Donald Trump Impeachment Inquiry/trial 2020

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Donald Trump Impeachment Inquiry/hearings 2019
The Republicans 2020
The 45th President of the U.S. Chapters I, II, III & IV
What’s in the House Resolution on Impeachment?
The Impeachment Process Explained: What Happens to Trump Now?
The House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry report

Adam Gopnik: Thirteen (Well, Ten) Ways of Looking at an Impeachment and Acquittal
(…in descending order of despair—though, perhaps, ascending order of importance.)
1. Impeachment was, despite it all, essential. … Whether it was politically advantageous or not in the short run, it would have been politically disastrous in the long run to crawl away from such a conflict begun in such patriotic good faith. Right really should matter here.

6 February
Trump celebrates end of impeachment with angry, raw and vindictive 62-minute White House rant
By David Nakamura
(WaPo) He spoke without a teleprompter. He cursed in the East Room. He called the House speaker a “horrible person.” He lorded his power over a room full of deferential Republicans. He mocked a former GOP presidential nominee and his 2016 Democratic rival. He played the victim again and again.
Two days after President Trump delivered what aides called an “optimistic” State of the Union address that made no mention of his historic impeachment, he ranted for more than an hour at the White House on Thursday in a “celebration” of his Senate acquittal a day earlier. But the mood — at least his mood — was not particularly celebratory.
Trump was angry, raw, vindictive, aggrieved — reflecting the id of a president who has seethed for months with rage against his enemies. This was the State of Trump.

President Donald Trump was acquitted of the charges brought against him in the impeachment trial this week. The coming months are fateful for our democracy. Photograph by Oliver Contreras / Bloomberg / Getty

5 February
Mitt Stands Alone: Romney Sole GOP Defector As Senate Exonerates Trump
By Ben Jacobs
The impeachment of President Donald Trump has ended with Mitt Romney becoming a liberal hero.
(New York) It is both an anodyne description of Wednesday’s events and testimony to how jarring the presidency of Donald Trump has been. Less than eight years after Mitt Romney awkwardly accepted the endorsement of the-then reality television-show host in [his] attempt to ensure victory in Nevada’s Republican caucuses, he voted for Trump to be removed from the presidency.
The apotheosis of Romney’s journey from severely conservative venture capitalist to leader of the resistance was reached just after 2 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Speaking from a binder full of rebukes of President Trump, the Utah senator announced that he would vote to convict the President for abusing his power — the first senator to vote for conviction of their own party’s president in American history.
Occasionally choking up, Romney posed the rhetorical question whether Trump had committed a high crime and misdemeanor. Then, he answered it with unadorned understatement: “Yes, he did.”
With an eye to his legacy, Romney insisted, “I will only be one name among many, no more or less, to future generations of Americans who look at the record of this trial … We’re all footnotes at best in the annals of history.”

4 February
Impeachment trial: Senators explain votes ahead of final verdict
(CBS News) The Senate reconvened Tuesday for floor speeches by members a day before a final vote in President Trump’s impeachment trial, one which is all but certain to result in his acquittal.
Senators had 10 minutes each to speak and explain their decision on whether to remove Mr. Trump from office on two articles of impeachment. The Senate met Tuesday in regular “legislative session,” meaning Chief Justice John Roberts did not preside over proceedings.
Republican Senator Susan Collins announced she plans to vote to acquit the president, saying House impeachment managers had failed to show the president committed a high crime or misdemeanor warranting removal from office.
House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team presented their closing arguments Monday before the first senators were given the chance to speak. Democrats invoked the judgment of history to urge senators to vote to convict the president, while Mr. Trump’s team reiterated their belief that the process was flawed from the start and required his acquittal.

2 February
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski announces she ‘cannot vote to convict’ Trump and remove him from office
(Business Insider) The Senate heard closing arguments in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Monday.
The proceedings came after the upper chamber voted to block new firsthand witnesses from coming to testify against the president.
House impeachment managers, who act as prosecutors in Trump’s trial, argued the Senate has a constitutional obligation to hear any relevant information pertaining to Trump’s alleged misconduct.
The president’s defense team said the Senate didn’t need to hear from any more witnesses while simultaneously claiming House prosecutors hadn’t allowed for enough witnesses.
‘He will not change. And you know it’
(Daily Mail) Adam Schiff made a passionate plea for the Senate to remove Donald Trump for office, arguing to senators it was the only way to stop his abuse of power, while defense attorney Ken Starr accused the Democrats of wanting to declare the 2016 election ‘null and void.
The dueling arguments played out on the Senate floor Monday afternoon ahead of Wednesday’s vote on whether to convict or acquit President Trump of the two articles of impeachment against him.
Schiff, the lead impeachment manager who the president has dubbed ‘Shifty Schiff,’ made the final case for his side as the odds were against them.

31 January
Senate to vote Wednesday on whether to remove or acquit Trump on impeachment charges
The Senate on Friday rejected a measure to call witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial after Republicans argued new testimony is unnecessary, ensuring the trial will be the first in U.S. history without witnesses.
Senators plan to vote Wednesday on the two impeachment charges against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Republican officials said late Friday that closing arguments will be held early next week ahead of the votes.
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.
Rubio: Impeachable actions don’t necessarily mean a president should be removed
“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,” Rubio wrote in a Medium post.
“Determining which outcome is in the best interests requires a political judgment — one that takes into account both the severity of the wrongdoing alleged but also the impact removal would have on the nation,” he said.
Rubio also suggested that removing Trump from office would be a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

30 January
Todd S. Purdum: Democrats Never Found Their Hero
Representative Adam Schiff played every card he had in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, but none seemed to work.
(The Atlantic) Now, with the defendant’s foregone acquittal in sight as soon as tomorrow, it’s all come down to Schiff, the terminally earnest chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff’s powers, while formidable, have proved just as un-super as everyone else’s in the near-lockstep partisan loyalty that fear of Trump has produced.
… Indeed, the House managers have spent more than a week noting that no Senate impeachment trial has ever concluded without calling some witnesses. But in this, as in so many other matters involving the political ascendancy and presidency of Donald John Trump, Schiff and his colleagues, in invoking the power of history’s example, seem poised instead to suffer one more painful lesson in its limits.

29 January
Dershowitz: President Can Abuse Power If It Helps Get Them Reelected
By Jonathan Chait
(New York) Alan Dershowitz, one of the members of President Trump’s legal team, has an odd habit of using the reductio ad absurdum technique to his own arguments. Dershowitz argues that “abuse of power” is not a category of behavior that can be impeachable. He admits he previously believed the opposite, and that the vast majority of constitutional scholars believe the opposite, but claims to have delved into it and discovered that they are all wrong. Dershowitz has conceded that even if Trump handed Alaska over to Vladimir Putin, that would not be an impeachable offense.

22 – 28 January
Bolton Revelations Anger Republicans, Fueling Push for Impeachment Witnesses
The former national security adviser’s account threatened to derail Republican hopes of bringing President Trump’s impeachment trial to a quick close with his acquittal.
(NYT) A handful of Republicans appeared to be moving closer to joining Democrats in a vote to subpoena Mr. Bolton, even as their leaders insisted that doing so would only delay his inevitable acquittal.
John Bolton just shattered Trump’s defense in the impeachment trial and squeezed Senate Republicans into a corner
The former national security adviser John Bolton proved over the weekend why he’s President Donald Trump’s worst nightmare as Trump battles a snowballing Senate impeachment trial.
Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says
By Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt
Drafts of the book outline the potential testimony of the former national security adviser if he were called as a witness in the president’s impeachment trial.
President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton. The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense:
Jennifer Rubin: Trump lawyers’ weak start opens the door to devastating questions
President Trump’s lawyers’ repeated assertions Saturday that they would not take much time on their case confirmed that they know the result is in the bag and that they have embarrassingly little to say in Trump’s defense. The central problem for them remains: How do you contest the facts, or claim an absence of evidence when you won’t allow in available evidence?
As Democratic senators think ahead to question time, they might start formulating questions that perform one of five functions. …
Trump Team, Opening Defense, Accuses Democrats of Plot to Subvert Election
President Trump’s lawyers argued against his removal in the Senate impeachment trial, saying Democrats are “asking you to tear up all of the ballots” by convicting him of high crimes and misdemeanors.
President Trump’s legal defense team mounted an aggressive offense on Saturday as it opened its side in the Senate impeachment trial by attacking his Democratic accusers as partisan witch-hunters trying to remove him from office because they could not beat him at the ballot box.
After three days of arguments by the House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, the president’s lawyers presented the senators a radically different view of the facts and the Constitution, seeking to turn the Democrats’ charges back on them while denouncing the whole process as illegitimate.
After the session, Democrats contended that the White House arguments actually bolstered their demand to call witnesses like John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, and Mick Mulvaney, his acting White House chief of staff, as well as require documents be turned over, all of which the Republican majority so far has rejected.
“They kept saying there are no eyewitness accounts,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, told reporters. “But there are people that have eyewitness accounts. The very four witnesses, and the very four sets of documents that we have asked for.”
John Cassidy: Adam Schiff and His Colleagues Did Their Duty in the Trump Impeachment Trial
(The New Yorker) The Senate Republicans may well vote to acquit Trump, but they will not be able to erase the record that Adam Schiff and his colleagues laid down clearly, methodically, and meticulously over three days of arguments.
As they went along, the House managers were also careful to point to gaps in the record that could have been filled if the President hadn’t prevented many key witnesses and documents from being presented to Congress. Without being overly melodramatic, the Democratic representatives also highlighted the moral burden that rests on the fifty-three Republican senators who will determine Trump’s fate. In terms of the trial verdict, this may all have been in vain. But the verdict of history will be very different.
Emotional Schiff Speech Goes Viral, Delighting the Left and Enraging the Right
Representative Adam B. Schiff took a risk in telling senators they must convict and remove President Trump because “you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country.”
First, there was Thursday’s declaration that “you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country,” and then on Friday, he invoked a news report that Republican senators had been warned that their heads would be “on a pike” if they voted against Mr. Trump.
On Friday morning, the phrase #RightMatters — from the last line of Mr. Schiff’s Thursday speech — was trending as a hashtag on Twitter. The Daily Beast declared that the remarks “will go down in history.” Ryan Knight, a progressive activist, called it “a closing statement for the ages.” Video of the speech quickly went viral. Liberals lavished him with praise.
The impeachment evidence will catch up to Republicans and Trump — whether they ignore it or not
(WaPo editorial board) DONALD TRUMP’S presidency has been, among other things, a war against truth. So it’s fitting that in making the case for his removal from office this week, House impeachment managers showered the Senate with facts. Over and over again, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and his co-managers laid out the hard evidence that Mr. Trump used presidential powers to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations that would aid his reelection campaign, and that he engaged in unprecedented obstruction of Congress’s subsequent investigation.
The final result of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is a foregone conclusion, but in “Trump’s Impeachment Puts the Senate on Trial, Frank Rich writes that “there are another nine months until Election Day during which more White House rocks will be turned over and more rot will be revealed.” With more scandals likely to break, Republicans up for reelection in tight races will be held accountable for their passivity, inaction, and cowardice in these proceedings. It’s result notwithstanding, there is much good that can still come out of this seemingly open-and-shut exercise.(The Atlantic) The Senate adjourned at 2 a.m. Wednesday, only to pick proceedings right back up in the afternoon. Our writers have been closely watching the events unfold:
The fraught relationship between Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer is now center stage. The leaders of their respective parties are like “oil and water,” former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said. “Everybody knows that [they] don’t mix.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s trial gives aging politicos a chance to leap back into the spotlight. Alan Dershowitz. Ken Starr. Mark Penn. “Call it the revenge of the has-beens,” Peter Beinart argues. “now, at ages 81 and 73, respectively, Dershowitz and Starr are back at center stage. They are the latest faded luminaries seeking to revive their fame—and blemish their reputation—by shilling for Donald Trump.”
The White House keeps arguing that Democrats want to overturn the 2016 election. David A. Graham points out at least four flaws in that argument. (For starters: “Why else would impeachment exist?”)

21 January
Virginia Heffernan: Republicans wanted to impeach Trump from the start
(LA Times) In September, former Sen. Jeff Flake said that 35 Republican senators would vote to remove the president in an impeachment trial, if they could do so under cover of secret ballot and thus vote on principle and not for political optics.
But the Senate uses the public roll call, not a secret ballot. Standing with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has made it clear he doesn’t want a trial, much less a conviction, seems like the best bet for timid Republicans now.
If the anguished Republicans acquit the president, as seems likely, they’ll get the godfather’s (and McConnell’s) invaluable blessing and, with any luck, be re-elected. But the dynamism the party once showed, when it dared to condemn Trump in 2016, is gone. In more courageous days, Republicans started this impeachment. Too bad they won’t see it through.

15-19 January
Jonathan Chait: Trump Lawyers Argue No President Can Be Impeached for Any Abuse of Power
(New York) Yesterday, in response to a detailed 111-page brief outlining the House of Representatives’ case for impeachment, President Trump’s legal team filed a six-page response. It is notable primarily for advancing an audacious and highly dangerous constitutional claim: that a president cannot be impeached for any abuse of power.
Trump’s Defense Team Calls Impeachment Charges ‘Brazen’ as Democrats Make Legal Case
(NYT) In the first legal filings for the Senate impeachment trial that opens in earnest on Tuesday, the dueling arguments from the White House and the House impeachment managers previewed a politically charged fight over Mr. Trump’s fate, unfolding against the backdrop of the presidential election campaign.
In a 46-page trial memorandum, and additional 60-page statement of facts, the House impeachment managers asserted that beginning in the spring, Mr. Trump undertook a corrupt campaign to enlist a foreign government to help him win the 2020 election. He did so, the Democrats argued, by pressuring Ukraine to publicly announce investigations of his political rivals, withholding as leverage vital military aid and a White House meeting for the country’s president.
In a six-page filing formally responding to the House impeachment charges submitted shortly after and filled with partisan barbs against House Democrats, Mr. Trump’s lawyers denounced the case as constitutionally and legally invalid, and driven purely by a desire to hurt Mr. Trump in the 2020 election.
Trump expands legal team to include Alan Dershowtiz, Kenneth Starr and others
Word of the new firepower came as House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers scrambled to produce legal briefs ahead of the Senate’s return Tuesday after the holiday weekend.
Trump Just Hired Jeffrey Epstein’s Lawyers
The men who helped Jeffrey Epstein walk free in a sweetheart plea deal—and allegedly abuse again—are now on Trump’s high-powered legal team for his impeachment trial.
Senate impeachment trial begins with rancor over witnesses and new evidence about Trump’s Ukraine dealings
The third impeachment trial in U.S. history officially began Thursday amid a swirl of new allegations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, which several Republicans rushed to downplay as they dismissed Democrats’ calls for further investigation.
Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, has alleged that Trump knew of his role in the effort to dig up dirt in Ukraine that could benefit the president politically — the central issue in House Democrats’ case for removing the president from office — and this week provided Congress with documents to buttress his claims. Trump, who has appeared in several pictures with Parnas, denied knowing him on Thursday.
Republican lawmakers appeared unswayed by the new information, focusing on attacking the Democratic-led investigation in the House for not uncovering the evidence before sending the impeachment articles to the Senate.
Impeachment spotlight turns to key question: Whether to call witnesses
The impeachment trial of President Trump, expected to open in the Senate on Thursday, is shining an intense spotlight on a handful of Senate Republicans who hold the power to decide a key question: whether to call witnesses.
On one end, a group of influential swing GOP senators — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — are pushing to hold a vote on whether to call witnesses later in the proceedings. Democrats have vowed to exert pressure on the group to break with their party on witnesses and other issues, such as obtaining documents.
At the same time, the Senate’s right flank is increasingly making the case to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and other GOP leaders for a more aggressive posture in defense of Trump.

13 January
Top Senate Republicans reject Trump’s renewed call for immediate dismissal of impeachment charges
The president wants the two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — dismissed almost immediately, even before arguments by both sides.

9 January
Anticipation Building, Pelosi Says She Will Send Impeachment Articles ‘Soon’
The Democratic speaker of the House said she would send the charges to the Senate “when I’m ready, and that will probably be soon.”
(NYT) Speaker Nancy Pelosi quietly laid the groundwork on Thursday to send impeachment articles against President Trump to the Senate, indicating that the House would “soon” end a weekslong impasse and vote to bring the charges to trial.
Though the speaker offered no specific timetable for her decision, lawmakers and aides said the House could move toward a vote next week before lawmakers decamp for a weeklong recess. They braced for an announcement from Ms. Pelosi about her plans as soon as Friday, as senators made final preparations for what would be the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.
McConnell backs measure to change Senate rules, dismiss impeachment without articles
(The Hill) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is backing a resolution to change the Senate’s rules to allow for lawmakers to dismiss articles of impeachment against President Trump before the House sends them over.
Changing the rules would either require a two-thirds vote or for Republicans to deploy the “nuclear” option.
The resolution would give the House 25 days to send articles of impeachment over to the Senate. After that, a senator could offer a motion to dismiss “with prejudice for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute such articles” with a simple majority vote, according to Hawley’s proposal.
McConnell has repeatedly lashed out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for delaying sending over the two articles of impeachment.
[18 December
Timing of Trump Impeachment Trial in Limbo as Pelosi Holds Out for Assurances
In declining to say when she might send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested she might keep them as leverage for negotiations on the rules for a trial.]

7 January
Pelosi and McConnell Are Playing High-Stakes Poker
A guide for the perplexed to the House-Senate standoff over impeachment
By Benjamin Wittes, Contributing writer at The Atlantic and editor in chief of Lawfare
and Quinta Jurecic, Contributing writer at The Atlantic and managing editor of Lawfare
The standoff stems from McConnell’s proposal for how to proceed with the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump: Pelosi has accused McConnell of violating his oath of office, while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has suggested a trial procedure that would guarantee that at least four witnesses are called to testify. McConnell has balked at agreeing in advance to call witnesses. Instead, he has argued, the Senate should begin the proceedings without such an agreement and address the question of witnesses only after the House has made its opening argument against the president and Trump’s team has responded.
For this reason, the articles of impeachment remain stalled between the House and the Senate, with Pelosi refusing to deliver them to the other side of the Capitol until McConnell reaches some kind of accommodation with Schumer. There’s no reason, the Democratic leadership argues, to provide the articles to the Senate only for them to be quickly quashed. So Pelosi has withheld the articles until, as she puts it, McConnell agrees to proceed “in a manner worthy of the Constitution.”
The trouble is that, in the absence of any real doubt over the president’s impending acquittal by the Senate, the questions that remain are not moral. They are strategic questions about what the goal of a Senate trial should be—and tactical questions about how best to achieve it. For Democrats, the goal appears to be to use the trial to erode the president’s prospects for reelection in November. This goal includes presenting as much new evidence unavailable during the House proceeding as possible. For the Senate Republican leadership, by contrast, the goal is to make the trial go away as quickly as possible and to prevent it from metastasizing into a larger search for evidence of presidential misconduct.

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