Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Trump Impeachment Inquiry and summary of Ukraine phone call controversy.

By now probably everyone knows that Nancy Pelosi has called for an impeachment inquiry of President Trump and of the furor raised by a phone call Trump made to the president of the Ukraine.  If you got the news in bits and pieces or laced with lots of emotional partisan rhetoric, below is a good dispassionate summary of events from The New York Times.

My view of events so far, is that the Presidents actions are troubling, but not as troubling as was the Hillary Clinton shake down of foreign governments when she served as Secretary of State and no more troubling than Biden's successful effort to get a Ukaine investigator fired who was investigating his son. In other words, Trump is kind of par for the course.  Trump's actions should be exposed and disapproval expressed but his actions do not warrant impeachment.

My view of the political impact of these developments, is that it helps Trump.  It shines light on the corruption of Joe Biden and his son, which harms Biden's chances of getting the Democrat nomination for president and I think Biden would have been the strongest challenger to Trump. Also, I think people will see the impeachment attempt as wasting time and a petty vindictive effort to overturn the results of an election. It will backfire.  Rod

The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What We Learned So Far Today

By The New York Times
Hello, and welcome to a special edition of the Morning Briefing.
President Trump today.Doug Mills/The New York Times
Less than a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, there are several big developments:
  • A call log released by the White House shows Mr. Trump pushing the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to consider investigating former Vice President Joe Biden.
  • A Justice Department official told The Times that after a whistle-blower raised concerns, two top intelligence officials referred the complaint for a possible criminal investigation into the president’s actions. The Justice Department concluded that there was no basis for a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s behavior.
  • In the call, Mr. Trump alluded to American aid, while not explicitly linking his request to unfreezing it, the document shows: “I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time.”
Click here for the reconstructed transcript. The five-page document distributed by the White House includes a cautionary note indicating that it was “not a verbatim transcript” but instead was based on “notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty officers” and national security staff. Senior administration officials said voice recognition software was also used.

The scandal so far

  • Mr. Trump urged Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden and his younger son, Hunter — both directly and through Rudolph Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers. Mr. Biden is a leading candidate to be the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nominee.
  • As vice president, Mr. Biden pushed the Ukrainian government in 2015 to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, whom the U.S. and other Western nations saw as an obstacle to reform because he failed to bring corruption cases. At the time, Mr. Biden’s son sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings.
  • Mr. Trump and his allies have insinuated, without evidence, that Mr. Biden was trying to protect the company from prosecution. An investigation into him, even if it were unfounded and turned up no evidence of a crime, could damage his campaign prospects by suggesting wrongdoing.
  • The White House froze more than $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine this summer; it had been intended to help Ukraine defend itself from Russian territorial aggression. Mr. Trump has given conflicting explanations for the freeze.
  • An intelligence official filed a whistle-blower complaint last month about the president’s actions. The inspector general for the intelligence community deemed the complaint “credible” and “urgent” and forwarded it to the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, under a law that says such complaints must be shown to Congress within a week.
  • Mr. Maguire refused to share the complaint with Congress, saying the Justice Department disagreed with the inspector general’s conclusion that its subject matter was covered under the law that requires disclosing such complaints to Congress.
  • The complaint’s full details remain a mystery, as does the whistle-blower’s identity.

What’s next?

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement on Tuesday that the House was beginning an impeachment inquiry was momentous, but practically, it didn’t change very much. In fact, the House Judiciary Committee had already opened a related inquiry in July.
  • Six House committees are pursuing investigations of political malfeasance. They will bring that evidence to the Judiciary Committee, which could then recommended articles of impeachment to the full House.
  • There’s a distinct possibility that the House, now controlled by Democrats, will vote to impeach President Trump.
  • But when the case goes to the Senate, the president has an advantage. With the chamber under Republican control, and a two-thirds vote needed to remove him from office, that seems unlikely to happen, at least for the moment.

What are the Republicans saying?

Republican lawmakers and the president stuck to their position that Mr. Trump didn’t offer Mr. Zelensky any inducements or threaten him. “From a quid pro quo aspect, there’s nothing there,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Some Republican leaders tried to shift attention to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of “trying to weaken the president.”

What are your questions?

Our top editors and reporters are ready to answer your questions about the road ahead. Ask here.

Impeachment 101

Impeachment does not remove a president from office; it’s more akin to an indictment on charges of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Here’s the process:
  • House committees that are investigating the president on impeachable offenses will send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.
  • If the evidence is deemed sufficient, the House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.
  • If a majority of House members vote to impeach, the case moves to the Senate, which holds a trial and then votes on whether to convict the president. A two-thirds majority is required to remove the president from office.

A brief history

This is only the fourth time an American president has been the subject of an impeachment inquiry. And though two presidents have been impeached, neither was removed from office by the Senate.
  • Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached, in 1868, over his attempt to fire Edwin Stanton, his secretary of war, who favored a tougher approach toward the post-Civil War South. He was acquitted by the Senate.
  • Richard Nixon faced impeachment in 1974, on charges relating to Watergate, a scandal that connected him to a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters and the subsequent cover-up. He resigned as it became clear that he was about to be impeached.
  • Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, after it was discovered that he had lied while testifying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He was acquitted by the Senate.
Morning Briefing
SEPTEMBER 25, 2019

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment