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
 

coldseat

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Oh, he'll dispute the GAO and say it's a congressional entity . . . which it is . . . but the GAO is no lapdog.
I've always considered them to be the real deal. You never want to see those folks coming up the sidewalk to your building.
His lap dogs in congress are already doing it for him. Apparently this is just an "administrative dispute" between agencies. Also the timing is suspicious so the GOA must be getting involved in partisan politics. I suppose there is no way in their wisdom that this could actually be a serious violation of the law that GOA felt compelled to investigate and report.


 

FullMonte

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If they call Hunter Biden, he will probably have an attorney advise him to just claim 5th amendment to every question. He's being accused of a crime.
While I agree that is the most likely outcome, I would find it positively hilarious if he did the exact opposite, and showed up prepared.....answering every question, and providing whatever documentation/evidence he can. It would be awesome if he were to testify, and show that, while it looked bad, he did nothing illegal or improper.

Can you imagine the Republicans calling Hunter Biden, and he gets up there and proves his innocence, destroying their whole "but Hunter Biden was corrupt so Trump had to do something..." story.
 

samiam5211

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While I agree that is the most likely outcome, I would find it positively hilarious if he did the exact opposite, and showed up prepared.....answering every question, and providing whatever documentation/evidence he can. It would be awesome if he were to testify, and show that, while it looked bad, he did nothing illegal or improper.

Can you imagine the Republicans calling Hunter Biden, and he gets up there and proves his innocence, destroying their whole "but Hunter Biden was corrupt so Trump had to do something..." story.
The problem with that is that i have no doubt that Hunter Biden has done plenty of things that are improper and illegal. Maybe not in the Ukraine, but Hunter is not the good son.

The Republicans wouldn't limit their questions to Ukraine. His discharge from the military, relationship with his sister in law, the Arkansas stripper baby mamma, and who knows what else would all get brought up.
 

superchuck500

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His lap dogs in congress are already doing it for him. Apparently this is just an "administrative dispute" between agencies. Also the timing is suspicious so the GOA must be getting involved in partisan politics. I suppose there is no way in their wisdom that this could actually be a serious violation of the law that GOA felt compelled to investigate and report.


It is a violation of law - the Impoundment Act. That's not a crime - people need to understand that only violations of laws that have criminal penalties are crimes. There are all sorts of other kinds of laws . . . including laws about how federal funds are used.

It's a serious enough issue that Congress made a law to cover it, so calling it an interbranch administrative dispute is an under-sell. But calling it a crime is an over-sell.
 
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coldseat

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It is a violation of law - the Impoundment Act. That's not a crime - people need to understand that only violations of laws that have criminal penalties are crimes. There are sort of other kinds of laws . . . including laws about how federal funds are used.

It's a serious enough issue that Congress made a law to cover it, so calling it an interbranch administrative dispute is an under-sell. But calling it a crime is an over-sell.
Okay. I didn't call it a crime. Not sure why that distinction is necessary here. I haven't heard anybody claim is was a violation of criminal code (I assume that's what you mean in your distinction of crime and not crime), but a violation of the law (administrative law, in this case).

But in laymen's terms many people call any violation of the law a crime, even if it's not technically accurate.
 

superchuck500

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Okay. I didn't call it a crime. Not sure why that distinction is necessary here. I haven't heard anybody claim is was a violation of criminal code (I assume that's what you mean in your distinction of crime and not crime), but a violation of the law (administrative law, in this case).

But in laymen's terms many people call any violation of the law a crime, even if it's not technically accurate.
I was just using your post as a launch to make the distinction - not because you said something inaccurate.

But your second paragraph is exactly why I made the post. People do presume that violation of law = crime, but they’re not wholly co-extensive. I wouldn’t agree that it’s laymen’s terms because that infers that it’s just a common way of describing a technical term, but usually still accurate within the common parlance. The problem in this application is that it isn’t accurate.
 

wardorican

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What is it that leaves you on the fence between removal and censure?

The act and the attempt to hide it are just so egregious in my eyes that a censure falls short in recognizing the severity of the corruption.
In short, only the fact that there isn't concrete evidence that Trump wanted X for Y. Like, without Rudy G, Bolton, Mulvaney, etc on the record, or something written down, what we mostly have is very educated guesses on what was going on and why. It's a bit of their interpretation, even if likely correct. Sondland would be the only one I'd say that would be in the know, but there is enough deniability there. Maybe the exact phone recording or something. What was said in those meetings with president Z?

Otherwise, I really do think he should have been impeached and removed. I'd have just liked some clearer evidence.

Also, Trump is naturally clumbsy and dishonest. Not sure he really knew what he was doing was unethical or illegal. He probably does view that the president can do whatever, and whatever is in his own interests are in the country's interest.

Sort of like how Hillary didn't know that her staff was sending pieces of classified documents. Without the header, she wasn't paying attention to it. So, it wasn't a crime on her part, as much as it was ignorance (and probably a crime by her staff.. who got immunity),
 

FullMonte

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In short, only the fact that there isn't concrete evidence that Trump wanted X for Y. Like, without Rudy G, Bolton, Mulvaney, etc on the record, or something written down, what we mostly have is very educated guesses on what was going on and why. It's a bit of their interpretation, even if likely correct. Sondland would be the only one I'd say that would be in the know, but there is enough deniability there. Maybe the exact phone recording or something. What was said in those meetings with president Z?

Otherwise, I really do think he should have been impeached and removed. I'd have just liked some clearer evidence.

Also, Trump is naturally clumbsy and dishonest. Not sure he really knew what he was doing was unethical or illegal. He probably does view that the president can do whatever, and whatever is in his own interests are in the country's interest.

Sort of like how Hillary didn't know that her staff was sending pieces of classified documents. Without the header, she wasn't paying attention to it. So, it wasn't a crime on her part, as much as it was ignorance (and probably a crime by her staff.. who got immunity),
The one difference there is that, yes, Hillary was a little careless, and her carelesseness combined with the carelesness of individuals who didn't properly mark email chains combined to make something that was a minor deal into a much bigger deal, and when it was found out, for the most part, she worked with the investigators to provide evidence (it's questionable about whether or not she intentionally deleted subpoenaed emails, or if she told her IT folks to delete some older emails prior to being asked for them), but at least she didn't completely refuse to participate in the investigation.

Trump, on the other hand, was repeatedly briefed (according to multiple sources---and former administration members have stated that they did this repeatedly too) that what he was trying to do was illegal, but he ignored those individuals and proceeded with what he wanted to do. Then, when there was an investigation, he stated outright that he considered it a bogus investigation, and he wouldn't participate, and he directed individuals under him to ignore any requests for assistance in the investigation.

As you say, we don't have any hard evidence that Trump specifically took an illegal action with regards to trying to extort Ukriane into giving him dirt on Biden. But, there is little other way to view it when:
--The administration has refused to deliver any evidence
--The administration has refused to give any actual credible reason why the aid was withheld
--Every single individual who has testified under oath has given testimony that supports the claim that Trump was trying to extort Ukraine.
--There is zero evidence that has been provided that contradicts the claim that Trump was trying to extort Ukraine
--All of the evidence that we have seen (in the form of text messages, letters, etc) show that Rudy Giuliani was working behind the scenes with some shady characters, and that everyone involved was under the impression that there was a quid pro quo---If Ukraine did not announce the investigation, they would not get their aid. If that wasn't the case, why isn't there a single person who has said, under oath, "No, there wasn't. The aid was withheld because...."
 

JimEverett

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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."


Chuck - what are your thoughts on this?
A question I have concerns time frame. So, if Congress appropriates funds for something, how long does the Executive have to release funds before the Executive is guilty of breaking the law?

Ward made a comment that sort of gets to the issue when he said that the GAO's problem was with the OMB's reasons given for the delay. What if OMB had never said anything?
 

wardorican

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Chuck - what are your thoughts on this?
A question I have concerns time frame. So, if Congress appropriates funds for something, how long does the Executive have to release funds before the Executive is guilty of breaking the law?

Ward made a comment that sort of gets to the issue when he said that the GAO's problem was with the OMB's reasons given for the delay. What if OMB had never said anything?
You really should read this, I think they lay it all out in the legalese. But you're right, it doesn't state the "what if they didn't say"...


But Wiki says 45 days (but this document also said, has to be done before the fiscal year is over, so probably depends on what time of year).

"
Impoundment[edit]
Title X of the Act, also known as the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, specifies that the President may request that Congress rescind appropriated funds. If both the Senate and the House of Representatives have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation. Congress is not required to vote on the request, and has ignored most Presidential requests.[4] In response, some[who?] have called for a line item veto to strengthen the rescission power and force Congress to vote on the disputed funds.

The Act was passed in response to feelings in Congress that President Nixon was abusing his power of impoundment by withholding funding of programs he opposed. The Act, especially after Train v. City of New York (1975), effectively removed the presidential power of impoundment.
[5]

"

I re read the GAO report a bit, and I think I misstated something in a summary. it's not that they said nothing, it's that they eventually said it was for the president's policy, which isn't a legal reason.

AT the end of the Discussion, the GAO stated this

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Otherwise, in Discussion...

1579232179684.png

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1579232482449.png


Earlier, they give some statements about timeframe..

1579233133106.png
 

superchuck500

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Chuck - what are your thoughts on this?
A question I have concerns time frame. So, if Congress appropriates funds for something, how long does the Executive have to release funds before the Executive is guilty of breaking the law?

Ward made a comment that sort of gets to the issue when he said that the GAO's problem was with the OMB's reasons given for the delay. What if OMB had never said anything?
Most congressional funding is in the form of annual appropriations - and there are fiscal rules about when and how annual appropriations must be "obligated" (note that obligated and spent aren't the same thing). Typically, annual appropriations "expire" for purposes of obligation on the last day of the fiscal year, September 30. I read that most impoundments are challenged during the relevant fiscal year and typically resolved by OMB releasing the funds.

There is a fairly large federal budget apparatus with trained fiscal professionals that understand this wonky stuff intimately. When we heard testimony from some of the officials in the House hearings, there was discussion about how there was pushback on the White House's plan to withhold the Ukraine aid because it might be illegal . . . this is what they were talking about. The Impoundment Act is both a fiscal/appropriations law, and a legal lens through which the federal government must operate with respect to Congress' constitutional role of the power of the purse, and the executive role of carrying out appropriations laws.

Congress has the power of the purse and when appropriations bills are signed into law by the president, the executive branch must execute those spending laws in accordance with their terms - discretion is limited. The Impoundment Act allows for certain contingencies and procedures, it is designed to prevent abuse.
 

coldseat

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Also, Trump is naturally clumbsy and dishonest. Not sure he really knew what he was doing was unethical or illegal. He probably does view that the president can do whatever, and whatever is in his own interests are in the country's interest.
We're 3 years into this administration. The time for this excuse is long past. There was plenty of push back to let the administration know that what they were doing was illegal. Trump ordered it anyway. He gets no pass from me on this account.

I seriously wish Americans would expect more from their president (not specifically directed at you @wardorican, just general annoyance). I swear we're more critical of homeless people and expect more from then in terms of accountability than we do billionaire presidents. It's ridiculous.
 

superchuck500

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That is a weird statement. So who attorneys have represented in the past reflects guilt or innocence on current clients?????
Yeah, generically speaking it's not relevant. Sort of like when people say that innocent people have no reason to fear a prosecution. Or only guilty people need a criminal defense lawyer.

I just posted it because it was Laura's commentary. And also because Dershowitz.
 

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