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In response to China’s aggressive move to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong that would further the Chinese Communist Party’s control of what is supposed to be an independent legal system, the Trump administration is now publicly threatening to impose economic sanctions on both Hong Kong and China.

In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the administration is likely to revoke Hong Kong’s special status in response to China’s increased interference in the administrative region and impose sanctions, what he suggested would be a “real blow” to the communist regime.

As The Daily Wire reported, Chinese authorities announced on Friday a new law cracking down on what the regime deems acts of “sedition” or “subversion.” The law would empower Hong Kong law enforcement to arrest residents connected to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy, anti-China movement at the behest of the Chinese government, effectively bypassing Hong Kong’s independent legislature and chief executive.

The end of the “one country, two systems” framework — established when Hong Kong was released by the United Kingdom in 1997 — would also end Hong Kong’s role as a “financial center” in the region, O’Brien suggested on Sunday. If China is effectively taking over the administrative region, the U.S. is likely to revoke Hong Kong’s special status and impose sanctions, O’Brien warned.

Citing what he predicts will be a “brain drain” in the region as members of Hong Kong’s financial community move out of the area, O’Brien said he doesn’t see how Hong Kong’s current status as an economic center will hold. “It’s hard to see how Hong Kong could remain the Asian financial center that it’s become if China takes over,” said O’Brien, as reported by Axios.

“One reason that [members of the financial community] came to Hong Kong is because there was the rule of law there, there was a free enterprise system, there was a capitalist system, there was democracy and local legislative elections,” the national security adviser explained. “If all those things go away, I’m not sure how the financial community can stay there.”

Asked if sanctions will significantly impact China, O’Brien noted that the communist regime country is “dependent on capital from the rest of the world” and “liquidity in financial markets.”

“If they lose access of that through Hong Kong, that’s a real blow to Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

China’s moves to further violate Hong Kong’s independence comes amid increased pushback from pro-Democracy protesters in the region.

“As Hong Kong suffered through lockdowns, there were indications that China would use the pandemic as cover for more intensive missions to undermine the island democracy and impose Chinese authority,” The Daily Wire reported Sunday. Overnight Saturday and into Sunday, protests broke out, thousands of protesters taking to the streets of Hong Kong. In response, authorities promptly and aggressively cracked down, police firing tear gas into the crowds, citing protesters’ failure to receive official authorization amid the city’s “social distancing” restrictions.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump Vs. China Escalates: WH Threatens Sanctions Amid Protest Crackdown, Hong Kong ‘Take-Over’

On Saturday, President Donald Trump expressed his support for the idea of a second coronavirus task force charged specifically with laying out a plan for “the reopening of the economy” through the easing of coronavirus-related shutdowns and other social-distancing measures. According to officials, he’s now in the process of following up on the idea.

Trump first signaled that he was looking into the idea in response to a social media post from Fox News host Dana Perino. “I think we need a 2nd task force assembled at direction of POTUS to look ahead to reopening of the economy. Made up of a nonpartisan/bipartisan mix of experts across industry sectors, so that we have their recommendations [and] plan – let 1st taskforce focus on crisis at the moment,” Perino tweeted Saturday.

“Good idea Dana!” the president responded. He elaborated on the idea at a press conference later that day. “Thinking about it, getting a group of people and we have to open our country,” Trump told reporters. “You know, I had an expression, the cure can’t be worse than the problem itself. Right? I started by saying that and I continue to say it. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. We got to get our country open.”

On Wednesday, citing multiple unnamed administration officials, The Washington Post reported that Trump is “preparing to announce as soon as this week a second, smaller coronavirus task force aimed specifically at combating the economic ramifications of the virus and focused on reopening the nation’s economy, according to four people familiar with the plans.”

“The task force will be made up of a mix of private-sector and top administration officials, including chief of staff Mark Meadows — whose first official day on the job was last week — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and national economic adviser Larry Kudlow, a senior administration official said,” the Post reports. “…The economic task force — which will be separate from the main coronavirus task force, despite having some overlapping members — will focus on how to reopen the country, as well as what businesses need to rebound amid catastrophic conditions. The goal is to get as much of the country as possible open by April 30, the current deadline Trump set for stringent social distancing measures.”

Two officials say that Meadows is likely to lead the task force. Another potential member is Kevin Hassett, Trump’s former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

The preparation of the economy-focused task force comes amid three weeks of devastating, historic unemployment claims. On Thursday, the Department of Labor revealed that roughly 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment last week, the second week in a row in which over 6 million Americans filled jobless claims. The Labor Department also revised last week’s report of 6.6 million weekly claims up to 6.8 million.

As The Daily Wire noted, “The new data is significantly higher than economists’ expectations, who predicted around 5 million lost jobs, according to The Wall Street Journal. For the past three weeks, more than 16 million people have filed for unemployment, largely due to coronavirus-related business closures.”

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump Forming Task Force To Reopen Economy; Key Members Named; Follows His ‘Good Idea’ Tweet

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday evening, President Trump laid out “two concepts” his administration is considering in how they approach easing coronavirus social-distancing measures and reopening the economy: a regional versus a nationwide approach.

During the interview (video below), Trump discussed several coronavirus-related topics, including promising anecdotal reports on the use of a malaria treatment drug hydroxychloroquine, which Trump has repeatedly pointed to as a potential treatment for severe cases and for which he has been hammered by the left-leaning media. But the moment that has gained the most attention in the interview is Trump’s talk of getting the economy back on track — perhaps with “a big bang.”

Asked by Hannity if the re-opening of the country would be decided “geographically” and include widespread “antibody testing” and “temperature taking” to avoid a “massive rebound,” Trump responded by addressing the two approaches his administration is currently considering.

“We’re starting to look at it very, very thoroughly, we have some great people looking at it because we want to get this country open,” Trump responded. “We have to get our country open again. This [country] wasn’t designed to have this — you crack it, you crack it in half. It’s no good.”

“We’ll be open again much sooner rather than later,” the president vowed.

“I’d love to open with a big bang, one beautiful country and just open,” Trump told Hannity, though he suggested that the “big bang” might not be the best approach.

“We’re looking at two concepts,” Trump explained. “We’re looking at the concept where you open up sections, and we’re also looking at the concept where you open up everything.”

The problem, Trump explained, is some of the harder hit areas, like New York and New Jersey, which may take longer to stabilize than less-affected parts of the country.

The president said his administration plans to announce their ideas to the public “in the near future” and noted that some of the hardest hit areas appear to be plateauing in terms of cases. He also noted the positive news that the number of hospitals beds expected to be needed to address the crisis has been radically reduced according to models based on downgraded projections of total cases and deaths.

In the two weeks after a series of state-mandated “stay-at-home” orders and industry lockdowns, nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment. The jobless claims in each of the two weeks (3.3 million and 6.6 million, respectively) dwarfed the previous historic high of jobless claims in a week, which was 695,000 in 1982.

The morning after his interview with Hannity, Trump took to social media to offer the American people some optimism amid the economy-crushing crisis.

“Once we OPEN UP OUR GREAT COUNTRY, and it will be sooner rather than later, the horror of the Invisible Enemy, except for those that sadly lost a family member or friend, must be quickly forgotten,” the president tweeted. “Our Economy will BOOM, perhaps like never before!!!”

Video below via Fox News:

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: WATCH: Trump Discusses ‘Two Concepts’ For Reopening Economy

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Ilhan Omar (MN) are among a group of Democratic lawmakers calling on the Trump administration to end sanctions on Iran during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I led a letter with [Rep. Ocasio-Cortez] and [Sen. Bernie Sanders] demanding this Administration end sanctions against Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Omar tweeted Tuesday. “These sanctions aren’t changing the behavior of the Iranian government, but directly punishing innocent civilians.”

Ocasio-Cortez also took to Twitter to publicize her role in pushing for the easing of sanctions on Iran by retweeted a post from the author of a report on the letter: “[Ocasio-Cortez], [Sanders], [Omar], and [Sen. Elizabeth Warren] & co want to suspend sanctions on Iran that make it hard to import meds, PPE & respirators despite one of the world’s biggest COVID-19 outbreaks and Trump’s claims of having made enough humanitarian concessions,” reads the tweet from Huffington Post foreign affairs reporter Akbar Shahid Ahmed.

As reported by the HuffPost on Tuesday, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders are among over two-dozen Democratic lawmakers who signed a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Tuesday demanding the administration “suspend sweeping U.S. sanctions on Iran that are hindering the country’s response to its massive coronavirus outbreak.”

“Allowing this crisis to become more dire in Iran threatens significant harm not only to the people of Iran but also to people in the United States and around the world,” the letter reads.

“Our many disputes with the government of Iran or others should not stand in the way of actions that can materially help innocent people weather a pandemic,” the Democratic lawmakers assert.

As a precedent for such an action, the letter notes that President George W. Bush’s administration “eased sanctions” and “delivered aid” to Iran after the 2003 earthquake near Bam.

Among the sanctions relief they are demanding are “those that encompass major sectors of the Iranian economy, including those impacting civilian industries, Iran’s banking sector and exports of oil.” The easing of sanctions should last “for at least as long as health experts believe the crisis will continue,” the lawmakers insist.

HuffPost cites some of the alarming COVID-19 statistics coming out of Iran, including more 2,750 deaths in connection to the virus and more than 40,000 infections.

Along with Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Sanders, former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) signed the letter.

During the course of his presidency, Trump has withdrawn from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal and ramped up pressure on Iran by placing increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

While HuffPost notes that the sanctions “restrict Iran’s ability to earn foreign currency by selling oil abroad and to trade with international firms, limiting its imports of medicine and materials it needs to produce drugs domestically,” and have damaged the country’s ability to gain access to specialized medical equipment, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has turned down U.S. offers of aid.

“The U.S. preserved loopholes for food and medical trade with Iran and acknowledged its need by offering aid, American officials have noted, but Iran’s Supreme Leader rejected the offer,” HuffPost reports. “Last month, Trump authorized a new channel for humanitarian exports to the country that allows companies to seek approval for deals from the U.S. and Swiss governments without fear of incurring American penalties.”

Despite Trump opening the new channels, “producers of vital supplies are still nervous about fines, as American authorities continue to target violators of the sanctions and impose new ones, and are reluctant to deal with byzantine U.S. regulations that cover broad swathes of the Iranian economy, from banks to parts of the military,” HuffPost notes.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar Demand Trump End Sanctions On Iran During Coronavirus Crisis

Gallup’s latest survey on Americans’ opinions of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic contains a series of welcome numbers for the incumbent amid the election-year crisis.

Gallup’s new study finds that Trump’s approval among U.S. adults has jumped 5 points since earlier this month, surging from 44 to 49% approval. That approval rating is the best of his presidency, matching previous highs experienced in late January and early February as the Senate conducted the impeachment trial that ultimately acquitted the president of both of the Democrats’ impeachment articles.

“Independents’ and Democrats’ approval of Trump’s performance has increased slightly since earlier this month, tying as the best he has registered to date among each group,” Gallup explains. “The president’s approval rating among Republicans was already above 90%, and remains so — but is not currently his highest on record (94% in late January).”

The sudden increase among both independents and Democrats, which Gallup underscores is “highly unusual for Trump in particular,” indicates a true “rally,” the pollster explains. While Gallup somewhat downplays the development, describing the 5-point increase as a “small rally,” five points is significant in the midst of an economy-crushing crisis and in an election year that appears to be leading to a very close contest.

Also significant are Americans’ views of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. On this front, Gallup does not soft-pedal Trump’s very strong performance and credits public opinion on his handling of the crisis for his increased overall approval rating.

“Americans give the president generally positive reviews for his handling of the situation, with 60% approving and 38% disapproving,” Gallup reports. “Ninety-four percent of Republicans, 60% of independents and 27% of Democrats approve of his response.”

This strong approval percentage, Gallup suggests, is likely a reason that Trump has gained 5 points in overall approval in just a few weeks.

The positive movement in approval on the handling of the crisis, Gallup posits, is in part due to Trump’s tonal shift on March 16, in which he “acknowledged the seriousness of the situation by urging people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and to have workers and students stay home if possible.” Trump also began holding daily press briefings to provide the country with updates on the pandemic and the federal and state response.

In its report on the findings of its latest Trump-focused survey, Gallup provides some context for presidential rallies during crises:

Historically, presidential job approval has increased when the nation is under threat. Every president from Franklin Roosevelt through George W. Bush saw their approval rating surge at least 10 points after a significant national event of this kind. Bush’s 35-point increase after 9/11 is the most notable rally effect on record. During these rallies, independents and supporters of the opposing party to the president typically show heightened support for the commander in chief.

Due to heightened “political polarization,” Gallup explains, such dramatic surges in approval appear to be a “relic of the past,” thus Trump’s spike is a more modest in comparison 5%.

Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll of U.S. voters currently gives Trump almost identical approval numbers as President Obama at the same point in his presidency. Obama would go on to easily win re-election. Rasmussen’s tracking poll shows Trump at 46% approval and 53% disapproval, with 34% strongly approving and 42% strongly disapproving.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump Approval Spikes, Strong Majority Of Americans Approve Of His Handling Of Crisis

A massive emergency stimulus package proposed by the White House will direct two $1,000 checks to many Americans, according to administration officials.

“White House officials are working with congressional Republicans on an emergency stimulus package that could send two $1,000 checks to many Americans and also devote $300 billion towards helping small businesses avoid mass layoffs, according to two senior administration officials,” The Washington Post reported Wednesday. “No final decisions have been made and talks with Republican leaders remain fluid, but the growing scale of the $1 trillion rescue plan is coming into sharper focus.”

“The White House will still need backing from Democrats before any plan can be pushed into law, but many Democrats have said they would support sending cash payments to Americans who are struggling to pay bills because of the virus’s economic impact. Still, multiple levels of negotiations remain,” the Post’s Erica Werner and Jeff Stein note.

While the Senate takes steps to pass a more modest coronavirus relief bill, the White House has been in talks with congressional leaders about its sizable stimulus package that would amount to over $900 billion in tax cuts, loan options, and payments to Americans who qualify for the emergency relief checks.

On Tuesday, multiple outlets reported that the bill would include around $500 billion in payroll tax cut, $250 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, and around $60 billion for the airline industry, totaling around $850 billion.

The Post’s sources say now that the total amount will likely be significantly higher, some $1 trillion, which is expected to include “$500 billion towards the cash payments to individual Americans, though some people wouldn’t qualify if their income is over a certain level.” The SBA loan initiative, meanwhile, will likely include $300 billion in funding, the Post reports.

As noted by the Post Tuesday, the Trump plan “would come in addition to another roughly $100 billion package that aims to provide paid sick leave for impacted workers, though the details of that legislation remain very fluid as it moves through Congress.”

Early Wednesday, President Trump issued a tweet assuring Americans out of work because of the crisis that “money will soon be coming to you.”

“For the people that are now out of work because of the important and necessary containment policies, for instance the shutting down of hotels, bars and restaurants, money will soon be coming to you,” Trump tweeted. “The onslaught of the Chinese Virus is not your fault! Will be stronger than ever!”

The president followed up that tweet up by vowing to “totally protect your Medicare & Social Security!”

As The Daily Wire reported, President Trump announced other decisive measures Wednesday intended to address the coronavirus crisis, including the mutual decision with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to shut down the U.S. border with Canada in order to curb the further spread of COVID-19.

“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!” Trump tweeted.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump Stimulus Plan Aims To Give $2,000 To Many Americans

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has become embroiled in controversy after he directed a threatening statement to Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh during an abortion rally outside the nation’s highest court on Wednesday — and a recent complaint against President Trump Schumer posted on Twitter is making matters worse for the Democratic senator.

“Over the last three years, women’s reproductive rights have come under attack in a way we haven’t seen in modern history,” Schumer declared at the Center for Reproductive Rights-hosted event on Wednesday. “Republican legislatures are waging a war on women, all women, and they’re taking away fundamental rights.”

The senator then directed his next comment specifically to Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, both Trump-nominated justices with pro-life records. “I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” Schumer warned.

The comment has earned strong rebuke from both the right and the left. But Schumer’s threat is even more egregious in light of his recent complaint about Trump.

In mid-February, Schumer condemned Trump for criticizing the federal judge presiding over the Roger Stone case, which Schumer described as an assault on “the independence of the federal judiciary.” Chief Justice John Roberts, Schumer demanded, must publicly rebuke the president for his criticism.

“With President Trump publicly attacking a judge: Now would be the time for Chief Justice Roberts to speak up,” Schumer tweeted along with video of himself listing his complaints against Trump on the Senate floor (h/t Twitchy). “Now would be the time for the Chief Justice to directly and specifically defend the independence of the federal judiciary. I hope he will see fit to, and do it today.”

But when Chief Justice Roberts defended the independence of the judiciary for a far more incendiary statement than Trump’s — the statement Wednesday by Schumer — the senator’s spokesman responded by lashing out at Roberts. The Chief Justice, Schumer’s camp suggested, was demonstrating political bias by rebuking him. The spokesman apparently forgot what Schumer himself said in the video he tweeted out in February: that Roberts has rebuked Trump in the past.

“This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside,” Roberts said in a statement Wednesday. “Senator Schumer referred to two Members of the Court by name and said he wanted to tell them that ‘You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.’ Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”

Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman responded in a statement Wednesday: “For Justice Roberts to follow the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen. Schumer said, while remaining silent when President Trump attacked Justices Sotomayor and Ginsberg last week, shows that Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes.”

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Schumer’s Recent Tweet About Trump Comes Back To Bite Him After Threat Against Justices

The CNN-hosted Democratic presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday night is being blasted from all sides as the dullest and most absent of substance of the seven debates held thus far. While left-leaning Deadline couldn’t bring itself to even attempt to resuscitate what it described as the “dull night of the living dead,” Donald Trump danced on the candidates’ graves.

As The New York Times lamented, the “fireworks did not really materialize” Tuesday night as many had anticipated with the stakes so high for the top tier candidates. The only truly notable moments were unfortunate for the Democrats: a CNN moderator making clear which candidate the network believes over the report that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders supposedly told Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren that a woman couldn’t win in 2020 — a moment that had critics declaring “media malpractice” — and Warren’s viral refusal to shake Sanders’ hand post-debate.

As #NeverWarren began trending online, Trump took to Twitter to promote some of his favorite trolling responses to the Democrats’ “dull” debate and to demonstrate that he can reach across the aisle by expressing agreement with a Democratic candidate (tweets below).

One of Trump’s first debate-themed posts was a retweet of a “space alien” comment from Fox News host Greg Gutfeld. “If you were a space alien, bouncing between the debate and the Trump rally, you’d think these are two different species — meek, dull creatures, and a monstrous, domineering behemoth. you’d know who to fear, and deal accordingly,” wrote Gutfeld.

Trump followed that by retweeting a “daily reminder” about Democrats’ goals from “Tipping Point” host Liz Wheeler. “Your daily reminder that Democrats want to: – Open borders – Abolish private health insurance – Ban your AR-15s – Give illegal aliens free healthcare – Raise your taxes – Abortion without restriction – Green New Deal – End school choice,” wrote Wheeler, adding the hashtag “#DemDebate.

The president then promoted a post by Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles. “If the election were held in the 24 hours after this #DemocraticDebate, Trump would win every single state, including Greenland,” wrote the author of a bestselling Democrat-mocking book with no words.

Trump then expressed his agreement with Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, who said in an interview that progressive Democrats are going to destroy the economy within minutes if they’re given control. “I agree with him on this, 100%,” wrote Trump. “But why would anyone vote Democrat? We are setting all time records with the economy!”

The president closed out his debate trolling by pointing to a brutal interview with progressive CNN commentator Van Jones, who said his big takeaway from the “dispiriting” debate is that he saw “nothing” that “would be able to take Donald Trump out.”

“I want to say that tonight for me was dispiriting,” Jones admitted during CNN’s post-debate coverage. “Democrats will have to do better than we saw tonight. There was nothing I saw tonight to suggest we’ll be able to take Donald Trump out, and I want to see a Democrat in the White House as soon as possible. There was nothing tonight, if you’re looking at this thing, to say any of these people are prepared for what Donald Trump will do to us. And to see further divisions tonight is very dispiriting.”

Trump’s tweets and retweets below:

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump Trolls Democrats Over Dismal Debate, Highlights ‘Space Alien’ Comment

In an op-ed for The Hill published Monday, Bradley A. Blakeman, former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush and an adjunct professor of public policy and international affairs at Georgetown University, argues that “there’s no requirement — or need — for an actual trial in the Senate.” President Trump has since made clear that he agrees.

When the House Democrats finally hand over the two articles of impeachment — for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — to the Republican-controlled Senate, House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has at least five options, Blakeman explains. One of those options, he argues, is to simply dismiss the trial altogether.

“The Senate could entertain a motion by the president’s counsel to dismiss — before the start of a trial — both articles of impeachment, for failure to meet the constitutional threshold for stating a cause of action,” Blakeman writes. The decision would require only a simple majority vote (51) to pass because it is a procedural motion.

After detailing four other options, Blakeman lays out unequivocally where he stands:

In my opinion, a trial is unnecessary. The House articles, on their face, are defective. Both fail to meet the constitutional threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” This would negate a trial but does not give the president any formal “acquittal,” after a trial on the merits of the articles, which would prove the president’s innocence. While this would be true in a traditional criminal judicial proceeding, it is not the case in a political trial. No matter how the Senate deals with the articles of impeachment, Democrats and Republicans will put their own political spin on the outcome. Since the House articles of impeachment were voted strictly on party lines, and the country is so divided on the whole impeachment process, in my opinion, a trial is less important.

President Trump highlighted Blakeman’s “dismissal” argument in a pair of tweets Thursday morning, quoting Blakeman from an appearance on Fox News.

Citing Blakeman, Trump wrote: “I happen to believe as a lawyer that the charges are defective, they don’t meet the Constitutional standard of high crimes and misdemeanors, so I would like to see a Motion to Dismiss. At least 51 Republican Senators would agree with that — there should be no trial.”

“Nancy Pelosi has no leverage over the Senate,” Trump added in a follow-up tweet, again quoting Blakeman. “Mitch McConnell did not nose his way into the impeachment process in the House, and she has no standing in the Senate.”

In his op-ed for The Hill, Blakeman goes on to outline the other four options he maintains are available to Senate Republicans. If McConnell chooses not to dismiss the trial outright, he could begin the trial but (quickly) end it “whenever the Senate majority deems it has heard enough and calls for a vote.” Republicans would only need to be certain that impeachment does not have two-thirds approval, a near impossibility.

McConnell could also take the opposite approach, conducting a “full-blown trial,” deliberately dragging it out and calling a variety of witnesses “as long as the Senate majority feels doing so is in its interests.” This option, Blakeman predicts, would result in Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts being forced to intervene and issue “numerous rulings, some of which would be unpredictable in their outcomes.”

Another option: hold the trial but then vote for dismissal, a procedural motion requiring a simple majority.

Finally, Blakeman argues, Republicans could employ the “nuclear option”: “make a procedural motion to adjourn the start of a trial until Nov. 4, 2020,” allowing voters to decide Trump’s fate. That option also would only require a simple majority vote.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Blakeman: There’s No Requirement For Senate To Hold Impeachment Trial; Trump Agrees

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has been “highly critical” of President Trump and has consistently voted for Democratic presidents, but he has a strong warning for the House Judiciary Committee on the first day of its impeachment hearings: While President Trump’s July 25 phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart was “anything but perfect,” the Democrats have simply failed to obtain the adequate evidence to make a case for such a serious action as removing the sitting president of the United States. To push this impeachment forward, Turley warns, is “dangerous.”

The four impeachment witnesses for the Judiciary Committee-led hearing Wednesday are all law professors, and three of them, selected by Democrats, are expected to heartily endorse the Democrats’ impeachment effort.

Only the lone Republican-selected witness allowed by the Democrats to testify Wednesday, Turley — a self-described Trump critic and Democratic voter — will push back agains the Democrats’ impeachment campaign.

The impeachment “is not wrong because President Trump is right,” says Turley in his 53-page opening statement. While Trump’s famous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “anything but perfect,” Turley argues, and a case for impeachment “could be made,” “it cannot be made on this record,” as all of the evidence has been second-hand at best.

After explaining that he’s been “highly critical of President Trump, his policies, and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns,” and voted against him in the 2016 election — and for both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama before that — Turley makes the case that what the Democrats are doing by pushing forward with the partisan impeachment of Trump is actually “dangerous”:

I would like to start, perhaps incongruously, with a statement of three irrelevant facts. First, I am not a supporter of President Trump. I voted against him in 2016 and I have previously voted for Presidents Clinton and Obama. Second, I have been highly critical of President Trump, his policies, and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns. Third, I have repeatedly criticized his raising of the investigation of the Hunter Biden matter with the Ukrainian president. These points are not meant to curry favor or approval. Rather they are meant to drive home a simple point: one can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president.

To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump. My personal and political views of President Trump, however, are irrelevant to my impeachment testimony, as they should be to your impeachment vote. Today, my only concern is the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment. President Trump will not be our last president and what we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come. I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.7 That does not bode well for future presidents who are working in a country often sharply and, at times, bitterly divided.

Of course, Turley’s fellow expert witnesses called to testify by Democrats Wednesday disagree. In fact, University of North Carolina’s Michael Gerhardt believes that not only are Trump’s actions impeachable, they’re “worse than the misconduct of any prior president.”

“The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favor from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president,” the law professor asserts in his prepared remarks, as reported by Politico.

“If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning,” Gerhardt declares.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump-Critic Impeachment Witness To Democrats: Sorry, You Just Don’t Have The Evidence To Impeach

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