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So what happenned.

On Wednesday, December 18th, the House of Representatives voted to pass two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump — abuse of his office and obstruction of Congress.

The House passed the abuse of power article by a vote of 230 to 197 to 1 and the obstruction of Congress article by a vote of 229 to 198 to 1. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, voting present.

One independent supported impeachment and two Democrats opposed both articles of impeachment, along with every Republican. One Democrat split votes, supporting the abuse of power article but not obstruction of Congress.

The Abuse of power charge is based on his alleged effort to withhold taxpayer money from Ukraine and get that country to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. There was no evidence presented in the hearings that support the charge, only speculation as to the intent of his phone call. The transcript was released by the White House, prior to the hearings. Also, in both a written statement and in numerous interviews the President of Ukraine denies any quid pro quo efforts on the part of the president. The House Democrats do not agree with the President of Ukraine. 

The investigation mentioned in the phone call concerns the son of Joe Biden, and the ongoing investigation of the Ukraine Company he sits on the Board of.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-impeachment-burisma/ukraine-widens-probe-against-burisma-founder-to-embezzlement-of-state-funds-idUSKBN1XU2N7

The original Ukranian investigation was stopped by Joe Biden while VP during the Obama administration, according Joe Biden.

Obstruction of Congress charge is based on his refusal to cooperate with the oversight investigation. Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor crime under U.S. law, which defines the offense as willfully failing to provide testimony or documents to Congress. A different crime, obstruction of justice, more broadly prohibits “interference with the orderly administration of law and justice.”

The legal argument is complicated because the White House had refused to provide documents to congressional investigators and instructed top advisers and government officials to defy subpoenas and refuse to testify, based on the argument that the Constitution does not require senior presidential advisers to appear for compelled testimony before Congress.

According to Lawfare, 'there is continuing debate regarding whether a president can be charged under the obstruction statutes, despite the apparent application of their prohibitions to the facts at hand in the impeachment inquiry. This very ambiguity might inhibit a prosecutor from going after Trump on this point. But this does not answer the question of whether individuals who are not the president—such as Giuliani, Mulvaney, Pompeo and Cipollone—could have a problem.'

Nevertheless, the impeachment articles now need to go to the US Senate, which holds a trial to acquit or convict Trump. Two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote to convict Trump in order to remove him from office. The Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, so it is doubtful whether the vote to impeach would pass.

The Speaker Nancy Pelosi has delayed the charges being formally introduced to the Senate, while attempting to ensure the trial will be fair to all parties. It is expected the Senater trial will proceed sometime in January. There is no guarantee as to how long the trial will last, who will be called in to testify, and at what point the vote will be called. A two thirds majority is required in the Senate, leaving many to speculate the impeachment is over well before it arrives in the Senate.

There is no doubt the whole process will take the spotlight away from the Democratic primaries, and could last well into the run up to the next election. And Trump's support is increasing according to the polls.

Enjoy the show.....

 

Weekend news talking heads are tripping over themselves to protect the rights of "Whistleblowers" as mandated by law. What they are not talking about is the news.

The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from retaliatory action for voluntarily disclosing information about dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government organization.

A recent whistleblower complaint was filed in regards to a phone conversation President Trump had with the recently elected President of the Ukraine. The complaint cited numerous issues that the opposition has siezed upon as being grounds for impeachment.

The key issue of the complaint being the request for additional information on actions taken by former VP Joe Biden, to have Ukraine's head prosecutor removed from office, while investigating corruption against a company Biden's son sat on the Board of. Joe Biden was later recorded on video bragging publicly about his threat to withold millions of dollars in funds if the prosecutor was not removed. If true, this would be illegal at worst and at best highly unethical.

As Mr Biden is his biggest rival for the presidency, it opens Mr Trump up to claims he was working with a foreign power to influence the election. This is why the oppostion is asking for impeachment, since this could be considered as illegal, unless of course it is true.

The Whitehouse countered that the claims made in the complaint were false and the person making the claims had no first hand knowledge of the call or the content. This was later proven to be true, and the person filing the complaint reported on rumours he heard second hand. When the President released the transcript of the call, it supported the claim made that the "whistleblower" was acting on rumour, not first hand knowledge, as stipulated in the law protecting whisleblowers from prosecution.

Now the same law firm that represented the first whistleblower, has a second individual that supports the first claims.

What the media is not focussed on is the fact that the call has been made public. How can someone claim "whistleblower" status on information that is already public. Sure, someone can have an opinion, or express support or outrage over the content, but it no longer falls under the category of a whistleblower complaint. One can argue that had the person not come forward, we may not know the content of the call, but we should also expect that if someone is using this law to report on a criminal activity, there needs to be some truth to it.

In this case, the complaint filed cited issues that simply did not happen the way they were presented. Maybe the new "whitleblower" has additional first hand knowledge of the discussion or some other opinion we need to be aware of. Since the President authorized the release of the transcript, one would hope that the new complaint is more than merely a difference of opinion.

It is also important to note that the transcript releaased by the Whitehouse was not the full transcript. The Democrats are demanding access to the full conversation.

It is important for the public that this whistleblower law exists, so that the government can be held accountable when issues arise, but it should not be used to express opposition to policy.  It's a fine line and the media needs to validate the facts before calling for the removal of an elected representative of the people.

Rumours and opinion are not news.

With all the fighting going on in places around the world, it is easy to overlook the problems on the North American continent as a first world problem. When a major siege takes place involving armoured vehicles, road blockades, kidnapped police and prison breaks, well, there should be more concern for what is going on.
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