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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 71)

Trump’s Mideast Plan Is Seen Mainly as an Election Lift for Netanyahu

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-mideast-1-facebookJumbo Trump’s Mideast Plan Is Seen Mainly as an Election Lift for Netanyahu United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Palestinian Authority Netanyahu, Benjamin Kushner, Jared Israel Gantz, Benny Abbas, Mahmoud

LONDON — Less than a month after being sworn in, President Trump welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the White House with a bold promise: He would broker a peace accord between the Israelis and the Palestinians — the diplomatic unicorn that had eluded half a dozen of his predecessors.

“I think we’re going to make a deal,” he said in 2017. “It might be a bigger and better deal than people in this room even understand.”

“As with any successful negotiation,” Mr. Trump continued, “both sides will have to make compromises. You know that, right?” he added, turning to his guest.

Mr. Netanyahu grinned. “Both sides,” he replied.

The Israeli leader will return to the White House for meetings Monday and Tuesday, and Mr. Trump is expected at last to lay out the details of that long-awaited plan. Mr. Netanyahu said Sunday he hoped to “make history” on the visit.

But far from a bold effort to bring old enemies together — one that demands painful concessions from both sides — Middle East experts now expect the plan to be mainly a booster shot for Mr. Netanyahu’s desperate campaign to stay in power.

Benny Gantz, again Mr. Netanyahu’s rival in Israel’s third election in less than a year, will have his own separate meeting with Mr. Trump on Monday. He had at first resisted the invitation, fearing a political trap in which Mr. Netanyahu would get to play the statesman while Mr. Gantz would look puny by comparison. But analysts said he could not afford to snub the president, given Mr. Trump’s enduring popularity in Israel.

The Palestinians, who stopped talking to Mr. Trump after he ordered the United States Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in December 2017, will not be at the White House to be briefed on the plan. They have vowed to reject it.

“For him to do this in the middle of an Israeli election, without any Palestinian participation and with no intention to follow up with any of the participants, shows this is not a peace plan at all,” said Martin S. Indyk, who served as special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under President Barack Obama.

“It is a farce from start to finish,” he said.

Mr. Indyk’s verdict is harsh but not uncommon among diplomats who have worked on past peace efforts. Like other veterans of those fruitless negotiations, in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Mr. Indyk watched the early days of Mr. Trump’s diplomacy with fascination and even muted hope — that this most undiplomatic of presidents might achieve a breakthrough where they had failed.

That triumph of hope over experience was shared by some in the region. Palestinians and Israelis took to calling it Mr. Trump’s “deal of the century,” outdoing his own description of it as the “ultimate deal.”

The president brought a deal maker’s swagger and a property developer’s instincts to a problem that, after all, involves disputed territory. His close ties to Mr. Netanyahu — something Mr. Obama lacked — raised hopes that he might be able to extract real concessions from Israel. In a sign of the importance Mr. Trump attached to the effort, he put his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of it.

Mr. Kushner led a team that included Jason D. Greenblatt, the Trump Organization’s former chief lawyer, and David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer with ties to the Jewish settler movement who became Mr. Trump’s ambassador to Israel. He would emerge as the most influential adviser to Mr. Trump on Israel.

For months, Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt traveled around the Middle East, meeting with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other nations. Their strategy, known as “outside-in,” was designed to build a coalition of Arab support for a peace plan. The Arab leaders, the White House hoped, would pressure the Palestinian Authority to accept whatever Mr. Trump offered.

Mr. Kushner devoted particular attention to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, with whom he had cultivated a friendship of like-minded scions. Prince Mohammed expressed a willingness to establish relations with Israel and said the Israelis “have the right to have their own land.”

At home, Mr. Trump’s pro-Israel supporters were growing restive. They worried that he might put too much pressure on Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Trump told him that a rapid expansion of settlements was not conducive to an agreement. After meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, in May 2017, Mr. Trump said that it was an “honor” — a post that later vanished from his Twitter feed.

Any such worries, however, were laid to rest seven months later when Mr. Trump announced he would move the embassy, formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move delighted evangelicals, as well as pro-Israel donors like Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate.

But it drove away the Palestinians, who cut off contact with the White House, and doomed the White House’s efforts to build Arab support for its plan. King Salman of Saudi Arabia was among those who condemned the decision, declaring, “East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories.”

Mr. Trump reacted harshly to the Palestinian rejection. He punished them by cutting off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority, as well as funding for the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees.

The State Department shut down the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington. It downgraded the American consulate in Jerusalem, which had been a key channel to the Palestinians, by merging it with the embassy under Mr. Friedman, who later said Israel had the right to annex parts of the West Bank.

Even as the rift with the Palestinians widened, Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt labored on their plan. Working under a veil of secrecy, they compiled a multipage document, with annexes, that officials said would propose solutions to all the key disputes: borders, security, refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

While the plan never leaked — a rarity in the sievelike world of Middle East diplomacy — its general contours became known. It is not expected to call for a two-state solution or give East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Nor will it offer Palestinian refugees a right of return or other compensation.

Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt, who has since left the administration, predicted in March 2018 that the Israelis and the Palestinians would each find things in the plan to embrace and oppose. But it was already clear that it would be tilted heavily in Israel’s favor — or more precisely, in the favor of their embattled ally, Mr. Netanyahu.

Facing indictment on multiple corruption charges in early 2019, the prime minister was fighting for his political life. With Mr. Netanyahu facing a closely fought election that April, Mr. Trump gave him an election-eve gift, announcing in March that the United States would reverse decades of policy and recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which was seized by Israeli troops in 1967.

With the release of his plan stymied by the instability in Israel, Mr. Kushner turned his attention to economics. In June, he announced the United States would raise more than $50 billion to improve the lives of the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors. His 38-page plan, titled “Peace to Prosperity,” had slick graphics and the promotional tone of a real estate prospectus.

Mr. Kushner followed up with a two-day workshop in Bahrain, which was boycotted by the Palestinians and shrugged off by other Arab leaders, for whom the peace project had faded into irrelevance.

Even after Mr. Trump’s shift on the Golan Heights, Mr. Netanyahu was unable to cobble together a majority to form a government. After a second election, in September, he found himself again short of a majority.

If Mr. Trump releases his plan this week, analysts said, it will be less about delivering the “deal of the century” than giving Mr. Netanyahu one last electoral lift.

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

Schiff, Calling Trump ‘Wrathful and Vindictive,’ Sees Tweet as a Threat

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167788866_d0c7d542-de37-454a-8e72-d2d217ae32e5-articleLarge Schiff, Calling Trump ‘Wrathful and Vindictive,’ Sees Tweet as a Threat United States Politics and Government twitter Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B Roberts, John G Jr impeachment

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, said a tweet by President Trump was “intended to be” a threat against him.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Representative Adam B. Schiff, the House’s lead impeachment manager, accused President Trump of trying to threaten him on Twitter and urged Republican senators to find the “moral courage to stand up” to a “wrathful and vindictive president.”

Mr. Trump, writing on Twitter Sunday morning, attacked Mr. Schiff as “a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man,” warning, “He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

It was an extraordinary back-and-forth between a member of Congress and a sitting president, coming at a turning point in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors — the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

“Look at the president’s tweets about me today saying that I should pay a price,” Mr. Schiff said on the NBC program “Meet the Press.”

“Do you take that as a threat?” asked Chuck Todd, the show’s host.

“I think it’s intended to be,” the congressman replied.

Mr. Schiff has been under fire from Republicans for mentioning a news report during the trial that alleges that the White House had threatened to put their heads “on a pike” if they voted to convict, and he doubled down on that claim Sunday, saying that he merely meant it would require fearlessness on the part of the senators.

On Monday, the Senate will reconvene at 1 p.m. for the president’s legal team to continue its defense. Unless at least four Republicans join with Democrats to vote to expand the scope of the proceedings by bringing in witnesses or documentary evidence, the trial could wrap up as early as this week with Mr. Trump’s expected acquittal.

Mr. Schiff on Sunday also appeared to urge Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the trial, to use his authority to determine whether witnesses might be appropriate, and if so, which ones.

Democrats have been pushing for four witnesses — including John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff — over the strong objections of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. Some Republicans are floating the idea of a witness swap in which they would call either former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. or his son Hunter, both of whom Mr. Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate, even though neither has direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s behavior.

Democrats have opposed such a move, and Mr. Schiff suggested the chief justice should rule on that question.

“We have a very capable justice sitting right behind me who can make decisions about the materiality of witnesses,” Mr. Schiff said, adding: “We trust the Supreme Court justice.”

If history is any guide, Chief Justice Roberts will be reluctant to do so. When President Bill Clinton was tried in the Senate in 1999, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist used his authority sparingly, leaving most questions to the Senate to decide.

Lawmakers on both sides — along with Alan Dershowitz, a consultant to Mr. Trump’s legal team — took to the Sunday morning talk show circuit to make the case for or against Mr. Trump. The president was impeached by the House in December on charges that he abused his oath of office and obstructed Congress by pressuring the leader of Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and then covering it up by concealing evidence from lawmakers.

Mr. Schiff and his team of prosecutors maintain that the president was trying to influence the 2020 election for his personal gain. During an abbreviated session of the Senate on Saturday, the president’s team pushed back hard on that assertion, arguing that it was the Democrats who were trying to undo the results of the 2016 election — and to interfere with the one in 2020.

“They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots all across the country on your own initiative, take that decision away from the American people,” Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, said of the House managers, adding: “They’re here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history, and we can’t allow that to happen.”

Mr. Dershowitz, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” backed away from an assertion he made in 1998, when Mr. Clinton was facing possible impeachment in the House, that a crime is not needed to remove a president from office. Mr. Trump’s team has argued that he cannot be convicted or removed because he is not accused of violating a law — an argument Mr. Dershowitz said he now agreed with because he had done more research.

“I’ve been immersing myself in dusty old books, and I’ve concluded that no, it has to be a crime,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “That’s what scholars do, that’s what academics do. We do more research.”

Mr. Schiff has emerged as a polarizing figure in the trial. His speech on Thursday telling lawmakers they could “not trust this president to do what is right for this country” went viral — and earned even grudging respect from some Republicans. But on Friday, he invoked a CBS report that cited an anonymous source saying Republican senators had been warned their heads would be “on a pike” if they voted against Mr. Trump.

In so doing, Mr. Schiff angered several centrist or swing-state Republicans — including Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — who are potential votes in favor of having witnesses. The congressman said Sunday that he was not intending to offend.

“It is going to be very difficult for some of these senators to stand up to this president, it really is, there’s no question about it,” he said. “I don’t want to acknowledge it in a way that is offensive to them, but I do want to speak candidly about it — and if this weren’t an issue, there wouldn’t be an issue about calling witnesses.”

Chris Cameron contributed reporting.

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

Tape Made Public of Trump Discussing Ukraine With Donors

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-tape-facebookJumbo Tape Made Public of Trump Discussing Ukraine With Donors Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Parnas, Lev Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor

WASHINGTON — For an hour one evening in 2018, President Trump sat around a table in a private room in his Washington hotel with a group of donors, including two men at the center of the impeachment inquiry, talking about golf, trade, politics — and removing the United States ambassador to Ukraine.

The conversation, captured on a recording made public Saturday, contradicted Mr. Trump’s repeated statements that he does not know the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who went on to work with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to carry out a pressure campaign on Ukraine.

The hourlong recording — a video shot on Mr. Fruman’s phone during the dinner in April 2018 — confirmed Mr. Parnas’s account of having raised with Mr. Trump criticisms of the ambassador to Kyiv at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch, and the president’s immediate order that Ms. Yovanovitch should be removed from the post.

“Get rid of her,” Mr. Trump can be heard responding.

The recording was made public by Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, hours after the president’s lawyers began presenting their defense in the impeachment trial and as Democrats looked for leverage to persuade Republicans to support their calls to expand the inquiry by calling new witnesses.

Mr. Bondy said it was being released in “an effort to provide clarity to the American people and the Senate as to the need to conduct a fair trial, with witnesses and evidence.”

In the recording, Mr. Parnas, who is the more talkative of the two, broached an energy deal the two were pursuing in Ukraine, and then went on to discuss several themes that became central to the pressure campaign. He claimed that Ms. Yovanovitch had been disparaging Mr. Trump, that the Ukrainians “were supporting the Clintons all these years” and even mentions in passing the family of the former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The recording does not appear to introduce substantive new information about the effort to oust Ms. Yovanovitch.

But it does seem to shed light on the origins of Mr. Trump’s interest in the issue, and to foreshadow his administration’s withholding of military assistance from the country as part of the pressure campaign. It hints at the motivations of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, who had come to believe that Ms. Yovanovitch was opposed to their business plans in Ukraine, where they had tried to break into the natural gas market, according to associates of the two men, both of whom are Soviet-born American citizens.

And it provides a glimpse of something rarely seen: top-tier political donors getting a chance in an intimate setting to share their views with the president and press their agendas with him.

Democrats are seeking Mr. Trump’s removal from office on the grounds that he abused his power pressing Ukraine to investigate targets of the president, including Mr. Biden and his family. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman worked closely with Mr. Giuliani in seeking information and making contacts in Ukraine in support of the effort.

For most of the recording, the camera is pointed at the ceiling. But in its early moments it shows Mr. Trump as he enters the private room at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on April 30, 2018.

The existence, and some of the conversation in the recording, was first reported by ABC News on Friday.

In the full recording released on Saturday, Mr. Parnas can be heard telling Mr. Trump that he and Mr. Fruman “are in the process of purchasing an energy company in Ukraine right now.”

Mr. Trump responds “How’s Ukraine doing?” then quickly adds “don’t answer,” prompting laughter in the room.

After some conversation about Ukraine’s war with its hostile neighbor, Russia, and its efforts to establish energy security, Mr. Trump asked, “How long would they last in a fight with Russia?”

“I don’t think very long,” Mr. Parnas responded. “Without us, not very long.”

Mr. Parnas continued by saying that “the biggest problem is corruption there,” and later added Ms. Yovanovitch, though not by name, to a list of issues Mr. Trump should address in Ukraine.

“The biggest problem there, I think, where we, where you, need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador,” he said. “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’”

Mr. Trump asked for the ambassador’s name. Mr. Parnas said, “I don’t remember.” Mr. Trump then said: “Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”

Those comments were directed at one of Mr. Trump’s aides who was in the room at the time, Mr. Parnas has previously said. There was some laughter in the room at his remarks.

Ms. Yovanovitch remained in her job for another year after Mr. Trump’s remarks until she was recalled on the White House’s orders, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry. It is not clear whether the president changed his mind, forgot about his order or was talked out of dismissing her.

At the beginning of the video, the person holding it walks around the private suite filming chatter between the guests, who include Jack Nicklaus III, the grandson and namesake of the legendary golfer, and Barry Zekelman, a Canadian billionaire whose business is mostly in the United States.

At one point, Mr. Fruman is warned by the voice of someone who appears to be an organizer “some people may not want their pictures taken. Just be aware of that.”

Later, Mr. Trump tells attendees, “This is all sort of, like, off the record, right?”

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

Tape Made Public of Trump Discussing Ukraine With Donors

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-tape-facebookJumbo Tape Made Public of Trump Discussing Ukraine With Donors Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Parnas, Lev Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor

WASHINGTON — For an hour one evening in 2018, President Trump sat around a table in a private room in his Washington hotel with a group of donors, including two men at the center of the impeachment inquiry, talking about golf, trade, politics — and removing the United States ambassador to Ukraine.

The conversation, captured on a recording made public Saturday, contradicted Mr. Trump’s repeated statements that he does not know the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who went on to work with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to carry out a pressure campaign on Ukraine.

The hourlong recording — a video shot on Mr. Fruman’s phone during the dinner in April 2018 — confirmed Mr. Parnas’s account of having raised with Mr. Trump criticisms of the ambassador to Kyiv at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch, and the president’s immediate order that Ms. Yovanovitch should be removed from the post.

“Get rid of her,” Mr. Trump can be heard responding.

The recording was made public by Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, hours after the president’s lawyers began presenting their defense in the impeachment trial and as Democrats looked for leverage to persuade Republicans to support their calls to expand the inquiry by calling new witnesses.

Mr. Bondy said it was being released in “an effort to provide clarity to the American people and the Senate as to the need to conduct a fair trial, with witnesses and evidence.”

In the recording, Mr. Parnas, who is the more talkative of the two, broached an energy deal the two were pursuing in Ukraine, and then went on to discuss several themes that became central to the pressure campaign. He claimed that Ms. Yovanovitch had been disparaging Mr. Trump, that the Ukrainians “were supporting the Clintons all these years” and even mentions in passing the family of the former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The recording does not appear to introduce substantive new information about the effort to oust Ms. Yovanovitch.

But it does seem to shed light on the origins of Mr. Trump’s interest in the issue, and to foreshadow his administration’s withholding of military assistance from the country as part of the pressure campaign. It hints at the motivations of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, who had come to believe that Ms. Yovanovitch was opposed to their business plans in Ukraine, where they had tried to break into the natural gas market, according to associates of the two men, both of whom are Soviet-born American citizens.

And it provides a glimpse of something rarely seen: top-tier political donors getting a chance in an intimate setting to share their views with the president and press their agendas with him.

Democrats are seeking Mr. Trump’s removal from office on the grounds that he abused his power pressing Ukraine to investigate targets of the president, including Mr. Biden and his family. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman worked closely with Mr. Giuliani in seeking information and making contacts in Ukraine in support of the effort.

For most of the recording, the camera is pointed at the ceiling. But in its early moments it shows Mr. Trump as he enters the private room at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on April 30, 2018.

The existence, and some of the conversation in the recording, was first reported by ABC News on Friday.

In the full recording released on Saturday, Mr. Parnas can be heard telling Mr. Trump that he and Mr. Fruman “are in the process of purchasing an energy company in Ukraine right now.”

Mr. Trump responds “How’s Ukraine doing?” then quickly adds “don’t answer,” prompting laughter in the room.

After some conversation about Ukraine’s war with its hostile neighbor, Russia, and its efforts to establish energy security, Mr. Trump asked, “How long would they last in a fight with Russia?”

“I don’t think very long,” Mr. Parnas responded. “Without us, not very long.”

Mr. Parnas continued by saying that “the biggest problem is corruption there,” and later added Ms. Yovanovitch, though not by name, to list of issues Mr. Trump should address in Ukraine.

“The biggest problem there, I think, where we, where you, need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador,” he said. “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’”

Mr. Trump asked for the ambassador’s name. Mr. Parnas said, “I don’t remember.” Mr. Trump then said: “Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”

Those comments were directed at one of Mr. Trump’s aides who was in the room at the time, Mr. Parnas has previously said. There was some laughter in the room at his remarks.

Ms. Yovanovitch remained in her job for another year after Mr. Trump’s remarks until she was recalled on the White House’s orders, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry. It is not clear whether the president changed his mind, forgot about his order or was talked out of dismissing her.

At the beginning of the video, the person holding it walks around the private suite filming chatter between the guests, who include Jack Nicklaus III, the grandson and namesake of the legendary golfer, and Barry Zekelman, a Canadian billionaire whose business is mostly in the United States.

At one point, Mr. Fruman is warned by the voice of someone who appears to be an organizer “some people may not want their pictures taken. Just be aware of that.”

Later, Mr. Trump tells attendees, “This is all sort of, like, off the record, right?”

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

Cities Prepare for the Worst as Trump’s Food Stamp Cuts Near

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-foodstamps-1-facebookJumbo Cities Prepare for the Worst as Trump’s Food Stamp Cuts Near Welfare (US) United States Politics and Government Unemployment Trump, Donald J Poverty Ohio Labor and Jobs food stamps Food Banks and Pantries Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Cleveland (Ohio)

CLEVELAND — Next month, Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s second largest, will begin sending letters and fliers, making phone calls and hosting information fairs to alert struggling citizens of a change about to befall them: Come April, able-bodied adults without children may lose their food stamps if they do not find work fast.

A Trump administration rule change, long in the making, is about to become real, and by the administration’s own estimates, nearly 700,000 people across the country — 20,000 of them in Ohio, 3,000 alone in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County — will be dropped from the food-stamp rolls.

“That’s a fairly big hit for the county, for our population,” said Kevin Gowan, the administrator of Cuyahoga Job and Family Services, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly (and still popularly) known as food stamps. “We’re not happy to do it. It is our job and we will fulfill our job.”

To the Trump administration, record low unemployment and steady economic growth mean there is no time like the present to nudge people off federal assistance. Around 40 million people access the food-stamp program each year, nearly 3 million of them able-bodied, without children. Of those 3 million, around 2 million do not work.

“Millions and millions of people don’t need food stamps anymore,” President Trump declared this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “They have jobs. They’re doing really well.”

For Carl Thomas, a 48-year-old with a high school degree, it is not that simple. He spends most of his time holed up at a public library, making use of its internet access to apply for all of the jobs he can find.

Before 2016, when his mother died at age 84 of sepsis, he had spent most of his life caring for her. He has been job hunting ever since her death. Some employers want to see a lengthy work history and a college degree. Some are far away, and he does not have a car.

On the sixth day of every month, Mr. Thomas plans out how he is going to make his $194 in food assistance stretch. Coupons in hand, he walks or takes the bus to Walmart, Giant Eagle, and Dave’s Market to find the lowest prices on meat, vegetables and produce. He is ecstatic when seeded red grapes go on sale.

That lifeline could soon disappear. Able-bodied adults with no children lose their food assistance if they fail to work 80 hours a month for three months in a three-year period unless they live in a state with a waiver. Under the looming changes, waivers from this work requirement, once common, will be much harder to come by.

Fourteen states, New York City and the District of Columbia have sued the Trump administration to block the new rules from going into effect in April, accusing the administration of doing an illegal end run around Congress.

Cuyahoga County and its urban heart, Cleveland, are preparing for the worst. They will start by conducting two information fairs every month starting in February. They will also call and send mail to people, which “will explicitly tell them the ramifications of noncompliance,” Mr. Gowan said, while stressing that it is time to “achieve self-sufficiency.”

By some accounts, Ohio has yet to recover from the recessions of the early and late 2000s. A healthier job market has not led to significantly higher wages. In 2018, five of Greater Cleveland’s 10 most common jobs — retail sales, food preparation and service, cashiers, waiting tables and janitorial and cleaning work — did not pay enough for people to afford food without assistance, according to Policy Matters Ohio, a liberal research organization.

But even for struggling areas like Cuyahoga County, where the majority of food assistance recipients in Ohio live, the bar will soon be too high for waivers from Washington’s work requirement. Such waivers will only go to “labor market areas” defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and an area’s unemployment rate will have to be both 20 percent above the national unemployment rate over a two-year period and at least 6 percent.

For Cleveland’s poor, such economic thresholds and measurements may feel remote, but in April, their responsibilities under the new system will become very real. People seeking food assistance will have to track their work hours each week and report them by mail, phone or in person.

County officials say they will look for individual exemptions based on physical or mental limitations. Already, applicants for food assistance take part in an initial phone screening, and then an in-person assessment test to determine if they are exempt from work requirements. But Mr. Gowan said only 20 percent of those eligible actually make it in for the assessment.

“In general, people don’t want the government involved in their personal lives,” he said.

Local anti-poverty advocates worry that people who should be exempt from the work requirements will be kicked off the food-stamp rolls anyway. Notifying people of the rule change will be challenging because food-stamp recipients often lack a permanent home address or reliable phone service. Even if they do know of the rule, the paperwork may be confusing, said Rachel Cahill, a Cleveland-based consultant for Cuyahoga Job and Family Services.

People may not work because they lack educational qualifications and transportation to surrounding towns with more employment. They may also face discrimination in the hiring process because of the color of their skin or their gender, Ms. Cahill said.

And struggling people tend to have complications in their lives that would challenge anyone. Mr. Thomas’s late mother left behind $25,000 in medical debt, and her house, where he lives, may be seized to pay it off. He said he will likely end up homeless.

Zhavahna Thompson, 22, has been on and off food stamps for years. Finding a job in Cleveland is difficult, she said. So are food stamps.

“Sometimes I honestly wish I just would have never ever applied for food stamps, because it is very complicated,” she said.

Ms. Thompson has worked multiple low-wage jobs, including seasonal work at the Cleveland baseball stadium, where her hours were determined by how long the games went, at a Dollar General, at a Subway, and for Amazon, before getting injured lifting a box and then getting laid off.

Ms. Thompson said she is saddened by the new food stamp rule. “That’s how people eat,” she said.

The Greater Cleveland Food Bank worries that the rule will move people out of the grocery store and into the food pantry line.

“We know SNAP is the largest defense against hunger,” said Tiffany Scruggs, the director of outreach at the food bank. “We know with cuts like these, we can’t supplement and make up for the shortfalls.”

Feeding America, which the Greater Cleveland Food Bank is part of, estimates that for every meal provided by a food bank, the food-stamps program provides nine. The program kept more than three million people out of poverty in 2018.

And April’s rule change may be just the beginning. Two other rules to trim the food-stamp rolls are pending. More than 100,000 more Ohioans could lose benefits under one rule change, according to Mathematica Policy Research in Cambridge, Mass. And 41 percent of Ohio households would see a decrease in their benefits under the other, $45 a month on average, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank in Washington.

Mr. Thomas spends 24 hours a month answering phones and handling incoming packages at University Settlement, a food pantry in Cleveland that he also relies on when his food assistance run out. He hopes to find a full-time job soon.

“Not everybody wants to be on government assistance,” Mr. Thomas said. “There are people who want to be self-reliant. Sometimes you just need some help, just a little bit to get back on their feet.”

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Trump Team, Opening Defense, Accuses Democrats of Plot to Subvert Election

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s legal defense team mounted an aggressive offense on Saturday as it opened its side in the Senate impeachment trial by attacking his Democratic accusers as partisan witch-hunters trying to remove him because they could not beat him at the ballot box.

After three days of arguments by the House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, the president’s lawyers presented the senators a radically different view of the facts and the Constitution, seeking to turn the Democrats’ charges back on them while denouncing the whole process as illegitimate.

“They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots all across the country on your own initiative, take that decision away from the American people,” Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, said of the House managers. “They’re here,” he added moments later, “to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history, and we can’t allow that to happen.”

From the White House, Mr. Trump weighed in on Twitter with attacks on prominent Democrats including Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead prosecutor for Democrats, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, portraying his impeachment trial as a forum for convicting them instead.

“Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam “Shifty” Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, & the entire Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrat Party, starts today at 10:00 A.M.,” he wrote.

The abbreviated Saturday trial session, which opened earlier than previous days and lasted about two hours so that senators could leave town for the rest of the weekend, was the first time Mr. Trump’s representatives have formally made a case for him in a congressional proceeding since the House opened its impeachment inquiry back in September.

With the odds stacked against him in the Democratic-run House, Mr. Trump refused to send lawyers to participate in Judiciary Committee hearings last month, complaining that he was not given due process. But he faced a more receptive audience in the Republican-controlled Senate, where the White House has been working in tandem with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167780757_94a1b020-c73e-4289-9cc4-1524976154ea-articleLarge Trump Team, Opening Defense, Accuses Democrats of Plot to Subvert Election Zelensky, Volodymyr Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Starr, Kenneth W Senate Sekulow, Jay Alan Schiff, Adam B impeachment Dershowitz, Alan M Cipollone, Pat A

President Trump’s defense team will a more receptive audience in the Republican-controlled Senate, where the White House has been working in tandem with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

While the House managers presented a damning case against the president over three days of arguments that wrapped up Friday night, Mr. Trump still appeared certain to win acquittal in a trial that requires the support of two-thirds of senators to convict and remove him from office. So the main priority for the president’s legal team as it opened its arguments was not to undermine its own advantage or give wavering moderate Republican senators reasons to support Democratic requests for witnesses and documentary evidence.

A vote on that question will not come until next week, and it remained the central question of the impeachment trial, with the potential to either prolong the process and yield new revelations that could further damage Mr. Trump, or to bring the proceeding to a swift conclusion. But after long days of exhaustive arguments by the House managers, there was little indication that there would be enough Republican support to extend the trial by considering new evidence.

In keeping with their combative client’s own style, Mr. Trump’s lawyers not only insisted he “did absolutely nothing wrong,” as Mr. Cipollone put it, but also assailed his accusers in unrelenting terms, painting them as partisans not prosecutors. The lawyers sought to turn the tables on the Democrats by hurling back at them some of the same allegations they have made against their client. By their account, the Democrats were the ones who were abusing their power to steal an election.

Mr. Trump faces two articles of impeachment, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, stemming from his effort to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into his Democratic rivals while withholding nearly $400 million in congressionally approved security aid, a decision that a government agency called a violation of law.

His lawyers maintained that he had every right to set foreign policy as he saw fit and that he had valid concerns about corruption in Ukraine and burden sharing with Europe that prompted him to suspend the aid temporarily. They also have argued that he was protecting presidential prerogatives when he refused to allow aides to testify or provide documents in the House proceedings.

Michael Purpura, a deputy White House counsel, said that Mr. Trump did not explicitly link American aid to his demand for investigations during his July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and noted that Mr. Zelensky has publicly said he did not feel pressured. Mr. Purpura added that there could not have been an illicit quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know about the aid freeze until a month later, although some American and Ukrainian officials have said in fact they knew as early as the day of the presidents’ call.

Mr. Purpura dismissed much of the testimony collected during the House impeachment hearings as hearsay, and played video clips of former officials saying they knew of no quid pro quo. He also played a succession of clips of Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, testifying that he “presumed” there was a link between the suspended aid and the demand for investigations but did not actually know it for a fact.

And following the president’s lead, they targeted Mr. Schiff, replaying video from a hearing last year in which he embellished Mr. Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s leader for dramatic effect, saying he was describing the “sum and character” of what the president had tried to communicate.

“That’s fake,” Mr. Purpura, a White House lawyer, said after the clip ended. “That’s not the real call. That’s not the evidence here.”

The lawyers said the House managers had also left out any exculpatory evidence during their presentation to the Senate.

“Every time you see one of these pieces of evidence, ask yourself, ‘Why didn’t I see that in the first three days?’” Mr. Cipollone said. “They had it. It came out of their process. Why didn’t they show that to the Senate?”

Mr. Purpura offered his own answer: “Because none of this of this fits their narrative and it wouldn’t lead to their predetermined outcome.”

Over the course of their arguments, Mr. Trump’s lawyers signaled they plan to discuss in detail former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden. The younger Mr. Biden earned large paychecks sitting on the board of a Ukrainian energy company at the same time his father managed Ukraine policy for the Obama administration. They also assailed the F.B.I. for its surveillance of a onetime Trump campaign aide, which has been criticized by an inspector general report.

Under the trial rules, the House managers had no speaking opportunity on the floor on Saturday, but they delivered a 28,578-page trial record to the secretary of the Senate that served as the foundation of their case.

“The record delivered today presents a mountain of evidence showing the president has committed the impeachable offenses that the House has charged — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — and he should be removed from office,” the managers said in a statement. “The factual and legal record laid out by the House managers has yet to be substantively rebutted by President Trump or his lawyers, who have instead sought to hide behind novel and frivolous legal theories.”

The White House arguments on Saturday were meant to be what Jay Sekulow, another of the president’s lawyers, called a “sneak preview” before being resumed on Monday.

The White House has also tapped Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, and Alan M. Dershowitz, the celebrity lawyer who represented O.J. Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein and other famous defendants.

The White House side has 24 hours over as many as three days to present its side but the president’s lawyers said they will not take that much time.

Senators on both sides of the aisle grew weary as the House team used all of its time, going late into the evening three nights in a row and repeating many of the same arguments. Mr. Trump’s team played to senators’ exhaustion, repeatedly noting that the other side took nearly all of its allotted 24 hours and vowing to be “efficient” themselves.

After the president’s defense is complete, the senators themselves will enter the trial for the first time, although even then without speaking. They will have up to 16 hours over a couple of days to submit questions in writing that will be read by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the trial.

The Senate will then consider any motions to dismiss the case or to call witnesses and demand documents. The House managers need at least four Republican senators to join the Democrats to call witnesses. If no witnesses are called and no motion to dismiss the case is passed, the Senate would then move to final deliberations on conviction or acquittal, with a verdict possible as early as next week.

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Trump Impeachment: Highlights of Saturday’s Trial

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-highlights-facebookJumbo Trump Impeachment: Highlights of Saturday’s Trial United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment Ethics and Official Misconduct Cipollone, Pat A

Here’s what you need to know:

After three days of arguments by the House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, the president’s lawyers presented the senators a radically different view of the facts and the Constitution, seeking to turn the Democrats’ charges back on them while denouncing the whole process as illegitimate.

“They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots all across the country on your own initiative, take that decision away from the American people,” Mr. Cipollone said of the House managers. “They’re here,” he added moments later, “to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history, and we can’t allow that to happen.”

Another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Mr. Purpura, repeatedly pointed to clips of testimony from the House’s impeachment inquiry that he said undermined the argument that Mr. Trump had engaged in an illicit quid pro quo by holding military aid from Ukraine while pressuring the country to announce investigations into his political rivals.

“We know there was no quid pro quo on the call, we know that from the transcript,” Mr. Purpura said. “There couldn’t possibly have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians didn’t know the security assistance was on hold” until a Politico article reported that, he said.

“There can’t be a threat without the person knowing he’s being threatened,” Mr. Purpura said. He played testimony from the House hearings where administration officials testified they did not learn of the freeze until the article published in late August.

But a former Ukrainian deputy foreign minister later said she learned of the aid hold on July 30, and one Defense Department official said in congressional testimony that Ukrainian diplomats knew about it by July 25.

President Trump’s lawyers appear to have noticed how restless senators got during the more than 21 hours of arguments by the House Democratic managers over three days.

The president’s team repeatedly jabbed at the managers for extending their presentations for hours, reminding the senators of how long they had to sit through the Democratic arguments.

Michael Purpura, one of the White House lawyers, noted several times the “21 hours, or more than 21 hours,” that Representative Adam B. Schiff, the lead House manager, and the other Democrats spoke.

The defense, like the House managers, was allotted 24 hours over as many as three days to present its side.

Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, opened the arguments with a promise: We’re going to be very respectful of your time, he told the senators, vowing to take “about two to three hours at most, and to be out of here by one o’clock at the latest.”

Just after noon, with nearly an hour left to spare, Mr. Cipollone made his closing remarks.

The strategy appears to have two goals: Remind senators of how much repetition there was in the House managers’ case. And perhaps to earn some good will from the senators as they put on a case that apparently will be much shorter.

Their argument finished, the House managers made one last stab on Saturday morning to underscore the power of their impeachment case against Mr.Trump by marching from the House to the Senate with boxes filled with 28,578 pages of transcripts and other evidence collected during their inquiry.

Shortly after 9:45 a.m., the impeachment managers, led by Mr. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, emerged from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and walked to the Senate as their aides wheeled four carts of white bankers boxes stuffed with binders of documents behind them.

“The record delivered today presents a mountain of evidence showing the president has committed the impeachable offenses that the House has charged — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — and he should be removed from office,” the managers said in a statement. “The factual and legal record laid out by the House managers has yet to be substantively rebutted by President Trump or his lawyers, who have instead sought to hide behind novel and frivolous legal theories.”

This week, Republicans repeatedly rejected Democratic attempts to subpoena more documents and call new witnesses. That question will come up again after arguments from both sides and questions from senators.

Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Sharon LaFraniere and Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

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Lamar Alexander, Set to Leave Office, Is G.O.P. Wild Card on Witnesses

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WASHINGTON — The ghost of Howard H. Baker Jr., the Republican senator from Tennessee who turned against Richard M. Nixon during Watergate, is hovering over Senator Lamar Alexander.

Mr. Alexander, a third-term Republican from Tennessee who is retiring at the end of this year, has said that no one outside his family has had more influence on him than Mr. Baker, the former Senate majority leader who is remembered for the penetrating question he posed as Nixon stared down impeachment: “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”

Now Mr. Alexander may hold in his hands the fate of another Republican president who is facing removal from office. He is one of four Republican moderates who have expressed openness to bringing witnesses into President Trump’s impeachment trial — and the only one who is not running for re-election and arguably has nothing to lose.

Yet as the Senate heads toward a vote on the matter, Mr. Alexander — who has broken with Mr. Trump over trade, the border wall and health care — does not appear ready for a Howard Baker moment. He has said he will make a decision about witnesses after Mr. Trump’s team presents its defense and senators have an opportunity to ask questions, but he does not sound eager to defect.

“As the House managers have said many times, they’ve presented us with a mountain of overwhelming evidence,” he told reporters in the Capitol on Friday. “So we have a lot to consider already.”

Mr. Alexander’s caution suggests what Republicans in Tennessee and around the country already know: that the Howard Baker wing of their party, the one populated by moderate-leaning conservatives willing to reach across the political aisle, is virtually extinct. Bob Corker, another Tennessee Republican, learned as much when he spoke out against Mr. Trump and then felt compelled to retire in 2018 from the Senate. So did Jeff Flake, the former Republican senator from Arizona, who watched some of Mr. Trump’s trial from the Senate gallery this week.

“As a Republican, it pains me when I see Republicans, House Republicans, try to maintain that the president did no wrong, that this is somehow normal. It’s not,” Mr. Flake told reporters, though he said he was not sure he would vote to convict Mr. Trump.

That kind of talk is absent among Republicans in the Senate these days, even from members like Mr. Alexander, who in 2016 made clear that “Trump was not his first choice for president,” as his hometown newspaper, The Nashville Tennessean reported. But if Mr. Alexander has issues with the president, he tends to raise them quietly, people who know him say.

There is little question that Mr. Alexander will vote to acquit Mr. Trump. He has called the House impeachment inquiry “a circus,” and said Democrats made a “mistake” in charging Mr. Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. But he was among four Senate Republicans — along with Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — who pressed Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, to allow a vote on whether to subpoena witnesses and seek new documents.

The White House has regarded Mr. Alexander — who does not have a close relationship with Mr. Trump — as a wild card in the proceeding.

Democrats, who control 47 votes in the Senate, would need four Republicans to join them to expand the scope of the trial, but so far only two — Ms. Collins and Mr. Romney — seem to be leaning into the idea.

And Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who is close with Mr. Alexander, is determined to hold Republicans together to block it. The two men met in Washington in 1969, when Mr. Alexander was a young aide in Nixon’s White House and Mr. McConnell a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill. It was Mr. Baker who introduced them.

“I seek his counsel on a weekly basis on a whole variety of issues,” Mr. McConnell said in a brief statement. “He’s my closest friend in the Senate.”

Mr. McConnell has sometimes used Mr. Alexander as a conduit to Democrats, particularly to Harry Reid, the former senator from Nevada, when he was minority leader. Mr. Reid and Mr. McConnell did not get along, so Mr. Alexander — who had been in Republican leadership but stepped away to focus more on legislation — served as an “honest broker” between the two, said Jim Manley, a former aide to Mr. Reid.

But Mr. Manley said Mr. Alexander “still toed the party line.”

When Mr. McConnell put forth a resolution setting up a speedy timetable for the impeachment trial, some Republicans balked and Democrats objected. But Mr. Alexander issued a statement praising the rules.

People close to Mr. Alexander say they have no idea whether he will vote to allow witnesses — and that he may not know yet himself. Should he do so, he would be a “pariah” in the state, said one conservative activist in Tennessee, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about a sitting senator.

His seeming reluctance to speak out against Mr. Trump has disappointed some of Mr. Alexander’s admirers. Richard L. Clinton, a professor emeritus of political science at Oregon State University who was in the same fraternity as Mr. Alexander at Vanderbilt more than 60 years ago, posted an open letter this week to the senator on the web site of the progressive newsletter Common Dreams.

Under the headline “Where is Your Courage and Decency?” Mr. Clinton wrote that he remembered Mr. Alexander as “an exceptionally intelligent, hard-working, and trustworthy young man,” and was thus “perplexed” by his silence. He urged the senator to renounce Mr. Trump and “employ his considerable abilities and unique position to begin making our country whole again.”

But aggravating others is not Mr. Alexander’s style; he appears to see himself as more of a bridge builder than a rabble-rouser, which suggests he is unlikely to vote for witnesses in the impeachment trial.

“Lamar is not looking for a one-time event to have what I call the shocking headline,” said Tom Griscom, a close friend of Mr. Alexander and former press secretary to Mr. Baker. “You’ve got a template of who he is over a career — that doesn’t change. He’s not looking to write a post-note at the back end of it.”

On policy matters, though, Mr. Alexander has not been afraid to part ways with Mr. Trump. While he has voted with the president 90 percent of the time, according to the website FiveThirtyEight, his departures are significant. He voted to overturn Mr. Trump’s plan to use military funds to build a border wall, fought the president over tariffs and sought to block him from withdrawing troops from Syria.

At 79, Mr. Alexander is an icon in Tennessee politics — twice elected governor; president of the University of Tennessee; education secretary to President George Bush; an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000 and a senator for the past 17 years. Pale and bespectacled, he is regarded as a serious legislator (he oversees the Senate health committee) and an “institutionalist” — a guardian of the chamber and its traditions.

”I’ve always loved working with him; I’m a big fan of his,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, who is running for her party’s nomination for president. “I just think that he’s someone who really tries to get things done.”

John Geer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll, said his surveys show a “strong majority” of Tennesseans believe Mr. Trump did “something wrong,” and while Mr. Alexander is under pressure from conservatives, “the Baker wing” of the Republican Party would stick with him if he voted for witnesses.

“He’s not voting for impeachment; he’s made that very clear,” Professor Geer said. “He’s voting to learn more, which is frankly something pretty easy to defend.”

Mr. Alexander got his start in politics working for Mr. Baker in the 1960s. In 1973, when Mr. Baker was the influential ranking minority member of the Senate Watergate Committee, he asked Mr. Alexander, a lawyer, to be his chief counsel. But Mr. Alexander turned down the job; he wanted to seek public office in Tennessee. He has modeled himself after Mr. Baker, adopting the late senator’s habit of giving careful thought to every decision.

Often forgotten about Mr. Baker is that his famous question was actually uttered in an effort to protect Nixon; only after months and months of hearings did he turn against the president. Victoria Bassetti, a former Senate aide and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, who has written about the episode, said Mr. Alexander’s situation is different.

“What happened with Howard Baker was the result of the slow, steady accumulation of wisdom and insight and just the scales dropping from his eyes over the course of months and months of close careful attention to what was going on,” she said. “And that’s not happening in the Senate today.”

What is happening instead is that many Republicans reflexively defend Mr. Trump, and those who are unwilling to increasingly feel crowded out of their party, vulnerable to primary challenges from the president’s loyal base. People close to Mr. Alexander deny that he is leaving the Senate for that reason. He simply wants to “go out at the top of his game,” as one friend put it.

But the politics of his state have shifted under Mr. Alexander’s feet. In 2014, he faced a tough primary challenge — his first serious competition in years — from a little-known state representative and conservative Tea Party candidate, Joe Carr. Although Mr. Alexander won the race handily, many in Tennessee say he would have almost certainly faced another primary fight this year.

For now, Mr. Alexander is eager to get back to accomplishing his highest legislative priority: a bipartisan package of bills aimed at lowering the cost of medical care, which has already passed his committee. But no matter what he does on impeachment, like Mr. Baker, he will almost certainly be remembered for it.

“The reality is that this is Lamar’s last year in the Senate,” said Bill Haslam, a former governor of Tennessee. “He would rather be working on legislation that he thinks can make a difference for the country. This is not how he would choose to spend the first month of his last year.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Could Trump Muzzle John Bolton? The Limits of Executive Privilege, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_136614993_a42ae662-fc3d-47b8-bf4a-e37252b17dc7-facebookJumbo Could Trump Muzzle John Bolton? The Limits of Executive Privilege, Explained United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Suits and Litigation (Civil) subpoenas Senate Mulvaney, Mick Law and Legislation Justice Department House of Representatives Freedom of Speech and Expression Executive Privilege, Doctrine of Constitution (US) Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — Republican senators allied with President Trump are increasingly arguing that the Senate should not call witnesses or subpoena documents for his impeachment trial because Mr. Trump has threatened to invoke executive privilege, and a legal fight would take too long to resolve.

But it is far from clear that Mr. Trump has the power to gag or delay a witness who is willing to comply with a subpoena and tell the Senate what he knows about the president’s interactions with Ukraine anyway — as Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser John R. Bolton has said he would do.

Here is an explanation of executive privilege legal issues.

It is a power that presidents can sometimes use to keep information secret.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution implicitly gives presidents the authority to keep internal communications, especially those involving their close White House aides, secret under certain circumstances. The idea is that if officials fear that Congress might someday gain access to their private communications, it would chill the candor of the advice presidents receive and inhibit their ability to carry out their constitutionally assigned duties.

Not by itself.

The privilege has traditionally been wielded as a shield, not a sword. It has no built-in enforcement mechanism to prevent a former official from complying with a subpoena in defiance of a president’s orders, or to punish one afterward for having done so.

Mr. Bolton, one of the four current and former officials whom Democrats want to call as a witness, has said that he will show up to testify if the Senate subpoenas him for the impeachment trial, even though the White House has told him not to disclose what he knows about Mr. Trump’s private statements and actions toward Ukraine.

A valid assertion of the privilege would protect a current or former official who chooses not to comply with a subpoena.

Three other officials Democrats want to call as witnesses — Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney; a top national-security aide to Mr. Mulvaney, Robert Blair; and Michael Duffey, an official in the White House budget office who handled the military aid to Ukraine — are expected to resist appearing if subpoenaed.

Normally it is a crime to defy a subpoena, but the Justice Department will decline to prosecute a recalcitrant official if the president invokes the privilege. Congress can also sue that official seeking a court order, but the department, defending that official, will cite the privilege to argue that case should be dismissed — and as grounds to appeal any ruling that the subpoena is nevertheless valid, keeping the case going.

The Trump administration has broadly pursued a strategy of fighting House oversight and impeachment subpoenas, resulting in a string of lower-court losses that have nevertheless succeeded in running down the clock. Senate Republicans have argued that any effort to enforce impeachment subpoenas could result in a long and drawn-out judicial battle as a reason for the moderate members of their caucus not to break ranks and join Democrats in voting to subpoena witnesses and documents.

Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who is leading the House impeachment managers, has proposed that the Supreme Court Chief Justice, John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the trial, could swiftly rule on the validity of any executive privilege claim. The trial has “a perfectly good judge sitting behind me,” Mr. Schiff said.

But Chief Justice Roberts does not embody and is not functioning as the Supreme Court. Several legal experts said that even if he were to rule that any invocation of the privilege is not valid, a subpoena recipient could ignore him and continue to defer to the president.

Then the Senate would likely still have to go through the normal court process to seek a judicial order to hear from the witness.

The administration could try, but it would face serious hurdles.

In theory, the Justice Department could file a lawsuit and ask a judge to issue a restraining order barring Mr. Bolton from testifying on the grounds that he might divulge information that is subject to executive privilege. But the government has never tried to do that.

Even if a judge agreed that the information the Senate would be seeking is covered by a valid claim of executive privilege, it is not clear that any judge or higher court would issue a restraining order. Under a constitutional doctrine called prior restraint, the First Amendment severely limits the ability of the government to gag speech before its expression.

“A restraining order is unlikely because it would be unprecedented, a threat to First Amendment values, and — in this context — a threat to fundamental checks and balances,” said Peter Shane, an Ohio State University professor and the co-author of a casebook on separation-of-powers law.

It’s fuzzy. The scope and limits of the president’s power to keep internal executive branch information secret are ill-defined because in practice, administration officials and lawmakers have typically resolved executive privilege disputes through deals to accommodate investigators’ needs to avoid definitive judicial rulings.

In a 1974 Supreme Court case about whether President Richard M. Nixon had to turn over tapes of his Oval Office conversations to the Watergate prosecutor, the court ruled that executive privilege can be overcome if the information is needed for a criminal case. Nixon resigned 16 days later.

The Supreme Court in the Nixon case noted several times that the information sought did not involve presidential discussions about diplomatic or military matters, so the Justice Department might argue that the Watergate precedent does not cover Mr. Trump’s internal communications about military aid to Ukraine.

Nevertheless, the courts would most likely use a balancing test, weighing the presidency’s need for private internal deliberations against Congress’s need for the specific information to investigate possible high-level wrongdoing, said Mark J. Rozell, a George Mason University professor who has written books about executive privilege.

Noting the Nixon-era precedent, he said he doubted that a claim of executive privilege would be upheld in the context of impeachment because “the courts don’t give all that much deference to claims of presidential secrecy in cases of alleged wrongdoing.”

No.

In a related legal dispute, the Trump administration has argued that White House officials are “absolutely immune” from being compelled to respond to a subpoena when Congress is seeking information about their official duties.

If that were true, it would mean they did not even have to show up, separate and apart from whether they can lawfully decline to answer a particular question in deference to a president’s claim that the answer is covered by executive privilege.

Late last year, a Federal District Court judge rejected that theory in a case involving a congressional subpoena to Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II. But Mr. McGahn does not want to cooperate and has permitted the Justice Department to file an appeal on his behalf, and the litigation is continuing.

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Could Trump Muzzle John Bolton? The Limits of Executive Privilege, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_136614993_a42ae662-fc3d-47b8-bf4a-e37252b17dc7-facebookJumbo Could Trump Muzzle John Bolton? The Limits of Executive Privilege, Explained United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Suits and Litigation (Civil) subpoenas Senate Mulvaney, Mick Law and Legislation Justice Department House of Representatives Freedom of Speech and Expression Executive Privilege, Doctrine of Constitution (US) Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — Republican senators allied with President Trump are increasingly arguing that the Senate should not call witnesses or subpoena documents for his impeachment trial because Mr. Trump has threatened to invoke executive privilege, and a legal fight would take too long to resolve.

But it is far from clear that Mr. Trump has the power to gag or delay a witness who is willing to comply with a subpoena and tell the Senate what he knows about the president’s interactions with Ukraine anyway — as Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser John R. Bolton has said he would do.

Here is an explanation of executive privilege legal issues.

It is a power that presidents can sometimes use to keep information secret.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution implicitly gives presidents the authority to keep internal communications, especially those involving their close White House aides, secret under certain circumstances. The idea is that if officials fear that Congress might someday gain access to their private communications, it would chill the candor of the advice presidents receive and inhibit their ability to carry out their constitutionally assigned duties.

Not by itself.

The privilege has traditionally been wielded as a shield, not a sword. It has no built-in enforcement mechanism to prevent a former official from complying with a subpoena in defiance of a president’s orders, or to punish one afterward for having done so.

Mr. Bolton, one of the four current and former officials whom Democrats want to call as a witness, has said that he will show up to testify if the Senate subpoenas him for the impeachment trial, even though the White House has told him not to disclose what he knows about Mr. Trump’s private statements and actions toward Ukraine.

A valid assertion of the privilege would protect a current or former official who chooses not to comply with a subpoena.

Three other officials Democrats want to call as witnesses — Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney; a top national-security aide to Mr. Mulvaney, Robert Blair; and Michael Duffey, an official in the White House budget office who handled the military aid to Ukraine — are expected to resist appearing if subpoenaed.

Normally it is a crime to defy a subpoena, but the Justice Department will decline to prosecute a recalcitrant official if the president invokes the privilege. Congress can also sue that official seeking a court order, but the department, defending that official, will cite the privilege to argue that case should be dismissed — and as grounds to appeal any ruling that the subpoena is nevertheless valid, keeping the case going.

The Trump administration has broadly pursued a strategy of fighting House oversight and impeachment subpoenas, resulting in a string of lower-court losses that have nevertheless succeeded in running down the clock. Senate Republicans have argued that any effort to enforce impeachment subpoenas could result in a long and drawn-out judicial battle as a reason for the moderate members of their caucus not to break ranks and join Democrats in voting to subpoena witnesses and documents.

Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who is leading the House impeachment managers, has proposed that the Supreme Court Chief Justice, John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the trial, could swiftly rule on the validity of any executive privilege claim. The trial has “a perfectly good judge sitting behind me,” Mr. Schiff said.

But Chief Justice Roberts does not embody and is not functioning as the Supreme Court. Several legal experts said that even if he were to rule that any invocation of the privilege is not valid, a subpoena recipient could ignore him and continue to defer to the president.

Then the Senate would likely still have to go through the normal court process to seek a judicial order to hear from the witness.

The administration could try, but it would face serious hurdles.

In theory, the Justice Department could file a lawsuit and ask a judge to issue a restraining order barring Mr. Bolton from testifying on the grounds that he might divulge information that is subject to executive privilege. But the government has never tried to do that.

Even if a judge agreed that the information the Senate would be seeking is covered by a valid claim of executive privilege, it is not clear that any judge or higher court would issue a restraining order. Under a constitutional doctrine called prior restraint, the First Amendment severely limits the ability of the government to gag speech before its expression.

“A restraining order is unlikely because it would be unprecedented, a threat to First Amendment values, and — in this context — a threat to fundamental checks and balances,” said Peter Shane, an Ohio State University professor and the co-author of a casebook on separation-of-powers law.

It’s fuzzy. The scope and limits of the president’s power to keep internal executive branch information secret are ill-defined because in practice, administration officials and lawmakers have typically resolved executive privilege disputes through deals to accommodate investigators’ needs to avoid definitive judicial rulings.

In a 1974 Supreme Court case about whether President Richard M. Nixon had to turn over tapes of his Oval Office conversations to the Watergate prosecutor, the court ruled that executive privilege can be overcome if the information is needed for a criminal case. Nixon resigned 16 days later.

The Supreme Court in the Nixon case noted several times that the information sought did not involve presidential discussions about diplomatic or military matters, so the Justice Department might argue that the Watergate precedent does not cover Mr. Trump’s internal communications about military aid to Ukraine.

Nevertheless, the courts would most likely use a balancing test, weighing the presidency’s need for private internal deliberations against Congress’s need for the specific information to investigate possible high-level wrongdoing, said Mark J. Rozell, a George Mason University professor who has written books about executive privilege.

Noting the Nixon-era precedent, he said he doubted that a claim of executive privilege would be upheld in the context of impeachment because “the courts don’t give all that much deference to claims of presidential secrecy in cases of alleged wrongdoing.”

No.

In a related legal dispute, the Trump administration has argued that White House officials are “absolutely immune” from being compelled to respond to a subpoena when Congress is seeking information about their official duties.

If that were true, it would mean they did not even have to show up, separate and apart from whether they can lawfully decline to answer a particular question in deference to a president’s claim that the answer is covered by executive privilege.

Late last year, a Federal District Court judge rejected that theory in a case involving a congressional subpoena to Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II. But Mr. McGahn does not want to cooperate and has permitted the Justice Department to file an appeal on his behalf, and the litigation is continuing.

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