Republicans Move to Block Impeachment Witnesses, Driving Toward Acquittal

Efforts to bring wavering Republicans into line appeared to be working as President Trump’s lawyers argued that anything a president did to win re-election was “in the public interest.”

Comments: 208

  1. "Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the No. 3 Senate Republican, declared that he had “heard enough” and predicted that the Senate would vote to acquit the president by week’s end." Well, so much for the oath to be impartial. Instead of being open to hearing testimony of new witnesses and reviewing new documents, the Republicans continue to bullying its members to shut this investigation down by blocking the vote on Friday. What really topped McConnell's strong arming of his fellow party members was the outrageous statement from Dershowitz when he said that is was okay for Trump to do something that would get him elected, "in the public interest". What public interest? It was in Trump's best interest to be elected for crying out loud. Amazing and equally scaring how Trump's legal team has turned an illegal act of peddling influence from a foreign government into an acceptable and legal act.

  2. @Leia What Ukraine did or did not do is not at all the point. It's what Trump did. It's so simple: our president used the power of his office to solicit help from a foreign power to interfere in our domestic presidential election. That is wrong. It's what the founders of our country were worried about, and so they specifically referred to it. That is what our president did. The second thing he did was impede the investigation by the branch of the government that is set up to provide "checks and balances" to oversee and investigate the executive branch. This he did in an a way that has never been done before - complete, blanket stone-walling. No one has done this - not Johnson, not Nixon, not Clinton. Trump did that. That's obstruction. This is why he was impeached. Now we are supposed to have a trial where he will be tried for those actions. But we are not going to get one. Instead, we are going to get this ... joke of a proceeding that is so transparently ridiculous that it will go down in the history books as one of the darkest periods events in our history.

  3. "Public Interest" means less vital information to keep to an already-decided narrative in place and maintain their own power.

  4. Trump’s lawyers argued that anything a president did to win re-election was “in the presidents interest.” Fixed it for you! Should be obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense.

  5. Whether a candidate’s election is in the public’s interest is literally decided by the public, not the candidate. The Republicans’ bogus arguments are putting us on the path to dictatorship.

  6. @Ian : Yes, Ian, we are moving on the path to a dictatorship which would please Donald Trump in his vain-glorious grandiosity - and solidify Putin's plan to keep a nincompoop in the Oval Office while he proceeds with his master plan for global domination - by tampering in the 2020 election. Mike Bloomberg is using his own money to fund his campaign to defeat Trump - because like many citizens in the United States we have seen a startling erosion of our democratic principals in less than four years by Donald Trump's belief that our Constitution is meaningless, the Rule of Law is absurd and that he is, in fact, above the law. It is essential that the 2020 vote casting process throughout this country is tamper-proof and stop Trump from re-election or he will ensure the collapse of our democracy as we know it, much to Putin's delight and whom Trump serves.

  7. @Ian Trump and his attorneys are ripping up the constitution - and the US Senate is watching.

  8. @Ian No, we're not on the path to dictatorship.... We're already there.

  9. Does anyone else hear the echo of authoritarianism here? L’etat, c’est moi!

  10. @JR Yes, indeed. King Louis XIV in 17th-century France Adolph Hitler in 20th-century Germany

  11. @D Yes, and the intent of the 2nd Amendment was to enable the citizens of the USA to protect themselves against tyranny like this. And now, here it is, being perpetrated by a handful of t.v. lawyers, a third-rate crime boss swindler, and the republican Senate itself!

  12. @JR noblesse oblige, m'Lord

  13. I wish someone would ask President's counsel how many of them have ever tried a case with no witnesses or evidence in their lives?

  14. @karen Dershowitz helped get O.J. Simpson off. And hey, who doesn't think that was okay - as long as you ignore the evidence against him. Maybe O.J. is still looking for the real killer....

  15. @Karen — The House of Representatives called plenty of witnesses, therefore, evil or not, the Senate doesn’t have that pressure to add more.

  16. @William Perrigo (U.S. Citizen) But the Republicans complained that the House didn't have the first hand witnesses. Now the Republicans refuse to call the first hand witnesses.

  17. Trump always said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue without consequences. And the Trump Justice Department follows the Nixon Justice Department in claiming that the President cannot be prosecuted for any crime - he can only be impeached and removed, and then perhaps prosecuted. Now Dershowitz is saying that Trump cannot even be impeached for a crime that furthers his re-election. So according to Dershowitz, Trump can shoot Joe Biden on 5th Avenue and there cannot be any consequences - neither impeachment nor prosecution. I need a thesaurus for a stronger synonym than "absurd".

  18. @Fox Don’t look now, but GOP is handing Trump a powerful weapon to commit further crimes—since, according to GOP, congress no longer has ability to “check” an outlaw president.

  19. @Fox You will find no appropriate synonym in the English lexicon. I’m also doubtful of your success in the Greek, Arabic, Hebrew ...

  20. @Fox: The only thing missing from your analysis is that, in Trump's mind (and, presumably Dershowitz's) the presidential pardon power is absolute & applicable to himself. Neither impeachment nor prosecution while in office, and self-pardon to prevent post-office prosecution just for good measure. It's the trifecta of immunities. Kind-of like the slogan of another one of the reality-tv genre, Survivor, which long before the Charlottesville marchers brought tiki-torches to America's living rooms: Outwit-Outplay-Outlast.

  21. You can have the truth, or you can have Republicans, but you can't have both.

  22. The Democrats want this over too. Bolton brings uncertainty, the same result and probably a Biden testifying. Now they have moral outrage and whining all the way to November.

  23. @PeterC You seem to think that Dems are afraid of either Biden testifying.

  24. @PeterC They also have truth and the constitution on their side.

  25. Republicans will NOT allow John Bolton or any witnesses, and the Senate will NOT release any documents or recordings of conversations. Question to NYT: Now that it is very clear that the Senate is unfair, does the Democrats have an option to completely stay away/be absent from the voting as a way of protest, citing "Unfairness, Obstruction of Justice by Republican Party" ? This way Democrats can take this to the people's court citing John Bolton's book and at least have a chance to win in the people's court.

  26. Trump's cult members get to fully display their lack of integrity and spine. Excellently convincing argument for sane Americans to boot this mob out of power/office in November.

  27. who really cares? GOP are a bunch of cowards. if Trump shot someone on 5th ave, they'd still defend him.

  28. If a president can do anything to win re-election, then we are no longer living in a democracy. Period. Anything goes moving forward. Committing crimes like Nixon? Acceptable. Subverting political opponents? A-OK. Permanent state of emergency November onward to stop an election? Sure, go ahead.

  29. @BRR. Exactly. Chief Justice Roberts needs to remind Dershowitz that Trump is not a king.

  30. @Jordan F The fact that he won't tells you all you need to know about Chief Justice Roberts.

  31. That is a crock if I’ve ever heard one. If the president decides it’s in the public interest he can cheat?! Then you can be guaranteed, that every president here after will cheat. Because the The GOP senators would rather put party over country. I need to leave the United States, this country has become a joke.

  32. Pack me in your checked bag .

  33. @Gwendolyn. You’d think, but I think probably only the Republican presidents will cheat. Most of the Democrats, unfortunately, still have some sense of honor, and refuse to fight fire with fire.

  34. I did. Leave the U.S., that is. The Republican Party, at least, can no longer be entrusted with furthering the interests of democracy.

  35. Absolute obstruction is the only defense on offer by the Republicans. Additionally, according to the defense, the President's personal political goals, say for re-election, are now, by definition, that of the public interest, so there is no need for any sanction, at any time, for anything pursuant to reaching that goal, which I imagine, could very well result in anyone being sanctioned, imprisoned, or "investigated" for doing anything that conflicts with the now re-defined "public interest" of the President's personal political interests. Question: How exactly does any of this square with our system of government? Answer: It doesn't.

  36. @cd You don't know how much that thought scares me. Shhhhh

  37. @Greg while we're at it, based on this logic, I guess we don't need a presidential election in November 2020 ...

  38. @Greg you forgot to mention the main obstacle the President would be able to get rid off following Derschowitz‘s arguments: elections!

  39. “If the president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,” Dershowitz said. Really? Wow. Let's pause to reflect on that. Any leverage a president has - over foreign governments, over U.S. governors, over U.S mayors, over his own federal government - he can use to pressure any of them to investigate his political rivals or make statements impugning those rivals or otherwise damage their electoral prospects. Really? Anything is fair game now, so long as it isn't some crime the president can be prosecuted for? And, by the way, he can't be prosecuted for crimes while in office either? So much for our so-called democracy.

  40. @Jon Nothing like making up the rules as they go along.

  41. @Jon That’s a dishonest replay of Dershowitz actually said. He’s referring to dual motives but where one of those dual motives Does Not include actual crimes, such as accepting a bribe.

  42. @Marge Keller and in particular, to do or say anything to retain power. GOP : Whatever it takes

  43. If a candidate deems their election to be in the public interest, and anything they do to to win their election is unimpeachable, does that mean the Watergate break-in was a-ok and Nixon should not have resigned?

  44. @SaraB. Yes it does.

  45. @Sarah B Yes. It also means that a POTUS is able to bring all the weight of the FBI, CIA etc. against a political rival regardless of justice or truth. "Lock her up" becomes policy under those circumstances.

  46. Apparently Trump's cognitive decline is contagious. "...effectively arguing that a president cannot be removed from office for demanding political favors if he believes his re-election is in the national interest." How about if that belief is delusional? Or just plain wrong, like most of Trump's beliefs? Combine this Dershowitz gem with the recent arguments by other Trump lawyers that Trump could - literally - shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and we are back in the USSR, circa 1950.

  47. Forget about Fifth Avenue. If Trump makes it to the Fall and runs again, would it be FairPlay and in the national interest if he just shot his opponent and grabbed the election by default?

  48. When Republicans say, "Let the voters decide", what they really mean is, "Let Ukraine decide", or, "Let Russia decide." They don't care if Trump cheats. Trump said while he was running, "Russia if you're listening ... " and the next day the Russians hacked Democrats' computers, and the emails that were made public hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign. We know Russia hacked the voter rolls in 2016. We know Trump encouraged them to hack our computers. We know Trump was nearly successful in getting Ukraine to smear the Bidens until he got caught. Republicans know full well that if he is exonerated on Friday without witnesses he will keep on cheating to win, and so deprive Americans of a free and fair election. Republicans are not only obstructing justice; they are allowing Trump the Thug to keep on abusing the power of his office to hack the Democratic nominee and so swing the election for him.

  49. @ Sherry It’s not only Republican senators who claim, “Let voters decide.” Democratic senator Feinstein joined them yesterday with the same declaration. I say, let the senate do its job and remove this trump bum from office, and then vote out all his enablers.

  50. Poor Adam Schiff has been reduced to begging, the facts are not with him so he’s now begging for Trump’s head because it’s Trump’s. This is what three years of morality preaching does to one.

  51. Those of us that don’t speak Trump cultist have no idea what you’re saying. Good god help us all.

  52. The facts are most definitely with Schiff, but Republicans are in thrall to their god Trump. It’s a cult.

  53. Adam Schiff presented a better case than many prosecutors do in death penalty cases. The Republicans don't care about the facts, they only care about staying in power. if they were so convinced the Trump were innocent, they would allow witnesses and evidence. Instead they have assisted Trump in obstructing justice

  54. It sure looks like the GOP is showing how they really feel about elections and democracy. They are enemies of the Republic. They should be regarded as such.

  55. @Dan Yes, and unfortunately, those that follow Trump and the Republicans appear to have had enough of democracy. I guess it's just too complicated and tiring to be part of such a form of government. They should be careful of what they wish for, and what the result will be by abrogating their civic duty.

  56. @Dan — Now see, that has me confused, because back when the people voted for Bernie Sanders in 2016 that democratic machine called the DNC ignored them and selected Hillary Clinton instead. I guess the “Republic” has more than a few squeaky wheels, not just these ones today.

  57. This "expansive" view of presidential power could be described as Nixonian: "Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal."

  58. So the best opinion this "celebrity defense lawyer and constitutional scholar" has to offer is “Every public official I know believes that his election is in the public interest"? Well it appears as if the U.S. Constitution was just thrown into the trash can right along with democracy. So much for Dershowitz's brilliant legal mind about constitutional law. "Public interest" is code for Trump paying back all of his pals, domestic and foreign, who helped get him elected. Such influence peddling has NEVER been so blatant than Dershowitz's statement.

  59. @Marge Keller When he said "That anything a president did to win re-election was “in the public interest” Alan Dershowitz put himself in the history books. However, he should now be disbarred for this.

  60. @Son Of Liberty Could not agree with your assessment more. But then, the last thing William Barr would do would be to disbar Trump's legal "scholar".

  61. @Marge Keller If nothing else, today Dershowitz proved conclusively that he has lost any brilliant legal mind he may have ever had. I agree that he must be disbarred for this.

  62. At this point I am so numb from the endless assault on the rule of law, common sense, and decency that I just want to close my eyes and have it all go away. This latest argument that if the president believes his reelection is in the best interest of the people, then he can use whatever means necessary to secure it, is so off-the-wall that I can't believe it wasn't laughed out of the room. And yet there seems little doubt at this point that it will work. This is why there should have been more articles of impeachment, such as violations of the emoluments clause.

  63. @Jenny Time to impeach Trump for the rest of the crimes. Call Bolton to testify in the house. This is not over, not by a long shot.

  64. @Jenny Whatever you may think of Alan DERSHOWITZ, he is no lightweight when it comes to the law, and I am sure his legal opinion was carefully thought out in collaboration with other members of Trump's legal team. So far Dems. have only offered opinions, innuendos, but no facts re "HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS!"ABH believes that, in contrast to other elections, when the result was accepted by both sides in a gentlemanly manner and to begin to prepare for the election,, appears to ABH that there is so much hate emanating from the liberal media and the Dem. Party,so much denigrating of us who support Trump, so much belittling of us by CNN, MSNBC and, not to be forgotten, late night comedians who appear to be more activists than humorists,that a coming together of both sides of the political spectrum is out of the question. One report that Speaker Pelosi reached out to one of the liberal media outlets for support before embarking on her impeachment crusade.Therefore, how objective are major news sources?"On se demande!"

  65. @Raydeohed I hope you are right.

  66. The behavior of McConnell and the G.O.P. senators pushing to acquittal without witnesses, evidence or any semblance of a real trial - so the American people can see clearly exactly what Trump has been doing - is repellent. Mitch McConnell and the rest of them don't care about this country, don't care about the American people. They view us as their stooges, hoping they can lie their way to another term. McConnell wants to hold his majority and keep his wealthy donors happy. The Republican senators don't care about our democracy, they just want to stay in office. That we've arrived at this point with Trump as our crooked president and the Republican majority senate eager to give him a pass on betraying our country and endangering an ally is heart-breaking and maddening. These people are destroying our democracy at a rapid clip, all of them refusing to be unaccountable to the American people and interested only in their own careers and money - power and money always at the root of everything Trump and the G.O.P. stand for. I feel so ashamed to be an American today. When they finally hand the keys over to Russia, hope they shut out the light and put a sign: "United States of America. Closed until further notice."

  67. @fast/furious Great comment. Thank you.

  68. This is the world’s greatest deliberative body? All I hear are vapid pre-ordained and vetted questions that wouldn’t past muster in a high school debate let alone grammar class, read by a judge from notecards — notecards! — and mouthy lawyers spewing thinly veiled personal attacks and insane conspiracy theories and diversions. Greatest deliberative body my foot.

  69. If this is the most August deliberative body in the world, November can’t come soon enough.

  70. The shallow logic of Dershowitz’s comment is stunning. By his logic our illustrious president could order the imprisonment of the 60+% of country that doesn’t support him, or his policies, in order to ensure his re-election. While patently wrong (and hopefully absurd), it would be in support of his re-election and thus ‘in the best interests of the country’ and thus not impeachable. The mind boggles.

  71. how is him getting re-elected in the “public interest”? that makes no sense.

  72. @Joe Hundertmark Yes, how can we let the electorate be the judge of that and not presume what is the "public interest". Lets have a referendum and ask this question: A/ " should the president allowed to cheat in election because he can't trust you to vote for the public interest?" B/ "Should a president caught cheating to rig the next election in his favor be immediately removed from office ?" Lets call for a new way to remove the president through referendum if Congress write the article and impeachment. Apparently we could never count on the Senate to not be complicit in a cover up cover up not just the president action but also their own complicity in the commission of crimes.

  73. Trump’s lawyers should read the Constitution. Article I, Section 9, “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”

  74. “Every public official I know believes that his election is in the public interest,” said Alan M. Dershowitz. Following that logic essentially obviates the need and neuters mechanism to impeach any president - ever. It is so difficult to see the forrest through the trees for (most) Republicans.

  75. There has to be witnesses. Who’s country is this anyway?

  76. We are living in a totally upside down USA. Republicans want the truth but refuse to hear further testimony or documentation. Now Trump’s lawyers say any action to aid in an election is in the best interest of the country. The worst part is Trump’s supporters agree with this. Republican Senators do not believe it but don’t want to see their “ heads on a pike”.

  77. Senate Republicans seem to be intent on blocking witnesses to appear in the impeachment "trial", and plan to vote to acquit President Trump of all charges as early as Friday. If this plays out, the GOP, Republican Senators, and Republicans across the country will pay a price for years to come.

  78. Q: Which government entity has completed the investigation in the Bidens’ corruption and “debunked” the allegations? And where’s their report with those conclusions? A: Gulp!

  79. Only relevant to someone looking to make excuses for Trump’s impeachable offenses.

  80. @Conservative Catastrophe Well, the Democrats have claimed that the Bidens are not corrupt and therefore asking for an investigation is an impeachable offense. Where’s the report that exonerates the Bidens?

  81. “It’s cool Mr. Judge, I only murdered those people because they would have voted against me. Since securing my election is in the public interest, case closed.”

  82. Crazy. That is all.

  83. Dershowitz argument that if President thinks that anything he does is in public interest, then he cannot be impeached. If that is the case, why Clinton was impeached for having sex in Oval Office? He did it in public interest. Dershowitz argument is so bizarre that his license to practice law should be revoked.

  84. @Kodali He was impeached because he committed perjury... He lied under oath...

  85. @Marcus Aurelius He lied under oath in public interest.

  86. @Marcus Aurelius I’m referring to Clinton when pointing out why he was impeached. He committed perjury...

  87. So according to Dershowitz all a president has to do to avoid any penalty is to claim that he felt that what he did was in the “national interest.” This get-our-of-jail-free defense is beyond absurd. It sets the bar so low that even a reptile like Trump can crawl under it. Ollie Ollie oxenfree!

  88. That "...anything the president did to win re-election was “in the public interest." is hilarious---were it not so idiotic. And it's certainly not in the public's or our country's interest.

  89. If we view the first article of impeachment in the context of Donald Trump's whole life, why would anyone doubt for a second that he would put his self interest ahead of almost any other consideration? That is certainly beyond a reasonable doubt. All you have to do is take him at his own narcissistic word any day of the week.

  90. “Every public official I know believes that his election is in the public interest,” said Alan M. Dershowitz, a defense lawyer for the president. I cannot believe that anyone who taught law at Harvard would make this comment. If one accepts this argument, that the President's reelection is in the public interest, therefore any conduct furthering reelection is unquestionably appropriate, you have granted the President unlimited power. This is a very dark argument, and one that should terrify everyone. This is the road to dictatorship. There is nothing that cannot be justified as not being in the "public interest." I only need to point to 1933-1945 Germany as an example.

  91. Too bad our mousy Senator, Cory Gardner had no interest in finding the truth and standing for something. He will not be missed when Hickenlooper takes his job.

  92. Dear House of Representatives: Time to freeze the paychecks of every republican senator who will not allow witnesses. They are in violation of their oath. Now THAT's in the national interest. Tell them there was a mix-up at payroll. Love, America

  93. Absurd. This means Nixon would not have been convicted at an impeachment trial. He action was in "the Public Interest" using Dershowitz's argument. The next step in this argument is taking lifetime control (i.e., dictatorship). Absurd.

  94. In sum, it appears that Republicans sincerely believe that, "if the President does it, it cannot be illegal or wrong." All of these arguments lead to the conclusion that one cannot impeach the President, or, in other words, the impeachment clause in the Constitution is unconstitutional. Or possibly even that laws and precedent overrule the Constitution, which everyone but Trumps's lawyers knows is backwards. "Shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and it'd be OK." Blanket immunity for all Trump aides. Can't investigate the President, ever. Impeachment and removal undermines the last election and therefore it is unconstitutional. American people buy into all that nonsense and don't listen to the rebuttals because it is too complex. They also elected Trump in the first place, using the same detailed argument.

  95. Under Dershowitz’ standard, if a US President asked a foreign government to say “eliminate” or pursue an investigation against its political opponent, in exchange for say releasing a foreign aid hold; its legal, as that POTUS’ re-election is in the National interest.

  96. the "new" defense (what president does IS foreign policy) ignores two key constitutional violations in what Trump did: FIRST, the fact that Congress (SENATE) plays its own INDEPENDENT constitutional role in formulating and implementing foreign policy - which Trump abnegated/interfered with (effectively negating CONGRESS/SENATE decision -- which included the GOP senators who will now look the other way because of their own electoral interests -- as to when and how much aid to Ukraine for his own personal benefit); and SECOND, the fact that what Trump did was subvert the constitutional integrity the 2020 electoral process in the US (which has nothing to do with foreign policy) by trying to "cheat" his way thru the artifice of a phony investigation of his predicted rival [Biden], which constitutional rights are held by THE PEOPLE Dershowitz's claim is pure sophistry, as he well knows (a straw man argument if ever there was one - and would announce a rule that swallows up the Constitution itself - leaving us with a King or a dictator, whatever you want to call it........

  97. Bolton's impressions are not suitable evidence. They are meaningful enough however to be a source of personal profit. How American !

  98. @Steve Pomerantz First hand evidence, which Republicans have been bleating about from the start. Now they’re only about obstructing it, as Trump did.

  99. Since this trial is at least as much political as legal, and since the verdict has been known since the beginning, what’s important is what the voters learn. And evidence and testimony in the media are just as valid as anything presented in the Senate. Republicans have sealed their fate with this kangaroo court.

  100. Between now and Inauguration Day he will top this one and make it seem like small potatoes. All and any restraints on him are off.

  101. “If the president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,” Dershowitz said. If the metric of whether an elected official can do something or not is based on a belief that the action is in the public interest - our republic is in total collapse.

  102. It is just common sense that Mr. trump is on the way to become a dictator to the USA based on the comments of Dershowitz. How come such an insane person is a professor at Harvard?

  103. @KP Tenure. Even though a rare tropical earwig made a made a mess of his mind.

  104. Subpoena Bolton back to the House. Trump is dumb enough to be impeached twice.

  105. @GC And he can brag that he is the only one that has done so.

  106. And so we celebrate the ability of the GOP to subvert our constitution and law.

  107. Has Dershowitz lost his mind? And why does he get so much publicity? Does the media ever ignore celebrities?

  108. @Sophocles Dershowitz likes being on tv. Fox News. The O.J. trial. As long as there's a camera, Dershowitz is all in.

  109. For the past few months, there were things I wanted to do and things I should have done, but I put those things on hold to watch and pay attention to the impeachment inquiry and the impeachment trial because I thought it was my responsibility as a voter and as an American to know what was going on. It was bad enough to read and see Senators nodding off or leaving the hearings or even doing crossword puzzles instead of paying attention and doing their duty as an elected official. But after hearing Alan Dershowitz's statement that pretty much summarized a president could do whatever he wanted in order to get elected as long as it was "in the public interest". Talk about an open-ended line of malarkey that just set the bar lower than it could ever be imagined. Not only was that remark by this "legal scholar" insane, he just opened up a pandora's box or should I say the Trump trunk of "anything goes - just label it "in the public interest." Why do I even bother to get out of bed in the morning?

  110. @New World Oh gosh no! I certainly hope you are better. Maybe I need to post a "read at your own peril" at the beginning of my comments. I really am sorry that you were in such a state.

  111. @Marge Keller I'm with you, Marge! Stay strong!

  112. Now that the Bolton “bombshell” has completely fizzled out the Democrat media needs to concoct a new one, and fast!

  113. @JQGALT It should be a bomb shell. Extortion is not Ok. The fact that Trump immunized himself against disclosure of his abuse of power by making the GOP the party of Trump is scary.

  114. Up is Down, Black is White and the rule of law is just what the GOP uses to dominate the Democrats. Welcome to the new Totalitarian State the GOP invasions for America.

  115. There are so many reasons on so many levels why he must be removed from office. First he announced that he knew more than the Generals, then he announced he knew more than the scientists; somewhere in-between he announced that he was a "stable genius" and then he tells us that the injuries to those servicemen was nothing important. So now he knows more than the doctors who deal with injuries on the battlefield on a daily basis. This totally un-stable genius, self-serving, narcissistic, bully is unbelievably callous.

  116. @Sari All true, but the real criminals are the enabling Republicans. They are traitors undermining our democracy.

  117. “If the president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,” he said. And he'd argue the same if it were Obama?

  118. Joe Biden should publicly state he’ll agree to testify if Trump does. But do it as a challenge to his manhood, mocking him. Taunt him to testify. It would be a super win-win for Biden.

  119. Dershowitz also justified torture in certain cases. Basically giving cover to the foaming at the mouth torturers of Bush administration. He once owned a kosher or kosher style Deli on Harvard Square. Whatever else I thought about him, I thought the idea was an inspired one. But the food was like his arguments. And it went out of business.

  120. Dear Republican Senators, If anything the President does to win re-election is in the public interest, and you agree with that reasoning, then does that give him the green light to murder all Democratic candidates? What is the stopping point of this line of reasoning?

  121. Next time congress allocates any form of aid to another country, any president can stop that aid and make it conditional on that country's willingness to investigate his or her likely opponents in the next election. But why stop there? Why not initiate investigations against anyone who stands in opposition to the president for any reason? After all, any unilateral action- whether or not sanctioned by congress- is justified if it helps with reelection- since reelection is arguably always in the public interest. So much for checks and balances in the US. The executive decides how public money will be spent for what purpose. Why even have a congress?

  122. Did I just hear White House Counsel Pat Cipollone say (at about 8:49 pm ET) that if the Democrats are able to call a witness or witnesses then the PRESIDENT (not the SENATE) ought to be able to do the same? I do not see the President sitting among nor able to vote with the Senators who are deciding his fate; I still harbour illusions that some of the Republican Senators will grow a backbone!

  123. @Jazzie DJT is the defendant and the WH lawyers are his defense team.

  124. @MimJohnson - Correct me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that it is up to the senators at this point to call witnesses, not the defense team.

  125. @Jazzie It is opaque, but my understanding is that the Senate will vote yes or no regarding whether any witnesses will be called. If yes, then the Senate will vote on the rules applicable. In all events, I am fairly certain that the Republican Senators will follow the lead of DJT's defense team. So my comment was more de facto than de jure.

  126. Alan, thank you so much for clarifying this incredible political philosophy. I was just the other day trying to rationalize Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin with only one slogan. You certainly cleared it up for me. That whatever a public official does to be relected is certainly in the best interest of the people.

  127. Trump is going to need a lot of new boots. There are just too many GOP senators begging to lick what he has on hand.

  128. The idea that Trump, believing his reelection is necessary to national security, can do anything is so absurd it leaves me speechless.

  129. So Dershowitz believes that “...extremism in the defense of (Trump’s version) Trump is NOT a crime... It’s Nixon redux. What a lawyer!! The professor is as much a two faced fraud as his client. The GOP Senate chooses to believe the Great Lie. “...the cheaper the crook the gaudier the patter...”John Toole got it right; A Confederacy of Dunces. A Senate of Dunces

  130. So THIS is the winning we were promised to be sick and tired of? Wow, he was right after all, I do feel sick and tired.

  131. Message to the House of Representatives, Impeach the President for the next violation of his oath to uphold the US Constitution. Use the Mueller report as a starting point.

  132. The USA will soon have a fascist dictatorship, beholding to Vladimir Putin, Mohammed bin Salman, Recep Erdogan, Bibi Netanyahu and other despots with whom the trump crime family has real estate deals. It has happened because these republican senators have betrayed the citizens of the USA. This is traitorous, in no uncertain terms.

  133. Soon? According to Bolton, trump has already been granting favors to these dictators and probably not favors that benefit us. trump’s decisions about Ukraine appear to be influenced by his handler Putin.

  134. “If the president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment" Richard Nixon: "If a President does it, it is legal". The NY Times once reported on this kind of fascist claims with the proper disgust. Now this newspaper reports as if Nixon's claims that if a President does it, it is legal, is absolutely fine as long as members of his party agree. Wrong. But ever since this newspaper decided that as long as the Republicans like it, it is legal, our country has descended into danger. And it is THIS newspaper that is just as guilty as the Republicans spouting the views. You have a responsibility. Use it.

  135. The next busts to grace the oval office will be gifts from Putin. Matching busts of Stalin and Trump. He will be so proud that he will fight the secret service over the listening devices within.

  136. All hail His Imperial Majesty, Tsar Donald Trump the first. I wonder what the new military uniforms will look like? Can't wait to see the new flag! Oh shoot, I guess my passport won't work anymore. Can't leave the country without government approval anyway so that doesn't matter. I'll make sure to send care packages to all Democratic party members since they'll be jailed for treason for trying to impeach His Imperial Majesty and for running against him in an election. But hey, we won't have to watch all those campaign ads anymore!

  137. Note to Democrats after Trump’s acquittal - take the Senate in the fall then take the gloves off and stop worrying about the laws of the land - the Republican party needs to be crushed

  138. Head-spinning in its audacity, nerve, and depravity. Trump's legal team rises from the swamp, dripping with mud and reeds. This is the closest these creatures, and Trump's whole pre-historic entourage, have come to early 1930s Germany. Why aren't all Americans seeing the writing on the wall? Chilling.

  139. This is awful!! The ambition of candidates means that whatever they do is legit!??! I'm quoting Jenny whose comment is next to mine because because she states the truth so plainly: "At this point I am so numb from the endless assault on the rule of law, common sense, and decency This latest argument is that if a president believes his reelection is in the best interest of the people, then he can use whatever means necessary to secure it I can't believe it wasn't laughed out of the room." Did we go through the whole last few months to get this? This is not "no one above the law," this is "Any candidate is above the law if he or she wants to be."

  140. I do have a question for those who have a bigger and better brain than mine. Aren't folks like John Bolton and others in highly classified positions required to sign some kind of non-disclosure agreement? I would think that would be a requirement but possibly not since Bolton wrote a book about conversations he had with the president? If anyone could illuminate this question with some information or knowledge, I would be most beholding.

  141. @Marge Keller They’re prohibited from making public classified information.

  142. @ Marge Keller - Yes and No to non disclosure agreements. In order to be confirmed by the Senate for any positions in the White House or federal agencies, candidates must go through significant security screening and background checks (much more probing and thorough than what the average person goes through even for high-level positions in private organizations). Additionally, each government position has a designated level of security clearance correlated to the type of information they will have access to. A candidate for a position must meet that position’s level of security clearance to move forward with being further considered for the position. As part of retaining one’s security clearance level, there is something they must sign but that doesn’t mean that things cannot be discussed, assuming it’s with those with an equal or higher security clearance. Bolton, for example, has the highest level of security clearance and takes an oath to uphold it. If what he were to disclose was above the level of security clearance of those he was disclosing to, it would be done in either closed session (like what is done with a Grand Jury) or portions redacted (blacked out) in documents. No one is above the rule of law.

  143. This is the real swamp folks, Republican senators whose minds were made up long ago, before the impeachment process even began, who refuse to call witnesses, lawyers, twisting their knickers in knots trying to fend off a full hearing. Hear it and conclude what you will. Bob Newman

  144. Dershowitz's legacy self destroyed.

  145. It is a shame and disgrace to watch how the morally bankrupt Republican senators are responding. Our country is at huge security risk. But, like the con man in the White House, they care less for our nation. What have we become as a nation? How these spineless selfish people get elected. This is the time to throw them out. People wake up - do your part if you love our country.

  146. @Rm your passion parallels "the people". What is truth. What is evident. What is tragic.

  147. @Rm Yes, fight for your country and VOTE.

  148. @Rm-If the House Managers' testimony and Parnas and Bolton's revelations aren't enough--Republican Senators need to realize that more damning revelations about Trump will be forthcoming--beyond this trial. Everyone who comes within Trump's orbit becomes tainted and compromised. What will the Senators do when the next raft of damning revelations are made public?

  149. Republicans in Congress, now fully committed to obstruction and cover-up on behalf of the White House, know that any direct testimony by insiders like Bolton will publicly expose them for doing just that - obstructing and covering up. The calculus is pretty simple. Go on lying, be complicit in the President's criminal conspiracy and bury the evidence, or let the public get a first hand glimpse of the drug deal as it was happening. What a sad, sad day for America.

  150. @Neander All that's left is for trump to issue Republicans (and his supporters) an ID number: Six, six, and six.

  151. @Neander Saddest: Trump's supporters approve.

  152. @Neander What I do not understand is why people are not taking to the streets to demonstrate. In Nov when Trump steals the election again it will be too late.

  153. We are watching the GOP deification of Trump. His rule will be short, however, since damning evidence of his crimes will continue to appear in newspapers like this one

  154. In 1974, North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin warned us that another Watergate could happen, despite new laws to prevent it, if government became filled with politicians of low character. It’s as if Senator Ervin knew Donald Trump and his Republican apologists were coming (video link below): “[L]aw alone will not suffice to prevent future Watergates.... Law is not self-executing. Unfortunately at times its execution rests in the hands of those who are faithless to it. And even when its enforcement is committed to those who revere it, law merely deters some human beings from offending, and punishes other human beings for offending. It does not make men good. This task can be performed only by ethics or religion or morality. Since politics is the art or science of government, no man is fit to participate in politics, or to seek or hold public office unless he has two characteristics. The first of these characteristics is that he must understand and be dedicated to the true purpose of government, which is to promote the good of the people, and entertain the abiding conviction that a public office is a public trust which must never be abused to secure private advantage. The second characteristic is, that he must possess an intellectual and moral integrity which is a priceless ingredient in good character.”

  155. Thank you for this post. So well stated, by a actual Statesman from what seems, sadly, a bygone era.

  156. @Kevin - Thanks for sharing that quote and the YouTube link.

  157. This is a roller-coaster. Yesterday, it appeared the Republicans did not have enough votes to block witnesses. And today it appears they have the votes. Two thirds of the country want witnesses, and more importantly, calling witnesses is the right thing to do. How do you have a trial without witnesses? It baffles me how the Republicans can get away with such an abuse of power? So, I look to the Democrats. What are the Democrats not doing? What are they doing wrong? How could they not win on this issue? Yes, I'm hard on the Democrats. My expectation is the Democrats can not lose on this issue of calling witnesses... and if they do lose (if this Country loses), then the Democrats are failures.

  158. I don't believe this is the end of our democracy. This country has survived worse, and over the millennia, other democracies have survived worse. I believe that something, someone will break the logjam and the truth will come refreshingly out into the open. We will all be able to breathe again and we must keep our eyes on that goal. I believe in justice, and that it eventually is accomplished, sooner or later. Think positively!

  159. Nothing says "Guilty" like no witnesses and a rush to judgment that has already been determined.

  160. Dershowitz argued that anything a president did to win re-election was in the public interest and thus unimpeachable?! That's insane! Harvard should be ashamed for having this imbecile on their payroll. What if this president said that removing all non-white people from the US would be in the public interest? Or imprisoning all registered Democrats?

  161. We should exhume Richard Nixon and tell him “never mind.”

  162. Dershowitz and the GOP and Roberts just legalized corruption. The USA is now a third world country.

  163. The only way out of this is to make sure Mitch McConnell gets fired in November. Like a dead fish, our country rots from the head.

  164. So election cheating is now in the national interest. Hmmm.

  165. If there’s a Gibbon in our future, this’ll make for an excellent lesson.

  166. What pure buffoonery by the Trump defense team! Trump alone can decide what is in the national interest? Heaven help us. They create standards of proof out of thin air, to the benefit of Trump, of course. The President can’t behave contrary to foreign policy because he alone sets such policy? So then Trump may in a wild hair moment decide whatever he wishes with no repercussions? These guys have bought it hook, line, and stupid. On 3/1/19 I opined in these pages, “How long before Trump demands that Congress declare him a God?” It won’t be long now, I guess.

  167. The next step will be “you know, why do we need a Congress anyway?”

  168. @Len I think making his horse a senator comes first as the last Caligula did.

  169. I'm sorry Ben, doesn't look like we can keep it.

  170. So the Republicans’ response to an impeachment for obstructing congress is to obstruct congress and justice. Bravo.

  171. I don't know what to say, except this is beyond egregious.

  172. Well, it was a nice 244 years. The Enlightenment has lost; back to the Dark Ages.

  173. I can only guess what Speaker Pelosi is thinking at this very moment, much less saying.

  174. Nothing would be in the greater public interest than his impeachment.

  175. It’s a rigged system. The Republicans don’t want a democracy, they want an oligarchy backed by rural militia muscle - no different than Russia, really. Chief Justice Roberts gave them all they would ever need and more with the Citizen’s United ruling. I’ve been ahead of the trends for most of my life and, quite honestly, I’m seriously eyeing the exits on the ol’ USA. Any country that would elect Donald Trump to be president, then *acquit him* instead of making good on the mistake has some serious, serious

  176. When reading Mexican history I used to wonder how a man like Profirio Diaz could come to control an entire country's federal and state political machinery and rule for 31 years. I think we could be witnessing it now in our own country. With all the Republicans falling in line to preserve their status, they are diminishing themselves for the sole purpose of their maintaining their own jobs and wealth. One by one the plausable opposition is removed. The legislative brance will just become a stamp of approval with trinkets tossed their way to justify their actions. With the argument that anything a president does to get reellected is in the national interest, one man can go a long way to eliminating the opposition. The majority that tries to vote them out of office will mysteriously be frustrated. Ballet theft. Misscounts. Murder and intimidation. All constitutionally condoned. Men and women of character reduced to begging to maintain their power through servitude to the machine. Official truths that nobody believes, but everybody is afraid to contradict. If we are lucky we will look like Mexico before its revolution, if not it could be more like Russia or China. I hope the Senate wakes up to the possible consequences before it is too late.

  177. I am just an average American independent and I have heard the entire impeachment inquiry in the house and the entire senate trial so far. There is so far no evidence to support any allegations of the Democrats. I have no reason to believe that any fair minded senator would vote to remove the president. The partisan impeachment in the house had bipartisan opposition and the same will be expected from the senate. Republicans move to block Bolton is justified and the senate can bring this lengthy impeachment effort to a prompt closure.m It is possible that a couple of Republicans will vote for removal from office and some Democrats will vote to exonerate the president but in the end there is no way there is 2/3rd majority to remove president from office.

  178. For an “average independent” you sound pretty biased...

  179. @Craig, I agree. And I dearly wish The NY Times would incorporate an ignore feature into its commenting software, like Washington Post has. That way we could block commenters who continually espouse the Trump/Kremlin party line.

  180. @Craig from Queens NY. Why because I disagree with your mind set? Just watch how the fair minded senators vote and don't forget to remember what I have predicted.

  181. Dershowitz seems to have traded his intellectual rigour for one last kick at the centre of the media storm. His argument is ludicrous. A president can do whatever he wishes with impunity so long as he believes it is in the public interest. The constitution does not apply. Trump is King says Dershowitz. Ridiculous!

  182. NY Times, Headline Jan 24 "Democrat Schumer: Impeachment Witness Trade Involving Hunter Biden 'Off the Table'" NY TImes 1/24/2020 Neither party wants to hear from witnesses. The entire process is political Kabuki, as expected nine month prior to a Presidential election

  183. The most tragic of all this is, republicans still have supporters! These people might as well vote for the taliban or any other terrorist organization because that's is what republicans have become. Our poor country! Being "governed" be a huge crime syndicate! Pathetic and very frightening that so many people can be so easily persuaded.

  184. Yes, Bolton with Bush were dutiful warlords but is Trumps unmitigated private and corporate greed an excuse to subjugate our Republic?

  185. OK, So Trump’s defense is the same as Louis The Fourteenth! L’etat c’est moi.

  186. is stuffing ballot boxes on the national interest,too? or beauties unto your opponents rooms to search information?

  187. 75% of Americans want witnesses. 75%. Even some Republican voters want to hear from witnesses. Instead, we’re subjected to an onslaught of outright lies, distortions, and twisted “legal” arguments (the president can freely shake down foreign governments to help him win an election because he views his re-election to be in the public interest). We don’t want lies and distortions. We already get plenty of that from the President himself. We want Bolton, Mulvaney, Pompeo, and others to testify under oath. We want documents. If Republican senators feel the need to bring in Hunter Biden and put Adam Schiff on the stand to appease Trump and his base, do it. They won’t help Trump. And the Republicans know it, which is why they’ve buried that idea.

  188. @Galfrido Spot on.

  189. @Galfrido Call your senator and let them know. If they vote for no witnesses, no documents, ensuring a sham trial-- vote them out of office-- they earned it!

  190. @Galfrido The House is responsible for calling witnesses. NOT the Senate. Just because the House was derelict in its duties, it is not the fault of the Senate. What else do you expect them to clean up?

  191. Is the rule of law now nonexistent in the United States? And.... Is there one single Congressional Republican that has a shred of fairness and morality?

  192. For Republicans, it seems that this has nothing to do with what's right, what's true or what's good for the country. All that's important is distorting facts, suppressing witnesses and manipulating all available legal devices in order to make this go away as soon as possible. A better definition of corruption, I cannot imagine.

  193. So it was all smoke and mirrors - ?wishful thinking? - in the recent desperate tone of NYT articles describing Republicans as stampeding to the painfully obvious truth that witnesses were now suddenly necessary. That the Bolton story had changed EVERYTHING - and that Republican Senators had finally come around to seeing the Democrat Light of Truth. Even this article - you won't notice it if you are a Trump hater - is so painfully biased to the Democrat war camp, it is difficult to swallow. When all of this is over, I hope we can get around to relatively balanced and objective journalism, again.

  194. What have we become, as a nation that often and solemnly declares to the world that it is one “under law”, that its highest elective body, the United States Senate, is having such difficulty finding only 4 additional Senators to vote for having live witnesses and additional documents introduced into that body’s impeachment trial? We are no longer worthy in describing ourselves as such a country.

  195. Why would anyone waste time paying any attention at all to this charade? Only deluded Democrats who are still more pathetic than the criminal Republicans. You're better off reading "a good book," people.

  196. Because some of us still care. Futile as that may be.

  197. Dear Chief Justice Roberts, This “trial” is a farce. It is incredibly hard to have to sit here silently while listening to the trial of Joe and Hunter Biden. Also, why do the Republicans ignore the outrageous, demeaning, juvenile, and unprofessional attacks from Trump via his twitters about anyone who disagrees with him, who is his opponent, and/or who doesn’t bow down to him? The Republican senators appear ready to declare Trump the dictator of the United States of America, a man who has publicly demonstrated thousands of times that he is unfit to occupy the White House!

  198. Is "In Trump's Interest" the true reason for each and every decision this guy makes? We the People do not seem to matter quite as much. I have always supported our potUS but now I question if we have a bad apple. Also, what's up with most of the Senate (maybe) not upholding the oath we all witnessed each of them take? Why not hear from Bolton? Ask the NSA to provide an actual recording of this "perfect call". You know it's available. No way it still can be classified after all of this public disclosure. We the taxpayers paid for it. Let's hear it. And what lame excuses from the mouth of Dershowitz. Shame on him for uttering such nonsense. It is madness to bestow such special powers and privileges to anyone. No one is above the law. Especially an unstable personality. Don't imagine the dirt that's compromising this one. What has happened to our country when truth and honesty are secondary? Have souls been sold to the devil? I've never seen such an example of mass madness since a National Geographic article about lemmings following each other of a cliff. We can do better.

  199. Only now you question?

  200. Is that the precedent that the GOP wants to set for future presidents? From now on, the checks and balances put in place by our founding fathers, are removed, and the president can do WHATEVER it takes to win an election as long as they believe it is in the best interest of America, that is according the them? This trial and the GOP are becoming more farcical by the minute. In a REAL trial, jurors are questioned prior to be chosen, and if they say that they have already made up their minds prior to the trial beginning, they are dismissed. I think that every single GOP Senator who has publicly stated that they believe the impeachment is a "clown show," "hoax," etc should NOT be allowed to vote.

  201. I'm sickened by this but it ain't over yet. The dems need to make sure there is not a vote to acquit for a few more days so the coward in chief cannot proclaim his 'total exoneration' in his state of the union speech on Feb 4. It sounds like he is planning quite an event, perhaps to challenge the 'record breaking' crowd at his inauguration. Most important, please do not lose hope in the election.

  202. The Entire GOP is complicit in the greatest cover-up in American history in order to ensure their only 2020 presidential candidate can remain in office. They are willing to allow foreign interference, money and obvious crimes against the constitution from the executive branch. The media is reporting this as if it's just another offense by one side of a two-sided problem but we have gone so far beyond what can be accepted that I truly fear for our democracy now.

  203. This Republican sham is the biggest cover-up since God knows when. A cover-up by a shameless administration led by a Grifter and covered up by a political party that is also shameless. The thruth could be uncovered but these Republican senators are enabling a Liar to continue is reckless behavior. They have no conscience and no moral values. Bought and paid for. They should be defeated in November 2020.

  204. @Welcome Canada You speak with the optimism of someone who severely underestimates the intelligence of the average US voter, and many of us don't vote at all. We have not learned that not voting is a vote for Trump.

  205. I hope Trump’s phalanx of attorneys realizes that they will never be paid. He will stiff them — just like he’s stiffed countless contractors and subordinates in the past. They are putting their reputations on the line, sweating and gyrating and striving to put their best foot forward, when they could be at The Palm sucking down martinis and gorging on filet mignon. They will rue the day they stood before this august body in defense of the most miserable criminal ever to hold public office.

  206. @H. Clark One would hope so, but the RNC is covering the tab.

  207. Republicans keep pushing Russian talking points. That is the only thing consistent about the Republican party: 1. Their whiteness; 2. Their mendacity; and 3. They lie like they breathe.