Dershowitz’s defense argument transcript here.
Alan Dersowitz stated yesterday that extortion is fine if you’re doing it to get reelected.
“As the Senate moves toward pivotal votes on witnesses and the articles of impeachment, Republican senators who decide that Donald Trump’s shakedown of Ukraine was sleazy, but not worth removing him from office, still have a problem. They risk angering a president who insists his actions were “perfect” and beyond reproach.
In the face of a such a dilemma, senators were offered an escape hatch this week by Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz: Don’t worry about what Trump did, Dershowitz assured the senators. You can tell your constituents that if the president didn’t commit a crime, he can’t be impeached and removed from office.” (USA Today)
However, Dershowitz is wrong, according to real constitutional scholars who are not political shills, as well as to Nikolas Bowie, the person he misquotes in his arguments.
What does this leave us with? A president who has reconfigured his Article II power to allow him to freely fire anyone he hates, build anything he wants, assassinate anyone who pisses him off, withhold any of the congressionally appropriated aid he likes, and recall any foreign ambassadors, even for corrupt reasons, or as he put it – “to “do whatever I want as president.” He might as well have said “I am now king.”
If you did these calls before, do them again! Call volume matters!
Action #1 – Email/Call your legislators! Get your friends and family to call theirs!
Bolton’s book “The Room Where It Happened”, has been marrooned in the White House since December, waiting for a “classified information review” that may never happen. However, a leak has occurred…the book reportedly states that Trump did exactly what we already know he did, that Attorney General William P. Barr and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney enabled him, and that “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients.”
Meanwhile, reports from CBS news claim that GOP Senators have received strict warnings not to vote against Trump, “or your head will be held on a pike,” a phrase that so offended the delicate sensibilities of the GOP, that they’ve retreated to their fainting couches and are threatening to vote for Trump because of it, no matter what evidence says.
Minimal script to your senator: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Senator [___] to move to have John Bolton subpoenaed as a witness immediately, based on the information from his book detailed in the New York Times, along with other witness and documents necessary to ensure a fair and thorough impeachment trial. Dershowitz’s arguments are ludicrous and shameful and turn our presidency into a monarchy.
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com
Action #2 – Email/Call Chief Justice Roberts! He has power.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the Senate trial, “can easily subpoena these folks on his own,” and he “can’t even be overruled by Republicans in the Senate.“, according to Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general. Parts of the 1868 Senate rules of impeachment, still in force, give the chief justice the power to issue subpoenas without being overruled by the Senate. Once a subpoenaed witness is deposed, and only then, the Senate has the final say on whether the witness also testifies, according to this op-ed. OK, then.
Minimal script to Chief Justice John Roberts: There is credible evidence that John Bolton’s testimony before the Senate is necessary to obtain a trial that won’t be recorded in history as a cover-up for an authoritarian president’s illegal actions. (More if you want it…) Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote the “Justice too long delayed is justice denied” and that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” A kangaroo court ruling, especially on a stage where the world is watching, will tear our country apart.
Contact: Chief Justice John Roberts: Supreme Court Clerk: 202-479-3011 or email
Action #3 – Nominate Rep. Adam Schiff for a Profile in Courage Award!
Last week, Rep. Adam Schiff stood up in the Senate and defended the Constitution, the boundaries of power, and the ideals that America should always be striving for. Last Sunday, Trump threatened him on Twitter and he urged Republican senators to find the “moral courage to stand up” to a “wrathful and vindictive president.”
Take a minute from your day to fill out this quick online endorsement from the JFK Library.
Action #4 – Join Indivisible National’s Hubdialer program and talk to friendly voters!
Indivisible National has created a list of receptive voters in key red states. Join their Hubdialer program and tell them what’s at stake in this impeachment fight and why it’s so important that they talk to their senators now. Then with the click of one button, you can connect them to their Republican senator’s office. Amazing!
You can volunteer from anywhere, and Indivisible will follow up and make sure you have everything you need to contact voters once you sign up. In order to volunteer, you’ll need access to a computer or tablet to log in to our remote phone-banking system as well as a phone to actually make the calls.
Sign up here to talk to the voters who can convince Sens. Cory Gardner (CO), Martha McSally (AZ), Thom Tillis (NC), and Mitt Romeny (UT) to do the right thing.
Action #5 – Are you a member of the Twitterverse? Here’s some material to share!
“As observers of totalitarianism such as Victor Klemperer noticed, truth dies in four modes, all of which we have just witnessed.
The first mode is the open hostility to verifiable reality, which takes the form of presenting inventions and lies as if they were facts. The president does this at a high rate and at a fast pace. One attempt during the 2016 campaign to track his utterances found that 78 percent of his factual claims were false. This proportion is so high that it makes the correct assertions seem like unintended oversights on the path toward total fiction. Demeaning the world as it is begins the creation of a fictional counterworld.
The second mode is shamanistic incantation. As Klemperer noted, the fascist style depends upon “endless repetition,” designed to make the fictional plausible and the criminal desirable. The systematic use of nicknames such as “Lyin’ Ted” and “Crooked Hillary” displaced certain character traits that might more appropriately have been affixed to the president himself. Yet through blunt repetition over Twitter, our president managed the transformation of individuals into stereotypes that people then spoke aloud. At rallies, the repeated chants of “Build that wall” and “Lock her up” did not describe anything that the president had specific plans to do, but their very grandiosity established a connection between him and his audience.
The next mode is magical thinking, or the open embrace of contradiction. The president’s campaign involved the promises of cutting taxes for everyone, eliminating the national debt, and increasing spending on both social policy and national defense. These promises mutually contradict. It is as if a farmer said he were taking an egg from the henhouse, boiling it whole and serving it to his wife, and also poaching it and serving it to his children, and then returning it to the hen unbroken, and then watching as the chick hatches.
Accepting untruth of this radical kind requires a blatant abandonment of reason. Klemperer’s descriptions of losing friends in Germany in 1933 over the issue of magical thinking ring eerily true today. One of his former students implored him to “abandon yourself to your feelings, and you must always focus on the Führer’s greatness, rather than on the discomfort you are feeling at present.” Twelve years later, after all the atrocities, and at the end of a war that Germany had clearly lost, an amputated soldier told Klemperer that Hitler “has never lied yet. I believe in Hitler.”
The final mode is misplaced faith. It involves the sort of self-deifying claims the president made when he said that “I alone can solve it” or “I am your voice.” When faith descends from heaven to earth in this way, no room remains for the small truths of our individual discernment and experience. What terrified Klemperer was the way that this transition seemed permanent. Once truth had become oracular rather than factual, evidence was irrelevant. At the end of the war a worker told Klemperer that “understanding is useless, you have to have faith. I believe in the Führer.”
― Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Originally posted on Indivisible Ventura. Re-posted with permission.
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