Tuesday, October 08, 2019

"All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives-under the control of either political party- taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue." [UPDATED]

[UPDATE Oct 9:  Here's a Lawfare analysis that's more informed than my comments were, but comes to the same conclusions.]

Here are the second and third paragraphs of an eight page  letter Donald Trump's counsel sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and to three House Committee Chairs (Eliot L. Engel Chairman
House Foreign Affairs Committee, Adam B. Schiff Chairman House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Elijah E. Cummings Chairman House Committee on Oversight and Reform).

"For example, you have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans. You have conducted your proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation of powers by threatening Executive Branch officials, claiming that you will seek to punish those who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives. All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives-under the control of either political party- taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue.
Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of thePresident they have freely chosen. ManyDemocratsnowapparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away. As one member of Congress explained, he is "concerned that if we don't impeach the President, he will get reelected." 1 Your highly partisan and unconstitutional effort threatens grave and lasting damage to our democratic institutions, to our system of free elections, and to the American people."

Let's hope that Trump retains this attorney as one of his top legal defenders as things drag down into the chaos ahead.  As Kellyann Conway's husband George tweeted about this letter:

There are so many outrageous claims in these two paragraphs, it's overwhelming.  First, the House impeachment is to determine if there should be an indictment.  It's sort of like a grand jury that is closed to the public and only the prosecutor presents information.  The 'court' part doesn't happen until an impeachment is accepted by the Senate for trial.  So all this about violating civil rights is nonsense.

"violates every past precedent" - truly an amazing claim.  Every one of them, so he doesn't have to list them or show how they are violated  I wonder how many past precedents there are.  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Just name a few, ok?

Overturning the 2016 election claims - Well, yes, if a president is eventually convicted in the Senate, it has the effect of ending that president's tenure in office.  Just like when a criminal is convicted and sentenced to prison, it ends the criminal's right to freedom.  But the problem began with the criminal behavior, not the conviction.  His argument would mean that a president could never be impeached.

And let's remember that Hillary Clinton had about 3 million more votes than did Trump in 2016, so let's cool it with the crocodile tears.

So, I'm guessing this is just part of Trump's long time standard operating procedure - Attack, Counterattack, and Never Apologize.  It's the bullies' creed - make it so hard and so expensive that most people give up and let you have your way.  It's how Trump has gotten away with so much shit.  (Sorry, there's no really polite word.)

One point of this letter is to waste time, possibly intimidate some members of Congress, and to drag out the handing over of any documents to Congress.

But this letter is really for Trump's supporters who will eat up every accusation and start filling FB and Twitter with quotes that show Trump as the victim of Democratic abuse.  And the hypocrisy of Abuser In Chief accusing others of his modus operandi?  Well, bashing Democrats and keeping them from trampling on their values and destroying their way of life appear to be the things Trump's hard-core supporters like best.  From Jane Coaston at Vox:

"Trump stands accused by his enemies of, in essence, fighting dirty. But to conservatives who sincerely believe themselves to be under assault from an increasingly left-wing movement that itself fights dirty, that’s more a feature than a bug."  (emphasis added)

One more thing.  Here's Trump's legal counsel's signature on page 8 of the letter:

It's about 10 lines high!  John Hancock would be impressed.  I'd love to have a scientific graphologist do some analysis of this signature.  I'm guessing this suggests confidence, maybe the kind you get when you live in a bubble where everyone agrees with you.

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