President Trump, Senate, President President Obama discussed on Skullduggery
You can't just let this conduct go unpunished again. I think if the parties were reversed if this were President President Obama. Who did this or Elizabeth Warren or something? You would have a massive number of people and I sure hope every Democrat to saying no. This person has to go that is completely unacceptable in art democracy and by the way. I don't think that we should just say Oh. Well they're twenty Republican senators. Who Haven't come forward yet? I mean that's the standard The way that the Democrats have been thinking for so long it's been so afraid textually call the Republicans out and I think that you know as the evidence is developed as the house moves toward an impeachment vote and then the information is presented in the Senate. I don't know what's going to happen. And you know these are going to be some of the most solemn proceedings these folks have ever engaged in probably the most solemn proceedings and You Oh every one of those hundred people came to Washington to make the country a better place. They didn't come to make money. There's a lot easier ways to make money and I think when the evidence evidence is low when the evidence is listened to. And that's what I tried to lay out in the book. There's only one choice which is to remove the sky from office one final question referencing your previous observation that as a law professor you ask your students to argue the case that they don't believe in to argue the other side so okay professor Konczal. Please argue why. The president should be impeached. I think it's really hard. The president has had a whole bunch of shifting rationales. Like the ones you were talking about a battle for the purpose of this exercise honestly. I don't know what to say. Okay and I'm you know. I think I'm a pretty good lawyer can come up with a lot but this is a president who is acted beyond all bounds. And even if you think for whatever reason what he was doing in Ukraine wasn't enough that we should get over it. We can't get over the president's conduct in how he's treated the impeachment investigation complete one. One hundred percent unilateral stonewalling of any witness any document of the executive branch that totally on does our separation of powers hours in our constitutional system. And that again. It's not about president trump. It's about any president would then have the power to do that and to stymie and destroy impeachment investigation and this is not our system. I've got a last question just looking ahead a second because you obviously. It's been a lot of time studying past impeachments. I think there is no doubt that there is going to be a Senate trial. How does that unfold? What are the standards for proof? What rolled is this? The Supreme Court justice play can McConnell change the Senate rules or can the Republican Senate rules so they just do this in a day and how does it play out all right. We'll take a couple of those so so First of all in terms of timing we heard recently professor. Jonathan Turley testify in Congress that this was an unprecedented speedy moved to impeachment right and therefore it should be slowed down. I think that argument is going. Pretty much nowhere I think he was absolutely wrong. I mean Johnson was impeached within three days after his action and the boys were they were trying to impeach him for trail over here but the articles in which I mean the Republicans say that they've been trying to impeach trump trump since for well over a year or two. So I don't I don't think that point make matters whatsoever. But even like the Clinton impeachment seventy five days between the start in in the house and then the impeachment proceedings. And we're day seventy two right now so you know. Surprising that Turley. Who after all worked on that impeachment didn't recognize that but I think that this we'll move pretty quickly in the house I think it'll Then moved to a full trial in the Senate. The Senate rules require that full trial. I think it's very hard for McConnell to change. Those rules are the rules have been around since the Andrew Johnson impeachment and the eighteen sixties. So I think we are going to see a full trial in those rules are pretty onerous. They require the senators to sit there all day every day for six days a week. Now you asked about the role of the chief justice. I do think this is interesting. Chief Justice Roberts is so much. Jim `institutionalised I've had the privilege of arguing the thirty nine cases before him and I think he'll conduct the proceedings with dignity and fairness tall involved In maybe I think is guiding light. He clerked himself. For Chief Justice Rehnquist he was as law clerk and has a lot of respect for him And Rehnquist when. He presided over the Clinton impeachment. And Michael I'm sure you'll remember. He came in with those silly bro Striped Shannon's back. Roberts God yes no stripes onerous and but but I do expect one big thing to be the same which is the chief justice in the Clinton impeachment did very little indeed so much so at the end of it he said I did very little and I did it. Well and says Rehnquist Chief Justice Rehnquist and I suspect actually Justice Roberts will try and emulate that to the extent he can ultimately. They don't really have any choice. They don't have that much power right. I mean you know the chief. Justice can rule on some procedural matter or allow evidence in or or a witness but that can be overruled by the Senate made to be put to the all. Those decisions are put votes. Aren't exactly exactly so. The chief justice can make a ruling fifty-one senators can disagree. I don't think the fifty one senators are going to disagree with Chief Justice Roberts as as a practical matter. I just think that would be suicide. We're talking about you know One of the great justices to have served our nation. Here's a scenario. Ah The house. Democratic managers called John Bolton as a witness for Senate trial who rules as to whether or not he has to testify yeah. I don't think that's hypothetical at all. I think it could very well happen And that may be one reason. The Democrats haven't tried to as Danny was saying go to court. You know Ought to try and Subpoena Bolton so the Democrats will have some subpoena powers as part of the rules in the Senate trial they will then impede they could then call subpoena someone like Bolton and The Republicans could object and try and quash that subpoena. And that would be ruled on by chief justice. Roberts that doesn't get litigation GEICO litigated in the federal court. Saying these on exactly. There's this case called Nixon verses United States which was about a judge Nixon. I have the unfortunate distinction of having the name Nixon and the sanctions being impeded. Not a good one thing. Is You know God has a sense of humor. I guess and in in Dickson Judge Nixon tried to argue to the Supreme Court. Hey Federal Court should stop this unfair impeachment. It went nowhere. Well Neil Konczal. Thanks for joining us. I should say the book again is impeached. The case against Donald Trump. It's probably the best one stop guide for the impeachment process so thanks. Thanks for joining us on on skulduggery fantastic book and I think he should consider this. Your your moot court before your a death penalty argument going up against justice. uh-huh I'm sure he's had faced much tougher than me is really fun. Thank God and we now have with us. David Rifkin renowned Washington appellate lawyer frequent commentator and op ED contributor to the Wall Street Journal David. Welcome to skulduggery could to beaulieu great title. Well we've we've gotten a little traction on it but let's talk about impeachment which you have been writing about commenting about I have a couple couple of your recent op. Ed Pieces in the Wall Street Journal. The this impeachment subverts. The constitution is one shifts quote obstruction. Theory is another. You heard the testimony this week. From the constitutional law experts arguing why this is a compelling case for impeaching. A president is an tell us why you disagree. I disagree for two fundamental reasons. I will be easiest one obstruction but notion that the president who is willing to test the vigor. He's got Social Ragas namely so-called immediate advisor privilege in national security privilege which guard guard against forces closer to Congress that the fact that he's mocking was privileges and having them tested in the court of law can be considered obstruction as frankly absurd. The impeachment process is not vitiate separation of powers the president of a said that he would not comply with a definitive adjudication of issue. Just to have a test give me more American than that so the notion that this is obstruction. These this is silly opening. Uh spend time on it if the Supreme Court if it got to the the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court ordered the president to turn over documents or to allow witnesses to testify and he didn't then it's obstruction but not until then of course but the very fact that the president why should say people like Kupperman like Mulvaney like Bolton. I actually the ones where the moving party not to get technical. The plaintiffs tips suggest that they're willing to have been waiting for the house. And try to enforce those most subpoenas and yes it would take time. I know that a lot of folks in the media were saying delays delays delays delays. But that's called the rule of law so that let's take that off the table all right. Let's talk about the president's core conduct here. Starting with the transcript itself do do you really think it was okay. For the president to ask the president of Ukraine to announce investigations of Joe Biden and his son hunter her Biden. That was in your view acceptable from the president of the United States. Mike respect the question is not whether it's acceptable the question Over and not. It's a high crime and misdemeanor short. We ask here. Was it okay for the president to make that request quest of a foreign leader I would not have phrased this same syntax so it was not okay. Well but LEMme Lemme on packet packet. There's nothing wrong with asking a foreign country to investigate past corruptive episodes of corruption. We do over all the time doesn't get done on the level of the president and I can tell you of course my legal career including now represent. Several people cannot travel at the United States because because the being investigated both here and in various foreign countries and there's lively exchange between Dj and the Jay which is conducts criminal investigations that are printing. We'll intelligence investigations. But we'll let let me ask you this are you David. Are you aware era of any examples of president trump asking the president of Ukraine to conduct investigations. That would not redound to president trump's political benefit if it are there any examples of that actually. I appreciate the question because to me. That's a wrong question. Let me tell you why as long as what the president is asking in the four corners of varieties as long. He's asking is whatever you think about. Its merits its wisdom but constitutionally speaking's within the four corners of his executive power the fact that it may rebellious political advantage are say irrelevant. Repeat utterly irrelevant okay as the Constitution. I'll tell you why because in a democracy no politician in either Congress or the executive branch if it does anything that hugh she he does not believe remind stability. Let me give you a federal. If there is a conversation between trump and MR g the head Chinese guy and trumpeter say you know what I really want a good deal on trade really would be really important to me because it would help me get elected. Would that be a wrong thing. Wouldn't tell Kim table but it's a eight good trade deal. Renounce to the benefit of the American public has specific investigation into Joe Biden. Had only one real purpose on its face which was to knock down a potential political rivals the president of the United States. He has no other per se. You but another hand to extend the corruption Ukraine is a real concern. Did he raise general questions about the multiple Examples of corruption in Ukraine there lots of oligarchs in Ukraine who have been accused of legislation. There's lots of Ukrainian. Public officials say was used most of Ukraine of all the corrupt ex in Ukraine. This was hardly at todd of the. US government's list of matters to be concerned. So before before. You just let me add wanted then into this. which is it turns out? He wasn't actually really asking for an investigation nations into and Biden or the server the Ukrainian the server the DNC server. That's that he believes ended up in Ukraine. He was asking for a public announcement of those investigates. This that's a factually. I understand that there was a suggestion that he was asking a symbolic announcement. Um and not thrill investigate was the testimony of Gordon silent but I mean the notion of Ceylon really knew if we were in a court of law real war what when presidents mine is is right as well but look I think for purposes where in the middle of impeachment this whole effort discussions about impeachment. I can tell you that. Virtually every foreign in policy action by this presidency of president while we're it's JCP away or Iranian nuclear deal while the nucle- denuclearization do him. North Korea worried something involving China the rebound reprisals political advantage. The celine question is like an elaborate as to why to let me say this. The framers were very suspicious about impeachment power. We debated quite extensively. There's a possibility would not be put in place at all but they debated to him to give it okay. The House came as reluctant last because they wanted to give it to Spain court. They wanted to give it a state legislatures. They will not being for joy precisely because they understood about bought old abuses of impeachment by the British Parliament and one of serve issues of the day was the impeachment by the parliament. Ugly Bogus Wanema fellow by name. Some of hastings who has the Viceroy of India very similar to trump in many respects because he didn't do anything demonstrably criminal but he was trying to take the power away from east India Company Company and corruption in office. Bulla Blah the did it as a necessary evil the rejected abroad formulation of an impeachable offense which was smell administration because my quote this would effectively mean service of a president of pleasure of Congress so misdemeanor Hess to have a definition contact techniques to be a cabinet principle..