On last week Thursday’s The World As I Like It To Be podcast we discussed what we learned from the two week impeachment hearings by the House intelligence committee run by Adam Schiff.
We learned, from the mouths of the people who were there, that Donald Trump tried to bribe the Ukrainian president with a quid pro quo.
We learned that the ambassadors found out about it, were horrified by it and ultimately would not go along with the “drug deal” the administration was cooking up.
We learned the administration tried to get the ambassadors not to testify, but they did so anyway.
The hearing ended with Adam Schiff concluded he would write up a report for the judiciary committee so that they could take the lead post Thanksgiving.
Last week’s podcast is here.
The legal and historical reason for impeachment
Jerry Nadler and the judiciary committee took the ball and ran with it on Wednesday. The President was invited to participate in the impeachment inquiry, but chose not to.
So, instead, the committee spoke to four esteemed lawyers.
Noah Feldman, Michael J Gerhardt and Pamela Karlin for the democrats and Johnathan Turley for the republicans. The goal of the testimony was to hear from legal scholars whether impeachment was warranted or not.
From the NYTimes:
Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard, argued that attempts by Mr. Trump to withhold a White House meeting and military assistance from Ukraine as leverage for political favors constitute impeachable conduct, as was the act of soliciting foreign assistance on a phone call with Ukraine’s leader.
“President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency,” Mr. Feldman said. “Specifically, President Trump has abused his office by corruptly soliciting President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election.”
Michael J. Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, argued that Mr. Trump had “committed several impeachable offenses” by taking actions regarding Ukraine that were worse than Richard Nixon’s misconduct during Watergate.
“If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on his behalf in the next election,” Mr. Gerhardt said.
Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, told lawmakers that the president’s attempt to “strong arm a foreign leader” would not be considered politics as usual by historical standards.
“It is, instead, a cardinal reason why the Constitution contains an impeachment power,” she said. “If we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account.”
The case against impeachment
Jonathan Turley’s case against impeachment was not so much based on the evidence, but that the proceedings were moving too fast and there is still more evidence to be had.
This is not the first time Turley has argued before Congress in an impeachment case. Back in the 90’s the lawyer was involved in the Bill Clinton impeachment inquiry arguing for the impeachment of the president.
At that time Turley was concerned about not reigning in a president and worried that allowing the president to get away with these violations of the constitution would expand presidential power to a dangerous degree.
But here, Turley’s concern is very different. Again, from the NY Times, the George Washington University lawyer writes:
“If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president,”
He also argues none of the allegations have been proven to such a degree to get a conviction in the Senate where it is destined to collapse at trial. If only professor Turley of 2019 could talk to professor Turley of 1998.
Unfortunately the lawyer says he has received death threats since his testimony. It’s also significant to note, the professor has been a go to man of sorts for republicans on other legal issues.
Turley famously and successfully argued in court, that the Affordable Care Act should be deemed unconstitutional because Congress has not appropriated money for it.
Don’t Mess With Me
The impeachment inquiry in the judiciary was Wednesday.
Yesterday, at a previously scheduled event, the speaker made an announcement which will largely be forgotten for discussing two new bills (one for voting rights, the other on lowering drug prices) and reminding reporters the House has passed 275 bills since democrats took over the house (a statement to buttress the president’s “do nothing” charge).
No, the speaker, clearly straining with a horse throat, was announcing she has determined the House has enough evidence to proceed with articles of impeachment. After making that announcement the speaker left the podium when a Sinclair news reporter shouted out a question to her – “do you hate the president”.
Normally politicians keep it moving as if the question did not exist.
But speaker Nancy Pelosi, fingers waving, chastised the questioner and the question, returning to the podium.
OPINION: I am not sure if the speaker was aware the reporter was from Sinclair media (which has been effusive in its praise of the president). She appeared to be leveling the attack as if it were personal. I am glad the question was asked and answered.
I think her response was spot on and clarifying:
I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids, who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our “dreamers,” of whom we are very proud. I think he is in denial about the Constitution — about the climate crisis. However, that’s about the election. Take it up in the election.
This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president’s violation of his oath of office.
And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. . . . I pray for the president all the time. So, don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.— from Washington Post – Jennifer Rubin by way of Nancy Pelosi
Don’t Mess With Me. I don’t think that was a request. It was a command.