Tag Archives: Ukraine

Dershowitz needs to explain his change of mind on abuse of power

Alan Dershowitz has been recruited by Donald John Trump to join his defense team that will fight to stave off the current president’s potential conviction and removal from office.

The U.S. House of Representatives impeached Trump on two articles: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. To my mind, the House impeachment managers have made the case. He abused his power by asking Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election and obstructed justice by blocking all White House officials from answering congressional subpoenas.

The president’s team will seek to rebut them.

Dershowitz, though, is going to argue — as I understand it — that the impeachment articles somehow violate constitutional precepts, that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.

I hate to disagree with an esteemed law professor emeritus at Harvard University … but I think I will.

Moreover, Dershowitz said precisely the opposite in 1998 when the House was impeaching President Bill Clinton. Twenty-two years ago, Dershowitz said an abuse of power was impeachable, but now he says it isn’t? What’s changed between then and now?

We all know the answer. Nothing has changed!

It’s too bad senators are required to sit there silently in the Senate chamber. None of them is allowed to object to what they might hear.

Indeed, I would find it highly objectionable for esteemed professor Dershowitz to say out loud that a president cannot be impeached for abusing the power of his office when, truth be told, he most certainly can.

I am so-o-o-o-o looking forward to hearing how Donald Trump’s team seeks to defend him.

Planning to listen intently to POTUS’s defense

Now that the Democratic impeachment managers are getting set to wrap up their arguments to toss Donald John Trump out of office, I want to declare my sincere intention for the next phase of this historic event.

The current president’s defense team is going to take the U.S. Senate floor Saturday to begin its effort to persuade senators that they should acquit Trump of the allegations that have been leveled by the House of Representatives.

I want to listen to every bit of it live, in real time, to the extent that I can. My wife and I are otherwise busy the next couple of days, but my intention is to devote as much time as I can to hearing how Trump’s defense team plans to defend this guy.

The House impeached Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, stemming from that infamous July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukraine for political help, asking the Ukrainians to help him cheat his way to re-election later this year. He wanted them to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and withheld duly appropriated military aid to Ukraine.

The House managers have made a compelling case that Trump put his personal political interest over the interests of the nation and then blocked Congress’s efforts to get to the heart of the matter.

How are Trump’s team planning to defend him?

I am going to wait with bated breath for someone — anyone! — on Trump’s team to say the following: Donald John Trump never would do the things he has been accused of doing.

I am going to wait for them to defend the president’s character. I want to know if they dare say such a thing about a president who they likely know did what has been alleged in the articles of impeachment. If such a defense is not forthcoming, then what is the Trump team’s next available option?

Will they continue to attack the motives of those who want him removed from office? Will they insist that the Trump foes are so filled with hate of the man that they are willing to subject the country to the sickening drama that is unfolding? Will they keep insisting that Trump was looking to root out corruption, even though the managers have proven that the president exhibited zero interest in Ukraine’s government until after Joe Biden decided to run for president?

I do not shy away from my own bias. However, I am ready to hear Donald John Trump’s team make their case. I am even more ready to hear someone on that team stand up for the president’s character, proving to us that this man never would put his personal political benefit above the oath he took to defend the Constitution.

I’m all ears.

Yes no Bolton, no on Hunter Biden!

I am now willing to accept the strategy being played out in the U.S. Senate trial of Donald John Trump, the current president of the United States.

House of Representatives prosecution managers want to summon John Bolton, the former national security adviser, to testify before the Senate; they believe he would be a material “fact witness” who could tell senators what he heard on the day Trump made that fateful phone call to the president of Ukraine, when Trump sought a political favor from a foreign government.

The strategy enacted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is to decide whether to allow witnesses such as Bolton after opening arguments are concluded. Fine.

However, some GOP senators keep insisting that they also need to hear from Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president who is at the center of this impeachment matter. Why? Because they want to establish that Hunter Biden is somehow corrupt, that he took a lot of money for working for a Ukrainian energy company.

Hunter Biden is not a material witness. He is a target of GOP senators who want to conduct a sideshow, distracting us from the issue under discussion: It is whether Donald Trump violated his oath of office by seeking foreign government interference in the 2020 election by asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s role in Hunter Biden’s employment.

Let’s see. Oh, yes! The Ukrainian prosecutors have said categorically that Joe and Hunter Biden did nothing illegal. That isn’t dissuading the GOP “outfitters” who keep wanting to take the Senate on a fishing expedition … that won’t catch any fish.

I remain afflicted by acute impeachment fatigue. I want the trial to end sooner rather than later. The House managers are doing a fine job in presenting their case, in my view. We’ll get to hear from Trump’s legal team soon. I want to hear their side of the story. I want to hear whether they will attack the evidence as presented or whether they will continue to assail the process that brought us to this history-making point.

Then let’s hear from witnesses with actual knowledge of the issue at hand and let’s dispense with the sideshow.

What in the world is POTUS hiding?

I remain a baffled American taxpayer.

Donald John Trump, the current president of the United States, keeps insisting he did nothing wrong when he made that “perfect phone call” to the president of Ukraine.

There are eyewitnesses to that telephonic “perfection,” or so the president says. They need to testify before the U.S. Senate, which has commenced its impeachment trial to determine whether Trump keeps his job as president.

The House of Representatives has impeached Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The abuse charge stems from that phone call, the one in which Trump asked the Ukraine government for a favor. He wanted Ukraine to launch an investigation into Joe Biden, a potential foe of Trump. He asked Ukraine to, that’s right, interfere in our 2020 election. 

Except that Trump keeps saying the call was “perfect.” Well, perfection might lie in the eye of the beholder. White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was there. So was national security adviser John Bolton. These men need to tell us what they know, what they heard, what they told the president at the time.

If there is nothing to hide, then — if logic holds up — there wouldn’t be a reason on God’s treasured Earth for them to resist testifying before the U.S. Senate.

Am I right? I believe I am.

GAO and Parnas add to Trump saga? Not likely

Under normal circumstances that involve a “normal” president of the United States, one would think that the emergence of a key witness and a government report suggesting law-breaking would be a deal breaker, that they would ring the death knell on an embattled presidency.

This isn’t normal. None of it is normal.

Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born associate of Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, has come forth with information that says Trump was in the whole matter involving the issues that resulted in Trump’s impeachment. Oh, and now we hear from the General Accounting Office that Trump broke the law while withholding military aid from Ukraine while shaking down that government for a personal political favor.

The Senate trial officially commenced today amid pomp and circumstance.  Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts took his oath and sat in the Senate’s presiding officer chair and then administered the oath to the 100 senators who will conduct a trial of Donald Trump.

The GAO watchdog report says categorically that the Office of Management and Budget violated federal policy by withholding military aid that Congress had appropriated. OMB was acting on orders from Donald Trump. Therefore, Trump broke the law!

That, as has been said, is a “big fu****g deal.”

Oh, and Parnas? He has revealed that, yep, he and Trump know each other. He contradicts Trump’s assertion that he doesn’t know Parnas. And who is this guy? He is a friend of Giuliani and has been part of the inner circle involved in the effort to get Ukraine to announce plans to investigate Joe Biden’s involvement in his son Hunter’s work with an Ukrainian energy company.

Parnas also has contended that Trump’s concern about “corruption” only centered on Joe and Hunter Biden and that the president had no interest in corruption, per se, as an issue worth tackling.

My head is swirling. Will any of this matter to Republicans who comprise most of the senators who will decide whether Trump stays in office? Probably not.

Therein lies the extreme frustration that is likely to consume many of us watching this trial unfold from afar.

Managers set, let the trial commence

Here we go. The Donald Trump impeachment trial managers have been named. The House of Representatives has sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The managers at this moment are likely scurrying in an effort to come up with a prosecution strategy.

And the White House legal team no doubt is scurrying, too, to concoct a defense strategy to counter what I believe is a mountain of evidence to suggest that the president deserves to be removed from office.

But I am not among the 100 senators who’ll make that decision. Trump is likely to survive the trial, which is supposed to begin next Tuesday.

Man, it is going to be some kind of spectacle.

This is serious stuff, folks. It’s only the third time a president has been put on trial. Donald Trump now gets to join Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton among the roster of presidents who are forever identified as “impeached.” Presidents Johnson and Clinton both survived their trials. So will Trump, or so it appears at this moment.

If I could have had a hand in selecting the managers, my preference would have been to include the lone now-former Republican member of the House to vote to impeach Trump. Rep. Justin Amash, the libertarian-leaning conservative who represents the same Michigan congressional district that once sent Gerald R. Ford to Congress, should have been included on that team of managers.

But, he’s not among the managers.

You may count me as one American who is anxious for this trial to conclude. The Senate’s Republican majority is dug in. They won’t convict Trump unless something so compelling comes forward in the next few weeks that they cannot stand by their man.

The way I see it, though, Trump already has done enough to merit his removal. He solicited a foreign government for political help and he has blocked Congress from doing its oversight duties. Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Got it?

The trial will be done in fairly short order. Then we can get on with the task of removing this guy from the White House the old-fashioned way: at the ballot box in November.

Acquittal doesn’t necessarily mean exoneration

Given what most of us out here in Flyover Country expect will happen — that the U.S. Senate won’t kick Donald Trump out of office — I want to offer a word of warning to fellow news junkies as to what we’re likely to hear from the president of the United States.

He will shout, scream and holler that the Senate has “exonerated!” him. He will declare that the Senate’s failure to clear the very high — justifiably so — bar set by the nation’s founders means that his impeachment was based on nothing at all.

That’s not how many of us see it.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump on allegations that he abused the power of his office and that he obstructed Congress. They made the case in convincing fashion; their evidence is enough to warrant his removal from office … in my view.

Trump sought political help from a foreign government and withheld military aid to that government until it provided a “favor, though” to him and his re-election team. He has instructed his staff to ignore congressional subpoenas. Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress? Done deal, man. Again, that’s my view.

The Senate won’t find 67 votes to convict Trump. So, he’s likely to say the Senate has “exonerated” him. No. It won’t. His expected acquittal only will signify that an insufficient number of senators saw fit to convict Trump of what I believe are impeachable offenses.

We need to hear from witnesses in this Senate trial. Yes, even if they are provide evidence that clears Trump of wrongdoing. Trump is fighting that idea, which tells me he is hiding something. Someone deserving of “exoneration” doesn’t go to Trump’s lengths to keep witnesses from testifying. Am I right?

The trial begins next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has named the “managers” who will prosecute this matter on behalf of the House. Senators will sit quietly in the chamber and listen to what everyone has to say.

Then they will vote. Trump will escape with a narrowly defined acquittal. He’ll holler he was “exonerated!”

The irony? That false claim will be yet another Donald Trump lie.

Hey, let’s nix this dismissal talk

Don’t go there, Mr. President and Mr. U.S. Senate Majority Leader.

I want to be crystal clear on this. The U.S. House of Representatives made a boatload of history by impeaching Donald Trump. The House is about to hand two articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate; yes, it’s been a bit late, but the articles will be en route from the House to the Senate very soon.

So, what are Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell talking about? The president wants the Senate to dismiss the charges brought by the impeachment. Sen. McConnell is giving some serious thought to introducing that motion.

To which I say: no-o-o-o-o-o!

The articles of impeachment allege that Trump abused the power of his office by soliciting the president of Ukraine for a political favor, to in effect interfere in our 2020 presidential election by producing dirt on Joe Biden, a potential 2020 opponent of Trump. What’s more, the House has alleged that Trump obstructed Congress by instructing key White House aides to ignore congressional subpoenas, interfering with Congress’s constitutionally mandated authority to investigate the executive branch of government.

Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It’s clear to me that Trump has committed at least two impeachable offenses.

This case needs to be settled in a Senate trial. My hope is that senators call witnesses, to hear more from them about what they know. Former national security adviser John Bolton says he’s ready to testify if he is summoned. Good! Bring him in. Make him take an oath to tell the truth under threat of perjury if he lies. Then hear the man’s story.

Trump keeps saying he did nothing wrong. Then make the case, Mr. President. My own admitted bias and my own political prism tells me the president has messed in an impeachable sort of way. He needs to be tossed out of office.

That can’t happen if the Senate doesn’t commence a trial. I am not saying that the Senate will vote to convict Trump, only that senators need to finish the job begun by their colleagues in the House of Representatives.

The House has impeached the president; as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, Trump is “impeached for life.” It’s now up to the Senate to conduct a trial and make a determination on whether the president stays in office.

We all know what the U.S. Senate will decide. I want all 100 senators to put their statements on the record, where they, too, will remain forever.

Waiting for the next ‘trial of the century’ … to date

It now appears that Americans won’t have too much longer to wait for the next trial of the century.

Pass the popcorn and the Pepto.

Donald Trump is about to stand trial in the U.S. Senate on grounds that he abused the power of the presidency and obstructed Congress. The House of Representatives impeached him on those grounds. The vote was largely partisan. The vote at the end of the Senate trial figures to be equally partisan. Trump will not be tossed out of office.

Dang it, anyhow! That’s how the system works.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today she will send the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week. She has instructed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to prepare for the selection of House “managers” who will prosecute the case against Trump.

OK, it appears that Trump’s escape from conviction is a done deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is going to violate the oath he and his colleagues will take to be “impartial” in their deliberation, has declared his intention work hand in glove with the White House. He’s taking his cue from Trump’s legal team.

There might be witnesses called. I say “might,” because it’s not assured. It damn sure should be required.

Trump sought a political favor from a foreign government, Ukraine. He wanted that government to announce an investigation into Joe Biden, a potential 2020 presidential campaign foe. If it did as he asked, Trump said he would send military hardware to Ukraine to assist in its fight against Russia-backed rebels.

Abuse of power, anyone?

Trump also has instructed his key aides to refuse to answer congressional subpoenas to testify before House committees during their “impeachment inquiry.” He has usurped Congress’s constitutional authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch.

Obstruction of Congress? Anyone? Hmm?

I believe he has committed both acts. They are impeachable. They have earned him an early exit from the Oval Office. Except the nation’s founders set the bar quite high for that to occur: Two-thirds of the Republican-controlled Senate needs to agree with yours truly; the Senate will fall short of that high standard.

But … at least the trial will be over. Then our attention can turn to the election. It will be a barn-burner.

I am ready to rumble.

Listen to this rookie GOP U.S. senator; he’s making sense

Mitt Romney isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill freshman senator from a small state out west. He ran for president as the 2012 Republican nominee; he made a fortune in business; he rescued an Olympic Games effort in Utah; he is a player.

So, when the first-year senator says he wants to hear more from a former national security adviser in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, I believe — it is my hope, at least — that other Republican senators will peel off their blinders and endorse the Romney view of evidentiary transparency.

John Bolton says he is ready to testify if the Senate subpoenas him. The former national security adviser has first-hand knowledge of the “perfect” phone call that Trump said he had with Ukrainian President Volodyrmyr Zelenskiy, the one in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for a “favor, though” before he released military aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed rebels.

Trump doesn’t want his former national security guru to talk, even though he keeps saying the phone call is “perfect.” It makes many of us wonder: Why does a man with nothing to hide seek to prevent someone who could clear him from talking to the Senate?

Romney wants to hear more from Bolton. There might be another GOP moderate senator or three, or maybe more, who could join Romney in the quest for the truth. If they sign on, then the Senate will hear from at least this witness. Maybe more will be summoned.

Then we can have a “fair” trial in the Senate to determine whether Trump committed an abuse of power and obstructed Congress.