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Tag: Impeachment

Here’s What House Democrats Can Do Next After Panel Approved Contempt for Barr

AG William Barr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee approved a contempt resolution Wednesday after Attorney General William Barr refused to disclose Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report, but that’s only the first step.

What options do Democrats have left?

The committee on Wednesday essentially recommended that the full House hold Bar in contempt of Congress, and that seems more likely as Democrats grow frustrated with the attorney general’s continued insistence that he will not disclose the unredacted report. President Trump also invoked executive privilege over the report.

If the full House approves the contempt resolution and the records still aren’t turned over, Democrats could then ask the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia or the Justice Department to charge Barr for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. They also could ask a court to enforce the subpoena, or they have the authority to call on their sergeant at arms to arrest Barr.

The House and Senate have the authority to seek jail time for people who violate congressional orders, but that hasn’t happened in nearly a century, The Atlantic reports. Then again, these aren’t ordinary times.

“Its day in the sun is coming,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told the Atlantic.

“This is not some peripheral schoolyard skirmish,” Raskin added. “This goes right to the heart of our ability to do our work as Congress of the United States.”

If Democrats don’t seek to hold Barr accountable, they could begin impeachment hearings, but that option is becoming less likely.

Whatever the case, Democrats made the first step Wednesday. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

Group of Conservative Lawmakers Are Trying to Impeach Deputy AG Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A group of conservative lawmakers are trying to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the top official overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Trump and his campaign’s role in Russian interference during the election.

Eleven Congressional members filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein on Wednesday, claiming he committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced the politically risky measure.

They and nine other Republicans allege Rosenstein mishandled the FISA surveillance of Carter Page, a former adviser to Donald Trump; a lack of transparency; unnecessarily excessive redactions of documents; and violating a Congressional subpoena, Newsweek reports.

Observers believe it’s incredibly unlikely that the lawmakers will get enough votes to secure an impeachment conviction. The measure requires a majority in the House of Representatives and two-thirds support in the Senate.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey – a move that has infuriated the president and his supporters.

Veteran GOP Strategist Warns Trump “a Storm Is Coming’ As Mueller Probe Intensifies

Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, courtesy of Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A veteran Republican strategist on Sunday warned that “a storm is coming” for Donald Trump and that it’s “hard” to believe the special counsel investigation won’t dig up “something” illicit in the president’s long financial history.

Alex Castellans, who worked on the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and Bob Dole, urged the president to waste no time building a strong legal team.

And if Democrats take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the mid-term elections in 2018, there’s a strong chance Trump will be impeached or forced to reign, Castellanos said on ABC’s This Week.

“It’s hard to believe that someone like Donald Trump, who has been a disrupter all his life, who has flouted his way to business success, that Robert Mueller is not going to dig up something in Trump’s complicated financial history to say look, the president of the United States did this and it was wrong,” Castellanos said. “And it’s hard to believe then that when Republicans lose the House in 2018, maybe by 40 or 50 seats, that House is not going to impeach him.”

Castellanos added: “It’s hard to believe then that when Republicans lose the House in 2018, maybe by 40 or 50 seats, that House is not going to impeach him.”

Castellanos offered Trump urgent advice: “So get good legal help now, because the storm is coming.”

Ex-President Carter: Don’t Impeach Trump Even If He Committed Wrongdoing

President Jimmy Carter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Even if special counsel Robert Mueller finds criminal wrongdoing by Donald Trump, the president should not be impeached, said former President Jimmy Carter.

“You know, I have confidence in the American system of government,” Carter told CBS’ Sunday Morning. “I think ultimately the restraints on a president from the Congress and from the Supreme Court will be adequate to protect our nation, if he serves a full term.”

The 39th president said he believes Trump will serve his full term unless Mueller  files charges against the president. But he added, Mueller should be more forthcoming if Trump is in legal trouble.

 “I think Mueller’s been very successful in keeping his cards close to his vest and not revealing any plans. But my wish is that Mr. Mueller would go ahead and make a decision, even if it’s not anything personally that President Trump has done to violate the law; then I think he ought to make that obvious. And if he has violated the law, that ought to be revealed as well.”

Carter, a Democrat, offered to help Trump and said he believes the president wanted to “do a good job.”

“But my own preference would be that he not be impeached, but that he be able to serve out his term, because I think he wants to do a good job. And I’m willing to help him, if I can help him, and give him the benefit of the doubt,” Carter said.

USA Today: ‘Shamefully Silent’ Republicans Must Protect Mueller with Veto-Proof Bill

President Trump, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s “threatening” rhetoric and “brooding instincts” to fire special counsel Robert Mueller should be reason enough for law-and-order Republicans to join Democrats in passing legislation to prevent the president from pulling the plug on the investigation, USA Today argued in an editorial Wednesday. 

“Most Republicans have been shamefully silent about this prospect, made more plausible in recent days by Trump castigating Mueller by name for the first time,” the politically moderate editorial board wrote.

The USA Today argues that it’s not enough that some Republicans are suggesting they would impeach Trump if he fires Mueller. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for example, said it “would be the beginning of the end of his presidency.”

“But can we be sure about that?” the newspaper wrote. “Would a GOP-led Congress that can barely agree on short-term government funding coalesce around the monumental and inevitably partisan task of impeachment?”

The USA Today wrote that Trump would give “contrived” reasons for orchestrating Mueller’s firing and “concocted logic might be enough for die-hard Trump supporters in the House to sway squeamish colleagues into blocking impeachment.”

“Given the stakes, it’s not enough for GOP lawmakers to speak up in support of Mueller, a highly respected Republican, former FBI director and decorated Marine,” the editorial reads. “They also have a duty to safeguard his inquiry. Two bipartisan measures, pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee, would protect him. Both provide judicial review of any termination’s legitimacy. One would challenge the firing before it’s carried out, the other afterward.”

The editorial adds: Pass one of them now, by a veto-proof margin, before it’s too late. 

Is Trump Immune from Obstruction of Justice Charges? It’s Complicated, Legal Observers Say

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer brazenly declared the president “cannot obstruct justice” because he’s the “chief law enforcement officer.”

Citing the executive powers in the U.S. Constitution, Trump’s attorney John Dowd said the president “has every right to express his view of any case.”

Dowd didn’t elaborate, but his position drew comparisons to Richard Nixon’s infamous remarks in 1977: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

Dowd’s position that Trump is legally incapable of obstructing justice  came two days after the president’s explosive admission that he knew his then-national security adviser Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI. It’s a felony to lie the FBI. 

Many legal experts believe Trump’s admission that he knew of the alleged crime bolsters special counsel Robert Mueller’s case that the president intended to quash a legitimate criminal investigation by urging then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the case against Flynn. When Comey refused, he told investigators that Trump fired him.

Trump fired Comey, leading to claims that the president obstructed justice, a felony punishable by prison time.

But can a president be criminally charged with obstruction of justice?

Legal scholars are deeply divided on the issue, but virtually all agree that Trump, if guilty, could be impeached by Congress on the obstruction of justice charges.

Just look at Nixon and former President Bill Clinton, both of whom were accused of obstruction of justice and were impeached, but never criminally charged.

“No one in the judiciary committees during the Clinton and Nixon cases ever claimed that the president is incapable of obstructing justice,” constitutional scholar Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina School of Law told ABC.

Former President Nixon

Gerhardt insists the president isn’t above the law and said it’s “absurd” to claim that Trump couldn’t be criminally charged for obstruction of justice.

Blanket Immunity

Peter Zeidenberg, a lawyer who focuses on white collar and investigations, agrees, saying blanket immunity for a president would mean he could lie to prosecutors, destroy evidence and violate other laws.

“That assertion would literally mean that the president is above the law,” Zeidenberg told Politico.

Eugene Kontorovich, professor at Northwestern University School of Law, said it’s possible that a president’s action could constitute obstruction of justice, but added that the president may direct “inferior officers,” such as Comey, because Trump is the president of the supreme law.

“Offering advice on prosecutorial discretion cannot amount to obstruction,” Kontorovich told Politico. 

Noting the law is very unclear and has no precedent in a criminal proceeding, some legal experts said the authority to determine whether a president committed obstruction of justice belongs to the U.S. House of Representatives, which has impeachment powers.

For that reason, some legal scholars said the best way to handle obstruction of justice is through the impeachment process, not through the legal system.

“The task of determining whether Trump acted improperly ultimately falls to the House,” John Culhane, professor at Widener University Delaware Law School, told Politico.

But Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, who focuses on constitutional law, insisted Trump cannot commit obstruction of justice by “exercising his constitutional power” to terminate employees and control appointees.

“I think if Congress ever were to charge him with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional authority under Article II, we’d have a constitutional crisis,” Dershowitz told ABC News. “You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power.” 

Others disagree, saying the president is required to follow the law like any American citizen.

“We have a president, not a king,” said Sam Berger, senior policy adviser at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “No one is above the law, whether it be Trump or any of his close associates. It’s the sort of desperate claim that makes you wonder, ‘What exactly are they hiding?’”

Republican Lawmakers Plan to Remove AG Eric Holder From Office

attorney general/doj file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Republicans are planning to remove AG Eric Holder from office by year’s end, Rep. Tod Yoho, R-Fla., told the Gainsville Sun.

“It’s to get him out of office — impeachment,” the Florida freshman said, adding “it will probably be when we get back in [Washington]. It will be before the end of the year. This will go to the speaker and the speaker will decide if it comes up or not.”

Among the reasons for removal is the botched “Fast and Furious” operation, which allowed guns to be placed in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

The group plans to take the plan to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, when the lawmakers return from break.

OTHER STORIES OF OFFICE


Breaking News: Ill. Senate Hears FBI Tapes in Blago Impeachment Trial

The Gov. Blago affair goes back and forth between highly entertaining and highly pathetic. And even if he’s removed from office, the show will go on. The man is an entertainer.

Fox News posts Blago-Meter

Fox News posts Blago-Meter

BY DAVE MCKINNEY, NATASHA KORECKI and CHRIS FUSCO
Chicago Sun-Times
SPRINGFIELD – Wiretaps of Gov. Blagojevich’s home phone and his former chief of staff’s cell phone allowed the world to hear for the first time this afternoon Blagojevich’s own voice allegedly discussing a shakedown of a potential campaign contributor.
Lon Monk, now a lobbyist, says on one of the tapes he got in the “face” of the potential contributor, horse racing executive John Johnston.
“I’m telling you, he’s gonna be good for it. I got in his face,” Monk tells the governor during a 9:09 a.m. call on Dec. 4, 2008.
Anticipation built in the moments before tapes were played for the first time in the Senate trial. The chamber grew quiet.
As senators listened to the four brief conversations, one senator chewed on his pen and looked ahead. Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora), smiled and shook his head as he heard the governor’s brother, Robert, tell Blagojevich that Johnston was “good for it” – an apparent reference to a $100,000 campaign contribution.

For Full Story

FBI Tape 1Transcript
FBI Tape 2Transcript
FBI Tape 3Transcript
FBI Tape 4Transcript

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST