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White House letter inadvertently revealed Trump has no impeachment defense: Conservative scholar

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On Tuesday, conservative think tank scholar Greg Weiner urged Democrats in The Bulwark to continue the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump — and suggested that the warning letter to House Democrats from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone proves he has no legal recourse to challenge it.

“The most compelling evidence for impeachment is now in the public record. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s refusal to cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry is an attack not on its recipients — House Democrats who, through a process of legal alchemy, he accuses of violating phantom processes — but rather on the relationship between Congress and the executive branch,” wrote Weiner. “President Donald Trump is now claiming for himself and, crucially, future presidents, the authority to determine the legitimacy of legislative oversight.”

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Weiner argued that impeachment is now a necessity for three key reasons: To hold Trump accountable, to assert the separation of powers, and to follow the evidence laid out by Cipollone himself.

“Cipollone’s letter is a game-changer precisely because it is not about the president’s conduct — which Democrats are always primed to attack and which Republicans are forever willing to excuse,” wrote Weiner. “It sweeps away the clutter of Trump’s outsized personality to clarify the constitutional stakes. In that sense, the letter is not a constitutional crisis. It is a constitutional opportunity.”

In fact, Weiner argued, the impeachment inquiry should focus on the abuse of power inherent in the letter itself.

“On the basis of Cipollone’s letter alone, the House could immediately debate articles of impeachment rooted in abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,” wrote Weiner. “That would clarify the question for Congressional Republicans, which is not whether they are willing to apologize ad infinitum for President Trump personally — they are — but rather whether they are willing to go on record as foregoing their power of oversight of future Democratic administrations. Democrats will eventually occupy the White House and Republicans will eventually control the Congress. Whether that happens in 2021 or beyond is not the point. The survival of congressional oversight is.”

“Oversight of the administration’s antics in Ukraine can continue, of course. But the obstruction case is ready for trial. The evidence is indisputable, and indisputably clarifying,” concluded Weiner. “What is on trial is not the transient fabulism of Donald Trump but rather the enduring architecture of the Constitution.”

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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz admits Trump’s legal defense was ‘like an 8th grade book report’ — only worse

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) admitted that President Donald Trump's team of lawyers weren't quite the legal eagles that he thinks they might be, said Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Questioned about his take on the way the case is unfolding in the Senate, Gaetz said that the House presented it like it was going to be on "cable news." For many that may be an insult, but it appears to Gaetz that was a compliment.

Desiderio said that Gaetz then lamented that the White House presented their case more like “an 8th-grade book report.”

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