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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J"

McConnell Impeachment Rules Modify Clinton Precedent

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-rules1-facebookJumbo McConnell Impeachment Rules Modify Clinton Precedent United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E McConnell, Mitch impeachment

WASHINGTON — For weeks, Senator Mitch McConnell sought to deflect charges that he was trying to stack the deck in favor of President Trump in his impeachment trial by repeating that he was merely replicating the Senate’s only modern precedent: the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton.

“What was good enough for President Clinton in an impeachment trial should have been good enough for President Trump,” he told reporters this month, as Democrats pressed him to include a new guarantee for witnesses and documents. “And all we are doing here is saying we are going to get started in exactly the same way that 100 senators agreed to 20 years ago.”

But when Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, finally released a draft of his resolution on Monday evening, less than 24 hours before the Senate was expected to consider it, there were several meaningful differences from the rules that governed Mr. Clinton’s impeachment, some of which were in line with Mr. Trump’s preferences and his legal team’s strategy.

The measure is expected to pass on Tuesday along party lines, over strenuous Democratic objections. Here is a look at the similarities and differences.

While Mr. McConnell proposes that the trial unfold in a similar sequence to the 1999 one — opening statements, then questions from senators, then an up-or-down vote on whether to consider calling witnesses or new evidence — his plan would speed up the proceedings.

Like in the Clinton trial, the Democratic House impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s defense lawyers will have up to 24 hours to argue their respective cases for and against conviction on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But in 1999, the Senate imposed no additional limit on how the time was used. Mr. McConnell’s proposal states that each side much complete its work within two days, beginning as early as Wednesday.

That means opening arguments could be finished by the end of this week, allowing the senators 16 hours for questioning and a subsequent debate early next week over whether to consider witness testimony. In the fastest possible scenario, the Senate could vote to convict or acquit by the end of January.

Aides for Mr. McConnell played down the differences, arguing that he had never meant to say the Trump rules would be identical to the Clinton ones, but would deal with opening arguments and consideration of witnesses in the same order.

But Senate Democrats were not pleased, and their leader, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, accused Mr. McConnell of trying to push the proceedings into “the wee hours of the night” to hide a damaging case against Mr. Trump. Mr. Schumer said he would offer a series of amendments on Tuesday “to address the many flaws in this deeply unfair proposal.”

The White House, which has worked closely with Mr. McConnell on the trial’s parameters, indicated it was pleased. Eric Ueland, the president’s congressional liaison, said the team was “gratified that the draft resolution protects the president’s rights to a fair trial.”

When the Clinton trial opened, the Senate “admitted into evidence,” printed and shared with senators all records generated by the House impeachment inquiry into Mr. Clinton. Not so this time.

Though the House’s evidence from the Trump impeachment inquiry would still be printed and shared with senators, it would only be formally considered by the Senate as part of its official record if a majority of senators voted to do so. That vote could only take place after the Senate decided whether to call witnesses and seek additional documents — that is, as the trial moves toward conclusion.

A senior Republican aide in the Senate said the change reflected a fundamental difference in the Clinton and Trump cases. In the Clinton case, the House’s evidentiary record largely consisted of materials compiled by Ken Starr, the independent counsel.

This time, House Democrats conducted their impeachment inquiry entirely themselves, without the benefit of a Justice Department investigation. The aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to detail internal strategy, argued that in doing so, the House had denied Mr. Trump proper due process rights afforded to Mr. Clinton, suggesting the current president was not given a chance to contest the House’s record.

The House invited Mr. Trump to mount a defense before the Judiciary Committee during its impeachment proceeding, including requesting witnesses and documents, but the president’s legal team declined, saying it would not dignify an inquiry it deemed illegitimate with a response.

By not admitting the House impeachment inquiry’s findings into evidence at the outset, Mr. McConnell, too, is in effect treating them as illegitimate.

As expected, the draft resolution does not incorporate Democratic demands that the trial guarantee witness testimony or requests for new documents. This was also the case in the Clinton trial, but Mr. McConnell’s proposal still differs slightly.

It says that after senators conclude their questioning, they will not immediately entertain motions to call individual witnesses or documents. Instead, they will decide first whether they want to consider new evidence at all. Only if a majority of senators agree to do so will the managers and prosecutors be allowed to propose and argue for specific witnesses or documents, each of which would then be subject to an additional vote.

If a majority of the Senate ultimately did vote to call a witness for testimony, that witness would first be interviewed behind closed doors and then the “Senate shall decide after deposition which witnesses shall testify, pursuant to the impeachment rules,” if any. Consistent with the Clinton trial rules, this essentially means that even if witnesses are called, they might never testify in public.

Democrats said Mr. McConnell’s intentions were clear.

“Under this resolution, Senator McConnell is saying he doesn’t want to hear any of the existing evidence, and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence,” Mr. Schumer said. “It’s a cover-up.”

But Mr. McConnell appeared to have the votes he needed to move the resolution without Democrats. Minutes after the resolution was shared with reporters, a key moderate Republican who had been pushing the leader to ensure a vote on whether or not to call witnesses, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, said he would be a yes.

And Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, another possible swing vote who favors calling witnesses, said the resolution met his requirements and tracked “closely with the rules package approved 100 to 0 during the Clinton trial.”

Mr. McConnell’s resolution does not include a guarantee that the Senate will vote on a motion to dismiss the case after opening arguments and senatorial questions rather than see the trial to its full conclusion. That guarantee was included in the Clinton-era rules in deference to Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, a towering figure in the chamber at the time.

Individual senators or Mr. Trump’s lawyers could still make a motion during the trial to force a dismissal vote — an idea Mr. Trump has said he likes.

But Republican leaders believe doing so is unwise. With moderates committed to seeing the trial through, it risks dividing the party on a key vote, and in any case, they have argued it will be better for Mr. Trump in the long-run to have a Senate acquittal to his name.

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McConnell Pushes to Speed Impeachment Trial as Trump Requests Swift Acquittal

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeach-promo-facebookJumbo-v3 McConnell Pushes to Speed Impeachment Trial as Trump Requests Swift Acquittal United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment House of Representatives Ethics and Official Misconduct

WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, unveiled ground rules on Monday for President Trump’s impeachment trial that would attempt to speed the proceeding along and refuse to admit the evidence against the president unearthed by the House without a separate vote.

Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, showed his hand hours after Mr. Trump’s legal team called on the Senate to “swiftly reject” the impeachment charges and acquit him, arguing that Democrats would “permanently weaken the presidency” if they succeeded in removing him from office over what the team characterized as policy and political differences.

In a 110-page brief submitted to the Senate the day before Mr. Trump’s trial begins in earnest, the president’s lawyers advanced their first sustained legal argument since the House opened its inquiry in the fall, contending that the two charges approved largely along party lines were constitutionally flawed and set a dangerous precedent.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers dismissed the validity of both articles of impeachment lodged against him — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — because they do not state any specific violation of the law, advancing a constrained and widely rejected interpretation of the power to impeach a president. While the lawyers did not contest the basic facts of the case, they maintained that Democrats’ accusations in effect seek to punish Mr. Trump for foreign policy decisions and efforts to preserve executive prerogatives.

“They do not remotely approach the constitutional threshold for removing a president from office,” the brief said. “The diluted standard asserted here would permanently weaken the presidency and forever alter the balance among the branches of government in a manner that offends the constitutional design established by the founders.”

Mr. McConnell’s trial rules, which limited each side’s arguments to 24 hours over two days, gave the White House a helping hand at the outset and drew swift anger from Democrats. The rules left open the possibility that the Senate could not only decline to hear new evidence not uncovered in the House impeachment inquiry, but could also sidestep considering the House case against Mr. Trump altogether — although such a vote is considered unlikely.

“Under this resolution, Senator McConnell is saying he doesn’t want to hear any of the existing evidence, and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “It’s a cover-up, and the American people will see it for exactly what it is.”

He said he would propose changes during what promises to be a rancorous debate over the rules on Tuesday in the Senate.

In their own detailed legal brief submitted on Saturday, the House impeachment managers outlined their case that Mr. Trump corruptly solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election for his own benefit by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals while withholding nearly $400 million in security aid the country desperately needed as well as a coveted White House meeting for its president.

“President Trump did not engage in this corrupt conduct to uphold the presidency or protect the right to vote,” the seven House Democratic impeachment managers said Monday in a second filing that rebutted many of the president’s assertions. “He did it to cheat in the next election and bury the evidence when he got caught.”

“Mr. Trump’s answer to the charges offers an unconvincing and implausible defense against the factual allegations in Article I,” the managers wrote. “The ‘simple facts’ that it recites confirm President Trump’s guilt, not his innocence.”

The legal brief filed by Mr. Trump’s lawyers did not deny that the president asked Ukraine to announce the investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., nor that he withheld military aid that Congress had approved for Kyiv. But Mr. Trump’s lawyers said that he never tied the investigations to a White House meeting or to the security assistance.

They also argued that the president has the right to conduct relations with other countries as he sees fit and that he had valid reasons to raise those issues with Ukraine and withhold the security aid because he wanted to root out corruption there and get other countries to share the burden of providing military assistance.

The lawyers dismissed the notion that doing so was an abuse of power, as outlined in the first article of impeachment, calling that a “novel theory” and a “newly invented” offense that would allow Congress to second-guess presidents for legitimate policy choices.

“House Democrats’ concocted theory that the president can be impeached for taking permissible actions if he does them for what they believe to be the wrong reasons would also expand the impeachment power beyond constitutional bounds,” the brief said. “It is the president who defines foreign policy,” it added, and said that Mr. Trump had “legitimate concerns” in raising the issues involving Democrats with the Ukrainians.

The lawyers argued that the second article, accusing Mr. Trump of obstructing Congress by blocking testimony and refusing to turn over documents during the House impeachment inquiry, was “frivolous and dangerous” because it would invalidate a president’s right to confidential deliberations in violation of the separation of powers.

In making their case, the White House lawyers themselves embraced novel interpretations of the history of impeachment. Far from newly invented, the concept of abuse of power was envisioned by the framers from the start. Alexander Hamilton specifically described impeachment as a remedy for the “abuse or violation of some public trust.”

Moreover, the House Judiciary Committee adopted articles of impeachment accusing both Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton of abuse of power for, among other things, defying congressional demands for information.

Many constitutional scholars have long said that impeachable offenses do not have to be specific violations of a criminal code, but could be broader violations of a president’s oath of office or offenses against the republic. In the case of President Andrew Johnson, one of the articles against him alleged no violation of law but impeached him anyway for speeches bringing Congress into “disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach.”

While the White House brief argued that the articles against Mr. Trump did not allege an actual crime, a report released last week by the Government Accountability Office, an independent, nonpartisan government agency, found that the Trump administration violated the law by withholding the security aid allocated by Congress.

The president’s legal team took issue with the Government Accountability Office’s conclusion and said that, in any case, it was irrelevant because it was not included in the articles of impeachment themselves.

The White House brief stressed that Mr. Trump ultimately met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and released the aid even though the Ukrainians never announced the investigations the president had sought. But the money was delivered and the meeting was set only after a whistle-blower had filed a complaint alleging impropriety by the president and lawmakers had opened their own investigation into why the money had been blocked.

The dueling filings rolled in as both sides braced for a contentious trial on the Senate floor over whether to remove Mr. Trump, only the third such impeachment proceeding in the country’s history. The president visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington on Monday afternoon before he left for Davos, Switzerland, where he planned to meet with other world leaders at an economic conference as the Senate began weighing his fate.

In the Capitol, the House managers and the president’s defense team took turns privately touring the Senate chamber and surrounding offices, transformed over the weekend into a court of impeachment that will open on Tuesday with the debate on the rules for the trial. According to Mr. McConnell’s timetable, oral arguments by the House managers would begin on Wednesday, followed by a presentation by Mr. Trump’s team.

On Monday, House Democrats sought to dismantle the president’s case. In arguing that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense, they said, Mr. Trump’s lawyers were ignoring the intentions of the founders and in effect asserting that “the American people are powerless to remove a president for corruptly using his office to cheat in the next election.”

The managers also said the president’s attempt to justify his obstruction failed to account for the House’s broad prerogative to conduct their inquiry. The House investigation was “properly authorized,” they insisted, and they pointed out that Mr. Trump never actually invoked executive privilege, but merely raised the threat of doing so to discourage officials from testifying.

The nine-page filing was technically a response to a shorter pleading submitted by Mr. Trump’s team on Saturday.

The president weighed in himself, complaining that he had not been treated fairly and dismissing demands by Mr. Schumer for a trial that would include witnesses and testimony that the president has so far blocked.

“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is now asking for ‘fairness’, when he and the Democrat House members worked together to make sure I got ZERO fairness in the House,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “So, what else is new?”

Mr. McConnell had said repeatedly that he was modeling his rules on the procedures for Mr. Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial, but he made key changes that tilt the playing field in Mr. Trump’s favor. While the Clinton-era rules imposed no limits on the 24 hours of oral arguments allowed on both sides, Mr. McConnell condensed them into two marathon-session days, which would allow the Senate to blaze through them by Saturday.

Senators could then pose questions to the two sides next week before debating whether to allow the prosecution and defense to try to call witnesses or seek documents. A senior Republican leadership aide conceded on Monday that Mr. McConnell had deviated from the 1999 rules, which admitted the House impeachment record into evidence at the start of the trial, in requiring a separate Senate vote to do so this time around. The change was necessary, argued the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail internal strategy, because the House had denied the president proper due process rights.

The House invited Mr. Trump to mount a defense before the House Judiciary Committee during its impeachment proceeding, including requesting witnesses and documents, but the president’s legal team declined, saying it would not dignify an inquiry it deemed illegitimate with a response.

Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Washington.

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McConnell Unveils Rules for Trump Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeach-promo-facebookJumbo-v3 McConnell Unveils Rules for Trump Impeachment Trial United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment House of Representatives Ethics and Official Misconduct

WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, unveiled ground rules on Monday for President Trump’s impeachment trial that would attempt to speed the proceeding along and refuse to admit the evidence against the president unearthed by the House without a separate vote.

Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, showed his hand hours after Mr. Trump’s legal team called on the Senate to “swiftly reject” the impeachment charges and acquit him, arguing that Democrats would “permanently weaken the presidency” if they succeeded in removing him from office over what the team characterized as policy and political differences.

In a 110-page brief submitted to the Senate the day before Mr. Trump’s trial begins in earnest, the president’s lawyers advanced their first sustained legal argument since the House opened its inquiry in the fall, contending that the two charges approved largely along party lines were constitutionally flawed and set a dangerous precedent.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers dismissed the validity of both articles of impeachment lodged against him — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — because they do not state any specific violation of the law, advancing a constrained and widely rejected interpretation of the power to impeach a president. While the lawyers did not contest the basic facts of the case, they maintained that Democrats’ accusations in effect seek to punish the president for foreign policy decisions and efforts to preserve executive prerogatives.

“They do not remotely approach the constitutional threshold for removing a president from office,” the brief said. “The diluted standard asserted here would permanently weaken the presidency and forever alter the balance among the branches of government in a manner that offends the constitutional design established by the founders.”

Mr. McConnell’s trial rules, which also limited each side’s arguments to 24 hours over two days, gave the White House a helping hand at the outset and drew a swift anger from Democrats. The rules left open the possibility that the Senate could not only decline to hear new evidence not uncovered in the House impeachment inquiry, but could also sidestep considering the House case against Mr. Trump altogether — although such a vote is considered unlikely.

“Under this resolution, Senator McConnell is saying he doesn’t want to hear any of the existing evidence, and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader. “It’s a cover-up, and the American people will see it for exactly what it is.”

He promised to propose changes during what promises to be a rancorous debate in the Senate over the rules on Tuesday.

In their own detailed legal brief submitted on Saturday, the House impeachment managers outlined their case that Mr. Trump corruptly solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election for his own benefit by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals while withholding nearly $400 million in security aid the country desperately needed as well as a coveted White House meeting for its president.

“President Trump did not engage in this corrupt conduct to uphold the presidency or protect the right to vote,” the seven House Democratic impeachment managers said Monday in a second filing that rebutted many of the president’s assertions. “He did it to cheat in the next election and bury the evidence when he got caught.”

“Mr. Trump’s answer to the charges offers an unconvincing and implausible defense against the factual allegations in Article I,” the managers wrote. “The ‘simple facts’ that it recites confirm President Trump’s guilt, not his innocence.”

The legal brief filed by Mr. Trump’s lawyers did not deny that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine to announce the investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., nor that he withheld military aid that Congress had approved for Kyiv. But his lawyers said that the president never tied the investigations to a White House meeting or the security assistance. And in any case, they argued that the president has the right to conduct relations with other countries as he sees fit and that he had valid reasons to raise those issues with Ukraine because he wanted to root out corruption there and get other countries to share the burden of providing military aid.

The lawyers dismissed the notion that doing so was an abuse of power, as outlined in the first article of impeachment, calling that a “novel theory” and a “newly invented” offense that would allow Congress to second-guess presidents for legitimate policy choices.

“House Democrats’ concocted theory that the president can be impeached for taking permissible actions if he does them for what they believe to be the wrong reasons would also expand the impeachment power beyond constitutional bounds,” the brief said. “It is the president who defines foreign policy,” it added, and said that Mr. Trump had “legitimate concerns” in raising the issues involving Democrats with the Ukrainians.

The lawyers argued that the second article, accusing Mr. Trump of obstructing Congress by blocking testimony and refusing to turn over documents during the House impeachment inquiry, was “frivolous and dangerous” because it would invalidate a president’s right to confidential deliberations in violation of the separation of powers.

In making their case, the White House lawyers themselves embraced novel interpretations of the history of impeachment. Far from newly invented, the concept of abuse of power was envisioned by the framers from the start. Alexander Hamilton specifically described impeachment as a remedy for the “abuse or violation of some public trust.”

The House Judiciary Committee adopted articles of impeachment accusing both Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton of abuse of power.

Many constitutional scholars have long said that impeachable offenses do not have to be specific violations of a criminal code, but could be broader violations of a president’s oath of office or offenses against the republic. In the case of President Andrew Johnson, one of the articles against him alleged no violation of law but impeached him anyway for speeches bringing Congress into “disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach.”

While the White House brief argued that the articles against Mr. Trump did not allege an actual crime, a report released last week by the Government Accountability Office, an independent, nonpartisan government agency, found that the Trump administration violated the law by withholding the security aid allocated by Congress.

The president’s legal team took issue with the Government Accountability Office’s conclusion and said that, in any case, it was irrelevant because it was not included in the articles of impeachment themselves. The White House brief stressed that Mr. Trump ultimately met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and released the aid even though the Ukrainians never announced the investigations the president had sought. But the money was delivered and the meeting set only after a whistle-blower had filed a complaint alleging impropriety by the president and lawmakers had opened their own investigation into why the money had been blocked.

The dueling filings rolled in as both sides braced for a contentious trial on the Senate floor over whether to remove Mr. Trump, only the third such impeachment proceeding in the country’s history. Mr. Trump visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington on Monday ahead of his departure scheduled later in the evening for Davos, Switzerland, where he planned to meet other world leaders at an economic conference as the Senate begins weighing his fate.

In the Capitol, the House managers and the president’s defense team took turns on Monday privately touring the Senate chamber and surrounding offices, transformed over the weekend into a court of impeachment that will open on Tuesday with the debate on the rules for the trial. According to Mr. McConnell’s timetable, oral arguments by the House managers would begin on Wednesday, followed by a presentation by Mr. Trump’s team.

The president’s lawyers used their brief to revive complaints about the House impeachment process, calling it “rigged.”

On Monday, House Democrats sought to dismantle the president’s case. In arguing that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense, they said, Mr. Trump’s lawyers were ignoring the intentions of the founders and in effect asserting that “the American people are powerless to remove a president for corruptly using his office to cheat in the next election.”

The managers also said the president’s attempt to justify his obstruction failed to account for the House’s broad prerogative to conduct their inquiry. The House investigation was “properly authorized,” they insisted, and they pointed out that Mr. Trump never actually invoked executive privilege, but merely raised the threat of doing so to discourage officials from testifying.

The nine-page filing was technically a response to a shorter pleading submitted by Mr. Trump’s team on Saturday.

The president weighed in himself, complaining that he had not been treated fairly and dismissing demands by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, for a trial that would include witnesses and testimony that the president has so far blocked.

“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is now asking for ‘fairness’, when he and the Democrat House members worked together to make sure I got ZERO fairness in the House,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “So, what else is new?”

Mr. McConnell had said repeatedly that he was modeling his rules on the procedures for Mr. Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial, but he made key changes that tilt the playing field in Mr. Trump’s favor. While the Clinton-era rules imposed no limits on the 24 hours of oral arguments allowed on both sides, Mr. McConnell condensed them into two marathon-session days, which would allow the Senate to blaze through them by Saturday.

Senators could then pose questions to the two sides next week before debating whether to allow the prosecution and defense to try to call witnesses or seek documents. A senior Republican leadership aide conceded on Monday that Mr. McConnell had deviated from the 1999 rules, which admitted the House impeachment record into evidence at the start of the trial, in requiring a separate Senate vote to do so this time around. The change was necessary, argued the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to detail internal strategy, because the House had denied the president proper due process rights.

The House invited Mr. Trump to mount a defense before the House Judiciary Committee during its impeachment proceeding, including requesting witnesses and documents, but the president’s legal team declined, saying it would not dignify an inquiry it deemed illegitimate with a response.

Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Washington.

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‘Constitutional Nonsense’: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-assess-facebookJumbo ‘Constitutional Nonsense’: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Law and Legislation impeachment Federalist Papers Ethics and Official Misconduct Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — As President Trump’s impeachment trial opens, his lawyers have increasingly emphasized a striking argument: Even if he did abuse his powers in an attempt to bully Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election on his behalf, it would not matter because the House never accused him of committing an ordinary crime.

Their argument is widely disputed. It cuts against the consensus among scholars that impeachment exists to remove officials who abuse power. The phrase “high crime and misdemeanors” means a serious violation of public trust that need not also be an ordinary crime, said Frank O. Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and the author of a recent book on the topic.

“This argument is constitutional nonsense,” Mr. Bowman said. “The almost universal consensus — in Great Britain, in the colonies, in the American states between 1776 and 1787, at the Constitutional Convention and since — has that been that criminal conduct is not required for impeachment.”

But the argument is politically convenient for Mr. Trump. For any moderate Republican senator who may not like what the facts already show about his campaign of pressure on Ukraine, the theory provides an alternative rationale to acquit the president.

Indeed, if it were true, then there would also be no reason to call witnesses like John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, because what he and others know about Mr. Trump’s motivations and intentions in his Ukraine dealings would not affect the outcome of the trial.

Mr. Trump’s legal team hammered away at the argument in its 110-page brief submitted to the Senate on Monday. “House Democrats’ newly invented ‘abuse of power’ theory collapses at the threshold because it fails to allege any violation of law whatsoever,” the president’s lawyers wrote.

Many legal scholars say senators should not take this argument seriously. They point, among other things, to evidence that for centuries before the American Revolution, the British Parliament impeached officials for “high crimes and misdemeanors” that constituted abuses of power but were not indictable offenses. The pattern informed the framers of the Constitution, who echoed that concept.

One precedent — a high-profile case against a former British governor-general in India named Warren Hastings accused of mismanagement, mistreatment of locals and military misconduct — unfolded during the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and was reported in American newspapers.

His chief prosecutor, the famous parliamentarian Edmund Burke, argued that Mr. Hastings’s actions violated the public trust even though they were not indictable. (Mr. Hastings was acquitted, but only many years later.)

The original draft of the Constitution had made only treason and bribery a basis for impeachment. But according to James Madison’s notes of the Constitutional Convention, George Mason brought up the Hastings case and proposed expanding the definition of impeachment to cover something like it. After rejecting the term “maladministration” as too broad, the convention participants decided to add the English term “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Mr. Bowman — whose scholarship on impeachment law is cited in a footnote in the Trump legal team brief — called the arguments in that brief “a well-crafted piece of sophistry that cherry-picks sources and ignores inconvenient history and precedent.” For example, he noted, it makes no mention of how the Hastings case involved allegations of abuses of power that were not indictable crimes.

Scholars pointed to other major landmarks. In 1788, as supporters of the Constitution were urging states to ratify the document, Alexander Hamilton described impeachable conduct in one of the Federalist Papers as “those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust,” and “political” offenses that injure society.

Mr. Hamilton also wrote that impeachments would differ from common trials in part because prosecutors and judges would not be as limited “in delineation of the offense.”

Critics of the Trump team’s theory have also noted that when the Constitution was drafted, hardly any federal criminal laws had been written. And several early impeachment proceedings — including against a judge who got drunk while presiding over cases — did not involve indictable offenses.

“It is just quite clear that the commission of a crime is neither necessary nor sufficient for an act to be impeachable,” said John Mikhail, a Georgetown University law professor. He portrayed the Trump legal team’s argument as not merely wrong, but as not even worthy of being deemed serious.

But Alan Dershowitz, a leading proponent of the theory, disagreed. An emeritus Harvard Law School professor and a celebrated criminal defense lawyer, he has joined Mr. Trump’s legal team and is preparing a presentation about the idea that he said he expects to make to the Senate on Friday.

Among other things, Mr. Dershowitz said in an interview, he interpreted Mr. Hamilton to be saying not that any violation of the public trust is impeachable, but that only crimes that are also violations of the public trust meet that standard.

He also said that there were some common-law crimes at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, and that the framers expected Congress to eventually enact criminal laws that could serve as the basis for impeachments.

Mr. Dershowitz said he intended to model his presentation on an argument put forward at the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson by his chief defense counsel, Benjamin Robbins Curtis, a former Supreme Court associate justice.

Mr. Johnson was saved from conviction and removal when the vote fell one short of the necessary supermajority. Mr. Curtis had argued that Mr. Johnson was not accused of committing a legitimate crime, and that removing him absent one would subvert the constitutional structure and make impeachment a routine tool of political struggle.

But other legal scholars, like Laurence Tribe, a constitutional specialist at Harvard Law School and an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, have argued that Mr. Dershowitz is overreading and misrepresenting this aspect of the Johnson trial, especially against the backdrop of other evidence about the original understanding of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and the range of factors that went into Mr. Johnson’s narrow acquittal.

In an opinion article in The Washington Post, Mr. Tribe accused Mr. Trump’s legal team of using “bogus legal arguments to mislead the American public or the senators weighing his fate.”

From one perspective, the argument might not matter. Mr. Bowman noted that while the House article refers to no criminal statute, the conduct described in the abuse-of-power one “plainly draws from” the crime of soliciting a bribe.

(The Government Accountability Office has also concluded that the Trump administration’s freezing of a congressionally appropriated military aid package to Ukraine amounted to an illegal impoundment of funds, but there are no criminal penalties associated with violating that law.)

But Mr. Dershowitz said that if the House had the evidence and the votes to charge Mr. Trump with bribery, then it needed to say so explicitly.

Some of Mr. Dershowitz’s critics have questioned whether he really believes what he is now saying, noting that in 1998, during the Clinton impeachment, he said: “It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime, 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.”

Mr. Dershowitz argued that his position today was not inconsistent with what he said in 1998, pointing to his use of the phrase “technical crime” and saying that he is arguing today that there needs to be “crime-like” conduct. He also said he did not know about Mr. Curtis’s 1868 argument during the Clinton impeachment era, and reading it had affected his thinking.

Still, he acknowledged that his interpretation is an outlier.

“My argument will be very serious and very scholarly,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “The fact that other scholars disagree, that’s for the Senate to consider. There is a division — most of the scholars disagree with me. I think they’re wrong.”

But Mr. Mikhail said Mr. Dershowitz and the Trump legal team were wrong, and he noted that many senators of both parties went to law school.

“These are very smart, legally informed people,” he said. “They understand the law. They can certainly see through ruses and efforts to distract and divert.”

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The Davos Plutocrats Warm Up to Trump

Westlake Legal Group 20db-sorkin1-facebookJumbo The Davos Plutocrats Warm Up to Trump World Economic Forum United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Economic Conditions and Trends Davos (Switzerland)

DAVOS, Switzerland — The last time President Trump arrived at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, his trip was treated with deep skepticism, if not disdain, by the business and political leaders who gather once a year in this ski town in the Swiss Alps. It was 2018 and even with his newly enacted tax cuts, his populist, antiglobalist rhetoric and Twitter outbursts were more than enough to make the event’s collection of plutocrats uneasy.

This time is likely to be different.

With the stock market at record highs, two trade deals announced and the possibility that Mr. Trump may be in office for another four years, there is an increasing sense that he will be accepted, if not embraced (although some attendees may roll their eyes behind his back) when he arrives on Tuesday, even as he faces an impeachment trial.

As anathema as it may be to some participants, Mr. Trump may be the new Davos Man.

The Davos forum, marking its 50th year, has always sought to foster a sense of multilateral unity. But Mr. Trump, along with his counterpart in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is seemingly moving the world into a tariff based, decoupled universe, based on bilateral negotiations and diplomacy by tweet.

To the surprise of many Davos regulars, the economic results have yet to prove as disastrous as they expected — and, at least in the short term, have seemingly proven to be quite positive. (The long-term effects, of course, are still unknown.)

Even Mr. Trump’s most ardent detractors acknowledge that an acceptance of the president is settling in among the Davos crowd.

“We are all adjusting to his abnormal behavior,” said the investor Anthony Scaramucci, Mr. Trump’s onetime spokesman turned enemy who has been a Davos regular for over a decade and hosts a wine tasting party that has become a hot ticket for the boldfaced names. “The economic strength helps their cognitive dissonance,” he said.

Just last week, a lineup of some executives who will attend the Davos forum were in the audience at the White House when Mr. Trump signed the initial China trade deal. They more than politely applauded.

“Will you say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President’ at least? Huh?” Mr. Trump asked Mary Erdoes, the chief executive of JPMorgan’s asset and wealth management division and a Davos regular, along with Jamie Dimon, the bank’s C.E.O. “They just announced earnings, and they were incredible,” Mr. Trump said about JPMorgan. “They were very substantial. I made a lot of bankers look very good. But you’re doing a great job. Say hello to Jamie.”

Stephen Schwarzman, the co-founder of Blackstone, who often gets calls from global C.E.O.s seeking advice on how to manage relations with Mr. Trump because of his close relationship with him, said there has been a shift among the C-suite crowd.

“The attitude of the business community toward the Trump Administration appears quite positive,” said Mr. Schwarzman, who runs one of the world’s biggest investment funds. Among the reasons for the warm feelings, he said, are the strength of the economy, trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada, the tax bill and the elimination of regulations.

Still, if there is one topic expected to dominate the week here besides Mr. Trump himself, it will be an issue that he and the Davos community vehemently disagree about: climate change

Just last week, Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft — and a Davos participant — announced the company would be carbon negative by 2030, and by 2050 it would seek to remove all of the carbon it has ever emitted since its founding in 1975. The World Economic Forum itself announced the meeting would be carbon neutral after it bought carbon credits to offset carbon emission from the event.

Of course, Mr. Trump doesn’t believe in climate change and pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement to the horror of most of the executives and attendees of Davos.

He is likely to hear criticism from activists like Greta Thunberg, the high school phenom who has become a global icon for the climate. And he may get some nudging from C.E.O.s, but, unlike the activists, they will be unlikely to confront him publicly out of fear that he might turn on them or their companies.

“The Davos crowd are well respected followers of fashion and love whomever is in power,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management and an expert on corporate leadership. “They celebrate when the people are rich and powerful.”

Mr. Sonnenfeld pointed out that, despite the stock market run-up, only “12 percent anticipate economic conditions will improve over the next six months, up from just 4 percent in the third quarter,” according to the Conference Board’s most recent survey of chief executives.

While the business community has come to accept Mr. Trump — one executive described the view by saying “life is relative” — Mr. Sonnenfeld noted that a poll he conducted three weeks ago found that 56 percent of C.E.O.s favored the president’s impeachment and removal from office.

Mr. Trump may find himself flattered by the Davos audience. Whether it is genuine flattery or something else remains an open question. Whatever the answer, Mr. Scaramucci is convinced it is all self-interested: “The unspeakable truth is that C.E.O.s and their staff are horrified.”

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Trump Legal Team to Ask Senate for Speedy Acquittal in Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeach-promo-facebookJumbo-v3 Trump Legal Team to Ask Senate for Speedy Acquittal in Impeachment Trial United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment House of Representatives Ethics and Official Misconduct

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s legal team will call on the Senate on Monday to “swiftly reject” the impeachment charges and acquit him, maintaining that he committed no impeachable offense and has been the victim of an illegitimate partisan effort to take him down.

In a lengthy brief to be submitted to the Senate the day before his trial begins in earnest, the president’s lawyers plan to make the most sustained argument the White House has advanced since the House opened its impeachment inquiry last fall, contending that the two articles of impeachment approved largely along party lines were constitutionally flawed and set a dangerous precedent.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers plan to dismiss the largely party-line impeachment by the House as a “brazenly political act” following a “rigged process” that should be repudiated by the Senate, according to a person working with his legal team, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the submission of the trial brief. They will argue that neither of the articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump are valid because they do not state a violation of the law and they would in effect try to punish the president for foreign policy decisions and efforts to preserve executive prerogatives.

The brief does not deny that Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to announce investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., but argues that the president has the right to conduct relations with other countries as he sees fit and that he had valid reasons to raise those issues with Ukraine to fight corruption.

The lawyers plan to dismiss the notion that doing so was an abuse of power, as outlined in the first article of impeachment, calling that a “novel theory” and a “newly invented” offense that would allow Congress to second-guess presidents for legitimate policy decisions.

They will argue that the second article, accusing him of obstructing Congress by blocking testimony and refusing to turn over documents during the House impeachment inquiry, would violate separation of powers by invalidating a president’s right to confidential deliberations.

The House Democratic managers had their own noon deadline to produce a response to a shorter filing by Mr. Trump’s team on Saturday that responded to the impeachment charges against him. Democrats will argue that Mr. Trump’s behavior was not only adequately proven during the course of their inquiry but clearly meets the standard laid out by the framers of the Constitution for impeachable offenses.

The president weighed in himself from Florida, where he was spending the holiday weekend, complaining that he had not been treated fairly and dismissing demands by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, and other Democrats for a trial that would include witnesses and testimony that the president has so far blocked.

“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is now asking for ‘fairness’, when he and the Democrat House members worked together to make sure I got ZERO fairness in the House,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “So, what else is new?”

He also dismissed Democratic demands that the Senate call John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, as a witness during the trial.

“They didn’t want John Bolton and others in the House,” Mr. Trump wrote. “They were in too much of a rush. Now they want them all in the Senate. Not supposed to be that way!”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting from Washington.

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Lawmakers Clash Over Shape of Impeachment Trial as Rules Vote Looms

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-impeach-facebookJumbo Lawmakers Clash Over Shape of Impeachment Trial as Rules Vote Looms United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Schiff, Adam B McConnell, Mitch impeachment

WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats wrangled publicly on Sunday over the shape, scope and length of the Senate impeachment trial set to reconvene on Tuesday, clashing repeatedly over the time each side will have to present its case and whether additional witnesses should be called to testify.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, lashed out at Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, his Republican counterpart, on Sunday night in a news conference, accusing him of planning to conduct an abbreviated, unfair trial.

“Whether it’s because McConnell knows the trial is a cover-up and wants to whip through it as quickly as possible, or because he’s afraid even more evidence will come out, he’s trying to rush it through,” Mr. Schumer said. “That is wrong. And it is so wrong that no one even knows what his plan is a day and a half before one of the most momentous decisions any senator will ever make.”

Mr. McConnell has so far refused to reveal details about the resolution he will seek to pass on Tuesday setting up the rules of the trial. But Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, said on Sunday that Mr. McConnell was considering a plan that would give each side 24 hours to present arguments on the floor of the Senate, but with the requirement that they do so over the course of two days.

“Twenty-four hours of presentation by the House managers over two days, then 24 hours of presentation by the president’s team over two days and then 16 hours of questions submitted by the members in writing to the chief justice,” Mr. Perdue said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” adding, “That’s our proposal.”

Democrats reacted with alarm to that idea on Sunday. One aide working on the impeachment trial noted that it was scheduled to start each day at 1 p.m. and said that forcing the House managers to deliver 12 hours of arguments in a single day could push the trial into the early hours of the next morning, when few people would be watching.

In his news conference, Mr. Schumer said the president and his Republican allies were eager for a short trial because they did not want the president’s actions to be put on display for everyone to see.

“He’s afraid of what the American people might hear,” Mr. Schumer said of Mr. McConnell.

The House managers, who will serve as prosecutors in the trial, met for several hours on Sunday to strategize and refine their presentations, according to congressional aides working on the trial. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and one of the managers, said Sunday that the Senate must seek testimony from additional witnesses.

“It’s not negotiable whether you have witnesses,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And this whole controversy about whether there should be witnesses is really a question of, does the Senate want to have a fair trial, or are they part of the cover-up of the president?”

But several Republican senators on Sunday dismissed the idea of calling additional witnesses, saying it was up to the House to conduct those interviews before approving the articles of impeachment and sending them to the Senate.

“If the House isn’t prepared to go forward with the evidence that they produced in the impeachment inquiry, maybe they ought to withdraw the articles of impeachment and start over again,” Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said on “Face the Nation,” adding that it was not the Senate’s responsibility to do work that the House failed to do before voting to impeach Mr. Trump.

“This, to me, seems to undermine or indicate that they’re getting cold feet or have a lack of confidence in what they’ve done so far,” he said.

Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, said his early assessment of the case against the president was that the House had not proved Mr. Trump was guilty of abuse of power or obstruction of Congress. He said senators should hear the arguments from both sides before making a decision on witnesses.

“If the case looks so flimsy, as some people say, if it’s nothing to it, it doesn’t rise to impeachable offenses, like a court of law, the court disposes of it,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Some Democrats have suggested that the Senate should hear from Lev Parnas, an associate of the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. Mr. Parnas, who is under indictment on criminal campaign finance charges, was involved with Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to pressure Ukraine on Mr. Trump’s behalf and has provided texts, emails and other documents to House investigators.

Mr. Perdue dismissed Mr. Parnas, calling him a “distraction” and insisting that he had only secondhand information about the president’s actions.

“This is a person that’s been indicted right now. He’s out on bail,” Mr. Perdue said. “He’s been meeting with the House Intel Committee — if the House felt like this information was pertinent, I would think they would have included him in this, and his testimony in this.”

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, who is the lead manager in the impeachment trial, said the idea of refusing to call witnesses would be like a judge in a criminal case working with the defendant to make sure the prosecution could not call witnesses.

“No juror has ever heard that kind of thing from a judge because it would be absurd,” Mr. Schiff said on “This Week.” “It would be a mockery of a trial, not a trial, but that is what Senator McConnell to date is proposing.”

If the senators agree to seek the testimony of additional witnesses, that would most likely extend the trial for at least several weeks. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of the president’s closest Republican allies, said Mr. Trump was confident about the outcome of the trial but eager to have it over as quickly as possible — if possible before he delivers his State of the Union address, scheduled for Feb. 4.

“His mood is to go to the State of the Union with this behind him and talk about what he wants to do for the next — rest of 2020 and what he wants to do for the next four years,” Mr. Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.” “He is very much comfortable with the idea this is going to turn out well for him. He believes politically this has helped him.”

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Struggle Between N.S.A. and Congress Over Ukraine Records Breaks Into Open

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-intel1-facebookJumbo Struggle Between N.S.A. and Congress Over Ukraine Records Breaks Into Open United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B National Security Agency Nakasone, Paul M House Committee on Intelligence Espionage and Intelligence Services central intelligence agency

A long-simmering conflict between the National Security Agency and the House Intelligence Committee broke into the open on Sunday when the committee’s chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff, accused the agency of withholding critical intelligence from his panel, including some that might be useful in the impeachment trial of President Trump.

Since last fall, the committee has been quietly seeking documents and intercepts that the National Security Agency gathered in Ukraine. But Mr. Schiff, a California Democrat and former prosecutor who is one of the managers of the impeachment trial, took the fight public, saying that “the intelligence community is beginning to withhold documents from Congress on the issue of Ukraine.”

“The N.S.A. in particular is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on Ukraine, but also withholding documents potentially relevant that the senators might want to see during the trial,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “That is deeply concerning. And there are signs that the C.I.A. may be on the same tragic course.”

Administration officials disputed Mr. Schiff’s accusations, saying the intelligence agencies were nonpartisan and were providing information to their congressional overseers. But a statement they issued avoided mentioning specifics.

“The intelligence community is committed to providing Congress with the information and intelligence it needs to carry out its critical oversight role,” Amanda J. Schoch, the assistant director of national intelligence for strategic communications, said in the statement. It “is working in good faith” with the committee, she continued, to respond “to requests on a broad range of topics and will continue to do so.”

A committee official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Schiff was angered because the National Security Agency was reneging on an earlier agreement on what documents would be produced. But administration officials said the document production was simply going slowly, and had not been blocked.

Disputes between intelligence agencies and oversight committees are not unusual. The agencies are frequently reluctant to share direct intercepts of conversations or to allow their individual officers or analysts to provide information directly to the committees. Instead, they prefer to turn over analytical reports that have been reviewed by agency leadership. The committees often press for more raw forms of intelligence.

Mr. Schiff and the agency had appeared to reach an accord several months ago about what kind of intelligence about Ukraine it was prepared to share with the committee. Since then, the committee had kept its struggle to obtain American intelligence on Ukraine largely behind closed doors under the secrecy rules that guide its oversight of what, by some measures, is the largest and most powerful of the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies.

Mr. Schiff did not specify what documents were in dispute. But even before Ukraine became a central battleground with its ground war and cyberwar with Russia, the agency had made Ukraine “one of the central points of focus in superpower competition,” a senior intelligence official said several months ago.

By law, the agency could not intercept Mr. Trump’s conversations with President Volodymyr Zelensky, or his predecessor Petro O. Poroshenko. And it would require special court approval to intercept conversations involving Americans communicating with Ukraine, including the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and his key aides.

But the National Security Agency would be free to record Ukrainian officials, including Mr. Zelensky, talking among themselves about those conversations, and those intercepts could reveal how much they knew, and when, about Mr. Trump’s demand to withhold aid from Ukraine in its fight against Russian incursions, and the conditions it would have to meet to get it turned back on.

For intelligence officials who have often found themselves on the receiving end of Mr. Trump’s wrath, charged with disloyalty or told by Mr. Trump they had to “go back to school” because he did not like their assessments of North Korea and Iran, there is nothing more politically delicate than what they collected in Ukraine.

The director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, was appointed to his post two years ago by Mr. Trump after a long and storied military career at the forefront of American cyberoperations. Until now, he has largely stayed out of the line of fire — and has never been mentioned on the president’s Twitter feed — while he has built an aggressive cyberability, much of it directed at President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia.

Mr. Trump did not interfere as Mr. Nakasone, during the 2018 midterm elections, ordered a shutdown of the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll factory that conducted much of the social media campaign that aided Mr. Trump in the last presidential election. Nor did the president get in the way of the implanting of software in the Russian electric power grid.

But the dispute with the committee over Ukraine, and the impeachment proceedings, places General Nakasone, 56, directly in the cross-hairs of the White House.

No matter what his agency’s intelligence assessments or raw intercepts may or may not reveal about how Ukrainian officials reacted to Mr. Trump’s demands for an investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., or into a discredited theory that Ukraine was responsible for a cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee, the president could consider any cooperation with Mr. Schiff highly suspect.

The degree of sensitivity was evident this week in reports, first broadcast on CNN, that all of the nation’s intelligence chiefs were trying to avoid public testimony about the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment.” Last year the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, angered Mr. Trump by contradicting his public statements on Iran, North Korea and the Islamic State. He and other intelligence chiefs were summoned to the White House the next day for a public dressing-down.

Intelligence officials say they fear a public hearing this year could be worse: General Nakasone and the director of the C.I.A., Gina Haspel, would undoubtedly be asked for their assessment of whether the cutoff of aid to Ukraine would have benefited Mr. Putin and advantaged Russia as it seeks to undermine the Ukrainian government. (They would most likely also be asked about evidence that North Korea has sped forward with its nuclear and missile programs in the 19 months since Mr. Trump first met Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in Singapore.)

Mr. Schiff confirmed on Sunday that intelligence agencies had sought to avoid a public hearing, preferring instead to simply offer their written assessment of global threats. “The intelligence community is reluctant to have an open hearing,” he said, “something that we had done every year prior to the Trump administration, because they’re worried about angering the president.”

“We are counting on the intelligence community not only to speak truth to power, but to resist pressure from the administration to withhold information from Congress,” Mr. Schiff continued, “because the administration fears that they incriminate them.”

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Democrats Seek More Testimony and Evidence for Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-questions01-facebookJumbo Democrats Seek More Testimony and Evidence for Impeachment Trial Zelensky, Volodymyr 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 Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Parnas, Lev National Security Agency Mulvaney, Mick Hill, Fiona (1965- ) Giuliani, Rudolph W Cipollone, Pat A central intelligence agency Burisma Holdings Ltd Bolton, John R Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

WASHINGTON — With President Trump’s impeachment trial getting underway, Democrats are intensifying their demands for more testimony and documents that could add to the already voluminous evidence against him and bolster their case by shedding new light on several key questions.

Despite the White House strategy of blocking testimony from top officials and rejecting demands for documents, the Senate will have in front of it considerable evidence that Mr. Trump eagerly sought to persuade Ukraine’s new president to pursue investigations into two matters that could benefit him in his re-election campaign. Those matters are dealings in Ukraine involving former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, and purported Ukrainian meddling in the American 2016 presidential election.

But in part because of the White House’s decision not to cooperate, the record of actions by Mr. Trump and his underlings is riddled with gaps — and new evidence has been surfacing at the 11th hour.

On Sunday, Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the lead House impeachment manager, said he was concerned that the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency were withholding information about Ukraine out of fear of angering the president.

“The N.S.A. in particular is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on Ukraine, but also withholding documents potentially relevant that the senators might want to see during the trial,” Mr. Schiff, Democrat of California, said on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the National Security Agency.

Republicans called those complaints proof that the case against Mr. Trump was so weak that Democrats were scrambling to bolster it. “But this, to me, seems to undermine or indicate that they’re getting cold feet or have a lack of confidence in what they’ve done so far,” Senator John Cornyn of Texas said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”

Even before new information emerged in recent days — including material from Lev Parnas, who worked closely with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to seek damaging information about the Bidens and to impugn the United States’ ambassador in Kyiv — the Senate’s 100 jurors faced unanswered questions that go to the heart of the matter.

What exactly did John R. Bolton, then the White House’s national security adviser, see and hear last year that convinced him a group of diplomats and aides were cooking up a geopolitical “drug deal” involving Ukraine?

How often and how thoroughly did Mr. Giuliani, the chief engineer of the pressure campaign, brief the president on what he was up to? What has Mr. Trump said behind closed doors about his order to freeze military aid to Ukraine?

Democrats in the Senate want to call Mr. Bolton to the stand, compel the testimony of three other top Trump aides, including the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and obtain the records that the administration has withheld. But they would need the support of at least four Republican senators to do so.

“A fair trial, everyone understands, involves evidence,” Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Evidence would be documents and witnesses. We know the president has refused to provide documentation beyond the July 25 telephone memo. And he’s refused to provide basic witnesses who actually heard what happened on that conversation and saw what happened afterwards.”

Here are some of the key questions that more witness testimony or additional documents could address:

Some Trump allies have tried to suggest that Mr. Giuliani was a rogue actor pursuing his own interests in Ukraine. But Mr. Giuliani said last spring, as he planned a trip to Ukraine to press for investigations into the Bidens, that his efforts had Mr. Trump’s full support and that the president “basically knows what I’m doing.”

Mr. Trump has called Mr. Giuliani a “crime fighter” who was “seeking out corruption” because he was “very, very incensed at the horrible things that he saw.” He also said Mr. Giuliani had the right to look into whether the Ukrainians helped sow the seeds for the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Mr. Giuliani has insisted that his conversations with Mr. Trump are protected by attorney-client privilege. He has pointed out that Kurt D. Volker, then Mr. Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine, put him in touch with a top Ukrainian aide whom he met in August in Madrid.

Unquestionably, Mr. Trump sought to vest Mr. Giuliani with at least some informal authority to operate on his behalf. He urged President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, during a phone call on July 25, to consult Mr. Giuliani about the investigations he wanted. And he urged his own diplomats and aides involved with Ukraine to consult with Mr. Giuliani after they returned from Mr. Zelensky’s inauguration in May.

Among them was Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, who testified that Mr. Trump instructed him to “talk to Rudy” about Ukraine, and said that Mr. Giuliani had made it clear to him that he spoke for the president.

In a letter in May from Mr. Giuliani that Mr. Parnas turned over last week to House investigators, the president’s lawyer told Mr. Zelensky that he was acting with Mr. Trump’s “knowledge and consent.” Mr. Parnas, who faces felony charges involving campaign finance violations, said in interviews that Ukrainian officials met with him because Mr. Giuliani assured them that he represented both him and Mr. Trump.

But virtually nothing is known about the substance of communications between Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump, although they appear to have spoken regularly. Mr. Mulvaney told associates that he would leave the room whenever the men would talk in order to preserve attorney-client privilege.

Whether the president decided to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine for his own political gain, at the expense of the nation’s strategic foreign policy interests, is at the crux of the case against him. His decision thwarted the will of Congress, undercut an American ally enmeshed in a war with Russia and, according to a report last week by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, violated American law.

During the House inquiry, Mr. Sondland testified that he had informed Ukraine that it would most likely not receive the aid unless it was willing to commit to carrying out the investigations Mr. Trump wanted. But he also testified that Mr. Trump insisted to him there was no “quid pro quo” — although only after the aid freeze had become public and the president had been told about the whistle-blower complaint setting out details of the pressure campaign.

Democrats in the Senate are seeking testimony from four other witnesses who played key roles in White House deliberations about the suspension in aid: Mr. Bolton; Mr. Mulvaney; Robert B. Blair, a senior adviser to Mr. Mulvaney, and Michael Duffey, the associate director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The New York Times reported last month that many administration officials involved in carrying out the aid freeze were kept in the dark about the president’s motivations.

Mr. Mulvaney said at a news conference in October that the aid had been withheld in part because Mr. Trump wanted an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 election. Mr. Mulvaney later said that was not true, and that the aid was withheld only because of concerns about Ukraine’s willingness to battle corruption and about whether other nations were providing their fair share of aid to Ukraine.

In mid-August, Mr. Bolton unsuccessfully tried to persuade Mr. Trump to lift the freeze. In an Oval Office meeting later that month, Mr. Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper asked the president to release the funds but were rebuffed.

Mr. Duffey, a political appointee, enforced the hold on the aid after taking control of the funds from a career budget officer, Mark Sandy — a highly unusual move.

On July 25, after days of exchanges about the topic but also just 90 minutes after Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky held their fateful telephone conversation, Mr. Duffey reiterated to Defense Department officials in an email that no funds should be disbursed — instructions he said should be “closely held” because of “the sensitive nature of the request.”

“Everyone was in the loop.”

That was Mr. Sondland’s characterization of who knew what about the push to win a commitment from the Ukrainians to announce the investigations. He testified that several top officials, including Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney, knew that Mr. Trump would extend an Oval Office invitation to Mr. Zelensky only if Ukraine publicly announced the investigations.

Fiona Hill, at the time the top Russia specialist on the National Security Council, testified that at a White House meeting on July 10, Mr. Sondland said that he had a deal with Mr. Mulvaney: an Oval Office invitation for Mr. Zelensky in exchange for a public statement that the inquiries were underway.

Although the State Department refused Mr. Sondland’s request for documents to support his testimony, he produced several emails to back up his assertions. On July 18, he wrote a group of officials — including Mr. Mulvaney, Mr. Pompeo, Mr. Bolton and Rick Perry, then the energy secretary — that Mr. Zelensky was ready to promise the president in their upcoming phone call that his prosecutors would “turn over every stone.”

Mr. Pompeo was among the officials who listened the July 25 phone call, in which Mr. Trump raised with Mr. Zelensky the need to investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election and Mr. Zelensky seemed to agree.

In August, Mr. Sondland wrote Mr. Pompeo that Mr. Zelensky would deliver a public statement that “will hopefully make the boss happy enough to authorize an invitation” because it would include “specifics.” That meant, he testified, that Mr. Zelensky would name Burisma, a Ukrainian company that had hired Hunter Biden, as an investigative target, along with the 2016 election.

A number of State Department witnesses blamed Mr. Giuliani for Mr. Trump’s animus toward Ukraine, saying they struggled mightily to counteract his influence. But there are indications that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary helped solidify Mr. Trump’s views.

Mr. Volker, the envoy to Ukraine, testified that the president’s negative opinion of Ukraine was “very deeply rooted” and evident as far back as September 2017, when Mr. Trump met Mr. Zelensky’s predecessor Petro O. Poroshenko in the Oval Office.

One explanation is that Mr. Trump blamed the Ukrainians for helping to expose the financial misdeeds of Paul Manafort, who was forced to resign as Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman in August 2016 and is now in prison for his crimes. In an Oval Office meeting on May 23, Mr. Trump insisted to his aides that Ukrainians were “terrible people” who “tried to take me down.”

But George P. Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, testified that Mr. Trump’s view of Mr. Zelensky and Ukraine had darkened in the interval between that meeting and his first phone call with the Ukraine leader a month earlier, in which he congratulated him on his victory.

In the interim, Mr. Putin reportedly disparaged Mr. Zelensky to Mr. Trump in a phone call on May 3. And Mr. Trump held an Oval Office meeting with Mr. Orban, who is antagonistic toward Mr. Zelensky. No transcripts of those conversations have been released. Mr. Kent attributed the shift in Mr. Trump’s attitude to the combined influence of those two foreign leaders and Mr. Giuliani.

A group of government lawyers is charged with monitoring White House and National Security Council decisions for unethical or illegal behavior. The top-ranking lawyers involved in the Ukraine affair were John A. Eisenberg at the National Security Council and Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel.

Two security council staff members — Ms. Hill and Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman — told Mr. Eisenberg they feared that Mr. Sondland was improperly pressuring Ukraine to benefit Mr. Trump politically. Ms. Hill testified that Mr. Bolton had ordered her to tell Mr. Eisenberg that he did not want any part of “whatever drug deal” that Mr. Sondland and Mr. Mulvaney were cooking up.

According to people familiar with the situation, Mr. Eisenberg shared those concerns with Mr. Cipollone, his superior, but rejected Mr. Cipollone’s advice that he bring them up with the president.

Colonel Vindman also reported concerns about the president’s July 25 phone call. Mr. Eisenberg warned him not to discuss the call with others and ordered that access be restricted to the reconstructed transcript. A person briefed on his actions said officials misinterpreted that directive as an order to put the transcript on the White House’s most secure computer.

Mr. Eisenberg eventually alerted the Justice Department to the July 25 call, but only weeks later, after the C.I.A.’s top lawyer informed him that a C.I.A. officer had filed an anonymous complaint about it.

Ben Protess contributed reporting from New York. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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Where Is Cory Gardner?

Westlake Legal Group merlin_145161267_fab6f769-8a6f-4a02-8707-2514718e62df-facebookJumbo Where Is Cory Gardner? Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment Hickenlooper, John W Gardner, Cory S Elections, Senate Colorado

DENVER — They keep expecting to see Senator Cory Gardner everywhere — on the local Fox affiliates in Colorado, on Facebook, on literature crammed inside their mailboxes. They are voters who wear tasteful crepe blouses and carry structured Kate Spade totes, who like how their 401(k)’s are performing but say they could do without President Trump’s “temperament.”

They are members of one of the most coveted groups in electoral politics: suburban women. But in their field of vision, Mr. Gardner, Colorado’s top Republican officeholder, is almost nowhere to be found.

“I don’t hear him speaking out on things,” said Jennifer Gremmert, 50, the executive director of an energy nonprofit. She is the kind of voter who could help Mr. Gardner win re-election in November, a registered Democrat who considers herself “nonpartisan,” “not that enthusiastic” about her party’s Senate candidates, and “totally” open to Mr. Gardner. But when it comes to the bipartisan stands that Ms. Gremmert said she prized in a candidate, “I don’t see him.”

On one level, this is strange: Many of these voters were crucial to Mr. Gardner’s narrow Senate victory in 2014, when he carried the suburban vote and was ahead among independents, according to exit polls. And they may be even more essential to him now — he is widely considered to be one of the most at-risk G.O.P. senators seeking re-election this year.

But Mr. Gardner’s invisibility — he hasn’t held a town hall-style meeting in two years — is also pragmatic, a means of avoiding questions about his ties to the divisive president, especially as the Senate impeachment trial nears. If Mr. Gardner ends up vocally supporting the president, or votes to acquit him in the trial, it will complicate and perhaps even endanger his race to hold onto his seat.

Unlike most Republican senators, Mr. Gardner has been largely mum on the articles of impeachment against the president and the Senate trial starting Tuesday. Early in the process, he called the impeachment inquiry a “total circus,” but notably refused to answer questions about whether the president’s conduct with Ukraine had been appropriate.

Mr. Gardner hasn’t indicated one way or the other whether he’d vote to subpoena witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, even as some other senators facing tough re-election fights, like Senator Susan Collins of Maine, have expressed an openness to doing so. Last week on Capitol Hill, he evaded reporters eager to pin down his thoughts, his handler hurrying him into the nearest elevator. On Thursday evening, when a local Colorado reporter caught him at the Denver airport, a smiling Mr. Gardner offered still no clarity. “We have a trial,” he said. “That’s where we’re at right now.”

While Ms. Collins and some other senators open to calling witnesses have been critical of the president at times, Mr. Gardner is far more circumspect about Mr. Trump, and relies heavily on Republicans and conservatives for votes — people who are intensely loyal to the president.

But if Mr. Gardner is going to win in 2020, in a state that votes Democratic in presidential elections, he is also going to need voters like the women who joined Ms. Gremmert for lunch on a recent Friday in Denver’s Greenwood Village. They consider themselves moderate Republicans and likely to support Mr. Gardner, but want to hear him make a case for himself and his record.

“I think his presence is being overshadowed by Donald Trump,” lamented Sandra Hagen Solin, a 51-year-old Republican who runs her own lobbying firm. “He needs to get his message out.”

That message, many Republicans insist, is a strong one. Mr. Gardner’s supporters often note how in the last four years, he has had more legislation signed into law than the rest of Colorado’s congressional delegation combined. But such is the trade-off, perhaps, of Mr. Gardner’s disappearing act: While it allows him to sidestep uncomfortable questions about the president, it also prevents him from aggressively promoting the record that Republican strategists believe he can win on.

Dick Wadhams, a veteran Colorado Republican operative, was not bashful about calling out Mr. Gardner’s fear of public exposure. “If I had one criticism of him,” Mr. Wadhams said, “it’s that his team keeps him locked up in a fortress.” (Mr. Gardner and his aides did not return multiple requests for comment.)

Impeachment has served only to highlight Mr. Gardner’s silence, whether on his own record or the national issues du jour, according to other Colorado Republicans. His caginess has frustrated some Trump supporters in Colorado, whose votes Mr. Gardner will almost certainly need to prevail in November, when Democrats are likely to come out in force in the presidential election.

“I think he wants to please everybody, but he needs to be more transparent,” Angela Carr, a 44-year-old flight attendant, said at the Denver Republican Party’s recent monthly breakfast.

Ms. Carr, who said she became a Republican “because of Trump,” recalled the October day that Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced a resolution condemning the House impeachment inquiry. “We’re watching all the other Republican senators sign on it, and we’re like, ‘O.K., Cory …’” she said. “And he finally did toward the end, but you kind of want to see your guy or gal more out there.”

She and others at the Denver breakfast acknowledged the political considerations that prevent Mr. Gardner from mirroring the approach of a Southern lawmaker like Mr. Graham on impeachment. In 2016, Mr. Trump lost Colorado to Hillary Clinton by just under five percentage points. In 2018, Democrats swept every statewide office in Colorado in what was largely seen as a rebuke to Mr. Trump’s administration. And now, Mr. Gardner, according to Morning Consult, has an approval rating of just 36 percent.

But many Republicans were quick to point out that Mr. Gardner is no stranger to long-shot races and the complicated political dynamics that come with them.

In 2014, Mr. Gardner, then a congressman, challenged Senator Mark Udall in a race where “Cory was seen as a dead man walking,” according to Tyler Sandberg, a Colorado Republican operative. The reason: Just two years earlier, President Barack Obama had beaten Mitt Romney in the state by more than five points.

But Mr. Gardner won his seat in 2014 by 2.5 percentage points, or about 50,000 votes, in a year when Republicans flipped nine Democratic-held seats nationwide and took control of the Senate. He was able to do so in large part, Mr. Sandberg said, “because he refused to let himself be pigeonholed into something he wasn’t.”

In his campaign, Mr. Udall sought to characterize Mr. Gardner as an extreme social conservative, which Mr. Gardner — in a steady stream of television ads, digital media and public appearances — consistently pushed back on.

It’s an approach that Republican strategists believe would work well in this environment, too, as some Democrats try to portray him as too pro-Trump and some conservatives say he is not pro-Trump enough.

“I’m confused as to why he’s not out on the stump more, because that’s what he was so good at in 2014,” Mr. Sandberg said.

In addition to not holding a town hall event since August 2017, Mr. Gardner has no upcoming events listed on his Facebook page. In an August 2019 editorial, The Greeley Tribune, which serves Mr. Gardner’s former congressional district, criticized the senator for his dearth of public events. “Gardner has been largely absent during the past five years when it comes to being available for his constituents, to whom he needs to be accountable,” the editorial board wrote.

And on impeachment, he has rankled even local talk radio hosts for dodging interviews. In late November, Steffan Tubbs, who hosts a Denver station owned by the conservative broadcast company Salem Media, told his viewers that Mr. Gardner’s team had declined a request to interview the senator about “the impeachment inquiry, campaign, and Thanksgiving plans.” Mr. Tubbs, who called Mr. Gardner “a friend,” criticized the senator for his “crickets” during “a very critical time in this administration.”

Some Republican voters sympathize with Mr. Gardner’s predicament. In his last town hall event, which was his first in a year, Mr. Gardner was all but shouted offstage by liberal protesters as he tried to explain his efforts to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act.

“I don’t blame a senator or congressman for trying to find another way to engage that’s actually productive and collaborative,” said Debbie Brown, the president of the Colorado Business Roundtable, who considers herself a moderate Republican.

But other observers think he missed an opportunity, if only to make a point about liberals like those who shouted him down. “I thought Cory should have held one town hall after another right away, then stopped them on the grounds the left was so asinine,” said Lynn Bartels, a former longtime political reporter in Colorado.

Mr. Gardner’s supporters are optimistic that once voters hear the extent of his record “separate from Trump,” as Ms. Solin put it, his stance on the president will matter less. His supporters point to his yearslong effort to relocate the Bureau of Land Management from Washington, D.C., to Colorado, which the administration has announced as officially underway. They also promote his work with Democrats including Senator Elizabeth Warren to allow cannabis businesses access to the banking industry in states like Colorado, where marijuana is legal.

Mr. Gardner is likely to end up facing John Hickenlooper, the former Democratic governor now running for Senate, in the general election, and he will probably maintain many Republican votes — even if cast grudgingly.

At the recent Denver G.O.P. breakfast, where some people wore “Make America Great Again” and “Keep America Great” hats, but where Mr. Gardner’s campaign was limited to a leaflet, Herb Glasser, a 54-year-old public accountant, said he planned to support Mr. Gardner despite resigning himself to being “unhappy” with the senator a long time ago.

“We have no choice,” said Mr. Glasser, who described himself as a “true conservative.”

According to Mr. Sandberg, the G.O.P. operative, it’s now up to Mr. Gardner’s campaign to reach those Coloradans who, despite their disdain for the president, might still be persuaded to give his party a chance.

Voters, perhaps, like Amy Conklin. Ms. Conklin, a former Littleton City Council member, is a registered Democrat, but says she has long “put out yard signs for both sides.” She was a legislative aide when Mr. Gardner was a member of the state House, and remembers him as “a really good legislator,” someone who “would reach across the aisle.”

Her feelings since have changed. “I’ve been intensely disappointed in his behavior since he’s gone to Washington,” she said.

Ms. Conklin conceded that Mr. Gardner had done some good work in the Senate. But what looms largest in her mind, what she says she’d be hardest pressed to forget, are a handful of photographs she’s seen of Mr. Gardner, including one from last winter, in which she described him as “smiling and waving, following Trump out of Air Force One.”

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