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  #101  
Old 01-21-2020, 04:55 PM
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So now they're basically saying they don't want to see the evidence or hear witnesses. "We do not care."
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:08 PM
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The Republican senators are not going to vote based on facts or evidence.

So why on earth would they want to hear any of that? McConnell has already explicitly said that he is going to violate his sworn oath, and has already made up his mind. And he knows that the most important thing is that he will be re-elected. So why would he give a shit?
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:12 PM
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Previously quoted:

Any senator that votes for the McConnell resolution will be voting to hide information and evidence from the American people,” Schumer said.

And Pelosi threatened that “every Senator who supports this sham process must be held accountable to the American people.”


Like they give a damn.
If I understand it correctly the Republican senators would like to tell Democrats that they missed their chance to compel additional documents and testimony when they rushed the articles of impeachment through the House. That they had the subpoena power (after the House resolution) but, in their impatience, failed to exercise it. In other words, "no you".

I haven't made up my mind on this.

~Max
  #104  
Old 01-21-2020, 05:15 PM
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My local ABC news just interrupted the coverage for local news. I sent them a message on Facebook and asked them if they were just trying to cover up Trump's crimes so we can't see what is happening, and they assured me, Oh, I can watch it on their website. So I switched over to NBC.
My local NBC, CBS, and ABC stations have all bailed out. Strangely, my local Fox affiliate (which is not owned by Fox) has preempted its local news to run continuous coverage.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:19 PM
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If I understand it correctly the Republican senators would like to tell Democrats that they missed their chance to compel additional documents and testimony when they rushed the articles of impeachment through the House. That they had the subpoena power (after the House resolution) but, in their impatience, failed to exercise it. In other words, "no you".

I haven't made up my mind on this.

~Max
I'm confused about what good that would have done when the Senate GOP is refusing to accept evidence and witness testimony that the house did have and use as part of the impeachment.

Is the only evidence admissible that which had to be subpoena'd? People who agreed to testify under oath without a subpoena are not admissible as witnesses or evidence?
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  #106  
Old 01-21-2020, 05:19 PM
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My local NBC, CBS, and ABC stations have all bailed out. Strangely, my local Fox affiliate (which is not owned by Fox) has preempted its local news to run continuous coverage.
My local news station seems to be doing a special on it. They break for regularly scheduled weather and traffic reports though.

~Max
  #107  
Old 01-21-2020, 05:28 PM
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I'm confused about what good that would have done when the Senate GOP is refusing to accept evidence and witness testimony that the house did have and use as part of the impeachment.
Well, this runs into the issue of both-side-ism. The defense hasn't been able to call their own witnesses yet, and so if the witnesses are limited to those deposed by the House that would be unfair to the defense. But if the defense calls their own witnesses then House prosecutors will complain that they haven't had the opportunity to compel evidence and testimony yet.

Yes, the House invited the defense to produce evidence, and one of the charges is actually based on the defense's refusal to do so. I'm still mulling over Appendix C of the defense brief (some OLC lawyer argues and takes credit for the administration's refusal to participate in the House inquiry) so I'm not sure what to think of that yet.

My basic position is still very much against the President here, though.

~Max
  #108  
Old 01-21-2020, 06:06 PM
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Well, this runs into the issue of both-side-ism. The defense hasn't been able to call their own witnesses yet, and so if the witnesses are limited to those deposed by the House that would be unfair to the defense. But if the defense calls their own witnesses then House prosecutors will complain that they haven't had the opportunity to compel evidence and testimony yet.

Yes, the House invited the defense to produce evidence, and one of the charges is actually based on the defense's refusal to do so. I'm still mulling over Appendix C of the defense brief (some OLC lawyer argues and takes credit for the administration's refusal to participate in the House inquiry) so I'm not sure what to think of that yet.

My basic position is still very much against the President here, though.

~Max
The House gave the President every opportunity to offer a defense, and he refused. It's ridiculous to hold this against the Democrats. It should be clear from the White House's own words and transcripts that the allegations of the impeachment articles are accurate and true. The Senate is set upon making this a farce.

Democracy is doomed if even reasonable folks like you can't see what's staring them in the face -- that the President engaged in attempted bribery and extortion of a foreign official for personal political benefit.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:26 PM
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The House gave the President every opportunity to offer a defense, and he refused. It's ridiculous to hold this against the Democrats. It should be clear from the White House's own words and transcripts that the allegations of the impeachment articles are accurate and true. The Senate is set upon making this a farce.

Democracy is doomed if even reasonable folks like you can't see what's staring them in the face -- that the President engaged in attempted bribery and extortion of a foreign official for personal political benefit.
As I said just now, I'm still trying to understand the White House excuse for nonparticipation in the House inquiry (appendix C of the defense brief). But when you claim the allegations of impeachment are accurate and true just by reading the White House's own words and transcripts, that undermines what I understand to be the Democrats' major argument: we need additional witnesses and evidence to make our best case.

And I do see the argument that the President attempted to extort a foreign government for personal gain. That argument is pretty clear and even intuitive, without any additional evidence or testimony. What I haven't done yet is considered the case for defense, in fact I'll get back to doing that right now.

~Max
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:27 PM
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the President engaged in attempted bribery and extortion of a foreign official for personal political benefit.
And then obstructed and covered up in order to prevent investigators from finding out anything once a whistleblower came forward.

And attempted to intimidate and threaten witnesses in order to prevent them from testifying.
  #111  
Old 01-21-2020, 06:42 PM
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As I said just now, I'm still trying to understand the White House excuse for nonparticipation in the House inquiry (appendix C of the defense brief).
This is easy. There was no legal or moral argument against the case, so their best option was to muddy the process and claim it was illegitimate.

Quote:
But when you claim the allegations of impeachment are accurate and true just by reading the White House's own words and transcripts, that undermines what I understand to be the Democrats' major argument: we need additional witnesses and evidence to make our best case.
No it doesn't. It's clear without this additional evidence... but it would be even more crystal clear with them. Hence, "best case".

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And I do see the argument that the President attempted to extort a foreign government for personal gain. That argument is pretty clear and even intuitive, without any additional evidence or testimony. What I haven't done yet is considered the case for defense, in fact I'll get back to doing that right now.
They haven't even offered such a defense, only attacking the process and the Democrats.

This really is very easy, obvious stuff. Nothing wrong with reading either side's case, but it's been more than clear for weeks, if not months.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:06 PM
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Reading through the defense brief, the very first point is this: Must the senate decide all questions of law and fact, including whether the articles of impeachment rise to the level of an impeachable offense?

I think the answer is yes.

The next question is whether the Senate should decide, before considering evidence, whether or not to dismiss the articles of impeachment out of hand. They would have to assume that everything alleged by the House managers is true, then decide if that rises to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors". If not, the articles would be dismissed. It would be sort of like a motion to dismiss for failing to state an appropriate claim.

The only thing preventing me from endorsing the above procedure is my opinion that the Senate should show respect for the House of Representatives by entertaining their accusations without objection. But I think, from a position of hindsight, it would have been nice if the Clinton trial had followed this procedure.

Note also that Mr. McConnell changed his own rule proposal to automatically admit evidence taken by the House inquiry.

~Max

Last edited by Max S.; 01-21-2020 at 07:08 PM. Reason: It would be sort of like
  #113  
Old 01-21-2020, 07:24 PM
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I've been watching this all day (MSNBC has been covering it uninterrupted). By now I should be used to the dishonesty of the Republicans in Congress, but the shamelessness I'm seeing is breathtaking.

How can someone stand there in front of the cameras that are relaying everything to the entire world, and tell lies that they and everyone in the room knows are lies?
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  #114  
Old 01-21-2020, 07:26 PM
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How can someone stand there in front of the cameras that are relaying everything to the entire world, and tell lies that they and everyone in the room knows are lies?
Well, for one nobody in that room is allowed to call a liar a liar. Sort of like this place I like to frequent...

~Max
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:00 PM
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I hear in passing the notion that the Forces of Darkness "don't care" about appearing to be so shameless about witnesses and evidence. But perhaps they really do care, care very much. But the trouble they would have if witnesses and evidence are permitted?.... apparently worse.

A tantalizing prospect. The truth good. Truth they don't want me to have, double-plus super good with awesome ranch sauce. Best political practice would not usually be to directly confront and refuse what appears to be a very popular option. This option is bad, the other is doom.

Last edited by elucidator; 01-21-2020 at 08:00 PM.
  #116  
Old 01-21-2020, 08:02 PM
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Well, for one nobody in that room is allowed to call a liar a liar. Sort of like this place I like to frequent...

~Max
Considering the obstruction, lies and obfuscation that the republicans have been dealing out. Perhaps a solution would be good old fashioned duels at dawn.

Anyone that does not see the clear impeachable crimes that Trump has committed is either a traitor or has their head in the sand.
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  #117  
Old 01-21-2020, 08:18 PM
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Reading through the defense brief
The second point I find thoroughly unconvincing. In essence, the defense argues that only violations of law can rise to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors". Thanks to Ravenman for pushing me away from that theory.

They argue, and I agree, that impeachment should be reserved for egregious offenses that threaten the stability of the nation or undermine the Constitution. I think the House managers have done a fine job of accusing the President of doing just that, threatening our national interests by (illegally) withholding funds in an attempt to undermine the election.

The defense argument crumbles when they cite the near-impeachment of President Nixon (defense brief, footnote 122):
"Although the House Judiciary Committee’s report described Article II generally as involving "abuse of the powers of the office of President," that was not the actual charge included in the articles of impeachment. The actual charges in the recommended article of impeachment included specific violations of laws." (citations omitted)
This is a ridiculous argument. They are trying to draw a distinction between violating-the-law-while-abusing-one's-powers and abusing-one's-powers-while-violating-the-law. The prosecutors' brief p.19 specifically accuses the President of breaking the law:
"President Trump illegally ordered the Office of Management and Budget to withhold $391 million in taxpayer-funded military and other security assistance to Ukraine. [...]
"The Government Accountability Office has determined that the President's hold was illegal and violated the Impoundment Control Act, which limits the President's authority to withhold funds that Congress has appropriated."
~Max

Last edited by Max S.; 01-21-2020 at 08:20 PM. Reason: italics; a rediculous argument
  #118  
Old 01-21-2020, 08:35 PM
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The second point I find thoroughly unconvincing.
I'm not going to post my thoughts on all 171 pages of the defense (this thread isn't my personal blog), but I did want to put my opinion on the "standards" section out there while the rules are being debated on Capitol Hill, to encourage debate.

The third point made is regarding the standard of proof, which the defense argues should be "beyond a reasonable doubt". I agree with the defense on this, but I do not think that should be made part of the rules. We already have (had?) a dedicated thread about the standard of proof in a Senate impeachment trial, "" What should be the standard of proof in a Senate impeachment trial?

The fourth and final point made about the standards to be used in the trial is that the Senate should not consider allegations not charged in the articles of impeachment. I see no reason to disagree.

~Max
  #119  
Old 01-21-2020, 09:05 PM
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To address the White House arguments:
I am interested in your opinion of p.99-107, if you are willing to share it. That is where the defense argues that the President was justified in bringing up the DNC server and Biden.

~Max
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Old 01-21-2020, 09:11 PM
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...

The fourth and final point made about the standards to be used in the trial is that the Senate should not consider allegations not charged in the articles of impeachment. I see no reason to disagree.

~Max
Interesting that. I disagree. To a point.

Because if all of the allegations and crimes of Trump where brought up, it would take years in court. He's been in 'practice' for a long, long time. I guess you have to draw the line somewhere. He's been a crook of one flavor or another for 40 years.

In Voir Dire, both sides consider what jurors know about the defendant. In this case, they can't excuse jurors because of prior relationships or knowledge.
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  #121  
Old 01-21-2020, 09:22 PM
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SO all the moderate Rs voted against witnesses? Romney, murkowski and Collins et al?

Oh they just want to step in and save democracy at the last possible minute. What drama queens.

Last edited by drad dog; 01-21-2020 at 09:24 PM.
  #122  
Old 01-21-2020, 09:22 PM
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I am interested in your opinion of p.99-107, if you are willing to share it. That is where the defense argues that the President was justified in bringing up the DNC server and Biden.

~Max
I know not address to me. But completely immaterial to Trumps bribery/extortion.

Ukraine has the DNC server. Donald Trump is concerned about corruption. Uh huh. The defense is grasping at straws because that's all they have. It's just more horseshit.

You know this counselor, when you can't argue facts, you argue loop holes, redirect and confuse.
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Old 01-21-2020, 09:32 PM
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SO all the moderate Rs voted against witnesses? Romney, murkowski and Collins et al?

Oh they just want to step in and save democracy at the last possible minute. What drama queens.
I think the smart move for Democrats is to wand this entire impeachment through. Let the Republicans have their sham 'trial' and let them own it -- forever. Right now, in January of 2020, the public doesn't support removing him from office and they never have - at least not enough of the public.

But impeachment is at least a matter of historical record, and when this president presides over disasters that threaten the future of this country, I think people will react, and they will look back at the fact that we had a chance to remove this pig - and one half of the senate chose to protect him.

Look, the fact is that, in a democracy, a lot of voters are dumb. We're terrible at looking forward, but we're pretty good at looking backward and blaming people of the past for whatever happened in the present. So let the Republicans own this. Reality will eventually catch up to them.
  #124  
Old 01-21-2020, 10:02 PM
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I think the smart move for Democrats is to wand this entire impeachment through. Let the Republicans have their sham 'trial' and let them own it -- forever. Right now, in January of 2020, the public doesn't support removing him from office and they never have - at least not enough of the public.

But impeachment is at least a matter of historical record, and when this president presides over disasters that threaten the future of this country, I think people will react, and they will look back at the fact that we had a chance to remove this pig - and one half of the senate chose to protect him.

Look, the fact is that, in a democracy, a lot of voters are dumb. We're terrible at looking forward, but we're pretty good at looking backward and blaming people of the past for whatever happened in the present. So let the Republicans own this. Reality will eventually catch up to them.
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  #125  
Old 01-21-2020, 11:01 PM
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Has anyone been following this “lawyer lawsuits” controversy?

The Trump defense team went apeshit on the House impeachment managers that the Dems would dare to undermine the Constitution by condemning “lawyer lawsuits.”

There’s only one problem. The impeachment managers were talking about “FOIA lawsuits” filed by third parties to compel the release of Administration emails.

I’m undecided if this was just another Trump-style tactic of flinging poo and distracting people, or if that one Trump lawyer has terrible hearing. You know the guy I’m talking about... I think his name is Jay Sexual.
  #126  
Old 01-21-2020, 11:33 PM
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I am interested in your opinion of p.99-107, if you are willing to share it. That is where the defense argues that the President was justified in bringing up the DNC server and Biden.

~Max
I coined the term the "Bruce Willis Defense" earlier.

Basically, in a Hollywood action film, you'll see the hero doing things like shooting a gun wildly while running or while racing in his car after the bad guys and, to the watcher, that seems fine because "anything is acceptable in the name of fighting evil!"

But that's not how it works. If the cops did that, they'd be killing bystanders, left and right.

Also in Hollywood, and closer to the White House argument, you'll see cops do things like try to turn a door knob, find it open, shrug, and enter without a warrant; they'll beat on some punk, in an alleyway, and make him reveal the location of the drug kingpin; and the shifty looking guy with a gun in the airport, who the cop thinks is a bad guy following him... Well, when he gets him in a neck lock, hauls him into the bathroom, and proceeds to get into a fist fight, it's always an actual bad guy, just like the hero thought (!), and not some random air marshal who he just accidentally assaulted.

"Anything is acceptable in the name of fighting evil" is BS. That's not how it works, it isn't how it should work, and it wouldn't look like what the President's been doing.

1) Donald Trump may well have the personal opinion that Joe Biden and his son are crooks. But that's an opinion not a fact and, until such a point as that becomes fact, he must behave in the same way as Lady Justice and presume the innocence of Joe Biden.

Extorting a country that is under attack, and partially occupied, by a much larger country by withholding money that they need to defend themselves, because you have the unproven opinion that some dude is guilty of a crime, is not kosher in a variety of ways. Even if we ignore the question of whether any non-psychopath could view it as a moral trade-off between fighting the corruption of one man and preventing the murder of innocents by an invading force, you still run into issues like that any results you get from your investigation were generated under duress and can't be used as the basis of any honest inquiry.

2) Trump is not a law enforcement officer. He is not trained to be a law enforcement officer. We did not hire him to be a law enforcement officer. He has a duty to serve the role of President of the United States of America, not practice his vigilante hobby on our dime, during work hours. That is a dereliction of his duties and, while there are arguments that criminal behavior is required for impeachment, the history of the term "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" favors the idea that it would also include any conduct that was antithetical to the office and the Oath, including corruption, dereliction, criminal negligence, etc. The UCMJ is the Executive branch's version of the law, as regards officers of the state. The view of what is and is not actionable misconduct in the eyes of the Executive is enshrined there and, when we judge the President, it should be according to the code of the Executive Branch more than against the statutes crafted by Congress, for application against the common citizen. (IMHO) In that legal framework, dereliction is a crime.

3) Neither Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, nor Igor Fruman are law enforcement officers. If your defense is that you genuinely believe that a person committed a crime, it is completely insane to argue that - as a person who knows the phone number of the head of the FBI - your first instinct would be to call up the little old man who lives down the street, who was telling you the other day that he used to dream of being a cop, and giving him carte blanche to use your corporate credit card to go out there and investigate that shit. Versus the counterargument which is that you didn't go to the cops because you had no belief in the crime, that you hired the old man - who is a professional propaganda artist - to go and create smear. And create that smear using other people's money against your personal enemy.

4) Not only is the President not a law enforcement officer, nor are his friends, they're all people with clear conflicts of interest in the matter. Let's take an example of an actual police officer. Let's say that it just so happens that Morgan is in a competition for becoming Captain of the Police Force with this one lady, and the woman just so happened to be accused of a crime exactly one day after the announcement about the vacancy was announced. The evidence just so happened to come in to Morgan's phone. Usually it's the cop who got the call who takes the case. What do you think, is his argument that the one lady is a crook, he's a genuine police officer, and the call came straight to him is a viable argument against recusal?

Joe Biden can be factually guilty of anything and everything, but Donald Trump is the one person who may not - until a Federal court proclaims it so - mention, advance, nor even query the matter lest he unduly influence a matter that he would serve to gain or lose by.

5) The crime proposed against Joe Biden is that his son laundered money into the United States and shared that money with his father, to convince him to cease investigations into Burisma. Rosemont, Hunter, and Joe are all American. Their Bank accounts are, quite likely, in America. All of the discussions to pursue a corrupt act of interference, between Hunter and Joe would have taken place in America. This would have taken place at a time when nearly everything Joe Biden did had great possibility of entering some official record.

Any investigation in Ukraine, by Americans, would be wildly hampered by the issue that the US has no subpoena power there nor any other investigative powers.

It is wildly implausible that you would begin your investigation by going to Ukraine. The only thing you could ever (non-corruptly) do is offer them some American evidence, if you had some, to implicate the Bidens and hope that they launch an investigation.

But see #1. It would never be the case that you would want them to announce said investigation. And you would never perform any actual investigations of your own there, since you can't.

And, noting points 2-4, the person to hand American evidence to Ukraine would be the FBI, as part of their genuine investigation that they were conducting in the USA, based on their unbiased determination that there was just cause to investigate Hunter and Joe Biden.

6) As regards "the server", one should note that Trump was famously "totally exonerated" of working with Russia. And now here he is saying that he's fighting that case? How do you fight a case in which you were "totally exonerated" and why is your version of fighting that case to be too try and get information about the cyber capabilities of Ukraine, to detect and monitor Russian activities? Why does it seem like the tale of "the server" seems to be the product of a man who is in jail for practicing corruption in Ukraine, and who was working with a Russian intelligence asset?

Last edited by Sage Rat; 01-21-2020 at 11:36 PM.
  #127  
Old 01-21-2020, 11:39 PM
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I know not address to me. But completely immaterial to Trumps bribery/extortion.

Ukraine has the DNC server. Donald Trump is concerned about corruption. Uh huh. The defense is grasping at straws because that's all they have. It's just more horseshit.

You know this counselor, when you can't argue facts, you argue loop holes, redirect and confuse.
The defense raises the possibility that Ukraine attempted to interfere with the 2016 election, cites some public sources I need to check, and does some word lawyering of the July 25 call to claim Trump informally requested assistance for John Durham's ongoing investigation at the DOJ... I think. Not sure if I agree with their interpretation of the call yet, but it appears superficially sound.

Corruption is what the defense says forms the rationale behind the mention of Biden/Burisma. I find myself agreeing that it may have been appropriate from a foreign policy perspective to "make clear both that the United States was not placing any inquiry into the incident off limits and that, in the future, there would be no efforts by U.S. officials to do something as "horrible" as strong-arming Ukraine into dropping corruption investigations while operating under an obvious conflict of interest."

What I don't see the defence try to justify in these later pages is what appears to be the President strong-arming Ukraine to pick up a corruption investigation while the President is operating under a clear conflict of interest. I think that is what you mean when you say the rationale behind the mention of the DNC and Biden/Burisma is irrelevant to a charge of extortion. But the quid pro quo is disputed earlier in the defense brief as the disowned consequence of Mr. Sondland's dark soul. Sage Rat summarizes it well.

~Max
  #128  
Old 01-21-2020, 11:58 PM
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The defense raises the possibility that Ukraine attempted to interfere with the 2016 election, cites some public sources I need to check, and does some word lawyering of the July 25 call to claim Trump informally requested assistance for John Durham's ongoing investigation at the DOJ... I think. Not sure if I agree with their interpretation of the call yet, but it appears superficially sound.

Corruption is what the defense says forms the rationale behind the mention of Biden/Burisma. I find myself agreeing that it may have been appropriate from a foreign policy perspective to "make clear both that the United States was not placing any inquiry into the incident off limits and that, in the future, there would be no efforts by U.S. officials to do something as "horrible" as strong-arming Ukraine into dropping corruption investigations while operating under an obvious conflict of interest."

What I don't see the defence try to justify in these later pages is what appears to be the President strong-arming Ukraine to pick up a corruption investigation while the President is operating under a clear conflict of interest. I think that is what you mean when you say the rationale behind the mention of the DNC and Biden/Burisma is irrelevant to a charge of extortion. But the quid pro quo is disputed earlier in the defense brief as the disowned consequence of Mr. Sondland's dark soul. Sage Rat summarizes it well.

~Max
It doesn't pass a test of relevance,for this trial though. You would have to entertain the idea that the importance of this thing is so exagerated it becomes risible, like the only venue for fighting corruption and the last chance to defeat evil is to hold a hammer over Ukraine?

There is no crime by the bidens; they are both running; toireup singled him out above other corruption he knows about, sanctions, admires, or participates in himself. What judge is going to buy into this gaslighting scheme?
  #129  
Old 01-22-2020, 12:06 AM
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It doesn't pass a test of relevance,for this trial though. You would have to entertain the idea that the importance of this thing is so exagerated it becomes risible, like the only venue for fighting corruption and the last chance to defeat evil is to hold a hammer over Ukraine?

There is no crime by the bidens; they are both running; toireup singled him out above other corruption he knows about, sanctions, admires, or participates in himself. What judge is going to buy into this gaslighting scheme?
Maybe I'm just too tired but what are you referring to with "this thing"? The DNC server? or the Biden/Burisma thing? or Sondland's opinion? And what do you mean by "toireup"?

Sorry in advance...

~Max
  #130  
Old 01-22-2020, 12:39 AM
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Well, for one nobody in that room is allowed to call a liar a liar. Sort of like this place I like to frequent...



~Max
Nadler just called them liars right there on the floor.
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  #131  
Old 01-22-2020, 01:19 AM
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And what do you mean by "toireup"?

Sorry in advance...

~Max
I, having commented on this earlier in one of these related threads, can answer at least this question.

drad dog has this cute schtick of mis-spelling Twerimup's name in a different way every time he mentions it. He's long since run out of all possible nearly-recognizable near-mis-spellings and has lately been advancing into ever-stranger permutations.

So, who or what is this "Tgmaglomp" (my mis-spelling ) of whom drad dog speaks? Well, if it begins with T and ends with p, you needn't ask.

Amirite, dog ?
  #132  
Old 01-22-2020, 01:32 AM
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7) And as regards the idea that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election, I'll repeat what I've said before:

Foreign involvement in elections is okay. It is also an act of war. It strongly depends on the specifics, just as you would clearly differentiate between murder and self-defense, depending on the circumstances of what happened.

In general, I would argue that these are the rules for foreign involvement:

a) It is criminal for an American politician to work with a foreign government, in the aim of advancing his personal political campaign.
b) It is not criminal to work with a foreign national, under you as an employee, who is being paid by the hour. When you come out of that relationship, you are not owing the foreign national some debt and, with them not being an agent of the foreign government, they have no policy desires. They just want to get paid for their enterprise.
c) However, it would be criminal to use that person as a cut-out to work with a foreign government. It is no different than #1 at base, and only made worse by the extra subterfuge.
d) It is not criminal for a foreign person to publicize a crime that was committed against them by an American politician.
e) It is not criminal for a foreign news source to publicize the allegations of a crime that they are aware of.
f) It is not criminal for a foreign government to publicize allegations of a crime that they genuinely believe may have been committed by an American politician, which occurred on their soil. Ideally, they should protect that person's innocence and simply pass the information to the US quietly, if it's simply "allegations", or request extradition if it's more than that, but I don't know that it's reasonable to expect a foreign government to care too much about someone who committed crimes in their country and left, nor to expect every country to maintain the same "All are innocent until proven guilty" standard that we do. It may be slimy in some instances, but compare it to....
g) It is criminal for a foreign government to know about a crime committed by an American politician and maintain that in secret, for use as blackmail against him. And that goes a long way towards justifying any publications.
h) It is criminal for a foreign government to knowingly falsify allegations of a crime being committed by an American politician.
i) It is criminal for a foreign government to invade our country, break into our government buildings, and use the discovered information against us - even if that information is not fraudulent.

And so on.

The standard across all of these is the same standard that we use in criminal law. Did a criminal act take place (actus read)? Extortion? Fraud? Etc. And was there a criminal intent (mens rea)?

Truth and ensuring that criminals see their day in court are not evil acts. That surpasses borders.

Fraud, extortion, larceny, invasion, etc. are all crimes and, outside of invasion, that's independent of borders. They're just as much a crime if an American did it in America as for a foreign government to do it across borders against an American. It is not criminal to hire a PI. It would be criminal to hire a PI to break into your opponents house. It is not criminal to receive donations from a business. It is criminal to partner with a person to set up a sham business to serve as a cut-out for receiving illicit campaign contributions and laundering them through to the campaign.

Context matters.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 01-22-2020 at 01:36 AM.
  #133  
Old 01-22-2020, 01:36 AM
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American Oversight just received 192 pages of black bars and email headers from a FOIA lawsuit against OMB concerning the hold on Ukrainian security aid. I just skimmed the first 10 or so pages. Almost everything is blacked out.

https://www.americanoversight.org/om...ican-oversight
  #134  
Old 01-22-2020, 03:17 AM
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The only thing preventing me from endorsing the above procedure is my opinion that the Senate should show respect for the House of Representatives by entertaining their accusations without objection.
If we presume that everyone is good and honest, then it makes the most sense. But that's also the result that we would get. Everyone would just let everyone do everything, because they'd all know that they could all be trusted to do good.

If we presume that everyone is bad, then we expect the House to launch an investigation without merit, and we expect that their evidence and accusations deserve to be dismissed rather than heard. But, likewise, we would expect the Senate to set up a scheme whereby they can dismiss anything that they know should be made public but that they can't afford to allow, and subsequently to use those rules to block those things, since we are also presuming them to be bad.

In the ideal world, you set up a system that works to achieve good, even when nearly all of the participants are bad. Either it does nothing, because nothing is needed, or it works and you get the result you want despite the participants. In such a system, having the ability to block a bad actor from wasting your time would probably be fair.

Ideally, Collins, Romney, and others are forcing McConnell to accept rules that will continue to allow their tiny minority to be able to force good to happen.

So long as there's a vote and it only requires a simple minority, any seeming impasse is traversable. And if that voting rule exists and yet Collins/Romney vote against allowing some witness or some evidence, it's likely because they know that particular thing is not going to do much for the House case or is little more than a political jab.

---

Most votes aren't taken. McConnell keeps a mental count, through his discussions with everyone, and only brings things forward when he has gotten sign-on from everyone. Looking at the voting record of an individual Congressmen doesn't tell you whether they vote with or against their party. You have to pay closer attention to small remarks that they give in interviews that buck the party line, to know who is throwing a wrench into things.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 01-22-2020 at 03:18 AM.
  #135  
Old 01-22-2020, 08:20 AM
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Amirite, dog ?
Yo dog I herd u liek Tosirmsp so I put Tsitraototp in your Tahemsorhsqpp so you can talk about Turaotnip while you talk about Tsioseachmp.
  #136  
Old 01-22-2020, 09:42 AM
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Mitch thought witnesses were great back in '99, if that's what the House managers wanted: https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/...sot-es-vpx.cnn

Now remind me what party the President was a member of back then, and what party the House managers were...?

Alan Dershowitz has had a similar change of heart: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/20/polit...ntv/index.html
  #137  
Old 01-22-2020, 09:52 AM
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Ahh, Dershowitz "I wasn't wrong back then when I said the polar opposite of right now, I'm just more correct now"
  #138  
Old 01-22-2020, 10:01 AM
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Donald Trump may well have the personal opinion that Joe Biden and his son are crooks. But that's an opinion not a fact and, until such a point as that becomes fact, he must behave in the same way as Lady Justice and presume the innocence of Joe Biden.

Extorting a country that is under attack, and partially occupied, by a much larger country by withholding money that they need to defend themselves, because you have the unproven opinion that some dude is guilty of a crime, is not kosher in a variety of ways. Even if we ignore the question of whether any non-psychopath could view it as a moral trade-off between fighting the corruption of one man and preventing the murder of innocents by an invading force, you still run into issues like that any results you get from your investigation were generated under duress and can't be used as the basis of any honest inquiry.
I agree with what you have explicitly written here.
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2) Trump is not a law enforcement officer. [...]
I disagree with you here on principle. I think the President is a law enforcement officer, and I think the statutes of Congress are the standards by which the President must adhere, moreso than the UCMJ.
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3) [...] If your defense is that you genuinely believe that a person committed a crime[...]

4) Not only is the President not a law enforcement officer, nor are his friends, they're all people with clear conflicts of interest in the matter. [...]
My read of the defense is that Mr. Trump brought up Biden/Burisma for a legitimate foreign policy purpose, to reassure Ukraine that the U.S. would not strong-arm Ukraine into dropping an investigation while operating under an obvious conflict-of-interest.

You are writing as if Mr. Trump & associates, who are under an obvious conflict of interest, was strong-arming Ukraine into opening an investigation. That is a separate matter addressed around p.81, where the defense argues that Mr. Trump didn't strong-arm Ukraine into opening an investigation (that was all Sondland, according to the defense). The point of these later pages, 99-107, is to justify the mention of the DNC/Crowdstrike and Biden/Burisma on the call.
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Joe Biden can be factually guilty of anything and everything, but Donald Trump is the one person who may not - until a Federal court proclaims it so - mention, advance, nor even query the matter lest he unduly influence a matter that he would serve to gain or lose by.
I disagree with you on this, too. I certainly don't think it is an abuse of power for the President to reassure a foreign country that going forward we won't pressure them to drop anti-corruption investigations when we have a clear conflict of interest. Mr. Trump would benefit personally from an investigation into Burisma or Biden Jr. But, as I would personally use the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, you would have to convince me that this personal gain was the actual motive behind the mention. The defense brings up a legitimate foreign policy motive, and until you prove to me that this legitimate motive does not apply or contradicts the evidence, I cannot conclude that the mere mention of Biden/Burisma constitutes an abuse of power.

And hint, neither will Republican senators.
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5) The crime proposed against Joe Biden[...]
I do not see any such accusation in the defense brief. Only that there was a clear conflict of interest when V.P. Biden pressured Ukraine to drop their prosecutor general only days after said prosecutor obtained a court order to seize Burisma's founder's property, Mr. Biden's actual motivation and bipartisan support notwithstanding.
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6) As regards "the server", one should note that Trump was famously "totally exonerated" of working with Russia. And now here he is saying that he's fighting that case?
No, from what I can tell the defense argument is that John Durham's "investigation into the investigation" of Russian collusion prompted or justified the President's informal MLAT request. The defense also notes that asking about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election does not imply that Russia did not attempt to interfere with the 2016 election. It also argues that when President Trump said "there are a lot of things that went on" that expanded the scope from just the DNC/Crowdstrike to other forms of Ukrainian interference such as "Ukrainian officials who had sought to undermine then-candidate Trump during the campaign", eg: Ambassador Chaly with her op-ed for The Hill.

~Max
  #139  
Old 01-22-2020, 10:12 AM
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Nadler just called them liars right there on the floor.
Here's some snippets from the exchange, note that there were pauses and other words between. Nadler's speech included this:
"So far, I'm sad to say I see a lot of senators voting for a cover-up, voting to deny witnesses -- an absolutely indefensible vote, obviously a treacherous vote. A vote against an honest consideration of the evidence against the president. A vote against an honest trial. A vote against the United States.

A real trial, we know, has witnesses. You are here to do your duty, permit a fair trial. All the witnesses must be permitted. That's elementary in American justice. Either you want the truth and you must permit the witnesses, or you want a shameful cover-up. History will judge. So will the electorate.
"
The defense team eventually got to respond and took umbrage, with Jay Sekulow saying,
"That's the way it works, Mr. Nadler? Is that the way you view the United States Constitution? Because that's not the way it was written. That's not the way it's interpreted. And it's not the way the American people should have to live. I will tell you what is treacherous, come to the floor of the Senate and say "executive privilege and other nonsense."
Shortly thereafter the presiding officer chided both sides:
"I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body. Those addressing the Senate should remember where they are."
~Max
  #140  
Old 01-22-2020, 10:28 AM
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I disagree with you here on principle. I think the President is a law enforcement officer, and I think the statutes of Congress are the standards by which the President must adhere, moreso than the UCMJ.
What are you defining here as a "law enforcement officer?" I cannot think of any way in which the President is an LEO. He does not act as one in any practical way. He is not a sworn law enforcement officer in the statutorial sense of any jurisdiction in the United States. He is not en employee of the state in any classification of LEO I can think of; he's not a cop, sheriff, game warden, FBI agent, MP, air marshal, postal inspector, etc. etc.
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  #141  
Old 01-22-2020, 10:31 AM
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7) And as regards the idea that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election, I'll repeat what I've said before:
I guess I mostly agree with you, I think (?), except here:
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a) It is criminal for an American politician to work with a foreign government, in the aim of advancing his personal political campaign.
I don't think I fully agree with this. If some politician goes to say, Mexico, on official business and for photo ops to use for a re-election campaign, is that a criminal act? I don't think so. Even if the official visit would not have happened but for re-election material, I wouldn't say that's criminal so long as there is a legitimate basis for the visit.

~Max
  #142  
Old 01-22-2020, 10:38 AM
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What are you defining here as a "law enforcement officer?" I cannot think of any way in which the President is an LEO. He does not act as one in any practical way. He is not a sworn law enforcement officer in the statutorial sense of any jurisdiction in the United States. He is not en employee of the state in any classification of LEO I can think of; he's not a cop, sheriff, game warden, FBI agent, MP, air marshal, postal inspector, etc. etc.
He's the head of all federal law enforcement agencies, and were it not for the statutes which establish those agencies it would be the President himself who enforces the entirety of federal law.

ETA: I imagine he would nominate deputies for the Senate to confirm, despite the lack of a law establishing the office of deputy.

~Max

Last edited by Max S.; 01-22-2020 at 10:40 AM.
  #143  
Old 01-22-2020, 10:50 AM
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He's the head of all federal law enforcement agencies, and were it not for the statutes which establish those agencies it would be the President himself who enforces the entirety of federal law.

ETA: I imagine he would nominate deputies for the Senate to confirm, despite the lack of a law establishing the office of deputy.

~Max
This is a distinction that hinges on accepted practice and execution of duties. The Chief of Police is just that -- the chief, or highest ranking, law enforcement officer in a city. That the chief of policy ultimately answers to the Mayor doesn't change that. Likewise the CIO is the chief information officer, and just because they answer to the CEO does not actually make the CEO an IT person.

The independence of the justice department is admittedly a convention and not a law, but an important one. The president may set the direction of the US law enforcement agencies via their various heads, but he is not a law enforcement agent himself.
  #144  
Old 01-22-2020, 11:03 AM
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So I’ve been checking out the Twitter accounts of my Republican senators. It wasn’t what I expected.

The comments are 99.9% negative. I was going to say 100% but I just saw one brief tweet from a supporter on Burrs account ( none on Tillis’s yet) so I’ll give him that. I love it. Thom Tillis is dropping his drawers for Trump on national TV and NO ONE has given him so much as a quick thank you.

Maybe their supporters post on their campaign accounts ?
OK, there’s a handful of supportive messages there, but it’s still about 90% negative.

Boy, these guys are putting it all in the line for Trump, aren’t they? It’s like they can’t get ANY votes unless the Gangster Clown God asks his worshippers for a favor.

For the first time in a long time, I’m optimistic.
  #145  
Old 01-22-2020, 11:11 AM
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This is a distinction that hinges on accepted practice and execution of duties. The Chief of Police is just that -- the chief, or highest ranking, law enforcement officer in a city. That the chief of policy ultimately answers to the Mayor doesn't change that.
Well, it is the President's job to make sure the law is faithfully executed. That part is right there in his job description. Even the executive power itself, I'm not sure how you can separate enforcement of the law from execution of the law.

~Max
  #146  
Old 01-22-2020, 11:11 AM
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I agree with what you have explicitly written here.

I disagree with you here on principle. I think the President is a law enforcement officer, and I think the statutes of Congress are the standards by which the President must adhere, moreso than the UCMJ.

My read of the defense is that Mr. Trump brought up Biden/Burisma for a legitimate foreign policy purpose, to reassure Ukraine that the U.S. would not strong-arm Ukraine into dropping an investigation while operating under an obvious conflict-of-interest.

You are writing as if Mr. Trump & associates, who are under an obvious conflict of interest, was strong-arming Ukraine into opening an investigation. That is a separate matter addressed around p.81, where the defense argues that Mr. Trump didn't strong-arm Ukraine into opening an investigation (that was all Sondland, according to the defense). The point of these later pages, 99-107, is to justify the mention of the DNC/Crowdstrike and Biden/Burisma on the call.

I disagree with you on this, too. I certainly don't think it is an abuse of power for the President to reassure a foreign country that going forward we won't pressure them to drop anti-corruption investigations when we have a clear conflict of interest. Mr. Trump would benefit personally from an investigation into Burisma or Biden Jr. But, as I would personally use the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, you would have to convince me that this personal gain was the actual motive behind the mention. The defense brings up a legitimate foreign policy motive, and until you prove to me that this legitimate motive does not apply or contradicts the evidence, I cannot conclude that the mere mention of Biden/Burisma constitutes an abuse of power.

And hint, neither will Republican senators.

I do not see any such accusation in the defense brief. Only that there was a clear conflict of interest when V.P. Biden pressured Ukraine to drop their prosecutor general only days after said prosecutor obtained a court order to seize Burisma's founder's property, Mr. Biden's actual motivation and bipartisan support notwithstanding.

No, from what I can tell the defense argument is that John Durham's "investigation into the investigation" of Russian collusion prompted or justified the President's informal MLAT request. The defense also notes that asking about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election does not imply that Russia did not attempt to interfere with the 2016 election. It also argues that when President Trump said "there are a lot of things that went on" that expanded the scope from just the DNC/Crowdstrike to other forms of Ukrainian interference such as "Ukrainian officials who had sought to undermine then-candidate Trump during the campaign", eg: Ambassador Chaly with her op-ed for The Hill.

~Max
Max, I’ve researched this extensively and I’d like to see a cite for their being any precedent or procedure laid out for an “informal MLAT request”. MLAT is a treaty with signatories and it lays out terms and conditions. Its purpose is to protect American citizens from injustice in countries that no not conform to the rule of law.

I’m taking the position that the idea (excuse) of an “informal MLAT agreement” is up there with the idea of an “informal search warrant”. It does not exist except as the most misleading euphemism possible for “illegal law enforcement action”.
  #147  
Old 01-22-2020, 12:01 PM
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Max, I’ve researched this extensively and I’d like to see a cite for their being any precedent or procedure laid out for an “informal MLAT request”. MLAT is a treaty with signatories and it lays out terms and conditions. Its purpose is to protect American citizens from injustice in countries that no not conform to the rule of law.

I’m taking the position that the idea (excuse) of an “informal MLAT agreement” is up there with the idea of an “informal search warrant”. It does not exist except as the most misleading euphemism possible for “illegal law enforcement action”.
Good catch. Upon rereading the brief (p.101) I see they draw a distinction between formal MLAT requests and informal requests. They justify the informal request with the DOJ's criminal procedure rule 278 (part A, I think)https://www.justice.gov/archives/jm/...informal-means

~Max
  #148  
Old 01-22-2020, 12:15 PM
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My read of the defense is that Mr. Trump brought up Biden/Burisma for a legitimate foreign policy purpose, to reassure Ukraine that the U.S. would not strong-arm Ukraine into dropping an investigation while operating under an obvious conflict-of-interest.
Well, they chose a bizarre way of going about that. "I'm going to stop giving you military assistance in order to guarantee that you won't be strong-armed! And when you comply with my demands, the military assistance will resume!"

That theory of the crime -- that holding up aid is an anti-corruption measure -- isn't credible on its face when we look at the facts that are universally agreed upon.
  #149  
Old 01-22-2020, 12:25 PM
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Here's some snippets from the exchange, note that there were pauses and other words between. Nadler's speech included this:
"So far, I'm sad to say I see a lot of senators voting for a cover-up, voting to deny witnesses -- an absolutely indefensible vote, obviously a treacherous vote. A vote against an honest consideration of the evidence against the president. A vote against an honest trial. A vote against the United States.



A real trial, we know, has witnesses. You are here to do your duty, permit a fair trial. All the witnesses must be permitted. That's elementary in American justice. Either you want the truth and you must permit the witnesses, or you want a shameful cover-up. History will judge. So will the electorate.
"
The defense team eventually got to respond and took umbrage, with Jay Sekulow saying,
"That's the way it works, Mr. Nadler? Is that the way you view the United States Constitution? Because that's not the way it was written. That's not the way it's interpreted. And it's not the way the American people should have to live. I will tell you what is treacherous, come to the floor of the Senate and say "executive privilege and other nonsense."
Shortly thereafter the presiding officer chided both sides:
"I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body. Those addressing the Senate should remember where they are."


~Max
How is any of that relevant to what I posted? Nadler explicitly said that they were lying. Your quotes have nothing to do with that.
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  #150  
Old 01-22-2020, 12:31 PM
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This page has a clip of what I was referring to.
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/4...e-night-debate

But it is true that they're not supposed to do that and the chief justice did indirectly admonish him for it.
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