The No-Show Option: Trump Could Sit Out The Senate Trial And Still Prevail

Below is my column in the Hill on why President Donald Trump might want to consider skipping the upcoming Senate trial. This is an expanded version of that column. Rumors continue to suggest that Trump is considering Rudy Giuliani as counsel — a role that would be viewed as open contempt to the Senate and, as Karl Rove noted, would increase the chances of a conviction.  There is a better defense: no defense.

Here is the column:

In a matter of days, this country will face an unprecedented Senate trial. The Senate not only will try a president for a second time but will do so after he has left office.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris assures us the Senate can politically “multitask” to deal with an impeachment, an incoming Biden administration and a pandemic. However, the threshold question is whether this is constitutionally one of those tasks — and for soon-to-be citizen Donald Trump, the best defense may be no defense at all.

In fairness, people on both sides are struggling to deal with this novel impeachment. While I have stated that I do not wish to serve as the president’s counsel, I have spoken to members of Congress and the White House on the historical and constitutional backgrounds for a trial.  In my 1999, Duke Law Journal article on impeachment, I wrote that “[t]he Senate majority, however, was correct in its view that impeachments historically extended to former officials, such as Warren Hastings.” See Jonathan Turley, Senate Trials and Factional Disputes: Impeachment as a Madisonian Device, 49 Duke Law Journal 1-146 (1999). It indeed was used retroactively in Great Britain. Yet, there are significant differences in the use of impeachment in both countries. Indeed, the colonial impeachments were strikingly different in many respects. As I noted in the Duke article, “Even if the only penalty is disqualification from future office, the open presentation of the evidence and witnesses represents the very element that was missing in colonial impeachments.” This has remained an open question and much contested in the United States as I noted in my later North Carolina article.  Jonathan Turley, The    “Executive    Function”    Theory,    the    Hamilton    Affair    and    Other    Constitutional Mythologies, 77 North Carolina Law Review 1791-1866 (1999).  The point of that piece is that impeachment is not limited to violations of an executive function but can involve other violations like perjury.  We are left with the value of a trial for a public judgment on past conduct and the costs of a retroactive trial on the constitutional system. That has remained unresolved though my views have evolved over the last 30 years on aspects of this question. The prior discussion addressed how impeachment serves a type of dialogic role in our society. Such trials can have value as with Trump. However, there are also serious countervailing costs that are equally evident in the case of Trump.

From a purely strategic perspective, I believe Trump may be wise to skip any trial.

For a notorious counterpuncher, avoiding a fight might be the most difficult decision of all, particularly because he has obvious defenses. First, he was denied due process when the House held an unprecedented “snap impeachment” without a hearing or inquiry even though a trial likely would not occur immediately. Even a one-day hearing would have allowed evidence to be discussed as well as a formal request for a response.

Second, the impeachment article is poorly crafted and poorly conceived, built around assertions that Trump’s Jan. 6 speech to supporters was an “incitement to insurrection.” His speech raised potentially impeachable grounds; I condemned it as he gave it and opposed his challenge of electoral votes from the outset. But as I wrote previously, it would have been far better to censure him for it in a bipartisan, bicameral resolution.

While impeachment can be based on noncriminal grounds, Trump’s speech alone did not amount to criminal incitement. Absent direct evidence of intent, a criminal charge would likely collapse in an actual trial or on appeal on First Amendment grounds. Trump expressly called for his supporters “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” He told them to go to the Capitol “to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,” to “fight like hell” to challenge the election, and to remind unsupportive Republicans that their actions would not be forgotten. It was a reckless speech — but, in a court of law, it would constitute protected speech.

Despite the strength of such defenses, the president must first decide whether he wants to sit for trial at all. He can legitimately argue that a private citizen cannot be impeached and that the Senate cannot remove a person from office who has already left.

Article I, Section 4, of the Constitution states that the sole purpose of an impeachment trial is whether “the president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office.” While the Senate can later add a disqualification from holding federal office again, that is only after removal is decided — because it is a question of the penalty, not the purpose of the proceeding.

The Constitution refers to a present-tense status of “the president.” That status is key to other provisions bestowing official powers and privileges, which do not linger after leaving office. No one would argue that Trump could continue to exercise those powers once President-elect Biden is sworn in. Yet a Senate trial would insist that, while Trump has no continuing powers, he remains subject to continued penalties tied to the office. Moreover, the stated purpose of the impeachment trial is whether a president “shall be removed.” Thus, the only person constitutionally subject to an impeachment trial would be the sitting president, Joe Biden.

This issue has been debated since the first impeachment in 1797, when Sen. William Blount of Tennessee faced allegations of conspiring to help Great Britain seize what is now Louisiana. Blount was expelled from the Senate before being impeached, so he insisted he was not subject to trial and refused to appear. The Senate apparently agreed and dismissed the case — just 10 years after the Constitution’s ratification, with most of the Framers still alive and some serving in Congress. (Indeed, Blount was one of its signers.)

The second case fared little better. In 1876, former Secretary of War William Belknap was tried even though he resigned before being impeached. Almost half of the senators voted that they did not have jurisdiction, and Belknap was later acquitted, in part due to doubts over the trial’s legitimacy.

The absence of a defendant or defense counsel might not be the only curious element in this trial. It is unclear, for example, if Chief Justice John Roberts would be called upon to preside. After all, the Constitution stipulates that when “the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside” — but the president will be Biden, not Trump.

The failure to put on a defense is not an admission of guilt. The Senate has a duty to resolve whether there is a valid impeachment trial to be held and then whether the constitutional standard has been satisfied. If the Senate does not dismiss the case in a threshold vote, Trump can treat the proceeding as an extraconstitutional act because he is no longer subject to removal. If the Senate were to convict, he would have standing to challenge any disqualification from future federal offices. He could well prevail, and the Senate would have created a precedent against itself: history’s first judicial reversal of an impeachment verdict.

Courts have long maintained that impeachments are left to Congress. Yet this is different. This is a question of whether a private citizen can be subjected to a proceeding that is expressly committed to the removal of officeholders. Impeachments go to the status of an officeholder, while indictments go to the status of an individual. If prosecutors believe Trump incited insurrection, they should charge him. However, the Senate must decide if it wants to hold a trial based on a legal fiction: a vote to remove someone who is no longer in office.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law with George Washington University and served as the last lead counsel during a Senate impeachment trial. He testified as an expert for the impeachment hearings of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Follow him with Twitter @JonathanTurley.

 

This column was updated.

302 thoughts on “The No-Show Option: Trump Could Sit Out The Senate Trial And Still Prevail”

  1. This is a profoundly stupid act on the part of the left.

    First Turley is entirely wrong about Trump’s speech.

    It is well inside the norms of acceptable political speech in this country. Pelosi has made remarks far more egregious

    That you wish someone would speak differently is not the same as that speech being Wrong.

    But the more important issue is that merely attempting to bar Trump from future office undermines the claims of democrats that they legitimately won the election.

    If Biden won the election – then why the fear that Trump would run again ?

    Most everything that has occured since the eleciton goes to strengthen the perception not only that Trump won – but that everyone knows it.

    The lawlessness of the election.

    Biden’s refusal to support inquiry.

    The lies about what little inquiry was conducted.

    The refusal of the courts to inquire into fraud.

    The reliance of the courts on legal doctrines to thwart inquiry – ultimately elections are not about the rights of candidates – or even states.
    Court decisions on standing or laches or similar grounds are not saying Trump has no recourse, or TX has no recourse. But that the people have no recourse.

    The supression of Biden stories by the press – is an admission that Trump would have won.
    The lack of inqury by the press into election fraud allegations – is an admission that they beleive Trump won.
    The supression of stories alleging election fraud by social media – is an admission that they beleive Trump won.

    The impeachment of Trump by the house – is an admission that they beleive Trump won.

    The attempt to prevent Trump from running for office again – is an admission that they beleive Trump won.

    If Trump lost legitimately – none of this is necescary.

    This whole process undermines rather than builds trust in government.

    The legal issues that Turley and others debate are unimportant.

    IF democrats wish people to beleive they govern legitimately – they need to behave as if they trust the results.

    This is a colossal blunder.

    It is an act of fear.

    And most people are likely to see it that way

    1. Didn’t see this before I posted. Exactly. How can people believe this election, and abide the silence and dereliction of our courts?

        1. Actually they have been both.

          Virtually all election lawsuits have been rejected because the were too late, too early, or brought by the wrong party.

          All fine – EXCEPT that the PEOPLE are entitled to lawlful and fraud free elections – not Trump, not Biden, not the government.

          The PEOPLE. Trump may not have standing, TX may not have standing (they certainly do), Some random voter may not have standing.
          But the people do.

          Timeliness might matter with respect to specific plantiffs. It does not matter with respect to the people as a whole.

          The courts were not obligated to do anything for Trump. There is no right to be president.

          But they as well as our respective government were owed a trustworthy election.

          And ultimately WE – not the courts get to decide that.

          The courts are the NORMAL forum in which evidence is examined. The courts FAILED in that task.

          You keep trying to (badly) argue law. You fail to grasp that trust (or lack) in elections PRECEDES law.

          There is no law, no government if elections are not trusted.

          1. The courts haven’t been SILENT or DERELICT.

            The courts rejected the suits because our laws demanded that they reject the suits. The courts’ rulings were not SILENCE or DERELICTION.

            I’m not going to follow you down your rabbit hole.

            1. “The courts haven’t been SILENT or DERELICT.”
              Of course they have – a plurality of people beleive the election was rife with fraud.
              That is either true or a failure of the courts and government.

              A majority of people do not trust government – that is a failure of both government and the courts.

              “The courts rejected the suits because our laws demanded that they reject the suits.”
              There is no standing statute, there is no latches statute.

              “The courts’ rulings were not SILENCE or DERELICTION.”
              The rulings may not have been, but they did not address the fraud or lawlessness and they did not improve trust in govenrment or the election.

              “I’m not going to follow you down your rabbit hole.”
              That rabbit hole is the foundation of government – the consent of the governed.

              Government can not force consent on us. It can not claim consent. It must earn our trust and consent.

              You can not tell voters – like it or lump it – you are required to trust the government.

              You saw how that worked in early january in the capital, as well as in April of 1775.

    2. John say, your logical reasoning is severely flawed here.

      The evidence does not support it at all.

      “ It is well inside the norms of acceptable political speech in this country. Pelosi has made remarks far more egregious”

      Big problem there. The speech was not “well inside the norms.” It was a culmination of a weeks long attempt to gather support for claims that have long been debunked or refuted. The president chose to hold the rally that day for a very specific reason. He was hinting about it thru tweets for weeks prior to the rally. The context on which he delivers that speech is unmistakable. He was encouraging and inciting the crowd. Even those who were there have admitted to the FBI that they believed trump wanted them to disrupt the proceedings in congress. Why else would he hold a rally so close to the Capitol.

      “ The refusal of the courts to inquire into fraud.

      The reliance of the courts on legal doctrines to thwart inquiry – ultimately elections are not about the rights of candidates – or even states.
      Court decisions on standing or laches or similar grounds are not saying Trump has no recourse, or TX has no recourse. But that the people have no recourse.”

      Most of the courts couldn’t inquire about the fraud because the plaintiffs could not or did not provide the required proof of their claims. Affidavits submitted ended up being either hearsay or withdrawn by the witnesses upon learning they would be liable for perjury charges if their claims turned out to be false.

      The court system has specific requirements in order to bring up cases before them. This is standard for all cases. Senator Ghomert was sloppy and incompetent when he pursued his lawsuit. SCOTUS correctly decided not to review such a flawed argument.

      The courts did not thwart anybody. It was those who filed the lawsuits that “thwarted” themselves with their own incompetence and irrational claims.

      “ The impeachment of Trump by the house – is an admission that they beleive Trump won.”

      Unequivocally false and wrong. The impeachment had nothing to do with admission. It was a result of Trump’s un-democratic attempt to subvert the election in his favor. The bipartisan vote to impeach was not opposed even by Mitch McConnell.

      “ This whole process undermines rather than builds trust in government.”

      On the contrary it reinforces the process that builds trust in government. To hold accountable those who violate the law and their oath. Trump demonstrated that he clearly crossed a line. To let Trump get away with it would destroy the principle that nobody is above the law.

      1. “Big problem there.”
        Nope,
        “The speech was not “well inside the norms.””
        You are clearly unaware of the norms of speech by democrats.

        “It was a culmination of a weeks long attempt to gather support for claims that have long been debunked or refuted.”
        False and irelevant.
        The claims have not been debunked. Leftists should remove the word debunked from their vocabularly – you claerly have no idea what it means.
        Blatantly false political speech is well inside the norms. I can provide a long list of false statements by leftists.

        “The president chose to hold the rally that day for a very specific reason. ”
        Yup.

        “He was hinting about it thru tweets for weeks prior to the rally.”
        Whatever that means.
        Are we back arguing about dog whistles again ?

        Trump made clear what he wanted – and it was legal.

        “The context on which he delivers that speech is unmistakable.”
        True but neither an argument or a crime or unacceptable.

        “He was encouraging and inciting the crowd.”
        Yes, but not to violence. ALL political speach is incitement.

        “Even those who were there have admitted to the FBI that they believed trump wanted them to disrupt the proceedings in congress.”
        You have provided no eividence of this. Even if you did it would be legally irrelevant. and finally – in the event that Trump actually exhorted his followers to disrupt congress – still not incitment to violence.
        Congress is disrupted all the time.

        Schumer littlerally threatened supreme court justices.

        “Why else would he hold a rally so close to the Capitol.”

        To make absolutely clear to congress how angry people are about a lawless and possibly fraud ridden eleciton and to demand they do something about it.

        Your argument is that what Trump did is wrong because you do not like it. That is not a valid argument.

        “Most of the courts couldn’t inquire about the fraud because the plaintiffs could not or did not provide the required proof of their claims.”
        Please read the court decisions – this is poppycock.

        “Affidavits submitted ended up being either hearsay”
        False and irrelevant. Please read the affadavits being presented regarding the capital protests – they are entirely hearsay.

        “withdrawn by the witnesses upon learning they would be liable for perjury charges if their claims turned out to be false.”
        Very few.

        “The court system has specific requirements in order to bring up cases before them.”
        You are making my argument – this is not for the courts to decide.

        The trustworthyness of elections is a right or the PEOPLE. It is the obligation of the court to assure that occured.
        It is ALSO the duty of the court to persuade the people. While you are wrong about the fraud and lawlessness.
        Ultimately it would not matter if you were right. If the election was kosher, if the courts properly examined it and found nothing,
        But in the end a plurality of the people did not beleive them – then RIGHT OR WRONG the courts failed, the govenrment failed.

        In fact if only 20% of the people beleived the election was lawless of fraud ridden – the courts and govenrment STILL FAILED.

        “This is standard for all cases.”
        The standard is establishing the trust of the people.

        “Senator Ghomert was sloppy and incompetent when he pursued his lawsuit. SCOTUS correctly decided not to review such a flawed argument.”

        False and irrelevant.
        BTW it is Rep. Ghomert – given you can not keep basic facts straigh why should you be trusted ?

        “The courts did not thwart anybody.”
        They failed in the only criteria that matters – the trust of the people.

        “It was those who filed the lawsuits that “thwarted” themselves with their own incompetence and irrational claims.”
        False and irrelevant.

        Trustworthy elections are a duty that government and the courts own the people – not some plaintiffs.
        The people can lack trust in elections for whatever reasons they please. Including incompetent and irrational claims.

        The big problem with your argument – and that of the courts is that you fail to grasp that it is not the duty of the plaintiffs to persaude the courts that an election was fraudulent. It is the duty of government to persuade voters that the election was trustworthy.

        “ The impeachment of Trump by the house – is an admission that they beleive Trump won.”

        Unequivocally false and wrong. The impeachment had nothing to do with admission. It was a result of Trump’s un-democratic attempt to subvert the election in his favor. The bipartisan vote to impeach was not opposed even by Mitch McConnell.

        Unequivocally BS. If as you claim Trumps actions were criminal – they can be prosecuted by DOJ.
        But they are not. This is entirely political and the politics is simple – Democrats are scared of Trump and the people.
        And that fear rests in their own doubts about the election.

        The only thing that democrats can accomplish is to preclude Trump from running again. And the only reason for doing that is to prevent him from winning.

        If you actually beleive you won – there is no reason to fear that.

        “ This whole process undermines rather than builds trust in government.”

        On the contrary it reinforces the process that builds trust in government.

        Nope. The people – not the congress determines who they want for president.

        Democrats are meddling in the perogatives of the people.

        “To hold accountable those who violate the law and their oath.”

        If Trump actually violated the law – that is the business of DOJ. He will be a private citizen long before any senate trial occurs.

        “Trump demonstrated that he clearly crossed a line.”
        Only to you and democrats.

        Your lines are not THE lines.

        “To let Trump get away with it would destroy the principle that nobody is above the law.”
        If you beleive there is a crime – try it in court.

        Apparently you do not trust the courts either.

  2. Barr Told Trump Election Claims Are Bullsh_t

    Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president’s theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were “bullsh_t.”

    White House counsel Pat Cipollone and a few other aides in the room were shocked Barr had come out and said it — although they knew it was true. For good measure, the attorney general threw in a warning that the new legal team Trump was betting his future on was “clownish.”

    Trump had angrily dragged Barr in to explain himself after seeing a breaking AP story all over Twitter, with the headline: “Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud.” But Barr was not backing down. Three weeks later, he would be gone.

    The relationship between the president and his attorney general was arguably the most consequential in Trump’s Cabinet. And in the six months leading up to this meeting, the relationship between the two men had quietly disintegrated. Nobody was more loyal than Bill Barr. But for Trump, it was never enough.

    The president had become too manic for even his most loyal allies, listening increasingly to the conspiracy theorists who echoed his own views and offered an illusion, an alternate reality.

    Edited from: “Off The Rails: Inside The Disintegration Of Trump’s Relationship With Bill Barr”

    Axios, 1/18/21

    1. Barr had a long run as a coverup artist. Why did Trump pick some of these type people?

      Where’s Dunbar these days, the Bahamas sun bathing?

      Barr’s dad has direct ties to Jeffery Epstein.

      And Axios, isn’t that like NYT/CNN light?

      1. Barr was picked *for* trump in the same way Mattis was, or any of the other advisors. Trump came into office clueless, remained so with zero curiosity about how best to study for the job. The republican machine tried to school him, but basically gave up and just sent him out to do rallies and hang with the MAGA’s and Q’s when it was clear everday with him was just going to get worse.

        Elvis Bug

  3. Excellent arguments, JT. The structure of your argument is perfect: Here are the elements of a Senate impeachment trial. Those elements are not present. Ergo . . .

    “. . . in this trial.”

    And for truth in advertising, such a “trial” should be called what it is: Kabuki theater.

  4. Both Johnathan Turley and Alan Dershowitz strongly doubt a former POTUS should be tried, let alone convicted. I personally think it’s profoundly unfair to try a former POTUS in the Senate when he no longer has presidential protections.

    Torqueing the Constitution by railroading a dubious Senate trial could have a lot of unintended consequences.

    Meanwhile, the feds are vetting troops stationed in DC to make sure they’re trustworthy. I’m not opposed in principle, but I WANT ANY RECORDS OF THAT VETTING DESTROYED. I don’t want the Democrats “filtering” the military for some future purpose.

    1. As I just noted in another column, professors with relevant expertise are pointing out that Turley’s current views on impeachment are at odds with his own previous writing and work by others:

      Brian Kalt (MSU College of Law prof.): “Turley’s 1999 Duke LJ article, Senate Trials and Factional Disputes: Impeachment As A Madisonian Device, had as its central thesis that we needed to look at other functions of impeachment besides removal. In it, he wrote specifically and approvingly about impeaching ex-officials.”
      https://twitter.com/ProfBrianKalt/status/1351025702854864898 (has an image of a relevant excerpt from Turley’s 1999 article)
      The full article: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://scholar.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1059&context=dlj
      The quote is on p. 56:
      “If impeachment was simply a matter of removal, the argument for jurisdiction in the Belknap case would be easily resolvedagainst hearing the matter. The Senate majority, however, was correct in its view that impeachments historically had extended to for-mer officials, such as Warren Hastings. Impeachment, as demonstrated by Edmund Burke, serves a public value in addressing conduct at odds with core values in a society. At a time of lost confidence in the integrity of the government, the conduct of a former official can demand a political response. Thisresponse in the form of an impeachment may be more important than a legal response in the form of a prosecution. Regardless of the outcome, the Belknap trial addressed the underlying conduct and affirmed core principles at a time of diminishing faith in government. Absent such a trial, Belknap’s rush to resign would have succeeded inbarring any corrective political action to counter the damage to thesystem caused by his conduct. Even if the only penalty is disqualifica-tion from future office, the open presentation of the evidence andwitnesses represents the very element that was missing in colonialimpeachments. Such a trial has a political value that runs vertically asa response to the public and horizontally as a deterrent to the executive branch.”

      Keith Whittington (Princeton Politics prof.):
      “Alternatively, ‘What is the Impeachment Power For?’ (Hint: Not just removal) lawliberty.org/what-is-the-impeachment-power-for/
      “‘In many cases, removal is the entire point of an impeachment.’ But in other cases, it is not! hoover.org/research/high-crimes-after-clinton
      “Just focusing on text and purpose of the impeachment power. An accounting of the history would only strengthen the case for the validity of impeachment trials of former officers ‘Can a Former President Be Impeached and Convicted?’ lawfareblog.com/can-former-president-be-impeached-and-convicted “

      1. Addressing “high crimes” and “core values” of society. Gee. If we could agree on just a handful of these, it might be useful. As it stands, we’re going to have massive fights over school bathrooms and gender preferences. Perhaps Clinton’s oral sex with an intern offended some more than others; I didn’t much care, so long as we didn’t start another damn war. In my mind, Trump’s intent has been to keep us out of wars with negotiation skills. His negotiation skills didn’t work with Democrats, however, and that is his crime. A personality and power issue.
        Now, tell me again how Pennsylvania, which made its economic recovery from fracking, voted for Biden? And raise your hand if you really want higher gas prices because we have to buy from the Middle East? I know. Because climate change settled science shut up, and Orangemanbad.

      2. “As I just noted in another column”

        You’ve never “noted” anything you little worm.

        All you do is cut and paste talking points like the troll you are.

        BTW, Elvis Bug says you’re a part time clown and a known racist.

        1. Rhodes, she posted the relevant passages of what Turley said and the other professors pointing out Turley’s hypocrisy. The personal attacks against CTHD only portray you as ignorant.

          You seem to get upset when she gets to the point of what Turley is really doing. Being disingenuous with his “expertise”.

          1. Over the course of several decades Turley has changed his mind on some matters.

            Intelligent people do that.

            Both Obama and Trump changed their mind on Gay marraige.

            Ultimately Turley is mostly wrong about what Congress can do, but right about what they should and should not do.

      3. CTDHD

        democrats have brought us past the point at which any debate over impeachment is legally meaningful.

        Impeachment is now clearly a political weapon. It is essentially the same as a vote of no confidence by parliment.

        And you can expect that it will be used that way in the future. Like the fillibuster and other rules and traditions the left has made impeachment the norm, and you can expect that republicans will repeatedly impeach Biden when they take over the house in 2022.

        The legal debate over impeachment is no longer meaningful, The left has made it a purely political act.

        There is a small legal question which Turley has addressed – which the courts could actually resolve – which is whether congress can bar through impeachment someone not in office from future public service.

        But all of this begs the question – why are democrats so terrified of Trump ?

        If you really believe you won the election – ACT LIKE IT.

        For the entire election and beyond democrats have behaved as if they had to cheat to win.

        Laws had to be changed by executive fiat, or ignored. No inquiry was allowed, No protests were allowed.
        Anyone disagreeing with the democratic narrative had to be silenced.
        And now the purported loser has to be barred from running again.

        Why ? If you beleive you won, you should hope republicans run Trump again.

        Why are you so afraid of Trump ?

        Could it be because you know you did NOT win the election ?

    2. As for the National Guard vetting, “Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy … and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said vetting hadn’t flagged any issues” (quoting the AP). Failure to look for insider threat would have been dereliction of duty.

      I’m surprised that vetting hasn’t flagged any issues, given that they recently arrested a National Guard member:
      https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/01/14/national-guardsman-1st-current-service-member-be-arrested-after-capitol-riot.html

      1. Commit, the army must have gone back to see if they tweeted anything in junior high school that might be found seditious. If this investigation was not performed a trial for dereliction of duty must be begun immediately.

      2. And here’s an affidavit about Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, an “avowed white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer” who serves in the Army Reserves with a “Secret”-level clearance and who was arrested in NJ yesterday for his part in the attack on the Capitol:
        https://www.justice.gov/file/1356066/download

        It was submitted by a Special Agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

        How wonderful to have Nazi sympathizers with Secret-level clearance. /s

        1. How wonderful to have Nazi sympathizers with Secret-level clearance. /s

          I support rooting out criminals from all our government institutions.

          How wonderful to have PRC sympathizers sitting on the House Intelligence Committee and in the White House come January 20th. /s

            1. “Ivanka Trump is as big a PRC sympathizer as anyone”

              Says the clueless fool who knows nothing about trademarks. It takes years and actual use to have the trademarks granted.

              All she was granted was an application for her trademarks. Even a clueless idiot like you could do the same if you actually had the money to hire a decent international IP attorney.

            2. Ivanka Trump is as big a PRC sympathizer as anyone who concerns you.

              She is? My concern is about how the CCP has infiltrated U.S. government officials using spies and leveraging their positions to undermine our national security. If you have evidence of this with Ivanka, you might want to share that with the FBI. In the meantime, are you not concerned with Congressmen and Senators being compromised by relationships with CCP operatives? Do you know that the FBI is actively vetting 25,000 national guard troops? Guess what happens if they discover any of them have had any relationship with a CCP spy, wittingly or not? That’s right, they would immediately lose their security clearance and likely face a courts martial. But, had they been elected to Congress, they might end up on the House Intel Committee or the Senate Judiciary Committee and they might even be placed as an impeachment manager. Hell, they might even end up being elected president.

              1. Guess what happens if they discover any of them have had any relationship with a CCP spy, wittingly or not?

                I should have added, guess what is likely to happen to any of them, if evidence is discovered they have actively spoken out in favor of President Trump and/or in opposition to the results of the 2020 election, as a private citizen? Purged. And do not be surprised to discover a purging of our rank and file military personnel will take place, a la Obama’s purging of general staff.

              2. Ivanka and Jared couldn’t even qualify for a national security clearance in the first placer. But they were given one anyway at the Trump Admin’s command.

                And if you were truly concerned about how the CCP has infiltrated U.S. government officials using spies, you wouldn’t pretend that means someone is a CCP sympathizer.

                1. “Ivanka and Jared couldn’t even qualify for a national security clearance in the first placer.”

                  False, I have held a top secret clearance before – they would have no problems qualifying.
                  They were not denied a clearance, they passed their FBI background checks, An office full of Obama holdovers was improperly delaying their and many other approvals trying to gum up the work.

                  The left told those in government to resist – and they did so – illegally.

                  “And if you were truly concerned about how the CCP has infiltrated U.S. government officials using spies, you wouldn’t pretend that means someone is a CCP sympathizer.”

                  What does that mean ? Make your argument clearly – not obliquily with innuendo.

                  Trump and some members of the Trump family have done business with chinese businesses.

                  They have traded actual value for actual value.

                  They have not been getting or giving money to the chinese government.
                  They have not been cavorting with chinese spies.
                  They have not traded public powers and influence for personal benefit.

                  If you have examples of those – lets prosecute.

                  But cut the nonsense – speak plainly. If you do not have the facts to back up your arguments – don;t make the arguments.

                1. And no one has Biden’s ear ?

                  This argument is idiocy.

                  All presidents have advisors. I expect them to have advisiors they Trust.
                  Biden certainly has advisors. He is entitled to advisors he trusts.

                  And we are entitled to judge him based on his choices.

                  Trump has done pretty well as president.

                  Biden has big shoes to fill Much bigger than Bushes or Obama’s.

          1. I read the affadavit that is supposed to be damnign – and mostly there is nothing there.

            They Might have something regarding a flag pole – but only if they can prove it was used in a crime.

            Though I suspect that he will get convicted by a DC jury for “thought crime”

            1. He was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disrupting the orderly conduct of government business; violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; parading, demostrating, or picketing in a Capitol building; obstructing a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder.

              But yeah, pretend that it’s about thought crimes.

              1. “He was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority;”
                The capital is a public building and was unconstitutionally closed to restrict peoples 1st amendment rights.

                The capital is a well recognized “free speech zone”.

                “disrupting the orderly conduct of government business”
                I am pretty sure that the minute men ” disrupted the orderly conduct of government business.
                Just as the Kavanaugh protestors did – and the bombers in the 80’s.

                “violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building”
                Yet the afadavit does not mention violently entering.
                Do you have evidence of that ?

                “parading, demostrating, or picketing in a Capitol building;”
                So petitioning government is a crime ?
                Again this would not survive the first amendment/

                “obstructing a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder.”
                Duh, I would say about 10M people did that this summer.

                “But yeah, pretend that it’s about thought crimes.”
                Of course they are.

                  1. The list of charges all summarize to “Protesting against a government that has lost the trust of the people”.

                    i.e. Thought Crimes – get over yourself.

                  2. These people will be convicted – they will appear before DC courts and they do not stand a chance.

                    But YOU should read the list of charges – the charges themselves are an indictment of GOVERNMENT.

                    They are all inconsequential. Each everyone is the crime of – “not trusting government” -duh!.
                    that was what the protest is about.

        2. So, they got him. The system works. Your point?
          Did you see the leftist anarchist arrested in Tallahassee today?

          1. They got him ? For what ?

            There is no actual evidence he is a nazi sympathiser or white supremecist – and those though dispecable are not crimes.

            They did not allege he broke windows to enter the capital, or that he entered through broken windows.

            There is some discussion of a privately owned flag pole, But they must establish the flag pole was used in the commission of a crime.

            Beyond that we have insulting a member of the capital police – again despicable, but not a crime.

            And confidence that with more people they could have taken the whole capital. Still not a crime.

            There is no allegation that he was violent, or damage property.

            And once again I must poijnt out for those on the left that the entire afadavit is “hearsay”

            Get a brain – there is no blankit prohibition of hearsay.

        3. This is your idea of evidence ?

          i have no idea if the accused is an “avowed white supremecist” – that is irrelevant. Being one is immoral. It is not a crime.

          Contra the officer entering the capital building is not a crime. The overwhelming majority of people who entered the capital building that day did so at the invitation of capital police. Those who broke in or climbed throught windows may be guilty of some form of tresspass the rest are not.

          purportedly speaking derogatorily about capital police is not a crime.

          Disposing of a flag pole that was the property of another protestor is not a crime – unless the person doing so knows it was evidence of a crime. If you have evidence that the flag pole was used in a criminal act – then that charge has merit, but without that, there is nothing here.

          There is no actual allegation of tresspassing.
          There is no actual allegation of violence
          There is no actual allegation of destroying actual evidence.

          The affadavit is hearsay from end to end – and I though according the the left that hearsay is not admissible.

          Most of the afadavit is free speach free assembly and petitioning government reframed as crimes.

        4. Do you or anyone else have actual evidence that Timothy Hale-Cusanelli is a nazi sympathiser.

          All I have found is that he posted on a youtube channel that supposedly belongs to a white supremecist.

          That in an of itself is a ludicrously stupid claim. Youtube purged nazi’s and white supremecists years ago.

            1. “Timothy Louis Hale-Cusanelli, 30″
              That might be a fact.

              “described as an “avowed white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer” in court papers”
              What papers ? Regardless, courts do nto do that. Testimony, affadavits do.
              Do you have those.

              “allegedly told other pro-Trump rioters to “advance””
              Not a crime.
              Did he tell them to break windows ? Hit people ? steal things ?

              “during the deadly Jan. 6 siege.”
              Now it is a seige ?

              Pretty much all of the word games are complete idiocy.
              But keep it up.
              What words are you going to use when there is a real insurrection ? Seige ?

              Calm down, breath, get over it, a plurality of people think the election was rife with fraud.

  5. The proposed second impeachment is a red herring.Trump’s inauguration was the first blatant indication of the MO that the Democrats would use going forward post-Jan 21, 2017. If we were to be honest, it has always been their MO (e.g. Nixon, Reagan, Bork, Thomas, Kavanaugh, Barrett) and will continue to be their MO till we are all silenced.

    1. Estovir, we should start by silencing ‘you’. These threads would be far more readable without your worthless puppets.

      1. Anonymouses answer, Estovir we should begin by silencing you. Please give us the details. Should he be expelled from a forum that you don’t own. If he persists should he be detained, questioned, and warned. What should be done if he persists. What would be his next level of punishment. Maybe a five year stint in the gulag with his compatriot Solzhenitsyn will bring him around to compliance. Your on to something Anon. The question of who you are no longer remains.
        .

    2. That one anti-trumper shouting the Deplorables were all Nazis spits with as he shrieks, and he’s wearing a brown shirt. Just saying. You spot it, you got it.

  6. The Democrats are now working on removing the entire filibuster so that Republicans are stripped of all power in the Senate

    We warned them this was coming, but GOP leaders didn’t listen

    Only check on what is coming now is the Supreme Court

    @jackposobiec

    1. OMG 🙁

      If they do that, we’ll have to start thinking out loud about a lot of things I’d rather not think about at all.

      1. Scoop: Justice Democrats, Sunrise Movement & New Deal Strategies are circulating a new memo urging Biden to push to ditch the filibuster. They caution against reconciliation because it “relegates critical issues” like civil rights to “second-class status.” https://politico.com/playbook

        1. For every sanctuary city, there’s twenty sovereign counties that are waiting to happen. Joe needs to think really hard before letting the radicals railroad him.

  7. Some riots are more equal than others with the highest rank being when MOC (members of Congress) get poo poo pants. Live in Minneapolis and you’re expendable. Live along the Potomac and you’re truly special.

    1. One thing that persuades me that public life would be improved if Kevin McCarthy and the editors of National Review disappeared from it is their excuse mongering on behalf of Liz Cheney. (Cheney, you’ll recall, is ‘representing’ Wyoming in Congress, having spent 3/4 of her life as a palpable resident of greater Washington, having received her secondary diploma from a high school in Fairfax County, Va., having received her tertiary schooling in Colorado Springs and Chicago, and having spent fewer than 10% of her hours on this Earth on Wyoming soil. Her husband and children have never lived in Wyoming and her parents haven’t been f/t residents since 1965. No clue why Wyoming voters accepted her).

        1. Romney had some history in Utah. He’d gone to school there and lived there for several years while running the Olympics. AFAIK, Romney had NO history in Washington prior to running for Congress in 2018. But, yes, a carpetbagger as well. Cheney’s father had a formal residence in Wyoming from 1977 to 1993. I doubt his children spent much time there.

  8. Exactly my advice when OJ made that ill-advised defense of the Goldman civil trial. Like Trump, he should have said you only get one shot at me after a decision on pretrial motions.

  9. Is Kamala going to participate as a senator?
    Is this why she hasn’t resigned yet despite being sworn as vp on Wednesday?
    Does she believe she gets to keep both jobs?

    1. “Does she believe she gets to keep both jobs?”

      Of course not.

      Think before running your mouth Anon @ 10:33 AM

  10. 1. A Senate trial would be blatantly invalid. Would Roberts show for it? (Guessing he would; his bias during the last impeachment trial was manifest).

    2. It’s doubtful that the Senate majority or presiding officer would allow Trump’s counsel to present evidence of electoral fraud.

    3. Congress is awful, but it’s doubtful that Capitol Hill groupthink can persuade 1/3 of the Senate Republican caucus to invite a vigorous primary challenge the next time they’re up. The resolution will get a yes vote from a predictable crew: Murkowski, Romney, perhaps Sasse, perhaps Collins.

    4. So, there isn’t much reason for Trump to pay any attention at all. The whole mess is beneath contempt. Rather like the Democratic Party generally.

  11. Simples…..listen. to the interview right to the very end of it…and listen to the way, tone, and manner the Interviewer ends it…..that folks is how it would play out for the Democrats.

    They lost Impeachment 1.0 because of how half assed it was done….something Professor Turley told them….and then went on to tell them how they could successfully win in their 1.0 attempt.

    Perhaps, as Impeachment 2.0 was a. much worse effort by far….they should listen to the Good Professor and learn from their past failure.

    Listen to Professor Dershowitz lay out his explanation of what the Democrats have tripped themselves up over in 2.0.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3cszbyj

  12. Trump should show his contempt for this sham impeachment by not showing up or sending Biden in his place. Just tell ole Joe that there will be ice cream there.

  13. Turley misses the point…

    Trump would do better w a trial in the Senate.
    The House rushed to judgement and pushed a weak case against Trump.

    Now Trump can fight it by showing his statements didn’t incite the attack on the Capitol along w the radical left individuals who were the spearhead of the action.
    (Oh and there were far right agitators… but not Trump led or incited by Trump’s speeches.

    Add to this the illogical idea that challenging the election and citing fraud is sedition. This allows Trump and others to show the evidence which has been ignored by the lower courts. Looking at PA for example. Lower court found Act 77 unconstitutional, SCofPA incorrectly applied Doctrine of laches which should have been heard by SCOTUS which was postponed till after the election. That’s just one thing. It will come out.

    And of course… it assumes that Trump will actually face a trial in the Senate. Pelosi hasn’t delivered the papers, and may not and cite the fact that he’s no longer POTUS and will still claim a victory.

    1. If the Democrats have any commonsense left….they should do exactly as you propose….do nothing and claim victory for doing just that…nothing….and let Historians write lots of books about all this and make shed loads of money for doing that.

      They, like the Democrats do not have to be fair, even handed, logical, or render any kind of due process…..and do not have political points to surrender by their actions.

      The Dems can claim (falsely and without credibility) to have done the right thing by dropping what was in fact a very suspect and irresponsible action….but they are pretty good at doing that especially as their propaganda arm, the Media, shall never question them for anything they do no matter how bad it stinks.

      Folks…this is all politics….and any argument or debate about the Constitution and the Law (as crucial as it should be) misses the whole point of this exercise extant by the Democrats….as it is intended to do as much harm as possible to Trump.

      The real threat to Trump is not this stupid assed Impeachment….it is the criminal and civil actions that are bound to be tried by the Left along with weaponizing the Biden IRS (remember the Obama IRS) against Trump and his family.

      That is the War that is coming for the Trump family.

  14. IGNORE the Senate Trial, Trump should go out and play golf, which will drive the nuts in the House and Senate and Media crazy. Impeachment of a private citizen has no grounds and Trump will Win. But, it appears as much as the DEMS/Biden/Media say they want Trump to go away he will front and center and living in their heads along with 75 million supporters for the next 2 to 4 years.

  15. Not surprising that Turley would suggest a strategy in full keeping with the contempt his leader has shown to our country and institutions – not to mention the truth – since he took office. It has been clear for most of the last year that Turley is guided by aiding his team, not any principle, so a not surprising column.

    1. Have you noticed something lately. There have been no posts from Joefriday about the billionaires he hates so much. When the billionaires at Google, Twitter, Amazon and Facebook censor those he disagrees with he doesn’t have a word to say about their attempts to control us all. His dire warnings about billionaires have disappeared. How curious.

      1. Have you noticed something lately. Sal Sar, who used to post as Mr. Kurtz, is the one posting about the billionaires he hates so much. Odd for you to confuse Kurtz and Joe Friday.

  16. I hope he listens to you. My fear is he won’t because he is a rough and tumble fighter. But the fact remains this sham impeachment it just another way for the left to try to purge him from any kind of freedom and the threat of his challenging them in 4 years. I’m sick about those in the Senate whose true colors have been revealed. They have shown they fear him and believe he will continue to try to clean up the swamp they are a part of. McConnell will not escape the revelation of his corruption, however. Last night Fox News special on those on Capitol Hill owned by the CCP, and he was one of them.

    1. Yeah Phyllis, I can tell you that as a Democrat there is nothing I fear more than our candidate facing a guy who has never won the popular vote or even scored above 50% approval. No wonder you want to run him again.

          1. Both are.

            Have you not noticed all the times Trump fired people for voicing opinions he disliked?

                  1. “…no comparison to what is happening to conservatives and especially Trump supporters.”

                    Evidence? Proof?

                1. With all due respect….there is no comparison between a Chief Executive firing a bunch of people who don’t get on board with the set agenda vs this dehumanizing gulag talk coming from Democrats and their Media mouthpieces:

                  “They’ve bought into the Big Lie”

                  “They need to be deprogrammed”

                  “They are cult members”

                  “They are Nazis”

                  “They are racists and white supremacists”

                  “They are deplorable, irredeemable, gun-totin’ smelly Walmart, Olive Garden, Holiday Inn, bitter clingers”

                  “They should not be listened to, heard, or given any platform to speak”

                  “They should be blacklisted, unemployable, stripped of awards or degrees or recognitions earned decades ago”

            1. Firing political appointies is in what world the same as censoring half the country ?

              Biden is free to hire and fire political apointees as he pleases.

              Biden like Trump is free to have the staff he wishes.

              What neither he not trump are free to do is infringe on the liberties of citizens.

              Trump did not fire enough people.

              Regardless, being employed by government is not a right.
              Free speech is.

  17. Send in an attorney from the Farter Defense Firm from Brooklyn, NY. The attorneys were each chosen because they have a digestive system which allows them to loudly fart each five minutes. And their farts stink.
    When they are out in the courthouse hallways their clients sing the law firms song.

    “Good ol Yorkie Farts…
    Yorkie Farts USA!”

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