Tag Archives: impeachment

Trump Calls Comey a Liar – A Most Dangerous Game

Alternative Title: Rat in a Corner — Who You Gonna Believe?

It didn’t take long for President Trump to dispute the stunning facts set out in James Comey’s testimony on Thursday. Trump’s apparently strong conviction in his assertion that Comey lied under oath (and also has misled Special Prosecutor Mueller by providing him with false information about Trump’s conduct) may give some people pause. Trump even says he will speak under oath about the critical meetings with Comey but stops short of saying that he will stand cross-examination as Comey did.

Is Trump’s assertion another version of “I will definitely release my tax returns?”

I suggest that Trump has flatly disputed Comey’s narrative because he had no choice. Could he conceivably have remained silent in the face of the allegations that he pressured Comey to end investigation of Michael Flynn and lighten up on the Trump-Russia investigation? I suggest that the answer can only be ‘no.’ Trump’s silence would have been construed as acquiescence and that is one thing he cannot afford to do now that the suspicions about his conduct have become fixed.

Still, the question remains: who is to be believed? The answer is Comey and there are multiple compelling reasons for that conclusion.

First, it is not disputed that Trump directed other persons present to leave the room before speaking to Comey. Is there a plausible reason for this other than “I know what I am about to do is wrong and I don’t want witnesses to it?”

Second, Comey says he immediately wrote down detailed notes of what had transpired. This was done on a “classified computer” and thus can be verified as to date and time of creation. Comey obviously knows that. Is it plausible then to believe that he created a contemporaneous false narrative to destroy the President? Bear in mind that Comey’s written testimony before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee was based on those notes and that Comey gave the notes to Special Prosecutor Mueller before testifying?

Third, weeks ago Trump implied in a tweet that he might have “tapes” of the meeting(s) with Comey. Subsequently, he has refused to confirm that such “tapes” exist and his White House staff claims either not to know. After Comey’s testimony, in which he said he would welcome release of the tapes if they exist, Trump has continued to refuse to confirm the existence of the tapes. I suggest that this is a classic Trump negotiating tactic and that he has to be bluffing. Why? Because Trump had to know what actually happened during the Comey meetings and if he had “tapes” that would completely destroy Comey’s credibility and serve as major pushback against the Trump-Russia investigation, he would have released them by now.

Finally, there is the matter of general credibility. Comey has a distinguished career in law enforcement and is highly respected by anyone with a shred of objectivity and, reluctantly, by some who have sacrificed their credibility in support of Trump. Contrast that history with Trump’s history of lies before, during and after his election. There are lists of these all over the Internet, so I will not repeat them here. This comparison is “no contest” – Trump loses.

In the interest of balance, I do acknowledge, as I have in another post, that Comey made some mistakes in handling the Hillary Clinton email investigation, but these are not mistakes of credibility. They were mistakes of judgment. And, of course, there is the fact that the Clinton investigation mistakes worked to Trump’s advantage and may well have pushed Trump over the finish line in 2016. No joy for Trump in this.

Thus far, then, Trump is putting his credibility squarely on the line against Comey. Someone is lying, bigly. This looks like a losing proposition for Trump. Notwithstanding the weakness of Trump’s position, his political base, and the Republican Party co-conspirators and sycophants in Congress, continue to support him. They appear ready to do down with the ship.

From here on, the key for the country is for the Democrats in Congress and the Democratic base, regardless of preferences in 2016 (get over it), must engage in a relentless, all-hands-on-deck resistance to Trump’s agenda. Republicans will not move against Trump unless and until he is both failing as the chief executive of the country and conclusively humiliated as having engaged in obstruction of justice and lied about it.

Trump Obstruction of Justice – Who Decides?

So far as my research has revealed, one aspect of the James Comey hearing has not been directly discussed. I concede I may be overreacting or over-parsing what was merely a generic statement from Richard Burr (Rep. NC), the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. But if I’m not guilty of those errors, this is a point worth talking about.

When Burr opened the hearing yesterday, he said:

We will establish the facts, separate from rampant speculation, and lay them out for the American people to make their own judgment. Only then will we as a nation be able to move forward and to put this episode to rest.

That, I suggest, is fundamentally wrong. It makes a nice high-minded statement of democratic philosophy, but in the present context, it may reflect an intention to abdicate the true role of the Select Committee.

Certainly, that role includes uncovering, the truth about the connections between the Trump campaign, and possibly Trump himself, and operatives of the Russian Federation and the effects that had on the 2016 election. It also includes discovering whether the President attempted to undermine the investigation of those relationships by making inappropriate and/or unlawful demands on the then-Director of the FBI and, failing to get what he wanted, firing the Director.

The issue raised here is: what happens when the investigation and hearings are concluded? Burr’s statement implies that some vague plebiscite will then occur in which the American people will “make their own judgment” and that will end the entire affair. Of, perhaps, he means the Committee will make a report, which likely will not reveal all the classified information, and then leave it up to the next election to resolve the culpability of the President. If that is what the Chairman thinks, he has seriously misunderstood his Committee’s role.

In fact, there will be no plebiscite on the question whether Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice. While there will be on-going elections beginning this year, continuing through the 2018 mid-terms and on to the presidential election of 2020, none of those will directly judge in isolation whether the President tried to interfere with the investigation into the Russia connection and thereby committed the offense of obstruction of justice. The evaluation of that question belongs in the first instance to the Congress under its authority to impeach and convict the President for “Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” U.S. Constitution, Art. II, sec. 4.

Burr’s Committee would play a central role in the impeachment process, as will the corresponding committee in the House of Representatives where impeachment proceedings must begin. U.S. Constitution, Art. I, sec. 2. The actual trial of any impeachment is a matter for the Senate. U.S. Constitution, Art. II, sec. 3. The requirements for impeachment and conviction are high, as they should be, and the penalties for the President are limited because the Founding Fathers were concerned that political maneuvering could be used to interfere with the President’s execution of his duties. It is also true, however, that the President, while given wide latitude in the conduct of the Executive Branch powers, may not commit crimes and assert “I am the President and no one can hold me to account.”

We must remain aggressively attentive to any effort by Congress, in any form, to sidestep its constitutional obligations to address the issues raised about the President’s conduct. If the investigations, including most importantly the independent investigation by Special Prosecutor Mueller, do not uncover wrongdoing, so be it. The President will then be judged at the ballot box on his overall performance. But if the President has committed, as the facts so far strongly suggest, obstruction of justice, that offense against the country must be taken up by the Congress and moved swiftly to conclusion. If the Republicans in Congress are going to look the other way on the President’s transgressions, they too will face the ultimate test in the elections to come.

Indictment of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States

BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION
& EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL

THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES
                        v.
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

INDICTMENT FOR HIGH CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS & ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT

COMES NOW, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES,

Who have declared that all men are created equal in the eyes of the law and entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and

Who have adopted a Constitution and amendments in the belief that thereby a more perfect union could exist with a government of the people, by the people, for the people, and

Who, having considered the manifest and mounting evidence of incompetence and dishonesty repeatedly demonstrated by the sitting President and his appointed officials (hereafter sometimes referred to as “Trump”),

DO HEREBY DECLARE that Trump has violated his oath office by consistently failing to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and failing to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by engaging in the acts set forth below, among many others:

  1. Knowingly violated Article I, Clause 8 of the Constitution forbidding receipt of foreign-sourced emoluments by failing to separate himself from management of, and financial rewards from, his many private business interests which he and his family regularly promote to and receive from, at least indirectly, financial benefits originating with foreign business and government interests;
  2. Repeatedly signed Executive Orders found to be blatant violations of the Constitution (a) regarding immigrants/refugees from Muslim-majority countries without evidence that they would accomplish any meaningful security purpose and (b) threatening the withholding of federal funds from Sanctuary Cities;
  3. Repeatedly signed Executive Orders designed to permit uncontrolled air and water pollution while denying the validity of scientific method and rejecting without basis in fact or reason the multiply authenticated findings of climate scientists around the world;
  4. Lied repeatedly about important matters bearing on his credibility, including, but not limited to, his claim that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in New York;
  5. Repeatedly lied about his intention to release his tax returns for public scrutiny and refused in fact to release them;
  6. Lied about his intention to appoint highly qualified people to his Cabinet, instead awarding Department Head positions to manifestly unqualified persons such as Betsy Devos at Education, Ben Carson at HUD, Scott Pruitt at EPA, Rick Perry at Energy and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as Attorney General;
  7. Attempted to undermine the independent news media by attacking professional journalists, and the media companies that employ them, as purveyors of “fake news” and labeling them as “enemies of the people;”
  8. Wasted millions of dollars of taxpayer funds on unnecessary trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where he plays golf almost every weekend and conducts serious public business in non-secure facilities;
  9. Personally visited on a frequent basis hotel/resort properties bearing his name, thereby continuing to promote his business interests and encouraging private firms to use such properties for their business and his and his family’s ultimate enrichment;
  10. Falsely claimed that Department of Justice data proves that the majority of domestic terrorist attacks after 9/11 were committed by those from abroad, thereby facilitating hostility of Americans toward Muslims and toward foreign countries with significant Muslim populations to the detriment of American foreign policy and relations with those countries and their people;
  11. Repeatedly falsely asserted responsibility for private company decisions in matters such as the price of the Lockheed Martin F-35 and the Toyota investment in Kentucky;
  12. Falsely asserted that he has accomplished more in his first 100 days in office than any president in history, thereby undermining the trust of the people in the office of the president;
  13. Lied about his knowledge of the operations of WikiLeaks and repeatedly lied about his knowledge of the attempts by Russia to influence the 2016 election, including Russians collaborating with members of Trump’s campaign staff;
  14. Covertly interfered with the congressional investigations of the connections between the Trump election campaign and Russia;
  15. Misrepresented statements by political leaders, such as Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, whom Trump claimed had said Trump “will be the greatest president in the history of this country.”
  16. Repeatedly lied about the size of attendance at his inaugural ceremony;
  17. Repeatedly misrepresented the share of the Electoral College vote he received and falsely claimed that he would have won the popular vote but for 3 million “illegal” votes cast;
  18. Demonstrated a thorough-going failure to understand history or geography, making such claims as that “Korea actually used to be a part of China;”
  19. Falsely attributed NATO’s anti-terrorism activities to his personal criticism of NATO for not fighting terrorism;
  20. Lied about the length and extent of his pre-election relationship with Steve Bannon;
  21. Demonstrated a serious lack of knowledge about international trade, falsely claiming, for example, that the trade deficit with China was more than $150 billion larger than in reality;
  22. Gave aid and comfort to authoritarian leaders around the world, including Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duterte;
  23. Repeatedly supported changes in law and federal policy to deprive elderly, infirm, disabled, poor and foreign-born persons of equal protection of the laws and due process of law, in violation of the Constitution of the United States.
  24. Threatened to shut down the federal government to get his way on budget cuts that will endanger the lives of Americans.

WHEREFORE, for good cause shown, proceedings for impeachment of Donald J. Trump should be commenced forthwith in accordance with the Constitutional provisions pertinent thereto, or in the alternative, removal proceedings should be commenced forthwith in accordance with Amendment 25 to the Constitution.

So it is written, so let it be done.

This Indictment and Articles of Impeachment are subject to amendment as additional facts are forthcoming.