NBC News is reporting that John Bolton has stated that he is now willing to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial if subpoenaed. I do not know what it will take to get him subpoenaed. In a normal trial, it would only take a subpoena by Congressman Schiff, someone representing the prosecution. But here, the question as to whether there will be any witnesses at all, never mind a “new one,” is up in the air to … Mitch McConnell and Republicans, it would seem. The timing is odd. On the one hand, yes, Congress is back, everyone is back to DC after a blessedly long vacation. So it makes some sense. On the other hand, where the hell was he back when he was needed? And why is he so willing now, right after Trump bombed Iran’s second-highest civilian leader? I would definitely call him, but I’d be a little nervous. I know this, his willingness to testify as to what he saw and heard as a firsthand witness increases the pressure on the moderate Republican senators, a lot. **** Peace, y’all Jason firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MiciakZoom
Senator Charles Schumer has been peaking in on us, at Zoom, y’all. Today he is out with quotes that are as needed as they are obvious, and he sounds a touch angry. I suspect he read our article and comments from yesterday. “This new story shows all four witnesses that we Senate Democrats have requested (were) intimately involved and had direct knowledge of President Trump’s decision to cut off aid and benefit himself,” said Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Simply put, in our fight to have key documents and witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial, these new revelations are a game changer.” I am not a U.S. Senator, yet, but I have one quibble. This report didn’t so much change the game – everyone knew that these people had firsthand knowledge or Trump wouldn’t have delayed a golf game to order his staff to not testify – what it has done is increase the heat in that deep fryer currently boiling over our favorite Kentucky chicken, Mitch McConnell. “Let me be clear, this is about getting to the truth,” Schumer said. “Will the Senate hold a fair trial or will it enable a cover-up? President Trump, if you are so confident you did nothing wrong, why won’t you let your men testify?” Let me be a bit clear, too, while also being a bit of a lawyer here. Given Schumer’s newfound confidence (and evidence), if the Republicans remain wholly united, and a party-line vote prevents witness testimony, including the four above, I would counter them, bigly. I would be very tempted (if I were in place to do it) to begin the actual trial, once it starts in front of Chief Justice Roberts, to make what we call a motion in limine, which is a stupid fancy description which just means “a dispute about how the trial will go, to be settled before a trial.” We usually file them weeks in advance, but Schumer won’t have that option, plus we wouldn’t want to give it away if he did. That motion would be directed straight at Chief Justice Roberts. It would state that one cannot have a trial without witnesses, that the very meaning of the word “trial” presumes “witnesses.” Yes, the constitution leaves the “rules” of the trial up to the Senate. But it does command the Senate to hold a trial. It would be entirely proper, and perhaps persuasive, to make a motion before the trial judge, stating that we’re not even following the constitution. If we are prevented from calling witnesses, we never had a “trial.” As we sometimes say in law, the worst that can happen is he says, “No,” and then you’re in the same place anyway. But Roberts might not say, “no.” Roberts is no Democrat, but he’s no Trumper, either, Moreover, Roberts understand that Trump represents a constitutional threat to the judiciary, as well as the nation itself. When Trump is finally gone, there will be a big push (there better be) to remedy some of the Trump-McConnell abuses with respect to judges and justices, from Garland to “184 new judges” many wholly unqualified. Roberts might see ditching Trump as a move that demonstrates the impartiality and legitimacy of the judiciary, cutting off the need for some of those reforms. I would be damned tempted. As […]
Over the next week or two you are going to hear a great deal about “executive privilege.” But, I suspect you will have a little trouble understanding how it is supposed to apply versus how it is being applied by Trump. Corey Lewandowski is sitting in front of a committee in the House, as if on a ping pong table. He is getting grilled by half the committee, while the other half – the Republicans, scream about the injustice of it all, and quite effectively. It is unbelievably regretful that the Mueller report did not establish, with much greater specificity, that they could not go forward with a criminal case against Trump, due – in part – to the lies Mueller noted, and the use of encrypted phones. I say this because the Republicans believe there is nothing to discuss at all, because Mueller found no Russian collusion, and they do not care that Mueller did, apparently, find obstruction of justice. Republicans have no desire to discuss obstruction, they continually bring up that they want to investigate those bastards that started the investigation, Comey and others in the FBI. Interesting, though, is that with respect to any actual discussions with Trump, Lewandowski has claimed “executive privilege.” This is, in plain terms, utter bullshit. If executive privilege applies to this matter, it means that every single utterance between a president and anyone, federal employee, White House employee, and even private citizens, is subject to suppression by the president. Congress can never ask what the president said in any context. Ever. And that is bad enough, but it goes much deeper. We in the law grant privileges in situations where as a matter of public policy, we want people to feel protected and immune from court proceedings. Privileges apply to attorneys, doctors, the clergy, and spouses. “Executive privilege” applies only to those situations where we want the president to feel comfortable discussing things during policy meetings among staff. That’s it. The worst aspect that we know as we go forward, is that all privileges can be waived, and most often, it happens by accident. This is not Corey Lewandowski’s privilege to assert, it is Trump’s and Trump’s alone. Trump waived that privilege by allowing Lewandowski to speak to Mueller at all. Moreover, the White House has allowed Lewandowski to testify in today’s hearing to matters within the actual Mueller report, but no other conversations with Trump. I cannot for the life of me understand how there is not already a court ruling on this. The matter is as simple as I can imagine. The president has allowed Lewandowski to speak about one conversation, the one in the Mueller report, but not about other conversations. Clearly, Trump has waived the right to assert the privilege. If we allowed people to pick and choose what conversations might be privileged, effectively allowing people to leave out the “bad stuff.” That is stunning, and offensive. More later, if I can stomach it. **** Peace, y’all Jason email@example.com and Twitter @MiciakZoom
Now this is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. This is the end of the beginning. Winston Churchill No Winnie, actually this is the beginning of the end. One way or the other. July 17, 2019. 9:00 AM sharp. Be there or be square. Robert Mueller started it, and now, 26 months […]
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