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January 02, 2018

Comments

I think the answer on Bush and torture is that the people who would have impeached him were all complicit. It's pretty clear all of the congressional leadership was briefed regularly on the program, and the intelligence committees.

I think the answer on Bush and torture is that the people who would have impeached him were all complicit.

Well, this speaks again to political 'will' and not 'standards of evidence and/or due process'.

Andrew Johnson was impeached because he opposed the anti-slaver wrath of the northern radicals in Congress.

Watergate would NEVER have gone anywhere if the GOP had held significant majorities in Congress.

The Clinton impeachment was an act of pure political will to destroy a president because he was of the other political party.

The failure of the 2009 Congress to impeach Bush was a political calculation...i.e., the absence of political will, despite overwhelming evidence of legal (de jure) "high" crimes.

Where did this little discussion start? Pollo is OK with impeachment st meeting an 'evidentiary standard' (1/3/2:33 abv) and cleek replying that all that impeachment requires per the law is votes.

As a matter of technical law, cleek appears to be correct. As a matter of human decency, justice, and due process, well, OK, chops to pollo. As a matter of the actual historical record: meh, mixed.

Another demonstration that politics ain't bean-bag.


So I declare HSH the winner.

Pro Bono: The nuclear button worry would be grounds to get rid of him, but you should use the 25th amendment for that.

Thanks for the advice, but who is this "you" that you're speaking to?

The 25th is not long or arcane. It does not empower The American People to remove the POTUS. It speaks of "the Vice President and a majority of the principal officers of the executive departments, or of such other body as Congress may by law provide".

I suppose Congress could designate the ObWi Central Committee (ha! is joke) as that "other body" but if He, Trump tweeted back in all caps that He is the sanest and healthiest president in history and Obwi commenters should all be locked up, the 25th puts the ball right back in Congress's court.

Congress, Congress, Congress. Not the American Psychiatric Association, or the ABA, or the Supreme Court. Certainly not "you Americans". Congress. A strictly political institution for a strictly political job.

--TP

It's pretty clear all of the congressional leadership was briefed regularly on the program, and the intelligence committees.

FALSE

Did I see the term "mob rule" invoked above?

Had the 2016 election not been stolen from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton by a cast of characters outnumbered only by the dozen or so suspects in Murder On The Orient Express, and one doesn't need to be a Clinton partisan to know this, 2017 would have been a race between the mob rule of certain impeachment for any number of made up shit reasons in the Republican Congress and republican/tea party/alt right assassin's bullets murdering her, with dozens of shadowy republican conservative grassy knolls left uninvestigated under pressure from the paymasters who bankrolled both corrupt republicans in Congress and the assassins, not to mention the right wing deep state at CIA and the FBI.

No doubt the fake news commission seated to get to the bottom of her assassination would conclude she died of lingering complications from the flu she suffered from during the campaign, despite the pool of blood from her bullet wounds witnessed by half the Nation on TV.

The Rump Channel would lead the "reporting", and "interview" smirking republicans and be believed in pigshit America.

If the bullets came first, the republican filth in Congress, who outgun by a fair margin any of the right wing vermin described in Hofstadter's essays, would have followed up with impeachment just in case the b*tch c$nt would rise from the dead.

Ho hum, no tiresome mob rule to see there would be the response from the usual suspects here as they went back to studying both sides of their nails in feigned boredom.

Batshit, Betty.

Batshit.

dr ngo …

North Carolina is an example of what happens when a party is trying to maintain power beyond they actual popularity. Pubs in SC are not above engaging in voter suppression and gerrymandering (they do), but it is milder than what we see in NC because pubs in SC are actually secure in power. NC is trending purple and when that happens it brings out the worst.

On emoluments, the difficulty is (a) not much precedent to lean on, and (b) the fact that Trump has not been receiving unambiguous “gifts”. If foreign dignitaries are staying in Trump properties to curry favor with him, that looks bad, but it’s not a pure gift because those dignitaries are receiving something of value in exchange for what they pay the resort or hotel.

I agree that obstruction is the most obvious path and for me it would be legally sufficient. I hope that Mueller finds a strong money laundering case that leads directly to Trump because that would help avoid a major schism in the country. Impeachment based only on obstruction would be ugly. I think it would be legally sufficient but it would cause more damage to an already divided county as compared to impeachment based on financial ties to Russia

Russel …

“Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. Broke the law, but hard to see as an abuse of office.
Is just breaking the law sufficient?”

As I posted above, I don’t think Clinton abused the power of the presidency and should not have been removed from office for either the sex or lying under oath.

Bobby and dr ngo …

GWB’s torture policy is a tough call. FWIW, I absolutely lost my mind over the Cheney/Bush torture policy; domestic surveillance and baseless foundation for war in Iraq … essentially the entire toxic overreach associated with the 1% doctrine. Upthread I was accused of clutching at pearls. There are posts at another forum where I went into full blown histrionics over this stuff. Having said that, you create a really difficult standard if impeachment can be brought when the President is acting under the advice of counsel and intelligence services at a time of “war”. The original sin here was the AUMF giving Bush (and subsequent presidents) a blank check to pursue global war against a tactic (terrorism). As much as I think Cheney did a horrible disservice to the county, Congress was complicit and to allow Congress to then impeach a president or a vice president when the legislative body was guilty of dereliction of duty would be troubling.

That doesn't make it 'right' under the Constitution.

the fact that you put it in quotes says it all. there is no arbiter of 'right' in the process. 'right' is irrelevant. 'right' is the perceptions of scolds. it has nothing at all to do with the plain and simple fact that Congress could impeach a President over anything they could muster the votes for.

pretending 'right' gets a say is superstition and self-righteous preening. if the votes are there, for any reason, it's valid under the law.

"pretending 'right' gets a say is superstition and self-righteous preening. if the votes are there, for any reason, it's valid under the law."

I don't see how to square your statement with the SCOTUS quotes I supplied upthread.

Just keep an eye on North Carolina, where a minority of (Republican) voters consistently gets greater representation in both the US Congress and the NC Legislature, thanks to extreme gerrymandering.

[posting from snowy Pittsboro]

indeed.

gerrymandering is a blight. but at least it's not part of the Constitution, and is available to be abused by all, or to be corrected to courts now and then.

I think it would be a bad idea generally to impeach a president over his conduct of foreign affairs. It would not be to the advantage of the US if its foreign policy were to be regularly subject to hostile public investigation.

The proper thing would have been to indict Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld after they left office. But it's easy to understand why Obama chose not to go that way.

I don't see how to square your statement with the SCOTUS quotes I supplied upthread.

which?

SCOTUS is not given the power to review or overturn impeachment articles. it would probably like to have a bigger role in the process, but according to the Constitution, it doesn't.

in any case, it's all moot, since the GOP will never impeach one of their own (neither would the Dems).

i'm hoping for Natural Causes.

I don’t think Clinton abused the power of the presidency and should not have been removed from office for either the sex or lying under oath.

And yet, he was impeached. And could well have been removed from office.

Because the (R)'s in Congress wanted him out.

Which is, I guess, the point that many here are making.

"SCOTUS is not given the power to review or overturn impeachment articles. it would probably like to have a bigger role in the process, but according to the Constitution, it doesn't."

I'm not so sure SCOTUS sees it that way. Perhaps we'll have a Marbury v. Madison moment.

I don't see how to square your statement with the SCOTUS quotes I supplied upthread.

Are you referring to the quotes you included from White's and Souter's concurrences? The majority opinion concludes:

The history and contemporary understanding of the impeachment provisions support our reading of the constitutionallanguage. The parties do not offer evidence of a single word in the history of the Constitutional Convention or in contemporary commentary that even alludes to the possibility of judicial review in the context of the impeachment powers. See 290 U. S. App. D. C., at 424, 938 F. 2d, at 243; R. Berger, Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems 116 (1973). This silence is quite meaningful in light of the several explicit references to the availability of judicial review as a check on the Legislature's power with respect to bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and statutes.

It seems, reading the whole opinion and concurrences, that the Supreme Court might be ready to examine a failure by the Senate to have any standards of procedure whatsoever, but it's difficult to imagine how even that would play out (except, as others have noted, in violence). And, yes, it's moot for the moment, since no R will ever betray Dear Leader.

I agree that it's difficult to see how it would play out. I've been responding posts claiming that it's completely settled law that Congress can impeach on purely political motivations and the SCOTUS can't do anything about it.

I'm not claiming to know how it would play out. I have advocated for using "abuse of power of the office" as a standard, but lord knows that what I advocate and how a judge rules do not always produce a Venn diagram to my liking.

russell ...

Pubs have used whatever standard suits them. They wanted an "indictable crime" standard for Nixon and a political standard for Clinton.

I'm not inclined to have Republican opportunism be my guiding light on this topic.

I, for one, am very tired of North Carolina. For as long as I have been interested in politics - many decades - it has sat on the cusp of becoming a sensible place.

It never makes it. What is the line about Brazil - it's the country of the future, and always will be? So it is with NC. It's always going to move out of the Confederacy in the next election.

I'm not inclined to have Republican opportunism be my guiding light on this topic.

And that’s a political opinion, one of many that factors into political will.

I think we’re talking past each other to some degree, because on one hand we’re discussing what the technical legal standard is for impeachment/conviction (i.e. a required number of votes). On the other, we’re talking about when it is or isn’t a good idea. One’s opinion on whether or not it’s a good idea, given any number of circumstances that bear on that question, is what at least in part determines one’s political will. And the political will of the electorate bears on the political will of the elected.

Marty asserts that impeachment and conviction based on political will is mob rule. But it’s always based on political will, regardless of what transgression is the basis for the impeachment and conviction. That basis may party determine whether or not the political will exists, and it’s hard to imagine a situation where the political will exists but no transgression does. In any case, it’s kind of silly to refer to a majority vote in the house combined with a 2/3 supermajority vote in the senate as mob rule.

And we’re talking about removal from office, not imprisonment or execution.

Fairly conservative finance capitalist sees what is coming:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/jeff-sessions-marijuana-adviser-wants-doctors-to-drug-test-everyone?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

And we’re talking about removal from office, not imprisonment or execution.

and the consequence of removal is ... someone else becomes President, not the mob.

Fairly conservative finance capitalist sees what is coming

fine.

as long as Congress is included in the testing and the results are made public.

I'm not inclined to have Republican opportunism be my guiding light on this topic.

Nor I.

I have no idea if Trump will be impeached, or if he should be impeached. I have no idea what the consequences of his being impeached would be, other than that it would be a freaking mess.

I can't imagine what would incite the current Congress to bring articles of impeachment. I am acutely aware of the double standard applied by, and to, folks with (D)'s and (R)'s after their name. I think it sucks, but since I don't speak Italian or French well enough to move to Italy or France and Canada's too freaking cold, I just accept it, for now, as part and parcel of living in this country.

The founders were, painfully, scrupulous about safeguarding the privileges of political and regional minorities and (frankly) socio-political elites against the democratic rabble, and the (R)'s have learned to make good use of the institutions they (the founders) created to implement minority rule.

Hard to see how to change that without breaking everything other than through steady, disciplined effort.

Impeachment would make no difference in any of that. I'd be pleased if Trump was not POTUS, but there's about 1/3 of the country who would still be Trumpers, with or without dear leader. The (R)'s have been working this stuff long before Trump, they will continue to do so after he's gone. Whenever that is, and for whatever reason.

Mueller should, and hopefully will, be allowed to pursue his work to its end. The congressional investigations into the various issues around Trump will produce nothing, it's basically down to Mueller's team to see if there is anything that deserves action.

As far as I can tell, the only thing on the table that would clearly merit impeachment would be obstruction of justice, in the form of interfering with Comey's investigation of Flynn. Money laundering, soliciting political dirt from the Russians during the campaign, probably not enough. Actions of Manafort, Flynn, Trump Jr or Kushner, probably not enough.

So my expectation is that Trump will see out his four years. Unless he dies of KFC-induced heart failure. But I don't see that happening either, if that was going to do it, he'd have been gone years ago. The man has the personal habits of an germophobic OCD teenager.

I think we're saddled with the crappiest POTUS ever, the most ignorant, incompetent, and corrupt man to ever hold the office, until further notice, probably until at least 2020. Maybe longer.

We need to figure out how to deal with that.

careful with those defamatory comments, russell. Trump's feeling all cease and desisty today.

Fun linking on the IPad. That link should be:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/head-of-largest-hedge-fund-says-economic-downturn-could-leave-us-at-each-others-throats-2018-01-03?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

But, the Sessions link reminds me that today Sessions gave the green light to U.S. Attorneys to prosecute marijuana sale and usage, including in states where free women and men, not the slaveholder types who pant over states rights, have deemed marijuana a legal substance.

My sources in Colorado, where marijuana is a legal substance, tell me the many purveyors and users, among which I am not, are as of today referring to the U.S. Attorneys' Office in Denver as Fort Sumter on the Platte.

Sales of semi-automatic weaponry and accoutrements are sure to spike as the business owners beef up their staffs' abilities to resist and interdict federal encroachment of states rights by illegitimate federal confederate lunkheads who believe the Negro should be property but a relatively harmless weed product is not property.

I'm dying to hear what my female all in rump supporter friend, he'll make America great again, will have to say when she is prosecuted for imbibing the cannibus candies she enjoys.

She likes the concept of private prisons, so she'll feel right at home.


Trump can kiss my keister

We need to figure out how to deal with that.

Incessant coverage of "The President Show" (as opppsed to "The Policy Show") is NOT helping. Grafting celebrity/tabloid culture onto political culture enables Trump and all those who would distract us from concern for the general welfare.

Why oh why is the MSM leading w Trump vs Bannon?!?

For the same reason the wife of the founder of the WWF is heading up the Small Business Administration.

Because America is full of shit.

By the way, I signed the OBWI disclosure agreement wherein it was stipulated that rump will kiss Russell's keister.

U.S. Attorneys' Office in Denver as Fort Sumter on the Platte.

Don't overestimate the resistance. As far as know, it's a slam dunk case, and state officials can be drawn in quickly in terms of conspiracy to distribute a Class I narcotic, aiding and abetting, etc. Serious time, and I don't know a defense other than nullification. I think most officials will fold.

Congress may step up quickly, but I think they will have to go farther than the Rohrbacher amendment this time.

HSH …

“I think we’re talking past each other to some degree, because on one hand we’re discussing what the technical legal standard is for impeachment/conviction (i.e. a required number of votes). On the other, we’re talking about when it is or isn’t a good idea. One’s opinion on whether or not it’s a good idea, given any number of circumstances that bear on that question, is what at least in part determines one’s political will. And the political will of the electorate bears on the political will of the elected.”

We may or may not be talking past each other, but to be clear I am saying that I think the technical requirement is more than garnering enough votes. I am saying that even though it is very hard to get to ⅔ majority in the Senate, if there is no record made as to treason, bribery or HC&M, then it isn’t good enough.

I don’t know that for sure (no one knows for sure) but I think that’s the standard under the Constitution as suggested by the SCOTUS (so far) and I also think that’s the proper standard.

On the marijuana thing ... my firm represents some of the new grower/distributors of medical marijuana in Florida. We also represent banks. We thought we had a bank lined up to receive deposits from the medical marijuana firms but that just fell through.

Sessions is creating FUD and Florida still has a terrible Trumpian AG, so financial institutions are understandably nervous.

I think it will work out in the long run and in states with sane state and federal prosecutors, it shouldn't be much of a problem, but at this moment we are scrambling a bit down here.

Re the Sessions's marijuana thing...

Here in Colorado growers/dealers violating state law -- forest growers, illegal house conversions, people with hundreds of pounds of weed in the car trunk -- remain a routine thing. I'm sure the state authorities would appreciate the feds' assistance in finding those sorts of things.

Should it turn out we have a federal prosecutor who wants to shut down the legal industry, and young males being young males, I anticipate a low-level terrorism campaign. The prosecutor's car keyed and windows broken; their spouse's tires ice-picked; their kids' school lockers vandalized.

I hope that Mueller finds a strong money laundering case that leads directly to Trump because that would help avoid a major schism in the country.

I wouldn't be so sure that most Trump supporters would believe a solid money laundering case against Trump either. More likely, they would argue that "Everybody (among politicians) does it (illegal stuff with money)". So their boy is being unfairly singled out. Just like he would be by any other attempt to refute the theory that he is above the law.

I am saying that even though it is very hard to get to ⅔ majority in the Senate, if there is no record made as to treason, bribery or HC&M, then it isn’t good enough.

And I am saying that, if those votes actually exist, because the collective political will is sufficient, there will always be, at the very least, something satisfying the loosely (or un-) defined requirement of HC&M.

state officials can be drawn in quickly in terms of conspiracy to distribute a Class I narcotic, aiding and abetting, etc.

For repealing a law that makes something illegal under state, as well as Federal, law? Lots of stuff is a Federal crime, without being a state crime. (Not to mention the cases where the law was repealed by initiative, not by the legislature at all.) So I'm just not seeing if for that piece.

And does requiring licensing amount to "aiding and abetting"? When everybody knows that regulation and licensing is a government plot to make doing business HARDER? Difficult sell, there.

So where do the charges arise from? I'm just not getting it.

then it isn’t good enough.

for whom?

which body gets to tell Congress "No"? and where is that power described in the Constitution?

HSH ..

"And I am saying that, if those votes actually exist, because the collective political will is sufficient, there will always be, at the very least, something satisfying the loosely (or un-) defined requirement of HC&M."

You have more faith in the purity of motivations underlying political will than I do.

cleek ...

"which body gets to tell Congress "No"? and where is that power described in the Constitution?"

SCOTUS. I don't know for sure if that's how it would work out, but they've certainly suggested that they'd be interested in a case where the Senate ignored standards and process. That's why I said we'd potentially see Marbury v. Madison part deux.

Speaking of courts, I'm off to one ... y'all have a nice rest of your day.

So where do the charges arise from? I'm just not getting it.

They get grandmothers for allowing their cars to be used.

Maybe you think "And you knew 500 lbs were being transported across the state?" is not prosecutable, but there is a lot of precedent.

Class I production is maximum 7 years. That obviously takes place within states, and "requiring licensing" is nothing but permitting, aiding and abetting. What, if a state licenses murder, slavery, or the production of tommy guns, they protect themselves? By licensing an illegal activity? Licensing in itself strikes me as a violation of federal law, conspiracy.

Re: the Feds fighting cannabis legalization:

This is the perfect Trump administration issue:

-no benefit to the public

-stokes culture war

-makes great political theatre

wj: can you explain? Seems pretty obvious that growers, distributers, retailers, and consumers in legalized jurisdictions are breaking Federal law.

R-Co Brandon Rittiman (in defense of his state's legalization) tweets that it's a Commerce Clause issue ('cuz the cannabis market is intrastate commerce). Good luck w/ that...

If we see SCOTUS intervening in an impeachment, it definitely will be a Marbury v. Madison moment.

b9n10nt: Seems pretty obvious that growers, distributers, retailers, and consumers in legalized jurisdictions are breaking Federal law.

For them, definitely obvious. But the comment was in regards to politicians and state officials being hauled in for conspiracy and aiding and abetting. That was the part I wasn't understanding.

SCOTUS

where is that power described in the Constitution?"

Colorado uses much of the taxes raised from marijuana on investing in public education infrastructure, and I expect the other states where weed is legal arrange things in similarly fruitful and worthy ways.

Which is precisely why this minority tyrannical gummint is going after the industry. They can't let the blue states invest in an institution conservative filth seek to destroy.

This follows the same destructive logic that revoking the deductibility of state and local taxes does.

Betsy Devos and Steve Moore will explain it to you.

Brush up on your Cyrillic so you can read chapters 11 thru 16 in Atlas Shrugged, wherein Dagny Taggart de-catheterizes a homeless person who passed out on her railroad right-of-way with one slice from the flick knife she keeps in her stiletto heels.

Defund public institutions and the common good.

Lest we lose track of the occasional good news in the new year:
The so-called voter fraud commission has been (quietly!) disbanded. Sure, it was always bullsh*t. But it's still good that it's gone.

Hairshirt up thread:

"And we're talking about removal from office, not imprisonment or execution."

Once again, we cede the fun stuff to the Rumplican Party base without a torch being lit.

wj: Ahhh, got it.

You have more faith in the purity of motivations underlying political will than I do.

It’s not about purity. It’s about how politics work. A majority of the house and 2/3 of the senate aren’t going to vote to impeach and convict a president who isn’t extremely unpopular. And guess what - it’s never happened! We’ve had some pretty unpopular presidents, right?

So, considering the looseness of the HC&M standard, it’s very hard to imagine a president that unpopular who hasn’t something that could meet that very fuzzy standard. The standard that is very clear is the number of votes required, something that doesn’t come easily (and, so far, never has).

As it turns out, not so fast on the demise of the voter fraud gestapo:

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a14743241/trump-kobach-vote-integrity-commission-disbanded/


Here in Colorado growers/dealers violating state law -- forest growers, illegal house conversions, people with hundreds of pounds of weed in the car trunk -- remain a routine thing.

People have been growing, buying, selling, and using marijuana in quite large numbers for at least the last 50 years. Quite large numbers within certain communities for the 50 years before that. And in unknown numbers for millenia before that. "Unknown" in the last case because it wasn't illegal and nobody paid much attention to it.

Sessions is not likely to change any of that.

If they start locking up white people in large numbers they're going to have a serious mess on their hands.

I anticipate a low-level terrorism campaign.

Is keying a car going to be "terrorism" now?

In any case, more effective might be outing all of the prosecutors to like to spark one now and then.

Cleek, you write:

it has nothing at all to do with the plain and simple fact that Congress could impeach a President over anything they could muster the votes for.
pretending 'right' gets a say is superstition and self-righteous preening. if the votes are there, for any reason, it's valid under the law.
.

What you call superstition and self-righteous preening is what looks to me like the underpinnings of how the rule of law works. No country functions purely on the black letter law, and resorting to it as if might made right is exactly the kind of thing that kills liberal systems.

There are all sorts of things that you 'can' do, which aren't right to do. A totalitarian despot almost always changes the laws so that he isn't violating them. That doesn't make it 'right'.

If your institutions don't restrain themselves in various ways, you end up in a mess. That is one of the reasons why trying to export a number of institutions to other countries hasn't always worked out well. There are thousands of things that sort of have to work even though they aren't directly spelled out in the laws.

My biggest beef with Clinton, before Trump came on the scene, was that she seemed hellbent on pushing the laws on bribery and sketchy fundraising to the very black letter limit. I wasn't comfortable with that. Now Trump blows past all of that. I hope the republic can survive him. If we do survive him, I hope we reset the norms at a tighter threshold than Clinton was willing to play with (though I'm cynical so I doubt that will happen).

My point on Congress is that yes they are the final authority on what counts as impeachable. Yes, they aren't really reviewable. That means they have the might to rule on a purely political basis. Nevertheless that hasn't happened. The reason that hasn't happened is that they don't have the right to do that. Violating that would be at or past the end of our functioning republic.

Just because you CAN doesn't make it right.

My biggest beef with Clinton, before Trump came on the scene, was that she seemed hellbent on pushing the laws on bribery and sketchy fundraising to the very black letter limit.

Non capisco. Please explain.

Just because you CAN doesn't make it right.

of course!

i certainly haven't been advocating that we should start impeaching people over frivolous partisan nonsense. like you said, that would put us 'at or past the end of our functioning republic'.

for Trump, i expect Mueller will turn up something borderline impeachable, the GOP will decline to go there, and the Dems won't win sufficient majorities until the appetite for impeachment is gone or moot.

The reason that hasn't happened is that they don't have the right to do that.

i think they absolutely do have the [legal] right. the only thing stopping them is that it's a huge norm to knock over, bigger than the legislative filibuster even. but they'll get to the latter, eventually. hopefully not the former.

[of course i wouldn't have thought they would nominate and elect someone as scummy as Trump, either. nor that they'd try to follow that up with Roy Moore. so, who knows...]

i'm in the same boat as sapient. please explain.

The reason that hasn't happened is that they don't have the right to do that.

No it isn't, they impeached Bill Clinton. The reason it hasn't gone as far as a conviction is that a party which wins the presidency is bound to have at least a third of the seats in the Senate.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/01/the-president-of-the-united-states-threatens-lawsuit-to-stop-publication-of-a-book/#

If it was an automatic weapon he was trying to ban, conservatives would be emptying the gun shops and threatening armed insurrection.

But it's only the First Amendment, so no worries.

Maybe it will be a trigger warning.

Sir Thomas More on giving the Devil the benefit of the Law. A passionate echo of our current discussion.

Don't let it bother you that More got his head chopped off anyway.

--TP

The reason that hasn't happened is that they don't have the right to do that.

I'd consider that to be a far too idealistic statement. Imo it has little to do with having the legal right or not but with lack of opportunity and fear of political (not legal) fallout for the individual congressbeing.

And as stated above by others, ALL* presidents have committed acts that would suffice. It's just stuff the US do not prosecute their highest officials for like massacring civilians abroad.

*maybe except the guy that caught a lethal infection during his own inauguration and died not long after.

While we're playing around with what the law and the Constitution require in various situations, perhaps one of the legal minds here can analyze this for me.

Suppose (purely for the sake of discussion; I have no clue how likely it is!) the President orders a military (nuclear or otherwise) strike on North Korea. And the military says, "Sorry, sir, not until you've gotten Congress to sign off." (Maybe even "to declare war", but even just anything short of that.)

What is those guys legal position? Can they successfully argue "illegal order", because the Constitution says only Congress can declare war, and so be OK legally? Or are they in big trouble for disobeying a direct order?

My, definitely IANAL, guess is that "illegal order" would probably fly. (Always assuming they were willing to make it.) But an expert opinion would be interesting.

I wonder if the people so worried about impeachment for political reasons are just as worried about not impeaching for political reasons. (I’m curious like that.)

I’m not sure cleek is saying when anyone should or shouldn’t impeach a given official, nor am I. We’re just talking about how high the bar is legally. And for the nth time, getting a majority of the house and a 2/3 supermajority to agree is no small thing.

The constitution could just as easily have been written to say that congress can remove a sitting president from office simply by voting in favor that way - first a majority in the house and then a 2/3 supermajority in the senate, period.

Would that be a horribly undemocratic check for the legislature to have on the president? If so, why?

But it's only the First Amendment, so no worries.

For cripes sake, nobody tell him about the Alien and Sedition Acts.

What is those guys legal position? Can they successfully argue "illegal order", because the Constitution says only Congress can declare war, and so be OK legally? Or are they in big trouble for disobeying a direct order?

My understanding is that if the military lawyers (org?) sign off on it, they must obey to be legal, but they have the right to wait on that judgement (which might be appealed?). This came up re: Bush administration torture, when I think Marty Lederman said that a soldier may not decide on his own what is legal or isn't. After the fact, it could be argued and litigated in courts, but "only following orders" under the above conditions was an adequate defense.

All complicated in the field, real-time conditions, etc. The grunt refusing to shoot under orders from a lieutenant could be punished, but the court-martial would decide his fate. The grunt who shot would not necessarily be protected until a ruling came down, but likely protected.

My Lai Courts Martial

Only the officer was convicted, and he had his sentence reduced.

The post-WWII warcrime* trials had a different standard, but certainly the lawyers should be aware of how many lawyers were hung.

*I dislike calling them "Nuremburg," there were many other courts.

Obeying Unlawful Orders

"It's clear, under military law, that military members can be held accountable for crimes committed under the guise of "obeying orders," and there is no requirement to obey orders which are unlawful. However, here's the rub: A military member disobeys such orders at his/her own peril. Ultimately, it's not whether or not the military member thinks the order is illegal or unlawful, it's whether military superiors (and courts) think the order was illegal or unlawful."

To put it another way, I have been told by career military that if Trump says "Nuke Toronto" either Toronto gets nuked or Pence becomes President in five minutes with a general going to jail for murder. My impression is that most officers find the first option more palatable.

Not commenting on the memorial thread. It was an illegal war of aggression, and Olmsted had a choice.

As long as we are daydreaming, I would go with the 25th Amendment. Every time Trump puts out another tweet about North Korea he seems to this non expert eye to demonstrate his mental instability. But getting enough Republicans to place the risk of nuclear war above their own careers is probably expecting too much. But to me Trump is why you need a 25th Amendment. We would still be screwed on every other issue.but we wouldn’t have a dimwit with nukes picking twitter fights with another dimwit with nukes.

Thanks, Bob. I hadn't realized you were a lawyer.

cleek ...

"which body gets to tell Congress "No"? and where is that power described in the Constitution?"

I'd start with Art II, § 2, "The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution".

I've said repeatedly that I don't know for sure exactly how much process is required for impeachment, just that naked politics, i.e. "Trump is a bad guy", is not enough. SCOTUS has also implied that you need more.

Keep in mind that many of the cases dealing with judicial reluctance to interfere with impeachment come from cases where federal judges are being shown the door. Those cases may not be directly applicable to a presidential impeachment. First, SCOTUS has been loath to be seen as interfering with impeachment of members of its own branch out of a concern of eroding checks and balances; that same concern would not exist in a presidential impeachment. Second, unlike a judicial impeachment, the impeachment of a president is presided over by the Chief Justice, so the camel's nose is already under the tent.

We are obviously not going to convince each other. The practical reality is that the Senate with Chief Justice Robert presiding is not going to remove Trump without significant process. I happen to think that's a good thing. Others can differ.

We are obviously not going to convince each other. The practical reality is that the Senate with Chief Justice Robert presiding is not going to remove Trump without significant process. I happen to think that's a good thing. Others can differ.

I differ. Your concern about "rule of law" doesn't seem to extend to the President, who has blatantly obstructed justice, and just as blatantly violated the Emoluments clause (or, if we want to be less technical about it, engaged in self-dealing to the point of egregious malfeasance in office, which would have gotten anyone in business fired). I admit to being extremely confused as to why you feel espoused to such a narrow interpretation of the impeachment power under the circumstances we have in front of us.

But, sure, the R's will not go forward with it, so all of this discussion is merely entertaining.

Hard cases make bad law.

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ‘round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

My own guess is that a Mueller-negotiated 25th amendment solution is rapidly approaching, which will involve a whole passel of folk skating or getting pardoned.

Times have changed since Watergate, and there are no longer people willing to take a fall, or people willing to prosecute. Democrats will be satisfied with a symbolic victory, and Trumpkins will take their profits and move on.

Obama set a precedent. Should have at least gone after Woo.

Times have changed since Watergate

Yes, Times. They're called Republicans in Congress.

Bob ...

Dems are more interested in political gains reaped from an unpopular Trump. Unless they can make a three rail bank shot and take out Pence with Pelosi as Speaker of the House (assuming the Presidential Succession Act is constitutional), then I think they are OK with the country suffering under Trump.

I agree that Obama should have investigated W and Cheney, but unless there was a knowing misleading of the country or Congress, I still think that it would (and should) be hard to convict them of anything during a time of war. The original sin lies with Congress abdicating its war making authority.

Pdm,

I repeat: More got his head chopped off in the end.

--TP

Fortunately we have the 5th Amendment in the US.

The original sin lies with Congress abdicating its war making authority.

The actual original sin was with people voting for Nader. Just saying,

I lived in Florida at the time and did the Nader Trader thing with a Dem in Kansas.

I lived in Florida at the time and did the Nader Trader thing with a Dem in Kansas.

Why am I not surprised.

Gore got my vote in a swing state and a third party got a little love towards qualifying for federal funds ... what's the harm? It's not like Gore was going to win Kansas anyway.

Gore got my vote in a swing state and a third party got a little love towards qualifying for federal funds ... what's the harm? It's not like Gore was going to win Kansas anyway.

All of that vote trading stuff: ask the former commenter nombrilisme vide what the effect of that was. So we have two strikes: Gore v Bush = didn't work out well; Clinton v Trump = didn't work out well.

What works out well? Supporting with all your heart the Democratic candidate/lesser of two evils. Do it. Campaign for them. Convince yourself that you love them. C'mon, it's really not that hard.

C'mon, it's really not that hard.

And, by the way, it begins with pushing back on the bs that Sebastian H was trying to push upthread (an issue that he was challenged on, but, of course, didn't answer).

" Convince yourself that you love them."


This is just religion. Same attitude on the right would get your absolute disdain. Some of us on the right did not convince ourselves to vote for the "lesser of two evils". By your thinking he might have won the popular vote. I am happy having not voted for either one of them. He has proven me right and she had long ago.

When I was just a baby chick, I had a bumper sticker that said:

Vote for Cthulhu! Why Settle for a Lesser Evil?

I save my "heart" for local candidates.

Dems get my vote in a swing state. My wife occasionally sends them money. They're pushing their luck if they ask for more.

Some of us on the right did not convince ourselves to vote for the "lesser of two evils.

"Some of us on the right" murdered a woman in my town in August. I have nothing to say to you, and no harbor for your "thoughts".

Dems get my vote in a swing state. My wife occasionally sends them money. They're pushing their luck if they ask for more.

Ypu are pushing your luck if you do less. I should say "our luck".

By the way, like wonkie, I need glasses now (whereas before, I didn't). 'splaining the typos.

I suspect it hinges more on political issues than the law. If it turns out NK was planning, or even carried out, an attack on us, or Japan, or SK, they would be in deep trouble. If not they would be regarded as heroes by some portion of the population and insubordinate jerks by others, but thoughts of trials and the like would disappear.

On an entirely different point, I keep reading tat the issue with Trump and the Russians is likely to be money-laundering. Can someone explain this, because I don't get it.

Normally, I think of money laundering as a way to disguise the profits of criminal activity. Why would the Russians need Trump to help them do this? Or is he the one who needs things cleaned?In that case money-laundering would be the least of the issues.

As I understand it, it's Russian money being laundered by Trump. Specifically so that Russian criminals can get access to funds to use in the West. (Even, or perhaps especially, they don't want to invest in Russia these days.) So the Russians lend Trump money to stay afloat, which nobody honest will any more. He pays them back (less a fee) into accounts already in the West. Everybody (at least those involved) happy.

Byomtov, my understanding is that there is a lot of Russian money which potentially is locked up under various sanction programs. So it needs to get laundered so it can be spent in the West.

Re Clinton, and why I would be happy to dial the corruption adjacent level down below what she did:

The multi-million dollar (for personal money, not fundraising)speaking thing isn't good. I figure we have to live with it in former politicians as a cash-out, but for someone who knows full well that she was running for President it fits my definition of corrupt practices (note I say corrupt, not ILLEGAL).

The Clinton Foundation wasn't remotely appropriate for a current presidential candidate either. First of all, claims to the contrary it was definitely not just a charity. It was a place for future Clinton appointees to hang out and get paid huge amounts of money while waiting for her administration. See especially Sid Blumenthal at $10,000 per month for years (while he was still working for other people). So he had a PART TIME job at the Clinton Foundation for $10,000 per month. That's corrupt. (Not illegal because they write the laws about what counts as illegal. Corrupt). And again, if you are talking about the fact that people can cash out when they are done, that's annoying but harder to deal with. But Clinton knew she was running for President (hell we all knew she was running for president).

But the most clear is yet to come. There were massive foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation 'charity'. Those donations (used to support Sid Blumenthal's $10,000 per month part time job) look atrocious. The proof comes in about 18 months when we get to see the 2017 and 2018 disclosures. If this was a non-corrupt charity that foreigners were donating to because of its good works, we should see foreign donations continue to the Clinton Foundation. There are a bunch of reports that the giving is down, but we don't have the numbers yet.

I would give 2:1 odds on a $100 bet that donations are down at least 30% off 2015. I wouldn't be at all shocked if it was down by half or two thirds.

That doesn't make sense for a functioning charity. But it makes perfect sense for a corrupt grey-funded political machine after the politician in the middle of it fails.

What drop in funding level would you agree would suggest that there were some heavy corrupt elements? Cleek? Russell? Sapient?

Pdm: Fortunately we have the 5th Amendment in the US.

Let us enjoy it while it lasts.

A "president" who says "I can do anything I want with the Justice Department" is perfectly capable of trying to drown your 5thA rights in a bathtub, but not impeachable on that account. He has to actually violate them -- and his partisans have to agree that he did. Got it.

--TP

How money laundering works in real estate

$10,000/month! Why that's just about what an average corporate director makes for doing just about nothing except regularly vote a big pay raise to the CEO. Surprisingly, I have yet to meet a conservative decry this corruption.

I wonder why.

This has been yet another example of Clinton Rules.

"Why that's just about what an average corporate director makes for doing just about nothing except regularly vote a big pay raise to the CEO."

Hmmmm, I thought we were defending as a charity?

That doesn't make sense for a functioning charity. But it makes perfect sense for a corrupt grey-funded political machine after the politician in the middle of it fails.

Of course, it could be BOTH a legitimate charity AND have foreigners (or citizens, for that matter) donating to it on the assumption that they would gain some corrupt benefit. No matter how utterly pure it's actual actions were. If you live in a totally corrupt country, it's hard not to assume that everybody else is the same.

Not saying that was what was happening. Just that a mere drop in donations doesn't prove much regarding whether corruption was happening.

Clinton Foundation tax exempt status: 501(c)(3)
Heritage Foundation tax exempt status: 501(c)(3)

Apples and apples?
--TP

The Clinton Foundation wasn't remotely appropriate for a current presidential candidate either.

it was founded in 1997.

which Clinton was running for President in 1997?

It was a place for future Clinton appointees to hang out and get paid huge amounts of money while waiting for her administration

1997.

this was before Bill was even out of the WH, before Hillary was in the Senate.

. See especially Sid Blumenthal at $10,000 per month for years

maybe that's too much. maybe that's too little. what did he do there?

There were massive foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation 'charity'.

and there were also massive foreign outlays. as in, they spent a lot of money on improving the lot of people in other countries. should they not have? should they have only taken American money to spend on other countries?

do you mean to imply that non-Americans only donate to charities for political reasons ?

again, 1997.

I would give 2:1 odds on a $100 bet that donations are down at least 30% off 2015. I

actually, they fell dramatically in 2016, while she was running.

The Charity Navigator rating for the Clinton Foundation.

If we want to make laws stating that national officeholders are barred from making megabucks for giving speeches, that's fine with me. Apparently we don't want to make those laws, so former office holders rake it in, along with pop musicians, football players, and CEOs of large corporations.

I have no argument with the claim that the Clintons have enriched themselves as a consequence of their public careers. What I find kind of laughable is the idea that they are, in any way, exceptional. Between the two of them, they've been governor, POTUS, US Senator, and Secretary of State. They're notable people, and they've had notable careers. People like that quite often get rich.

You need to tell me what is, in any way, notable about the Clintons in that regard. At least they have a charity.

Clinton rules. It's gonna be that way until they're dead, Chelsea's dead, and probably Chelsea's kid. The stuff they get called out on compared to the other bullshit that goes on makes me shake my head.

Cleek, the most recent numbers I've seen are from 2015. Where have you seen 2016 numbers? The reports I heard were that the Clinton Global Initiative was being wound down in late 2016 back when we thought she would win and it provided an even clearer conflict of interest than the general foundation. Are you talking about that?

I'm not sure what you are trying to get at with your bolded "1997". Organizations change. The Catholic Church was founded relatively early, and did some good work early, but became corrupt and unseemly at some point afterwards...

Russell, "I have no argument with the claim that the Clintons have enriched themselves as a consequence of their public careers."

I'm not particularly concerned about enriching themselves with cheesy talks AFTER their careers are over. Its unseemly, but whatever. I'm concerned with the corrupting influence of raking in millions of barely earned dollars while still campaigning.

Also it is a bit weird to say that they aren't exceptional. Is there some other political couple that has made more than $150 million in 'speaking' fees alone? At the very least we should admit that they are exceptionally good at cashing in.

It is weird that the very same people who get worked up about the corrupting power of money in Citizens United for money given to campaigns for advertising, seem completely insensitive to the idea that money might have corrupting power when given to a candidate for their own personal wealth.

Again, if you're leaving public service I'm not going to whine if you cash in. But when you're still running for President you shouldn't open yourself up to corrupt money and you shouldn't run organizations to keep your campaign staff employed when the State Department won't let you hire them.


Bob and Liddy Dole?

http://prospect.org/article/senator-doles-greatest-harvest

http://articles.latimes.com/1996-01-25/news/mn-28599_1_elizabeth-dole-got


L-j the stuff in that first article looks corrupt to me, though in the range of about ten million if I’m reading it right—and most of that in campaign messaging, not personal wealth. The very similar Clinton scheme was almost a hundred million. The second article suggests less than a million in speaking fees. I’m not happy about that, but there we are. But Russell finds it laughable that people think of the Clintons “in any way exceptional”. They have over $150 million in speaking ‘fees’.

10x and 100x is notably different in scale.

The window for the Clintons is a lot bigger (longer?) that the Dole's and the Clintons won. I don't particularly like it, but I don't think that the difference in degree becomes a difference in kind.

http://www.cityam.com/221317/forget-politicians-salaries-its-afterwards-they-make-big-bucks

http://publicspeaking.co.ke/post/10-highest-paid-public-speakers-in-the-world

My impression is that you concentrate on the Clintons when it looks to me like a systemic problem.

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