Jeff Dunetz has a post over at The Lid asking some questions about how things will go in the aftermath of the House Impeachment Hoax. This one’s my favorite.
When nasty Nancy ripped up the copy of the State of the Union Address, Speaker Pelosi broke the record for pettiness. Wouldn’t it be fun if, at next year’s SOTU, President Trump gave Pelosi the transcript of his speech on an iPad? I, for one, would love to see her struggle to break the screen when Trump’s speech was over.
The Democrats just got lucky. Now that the Senate has shut down the possibility of further witnesses and testimony, they no longer face the prospect of testimony by Joe or Hunter Biden under oath in the Impeachment Hoax Trial. But that’s not their big win. Trashing the Biden presidential campaign would probably be worth it for the Democrats if they could bring down Donald Trump. What might not be worthwhile from their point of view would be the stories that would come to light in the truthful testimony of individuals such as Eric Ciaramella or Alexandra Chalupa.
There is a reasonable argument to be made for moving on from the House Impeachment Hoax and letting it fade away. That argument is reasonable, but it is also wrong. The Democrats have failed again in their effort to overturn the 2016 election, but they don’t yet seem to have grasped the fact that they’ve lost. They’ll be back for another return grudge match, and they’ll keep coming back until they are finally convinced that they’ve been defeated. (In this sense, they’re not unlike certain Germans after WWI.)
Therefore, there is a strong case to be made for going forward with vigorous investigations, both criminal by the Justice Department and political by the Senate, into the underlying crimes associated with the 2016 election and the subsequent coverups. The facts need to come out, and the bad actors should be held to account. Some politicians should be voted out of office, some bureaucrats’ careers should end, and some people should go to jail. (Note that I wrote “should.” Some corrupt constituencies will reelect corrupt politicians.)
That won’t end the competition between the Left and the Right or between populists and elitists, but it would bring the 2016 election debacle to closure.
Eugene Volokh has a post over at The Volokh Conspiracy that looks at the possibility that the journalists who leaked the Bolton book story might have committed a felony by publishing the government’s “predecisional information.” About a month ago, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided a case (U.S. v. Blaszczak) finding that a federal agency “has a ‘property right in keeping confidential and making exclusive use’ of its nonpublic predecisional information.” By a 2-to-1 vote the court held that a federal employee’s leak of such information—and its receipt by someone cooperating with the employee—could be felony wire fraud and conversion of government property.
Nor would journalists have an obvious First Amendment defense that others don’t possess. … [T]he First Amendment generally doesn’t give institutional media more protection than other speakers.
Even if a court could distinguish use of government property for public speech purposes (whether by the media or other speakers) from such use for private purposes, the statutes on which the panel relies draw no such distinction. And the panel’s reasoning as to property draws no such distinction, either: If the predecisional information is federal government property, and using that information for one purpose (selling stocks) is conversion of that property, then using that information for another purpose (selling newspapers) would be as well. Certainly journalists (or independent bloggers or other commentators) have no assurance that they would escape criminal liability under the panel’s theory.
Conversion is a form of theft. While the First Amendment protects our right to speak freely about public issues, it doesn’t protect theft. For example, I generally can’t publish someone else’s copyrighted material as my own.
IANAL, but it seems to me that while the government can’t generally engage in prior restraint of speech, it might reasonably be able to punish someone who steals government property.
There’s a certain comic aspect to Adam Schiff as he spews his lies while prosecuting the House Impeachment Hoax. I suppose that if he were a bit better looking, a comparison to Snidely Whiplash might be in order. However, what Schiff is doing isn’t only comic. It’s dangerous, so these suggestions by Frank Miele in an article over at Real Clear Politics may be more apt.
Watching Schiff spin his yarns as chief House manager for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump reminds me of the great dissemblers of Shakespeare, such as “Honest Iago,” who is only comfortable in his own skin when he is making the skin of others crawl. The “motiveless malignity” that poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge ascribed to Iago is writ large in the perfunctory perfidy that Schiff practices with unassuming ease. He would destroy a king, but he assures us he takes no pleasure in it, wink-wink, nod-nod.
Perhaps I am giving Schiff too much credit. He might be more akin to Monsieur Parolles of “All’s Well That Ends Well,” the arrogant know-it-all whose own words come back to haunt him: “He will lie, sir, with such volubility, that you would think truth were a fool.”