Chief Justice John Roberts Becomes The Swing Vote !

From June 15 to June 29, 2020,  The Supreme Court released three  decisions that revealed a major shift in the balance of the Highest Court in the United States.  New York Times banner headlines the next  days  heralded the story.

LANDMARK DECISION PROTECTS L.G.B.T. WORKERS June 16

JUSTICES IN BLOW TO TRUMP, REJECT PLAN TO END DACA,  June 19

ROBERTS SWINGS COURT IN TOPPLING AN ABORTION CURB,  June 30.

June is always the time when major decisions often  are reached and revealed to the public. This year produced three very significant decisions on subjects that were of great import to the nation.

The Supreme Court ruled in  the first decision that gay and transgender Americans workers are protected under a landmark Civil Rights law. Before this decision,  it had been legal in more than half of the states  for employers to fire gay, bisexual and trans gender workers.  Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority in the 6-3 ruling.   The liberal bloc: Ginsburg,  Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor were joined by conservatives Gorsuch and Roberts.  The three dissenting  Justices were Thomas,  Alito, and Kavanaugh, all  conservatives.   Opinion and Dissent covered l68 pages.

Same sex marriage was approved by the Supreme Court in 2015.  However, an employee who married a same sex partner could be fired that afternoon. There were major flash points in culture wars about use of bathrooms,  sports teams and locker room usage that involved gay and transgender men and women.  This decision protects people under the long standing 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The role of Chief Justice Roberts joining the liberal bloc was the second time he took part in a major case that affects millions of Americans.  The first was when he saved The Affordable Care Act for the American people by voting against the Trump led offensive to destroy it   It should be noted that Donald Trump  continues to go to court to  try to overturn Obama Care as it is often called.  His lawyers have filed another lawsuit at this time aimed at taking it away from twenty million Americans during the escalating pandemic.

DACA was the subject of the second major Supreme Court decision in June.  There are 700,000  ‘Dreamers’,  men and women who were brought to the United States as children by  their parents who immigrated to The United States.   They have grown up and  many attended college, found jobs and paid taxes.

Under Obama,  a bi partisan group of House members and Senators developed a plan for them to become citizens.  That plan is called DACA.  It  has been put on hold under Trump who has moved from supporting them at one time to calling for an end to DACA .  He talks of” sending them back to where they came from. “

The Second Supreme Court Decision was a 5 to 4 ruling that kept protection for the ‘Dreamers’  against deportation.   Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority decision himself that upheld  the executive action by President Barack Obama that established the program.  DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  He did write that the decision was based on procedural issues and could be raised again by the administration..

Trump responded with an angry attack upon The High Court on Twitter.  “These horrible and political decisions coming out of The Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people who are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives.”

Young ‘Dreamers” said they were surprised and delighted to know the High Court Ruled in their favor at this time.

Donald Trump’s polling  numbers are sinking nationally  and in many of the swing states at this time.   The ‘Dreamers’  continue to keep their hopes alive, counting on Joe Biden who has been a strong supporter winning the November election and making their dreams come true.

The third Supreme Court ruling was 5-4 again with Roberts siding with the liberal bloc of Justices.  The case was about a Louisiana 2014 law that required doctors performing abortions to have admitting principles at nearby hospitals.  The Pro Life activists have succeeded in passing laws in different states that chip away at the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision that upheld the right of a woman to have an abortion.  Most of the states are in the South and Midwest.   There are five states that have only one abortion clinic left:  Missouri,  Mississippi,  West Virginia,  North Dakota and South Dakota.  States continue to add to the list, dozens of laws have been passed in recent years.

Poor women lack money to travel to nearby states.     They often felt forced to resort  to desperate measures  to stop the pregnancy if they already had children to raise and feed.  It should be noted that most women seeking abortions  are married , not single.

This Supreme Court decision is a victory  for Roe v. Wade. The Pro Life movement has a long list of cases they  are bringing to abolish the 1973 Supreme Court decision that gives women control over their bodies.

John Roberts as Chief Justice voted to extend federal protection to American women through Roe v. Wade.  Conservatives  reacted with  anger.  Ted Cruz, Republican senator from Texas said  on Twitter, “  Chief Justice  John Roberts is at it again.  This time he has sided with abortion extremists who care more about abortion on demand than protecting women’s  health.:”

Justice Stephen Breyer writing for the four liberals who joined Roberts in the majority said, “that the Louisiana law was almost word for  word identical with the one from Texas that the Supreme Court struck down in the 2016 decision. “

The legal right to an abortion remains a hot issue in senate races for 2020.   The Chief Justice voting as he did in the Louisiana case gives Republican senators including Mitch McConnell  a tough subject to  deal with during the months ahead as they campaign for reelection.

Donald Trump is angry with the Chief Justice for his support for all three Supreme Court Decisions.   He has clashed with him before and would be wise to avoid any clashes with him at present.   The president has had a bad month in the polls.  Taking on Chief Justice Roberts would be a very foolish mistake on his part.   Women’s votes, crucial to his election are falling fast in all national and state polls.

…………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Barr’s Pervasion of Justice

May 9, 2020: the lead editorial in The New York Times was  “ William Barr’s Perversion of Justice”.   Against a black background,  Barr’s face  appeared behind a large red Scales of Justice tipped unevenly. It was a shocking picture introducing a shocking tale of a United States Attorney General who has been tipping the scales to benefit President Donald Trump rather than protecting the Justice system and the American people.

Prologue:  

After the Watergate Scandal, President Richard Nixon resigned to avoid Impeachment.  United States Attorney General John Mitchell and over ten other members of the Nixon administration went to prison.  Watergate led to reforms to ensure an independent Justice Department faithful to the law rather than the president. Among the reforms were greater transparency and ethics rules like the creation of independent inspectors general to rid the  executive branch of waste, fraud and abuse.  There were also new limits on presidential power in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.

Donald J. Trump Administration   Donald Trump has already fired four Inspectors General in different areas of his administration.   He also broke the Congressional Act when he withheld hundreds of million dollars of aid to Ukraine.

After Donald Trump had been elected, he went through some months of interviewing men and women for cabinet positions .  William Barr sent him a very  long letter of introduction where he discussed his years of service to Republican presidents. He believed presidents should have maximum authority with little oversight.  Donald Trump chose William Barr to be United States Attorney  General .

Barr was confirmed by the Senate and only a month later he introduced the Mueller Report on Russian Interference in The 2016 Presidential Election.  Robert Mueller and his team of F.B.I investigators had worked for almost two years on the 448 page documented report.  The event was covered by all cable and major stations .  National interest was high since no leaks had occurred of the major findings.

William Barr was sworn in and seated to make his presentation.  He had only four pages to consult as he read  that “No collusion had been found between the president’s administration and Russia and There had been no obstruction of Justice.”  At the White House, there was jubilation as Trump and everyone watching were celebrating “ complete exoneration. “

The next day, The New York Times had a front page list of Volume 2 of the Mueller Report Obstruction of Justice ten examples.   Critics of the president were suspicious of Barr’s interpretation. The complete report was not available for weeks to Congress or the American public. Robert Mueller made public a  letter to William Barr raising questions and objections to the presentation. Barr never answered him.

When the report was finally available to the media, there were immediate responses on cable and major news channels by critics  who had read the entire report.   Barr’s interpretation was widely held to be biased.  However Barr stuck to his original analysis and conclusions.  He referred to the investigation as “spying” and ordered a criminal inquiry into its origin. On Fox News, he called the Russia Investigation “One of the greatest travesties in American History.”

During the following months and years,  William Barr appeared on the side of the president when they  were involved in legal troubles and trials.  He helped Roger Stone a long time friend of Donald Trump receive a lighter sentence.  Most recently,  he was instrumental in former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn being completely freed of charges of lying to The F.B.I.

This latest reversal of serious charges against the leader of Trump’s entire security team brought the May 9 editorial described at the beginning of this blog.  Flynn had been very close to Trump when he ran for office.  He created the famous “Lock her up” chant during rallies as he stood next to him.

The reversal of charges then moved to  U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan who could validate or question the move.  He has a reputation as a “tough  experienced judge” and showed that with an order reported on May 12 .  The order required both legal sides in the lifting of charges to present evidence and revisit the original case.  William Barr’s decision will now be moved to a higher authority.

A final note : Over two thousand former federal prosecutors responded to Barr’s decision to drop the charges against Flynn by calling for William Barr’s resignation as Attorney General of The United States.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitch McConnell: Donald Trump’s Henchman!

 

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader of the United State Senate, has done harm to our Justice  System.  McConnell knows the complex Senate rules by heart and has used them to further Conservative Republican objectives whenever possible.  He has faithfully supported Trump through his years in office.

During the last years of the Obama administration , Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia , the leader of the Conservative wing of the High Court, died.   President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, Chief of the Washington D.C. Second Circuit Appeals Court to replace him.  This appointment was praised by Republicans as well as Democrats.  He is a middle of the road Justice , neither liberal nor conservative.

However,  Mitch McConnell said it was too close to the next Presidential Election to hold the customary interviews with the Senate and votes to confirm or deny the appointment.   Despite enormous criticism from the Obama administration and Democratic members of the Senate and Congress,  McConnell succeeded in keeping the seat vacant for over a year until the 2016 election took place.  This had never happened before!  Chief Justice John Roberts never commented upon McConnell blocking President Obama’s Constitutional  power  to  nominate a Justice to fill the vacancy.

During those months, The Supreme Court had to function with only eight members.  Although McConnell came under criticism from legal and government figures as well as presidential scholars,  he never budged from his position.   When Donald Trump was elected,  one of his first priorities was to nominate a conservative Republican, Neil Gorsuch, to the High Court.  McConnell guided him through confirmation to his seat on The Supreme Court.

On May ll,  in an interview with Lara Trump, the president’s daughter in law,  McConnell said, “Obama should have kept his mouth shut” referring to a leaked account of Obama’s private call to former members of his administration when he described Trump’s handling of the pandemic crisis as “an absolute chaotic disaster.”  McConnell added, “You had your shot—you were there for eight years. “  It is important to note that McConnell fought the Obama administration on immigration, health care, the environment and gun safety throughout the eight years.

McConnell has also tried to shift blame to Obama by saying his administration never left behind “any kind of game plan” for dealing with a pandemic.  In response, Ron Klain, who ran the Obama administration response to Ebola, said, “We literally left them a 69 page Pandemic Playbook that they ignored.  “

McConnell stood with Trump during the Impeachment trial in the Senate. He led the Republican senators who refused to allow witness testimony and voted to acquit him of all charges.  The Republicans have a slim majority , but it was enough to end the Trial with Trump’s Acquittal.

Mitch McConnell, up for re-election in November, is running against Amy, McGrath, a Marine fighter pilot and Mom.  The latest polls give him only a one point advantage and she appears to be gaining momentum.  If McConnell loses the election, Trump will have lost a very important ally.

…………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Biden Interview in The New York Times and The Atlantic City Press

 

Saturday, May 2, 2020:  I had watched the interview yesterday with great interest.  It was the first he had given since Tara Reade has raised allegations of sexual assault when she worked on his senatorial staff twenty seven years ago.  Biden has responded that it never happened whenever a reporter has asked questions.

The interview was live on “Morning Joe” with the hosts Mica and Joe asking questions.  Mica began with Reade’s picture and her allegations as well as asking Joe if he would release his personnel files of his work as a senator.  He explained that he has opened up thousands of papers in the Archives to the public.  However, the files she asks for have talks with foreign leaders over eight years and these should not be available during the presidential race for political use by his opponent.

Mica then showed pictures of more than a dozen women who had accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment or sexual assault over the years.   Joe took over for  the second half and dealt with current issues of the pandemic virus and its effects upon the economy  and life of the people of the country.  Biden gave specific answers covering what he is doing right now in advance of results of the election next November.  He was calm and clear in describing what he had done during the Ebola pandemic as Vice President working with President Obama in the United States and abroad.

Today’s coverage of the interview in The New York Times and The Atlantic  City Press shocked me!   When I was teaching at Atlantic Community College, my students said The Times was my bible.  Donald Trump considers the Times and The Washington Post as his enemies, “fake news” mongers.  The latter has a reporter who counts the lies of the president, now in the thousands.

Thus, when I saw the front pages of the two papers, Joe Biden was on both papers :  Times: second lead story on left hand side .  Press: picture top right with “Never Happened” in bold print.  Story appeared later in section C .

Next, I turned to the Editorial page of The  New York Times and found a dark partial picture of Biden’s face looking stressed under the title in bold type: Investigate Tara Reade’s Allegations.  Toward the end of the long editorial in dark print  was “ Americans need to know more about a sexual assault allegation against the likely Democratic nominee. “

Then I read the entire editorial.  It was almost completely about Reade’s allegation until a short paragraph of seven lines  next to the last paragraph ……… From that paragraph, ”It has been noted that Donald Trump has been accused of  sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women. Those claims should also be investigated … Mr. Trump simply denies them and attacks his accusers.”

The Atlantic City Press had a column on page one of Section C World and Nation.   Headline: Biden  declares sexual assault ‘never never happened.”   It was written by Alexandra Jaffe and Bill Barrow of Associated Press. Within the body of their article, they discuss Biden’s pledge to have the Archives open, since that would be the place for a complaint if she had done that at the time.   They  ended with his pledge to choose a woman as Vice President  and the fact that the presidential race will be the  first of the MeToo era.

Their coverage was completely different from The Times where the entire editorial board is represented by the lead editorial each day.

My concern of course, is that Donald Trump and his team will take their editorial and use it in as many ways and times as they can.

I wrote to The Times  before  writing this blog .  A  very long shot to have it printed, but I felt the need to speak out directly to them.  If it appears in Letters…. I’ll let you know on my blog…

……………………………………………  Joyce S. Anderson

Biden “Team of Rivals”

Joe Biden has emerged as the clear front runner in the 2020 Democratic Primary race, with only Bernie Sanders still standing as a rival. Biden announced during the last debate that he would choose a woman as Vice President.  He should also remember Abraham Lincoln choosing his cabinet from his rivals in the 1860 election.  That brilliant political move helped him govern through the challenging years ahead.

Biden should create his team of rivals NOW. They could campaign alone for him or with him on television at interviews, debates and virtual town meetings while the Coronavirus persists.  We are going to have the election in November, that is for sure.  It will not be postponed. We have had elections during wartime.  This election may be the first election  completely by mail.

Here’s a possible team: Kamala Harris as Vice President; Mike Bloomberg as Treasury Secretary; Amy Klobuchar as U.S. District Attorney at Justice Department;  Pete Buttigeg at Defense; Elizabeth Warren for Commerce; Cory Booker for HUD; Julian Castro for Secretary of The Environment and Mitt Romney , the only Republican senator who honored his oath of impartiality during Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, for Secretary of State.  Each of these women and men has had deep experience in the position they would be holding .

Joe Biden would bring a wealth of experience as a senator and Vice President , working with Barack Obama during two terms in office.  It is not surprising that Donald Trump saw him as his toughest opponent. Then  he asked the Ukraine president to announce he was investigating Biden for alleged corruption.  We all know that led to Trump’s impeachment, forever an asterix next to his name.

Joe Biden and his team of rivals could defeat Donald J. Trump in a landslide in November 2020.

…………………………………………  Joyce S. Anderson

Dems: Want To Defeat Trump? Form A Team of Rivals.

The title above is of an  article by Thomas Friedman, an opinion writer in today’s New York Times.   He is one of their veterans who has traveled the world and speaks with words of wisdom on many subjects.  The political world is his specialty.

After or before you pull up the column on your  computer,  Google  A team of rivals.  You will find Doris Kearns Goodwin, the historian who wrote about Abraham Lincoln’s Team of Rivals in her book on that very subject.

Friedman applies Lincoln’s successful strategy to the current presidential campaign .  He suggsts names of people who would fill the most important executive and cabinet positions.  Some are still running  for president while others have dropped out of the race. They all bring valuable experience and strength to the positions they would fill if the top of the ticket is elected.

The debate in  South Carolina this evening brings the current candidates back once more. Michael Bloomberg will make his second appearance after a Town Hall with a live audience and more realistic prepping  by his aides.  His debut appearance was described as a “ disaster” and he met a group the next day saying with humor, “And how was your night yesterday.”

Since Donald Trump was acquitted on Charges of Impeachment, he has pursued weeks of “Rage and Retribution” against his perceived enemies.  This included the government employees who responded to Congressional subpoenas to testify under oath.  Colonel Alexander Vindman who served in the White  House,  former Ambassador to Ukraine, Yovonovitch,  former Ambassador to Ukraine, Taylor , Fiona Hill who worked with John Bolton  National Security Advisor.   Colonel Vindman and his twin brother also a Colonel were marched out of the White House in their uniforms. Marie Yovonovitch after being fired, took a position at Georgetown University in D.C.   John Bolton awaits the publication of his book that will reveal inner workings of the Trump White House. He never did  testify,.

Donald Trump has seized on Sanders as his new whipping candidate rather than Biden since Bernie has run up big scores in Iowa,  New Hampshire and Nevada.  There, voters joined caucuses which can be complex with people meeting in groups and casting votes that can be argued and changed in succeeding rounds of voting.

South Carolina holds a primary where people vote for their choice. One person; one vote.  It is simpler and the same as the general election.   Results usually are tabulated easily and announced  without delay.  The Iowa results were a disaster since they were using a complex system without having had a trial run.

I hope some of the candidates who will take part in the debate this evening have read Thomas Friedman’s column.  Or the moderators may have read it and will suggest it to the candidates for their reaction. It would be dynamite to watch them react since it assumes only one of them would win the nomination.

A Team of Rivals will be on stage.   I will think of them in the framework of  Thomas Friedman’s brilliant idea. I’m sure Donald Trump will also be watching.

……………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

An Exaltation of Larks

After the trauma of the Impeachment vote in the Senate and Trump claiming complete exoneration, I felt we all needed to read something that lifts our spirits.  This column first published in 2010 is designed to do just that.  Enjoy.

 

A very special book beckons to me from the shelves, An Exaltation of Larks, the fascinating collection by James Lipton, first published in 1968.  Lipton, an American writer, poet, composer and actor, traced the tradition in the English language back to the 15th century when groups of animals, fish and birds associated with hunting were given names to epitomize salient characteristics. Young gentlemen were taught the precise designation of their quarry. We are familiar with some: a pride of lions, a plague of locusts and a litter of puppies. The magic of this book is in the hundreds of collective nouns that identify the essence of the group to the reader for the first time — and the witty engravings by Grandville, a 19th century French lithographer, that accompany most of the terms and the text.

Here are a few groups of birds to whet your appetite:

A parliament of owls.

An ostentation of peacocks.

A banquet of pheasants.

A murder of crows.

A siege of herons.

A brood of hens.

An exaltation of larks.

Skylarks climb high together into the heavens while uttering their song — thus the poetic comment of exaltation.  In the interesting introduction to the book, Lipton traces the history from the 15th century to the present. He writes, “Obviously, at one time or another, every one of these terms had to be invented — and it is equally obvious that much imagination, wit and semantic ingenuity has always gone into their invention. The terms are too full of charm and poetry to suppose that their inventors were unaware of the possibilities open to them , and unconscious of the fun and beauty they were creating. What we have in these terms is clearly the end result of a game that amateur semanticists have been playing for over five hundred years.”

Part III of the book may be the most fun for readers since Lipton drew upon the Book of St. Albans, compiled in 1486, which included seventy references to people and life in the 15th century in addition to the birds, animals and fish for the hunt. The social references, scattered through the St. Albans book, are filled with wit and commentary about the manners and morals of the day. The lively, intriguing engravings accompanying these human figures capture the meaning and nuances in each term.  Here are samples from the 15th century:

A Herd of Harlots

A Converting of Preachers

A Doctrine of Doctors

An Incredulity of Cuckolds

A Riffraff of Knaves

A Drift of Fishermen

An Eloquence of Lawyers

A Worship of Writers (Ah, I love that.)

 

Lipton closes his delightful book with a challenge to the reader to join the “game” and create clever terms that illuminate intrinsic qualities of a group. He says, about playing the game, “like Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence. I found that spectators didn’t stay spectators for long. If you should feel the urge, there are more brushes in the pail.”

 

………………………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

 

An Exaltation of Larks  is available online at Amazon.com

Impeachment Trial Epilogue

Wednesday, February 5 was the final day of Donald J . Trump’s Impeachment Trial.   He had given his State of The Union Address the night before to Republicans , Democrats  and Supreme Court Justices in the Congressional Hall.  House Speaker Pelosi and Vice President  Pence sat behind the president when he spoke.  Throughout his speech, Republicans rose and cheered, even chanted “Four More Years” while Democrats on the other side remained seated and silent. Adam Schiff and the six other House Managers had a copy of the Constitution on tables before them.

Donald Trump was confident  since he knew what the vote would be the next day.   He claimed a rebirth of the country under his leadership with examples of growth that were challenged by economic experts the next day.  He claimed that his leadership had brought a State of the Union that was better than ever before in “history”.

Viewers saw the bitterness between the president and the speaker at the beginning and end of his speech.  When he arrived at the front, he shook hands with the justices and then walked up to the lectern. He  handed Pelosi a copy of his speech and she reached out to shake his hand, but he turned to face the audience. When he completed his speech,  he stood to strong applause from the Republicans and she held the papers of the speech and  tore them apart vigorously.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Donald J. Trump was the fourth United States president to be threatened with impeachment.  There were two in the modern era, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.  One Republican and one Democrat.  Nixon was approached by Republican leaders who urged him to resign to avoid a trial where he would definitely be convicted.  He agreed and resigned from office. Clinton survived a trial where he apologized to the American people and was not convicted  and removed from office.  At the time, he had a 65 percent approval rating in the country.

On Wednesday,  Chief Justice Roberts presided as The Two Articles of Impeachment were read in detail. The First: Abuse of Power. The Second: Obstruction of Congress.   All  one hundred members of the Senate were present.   Roberts advised them of the procedure to follow to vote.  Names would be called in alphabetical order.  The member would rise and say aloud “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” .

For  viewers watching on television, there was a large box  with the scores of each party as well as the two Independents as the procedure happened.    The final votes were 48 to Convict and 52 Not to Convict on Abuse of Power.   47 and 53 on Obstruction of Congress.  The one vote difference in the first was Mitt Romney who broke with the Republicans to vote for Conviction.

Earlier in the day Senator Romney had spoken of why he would vote for Conviction.  He has represented Utah for years and ran for president on the Republican ticket.  He is a devout Mormon and the son of George Romney,  governor of Michigan for three terms. His words stressed the meaning of the oath before God that the senators took before voting to be impartial.   That oath was the key to understanding his vote.  He spoke of what it would mean to his children and grandchildren as well as the people he represented in his state.  His conscience was the key.  He believed  the evidence had proven the case against the president  and he had pledged to keep an open mind and be impartial.

After the vote, political commentators called it a “Profile in Courage”.   It was replayed since his decision had been televised earlier many times on political programs that day and the following day as well.

In addition to Mitt Romney,  four Democrats who voted for Conviction are from states that Trump won in 2016 by very large margins.  Doug Jones of Alabama ,  Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. It is a certainty that Trump will visit each of those states often and attack these four senators with his usual fury and insults as he seeks reelection in 2020.   They all displayed courage and conscience in their vote for Conviction.

……………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

IMPEACHMENT TRIAL UPDATE

Lawrence Tribe, the legendary trial lawyer , Harvard professor and Constitutional scholar writes “Lawrence Tribe on Twitter” every day on Google. On Thursday, January 30,  he wrote about a shocking statement  from Alan Dershowitz, one of Trump’s lawyers. It was the first day of Questions from the Senators to either Trump’s lawyers or the House managers.  He was answering a question about Quid pro Quo…trading this for that. Dershowitz  said,  “ If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected  in the public interest, that would not be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

Lawrence Tribe commented, “ Of course! It’s the old Louis XIV l ‘etat c ‘est  moi” defense.”  I am the state.

It brought to mind the current television ad that Joe Biden is running on television in his presidential campaign. The emphasis is on CHARACTER in capital letters.  The pictures and text show Biden in specific times in  his life when his character was the key to his behavior and work activities.  Many Americans, especially older Americans remember when his first wife and young daughter were killed in an automobile accident when he was in D.C. getting ready to be sworn in for his first term as a senator.  He commuted to Delaware every day of his terms in office by train to be with his two sons as they grew up.  They also remember his service for two terms as Obama’s vice president, serving as his emissary abroad to strengthen our ties to our democratic Allies.

Today,  the impeachment trial of Donald Trump is focused on his holding back the financial  aid to Ukraine approved by Congress for an ally fighting Russian tanks  on their border.  The first article of impeachment is Abuse of Power detailing this event with emphasis on the quid pro quo the president wanted from the president of Ukraine ….. an investigation of Joe Biden, his rival in the current presidential election campaign and his son, Hunter Biden.

Today is the second day for Questions.  The Republican Majority leader of the Senate , Mitchell McConnell  has worked openly with the president from the start of trial preparations.  He has also aimed at a brief trial without witnesses or documents.  The Democrats have urged that they be a part of the trial, based on historic precedent as well as the need for them to be a part of a  “fair trial.” Every impeachment trial in the past has heard witnesses and seen important documents as evidence.

Four Republicans would need to join 47 Democrats to vote for Witnesses and Documents to be included in the trial.   There are three who appear to be leaning in that direction:  Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Merkowski.    Lamar Alexander has been seen as a possible fourth.  He is retiring in 2020 ,but is a very close friend of McConnell.   Pressure is strong on all Republicans not to break rank.   Trump has a history of attacking any members of Congress who dare to defy him.   Everyone who follows politics is aware of that.

Epilogue:

Newspaper articles today report that McConnell is planning to follow the Question time today with a call for a Vote on Witnesses and Documents.  If they are defeated, that would lead to a Vote To Acquit Trump  on Friday.

The president’s lawyers have made a case for the United States people to decide the fate of Donald J. Trump in the 2020 election next November.  We may know on Friday if we the people do indeed have that  ahead of us.

………………………………………………….  Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump

On Wednesday, January 15, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named  seven  Democratic House managers of the impeachment case against President Trump.  They were a diverse group of men and women who would prosecute the case for his removal from office. They were led by Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the  House  Intelligence Committee and Jerrold Nadler of New York, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Jason Crow of Colorado , a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was elected in 2018. He is a leading voice on national security. Val Demings of Florida , a former police chief, is known as a respected questioner in previous trials. Sylvia R. Garcia of Texas is a path- breaking Latina  lawmaker in the state. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, is a rising lawmaker who has emerged as a party leader. Zoe Lofgren of California is a veteran of the Nixon and Clinton inquiries.

Speaker Pelosi   signed the Articles of Impeachment slowly giving each manager a pen.  When the signing was complete,  she said , “President Donald J. Trump  is impeached for Posterity”.

The seven managers then carried the two Articles of Impeachment over to the Senate in a solemn procession.   There was coverage on all Cable networks of the signing and the procession.  This management team is far more diverse than the thirteen white men Republicans selected to prosecute President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial.

On Thursday,  January 16,  The Senate was in session with Majority Leader McConnell in charge and Senator Grassley, the longest serving member in the chair.   Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John G. Roberts,  wearing his black robes, was escorted  into  the chamber where the senators were seated.  Grassley  greeted him and then asked him to raise his right hand with his left on the bible  before he administered the oath of impartiality.  Roberts  replied that he would and they shook hands.  He then moved to sit in the chair and address the senators.

Roberts asked them all to rise and raise their right hands.  Then he read the oath that called upon them to be impartial  as jurors in the trial of the president.  They all replied  they would.  Then,  each senator approached a desk at the front of the chamber where a recorder gave  a pen to sign the Registry .  The names of four senators were read aloud twenty five times in alphabetical order.  99 senators signed; one man was absent due to his wife’s illness.   They each signed the book  as a permanent record of the oath they had taken to be impartial jurors. This included Chairman Mc Connell who had said he would work with Trump and not be impartial  and Graham, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee who had said he would not read documents.  Both men had already said they wanted a speedy trial.

Roberts then read some procedural notes and adjourned the session until the following Tuesday.

The role of the Chief Justice in previous impeachment trials was written about in many newspapers and discussed on cable television.  Presiding over the Clinton trial, Chief Justice Rehnquist is quoted as saying, “I did nothing in particular and I did it very well.”   He was  pictured with gold stripes added to the sleeves of his black robes for the  significant occasion.

There are three current cases before the Supreme Court regarding Trump’s finances.  Another case concerns Trumps efforts to withdraw protection from the DACA immigrants who have lived here for years aiming to become citizens.   Many political columnists are addressing whether Roberts will be called upon to take a more active role than Rehnquist in the Senate Trial. Adam Liptak wrote in The New York Times,  “An Impeachment Trial Thrusts Roberts Into  Partisan Warfare”   He quoted from the Constitution, “When the president of The United states is tried, the chief justice shall preside.”  But the founding charter says  no more.  And what role the chief justice is to perform has proved baffling.

During the four days before the Trial would resume, major events occurred that would affect The Senate Trial.

On Friday, January  17,  Rachel Maddow conducted an in depth interview on MSNBC with Lev Parnas one of the men who worked with Rudy Giuliani on the stalking of  Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yuvonovich .  Parnas ,who is free on bail, described being  with President Trump often, supported by multiple pictures of them together at different times and places.  He agreed with Ambassador Sondland who said “everyone was in the loop.”  Also responded to Trump saying ,  “I don’t know the gentleman.  I take pictures with thousands of people.”   Parnas said bluntly,  “He lied.”   Parnas had become a cooperating witness and his testimony was on every talk show throughout the weekend.

Excerpts from Maddow’s interview were replayed many times by other commentators on Saturday and Sunday.  When the second half was shown on Sunday night, there were four million viewers.  Polls of Americans made clear that over 70 percent wanted witnesses and documents introduced into the Senate Trial.  Many said, “Whoever heard of a trial without witnesses?”

The big  news over the weekend  from The White House was that the president had added two “celebrity lawyers” to his team, Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz.   Since Trump appears to view the trial as a Television show, he was eager to have them join his regular lawyers.  Dershowitz immediately appeared on Ari Melber’s  hour and insisted that Abuse of Power in Article One is not a high crime and misdemeanor called for in The Constitution!  Ken Starr who ran the Clinton Impeachment was removed as Baylor University President over not acting on sexual abuses on the campus.  Both men have connections to Jeffrey Epstein the disgraced pedophile.

When the trial reconvenes tomorrow in the Senate, the men and women will not be allowed iphones  at their desks.  They must be silent and not ask questions.

Millions of Americans will be watching to see if Mitch McConnell will allow a rules change to include witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump.

Epilogue:

Tuesday morning January 21, 2020.  Last evening about six , Breaking News brought three BIG stories.   Donald J. Trump was boarding Air Force One to fly to Davos, Switzerland for the annual conference.  Mitch McConnell had released his plans for the Senate Impeachment Trial on a fast paced schedule.   He said weeks ago that he would work with the White House on the trial and the results shows that he did just that.  The third story was the White House lawyers release of a one hundred and ten page Brief (oxymoron) where they wrote that “the two Articles of Impeachment were constitutionally flawed and set a dangerous precedent”.

At about three this afternoon, the Democratic managers will begin their arguments in support of the Articles of Impeachment.  They will continue until midnight when most Americans will be sleeping.  Not prime time, for sure.    Each side will have 24 hours divided over two days.    By Saturday, this segment will be over.  Next week, the question of having witnesses, which 71 percent of the American public want will be raised.

At 1 p.m. today, the Trial will start.  I hope millions of Americans will be watching.   Perhaps Donald J. Trump will also watch in Davos.

……………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson