Teri Kanefield
+ Your AuthorsArchive @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (UC Berkeley) My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ NBC News Opinion contributor Impeachment notes: impeachment-trump.com/ Sep. 23, 2019 3 min read

(Thread) They Can’t Throw Away Their Shot

(Spoiler: The Whistleblower Case May Be Their Shot)

Ruthie, thank you. I’ve been trying to explain this for a while.

In early May, Pelosi said that Trump was trying to goad the House into impeaching.

1/ @Chrislhayes suggested the idea was insane.

I argued that Trump wanted it all over then, before all the evidence was uncovered⤵️

What do I mean by “all over?”

The process is analogous to a criminal indictment.

2/ Bonus: This thread will help with the Criminal Law and Constitutional Law portions of your Twitter Bar Exam.

Here’s the 4-step process (criminal):

💠Law enforcement investigates. They gather the evidence.
💠The prosecutor decides whether to prosecute.

3/ Newsflash: Every crime can’t possibly be prosecuted. Prosecutors decide based on a host of factors. For more on the important institution of prosecutorial discretion, see:  https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-procedure/what-is-prosecutorial-discretion-.html 

💠If the decision is to indict, the prosecutor files an indictment.

4/💠The defendant gets a trial (a chance to prove he's innocent)

Now, for impeachment.

First there’s an investigation. The House gathers the evidence.
(The House started gathering evidence in March, and called it an impeachment inquiry on 9-7-19)

5/ It has been going slowly because Trump is using all the powers of his office to stonewall (the legal term is “obstruct”) the inquiry.

(Bonus: Stonewalling the inquiry is also an impeachable offense. I expect the stonewalling to be included in the Articles of Impeachment.)

6/ When the Judiciary Committee is ready, the committee members vote on Resolutions (or Articles) of Impeachment.

This is like drafting the indictment.

The Articles of Impeachment are then presented to the full House for a vote.

7/ If a majority votes yes, the president is then impeached.

It’s done. Fireworks. It happened.

This is a Big. Deal. It has only happened twice in our entire history. (Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, so count 3)

The matter then goes to the Senate for a trial.

8/ When the matter goes to the Senate, the House is FINISHED with its work.

Trump gets a trial in the Senate—a chance to “prove” his innocence. The GOP controls the Senate.

A Senate Trial is a Huge. Big. Deal.

For what to expect, see ⤵️

9/ So far, nothing has come to light that would cause the Republican Senators to remove this president.

The Republicans control the Senate.
Trump owns the GOP.
The Senate would seize the opportunity of a trial to have a national platform to clear the president of wrongdoing. . .

10/ . . . and present their affirmative defense: The real criminality is the Deep State targeting Trump, the Poor Victim.

They'd flood the headlines with their theories and confuse everyone.

"But," you ask "can't the House keep impeaching when they get new evidence?"

11/ As a legal matter, the House can probably impeach each time new evidence emerges.

Imagine this:
💠The FBI investigates.
💠The Prosecutor indicts.
💠There's a trial.
💠The defendant is found innocent.

The prosecutor says, "I have new evidence! I'm filing a new indictment!”

12/ The person has a second trial.
He’s found innocent again.

The prosecutor says “Wait! I have new evidence!”

What would you think after several trials?


This is what the “Impeach Right NOW” people haven’t understood.

The House really only has one shot.

13/ It looks like the Ukraine-Biden-Whistelblower incident could be such a red hot smoking gun that it will be all they need to topple Trump.

But they have to make sure.

Because they can’t throw away their shot.

You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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