Free Speech For People Board Chair, Ben Clements, and Legal Director, Ron Fein, co-authors of the book, The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump, join WGBH Greater Boston to discuss why now is the time for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Fein thumbnails the impeachment process, and we talk about past cases of impeachment of Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Andrew Johnson. Then he details the 8-plus draft articles of impeachment proposed in the book. We agree on 7 of the 8 charges, and briefly discuss the Russiagate narrative.
We discuss the recalcitrance toward impeachment shown by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, and by Hillary Clinton in a recent interview with Rachel Maddow. Polls show that almost half of voters support impeachment now, but party leaders follow the polls instead of leading on a matter they say threatens the future of the republic. Fein is even-handed, and criticizes Republicans who place party loyalty and tax cuts over the corruption of their leader.
Listen to the interview below! And listen to more interviews from the Peter B. Collins Show here.
An article from Bustle reports that even Donald Trump’s children have started to worry about the possible launch of impeachment proceedings against him:
President Donald Trump’s children have tirelessly defended him against any and all criticism since he first launched his bid for office. But the release of Bob Woodward’s White House exposé and the New York Times op-ed about “the resistance inside the Trump administration,” as well as the continuing FBI probe into the Trump campaign, may have them a little rattled. In fact, Ivanka Trump worries about impeachment, a source close to the president’s senior advisor told Vanity Fair.
With the midterm elections quickly approaching, as well as added pressure of growing negative press, the atmosphere in the White House has increased the concern among Trump’s family and advisors:
But even his daughter is reportedly concerned that the recent barrage of negative press, dwindling approval ratings, and numerous lawsuits could end with her father’s impeachment…
Democrats taking hold of Congress would put President Trump at greater risk of impeachment, and experts predict that they have a shot at flipping both the House and the Senate this year. A Washington Post report last month revealed that White House aides were considering sending Ivanka to Democratic strongholds to help her dad campaign for Republicans in the midterm election.
Read the article here!
In a recent article in the Nation, John Nichols reports on the most recent instance of obstruction of justice perpetrated by Donald Trump.
As Nichols reports, Donald Trump and his administration are seeking to force the declassification of documents and text messages that are relevant to the inquiry into Russian influence on his campaign and his presidency.
The president has ordered the Justice Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to begin the “immediate declassification” of key sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application for Carter Page, who once served as a foreign-policy aide to Trump. The president has also ordered the declassification of “all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications” and “directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of [former FBI director] James Comey, [former acting director of the FBI] Andrew McCabe, [former chief of the FBI’s Counterespionage Section] Peter Strzok, [former FBI lawyer] Lisa Page, and [former associate deputy Attorney general and former director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force] Bruce Ohr.”
This, as Nichols explains, is obstruction of justice: “Interfering in an ongoing federal investigation with the purpose of subverting the inquiry represents a classic case of obstruction of justice.”
Since taking office, President Trump has repeatedly attempted to interfere with congressional investigations into his conduct and that of his administration. His attempts to obstruct justice are well documented and ongoing, and this most recent example only seeks to strengthen the case for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings.
Nichols compares Trump’s actions to that of Richard Nixon, who resigned before he could be impeached.
In Nixon’s time, Republicans joined Democrats in moving to hold a Republican president to account for obstruction of justice. These are different times. But there can be no excuses for members of Congress, no matter what their partisanship, who fail to recognize that the impeachment power exists to address precisely so lawless a presidency as that of Donald Trump.
John Nichols is right. This is not an issue of partisanship. The impeachment power exists for this very reason and both Democrats and Republicans must stand in support of the Constitution.
Read the article here.
Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein was recently joined by NBC Think to discuss the call on Congress to begin an impeachment investigation of President Trump.
There’s no need to wait for secret tapes or the conclusion to the Russia investigation, says Ron Fein, co-author of “The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.” Congress already has all of the evidence it needs to start impeachment proceedings.
Watch the video below!
Nichols discusses the background of the call for impeachment proceedings. He details how, during his confirmation hearings in 2004 and 2006, Kavanaugh was questioned regarding an incident in which private computer files of Senate Democrats were hacked and stolen. These files were “used to assist in getting President Bush’s most controversial judicial nominees confirmed.”
But Free Speech For People Legal Advisory Committee member, Lisa Graves, the chief counsel for nominations for the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during that period, recently stated in an article in Slate:
Kavanaugh actively hid his own involvement, lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee by stating unequivocally that he not only knew nothing of the episode, but also never even received any stolen material.
Kavanaugh continues to deny his knowledge of the stolen files in current Supreme Court confirmation hearings, despite evidence to the contrary. In his piece, Nichols highlights our campaign to launch impeachment proceedings against the judge. Nichols further cites our memorandum to argue that federal judges can be impeached and removed from the judiciary for committing perjury:
The Framers of the US Constitution understood that corruption in the process of obtaining a federal office is an impeachable offense… Judge Kavanaugh’s perjury in the process of obtaining his current position on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, should…lead to his removal from the federal judiciary and should disqualify him from ever holding a future federal office.
There is precedent for impeaching judges who have committed constitutional violations and perjury, and there is sufficient evidence that shows Kavanaugh lied under oath. The solution is to launch impeachment proceedings against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Sign our petition now to encourage Congress to act!
On September 13, 2018, Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein presented at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. The special forum, “Impeachment: A Necessary Remedy for Bigotry in Policy,” featured honorary host, Congressman Al Green, Ron, and Distinguished Professor of History at American University, Allan Lichtman.
To hear Ron’s remarks, watch the Facebook Live video below. To watch this video on Facebook, click here.
Citing Bob Woodward’s new book and numerous claims from Trump’s staff and lawmakers, Fein discusses the possibility of Trump’s incapacity to serve as president. But focusing on his mental state as grounds for removal from office may have an unexpected, negative consequence:
“We have never tested whether incapacity alone is grounds for impeachment. And under the over-criminalized view of impeachment promoted by congressional leaders of both parties, Congress’ impeachment power takes a back seat to a prosecutor’s decision of whether to charge Trump with a crime. But that might create an even more perverse consequence, in which Trump’s incapacity could be used as an argument against impeachment.
Call it the Trump Defense. Trump’s lawyers may argue that he is incapable of forming the necessary state of mind (mens rea) to commit impeachable crimes such as obstruction of justice or conspiracy to violate election law.”
While Fein acknowledges that a jury may not buy the “Trump Defense,” he goes on to emphasize that it should not be relevant at all:
“The lesson is that impeachment does not require a criminal mental state because impeachment is not about crime or punishment ― it is about protecting the country.
The Trump Defense’s logic is ridiculous: The president’s mental incapacity means no criminal charges, and no criminal charges mean no impeachment. Yet by abdicating its constitutional responsibility of impeachment, Congress leaves the door open to this absurd gotcha.
The solution is simple: Congress needs to stop confusing impeachment with criminal prosecution — and stop using Mueller as an excuse to avoid its constitutional duty to conduct its own impeachment investigation. The framers of the Constitution entrusted the impeachment power not to a prosecutor but to Congress. And allowing Trump continued access to power as he spirals further into madness might be, as Madison prophesied, fatal to the republic.”
As Ron Fein asserts, Congress must begin its own impeachment investigation of President Trump now. We do not need to wait for Mueller’s criminal investigation, nor do we need to focus on Trump’s mental state. We have all the evidence we need to begin an investigation and Congress must act.
On September 11, 2018, John Bonifaz, Co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People spoke with Sonali Kolhatkar on her program, Rising Up with Sonali, regarding our recent call for an impeachment investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Watch the discussion below and sign our petition calling on Congress to launch an impeachment investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Evidence has emerged that Judge Brett Kavanaugh lied repeatedly under oath to the US Senate Judiciary Committee in his 2004 and 2006 confirmation hearings to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and in his 2018 confirmation hearings to serve on the US Supreme Court. Kavanaugh should face impeachment proceedings for committing perjury before the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
As Lisa Graves, who served as chief counsel for nominations for the Democratic minority of the Senate Judiciary Committee during George W. Bush’s time as president, has written:
Newly released emails show that while he was working to move through President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees in the early 2000s, Kavanaugh received confidential memos, letters, and talking points of Democratic staffers stolen by GOP Senate aide Manuel Miranda. That includes research and talking points Miranda stole from the Senate server after I had written them for the Senate Judiciary Committee as the chief counsel for nominations for the minority.
Receiving those memos and letters alone is not an impeachable offense.
No, Kavanaugh should be removed because he was repeatedly asked under oath as part of his 2004 and 2006 confirmation hearings for his position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit about whether he had received such information from Miranda, and each time he falsely denied it.
At the end of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings for the US Supreme Court, Senator Diane Feinstein of California, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote: “Brett Kavanaugh used materials stolen from Democratic senators to advance President Bush’s judicial nominees. He was asked about this in 2004, 2006 and this week. His answers were not true.”
Federal judges, including US Supreme Court Justices, can be impeached and removed from the judiciary for committing perjury. Federal Judge Thomas Porteous was impeached by the US House and convicted (90-6) by the US Senate in 2010 on grounds which included that he “knowingly made material false statements about his past to … the United States Senate … in order to obtain the office of United States District Court Judge.” The Senate subsequently voted to disqualify him from ever holding federal office again.
The Framers of the US Constitution understood that corruption in the process of obtaining a federal office is an impeachable offense. In the constitutional debates over the impeachment power, George Mason asked rhetorically: “Shall the man who has practised corruption & by that means procured his appointment in the first instance, be suffered to escape punishment, by repeating his guilt?” Judge Kavanaugh’s perjury in the process of obtaining his current position on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, should, as with Judge Porteous, lead to his removal from the federal judiciary and should disqualify him from ever holding a future federal office.