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Whisteblower Ukraine : Trump Impeachment’s or Biden Corruption in Ukraine


  • Trump will be impeached by House

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • Trump will resign

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Trump will not resign and will be supported by Senate

    Votes: 3 42.9%
  • Biden campaign is over because of his son corruption in Ukraine

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • Biden will not be affected

    Votes: 2 28.6%

  • Total voters

Thawra # Furoshima

Well-Known Member
Senate braces for brawl on Trump impeachment rules


Senators are bracing for a partisan brawl over the rules of President Trump's looming impeachment trial.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will try to negotiate a deal on ground rules, similar to the arrangement made before the 1999 trial of then-President Clinton.

Talks haven’t started yet, as lawmakers wait for the House to write and vote on any articles of impeachment. But senators, pointing to the increasingly partisan atmosphere in the chamber, are skeptical the two leaders will reach an accord.

“All it takes is an agreement, but obviously the track record of Republicans and Democrats coming together lately has not been great, but even if Democrats don’t cooperate, 51 senators can pass a resolution controlling the process,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a top adviser to McConnell.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), asked about the chances of a deal, replied drolly: “Well we’re doing all kinds of good bipartisan stuff now aren’t we?”

“There’s a level of comity here that would certainly indicate that that’s not very probable,” he added.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) added that he would be “surprised” if the Senate leaders clinch an agreement.

“There hasn’t been a deal on anything else this year,” Scott said. “I just don’t see much cooperation right now.”

There’s precedent for Senate leaders reaching an agreement during previous impeachment trials. The chamber passed a resolution 100-0 during the Clinton impeachment trial establishing the procedure for filing motions, how long senators would get to ask questions and how witnesses would be called.

But a second resolution that allowed for subpoenas for key figures such as Monica Lewinsky, Sidney Blumenthal and Vernon Jordan Jr. to testify as part of the trial broke down along party lines.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) predicted that with the House eyeing a vote on impeachment articles before Christmas, leaders could get an agreement on not starting a Senate trial during the holiday — but not much else.

“I would think it would be easy to get unanimous consent on not starting before Christmas, other than that I think it will be challenging,” he said.

McConnell has repeatedly referred to the Clinton impeachment trial as he’s fielded questions about what a Trump trial would look like. GOP senators say they’re using the 1999 proceedings as a rough guidebook as many of them prepare to go through impeachment for the first time.

Asked last week about the process for a Trump trial, McConnell noted that he would first try to reach an agreement with Schumer but stopped short of saying that would be his preferred way to set up the rules.

“Well it will depend on what we could agree to,” he said.

Senators say they hope the two leaders can reach a deal on at last some basic guardrails for a trial, including its length.

“I’d say here, there might be some low-hanging fruit, where they agree to. Hopefully that will occur to keep the process moving,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.).

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of Trump’s closest allies in the Senate, put the odds of a McConnell-Schumer deal at “50-50.”

“I think it’s in everybody’s interest to have an orderly process in the Senate if it gets here, to have a process that is controllable, that doesn’t get off the rails, that’s respectful of the event, that has adequate time to consider things but an ending point,” he said.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), asked about the chances of a deal, predicted it would be difficult but added it’s hard to pre-judge since the House hasn’t yet passed articles of impeachment. How broadly the House drafts its articles, what the articles are and how many there are will all likely influence how long a trial lasts, and what witnesses need to be called.

“It was hard to get an agreement … back in the Clinton impeachment, so it will probably be very hard this time around. But again, I sort of think we have to wait to see what we’re dealing with. It’s hard to know what negotiations are going to look like,” Murphy said.

If McConnell and Schumer can’t secure a deal, that leaves two back-up options: Passing GOP-only rules, which some Republicans say they are willing to do, or a free-for-all on the Senate floor where whatever can get 51 votes is adopted.

Republicans would have little room for error if they decided to try to craft their own rules package. With a 53-seat majority, they could only lose two GOP senators from a wide-ranging caucus that runs from more libertarian-minded lawmakers like Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to moderates such as Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska.).

Normally McConnell would be able to lose three GOP senators and still get a majority by letting Vice President Pence preside over the Senate and break a 50-50 tie. But with Chief Justice John Roberts, not Pence, presiding over an impeachment trial, the GOP leader would need 51 votes from only senators.

Cramer noted that he could see Schumer and McConnell agreeing to a basic framework for what time the trial starts each day, but that it also wasn’t guaranteed Republicans could get 51 votes for “substantive” rules ahead of time.

“It’s hard to see me to see any substantive things … being agreed to in advance. Maybe on a vote of 51-49… but only 50 of us voted to condemn the process over in the House, so 51 is not a layup,” he said, referring to Graham’s resolution condemning the House impeachment process.

Johnson said he would be willing for Republicans to go it alone on a rules package, arguing party line is “the way it’s been in the House. This would provide some measure of balance” for the president.

But, pressed if he thought GOP leadership could hold together 51 votes, Johnson acknowledged that it “might be a challenge.”

“My guess is we’ll proceed to motions where we think we can win them. ...For all I know the only motion that we’ll be able to win on is let’s call a vote,” he said.

If Republicans aren’t able to agree, senators say it would result in a roller coaster on the Senate floor, where coalitions that could put together 51 votes would effectively get to set the process. In a chamber with moderate coalitions in both parties, that could throw in a curveball if senators break ranks.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, said the free-for-all where senators make and vote on their own motions is viewed as the least desirable outcome, and a McConnell-Schumer deal would be the best end result.

“We would just head down the … path in the rules and then as people wanted to suggest changes almost maybe in progress they could do that, but I think that would be the least preferable of all of the options,” Blunt said.

Cramer also added that letting senators set the rules in real time on the Senate floor would be unwieldy, particularly in a chamber were only 15 senators currently serving were around for the Clinton trial.

“[That] sounds rather chaotic to me,” he said. “Not that I couldn’t enjoy that, I did serve in the House, but that sounds like a little bit chaotic to me.”


Legendary Member

It's wise move.
1. Dems have decided 3 years ago that Trump must be impeached.
2. It is important to show voice count in The House and especially for Democrats.
3. Senate will refute everything anyway and the sooner the better.

Thawra # Furoshima

Well-Known Member
The charade began
Politisation of institutions
Democrats approve two articles of impeachment against Trump in Judiciary vote

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment Friday that charge President Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors, setting up a historic House vote next week that all but guarantees Trump will be just the third president to be impeached in U.S. history.
The articles, which charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, were passed out of the committee along strict party lines, with 23 Democrats voting to send the measures to the full House, which is expected to approve them next week. One Democrat, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), was absent after undergoing an unexpected medical procedure earlier in the week.
All 17 panel Republicans, meanwhile, united against both articles, arguing that the charges rested on thin evidence and that Democrats proceeding with their rapid impeachment push will set a dangerous precedent in the years ahead.
The votes come two days after the panel began its debate and the morning after Democrats enraged Republicans by abruptly canceling an expected vote that would have taken place very late Thursday night or early Friday morning.
“That was the most egregious violation of trust between a committee chairman and ranking member I think I’ve ever seen,” said Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), the top Republican on Judiciary, who said “there was no discussion” about the change of plans.
“We thought we were going to do votes tonight," said Collins, who called the impeachment markups a “kangaroo court" and argued that Democrats wanted more television time for the proceedings.
Democrats signaled that they wanted to prevent Republicans from arguing they had approved the articles of impeachment in the dead of night and when no Americans were watching.
“We felt like they wanted us to pass this in the middle of the night, so we felt the American people deserved to see this historic vote. And it should be passed in the daylight and not in the middle of the night,” a Democratic aide said.
The partisan vote came after more than 14 hours of feisty debate on Thursday over a series of Republican amendments seeking to scrub Democrats’ impeachment articles that raised allegations about Trump’s contacts with Ukraine.
In comparison to that slog, Friday's votes were lightening fast: Nadler introduced them, one by one, shortly after 10 a.m., and he gaveled the hearing closed less than 10 minutes later. Almost no one spoke, except to cast their yea or nay vote.

Afterwards, Democrats hailed the development as a case of Congress protecting the country from an inherently corrupt president who had put his personal political interests above those of national security.

"It'll be remembered as a day that certain people stood up for the Constitution and the founding fathers," said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).

Republicans were equally as passionate that Trump, rather than doing the abusing, had been abused. They accused the Democrats of rushing the process — before gathering all the facts and hearing from the first-hand players — to fit a pre-conceived conclusion that Trump should be removed.

"America needs to hear from the witnesses," said Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas), referring to the process as "a kangaroo court."

"They don't have the right to abuse the process and this was a total abuse of process."
The White House dismissed Friday's committee vote, saying Trump looks forward to a "fair" trial in the GOP-controlled Senate.
"This desperate charade of an impeachment inquiry in the House Judiciary Committee has reached its shameful end," White House press secretary Stephanie Grishamsaid in a statement issued shortly after the vote. "The President looks forward to receiving in the Senate the fair treatment and due process which continues to be disgracefully denied to him by the House."

Democrats allege Trump used a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Kyiv as leverage to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open two investigations that would benefit him politically, including one into the son of his 2020 political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. They also accused him of obstructing Congress during their subsequent investigation of that episode.
They say such conduct rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors — the grounds for impeachment under the Constitution — and that leaving a lawless president in office threatens the very basis of American democracy.
Republicans fought back in defense of their White House ally.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) offered an amendment Thursday to gut the abuse of power charge, arguing that there could be no “quid pro quo” since the U.S. aid was ultimately delivered without Kyiv announcing the investigations Trump sought.
“This amendment strikes article one because article one ignores the truth,” he said.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) offered another amendment to add language characterizing Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden, as “a well-known corrupt company” — a provision designed to frame Trump’s investigation requests as valid anti-corruption efforts, not political bullying.
"There is no way in the United States of America that honestly pursuing political corruption is a political offense,” Gaetz said.
Democrats argued otherwise.
“The idea of Donald Trump leading an anti-corruption effort is like Kim Jong Un leading a human rights effort. It’s just not credible,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the head of Democrats’ messaging arm.
Aside from their amendments, Republicans also raised repeated objections that the process was unfair, including claims that Democrats ignored their request for a minority witness hearing.
“You should have run for a chairmanship, I believe, more than to be a rubber stamp for Mr. Schiff and Ms. Pelosi,” said Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), senior Republican on the committee, referring to the Speaker and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Collins added that the rights of the minority party on the panel are "dead" moving forward.
The GOP protests were largely symbolic, as the majority Democrats easily shot them all down. But Republicans sought to put up a fight against the articles, using the introduction of multiple amendments to reassert their arguments in defense of the president.
The markup began the night before, with opening statements from the more than 40 members of the Judiciary panel — a 3 1/2-hour meeting notable for the absence of outbursts and other dramatic flourishes. Day two on Thursday was a much different beast, running for 14 hours and quickly devolving into ugly personal barbs as Republicans directed their scrutiny at Hunter Biden and Democrats responded by blowing their own fire at the GOP members themselves.
When Gaetz began reading a New Yorker profile on Hunter Biden detailing alleged drug abuse, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) responded with a thinly veiled punch back.
"It's a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international dispute when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz rental car over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car," Gaetz had said before Johnson's comment.
“The pot calling the kettle black is not something we should do,” Johnson said. “I don't know which members, if any, have had any problems with substance abuse [or] been busted in DUI. But if I did, I wouldn't raise it on this committee. I don’t think it’s proper,” Johnson said, appearing to reference Gaetz’s past driving under the influence charge.
Next week’s impeachment vote will be part of a packed House calendar, as Democratic leaders are also hoping to pass two other big-ticket items just before leaving town for the two week holiday break: a revamped trade agreement with Canada and Mexico and a sweeping spending bill to prevent a government shutdown.
A House leadership aide said Thursday that the tentative schedule is to vote on the spending bill Tuesday, impeachment Wednesday and trade on Thursday. That timetable, while subject to change, opens up the possibility that the House could recess a day earlier than previously scheduled.

Thawra # Furoshima

Well-Known Member
Trump impeachment trial drags Roberts into spotlight
Trump impeachment trial drags Roberts into spotlight
Chief Justice John Roberts has tried to prevent the Supreme Court from being seen as just another political body, but when he presides over President Trump’s likely impeachment trial in the Senate, the partisan glare will be hard for him to avoid.
The 64-year-old chief justice who famously said judges should simply call balls and strikes will now hold influence over the most bitterly partisan impeachment trial in modern American history, a situation more akin to umpiring a bench-clearing brawl.
The contentious affair threatens to put Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, under political pressure from all sides, a role court watchers say the mild-mannered jurist will assume with great reluctance.
“He will look the part, and he will play the part, but he does not want the part,” said Carter Phillips, a partner at Sidley Austin who has argued dozens of cases before the Supreme Court.
The timing of Trump’s impeachment trial could hardly be less auspicious for a chief justice eager to avoid the political fray, especially as Roberts has morphed into something of a swing vote between the court’s reliably conservative and liberal blocs.
The Senate trial, expected to start in January, will also unfold as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in the coming months in a landmark separation of powers fight involving efforts by House Democrats and New York state prosecutors to obtain years of Trump’s financial records and tax returns.
Roberts could cast the deciding vote to disclose or shield Trump’s financial records, and may tip the scale in other hot-button cases that involve LGBT and abortion rights, and the deportation status of nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants.
Decisions in these politically charged disputes should arrive this summer, just months before Americans head to the 2020 polls to determine if Trump gets a second term in the White House.
Trump and Roberts have at times had a difficult relationship.
The chief justice pushed back in a speech after the president branded a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals "an Obama judge" for a 2018 decision that Trump disagreed with.
"We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Roberts responded at the time, defending the federal judiciary.
Trump would later say that he held "a lot of respect" for Roberts, even as the president doubled down on his criticism of the appeals court decision.
The political drama surrounding Roberts as he prepares to preside over the impeachment trial is likely to heighten his sensitivity to the public perception of the high court and the judiciary.
“One of his goals will be to preserve the image of the Supreme Court as a kind of neutral arbiter so that the legitimacy of his institution is protected,” said Ian Ostrander, a political science professor at Michigan State University. “Stepping into a partisan battle within a different branch is not ideal.”
Trump is expected to be acquitted by the Republican Senate, where a two-thirds vote is required for a conviction. But there are still many unanswered questions about the trial and its rules, and how Roberts chooses to carry out his constitutionally prescribed duties as the trial's presiding officer. Legal experts say he is likely spending time studying long-standing Senate rules and past impeachment proceedings.
But when the trial begins Roberts will have to make those decisions under the glare of cameras, while being pressured by both parties and with the president likely watching and weighing in on the proceedings in real time.
House Democrats on Wednesday took the historic step of impeaching Trump. But they delayed sending the two House-passed articles of impeachment to the Senate as talks broke down between the top two Senate leaders over the terms of Trump’s trial.
The Constitution states that the U.S. House of Representatives "shall have the sole Power of Impeachment" and the Senate "shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments" and when the president is on trial, "the Chief Justice shall preside." But the Constitution is silent about how a presidential impeachment trial should work in practice.
The starting point is a 9-page set of rules the Senate adopted in the mid-1980s. These Senate trial rules make clear that senators themselves have ultimate authority over all critical aspects of the proceeding.
The upper chamber may also adapt the 1986 trial rules through supplemental agreements, which happened both before and during President Clinton's impeachment trial.
In Trump’s case, however, negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) deadlocked after Democrats requested that Roberts issue subpoenas to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton and two other officials.
The default trial rules guide the somewhat complicated and technical power-sharing arrangement between the Senate, which in essence serves as both judge and jury, and the presiding officer. Most importantly, the rules also leave some room for the chamber and the presiding officer to decide among themselves the shape of the trial.
Legal experts say Roberts hopes to follow the example set by his late mentor Chief Justice William Rehnquist at then-President Clinton's 1999 trial. Rehnquist, for whom Roberts clerked in the 1980s, once mused that during Clinton’s proceeding he "did nothing in particular, and did it very well," lifting a line from Gilbert and Sullivan.
Eric Claeys, a law professor at George Mason University and former Rehnquist clerk, said Rehnquist’s approach was framed by the 1986 rules.
The rules say the presiding officer “may rule” on all questions of evidence, like instances where the relevance and significance of a document or witness testimony is unclear. However, a single senator can appeal the ruling, triggering a Senate vote, where some say Roberts would break a 50-50 tie, though that is disputed.
The presiding officer also has the option to stay mum on an evidentiary question and send it directly to the Senate for an up-or-down vote.
Rehnquist generally avoided this option during Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial, Claeys said. Instead, Rehnquist applied the relevant precedents, then left it up to senators to decide whether to reverse his decision.
“I don’t think that Chief Justice Roberts will play a bigger role in President Trump’s impeachment trial than Chief Justice Rehnquist did in President Clinton’s,” Claeys said. “I expect Roberts will follow the same strategy.”
However, some legal experts believe today’s more intensely partisan atmosphere may force Roberts to depart from the course charted by his predecessor.
Rehnquist presided over a Senate whose leaders managed to work out compromises and cut deals on impeachment trial rules, but Roberts has no guarantee the toxic McConnell-Schumer relationship will yield the same result.
If no Senate deal emerges on the issue of witnesses, it could draw Roberts deeper into the partisan fray, some experts believe.
Robert Tsai, a constitutional expert and law professor at American University, says he expects Democrats to seek subpoenas for live testimony from Mulvaney and Bolton, and perhaps even Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Those could be among the toughest rulings Roberts may be forced to make in the spotlight.
“Here is perhaps the most controversial issue Roberts might be asked to rule upon, and yet it’s also one of the most important to issues of basic fairness,” Tsai said. ”The problem is that the politics, which are unavoidable, make things explosive whichever way he rules.”

Thawra # Furoshima

Well-Known Member
From the Hill
Pressure builds over impeachment impasse in Senate
Pressure builds over impeachment impasse in Senate
The Senate is set to return on Friday with impeachment trial negotiations stuck at an impasse.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) left town last month without a deal on key points like rules for the proceeding and who, if anyone, will be called to testify. Schumer left Washington urging Republicans to use the two-week break to consider an initial offer.
But the holidays have done little to break the stalemate between the Senate leaders, or between McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has not yet revealed when she plans to send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate.
McConnell didn’t speak to either Schumer or Pelosi about the trial over the holiday recess, according to aides, underscoring the depth of the standoff.
The GOP leader kept a relatively low profile over the holidays after indicating during a press conference that the talks were on ice until January. That makes Friday the first chance for McConnell to fire back at Democrats, when the Senate reconvenes at noon.
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), an adviser to McConnell, said this week that she had not received an update from the Kentucky Republican over the holidays. Asked about the negotiations, a spokesman for the GOP leader, pointed to McConnell’s floor speech from mid-December saying the remarks “still stand.”
McConnell late last month said he and Schumer were at an “impasse” because of a disagreement about when lawmakers should decide whether they will call witnesses.
“We remain at an impasse because my friend the Democratic leader continues to demand a new and different set of rules for President Trump,” McConnell said at the time.
McConnell wants the Senate to pass a resolution at the outset of the trial that would establish the ground rules for the proceeding and punt a decision on who, if anyone, should be called as a witness until after both sides give opening arguments. The GOP leader, who is running for reelection and has tied himself closely to Trump, has shown no signs of bending to Democrats amid the standoff.
“This was something the Senate never wanted to begin with,” Scott Jennings, a political adviser to McConnell, said about the Democrats’ strategy. “Where do they think this pressure is going to come from?”
Republicans appear to be digging in after Pelosi decided against immediately sending the articles to the Senate and appointing impeachment managers — a move that has rankled Trump and thrown a curveball into the timeline for a likely trial.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is planning to introduce legislation on Monday to “dismiss” the articles of impeachment over “lack of prosecution.”
“This will expose Dems’ circus for what it is: a fake impeachment, abuse of the Constitution, based on no evidence. If Dems won’t proceed with trial, bogus articles should be dismissed and [Trump] fully cleared,” Hawley added.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted that Democrats are “playing stupid games.”
“A Senate trial will be on the two Articles of Impeachment passed by House (if Speaker ever decides to send them over). House voted on them based on testimony of certain witnesses,” he said. “Senate has no duty to go beyond those witnesses in our trial.”
Democrats believe that a steady stream of new details released over the break about Trump’s decision to delay the Ukraine aid, which was eventually released in September, bolster their case that a trial needs to include witnesses and that the White House should hand over a slew of documents and emails.
Schumer seized on unredacted emails between the Office of Management and Budget and the Pentagon about the decision to delay the Ukraine aid. In one email, Michael Duffey, the associate director of national security at the Office of Management and Budget, told the acting Pentagon comptroller that there was "clear direction from POTUS to hold,” according to Just Security.
"These emails further expose the serious concerns raised by Trump administration officials about the propriety and legality of the president’s decision to cut off aid to Ukraine to benefit himself," Schumer said Thursday.
He added that the emails deal a “devastating blow” to McConnell’s preferred impeachment strategy.
Pelosi also knocked Trump over the emails, saying he had used a “phony complaint about the House process” to avoid turning them and other documents over during the impeachment inquiry.
The House passed two articles of impeachment — one on Trump abusing power in his dealings with Ukraine and another on him obstructing Congress during its investigation of those actions — making Trump the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
But Pelosi, surprising GOP senators, would not say when, or if, she would transmit the two articles to the Senate, noting she wants to see the details for how the trial will work before she names impeachment managers.
A Pelosi aide said she has not spoken to McConnell and indicated that she would not negotiate with the GOP leader, leaving that instead to Schumer. The two Democratic leaders, according to the aide, are in “regular contact.”
Democrats want to call four witnesses during the trial, including Duffey, former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter to every senator on Thursday urging them to support the request for witnesses and Ukraine-related documents.
“Agreement on Senator Schumer’s requests for these witnesses and documents requires a simple majority. This should be easy to achieve as all Senators should want this information from the outset to ensure a full and fair trial,” she wrote.
To successfully compel documents and witnesses, Democrats will need 51 votes, including the support of four Republicans.
No Republican has publicly backed Schumer’s request, with most of the caucus embracing a quick trial with few, if any, witnesses.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told two Maine publications this week that she was “open” to calling witnesses. But, aligning herself with McConnell’s position, she argued that a decision on witnesses should wait until after opening arguments from both sides and questions from senators.
With 67 votes needed to convict Trump and remove him from office, the outcome of the trial is all but guaranteed. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, told a Missouri radio station this week that he thought the trial would be “pretty predictable" and happen "quickly.” He predicted it would be over by Feb. 4.
Jennings added that Republicans should “lock arms” behind McConnell’s floated framework of passing an initial resolution on the rules and punting the decision on witnesses until after the trial starts, similar to the Clinton proceeding in 1999.
“Republicans just don’t think this is an impeachable item,” he said. “They’re just not going to throw the president out of office over it."

Thawra # Furoshima

Well-Known Member
How the House destroyed its own case for the Trump impeachment

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill
“Situation quiet. The captain has been put away for the night.” The words from the movie “The Caine Mutiny” came to mind on Friday when House leaders announced that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not move until next week in submitting the impeachment of President Trump to a Senate trial. While various Democrats have publicly grumbled about the delay, going into its fourth week, without any sign of success in forcing the Senate to call witnesses, Pelosi continued a strategy that could jeopardize not just any trial but the rules governing impeachment. Indeed, Pelosi may force the Senate into a couple of unprecedented but well deserved rulings.

From the outset, the ploy of Pelosi withholding the House impeachment articles was as implausible as it was hypocritical. There was no reason why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would make concessions to get an impeachment that he loathed. More importantly, just a couple of days earlier, House leaders insisted that some of us were wrong to encourage them to wait on an impeachment vote to create a more complete record. Pelosi previously insisted that House committees could not pursue direct witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton because there was no time to delay in getting this impeachment to the Senate. She then waited a month and counting to send the articles over to the Senate.

The delay now seems largely driven by a desire to preserve the image of Pelosi as a master strategist despite a blunder of the first order. Senator Dianne Feinstein expressed the frustration of many members in saying, “The longer it goes on, the less urgent it becomes. So if it is serious and urgent, send them over. If it is not, do not send it over.” But she and other members were quickly pressured to “correct” their earlier statements by stating the exact opposite and praising the brilliant strategy of Pelosi.

Perhaps the most pathetic change was House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, who correctly stated, “At the end of the day, just like we control it in the House, Mitch McConnell controls it in the Senate. It does not look like that is going to happen. I think it is time to send the impeachment to the Senate and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial. He ultimately is.” It took just a few hours for Pelosi to get Smith to say that he “misspoke” and praise her inspired strategy.

Now what started as a demand to guarantee Senate witnesses has been downgraded to a demand to “know the rules” while waiting for the Senate to take a vote that it indicated weeks ago. In the alternative, sympathetic media figures insisted that Pelosi succeeded in “forcing a discussion” of Senate witnesses despite the fact that we had the same discussion in the trial of Bill Clinton without the House deciding to withhold the articles.

The fact is that Pelosi played into the hands of McConnell by first rushing this impeachment forward with an incomplete record and now giving him the excuse to summarily change the rules, or even to dismiss the articles. Waiting for the House to submit a list of managers was always a courtesy extended by Senate rules and not a requirement of the Constitution. By inappropriately withholding the articles of impeachment and breaking with tradition, Pelosi simply gave McConnell ample reason to exercise the “nuclear option” and change the rules on both majority voting as well as the rule for the start of trials. That is a high price to pay for her vanity.

It could get even worse for the House case. I previously discussed that the Senate had an excuse to simply declare that a trial will start next week and either the House will appear with a team of managers or the case will be summarily dismissed. McConnell is now moving toward a summary vote in the Senate, in light of the House failing to comply with its own procedural obligations. That is what happens when prosecutors defy a court and fail to appear for a trial. It is known as “dismissal for want of prosecution.”

The Senate also is faced with two threshold problems that could create lasting damage to this process. First, the obstruction of Congress count, as I previously discussed, raises a troubling position that a president can be impeached for going to the courts rather than turning over evidence, even when the House set a ridiculously brief period for an investigation. The Senate could summarily reject that article as making the request for judicial review into a high crime and misdemeanor while allowing little time for deliberation. Second, if the Senate agrees to the Democratic demand for witnesses, it invites future rush impeachments where the House sends woefully incomplete and inadequate cases and demands witnesses it never bothered to subpoena, let alone compel to appear.

The Senate is, therefore, caught in a tough position of enabling the House in such slipshod impeachments or refusing to hear witnesses who, unlike the witnesses called by the House, could have direct evidence to share on the allegations. One possibility is that, as in a real court, the Senate could allow witnesses but give the House a set trial schedule. If the House wants to belatedly go to court to try to enforce a subpoena, the Senate will hear the testimony of witnesses like Bolton when that expedited litigation is complete. However, it will not extend the trial schedule of the Senate.

Trials will usually last a fraction of the time of an investigation, but few investigations are as hurried or heedless as the House investigation was. The House wasted four months after the whistleblower complaint without issuing a subpoena to Bolton or Rudy Giuliani or others. Had it sought to compel such subpoenas, it would have had rulings from the courts by now. Indeed, it took only three months for the appeal over the Watergate tapes to be ruled on by the Supreme Court in the case of Richard Nixon.

The Senate could set a generous period for the trial of three weeks. That is in addition to the four weeks the House wasted on the poorly conceived ploy by Pelosi. If the House is ready to present these witnesses, they can be heard. But if those witnesses are not ready to testify due to ongoing litigation, they will not be called and the Senate will proceed to its verdict. In that way, future Houses are now on notice that it is in their interest to complete their records before sending an impeachment to the Senate.

It would send a message for future impeachments, as the author Herman Wouk wrote, “Remember this, if you can. There is nothing more precious than time. You probably feel you have a measureless supply of it, but you have not. Wasted hours destroy your life just as surely at the beginning as at the end, only in the end it becomes more obvious.” It is now obvious.

Thawra # Furoshima

Well-Known Member
McConnell: Senate impeachment trial to start next Tuesday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says the Senate will begin debating an organizing resolution to start the Senate trial on Tuesday of next week.

The GOP leader said Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in senators as jurors this week, before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

NEW: Sen. Mitch McConnell says "the House is likely to finally send the articles over to us tomorrow," allowing Senate to take steps "which would set us up to begin the actual trial next Tuesday." House to vote Wednesday on sending Trump impeachment articles to Senate pic.twitter.com/Nzi67s5Zj8

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) January 14, 2020
McConnell said the House is expected to send over articles of impeachment on Wednesday and that the Senate will then have to go through a series of preliminary steps and housekeeping measures.

“We hope to achieve that by consent, which would set us up to begin the actual trial next Tuesday,” the GOP leader added.

McConnell clarified that a debate and vote on the organizing resolution, which will determine time limits for the House impeachment managers and the president’s defense team to make their opening arguments as well as for senators to ask questions, will happen next week.

The Senate will then notify the president’s defense team to appear and give the White House several days to respond.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) says Trump’s legal team must be given at least two days' notice, which means that opening arguments may not start until later next week.

McConnell on Tuesday reasserted that the Senate GOP conference is entirely unified behind an organizing resolution that would follow the precedent set by the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial.

“All 53 of us have reached an understanding very, very similar to the one that was achieved at the beginning of the Clinton impeachment trial 100 to nothing that would set up the arguments by the parties — the prosecutors and defense — and then the written question period,” he said.

After senators hear these opening arguments, “the more contentious issue of witnesses will be addressed by the Senate,” McConnell said.

On the charged subject of whether the Senate will vote to subpoena key witnesses, McConnell warned Tuesday that GOP senators may well call on former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter Biden to testify about their Ukraine-related dealings if Democrats subpoena senior administration officials.

“We’ll be dealing with the witness issue at the appropriate time into the trial, and I think it’s certainly appropriate to point out that both sides would want to call witnesses that they wanted to hear from,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday when asked about GOP senators who want Hunter Biden to testify.

“When you get to that issue, I can’t imagine that only the witnesses that our Democratic colleagues would want to call would be called,” he said.

Asked if the Senate trial could be considered a fair proceeding if witnesses aren’t called, McConnell said that “51 senators will decide who to call.”

He criticized the House impeachment inquiry as unfair and incomplete.

“If you look at the House product, you really got to wonder what the definition of a fair trial is. They did almost nothing that you would expect the House to do in order to set up this case in order to be considered by the Senate,” he said.

McConnell also shot down calls to dismiss the articles of impeachment immediately, declaring there aren’t enough votes to avoid a trial.

“There is little or no sentiment in the Republican conference for a motion to dismiss,” he said, adding that “our members feel that we have an obligation to listen to the arguments.”