‘Constitutional Nonsense’: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus

The president’s legal case would negate any need for witnesses. But constitutional scholars say that it’s wrong.

Comments: 221

  1. Re : Legal Consensus Impeachment is not a legal process. At its termination, there is neither no independently elected judge, nor a jury of one's peers. Impeachment is a political process - not a legal one.

  2. @Lars If political parties are by their nature, partisan, and impeachment is solely a political process, what is the point of requiring an oath of impartiality at the beginning of the impeachment process? That requirement reveals the lie that it is merely a political process. Is it not awkward to hear McConnell and Graham admit their partisan intentions and then take an oath of impartiality? It appears that they simply chose to lie under oath. Why would the framers of our constitution set up such a situation?

  3. @Lars Of course politics are involved, but the constitution creates a process designed to assure that checks and balances are in place. The House has authority to investigate and impeach, that is, to press charges. The Senate is obligated to serve as the forum for a trial, hearing the evidence and passing a judgment after jury-like deliberation. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is assigned the duty to preside over the proceedings. The word "trial" has meaning, and McConnell and the Trump party are making a mockery of it.

  4. @Lars And therefore what?

  5. The jury is rigged. Legal arguments don't much matter. Jury foreman Moscow Mitch will ensure no witnesses or documents that could torpedo Trump's case will be presented.

  6. @RK We have heard "the revolution will not be televised". But, apparently, neither will the coup.

  7. Sounds like there are opposing sides and whatever the Senate votes will be the deciding factor of what is going to be considered correct.

  8. In a way, we are witnessing history in the making. Can the real Constitution stand the test of time. Already, the gun lobby has weakened it by perverting the 2nd Amendment - for it is unlikely it had the AK-47 and AR15 in mind - but this is the total disregard of both the letters and more importantly the spirit of the foundational document

  9. Wikipedia: In the context of United States law, originalism is a concept regarding the interpretation of the Constitution that asserts that all statements in the constitution must be interpreted based on the original understanding of the authors or the people at the time it was ratified. Conservatives use this concept only when it suits them. So it seems we have interpreted the second amendment and the intent behind impeachment.

  10. If the Republican Senate goes down the path Mitch McConnell, Alan Dershowitz and the rest of Trumps rogue legal team envisions, our country will be no better than Putin's Russia, Kim Jong-un's North Korea and many other unsavory, outlaw regimes. The Republican Senate may initiate a movement in our country that will never end until the Republican Party is dismantled and thrown on the same ash heap that the Trump administration will ultimately occupy. McConnell and his cronies may be long gone in a relatively short period of time but their Republican political and ideological progeny will suffer the consequences of their corrupt actions for generations.

  11. @interested party: Every rogue "Federalist Society" judicial appointee is another potential impeachment trial, for the next three decades.

  12. I find it fascinating that the Trump legal team has said that they want to ensure the will of the people in selecting elected officials so the process is not subverted by impeachment. Weren't they paying attention when the electoral college beat them to it?

  13. It's great that lots of senators are lawyers who understand the law and can see through ruses. The question is: will they, or do they want to?

  14. There was a crime: the Government Accountability Office found that the hold on financial aid to Ukraine was illegal. Regardless of the debate on the requirement of a crime for impeachment, this condition has already been clearly fulfilled in at least one instance.

  15. Scholars on both sides can readily be found, dismissing either sides' arguments. thanks for finding one that fits our view

  16. @Johka You don't seem to get it. There is a body of law that lawyers and legal scholars have followed for over 200 years. Then there is a newfangled theory of recent creation that Trump and Barr and their few minions are advocating, that flies in the face of all that our nation has followed. These are not co-equal doctrines.

  17. @Johka You can try to make this a he said/she said thing, but the article states that Trump's argument "is widely disputed" and cuts "against the consensus among scholars," which is also what I've seen on legal blogs. There may be a few who disagree, but both sides are not equal here. Try your next argument.

  18. @Johka , yep. Depending on which publication you read, one can hear about scholars that agree with one side or the other. Some echo chambers only print one view.

  19. The argument that the defense will put forward is that the Czar cannot be removed or impeached. As he told us before, he can shoot someone on Fifth Ave and not be, charged with a crime. Trump, therefore, is above the law. Despite his dysfunctional performance so far, he has avoided any consequences for his behaviors before and after becoming president. He will probably slide through this as well.

  20. Founding fathers feared money and foreign powers controlling the president. Trump did both. If he is not impeached, no one is. Making him King. And congress, his servants. Revolution, Civil War, WW 2... Moments that defined who we were. This is one of them. And I fear it is going to show us to be a constitutional republic no longer.

  21. @Jane: succinctly put. Just think it only took 3 years to undo nearly 250.

  22. @ChristineMcM I didn't think it was possible but it's happening before our eyes. And now that Trump has tasted blood, ordering killings, we have every reason to fear the worst is yet to come.

  23. @ChristineMcM Well, with the help of a country who views us as the enemy. And, at some level, it's fair. I came to the US as a refugee from USSR at 13. I was brought up listening to voice of America, BBC, radio freedom, radio free Europe, all broadcasting in Russian. So, at a certain level, fair is fair. Russia never cared about its or other people, so if we Americans, are too dumb to see things, serves us right

  24. If Mr. Trumps activities in Ukraine are allowed to go unpunished, it opens the door for future Democrat (and Republican) campaigns to utilize the same tactics. We'd be seeking foreign influence, and dirt on candidates as standard campaign procedure. Just as Citizens United opened the door to massive campaign cash corruption, so would an unpunished President in this case change forever future Presidential campaigns. Getting clients off on some bogus argument (like O.J.) does not render justice.

  25. @M Harvey "If Mr. Trumps activities in Ukraine are allowed to go unpunished, it opens the door for future Democrat (and Republican) campaigns to utilize the same tactics" You don't seriously believe that they are going to leave the possibility for a Democratic win open, do you?

  26. How to use mockery in legal presentation and everyday life: use mockery of the United States, of the United States Constitution, of the United States people, of the United States democracy, of the United States ideals - work for Donald Trump.

  27. Don't think of it as a trial, or even a legal exercise. Think of it as your child's 8th grade school play. As long as everyone remembers to say his or her lines, the play will end, congratulations will be in order and no one will pay attention to the terrible performances. Now, don't you feel better about that nonsense spun by the legal team? It's just bad dialogue spouted by bad actors who don't really even want to understand the underlying meaning of the words. A few hours, and we won't ever have to do it again. Until next year.

  28. So here is the Trump legal argument, boiled down: According to Bill Barr’s “unitary executive” theory, Trump cannot be investigated, indicted, or tried for a crime while in office. And he can’t be impeached unless a crime has been committed so, hence, he cannot be impeached. And abuse of power is not a crime, so there can be no impeachment anyway. And anyone who in any way serves the president doesn’t have to cooperate in any of this by supplying documents or testimony due to “executive privilege”. And the House process was unfair and deprived Trump of due process even though (and because) Trump chose not to participate, so it is completely moot. Taken together, these arguments, virtually none of which find language in the Constitution to support them, essentially make Donald Trump our permanent king and beyond the reach of the Constitution or our court system. All brought to you courtesy of Bill Barr, Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz. Funny how we never heard these theories from them during the Clinton impeachment trial.

  29. @Jack Sonville ... and Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham.

  30. @Jack Sonville In fact, CNN interview footage of Dershowitz during the last impeachment trial (January 1999) clearly demonstrated the prevailing views (then and now) of most Constitutional legal scholars: "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 ... ". I think Dershowitz is a lawyer - first - and Constitutional scholar -second.

  31. @Jack Sonville All of this is incredibly encouraging to me since Trump’s defense team is doing anything to not have witnesses. Of course, even with their argument, witnesses and documentation might give their flimsy argument traction, so why not have them? They are in a Catch-22. But, then there is McConnell, who needs only the flimsest hook to hang his hat on. And, remembering the Merrick Garland logic, he could just make something up. This, is a carnival of the personality disordered. McConnell’s wife is on Trump’s Cabinet. At dinner every night she is no doubt pounding the table telling him, do something! He, absolutely should recuse himself, but no Republican gives up power.

  32. I'm not at all certain the GOP will look to "constitutional scholars" for advice on impeachment. Have they looked to scientists for advice on climate change? Have they looked to ANY experts for advice in crafting ANY legislation?

  33. Another collection of people who prove that one cannot associate with Trump and leave with one's reputation intact.

  34. Trump's impeachment defense is aimed only at his base and his fox propaganda outlet. Reality has been twisted to fit in the parameters of the republican mindset.

  35. "Some of Mr. Dershowitz’s critics have questioned whether he really believes what he is now saying..." Hits the nail on the head. I've watched Dershowitz for a long g time and he's certainly clever by half. He's the type of lawyer (and l"egal scholar") who's able, on a dime, to "ride the horse for buying or selling." When smart people use their knowledge and skills to exercise sophistry in the name of a preordained outcome it results in travesty of justice. I wish these legal "experts" would stop raising arcane concepts designed to make these arguments seem not only plausible but convincing. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, it likely is. "Corrupt intent" is the defining factor of any abuse of power examined by the impeachment process. The president's post-Ukraine call behavior--stonewalling, cover-ups, whining, lying, arrogance---demonstrate that in spades.

  36. @ChristineMcM "When smart people use their knowledge and skills to exercise sophistry in the name of a preordained outcome it results in travesty of justice." John Roberts comes to mind.

  37. @ChristineMcM Dershowitz likes the attention (attracts clients) and, like the proverbial "shyster", will argue any point if the money is right.

  38. You may used any legal arguments, it does not matter. Most of the Senators have already make up their mind and will vote according to party line. Therefore President Trump will not be removed from office. End of the story.

  39. @Wilbray Thiffault In this case, it's the trip not the arrival at the destination. Americans might very well hear things during the trial that will influence their opinions about whatever, in one direction or another. So, even though it might be the end of the impeachment story, there's an election coming up in just a few months.

  40. @brooklyn It would be wonderful if Trump was called as a witness and asked under oath whether he has ever read the Constitution. Everybody knows he hasn't.

  41. Will Chief Justice Roberts be called upon to rule on the question of whether or not abuse if power is an impeachable offense? A bit of information on the process would be appreciated.

  42. We know for a fact that a Republican Senate would have justifiably convicted Barack Obama if Barack Obama had demanded in 2012 that Mexico announce a public investigation into Mitt Romney's family in exchange for Congressionally approved aid dollars to Mexico. But of course, the same Presidential corruption by Trump is perfectly okay for today's Republican Senate. NOTE to voters: Not only is Trump corrupt beyond description, so is the entire Republican Party leadership. Decent Americans do not support Boss Tweed Trump and his empire of political corruption. November 3 2020.

  43. @Socrates Two parties TWO versions of the US constitution. One for the fox and friends red hats of hate crowd, and the one that our founding fathers drafted and signed. What will a Supreme Court justice have to say about adherence to the constitution? Will the republicans even care or allow him to comment???

  44. @Socrates Two parties TWO versions of the US constitution. One for the fox and friends red hats of hate crowd, and the one that our founding fathers drafted and signed.

  45. @Socrates er, that's Boss Tweet.

  46. President Trump has been using the office of President as his own personal plaything since the beginning. It does not appear that he has any understanding o what “the office” means, or what it means to abuse it. He thinks being President means he can do whatever he wants including strong-arming foreign countries into helping him win again and Republicans are urging him on. Only time will tell what the price will be for their deal with the devil.

  47. @Sherry Of one thing you can be sure: WE will pay the price for this shameless behavior, not them . . .

  48. Dershowitz is a political hack, and everyone knows it. It’s very fitting he joined the president’s “legal” team. “He also said that there were some common-law crimes at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, and that the framers expected Congress to eventually enact criminal laws that could serve as the basis for impeachments.” Eventually enact? To then be retroactively required for impeachment? I love how it’s strict construction of the Constitution for the GOP, until it’s inconvenient for them.

  49. @Carlotta "the framers expected Congress to eventually enact criminal laws that could serve as the basis for impeachments.” Wouldn't that have required amending the Impeachment Clause, and not just passing laws?

  50. Amazing that the GOP doesn’t understand of fails to show that it knows that it is on trial, not just Trump. Trampling the Constitution during the trial will likely lead to getting Trump off the hook but at a terrible price both to the nation and to the Republican Party. They too easily forget how Herbert Hoover’s maladministration relegated the party of second class status for a generation. Get ready, a Trump acquittal will lead to the same kind of outcome.

  51. Of course Trump will be acquitted, there is nothing he can do that will shift the GOP. The question is whether they will let similar behavior by a Democrat get the same pass. Perhaps some are considering both their legacies and the future. But, alas, that might be too much to ask.

  52. “My argument will be very serious and very scholarly,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Count me a skeptic. I may not be a lawyer, but I know linguistic ju-jitsu when I see it. I think, Mr. Dershowitz, that you would be singing a much different tune if, say, Mr. Obama had been credibly accused of the same activities as Mr. Trump. Your prior record of comments during Mr. Clinton's own impeachment trial fairly clearly gives away the game. Please pardon me if I am not confident of your impartiality here. And if the law is not impartial--colorblind, and equally applicable to Democrats, Republicans, or whomever, we have a much bigger problem on our hands.

  53. Mr Dershowitz is practicing law. He has a client and is duty bound to provide him all the benefits of law. That duty requires him to attempt to provide arguments to those who “judge” his client in such a fashion that the (jurors) judges in this case senators vote to acquit Mr Dershowitz’s clients. I may not buy Mr Dershowitz’s arguments but I certainly agree that he is doing his job.

  54. @Fcterr In normal trials, people with bias can be struck from the jury ( I was once excluded from a jury because I went to high school with the defendant) The prosecutors here should be petitioning Chief Justice Roberts to strike Moscow Mitch, who has frankly admitted that he is working with the president.

  55. No. He is not duty bound to make things up. When he does that he belittles himself just to pander to this grifter. You do not have to be a lawyer to know he is wrong. Just educated and able to read and be thoughtful, no matter what side one is on. Lawyers like Dershowitz cross the line. The move from providing a reasonable defense even for a guilty client to doing everything they can to get him off. That is not what being a lawyer is about.

  56. Dershowitz is “a celebrated criminal defense lawyer”? By whom? His clients like Mike Tyson, Patty Hearst, Jim Bakker, Claus von Bülow and now DJT? Celebrated? Really?

  57. @MB Celebrated means famous. Everyone is entitled to a defense lawyer. I don't like either Trump or Dershowitz but defense lawyers are a necessity in anything called a justice system.

  58. @Snip I agree with you. This is also my sentiment.

  59. Ummmm.... celebrated also means honored

  60. By proffering frivolous legal arguments in his defense, Trump's legal team demeans the Constitution and the law. But then again, as they say, the ends justify demeans.

  61. Dershowitz is not giving 'cover' to Republican Senators. He is providing them with an excuse. He is a guy who has flipped. Back when, it didn't have to be a crime to be impeachable. Now it does. How convenient. The constitution, in that view, was created to be malleable to the circumstance. Make no mistake about it, if , in a few years, a Democrat commits the same acts, these same Senators would argue the exact opposite position they do now. And their supporters will not only let them, they will cheer them on for doing so. It stuns me how lock step these people are. They would exonerate a child abuser if Trump told them to.

  62. @Walking Man It would have been so much simpler if the House had thought things through and charged Trump with provable crimes, such as perjury and cruel/ unusual punishment.

  63. @Walking Man They have already done it. Remember Roy Moore. They supported his election. There is only one principle, power.

  64. @Charlesbalpha No, impeachment is actually better used for things like abuse of one's office. It's not about making sure the president doesn't exceed the speed limit, but about keeping our government working as a functioning democracy, instead of a corrupt system of power.

  65. Mr Mikhail says of GOP senators: “They understand the law. They can certainly see through ruses and efforts to distract and divert.” Well, they could, if it suited their political purposes. It does not, so they won't.

  66. We are tired of the lies. We were told our privacy mattered - until facebook sold it to anyone who would buy it. We were promised the American dreams of our parents - until the banks sold us out and took our homes. We were taught that higher education is essential for climbing out of poverty - until we were buried in crushing student loan debt. We were promised a health care system that works for everyone - until our parents became opioid addicts and were bankrupt by medical debt. We were told our votes counted - until our elections were hacked by foreigners and our senate leadership was content to do nothing. We were told our Senators would, by oath or affirmation, restrain the power of the executive and protect us from the rule of kings and would-be tyrants - until our senate leadership betrayed us. To the Mitch McConnells of the world: We don’t ask that you fix it all and fix it all right now; but, please don’t insult us and lie to us and pretend you are doing your constitutional duty to conduct a credible impeachment trial when, clearly, you are not.

  67. @Thomas You should run for President.

  68. @Thomas Well said.

  69. @Thomas Amen amen...when will people wake up and vote, this is no time for indifference or ignorance.

  70. Trump's legal team does not need to make a legal or constitutional case. They need to create cover that allows Republicans in the Senate to acquit with little or no political consequence, or a little political gain, if possible. Which part of the so-called defense appeals to the christian conservatives? If they have a place to hide, Trump and the GOP are golden.

  71. Trump's new legal defense: I'm not crazy; everyone else is insane. Alan Dershowitz has crossed over into never-never land. The entire argument makes no sense. Impeachment doesn't require a technical crime but requires criminal behavior. However, the specific criminal behavior is required in the articles in order to impeach. What!?! I think it's time family began discussing placing Dershowitz in a home.

  72. @Andy It's called doublethink. We truly are living Orwell's "1984"

  73. The original draft of the Constitution cited "treason and bribery" as the only impeachable offenses. The dictionary defines bribery as "money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust." It seems that's exactly what Trump did, making it unquestionably impeachable.

  74. @KenF The FINAL draft added "other high crimes & misdemeanors."

  75. agree. beyond that he was threatening an ally when they are in a shooting war with Russia, defending their country.

  76. @KenF Exactly correct. But Republicans don't care in the slightest about any of that; they are just throwing anything up against the wall knowing that a large number of their voters will accept it. And it will probably work. Again.

  77. If it’s all political and the party in power gets to do whatever it wants, how are we a democracy?

  78. @Ana we are not a democracy. We are a constitutional democracy/democratic republic.

  79. @Randy L. If the party in power gets to do whatever it wants, including ignoring the constitution, how are we a constitutional democracy?

  80. We are not a Democracy, we have never been a Democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. ("I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands..). The Congress & Senate offer us “Representative Democracy,” and, if they choose to conduct the trial a certain way, well then - that’s our Democracy at work.

  81. The idea that impeachment "is a political process" and therefore somehow not bound by the rule of law is pure nonsense. The Founding Fathers would simply not have understood or condoned an argument that impeachment should not follow the same basic rules of procedure and be bound by the same legal principles as a court of law. As they conceived of the judge in a trial court, so they conceived of the SCOTUS Chief Justice in impeachment; as they conceived of a jury in a prosecution, so they conceived of the Senate in an impeachment trial. To suggest that the law, precedent, and legal argument "don't matter" is ridiculous.

  82. @Father Eric F Its what we call the "balance of powers"......The Chief Justice is there to moderate the Senate, which is there to hold the House in Check. This Impeachment Proceeding is most definately NOT a criminal trial. The Most High, Most Righteous, Most Loved and Revered Founding Fathers created an Impeachment Process.....to defuse the possibility of a violent overthrow of the Government. I can think of an entire Building in San Francisco full of Federal Judges that deserve Impeachment and Removal from Office for THEIR abuse of power.

  83. No. Balance of power is not what the Republicans are exercising. Saying it does not make it correct. But then, you are following the trump model.

  84. @Father Eric F There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that states or even implies that the exact same rules as a criminal trial apply to an impeachment proceeding. And, as an aside, remember that criminal trials, as they may have existed in 1787, bear little resemblance to a criminal trial in 2020. Your opinion may be that all of this is "ridiculous" but that does not make it a fact. And your statements about what the Founding Fathers would have "understood or condoned" are, likewise, pure speculation.

  85. Republican senators know that Trump has betrayed the public trust, abused his power and is incompetent. But they fear the wrath of his sycophantic base and are looking for any cover they can get. It doesn't matter that these so-called legal theories are completely bogus: by throwing them out, they are hoping to confuse enough of the public so that they don't risk being labeled spineless toadies (which, of course, they are) when they vote to acquit.

  86. @baldo Spot on. Trump's strategy has always been to spew non-stop lies, half-truths, and misinformation until people are "confused," weary and just give up listening.

  87. You’ve said it all. These senators will be forever have their reputations tarnished. At the very least the should admit what Trump did was egregiously wrong before they vote to acquit. And hopefully a few will have the actual courage to vote with the Dems. But in the world of Trump it’s all about absolute loyalty to Il Duce. We’ve seen this show before. Now it’s here in our own White House. Get this over and let’s get on with defeating him soundly in November. And some of his most toady Senators.

  88. @baldo It's sad that the GOP Senators can only think of saving Trump when in fact this is their last ditch effort to actually save their party. They're not only party over country but actually POWER over party. Sad.

  89. Its only fitting that after making a mockery of the Presidency, that Trump should make a mockery of the Constitution itself. If a sitting President cannot be indicted by the DOJ, how can he be formally charged with a crime? Which I guess means the Constitution is wrong and no President can actually be impeached. It's sad watching the US degrade itself.

  90. Leaders lead by example. Expect more crime, particularly white collar crime, in 2020. After all, just declare the investigation a "sham" and the prosecution a "hoax", refuse to cooperate and your good to go. Unless, of course, the jury isn't bought off, the judge isn't compromised and the police don't come at you guns a blazing. This can't end well but it will end eventually, the pendulum will swing. In the meantime, people like Mitch McConnell, Trump, Alan Dershowitz, all of them will all be remembered for the feckless, rogue, outliers they truly are. We don't need less government, just honest government. Lets try that for a change. Vote like your whole world depends on it. It just might.

  91. The House rushed the process to get impeachment before Xmas, which resulted in flimsy articles. You can’t expect the Senate to do the House’s job. Pelosi & Schiff should have taken all the time necessary to call every witness they wanted. That said We all know this is about the left trying to reverse election results from 2016. This is the biggest misuse of power our country has ever seen. Former administration using illegal fisa warrants to weaponize international spying agencies against a political opponent. One thing I can say is the Democrats are all in. If this goes bad it will ruin the Democrat Party forever. We are playing for keeps here folks, don’t make a mistake.

  92. @JOSEPH As a skeptic of all politicians and parties, I object in the strongest terms to "We all know this is about the left trying to reverse election results...." No matter who the party or president is, I care about preserving ability of Congress to hold a president accountable. That Republicans insist on framing things this ways is truly outrageous. It is in fact the Rs who are "all in". For the life of me I can't see how democracy could survive with the path Rs are taking, which you here endorse.

  93. @JOSEPH I guess on Fox they didn't tell you that Trump blocked witnesses from testifying.

  94. @JOSEPH So sick of this argument of overtuening an election. He hugely lost the popular vote. He won not by the people but thru an antiquarian electoral college by less than 90,000 votes. That sir is not am mandaye. We also know the election was compromised by russia.OVER 16000 lies and counting from this person of president.

  95. Truth be told, when does the GOP have to make a legitimate case about anything?

  96. Law is always subjective; there are constitutionalists and liberal social justice warriors.

  97. @Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes Are you saying those 2 things opposire? Social justice is rooted in the constitution.

  98. Actually, SLAG, the US Constitution is a manifesto of liberal social justice.

  99. You left out one side in this situation - craven republicans who are afraid of a mean tweet from the president that will cost them their office. They will gratefully latch on to any nonsensensical defense, no matter how far beyond the pale, that they can claim is a valid reason for letting a president get away with his many crimes. In today's GOP there's not a single constitutionalist left, I'm afraid. Given their high rates of "retirement" and actual prosecution and imprisonment, the GOP seems evenly divided between cowards and felons.

  100. “This argument is constitutional nonsense,” Mr. Bowman said. . . . . . Hardly a surprise. Nonsense is and has been the pedestal of the Trump Presidency.

  101. This Constitutional Scholar and Legal Expert expounds on the correct way to conduct a Criminal Trial. He either is very neglectful of some important research OR he's deliberately misleading the American Public. Neither of which is very conducive to being a self-appointed "Expert". Here it is. The Senate is NOT conducting a Criminal Trial. Everything the Constitutional Scholar claims is important to this Senate Proceedure is actually Irrelevant. If this guy really is an expert.....this country is in serious trouble.

  102. It walks like a crime and talks like a crime. You and I both know he’s Quilty. So does a billion people world-wide.

  103. @Wherever Hugo But why then the statement in the U.S. Constitution: "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors"? Why the presence of the Chief Justice? Why then require an oath of impartiality?

  104. @Iris Flag It is still not a criminal trial. Its an impeachment, the House has already voted for removal and supplied evidence. Now the Senate has to decide on removal from office. The President is STILL not prosecuted for a crime....he's only removed from office. But that wont happen, as the House has failed miserably to concoct a believable accusation and has supplied no evidence....only empty bombastic statements about how "horrified" they all are.

  105. When the book is written on how the American experiment went into terminal decline this travesty of a process that Mitch will wave through to acquittal will be right up there. There isn’t any purpose to a legislative body once it’s totally co-opted by the Executive.

  106. The Republicans have conveniently created a catch 22. According to their legal opinions a sitting president cannot be indicted for a crime and cannot be impeached and removed unless indicted. The House seemed to very specifically not state a crime and yet it could easily have done so, such as attempted extortion, bribery, and the withholding of congressionally authorized funds. I am sure there are also laws against election interference.

  107. FDR was right about “fearing fear”. The Republican Party has been overtaken by fear in way that may precipitate the systematic undoing of 240 years of Constitutional precedence. Of course the Senate knows better, but their collective fear may indeed “trump” their Constitutionally mandated responsibility to protect our Republic from the Tyrant.

  108. @Joey Green Is it fear or just plain old money? These GOP politicians are on political welfare, They do nothing but enrich themselves. As far as knowing the law they appear to be as smart as money can buy and nothing more. Half of these people don't believe that videos of there talking points from 20 years ago live on via CSPAN, Ken Starr has no shame for what he did to this country and the female students at Baylor college. it was about him and the hate of the GOP In the old video right behind Ken is the teenage drunk, sexual pervert who is now on the Supreme Court. Two tainted individuals and the prize Harvard lawyer for Jeffrey Epstein. Havent these two rich anti democracy agents done enough to destroy democracy. The history books will outline this lie about the Constitution they mouth off this is not true. History will say why didn't enough people in their red states standup for justice? Trump is still an IMPEACHED president and the world is watching our democracy at work in plain sight. The President of Ukraine will never admit it but he is now more determined to fight corruption from wherever it rears its ugly head.

  109. Ah yes...FDR. How I wish he were in the White House now. Look how far the standard has fallen.

  110. Having been old enough to see the Nixon watergate hearings at school during the day, I am shocked by what is currently going on in the senate. These impeachment proceedings are not normal. Our children should be able to see what really happened and learn from it, like we did. Truth should see the light of day. This is America’s history and only the truth will set us free. Go New York Times and Bernstein!

  111. I fear Dershowitz has been compromised. Is he being blackmailed into assisting trump? What was the relationship between Dershowitz and Jeffrey Epstein?

  112. @WWoodJD The only thing needed to bring Dershowitz into this hot mess was a TV camera! No way in heck was he going to be left out.

  113. @WWoodJD Wasn't the good professor while a member of OJ's Dream Team the genius who came up with "if it doesn't fit . . . ?"

  114. I am not an attorney, but you do not have to be one to know that Dershowitz is using the gaslighting technique so prevalent on the Republican side of the equation (for goodness sakes, there is a tape of Dershowitz contradicting himself). Combined with a "legend in his own mind" mentality, I sure can talk fast delivery, and willing media platforms to fill air time, we have the perfect storm to dovetail with the madness of Trump. No one pays attention to the honest quiet ones. Now it's all about Dershowitz, the guy associated with O.J. and Epstein. Add another one onto the trash heap of Trump world.

  115. @SLF Dershowitz is using the gaslighting technique so prevalent on the Republican side of the equation (for goodness sakes he sure did on CNN last night when he wouldn't let the guy on the other side of A. Cooper speak, then accused BOTH of them of bullying him. Dershbag is a true piece of work. Intellectually dishonest.

  116. Mr. Dershowitz ids appearing in the role of an expert witness but the Senate GOP who want no witnesses call him " of counsel " instead this trick should not be allowed and if Mr. Dershowitz is allowed to offer his expert opinion, the Dems should be allowed witnesses to testify in public before the Senate

  117. Defendants in criminal cases across the land should take note and use the President's defence playbook; "provide an alternative rationale to acquit". No need to have witnesses, and consider the House testimony. Simply reject the charges and pressure the court to swiftly acquit. After all, it's up to an individual's personal interpretation to fit the situation regardless of the evidence presented. Better yet, take your magic wand and wave it all away. It certainly will eliminate the backlog of cases.

  118. That’s kind of basic defense: provide a different theory of what happened, or provide a different interpretation of the law.

  119. The article should have mentioned that the legal brief contains many other defenses of Trump besides the argument that there was no crime. So senators need not base their vote on that single issue.

  120. There have been several stories and opinions written in the last months, since tRump dragged us into his mess, about the Republican party destroying the Constitution rather than give up their place in the absolute control of our country. There is also a theory that McConnell and company have decided that their monarch is preferable to a democracy run by "liberals." The numbers don't lie, white Christians are losing their majority and are on their way down and out. What we are seeing is the right's last attempt to keep control at any cost. Losing King Donald puts them clearly on the way into a darkening future. They will stop at nothing to keep control of the richest most powerful country in the history of the world. And no-one is going to jail for what they are doing, there is not one felony anywhere in sight. Merrick Garland all over again. The end of Democracy in the United States of America, thank you Moscow Mitch and Rupert Murdock.

  121. This whole thing is a bit of a sham. The facts are pretty much known to all: 1. Trump asked the Ukrainian president for an investigation of one of his possible opponents in the election of 2020, Joe Biden, for which there was much suspicion of corruption -- i.e., gifts to his son from a Ukrainian firm which was investigated by a Ukrainian prosecutor whom Joe Biden admittedly got fired. That doesn't prove Joe Biden is corrupt, but it is certainly suspicious and, at the very least, unseemly. [There are other suspicions about the son, as well as a whole raft of other Biden relatives.] The standard the Democrats seek to enforce is that Democrats running against Trump may not be investigated by foreign countries -- a standard no reasonable person can support. 2. Trump refused to turn over documents requested by the House in its impeachment enquiry. Either this is an offense or it is not. Some of the refusals are before the courts, where such questions should be. Imagine how it would look if the Supreme Court (because that is where such monumental questions of separation of powers ultimately are resolved) decided that Trump did not have to turn the documents over? Or even if the Court decided Trump did have to turn the documents over, and he then turned them over? In other words, this second cause is nonsense.

  122. @james Here's another fact. Trump is an idiot. Last week he said impeachment was a hoax, and then he said it was a phony hoax. He didn't seem to realize that two statements were contradictory. Probably he doesn't know what "hoax" means.

  123. @james "gifts to his son from a Ukrainian firm which was investigated by a Ukrainian prosecutor whom Joe Biden admittedly got fired. " No. For the millionth time, the prosecutor Joe Biden got fired was NOT investigating that Ukrainian firm or other entities suspected of corruption. That's WHY he was fired. Biden was fighting corruption. In any event, why was Trump asking a foreign country (a possible still corrupt one at that) to investigate, instead of US law enforcement? AND, why was this the only item of Ukrainian corruption Trump was investigating? There are many others, and Trump hasn't shown the least interest in them. AND, why did it take Trump three years --i.e., until Biden became Trump's political rival -- to "investigate" this? Why did Trump not care at all about this alleged corruption until then? Anyone who believes that Trump was in any way actually trying to fight corruption is gullible beyond belief.

  124. Sorry, maybe I'm missing something. In Italy, we have a very serious crime called “extortion”. This crime occurs when a public official threatens to do or not do something if a person (the victim) refuses to do something (pay a sum of money, hire a relative of the extortionist, etc.). In Italy we also have another crime called "abuse of office". This crime occurs when a public official does or does not do something he or she should have done in order to pursue a personal interest (economic interest, self-interest, electoral interest, etc.). Are there no similar crimes in the United States? Does criminal justice really have nothing to say about what Trump did?

  125. @Alfredo Alfredo America right now is as Italy was with Mussolini: cultists who only believe their dear leader. Actually America always was like that, just some 'decent' people were made leaders. Now with propaganda repetition to "true-beleivers"...that is why America is a mediocre billionaire gambling paradise. Drive through flyover states sometime - you will see churches and gas stations and shopping malls, nothing else. Mediocrity.

  126. According to Republicans, Trump can't commit crimes because he's above the law. The rules don't apply to him.

  127. @Alfredo Alfredo Mussolini made the trains run on time yes? 401ks have gone up during impotus’ watch. That evidently is all that matters.

  128. It’s very simple especially for all those fox and friends simple minds. There apparently are TWO US CONSTITUTIONS. One that the republicans and Moscow Mitch adhere to when it’s convenient. Like denying a sitting president a Supreme Court nomination and allowing a president to obstruct congressional laws by refusing ALL subpoenas for facts, documents and witnesses. And the other US constitution which was drafted and signed by the founding fathers of our nation.

  129. @Mandarine Unfortunately (but inevitably) there ARE two constitutions and Prof. Akhil Amar has written a wonderful book about the other one (see, America's Unwritten Constitution). The defense will continue to weave a silk purse out of a sow's ear and will almost certainly win. It will be a pyrrhic victory. The American people will see through all the ruses, the mendacity, the corruption of their core values. They will remember, come November, the sycophantic toadies who raised their hands in the defense and they will be outraged. This outrage will translate into a stunning sweep, the new broom of change, making the 2018 elections look like a close call. And America will emerge from darkness. Okay, call me optimistic.

  130. @John Holland Yes you are optimistic. We still have the antiquated electoral college. I have concerns about Putin, the republicans gerrymandering, their voter suppression tactics and purging of registered voters. We need to WIN those swing states where the electoral college holds the votes for victory. Focus on those like a laser.

  131. No one ever, in the history of our nation has refused to allow witnesses and or documentation which would exonerate them. From being used in a court proceeding. A trial is solely about the facts. Donald's denial of the facts is obvious to all. This process of removal from the office of Donald is not partisan. It is about personal accountability. Something which Donald has spent his life avoiding. As for Mitch Mcconnell. McConnell is a fabulist. And not even someone who is good at it. No president can propose a supreme court justice his last year in office?

  132. @Steve Exactly. What drivel will McConnell toss to us if a new Supreme happens to be needed to fill a seat between now and next January?

  133. Trump and gang got caught right handed and the best defense his lawyers can come up with is a negation of the Constitution. But then so many actions taken by Trump do exactly that, this seems more like a game plan than a mere defense argument.

  134. @David Bible At the end of the day no matter what was thought or said, nothing was done. The Ukraine's got their military aid, or at least over 90% of it according to some nit pickers and Ukraine did not announce an investigation to get it or do an investigation to get the military aid. Both the President of the United States and the President of Ukraine said there was not any quid pro quo and there was not any conditions or pressure felt by the Ukraine to do anything as a condition to get the military aid. The rough transcript of the infamous phone call of July 25th was interpreted, where need be, by the principles who actually talked on the call who both agreed there wasn't anything nefarious discussed on the call that everyone interested has already read the rough transcript. The only way to get the call to come out as anything nefarious would be to add words to it that were not spoken or interpret what was said and make it mean something contrary to what the principles on the call said was their meaning and understanding.

  135. @NYChap Your argument is obsolete.

  136. I wonder if mr. McConnell and his fellow 'Republican' Senators realise what their proto- autoritarian argumentation does to the credibility of the entire system of Government of the United States. Mr. Trump and his allies may survive politically for now but if this really is going to be the charade it increasingly looks like, the damage to the reputation of the US will be beyond repair. Indeed, it could be the beginning of the breaking up of NATO.

  137. @Albert Koeman Once again, Putin’s Puppet is hard at work.

  138. @Albert Koeman Our legal system is based on precedent. Let a president get away with abuse of his office, and it will make it difficult to prosecute any offender in the future.

  139. “These are very smart, legally informed people,” he said. “They understand the law. They can certainly see through ruses and efforts to distract and divert.” I wish I had Mr Mikhail’s faith.

  140. @plmbst yes, indeed. If a smart and legally informed US Senator is inclined to look the other way, especially as the time of day gets later and later then the ruse becomes successful and the diversion is taken.

  141. If, as this reporting suggests, the case for impeachment now has to be justified with some stock “experts” from the I’m Right You’re Wrong Central Casting Department, and an 18th century impeachment trial of the Governor General of the West Indies in parliament (who we’re told, btw, footnote, was acquitted), it’s time to end this ill advised venture and be on to the general election.

  142. @Beantownah Ill advised? Most of us have a hard time sitting still while we're watching everything we thought this country stood for trashed and sold out by the most corrupt man who ever made his way into the White House.

  143. Yes at this point it’s pointless

  144. It's simply too late to discuss "the case" for impeachment. The President has been impeached. It has been justified to the extent defined by the Constitution and precedent - things that matter equally when inconvenient as well as convenient. But you're right, the only thing to do now is to watch Republican senators cower and denigrate themselves before their false idol and move on to the general election...

  145. The ludicrous defense argument mounted by Trump's lawyers is predicated on a very simple principle of debate: create a red herring and then argue that it is just as legally plausible as anything your opponent claims. The intent is to so muddy the competing views of prosecutors and defense lawyers that hardly anyone can sort out what is factual, accurate and the recognized intent of the controlling document -- the Constitution. In such a muddle, even the most moderate and sensible of the Republican Senators will conclude that the must side with the President. If this were a murder trial in which the President had shot and killed a Democratic opponent outside the White House (all caught on surveillance video and the sworn testimony of more than 100 witnesses), Trump's defenders, following the above script, would assert that the FF could not have possibly envisioned that a sitting President would ever intentionally kill someone while on office, so there's no mention of murder as a "high crime and misdemeanor." As a result, no actual crime had been committed. Or, as the TV series from a few years back was titled, "How To Get Away with Murder."

  146. @PaulB67 This will certainly outrage those of us who will never again probably vote Republican but it's far more horrendous than that. This is justice denied, justice trashed, justice stomped on by the most corrupt pack of jackals that's ever found its place in Congress and the White House. In history, these will be known as the pack who protected and carried tractor-trailers full of Trump water for the most dishonest, cruel and despicable human who's ever hit the public platform.

  147. @PaulB67 Trump's entire political career has been based on his tweeted red herrings.

  148. Why was there so much focus on the appearance of impropriety back in the day (like the 1960s) rather than specific evidence of criminal code violations?

  149. @APS Good question. I suppose back in the day politicians had ethics, morals and values they tended to protect. Today they have attended revival tent meetings held by a snake oil salesman who promises everlasting salvation if they pledge loyalty and obedience by placing their morals, values and ethics in the collection basket and those three compasses will never be used again.

  150. I'm going to skip to the end here. The logical end. This isn't happening because of Trump. This isn't happening because of Congressional Republicans. It's happening because 40% of this country want it to happen. Sure, it took the primary system and the structural advantages of the Electoral College and the Senate for them to get us to this point. And the complacency of the rest of us. But make no mistake: 40% of us want a one-party authoritarian theocracy. The left + the center make 60%. Vote like our Republic depends on it because this time it really does..

  151. In a political process, it really doesn’t matter what the legal basis is. The House has the right to impeach for any reason it sees fit and the senate can decide to remove or not remove the President for any reason it sees fit. Democrats had the right to to send this impeachment to trial and Republicans in the senate have the right to dismiss the charges. The voters get to decide in November. That’s democracy.

  152. @John I agree but with a critical caveat: only true if there are no thumbs on the popular vote, and a majority of voters desire democracy. We know from 2016 that the popular vote may be insufficient to prevent an immoral, incompetent, probably somewhat deranged man from being.. re-elected! Take any example from common experience: say the principal of your daughter’s high school has been credibly accused of multiple sexual assaults, has fired most of the best staff and faculty, withheld school funds for personal leverage and lied and obstructed his way through an investigation, and still, won’t resign nor will the school board fire him. What to do? Keep sending your daughter to school? Keep paying your county taxes? No, there have to be consequences for serious abuse of one’s position. If this cannot be done administratively, aka a vote, it devolves to individual decisions. That’s where the fate of tyranny will be decided

  153. What is most reprehensible is the countless footage of these disgusting, morally corrupt senators publicly stating the exact opposite when discussing the impeachment of Clinton. When graham stated that basically because Clinton besmirched the reputation of the presidency that was grounds for removal from office. That witnesses were required, including testimony from Clinton himself and Monica Lewinsky. That the trial be televised, not cloaked in secrecy and darkness. How venal, vile and truly despicable they are. We have lost control of OUR government and no revolution was required. A large minority of people voted for this, a large minority support it. All the blood and treasure lost through the ages to preserve our country and democracy was elected away. This large minority gave away our democracy by choice! Sadly we will all suffer the consequences. An acquittal of this tin pot despot will completely unleash him. We have found he truly can do what he wants, there no longer are any Constitutional restraints. Former MA Rep. Capuano stated that our laws were as only good as the people who upheld them. We now have an entire political party, the republicans and those who support them with no exception, who are giving our Constitution a giant middle finger. And the rubes cheer! Our democracy is done. I hope they like what they have wrought when trump turns on them as well, as history shows he will. Unfairly we all will suffer irreparable harm for their fealty to this depravity.

  154. dershowitz makes a compelling case against dershowitz.

  155. Mr. Dershowitz is very twisty and I'm sure as others have noted that he seems to only show up to free the guilty.

  156. For three (3) long, exhausting years now, we've been watching an amateurish reality TV and Twitter show occupying the White House. And that show continues . . . Vote people; forgawdsakes, vote this time. -C

  157. This trial is a circus. Trump is not "President" any more than W Bush was. W was appointed by the Supreme Court. The supreme recount was aborted just when Gore was pulling into the lead. Russian Hacking (publicly encouraged by Trump) and massive voter suppression enabled Trump's fake residency in the White House. Folks- this is the end of any delusion that the USA is a democracy. Let the circus clowns have their day in court. We are officially a fascist regime run by plutocrats with the plutonium to make it stick.

  158. What is Dershowitz getting paid? I wonder if that is information we could obtain. I wonder how much he was paid to defend OJ? Dershowitz is a media gadfly and has no authority, moral or intellectual, over any subject. I cringe for the reputation of Harvard every time he opens his mouth.

  159. Who cares about the constitution? The president trumpy certainly doesn't. His enablers in the Senate and House don't care that he doesn't. So why all the fuss? Take a chill pill and vote the clowns out in November.

  160. I think there is no chance that Trump will be convicted and removed from office. Nothing was done that rsies to the lebvel of an impeachable offense.

  161. @NYChap First sentence: true Second sentence: absolutely false. Trump abused his position to try to gain a political advantage, going against the interest of this country and of Ukraine. Trump won't be convicted because the Senate Republicans are craven cowards with zero ethical backbone.

  162. It would have been a lot better if the House had charged Trump with a crime. For example, perjury. At his inauguration Trump took an oath to defend the Constitution. So far he hasn't even read it yet, as proved by his bizarre remark last summer about "your phony emoluments clause". There are a lot of other crimes Trump could have been charged with. For example, putting children in cages, in violation of the Constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The House committees weren't even trying. Trump has normalized so much stupidity and barbarism that they couldn't look at his illegitimate presidency objectively.

  163. "But the argument is politically convenient for Mr. Trump. For any moderate Republican senator who may not like what the facts already show about his campaign of pressure on Ukraine, the theory provides an alternative rationale to acquit the president." How about: But that stupid thought is politically and economically convenient for Don Trump. For any sycophant and stupid Republican senator who don’t like the facts that already show about his campaign of pressure on Ukraine, that moronic idea provides an alternative to acquit the Don.

  164. This is insane. Here is the actual law that Trump broke: 5 52 U.S. Code § 30121. Contributions and donations by foreign nationals (a) Prohibition It shall be unlawful for— (1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make— (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election; (B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or (C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or (2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national. (b) “Foreign national” definedAs used in this section, the term “foreign national” means— (1) a foreign principal, as such term is defined by section 611(b) of title 22, except that the term “foreign national” shall not include any individual who is a citizen of the United States; or (2) an individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 1101(a)(22) of title 8) and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by section 1101(a)(20) of title 8. Trump asked Ukraine, China, and Russia for Oppo Research. That’s a thing of value, which makes it an illegal contribution.

  165. The basis of magic is misdirection, this current Dershowitz argument is even less credible than the "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit" nonsense put forward in the O.J. trial. Alternate facts and obfuscation are the hallmarks of an indefensible legal position and keeping the truth at bay is the position to which a scoundrel clings.

  166. Lawyers will be lawyers ! They will pull any kind of rabbit out of their hat to win their case fair our foul and this is no different, except now we have McConnell cheering them on to ever more devious methods of confusion in order to keep a proven liar and fraud in the White House. Trump is going to turn out to be a very dark and sinister cloud hanging over the country long after McConnell and he are long gone in in their graves.

  167. trump, his republican party, and his attorneys are the ultimate disgrace to our nation. I never thought I would think and feel in my bones the depth of disgust these people have burdened us all with. I am worried. Worried about my family, about our granddaughter's future in this country, because of all of them and what they are doing to destroy it.

  168. Dershowitz helped OJ get away with two murders. I’m not surprised in the least he’s now trying to help one of the most corrupt men in government stay in power. He’s a man who protects wealthy, powerful men from the consequences of their crimes.

  169. “I did not actually shoot someone on Fifth Avenue. Not that that would matter anyway.”

  170. The photo by TJ Kirkpatrick accompanying the article is excellent. The photographer composed to include the shadow adding a touch of imbalance to the frame.

  171. Looks like more ways to look guilty to me.

  172. Frank Bowman argue: “The almost universal consensus — in Great Britain, in the colonies, in the American states between 1776 and 1787, at the Constitutional Convention and since — has been that criminal conduct is not required for impeachment.” However, as Trump's lawyer point out, the delegates at the Constitution Convention wanted to break with the British system, which permits Parliament to remove prime ministers from office for maladministration but a vote of no confidence. If the delegates thought Congress should be empowered to remove presidents from office for abuse of power, they would have defined it and listed it as grounds for impeachment. Instead of relying on news reports and opinion pieces, people should read the Trump defense team’s Trial Memorandum for themselves. Released yesterday, it amounts to the defense team opening argument. The document runs to more than 100 pages, but contains a table of contents and is searchable. In addition to addressing the issues of whether the articles of impeachment present constitutional grounds for impeachment, it deals separately with each allegation. It present a coherent factual response to each the impeachment charges. You can read or download the document at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Trial-Memorandum-of-President-Donald-J.-Trump.pdf

  173. I have read the trial memorandum, and every argument within amounts to this: The President of the United States is the Supreme Leader and has supreme authority. It asserts that the President determines the scope of power of the Presidency and the limitations of the power of Congress. It further asserts that Congress has no recourse for violations of separations of power. Congress may only subpoena White House officials by the grace of the President. It also relies on arguments we know now to be untrue to dispute facts regarding specific allegations. They are simply throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks. Despite all that, I'm glad they wrote it. It's going to be fun throwing this back in the face of Republicans when we have a Democratic President.

  174. @R.S. It is apparent you misread the trial memorandum. The fact is the Constitution gives the presidents very broad power in foreign policy. Presidents, not Congress, directs foreign policy. The facts presented in the memorandum have not been disproven. The memorandum was released yesterday.

  175. @William Case So, you are okay with withholding aid from Ukraine for Trump's personal gain.

  176. The essence of the Constitution of our republic is all and only' nonsense' plus callous corrupt cruel cynical hypocrisy. The original intent of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant Founding Fathers who owned property including their enslaved black Africans along with the lands and natural resources stolen from brown aboriginal Indigenous Natives was that neither the black nor the brown human beings nor women were divinely naturally created equal persons with certain unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What should embarrass and shame Americans is what was and still is lawful, legal and Constitutional in our very peculiar republic. A divided limited different power constitutional republic of united states where the people wield the nominal ultimate sovereign over their elected and selected hired help.

  177. If Republicans continue to shred the Constitution, what will be left to force trump out of the White House when he losed in November? Are they ready for that, because that is where we are heading.

  178. The legal argument lost its place in the „trial“ early on - McConnel’s and Graham’s statements left no doubt about that. The decision which „legal“ argument to acknowledge will ly with senators who won‘t decide what’s constitutionally correct but what their constitutionally given majority in the senate will allow them to abusively decide for their political benefit - ultimately going the same pattern as is laid down as impeachable offenses in the impeachment articles against Donald John Trump!

  179. I agree with Tom Steyer: We NEED term limits in Congress! Senators & Representative will do anything & I mean *anything* to keep their cushy positions rather than going back to working at their former jobs.

  180. @Rose We have in a sense term limits. We fail to exercise those term limits. The term limit is our right to vote.

  181. Alan Dershowitz doesn't believe what he's saying now contrast with what he clearly stated in 1998. He just likes being seen and heard on TV. Being seen on TV can be just as rewarding as a paycheck.

  182. Of course Dershovitz must know this is a nonsensical argument and would be laughed at by any studenf of jurisprudence. A lawful abuse of power is an oxymoron. Countering abuse of power is what the rule of law is all about.

  183. Dershowitz's duplicitous argument on a "technical crime" vs *crime-like conduct" is reminiscent of legal positions taken by the likes of Cosmo Kramer's lawyer, Jackie Chiles. I'm going to binge watch old Sienfeld shows until the Senate farce is over, like the shows, we know the outcome, but watch them anyway for laughs.

  184. And so does the "celebrated" attorney Alan Dershowitz join the vast army of professionals, qualified and not, who are willing to perform professional gymnastics and contortions at the bidding of Ringmaster Donald Trump. The world is short of many things, but it seems there is no shortage of such contortionists.

  185. If the Constitution meant only that a charged crime could be an impeachable offence, then why is the word ‘misdemeanours’ mentioned?

  186. Alan Dershowitz campaigned against Trump and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Dershowitz was against Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998. Dershowitz is a liberal democrat and the top constitutional expert in America today. Dershowitz wrote the book THE CASE AGAINST IMPEACHING TRUMP, and famously stated: "I have never allowed partisanship or politics or my own personal views to intrude into principled decisions about what I will represent, who I will represent, what constitutional arguments I would make." Nadler and Schiff could learn a thing or two from Dershowitz.

  187. Dershowitz is addicted to contrarianism. He likes taking the side of long-shot. Nothing admirable in it at all unless you’re a law professor who enjoys terrorizing your students legal positions.

  188. @99percent .... WHAT that he is only in it for the money and notoriety as with O.J., Eptsein, Weinstein... yes let them go and they are unaccountable and un-detoured from future abuse. i guess thats the alternative....

  189. IMAGINE it's 2011 again. Barack Obama is running for a second term. News breaks that he was found withholding crucial, congressionally designated funds, and political ties, to a small country that is a close ally surrounded by large, hostile countries. Let's call that small country, oh, say, Israel. It also comes out that Obama is withholding all of those things until Prime Minister Netanyahu does him a personal, political favor: broadcast on CNN and other major news outlets an investigation into the corruption of Senator Mitt Romney, regardless if Israel has dirt on him or not. Now: Do you think Republicans would be cool with that? Or would they mobilize to do justice?

  190. @David Surely, Republicans would not want to use impeachment as a political weapon. Surely they would recognize that Obama was just fighting corruption in Israel. I mean Republicans only care about the fair exercise of the law, as they’ve been howling about immigration all this time... sigh

  191. If you know anything about Dershowitz' history then you know he is a master at bending legal precedent to his will. He takes on issues and clients who he believes are in fact guilty for the sake of defending the overriding principle that our legal system works best when everyone is given a vigorous defense regardless of apparent guilt. In other words, he will say anything that will defend his client. This stretched argument his team is making is a clearly a sign of how indefensible Trump's Ukraine efforts were.

  192. @ridergk I partly agree, but have observed over the years that Dershowitz believes with all his bank accounts and his own preconceived privilege that powerful white men CANNOT be held to account for anything.

  193. @ridergk His legal team's presentation of their stretched argument would also indicate their inability to advise him to resign now, while the Office and the country are reasonably intact.

  194. @ridergk, Dershowitz used to be a respected lawyer and scholar. Sadly, that aura still exists long after any respectability has faded.

  195. The hypocrisy of this pseudo argument is stunning. First the Republicans claim that the House has the sole power of impeachment which means the House is solely responsible for defining what is impeachable. Then they say that criteria makes impeachment a purely political issue (invalid) and not a legal issue. Now they are making it a legal issue. But yet, they don't want evidence and testimony introduced that hasn't already been introduced, which is purely political and not legal as all legal court proceeding have evidence and testimony. Then they violate both of these rock solid criteria and claim that the president cannot be impeached for abuse of power because Article II gives him the power to do whatever he wants under executive privilege. Which then means his power is unlimited. Which then means the House has no authority to act as a check to the president. This then are two powers the Constitution expressly gives the House which the president's legal team has tossed aside. The entire foundation of their case is then that the president must violate some criminal statute. But he did violate criminal statutes. Bribery, extortion, and even just attempting them, are criminal violations. Obstructing Congress is a criminal violation. Executive privilege is not an excuse to obstruct Congress to deny their power of oversight of the executive. The president's power is not unlimited and must yield to the House. The president's argument is totally bogus.

  196. My fellow Americans. We have 2 separate US constitutions. One for the republicans and the other the ORIGINAL one drafted and signed by our founding fathers. It’s just too bad we don’t have 2 separate countries. One for the republicans and one for everyone else. This way the rest of us won’t have to pay for all those republican states that can’t make it on their own. Think of the prosperity the rest of us could enjoy with out having to foot the bill for those republican states!!!!

  197. If this were the case..“those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust,”..we should impeach the entire senate as the public trust is 20%

  198. "You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office." - Lindsay Graham, 1999, Manager of the Clinton impeachment

  199. The U.S. Constitution states in plain American English that Presidents can be impeached for committing acts of high crimes and misdemeanors, which is simply another way of saying that an impeachable offense is anything that Congress says it is. Misdemeanors for the purpose of impeaching Trump are anything Congress makes them out to be. They could include uncontrolled lying to the American people, present or former violations of the Mann Act, insulting Gold Star mothers, draft dodging, unpaid parking tickets, failure to pay library fines, operating a bogus university, tax cheating, acts of disrespect to slain CIA officers, anything at all, including wearing a bad hairpiece that brings the Presidency into a condition of disgrace. It would take Congressman Schiff and the New York Times no more than a few additional days to assemble a list running to more than a thousand pages of such "misdemeanors" by Trump and present it to the Senate, along with a request to speedily consider this fresh, new evidence against Trump. And then all of us could all sit back and enjoy the spectacle of watching Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Susan Collins wrestle with their nonexistent consciences.

  200. So the GOP strategy is going to be to rewrite the law so that Trump”s crimes are not impeachable. Talk about moving the goalposts! How does any real conservative tolerate this? They are making a mockery of the rule of law. Trump has compromised the entire party, politicians and electorate alike.

  201. Trump has always been able to hire expensive lawyers to protect him from being held accountable for his crimes. This is just another example of that, but with the very basis of democracy in the US on trial, not just one small, venal man. If you are an ordinary American the law will quickly come down on you very, very hard. Even a small offense can mean serious jail time, especially for people of color. If you are a rich, white man you can break the law with impunity and have your fancy lawyers get you off. Anyone who believes that "justice" in this country is fair and impartial is not living in the real world. Trump is not the cause of the rot consuming the US, but he is the perfect example of it in action.

  202. Dershowitz's reading of Hamilton is simply perverse. There is no mention of "crimes." Dershowitz has to import a notion that simply does not exist on the page. You might even say he's being dishonest. But apparently even he doesn't believe his own argument. He speaks of "crime-like" acts as worthy of impeachment; even if you buy his assertion that Trump committed no actual crimes, his actions -- pressuring Ukraine to announce an investigation of Biden and refusing to cooperate with the House -- are as crime-like as you like. The whole approach reminds me of climate denial. Find the one scientist out of tens of thousands who denies the evidence and then blow it up to claim there is "controversy" when in fact none exists. But the whole sham is of a piece. McConnell doesn't even offer an argument as to why his plan for the trial is good or fair. He just says, that's the way it's gonna be. And the Republicans will follow along, like lemmings over the cliff, counting on the crowd below in MAGA hats to catch them.

  203. Republicans in the Senate are only looking for the smallest shred of an argument to use for cover. And that is exactly what is being presented to them.

  204. Since the outcome is preordained, the “trial” is a mere public spectacle that will be used not to influence enough Republicans to form a supermajority, but to influence the public. And team Trump’s “no real crime” approach can do just that for a public that will not, absolutely will not, immerse itself in the historical nuances of what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors. This fascinating article is about as academic as it gets, both in terms of its scholarly appeal and, more importantly, ivory tower ineffectiveness. Trump will avoid removal, the public will think that Trump is “innocent,” and the campaign will be all about how he was vindicated of politically-driven, bogus charges by “crazy liberals.” ::sigh::

  205. In a Federal Court civil case Mr. Dershowitz would find himself on the receiving end of a Rule 11 sanctions motion for frivolous “Constitutional nonsense” arguments. No such limitation exists in the Senate, where Republican senators will allow any nonsense argument that provides a fig leaf to cover their breach of the oaths of office and betrayal of the Constitution.

  206. Charles I was convicted of using his office to further his own personal gain at the expense of his country. The court, established by Parliament, declared his acts treasonous. His crimes and trial resonate in today’s proceedings against the head of the Executive branch of the US government.

  207. Just as a group of US psychiatrists prepared a statement for the Judiciary Committee signed by 350 mental health professionals declaring Trump to be a danger and mentally unstable, so should US Constitutional scholars unite to throw this sham of a defense under the bus. Not just one, not just 2 people in an essay. There is a constitutional scholar at almost every American university—easy to contact. The average citizen is unlikely to start reading the Constitution now and has probably never read de Tocqueville. It needs to be spelled out quite clearly that the disingenuous GOP is using smoke and mirrors to defend Trump. We should not let this manipulative, misogynistic playboy bring down Democracy.

  208. Well, they have absolutely no defense and they have to invent what a friend used to call "rhetorical points". Just something that you can say when you have nothing to say. Everyone is quoting Hamilton except the Republicans who, at this moment' don't want to think about their beloved "originalism". Let us, however, quote a real original, Hamilton on impeachment "The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust." You can't be any clearer than that. No violation of law is required. So stop beating an inexistent horse.

  209. The ideological hegemony of Fox News is making its fiercest attempt in subordinating justice thus far durning the Trump era. Will Chief Justice Roberts and the U.S. Senate coalesce around the sophomoric tactics of our ‘Twitter in Chief,’ paving the way for the the insincere but very strategic obfuscation tactics of Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham?

  210. I read that Dershowitz is trying to distance himself from the rest of Trump's legal team. Why? Because their arguments are full of errors. They claim that Democrats are trying to overturn the 2016 election, which they claim was won by Trump. Nonsense. The election was won by Hillary Clinton and was overturned by the Electoral College 3 years ago. besides, making ad hominem accusations about Democrats' motives is a rhetorical argument, not a legal one.

  211. Unfortunately, the smart, legally informed people Mr. Mikhail refers to, (GOP Senators) have opted for immorality and misplaced loyalty over intelligence and backbone in this situation.

  212. This is a classic example of the old legal adage, If the facts are on your side, pound the facts. If the law is on your side, pound the law. If neither is on your side, pound the table. The Democrats will be doing a lot of pounding the facts and law, while the Republicans will sadly and shoddily be doing a lot of pounding the table.

  213. Many Senators are attorneys, so in law school they studied the Constitution in depth. Most of them, being conservative, interpret the document according to what they believe the authors intended. Others see the document as being flexible, open to interpretation to be relevant to the changing times. However, this is a clear case in which these hypocritical Republicans are exposed. On the one hand, (see Mitch McConnell) they contend that Trumps actions don’t meet the standard for high crimes and misdemeanors as they think the Founders intended. On the other hand, they (again see McConnell) want to change the original rules for trial to benefit their own purpose. They do this in the bright of day because they’ve been allowed to get away with this kind of thing for years. Our Republic is at the tipping point. If Trump is acquitted and re-elected, we are finished...no hyperbole intended.

  214. Chief Justice Roberts should demand that Senate Leader McConnell recuse himself from serving as a juror in President Trump’s trial since McConnell’s wife serve as the Transportation Secretary under President Trump and she and her family global business benefit tremendous financial rewards from the Trump administration and its policies.

  215. Bit was it illegal for the President to withhold aid that had been directed by Congress, especially for reasons of personal gain? Yes. Case closed.

  216. No surprise here... GOP, the party of grifters. The rule of law, the constitution was so important and cited or referenced endlessly during the Obama administration by the GOP and their followers. The rallying cry of the constitution drove GOP followers to carry personal pocket editions and ultimately, control of the house by the GOP Tea Party house members. Now? Meh? The constitution isn’t such a big deal. Much like balancing the budget. Things only matter to the GOP that serve their interests. They really don’t care about our nation, our constitution, the rule of law. They just want power.

  217. Trump's absurd defense includes his misleadingly taking credit for recent stock market gains. Yet research shows that, since 1929, the stock market has done substantially better under Democratic presidents than under Republican presidents. And the stock market only benefits wealthier Americans. Studies show that decreased life expectancy in the U.S., with increased rates of opiate addiction and suicide, correlate with economic hopelessness among poorer Americans. It is time for a President who will represent all Americans, not just financially secure ones.

  218. If Trump gets away with this, which he is on the way to accomplishing, we need to change a few things: (1) Make it legal to indict a sitting President for any crimes no matter how "low" or "high"; and (2) Make it explicitly a CRIME for any sitting President to ask for a "favor" of any kind from a foreign government; and (3) Make it illegal for the President's "personal" attorney to conduct foreign policy on behalf of our country - they should have to have security clearance and be on the public record, not using WhatsApp or other social media to conduct foreign affairs; and (4) No one can run for elective office without disclosing 10 years worth of tax returns before they can get on any ballot; and (5) Immediate family members of the President CANNOT serve in any government capacity; and (6) Congress needs to legislate the Citizens United decision out of existence! A corporation/PAC is NOT a 'person' with the same rights of free speech that an individual citizen has. (7) Make election security a TOP priority; stop gerrymandering; abolish the Electoral college. My modest wish list. One can dream.

  219. Kindly clarify for "ordinary" people like myself, the difference between "high crimes" and "ordinary crimes." To the unknowledgeable, like myself, "high crimes" sounds like "bigger" crimes than "ordinary crimes." In actuality, it seems the difference is not in the "magnitude" of the crime, but that the standard of proof for "high crimes," which pertains to people in "high" positions, is much lower than such standard for "ordinary crimes." My guess is 99% of Americans without a legal background, do not understand or appreciate the difference. I did not till today, and probably still don't appreciate all its nuances or maybe even its material substance.

  220. While senators who are lawyers may be able to "see through ruses and efforts to distract and divert,” it is sad to contemplate that they may decide to ignore them anyway, all in the interest of preserving their ability to earn a living in the Republican lobbying class after they leave office.