The Sixth Amendment For Dummies (Mollie Hemingway, Rand Paul)

Mollie Hemingway and Rand Paul need to read the Constitution.

There is no limit to how dumb things can get here in 2019. We have now reached the phase of the Trump impeachment where the criminal-in-chief's sycophants just make up constitutional provisions to support their asinine arguments.

The dumbfuckery started earlier this week on Twitter, because of course it did. In a Twitter fight with Congressman -- and former Republican -- Justin Amash, Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist cited to a nonexistent provision of the US Constitution that apparently says "Donald Trump has the right to unmask the whistleblower in violation of federal law."

As with many things involving Republicans, everything about this is dumb and wrong. And did we mention Mollie Hemingway and Rand Paul are dumb and wrong?

When the facts aren't on your side and the law isn't on your side, you ... try to gaslight the American people.

The Book of John, fake constitutional amendments, and goat rodeos ...

Mollie Hemingway's claim to "fame" is her bootlicking ability. She's a "senior editor" at The Federalist and a Fox News contributor known for her ability to contort herself into impressive pretzels to defend Republican bullshit.

Amash pointed out that people of all political stripes agree that it's important to protect whistleblowers who expose government corruption -- a reasonable proposition -- and Hemingway just started making shit up.

it's really a beautiful thing when someone is this proudly condescending about being so utterly wrong.

AKSHUALLY, the Confrontation Clause is specifically about the rights of criminal defendants. Impeachment has never -- could never -- be a criminal prosecution. The Sixth Amendment is of course inapplicable to an impeachment inquiry. To say otherwise is silly.

Never explain the joke, Mollie.

When numerous people pointed out to Hemingway that she was flat-out wrong, she doubled down and called the impeachment inquiry a "goat rodeo." Which, to be completely honest, sounds a lot cuter than anything that has happened in Congress since Tammy Duckworth brought her baby onto the Senate floor.

Unrelated -- we think? -- to the Sixth Amendment spat was another special moment, where Amash told Trump to read the Constitution ...

... and Hemingway replied that Amash should read -- I shit you not -- The Book of John?

Yeah, we don't know, either.

And just when we thought it couldn't get any dumber, Rand Paul jumped in.


We are all Rand Paul's neighbor.

Mollie and Rand need some constitutionsplaining

Even for 2019, this is some dumb shit.

The constitutional provision they're trying to invoke is the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause, which says that criminal defendants have the right to be confronted with the witnesses against them. It's quite specific about applying to criminal prosecutions, not impeachment investigations.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ... to be confronted with the witnesses against him[.]

Impeachment is decidedly not a criminal prosecution. If a public official is impeached and convicted, he doesn't go to prison -- he is removed from office.

But don't trust me. It is also right there in the Constitution.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend furtherthan to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

- Article I, Section 3, Clause 7

Of course, a president who has been impeached can also be tried for their crimes and treasoning, assuming they're not pardoned by Gerald Ford. That is when the Sixth Amendment would akshually apply, Mollie.

Seriously. It's all right there in the text.

How many times in the last few years have we heard Trump and his cronies screech that a sitting president can't be indicted? It's not necessarily true, but it has been the party line basically since Trump took office. Trump is making that same argument in federal courtright now. But now, Republicans apparently also think that Trump is entitled to all of the protections reserved for criminal defendants in criminal cases.

One more time, for the cheap seats in the back: Impeachment is NOT a criminal proceeding. And even if impeachment were a criminal proceeding, this isn't the point in the proceeding where the Confrontation Clause would apply. If impeachment were a criminal proceeding, the House would be like a grand jury. It's the House's job to investigate and determine whether there's enough evidence to send the case over to the Senate for the trial. The Senate is where the actual impeachment trial occurs.

And, as always happens when political hacks try to distill a constitutional provision down to a talking point, they miss the point. The Confrontation Clause means criminal defendants have a right to confront the evidence against them. During the trial. In a criminal proceeding. And only when that evidence is actually considered by the court.

Amash correctly pointed out that there was no reason to unmask the whistleblower or even hear directly from him. The whistleblower complaint wasn't based on the whistleblower's own first-hand accounts -- it was based on first-hand accounts from other people who had been in on the Ukraine calls. And even based on the doctored transcript the White House released of Trump's treasony phone call with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, everything the whistleblower reported was true. The testimony that's needed is the testimony House investigators are getting now -- first-hand accounts from people with direct knowledge of Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors.

Akshually, Mollie, people who claim Constitutionalism should try, you know, reading the Constitution sometime. It doesn't even take that long! Or at least watch a cartoon or something.

Here's a good place to start:

School House Rock -The

Yup. All dumb.

Until last week, the GOP refrain was "SECRET HEARINGS! OPEN AN INQUIRY!" And now that an impeachment inquiry has been opened, and no one except Trump and Rudy Giuliani wants to defend the actions of Trump and Rudy Giuliani, apparently we've moved along to fake constitutional amendments.



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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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