Posts tagged with "Obstruction of Congress"

Republicans abandon outright dismissal of impeachment charges

January 15, 2020

Despite President Donald Trump’s best efforts to attain an immediate dismissal of both articles of impeachment, the stage has been set in the U.S. Capitol for a tribunal—and the leading players for the House and the Senate will be chosen this week.

Indeed, according to a report by The New York Times , rank-and-file senators and party leaders made clear on Monday, January 13, that even if they wanted to pursue dismissal of the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the votes simply were not there to succeed—at least not at the outset of the trial.

Senate Republicans indicated that they would not seek to summarily dismiss the impeachment charges against President Trump, proceeding instead to a trial with arguments and the possibility of calling witnesses that could begin as soon as Wednesday, the Times said.

Dismissal was always a long shot given Republicans’ narrow control of the Senate, but it was the subject of renewed discussion after Trump said on Sunday that he liked the idea put forward by some conservatives as a way to deny the House’s case the legitimacy of a trial.

 “Our members generally are not interested in a motion to dismiss,” Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a top Republican leader, told the Times. “They think both sides need to be heard. They believe the president needs to be heard for the first time in a fair setting.”

In the House on Monday, Democrats leaving meetings with Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that the chamber was most likely to vote on Wednesday to name lawmakers to prosecute the case and to send its two impeachment charges to the Senate.

Behind the scenes, aides in the House and Senate were carefully choreographing the next steps, and some Democrats in the House cautioned that a vote could still slip to Thursday, as the Senate seeks to deal with a pending War Powers Resolution and President Trump’s new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

In any case, a trial would not be expected to start in earnest, with opening oral arguments, until next week.

As the trial has approached, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has seemed increasingly keen to keep it as tightly controlled and speedy as possible. According to the Times, “He is wary of what could happen if Democrats succeed in picking off moderate Republican senators to form a majority able to call witnesses and prolong the proceeding.”

But he also wants to ensure that those same moderate senators—several of whom are up this fall for re-election in swing states—can credibly claim to voters that they took their constitutional duties seriously.

However, on Twitter, the president warned that holding a full trial “gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Trump on track to become third U.S. president to be impeached

December 18, 2019

President Donald Trump has proven himself to be no match for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On Wednesday, he faced an odds-on impeachment vote in the House, where Democrats enjoy a 36-seat majority, Reuters reported.

In voting for his impeachment, the House would make Trump the third president in U.S. history to be accused of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” as described in the Constitution—and declared guilty by official ballot.

Trump faces one charge of abusing his power by extorting Ukraine to investigate Biden, a leading Democratic contender to oppose him in the 2020 U.S. presidential election; and one of obstructing Congress’ investigation into the matter, Reuters said.

The president has denied wrongdoing and accused Democrats of a baseless and politically-motivated bid to oust him from power.

In a six-page letter delivered to Pelosi on the eve of the impeachment vote, Trump tried to turn the tables on the Democrats: “You are the ones interfering in America’s elections,” he wrote. “You are the ones subverting America’s Democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish, personal political, and partisan gain.”

A majority vote in the House would set the stage for a trial in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already has vowed to follow the lead of the president and the White House counsel.

Republicans hold 53 of the 100 seats in the Senate, where they appear likely to prevail in any trial against Trump, which would require a two-thirds majority of those present to remove him from office, Reuters noted.

Seeking to shape any trial, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called on Sunday for testimony from the Trump aides who allegedly viewed his criminal actions personally: White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton, Mulvaney aide Robert Blair, and OMB official Michael Duffey.

“I hope we can come to an agreement about a fair trial,” Schumer told MSNBC in an interview Chris Hayes.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 23-17 on December 13, along party lines, to approve the two articles of impeachment against Trump and to send the matter to the full chamber. Late on Sunday, the panel issued its full report detailing the case against him.

In a tweet on Monday, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said Schumer’s comments seeking fairness were “laughable” after the release of the 658-page report “in the middle of the night. Thankfully the people of this country continue to see the partisan sham that this is.”

Research contact: @Reuters