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Notes from Senate Impeachment Trial – #2

Speeches over; questions next

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 28,2020)

Some impressions as the trial completes phase one and prepares for phase two:

  1. The first take-away is the comparison between the two presentations. The House speakers were on a mission and they showed it. They were obviously playing to the television audience more than the senators. Their rhetoric was graphic, at times crude (particularly Mr. Naylor). Their tone was passionate, sometimes angry. Their body language was tense. The exception was Mr. Schiff, who proved himself an effective and articulate advocate, who appeared convinced and convincing, especially in his opening summary. In his final speech, however, some of the earlier polish seemed to have worn off as he spoke of the President in personal and insulting terms, dripping with hatred.
  2. The President’s team overall was much cooler in manner, with the exception of Mr. Sekulow, who supplied the passion, sometimes slipping into anger. White House Counsel Patrick Capilione was quietly and rationally effective, in the sharpest contrast to the House team. I found his manner more effective than Sekulow’s. Anger in the Senate chamber seemed a bit out of place.

In terms of the arguments on their merits, I, like many others, found the House case full of assumptions, presumptions and very weak. Of course, I had the same reaction to the original testimony, so my reaction was not surprising that I reacted to the trial presentation which was derived from and actually re-used large portions of the House footage.

The basic issue was the definition of “crime”. The House wants to call such terms as “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” crimes meeting the standard of the Constitution. That standard is admittedly brief – “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors”. However, the application of common sense to this description, as pointed out by the founders’ commentary, demands that “crimes” must be specific and provable. Otherwise, the charge is simply a matter of opinion and therefore indefensible. Such are the terms of the current articles approved by partisan House.

The President’s team had their moments. Particularly damning was the recitation of the case against Joseph and Hunter Biden. Three lawyers split the presentation into Overview (Sekulow), Facts (Pam Bondi) and Conclusions (Eric Herschmann). It is hard to believe that the elder Mr. Biden can continue to attract support for his presidential bid after such a graphic, detailed and public recitation of the case against him.

Also notable was the presentation of Alan Dershowitz, who spoke to the constitutional standard of impeachment. His explanation was replete with citations and quotations and delivered in such a rapid-fire style that it was like trying to get a drink from a fire hose. The prominence of the speaker, however, added a certain level of authority to the argument. In view of his status as a lifelong Democrat, it is doubtful that his performance swayed any Democrats.

Today’s defense of the President ended with a plea to the Senators from Mr. Capilione to preserve for the American people the right to vote for their president, and to vote “for what in your heart you know is right”. As one of the commentators observed, however, politicians rarely vote what is in their hearts, preferring to vote for their best political advantage – a cynical remark which is unfortunately all too often true.

The overall impression of this entire exercise appears to be a gigantic waste of time and resources because the entire body of the Senate knew the outcome before the whole drama began. Namely, they will almost all vote the party line, and nothing said in this whole charade will change more than a few votes.

The only true exceptions to this outcome will be those politicians who believe that they cannot be re-elected if they vote with the party or have already decided not to run again. This whole business has to be changed to accurately reflect the momentous responsibility involved in an impeachment vote for both the immediate present and future American generations. I don’t know how that can be accomplished, but it is imperative that this process not be allowed to destroy America’s electoral process.

 

© 2020 Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

Notes on Senate Impeachment trial – #1

The rules for impeachment must be changed

by Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 22, 2020)

Some notes on the early stages of the Senate impeachment of President Trump:

A. Definitions: “crime”, “evidence”

a. It appears that the most basic differences between the two sides in the impeachment trial revolve around the definitions of two terms: “crime” and “evidence”.

b. The President’s team insists that the Constitution language “bribery, treason and other high crimes and misdemeanors” requires that impeachment can be carried forward only if there is an act which breaks a recognizable law, in other words, a “crime” as normally defined. This can be considered a technical definition of “crime”. Keep Reading

This must not stand! (continued)

The rules for impeachment must be changed to save the Republic

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 14, 2020)

In my last column of this topic, I urged the President to sue the House of Representatives for malfeasance on the basis of two unconstitutional actions with regard to the recent articles of impeachment passed by the House:

1) denial of due process as protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments in a procedure which, if upheld by the US Senate, would inflict irreparable harm on the plaintiff by depriving him of his livelihood, reputation and public office, and

2) by re-defining the Constitutional designation of “high crimes and misdemeanors” as the sole rationale for impeachment to include

  1. a) allegations based on hearsay evidence which are too broad to be provable (“abuse of power”) and
  2. b) designation of the time-honored practice of Executive Privilege as “obstruction of justice”.

Keep Reading

USA to Iraq: GOODBYE!

We have a golden opportunity to begin our departure from the Middle East

We have a golden opportunity to begin our departure from the Middle East      

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 8, 2010)

Federalist columnist Willis L. Krumholz, speaking for Middle America in an insightful article, asks, “The Fundamental Question is: Why is America Still in the Middle East?” (The Federalist Daily Briefing, January 6, 2020). His answer is; America’s newfound oil independence eliminates America’s interest in the Middle East. So, it is time to leave the Middle East.

American involvement in the Middle East formally began in 1928 with the Red Line Agreement, essentially splitting access to the oil properties of the northern Middle East (principally Iraq) between France, the United Kingdom and the United States. In 1933, the USA entered into an agreement with Saudi Arabia to form ARAMCO, a joint venture to exploit that country’s newly discovered oil fields. America’s relationship with Iran was solidified by the CIA-aided 1953 coup d’état which established the Shah of Iran as the country’s ruler. The Shah was overthrown by the current leadership of Iran in 1978, leading to the sacking of the American embassy and holding of American diplomats hostage until 1980.  This was the first overtly anti-American incident in what became a long series of assaults against American interests in the Middle East, culminating in the 2001 attacks.    Keep Reading

This cannot stand!

The highest law

of the land is the

Constitution, 

not the House of Representatives

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (December 20,2019)

The prevailing rationale for the entire impeachment procedure has been that the House of Representatives is the ultimate authority governing the impeachment process. Forgotten in all the blather about the actions of the House is the fact that the highest law of the land is not the will of the House but the Constitution of the United States of America. The Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution explicitly grant to every citizen of this Republic the inalienable right to due process, including the right to face his or her accuser and the right to defense in a court of law.

The “due process amendments” apply to the President of the United States as well as all others. The House denied those rights in this case. The President should file forthwith a lawsuit against the House asking the court to set aside the entire procedure. Likewise, the Senate should refuse to consider the House action until the Supreme Court renders its verdict.

Why is this important? Because the precedent set by this House action portends the doom of our democracy. The House has proven that no elected official is safe from unlawful dismissal from office by the majority vote of the opposition party. In this case, the Democrat majority has unlawfully indicted an American President duly elected by the people without any semblance of due process as established by law and custom.

In addition, the action resulted in re-defining “high crimes and misdemeanors” to include actions which are not crimes by any accepted practice. In this case, “abuse of power” is not a criminal offense because it is simply too vague to be provable. Likewise, the exercise of Executive Privilege is customary and has been accepted practice for the entire history of the Republic.

Consider the consequences of this current action. All that stands between this President and his removal from office is the incidental fact that his party controls the Senate. Suppose he wins reelection but that the opposition party wins control of both Houses of Congress. The current House of Representatives has proven that partisan politics is the primary factor in the decision as to whether or not to vote for his removal from office. Otherwise, there would have been bipartisan support for the House action. This partisan loyalty was also proven in the Clinton case, when both Houses of Congress voted along party lines. It is therefore reasonable to assume that all actions of impeachment and removal will continue to be governed by partisan loyalties.

Back to our example then. Having failed to remove the President from office the first time, it is entirely predictable that the Democrats would try a second time. This time the Senate would convict. Then suppose the President refused to leave office voluntarily and instead, as Commander-in-Chief, he called up the Army to declare martial law and arrest the Democrat members of Congress. Presto: we are now a “Banana Republic” where the military controls the government and dictatorship is a whisker away. Democracy rapidly becomes a thing of the past. No office is safe from partisan impeachment including Supreme Court Justices.

We cannot let this happen. But, if the current House impeachment is allowed to stand, our democratic elections are doomed to fall.

© 2019, Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

Today’s impeachment hearing

Bias among the elite

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (December 4, 2019)

The first House Judiciary hearing featured three professors in favor of Trump impeachment, one against. The three anti-Trump witnesses elaborated their definitions of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and all came to the conclusion that Mr. Trump was guilty as charged of the three principal charges advocated by the House Intelligence Committee report on its “investigation”, namely, bribery, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power.

Jonathan Turley, the lone expert opposed to impeachment, advocated caution and against proceeding with the current case because it has no solid evidentiary basis and no bipartisan consensus of wrongdoing – hallmarks of the previous two modern cases of impeachment. As expected, the questioning was conducted along partisan lines. Keep Reading

What now?

Exhausted by their hearings, the House now takes a 10-day vacation

By. Dr. Larry Fedewa (November 23, 2019)

Amid apparently lagging interest in the whole impeachment drama on Capitol Hill, the Democrats leave Washington for the Thanksgiving recess with a serious question to ponder. They have to decide whether to pursue their impeachment strategy toward what looks like a bitter end, or to construct an alternate strategy. It looks increasingly like the practical politicians versus the true believers.

As this column has pointed out, the stakes are very high: almost certainly the control of the House in 2020 and probably the presidency as well. The House is currently split with 233 Democrat seats versus 197 Republican seats (+4 vacancies). The Republicans need to gain a net 18 seats to resume control. Their prospects seem to depend on re-gaining the 31 so-called “Trump districts”, i.e. seats that Democrats won in 2018 that had voted for Trump in 2016. Historical trends are against the Republicans, since control of the House has flipped during a presidential election only twice (1948 and 1952) since 1900. Keep Reading

What have the Dems’ impeachment hearings revealed so far?

Interesting but irrelevant

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (November 16,2019)

The much-publicized hearings of the House Intelligence Committee began last Wednesday with three high ranking State Department officials over two days. The hearings revealed two things: 1) how deep the “Deep State” goes, and 2) how shallow the Democrats’ case against President Donald Trump really is.

The Deep State 

There are thousands of honest, hard-working people in the federal bureaucracy, who toil conscientiously every day to do the jobs they have been assigned. Among them are the first three witnesses called by Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) to lead off the public testimony phase of his impeachment inquiry.

Their testimony demonstrated just how deep the “Deep State” goes by revealing its characteristics. These people are sincerely dedicated to what they perceive as the official policies of the United States government. The fact that the policy they are dedicated to has been crafted by the senior career officers of their department is simply beyond their grasp. They believe and earnestly defend the un-Constitutional premise that foreign policy should be non-political and that all key decisions and staff should reflect an ongoing strategy and practice which transcends the comings and goings of politicians.    Keep Reading

Will Trump win in 2020?

 

 

Don’t be too sure

 

 

                                        

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (November 9, 2019)

The general opinion among Trump supporters – and many Democrats — is that a sitting president who oversees a thriving economy is very difficult to beat in an election for his second term. There is plenty of precedent for this prediction. Only two presidents since WWII have been defeated for a second term – Jimmy Carter and George Herbert Walker Bush. Carter faced a serious recession and Bush shared the vote with third party candidate, Ross Perot. So, history is definitely on the side of this opinion.

Many Trump supporters believe that his re-election is virtually assured. This is a potentially dangerous presumption. Keep Reading

The Dems are destroying the presidency

The real challenge to the Constitution

 

  Among the many absurd accusations being carelessly hurled around by the Democrats these days is the most absurd of all: that the President is violating the Constitution. In fact, we are seeing another example of the Left’s habit of accusing the President – and conservatives in general – of committing the very crimes that they themselves have actually committed.

The most egregious example of this behavior is the Democrats’ accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to overthrow the 2016 election, when in fact the Clintons and their campaign had a long – and very profitable —  influence-peddling scheme going  on, using the Clinton Foundation as their cover – to the tune of over $100 million! Even the Mueller fiasco could not find evidence of Trump involvement.

In this case, Nancy Pelosi, through Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler and their cohorts, have all but destroyed any U.S. president’s ability to carry on foreign policy. What leader of a foreign government is going to want to talk confidentially with the American president when they have a well-founded fear of their conversation being broadcast to the public? The same goes for American diplomats. Keep Reading