Hiding from the Light


Juleanna Glover has a post over at Politico fantasizing that there is a method to allow Senators to dodge be held accountable for a vote on impeachment. She thinks that all the Democrats would have to do is get 3 Republican to vote for a rule change allowing for a secret ballot on the matter. A brilliant plan! But there’s a small problem. You see, that pesky old Constitution says,

… and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

—Art. I, § 5, cl. 3

So if 20 Senators want a recorded vote, each Senator’s vote will be recorded.

Democracy dies in darkness.

But What Are They Trying To Cover Up?


My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up at The American Spectator about the Democrats’ use of their double secret impeachment process as a coverup. Yes, it’s fairly obvious that they have plenty to hide, but what is the real secret they want to keep hidden?

There are plenty of individual crimes that are coming to light as a result of investigations by Attorney General Barr, U. S. Attorney Durham, and Inspector General Horowitz. At least one grand jury has been empaneled, and various members of the Deep State are lawyering up in expectation of being indicted. If those cases proceed as I expect, various connections between individuals and organizations will come to light, and we may see a significant level of cooperation and coordination among them.

It may be that it’s that coordination which is being covered up. The Gentle Reader shouldn’t be surprised to discover that people with similar views take actions consistent with those views. They might be expect to do so acting independently, each acting in his own personal interest. However, the possibility exists that some would organize their actions together. If those acts were illegal, it’s also reasonable that they would band together to obstruct any investigation. Such organized obstruction is one of the definitions of a racketeering enterprise.

The corrupt entanglement of bureaucrats and politicians was given a boost during the 8 years the country was run by a Chicago politician, but corrupt organizations are parasites. They weaken their host, and they fail when the host takes steps to throw them off or when the host dies. They don’t want us to see enough to effective clean up the infection.

Still the Least Insane Democrat Running for President


I disagree with Rep. Gabbard on a great many issues, but at least she seems to have thought through most of her policies—and she’s willing to stand up to the Progressive mob when she disagrees with them.

UPDATE—Over at Instapundit Prof. Reynolds observes that “Trump’s okay with this, as it will divide the country between the crazy, and the non-crazy, in his favor.”

Congress, the Supreme Court, and Impeachment


President Trump has remarked that if the House were to pass articles of impeachment against him that did not properly charge him with a crime (Orange Man Bad isn’t even a misdemeanor), he might go to the Supreme Court seeking to have the impeachment quashed. Various pundits and academics have tut-tut-ed and stated that the President doesn’t understand how impeachment works. Do they?

Alan Dershowitz has a piece over at The Hill suggesting that the President may not be too far off base.

Were Congress to try to impeach and remove a president without alleging and proving any such crime, and were the president to refuse to leave office on the ground that Congress had acted unconstitutionally, there would indeed be such a constitutional crisis. And Supreme Court precedent going back to Marbury v. Madison empowers the justices to resolve conflicts between the executive and legislative branches by applying the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Recall that when a president has been impeached by the House, the Supreme Court’s chief justice presides at his Senate trial and the senators take a special oath. This special oath requires each senator to swear or affirm that “in all things pertaining to the trial … [to] do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law” (italics added).

If the House were to impeach for a non-crime, the president’s lawyer could make a motion to the chief justice to dismiss the case, just as a lawyer for an ordinary defendant can make a motion to dismiss an indictment that did not charge a crime. The chief justice would be asked to enforce the senatorial oath by dismissing an impeachment that violated the words of the Constitution. There is no assurance that the chief justice would rule on such a motion, but it is certainly possible.

No one should criticize President Trump for raising the possibility of Supreme Court review, especially following Bush v. Gore, the case that ended the 2000 election. Many of the same academics ridiculed the notion that the justices would enter the political thicket of vote-counting. But they did and, in the process, weakened the “political question” doctrine. The case for applying the explicit constitutional criteria governing impeachment is far more compelling than was the case for stopping the Florida recount.

So no one should express partisan certainty regarding President Trump’s suggestion that the Supreme Court might well decide that impeaching a president without evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors is unconstitutional.

Read the whole thing.

As the Initial Cloud of Dust Settles


We’re beginning to see commentaries by people who appear to have actually read the Mueller Report, and the bulk of them fall into two categories which I’m labeling I Told You So and Bitter Clinging. Here are examples of each.

First, Conrad Black in National Interest.

The Mueller Report, despite the best efforts of the chief author and his partisan investigative staff, is a bone-crushing defeat for the president’s enemies. There is not a whit of evidence that any American collaborated with any Russian to alter the results of the 2016 presidential election, and there is extensive evidence that the Trump campaign was the subject of enticements to collaborate and rebuffed all of them at all levels.

Now, Walter Shapiro in The Nation.

The Mueller report didn’t deliver the smoking gun of unrealistic liberal fantasies. (“The money is being wired to the Cayman Islands. Love, Vlad.”) But beyond making clear how close Mueller came to recommending the indictment of a sitting president for obstruction of justice, the report is brimming with tantalizing clues about the uncanny synchronization between the Trump campaign and the Russians—and may increasingly diminish the public’s confidence in giving the president another four years.

It’s not surprising that the two camps of interpretation are filled with mostly conservatives among the I Told You Sos and leftists among the Clingers. But I found it interesting that the more experienced leadership on The Left quickly realized that Mueller really had spent two years searching but had found no there there. Steny Hoyer, for example, remarked last week that impeaching the President was “not worthwhile.”

While Shapiro is correct in noting that the report contains things that aren’t helpful for Trump, and smart Democrats could use them as part of their 2020 campaigning, the report simply doesn’t contain a shred of evidence of any high crimes or misdemeanors. I suspect that Pelosi, Hoyer, and others with Bill-Clinton-era political experience will have their hands full trying to manage their colleagues who will want to spin the Mueller Report into articles of impeachment.

 

Twenty Years Ago This Week


It was twenty years ago that Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath during a deposition in a civil suit related to a sexual harassment claim. The 1995 Blog takes a look back at that process and comes to the conclusion that it looks better now than it did twenty years ago.

Clinton lied under oath, and sought to impede justice in a sexual harassment lawsuit in which he was the defendant. The lawsuit was brought by Paula Jones, a former employee of the state of Arkansas who said that Clinton, while he was the state’s governor, crudely propositioned her at a hotel room in Little Rock.

During his deposition in the Jones lawsuit, Clinton was asked about Lewinsky. He denied having had sexual relations with her; he denied having been alone with her. Presiding at Clinton’s deposition, taken in January 1998, was a federal judge, Susan Webber Wright.

She was there at Clinton’s request, and she later found that Clinton had given “intentionally false” testimony at the “tainted deposition” and that his “false, misleading and evasive answers … were designed to obstruct the judicial process.”

The judge found Clinton in contempt, and the House of Representatives wound up impeaching him on one count of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice.

One may argue whether or not the Senate did the right thing by failing to convict, but looking back, it seems the House did the right thing by censuring Clinton’s lawless behavior.

Impeachment and the Democrats


The Daily Caller reports that Congresscritter Keith Ellison has noted that a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives could impeach a Republican-appointed Supreme Court justice. He’s correct. A handful of federal judges have been impeached by the House, and some convicted by the Senate.

Indeed, the Democrats could use one of their members as an expert to guide such a process. Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Alcee Hastings was impeached, convicted, and removed from his office as a U. S. District Judge.

Leadership on Impeachment


There’s a growing group among the Democrats in Congress agitating for the impeachment of President Trump. It may be that they are just throwing some political mud around as a form of self-promotion. OTOH, they may really believe that Trump should go. If the later is the case, they need to get themselves better organized. Not all of them were around for the Clinton impeachment 19 years ago, so they should pick a leader with some actual practical experience with the impeachment process. Alcee Hastings comes to mind.