Archive for the ‘Election 2016’ Category

Saturday night, CNN’s elitist attitude was on full display. It was a disgusting thing. Unfortunately, it isn’t a surprising thing. What Don Lemon’s guests said is comparable to Hillary’s basket of deplorables statement. Let’s remember that oldie-but-goodie:

Notice how loud the laughter got when she said that. That isn’t the sound of approval. That’s the sound of derision. While I refuse to think that that’s typical of all Democrats, I’m totally confident that significant portions of Democrats think that way about Republicans. Here’s what many CNN viewers think of Trump’s supporters:

If Republicans and thoughtful independents need motivation to vote, play that video to those would-be voters. Ask yourself this question; would you want these people in charge of anything? I don’t.

Last night, someone leaked “an unpublished manuscript of [John Bolton’s] upcoming book”, sending official DC into a tizzy. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake wrote “We finally got a taste Sunday night of what former national security adviser John Bolton might tell President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.” Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham appeared on Fox & Friends.

During that appearance, Grisham said “It’s very clear the president did nothing wrong. Then suddenly, this manuscript has magically appeared in the hands of The New York Times, making very, very big claims. This is … the same publisher that [James] Comey used, also. The fact that magically, again, the book ordering preorder link popped up a couple hours after all of this hit.”

While I’ve never agreed that President Trump “did nothing wrong”, I’m more than a little skeptical of this leak, especially with this timing. First, it’s worth noting that Bolton was fired as President Trump’s NSA. That couldn’t have sit well with a man of Bolton’s credentials. Next, it’s worth being suspicious of a publisher associated with Jim Comey.

Nonetheless, this still comes down to John Bolton’s uncorroborated testimony vs. the corroborated transcript of the July 25 call and Ambassador Sondland’s testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, aka HPSCI. This video is the full video of Rep. Mike Turner cross-examining Ambassador Sondland:

In the first minute of the video, Rep. Turner said “Yesterday, Ambassador Volker, whom I consider to be very talented and a man of integrity and I think you think is a man of integrity, correct?” After Ambassador Sondland nods his approval with that characterization, Turner continues, saying “He testified that the President of the United States did not tie either a meeting with the president or a phone call or any aid to investigations of Burisma, 2016 or the Bidens.”

At the end of his cross-examination of Ambassador Sondland, Sondland admitted that President Trump hadn’t tied investigating the Bidens with lethal military supplies. Let’s think about this. The transcript didn’t link lethal military supplies with investigating the Bidens. Ambassador Volker didn’t link lethal military supplies with investigating the Bidens. Finally, Ambassador Sondland testified that President Trump didn’t link lethal military supplies with investigating the Bidens.

What are the odds that John Bolton will testify that he knows better than 2 ambassadors (Volker and Sondland) and a transcript that’s been called “essentially accurate”? That’s before factoring in the statements of Ukraine’s foreign minister and Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy that the aid wasn’t tied to investigating the Bidens.

Washington’s all aflutter because they want this to be the bombshell that sinks President Trump so badly they can taste it. To Washington, I’d make this statement. Imagine John Bolton’s deposition. First, imagine Chairman Schiff deposing Bolton. Then picture Pat Cipollone, Jay Sekulow and John Ratcliffe interrogating Mr. Bolton. Picture each of them asking Bolton if he’s familiar with Ambassador Sondland’s testimony. Then picture them reminding him of Ambassador Volker’s testimony. Then picture them refreshing his memory of what President Zelenskiy, President Trump and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said about investigating the Bidens.

It’s difficult to picture Bolton saying anything that might hurt President Trump at that point. There’s just too much verified information that clears President Trump. If Ambassador Bolton disagrees with that galaxy of testimony, imagine the legal exposure he might find himself in. Bolton is too smart to volunteer for that type of scrutiny.

Back during the House’s impeachment inquiry, the conventional wisdom was that President Trump had to beef up his communications team. Rather than hiring a bunch of consultants to help with that, President Trump beefed up his legal team, hiring people like Alan Dershowitz, Robert Ray and Ken Starr. President Trump wasn’t finished, though. Later, he “announced eight House Republicans will join his legal defense team.”

Joining the team were Jim Jordan, John Ratcliffe, Elise Stefanik, Doug Collins, Lee Zeldin, Mike Johnson, Debbie Lesko and Mark Meadows. These aren’t the only reinforcements, though. Since the trial started, senators like Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, John Kennedy and Tom Cotton have played a more prominent role in defending President Trump against the House Democrats’ impeachment accusations.

This morning, for instance, Sen. Cotton was interviewed by FNC’s Sandra Smith:

Sen. Cotton is right. If Democrats had compelling evidence, they’d present it and “let it speak for itself.” They don’t have compelling evidence, which is why they’ve repeated the same things over and over again.

Since beefing up their legal team, these attorneys have applied a full-court press. Dershowitz has appeared on ABC’s This Week, CNN’s State of the Union and on FNC’s Hannity and Ingraham Angle shows. Robert Ray has been on multiple shows, as has Elise Stefanik, Doug Collins, John Ratcliffe, Jim Jordan, Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton. They’ve taken turns highlighting Adam Schiff’s dishonest statements. When Trump’s legal team makes their presentation, expect them to include many of Schiff’s dishonesties in that presentation.

If witnesses are called, expect Hunter Biden to be called. If he’s called, here’s why:

Talk about opening a door of opportunity for Republicans. BTW, this is what a confident, polished attorney looks like:

President Trump’s legal team and communications team are fitting together perfectly. They’re confident and well-prepared for each contingency. That’s what a team of professionals looks like.

Wednesday, Adam Schiff argued against himself when he said “the president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won. The president has shown that he believes that he is above the law and scornful of constraint.”

It’s frightening to think that the House Democrats’ lead impeachment manager is this dishonest. The presidential election is a federal election It isn’t a national election. That’s the foundation for why we have an electoral college. That’s why we don’t elect presidents based on the national popular vote. Further, each state counts its votes at each polling station, which is done at the precinct level.

That’s 3-4 levels, minimum, below the federal government. It’s certain that each state has different laws governing their elections. Those laws are insulated from the federal government by the Tenth Amendment. The text of the Tenth Amendment says “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

There’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution that instructs states how to tally votes, what time polls close, etc. That automatically means that this is the state or local government’s responsibility. Other than preparing against foreign governments hacking into voting machines or the state secretary of state’s election website, there isn’t much that the federal government is involved with.

In this video, Chairman Schiff essentially tells the American people and the US Senate that President Trump will use his office to cheat on the 2020 election:

It doesn’t take a genius to know that this isn’t an impeachable offense. First, you can’t convict an impeached president without proof of criminality. Next, it’s impossible to gather proof for something that hasn’t happened yet. That’s what Chairman Schiff just tried. Third, Democrats hope you didn’t notice that they don’t have proof that President Trump’s call with President Zelenskiy was to rig the 2020 election.

The transcript of the call certainly is proof that President Trump asked for President Zelenskiy’s help in investigating Joe and Hunter Biden. Saying that it’s proof that he did that strictly political profit is a stretch. Without documentation stating intent, it’s just a theory. It’s a plausible theory but it’s a theory nonetheless.

Schiff and other Democrats repeating that theory 20 times a day doesn’t constitute proof. It’s still just a theory, even if Democrats repeat the theory 50 times a day. Without an email, text or other electronic communication, it’s just a theory.

There’s no doubt that the Democrats don’t have much of a case. Chris Wallace said it all when he said “I thought he said it all. Then I realized we have [up to] 21 hours and 40 minutes left to go. … My Lord, three days and 24 hours [total]. You just wonder how many times you can keep making the same point.”

If Democrats don’t inject new life, aka proof, into their presentation, they will lose their fight by mid-afternoon Thursday. To follow Tuesday’s marathon session with a snoozefest is cruel and inhuman punishment. Nobody should have to hear Adam Schiff and his team of Democrats whine on and on and on and on. That ought to be an impeachable offense.

Apparently, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for Adam Schiff to go a day without telling a whopper. Tuesday night, Politico reported that Chairman Schiff “appears to have mischaracterized a text message exchange between two players in the Ukraine saga, according to documents obtained by POLITICO.” During Tuesday’s impeachment trial, Politico published an article that said “Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) last week summarizing a trove of evidence from Lev Parnas, an indicted former associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. In one section of the letter, Schiff claims that Parnas “continued to try to arrange a meeting with President Zelensky,’ citing a specific text message exchange where Parnas tells Giuliani: “trying to get us mr Z.” The remainder of the exchange, which was attached to Schiff’s letter — was redacted. But an unredacted version of the exchange shows that several days later, Parnas sent Giuliani a word document that appears to show notes from an interview with Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of Burisma, followed by a text message to Giuliani that states: “mr Z answers my brother.” That suggests Parnas was referring to Zlochevsky not Zelensky.”

This is a parody of Chairman Schiff’s biggest whopper:

Schiff is in danger of alienating voters. His bombastic comments don’t play well in the Heartland. His accusations aren’t well-founded. Thus far, Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow have baited him and berated him, which threw him off his game.

During yesterday’s rules debate, Schiff would start each round with cherry-picked arguments. When it was their time, Cipollone or Sekulow would go into what they called at one time Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story’ strategy. That’s where they filled in the unfair things that House Democrats did during the impeachment investigation. They had lots of things to choose from.

Whether it’s outright lying or whether it’s omitting important details, it’s still corruption. Yesterday, the NRSC put out this video mocking House Democrats:

The Democrats’ impeachment managers have a BS problem. Democrats filled their 111-page filing with tons of accusations. What it lacks in evidence, it makes up for in BS.

For instance, the Democrats’ impeachment managers say “that the president ‘abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardizing our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy.'” The problem with that statement is that it’s an accusation without any proof. Democrats conflate separate sentences from separate paragraphs on separate pages in their attempt to prove this accusation. (That’s a polite way of saying that these Democrats lied.)

In the Democrats’ first filing, they wrote “During a July 25, 2019 phone call, after President Zelensky expressed gratitude to President Trump for American military assistance, President Trump immediately responded by asking President Zelensky to ‘do us a favor though.’ The ‘favor’ he sought was for Ukraine to publicly announce two investigations that President Trump believed would improve his domestic political prospects.”

What was actually said is strikingly different:

I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your weal thy people … The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation … I think you are surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you said yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

Nowhere in that paragraph does President Trump ask for a personal favor. The Democrats’ impeachment managers know that. Anyone with a fourth-grade reading comprehension level understands that. Democrats don’t care about the truth, though, because Orange Man Bad. They’ve hated President Trump since he was Citizen Trump.

This is another unsubstantiated allegation included in the Democrats’ filing:;

“President Trump’s misconduct presents a danger to our democratic processes, our national security, and our commitment to the rule of law. He must be removed from office,” the managers said in the brief.

How does President Trump present “a danger to … our national security?” What’s the Democrats’ proof that President Trump has violated any of “our democratic processes?” When hasn’t President Trump showed a steadfast commitment to the rule of law?

The Democrats’ filing is filled with important-sounding words. It’s just devoid of evidence proving the Democrats’ accusations. Jerry Nadler’s appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation is a 7-minute-long exhibition of BS:

The Democrats’ highest hurdle might be that they didn’t accuse President Trump of committing a crime, much less of committing a high crime. It shouldn’t be possible to impeach a president who hasn’t committed a crime.

When this impeachment trial is finished, here’s hoping that the nation a) punishes the people who put us through this nightmare and b) resolves never to let such a fiasco happen again.

Remember the Democrats’ assault against then-Judge Kavanaugh’s constitutional protections? (FYI- That’s a rhetorical question.) How can we forget Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono’s interview where she insisted that Justice Kavanaugh shouldn’t be presumed innocent? Here’s Sen. Hirono hating Justice Kavanaugh because she’s a partisan Democrat:

During Mark Levin’s interview with Rep. Doug Collins, which aired tonight, Collins said “It’s amazing to me how they’re willingly setting that aside to come up to this — Steny Hoyer actually said ‘we allowed him every opportunity to come prove his innocence,’.”

For more than a year, Democrats have twisted the Constitution into a nearly-unrecognizable shape. A political party that thinks that people have to prove their innocence is a political party that’s too twisted to govern. People are presumed innocent, not just because of the Bill of Rights, but because it would be immoral to put people in prison based on accusations.

The truth is that Democrats don’t consistently think that a person is presumed guilty. When the subject changes to Joe and Hunter Biden, they think that they’ve been exonerated without investigations. In other words, Democrats think that other Democrats have earned a presumption of innocence while Republicans are inherently evil and undeserving of that presumption.

Obviously, the point is that Democrats aren’t principled constitutionalists. They’re situational constitutionalists, meaning they sing the Constitution’s praises when it fits their narrative.

When President Trump’s legal team makes its case, probably by Thursday of this week, it will be the first full-throated defense President Trump’s team will have been allowed to put together. As I wrote here, “Republicans don’t need to shaft Democrats because these facts are on their side:

  1. Neither article rises to the level of treason, bribery, or “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
  2. The exculpatory evidence that Republicans tried to present during the impeachment House hearings will be introduced on the Senate side.
  3. This time, the jurors won’t be a group of outcome-based partisan Democrats.

When we’re finished with one-sided impeachment hearings, most people will be surprised at how empty the Democrats’ case is. That’s when most people will understand the Democrats’ empty rhetoric about the Constitution and patriotism.

Julian Zelizer’s dishonesty is disgustingly displayed in this article when he writes “Dershowitz was repeating a line of argument that we’ve heard before from Trump’s staunchest defenders. Presidential power is so total and so complete, the argument goes, that there is almost nothing that Trump could do to warrant impeachment.” That isn’t the argument that Professor Dershowitz is making. In fact, it isn’t even close.

In the Trump legal team’s initial filing, which I wrote about here, Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow noted that “the Supreme Court has recognized, the President’s constitutional authority to protect the confidentiality of Executive Branch information is at its apex in the field of foreign relations and national security.

The Trump legal team’s initial filing is 7 pages long. It doesn’t take much time to read through that filing, especially compared with reading through the 111 pages of word salad in the House Democrats’ initial filing. It’s difficult to picture Zelizer not reading through both filings. Perhaps he didn’t but, if he didn’t, then that’s sloppy journalism.

The argument that Professor Dershowitz is making is that impeachable offenses must be “Treason, Bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” In this interview, Professor Dershowitz gives insight into what his responsibility will be:

This is sloppy, too:

To be sure, Dershowitz’s outlook is rooted in a growing body of work that took hold in conservative circles since the 1980s about expansive executive power. A number of prominent right-wing legal practitioners and scholars, including Attorney General William Barr, subscribed to the notion that the powers of the president are bold, almost total. They rejected the direction of Watergate-era congressional reforms, such as the War Powers Act, that sought to constrain the president.

According to the Constitution, Congress has the affirmative responsibility of declaring war. The Constitution also gives the Senate the responsibility of ratifying treaties. Ratification requires “two thirds of the Senators present concur” with treaties negotiated by the President. The other responsibility that Congress has with regards to foreign policy is the power of the purse.

Congress doesn’t have the authority to prosecute wars or execute foreign policy. That’s the Executive Branch’s responsibility. Period. Full stop. Imagine how utterly dysfunctional foreign policy would be if we had 536 commanders-in-chief.

Conservatives have also supported President Trump by employing the “unitary executive” theory, arguing that the President has broad powers over the executive branch. This was the argument Barr used before becoming attorney general to defend Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

The current administration has taken these arguments even further to justify the brazen actions of Trump with regards to Ukraine and the obstruction of Congress. Defenders such as Dershowitz have gone so far in their arguments that they have tried to essentially nullify any constitutional provisions that we have to make certain that presidents are held accountable.

Instead of a system of checks and balances, the logic of their claims imply the founders wanted a chief executive without restraint. This country was founded on the revolt against a monarchy — now Trump’s defenders are trying to argue for more of the same.

That final paragraph is intellectually sloppy. The men who debated, then wrote the Constitution, wanted a congress that essentially passed the budget and set naturalization laws. These men understood the importance of a single commander-in-chief for prosecuting wars and a chief executive officer who negotiated treaties. That doesn’t mean that Congress is voiceless in these decisions.

That being said, Congress shouldn’t use the power of the purse to stop a war without a very good reason that’s supported by virtually the entire nation. Once war is declared, it should be controlled by the Executive Branch barring historic corruption.

Pat Cipollone, the White House Counsel, and Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s personal attorney, made their first official impeachment filing this weekend. Immediately, they let it be known that they weren’t interested in taking prisoners on this particular battlefield.

They started their filing by saying “The Articles of Impeachment submitted by House Democrats are a dangerous attack on the American people to freely choose their president. This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the 2016 election and to interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away.”

Next, they write “The Articles of Impeachment are unconstitutional on their face. They fail to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever, let alone “High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” as required by the Constitution. They are the result of a lawless process that violated basic due process and fundamental fairness.”

“In order to preserve our constitutional structure of government, to reject the poisonous partisanship that the Framers warned against, to ensure one-party political impeachment vendettas do not become the ‘new normal,’ and to vindicate the will of the American people, the Senate must reject both Articles of Impeachment,” Trump’s legal team wrote. “In the end, this entire process is nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote.”

It’s worth reading the entire Trump team briefing. This team sought to send the message that there’s little, if anything, in the Articles of Impeachment that meets the Constitution’s requirements.

Cipollone and Sekulow note that House Democrats “sought testimony disclosing the Executive Branch’s confidential communications and internal decision-making processes on matters of foreign policy and national security, despite the well-established constitutional privileges and immunities protecting such information.” Then Mssrs. Cipollone and Sekulow write “As the Supreme Court has recognized, the President’s constitutional authority to protect the confidentiality of Executive Branch information is at its apex in the field of foreign relations and national security.”

Notwithstanding these abuses, the Administration replied appropriately to these subpoenas and identified their constitutional defects. Tellingly, House Democrats did not seek to enforce these constitutionally defective subpoenas in court. To the contrary, when one subpoena recipient sought a declaratory judgment as to the validity of the subpoena he had received, House Democrats quickly withdrew the subpoena to prevent the court from issuing a ruling.

Why would House Democrats withdraw a legitimate subpoena if the information sought was important? Did House Democrats withdraw the subpoena because they didn’t want the court to rule that the subpoena wasn’t legitimate?

Check LFR for the House Democrats’ reply to this filing.

For the past week+, the MSM has talked about how Sen. Schumer plans on making Cory Gardner, Martha McSally and Susan Collins make difficult votes about calling witnesses. This isn’t worthy of serious consideration. This is a tempest in a teapot. It’s difficult to picture that the issue is that important to most voters. If voters don’t care about the issue, it’s difficult to picture them voting for or against someone that votes for or against witnesses.

What’s important is that these senators can highlight the fact that they’ve voted for President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tax cuts (that have put hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars into the average voter’s wallet.) Let’s do a brief thought experiment on this. Picture a voter making a decision on who to vote for. Will most people say ‘I just can’t vote for Sen. Gardner. He voted against calling witnesses’? Or will most people say ‘I’m voting for Sen. Collins because she voted to cut my taxes”?

If Republicans polled that pair of questions, there’s little doubt that the tax cut vote isn’t the most important of the 2 votes. Further, that’s before asking if, for instance, voters wouldn’t vote for Sen. Collins for fighting to lower prescription drug prices or Sen. McSally voting for additional funding for President Trump’s wall with Mexico.

Six months from now, if not sooner, impeachment will be a net negative for battleground state Democrats. Six months from now, lowering prescription drug prices, cutting taxes and building the wall will still be popular.

Voting for or against witnesses isn’t that difficult of a decision. That’s because it isn’t that important with most voters.

After House Democrats make their evidence-free, allegation-filled presentation, impeachment conviction will be on life support. After President Trump’s legal team finishes highlighting the holes in the House Democrats’ case, the American people will know that the Democrats’ impeachment investigation was a waste of time. The Trump legal team’s opening filing indicates the fact that they’re utilizing a take-no-prisoners approach to defending President Trump.

The first day or 2 will go relatively well for the Democrats. That’s because they’ll have the floor uncontested. After that, President Trump’s team will present their defense. It won’t take long for President Trump’s team to highlight the no-evidence nature of the Democrats’ case. Once that starts, Democrats will wish that they’d never impeached President Trump.

Kevin McCarthy’s closing statement highlights just how powerful the arguments from President Trump’s legal team will be:

By that time, anyone with common sense will know that President Trump did nothing worthy of impeachment.