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    • The Mueller Report came out on Thursday. My reading of the highlights is that there are sufficient grounds to start an impeachment or indictment process. Under the doctrine of innocent until proven guilty, being impeached or indicted does not mean the President is guilty: it is j’accuse by the courts or Congress.

      But the threat of such actions now, or indictment only if the President is not re-elected, leaves many unanswered questions of how the President will respond during the rest of his first term.

      Should Presidential candidates commit to pardon the President for any and all federal crimes if he were to agree to leave office shortly?

    • I don't think anyone should announce such a deal. And it wouldn't matter anyway, if he resigned Pence could pardon him.

      I think that would be fine, as I feel his biggest exposure to prosecution is at the State level anyway. He probably realizes that, so a pardon is less valuable.

    • Wow, what a question. I think I’m with Kylo on this for an additional reason: resignation feels like an admission of guilt so I can’t imagine him doing it.

      What fascinates me about the Mueller report is how two different people can see the very same thing and come away with completely different conclusions. 😮

    • In my opinion, the case for impeachment is very strong on the grounds that Trump only failed to obstruct justice because others (E.g. Don McGahn) didn’t carry out his crazy orders. He clearly tried to meddle with the investigation. On top of that, I think the press comes away looking really good. Their reports of a chaotic White House seem to be on point here. The excuse to not file for impeachment because you won’t get a conviction feels hollow to me. If you feel the grounds are there, ask for impeachment and then if the Republicans don’t follow through, the responsibility will rest on their shoulders. History will only have them to blame. That’s how I read it.

    • It's hard for me to understand the argument that even though you tried to obstruct justice, you failed because someone stopped you, so you're innocent. I guess it's true that if you try to shoplift and a store clerk stops you, there was no crime.

      This is an honest question because I'm not a lawyer and don't know, but is there a scale? If I shoot at someone and miss, am I guilty of attempted murder?

      The other question I have is why isn't there more responsibility the higher you rise? In other words, you would think attempted obstruction would be more serious for a president, not less. And if you do it in public on Twitter, shouldn't that be even more serious than trying to do it in secret?

    • I don't think anyone should announce such a deal. And it wouldn't matter anyway, if he resigned Pence could pardon him.

      One of the defenses for refusing to testify is on fifth amendment grounds against self-incrimination. Once you are pardoned of those crimes, you no longer have grounds to refuse to testify and can be jailed and remain in prison until you do testify.

      If Pence pardoned the President, a grand jury could compell the ex-President to testify on Pence’s involvement. So it may be in Pence’s self-interest not to pardon him if Pence was involved.

      I think that would be fine, as I feel his biggest exposure to prosecution is at the State level anyway. He probably realizes that, so a pardon is less valuable.

      New York State is changing its laws so that evidence used to obtain a federal conviction can also be used to obtain a state conviction: before the change, if you were convicted on federal charges it was considered double jeopardy to also convict at the state level for the same crime [1]. If Trump is pardoned, my assumption is that all of the federal investigation records are sealed. So the state wouldn’t have access to them.

      [1] NY AG James says agreement reached on closing double jeopardy 'loophole' https://www.wrvo.org/post/ny-ag-james-says-agreement-reached-closing-double-jeopardy-loophole

    • Would you commit, if elected, to pardon the President for any and all federal crimes if he were to agree to leave office shortly?

      @apm, I can’t make sense of this poll question. If I were elected and in a position to pardon, wouldn’t that mean that I had been elected to the presidency, and so the president would already be leaving office shortly??? 🤔

    • I'm still in the mode of learning what the Mueller report says. I had a preconceived notion, mostly based on what the president says and partly on the reporting, both of which made it sound to my ears like it could be very bad.

      Then when Barr came out with his summary and press conference, I thought "huh, we got it wrong, wouldn't be the first time. We thought the worst and it wasn't that bad. Good to know."

      But now that I'm actually reading it, this reminds me of that time not long ago when we saw a pic of a maga hat-wearing teen confronting a Native American at the Lincoln Memorial. It caused the nation to lose its mind. But then video surfaced of other points of view, and we realized we had jumped the gun with incomplete info and it wasn't like we thought.

      Now that I'm actually reading the Mueller report, listening to lawyers and even Fox News reporters, I'm having trouble reconciling what Barr has said about the report. This is where I wonder how two people could read the same thing and come away with two vastly different interpretations.

    • I wonder if Barr was just trying to put an end to it all. Sort of like Gerald Ford was trying to do when he pardoned Nixon.

    • The excuse to not file for impeachment because you won’t get a conviction feels hollow to me.

      If no one is impeached and the public doesn’t protest, why would a politician take futile or even counterproductive actions?

      Right now, there is a civil war in the Democratic Party between the Centrists and Progressives. Per the New York Times, there have been private strategy sessions by Centrist party leaders to eliminate Progressive nominees with the Super Delegate votes during the convention in 2020 [1]. As long as the President is in office when the elections are held in November, the Democratic Party can bank on voters getting behind whoever they put up to run against him.

      If someone else is President leading up to Election Day, then the Democratic Party has to deal with

      - fewer people showing up to vote.

      - more people not voting out of outrage that their candidate was “cheated” of the nominee,

      - more people voting for a third party candidate out of outrage that their candidate was “cheated” of the nominee.

      As the Majority Leader Hoyer stated when the Mueller report came out, their main focus is on winning elections and impeaching the President puts that at risk [2].

      [1]. ‘‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/16/us/politics/bernie-sanders-democratic-party.html

      [2]. Impeachment 'not worthwhile at this point,' Steny Hoyer says https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/18/politics/impeachment-democrats-mueller-report-trump/index.html

      [3]. Source for image: https://twitter.com/kevinmkruse/status/1119347084187115521?s=21

    • Personally, if possible, I think the Dems would be smart to first get the completely unredacted report, get Barr to testify one more time (which I believe is happening in May), get Mueller to testify (which I think is in the works), and get McGahn to testify (which I think is also in the works) before going through with impeachment proceedings. Just so that they have as much data as possible and look like they were willing to reserve some judgment. It would make them look better, imo.

    • I can’t make sense of this poll question. If I were elected and in a position to pardon, wouldn’t that mean that I had been elected to the presidency, and so the president would already be leaving office shortly???

      Should the Democratic candidates, or the nominee if after the convention, pledge to pardon the President if he agrees not to run for re-election? As a further stipulation for a pledge of pardon, should the President be required to resign once an agreement is reached?

      There are both strategic and ethical considerations.

      From an ethics standpoint, Congress has a responsibility to begin articles of impeachment if there are grounds to do so—regardless of whether the Senate ends up voting against it.

      From a strategic standpoint, things become more complex and, dare I say it, more interesting.

    • Did I mention I love analyzing data? Great graph!

      In 1969, support for Nixon was at 80% for Republicans, at 60% for Independents, and a surprising 50% for Democrats.

      At the peak, in the beginning of 1973, Republican support rose to 90% and then nose dived to 50% eighteen months later. (40% drop)

      For Democrats, support for Nixon went from 50% to around 10%. (40% drop)

      While our current President has not seen anywhere near those declines during his presidency, he has not seen anywhere near Nixon’s levels of support from his own party.

    • Also, it's interesting to look at how other presidents polled at this time in their presidency. He's polling higher than Reagan overall, and around where Obama and Clinton polled.

    • He's polling higher than Reagan overall, and around where Obama and Clinton polled.

      On April 1, 1983, Reagan was dealing with a 10.2% unemployment rate and could only eke out a 42% approval rating [1,2]. On April 1, 2011, Obama was dealing with a 9.1% unemployment rate and had a comparable 44% approval rating [1,2].

      On Mar 1, 2019 (the most current date available), the unemployment rate was 3.9% [1]. I would expect the President’s approval rating to be significantly higher but on April 1 it was only one point higher than Obama at 45% [2].

      My understanding is Trump's polling numbers among his own party have been higher than any previous president.

      I don’t think you can make an apples to apples comparison between the President and any of the other presidents’ party approval ratings. If you were a Republican who voted for Reagan in 1980, you still considered yourself a Republican two and a half years later. I think to have an accurate picture, you would need to count the negative approval ratings of independent voters who considered themselves Republicans during the 2016 presidential election.

      [1] History of unemployment rates https://www.multpl.com/unemployment/table/by-month

      [2] Gallop approval ratings data https://news.gallup.com/poll/203198/presidential-approval-ratings-donald-trump.aspx

    • "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

      I think it is a leap to say that there is some ethical obligation on the house to impeach even if they know the Senate will not convict. I think their obligation is to do every effective thing they can to defend the Constitution... which may mean blunting the damage Trump can do, and ensuring the public is educated enough to not vote for him in the next election.

    • One could say in order to educate the public as best they can, they should open impeachment hearings. That way all the info will come out and more people will pay attention to what’s going on. That will lay everything out in the open and allow every American to better judge for themselves. In other words, I’m not sure what other options there are that can accomplish this goal to the same degree.

    • Okay, I learned today that I had a completely incorrect understanding of what a “high crime” is.

      A high crime is one that can only be done by someone in a unique position of authority, which is political in character. "High" in the legal and common parlance of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of "high crimes" signifies activity by or against those who have special duties acquired by taking an oath of office that are not shared with common persons. [1]

      What did you think it meant?

      [1] High crimes and misdemeanors https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_crimes_and_misdemeanors

    • I think to have an accurate picture, you would need to count the negative approval ratings of independent voters who considered themselves Republicans during the 2016 presidential election.

      Apparently, you would also need to count Democratic voters who considered themselves Republicans during the 2016 presidential election @Chris .

      👇

    • My understanding is “high crimes and misdemeanors” is intentionally vague to give Congress more leeway and flexibility to do what they feel is right.

    • At the end of the day there is no review of an impeachment/conviction in Congress. If they can get the votes, they can impeach/convict it doesn't really matter why.