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The Establishments war on Donald Trump
See other The Establishments war on Donald Trump Articles

Title: TURLEY: <b>'Fast and Furious' impeachment looks like a rush to a failed case</b>
Source: The Hill
URL Source: https://thehill.com/opinion/judicia ... s-like-a-rush-to-a-failed-case
Published: Dec 8, 2019
Author: jONATHAN tURLEY
Post Date: 2019-12-08 10:57:05 by nolu chan
Keywords: None
Views: 274
Comments: 5

TURLEY: 'Fast and Furious' impeachment looks like a rush to a failed case

By Jonathan Turley, opinion contributor
The Hill
12/07/19 01:00 PM EST

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

The day after the first House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the panel would move immediately to draft articles of impeachment, with a vote expected within two weeks. The most discussed crime is now obstruction of Congress, based on the Trump administration seeking to block witnesses. Democratic lawmakers in the hearing repeated the words of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in rejecting claims of immunity like a mantra, “Presidents are not kings.”

[...]

The House is about to impeach Trump for blocking witnesses while, at the same time, saying the record is overwhelming based on the testimony of many of those very witnesses. That record is composed of roughly a dozen witnesses, including many officials who are still working in the executive branch. None of those witnesses have been disciplined or fired for opting to testify. In addition, Trump released transcripts of his controversial phone calls, which ordinarily would remain privileged and nonpublic information. Finally, while the obstruction claims against Nixon were made in conjunction with established crimes, the array of crimes alleged against Trump, like bribery, extortion, and obstructing justice, lack key elements of those crimes. This impeachment would be based more on obstructing the investigation and less on the alleged crimes themselves.

Instead of explaining the abbreviated period of investigation, Democrats have falsely claimed that this is actually a longer investigation than the impeachment of Andrew Johnson and the impeachment of Bill Clinton. That is not correct, though in my testimony before the House Judiciary Committee I stressed that, with regard to President Johnson, it depends on how you count the days. In order to claim that this is actually a longer investigation, Democrats use the date of the passage of impeachment resolutions instead of the underlying investigations to measure time.

The record in this case is as short as the timeline. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee quoted me as saying that the record is “wafer thin” and held up two binders to prove there is an extensive record for impeachment. To be clear, I testified that this record was comparatively not actually wafer thin. However, the mere fact that Jackson Lee could hold up the relevant record in two binders is precisely the point. If she were to show the record in the Nixon or Clinton cases, she would have had to drive a semitruck into the committee room. Of course, none of this matters. Pelosi will get a fast impeachment, and there is no shortage of fury. Ultimately, “Fast and Furious” amounts to little more than a rush to a failed impeachment.

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Begin Trace Mode for Comment # 2.

#2. To: nolu chan (#0) (Edited)

“Presidents are not kings.”

Obama seems to think he's a "king maker" though...

Funny how the dialectic, amoral, corporately owned, Rainbow swine in the farmhouse show their true colors.

They must be worried that Comrade Bernie's Chekist fan club would clean house and do bidness as usual as they burned it down... with them in it.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-12-08   11:55:22 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


Replies to Comment # 2.

#3. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#2)

That faithful old government publication of Rules of Evidence in an Impeachment Trial, it states: [boldface as in original]

2218. After discussion of English precedents, the Senate ruled decisively in the Peck trial that the strict rules of evidence in force in the courts should be applied.

Witnesses in an impeachment trial are required to state facts and not opinions.

[...]

When they get out of that "fact-finding stage," and get into the trial stage, none of the hearsay or less than "best evidence" comes in. The Republican led Senate is highly unlikely to waive centuries of precedent to help Sloppy Jerry avoid disaster.

2226. In impeachment trials the rule that the best evidence procurable should be presented has been followed.

It was decided in the Belknap trial that a witness might not be examined as to the contents of an existing letter without the letter itself being submitted.

Instance wherein the President pro tempore ruled on evidence during an impeachment trial.

On April 4, 1868,2 in the Senate sitting for the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, Mr. Robert S. Chew, chief clerk of the State Department, was sworn as a witness on behalf of the House of Representatives, and examined by Mr. Manager Benjamin F. Butler as to the practice of making temporary appointments of assistant secretaries of Departments to perform the duties of their chiefs in the absence of the latter. The witness testified that the appointments in such cases were made by the President, or by his order. Mr. Butler then asked:

Did the letter of authority in most of these cases * * * proceed from the head of the Department or from the President?

Mr. William M. Evarts, of counsel for the President, objected that the letter of authority showed from whom it came, and was the best evidence on that point. In the discussion which followed, the counsel for the President intimated that they did not object if the question was intended to elicit a reply as to whose manual possession the paper came from. But if it was intended to ascertain who signed the paper, then the paper itself would be the best evidence.

Mr. Butler reduced the question to writing as follows:

Question. State whether any of the letters of authority which you have mentioned came from the Secretary of State or from what other officer?

The Chief Justice3 thereupon made an inquiry which led to this colloquy:

The CHIEF JUSTICE. ‘‘Came from the Secretary of State.’’ Do I understand you to mean signed by him?

Mr. Manager BUTLER. I am not anxious upon that part of it, sir. I am content with the question as it stands.

The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chief Justice conceives that the question in the form in which it is put is not objectionable, but—

Mr. Manager BUTLER. I will put it, then, with the leave of the Chief Justice.

The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chief Justice was about to proceed to say that if it is intended to ask the question whether these documents of which a list is furnished were signed by the Secretary, then he thinks it is clearly incompetent without producing them.

Mr. Manager BUTLER. Under favor, Mr. President, I have no list of these documents; none has been furnished.

The CHIEF JUSTICE. Does not the question relate to the list which has been furnished?

Mr. Manager BUTLER. It relates to the people whose names have been put upon the list; but I have no list of the documents at all. I have only a list of the facts that such appointments were made, but I have no list of the letters, whether they came from the President or from the Secretary or from anybody else.

The CHIEF JUSTICE. In the form in which the question is put the Chief Justice thinks it is not objectionable. If any Senator desires to have the question taken by the Senate, he will put it to the Senate. [To the managers, no Senator speaking.] You can put the question in the form proposed.

Mr. Manager BUTLER (to the witness). State whether any of the letters of authority which you have mentioned came from the Secretary of State, or from what other officer.

Mr. CURTIS. I understand the witness is not to answer by whom they were sent.

Mr. Manager BUTLER. I believe I have this witness.

The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chief Justice will instruct the witness. [To the witness.] You are not to answer at present by whom these documents were signed. You may say from whom they came.

__________

2 Second session Fortieth Congress, Globe supplement, p. 118.

3 Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio, Chief Justice.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2230. In the Swayne trial hearsay testimony introduced to show inconvenience to litigants from respondent’s conduct was ruled out.

[...]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2235. In general during impeachment trials questions as to conversations with third parties, not in presence of respondent, have been excluded from evidence.—On March 8, 1803,2 in the high court of impeachment during the trial of John Pickering, judge of the United States district court of New Hampshire, Mr. Jonathan Steele was testifying, when, Mr. Joseph H. Nicholson, of Maryland, chairman of the managers for the House of Representatives, addressed the court. He said he wished in case it should be deemed proper by the court, to ask one of the witnesses whether he had conversed with the family physician of Judge Pickering, and what his opinion was as to the origination of his insanity. Mr. Nicholson observed that he had doubts of the propriety of this question, and therefore, in the first instance, stated it to the court.

The court decided the question inadmissible.

Later, on the same day, this witness, in the course of his testimony, was going on to state some conversation he had with Judge Pickering’s physician at this time

which he was induced to ask in consequence of solicitude to gain true information as to the reported intemperance of the Judge, when he was interrupted by the Court,1 and informed that this species of testimony had been already decided to be inadmissible.

__________

2 First session Eighth Congress, Annals, pp. 358, 359.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2238. In the Johnson trial declarations of respondent, made anterior to the act, and even concomitant with it, were held inadmissible as evidence.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2245. In the Johnson trial the Chief Justice ruled that an official message transmitted after the act was not admissible as evidence to show intent.

nolu chan  posted on  2019-12-08 15:09:38 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


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