Before we move on I wanted to say a few words about this spectacularly self-regarding man, Alan Dershowitz, and his argument about the constitutional, rather than factual, insufficiency of the impeachment charges brought against President Trump. It is no exaggeration to say that the overwhelming bordering on universal weight of scholarly and historical opinion is that Dershowitz is wrong. But mine isn’t an argument to authority. It’s an overwhelming consensus because it is almost certainly correct. To note just one example, literally during the months in which the Constitution was being written Britain was roiled by an extremely high profile campaign for an impeachment which was on the basis not of statutory crimes but corruption and misrule.
President Trump’s impeachment defense team has been all over the place, deploying an at-times unhinged, but transparent string of defenses since they took over the Senate trial on Saturday.
Before the trial wrapped up for the evening on Monday, Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz took to the floor to lay out a constitutional case against impeaching the President, resurrecting the former President Andrew Johnson-era defense that an act has to be criminal to be impeachable. I spoke to one of our on-call experts about why this argument is dizzying.
After three days of presentations by the House, followed by three days of presentations by the President’s legal team, the Senate impeachment trial is set to move to a more dynamic phase with a period of questions for each side, submitted by the senators.
Last night White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham appeared on the Trump administration-friendly Fox Business show “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” when she suggested that former National Security Adviser John Bolton was shamelessly selling his former administration access in his new book.
“How much does it cost to sell out potential national security in your country?” Grisham asked.
The second week of the Senate impeachment trial kicked off with two major developments: John Bolton’s claim of a Trump conversation where the President linked hold on Ukraine aid to investigation demands; and the President’s attorneys going all in on the Biden smear job.
The already frenetic energy in the Capitol surrounding the Senate impeachment trial was taken up a notch Monday as senators returned to questions about the John Bolton revelations.
A number of Republican senators and not a few commentators are now putting forward the argument that calling John Bolton to testify is a waste of time because the White House would bog the question down for months in the Courts. This is a bogus line of argument for two crystal clear reasons I want to briefly explain. It’s not a bad argument, it’s a fake one. It doesn’t exist.
While the drama of the impeachment trial continues, we have a surge of new polling data. The Democratic primaries are generating a lot of new data. But I want to focus for the moment on the general election, impeachment and the President’s approval.
Two things are happening, which may seem to be inconsistent, but likely are not. The first is that impeachment and removal from office is getting more popular. Indeed, 538’s average of polls which focus specifically on impeachment and/or removal from office has now moved to just over 50% — 50.8% as of this morning.
As we wrote this morning, new allegations outlined in an unpublished manuscript of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new book obtained by the New York Times claim that President Trump explicitly told Bolton the Ukraine military aid was directly tied to Trump’s push for investigations into the Bidens.
President Trump went down in history this month as the third president to be impeached, in part over an abuse of power allegation involving an attempt to extort Ukraine into attacking Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.
But the story of the pressure campaign actually begins long before this year, with an individual who has gone without much mentioned during the impeachment inquiry: Paul Manafort.