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.”
Across half a dozen network and cable channels, the second day of the Senate impeachment trial’s viewership fell by nearly one-fifth. It drew 8.9 million viewers in total over the course of four prime hours, according to Nielsen.
That’s a hair more than the number of people who watched Chicago Fire on NBC that night. It’s nearly a million fewer than the average number of viewers that Jeopardy! scored from October through December of last year. (The recent tournament, Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, accrued an audience nearly 6 million viewers larger than the second day of the Senate trial.)
Isn’t Sponge Bob still getting better ratings than CNN?
Nancy Pelosi allowed the forces on her left wing to go a bridge too far. She tried to find a way to salvage the House Impeachment Hoax, but she’s been outmaneuvered by Cocaine Mitch. The mopping up action will begin in the Senate next week, and the hapless PR skirmishing by the Maddows in The Media will not save The Narrative.
Meanwhile in Virginia, Governor Blackface and his friends in the Legislature are pushing ahead with California/New York style gun control. As anyone who has looked at a map of those Second Amendment sanctuaries can see, the proposed laws have little popular support outside of the DC suburbs and a few urban areas. The legislature has responded to public unrest by changing its rules in order to be make lobbying by gun control supporters more difficult and by moving to change the law related to recalling public officials. The governor plans an emergency declaration to prevent the carrying of firearms at a pro-Second-Amendment rally. These are not the acts of fair-minded politicians seeking to do the will of their constituents.
We see the system of checks and balances envisioned by The Founders working in the case of the Impeachment Hoax. We see it apparently failing in Virginia. I doubt Madison or Jefferson would be pleased with their home state today.
President Trump will face an election, and the voters will either keep him for another term or fire him.
Virginia … well, the state’s motto is sic semper tyrannis, so let’s hope that cooler, wiser heads prevail.
The Russian Collusion Hoax had failed. The Mueller Report was a nothing burger. So the left wing of the House Democrats sold Nancy Pelosi a bill of goods that finally led to her allowing the Impeachment Hoax to go forward. And then it dawned on the Speaker that it would be Cocaine Mitch who would take charge of the action when the Impeachment reached the Senate.
Now, it may be that she had thought that 2019/202 would be like 1974 and that a group of Republican senators would go to the President and tell him to resign rather than face a trial. But 2020 isn’t 1974. In 1974 there was an underlying crime and a cover up of that crime. In 2020, there’s merely whining about Orange Man Bad. Indeed, it appears that there was significant criminal activity that tainted the 2016 election, but the President was among the victims of those crimes. In 2020, the Republicans in the Senate seem prepared to give the President an opportunity to present his defense, and the President seems to look forward to vindication rather than removal from office.
Hence, the Speaker’s problem. If the case goes forward to the Senate, more of the Truth about who did what is likely to come to light, and that is not likely to be beneficial to Pelosi, her allies, or Democrats as a whole. No wonder she’s having trouble articulating her talking points.
As this tweet demonstrates, should never be considered an authoritative source for Real World information—While it is true that Speaker Pelosi is next in line after the Vice President in the order of succession, Section 2 of the 25th Amendment specifies that the President (i.e., President Pence if Donald Trump were removed from office) “shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.” Note the use of the word shall. President Pence would be required to nominate a new Vice President subject to the approval of both houses of Congress. When the new VP was sworn in, the Speaker would move back to her proper place in line.
Section 2 has been triggered twice. When Vice President Agnew resigned, President Nixon nominated Gerald Ford to replace him. Congress confirmed that nomination. When President Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford became President, President Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller as VP, and Congress confirmed him.
Perhaps the kids over at Vox think that Mike Pence couldn’t think of a sufficiently non-controversial nominee for VP and that the office would remain vacant until after the next election. Or maybe they’re too young and too ignorant of History to remember or know what happened 45 years ago.
The House Intelligence Committee released its report relating to the Whistleblower Hoax, and it included information derived from telephone records obtained by the Democrats on the committee. That prompted me to retweet a tweet by Adam Schiff with this comment—
The Democrats might want to take note of how the House Impeachment Hoax is being viewed in the Senate. In order to get a conviction, the Democrats must convince 2/3 of the Senate to find against the President. Their tactics aren’t playing well, especially with Republicans.
There’s a big difference between 1974 and 2019. During Watergate, there was overwhelming evidence that Richard Nixon had participated in the attempt to cover up an actual crime, the burglary of the Democrats’ office, and everyone, both Democrats and Republicans, agreed that a crime had been committed. Today, the Democrats have tried for over three years and still haven’t come up with any charge other than First Degree Orange Man Bad. The Russian Collusion Hoax backfired and exposed apparent criminal activity and malfeasance by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The Ukrainian Hoax is backfiring, exposing apparent criminal activity and malfeasance by senior executive branch officials and diplomats. (Why, it’s almost enough to make one start to believe in some of those Deep State conspiracy theories!)
In 1974, Republican senators went to the White House and advised Richard Nixon to resign because of the overwhelming evidence against him. Today, Republican senators aren’t impressed by the underwhelming evidence presented thus far—and they and the public are questioning the fairness and honesty of the Democrats’ “investigation” in the House.If the Democrats are stupid enough to pass articles of impeachment against the President, they had better personally lawyer up because they likely will be called as fact witnesses by the Senate. I’ll bet that evidence such as Adam Schiff’s phone records will have been lawfully obtained and will form the basis of some of the questioning.
Of course, Joe Biden often doesn’t have enough good sense to keep his mouth shut, but it’s reported that he said that he won’t voluntarily appear if he is called as a witness during a Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.
Imagine the following scenario—Biden refuses to appear when subpoenaed, so the Senate sends its Sergeant of Arms to arrest him and bring him to the chamber to testify. And then Biden invokes his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. The Gentle Reader may speculate on the effect that might have on the Democrat presidential primaries.
The story is breaking again about Democrat/Ukrainian activist Alexandra Chalupa’s involvement with DoJ and DHS election hacking with a offshoot of Anonymous that called themselves “The Protectors.” They were affiliated with Brett Kimberlin and his Velvet Revolution US not-for-profit. Here’s how Kimberlin, the convicted Speedway Bomber who is probably most famous for lying about being Dan Quayle’s dope dealer, testified about the Protectors operation during a trial held in October, 2016.
We’re doing a lot of, of, because my wife’s from the Ukraine, we’re doing a lot of work with Ukraine.
Right now, I’m working with Congress members on legislation to protect the vote. I’m working with the Department of Justice right now to protect the, this coming election. There’s been a lot of information about hacking by Russians.
And our team that works for me are, are specialists in, in hacking and electronic cyber hacking, and things like that. So we are probably one of the foremost groups in, in the country on that.
Kimberlin has indeed been deeply involved in things Ukrainian. He worked with Alexandra Chalupa and her sister with their Digital Maidan Twitter project which supported the 2014 revolution, and he is involved with the EuroMaidan PR website as well. In fact, he changed the Velvet Revolution US corporate name to Protect Our Elections/EMPR Inc.
I can think of some interesting questions for Ms. Chalupa.
Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit has a post up that takes note of polling showing 41% of Democrats had made up their minds that Donald Trump should be impeached before any “news” of the Ukraine Extortion/Bribery/Whatever Hoax broke.
What are the odds that the share of Democrats whose minds are already made up happens to be precisely the same as the share of those who support removing him from office? Something to bear in mind amid the media chatter about how Republicans have prejudged the Ukraine business in Trump’s favor, which is true but incomplete, shall we say, in capturing the extent of partisan prejudices here. Especially when you consider how strong the social desirability bias must be in polls like this one against admitting that you made up your mind before you even heard the news. People like to believe that they’re fully rational actors, and that in a quasi-judicial matter like impeachment their opinion is based squarely on the evidence. Not this time. Two-fifths of Democrats are happy to tell you upfront that they don’t need to hear a word about Ukraine to know whether Trump needs to go or not.
Read the whole thing.
Meanwhile, back down the rabbit hole—”Nonsense!” cried Alice, so loudly that everybody jumped, “the idea of having the sentence first!”
One of the process crimes that has caught many otherwise law abiding folks is 18 USC § 1001 which makes it a crime to knowingly falsify, conceal, or cover up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact when dealing with the federal government. Section (c)(2) of the law says that it applies to
any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress …
So, Gentle Reader, if you lied to a House committee, you could be prosecuted, convicted, and sent to jail for five years.
OTOH, if you were a member of Congress acting in your official capacity at a committee hearing, you would might claim that your lying was protected by the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution. While a congresscritter’s immunity with respect to a civil tort (eg., a defamation suit) is settled law, the courts didn’t find that protection in the Speech or Debate Clause. It stems from the Westfall Act, a federal statute that grants all federal employees absolute immunity from common-law tort claims arising out of acts they undertake in the course of their official duties.
AFAIK, a lie told by a congresscirtter in the context of a committee hearing has never resulted in a criminal referral, and immunity to 18 USC § 1001 or § 1621 (Perjury) under the Speech or Debate Clause has never been tested. IMHO, Adam Schiff’s clearly false statement during the House Impeachment Hoax hearing yesterday that he did not know the identity of the Whistleblower would make an excellent test case, but I doubt he will even be censured for his unethical behavior.