Secret CIA source claims Russia rigged 2016 election


So… we elect dictators?

Also you create a Catch 22 where no President should ever really be impeached.

You can’t convict a President, or even investigate him and you can’t really impeach if there is no crime (which I have seen literally hundreds of times as an argument from the right), so… the President is actually a king. Immune to and above all laws and investigation (because he controls literally all investigation).

That’s just inane.


Here’s something technical but still worth thinking about: the issue with Trump is not the federal crime of “obstruction of justice” (which is defined by the federal statutes18 U.S.C. 1512 et. seq.) It is probably the case that the President cannot actually be criminally charged with a crime arising out of abuse of his or her Constitutional powers, if only for the practical reason that the President can fire any federal attorney who brings such charges and use his power over the DOJ to make sure a prosecutor who will drop the charges is assigned to the case. Also, there’s a possibility the federal courts would rule they have no jurisdiction over such acts as there is an argument that federal court jurisdiction over crime arising from abuse of official powers is pre-empted by the impeachment provisions in the Constitution.

The real issue is whether Trump is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” (which as I have posted before is well defined by English common law as crimes arising out of breach of the public trust: abuse of power, failure to fulfill the legal duties of the office, corruption, treason, etc.)

Which means ultimately everything about Trump will depend on Congress. Mueller can report the facts and reach the legal conclusion or provide a prosecutorial opinion that Trump abused his power as President by obstructing justice but this will all be decided by Congress, not the courts.

So the real issue here is not the technical legal of “did the President obstruct justice” or “can the President commit obstruction of justice?” The real issue here is: did Trump abuse his power? If it is found that Trump used his Presidential powers to impede a lawful investigation into the wrongdoing or himself or those close to him, that IMO would be a text book example of abuse of power.

One of the specific reasons that the Constitution contains impeachment provisions was to avoid the “monarchial immunity” of the British royal system. Let me again go to the source, Federalist Papers 69 which says:

“The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution. In this delicate and important circumstance of personal responsibility, the President of Confederated America would stand upon no better ground than a governor of New York, and upon worse ground than the governors of Maryland and Delaware.”

So it is very clear that a President can be impeached for abuse of power, which includes abusive use of legal powers.

This is one of those things where the legalistic framework around impeachment that arose during the Bill Clinton years creates confusion. The issue here is not statutory and technical; the issue here is abuse of power. And using your powers to impede an investigation into illegal conduct by yourself or those close to you is crystal clear abuse of power.

Edit: I was typing this while Malathor posted, which means I am essentially agreeing with Malathor on this narrow technical point.

The question is, what about abuse of power?


While the president is immune to normal criminal prosecution, we cannot allow him to be immune from me investigation. If that were the case, then you would mention be able to gather information about whether impeachment proceedings should take place.

The DoJ serves the American people. It did not exist to serve the president.

He’s not a God damned King, Christ.

Dude, step back from the edge and consider the nightmare you are constructing for yourself if this same power were given to some president you hated.


Keep in mind Malathor is member of a party that impeached a sitting president for lying about consensual sex between adults.

As David Frum tweeted earlier today, great-grandfathers of America’s Founders hanged Charles I for treason and he tried invoking kingly ‘executive branch’ above-the-law status as a defense too. Didn’t work out so well.

This stuff is extremely Nixonian. Weird. I’m old enough to remember so-called conservatives shitting themselves just a few years ago over a president issuing EOs. Then it was all overreach and abuse of power. Today the same office can possibly collude with a foreign power hostile to western democracy itself and it’s all A-OK.


This is exactly correct. The check on the president is impeachment, a political process. There is no specific legal definition of what constitutes an impeachable offense (wtf is “high crimes and misdemeanors”, the constitution does not say). Congress can, on its own volition decide it has had enough and impeach for just about any trumped up charge it wants (Andrew Johnson is the perfect example of this). The only real limit is the need to get a majority of the house and 2/3 of the Senate to go along with it. It was not meant to be easy.


Did you miss an s there at the end, or did you actually mean inane (which is perfectly cromulent, of course)?


I always enjoy your posts, but it seems like I often have to play a guessing game to figure out which word you meant to use. Seems like autocorrect is failing you.

I usually picture you typing in a mad frenzy, typos be damned. :D


Damnit… Seems like the gesture typing gets worse every day.

The messed up words are usually an indicator I’m writing on my phone or tablet, often while playing games.

That should read, “you wouldn’t be able to gather information” or something along those lines.


Yes, I think everyone agrees with this.

The point of the investigation is to establish whether Trump has done things wrong.

It’s totally possible that the GOP controlled Congress could ignore absolutely everything. To be honest, it seems like Malathor is already on board with that, and that Trump can quite literally do no wrong.

And at that point, the republic may be done. Our system of government was designed around the idea of the different branches providing competitive checks on each other.

It was not designed for a situation where partisan politics result in a case where the different branches no longer limit or check the power of the other two.

But we are now in a situation where people are openly advocating things which they admit are terrible, because they think it will gain them some short term political advantage.

But the reality is that “winning” doesn’t even mean anything anymore, because they no longer stand for any of the things they used to believe in.

In their desire to win, we’ve seen these people abandon everything. The road they are now driving on doesn’t lead anywhere they actually want to go. But all they care about is that their team is driving… And by the time they finally realize what they’ve done, it’ll be too late.


I think perhaps you mean Andrew Johnson?


A delegate to the RNC convention says that she was told at the time by a Trump aide, JD Gordon, that Trump personally asked Gordon to weaken the GOP’s Ukraine plank in the party platform.

(Following Dowd’s lead, Gordon denies it and says he made up that plank all on his lonesome without consulting Trump. Of course, that account puts Gordon in the cross-hairs of the Mueller investigation.)


I’m surprised the Reagan-Wraith doesn’t rise from the grave to strike down Trump. The guy is clearly in the pockets of Putin. He’s a traitor.


Nope. Inane is where I was going, though both work.

If Reagan was alive he’d have had Ollie North shoot Trump by now, or at the very least punch him in the face on national television.


Of course, ugh!


“I have this expression because people always make that mistake.”



You can go back even father than that. The King of Kings of the Persian Empire wasn’t allowed to obstruct justice. Can we please not tear down the last 2500 years of the tradition of rule of law in our civilization just because one party doesn’t want to admit they elected a crook?



Xerxes 2020


I would vote for Xerxes, Charles I, Andrew Johnson or the Reagan-Wraith over Trump in 2020. (To be fair, Charles I would probably be just as bad as Trump. But at least he’d be a Washington outsider - he’d shake things up!)


High Crimes and Misdemeanors was a well known legal “term of art” in 18th Century British common law, with a history of legal precedents going back to the 14th Century.

Most of the founders had at least some knowledge of the British common law at the time and the meaning of the phrase, in context, is crystal F’ing clear. If you want more info direct from the founders, read Federalist Papers 65.