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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 120)

The Impeachment Show Fleshes Out Its Back Story

Westlake Legal Group 04IMPEACHMENT-TV-facebookJumbo The Impeachment Show Fleshes Out Its Back Story United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Television Karlan, Pamela S Gerhardt, Michael J

More and more often, absorbing TV serials don’t just stand on their own. There are ancillary shows, explainers, deep dives for the superfans. The HBO mini-series “Chernobyl” inspired a successful podcast exploring the history behind the dramatized events. “The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones” and Bravo’s reality series have inspired talk shows devoted to analyzing and theorizing about them.

The first day of the House Judiciary Committee hearings on impeachment was, in its way, that kind of companion piece for the House Intelligence Committee hearings that preceded it.

That earlier series, unfolding over two weeks in November, provided the text for the four constitutional scholars featured on Wednesday — three invited by Democrats, one by Republicans — to chew over. The November hearings introduced compelling characters like the fact witnesses William B. Taylor Jr. and Fiona Hill. They set up story lines and stakes and established the setting. They had elements of courtroom-style drama, including when President Trump injected himself into the proceedings via Twitter.

Those hearings were the story. Wednesday’s was like the detailed recap: a historical, legal and earnestly wonky breakdown of why it matters if the president pressured the government of Ukraine to kneecap his political rival, and an argument over whether the charge was yet substantiated.

The Democrats running the hearing even borrowed a familiar format from recap series, like “Talking Dead,” and sports postgame shows, playing back video highlight clips and asking their experts to analyze them: Gordon D. Sondland testifying that “everyone was in the loop,” President Trump declaring that “I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

It was as if to say: Here’s what you saw previously on “Impeachment” — now let’s dig in to why you should care.

It was a program designed not to detail recent history — timelines, phone calls — but to pull back into legal theory and historical context. Way back, in some cases, with references to numerous founding fathers, Sir Thomas More and John Mordaunt, a 17th-century English viscount who faced impeachment.

The discussion assumed an audience that was willing to journey deep into the weeds and nerd out on the Constitution, like a political-historical podcast minus the Blue Apron ads.

Which is not to say there wasn’t drama. Early on, Pamela S. Karlan, a professor at Stanford, told Representative Doug Collins, Republican of Georgia, that she was “insulted” at his implication that the academic experts appearing Wednesday could not have had enough time to read the transcripts from the November hearings. Later, she clashed with Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, the reliably explosive geyser of the Republican impeachment opposition, over her contributions to Democratic candidates.

Other witnesses drew the stakes for democracy starkly. Michael J. Gerhardt, from the University of North Carolina, said, “If what we are talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable.” Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, the Republicans’ invitee, suggested that a rushed impeachment would be inconsistent with “the rule of law.”

There was more continuity with last month’s hearings in the committee members’ questions, many of which were of the more-a-comment-than-a-question variety. Like a network spinoff, they even brought over returning characters from the original series, including Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who reprised his car-alarm barrage of excoriation for Democrats and flattery of President Trump’s Electoral College margin.

By and large, though, the first day of the judiciary hearings was a less histrionic one. Members of the Democratic majority wanted to give the proceedings gravity and historical weight, using most of their questions to ask their experts to weigh in on the historical scale and enormity of the offenses Mr. Trump is accused of and only occasionally challenging Mr. Turley.

The Republican minority, meanwhile, seemed to want to cast the proceedings as so dull that the viewing audience would tune out. (This is the only show on TV half of whose cast is praying for its cancellation.) Representative Ben Cline of Virginia imagined a family watching the hearing at home and mistaking it for a “rerun.” And Mr. Collins, in his opening remarks, said that “America will see why most people don’t go to law school.”

The morning TV audience did go to law school, however, for at least a few hours. (The broadcast networks cut away early in the afternoon on the East Coast.)

This may not have pleased those viewers, or commentators, who measure their congressional hearings by the bombshell. But for anyone interested in a deep-dive TV lesson on the roots and theory of impeachment, class was in session. You just had to dodge the occasional spitball.

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

Key Moments from the First Impeachment Hearing in the Judiciary Committee

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_165421116_48a4c371-3d52-456b-a2d8-424bdda35a80-articleLarge Key Moments from the First Impeachment Hearing in the Judiciary Committee Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

Noah Feldman, left, Pamela S. Karlan, and Michael Gerhardt were sworn in to testify before Congress on Wednesday.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Three constitutional scholars invited by Democrats to testify at the first impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee said that President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political gain clearly met the historical definition of impeachable offenses.

Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard, argued that attempts by Mr. Trump to withhold a White House meeting and military assistance from Ukraine as leverage for political favors constitute impeachable conduct, as was the act of soliciting foreign assistance on a phone call with Ukraine’s leader.

“President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency,” Mr. Feldman said. “Specifically, President Trump has abused his office by corruptly soliciting President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election.”

Michael J. Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, argued that Mr. Trump had “committed several impeachable offenses” by taking actions regarding Ukraine that were worse than Richard Nixon’s misconduct during Watergate.

“If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on his behalf in the next election,” Mr. Gerhardt said.

Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, told lawmakers that the president’s attempt to “strong arm a foreign leader” would not be considered politics as usual by historical standards.

“It is, instead, a cardinal reason why the Constitution contains an impeachment power,” she said. “PIf we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account.”

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who was invited to testify by the committee’s Republicans, offered the lone dissent, arguing in his opening statement that Mr. Trump should not be impeached.

In a 53-page written statement submitted to the committee, Mr. Turley made it clear that he is not a supporter of the president. But he argued that the Democratic impeachment case is dangerously “slipshod” and premature.

“If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president,” he said.

Offering an exhaustive and colorful account of the history of impeachment, Mr. Turley agreed with the other panelists that “a quid pro quo to force the investigation of a political rival in exchange for military aid can be impeachable, if proven.”

But for that to be the case, he said, the evidence has to be stronger. and argued the current case is destined for “collapse in a Senate trial.”

Westlake Legal Group 00impeachment-archetypes-videopromo-image-articleLarge-v2 Key Moments from the First Impeachment Hearing in the Judiciary Committee Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

The Impeachment Inquiry’s Main Players

Here are the lawmakers to watch as the process unfolds.

Several Republicans accused the three scholars invited by Democrats as having arrived at the hearing with an anti-Trump bias.

Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida noted that Mr. Gerhardt contributed four times to former President Barack Obama, and that Ms. Karlan donated to the campaign of Mr. Obama, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren.

Representative Tom McClintock, Republican of California, tried without success to get the witnesses to raise their hands if they voted for Mr. Trump.

“I have the right to a secret ballot,” Ms. Karlan objected.

Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, asserted that Mr. Gerhardt, Ms. Karlan and Mr. Feldman arrived with their minds made up about whether the president should be impeached and removed from office.

“What I’m suggesting to you today is a reckless bias coming in here,” Mr. Biggs said. “You’re not fact witnesses. You’re supposed to be talking about what the law is. But you came in with a preconceived notion and bias.

The witnesses did not always sit and take it. After Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the panel’s top Republican, accused the scholars of failing to have any knowledge of the facts of the impeachment case, Ms. Karlan took him to task.

“Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts,” she told him. “So I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”

Melania Trump, the first lady, lashed out at Ms. Karlan, who was invited by Democrats to testify at Wednesday’s hearing, for mentioning her 13-year-old son while making a point in the hearing.

Discussing the distinction between kings and presidents, Ms. Karlan said that, “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. While the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”

Mrs. Trump took to Twitter to chide Ms. Karlan for the comment, echoing a chorus of outrage from Mr. Trump’s allies about it.

“Only in the minds of crazed liberals is it funny to drag a 13-year-old child into the impeachment nonsense,” Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary for Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, said in a statement.

Representative Mike Johnson, Republican of Louisiana, read the tweet aloud during the hearing and Ms. Karlan later apologized, saying, “it was wrong of me to do that.” But she added that she wished the president would also apologize for the things that he has done.

Viewers of Wednesday’s impeachment hearing could be excused for thinking that there were two completely separate panels — one when Democrats were asking the questions and another when Republicans were talking.

In fact, there was just one panel of four witnesses, sitting next to each other. But it was often hard to tell that the fourth witness — Mr. Turley — was there when Democrats had the microphone, because they all but ignored him.

That was particularly stark during the 45 minutes of questioning led by Representative Jerrold Nadler, the panel’s chairman, and the committee’s lawyer. At one point, the lawyer said he had a question for the entire panel, only to ignore Mr. Turley’s presence.

But Republicans did the same thing when it was their turn, directing almost all of their questions to Mr. Turley and letting the three scholars invited by the Democrats to simply sit silently while the cameras focused on Mr. Turley.

The witnesses disagreed about one of the major legal issues facing the House: whether,Mr. Trump’s actions amounted to solicitation of a bribe — one of the specific offenses listed in the Constitution as grounds for impeachment.

Ms. Karlan, a witness invited by Democrats, put it bluntly: “If you conclude that he asked for the investigation of Vice President Biden and his son for political reasons, that is to aid his re-election, then, yes, you have bribery here.”

But Mr. Turley, the Republican-invited witness, said it was not clear. Citing the case of a French king who gave money and “other benefits, including apparently a French mistress,” to an English king in exchange for signing a secret treaty, Mr. Turley suggested that the example was too different from the accusation against Mr. Trump.

He also noted that the Supreme Court in 2016 unanimously threw out the public corruption conviction of Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginiasaying a federal bribery statute had to be interpreted narrowly.

But Mr. Feldman said that the meaning of the word “bribery” for impeachment purposes was broader than any federal statute.

“Bribery had a clear meaning,” to the framers, Mr. Feldman said. “If the House believes that the president solicited something of value in the form of investigations or an announcement of investigations, and that he did so corruptly for personal gain, then that would constitute bribery under the meaning of the Constitution and it would not be lawless. It would bribery under the law.”
— Charlie Savage

If Democratic and Republican lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee were hoping that Wednesday’s hearing would provide sound bites they can use to support their position on impeaching President Trump, they were not disappointed.

The three law professors invited to testify by the Democrats on the committee delivered a series of powerful one-liners.

Mr. Gerhardt said seeking election interference from a foreign leader would be “a horrifying abuse of power.” He said Mr. Trump’s refusal to obey congressional subpoenas is “direct assault on the legitimacy of this inquiry.”

Mr. Feldman declared that “if we cannot impeach a president who uses his power for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy.” And Ms. Karlan offered the following, pithy line that Democrats will no doubt seize upon: “President Trump must be held to account.”

But Mr. Turley, who was invited to testify by Republicans, offered one-liners that Mr. Trump and his allies can use as well. He declared the evidence against the president to be “wafer-thin” and he colorfully compared the Democratic case for impeachment to be lacking.

“This isn’t improvisational jazz — close enough is not good enough,” Mr. Turley told the lawmakers. If that wasn’t clear enough, Mr. Turley said the case for impeachment “is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous.”

Senators used their weekly closed-door luncheons on Wednesday to discuss how they would handle a trial of Mr. Trump should the House impeach him.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, gave a presentation outlining the mechanics of a trial, according to a senior aide who discussed the private lunch on condition of anonymity. Mr. Schumer played video clips from the 1999 trial of Bill Clinton. (Only seven of the 47 Democrats were in the Senate back then.)

Republicans, for their part, had lunch with Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, and Tony Sayegh and Pam Bondi, who have been temporarily hired by the White House to help orchestrate Mr. Trump’s impeachment strategy.

Mr. Cipollone told senators that the president was eager to present a case for his defense in the Senate, should the House vote to impeach him.

“But he said over a number of times, we don’t think there is any reason the House should send this to the Senate,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri.

Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, raised the prospect of bringing witnesses to the chamber as part of a Senate trial, saying it would be critical for Mr. Trump to be allowed to mount a defense “given the fatally flawed process in the House.”

In a nod to the uncertainties of a possible trial, the Senate on Wednesday released its 2020 legislative calendar with no month of January included, leaving the timing of any impeachment proceeding there entirely up in the air.
Emily Cochrane and Catie Edmondson

Within the first hour of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel lived up to its reputation for partisan rancor. Republicans interrupted the proceedings to present Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the committee’s chairman, with a letter demanding a day of minority hearings.

They also forced votes on motions to call Mr. Schiff to testify before the panel and to suspend and postpone the hearing.

Democrats knocked each down along party lines, but the proceeding stood in stark contrast with those of the relatively staid and orderly proceedings of Intelligence Committee that carried the impeachment inquiry for the last two months.

In between the Republican parliamentary maneuvers, Mr. Nadler made no effort to cover up the unruly circumstances, but he put the blame on Mr. Trump.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the storm in which we find ourselves today was set in motion by President Trump,” Mr. Nadler said. “I do not wish this moment on the country. It is not a pleasant task that we undertake today. But we have each taken an oath to protect the Constitution, and the facts before us are clear.”

When his turn to speak arrived, Mr. Collins offered a hard-edged rebuke of the Democrats.

“This may be a new time, a new place and we may be all scrubbed up and looking pretty for impeachment,” Mr. Collins said. “This is not an impeachment. This just a simple railroad job and today’s is a waste of time.”
Nicholas Fandos

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

Impeachment Hearing Updates: Scholars Testify Trump’s Conduct Was Impeachable

Video

Westlake Legal Group 04vid-impeachment-live-2-videoSixteenByNine3000 Impeachment Hearing Updates: Scholars Testify Trump’s Conduct Was Impeachable Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

The Judiciary Committee House panel begins its hearings to debate and determine articles of impeachment. They will hear from four legal scholars about the basis for impeachment.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_165421116_48a4c371-3d52-456b-a2d8-424bdda35a80-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Updates: Scholars Testify Trump’s Conduct Was Impeachable Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

Noah Feldman, left, Pamela S. Karlan, and Michael Gerhardt were sworn in to testify before Congress on Wednesday.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Three constitutional scholars invited by Democrats to testify at Wednesday’s impeachment hearings said that President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political gain clearly met the historical definition of impeachable offenses.

The three law professors appeared in the first impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee as it kicked off a debate about whether to draft articles of impeachment against the president.

Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard, argued that attempts by Mr. Trump to withhold a White House meeting and military assistance from Ukraine as leverage for political favors constitute impeachable conduct, as was the act of soliciting foreign assistance on a phone call with Ukraine’s leader.

“President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency,” Mr. Feldman said. “Specifically, President Trump has abused his office by corruptly soliciting President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election.”

Michael J. Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, argued that Mr. Trump had “committed several impeachable offenses” by taking actions regarding Ukraine that were worse than Richard Nixon’s misconduct during Watergate.

“If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on his behalf in the next election,” Mr. Gerhardt said, adding that Mr. Trump’s actions “are worse than the misconduct of any prior president.”

Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, told lawmakers that the president’s attempt to “strong arm a foreign leader” would not be considered politics as usual by historical standards.

“It is, instead, a cardinal reason why the Constitution contains an impeachment power,” she said. “Put simply, a president should resist foreign interference in our elections, not demand it and not welcome it. If we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account.”

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who was invited to testify by the committee’s Republicans, offered the lone dissent, arguing in his opening statement that Mr. Trump should not be impeached.

In a 53-page written statement submitted to the committee, Mr. Turley made it clear that he is not a supporter of the president and believes that the Ukraine matter warranted investigation. But he argued that the Democratic impeachment case is dangerously “slipshod” and premature.

“I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” he said. “If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.”

Offering an exhaustive and colorful account of the history of impeachment, Mr. Turley agreed with the other panelists that “a quid pro quo to force the investigation of a political rival in exchange for military aid can be impeachable, if proven.”

But for that to be the case, he said, the evidence has to be stronger. Witnesses like Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, must be heard from — not just spoken about by other witnesses. He argued the current case is destined for “collapse in a Senate trial.”

Westlake Legal Group 00impeachment-archetypes-videopromo-image-articleLarge-v2 Impeachment Hearing Updates: Scholars Testify Trump’s Conduct Was Impeachable Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

The Impeachment Inquiry’s Main Players

Here are the lawmakers to watch as the process unfolds.

The witnesses disagreed about one of the major legal issues facing the House: whether, if Mr. Trump did condition his performance of official actions like holding a White House meeting and releasing military aid on whether Ukraine would announce the investigations he wanted, that amounted to solicitation of a bribe — one of the specific offenses listed in the Constitution as grounds for impeachment.

Ms. Karlan, a witness invited by Democrats, put it bluntly: “If you conclude that he asked for the investigation of Vice President Biden and his son for political reasons, that is to aid his re-election, then, yes, you have bribery here.”

But Mr. Turley, the Republican-invited witness, said it was not a clear case of bribery. He said that a specific case of bribery the writers of the Constitution discussed was when a French king gave money and “other benefits, including apparently a French mistress,” to an English king in exchange for signing a secret treaty and converting to Catholicism. Mr. Turley suggested that example was too different from the accusation against Mr. Trump.

He also noted that the Supreme Court in 2016 unanimously threw out the public corruption conviction of Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia, whom prosecutors had accused of taking gifts from a businessman while performing official acts that benefited him. The court said what counted as bribery under a federal statute had to be interpreted narrowly.

But Mr. Feldman said that the meaning of the word “bribery” for impeachment purposes was broader than any federal statute — because a federal statute can’t change the Constitution.

“Bribery had a clear meaning,” to the framers, Mr. Feldman said. “If the House believes that the president solicited something of value in the form of investigations or an announcement of investigations, and that he did so corruptly for personal gain, then that would constitute bribery under the meaning of the Constitution and it would not be lawless. It would bribery under the law.”
— Charlie Savage

Speaker Nancy Pelosi convened a rare members-only Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday morning to rally her rank-and-file as the impeachment proceedings against President Trump got underway.

“Are you ready?” Ms. Pelosi asked a roomful of Democrats.

They were, the lawmakers responded in unison, according to multiple people in the room who described the private meeting on condition of anonymity.

The Democrats gave a standing ovation to Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has spearheaded the impeachment investigation. Mr. Schiff presented his panel’s 300-page report made public on Tuesday detailing the Democrats’ case against the president and fielded questions.

“Nancy said, ‘Keep your cool and read the report,’” said Representative Donna Shalala, Democrat of Florida.

Representative Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota said the tenor of the room was, “Unanimity.”

As Ms. Pelosi mobilized her members, Vice President Mike Pence was delivering his own battle cry to Republicans at their weekly conference meeting. Mr. Pence praised the lawmakers and said he and Mr. Trump were proud of them for their strong impeachment defense, said an official familiar with the remarks.

But Mr. Pence also issued a marching order: “Turn up the heat” on House Democrats, he said.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Catie Edmondson

Within the first hour of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel lived up to its reputation for partisan rancor. Republicans interrupted the proceedings to present Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the committee’s chairman, with a letter demanding a day of minority hearings.

They also forced votes on motions to call Mr. Schiff to testify before the panel and to suspend and postpone the hearing.

Democrats knocked each down along party lines, but the proceeding stood in stark contrast with those of the relatively staid and orderly proceedings of Intelligence Committee that carried the impeachment inquiry for the last two months. And it was a harbinger of things to come as the impeachment battle enters a more intensive phase as Democrats rush toward a vote before Christmas.

In between the Republican parliamentary maneuvers, Mr. Nadler made no effort to cover up the unruly circumstances, but he put the blame on Mr. Trump.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the storm in which we find ourselves today was set in motion by President Trump,” Mr. Nadler said. “I do not wish this moment on the country. It is not a pleasant task that we undertake today. But we have each taken an oath to protect the Constitution, and the facts before us are clear.”

When his turn to speak arrived, Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the panel’s top Republican, offered a hard-edged rebuke of the Democrats.

“This may be a new time, a new place and we may be all scrubbed up and looking pretty for impeachment,” Mr. Collins said. “This is not an impeachment. This just a simple railroad job and today’s is a waste of time.”

Nicholas Fandos

As the minority party, Republicans have considerably less power in the Judiciary Committee than majority Democrats, but they can use parliamentary procedures to put up a fight and slow the proceedings. Republicans began availing themselves of those rights almost from the moment the hearing began, repeatedly interjecting and proposing motions, at times interrupting the witnesses mid-statement, and forcing Mr. Nadler to halt the process and hold a vote to lay aside the Republican objections.

They lost each time in party-line votes.

  • Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including the former vice president. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

Video

transcript

Admit It: You Don’t Know How Impeachment Works. We Can Help.

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.

“Impeachment by its nature, it’s a political process.” “What people think is going to happen can turn out to be very different from what happens.” “Because it has to do with elected officials holding another elected official to account for their conduct.” When the framers of the Constitution created a process to remove a president from office, they were well … kind of vague. So to understand how it’s going to play out, the past is really our best guide. “I think we’re just all in for a really crazy ride.” Collectively, these New York Times reporters have covered U.S. politics for over 150 years. “I’m also a drummer in a band, so …” They’ve reported on past impeachment inquiries. “Yea, I’m lost in Senate wonderland.” And they say that the three we’ve had so far have been full of twists and turns. “The president of the United States is not guilty as charged.” In short, expect the unexpected. First, the process. Impeachment is technically only the initial stage. “Common misconceptions about impeachment are that impeachment by itself means removal from office. It doesn’t. The impeachment part of the process is only the indictment that sets up a trial.” The Constitution describes offenses that are grounds for removing the president from office as bribery, treason and — “They say high crimes and misdemeanors, which, really, is in the eye of the beholder.” “The framers didn’t give us a guidebook to it. They simply said, that the House had the responsibility for impeachment and the Senate had the responsibility for the trial.” One of the things missing from the Constitution? How an impeachment inquiry should start. And that has generally been a source of drama. Basically, anything goes. “In fact, in the Andrew Johnson case they voted to impeach him without even having drafted the articles of impeachment.” For Richard Nixon, his case started with several investigations that led to public hearings. That part of the process went on for two years, and yielded revelation after revelation, connecting Nixon to a politically-motivated burglary at D.N.C. headquarters — “… located in the Watergate office building.” — and its subsequent cover-up. “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?” “I was aware of listening devices. Yes, sir.” “This was a shocker. Everybody in the White House recognized how damaging this could be.” As the House drafted articles of impeachment, Nixon lost the support of his party. “O.K., I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.” “I was asked to write the farewell piece that ran the morning after Nixon resigned. And this is what I wrote: The central question is how a man who won so much could have lost so much.” So for Nixon, it more or less ended after the investigations. But for Bill Clinton, that phase was just the beginning. “This is the information.” An independent counsel’s investigation into his business dealings unexpectedly turned into a very public inquiry about his personal life. “The idea that a president of the United States was having an affair with a White House intern and then a federal prosecutor was looking at that, it was just extraordinary.” That investigation led to public hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. “When the Starr Report was being delivered to Congress it was a little bit like the O.J. chase, only a political one. There were two black cars. They were being filmed live on CNN. They were heading towards the Capitol. We were watching it and a little bit agog.” Public opinion is key. And the media plays a huge part in the process. This was definitely true for Clinton. “You know it was just a crazy time. We worked in the Senate press gallery.” “All your colleagues are kind of piled on top of each other.” “We had crummy computers, the fax machine would always break. The printer would always break.” After committee hearings, the House brought formal impeachment charges. “It was very tense. I thought that the Saturday of the impeachment vote in the House was one of the most tense days I’d experienced in Washington.” And it turned out, also, full of surprises. “The day of impeachment arrived, everyone’s making very impassioned speeches about whether Bill Clinton should or should not be impeached and Livingston rises to give an argument for the House Republicans. He started to talk about how Clinton could resign.” “You, sir, may resign your post.” “And all of a sudden people start booing and saying, ‘Resign, resign’!” “So I must set the example.” “He announced he was resigning because he had had extramarital affairs and challenged President Clinton to do the only honorable thing, in his view —” “I hope President Clinton will follow.” “— to resign as well, so there was all this drama unfolding even in the midst of impeachment.” Then it went to the Senate for trial. The Constitution gets a little more specific about this part. “The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is supposed to preside over that trial.” “Rehnquist, he showed up in this robe he had made for himself, which had gold stripes on the sleeves because he liked Gilbert and Sullivan.” “The Senate is the actual jury.” “You will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws. So help you, God.” “This is a copy of the rules of the Senate for handling impeachment. They’re actually very specific.” “Meet six days a week.” “Convene at noon. The senators have to sit at their desks and remain quiet in their role as jurors. And not talk, which trust me, is going to be a problem for some of the senators who are used to talking all the time.” It’s just like a courtroom trial. There are prosecutors who present the case against the president. “That was perjury.” Only, they’re members of the House, and they’re called managers. Then the senators, or the jurors, vote. And things are still, unpredictable. “The options are guilty or not guilty. But there was one senator —” “Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania.” “Under Scottish law, there are three possible verdicts: guilty, not guilty and not proved.” “— which is not a thing.” “And everybody just looks, you know, how do you even record that vote?” In the end, there were not enough votes to oust Clinton. “What’s amazing about this whole thing to me wasn’t so much the constitutional process. It was that it felt to me like the beginning of really intense partisanship, the weaponization of partisanship.” And here’s the thing: An impeachment charge has never gotten the two-thirds majority it needs in the Senate to actually oust a president from office. “So you could end up having a situation where the president is impeached, acquitted and runs for re-election and wins re-election.” And that would be a first. “This is my ticket to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. I don’t think you’ll find these on StubHub.”

Westlake Legal Group xx-impeachment-explainer-vid-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Impeachment Hearing Updates: Scholars Testify Trump’s Conduct Was Impeachable Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.CreditCredit…Photo illustration by Aaron Byrd

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Scholars Call Trump’s Actions on Ukraine an Impeachable Abuse of Power

Westlake Legal Group 04dc-impeach1-facebookJumbo Scholars Call Trump’s Actions on Ukraine an Impeachable Abuse of Power United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Karlan, Pamela S impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on the Judiciary Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee opened an epic partisan clash over the impeachment of President Trump on Wednesday at a hearing where Democrats and Republicans offered up dueling legal scholars who disagreed over whether the president’s conduct rose to the constitutional threshold to warrant his removal from office.

At the start of a new phase in Democrats’ fast-moving push to impeach Mr. Trump, three law professors they invited to testify declared that the president’s move to press Ukraine to investigate his political rivals constituted an abuse of power that was clearly impeachable, crossing crucial boundaries established by the nation’s founders to ensure the sanctity of American democracy. The appropriate and necessary remedy, they argued, was impeachment.

“If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” Michael J. Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, told the panel. “This is precisely the misconduct that the framers created the Constitution, including impeachment, to protect against.”

A fourth witness, called by Republicans, said that might be the case, but argued that Democrats had failed to prove their case against Mr. Trump and risked dangerously lowering the standards for impeachment for decades to come if they drove forward with a “fast and narrow,” and entirely partisan, process.

“I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” said the witness, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University. “To impeach a president on such a record would be to expose every future president to the same type of inchoate impeachment.”

The dispute unfolded as members of both parties braced for a historic confrontation in the weeks to come over whether to make Mr. Trump only the third president in history to be impeached.

“Are you ready?” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, privately asked a roomful of Democrats meeting behind closed doors before the Judiciary Committee’s proceedings began. They were, the lawmakers answered in unison, according to people who attended the session who discussed it on the condition of anonymity to describe a confidential gathering.

Nearby, Vice President Mike Pence was delivering his own battle cry to Republicans at their weekly conference meeting. “Turn up the heat” on House Democrats, he instructed them, according to an official familiar with his comments who spoke about them on the condition of anonymity.

Inside the House Ways and Means Committee’s hearing room, the political divisions briefly receded amid a loftier debate among the constitutional scholars about executive power and accountability, and the standards by which Congress should move to oust a sitting president.

Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard, argued that Mr. Trump’s decision to withhold a White House meeting and military assistance from Ukraine while he demanded political favors from its president was a classic impeachable abuse of power.

“If we cannot impeach a president who uses his power for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy,” Mr. Feldman said. “We live in a monarchy or a dictatorship.”

But Mr. Turley argued that Democrats were tainting the very concept of impeachment by sloppily applying what should be an ironclad set of standards for the most drastic remedy available to hold an American president accountable for wrongdoing. For instance, he said, Democrats were interpreting the concept of bribery too broadly when they used the word to describe Mr. Trump’s conduct.

“This isn’t improvisational jazz — close enough is not good enough,” Mr. Turley said. “If you’re going to accuse a president of bribery, you need to make it stick, because you’re trying to remove a duly elected president of the United States.”

Within the first half-hour of the Judiciary Committee’s work, it was clear that the impeachment proceedings had entered a new, more cantankerous stage. The panel, stacked with some of the House’s most ideologically progressive and conservative lawmakers, lived up to its reputation for partisan rancor. Republicans repeatedly tried to grind the proceedings to a halt with parliamentary demands, while the Democrats tried to press forward undaunted, eyeing an impeachment vote by the full House before Christmas.

Democrats and Republicans also sparred bitterly over the findings of the two-month-long House Intelligence Committee investigation, concluded a day earlier. In a 300-page report released on Tuesday, the Intelligence panel asserted that Mr. Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election, while withholding a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president and $391 million in security assistance, and then tried to conceal his actions from Congress. Republicans submitted dissenting views that rejected any wrongdoing.

“President Trump welcomed foreign interference in the 2016 election,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the Judiciary Committee’s chairman, trying to establish a web of misconduct by Mr. Trump broader than just Ukraine. “He demanded it for the 2020 election.”

Mr. Nadler added: “The president has shown us his pattern of conduct. If we do not act to hold him in check — now — President Trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal, political benefit.”

Questioning the witnesses, Democrats hinted at articles of impeachment that could be brought forward in public as soon as next week. They included abuse of power and bribery related to the Ukraine matter and obstruction of justice stemming from the findings of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian election interference. They also appeared to be building a case to charge Mr. Trump with obstruction of Congress for his refusal to allow aides to testify in the impeachment inquiry and a blockade on documentary evidence requested by the House.

Republicans on the panel, who represent some of the most outspoken conservative defenders of Mr. Trump in the House, sought to portray the case as a political hit job. And they disputed vigorously that Democrats had proved that Mr. Trump directed a pressure campaign on Ukraine.

“This may be a new time, a new place and we may be all scrubbed up and looking pretty for impeachment,” said Representative Doug Collins, Republican of Georgia. “This is not an impeachment. This is simply a railroad job, and today is a waste of time.”

Mr. Trump, in Britain for the 70th anniversary of the North American Treaty Organization, called impeachment “a dirty word that should only be used in special occasions.”

The Judiciary Committee is expected to convene one to two more hearings before it begins drafting and debating articles of impeachment. In the coming days, the panel will almost certainly hear a formal presentation of evidence from Democratic and Republican lawyers for the Intelligence Committee on the conclusions of their investigation into the Ukraine matter.

The panel could also hold another session to allow Mr. Trump’s lawyers to present a formal defense, including by calling witnesses, if the White House requests it. Mr. Nadler has given the president and his team until Friday to decide whether they will participate in proceedings that they have so far shunned. Democrats must also decide whether to grant Republicans a minority day of hearings they formally requested on Wednesday.

Much of the day was given over to a historical discussion of the founders, their intent and the application of the Constitution’s reference to “high crimes and misdemeanors” in past presidential impeachments. But if the references were high-minded, the witnesses’ statements were quickly digested into the larger political debate raging on the dais.

Mr. Gerhardt and the two other legal experts called by Democrats said they agreed that Mr. Trump’s actions in the Ukraine and Russia matters warranted articles of impeachment on abuse of power, bribery and obstruction of justice. They also agreed that Mr. Trump’s stonewalling of Congress was itself impeachable.

Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, told lawmakers that the president’s attempt to “strong-arm a foreign leader” would not be considered politics as usual by historical standards.

“Drawing a foreign government into our election process is an especially serious abuse of power because it undermines democracy itself,” Ms. Karlan said.

In Mr. Turley, Republicans reached for a well-respected scholar familiar to lawmakers, whose opposition to Mr. Trump’s policies, they believe, makes him a more powerful messenger than those who would reflexively defend him.

In a 53-page statement submitted to the committee, Mr. Turley made it clear that he was not a supporter of the president and believed that the Ukraine matter warranted investigation. But he said the facts were simply not yet developed and offered a lengthy rebuttal of his fellow witnesses.

“Impeachments have to be based on truths, not on assumptions,” Mr. Turley said. “That’s the problem when you move toward impeachment on an abbreviated schedule.”

He took particular aim at claims that Mr. Trump’s actions met the standard for bribery charges and obstruction of Congress. Without going to court to ask a judge to enforce their subpoenas, he argued, Democrats’ case for obstruction lacked important validation.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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Impeachment Hearing Updates: Scholars Call Trump’s Actions an Abuse of Power

Video

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165415191_fb6082c6-debb-4b88-b37f-e6e25bd664be-superJumbo Impeachment Hearing Updates: Scholars Call Trump’s Actions an Abuse of Power Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

The Judiciary Committee House panel begins its hearings to debate and determine articles of impeachment. They will hear from four legal scholars about the basis for impeachment.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group 04dc-impeachbriefing2-sub-articleLarge-v2 Impeachment Hearing Updates: Scholars Call Trump’s Actions an Abuse of Power Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

The constitutional scholars were sworn in to testify Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Three constitutional scholars invited by Democrats to testify at Wednesday’s impeachment hearings said that President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political gain clearly meet the historical definition of impeachable offenses, according to copies of their opening statements.

The three law professors appeared in the first impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee as it kicked off a debate about whether to draft articles of impeachment against the president.

Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard, argued that attempts by Mr. Trump to withhold a White House meeting and military assistance from Ukraine as leverage for political favors constitute impeachable conduct, as does the act of soliciting foreign assistance on a phone call with Ukraine’s leader.

“President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency,” Mr. Feldman said. “Specifically, President Trump abused his office by corruptly soliciting President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election.”

Michael J. Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, planned to argue that Mr. Trump had “committed several impeachable offenses” by taking actions regarding Ukraine that were worse than Richard Nixon’s misconduct during Watergate.

“If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on his behalf in the next election,” Mr. Gerhardt planned to say, adding that Mr. Trump’s actions “are worse than the misconduct of any prior president.”

Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, told lawmakers that the president’s attempt to “strong arm a foreign leader” would not be considered politics as usual by historical standards.

“It is, instead, a cardinal reason why the Constitution contains an impeachment power,” she said. “Put simply, a candidate for president should resist foreign interference in our elections, not demand it. If we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account.”

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who was invited to testify by the committee’s Republicans, offered the lone dissent, arguing in his opening statement that Mr. Trump should not be impeached.

In a 53-page written statement submitted to the committee, Mr. Turley made it clear that he is not a supporter of the president and believes that the Ukraine matter warranted investigation. But he argued that the Democratic impeachment case is dangerously “slipshod” and premature.

“I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” he said. “If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.”

Offering an exhaustive and colorful account of the history of impeachment, Mr. Turley agreed with the other panelists that “a quid pro quo to force the investigation of a political rival in exchange for military aid can be impeachable, if proven.”

But for that to be the case, he said, the evidence has to be stronger. Witnesses like Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, must be heard from — not just spoken about by other witnesses. He argued the current case is destined for “collapse in a Senate trial.”

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The Impeachment Inquiry’s Main Players

Here are the lawmakers to watch as the process unfolds.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi convened a rare members-only Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday morning to rally her rank-and-file members as the impeachment proceedings against President Trump got underway.

“Are you ready?” Ms. Pelosi asked.

They are, Democratic lawmakers responded in unison, according to multiple people in the room who described the private meeting on condition of anonymity.

The Democrats gave a standing ovation to Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has spearheaded the impeachment investigation. Mr. Schiff presented his panel’s 300-page report made public on Tuesday detailing the Democrats’ case against the president and fielded questions.

“Nancy said, ‘Keep your cool and read the report,’” said Representative Donna Shalala, Democrat of Florida.

Representative Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota said the tenor of the room was, “Unanimity.”

As Ms. Pelosi mobilized her members, Vice President Mike Pence was delivering his own battle cry to Republicans at their weekly conference meeting. Mr. Pence praised the lawmakers and said he and Mr. Trump were proud of them for their strong impeachment defense, said an official familiar with the remarks.

But Mr. Pence also issued a marching order: “Turn up the heat” on House Democrats, he said.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Catie Edmondson

Within the first hour of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel lived up to its reputation for partisan rancor. Republicans interrupted the proceedings to present Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the committee’s chairman, with a letter demanding a day of minority hearings.

They also forced votes on motions to call Mr. Schiff to testify before the panel and to suspend and postpone the hearing.

Democrats knocked each down along party lines, but the proceeding stood in stark contrast with those of the relatively staid and orderly proceedings of Intelligence Committee that carried the impeachment inquiry for the last two months. And it was a harbinger of things to come as the impeachment battle enters a more intensive phase as Democrats rush toward a vote before Christmas.

In between the Republican parliamentary maneuvers, Mr. Nadler made no effort to cover up the unruly circumstances, but he put the blame on Mr. Trump.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the storm in which we find ourselves today was set in motion by President Trump,” Mr. Nadler said. “I do not wish this moment on the country. It is not a pleasant task that we undertake today. But we have each taken an oath to protect the Constitution, and the facts before us are clear.”

When his turn to speak arrived, Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the panel’s top Republican, offered a hard-edged rebuke of the Democrats.

“This may be a new time, a new place and we may be all scrubbed up and looking pretty for impeachment,” Mr. Collins said. “This is not an impeachment. This just a simple railroad job and today’s is a waste of time.”

Nicholas Fandos

As the minority party, Republicans have considerably less power in the Judiciary Committee than majority Democrats, but they can use parliamentary procedures to put up a fight and slow the proceedings. Republicans began availing themselves of those rights almost from the moment the hearing began, repeatedly interjecting and proposing motions, at times interrupting the witnesses mid-statement, and forcing Mr. Nadler to halt the process and hold a vote to lay aside the Republican objections.

They lost each time in party-line votes.

  • Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including the former vice president. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

Video

transcript

Admit It: You Don’t Know How Impeachment Works. We Can Help.

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.

“Impeachment by its nature, it’s a political process.” “What people think is going to happen can turn out to be very different from what happens.” “Because it has to do with elected officials holding another elected official to account for their conduct.” When the framers of the Constitution created a process to remove a president from office, they were well … kind of vague. So to understand how it’s going to play out, the past is really our best guide. “I think we’re just all in for a really crazy ride.” Collectively, these New York Times reporters have covered U.S. politics for over 150 years. “I’m also a drummer in a band, so …” They’ve reported on past impeachment inquiries. “Yea, I’m lost in Senate wonderland.” And they say that the three we’ve had so far have been full of twists and turns. “The president of the United States is not guilty as charged.” In short, expect the unexpected. First, the process. Impeachment is technically only the initial stage. “Common misconceptions about impeachment are that impeachment by itself means removal from office. It doesn’t. The impeachment part of the process is only the indictment that sets up a trial.” The Constitution describes offenses that are grounds for removing the president from office as bribery, treason and — “They say high crimes and misdemeanors, which, really, is in the eye of the beholder.” “The framers didn’t give us a guidebook to it. They simply said, that the House had the responsibility for impeachment and the Senate had the responsibility for the trial.” One of the things missing from the Constitution? How an impeachment inquiry should start. And that has generally been a source of drama. Basically, anything goes. “In fact, in the Andrew Johnson case they voted to impeach him without even having drafted the articles of impeachment.” For Richard Nixon, his case started with several investigations that led to public hearings. That part of the process went on for two years, and yielded revelation after revelation, connecting Nixon to a politically-motivated burglary at D.N.C. headquarters — “… located in the Watergate office building.” — and its subsequent cover-up. “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?” “I was aware of listening devices. Yes, sir.” “This was a shocker. Everybody in the White House recognized how damaging this could be.” As the House drafted articles of impeachment, Nixon lost the support of his party. “O.K., I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.” “I was asked to write the farewell piece that ran the morning after Nixon resigned. And this is what I wrote: The central question is how a man who won so much could have lost so much.” So for Nixon, it more or less ended after the investigations. But for Bill Clinton, that phase was just the beginning. “This is the information.” An independent counsel’s investigation into his business dealings unexpectedly turned into a very public inquiry about his personal life. “The idea that a president of the United States was having an affair with a White House intern and then a federal prosecutor was looking at that, it was just extraordinary.” That investigation led to public hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. “When the Starr Report was being delivered to Congress it was a little bit like the O.J. chase, only a political one. There were two black cars. They were being filmed live on CNN. They were heading towards the Capitol. We were watching it and a little bit agog.” Public opinion is key. And the media plays a huge part in the process. This was definitely true for Clinton. “You know it was just a crazy time. We worked in the Senate press gallery.” “All your colleagues are kind of piled on top of each other.” “We had crummy computers, the fax machine would always break. The printer would always break.” After committee hearings, the House brought formal impeachment charges. “It was very tense. I thought that the Saturday of the impeachment vote in the House was one of the most tense days I’d experienced in Washington.” And it turned out, also, full of surprises. “The day of impeachment arrived, everyone’s making very impassioned speeches about whether Bill Clinton should or should not be impeached and Livingston rises to give an argument for the House Republicans. He started to talk about how Clinton could resign.” “You, sir, may resign your post.” “And all of a sudden people start booing and saying, ‘Resign, resign’!” “So I must set the example.” “He announced he was resigning because he had had extramarital affairs and challenged President Clinton to do the only honorable thing, in his view —” “I hope President Clinton will follow.” “— to resign as well, so there was all this drama unfolding even in the midst of impeachment.” Then it went to the Senate for trial. The Constitution gets a little more specific about this part. “The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is supposed to preside over that trial.” “Rehnquist, he showed up in this robe he had made for himself, which had gold stripes on the sleeves because he liked Gilbert and Sullivan.” “The Senate is the actual jury.” “You will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws. So help you, God.” “This is a copy of the rules of the Senate for handling impeachment. They’re actually very specific.” “Meet six days a week.” “Convene at noon. The senators have to sit at their desks and remain quiet in their role as jurors. And not talk, which trust me, is going to be a problem for some of the senators who are used to talking all the time.” It’s just like a courtroom trial. There are prosecutors who present the case against the president. “That was perjury.” Only, they’re members of the House, and they’re called managers. Then the senators, or the jurors, vote. And things are still, unpredictable. “The options are guilty or not guilty. But there was one senator —” “Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania.” “Under Scottish law, there are three possible verdicts: guilty, not guilty and not proved.” “— which is not a thing.” “And everybody just looks, you know, how do you even record that vote?” In the end, there were not enough votes to oust Clinton. “What’s amazing about this whole thing to me wasn’t so much the constitutional process. It was that it felt to me like the beginning of really intense partisanship, the weaponization of partisanship.” And here’s the thing: An impeachment charge has never gotten the two-thirds majority it needs in the Senate to actually oust a president from office. “So you could end up having a situation where the president is impeached, acquitted and runs for re-election and wins re-election.” And that would be a first. “This is my ticket to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. I don’t think you’ll find these on StubHub.”

Westlake Legal Group xx-impeachment-explainer-vid-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Impeachment Hearing Updates: Scholars Call Trump’s Actions an Abuse of Power Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.CreditCredit…Photo illustration by Aaron Byrd

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Trump Blocked Key Impeachment Witnesses. Should Congress Wait?

Westlake Legal Group 04dc-assess-sub-facebookJumbo Trump Blocked Key Impeachment Witnesses. Should Congress Wait? United States Politics and Government Turley, Jonathan Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Suits and Litigation (Civil) subpoenas impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — Are House Democrats making a mistake by moving swiftly to impeach President Trump while there are still substantial gaps in the factual record for deciding whether he abused his powers in the Ukraine affair?

That was the argument put forward on Wednesday by Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who was the only Republican-selected witness of four legal scholars who testified at the House Judiciary Committee’s opening impeachment hearing.

Mr. Turley’s point crystallized the constitutional dilemma facing Congress as it pushes forward on impeachment rather than pausing to go after additional evidence the White House has withheld. A president willing to dig in and stonewall subpoenas for documents and testimony can use the courts to run out the clock, undermining the House’s ability to use its impeachment power in practice.

Calling the “the abbreviated period of this investigation” both problematic and puzzling, Mr. Turley said Congress had assembled “a facially incomplete and inadequate record in order to impeach a president.” The evidence has gaps because of “unsubpoenaed witnesses with material evidence,” he argued, and it is wrong to move forward without hearing from them.

Democrats have conceded that they would like to obtain more documents and hear more testimony from Mr. Trump’s key aides, but they have also argued that the evidence they have is sufficient to impeach him — and said it is absurd for the White House to contend their case has holes when it is thwarting their access to more information.

When a president systematically blockades congressional subpoenas and instructs current and former aides not to provide documents and testimony, that is another basis to impeach, argued another witness, Michael J. Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor and author of “The Federal Impeachment Process: A Constitutional and Historical Analysis.”

“In this situation, the full-scale obstruction of those subpoenas, I think, torpedoes separation of powers and, therefore, your only recourse is to, in a sense, protect your institutional prerogatives, and that would include impeachment,” Mr. Gerhardt testified.

Notably, Mr. Turley did not assert the president did nothing wrong, as hard-core supporters of Mr. Trump have done. He said that a now famous call in which Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine’s president to announce investigations that could benefit him politically “was anything but perfect,” and that Congress had a legitimate reason to scrutinize it.

But, he argued, it is premature to rush forward with impeachment while Congress has yet to obtain potentially knowable facts about what Mr. Trump said to his aides about withholding a White House meeting and $391 million in military aid that Ukraine desperately needed to shore up its defenses against Russian aggression.

Much of the evidence the House uncovered in its inquiry was from witnesses who largely were a degree of separation removed from Mr. Trump himself. As a result, they were unable to say whether the president ever directly and explicitly said he was conditioning a meeting and the securing funding for the specific purpose of coercing Ukraine’s president into announcing investigations that would benefit him politically.

In his longer written statement, Mr. Turley named three men who interacted directly with the president and might know more about what Mr. Trump said behind closed doors about Ukraine: Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, John R. Bolton; his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani; and his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Mr. Bolton is known to have opposed what Mr. Giuliani was doing for Mr. Trump with Ukraine, met directly with Mr. Trump to discuss the frozen aid to Ukraine in August and has coyly indicated that he knows something important that Congress does not yet know.

“There remain core witnesses and documents that have not been sought through the courts,” Mr. Turley wrote, adding that the House “is moving forward based on conjecture, assuming what the evidence would show if there existed the time or inclination to establish it.”

But Mr. Turley made only a passing reference in his written statement to the problem that has bedeviled impeachment investigators: The White House has directed top aides to Mr. Trump not to cooperate with the House, while asserting that they are immune from being subpoenaed to testify about their discussions with the president.

Mr. Bolton, for example, has refused to testify unless and until a judge orders him to, and has made clear he will file a lawsuit to put the matter into court if he receives a subpoena rather than deciding for himself whether Congress’s claimed power to compel his testimony, or the president’s claimed power to block lawmakers from receiving it, should prevail.

The Trump legal team’s claim of absolute immunity for top presidential aides has been a losing one in court. A Federal District Court judge already rejected it in a 2008 case involving a congressional subpoena to Harriet Miers, President George W. Bush’s former White House counsel. Another trial judge rejected it again late last month, in a case centering on a subpoena to Donald F. McGahn II, Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel.

But the legal unraveling of Mr. Trump’s argument has been a slow process. The opening stage of the fight over the subpoena to Mr. McGahn consumed nearly a third of the year before the judge completed a 120-page ruling rejecting it. The Justice Department then immediately appealed. It can repeat that process before a three-judge panel, and then again before the full appeals court and then before the Supreme Court.

And even if the Supreme Court ultimately orders such an official to show up for testimony, he could then refuse to discuss conversations with Mr. Trump on the ground that their contents are privileged. That would start a new cycle of litigation.

That means that for the witnesses Mr. Turley identified as having potentially material additional information, the Justice Department would very likely be able to keep the subpoena tied up in court until long after the 2020 election.

But Mr. Turley said that Mr. Trump was “allowed” to go to court and that it would be an abuse of power for Congress to treat that as an impeachable act of obstruction. He pointed to lower-court rulings against the president in subpoena cases like Mr. McGahn’s as “an example of what can happen if you actually subpoena witnesses and go to court” — even though those lower-court rulings took months to achieve and were immediately appealed.

Against that backdrop, Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor invited by Democrats to testify who said Mr. Trump should be impeached for abusing his powers, suggested that the decision facing lawmakers was a “gut” call.

Referring to a piece of evidence Mr. Trump’s allies do not dispute — the White House’s record of a July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Ukraine’s president — she invoked an analogy: the governor of a state hit by a hurricane or flood asking for a meeting with the president to discuss disaster assistance provided by Congress. She asked what would happen if the president replied: “I would like you to do us a favor. I’ll meet with you and I’ll send the disaster relief once you brand my opponent a criminal.”

Ms. Karlan said: “Wouldn’t you know in your gut that such a president had abused his office, that he betrayed the national interest and that he was trying to corrupt the electoral process? I believe that the evidentiary record shows wrongful acts on that scale here.”

Still, the White House call record was not that explicit. Mr. Trump did respond to the Ukrainian president’s mention of military assistance by saying “I would like you to do us a favor, though” and then talked about his desire for investigations, including into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, but the call record does not show that Mr. Trump explicitly made such investigations a condition for the meeting and the military aid.

The question facing Congress, then, is whether the available record, while imperfect, is nevertheless sufficient to fairly deduce that Mr. Trump was the architect of a quid pro quo — or whether to wait for the distant prospect of someday obtaining more facts through court.

Republicans on Wednesday ran in part with Mr. Turley’s theme. Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the committee, emphasized that the facts of what Mr. Trump did are disputed, unlike those during the Nixon and Clinton impeachment proceedings.

“There are no set facts here,” Mr. Collins said, adding: “This is not an impeachment. This is simply a railroad job.”

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Giuliani, Facing Scrutiny, Travels to Europe to Interview Ukrainians

Westlake Legal Group 04dc-rudy1-facebookJumbo Giuliani, Facing Scrutiny, Travels to Europe to Interview Ukrainians Zelensky, Volodymyr United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Shokin, Viktor Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 One America Lutsenko, Yuri V Klitschko, Vitali KIEV, Ukraine House of Representatives House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W BUDAPEST, Hungary Biden, Joseph R Jr Artemenko, Andrii V

WASHINGTON — Even as Democrats intensified their scrutiny this week of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s role in the pressure campaign against the Ukrainian government that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, Mr. Giuliani has been in Europe continuing his efforts to shift the focus to purported wrongdoing by President Trump’s political rivals.

Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, met in Budapest on Tuesday with a former Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, who has become a key figure in the impeachment inquiry. He then traveled to Kyiv on Wednesday seeking to meet with other former Ukrainian prosecutors whose claims have been embraced by Republicans, including Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn H. Kulyk, according to people familiar with the effort.

The former prosecutors, who have faced allegations of corruption, all played some role in promoting claims about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a former United States ambassador to Ukraine and Ukrainians who disseminated damaging information about Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in 2016.

Those claims — some baseless and others with key disputed elements — have been the foundations of the effort by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani to pressure the Ukrainian government to commit itself to investigations that would benefit Mr. Trump heading into his re-election campaign. That effort in turn has led to the impeachment proceedings in the House against the president.

Mr. Giuliani is using the trip, which has not been previously reported, to help prepare more episodes of a documentary series for a conservative television outlet promoting his pro-Trump, anti-impeachment narrative. His latest moves to advance the theories propounded by the prosecutors amount to an audacious effort to give the president’s supporters new material to undercut the House impeachment proceedings and an eventual Senate trial.

It was Mr. Giuliani’s earlier interactions with some of the same Ukrainian characters that set the stage for the impeachment inquiry in the first place, and also led to an investigation by federal prosecutors into whether Mr. Giuliani violated federal lobbying laws.

Mr. Giuliani’s trip has generated concern in some quarters of the State Department, coming amid scrutiny of his work with American diplomats earlier this year on the pressure campaign. His trip to Budapest and Kyiv suggests that he is unbowed by the intense scrutiny that has enveloped him and his associates, including revelations from the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday of frequent calls from Mr. Giuliani to the White House and other figures in the pressure campaign at key moments this year.

The European trip was organized around the filming of a multipart television series featuring Mr. Giuliani that is being produced and aired by a conservative cable channel, One America News, or OAN.

The series, the first two installments of which have already aired, is being promoted as a Republican alternative to the impeachment hearings, including Ukrainian “witnesses” whom House Democrats running the inquiry declined to call. Some of the Ukrainians interviewed by Mr. Giuliani were sworn in on camera to “testify under oath” in a manner that the network claims “debunks the impeachment hoax.”

Mr. Giuliani was joined in Budapest by an OAN crew, including the reporter hosting the series, Chanel Rion, who conducted an interview in the Hungarian capital with Mr. Lutsenko, according to someone familiar with the interview.

Earlier this year, Mr. Lutsenko played a formative role in what became Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign, meeting with Mr. Giuliani in New York, where he made claims about a gas company that paid Mr. Biden’s son as a board member and the dissemination of a secret ledger listing slush payments from a Russia-aligned Ukrainian political party earmarked to Mr. Manafort and others. When The New York Times revealed the payments earmarked to Mr. Manafort in August 2016, it forced him to resign under pressure from the Trump campaign.

Mr. Lutsenko, whom Mr. Giuliani considered representing as a client, is facing allegations in Ukraine of abuse of power during his years as a prosecutor and was characterized by some American officials in the impeachment inquiry as untrustworthy. But his office moved to pursue investigations sought by Mr. Trump, and he was praised by the president as a “very good prosecutor” during a July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

Mr. Lutsenko discussed some of the subjects into which Mr. Trump sought investigations during his interview on Tuesday with Ms. Rion, said the person familiar with the interview.

Also joining Mr. Giuliani and the OAN crew in Budapest were two former Ukrainian officials who have been supportive of Mr. Trump, Andrii Telizhenko and Andrii V. Artemenko.

The pair, along with a third former Ukrainian official, Mykhaylo Okhendovsky, recorded interviews at OAN’s studios in Washington late last month with Ms. Rion and Mr. Giuliani for an episode of the series that aired on Tuesday night.

The three Ukrainians questioned the Democrats’ case for impeachment during the episode. And they asserted that Mr. Trump had ample reason to ask Mr. Zelensky during their July 25 phone call to investigate the Bidens and whether Ukrainians acted improperly to damage Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The July 25 call helped trigger a whistle-blower complaint about the pressure wielded by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani against Mr. Zelensky, and the whistle-blower complaint incited the impeachment inquiry into whether Mr. Trump abused his power for political gain.

In the OAN episode broadcast on Tuesday, Mr. Telizhenko reiterated his claims that, while working in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in 2016, he was instructed to help a Democratic operative gather incriminating information about Mr. Manafort. The Ukrainian Embassy has denied his account.

Mr. Artemenko, a former member of Parliament, and Mr. Okhendovsky, the former chairman of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, both called into question the authenticity of the ledger listing payments to Mr. Manafort.

Ms. Rion falsely claimed on air that the Democratic operative connected to the Ukrainian Embassy, who has become a frequent target of House Republicans, provided the ledger to The Times. She declared that her interviews with Mr. Telizhenko, Mr. Artemenko and Mr. Okhendovsky “pulls the rug out from under” Democrats’ “central premise that Trump was wrong to ask about Joe Biden and the Democrat party’s starring role in Ukrainian corruption.”

Ms. Rion, Mr. Telizhenko, Mr. Artemenko and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Giuliani rejected any notion that it was audacious or risky for him to continue pursuing the Ukrainian mission, given the scrutiny of him by impeachment investigators and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, or S.D.N.Y.

“If S.D.N.Y. leaks and Democrats’ threats stopped me, then I should find a new profession,” he wrote in a text message on Wednesday.

Asked about his interview with Mr. Lutsenko and efforts to interview other Ukrainian prosecutors, he responded that “like a good lawyer, I am gathering evidence to defend my client against the false charges being leveled against him” by the news media and Democrats.

He accused Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which conducted impeachment hearings last month, of preventing testimony that could help Mr. Trump. “I am hoping that the evidence concealed by Schiff will be available to the public as they evaluate his outrageous, unconstitutional behavior.”

He did not respond to a question about whether he briefed Mr. Trump on his trip or his involvement in the OAN series, but he has said that he keeps Mr. Trump apprised of his efforts related to Ukraine.

In a news release Tuesday, OAN indicated that the third installment of its series with Mr. Giuliani was “currently in the works with OAN investigative staff outside the United States conducting key interviews at undisclosed safe houses.” It said the network would release additional details “upon return of OAN staff to U.S. soil.”

In Budapest, Mr. Giuliani had dinner on Tuesday night at the residence of the United States ambassador to Hungary, David B. Cornstein, a longtime friend and associate of both Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani.

A businessman who made a fortune operating jewelry counters inside department stores and worked in Mr. Giuliani’s New York mayoral administration, Mr. Cornstein has courted Viktor Orban, Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister, who in turn has provided fodder for Mr. Trump’s critical view of Ukraine.

A spokesman for the American Embassy in Budapest issued a statement describing the Tuesday night get-together as “a private dinner” hosted by the ambassador “with his longtime friend,” Mr. Giuliani, and Mr. Giuliani’s assistant. “No one else was present at the dinner.”

A reporter who showed up outside the ambassador’s residence during the dinner was turned away by a security guard.

Some State Department officials said they were tracking Mr. Giuliani’s continued efforts to engage the Ukrainians with concern. One department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a politically sensitive topic, called it “shocking” that, in the face of scrutiny of his prior efforts related to Ukraine, Mr. Giuliani was traveling internationally in continued pursuit of information from Ukrainians.

One of the former prosecutors with whom Mr. Giuliani is seeking to meet in Kyiv is Mr. Shokin, who claims his ouster was forced by Mr. Biden to prevent investigations into the gas company paying Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden. Allies of the oligarch who owns the gas company say they welcomed Mr. Shokin’s firing, but not because he was actively investigating the company or the oligarch. Rather, they say, he was using the threat of prosecution to try to solicit bribes.

Another prosecutor with whom Mr. Giuliani was seeking to meet, Mr. Kulyk, had compiled a seven-page dossier in English accusing Hunter Biden of corruption, and had taken steps to pursue an investigation into Burisma Holdings, the gas company on whose board Hunter Biden served. Mr. Kulyk was fired recently by Mr. Zelensky’s new top prosecutor as part of an anti-corruption initiative.

OAN’s crew hopes to interview the former prosecutors as well, Ms. Rion suggested during the first episode of the series, which aired late last month.

Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Benjamin Novak from Budapest.

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Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Scholars Testify Trump’s Actions Are an Impeachable Abuse of Power

Video

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165415191_fb6082c6-debb-4b88-b37f-e6e25bd664be-superJumbo Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Scholars Testify Trump’s Actions Are an Impeachable Abuse of Power Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

The Judiciary Committee House panel begins its hearings to debate and determine articles of impeachment. They will hear from four legal scholars about the basis for impeachment.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_165418983_53f391e2-e8f6-401e-a0b8-1f3b7af5520e-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Scholars Testify Trump’s Actions Are an Impeachable Abuse of Power Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

The Constitutional scholars were sworn in to testify Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Three constitutional scholars invited by Democrats to testify at Wednesday’s impeachment hearings said that President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political gain clearly meet the historical definition of impeachable offenses, according to copies of their opening statements.

The three law professors appeared in the first impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee as it kicked off a debate about whether to draft articles of impeachment against the president.

Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard, argued that attempts by Mr. Trump to withhold a White House meeting and military assistance from Ukraine as leverage for political favors constitute impeachable conduct, as does the act of soliciting foreign assistance on a phone call with Ukraine’s leader.

“President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency,” Mr. Feldman said. “Specifically, President Trump abused his office by corruptly soliciting President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election.”

Michael J. Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, planned to argue that Mr. Trump had “committed several impeachable offenses” by taking actions regarding Ukraine that were worse than Richard Nixon’s misconduct during Watergate.

“If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on his behalf in the next election,” Mr. Gerhardt planned to say, adding that Mr. Trump’s actions “are worse than the misconduct of any prior president.”

Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, told lawmakers that the president’s attempt to “strong arm a foreign leader” would not be considered politics as usual by historical standards.

“It is, instead, a cardinal reason why the Constitution contains an impeachment power,” she said. “Put simply, a candidate for president should resist foreign interference in our elections, not demand it. If we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account.”

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who was invited to testify by the committee’s Republicans, offered the lone dissent, arguing in his opening statement that Mr. Trump should not be impeached.

In a 53-page written statement submitted to the committee, Mr. Turley made it clear that he is not a supporter of the president and believes that the Ukraine matter warranted investigation. But he argued that the Democratic impeachment case is dangerously “slipshod” and premature.

“I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” he said. “If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.”

Offering an exhaustive and colorful account of the history of impeachment, Mr. Turley agreed with the other panelists that “a quid pro quo to force the investigation of a political rival in exchange for military aid can be impeachable, if proven.”

But for that to be the case, he said, the evidence has to be stronger. Witnesses like Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, must be heard from — not just spoken about by other witnesses. He argued the current case is destined for “collapse in a Senate trial.”

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The Impeachment Inquiry’s Main Players

Here are the lawmakers to watch as the process unfolds.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi convened a rare members-only Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday morning to rally her rank-and-file members as the impeachment proceedings against President Trump got underway.

“Are you ready?” Ms. Pelosi asked.

They are, Democratic lawmakers responded in unison, according to multiple people in the room who described the private meeting on condition of anonymity.

The Democrats gave a standing ovation to Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has spearheaded the impeachment investigation. Mr. Schiff presented his panel’s 300-page report made public on Tuesday detailing the Democrats’ case against the president and fielded questions.

“Nancy said, ‘Keep your cool and read the report,’” said Representative Donna Shalala, Democrat of Florida.

Representative Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota said the tenor of the room was, “Unanimity.”

As Ms. Pelosi mobilized her members, Vice President Mike Pence was delivering his own battle cry to Republicans at their weekly conference meeting. Mr. Pence praised the lawmakers and said he and Mr. Trump were proud of them for their strong impeachment defense, said an official familiar with the remarks.

But Mr. Pence also issued a marching order: “Turn up the heat” on House Democrats, he said.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Catie Edmondson

Within the first hour of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel lived up to its reputation for partisan rancor. Republicans interrupted the proceedings to present Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the committee’s chairman, with a letter demanding a day of minority hearings.

They also forced votes on motions to call Mr. Schiff to testify before the panel and to suspend and postpone the hearing.

Democrats knocked each down along party lines, but the proceeding stood in stark contrast with those of the relatively staid and orderly proceedings of Intelligence Committee that carried the impeachment inquiry for the last two months. And it was a harbinger of things to come as the impeachment battle enters a more intensive phase as Democrats rush toward a vote before Christmas.

In between the Republican parliamentary maneuvers, Mr. Nadler made no effort to cover up the unruly circumstances, but he put the blame on Mr. Trump.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the storm in which we find ourselves today was set in motion by President Trump,” Mr. Nadler said. “I do not wish this moment on the country. It is not a pleasant task that we undertake today. But we have each taken an oath to protect the Constitution, and the facts before us are clear.”

When his turn to speak arrived, Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the panel’s top Republican, offered a hard-edged rebuke of the Democrats.

“This may be a new time, a new place and we may be all scrubbed up and looking pretty for impeachment,” Mr. Collins said. “This is not an impeachment. This just a simple railroad job and today’s is a waste of time.”

Nicholas Fandos

As the minority party, Republicans have considerably less power in the Judiciary Committee than majority Democrats, but they can use parliamentary procedures to put up a fight and slow the proceedings. Republicans began availing themselves of those rights almost from the moment the hearing began, repeatedly interjecting and proposing motions, at times interrupting the witnesses mid-statement, and forcing Mr. Nadler to halt the process and hold a vote to lay aside the Republican objections.

They lost each time in party-line votes.

  • Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including the former vice president. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

Video

transcript

Admit It: You Don’t Know How Impeachment Works. We Can Help.

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.

“Impeachment by its nature, it’s a political process.” “What people think is going to happen can turn out to be very different from what happens.” “Because it has to do with elected officials holding another elected official to account for their conduct.” When the framers of the Constitution created a process to remove a president from office, they were well … kind of vague. So to understand how it’s going to play out, the past is really our best guide. “I think we’re just all in for a really crazy ride.” Collectively, these New York Times reporters have covered U.S. politics for over 150 years. “I’m also a drummer in a band, so …” They’ve reported on past impeachment inquiries. “Yea, I’m lost in Senate wonderland.” And they say that the three we’ve had so far have been full of twists and turns. “The president of the United States is not guilty as charged.” In short, expect the unexpected. First, the process. Impeachment is technically only the initial stage. “Common misconceptions about impeachment are that impeachment by itself means removal from office. It doesn’t. The impeachment part of the process is only the indictment that sets up a trial.” The Constitution describes offenses that are grounds for removing the president from office as bribery, treason and — “They say high crimes and misdemeanors, which, really, is in the eye of the beholder.” “The framers didn’t give us a guidebook to it. They simply said, that the House had the responsibility for impeachment and the Senate had the responsibility for the trial.” One of the things missing from the Constitution? How an impeachment inquiry should start. And that has generally been a source of drama. Basically, anything goes. “In fact, in the Andrew Johnson case they voted to impeach him without even having drafted the articles of impeachment.” For Richard Nixon, his case started with several investigations that led to public hearings. That part of the process went on for two years, and yielded revelation after revelation, connecting Nixon to a politically-motivated burglary at D.N.C. headquarters — “… located in the Watergate office building.” — and its subsequent cover-up. “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?” “I was aware of listening devices. Yes, sir.” “This was a shocker. Everybody in the White House recognized how damaging this could be.” As the House drafted articles of impeachment, Nixon lost the support of his party. “O.K., I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.” “I was asked to write the farewell piece that ran the morning after Nixon resigned. And this is what I wrote: The central question is how a man who won so much could have lost so much.” So for Nixon, it more or less ended after the investigations. But for Bill Clinton, that phase was just the beginning. “This is the information.” An independent counsel’s investigation into his business dealings unexpectedly turned into a very public inquiry about his personal life. “The idea that a president of the United States was having an affair with a White House intern and then a federal prosecutor was looking at that, it was just extraordinary.” That investigation led to public hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. “When the Starr Report was being delivered to Congress it was a little bit like the O.J. chase, only a political one. There were two black cars. They were being filmed live on CNN. They were heading towards the Capitol. We were watching it and a little bit agog.” Public opinion is key. And the media plays a huge part in the process. This was definitely true for Clinton. “You know it was just a crazy time. We worked in the Senate press gallery.” “All your colleagues are kind of piled on top of each other.” “We had crummy computers, the fax machine would always break. The printer would always break.” After committee hearings, the House brought formal impeachment charges. “It was very tense. I thought that the Saturday of the impeachment vote in the House was one of the most tense days I’d experienced in Washington.” And it turned out, also, full of surprises. “The day of impeachment arrived, everyone’s making very impassioned speeches about whether Bill Clinton should or should not be impeached and Livingston rises to give an argument for the House Republicans. He started to talk about how Clinton could resign.” “You, sir, may resign your post.” “And all of a sudden people start booing and saying, ‘Resign, resign’!” “So I must set the example.” “He announced he was resigning because he had had extramarital affairs and challenged President Clinton to do the only honorable thing, in his view —” “I hope President Clinton will follow.” “— to resign as well, so there was all this drama unfolding even in the midst of impeachment.” Then it went to the Senate for trial. The Constitution gets a little more specific about this part. “The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is supposed to preside over that trial.” “Rehnquist, he showed up in this robe he had made for himself, which had gold stripes on the sleeves because he liked Gilbert and Sullivan.” “The Senate is the actual jury.” “You will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws. So help you, God.” “This is a copy of the rules of the Senate for handling impeachment. They’re actually very specific.” “Meet six days a week.” “Convene at noon. The senators have to sit at their desks and remain quiet in their role as jurors. And not talk, which trust me, is going to be a problem for some of the senators who are used to talking all the time.” It’s just like a courtroom trial. There are prosecutors who present the case against the president. “That was perjury.” Only, they’re members of the House, and they’re called managers. Then the senators, or the jurors, vote. And things are still, unpredictable. “The options are guilty or not guilty. But there was one senator —” “Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania.” “Under Scottish law, there are three possible verdicts: guilty, not guilty and not proved.” “— which is not a thing.” “And everybody just looks, you know, how do you even record that vote?” In the end, there were not enough votes to oust Clinton. “What’s amazing about this whole thing to me wasn’t so much the constitutional process. It was that it felt to me like the beginning of really intense partisanship, the weaponization of partisanship.” And here’s the thing: An impeachment charge has never gotten the two-thirds majority it needs in the Senate to actually oust a president from office. “So you could end up having a situation where the president is impeached, acquitted and runs for re-election and wins re-election.” And that would be a first. “This is my ticket to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. I don’t think you’ll find these on StubHub.”

Westlake Legal Group xx-impeachment-explainer-vid-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Scholars Testify Trump’s Actions Are an Impeachable Abuse of Power Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.CreditCredit…Photo illustration by Aaron Byrd

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Who Is Pamela Karlan? Legal Leader Committed to Progressive Causes

Pamela S. Karlan’s formidable reputation as a scholar and Supreme Court advocate, coupled with a deep commitment to progressive causes, have made her a leader of the sometimes disorganized liberal legal movement.

Ms. Karlan, 60, received bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees from Yale and clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the Supreme Court. She is now a director of Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. Ms. Karlan made regular media appearances discussing the 2000 presidential election and recount, and was one of the authors of “When Elections Go Bad: The Law of Democracy and the Presidential Election of 2000.”

During the Obama administration, she worked in the Justice Department’s civil rights division and received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the highest award employees there can earn.

She has also worked on the California Fair Political Practices Commission and for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Ms. Karlan has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court, most recently in October, when she argued that employees should not be fired over sexual orientation.

Her litigation experience also includes work on big cases like the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and the same-sex marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges.

“She is a brilliant, scrupulously careful scholar,” said David Sklansky, a law professor at Stanford who has known Ms. Karlan for more than three decades. “She is also honest and candid, and she has a deep commitment to fairness and the rule of law.”

He added, “If you want to know what something in the Constitution means, it’s hard to think of a better person to ask.”

Video

transcript

Admit It: You Don’t Know How Impeachment Works. We Can Help.

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.

“Impeachment by its nature, it’s a political process.” “What people think is going to happen can turn out to be very different from what happens.” “Because it has to do with elected officials holding another elected official to account for their conduct.” When the framers of the Constitution created a process to remove a president from office, they were well … kind of vague. So to understand how it’s going to play out, the past is really our best guide. “I think we’re just all in for a really crazy ride.” Collectively, these New York Times reporters have covered U.S. politics for over 150 years. “I’m also a drummer in a band, so …” They’ve reported on past impeachment inquiries. “Yea, I’m lost in Senate wonderland.” And they say that the three we’ve had so far have been full of twists and turns. “The president of the United States is not guilty as charged.” In short, expect the unexpected. First, the process. Impeachment is technically only the initial stage. “Common misconceptions about impeachment are that impeachment by itself means removal from office. It doesn’t. The impeachment part of the process is only the indictment that sets up a trial.” The Constitution describes offenses that are grounds for removing the president from office as bribery, treason and — “They say high crimes and misdemeanors, which, really, is in the eye of the beholder.” “The framers didn’t give us a guidebook to it. They simply said, that the House had the responsibility for impeachment and the Senate had the responsibility for the trial.” One of the things missing from the Constitution? How an impeachment inquiry should start. And that has generally been a source of drama. Basically, anything goes. “In fact, in the Andrew Johnson case they voted to impeach him without even having drafted the articles of impeachment.” For Richard Nixon, his case started with several investigations that led to public hearings. That part of the process went on for two years, and yielded revelation after revelation, connecting Nixon to a politically-motivated burglary at D.N.C. headquarters — “… located in the Watergate office building.” — and its subsequent cover-up. “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?” “I was aware of listening devices. Yes, sir.” “This was a shocker. Everybody in the White House recognized how damaging this could be.” As the House drafted articles of impeachment, Nixon lost the support of his party. “O.K., I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.” “I was asked to write the farewell piece that ran the morning after Nixon resigned. And this is what I wrote: The central question is how a man who won so much could have lost so much.” So for Nixon, it more or less ended after the investigations. But for Bill Clinton, that phase was just the beginning. “This is the information.” An independent counsel’s investigation into his business dealings unexpectedly turned into a very public inquiry about his personal life. “The idea that a president of the United States was having an affair with a White House intern and then a federal prosecutor was looking at that, it was just extraordinary.” That investigation led to public hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. “When the Starr Report was being delivered to Congress it was a little bit like the O.J. chase, only a political one. There were two black cars. They were being filmed live on CNN. They were heading towards the Capitol. We were watching it and a little bit agog.” Public opinion is key. And the media plays a huge part in the process. This was definitely true for Clinton. “You know it was just a crazy time. We worked in the Senate press gallery.” “All your colleagues are kind of piled on top of each other.” “We had crummy computers, the fax machine would always break. The printer would always break.” After committee hearings, the House brought formal impeachment charges. “It was very tense. I thought that the Saturday of the impeachment vote in the House was one of the most tense days I’d experienced in Washington.” And it turned out, also, full of surprises. “The day of impeachment arrived, everyone’s making very impassioned speeches about whether Bill Clinton should or should not be impeached and Livingston rises to give an argument for the House Republicans. He started to talk about how Clinton could resign.” “You, sir, may resign your post.” “And all of a sudden people start booing and saying, ‘Resign, resign’!” “So I must set the example.” “He announced he was resigning because he had had extramarital affairs and challenged President Clinton to do the only honorable thing, in his view —” “I hope President Clinton will follow.” “— to resign as well, so there was all this drama unfolding even in the midst of impeachment.” Then it went to the Senate for trial. The Constitution gets a little more specific about this part. “The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is supposed to preside over that trial.” “Rehnquist, he showed up in this robe he had made for himself, which had gold stripes on the sleeves because he liked Gilbert and Sullivan.” “The Senate is the actual jury.” “You will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws. So help you, God.” “This is a copy of the rules of the Senate for handling impeachment. They’re actually very specific.” “Meet six days a week.” “Convene at noon. The senators have to sit at their desks and remain quiet in their role as jurors. And not talk, which trust me, is going to be a problem for some of the senators who are used to talking all the time.” It’s just like a courtroom trial. There are prosecutors who present the case against the president. “That was perjury.” Only, they’re members of the House, and they’re called managers. Then the senators, or the jurors, vote. And things are still, unpredictable. “The options are guilty or not guilty. But there was one senator —” “Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania.” “Under Scottish law, there are three possible verdicts: guilty, not guilty and not proved.” “— which is not a thing.” “And everybody just looks, you know, how do you even record that vote?” In the end, there were not enough votes to oust Clinton. “What’s amazing about this whole thing to me wasn’t so much the constitutional process. It was that it felt to me like the beginning of really intense partisanship, the weaponization of partisanship.” And here’s the thing: An impeachment charge has never gotten the two-thirds majority it needs in the Senate to actually oust a president from office. “So you could end up having a situation where the president is impeached, acquitted and runs for re-election and wins re-election.” And that would be a first. “This is my ticket to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. I don’t think you’ll find these on StubHub.”

Westlake Legal Group xx-impeachment-explainer-vid-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Who Is Pamela Karlan? Legal Leader Committed to Progressive Causes United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Karlan, Pamela S impeachment House of Representatives

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.CreditCredit…Photo illustration by Aaron Byrd

Ms. Karlan has not been very vocal about her stance on the impeachment inquiry. She does not appear to have written columns or made appearances commenting on the proceedings.

But she is widely known in liberal circles. Ms. Karlan is the chairwoman of the board of directors for the left-leaning American Constitution Society. And in December 2016, she and other liberal scholars signed a letter expressing concern over President Trump’s statements and actions during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In May 2017, after reports that Mr. Trump had asked the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, to end an investigation into Michael T. Flynn, then the national security adviser, Ms. Karlan said in an interview with the BBC that Mr. Trump was “behaving extraordinarily badly.” And, she said, “if it becomes clear that the president is trying to obstruct justice and Congress does nothing, that moves us towards a constitutional crisis.”

In 2009, Ms. Karlan was a favorite of the left, cited by some as their choice for the Supreme Court. She did not make President Barack Obama’s short list.

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Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Trump’s Actions Are Impeachable, Scholars Testify

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Westlake Legal Group 04dc-impeachbriefing-livevid-videoSixteenByNine3000 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Trump’s Actions Are Impeachable, Scholars Testify Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

The Judiciary Committee House panel begins its hearings to debate and determine articles of impeachment. They will hear from four legal scholars about the basis for impeachment.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_165415212_e1617a70-a925-4186-9c7f-034f2e8c5e65-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Trump’s Actions Are Impeachable, Scholars Testify Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

Witnesses, from left, Noah Feldman, Pamela S. Karlan, Michael J. Gerhardt and Jonathan Turley prepared to testify Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Three constitutional scholars invited by Democrats to testify at Wednesday’s impeachment hearings said that President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political gain clearly meet the historical definition of impeachable offenses, according to copies of their opening statements.

The three law professors appeared in the first impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee as it kicked off a debate about whether to draft articles of impeachment against the president.

Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard, argued that attempts by Mr. Trump to withhold a White House meeting and military assistance from Ukraine as leverage for political favors constitute impeachable conduct, as does the act of soliciting foreign assistance on a phone call with Ukraine’s leader.

“President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency,” Mr. Feldman said. “Specifically, President Trump abused his office by corruptly soliciting President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election.”

Michael J. Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, planned to argue that Mr. Trump “has committed several impeachable offenses” by taking actions regarding Ukraine that were worse than Richard Nixon’s misconduct during Watergate.

“If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on his behalf in the next election,” Mr. Gerhardt plans to say, adding that Mr. Trump’s actions “are worse than the misconduct of any prior president.”

Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, told lawmakers that the president’s attempt to “strong arm a foreign leader” would not be considered politics as usual by historical standards.

“It is, instead, a cardinal reason why the Constitution contains an impeachment power,” she said. “Put simply, a candidate for president should resist foreign interference in our elections, not demand it. If we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account.”

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who was invited to testify at Wednesday’s impeachment hearing by the committee’s Republicans, offered the lone dissent, arguing in his opening statement that Mr. Trump should not be impeached.

In a 53-page written statement submitted to the committee, Mr. Turley made it clear that he is not a supporter of the president and believes that the Ukraine matter warrants investigation. But he plans to say that the Democratic impeachment case is dangerously “slipshod” and premature.

“I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” he said. “If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.”

Offering an exhaustive and colorful account of the history of impeachment, Mr. Turley agreed with the other panelists that “a quid pro quo to force the investigation of a political rival in exchange for military aid can be impeachable, if proven.”

But for that to be the case, he said, the evidence has to be stronger. Witnesses like Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, must be heard from — not just spoken about by other witnesses. He argued the current case is destined for “collapse in a Senate trial.”

Westlake Legal Group 00impeachment-archetypes-videopromo-image-articleLarge-v2 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Trump’s Actions Are Impeachable, Scholars Testify Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

The Impeachment Inquiry’s Main Players

Here are the lawmakers to watch as the process unfolds.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi convened a rare members-only Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday morning to rally her rank-and-file members as the impeachment proceedings against President Trump got underway.

“Are you ready?” Ms. Pelosi asked.

They are, Democratic lawmakers responded in unison, according to multiple people in the room who described the private meeting on condition of anonymity.

The Democrats gave a standing ovation to Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has spearheaded the impeachment investigation. Mr. Schiff presented his panel’s 300-page report made public on Tuesday detailing the Democrats’ case against the president and fielded questions.

“Nancy said, ‘Keep your cool and read the report,’ ” said Representative Donna Shalala, Democrat of Florida.

Representative Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota said the tenor of the room was, “Unanimity.”

As Ms. Pelosi mobilized her members Vice President Mike Pence was delivering his own battle cry to Republicans at their weekly conference meeting. Mr. Pence praised the lawmakers and said he and Mr. Trump are proud of them for their strong impeachment defense, said an official familiar with the remarks.

But Mr. Pence also issued a marching order: “Turn up the heat” on House Democrats, he said.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Catie Edmondson

Within the first hour of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel lived up to its reputation for partisan rancor. Republicans interrupted the proceedings to present Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the committee’s chairman, with a letter demanding a day of minority hearings.

They also forced votes on motions to call Mr. Schiff to testify before the panel and to suspend and postpone the hearing.

Democrats knocked each down along party lines, but the proceeding stood in stark contrast with those of the relatively staid and orderly proceedings of Intelligence Committee that carried the impeachment inquiry for the last two months. And it was a harbinger of things to come as the impeachment battle enters a more intensive phase as Democrats rush toward a vote before Christmas.

In between the Republican parliamentary maneuvers, Mr. Nadler made no effort to cover up the unruly circumstances, but he put the blame on Mr. Trump.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the storm in which we find ourselves today was set in motion by President Trump,” Mr. Nadler said. “I do not wish this moment on the country. It is not a pleasant task that we undertake today. But we have each taken an oath to protect the Constitution, and the facts before us are clear.”

When his turn to speak arrived, Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the panel’s top Republican, offered a hard-edged rebuke of the Democrats.

“This may be a new time, a new place and we may be all scrubbed up and looking pretty for impeachment,” Mr. Collins said. “This is not an impeachment. This is simply a railroad job and today’s is a waste of time.”

Nicholas Fandos

As the minority party, Republicans have considerably less power in the Judiciary Committee than majority Democrats, but they can use parliamentary procedures to put up a fight and slow the proceedings. Republicans began availing themselves of those rights almost from the moment the hearing began, repeatedly interjecting and proposing motions, at times interrupting the witnesses mid-statement, and forcing Mr. Nadler to halt the process and hold a vote to lay aside the Republican objections.

They lost each time in party-line votes.

  • Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including the former vice president. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

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transcript

Admit It: You Don’t Know How Impeachment Works. We Can Help.

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.

“Impeachment by its nature, it’s a political process.” “What people think is going to happen can turn out to be very different from what happens.” “Because it has to do with elected officials holding another elected official to account for their conduct.” When the framers of the Constitution created a process to remove a president from office, they were well … kind of vague. So to understand how it’s going to play out, the past is really our best guide. “I think we’re just all in for a really crazy ride.” Collectively, these New York Times reporters have covered U.S. politics for over 150 years. “I’m also a drummer in a band, so …” They’ve reported on past impeachment inquiries. “Yea, I’m lost in Senate wonderland.” And they say that the three we’ve had so far have been full of twists and turns. “The president of the United States is not guilty as charged.” In short, expect the unexpected. First, the process. Impeachment is technically only the initial stage. “Common misconceptions about impeachment are that impeachment by itself means removal from office. It doesn’t. The impeachment part of the process is only the indictment that sets up a trial.” The Constitution describes offenses that are grounds for removing the president from office as bribery, treason and — “They say high crimes and misdemeanors, which, really, is in the eye of the beholder.” “The framers didn’t give us a guidebook to it. They simply said, that the House had the responsibility for impeachment and the Senate had the responsibility for the trial.” One of the things missing from the Constitution? How an impeachment inquiry should start. And that has generally been a source of drama. Basically, anything goes. “In fact, in the Andrew Johnson case they voted to impeach him without even having drafted the articles of impeachment.” For Richard Nixon, his case started with several investigations that led to public hearings. That part of the process went on for two years, and yielded revelation after revelation, connecting Nixon to a politically-motivated burglary at D.N.C. headquarters — “… located in the Watergate office building.” — and its subsequent cover-up. “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?” “I was aware of listening devices. Yes, sir.” “This was a shocker. Everybody in the White House recognized how damaging this could be.” As the House drafted articles of impeachment, Nixon lost the support of his party. “O.K., I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.” “I was asked to write the farewell piece that ran the morning after Nixon resigned. And this is what I wrote: The central question is how a man who won so much could have lost so much.” So for Nixon, it more or less ended after the investigations. But for Bill Clinton, that phase was just the beginning. “This is the information.” An independent counsel’s investigation into his business dealings unexpectedly turned into a very public inquiry about his personal life. “The idea that a president of the United States was having an affair with a White House intern and then a federal prosecutor was looking at that, it was just extraordinary.” That investigation led to public hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. “When the Starr Report was being delivered to Congress it was a little bit like the O.J. chase, only a political one. There were two black cars. They were being filmed live on CNN. They were heading towards the Capitol. We were watching it and a little bit agog.” Public opinion is key. And the media plays a huge part in the process. This was definitely true for Clinton. “You know it was just a crazy time. We worked in the Senate press gallery.” “All your colleagues are kind of piled on top of each other.” “We had crummy computers, the fax machine would always break. The printer would always break.” After committee hearings, the House brought formal impeachment charges. “It was very tense. I thought that the Saturday of the impeachment vote in the House was one of the most tense days I’d experienced in Washington.” And it turned out, also, full of surprises. “The day of impeachment arrived, everyone’s making very impassioned speeches about whether Bill Clinton should or should not be impeached and Livingston rises to give an argument for the House Republicans. He started to talk about how Clinton could resign.” “You, sir, may resign your post.” “And all of a sudden people start booing and saying, ‘Resign, resign’!” “So I must set the example.” “He announced he was resigning because he had had extramarital affairs and challenged President Clinton to do the only honorable thing, in his view —” “I hope President Clinton will follow.” “— to resign as well, so there was all this drama unfolding even in the midst of impeachment.” Then it went to the Senate for trial. The Constitution gets a little more specific about this part. “The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is supposed to preside over that trial.” “Rehnquist, he showed up in this robe he had made for himself, which had gold stripes on the sleeves because he liked Gilbert and Sullivan.” “The Senate is the actual jury.” “You will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws. So help you, God.” “This is a copy of the rules of the Senate for handling impeachment. They’re actually very specific.” “Meet six days a week.” “Convene at noon. The senators have to sit at their desks and remain quiet in their role as jurors. And not talk, which trust me, is going to be a problem for some of the senators who are used to talking all the time.” It’s just like a courtroom trial. There are prosecutors who present the case against the president. “That was perjury.” Only, they’re members of the House, and they’re called managers. Then the senators, or the jurors, vote. And things are still, unpredictable. “The options are guilty or not guilty. But there was one senator —” “Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania.” “Under Scottish law, there are three possible verdicts: guilty, not guilty and not proved.” “— which is not a thing.” “And everybody just looks, you know, how do you even record that vote?” In the end, there were not enough votes to oust Clinton. “What’s amazing about this whole thing to me wasn’t so much the constitutional process. It was that it felt to me like the beginning of really intense partisanship, the weaponization of partisanship.” And here’s the thing: An impeachment charge has never gotten the two-thirds majority it needs in the Senate to actually oust a president from office. “So you could end up having a situation where the president is impeached, acquitted and runs for re-election and wins re-election.” And that would be a first. “This is my ticket to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. I don’t think you’ll find these on StubHub.”

Westlake Legal Group xx-impeachment-explainer-vid-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Trump’s Actions Are Impeachable, Scholars Testify Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

Explosive testimony. News media frenzies. A trial in the Senate. Here is how impeachment works — and how it has played out in the past.CreditCredit…Photo illustration by Aaron Byrd

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