bet you landed on your head too many times” and “what a f’ing hack.”

                yeah. tell us more about “intelligently” defending one’s position, Anon1. we’re all ears.

  16. “That limitless definition would convert most of the conversations between presidents and other heads of state into potential bribery cases.”
    Saw the opening volley in the shinola show: “Taylor was TOLD blah,blah blah …”

    𝐑𝐄𝐏. 𝐉𝐎𝐑𝐃𝐀𝐍: “𝐘𝐨𝐮’𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬? … 𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫 𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬.”

    𝐓𝐀𝐘𝐋𝐎𝐑: “𝐈’𝐦 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬. 𝐋𝐞𝐭 𝐦𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐤 𝐭𝐨.”

    HAHAHAHA! Holy Lord Coke. These buffoon couldn’t convict Eskimos of being cold.

    Schiff has all the political judgment, legal acumen and positional gravitas as Anon1 on our blog. Trump is more than safe; he’s empowered.

    1. More from Shiff’s “star witness” Crocodile Bill Taylor on the first day from an exchange with Repub counsel, Steve Castor:

      𝐂𝐀𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐑: 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐙𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐤𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐭 𝐝𝐚𝐲?

      𝐓𝐀𝐘𝐋𝐎𝐑: 𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞. 𝐖𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐚 𝐦𝐞𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐭 𝐝𝐚𝐲.

      𝐂𝐀𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐑: 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐙𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐤𝐲 𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥?

      𝐓𝐀𝐘𝐋𝐎𝐑: 𝐇𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝 — 𝐬𝐨, 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭, 𝐬𝐨 — 𝐬𝐨 𝐈, 𝐀𝐦𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐝𝐨𝐫 [𝐊𝐮𝐫𝐭] 𝐕𝐨𝐥𝐤𝐞𝐫, 𝐀𝐦𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐝𝐨𝐫 [𝐆𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐨𝐧] 𝐒𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝, 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐞, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐦, 𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤, 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥 [𝐰𝐞𝐧𝐭]. 𝐇𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝, “𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞. 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥.”

      1. Yeah, a completely subservient applicant for aid is going to complain to the bosses employees.

        This is the best mespo can come up with. What a f…g hack.

    2. The testimony I saw was compelling and intelligent, while the GOP attempt was all about trying to discredit the hearings while avoiding the facts. At one point the minority counsel made a worthy attempt to show there was a legitimate reason for Trump to want to an investigation, given the corruption in the Ukraine on which no one disagrees and some Ukrainian politicians and government officials who did not like Trump in 2016. This is a legitimate challenge to the facts. However, the problem with these arguments, as highlighted by Schiff, among others, is:

      1. Trump and his aides did not ask once about Ukrainian corruption and government efforts to control it, nor a program to turn the corner on it, they only asked about the Bidens. His goal was obviously personal and had nothing to do with the Ukraine, it’s future, or any serious concern with policy.

      2. In answer to the question on Ukrainian hostility to Trump – this was an instance where an attorney asked a question he did not know or want the answer to – Taylor pointed out that during the 2016 campaign, Trump had advocated giving Crimea to Russia, a position he said would draw instant rebuke from almost all Ukrainians.

      1. The testimony I saw was compelling and intelligent,

        It’s compelling, because you’ve been stomping your feet for three years saying Trump Must Be Disgraced. Your only problem has been that there is nothing with which to disgrace him and the attempts of the people you admire to manufacture something keep coming a cropper. So, you stamp your feet and pretend they succeeded when they failed. So, here we have people retailing hearsay weeks after the actual transcript of the call has been released, and you find it ‘compelling’. You’re kind of a bore.

        1. TIA, the phone call is not the only event in the efforts of Trump to extort Ukrainian assistance in his 2020 campaign, but if it was, it still contains evidence of his efforts.

          I’m sorry if you are bored by discussions of the facts, instead of the non-stop whining here by you and others about how terrible those you disagree with are.

          Let’s try this:

          1. Do you really think Trump did not try to extort the Ukrainians into helping his 2020 campaign? If not, how do you reject the bounty of evidence that he did.

          2. If you were to be convinced he did, or even if not, do you think that is OK behavior for a president, even – for instance – if it is AOC in 8 years?

          1. to extort Ukrainian assistance in his 2020 campaign, but if it was, it still contains evidence of his efforts.

            The term ‘extort’ does not mean what you fancy it means. The term ‘2020 campaign’ does not either. They’re mailing you really stupid talking points.

        2. “So, here we have people retailing hearsay weeks after the actual transcript of the call has been released, and you find it ‘compelling’. You’re kind of a bore.”
          More like boar – south end of the northbound variety.

  17. “Schiff told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep “Bribery, first of all, as the founders understood bribery, it was not as we understand it in law today. It was much broader. It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you’re offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation’s interest.” He added that you only have to show that the president was “soliciting something of value.””

    Heh. Well, if that’s the definition, then upwards of 90-95% of our duly elected representatives on the Hill ought to be impeached.

    1. Prairie, do you honestly believe that extorting a foreign government for help in a political campaign is not unique or worse than normal political behavior? If it isn’t what is a similar instance that has occurred?

  18. We could make sound legal arguments either way in how to proceed on this impeachment subject. Yet, I suspect the reality is that members of Congress are not operating on a legal framework but instead on political chicanery and emotion. It is in most cases irrelevant if a strategy of theirs is legally sound, they’re going to do what they want regardless of whether it is legal or not.

    1. So unprofound it hurts. Impeachment could be based totally on politics and be constitutional but no worries, plenty on wrongdoing and evidence.

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