“I Have Been Traduced”: Trump’s Moves Against Impeachment Witnesses Are Neither Unlawful Nor Unprecedented

Below is my column in the Washington Post on the continuing controversy over the actions taken against impeachment witnesses by President Donald Trump. I recently explained that these actions are not, as claiming on CNN, clear criminal acts of witness retaliation. While I was critical of the moves, this column addresses why they are neither unlawful nor unprecedented.

Here is the column:

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Those words, from the fictional Capt. John Yossarian in Joseph Heller’s satiric novel “Catch-22,” could well have come from President Trump. Trump’s move against two impeachment witnesses (and a third man, the twin brother of one of the witnesses) has enraged and struck many as pure retaliation, and has led to calls for criminal and oversight investigations. Yet, while I believe that actions taken against Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and National Security Council staffer Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman were wrong, they are both legal and not unprecedented.

Various experts, such as CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, have described the removals as “criminal” while Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on 74 inspectors general for “immediate action to investigate any and all instances of retaliation” against whistleblowers by the Trump administration.

The suggestion that the president’s actions are criminal is ironic on several levels. In 1867, Congress passed a law making retaliatory firings of public officials by a president a “high misdemeanor.” That law led the House to impeach President Andrew Johnson after he fired Edwin M. Stanton, the secretary of war. The case failed in the Senate, and the Supreme Court later noted that the Tenure of Office Act was facially unconstitutional. It would be equally unconstitutional to make the moving of Vindman back to the Pentagon or the termination of Sondland a crime. This post-trial action is not obstruction or witness tampering, and those officials are not guaranteed to retain such positions indefinitely.

What made these actions wrong, however, was that they appear as retaliatory as they were unnecessary. Both Vindman and Sondland were reportedly planning to leave their respective posts within a few weeks. Trump clearly wanted to fire them to send a message – a message visibly conveyed by the image of Vindman being unceremoniously escorted out of the White House. Moreover, the removal of Vindman’s twin brother (who never testified) smacks of medieval blood-revenge punishment.

The replacement of these officials however was neither unexpected nor unprecedented. Presidents have often distrusted officials from prior administrations, including civil servants. Thomas Jefferson referred to the administration of his predecessor as the “reign of the witches” and, accordingly, his removal of Federalist sympathizers could be viewed as the “witch hunt” in government.

Presidents have also canned officials for what they viewed as insubordination or opposition to their policies. Most famously, President Harry S. Truman fired the hugely popular Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the middle of the Korean War. President Barack Obama forced out Adm. Dennis Blair, then the director of national intelligence, after he opposed certain policies like drone strikes. Obama also sacked Gen. Stanley McChrystal after the then-commander of the International Security Assistance Force had been openly critical of the president in a Rolling Stone story. Trump fired national security adviser Michael Flynn when it was disclosed that he shared sensitive information without authorization.

White House officials and diplomats serve at the pleasure of the president and are thus the ultimate “at-will employees.” Presidents are generally allowed to pick their advisers and staff for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all.

While he could rest on his inherent authority, Trump could cite one obvious reason for his actions. Both of these officials were ordered not to appear as the White House litigated challenges to congressional demands. They disobeyed that presidential directive and testified without approval or White House counsel. Nevertheless, Trump waited to allow them to testify before taking any action.

The question is whether Trump is expected to continue to work with aides who not only refused to follow his directions but criticized his actions a threat to national security. Again, there is an echo of Andrew Johnson in all of this. Johnson was particularly paranoid about those out to get him.  He once declared “I have been traduced. I have been slandered. I have been maligned . . .  [and will not] “be bullied by enemies.”  Johnson and Trump have a number of things in common. Both were hated by the opposition and known for highly inflammatory rhetoric, including claims that they fueled racial animosities.  They also have one other shared element: they had good reason to be paranoid.  Both presidents were being “traduced” (or maligned) by critics within their government, including active efforts to push them out of office.

While it is often overlooked, Trump has shown that key officials involved in the original Russian investigation opposed his election. More importantly, Trump was right about the Russian investigation. Not only was there no collusion between Moscow and his campaign, but the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court recently declared that two of the four warrants for secret surveillance under the Obama administration in 2016 were “not valid” because of a lack of probable cause and “material misstatements and omissions.” Likewise, a Justice Department official who handled the FISA applications was not only a fervent critic of Trump but allegedly falsified a critical document to secure the surveillance.

So, to use the words of Heller’s Capt. Yossarian, there really were people out to get the president. More importantly, the law does not require that Trump work with people who hold deep-seated opposition to his past judgment or actions – including testimony that he is a liar. That hardly bodes well for any working relationship. While one can debate whether it is a presidential or paranoiac impulse, it is neither unlawful nor exceptional from a legal or historical perspective.

Jonathan Turley is the chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and served as the last lead counsel in an impeachment trial before the Senate in defense of Judge Thomas Porteous. He also serves as legal analyst for both CBS and BBC.

74 thoughts on ““I Have Been Traduced”: Trump’s Moves Against Impeachment Witnesses Are Neither Unlawful Nor Unprecedented”

  1. Doctor huh?

    Ruff! The internet has gone to the dogs. I should know since I hold a Canine Doctor Causis from the Bow Wow Club

    🐶

    https://www.facebook.com/robert.c.laity

    ABOUT ROBERT

    “I am founding President of The Society for the Preservation of Democracy and Human Rights,which as of October 23,2013 will be known as the Society for the Preservation of our American Republic. The Society was founded on September 17,1987 on the Bi-centennial of the US Constitution.I hold a B.S. in Psychology and a Juris Doctor Honoris Causis from the American Justice Foundation.”

  2. MORE ON ANDREW MCCABE CASE

    AND HOW IT FELL APART

    Mr. McCabe’s lawyers have vigorously denied that he intentionally lied to Mr. Horowitz’s investigators. In a bid to convince law enforcement officials that they had no case, Mr. McCabe’s lawyers met in August with the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and the former United States attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, whose prosecutors handled the case.

    In September, the grand jury was recalled after going months without meeting but left the courthouse without revealing any signs of an impending indictment. The next day, Justice Department officials told Mr. McCabe’s lawyers that they had rejected the last-ditch appeal to not charge him.

    Hints of the case’s weakness had emerged. One prosecutor assigned to the case recently left, an unusual step so close to a potential indictment. Another departed for a private law firm and has expressed reservations about how the case was handled.

    A key witness testified that Mr. McCabe had no motive to lie because he was authorized as the F.B.I.’s deputy director to speak to the news media, so he would not have had to hide any discussions with reporters. Another important witness testified he could not immediately remember how the leak unfolded. Both would have been crucial to any prosecution.

    Edited from: “Andrew McCabe Ex-FBI Will Not Be Charged In Lying Case”

    Today’s New York Times

  3. Case Against McCabe Falls Apart

    What exactly happened in the case remains unclear. Justice Department officials authorized prosecutors to seek an indictment of McCabe last year, and in September a grand jury that had been hearing evidence was summoned back after a months-long hiatus to consider the case. But the day came and went with no public charges being filed. McCabe’s legal team sought to press the Justice Department for a status update but was told nothing.

    The case was particularly complicated because of Trump’s public attacks on McCabe, which many viewed as an attempt to politicize the Justice Department and seek the prosecution of someone the president viewed as a political foe.

    According to materials made public Friday in a Freedom of Information Act case over the investigation, a federal judge in D.C. warned prosecutors in the case that the public was watching, and comments from the White House were detrimental.

    “I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road and we have those type of statements being made that are conceivably, even if not, influencing the ultimate decision. I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undue inappropriate pressure being brought to bear,” the judge, Reggie Walton, said.

    Edited from: “McCabe Who Authorized Trump Investigation Will Not Face Criminal Charges

    Today’s Washington Post

  4. daily basis. such as Representative Pelosi who arraned for four to be seated without taking the oath of office except some private deal in the December previous to the Jan third swearing in. Even so if they later did the oath all four party to that crime known as The Squat have violated at least three parts of that Oath. So wheres the holier than thou left win sociaist extremist when they are caught dirty?.

  5. Abraham Lincoln won 1860 with 38.9% of the vote and 1864 by brute military force.

    Lincoln unconstitutionally and militarily opposed constitutional secession (secession is not denied or precluded by the Constitution and was engaged in by the American Founders).

    Lincoln started and prosecuted a foreign war in a foreign country four months before it was declared by Congress.

    Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and committed violent acts of property damage and mayhem in the name of that suspension.

    Lincoln incoherently and unconstitutionally upheld dominion of the Declaration of Independence over the Constitution providing as justification for the elimination of slavery his statement that “America is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” in his Gettysburg Address.

    Lincoln confiscated private property.

    Lincoln committed egregious acts of atrocity (vile destruction of cities, industrial sites, farms, homes, crops) through the execution of “total war” during the campaign of Sherman’s March to the Sea.

    Good Americans did nothing about that!

  6. Sorry, that comment about Turley was unduly harsh. I’m sure he’s able to able to distinguish between how he treats people in his daily life and how he discusses treating people in what are, to him, academic disputes.

    That said, to Vindman and others, the consequences are real and personal.

    1. Jonathan Turley’s repeated defenses of barely legal but moral reprehensible behavior makes me feel sorry for anyone he knows in real life, if he thinks it’s OK to treat people this way.

      1. Any brigand should know that this is a legal blog and not a pulpit for views of personal morality. Jonathan Turley is both fearless and objective in his evaluations of the LEGAL ramifications of current events. You would be lucky to know such a man. I am grateful to him and proud of him.

  7. Under the mantra that “White House officials and diplomats serve at the pleasure of the president” I suppose we are supposed to give Trump a pass when he took retaliation against anyone who testified in the House impeachment inquiry–especially since,as you say, he “waited to allow them to testify before taking action”. Of course, allowing Sondland, Lt. Col. Vindman, et.al., to testify can’t mean they were insubordinate. What they were guilty of was speaking truth to power. That was a bridge too far for Trump. This whole episode could have been avoided had Trump not tried to extort Ukraine by demanding they investigate the Bidens and then withheld military aid in violation of the law. And when the whisleblower exposed this corrupt scheme and Congress began to investigate Trump obstructed at every turn. Like a mafia don Trump knows how to settle scores. He is not interested in “working relationships” with subordinates–at least not in the conventional sense that implies occasional differences of opinion on policy. Trump demands supine loyalty. Just ask Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo and William Barr. When historians write about Trump’s corruption of power they won’t be opining that he was just doing what other presidents have done– simply removing officials who “serve at the pleasure of the president”–, but engaging in an unprecedented attempt to corrupt every level of government. The chapter on Trump will be headed: “Donald Trump: The most corrupt president in American history”. You can put lipstick on a pig, Jonathan, but it’s still just a pig!

    1. “This whole episode could have been avoided had Trump not tried to extort Ukraine by demanding they investigate the Bidens and then withheld military aid in violation of the law.”
      *********************
      Since that’s your underlying premise, you’ll be overjoyed to hear that everybody who looked at this from the DOJ to the OLC to the US Senate said that’s not what happen. And if you fairly read the transcript, you would conclude that too.The only ones who disagree are his political enemies who have an interest in disagreeing.

      1. The Senate reached no such finding, mespo. A number of Republican Senators made it clear that what Trump did was wrong, but that they (apart from Romney) nonetheless weren’t going to vote to remove him, either because they felt his misbehavior wasn’t a “high crime” or because they’re too happy with his other actions, like appointing conservative judges.

        1. and they shall be numbered….. but not by the inferior pigs pretending to be other wise and be numbered and named RINOs.

        2. NB:
          Look up the word “acquittal.” It means the charge wasn’t proven and hence your presumption of innocence is intact. Legally, it never happened. You can cling to some tortured words of base politicians seeking cover but it’s a thin strand to rely on.

          1. Oh, it happened, and given the lapdog Senate majority, having most Americans believing Trump is guilty is the best Democrats realistically could have hoped for. They do.

      2. Since he didn’t repeated ad nauseum to the programmers of the Collective of Tje Partu pf the neo aristocratic establishment extremist left as you concluded it’s a case of two pigs thinking they are superior to other pigs and that would be Piglosi and Schumuckley Putz.

      3. When Obama used the IRS against conservative groups that he didn’t like, to you that was OK. When Obama fired people right and left you thought that was OK as well.

        Vindman didn’t belong where he was or at least that was the decision of the highest in command so Vindman was moved elsewhere. That is how things work everywhere except perhaps in your head.

      4. Mespo omits the facts that the even though the transcript is only part of the preponderance of evidence – which the GOP and WH made no effort to refute with evidence only available to them – which proves Trump’s guilt, but that the transcript is entirely consistent with the accusation.He also dodges the fact that the rigged Senate hearing was the only one EVER to not call witnesses, an event he previously claimed was due to constitutional restraints he then was unable to cite.

        1. which proves Trump’s guilt,

          You and Natacha continually labor under the misconception that you can make false statements true statements merely by asserting yourself.

        2. You need a new therapist Gainseville; because this one has you ranting on a loop. It doesn’t bother me, but it’d be a shame to have another Natacha on this blog.

    2. This whole episode could have been avoided had Trump not tried to extort Ukraine by demanding they investigate the Bidens and then withheld military aid in violation of the law.
      __________________________________________________
      Sure, but then Joe Biden would be the front runner for the Democrats and Trump’s chances for 2020 would not be looking as rosy as they are now. Trump was well aware of what he was getting into and the CIA helped him get into it. And it all worked out pretty much as planned.

      1. Thank you for bringing closure to us for this otherwise boring topic

        There is a great sale at Macy’s this weekend!!!
        Whacha gonna get for your Mrs / Mz / Mr / FWB / trick?

  8. Professor Turley’s problem is that he has never served in the military and has no knowledge of how classified information is handled, or the penalty for unauthorized disclosure. Actually, prior to 1990, Vindman would have never been granted a security clearance because of his Ukrainian origins. That he was is still odd since Ukraine has many political loyalties. In his role in the White House, he seems to have been working more for Ukraine then the United States. He had no real information to convey to the House – he was just upset that President Trump wanted his hero, Joe Biden, investigated. Remember there are NO LAWS against soliciting help from other nations. The only law pertains to financial contributions by foreigners. Vindman talked to people who had no “need to know” about classified information. That alone is grounds for removal from his position. (He also showed a lack of knowledge of Article II of the Constitution.) That he was “planning to leave” is irrelevant. After all, military personnel don’t “plan,” they go where they are ordered. That his brother was also transferred is no surprise because of the close family connection. Family members can prevent granting of security clearances and/or assignments. When I was in the Air Force, I met a young airman who had been in the most secret of all military agencies and held the Krypto Clearance (access to military codes.) He decided to cross-train to another field that only required a Secret Clearance. For some reason, the Air Force ran another background check and learned that he had married and that his new wife had family in an Iron Curtain country, which made him ineligible for a security clearance. He was transferred to the chow hall as an apprentice cook.That’s why Vindman’s brother was transferred – he’s too close to someone who has become untrustworthy.

    1. The only law pertains to financial contributions by foreigners.
      __________________________________________________
      That is incorrect. The law prohibits giving anything of value by foreigners to a campaign.

      Of course, the irony here is that an investigation by Ukraine would not be something of value*. You might as well have the mafia investigate your political opponent. What Trump wanted was for the US voting public and news media to investigate Biden and that is exactly what he got with a little assistance from his friends at the CIA.

      * If you don’t believe a Ukraine investigation of Bidens would not be of value to Trump here is the result of an investigation of Bidens by Ukraine:
      https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/hunter-biden-did-not-violate-anything-former-ukrainian-prosecutor-says-n1059136

  9. Oh, don’t let the Us Citizens get in the way of your work on your knees for the Deep State…. Say Goodbye AG Bob Barr your gone.

    Monday Morning 10 am est Trump! Pull the trigger on your power or Matt Drudge/others are right, you are Done Prez Trump!

    Pardon Stone/Flynn/etc., throw McCabe/Comey/Hillary, Big Tech/old media & the rest of the coup into Gitmo on an indefinite hold under your National Security Authority Prez Trump.

    “Justice Dept. won’t charge Andrew McCabe, the former FBI official who authorized the investigation of President Trump ”

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/justice-dept-wont-charge-andrew-mccabe-the-former-fbi-official-who-authorized-the-investigation-of-president-trump/ar-BB100rHv

  10. While I was critical of the moves, this column addresses why they are neither unlawful nor unprecedented…What made these actions wrong, however, was that they appear…

    It’s noteworthy that you should have been able to end the post after the word unprecedented. But unfortunately, that only applies if we were a nation of laws. Sadly, we’re for all practical purposes, a nation of feelings about how things appear. We’re are a Rorschach Republic.

    It’s not enough that President Trump is acting within his Article II powers. It has now become an impeachable offense if the optics trigger his political opponents to make such a move. This President should have made personnel moves immediately upon taking office. But from the day this President was inaugurated, he has been under siege. Every move he made was being challenged, beginning with Yates. The lower courts were weaponized against him. And of course Comey and his Crossfire Hurricane band of misfits were still working their insurance policy. The window for which this President should have cleaned house was closed, for optical reasons. That window didn’t open again until this current siege ended with his acquittal in the Senate.

    The best thing that has happened over the last 3 years is the American people have been reintroduced to the rule of law. Democrats and their MSM arm worked feverishly to optically impeach this president, but they discovered the framers had them in mind when they created our system of government. How badly did the Democrats miscalculate? President Trump’s approval rating rose over the course of the impeachment process. The Democrats woke up the American people and force-fed them our founding fathers, our constitution, due process, rules of evidence, politics, domestic and foreign policy, and so much more.

    And why hasn’t their been any leaks out of the Durham criminal investigation? Because unlike the Democrats optical delusions where they need leaks to further their charade, Durham is crossing T’s and dotting I’s to make airtight prosecutions.

    This is going to be a great year, grab some popcorn.

    1. Dang: if I agreed any more with you, I’d have to marry you!

      Very insightful and well written post. You win 8,276 Interweb Points!!

  11. The Man From Missouri was the best President we had in the past 100 years or more. Commander in Chief in a war has its powers.

    1. Harry Truman is responsible for many of the problems this nation has faced. He was a National Guard colonel who thought he knew more about the military than the West Point-trained officers. He got us into the Korean War and is ultimately responsible for our Vietnam debacle. He is HIGHLY overrated.

      1. Starting with Wilson he was one of a too long line of socialists in their Century of Socialist Wars that spilled over in this century thanks to Comrade OBama and the war monger supporters like Schumer and Pelosi..

  12. An end must come to those in the deep state that are challenging the authority of the President. Should he win reelection which is very highly probable then as Gorka says the President should ” bring in a personnel czar who will review all the 4,000 senior political appointments under his purview, and ask one question: is the appointee willing and able to implement the MAGA agenda as mandated by the American people?

    If not, that person must be terminated from government service immediately and replaced with someone who believes in the Constitution, the will of the voters, and in Keeping America Great.”

    We have way too many of these *political* appointments so many should not be replaced. A ceiling should be placed on their future numbers.

    1. Angelo Codevilla has written an article advocating the dissolution of the Central Intelligence Agency. I’ve reached the tentative conclusion that that’s the way to go. As for the FBI, break it up into a mess of successor agencies.

      1. DSS, these are things that have to be considered because these agencies were abused and ended up abusing American citizens. That is the problem with bureaucracy. It grows and as it grows individual freedoms are in danger of being lost.

  13. Oh JT, this post is ridiculous. If Trump had only reassigned Vindman and Sondland, then you may be right. But he called on the military to further punish Vindman, and also got rid of his brother, who did nothing wrong. Trump also is taking action against other low profile staff, such as an official at the OMB who questioned the aid freeze, and an official who oversaw the Stone investigation. And these are what we know about.

    These acts may not be technically illegal, but they are pure corruption. They are sending clear messages that just doing your job can get you in trouble for political reasons. I wish that we would hold our president to a standard that is higher then “Not technically illegal.

    Also, JT you know darn well that Mueller did not find no collusion, it found the evidence insufficient to conclude one way or the other.

    1. “These acts may not be technically illegal, but they are pure corruption.”

      How? The President is the accepted leader in foreign policy. He is Commander in Chief.

      Did you not notice that previous Presidents rid themselves of huge numbers of people from prior administrations? I don’t think Trump has gotten rid of more than a fraction of the number Obama got rid of. Do you think Obama is corrupt?

      1. This is not about clearing out old political appointees, this is about punishing career staff that are just doing their jobs. It is imperative that career staff can question potentially illegal actions, and be able to prosecute the president’s allies if they legitimately violated the law. Trump is eroding that to his own benefit, which is corruption.

        1. Those who work in the WH are there at the President’s sole discretion…PERIOD. That’s the only imperative. Go read the Constitution.

        2. This is not about clearing out old political appointees, this is about punishing career staff that are just doing their jobs.

          If ‘just doing your job’ is plotting against your boss because he countermanded what ‘The Interagency’ wanted, I suppose that’s so.

          It is imperative that career staff can question potentially illegal actions,

          The term ‘illegal’ does not mean what you fancy it means.

        3. Molly: “These acts may not be technically illegal, but they are pure corruption.”

          Allan: How? The President is the accepted leader in foreign policy. He is Commander in Chief.
          ————–
          The question raised was not really answered and your statement was quite an absolute one “they are pure corruption”. Perhaps you wish to admit to a bit of hyperbole.

          I don’t have a problem with people doing their jobs so the fact that Vindman brought what he thought was wrong up the chain of command isn’t a problem for me. Neither is the the President’s removal of Vindman because he felt it was better for US policy if Vindman was gone. Therefore where is the corruption? Where is Trump’s benefit other than the benefit the nation receives from a job well done?

    2. He held up their programmed re assignments to accomodate the phony impeachment trial. After that was over they were reassigned to whatever in the normal course of how personnel works. The rest appears to be made up garbage on the level of NBC, CNN or DNC.

  14. Supposedly, Obama’s minions quadrupled the staff of the National Security Council.

    Note the literature on the White House staff produced by political scientists ca. 1980. There was already anxiety about its bloat, noting that the head count had increased from 250 or thereabouts ca. 1957 to over 500 ca. 1972. I may be mistaken, but I believe Henry Kissinger’s NSC staff had about 30 people on it, Condoleeza Rice’s had about 100, and, we have been told, Obama’s had about 400.

    Why not try some zero-base budgeting for the staffing of the President’s office?

    1. The Executive Office be limited to the President’s chancery and chamber staff, an intelligence clearinghouse, liaison offices with the various federal agencies who have personnel at the White House (the Secret Service, the Air Force, the Navy, the General Services Administration), and an inspector-general to conduct internal investigations.

    2. The President quit traveling the world. Harry Truman presided over some of the most consequential diplomacy in this nation’s history. He went abroad 3x in just shy of eight years: a courtesy visit to Canada, a courtesy visit to Mexico, and the Potsdam Conference. Unless a deal requires meatspace interaction between Heads of State and protocol dictates they be the host, there should be no foreign travel. NB, prior to 1906, no sitting American president ever set foot in a foreign country while in office. Woodrow Wilson’s decision to attend the Versailles Conference in 1919 was considered irregular at the time.

    3. Quit making public announcements of the President’s movements unless he’s attending a scheduled talk (and, even then, don’t announce his routes, use decoy speakers, delay announcements). Michael Kinsley pointed out a generation ago that Israel and Britain were able to get along with a much smaller apparatus of dignitary protection because their public relations operations were more discreet. He also pointed out that the security paraphenalia surrounding dignitaries could generate threats because it made their presence so obvious. (The hook for this was then VP George Bush visiting a restaurant in sight of Kinsley’s office. Kinsley was able to discern from the vehicle traffic just who it was, noted he had plenty of time to secure a cream pie while Bush was lunching, and noted he’d have had a good shot at the VP in spite of all the manpower protecting him).

    4. Reduce the service staff at the Executive Residence. The President doesn’t need to employ a f/t movie projectionist. The buildings and grounds can be taken care of by the General Services Administration &c., the Navy can supply the culinary staff (of which a small set would be detailed to the president’s kitchen), You just need a housekeeper to do the shopping and laundry and pet care, an event planner, and a bookkeeper.

    5. Reduce the chancery staff to a half-dozen offices concerned with PR and communications, another office for the president’s advance team and motor pool, another for scheduling, another for paper flow and record keeping, another for legal counsel, another for liaison to Congress, another for liaison to the president’s political party and campaigns, another to process requests for pardons and commutations, another to place and vet patronage appointees, another for the VP staff, and two or three policy task forces, none of which employ more than about three-dozen people. The political staff of the White House has been a study in Parkinson’s law.

    6. There were a mess of profiles in the papers 15 years back of one Michael Gerson, the chief of George W. Bush’s speechwriting staff. Critics of Gerson maintained he spent a boatload of time on the phone with reporters yapping about who’d written what in George W Bush’s upcoming speeches. Self-promoters should be fired toute de suite. If they know your name, you’re doing it wrong. Ron Nessen reflecting on his time in the Ford White House remarked that the one aide whose counsel Gerald Ford valued above all was that of a man named John O Marsh. Nessen, who was in charge of PR for the Ford White House, noted also that Marsh’s name was ‘almost unknown to the public’.

  15. The republicans have put this impeached President above the law. Therefore anything he does is legal. The department of Justrump will back it up all the way. Long live King Donald the 1st.

    1. How would a socialist ideologue whose allegiance is to one or the other or all forms of Marxist Leninist have any idea how we run OUR Constitutional Republic. Get thee gone Reject.

      1. Being willfully ignorant is no way to go thru life, the only allegiance I have when it comes to politics is to the rule of law in the constitution. Which you and your impeached President do not believe in, otherwise you would know what Trump is doing to the rule of law, that you claim you know so well, like I said being willfully ignorant is no way to go thru life.

        1. the only allegiance I have when it comes to politics is to the rule of law in the constitution. Which you and your impeached President…

          LOL! Hey Ms. Constitutionalist, here’s a civics test for you (assuming you’re a US citizen): Was our President, Donald J. Trump acquitted of the 2 impeachment articles prosecuted in the Senate? Is President Donald J. Trump still our President?

          Your status as having an allegiance to the rule of law and our constitution weighs in the balance.

  16. “So, to use the words of Heller’s Capt. Yossarian, there really were people out to get the president. More importantly, the law does not require that Trump work with people who hold deep-seated opposition to his past judgment or actions – including testimony that he is a liar. That hardly bodes well for any working relationship. While one can debate whether it is a presidential or paranoiac impulse, it is neither unlawful nor exceptional from a legal or historical perspective.”
    *************************

    Not to mention, it’s common sense. Something the Dim Horde seems to find repulsive.

    1. there really were people out to get the president.
      _________________________________________________
      At least that is what the President wants you to believe

      Vindman was hired by Trump and he was hired to do a job and he did it well just as Trump wanted him to do it.

  17. Oh please, Professor. I know the really reason these actions weren’t “criminal”. As The great Dershowitz has taught us, if the President does it it’s legal!

    1. Pure foolishness. This comment represents a lack of understanding of Dershowitz’s comments and the law. Fealty to the party of one’s choice should not put the brain into hibernation.

      1. Pure foolishness. This comment represents a lack of understanding of Dershowitz’s comments
        __________________________________________
        No he got it pretty much right. If anyone else prevented witnesses from appearing before Congress they would be sitting in prison.

    2. Good point. Often stated and more often ignored. He’s elected to do exactly that with certain in place protocols from time to time. We needed more supervision when Obama made deal after deal after deal violating the rules by circumventin theg Senate who must approve all treaties and Schumer/Pelosi Cabal who routinely violate their oath of office on a deaily basis.

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