Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage. Rebuttal5

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:52 am

The Reason Sekulow gives creedance to Trump not accepting the Congressional requests for summons was that they were not duly authorized by a vote by the House of Representatives.


Ha Ha Ha


What a show!


{All amendments tabled and the Republican resolution passed predictably along party lines.

The CHIEF Justice was not even allowed to adjudicate on the materiality of possible witnesses.

Is this a disgrace which will come down to history judging the truthfulness of.the Senate? Will this enhance a deteriaring of Congress as a check on executive power? Will it embolden the president to comment on the impeachment as Nothing more than more witch hunt and benefit him in the 2020 election, inviting more foreign interference? Will Trump dip into the cookie jar?
Is a fair trial is done with with the adoption of Mc'Conmel's resolution?

Only history will tell. and the question remains how history will judge , or can be revised now, of it becomes unfavorable.
Will a perpetual shadow cover U.S. policy from this point on. regardless of the outcome.

And finally. how will the president govern henceforth. and will public opinion diminish any executive action, and will Trump truly adopt dictatorial , even monarchical features in national and international affairs.
These questions are yet remain unanswered.}
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:39 am

The New York Times

The Trump Impeachment


Republicans Block Subpoenas for New Evidence as Impeachment Trial Begins

Republicans made last-minute changes to their proposed rules to placate moderates, but they held together to turn back Democratic efforts to subpoena documents.



By Nicholas Fandos

Published Jan. 21, 2020Updated Jan. 22, 2020, 1:56 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — A divided Senate began the impeachment trial of President Trump on Tuesday in utter acrimony, as Republicans blocked Democrats’ efforts to subpoena witnesses and documents related to Ukraine and moderate Republicans forced last-minute changes to rules that had been tailored to the president’s wishes.

In a series of party-line votes punctuating 12 hours of debate, Senate Republicans turned back every attempt by Democrats to subpoena documents from the White House, State Department and other agencies, as well as testimony from White House officials that could shed light on the core charges against Mr. Trump.

The debate between the House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team stretched into the early hours of Wednesday morning in a Senate chamber transformed for the occasion, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. presiding from the marble rostrum and senators sworn to silence looking on from desks piled with briefing books. It was the substantive start of the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

Tensions grew so raw after midnight that Chief Justice Roberts cut in just before 1 a.m. to admonish the managers and the president’s lawyers to “remember where they are” and return to “civil discourse.”


“They are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body,” he said.

On its face, the prolonged debate was about the rules and procedures. But it set the stage for a broader political fight over Mr. Trump’s likely acquittal and will help shape the 2020 campaign.

Democrats were laying the groundwork to argue that the trial was rigged on Mr. Trump’s behalf and to denounce Republicans — including the most vulnerable senators seeking re-election — for acquiescing. Republicans, for their part, insisted that the Senate must move decisively to remedy what they characterized as an illegitimate impeachment inquiry unjustly tarring the presidency.

Standing in the well of the Senate, the Democratic House impeachment managers urged senators to reject proposed rules from the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that would delay a debate over witnesses and documents until the middle of the trial, with no guarantee that they would ever be called.

“If the Senate votes to deprive itself of witnesses and documents, the opening statements will be the end of the trial,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead manager. He said Mr. McConnell’s proposal was tantamount to saying, “Let’s have the trial, and maybe we can just sweep this all under the rug.”



But Republicans were unpersuaded and, just before 2 a.m. Eastern, voted along party lines, 53 to 47, to ratify Mr. McConnell’s trial plan. As adopted, the resolution would pave the way for oral arguments against Mr. Trump to begin as soon as Wednesday.

They rejected 10 other amendments by the same margin. An 11th Democratic proposal, to lengthen the timetable for the prosectors and defense to file trial motions, gained the support of one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, but still failed.

At the heart of the trial are charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress approved last month by the Democratic-led House. They assert that Mr. Trump used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals, withholding as leverage nearly $400 million in military aid and a White House meeting. The president then sought to conceal his actions from Congress, the charges say, by blocking witness testimony and documents.

Mr. Trump’s legal team argues that the charges are baseless and amount to criminalizing a president’s prerogative to make foreign policy as he sees fit. In a break with most constitutional scholars, they also claim that the impeachment was unconstitutional because the articles of impeachment do not outline a specific violation of a law.

But on Tuesday, the debate focused principally on what would constitute a fair trial.

“This initial step will offer an early signal to our country,” Mr. McConnell said before it got underway. “Can the Senate still serve our founding purpose?”

Mr. McConnell also received a sharp reminder about the limits of his power to control an inherently unpredictable proceeding.

Under pressure from Republican moderates, he was forced early in the day to make some last-minute changes to the set of rules he unveiled on Monday, which would have squeezed opening arguments by both sides into two 12-hour marathon days. Mr. McConnell’s rules also would have refused to admit the findings of the House impeachment inquiry into evidence without a separate vote later in the trial.

The compressed timetable was in line with a White House request to quickly dispense with opening arguments so that Mr. Trump’s team could complete his defense before the weekend.



But Ms. Collins, Rob Portman of Ohio and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, among others, objected privately to those provisions, which they believed departed too much from procedures adopted unanimously for the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton and could further expose Republicans to accusations of unfairness.

The objections were raised at a closed-door luncheon just before the trial was to begin, according to aides familiar with the conversation. Mr. McConnell rushed to submit a revised copy of the resolution — with lines crossed out and changes scrawled in pen in the margins — when it was time for the debate.



Members of Mr. Trump’s defense team, including Jane Raskin, arriving on Tuesday at the Capitol.Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

When the resolution was read aloud on the Senate floor, two days had been extended to three and the House’s records would be automatically admitted into evidence, though Mr. McConnell inserted a new provision that would allow Mr. Trump’s team to move to throw out parts of the House case.



The last-minute reversal underscored the influence of a small group of moderate Republicans in the narrowly divided Senate whose interests and demands could prove decisive in a more formal debate over witnesses and documents to come.

Half a world away, Mr. Trump sought to use the global stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to project confidence about his standing at home. He swatted away questions from reporters about the trial, instead bragging about the strength of the American economy under his leadership.

But in the Senate chamber, Mr. Trump’s lawyers replayed many of his most frequent and personal grievances, accusing Democrats in only slightly more lawyerly terms of conducting a political search-and-destroy mission.

“It’s long past time that we start this so we can put an end to this ridiculous charade and go have an election,” said Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel.


The historically rare debate was rendered even more unusual by the traditional Senate rules that prohibit senators from speaking on the chamber floor for the duration of the proceedings and instead empower the House managers and White House defense lawyers to debate the proposals. The effect was that on the trial’s first day, the Senate chamber split cleanly into partisan factions, with the managers siding with Senate Democrats and Mr. Trump’s lawyers taking the place of the Republicans.

Mr. Cipollone rose first, delivering a brief statement urging senators to support Mr. McConnell’s proposed rules and accusing Democrats of seeking to use the Senate to complete their sloppy investigative work.

“We believe that once you hear those initial presentations, the only conclusion will be that the president has done nothing wrong,” Mr. Cipollone said, “and that these articles of impeachment do not begin to approach the standard required by the Constitution.”

Democrats, who came armed with slick digital slides and video clips to drive home their arguments, spent hours detailing the factual record compiled by the House investigation and cataloging the witnesses and thousands of pages of highly relevant documents Mr. Trump had succeeded in withholding. Senators facing such a grave decision as removing a president, they argued, have a responsibility to try to push all the facts to light.



“With the backing of a subpoena authorized by the chief justice of the United States, you can end President Trump’s obstruction,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, the first woman in history to speak on the Senate floor as an impeachment manager. “If the Senate fails to take this step, you won’t even ask for the evidence. This trial and your verdict will be questioned.”

Just an hour or so before the trial began, the seven House managers submitted one final written rebuttal to arguments put forward against their charges by Mr. Trump’s lawyers. In 34 pages, they rejected the lawyers’ assertion that abuse of power was not an impeachable offense and that Mr. Trump had acted legally when he ordered administration officials not to appear for questioning in the House or provide documents for the impeachment inquiry.

Locked in silence for much of the day, senators were able to talk only before the proceeding began or during brief breaks. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday morning, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, denounced Mr. McConnell’s rules as deeply unfair and skewed toward Mr. Trump.

The House impeachment managers held a news conference before the trial on Tuesday.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“It is completely partisan. It was kept secret until the eve of the trial,” he said. “The McConnell rules seem to have been designed by President Trump and for President Trump, simply executed by Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans.”



Inside the chamber, Mr. Schumer forced votes on demanding documents and compelling testimony from four current and former Trump administration officials who were blocked from speaking with the House: John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser; Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff; Robert B. Blair, an adviser to Mr. Mulvaney; and Michael Duffey, a White House budget official.

Each time, Mr. McConnell moved to kill the proposal before it could be considered, and was sustained by unified Republican support. At one point, he offered to short-circuit the debate to speed up the votes, but Democrats who want a full account of Mr. Trump’s blockade on record declined.

“This is the fair road map for our trial,” Mr. McConnell declared. “We need it in place before we can move forward.”



Even after Tuesday’s changes, Mr. McConnell’s proposal makes way for potentially the fastest presidential impeachment trial in American history, particularly if the Senate declines to call witnesses.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, offered several amendments to the impeachment rules.Credit...Calla Kessler/The New York Times

Only two other American presidents have stood trial in the Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, and his trial took the better part of three months, featuring testimony from dozens of witnesses and extended periods for discovery, before he was ultimately acquitted by just a single vote. Mr. Clinton’s trial lasted five weeks, included testimony from just three witnesses and resulted in an overwhelming acquittal.

Without witnesses, Mr. Trump’s trial could conclude by the end of January. If senators ultimately do call witnesses, that timeline could stretch weeks longer.


Nicholas Fandos is a national reporter based in the Washington bureau. He has covered Congress since 2017 and is part of a team of reporters who have chronicled investigations by the Justice Department and Congress into President Trump and his administration. @npfandos


Jan. 21, 2020



© 2020 The New York Times Company
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Re: Trump enters the stage - either/or

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:36 pm

The swamp being charged against either s use is but a project taken up by our current politicians, to force their hand to avoid the inescapable choice between the swamp swallowing any way out of the contradictions that capital and social incongruity determines in depersonalizing and further denationalizing human 'natural rights', or, find themselves being looked back at their grotesque representational mirror image.

The future of politics looks bleak. The blow up of executive power is unavoidable, if paralyzing fear is not to overtake a worldly capitalism.

That is the winning hand of Russian dialectical blackmail in this simulated, artificial world.
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Re: Trump enters the stage-slapstick

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:40 am

A Satirical Take on the Daily Shenanigans of our Current 'Narcissist in Chief'

Who is Really on Trial?

The slow drip of damning facts continue to reaffirm The Don and his crime gang’s shakedown of Ukraine.

As a result of Lev Parnas damning and riveting interview with Rachel Maddow this week-which implicated practically everyone in the administration except the president’s cook*-I have been thinking of producing “I Love Lev” t-shirts and buttons.



Anyone want to go in on a business venture with me? For starters, we can set up a cart outside of the Trump Hotel, as I heard there are people paying good coin for the booze; some like Robert Hyde get so intoxicated that they decide to curry favor with The Don by setting up surveillance of Marie Yovanovitch, America’s former ambassador to Ukraine. (Remember, she’s the one that The Don said would be “going through some things.” Never did she imagine she would be monitored by her own government!)

Text’s show that Hyde was sending messages about Marie’s whereabouts in an attempt to catch her doing something egregious and justify her firing.

Here are a few of Hyde’s texts to Lev:

“She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off.”

“She’s next to the embassy.”

“Not in the embassy.”

Rumor has it that Hyde surveilled Maria entering the women’s bathroom and instructed the thug following her to change the sign to “Men”, but he was caught in the act by another woman who called the local authorities on him.

Madcap stuff.

I hope C-Span covers that trial as it will be must see TV and will actually have witnesses. And given the Republican game plan of denial and blind allegiance to The Don, there might be a better chance of convicting him through the trial of the Ukrainian thug.

The Don keeps insisting it was a “perfect phone call” and his Republican colluders say: maybe it wasn’t perfection but perfection is so overrated.

He keeps insisting that he barely knew Parness, even though every day new photos of the two of them emerge with big smiles on their faces. Pictures of Lev with Don Jr, Ivanka and Jared have also just surfaced. Seems there are enough photos to make a family photo album.  We can title it: “Lev and the First Family’s Illicit Adventures,” though we are still waiting for the one where Lev has his arm around Melania before it can go to press. Supposedly, there is a special pullout section with Lev and Rudy G. That part is entitled: “Two Thugs With Some Ugly Mugs”!

Even the finding by the independent Government Accountability Office, that The Don’s withholding of money appropriated by Congress for Ukraine was illegal, had no teeth with the Republican Party, which from this point on will be referred to as the “Immoralist Party.”

The agency found that the White House violated the law because it did not notify Congress about withholding the spending. Instead, the administration was arguing that it had the right to determine the “best use of such funds,” ignoring Congress’s power to set spending requirements.

According to the G.A.O.  “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the accountability office wrote in an opinion released Thursday. “The withholding was not a programmatic delay.”

The White House response was: “we thought we dissolved this agency; and anyway, why are these people so obsessed with the law as it is so overrated!”

The Republican Senators’ response was: “Did you have to wake us up from my nap to tell me that?”

Republican strategy to the new revelations was summed up beautifully by Martha McSally, Senator of Arizona.

When McSally was asked a by a CNN reporter whether she would consider the new evidence being released, she snorted that the reporter was “a liberal hack.”



An hour or two later, her campaign created a fund raiser with her snort. If you recall McSally lost her race to Krysten Sinema, but was appointed to serve out John McCain’s term. Seems McSally has decided that being as much of a belligerent asshole as The Don will lead her to victory in November. Arizona we turn our desperate eyes to you.

I was not a fan of John McCain, but boy what I would give to see his response to the current circumstances. Between his hatred of The Don (remember the joy he had giving his famous thumbs down Obamacare vote?) and his commitment to protecting our democracy, I believe he would not be cow-towing to The Don. What would have been really interesting was to see what the despicable Lindsey Graham would have done with the conscience of McCain hovering over him. Might have made great political theater.



Let’s face it. The facts are very clear: The Don committed an egregious impeachable offense. He abused his power and has been covering up Congress’s attempt to get to the truth by refusing to turn over documents and not allowing witnesses to testify. He is guilty as charged. Now even the Republican defense that he didn’t commit a crime is neutered by the G.A.O., which unequivocally stated that The Don’s actions violated the law. That sounds like a criminal act, right?

I am sick and tired of pundits lamenting about how The Don has taken over the Republican Party, oops I mean the Immoralist Party. Please spare me the victimhood nonsense.  The Senators are grown-ups. Charged with protecting our democracy, they are enacting the story of Pinocchio in reverse; they have gone from humans to puppets with an evil Geppetto playing them. In this version Geppetto’s nose is always elongated because he never stops lying.

The Don is the person on trial but it is actually the Immoralist Party that really is on trial.

Their unwillingness to honor the oath they took on the Senate floor as Chief Justice Roberts swore them in as jurors is not only dishonorable, but a big middle finger to the people of this country and to democracy itself. Their compliance and collusion with the evil puppet master neuters what is supposed to be a co- equal branch of government; it reduces congress to what Groucho Marx has called “a mockery of a travesty of a sham.”

In essence, once they choose the position of cult member, they bestow upon The Don even more power than he already has; the criminal and huckster escapes again. His vindication allows him to abuse his power even more than he already has.

It makes me think of the moment at a wedding when the person presiding says: “If anyone can show just cause why this couple cannot lawfully be joined together in matrimony, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.” In the Senate, someone needs to get up and say: “Anyone with a commitment to democracy and a sense of morality speak now; if you don’t, we are in for anything but peace”.


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


House concludes in Senate trial:




The New York Times

The Trump Impeachment


Updated 42 minutes ago

Trump Impeachment:

House managers wrapped up their oral arguments on Friday, focusing on the obstruction of Congress charge against the president. Here were the highlights.





In his closing, Schiff said acquitting Trump would be ‘an unending injury to this country.’

House prosecutors focused largely on the obstruction of Congress charge.

A recording appears to capture Trump talking about Yovanovitch.

The fight over admitting new evidence, like documents and witnesses, goes on.

Trump’s defense team expects to make a short appearance on Saturday.

Some senators are pulled in by name to the case they are deciding.



Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, speaking to reporters during a break in the trial on Friday.Credit...Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

In his closing, Schiff said acquitting Trump would be ‘an unending injury to this country.’

House impeachment managers closed their three-day presentation to the Senate by arguing that allowing President Trump to remain in office would continue to threaten the country’s security.

In his closing remarks, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, cast Mr. Trump as a continuing threat to the Constitution and implored senators not to set a precedent that would cede Congress’s investigative authority to the executive branch for generations to come.

“If we are to decide here that a president of the United States can simply say, ‘Under Article 2, I can do whatever I want, and I don’t have to treat a coequal branch of government like it exists, I don’t have to give it any more than the back of my hand,’” Mr. Schiff said, “that will be an unending injury to this country.”

Another impeachment manager, Representative Jason Crow of Colorado, told senators that the goal was to “protect against future presidential misconduct that would endanger democracy and the rule of law” and described Mr. Trump’s obstruction of Congress as “a constitutional crime in progress.”



House prosecutors focused largely on the obstruction of Congress charge.

Democrats used most of their final seven hours and 53 minutes of oral arguments to make their case that Mr. Trump obstructed Congress, the second article of impeachment against him.

Discussion of Mr. Trump’s alleged cover-up had focused primarily on his defiance of subpoenas for testimony and documents in the impeachment inquiry. But two of the managers, Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York and Mr. Crow, suggested to senators that those moves were part of a longer cover-up, much of which took place behind the scenes before the House had even learned of the pressure campaign.

“They were determined to prevent Congress and the American people from learning anything about the president’s corrupt behavior,” Mr. Jeffries said of lawyers at the White House and Justice Department who bottled up reports in July, when White House foreign policy advisers became alarmed by the legality of a White House meeting with Ukrainian officials and Mr. Trump’s July 25 phone call with the country’s leader.

Mr. Crow said the president’s cover-up intensified after three House Democratic committee chairmen announced in early September that they were investigating the suspension of $391 million in military aid earmarked for Ukraine. Now, White House budget officials rushed to put together a justification for a weeks-old freeze.



“This is where the music stops, and everyone starts running to find a chair,” Mr. Crow said.
— Nicholas Fandos

A recording appears to capture Trump talking about Yovanovitch.

A lawyer representing Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, said on Friday that he turned over to congressional Democrats a recording that appeared to be of Mr. Trump speaking about Marie L. Yovanovitch, the United States ambassador to Ukraine at the time.

According to ABC News, which first reported the existence of the recording on Friday, Mr. Trump could be heard on the tape, saying, “Get rid of her.” The president went on to say: “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”

Joseph A. Bondy, Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, described the recording as having “high materiality to the impeachment inquiry.” The emergence of the recording coincides with a push by Democrats in the Senate to call more witnesses and seek additional evidence for the trial.



Ms. Yovanovitch was removed from her post last spring on Mr. Trump’s orders after being the subject of a smear campaign by his allies, who saw her as an impediment to their agenda, which included efforts to force Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens.

The fight over admitting new evidence, like documents and witnesses, goes on.

Once Mr. Trump’s lawyers conclude their arguments, sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, senators are expected to have a short debate on whether to admit new evidence and witnesses to the trial. Republicans defeated an effort to consider the matter before the start of oral arguments, drawing outrage from Democrats, who have maintained that there could not be a fair trial without them.

The evidence-and-witnesses argument is the crux of the charge that Mr. Trump obstructed Congress. New evidence has emerged since the House completed its impeachment inquiry last year, and one of the president’s former national security advisers, John R. Bolton, said he would testify at the Senate trial if he received a subpoena. (Mr. Bolton did not testify before the House.)

This is an area where Democrats have been hoping to sway some of the Republicans who have signaled they might be open to hearing from witnesses, including Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Democrats also are holding out hope for Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is retiring at the end of this term.



The No. 1 witness Democrats want to hear from is Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who played a central role in the Ukraine pressure campaign.

Mr. Mulvaney is “the chief cook and bottle-washer in this whole evil scheme,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, told reporters on Friday morning.

Trump’s defense team expects to make a short appearance on Saturday.

Mr. Trump’s team is set to begin presenting his defense at 10 a.m. Saturday. They will have the Senate floor for up to 24 hours if they choose to use all their time, but they plan to start with a short presentation on a day that the president has already derided as “Death Valley” in television ratings.

According to people briefed on the plan, Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, and Jay Sekulow, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, will appear and speak for about an hour each, although officials said the planning was still fluid.



One argument his defense is expected to make — that Mr. Trump and his supporters have repeatedly made — is that there was no pressure campaign on Ukraine, because the Trump administration released the military assistance without getting anything in return from President Volodymyr Zelensky.

One of the House impeachment managers tried to pre-emptively dismiss that argument Friday afternoon.

“Regardless of whether the aid was ultimately released, the fact that the hold became public sent a very important signal to Russia that our support was wavering,” Mr. Crow told the senators. “The damage was done.”

Some senators are pulled in by name to the case they are deciding.

As the Democratic House managers outlined how Mr. Trump and officials in his circle orchestrated and tried to hide his pressure campaign on Ukraine, they ended up name-checking some of the senators now serving as jurors.



The arguments underscore the actions several lawmakers took when they learned Mr. Trump was withholding the nation’s military aid for Ukraine and the involvement of some senators in the very affair that they are now considering as jurors.

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, both leaders of the bipartisan Senate Ukraine Caucus, urged Mr. Trump to release the aid. Mr. Johnson traveled to Kyiv to tell Mr. Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, that he had tried but failed to persuade Mr. Trump to release the aid; Mr. Portman called Mr. Trump and privately lobbied him for hours before he eventually released it.
— Catie Edmondson

Trump is not in the chamber, but he is on Twitter.

Mr. Trump on Friday got an early start on Twitter, firing out 42 retweets and quotes from his supporters and two posts of his own by 8 a.m.


“The Impeachment Hoax is interfering with the 2020 Election,” Mr. Trump wrote in one of the posts, redirecting the Democrats’ arguments on Thursday that he had abused the power of his office by pressuring Mr. Zelensky to undertake politically motivated investigations that could affect the election.

Just before the Senate trial resumed, Mr. Trump addressed the annual March for Life, becoming the first sitting president to appear in person at the gathering of anti-abortion demonstrators. He made the surprise announcement on Twitter on Wednesday, just before the start of the Senate trial — a reminder to his conservative Christian supporters that he still shared their values.



© 2020 The New York Times Company
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Mark Twain on Trump

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:35 pm

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Mark Twain, the original presidential impeachment commentator.



Mark Twain’s 1868 presidential impeachment takes read like today’s news

By Ephrat Livni in Washington DCJanuary 25, 2020

“I believe the Prince of Darkness could start a branch of hell in the District of Columbia (if he has not already done it), and carry it on unimpeached by the Congress of the United States, even though the Constitution were bristling with articles forbidding hells in this country,” Mark Twain wrote in 1868 about the first-ever presidential impeachment of Andrew Johnson, commander-in-chief #17.

The sentence could arguably have been penned today, and reading Twain is a helpful reminder that there really is nothing new under the sun or in American politics.

Just like on a historic winter weekend past, American lawmakers will spend this Saturday considering impeachment. President Donald Trump’s lawyers will make opening statements in the Senate trial, arguing that commander-in-chief #45 committed no impeachable offenses and accusing Democrats of turning policy disputes into constitutional violations, claims that mirror Twain’s complaints about “Radical Republicans” of yore.

A literary impeachment history

Twain came to work in Washington, DC in November 1867, just before Johnson’s impeachment trial. He complained about local atmospheric conditions, writing:

There is too much weather … It is tricky, it is changeable, it is to the last degree unreliable. It has catered for a political atmosphere so long that it has come at last to be thoroughly imbued with the political nature … if the President is quiet, the sun comes out; if he touches the tender gold market, it turns up cold and freezes out the speculators; if he hints at foreign troubles, it hails; if he threatens Congress, it thunders; if treason and impeachment are broached, lo, there is an earthquake!

The correspondent quickly landed a congressional side hustle for extra cash, a common practice back then. Twain visited Nevada senator William Stewart wearing a battered hat, with “an evil-smelling cigar protrud[ing] from the corner of his mouth,” the politician recalled. Despite this “sinister appearance,” Stewart hired Twain as his secretary, and the aspiring novelist returned the favor by forging the senator’s signature, responding to constituent complaints with literary-style admonitions, and rejecting a Treasury Department report because “there were no descriptive passages in it, no poetry, no sentiment—no heroes, no plot, no pictures—not even wood-cuts.”

By contrast, Twain’s political pieces had all that (minus the wood-cuts). He penned a satire featuring himself as the hero in a rollicking fake news account mocking calls for president Johnson’s impeachment. In it, Twain, as “Doorkeeper of the Senate,” charges chamber entrance fees, votes on both sides of motions, and interrupts scheduled discussions to talk female suffrage by “always commencing with the same tiresome formula of ‘Woman! Oh, woman.'”

The “grand tableaux” concludes with two Judiciary Committee impeachment reports about these alleged constitutional infractions. However, the allegations levied against Johnson weren’t as laughable as the humorist’s fictional account.

Johnson had been Republican president Abraham Lincoln’s vice president, a Democrat from Tennessee who served as VP for only 42 days before Lincoln’s 1865 assassination. The southerner’s conciliatory approach to states threatening secession after the civil war angered “Radical Republicans.” They blamed Johnson’s leniency for the Black Codes, which denied freed slaves their civil rights, that Confederate states imposed once back in the union’s fold.

Battle wounds were fresh and Johnson’s presidency was stormy. After attempting to dismiss war secretary Edward Stanton without congressional approval in violation of the Office of Tenure Act that the president had vetoed, Radical Republicans in 1867 moved for impeachment.

As Trump supporters now complain, it was not the first time the president’s opposition called for his removal. Like some today, Twain believed the prosecution stemmed from a kind of “deep state” conspiracy in a government “filled with radicals who have openly clamored for the impeachment of the President.” Indeed, the 19th-century writer at times sounded starkly like team Trump.

Take the recording ABC News reported on yesterday, related to the president’s allegedly corrupt Ukraine dealings. It seems to reveal two former business associates of Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani last year complaining that longtime State Department employee, US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, was badmouthing Trump and predicting impeachment, to which the president apparently responded, “Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”

Yovanovitch was eventually recalled. Trump has denied association with his lawyer’s people. But he admits he was never a “fan” of the ambassador, defending his decision to remove her as presidential prerogative and not part of any corrupt scheme.

Or as Twain once put it, “A Cabinet may dispense patronage. The one we have at Washington does this on a small scale, but more to the President’s injury than benefit. Nearly all the government employés are in sympathy with Congress, supply[ing] aid and comfort to the radicals.”

History and repetition

The “radicals” past made headway. As Twain wrote, “And out of the midst of the political gloom, impeachment, that dead corpse, rose up and walked forth again!”

Twain’s zombie is back now, and if Johnson’s historic trial is any indication, Trump will be acquitted. The 17th president narrowly avoided conviction after a long, bifurcated Senate trial that concluded in late spring.

Twain predicted this outcome by early April, having watched impeachment excitement fade, only to be subsumed by cynical political calculations. He accused impeaching Republicans of a disconcerting “disposition to drop the high moral ground,” fearful of retaliation upon recapture of the presidency.

But he spared no one his scorn. “The Democrats do not howl about impeachment much now, a fact that awakens suspicion. Maybe they are satisfied that to martyr the President would make a vast amount of Democratic capital for the next election,” Twain wrote.

His analysis still works. A presidential election is looming and both parties will be considering the consequences of this impeachment in that light. Concerns about coming payback may convince Democrats to strategically chill. Republicans have compared Trump’s martyrdom to Jesus’s plight, hoping a failed attempt will help him win four more years in November.

Time will tell just how much history repeats. But it’s notable that the Democrat Johnson lost his post-trial election to a “Radical Republican.”

In the end, however, Twain condemned both parties for placing politics above principles, putting all jokes aside and writing, “This everlasting compelling of honesty, morality, justice and the law to bend the knee to policy, is the rottenest thing in a republican form of government. It is cowardly, degraded and mischievous; and in its own good time it will bring destruction upon this broad-shouldered fabric of ours.”
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:48 am

{Now the Senate's turn.

It is becoming increasingly evident that both, the Republicans and the Democrats can not be both right, in their evaluations.

Either one is right, then the other has to be wrong.

The more times goes on, the more the questions of falsifying the truth becomes appearent, with the Dems calling the Republicans lists at one point, and viva versa.
That is what the august bodies of U S government have been reduced to.

And brazenly, with very little respect for anybody, in or out of government, public or private.

This is very bad for the government as well as for the people who voted them in, and it reeks of political desperation.
Now we have the first day the Republicans had their say, and its really astounding how contrary their rhetoric is.

It kind of reiterates the contradictions inherent within what is said and implied in Trump's released, and the question of who causes a replication of duplicity comes up.
Is it really possible that the voting public will be satisfied with two versions, a sort of retro-synthesis, a logical de-integration of dialectical reasoning?

Here is what went on today:}*


IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Trump's Senate impeachment trial: What happened on Day 5

Charges that Democrats were trying to interfere in the election, Trump doesn't trust intel officials, and what about the Bidens?

Jan. 25, 2020, 1:25 PM EST / Updated Jan. 25, 2020, 1:28 PM EST



President Donald Trump's legal team began their defense of the president in Trump-ian fashion on Saturday, charging Democrats were the ones who are trying to interfere in the 2020 election and accusing lead House manager Adam Schiff of being dishonest.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow also gave an astonishing explanation for why his client turned to outsiders for his dealings with Ukraine — he doesn't trust his own officials.

Here are five takeaways from Saturday's abbreviated opening arguments in the president's Senate trial, which will continue on Monday.

1. Dems are the real danger

The House of Representatives impeached Trump for abuse of power, essentially charging that Trump was trying to force Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 U.S. election. In his opening argument, White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued the Democrats were the ones trying to interfere.



"They're asking you to remove President Trump from the ballot in an election that's occurring in approximately nine months, they're asking you to tear up all of the ballots across this country on your own initiative — take that decision away from the American people, and I don’t think they spent one minute of their 24 hours talking to you about the consequences of that for this country," Cipollone told the Senate.

Removing the president, he said, would be "an irresponsible abuse of power."

"Let the people decide," Cipollone said.

2. Targeting Schiff

Trump's team also took aim at Schiff, the California congressman who the president regularly derides as 'Shifty Schiff' (and did again on Saturday), telling the senators he'd made several misleading comments.

White House deputy counsel Mike Purpura, a member of Trump's defense team, focused on Schiff's summary of the president's July 25 call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a hearing in the House, which Schiff said sounded like a "shakedown."

"That's fake, that's not the real call," Purpura said. "That’s not the evidence here."

3. Matter of trust

Sekulow said Trump engaged in what Democrats have called "shadow diplomacy" in Ukraine because his faith in U.S. intelligence agencies was badly shaken by former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference.

"In his summation on Thursday night, Manager Schiff complained that the president chose not to go with the determinations of his intelligence agencies regarding foreign interference and instead decided he would listen to people that he trusted, and he would inquire about the Ukraine issue himself," Sekulow said. "Mr. Schiff did not like the fact that the president did not apparently blindly trust some of the advice he was being given by the intelligence agencies."

"The president had reason to be concerned about the information he was being provided. Now we could ignore this. We can make believe this did not happen. But it did," Sekulow said.

He also accused Ukraine of interfering in the 2016 election, something FBI Director Chris Wray has denied.

4. The Bidens

What happened?

After expectations that Trump's lawyers were going to after Joe and Hunter Biden and Burisma — Sekulow said earlier in the day that Democrats had "opened the door" to discussing the Bidens — it didn't happen. Joe Biden was mentioned only in passing.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the Senate impeachment trial

But that doesn't mean they won't be in their crosshairs when the president's team picks up their arguments again on Monday.

5. Short day

Trump's team had said they anticipated Saturday's arguments, which they described as "coming attractions," would last about three hours but lasted only two.

A senior administration official told NBC News that Trump's defense won't take as much time as the House managers did to present their case, and might even wrap up their presentation on Monday. The trial resumes then at 1 p.m. ET

Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.


*{represent my comments }
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Re: Trump enters the stage -political caricature

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:44 pm

{ There is much more to this Trumpism that meets the eye.

On the lowest tiers, rests political apathy.

What this represents is dressed in various narratives, but at this point, it could be advanced that the American People have no real interest with who gets elected president, for it's not merely the fact that grass roots has been disjointed from what is visible in the high follutin' legalese of those who understand what's going on, but, they really lost caring.

The potus may be an off vaudeville politico, or a high wire act, or an illusionist. He may be a magician, a felon, an impresario, or maybe, and may be even a computer .

As long as the world's supposed privileged population defined as fans of Jenny Craig who still can shed those unsightly unwanted fat that prevents them from rushing to their nearest auto dealer.

And not for purposes of the obvious, but to prevent walking more than a block to the nearest drive in.

If we think for a second that nature's evolutionary journey began with this intention, then we had better think twice.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Another Trump tweet

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:48 pm

Schiff calls Trump 'vindictive' and says Trump's tweet was intended to intimidate

By Chandelis Duster and Kristen Holmes, CNN

Updated 12:14 PM EST, Sun January 26, 2020

 



Washington (CNN)Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff on Sunday called President Donald Trump "wrathful and vindictive," adding that he thought a morning tweet by the President was intended to intimidate him.

During an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Schiff was asked if he viewed Trump's tweet that "he has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!" as a threat. Schiff responded, "I think it's intended to be." Trump's Twitter attack on Schiff was one of several the President launched online Sunday against Democrats and his Senate impeachment trial.

Later Sunday, Trump -- who often tweets and retweets attacks on people he feels have wronged him -- also insulted "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd who conducted the earlier interview with Schiff.

Democrats and Schiff accused Trump of "witness intimidation" during the House impeachment hearings over his tweets attacking former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence.



Top takeaways from the start of the Trump team's impeachment defense

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Sunday admonished the public for putting "meaning behind" what the President says and said Trump was not threatening Schiff.

"I think that people, and this has been a theme actually throughout this process, people put meanings behind what he says," Grisham said in an interview on Fox News. "The President speaks in a very unique way, he's a counterpuncher, he's saying what it's on his mind."

Pressed on what the President meant, Grisham said she hadn't yet talked to Trump about his tweet, but said she thinks Trump meant Schiff "hasn't paid the price with voters, he hasn't paid the price yet with the people of this country who see that he's been lying and very obsessed."

Schiff defends impeachment argument

In concluding the House's opening argument Friday evening, Schiff, a California Democrat and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, delivered a lengthy argument for removing the President from office on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In his "Meet the Press" interview,Schiff defended his citation of a CBS News report that said Republican senators had been told "your head will be on a pike" if they vote against the President. Schiff's comment, made during the final day of his team's opening arguments, sparked an audible reaction from Republican senators in the chamber -- a reaction some Democrats have dismissed as faux outrage.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford criticized Schiff for quoting the report, telling CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" that he and other senators were offended by it.

"The offensive part is there is he was saying that the President had communicated to us that our heads will be on a pike if we oppose him, and all of us looked at each other and we have heard no such comment from the President," Lankford said.

Schiff told Todd that he was making an argument that it is going to be very difficult for senators to stand up to Trump.

"And I think I have to be very candid about this ... I made the argument that it's going to require moral courage to stand up to this President," he said. "And this is a wrathful and vindictive President. I don't think there's any doubt about it and if you think there is, look at the President's tweets about me today, saying that I should pay a price."

'I think it was a huge mistake'

Asked about his reaction to Trump's legal team's first day of opening arguments in the impeachment trial Saturday, Schiff said he believed the President's team was "afraid of what witnesses have to say," therefore the White House's entire trial strategy has been to "deprive the public of a fair trial" -- reiterating yet again that a fair trial requires witnesses.

Trump's legal team, he said, "basically acknowledged the scheme" -- and that its main argument was "you don't need a fair trial here," adding that there was no "exoneration" if the country was deprived of a fair trial.

Schiff also said he thought it was a "huge mistake" that Trump's lawyers repeated a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.

"I was surprised. I think it was a huge mistake... they go and double down on that same crazy conspiracy theory that Ukraine hacked the DNC server. It's astonishing," Schiff said. "On the first day of the President's defense, to say that the President should disbelieve his own intelligence agencies, has every right to believe (Russian President) Vladimir Putin. I wouldn't want to make that argument."

The President's personal attorney Jay Sekulow has signaled that the defense team is likely to go after former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as the Russia investigation into the President and the opposition research dossier from ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.

The President's team is delivering its presentation as White House and Senate GOP sources have told CNN they are confident they will defeat a vote next week for additional witnesses that would extend the trial. But there were no mentions of the former vice president or his son Saturday.

Schiff, asked about a possible deal where Democrats and Republicans would both call the witnesses they want in order to have trial testimony, said he believes the President "has the right to call relevant witnesses...in his defense," but he made clear he did not believe that Hunter Biden is a "relevant witness."

"If we're talking about a fair trial.... (Senators) can't say, 'Well, we're going to allow the President to trade witnesses that don't shed any light on the facts, but would allow him to once again try to smear his opponent," Schiff said.

"Hunter Biden can't tell us anything about the withholding of military funding. Hunter Biden can't tell us why the President wouldn't let the President if Ukraine into the Oval office. Hunter Biden can't tell us anything about that," he added.

This story has been updated with comment from White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.





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Re: Trump enters the stage-why don't Republicans want witnes

Postby Meno_ » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:02 am

IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Democrats demand Bolton testimony after report his book says Trump tied Ukraine aid to Biden probe

The reported account in an unpublished manuscript by the former national security adviser counters the White House's defense of the president.

Jan. 26, 2020, 7:37 PM EST / Updated Jan. 26, 2020, 9:19 PM EST

By Lauren Egan

WASHINGTON — Democrats stepped up their calls Sunday night for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial after an explosive report alleged that in his unpublished book, he said Trump personally tied Ukraine aid to an investigation of the Bidens — an account that conflicts with the president's.

"John Bolton has the evidence," tweeted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

According to the manuscript, as reported by The New York Times on Sunday night, Trump told Bolton that nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine would not be released until it offered assistance with investigations of Democratic targets, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

NBC News has not seen a copy of the manuscript or verified the report, which cited multiple sources familiar with Bolton's account.



The contents of the manuscript were described as a rough account of how Bolton would testify should he be called as a witness in the Senate trial. The prospect of new witnesses has been viewed as unlikely given most Republicans' reluctance to accept additional testimony.

Hill Democrats said Sunday that the new report highlighted the urgency of a Senate request for Bolton's testimony — a move that would require several GOP votes.

"It's up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump's actions testify in the Senate trial," Schumer tweeted. Mulvaney is Trump's acting chief of staff.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted that with the news Bolton reportedly had firsthand knowledge of Trump's decision that ran counter to the White House account of the president's actions, the "refusal of the Senate to call for him, other relevant witnesses, and documents is now even more indefensible."

The House Democrats' impeachment managers said in a statement that there could be "no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President's defense and therefore must be called as a witness at the impeachment trial of President Trump. Senators should insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other relevant documents."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. — one of the senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination whose campaign has been affected by the need to serve as a juror in the impeachment trial — echoed the sentiment Sunday. "I don't know how my Republican colleagues cannot call for witnesses..." she said while campaigning in Iowa. "We should all be calling for witnesses. We have to get to the truth."

Former Vice President Joe Biden, also campaigning in Iowa, told NBC Sunday night that he did not have "any idea of what's in the book. But if it in fact contradicts Trump, it's not a surprise."

The president's allies have said the aid delay was unconnected to Trump's requests that Ukrainian officials announce investigations that stood to undercut his domestic political opponents, including Biden.

In the unpublished book, Bolton is reported to allege that other administration officials, including Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr, were made aware of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's unusual involvement in a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine well before it became a central element of the whistleblower complaint at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Bolton attorney Charles Cooper appeared to confirm the substance of the report Sunday, saying that the manuscript had been submitted to the National Security Council last month for a standard review for classified information and that it was "clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript.”

The White House did not immediately respond to an NBC request for comment.

Last week, Trump expressed misgivings over the prospect of Bolton's testimony.

"The problem with John is, that it's a national security problem," he told reporters at an impromptu press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, adding that Bolton "knows some of my thoughts, what I think about leaders — what happens if he reveals what I think about a leader and it's not very positive?"

Lauren Egan, Alex Moe and Hallie Jackson reported from Washington.



//////////////////////////////\\\\\\\\\\\/////////

Bolton update




POLITICO

IMPEACHMENT

Trump team braces for deeper impeachment drama after Bolton surprise

The president’s lawyers are already contemplating which administration witnesses would be best to rebut potential testimony from Bolton — if enough Senate Republicans turn against them.



President Donald Trump and his former National Security Adviser John Bolton in September of last year. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo



01/27/2020 05:49 PM EST





Within just 24 hours, White House officials went from feeling self-assured about the speediness of the Senate impeachment trial to scrambling to squash John Bolton’s bombshell allegation.

Now, White House officials and Trump lawyers are preparing for the possibility that the Senate impeachment trial will summon witnesses — dragging out the trial for days or weeks, cutting into plans for the State of the Union address and delaying Trump’s pivot to his reelection campaign.



The “only good news for Trump is this f---- up the campaign schedule for the Senate [2020] candidates for weeks to come,” said one Republican close to the White House.

Calling witnesses would make the trial much more unpredictable for the White House and Republican Senate leadership, which was caught by surprise by the revelations in Bolton’s book manuscript. The book draft says Trump told Bolton to keep withholding military aid to Ukraine until officials there agreed to investigate his political rivals, a statement that undercuts a key element of the Trump’s legal defense.

Trump called that information “totally false” at the White House on Monday morning, after he launched a series of overnight tweets refuting the allegation.

“This opens up a can of worms because the senators don’t get to vote on calling individual witnesses,” said a former senior administration official. “If Bolton testifies, then what does that mean for Pompeo or Mulvaney and assertions of executive privilege? It gets complicated and uncertain really fast.”



Trump lawyers are already thinking through which witnesses would be best to rebut potential testimony from Bolton and are eyeing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Bolton has said he will testify if the Senate subpoenas him.

The White House is also viewing the calling of witnesses as a tit-for-tat situation — if Democrats want to call Bolton, then Republicans and Trump will try to call their own witnesses. Trump has long wanted the Senate to hear from witnesses like Hunter Biden or even the whistleblower who helped trigger the president’s impeachment.

“Does the White House assert executive privilege over Bolton? If so, who goes to court?” the Republican close to the White House added. “Does the court take jurisdiction or say this is a political question between the other two branches? Does Roberts make the decision? Does he have the power to do so? So many questions.”

In an interview, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called the Bolton book disclosures a “bombshell with political shrapnel going in all directions toward the Republican Party to figure out how to handle this.”



The White House press office did not respond to a request for comment.

On Sunday night, senior administration officials were taken by surprise and rushed to find out information about who knew what and when. The White House fielded concerns from Republicans on Capitol Hill who were not aware of the allegations in Bolton’s manuscript.

A senior Republican aide said GOP leadership was not made aware of the allegations ahead of time.

Bolton’s attorney was quick to point a finger at the White House for allegedly leaking the contents of the book to the New York Times and called the review process “corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript.”

“Ambassador John Bolton, Simon & Schuster, and Javelin Literary categorically state that there was absolutely no coordination with the New York Times or anyone else regarding the appearance of information about his book, THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED, at online booksellers. Any assertion to the contrary is unfounded speculation,” said Bolton spokesperson Sarah Tinsley.

The revelations came just before the White House presented its second day of opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial — though one aide insisted it would not change the overall legal strategy and promised the outreach to Republican senators would continue, as it has for the last several weeks.

Team Trump, while privately flustered and re-calibrating due to the Bolton disclosures, didn’t show any hint of concern Monday on the Senate floor. Jay Sekulow, the longest-serving personal attorney for Trump, opened the day’s proceedings with a cloaked reference to the former Trump aide.

“We deal with transcript evidence. We deal with publicly available information. We do not deal with speculation, allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all,” he said.

Sekulow then served as an emcee to introduce a series of lawyers who’d defend the president, starting with former Clinton independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Starr delivered a sweeping historical look back at impeachment and warned against the long-term consequences of removing Trump. Jane Raskin then questioned the hyper focus on her fellow attorney colleague, Rudy Giuliani.



Meanwhile, talking points sent from the White House sought to discredit Bolton, saying the leaks of his book did little to change the facts of the impeachment case because Ukraine ultimately received its security assistance.

Trump campaign staffers and surrogates implied the leak of Bolton’s book was timed to goose his own book sales. “It’s really pretty remarkable that the leak to the NYTimes about the alleged contents of John Bolton’s book coincided precisely with the pre-order page going live on Amazon,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Trump‘s 2020 campaign.

Before Trump’s lawyers took to the Senate floor in the early afternoon, several House lawmakers including Reps. Mark Meadows, Mike Johnson, Doug Collins and Debbie Lesko emerged from Vice President Mike Pence’s Capitol Hill office. One of them, Rep. Lee Zeldin, labeled the Bolton revelations as the Democrats’ “big shiny object of the day to distract what will be several hours of addressing as many things as you can possibly address.”

Several Trump advisers defended the president on Monday afternoon on TV, Trump’s preferred medium of communication.

“I don’t want to speak for my Senate colleagues, but there are always political repercussions for every vote you take,” Meadows said on CBS when asked about the consequences of party members breaking with Trump. “There is no vote that is higher-profile than this.”



© 2020 POLITICO LLC
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Re: Trump enters the stage -new characters : Dershowitz, Bol

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:58 am

Fox News





TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

Published January 27, 2020

Last Update 32 minutes ago

Dershowitz calls out House Dems in Trump's Senate impeachment trial after Bolton shock waves



 By Gregg Re | Fox News





Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, delivering a spirited constitutional defense of President Trump at his Senate impeachment trial Monday night, flatly turned toward House impeachment managers and declared they had picked "dangerous" and "wrong" charges against the president -- noting that neither "abuse of power" nor "obstruction of Congress" was remotely close to an impeachable offense as the framers had intended.

In a dramatic primetime moment, the liberal constitutional law scholar reiterated that although he voted for Hillary Clinton, he could not find constitutional justification for the impeachment of a president for non-criminal conduct, or conduct that was not at least "akin" to defined criminal conduct.

"I'm sorry, House managers, you just picked the wrong criteria. You picked the most dangerous possible criteria to serve as a precedent for how we supervise and oversee future presidents," Dershowitz told the House Democrats, including head House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

He said that "all future presidents who serve with opposing legislative majorities" now face the "realistic threat" of enduring "vague charges of abuse or obstruction," and added that a "long list" of presidents have previously been accused of "abuse of power" in various contexts without being formally impeached.

The list included George Washington, who refused to turn over documents related to the Jay Treaty; John Adams, who signed and enforced the so-called "Alien and Sedition Acts"; Thomas Jefferson, who flat-out purchased Louisiana without any kind of congressional authorization whatosever; John Tyler, who notoriously used and abused the veto power; James Polk, who allegedly disregarded the Constitution and usurped the role of Congress; and Abraham Lincoln, who suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and others would also probably face impeachment using the Democrats' rules, Dershowitz said.



"Abuse of power," he argued, has been a "promiscuously deployed" and "vague" term throughout history. It should remain a merely "political weapon" fit for "campaign rhetoric," Dershowitz said, as it has no standard definition nor meaningful constitutional relevance.

Dershowitz then said he was "nonpartisan" in his application of the Constitution, and would make the same arguments against such an "unconstitutional impeachment" if Hillary Clinton were on trial -- passing what he called the "shoe on the other foot" test.

"Purely non-criminal conduct such as abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are outside the range of impeachable offenses," Dershowitz said.

He quoted Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis -- one of the two dissenters in the notorious 1857 "Dred Scott v. Sandford" decision and counsel for President Andrew Johnson during his impeachment trial in 1868 -- as saying there can be no impeachable offense "without a law, written or unwritten, express or implied."

Johnson, Dershowitz observed, was impeached for violating the Tenure of Office Act -- a statute essentially designed to create the pretext to impeach Johnson. By passing the law first, lawmakers expressly recognized that criminal-like conduct was needed for impeachment, Dershowitz argued. (No president had ever been impeached for non-criminal conduct until Trump's impeachment last year.)

Indeed, a "close review of the history" near in time to the founding of the United States, Dershowitz said, revealed that the founders explicitly wanted to avoid making impeachment so arbitrary and powerful that it effectively created a "British-style parliamentary democracy," in which presidents served at the pleasure of the legislature.

Dershowitz further suggested that the "rule of lenity," or the legal doctrine that ambiguities should be resolved in favor of defendants, also counseled toward acquitting the president. The Constitution permits impeachment and removal of presidents for "treason," "bribery," and "high crimes and misdemeanors," but does not clearly define the terms.

Responding to reports that former national security adviser John Bolton has written in his forthcoming book that Trump told him he wanted to link Ukraine aid to an investigation of the Bidens, Dershowitz argued that even an explicit "quid pro quo" would not constitute an impeachable "abuse of power."

"Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power, or an impeachable offense," Dershowitz said. "That is clear from the history. That is clear from the language of the Constitution. You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using terms like 'quid pro quo' and 'personal benefit.'"

"It is inconceivable," Dershowitz said, that the framers would have intended such "politically loaded terms" and "subjective'" words without clear definitions to serve as the basis for impeachment.

Fearing a partisan impeachment process, the framers had rejected the offense of "maladministration" as a basis for impeachment, Dershowitz noted, and "abuse of power" was similarly vague.

Dershowitz wrapped up his argument, steeped in historical and textual analysis of the constitution and founding documents, by urging senators to reject the "passions and fears of the moment," as the framers had similarly warned.

A series of Republican senators lined up to shake Dershowitz's hand after his presentation concluded.

Hunter Biden in the crosshairs

Separately, Pam Bondi, in a methodical presentation earlier Monday at the impeachment trial, took the fight directly to Hunter Biden -- underscoring, again and again, how even media outlets with a left-wing "bias" questioned the younger Biden's lucrative service on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings while his father oversaw Ukraine policy as vice president.

A 2014 Washington Post report, Bondi noted, asserted that the "appointment of the vice president's son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst."

A 2014 Buzzfeed News article stated that "serious conflict of interest questions" were raised by Biden's appointment.

A June 2019 ABC News report called it "strange" that Burisma, which was widely accused of corruption, had agreed to pay Hunter Biden's company "more than a million dollars a year," just after Biden was kicked out of the Navy allegedly for cocaine possession.



It was hardly surprising given all the media attention, Bondi went on, that career State Department official George Kent flagged Biden's apparent conflict of interest, but was told essentially not to bother the vice president's office -- or that the Obama administration had prepped former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch for questions about Burisma ahead of her Senate confirmation.

Bondi's point-by-point defense of Trump's concerns about the Bidens' potential corruption came on the second day of Republican arguments.

Fox News has been told that Trump's defense team will wrap up on Tuesday within a few hours after the trial resumes at 1 p.m. ET. “Everyone should be able to go home for dinner,” a source close to the team told Fox News.

The next phase of the trial, involving 16 hours of written questions that the senators can submit to be answered by Democratic House managers and Trump's lawyers, will not start until Wednesday. Then, there will be a vote on whether to hear more evidence or witnesses.

The written questions could focus either on legal issues, like the theoretical ones raised by Dershowitz, or factual matters that could prove uncomfortable for Democrats.

"Hunter Biden was paid over $83,000 a month, while the average American family of four during that time each year made less than $54,000," Bondi, the former Florida attorney general, said incredulously in her remarks.


Bondi: Hunter Biden's decision to join Burisma raised red flags immediately



Eric Herschmann: Why not impeach Obama, too?

In his own comments to the Senate, Trump lawyer Eric Herschmann argued that Burisma couldn't even get its story straight concerning Biden's duties.

In a May 2014 Burisma news release, the company claimed Biden would head up the country's "legal unit," Herschmann observed. "But, on October 13, 2019, Biden's lawyer said that 'at no time' was he in charge of Burisma's legal affairs."

Even Hunter has admitted, speaking to ABC News, that he "probably" would not have been on the board of Burisma if he were not the vice president's son, Bondi noted.

Bondi and Herschmann were arguing that Trump did nothing wrong when, in a July call with Ukraine's leader, he called for the country to look into Joe Biden's on-camera admission that he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor by withholding $1 billion in U.S. assistance to Ukraine.

What Biden didn't reveal, Bondi said, was that the prosecutor was investigating Burisma at the time -- or that Hunter Biden was serving in a highly lucrative role on Burisma's board.

Republicans reinvigorated

The Trump team's aggressive arguments on Monday heartened Republicans both inside and outside the Senate chamber.

"Pam Bondi is on the Senate floor nailing Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and the Obama White House for their role in/handling of Ukrainian corruption," North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted. "If it wasn’t obvious already... President Trump was right to press for reform" in Ukraine, he wrote.

In a heated news conference, Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the proceedings had offered just the "beginning" of "serious evidence of corruption" involving Burisma. Reporters repeatedly interrupted Cruz, and at one point a questioner suggested that Cruz's children had also benefited from nepotism in obtaining lucrative board roles -- even though they're in elementary school.

Using Democrats' logic, a stronger case for impeaching former President Obama could be made, Herschmann argued later. He noted that Obama had been caught on camera promising Russia's president that he would have more "flexibility" on missile defense issues after the 2012 election -- an apparent instance of a "quid pro quo" involving politics influencing foreign affairs.

"The president exercises official power. In his role as head of state during a nuclear security summit after asking the Russian president for space, he promised him missile defense can be solved? What else can that mean than in a way that can be solved for the Russians?" Herschmann asked. "He was asking an adversary for space for the express purpose of furthering his own election purposes... 'after my election, I have more flexibility.' Obama knew the importance of missile defense in Europe but decided to use it as a bargaining chip."

Herschmann accused Democrats of overreach by attempting to remove the president by a vote of the Senate.

BOLTON MANUSCRIPT LEAKS JUST AS AMAZON BOOK PREORDERS GO LIVE; TRUMP FIRES BACK

"We, on the other hand, trust our fellow Americans to choose their candidate... and let the American people choose," he said. "Maybe they're concerned that the American people like historically low unemployment, maybe the American people like that their 401(k)s have [grown]."



Also speaking on behalf of the president, Ken Starr, whose independent counsel investigation into then-President Bill Clinton resulted in his impeachment, bemoaned what he called an “age of impeachment." Impeachment, he said, required both an actual crime and a “genuine national consensus" that the president must go. Neither existed here, Starr said.

"It's filled with acrimony and it divides the country like nothing else," Starr said of impeachment. "Those of us who lived through the Clinton impeachment understand that in a deep and personal way."

Trump's team further challenged Democrats' claims that Trump's fears of Ukraine meddling were a "conspiracy theory" -- noting that Schiff, D-Calif., had spent years accusing the Trump team of colluding with Russia without any evidence.

Although Democrats -- and some news outlets, including The Associated Press -- repeatedly claimed that the idea of Ukraine meddling was a "conspiracy theory," a Ukrainian court has ruled that officials in the country did illegally meddle in the U.S. election. Additionally, a 2017 investigative report by Politico found extensive efforts by Ukrainians to hurt Trump's presidential campaign.

Biden campaign rapid response director Andrew Bates shot back quickly in a statement to Fox News.



"We didn’t realize that Breitbart was expanding into Ted Talk knockoffs," Bates said. "Here on Planet Earth, the conspiracy theory that Bondi repeated has been conclusively refuted. The New York Times calls it ‘debunked,’ The Wall Street Journal calls it ‘discredited,’ the AP calls it ‘incorrect,’ and The Washington Post Fact Checker calls it ‘a fountain of falsehoods.’ The diplomat that Trump himself appointed to lead his Ukraine policy has blasted it as ‘self serving’ and ‘not credible.’ Joe Biden was instrumental to bipartisan and international anti-corruption victory. It’s no surprise that such a thing is anathema to President Trump."

"We didn’t realize that Breitbart was expanding into Ted Talk knockoffs."

— Biden campaign rapid response director Andrew Bates

Democrats have accused Trump of seeking to "make up dirt" on the Bidens, and alleged that Trump himself delayed sending aid to Ukraine until the country took a public look at the issue.

Bolton looms large

Meanwhile, senators faced mounting pressure Monday to summon Bolton to testify at the trial, after an excerpt from the former national security advisor's forthcoming book apparently leaked. According to the manuscript, Trump told Bolton he had suspended aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of the Bidens. The White House strongly denied the claim.

"We deal with transcript evidence, we deal with publicly available information," attorney Jay Sekulow said. "We do not deal with speculation, allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all."

Prior to his presentation Monday, Dershowitz said that the Bolton issue wouldn't affect his presentation, centering on constitutional law.



Dershowitz quotes 'Dred Scott' dissenter Justice Curtis: No impeachable offense 'without a law, express or implied'

Republican senators have faced a pivotal moment, and pressure was mounting for at least four to buck GOP leaders and form a bipartisan majority to force the issue. Republicans have held a 53-47 majority, and a mere majority vote would be required on the question of witnesses.

"John Bolton's relevance to our decision has become increasingly clear," Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney told reporters. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a key moderate swing vote, said she has always wanted "the opportunity for witnesses" and the report about Bolton's book "strengthens the case."

At a private GOP lunch, Romney made the case for calling Bolton, according to multiple reports. Other Republicans have said that if Trump's former national security adviser is called, they will demand reciprocity to hear from at least one of their witnesses. Some Republicans have wanted to call the Bidens.



Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appeared unmoved by news of the Bolton book, telling Republicans they would take stock after the defense team concluded its arguments.

McConnell's message at the lunch, said Indiana GOP Sen. Mike Braun, was, "Take a deep breath, and let's take one step at a time.

©2020 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:29 pm

Mitt makes his move

The occasional Trump critic is in the middle of an internal GOP fight over the impeachment tri

01/27/2020 10:06 PM EST


After staying relatively quiet throughout the House’s impeachment inquiry, Sen. Mitt Romney now finds himself in the middle of an increasingly bitter debate in his own party.

The Utah Republican has long been open to hearing from former national security adviser John Bolton and other witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, a position shared by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The trio has searched for a fourth crucial vote to win a majority, but up until Sunday, those appeals seemed to be going nowhere.



Yet following a New York Times report that Trump told Bolton that frozen Ukrainian aid would be restored only if officials in Ukraine announced an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Romney’s push for witnesses has some life — and some Republicans are displeased.

Romney “made a strong pitch” for witnesses during a closed-door lunch of Senate Republicans on Monday, according to Republicans familiar with the meeting. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged his colleagues to wait until after Trump’s defense team finishes its presentation and senators go through a lengthy question-and-answer session to make a decision on what’s become the biggest issue of the trial.

But Romney is already making his move. And though he serves on the Republican whip team, Romney is now effectively working against party leaders and arguing to colleagues that the proper way to test each side’s contention is to hear from people directly involved in the Ukraine saga.

“It has been pointed out so far by both the House managers as well the defense that there has not been evidence of a direct nature of what the president may have said or what his motives were or what he did,” Romney said on Monday evening. “The article in the New York Times I think made it pretty clear that [Bolton] has some information that may be relevant. And I’d like to hear relevant information before I made a final decision.”



Romney’s push for Bolton to testify is drawing blowback from some of his colleagues, with recently appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) asserting he wants to “appease the left.” Loeffler and her husband, New York Stock Exchange Chairman Jeffrey Sprecher, donated more than $1.5 million to a super PAC that backed Romney’s 2012 White House run. But now Loeffler is expected to face a challenge for her seat from GOP Rep. Doug Collins, and she’s eager to demonstrate her loyalty to Trump by taking on an occasional critic of the president.



Sen. Mitt Romney.

Still, Romney isn’t going full Trump resistance: He knows his group can’t bring in Bolton alone without enraging some of his colleagues. So any successful effort to hear new testimony would also likely have to include witnesses whom Trump wants to subpoena too.

“My expectation is that were there to be that testimony from Mr. Bolton, that there would be testimony from someone on the defense side as well in order to get some 50-plus people to agree,” Romney said. “I’m not going to be counting noses as to who would support or not support that at this stage, but I may down the road.”

A former governor of Massachusetts, 2012 presidential nominee and wealthy businessman, the 72-year-old Romney makes an unlikely freshman senator. But he’s mostly fit in with his colleagues — even hosting the party’s informal dinner on Monday with helpings of Chick-fil-A.



Yet Romney does get a rise out of Republicans when he challenges the president. Romney's GOP colleagues remember his harsh rhetoric against Trump during the 2016 campaign, though tensions have ebbed and flowed in the past four years.

“I’d rather he not” push for witnesses, said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). “He isn’t all that close to the administration. … I don’t agree with him.”

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) has compared Romney to “Jeff Flake on steroids,” and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) asserted last fall that Romney “thinks the worst of the president.” Trump himself called Romney a “pompous ass” when he expressed concerns about asking other countries to investigate Joe Biden.

A senior administration official acknowledged Bolton’s book could hurt the GOP’s efforts to block witness testimony but said it wasn’t because of anything Romney is doing.

“He’s doing what he’s already doing. It’s personal" between him and Trump, the official said.

Romney, though, rarely engages on any insults or digs at him. Asked about Loeffler’s Monday diss, Romney praised the brand-new senator and said he was glad she’s serving.

"He's a leader,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) of Romney. “I have respect for his views, not that I agree with him all the time."

Romney’s proposal to include the president’s witnesses along with any Democratic-preferred witnesses like Bolton has been frequently discussed among Republicans, most recently on Monday. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania was among the Republicans broaching the idea, though it didn’t seem to be catching fire in the broader Senate GOP.



“I don’t think that’s going to go anywhere. I really don’t think so,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.). “I think it will get to the point of where you have a few considering it.”

Most Republicans are eager to dispense with the Trump trial and have argued that bringing in witnesses could drag it on for weeks if issues of executive privilege are raised in the courts.

Senate GOP leaders acknowledge that Romney is pushing his position, but so far, they publicly argue the dynamic inside the Republican Conference has not changed despite the Bolton revelations.

“It’s not a new position for [Romney]. He’s been on that position for quite a while,” said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the No. 3 Senate Republican. “He didn’t say anything new at lunch that he hasn’t said before.”

If the effort to subpoena Bolton moves forward, Republican leaders will respond with their own explosive push to call Hunter Biden or another witness favored by the White House. Other Trump allies are also echoing this line, declaring that if Bolton is called, then “the floodgates are opened.”

“I don’t see the need to have more witnesses unless we have a lot more witnesses,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). “I don’t know what the country would gain from that.”

Romney sent shock waves through the Capitol when he said on Monday morning that it’s “increasingly likely” that more Republicans would embrace his call for witnesses.

Among the senators most likely to join Romney, Collins and Murkowski are Toomey, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Rob Portman of Ohio or Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, according to GOP sources. But none have taken the public plunge.



Barrasso said the witness vote — set for Friday — "is still going to be close. They need four. And I haven't seen anybody shift."

Romney said later Monday evening that he didn’t base his earlier statement on any inside intel. He just thinks that if Bolton is willing to talk, logically, Republicans should be willing to listen.

“My sense was that based upon the fact that there was apparently relevant information, material information that others would say: ‘Yeah, OK, that’d be interesting to hear if we could,’” Romney said.





 
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Re: Trump enters the stage - wrap up, witnesses? Playbook

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:23 am

Impeachment: GOP leaders reportedly say they lack votes to block witnesses – as it happened

Republican Collins: ‘There’s some gaps that need to be cleared up’

White House counsel to senators: reject articles of impeachment

Schiff says Trump’s lawyers ‘cannot defend president on facts’




Summary

Trump lawyers urge senators to 'end the age of impeachment' and acquit Trump – video

Donald Trump’s attorneys concluded their opening arguments in the president’s impeachment trial.

Over the next two days, Senators will submit questions to both legal teams, and lawmakers are expected to debate and vote on whether to call witnesses on Friday.

As Senate Republicans wrestle with whether or not to call in witnesses, Trump’s lawyers argued that testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton was “inadmissible”.

Senate leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told Republicans they don’t have the votes to block witnesses.

The administration unveiled an Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal, which Palestinian leaders had pre-emptively rejected.

'Danger! Danger! Danger!' Is Trump team's alarm for their own case?


The question of whether or not the Senate will consider additional evidence and testimony loom over the impeachment trial, now that the president’s defense team has concluded its opening arguments.



Trump team’s opening arguments: the key takeaways



FOIA reveals Rick Perry’s talking points for Zelenskiy inauguration

NEW: The Department of Energy just released 139 pages of records to American Oversight in response to our FOIA lawsuit — including what appears to be Secretary Rick Perry's briefing book for his May 2019 delegation to Ukraine. https://t.co/FvyzrVK8kp pic.twitter.com/xwXWytYth0

— American Oversight (@weareoversight) January 29, 2020

A watchdog group’s FOIA request to the Energy Department yielded emails, messages, and notes as well as the talking point that former energy secretary Rick Perry took to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian president Vlodomry Zelenskiy.

Perry was one of the “three amigos” involved in Ukraine policy, and became a kew figure in the impeachment inquiry against Trump.



As Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders spar on the campaign trail, the former vice president’s campaign maintains that he’s committed to backing the Democratic nominee, whoever it is.

Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Jeno’s Little Hungary in Davenport, Iowa. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

The tension between the former vice president and the progressive Vermont senator has been building as the Iowa caucus approaches next week. Though Biden had previously committed to endorsing the Democratic nominee, “regardless” of who wins the primaries, he appeared to be vacillating on Sanders.

The two have clashed over foreign policy, trade, and social security. Last week, Biden’s campaign released an ad accusing Sanders of negative attacks on the former vice president’s and mischaracterizing his record on social security. Sanders’ campaign lobbed back that it was Biden who was going negative. Sanders did apologize after a supporter’s op-ed in The Guardian called Biden “corrupt”.

The two frontrunners are fighting off Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg ahead of the Iowa caucus.

“I’m not going to make judgments now,” Biden told reporters in Iowa, where he has been campaigning this week. “I just think that it depends upon how we treat one another between now and the time we have a nominee.” The Associated Press and other outlets interpreted this as vacillation.

But Biden’s campaign contested reports that he wouldn’t back the Democratic nominee, whoever it is.

What he actually said:

Reporter: Will the party unite behind Bernie if he's the nominee? The whole party?

Biden: We have to. I'm not gonna make judgments now but I just think that it depends upon how we treat one another between now and the time we have a nominee.


Though Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told senators privately that he doesn’t have votes to block new witnesses in the impeachment trial, per multiple reports, there are still several days till senators would vote on the matter.

Senate Republicans may still block witnesses, and some GOP lawmakers are confident they’ll be able to do so, according to CNN.

While the votes aren't secured yet, GOP leaders are growing confident they can defeat a vote on witnesses following the initial alarm the Bolton book caused among Senate Rs. Many Rs amenable to argument that witnesses would drag it out with no clear end https://t.co/LKsAaRHEaS


Lev Parnas’ lawyer is expected to attend the Senate trial tomorrow.

Joseph Bondy asked Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer for gallery tickets, according to The Daily Beast, which first reported the news. Bondy’s co-counsel Stephanie Schuman is also expected to appear. Parnas himself may not be able to, as he wears an ankle monitor and electronics are banned in the trial chamber.

Lev Parnas attorney on attending Senate trial: “We are attending the trial w/ or w/o Mr. Parnas bc we believe our presence is important in reminding senators that indeed there should be witnesses heard and evidence taken and that anything short of that would not be a fair trial”



Republicans may not have enough votes to block witnesses, and they know it according to a Wall Street Journal report.

NEWS from @WSJ: GOP Leaders Say They Don't Currently Have Enough Votes to Block Witnesses

McConnell told Republicans the vote total wasn’t where it needed to be...He had a card with "yes," "no," and "maybes" marked on it, apparently a whip count https://t.co/hzhRunhMoi via @WSJ



Though most Senate Republicans have dismissed the need to call witnesses, a few key members, including Mitt Romney of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have indicated an openness to hearing new testimony.

Key Republicans signal openness to Bolton testimony in impeachment trial



Feinstein clarifies her statement: ‘It’s clear the president’s actions were wrong’

The LA Times misunderstood what I said today. Before the trial I said I'd keep an open mind. Now that both sides made their cases, it’s clear the president’s actions were wrong. He withheld vital foreign assistance for personal political gain. That can’t be allowed to stand.

— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) January 28, 2020

An Axios reporter who initially posed a question about acquittal to the senator today further clarified: Feinstein was open to potentially acquitting Donald Trump before, but is less so now.

I think the @latimes has this story backwards. I was the reporter who asked @SenFeinstein these questions. She told me she was initially going to vote against impeachment "before this"

But when I asked her to clarify, she said she's changed her opinion https://t.co/sJeYl2VkNl



Is Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein open to acquittal?

Dianne Feinstein speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

After the president’s defense team concluded their arguments today, Feinstein, a Democrat of California, seemed to suggest she’s not entirely opposed to acquittal.

“Nine months left to go, the people should judge. We are a republic, we are based on the will of the people — the people should judge,” Feinstein told the LA Times. “That was my view and it still is my view.”

Per the LA Times:

Still, she indicated that arguments in the trial about Trump’s character and fitness for office had left her undecided. “What changed my opinion as this went on,” she said, is a realization that “impeachment isn’t about one offense. It’s really about the character and ability and physical and mental fitness of the individual to serve the people, not themselves.”

Asked whether she would ultimately vote to acquit, she demurred, saying, “We’re not finished.”

At 86, Feinstein is the oldest member of the Senate. She’s expected to retire after she completes the remaining four years of her term — so she doesn’t necessarily need to consider how going against the grain will affect her chances of reelection in Blue-state California.

Joe Manchin of West Virginia is the only other Senate Democrat whose vote to remove Trump from office isn’t assured. On Fox News, he said, “I am totally undecided,” on how he’ll vote.



Evening summary

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

Trump’s lawyers concluded their opening arguments in the impeachment trial, advising senators to vote for acquittal and “end the era of impeachment for good.”

The president’s lawyers argued that John Bolton’s manuscript was “inadmissible” for the impeachment trial because it included an “unsourced allegation,” a claim that impeachment managers said only emphasized the need for the former official to testify.

Senate Republicans continued to wrestle with whether to support calling witnesses in the impeachment trial, although Susan Collins reiterated that she was “very likely” to support the proposal.

John Kelly, the president’s former chief of staff, said he believes Bolton, who reportedly claimed in his forthcoming book that Trump directly tied Ukraine’s military assistance to investigations of Democrats.

The Trump administration unveiled its Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal, which was automatically rejected by Palestinian leaders.

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.



Speaking to CNN, Jared Kushner, the president’s adviser and son-in-law who spearheaded the crafting of the administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal, warned Palestinians against rejecting the deal.

“The Palestinian leadership have to ask themselves a question: do they want to have a state? Do they want to have a better life?” Kushner said.

He then presented an ultimatum to the Palestinians. Kushner said, “If they do, we have created a framework for them to have it, and we’re going to treat them in a very respectful manner. If they don’t, then they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”

Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the President, says the White House's Middle East plan is "a great deal" and if Palestinians reject it, “they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.” pic.twitter.com/ABAI3gKjig

— CNN (@CNN) January 28, 2020

But the Palestinian president has already rejected any possibility of agreeing to the White House’s proposal.

“We say a thousand times, no, no, no to the deal of the century,” Mahmoud Abbas said. “We rejected this deal from the start and our stance was correct.”



Echoing her earlier comments, Republican senator Susan Collins told CBS News that she is “very likely” to support calling witnesses for the impeachment trial.

EXCLUSIVE: Republican @SenatorCollins says it’s “very likely” that she will vote to hear witnesses in the Senate Impeachment trial.

“I, for one, believe that there's some gaps, some ambiguities that need to be cleared up” pic.twitter.com/8Rwbwk9ytm

— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 28, 2020

Collins said she and her Republican colleagues have had “a lot more conversations” about witness testimony since the publications of the report about John Bolton’s book, which reportedly includes an allegation that Trump directly tied Ukraine’s military assistance to investigations of Democrats.

Asked whether they were four Republicans who would support calling witnesses, Collins said, “I don’t know the answer to that question yet.”

But she added, “I, for one, believe that there’s some gaps, some ambiguities that need to be cleared up, and more information tends to be helpful when you’re making such a weighty decision.”


Exiting a meeting with fellow Republican senators, John Cornyn said the caucus had not reached a decision on calling witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial.

“No final decision” on witnesses, Cornyn says after GOP conference meeting


Three-quarters of registered voters support calling witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial, according to a newly released poll.

The Quinnipiac survey found that 75% of voters are in favor of calling witnesses in the Senate trial, a figure that includes 49% of Republicans and 75% of independents.

On the question of whether Trump should be removed from office, voters remain divided, with 48% opposing removal and 47% supporting it.

But a majority of voters, 53%, say Trump is not telling the truth about his actions toward Ukraine, and 57% say they would like the president to provide more details about those interactions.




© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.




POLITICO

IMPEACHMENT

Trio of Dem senators considering vote to acquit Trump

A handful of moderate Democrats could deliver Trump a bipartisan impeachment vote

A trio of moderate Senate Democrats is wrestling with whether to vote to convict Donald Trump in his impeachment trial — or give the president the bipartisan acquittal he’s eagerly seeking.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Doug Jones of Alabama are undecided on whether to vote to remove the president from office and agonizing over where to land. It’s a decision that could have major ramifications for each senator’s legacy and political prospects — as well shape the broader political dynamic surrounding impeachment heading into the 2020 election.


All three senators remain undecided after hearing arguments from the impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team. But they could end up with a creative solution.

One or more senators may end up splitting their votes, borrowing a move from Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), who voted for the abuse of power charge but against the one on obstruction of Congress.

Manchin said he will do that only if he “can explain one and not the other.” Jones has been mildly critical of the obstruction impeachment article and says he’s “troubled” the House didn’t fight harder to hear from critical administration witnesses.

Manchin insisted Tuesday he hasn’t figured out where he will come down. And won’t until the trial ends.



“I know it’s hard to believe that. But I really am [undecided]. But I have not made a final decision. Every day, I hear something, I think ‘this is compelling, that’s compelling,’” Manchin said in an interview. “Everyone’s struggling a little bit.”

Many in the Capitol believed Manchin had run his last campaign in 2018, freeing him to vote however he wants. He insisted he still will, but also didn’t rule out running for the Senate again in 2024: “I have no idea. I swear to God. buddy. I don’t.”

“Every day I hear something, I think ‘this is compelling, that’s compelling.' Everyone’s struggling a little bit.”

- Sen. Joe Manchin.

However, the most immediate pressure is on Jones, an unlikely Democratic senator from the Deep South fighting for his political life this fall with no good options: Republicans will batter him if he votes to convict the president, Democrats will rebel if he votes to acquit. In his front office on Tuesday, his phone rang repeatedly as aides answered questions about impeachment witnesses.

Jones said he hears both from Trump voters and those who loathe the president, but admitted that he hears more from people who support Trump. And he indicated he’s beginning to reach a decision-making end game, though potential consideration of new evidence could scramble any conclusions he’d reached as of Tuesday.



“I don’t think I’ve totally decided. I certainly have [been] leaning one way or the other. That needle moves” depending on the day’s testimony, Jones said in an interview. “I am leaning in certain ways but I want to hear, I truly, honestly, want to hear the entire trial.”

Compared with the chatty Manchin and Jones, Sinema’s stance is a bit of a mystery.

Like those two Democrats, she has occasionally broken with her party, including by supporting the confirmation of Attorney General William Barr in 2019, a vote that demonstrated largely where the fault lines in the Democratic Caucus currently lie. She supported Democrats’ votes for new evidence last week to “make a more fully informed decision at the end of the trial,” a spokesman said, and is undecided during the impeachment trial.

Sinema has made no comments since the trial began. She’s close with many Republicans, and some Democrats privately believe that like Manchin, she leans toward Trump more than Jones does. Still, with no public comments it’s almost impossible to tell where she will land.

There’s no chatter in the caucus about anyone other than Jones, Sinema or Manchin possibly voting to acquit the president on one or both counts, although a number of other Democratic senators say they are still undecided. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana is one and said he’s “absolutely open to being swayed.” Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, the only other Democrat up in a Trump-held state this year other than Jones, also said he is undecided.



Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has made no comments since the trial began.

“I think you are seeing moderate Democrats taking the time to talk with their constituents, and in red states that means Trump voters, to hear their concerns and explain the gravity of the charges and need for witnesses and evidence,” said Jon Kott, a former Manchin aide who now runs a centrist advocacy group called Majority Makers. “I don’t think you’ll see any of them make up their minds until the trial is over.”

The Republican side of potential aisle-crossers is equally scarce on a final verdict. Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have been pushing to hear from witnesses and seem to be the only three Republicans who are considering bucking the president, but it’s not clear they’d ultimately vote to convict him .

The small number of wild cards mingled Tuesday on the Senate floor. In a break before the Trump team’s final arguments, Sinema and Manchin huddled for a few minutes and then walked out of the Senate together. After Trump’s defense finished, Manchin spoke to Murkowski and Collins for a few minutes; Sinema spoke to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), an undecided vote on witnesses.



Breaking with party leaders is becoming increasingly rare on big questions like impeachment and critical confirmation fights.

In the House, there were three divergent Democratic votes on impeachment: Golden’s split, a “present” vote from presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson’s rejection of both articles. Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey switched to the GOP after opposing impeachment as a Democrat while Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan went from Republican to independent and supported the impeachment articles.

A trio of Senate Democrats partially or completely voting to clear Trump of the two charges would be a win for Trump, who has crowed repeatedly about the bipartisan vote to reject the charges in the House.

“My largest, my biggest fear, and what I say to almost every Republican about this, is: If we all vote to acquit, Trump is going to get worse. He’s going to gloat. He’s going to be vengeful. That’s the way he thinks about the world and whatever he’s doing, he’s going to do more of it,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who won reelection in 2018 in a state that Trump won.

In the 1999 Senate trial votes, no Democrats supported removing President Bill Clinton from office, but five Republicans rejected the obstruction of justice charge and 10 opposed the perjury charge. That number of aisle-crossers seems exceedingly unlikely, but in today’s Washington, Republicans would be overjoyed to get any bipartisan support for clearing Trump.

“I think there will be a couple who may vote not to convict Trump,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). “I’m guessing there’s an 80 percent chance that two Democrats will not vote to convict.”

Democratic senators say there’s been little discussion of the potential divisions within the party over Trump’s behavior. The party whip, Dick Durbin of Illinois, gestured to Manchin when asked if he’s worried about defections: “I don’t know. Ask somebody else.”

The most immediate pressure is on Sen. Doug Jones, an unlikely Deep South senator fighting for his political life this fall.

“I haven’t queried people. This is something you have to live with historically, yourself,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the No. 3 Democratic leader. “It’s important to have people come to their own conclusions.”


During the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in fall 2018, Democrats in tough races said they were pushing politics aside and making the decision on the merits. Only Manchin voted to confirm him, winning reelection narrowly a few weeks later.

And there’s still a variable at hand. All Senate Democrats have been pushing for a vote to hear from witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Jones said hearing from witnesses could make his mind “change in every number of directions.”

As for Manchin, he says he can’t vote for anything he can’t explain to West Virginians. He suggested that if Republicans reject the bid to add new evidence, it might be hard for him to explain: “I don’t know how you can call it a trial.”

He also broke pointedly with Trump’s description of his call with Ukraine President Volodymr Zelensky, in which Trump pushed for an investigation into Joe Biden: “Make no mistake about it. It was not a perfect call.”



 




© 2020 POLITICO LLC



///////////////// ////// ///////////////////////


Great economy?



President Trump claims the economy is the greatest ever, but many Americans aren’t personally feeling the benefits. Trump’s $2 trillion tax law has been a boon for billionaires and big corporations, but most working Americans haven’t seen their paychecks grow, despite the president’s promise that they would. In fact, as of August 2018, the average American wage had the same purchasing power as about 40 years ago.

Companies that benefited from the tax cut are making huge profits, but not boosting worker pay.

A recent study found that 62% of jobs do not support a middle-class lifestyle when factoring in today’s wages and cost of living, including things like health care, housing, education, and everyday expenses like groceries and gas. The majority of workers today are living paycheck to paycheck–one medical emergency, job loss, or divorce away from a personal financial crisis. In fact, 40% of Americans don’t have $400 to cover an emergency expense.

Health Care

Health care costs are rising faster than wages, causing families to decide between delaying care or going into debt to afford treatment. Half of working-age adults say they or a close family member has put off or postponed medical care because they can’t afford it. And in 2018 alone, Americans borrowed $88 billion to pay for health care.

Trump promised to fix this broken system by taking on the drug and insurance companies, but he has done the opposite. His policies have increased health care premiums by 16% to date.   

Trump’s tax law has increased health care premiums while saving health insurance and drug companies billions in taxes.

The administration has rolled back key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that helped keep costs down. 

Today, the president is still fighting to repeal the ACA, which would directly eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions like asthma and diabetes and increase health care premiums by 20-25%. 

7 million Americans have already lost insurance because of Trump’s policies, with 13 million more set to be uninsured by 2027. Repealing protections for pre-existing conditions would endanger coverage for as many as 134 million Americans.

Premiums and deductibles are crushing families, leading to thousands in out-of-pocket costs.

Housing

Home prices have increased 60% while household income has risen only 30% during that same period. As a result, average Americans are unable to afford a home in 70% of the country. Trump’s tax law has made owning a home even more expensive for middle-class families by greatly reducing the amount homeowners can deduct in property taxes. The Treasury Department estimates 11 million taxpayers lost $323 billion as a result, while corporations and billionaires received billions in tax breaks.

The cost of rent has also outpaced wage growth under the Trump administration, with rental costs rising 3.6% in 2018. Housing expenses for both renters and homeowners drain more than 30% of income — a common metric for home affordability — in more than 20% of metropolitan areas.



Debt

Trump likes to say the economy is great, but it’s not working for everyday people. As health care, education, housing costs and everyday expenses continue to rise in Trump’s economy, millions of working families are falling behind. 40% of families don’t have $400 to cover an emergency expense. Americans are facing increasing levels of credit card debt and delinquency. While middle-class families struggle with debt and soaring interest rates, Trump’s tax law gave banks $29 billion in extra profits. 

DEBT: U.S. household debt hit a record $13.54 trillion in 2018 — nearly $1 trillion higher than the peak of the financial crisis. Of that total debt, student loans constitute a record $1.5 trillion, doubling since the recession. The average student loan balance was $35,359 in the first quarter of 2019 — a 26% increase since 2014 alone. And while young Americans face soaring student debt, Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would actually cut programs that seek to keep college affordable for many Americans.

MISSED PAYMENTS: Under President Trump, interest rates reached their highest point in decades, and rising credit card and auto loan delinquencies caused economists at the New York Fed to warn, “The substantial and growing number of distressed borrowers suggests that not all Americans have benefited from the strong labor market.” 1 in 6 Americans have a past-due medical bill on their credit report. And in February 2019, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported a record 7 million Americans were 90+ days behind on auto loan payments, a total even higher than at the height of the financial crisis. 

Child care

Without a pay bump under President Trump, millions of Americans are still struggling to afford even the basic costs associated with raising a family. The annual cost of child care has exploded to over $20,000 in some states, more than in-state college tuition.

Retirement

Lagging wages and difficulty paying for everyday needs mean that many American families can’t afford retirement or worry about if they’ll retire at all. Only 36% of people say their retirement savings are on track, and 23% say they never plan to retire.


/// /////////////////////////////\\\\/////// \\\///

Playbook-script



POLITICO

CONGRESS

Trump gets the impeachment payback he wanted

The president's defense team barely addressed the charges against him. Instead, they attacked his enemies.



President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team knew they were likely to win — and they proceeded accordingly.

With a virtually negligible threat of conviction and removal by a Republican-controlled Senate, Trump’s legal team spent just a sliver of their 11-hour arguments rebutting the House’s charge that Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.



Instead, they tailored a defense that often mirrored the president’s pre-trial demands: to exact pain and revenge against his political enemies, all on the Senate floor.

What ensued was a Who’s Who of the president’s frequent Twitter targets: Obama, Comey, Mueller, Strzok, Page, Ohr — names that had little to no connection to the impeachment charges, but occupy a lot of space on Trump’s list of political enemies and whom Trump perceives as at least a part of the reason he will bear the stain of impeachment.

“That’s what the president’s been living with. And then we’re here today arguing about what — a phone call to Ukraine or Ukraine aid being held? Or a question about corruption?” Trump’s lead personal attorney Jay Sekulow said Tuesday. “I mean, is that what this is? Is that where we are?”

Of the 15 presentations made by Trump’s lawyers over three days, just two were entirely focused on House Democrats’ Ukraine allegations — and both were helmed by White House deputy counsel Michael Purpura.



Three presentations by Purpura’s fellow White House lawyer Patrick Phibin asserted that the House case was procedurally defective and should be rejected for process-related failures, a response to the House’s second impeachment article charging Trump with obstruction of the House impeachment inquiry. Two were high-level overviews by Trump’s lead lawyer Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel. And another two centered on the constitutional cases against removing the president from office, delivered by Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz, two high-profile outside attorneys added for a bit of star power.

That left five speeches that seemed entirely intended to scratch Trump’s itch to drag his political rivals into the impeachment arena, something he repeatedly foreshadowed in the weeks before the trial. It was a consistent tactic for Trump, who has maintained for months that his July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president — the conversation at the center of Trump’s impeachment, in which he pushed for an investigation into 2020 challenger Joe Biden — was “perfect.”

Sekulow even echoed Trump’s language throughout his presentation on Tuesday.

“[Democrats] are talking about perfectly lawful actions on their face, but they want to make it impeachable if it’s just a wrong idea inside the president’s head,” he said. “It is our position legally, the president at all times acted with perfect legal authority inquired of matters in our national interest.”

One of Trump’s lawyers, Eric Herschmann, made an argument that former President Barack Obama committed an “abuse of power” akin to the allegations against Trump when Obama was caught on a microphone telling then-Russian President Dmitriy Medevedev he would have more “flexibility” on Russia policy after the 2012 election.



“The case against President Obama would have been far stronger than the allegations against President Trump,” Herschmann said.

Another Trump attorney, Pam Bondi, spent nearly an hour suggesting that Biden’s son Hunter was involved in a corrupt deal with a Ukrainian energy company. She presented no evidence that a crime had been committed but suggested it warranted investigation — into both Hunter and Joe Biden, who was spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy at the time.

Democrats have called the charge baseless and argued that Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate it could only be meant to tarnish a rival he viewed as a political threat. And they noted, with rueful irony, that Trump used his own high-profile impeachment trial to mount the innuendo-laden investigation he initially asked Ukraine to perform. A Ukrainian investigation into Biden was never announced, as allegedly sought by Trump’s allies; but all of the major networks spent hours airing the Trump legal team’s arguments.

And Jane Raskin, who also served on Trump’s defense team in the Mueller inquiry, used her speech primarily to sing the praises of Rudy Giuliani, a central figure in Democrats’ impeachment case. She contrasted him with the House’s lead impeachment manager, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), whom she portrayed as the loser in both the Mueller and impeachment cases.

“The score is, Mayor Giuliani 4, Mr. Schiff 0,” Raskin said.

But it was Sekulow’s final speech — the last full presentation in Trump’s entire defense — that became a sort of grand finale of Trump’s grievances, a speech that appeared geared toward his client as opposed to the audience of Senate Republicans looking for reasons to vote to acquit. Some senators left the chamber seemingly bewildered by the performance and tone.

Sekulow lashed out at the FBI over a recent inspector-general report that attorneys there abused their authority to obtain a warrant to surveil a former Trump campaign aide. He slammed former FBI Director James Comey for leaking memos to a New York Times reporter meant to spur the appointment of a special counsel that resulted in the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. And he devoted time to a complaint that Mueller’s team lost text messages between two agents who shared anti-Trump sentiments.

All of it, he said, should be factors in Trump’s acquittal — or else constitutional order in the U.S. would be permanently damaged.

“Danger. Danger. Danger,” he said, part of a refrain he repeated five times. “To lower the bar of impeachment, based on these articles of impeachment, would impact the functioning of our constitutional republic and the framework of that Constitution for generations.”

Democrats contended that the scattershot attacks on Trump’s perceived political enemies suggested a lack of confidence in their overall defense of the president on the Ukraine charge.

“The president’s lawyers today and in the prior presentations really did not, cannot defend the president on the facts,” Schiff told reporters Tuesday. “Instead they used their time on the floor today to go through a list of grievances which I’m sure the president was delighted to hear, but nonetheless, not particularly relevant to the charges against the president here today.”


 



 MOST READ

Democrats are already bracing for a ‘hostile’ Trump transition

Donald Trump Is Not a Doctor. But He Plays One on Twitter.

Trump allies are handing out cash to black voters

Trump claims Bolton book is ‘classified national security risk

© 2020 POLITICO LLC
Last edited by Meno_ on Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby MagsJ » Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:35 am

I’ll catch updates on Sky News later today.. it sounds like it’s transpiring like I expected it to.. well at this stage anyway.

Sky News UK
Does the public want impeachment?

Washington is consumed by impeachment. But very often, what Capitol Hill is obsessed with is not what voters care most about.

There is some indication this time though that people at home are watching what happens closely. Let's face it, Congress has the potential to oust the man the public chose to put in office.

Some recent polls show Mr Trump has a loyal core. In most surveys, opposition to impeachment among Republicans remains above 90%. His most ardent followers are white evangelicals.


But in the places that matter the most, he's looking a lot more vulnerable. According to a Times and Siena College poll, where voters in the six closest states carried by the president in 2016, 50% of registered voters supported the impeachment investigation and 45% opposed it.

Impeachment, even if it was to happen, certainly doesn't equal removal. In that Times/Sienna poll of swing states, a majority also opposed removing Mr Trump from office - 53% to 43%.

Ultimately, the public look as divided as Congress.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby MagsJ » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:16 am

Sky News US
Trump trial: What happened on day six as unlikely hero emerges for the Democrats

An unlikely hero for the Democrats has emerged in the form of Donald Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton.

Few expect Donald Trump to be removed from office come the end of his impeachment trial, but the Democrats have been given new fuel in their pursuit of sworn evidence from former US national security adviser John Bolton.

Here's what you need to know from day six of the trial.

In a sentence

John Bolton, Donald Trump's former national security adviser, claims the president directly withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to secure an investigation into his political opponents.


Mr Bolton's explosive allegation features in his new book, The Room Where It Happened. Pressure is now growing among Republicans to allow him to testify.

He's an unlikely hero for Democrats, but they hope he could be a star witness and provide damming evidence of wrongdoing to help support their case of removing the president from office. Mr Trump plans to block him from talking on the grounds of protecting national security.



In 100 words

The reality is, there may now be enough new pressure on Senate Republicans to allow witnesses at the impeachment trial. Mr Bolton is not a peripheral figure. He worked closely with Mr Trump and he's the first person to claim he was a direct eyewitness to the president tying aid to investigating Joe Biden.

Moderate Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins have already strongly signalled they would vote for witnesses. Democrats only need two more Republicans to potentially push it over the line.

But the story doesn't end there. Mr Trump has made clear he will try to exert executive privilege and cite national security concerns to prevent Mr Bolton from talking.

His defence lawyers say Mr Bolton's account doesn't change any facts. But he is a key figure and his evidence explicitly speaks to the Democrats' case. The White House will have a fight on its hands trying to stop the Senate from at least hearing him out.


In a quote

“The reports about John Bolton's book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations around my colleagues.”
- Republican Senator Susan Collins


Tweet of the day

C5AC83A9-3528-4851-A5FF-5ED34F112626.jpeg
C5AC83A9-3528-4851-A5FF-5ED34F112626.jpeg (138.25 KiB) Viewed 1009 times

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Re: Trump enters the stage - astounding! Here Is The Swamp!

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:04 am

Trump's lawyers rolled out a breathtaking new defense

Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN

Updated 11:13 PM EST, Wed January 29, 2020

 



A version of this story appears in CNN's Impeachment Watch newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.

(CNN)President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyer Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday rolled out a novel and very Trumpian legal argument in his client's defense: The President's personal interest is the national interest when he's up for reelection.

The logic here is that Trump believes his reelection is what's best for the country, so therefore whatever he does to secure a second term is, by definition, in the national interest. That's despite the fact that what he did was hold up US aid, approved by Congress, as leverage to get the investigation he wanted into former Vice President Joe Biden, his potential 2020 rival. 

Read the whole story. 

Could any President be impeached under that standard? I talked on Wednesday's podcast with CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin. Plus, CNN congressional reporter Lauren Fox describes the scene at the Capitol and whether former national security adviser John Bolton will be called as a witness. Listen here.

Trump explodes at Bolton and wavering Republicans

Agitated, under pressure and still unsure he has enough loyalty among Senate Republicans to dictate when his own impeachment trial will end, Trump lashed out Wednesday at his former national security adviser as his White House tried to halt publication of an unflattering book that confirms elements of the storyline that got Trump impeached by Democrats.

Rage on Twitter targeting Bolton

The President personally attacked John Bolton, who was fired by tweet in September just before the Ukraine scandal erupted. Bolton is apparently willing to testify at the impeachment trial and, apparently, spill the beans on their private conversations he has detailed in a forthcoming book. Dismissing Bolton as someone who "begged" him for a job, Trump said, "if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?" 

Related: Trump's pattern of turning on people he once hired

Trump's millions of Twitter followers witnessed the President's frustrations, but his real audience was the handful of Republican senators who won't bend to his will and end his impeachment trial ASAP.

Bolton is already part of this trial

During the first day of Senate questions -- which were read, deadpan, by Chief Justice John Roberts -- Bolton played a big role.

The first question was posed by three Republican senators who've suggested they might be open to calling witnesses (Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski).

The second question, posed by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was whether the Senate could return a "fully informed" verdict without testimony by Bolton and others.

It went on from there. Read what happened here: Senators ask questions with an eye to witness vote.

Worth noting

The President's defense attorneys in his Senate impeachment trial have criticized the House impeachment managers for not producing any firsthand witnesses alleging that any quid pro quo came from the President himself.

Bolton got a formal threat, too

CNN's Jake Tapper reports The White House has issued a formal threat to Bolton to keep him from publishing his book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

From Tapper's report: 

In a letter to Bolton's lawyer, a top official at the National Security Council wrote the unpublished manuscript of Bolton's book "appears to contain significant amounts of classified information" and couldn't be published as written. The letter, which is dated January 23, said some of the information was classified at the "top secret" level, meaning it "reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave harm to the national security." Read the letter here.

And here's Bolton's response, via his lawyer Charles Cooper.

What's in the book?

Reports from The New York Times and The Washington Post suggest that Bolton's book details a time last August when Trump directly linked $391 million in security aid to Ukraine with that country's government launching investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump has repeatedly made unfounded and false claims about Joe Biden relating to Ukraine.

Also: Bolton called Democratic congressman in September

Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement Wednesday that Bolton tipped him off way back in September -- just as the Ukraine story was breaking and before the impeachment inquiry -- to investigate the ouster of US Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Story here.

Democrats, get ready for the Hunter Biden debate 

Play a little political chess in your head and you can envision a scenario where Democrats are the ones to ultimately kill the idea of hearing witnesses at the impeachment trial because they don't want to call Hunter Biden.

If it emerges there are four Republican votes to hear from John Bolton -- I am still extremely skeptical -- Republicans will insist that Democrats suffer witnesses too. The number one GOP request could be Hunter Biden, whose appearance would be uncomfortable for his dad, Joe, who is in the top tier of Democrats vying for the party's presidential nomination.

Should Roberts make the witness decision?

Both Collins and Romney have suggested both sides of the aisle should get witnesses. And now, even moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia are sounding open to the idea, although he'd like to defer the decision-making to Roberts, who is presiding over the whole trial.

"I want witnesses," Manchin told CNN. "I definitely want witnesses. The only thing I've said is that there should be an adult in the room and that's Chief Justice Roberts. We should vote again on Chief Justice Roberts being able to determine who is pertinent... if Hunter Biden is one of the people who is pertinent to the evidence or to the trial then absolutely."  

In an interview Wednesday night on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," Manchin said he wants the process to be fair.

"What I meant to say was that I believe it has to be fair," Manchin said. "If the Democrats get 1, 2, 3, 4 -- shouldn't the Republicans get the same amount? But they should be relevant to the charges made against the President."

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico doesn't think Biden would have much to offer to the trial, but he told Bash he'd consider ceding authority to Roberts.

"I would be okay him making a decision on relevancy," Udall said. "It's a lot better than us fighting on these partisan things of this witness, that witness back and forth. Should there be a trade, all those kinds of things."

If McConnell really wanted Hunter Biden to testify, he'd already have been subpoenaed

Other Democrats are extremely opposed to Biden appearing. And Schumer pointed out Republicans actually have the votes to call Biden right now.

"Trump and McConnell could call for Hunter Biden today. They don't want to. They know it would turn things into a circus," Schumer said. 

And bookmark this piece for after the witness debate is over: Red state Democrats won't rule out clearing Trump.

Lamar!

"The Lamar Alexander question. That is the whole ball game," said Dana Bash on CNN after talking to senior Republicans about their effort to squash witnesses at the trial.

It's well known that Romney and Collins want to hear from Bolton. Murkowski is on the bubble. But Alexander could be the necessary fourth Republican vote for Bolton testimony.

Why Alexander would support witnesses:

1. He's an old school pol who respects the deliberative properties senators like to talk about in their institution.

2. He's retiring and not beholden to voters.

Why he won't:

1. He's not exactly a moderate, although he prizes bipartisanship.

2. He's very close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Bash reports Senate Republicans find it hard to believe that Alexander in particular would break with the party. That's not saying he won't, but they think he is less likely to do it at the end of the day.

The bad precedent argument

The argument Alexander's colleagues are using with him, and others, is that if the Senate agrees to "do the House's work for them" it would set a precedent such that the House -- which can pass anything with a majority -- can keep doing this with impeachment in the future, jamming the Senate and taking the body off course from its agenda.

Lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff hit back at this idea during question time at the trial Wednesday.

"Think about the precedent you will set if you don't hear witnesses," he said.

Extra credit: Known for his walking campaigns across Tennessee as a Senate candidate and across early primary states as a presidential candidate, here's Alexander on C-Span when he walked across New Hampshire in 1995, wearing his red checkered lumberjack shirt. His signature campaign signs said, "Lamar!"

More from the proceedings

The Barr question -- Bolton's book could draw Attorney General William Barr into the impeachment political fight that Barr has deftly avoided for months, write CNN's Evan Perez and David Shortell. Private conversations between Bolton and Barr, who have known each other for decades, are featured in Bolton's draft manuscript for his book, appearing to lend credibility to some of Bolton's sharpest critiques of the President who fired him.

Separately, given the role Barr played in Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, it's remarkable to me that Barr has not been drawn more into the impeachment fight.

The John Roberts court -- Roberts' role in all of this is not unlike a clerk of sorts. His challenge today is reading the questions senators have written out. He played it straight. Like the umpire he promised to be!

Dershowitz v. Warren on the law -- Dershowitz, s former Harvard law school professor, says Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard law school professor, doesn't understand the law after she criticized his defense of Trump at the impeachment trial. 

Impeachment watcher -- Lev Parnas, the indicted former associate of Rudy Giuliani, was on Capitol Hill to watch the proceedings at the invitation of Schumer, although it wasn't clear if he'd be allowed in the Senate since he's wearing an ankle tracker and electronic devices aren't allowed in the chamber.



© 2020 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



??????????!!!!!!!?????!!!!!!????????!!!!!!!!!
What the XXxX!!!!!!!!???????!!!!!

{Can not be, yet it is, what it is!!!!!!!

The brazen naivete5 and the fugitive malice!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can anyone believe it?



For the God fanned national interest, should not Trump and the rest of the gangsters get together to avoid such extreme deconstruction ad in infinitum!

The swamp is deliberit a my being used, instead of the alleged attempt of drainage!


They are minimizing cleverly their intelligent d, to promote a wholesome American transcendence, well in the know in how to skirt and simulate politi cal reality, to whip up fervent but false alliances between said god and Man!

How perfectly Nietzchean and demoralizing in actuality!!!!!!}


And this is the actual brazen argument they are using::::::::

"Mr. Trump’s lawyers offered their most expansive defense of the president to date, effectively arguing that a president cannot be removed from office for demanding political favors if he believes his re-election is in the national interest."

{{{{{{{{{Arminius and St.James predicted such outcome as well, basing their argument on something as ominous to happen, even coinciding with the nuclear war scenario that is brought into play by Tump's tweet as well.}}}}}}}}}*



{The buildup of a new fascism here is implicit as in a kindergarten would understand! Astounding .}*


*{ } material that includes my narrative.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - does Trump's WW6 scenario a cre

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:31 am

{St.James and Arminius had implied precisely this: a few years ago, will try to dig it up, and it would be informative now, to have them here to discuss it.

So , if You are reading this Armenius, as You had in our fairly recent correspondences, could You again briefly come back for a spell , or, Your wife?- or any theories out there, at.least to diminish a very apprehensive state of mind regarding credibility on the whole?


{The implications are quite obvious philosophically.

Throughout this long forum , interspersed throughout , the idea that Kant's categorical argument of a synthetic approach may work, has finally been put to rest, by arrival into the realm of pure fascism. A fascism gently passed into the night and ultimate twilight of democratic process.

It is no longer the question of what interest brought us to this point, but the required revival of categorical conflict between the very basic antimony between idea and matter, of form and content, of being and nothingness.

There appears only one way that a no exit can be reversed, that of exit yes, but exiting from one into another room, all forbidding exit, yet compelled to create more and more parallel rooms of existence, in order to absolutely simulate cantor's underground passage.

The birth of tragedy can be literally seen as taken up by Dostoevsky in 'letters from underground' and modern utilized by the metaphoric parallel of 'Shining'

There is only one thing we men are absolutely terrified of , and that is the pure horror it's self.}
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Re: Trump enters the stage - political sandwich

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:53 am

MagsJ wrote:Sky News US
Trump trial: What happened on day six as unlikely hero emerges for the Democrats

An unlikely hero for the Democrats has emerged in the form of Donald Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton.

Few expect Donald Trump to be removed from office come the end of his impeachment trial, but the Democrats have been given new fuel in their pursuit of sworn evidence from former US national security adviser John Bolton.

Here's what you need to know from day six of the trial.

In a sentence

John Bolton, Donald Trump's former national security adviser, claims the president directly withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to secure an investigation into his political opponents.


Mr Bolton's explosive allegation features in his new book, The Room Where It Happened. Pressure is now growing among Republicans to allow him to testify.

He's an unlikely hero for Democrats, but they hope he could be a star witness and provide damming evidence of wrongdoing to help support their case of removing the president from office. Mr Trump plans to block him from talking on the grounds of protecting national security.



In 100 words

The reality is, there may now be enough new pressure on Senate Republicans to allow witnesses at the impeachment trial. Mr Bolton is not a peripheral figure. He worked closely with Mr Trump and he's the first person to claim he was a direct eyewitness to the president tying aid to investigating Joe Biden.

Moderate Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins have already strongly signalled they would vote for witnesses. Democrats only need two more Republicans to potentially push it over the line.

But the story doesn't end there. Mr Trump has made clear he will try to exert executive privilege and cite national security concerns to prevent Mr Bolton from talking.

His defence lawyers say Mr Bolton's account doesn't change any facts. But he is a key figure and his evidence explicitly speaks to the Democrats' case. The White House will have a fight on its hands trying to stop the Senate from at least hearing him out.


In a quote

“The reports about John Bolton's book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations around my colleagues.”
- Republican Senator Susan Collins


Tweet of the day

C5AC83A9-3528-4851-A5FF-5ED34F112626.jpeg





MagsJ: some of the material You mentioned I sandwich between prior , and post Congressional Procedure here. and it might interest You to know, that as a pre-requisite reading, Both should be read to gain proper perspective. I am using both more 'real' and fictional accounts, mixed between hypothesis and hyperthesis, to exemplify the degree to which political acumen has disintegrated.

That is , Your time permitting
Thanks.
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Re: Trump enters the stage- Senate judgement

Postby Meno_ » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:24 am

Senators , as expected, voted along party lines to block introducing Trump held evidence, and witnesses.
Will they follow suit with squirting him of wrongdoing?

Some observers came out and expressed the opinion, that Trump's behavior will be closely watched.

If, for instance, he comes out with exuberant claims of being totally vindicated by both parties, some hesitancy on the senators'part may be noted, for they are keeping tabs on the way their constituency will react.

Will precedent be established, emboldening future presidents from corruption and non concern from Congressional oversight ?

This is a Constitutional concern as well.

The political future of the United States appears cloudy indeed.


/////// ////// ////////////////// ////////


Jan. 31, 2020, 8:18 PM EST



WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial promises to leave him more powerful in Washington — and possibly more vulnerable to defeat on the campaign trail.

That's in part because a handful of pivotal Senate Republicans chose to condemn Trump's behavior in office while protecting him from both official sanction and the potential jeopardy of witnesses unraveling his impeachment defense under oath. As a result, Trump is on the verge of emerging from the trial with a tacit green light to defy Congress without fear of reprisal, and also safe in the knowledge that elected representatives will push only so far to find out whether he tells the truth to the public.

"It’s arguable that he’s the most politically powerful president in American history," presidential biographer Jon Meacham said on NBC News during a break in the trial Friday.

But that power, demonstrated with the Senate's 51-49 vote Friday against considering new evidence, combined with the mild rebukes from GOP senators to dilute the most compelling aspect of his political brand. It will be harder for Trump to cast himself as a victim of the system after allies in the Senate said he overstepped the bounds of his authority and then used their power to bail him out of trouble.

The more he looks like he's rigging the system, the less it looks rigged against him.

So there's a potential political silver lining for Democrats in their failure to win over enough Republicans to force White House officials to testify. They were quick to demonstrate how they will portray the Republican-led Senate as a tool Trump used to cover up his actions.

"How do you have a trial without witnesses?" Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the polling leader ahead of next Monday's first-in-the-nation Democratic presidential caucuses asked in a video posted online by his campaign Friday.

"This is outrageous, this is a mockery of justice and is sadly consistent with a president who believes he is above the law," Sanders said. "He is the beneficiary of a show trial that refused to allow the American people to hear the evidence against him."

In effect, the key group of GOP senators — Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Rob Portman of Ohio and Marco Rubio of Florida among them — accepted a White House defense that held there is nothing a president can do in pursuit of his own re-election, and little he can do short of flat-out treason or taking cash bribes, that would warrant removing him from office.

But while they gave Trump nearly a blank check to wield power over Congress for at least the nearly 12 months remaining in his current term, they also handed Democrats a separate cache of political ammunition to use against him in the 2020 election. Not only will the opposition accuse Trump of benefiting from a cover up, and Republicans lawmakers of executing it for him, but they now have a bank of statements showing some senators think what Trump did was wrong.

Portman said in a statement that Trump's "actions in this case — including asking a foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent and the delay of aid to Ukraine — were wrong and inappropriate." In doing so, he both criticized Trump and said in broad terms that the president had done what was alleged. Portman staked his decision to vote for acquittal on the very specific idea that Trump shouldn't be removed "in the middle of an election" based on the charges for which he was impeached.

Rubio tiptoed around the particulars of the allegations against Trump in a Medium post. Rubio hinted that he believed the charges rather than stating that outright, saying his decision to vote against ousting Trump was based on a logical framework that assumed the allegations were true. "Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office," he wrote.

Rubio said he decided Trump should not be shown the door "because doing so would inflict extraordinary and potentially irreparable damage to our already divided nation."

If the senators were trying to please all sides, it didn't work.

"This kind of thing is why voters dislike politicians so intently," said Reed Galen, a Republican strategist who sits on the advisory board of the anti-Trump super PAC The Lincoln Project. "Everyone knows they’re too chicken to do the right thing, so they say something mealy-mouthed and transparent."

What's clear from Trump's brief time in the political arena is that he will understand Congress has no appetite to stand in his way at all. Even fellow Republicans who believe he did what the House charged, and that it was wrong, aren't interested in hearing from witnesses who say he has misled the public.

At the same time, by helping him make such an ostentatious show of his power in the Senate, and by making clear they are uncomfortable with the way he used that power in the Ukraine affair, they have taken away some of his political magic — and given Democrats a better case to make to voters.



Jonathan Allen is a senior political analyst for NBC News, based in Washington.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - major gamble

Postby Meno_ » Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:01 pm

{The republicans reduced the criminal issue to the optical prescription of political motives . Has it succeeded?
Was the Ukraine or the Russian contended collusion more credible? Or was either true but their relative value instigated by one or both sides?
Did indeed any if it impinge on national security issues?
The culpability versus the credibility issues interact in such a way as to exclude evidence in favor of interpretation?. Or does a political gamble is underneath all the song and dance?
Will next years election shed some light on this reality search? The fact is, that doubts have risen, relegating the search to a non material academic discussion. Perhaps Nietzhe's search for the will's power has been finally concluded.}


The New York Times

The Trump Impeachment



Republicans Block Impeachment Witnesses, Clearing Path for Trump Acquittal

The narrow vote came after Republican senators said they did not need to hear more evidence, and pressed toward acquitting President Trump next week.



Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, on Friday at the Capitol. All but two Republicans voted to block witnesses.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times











Jan. 31, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Senate brought President Trump to the brink of acquittal on Friday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress, as Republicans voted to block consideration of new witnesses and documents in his impeachment trial and shut down a final push by Democrats to bolster their case for the president’s removal.

In a nearly party-line vote after a bitter debate, Democrats failed to win support from the four Republicans they needed. With Mr. Trump’s acquittal virtually certain, the president’s allies rallied to his defense, though some conceded he was guilty of the central allegations against him.

The Democrats’ push for more witnesses and documents failed 49 to 51, with only two Republicans, Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, joining Democrats in favor. A vote on the verdict is planned for Wednesday.

As they approached the final stage of the third presidential impeachment proceeding in United States history, Democrats condemned the witness vote and said it would render Mr. Trump’s trial illegitimate and his acquittal meaningless.



“America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, when the Senate turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “If the president is acquitted, with no witnesses, no documents, the acquittal will have no value because Americans will know that this trial was not a real trial.”

Even as they prepared to vote against removing him, several Republicans challenged Mr. Trump’s repeated assertions that he had done nothing wrong, saying they believed he had committed the main offense of which he was accused: withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats.

Still, those Republicans said, they were unwilling to remove a president fewer than 10 months before he is to face voters.

“If you are persuaded that he did it, why do you need more witnesses?” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, a critical swing vote on the issue whose late decision to oppose considering new evidence all but sealed Mr. Trump’s swift acquittal. “The country is not going to accept being told that they can’t elect the president they want to elect in the week the election starts by a majority for a merely inappropriate telephone call or action.”



“You don’t apply capital punishment for every offense,” Mr. Alexander added.

The vote signaled the end of a saga that has consumed Washington and threatened Mr. Trump’s hold on the presidency for the past five months, since the emergence in September of an anonymous whistle-blower complaint accusing him of using the levers of government to push Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

President Trump on Friday at the White House. He will most likely be acquitted next week.Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Senators recessed the trial for the weekend and will return Monday for closing arguments, with a vote on the verdict on Wednesday.

The timetable will rob Mr. Trump of the opportunity to use his State of the Union address scheduled for Tuesday night to boast about his acquittal, a prospect he has relished for several weeks. Instead, he will become the second president to deliver the speech during his own impeachment trial.



The senators adopted the plan by a partisan vote on Friday night, but only after Democrats tried once last time to subpoena four administration officials, including the former national security adviser John R. Bolton, and a collection of documents relevant to the case.

At the White House, Mr. Trump raged against a process he has dismissed from the start as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax,” preparing to make Democratic attempts to remove him a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.

“No matter what you give to the Democrats, in the end, they will NEVER be satisfied,” the president wrote on Twitter. “In the House, they gave us NOTHING!”

The outcome of the final vote was not in doubt. It would take a two-thirds majority — 67 senators — to convict Mr. Trump and remove him from office.



The president has insisted that he did nothing wrong, calling a July telephone conversation in which he asked the president of Ukraine to investigate his political rivals “perfect” and the impeachment inquiry a “sham.” For months, he has demanded that his allies deliver nothing less than an absolute defense of his actions. But while they were poised to acquit him, several Republicans offered words of criticism, instead.

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said that “some of the president’s actions in this case — including asking a foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent and the delay of aid to Ukraine — were wrong and inappropriate.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who challenged Mr. Trump for the Republican nomination in 2016, suggested that he did not necessarily consider the president innocent, either.

“Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office,” he said. “I will not vote to remove the president because doing so would inflict extraordinary and potentially irreparable damage to our already divided nation.”


Not every Republican senator thought Mr. Trump acted improperly. “For three-plus years, Democrats have been trying to parse every one of his words, add their traditional view and find themselves often perplexed,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota. “Part of the problem is that most of America likes the straight talk and occasionally forgives if he doesn’t say exactly the right thing.”



Senators rejected a call for additional witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, dealing a fatal blow to efforts by Democrats to bring about new evidence.Credit...Image by Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Reflecting the depth of the country’s divisions, both sides were already looking past the trial to begin framing the fight over Mr. Trump’s conduct ahead of the November election. The first voting of the season is Monday in Iowa.

With the threat of conviction removed, Mr. Trump enters the election season as the first impeached president in modern history to face voters. But his expected acquittal is also likely to leave the president emboldened. He will argue that Democrats, unelected bureaucrats and the mainstream news media have targeted him because of their disdain for his supporters, and that his fight for political survival is theirs as well.



Democrats, too, planned to capitalize on the impeachment fight by urging voters to punish Republicans for refusing to demand a more thorough trial and for sticking with Mr. Trump despite evidence of his misdeeds. But they faced the risks of a potential backlash.

After resisting impeachment for months, Speaker Nancy Pelosi embraced it amid revelations of Mr. Trump’s actions toward Ukraine last fall. In doing so, she calculated that her party could not fail to act against a president whose actions it saw as clearly outrageous. But she confronted what she knew to be an unmovable reality in the Senate, where Democrats were certain to fall far short of removing him.

Senate Republicans made a wager of their own that it was better to withstand the short-term criticisms rather than to allow the proceeding to stretch on and risking damaging revelations. In doing so, they are strapping their political fate to that of a polarizing president who enjoys unparalleled loyalty among conservative voters.



Senator Lisa Murkowski, left, voted against witnesses, while Senator Susan Collins sided with Democrats.Credit...Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

The Republican victory was sealed on Friday just moments after the debate was gaveled open and Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, issued a statement saying that a vote for additional witnesses would only extend what she called a “partisan” impeachment. Still, she lamented that the Senate trial had not been fair and that Congress had failed its obligation to the country.



Ms. Murkowski did not indicate how she would vote on the final articles of impeachment, which she denounced as “rushed and flawed.” But she offered an unusually sharp rebuke of the institution in which she serves, appearing to cast blame on both parties and both chambers of Congress for letting excessive partisanship overtake a solemn responsibility.



The House impeachment managers, including Representatives Adam B. Schiff and Sylvia R. Garcia, on Friday in the Capitol. “The facts will come — out in all of their horror, they will come out,” Mr. Schiff said.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate,” she said. “I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything.
“It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed,” Ms. Murkowski added

Speaking from the well of the Senate before the vote, the Democratic House managers made a final, urgent appeal for additional witnesses during a two-hour presentation on Friday. They warned senators that a refusal to hear new evidence would ensure that Mr. Trump would never be held accountable and would undermine the nation’s democratic order and the public’s faith in the institutions of government.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager, seized on a New York Times report published in the hours before the vote to hammer home his point. The article revealed that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Bolton last May to assist in his pressure campaign on Ukraine.

“The facts will come — out in all of their horror, they will come out,” Mr. Schiff said. “The witnesses the president is concealing will tell their stories,” he added. “And we will be asked why we didn’t want to hear that information when we had the chance. What answer shall we give if we do not pursue the truth now?”



Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, on Friday in his office.Credit...Anna Moneymaker/The New York Time

Mr. Trump’s defense team vigorously argued the opposite view, telling senators they had all the evidence they needed to dismiss the charges before them, and warning that calling new witnesses would set a dangerous precedent by validating a rushed and incomplete case presented by the House.

“The Senate is not here to do the investigatory work that the House didn’t do,” said Patrick Philbin, a deputy White House counsel.



The Impeachment Trial

Alexander Says Convicting Trump Would ‘Pour Gasoline on Cultural Fires’




© 2020 The New York Times



{And finally as a fait accompli, the suggestion that the whole charade was pre planned to save the bastion of capital, by securing control over the New World Order, by vastly strengthening the executive powers of the U.S. hold much more water then previously? If this was an optical assessment, the answer must be a resounding affirmative.}
Last edited by Meno_ on Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - political sandwich

Postby MagsJ » Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:13 pm

Meno_ wrote:MagsJ: some of the material You mentioned I sandwich between prior , and post Congressional Procedure here. and it might interest You to know, that as a pre-requisite reading, Both should be read to gain proper perspective. I am using both more 'real' and fictional accounts, mixed between hypothesis and hyperthesis, to exemplify the degree to which political acumen has disintegrated.

That is , Your time permitting
Thanks.

Hey Meno.. I found the contrast between your posts and the Sky News UK/US coverage very interesting, and as it’s the first time that I’ve actually read up on the Impeachment trial in depth, I became immersed in the data.. it’s what I do. :D

I haven’t followed the trial since, so am due for a live Sky News/Sky.com catchup, before I can comment further.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Wait, What! - MagsJ


The Lions Anger is Noble

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Re: Trump enters the stage - political sandwich

Postby Meno_ » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:33 pm

MagsJ wrote:
Meno_ wrote:MagsJ: some of the material You mentioned I sandwich between prior , and post Congressional Procedure here. and it might interest You to know, that as a pre-requisite reading, Both should be read to gain proper perspective. I am using both more 'real' and fictional accounts, mixed between hypothesis and hyperthesis, to exemplify the degree to which political acumen has disintegrated.

That is , Your time permitting
Thanks.

Hey Meno.. I found the contrast between your posts and the Sky News UK/US coverage very interesting, and as it’s the first time that I’ve actually read up on the Impeachment trial in depth, I became immersed in the data.. it’s what I do. :D

I haven’t followed the trial since, so am due for a live Sky News/Sky.com catchup, before I can comment further.




MagsJ!


I can't but wait to hear how this comes down to more then a regional interpretation !
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Ecmandu » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:54 am

Donald trump is singularly responsible for making me believe presidents don’t exist.

I said a couple years ago “Donald trump is not my president”, but then I realized after that, that nobody is.

It’s an extremely high bar now for a human to be my “commander in chief”

I hope someone lives up to it.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:25 am

Ecmandu wrote:Donald trump is singularly responsible for making me believe presidents don’t exist.

I said a couple years ago “Donald trump is not my president”, but then I realized after that, that nobody is.

It’s an extremely high bar now for a human to be my “commander in chief”

I hope someone lives up to it.



{One thought to counter Your apprehension. This whole act is nothing more then an obvious attempt-so far winning, to exemplify the great overbearing fear of getting back a democratic administration.

They were, ( the republicans) willing to gamble republican political credibility, by adopting a no holds dirty contest over the Ukraine/Russia simplicity. They careemed toward the duping of all governmental institutions and even embroiled themselves in very shaky games plays, that they knew to be a winning hand, do to the republican control of the Senate.

Trump had to bark according to that gAme plan, carefully crafted with nuanced embellished rhetoric.

That this will be kept up , by stepped up propaganda is certain, if the past has any guidance to their methods.

From day 1 the snowball became more and more unstoppable, so pretty much, this winning hand shall certainly not be abandoned.}


IDEAS

The Downfall of the Republican Party

To see men and women who had a positive vision beaten down and broken by Trump is a poignant thing.

PETER WEHNER8:00 AM ET

A statue representing "Grief" lays her covered face on the shoulder of the statue representing "History" outside the U.S. Capitol.MARY CALVERT / REUTERS

On Friday, Republicans in the United States Senate—with the exception of Mitt Romney and Susan Collins—voted to prevent John Bolton, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, from testifying in the impeachment trial of the president.



The reason they did so is undeniable: They did not want to hear from the most credible fact witness of all, one whose account would further implicate the president in his corrupt scheme—his “drug deal,” in Bolton’s words—to pressure the Ukrainian government to open an investigation to harm Trump’s main political opponent.

Republicans, from beginning to end, sought not to ensure that justice be done or truth be revealed. Instead, they sought to ensure that Trump not be removed from office under any circumstances, defending him at all costs. The job of Senate Republicans was to make their acquittal of the president as quick and painless for them as possible. In this particular case, facts and evidence—reality—were viewed as grave threats, which is why they had to be buried.

This is simply the latest act in an unfolding political drama, one in which the party of Lincoln and Reagan has now become, in every meaningful sense, the party of Trump.

I have written before about the massive moral and ethical defects of the president; there’s no need to rehearse them here. The point I want to make is a somewhat different one, which is that Trump’s takeover of the GOP has happened not because he is widely loved or admired by Republican lawmakers but because he is feared; not because most of the people in the Republican Senate Conference aspire to be like him, but because they are too timid to challenge him.

From a certain perspective, their timidity is understandable. They know that to publicly challenge Trump—to call out his ethical transgressions, cruelty, and indecency even as they support his policies—invites impassioned attacks from Trump supporters and, in some cases, a primary challenge. No one likes to be under attack, particularly by the base of one’s own party, and no one wants to lose a job.















Moreover, they will argue, they must defend the president in public so they can have influence in private. They have also convinced themselves that they are essential to the project of repairing the Republican Party post-Trump, and that this requires that they not be viewed as disloyal to Trump while he’s serving as president. “What good does it do to attack Trump?” they will ask. He won’t change his ways, and they will only weaken themselves in the process. (Many of them are happy to attack Trump in private conversations, citing, chapter and verse, things he has said or done that alarm them, showing that they both know better and are playing a cynical game.)

That, at least, is the story they tell themselves. Some of what they say is worth taking into account. But what they don’t tell themselves, probably because it would be too psychologically shattering, is that they have become fully complicit in a corrupt enterprise called the Trump presidency. (Romney is the rare exception.) They are defending actions they know are wrong and that, if they had been done by a Democratic president, they would be outraged by. More than that, they are validating Trump’s approach to politics—the hyper-aggression, the lawlessness, the mendacity, the shamelessness—and therefore guaranteeing imitators. It also happens that their influence on the president is far smaller than they tell themselves. They have made concession after concession after concession, justifying each one along the way. Then you look back at the road they’ve traveled, and it’s breathtaking. Donald Trump has changed them far more than they have changed Donald Trump.

In 1991, when Václav Havel received the Sonning Prize for contributions to European civilization, he spoke about those “who are starting to lose their battle with the temptations of power.” It is an insidious thing, Havel warned, to become captive to the perks of power. Politicians, he said, soon learn how easy it is to justify staying in power even as they give up bits of their soul in the process. It is easier than they think, he said, to get “morally tainted.”

“Politics is an area of human endeavor that places greater stress on moral sensitivity,” Havel concluded, “on the ability to reflect critically on oneself, on genuine responsibility, on taste and tact, on the capacity to empathize with others, on a sense of moderation, on humility. It is a job for modest people, for people who cannot be deceived.”

To see men and women who in other spheres of their lives are admirable, who got into politics because they believed it was a noble profession and had a positive vision for the Republican Party, beaten down and broken by Trump is a poignant thing. Their weakness and servility, their vassalage to such a fundamentally corrupt man, is dispiriting to those of us who not only lament the injury Trump is inflicting on the nation as a whole but who still care about the Republican Party and worry that conservatism is in the process of being subsumed into angry, ethnic populism.

What Republicans who have rallied behind Trump don’t fully grasp yet is the toxic effect he’s had on the younger generation, and on college-educated, suburban, and nonwhite voters. (Trump is wildly popular among blue-collar and rural voters, who are shrinking as a percentage of the voting population.) The damage done by Trump won’t be limited in its reach. He has imperiled the future of the party he leads. And those who think the GOP will simply snap back to the best of what it was pre-Trump—who think the worst elements of Trumpism will vanish once he leaves the White House—are kidding themselves.

Those who fell in line behind Trump have empowered him (and his many acolytes and media propagandists) to redefine much of conservatism and the principles that once informed the Republican Party. I don’t think that is what they intended, but that is what they have helped achieve.

Few things in life are permanent, most of all in the realm of politics. The fight for the future of the Republican Party, post-Trump, will be an intense one. Those of us who are conservatives and those on the center-right who believe the soul of GOP is still worth fighting for will not go gently into the good night.

But for now, Donald Trump has an iron grip on the Republican Party—and Republican lawmakers who privately lament what he has done have publicly enabled what he has done. That is something that must haunt at least a few of them, at least in their private moments, when they lay aside their rationalizations for just a moment and reflect on the role they have played in this horror show.

PETER WEHNER is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Egan visiting professor at Duke University. He writes widely on political, cultural, religious, and national-security issues, and he is the author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.



Copyright © 2020 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Biden impeachment?

Postby Meno_ » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:48 pm

Fox News


2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONPublished February 03, 2020Last Update 3 hrs ago
As Joe Biden competes for a win in Iowa, one GOP senator is already talking about impeaching him







Joe Biden sits near the top of most polls ahead of the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, and his campaign is hoping for a win that could help propel Biden to the Democratic nomination and later the White House -- but one Republican senator from the Hawkeye state is already talking about impeaching the former vice president if he gets there.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told Bloomberg News on Sunday that Republicans could impeach Biden for his dealings in Ukraine, specifically his handling of foreign policy with the country as his son, Hunter, was on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. Her comments come just before her constituents go to the polls Monday to cast the very first votes of the 2020 presidential election cycle.

"I think this door of impeachable whatever has been opened," Ernst said in an interview, according to Bloomberg News. "Joe Biden should be very careful what he’s asking for because, you know, we can have a situation where if it should ever be President Biden, that immediately, people, right the day after he would be elected would be saying, 'Well, we’re going to impeach him.'"

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, walks in the U.S. Capitol on the first full day of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, walks in the U.S. Capitol on the first full day of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

KARL ROVE'S ADVICE TO TRUMP FOR SOTU ADDRESS: 'THE LESS SAID ABOUT IMPEACHMENT, THE BETTER OFF'




Ernst claimed that Biden would be accused of "being assigned to take on Ukrainian corruption yet turning a blind eye to Burisma because his son was on the board making over a million dollars a year."

Biden and his son Hunter found themselves caught up in the Trump impeachment proceedings because Trump specifically asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the pair during a July 25 phone call between the two leaders, which was at the heart of the impeachment investigation into Trump. The president is accused of holding almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as leverage to get Zelensky to announce investigations that would have allegedly been helpful to Trump in his reelection bid.

But Trump is almost certain to be acquitted by the Senate later this week after the body voted Friday not to hear witness testimony or subpoena additional documents in its trial of Trump after the House of Representatives impeached him for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

At a press conference last week, Ernst intimated that her constituents should take note of how often Biden was coming up in impeachment proceedings.


CANDIDATES MAKE THEIR CLOSING CASES ON THE EVE OF IOWA'S CAUCUSES

"Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening and I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus-goers," she said. "Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?"

In response, Biden said Ernst and Trump are "scared" that Republicans may have to face a Democratic ticket with him at the top come November.

"Iowa caucus-goers take note," Biden tweeted. "Joni Ernst just spilled the beans. She and Donald Trump are scared to death I’ll be the nominee. On Feb. 3rd, let’s make their day."

MURKOWSKI APPEARS TO DING WARREN IN STATEMENT ANNOUNCING 'NO' VOTE ON IMPEACHMENT WITNESSES

Ernst's comments also come as Republicans cite the partisan nature of Democrats' impeachment of Trump -- specifically that there were some calling for Trump to be impeached before he was even inaugurated and before the Ukraine scandal happened -- as one reason they are opting not to remove him from office.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, whose commitment to vote against witnesses Friday gave Republicans their 51st vote on the issue, guaranteeing the result, alluded to that dynamic in a statement explaining her vote.

"Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate," she said. "I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed."


Iowans will meet at their caucus locations at 7 p.m. Central Time on Monday.

Tyler Olson covers politics for FoxNews.com. broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2020 FOX News Network, LLC
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Re: Trump enters the stage-Steven King on Suzan Collins

Postby Meno_ » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:02 am

U.S.

STEPHEN KING CALLS FOR SUSAN COLLINS' OUSTER FROM THE SENATE FOLLOWING IMPEACHMENT TRIAL


U.S. STEPHEN KING DONALD TRUMP SUSAN COLLINS MAINE

Best-selling author Stephen King has slammed Republicans and called for the ouster of his state's senator – Susan Collins of Maine – predicting that the GOP lawmaker will vote to acquit President Donald Trump in the ongoing impeachment trial.

King, whose well-known books have been developed into films and television series, has been a frequent critic of Trump and Republican lawmakers. The author was even previously blocked by the president on Twitter. As a Maine resident, King has strongly criticized Collins on multiple occasions in the past.

On Friday, the Republican majority of the Senate voted against calling for additional witnesses and evidence in the president's impeachment trial, despite Democrats' urging. Collins, as well as GOP Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, voted with Democrats to hear from further witnesses. It's unclear whether Collins and Romney plan to vote to acquit or remove Trump from office.



"Whitewash. Shameful," King tweeted on Saturday, referring to the impeachment trial. He then went on to predict that Collins would vote to acquit the president along with her Republican colleagues, calling for her to be voted out of office as she faces re-election this year.

"Republican [Lisa] Murkowski [of Alaska], not up for re-election, voted against witnesses. Republican Collins, up for re-election, voted for witnesses. Both will vote to acquit," he tweeted. "It's Moscow Mitch [McConnell] at his finest. Hey hey, ho ho, Susan Collins has to go."

Murkowski had previously suggested that she would consider voting with Democrats to call for additional witnesses, but inevitably sided with her Republican colleagues against the measure. Democrats needed at least four GOP lawmakers to side with them in order for the vote to pass with a simple majority of 51 to 47 in the Republican-controlled Senate.

McConnell, the Senate majority leader from Kentucky, had repeatedly said ahead of the trial that he planned to coordinate closely with the White House. This led many Democrats, and some Republicans, to raise concerns about his lack of impartiality. McConnell has previously drawn significant criticism for blocking legislation to address foreign election interference – particularly from Russia – leading to critics calling him "Moscow Mitch." U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump.

Senator Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) walks during a break in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill on January 31 in Washington, D.C.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GETTY

King has repeatedly called for Collins to be voted out of office.

"It's time for Susan Collins to go," the author tweeted last June, after Democrat Sara Gideon announced her intention to challenge the senator in 2020.

"Susan Collins has been there for about a thousand years," he later lamented in September during an interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Collins' approval rating has dropped sharply since Trump took office in 2017. Morning Consult found that she has the highest disapproval (52 percent) of any senator nationally, dropping from 67 percent approval when the president took office to just 42 percent at the end of 2019.



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Rebooting Trump



Will Trump use impeachment big time in his State of the Union message? -Republicans hope not.


Final vote on impeachment awaits senators as they state their pos...

Donald Trump may take early victory lap at State of the Union as impeachment winds down

DAVID JACKSON | USA TODAY | 3 hours ago.



With the vast majority of senators voting along party lines, a motion to call witnesses failed in the U.S. Senate in Trump's impeachment trial.

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will use Tuesday's State of the Union address to tout his record on the economy and – perhaps – take an early victory lap with the Senate impeachment trial expected to wrap up this week.

Trump, who ran on the slogan "Make America Great Again," has dubbed this year's speech "the Great American Comeback."

"We’re going to talk about the achievements that we’ve made," Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity in a Super Bowl Sunday interview.

The address will take place before a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m. EST and offers Trump a high-profile platform to argue for his reelection. It comes a day after problems with the Iowa caucus left the outcome of the first contest in the Democratic nominating contest uncertain. Trump's campaign blasted the Iowa Democratic Party over what it said was a "train wreck." 

While it was unclear whether Trump planned to mention impeachment or the election, there could still be moments of awkwardness in the House chamber where he will deliver his speech.

He will be introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Trump and the speaker have had a fraught relationship since the Democratic takeover of the House in the 2018 midterms, and the tensions have only grown after the House vote last year to impeach the president over his dealings with Ukraine.

Impeachment trial: House managers, Trump team make closing arguments – live updates

During Trump's speech last year, Pelosi rose to her feet and clapped when the president called for an end to the "politics of revenge." Video of her locking eyes with Trump while clapping went viral on social media.

Sitting in the audience during the speech will be 230 lawmakers – 229 Democrats and one independent – who voted in favor of an article of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power over allegations he withheld military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate Joe Biden, the former vice president and a 2020 presidential candidate. A second article of impeachment, charging Trump with obstruction of Congress, got 229 votes.

Senators who are serving as jurors in the impeachment trial will also be in the audience, including several Democrats who are vying to replace him. The trial is expected to end Wednesday with a vote to acquit in the Republican-led Senate.

Iowa caucuses: Follow along for live coverage from across Iowa, and the world

Jessica Taylor, the Senate and governors editor at the non-partisan Cook Political Report, said the White House will look to use the speech as a "reset."

The question, she said, is whether Trump "will take the bait and talk about impeachment and the Democratic primary. ... Trump is just so unpredictable. Will he able to stay on script and stay on message?"

Aides said Trump will emphasize five themes in the speech.

Economy

Playing up the issue that will drive his reelection bid, Trump will stress what he calls a "blue-collar boom" and likely call for more tax cuts and reductions in government regulations. Trump has repeatedly said he wants to push new "middle-class tax cuts," as well as breaks for businesses.

The economy has performed well under Trump, growing an average of about 2.5% annually during the three years of his term, more than the 2.2% post-recession average before he took office. And average monthly job gains of 191,000 in his tenure are similar to totals under President Barack Obama – after job losses from the Great Recession ended in February 2010. Under Trump, the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.5%, a 50-year low.

Trump is credited with spearheading federal tax cuts and spending increases that juiced economic growth to nearly 3% in 2018. But that stimulus during an economic expansion has swollen the federal deficit and could make it tougher for Congress to boost spending dramatically in the next recession.

Trade fights with China and other countries have created some uncertainty about growth in the year ahead.

Working families

Trump plans to discuss job training initiatives and child care – a signature issue of Ivanka Trump, his daughter and a senior adviser. He is expected to call for tax credits to benefit parents who want to send their children to private schools, the "school choice" issue.

Health care

While touting proposals on on drug pricing and medical billing, Trump is also expected to brand Democratic health care plans as "socialist," a claim he has also made on the campaign trail.

While failing to repeal Obama's health care law, Trump has said he wants to promote plans to reduce drug prices, make medical billing more transparent, and give people more flexibility in choosing doctors and health plans.

Immigration

Trump will tout his plans to crack down on illegal immigration, including his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The president is expected to renew his call to discourage "sanctuary cities" that give shelter to undocumented immigrants.

Since taking office, Trump has touted a signature promise of his 2016 campaign: to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The administration said this month that it had built 100 miles of border wall, but virtually all of that construction has replaced barriers that existed during the Obama administration. That despite a government shutdown in 2018 over wall funding and an emergency declaration that allowed Trump to free up military funding for the wall.

National security

Trump will discuss a litany of foreign policy challenges, from the Middle East and Iran to North Korea and China. He is expected to promote his proposed Middle East plan, his hopes for more nuclear talks with North Korea, and a new trade deal with China.

On Iran, Trump is likely to tout his decision to authorize a strike killing Qasem Soleimani, a powerful Iranian general responsible for the deaths of many American soldiers.

Trump and his national security advisers say Soleimani’s death has made the U.S. safer. And they argue Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran has crippled that country’s economy and made it harder for Tehran to finance terrorism.

But some believe Trump’s actions, starting with his decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, have made Iran a more provocative and dangerous force across the Middle East.

Can he change minds?

As Trump starts his fourth year in office, it may be difficult for him to change many minds with a single speech, analysts said, even the nationally televised State of the Union.

"He's compiled an extensive record of policy accomplishments, judicial appointments and animosity," said Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political analyst. "I think people who like him will like what he says, and anybody who doesn't like him will dismiss what he says."

Contributing: Paul Davidson, Deirdre Shesgreen and Paul Davidson

Originally Published 4 hours ago




POLITICO

CONGRESS

Republicans pray Trump shuns impeachment in SOTU

“Everyone should just know that Trump will be Trump," says GOP


Senate Republicans are praying President Donald Trump does something out of character during his State of the Union address — avoid talking about impeachment.

Trump will deliver his speech Tuesday, one day before the Senate ends its nearly three-week impeachment trial with a likely vote to acquit him. While the president is all but assured to take a victory lap Wednesday, Senate Republicans don’t want the State of the Union to turn into the type of speech he’d deliver at a campaign rally.



“My advice would be that in the State of the Union he should move on,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). “The president’s got a good record when you look at the economy and lower taxes and fewer regulations and higher incomes and I think he’d be well advised to focus on that and let the impeachment trial speak for itself.”

“We’re not done tomorrow and I don’t think it’s appropriate for him to bring it up,” added Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). “He is his own person, obviously he can bring up things as he chooses to ... but I’m not coming into that speech to be able to hear more about impeachment.”

The president has repeatedly tried to undermine the impeachment proceedings, either when speaking to reporters or on Twitter. Just on Monday, Trump reiterated the impeachment inquiry is a “hoax” and asked “where’s the whistleblower,” referring to the individual who triggered the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry by filing a complaint about the president’s call with his Ukrainian counterpart.

Trump was impeached in December on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, and withholding almost $400 million in aid to the country.


Former President Bill Clinton also delivered a State of the Union address during the midst of his 1999 impeachment trial and famously didn’t bring up his ongoing trial. Richard Nixon, in his 1974 State of the Union address, asked Congress to end the Watergate investigations, saying “one year of Watergate is enough.” Nixon resigned months later after it became clear he’d be impeached and removed from office.

Senate Republicans advised Trump on Monday to focus his attention on other topics, like lowering the cost of prescription drugs, the economy, or even climate change, as well as outline his vision for a second term.

"We’ve got a great strong economy, our military is finally being rebuilt under this administration,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of GOP leadership. “There are a lot of really great things he should talk about — and stay away from maybe what the proceedings are. We’re not voting until Wednesday.”

But Senate Democrats aren’t holding their breath for a unifying message from the president and expect to get an earful about impeachment.



“I am almost certain he will” bring it up, said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) “Have you met the man ... One of the core arguments is that he is utterly unrepentant, unlike President Nixon and President Clinton, who after their impeachments delivered formal apologies to the country and to the Congress.”

“Predicting what Donald Trump will say is a little bit like buying a lottery ticket,” added Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “But I suspect he will talk about impeachment.”

Trump’s previous State of the Union addresses have made appeals to national unity and bipartisanship. But he’s also angered Democrats with his rhetoric. Last year’s speech left Democrats fuming after he asked for their help to build a border wall and called for a late-term abortion ban. He also urged House Democrats who had just taken the majority to skip “ridiculous partisan investigations.”

White House officials say Trump is viewing his state of the union speech as an official relaunch for his reelection bid. Last week, they said they did not expect Trump to mention impeachment and that he would instead focus on other issues like the economy or the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, which the senate approved last month just before the start of the trial.



White House officials told reporters in a background briefing Friday that the speech would present "a vision of relentless optimism."

Still, even Trump’s strongest Capitol Hill allies say that it’s impossible to predict what the president’s message will be until he actually delivers his speech.

“Everyone should just know that Trump will be Trump and that means we don’t know what he’s going to say,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). “I don’t think that he needs to be pressured to be anything other than who he is. I’m not writing his speech. Whoever is knows that there’s a 50-50 chance he’ll read it as written.”

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