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Official Thread: The Impeachment of President Donald Trump

Forums - Politics Discussion - Official Thread: The Impeachment of President Donald Trump

This thread will serve to document and discuss the impeachment and subsequent trial of Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America.

Each major section of this topic will have its own post. This will make documenting, referencing and editing easier.

The sections and sub-sections are as follows:

Overview.

  • What is impeachment?
  • How does impeachment work?
  • History of impeachment
  • Why is Donald Trump being Impeached?


    Impeachment by the House of Representatives.

    • Impeachment inquiry
      • Formalized Resolution
      • House Rules
      • Private Depositions
      • Public Hearings
      • Committee Reports
      • Articles of Impeachment are filed
      • Articles of Impeachment are voted on


    Articles of Impeachment.

    • Potential Articles
    • TBA


    Senate Trial.

    • Pre-Trial Preparation
    • Trial
    • Deliberation
    • Vote of Conviction
      • Removal from office
      • Disqualification from future office
    • Appeal
    • Pardon
    • Criminal Prosecution


    Impeachment Timeline.

    • Chronology of events


    The Primary Participants.

    • President Donald Trump
      • Associates and alleged quid pro quo participants
    • House of Representatives
      • Committees
      • Witness Testimony
      • Subpoenaed but did not Testify
    • Senate
      • TBD

    ATTENTION ALL: This topic is of an extremely sensitive nature and it demands we all respect it as such. Debate is welcomed but ignoble or derisive comments will not be tolerated.

    Last edited by SpokenTruth - 6 days ago

    Massimus - "Trump already has democrat support."

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    What is Impeachment?

    Simply put, it is a political process undertaken by the House of Representatives to bring about charges against a government official.  Popular opinion believes impeachment is the removal from office. This is incorrect though they are connected. If the impeachment process does establish cause for charges against a government official, the Senate may take it up in trial and remove the official from office.

    As written in Article I, Section II, Clause V of the Constitution: "The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment."

    As written in Article II, Section IV, Clause I of the Constitution: "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

    Impeachment is not a criminal procedure and the common legal framework for a criminal case do not apply.

    How do Impeachments and Trials work?

    The specific rules for impeachment have been altered over the years but the general gist has remained the same. The House of Representatives creates an impeachment inquiry akin to a Grand Jury in common criminal cases.  Committees within the house then hold interviews, depositions and inquiries to gather facts and evidence. Each committee submits a report to the House Judicial Committee who then determines if they have sufficient evidence to bring the impeachment to trial before the Senate.  The House will draft official Articles of Impeachment which function like indictment charges in a criminal case.

    The Senate holds a trial where they function as the Jury, the House as the Prosecutors, the impeached government official as the defendant and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as judge.

    Each Article of Impeachment is voted upon by the Senate. It requires a 2/3rds majority vote on any Article to remove the official from office.  The Senate may hold a further vote to completely disqualify the accused from ever holding any federal government office again.  This disqualification vote only requires a simple majority.

    Impeachments and trial convictions can be challenged for appeal however they cannot be pardoned by another president.

    History of Impeachment.

    While there have been a total of 62 impeachment proceedings, only 4 have been applied to the President...including the current impeachment. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the only two presidents to have ever been fully impeached though both were acquitted by the Senate during their trial. Richard Nixon resigned before the Articles of Impeachment could be voted upon.  This means no president has ever been both impeached and removed from office.

    Why is president Donald Trump being Impeached?

    A House Intelligence Committee investigation began on Sept 9, 2019 after a whistleblower filed a complaint claiming President Trump engaged in a personal quid pro quo during a phone call with the newly elected president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. It is alleged that Trump abused the power of his office to pressure the new Ukrainian president to announce investigations into the son of a 2020 presidential election rival, Joe Biden, by withholding ~$400 million in previously approved foreign military aid.

    What is the defense against Impeachment?

    The initial defense rested with ire at the process of the impeachment inquiry rather than with the issues themselves. The Republican party wanted the House majority leader, Nancy Pelosi, to call for a vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry and move from the private depositions to public hearings.  As both have come to pass, the defense has transitioned to focus on denial of the accused actions and lack of direct witnesses testifying.  This stems from the whistleblower complaint being labeled as hearsay rather than a first hand account and therefore deemed invalid regardless of corroboration.

    Other defensive postures have taken to interpretations of the Constitutional application of impeachment - "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."  It is claimed that the allegations against President Trump, even if true, do not qualify as any of the aforementioned applications. Similarly related are notions that we do not have a legal or well defined understanding of what "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" mean with regards to impeachment.

    The primary defense for President Trump in the Impeachment Inquiry is being managed by the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes. 

    Last edited by SpokenTruth - 3 days ago

    Massimus - "Trump already has democrat support."

    Impeachment by the House of Representatives

    This section will describe the steps in the process.

    Formalized Resolution - This is considered the official kick off step in an impeachment.  It is basically a formal announcement of the impeachment investigation.  This doesn't necessarily start the investigations in that it may simply carry on an already on-going investigation as was the case for president Donald Trump.  Six committees in the House of Representatives had already begun investigations into the actions already discussed.  The formal resolution united those investigations into the official impeachment process.

    House Rules - This is an optional step.  While not require when impeaching the president or vice president, it is required for any other government official.  This is because the right to impeach a president or V.P. is already enumerated in the Constitution. And while it optional for those impeachments, it is often still applied (as was in this case) in order to set rules for how the impeachment process will follow to reduce ambiguity.

    Private Depositions - These are closed-door briefings and interviews carried out by any of the six authorized House committees.  Any member from any party that is on said committee may attend the private depositions.   Their usage is primarily beneficial when security of the individual testifying is crucial or if the information they discuss is covered under national security and not for public release. 

    Public Hearings - Like the private depositions, these are also carried out by any of the six investigative House committees but they are open to the public.

    Committee Reports - After the investigations by each committee are complete, they each compile a report and send it to the House Judiciary Committee for review.

    Articles of Impeachment are filed - The House Judiciary Committee determines if these reports validate the demand for an impeachment vote.  They then draft the official Articles of Impeachment.  These are the actual allegations akin to criminal charges of an indictment.

    Articles of Impeachment are voted on - The full House of Representatives will vote on the Articles of Impeachment. If a simple majority (greater than 50%) agree to any of the articles, the president has officially been impeached.

    Last edited by SpokenTruth - 3 days ago

    Massimus - "Trump already has democrat support."

    Articles of Impeachment

    Listed below are the potential Articles of Impeachment excepted to be filed by the House Judiciary Committee in mid December, 2019.  I will alter this document to reflect an actual Articles of Impeachment that are filed.

    Foreign assistance in an election - 52 USC 30121: Contributions and donations by foreign nationals. This law prohibits a foreign person from providing a 'contribution, donation or anything of value' to any federal, state or local election campaign. It also prohibits the solicitation of such which is where it applies to President Donald Trump.  The alleged request by President Trump of Ukraine President Zelenskyy to announce an investigation into a political rival is the potential violation.

    Abuse of Power I - This technically the 'quid pro quo' and the utilization of that 'QPQ' in a domestic political matter (the 2020 presidential election).  A quid pro quo in foreign policy by itself is not illegal, wrong nor a violation of any norms.  It is the combination of a quid pro quo to interfere with an U.S. election rather than being a purely foreign policy matter that makes it an abuse of power and therefore an impeachable offense.

    Abuse of Power II - The withheld foreign military aid to Ukraine was not only cleared by the Department of Defense and the State Department but actually codified into law.  It was apportioned in a spending bill from Congress.  It is alleged that President Trump also violated 2 USC Ch. 17B: Impoundment Control.  This statute prevents the president and the White House from utilizing foreign aid funds in a manner different from that which Congress had originally allocated it for.

    Extortion - Is very similar to Abuse of Power I but it has criminal code statutes to support it. 18 U.S. Code § 872. Extortion by officers or employees of the United States

    Emoluments - An emolument is simply a profit from employment.  That in itself is not illegal. However, it is different for those holding government office.  Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution basically makes it illegal to profit from foreign entities as a result of your office.  As it applies here, President Trump uses his real estate hotel and gold properties to host foreign dignitaries....of which he directly profits from. Ukraine President Zelenskyy himself referenced his stay at Trump Tower during the infamous Trump-Zelenskyy phone call on July 25th, 2019.

    Coverup I - The transcript of the Trump-Zelenskyy phone call on July 25th, 2019 was archived in a server designed for highly classified material rather than the standard archive for non-classified material.  This restriction reduced the number of people with authorized access to the transcript. It is alleged that doing so was an attempt to cover up the alleged 'quid pro quo' as discussed during the phone call.

    Coverup II - The formal complain filed by whistleblower was by law supposed to be sent to Congress.  The Director of National Intelligence, possibly at the direction of President Trump, withheld the whistleblower complaint from Congress.

    Obstruction - The White House as ordered all employees and cabinets (State Department, Defense Department, etc...) to disobey any subpoenas from Congress. Failure to obey a congressional subpoena is a direct violation of 2 U.S. Code § 192.: Refusal of witness to testify or produce papers. of all the potential Articles of Impeachment, this one may have the strongest grounds as it was one of the primary articles for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

    Witness Intimidation - President Donald Trump on numerous occasions publicly spoke negatively about several of the witnesses that testified and the whistleblower. He also threatened some of them with retaliation and suggested they be charged with treason and should be punished by death.

    Last edited by SpokenTruth - 6 days ago

    Massimus - "Trump already has democrat support."

    Senate Trial

    If Articles of Impeachment pass the House, the President is official impeached and a trail by the Senate will begin. Listed below are the steps of the Senate Trial.  I will update this document as needed.

    Preparation for a Trial - The House of Representatives will select who among their ranks will operate as the 'prosecutors' for the trial. They may also bring in outside counsel and subpoena further witnesses and documents. The Senate will issue a writ of summons or subpoena for President Trump. The Senate will also vote on rules much like the House does during the earlier Impeachment phase. They too may bring in outside counsel for defense.


    Trial - The trial operates similarly to a criminal trial. President Donald J. Trump will be listed as the defendant. President Trump will have a defense team. The House will have prosecutors. Chief Justice Johns Roberts will preside as judge and the whole of the Senate will function as the jury. But this is where the analogy ends. The requirements for criminality, culpability, evidence and conviction do not apply to a Senate impeachment trial. It is a 100% political process regardless of case law, evidence, etc....

    Deliberation - After the House and defendant have rested their cases, the Senate will deliberate on what they have been presented.


    Vote on Conviction - Each Article of Impeachment is individually voted upon. If any of them receive a 2/3rd majority vote, President Trump will immediately be removed from Office. Vice President Mike Pence would then be sworn into office as interim President.

    The Senate may also vote on disqualification. That is a denial of the convicted from ever holding public office again. This vote only requires a simple majority from the Senate. Historical note: Only 3 people have ever been disqualified after a Senate impeachment trial.


    Appeal - If convicted and removed from office, President Trump will not have the opportunity to appeal and no recourse from the Supreme Court can over turn it.

    Pardon - If convicted and removed from office, he cannot be pardoned. Impeachment and removal from office is the one act a president cannot pardon.

    Criminal Prosecution - The Department of Justice has as policy to not indict a sitting president. This was a major aspect to end result of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel Investigation. If President Trump is removed from office, it is suspected that he will be indicted by the Department of Justice on charges related to said investigation.

    Last edited by SpokenTruth - on 28 November 2019

    Massimus - "Trump already has democrat support."

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    Timeline

    The following is a brief and by no means exhaustive timeline and chronology of events. I will attempt to keep this as up to date as possible.


    Early 2018 - Former Ukrainian officials and Trump associates conspired to have U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, ousted.

    June 2018 - Lev Parnas made massive illegal campaign contributions in an attempt to influence Yovanovitch's ousting.

    Dec 2018 - Representative, and current minority ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee and key defendant against the Trump impeachment inquiry, met former Ukrainian chief prosecutor Viktor Shokin with the intention to pursue information about the son of 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian oil company.

    May 2019 - President Trump, and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were on with Lev Parnas to pressure the Department of State and the Ukrainians to investigate Biden and son.

    May 2019 - Lev Parnas claims he advised Zelenskyy's associates that Trump would withhold the military aid unless he announced he would begin the requested investigations.

    May 20, 2019 - U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was ousted for allegedly not pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

    July 3, 2019 - President Trump orders a hold on military aid funding. This $391 million in funding was previously approved by the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and codified into law to be dispersed to Ukraine. President Trump provided no explanation to Ukraine or the U.S. diplomats why the funds were withheld.

    July 10, 2019 - Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, informed Ukraine that a visit to the White House by president Zelenskyy was predicated on announcing the investigation into Burisma, the company Hunter Biden was on the board of.

    July 2019 - Kurt Volker, a special envoy to Ukraine, texted Zelenkskyy's top adviser. “assuming President Z convinces Trump he will investigate . . . we will nail down date for visit to Washington.” The Ukrainian official agreed.

    July 25, 2019 - The now infamous Trump-Zelenskyy phone call. On this call, Trump made several requests of Zelenskyy to investigate Biden, Burisma, and CrowdStrike. Trump alleges CrowdStrike (a U.S. company founded by a Ukrainian that looked into the 2015 and 2016 Democratic National Committee cyber attacks) worked with Ukraine to interfere with the 2016 election against him. He also alluded to how much the U.S. helped Ukraine when Ukraine doesn't often help the U.S.

    July 26, 2019 - A top aide to president Zelenskyy informed Ambassador Gordon Sondland that they would commence with the investigations.

    Aug 12, 2019 - A whistleblower filed a complaint stemming from the July 25th phone call between Trump and Zelenskyy alleging that President Trump abused his power by instigating a foreign nation to investigate a political rival. The whistleblower also suggested the White House began to cover it up because the transcript of the call was stored in an archive designated for national security purposed rather than the one typically used for regular presidential phone communications. The whistleblower also made connections between this phone call and Rudy Giuliani's work to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

    Sept 1, 2019 - Ambassador Sondland again informed Ukraine that the military aid would be withheld unless a public statement is made regarding the investigations.

    Sept 7, 2019 - Ambassador Sondland claims that he was told by President Trump that President Zelenskyy himself must be the Ukrainian official that announces the investigations. Zelenskyy agreed and contacted CNN to make the announced with host Fareed Zakarai on Sept 13.

    Sept 9, 2019 - The investigations begin...but not the Ukrainian investigation. The House Intelligence, Foreign Relations and Oversight Committees begin investigating President Trump and Rudy Giuliani.

    Sept 11, 2019 - Trump orders the release of the military aid to Ukraine. He nor the White House has provided an explanation for the hold or the release.

    Sept 13, 2019 - The planned CNN statement by Zelenskyy is called off for a later date.

    Sept 21, 2019 - The whistleblower complaint is leaked to the media.

    Sept 24, 2009 - The House investigations are upgraded into an official impeachment inquiry by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

    Sept 25, 2019 - The White House releases a summarized memorandum of the Trump-Zelenskyy phone call. The House and the Senate both voted unanimously for the White House to make the whistleblower complaint available to Congress.

    Sept 26, 2019 - Congress publicly releases the whistleblower complaint.

    Oct 3, 2019 - Special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker is interviewed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He provides the text messages from July 2019. It is leaked that Ambassador Yovanavitch was fired because she personally blocked the Biden investigation and had bad-mouthed President Trump. Trump also demands Ukraine investigate the Bidens during a press conference.

    October 2019 - The House Committee on Oversight announces several subpoenas from White House staff.

    Oct 8, 2019 - White House announces it will not comply with congressional subpoenas. Ironically itself an impeachable offense as was the case for President Richard Nixon.

    October 2019 - 13 private bipartisan interviews and depositions with Trump administration officials were carried out.

    Oct 31, 2019 - The official Impeachment Resolution passes which establishes the official nature, rules and procedures for the impeachment process.

    Nov 13, 2019 - The House Intelligence Committee conducted several public hearings.

    Dec 03, 2019 - The House Intelligence Committee voted to submit their impeachment report to the Judiciary Committee. The report was made public.

    Dec 04, 2019 - Judiciary Committee held public hearings with legal scholars to establish Constitutional grounds for impeachment.

    * - Planned events.

    Last edited by SpokenTruth - 5 days ago

    Massimus - "Trump already has democrat support."

    The Primary Participants.

    The list below will provide a brief biography and/or role as they relate to either President Trump and/or the Impeachment inquiry. This list will be updated as new participants warrant their inclusion or new information is provided.

    President Donald Trump

            Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America. This is his first term in office and only public office he has held. Trump is an internationally known real estate developer, businessman and television personality.

            Associates and alleged quid pro quo participants

            Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani. Rudy is currently a personal attorney for President Donald Trump. He was the mayor of New York City from 1994-2001, an attorney for the Southern District of the state of New York from 1983-1989 and an associate attorney general for the U.S. from 1981-1983. Giuliani was also a Republican presidential candidate in 2008.

    It is alleged by several diplomatic officials that Giuliani, at the behest of President Trump, orchestrated and carried out the quid pro quo.

    Giuliani is under multiple investigations at the state and federal level that directly relate to these and other issues.

            Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Parnas (Ukrainian born) and Fruamn (Belarusian born) are immigrants to the U.S. and businessmen who claim that Giuliani hired to find counter evidence against the Robert Mueller Special Counsel Investigation in Ukraine and to discover damaging information on 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. They were also part of the pressure to remove Ambassador Marie Yovanavitch from Ukraine.

            Volodymyr Zelensky. Zelenskyy is a recently elected president of Ukraine. Zelenkskyy was previously an actor, comedian, producer and director with president being his first time in public office.

    It is alleged that Zelenskyy (Ukraine) was one end of the quid pro quo that Trump is suspected to have engaged in. Zelenskyy has publicly stated that he was not pressured by president Trump.

            Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is the Secretary of State.

            Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney is the acting White House Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of management and Budget.

            John Bolton. From April 2018 to Sept 2019, Bolton was the National Security Advisor of the United States.

            Mike Pence. Pence is the Vice President of the United States of America.

     

     

    Listed below are the committees from the House of Representatives that will carry out the Impeachment Inquiry.

     

    Last edited by SpokenTruth - on 29 November 2019

    Massimus - "Trump already has democrat support."

    Witness Testimony


    The following will list testimonies in alphabetical order along with the date of testimony, type of testimony, a brief of the witness, their role and relevancy.