Some Moderate Democrats Feel Frustrated As Party Leaders Start Writing Articles Of Impeachment
From CNN’s Lauren Fox and Ellie Kaufman
A group of moderate Democrats are growing impatient with leadership, warning that any effort to include charges that the President obstructed justice in potential articles of impeachment could severely hurt the frontline members who help make a majority of the caucus, according to conversations with Democratic aides and members.
The tension is emblematic of a diverse caucus and the competing allegiances members from swing districts have versus many members of the more liberal House Judiciary Committee.;
One moderate Democrat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss the caucus’s thinking, told CNN that the speaker’s office has kept any plans on drafting the articles closely held, creating frustration and anxiety for members who will have to go home and explain impeachment in their districts.
“The fact of the matter is this does have political consequences and the people who will suffer significant political consequences are our moderate members. In fact, there are on-year amounts of money being spent in districts all across our moderates. For our leadership not to engage with moderates at all to either talk about how they are going to message or what they are going to put in it, seems to be a giant oversight,” the member said.
Another moderate Democratic member lamented that the information about articles of impeachment are “secondhand.”
No American Especially Not The President Is Above The Law
Were asking every member of Congress, Democratic and Republican, to do their constitutional duty and announce their support for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
We do live in a hyper-partisan environment, where many are tempted to make political calculations about next yearâs elections when considering an impeachment inquiry. But whatâs at stake is far more important than any short-term political gain: whether we will hold leaders accountable when they put themselves above the law.
This is the best tool â trading olymp trade and perhaps the only tool left â to fully investigate and reveal the Presidentâs wrongdoing to the American people. It gives Congress a much stronger legal position to carry out its ongoing oversight and investigation of the executive branch â critical at a time when the Trump administration is stonewalling Congress and directly refusing to comply with subpoenas at every turn.
An impeachment inquiry is about Congressâs solemn constitutional duty to deliver the truth to the American people â and that duty is more important than any partisan, political imperative.
If not now, when? Ignoring President Trumpâs many abuses of power would set a dangerous precedent â emboldening this and future administrations to ignore the rule of law, flout the duties of the executive branch, and ignore Congress as a co-equal branch of government.
Public Debate Over Impeachment Demands
In terms of background, U.S. public opinion widely opposed efforts made to impeach previous Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. CNN Polling Director Keating Holland has stated that their organization found that 69% opposed impeaching President Bush in 2006.
According to a July 2014 YouGov poll, 35% of Americans believed President Obama should be impeached, including 68% of Republicans. Later that month, a CNN survey found that about two thirds of adult Americans disagreed with impeachment efforts. The data showed intense partisan divides, with 57% of Republicans supporting the efforts compared to only 35% of independents and 13% of Democrats.
On July 8, 2014, the former Governor of Alaska and 2008 RepublicanVice Presidential nomineeSarah Palin publicly called for Obamas impeachment for purposeful dereliction of duty. In a full statement, she said: Itâs time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.
Andrew McCarthy of the National Review wrote the book Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case For Obamas Impeachment, which argued that threatening impeachment was a good way to limit executive action by Obama .
House Republicans Shut Down Impeachment Interview
House Republicans who tried to storm the secure area in the Capitol where Laura Cooper, the top Pentagon official on Ukraine, was testifying have effectively shut down the interview, according to a senior Democratic lawmaker.
The House claim that they have been excluded from the impeachment inquiry because interviews have been conducted behind closed doors.
But once again: these Republicans are not members of the three committees running the inquiry. All of the GOP lawmakers who sit on those panels have been allowed to hear the interviews, and the House parliamentarian has already ruled that any other member is not allowed to participate.
What You Need To Know
- The latest: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that the House was proceeding with articles of impeachment against President Trump.
- What happens next: The House Judiciary Committee has and will vote on whether to refer them to the full House. If they’re approved, they’ll go to the House floor, where a simple majority is needed to formally impeach Trump.
- Possible Senate trial: If Trump is impeached, the Senate will hold a trial to decide if he should be removed from office.
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What Does It Mean That Trumps Been Impeached
For the president, nothing happens if he or she is impeached. Impeachment by the House alone does not remove a president from office or do anything in particular to him. All a House impeachment vote does is turn the matter over to the people who will really decide what happens the members of the United States Senate.
Did Republican Witnesses Help Democrats More
Later on Tuesday, the lawmakers heard from former National Security Council official Tim Morrison and US ex-special to Ukraine Kurt Volker. They had been listed as two men Republicans wanted to talk to during the public impeachment hearings.
It turns out they hurt Donald Trump’s defence as much as they helped it.
Morrison did say there was nothing illegal or concerning about Donald Trump’s 25 July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and no ill motive for moving the rough transcript of that call to a more secure government server.
He also, however, corroborated reports that US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland pressured Ukraine to open investigations that could prove politically helpful to Donald Trump – and that Sondland was in regular contact with the president.
Volker said he recalled past instances where the US had held up aid to a foreign nation and saw no evidence of bribery in this case, but he also turned out to be a character witness for Joe Biden.
Not only did he assert that there was nothing untoward about the former vice-president’s dealings with Ukraine, but he expressed dismay to learn that when Trump administration officials were calling for investigations into Ukrainian energy company Burisma, they were really looking to damage the Democratic presidential hopeful.
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Whats Crowdstrike And The Server And What Is Its Role In The Ukraine Scandal
A subplot to both Trumps call with Zelensky and his broader approach to Ukraine is his apparent belief that a company called Crowdstrike has ties to Ukraine and that it possibly stashed a Democratic National Committee server that was hacked during the 2016 elections. Trump would like the Ukrainians to hand this over to the US government.
This is a reference to a conspiracy theory that rolls together a couple of misperceptions.
That starts with the fact that Crowdstrike has nothing to do with Ukraine. Its an American company whose co-founder was born in Russia but emigrated to the US as a kid. Crowdstrike was hired by the Democratic National Committee to help investigate the hacking of their email during the 2016 campaign, and Trump is disturbed by the fact that the DNC did not turn a physical server over to the FBI or anyone else. Critically, there is no server that could be hidden in Ukraine because the DNC used a modern cloud-based distributed email setup.
But the notion Trump is alluding to is the idea that the DNC was not really hacked by Russian actors at all. Instead, that attribution was faked by the allegedly Ukraine-linked Crowdstrike, which then hid the evidence as part of a larger plot to frame both Trump and the Russian government. Trump has time and again sought to exonerate Russia of culpability for computer crimes in 2016, and his interest in Crowdstrike seems to be part of that larger agenda.
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How Did President Trump React
Mr Trump, who is seeking a second four-year term in the 3 November election, always denied wrongdoing.
His re-election campaign said in a statement: President Trump has been totally vindicated and its now time to get back to the business of the American people.
The do-nothing Democrats know they cant beat him, so they had to impeach him. It said this terrible ordeal and nonsense was merely a Democratic campaign tactic.
The statement added: This impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history.
Mr Trump whose personal approval rating with American voters hit a personal best of 49% this week, according to Gallup tweeted that he would speak on Thursday about the case.
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Clinton Was Popular Impeachment Wasnt
By the time the House of Representatives voted to open an impeachment inquiry against Clinton in October 1998, the allegations against the president had been in the news for months. Clinton had publicly confessed to the affair in August, and in mid-September, Starr delivered his lengthy and salacious report which included a case for impeaching Clinton to Congress.
At that moment, support for impeachment seemed like it might be on the upswing. A Gallup poll conducted in mid-October, just after the House voted to formally open an impeachment inquiry, found that 48 percent of the public supported the decision to hold hearings. But as the chart below shows, support for impeachment didnt continue to tick upward. In mid-December, when the House voted to impeach Clinton on two counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, just about 40 percent of the public continued to think he should be impeached and the same was true in February, when the Senate voted to acquit him.
There were other signs, too, that the public didnt think Clinton should be removed from office. Republicans efforts to impeach Clinton appeared to be dramatically backfiring in real time after running a slew of ads attacking Clinton in the lead-up to the midterms, they lost seats and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had been one of Clintons loudest critics, resigned the speakership.
Location Of The Hearings
Rep. Jim Jordan criticized the secretive nature of the hearings, telling Fox Newss Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith that its all being done in the basement of the Capitol where no one in the country can see.
The hearings are taking place in the SCIF, a secure space on Capitol Hill often used for classified briefings, which is located in the basement of the Congressional Visitors Center. The SCIF is where the House Intelligence Committee which is leading the impeachment investigation conducts its work. Its the same space where the Republican-led Intelligence Committee conducted interviews for the Russia investigation in the last Congress.
Although normally committee hearings must be open, members can vote to close the hearing under specific circumstances. According to House rules, a hearing should be closed if the disclosure of the witnesses would defame or incriminate someone, endanger national security, compromise sensitive law enforcement info, or violate a House rule.
Investigations into Nixon and Clinton also both featured closed door depositions before public hearings. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has said the committees will hold public hearings after the initial round of closed-door interviews.
Schiff told reporters it was important the hearings were closed so as to prevent witnesses from overhearing and influencing each others testimony, similar to the rationale used in criminal investigations.
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Resolution To Begin Public Hearings
On October 29, 2019, Representative Jim McGovern introduced a resolution , referred to House Rules Committee, which set forth the “format of open hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, including staff-led questioning of witnesses, and the public release of deposition transcripts”. It also proposed the procedures for the transfer of evidence to House Judiciary Committee as it considers articles of impeachment. The resolution was debated in Rules Committee the next day and brought to a floor vote on October 31. It was adopted with a vote of 232 to 196, with two Democrats and all Republicans voting against the measure.
The Delay In Military Aid
The report argues the president did nothing improper by withholding $391 million in military aid to Ukraine, and did not exert pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, who had worked for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. The Republicans say the president’s decision to withhold the aid was the result of skepticism over Ukraine’s commitment to combating corruption.
“The evidence shows that President Trump holds a deepseated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine due to its history of pervasive corruption,” the report says. “Understood in this proper context, the President’s initial hesitation to meet with President Zelensky or to provide U.S. taxpayer-funded security assistance to Ukraine without thoughtful review is entirely prudent.”
But the report also asserts that the Ukrainians did not know about the delay in military aid until late August, when reports about the hold first emerged in the press.
“Although U.S. security assistance was temporarily paused, the U.S. government did not convey the pause to the Ukrainians because U.S. officials believed the pause would get worked out and, if publicized, may be mischaracterized as a shift in U.S. policy towards Ukraine,” the report says. “U.S. officials said that the Ukrainian government in Kyiv never knew the aid was delayed until reading about it in the U.S. media.”
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Why Hasnt The House Subpoenaed Several Key Potential Witnesses
Several notable potential witnesses have not been subpoenaed, including former national security adviser John Bolton and Trump himself. The main reason for this appears to be a desire for speed. Given the administrations apparent unwillingness to change its uncooperative stance on subpoenas thus far, investigators may have concluded that more demands would slow the process without yielding new information. Another source of delay House investigators have sought to avoid is litigation over the subpoenas. The House withdrew a subpoena against former National Security Council staffer Kupperman to avoid a lawsuit he filed, and Boltons stated desire to go to court if subpoenaed led investigators to forgo subpoenaing him. Past instances in which Congress has had to allow the courts to determine whether an individual must testify or be held in civil contempt have taken years.
Zero Substance: Trump Criticizes Impeachment Proceedings
President Trump took to Twitter tonight to blast the House’s impeachment inquiry, saying the proceedings so far have had zero substance.;;
Some background: The tweet comes hours after the White House slammed the inquiry as “completely baseless” and a “reckless abuse of power.”
White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler attacking the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, though the message did not explicitly say that Trump’s counsel would not take part.
While the letter letter doesn’t specifically state the White House won’t participate, that’s what it means, according to a senior administration official.
Earlier today, Trump declined to answer any questions about impeachment.
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Debating Articles Of Impeachment
Obstruction of justice
At the outset of the committee’s proceedings on July 26, Paul Sarbanes offered a substitute for Harold Donohue’s first article of impeachment. Formulated through negotiations between liberal Democrats, led Jack Brooks, and the Southern Democrat Moderate Republican coalition group, it passed, following two days of impassioned debate, by a 2711 margin; with six Republicans voting in favor along with all 21 Democrats. The article alleged that the president had worked with subordinates to “delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation” into the Watergate break-in; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.”
Charles Sandman was one of those most vocal in demanding the specifics for each alleged obstructing act. He led the Republican opposition against the nine subsections of the Sarbanes proposal one by one. His objective was to maneuver those favoring impeachment into divisive arguments over what particulars to include. The “specificity” argument by the Nixon defenders began to gain some effectiveness, and had some proponents of the article worried for a while.
Article I vote, July 27, 1974 Adopted 2711 ;Democrats: 21 yes, 0 no;Republicans: 6 yes, 11 no
Abuse of presidential power
Contempt of Congress
Cambodia bombing / war powers
Does Impeachment And Removal From Office Overturn An Election
No. The vice president, who ran on the same ticket as the president, assumes office if the president is impeached and removed from office.
The 1998 House Judiciary Committee supporting articles of impeachment for President Bill Clinton succinctly summarized the state of the law on this question:
One rhetorical device that has recently been employed by some who oppose the impeachment of President Clinton is that impeachment of the President will overturn the election. The suggestion is that the congressional majority is using impeachment for political reasonsto undo a presidential election in which their party did not succeed.The success of this rhetorical strategy rests wholly on the expectation that those to be persuaded by it will not read the Constitution. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified on February 10, 1967, states: In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President. Since the vice presidential and presidential candidates run for office on the same ticket, impeachment of the President could not possibly result in a change of political party control in the Executive. Any assertion to the contrary is patently false.
Interestingly, when the Constitution was adopted, the president and vice president were elected separately, so there was a good chance that if the president were removed from office, his political rivalthe vice presidentwould then take office.;
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