Democrats Seek To Redefine Crimes To Reframe The Trump Impeachment

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the three new crimes being alleged by the Democrats: bribery; extortion; and obstruction. There was a critical shift away from the abuse of power framework this week in favor of these criminal allegations. That may reflect the fact that the hearings have not resonated with voters, or at least have not caused a shift in public opinion. I have previously stated that a president can be impeached for abuse of power, including a quid pro quo. However, when alleging a crime, the elements of such a crime are relevant. Indeed, Schiff has referenced those elements in his comments in the hearings. The problem is that the case law falls far short of the rhetoric surrounding these crimes.

Here is the column:

After weeks of hearings, Democrats are discovering a simple truth about impeachment. You do not need a crime, but you need clarity, to remove a sitting president. Faced with a country still divided right down the middle on impeaching President Trump, Democrats have reframed an alleged abuse of power as actual crimes of bribery, extortion, and obstruction. These allegations are based on the same spurious interpretations used during the Russia investigation to claim clear proven crimes.

Those “clear established crimes” are absent in this impeachment. Instead, the same experts and House members now claim three new crimes with equal certainty, but even less support under case law. If Democrats continue on this course, it will combine the narrowest impeachment in history with the most dubious claims of criminal conduct.

Bribery

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that the first two witnesses in the impeachment hearing offered “devastating” evidence that “corroborated” bribery. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff repeatedly returned to the definition of bribery this week, saying that all it requires is a showing that the president withheld military aid, even briefly, for anything that would benefit him politically or personally.

It is a definition that would turn most discretionary decisions of a president into grounds for a bribery charge. All presidential acts are to some extent political, since they are taken by politicians. The same is true for members of Congress. Presidents often seek to convince other countries to take actions that would benefit them politically. The most cited provision is Title 18 Section 201 of the federal code, which defines bribery as an act by a public official who “directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act.”

That definition might seem endlessly flexible, so Pelosi told the press that “to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into elections” is bribery. But it is not. The courts have narrowly construed these terms and reversed high profile cases based on the type of creative interpretations now put forward by Democrats. The Supreme Court rejected such claims in Robert McDonnell versus United States. In that case, the governor of Virginia actually received “things of value” but the court rejected the “boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.” Similar counts were rejected in other criminal cases, including counts against Senator Robert Menendez, who received gifts for allegedly using his office to benefit a donor.

Trump did not receive the requested investigations and, after a brief delay, the aid was given to Ukraine. Two different investigations were raised by Trump. First, he wanted Ukraine to investigate efforts to influence the 2016 election. While Pelosi calls that investigation fake, it is a subject being investigated by United States Attorney John Durham, who is looking at both Russian and Ukrainian sources used by Democrats and their supporters and the Obama administration to probe the Trump campaign. Moreover, recent House inquiry witnesses like Kurt Volker, the respected former United States envoy to Ukraine, said he did not think it was a problem to ask for such an investigation as part of the aid discussion since it did not demand a particular finding.

The second investigation was more problematic. The request to probe the business dealings of Hunter Biden was highly inappropriate. But it was not bribery. There is an arguable public purpose to such an investigation, since the contract was a classic example of influence peddling by a corrupt Ukrainian company seeking leverage with Vice President Joe Biden. While the request by Trump never should have been made, it is far from other acts of politicians where actual benefits were delivered. If used by Democrats, such a “boundless interpretation” rejected unanimously by the Supreme Court would be imported into an impeachment standard designed to be bounded and burdensome for Congress.

Extortion

The claim that Trump calling for a corruption investigation constitutes extortion is even further off the mark. The most obvious basis for such a charge is the Hobbs Act, which prohibits “extortion under color of official right.” Such violations occur when a politician demands a bribe for official conduct, like the claims against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who demanded $50,000 in campaign contributions to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates to benefit a hospital. The problem is that military aid is subject to a large degree of executive branch discretion, which President Obama relied on to withhold aid to Egypt.

The case is even weaker when the aid was only withheld for a short period, and it is not clear the Ukrainians understood that the request for investigations might be an actual precondition. The only clear date is August 29, when an article in Politico discussed a possible quid pro quo. That, however, was just 10 days before the release of the aid without a Ukrainian commitment to investigate. If that constitutes extortion, then most presidents and members of Congress are recidivist felons. All such politicians actively negotiate for a variety of changes or actions in return for legislative or executive acts.

Obstruction

Finally, Democrats have been alluding to obstruction, based on the White House withholding documents and discouraging witnesses from testifying. Some of us have pointed out that prior claims of obstruction in the Russia investigation were fundamentally flawed, and are now debunked entirely, by the failure to include them in the current impeachment. The obstruction theory today is even weaker.

The fact is that Trump waived executive privilege to an unprecedented degree in the special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller, making both witnesses and evidence available. President Obama presented a far more extreme position in withholding both testimony and documents from legislative committees. Moreover, waivers have been made in the Ukraine investigation, including ordinarily privileged communications with heads of state. Witnesses have testified, including current White House staff like Alexander Vindman, without being punished.

Most importantly, Trump has gone to court to seek judicial review of these conflicts between the legislative and executive branches. He is entitled to do so, just as President Nixon and President Clinton did. Obama also sought such judicial review. What Trump cannot do is disobey a final judicial order. To impeach a president for seeking judicial review would itself be an abuse of our constitutional system.

Crimes may be revealed in upcoming testimony, but they need to be grounded in the criminal code rather than in the imagination of members of Congress. I have long criticized the poorly considered statement by President Ford that “an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be.” That often cited quote wrongly suggests impeachment is based on a purely political, not a legal, standard. Even if the House has broad license in impeachment, it does not have license to redefine crimes to fit impeachments.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He 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.

255 thoughts on “Democrats Seek To Redefine Crimes To Reframe The Trump Impeachment”

  1. Jonathan: As a legal academic you understand that facts matter. The fact witnesses who have testified in the House impeachment hearings have clearly indicated Trump wanted a quid pro quo from the Ukrainians. In exchange for US military aid the President demanded president Kelensky dig up political dirt on the Bidens for use in the 2020 election. How can you plausibly argue that there is a “public purpose” in such an abuse of presidential power? Your other line of defense is even less plausible: “Trump did not receive the requested investigations and, after a brief delay, the aid was given to Ukraine”. This is like the bank robber, who is about to flee the bank with 2 bags of money but is stopped by the police, and exclaims: “Hey guys, there is no crime because i didn’t get away with the money!”. Could you possibly argue such a defense in front of any judge? For the Republicans in the House impeachment inquiry the facts don’t matter. But even if Trump did something improper, they argue, it was not bribery, not extortion and no obstruction–ergo no impeachable offense. Your role, it appears, is to provide the “legal” predicate for this defense.

    1. “the President demanded president Kelensky dig up political dirt on the Bidens”

      That’s a strange phrase to use in order to describe a request for an investigation. I mean, “as a legal academic you understand that facts matter.”

    2. The fact witnesses who have testified in the House impeachment hearings have clearly indicated Trump wanted a quid pro quo from the Ukrainians.

      The fact witnesses have clearly indicated they have no direct knowledge or actual proof of a quid pro quo from the Ukrainians.

      Next.

    3. Dennis McIntyre – each fact witness has been directly asked if there was a quid quo pro and they have all said no, except one who thought it was for meetings and even he did not get his information from the President.

      Many of them “felt” there was something inappropriate, however that does not make it so. They do not make policy. At least two have perjured themselves.

      So, Dennis, line up the witnesses who have said that Trump wanted a quid quo pro. Then give is the direct evidence because I think the Senate, which uses different rules, is not going to apply Quigley on Hearsay to their trial.

    4. Dennis, do you know what the word presume means? Do you understand what hearsay evidence is?

      Remove all presumptions and hearsay and what do you have? Nothing but a bunch of irate advisors some with severe political bias and most that have been wrong over and over again. For example Fiona Hill wrote an editorial a number of years ago advising that offensive weapons should not be provided to Ukraine and now it appears she has reversed what she said before now that Trump is President.

      Too much politics by all. Not enough thinking.

  2. Moreover, it is this national-security oriented branch of the administrative state that is likely to prove the most dangerous. This is due to these agencies’ ability to carry out operations kept secret from the public, their access to seemingly limitless amounts of funding, and their ability to investigate and prosecute elected policymakers. Consequently, these agencies possess immense leeway in pursuing their own interests independent of the civilian elected government, and with relative impunity. They have become, in the words of historian Alfred McCoy, “in many ways autonomous from the executive, and increasingly so.”
    https://mises.org/wire/deep-state-headless-fourth-branch-government?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=39be10e6a8-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-39be10e6a8-228626821

    1. My caveat would be that they don’t particularly care about doing it in secret — at least not anymore.

      These are the foreign policy “experts” who, by and large, view a politician as a threat when that politician points out the foolishness of our interventions in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and multiple decades in Afghanistan, and wariness about the expansion of NATO.

      Anyone who expresses a modicum of skepticism about these fiascos is a threat and any number of techniques are used to discredit such a person.

      1. My caveat would be that they don’t particularly care about doing it in secret — at least not anymore.

        Agreed. These so-called experts don’t like to have their expertise questioned. Not by regular folk, not by the political class, and not by the judiciary.

  3. Difficult not to see the Prof as an AlwaysTrumper. He posits that an impeachment proceeding in the House is not a trial, but a political event, which is not to be seen nor judged as a legal proceeding. He later condemns those politicians who, in the political setting of impeachment, for suggesting that some of Trump’s statements/actions could be or are criminal. In his view, apparently, it is political rhetoric some of the time, but not all the time? Only academics can have it both ways. The rest of us just suffer.

    1. Difficult not to see the Prof as an AlwaysTrumper.

      Don’t give up hope. There may be a cure for that if you’re truly interested.

      How Can We Cure Mental Myopia?

      When I catch myself considering someone else through the lens of a fatal flaw, I wish I could grab a bottle of eyedrops that would somehow instantly clear my perception of them. Fighting this epidemic would be so much easier if we had actual medicine that could cure our relational myopia.

      Because that doesn’t exist, I recommend these three steps:

      1. Question your assumptions about the other person. Ask yourself whether you know accurate information about them outside of the one issue through which you characterize them.

      2. Ask yourself whether you’d like to be unfairly characterized for your own fatal flaw. What if your worst characteristic was broadcast across the nation? Would you want to be known as that guy or that woman?

      3. Where possible, talk to that person. Get to know them on more than a surface level. Discuss their dreams, fears, hopes, and desires. Learn more about what makes them human. Find similar issues that connect you instead of choosing to focus on what distances you.
      https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-stories-we-tell-ourselves/201508/do-you-suffer-mental-myopia

    2. The idea that Turley voted for Trump, or will do so in 2020 is highly remote.

      The fact that impeachment is political hardly means that it’s okay to make up crimes and thereby claim that the bar for impeachment has been reached. Turley is of the frame of mind that impeachment for abuse of power only would require an extremely egregious action and that, while not necessary, and illegal act would achieve that level of egregiousness — though not necessarily even then.

      The idea that anything constituted bribery in this matter, for example, is something no self-respecting lawyer, regardless of his or her voter preference, can support.

  4. New Book By Fusion GPS Chiefs..

    Tells Story Of Steele Dossier

    Investigation By Devin Nunes Described

    Fusion GPS partners Glen Simpson and Peter Fritsch have written a book about their most famous piece of research, the Steele Dossier. Highlights include the revelation that at least 7 different Russian sources referenced the alleged ‘pee party’ Trump had with prostitutes during a visit to Moscow in 2013.

    Below is an excerpt:
    …………………………………………………………………

    The authors describe a campaign by an archenemy, House Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman and then later ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, to target and destroy Fusion. Nunes flies to London to try to get a meeting with the heads of British intelligence to try to undermine Steele.

    “But this was amateur hour of the highest order: The agencies flatly refused to meet with him. He did, however, meet with a junior national security official, who very politely told him nothing,” according to Steele’s sources.

    The former MI6 officer was not impressed, per the authors.

    “This Nunes is a proper clown,” Steele told Fritsch. “It’s stunning he thought that would work.”

    Edited from: “In Crime In Progress”, Fusion GPS Chiefs Tell The Inside Story Of The Steele Dossier”

    Today’s NPR reviewing new book “Crime In Progress”

  5. This has been an impeachment by Rorschach test. Because all the Democrats want is Trump out of office, everything they see is an impeachable offense. Fortunately the American people aren’t similarly obsessed. They are far more reasonable, rational and apparently not moved by this impeachment charade. They’re also more in tune with a judicial system that has some fairly clear rules of evidence standards, at least as they apply to the citizen class. They won’t accept circumstantial evidence and feelings as grounds for impeachment. They will however recognize hard evidence, the likes of which we’ll see from Horrowitz and Durham. The contrast in evidence will be shocking. The American people will react accordingly.

  6. In order to quell the impeachment inquiry, Trump should win the hearts of the people by: 1. Wearing a white pantsuit which is exactly the color of Hillary Clilnton’s white pantsuit. According to the NYTimes, an unimpeachable source of truth, Clinton’s white pantsuit indicates two important inner qualities: a. the ability to carry the nuclear codes and b. resistance to Trump. He must be certain it is the same color pantsuit as Hillary’s was as wearing a whitecolored pantsuit the color of Tulsi’s white pantsuit indicates one is antiwar and probably in a cult.

    Secondly, he can withdraw all troops from Saudi Arabia whose govt. attacked and killed our people on 9/11. He can immediate leave the resource war in Syria and stop asking our soldiers to serve as the front guard in stealing that nation’s resource. He can also immediately stop material support of regime change coups in Central and Latin America. These are also resource grabs and the coup in Bolivia is headed by Nazis and has murdered many innocent people.

    He should withdraw from all wars and invest the money in the US economy. I know this would shock neocons, because it involves actions which not only do not harm other people, they will actually help them, but a good shock to neo-cons would be useful as well as a crowd pleaser.

    1. the coup in Bolivia

      You are mistaken, Jill. It would be helpful if you investigated the cause of the current turmoil in Bolivia.

      Morales was elected president in 2006 for a 3 year term, his first term.
      He was reelected in 2009 for a 5 year term, his second term.

      The new Bolivian Constitution of 2009, that Morales helped create, limits presidents to 2 terms. He ran for a 3rd term in 2014, declared himself the President, which he dedicated to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Not being satisfied, he attempted a 4th term in 2019.

      It is the never ending saga of Latin America. No matter the political ideology, Left or Right, once in power they desire more. Morales was a failure and Bolivians resented that he became authoritarian. It is all so predictable.

      Bloodshed is on him for being a tyrant.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/11/evo-morales-finally-went-too-far-bolivia/601741/

      Evo Morales Finally Went Too Far for Bolivia

      The socialist president claimed authoritarian powers in the name of the popular will. But average citizens were fed up with arbitrary rule.

      Nov 11, 2019

      What he and some of his most credulous Western supporters described as a coup was in fact something very different: proof that Bolivians—like the citizens of many other countries around the world—resent arbitrary rule. The longer they have suffered from oppression, the more they have come to value the democratic institutions that are now threatened by populists around the globe.

      As Morales started to come up against the two-term limit for presidents stipulated by the constitution he himself had championed in 2009, his enmity toward any semblance of the rule of law became more and more evident. In 2016, he held a binding referendum that would allow him to stay in office indefinitely. When a majority of Bolivians voted down the proposal, Morales resorted to his tight control of previously independent institutions to get his way.

      When an independent observer mission from the Organization of American States published its audit of the election yesterday, the game was finally up. After the OAS announced that there had been “clear manipulations” of the vote in a scathing report, Morales agreed to new elections. A few hours later, as scores of his own allies started to abandon the sinking ship, he resigned from office. Though the future of Bolivian democracy still remains radically uncertain, this is a momentous turning point: one of the first times in recent memory that an authoritarian populist has been forced to vacate his office, because his own compatriots would not stand for his abuses.

      Morales’s departure from office marks both a sea change in Latin American politics and a stinging rebuke to the naïveté of parts of the Western left. Even though there had always been strong evidence of their anti-democratic leanings, new socialist leaders such as Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Morales in Bolivia were widely celebrated throughout the first decade of the 21st century as the future face of Latin America.

      That US House Democrat leaders do not denounce Morales and work with Trump to have him shot, is reminiscent of their unfailing love and admiration for the brutal assassins in Cuba: Fidel and Raul Castro

      1. Per Al Jazeera, the residual leadership of Morales’ political party say they’ll participate in upcoming elections. This mess can be resolved in a few months. Bolivia, of course, is better off rid of Morales himself. As for Jill, she always prefers bad actors and always lies.

        1. As for Jill, she always prefers bad actors and always lies.

          Yeah, well, I tried. She completely ignored everything I posted from the leftist Atlantic, and ignored Morales leading up to 2019

          oh well

      2. You have your facts about Boliva wrong. The Supreme court of Boliva ruled that Morales could legally seek a 4th term. He won this election fairly. A right wing coup which was organized by the OAS, US and their Nazi friends (and there are audio recording to prove this) selected a racist, extreme fundamentalist christian and placed her as president in violation of the Bolivian Constitution. Since she took power, her henchmen have opened fire on unarmed civilians, refused to hold elections, refuse to recognize the actual right of succession to the presidency and have threaten to arrest the legal representatives of the govt. along with journalists whom they do not like. (See Max Blumenthal, Constortium News or Whitney Webb for truthful information.)

        Now let’s get to the heart of the matter. The US does not care about human rights. Our coups are resource grabs and attempts to put pliant governments in place who will sell off these resources to various corporations. How do I know this? Well, if we cared about human rights and applied this principle equally, we understand that the monarchy in Saudi Arabia has “changed hands” under some bloody and suspicious circumstances. Not a democracy to begin with, but even so, there was some major hanky/panky in that change over!

        The we come to kidnapping citizens, torturing them and hitting them up for some money. We come to laws against women’s rights,– women who fought for those rights having been raped and tortured in their jail cells. We also see children being beheaded for criticizing the govt. We see crucifixions. We understand there is no freedom of speech, press or religion. Yet the US does not plot a coup there, nor do we even complain about these human rights violations. Instead, we sell this nation some very good weapons and consider them one of our closest allies. Trump is quite busy protecting this govt. from accountability in a court of law to families of 9/11 victims. Nope, not a concern for human rights.

        In the meantime, there are other nations which won’t play ball with the US. We do not approve of that and thus find it necessary to change out those types of governments. This is what happened in Bolivia, that and a German company wants the lithium there.

        As a nation, we have no legal right to coup another nation. We just do it because we can do it. Citizens of the US need to respect international law and respect the right of other nations to choose their own governments, even when we do not agree with that choice. The US has a long, evil, bloody history of supporting Nazis and far right corporatists who murder their own people. That is not our right.

        1. You have your facts about Boliva wrong. The Supreme court of Boliva ruled that Morales could legally seek a 4th term. He won this election fairly.

          There are three lies in this statement.

    2. the bolivian coup is certainly not lead by nazis. this is a baseless slander.

      Jill, im not surprised you think this, since the fake American mass media trotted out some Bolivian people waving their arms in roman salutes, and there was a bible somewhere in the picture, etc. you make a pavlovian response to that like many people do.

      americans have been conditioned to believe that anything political which confesses a religion is inherently fascist, and fascism and naziism are an identity, even though there is no basis in fact for these equivalencies whatsoever.

      this notion that the current faction is racist is ridiculous. the very same videos show the mestizo membership of the organization supposedly behind the current leader. by their very faces, in all shades from brown to white, it’s clear they’re certainly not racist

      but the “indigenous community” has long been weaponized against the notion of a common Hispanic heritage among Latin Americans. this was a Marxist-communist tactic from the Cold war era which lives on as a tool in the hands of communist relics like Morales, and globalist billionaires sowing discord in various places at will via such like as Soros open society NGOs which spawn periodic uprisings to keep national governments off balance.

      oh and the mass media probably resents the fact that they just took Franco’s body off to another cemetery and heaped derision on him and Americans didn’t even notice. so they had to find a living socalled fascist to revile and they conveniently reincarnated a bogeyman in the person of the modestly pretty Jeanine Anez

      1. Actually, the Nazi connection is beyond doubt. It has been documented by journalists at the Grayzone. Please look it up and actually examine the evidence.

        What I support is the right of self determination of other nations. I support international law which forbids one nation making a coup upon another. I think it is laughable to not include Trump as a bad actor on the world stage. We is a war criminal. It really doesn’t get worse than that. So I guess we better get China over here right away to remove that war criminal and install a new govt. in the US! That’s the logic of your argument. If you don’t want it applied to your own nation (and I don’t, you can’t want it applied to another nation).

        1. i read it last week already. you obviously didn’t get that from my comment.
          and the rest of it sailed over your head too. whatever

        2. Jill, Ridiculous.

          We all support the right of self determination of other nations. Does Russia or China support that right? Who determines what a nation is? What stops more powerful nations from raping other smaller nations? Who decides who has human rights? What nations have provided freedom to the citizens of that nation? Perfection is the evil of good.

  7. Dear Dr. T – It didn’t take a legal or constitutional scholar to know the truths you elucidate here. Which is why so many Americans have long understood the corrupt, political, power-hungry nature of the Democrats. Not once in 3 years have they shown anything other than a rabid desire for power and their contempt for the American people. They have lied so many times they don’t even know the truth anymore. Even as a conservative I’m sorry for how far they have strayed form American principles. But they deserve what they will eventually get.

    1. SteveJ – call Schiff’s office. I know they had a double secret hearing on someone last week, maybe that person is available. Nunes demands for witnesses fall directly within the House rules and Schiff will have to give the Republicans their witnesses or move the goal posts again.

      However, if it is just punishment you want, Mistress J can probably work you in on an emergency basis.

    1. “Time has blurred our memories, words have stilled our feelings, but we remember the man and the day, and feel a muted sorrow” 11/22/1963

  8. They could start with changing the requirement to take the Oath of Office and make it legal to intentionally do it for purposes of evasion. Question. What isn’t Socialists and the Law a form of oxymoron in it’s seeming impossibility?

  9. Biden, partners receive $16.5 million in payments stolen from Ukraine – MP Derkach

    KYIV. Nov 20 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Some $16.5 million received by Hunter Biden, the son of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, as payment from Burisma was stolen from Ukrainian citizens, member of parliament Andriy Derkach has said.

    Derkach said at a press conference at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency that on November 14 the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) announced a new suspicion to the owner of Burisma, former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky.

    “The PGO document once again confirms the data I had previously published on Burisma and international corruption. According to Zlochevsky’s suspicion notice, Biden and partners received their $16.5 million for their services to Burisma. Biden received funds not due to the successful activity of Burisma or for brilliant business decisions or recommendations. This is the money of Ukrainian citizens. The funds were obtained by criminal means. That’s what they say in the PGO,” Derkach said.

    Derkach said the new suspicion notice to Zlochevsky was received by him from investigative journalists.

    “According to the investigation, Zlochevsky was directly involved in the withdrawal of funds by the Yanukovych “family” (the Yanukovych criminal organization, according to the notice). They laundered the funds of Yanukovych through three companies in Latvia,” Derkach said.

    Zlochevsky revealed the amount of money that was transferred to the representatives of Burisma Group, including Hunter Biden. According to the documents, about $16.5 million was transferred in favor of Hunter Biden, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Alan Apter, and Devon Archer.

    According to Derkach, Ex-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin repeatedly contacted NABU Director Artem Sytnyk in the framework of criminal proceedings involving Burisma, but constantly received formal replies. The activities of Shokin, according to Derkach, irritated Joe Biden during his fifth visit to Kyiv in two years on December 7-8, 2015. The visit was devoted to the issue of removing Shokin as Prosecutor General and the affairs of Zlochevsky and Burisma.

    “The instrument issued for pressure was the $1 billion credit guarantee that the United States should have provided to Ukraine: Biden himself acknowledged the pressure in his speech to the U.S. Foreign Relations Council in January 2018,” Derkach said.

    On November 11, Derkach said on his video blog that Head of the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) Nazar Kholodnytsky launched an investigation into his allegations that the NABU had provided information to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. He also noted that from May 2014 until October 2015, Burisma transferred $4.817 million to Rosemont, and the latter transferred $871,000 to Hunter Biden.

    https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/press-conference/625876.html

  10. The president had a duty to inquire into Biden high crimes in Ukraine. Congress has that duty . A vice president cannot be a crook. Biden has to get out of the Dem primary and his son needs to leave the country before he gets indicted.

    1. Al:

      The first President in history challenged by Congress for an investigation into corruption in government. Maybe there is “Potential Political Opponent Immunity”?

  11. “Democrats have reframed an alleged abuse of power as actual crimes of bribery, extortion, and obstruction. These allegations are based on the same spurious interpretations used during the Russia investigation to claim clear proven crimes. … I have previously stated that a president can be impeached for abuse of power, including a quid pro quo. However, when alleging a crime, the elements of such a crime are relevant. Indeed, Schiff has referenced those elements in his comments in the hearings. The problem is that the case law falls far short of the rhetoric surrounding these crimes.”

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

    True dat along with the paper-thin proffered “evidence” (and what I’ve been hollering all along) … but what happened to yesterday’s statement in the “mushroom cloud” column that a link was somehow proven because it was “abundantly clear” to everyone concerned:

    “Sondland reasonably assumed that Giuliani was pursuing a strategy at the behest of the President and that the demand for investigations “reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements.”

    He declared effectively that he would not be a scapegoat. He testified that “At all times, I was acting in good faith. As a presidential appointee, I followed the directions of the President.” He then added that he kept a wide range of officials in the loop: “They knew what we were doing and why. Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.’

    He denied understanding any quid pro quo for much of the period under review and declared that “by the 8th of September, it was abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link.”

    I’m getting dizzy.

    1. He’s been sufficiently insulated that they don’t need to do that…yet. I assume there were off-the-books conversations with Brennan and Clapper authorizing this. I’d wager the IRS scandal was instigated from the top as well. The IRS commissioner at the time spent quite a mess of time in White House meetings. His predecessor could hardly be found on the logs at all.

      1. Obama was weak and afraid of these rabid wolves from the Deep State. He green lighted their mischief. That’s his main culpability with all these things. It’s hard to imagine that he came up with all these complicated schemes himself.

        Attacking Obama is the wrong way to address the problems emanating from entrenched, irresponsible, insubordinate bureaucracy.

        The arrogance of Foggy Bottom was on full display this weak and even how it infects people like Sondland who are brought into their ambit and then easily controlled by their “norms”

        Its amazing that he said he followed orders because everybody thought it was a good chance to cement relationships iwth Ukraine.

        NO.

        You follow orders because your superior officer gave them to you.
        Your subjective belief as a subordinate that they will be successful or not, is immaterial.
        This is how authority works. These people act like there is no authority
        They need to be defied and exposed and punished for insubordination.
        Instead they are punishing the boss.
        This is a very dangerous precedent for Congress to be toying with.
        ‘Future Democrat presidents may face internal foot draggers and insubordinate foreign service people rowing in the wrong direction from them and it may make us all that much more endangered by a crumbling system.

    2. This article tries to apply a ridiculous legal basis to every nonsensical talking point of the House Republicans.

      What happened to you?

      1. Anonymous:

        “This article tries to apply a ridiculous legal basis to every nonsensical talking point of the House Republicans.”
        ********************
        Which talking points? The reliance on hearsay evidence? The accepted testimony not from personal knowledge? The ad populum arguments?

        And who needs a legal basis for “conviction of, treason, bribery and other high crimes or misdemeanors”? “Conviction” and the stated crimes are political matters, right? Franz Kafka would love you!

        As to what happened to JT, I suppose he put his lawyer hat back on.

      2. So now we a criminal investigation. of a FBI agent changing a fasa report to spy on someone in Trumps campaign. Who do you think authorized spying. It goes to the top.

    3. Not just Obama, but the entire federal bureaucracy, that functions as its own unaccountable branch of government, with protective cover by the Democrat party.

      These hearings offer the strongest argument yet for overturning Chevron deference. The highly prejudiced and political decision-makers of the federal government and its obviously opinionated employees should be never be afforded deference by the federal judiciary.

      If we learn nothing else from the impeachment inquiry, it should be abundantly clear that the federal workforce is a political party of its own and does not deserve judicial deference of any kind.
      https://thefederalist.com/2019/11/22/impeachment-charade-proves-its-high-time-to-end-court-deference-to-biased-federal-agencies/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=0201e8c2af-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-0201e8c2af-79248369

  12. Demand an accounting of Pelosi’s behavior for the past 3 years. Use a fine tooth comb. She’d be bye-bye along with most politicians.

    “it is a subject being investigated by United States Attorney John Durham, who is looking at both Russian and Ukrainian sources…” JT

    He will soon reveal an avalanche of dark, sick information, starting with The Clinton’s involvement, that will destroy the dem party. The number and depth of their illegal and unethical pattern of debauchery will astound everyone, even those in the know about this criminal, disturbed couple.

    1. I expect any day now for Adam Schiff to breathlessly report that there is indisputable evidence proving that President Trump is secretly removing tags from the matresses and pillows in the White House.

        1. lol mes…….btw, I got turned around in this comment section…..my comment was supposed to be upstream from here, not nesting under Darren. I’ll check with Mapsco next time🤗 and p.s. I don’t know what half of these emojis represent, either..LOL….Oh to be in my 60’s again…….not as confusing!

            1. mespo……..oh you sweet thang. Thank you……that would be such a blast! However, mi dispiace, Mr. Bragg and I no longer fly……
              But how exciting for you and your bride! Everyone raves about Tuscany. And in the Springtime! Maybe the professor will let you do a weekend post about your trip when you return…..photos, and everything!
              Ciao for now😍

            2. Be sure of course to try the gelato. Yet beware that once you do, you’ll never accept artificial substance in the United States falsely labeled as Gelato ever again.

              1. You keep the Gelato, go for Limoncello.

                When we returned to the USA, we used high grain alcohol to make our own Limoncello…

                molto buono

            3. Tuscany, beautiful along with driving through little cities on large hills. Florence and the Ufizi. I have been there a number of times but not recently . I wonder if Florence was able to stay the same.

              1. Allan……..OT….Our daughter, who lives here, just received a gift box we ordered for her from Zabar’s at 80th and B’way, I’m sure you know the place!
                She just flipped over it! Zabar’s was one of her favorite shopping spots in NYC…..The box includes bagels, black & white cookies, Zabar’s coffee, chocolate bapka ( sp?)

                1. Cincy, Who doesn’t know Zabar’s? I even remember Balducci’s before it was sold. I remember the old man who started it as a small shack opposite the women’s prison. The family spread out all over NYC in the business under different names as did Zabars. I used to ship from Zabar’s as well.

                  1. Allan….of course you know Zabar’s!
                    Is Balducci’s where a scene in French Connection was filmed?
                    Those memories of yours are so interesting.
                    About a month ago, I rec’d a Zabar’a catalogue in the mail…. out of the blue! Never knew they shipped….I was delighted.
                    I receive the Met museum cat., too. Just ordered our daughter a few things from there (for Christmas)
                    It’s a gorgeous catalogue! But it’s supposed to be …lol…so you’ll buy more gifts! But that’s fine with me.

                    1. Cindy Bragg – I get the Getty Museum sales emails. All they make me want to do is go again. 😉

                    2. Cindy, I never got a Met Catalogue even though I give them money. I didn’t even realize they had one. Come to think of it I don’t remember ever seeing a Zabar’s catalogue.

                      Balducci’s was a model for other stores of its nature and was fantastic until they sold. It’s been in some movies but I don’t know which. NYC always has movies being produced on site and filming is very common. It’s a great city that has its ups and downs. Right now with its present Democratic mayor it’s in a downward spiral. Rudy Guiliani was the best recent mayor and cleaned up the city. The young love Manhattan but find that housing is really expensive.

                  2. Allan… fortunately our daughter lived there 1998- 20001 Rudy years! It was wonderful…she moved back before 9/11.
                    She was a baker at Macy’s basement, and a French bakery on Lower East side “Alcazar?”, and a gourmet food to go, in west village, Hudson and 14th? Eatzi?
                    My favorite hangout……Caffe Reggio!!!

                    1. Cindy, Balthazar, I assume the bakery, not the restaurant.

                      Eatzi, the first thing to come to mind is Eataly on fifth avenue in the Flatiron building, but that is over a mile away. It is a hotspot. I looked up Eatzi and found a marketplace that is in Dallas and other cities. Cafe Reggio, I must have eaten there at one time since in the past I had a home just north across the park overlooking the Washington Square Arch, but I don’t remember. I think I will revisit that restaurant again when I am close. I used to love the Village.

                  3. Allan….just called my daughter….It was Alcazar French Bakery on lower east side…It was a family business(all French from Marseilles)
                    She got the job because she spoke French (and had baking skills) She said Phillippe and his family hated the U.S., and this was BEFORE 9/11. She assumed they moved back to Marseilles after that.
                    She worked at Ready to Eat, 500 block of Hudson. It’s gourmet meals/take-out….caters to film and tv industry. https://readytoeatnyc.com/
                    you’re right, Eatzi’s is in Big D 😉
                    So neat that you lived across Wash. Park! Caffe Reggio has a huge, brass antique espresso maker…gorgeous. Espresso is the best, too. and supposedly. the first espresso machine in NYC (and U.S. according to legend)
                    BTW, Eugene O’Neill lived across the street from Reggio.

                    1. Cindy, I decided to Google Reggio’s. I have been in it but never ate there. When I wanted a quick snack I freqently went to a fallafel place and a bunch of us would buy beer at the local liquor store since this small restaurant didn’t have a liquor license. An inexpensive meal, but good, was provided to us while sitting at the smallest round tables (there was very limited sit down space.). When this place closed I went to Mamouns (not as good) which was next door south of Reggios. Fond memories. I also remember Monte’s (down the block) the place where my most important other and I went to for our first date before it became somewhat famous due to its inclusion in a movie.

  13. “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.”
    Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

      1. yes now we agree

        https://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/alexandersolzhenitsynharvard.htm

        “Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day. There is no open violence such as in the East; however, a selection dictated by fashion and the need to match mass standards frequently prevents independent-minded people from giving their contribution to public life.”

        “The press has become the greatest power within the Western countries. more powerful than the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. One would then like to ask: by what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible”

    1. This sounds wise but likely isn’t a quote from de Tocqueville. Ivanka used it likely seeing it in the WSJ. She was subsequently abused by brainless leftists who take every opportunity to attack rather than discuss. The quote may have come from a book written a century earlier possibly having to do with the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

      1. Allen:

        Close enough, here’s the quote from DIA:

        “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
        ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

        1. Mespo, I think your quote sounds more like de Tocqueville. I was suspicious (I thought too modern) so I looked up the false quote in DIA on Kindle but couldn’t find it. I was surprised that quote wasn’t checked by the writers of the editorial in the WSJ. How did you find that quote?

    1. accounting is a much more precise endeavor, but, there are some similarities

      it’s mostly about how do you characterize things in the first place. what is the data you are feeding into the equation? for example. is this a capital investment or an expense? if you want the conclusion to go one way or another, you can’t change the midstage logic, but you can change the starting point. so the flexibility is actually operating not in the process, but initially, at the level of premises, and then the reasoning winds its way to the desired conclusions accordingly.

      change the axioms and you change the conclusions

      here the Democrats are starting with certain flawed premises. they are starting with the conclusion that looking into biden was wrong in the first place. see if it was, then of course it all looks bad in the end.

      but if you grant that the initial look was legit, then it’s quite a different conclusion

      Democrats are counting on the power of mass media to do what so far it hasn’t been able to accomplish, which is convince a majority that just anything Trump does is bad no matter what. If they could push the needle from the lets say one third of their ardent supporters, who believes that no matter what, to two thirds, then they will win the election.

      I don’t see that they’re having a big effect on people in the middle. People in the middle probably find this boring and too complicated.

    1. Paul, I am surprised you weren’t brought before the House. You can tell a better story than any of the Democrats on the panel.😀

  14. Our Pinkos friends have embraced Stalinist justice.

    “Show me the man, and I will show you the crime”.

    Beria – head of the NKVD

      1. after Stalin’s death, he was convicted of hundreds of acts of rape and treason and rightfully so. he was a monster. executed.

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