Senate Impeachment Trial–Final Day

Mercifully It’s Over!

Finally this Greek comedy has mercifully come to an end…at least in the US Senate…..but we will see and hear more in the coming days until the writers get cramps and move on.

The final vote….and the vote was no surprise….

President Trump has been acquitted on both articles of impeachment and will not be removed from office, USA Today reports. The vote for the first article, abuse of power, was 52-48, CNN reports. All 47 Democratic senators voted to convict, the Wall Street Journal reports. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney also voted to convict, breaking with his fellow Republicans, a decision he had announced on the Senate floor before the vote Wednesday, the AP reports. Romney said Trump’s actions were “perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of oath of office that I can imagine.” He’s the only senator in US history who has ever voted to convict a president from his own party during an impeachment trial. Romney did not, however, vote with Democrats on the second article, obstruction of Congress; the vote on that charge was 53-47.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declared, per the Guardian: “The Senate having tried Donald John Trump, President of the United States, upon two Articles of Impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Representatives, and two-thirds of the Senators present not having found him guilty of the charges contained therein: it is, therefore, ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles.” Before the trial officially adjourned, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented Roberts with a golden gavel to thank him for presiding over the trial. “We typically award this to new senators after about 100 hours in the chair, but we can all believe that the chief justice has put in his due and then some,” he said. The Senate is now in recess until next week

The only thing this accomplishes is the rapid deterioration of our political system into chaos of corruption and greed…..well done GOP…..they have NEVER cared about the nation or the Constitution except when it is a slogan/prop for voters…..

The GOP can NO longer claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility or to champion the Constitution.

Not to worry the president will have to go before the cameras and doing his Reality TV thing on this acquittal…..

President Trump celebrated acquittal in his impeachment trial Wednesday by suggesting that he could remain president for more than 90,000 years—long beyond the limits set by both the human lifespan and the US Constitution. Trump tweeted a video based on a Time magazine cover from last year that shows campaign signs up to “Trump 2048,” the Hill reports. The video, which the president has shared before, shows the sign number ticking upward until it reaches “Trump 90,000,” followed by “Trump 4EVA.” Trump allies including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, tweeted about Trump being “acquitted for life,” the Week reports.

In another tweet, Trump slammed “failed presidential candidate” Sen. Mitt Romney, the only Republican senator to vote for conviction—and the only senator to vote against his party in any of the three presidential impeachment trials in US history. Had Romney “devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election,” said Trump, who also tweeted a video that claimed Romney was a “secret Democrat asset.” The president said he would make a statement at noon Thursday from the White House to “discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!”

It is over!

Trump will forever be an impeached president like Clinton…..on the other hand he was acquitted of the “crimes” like Clinton.

Now the story should be…..will there be  price for the Senators vote?

The Congress will take a week off to recover from having to work days on end…..their wallets are slimmer since the donors have been otherwise distracted.

Now the work of the country needs to be handled….like that will happen.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 11

We are getting damn close to the final chapter…..the vote will bring this portion of the Greek comedy to a close…..

Last month I wrote that there should be a censure instead of a impeachment…. https://lobotero.com/2020/01/13/would-a-censure-be-better/  ……..no one was listening….will guess what is being floated before the official vote?

It’s time for closing arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial. Both sides are getting two hours apiece in the Senate on Monday, but the ultimate vote—an expected acquittal—won’t take place until Wednesday, reports USA Today. The reason? So senators can make speeches on the Senate floor before casting their votes. Coverage:

  • For the defense: “You understand the arguments that we’ve been making, and at the end of the day, the key conclusion, we believe the only conclusion based on the evidence and based on the articles of impeachment themselves and the Constitution, is that you must vote to acquit the President,” said White House counsel Pat Cipollone, per CNN. He reiterated a common accusation from the defense team, that Democrats are trying to overturn the 2016 election results.
  • Schiff’s plea: In his own closing argument, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff said senators had a duty to act. “I do not ask you to convict him because truth or right or decency matters nothing to him, but because we have proven our case, and it matters to you,” he said. “Truth matters to you. Right matters to you. You are decent. He is not who you are.”
  • Censure? With acquittal all but a certainty, Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen suggested Monday that Trump should at least be censured for his dealings with Ukraine, reports the Washington Post. “If they were serious about punishing misconduct and they don’t want to vote to impeach and remove, at the very least, at the very least, they should have enough respect for the system to introduce a resolution of censure after Wednesday,” he said of Republicans. Fellow Democrat Michael Bennet voiced a similar sentiment. Some GOP senators, including Lamar Alexander, have said Trump’s actions were inappropriate but not impeachable.
  • Maybe not: The chances of censure? “Zero,” said GOP Sen. Mike Braun. Even some Democrats weren’t thrilled. “What he did was an impeachable offense,” said Sen. Jon Tester. “A slap on the wrist doesn’t do any good.”
  • Done deal? By the count of Politico, 34 senators have indicated they will vote for acquittal, meaning Democrats face a “mathematical impossibility” in convicting Trump.
  • Those speeches: Senators aren’t allowed to speak during impeachment trials, so this week’s speeches required a parliamentary workaround. The Hill explains: After closing arguments, the Senate will adjourn as a court to allow for the speeches. When they’re done, the Senate will reconvene as a court at 4pm ET Wednesday, and the vote will then take place.

Soon all the whining, bitching and ranting will be over….and then what?

Why bother with a Wednesday vote?

We already know the outcome…..why waste valuable time on stupidity?

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“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day Of Rest

The Senate decided to take a break from the rigors of doing nothing and give the Senators the weekend to run back for their infusion of corporate cash from the masters they serve.

With that said I have a couple of thoughts…..

One, I agree with mot of the so-called conservs that it is a sham…..I mean a trial with no witnesses….now that is something many criminal has desired in the past…..maybe now they will get their wants.

The House made their case….like the outcome or not….it was based on facts and evidence and witnesses….like them or not……but the defense has been something out of a Greek comedy.

The Senate impeachment trial playing out in Washington, D.C., is a history-making event, not just because it is only the third time that the Senate has ever been asked to formally consider removing a president, but also because it showcases, in stunning terms, the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party. It would be laughable, if it weren’t so tragic, to watch defenders of President Donald Trump tying themselves into knots in attempting to prove his innocence. They are forced to resort to constant contradictions of their own past statements—and of one another—at every turn, because there is no other way to defend Trump’s actions.

Chief among the embarrassing discrepancies on display is how Trump’s backers approached the 1999 impeachment of President Bill Clinton compared with their handling of Trump’s trial today. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who may be the single most powerful enabler of Trump’s impunity with his assurances of being in lockstep with the White House, said this about the president during a closed-door testimony at Clinton’s Senate impeachment trial:

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/31/trumps-impeachment-defense-incoherent-design

This opens the door for an unscrupulous politician to rape and pillage the nation….you know kinda like those third world politicians that you condemn.

I know they won’t but the GOP needs to be reminded of their actions this year and the blind eye they turn to corruption and criminal activity.

But I know if anyone can spin this into something positive and vote getting it is the toads in the GOP.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 10

Did this silly drama end on Friday?

Well the answer is…NO IT DID NOT!

The Senate is taking the weekend off from President Trump’s impeachment trial. After voting Friday against hearing from witnesses, Democrats and Republicans came to a deal about how the next five days will go. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced four amendments to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution for how to end the trial, all having to do with subpoenaing witnesses; all were quickly voted down. Sources say Schumer could have dragged things out, but agreed not to if McConnell agreed to schedule the final vote for after Trump’s State of the Union address, which is coming up Tuesday. (But sources also tell Politico Trump’s lawyers asked for more time to prepare their closing arguments.) Then, per CNN, the Senate voted 53-47 to approve McConnell’s resolution laying out the schedule for the rest of the trial, and the trial was adjourned for the night.

Per McConnell’s resolution, the trial will resume Monday at 11am Eastern for up to four hours of closing arguments; House managers and Trump’s lawyers will get two hours each. Then it will be adjourned again until Wednesday at 4pm Eastern when a final vote on the articles of impeachment will be held (and Trump will almost certainly be acquitted). Between the adjournment Monday and the vote Wednesday, senators will be allowed to make floor speeches on the trial. Senate Majority Whip John Thune explained to CNN that Democrats planned to use “any number of dilatory tactics” to ensure the trial extended beyond the SOTU anyway, essentially forcing McConnell to cut the deal and spare senators late nights and weekend sessions. Sources say McConnell called Trump and got his approval for the timing. Also happening Monday? The Iowa caucuses, 2020’s first primary election; the schedule gives the four Senate Democrats running for president time to campaign.

So I have the weekend off from the madness and the utter silliness.

But the best thing all day was the vote on witness to be heard or not…..I mean it prtoves that this is a sham and a waste of time…..I mean why have witnesses to a crime during a trial…..

The Senate will not call witnesses to the impeachment trial. Senators rejected the measure 51-49 on Friday, with the GOP’s Mitt Romney and Susan Collins the only Republicans to vote with Democrats. The outcome had effectively been sealed earlier Friday when GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she would vote against calling witnesses, reports NBC News. Coupled with Lamar Alexander’s same announcement Thursday night, that gave Mitch McConnell the votes he needed to block additional witnesses such as John Bolton. But will the trial be wrapped up in the wee hours of Friday as some have speculated? Maybe not. Coverage:

  • Next week? Politico reports that GOP senators and aides are warning that the trial might extend into next week after all. The proceedings could go on until Wednesday, meaning they would not be over before Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday and the Iowa caucuses on Monday. This would allow for lengthy closing arguments from both sides, as well as speeches from senators from the chamber’s floor.
  • More from Bolton: The New York Times has more details from the former national security adviser’s upcoming memoir that relates to the impeachment trial. Bolton writes that Trump asked him for help pressuring Ukraine to investigate politico foes two months before the president’s famous phone call with Ukraine’s president. This would mark the earliest known such effort by Trump. Bolton asserts that Trump asked him to make sure Ukraine’s president met with Rudy Giuliani.
  • And more: Bolton also wrote that top White House aides including chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Giuliani, and White House counsel Pat Cipollone (who is defending Trump in the trial) were in the room at the time. Giuliani called the claim “categorically untrue.”
  • Trump denies: “I never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America and by far the greatest mayor in the history of N.Y.C., to meet with President Zelensky,” Trump said in a statement. “That meeting never happened.”
  • Murkowski elaborates: “The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed,” said the Alaska senator in a statement. “I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena,” Murkowski said in a statement.
  • Alexander elaborates: On Friday, Alexander explained his thinking on Trump’s behavior, saying it was inappropriate but not impeachable. “It seemed to me that the president did it, he did what he was accused of,” Alexander said, per the Washington Post. “There’s a difference between inappropriate conduct, which that clearly is, and treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors. … I think there’s a big gap between this conduct and impeachable conduct.”
  • Dershowitz: Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz has become a “lightning rod” for criticism, per the Hill, but Dershowitz tells the outlet his role on the defense team has been limited. “I did not participate in strategic decisions or tactical decisions about witnesses or anything like that,” he said. “I just delivered my constitutional argument and made myself available to answer questions.” His argument: That Trump should not be impeached because he did not commit a crime.

This is a textbook trial all right…..I will be used to show how to get away with a crime by a president……I hope the GOP remembers that they did this to the country and its people.

Maybe the voters will finally show some intelligence and get these corrupt slugs out of government.

We will see…..more to come next week…..

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“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 9

Before I get the guts of the day’s doings there is something I want to pass on……

This trial is a work of absurdity…why? Some jurors have stated without hearing evidence that the accused is not guilty….that flies into the face of our so-called fair and balanced judicial system.

I am not alone in seeing the absurdity…….

President Trump is on trial.

As in a real trial, charges have been asserted: the House alleges high crimes and misdemeanors. A judge presides: Chief Justice John Roberts sits in his fine black robe at the head of the chamber. There are prosecutors (the House impeachment managers) and defense counsel (Trump’s “A-team” of lawyers).

And pursuant to our Constitution, the jurors—the members of the Senate—have sworn an oath to render “impartial justice” at the end of the trial.

So, it looks like a trial. Except that in my 40 years as a lawyer, I’ve never seen a trial that corruptly flouted the basic requirements for fairness as brazenly as this one.

In a real trial, any juror who admitted conspiring with the defendant would be unceremoniously ejected from the jury. Yet Republican Senate leader and sworn-to-be-impartial juror Mitch McConnell openly proclaims on television, “Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House counsel.”

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/29/senates-make-believe-trial-donald-trump

Day 9 is in the bag…….what amazing stuff has transpired (you realize that is sarcasm, right?)

Question and answer portion continues…….

Let’s go the analysis shall we?

After a dinner break, senators have resumed their final round of questions in President Trump’s impeachment trial, a session expected to last into Thursday night. (Read highlights from the first round.) That will set the stage for Friday’s much-anticipated vote on whether to call witnesses such as former national security adviser John Bolton. Ongoing coverage:

  • Rand Paul: For the second straight day, Rand Paul submitted a question that named the person believed to be the whistleblower in the Ukraine controversy, and for the second straight day, Chief Justice John Roberts refused to admit it. “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted,” said Roberts, per CNN. Paul said afterward that his submitted question made no reference to a whistleblower and read it aloud to reporters. The Hill, however, notes that it did include the name that has been reported in conservative media as the whistleblower. Paul said Roberts had no right to block the question.
  • Paul’s explanation: “My question today is about whether or not individuals who were holdovers from the Obama National Security Council and Democrat partisans conspired with Schiff staffers to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings,” he tweeted. CNN reports he walked out of the impeachment trial to talk to reporters after Roberts blocked his question. On Wednesday, after his first question was rejected, a reporter for Roll Call said Paul was visibly angry during a break in the trial. “I don’t want to have to stand up to try and fight for recognition,” Paul said loudly, according to Niels Lesniewski. “If I have to fight for recognition, I will.”
  • The question gets asked, sort of: Later in the day, GOP Sen. Ron Johnson submitted a question the Guardian says was “clearly based off” Paul’s rejected question, only this one did not include a name. Roberts read the question, which had to do with a right-wing claim that the whistleblower schemed with Democratic staffers of House intelligence committee members in an attempt to take down the president. CNN notes the question was about lead Democratic impeachment manager Adam Schiff’s staffer who used to work at the NSC, and that Schiff was “really mad” when it was asked.
  • Is it actually illegal to out the whistleblower? Short answer: It’s complicated. CNN explains all the ins and outs here.
  • Who is the whistleblower? Schiff said at one point, before Johnson’s question, “I can’t tell you who the whistleblower is because I don’t know, but I can tell you who it should be. It should be every one of us. Everyone one of us should be willing to blow the whistle on misconduct.”
  • Awkwardness for Roberts: The chief justice read a question from Sen. Elizabeth Warren that he might have been tempted to answer. The Democrat asked whether “the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution.” The GOP side of the Senate began buzzing, per the Washington Post, while Democrats showed no emotion. After a pause, Schiff deflected from Roberts, saying it’s Congress that’s taking the hit. “It reflects adversely on us,” Schiff said.
  • Trump’s slam: In a tweet Thursday, the president went after Schiff. “His District is in terrible shape,” wrote Trump. “He is a corrupt pol who only dreams of the Impeachment Hoax. In my opinion he is mentally deranged!”
  • More Schiff: Another one of Schiff’s notable answers of the day came when he was asked why some aid freezes are OK, but the Ukraine aid freeze is not. “No one has suggested you can’t condition aid, but I would hope that we would all agree that you can’t condition aid for a corrupt purpose, to try to get a foreign power to cheat in your election,” he said.
  • Tie-breaker? A big question in regard to witnesses is whether Roberts would break the tie if the vote is 50-50. On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi said he should do so, per the Post. She also said that if the trial does not allow witnesses or new documents, it will be a sham and thus any acquittal will be meaningless. Trump, she said, will be “impeached forever.”
  • A DoJ comment makes waves: In an unrelated trial related to the 2020 census, a Department of Justice lawyer said in federal court Thursday that the House can use its impeachment powers to enforce subpoenas. Schiff mentioned the comment at the impeachment trial a few hours later, saying it was “in the category of ‘you can’t make this stuff up.'” CNN explains more here.
  • General mood: CNN describes the senators as “lackadaisical” on Q&A day 2, noting that some were not present when the session got started and some wandered in late.
  • Dershowitz circles back to Wednesday: On day 1 of Q&A, Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz offered what the AP calls a “stunning defense” of Trump’s aid freeze, arguing that a president can’t be impeached for something he does in the interest of getting himself re-elected, if he believes that re-election is in the public interest. That sparked quite an outcry, with critics saying it sets a dangerous precedent, but Dershowitz tweeted two dozen times Thursday on the matter. The first one: “Taking advantage of the fact most of their viewers didn’t actually hear the senate Q and A, CNN, MSNBC and some other media willfully distorted my answers.”

Sorry but to me this day was more about the game than the trial….the questions were for their persons time on camera than the evidence…..and then there is Rand Paul…..if there was ever a “media whore” it is this slug.

Not to worry there is more to come…..the fun is not over yet.

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“lego ergo scribo”

 

 

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 8

Day 8 and it is still not finished…..there is so much news and this is all the blogs are awash with…..that and how “liberals” are socialists….is there an election soon?

Looks like the GOP is trying to wrap their portion up soon…..

President Trump’s defense rested its case in his impeachment trial Tuesday, with White House lawyers urging senators to vote to acquit—and at least three Democrats may end up joining Republicans in doing so. Politico reports that Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Doug Jones of Alabama are still undecided and say they won’t know whether to vote to convict until the trial is over. “I am leaning in certain ways but I want to hear, I truly, honestly, want to hear the entire trial,” says Jones, who is up for reelection in a red state this year. At least one of the senators may end up splitting their vote and choosing to find Trump guilty of abuse of power but not of obstructing Congress, or vice versa.

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski might buck their party on calling witnesses, but it’s not clear whether they would vote to convict the president. A vote on calling witnesses is expected Friday, after 16 hours of questions from senators, which start Wednesday. The Hill reports that Republican senators, who hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber, emerged from a caucus meeting Tuesday expressing confidence that they would have the 50 votes needed to avoid calling John Bolton or any other new witnesses, meaning the trial could end Friday. Senators say Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the meeting that a vote to bring in new witnesses could extend the trial for weeks.

These 3 Dems are the ones I would expect to side with the GOP…….no matter the evidence.

Question and answer portion……

President Trump’s impeachment trial moved into the 16-hour Q&A phase on Wednesday, and a thus-far largely quiet Chief Justice John Roberts is featuring much more heavily. NBC News explains the process: Senators must write each question on a six-line question card and then give that card to Mitch McConnell or Chuck Schumer. Questions are then given to Roberts, who will name the questioner and then read the question aloud. He has asked that each side—that would be House managers and Trump’s lawyers—limit its answer to five minutes, the time set by Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton, per CNN. Mitch McConnell on Wednesday said that today’s question period would last up to 8 hours; another session will follow Thursday. Coverage:

  • The first question from the Democrats addressed Bolton straightaway: Is there any way to render a verdict in this case without hearing from Bolton, Mulvaney, and other key witnesses? Adam Schiff’s answer in part, per CNN: “The short answer to that question is, no. … And when you have a witness as plainly relevant as John Bolton, who goes to the heart of the most serious and egregious of the President’s misconduct, who has volunteered to come and testify, to turn him away and to look the other way, I think, is deeply at odds with being an impartial juror.”
  • The GOP then asked the president’s lawyers to respond to that question: Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin said it boils down to precedent. “What is the precedent that is going to be set for what is the acceptable way for the House to bring impeachment to this chamber?” They didn’t even subpoena John Bolton, he noted, “and to now insist this body will be the investigative body and do all the discovery … then that’s the new precedent, that the House doesn’t have to do the work, they throw it over the transom, and then this institution [the Senate] gets derailed and has to deal with it. That should not be the precedent.” (CNN notes Democrats did formally ask Bolton to voluntarily testify in its impeachment inquiry; he didn’t show because the White House asked current and former officials not to participate.)
  • In answering the following question, Schiff said not hearing from witnesses was setting a more dangerous precedent. He also said Democrats didn’t subpoena Bolton because they didn’t want a drawn-out court battle.
  • A question from Ted Cruz: “As a matter of law, does it matter if there was a quid pro quo?” Trump’s lawyers said presidents are allowed to authorize money with conditions when dealing with foreign policy. “If you don’t do it, you don’t get the money. If you do it, you get the money. There’s no one in this chamber that would regard that as in any way unlawful,” said Alan Dershowitz. Responding to that, Schiff said “All quid pros are not the same. Some are legitimate and some are corrupt, and you don’t need to be a mind reader to figure out which is which.”
  • Dershowitz also argued that, hypothetically, Trump is allowed to use such a quid pro quo to benefit his own re-election if he believes that re-election is in the national interest: “Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And mostly you’re right—your election is in the public interest. And if a president did something that he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” Trump’s team is arguing in hypotheticals because they still do not concede a quid pro quo was attempted.
  • CNN reports 41 protesters were arrested as they attempted to climb the Capitol Rotunda steps; 39 were charged with crowding, obstructing and incommoding; one was charged with all of that plus resisting arrest; and one was charged with crossing a police line and failure to obey.
  • What kind of questions are likely? Politico lists a dozen. For context: During Clinton’s impeachment trial, 106 questions were asked.

On and on……the “news” just keeps coming…..and the silliness knows no party.

I leave you with one thought….do not use this trial as an example of our fair and balanced judicial system for this is nothing but a sham dressed up to look like a trial.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 7

The saga continues as the Trump team makes their case for a dismissal……what magic has his managers worked on the process?

There seems to be NO end to the blame game……on Obama.

So how did the day go?

Much of the second day of President Trump’s impeachment defense focused not on the president’s actions, but on the previous administration. In what Politico calls “an alternate-reality impeachment of his political rivals,” Trump lawyers Pam Bondi and Eric Herschmann argued that former President Obama and Joe Biden should be the ones under investigation for abuse of power. They claimed that Obama had engaged in a quid pro quo with Russia under then-President Dmitry Medvedev and argued that Joe and Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine should be the target of a corruption probe. Joe Biden led the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy. More:

  • Biden rejects “conspiracy theory.” Bondi, a former Florida AG, argued that Trump had good reason to seek an investigation of the younger Biden’s role on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, and of his father’s actions as VP during that time, the Washington Post reports. A rep for Biden, who is on the campaign trail in Iowa, said Bondi was talking about a discredited “conspiracy theory.” Biden told reporters he saw no reason to testify. “The reason he’s being impeached is because he tried to get a government to smear me and they wouldn’t,” he said.
  • “We do not deal with speculation.” While John Bolton’s Ukraine claims led to renewed calls for more witnesses to be allowed, with GOP Sen. Mitt Romney calling the move increasingly likely, the Trump team dismissed them as speculation, Fox reports. “We deal with transcript evidence, we deal with publicly available information,” Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow. “We do not deal with speculation, allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all.”
  • Trump blasts Bolton. Trump’s commentary on the impeachment trial Monday included retweets of remarks from Bolton critics, including this retweet from Sen. Rand Paul: “Why didn’t John Bolton testify to the US House? Apparently his book wasn’t quite finished yet for presales!”
  • Dershowitz condemns process. Celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz was Monday’s final speaker, and he argued that “purely non-criminal conduct, including abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, are outside the range of impeachable offenses.” He also addressed the Bolton issue, saying “nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense,” the AP reports.
  • Dershowitz vs. Dershowitz? Vox notes that Democrats pushing back against Republican arguments that no crimes have been committed have pointed to a Government Accountability Office decision last month that found holding up aid to Ukraine violated the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. They have also brought up some of Dershowitz’s previous opinions. “It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime,” the lawyer said in 1998. He said Monday that he had changed his mind on the issue.
  • What to watch for Tuesday. On the final day of Trump’s defense, the president’s lawyers will “seek to drive home the argument that the House made a shoddy case, and the Senate need not reach in and bolster it by hearing new evidence,” the New York Times reports.
  • The next step. Senators will now get a voice in the process for the first time. In a 16-hour question-and-answer session, written questions from senators from both parties will be answered by House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers. Only one of the 150 questions in Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial came from a bipartisan pair of senators and it’s not clear whether there will be any at all this time, the Hill reports.

The argument portion of the trial is now over with the Trump teams closing statements…..

The arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial are over, even as the debate on whether John Bolton should be called as a witness rages on. Trump’s defense team wrapped up its three days of arguments Tuesday; next up, senators will be allowed to ask the House managers and Trump’s legal team questions for a total of 16 hours. That will take place during two sessions Wednesday and Thursday during which “the questions alternate between the majority and minority sides for up to eight hours,” Mitch McConnell announced before adjourning the trial until 1pm Wednesday. Questions must be submitted in writing in advance to Chief Justice John Roberts, who will ask them; five minutes will be allowed per answer. Tuesday’s big developments, including an update on page 2 regarding the vote on whether witnesses will be allowed, below.

  • Bad precedent? This is “the trial of the leader of the free world and the duly elected president of the United States,” said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, per the Washington Post. “It is not a game of leaks and unsourced manuscripts. … To lower the bar of impeachment based on these articles of impeachment would impact the functioning of our constitutional republic and the framework of that Constitution for generations.”
  • Defend the Constitution: White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrapped up the defense team’s arguments with a call to senators: “What they are asking you to do is to throw out a successful president on the eve of an election with no basis and in violation of the Constitution. It would dangerously change our country and … weaken forever all of our democratic institutions. You all know that’s not in the interests of the American people. Why not trust the American people with this decision. Why tear up their ballots, why tear up every ballot across this country. You can’t do that. You know you can’t do that. So I ask you to defend our Constitution, to defend fundamental fairness, to defend basic due process rights, but most importantly—most importantly, to respect and defend the sacred right of every American to vote and to choose their president.”
  • Bolton book: Sekulow downplayed the significance of the Bolton book, referring to “an unpublished manuscript that maybe some reporters have an idea of maybe what it says.” The resulting evidence, “if you want to call that evidence,” is “inadmissible,” he added.
  • Bolton testimony: There is no resolution yet on whether Trump’s former national security adviser will be called to testify about Trump’s Ukraine dealings. On Tuesday, Trump ally Lindsey Graham backed the idea of senators reading Bolton’s manuscript in a classified setting, reports Mediaite. Democrats want Bolton to testify publicly instead.
  • Hypocritical? Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said the GOP idea to read Bolton’s manuscript privately is a “laugh out loud” one: “They spent days criticizing us going into a secret bunker, and now they want to take a public document and put it in a secret bunker? Whiff of desperation is what I’ll call it.” Adam Schiff echoed that: “After all the complaints they made about the depositions, it’s very ironic that they’re making such a strong case” for a closed-door deposition with Bolton, he said.
  • The decision: When the senators’ 16-hour question period ends, the chamber will have up to four hours of debate on whether to call witnesses, reports NBC News. Senate Republicans met after Tuesday’s session adjourned to discuss the issue internally. Just four Republicans could give Democrats the votes they need for witnesses to be called.
  • Speaking of those votes: Late Tuesday afternoon, news broke that during that closed-door meeting, McConnell told GOP senators they do not yet have the votes to block witnesses. That doesn’t mean they won’t have them by the time the vote takes place, as several senators are still undecided.
  • A slight shift: CNN notes that since Bolton’s upcoming book started making headlines (it reportedly reveals that Trump told Bolton he was indeed withholding military aid from Ukraine until the country announced an investigation of the Bidens), Republicans are increasingly acknowledging the president may indeed have leveraged the aid—but that doing so is not impeachable, and that the Bolton revelation does not require witness testimony since it simply confirms what has already been established. It also doesn’t change the fact that Democrats don’t have the votes to remove the president from office.
  • A challenge: On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted a criticism of Fox News for giving air time to Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen. The Maryland senator responded via Twitter himself: “Glad you tuned in, Mr. President,” he wrote. “Now that I have your attention, how about coming down to the Senate to share your side of the story under penalty of perjury?”

I know a lot to take in….but we are talking about the future of the presidency……this trial will determine how the country is run by the next generation of people.

Yes it is that goddamn important!

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