On CNN Tuesday, fact-checker John Avlon broke down the main arguments the GOP is making against convicting President Donald Trump.
“Presidential impeachment is a serious business, so you might expect the defense to be serious as well,” said Avlon. “But unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case, judging by two documents put forward by President Trump’s lawyers. They essentially represent an attempt to put Trump’s twitter feed and rally speeches into legalese. Here is a look at five fact-free arguments you are likely to hear.”
“One, the articles of impeachment violate the Constitution,” said Avlon. “These are nonsense words and a contradiction in terms. Impeachment is written into the Constitution. Good people can disagree with the charges, process, or whether it rises to the level of removal from office, but it takes brass to argue that impeachment is unconstitutional.”
“Two, this he failed to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever,” said Avlon. “Now, Republicans seem set to ignore the recent findings from the GAO after the articles were adopted, that the hold on Ukraine military aid did break the law. Trump and Republicans seem to be arguing without an indictable crime, impeachment is illegitimate.”
“Number three. Abuse of power is not an impeachable offense,” said Avlon. “The White House legal brief calls it a ‘novel theory’ and ‘made-up standard.’ That’s a novel definition of ‘novel,’ which the dictionary defines as new and not resembling something formerly known. Abuse of power was the second article of impeachment drawn up about President Nixon and President Clinton at the recommendation of Ken Starr, now a member of the Trump legal team. Let’s go back to the Constitutional Convention and look, there’s Edmund Randolph later the first attorney general, arguing that impeachment was important because, quote, ‘the executive will have great opportunities of abusing his power.'”
“Number four, obstruction is not an impeachable offense,” said Avlon. “They’re calling it ‘a radical theory that would do grave damage to the separation of powers,’ but this is not a radical idea. Obstruction was core to the articles of impeachment against Nixon, and the Supreme Court weighed in in U.S. versus Nixon, writing, ‘generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial.’ Of course, Bill Clinton was initially accused by Ken Starr of abusing his power by invoking executive privilege and lying repeatedly … and that’s despite landing over reams of documents, allowing direct witnesses to testify, all things the Trump White House has refused to do. And Clinton even testified under oath himself.”
“Finally, number five, despite all the evidence the president did nothing wrong,” said Avlon. “That’s right. The president’s legal team is all in with his insistence of complete innocence, arguing that the call with the ukrainian president was perfectly appropriate and just about the important issue of Ukrainian corruption, Now, if all of this is true, you would think that the White House would be fighting to have direct witnesses exonerate the president under oath. That’s not what’s happened. Instead, the fact-free strategy of deflect and project, arguing it’s the Democrats who are engaged in a brazen unlawful attempt to interfere with the 2020 election.”
Markets are ‘getting ready for something worse’ amid coronavirus chaos: Expert
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," business analyst Richard Quest said that the United States is not likely on track for a recession at the moment — but that if the coronavirus outbreak explodes within the country, it could destabilize the economy into a tailspin.
"The 1,190-point drop today, the largest in the history of the New York Stock Exchange," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "Over the past week, the Dow Jones has dropped 3,581 points since last Thursday alone ... could the U.S. economy now go into recession if the coronavirus spreads here in the United States?"
"Right, the qualifications of that is the last bit of your question: If it spreads in the United States," said Quest. "At the moment, there's no reputable economist that is forecasting a global recession or a U.S. recession if the status quo is maintained, i.e., periodic expansions of this with just a few more cases. However, if there was a full-scale outbreak and you start looking at large parts of the U.S. economy being shut down, no question about it. A recession would be on the cards."
Trump is getting a ‘no-confidence vote from financial markets’ over erratic coronavirus response: CNN’s Harwood
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank once again in early trading on Thursday amid concerns about how the spread of the coronavirus will impact the economy.
CNN's John Harwood on Thursday said that President Donald Trump's efforts to calm markets by appointing Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the government's coronavirus response had clearly flopped, as the Dow dropped by more than 700 points in early trading.
"What you have seen today and last night, when Dow futures fell while that press conference was going, on is a no confidence vote from financial markets," Harwood said. "You have the president appointing Mike Pence saying he's good on health -- we all remember that as governor of Indiana, he struggled to cope with a public health crisis on HIV by delaying needle exchanges. That had real consequences in terms of lives lost, so the administration has not gotten its act together."
NYT reporter reveals the stunning reason Trump believed coronavirus would disappear next month
On CNN Thursday, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman revealed that President Donald Trump is angry about his administration's coronavirus response — in part because he misunderstood what the experts told him about the disease and thought they meant it was going to go away soon.
"The president has been very frustrated with the public messaging of this from his administration, but not for the reasons that people necessarily think," said Haberman. "It's because there were experts who were saying one thing from the CDC, which was that there is this problem growing, and then he was trying to tamp this down in his own comments, and he keeps saying something that, as I understand it, is a misinterpretation of what he was told in a briefing, which was that viruses tend to decrease in numbers in terms of spread during warmer weather. He has taken that and put his own spin on it which is, it's going to stop by April. He's been telling people that for a while."