Using the money stolen from its 1.4 billion enslaved people, the CCP has been challenging, weankening and underminingthe US all the way.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not exactly embraced the idea of launching an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The political calculus is fairly obvious: She managed to wrench control of her chamber from the opposition in November, and she’s wary about anything that might send her caucus back to the minority. As was made clear this week, her opposition to a formal impeachment became untenable in the face of the new questions about Trump’s interactions with the president of Ukraine and with increasing agitation in the active Democratic base to take some sort of action.
Given that reluctance, Pelosi has established guidelines for the inquiry meant to keep it from sprawling too broadly. The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade reported on Thursday that Pelosi was eager to wrap up investigations in a matter of weeks to hold a vote on impeachment before the holidays. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) — whose committee is leading the effort — told CNN that hearings would be held as early as next week, putting Democrats on track for a vote before Thanksgiving.
Students of the process or those who were paying attention to the news in the late 1990s understand how this process works. The House considers articles of impeachment against the president (in this case). If approved, the Senate then considers whether to remove the president from office. In 1999, the Senate held a trial in which evidence against President Bill Clinton was considered. While impeached by the House, Clinton was ultimately acquitted by the Senate and, therefore, not removed from office.
Part of Pelosi’s hesitation in launching this process is that impeachment isn’t overwhelmingly popular. Advocates of the process argue that by initiating an inquiry, by digging into what’s known in public and unearthing new evidence through the use of subpoenas, public opinion will shift against Trump as it did against Richard Nixon in 1974. A shift against Trump means, generally speaking, a shift to the Democrats’ advantage.
The merits of that Nixon analogy not withstanding, there’s a more problematic consideration. The faster the House moves on impeachment, the less time it has to dig into the allegations and, therefore, to uncover the sort of evidence that might change those minds.
Well, one might argue, isn’t that a better function of the trial in the Senate anyway? Let the impeachment articles serve as an indictment and let the Senate act like a criminal court. Which brings us to a central stumbling block in the impeachment effort: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
There exist Senate rules of procedure that dictate how impeachment trials should be run. As Michael Dorf, Robert S. Stevens professor of law at Cornell Law School, put it in an email to The Post, the rules include a “a lot of ‘shall’ language” — language that gives McConnell and the Republican majority a lot of flexibility in how they conduct a trial.
Or whether they conduct a trial at all.
“Some people read the Constitution’s language that the Senate ‘shall have the sole power to try impeachments’ to be a mandate, requiring the Senate to conduct a trial based on the articles of impeachment approved in the House,” explained Michael Gerhardt, Burton Craige distinguished professor of jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina School of Law. “In practice, the Senate has always felt obliged to do something when it formally received impeachment articles from the House, including holding a streamlined process for President Clinton when it was apparent conviction and removal were highly unlikely.”
“As a practical matter,” he continued over email, “the Majority Leader will have substantial discretion on the process, if any, he fashions in response to the articles.”
“If any.” In other words, impeachment trials are themselves one of those “what the norms dictate” activities of the Senate. McConnell could simply decide against holding a trial at all. Nothing goes on television. No more evidence comes to light. From a majority leader who simply declined to hold a vote on a presidential Supreme Court nominee, it’s far from inconceivable.
Gerhardt added: “If he has the Senate do nothing, that would be unprecedented — the Senate has always done something in response, even when a majority thought the Senate lacked jurisdiction (because the official resigned in the interim) or thought a conviction was impossible.”
Louis Michael Seidman, Carmack Waterhouse professor of constitutional law at Georgetown Law, pointed to existing precedent on the subject.
“In United States v. Nixon (remarkably, this is Walter Nixon, a federal judge who was impeached, not Richard Nixon — Nixon is a bad name to have if you want to avoid impeachment) the Supreme Court held that the nature of a ‘trial’ for impeachment purposes was a political question not amenable to judicial resolution,” Seidman wrote in an email.
The question “is not legal but political,” Seidman continued. “The real issue is whether McConnell could get away with this. That depends on where public opinion is when the issue comes up” — meaning, perhaps, how effective Democrats have been at swaying Americans with what they find.
“As a matter of constitutional morality, I think that McConnell has a duty to hold a trial,” Seidman added, “but enforcement of that duty will have to come from the outrage of the American people if, in fact, they are outraged.”
In an interview with NPR in March, McConnell said the Senate had “no choice” and that the Senate “immediately goes into a trial.” At that point, though, he was talking about a hypothetical, not a specific charge coming from the opposition. Nor did he delineate how robust any such trial might be.
House Democrats are fully within their rights to determine the extent and thoroughness of their impeachment inquiry. If articles of impeachment pass without significant evidence being presented to the public and without public opinion shifting in favor of moving forward with a trial, it’s easy to imagine McConnell simply declaring the entire thing to be unjustified, unfair and unnecessary, and either skipping a trial or moving quickly to a vote.
“There’s nothing ‘mandating’ a trial if by that you mean that no external power (the Supreme Court) is going to enforce the mandate,” Seidman wrote. Once the articles of impeachment leave the House, the rest is up to McConnell.
By Philip Bump
We need true freedom of religion and rule of law, and true independent military of the people; People have the right to know how government spends the money; the new government will have no kleptocracy, no inequality, no huge disparity between the rich and the poor, no deception.
As the Hong Kong protests continue and the calls for freedom for the people of Hong Kong become more widespread, the United States now has an opportunity to take action.
More than 20 years after the British handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the high degree of autonomy and freedoms that were promised to the Hong Kong people have been suppressed and violated by the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Though the extradition bill that ignited these protests has been withdrawn, the demonstrations have evolved into demands for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation, an investigation into police brutality, the release of arrested demonstrators and more democratic freedom.
Indeed, public dialogue platforms for protesters to voice concerns are being organized by Lam, but concrete progress toward protecting the rights entitled to the Hong Kong people remain elusive. The Hong Kong police have even stooped to dehumanizing the protesters. Recent footage was released showing officers kicking what a senior police official described as a “yellow object”—when it was clearly a human being lying on the ground dressed in a yellow shirt.
Leaders in Congress on both sides of the aisle have made strong statements condemning the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong government’s exploits—but now is the time to attach action to words.
Congress can do this by passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 that was introduced by Congressman Chris Smith and Senator Marco Rubio. This bill will hold Hong Kong and Chinese Communist Party officials accountable for their promises to protect the rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong people.
In 1984, under China’s “one country, two systems” model, China signed a Joint Declaration with the British that would give Hong Kong a “high degree of autonomy” after the 1997 handover. It also protected Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms “including those of the person, of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of travel, of movement, of correspondence, of strike, of choice of occupation, of academic research and of religious belief.” The Joint Declaration further promised to uphold the rule of lawand protect human rights and Hong Kong’s 1997 Basic Law, which identified democratic elections as an “ultimate aim.”
In 1992, the United States passed the Hong Kong Policy Act, which resulted in Hong Kong being treated separately from the rest of mainland China in terms of trade, commerce, immigration, investment, and cultural and educational collaborations. However, while Hong Kong has grown to become an international economic and business hub (the U.S. was Hong Kong’s No. 2 trading partner in 2018), it has not evolved into the democratic and free “special administrative region” of China that was promised decades ago.
As Hong Kong moves toward what a report by the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee called “One Country, One and a Half Systems”—with the Communist Party’s approach being closer to a “One Country, One System” model—the United States must not turn a blind eye to the violations against Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy.
Under the 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act, Hong Kong’s special treatment is based upon its maintenance of its promised autonomy. These privileges, however, can be selectively suspended by the president through executive order.
The proposed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act expands on this by directing “various departments to assess whether political developments in Hong Kong justify changing Hong Kong’s unique treatment under U.S. law.” It requires the State Department to annually certify and report to Congress whether Hong Kong’s status of autonomy, as well as the government’s adherence to protecting civil liberties and upholding of the rule of law, justify its continued special status.
Additionally, the Commerce Department will submit an annual report to Congress that determines if China is exploiting Hong Kong to circumvent U.S. sanctions and export controls. This important bill also ensures that violators of human rights in Hong Kong are held accountable by applying sanctions and banning any entry to the U.S. Moreover, it provides protections for nonviolent protesters who have been arrested for defending human rights or the rule of law in Hong Kong by prohibiting U.S. visa denial.
The final version of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act must include all of these requirements, and it must be passed into law.
I recently signed a letter to Congress calling for its passage. The United States has a clear moral and economic interest in preserving the autonomy and freedoms allotted to the people of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act will send an important signal that the United States will act to protect the rights of the people of Hong Kong—and will continue to be a leading advocate for freedom in the world.
NEWT GINGRICH ON 9/27/19 AT 4:27 PM EDT
In this Oct. 24, 2018, file photo, former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks during the Red Tide Rising Rally supporting Republican candidates, in Elma, N.Y.(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)
By Andrew Blake – The Washington Times – Thursday, September 26, 2019
Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, compared the launch of an impeachment inquiry this week to the “shot at Fort Sumter” that started the Civil War.
Mr. Bannon, who left the White House in 2017, made the connection on the heels of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clearing the way Tuesday evening for Congress to consider removing Mr. Trump from office.
“We have a pre-5 o’clock presidency and a post-5 o’clock presidency,” Mr. Bannon told The Washington Post, the newspaper reported Wednesday. “Pelosi’s announcement to begin a formal process at 5 p.m. was the shot at Fort Sumter. Now you cannot freelance, you cannot go rogue. You have to be disciplined. You have to be high and tight.”
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, announced the previous evening that the House of Representatives will initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against Mr. Trump, heeding growing calls from within her caucus following months of reluctance.
“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
Historians widely consider the 1861 bombardment of Forth Sumter in South Carolina as the starting point of the American Civil War. Roughly five months after South Carolina became the first state to succeed from the U.S., the battle set the stage for Union and Confederate forces to remain at odds for the next four years, ultimately resulting in the deadliest war in American history.
Calls from members of Congress in favor of impeachment grew in recent days amid revelations that Mr. Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden. A related whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the U.S. intelligence community is the subject of a House Intelligence Committee hearing happening Thursday morning.
Mr. Bannon, 65, served as chairman of Breitbart News before joining Mr. Trump’s election campaign in 2016. He subsequently served as a senior adviser to the president prior to leaving the administration after roughly seven months.
The United States is imposing sanctions on certain Chinese entities for knowingly transferring oil from Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in what he called fresh actions to intensify pressure on Iran.
Sep 24 Steve Bannon addresses our General John K. (Jack) Singlaub Dinner at Eagle Council XLVIII.
He knew it was coming. It almost felt inevitable. No other president in American history has been seriously threatened with impeachment even before his inauguration. So when the announcement came on Tuesday that the House would consider charging him with high crimes and misdemeanors, President Trump made clear he was ready for a fight.
He lashed out at the opposition Democrats, denouncing them for “crazy” partisanship. He denounced the allegations against him as “more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.” And he proclaimed that even if the impeachment battle to come will be bad for the country, it will be “a positive for me” by bolstering his chances to win a second term in next year’s election.
The beginning of the long-anticipated showdown arrived when Mr. Trump was in New York for the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, creating a surreal split-screen spectacle as the president sought to play global statesman while fending off his enemies back in Washington. One moment, he talked of war and peace and trade with premiers and potentates. The next, he engaged in a rear-guard struggle to save his presidency.
Mr. Trump gave a desultory speech and shuffled between meetings with leaders from Britain, India and Iraq while privately consulting with aides about his next move against the House. Shortly before heading into a lunch with the United Nations secretary general, he decided to release a transcript of his July telephone call with the president of Ukraine that is central to the allegations against him. In effect, he was pushing his chips into the middle of the table, gambling that the document would prove ambiguous enough to undercut the Democratic case against him.
By afternoon, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepared to announce the impeachment inquiry, the president retreated to Trump Tower, his longtime home and base of operations, to contemplate his path forward. A telephone call between the president and speaker failed to head off the clash, and now the two are poised for an epic struggle that will test the limits of the Constitution and the balance of power in the American system.
“We have been headed here inexorably,” said Michael J. Gerhardt, an impeachment scholar at the University of North Carolina. “The president has pushed and pushed his powers up to and beyond the normal boundaries. He’s been going too far for some time, but even for him this most recent misconduct is beyond what most of us, or most scholars, thought was possible for a president to do.”
Long reluctant, Ms. Pelosi finally moved after reports that Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate unsubstantiated corruption allegations against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading Democratic candidate for president, while holding up $391 million in American aid to Ukraine. Democrats said leaning on a foreign power for dirt on an opponent crossed the line. Mr. Trump said he was only concerned about corruption in Ukraine.