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Dec 18 2019

Black Letter Law

I mean, when even Napolitano gets it…

Trump impeachment: Undisputed evidence that he abused his power
By Andrew P. Napolitano, Washington Times
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

It is undisputed that Mr. Trump withheld the delivery of the $391 million in military aid to Ukraine that Congress authorized and ordered and that Mr. Trump himself signed into law. He said he withheld that aid because he first wanted “a favor” from the president of Ukraine. The favor, requested by others on Mr. Trump’s behalf, was the announcement of a Ukrainian government criminal investigation of Mr. Trump’s potential political adversary, former Vice President Joe Biden.

In the language of the streets, this is a shakedown; it sought to enhance Mr. Trump’s personal political needs and bears no relationship to American foreign policy.

That presidential behavior implicates two crimes. One is the federal prohibition on soliciting campaign aid from a foreign government — whether the aid arrives or not. It did not.

The other crime is bribery, which is the exploitation of public duties for personal gain. Bribery consists of the intentional refusal to perform a required public duty — here, releasing the $391 million to Ukraine — until a personal thing of value — here, the announcement of the Ukrainian investigation of Mr. Biden — arrives. The crime of bribery is complete when the thing of value is solicited, whether it arrives or not. It did not.

The other crimes implicated by Mr. Trump’s behavior took place after he was accused of the first two. Then, he directed his subordinates to disregard congressional subpoenas, lawfully issued and validly served, which sought testimony, documents and electronic records of the president’s behavior.

We know from the impeachment charges recommended by the House Judiciary Committee against Richard Nixon and voted by the House of Representatives against Bill Clinton that obstructing the constitutional duty of Congress is impeachable. We also know from the Roger Clemens case, in which he was prosecuted, and acquitted, for obstruction of Congress by allegedly lying to a House committee, that obstruction can be criminal.

Because Mr. Trump declined to participate in the House investigation that resulted in the construction of the articles of impeachment against him — except for his tweets and bluster and the Republicans’ personal attacks on House Democratic committee chairs — the facts underlying the charges against Mr. Trump are essentially uncontested.

Everyone who believes in the rule of law should be terrified of a president who thinks and behaves as if it does not apply to him. As the DOJ has stated repeatedly, impeachment is the proper constitutional remedy for that.

Yeah, yeah, Washington Times. He works for Faux, where do you expect him to be published? Me? I picked it up from digby