Colorad-NO Border Wall

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 President Donald Trump mentioned during the Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh that a border wall was being built in Colorado, which isn’t a border state.

“We’re building a wall in Colorado. We’re building a beautiful wall.” Trump said. “A big one that really works.”

Trump may have misspoke during his speech and said Colorado when he meant to say California. However, Trump took to Twitter to clear up that when he said that they were building a wall in Colorado he was kidding and meant that they were getting the benefit of the border wall along with the border states.

Trump also mentions that the people in the auditorium were from Colorado and Kansas although the conference he was speaking at was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Colorado is above an actual border state, New Mexico.

This statement made by Trump prompted people to voice their confusion and mock him on Twitter.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy mocked Trump’s Sharpie-gate and the Colorado blunder in one tweet, drawing a new United States border around New Mexico while crossing out “New.”

The Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis reminded people that Colorado doesn’t border Mexico but also brags on the progress Colorado is seeing in education. “So our kids can learn basic geography” is a pointed taunt at Trump not knowing that Colorado isn’t a border state.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) reposted a video that was taken on Jan. 24, 2019 where he first slammed the idea of a border wall as Colorado was brought into the border wall conversation as Trump mistakenly says they’re building a border wall in Colorado.

Trump National Doral facility “chosen” for G7 Summit

President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced yesterday in a press briefing that the 46th G7 Summit would be held at the Trump National Doral facility in Miami, Florida.

Mulvaney denied that the reason the Trump National Doral facility was selected for the summit was to direct personal gain to Donald Trump in violation of the Emoluments Clause.

The entrance to Trump’s National Doral facility.

 “I think the President has pretty much made it very clear since he’s got here that he doesn’t profit from being here.  He has no interest in profit from being here.” Mulvaney addressed the questions on Emoluments Clause violations before they could be asked in his briefing.

On how National Doral was chosen for the summit he replied that they used the same criteria past administrations have used. The last G8 summit held in the United States was held under Barack Obama in 2012 at Camp David, owned by the United State’s Government.

Trump is the G7 President of 2020 and will include United States, Britain, France, Canada, Japan, Germany and Italy where they will not discuss climate change.

“The focus of the event will be global growth and challenges to the global economy, specifically dealing with things like rejuvenating incentives for growth and prosperity; rolling back prosperity-killing regulations; ending trade barriers; and re-opening energy markets,” Mulvaney said about what would be on the agenda for the upcoming G7 summit.

House GOP Wants to Censure Adam Schiff

On Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019 House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) showed support for the resolution introduced by Rep Andy Biggs that seeks to condemn and censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who is leading the investigations in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

This censure resolution was formed by Representatives Andy Biggs and sponsored by 150 House Republicans. This censure resolution also garnered support from Trump who called for House Republicans and “honest” Democrats to vote to censure Adam Schiff.

In the resolution tweeted out by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) it details the instances where the House Republicans feel that Schiff has misled the American people. This includes the retelling of the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian President along with saying that the Committee hadn’t spoken directly with the whistleblower when Schiff had met with the whistleblower prior to the complaint being filed.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on the Censure Resolution

McCarthy said in a tweet on Oct 16, 2019 that the censure resolution was to restore the impeachment process to something that was fair, objective and fact-based.

This censure resolution was filed as privileged so it then takes precedent over the regular business occurring in the House of Representatives and will have to be acted on in two businesses days.

A censure is a vote to disapprove a member of the House’s behavior or conduct. If this resolution passes, Schiff would have to stand at the “well” of Congress and receive a reading of the censure resolution by the Speaker of the House.

Can You Ignore A Congressional Subpoena? Some think they can.

Photo by Aaron Kittredge from Pexels

As the impeachment inquiry lengthens, the House Intelligence Committee issues more subpoenas for those that may provide additional information or evidence. These subpoenas seek testimonies and or the production of documents such as the text messages provided to the committee from Ambassador Kurt Volker.

As more subpoenas have been issued, the more people and politicians are seen not complying. This includes Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney.

Giuliani took to Twitter on Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019 to state that he wasn’t going to comply with the impeachment inquiry.

However, not complying with a Congressional subpoena can land you into what is known as “contempt of Congress.” Contempt of Congress is when Congress finds that your actions or conduct obstruct their proceedings. This has to be approved in a majority vote in order to find them guilty of contempt of Congress and then Congress can enforce the subpoena and either fine you or land you in jail.

Another thing that can happen is that Congress can ask the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, to bring criminal charges on those who refuse to appear in front of Congress.

Another possibility is that Congressional lawyers can file a civil suit in order to receive compliance from the person in contempt.

Does Impeachment have to be transparent or have due process?

Photo from Pixabay.com

Only a day after President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser on Russia’s testified in a 9 hour closed-door deposition, Trump took to Twitter to say, “Democrats are allowing no transparency at the Witch Hunt hearings. If Republicans ever did this they would be excoriated by the Fake News. Let the facts come out from the charade of people, most of whom I do not know, they are interviewing for 9 hours each, not selective leaks.”

There is no transparency required during the impeachment inquiry, because the inquiry is to investigate and gather evidence. That means that Trump has no reason to be informed of the law, of the charges against him, the right to confront the witnesses against him, to call his own witnesses, and to have the assistance of counsel because it is not yet a trial.

For impeachment to move into a trial in the Senate, the House of Representatives would first have to determine it has sufficient evidence and then vote on articles of impeachment. A majority of the House of Representatives would have to vote for the articles of impeachment and then Trump would be impeached. Once impeached, then the trial to remove him from office would begin where Trump would be permitted due process. It’s also possible that the Senate would simply decline to hold the trial and dismiss the trial.

This isn’t the first time Trump has expressed discontent about the proceedings of impeachment. Trump has retweeted news segments from Mark Levin who expressed that Trump was being treated unfairly and not being allowed due process regarding the impeachment inquiry.

This also has similarities to the letter sent to Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff by the White House Administration. This was an 8 page letter sent on Oct. 8, 2019 to Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff that stated that Trump or his administration “cannot be expected to participate” in the impeachment inquiry due to lack of due process and that the impeachment inquiries sole purpose was to “undo the 2016 election”. The letter then goes on to say that they “in light of the many deficiencies we have identified in your proceedings, you will abandon the current invalid efforts to pursue an impeachment inquiry.”

Many GOP representatives and senators echoed the same rhetoric that the impeachment inquiry is unfair. Both Rep. Doug Collins and Rep. Rodney Davis voiced their opinions that due process wasn’t being afforded to Trump.

Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) was quick to remind Trump on Twitter that due process wasn’t included in the impeachment inquiry process and pointed out that Trump can confront his witnesses at his Senate trial.

Impeachment as Written in the Constitution

As talks of impeachment have become more prevalent in the national conversation due to the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, the confusion regarding how the process works at the federal level and what is constitutional has been heightened. 

Photo by David Dibert from Pexels

The constitutional reasonings for impeachment are treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors.

The vague description of high crimes and misdemeanors allow for broad interpretations. Alexander Hamilton described impeachment in Federalist Paper #65 as, ““those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

High crimes and misdemeanors would be the grounds that impeachment was brought against former President Bill Clinton where high crimes and misdemeanors were interpreted to include perjury and obstruction of justice. 

Impeachment only refers to the office of President, Vice President and all civil officers. This means that only the Executive and Judicial branches of the United States government are subjected to being impeached.

The impeachment process begins in the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives as an impeachment inquiry to gather evidence. This may also occur in the House Intelligence Committee. Once the evidence is gathered it can then be assembled into individual indictments which are then called the Articles of Impeachment. The House then debates and votes on the individual indictments and if they receive a majority vote they are sent to the Senate.

When the passed indictments move to the Senate, then an officer is considered to be impeached but not yet removed from office.

During the next part of the impeachment process, a committee of representatives act as prosecutors and the Senate acts as the jury with the Chief Justice of The United States presiding over the trials. The President will then be summoned to appear before the Senate and enter a plea which is automatically entered as “Not guilty” if the defendant doesn’t show up. These prosecutors then present evidence and call witnesses to the Senate’s High Court of Impeachment where they are cross-examined. Attorneys to the President also may also call and cross-examine witnesses in order to defend the President from the claims.

The Senate can then vote to either acquit or convict the President of impeachment. The Senate majority leader can also refuse to hold a trial and move to vote to dismiss the Articles of Impeachment. If a vote is held, there is two-thirds majority requirement to be convicted. If convicted the President is then removed from office.

Trump Tweets and His Impeachment Inquiry

Following the first news of the whistleblower complaint, President Donald Trump has increased the number of times a day he’s been tweeting. In fact, the search trend of Donald Trump tweets and the search for the impeachment inquiry have similar high points and low points.

Trump tweets is indicated by the red line with the blue line the impeachment inquiry. This graph is for the period of Sept 26, 2019 through Oct 3, 2019.

The search for President Trump’s tweets may be linked to the fact that he has been tweeting more in response to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi launching an impeachment inquiry into him and the call he had with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

One theory that David Frum a staff writer from the Atlantic has is that the increased number of Trump’s tweets is his strategy for impeachment as the impeachment inquiry moves forward.

The strategy David Frum outlines is that Trump will talk more about impeachment, show no contrition, leave “fingerprints” everywhere, make no attempt at persuasion and to “read stage directions out loud.”

Trump’s tweets about the impeachment inquiry the majority of the time, yet he makes no move to appeal to the swing-voters or independents that may have voted for him or to ease any concerns they may have. His tweets remain focused to his supporters and reinforce the idea that even if impeached, he won’t go quietly. The tweet in reference is when he tweeted about the idea of another civil war. Another strategy he is implementing is attempting to appear as the victim of the Democrats impeachment inquiry.

More content of his tweets have also included promoting conservatives whose statements mimic his own and tweets against the impeachment inquiry. Some of his tweets berate the Democrats who are involved in the impeachment inquiry.

One of the Democrats that takes most of the heat from Trump is House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Schiff has been the center of Trump’s criticism after Schiff dramatized, or “parodied”, the Ukraine phone call during his testimony to Congress to help draw on the similarities of the phone call and a mob shake down.

“Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates: ‘We’ve been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what? I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it. On this and on that. I’m going to put you in touch with people, not just any people. I’m going to put you in touch with the attorney general of the United States, my attorney general Bill Barr. He’s got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him. And I’m going to put you in touch with (presidential attorney) Rudy (Giuliani). You’re going to love him, trust me. You know what I’m asking and so I’m only going to say this a few more times, in a few more ways. And by the way, don’t call me again. I’ll call you when you’ve done what I asked.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff

The statement given above has prompted Trump to continue to respond to Schiff with a series of tweets that span from Sept 26, 2019 until present. In these tweets, Trump calls Schiff a liar, sick, lowlife, and a fraud.

An important tweet to note is the one where President Trump wanted Schiff “questioned” for fraud and treason for the parodied version of the call between Zelensky and Trump.

Treason as defined in Article III of the United States Constitution applies to only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Which Schiff’s statement is known of the above.

Rep. Adam Schiff’s full opening statement to Congress

Trump continued to tweet about Schiff, often referencing treason along with the statement he made to Congress. The call transcript released by the White House is similar to Schiff’s comments. In the opening statement Schiff also makes it known that this is just the “essence” of what had happened in the call between the United States and Ukraine. Even with the summarization and parody of the call, it’s important to note that the transcript released by the White House was non-verbatim which means that sometimes things that are said are missed (but it’s still very close) and that it wasn’t an exact transcript.

As Trump continues to go on long tweeting sprees throughout the day its probable that this means that his tweets will be searched for more as well. Tweets are newsworthy and people are beginning to realize that they affect more than originally thought. It will be interesting to see how the impeachment inquiry will be affected by Trump’s tweets.

The Ukrainian Phone Call & Impeachment Inquiries. What you need to know now.

Let’s preface all of the information going to be addressed by making sure everyone understands the legal definitions of what is being currently discussed.

Quid Pro Quo is the mutual consideration that passes between two parties to a contractual agreement, thereby rendering the agreement valid and binding.
Whistleblower is an employee who alleges wrongdoing by his or her employer of the sort that violates public law or tends to injure a considerable number of people. Whistleblowers often relay information to law enforcement and other government agencies

These terms are important due to a whistleblower complaint that was submitted on Aug 12, 2019 but first revealed of its existence to the public on Sept 15, 2019 to the public by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (R-Calif.). The current Inspector General, Michael E. Horrowitz, found that the whistleblower complaint was an “urgent concern” that “appears credible.”

The Inspector General also wrote to the Acting Director of the National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on Aug 25, 2019 detailing the whistleblower’s allegation of President Donald Trump asking the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to interfere with the upcoming 2020 presidential election during their July 25 phone call.

However, despite being found to have “urgent concern” Maguire refused to turn over the whistleblower’s complaint over to the House Committee because the complaint appeared to have “matters of executive privilege.”

This caused House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff to issue a subpoena to Maguire to forward the whistleblower complaint to Congress. In a letter to Maguire that accompanied the subpoena, Schiff wrote that if Maguire didn’t forward the complaint to Congress by Sept 17 that he would have to appear in a public hearing on Sept 19.

As news was spreading over his alleged inappropriate phone call with Zelensky, Trump began tweeting while at United Nations for the General Assembly on Sept 24, 2019 that the call between the two leaders was “totally appropriate.” The phone call comes after the holding of $391 million dollars in aid that Ukraine is using to fight the conflict it has been embroiled in with Russia since 2014. This withholding of funds prompts the accusations that Trump was involved in a “Quid Pro Quo” situation.

The phone call shows that Trump wanted to force Ukraine officials to

  • investigate Joe Biden “stopping the prosecution” of Zlochevsky, the founder of Burisma. This comes when the U.S. government threatened to withhold a 1 billion dollar loan guarantee unless Victor Shokin, then Ukrainian Prosecutor General, was removed from office. Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board of directors of Burisma Holdings raised questions of a conflict of interest and whether Joe Biden had any involvement in his appointment. This was likely an effort to dig up dirt on the former-Vice President and 2020 opponent, Joe Biden.

However, at the time of Hunter Biden’s appointment, White House spokesperson Jay Carney absolved the idea of it being a conflict of interest saying, “Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president. “

Trump has continued to press for information regarding whether or not Shokin was removed from office due to Hunter Biden taking a position with Barisma Holdings. He tweeted on Sept 25 “insisting on transparency from Joe Biden and his son Hunter.”

This prompted Biden to take to Twitter to denounce the allegations and claim that Trump wanted Ukraine to “manufacture a smear” against him because they were running against each other in the 2020 presidential race.

  • to work with personal lawyer, Mr. Giuliani, and Attorney General Mr. Barr
  • wanting Ukrainian officials to further investigate Crowdstrike. Crowdstrike was the cybersecurity firm that the Democratic National Convention used to investigate the 2016 hacks. They are based in Sunnydale, Calif. and also have an office in Arlington, Va. and was founded by George Hurtz (current CEO) and Dmitri Alperovitch (current CTO).

Nancy Pelosi responded by announcing that the House of Representatives were launching an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s actions and statements regarding the call.

This impeachment inquiry held by the House of Representatives will assess whether or not Trump has violated his oath of office and has enough evidence of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors to write up the impeachment articles. If the Democrat controlled House decides to impeach Trump then the Senate would have to hold a trial to either convict or acquit him. However, it’s important to note that the Republican controlled Senate could possibly just decide to refuse to hold the impeachment trial.

Kavanaugh Before & After Supreme Court Appointment

It feels like a lifetime ago that Justice Anthony Kennedy was retiring allowing President Donald Trump to appoint another Justice to the Supreme Court. Here’s a look at where we are at now.

  • When they set a date to testify in front of Congress

Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Justice confirmation was postponed due to the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford that he drunkenly attempted to sexually assault her at a high school party. This confirmation was postponed because many in the Senate weren’t comfortable with moving forward if they hadn’t heard Ford’s side of the story and either confirmed Kavanaugh’s guilt or absolved him of the accusations.

  • Ford is denied an FBI investigation

Christine Blasey Ford requests a FBI investigation in her case against Kavanaugh to further investigate her allegations against him and is denied. The hearing remained set for Monday.

Two of the reasonings for denial is that the responsibility of investigating the accusations fall on the Senate and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley says that “nothing the FBI or anything other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”

  • Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley gives Ford an Ultimatum

After being given an ultimatum to respond by 10 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept 19., 2019 or the committee would move forward with Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearing on the following Monday, Ford’s attorneys requested an additional day for Ford to weigh her options. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley granted Ford the extension before tweeting:

Two of the reasonings for denial is that the responsibility of investigating the accusations fall on the Senate and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley says that “nothing the FBI or anything other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”

  • The hearing

The hearing Kavanaugh’s hearing lasted four whole days and concluded on Sept 7, 2019 and consisted of testimonies from witnesses. In the week following, there were further questions from senators before they voted 50-49 to confirm him on October 6th. Kavanaugh replaced the former Justice Anthony Kennedy.

  • Kavanaugh’s classmates that have accused him of lying

Kavanaugh’s classmates accused him of lying after being left out of hearing After Kavanaugh’s confirmation, former classmates were published in an article by The Cut saying that he was often a sloppy, aggressive drunk.

 These classmates were: 

Kit Winter: lived in the same dorm hall as Kavanaugh at Yale. 

Liz Swisher: a college friend of Kavanaugh

Lynn Brookes: the roommate of Deborah Ramirez

Kavanaugh’s former college roommate, James Roche completely disputed a phrase that Kavanaugh claimed meant “farting” when it was actually a sexual reference and claimed he lied under oath. Also, another allegation corroborating the behavior that Ford described of Kavanaugh were left off of the trial even though coming forward before the trial. 

Max Stier: who claims he witnessed Kavanaugh exposing himself to a different female classmate at a party their freshman year. The female classmate has came forward to deny the story but according to Stier’s account she may have been too intoxicated to recall the event. Even so, these people had important stories on Kavanaugh and may not have affected the outcome of the hearing but should’ve been called on to present their testimonies. 

  • Trump tweets about new information surfacing

 President Trump hits out at the NYT for publishing the book excerpt that is negative for Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh.

  • People are calling for Kavanaugh’s Impeachment

 The NYT posted an adapted version from a book in its opinion section titled “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation,” by two Times reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, that detailed an account from Deborah Ramirez that riled up Democratic Presidential Candidates calling for Kavanaugh’s Impeachment. The NYT reported that Ramirez had Kavanaugh’s penis exposed and thrust towards her face which trying to protect herself caused her to touch it.  

  • Did Kavanaugh perjure himself during his confirmation and can a Supreme Court Justice be impeached?

A Republican from Louisiana, John Kennedy, asked Kavanaugh during the hearing if Deborah Ramirez’s allegations against him were true with to which he responded that “none of the witnesses in this room support that.” Kavanaugh had said if the allegations made by Ramirez “had happened it would’ve been the talk” of his freshman dorm.

This isn’t exactly an answer and comes across as him saying that because there are no witnesses to help support the allegations that the allegations therefore cannot be true. This is why many want an investigation to see if Kavanaugh can be tried for perjury due to willingly misleading a Senator during an investigation into allegations made about his own behavior.

If you’re wondering yes a Supreme Court Justice can be impeached. According to Eliana Block, a justice can be impeached if the majority of the House of Representatives votes for impeachment and is then convicted with a vote of 2/3 or 67 votes in the Senate.

BLOG ROLE SYNTHESIS

An overall consensus on the blogs and accounts that I follow is that coverage on the President and the decisions of the executive branch is important to the people that follow them. This is my target audience. WHDH is posting on what’s happening in Congress and CBS Boston is posting about Presidential hopefuls policies. East Bay Times is posting about Trump’s policies, specifically they were posting about his policy on asylum recently. Inforrm is posting about media in politics and how a simple algorithm can affect an outcome as large as becoming president. Jeff Mason’s blog for Reuters is posting about statements from President Donald Trump about his former national security advisor and what they disagreed on. Altogether my audience finds Congressional actions, the Presidents policies and statements, and how media affects politics important.

The twitters that I follow mostly get in the hundreds regarding engagement (favorites and retweets). This is a smaller community and are very similar in the content they post. They all post about press conferences and press briefings and President Trump. These are alike the blogs that I follow in the fact that their audience is interested in the same type of news.

Here are five timely topics that they are covering right now that would make a good post on my blog:

  1. Trump discussing former national security advisor John Bolton. This would be a good topic to write about on my blog because a lot of my community would want to know why Trump and Bolton disagreed on certain decisions and why Bolton resigned. I would focus on his tweets and the news coverage of him speaking during an interview about Bolton.
  2. 135 House Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry on Donald Trump. This would be beneficial because Trump will probably respond to the news of this making this a more timely piece and if this goes ahead, there will be more news to cover as it proceeds. I would focus on statements from House members of specific states and focus on how Trump performed in the 2016 election in that state while also keeping in mind how they lean in their own politics.
  3. Democrat candidates and Republican candidates and their policies as we approach the 2020 Presidential election. This would look more like an explainer post and talk about why stating their policies are important and what policies are most important for the American people.
  4. Trump’s asylum policies are resurfacing as refugees from the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian are denied entry into the U.S. I would also focus on the Supreme Court decision that reinforced that Trump was allowed to maintain such a strict asylum ruling.
  5. With the media facing such backlash from the 2016 election and Facebook taking severe heat for helping the Russians influence the 2016 election, they are “tightening” rules for political advertisers to prepare for the 2020 election. I would also focus on how that works considering Russia has accused them and Google of interfering in their elections.