Today the Senators begin to get involved with the impeachment trial, by asking questions, via Justice Roberts, to the two sides. I’ll be listening, and posting my thoughts here. Follow along and pitch in, or share out to your network, if you want. Or not. But, please, do something. Call your Representatives and Senators. Write your friends. Go to the streets with a sign, or post your thoughts online. Do something.
Or, if you want, just fuggedaboutit, as the mobsters say. After all, it’s only the future of America at stake. No worries! Alrighty, now, here we go….
***What if it wasn’t Nero who fiddled, while Rome fell. What if it was the people who fiddled while their city burned, expecting Nero to save them?
*** We’ve heard Trump say “Read the transcript.” So maybe we need to actually see the transcript.
*** This question-answer is a bit fast and deep for me to post along the way… I’ll put a few thoughts up in a while if they take a bathroom break. But here’s what Cassandra just said: The Trump-supporting Senators won’t ask the House managers another question, because Schiff just destroyed a hypothetical from Cruz and Graham. They won’t have the stones to risk that again…
***Good prayer today: “they are accountable to you.” (and to the people) “it is never wrong to do right.”
first question: Collins, Murkowski and Romney ask president’s counsel. “If he had more than one motive for his actions, how should they consider multiple motives?”
Philbin says motive cannot be impeachable. not the right way to frame the question.
But if it were, mixed motives can’t be impeachable, um why? (let me think, if I rob a bank and give twenty bucks to an old lady at the door on the way out…) He shifts the burden of proof to say the action must have “no public motive”. even a “smidgeon” of public interest. Even any “possible” public motive. Thus he raises the impeachment bar so high it’s impossible to reach. And the contradiction in their argument is exposed. The only way to impeach is to judge motive. But it is impossible to judge motive according to yesterday’s argument. Catch 22, baby.
Oh, cool, he brought in Crowdstrike, Putin’s theory… how cool is that. That’s not legitimate public interest.
This question is a search for a get-out for the moderates, or a response to a point they got from the Trumpies.
It’s Pretzel-Logic Philbin from now on.
This is out of sequence, but important, I think.
*** —A question to the Trumpies: “Is it true that quid pro quos are often used in foreign policy?”
Dershowitz starts with the Mideast Peace Plan agreed between Netanyahu and Trump yesterday. Why? (Cassandra starts crying when I say that. She told me yesterday about the Peace Deal, “there’s a horrible quo, coming for this quid.” What did Trump get from Bibi for this deal? We don’t know yet.) Dershowitz says the alleged kind of quid pro quo cannot be impeachable. The president might “believe it was in the national interest” He’s using the “We can’t know his motives. God works in mysterious ways defense.” Yep, he might have murdered that guy for a good reason, he might have robbed that bank for a good reason, “It’s impossible to discern.” OMG fookin’ God, now Dersh thinks it’s legal for the president to do anything to get himself elected, because the president’s own re-election is in the national interest. Dersh is literally arguing that the President can do anything anything at all in order to get himself re-elected. He really said that. This is utterly insane. How can you argue that! (oh if there’s money involved it would be impeachable. That’s nice to know. There is money, of course, involved in the Ukraine scheme, as Elizabeth Warren pointed out yesterday.) Dershowitz has just shamed himself forever, though that was a done deal already so I guess he has little to lose for promoting this wannabe dictator. But, at the very end Dersh sneaks in a weirdly detailed hypothetical of what would be impeachable, what sounds like a description of a Trump deal, a hotel in a foreign country, that would be impeachable, very likely related to the Trump tower request in Turkey I heard something about. research needed on this. I heard somewhere that Bolton knows something about Turkey, too. If there were other quid pro quos, that would be more evidence for removal. Does Dersh have his own mixed motives?
Added later. These CNN folks hear it the same way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRnP9xjYmIM
*** Kamala Harris (I hope I have the names right of questioners right. It’s a little hard to be sure who has asked the questions.) has used her questions to get a lot of the most egregious Trump quotes into the record and airwaves. Her first question, just before the first break, included both “When the president does it, it’s not illegal.” And it even had part of the infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” quote. Her second question, with Patty Murray, included the quote from the Parnas tape about taking out Ambassador Yovanovitch. And Justice Roberts has to speak the words, and feel their bitter taste on his tongue. Nice way to use the questions, Kamala. You kick ass!
*** Schiff said straight up that he never met the whistle-blower and his staff did not coordinate with them. I get the feeling he may end up under oath in this trial, though that would be utterly, fookin’ wierd. I hope he’s telling the truth.
*** I don’t know if it’s pretzel logic, or just plain old Catch 22 that Philbin and crew are spewing. If you do, you don’t, if you have to, you can’t. You have to understand the president’s motives to impeach, but you can’t understand his motives. (I call this “God works by mysterious ways defense”.) But Catch 22 also applies to subpoenas: You have to go to court, but the courts have no jurisdiction. Philbin almost chuckled himself as he read the words someone had written for him. You need a crime to impeach the president, but you can’t charge a crime against the president. This whole thing is a defense of a mobster president by the Catch 22 in the Constitution. Except I searched my copy of the US Constitution, and I just couldn’t find the Catch 22 clause. WTF. But I’m just a poet and out of work English teacher, not a lawyer after all.
*** The “what standard of proof to use” question was a real question. Finally! The president’s man wants the strictest imaginable standard, proof beyond even an unreasonable doubt. The House wants a “clear and convincing to any reasonable person” standard of judgement. You might say common sense. I think the convincing point was that “impeachment is not a punishment. it is a protection” for future elections. The standard you need to protect yourself from a criminal is not as strong as the standard you would need to put him in jail. That would be for the courts. For a random example, the Southern District Court of New York.
*** Philbin said, in response to a question, that yes, the admin is trying to suppress publication of Bolton’s book. Big news. All the more reason for his testimony. Supported by this article now on CNN.
For the break, here’s a clip from Parnas. Trumpworld is a cult, he says.
*** Merkley’s question, the second question about the Bolton manuscript, asking the President’s team when they first heard about it, was striking to me. There must be something important, there, to ask a second time, along with who in the President’s office declared it classified. Philbin refused, of course, to answer the question this second time, either.
***The President’s defenders are asked. “Foreign involvement in elections is illegal. Does Trump think it is?”
!!!This is big!!! Philbin says there are only some specific ways that foreign governments can’t get involved in our elections— finance, etc. But not just information. Now he says the Dept of Justice stopped the Whistle-blower complaint because of this opinion that getting info from a foreign country wasn’t illegal. He’s basically saying getting “mere” information from a foreign government wouldn’t violate law. And he is defending this notion. This must be a deep fall-back for them. He is saying you can get “foreign assistance” in an election if it’s not money. And doesn’t address the issue of what if that “info” isn’t true.
Thank goodness. time for another break.
***Dershowitz had a couple good moments after dinner, but likely had one Scotch too many, because overall he was rambling and ineffective in the five minute chunks he had. Philosophically there was an interesting aside into the difference between motive and intent, but didn’t the other Trumpians say big Don’s mind was impossible to read? And Dirt-show-itz (couldn’t help it doing it once) raised again this truly frightening idea that the President is the entire executive branch (I need to research this) and that he can’t be replaced. (Doesn’t the Constitution cover this, fool?) It was funny to hear him stumble on that and then try “sometimes the vice pres might not be available.”) But again, there was a weird moment when he harked a second time to the 25th amendment, as if hinting that he knows Trump is incompetent.
Then, in his next to last appearance, he makes a short case against democracy. Scary stuff, for sure. Followed by an amazing statement that the framers were looking for bi-partisanship in impeachments, which is interesting because there wasn’t the two-party system we have now, back then. In fact, the Constitution doesn’t mention political parties that I remember. I really need to update my copy, I guess, to Dershy’s latest version. He doesn’t say that, if Senators don’t obey their oaths to be impartial, then the super majority requirement makes impeachment actually impossible, and gives our nation no way to escape the grasp of a criminal president who will subvert free elections and warp the Constitution to his whim.
I would think Dershowitz should be more afraid of tyranny than he is of democracy. The framers were, and so am I.
The biggest takeaway of the day was Adam Schiff. His answers nailed the main issues all day long. He stands out among all the presenters, for his passion, his articulateness, and his freakin’ brilliance. I hope they call him as a witness, ’cause I think he will destroy them. I doubt they will. But “you cannot have a fair trial without witnesses.”
And, now, as the news cycle spins down for another short night, Rand Paul says he’s going to put the whistle-blower’s name into a question tomorrow. I wonder if Roberts will read it out loud. How disrespectful of the Chief Justice, if nothing else, to put him in that spot. And Paul’s going to do it because… the only reason I can think of is to prove he’s a fookin’ asshole full stop.
That much we already know, though it’s sad that he once had a free-thinking side to himself. Now he’s mired deep in the sewers of the Trump cult.
But, then again, you never know what someone will do when the morning comes.