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POINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What?  COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable D5FRa
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POINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What?  COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable D5FRa
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    POINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What? COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable

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    PostThe Last Outlaw Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:58 pm

    POINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What?  COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable IUbQr

    Welcome to this Pre-Christmas Holiday edition of POINT -- COUNTERPOINT.  Just before the full House votes whether or not to Impeach Donald Trump, Greg Sargent tells The Washington Post "Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes" and ponders what's next.  On the other side of the coin, Georgia GOP Representative Doug Collins contends that "Articles establish nothing impeachable."  I already have my opinion, and we'll talk about that later.  I have but one question for YOU on this site:  Are you siding with the POINT or the COUNTERPOINT?  Let's get started.

    NOTE: The opinions in these articles are the authors, as published by the source, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bethea's Byte.



    POINT

    From The Washington Post

    Greg Sargent wrote:
    POINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What?  COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable $
    In the course of carrying out his corrupt scheme to pressure a foreign power into helping him rig the next U.S. election on his behalf, President Trump very well may have committed multiple federal crimes.
    It remains to be seen if Republicans have even the slightest interest in hearing from firsthand witnesses to those alleged crimes.

    As House Democrats prepare for a full vote on impeachment articles, Senate Democrats have launched a new effort to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) into allowing testimony from witnesses at Trump’s impeachment trial.

    The stakes in this battle over Trump’s trial have just been forcefully underlined by a new report from the House Judiciary Committee. The report, which supplements the articles passed by the committee last week, makes a strong case that Trump committed multiple crimes in carrying out his scheme.

    Importantly, the very same witnesses that Senate Democrats want to hear from almost certainly have firsthand knowledge of the very same potentially criminal acts spelled out in that new report. Those include acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.

    In a new letter, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) calls for McConnell to agree to testimony from them and others, arguing they have “direct knowledge” of Trump’s decision to freeze military aid to Ukraine, amid his demand that Ukraine announce an investigation of potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden.

    The new report from House Judiciary Democrats is notable because it makes the case that doing this constituted a federal crime, in addition to an impeachable offense.

    The case that Trump committed crimes
    The case the report makes is as follows. Federal statute makes “bribery” a crime if a public official “demands” or “seeks” anything “of value personally,” in return for performing “an official act,” and all this has been done “corruptly.”

    The report notes that Trump’s plot fits all these criteria. Trump sought announcements of investigations that would smear a political rival and help absolve Russia of 2016 electoral sabotage on his behalf. Trump directly pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to do this, and numerous texts show U.S. ambassadors negotiating with Ukraine for a statement announcing it, which was confirmed by testimony from ringleader Gordon Sondland and others.

    Those were “things of value” to Trump. His own lawyer Rudolph Giuliani openly said they would be “very helpful” to Trump himself. And we know from those texts and from extensivetestimony that Trump conditioned two official acts -- a White House meeting and the granting of military aid -- on getting those things of value.

    Trump did all this “corruptly" -- he subverted our foreign policy to his personal and political ends. The talking point that Trump cared about “corruption” is laughable: Trump, Giuliani and Sondland sought only investigations that would help him politically; the Pentagon had recommended releasing the aid; and there is zero evidence any of this amounted to a policy judgment on Trump’s part in any meaningful sense.

    The report also argues Trump committed related crimes: “Honest services fraud,” because he defrauded the American people of honest service as a public official, and a subsidiary of that, “wire fraud,” because he communicated his corrupt scheme over a phone line.

    The case against Trump is strong
    Randall Eliason, a professor of white collar crime law at George Washington University who has just posted an extensive new analysis at the Just Security website about the relevance of bribery statute to Trump’s misdeeds, told me the House report is correct as a matter of law.

    “The legal and factual analysis of bribery and honest services fraud in the House report is exactly right,” Eliason told me. “These can’t be dismissed as mere political arguments. The report outlines compelling evidence of federal criminal violations.”

    Meanwhile, former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade has just posted a separate case that Trump committed honest services fraud.

    All of this has numerous implications, none of them particularly good.

    First, this should prompt us to revisit the Department of Justice’s failure to launch a criminal investigation of the whistleblower complaint laying out much of this corrupt scheme. Remember, the CIA’s general counsel made a criminal referral to the Justice Department, which declined to investigate.

    A full reckoning with this scandal must also get to the bottom of that decision, particularly now that Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, is working overtime to discredit the Russia investigation, just as Trump pressured Ukraine to help him do.

    "In a properly-functioning Justice Department, evidence like this would prompt a re-examination of whether these events warrant a criminal investigation, and even a new Special Counsel,” Eliason told me.

    Presidential misconduct does not have to be criminal to be impeachable. But criminal statute can help guide how we define that impeachable misconduct. In this case, it plainly points to a way to understand the profoundly corrupt intent driving Trump’s scheme.

    Will Senate Republicans refuse testimony?
    In that context, the pressure on Senate Republicans to allow the testimony of Mulvaney, Bolton and others becomes a lot more significant. Mulvaney carried out Trump’s order to freeze the aid a week before his corrupt call with Zelensky. Bolton personally argued with Trump over the frozen aid.

    Which means they both likely have direct knowledge of what drove Trump’s decision. This is almost certainly why the White House blocked them from testifying to the House impeachment inquiry, on the laughable grounds that it was illegitimate.

    Presumably McConnell would not argue that his own Senate’s trial is also illegitimate, so that excuse is now out the window. So if Senate Republicans refuse to hear from these witnesses, after Trump corruptly blocked them, good luck defending the proceedings in the court of public opinion.

    And if they do go through with that, but Trump wins reelection anyway, good luck to the rest of us." />


    COUNTERPOINT

    From USA TODAY

    Representative Doug Collins (R-Georgia) wrote:
    POINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What?  COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable $

    Americans are fair minded. They deserve the truth and can spot it when given even half a chance.

    If Tuesday’s Quinnipiac poll is any indicator, many Americans recognize that the path to impeachment was paved with lies. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., presented articles of impeachment to the American electorate, more than half the country balked.

    Apparently, voters understand that the articles — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — establish nothing impeachable and allege no crime. The notion that withholding foreign aid from a historically corrupt country, and releasing the aid after the country’s new administration enacted anti-corruption reform, represents an abuse of power has failed to enrage the taxpayers whose paychecks fund that aid.

    Americans also recognize the lie that President Donald Trump has obstructed a Congress that concluded its impeachment investigation 20 times faster than the investigation that led to the Clinton impeachment.

    When the executive and legislative branches disagreed, Schiff refused to allow the courts to weigh in on constitutional questions. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., declined to call any of the witnesses requested by Republicans, and Schiff withdrew his own subpoena for John Bolton’s deputy.

    With inconvenient witnesses ignored and exculpatory evidence dismissed, House Democrats have chronically worked to mislead the public.

    Under Pelosi’s unilateral leadership, Schiff replaced Nadler as Democrats’ impeachment Sherpa. What Schiff’s case lacked in direct evidence and eyewitness testimony, he made up for in literary license.

    Americans remain unmoved in the wake of Schiff’s Ukraine report not because they are incredulous, but because Schiff is incorrigible. Schiff lied about his committee’s contact with the whistleblower and about whether a statutory right to anonymity shielded the whistleblower from testifying.

    Schiff lied about having more than circumstantial evidence that Trump colluded with Russia, and the Mueller report debunked that lie. Schiff told a similar lie this Tuesday when he said the evidence for impeachment was “overwhelming and uncontested,” ignoring the fact that all 17 Judiciary Republicans dispute Schiff’s report.

    Schiff also defended the Justice Department’s surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide, even though the department’s inspector general later found 17 errors or omissions in the FBI’s warrant applications. Democrats have been hurtling toward impeachment for years, facts be damned, and Americans are right to suspect Schiff of abusing his power as chairman.

    Sadly, the Schiff syndrome seems contagious. Democrats lied about the criterion for their own impeachment. Their speaker promised it would be bipartisan, compelling and overwhelming. The only bipartisan stance here is opposition to the inquiry.

    Since not even all of Pelosi’s caucus is willing to vote with her, we can hardly grant that her case is compelling, let alone overwhelming. Democrats told America the president is guilty of bribery, but there is no evidence to support such a charge.

    The most dangerous lie told by leading Democrats, however, is that the president stands guilty until proven innocent. An extension of that lie made by multiple Democrats is that only a guilty person would resist being railroaded. When Pelosi puts the onus on the president to produce “information that demonstrates his innocence in all of this,” the Speaker of the People’s House is denying an American the presumption of innocence.

    Like the people we represent, Republicans are fair minded. We know high crimes and misdemeanors when we see them, and we have not voted to advance this impeachment charade.

    Pelosi has championed the political impeachment — divorced from facts and fairness — the Founders warned us against. She hasn’t proved anything impeachable, so she’s shifting the burden of proof to the accused. That may be the most un-American lie our nation’s capital has ever witnessed.
    Now the opinions are left to you.  Which way do you see this.  Do you side with the Point or Counterpoint.  Vote and drop in your commentary.  I look forward to reading and responding to you.

    POINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What?  COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable I6goy

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    POINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What?  COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable FBCTRPOINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What?  COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable D5SsG
    POINT: Democrats Just Made a Strong Case That Trump Committed Crimes. Now What?  COUNTERPOINT: Articles Establish Nothing Impeachable Nexads420

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