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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 21)

Glenn Greenwald Accused By Brazilian Prosecutors In Hacking Probe

Westlake Legal Group ap_19211822601664-fcafbc90d961588b50bcea9a08e693569bd02d91-s1100-c15 Glenn Greenwald Accused By Brazilian Prosecutors In Hacking Probe

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, shown here during a press conference last July, has been accused by Brazilian federal prosecutors in a hacking probe. Ricardo Borges/AP hide caption

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Ricardo Borges/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Glenn Greenwald Accused By Brazilian Prosecutors In Hacking Probe

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, shown here during a press conference last July, has been accused by Brazilian federal prosecutors in a hacking probe.

Ricardo Borges/AP

Federal prosecutors in Brazil are accusing U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald of criminal association over his role in spreading hacked messages from Brazilian officials’ phones that suggest collusion between a judge and prosecutors in the conviction and jailing of a former president.

Greenwald published the allegations in the online publication The Intercept, which he co-founded, and The Intercept Brasil. He decried the accusation released Tuesday as an “obvious attempt to attack a free press in retaliation for the revelations we reported.”

“We’re going to defend a free press like we always have, we’re not going to be intimidated by the Bolsonaro government,” Greenwald stated, referring to Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

As NPR’s Philip Reeves reports from Rio de Janeiro, a judge will decide whether the case against Greenwald can move forward.

Prosecutors from the Federal Public Ministry accused Greenwald and six others in a criminal complaint. They say in a statement that Greenwald provided a hacker with advice about deleting messages that they downloaded and sent to him in order to make it more difficult for authorities to link them to the journalist.

The prosecutors’ statement says that it is legal for a journalist to publish information obtained illegally – but adds that Greenwald crossed a line by allegedly providing advice to a hacker on covering their tracks, which could hinder investigations.

Greenwald says the accusation against him, criminal association, is “frivolous.”

The prosecutors say they are petitioning a judge to remove an injunction that blocks them from moving forward with investigating Greenwald, who lives in Brazil. According to The Associated Press, Brazil’s Supreme Court said last year that the state may not use “coercive measures” against Greenwald because of constitutional protections of the press. “Because of that, a judge would have to authorize any attempt by prosecutors to formally investigate Greenwald or bring charges,” the wire service stated.

In December, Brazil’s federal police reached a different conclusion than the federal prosecutor about Greenwald’s role in the hacking. As The Guardian notes, the police said “it is not possible to identify moral or material participation by the journalist.”

The accusation against Greenwald garnered swift criticism from press freedom advocates.

“The United States must immediately condemn this outrageous assault on the freedom of the press, and recognize that its attacks on press freedoms at home have consequences for American journalists doing their jobs abroad,” Ben Winzer, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement.

The Intercept published the series of reports last year looking into Operation Car Wash, the anti-corruption probe that led to the imprisonment of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“These seem to show a top judge collaborating with prosecutors in a case in which leftist former President Lula da Silva wound up being jailed, and unable to run in the election eventually won by Jair Bolsonaro,” Reeves reports. The top judge implicated, Sergio Moro, is now Brazil’s justice minister.

“Lula’s exclusion from the election, based on Moro’s finding of guilt, was a key episode that paved the way for Bolsonaro’s election victory,” The Intercept stated in its reporting. “Moro now wields immense police and surveillance powers in Brazil — courtesy of a president who was elected only after Moro, while he was a judge, rendered Bolsonaro’s key adversary ineligible to run against him.”

Greenwald and his colleagues reported the stories based on “private chats, audio recordings, videos, photos, court proceedings, and other documentation” provided by an anonymous source.

Da Silva said in a tweet Tuesday that Greenwald “was a victim of another blatant abuse of authority against freedom of press and democracy.”

NPR’s David Welna contributed to this report.

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Barr Once Contradicted Trump’s Claim That Abuse of Power Is Not Impeachable

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167087664_56e46adf-c059-4a7a-9bc2-bc7067fec242-facebookJumbo Barr Once Contradicted Trump’s Claim That Abuse of Power Is Not Impeachable United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidents and Presidency (US) Mueller, Robert S III Law and Legislation Justice Department impeachment Ethics and Official Misconduct Dershowitz, Alan M Constitution (US) Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Scholars have roundly rejected a central argument of President Trump’s lawyers that abuse of power is not by itself an impeachable offense. But it turns out that another important legal figure has contradicted that idea: Mr. Trump’s attorney general and close ally, William P. Barr.

In summer 2018, when he was still in private practice, Mr. Barr wrote a confidential memo for the Justice Department and Mr. Trump’s legal team to help the president get out of a problem. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was pressuring him to answer questions about whether he had illegally impeded the Russia investigation.

Mr. Trump should not talk to investigators about his actions as president, even under a subpoena, Mr. Barr wrote in his 19-page memo, which became public during his confirmation. Mr. Barr based his advice on a sweeping theory of executive power under which obstruction of justice laws do not apply to presidents, even if they misuse their authority over the Justice Department to block investigations into themselves or their associates for corrupt reasons.

But Mr. Barr tempered his theory with a reassurance. Even without the possibility of criminal penalties, he wrote, a check is in place on presidents who abuse their discretionary powers — impeachment.

The fact that the president “is ultimately subject to the judgment of Congress through the impeachment process means that the president is not the judge in his own cause,” he wrote.

He added, “The remedy of impeachment demonstrates that the president remains accountable under law for his misdeeds in office,” quoting from a 1982 Supreme Court case.

Mr. Barr has long embraced a maximalist philosophy of executive power. But in espousing the view that abuse of power can be an impeachable offense, he put himself squarely in the mainstream of legal thinking. Most constitutional scholars broadly agree that the constitutional term “high crimes and misdemeanors” for which an official may be impeached includes abuse of power.

But in a 110-page brief on Monday, Mr. Trump’s impeachment team — led by Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel and a former aide to Mr. Barr in the first Bush administration, and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow — portrayed the article of impeachment claiming that Mr. Trump abused his power in the Ukraine affair as unconstitutional because he was not accused of an ordinary crime.

“House Democrats’ novel conception of ‘abuse of power’ as a supposedly impeachable offense is constitutionally defective,” they wrote. “It supplants the framers’ standard of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ with a made-up theory that the president can be impeached and removed from office under an amorphous and undefined standard of ‘abuse of power.’”

Contrary to what Mr. Barr wrote 20 months ago, the Trump defense team also insisted that the framers did not want Congress to judge whether presidents abused their discretion and made decisions based on improper motives.

“House Democrats’ conception of ‘abuse of power’ is especially dangerous because it rests on the even more radical claim that a president can be impeached and removed from office solely for doing something he is allowed to do, if he did it for the ‘wrong’ subjective reasons,” the Trump team wrote.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr declined to comment. A spokesman for Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense team did not respond to a request for comment about the tensions.

But Mr. Barr’s view was no passing thought. His 2018 memo emphasized that presidents who misuse their authority by acting with an improper motive are politically accountable, not just in elections but also via impeachment.

Between elections, “the people’s representatives stand watch and have the tools to oversee, discipline, and, if they deem appropriate, remove the president from office,” he wrote. “Under the framers’ plan, the determination whether the president is making decisions based on ‘improper’ motives or whether he is ‘faithfully’ discharging his responsibilities is left to the people, through the election process, and the Congress, through the impeachment process.”

The result of Mr. Barr’s main argument in 2018 and the Trump team’s theory in 2020 is identical: Both posited that facts were immaterial, both in a way that was convenient to counter the threat Mr. Trump faced at that moment.

If Mr. Barr’s obstruction of justice theory is correct — and many legal scholars reject it — then Mr. Mueller had no basis to scrutinize Mr. Trump’s actions that interfered with the Russia investigation.

Similarly, if the Trump impeachment team’s theory is correct, the Senate has no basis to subpoena documents or call witnesses. The lawyers are implying that even if Mr. Trump did abuse his power to conduct foreign policy by trying to coerce Ukraine into announcing investigations that could help him in the 2020 election, the Senate should acquit Mr. Trump anyway.

Another member of Mr. Trump’s legal team, Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and criminal defense lawyer, is expected to make a presentation to the Senate trial this week laying out in detail the theory that abuses of power are not impeachable without an ordinary criminal violation.

Critics of Mr. Dershowitz’s arguments have pointed to the seeming tension with comments he made in 1998, when he did not have a client facing impeachment for abuse of power: “If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.”

In an interview this week, Mr. Dershowitz argued that his position now was not inconsistent with what he said in 1998, pointing to his use then of the phrase “technical crime” and saying that he is arguing today that impeachment requires “crimelike” conduct.

Mr. Dershowitz went further on Tuesday, saying on Twitter that he had not thoroughly researched the question in 1998 but recently has done so. “To the extent therefore that my 1998 off-the-cuff interview statement suggested the opposite,” he wrote, “I retract it.”

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CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin praises Schiff, Dems: ‘I don’t want to sound like a partisan,’ but they’ve been ‘so much better’

Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Toobin-CNN CNN's Jeffrey Toobin praises Schiff, Dems: 'I don't want to sound like a partisan,' but they've been 'so much better' Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 9cb3b299-0df0-574a-8f6a-677936ce5bc9

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin showered House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif, and other Democrats with praise over their handling of the impeachment trial, declaring they’re “so much better” than President Trump‘s defense team.

During the network’s coverage of the launch of the impeachment trial on Tuesday, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked Toobin to compare the “presentations” from the House managers and the president’s counsel. However, Toobin insisted there wasn’t even a “close comparison.”

“You know, I don’t want to sound like a partisan, but the Democrats have been so much better, it’s not even a close comparison as far as I can tell,” Toobin began.

The CNN analyst then complimented Schiff, who is serving as the lead House manager during the impeachment trial.

BUTTIGIEG’S ‘PLEASE CLAP’ MOMENT? DEM URGES IOWA AUDIENCE TO GET EXCITED AFTER AWKWARD SILENCE

“Adam Schiff knows the facts. That is something that you can’t fake,” Toobin told the panel. “A lot of what he’s doing is off the cuff. It’s responding to the arguments. Most of the lawyers have just been reading, reading presentations.”

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While he offered similar praise for Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, Toobin wasn’t nearly as kind to others from the president’s legal team, saying Pat Cipollone is “less” effective and that Patrick Philbin is “not ready for primetime.”

He quickly pivoted back to the Democrats.

“I think Adam Schiff is just in charge — he’s acting like a lead prosecutor,” Toobin continued. “And I think Congresswoman Lofgren, while not as theatrical of a performer, she had a very good argument to make and I thought she made it very effectively.”

Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Toobin-CNN CNN's Jeffrey Toobin praises Schiff, Dems: 'I don't want to sound like a partisan,' but they've been 'so much better' Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 9cb3b299-0df0-574a-8f6a-677936ce5bc9   Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Toobin-CNN CNN's Jeffrey Toobin praises Schiff, Dems: 'I don't want to sound like a partisan,' but they've been 'so much better' Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 9cb3b299-0df0-574a-8f6a-677936ce5bc9

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Partisan Rules Debate Rages as Senate Opens Trump Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167515650_3288b414-7e82-43a4-82e5-792618f110cb-facebookJumbo Partisan Rules Debate Rages as Senate Opens Trump Impeachment Trial United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Collins, Susan M

WASHINGTON — A divided Senate began the impeachment trial of President Trump on Tuesday in utter acrimony, as Republicans refused to commit to hearing from witnesses Democrats demanded and moderate Republicans forced last-minute changes to rules that had been tailored to the president’s wishes.

The debate, convened just after 1 p.m. in a Senate chamber transformed for the occasion, marked the substantive beginning of the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. It was the culmination of weeks of rhetorical sparring between the two parties over whether and when to call witnesses and new evidence that Mr. Trump blocked from House investigators.

Standing in the well of the Senate, the Democratic House impeachment managers pleaded with senators, who were sworn to silence, to reject proposed rules from the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that would delay a debate over witnesses and documents until the middle of the trial, with no guarantee that they would ever be called.

The question of calling new evidence, said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead manager, was an “even more important question than how you vote on guilt or innocence.”

“If the Senate votes to deprive itself of witnesses and documents, the opening statements will be the end of the trial,” he said. “To say let’s just have the opening statements and then we’ll see means let’s have the trial, and maybe we can just sweep this all under the rug.”

Senate Democrats planned a series of amendments for later in the day to try to commit the chamber to subpoenaing four specific witnesses and tranches of documents. With Republicans in firm control of their 53-to-47 majority, each was expected to fail. But the issue of witnesses is expected to resurface later in the trial, after opening arguments and a question period, when the rules allow votes on whether and whom to subpoena.

At the heart of the trial are charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the president approved last month nearly along party lines by the Democratic-led House. They assert that Mr. Trump used the power of his office to enlist a foreign power for help in the 2020 election by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals while withholding as leverage nearly $400 million in military aid and a White House meeting for its president, and then stonewalled congressional attempts to investigate.

Mr. Trump’s legal team argues that the charges are baseless and amount to criminalizing a president’s prerogative to make foreign policy decisions as he sees fit and to shield from Congress documents relating to the conduct of his duties. They also claim — in a break with most constitutional scholars — that because the articles of impeachment do not outline a specific violation of a law, Mr. Trump cannot be impeached.

But on Tuesday, the debate focused on whether his trial would be fair or not.

“This initial step will offer an early signal to our country: Can the Senate still serve our founding purpose?” Mr. McConnell said.

But under pressure from Republican moderates, Mr. McConnell made some last-minute changes to the set of rules he unveiled on Monday, which would have squeezed opening arguments by both sides into two 12-hour marathon days and refused to admit the findings of the House impeachment inquiry into evidence without a separate vote later in the trial.

Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Rob Portman of Ohio, among others, objected to those proposals, which were a departure from procedures adopted unanimously by the Senate for the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton, on which Mr. McConnell had promised to model his rules. At a luncheon with Republican senators in the Capitol just before the trial was to begin, Ms. Collins and Mr. Portman raised their objections privately, according to aides familiar with the conversation, and Mr. McConnell submitted a revised copy of the resolution — with lines crossed out and changes scrawled in the margins — when it was time for the debate.

When his resolution was read aloud on the Senate floor, two days had been extended to three and the House’s records would be automatically admitted into evidence, although Mr. McConnell inserted a provision not included in the 1999 rules that would allow Mr. Trump’s team to move to throw out parts of the House case.

The historically rare debate was rendered even more unusual by Senate rules that prohibit senators from speaking on the chamber floor for the duration of the proceedings and empower the House managers and White House defense lawyers to argue aloud over the proposals instead. The effect was that on the trial’s first day, the Senate chamber split cleanly into partisan factions, with the managers siding with Senate Democrats and Mr. Trump’s lawyers taking the place of the Republicans.

Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, rose first and addressed the senators, urging them to support Mr. McConnell’s proposed rules, which he called “a fair way to proceed” and getting in a jab at House Democrats’ delay in transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

“We believe that once you hear those initial presentations, the only conclusion will be that the president has done nothing wrong,” Mr. Cipollone said, “and that these articles of impeachment do not begin to approach the standard required by the Constitution.”

Locked in silence, senators were able to speak only before the proceeding began or during brief breaks. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday morning, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, pledged to force votes later in the day on about a half-dozen amendments that would, if adopted, direct the Senate to subpoena documents and witnesses that evaded House investigators.

“It is completely partisan. It was kept secret until the eve of the trial,” he said. “The McConnell rules seem to have been designed by President Trump and for President Trump, simply executed by Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans.”

Specifically, he planned to force votes on records housed at the White House, State Department and Defense Department, and to compel testimony from four current and former Trump administration officials who were blocked from speaking with the House: John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser; Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff; Robert B. Blair, an adviser to Mr. Mulvaney; and Michael Duffey, a White House budget official.

Mr. McConnell promised to move to table each amendment so it could not be adopted, but the debate could take hours.

“This is the fair road map for our trial,” he said in a speech on the Senate floor not long after Mr. Schumer’s remarks. “We need it in place before we can move forward. So the Senate should prepare to remain in session today until we complete this resolution and adopt it.”

Even after Tuesday’s changes, Mr. McConnell’s proposal makes way for potentially the fastest presidential impeachment trial in American history, particularly if the Senate declines to call witnesses.

Only two other American presidents have stood trial in the Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, and his trial took the better part of three months, featuring testimony from dozens of witnesses and extended periods for discovery, before he was ultimately acquitted by just a single vote. Mr. Clinton was tried in 1999 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. That proceeding lasted five weeks, included testimony from just three witnesses and resulted in an overwhelming acquittal.

Without witnesses, Mr. Trump’s trial could conclude by the end of January. If senators ultimately do call witnesses, that timeline could stretch weeks longer.

Just an hour or so before the trial began, the seven House managers submitted one final written rebuttal to arguments put forward against their charges by Mr. Trump’s lawyers. In 34 detailed pages, they rejected the lawyers’ assertion that abuse of power was not an impeachable offense and that Mr. Trump had acted legally when he ordered administration officials not to appear for questioning in the House or provide documents for the impeachment inquiry.

Catie Edmondson and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Dana Perino: Schumer risks losing public, Senate interest with amendments to Trump impeachment trial

Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132241172817850000 Dana Perino: Schumer risks losing public, Senate interest with amendments to Trump impeachment trial fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/senate/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/chuck-schumer fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz b360b077-1532-5b7f-92dd-15325511eecd article

The Daily Briefing” host and “The Five” co-host Dana Perino said Tuesday that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. risks losing the public’s — and the U.S. Senate’s — attention if he continues to offer “amendments” to the parameters of the Trump impeachment trial.

During Fox News Channel’s special coverage of the trial, Perino said that Schumer needs to understand that most observers have a “limited amount of attention span.”

ERIC TRUMP: REPORTS THAT JOE’S BROTHER ‘LEVERAGED’ FAMILY NAME SHOW ‘THE BIDENS ARE A BUSINESS’

“Not just in the [Senate] room … but for America,” she added. “Who is paying attention?”

Perino said Schumer likely understands many of his proposals will fail in the Republican-majority Senate. Other observers have noted that a few moderate Republican senators — including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of Maine — are being watched closely for their votes on certain matters.

However, Perino said that it is unlikely that any Republican will “break” with the majority.

“He has to make a decision,” Perino said of Schumer. “Does he want to go through all of these or tell [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell: ‘Put these amendments in the record. Table them all at once. Get to the substance right away.'”

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Earlier in her analysis, Perino said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., one of the Democrats’ “impeachment managers,” had been given the unenviable “job” of trying to convince senators to approve a Schumer amendment subpoenaing White House documents by “telling the Senate that they need to do their [the House managers’] job.”

“Even some of the moderate senators on the GOP side have said that the House handed them incomplete homework,” Perino noted.

Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132241172817850000 Dana Perino: Schumer risks losing public, Senate interest with amendments to Trump impeachment trial fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/senate/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/chuck-schumer fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz b360b077-1532-5b7f-92dd-15325511eecd article   Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132241172817850000 Dana Perino: Schumer risks losing public, Senate interest with amendments to Trump impeachment trial fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/senate/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/chuck-schumer fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz b360b077-1532-5b7f-92dd-15325511eecd article

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Donald Trump’s Impeachment Defense Is That Democrats Are Bad

Westlake Legal Group 5e276f882400000f03c96e7e Donald Trump’s Impeachment Defense Is That Democrats Are Bad

WASHINGTON ― As the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began on Tuesday, his lawyers offered a bombastic and truth-challenged defense of the president that insisted the real bad actors in all of this are the Democrats

During a debate over a resolution laying out the trial procedures, the initial argument from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s private lawyer Jay Sekulow boiled down to a series of complaints about the process during the House impeachment inquiry ― most of which were false or misleading. 

House Democrats presenting the case for impeachment explained how Trump abused his power by withholding military assistance from Ukraine, an ally effectively at war with Russia, while demanding a sham investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s highest-polling political rival in the 2020 election. 

Cipollone said House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who now serves as the House impeachment manager, “made false allegations about a telephone call,” but he didn’t specify what was false. 

On his now-famous July 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked Zelensky to look into Biden and his son Hunter. He later said publicly that he wanted Ukraine to start “a major investigation into the Bidens” ― which is essentially the heart of the Democrats’ abuse of power case. 

For the rest of the afternoon, Trump’s team complained about process. Sekulow claimed that Trump “was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses,” access evidence or have counsel present during impeachment proceedings before the House Judiciary Committee.

These alleged refusals amount to “a trifecta that violates the Constitution of the United States,” Sekulow added.

But that isn’t really what happened. The Judiciary Committee invited the president to participate in its hearings and the White House said no. There is also no constitutional provision requiring the House to allow the president to cross-examine witnesses, access evidence or have counsel present during impeachment hearings. 

The resolution being debated ― which was written by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ― would not guarantee any witness testimony in the Senate trial. Despite their public fury over the lack of witnesses in the House inquiry, Trump’s team supports the resolution, saying that if Democrats think their case was good enough to impeach the president, they shouldn’t need more witnesses at trial.

The resolution calls for 24 hours of arguments from each side, starting Wednesday and spread out over three days each, followed by a period of questioning by senators. Only then will the Senate vote on whether to subpoena witness testimony, which a handful of Republicans have said they would support doing. Democrats would need only four Republicans to join them to get witnesses. 

Both Sekulow and Cipollone claimed the impeachment of Trump threatened the constitutional order by attacking executive privilege.

“There’s a reason we keep executive privilege, and we assert it when necessary,” Sekulow said. “And that is to protect ― to protect the Constitution and the separation of powers.”

Cipollone attacked the “notion that invoking your constitutional rights to protect the executive branch” could be an impeachable act of obstruction.

In fact, Trump has not once asserted executive privilege throughout the entire impeachment inquiry. He has directed his aides and Cabinet officials to not comply with congressional subpoenas. He has refused to hand over documents from the State Department and the Office of Management and Budget. But in none of these instances did he officially assert executive privilege. 

“They never claimed executive privilege!” Schiff said in a rebuttal to Trump’s lawyers. “In order to claim privilege, you have to specify which document, which line, which conversation.”

Trump’s lawyers also complained that the House never went to court to enforce its subpoenas for testimony from the administration officials whom Trump prevented from testifying.

“The president’s opponents in their rush to impeach have refused to wait for complete judicial review,” Sekulow said, adding, “We’re acting as if the courts are an improper venue to determine constitutional issues of this magnitude. That is why we have courts.”

But the Trump administration is making the exact opposite argument in court to prevent former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying before a congressional committee. Trump’s Justice Department lawyers argue that Congress has no constitutional right to enforce a subpoena and the federal judiciary has no constitutional ability to rule on a congressional subpoena.

Perhaps the most glaring falsehood asserted came from Cipollone when he alleged that Schiff did not allow Republican members of the House investigating committees to enter the sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, originally used for witness depositions. All members of the three investigating committees ― the House Intelligence Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Oversight and Reform Committee ― were allowed equal access, regardless of party, to the witness depositions held in the SCIF.

In response to these false allegations, Schiff in his rebuttal declined to say that Trump’s lawyers were purposefully lying in the president’s defense. He carefully said that Cipollone was simply “mistaken” or “just plain wrong.” 

Schiff did offer a theory on why Trump’s defense rested on a series of false attacks on the House’s impeachment inquiry: “When you hear them attack the House managers, what you’re really hearing is, ‘We don’t want to talk about the president’s guilt.’”

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Trump’s Impeachment Defense Is That Democrats Are Bad

Westlake Legal Group 5e276f882400000f03c96e7e Trump’s Impeachment Defense Is That Democrats Are Bad

WASHINGTON ― As the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began on Tuesday, his lawyers offered a bombastic and truth-challenged defense of the president that insisted the real bad actors in all of this are the Democrats

During a debate over a resolution laying out the trial procedures, the initial argument from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s private lawyer Jay Sekulow boiled down to a series of complaints about the process during the House impeachment inquiry ― most of which were false or misleading. 

House Democrats presenting the case for impeachment explained how Trump abused his power by withholding military assistance from Ukraine, an ally effectively at war with Russia, while demanding a sham investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s highest-polling political rival in the 2020 election. 

Cipollone said House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who now serves as the House impeachment manager, “made false allegations about a telephone call,” but he didn’t specify what was false. 

On his now-famous July 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked Zelensky to look into Biden and his son Hunter. He later said publicly that he wanted Ukraine to start “a major investigation into the Bidens” ― which is essentially the heart of the Democrats’ abuse of power case. 

For the rest of the afternoon, Trump’s team complained about process. Sekulow claimed that Trump “was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses,” access evidence or have counsel present during impeachment proceedings before the House Judiciary Committee.

These alleged refusals amount to “a trifecta that violates the Constitution of the United States,” Sekulow added.

But that isn’t really what happened. The Judiciary Committee invited the president to participate in its hearings and the White House said no. There is also no constitutional provision requiring the House to allow the president to cross-examine witnesses, access evidence or have counsel present during impeachment hearings. 

The resolution being debated ― which was written by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ― would not guarantee any witness testimony in the Senate trial. Despite their public fury over the lack of witnesses in the House inquiry, Trump’s team supports the resolution, saying that if Democrats think their case was good enough to impeach the president, they shouldn’t need more witnesses at trial.

The resolution calls for 24 hours of arguments from each side, starting Wednesday and spread out over three days each, followed by a period of questioning by senators. Only then will the Senate vote on whether to subpoena witness testimony, which a handful of Republicans have said they would support doing. Democrats would need only four Republicans to join them to get witnesses. 

Both Sekulow and Cipollone claimed the impeachment of Trump threatened the constitutional order by attacking executive privilege.

“There’s a reason we keep executive privilege, and we assert it when necessary,” Sekulow said. “And that is to protect ― to protect the Constitution and the separation of powers.”

Cipollone attacked the “notion that invoking your constitutional rights to protect the executive branch” could be an impeachable act of obstruction.

In fact, Trump has not once asserted executive privilege throughout the entire impeachment inquiry. He has directed his aides and Cabinet officials to not comply with congressional subpoenas. He has refused to hand over documents from the State Department and the Office of Management and Budget. But in none of these instances did he officially assert executive privilege. 

“They never claimed executive privilege!” Schiff said in a rebuttal to Trump’s lawyers. “In order to claim privilege, you have to specify which document, which line, which conversation.”

Trump’s lawyers also complained that the House never went to court to enforce its subpoenas for testimony from the administration officials whom Trump prevented from testifying.

“The president’s opponents in their rush to impeach have refused to wait for complete judicial review,” Sekulow said, adding, “We’re acting as if the courts are an improper venue to determine constitutional issues of this magnitude. That is why we have courts.”

But the Trump administration is making the exact opposite argument in court to prevent former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying before a congressional committee. Trump’s Justice Department lawyers argue that Congress has no constitutional right to enforce a subpoena and the federal judiciary has no constitutional ability to rule on a congressional subpoena.

Perhaps the most glaring falsehood asserted came from Cipollone when he alleged that Schiff did not allow Republican members of the House investigating committees to enter the sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, originally used for witness depositions. All members of the three investigating committees ― the House Intelligence Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Oversight and Reform Committee ― were allowed equal access, regardless of party, to the witness depositions held in the SCIF.

In response to these false allegations, Schiff in his rebuttal declined to say that Trump’s lawyers were purposefully lying in the president’s defense. He carefully said that Cipollone was simply “mistaken” or “just plain wrong.” 

Schiff did offer a theory on why Trump’s defense rested on a series of false attacks on the House’s impeachment inquiry: “When you hear them attack the House managers, what you’re really hearing is, ‘We don’t want to talk about the president’s guilt.’”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Tweets ‘Read The Transcripts’ And Gets Mocked By People Who Have

Westlake Legal Group 5e275b662400003200c96e62 Trump Tweets ‘Read The Transcripts’ And Gets Mocked By People Who Have

On Tuesday, the president implored people on Twitter to “read the transcripts.” Presumedly, he was serious because the tweet was in all caps, the universally recognized signifier that the sender is pissed off about something.

The president was referring to a record of his phone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the one that sparked the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

However, exact, full transcripts of the calls have not been released.

Not surprisingly, the all caps tweet was thoroughly mocked by Twitter wits.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Impeachment Trial Live: Highlights and Takeaways

Here’s what you need to know:

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A debate is under way in the Senate over the ground rules the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, has proposed for President Trump’s trial.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The Senate convened shortly after 1 p.m. on Tuesday to start in earnest the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump, who faces charges that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress. Senators were warned that they had to remain quiet, a skill that they rarely exercise in the Senate chamber, or face imprisonment.

The first order of business was a debate over the format of the trial, a draft of which Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, released on Monday. Democrats spent the morning lashing out against Mr. McConnell’s plan, accusing him and other Republicans of trying to cover up Mr. Trump’s actions.

Unlike most other debates in the Senate, the elected senators did not do the actual debating. Instead, the seven House impeachment managers, who are serving as prosecutors in the case, and Mr. Trump’s legal defense team argued over the rules that will govern the proceedings.

The Senate voted 53 to 47 to table the first proposed amendment to Mr. McConnell’s rules proposal. The top Democrat in the chamber, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, had proposed an amendment to subpoena Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to provide documents and records related to the Trump administration’s pressure campaign on Ukraine.

The administration refused last year to hand over the documents to the Democratic-led House during its impeachment inquiry. Democrats have argued that the documents are critical to the Senate for conducting a fair trial.

After the vote, the impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s defense team began debating Mr. Schumer’s second proposed amendment to the rules, which called for the subpoena of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for State Department documents related to Ukraine, including communications about withholding military aid, a decision at the center of the two impeachment charges against the president.

Less than a day after releasing his rules proposal and drawing outrage from Democrats, Mr. McConnell submitted to the Senate a modified version with two significant changes. The most notable was a provision to automatically enter evidence collected during the House impeachment inquiry into the trial record. The earlier version of Mr. McConnell’s proposal would have put the decision of whether to admit the House evidence to a Senate vot

Mr. McConnell also gave the House impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s defense team an additional day to argue their cases under the proposed rules the Senate began considering Tuesday afternoon. The initial proposal gave each side up to 24 hours over two days — a time frame Democrats criticized because it could push key testimony into early morning hours, when most Americans would be sleeping.

Each side still gets a total of 24 hours to present, but spreading it across three days will give both legal teams more time to lay out their cases and end the days earlier.

Mr. McConnell made the changes after key Republican senators, including Susan Collins of Maine, argued that the rules for Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial should not deviate significantly from the rules used during the only modern precedent, the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999.

Ms. Collins, a moderate Republican who is likely to face a tough re-election bid later this year, has significant sway with Mr. McConnell, as her votes could change the outcome of the trial.

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Even as Democrats lodged an unexpected victory Tuesday with the changes Mr. McConnell made to his proposed rules for the trial, they are still hoping to persuade some Republicans to join them in making other changes to the proceedings that Mr. McConnell opposes.

“The real test will be if they pressure Senator McConnell to allow witnesses and documents,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement during a brief break in the trial.

Mr. McConnell’s plan would have the Senate vote first on whether they want to consider new evidence at all, even as more details from key witnesses emerged in recent weeks and John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, said he would testify if subpoenaed. Mr. Bolton, for instance, has firsthand accounts of some of the White House’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to benefit Mr. Trump.

A majority of senators would have to agree to consider new evidence, and then they would vote on admitting specific witnesses or documents individually.

While the Senate trial commenced with hours of debate over the format of Mr. Trump’s trial, the president met with world leaders at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he trumpeted the strong American economy, heaping praise upon himself.

But when Democrats called for the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, to turn over documents related to the Ukraine matter, the White House hit back with a sharp statement on Mr. Trump’s behalf.

“The Democrats are an utter joke — they have no case, and this latest political stunt proves it,” said Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman. “The idea that the counsel to the president has to turn over protected documents and confidential information is ludicrous, and to imply he can’t represent the president of the United States in an impeachment proceeding is completely absurd.”

Earlier on Tuesday, when Mr. Trump was asked a question about the impeachment trial, taking place thousands of miles away, he said, “That whole thing is a hoax.”

Mr. Trump is expected to be back in Washington Wednesday evening.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Tweets ‘Read The Transcripts’ And Gets Mocked By People Who Have

Westlake Legal Group 5e275b662400003200c96e62 Trump Tweets ‘Read The Transcripts’ And Gets Mocked By People Who Have

On Tuesday, the president implored people on Twitter to “read the transcripts.” Presumedly, he was serious because the tweet was in all caps, the universally recognized signifier that the sender is pissed off about something.

The president was referring to a record of his phone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the one that sparked the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

However, exact, full transcripts of the calls have not been released.

Not surprisingly, the all caps tweet was thoroughly mocked by Twitter wits.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com