The whole affair was a series of major fouls. The best outcome is a speedy acquittal.
Kimberley A. Strassel writes: The impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is coming down to one big question: Will Democrats, by crying wolf, drown out the more legitimate Republican cry of foul?
“Foul” has served as the GOP’s most powerful and honest argument from the first days of these impeachment maneuverings. Democrats broke every standard of due process, transparency and fairness in their House investigation, making a mockery of their constitutional duty.
They hid the identity of the original accuser, denying Republicans and the country the ability to judge his motives. They held secret depositions, barring more than three-quarters of House members, as well as the press and the American public. They called 18 witnesses, but blocked the president from calling any in his defense. The White House legal team was excluded from the proceedings—prohibited from cross-examining witnesses, denied the ability to introduce any evidence that spoke to the central question of the president’s focus on Ukrainian corruption.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff secretly obtained and published the communications records of the president’s private attorney, a member of Congress and a reporter. Democrats withdrew their court challenge to compel a key witness, depriving the White House of the ability to defend its executive-privilege claim in court. And the legitimacy of the first portion of the House inquiry—including numerous subpoenas—is in doubt, since it was conducted before the House voted to open it.
Democrats approved two articles of impeachment that failed to identify a crime. Senators are instead asked to render verdicts on a vague “abuse of power” claim and on a “obstruction of Congress” charge that is the result of the House’s own decision not to litigate its demand for testimony. Those articles were passed by a partisan vote with no serious expectation of conviction, simply to make a statement: “He is impeached forever,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this month. Read the rest of this entry »
Noting that Japan waged a war of aggression against China and other Asian countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press conference, “Reconciliation between the inflicters and victims must and can only be based upon sincere reflection and apology from the inflicters.” This is the only way to realize “a genuine and lasting reconciliation,” she said. For victimized countries in Asia, “one sincere apology” is more important than “dozens of smart shows,” Hua said.
The People’s Daily newspaper of the Communist Party of China said in its Wednesday edition that the Pearl Harbor visit is criticized both in Japan and the United States because Abe made the trip before apologizing to war victims in Asian countries that Japan invaded during the war.
Meanwhile, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official, touching on Abe’s pledge never to wage war again in the speech, said that Japan, based on a correct understanding of history, should strive further to promote reconciliation and cooperation with neighbors that fell victim to its wartime militarism. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a time of extreme uncertainty on the Korean peninsula, and the next months could see dangerous instability.
Michael Auslin writes: After weeks of massive public protests in downtown Seoul of up to one million people, South Korea’s parliament decisively impeached President Park Geun-hye last Friday. The vote now propels South Korea into the next phase of its political crisis, which will culminate when the nation’s Constitutional Court ratifies or rejects the impeachment vote, within six months. Initially indicating during the run-up to the vote that she would resign if impeached, Park apparently has chosen to fight the parliament’s vote.
According to South Korean law, Park is now removed from power, pending the court decision. The Prime Minister, Hwang Kyo-ahn, now becomes acting president. Yet Hwang is seen as a loyal Park subordinate, and is himself unpopular with the protesters and Korea’s opposition parties.
This is a time of extreme uncertainty on the Korean peninsula, and the next months could see dangerous instability. Most importantly, North Korea may try to take advantage of the crisis, possibly by testing the caretaker president. An attack on South Korean territory or military facilities, as happened back in 2010, could result in a full armed conflict, if the caretaker government wants to show its power. Alternately, a lack of response would further embolden the North.
A missile test could also spark a South Korean response, especially if one goes wrong. While they may see the end of their term looming, those in the Obama administration should be prepared for a crisis in their last six weeks in power; just as importantly, the incoming Trump team needs a policy immediately, for they may face an alliance challenge soon after taking power. Read the rest of this entry »
Seoul (AFP) – South Korean lawmakers on Friday passed an impeachment motion against President Park stripping away her sweeping executive powers over a corruption scandal that paralysed her administration and triggered massive street protests.
The National Assembly motion — passed by 234 votes to 56 — transfers Park’s authority to the prime minister, pending a decision by the Constitutional Court on whether to ratify the decision and permanently remove the president from office.
Update: South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment Friday means she has been stripped of power — but not the perks.
Even as her prime minister governs in her stead, Park gets to keep living at the presidential Blue House, using her official car and plane, collecting the same monthly salary (about $15,000 reportedly) and receiving round-the-clock security.
She also holds onto the title “President.”
But with nothing officially to do, it’s uncertain how she’ll spend her days during the up-to-six months the country’s Constitutional Court has to decide whether to accept the impeachment and formally end her presidency. Read the rest of this entry »
SEOUL (AP) — South Korean President Park Geun-hye will calmly accept impeachment if the opposition-controlled parliament votes for her removal this week, but prefers to resign on her own terms, lawmakers from her party said Tuesday.
Chung Jin Suk, floor leader of the conservative ruling party, said after an hour-long meeting with Park that she was willing to accept a now-withdrawn proposal by the party for her to voluntarily step down in April to set up a presidential election in June.
The party’s chairman, Lee Jung Hyun, who also attended the meeting, said it seemed that Park was hoping lawmakers would accept her resignation rather than push ahead with an attempt to impeach her.
Park has been accused by state prosecutors of helping a close confidante extort money and favors from large companies and manipulate state affairs.
Congress should fulfill its constitutional duty to police executive-branch lawlessness. Don’t hold your breath.
“Congress has become a paper tiger within our tripartite system.”
These Republican leaders’ reasons are cumulatively unpersuasive. Resuscitating the impeachment power would contribute to revitalizing Congress’s Article I powers. Impeachments are rare — no appointed official of the executive branch has been
impeached in 140 years. But what James Madison called the “indispensable” power to impeach should not be allowed to atrophy, as has Congress’s power to declare war.
Here are a few pertinent facts. At the IRS, Exempt Organizations director Lois Lerner participated in delaying for up to five years — effectively denying — tax-exempt status for, and hence suppressing political advocacy by, conservative groups. She retired after refusing to testify to congressional committees, invoking the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.
Koskinen, who became commissioner after Lerner left, failed to disclose the disappearance of e-mails germane to a congressional investigation of IRS misbehavior.
Under his leadership, the IRS failed to comply with a preservation order pertaining to an investigation. He did not testify accurately or keep promises made to Congress. Read the rest of this entry »
“The impeachment does not in any way resolve the political or economic crisis, but it gives us some hope, because for the first time in a long time, we will have a plan.”
— Lucas de Aragão, director of Arko Advice, a political analysis firm in Brasilia
Wednesday’s 61-to-20 Senate vote closed out an extraordinary 13-year rule by the leftist Workers’ Party, which boasted of lifting tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty before the economy began to nosedive and its political fortunes soured.
Rousseff was replaced by her former vice president and coalition partner, Michel Temer, who has been running Brazil as interim president since she was suspended to face the impeachment trial in May. He belongs to the more conservative Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, and is trying to introduce austerity measures to right the economy.
But Temer is as unpopular as Rousseff, and whether he can muster the political support for such changes was unclear. Read the rest of this entry »
The Free Brazil Movement (Movimento Brasil Livre) was instrumental in the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Students for Liberty (Estudantes Pela Liberdade) is larger in Brazil than in any other country. Can Brazil’s surging libertarian movement defeat the left and save the country?
Written, shot, edited, and narrated by Jim Epstein. Post production help from Ian Keyser. Translation services provided by Matheus Pacini and Vanan Services.
Fantastic Dim Bar by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; Ghost Processional by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; Ignosi by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; Over Time by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; Industrial Music Box by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; “After The Week I’ve Had” by Dexter Britain (http://www.dexterbritain.com) Creative Commons. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Have you met Joe Biden?’ South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy asked during a Fox News Channel interview.
Impeachment talk has swirled around Washington since the president announced that an executive order overhauling America’s immigration system is imminent.
But some in the GOP see Biden as Obama’s hedge against removal from office, since much of his public exposure has come in conjunction with a series of embarrassing gaffes…(read more)
The Hammer: Immigration Executive Action ‘a Loser from Beginning to End’ for Obama, but Concedes Obama is Impeachment-ProofPosted: August 14, 2014
From The Corner:
…The “calculation” that this executive action could be “impeachment bait,” “a way to make the Republicans do the one that could save [the Democrats] in this election,” seems to have failed, says Krauthammer…
“I do think that if the president were to legalize 5 million illegal immigrants by fiat, that is a violation of the constitution that I think would reach the level of impeachable…”
“ …Nonetheless, it would be insane for Republicans to go ahead and do that.”
…Over the last month… an entire apocalyptic fund-raising campaign has been built around the specter of a House impeachment vote.
Anyone paying attention knows that no such impeachment plan is currently afoot. So taken on its own, the impeachment chatter would simply be an unseemly, un-presidential attempt to raise money and get out the 2014 vote…
“The president is contemplating — indeed, all but promising — an extraordinary abuse of office.”
…Beyond a certain point, as the president himself has conceded in the past, selective enforcement of our laws amounts to a de facto repeal of their provisions. And in this case the de facto repeal would aim to effectively settle — not shift, but settle — a major domestic policy controversy on the terms favored by the White House.
[White House Double-Speak – Obama on DREAM Act: Can’t “just change the laws unilaterally” Transcript]
[Not seeing the big picture – To improve its standing with voters, the White House tries to drum up some trouble for itself – Time]
“This is the tone of the media right now: The president may get the occasional rebuke for impeachment-baiting, but what the White House wants to do on immigration is assumed to be reasonable, legitimate, within normal political bounds.”
[Setting the Table: Pfeiffer: ‘The President Has No Choice but to Act’]
“It is not: It would be lawless, reckless, a leap into the antidemocratic dark.”
…This simply does not happen in our politics. Presidents are granted broad powers over foreign policy, and they tend to push the envelope substantially in wartime. But domestic power grabs are usually modest in scope, and executive orders usually work around the margins of hotly contested issues.
In defense of going much, much further, the White House would doubtless cite the need to address the current migrant surge, the House Republicans’ resistance to comprehensive immigration reform and public opinion’s inclination in its favor. Read the rest of this entry »
Frustrated by GOP’s Unwillingness to Take the Bait, Obama Signs First-Ever Self-Impeachment Order
‘If the Republicans aren’t willing to work with me on this, I’ll do it myself.’
Critics Blast Obama’s Action as “Irresponsible”, “Reckless”, Dems Fear Constitutional Crisis.
Congress Accuses Obama of “Presidential Reach-Around.”
Report: Nancy Pelosi Seen in Senate Bathroom, Weeping and Throwing Up.
Senior White House Officials Not warned in Advance, Stunned by President’s Decision.
“I’m ready to retire anyway. Who needs this? They don’t appreciate what I’ve done for the middle class, what I’ve done for the children…”
“They don’t appreciate what I’ve done for the bureacrats, what I’ve done for the banks, and for Wall Street, what I’ve sacrificed for the future of the Democratic Party. Screw ’em. I’m done.”
— Obama, after signing historic Self-Impeachment order.
The Hammer: Amnesty via Executive Order an Impeachable Offense, But Impeachment Would Still Be Political SuicidePosted: July 29, 2014
If Obama were to carry out his threat to use an executive order to grant amnesty to millions of illegals, Charles Krauthammer expressed this duality:
“Clearly lawless and it would be biggest domestic overreach of a president in memory…an impeachable offense.”
And later added,
“I would be 100 percent against impeachment because it’s political suicide.”
See how that works? The political paradox for opponents of executive overreach: If a president has the majority of the media working to protect him, and his opponents are defenseless because of this historically unique opportunity — virtually immune to impeachment — why wouldn’t he abuse his authority?
From today’s National Review Online: Talk of impeachment is a “concoction of Democrats,” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a grander strategy by the White House and its congressional allies, Charles Krauthammer warned.
On Tuesday’s Special Report, he speculated that the Obama administration may be trying to exhaust the idea of impeachment and “softening people up for” when the president uses executive action to grant legal status and work authorization to millions of immigrants in the country illegally…(read more)
“We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans. Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”
For the Washington Times, Stephen Dinan reports: Talk of impeachment was cooked up by a White House desperate for something to rally Democrats ahead of November’s elections, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday, flatly ruling out any action on the controversial suggestion.
Matt Drudge doesn’t approve, apparently. Two things to note: One, Drudge is on record saying he thinks Republicans are colossally stupid. And two, Drudge benefits directly from controversy and conflict, whether its legitimate or not. But on the other hand: What kind of unbridled lawlessness, recklessness, and corruption is invited when a chief executive becomes impeachment-proof? And participates in fueling impeachment talk, to benefit from it?
“We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans.” Boehner said. “Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”
“Even with the Democrats’ strategy this transparent and obvious, the press is still covering it uncritically.”
[See Noah Rothman’s “Washington is desperate for Republicans to impeach Obama”]
Democrats have acknowledged impeachment talk has been good for their fundraising, but also say there’s some fire behind all the smoke. On Tuesday, congressional Democrats circulated a list of GOP candidates and sitting lawmakers who have said they want to see President Obama be impeached…(read more)
Sarah Palin Switches Sides, Supercharges Democratic Campaign Fundraising Efforts with Thrilling ‘Impeach Obama’ Democrat HelperPosted: July 12, 2014
In a surprising move, Sarah Palin joins forces with Democratic fundraisers to help boost campaign contributions, and increase Democrat voter turnout
“…The Constitution provides the remedy for a president who commits “high crimes and misdemeanors.” It’s impeachment…
To be clear, “high crimes and misdemeanors” are not necessarily ordinary criminal offenses. Our Framers used the term to signify a dereliction of duty, and the first duty of the president is to enforce our laws and preserve, protect, and defend our Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »
Coulter States the Obvious: Obama ‘Would Be Impeached If He Weren’t America’s First Black President’Posted: February 16, 2014
“Different branches have different rules. In terms of writing legislation, the president’s rule is quite clearly laid out as he sort of indicates but then ignores with his pen, with his veto pen. That is his role. Then he has a phone. He can call Congressmen, he can call Senators and say, this is what I’d like in the law. But other than that, he has no role in writing legislation…”
“He is vetoing legislation by refusing to enforce it. The constitution demands that the president of the United States take care that the laws be faithfully executed. He has simply taken it upon himself to rewrite Obamacare, to rewrite immigration laws, — you indicated with the DREAMers thing — to rewrite drug laws.”
“You can have executive orders that implement already existing laws, but what Obama has done in the DREAM Act . . . is unbelievably unconstitutional,” Charles Krauthammer said on Special Report last night.
“He’s done that over and over again on immigration, drug laws, climate change, and, of course, on Obamacare, which he has unilaterally altered lawlessly at least 15 times”
While Republicans met today at a retreat in Maryland and debated immigration reform — with many worrying that, no matter what Republicans pass, President Obama will not enforce it faithfully — Krauthammer looked back on the times the president has failed to faithfully uphold the law.