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Law professor details 4 glaring ‘deficiencies’ with Trump lawyers’ impeachment trial brief: ‘We’ve seen this before with the tantrums’

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On Monday, January 20, attorneys representing President Donald Trump during his impeachment trial submitted a legal brief voicing their reasons for objecting to the trial. The 109-page brief has been drawing a great deal of criticism from Trump’s opponents, who argue that the attorneys’ reasoning is badly flawed in multiple ways. And law professor Michael J. Gerhardt, analyzing the brief in an article published by Just Security on January 21, cites four fundamental “deficiencies that make it more of a political screed than a legal document deserving of respect and serious consideration by senators, the public, historians and constitutional scholars.”

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Deficiency #1, according to Gerhardt, is the “table pounding” tone of the memo — which the law professor criticizes for being “replete with bluster” and using over-the-top rhetoric like “an affront to the Constitution” and “a political tool to overturn the result of the 2016 presidential election.”

“— I am being precise and literal with that choice of words — thrown by Republican members of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees,” observes Gerhardt, who teaches at the University of North Carolina. “The only thing this kind of rhetoric seemingly achieves is energizing the president’s base.”

Deficiency #2, Gerhardt asserts, is the fact that the brief is “replete with misrepresentations and false statements of fact.”

The brief, Gerhardt notes, “reiterates the canard that the whistleblower’s report is a ‘false account.’ There was nothing false about it. It was corroborated by virtually every witness who testified before the House Intelligence Committee…. It does not just strain credulity but decimates it to maintain that everyone who has testified under oath in these hearings is somehow lying, while only the president is telling the truth.”

Deficiency #3, Gerhardt writes, is the brief’s “misrepresentations and false claims about the law and about impeachment practices and procedures.”

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Gerhardt explains, “The memorandum repeatedly complains that the House did not afford the president ‘due process.’ Throughout the House’s impeachment proceedings, Republicans proclaimed ‘due process’ was a problem. Yet, the very same Republicans who made this complaint were invited to or participated in the closed-door depositions the president is now complaining about. What’s more, ‘due process’ does not apply to these proceedings, since ‘due process’ applies to the government when it is depriving someone of ‘life, liberty, or property.’”

Deficiency #4, according to Gerhardt, is that the Trump attorneys who wrote the brief “should be brought up on ethics charges in any of the bars in which they are licensed to practice law.”

“Rule 3.3 of the Code of Professional Responsibility requires lawyers to be truthful and candid in the arguments they make before tribunals,” Gerhardt notes. “The rule counts legislative proceedings as tribunals. Yet, the president’s lawyers take liberties with the law and the facts throughout — for example, maintaining the president’s support for Ukraine is ‘beyond reproach.’”

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Trump spent 45 minutes talking with cast of right-wing play dramatizing ‘Deep State’ conspiracy theories: report

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The coronavirus emergency has given President Donald Trump one of the most daunting tests of his administration, with less than a year to go before he stands for re-election.

And yet in the midst of all the chaos, one thing the president found time to do on Thursday was meet with the cast of a bizarre right-wing play dramatizing the supposed "deep state" plot at the FBI to frame Trump in the Russia investigation.

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‘This is a nightmare’: Trump accused of weaponizing DOJ with new task force focused on stripping US citizenship

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"Of all the dystopian sh*t—a department of denaturalization at DOJ might take the biscuit."

Rights advocates expressed outrage and severe concerns after the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday it is creating an official task force devoted to "denaturalization"—the process by which the government strips citizenship from foreign-born Americans, or naturalized citizens.

"Of all the dystopian shit—a department of denaturalization at DOJ might take the biscuit," tweeted activist Joel Braunold. "Means immigrant Americans (such as myself) will always have a threat to displace us if we step out of line."

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All US Navy ships in the Pacific near countries with coronavirus ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days

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CNN National Security reporter Ryan Browne tweeted Thursday that the U.S. Navy has ordered all of its vessels in the Pacific that have been near countries with COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, "to remain at sea for at least 14 days before pulling into another port in order to monitor sailors for any symptoms of the virus."

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