The Impeachment Process Has Officially Begun (1 Viewer)

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Andrus

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By Laura Bassett

After months of internal arguing among Democrats over whether to impeach President Donald Trump, the dam is finally breaking in favor of trying to remove him from office. The Washington Post reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would announce a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, following a bombshell report that Trump illegally asked Ukraine’s government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of his political opponents. (He essentially admitted to having done so over the weekend.)

“Now that we have the facts, we’re ready,” Pelosi said Tuesday morning at a forum hosted by The Atlantic. At 5 p.m. the same day, she was back with more. "The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the constitution, especially when the president says Article Two says I can do whatever I want," referring to the segment of the Constitution that defines the power of the executive branch of the government. Pelosi's message was that checks and balances of those branches are just as central to the Constitution. And one more thing: "Today, I am announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry," she said at a conference broadcast on Twitter by the Huffington Post. ...

Read the Full Story - InStyle
 

Beach Friends

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Saintamaniac

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What is so sad is that with every new revelation, trump supporters here are finding new ways to pretzel themselves into a justification. @FullMonte laid it out why it is a violation of the law. Basically at this point, trump supporters are pretty much saying that the laws of the US don't apply to the trump if trump if trump decides they don't apply. It now looks like beyond a shadow of a doubt that pretty much the whole damn republican party is complicit with the biggest coverup in the country's history and it's in plain sight. They are willing to do anything to protect trump. This goes beyond politics. These are people who come from honorable backgrounds who are willing to shirt on their honor, lie and cheat for one man. You have supposed Christians who are willing to ignore the teachings of the religion that they supposedly hold so devoutly to support one man who has showed himself to be the antithesis of everything they claim to believe.

It is such a helpless feeling to see everything that you've ever believed about this country, everything that you thought could never happen, happen right before your eyes because 52 men and women have decided that they will allow the laws of this nation and it's constitution be broken to maintain power. At this point, Hunter and Joe Biden need to be sacrificed by the Democrats to force Republican senators to see if any of them have any decency and loyalty to this country rather than to trump. Witnesses need to be called even if it means allowing the Republicans to call the whistleblower and Hunter Biden. Make them give the constitution and rule of law the finger for the world to see.
 

Nebaghead

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My cousin, Zolar, sent that to me. But, I looked up photos and found the same thing on an article from Breitbart. You can read the article here:

I know they do the multi pen thing for significant bills. I've never seen Trump do it so I guess he keeps all the pens. :) I guess this would be the equivalent of being at a funeral and seeing someone laugh. Not like that person is happy the person is dead.
Personally, I don't think the multi-pen thing should of been used for the signing.
 

FullMonte

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What is so sad is that with every new revelation, trump supporters here are finding new ways to pretzel themselves into a justification. @FullMonte laid it out why it is a violation of the law. Basically at this point, trump supporters are pretty much saying that the laws of the US don't apply to the trump if trump if trump decides they don't apply. It now looks like beyond a shadow of a doubt that pretty much the whole damn republican party is complicit with the biggest coverup in the country's history and it's in plain sight. They are willing to do anything to protect trump. This goes beyond politics. These are people who come from honorable backgrounds who are willing to shirt on their honor, lie and cheat for one man. You have supposed Christians who are willing to ignore the teachings of the religion that they supposedly hold so devoutly to support one man who has showed himself to be the antithesis of everything they claim to believe.

It is such a helpless feeling to see everything that you've ever believed about this country, everything that you thought could never happen, happen right before your eyes because 52 men and women have decided that they will allow the laws of this nation and it's constitution be broken to maintain power. At this point, Hunter and Joe Biden need to be sacrificed by the Democrats to force Republican senators to see if any of them have any decency and loyalty to this country rather than to trump. Witnesses need to be called even if it means allowing the Republicans to call the whistleblower and Hunter Biden. Make them give the constitution and rule of law the finger for the world to see.
My take on this is to compare it to the Clinton impeachment. When Clinton was acquitted, it wasn't because the senators who voted for acquittal thought he was innocent of the charges; it wasn't because the senators who voted for acquittal thought that the president was above the law; it was because the senators who voted for acquittal thought that the president lying about an affair wasn't a serious enough crime to warrant removal of the president. In the case of Trump, it appears that the senators who will likely vote for acquittal are not doing it because they don't think the charges are serious enough to warrant removal; they are doing it either because they are afraid of retaliation from their party, or they believe that the president of their party should be able to do whatever he wants, regardless of what the law says.
 

Archies Ghost

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Rumor has it that the pens are inscribed “ My representative went on an all expenses paid vacation to DC to turn impeachment into a commonplace political weapon and all I got was this lousy pen”
 

The moose

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Rumor has it that the pens are inscribed “ My representative went on an all expenses paid vacation to DC to turn impeachment into a commonplace political weapon and all I got was this lousy pen”
Come on that would not fit in a pen.

Maybe a sharpie put most grown people don't write with them.
 

The moose

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I love this place almost two pages griping and crying about pens.

Only one link to an article to get the right all riled up.

You guys fall for that hook line and sinker!

You know we kinda have more important things going on.

Heck any of you guys brave enough to talk about good old Lev? He basically threw everyone under the bus.
 

superchuck500

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Just got a push on my phone

GAO says the White House broke the law withholding the Ukrainian aid
Yep. I think this should put to rest the idea that Trump had free hand to do whatever he wanted with the congressionally-approved aid on the basis that the president "controls foreign policy."


 

Nebaghead

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The president has no authority to withhold funding from a nation if congress approved it. The impoundment control act of 1974. The act that was passed because of Nixon's abuse of power.
All I hear is excuses. Just admit, because he is your guy he is ok. If he was a democrat you guys would be foaming at the mouth for an impeachment, just like Clinton.
I brought this up a month ago. This act was passed to prevent a re-occurrence when the last guy who was under an impeachment investigation for abuse of power. The President doesn't have Carte Blanche to do what he wants when congress votes for funding. He must present a reason to Congress of why the money is being held and since that didn't happen, he broke the law.
 

wardorican

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Yep. I think this should put to rest the idea that Trump had free hand to do whatever he wanted with the congressionally-approved aid on the basis that the president "controls foreign policy."


Was coming here to post the same.


Direct link to the report.



CONCLUSION
OMB violated the ICA when it withheld DOD’s USAI funds from obligation for policy
reasons. This impoundment of budget authority was not a programmatic delay.
It may be easier to read the linked document, it was hard to copy the text, so the formatting may be off below.

DECISION
In the summer of 2019, OMB withheld from obligation approximately $214 million
appropriated to DOD for security assistance to Ukraine. See Department of Defense
Appropriations Act, 2019, Pub. L. No. 115-245, div. A, title IX, § 9013, 132 Stat.
2981, 3044–45 (Sept. 28, 2018). OMB withheld amounts by issuing a series of nine
apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances for the
Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) unavailable for obligation. See Letter
from General Counsel, OMB, to General Counsel, GAO (Dec. 11, 2019) (OMB
Response), at 1–2. Pursuant to our role under the ICA, we are issuing this decision.
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, Pub. L. No. 93-344,
title X, § 1015, 88 Stat. 297, 336 (July 12, 1974), codified at 2 U.S.C. § 686. As
explained below, we conclude that OMB withheld the funds from obligation for an
unauthorized reason in violation of the ICA. 1 See 2 U.S.C. § 684. We also question
actions regarding funds appropriated to the Department of State (State) for security
assistance to Ukraine.

OMB removed the footnote from the apportionment for the USAI funds on
September 12, 2019. OMB Response, at 2. Prior to their expiration, Congress then
rescinded and reappropriated the funds. Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020,
Pub. L. No. 116-59, div. A, § 124(b), 133 Stat. 1093, 1098 (Sept. 27, 2019).
In accordance with our regular practice, we contacted OMB, the Executive Office of
the President, and DOD to seek factual information and their legal views on this
matter. GAO, Procedures and Practices for Legal Decisions and Opinions,
GAO-06-1064SP (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 2006), available at
www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-1064SP; Letter from General Counsel, GAO, to
Acting Director and General Counsel, OMB (Nov. 25, 2019); Letter from General
Counsel, GAO, to Acting Chief of Staff and Counsel to the President, Executive
Office of the President (Nov. 25, 2019); Letter from General Counsel, GAO, to
Secretary of Defense and General Counsel, DOD (Nov. 25, 2019).

OMB provided a written response letter and certain apportionment schedules for
security assistance funding for Ukraine. OMB Response (written letter); OMB
Response, Attachment (apportionment schedule). The Executive Office of the
President responded to our request by referring to the letter we had received from
OMB and providing that the White House did not plan to send a separate response.
Letter from Senior Associate Counsel to the President, Executive Office of the
President, to General Counsel, GAO (Dec. 20, 2019). We have contacted DOD
regarding its response several times. Letter from General Counsel, GAO, to
Secretary of Defense and General Counsel, DOD (Dec. 10, 2019); Telephone
Conversation with Deputy General Counsel for Legislation, DOD (Dec. 12, 2019);
Telephone Conversation with Office of General Counsel Official, DOD (Dec. 19,
2019). Thus far, DOD officials have not provided a response or a timeline for when
we will receive one.

1

On October 30, 2019, Senator Chris Van Hollen asked the Comptroller General
about this matter during a hearing before the Senate Committee on the Budget.
Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990: Achieving the Vision: Hearing Before the
Senate Committee on the Budget, 116th Cong. (2019), (statement of Sen. Van
Hollen), available at https://www.budget.senate.gov/chief-financial-officers-act-of1990-achieving-the-vision (last visited Jan. 13, 2020). We also received a letter from
Senator Van Hollen regarding this matter. Letter from Senator Chris Van Hollen to
Comptroller General (Dec. 23, 2019).

For fiscal year 2019, Congress appropriated $250 million for the Ukraine Security
Assistance Initiative (USAI). Pub. L. No. 115-245, § 9013, 132 Stat. at 3044–45.
The funds were available “to provide assistance, including training; equipment; lethal
assistance; logistics support, supplies and services; sustainment; and intelligence
support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine.” Id. § 9013, 132 Stat.
at 3044. The appropriation made the funds available for obligation through
September 30, 2019. Id.

DOD was required to notify Congress 15 days in advance of any obligation of the
USAI funds. Id. § 9013, 132 Stat. at 3045. In order to obligate more than fifty
percent of the amount appropriated, DOD was also required to certify to Congress
that Ukraine had taken “substantial actions” on “defense institutional reforms.”
John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, Pub. L.
No. 115-232, div., A, title XII, § 1246, 132 Stat. 1636, 2049 (Aug. 13, 2018)
(amending National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, Pub. L.
No. 114-92, div. A, title XII, § 1250, 129 Stat. 726, 1068 (Nov. 25, 2015)). On
May 23, 2019, DOD provided this certification to Congress. Letter from Under
Secretary of Defense for Policy, to Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign
Relations (May 23, 2019) (DOD Certification) (noting that similar copies had been
provided to the congressional defense committees and the House Committee on
Foreign Affairs). In its certification, DOD included descriptions of its planned
expenditures, totaling $125 million. Id.

On July 25, 2019, OMB issued the first of nine apportionment schedules with
footnotes withholding USAI funds from obligation. OMB Response, 1–2. This
footnote read:

“Amounts apportioned, but not yet obligated as of the date of this
reapportionment, for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative
(Initiative) are not available for obligation until August 5, 2019, to allow
for an interagency process to determine the best use of such funds.
Based on OMB’s communication with DOD on July 25, 2019, OMB
understands from the Department that this brief pause in obligations
will not preclude DOD’s timely execution of the final policy direction.
DOD may continue its planning and casework for the Initiative during
this period.”

Id.; see id., Attachment. On both August 6 and 15, 2019, OMB approved additional
apportionment actions to extend this “pause in obligations,” with footnotes that,
except for the dates, were identical to the July 25, 2019 apportionment action. 2 Id.,
2

The initial apportionment footnote made USAI funds unavailable for obligation until
August 5, 2019. OMB Response, Attachment. OMB did not sign the next
at 2 n. 2. OMB approved additional apportionment actions on August 20, 27,
and 31, 2019; and on September 5, 6, and 10, 2019. 3 Id. The footnotes from these
additional apportionment actions were, except for the dates, otherwise identical to
one another. Id., Attachment. They nevertheless differed from those of July 25 and
August 6 and 15, 2019, in that they omitted the second sentence that appeared in
the earlier apportionment actions regarding OMB’s understanding that the pause in
obligation would not preclude timely obligation. Id. The apportionment schedule
issued on August 20 read as follows:

“Amounts apportioned, but not yet obligated as to the date of this
reapportionment, for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative
(Initiative) are not available for obligation until August 26, 2019, to
allow for an interagency process to determine the best use of such
funds. DOD may continue its planning and casework for the Initiative
during this period.”

Id., Attachment. The apportionment schedules issued on August 27 and 31, 2019;
and on September 5, 6, and 10, 2019 were identical except for the dates. Id. On
September 12, 2019, OMB issued an apportionment that removed the footnote that
previously made the USAI funds unavailable for obligation. OMB Response, at 2;
id., Attachment. According to OMB, approximately $214 million of the USAI
appropriation was withheld as a result of these footnotes. OMB Response, at 2.
OMB did not transmit a special message proposing to defer or rescind the funds.
 

brandon

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Now wait for the cries of “never trump, liberal lapdog GAO”
Nah. We're onto the "Yea, it was a crime, but it's not serious enough to warrant removal of the president" phase.

We will be here for some time.
 

wardorican

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Side note, I wonder if the OMB changing a rule a while back is also their way of pushing out the GAO and Congress...


The GAO wrote a letter in 2018 complaining about a lack of response from various Admin agencies.
 

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