Patterico's Pontifications


Judiciary Committee Impeachment Hearing – Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:25 am

[guest post by Dana]

The House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing is currently underway. President Trump and his counsel have declined to attend the proceedings. His lawyers released a statement, in part:

“We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings. More importantly, an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process. Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”

Note: President Trump is currently in London for a NATO meeting.

The committee’s Democrats invited Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, and University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt to testify. The Republican members invited George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley to testify.

Briefly, from Turley’s opening statement:

“First, I am not a supporter of President Trump. I voted against him in 2016 and I have previously voted for Presidents Clinton and Obama,” Turley said in his written statement. “Second, I have been highly critical of President Trump, his policies and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns. Third, I have repeatedly criticized his raising of the investigation of the Hunter Biden matter with the Ukrainian president.”

Turley even said, contra Trump, that Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky “was anything but perfect.”


“I get it: You’re mad,” Turley said. “The president’s mad. My Republican friends are mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog seems mad. And Luna is a goldendoodle, and they don’t get mad.”

He added: “So we’re all mad. Where’s that taken us? Will [a] slipshod impeachment make us less mad, or will it only give an invitation for the madness to follow in every future administration?”


66 Responses to “Judiciary Committee Impeachment Hearing – Open Thread”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (6fefe0)

  2. Couldn’t the GOP find anyone to say he didn’t do anything wrong? There must be at least one Trump supporter in the universe of Trump supporters who would say that!

    kishnevi (496414)

  3. And Luna is a goldendoodle, and they don’t get mad.

    Brings to mind this well-known line:

    “It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl—Tricia, the 6-year-old—named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.”

    Now who here is old enough to remember that one?

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  4. I’ve been listening to the scholars’ testimony and it’s kabuki theater, a waste of time. I agree with Adler:

    Another tactical error by House Dems: Only calling liberal law professors to testify at HJC hearing on impeachment. It’s as if they want this to be partisan affair.
    There are quite a few prominent right-leaning academics who could have been called, including prominent Fed Soc types.
    Turley is testifying, but he’s the GOP witness. The point for HJC Dems should be to show support for their impeachment standard across the ideological spectrum, which would be easy to do.
    Including the likes of Charles Fried, @Judgenap, @kewhittington, @RosenzweigP and @GeneHealy would have made a stronger case.
    Pam Karlan is a brilliant scholar and advocate, but she’s about as progressive as they come, and Chairs ACS. Flanking her with folks well to her right would have been a smart move.

    I can’t why pin down why, but the sound of Norm Eisen’s voice is grating. It’s basically partisans “interviewing” partisans.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  5. “I voted against him” is an interesting construction to use, isn’t it? It comes back to the argument as to whether voting is a binary choice (as some here have repeatedly asserted) or whether voting for a candidate is an affirmation of that candidate, not the repudiation of another. As someone who did not vote for Donald Trump three years ago, for the life of me I can’t understand how one would then vote for Hillary Clinton unless that person wanted her to win the election, but then I reject the idea of voting being a binary choice. In fact, I find nothing wrong with leaving a choice on a ballot completely unmarked if you can’t rouse yourself to take a side. Prof. Turley is obviously an intelligent and learned man; it would be interesting to have this discussion with him.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  6. Couldn’t the GOP find anyone to say he didn’t do anything wrong? There must be at least one Trump supporter in the universe of Trump supporters who would say that!

    If they are only allowed one witness then I can see why strategically they would decide to get a professor on the left who doesn’t think impeachment is appropriate, but yeah, they could have gone your way too.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  7. Turley made an important point about obstruction.

    By not taking Trump to court to adjudicate whether or not executive privilege applies and immediately call that obstruction of Congress in an Article of Impeachment would set an enormous troubling precedent.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  8. I agree that obstruction of Congress would be the weakest article. There are stronger and better articles to be had, such as ten counts of obstruction of justice per the Mueller report.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  9. And Luna is a goldendoodle, and they don’t get mad.

    But Trumpapoodles do.

    nk (dbc370)

  10. Is anyone’s mind going to be changed at this point? Why should anyone participating in these bread and circuses be reelected?

    NJRob (4d595c)

  11. I think it’s amazing Nunes was sitting there screwing around with this process while neck deep in the corruption. Amazing but not surprising. The GOP is truly a national disgrace.

    Why should anyone participating in these bread and circuses be reelected?

    You mean the congress following their constitutional duty we elected them to do, by providing oversight when the president is a criminal? They should be reelected if the people support what they are doing. Some will and some won’t but it’s not up to Trump or his fans to say that causing trouble for Dear Leader is itself a basis to remove them from office. Thank God.

    Dustin (cafb36)

  12. 8. Paul Montagu (00daa1) — 12/4/2019 @ 10:48 am

    I agree that obstruction of Congress would be the weakest article. There are stronger and better articles to be had, such as ten counts of obstruction of justice per the Mueller report.

    I wouldn’t be against that in principle, at all times, but it should only be used tactically.

    In October, 1973, when President Nixon fired the special prosecutor (and to do that he had to fire the Attorney General, and the deputy Attorney general, Congress was in uproar and Articles of Impeachment were talked about if not introduced. He could have been impeached for that alone.

    But because of that, (what else?) Nixon arranged for another special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, to be appointed, and with that talk of impeaching him for firing Archibald Cox was dropped.

    Obstruction should only be used as a substitute for the underlying question, when because of the obstruction, the House cannot get the evidence it needs.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  13. I think the Democrats brought on their witnesses, and they agreed to Turley (I think they had to agree) because all four of them said (Turley had said in a Wall Street Journal Op-ed) that “high crimes and misdemeanors: didn’t mean a violation of the criminal code. This is something that seemed to worry them, because it had been argued in regards to impeachments in the past, starting I think with Nixon.

    That’s a complete misunderstanding of “high crimes and misdemeanors”

    Turley was the on;y one who raised the issue (barely) of whether Trump wanted a false accusation to be made against Biden. I think he said that was one of the things that remained to be proven, which would mean, I think, that it was essential to the charge of abuse of power that Trump believe the accusation against Biden was false.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  14. “I get it: You’re mad. The president’s mad. My Republican friends are mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog seems mad. And Luna is a goldendoodle, and they don’t get mad.”

    This is something that Turley probably thought was clever, but it strikes a very false note, and I don’t like it.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  15. What I;d like to see asked of these impeachment grounds writers is)’
    they should at least cover the questions:

    1) Whether it is enough to impeach him for Trump to have secretly put a hold on military aid to Ukraine, regardless of whether or not he attempted to hold it for ransom, and regardless of his motive.

    2) Whether or not it matters if he did or didn’t think the accusations against Joe Biden were baseless.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  16. I think 2 of the Democrats; witnesses differ on whether or not it is a virtual emergency, although nether says there’s any reason to build a full record..

    One (Noah Feldman) says impeach because he tried and that’s enough, and another says impeach because he might do it again and that’s dangerous.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  17. Opinion Theater.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  18. “ This is something that Turley probably thought was clever, but it strikes a very false note, and I don’t like it.”

    Depends how one reads it. Maybe he’s saying that the TDS/overturn-the-election/impeachment lunacy and the angry response has infected so many people that it just propagates anger to the point of pets picking up on it and buying in. You could do a lot worse IMO to describe the mood of a lot of people right now.

    Maybe after listing his non-Trump supporter bonafides he should have just said “You do realize that every manufactured scandal you bring up that goes nowhere is the same as a Trump Campaign commercial for 2020, right? You are just continuing the tactic that has made a huge portion of the country tune out anything said by Democrats and the msm……….really, well done!”

    harkin (337580)

  19. I think much of all of this academic discussions on the hearing today that could be boiled down to this one question:

    How do you clearly demonstrate an act to be an impeachable offense vs. an maladministration offense?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  20. #19 Where the latter obviously doesn’t rise to the level of impeaching/removing the president.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  21. 19 & 20. It boils down to politics. There’s a reason the constitution leaves it so vague.

    Gryph (08c844)

  22. My niece, the one who asked me a few years ago whether or not Obama was running for re-election and then whether Obama was a Democrat or a Republican, just asked me about these things she’s been seeing about impeachment and whether they were a joke or are they really trying to impeach Trump. She’s 40 and she’s a nurse, she’s not stupid, she just doesn’t pay any attention to politics whatsoever. And there’s a lot more people than you might think who really don’t think it’s worth their time paying any attention to this garbage. Just an observation. As my dad used to say: A hundred years from now, nobody’s going to give a $@#%.

    Jerryskids (702a61)

  23. Livestream.

    After the prepared statements and the questions from the Chairman and the ranking member, plus the counsel – when they got to the 5 minute periods – the major broadcast networks stopped covering the hearings. At first they ahd discussion but they never went back. National Public radio did.

    It continued in various ways – some cable some streaming.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  24. The later parts of the hearing got more interesting.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  25. This hearing is essentially more like a ‘televised thread of an opinion blog;’ – a kiss to Patterico, but a smack to Congress.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  26. whembly (fd57f6) — 12/4/2019 @ 12:52 pm

    How do you clearly demonstrate an act to be an impeachable offense vs. an maladministration offense?

    Motive mostly.

    I think what qualified as worthy of impeachment was discussed by the witnesses.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  27. Professor Carlin said impeachment should be used in situations that present a continuing risk.

    (in response to by a Democrat by a Democrat. She tried to argue that it is. Trump wanted China to investigate Biden!)

    The later Congress members play some video but this doesn’t happen at the start..

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  28. “Professor Carlin said impeachment should be used in situations that present a continuing risk.”

    This cool, logical unbiased legal scholar brought in for legal opinion only said at a legal symposium she had to cross to the other side of the street to avoid being any closer to a building with the word TRUMP on it.

    harkin (337580)

  29. My God. With all those chums in Hollywood at their disposal, you’d think the Dems would have tapped a few for some TeeVee savvy.

    Do not adjust your set: Nadler literally has the pallor of death. Only topped with the charisma of a flounder. The parmedics were certainly on alert today.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  30. It’s quite a sight to see the righteous, sensitive Trumpsters in high moral dudgeon over Prof. Karlan’s use of a teenager’s name to make a joke about the limits of presidential powers. Granted it was a lame joke — though it doesn’t target the youth himself so much as the pretentious parents who named their kid Barron.

    But where is all that delicate moral sensitivity when Trump says cruel things about other people, particularly about their appearance? Then we’re told that Trump’s “candor” is “refreshing!” “He’s not PC!” He’s a bold, fearless hero who’s not afraid to upset the “pearl clutchers.” Etc.

    Radegunda (7d930a)

  31. And Luna is a goldendoodle, and they don’t get mad.

    But if you tie-dye their ears, nk does.

    Dave (f09557)

  32. bull dyke lawyers hate kids

    mg (8cbc69)

  33. More Trump FakeNews has been exposed as FakeNews, thanks to Barr’s pointman, who was charged with investigating RUSSIA WITCH HUNT HOAX!

    Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office contacted U.S. Attorney John Durham, the prosecutor Barr personally tapped to lead a separate review of the 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, the people said. The inspector general also contacted several U.S. intelligence agencies.
    Among Horowitz’s questions: whether a Maltese professor who interacted with a Trump campaign adviser was actually a U.S. intelligence asset deployed to ensnare the campaign, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the inspector general’s findings have not been made public.
    But the intelligence agencies said the professor was not among their assets, the people said. And Durham informed Horowitz’s office that his investigation had not produced any evidence that might contradict the inspector general’s findings on that point.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  34. Radegunda (7d930a) — 12/4/2019 @ 4:03 pm

    And within an hour or two, Karlan apologized.

    People screw up. Grown-ups acknowledge their screw-ups. When will Donald Trump start doing the same?

    Dave (f09557)

  35. Karlan’s apology wasn’t even necessary. It was a play on words, not about Barron Trump personally.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  36. Do not adjust your set: Nadler literally has the pallor of death. Only topped with the charisma of a flounder. The parmedics were certainly on alert today.

    DCSCA (797bc0) — 12/4/2019 @ 4:03 pm

    He got on an elevator with me in 2004 and I thought he was dying based on his breathing. I bet he has incredibly advanced medical care. Thing is, it makes very little difference if they replace Conyers with Nadler or Nadler with Lofgren. It makes no difference.

    Dustin (cafb36)

  37. ”More Trump FakeNews has been exposed as FakeNews, thanks to Barr’s pointman, who was charged with investigating RUSSIA WITCH HUNT HOAX!“
    Paul Montagu (00daa1) — 12/4/2019 @ 4:08 pm

    Someone should tell Mifsud, who has been in hiding for some reason. Guess he’s just shy.

    You’d think an outfit with WaPo’s resources would find him, but they can’t even track down WITCH HUNT HOAX players like Halper and Azra Turk. What a scoop that would be, eh Paul? WaPo must be protecting Trump —can’t think of another reason, but I bet you could.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  38. Zelinsky really did find out about the hold on the aid (but not about a possible link to investigations and maybe not about who put it in or why) almost a month before the Politico article of August 28 (but Sondland and Volker and Taylor didn’t know he knew)

    Zelensky’s has said he didn’t learn until talking with Vice President Pence on Sept 1 (but in that conversation he started off already knowing and asked for it to be released and Pence said he would talk to Trump. The on;y way he “learned” it then is that Pence did not deny it.)

    In fact, word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times.

    The problem was not bureaucratic, the Ukrainians were told. To address it, they were advised, they should reach out to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the interviews and records.

    KYIV, Ukraine — As deputy foreign minister, it was Olena Zerkal’s job to read incoming diplomatic cables from embassies around the world. One from Washington caught her eye back in July, she recalled: It said the Trump administration had frozen military aid for Ukraine.

    “We had this information,” Ms. Zerkal said in an interview. “It was definitely mentioned there were some issues.”

    ….Ms. Zerkal’s account is the first public acknowledgment by a Ukrainian official that senior figures in Kyiv knew about the aid freeze during the Trump administration’s pressure campaign — and that the Zelensky administration sought to keep that fact from surfacing to avoid getting drawn into the American impeachment debate.

    She said her own government blocked a trip she had planned to Washington to meet members of Congress in October, worried she would discuss matters related to impeachment and drag its president into an inquiry he has been eager to avoid…

    Later, as the impeachment inquiry ramped up in the United States, Mr. Zelensky’s administration tried to squelch information that could embarrass or undercut Mr. Trump, Ms. Zerkal said.

    At a meeting in September, Ms. Zerkal said, a senior aide to Mr. Zelensky told her to “keep silent” and avoid news media inquires on any topic.

    The foreign minister appointed by Mr. Zelensky, Vadym Prystaiko, later blocked a planned visit to Washington by Ms. Zerkal in October, she said. His concern, she said, was that she would discuss information relevant to the impeachment proceedings — like when Ukraine learned military aid had been put on hold — with members of Congress.

    The Zelensky administration, Ms. Zerkal said, is most concerned about placating Mr. Trump, having decided that the impeachment inquiry will fail in the Senate and that Mr. Trump could be re-elected.

    Indications had already been stacking up that Ukrainian officials knew well before the hold became public in August, first in a blog posted by the Atlantic Council on Aug. 14 and then in an article published by Politico on Aug. 28.

    Ms. Zerkal’s account demonstrates just how hard, bordering on impossible, it is for Mr. Zelensky to avoid taking sides in the impeachment inquiry. If he is misleading people about his knowledge of the aid freeze, then he is damaging the Democrats’ case against Mr. Trump. If he admits knowing, he damages Mr. Trump’s case.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  39. @36. All kidding aside, he really did look bad on television- and by ‘bad’ I mean ill.

    Even those videos of him from the 80s and 90s, when he was a much heavier fella, at least showed some color in his face. The man really looked like Lugosi made him up– and we have a brand new HDTV, too.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  40. This is the August 14 Atlantic Council blog post, which indicates some people includin presumably some in the Ukrainian government knew there was a hold on the military aid, afull two weeks before the Politico article


    High on Kyiv’s to-do list while in Washington is getting the US to unlock the $115 million appropriated by Congress for Foreign Military Sales to Ukraine (FMF). The Office of Management and Budget is currently blocking those sales but has not advanced any public rationale to justify its actions. Zelenskyy and his ministers must persuade Trump to break the logjam as a matter of some urgency.

    The New York Times did not apparently find out about this untile this week or so.

    This goes uo to the level of Mulvaney, whose office informed many others n the executive branch on July 18 that there was ahold, and again, reports no reason.

    The August 28 POLITICO article, which alarmed Andrey Yermak, attribuyed the decision to Trump (which the Atlantic Council blog post did not) and said it was slow-walking it.

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
    The Trump administration is slow-walking $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine, annoying lawmakers and advocates who argue the funding is critical to keeping Russia at bay.

    President Donald Trump asked his national security team to review the funding program, known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, in order to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States, a senior administration official told POLITICO on Wednesday. It seemed to be attributing the reason to the possibility of a change in policy toward Russia.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  41. @36. Postscript. Agree. Doesn’t matter who they plug into this now.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  42. The words “It seemed to be attributing the reason to the possibility of a change in policy toward Russia.” are mine.

    They got worried because they got worried that the whole policy toward Ukraine could change.

    It was already known in Congress. Several members of Congress are quoted and the House Apprpriations Committee had a statement:

    “We are aware of an [Office of Management and Budget] hold on funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative,” House Appropriations Committee spokesperson Evan Hollander said in a statement. “We have serious concerns about a freeze on these important appropriated funds, and we are urgently inquiring with the administration about why they are holding up these resources.”

    So, it;s not that Ukraine learned of the freeze on August 28 but that they worried there could be shoft in U.S. Ukraine policy then.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  43. Re: Barron

    I always wondered at that name Barron. I guess somebody else had the same thought. He was named way before Donald Trump jumped into the race for president.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  44. @43. If memory serves, Barron’s is/was a big investors publication back in the day. Quite popular in the rah-rah Wall Street 80s/90s– always thought that’s where he tapped the name from.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  45. BREAKING- active shooter, Pearl Harbor.

    This is no drill. :-(

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  46. 33. Horowitz has no jurisdiction to interview the Intelligence community. What does the IC have to do with filing for a FISA warrant? A FISA warrant sought by the DoJ? And Mifsud? How does that enter into the FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page? This story runs counter to the role of Horowitz.

    iowan2 (9c8856)

  47. What a scoop that would be, eh Paul? WaPo must be protecting Trump —can’t think of another reason, but I bet you could.

    It continues to amaze me how so many adoring Trump loyalists converse like liberals. Back in the 1990s, Rush used to lampoon Democrats who made Big Assertions, saying that what’s more important to the Left is the seriousness of the allegation instead of the weight of the evidence, and here you are a quarter century later, Munroe, behaving exactly like those leftists whom Rush used to mock.
    What is also evident is that, as things get investigated, Trump’s idjit conspiracy theories have been taken down, one by one, and the IG report has made several of those nonsense narratives go poof.

    Horowitz has no jurisdiction to interview the Intelligence community.

    But Durham did, and it was Durham who delivered the nothingburger to Horowitz.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  48. It was a long day of testifying, but it seems hardly anyone heard about Nadler’s final witness and constitutional scholar.

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—In an effort to prove that impeachment is constitutionally sound and definitely not a politically motivated circus performance, Rep. Jerrold Nadler called on his final witness of the day: renowned legal scholar Hillga Clintonheimmer.
    Dr. Clintonheimmer teaches at Lund University in Sweden. The legal scholar was flown out by the Judiciary Committee to give her expert testimony this morning as impeachment hearings resumed.
    “This Donald Trump of yours, yah, he is very corrupt, yah, and you should impeach him, yah?” she began, drawing applause from the Democrats on the panel. “He is, how you Americans say, very bad man, ya?”

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  49. Meantime, Giuliani goes back to Ukraine to produce a “documentary” to defend Trump’s FakeNews narratives on Biden, meddling, Crowdstrike, etc. He should probably stay in Ukraine, or maybe stop over in France where there’s no extradition treaty. He and Polanski could clink glasses.
    One of the guys that Giuliani was working with, Artemenko, was involved in that letter that basically proposed a Ukrainian surrender to Putin. Why does Giuliani hate America, that he would work with people who worked against American interests?

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  50. These hoax hearings show exactly why lawyers are the worst people on the planet and why they should all be removed from society.

    mg (8cbc69)

  51. @51. The underlying objective is to convince Americans via the TeeVee, who care to view, that impeachment is the thing to do, a la Watergate. And w/that in mind, the production has been a disaster.

    Made a point to watch a few hours of it on the CSPAN overnight replay. Paint drying and grass growing are more telegenic. Worse, still, the thing was easily sliced and diced by the cable news punditry within hours. And honest to God, Nadler’s dithering haplessness is just not a made-for-TV act in 2019; Mr. Bean would do a better job. And Nadler genuinely looks very ill on television; grey pallor on a color HDTV doesn’t project a healthy, we’re-in-the-right-image.

    The team doing the Watergate hearings were much more television savvy and they were sailing through uncharted waters. The staffers today should know better.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  52. 47. iowan2 (9c8856) — 12/4/2019 @ 8:17 pm

    y. What does the IC have to do with filing for a FISA warrant? A FISA warrant sought by the DoJ? And Mifsud? How does that enter into the FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page?

    The FBI has jurisdiction for spying inly in the Unuted States *(and they call it counterintelligence, i.e. defense, and the CIA only outside the United States. So they have to co-ordinate. Information was generated outside the United States and the question was: Was Joseph Mifsud working fir the U.S. government when he approached George Papadoupolous etc.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  53. 51. Shakespeare had it right.

    Gryph (08c844)

  54. @47, that accusation that some have made (like Munroe) is that members of the ‘deep state’ used Mifsrod to create a unlawful pretext to spy on the Trump campaign and launch baseless investigations.

    If this is true these people should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    If the IG report clearly states that Mifsord was not a US intelligence asset and/or that the investigation was justified without his information that it refutes this accusation. But these would just be facts drawn from a lengthy investigation by a department of the executive branch, so i expect a lot of Trump supporters will find them less compelling than whatever dumb conspiracy they’re emotionally invested in.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  55. Some additional facts (and opinion) about the Judiciary Committee hearing:

    1. The hearing was held in the room of the House Ways and Means committee, temporarily redecorated a little (with signs for instance) for the occasion.

    2. The members have been asked to stay over the weekend.

    3. In previous impeachments lawyers were called in to comment on (and approve) Articles of Impeachment that had already been drafted. This time the lawyers were called before, because the Democratic leadership wanted to say they were following the recommendation of the lawyers.

    In both cases, of course, the fix was in (as to the whether what they wanted to do were proper grounds for impeachment.)

    4. The whole thing is indeed governed by the calendar and is on on a short timetable. It’s may seem a bit slow but it’s actually rushed. They didn’t decide, or announce, the names of the legal professor witnesses until Monday night. The Intelligence Committee Report wasn’t submitted till the day before. I think the only reason they did it then was they wanted to do it ahead of the legal witnesses.

    5. I think it was maybe Ranking Member Doug Collins who complained that the professors had not had a chance to read the report. But they did know what was public so it’s not a strong point. And Professor Pamela S. Carlan said she had read the transcripts of all the testimony. She didn’t really analyze it without preconceptions, though, because doing so without preconceptions would lead you to some conclusions that differed from almost everyone else.

    6. The Democratic members of the committee had some talking points they stuck to, and they were not even affected by Professor Carlin repeatedly disagreeing with them. That was the talking point that the framers warned against foreign interference in U.S. elections. Again and again, she told them, the worry then was different from the worry now. At that time the United States was a weak country. The fear, in other words, is that some foreign country would dominate the United States.. Now, she said, there was also some reason to worry about foreign interference, but it was different.

    She didn’t develop the point maybe because it wouldn’t have helped her case but she was too much of a teacher to let it go, and perhaps naive about testifying honestly, like as if the members were actually interested in hearing what she had to say. She even very seriously answered a Republican’s question as to why she had contributed more to Hillary Clinton than to Elizabeth Warren and some other candidates (I’m not sure what he was getting at) She said she had lowered her political contributions because she was contributing more to charity. From what she said later, she must have thought that what they were getting at in asking her about political contributions was: Wasn’t she also interfering in elections? She said the Russians were not citizens (not that word but that idea)

    The point would damage the case because it meant that foreign interference was not as serious as it was in 1789 (I think she kept on saying 1789 instead of 1787) The meaning is now they do it to affect U.S. foreign policy, not to affect how the U.S. itself is governed. Less serious, in other words than what George Washington was worried about.

    7. The next thing to come is a presentation of the Intelligence Committee Report.They are going to try to make this as clerical a task as possible. Th Republicans have complained that they are hearing no fact witnesses. They asked for one day of hearing (a right the minority has) I think they want December 11 or that’s day they wanted to postpone Wednesday’s hearing to. We’ll see if they get it before they vote on Articles of Impeachment anyway. (The Democrats on the Intelligence Committee, by the way, are continuing on with their investigation. This will probably go on right until they have to bring their case before the Senate)

    They complain that everything had been delegated to the Intelligence Committee. (I think the reason is partially Adam Schiff and partially because of the rules of secrecy the Intelligence Committee operates on. For instance, Adam Schiff subpoenaed telephone records of calls between several numbers, including Devin Nunes, who Schiff really wanted to get knocked off his perch, The others (that he disclosed in his report) were Rudolph Giuliani, Lev Parnass, Jay Sokolow and writer John Solomon. The Republican knew about it but they couldn’t complain about it because of the rules of secrecy. Then Schiff makes some of the results public and says more or less Aha! Nunes was talking Giuliani in the spring! (Nunes says he thinks the calls were about the Mueller Report not Ukraine)

    Anyway the Republicans wants Schiff to testify. This is really because they want to ask him about the whistleblower, whom they think he, or his staff, co-ordinated with (not that that would be illegal) and at least steered him to his lawyer. Who maybe even wrote or edited some of his complaint, and for that matter, came up with the idea of making a whistleblower complaint. (it seems clear now that the withholding of aid became known to many people familiar with the issue by August 14 so the whistleblower complaint is not the sole source of that information, much as Adam Schiff would like to say so and then link it to Trump’s denial of a qid for quo for investigations or the final release of the aid, By the way this was money for the future – not immediate military supplies – the only thing that created any deadline was the coming end of the U.S. fiscal year September 30)

    A more official reason for wanting Schiff to testify would be that, since he says he is like Kenneth Starr, when Kenneth Starr issued his report, Kenneth Starr testified. For that matter they could mention that Mueller testified, albeit a bit late. Schiff’s official reason for declining would be that – I don’t think there is a good one, members of Congress can be witnesses in front of another committee.

    Sammy Finkelman (ce04e1)

  56. Well written & articulated article! That was indeed a commendable piece of writing! Do you know those future predictions are available by just entering your date of birth? They are a great way to plan your activities in advance! It is a great help in taking effective decisions.

    Future Predictions (3f3c7a)

  57. The hearing has begun. It is all argument, in various forms, although maybe a few new to some people facts or alleged facts may be incorporated into the arguments.

    Jonathan Turley, the Republican caled witness last Wednesday, is a commentator on CBS, so you can see him again there during any breaks. I suspect CBS and the other networks will stop coverage after about 4 pm but it will continue on National Public Radio with a slight time delay, besides streaming etc..

    It started off with opening statements by the Chairman and Ranking Minority member. Chairman Jerrold Nadler began but started over again because of a protester in the audience, who was removed after which he reminded the audience that they were there only to observe.

    He said people agree on some things – that impeachment was a serious and solemn undertaking – and he hoped people also agreed on the facts. But some of the facts that he had were wrong. The whistleblower was NOT borne out on all of his allegations (although he was right about the key point that there had been an official, formal hold on funds appropriated for military aid to Ukraine and that the call record of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky had been put into a super secure storage system) The most glaring error of the whistleblower is that he said Trump did – but Trump did NOT – ask that Ukrainian Prosecutor General of Lutsenko (whom he thought to be Giuliani’s prime, if not only, source) be retained. If you are paying any attention, you can’t miss it.

    Nadler did not claim bribery. It’s just that Trump put himself above the public interest. And this of course is all dressed up as a threat to a free election in 2020. (because Trump s going to do again, an argument that has been made but was not said by Nadler at this point) He said he tried to coerce Ukraine in declaring they were opening an investigation into his political opponents.

    Ranking Member Doug Collins presentation was disjointed but first he got off a point of order which Nadler said was not the right time for. He wanted to have a date for a minority hearing which is required by the rules of the House. Nadler said that was not timely, and if he wanted to say that a hearing had to be held before the Committee voted on articles of impeachment the right time to raise that point of order was at a meeting where they set out to write = approve articles of impeachment. (when, of course, it would be impossible to agree to do that without disrupting their schedule.)

    Nader said the only reason the aid got released was that Trump got caught and that then he began a coverup.

    Collins’ main argument was that the Democrats had been bent on impeachment since the election of 2016; that they got the opportunity in the 2018 election, and that the only question they had was what to impeach Trump for, but not whether to impeach him. He said they were trying to make the facts fit. He said their only witness was Sondland, who admitted he presumed, and who got told by Trump that he wants nothing but that Zelensky should do the right thing. He said they were doing it because they thought that impeaching Trump would be the only way they could win the 2020 election, because the economy was so good. (collapsing and clarifying his argument)

    He also said that Nadler’s main argument – in 2018 – before the new Congress even took office – for becoming Chairman of the Judiciary Committee was that he would be better suited for impeachment He complained that the House Speaker had said they should write Articles of Impeachment the day after the hearing that they had had.

    Now what follows: Presentation by the majority and minority counsels of the Judiciary Committee; presentations by the Majority and Minority counsel of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Impeachment; extended questioning by the Chairman and Ranking Minority member of Judiciary, during which they can defer to the committee counsels, (the same person as who made the presentations> earlier?); and 5 minutes of questioning by each member of the committee. (House members generally have 5 minutes of questioning in any hearing)

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  58. House Minority counsel says that the Democrats did not even try to get witnesses. Didn’t try to negotiate or even try a contempt citation which sometimes work. Their approach they took was not done the way that successful Congressional investigations work. If for instance they ask for counsel to be present, take it.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  59. Doug Collins: (quotes from Joe Biden’s January 23, 2018 speech in front of the Council on Foreign Relations) Joe Biden is either a liar or he did it. He did it.

    He was referring to this:

    ….I was—not I, but it just happened to be that was the assignment I got. I got all the good ones. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team, our leaders to—convincing that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t.

    So they said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired….

    No, Dog Collins is wrong. Joe Biden is a liar.

    And the House Intelligence Committee did a sloppy investigation or carefully controlled one or the counsel would have known it. Adam Schiff probably does.

    First, if this took place at all, it wasn’t on his 12th or 13th trip to Kiev. He made 6 in all, according to George Kent. Second, the prosecutor was not suddenly fired. Third almost certain;y he was not supposed to announce loan guarantees on a visit to Kiev. The prosecutor left office in March. Joe Biden’s last previous visit was in September. A new prosecutor general was appointed in April. The loan guarantee wasn’t made until early June 2016, and what precipitated it was the package of a package of anti-corruption legislation by the Ukrainian Parliament or Rada. The lame duck U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine was present at the press conference at which this was announced but not Joe Biden or at least he wasn’t mentioned in any news stories as being there.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  60. CBS stopped its coverage at about 2:30 pm (in the 5 minute questioning) but NBC is continuing. They are now in a 15 minute (plus) recess.

    Quite a lot of combativeness between the lawyers today,

    The most interesting claim is something I hadn’t heard before but I am sure can’t be right. Giuliani, in a meeting with Volker at some point during the summer, agreeing that the charges he wants Ukraine to investigate are baseless or something like that.

    The Inspector General’s report about the FBI 2016 investigation has come out. It says the FBI did not do anything wrong. Durham and Barr sort of disagree at least saying that the investigation was based on a thin record.

    Zelensky met with Putin today in Paris. Zelensky has gotten worried about Putin putting more chips into the pot.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  61. It’s the July 19 meeting between Volker and Giuliani where Volker allegedly told Giuliani that all his Biden conspiracy theories were nonsense, and Rudy agreed with him. Now what’s that all about?

    “At the one in-person meeting I had with Mayor Giuliani on July 19, Mayor Giuliani raised, and I rejected, the conspiracy theory that Vice President Biden would have been influenced in his duties as Vice President by money paid to his son,” Volker said. “As I testified previously, I have known Vice President Biden for 24 years. He is an honorable man and I hold him in the highest regard.”

    So where is Giuliani agreeing with him?

    And we know that Giuliani continued, and continues, to believe that Joe Biden is corrupt:

    …It was 3:37 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, and a pink unicorn piñata had just been strung up around a tree in the backyard.

    Amid his 3-year-old daughter’s excitement, the reporter decided to let Giuliani’s call go to his voicemail…..

    It wasn’t until at least an hour after the call that the reporter realized it had led to a three-minute voicemail, the maximum his phone allows.

    In the message, Giuliani is heard talking to at least one other person. The conversation appears to pick up almost exactly where Giuliani’s phone call with the reporter left off the day before, with Giuliani insisting he was the target of attacks because he was making public accusations about a powerful Democratic politician.

    “I expected it would happen,” Giuliani says at the start of the recording. “The minute you touch on one of the protected people, they go crazy. They come after you.”

    “You got the truth on your side,” an unidentified man says.

    “It’s very powerful,” Giuliani replies.

    Giuliani spends the entire three minutes railing against the Bidens. He can be heard recycling many of the unfounded allegations he has been making on cable news and in interviews with print reporters.

    Among the claims: that Biden intervened to stop an investigation of a Ukrainian gas company because his son Hunter sat on the board, and that Hunter Biden traded on his father’s position as vice president to earn $1.5 billion from Chinese investors.

    “There’s plenty more to come out,” Giuliani says. “He did the same thing in China. And he tried to do it in Kazakhstan and in Russia.”

    “It’s a sad situation,” he adds. “You know how they get? Biden has been been trading in on his public office since he was a senator.”

    Shortly after, Giuliani turns to Hunter Biden. “When he became vice president, the kid decided to go around the world and say, ‘Hire me because I’m Joe Biden’s son.’ And most people wouldn’t hire him because he had a drug problem.” ..

    ….In the recording, Giuliani doesn’t mention anything about his own activities in Ukraine and elsewhere. But he does make unfounded claims about Hunter Biden’s overseas work.

    “His son altogether made somewhere between 5 and 8 million,” Giuliani says. “A 3 million transaction was laundered, which is illegal.”

    …One of Hunter Biden’s early business partners was Christopher Heinz, stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry. But Heinz objected to Hunter Biden’s decision to work for the Ukrainian gas company and ultimately cut ties with him. Heinz had nothing to do with the Chinese investment fund.

    But in the voicemail message, Giuliani is heard telling his friend that Kerry’s stepson was working for the same foreign entities that employed Hunter Biden.

    “His partner was John Kerry’s stepson,” Giuliani said. “Secretary of State and the vice president for the price of one.”

    The recording ends the same way it began. “They don’t want to investigate because he’s protected, so we gotta force them to do it,” Giuliani says, before apparently turning to the president’s now-infamous call with the Ukrainian president.

    “And the Ukraine, they’re investigating him and they blocked it twice. So what the president was [unintelligible word], ‘You can’t keep doing this. You have to investigate this.’ And they say it will affect the 2020 election.”

    “No it….” Giuliani adds, but the recording cuts off before he can finish the thought.

    This was a conversation Giuliani thought was private.

    No way could Giuliani think all the accusations against Joe and Hunter Biden are phony.

    This happened at about 1:30 Dan Goldman was telling Barry Berke that Guilaini had agreed with Volker that what he was saying about the Biden’s was wrong.

    Barry Burke was both a witness, except that he wasn’t a witness and a questioner today. Nadler ruled he was a witness so he could say bad things about the president but he also wasn’t a witness so he didn’t need to be sworn in. (The lawyers for the Intelligence committee were sworn in. The lawuers for the Judiciary Committee were officially just acting as staff,)

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  62. There were some interesting point, or arguments, brought up in the hearing today.

    On early Ukrainian knowledge of the pause: We have the questions by the Ukrainian embassy on July 25. A counterargument to that is that was the old Ambassador, whom Zelensky recalled by July 25, and he was acting rogue and didn’t tell Kiev.

    Late in the hearing someone (a witness) brought up the New York Times story that said Zelensky got something late in July, although he said it was not in their report.

    As for why the Ukrainians didn’t bring up the fact that the aid was “on ice” he said they didn’t want the Russians to know. An original idea, but while that could explain why they didn’t go to Congress, it doesn’t explain why they didn’t complain privately either to Volker or Taylor or Sondland. Who had no idea that they knew the aid was on hold.

    I think the real reason they didn’t complain is that they found out through a leak from somebody who was not supposed to tell them, maybe Alexander Vindman but it could have been alot of people.

    So they couldn’t bring it up without being suspected of spying. They had no official source of information about the hold.

    Everybody used the Aug 28 Politico story as to when it became public – nobody had the August 14 Atlantic Council blog post.

    The Office of Management and Budget is currently blocking those sales but has not advanced any public rationale to justify its actions. Zelenskyy and his ministers must persuade Trump to break the logjam as a matter of some urgency.

    The question is then why did Andriy Yermak get so excited about the Politico story? It was because of one the possible reasons the Politico story gave for the hold in the aid. It was the United States possibly re-evaluating whether it should help Ukraine.

    But the delays come amid questions over Trump’s approach to Russia, after a weekend in which the president repeatedly seemed to downplay Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine and pushed for Russia to be reinstated into the Group of Seven, an annual gathering of the world’s largest advanced economies. The review is also occurring amid a broader internal debate over whether to halt or cut billions of dollars in foreign aid.

    It was never connected to investigations until Sondland did that after the Politico article came out. By the time the Politico article came out, Congressional committees knew too. They just didn’t know why.

    Another fact: This was not the first time aid to Ukraine had been put on hold. It was on hold from late 2017 through early 2018 (this was testimony some tome ago) At that time Mulvaney gave the reason as that the United States (Trump) was didn’t know if it would anger Putin.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  63. There will be a press conference this morning, Tuesday, Decemeber 10, 2019 (Nobel Prize Day!) probably at 9 am broadcast live by the major networks, during which House Democrats, led by Chairmans Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff will announce their proposed Articles of Impeachment, or the essence of them.

    It’s bruoted about that there will be two: One on substance and one for obstruction. The obstruction count is probably to satisfy many Democrats, and may not pass on the House floor.

    Nancy Pelosi said on a WSJ TV program that she is not counting votes, and this could mean she knows that something may fail.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)


    There was also the oddity of Republican attorney Steve Castor arriving at the proceeding with all his material tucked into a reusable supermarket bag instead of a briefcase. As Time points, lots of people on the internet noticed. So, too, did the supermarket chain whose bag was in use: The Fresh Market. It’s now boasting of being “the official briefcase maker of Steve Castor” and offering free bags for people who mention #TFMBriefcase into Tuesday afternoon, reports the Hill. (Impeachment got serious again on Tuesday.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  65. I think this bag is too small, and if you put into its volume in something liquid. or books, it will probably break.

    I myself like Glatt Mart bags. I think Governor Cuomo may have outlawed them as of next spring.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

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