Category Archives: Impeachment

Robert Mueller’s Revenge

WSJ  5/11/2021  By William McGurn

Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson has an answer for all those hoping to heal and move on from the Trump years: Nothing doing.

Her answer comes by way of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. In her ruling, Judge Jackson orders the Justice Department to make public an internal March 2019 memo to then-Attorney General Bill Barr about whether to prosecute President Trump.

The pretense is that this is about Mr. Barr, whom the judge accuses of being “disingenuous” about his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In reality, her tirade is but the latest expression of Mueller Madness: the great liberal frustration that, in the end, there was no “there” there in the Mueller report.

We know this not from Mr. Trump or Mr. Barr but from their fiercest foes. When Democrats finally did get around to impeaching Mr. Trump, they made a conscious decision to ignore the Mueller report. Instead, their (first) impeachment was over a phone call Mr. Trump made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

On Dec. 10, 2019, the New York Times reported that, after consulting with her caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided the House would move ahead with two articles of impeachment. Each would focus narrowly on Ukraine. A third impeachment charge, tied to Mr. Mueller’s report, was “too much of a reach.”

In short, Mr. Mueller’s first shot at Mr. Trump was collusion with the Russians, for which he found no evidence. His second shot was obstruction of justice, but he punted on a decision about whether what he found was a crime. This shot didn’t hit its mark either when Congress declined to act on it.

Plainly the judge is hoping the third time’s the charm. If she can’t get Mr. Trump, maybe she can at least tarnish his attorney general.

One of the judge’s complaints is that in reducing the 448-page Mueller report to a four-page summary of its principal conclusions and releasing it to the public, Mr. Barr was trying to “hide the ball.” The idea is ludicrous, given that Mr. Barr made public almost the full report—complete with its hundreds of pages detailing Mr. Trump’s bad behavior—only three weeks later. In his letter Mr. Barr duly noted Mr. Mueller’s point that the report didn’t “exonerate” the president.

Now, two years later, Judge Jackson revives the special counsel’s complaint that the attorney general’s letter didn’t fully capture “the context, nature, and substance” of his report. What the judge doesn’t point out is that Mr. Barr then called Mr. Mueller to ask what he’d got wrong and, according to a Justice spokesman, Mr. Mueller conceded there was nothing inaccurate but felt the media coverage was misinterpreting it and wanted more released. Weeks later, when Mr. Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee—the perfect opportunity to tell the world about the ball Mr. Barr had hidden—he again retreated into vague generalities.

We are left with a federal judge reaching into internal Justice Department communications in a way that, if allowed to stand, would jeopardize the ability of any attorney general to get candid advice from his staff. In an argument that sounds less like the words of a dispassionate judge than the fantasies of a naked partisan such as Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, Judge Jackson claims to know—without proof and apparently without appreciation for how the Justice Department functions—that Mr. Barr had already made his decision before the memo. Her opinion is a reminder of how egregious prosecution could be if left to judges.

After her ruling, gleeful headlines reported that a judge had all but called Mr. Barr a liar. Some who should know better—e.g., Neal Katyal, acting U.S. solicitor general during the Obama administration—have piled on by talking up possible criminal charges.

This is a test for Merrick Garland. As attorney general he surely has an interest in keeping confidential his own department’s internal deliberations on controversial issues. Whether the Justice Department appeals Judge Jackson’s outrageous decision will tell us whether Mr. Garland really is a square shooter, as he has been sold.

Meanwhile, there have been almost no public defenses of Mr. Barr. Partly this is because he is loathed by Democrats for launching an investigation into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2016 Trump-Russia probe. Partly it’s because some Republicans are also sore at him for not backing Mr. Trump’s claims that Mr. Biden won the 2020 election because of widespread election fraud.

None of this changes the reality of Mr. Mueller and his report: He found no underlying crime, his investigation was not obstructed, and he was never able to cite a single case involving the obstruction statute in which a government official—much less a president—was prosecuted for exercising his legitimate authority. In ruling as she has, Judge Jackson has shown herself to be another bitter partisan who cannot bring herself to face these facts.

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House Committed Six Violations of the Constitution During Impeachment: Alan Dershowitz

One of many examples where apparently the law does not apply to the Left if it is inconvenient.  mrossol




Updated: January 16, 2021

Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said that the House violated six independent points of the Constitution when impeaching President Donald Trump.

In an interview with Newsmax, Dershowitz said: “They violated the free speech provision. They violated the impeachment criteria. They violated the bill of attainder. They violated due process, on and on and on.”

“How can you impeach a president for a speech that is constitutionally protected?” he said.

Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz attends Hulu Presents “Triumph’s Election Special” produced by Funny Or Die at NEP Studios in New York City on Feb. 3, 2016. (John Lamparski/Getty Images for Hulu)

The law expert said that Congress is not above the law, but that ironically, they have protection from culpability for what they do on the Senate floor.

“But the only sanction is to vote them out of office and to bring them to trial in the court of public opinion,” Dershowitz told host Carl Higbie. “Senators and congressmen are immune from lawsuits for what they do or say on the floor of the Senate, so there can’t be any personal lawsuits.”

“The Constitution is very clear, the purpose of impeachment is removal,” he said. “The Senate cannot try an ordinary citizen.”

On a single article of impeachment, the House voted 232–197 to impeach President Trump, on Wednesday for “incitement of insurrection.” Democrats and 10 Republicans contended Trump incited the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Trump is the third president to be impeached and the first to be impeached twice. No president has ever been impeached and convicted, and no president has ever been placed on trial after leaving office.

A single seven-hour impeachment hearing session constituted the fastest impeachment in U.S. history.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appointed Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who recently came to the spotlight for his alleged intimate relationship with a purported Chinese spy, as impeachment manager.

Some legal experts argue holding an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office violates the Constitution.

“Once Trump’s term ends on Jan. 20, Congress loses its constitutional authority to continue impeachment proceedings against him—even if the House has already approved articles of impeachment,” J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge, wrote in an op-ed.

Others say a trial could commence.

“Of course, you can impeach, convict, and disqualify a former officeholder,” Gregg Nunziata, a former Senate Judiciary Committee lawyer, said in a tweet. “This view is supported by English custom, Constitutional text and structure, original understanding, and continuous Senate precedent.”

Under the U.S. Constitution, the Senate conducts an impeachment trial when the House impeaches a president. The upper congressional chamber can acquit a president or convict him. A two-thirds vote is required to convict. When the House impeached Trump on a separate matter in 2019, the Senate voted to acquit him 21 days after the trial started.


Impeachment is more dangerous than Trump – UnHerd

Impeachment is more dangerous than Trump

The most apt parallel for the second impeachment of Donald Trump may not be any other of the three previous presidential impeachments, including his own just over a year ago. It may instead be the PATRIOT Act, which was passed in the heated emotional aftermath of the September 11 attacks, with negligible debate afforded to the long-term implications of what Congress was enacting. Reason and deliberation had given way to a collective desire for security and revenge, and thus the most sweeping curtailment of civil liberties in the modern historical record was approved. Those who departed from the swiftly assembled consensus could expect to be denounced as sympathisers to terrorists.

Likewise, if you deign to raise concerns about the implications of this sudden impeachment sequel — or any of the other extraordinary actions taken in the past week, such as an ongoing corporate censorship purge of unprecedented proportions — you can expect to be accused of defending or supporting the “domestic terrorists” who carried out the mob attack on the Capitol.

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, rationalised rushing through Wednesday’s impeachment resolution at spell-binding speed — by far the fastest impeachment process ever — on the grounds that Trump posed a “clear and present danger” to the country, and needed to be removed immediately. “Imminent threats” of various stripes also have a long history of being cited to justify sweeping emergency action, such as the invasion of Iraq. Often upon further inspection, the purported “threat” turns out to have been not so “imminent”, or in fact to have never existed at all.


But as rushed as the impeachment was, if the purported emergency conditions were truly so dire as Pelosi maintained, she could have theoretically summoned the House to convene the day after the mob attack and impeach Trump right away. Congress convened the very next day after the attack on Pearl Harbor to declare war on Japan, for example. Instead, Pelosi waited a full week, and gave everyone the weekend off in the interim. Trump, alleged to be in the process of orchestrating a violent “coup”, was allowed to remain in office unimpeded with access to the nuclear codes for seven days.

Nonetheless, with a total of two hours of perfunctory debate — and no hearings, fact-finding or meditation on the relevant Constitutional Law considerations — Trump was impeached for the second time. As such, the text of the impeachment article will now be permanently embedded in the fabric of American governance.

One wonders who even had a chance to actually sit down and read it. The article, which charges Trump with “incitement of insurrection”, is far-reaching in its potential implications. “Incitement” is an extremely narrowly circumscribed doctrine in US law, and for good reason: anyone who engages in inflammatory but protected political speech could theoretically be said to have engaged in criminally punishable “incitement” without the shield of the First Amendment. If someone who hears your speech chooses on their volition to engage in violent or criminal conduct, you in almost all circumstances cannot be prosecuted.

This new impeachment changes that equilibrium. The one quote cited from Trump in the article to demonstrate his alleged “inciting” speech was: ‘‘If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.’’ That line — which could have been uttered by Trump in about a thousand different contexts over the past five years — is alleged to have “foreseeably resulted in… lawless action”.


I witnessed countless instances of political speech expressed by activists, journalists, and others during last summer’s protests and riots which under the same standard could have been deemed to have “foreseeably resulted” in “lawless action”, such as attacks on police or destruction of property. But there was always a presumption that the speech was nonetheless protected under the First Amendment. The new “Trump standard” codified by this impeachment could have drastic implications for the the future, should it be applied more widely throughout US jurisprudence. Impeachable “incitement” is also unlikely ever to include statements by a president “encouraging” violence by way of, say, military force.

Still, Trump’s statements on 6 January  — just like a seemingly infinite number of others over the past five-plus years — could surely be worthy of political rebuke or censure. Indeed, Trump has already been rebuked. He’s been roundly condemned by his own party and administration. His main communications platform, Twitter, has banished him. His high-profile supporters are being systematically nuked from social media writ large. He’s been made to issue several humiliating statements conceding defeat and “disavowing” the MAGA mob which marched in his name. The bozo rioters at the Capitol were undoubtedly inflamed by a barrage of lies and conspiratorial delusions that Trump churned out on an almost hourly basis since losing the election — that’s beyond dispute.

But it was still clear pretty soon after the mob intrusion began last week that the most significant consequences from what occurred would arise not from the intrusion itself, which was dispersed by agents of the state in a matter of hours. Rather, the real consequences would stem from the predictably rash over-reaction. The more extreme the characterisation of last Wednesday’s events, the more emotional ammunition that lawmakers have to demand whatever extreme remedial action they had been ideologically committed to pursuing anyway. This goes well beyond the expedited impeachment, and into the corporate censorship purge which has now radically altered the principles undergirding the open internet.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the most high-profile member of the Left-wing Congressional “#squad”, has claimed that she narrowly escaped assassination at the Capitol and has thus been “traumatised”. Evidently she will be publicly working through this “trauma” on Instagram. It is also her contention that half of the House of Representatives (over 200 people) had been on the verge of mass execution. This style of political rhetoric has already been marshalled by “AOC” and others to demand corporate censorship on a vast scale, and successfully so; last week she tweeted pressure on Apple and Google to expel the alternative social media platform Parler from their app stores, and the corporations quickly obliged.

Amazon, falling like a domino, then completely terminated Parler from its web hosting service — effectively killing the site. As perhaps the country’s most influential Democrat by online following, AOC is someone who these tech corporations have an interest in appeasing, especially as Democrats enter full control of the federal government on 20 January. Her exceedingly dramatic recounting of what transpired during the mob intrusion is a powerful tool in her arsenal.

Curiously, the most putatively “progressive” members of Congress seem to be the most exercised about resurrecting concepts that sound like Woodrow Wilson suppressing dissidents in wartime. Mondaire Jones, a highly touted “progressive” incoming freshman Congressman, took to fulminating on the House floor during the impeachment proceeding about “treason and sedition”.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney further declared from the floor of the House that Trump had “wilfully incited an armed insurrection”. Which is again another curious characterisation, because while a Capitol Police officer was in fact killed in the melee, the only person against whom armed, deadly force was used against was Ashli Babbitt, a Trump-supporting Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran who was shot dead at point-blank range by an officer.

Any rational observer who has the capacity to detach from the temporary passions of the moment should be able to recognise that the United States government was never at risk of being “overthrown” by the chaotic band of yahoos who stormed the Capitol. All they accomplished was to delay the certification of Joe Biden’s victory by a few hours. They also humiliated the man they apparently thought they were valiantly coming to the defence of; even Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader of the House, took to the floor during the impeachment session to declare that “Antifa” was not to blame for the chaos which unfolded, and blamed Trump as bearing responsibility for the events. Indeed, the full force of state and federal law enforcement power is now being deployed against the intruders, and many — perhaps hundreds — will be going to prison.

Reminiscent of the post 9/11 period, the “crisis” of the past week has been seized upon to execute a pre-existing agenda. Impeachment, purges, the militarisation and lockdown of the Capitol — it’s only the beginning, and it’s all happening with hardly even a peep of criticism or moment for reflection. Given this historical continuity with the events of 2001, it was therefore fitting when Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Majority Leader in the House, went out of his way Wednesday afternoon to herald the valour of Liz Cheney — daughter of the architect of US policy after 9/11, Dick — who was one of the ten Republicans to vote along with Democrats to impeach.


All Donald Trump’s Deplorables

To characterize 70 million Americans (pick a number) as thugs and insurrectionists is dishonest, and I would say unpatriotic. But in a way, not surprising to me, when I consider that many elites, the MSM and the core of the Left want to fundamentally change the nature of the United States from a representative democracy based on the Constitution to a socialist state. mrossol

WSJ 1/12/21 by William McGurn

Whatever political future Donald Trump might have envisioned for himself is now dead. He squandered a good chunk of it in the Georgia runoffs, when he made them all about himself instead of about keeping Republican control over the Senate. But it was finished off by the mob of his own supporters who stormed the Capitol this past Wednesday and inflicted more lasting damage on their man than anything his enemies ever managed.

At the moment, Washington is consumed with just how humiliating Mr. Trump’s exit will be—with a second impeachment, with the 25th Amendment invoked, with his resignation. There’s even talk of holding a Senate trial when he’s no longer president.


But for anyone who cares about unity and healing, the president’s fate is no longer the primary concern. More important is the future for the half of America that supported him. Because there is an effort to lump the 74 million Americans who voted for Mr. Trump with those who rampaged through the Capitol—thus rendering them unfit for polite society going forward.

There’s no denying the reality of the thugs. But let me tell you about the people I know who attended that rally. To a person, they are decent, ordinary Americans who didn’t enter the Capitol and wouldn’t dream of disobeying a police officer.

Some (but not all) believe the election was stolen. They’re mistaken, but that doesn’t make them white supremacists, domestic terrorists, religious extremists or any of the many noxious names they’ve been called. Those I know personally are now terrified that they will be doxed—meaning vengeful leftists will make their personal information public—and perhaps fired from their jobs if it gets out they were in Washington for the rally.

These are also people who have no problem with arresting and prosecuting those who did break the law that Wednesday. A Reuters/Ipsos poll reports that only 9% of Americans consider the rioters “concerned citizens” and 5% call them “patriots.” The remaining 90% includes millions of Trump voters.

True, those millions include some, perhaps many, who believe in conspiracy theories and don’t trust their government.

But where could that have come from? Might it have something to do with watching leading media outlets proudly declare they wouldn’t even try to be fair in reporting about Mr. Trump, and then go on to promote the conspiracy theory that the president was a Russian agent? Is it any surprise that people might then look to other sources of information, some of which are dubious? Or that distrust in government grew as people learned how leaders at the FBI and Justice Department abused their police powers to interfere in an election and then undermine an elected president?

Everywhere a Trump voter turns, he sees ostensibly apolitical organizations enlisting in the “resistance.” Here’s an email just sent to every kid in America applying to college through the Common App:


“We witnessed a deeply disturbing attack on democracy on Wednesday, when violent white supremacist insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undo a fair and legal election. The stark differences between how peaceful Black and brown protesters have been treated for years relative to Wednesday’s coup again call attention to the open wound of systemic racism.”

Mr. Trump’s power to cool passions, now running at a fever pitch, is almost nil, and in any event his time is running out. But if Joe Biden means what he says about being president for all Americans, including those who didn’t vote for him, he has work to do. A healthy start would be to ask his fellow Democrats to call off the impeachment that will only rub raw an open wound, or make clear to the anti-Trump Republicans in the Lincoln Project that their effort to blacklist anyone who served in the Trump administration is a prescription for more rancor and division.


Some ask: Why is it on Mr. Biden to soothe disenchanted Trump followers? The answer is because in a week he will be the nation’s leader—and he’s already promised as much. In his victory speech he said it was time to “stop treating our opponents as enemies.” He’s right, but it will take leadership to make these words real for millions of Trump voters who feel, with reason, that the hatred and contempt directed at Mr. Trump is also meant for them.

Hillary Clinton admitted this when she infamously labeled these voters “deplorables.” But funny thing about that: In her original remarks, she made clear she was consigning only half of Mr. Trump’s supporters to her “basket of deplorables.”

The other half, she said, are “people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures.” She went on to advise that “those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

She was willing to consider at least half of Mr. Trump’s supporters worthy of understanding and empathy. Today, this would make Mrs. Clinton the moderate.

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