Adam Schiff’s Capacious Definition of Bribery Was Tried in 1787

The Trial of Warren Hastings

Below is my column in the Wall Street Journal on case that may be looming in the background of tomorrow’s opening hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump.

I have been called to testify at the hearing. With only a few days to prepare, I will be completing my testimony today and I will hopefully post it before leaving for the hearing in the morning. This is a daunting but not unfamiliar challenge as an academic. It has been 20 years since I testified at the Clinton impeachment hearing with other constitutional and historical experts on this same question. It has been 10 years since I served as the last lead counsel (with Dan Schwartz) in the impeachment trial of Judge Thomas Porteous. The hearing will begin at 10:00 am in the Longworth House Office Building.

Here is the column:

Warren Hastings

In the push for a December impeachment vote, House Democrats appear poised to make history. It will be the shortest investigation producing the thinnest record of wrongdoing for the narrowest impeachment in history. There is, however, a precedent for the Democrats’ expansive interpretations of bribery and impeachment: the trial of Warren Hastings, 230 years ago in Britain. But Hastings’ tale is a cautionary one that nobody should aim to repeat.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has “corroborated evidence of bribery.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff agrees, explaining that, “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.”

Mr. Schiff’s sudden transformation into an originalist may be short-lived. The Framers did not, in fact, view bribery as some overarching concept of corruption. At the Constitutional Convention, George Mason objected to listing only “treason” and “bribery” as impeachable offenses because they were too narrow and limited. He suggested a broader term, “maladministration,” citing the still-unfolding Hastings case, which was based on interpretations of bribery and corruption that would soon be exposed as dubious.

Edmund Burke

Warren Hastings was Britain’s governor-general in India, a realm rife with corruption and bribery. The East India Company held tremendous power in the subcontinent and was accused of perpetuating the corruption for its own ends. Hastings had sought greater control over Indian governance, and his actions became controversial in Britain, where Parliament was bitterly divided. Hastings’s greatest detractor was the statesman Edmund Burke, who pilloried him as the “captain-general of iniquity” and a “spider of Hell.” Even today’s overheated rhetoric pales in comparison with Burke’s denouncing Hastings as a “ravenous vulture devouring the carcasses of the dead.” Burke would lead the impeachment of Hastings, who was arrested in 1787 by Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms.

Hastings was charged by the impeachment committee with bribery and other forms of abuse of power. The case dragged on for seven years before Hastings was acquitted on every article of impeachment. Even though Hastings did have some dodgy personal financial dealings, his impeachment today is widely viewed as an injustice, and Burke was ultimately censured for his intemperate rhetoric.

George Mason

While Hastings had not yet stood trial in London, in Philadelphia Mason spoke of the Hastings impeachment with approval. He wanted the U.S. Constitution to include a similarly broad scope for impeachable offenses, covering everything that could “subvert the Constitution.”

Mason failed. The Framers rejected terms ranging from “corruption,” obtaining office by improper means, betraying one’s trust to a foreign power, “negligence,” “perfidy,” “peculation” and “oppression.” All these were rejected along with “maladministration” and kept off the Constitution’s list of impeachable offenses.

James Madison

Notably, perfidy means dishonesty and peculation means self-dealing — two common allegations in today’s Trump hearings. The Framers dropped these terms, however, as too broad and undefined. Indeed, in arguing against the inclusion of maladministration, Madison remarked that “so vague a term will be equivalent to a tenure during the pleasure of the Senate,” an outcome repugnant to him. Mason then substituted “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” which was approved.

Since then, politicians have often sought to adopt expansive interpretations to make impeachment easier. When I served as lead defense counsel in the Senate impeachment trial of federal Judge Thomas Porteous, the lead House manager sought to convict my client on the novel theory that even conduct before taking office could be impeachable. That impeachment manager was Adam Schiff.

There is much that is worthy of investigation in the Ukraine scandal, and it is true that impeachment doesn’t require a crime. But the Framers expressly warned against lowering the impeachment standard to a mere discretionary option for any party that happens to control the Senate. That’s what interpreting bribery to include any action viewed as “offering public acts for some personal or political purposes” would do.

All politicians are self-dealers who use their offices to advance themselves politically. That doesn’t make their acts criminal or impeachable. Just ask Warren Hastings.

Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) is the chair of public interest law at George Washington University and served as the last lead counsel in a Senate impeachment trial in defense of Judge Thomas Porteous. He has testified with other constitutional experts in the Clinton impeachment.

118 thoughts on “Adam Schiff’s Capacious Definition of Bribery Was Tried in 1787”

  1. Between your opinions during Clinton impeachment and today it seems like you have a big decision to make. You either sell out entirely to FOX to continue your career as a respected writer, etc. or you clarify your showing today. Your position of this moving too fast got you up there today but fails badly for several reasons that all ready being exposed. The simple argument that each impeachment is it’s own animal and some many factors contribute to whether something goes quickly in your definition or not. Everyone I’m that knows you knows you understand that so the gig is up and it’s time you become professional and respected again by your peers.

    1. i would have said the same thing substituting CNN. yuck yuck you outta luck because your opinion ….ucks.

  2. “ All politicians are self-dealers who use their offices to advance themselves politically. That doesn’t make their acts criminal or impeachable. Just ask Warren Hastings.”

    Normally, they advance themselves through accomplishments in the interests of the voting public, and those acts are Indeed unimpeachable. It’s an entirely different matter when they seek to advance themselves by extorting another nation to attack their main political rivals.

    1. Normally, they advance themselves through accomplishments in the interests of the voting public, and those acts are Indeed unimpeachable.

      Has President Trump accomplished anything that should interest the voting public?

      Is an American citizen immune from our administration of justice if they are a political rival of the President?

      What impeachable offense has President Trump committed and what evidence exists to prove it?

  3. So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
    Which once he wore!
    The glory from his gray hairs gone
    Forevermore!
    Revile him not, the Tempter hath
    A snare for all;
    And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
    Befit his fall!
    Oh, dumb be passion’s stormy rage,
    When he who might
    Have lighted up and led his age,
    Falls back in night.
    Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark
    A bright soul driven,
    Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark,
    From hope and heaven!
    Let not the land once proud of him
    Insult him now,
    Nor brand with deeper shame his dim,
    Dishonored brow.
    But let its humbled sons, instead,
    From sea to lake,
    A long lament, as for the dead,
    In sadness make.
    Of all we loved and honored, naught
    Save power remains;
    A fallen angel’s pride of thought,
    Still strong in chains.
    All else is gone; from those great eyes
    The soul has fled:
    When faith is lost, when honor dies,
    The man is dead!
    Then, pay the reverence of old days
    To his dead fame;
    Walk backward, with averted gaze,
    And hide the shame!
    “Ichabod,” by John Greenleaf Whitter

  4. Turley sang a very different tune during the Clinton impeachment: “In a govt of laws existence of the govt will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our govt is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.”

        1. Kurtz,
          That makes Turley’s testimony far more compelling. He does not put anything above the law. He’s more old school in that he respects the framers for their entire body of work and not just the parts he agrees with. I’m really not moved by the praise or criticism of the character of the executive. I measure the executive by their fidelity to the oath of office. In my opinion, the less flattering the character, the more scrutiny that fidelity will receive. President Trump has certainly not been a disappointment for me.

  5. What a poor interpretation by Jonathan Turley. Turley discusses historic accounts to discuss something completely irrelevant. Not a single Democratic leader on the Intel or Judiciary committees has claimed “self-dealing” on its own is an impeachable act. Self-dealing is an emoluments violation. In addition, by Turley saying “all politicians do it” does make it right.

    1. Impeachable acts for seeking foreign interference in an election as a way to retain a President;’s power. That is illegal.

    2. Asking for something of personal value in exchange for a government act; a Presidential meeting or foreign aid. That’s bribery Jonathan!

    3. Withholding Congressionally approval foreign act critical to safeguard a democratic ally against Russian aggression; jeopardizing National Security for Trump’s own personal interest. According the Constitution, impeachable. He put Ukrainian lives at risk, weakening Ukraine position in peace negotiations with Russia and putting American national security at risk should Russia take more Ukrainian land as they move West. This is putting a President’s personal political interests over that of the American people. The same thing Trump did turning his back on our ally the Kurds, or talking about waiting for an economic deal with China until after the 2020 election. All items of personal interest or benefit to Trump – undermining what is in the best interests of democracy and the American people.

    4. Congressional obstruction. No subpoenas adhered to by the Trump Administration, with clear obstruction, no documents provided and explicit witness tampering and intimidation.

    Jonathan Turley CLAIMS thins evidence. Not true. Hundreds of hours of corroborating witnesses and testimony, including first-hand witnesses and call transcripts and phone records.

    Jonathan Truly claims more evidence should be collected over a longer period. What 7-years like Hastings? Trump has blocked 71 requests for documents, and prevented key individuals in the Whitehouse from testifying. Nixon nor Clinton did this. Even Gordon Sondland said these additional documents, records and testimony would be helpful as EVERYONE was aware of the quid pro quo. What would Turley propose as the mention for getting this additional evidence that has been withheld?

    I think Jonathan Turley needs to spend a bit more time simply reading the US Constitutions that trying to make a case against self-dealing which no one is doing. Turley’s bias is obvious here.

  6. Marky Mark Mark – if Oky1 is a Keyboard Warrior what the heck does that make you? A Keyboard Terrorist?

    1. What, now you gonna hold the drunk hillbillie’s coat? Let him sober up on his own self and then see if he has any self-respect.

      this is to “but he doesn’t even know the serenity prayer” paulie – georgie

      1. “this is to “but he doesn’t even know the serenity prayer” paulie – georgie
        *************
        You know humor is like ballroom dancing, if you don’t do it well you shouldn’t do it in public.

    2. Mr. Schulte,
      When he stays up very late on school nights posting comments, it makes him oversleep and miss his school bus.

  7. “African Americans Aren’t The Only People Democrats Want To Disarm”

    “It’s no coincidence that most of the current and former Democrat 2020 presidential candidates advocate banning guns. Democrats have been trying to disarm black and other Americans since the Civil War.

    Democrats running for president may have realized they angered voters by calling for gun bans and confiscation earlier this year, because they barely mentioned the subject in their November debate. However, as Ecclesiastes 1:9 reminds us, “What has been is what will be . . . there is nothing new under the sun.”

    In the post-bellum South, Democrats prohibited blacks from possessing guns outright or imposed gun prohibitions selectively enforced against blacks, leaving them vulnerable to the Democrats’ Ku Klux Klan. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court noted that “Blacks were routinely disarmed by Southern States after the Civil War.” In U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876), the court considered the convictions of white Democrats who had participated in the disarming and cold-blooded murder of at least 60 black Republicans in the infamous Colfax Massacre in Grant Parish, Louisiana.

    In 1911 in New York, Democrats began requiring a selectively granted license to own a handgun, so the police could deny handguns to Italian immigrants in New York City. Not long thereafter came the most famous Democrat in history. As researchers Mark and Carol Leff described it, President Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigned for the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) “with his characteristic flair for spotlighting the most sensational and villainous aspects of an issue.” Thus, when FDR claimed “Federal men are constantly facing machine gun fire in the pursuit of gangsters,” he was exaggerating.

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/12/03/african-americans-arent-the-only-people-democrats-want-to-disarm/

    1. LDT, In 1911 Republicans were the party of Theodore Roosevelt, a pioneering progressive. Yet more recently Republicans have sort of disowned T R. In other words, much has changed since 1911.

      So I cant imagine why you’re referencing a law Democrats were pushing in 1911. It’s just a nonsensical narrative where Blacks are too dumb to realize they’ve been played by Democrats. But only dump Trumpers believe this narrative.

      1. Teddy was rather belligerent and undertook foreign wars that were probably not necessary. I will criticize him for that. But he was a strong leader and i approve of antitrust laws. Which today should be put to work breaking the anti-free-speech lockdown that twitter, applge, and goole are putting on Trump supporters in general, to advance their own narrow partisan preferences. Teddy would approve.

  8. The Republicans in Congress had all the time in the world to impeach Hillary Clinton for legitimate charges of misconduct while she was Secretary of Stste… but they were busy running a nation. They got blamed for abusing their job of oversight of the Executive Branch, anyway.

    The press in this country is the political captive of the Democratic Party. CBS’s coverage of impeachment hearing activity made absolutely no mention of the Congressional Democrats’ abuse of THEIR power. I won’t watch anything on CBS, ever again. They and the rest of Big Media are busy choosing the winner of the 2020 Presidential election. Let’s hope they were as effective as when they tried to canonize Hillary Clinton in 2016.

  9. TRUMP LOSES APPEAL TO KEEP..

    FINACIAL RECORDS PRIVATE

    President Donald Trump suffered another loss Tuesday in his effort to block House Democrats from obtaining his financial records, a matter that is now likely to make its way to the Supreme Court.

    A federal appeals court in New York ruled 2-1 that Deutsche Bank and Capital One should comply with subpoenas from the House Financial Services and House Intelligence committees seeking information about Trump’s finances, upholding a decision by a federal court in May.

    The subpoenas seek documents including tax returns, evidence of suspicious activity and, in the case of Deutsche Bank, any internal communications regarding Trump and his ties to foreign individuals.

    Democrats are now one step closer to obtaining that information, even as they move ahead quickly with impeachment proceedings centered on the president’s interactions with Ukraine.

    “The Committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest than whatever public interest inheres in avoiding the risk of a Chief Executive’s distraction arising from disclosure of documents reflecting his private financial transactions,” the 2nd Circuit panel said in its ruling.

    Trump now has seven days to seek emergency relief from the Supreme Court, and the 2nd Circuit is ordering a process that will allow the president to object to specific items, like checks, that may be particularly personal and explain why those should be excluded.

    Edited from: “Court Deals Blow To Trump’s Bid To Keep Financial Records From Congress”

    Today’s Politico

  10. Republicans Fall In Line Behind Trump..

    Repeating Debunked Conspiracy Theory

    Much of the House Intelligence Committee’s report on Tuesday about its impeachment inquiry involved the president’s demands that releasing military aid to Ukraine be conditioned on its announcing investigations into Joe Biden and his son. But of all the efforts to defend Mr. Trump, legitimizing his efforts to have Ukraine investigate the 2016 election may be the most egregious, since it helps Moscow deflect blame for its assault on American democracy.

    In her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 21, Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert at the National Security Council, chided lawmakers for spreading a “fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

    Senators received classified briefings from intelligence officials this fall detailing Moscow’s multiyear effort to spin that tale and pin its malfeasance on Ukraine.

    Mr. Trump’s first homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, was one of multiple staffers to assure the president that the allegations about Ukraine were unfounded.

    On Tuesday, an under secretary of state, David Hale, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that none of the allegations of Ukrainian interference were true.

    But if anything, support among Republican legislators for the conspiracy theory continues to grow.

    Time and again during the impeachment hearings, House Republicans sought to distract from, or even justify, Mr. Trump’s attempt to strong-arm Ukraine by floating the specter of Ukrainian saboteurs. Representative Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, called for the panel to refocus its investigation on the former Soviet republic.

    The day after Dr. Hill’s testimony, Mr. Trump regaled “Fox & Friends” with wild assertions that the F.B.I. never properly examined the hacked server because it had been handed over to a shadowy Ukrainian company called CrowdStrike.

    Among the flaws in his claim: CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that the Democratic National Committee hired to respond to the hacking, is based in California and owned by Americans. One server hacked by the Russians is actually still in the D.N.C. offices in Washington.

    This whole fantasm haunts Washington in tandem with Attorney General William Barr’s aggressive efforts to discredit the F.B.I. investigation of Russian ties to the 2016 Trump campaign. The Justice Department’s inspector general has reportedly concluded that the basis of that investigation was legitimate and that claims of deep-state manipulation were nonsense, leaving Mr. Barr fuming.

    To be clear, plenty of Ukrainians openly opposed Mr. Trump’s candidacy for fear he was too supportive of Mr. Putin. Mr. Trump’s public acceptance of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea prompted particular concern. So did ties between Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, and pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. Serhiy Leshchenko, an anti-corruption crusader and former member of Ukraine’s Parliament, worked to publicize secret payments Mr. Manafort received for his work in Ukraine, which eventually led to Mr. Manafort’s resignation from the campaign.

    American intelligence agencies have determined that such efforts were scattershot and in no way comparable to the top-down, systematic, aggressive campaign by Moscow — directly overseen by Mr. Putin — to disrupt the race.

    Edited from: “Team Trump Uses A Russian Fable To Distact From Ukrainian Truth”

    Today’s New York Times

      1. Peter typifies the typical leftist to kill the president, cut him into little parts and throw them into the ocean.

        the contempt by the left towards the US Preisdent and any American (gasp!) who supports that US President is beyond treason. They are communists

        1. Geller, Trump is promoting Putin’s lie. Yet I’m a ‘communist’? How ridiculous! But this is the Trump era: ‘all logic is upside-down’.

            1. Your problem is you’ve committed yourself to rooting for this coup based entirely on your feelings. Once the IG, Durham and Barr release the evidence, you and your ilk will own that title.

                1. im not one of the people putting his hope in a guy named horowitz

                  likely it will have some tsk tsking and scolding but overall a whitewash

                  that’s what i’ve been thinking all along– not that I don’t hope it wont be stronger

                  the Deep State is very much alive and well and active — protecting its own interests whatever the “democratic” outcomes may be

                  derin devlet, has a nicer ring to it than “Deep state” yes?

                  1. Kurtz, I sought of agree. Horowitz will, however, provide proof of wrong doing. I believe him to be a deep stater as well. If I remember correctly he also reviewed Hillary’s interview with the FBI and found nothing wrong with it so he has whitewashed things before. He is on the left. Like you say we do have a prosecutor that is working on the same things as Durham. That is where real hope resides.

                2. Peter – there are two trains on that track. The one that has to show its cards and has no teeth drops on the 9th, The one with a grand jury and a p**sed off AG we do not know about.

              1. Awesome. Once upon a time, ollie didn’t admit he was one of the gullible rubes, dupes, klan wannabees, pocket-traitors and grifters on the make who supported the obscene antics of the day glo bozo. Now he subscribes to the fiction that Barr has any of the objectivity that patriotic Americans have historically come to expect from their Attorney General. So sorry for your loss.

                this is to “if I put my fingers in my ears and pump hannity up to 11, I can’t hear that ticking sound” ollie

    1. except, it’s not only plausible, but likely, that the post maidan coup government has very much been begging Washington for money and arms to resist Russia, and they’re smart enough to meddle in elections — at least a little maybe– to try and get it just like their cousins across the Dneiper do — at least a little

      ask yourself instead what major country does NOT want to meddle in US elections?

  11. Written like a defense lawyer. By Turley’s logic , Trump could have asked Zelinski to deposit money into his re-election campaign in exchange for release of Congressionally authorized funds. I don’t think politicians “do this all the time”. Also Turley doesn’t lay out the facts of the Hastings case so that we can determine whether or not it may truly serve as precedent in Trump’s case.

  12. “Since then, politicians have often sought to adopt expansive interpretations to make impeachment easier. When I served as lead defense counsel in the Senate impeachment trial of federal Judge Thomas Porteous, the lead House manager sought to convict my client on the novel theory that even conduct before taking office could be impeachable. That impeachment manager was Adam Schiff.”

    Didn’t that manager hand your client his ass in a paper sack? The vote to remove was in the mid 90s, right? Well above the 2/3 required. And the conduct *before* was lying to the Senate in his confirmation hearing.

  13. In this matter, the impeachment spectacle that is, I found a rather interesting reflection.

    Last week, or sometime therearound, Mespo stated that he believed the end result would be a censure of the president by the House of Representatives. I have confidence in his analysis as both based upon his law and personal intelligence and observation of the facts at hand along with his experience in observance of similar controversies prior as a guide. I agreed with the probability this would be the result.

    Yet, I am have a strong foreboding that sufficient numbers of Members of Congress are so headstrong in their resolve to push for the Senate trial that reasonableness will be abandoned. So in me I remain conflicted between the supporting facts for which Mespo articulated and my “gut” but unsupported belief that his prediction will now happen.

    This brings forth a possible need to reexamine something I’ve been working on occasionally: degrees of ignorance.

    1) The first degree of ignorance is a person that is simply unaware of a fact but is capable of accepting or utilizing it in their thinking once informed. It is a neutral condition. An example of this would be a person who was caught speeding but didn’t realize they had entered unmarked city limit border and the speed reduced to a default 25 mph limit.

    2) Next–the second degree–is a person who is presented with the fact but is unable to interpret its significance or workings. Here the person accepts the truth of the fact but cannot incorporate it due to inexperience in the topic or it is beyond their understanding. Probably the most apparent example is a young child who cannot understand contract law due to age.

    3) Thirdly, the person is of sufficient intelligence and capability, but instead has for years engaged in a pattern of negligence in adopting a sufficient vocabulary of experience or other facts to be able to accept truths presented to them, facts that would be obvious to most other individuals having comparable core intelligence.

    4) Fourth, is the defiant type. A person having this trait is one who could be presented with definite proof by many, many credible sources but despite how persuasive it would be to anyone else, this type refuses to believe no matter how many times it is shown to them. In fact in the latter case it only serves to shore up their resolve. There are at least two subcategories here: those who refuse to believe due to their need to either save face or protect their traditional belief or another person (probably in denial); and those who have no political stake in the fact but are so closed minded they cannot accept outside input. This type of position often labels the person as “a fool” or stupid.

    5) Lastly the worst of all types: The Militant Fool. This person possesses the traits of at least the fourth type but rather than being somewhat passive in their resistance to the truth they actively attack others having proof of the fact in order to suppress the propagation of the fact’s information or knowledge. Militant Fools do not generally confine themselves to aggressiveness on a single topic but it forms often the basis in their general approach to others. They tend toward blind loyalty with others having at least contemporary agreement with them and are totally intolerant of disagreement even if limited to methods to reach a commonly approved goal.

    So in returning to my thoughts as to Mespo’s position on the impeachment hearings, I had to wonder if my own belief falls under one of the examples enumerated above. I agree that his prior assertion of facts have merit, yet I recognize that part of me does not have an articulable, and quantifiable basis for disagreeing with him (that the House will proceed with sending the matter to the Senate rather than the censure outcome). So how does that resolve, I wonder?

    I fully agree that Mespo’s position is a correct interpretation of the facts and I agree with his position but I just cannot bring myself to embrace it as the more likely outcome based upon my experience with politicians generally. So does this position of mine fall within one of the five categories of ignorance, is it another one, or not at all related? I am fully prepared to accept that my cynical side is wrong, and I wish it was, but does having such a split position constitute being ignorant on my part?

    1. Darren Smith – the more reasonable thing to do would be to drop the impeachment hearings, The next most reasonable thing would be for the Democrats to vote for Censure on one or more counts. The least reasonable thing is to go forward with impeachment since it puts 30 Democratic seats at risk, maybe more and maybe Senate seats.

      1. How many seats would be lost by Democrats if they did the “more reasonable thing” and dropped the hearings? I suspect more than doing the “least reasonable thing” of proceeding full speed ahead.

        1. olesmithy – I do know that some of those 30 went home to hostile constituents, however I am not sure about all of them. I only saw the townhalls from a couple and the crowds were full and not friendly.

    2. “I fully agree that Mespo’s position is a correct interpretation of the facts and I agree with his position but I just cannot bring myself to embrace it as the more likely outcome based upon my experience with politicians generally. So does this position of mine fall within one of the five categories of ignorance, is it another one, or not at all related? ”
      *******************
      Very thoughtful and introspective Darren. I like my position because it aligns with the classic paradigm of human behavior. It was the ancient Greek poet Pindar who remarked, “Even wisdom has to yield to self-interest.” If wisdom has to bow low, what chance does stupid have? Unless, of course, it is intent on self-annihilation

      1. Thank you.

        I remember decades ago a former high-level U.S. Government official stated in an interview, I don’t remember with certainty of whom it was but he might have been McNamara or Kissinger, that one definite element of the Soviet’s approach to geopolitics that was inexorably reliable was that they always acted with self-preservation in mind. Though they often engaged in brinkmanship and did come close to an existential risk during the Cuban Missile Crisis, self-preservation always prevailed.

        Yet in the case of Congress I see a tendency among some members to put vanity ahead of wisdom–vanity in the manner of their self-delusion of being always right and righteous in their thinking. That can be costly and risky to maintain. Here they trumpet about how brave they are in this pursuit of the president. Yet at the end of a risky endeavor the actor being labeled as either a fool or brave is decided solely upon whether or not they survive the outcome.

        1. Darren:

          “Soviet’s approach to geopolitics that was inexorably reliable was that they always acted with self-preservation in mind. Though they often engaged in brinkmanship and did come close to an existential risk during the Cuban Missile Crisis, self-preservation always prevailed. ”
          *****************

          And it always, always, always will. Eros trumps Thanatos except when the entity feels its death is justified. Martyrdom for example; Suicide for another. Talk about cosmic justice!

          As for brinkmanship, the secret to negotiation – indeed preservation itself — is to take the most “reasonable” unreasonable position you can and start from there. You can always back up but you can never advance from your starting point.

        2. Or, what is more likely, they fully realize the existential threat to our system of government represented by the criminogenic charlatan and his (thankfully) incompetent administration of klown-kar buffoons. Recognizing that honor, duty, patriotism, and the verdict of history mean more than transitory elections and free haircuts, they have reluctantly donned the weary mantle of an impeachment inquiry in answering the call to save the last best hope of earth.

          to complicit darren

          1. Marky Mark Mark – whoa howdy, you had a new line of material that you got off TV. The rest is just repetitive material. You have no creativity.

            1. Thanks for confirming that there really is no response to the factual assertions.

              this is to “ya welp, hannity didn’t really mention all that criminal stuff, though” paulie – georgie

              1. Rank M:
                “Thanks for confirming that there really is no response to the factual assertions.”
                ***********
                You don’t know what a fact is, or as TIA might say, “facts” don’t mean want you fancy they do.

    3. The ‘Militant Fools’ are Republicans promoting Putin’s conspiracy theory that election meddling originated in Ukraine. Just today a top State Department official testified before the Senate that it was Russia, not Ukraine, that interfered. It is disturbing that any top official should have to repeat this.

      1. Peter:
        “The ‘Militant Fools’ are Republicans promoting Putin’s conspiracy theory that election meddling originated in Ukraine. Just today a top State Department official testified before the Senate that it was Russia, not Ukraine, that interfered. It is disturbing that any top official should have to repeat this.”
        *****************
        More outright sophistry with a side of False dichotomy. They both did — to an infinitesimal degree. $100,000.00 of Facebook ads all over the country for Russia. Ukrainians helped Hillary. The difference is that Hillary solicited it:

        “A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation. ”

        https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446

        Theological Reminder: Peter, you can go to Hell for lying.

          1. John Burgoyne:
            “Mespo, Manafort is in prison for tax evasion. He was nothing but a hustler working for a Putin protege.”
            ****************
            I bet you’d make a splendid matador the way you avoid points. Ole’

        1. Haha. Ukraine. As if. Tell us what else hannity is peddling…

          to “professional, foreign policy experts, i say shmexperts” mespo

      2. Foolish people think that election meddling can originate in a singular place. That is Peter Shill who doesn’t care about America so he is unwilling to protect America by searching for other actors that meddled in our affairs. We already know that Ukraine did have involvement but the Shill closes his eyes to what he doesn’t wish to see.

    4. Darren,

      Nice piece of writing.

      Someone noted yesterday that right in the middle of this crap show Nancy Pelosi ran off to Europe. To what, avoid blame as impeachment falls apart?

      Regardless, these govt Dim/Rinos Reps are disparate cornered animals. They’ve repeatedly show they will use violence against the people & the US to achieve their goals.

      No hyperbole, one after another experienced people have expressed serous concerns going forward.

      And another successful older guy, with kids/grandkids also sees no way out other then a Mad Max type event. He nor most anyone else wants to see that, but people are thinking, what if these nut jobs don’t surrender?

  14. Judge Smith failed to disclose conflict of interest in a Pennsylvania fraud case

    This wonderful task force that investigates corrupt judges is led by Third Circuit Appeals Court Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith, among others. Find this footnote about Judge Smith from Judicial Integrity: “Order Denying Motion for Clarification of Temporary Restraining Order, et al, Oct 30, 1997. Judge Smith’s unexplained ruling that these motions were “moot” would be laughable if it were not for the seriousness of the harm suffered by the poor school districts burdened by the ruling. The efforts of the non-Mid-State school districts to get back the money improperly held by the court in SEC v. Black were not rendered moot by the distribution of a portion of their frozen assets. These school districts wanted all their money back, the court held onto $77 million. The only plausible explanation for the court’s “mootness” judgment is that Judge Smith hoped that the non-Mid-State school districts would all abide by his condition that they waive their right to challenge the freeze on their remaining assets in order to get half their money. In other words, the motions were moot only if Judge Smith’s “economic blackmail” worked.”

  15. To any real lawyer, is it considered to be a part of a judge’s official duties to threaten a pro-se litigant in a civil case without any justification whatsoever? Seems to me that would be a gross violation of his responsibilities; it was an undeserved threat to intimidate someone seeking justice. Threatening a litigant with incarceration when there was absolutely no basis to do so should be an impeachable offense.

    Yes or no?

  16. The certificate concluded that this conduct “constituted an abuse of his judicial office” in violation of the Canons of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. JT

    Jon, I know a federal district judge who has been violating various Canons for years. They include participation in any type of activity that could Appear to be violating the Canons. This guy is a monster, granting positive rulings continually to the very lawyers for whom he worked and politicians who were directly responsible for getting him his job. They include the people who hand picked him to enter congressional review.

  17. “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.”

    – Professor Turley
    _______________

    Did you say, “Bribery?”

    The good professor proclaims the transgressions of long deceased historical figures and blatantly ignores the extant corruption of the current crop of antithetical power-hungry communist (i.e. liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat) politicians.

    Under Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton conducted a global pay-for-play or bribery scheme (i.e. Clinton Foundation) as Secretary of State in egregious violation of law and a position of public trust. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton willfully used an illegal server, Obama using a pseudonymous account in an attempt to disguise his identity, as Hillary Clinton subsequently and deliberately destroyed evidence in the form of 30,000 e-mails through the use of “Bleachbit.” Barack Obama et al. abused power by “unmasking,” “spying” and conspiring against the duly elected government.

    Andrew C. McCarthy, in National Review, revealed that FBI Director James Comey, as an act of criminal dereliction, negligence and corruption, refused to “…indict Hillary because he would have convicted Obama.” Lisa Page and Peter Strzok facilitated that corruption, dereliction and negligence.

    Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as civil officers of the United States, met the criteria of Article 2, Section 4, and should have been impeached and convicted for gross and egregious treason and corruption of American ethics, patriotism and fundamental law.

    The fingerprints of the Obama “holdover” section are all over the incessant, frivolous attacks on the duly elected president, aka the Obama Coup D’etat in America, which constitutes a criminal conspiracy to challenge and degrade the authority of the executive branch.

    Funfact I: Hillary Clinton’s first literal “bribe” came from Tyson Chicken 35 years ago when Tyson’s cattle futures broker, “Red Bone,” posted Tyson’s gains to Hillary’s account and Hillary’s losses to Tyson’s account, at a time when Hillary couldn’t negotiate the obstacles of a cookie recipe much less grasp the intricacies of cattle futures markets.

    Funfact II: The crime of high treason was penalized by Drawing and Quartering in Great Britain until 1870.
    ___________________________________________________________

    Article 2, Section 4

    The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

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