Teri Kanefield+ Your Authors @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (UC Berkeley) My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ NBC News Opinion contributor Impeachment notes: impeachment-trump.com/ Sep. 24, 2019 8 min read + Your Authors

(Thread) Impeachment Roundup

Threads and FAQ

To prepare for what’s coming, see my article on Why Trump Supporters Believe [or pretend to believe] every lie he tells.

This isn’t the Nixon era. Comparisons will lead to disappointment.

1/ For more on what you can expect moving forward and from the Trump-FOX-GOP, see this thread on Trump’s “legal” defenses”

The Trump-FOX-GOP is not afraid of a trial in the Senate because they're not afraid of facts.

2/ My thread from yesterday, if you missed it: Why the House Democrats have only one shot.

They don’t want to throw it away.

3/ There are still some questions about impeachment basics and how the process works. Here is Impeachment 201, the advanced course:

Not everything is covered. It's still Twitter.
I'll try to include them at the of this thread.

4/ There has long been a disconnect between what Nancy Pelosi says, and what people say she says.

We slam the other side for distorting facts. So let’s not.

Let's listen to her exact words, and consider them:

5/ There’s also been a lack of understanding WHY so many House Democrats haven't gotten behind impeachment

Laura Underwood (and others) are now in favor, but in this interview, she explains why (as of a few weeks ago) she didn’t.

6/ Also see this NPR report:  https://www.wkar.org/post/michigans-moderate-democrats-shy-away-joining-calls-impeachment#stream/0 

In a nutshell, reluctant Dems tended to be elected in heavily red or swing districts BECAUSE they promised to go to D.C. to work on healthcare (or whatever issue was important to their constituents).

Many of their . . .

7/ . . . constituents are lifelong Republicans making the switch.

As of 2018, their constituents didn't want to hear about Russia, Mueller, or impeachment.

They didn't say No Impeachment; they said, "We're here to get other things done." For impeachment, they emphasize. . .

8/ . . the process and procedure.

They have to bring their constituents along with them.
This takes work.
Democracy takes work.

They want to feel forced by something so egregious that even their constituents will agree that it's time.

Elected government works that way.

9/ This is really, really important. ⤵️

Steven Levitsky is a Harvard prof and the author of How Democracies Die (a book on my recommended list).

He is an expert on what kills democracy.
There are obviously important lessons here.

Please have a look.

10/ Levitsky says Hardball kills democracy.

If you want to see what Hardball looks like, watch the Lewandowski hearing.

It's here:  https://c-span.org/video/?464369-1/corey-lewandowski-i-obligation-honest-media 

The Republicans played hardball.

The Democrats behaved as if they were conducting a fair hearing in a democracy.

11/ A few Never Trump Republicans strongly urged the Democrats to fight like Republicans.

Here's a sampling of the comments I received when I said that's a bad idea:

The people urging Dems to play hardball tend to be the same people slamming Pelosi.

12/ They fall into a few camps.

💠People in pain watching what this administration, and want it to end.

💠People who don’t understand the process.

There's overlap: Impeachment won't stop the lawbreaking and being acquitting in the Senate would probably embolden Trump further.


💠Pro-Trump bots trying to goad the House into impeaching before they have their hands on the most damning evidence, to prevent them from ever getting it.

💠The Never Trump Republicans who still embrace reactionary politics—they just don’t like Trump.

14/ Let's talk about this last group. They're dangerous because they are also experts at GOP-style propaganda.

They want a reactionary⤵️ government without Trump.

So they have a two-fold agenda: Get rid of Trump and weaken the Democratic Party.

15/ In their view, the only problem with today's GOP is Trump.

More specifically, in their view, the only problem with today's GOP is that the blindly deluded GOP faithful and the bullied and frightened GOP leadership are afraid to go against Trump.

They want to go back. . .

16/ . . . to the Republican Party as it looked in 2015.

Progressives and liberals have a different view: They see the GOP having morphed into a dangerous reactionary party as a backlash to the New Deal, Civil Rights and Women's Rights movements.


17/ Urging the Democrats to play Constitutional Hardball is a win-win-win for them.

💠It will help destroy Trump.
💠It will weaken the Democratic Party.
💠It will therefore create an opening for them to return to reactionist politics when Trump is gone.

Beware of them.

18/ Another group I forgot about was the "impeachment on principle" group.

I get that.

I marched for impeachment in March in Santa Barbara and gave a speech⤵️

It's important to remember, though, that impeachment in the Constitution . . .

19/ . . is discretionary, not a duty. See the thread in Tweet #2.

The House cannot and should not impeach at the first sign of lawbreaking or wrong doing.

The way power to impeach and remove is allocated in the Constitution makes clear that the drafters intended . . .

20/ . . . the remedies to be used only when the president exhibited behavior so egregious that impeachment and removal would have broad popular support. (That's why, for example, 2/3 removal is required in the Senate)

Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus . . .

21/ . . . Andrew Jackson thumbed his nose at a Supreme Court ruling:  https://www.oyez.org/cases/1789-1850/31us515 . I could fill a thread with "impeachable offenses" committed by American presidents.

What the Democrats needed (and wanted) was to be able to say what Rep. John Lewis said this morning.

22/ Impeachment is a Big Deal.
Removal is a Huge, Enormous, History-Changing Deal.

No president has ever been removed through this process.

John Lewis said this ⤵️

They wanted to say "we tried every other available means."

23/ Here's a frequently asked question⤵️

The answer has to address two parts:
(1) Can McConnell do this?
(2) Would McConnell do this?

Whether he CAN depends on how we read a phrase from the Constitution. Like all legal questions, the answer. . .

24/ . . . is "maybe." For a full breakdown see this Lawfare article:  https://www.lawfareblog.com/can-senate-decline-try-impeachment-case 

As far as (2) I don't see why McConnell or the Trump-FOX-GOP would do this. See my thread above "Trump's Legal Defenses."

If the GOP continues shielding Trump, I think they . . .

25/ . . would welcome the national platform to declare Trump "completely exonerated." There would be grandstanding and speech making. They will "prove" that the real villains are the Biden, Comey, and the Deep State operators trying to bring down Poor Victim Trump.

So. . .

26/ . . . the real question is whether the GOP will stand behind Trump now, or decide they'd rather have President Pence.

(Impeaching and removing Pence before 2020 isn't possible.)

Is the Biden-Ukraine scandal the tipping point for the GOP?

That, my dearies, is the question.

27/ I guess I'll add another question:

@Tribelaw says it's possible, and even suggested it.

I see this as problematic, with the potential of looking like a partisan trick. Remember Mueller talked about why he didn't want to indict a sitting. . .

28/ . . . president? While the question of whether a president can be indicted is debated among constitutional scholars, it's pretty clear that the trial would have to wait until the president left office.

Mueller didn't like the idea of accusing someone without. . .

29/ . . .the person having a chance to clear his name in a trial. Mueller implied that he left the question to Congress because only Congress can hold the trial.

Impeaching and denying a trial in the Senate seems equally problematic to me from fairness / due process perspective.

30/ There's an outside chance the GOP will remove Trump, if they decide he's poison and they're better off with Pence.

But would they remove both Pence and Trump and install President Pelosi?

Legally it could happen. Politically? Don't think so.

31/ How about if we make a rule going forward, for our sanity and well-being.

Let's not go down "what if" rabbit holes.

It's anxiety provoking.

Let's stay grounded in what's happening right now.

32/ It's hard to see that happening, but anything is possible.

Nixon could resign in peace to his estate. Trump can't. His estate is under siege: The NY AG is after him. The NY DA is after him. He's [probably] heavily in debt.

33/ I think Pelosi was waiting for the right moment when she'd be able to get the nation behind her.

She wanted to sidestep accusations of partisanship, and marshall a majority, not just of Democrats.

What has seemed crystal clear to some . . .

34/ . . .that Trump has committed a list of impeachable offenses, hasn't been clear to most Americans.

She needed it clear to everyone.

I'll admit I was a wee bit nervous yesterday when she drew a line in the sand ("we'll get the whistleblower complaint by Thurs or else"). . .

35/ Or else what?

I don't exactly know how she did it—but it sure looks like she'll get what she demanded.

Her daughter said she'll cut off your head and you won't even know you're bleeding.

Sorry to go on like this.
I'll admit I have a thing for smart powerful women 😉

36/ This is the first I heard that the Ukranian government complained to Congress.
Seems like something has been going on behind the scenes for a while, which may be why Pelosi knew she could draw that line in the sand.

I put this thread on my blog as an Impeachment Roundup + Q & A.

There will of course be an Impeachment section on the Twitter Bar Exam. This thread and subthreads will help you prepare.


You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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