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Tue Aug 13, 2019, 12:00 PM

The Great Need for Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

I am terribly concerned about the reluctance of the Democratic House leadership to pursue Trump impeachment vigorously and expeditiously. The only potentially good reason not to do so is the theoretical political consideration that it could impair Democratic chances in 2020 of winning the House, Senate, and/or Presidency, as well as various state and local offices. Thus, hopes and plans for the Democratic Party leadership are to beat Trump and his Party at the polls in 2020, with impeachment being a much less important objective, if it’s any objective at all.

But there are several problems with that line of reasoning. First and foremost, our intelligence agencies have told us in no uncertain terms that Russia is planning again to interfere with the 2020 election on behalf of Trump and his Party. Nobody knows all the specifics of how they are planning to do so, or how likely are their chances of success. We know that they are again planning to conduct a social media campaign to influence U.S. voters. More ominous in my opinion is their potential to hack into our electronic voting machines and thereby manipulate the vote count. We know that our voting machines are vulnerable to such manipulation, and we know that Russia will attempt to hack into and manipulate them. The only question is how successful they will be in doing so.

Yet, Trump steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that this is a significant problem, and more important, he clearly is taking no steps to combat it. While our Senate refuses to even consider taking steps to combat this great danger to our democracy, and even repeatedly blocks Democratic efforts to do so, Trump, while providing lip service to the need for election security, refuses to exert any leadership in urging his Republican Senate to do anything about it. That in itself should be considered an impeachable offense. And it should require no further investigation to establish. The evidence for Russian interference in our election was extensively documented in Part I of the Mueller Report, which clearly stated that the interference was “welcomed” by the Trump administration. It is further extensively documented by U.S. intelligence agencies. If refusal to address this grave danger is not considered an impeachable offense, then our democracy has little chance of surviving much longer.


How to achieve victory at the polls despite Russian interference

If no steps are taken to combat Russian interference in our next election, then our best and perhaps only hope is a massive influx of Democratic and other anti-Trump and anti-Republican voters to cancel out whatever election manipulation the Russians are successful in achieving.

But Democratic leadership in the House apparently fears that an unsuccessful attempt at impeachment, or conviction in the Senate, will result in a backlash against the Democratic Party, leading to defeat at the polls in 2020. They say that a Republican Senate will never convict Trump following a successful impeachment, and that the American people are not yet ready for impeachment, as suggested by polls that fail to show a majority of the American people currently in favor of impeachment.

But polls on impeachment depend on how the poll question is phrased. Most polls that I’ve seen ask merely whether or not Trump should be impeached or if the House should hold impeachment proceedings. Such polls generally have shown the percentage of Americans in favor of impeachment to be in the high 30s to low 40s. But many more Americans would be in favor of an impeachment inquiry.

Furthermore, an official impeachment inquiry would be televised, as were the Watergate hearings of the 1970s. Many Americans who currently say that they are not in favor of impeachment simply are not well informed on the subject. A well-structured and televised impeachment inquiry would bring to the attention of the American people on a daily basis the multitude of reasons why Donald Trump is unfit to be President. I don’t see how that could fail to sway public opinion against him and substantially hurt his prospects of being re-elected. Furthermore, as that happens, Republican Congresspersons and Senators and would be faced with a great dilemma. They could either go along with the Democrats in voting for impeachment and conviction, respectively, or they could choose to try to explain to their constituents why they failed to do so. I suspect that many who choose the latter course would be voted out of office in November 2020.


Historical data on the political effects of attempts at impeachment in the United States

To help evaluate that opinion, let’s take a look at the historical data on the subject. There have been three previous impeachment attempts or threatened impeachment in the United States: 1) In 1868, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson on eleven articles of impeachment, which all centered around his firing of a cabinet officer, which at the time was against federal law. He escaped conviction in the Senate by one vote; 2) In 1974, following extensive televised hearings on crimes related to a break-in at Democratic National Committee Headquarters, involving three articles of impeachment (obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress), President Richard Nixon resigned from office, knowing that he would otherwise be impeached by the House and probably convicted and removed from office by the Senate; 3) In December 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury and “obstruction of justice”, primarily related to consensual sex with a 22 year old intern who worked for him. He was acquitted in the Senate in February 1999.

Following his acquittal in the Senate, President Andrew Johnson ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 1868, but won less than a third of the delegates on the first ballot, and failed to win the nomination. The Republican Party, which impeached him, held onto both the House (though with a loss of 4 seats) and the Senate (with no change in composition), and they won the Presidency (Ulysses S. Grant).

In the Congressional elections of 1974, the Democratic Party, which had led the impeachment effort against Nixon, won their House election 291-144, representing a whopping gain of 49 seats. They also won their Senate elections 23-11 and held onto their Senate majority, with a gain of three seats. In the next Presidential election, of 1974, Nixon’s former Vice President, and current President, Gerald Ford, narrowly won the Republican primary, and then lost the general election to Jimmy Carter.

Because Bill Clinton’s impeachment occurred in December of 1998, the Congressional elections of that year occurred prior to impeachment, but while the impeachment effort was a hot issue. However, there was little if any effect on the elections, as the impeaching Party, the Republicans, held onto their House majority (though losing four seats) and their Senate majority (with no change in Senate composition). Following the impeachment and acquittal in the Senate, the Republicans continued to hold onto their House majority in the election of 2000 (though losing two seats), as well as the Senate (though losing 4 seats in the Senate). They also gained the Presidency, with George W. Bush defeating Clinton’s Vice President, Al Gore, though that election was the closest Presidential election in U.S. history, Gore won the popular vote, and Bush’s victory was highly controversial (I would say stolen, though that is not the subject of this post.)

Thus, in summary, past history shows no support whatsoever for the theory that the impeaching Party is likely to suffer adverse political consequences. To the contrary, they won the Presidency in each of the three elections following the impeachment effort, did not suffer a loss of either House of Congress in any of the elections, and indeed, picked up 49 House seats following the impeachment effort against Nixon. In contrast to impressive gains by the impeaching Party following the impeachment efforts against Johnson and Nixon, the results were pretty much neutral following the impeachment and acquittal of Clinton. However, it is important to note that the seriousness of the charges were far more substantial against Johnson and Nixon than those against Clinton. Charges against Trump should be even more serious.


Some very serious impeachable offenses committed by Trump that should require little or no further investigation

It is highly doubtful that when our Founding Fathers wrote the impeachment clause in Article Two, Section Four of our Constitution, that they intended impeachment to be limited to offenses that could result in criminal convictions in court. There are a multitude of offenses that are not defined as criminal, and yet would obviously make a person totally unfit to be President of the United States. Regarding the term “high crimes and misdemeanors”, when our Constitution was written, a misdemeanor was not defined as a crime. What then is a “high misdemeanor” supposed to mean. This is not defined in our Constitution, and there is little agreement on precisely what it means. However, certainly it should include any offense that clearly makes one unfit to hold the office of President. There is very little disagreement on that. One typical suggested definition for "high crimes and misdemeanors" is, for example: “acts so dangerous to the public that he may not be allowed to remain in office until the next election”.

Nor is there any mention in the Constitution that in order to “convict” a President to remove him from office (I don’t believe that our original Constitution, written in the 18th Century, allowed women to be President), that the stringent criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” should be applied. Everyone should have basic human rights, which includes a right to freedom, except in extraordinary circumstances, such as being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, of serious criminal offenses. But nobody has an inalienable right to be President of the United States. Our Constitution includes an impeachment clause because of the necessity of removing a President from office if found to be unit for the office or dangerous to our country.

Given that, here are some things that I believe should be a slam dunk for impeachment of Donald Trump, with little or need for any further investigation. I believe that there are actually hundreds of impeachable offenses that he’s committed since becoming President, but these are just some of the most obvious and easy to establish:

1. Obstruction of Justice, as extensively detailed in Volume II of the Mueller report.

2. Collusion with Russia to enable them to interfere in the 2016 election, as extensively detailed in Volume I of the Mueller report. Note: Although the Mueller report states that Mueller’s investigation did not establish “conspiracy” with Russia, as legally defined, beyond a reasonable doubt, the report does extensively describe collusion of the Trump campaign with Russia’s effort to assist them, throughout much of the more than 200 pages of Volume I, under the general rubric that Trump “welcomed” Russia’s assistance.

3. Refusal to take any steps to ensure a fair election in 2020, despite unanimous or near unanimous conclusions of Trump’s own intelligence agencies that Russia will again interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections to manipulate them in Trump’s favor.

4. Refusal to release his tax returns, as required by law – not to mention extensive aggressive efforts to prevent anyone else from releasing them.

5. Refusal to obey Congressional subpoenas – not to mention aggressive efforts to prevent numerous potential witnesses from obeying Congressional subpoenas relating to Congressional investigation of potentially impeachable offenses committed by Trump.

6. Numerous incidents of public incitement to violence, evidenced by numerous publicly available videos.

7. Habitually lying to the American people, as documented in more than ten thousand incidents, by the Washington Post.

8. Taking hypocrisy to absurd lengths by making punishment of undocumented immigrants the primary centerpiece of his campaign and presidency, while knowingly and simultaneously employing a multitude of such immigrants as cheap labor for his own businesses.

9. Wantonly cruel treatment of immigrants, including but not at all limited to separation of children from their parents, in some cases associated with deaths.

10. Using the office of the Presidency in multiple ways to enrich himself.

11. Failure to take any action against, or even acknowledging Saudi Arabia’s brutal murder of an American resident.


Concluding remarks

Our Founding Fathers recognized that democracy is a fragile system, which requires constant vigilance by those who have it, in order to keep it. That was a major reason why they included an impeachment clause in our Constitution. The above items and much else in Trump’s behavior as President have consistently demonstrated his utter disregard for our laws and our Constitution, and his seething contempt for Congress, all of our public institutions including the Office of the Presidency, the American people, and all other peoples of the world, with the exception of a few powerful and brutal dictators. And clearly, he has no moral compass whatsoever.

To allow such a man to remain as our President without making a vigorous attempt to get rid of him, in accordance with our Constitution, is a disgrace to our country and to all those in a position of power who refuse to fight back. It reminds me of how Hitler took over Nazi Germany. Like Hitler, Trump often talks about being “President for life”. He does so with a transparent pretense of just joking about it, but I’m quite sure that that is his goal – and that he will stop at nothing to achieve it, especially given the potential consequences to him if he doesn’t remain in office. He has bragged publicly that, in his fight against Democrats, he has the military, the police, and all sorts of other tough guys on his side. Does anyone really believe that he wouldn’t make our country into a police state if he could? He is clearly attempting to replace our whole government with nothing but obsequious devotees who he can count on to put loyalty to him personally above loyalty to our country or anything else. The longer he stays in power, the closer he gets to achieving that. Already, our Department of Justice is nothing but a Trump servant.

We must fight back, and impeachment is the only legal, non-violent way to do it. We cannot count on an election that is a year and a half away, and likely to be rigged to some unknown extent, to get rid of him. Even if he is ultimately acquitted by his Republican Senate, history suggests that daily televised hearings of his many offenses against our country are far more likely to weaken him than they are to cause a backlash in his favor.

I am aware that Jerry Nadler, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has stated that in some sense an impeachment inquiry is already underway. I am grateful for that as a move in the right direction. But I have two problems with it. One is that it is currently unofficial, which means that it is not televised. Consequently, whatever inquiry is currently underway, it is not generating much public support for impeachment, as did the Watergate Hearings of 1973-4, which generated so much public pressure against Richard Nixon that he was forced to resign, rather than face an actual impeachment vote and trial and conviction in the Senate. Secondly, Nadler has stated that this informal “impeachment inquiry” might or might not result in an actual impeachment vote in the House, depending upon where the inquiry leads. That statement suggests that we don’t already have a mountain of evidence for impeachable offenses against Trump – which is preposterous. For these reasons, and given the apparent extreme reluctance to impeachment of the House leadership, I am not at all certain that the current informal impeachment inquiry is going to be fruitful.

If you agree with what I’ve written here, please contact your Congressperson to urge them to support impeachment if they haven’t already done so, or to show support for them if they already have.

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Arrow 41 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Great Need for Impeachment of Donald J. Trump (Original post)
Time for change Tuesday OP
NewJeffCT Tuesday #1
empedocles Tuesday #2
Time for change Tuesday #3
NewJeffCT Tuesday #6
Time for change Tuesday #16
Time for change Tuesday #5
NewJeffCT Tuesday #7
Time for change Tuesday #9
NewJeffCT Tuesday #10
Time for change Tuesday #23
spanone Tuesday #4
Beringia Tuesday #8
Time for change Tuesday #14
PufPuf23 Tuesday #22
Time for change Tuesday #26
Martin Eden Tuesday #11
Time for change Tuesday #13
Martin Eden Tuesday #20
NewJeffCT Tuesday #17
Martin Eden Tuesday #19
NewJeffCT Tuesday #21
Time for change Tuesday #24
procon Tuesday #30
lagomorph777 Tuesday #12
Time for change Tuesday #15
StarfishSaver Tuesday #18
Time for change Tuesday #25
StarfishSaver Tuesday #27
Time for change Tuesday #29
StarfishSaver Tuesday #31
Time for change Tuesday #32
StarfishSaver Tuesday #34
Time for change Tuesday #35
StarfishSaver Tuesday #36
Time for change Tuesday #38
procon Tuesday #28
Time for change Tuesday #33
kentuck Tuesday #37
Time for change Tuesday #40
HCE SuiGeneris Tuesday #39
Time for change Tuesday #41

Response to Time for change (Original post)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 12:16 PM

1. We don't live in the 1970s or the 1990s anymore

I 100% agree that Trump deserves to be impeached on dozens of counts - not just what's in the Mueller Report, but abuses of power, tax/financial fraud, emoluments violations, general asshole-ishness and more.

Nixon had done a lot of things as well, but not nearly as much as Trump. However, none of that came out until we had weeks upon weeks of live testimony on television.

The chances of the House being able to get dozens of witnesses live on TV to testify over a period of several weeks is about zero:
everybody on Team Trump is claiming executive privilege or some weird immunity. Those cases should lose in the courts, but they might not all lose at the same time, so if everybody that lost was suddenly able to testify, it might be one person here in August, one in September, two in October, one in November and December and maybe two in January. No consistency, no buildup for the public.

However, the likely result of each witness losing their executive privilege cases is that they will just waive their testimony by saying that they're taking the 5th on everything and we never even get to see them on TV taking the 5th.

The tax returns are making their way through the courts as well. Trump will likely lose that one as well. However, is having tax experts/CPAs testifying on TV going to be "must see" TV? Discussions of finances can be pretty boring/dry as well as very technical.

Back in the 1970s, the news media was far more impartial than it is today as well. Even in the 90s, it was only starting to get as warped as it is now - you had the mainstream media, CNN and Fox and RW talk radio. Nowadays, the right wing not only has Fox and talk radio, but One America, Sinclair Broadcasting and they've pulled CNN and the mainstream media to the right as well.

So, while I agree that Donny deserves impeachment and then prosecution, I just don't see it as feasible right now.


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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 12:24 PM

2. Yes

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 12:38 PM

3. So we don't even give it our best effort to expose his deeds to the American public?

Take our chances on an election that we know is going to be highly manipulated?

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Response to Time for change (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 01:19 PM

6. there are already several lawsuits making their way through the courts

is impeachment going to speed them up?

We have at least 2 still on emoluments and another one on the tax returns, and I believe there are more.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #6)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 04:36 PM

16. The lawsuits will be important mainly to the extent that the American public is more exposed to what

Trump has done.

A formal impeachment inquiry should help our citizens understand the extent of how bad and dangerous he is.

If I believed that the House leadership would eventually take action, I would feel much better about the slow pace of progress on this. But I don't believe that they will. Pelosi has cited polls that fail to show a majority of Americans in favor of impeachment and a Republican Senate that will not vote to convict Trump as reasons for not proceeding. But neither of those things will ever change unless a vigorous effort is made by the Democratic Party to better educate the American public on this issue. The best, and I believe the only way to do that is a formal impeachment inquiry -- which will be televised. Otherwise the pending lawsuits will have no effect on weakening Trump.

And please see post # 11 in this thread. I should have said that myself in the OP.

A democracy cannot last when the President believes and acts as if he is a King. Trump will do whatever he believes he can get away with in an attempt to consolidate his power. He is succeeding little by little in doing that. If we allow it to go far enough it will be impossible to reverse peacefully.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 01:09 PM

5. From a legal standpoint, taking the 5th may be a safe and reasonable thing to do

But from a political standpoint it's likely to give the correct impression that the witnesses have a great deal to hide and that they're just trying to protect Trump. It certainly would have no chance of being a political plus for Trump.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #5)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 01:20 PM

7. From what I understand

they will send in a letter stating that they are going to take the 5th on all their testimony and will not show up.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #7)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 01:43 PM

9. That would be contempt of Congress

In any event, nobody has the right to state that they will take the 5th on every question asked of them, without even knowing what the questions will be. One can only take the 5th on questions that one believes or claims to believe may incriminate them. That's quite a stretch in response to a question about what someone witnessed Trump doing.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 01:47 PM

10. it's been done in the past

they stipulate that they're taking the 5th and then don't show up. I'll need to find links.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #10)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:15 PM

23. I'm pretty sure you're wrong about that

The grounds for that have been used in the past for not showing up under Trump's orders have been "Executive privilege". That also is a bogus excuse, since executive privilege needs to be evaluated on an individual basis, but using the 5th amendment excuse would be so blatantly illegal that I doubt that even the Trump administration would dare to use it.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 12:40 PM

4. K&R...

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 01:33 PM

8. Didn't you use to post here a lot like 15 years ago?


Your name rings a bell as well as your in-depth essay.

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Response to Beringia (Reply #8)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 03:25 PM

14. Thank you, yes

I used to post here a lot.

I pretty much stopped in 2012, then started again in 2016 to support Bernie's candidacy.

I found the substantial animosity here against Bernie to be depressing. But more than that, it was the ban against criticizing Democratic Party leaders that mainly caused me to stop posting here almost entirely.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #14)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:06 PM

22. Your great reduction in posting is DU's loss alas.

I have always found your posts loaded with content, logic, and what it means to be Democratic.

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #22)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:27 PM

26. Thank you very much

I appreciate your kind words.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 02:01 PM

11. When in doubt, do the right thing

There is some doubt as to what effect impeachment by the House will have on the 2020 elections. Reasonable arguments swing both ways, but just from the perspective of political calculation I think the stronger argument is to televise on a daily basis the impeachable offenses by this POtuS. Polls will change as a bright and continuous spotlight exposes his high crimes and misdemeanors. Done correctly, Democrats will be viewed as performing their Constitutional duty while Republicans put party above country.

Political calculation aside, does Donald Trump deserve impeachment? Would justice, the rule of law, and the good of our country be well served by removing him from office?

The answer should be clear, regardless of what happens in the Senate.

The eyes of the world, and of history, are upon us.

Would acquittal by Senate Republicans exonerate Trump, or would that be more of an indictment against the Republican Party?

Even worse would be exoneration by House Democrats who did not see fit to impeach this egregiously unfit Chief Executive.

All these investigations and complaints must have been a hoax after all, right??

When in doubt, do the right thing.

If Article Two, Section Four of our Constitution does not apply to Donald trump, then it is highly unlikely to ever apply.

The bar will be lowered to a subterranean level. The President is above the law, and nothing is beneath him.

There is no such thing as duty; only the political calculation of the moment -- which, ultimately, serves the authoritarian in power.

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Response to Martin Eden (Reply #11)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 03:08 PM

13. I agree with everything you say, absolutely

If I didn't imply that in my OP, it was an oversight

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Response to Time for change (Reply #13)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:04 PM

20. I just wanted to express my support for your OP

Reinforcing what you wrote with my point about doing the right thing.

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Response to Martin Eden (Reply #11)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 04:44 PM

17. If House Democrats propose hearings

Where they detail out the charges against Trump, will anybody actually broadcast it beyond CSPAN?

We know Fox will not broadcast it live.

We already had House Democratic members read off the Mueller report a few months ago and that got basically 0 coverage.

Without live witnesses to corroborate the information, Trump will just bleat out FAKE NEWS and nobody will pay attention or just think it's more of the "both sides" playing politics thing.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #17)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:02 PM

19. Trump will bleat out LIES no matter what the Dems do

He will claim exoneration if the House doesn't impeach.

He will claim exoneration if the House impeaches and the Senate aquits.

It would be a colossal mistake to let the fear of Trumpian rhetoric dictate our actions.

When in doubt, do the right thing.

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Response to Martin Eden (Reply #19)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:05 PM

21. and, as I said

the Democrats in the House already read off the Mueller Report a few months ago and nobody paid attention. Is a second live reading of the charges suddenly going to lead to the general public demanding impeachment?

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #21)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:22 PM

24. I know it was covered by MSNBC because I watched it.

I'm not sure who else covered it.

Essentially your argument is that you don't believe that it will have much effect, and therefore it shouldn't be tried. Given that the maintenance of our democracy is at stake here, I think that that's a very unfortunate attitude. Many would disagree with you on that, including more than half of the House's Democratic Congresspersons.


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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #21)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 06:28 PM

30. It was also covered on some of the YouTube channels

as well as many lefty news websites that were live streaming it. It was covered on popular political blogs and Facebook, and there was also print coverage after the fact. People aren't as tuned into the old network or cable TV broadcast shows when the Internet offers them customizable content on demand.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 02:28 PM

12. Given the mountain of obvious high crimes and misdemeanors you point out,

this should be a no-brainer. Just call it official, put it on TV, and compel witnesses to describe the behaviors.

One has to wonder what else could be the holdup. The argument that it would rile up the Deplorables is just silly. They can't possibly get any more riled up. We need to rile up decent people who are feeling defeated and hopeless. What better way to motivate dejected/lazy/suppressed voters, than to show them we get it? Show them that we will not ignore and excuse Trump's crimes. No investigation is needed to show the crimes above (but hearings will bring better awareness).

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #12)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 03:32 PM

15. Absolutely

It's very hard to understand the great hesitation

And why won't Richard Neal, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, ask for Trump's New York tax returns?
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-05/trump-tax-fight-sows-discord-between-wary-and-warlike-democrats

I understand that he was offered them by the State of New York (heard that on a Young Turks video), but that he refused to accept them.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #15)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 04:55 PM

18. Because accepting them would have undermined and likely destroyed his ability

to obtain the federal tax returns.

And he probably would never have gotten them anyway since the new NY law allowing the returns to be provided to Congress would likely have been challenged and tied up in court for years. So, if he had said yes, he wouldn't get the state for federal returns.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #18)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:26 PM

25. That wasn't the excuse that Neal gave

He said that the Democrats would be accused of playing politics of they asked for them.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #25)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:56 PM

27. I think you may have misread the explanation

He didn't say he didn't ask for them because he would be accused of playing politics. He said that asking for the New York returns would undermine the justification of the committee has given for asking for the federal returns. The justification given for getting the Federal returns is oversight of the IRS. The state tax returns do not advance that purpose and, therefore asking for them would bolster Trump's claim that the committee request has nothing to do with oversight but was simply on a political fishing expedition.

Neal has said he fears that getting the state returns would bolster Trump administration arguments that Congress is on a political fishing expedition -- and not, as Neal has claimed, overseeing the Internal Revenue Service’s annual audits of the president.

Neal has crafted his requests to Mnuchin by citing the need for the Ways and Means Committee to oversee the IRS’s annual audits of the president. He fears that seeking the state returns will weaken that argument.

“We don’t have jurisdiction over New York taxes,” Neal said.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-05/trump-tax-fight-sows-discord-between-wary-and-warlike-democrats


And he's right.

Moreover, as I said, they're not going to get the New York returns anytime soon anyway- Trump can tie them up in court for years, especially since this law is untested. They are, however, very likely to get the federal returns soon using the federal law and legal strategy they've mapped out and are, fortunately, sticking to, despite the badgering of people from the sidelines.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #27)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 06:17 PM

29. I don't understand the concept of the phrase "overseeing the IRS audits" of the President

Doesn't the law that requires a President to release his federal tax returns apply whether or not the IRS is auditing them?

And isn't the purpose of the law to oversee issues relating to the President, rather than to oversee the IRS?

If so, then it seems to me (and others I've heard speak of it), then seeing the NY tax returns could serve a similar purpose.


Also, the Young Turks video that I referred to above said that Neal was offered the tax returns by the State of NY, which suggests to me that he could merely accept that, without the need to go to court. Maybe they're wrong about that, but that's what they clearly said, because they were very angry at Neal for not accepting them.

In fact, the title to the article that you link above begins with "New York offers up Trump tax returns". Why would it entail taking it to court if New York is offering them to the House?

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Response to Time for change (Reply #29)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 06:29 PM

31. The question is not whether Neil can "accept" the returns

But whether New York State can legally turn them over to him. Trump has already taken the state to court to block the release of his state tax returns.

The House Ways and Means Committee has stated that it is requesting the tax returns as part of its oversight of how the IRS handles audits of presidents tax returns.

The law authorizing the committee to obtain the returns does not state that a reason must be given for the request, but Trump's lawyers have argued that they can't be turned over without a legitimate legislative purpose and because that's not an unreasonable interpretation and could have been accepted by a court, Neal was smart to offer such a purpose as the rationale for the request.

The Ways and Means Committee has no jurisdiction over or legislative interest in a president's state tax returns since it's jurisdiction is federal tax policy. So requesting or accepting Trump's state tax returns does indeed bolster an argument that it's purpose for asking for the federal tax returns is not a legitimate legislative oversight but, in reality, a political move unrelated to its federal legislative and oversight responsibilities.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #31)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 06:46 PM

32. But apparently NY has offered them to Neal

You bring up the question of whether they can legally do that, but apparently they already have.

If they're being offered, then I don't see why accepting them would require going to court. Trump can claim that they were accepted illegally, but once Congress has them it seems to me that it would be too late to reverse that. Surely Congress would not get into legal trouble for accepting them.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #32)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 07:06 PM

34. The law doesn't work that way

Even if Neal could have "accepted" the returns before Trump got an injunction prohibiting the State from releasing them - and, trust me, Trump would have immediately gotten one - doing so would have put the House in legal jeopardy and would far more likely that not prompted the court reject the committee's request for the federal returns.

And contrary to what some people think, the state returns aren't the equivalent of the federal returns and likely wouldn't yield much information that the committee needs or that would tell us much about his investments, sources of his money or emoluments.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #34)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 07:24 PM

35. I disagree that the House or any of its memebers would be in legal jeopardy for accepting the NY

tax returns.

Trump has already broken the law by refusing to release his federal returns. That itself is an impeachable offense. The law clearly states that he is legally required to release them to Congress, and they don't need any reason for requesting them. All previous Presidents have complied with that law since its inception. I assume that the purpose of the law is oversight of the President, not oversight of the IRS. This law helps to ensure separation of powers, by allowing Congress to assess whether or not the tax returns provide any evidence of tax evasion or any other kind of corruption.

Since Congress has responsibility for impeaching presidents who are unfit for office or pose a danger to our country, the President has no right to fail to comply with their requests for information, pending outcomes of court rulings. As a separate Branch of government, responsible for oversight of the President, on behalf of the American people, I don't see how Congress can be held liable for accepting any information whatsoever that they believe will help them to evaluate the President's fitness for office.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #35)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 07:34 PM

36. You don't seem to understand how the law works

and don't seem interested in learning anything. So, instead of continuing this argument, I'll just wish you a good evening.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #36)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 08:42 PM

38. I understand the law well enough to know that Congress won't be held in legal jeopardy for

accepting information they need to do their job. Even if the courts eventually rule in favor of Trump, which is highly unlikely, what would Congress be penalized for? Do you believe that there is a law that says that Congress (or anyone else for that matter) can't accept information if someone is suing to have it withheld? If you know of such a law, please enlighten me with it.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 06:13 PM

28. Thanks for sharing your well thought out and

thoroughly documented essay. If you haven't already done so, send this on to all the key Dems in Congress as a reminder that people are thinking about impeachment and want our leaders to act.

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Response to procon (Reply #28)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 07:00 PM

33. Thank you very much

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 07:38 PM

37. Are the Courts dragging their feet on the requests of the House Judiciary Committee?

Shouldn't there be at least one decision by now?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #37)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 09:47 PM

40. I don't know

Some court decisions have been made very quickly. And then there are appeals, etc.

I fear that some of the House leadership is dragging their feet -- but I can't document that.

I do know that Jerry Nadler speaks in much more aggressive terms about the need for impeachment than Nancy Pelosi, but when specifically asked about that he won't acknowledge any substantial difference between them.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 08:49 PM

39. Good to see such a well thouht out argument.

Please keep it up!

(I was previously known as BushDespiser12)

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Response to HCE SuiGeneris (Reply #39)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 09:48 PM

41. Thank you!

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