Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Jason Miciak

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Jason Miciak is an author and attorney who splits his time between the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the Pacific Northwest. He has a wife, daughter and the most self-centered and smug dog to ever walk the Earth. Miciak's novels use science fiction to explore themes of morality and our current political environment.

Former DOJ Officials: Evidence Dump Is What Trump Feared, Now No...

Neil Katyal, former DOJ Solicitor General, writes in the Washington Post this morning that Parnas’s evidence dump constitutes the exact type of evidence that Trump desperately wanted to avoid. It is surely the evidence that Trump and McConnell knew existed and thus tried to speed through a trial with a motion to dismiss or no witnesses. But with the evidence out, Trump may be left without a defense in the days prior to trial. As we discussed yesterday, and as this new reality sets across the country, the evidence is more damning than we had imagined. Now, momentum will build and even more damning evidence will come out. Below is a picture of the key players – who knew that Robert Hyde was a key player in this scandal? No no, it…. it can't be… Hyde with thumbs up and cigars with Giuliani, Parnas, Fruman…. can it? I am shooketh! 😂 pic.twitter.com/B4pCXuApW7 — JΞSŦΞR ✪ ΔCŦUΔL³³º¹ (@th3j35t3r) January 15, 2020 Robert Hyde did himself no favors yesterday, and will prove to be a major problem for Trump. Hyde just authenticated each text, surely by accident: So we’ve got confirmation the texts are authentic. That’s step one. https://t.co/o3FvS3Wlyi — Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 15, 2020 We now know the answer as to why Trump went to such lengths to block every single document and witness from testifying. The release of anything would likely affirm that a massive operation was under way, one that seems to have spiraled out of Trump’s control, and yet one for which he bears all responsibility.  The new documents released Tuesday evening by the House Intelligence Committee were devastating to Trump’s continuing — if shifting — defense of his Ukraine extortion scandal, just days before his impeachment trial is likely to begin in the Senate,” the two lawyers wrote. “These new documents demolish at least three key defenses to which Trump and his allies have been clinging.” They do a lot more than demolish all three defenses, they bring up an entirely new issue. What was the underlying purpose of surveilling Ambassador Yovanovitch? Why are there discussions about Ukraine associates wanting to know about the money coming or not, a price? But we will go along with shattering three defenses for now. For starters, they prove that Trump’s already-eyebrow-raising claim to have been fighting corruption in Ukraine was bogus. Notes taken by Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas — now facing federal criminal charges — show what his and Giuliani’s mission was when they got in touch with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: ‘get Zalensky [sic] to Announce that the Biden case will Be Investigated.’” True. And don’t think that this one doesn’t matter because we all knew it was contrived to suit Trump. Trump’s followers actually believed it, and still believe it, but they will have an increasingly difficult time especially as witnesses get called. Second, Katyal states that the evidence shows just how critical it will be to have those witnesses, witnesses like Parnas and ultimately, perhaps even Rudy Giuliani, or Robert Hyde. I am not sure that this issue was ever in doubt, but the justification is far more compelling now. We need to get to the bottom of the surveillance and threats to Ambassador Yovanovitch. Third, the documents prove that Trump blocked all evidence because it did nothing but prove his […]

A Corner Turned: Trump May Well Not Get Through Impeachment

One must be cautious about saying something that may sound like hyperbole. But the picture changed today with the release of the Lev Parnas materials. I know that much, whether it results in Trump’s ultimate removal or not is a more difficult question. The documents/texts from Robert Hyde (a Giuliani associate, a huge Trump donor who hangs out at Trump’s clubs) referencing Ukrainians surveilling a United States ambassador, including phones and computers, without notifying embassy security, along with the texts referring to the famous corruption fighter as a f**king b**** all alongside the fact that the State Department told Yovanovitch to be on the plane within hours because there were concerns for her safety, is damned haunting. It sure puts a new coat upon Trump saying that Yovanovitch was “going to go through some things.” Now, none of this is confirmed, other than it came from Parnas, purportedly from Hyde. So, until it is confirmed, and until Parnas can testify to the context of everything, we need to be cautious to a certain extent. But Parnas knows that this material could possibly take down a United States president, and has to know that the authenticity of the evidence will be worked through by the most expert technicians in the world. Parnas is also trying to save his own ass which is in deep trouble. it is far more likely than not that it is real. Chris Hayes just brought up the fact that the line about Ukrainians following her with the quote that in the Ukraine one can get anything for money, makes one just shiver. It is possible, just possible, that they were going to harm her and make it appear it was some random crime in the Ukraine. It is also possible that Robert Hyde was simply trying to impress Giuliani and company that he was that on top of her. But even if so, no one jumped on him to say “knock it off, stop this.” It is possible that Hyde is completely nuts and was lying about surveilling her. But you also have to consider that a lot of oligarchs in Russia and Ukraine hated her for her anti-corruption fight, as well as Trump’s words. “She is going to go through some things,” something that really doesn’t make a lot of sense. She’d already been fired when Trump talked to Zelensky. This is the type of evidence that completely changes the picture in the case against Trump. It sounds like mob bosses talking. It sounds like they wanted to get rid of a problem. There is no doubt they wanted her gone from the job, fired, they were pounding on the need to fire her. None of that is disputed. If Trump’s political “gamesmanship” and self-obsession put Yovanovitch in harms way – and she was told to get out, fast, because a security threat arose – if it all checks out, I don’t see how Trump remains in office. I suspect even Republicans will consider him disgraced. At a minimum, he won’t win the election if all this is genuine. The most base of the base aren’t leaving Trump, but a lot of people will. If I had to bet, there is a ton of truth in this stuff. Hyde’s comment upon the release of the material […]

Lev Parnas Material Drops a Bomb Days Before Trial UPDATE x3!

Lev Parnas needs to testify. The evidence he turned over to the House Committee on Intelligence must be part of the impeachment trial, and Lev needs to clarify the background with respect to a hand-written note on Ritz-Carlton stationary. The evidence is here: The note reads: “Get Zelensky to announce that Biden will be investigated. “Start communicating (?) with Zelensky without Pinchu (?) or Kowloski (?). “Go to D.C. with package, work my ‘magic’ and cut deal. “Victoria and Joe retained, $100,000 with (illegible), begin media campaign.” Obviously it is that first stanza that is the most important, and for all we know, the next few back-up the first. We know of the $100,000 – we just need to know who paid it, and we need to know what they planned for the media campaign. There are many texts with documents attached, about the only ones that make sense are the media campaign texts, which include plans to reach Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, with a storyline: “As Russian collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges.” This is, obviously, referencing the Russian plot referenced by Ambassador Yovanovitch, to shift the focus away from Russian collusion in 2016, clearing the field for 2020. Speaking of Ambassador Yovanovitch, there is a text from someone – most likely Rudy – to Lev in March of 2019, which reads: “I can’t believe Trump hasn’t fired that bitch, I’ll get right on it.” I will say right now, if that text is from Rudy it will be extremely bad for Trump. “Fuck that bitch” is not a good look for the Trump side, especially referencing a woman who came across as brave, patriotic and uber-competent. Lev Parnas must testify. His hand-written note demonstrates that he was right in the middle of the entire operation to get an investigation of Biden going with Zelensky. The pressure is really going to come down on the Republicans now. I don’t think they’re going to avoid witnesses. The real stuff will be in the attachments, which, so far I have not been able to read. UPDATE: GAZE UPON THIS ATTACHMENT: "Dear President-Elect Zelensky: . . . In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you . . . " Holy smokes! pic.twitter.com/BDrcE8Hz4M — Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) January 14, 2020 “On behalf of my client, with his consent …” Wow, this is the type of evidence that turns cases, especially since this is dated in MAY of 2019, well before this was known as a “thing.” Parnas was in on it, and knows the entire thing through and through. He must testify, period. I will bet that the more of this that comes out, and the more testimony from each witness confirms the evidence, the more you will hear Republicans change their tune. They will start to argue that “Yes, this occurred, yes it is bad, but no it is not worthy of removing Trump from office.” Such a thing will be devastating. Some might vote for removal. UPDATE X2: SHIT GETS REAL, ANOTHER LEVEL Um holy sh*t. This certainly makes it sound like Parnas and co. were actively tracking Yovanovitch's movements. This could explain why Yovanovitch was moved out of Ukraine so quickly. https://t.co/4rBRB06ZGN pic.twitter.com/5Gc8WcGPih — […]

Q-Anon Crosses Event Horizon With Proposed Trump Running Mate

I suspect the genius behind the Q-Anon movement, who simply must be a liberal having a good time with the Trumpers, must be testing himself (herself?) and his followers. Surely, the goal all along has been to see just how far across the Rubicon he can lead this division of rubes. But the Q-Anon hive mind has come up with a theory that must have “Q” shaking his head, lamenting he ever did this. You will never guess who is coming back on July 4th of this year. Not only is he coming back, but he’s coming back to run as Donald Trump’s running mate. No, it is not Mike Pence’s dark flamboyant side. The person isn’t even alive. It is JFK Jr. Hang on. I did not make that up! The guy who writes about Q-Anon, and/or his followers made it up, didn’t he Rolling Stone? The theory that JFK Jr. is alive and a Trump supporter and a hirsute former financial services professional who lives in Pittsburgh has been percolating in QAnon forums for at least the past year. But it recently made a resurgence on YouTube, where QAnon supporters are posting tutorials for how to make JFK Jr. face masks to wear to Trump’s much-hyped July 4th rally, when they believe JFK Jr. will finally emerge from hiding. Wow. Gaze in awe. One rarely runs across such pure genius in unadulterated and pureed bullshit. This is performance art that will find itself in the Smithsonian some day, ideally on July 5th of this year. So what, exactly, is the basis for this theory, and where did it come from? Why, exactly, do QAnon believers ardently cling to the idea that John John is alive and well and living in Pittsburgh? And did Vincent Fusca have sex with Daryl Hannah in the 1980s? These are just a few of the important questions we must answer. No, absolutely not. It is perfect as is. Rolling Stone goes on to explain the genesis of the theory that JFK was coming back, but it basically boils down to “Q” being on sabbatical in July of 2018 and a bunch of other complete gibberish. We move on to the important stuff that gets to the heart of the matter: The idea gained further credence thanks to Liz Crokin, a right-wing conspiracy theorist who referred to JFK Jr.’s role as Q during a 2018 interview with vlogger Jenny Moonstone. In the video, Crokin cited Q’s posts about former President John F. Kennedy as evidence that JFK Jr. was running the account. “The way that Q talks about JFK Sr. in the posts, it is with such love and passion, it makes me think that it is someone that is close to him,” Crokin said in the video. “If JFK Jr. faked his death and was alive, it would make sense that he was Q.” Well, you do have to admit that is inarguably logical. I mean, if JFK Jr. faked his death, the only sensible thing to do would be to remain in hiding for a long time, and then come out as some complete dumbass on 4Chan and speak in stanzas that make Nostradamus read like a how-to manual. Remain in hiding that is, until such point that a president befitting of […]

Brian Kilmeade Is the Dumbest Man on Television

Brian Kilmeade is one of the few essential Fox News analysts. He has a rare gift in articulating the view of the average high school drop-out, post head-injury. Kilmeade took his keen eye and dulled brain onto Fox’s morning show “Outnumbered,” hosted by Jessica Tarlov. The blog likes Tarlov because we love an underdog, especially one with glasses, and we can think of few bigger underdogs than brunette women on Fox. Our support seems important. Plus, Tarlov was going against Kilmeade, of which we also approve. Tarlov accurately described the situation from Nancy Pelosi’s perspective: “I think Nancy Pelosi was feeling a little bit of pressure here that we do get to the trial point,” Tarlov explained. “Their caucus was split on whether or not to wait those couple of weeks.” Yeah, okay. That makes some sense. Not sure I’d use the word “pressure,” more like that there might have been differing opinions on when best to bring the matter. But, okay, yes, we agree. Pelosi had to balance several concerns, and that brings about pressure to do it right. Kilmeade is not one to leave an accurate observation left unchallenged on Fox News. Kilmeade tried to persuade Tarlov that Pelosi was wrong to wait, because any witnesses which manage to be called would surely favor Trump, even if the witness is John Bolton. Stop right there. To believe what Kilmeade just said, you would have to believe that Mitch McConnell and Trump are fcking idiots, while Kilmeade is brilliant. Because both McConnell and Trump have fought to keep witnesses far away from the trial, especially Bolton, of whom Trump specifically said he would invoke executive privilege against. Probably best to just stick to what we know. Kilmeade is a moron. Nevertheless, Kilmeade persisted: “You talk about what’s good for Democrats, what’s good for Republicans,” Kilmeade said, “you know what’s good for the country? To turn the page. You can say Bill Clinton is impeached for life, you can say Donald Trump is impeached for life. When I think of Bill Clinton, I don’t think of impeachment. Atta boy, Brian. Back on safe ground. “Turn the page,” meaning don’t bother having the trial, since it is just going to mean that Trump turns out like Clinton, who improved his standing. Kilmeade is just looking out for the country, warning us it’s just going to make Trump popular. It is not that Kilmeade – and most Republicans – are terrified about what a trial might bring. Kilmeade then pointed out the Clinton left with 65% approval ratings, and had “been re-elected twice,” evidently forgetting that Clinton’s impeachment occurred in his second term, and thus had nothing to do with his election. Or Kilmeade remembered but figured Jessica wouldn’t. She knocked him off edge, and pointedly told Kilmeade to stop talking as if being impeached is good thing for Trump, because from Trump’s perspective, it clearly is not. It took a clear spanking to get Kilmeade to stop celebrating the impeachment of Trump as yet another glorious feat accomplished by the man. Yes, drop some reality on Kilmead’s pointed head. He hates reality. “No!” Kilmeade replied. “John Bolton could testify and I would say to Democrats, don’t wish for it too much because he has a super PAC and he’s got a […]

The “D” Word and Empowered Evangelical Hypocrisy

“If you don’t support me, you’re going to be so g–damn poor.” Donald Trump stump speech. ** If you are confused when asked about your thoughts on the “D-word,” you likely are employed, have a family and are self-actualized. You might be best served by just moving along. The last thing any of us need is more snowflake victimization to ponder as the evangelical right flexes their new-found muscle. Others here might be familiar with “the D-word,” as it has been front and center in the most contrived case of the vapors in a long time. A man in a commercial takes a bite of a burger-like product in a Burger King commercial for a veggie Whopper. The man stares down and says: “Damn, that’s good.” The average person watching such a commercial has only one reaction. “Bullshit, I’ll bet my damn dog wouldn’t eat that thing …” But many evangelicals are not average people, and they aren’t wondering why the hell Burger King would create such a monstrosity. They’re stuck on the “D-word,” as in “Damn, did he just say ‘damn’ in a commercial?” Enough of them had the same reaction such that the “D-word” scandal is now rippling across a country that certainly doesn’t have any other pressing issues concerning decency or ethics upon which to concentrate. Now, I am probably the wrong person to address such a weighty issue, because I think a society that embraces meatless burgers is already in a spiral toward the apocalypse. Additionally, I never rid myself of the adolescent belief that swear words are a value-added benefit to all things funny. We have a rule in our house; the only bad words are words used to hurt people, doesn’t matter if they are four letters or ten, base or poetic. As one of my fictional characters – who happened to be a Pope – said: “One can use verse like Frost and say something vulgar.” Some words may be improper in certain contexts, sure. And some words are inherently harmful, thus wrong in any context. But, as you can tell, generally-speaking, no one in our home gives a fffff, we don’t care what word you use. Just don’t hurt anyone. Some people do care, and they’re positive this is hurting them, somehow: One Million Moms is taking issue with a moment in the commercial when, as they write, “One man is completely shocked that the burger is not beef, so he uses the d-word to describe how he feels about himself for being deceived by the taste of the burger.” The “d-word” referenced is “damn.” After taking a bite the man says, “damn that’s good.” I’ll be damned. I never knew that anyone had that much time on their hands. And who might “million moms” be? Glad you asked, because these people most certainly want you to know. They are used to getting what they want, damn it: One Million Moms is a division of the American Family Association — which has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its stance on LGBTQ issues— and calls itself an organization for moms who are, “fed up with the filth many segments of our society, especially the entertainment media, are throwing at our children.” The organization has less than […]

Trump’s Behavior and Gait Continue to Raise Real Medical Questions

I try to be careful engaging the internet rumors that often fly about Trump’s behavior or posture and what the symptoms may mean from a medical perspective. Some of the commentary out there can only be described as clueless, irresponsible, and perhaps just mean-spirited. On the other hand, this is one of the oldest men to ever hold the office and one of the most secretive. He lives an unhealthy lifestyle, has always had drug accusations swirling around him, and has a family history that is peppered with issues. He has earned some probing questions. The net is lit about Trump’s strange gait, most recently seen last night when Trump attended an otherwise perfect football game. Just me or is Trump swinging his right leg around his body in an awkward-looking way? pic.twitter.com/nMU3EG9DVO — The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) January 14, 2020   All I see is an old, increasingly obese man unable to really move well, nothing medically meaningful. But, then again, I don’t have the background to evaluate it, perhaps some of these people do and are accurate. It’s front temporal dementia. Affects gait n posture. It’s why he stands curved at podiums and hangs on to the sides for dear life — Joan Wilson 🇨🇦🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@joanwilsonorg) January 14, 2020 There might be some truth to the “stands curved” thing, he does have an extremely odd stance. Trump's relationship with gravity is like all his other relationships. Dysfunctional and disconnected. pic.twitter.com/1O4HN2SXNb — 🇺🇸 David Ward ☕ (@DavidGalenWard) January 14, 2020 Or he might be compensating for putting on a massive amount of weight over the last few years. But many people do believe that dementia is playing a role, and it would explain more than just his gait. Trump’s balance & gait have steadily deteriorated. Often noted here, bc it reflects what's happening to his brain- dementia. He needs real neurological care from a place like the Mayo Clinic. Another doctor messaged me w an expert observational opinion after his last copter walk: pic.twitter.com/j3fYhhKVWh — Tom Joseph (@TomJChicago) January 12, 2020 The rumors about a possible minor stroke taking him to Walter Reed a couple months ago always come around again during these instances. The Walter Reed visit has never been sufficiently explained. It also comes after slurring his way through an important speech last Thursday. I thought so.It’s called ‘circumduction’ and can be a minor side effect after a minor stroke. — VeryBadGerman🍺 🚨Unstable if genius tweets🚨 (@Speed_Peete) January 14, 2020 Of course, the fact that some think it is dementia while others think that Trump suffered a minor stroke just reinforces the fact that we don’t know, and cannot know without a complete medical review. Not even a physician examining Trump could make a real diagnosis without seeing the medications and other substances Trump might ingest. Via Rawstory: Many observers perceived Trump as sniffling extensively and having difficulty articulating words during that speech, and suggested that his pupils appeared to be dilated. This was taken as more evidence that this obese, 73-year-old man does lines of Adderall all day to remain conscious, or is heavily tranquilized by his handlers to manage him, or perhaps both. (Those observations would indeed tend to pull in different directions, drug-speculation-wise, although that’s hardly the biggest flaw in this whole zone of […]

Impeachment Dynamic Changing Fast: Ernst Joins Romney Over Procedure

Not to sound too self-important, but it was only four hours ago that Romney came out with his statement that he wanted to hear from John Bolton, and we noted that Romney’s move will create a safety lane for other Republicans, the ones hanging on the edge, thinking about jumping SS Trump. Now Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is saying that she wants Mitch McConnell to start working with the Democrats. Via Rawstory: Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) is another endangered Republican running for reelection in 2020. She joined with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) in complaining about the process of impeachment unfolding in the U.S. Senate. In a Politico report Monday, Ernst told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) it was time to start working with Democrats instead of against them. No wonder the Russians are busy hacking the shit out of the Ukrainians. They better get moving. McConnell might want watch-out, because I sense a jail-break coming if just a couple more Republicans join with the Democrats in pushing back against McConnell’s sham. Two more will mean there are 51 senators – a majority – opposed to McConnell, something he is not used to. The remaining Republicans will have to assess whether they want to stay in the minority, or join the people seeking the truth. As we said earlier, a bet on the McConnell-Trump side is a bet on being able to manage the unknown into the future. I would hate to be Lindsey Graham, having argued his toff off about the giant hoax, suddenly having to explain how it was that anyone could be so adamant about anything when Trump was guilty as figs the whole time. Everyone get ready, because things are changing fast. The dynamic will look entirely different in two days. If you think Trump’s insufferable rage was running over to this point, you haven’t seen a thing yet. The scales are tipping, and I think that Twitter best add some extra wings to carry the load that is coming. Ernst has placed her bet, and decided it was best to suffer the rage, rather than the alternative. **** Peace, y’all Jason jmiciak@yahoo.com and on Twitter @MiciakZoom    

NYT: Russians Arrive Right on Time, Hacking Into Ukrainian Computers

I suppose the real question is what took them so long. It was only a matter of time, and we just flipped the calendar to the election year. Here come the Russians, hacking computers to boost Trump, again. The New York Times is out with a breaking story that the Russian military hacked into Burrisma’s computers, going after dirt on the Bidens. It is just a coincidence that Trump wanted that exact same dirt in extorting Ukraine. The hacking attempts against Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company on whose board Hunter Biden served, began in early November, as talk of the Bidens, Ukraine and impeachment was dominating the news in the United States. It is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for. But the experts say the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens — the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment. I will tell you what they found. Whatever the fck they wanted. These are the very same people that brought you the O.G. “fake news,” which as a term is only properly applied to fake websites, publishing fake pieces, purporting to be real. If the Russians are after something, they’ll either find it, or make it up themselves. The article states that the Russians are using the exact same tactics, albeit stealthier, and during roughly the exact same point in time in the campaign as their hack of the DNC last time around. The result has been a muddy brew of conspiracy theories that mix facts, like the handful of Ukrainians who openly criticized Mr. Trump’s candidacy, with discredited claims that the D.N.C.’s email server is in Ukraine and that Mr. Biden, as vice president, had corrupt dealings with Ukrainian officials to protect his son. Spread by bots and trolls on social media, and by Russian intelligence officers, the claims resonated with Mr. Trump, who views talk of Russian interference as an attack on his legitimacy. Damn it. It is so infuriating. This is why Trump must be impeached, and must be removed from office. There is no other way we’re going to get a fair election. Russians are already attempting to tip the scales and keep us at each others’ throats. What happens when it looks like Trump is in trouble, perhaps down in November? A fake war? An attack on our civil infrastructure? An emergency declaration? We cannot know, we only know that it will be something. Because the other thing we know is that Trump has no problem with anyone, anywhere, helping him win. Indeed, it appears that Trump is willing to start (or at least risk) war, where many people die, to get reelected. Not for nothing, but that is near the definition of an evil dictator, attempting to keep atop a corrupt banana republic. Hear me, we are moving head-first into the ugliest, hardest fought, and perhaps most violent presidential election since at least 1968. Perhaps we can get through this one without any political assassinations, but I wouldn’t place money on it. If Trump is behind, you […]
Rob Bluey / Flickr Mitt Romney at CPAC...

Mitt Romney States He Would Vote for Bolton to Appear

Per Ari Melbar on MSNBC, Mitt Romney just announced that he would vote to hear from John Bolton as a fact witness in the impeachment trial, in other words, a real trial. Obviously, this is a major break in the case and highly favorable to the Democrats. Trump has always balanced his presidency precariously on the “unanimity” he requires, going to any length to intimidate his party into compliance, lest he banish them from their careers as Republicans. From the beginning, we’ve known that even one or two defections against Trump’s bullying could lead to a dam break. It would seem that each Republican coming out against Trump makes it that much easier for the next one, and the next one, until the process builds on its own momentum. Perhaps we are there. Because right now, I see a crack in the dam. There is immense political heat on each Republican senator. Poll after poll affirms that people favor hearing from the witnesses. Adding to that pressure is the likely continuous drip of evidence released to the public into the future, after the trial. The danger that the Republicans let a clear crime go – covered up – hangs over each of them, like a bucket ready to leave them all wet. If Romney votes to hear from Bolton it is far more likely than not that Murkowski, Gardner and Collins will have to follow along. Indeed, once a few Republicans brave Trump’s rage – and I seriously doubt anyone has seen rage this hot and cutting  – it is hard to see how every Republicans won’t be forced to support calling witnesses. This would be entirely proper, of course. The United States has had fifteen impeachment trials in our history under the current constitution. All fifteen had witnesses. Mitch McConnell seems intent upon having the first impeachment trial without any witnesses, and indeed it might well be the first trial of any kind without a witness. By its very definition, a trial involves witness testimony, indeed one cannot have a trial without witnesses. Trials determine contested facts, whether those facts are found by the court or a jury, the only issue at trial is the determination as to which facts are most credible. That is not to say that legal proceedings are never adjudicated without a trial. Indeed we do it all the time. If the issue is one in which all parties agree on the facts, but the parties disagree as to the law fitting those facts, we use a procedure called “summary judgment.” In a summary judgment procedure, the judge takes facts that are largely uncontested and adjudicates the matter through motions and briefings. But summary judgment is limited to civil cases, never criminal. While an impeachment is not a criminal proceeding, it is not a civil proceeding within the courts, either. Thus we’re left to take the most common-sense definition as to what is and what is not a “trial.” I put to you, that one cannot have a trial without witnesses. If the Republicans insisted upon going forward without calling any witnesses, the Democrats should – and likely can – make an argument to Chief Justice Roberts that the Republicans are not following the constitution, by denying the House impeachment managers a “trial” as required. […]

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