GRASPING AT STRAWS

“President” Donald Trump’s legal team really is taking the “abuse of power isn’t a crime” tack as his defense. As we in the south say, bless their hearts. But when you don’t really have a defense, it’s better than “I got nothing.” According to CNN, Senate Republicans are “quickly buying into” this foolishness.
Alan Dershowitz, accused sexual assaulter and Trump team member, appeared on This Week, arguing that the articles of impeachment fail to meet the constitutional standard. Robert Ray, another on Trump’s legal team, said on Fox and Friends: “Never in our history has there been an impeachment of a President without even an allegation that a crime was committed.”

Really? Though Nixon was involved in a burglary, which is certainly a crime, he was ultimately impeached for abuse of power by targeting his political foes with tax audits. What makes things different this time? Lisa Kern Griffin, a Duke University professor, spoke with Sean Illing of Vox about this issue.

According to Griffin, “Although the Constitution expressly cites bribery as grounds for impeachment, it does not require that any criminal offense be committed in order for impeachment to occur.” As Vox and every other outlet are reporting, Trump and his team think legal scholars and Democrats are “mistaken.” No, the mistake lies in the failure to read the Constitution, which most legal scholars can recite in their sleep. Trump and his “dream team” (more like a nightmare) likely can’t even spell “Constitution.”

As seems to always be the case when it involves Donald Trump, they’re just making this up as they go along, and Republican Senators are all too happy to grasp at any straw Trump extends. Trump’s staunchest ally Lindsey Graham appeared on Fox News Sunday, saying: “It’s the first impeachment in history where there’s no allegation of a crime by the president.” Bullshit, Lindsey, and you know it. Graham was one of the main senators pushing the Clinton impeachment, which did not involve the commission of a crime. It is amazing how quickly Republicans forget. Others who were involved in earlier impeachments beg to differ.

John Dean is quoted by HuffPost as saying that “Donald Trump’s impeachment defense is an unconvincing ‘scorched earth’ strategy.” Dean said, “It’s not legally sophisticated. It obviously plays to the base.” Perhaps that means they had to keep it at a fifth grade reading level for Trump fans. The most interesting comment from Dean, however, is that he believes the case against Trump is “more compelling” than the case against Nixon, which tells us a lot. Dean was Nixon’s White House counsel and does indeed know of which he speaks. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Hopefully, Dick Durbin’s assessment becomes truth: “The Senate itself is on trial . . . and the jury is the American people.” We are watching you Republicans. A guilty verdict from us in the 2020 election sends you packing for good.

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