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  • He Is UNFIT To Be President!" James Mattis MOCKS Trump When The Wave Of Boycotting Him Is Growing
     

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    (CNN) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's high-profile push for witnesses to testify in the Senate's expected impeachment trial of President Donald Trump shifted attention and political pressure on Monday to a handful of Republican senators who have worked diligently to avoid the spotlight.

    The disparate group's views on the trial are a concern to the White House and GOP leaders, who are worried some could break and vote with Democrats on key trial-related issues, sources tell CNN.

    If four of them were to buck calls from GOP leaders for a short, witness-free trial, it could upend the process and create the kind of wild uncertainty Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has been carefully "coordinating" to avoid in ongoing talks with top White House officials.

    The group includes moderates up for reelection, like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who may want to show independence from Trump; seasoned veterans, like Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who are retiring and who may not feel politically bound to support the President; and outright critics of Trump, like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who have challenged his unorthodox presidency and who may want to learn more about the allegations of a quid pro quo with Ukraine that is at the heart of the impeachment.

    The group isn't big enough to threaten Trump's presidency -- there would have to be at least 20 Republicans break with Trump to provide the 67 votes needed to actually remove him from office and no one is predicting that. But if enough peel off they could provide Democrats with the 51 votes needed for key wins, such as to compel witnesses, demand documents and push through other procedural motions Democrats may seek during a trial.

    McConnell is working to avoid surprises like that, but short of a reaching a broad agreement in negotiations with Schumer outlining the rules of a trial, he has said the twists and turns of a trial could be decided by 51 votes. Republicans hold a 53-47 seat majority, meaning just four Republicans voting with Democrats could have a major impact.

    In addition to Collins, the list includes Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. Both are up for reelection in purple states and need to balance appealing to independent voters in their states without angering Trump supporters who they can't win without.

    In addition to Alexander there are concerns about Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, both of whom are retiring committee chairman from the establishment wing of their party with rank and influence.

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has defied Trump and the GOP by opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and voting against Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.

    Romney is perhaps the Senate's most outspoken Republican critic of the President. Trump recently called him a "pompous 'ass' who has been fighting me from the beginning," a gesture that may not promote loyalty from Romney who not long ago was his party's presidential nominee.

    There are others who could break on some questions. Like Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, who have both been critical of Trump for various things he's done or said (especially about tariffs) despite Trump being popular in their states, and Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona who is up for reelection in a state trending purple.

    At a news conference, Schumer tried to ramp up the pressure on this group of Republicans by saying he expects bipartisan support for his call for witnesses to testify.

    "I expect to have the support of Democrats and Republicans because the arguments are so strong. And many Republicans have voiced to me and my colleagues privately that they think what the President did is wrong but they're just not sure enough facts have been presented to make the impeachable case. High crimes and misdemeanors. This is the way to do it," Schumer said.

    Despite hand-wringing over the senators at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, there has not been much evidence yet any of them will break. Many are refusing to answer questions now that they are preparing to be jurors, making it hard to assess how deeply concerned they are about the allegations against Trump.

    Asked if he was preparing to be an impartial juror, Enzi replied, "I'm not answering any questions on impeachment."

    Alexander repeatedly gave a similar response when asked about a trial. But on Monday, he said, "We have a constitutional responsibility to have a fair trial and be impartial in our decision making and it would help if the two leaders could agree on what the procedure should be."

    Romney said he would give Schumer's proposal for witnesses "good consideration" but wouldn't say if he what he would support.

    "It's not that I don't have any point of view, it's just that I'm not willing to share that point of view till I've had the chance to talk to others and get their perspectives and when I do have something for you I'll get back to you," he told CNN.

    Collins was critical of Schumer and McConnell. She said it was "unfortunate" Schumer released his letter publicly before engaging in private negotiations with McConnell and she said McConnell should not have signaled he was coordinating with the White House.

    "Every senator has to decide on his or her own how to approach it. That would not be the approach that I've taken," she said of McConnell. "The only people I've consulted with thus far are the experts from the Congressional Research Service and I sat down with them for a session last week."

    McSally had "no comment," when asked about impeachment.

    Ernst on Monday didn't sound like she was going to break with Trump when she signaled she is not interested in an impeachment trial with witnesses, telling reporters "the shorter the better."

    "This is a political exercise," Ernst said. "Let's just get it over with."
     

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    Democrats say impeachment case shows Trump deserves ouster
    By LISA MASCARO and MARY CLARE JALONICKDecember 17, 2019 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats laid out their impeachment case against President Donald Trump, a sweeping report accusing him of betraying the nation and deserving to be ousted, as key lawmakers began to signal where they stand ahead of this week’s landmark votes.

    What Democrats once hoped would be a bipartisan act — only the third time in U.S. history the House will be voting to impeach a president — was on track to a starkly partisan roll call Wednesday. No Republicans were breaking with the president, and almost all Democrats were expected to approve the charges against him.

    The House Rules Committee was to meet Tuesday in what was expected to be a marathon session to set the parameters for Wednesday’s debate.

    A raucous town hall Monday in the Detroit suburbs put on display the nation’s wrenching debate over the unconventional president and the prospect of removing him from office. Freshman Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin was both heckled and celebrated as she announced her support for impeachment.

    “There’s certainly a lot of controversy about this,” Slotkin acknowledged to the crowd of 400. “But there just has to be a moment where you use the letter of the law for what it’s intended.”



    Trump faces two articles of impeachment brought by Democrats. They say he abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election and obstructed Congress by aggressively trying to block the House investigation from its oversight duties as part of the nation’s system of checks and balances.

    The president “betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections,” says the 650-page report from the House Judiciary Committee. He withheld military aid from the ally as leverage, the report says, and ”Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”

    The report says the president then engaged in an unprecedented attempt to block the investigation and “cover up” his misconduct. “In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry,” it says.

    Trump, tweeting from the sidelines after instructing the White House not to participate in the House inquiry, insisted he has done nothing wrong. He has promoted lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s investigation of Biden and a widely debunked theory that it was actually Ukraine not Russia that interfered in the 2016 election, a conspiracy-laden idea that other most other Republicans have actively avoided. “He knows what he’s doing,” Trump said of Giuliani at the White House.

    Sticking to the language he has relied on for months, he tweeted Monday, “The Impeachment Hoax is the greatest con job in the history of American politics!”

    As the House prepared for Wednesday’s vote, more than a dozen Democrats announced they would be voting for impeachment. A handful or even fewer were expected to break ranks as Speaker Nancy Pelosi marched the majority toward a vote she hoped to avoid having Democrats take on their own.

    One freshman Democrat, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, saw several staff members resign Monday after he said he would vote against impeachment and indicated he was switching parties to become a Republican. Another Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson, a Minnesota centrist, had not decided how he will vote, his spokeswoman said

    As the House was detailing its case against the nation’s 45th president, attention was turning to the Senate where the top Democrat, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, called anew for fresh evidence and testimony from key White House officials for the Senate impeachment trial.

    “What is President Trump hiding?” Schumer said Monday.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hoped to avoid a drawn-out spectacle in his chamber, though Trump, a former reality TV show host, has signaled that was what he preferred as he sought vindication. Republicans, who hold the majority, were expected to acquit Trump of the charges during a trial starting in January.

    In a letter to McConnell, Schumer proposed hearing testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and two others as part of a detailed offer he made to Republicans as an opening offer for negotiations.

    Several Senate Republicans rejected that idea late Monday, saying the House should have gone to court to force those witnesses to testify over the White House’s objections if Democrats wanted to hear from them.

    “We don’t need to clean up their sloppy job,” said Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

    “The House can’t decide not to go to court, send us a half-baked case and then say now, ‘You make something out of it,’” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

    Democrats want to hear from Bolton, who once labeled the alternative foreign policy orchestrated by Trump lawyer Giuliani a “drug deal’’ he wanted no part of. Bolton left the White House in September. The Democrats also want to hear from Mulvaney, who has acknowledged the military aid to Ukraine was being held up, as well as two other White House officials who defied House subpoenas to testify. The aid was later released as Congress raised questions about the holdup.

    McConnell is facing criticism for saying he’s taking his “cues” from the White House as he assures Trump there will not be the 67 votes needed in the Senate to convict the president. Democrats complain that he and other Republicans are not operating as impartial jurors.

    The GOP leader planned to meet soon with Schumer to discuss the contours of next month’s trial, McConnell’s office said.

    The report released Monday by the House Judiciary Committee, a historic marker like those produced during impeachment proceedings for Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, formally lays the groundwork for the vote.

    It outlined the panel’s findings and includes those from the Intelligence Committee’s monthslong investigation that was sparked by a still-anonymous government whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. It also includes Republican rebuttals.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman, Alan Fram and Darlene Superville in Washington, David Eggert in Rochester, Michigan, and Steve Karnowski in Minnesota contributed to this report.
     

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    Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump, on the verge of becoming the third US president to be impeached, sent an extraordinary letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, excoriating House Democrats and casting himself as a victim of an attempted coup.

    A day before the full House is set to vote on articles of impeachment accusing him of abusing his power and obstructing lawmakers' investigations, Trump wrote in his indignant six-page missive that Democrats would come to regret their efforts when voters cast ballots next fall.

    Employing falsehoods and exaggerations, he bemoaned the process as woefully broken, wildly claiming that "(m)ore due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials."

    He accused Pelosi of portraying a "false display of solemnity" during the impeachment process.

    "No intelligent person believes what you are saying," Trump wrote in the letter sent on Tuesday, adding: "History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade."

    Responding late Tuesday, Pelosi said she'd been working and only saw the "essence" of Trump's letter.
    "It's really sick," she said.

    The document was a brash public display of resentments that Trump has been fostering since the start of the impeachment process. His associates say he is deeply aggrieved at the situation and views the prospect of being impeached as a stain on his legacy.

    Trump and Pelosi have had a history of tense and often personal fights, which have been highlighted by the impeachment inquiry launched this fall. Their most recent White House meeting, in October, was cut short because of the insults they hurled toward each other in the Cabinet Room.

    Trump is set to be the third president in US history to be impeached. Democrats have brought two Articles of Impeachment against Trump -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Democrats say Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals in exchange of security aid. They also charge that the President obstructed the congressional investigation by refusing to allow key officials to testify.

    Trump and his aides began drafting the scathing letter last week, according to officials familiar with the matter, keeping the plan and text closely held within the West Wing until its public release Tuesday.

    Trump wanted to send a message to Pelosi coming directly from him ahead of the House vote expected on Wednesday. The missive wasn't long-planned, and reflected Trump's deep-rooted resentments at the impeachment proceedings and what he views as an illegitimate attempt to remove him from office.

    Some White House officials who were not involved in the letter's preparation said they were surprised when they saw the six-page document, which is indignant in tone and echoes much of Trump's public statements and tweets over the course of the past months.

    There was an initial plan to release to letter on Monday, but officials moved the release to Tuesday as House members debated the rules of the upcoming impeachment vote.

    Many officials who would ordinarily have been included in crafting and releasing the letter were kept out of the loop, one official said.

    The White House counsel's office — which has been leading the legal defense efforts ahead of an expected Senate trial — reviewed the letter but did not take the lead on its production, according to another official.

    That fell to Trump himself, who dictated portions of the missive and helped develop its themes.

    For weeks, the President has publicly dismissed the probe, tweeting earlier this month that House Democrats should move faster.

    "(I)f you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair ... trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business," Trump tweeted.

    In the 6-page letter Trump sent to Capitol, the President calls Pelosi's actions "spiteful" and veers into what he sees as personal affronts, saying she's violated her own oath of office.

    "You are offending Americans of faith by continually saying 'I pray for the President,' when you know this statement is not true, unless it is meant in a negative sense," Trump writes in the letter. "It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!"

    READ: Trump letter to House Democrats protests impeachment in 'strongest' terms

    In another segment of the letter, Trump writes to the House speaker: "You do not know, nor do you care, the great damage and hurt you have inflicted upon wonderful and loving members of my family."

    "You are the ones interfering in America's elections," Trump says, adding that Democrats are "(b)ringing pain and suffering to our republic for your own selfish personal, political and partisan gain."

    The President was heavily critical of Democrats' pursuit of impeachment, defending himself by asserting that the Articles of Impeachment introduced "include no crimes, no misdemeanors, and no offenses whatsoever."

    He also asserted that Democrats' attempt to impeach him was part of a larger effort to avenge the results of the 2016 election.
    "This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth," Trump writes. "You are not just after me, as President, you are after the entire Republican Party."

    Trump wrote that Pelosi has "cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!"

    "By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy," Trump wrote.

    The President also used the letter to send a message to his base -- simultaneously telling his supporters he's not giving up the fight against impeachment while folding in some of his greatest hits against Democrats and the so-called Washington swamp.

    Trump dedicated a large section of the letter to naming what he sees as his political victories, saying that Democrats are "desperate to distract" from the state of the economy and other administration efforts. He called the firing of FBI Director James Comey "one of our country's best decisions," and launched specific critiques against Democrats in Congress, including Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and Rashida Tlaib.

    There is an ongoing debate inside the White House on how the President should respond on Wednesday to the vote that is expected to lead to his impeachment. Officials said — as of Tuesday evening — that he was not expected to deliver any type of formal speech to respond to the event.

    "The letter is the speech," the official said.

    Instead, Trump is likely to address his predicament during an evening campaign stop in Battle Creek, Michigan — an event being billed as a "Merry Christmas" rally.
     

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    On the eve of his expected impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives, President Donald Trump accused Democrats of pursuing an "illegal, partisan attempted coup" and declaring war on American democracy as they seek to remove him from office for pressing Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

    Trump's remarks came in a fiery letter he signed addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and released as House lawmakers met to set the rules for debate ahead of Wednesday's planned vote on two articles of impeachment — formal charges — against Trump.

    "This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth," Trump's letter stated, alluding to the 2020 U.S. presidential election in which he is seeking another four years in office.

    The U.S. Constitution gives the House the power to impeach a president for "high crimes and misdemeanors," part of the document's checks and balances among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government.

    The Democratic-led House is expected to pass two articles of impeachment charging the Republican president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his dealings with Ukraine.

    "By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy," Trump added.

    House Democrats accuse Trump of abusing his power by asking Ukraine to investigate Biden, a former U.S. vice president and a leading Democratic contender to oppose him in the 2020 election. Trump is also accused of obstructing the congressional investigation into the matter.

    "Look, this has been a total sham from the beginning," Trump told reporters at the White House shortly after his letter was released.

    Meanwhile, members of the House rules committee met on Tuesday over the rules for the debate before the vote set for Wednesday by the full House, which is expected to result in Trump becoming the third U.S. president to be impeached.

    No president has ever been removed from office via the impeachment process set out in the Constitution.

    Earlier, the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, brushed aside a Democratic request to call four current or former White House officials as witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial expected next month, again making clear that he expects senators not to remove Trump from office.



    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused the Democrats' request to call four current and former White House officials as witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

    In duelling speeches on the Senate floor, McConnell said he would not allow a "fishing expedition" after a "slapdash" House impeachment process, while Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said a trial without witnesses would be a "sham" and suggested Trump's fellow Republicans favoured a coverup.

    While McConnell said on the floor it was the Senate's role simply to act as a "judge and jury," he later told reporters that he is not "an impartial juror."

    "This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it," he said. "Impeachment is a political decision."

    Schumer said he was "utterly amazed" by McConnell's remark. He had said he wants the trial to consider documents and hear testimony from four witnesses: former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Mulvaney's aide Robert Blair and budget official Michael Duffey. Schumer has argued that such testimony could sway Republicans in favour of removing Trump.

    Trump has refused to co-operate with the House impeachment process and ordered current and former officials like those mentioned by Schumer not to testify or provide documents.

    McConnell and Schumer both said they expected to meet very soon to discuss how to proceed. The White House also indicated opposition to Schumer's requests for the Senate trial.

    "What is Leader McConnell afraid of? What is President Trump afraid of? The truth?" Schumer asked on the Senate floor.

    "If you're trying to conceal evidence and block testimony, it's probably not because the evidence is going to help your case. It's because you're trying to cover something up," Schumer added.
     

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    On the eve of his expected impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives, President Donald Trump accused Democrats of pursuing an "illegal, partisan attempted coup" and declaring war on American democracy as they seek to remove him from office for pressing Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

    Trump's remarks came in a fiery letter he signed addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and released as House lawmakers met to set the rules for debate ahead of Wednesday's planned vote on two articles of impeachment — formal charges — against Trump.

    "This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth," Trump's letter stated, alluding to the 2020 U.S. presidential election in which he is seeking another four years in office.

    The U.S. Constitution gives the House the power to impeach a president for "high crimes and misdemeanors," part of the document's checks and balances among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government.

    The Democratic-led House is expected to pass two articles of impeachment charging the Republican president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his dealings with Ukraine.

    "By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy," Trump added.

    House Democrats accuse Trump of abusing his power by asking Ukraine to investigate Biden, a former U.S. vice president and a leading Democratic contender to oppose him in the 2020 election. Trump is also accused of obstructing the congressional investigation into the matter.

    "Look, this has been a total sham from the beginning," Trump told reporters at the White House shortly after his letter was released.

    Meanwhile, members of the House rules committee met on Tuesday over the rules for the debate before the vote set for Wednesday by the full House, which is expected to result in Trump becoming the third U.S. president to be impeached.

    No president has ever been removed from office via the impeachment process set out in the Constitution.

    Earlier, the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, brushed aside a Democratic request to call four current or former White House officials as witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial expected next month, again making clear that he expects senators not to remove Trump from office.



    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused the Democrats' request to call four current and former White House officials as witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

    In duelling speeches on the Senate floor, McConnell said he would not allow a "fishing expedition" after a "slapdash" House impeachment process, while Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said a trial without witnesses would be a "sham" and suggested Trump's fellow Republicans favoured a coverup.

    While McConnell said on the floor it was the Senate's role simply to act as a "judge and jury," he later told reporters that he is not "an impartial juror."

    "This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it," he said. "Impeachment is a political decision."

    Schumer said he was "utterly amazed" by McConnell's remark. He had said he wants the trial to consider documents and hear testimony from four witnesses: former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Mulvaney's aide Robert Blair and budget official Michael Duffey. Schumer has argued that such testimony could sway Republicans in favour of removing Trump.

    Trump has refused to co-operate with the House impeachment process and ordered current and former officials like those mentioned by Schumer not to testify or provide documents.

    McConnell and Schumer both said they expected to meet very soon to discuss how to proceed. The White House also indicated opposition to Schumer's requests for the Senate trial.

    "What is Leader McConnell afraid of? What is President Trump afraid of? The truth?" Schumer asked on the Senate floor.

    "If you're trying to conceal evidence and block testimony, it's probably not because the evidence is going to help your case. It's because you're trying to cover something up," Schumer added.
    这算明目张胆的威胁伟大美国的民主程序吧?
     

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    President Donald J. Trump was impeached on Wednesday.

    For the third time in the nation's history, the House of Representatives voted to impeach a sitting president, following a day-long debate on whether Trump violated his oath in pressuring Ukraine to damage a political opponent.
     
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