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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 59)

Ken Starr Returns to the Impeachment Fray, This Time for the Defense

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-starr-facebookJumbo Ken Starr Returns to the Impeachment Fray, This Time for the Defense Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Starr, Kenneth W Senate Lewinsky, Monica S Clinton, Bill

WASHINGTON — The last time a president was put on trial, few were more responsible for putting him in the dock than Kenneth Winston Starr. Now the former independent counsel whose investigation led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment 21 years ago will come to the defense of another president charged with high crimes and misdemeanors.

In adding Mr. Starr to his legal team on Friday, President Trump enlisted one of the best known and most polarizing legal figures in the country, and someone who in recent months has become a regular defender of the president on Fox News.

For a time in the 1990s, Mr. Starr was a household name, the prosecutor pursuing Mr. Clinton first over the Whitewater land deal and then over the president’s efforts to thwart a sexual harassment lawsuit by covering up an affair with a White House intern. To his admirers, Mr. Starr was an upright pursuer of a lying, philandering president who had dishonored the Oval Office. To his critics, Mr. Starr was a moralistic, sex-obsessed Inspector Javert persecuting a president out of ideological animus.

Mr. Starr’s investigation confirmed that Mr. Clinton had sexual relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky despite the president’s denials under oath and efforts to coach other potential witnesses to hide his indiscretions during a lawsuit brought by Paula Corbin Jones, a former Arkansas state worker who accused him of sexual harassment when he was governor.

Acting on Mr. Starr’s findings, the House impeached Mr. Clinton in December 1998, largely along party lines, but the Senate acquitted him in February 1999, concluding that the president’s wrongdoing did not justify removing him from office.

Mr. Clinton was separately found in contempt of court and fined by a federal judge and later struck a deal with Mr. Starr’s successor in which the president admitted not telling the truth under oath, paid a fine and surrendered his law license.

Mr. Starr, 73, was once a legal star among Republicans who served as a federal appeals court judge and then as President George Bush’s solicitor general, seen as a possible Supreme Court justice. But his time as independent counsel made him politically radioactive.

He went on to serve as dean of the Pepperdine University Law School and president of Baylor University but was demoted and later resigned from the Texas school after an investigation found the university mishandled accusations of sexual assault against members of the football team. The investigators rebuked the university leadership, saying that it “created a perception that football was above the rules.”

In the last 18 months, Mr. Starr has published a new memoir about his time as independent counsel called “Contempt” sharply criticizing Bill and Hillary Clinton and has become a regular commentator defending Mr. Trump against House Democrats seeking to impeach him for abuse of office and obstruction of Congress.

Mr. Starr has distinguished between Mr. Clinton’s actions, which he called clear felonies, and Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to provide incriminating information about Democrats, which he called “woefully inadequate” justification for removal from office.

“That is abuse of power,” Mr. Starr said on Mark Levin’s Fox News show in December shortly after the House impeached Mr. Trump. “We are going to impeach him before he’s done anything. Excuse me, you are using your power in a very vicious way. Whatever you think of him — you don’t think well of him; you think ill of him — it is not your business to use power in such an unprincipled way. Again, shame on you.”

His defense contrasted with previous moments when he criticized Mr. Trump. After Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, testified to the House about Mr. Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign, Mr. Starr said it was “bombshell” testimony that would be cited by Democrats as evidence that “the president, in fact, committed the crime of bribery.”

But he later went on to condemn House Democrats for what he called an “anti-constitutional exercise of power” by impeaching Mr. Trump.

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

Dust Off the Impeachment Tables, a Senate Trial Is Underway

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-furniture2-facebookJumbo Dust Off the Impeachment Tables, a Senate Trial Is Underway United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Roberts, John G Jr Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Clinton, Bill Capitol Building (Washington, DC)

WASHINGTON — Twenty-one years ago, Capitol Hill carpenters custom-designed and built a pair of curved tables that could fit in the cramped Senate chamber and serve as work space for the House managers and White House lawyers during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

Now, after sitting in storage for more than two decades, preserved as historical artifacts that might never be used again, the tables are being dusted off and moved to the Senate floor, part of a physical transformation inside the majestic chamber as it is converted from a place where legislation is debated to a one-of-a-kind courtroom where the fate of a president is decided.

“They made them after the impeachment articles were voted on,” James W. Ziglar, the former Senate sergeant-at-arms, said of the tables. Mr. Ziglar was in charge of the logistics for the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999.

Over the next few days, the oversize tables will again be wedged between the front row of the senators’ desks and the marble-and-polished-wood Senate rostrum, so they are ready next week for the start of oral arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial.

It is just one of a host of subtle changes being made in the Capitol to accommodate the third presidential impeachment trial in United States history.

On Thursday, the senators voted unanimously to allow the sergeant-at-arms to “install appropriate equipment and furniture in the Senate chamber” — with the proviso that the furnishings “shall be placed in the chamber in a manner that provides the least practicable disruption to Senate proceedings.”

Because smartphones, tablets and other electronic gadgets are expressly forbidden when the trial is in session, senators will be required to leave them behind.

To accommodate them, Capitol carpenters have installed a cabinet of cubbyholes, complete with charging cables, in the cloakrooms just outside the Senate floor. As senators enter the chamber each day, they will be able to drop off iPhones or iPads in their assigned compartments, much the way kindergartners deposit their galoshes and backpacks at the start of the school day.

Additional cubbies have been stationed outside the Senate doors for visiting House members to drop off their electronics. Chairs and desks are being brought into the back of the chamber for staff, who will not be permitted to stand during the trial, as aides normally do when they congregate there during legislative debates.

While the senators may not use laptop computers in the chamber during the trial, the chief justice is permitted to have one, and the teams of House managers and White House lawyers can each have two.

Senators also authorized the installation of video monitors and other multimedia equipment, if requested by House managers or White House lawyers. (In 1999, both sides used large flat-screen monitors to play video clips during their arguments.)

And although there is still a raging debate about whether the Senate will hear from witnesses during the trial, the carpenters will be ready if it happens. Senators agreed to add “a witness table and chair if required.”

Outside the Senate chamber itself, brass stanchions with maroon velvet ropes are being set up liberally to control the crowds of journalists on hand to cover the historic event.

The addition of the new furniture is turning what is already a surprisingly small chamber into an even more cramped space for senators, the chief justice, a variety of aides and the two opposing impeachment teams. In some places, the president’s lawyers and the House managers will be seated mere inches from the senators who will serve as jurors.

It all appears so grand on television. But what can look cavernous on C-Span can feel quite crowded in person.

“You don’t realize how small the Senate is until it happens,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, recalling the many hours he spent sitting at his desk in the chamber during Mr. Clinton’s nearly monthlong impeachment trial. “If it seems small the first day, I guarantee you by two or three days, it is really small.”

Impeachment also reshuffles the grand spaces outside the Senate chamber, upending the lay of the land in a body where prime real estate is allocated according to seniority.

During the trial, the President’s Room, one of the Senate’s most ornate, will become an office for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the presiding officer. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist worked out of the same room, just outside a set of doors to the Senate chamber that are inaccessible to the public and the news media, during Mr. Clinton’s trial.

“It allowed the chief to come and go with less moving through the chamber,” Mr. Ziglar said. “That provided security and for him to not be hassled by senators and others.”

“They all wanted to lobby him,” he added. “After senators had tried to corner him, I did have to go to explain to them: ‘Guys, you don’t lobby the chief justice.’”

The House impeachment managers will lay claim to coveted office space just off the Senate floor, taking over a room that belongs to the Committee on Rules and Administration, down a hallway with tile mosaics of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield. The vice president’s office, normally in use on days when he is in the Senate for meetings or to preside over a debate and cast a tiebreaking vote, will be turned over instead to Mr. Trump’s defense team.

Inside the chamber at the custom tables, the House managers will sit at the table to the right of the chief justice, in front of the Democratic senators. The White House lawyers will sit to Mr. Roberts’s left, in front of the Republicans.

During Mr. Clinton’s trial, that tradition caused some consternation for Republican House managers, who complained about being seated so close to the president’s allies. White House lawyers likewise griped about having to defend Mr. Clinton while sitting next to Republican senators.

Some things will not change when the trial begins. Each senator will sit at his or her own polished-wood desk during opening statements and hours of arguments from both sides. Those desks will not move from their usual location arranged in a semicircle in the Senate chamber.

But the trial tables are only for special occasions. Mr. Ziglar recalled that the Capitol carpenters waited to build them until it was absolutely clear they would be needed — after the House voted to impeach Mr. Clinton.

“We had already planned for it,” he said, “but we didn’t execute until the impeachment articles were actually passed, because that’s being presumptuous, I suppose.”

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

Dust Off the Impeachment Tables, a Senate Trial Is Underway

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-furniture2-facebookJumbo Dust Off the Impeachment Tables, a Senate Trial Is Underway United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Roberts, John G Jr Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Clinton, Bill Capitol Building (Washington, DC)

WASHINGTON — Twenty-one years ago, Capitol Hill carpenters custom-designed and built a pair of curved tables that could fit in the cramped Senate chamber and serve as work space for the House managers and White House lawyers during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

Now, after sitting in storage for more than two decades, preserved as historical artifacts that might never be used again, the tables are being dusted off and moved to the Senate floor, part of a physical transformation inside the majestic chamber as it is converted from a place where legislation is debated to a one-of-a-kind courtroom where the fate of a president is decided.

“They made them after the impeachment articles were voted on,” James W. Ziglar, the former Senate sergeant-at-arms, said of the tables. Mr. Ziglar was in charge of the logistics for the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999.

Over the next few days, the oversize tables will again be wedged between the front row of the senators’ desks and the marble-and-polished-wood Senate rostrum, so they are ready next week for the start of oral arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial.

It is just one of a host of subtle changes being made in the Capitol to accommodate the third presidential impeachment trial in United States history.

On Thursday, the senators voted unanimously to allow the sergeant-at-arms to “install appropriate equipment and furniture in the Senate chamber” — with the proviso that the furnishings “shall be placed in the chamber in a manner that provides the least practicable disruption to Senate proceedings.”

Because smartphones, tablets and other electronic gadgets are expressly forbidden when the trial is in session, senators will be required to leave them behind.

To accommodate them, Capitol carpenters have installed a cabinet of cubbyholes, complete with charging cables, in the cloakrooms just outside the Senate floor. As senators enter the chamber each day, they will be able to drop off iPhones or iPads in their assigned compartments, much the way kindergartners deposit their galoshes and backpacks at the start of the school day.

Additional cubbies have been stationed outside the Senate doors for visiting House members to drop off their electronics. Chairs and desks are being brought into the back of the chamber for staff, who will not be permitted to stand during the trial, as aides normally do when they congregate there during legislative debates.

While the senators may not use laptop computers in the chamber during the trial, the chief justice is permitted to have one, and the teams of House managers and White House lawyers can each have two.

Senators also authorized the installation of video monitors and other multimedia equipment, if requested by House managers or White House lawyers. (In 1999, both sides used large flat-screen monitors to play video clips during their arguments.)

And although there is still a raging debate about whether the Senate will hear from witnesses during the trial, the carpenters will be ready if it happens. Senators agreed to add “a witness table and chair if required.”

Outside the Senate chamber itself, brass stanchions with maroon velvet ropes are being set up liberally to control the crowds of journalists on hand to cover the historic event.

The addition of the new furniture is turning what is already a surprisingly small chamber into an even more cramped space for senators, the chief justice, a variety of aides and the two opposing impeachment teams. In some places, the president’s lawyers and the House managers will be seated mere inches from the senators who will serve as jurors.

It all appears so grand on television. But what can look cavernous on C-Span can feel quite crowded in person.

“You don’t realize how small the Senate is until it happens,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, recalling the many hours he spent sitting at his desk in the chamber during Mr. Clinton’s nearly monthlong impeachment trial. “If it seems small the first day, I guarantee you by two or three days, it is really small.”

Impeachment also reshuffles the grand spaces outside the Senate chamber, upending the lay of the land in a body where prime real estate is allocated according to seniority.

During the trial, the President’s Room, one of the Senate’s most ornate, will become an office for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the presiding officer. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist worked out of the same room, just outside a set of doors to the Senate chamber that are inaccessible to the public and the news media, during Mr. Clinton’s trial.

“It allowed the chief to come and go with less moving through the chamber,” Mr. Ziglar said. “That provided security and for him to not be hassled by senators and others.”

“They all wanted to lobby him,” he added. “After senators had tried to corner him, I did have to go to explain to them: ‘Guys, you don’t lobby the chief justice.’”

The House impeachment managers will lay claim to coveted office space just off the Senate floor, taking over a room that belongs to the Committee on Rules and Administration, down a hallway with tile mosaics of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield. The vice president’s office, normally in use on days when he is in the Senate for meetings or to preside over a debate and cast a tiebreaking vote, will be turned over instead to Mr. Trump’s defense team.

Inside the chamber at the custom tables, the House managers will sit at the table to the right of the chief justice, in front of the Democratic senators. The White House lawyers will sit to Mr. Roberts’s left, in front of the Republicans.

During Mr. Clinton’s trial, that tradition caused some consternation for Republican House managers, who complained about being seated so close to the president’s allies. White House lawyers likewise griped about having to defend Mr. Clinton while sitting next to Republican senators.

Some things will not change when the trial begins. Each senator will sit at his or her own polished-wood desk during opening statements and hours of arguments from both sides. Those desks will not move from their usual location arranged in a semicircle in the Senate chamber.

But the trial tables are only for special occasions. Mr. Ziglar recalled that the Capitol carpenters waited to build them until it was absolutely clear they would be needed — after the House voted to impeach Mr. Clinton.

“We had already planned for it,” he said, “but we didn’t execute until the impeachment articles were actually passed, because that’s being presumptuous, I suppose.”

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

Iran’s Supreme Leader Rebukes U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon

Iran’s supreme leader struck a defiant tone in a rare public sermon on Friday, calling the United States an “arrogant power” and telling tens of thousands of chanting worshipers that God’s backing had allowed his country to “slap the face” of the United States.

In his first such address in eight years, the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sought to rally supporters and undermine critics after weeks of turbulence in the Middle East that brought Iran and the United States to the brink of war and prompted street protests in Iran over the accidental downing of a civilian jetliner by Iranian forces.

Mr. Khamenei offered only scant condolences to the families who lost relatives in the crash, and instead sought to project strength. He dismissed protesters as “stooges of the United States,” lauded Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s foreign operations chief who was killed in an American drone strike, and praised a retaliatory Iranian missile attack on United States forces in Iraq.

“These two weeks were extraordinary and eventful. Bitter and sweet events. Lessons we learned. The Iranian people went through a lot,” he said. “We delivered a slap to U.S.’s image as a superpower.”

He added that President Trump was a “clown” who only pretended to support the Iranian people but would “push a poisonous dagger” into their backs.

The event, choreographed to present an image of power and unity, skirted the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane on Jan. 8 by Iranian forces that killed all 176 people on board. A lone banner featuring an airplane hung between huge pictures of General Suleimani.

The downing of the jet — followed by three days of denials by Iranian officials — spurred a new wave of protests across the country that Iranian security forces have sought to quell with bullets and tear gas.

On Friday, the Ukrainian foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, said that an Iranian representative would travel to Ukraine next week and that Iran had agreed to hand over data and voice recorders from the downed plane after they had been examined by a team of experts from Canada, Iran and Ukraine.

Nearly 45 minutes into his sermon, Mr. Khamenei said his “heart burned” for the victims of the crash, but he quickly accused Iran’s enemies of seeking to capitalize on the tragedy to overshadow the killing of General Suleimani and the missile strikes on two bases that housed American troops in Iraq.

“As much as we were sad about the crash, our enemy was happy about it,” he said. “They thought they found an excuse to undermine the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and our armed forces and question the Islamic Republic.”

Westlake Legal Group iran-tehran-airport-crash-flights-promo-1578698739538-articleLarge Iran’s Supreme Leader Rebukes U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Prayers and Prayer Books Politics and Government Khamenei, Ali Iran Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Flights In and Out of Tehran Continued After Missile Strikes and Plane Crash

Planes took off after Iran’s missile strikes on bases in Iraq, and even after a Ukrainian plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

Forgoing Tehran University, where Mr. Khamenei usually speaks, he appeared for communal Muslim prayers on Friday at Tehran’s Grand Mosalla, a large complex used as a communal prayer center for Muslim holidays and as an arena for election campaigns.

Crowds streamed in several hours before his sermon began, including schoolchildren, government employees and worshipers from neighboring provinces who had been bused in from their local mosques.

The complex had been outfitted with political messages: American flags were spread on the floor in the entrances so that worshipers could tread on them. Uniformed soldiers handed out posters of General Suleimani and red headbands with “God is Great” written in Arabic.

President Hassan Rouhani, who is seen as a moderate, was in the front row as Mr. Khamenei spoke. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also sat nearby, as did Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ aerospace forces who has said units under his command were responsible for shooting down the plane. Iranian lawmakers, politicians and other citizens have called for his resignation over the downing.

Video

transcript

Ukrainian Flight 752: How a Plane Came Down in 7 Minutes

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.

We first learned that it was a missile that took down a Ukrainian airliner over Iran because of this video showing the moment of impact. All 176 people on board were killed. To find out what happened to Flight 752 after it left Tehran airport on Jan. 8, we collected flight data, analyzed witness videos and images of the crash site, to paint the clearest picture yet of that disastrous seven-minute flight. We’ll walk you through the evidence, minute by minute, from the plane’s takeoff to the moment it crashed. It’s the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 8. Iran has just launched ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani. Iranian defenses are on high alert, on guard for a possible U.S. attack. Four hours later, at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, Flight 752, operated by Ukraine International Airlines, is getting ready for departure. At 6:12 a.m., the plane takes off. It flies northwest, and climbs to almost 8,000 feet in around three minutes, according to flight tracker data. It’s following its regular route. Up ahead are several military sites. Until now, the plane’s transponder has been signaling normally. But just before 6:15 a.m., it stops. This is where the first missile hits the plane. Footage from a security camera near one of the military sites shows the missile launch. It hits the plane, and knocks out the transponder. But the airliner keeps flying. A security camera, directly beneath, shows what happens next. A second missile launches 30 seconds after the first, and it explodes, moments later. A third video shows the impact. Let’s watch it again, and slow it down. Here is the missile, and here is the plane. An Iranian military commander said a defense system operator mistook the passenger jet for a cruise missile. The plane is now on fire. We don’t know its precise path after 6:15 a.m., but we do know that it turns back in the direction of the airport. It continues flying for several minutes, engulfed by flames. Around 6:19 a.m., a bystander films the plane slowly going down. There appears to be second explosion before the jetliner plummets outside Tehran about 10 miles from where the last signal was sent. A security camera captures that moment as the plane crashes toward it. Here we see the immediate aftermath of the crash. As day breaks, another witness films the smoldering wreckage. Debris is spread out over 1,500 feet along a small park, orchards and a soccer field, narrowly missing a nearby village. A large section of the plane looks badly charred. More jet parts are found here, and the plane’s tail and wheels land over 500 feet away. It is a gruesome scene. The passengers’ personal items — toys, clothes, photo albums — are scattered around. After days of denials, Iran took responsibility for the crash, blaming human error at a moment of heightened tensions.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166953561_06e1cc97-db54-4a54-a482-c464887a1919-videoSixteenByNine3000 Iran’s Supreme Leader Rebukes U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Prayers and Prayer Books Politics and Government Khamenei, Ali Iran Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.CreditCredit…Akbar Tavakoli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Large banners inside the complex featured the face of General Suleimani and other men who were killed alongside him in United States drone strikes, ordered by Mr. Trump, near the Baghdad airport on Jan. 2. Other banners read, “Death to America.”

Mr. Khamenei, 80, Iran’s top political and religious official, delivers Friday sermons only at times of serious crisis that require his intervention. His last such sermon was in 2012, during the Arab Spring uprisings in the region. He also spoke in 2009, during widespread protests in Iran contesting the results of a presidential election that became known as the Green Movement.

In both instances, Mr. Khamenei’s reinforced the government’s hard line by ordering people off the streets.

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11 Americans Were Hurt in Iranian Strike, Military Says, Contradicting Trump

Westlake Legal Group 17iran-1-facebookJumbo 11 Americans Were Hurt in Iranian Strike, Military Says, Contradicting Trump United States Defense and Military Forces United States Central Command Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Iran Baghdad (Iraq)

Eleven American troops were treated for concussions after Iranian missiles struck two Iraqi bases where the servicemembers were stationed, the military said on Thursday, contradicting earlier statements by President Trump that no Americans had been injured.

The Jan. 8 attack on bases near Baghdad and Erbil, Iraq, were launched in retaliation for the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a senior figure in Iran’s military, in a drone strike ordered by Mr. Trump.

“While no U.S. servicemembers were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for United States Central Command, said in a statement.

In a speech, Mr. Trump had said that no Americans were hurt in the strike, in which at least a dozen missiles were fired.

“I’m pleased to inform you the American people should be extremely grateful and happy,” the president said on Jan. 8. “No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime.”

Captain Urban said the injured troops were taken to American military sites in Germany and Kuwait to undergo screening, and that “when deemed fit for duty, the servicemembers are expected to return to Iraq.”

The lack of American deaths in the strikes was a welcome relief to American officials, who had feared General Suleimani’s killing could set off a larger regional conflict. By Jan. 9, the day after the strike, both countries had publicly said they would de-escalate direct military action.

The general’s death and the subsequent missile strike, however, set other events in motion, including the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet in Tehran by the Iranian military, in which 176 people were killed, and a resolution by the Iraqi Parliament calling for the expulsion of foreign forces from the country.

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Trump Fans or Not, Business Owners Are Wary of Warren and Sanders

Westlake Legal Group 00econdems1-facebookJumbo Trump Fans or Not, Business Owners Are Wary of Warren and Sanders Warren, Elizabeth United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Small Business Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

When it comes to President Trump’s economic policies, there is not much that appeals to Grady Cope, the founder of a machining and assembly company in Englewood, Colo.

He doesn’t approve of tariffs, which have disrupted his supply chains and raised costs. He is turned off by the president’s disparagement of immigrants. And while small businesses routinely thank the administration for hacking through a regulatory thicket, he said of the pre-Trump rule book, “I can’t think of one time that it affected me or slowed growth.”

“I lean more to the liberal side of things,” said Mr. Cope, who employs 47 people at his firm, Reata Engineering and Machine Works. Yet even though he supports a higher minimum wage and is open to the idea of “Medicare for all,” he is leery of two of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I probably won’t go as far left on issues as Sanders and Warren,” he said.

Wall Street’s disdain for the bottom-up populist campaigns of Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont has gotten a lot of attention. The candidates’ full-throated attacks on corporate greed, extreme wealth and banking excesses are backed up by ambitious plans to upend the industry’s everyday operations.

Wariness extends far beyond an elite financial fellowship, though, to many small and medium-size businesses whose executives are not reflexively Republican but worry that the ascendancy of a left-wing Democrat would create an anti-business climate. In their view, sweeping plans to remake the health care system or slash the cost of higher education will mean higher taxes for businesses and the middle class, no matter what candidates promise.

But if policy is an issue, so is tone. In campaign speeches and debates, some said, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren portray businesses as exploiting the American economic system instead of building it, and of contributing to income inequality instead of creating wealth.

Michael Brady, the owner of two employment franchises in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the independent business executives interviewed who feel unappreciated. “I get up before 6 o’clock every morning and work hard,” he said. “I put 200 people to work every week.”

Mr. Brady, 53, said he voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and Mr. Trump in 2016. Since then, he said, some of the president’s actions and “some of his tweets” have made him cringe.

He said he could vote for a Democrat this year. But he finds several of the economic proposals from the party’s left wing off-putting, mentioning free college tuition and a nationwide $15-an-hour minimum wage.

What particularly irks Mr. Brady, though, are some of Ms. Warren’s statements about successful entrepreneurs’ not having built their businesses entirely on their own. Attacks on the country’s wealthy elite have also grated.

“When did the word millionaire or billionaire become a bad word?” he asked. “I cheer those people on because they’ve lived the American dream.”

Ms. Warren has explained for years that she, too, cheers hard-driven capitalists, but adds that as important as private enterprise is, its successes are built on governmental investments like roads, education, police officers and firefighters. And so the winners, she argues, need to share more of their haul.

To Mr. Brady, though, the comments sound like an insult. “It’s strictly the pro-business mentality that drives me to vote,” he said.

In the meantime, Mr. Trump has fueled such feelings by referring to the Democrats as “radical socialists.”

Democratic moderates warn that a leftward tilt in the party’s presidential nomination could alienate potential swing voters like Mr. Brady. Some point to Mr. Obama’s recent warning that “the average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system.”

“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality,” Mr. Obama told a group of donors in November.

Candidates like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have sought to dominate the political center lane. But none has matched the degree of enthusiasm and devotion that Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders have generated among supporters inspired by prospects of visionary change.

The belief that voters are yearning for another moderate alternative recently helped motivate former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts to reverse their decisions to forgo the 2020 election.

The billionaire Mr. Bloomberg, who announced his candidacy in November, has emphasized his background as a self-made business executive. In an early advertisement, he described himself as “a middle-class kid who made good.” Mr. Patrick, a friend of Mr. Obama’s, has positioned himself as someone who wants to bring people together and looks for middle ground.

But even with the first Democratic contests weeks away, the November presidential election can seem far off.

Beri Fox, president and chief executive of Marble King in Paden City, W.Va., possibly the last American manufacturer of toy marbles, said she had not yet focused on the candidates’ overall plans, just “bits and pieces.”

Making sure American companies can compete with China is a priority for her, said Ms. Fox, who employs 28 people. She hopes that Mr. Trump’s confrontational approach on trade will work in the long run, but also feels that Mr. Biden cares deeply about domestic manufacturers. She has not decided whom to support for president.

For some, the battle for the Democratic nomination is still mostly background noise.

With so many candidates still in contention, “it just doesn’t seem worth my time to pick a heartthrob at this time,” said Rick Woldenberg, chief executive of Learning Resources in Vernon Hills, Ill., a family-owned manufacturer of educational materials and toys.

Mr. Woldenberg’s primary concern is the future of his business, which employs more than 200 people. The 2017 tax cuts engineered by Mr. Trump and his party helped generate more cash for investment, he said, but tariffs on imports have been punishing, raising the cost of materials and straining relations with customers and international vendors.

He also finds the president’s routine combativeness unsettling, not to mention his impeachment.

“I tend to favor politicians who are more moderate in their views,” Mr. Woldenberg said. “And I would not consider Trump to be especially moderate.”

Yet neither are Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, he said. Labeling them “very extreme,” he said that expensive plans like Medicare for all would depress the economy and that a wealth tax would be “catastrophic.”

The generally positive economic outlook, of course, could shift significantly in the coming year. The recent flare-up in tensions between the United States and Iran was a reminder that by the time of the election, international events could eclipse domestic ones.

At the moment, though, executives are focused on their businesses.

Tom Gimbel, the founder and chief executive of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based employment agency, is looking for a candidate who will promote economic growth.

“Trump may be a loose cannon on international stuff, but domestically Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are loose cannons on restricting business,” Mr. Gimbel said. “Giving things away for free is a slap in the face for people who played by the rules. Where does it stop? Are we going to start paying off mortgage debt?”

He mentioned several other concerns about Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, including a wealth tax, broader eligibility for overtime pay, and pro-worker rulings that could come from a liberal National Labor Relations Board.

“We don’t need the opposite of Trump,” Mr. Gimbel said. “We don’t need an opposite of crazy. We need a moderate.”

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Two Days of History on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON — “Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silent upon pain of imprisonment.”

Those words, an echo of another time, came from Michael C. Stenger, the Senate sergeant-at-arms, and fell upon a hushed Senate chamber just after noon on Thursday. The impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, the 45th president of the United States, on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors was about to begin.

Two hours later, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in flowing black robes, escorted by four senators, strode into the room to open the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

“When the chief justice walked in, you could feel the weight of the moment,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said later. “I saw members on both sides of the aisle visibly gulp.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167237769_d8d76289-3749-489e-b1e1-cee1b538dfd2-articleLarge Two Days of History on Capitol Hill United States Politics and Government United States Capitol Police Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schiff, Adam B Roberts, John G Jr Photography Pelosi, Nancy impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Capitol Building (Washington, DC)

Reporters watching Chief Justice Roberts presiding over the trial from the Senate press gallery on Thursday on Capitol Hill.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Chief Justice Roberts, who will preside over the trial, was sworn in by Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the Senate pro tempore — a post he holds because he is the longest-serving member of the majority.

Mr. Grassley administered the oath, which dates to the 1700s: “I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.”

Chief Justice Roberts then administered the same oath to the senators, who rose in unison, raised their right hands and swore to administer “impartial justice.”

One by one, in alphabetical order, the senators then proceeded to the well of the chamber to sign an “oath book” — an affirmation in writing of the vow they had just taken.

In a proceeding laden with history and tradition, the oath book is a relatively recent convention; it dates to 1986, when the Senate updated its impeachment rules for the television era.

Earlier in the day, the seven Democrats appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “impeachment managers” to prosecute the House’s case walked two-by-two across the Capitol to the Senate chamber. They had already delivered two articles of impeachment, one on abuse of power and the other on obstruction of Congress, to the Senate on Wednesday evening. Now they were invited to “exhibit” — or read them aloud — in the chamber at noon on Thursday.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead impeachment manager, delivered the formal accusation from the House: President Trump had committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” by withholding military aid from Ukraine to help himself win the 2020 election, and then concealed his actions from Congress.

“President Trump,” Mr. Schiff said, “warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.”

There were signs all over the Capitol that this was a different kind of day.

The Capitol Police officers, who have the option to wear turtlenecks, wore ties with their dress blue uniforms. Areas ordinarily open to the news media and visitors were cordoned off with golden stanchions and crimson velvet ropes. Reporters and staff members were issued special color-coded badges — maroon for the news media, brown for Senate staff — to gain entry to the Senate side of the Capitol.

Capitol Police officers wearing ties.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times Television lights set up in Statuary Hall.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
A hallway off the Senate chamber.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times Stanchions were used to keep the news media in certain areas.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The highly orchestrated rituals of the impeachment trial began on Wednesday, when the House voted, largely along party lines, to transmit the articles to the Senate and appoint the impeachment managers.

Ms. Pelosi needed to sign them, and she did so during a formal “engrossment ceremony,” using more than a dozen black and gold pens that were laid out on silver trays. (Later she gave the pens as mementos to committee leaders and other Democrats who played a role in the House impeachment inquiry.)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi signing the articles of impeachment.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times Ms. Pelosi used a different pen for every letter of her signature.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times
Ms. Pelosi announcing the House managers.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times Ms. Pelosi and Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Mr. Schiff and his team then walked slowly in a procession through the Capitol, through Statuary Hall and the Rotunda, to deliver the articles to the Senate.

Mr. Trump’s trial will reconvene at 1 p.m. Tuesday. On his way out of the Capitol, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, reflected on what was going through his mind as the chief justice administered the oath.

“The gravity of what we are undertaking, I think, is sinking in for all of us,” he said.

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For the Senators Who Will Judge Trump, an Incomplete Story to Consider

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167237751_eb11470b-80ab-4044-ac70-33e903db7aa7-facebookJumbo For the Senators Who Will Judge Trump, an Incomplete Story to Consider Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Parnas, Lev impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — By the time the Senate opened impeachment trials for Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, its members pretty well knew the facts of the accusations against the presidents. None of them needed to turn on “The Rachel Maddow Show” to learn things they did not already know.

But as senators formally convened on Thursday as a court of impeachment in the case of Donald John Trump, new revelations were still emerging and important questions remained unanswered. The latest interviews by Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, as well as documents released by House investigators, only reinforced the reality that there is more still to be learned.

None of it may matter to the outcome even if more information does present itself in the weeks to come. The quasi-jurors who swore an oath on Thursday to do “impartial justice” for the most part have already signaled their partiality. And what has been documented so far gives a pretty clear picture of Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for incriminating information about his political rivals, whether it is cause for removing him from office or not.

Yet there are still so many loose threads to be pulled that the story feels incomplete. Did Mr. Trump know “everything that was going on,” as Mr. Parnas put it in an interview with The New York Times on the same day he appeared on Ms. Maddow’s MSNBC show? Was an American ambassador who had been targeted by Mr. Trump really put under surveillance by an unstable associate of Mr. Parnas, as text messages indicated?

Underscoring the fluidity of the story was the release on Thursday of a damning new report by the independent Government Accountability Office, or G.A.O. The report concluded that the federal budget office, acting on Mr. Trump’s orders, violated federal law by suspending security aid to Ukraine even as the president and his associates were pushing the former Soviet republic for help against Democrats. The accountability office’s finding would presumably be relevant in a trial turning in part on the suspended aid.

And the offer to testify by John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser who privately denounced the geopolitical “drug deal” orchestrated by Mr. Trump’s other advisers, only underlines that many of the key players in the tale of intrigue have yet to publicly disclose what they know.

The missing information, like almost everything else in Washington these days, is seen through drastically different lenses depending on the viewer’s political perspective.

To Democrats, Mr. Parnas’s revelations and Mr. Bolton’s offer of testimony only bolster their argument for calling witnesses during the Senate trial, which will get underway in earnest on Tuesday. If the Republican majority led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky refuses, Democrats say, it will be perpetuating a cover-up on behalf of a corrupt president.

“Both the revelations about Mr. Parnas and the G.A.O. opinion strengthen our push for witnesses and documents in the trial,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, told reporters. “The G.A.O. opinion, especially, makes clear that the documents we requested in our letter to Leader McConnell are even more needed now than when we requested it last month. Because President Trump, simply put, broke the law.”

To Republicans, the latest claims and disclosures are evidence that House Democrats put together a slapdash investigation that did not cover enough bases before they rushed to an ultimately partisan vote on the House floor. It is not the Senate’s job, Republicans say, to do what the House failed to do.

“Makes them look sloppy as hell,” said Solomon L. Wisenberg, a deputy independent counsel during the Starr investigation. “I think they should have gotten their act together a little better.”

Mr. Wisenberg said the House Democrats should have authorized an impeachment inquiry and issued subpoenas to Mr. Bolton and anyone else they wanted to question. “They wouldn’t be in this hot mess,” he said.

One way or the other, it is clear the Senate is opening a trial in a far different position than it did in 1868 when it determined Johnson’s fate or in 1999 when it considered charges against Mr. Clinton, both of whom were ultimately acquitted.

The Johnson case turned largely on two allegations — that he improperly fired the secretary of war and that he maligned Congress in a series of speeches. In neither instance were the facts seriously in question.

With Mr. Clinton, every significant possible witness had been interviewed by the investigators of the independent counsel Ken Starr before Congress took up the issue, and the question before the Senate was really about interpreting the facts and deciding whether they added up to high crimes worthy of removal from office.

With Mr. Trump, there was no special prosecutor investigating the Ukraine matter and it was left to the House itself to unearth the details of what happened. But the president refused to turn over documents and tried to block testimony by current and former advisers. That led Democrats to make the strategic decision not to wait for a prolonged court fight to force key witnesses like Mr. Bolton to testify, reasoning that the evidence they had already turned up was enough to justify articles of impeachment.

But they said that decision should not stop the Senate from trying to get to the truth.

In the Clinton case, the fight over witnesses focused only on those who had already testified during Mr. Starr’s grand jury and they had no new information to provide during the Senate trial. Refusing to hear from Mr. Bolton or others who have never testified like Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, means senators would decide guilt or innocence without access to the fullest version of the facts.

After complaining in the House that the witnesses who testified generally offered secondhand or hearsay accounts, Republicans would now be in the position of turning down testimony from advisers who have firsthand information.

“It seems evident the Senate will have to call witnesses if they are going to uncover the rest of the story,” said Byron L. Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota who was a senator during the Clinton trial.

Still, there is risk involved for Democrats prosecuting the president. Mr. Parnas in some ways mainly amplifies what is already known from other evidence and to the extent that he adds to the case against Mr. Trump, his credibility could be attacked given that he has been charged with campaign finance crimes unrelated to the Ukraine matter.

As for Mr. Bolton, no one knows for sure what he would say if he did testify. While he was described as critical of the Ukraine pressure campaign by other officials, it is not known whether he would implicate or exonerate the president himself. He left the White House on acrimonious terms and has criticized some of the president’s foreign policy decisions, but he has not become a Never Trumper-style critic and some Democrats are privately nervous about his potential testimony.

Democrats argue that the latest revelations from Mr. Parnas and the G.A.O. report indicate that the House charges were on track.

“Everything we’re hearing now demonstrates that the House did get it right,” said Robert F. Bauer, a New York University law professor who was the chief lawyer for Senate Democrats during the Clinton trial. “Contrary to the allegations the Senate has made what emerges here is confirmation that the House articles are well founded.”

Still, it may not make much of a difference in the end anyway. Most of the senators and most of the public seem to have made up their minds about Mr. Trump’s actions; from the time the House hearings started, polls showed Americans almost evenly divided and their views did not shift depending on the testimony one way or the other.

Some Republicans said more information would not affect the bottom line, which is that in their view the articles of impeachment simply do not add up to high crimes and misdemeanors. More text messages from Mr. Parnas or legal complaints about the process used to suspend the aid, they said, would not change that.

“My view is that whatever the facts, these two articles are so subject to future abuse that the Senate should dismiss them on their face,” said John C. Danforth, a moderate Republican from Missouri who served in the Senate. “This comes from a Republican who has been openly critical of Trump.”

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An Impeachment Trial That Could Unfold Out of Public View

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-tot-facebookJumbo An Impeachment Trial That Could Unfold Out of Public View United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment Clinton, Bill

WASHINGTON — Americans tuning in to witness electrifying exchanges in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump might be in for a shock themselves: Lawmakers could pull the C-Span plug and go into closed session at critical moments of debate over the conduct of the trial and the fate of the president.

While it seems anachronistic today given the expectation of wall-to-wall news coverage and an emphasis on government transparency, impeachment rules and precedent allow the Senate to clear the chamber of journalists and spectators and bar the doors so senators can talk privately among themselves for hours on end.

Senators met extensively in closed session during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999 — at least six times — to debate questions of witnesses and whether to dismiss the articles of impeachment, and also to conduct final deliberations much as a court jury would on whether to remove him from office.

Such sessions also occurred in the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson and have been typical in the impeachment trials of federal judges. But those events are in the past, and the notion of the Senate essentially going dark during such a momentous event might catch many people off guard.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican, said Thursday that it was “hard to say” whether or how often the Trump impeachment trial might move into closed session. But gathering privately could occur as early as Tuesday, depending on how seriously Republicans and Democrats clash over ground rules for the remainder of the proceeding.

Senators from both parties said they would like the trial to be as open as possible — and are well aware of the troubling optics of shuttering the Senate while weighing the future of the president.

“I hope none of it is closed,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas.

That view might be shared by Mr. Trump, who has suggested that he is counting on a public trial in the Republican-controlled Senate to discredit the impeachment initiated by House Democrats and vindicate him, proving his frequent claim that he did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine.

But given deep disputes between Republicans and Democrats over what the trial should entail and a prohibition on senators talking on the floor, Senate officials said that some closed sessions were probably inevitable. They are quietly laying the groundwork for that option, hoping to tamp down any criticism that information is being hidden.

They argue that closed-session deliberations are the only opportunity senators have during an impeachment trial, when the Senate’s rules compel them to stay silent, to actually discuss a dispute or argue an issue.

Still, lawmakers said any move to limit the public’s ability to follow the course of events is likely to fuel skepticism about what the Senate is up to and whether the Republican majority is trying to protect Mr. Trump from embarrassing disclosures. That is especially the case now, after the president stonewalled the House impeachment inquiry, blocking witnesses and refusing to turn over documents. Democrats have already accused the president’s allies in the Senate of assisting in a cover-up by refusing to seek more evidence during the trial.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said closed sessions would undermine the credibility of the trial and “simply feed the worst fears and exacerbate the suspicion and distrust that people understandably already feel.”

As the trial approaches, Senate leaders have already locked down the Capitol in extraordinary ways, tightening control over movement by the news media and denying a request to allow laptops in the chamber to ease coverage of the proceeding. An extra level of screening for electronics is being added at the entrance to the press gallery in the chamber. Some lawmakers told reporters that there was a fear that someone might stash a recorder to try to capture deliberations in a closed session.

The discussions in a closed Senate impeachment meeting are not classified. During the Clinton impeachment, senators often emerged to share what went on privately. Some even distributed the statements they delivered to their colleagues during final deliberations over whether to convict or acquit Mr. Clinton. But the flow of information is dependent on the willingness of participants to disclose what was said.

Those who participated in the Clinton trial said the closed sessions were unique, with the cameras turned off and the lights turned down. Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator from Wisconsin, said he found the atmosphere slightly eerie.

Other former senators said the closed doors, combined with the inability of senators to posture for the cameras or the news media, led to more free-flowing and elevated discussion as lawmakers expressed their views without fear of retaliation — or today’s equivalent of a social media beatdown. Joseph I. Lieberman, a former Democratic senator from Connecticut, said he remembered such debates in 1999 as some of the most meaningful of his time in the Senate.

“They were serious,” he recalled. “They were thoughtful, they respected the seriousness of the moment. It was quite different, the quality of the debate. Maybe we just felt something historic was going on.”

Tom Daschle, who at the time was a Democratic senator from South Dakota and the party leader, shared the sentiment.

“We had open and closed sessions during the Clinton trial,” he said. “Surprisingly, we found that the closed sessions were oftentimes more productive. There was more candor, less public positioning, fewer speeches directed to the cameras. There is a need for both open and closed sessions.”

Historians note that the expectation that government proceedings must be fully open is relatively new and that the government’s founding document — the Constitution — was drafted in secret behind guarded doors.

“There is clearly strong precedent for the use of secrecy in at least some phases of the deliberation,” said David Pozen, a law professor at Columbia Law School who has studied the issue. “That seems eminently defensible as long as it is buffered by transparency at the outset about the charge and transparency at the back end about the ultimate outcome.”

Even though “maximal transparency is not always conducive to honest and healthy deliberations,” Professor Pozen said, “the cultural association of closed-door proceedings with bad motives and illegitimate actions has never been stronger.”

That might be an issue for the Senate if it has to shift into closed sessions to debate an impeachment that has already divided the public in an era when suspicions and conspiracy theories are easily stoked on social media.

“This is for the American people to witness,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, as he urged that the Senate avoid closed-door sessions to the extent possible. “For many of them, this will be the first time they have paid attention to this.”

Trump on Trial is a continuing series of articles offering reporting, analysis and impressions of the Senate impeachment proceedings.

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

An Impeachment Trial That Could Unfold Out of Public View

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-tot-facebookJumbo An Impeachment Trial That Could Unfold Out of Public View United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment Clinton, Bill

WASHINGTON — Americans tuning in to witness electrifying exchanges in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump might be in for a shock themselves: Lawmakers could pull the C-Span plug and go into closed session at critical moments of debate over the conduct of the trial and the fate of the president.

While it seems anachronistic today given the expectation of wall-to-wall news coverage and an emphasis on government transparency, impeachment rules and precedent allow the Senate to clear the chamber of journalists and spectators and bar the doors so senators can talk privately among themselves for hours on end.

Senators met extensively in closed session during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999 — at least six times — to debate questions of witnesses and whether to dismiss the articles of impeachment, and also to conduct final deliberations much as a court jury would on whether to remove him from office.

Such sessions also occurred in the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson and have been typical in the impeachment trials of federal judges. But those events are in the past, and the notion of the Senate essentially going dark during such a momentous event might catch many people off guard.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican, said Thursday that it was “hard to say” whether or how often the Trump impeachment trial might move into closed session. But gathering privately could occur as early as Tuesday, depending on how seriously Republicans and Democrats clash over ground rules for the remainder of the proceeding.

Senators from both parties said they would like the trial to be as open as possible — and are well aware of the troubling optics of shuttering the Senate while weighing the future of the president.

“I hope none of it is closed,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas.

That view might be shared by Mr. Trump, who has suggested that he is counting on a public trial in the Republican-controlled Senate to discredit the impeachment initiated by House Democrats and vindicate him, proving his frequent claim that he did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine.

But given deep disputes between Republicans and Democrats over what the trial should entail and a prohibition on senators talking on the floor, Senate officials said that some closed sessions were probably inevitable. They are quietly laying the groundwork for that option, hoping to tamp down any criticism that information is being hidden.

They argue that closed-session deliberations are the only opportunity senators have during an impeachment trial, when the Senate’s rules compel them to stay silent, to actually discuss a dispute or argue an issue.

Still, lawmakers said any move to limit the public’s ability to follow the course of events is likely to fuel skepticism about what the Senate is up to and whether the Republican majority is trying to protect Mr. Trump from embarrassing disclosures. That is especially the case now, after the president stonewalled the House impeachment inquiry, blocking witnesses and refusing to turn over documents. Democrats have already accused the president’s allies in the Senate of assisting in a cover-up by refusing to seek more evidence during the trial.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said closed sessions would undermine the credibility of the trial and “simply feed the worst fears and exacerbate the suspicion and distrust that people understandably already feel.”

As the trial approaches, Senate leaders have already locked down the Capitol in extraordinary ways, tightening control over movement by the news media and denying a request to allow laptops in the chamber to ease coverage of the proceeding. An extra level of screening for electronics is being added at the entrance to the press gallery in the chamber. Some lawmakers told reporters that there was a fear that someone might stash a recorder to try to capture deliberations in a closed session.

The discussions in a closed Senate impeachment meeting are not classified. During the Clinton impeachment, senators often emerged to share what went on privately. Some even distributed the statements they delivered to their colleagues during final deliberations over whether to convict or acquit Mr. Clinton. But the flow of information is dependent on the willingness of participants to disclose what was said.

Those who participated in the Clinton trial said the closed sessions were unique, with the cameras turned off and the lights turned down. Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator from Wisconsin, said he found the atmosphere slightly eerie.

Other former senators said the closed doors, combined with the inability of senators to posture for the cameras or the news media, led to more free-flowing and elevated discussion as lawmakers expressed their views without fear of retaliation — or today’s equivalent of a social media beatdown. Joseph I. Lieberman, a former Democratic senator from Connecticut, said he remembered such debates in 1999 as some of the most meaningful of his time in the Senate.

“They were serious,” he recalled. “They were thoughtful, they respected the seriousness of the moment. It was quite different, the quality of the debate. Maybe we just felt something historic was going on.”

Tom Daschle, who at the time was a Democratic senator from South Dakota and the party leader, shared the sentiment.

“We had open and closed sessions during the Clinton trial,” he said. “Surprisingly, we found that the closed sessions were oftentimes more productive. There was more candor, less public positioning, fewer speeches directed to the cameras. There is a need for both open and closed sessions.”

Historians note that the expectation that government proceedings must be fully open is relatively new and that the government’s founding document — the Constitution — was drafted in secret behind guarded doors.

“There is clearly strong precedent for the use of secrecy in at least some phases of the deliberation,” said David Pozen, a law professor at Columbia Law School who has studied the issue. “That seems eminently defensible as long as it is buffered by transparency at the outset about the charge and transparency at the back end about the ultimate outcome.”

Even though “maximal transparency is not always conducive to honest and healthy deliberations,” Professor Pozen said, “the cultural association of closed-door proceedings with bad motives and illegitimate actions has never been stronger.”

That might be an issue for the Senate if it has to shift into closed sessions to debate an impeachment that has already divided the public in an era when suspicions and conspiracy theories are easily stoked on social media.

“This is for the American people to witness,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, as he urged that the Senate avoid closed-door sessions to the extent possible. “For many of them, this will be the first time they have paid attention to this.”

Trump on Trial is a continuing series of articles offering reporting, analysis and impressions of the Senate impeachment proceedings.

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