January 21, 2020

The NYT expresses a belief that there's a "legal consensus" on constitutional law and that anyone who doesn't follow along is spouting "constitutional nonsense."

A headline (on a column by Charlie Savage) expresses that belief, but the NYT cannot really believe that. On so many issues, they love the dissenting voice and they laud the newly articulated interpretation.

But for this one particular issue — whether a crime is required for impeachment — the NYT headline writer adheres to the concept of "legal consensus" and characterizes divergence from the asserted (made up?) consensus as "constitutional nonsense."

What I'm trying to slog through is "'Constitutional Nonsense’': Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus/The president’s legal case would negate any need for witnesses. But constitutional scholars say that it’s wrong" (NYT).

Savage is looking at Trump's lawyers' argument that impeachment requires allegation of a crime and not just abuse of power.
Their argument... cuts against the consensus among scholars that impeachment exists to remove officials who abuse power. The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” means a serious violation of public trust that need not also be an ordinary crime, said Frank O. Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and the author of a recent book on the topic.
“This argument is constitutional nonsense,” Mr. Bowman said. “The almost universal consensus — in Great Britain, in the colonies, in the American states between 1776 and 1787, at the Constitutional Convention and since — has been that criminal conduct is not required for impeachment.”...
The evidence of a consensus among scholars (which scholars?) is that one scholar asserts that there is a consensus. We're given no reasoning at all on the notion that anything not in the "consensus" is "nonsense."

But in Trump's legal brief, Bowman's "consensus" is called a "newly invented... theory." So we've got lawyers on either side yelling at each other: Your interpretation is totally off! No one ever even heard of that before!
Mr. Bowman — whose scholarship on impeachment law is cited in a footnote in the Trump legal team brief — called the arguments in that brief “a well-crafted piece of sophistry that cherry-picks sources and ignores inconvenient history and precedent.”
In other words, it's a legal brief.

Savage quotes Alan Dershowitz, who concedes that "most" scholars say a crime is not necessary: "My argument will be very serious and very scholarly. The fact that other scholars disagree, that’s for the Senate to consider. There is a division — most of the scholars disagree with me. I think they’re wrong."

We'll see if Professor Dershowitz can win the hearts of the American people as he argues that there must be a crime alleged. Whether that works or not, it shines a strong light on the stark fact that Trump's aggressive opponents never accused him of committing a crime.

183 comments:

tcrosse said...

How many votes do the Scholars have in the Senate?

Lucid-Ideas said...

I'm certainly not the first person to say this, but whatever shenanigans Dems have pulled/will pulled should be imprinted on the inside of everyones' skull to be recalled at will later in 4, 8, 10, 12, or forever moving forward and acted upon.

Pot meet kettle.

Leland said...

Do I believe you can impeach for any political reason? Yes.

Do I think any political reason is justified for removing a President? No.

After a couple of weeks of impeachment theater, will my opinions change? No.

Jersey Fled said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gusty Winds said...

If there is only on possible interpretation of the Constitution we can disband the Supreme Court, correct?

rehajm said...

We'll see if Professor Dershowitz can win the hearts of the American people as he argues that there must be a crime alleged

Well, it's not just any crime but a high crime. Plural actually, if you want to get real technical. Misdemeanors will work in pinch, but there weren't any of those either...

rehajm said...

How many votes do the Scholars have in the Senate?

Heh, yes...as many as the Representatives in the House...

Chuck said...

So “Charlie Savage” = “the New York Times”?

Althouse, I am absolutely confident that you understand that editorials and op-ed ‘s are explicitly opinions, and that while editorials are the opinions of the editorial board, op-eds and regular columns are explicitly understood as the opinion of the author(s), alone.

I am certain that you understand that, Althouse. And yet you make a broad attribution to “the New York Times” in your own blog post headline.

And I presume — this is my opinion — that in doing so, you are deliberately setting up an “Althouse blog versus the Times” situation, that drags in all sorts of Trumpian media prejudices instead of dealing with issues and facts in a direct and discrete manner.

Jersey Fled said...

Funny how liberals always site "consensus" as proof final and indisputable.

Even when that consensus may or may not truly exist.

See: climate change

Qwinn said...

And they're claiming that you don't need a crime if there was some serious abuse of power. There wasn't any of that, either (except by House Dems, actually), but by making the argument the way they are, they're trying to insert the idea in the population that there's a consensus on "serious abuse of power" on Trump's part too.

Nonapod said...

I've always thought it odd that the word "crime" is used in the Constitution to describe impeachment yet we're told endlessly that no actual crime is required.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Why use the word "crimes" if not to describe crimes?

The phrase "abuse of... power" only appears in referrence to congress in the preamble to the amendments.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Well they have certainly made clear the prosecution is nonsensical. How odd that they are now admitting NO CRIME IS NECESSARY now that we’ve all pointed out they left the “high crimes AND misdemeanors” part out of their brief. Poor ARM. Abandoned by his party again!

Sebastian said...

"the NYT cannot really believe that"

They can't really believe that! They should be consistent! They should apply the same standards across issues, regardless of party! They should uphold standards! They can't really act in such manifest bad faith! It's sad!

Anyway, Althouse: just quit. The NYT, I mean.

Kevin said...

I think I have this straight:

Impeachment is a political process when we're in the House where the Democrats have a majority.

It doesn't require an underlying crime at all, just a majority vote to put it into the Senate.

Yet impeachment is a legal process in the Senate where the Repubicans have a majority.

The "trial" must be "fair" and "additional witnesses" to the non-crime "must be called" before Senators must "vote impartially" on the "charges" which were brought by the House. If not it's a "coverup" and "whitewash".

Once again the left is playing civility bullshit.

Fernandistein said...

Go Scholars! The philosophers are gaining on you!

High Crime
high crime n
: a crime of infamous nature contrary to public morality but not technically constituting a felony

So there really was a "high crime": giving taxpayers' money to the corruptocrats in the Ukraine.

Drago said...

I do not believe it would be possible for a commenter to offer a more condescending, patronizing and dishonest take on a blog authors post.

And to think it is being offered up by a Banned Commenter makes it all the more absurd.

Beasts of England said...

’And I presume — this is my opinion — that in doing so, you are deliberately setting up an “Althouse blog versus the Times” situation, that drags in all sorts of Trumpian media prejudices instead of dealing with issues and facts in a direct and discrete manner.’

Althouse has once again disappointed Chuck.

William said...

If Trump had sex with an intern in the Oval Office and then lied about it under oath, I wonder what would be the consensus opinion of constitutional scholars on such behavior.

Kevin said...

The evidence of a consensus among scholars (which scholars?) is that one scholar asserts that there is a consensus.

The (insert item here) is settled!

TestTube said...

If you are going to put the country through the sturm and drang of impeachment and trial, then yes, you ought to be able to point to some law and say yes, there was a crime.

Because if you can impeach and try the president for a non-crime, then you are sending the message that you can indict and try a citizen for a non-crime.

And if you argue that impeachment is a political process, then the crime better be a really big, really obvious, really important crime, because the political process which determines who and who does not sit in the white house is the province of the voting citizens, via the electoral college.

The citizenry of the United States is generally happy, and generally fun. Also, tending toward obesity. Like a ball of happiness of fun. A happy fun ball.

Do not taunt happy fun ball.

Browndog said...

I had to watch a few minutes of commie news to see how they are covering it.

Surprisingly, MSNBC sounded defeated--the dems kinda blew in the House.

CNN, this is the most deadly serious thing in the history of the world. If the Senate doesn't do the libs bidding...we're all dead.

Drago said...

Btw, in case anyone missed it, not only are LLR-lefty Chuck's far left allies calling for Trump's removal and calling Barr a Russian asset, they are also calling for the removal of Pence as VP and the removal of Trump judicial appointments.

Just so we are all clear on what Chuck and his pals are really aiming for.

Jim said...

"Because if you can impeach and try the president for a non-crime, then you are sending the message that you can indict and try a citizen for a non-crime"
It really is possible, that the left, is trying to make crimes of thoughts. simple conversations as well. In the past, I always thought the term 'Orwellian' was a bit forced. they seem intent on making anything outside of the hive mind a crime.
Is Trump on trial here, or are us 'normals' on trial.

Fernandistein said...

Corruption Perceptions Index 2014

Rank, 1 to 174 [= Somalia]
142 Uganda
142 Ukraine
145 Bangladesh

chickelit said...

I applaud the failure of The New York Times to convince anyone of anything new. Well done! More please!

Gk1 said...

It's hard to keep the democrat's "Calvinball" rules straight from day to day. So you don't really need any sort of crime to impeach a president? O.k got it. These are the new rules going forward for all future presidents. Thanks, assholes.

Chuck said...

A Just Security feature on the criminal behaviors described in the articles of impeachment. Written by a solid panel of academics and former prosecutors.

Sorry, Althouse, for the url instead of one of my usual hyperlinks; I’m on my iPhone right now:

https://www.justsecurity.org/67738/federal-criminal-offenses-and-the-impeachment-of-donald-j-trump/

tim maguire said...

And these "scholars," who decides who's a scholar? Who decides who's view if more meaningful than another's?

Are "scholarships" granted by the Supreme Court? Or are scholars simply people who make their money in the field they're supposedly as scholar of? Which sounds like circular reasoning with a dash of conflict of interest thrown in. "I'm a scholar because they pay me; they pay me because I'm a scholar."

Mark O said...

Where did Dershowitz get the silly idea that a crime was a necessary basis for impeachment?

"The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Hide your eyes.

rehajm said...

...then you are sending the message that you can indict and try a citizen for a non-crime

The remedy is to immunize yourself from investigation by declaring your candidacy for President, loud and often...

Owen said...

“Consensus” is a Magic Word. It is an argument-stopper. In the colloquial, it translates as “because I said so. STFU.”

We know this from decades of rhetoric on climate change, where the “consensus” (a few dozen articles out of many thousands) was created and forced down our throats, facts and reason be damned.

Levi Starks said...

Go ahead and remove Trump and then tally the number of Americans (many of whom spend their lives producing food and goods consumed buy the coastal elites) who feel like they’ve been the victims of a crime.
Sounds like a great way to restore national unity don’t you Think?

Browndog said...

Schiff now on tv complaining that McConnell didn't consult with him on the Senate rules, and is operating in secrecy.

Owen said...

Browndog: Srsly? Schiff unhappy about secrecy?

Excellent. But now I need to order a new Irony Meter.

Fernandistein said...

And these "scholars," who decides who's a scholar?

Scholars!

Who decides who's view if more meaningful than another's?

Philosophers!

Browndog said...

Nadler: In a trial, the prosecutors, the House managers need to be allowed bring in all the evidence and witnesses they need. The defense should be allowed to bring in their evidence.

Note he left out witnesses for the defense.

Drago said...

BTW, beautiful footage online of Trump arriving in Zurich and then Davos.

One can't help thinking that the Swiss certainly build alot of impressive structures with stolen Jewish Holocaust victims assets.

robother said...

Perhaps we need to poll the austere religious scholars. Those scholars brook no dissent against their consensus. I'm sure many Harard Law School scholars secretly wish for that sort of authority.

traditionalguy said...

What Dersh ignores is that the Dems, whom he is exposing as thieves, see Trump's winning style as a very high crime. It is a fight to the death.

TestTube said...

Rehajm,

No, the remedy is not to insulate yourself from or appease in any way those who would indict you of a non-crime.

The remedy is to deprive them of the power to indict. And any other sort of power.

mccullough said...

“Abuse of power” is just a vague phrase. It’s what someone did that people claim is an “abuse of power” that matters.

Here, Trump asked Ukraine to look into Biden’s corruption. There is evidence that the Biden’s are corrupt and profited off Ukraine while Joe was supposedly the “point man” on Ukraine policy.

Trump is not getting removed from office over this. Claiming “abuse of power” or “investigation of a political rival” is just marketing noise. Slogans.

Biden’s kid is a fucked up Coke Head. Both Biden and Obama are corrupt for allowing Biden’s kid to enrich himself. They abused their power.

And now it’s time for Joe and Cokehead Son to pay for it.

Drago said...

mccullough: "Biden’s kid is a fucked up Coke Head. Both Biden and Obama are corrupt for allowing Biden’s kid to enrich himself. They abused their power."

Uh oh.

You thought LLR-lefty Chuck was out of control with his sneering response to Althouse's post? Just wait until he reads this all too correct assessment of Biden's and obama's abject corruption.

It ain't gonna be pretty....

mccullough said...

Reporters should ask these constitutional scholars why Joe Biden should not have been impeached as Vice President (or impeached if he’s elected president) for allowing his Cokehead Son to profit off Joes responsibilities in Ukraine.

Joe is a scumbag like all of them. He’ll keep trying to hide behind his Dead Wife and Dead Kids.

Francisco D said...

If there is only on possible interpretation of the Constitution we can disband the Supreme Court, correct?

We have a thread winner!

mccullough said...

Subpoena all of Hunter Biden’s bank records. Let’s see how he divvies up the money.

Of course, the Senate does not want to look into this. Because some of their names (or more likely the names of their family members) will be on that list.

Larvell said...

I mean, it seems clear that a legal crime is not the only thing that is impeachable, but when one considers the completely bizarre constitutional arguments that the MSM and the left are totally on board with, it’s a strange argument to make, although totally in character.

The Gipper Lives said...

If CIA Charlie’s testimony has been overtaken by events as Democrats claim, then he doesn’t need his phony “Whistleblower”-status anymore, does he? You can’t have it both ways. Charlie can tell us how he conspired with Michael Atkison, Mary McCord, Vindman and Schiff to frame the President–yet again. I'm sure they'll want to testify to clear this up.

And then let’s hear from former FBI Washington Bureau Chief, CrowdStrike’s Shawn Henry. He can tell us all about the DNC’s server, about Ukrainian corruption and, just for fun, how he and Rod Rodentstain broke into CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer.

I’m still waiting to hear this explanation: What is the non-corrupt way in which Hunter Biden can receive millions from these regimes while his father is handing out billions in cash and policy to them? I don’t see one–do you?

Amb. Yovonovitch said she was coached by State Dept. officials on how to sugar-coat the Bidens’ graft. That means one of two things: either the State Department ruled it was legal or they knew it was crooked and looked the other way. We should hear from that official.

Then we should hear from the Southern District of New York. They can tell us why their Democrat prosecutors get to abuse the legal system to pressure others into phony charges aimed at their political enemy, the President. This is the very thing the President is falsely accused of doing.
And as our final witness, since these fraudulent Bill of Attainder-charges allege the abuse of presidential power by using foreign governments to rig an election, we must call America's #1 expert in the field: Barack Hussein Obama.

If we’re going to have witnesses, then let’s name all the babies. Hunter does.

MadisonMan said...

most of the scholars disagree with me
Especially the Democratic ones, which is most of them.

Larvell said...

For example, I read something recently arguing that it’s unconstitutional to vote for someone if you have a racist motive. I don’t recall a lot of handwringing from the left about how that was nonsense.

Unknown said...

Legal consensus is as useless here as scientific consensus is with respect to the climate.

It's all politics, all the time.

Chuck said...

As long as Dershowitz himself (and team Trump) are going to say, “Professor Dershowitz taught these subjects at Harvard for 50 years!”, I think that others are going to say, “Fine; we will of course listen to Professor Dershowitz. But the vast majority of legal experts do not share that view. And that consensus view will also be heard...”

Dershowitz will say, “I’m a liberal Democrat who didn’t vote for Trump; my views are based on my understanding of the law.” That’s fine, but there are conservatives who have supported Republicans forever but whose opinions on the Trump impeachment are that it is thoroughly valid.

The “preeminent academic” thing has certainly been used by Dershowitz.

rhhardin said...

The correct argument is what has to be true in order for the constitution to work at all.

Rick said...

"But for this one particular issue".

Not true. They do this every time they agree with the consensus.

Louie the Looper said...

“...said Frank O. Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and the author of a recent book on the topic.” I would not trust any recent book on the topic of impeachment.

Curious George said...

"Cuck said...
So “Charlie Savage” = “the New York Times”?

Althouse, I am absolutely confident that you understand that editorials and op-ed ‘s are explicitly opinions, and that while editorials are the opinions of the editorial board, op-eds and regular columns are explicitly understood as the opinion of the author(s), alone."

Charlie Savage didn't write the headline you dumbass. The NYT's did. And she specifically said "A headline (on a column by Charlie Savage) expresses that belief...

If you are a lawyer, and I'm still betting night manager at an Arby's, no wonder you have so much time during the day.

Beasts of England said...

One piece of evidence the defense needs is the still-unreleased transcript of ICIG Atkinson’s deposition by Schiff in the secret interrogation bunker.

Sam L. said...

"We'll see if Professor Dershowitz can win the hearts of the American people as he argues that there must be a crime alleged. Whether that works or not, it shines a strong light on the stark fact that Trump's aggressive opponents never accused him of committing a crime." They'll come up with SOMETHING. No matter how flimsy it may be.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm not sure what there is to talk about here.

This impeachment is political propaganda to try to undercut Prez Trump in the 2020 election.

I doubt that will work. He's been too successful in office.

The outcome is already known. The rest is just TV ratings and internet screeching.

narayanan said...

Blogger tcrosse said... How many votes do the Scholars have in the Senate?
_________+++++++++++++@@@@@@

i hope you realize that it is the same money behind the Scholars that supplements emoluments for the Senators

Sam L. said...

" Blogger Louie the Looper said...

“...said Frank O. Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and the author of a recent book on the topic.” I would not trust any recent book on the topic of impeachment.

1/21/20, 10:05 AM

How many of us remember how badly the U of M dealt with the foofuraw there in '15???

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

So I had a moment and decided, what the hell, I'll check out this link, just to see:
https://www.justsecurity.org/67738/federal-criminal-offenses-and-the-impeachment-of-donald-j-trump/

The Banned commenter shamelessly links to an article written by Andrew Weissman, yes THAT Andy Weissman, to support his Republican bonafides on Impeachment. Because like our own LLR, Andy was at Hillary's ballroom on election night waiting for her big win and an offer to be AG in her cabinet. Disappointed in the outcome, little mean Andy then went on to run the Mueller investigation (and we all know after that hideous public performance that Robbie Mueller sure didn't write or read his own "work" don't we?) fresh off his successes in being the only US Attorney who's had his convictions unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court for railroading defendants.

What a surprise to find Inspector Gadget is still chasing the President trying to pin bullshit charges on him! What a BIGGER surprise to find our fake Republican quoting this dishonest prosecutor to support his "argument" against Trump. And the BIGGEST surprise? The dishonesty that oozes from these lousy excuses for lawyers.

UNEXPECTEDLY.

Tell me lawyer man, how many witnesses did Trump's attorney's get to call during the House Inquisition? The minority?

Gunner said...

Didn't there used to be a "consensus" that a man couldn't have a husband?

Howard said...

Consensus argumentation is building a wall in the middle of the debate. It's designed to stop free flow.

itzik basman said...

The last thing I saw by Dershowitz, a set of tweets yesterday or day before, says that to be impeached a president must commit “criminal-like” acts, in the nature of treason or bribery. Which is a modification of there must be a crime.

Skeptical Voter said...

I dunno. I'm retired now, but 40 years of practicing law taught me that if two lawyers can't come up with three different opinions on the same topic, they're not really trying. Consensus is a figment of the New York Times imagination.

Howard said...

The whole consensus bs used as a bludgeon promoting catastrophic anthropogenic global warming discredits the entire science. It provides a very secure foothold for polluters 2 continue to profligately shit in our nest.

Unknown said...

Wow, that Chuck guy is a democrat propagandist, isn't he. The link he noted started with an introduction by Andrew Weissman for goodness sakes.

Wow

Unknown said...

Blogger Mike (MJB Wolf) said...
Talking about the linked propaganda piece by chuck.

No kidding. I now see why the chuckster didn't post anything from it and instead a hyperlink. I expect I got some malware from it.

pious agnostic said...

It was once the consensus of physicians that the human heart was a furnace that consumed blood (which was created in the stomach and bowels) and that by burning up the blood, the body's warmth was created; said consensus thus reasoned that a person with a high fever due to some infection or disease must have a heart furnace that was burning to hot, and that a reduction in fuel was a logical and proper treatment. Thus, bloodletting was considered the best way to treat any illness that resulted in a high fever.

This treatment, performed as a result of a consensus of physicians, was ineffective 100% of the time and never once aided in the recover of any patient, and often resulted in their deaths.

This is what I think of when I hear someone justify a course of action by appealing to a consensus.

hombre said...

For progressive law profs and their echoes among the mediaswine the story is always “words have meaning, but only when they comport with our progressive agenda.”

They are whores! Remember the guy in Con Law whose response to the clear meaning, clear history of phrases in the Constitution was, “But, but, but ....” He’s a prof now arguing that “high crimes and misdemeanors” means whatever Dems want it to mean. He’s also a Dem financial contributor.

The problem with Dershowitz for the defense is that he will be civil about these assholes.

Paul Snively said...

IMO, for the defense to base their defense on the idea that a crime must be charged and the senate trial is therefore effectively a criminal trial is an error, both in fact and in strategy.

In fact: the precedent that the senate is not a jury is well-established, and redounds to the defense's advantage in this instance: the senate is not obliged to call witnesses; the senate is not obliged to defer to the chief justice of the supreme court as judge, etc.

In strategy: the compelling argument the Republicans have made is that President Trump was exercising his constitutionally-mandated authority in foreign policy to both investigate the possibility of corruption on the part of Joe Biden in working to have a Ukrainian prosecutor fired for investigating Burisma and his son, Hunter, while Vice-President of the United States, and to insist President Zelensky demonstrate his anti-corruption bona fides in unambiguous terms. This claim is substantiated by the observation that the bulk of the testimony leading to Trump's impeachment consists of policy disagreements from "career diplomats and foreign policy officials"—in other words, "deep state" operatives—complaining that Trump violated "the interagency consensus," as if that had any bearing on who has the authority to set US foreign policy, let alone constituting an impeachable offense. Finally, the Democrats have insisted from the beginning impeachment is a political, rather than criminal, judgment, and that gives the defense all the ammunition they need to point out that the impeachment has proceeded entirely along party lines, and was entirely unnecessary to communicate, as a matter of politics, "we hate Trump." They've been braying that non-stop, including threats of impeachment, since literally before he was inaugurated. Finally, the defense has a colorable claim that Ukrainegate is just Russiagate 2.0, and the Democrats—especially Adam Schiff—haven't come clean about their documented lies in that case, and therefore can't be trusted with the political judgment to impeach Trump.

Of course, IANAL, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

Amadeus 48 said...

Charlie Savage should have stuck with that sex advice column.

Curious George said...

"Tell me lawyer man, how many witnesses did Trump's attorney's get to call during the House Inquisition? The minority?"

Forget about it. Lunch has started. Long lines at the Arby's drive-up.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Yes Unknown, the same site has many articles right down LLR's alley:

Three Cheers for Speaker Pelosi’s Pause
January 2, 2020 by Philip Bobbitt

Executive Privilege Is No Bar to John Bolton’s Testimony in the Senate
January 17, 2020 by Lawrence Friedman

The Trump-Giuliani Election Plan: Manipulating Voters
December 18, 2019 by Viola Gienger

Four Fundamental Flaws in President Trump’s Impeachment Trial Memo
January 21, 2020 by Michael J. Gerhardt

ALL lefty law profs and dirty former AAGs and AUSAs - the kind of people you'd expect LLRs to hang with. Crooks and liars. With JDs.

Lewis Wetzel said...

So why doesn't the constitution specify "abuse of power" or "obstruction of congress" as impeachable offenses? My guess is that the framers thought "abuse of power" was too vague, and "obstruction of congress" gave too much power to congress.
The Dems could have accused Trump of anything. Why didn't the articles say that Trump was impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors"?

walter said...

Reportedly, Dems just held a presser saying Stoly Mitch is working to cover up Trump's...CRIMES.

Yancey Ward said...

I think you actually do need a crime- the phrase cited above numerous times is pretty explicit, isn't it? Sure, you can impeach for anything that gets a majority of the House. The problem for the House Democrats is that they don't get to do the conviction part.

The Democrats should have charged Trump with a crime of kind, but didn't. Now, ask yourself why they didn't? The answer isn't what you might think it is (that Trump committed no crime isn't believed by the Democrats, as demonstrated by all their public pronouncements on the matter). The reason the Democrats didn't charge an actual crime is because Schiff and Pelosi are still trying to protect their witnesses from cross examination- by not charging a crime, they are preparing to argue that those witnesses are irrelevant in the trial, and should not be called.

Tommy Duncan said...

Is "abuse of power" a defined legal term in the USA? Is there a statute or law we can reference that spells out its meaning? If not, its definition is a matter of opinion. Is it appropriate to impeach a President over a vague and subjective concept?

Is "obstruction of Congress" a defined concept? Or is it also a vague and subjective term? If the maintenance staff blocks the center aisle while cleaning in the House of Representatives are they guilty of obstruction of Congress?

The Democrats are playing a game, hoping the American public is too dense or too distracted to see how dishonest their impeachment effort is.

Remember this?

"Sometimes arcane and high-falutin’ words can be used as weapons. No one knew this better than former Senator Claude Pepper of Florida. In 1950, Pepper, a three-term incumbent, ran for re-election and faced off against Congressman George Smathers in the Democratic primary. Smathers launched an infamous smear campaign against Pepper that today sounds more like a fake political ad from Saturday Night Live.

Smathers outed Pepper as "a known extrovert," his sister as a "thespian," and his brother as a "practicing homo sapien." He accused Pepper of practicing "nepotism" with his sister-in-law and of "matriculating" with young women in college. Worst of all, he "practiced celibacy" before marriage.

Naturally, voters were horrified, and Pepper lost by over 67,000 votes."

Amadeus 48 said...

Little known fact: Philip Bobbitt is LBJ's nephew.

narayanan said...

Blogger pious agnostic said...

It was once the consensus of physicians that the human heart was a furnace that consumed blood (which was created in the stomach and bowels) and that by burning up the blood, the body's warmth was created; said consensus thus reasoned that a person with a high fever due to some infection or disease must have a heart furnace that was burning to hot, and that a reduction in fuel was a logical and proper treatment. Thus, bloodletting was considered the best way to treat any illness that resulted in a high fever.

This treatment, performed as a result of a consensus of physicians, was ineffective 100% of the time and never once aided in the recover of any patient, and often resulted in their deaths.

This is what I think of when I hear someone justify a course of action by appealing to a consensus.
_______________++++++++++++++%%%%%%%%%%%%

Consensus killed Father of Nation
On December 14, 1799, George Washington died at his home after a brief illness and after losing about 40 percent of his blood to blood letting

Gk1 said...

It would not shock me in the least as Trump assembles his "dream team" and the media hyper-ventilates about this grave constitutional crisis that Cocaine Mitch has already moved on after securing the votes to shut down the whole spectacle after both sides give their opening arguments. The senate will just vote on acquittal and be done with it. The tell is Schumer's increasingly pathetic whining about how unfair it all is.

Bruce Hayden said...

“most of the scholars disagree with me
Especially the Democratic ones, which is most of them”

This very much reminds me of the 97% of climate scientists agreeing with the CAGW theory of rising CO2 levels destroying the planet. Turns out the people selected didn’t even need a Masters degree is some STEM discipline, but rather mostly, it seems, that they agreed with the consensus. I wouldn’t be surprised if AlGore was included, but PhD astrophysicists were not included, because they understand the inconvenient fact that solar energy received by the earth is a much bigger driver of global temperature than CO2 concentrations. (If someone calls you ignorant because you refuse to obediently accept their high school physics CO2 greenhouse theory of Global Warming - ask them how the models they are believing in handle sunspot cycles, earth and orbit wobbles, as well as el Ñino/la Ñina effects - the answer, as far as I can tell is that they don’t, yet these factors appear to predominate over CO2 effects).

narayanan said...

Blogger Tommy Duncan said...

Is "abuse of power" a defined legal term in the USA?
Is "obstruction of Congress" a defined concept?
The Democrats are playing a game, hoping the American public is too dense or too distracted to see how dishonest their impeachment effort is.

_____________+++++++++++++++++%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

You still don't see why it is foolish of Republicans to take up these issues in all seriousness - unless they all have nefarious motives.

The Democrats are playing a game, hoping the *Republican Senate* is too dense or too distracted to see how dishonest their impeachment effort is. FIFY

Rockeye said...

"In other words, it's a legal brief." We were all thinking it. She just said it.

stevew said...

It seems to me that the concept of Consensus is meaningless to the Law just as it is to Science. As Bill Klem, baseball umpire, is reported to have once said, "Some are balls and some are strikes but they ain't nothin' till I call 'em.".

LakeLevel said...

As to the question of whether or not an impeachable offence needs to be a crime, it seems pretty obvious that it does not. Who makes the laws? Congress. If they say it is against the law, then it is, with the Presidents signature of course. But the impeachment is against The President, thus the high bar of two thirds in the Senate for conviction, so we don't need the Presidents signature. QED That being said, the Democrats are idiots for blowing up the tradition of needing clear wrong doing for impeachment. This will come back to haunt them.

Beasts of England said...

The Dems have this morning sent a letter to Pat Cipollone saying he may be a material witness in both articles of impeachment. Wow.

Freeman Hunt said...

This is why there are lawyer jokes.

Gk1 said...

"The Dems have this morning sent a letter to Pat Cipollone saying he may be a material witness in both articles of impeachment." The dems have gotten word Mitch has the votes to shut down calling additional witnesses. This is classical definition of "death throes".

The death throes of something are its final stages, just before it fails completely or ends. [literary] 2. plural noun [oft in poss N] If a person or animal is in their death throes, they are dying and making violent, uncontrolled movements, usually because they are suffering great pain.

Greg the class traitor said...

said Frank O. Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and the author of a recent book on the topic.
“This argument is constitutional nonsense,” Mr. Bowman said. “The almost universal consensus — in Great Britain, in the colonies, in the American states between 1776 and 1787, at the Constitutional Convention and since — has been that criminal conduct is not required for impeachment.”...


1: "a University of Missouri law professor"? University of Missouri law school is tied for 64th place in the US News 2020 rankings. They seriously couldn't find anyone more highly ranked than that to push their BS?

2: The REASONS why "high crimes and misdemeanors" were required for impeachment was because the writers of the US Constitution thought that impeachment had been horribly abused in Great Britain, and they didn't want those abuses to be continued in the US.

You can not honestly use "how impeachment was done in Great Britain before the US Constitution was written" as any sort of basis for understanding impeachment in the US, other than as a negative example (i.e. "they were trying to avoid this").

The fact that this nimrod either doesn't have the slightest clue as to what was going on with impeachment and the US Constitution, or else knows and is lying about it, utterly disqualifies his comments.

Hagar said...

If you have to have pundits quoting legal experts to explain to the public just what "other high crimes and misdemeanors" means and which such actions by Trump may be considered to be considered such, no such act has been committed.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Can’t believe no one else is using Andrew Weissman’s analysis to argue for impeachment. Weird.

Drago said...

Now that LLR-lefty Chuck has gone Full Andrew Weissman, let us have no more discussion about any "lifelong republican-ness" of that particular dishonest poster.

iowan2 said...

So tiresome.
The house can deliver any articles of impeachment they desire. There is no limit to their activity.

The Senate can conduct a trial anyway they desire. There is no limit to that power.

President Trump as plenary power to conduct foreign affairs. Congress has a difference of opinion over foreign strategy. Congress is not the Presidents boss.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

What if “Chuck” actually is Andrew Weismann? How can we know for sure?

iowan2 said...

Consensus.

There is a legal consensus that the SCOTUS, Kelo decision is wrong...but just imagine, its still the law of the land

There's a lesson in there if you care.

Bay Area Guy said...

Legal Consensus!

Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) 5-4 decision, no constitutional right to sodomy

Lawrence (2003) 5-4 decision, yes constitutional right to sodomy.

Seems to me, there should be a legal consensus on say, the Electoral College (ARTICLE II, SECTION 1, CLAUSE 3). Alas, some folks wanna change it.....

Where's the legal consensus on Citizens United? (Heh, heh, heh).

Michael K said...

Hugh Hewitt had Senator Perdue on and he has the best account of what will happen, I think.

Well, I certainly think that the witness conversation won’t happen until after the 48 hours, and perhaps 16 hours of questions from all 100 of us will have a chance to ask questions. And then there will be a chance for a vote. It’s hard to determine what will happen in that vote. It’s hard for me to tell you what I’ll do in that vote. What I do realize is that the whole conversation about witnesses have nothing to do with impeaching the President. It has everything to do with removing at least four senators from office who are Republicans. The entire process of calling witnesses that were not heard in the House is about getting Cory Gardner to take tough votes. It’s about having Susan Collins take tough votes. It’s about having Thom Tillis in North Carolina take tough votes. It’s about Martha McSally taking tough voters. The subplot to having witnesses before the Senate has nothing to do with illuminating the case or bringing more information to the surface. It has everything to do with putting those pivotal senators between a rock and a hard place.

Bingo !

walter said...

Schumer and Durbin dual weaseling about rushed proceedings.
Much like when their House colleagues were crowing about existential threat.
Oh wait..

Bruce Hayden said...

My problem with severing impeachment from the requirement for there being a high crime or misdemeanor is that the only check on impeachment then is political. The House can then impeach anytime the majority wants to, for whatever reason. And impeachment then becomes a political weapon that the House uses more and more against Presidents of the opposite party, and very quickly loses its negative connotations. Johnson, Nixon, Clinton, and Trump can be recast as political disputes, and not that Nixon and Clinton had abused the office of President by using its power to commit actual criminal acts.

Another thing that scares me is that these “experts” are no doubt mostly law professors, and are thus teaching the next generation of lawyers. This theory about not needing no stinking high crimes or misdemeanors for an impeachment is very obviously developed by the Lawfare group. No surprise that so many of the staffers involved in the impeachment in the House either are part of the Lawfare group, or have close Lawfare ties. Lawfare essentially teaches that power is the only thing that matters when interpreting laws. Legal precedent, centuries of statutory and Constitutional interpretations, etc are irrelevant. The Deep State perps driving Spygate, the Russian collusion hoax, FISAgate, etc can lie through their teeth because they are the prosecutors and investigators. They have the power. Gen Flynn was setup by McCabe, Strzok, and Pientka of the FBI, Then prosecuted by Mueller prosecutors, led by the corrupt Brandon Van Grack. Proven liars all, with strong Lawfare group ties. McCabe setup Flynn by lying to him, the President’s National Security Advisor. Then the two agents lied to Flynn about their reason for visiting him at the WH and then changed their 302s to remove exonerating information. Van Grack then charged Flynn for lying, when he probably didn’t, and repeatedly lied to the court about the existence of exonerating evidence. Yet, Gen Flynn is the one now facing 6 months in prison for lying to federal officials (when they all knew that they were the liars). Where are the prosecutions of McCabe, Strzok, Pientka, Van Grack, etc for lying to federal officials and in court? There are none, and that is because Lawfare teaches that might makes right, and laws are mere tools for the use of bureaucrats and politicians in the furtherance of progressive causes. There is no right and wrong, just progressive progress.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Doc K,

The entire process of calling witnesses that were not heard in the House is about getting Cory Gardner to take tough votes. It’s about having Susan Collins take tough votes. It’s about having Thom Tillis in North Carolina take tough votes. It’s about Martha McSally taking tough voters.

I partially agree, but think this is Dems' Plan D.

Plan A was to remove Trump via the Mueller Report. #Fail

Plan B was to remove Trump via the Ukraine hoax. #Fail2

Plan C was to ding Trump up enough so that he loses in Nov. #Fail3

Plan D -- knock off a few weak-kneed GOP Senators. Might work.

Gk1 said...

Michael K precisely another reason why Cocaine Mitch has lined up the votes to shut down additional witnesses or any of the other jackassery the democrats are trying to stir up. What is the upside for any republican wanting to go along with any of this horseshit? You have to think there are still some of them that want payback for the Kavanaugh debacle. I think Mittens, Collins and the other RINOS are just making pillow talk so they don't have to put up with liberal screeching 24/7 until they vote to cut off additional witnesses and vote for acquittal.

Owen said...

Paul Snively @ 10:31 on the "criminality" criterion: very well put, better IMHO than most lawyers would have done.

Bruce Hayden @ 10:49 on "climate change consensus": Word. To your point about solar irradiance being --surprise-- more influential on T than a GHG, I would add that none of the vaunted climate change computer models knows how to deal with convective effects at any resolution finer than, say, Texas. In other words, they cannot account for the primary mechanism of heat transport by water vapor, no matter how many times they run their super-awesome spreadsheet.

A more general rebuttal is simply, call me when they have solved Navier-Stokes.

rehajm said...

Sure sounds like Mitch stands on the side of not reinvestigating...

h said...

Here's the line of argument that has worked in the past: "The establishment of experts all agree on X. You can agree with us on X or you can be labeled stupid or racist or something else discreditable." It worked on climate change, it worked on affirmative action, it worked on policy in Iraq/Afghanistan. So it's not surprising that the same line or argument should be brought out in favor of impeachment.

walter said...

Senators will be unable to grandstand with initial questions. When Roberts reads the questions, will he be mimicking voices?

Bruce Hayden said...

“Can’t believe no one else is using Andrew Weissman’s analysis to argue for impeachment. Weird.”

The same Andrew Weissman who, working closely with the head of the Lawfare group, developed the Obstruction of Justice interpretation that essentially changed the crime from a specific to a general crime by taking disparate parts of a single statute out of context, putting them together while ignoring centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence on statutory construction. An interpretation never litigated in any court, and that was summarily rejected by the AG, DAG, and the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. That was used to keep the Mueller investigation open for over a year after it had determined that there had been no Russian collusion by Trump or his campaign, and the existence of that investigation used to prevent Congress from investigating illegal FISA abuse by the FBI. That Andrew Weissman?

Drago said...

Meanwhile, Andrew Weissman-"republican" Chuck's dem hero Schiffty-Schiff is now trying to disqualify Trump lawyer Cippolone from acting as Trump's lawyer!!

And Andrew Weissman-"repubican" Chuck's hero nads Nadler is saying that if Hunter Biden has to be called as a witness then gee, maybe no witnesses should be called.

Huh.

There sure does seem to be a lot of concern over that Hunter Biden fellow, doesn't there? Almost like Chuck and his dem allies have lots and lots to hide.

Lots.

Bruce Hayden said...

“A more general rebuttal is simply, call me when they have solved Navier-Stokes.”

And I think that we all know that that isn’t likely in our lifetimes.

n.n said...

Democracy dies with Democrats and a schism in progress. Spare the babies, eat some worms.

Jupiter said...

"but the NYT cannot really believe that."

This is a category error. The NYT is not an entity of the sort that "believes" things. It is a corporation, a fictitious person. Its staff may believe many things, but it believes nothing.

Michael K said...

McCabe setup Flynn by lying to him, the President’s National Security Advisor. Then the two agents lied to Flynn about their reason for visiting him at the WH and then changed their 302s to remove exonerating information. Van Grack then charged Flynn for lying, when he probably didn’t, and repeatedly lied to the court about the existence of exonerating evidence.

Flynn's worst mistake was to not realize he was in the presence of the enemy. That was a very early hit, sort of a political Pearl Harbor.

tim maguire said...

Chuck said...there are conservatives who have supported Republicans forever but whose opinions on the Trump impeachment are that it is thoroughly valid.

That's an aspect of the impeachment proceedings that I have noticed, and I wonder if you have noticed too--when Democrats need an expert witness, they bring out a dedicated liberal. When Republicans need an expert witness, they bring out a dedicated liberal.

It seems Democrats can only find supporters among their own activist ranks, whereas all Republicans need is an honest person with integrity.

Kevin said...

The Left never argues that the thing it opposes has broad-based support or has already been settled.

Their ratchet only turns one way.

Browndog said...

We need an impeachment trial open thread.

This is kind of historic.

Clark said...

Two things lead to confusion about whether there must be a crime for there to be an impeachable offense.

1. Equivocation on the meaning of the word "crime." One meaning of the word is tied to violations of federal and/or state criminal codes. Another (related but not identical) meaning of the word stands behind "high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Keeping track of the shifting back and forth between the two meanings helps to clarify what is being said (and what is being spun).

2. The fact (if it is one) that the House can impeach for anything it wants does not mean that there is no distinction between impeachable and non-impeachable acts. It just means that the House has the last word on the question. House members are bound by their oaths to decide (in good faith) whether or not there has been an impeachable offense. Ask yourself whether the House could declare it was impeaching the president while explicitly stating that it was doing so even though there had been no high Crime or Misdemeanor.

PB said...

Obstruction of Congress. Will Democrats soon argue that a presidential veto is an obstruction of Congress?

Browndog said...


Flynn's worst mistake was to not realize he was in the presence of the enemy. That was a very early hit, sort of a political Pearl Harbor.


With his background and position he should have known there were zips in the wire.

hstad said...


Blogger Sebastian said..."the NYT cannot really believe that"...They should uphold standards!

Anyway, Althouse: just quit. The NYT, I mean. 1/21/20, 9:07 AM

Sebastian, I've been posting to AA for several years and told her to stop pushing the NY Times meme. This was once a good paper[media outlet] but ever since Abe Rosenthal retired the NY Times became what it today is known for today as, "The NY Slimes". Largely due to changing clientele and the idiot [nepotist] "Punch Jr." whose management abilities are non-existent. But, that's the problem with trying to stay on top - the quality of leadership does become diluted and ends up in a big 'fail'.

AA for the umpteenth time stop with the admiration of the rag [NY Times].

Drago said...

More great news for Andrew Weissman-"republican" Chuck!!

Chuck's second favorite cable "news" outlet, CNN, has announced the hiring of a real Chuckie fave: lefty hack John Harwood.

You will all recall the praise upon praise Chuck showered on Harwood in 2016 as a real standout "professional" "journalist" AFTER it was shown Harwood submitting all his "objective" articles to Hillary's team for vetting AND after Harwood laughingly bragged publicly about purposely disrupting a republican debate where he was a questioner.

Andrew Weissman-"republican" Chuck just loved all that, hence Chuckie's high praise for Harwood.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

The Framer's example of high crimes, treason and bribery, are felonious and obvious deeds. "Abuse" is only useful to abuse the process, not as a serious charge for which the "death penalty," removal from office, is warranted. This is where the D party tipped too far into fuzzy logic and away from clear intent, which is never a good look for a "prosecution" to have in order to maintain legit authority.

But of course that is Weissman's known MO so to speak.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
walter said...

"A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is less serious than a felony and more serious than an infraction. Misdemeanors are generally punishable by a fine and incarceration in a local county jail, unlike infractions which impose no jail time."

Luke Lea said...

One man's abuse of power is another man's use of power. The term "abuse" is ill-defined, so subjective in nature, or so it seems to me looking at the dictionary. But I'm no lawyer.

Achilles said...

The media has accurately described the impeachment of President Trump.

They just did it while Bill Clinton was president.

Clinton was impeached for lying while deposed under oath in a trial about whether he raped a woman or not.

Trump is being impeached for asking Ukraine to investigate Biden's obvious corruption.

Democrats are just terrible people. Their GOPe accomplices are worse.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Leland said...
Do I believe you can impeach for any political reason? Yes.
**********

Doesn't parse.

Especially if the "political reason" is: "we lost the election."

narayanan said...

Michael K said...

Flynn's worst mistake was to not realize he was in the presence of the enemy. That was a very early hit, sort of a political Pearl Harbor.
__________&&&&&&&&&&&&**********
If you look at Romney and Flynn side by side - compare their smiles as they simper.

indication of lack of backbone and ass kissers.

Browndog said...

So far, the dems are dominating this hearing too.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Fernandistein said...
Go Scholars! The philosophers are gaining on you!

High Crime
high crime n
: a crime of infamous nature contrary to public morality but not technically constituting a felony

So there really was a "high crime": giving taxpayers' money to the corruptocrats in the Ukraine.
************

Just yesterday LLR Chuck argued that Trump committed a crime by temporarily withholding taxpayer money authorized by Congress to Ukraine.

And here you are today saying just the opposite.

S N O R T

rehajm said...

If only Schiff and the House Democrats had known they could have asked the court to compel all that stuff they wanted from Trump...

Bilwick said...

Whenever statists invoke "consensus," iot almost always means "a consensus among us statists."

Browndog said...

Sekulow beating Schiff upside the head with a rubber mallet right now-

Metaphorically.

Jim at said...

The real challenge will be avoiding all this crap over the next several weeks.
But I'm up to it.

Rabel said...

The Savage piece cited by Althouse is a "news analysis" written by a "reporter" and printed in the "news" section of the "newspaper."

It is not an "opinion" or "op-ed" printed on the "editorial" pages.

Tim said...

Why not asked that noted constitutional scholar Barry Obumbles, DogEater the 1st??

tim maguire said...

I can accept that an "impeachable offense" is whatever the House says it is. Just as the standards for conviction are whatever the Senate says they are. And the American people get the last word at the ballot box.

My expectation is that the Republicans come out of the 2020 election in control of the White House and both sides of Congress. I like divided government, I am not happy about that outcome, but the Democrats have become so dangerous to our Republic that we will have to accept the dangers of one-party government for at least one cycle.

Hopefully the Democrats will do more with their next time in the wilderness than they did with their last one.

h said...

Can the Republicans avoid having a witness testifying by stipulating to the facts the witness would testify about? (Yes Trump did make a phone call. Yes Trump did tell Mr. X to find out if the Ukrainians were investigating Biden. etc.) And if the Republicans offer to stipulate, do the Democrats have to agree not to call the witness? And what role would the presiding judge have in deciding whether or not a stipulation made a witness unnecessary. (Because in my opinion, the Dems want certain witnesses to testify about facts that are agreed to by all and which are not ultimately damaging to the President, simply because calling such witnesses would give Democrats a forum in which to stomp and shout.)

narciso said...




general Flynn reminds of the scenario layed out here

https://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/coriolanus/section8/

Greg the class traitor said...

"h"

The Republicans can do whatever they want. Because the US Constitution says that the Senate has the "sole power" to try impeachments.

The House has the sole power to impeach. If they find their impeachment deficient, they are free to withdraw it, and have more "hearings". If they think they need more witnesses, they should do that.

It's curious, is it not, that they're not willing to do that?

CWJ said...

Last line in Althouse's post -

"Whether that works or not, it shines a strong light on the stark fact that Trump's aggressive opponents never accused him of committing a crime."

Stark fact indeed! Althouse buries the lede.

walter said...

They get more mileage out of trying to do that in the Senate given the larger press likely willingness to parrot a coverup! theme if they don't get what they want there.

rehajm said...

The House impeachment managers Powerpoint presentation clearly demonstrates better than nothing is a high standard.

CWJ said...

You may not need a crime to impeach. I don't know. But it would sure help to have one if you want to be taken seriously that removal is necessary, and not just political spite.

Greg the class traitor said...

"They get more mileage out of trying to do that in the Senate given the larger press likely willingness to parrot a coverup! theme if they don't get what they want there."

I'm pretty sure all they're actually accomplishing is making themselves, and their press tools, look more and more bad.

Because everyone with a functional brain is going "if you need those witnesses, why didn't get get them in the House?"

Hagar said...

Clinton was impeached for lying while deposed under oath in a trial about whether he raped a woman or not.

No, no!
He was impeached for lying while deposed under oath in a civic trial about whether he had sexually harassed Paula Jones or not.
The seriousness of the offense being the nation's chief law enforcement officer perjuring himself with intent to deny Paula Jones, a citizen of the U.S., her demand for justice in a court of the United States.

Lance said...

1: "a University of Missouri law professor"? University of Missouri law school is tied for 64th place in the US News 2020 rankings. They seriously couldn't find anyone more highly ranked than that to push their BS?

In fact it was the Trump team that first cited Bowman in reference to the difference between judicial and Presidential impeachments. See footnote 133 on page 20.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Trial-Memorandum-of-President-Donald-J.-Trump.pdf

Aunty Trump said...

You don’t need a crime to impeach, but you better have a super majority in the Senate if you think you are going to remove without a crime.

walter said...

GTCT: "Because everyone with a functional brain is going "if you need those witnesses, why didn't get get them in the House?"
--
Assumes their voters are that aware of process. They will make use of last memory dominance of that to funnel "Coverup!" into the campaign spiel.

Wince said...

Logic would suggest that "high crimes and misdemeanors" means "high crimes" and "especially high misdemeanors".

PackerBronco said...

In essence: We didn't need a crime to impeach the guy, we just needed the votes.

Gospace said...

A point I often point out to people about laws.

Most crimes are sins, but there are some crimes that aren't.

Most sins are crimes, but there are some sins that aren't.

There is not a 100% correlation between crimes and sins in either direction.

Which brings us to high Crimes and Misdemeanors. What are they? There's a difference between felonies and misdemeanors at both the federal and state level. But there's nothing in the law books about a "high Crime" or a "high Misdemeanor". They were left undefined. So what are they?

Well, they're Crimes and Misdemeanors that T.C. Mits can easily understand were wrong and shouldn't be done. Obstruction of Congress as a high Crime or Misdemeanor? Really? Well, most of us would like to see Congress obstructed more often. The less work they do the freer the rest of us are. The other count? You know, even though I've read it multiple times since passed by the House, including just a few minutes ago, I can't remember what it was and to inconsequential to bother looking up again. But neither is a crime in the criminal code that I can recall.

Now let's take Clinton's impeachment. He committed actual real life crimes as defined in the criminal code. Perjury, clearly identifiable perjury, among them. And the Democrats, marching in lockstep, said "Sure it's a crime, but it's not a High Crime and Misdemeanor because he was lying about sex, and everybody does that!" The Lewinsky he received in the Oval office? Again, it was just sex, between consenting adults, a crime, BTW, under federal code, the UCMJ, adultery. Among other things. I think only military personnel can be prosecuted for adultery today. And they are. (Two tier justice system?) And, immediately prior to it being revealed that William Jefferson Clinton did it, sex between a powerful man and a much less powerful woman, such as an intern, was the textbook definition of sexual harassment! I know, I had to go through those exceedingly boring classes telling us men not to do that! Again, the Democrats in lockstep said no big deal, and feminists in lockstep agreed, no big deal, it's our hero, Bill Clinton! So, actual crimes aren't necessarily a "high Crime and Misdemeanor" needed to remove a president.

So where we're at is that if there's a basic divide in politics, that both sides have to agree that the president has committed high Crimes and Misdemeanors in order to be removed. The impeachment articles Pelosi sent to the Senate don't meet that standard. Aren't even close.

What I really find amusing about the process is that Alcee Hastings, actually removed as a judge through the impeachment process, found guilty of high Crimes and Misdemeanors, voted to impeach Trump.

walter said...

I agree Wince. Instead, it's being misinterpreted as catch-all anything deigned bad stuff.

walter said...

But what does this guy know? Sheesh:

Senator Ted Cruz
‏Verified account @SenTedCruz
6h6 hours ago

.@SpeakerPelosi’s biased #ArticlesOfImpeachment fail to meet the constitutional standard for impeachment. They do not allege a single crime was committed—not even a speeding ticket. They are an abuse of the Constitution.

Static Ping said...

I agree that impeachment and removal does not require an actual crime. It's purely a political act. They can impeach and remove a President for no reason at all, if they have the votes.

That said, as a political act, you better have a good reason to do such a thing. Otherwise it will seem illegitimate because, well, it is. Naked power plays have the stench of tyranny.

And there lies the rub. The "crimes" that the House has provided are exceedingly weak. The President asked a foreign nation to investigate what appears to be overt corruption? And? What's the problem?

Static Ping said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

1. Equivocation on the meaning of the word "crime." One meaning of the word is tied to violations of federal and/or state criminal codes. Another (related but not identical) meaning of the word stands behind "high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
This is nonsense. If no law is broken there is no crime. You can do horrible things that are not crimes, but the legal system cannot punish for doing so. Neither can impeachment, because the very words of the Constitution require a high Crime or Misdemeanor. And the word "Misdemeanor" doesn't get you there either, because a Misdemeanor is a less-serious crime but is still a crime.
This is not a close call. The text of the Constitution here is very clear. There is no authority granted to impeach a President for "an offense" that is not a crime. There just isn't. It is not the case that something is a crime if a majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate say so. They have to pass a law and the President has to sign it. If the President won't sign it, well, the Constitution tells you how to deal with that, too. The point is, you can't just wave your hands about and say "impeachment is purely political and the Congress can do whatever it wants to do." The Constitution tells you exactly what the Congress can do, and by implication, what it cannot.

walter said...

Per Dersch:

President Trump has said that if the House were to impeach him despite his not having committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” he might seek review of such an unconstitutional action in the Supreme Court. On April 24, he tweeted that if “the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only are there no 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors,' there are no Crimes by me at all.”

Yesterday, when asked by a reporter if he thinks Congress will impeach him, the president responded, “I don’t see how. They can because they’re possibly allowed, although I can’t imagine the courts allowing it.”

Commentators have accused Trump of not understanding the way impeachment works and have stated quite categorically that the courts have no constitutional role to play in what is solely a congressional and political process
<

It is not too much of a stretch from the kind of constitutional crises imagined by these learned justices to a crisis caused by a Congress that impeached a president without evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The president is not above the law, but neither is Congress, whose members take an oath to support, not subvert, the Constitution. And that Constitution does not authorize impeachment for anything short of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Were Congress to try to impeach and remove a president without alleging and proving any such crime, and were the president to refuse to leave office on the ground that Congress had acted unconstitutionally, there would indeed be such a constitutional crisis. And Supreme Court precedent going back to Marbury v. Madison empowers the justices to resolve conflicts between the executive and legislative branches by applying the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Hagar said...

It is not a "high" crime or misdemeanor if they have to explain to you why you should be upset about whatever misbehavior by the accused have come to light.

Thus the misdirection about Clinton, "that he only lied about sex." It was that he, the nation's chief magistrate, lied under oath to save his own skin and deny Paula Jones justice in a court of the United States that made his character seem unfit for the office of President to so many of us.

And Paula Jones claim was only for compensation for damages due to uncalled for harassment; no actual sex involved. Clinton's statements regarding Lewinsky was only incidental supporting evidence of his common behavior in Paula Jones Case. It was the perjury that mattered; not what it was about.

Danno said...

The Banned commenter shamelessly links to an article written by Andrew Weissman, yes THAT Andy Weissman, to support his Republican bonafides on Impeachment.

Well MJBWolf, I cannot understand how Weissmann still has a law license. He should have been disbarred back in the Arthur Andersen matter. But I can understand how our LLR Cuck worships such a rotten bastard.

Browndog said...

Blogger Aunty Trump said...

You don’t need a crime to impeach,..


The hell you don't.

rehajm said...

OT: Believe it or not some former Arthur Andersen partners got together and bought the rights to use the name Arthur Andersen from the old entity. They’re getting the band back together!!!

Danno said...

tim maguire said..."I am not happy about that outcome, but the Democrats have become so dangerous to our Republic that we will have to accept the dangers of one-party government for at least one cycle."

Tim, you are sounding more like Chuck all the time. What is the danger for a GOP control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency? If you aren't scared to death of the Dims promises to micro-manage the control our economy, i.e. picking winners and losers, and the push toward socialism you need to catch up.

Seeing Red said...

The legal consensus is we hate him and removal by any means necessary.

Browndog said...

House managers are putting on their entire case during the amendments debate.

They'll be facing murder charges for boring the Senators to death.

narciso said...

apparently Accenture, the slab of Anderson, not owned by hsbc was bribing the Angolan princeling, Isabel dos santos, the daughter of the Soviet backed dictator, that Savimbi fought against,

narciso said...


https://twitter.com/ChuckRossDC/status/1219419871047573509?s=20

Hagar said...

I think there is a line from Clinton's perjury being deemed acceptable in the Paula Jones case through Eric Holder's only regret being not having hid his tracks better in making up the false affidavit in the the James Rosen case to the infamous "Steele dossier" being fabricated to match the language in the FISA act regarding "intelligence from foreign sources" to get approvals to bug the Trump White House.

This crap needs to be stopped, and stopped hard, or perjury for nefarious purposes will be "no big deal" throughout our government.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Static Ping said...
I agree that impeachment and removal does not require an actual crime. It's purely a political act. They can impeach and remove a President for no reason at all, if they have the votes.
*************

That notion runs completely afoul of the Constitution, which was intended to create a "Republic of Virtue", and defines specific charges that must be levied to sustain an impeachment.

Those charges are not being levied here.

"Politics" may not require Due Process, but an impeachment by an Article I legislative body of a constitutional officer that does not follow it is a legal monstrosity. So "anything goes" is not true. Due Process having been denies the POTUS, this impeachment is a nullity.

I'm sure Trump's legal team will argue that point, forcefully and correctly.

bagoh20 said...

So we do agree then that no crime was committed. Good. We are back to you simply not liking him and the facts that Trump is a Republican, the President with separate executive powers, and the Congress is not.

bagoh20 said...

If this consensus is right then why does the Constitution specify "high crimes and misdemeanors" Did they have to meet a certain number of words on the assignment?

bagoh20 said...

I bet the consensus dries up as soon as the President is a Democrat.

"Abuse of power?" I think they just misspelled "use".

Gk1 said...

Liberals sure get testy if you ask them if it was worth normalizing impeachment for all future presidents going forward. Their guts are beginning to tell them it's a mistake but they just can't help themselves.

Douglas said...

It's easy to prove that you don't need a crime for impeachment, only a terrible abuse of power. Suppose, for example, a future hypothetical president were to ask a foreign leader to fabricate fake evidence against a presidential rival. That wouldn't violate any US law but it would be an abuse of power and, IMHO, an impeachable abuse of power.

walter said...

Obama might be a bit uncomfortable with your example.

DavidD said...

What is it with Leftists and their "consensus"?

Next they'll be claiming that 97% of constitutional scholars support impeachment.

n.n said...

The Supreme Court could rule on a constitutional interpretation. But, for the People (and our Posterity) to defer to the judgment of lesser courts and wannabe mortal gods wielding a liberal license would be unseemly at best, and progressive at worst. This is not a democratic community.

n.n said...

We're on a progressive path when due diligence, fiduciary responsibility, and curbing liberal license are deemed impeachable offenses.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Douglas said...
It's easy to prove that you don't need a crime for impeachment, only a terrible abuse of power. Suppose, for example, a future hypothetical president were to ask a foreign leader to fabricate fake evidence against a presidential rival. That wouldn't violate any US law but it would be an abuse of power and, IMHO, an impeachable abuse of power.
***************

Sirrah, that is not a PROOF. It is a HYPOTHETICAL, and an easily-swatted-down one at that..

Asking ANYONE to fabricate evidence ANYWHERE would be a CRIME HERE , since it would be criminally slandering/libeling that rival, a US citizen.

Crime> impeachable offense.

QE effin D.

walter said...

n.n.,
Suggesting we abort?

Douglas said...

@wholelotta: As I said, asking a foreign leader to manufacture fake evidence about a crime involving a presidential rival wouldn't be a crime under US law. To simplify the jurisdictional analysis, you can assume the request is made in person on foreign soil (i.e., no use of telephones or internet or any other instruments of international commerce). If you think otherwise, then please provide a link to the statute or case you are citing for authority. Would it be a crime under the law of the foreign nation? I don't know, but maybe. Do "high crimes and misdemeanors" include crimes under foreign laws? Probably not. So my hypothetical proves my point. You don't need a US crime to have an impeachable act.

Hercules, not that one though said...

It doesn't matter how the Impeachment trial goes. We're past that. We know that our Capitol City is 24hr a day corruption. We can't blame the men who succumbed. We know that we would be no better. Sen. Graham...up to his neck in Ukraine $. Sen. Burr/Sen. Warner...$ everywhere. Sen. McConnell...China. On and on. Human nature. We pay no attention to these men after sending them to the cesspit. They drown. We would drown as well. $4 Trillion flows through the Capitol City cesspit. If you toe the line, you can wet your beak. They are us.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Douglas said...
@wholelotta: As I said, asking a foreign leader to manufacture fake evidence about a crime involving a presidential rival wouldn't be a crime under US law.
*******************

>>>you are obviously a milk-whiskered youth.

>>>You offered not a scintilla of case law or statute to support your assertion.

>>> What's more you have ignored the fact that American common law includes both civil and criminal common law slander/libel , which do not distinguish between WHERE the libel/slander were uttered/published, only to the person WHO made the false and damaging statements.

>>> Your hypothetical is not a "proof". Had you a legal education you would understand what a buffoon you are to make such a stupid statement.

To simplify the jurisdictional analysis, you can assume the request is made in person on foreign soil (i.e., no use of telephones or internet or any other instruments of international commerce).

>>>Yeah, that's it. You're offering a hypothetical using a scenario that DIDN'T happen to "prove" something.

>>>S N O R T.

If you think otherwise, then please provide a link to the statute or case you are citing for authority. Would it be a crime under the law of the foreign nation?

>>> NO, ASSHOLE: YOU made the claim, and YOU asserted that it was a "proof". You're obviously not a person with a legal education. If you are, God help you, and God help us all!

I don't know, but maybe. Do "high crimes and misdemeanors" include crimes under foreign laws? Probably not. So my hypothetical proves my point. You don't need a US crime to have an impeachable act.
*****************

>>>Utter gibberish. You've gone from saying your argument is "proof", to I dunno, "maybe", but my point--one I can't support or back up still proves my point.

S N O R T

Face it, Douglas: you are a skull full of mush.

Douglas said...

@whole: I didn't think that AI bots could be as creative as you are, but I was apparently wrong.