Trump Cites AOC to Say He Shouldn’t be Impeached, AOC Responds: ‘I’ll Call Your Bluff’

President Donald Trump attempted to cite Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) to put down talk of impeachment, but the progressive lawmaker quickly responded “I’ll call your bluff any day of the week.”

Trump tweeted out a partial quote from AOC’s interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl Sunday morning, using it to argue against impeachment.

Her full quote was “I think that we have a very real risk of losing the presidency to Donald Trump if we do not have a presidential candidate that is fighting for true transformational change in the lives of working people in the United States.”

Ocasio-Cortez herself later responded directly to the president via his favored medium.

“Opening an impeachment inquiry is exactly what we must do when the President obstructs justice, advises witnesses to ignore legal subpoenas, & more,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

[Mediaite]

Trump still thinks the courts can prevent impeachment (they can’t)

About a month ago, Donald Trump tried to address the Mueller report by falsely claiming it “didn’t lay a glove on me.” The president quickly added, however, “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

That didn’t make any sense, though the Republican doesn’t seem to realize that. Consider this exchange between the president and a reporter this morning during a brief Q&A on the White House South Lawn:

Q: Do you think they’re going to impeach you? Do you think they’re …

TRUMP: I don’t see how. They can, because they’re possibly allowed, although I can’t imagine the courts allowing it. I’ve never gotten into it. I never thought that would even be possible to be using that word. To me, it’s a dirty word, the word ‘impeach.’ It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word and it had nothing to do with me.

The president’s etymological feelings notwithstanding, if he thinks “the courts” can block a congressional impeachment process, Trump is likely to be disappointed.

Right off the bat, it’s worth noting that the president, among his many scandals, has been credibly accused of criminal obstruction of justice. Why he thinks federal judges might deem this insufficient grounds for presidential impeachment is unclear.

But even putting that aside, Trump’s assertions are a civics failure, too. As we discussed in April, Congress is responsible for initiating, overseeing, and executing the impeachment process. Lawmakers, and no one else, determine whether a president has committed impeachable acts.

It’s not up to the judiciary to allow or forbid the legislative branch from exercising its legal authority.

When Trump is in a jam, he looks for a fixer. Indeed, he’s spent much of his presidency assuming that everyone from his attorney general to his congressional allies to his White House counsel can simply make his problems go away for him. Now, evidently, he’s making similar assumptions about the courts.

I’m curious as to why. Is the amateur president simply confused again? Is there someone at the White House giving him strange advice? Did Trump hear something along these lines from conservative media?

Whatever the explanation, if Trump plans to sue to make sure impeachment doesn’t happen, he should probably start working on a Plan B.

[MSNBC]

White House directs former counsel Don McGahn not to testify before House panel

Former White House counsel Don McGahn is not expected to appear Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, defying the committee’s subpoena and setting the stage for another contempt vote to retaliate against the Trump administration for rejecting the demands of Congress.

The White House argues that as a former senior adviser to the President, he is exempt from having to appear before Congress. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded that former McGahn was not legally required to appear before the House Judiciary Committee and testify about matters related to his official duties as counsel to the President, according to a memo issued Monday and obtained by CNN.

“The Department of Justice has advised me that Mr. McGahn is absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters occurring during his service as a senior adviser to the President,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that McGahn “cannot be forced to give such testimony, and Mr. McGahn has been directed to act accordingly.”

“This action has been taken in order to ensure that future Presidents can effectively execute the responsibilities of the Office of the Presidency,” she said.

The White House’s move to keep McGahn off of Capitol Hill is the latest in a slew of current and former Trump administration officials defying subpoenas from House Democrats, who are now grappling with how best to respond to the Trump administration’s blanket resistance to their investigations into the President. 

It marks the second time McGahn has not complied with the Judiciary Committee’s subpoena. He also deferred to the White House in refusing to provide documents that the committee subpoenaed related to McGahn’s special counsel interview preparations, which the White House argued were covered by executive privilege.

Nadler, a Democrat from New York, did not move to hold McGahn in contempt after he would not provide those documents, but he has made clear he is likely to do so if McGahn does not appear Tuesday. The committee is expected to hold the hearing without him, as it did earlier this month for Attorney General William Barr when he did not testify over a dispute about the hearing format.

“We’ve subpoenaed McGahn. We’re expecting him to show up on the 21st, and if he doesn’t he will be subject to contempt, unless he has a court order telling him he can’t, which I don’t think he would get,” Nadler said earlier this month.

McGahn’s testimony is of interest to Democrats in Congress because of the role that he played in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the President obstructed justice. One of the key episodes the special counsel cited in the investigation, which did not exonerate Trump, was when the President told McGahn to fire Mueller and McGahn would not do so.

McGahn is now one of a number of officials who could be held in contempt by Congress.

Earlier this month, Nadler’s committee voted to hold Barr in contempt for refusing to provide the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence to Congress. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff says he will take an unspecified “enforcement action” against the Justice Department for not complying with the committee’s subpoena for Mueller’s counterintelligence information. And Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defied the House Ways and Means Committee’s subpoena for President Donald Trump’s tax records last week.

The House is still considering how to handle contempt issues on the floor. One option being considered is to bundle up all of the contempt citations into a single vote to highlight the Trump administration’s stonewalling. Another is to invoke the House’s so-called “inherent contempt” powers to fine or jail officials who are held in contempt without using the court system, although such an action hasn’t been taken in nearly a century.

In its memo Monday, the Justice Department argued that Congress cannot use its inherent contempt powers to punish McGahn for asserting immunity, in what appears to be a preemptive challenge to House Democrats as they contemplate their next steps.

“The constitutional separation of powers bars Congress from exercising its inherent contempt power in the face of presidential assertion of executive privilege,” the memo says. “An attempt to exercise inherent contempt powers in such a circumstance would be without precedent and ‘would immensely burden the President’s ability to assert the privilege and to carry out his constitutional functions.'”

The White House’s move to block McGahn has similarities to President George W. Bush’s efforts to prevent his former White House counsel, Harriet Miers, from testifying. A federal judge in 2008 ruled against the Bush administration.

But that court ruling didn’t stop the Obama administration from making similar arguments. In 2014, the Obama administration’s Office of Legal Counsel wrote a memo that a senior White House adviser subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee did not have to testify, arguing the President’s immediate advisers had “absolute immunity from congressional compulsion to testify about matters that occur during the course of discharging their official duties.”

Democrats argue the situation with McGahn is different than that case because he has already testified before the special counsel, therefore waiving executive privilege.

But the White House has argued that testifying before Mueller was different because it was a criminal investigation. And on Monday, the Justice Department said that privilege is a separate question than immunity, arguing that the precedent for claiming immunity goes back decades.

“We provide the same answer that the Department of Justice has repeatedly provided for nearly five decades: Congress may not constitutionally compel the President’s senior advisers to testify about their official duties,” DOJ wrote in its memo. “This testimonial immunity is rooted in the constitutional separation of powers and derives from the President’s independence from Congress.”

If Nadler goes to court to try to force McGahn’s testimony, it’s likely to be one of a number of judicial battles pitting congressional Democrats against the Trump administration.

Democrats’ efforts to obtain the full, unredacted Mueller report and Trump’s tax returns are also likely headed to court, and Trump and the Trump Organization have already sued to block subpoenas to Deutsche Bank, Capital One and an accounting firm that has prepared the President’s financial statements.

[CNN]

Trump attacks Rep. Amash as a ‘loser’ and ‘lightweight’ after the Republican calls for impeachment

President Donald Trump responded to a Republican House member’s call for impeachment on Sunday, calling the lawmaker a “loser” who seeks to make headlines. 

On Saturday, Rep. Justin Amash said in a tweet that Attorney General Barr “deliberately misrepresented” the report from special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into Russian election interference, which he said showed that Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct.”

The Michigan Republican said he made that statement “only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely.” 

Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he was “never a fan” of Amash, whom he called “a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy.” 

“Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!” he tweeted.

During an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., agreed that Amash made his statement because he “wants to have attention.”

“Now, you’ve got to understand Justin Amash,” McCarthy said. “He votes more with Nancy Pelosi, than he ever votes with me. It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole. What he wants is attention in this process.” 

The president said he did not believe Amash had actually read Mueller’s report. He claimed the report was “strong on NO COLLUSION” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin and “ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION.” At the same time, he slammed the report as “biased” because it was “‘composed’ of 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump.”

But Mueller’s report explicitly said that the investigation looked into 10 potentially obstructive acts and the evidence did not clear the president. Rather, it said, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” and punted that decision to the attorney general. Barr and then-deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ultimately decided not to bring charges against the president. 

The Mueller report also found that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic fashion” with “a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton” and a hacking operation that sought to uncover information damaging to Clinton. 

The report concluded “the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” but it did not find “that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” 

Because the report did not find evidence of a conspiracy, Barr has argued the president could not have obstructed justice because there was no crime to cover up in the first place. Trump made a similar argument on Sunday. 

“Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side?” he asked, referring to his belief that the investigation was a politically-motivated attack. 

Many legal experts have disputed the assertion that obstruction requires an “underlying crime.” And Amash said he believed Mueller’s report showed that Trump’s acts had “all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.” 

Amash also argued that impeachment “does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.” 

Many congressional Democrats, including many presidential candidates, have agreed with Amash’s call to begin impeachment proceedings. But the party’s leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has yet to back such a move

Pelosi has said impeachment would be too “divisive” for the nation without greater bipartisan support. And, so far, Amash has been the only Republican member of Congress to back impeachment. 

On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Amash “showed more courage than any other Republican” in Congress, but didn’t change the fact that there were “no signs” that impeachment could “even be potentially successful in the Senate.” 

[USA Today]

Trump Rages at Tom Steyer After His Impeachment Ad Runs on Fox & Friends

President Donald Trump attacked liberal billionaire Tom Steyer after his ad pushing for impeachment aired on Fox & Friends this morning.

“Weirdo Tom Steyer, who didn’t have the ‘guts’ or money to run for President, is still trying to remain relevant by putting himself on ads begging for impeachment,” the president tweeted today. “He doesn’t mention the fact that mine is perhaps the most successful first 2 year presidency in history & NO C OR O!”

“It’s all here: 10 detailed acts of obstruction of justice,” Steyer says in the clip while holding up a copy of the Mueller report. “Robert Mueller’s report lays out a road map for impeachment proceedings against this president, and challenges Congress to do its job. I’m Tom Steyer, and we can’t let this president destroy the public trust, break his oath of office and get away with it. Congress has to do its job and hold him accountable. Please call them at this number. Tell them to get going.”

This is the second time one of Steyer’s ads has triggered a Twitter response from the president. In 2017, Steyer aired another impeachment ad that Trump complained about.

[Mediaite]

Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court

President Trump on Wednesday said that he would attempt to challenge impeachment in the Supreme Court if Democrats carried out such proceedings, though it’s unclear the high court would hear such a case.

“The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump tweeted.

“If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only are there no ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all,” he continued.

The president accused Democrats, Hillary Clinton and “dirty cops” of being guilty of criminal activity.

“We waited for Mueller and WON, so now the Dems look to Congress as last hope!” Trump concluded.

The House holds the power to carry out impeachment proceedings, while the Senate is responsible for whether to convict the individual in question. The chief justice of the Supreme Court, currently John Roberts, would preside over the Senate trial.

There is little precedent to support the idea of the Supreme Court weighing in on the merits of impeachment, as a sitting president has not previously challenged impeachment proceedings in the high court.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1993 case of federal Judge Walter Nixon that whether the Senate properly conducted an impeachment trial was a political question, and therefore nonjusticiable.

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, rejected the possibility of Trump taking an impeachment to the Supreme Court.

“Not even a SCOTUS filled with Trump appointees would get in the way of the House or Senate, where [Chief Justice] Roberts would preside over Trump’s Impeachment Trial,” tweeted Tribe, an outspoken critic of the president.

The president has been fixated in recent days on pushing back against the specter of impeachment proceedings, while maintaining that he is “not even a little bit” concerned about the possibility of removal from office.

Democratic leaders have largely said they don’t yet support starting the impeachment process, but remained open to the possibility in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s full report.

In the partly redacted document, investigators did not establish that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election, but did not exonerate Trump on the question of obstruction of justice. 

Investigators instead detailed 10 episodes they reviewed for potential obstruction by the president, with Mueller saying that Congress has the authority to conduct potential obstruction probes.

Talk of whether to carry out impeachment hearings has split Democrats, and discussions have intensified in the aftermath of Mueller’s report.

“I do believe that impeachment is one of the most divisive forces, paths that we could go down to in our country,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday. “But if the facts, the path of fact-finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we’re not there yet.”

House Democrats have launched a flurry of investigations into the president, seeking to review his finances, potential abuse of power and corruption within the administration.Trump later asserted in a pair of tweets that he had been cooperative with the Mueller investigation, and suggested Congress should focus on legislation instead of seeking additional information from the White House as part of its own probes. “Millions of pages of documents were given to the Mueller Angry Dems, plus I allowed everyone to testify, including W.H. counsel. I didn’t have to do this, but now they want more,” Trump tweeted. “Congress has no time to legislate, they only want to continue the Witch Hunt, which I have already won. They should start looking at The Criminals who are already very well known to all. This was a Rigged System – WE WILL DRAIN THE SWAMP!”

[The Hill]

Trump questions impeachment talk after stock market hits record high

President Trump on Tuesday lamented that some Democrats are discussing the prospect of impeachment proceedings on the same day that the stock market closed at record highs, suggesting he should be given more credit.

“You mean the Stock Market hit an all-time record high today and they’re actually talking impeachment!?” Trump tweeted. “Will I ever be given credit for anything by the Fake News Media or Radical Liberal Dems? NO COLLUSION!”

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite closed at record highs on Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 26,656.39, 1.1 percent short of an all-time high.

Trump has regularly taken credit for good news on the stock market, and he has previously questioned how lawmakers could move to impeach “somebody who’s done a great job.”

A pair of high-profile Democrats were asked at the Time 100 Summit on Tuesday about where they stand on launching impeachment proceedings, a topic that has dominated discussions since special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report was released last week.

In the partly redacted document, investigators did not establish that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election, but did not exonerated Trump on the question of obstruction of justice. Investigators instead detailed 10 episodes they reviewed for potential obstruction by the president, with Mueller saying that Congress has authority to conduct potential obstruction probes.

“I do believe that impeachment is one of the most divisive forces, paths that we could go down to in our country,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday. “But if the facts, the path of fact-finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we’re not there yet.”

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent in the 2016 election, said impeachment proceedings should “be something undertaken in a really serious, diligent way, based on evidence.”

She suggested that Trump would have been indicted for obstruction of justice as a result of Mueller’s probe if he weren’t the sitting president.

J.W. Verret, who served as one of the first 16 members of then-candidate Trump’s pre-transition team, said Tuesday that he believes Mueller’s report amounted to “a referral to Congress to begin impeachment proceedings.”

As Democratic leaders and media pundits weigh the merits of impeachment proceedings, Trump has been openly defiant about the prospect.

He has tweeted about the possibility multiple times in recent days, asserting Monday that he did not commit actions that reach the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that could lead to impeachment.

Trump told reporters at Monday’s White House Easter Egg Roll that he was “not even a little bit” worried about impeachment. 

[The Hill]

Trump Falsely Claims ‘There Were No Crimes by Me’ So ‘You Can’t Impeach’

President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Twitter today that he can’t be impeached because “there were no crimes by me” outlined in Robert Mueller‘s report.

“Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment,” Trump tweeted. “There were no crimes by me (No Collusion, No Obstruction), so you can’t impeach. It was the Democrats that committed the crimes, not your Republican President! Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!”

The charge “high crimes” in the Constitution is a reference to misconduct that can only be committed by a person in a top level of authority because of the oath they took when assuming power; it does not necessarily refer to breaking the law.

Additionally, while Mueller’s long-awaited report cleared Trump of criminal conspiracy with the Kremlin, federal prosecutors in Southern District of New York have suggested Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator in the hush money payments that resulted in felony convictions.

As for the report’s actual commentary on possible criminal charges against Trump, Mueller’s team noted that they could not exonerate him on obstruction.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report states. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Rants That He Can’t Be Impeached After Winning ‘The Greatest Election Of All Time’

Perhaps in reaction to a handful of Democrats calling for impeachment on day one of the new Congressional term, President Donald Trump on Friday issued a tweet in response, saying that he shouldn’t be impeached based on his election win two years ago.

In his tweet, Trump also alluded to himself being a “great” president, who has had plenty of accomplishments in the first half of his term. He also brought up collusion with Russia, which some have accused him of doing after several reports and leaks about the Russia investigation have come forward over the past year and a half.

“How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded), had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican in party history 93%?” Trump wrote in his tweet.

Trump won the Electoral College in 2016 but lost the popular vote by around 3 million votes nationally to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Only four other presidents have won the election without securing a plurality of votes, according to the Independent, which reported on the topic back in 2016 after Trump’s win.

Some Democrats have suggested they want to start an impeachment process against the president right away. Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, said he planned on submitting articles of impeachment on Thursday, according to reporting from Fox News. Democratic leadership, however, has urged lawmakers to set a higher bar for impeachment, warning that there isn’t ample cause as yet to push for Trump’s removal through the legal mechanism, per reporting from the Hill.

Polling on the issue demonstrates some Americans are receptive to the idea while others are not. A CAPS/Harris poll released this past week found that 39 percent of respondents wanted the impeachment process to begin, while 20 percent thought that as of right now, a censure of the president by Congress would be more appropriate. A slim majority, 51 percent, said that impeachment shouldn’t begin at this time, according to reporting from AOL.

Impeachment against a president requires a majority of the House of Representatives to agree to do so. Democrats definitely have a majority at this time, but with the Russia investigation still ongoing, the evidence for (or against) impeachment is not yet public and could be a political miscalculation if it’s done too soon. While the House is in charge of impeachment, the Senate is in charge of deciding if the charges of impeachment warrant removal of a president, requiring two-thirds of that legislative body of Congress to vote in the affirmative in order to do so.

Calls for the impeachment of a sitting president by an opposing political party isn’t uncommon in these modern times. Former Democratic President Barack Obama, for example, faced a barrage of calls for impeachment after his first two years in office, and beyond, according to reporting from theAtlantic.

[Inquisitir]

Trump: ‘People would revolt’ if I were impeached

President Donald Trump says in a new interview that he is not concerned about being impeached by Democrats, saying, “I think that the people would revolt if that happened.”

In a Reuters interview Tuesday, Trump spoke out for the first time about new documents filed by prosecutors detailing the alleged crimes of his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Cohen has said he made hush payments to two women accusing Trump of infidelity in the waning days of the 2016 campaign.

Asked if he discussed campaign finance law with Cohen, Trump tells Reuters: “Michael Cohen is a lawyer. I assume he would know what he’s doing.”

He adds: “Number one, it wasn’t a campaign contribution. If it were, it’s only civil, and even if it’s only civil, there was no violation based on what we did. OK?”

[The Washington Post]

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