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Law professor’s advice to House Democrats: Arrest Rudy Giuliani

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“The House arresting someone would be explosive and clearly should not be undertaken lightly. But the very explosiveness of it would be a way for the House to signal the seriousness of White House obstructionism to the public.”

Faced with an intransigent White House unwilling to cooperate with an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s pressuring of the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden, the House should take aggressive action including arresting Rudy Giuliani, a law professor argues in a column for The New York Times Thursday.

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“If necessary, the House should be willing to have these fights.”
—Josh Chafetz, law professor

“The answer is unlikely to be found in a courtroom,” writes law professor Josh Chafetz.

The White House has repeatedly refused to answer subpoenas and on Tuesday afternoon, as Common Dreams reported, announced in an eight page letter that the administration will flatly refuse to cooperate in the inquiry, a move that could set up a constitutional crisis.

“There is no legal basis for Trump’s position,” NBC analyst Katie Phang said on Twitter Tuesday. “Hard stop.”

House Democrats need to think outside the box, Chafetz argues.

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“The House should instead put back on the table the option of using its sergeant-at-arms to arrest contemnors—as the person in violation of the order is called—especially when an individual, like Rudy Giuliani, is not an executive branch official,” Chaftez writes.

Chafetz acknowledges that the move was extreme, but said that the net benefits of taking things to that level would outweigh the possible negatives of such an action and allow for the House to open the door to other punitive actions seen as less radical.

“The House arresting someone would be explosive and clearly should not be undertaken lightly,” says Chafetz. “But the very explosiveness of it would be a way for the House to signal the seriousness of White House obstructionism to the public.”

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On Thursday, Common Dreams reported that two associates of Giuliani’s were arrested for campaign finance violations due to their contributions to Trump in 2016 and 2018.

A number of legal observers endorsed the theoretical framing of Chafetz’s piece while urging readers to manage expectations.

“The idea of doing nothing, and letting congressional subpoenas become voluntary, is likely far more dangerous in the long run.”
—Seth Masket, University of Denver

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“An aggressive strategy might work in Congress’s favor, or it might backfire,” tweeted George Mason University politcal science professor Jennifer N. Victory. “We cannot underestimate the importance of public reaction for providing legitimacy to government actions when we’re in uncharted water.”

University of Denver professor Seth Masket said he saw the logic in that but inaction could prove more costly.

“Agreed that this is a risky strategy, but the idea of doing nothing, and letting congressional subpoenas become voluntary, is likely far more dangerous in the long run,” said Masket.

In his conclusion, Chafetz recognizes the pitfalls of an aggressive approach, but posits that taking such an action is necessary given the administration’s behavior.

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“In the end, whether the House wins that fight, like whether it wins a fight over arresting a contemnor, would be a function of which side best convinces the public,” writes Chafetz. “But President Trump is deeply unpopular, and the public supports impeachment. If necessary, the House should be willing to have these fights.”

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2020 Election

We should look closely at Britain’s decision to elect a man so renowned for his untrustworthiness

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In previous British elections, to say that trust was the main issue would have meant simply that trust is the trump card – whichever leader or party could secure most trust would win. Now, the emerging question about trust is whether it even matters anymore.

This is at least partly because Brexit has deepened the crisis of trust. The 2019 election was always going to be about Brexit – and not only because some people would vote according to where they stood on the matter. It was also because the emotional turbulence initiated by the 2016 referendum continues to dominate national politics in a more general way.

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Here are 9 things people say about exercise that are utter hogwash

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It can be hard to include exercise in our busy lives, despite the best of intentions. There are a lot of reasons people don’t exercise, and a lot of misconceptions about exercise. Here are nine common misconceptions about exercise and what research actually tells us.

1. I was fit once, so I don’t need to exerciseUnfortunately, the health benefits of exercise won’t last if you don’t sustain your exercise regime. A significant reduction or drop out can cause a marked loss of initial benefits, such as cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Consistency is the key. Mix it up and keep it interesting as maintaining high levels of physical activity throughout your life is associated with the best health outcomes.

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How Boris Johnson’s Conservatives swept to election victory in Labour heartlands

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Welcome to a whole new political world. The UK general election of 2019 has delivered a seismic shift in the balance of the country’s politics, the consequences of which are very hard, if not impossible to predict. But what’s clear is that Boris Johnson has broken the legislative deadlock with regard to Europe and will now wield power in a manner that his recent predecessors could only have dreamed of.

To this extent the political system appears to have worked – the people have spoken. Clearly they want to “get Brexit done”, but the result also suggests the existence of a major disconnect between the UK’s main opposition Labour party and a big chunk of its base.

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