Friday the 13th Impeachment Articles Filed!

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Jason Voorhees lashed out because he was so grievously wronged!

This was originally going to be a Weekend Open Thread, but I think that we’ll just keep this one on topic. I’ll fill in the rest of the text over the course of the day (mostly this evening), but there are a few things to note for now:

(1) High Crimes and Misdemeanors can be, but do not have to be, violations of criminal law.  Abuse of Power and Obstruction of an Investigation (Judicial rather than Congressional in his case) were exactly the first two charges passed against Richard Nixon, and the third one could easily have been entitled Obstruction of Congress.)

(2) On the other hand, there is a criminal case at hand even in the Ukraine case, and that is … not blackmail, arguably bribery, but DEFINITELY extortion.  “Give me what I want or something bad will happen to your interests” is the essence of extortion.

(3) Zelenskiy is not going to say that he experienced bribery for two reasons:

(a) Trump will likely be acquitted in the Senate, and can destroy his country in the 1-5 years following acquittal — meaning that he is under duress, and

(b) because in his mind he was not being pressured to take or give a bribe, because he was absolutely unwilling to do so.  I don’t think anyone has asked him if he experienced extortion, where there is no implication of one’s receiving any sort of benefit, rather than bribery.  The record makes it clear that he was extorted.

(4) ATTEMPT is a crime.  It’s part of a class called “inchoate crimes.”  Attempted murder or robbery is a crime.  Soliciting a bribe — or a prostitute, or someone to commit a murder — is a crime.

(5) But, it doesn’t matter that Trump gave over the military aid to Ukraine — after the whistleblower’s report appeared and Trump’s hand was visibly in the cookie jar — and it doesn’t matter that Zelenskiy didn’t actually give in to Trump’s extortionate demands — although he reportedly had agreed to go ahead with the CNN interview opening the investigation before the aid was released.  Neither erases the inchoate crime.

(6) The Democrats were dumb not to bring forth a charge on the Mueller obstruction charges, because it allows Trump to argue that the point was conceded for lack of merits.  (It wasn’t: it was conceded for lack of guts.)  But they were even dumber not to bring forth a charge of abuse of the pardon power, based on Michael Cohen’s testimony.  People can GET that!

(7) Judiciary Committee Republicans were not snowflakes — as they made themselves seem to be when throwing a shit fit when, due to the lateness of the hour, he postponed the final vote until the next day.  (Today, that is, when both counts passed by 23-17 votes.)  “No consultation!”, screamed some snowflakes into the camera.  “Nadler is just trying to make sure that this doesn’t happen too late for the news reports!”, said at least one more.

That last comments gives away the game.  Nadler had clearly intended to have the vote Thursday night — but Republicans kept stalling and stalling, with almost a dozen amendments, repetitive debate over (and within) each, etc., until the hour got too late.  It wasn’t making them look good.  One had to wonder why they were doing this.

But in that snowflakes bitter cry into the wind, you see the answer: THEY were trying to delay things until the vote would come too late to be on the news — and Nadler thwarted them.

So much more to come.  Keep checking in for updates!

(Reminder, this is not your Weekend Open Thread.  Use the old one until there’s a new one.)

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)