John Yoo Is Back To Torture The Constitution, Your Brain
credit: Paul Takizawa

John Yoo is Yooing all over the place. Again.

We aren't sure why major media outlets keep letting sociopaths and lying liars who lie a lot write columns for them, but they do. And, as Scott Lemieux put it, "On some level, the fact that the Times felt having an actual human rights violator who has never faced any consequences for it and indeed has fully retained his elite status give a bad faith defense of an authoritarian president is grimly appropriate." The New York Times has, indeed, appeared to have run out of human beings.

It isn't exactly shocking that a literal war criminal would defend the Trump criminal enterprise. It is shocking that anyone would look to the torture guy for moral leadership and foreign policy guidance.

But, it's 2019, so here we are.

Oh. Right. I almost forgot where we were.

Yoo's piece arguing against impeachment for the sake of the unitary executive would be dumb enough on its own. But it's even dumber given that Yoo made the argument for impeachment in April of this year.

Back in April, after the release of the Mueller Report, Yoo wrote in an opinion piece for the Washington Postthat Mueller had "definitively clear[ed] the president" of colluding with Russia -- a blatant lie. Yoo ended his piece for the Post, titled "It's now impeachment or bust. As it should be," by saying, "Mueller has recalled Congress to its constitutional duty; let us see if it is willing to answer."

Now, Yoo argues that we should think twice about impeachment because "impeachment may do long-term harm to the presidency and our national security."


Because even John Yoo apparently realized he probably shouldn't defend Trump's actions, here he decided to go with a more general theme. Basically, Yoo argues that exposing Trump's vast criminal enterprises in impeachment hearings could hurt the country, so we should really just let Trump keep being a criminal in private, as President, instead.

As he did when he was writing pro-torture memos and perfecting his waterboarding skills, Yoo focuses solely on the executive powers granted by Article II of the US Constitution, without once considering or uttering the words "separation of powers," much less "Article I" or "Article III."

Yoo also outrageously argues that "[c]ongressional interference into presidential conversations with foreign leaders would violate Article II" of the Constitution.


CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL THE LAW PROFESSOR THAT ARTICLE II DID NOT, IN FACT, EAT THE REST OF THE CONSTITUTION? (And while you're at it, also feel free to tell the president that Article II doesn't actually say he can do whatever he wants.)

Okay, okay. I know that narcissistic men who are obsessed with strong [male] authority figures won't listen to any of us. But maybe John Yoo will listen to John Yoo, who wrote, "[t]he Constitution itself establishes impeachment, not prosecution, as the answer to a corrupt sitting president" just five months ago.

Let's take a look at what else John Yoo had to say about impeachment back in April:

Impeachment does not require the president to commit a crime, but instead refers to significant political mistakes or offenses. As Alexander Hamilton observed, they "are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself." After the Civil War, for example, the House impeached, and the Senate came within one vote of removing, President Andrew Johnson for attempting to end Reconstruction prematurely. Congress can examine the same conduct as Barr but conclude that it warrants Trump's removal from office even if it does not violate criminal law.

Yet now, Yoo writes that "Congress cannot subject the president to the supervision, control or review of a subordinate officer" and therefore the whistleblower complaint shouldn't even be forwarded to Congress.

An intelligence officer cannot file a whistle-blower complaint against the president, because the president is not a member of the intelligence community; nor does a presidential phone call with a foreign leader qualify as an intelligence operation. The intelligence community works for the president, not the other way around.

Actually, John, both the president and the intelligence community work for us, the American fucking people.

Yoo also seems to argue that presidents can commit as many crimes as they want, as long as they're talking to foreign leaders.

Here, good constitutional structure matches good policy. If Congress could regulate presidential discussions with foreign leaders, presidents and foreign leaders would speak less candidly or stop making the calls altogether. United States foreign policy — approved by the American people at each election — would be crippled.

He also takes time to praise Ronald Reagan and put down Jimmy Carter, because sure, why not?

In the 1970s, congressional interference after Watergate handicapped the efforts of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter to respond to the Soviet military buildup, Communist expansion in Latin America and Africa, the fall of Vietnam and Iran's revolution. Only with Ronald Reagan's restoration of executive power could the United States carry out the strategy that ultimately won the Cold War.

Then, Yoo presents us with a hypothetical. "Suppose [Trump] offered $400 million in aid to Mr. Zelensky for damaging information about Mr. Biden." Ukrainium One is real. Shouldn't we impeach?

Not according to Yoo! Ignoring April Yoo, September Yoo says that "the founders believed that impeachment should come only as a last resort," and extorting foreign leaders just really isn't that big of a deal.

Yoo closes by saying that "[t]he Constitution trusts the American people, acting through the ballot box, to render judgment on President Trump" and "Democrats should trust the framers' faith in the American people, too."

Okay, okay.

First of all, the Constitution trusts Congress to fucking impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors. See U.S. Const. art. II, § 2-5; see also April John Yoo, It's now impeachment or bust. As it should be., Wash. Post. (Apr. 19, 2019).

Second, the Constitution actually does not trust the American people at all. See U.S. Const. art. I, § 3 (the Senate) and U.S. Const. art. II, § 1, cl. 2 (the electoral college).

Perhaps John Yoo should just stick to waterboarding people in the safety of his own basement and step away from the computer.

And at some point, can we just fucking agree as a society that IT'S PROBABLY A BAD IDEA TO TAKE ADVICE FROM WAR CRIMINALS?


[September John Yoo / April John Yoo / Lawyers, Guns, and Money]

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Jamie Lynn Crofts
Jamie Lynn Crofts is sick of your bullshit. When she’s not wrangling cats, she’s probably writing about nerdy legal stuff, rocking out at karaoke, or tweeting about god knows what. Jamie would kindly like to remind everyone that it’s perfectly legal to tell Bob Murray to eat shit.

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