Horowitz

With Release of DOJ IG FISA Report, Democrats Should Pause on Impeachment

Democrats are going to roll out at least two articles of impeachment today.

But I think, in the wake of the release of the DOJ IG FISA Report, they should take a brief pause.

Don’t get me wrong. I think impeachment is necessary and urgent. I can see why Democrats might want to impeach even as Trump meets with Sergei Lavrov — particularly given Trump’s assault on Chris Wray for making some honest comments about the IG Report yesterday.

But I’ve gotten far enough into the IG Report to believe that it merits a pause for both sides to consider what it says. That’s because it basically says both parties were right. Democrats were right to think the investigation into Trump was fair and legitimately predicated. The Mueller Report has provided abundant evidence not only that Paul Manafort and Roger Stone (at a minimum) were willing to “collude” in the Russian hack-and-leak, but that they both took affirmative efforts to prevent Mueller from finding out whether they succeeded in doing so. Trump was a key player in that effort to obstruct the investigation. So the investigation was warranted, fairly predicated, and produced results that confirmed Trump’s people wanted to conspire with the Russian operation, whether or not they succeeded.

Republicans, however, were right that the Steele dossier was not adequately vetted by the FBI, and the FISA on Carter Page may not have been adequately substantiated (and the vetting on the follow-ups was even worse). That doesn’t mean Page shouldn’t have been investigated; he was already being investigated in April 2016, and things he did through December 2016 provided more cause for concern.

But neither of those things — the dossier’s shoddy vetting or the Page FISA — were key to the more substantive investigation into Trump. Indeed, Stone wasn’t even a subject in this early process; the first big investigative steps on him took place in August 2017, under Mueller.

I’ve got some quibbles with the report (mostly about how it treats exonerating information and Bruce Ohr and information sharing).

That said, the report should be an opportunity to step back and reflect on how the key issue — that Russia aggressively interfered in the US and a number of Americans embraced that effort — has gotten lost. That focus might make a few people, including Republicans who otherwise would not support impeachment but are appalled by the way Rudy has doubled down on his Ukrainian escapades, even meeting with KGB trained thugs, rethink the investigation into Trump.

Plus, the FISA Report provides one basis for bipartisan work in the near term.

Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act was due to get reauthorized on December 15. That got extended 3 months in the continuing resolution, but it will need reauthorized at that point. Meanwhile, over the past year, evidence that FBI misused FISA under both Jim Comey (with this IG Report) and Chris Wray (with the earlier report on problems with 702).

I’ve been arguing since at least February — and more aggressively since September, when I got the first concrete descriptions of how much this report would focus on process issues at FBI — that this IG Report would present an opportunity to call more substantive review of FISA. I got pushback among allies, because Carter Page is such an unsympathetic person to Democrats. But I think the report really demonstrates that, no matter how unsympathetic he is, no matter how warranted the investigation into him, the FISA process used against him was appalling.

So the surveillance community, which previously was able to unite Jim Jordan and the most Progressive Dems, really ought to take a step back and propose a three-part fix for FISA, one that could guide the further audit of FISA Michael Horowitz announced and one that might implement immediate legislative fixes to known FISA problems. At least beginning those conversation would provide some of the people yelling most loudly at each other a chance to talk about something they claim to agree on.

Let me be clear: I’m just arguing for a pause — maybe a week. Trump has violated every word of his oath of office and he threatens to undo our Constitution. But let’s take a few days and reflect on the way that the events of 2016 have sown division without getting us to do the things to prevent further Russian aggression. It won’t happen, but it’s what I think should happen.

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169 replies
  1. Badger Robert says:

    Good morning. The Speaker has a schedule to keep the pressure on the R Senators and to try to accelerate Trump’s decline.
    The big fights will probably be in the news after January 1.
    Thanks for all the great work you do.

    • bmaz says:

      Lol. Pelosi’s “schedule” does not have squat to do with “pressure on the R Senators”. It is solely about her determination to get the issue of impeachment over with as soon as possible out of political expediency.

      • Badger Robert says:

        Maybe. But Trump never benefited from a public opinion honeymoon. As the disclosures about Flynn and other things were more fully realized, he never became popular.
        The Republicans want to make this like the Kavanaugh hearings, with lots of partisan shouting which turns people off.
        The Democrats are hoping that the theater of impeachment puts the Senators at risk.
        Public opinion does move, though Trump is not extending an unpopular war, so he does have that going for him.

        • P J Evans says:

          LOL.
          Trmp never had a “honeymoon” because he started acting like a king even before he was inaugurinated, and has only gotten worse. His approval rating has been below 50% for his entire term.

          • MattyG says:

            Not to mention he came in second in a 3-way race. He’s never been in sniffing distance of 50% approval – heck the only time his disapproval was below 50 was the week after the inauguration. The guy is unpopular nationally, because he’s unpopular.

      • I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

        Pelosi’s actions seem to me to be based in part on other, unseen, unarticulated, objectives. She is not incompetent per se, otherwise she would not be where she is today. But she has done an incompetent job when dealing with “impeachment.” Absolutely, unbelievably incompetent, to the point where I wonder what else motivates her beyond political expediency. Political expediency does not, by itself, explain her behavior, in my view.

        • bmaz says:

          Oh no, Pelosi is not incompetent, but the furthest thing from it. She is one of the most competent and effective legislative leaders I have seen in my lifetime. Just not here on this issue.

            • bmaz says:

              In that regard, I think she has been completely intentional. And would have never gotten to the still lame process she has, if not forced by facts to do so, and she still hates every second of it.

              • BobCon says:

                I think she would have been legendary as a Majority Leader or Whip, responsible for running the operations and internal communications of the Democrats, and enforcing party discipline.

                Speakers are traditionally more about strategic leadership, and that is where I think she falls short.

                She vaulted past those positions in large part due to the troubles of Democratic leadership in the 1990s, and then pretty effectively shut out challengers in following years. As a result, there is a shortage of deeper thinking in the House Dem leadership, and it is showing with regard to impeachment, but also in terms of legislative and communications strategy.

              • Katherine M Williams says:

                The question is why? Do Dems like things the way they are? Are they hoping to discourage the more liberal voters from turning out in Nov2020 and expect to still win with candidates Biden or Buttigieg? Don’t they care?

                Most posters and commenters at other liberal blogs iare slobbering with joy over St. Pelosi’s cunning and brilliance, so thrilled at how THIS TIME the dems are going to kick republican asses. are they seeing Cloth-of-gold and glittering jewels when I see a bunch of ? people not doing their job, unconcerned with our rapid slide into fascism.

    • Mike George says:

      True the FISA court fiascos and FBI errors need further explanation. As the FBI lawyers who filled out these warrant applications have not yet explained why they made the errors and omissions. So that needs to be explained. And then the entire FISA court’s problematic secrecy issues need to be addressed with bi-partisan legislation to come. But IG Horowitz and this article got the essence of the Steele Dossier all wrong. According to Fusion GPS, in their new book Crime in Progess, nothing to date has been disproven in the Dossier, although some items are unlikely. But it remains raw intelligence that’s at least 70% correct, which gets an A+ as these things go. The IG failed to mention that it was John McCain’s office who is actually responsible for leaking it to the press, not Steele. And that Steele’s primary concern was the outing his sources. Its true, Glen Simpson of Fusion declined to be interviewed for the IG Horowitz investigation. But its understandable when you take into account how they have been abused by the White House and the Republicans for the last three years. Further, the Mueller Investigation and the Report are not really an integral part of the articles of Impeachment.

    • Scott says:

      Both sides should pause and reflect? Hasn’t it been clear for quite sometime now that in all matters Trump, the GOP is completely incapable of acknowledging truth and facts.

  2. CaliLawyer says:

    Sadly this kind of abuse in the warrant process isn’t restricted to FISA applications. Some judges are known for a “rocket docket” approach to rubber-stamping warrant applications. Page appears to have been pretty much exonerated and can certainly file a section 1983 civil rights claim and likely get more than the nominal damages that low-profile victims (who often rot in jail, unlike Page) often get. Since only 0.03% of FISA applications have ever been denied it’s unlikely that had the application been more forthright about Steele it would have been denied anyway, so that counterfactual is only useful for purposes of LE reform, which is a worthy subject but likely won’t get beyond FISA – which is unfortunate. The Page warrant doesn’t appear to have led to anything and the investigators seem to have done what they always do – push the envelope to gather as much info as possible, which is why I’m sceptical of this leading to meaningful reform.

    • Ken Haylock says:

      I’m interested in what sense Carter Page was ‘innocent’. In the sense of not guilty of a crime, possibly. In the sense of not being a vector for Russians trying to reach out to the Trump campaign for nefarious purposes, surely not at all?

      • Mitch Neher says:

        Page made himself “un-useful” to The Russians by being overly eager for the big bucks. So The Russians “spared” Page his criminal culpability by cutting him loose without his “sales commission.”

        Even so, Page may very well have served as a “signal officer” of sorts for the Trump campaign.

      • CaliLawyer says:

        It’s entirely possible there’s a bunch of relevant classified info not in the public record. This is the thing:
        Page is either 1) a dipshit whose story checked out, or 2) a player who lied to the FBI. Since he wasn’t charged with lying to the FBI, 1 looks like the right answer. Maybe he’s everybody’s useful idiot, who knows, but for purposes of the Mueller report and the Russia investigation as far as the public record goes he seems to have been not all that relevant at the end of the day. It’s never been easy to separate all the TrumpCo side hustles from the grand bargain of remaking America’s role in the world (and Manafort did email at one point about sending someone low-level to Russia) but if he had been someone of value it’s hard to see why the warrants would be allowed to lapse.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, at least you seem to have quit hawking the patently absurd §1983 theory.

          But seem to have taken up other absurdly dubious speculation.

            • bmaz says:

              Lol. Sure. Right back at you. You were the one who laughably intimated there was a §1983 action for damages for Carter Page, which was patently absurd.

              I mentioned that Bivens would be the only possible path, and now you suddenly are going to splain Bivens to me? You are killing me.

              Now that you have magically, er because I mentioned it, found Bivens, maybe you should check the jurisprudence on that and report back just how effective such claims are. Which is effectively never, contra your claim of ease for Carter Page (or at least your initial claim of ease under §1983, which by definition could not ever apply). I suggest you work backwards from the Ziglar decision in regards to your suddenly newfound Bivens argument.

    • bmaz says:

      CaliLawyer – Abuse of the warrant process? Lol, spare me. Was the process perfect? No, of course not, but that was already known. Very few warrant apps are, and the fact that such is the case as to FISA apps too is the least surprising thing ever. There was more than sufficient information to support issuance of the warrant and renewals, even without the Steele information.

      Frankly, while maybe it should have been more descriptive, the recounting of the Steele information is not fatally flawed either. His information was not all direct, but information from informants often is not, and it flies through courts every day. It would be nice if that were not the case, but it is.

      Lastly, no, Carter Page does not have any §1983 action. None whatsoever as §1983 does not and cannot apply to the federal government or its employees. So Page won’t be getting any “damages” via §1983 or any other path. Theoretically possible he could attempt a Bivens action, but that would be as laughable as the thought that he was “exonerated”. Page would be a blithering idiot to open himself up to discovery via Bivens. But, then again, Page is a blithering idiot.

      • Buford says:

        I seem to recall there was a qualifying statement that the “Steele” document was a raw data collection…not vetted very closely, but with enough information to trigger a larger investigation…I think that was stated from the very beginning…but, my memory can be spotty at best…

        • orionATL says:

          i recall the same.

          i think the serious question is to what extent the steele dossier was used in a fisa warrant application and were the dossier’s limits made known to the court during this use. i am both unclear and sceptical just how and how much the dossier figured in fisa applications. it has become a gortuitous legitimate talking point in republican propaganda defending president trump’s collaboration with vlad putin.

          the overarching critical issue critical issue is that a fisa warrant application is a secret application which cannot be reviewed by defendant or defense attorneys. it is in fact, a “get around” of a key u.s. constitution provision (4th amemdment) which i read arouse out of the abuse of the constitution by richard nixon whose history is briefly described here :

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act

          my question is should we have set and abuse to catch an abuse ???

          ** The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that “each man’s home is his castle”, secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government.  It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.

          ” Amendment IV

          The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

          • bmaz says:

            To Orion and Buford: Here is what David Kris, who literally wrote the book on national security law, had to say:

            “As someone who has read and approved many FISA applications and dealt extensively with the FISA Court, I will anticipate and reject a claim that the disclosure was somehow insufficient because it appeared in a footnote; in my experience, the court reads the footnotes.” Now we can see that the footnote disclosing Steele’s possible bias takes up more than a full page in the applications, so there is literally no way the FISA Court could have missed it. The FBI gave the court enough information to evaluate Steele’s credibility.”

            Yes, this is near unequivocally true, it was when he said it, and it is now. Now I do not have a ton of FISA court experience as to warrant applications, but I do in normal courts. The rules are the same. The standards is ALWAYS that a warrant affidavit stands or falls on it own four corners, whether the application is for search or surveillance.

            There is nothing in the Page warrants that would or could, even remotely, invalidate them. In fact, to my eye, they would have easily stood up if the Steele material had never been mentioned. And that, as they say, is the standard.

            Lastly, warrant apps get attacked solely by a Franks hearing, not by after the fact feel good self serving stuff by Michael Horowitz.

            • orionATL says:

              bmaz offers a solid defense of the process by which secret fisa court judges inform themselves of the facts of a secret warrant application in defense of the criticism that certain facts were less than clearly disclosed.

              as for horowitz’s treatment of the critical fisa applications involving individuals working for the trump campaign in 2016:

              bmaz writes:

              “Lastly, warrant apps get attacked solely by a Franks hearing, not by after the fact feel good self serving stuff by Michael Horowitz.”

              for myself, since his report on andrew mccabe, i have come to believe that inspector general horowitz shades his reports to please president trump. one could guess he does this to protect his continuance in the ig position and to protect the doj as he sees necessary.

              whatever his motive, horowitz can no longer be considered an impartial judge. he in fact seems deliberately to pander to trump and his loyalists in congress. the kindest that can be said of horowitz is what ew notes, that there are serious questions in general about the basis for getting a fisa warrant that need to be asked and answered out loud in public.

              • bmaz says:

                Orion….I should make clear that Marcy is quite right that, moving forward, some rethinking of the FISA warrant app process would be a very good thing. Frankly it would be a very good thing for all warrant applications, not just FISA. The leeway to rely on confidential sources (which Steele properly was), informants and putative co-conspirators is troubling. Always has been, and FISA is arguably the least of it.

                Let us do that, it would be a fantastic thing. But under the rules and law extant at the time of the Page applications, naw. Horowitz is picking nits, after the fact, and outside of the four corners, and throwing cheap and dubious bones to the Trump and Fox News audience. That is not how warrant affidavits get analyzed, and Horowitz knows it.

                • orionATL says:

                  i concur 100%.

                  there is no reason whatever to let either horowitz genuflecting to trump or trump’s congressional apologists get away with saying this particular trump-related fisa application was improperly done given the context of how warrant applications – fisa and regular – have been done to date.

                  reworking the fisa warrant rules can be done when we have a president, a court, and a congress that we can trust to act in good faith. we have none of those now.

            • orionATL says:

              about bias and steele and the fisa applications re the trump campaign:

              when are we going to hear that christopher steele had a personal relationship with ivanka trump – assuming it’s true?

      • orionATL says:

        trivial clarification about slang involving “app”:

        – a warrant “app” is a paper or set of papers submitted to a court authority requesting permission by some government officials, e.g.,police, to take some action against a person or organization such as enter a place of business to search records.

        – a computer “app” is a software program with a specific purpose fulfilled by a detailed set of instructions to the computer cpu written in one of several computer instruction writing languages such as python or c++. applications can performs such functions as word processing in any written language, controlling a router, or calculating interstellar distances.

      • CaliLawyer says:

        Misrepresenting facts in a warrant affidavit is most certainly abuse. Regardless, as I said, I don’t think it would have made a difference for Page although it might have made for an awkward record of the Ohr/Steele back channel after the FBI cut Steele loose.

        • bmaz says:

          Ahem, think it important to distinguish between “misrepresenting”, which was de minimus at best, and fabrication and/or affirmative lying. Not to mention what an after the fact eye such as Horowitz scopes outside of the four corners of the affidavit. These are quite different items, and especially so in a Franks hearing as opposed to an after the fact thing like Horowitz produced.

    • emptywheel says:

      Actually those numbers on FISA are misleading. They get more scrutiny than normal criminal warrants. They just never get any on the tail end.

      • bmaz says:

        This is absolutely true. FISA applications often get perused by the court and, basically, sent back to DOJ to “correct your homework” before being finally considered. And that, as much as a “rubber stamp” (and, listen, all warrants get close to a rubber stamp, not just FISA, but the burden is not very high on warrant apps), is why FISA has such a high approval rate.

        • Bill Smith says:

          How does that square with the IG reports Appendix 1? It seems that nobody (at the FBI, DOJ or Court) really read the FISA warrant with a fresh eye.

          “Supporting document indicates the factual assertion is inaccurate” “Supporting documentation does not state this fact” Or “No supporting documentation”

          It looks bad enough that the IG says he is going to go back and look at the last 15 years of these things.

          • bmaz says:

            Because it is completely ludicrous to allege that the FISA court “didn’t really read” the warrant app.

            It is just fucking swell that people like Barr, Horowitz, and now you pull shit out of a report that goes WAY beyond how any and every warrant is judged, and then flap their lips about how awful things are.

            That is just NOT the standard, and never has been. If you want it to be, fine, I agree. But don’t yammer at me that something hideous went on here, because that is ludicrous.

      • CaliLawyer says:

        I don’t doubt at all that they do, but that doesn’t change the numbers: 99.97% of the time the FBI gets what they want, whether through their own diligence, deference to national security concerns, or the FBI knowing the system extremely well. The FISC would have no way of knowing/evaluating Steele’s underlying credibility based on the warrant application because it was an error of omission – same with the back and forth with Ohr. There’s a level of trust built in there, which maybe will change.

    • missing george carlin says:

      How about the ‘rocket docket’ that Judges used to take peoples homes? A bank attorney brings an altered document into court and submits it, it’s an ‘unexplained oversight’. If I did that, I would go to jail!

  3. Mitch Neher says:

    At the risk of getting lost in the wilderness of mirrors that is the mind of Trump, the entire counter-investigation, counter-report, turn-the-tables-on-the-deep-state leading to the Ukrainian shakedown gambit is, supposedly, an attempt on Trump’s part to make good on his vow that this sort of thing should never happen again to any president; except that Trump is busily doing far worse to his own political opponents for the express purpose of getting reelected to a second term of office.

    Whence Trump is lost in the wilderness of mirrors that is his own mind–such as it is.

  4. Mister Sterling says:

    I’ve come around on the pause argument. I say pause it for up to four weeks. Since the Senate won’t convict, it won’t hurt either side. We are locked on how we will vote. Let’s get these primaries done.
    I think the Nancy haters here need to take a breath. She has been on-board since the whistleblower report was made available to Schiff. The president’s misconduct and criminal conspiracy are incredibly serious, and she is acting accordingly. Also, i see no sign that she wants impeachment behind her quickly. There is nothing else for the House to do. Absolutely nothing. Drug price controls are dead. The new NAFTA treaty is dead. Impeachment will take as long a it takes. She’s committed. This could drag until an acquittal in March – right smack in the middle of the deciding primaries. So be it.

    • bmaz says:

      Nobody needs “to take a breath”. Trump’s malfeasance has been gross and stark since the day he took office, and Pelosi has been derelict in addressing it from the jump. And she has been derelict in how it is addressed even since the light bulb finally went off for her, and remains so to this day in the cavalier speed she is forcing.

      And, by the way, pointing the same out does not constitute “hating”, it constitutes actually caring about the proper protection and defense of the Constitution. Honestly, I both like and admire Nancy Pelosi immensely. But on this issue, she has been, and continues to be, derelict.

      • foggycoast says:

        she’s not been derelict in presenting the case for impeachment. i suspect objective people would say that trump’s guilt has been proven. the dereliction is in crushing the bad faith players, the republicans. it needs be made clear that they are also violating their oath of office. when this gets to the trial the republicans needs to be seen conspirators in an attempt to demolish the core of the constitution. that’s where pelosi and the dems fail. they need to go for the big kill.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, Pelosi has absolutely been derelict in “presenting the case for impeachment”. She waited until the last minute to admit the obvious and, by doing so, precluded the most effective path to discovery of evidence and testimony until she could say “golly we have got to get this over with!”. It is a fucking joke, and a pathetic one at that.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That “big kill” will never happen in the Senate, because Republicans control the process. They are not disinterested finders of fact and conclusions of law. They are not merely partisans with a conflict of interest. They have chosen to be aiders and abettors of a lifelong criminal.

          Any case to be made for Trump’s removal from office will have to take place in the House. Ms. Pelosi’s delayed and rushed process precludes that. The short pause that EW recommends would help rebuild that process.

          To get anywhere, though, it needs a rethink from Democratic leadersheep about what they really want to accomplish through impeachment and what role they want the House to play.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Meanwhile, Nancy is so proud of the distance “we” have come, in crafting a new North America free trade agreement. A victory for organized labor, her team claims.

            She makes her announcement the same morning that she announces articles of impeachment. Could she say any louder that impeachment is no big deal, that normal Bidenesque bipartisanship rules, even this far down the rabbit hole, and that other things are far more important.

            • Ollie says:

              came here to say exactly that earl. Alrighty everyone, change topics, happy faces and aren’t we doing a great job. She makes me puke. We’re so h.u.n.g.r.y for decisive, effective and FORCEFUL leadership, the internet goes crazee over Pelosi scolding that reporter. “don’t mess w/Nancy” are you fucking kidding me? I’m SO sick of pathetic crumbs and demolished dreams. I’ve no hope for her.

          • Troutwaxer says:

            Agreed. This impeachment is a “box check,” so someone can tell the progressives that House Dems Did Impeach. But is it really that hard to tell the difference between checking the box and the House Dems really taking impeachment seriously?

            • timbo says:

              Just think how many people were happy for (or happily ignorant of) the extra-judicial killings of Saddam and Osama Bin Laden and you’ll see how far the actual commitment to a society that prizes human dignity and respect has fallen. Pelosi didn’t care all that much about torture, truth be told. It was just “too hard” politically for her to deal with it… so her conscience took a backseat.

              She “don’t hate anyone”? Well, what about all the people who died, were tortured, etc by the US in a ginned up war? What’s her explanation for that per se? “Good Catholic!”?

  5. Badger Robert says:

    Public opinion does change. Through families, in work places, through the way young people use social media, and even Fox news may diversify its message. They want the impeachment issues out there to be discussed before Christmas. Then they want to crush Trump’s support in the polling industry after January 1.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes yes, the country should demand a slipshod lightning speed dealing with this one single incident so that families can discuss it before Christmas. Because that is what the Constitution specifies. It is the law. Are you fucking kidding me???

      • pjb says:

        Schiff did address one argument about slowing the process – that waiting for exhaustion of the absolute immunity argument will not end the obstruction and lead to real testimony because the same witnesses like McGahn, will just raise another impediment, like executive privilege that will have to be litigated for months on end. While that sounded somewhat reasonable on its face, he of course did not address the failure to subpoena Bolton or why no efforts have been made to move the courts for expedited consideration.

        I was thinking as he was talking, that he’s framed the delay issue solely in terms of getting more info on the Ukraine plot and entirely failed to address why they don’t seem to want to see what happens in the Deutsche Bank and Mazars cases. Unless they have some inkling that the documents will not be helpful, I don’t get why they don’t think putting evidence of money laundering, tax evasion, Russian bribery/extortion, etc. would not at least make the Republican Senators squirm as they fecklessly acquit. Any ideas here? If SCOTUS denies cert, this will all happen in January – so it does not involve a long pause.

        • bmaz says:

          That is right. And exactly why the current portrait is baloney and why I and a few others have been screaming about this from well before the Mueller report dropped.

          • pjb says:

            The other thing I thought was curious about the impeachment announcement today was that they boiled the plot down to a single abuse of power count (with an obstruction count too, of course). I cannot count how many times i heard it said that the Dems were using the term “bribery” to describe Trump’s actions precisely because the word is written into the impeachment clause. Why did they drop it as an independent count? Wouldn’t a prosecutor want to have both bribery and abuse of power counts so the Senator/jurors could permit itself to convict on the “lesser included?”

            • bmaz says:

              Yes. Also, note that the “obstruction” count was only as to obstruction of Congress. They have completely abandoned every iota of numerous instances of obstruction of justice that is patently obvious contained definitively in the Mueller report. In so doing, the House Democrats have effectively accepted and ratified that conduct, not to mention the fundamental emolument clause violations. This is why I keep calling said conduct derelict. Because it is, and is a betrayal of the Constitution. Pelosi controls her caucus with an iron fist, this is her doing, and her dereliction.

              • Dave Karson says:

                I agree 100%. I hope that at some point in time, Trump’s many transgressions will be fully apparent to all, and at that time, the current articles of impeachment will be seen as woefully lacking in the magnitude of Trump’s malfeasance.

                • timbo says:

                  That will happen. As long as the human race survives long enough to fully research and write the history of it.

        • Vicks says:

          I realize i’m grasping a bit here, but what is the value of the claim that an impeachment trial wipes out executive privilege?
          If there is any power to that, wouldn’t the success of the House’s mission be decided on the clarity of the picture of corruption they were able to paint and hand over to the Senate for the trial?
          I’m assuming there is a catch?
          Can it be as simple as the Dems appearing ambivalent about things like ignored subpoenas because they had enough evidence to move things forward and were counting on the the senate’s bigger toolbox to finish the job?

          • Katherine M Williams says:

            Where in the Constitution is “Executive Privilege” mentioned and sanctified? I didn’t learn about that in 8th grade.

        • foggycoast says:

          meh, the senators and most trump voters don’t care about money laundering or tax evasion. they already know trump likely did those things before they voted and supported him. and they’re not impeachable offenses. more dirt on trump will make no difference in the trial vote to acquit. where it may make a difference is trump’s fear of prosecution after he’s out and the collapse of his empire when his backers pull the rug out from under him. so if that info is revealed before the trial ends trump may resign. if it comes later then at least maybe it will affect voters.

          • Vicks says:

            Yes.
            They voted for Trump because they wanted him to run our country the way he ran/runs his businesses.
            And here we are.
            He is trashing our institutions the way he trashes anyone or anything that gets in his way, he kicks our working poor and immigrants when they are down the same way he did the black community when attempting to build a real estate empire, he uses the same “try and make me” strategy against those in congress demanding accountability as he does vendors demanding they be paid.
            In both his business of being “the trump” and running our country into the ground he uses outrageous promises, lies, flashes of money (as if you too may get a taste) and then talks dirty at such a volume people get too aroused to notice that somewhere along the way they’ve had to turn their thinkers off in order to be part of something they believe is bigger than themselves.
            A f’ing cartoon character that is made up of EVERY legitimate thing there is to hate about Americans.

            • Dave Karson says:

              I agree with you 100%. I too have been waiting for the “Have you no decency” moment, but given that there have been so many opportunities for this to happen, and it hasn’t, I have given up hope. I don’t even think the old saying, when, in 1983, Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards quipped to reporters “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy” would suffice. I blame Fox Media for much of this mess, because they amplify Trump’s indecent behavior and morals to millions of their followers, lowering our social norms throughout America and then it becomes a self-fulfilling downward spiral as Trump, invigorated by his Campaign Rallies, continues to push the envelope of disgusting Presidential Behavior (i.e., having a simulated orgasm on stage to mock Lisa Page—campaign rally in Minneapolis last month.) The only way to stop this madness is to call every friend on 11/03/2020 to get out and vote. Just my humble opinion.

  6. Willis Warren says:

    This is an excellent post, MTW. I don’t think there’s any chance the full house votes on AoI before the recess this weekend. That would put the full vote around January 10th, or so. By then we should know what SCotUS plans on doing with the Mazars and DB rulings. While I’m skeptical that this is competence on the part of the dems, it does seem they may at least get lucky if SCotUS denies the stalling tactics.

  7. Willis Warren says:

    Also, there’s literally nothing in the AG report that civil libertarians haven’t been saying for years. The process is unfair and allows laziness instead of rigor. Duh.

    Carter Page shouldn’t be the person that this is revealed on, since he was obviously more than willing to sell his country out for a pittance.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’d like to know what Trump discusses in his meeting with Lavrov today. No agenda apparently published, but Vlad did just meet Zelensky to lay down the law. Maybe Vlad is doing the same for the Don, as Trump continues to refuse Z a safe harbor or helpful counter to Russian aggression.

    It’s possible Lavrov is just dropping off the Don’s Aeroflot ticket and has pictures of the revamped dacha prepared for him. I hear it’s on Lubyanka Square, because all the new ones in the Crimea are already sold.

  9. jaango says:

    My Tip of the Hat to our good friend, bmaz and for his series of comments on this thread.

    And as for myself, a “little lying, a little stealing, and a little cheating” is and has been the stellar practice of the ‘center-right’ and the ‘center’ for these past 30 years or since the Reagan Era.

    In January of 2018, I commenced my advocacy for Nancy Pelosi expressing her Ambition for becoming the Democratic ‘nominee’ and subsequently challenging El Trumpudo in 2020.

    Thusly, she sees her future and which is distinct and different from our view that is our ongoing advocacy for “Decency Personified” and this difference of the political script is inherent from here in our wonderful Sonoran Desert.

    And what has occurred within the past 12 to 18 months, my misplaced confidence in Pelosi, is now obvious to me.

    • timbo says:

      Look back to “impeachment is off the table” during the Bush II regime. How can a Speaker of the House remove the most significant power of the House from “the table”? It makes no sense on its face. And that was the point at which I lost any confidence in Ms. Pelosi. Following that, she managed to water down the ACA and turn it into the punching bag of the right, that Act’s passing in the Congress —a Congress controlled completely by Democrats — that Act being delayed while the fund-raisers continued to call DP constituents asking for more money to “help in the fight for health reform” >after< the DP gained control in the 2008 election to do pass "health care reform". Basically, wake up.

  10. Effem says:

    How can we conclude anything about the opening of the investigation until we know more about Mifsud? All horowitz did was check to see if he was an FBI asset. If it turns out he was CIA or other Western intel this narrative would flip real fast and will lend immense credibility to Republicans

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there “Effem”, thanks for returning from your last appearance in mid October, to push the “Mifsud was a western spy!” horse manure. There was no evidence then, and even less now. Do not troll this blog.

      • Effem says:

        I hope i’m not trolling…not my intent. I agree there is little evidence on Mifsud either way. But i see 3 Barr-Durham trips to Italy, and combine it with their statements yesterday, and I start to wonder. In the absence of evidence i try to connect dots…typically serves me well. I won’t comment here any longer.

        • Willis Warren says:

          “either way” doesn’t work that way, bro.

          You either have evidence “Misfud was x” or you don’t. There’s no way to prove “Misfud is not X”

          Barr going to Italy just proves Barr is a fucking hack.

    • chrisbreezy says:

      If Mifsud was a CIA asset, Trump would know because he can just call up Haspel and ask. Talking heads on Fox would be shouting about it within the hour.

    • timbo says:

      Mifsud has nothing to do with whether or not someone took actions that were bad acts. Further, Mifsud has nothing to do with Manafort or Flynn. Or are you saying Mifsud does?

  11. Sandwichman says:

    “…might make… Republicans… rethink…”

    That would be off-brand. Republicans won’t “rethink” because they didn’t think themselves into their current positions in the first place. Party Republicanism is about loyalty, obedience and conformism. “Thinking” is for the sole purpose of making up alternative facts to game the referee-journalists with.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Rs also have to deal with the Make America Grovel Again (to Putin) base, which will turn out in droves in primaries to vote for whoever Faux News, Sinclair and OAN says to vote for. Many MAGA types have no other news outlet options so in strictly political terms the Rs have every motivation to dig in and they have, even before accounting for the fact that the Soviets helped out many of the key cheerleaders like Gaetz and DeSantis in FL.

      To bmaz’s point about the restrictions on the articles, if this were a situation where Ds had control in the Senate it could be argued that the amendments might have made it in there. Or, perhaps this is the first in a series of impeachments (and they really should go after Barr). It’s not like the Rs didn’t already set the standard when Silly Billy was impeached for what a high crime was. I can’t see this as anything other than the one shot the Ds have and they cannot waste it by going easy.

      The Mueller report could still be used to establish the pattern of obstruction (i.e. does the House have to declare it in as evidence now?) and then there is the question of “fact witnesses”. I do not see how either Biden or Adam Schiff (who IMHO would chew up the Rs trying to cross examine him) could be FWs since none of them were present at the telecons and discussions regarding Ukraine. Even the Whistle Blower apparently doesn’t have firsthand knowledge, but the Intel committee heard from several who did, establishing the case and (IMHO, IANAL) rendering the others moot as witnesses. Did Individual-1 make that deal (and Turkey, etc.) or not? Did he order the stonewalling or not (there’s documentation of that from the Palace)? Since there is no question on either of those situations, how the Rs try to “justify” the crimes is irrelevant.

      • timbo says:

        Re: “if this were a situation where Ds had control in the Senate it could be argued”

        Nope. If the “Ds” had control of the Senate, they might just proceed with these two. It’s easier and gets the issue out of the way sooner. That would be particularly true if they had at least 60 Senators (under the current Senate parliamentary rules). And, either way, “Rs” or “Ds” in control of the Senate, there is nothing preventing the “Ds” in the House from forwarding more articles if House leadership decides that’s the way to go.

      • Geoff says:

        I’ve been calling this “impeachment-lite” but this isn’t even that. It’s the absolute least they could do. It reeks of their distaste of the whole process. It spews the essence of “lets just get this over with since it is pointless”, which it most certainly would not be if done properly. It displays epic hubris in that they are now so assured that they will prevail in 2020, when in fact, this, and their other actions make that much less likely now, since Trump and his party of fraudsters will make mince meat of how little there is in here and how by not including all the other stuff, the democrats have effectively sanctioned it.

        This is really and truly an unmitigated disaster. I suspect we may today be uprooting the cornerstone of the soon to be crumbling edifice of our democratic institutions. The sadness this instills in me is really beyond words. I fear we are lost.

        The Democrats simply wont listen to reason. They have been playing this losing hand versus the Republicans for years, not understanding that they are making one set of rules by which to play the game, rules that are ruthless and out of normal bounds, and yet, the Democrats want to keep playing nice politics, and thinking they can work with people that could not care a whit about our principles. They are fighting flame throwing demons with paper knives, and somehow thinking they are winning. I am dumbfounded. I really am.

        I kept hoping we were going to one day have this “have you no sense of decency” moment, when these f-ing liars were going to be called to account, but I dont see it happening. All I see is a giant fox news microphone hooked up the amplifier of social media, fed by pathetic imagery from the likes of Christianne Allen.

        I mean, you read something like this, and you almost lose all faith in humanity :

        https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/10/christianne-allen-giuliani-079762

        • Rugger9 says:

          Perhaps she is this year’s model (ahem)… However she is also a true believer and that seems to be the only qualification for the Palace, let’s not forget the State Departrment flunky exposed a couple of weeks back for (ahem) embellishing her CV.

          Talent is not necessary since Luntz provides all of the talking points needed, after all that works for Tomi Lahren who might have gotten out of her parent’s insurance by now.

          No way LBJ would have let this go like Pelosi has, and one wonders what possessed her to toss in a MACSA “win” for the Palace. Leverage on the hubby?

          Why didn’t anyone on the two committees point out that Junior and Ivanka routinely traded on their name any time “Hunter” came up among other items?

        • Jonf says:

          Adam Schiff said today they went after McGahn and finally got a favorable ruling but it took eight months, not an easy task when they challenge everything. So to carry this further would take far too much time.

          I don’t think this is nothing but I agree it is not very much and the republicans will chew it up. They have the louder voices. So we may have set new protocols.

          • Katherine M Williams says:

            Trump’s lackeys aren’t needed. There is plenty of evidence and plenty of witnesses out there to explain the many crimes Trump has committed. At least, there WERE.
            The deliberately halfhearted, ineffectual impeachment results are a hard punch-in-the-gut (by democratic leaders) to the courageous witnesses who testified in the investigation. They put their LIVES in danger for the sake of our country. And this is what they get. And when Trumpsterfire and his goons go after these people, ruining their lives and their families lives, maybe getting them murdered, where will Nancy be? What will she do? Utter a bon mot, perform a sarcastic golf-clap, raise her eyebrows? Tut-tut for the cameras?

          • pjb says:

            not to be too technical, but I don’t think they filed to compel McGahn until July. It was 4 months. Schiff may have been thinking about the financial records cases. Those have been 8 months.

        • Vicks says:

          People don’t give a shit.
          That’s not the democrats fault, but IT IS how monsters like Trump 2020 are created.
          When it comes to Trump, the folks on both sides that have chosen to participate, simply drown each other out and nothing will move the needle except for pure outrage from decent people.
          I think we need to organize marches and protests and commit to dragging along as many friends neighbors and co-workers that fit the description of “decent” as humanly possible.

          • Katherine M Williams says:

            It IS the democratic leader’s fault. They could have stopped this during the Bush2 criminal administration. The had a clear mandate from the voters in 2008, but threw it away. Now they’ve again thrown away their chance to stop Trump and the Russian dominated republican party. They aren’t the opposition party, the party of liberals and progressives. They’re just the bench party the Owners call to clean up when the republicans make ghastly messes.

            • Vicks says:

              You missed the part where “we the people” choose our leaders
              If we send them to Washington and they fail to act in what we feel is best interest we need to raise hell and then go find a better candidate.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov [with Cheshire Cat grin] offers to release communications using the “specially created channel” between the White House and the Kremlin. American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, parries the offer, “Plenty of material has been disclosed already.” https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews

    In other Breaking News, William P. Barr, having issued his two-page summary of the 26-volume Warren Report – which concludes that, “Mr. Kennedy, already unwell and taking strong medication, has died.” – refuses to authorize release of the full report for privacy reasons. “Plenty of material has been disclosed already.” :<(

    • Mitch Neher says:

      Lavrov denies the proof of Russian 2016 election interference for the sake of angling for declassification of the evidence that would show how The Russians got caught interfering in the 2016 election. IOW, if the proof didn’t exist, then Lavrov wouldn’t be asking for it.

      Oh! I forgot. Nothing is true until The Russians deny it.

  13. harpie says:

    https://twitter.com/Susan_Hennessey/status/1204483704514588672
    11:31 AM – 10 Dec 2019

    Lisa Pages sues the Department of Justice and FBI for violations of the Privacy Act.

    Her complaint is worth reading. It alleges shocking and egregious behavior by DOJ officials, specifically Rod Rosenstein and Sarah Flores.
    Without mincing words, what Page alleges occurred here is that Rosenstein was about to testify before Congress and needed to generate political cover for Trump and to take heat off himself. So he intentionally offered two FBI employees up for the slaughter, in violation of law. [link to filing]

    • Vicks says:

      What a f’ing mess.
      How the hell is our country supposed to survive with such cowards controlling the institutions that are supposed to keep us free? And safe?

    • SteveR says:

      I may well be ignorant of some immunity defenses that may limit its impact, but my initial reaction is that Lisa Page’s lawsuit has the potential to do more damage to Trump and his fanboys than just about anything on the table. I’m not suggesting it should have that potential–just saying it may.

  14. Jonf says:

    Horowitz will sit with the senate judiciary on Wednesday. I’m sure he will love it. Maybe Barr or Trump will come along to tell them how “ I told you so.” Is Page claiming he was railroaded?

  15. Ollie says:

    Oh man, I’m so depressed. I think I’ll go and watch trumps rally today and listen to his lies and watch the clowns suck up his oil slick. maybe I’ll make choc chip cookies too. lol

    • Mitch Neher says:

      I’m no good at cheering people up. But . . .

      I’m pretty sure that Turley is going to defend Trump at Trump’s impeachment trial in The Senate.

      Does that help at all?

  16. Zinsky says:

    I heard you on Michaelangelo Signorelli’s show on Sirius XM today Marcy and you were awesome as usual. He kept cutting you off though, which ticked me off. I agree with your points about the articles of impeachment being crafted too narrowly and not including the abuse of the pardon power. I would have added witness threats or tampering and providing false or misleading statements to investigators.

  17. sela says:

    I don’t see how one week pause would be helpful in any way. There are some important issues that the IG report exposed, but pausing the impeachment process wouldn’t make it easier to resolve these. And the fact that the republicans try to use those issues to discredit the Russia investigation all but guarantee there won’t be any bipartisan effort to fix the FISA process.

    It is unfortunate that the democrat leadership handle the impeachment process half-heartedly, but a week’s delay would solve this either. Pelosi and other democratic leaders are caught between a rock and a hard place. The can’t afford to look the other way and not to impeach, because of the overwhelming evidence that what Trump did was a gross abuse of power. But they are also worried that the impeachment process would energize the republican base and hurt vulnerable democrats.

    So they’re trying to make both sides happy: go with impeachment, but stick with a narrow and quick process, so that by November 2020 it would be enough time that the effect of energizing the republican base would be minimal. Unfortunately, this means there is no time to pursue court cases to get Trump’s inner circle to testify and get more documents, so that there would be a rock-solid case. It is also clear that the impeachment proceedings so far changed very few minds. And I doubt that a better handling of the impeachment process would change these results.

    It is clear now that there wouldn’t be even one single republican senator voting to convict trump. And it doesn’t look like any evidence would change that. Which is yet another reason for Pelosi to do an impeachment-lite. Just get it out of the system, tell the voters that we tried, and get back to other business.

    • bmaz says:

      “Pelosi and other democratic leaders are caught between a rock and a hard place.”

      No, she, and the House Democrats, are not. They are caught between their own majority and electoral expediency and protecting and defending the Constitution. You know, their actual oath of office and duty.

      So, please, spare me why Pelosi should be determined to do “impeachment lite” and just “get it out of the system”.

      That “system” is the Constitution. And, seriously, take your “tell the voters that we tried, and get back to other business” bullshit and shove it.

      The Founders of this country depended and acted on the citizens of this country not being such blithe intellectual cowards and morons as you have evinced.

      This is, by what I can tell, your first comment here. It did not go well. As Melania would say, “Be Better”.

      • Sela says:

        Yes. It is my first comment here. Thank you for the warm and heart-felt welcome. I appreciate it.

        I was not justifying Pelosi. I was explaining her motives. And personally, I disagree with her approach. I would’ve liked to see a more thorough investigation. I would’ve liked to see Bolton, Pompeo, Mulvaney, Giuliani and others testify. I would’ve liked to see Trump removed from his office as soon as possible. But I’m not the one calling the shots.

      • Sela says:

        And one more thing: this may have been my first comment here, but I’m following this blog for almost a year. I’m here because I really enjoy reading Mary’s analysis. I find it very informative, and I agree with 99% of it. But I don’t find it useful to respond just to echo my agreement.

        • bmaz says:

          Her name is Marcy, not Mary. And you are quite welcome here, and hope you comment often. The range of folks who comment here, and their knowledge, is what makes us go.

          • Sela says:

            > Her name is Marcy, not Mary

            Heh, yes, I know :-) It was a typo (or, could I blame the auto-correct on my phone?)

            • bmaz says:

              Absolutely! I honestly think stupid spell check creates more errors for me than it fixes. So, not only fair, but rings home too.

      • Sela says:

        One other point: it looks like you base your argument on deontological ethics. That is, as a set of moral rules or obligations.

        They way the democrats act may seem like political expediency, but they can also claim they apply teleological (or consequential) ethics. I.e. the outcome is what matters.

        There are countless of debates about the choosing the “correct” ethical framework to apply. Personally, I don’t think you can base your decisions only on deontology regardless of the outcome, but when we act based on expected outcome, we need to remember that we can’t predict the future. If I had a crystal ball that tells me that if we did full impeachment there would be 100% chance that Trump would be reelected, and without impeachment (or impeachment lite) Trump won’t get reelected, I would say we should choose impeachment. But because we only speculate about the outcome without any amount of certainty, I disagree with Pelosi’s approach.

          • bmaz says:

            Also, Sela, I am sure that what Hamilton meant to say in places like 65 and 66 of the Federalist Papers, not to mention, you know, the actual Constitution, was that the Constitution should be protected and defended with “impeachment lite” when politicians like Pelosi are more concerned about pure political expediency than their actual oath of office.

            That is your law and Constitution, right?

            • Sela says:

              The constitution is a document, written 223 years ago by a bunch of men. It is a very important document, but nothing more. It is also a flawed document, and parts of it are quite outdated.

              One such flaw is not providing enough checks and balances to restrain or remove someone like Trump, and an impeachment process that becomes ineffective due to a highly politicized senate.

              • timbo says:

                We had an Independent Prosecutor law that was let go by the two major political parties in our Republic. That happened 20+ years ago. Since then, many US politicians have seen the US Presidency as a winner take all proposition.

              • bmaz says:

                Dear Sela: The last person I recall having such blithe ignorance as to what the Constitution is and means was George Bush who (he later denied it of course) said it was “just a damn piece of paper”.

                So that is the company you are in. Good job with your “but nothing more” take.

                When you also blithely say:

                “One such flaw is not providing enough checks and balances to restrain or remove someone like Trump, and an impeachment process that becomes ineffective due to a highly politicized senate”

                Oh please do tell how YOU, Sela, would draft the Constitution to avoid this, and do so in a manner that would withstand centuries of interpretation and application across various political parties, complex issues and time.

                Because, Sela, that is the purpose of the Constitution. No Sela, it is not just another document, it is the very template for our entire republic.

                We are a political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them. You upset with the Senate? Great, go unselect the malefactors and vote in better ones. But do not give me this intellectually lazy bunk that everything would be magically different, better and totally groovy if only we just had different language in the Constitution. Every system of government depends on the good faith of those elected to stand it up. Your argument is simplistic and clownish.

                • Sela says:

                  1. I don’t find guilt by association to be a very persuasive line of argument.

                  2. I do have a lot of respect for the work that the founding fathers put into the constitution, and I appreciate its importance as the foundation if the US political system. Striking the right balance is hard, and they did the best they can based on the assumptions and knowledge they had over 200 years ago. But some of those assumptions no longer hold. I don’t think I could’ve drafted anything better more than 2 centuries ago. But if people drafted it now, it might look different.

                  3. It’s not “just a paper”, its a very important paper, but there is nothing holly about it (and as an atheist, I don’t believe in any kind of holly scriptures). When we discuss moral issues, I believe the constitution is important, but this is not part of my core moral values.

                  4. I’m not even sure what we’re arguing about, since I already stated multiple times that I don’t support Pelosi’s “impeachment lite” strategy, and would’ve liked to see the democrats much more forceful in pursuing impeachment. Heck, I would like to see millions of people going out to the street and protest the president’s corruption and abuse of power. But when it doesn’t come to hurting their own pockets, Americans just don’t do that.

        • bmaz says:

          I’m sorry, I Kant.

          And “impeachment lite” is complete shit. Impeachment, as a device, is going nowhere in the Senate. (Have you watched the Senate today?) So staying lean and “lite” is asinine, and only serves to ratify the sorry entirety of Trump’s entire history of malfeasance beyond the stupid Ukrainian phone call.

          The Ukraine call really knocks me out, but leaves the worst behind.

          And, shit, we would never want to acknowledge all the other direct Constitutional violations such as emoluments, bribery, separation of powers etc. (not to mention rampant campaign finance statutory violations) right? Probably best to ignore, and thus ratify all that, in the asinine effort to pursue “impeachment lite”, right? Thanks.

  18. vertalio says:

    Questions here:
    When it goes to the Senate, how does the narrow crafting affect ability to call witnesses? Does it leave too many out, if any are to be called in the first place?

    And is it possible the Dems call Bolton to testify, and he shows?

    • Mitch Neher says:

      They say no lawyer is ever suppose to pose a question to any witness unless that lawyer already knows how that witness is going to answer that question.

      I’m guessing that no one really knows what words might pop out of Bolton’s mouth.

      There’s got to be a punch-line there . . .

    • Sela says:

      Recent reports now say they may not call any witnesses. Looks like McConnel is planning to do a quick dismissal without any witnesses, instead of an actual trial.

      • timbo says:

        He may not have the votes for that. Also, in another instance, the House could sue the Senate for failure to actually conduct a trial… as required under the Constitution. There’s nothing there about instant exoneration of impeachment articles whatsoever. That doesn’t mean that McConnell and the other GOP thugs won’t try to avoid an actual trial… although recent rumors are that Trump wants an actual trial…”for the spectacle”.

          • P J Evans says:

            I wonder what Roberts might do if the Senate refuses to have a trial, or goes for one with a forgone verdict (as they seem to intend).

          • timbo says:

            Why not? If the Senate does not do its duty as spelled out in the Constitution, why can’t the officials in the Senate abusing the Constitution be sued? So you are saying that if the leader(s) of the Senate decide not follow the Constitution that there is no recourse under the Constitution to prevent them from not upholding the Constitutional framework itself?

  19. Bay State Librul says:

    Earl,

    Just read your comment on the Warren Report.
    Made me laugh, was a wonderful quip, and if you a golfer, went two under par.
    Can you send it to the Onion.

  20. Bay State Librul says:

    Sela,

    Good comment on Pelosi
    You shouldn’t have been taken to the woodshed.
    You deserve an apology.

  21. Mitch Neher says:

    Sometimes it is useful to belabor the obvious. In the present case: Trump’s rank hypocrisy.

    Trump complains most bitterly that his predecessor, Obama, had supposedly misused and abused the powers of the office of the president as well as the CIA and the FBI to spy upon Trump’s 2016 campaign.

    At the same, Trump claims that there’s supposedly nothing wrong with a POTUS, (Trump), misusing and abusing those same official powers–not to mention The Justice Department, The State Department and The Department of Defense–to demand, or otherwise to solicit, derogatory information about his 2020 political opponent(s) from a foreign government official by means of inducing fear in that foreign government official.

    (Admittedly, that’s not exactly the same thing as spying on a campaign. In fact, it’s worse. Lots worse.)

    The simple fact that Trump’s hypocrisy is so egregiously obvious ought not to lead anyone to give short shrift to Trump’s stinking hypocrisy. Which is the greater insult to our intellects? Belaboring the obviousness of Trump’s hypocrisy? Or giving short shrift to Trump’s incomparable hypocrisy?

  22. Vicks says:

    For clarification,
    The mistakes on the FISA’s detailed by Horowitz were the same redacted FISAS that Nunes and company had filled in like mad libs (with words like “dossier”) and kept waving in front of the TV cameras?
    I know some had the clearance to view these documents un-redacted and used what they knew to calm or agitate
    Certainly Carter Page was not among those allowed to view the originals or even be briefed?

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Donald J. Putin wants to issue an executive order, declaring that Judaism is a “nationality.” It can only be a coincidence that that’s exactly how Vladimir Trump’s Russia categorizes people of the Jewish faith – not as Russians, but as Jews. I might be wrong, but I’m beginning to see a pattern.

    Trump sees the world only through stereotypes: Jews are either Fagin or Shylock, grasping pawnbrokers or investment bankers. He claims the move is designed to protect them. Of course he does, just as he protects immigrant children at the border.

    Trump’s move is blatantly anti-Semitic. It singles out Jews for disparate treatment by categorizing them as unAmerican or at least as having dual loyalties. It creates a foundation for further discrimination and a precedent for similarly categorizing and discriminating against others. Will Mr. Trump next double the subsidy for American railroads, because we need more freight capacity?

    • Rugger9 says:

      The idea is to squelch BDS actions as being subject to antidiscrimination actions, but as noted in several places it opens many cans of worms, such as:

      How are we to know if someone is Jewish? How about someone like Madonna who apparently has switched to Kabbalah Judaism? Is there an official mark and/or time limits for making their sensibilities known, or can someone switch for convenience?

      Where is the “Jewish” embassy? Which sect applies, i.e. Orthodox, Reform, Hasidic, etc.?

      It’s a Trojan Horse statement.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I’ll take Humpty Dumpty for $1200 Alex, for whom a word “means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

        I think the EO is what many critics say it is. It is also distracting critics and stirring the base, and distracting a weak-minded president, who is getting uniformly bad news and feeling besieged on all sides. A typical Monday morning’s output from Stephen Miller.

    • Mitch Neher says:

      Would that mean that Jared Kushner would no longer be ‘Merican by dint of Trump’s own EO? Is ‘Merican a nationality? What’s going on? What’s going on?

      [Wait. That’s looks like a complex question. (Think of the grandkids.) Grampa’s a dufus.]

    • Vicks says:

      “Nation”
      “A large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.”
      Where is this mythic land of which Trump speaks?
      What will they call it?
      Perhaps Ivanka knows?
      How do you convert to a nationality?
      Will my jewish friends and in-laws need to change their passports?
      Perhaps a special mark will do?
      Aside form the obvious horror that our leader would ignore our own country’s history of the inhumanity that results when the rich and powerful claim they have the right to classify an entire group of human beings because it solves a problem, isn’t this a legal pile of crap?
      Aren’t our courts busy enough without being forced to hear white supremacists argue against a bogus protection for those they live to harass?
      There is no tipping point folks, every day DJT is in office another brick get pulled of what is supposed to protect us from the monsters.

  24. Rugger9 says:

    The Senate JC hearing is today, and Lindsey is in full bootlicking mode. I’m ashamed he’s a Navy JAG, speaking as a former line officer. As expected, it is a shoot the messengers mode (Steele, Kline (?), Strzok and Page) and focusing on the errors made.

    While we can agree about the errors being bad optics (and I note that none of the pearl-clutchers had the same issues in the Shrub years over more illegal / flimsy warrants because Ds were targeted) they do not undermine the fundamental issue: did the Trump campaign conspire with the Russians?

    This is why Durham’s statement is so problematic, since it is a signal that Barr intends to spring an October surprise. I think the success of that gambit depends upon the nominee, since I doubt that Warren (for example) will have any Soviet links to exploit. Remember that Republicans want to rule, not govern.

    Other items to consider as well as this plays out: Not all of the aid is released, something like 10% or so is still held, and also parallels the aid withheld to Lebanon (in the vicinity of the Russian base at Tarsus), also illegally, until it was noticed in the press. The other item that needed to be raised at HJC was the fact that the DOJ, State etc., et al had all issued formal declarations that the corruption standards (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) were satisfied prior to the decision to hold the aid was apparently made. I will speculate that Vlad was asking for this Ukrainian favor from Individual-1 who then botched the cover story.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Good on Durbin for raising the NYC Feeb office (Horowitz is still looking into that one) leaking HRC’s [unopened] emails as a scary story.

  25. P J Evans says:

    Mark Sumner has been liveblogging the house hearing today.

    Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 1:13:10 PM PST · Mark Sumner
    It’s kind of nice that Trump was able to just sit back, stonewall, and let Republicans in the House completely fabricate his defense. Considering the handicap of having no facts to base it on, it’s almost ten percent reasonable.

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