I am in a dilemma. I have been presented with an argument that I consider very knowledgeably founded and very well-sourced and researched.
I am talking about Constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz's Senate floor presentation that the Democrat's impeachment charges are Constitutionally invalid.
I have stated that I believe Pres. Trump did what he is being accused of, but, now I faced with deciding if Mr. Deshowitz's argument is a valid one. At this point, and it is still a work-in-progress, Mr. Deshowitz has convinced me with his argument.
So, if Dershowitz is right and the Democrat's impeachment charges are Constitutionally invalid, does it matter if Pres. Trump is guilty of an inappropriate quid-pro-quo?
Be forewarned that if your opinion is based on TV sound-bytes of his presentation I think you are doing yourself a disservice.
Here is his full presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqmhfyH09jM I am certain your political views will benefit from the time investment needed to hear his argument.
Further, if Dershowitz is right, can the Democrats blame anyone but themselves?
ps. Constitutional scholar Prof. Turley agrees with Mr. Deshowitz, as do multiple other Constitution scholars and Supreme Court justices that Mr. Dershowitz cited in his presentation.
pss. Instead of being 'Smarter than a 5th grader', if your opinion isn't informed by arguments such as Mr. Dershowitz's, do you consider yourself smarter than a Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court justice?
psss. Mr. Dershowitz was, (is?), a registered Democrat that endorsed both Hillary and Obama, and argued against Pres. Clinton's impeachment—so he is not a partisan hack.
Cool! OJ really was innocent! Have you listened to him argue just the opposite? Saying there doesn't have to be a specific crime to be considered Abuse of Power?
But I will . . .
I think Alan would defend any criminal he believed he could make a buck....or televised exposure from. I really don't think he's a Left or Right advocate. Simply an advocate of his wallet, in my opinion. He knew OJ was guilty, just as he knows Trump is.
Do you really believe Alan loses sleep at night, knowing he got a double murderer off? Does this mean anything to you, Gus? Or tell you something about his motives? I'd guess not.
Reminds me of Hillary getting a rapist off. I defended her actions as those of a lawyer defending a client - clearly honorable and just. This in spite of my opinion that she was one of the slimiest of the slimy on the Hill.
Can you say the same, Randy, or do the ends justify the means?
Are you saying OJ was innocent, Dan? And there's no doubt you hate Hillary, and would believe any conspiracy theory about her as told by Hannity and Limbaugh.
What else is new?
Are you saying your darling was evil and vile?
OJ was innocent under the standards of proof required for a criminal trial. As you pointed out that you don't even understand what evidence or proof is, I don't expect you to understand or accept that, but it is true.
Of course not, That's your opinion of her. And after OJ was cleared there was a photo of him wearing the same gloves and shoes he denied were his.
Justice is served, right? All Alan has to do is give the same out he gave to the OJ jury to win this case as well.
Justice is a bitch.
But she, as a lawyer, got a rapist off. Doesn't that make her wrong just as an honest evaluation of the Constitution make Alan lying, just in it for the money?
Why are you attacking the messenger rather than the message Randy?
Whether Dershowitz was a saint or a turd shouldn't have any bearing on the validity of his message. Any message will be true or false, valid or invalid. That is what you should be addressing.
What points of his argument can you dispute with equal credible support?
ps. Good to see you no longer think he is a "real patriot . . . for the Right."
Alan's a real patriot for whomever pays him, Gus. He'll argue both for and against abuse of power being a crime as he's already shown.
I don't believe I'd side with a turd...and I don't believe in saint's either.
You aren't being asked to "side" with either. You are being asked to evaluate a message. You are still attacking the messenger instead of the message.
The messenger cannot make his mind up, Gus. Did you hear the interview with him on CNN with Jeffrey Toobin, one of Alan's former students? Alan wouldn't let Jeffrey talk when he tried to explain the errors in Alan's thinking on abuse of power.
I'm sure you can find it if you didn't see it. A very telling interview, even though Alan tried to dominate it by not allowing Jeffrey to say much.
Your Toobin interview suggestion was a good one Randy.
I watched the first 15+/- youtube listings here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ … +interview
I did see Dershowitz forcefully defending against Toobin's statements, and I do think Toobin made some valid points, but I don't think it was a case of not letting Toobin have his say.
However, I have to consider if your suggested viewing has introduced a crack in my confidence. Plus, I also caught House Manager Lofgren making a good response to a question about this subject.
Also, I am having a bit of trouble with Dershowitz's efforts to split-hairs with his "criminal-like" parameters as a defense for his contrary 1998 statements.
I was not impressed with the 'common-sense', and 'everybody knows' perspective Toobin took to validate his points. He didn't counter any of Dershowitz's contentions with any credible support beyond that.
So, I am still where I started—I need to continue looking into this. I still agree with Dershowitz's Senate floor argument—that "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" is being too broadly and politically determined, but I am a bit less confident the impeachment criteria are as restricted as he is saying.
I have to decide if his "criminal-like" characterization fits with his Constitutional Convention historical records citations. Luckily, except for Blackstone's works, I have most of those readings available. My friend Google will help me with what I don't have. I'll get back to you on that.
Wow! I'm one of those that said an impeachment was whatever the House said it was - I think I have to change my mind as well.
All that really remains is a head count of those that will do their duty vs those that will rationalize their way around the constitution to get what they want.
It was his talk of the historical documentation about excluding 'maladministration' as a reason for impeachment that put this bone in my teeth. I certainly respect his Constitutional scholarship, but I have also read those works he cited, (hold on, in no way is that equating my readings with his research and study), and I remember Madison's Convention notes about "maladministration." He confirmed what I thought I understood. I just hadn't considered it with the implications he did.
Next, I will be going to Federalist #65 to see if what he says about 'misreading' Hamilton's words is right because my recall of reading it fits his description of a 'misread'.
To your last point, I think the real problem will be folks mistakenly seeing his argument as a defense of Pres. Trump and either accept it or reject it as support for their partisan positions for the wrong reason.
Mr. Dershowitz is not the only constitutional law expert to weigh in on this. I cannot deny the influence of his sheer heft and scholarship coming down in Trump's favor.
But, is it not annoying how conservatives always have no problem dismissing 'experts' in deference to the unlettered opinions of Donald Trump, for example? But, will actually trot out and defer to 'experts' when it is to their advantage, as it is in this case.
Gotta wonder about that, sometimes, GA
It would indeed be interesting to see other constitutional scholars debate the other side. Unfortunately all I've seen so far are opinions, usually second or third hand, without the reasoning and research to back them.
For instance, Dershowitz addressed something that I continue to hear - that the founders could not have intended a crime be committed before impeachment before there WERE any crimes, but ignore that at least two were in place (treason and bribery) AND that they certainly intended for government to make laws in the very near future. That "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors" were listed, as well that even a misdemeanor is still a crime. Those in disagreement never seem to address this at all - just state that a crime is not necessary according to the constitution.
Perhaps the Senate should set up a debate between a few such scholars and listen to what they have to say. The defense has made a point of it - a debate would seem to be a reasonable answer from the prosecution, where specific points could be debated with reasons given for the stated opinions.
You are right Cred, there may be more Constitutional scholars that disagree with Dershowitz's argument than agree with him. He even admits his view is the minority view.
However, I think that 'coming down in Trump's favor' is a different thing than a 'defense of Trump's actions' I agree that if his argument is correct, then it would be in Trump's favor, but even so, it would not be because it was a defense of Trump.
To think otherwise would seem akin to bemoaning the acceptance of any exculpatory evidence in a trial. You wouldn't do that would you?
As for ". . . dismissing 'experts' in deference to the unlettered opinions of Donald Trump" that has nothing to do with my discussion, (or current dilemma). I am not viewing Dershowitz's argument as a defense or accusal regarding Pres. Trump's actions.
My discussion is simply about the point of what are Constitutionally valid impeachment charges. I am not dismissing any the Constitutional scholars' opinions that disagree with Dershowitz, I am simply saying I think he has presented a valid argument that I may have to agree with, even though it is contrary to everything I thought about the issue before.
I would have these same thoughts and conversations even if it had nothing to do with any specific president, much less the explosive specifics of the Trump charges.
It is a simple question Cred, does his Constitutional argument—divorced from any president or specific instance— make sense to you?
Consider the point that 'hooked' me. Check out the Convention records of "maladministration' being offered at the convention, and the reasons and debate that rejected it.
Hi, GA, I recently posted a comment on this topic on another thread to Ken with this article. What do you Think?
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-i … eed-2020-1
I read your linked article and don't entirely disagree with it.
Dershowitz is killing me. I still agree with the essential premise of his Senate floor argument regarding Constitutionally valid impeachment criteria, but he keeps coming out with extreme extrapolations of his argument points that are too easily ridiculed.
For instance, your article's point: If a president legitimately thinks his actions are for the public interest he can do anything he wants.
As I recall and perceived;
When he first presented this point in an interview with CNN's Toobin it was in the context of mixed motives for presidential actions, a mix of public and personal interests. An example was if an action was primarily in the public interest, and also minorly in the president's interest then it would be unjust to judge those actions as an abuse of power because there was some part of personal interest.
I agree with this point. He supported it with the premise of why would a president need or consult pollsters and political strategists if personal interests were never a part of any president's actions.
Do you disagree that almost all presidents consider their personal interests, along with public interests, in their decision-making process?
He then justified his position by saying that in the case of mixed motives it would be ludicrous to support a contention that a political body could enter into a determination that a decision was X% public interest and Y% personal interest. I agree with that point also.
His conclusion was that that impossibility was support for his contention that politically defined abuse of power was not a legitimate criterion for impeachment.
As the point stands here, I agree with all aspects of his argument.
But now, and with Dershowitz's help, the point has been extrapolated to the charges of your linked article—a president can do anything he wants if he thinks it is in the public interest. I do not agree with the original point in its current incarnation.
So what now? His original thought makes sense to me. How can you assign a valid percentage to mixed motives to determine the abuse of power? Surely we don't want the House to have the authority to make this decision using a process similar to the commonly used definition of porn: "I don't know how to define it, but I know it when I see it."
Can you imagine the House committees sitting down to hash out whether it was 48% one motive and 52% the other? Or was it 25% one and 75% the other?
If a standard of criminality, either an actual crime or a criminal-like action, was demanded, then that percentage determination is not a consideration.
But even so, that "criminal-type" standard is a problem for me to work on.
I think the dissent and discussion of his arguments is a good thing. It will help us get to a better and more just determination of impeachable criterion. Because I do not think the currently levied abuse of power charges are valid grounds for impeachment and removal.
I also think Dershowitz, in his efforts to defend his argument, is becoming his own worst enemy. I don't think he intends his "mixed-motive" argument to be carried to the extremes he has helped it reach.
"But now, and with Dershowitz's help, the point has been extrapolated to the charges of your linked article—a president can do anything he wants if he thinks it is in the public interest."
Outside of gross imbalance in the percentages you discussed, I'm having a hard time thinking of what instances he could not act. The country needs a new power plant, and his brother will build it for half the price of other quotes - should the president not hire his brother? The country needs a stopping place on common long flights around the world, and the President's business is located right where it is needed; should the President deny that business the right to continue to compete fairly, as it has done for years, especially if he has removed himself from it's operations?
Help me out - what can you give as examples that are not simply way out of whack percentage wise on motive?
Nothing anymore, it seems.
You may be right - certainly liberals have taken umbrage at everything he's done and attempted to stop every action. Or taken credit for it when the president forces it anyway and it proves to be a good thing.
Yes, we don't like children being removed from their parents very much, and extorting an ally at war with our adversary isn't very nice either.
Whoah there, surely you aren't asking me that. I am the one arguing against a "percentage" evaluation.
I know. That's why I ask for examples NOT based on that criteria. Just not quite understanding what you are saying, that's all - perhaps a couple of examples would make it clear to my old, slow intellect.
I am still unsure of what you are asking. But, since I am opposed to any circumstances that would incorporate 'percentage' evaluations, the only thought I can offer is that a determination of corrupt intentions must be a criterion.
But now we must discuss who makes the determination of what constitutes "corrupt," which seems to bring us back—full-circle—to the requirement for a crime or criminal-type act to be a component of an impeachable offense.
I am too unsure of your question to offer examples.
If that doesn't address your point you will have to help me out.
LOL Forget it, GA. By now I've so confused myself that I don't understand my own question! I even went back to your original comment ("But now, and with Dershowitz's help, the point has been extrapolated to the charges of your linked article—a president can do anything he wants if he thinks it is in the public interest. I do not agree with the original point in its current incarnation.") and still don't know what I was asking. Chalk it up to cheerful senility and let it go. Probably mixing your comment up with something coming through the boob tube: I have the trial going in the background.
It appears that the more that I look into this, that the process of impeachment is much as described by Gerald Ford. It is hopelessly mired in partisan drama. Of course, the motives of Trump for his actions can never be proven with 100 percent certainty. If we are waiting to go with that standard the entire process becomes meaningless, akin to trying to nail jello to the wall.
Valiant said that the GAO did say that Trump's actions in this matter was llegal. That is a violation of the law.
In the Dershowitz interpretation, how would Nixon ever have been made to leave office? The standard for removal of the President in the Dershowitz paradyne becomes unattainable encouraging Trump to defy Congress and the courts accusing of them of Never having substantive evidence of crime on his part. But how can they?
Wilderness' suggestion of "civil suits" as a check on the President illegal behavior is questionable at best.
"Valiant said that the GAO did say that Trump's actions in this matter was llegal. That is a violation of the law."
From wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governmen … ity_Office)
"Work of GAO is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is mandated by public laws or committee reports. It also undertakes research under the authority of the Comptroller General. It supports congressional oversight by:
auditing agency operations to determine whether federal funds are being spent efficiently and effectively;
investigating allegations of illegal and improper activities;
reporting on how well government programs and policies are meeting their objectives;
performing policy analyses and outlining options for congressional consideration;
issuing legal decisions and opinions;
advising Congress and the heads of executive agencies about ways to make government more efficient and effective."
Nowhere in there is there any indication that it is a court of law. Instead we see "issuing legal decisions and opinions"
Now, we see several legal "opinions" coming out of the Senate trial which are at total loggerheads with each other. The point is that a "legal opinion" does NOT make or define law and does NOT mean there was a violation of law. It means that the people in the GAO think it would be found to be a violation...while any defense lawyers will say the exact opposite. I daresay that Trumps legal counsel would disagree with the GAO, given how they have disagreed with any and all of Shiff's legal opinions.
"Of course, the motives of Trump for his actions can never be proven with 100 percent certainty."
If I understood Dershowitz correctly, and I think I did, that is a portion of why he says there must be a crime. The House can claim all it wants to as to what Trump's motive was, but at the end of the day all they can have is an opinion, and such an opinion is NOT sufficient for an impeachment (or at least a conviction of that impeachment) - it amounts to the House saying "I don't like what he did - he must be removed from office. It is far too subjective for a trial, and likely the most important trial this country can conduct.
On the other hand, it is much easier to prove a crime. It is not subjective; it either happened or it did not. It is not a matter of "I don't like what he did"; it is absolute and recorded in the law books as to whether it is permissible.
I just heard, behind me on the TV, yet another prosecution member claim that it is proven beyond a shadow of doubt that Trump made the phone call in order to extort help in the next election. Again with the opinion, then, and again it is presented as incontrovertible fact. Of course it is not; not a single member of those House managers has read Trump's mind.
"In the Dershowitz interpretation, how would Nixon ever have been made to leave office?"
And that is a problem I have with the extrapolation of Dershowitz's statements.
As previously explained, I did not understand them to be taken to that extreme.
I am standing firm on my contention, (which is in agreement with Dershowitz's original point), that a crime, or criminal-type action, is required to reach the conclusions the House has reached.
As a legitimate question, if the funds were released within the mandated timeline, how can the president's delay be called a violation of the Act?
Because a portion of those funds were give to Department of Defense and not State. He did not have the authorization to withhold them.
Damn Valeant. It's late. Now I have to go on a hunt to find out what difference that makes. ;-)
DOD or DOS, tweedle dee or tweedle dum. Since you made the point it must make a difference, I will answer when I can find out what that difference is.
I also think Pres. Ford's description is apt. But, without repeating already stated thoughts, I do not think the current extreme extension of Dershowitz's argument would apply to Pres. Nixon's actions.
I suppose I should learn more about the GAO's legal opinion that Pres. Trump violated the Act, but the link Valeant presented to support that claim also noted that the OMB's legal opinion was contrary to the GAO's.
So which do we believe? Also, if previous administrations have delayed or withheld funds, as has been claimed, what makes Pres. Trump's action an illegal act worthy of removal from office?
Further, previous administrations have also tied quid pro quos to foreign aid disbursement. If their actions were deemed righteous, (for justifiable cause), and not bribery or extortion, then why does Pres. Trump's become the reason for impeachment and removal? Both actions were the same. If quid pro quo equates to bribery and extortion for one it should equate to the same for all.
The point of that last bit wasn't intended as 'whataboutism' but only as a reference to a law(s) being broken as a component of impeachment determinations.
I thought that OMB was under the Executive Branch and GAO is under Congress. Would not GAO tend to be more impartial?
I don't know. Since the OMB is the accused agency, maybe their contrary opinion is to be expected.
My primary point is that I haven't looked for any information to decide one way or another because whether true or not I don't believe such a violation is an impeachable offense. So I just haven't devoted time to find out.
I took your advice and watched his presentation in full. He certainly lays out his case clearly with plenty of historical and legal reference. While I must defer to his Constitutional knowledge and legal expertise, I am eager to see critiques from other Constitutional law experts closer to hid own caliber.
If he is right, I'm left a bit disturbed with how much power one can really have as President.
I took your advice and watched his presentation in full. He certainly lays out his case clearly with plenty of historical and legal reference. While I must defer to his Constitutional knowledge and legal expertise, I am eager to see critiques from other Constitutional law experts closer to his own caliber.
If he is right, I'm left a bit disturbed with how much power one can really have as President.
I will be searching for critiques also eastward. His argument is persuasive to me, and if I am going to change a foundational opinion, then I want to be confident it is for the right reason, not just a momentary mesmerization.
However, I don't share your closing concerns. I would simply view it as forcing our Legislature to use the other tools of control it has, including the Courts.
My opinion is that the current House charges are too sloppily and politically constructed to be valid. I think the impeachment process should be a remedy, not a political tool. So if the House efforts invalidated their own claims, it is their own fault.
Let me know what you find, GA. He does make a persuasive argument, though we know that's his wheelhouse. It seems there is an opportunity here for many of us to learn more about the Constitution, how it's intended to work, and the scope of power of the President.
In saying you don't share my concerns about the power of the President if Dershowitz is right, do you see a path where the courts can address abuse of power or obstruction of Congress (or is his argument to be taken as a final statement that the President is free to abuse power and obstruct as long as it's not clearly criminal or treasonous)?
I agree with your sentiments about the impeachment process. Our systems need to be bigger than any party or individual if we can trust in them.
The emoluments clause is one that I keep coming back to. In my humble opinion, if Trump isn't in violation of the emoluments clause, we really need to strengthen said clause. Perhaps too many in the House thought emoluments would hit them to close to home as well.
Hi there eastward. Between the trial and my forum participation time, it will take me a few days o find time to look into and solidify my opinion of Dershowitz's argument. I am still with him, basically, but his 'criminal-type' qualification causes me to have some indecision. I will get back to you on that.
However, I can offer my opinion on the emollients issue. I think Pres. Trump is okay in that regard. My view of that clause is that it would relate to blatant and specific issue qualifications. For instance, I don't think his benefit from owning the DC Trump hotel, even though folks go there just to demonstrate their support or curry favor, qualifies as an emollient clause violation.
To hold the view that it is a violation, one would have to expect every president to divest themselves of every business interest that could generate a profit. Even putting the decision-making process of that hotel in a blind trust would not insulate him from violation charges. It could still be argued that as an owner he will benefit regardless of decision-making participation.
So emollient clause violations aren't an issue for me regarding this president. That's life. Are we to demand virgins and eunuchs be our elected officials?
And if we do, can we really trust someone that has devoted their life in such a manner just to achieve the presidency? I would say no. I am a Reagan fan and I want real people in elected office, not life-long groomed participants.
ps. regarding that "virgins and eunuchs" thought, Chinese history of their 'Forbidden City' emperors demonstrates the fallacy of that thought. It was the eunuchs, and the blind trust placed in them that finally destroyed the emperor and their Forbidden City.
So you don't care if Trump violates the emollient clause, Gus. Perhaps you can fill us in on why it doesn't apply to the Donald?
You 'misread' my comment Randy. I didn't say I didn't care, I said I didn't think he was violating the emollients clause, and I explained why.
It seems you are much more comfortable with Trump's ability to profit from the Presidency than I am, which is an opinion you are certainly entitled to. In reading up on the emoluments clause, it seems the blind trust is exactly what Presidents have done in the past (Jimmy Cater and his peanut farm, for example). If Trump (and any family members with connection to the White House or government duties) had divested from business interests and put the money in a blind trust, I would be OK with that. Of course it doesn't assure absolute insulation, but I don't think we need to insist on virgins and eunuchs either. Like you, I do think we need "real people" that haven't simply spent their lives trying to gain political power and influence. On the other hand, Trump is about the last person that comes to mind when I think of "real people" that have spent their lives in pursuit of a noble cause. I don't think we should be led by wealthy elites that cannot, nor care to, understand the lives and struggles of the average citizen. I would like to see "real people" that have a proven track record of seeking benefits for society, rather than being hyper-focused on personal gain.
I wonder what difference a blind trust arrangement would make with Trump's holdings. Even with no oversight or involvement, his financial benefit from the DC Trump hotel would remain the same. Folks currying favor would still stay there, and make sure Trump knew it.
I am not knowledgeable about all of Trump's interests, but I don't recall hearing about any that would be changed by the effect of the 'pull' of Trump's presidential status if they were in a blind trust rather than where they are now.
Using the DC hotel as an example, do you think it would make any difference if it was in a blind trust? Trump would still retain his ownership percentage, and the profits would still flow, so would it make a difference in an emollients consideration?
The only way I can see any possible difference would be if he was forced to divest himself of any possible profit-making business. Would you see that as a just requirement?
If we were discussing market investments like; stocks, bonds, investor businesses, etc. I can see where a blind trust arrangement may make a difference, but otherwise, with the type of businesses Pres. Trump has involvement in, I don't see anything short of ownership divestment as an alternative solution. Do you see an alternative?
It is less that I am comfortable with him making a profit than it is I am uncomfortable with the thought that a president must be expected to divest himself of any profit-making businesses that could benefit from presidential association.
As for the rest of your comments, you get no argument from me.
As I understand it, if Trump were to follow tradition of past presidents with significant business holdings, he would sell that business (Trump's DC Hotel, for example) and a financial manager would invest his assets without Trump knowing the details. He would still profit, but he wouldn't know what exactly he was profiting from.
Would I see that as a just sacrifice for someone to make to take the helm of the country? Yes, I think that's a reasonable expectation of a leader to show they can put the interests of the country above profit. It's not the President would have to forego his fortune and become destitute. Although, we still haven't seen those tax returns, which might reveal more about his motivations to grant his businesses government contracts. I'll admit to speculation here, but that's all one can do given the refusal to release the information.
I'm not much of a historian - which president has sold off billions of dollars worth of businesses when they entered the White House?
"I'll admit to speculation here, but that's all one can do given the refusal to release the information."
Another option, different than simply making up answers out of ones imagination, is to simply say "I don't know". Admit ignorance of an answer instead of making one up.
The estimates of the worth of Trump's businesses is unprecedented for a President, I'll give you that. Although, other Presidents have liquidated millions of dollars worth of assets.
As for not speculating on Trump's blatant disrespect for the American people by refusing to release his tax information (after he said he would), we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. Just blindly following any President and sticking my head in the sand isn't my style.
I totally agree. How else can we be assured a POTUS isn't in anyone's pocket and can affect his/her judgement? But then, the blind faith in Trump, with his enablers taking his word--even if he doesn't keep it--tells you much about their faith in Trump.
Generically-speaking, I think the requirement to sell business interests that may have taken a lifetime to build in exchange for a four to eight-year hiatus from that business is an unrealistic ask.
Perhaps a thread about just what the emollients clause was intended to encompass might be a good discussion. I know the language seems clear, but could it be another Constitutional example of 'clear as mud'?
For instance, the first question to come to mind is our earliest presidents. Many were businessmen, most via land ownership endeavors. Did they sell their properties to comply with the emollient clause? What did our early to mid-20th-century presidents do?
I don't know, but it might be a good discussion to look into it. I might have to change my mind if other presidents have followed a pattern of complete divestment.
Whether or not a President should sell his business interests is a reasonable topic of debate, GA. I can certainly see points on both side of that argument. Normally, even if a President did retain his business interests, I'd expect that he'd have the decency not to go out of his way to promote that business while conducting official White House business (or go as far as trying to push for government contracts to benefit said business). It seems we're in new territory as far as that goes.
Looking further into the emoluments clause, the history behind its development, and how it has applied to various presidents is worthy of a full discussion as well. From what I've found so far, divestment, liquidation, and blind or semi-blind trusts seem to be the tradition. I'll keep on digging and see what I can find.
And on your statement, "I might have to change my mind". It's good to know there are still people open-minded enough to push aside the draw of escalating commitment and not double-down no matter what evidence or new information presents itself! Short supply in 2020...
Yeah, and right now I am doubting my "four to eight-year hiatus" portion of that comment.
Electing to hold the position of our presidency is, (or certainly should be), much more than that. I don't think that perception of a hiatus away from business interests is a fair comparison. I will eat those words.
*curiously, that phrase gave me pause when I typed it. I should have listened to my inner voice. ;-)
It really doesn't make any difference at this point. The Senate proved Trump can get away with anything he wants to do. He's already claimed this power. Short live the king!
Once again, to your credit for continued contemplation, GA. I did start a new thread for the Emolument Clause as well. There are so many articles to choose from on the topic, with a lot of repetition. I shared a handful of them I found particularly interesting, relevant, or helpful.
This is an interesting perspective... and certainly off-base as to why Trump is so popular with "regular" Americans, far more so than Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden.
Trump may be a billionaire, but he is an outsider to D.C.'s cesspool of corruption.
The Clintons and Biden, sold their souls out for political power and wealth long ago, and "regular" Americans see this clear as day... it is only those who are vested in politics the way true believers are to their religions that can't see Hillary and Joe for who they really are.
Trump may be a billionaire, but he didn't make his fortune selling out the American people, or selling America's technological secrets, or uranium, or overthrowing foreign nations like Clinton and Biden had.
Trump has failed, Trump has faced bankruptcy, things many Americans can identify with. The D.C. 'swamp' despises him, this is the same 'swamp' that lords over Americans as if they are serfs or peasants that exist merely to serve the interests of those ruling in D.C.
The percentage of people who despise those currently in control of our government (the political 'elite' like Pelosi, Schumer, and nearly anyone else who has been there for a quarter century or longer) or D.C. in general has become a dangerous percentage of the American population.
If you take the 40% of solidly behind Trump no-matter-what Americans. And added to them the 15-20% of disenfranchised very left 'Progressives' you have a large majority of Americans that are fed up with our government.
And those who are in D.C. and the MSM that supports the 'establishment' are the ones that seem most tone deaf to this reality.
Trump right now is the biggest single reason why the Republic still has a chance at retaining its Constitution and its Sovereignty, not merely because he opposes the too-quick march to globalism and reduction of nation rights, but because he is such a polarizing personality he is keeping the 40% who support him from the joining the 20% who would rather die than accept him.
Without Trump, the day may come when the 40% find they have much more in common with that 20%, in particular, their desire to 'overthrow' our government leaders, and perhaps the government all together.
The country is not at the correct place yet to toss away the Constitution, and do away with 'representative' government.
Yes the corruption has reached a terminal level, akin to stage 4 cancer, it is eating away our country from the inside. But technology, and the rest of the world is not yet ready for America to fall in on itself, nor is it ready to accept an international body as its ruling entity even though we are close to having that now through institutions like the IMF, WB, UN, etc.
Well, you can call my perspective off-base on why Trump appeals to any percentage of Americans. I'll admit that is a phenomenon that takes some contemplation and soul-searching on my part.
Trump may be more popular than Hillary Clinton (though he lost the popular vote to her) or Joe Biden (no big surprise there). However, think the idea of him being an "outsider" from the circle of ruling elites and cesspool of corruption is a myth that he and his administration have perpetrated.
I'm no fan of Clinton, Biden, or Trump and think they are more indicitave of problems than they are of solutions. The Trumps and Clintons, most of the 1% in general are more aligned with each other than they are the "average" Americans. They have some disagreements and difference in perspectives and goals, but ultimately, much of that is bread and circus for the masses. Each of them benefit from the exaggerated perception of division.
I'd agree that people are extremely frustrated with those in control of our government. Whether we are talking left, right, or otherwise, count me in. Congress has an extremely low approval rating but high re-election rate. That's something we need to address by cleaning up gerrymandering, perhaps enacting term limits, etc.
I strongly disagree that Trump is our best chance at saving America and the Constitution. His stances regarding globalism vs. nationalism follow too closely with the business objectives of his inner circle for me to be convinced it's patriotism.
I'll strongly agree with you that corruption has reached terminal levels and that the world wouldn't benefit from a collapse of the US (and that we're not ready for an international ruling body). There are still other countries vying for the #1 spot as world leader, and I'm not sure they are flexible enough to be able to deal with diversity on a global scale.
All in all, we agree on a lot of the problems and symptoms. However, in belief that Trump is a solution to any significant degree, our perspectives remain far apart.
Attorneys are paid to represent their clients. Even the known guilty deserve representation. If an attorney accepts a client to help the person be convicted, that is malpractice.
So, if Dershowitz's argument is right - that “if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot ... result in impeachment,” Dershowitz said Wednesday.
So, using that argument, if Trump started shooting Democrats, which would help him get elected, which he believes is in the public interest, Dershowitz sees no issue there.
But, should a crime need to be committed to warrant impeachment, since the Government Accountability Office has now ruled that Trump withholding the aid to Ukraine was illegal, Dershowitz's argument is no longer applicable to Trump's impeachment.
"So, if Dershowitz's argument is right - that “if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot ... result in impeachment,” Dershowitz said Wednesday."
Again, Dershowitz did not say that, Regardless of how many times it is repeated, it remains a lie. Here is Dershowitz's answer to that statement: "They characterized my argument as if I had said that if a president believes that his re-election was in the national interest, he can do anything. I said nothing like that, as anyone who actually heard what I said can attest,' he wrote on Twitter."
And the reply to that comment from Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich: "You said as long as the President doesn't commit a crime, he can abuse his power in any way he likes in service of his re-election."
Democrats seem to agree that he did not say what you claim. That any claim that he did leaves out a very, very important bit of what was actually there. That the president cannot commit a crime, that if he does (and it reaches the necessary "height") then he can be impeached.
'Democrats seem to agree that he did not say what you claim.'
You're the last person I expect to understand what Democrats agree on.
And actually, Democrats seem to agree with me that Dershowitz mischaracterized the person he based his whole argument on...
Nikolas Bowie, an assistant professor at Harvard Law School, clarified on CNN Thursday that Alan Dershowitz was incorrectly citing his work in arguments against the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus who serves on Trump’s impeachment defense team, has repeatedly invoked Bowie’s work to assert that the president should not have been impeached because the charges against him can’t be considered crimes.
In his opening statement at the impeachment trial Monday, Dershowitz referenced a Harvard Law Review article Bowie published in 2018 called “High Crimes Without Law,” which contends that impeachment cannot occur without a crime.
Dershowitz had also cited the law review article during a CNN appearance last week, prompting Bowie to publish an op-ed in The New York Times to clarify that Dershowitz had misinterpreted his work.
“Even if you think impeachment requires a crime, as I do, that belief hardly supports the president’s defense or Mr. Dershowitz’s position,” Bowie wrote. “President Trump has been accused of a crime. Two in fact.”
But this clarification seemed to fall on false ears: Dershowitz claimed the Times op-ed was also in his favor during his Senate remarks and another CNN appearance on Tuesday.
Dershowitz selected parts of Bowie’s writing to contend that abuse of power ― one of two charges leveled against the president ― is not a criminal act and that it can be equated to maladministration.
“He agrees with me that maladministration, abuse of power and abuse of office are essentially the same,” Dershowitz said on CNN Tuesday.
CNN host Anderson Cooper welcomed Bowie to Thursday’s segment to seek clarity.
“Abuse of power is a crime,” Bowie said when asked to explain his position. “There are people around the country who have been convicted of it recently. It’s a crime that’s existed since this country was founded.
“To equate it with maladministration, as my colleague Professor Dershowitz does, is the equivalent of saying that criminal corruption is the same as getting a bad performance evaluation.”
“Maladministration is just an 18th century term for doing a bad thing at your job,” he added, agreeing that “a president shouldn’t be impeached for getting a bad performance evaluation.”
“But to equate that with criminal corruption? That’s a joke.”
You sound like Shiff, on the floor of the Senate.
I made a specific statement about a specific comment of yours. I supplied quotations from both Dershowitz AND a leading Democrat.
You, in turn, went off on a complete tangent that had nothing to do with anything I said. You want to argue whether Dershowitz is right in what he feels is an impeachable offense...but that has zero to do with your misquoting him.
Want to try again and address your misstatement?
First off, a leading Democrat? I've never heard of who you quoted. Your first false statement.
Second, I'm sorry that you could not understand how Dershowitz contorted the work of his colleague to make an argument that was not grounded in anything but his own self-interest.
Third, this is like that 'go back' comment. You could not hear the racism in it, while the rest of the known planet found it to be clearly racist. Many heard the argument for what it was, Dershowitz trying to move the goal posts to say that abuse of power does not constitute a crime and therefore, Trump is not impeachable.
OK - I get it. You don't want to respond to the comment that your statement was false to fact. All right, already - just say so!
There is no need to degrade an upstanding Democrat, no need to degrade my understanding and certainly no need to pick yet another subject to talk about - that of the "go back" statement and your perception of racism. Just say you don't want to talk about it. Or just ignore the comment entirely - it's easy to do.
Actually, you will see Dershowitz's argument how you see it, many of us will see it a different way.
And honestly, there's never much point in conversing with you. You're so committed to Trump there will never be any middle ground between us. You keep believing those 16,000 lies and drinking that Kool-Aid.
Maybe, maybe not. If Pres. Trump's violation of the Impoundment Control Act is a fact, (obviously, this is an arguable contention), then the next step is to determine if it is a violation that rises to a level equitable with treason and bribery.
I will concede that if it is found that he violated that Act it is a crime, but I am unsure that I can concede that it is an impeachable offense rising to the level for removal from office.
At this point, since the aid was disbursed within the Congressional mandates, I am unsure that he did violate the Impoundment Control Act. But that is just my opinion.
Here, I'll put it in terms you can understand:
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/gao-sa … aw-ukraine
Maybe Dan can even understand how a crime was committed, but I doubt it. The Kool-Aid is strong with that one.
In terms I can understand? Yep, your link makes it clear as mud. The GAO offers an opinion and the OMB offers a counter-opinion.
So, I went looking. It turns out that the funds were released within the mandated timeframe of the appropriations timeline. So who do we believe; the GAO, the OMB, or the textual terms of the Congressional appropriations?
It appears you choose to believe the GAO. I choose to believe that I don't know who to believe. But, I do have a problem understanding that if the funds were released within a mandated timeframe—what is the violation?
Because Trump did not have authorization to touch $214 million of the funding. That's what made it illegal, not the timing. Did you even read the why it was illegal or did you just come to your own conclusion based on what you want to believe?
Now you are just being snarky Valeant. Is that the power of your argument, snarkiness?
Let me put it in terms and context you can understand.
I have not looked into the GAO issue. My only reading on it, that I recall, is the link you provided. So no, I have not read why it was illegal.
However, I repeatedly stated, to you, and in other comments, that I did not know the legalities or details of the claimed violation. I even openly stated that I didn't know who to believe—the GAO or the OMB, (which offered a counter-opinion).
I hope that clarification helps you see that I haven't "come to" my own conclusion based on what I want to believe.
But, just to be sure you have what you need to understand the error in your comment to me, here is my exact statement; in the comment you responded to:
"I choose to believe that I don't know who to believe."
Not snark when I provided you the link that explained why the GAO found it was illegal, and you still argued about the timing issue which had nothing to do with the GAO ruling.
That sounds like a fair criticism. So I went back for a second look at your link. And a second look at my first response—regarding my timing issue comment.
In your link I found this:
"Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law," the opinion said. "[The Office of Management and Budget] OMB withheld funds for a policy reason ... not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that the OMB violated the ICA [Impoundment Control Act]."
You are right. I can see now that the time of the withholding/delay was not the issue. So my comments about timing were not relevant.
However, following my comments about this you would have seen this:
"At this point, since the aid was disbursed within the Congressional mandates, I am unsure that he did violate the Impoundment Control Act. But that is just my opinion."
Does that read as a declaration or an uncertainty?
"So, I went looking. It turns out that the funds were released within the mandated timeframe of the appropriations timeline. So who do we believe; the GAO, the OMB, or the textual terms of the Congressional appropriations?"
Obviously, I am chasing in the wrong direction. Mia culpa.
But, I have another but. From your link there is this:
"The OMB made clear Thursday, however, that it disagreed with the GAO report.
“We disagree with GAO's opinion," OMB spokesperson Rachel Semmel said. "OMB uses its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the President's priorities and with the law."
So, as I previously admitted that I was unfamiliar with the issue's details, I find in your link that two government agencies are disagreeing with each other.
"It appears you choose to believe the GAO. I choose to believe that I don't know who to believe. But, I do have a problem understanding that if the funds were released within a mandated timeframe—what is the violation?"
As it seems obvious that I am on the wrong track, here was your golden opportunity to correct me, (which your most recent comment has done in driving me back for a second look at your link), but instead you choose a snarky retort:
". . . did you just come to your own conclusion based on what you want to believe?"
You say that isn't snarky, but it reads like snark to me. Maybe I am wrong about that also, but I don't think so. *shrug
If it helps, I admit, now, that the timing thing isn't an issue with the violation. But nothing else has changed; As an uninformed reader I am still faced with two agencies disagreeing with each other, I still haven't dived in to determine which agency is right, and I still don't believe such a violation rises to a level warranting removal from office.
I watched his presentation (thank you for making us aware of it, it was refreshing to say the least).
Dershowitz made the argument (IMO) that if the actions of the President do not attain the level of fully provable crimes which put at risk the Republic or are deemed acts of treason, he should not be impeached.
While it may be within the powers of the House and Senate to follow through with Impeachment, he argued that it should be not be used as a political tool, it was not the intent of the Founders for the House to sit in judgement on every act of the President to determine for themselves the intent of those acts.
For Impeachment there should be irrefutable proof of crimes beyond doubt and beyond question as to intent.
But we did not get that from the House... what we got from the House is no different than the Russian Conspiracy tripe fed to America for two years from CNN, nothing more than repetitive hyperbolic nonsense.
Just opinions, hearsay and 'professional' judgements.
There is nothing provable to which Impeachment on any level is justifiable... and why is that?
Just as most Democrats in the House believe the President's actions rise to the level of treason and put the country in grave danger, there are others who have a different opinion... and that is what is at the center of the issue here, we have people giving opinions on the intent of his actions and presenting these opinions and conjectures as fact.
I could easily make an argument that the President's actions were in the best interests of the Nation, as patriotic and altruistic as ever was made, he willingly risked his reputation and electorability to try and expose the corrupt and criminal acts of the former Vice President who used his son to launder billions of dollars from the Ukraine, China and who knows where else.
Which of these opinions is more provable?
If this does become something from which the Senate decides to impeach, no President again in our history will be able to act on anything without the possibility of it being challenged by the majority party in the House, and the future will be those politicians in the House playing to the masses making each and every action taken by a President a political drama.
No matter how detestable the person may be who holds the Presidency, the authority with which to act independent of approval of Congress must be preserved.
This mockery of the Impeachment process violates its intended purpose and must completely and convincingly reflect harshly on the Democrats in the House who are trying to enforce their agenda not just on the President, but the Senate and Judicial Branch as well.
Impeachment should be reserved for serious and provable crimes that are to the detriment of the nation, Trump's actions do not rise to that level in this case, at worst they will be detrimental to the Bidens, should they be found guilty of criminal activities... and isn't that what we would want our President to do, expose criminals and prevent them from having power and control within our government?
So you agree a POTUS can simply run the clock out by stonewalling the Congressional oversight given them by the Constitution?
And he also can run a operation using his private attorney as an investigator for the country, even though it's not US policy?
We are pretty much on the same page relative to Dersxhowitz's argument Ken, except . . .
I don't agree with your "provable crime" statement. Dershowitz even tired to clarify his argument that a crime must be involved—or criminal-type actions.
My understanding of his point was that the Founders intended that impeachment must include some type of criminality, whether it be an actual crime or an action rising to a level of criminality, (he referenced actions that rose to the level of treason or bribery).
Not now, shooting from the hip, but with some thought, I could probably think of several hypotheticals that would involve a violation of public trust or abuse of office that would rise to that level of criminality without actually be a criminal violation.
Dr. Laurence Tribe said Alan's explanation of abuse of power is "extreme and dangerous."
I'll bet Gus has gone night, night. Well, he'll wake up in the morning and smite my ass, as is his MO.
He's old, ya know!
No "smiting" today good buddy. Just a few gentle prods to urge you to address the message instead of the messenger.
Cool beans, Gus!
We can now add Dershowitz to the list of formerly widely admired individuals whose reputations are ruined or significantly damaged by their association and/or defense of Trump's criminal behavior.
Like OJ, Trump escapes punishment. Again like OJ, Trump hasn't learned anything by his sham trial in the Senate. Watch what he does next!
A new document from the OMB--released by the Freedom of Information Act--proves Trump was already attempting to extort the Ukraine in June. More's to come shortly.
The truth will all come out in the end. I used to think the truth would mean something, even to Trump supporters. I now believe they really don't care and it won't matter at all to them. They adore their criminal king.
Yes, they adore a known criminal, Sandy. His enablers will end up like the other saps who fell for his spiel. Think Trump University if you need a start....
Yep, how low will they go....?
Trump University fraud? Okay by them.
Pay off porn stars? Check.
Trash a Gold Star family? Perfectly acceptable.
Confiscate funds donated for veterans for his campaign? Fine.
Disclose classified into to Russians? Sure.
Bribe a foreign government to cheat for him in the next election. Yes.
What's left? I'm sure Dirty Don will think of something. Actually, I have no doubt he already has.
He'll learn nothing by his close escape, Sandy. His enablers won't either. Birds of a ......
Hmm . . . Maybe. If only he had stopped before he went to the extreme to defend his opinion . . .
To Eastward and Randy.
Regarding Dershowitz's "maladministration" argument concerning Madison's notes of its rejection. I mentioned I would 'get back to you' as I gave it more thought.
I found an article that may be fodder for opposing views. I am not convinced, and there is a pre-conceived strike, (to my mind), against the author because she is a "living document" proponent. But, I am not dismissive of her perspective.
Her gist is that perhaps the rejection of maladministration, and other terms, wasn't really a rejection of the concepts—this goes against Madison's notes contention—but just rejection of the specific descriptions, with the final wording that was chosen being meant to incorporate those concepts. Hmm . . I am not sure I agree, but here is the source and blurb:
". . . Does it matter? Does it matter whether Madison—never mind anyone else—worried about maladministration? In a world filled with anxiety about official abuse of power, the convention had agreed to “conviction of malpractice or neglect of duty” (July 20, eight to two), then “treason, bribery, or corruption” (August 6, Committee of Detail report), then “treason or bribery” (September 4, Committee of Eleven report), and finally “treason or bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” (September 12, Committee of Style and Arrangement report), all as reasons for impeachment. The takeaway from this shouldn’t be the specifics of what impeachment was for—the delegates could have landed on any combination of these—but all of these phrases intended to convey that impeachment was intended as a safeguard, to prevent the undermining of normal political processes. The concept ensured a fail-safe mechanism in which senators would serve on oath or affirmation in a different role from ordinary political representatives."
Source: Madison’s Notes Don’t Mean What Everyone Says They Mean
As mentioned, I don't think I can agree with her argument, but she does present credible research to support it in the full article.
What do you think?
I tend to see her point, but Senators were appointed, not elected, when the Constitution was written. They were supposed to be men of integrity and impartiality....unlike what we have now.
You are right about your appointment vs. elected point. But that wasn't the thrust of her comment.
I watched this and thought, "Holy cow! This is a microcosm of this HP forum."
You will probably find it boring, or not worth your time, (it does take 10 minutes or so to see the forum reference), but I ended up just shaking my head.
It was supposed to be a discussion of what constituted "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," but that isn't how it went.
You will find no suspense that I agree with the professor on the far-left of the stage.
“High Crimes and Misdemeanors”: What the Constitution Says About Impeachment"
A panel of people with opinions, perspectives, agendas ( I watched enough of it to verify that much) not fully versed in fact, as you say, much like these forums.
This is why what Dershowitz laid out was an excellent unbiased argument, his focus was the process of Impeachment and how it should be applied as was intended by the Founding Fathers and laid out in the Constitution.
"I will argue that our constitution and its terms high crimes and misdemeanors do not encompass the two articles, charging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress."
"The constitution of course provides that the Senate has the sole role and power to try all impeachments. In exercising that power the Senate must consider three issues in this case."
"The first is whether the evidence presented by the House managers establishes by the appropriate standard of proof, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that the factual allegations occurred. "
"The second is whether if these factual allegations occurred, did they rise to the level of abuse of power and/or obstruction of Congress?"
"Finally, the Senate must determine whether abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are constitutionally authorized criteria for impeachment."
I would argue that the House failed at the first, and therefore the next two are not necessary to determine in this case.
"Congresswoman Maxine Waters recently [said] in the context of a presidential impeachment. “Impeachment is whatever Congress says it is. There is no law.” But this lawless view would place Congress above the law. It would place Congress above the Constitution. For Congress to ignore the specific words of the Constitution itself and substitute its own judgments would be for Congress to do what it is accusing the president of doing. And no one is above the law, not the president and not Congress."
"Those who advocate impeachment today are obliged to demonstrate how the criteria accepted by the House in this case are enumerated and defined in the constitution."
"Even if the Senate were to conclude that a technical crime is not required for impeachment, the critical question remains and it’s the question I now want to address myself to, do abuse of power and obstruction of Congress constitute impeachable offenses? The relevant history answers that question clearly in the negative. Each of these charges suffers from the vice of being quote, “So vague a term that they will be equivalent of tenure at the pleasure of the Senate.” To quote again, the father of our Constitution, abuse of power is an accusation easily leveled by political opponents against controversial presidents."
The House Impeached... but not on charges of Treason, or Bribery, or other High Crimes... seemingly endless speeches on how Trump's actions were treasonous, acts of bribery, etc. they called witness after witness to testify as to their 'expert' opinion how grave the situation was.
But that is not what they sent to the Senate, that is not what they could prove "beyond a reasonable doubt". They could, in fact, prove nothing.
The Senate is stuck voting on what the House (the prosecutor) presents, it is not the job of the Senate (the Judge and Jury) to prove the case against the President... that was the House's job, and they didn't do it.
So we have the first trial in history where the Senate allowed no new witnesses and documents. But then, there was never a chance the Senate Republicans would do their duty.
Rand Paul was reading a magazine during the trial. This shows how much they took their duty to their country seriously. I hope they all get voted out after this blatant dereliction of duty.
I'll sure do what I can to throw the bums out of office. Traitors they are!
I think one of the best responses to additional witnesses came from a Republican who said something to the effect of "Why have more witnesses? Not a person in the building is going to change their vote." She would have liked them but voted against it because of that simple fact.
She was right, too - no one is going to change their vote. The only possible reason to have more witnesses was more dog and pony, completely political, sideshow and God knows there has been enough of that already. The Senate was there to examine a matter of constitutional law, not make political statements for the folks back home. House Democrats obviously do not agree - everything the House did was politically motivated - but the Senate is a different body.
Yes, the Republican Senators would never go against the person they're so terrified of, no matter if they had Trump on video holding a gun at Zellinsky's head. We all realize that at this point.
Even if Bolton had been allowed to testify, and no matter how bad the crimes Trump committed were, they have no backbone or patriotism to hold him responsible.
Now Trump doesn't have to worry about oversight from Congress any longer. Now he's a loose cannon with the help from folks like you Dan. Be proud of your new tyrant.
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