Patterico's Pontifications

11/12/2019

Bad Idea: Voting By Secret Ballot To Remove Trump From Office

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:39 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The idea is being floated by an individual who was an adviser to several Republican politicians (George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft and Rudy Giuliani) as a plausible path to remove Trump from office. It’s an unhealthy effort to allow Republicans to remove President Trump from office without transparency, and shield them from any criticism by voters unhappy with their decision. In other words, it allows for no accountability. Of all people, elected officials should always know that they will indeed be held accountable for every vote cast, and they should be willing to stand up for their vote, for better or worse and no matter what may come. The American people should demand no less from those they put into office. This is the seriousness of the job for which they signed up, and this is the seriousness of making a decision as monumental as impeaching the President of the United States. No shield, no cover, no secret vote. Let them own it in the public square:

A secret impeachment ballot might sound crazy, but it’s actually quite possible. In fact, it would take only three senators to allow for that possibility.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will immediately move to hold a trial to adjudicate the articles of impeachment if and when the Senate receives them from the House of Representatives. Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution does not set many parameters for the trial, except to say that “the Chief Justice shall preside,” and “no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.” That means the Senate has sole authority to draft its own rules for the impeachment trial, without judicial or executive branch oversight.

During the last impeachment of a president, Bill Clinton, the rules were hammered out by Democrats and Republicans in a collaborative process, as then Senate leaders Trent Lott and Tom Daschle recently pointed out in a Washington Post op-ed. The rules passed unanimously. That’s unlikely this time, given the polarization that now defines our politics. McConnell and his fellow Republicans are much more likely to dictate the rules with little input from Democrats.

But, according to current Senate procedure, McConnell will still need a simple majority—51 of the 53 Senate Republicans—to support any resolution outlining rules governing the trial. That means that if only three Republican senators were to break from the caucus, they could block any rule they didn’t like…Those three senators, in turn, could demand a secret ballot and condition their approval of the rest of the rules on getting one.

Some might say transparency in congressional deliberations and votes is inviolable, and it’s true that none of the previous Senate impeachments have been conducted via secret ballot. But the Senate’s role in an impeachment is analogous to a U.S. jury, where secret ballots are often used. When Electoral College gridlock has resulted in the House picking the president—the House elected Thomas Jefferson in 1800 and John Quincy Adams in 1824—that vote has been secret. And, of course, when citizens vote for president, they do so in private.

The numbers are what they are:

Trump and those around him seem confident that he won’t lose the 20 Republican senators needed to block a guilty verdict. But it’s not hard to imagine three senators supporting a secret ballot. Five sitting Republican senators have already announced their retirements; four of those are in their mid-70s or older and will never run for office again. They might well be willing to demand secrecy in order to give cover to their colleagues who would like to convict Trump but are afraid to do so because of politics in their home districts. There are also 10 Republican senators who aren’t up for reelection until 2024 and who might figure Trumpism will be irrelevant by then. Senators Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski have been the most vocal Republicans in expressing concerns about Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine. Other GOP senators have recently softened in their defense of him, as well—all before the House has held any public hearings.

I’m happy to see that I’m not alone in thinking this is a terrible idea:

It would represent senators trying to avoid accountability for their votes, during an exercise that is supposed to be a legislative effort to hold the president accountable for his actions. This country has never forcibly removed a president from office. For such a consequential and historically important vote, the idea of senators being able to not tell the public how they voted — or to publicly claim they voted one way when they secretly voted the other — is unthinkable.

We all know why some senators would want a secret ballot; plenty of Republican senators who privately can’t stand Trump and who would strongly prefer a President Pence would vote to remove Trump from office if they knew they wouldn’t face punishment in a subsequent GOP primary. In a 75-25 vote in favor of removal, all 53 Republican senators could insist they were among the “no” votes, with no official record to contradict them. (This might apply to relatively Trump-friendly red state Democratic senators like Joe Manchin, too.)

If Trump really is an unconstitutional menace who is abusing the power of the presidency for his personal interests, stopping him ought to be worth losing a Senate seat. And if this action isn’t worth losing a Senate seat over, then it’s hard to see how it is worth removing a president.

[…]

President Trump stands accused of concluding the ends justified the means — that he really wanted an investigation of the Bidens, and he was willing to withhold Congressionally appropriated military aid from another country in order to strong-arm the foreign government into announcing an investigation into one of his potential rivals. Trump knew the outcome he wanted, and he didn’t care how he got there. A secret ballot is just continuing the same philosophy — people want Trump out of office, and they don’t really care how they get there. And they’re even willing to sacrifice basic fundamental concepts of government — such as informing the public of which senators voted for impeachment — to get what they want. This would represent an attempt to remedy a cynical act done for personal political advantage in secret . . . with another cynical act done for personal political advantage in secret.

Anytime the words “secret vote” and “Congress” appear together, every American should immediately be suspicious, and every congressperson endorsing such secrecy – especially with regard to an impeachment – should be viewed with nothing less than suspicion.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

64 Responses to “Bad Idea: Voting By Secret Ballot To Remove Trump From Office”

  1. Good grief.

    Dana (cb74ca)

  2. Poetic justice would be for the idea to be adopted, and a slew of Democratic senators vote to acquit.

    Kishnevi (712fff)

  3. Amen, sister.

    JRM (c80289)

  4. It’s worth debating. Why must the GOP always play by Marquess of Queensberry rules while Deep State and the Liberal Left do whatever they want?

    nk (dbc370)

  5. Poetic justice would be for the idea to be adopted, and a slew of Democratic senators vote to acquit.

    Kishnevi (712fff) — 11/12/2019 @ 7:00 pm

    Hahahahahaha

    Dustin (d42b09)

  6. They should announce that they’d like nothing more than to hold an open vote, but sadly their tax returns are under audit and obviously an open vote is impossible until all 53 audits are completed.

    Dave (d1e5e7)

  7. “Courage.” – Dan Rather, CBS News, September, 1986

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  8. Where did this so-called “adviser to several Republican politicians (George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft and Rudy Giuliani)” study law anyway? She writes:

    But the Senate’s role in an impeachment is analogous to a U.S. jury, where secret ballots are often used.

    That’s news to me. Jury deliberations are always (not often) secret. Jury verdicts are never secret.

    For one thing, jury verdicts are unanimous. So we know all voted for either acquittal or conviction. (Okay, maybe the ballots of hung juries remain secret, but that’s not a verdict. It means nothing happened and there will be a new trial all over again.)

    For another thing, when there is a verdict, either way, the jurors all sign the verdict form and/or are polled in open court. The judge asks them, one by one: “Juror #x is this your verdict?”

    This alone should invalidate the “adviser’s” entire argument. Ignorant, dishonest, or both.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. . . . an individual who was an adviser to several Republican politicians (George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft and Rudy Giuliani). . .

    Well, so now we know why the aforementioned GOP politicians have struggled so much, considering they are being “advised” by the likes of Juleanna Glover.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  10. Anytime the words “secret vote” and “Congress” appear together, every American should immediately be suspicious, and every congressperson endorsing such secrecy – especially with regard to an impeachment – should be viewed with nothing less than suspicion.

    Preach, sister. The idea of secret votes on consequential matters is repugnant to the principles of representative democracy.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  11. The only reason to vote in ‘Secret’ would be to avoid responsibility for removing a President. Its the most unAmerican absurd thing I’ve ever heard of. In any case, people would demand to know who voted which way, and you can be sure all the R’s that voted AGAINST Impeachment and all the D’s who voted For Impeachment/removal would be quite happy to let everyone know who they voted. That would leave all the R’s who voted to impeach/removal by deduction.

    Trump is currently supported by almost 90% of the R party voters. The idea that a handful of senators could remove him in Secret and everyone would “forget it” by 2024 or 2022 is literally insane. It shows the contempt Mittens, McConnell, Schumer, etc. have for the people and the Constitution that anyone EVEN THINKS this is possible.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  12. Supposedly the Senate can do what they like, but you can be sure that Trump would demand to know who voted which way, and go to the SCOTUS if necessary. I’m not sure Senators can VOTE IN SECRET. Its seems the exact opposite of Representative Democracy. Oh, and the list of who voted which way, would leak about 5 seconds after the roll call.

    What’s funny is there’s nothing to stop Trump from running for President AGAIN, after removal from office. Which he would do. He’d also go on a rampage and try to destroy every R Senator that voted to remove him. As the author noted, many of these are people like Mittens or the RINO sisters who don’t care, or are old coots over 70. The rest however, would have flushed their careers.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  13. A much more likely possibility, is McConnell requiring a 60 vote margin to proceed with a trail. Which would fail, and we’d stop this nonsense in its tracks.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  14. Many years ago their was no secret ballot for voters. Your boss and the police or sheriff could see how you voted. By the way police were invented after the civil war so big cities could control “negroes” and disarm black civil war veterans. The sullivan law in new york was put in place to disarm negroes. The N.R.A. was partly founded to protect negroes right to own a gun.

    asset (c5fafa)

  15. Okay, let’s go to the Island of Knights and Knaves.

    On this Island, Knights always tell the truth, and Knaves always tell a lie. Problem is, they both look the same in their armor.

    So, we come ashore on this Island, and there are three individuals. Let’s call them A, B and C.

    Are you a Knight or a Knave? we ask.

    A says, “I’m a . . . ” Klank! (His visor falls down so we can’t hear what he says.)

    B says, “He said, he’s a Knight, and he is. I’m a Knight too.”

    C says, “He’s lying! They’re both Knaves, and I’m a Knight.”

    Now, who is a Knight and who is a Knave? It’s the one of the fundamental and most simple puzzles.

    The only way to solve it is to ask the right question. The right question is not “are you a Knicht or a Knave?” It’s what is the only answer to that question.

    A Knight would tell the truth and say, “I’m a Knight.”

    A Knave would tell a lie and say, . . . “I’m a Knight.”

    So it doesn’t matter what A said, because it could be either the truth or a lie. What matters is what B says. “He said, he’s a Knight.” Which is the truth, since there was nothing else A could say, which means B is a Knight. “And he is.” That must be the truth, since Knights cannot tell lies.

    Therefore, A and B are Knights, and C is a lying Knave. It’s elementary logic.

    Now look at the Republican party under Trump.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  16. GG, I award you an “A” for effort. It is a good, sound plan. However, as any Battle tested officer will tell you, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

    If only knaves would always lie and knights always tell the truth.

    felipe (023cc9)

  17. Kishnevi (712fff) — 11/12/2019 @ 7:00 pm

    LOL! That’s right.

    felipe (023cc9)

  18. Great post, Dana. Thank you.

    felipe (023cc9)

  19. Dana, I agree this is a terrible idea. I doubt it’s a serious proposal. seems more likely that the original author wanted to get something published / get their name in print so came up with something outrageous enough to get attention.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  20. What’s funny is there’s nothing to stop Trump from running for President AGAIN, after removal from office.

    Hilarious.

    Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law. — Article I, Section 3

    nk (dbc370)

  21. They could even make the disqualification retroactive and erase him from the list of Presidents.

    Still a better deal than Old England where they could have sentenced him to death. Our Constitution requires a trial in the courts for that.

    nk (dbc370)

  22. Absolutely right Dana. That proposal is beyond asinine…especially the part you’ve hightlighted:

    If Trump really is an unconstitutional menace who is abusing the power of the presidency for his personal interests, stopping him ought to be worth losing a Senate seat. And if this action isn’t worth losing a Senate seat over, then it’s hard to see how it is worth removing a president.

    So much this.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  23. #20 THere’s nothing to stop Trump from running as a spoiler. BTW, hastings was impeached as a judge and then elected to the House. Because there was no vote to disqualify him from future Federals service. So, Trump could run in any case, and could serve again, if the Senate simply removed him and did not hold a separate vote to disqualify him.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  24. #23 — I am pretty sure any vote to remove Trump would include a ban on future Federal service. If the House impeaches (and they will), they would be well advised to put that in the Impeachment resolution.

    Appalled (78615b)

  25. According to one legal source, one-fifth of the Senate could demand an open ballot:

    https://reason.com/2019/11/12/dont-forget-the-one-fifth-clause/

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  26. They have hearings today. Ambassador Taylor gave a very long opening statement.

    Sammy Finkelman (976d9e)

  27. “They have hearings today. Ambassador Taylor gave a very long opening statement.”

    He only had to be coached a few times to remember his lines.

    Yeah, if this is the best the Dems can bring, they might as well resign themselves to four more years of the Annoying Orange.

    Capsaicin Addict (041266)

  28. @ rcocean, #23:

    #20 THere’s nothing to stop Trump from running as a spoiler.

    Technically, you are correct, and nk’s response to you was beside the point. Even if Trump were ineligible to serve as president, he could still run again. Anybody can run. You don’t have to meet the qualifications to serve as president in order to run, merely to take office.

    Of course, I don’t know how you guys would feel about that. Because by your own reasoning, a vote for Trump would be a vote for the Democrat.

    Demosthenes (3acc59)

  29. Ambassador Taylor was quote good. I think I knew about 75% or more of what he had to say. There are a few more pieces of the pzzle in the testimony.

    I see also that almost – almost – everyone there understands the distinction between before August 28 and after August 28. Schiff wasn’t even trying to hide it but wove it in into his narrative..

    Sammy Finkelman (7b1b59)

  30. The hearing was a wash… both sides will have some goodies to use and overall I don’t think the public sentiment would change much, if at all.

    To those who thinks Trump committed an impeachable offense, a question for you.

    Juaquin Castro’s 5 minute questioning brought up an interesting point and I’m curious what others think, and I’m paraphrasing: If the House passes Articles of Impeachment, and the Senate declines to remove Trump from office, wouldn’t that give Trump permission to nakedly investigate his political opponents overseas? (I don’t subscribe to that idea, but the chatteri seems to be going that way)

    If you were of the belief that it’d be impossible to remove the President, and you want to ensure that the message get acrossed that what he did was unacceptable, then wouldn’t a Congressional Censure be the more effective path to deliver this sentiment?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  31. I agree it’s a bad idea. Senators should take responsibility for their votes. But I also think that any senator who thinks Trump should (or should not) be removed should vote his conscience regardless of the folks back home. If it costs him his seat later on, so be it. If he can’t convince his constituents the wisdom of his decision than he probably should find another line of work anyway.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  32. By the way, I think a number of Democrat Senators in red states would also like a secret ballot.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  33. #8: Actually the Senators are most definitely NOT jurors. This was established in a point of order in the Clinton trial.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  34. A much more likely possibility, is McConnell requiring a 60 vote margin to proceed with a trail.

    The Constitution requires a trial, and explicitly describes who presides. I think that the House’s managers can bring their case without obstruction, although the defense does not have to make a case.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  35. NR’s been on a roll lately:
    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/the-not-so-persuasive-sales-pitch-for-impeachment/


    Trump-skeptical conservative: Well, he’s given me a lot of reasons to not vote for him — abandoning the Kurds, tariffs and trade wars everywhere, the Twitter rants and the incendiary rhetoric, doesn’t give a hoot about the deficit and national debt. He constantly overpromises and under-delivers on stuff like securing the border. But he’s also passed tax cuts, ended the Obamacare mandate, and appointed judges I like. If I’m willing to vote for the Democrats, what kind of policy concessions are they willing to make?

    Democrat: Oh, absolutely none.

    Trump-skeptical conservative:
    Really? If you guys get control of the House, Senate, and presidency, what do you want to do?

    Democrat: Repeal the Trump tax cuts, end private insurance and make everyone get their health care through the government in Medicare for All, provide taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants, decriminalize crossing the border, abolish ICE, guarantee taxpayer funding of abortions, at least begin the discussion on reparations for slavery, ban “assault weapons’ and maybe institute a nationwide mandatory buyback for AR-15. Oh yeah, and maybe add more Supreme Court justices to the nine we already heave.

    Trump-skeptical conservative: So in your view, “doing the right thing” just happens to end up with your side getting everything you want, and I get nothing I want.

    Democrat: Why yes, but that’s just coincidental. Hey, where are you going?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  36. Something happened at the hearings. A new pirce of evidence. Whic could be false. we’ll see if other people, particualrly Sondland, back up tyhe story. I was hoping that this time, the Democrats would not resort to faking evidence, and just rely on arguments and misrepresenations, but we’ll see.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/470356-trump-denies-knowledge-of-call-mentioned-in-impeachment-hearing

    William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified Wednesday that he was told by a staffer [only in October] that Trump called Sondland on July 26 to inquire about investigations sought by his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani

    The phone call as described by Taylor came one day after Trump asked Ukraine’s president to pursue investigations into 2016 election interference and former Vice President Joe Biden.

    The staffer told Taylor that following the call, Sondland said Trump cared more about investigations into Biden than he did about matters in Ukraine, according to Taylor’s account.

    The thing is, Trump caring more about investigations than about Ukraine, is, of course, true and obvious from other things, but his prime interest wasn’t Biden but the Crowdstike server theory. But I doubt Trump would say it, and if he did, Sondland’s later actions .
    ought to reflect that. But until much later, Taylor was aware of 2016 not Biden

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  37. J Castro got some facts wrong.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  38. I think we see here why they wanted Taylor as their first (or star) witness. Someone lied to him and he believed the lie.

    Someone s supposed to have overheard Trump speaking on the other end of a cellphone!

    Not a speakerphone. Nor a landline that was off the hook. Not an extension. But a cellphone. He could hear what Trump was saying on someone else’s cellphone.

    I don’t believe that’s possible normally. I don’t know, anyone ever encounter a cellphone like that?

    Are we supposed to believe that the volume was turned on high? Or that the listener had super-hearing?

    Sammy Finkelman (7b1b59)

  39. Breaking-
    Congress can have access to eight years of Trump’s tax records, appeals court orders

    Congress can seek eight years of President Trump’s tax records, according to a federal appeals court order Wednesday that moves the separation-of-powers conflict one step closer to the Supreme Court.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit let stand an earlier ruling against the president that affirmed Congress’s investigative authority on a day when the House was holding its first public impeachment inquiry hearing.
    Trump’s lawyers have said they are prepared to ask the Supreme Court to intervene in this case and in several other legal battles between the president and Congress.

    The D.C. Circuit was responding Wednesday to Trump’s request to have a full panel of judges rehear a three-judge decision from October that rejected the president’s request to block lawmakers from subpoenaing his longtime accounting firm.

    …….

    Rip Murdock (98c6ca)

  40. #28 Trump’s removal by THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE SENATE, would mean Trump and his supporters would burn the Republican party to the ground. There would be Zero reason to support any Republican in 2020. Unless they voted to acquit Trump.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  41. Justice Department withdraws secrecy argument on McCabe files

    A change to the Justice Department’s legal stance in a suit related to former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is prompting fresh speculation about the mysterious state of the Justice Department’s effort to prosecute McCabe over alleged misstatements to investigators about his interactions with colleagues during the 2016 election.

    In a brief court filing Wednesday, Justice Department attorneys said they were no longer arguing that public release of records about McCabe would interfere with an ongoing enforcement action. That claim is typically used to withhold records about ongoing investigations or prosecutions.

    The move could signal that prosecutors have given up on their quest to charge McCabe, or it could simply be an effort to forestall attempts by a judge to get prosecutors to publicly reveal whether they are still trying to indict the former FBI official. ….

    Rip Murdock (98c6ca)

  42. 38.

    Sammy,

    I’ve been able to overhear conversations friends were having over cellphones while adjacent to me, and they weren’t on speakerphone, either.

    norcal (eec1aa)

  43. Trump got 14.6 million votes in the primary. They voted for him in the general, but at the same time more Republican voters than that refused to vote for him and with him gone they’ll come back for a half-way decent human being running under the GOP banner. Trump’s “supporters” are important only to Trump.

    nk (dbc370)

  44. Look, this dude shudda had his political nads tied to a weather balloon and released into the stratosphere the day after Helsinki.

    But did Republicans do anything about it? Did the Dems do anything? No, they just wrung their hands and made political hay while the Trump shined, grabbing judges and goodies while expressing faux outrage the best they could to a nation of passive suckers.

    The problem isn’t Trump. He is who he is– and just a symptom. Nor is it with the overall structure of government. The problem is with the character and characters in both of these entrenched major parties. They’re like pouring sand into your gas tank.

    There’s now four of these impeachment episodes in the American history books–three of them in my lifetime.

    That’s just nuts.

    The political weaponization of impeachment by these utterly useless political parties– both of which with fewer and fewer actual voters belong to; so frustrated at never fully getting their own way and refusing to compromise on anything, are doing more damage to the U.S. than anyone overseas could have dreamed. Putin isn’t just smiling– he’s beaming; Xi Jinping as well.

    Little wonder why ‘the kids’ are sniffing at socialism these days…

    Piss on the major parties– and the self-interested elites who control them. They are the bad guys today.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  45. @ rcocean, #40:

    That’s right. I forgot. Nothing is ever Trump’s fault. And the standards that work in his favor when applied can never be applied against him or his supporters. Carry on.

    Demosthenes (3acc59)

  46. Even in the unlikely event that this complies with the constitution, this is a terrible idea. With one or two exceptions, every Republican Senator would claim to have voted to acquit, and this means the secret result would have an *emormous* credibility problem.

    A secret vote to convict would be massively destabilizing and would do more harm to the republic than Trump is doing — and this is coming from someone who thinks Trump is doing unprecedented harm to the republic.

    aphrael (971fba)

  47. That’s right. I forgot. Nothing is ever Trump’s fault. And the standards that work in his favor when applied can never be applied against him or his supporters. Carry on.

    I have no idea what you’re talking about, so I’ll just reiterate my point. If the Republican Senate Removed Trump, the Trump supporters AND Trump would burn the Republcian party to the ground in 2020. This should be good news for the Never-Trumpers since they wanted the D’s to Win in 2020.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  48. ……Trump supporters AND Trump would burn the Republcian party to the ground in 2020

    They already have.

    Rip Murdock (98c6ca)

  49. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/democratic-lawmaker-hearsay-evidence-can-be-much-better-than-direct-in-some-cases

    This is what the left has come to: declaring that hearsay evidence is much better than direct evidence because it “helps” their case.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  50. This should be good news for the Never-Trumpers since they wanted the D’s to Win in 2020.

    Despite claiming you didn’t know what I was talking about, you just illustrated my point perfectly. Your double standard is now perfectly clear to at least some others here (if not to you). So thank you.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  51. the Trump supporters AND Trump would burn the Republcian party

    obviously Trump fans have no problem abandoning the GOP the second they don’t get their way. Only problem is they spend so much time demanding loyalty from the party. That’s the whole point of the ‘nevertrumper’ complaint. How dare anyone leave their political party… unless it’s you Trump fans because Dear Leader lost.

    Very amusing.

    Dustin (9bb042)

  52. @ aphrael, #46:

    Even in the unlikely event that this complies with the constitution, this is a terrible idea…A secret vote to convict would be massively destabilizing and would do more harm to the republic than Trump is doing…

    Absolutely correct, except I’m not at all sure it wouldn’t be constitutionally permissible. Which is irrelevant, because just because something is constitutional does not mean it is good, or wise, or prudent.

    And my comment at #50 was directed to rcocean at #47.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  53. ”How dare anyone leave their political party… unless it’s you Trump fans because Dear Leader lost.”
    Dustin (9bb042) — 11/13/2019 @ 7:15 pm

    So the example set by #NeverTrump is a terrible one to follow. Totally agree.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  54. the Trump supporters AND Trump would burn the Republcian party to the ground in 2020.

    In 1972, Nixon got 61% of the popular vote and carried 49 states with 520 electoral votes. Then he was impeached and forced to resign when the Senate Republicans told him to. Ford lost to Carter in 1976 because of his association with Nixon. Reagan was elected in 1980. Bush 41 in 1988.

    Some burn. Some ground. Trump is only important to Trump supporters and Trump supporters are only important to Trump, and neither are necessary to anything.

    nk (dbc370)

  55. Hose the corrupt criminal traitor stench off America’s sidewalk!

    nk (dbc370)

  56. @54. The Big Dick was not impeached.

    He simply resigned.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  57. Sammy @38

    Happens all the time. Just depends on the volume the cellphone is set to, and how close to the head the cellphone user is holding the phone.

    Kishnevi (ebf823)

  58. Remember, Trump fans will insist they are owed the support of good men and women that they’ve spent years insulting and sneering at. This appears to be particularly true of the fascist ones. Anything evil Trump does, they will somehow twist into being the fault of the people with the morals or backbone to say ‘no’.

    The last folks to trust chubby Trump were the Kurds.

    Dustin (9bb042)

  59. Demosthenes, at 52:

    > Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal …

    the constitution, as quoted above, says that 1/5 of the Senators present can demand that the votes be entered into the record. It’s hard to see how a secret ballot complies with that, unless 80%+1 of the Senate goes along.

    aphrael (971fba)

  60. Ambassador Taylor said he learned about this (supposed) July 26 call between Gordon Sondland ad Donald Trump on Friday (November 8) A person who worked for him, David Holmes told him about that. He said he was in an Internet cafe in Kiev when he overheard that call. He supposedly heard Donald Trump asking about “investigations” The Democrats on the committee got Taylor, I think, to interpret that as 2016 and Biden/Burisma (that is, what Trump had mentioned on the July 25 call)

    If you want to ask why they would have faked a bit of what is only half evidence, it’s because people have more confidence in what they deduce, and because something that’s not handed to you on silver platter is more plausible, and because it’s less subject to – the word that lawyers use here is “impeachment!.”

    Sondland supposedly told Trump that the Ukrainians were going to go ahead with them. In a way, that’s true, because Zelensky in the call had said:

    Since we have won the absolute majority in Parliament, the next Prosecutor General will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue…. [later]…

    I also want to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC. On the other hand, I also want to ensure [sic should be assure] you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation.

    So if this bit of conversation between Trump and Sondland is invented, it would seem to tally with what is known to be true, but in fact it doesn’t.

    Sondland did not declare victory as far as is known, and he continued communicating with others about getting Ukraine to do things. And if true, it argues against a quid pro quo, because nothing changed on the U.S. side.

    Note about what I quoted above from the call: The name Burisma is not in the transcript, but there are three gaps in it and Vindman says that Trump mentioned the name Burisma. Also, when Zelensky uses the phrase “on the other hand” he probably means to say something like “and on our hand” which means something like a quid pro quo, or an example of co-operation, and not a counterargument or a consideration that would argue the opposite, which is what “on the other hand” means.

    On the other hand, it is possible that Zelensky actually did not use the wrong idiom and did say “and on our hand” but the automated transcript got it wrong and was not corrected because actually “and on our hand” is probably an incorrect idiom and should be “and on our part” and so it was not in the software’s database which it probably uses to help it decide what was said…

    Sammy Finkelman (7b1b59)

  61. Taylor also reports that Holmes told him Friday that he (Holmes) asked Sondland something about what Trump thought about Ukraine and Sondland said (it was his evaluation – mistakenly reported as a supposed quote from Donald Trump but it is a supposed statement by Gordon Sondland) that Trump cares more about Biden than Ukraine. Or something like that. Which is actually obvious, so it would be a safe lie to tell.

    David Holmes will, as the Republicans liked to say, be auditioning as a witness on Friday in the Star Chamber, and if he passes will probably be called as a witness.

    Sammy Finkelman (7b1b59)

  62. @ aphrael, #60:

    Yes, I know. But that passage does not address the question at hand, which is whether a secret ballot on impeachment would be constitutional. If anything, it implies that it would be, provided only that the idea of avoiding accountability for their impeachment votes had enough support among the senators.

    But this question itself is really unimportant, isn’t it? We both agree on the important question. Whether it would be constitutional or not, a secret ballot to remove Trump would be a terrible idea. You cannot seriously ask members of the American public to accept the idea that they can know how their senator voted on the question of whether March should be designated as National Wombat Awareness Month, but not how he or she voted on the question of removing the President of the United States from office. That exemption from accountability would be the inevitable first slide down the slippery slope to tyranny, and Americans who love freedom would never stand for it — no matter their feelings on Donald Trump.

    I hope.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  63. #28 Trump’s removal by THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE SENATE, would mean Trump and his supporters would burn the Republican party to the ground. There would be Zero reason to support any Republican in 2020. Unless they voted to acquit Trump.

    rcocean (1a839e) — 11/13/2019 @ 4:26 pm

    I expect you (and most trump supporters) will be angry for a a little bit but quickly switch loyalty to the next GOP leader and defend them just as passionately.

    Time123 (457a1d)

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