May 22, 2019


On Saturday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), tweeted that “President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.” Twitter

“More Democrats are calling — and more loudly — for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump after his latest defiance of Congress by blocking his former White House lawyer [Don McGahn] from testifying on Tuesday.” AP News

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From the Left

The left is disturbed by Trump’s expansive assertion of executive privilege, and generally supports impeachment.

“As attorneys sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, we are deeply concerned by Trump’s blanket assertion of executive privilege and refusal to submit to Congressional oversight, and his Administration’s evident preparations for war with Iran. Political strategists have paid a lot of attention to the consequences of impeaching him in the House. But what about the consequences of not impeaching him?...

“They include… Engendering disrespect at home for the system of checks and balances that our Founding Fathers carefully constructed to insure that our free society would never be subject to a tyrannical, authoritarian ruler; Enabling this administration to continue to ignore longstanding domestic norms and law… [and] Countenancing this president’s continued gross disregard for veracity and his penchant for obfuscation, deception and outright lies.”
Jonathan Granoff and Michael L. Prigoff, The Hill

“The Trump administration is now refusing to comply with perfectly lawful subpoenas issued by duly constituted committees of the U.S. If this president is allowed to get away with such defiance, why wouldn’t the next president do the same — or go even further? What good is a system of checks and balances if officials decline to use the tools that the framers of the Constitution so painstakingly crafted?... Democrats’ options for avoiding impeachment are narrowing. Amash’s politically dangerous stand is a reminder that elected officials, regardless of party, are supposed to put duty first.”
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

“In 2015, [Amash], along with ‘some of most hard-line GOP lawmakers’ -- as Politico noted at the time -- founded the House Freedom Caucus to push for laws that advocate very conservative positions… Amash has also long received high ratings from right-wing groups like the Conservative Review, which gave Amash an ‘A rating’ this year for ‘supporting conservative principles’ 90% of the time, placing him ahead of hardliners like Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz… Amash is clearly a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. And as such, he has put the US Constitution over partisan politics or loyalty to Trump.”
Dean Obeidallah, CNN

Yet “Amash isn’t likely to be a bellwether for his party. He is a libertarian who has long staked out his own positions on issues such as gay marriage, government surveillance and Mr. Trump’s entry restrictions on Muslim travelers. But what is remarkable about Mr. Amash’s stand is how much tougher it is than that of the House’s Democratic leaders to date.”
Cristian Farias, New York Times

“Pelosi is right about impeachment under present conditions. But what she and the Democrats ought to be doing is changing the conditions… First, they absolutely have to get Robert Mueller up there as soon as possible… Second, if they can’t get any witnesses from the administration to come before them, produce expert witnesses of their own. Get a parade of legal and constitutional scholars up there… Third, they need a much stronger rhetoric… Democrats have a big power: the power of the gavel. They need to use it.”
Michael Tomasky, Daily Beast

Many argue, “President Trump has lied repeatedly to the American people about the existence of a plot by a foreign government to interfere in a democratic election, and about his campaign’s connections to that plot; he repeatedly sought to abuse his power by impeding or doing away with an investigation into his own behavior; and he pressed for groundless investigations into his political opponents… Delaying impeachment proceedings signals that the devastating material in the [Mueller] report is not really so devastating at all. The moral urgency of impeachment can only remain ripe for so long.”
Quinta Jurecic, Lawfare Blog

“While [Pelosi’s] let's-wait-and-see approach has sated the base -- and many members of her caucus -- until now, with every passing day that the Trump administration stonewalls legislative attempts at oversight, her position becomes that much harder to hold. And, if Democrats were to lose a major legal fight in the coming weeks over their demands for more information and transparency from the Trump administration, it's hard to see how Pelosi holds back the forces pushing for impeachment -- no matter the potential political impacts on the party come 2020… There's an itch for action -- and Pelosi may not be able to keep her colleagues from scratching it much longer.”
Chris Cillizza, CNN

From the Right

The right opposes impeachment, and argues that Trump has the right to prevent McGahn from testifying.

The right opposes impeachment, and argues that Trump has the right to prevent McGahn from testifying.

Impeachment allows Congress to overturn an election. That is a very, very big deal. The Constitution vests ultimate power in the people, and throwing out their choice is in a way the ultimate undemocratic act. What impeachment also is not is a midterm check of ‘fitness.’ It is not a constitutional pause for a referendum on how the president is doing. It is not a way to resolve differences of opinion, policy, or propriety…

“Impeachment is also not a way to bypass other investigative tools and allow a partisan House to poke around a president’s decisions, pre-election business deals, and personal life, or to amass info short of actual impeachable evidence as campaign dirt on the public dollar.”
Peter Van Buren, The American Conservative

“With the [Mueller] report's release, the investigation moved from the legal realm to the political realm. And in the political realm, the president has a simple and effective case to make to the 99.6% of Americans who are not lawyers: They say I obstructed an investigation into something that didn't happen? And they want to impeach me for that?”
Byron York, Washington Examiner

“Being ineloquent, untruthful, unstudied and undiplomatic are not in themselves impeachable crimes. After two years of intense investigation that has not produced further evidence, if Amash wants Trump out of office, he should run against him, or leave the Republican Party and support one of the 24 Democrats in the race.
Steve Berman, The Resurgent

Having one or even two or three Republicans sign onto impeachment won’t make it bipartisan, and it won’t have any impact on a Senate removal vote at all. People tend to forget that five Democrats voted for three of the four articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton. That didn’t give the Clinton impeachment any ‘bipartisan’ gloss at all, nor did it convince Senate Democrats to remove Clinton, or even all of the Republican Senators, five of whom voted against removal.”
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

Regarding McGahn, “[he] has every constitutional right not to appear, and this isn’t a close legal call… This isn’t a novel legal doctrine. For nearly 50 years, multiple administrations have held that Congress cannot compel the appearance of a close adviser to the President. That judgment has been backed by numerous legal memos… The view was reinforced and invoked by Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush

“The reason is rooted in the Constitution’s separation of powers and co-equal branches of government. The White House can’t compel a Member of Congress to visit the Oval Office, and likewise Congress can’t compel a President to appear on Capitol Hill. The same goes for senior White House advisers who are agents of the President and whose candid counsel he needs to fulfill his duties. Unlike cabinet officers who run departments, the only job of these advisers is to counsel the President. To allow Congress to haul presidential advisers to Capitol Hill would make the President subordinate to Congress and chill communications inside the White House.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Everyone on Judiciary knows perfectly well that Congress can’t compel testimony from top presidential advisers except in the most extraordinary circumstances: The chief executive’s right to frank, confidential discussions with his staff is well-established. So Nadler’s bluster about how he’ll ‘go to court to secure’ McGahn’s appearance is just noise for the cameras. Then again, that’s all the testimony itself would be — a public spectacle telling no one anything new. With full White House permission, McGahn cooperated fully with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and it’s all in Mueller’s report.”
Editorial Board, New York Post

“The Democrats want to talk to Don McGahn, and maybe they will ultimately prevail in court to get his testimony, but what’s the point? McGahn talked extensively to Mueller, and surely everything remotely damaging is already in the report

“Congress has the report, and now it is up to it to decide. But it doesn’t want to. It’s too painful to admit that the Mueller report was a bust on Russia and that the obstruction material, while damaging to Trump, is hardly a slam dunk; that the public doesn’t support impeachment; that if the House goes through with it anyway, it will end with a whimper in the Senate; and that it’s better for Democrats to focus on beating Trump in 2020 than a forlorn impeachment.”
Rich Lowry, National Review

‘They put people in a good mood’: Family of ducks live at this Florida car dealership.
Miami Herald

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