White House Declares Constitutional Crisis, Moral Bankruptcy

Yesterday, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone or maybe one of my cats wrote a letter to Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders, explaining that they simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of impeachment proceedings in the House.

Because that's how laws work. If you say it, then it is.


Then, last night, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement to go along with Cipollone's crayon drawing. Unsurprisingly, Grisham's statement is just as dumb as the letter it's supporting.

Well, no one ever said he hired her because she was smart.


Grisham's statement starts off strong.

The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it.

Oh, okay then.

For purely political reasons, the Democrats have decided their desire to overturn the outcome of the 2016 election allows them to conduct a so-called impeachment inquiry that ignores the fundamental rights guaranteed to every American.

OMG you guys, Stephanie is right. I just always forget about the FUNDAMENTAL CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT NOT TO BE IMPEACHED FOR TREASONING! I think that's right next to the Article Two that says "Donald J. Trump can do whatever he wants."

These partisan proceedings are an affront to the Constitution—as they are being held behind closed doors and deny the President the right to call witnesses, to cross-examine witnesses, to have access to evidence, and many other basic rights.

Actually, the Constitution makes it pretty clear that "[t]he House of Representatives ... shall have the sole Power of Impeachment." U.S. Const. art. II, § 2.

Like Cipollone, Grisham seems to be under the impression that the Constitution sets out a bunch of rules for impeachment. Unfortunately for them, it does not.

They're also both missing the fact that impeachment proceedings in the House and trial in the Senate are two different things.

In fact, here's a handy list of everything the Constitution says about impeachment, just in case someone at the White House decides to look at it one of these days.

Library of Congress

Today, on behalf of President Donald J. Trump, Pat Cipollone, Counsel to the President, sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Chairmen Engel, Schiff, and Cummings. The letter demonstrates that the Democrats' inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, and even the most elementary due process protections.

The only thing that letter demonstrates is that people in Trump's White House are just as dumb and evil as we all thought they were. It's bad. It's just so bad.

The President doesn't just get to stomp his feet, scream "NANCY PELOSI ISN'T MY REAL MOM" and refuse to acknowledge the existence of these impeachment proceedings. That's not how this works.

Trump and his cronies then go on to assert that the House impeachment investigation is unconstitutional because ... reasons.

Democrats are pursuing purely partisan goals, including influencing the upcoming 2020 election. In the process, they are violating civil liberties and the separation of powers, threatening Executive Branch officials with punishment simply for exercising their constitutional rights and prerogatives.

Okay. There's a lot of incoherent gibberish to unpack, here.

Let's start with the fact that, by definition, impeachment is in line with the separation of powers enshrined in the US Constitution -- in fact, it is one of the explicit checks and balances the Constitution lays out!

And I would hardly call it "partisan" to investigate the many, many high crimes and misdemeanors Trump and his band of misfit thugs have been committing. Actually, I'd call it Congress's constitutional duty.

All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent.


For these reasons, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to, and will not participate in, this exercise of partisan political theater.

Once again, THIS IS NOT A THING. I don't care if Mommy Nancy and Schiffy Schiff have hurt your feelings, Liddle' Donnie. You don't get to just declare that they can't investigate you for all of the treasoning you and Rudy have been doing.

Impeachment For Dummies

Trump and his buddies keep acting like impeachment is a criminal trial, but it's not. And if it were, the House's investigation would be more akin to the indictment or grand jury phase than the trial. The Senate's trial is the actual, you know, trial. In an investigation, the accused doesn't have a right to access all of the evidence or cross-examine witnesses.

It's perhaps the most predictable plot point yet that the Trump White House would just go "NAH NAH NAH NAH I CAN'T HEAR YOU" to an impeachment inquiry, but that doesn't make it any less of a constitutional crisis.



[Grisham Statement / Library of Congress]

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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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