Hundreds of Thousands Take to Streets in All 50 States With a Simple Message for Congress: ‘Time to Impeach and Remove Trump’
“This is what democracy looks like.”
By Jake Johnson
Hours before the expected House vote on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets across the United States Tuesday night to show Congress that there is a “nationwide movement” behind the effort to hold the president accountable by removing him from office.
At more than 600 locations across the country, from Arkansas to Colorado to New York, massive crowds gathered to demand that Trump be impeached and removed for abusing the power of the presidency and other offenses.
“Trump did it. He admitted to it. The House confirmed it. And now he’ll be impeached for it,” Ezra Levin, co-executive director of Indivisible, said in a statement late Tuesday. “After tomorrow’s House vote, Indivisible will focus our grassroots power on ensuring Trump’s Senate allies don’t get away with a sham trial and conspiratorial cover-up.”
MoveOn, which joined Indivisible and other advocacy groups in organizing the demonstrations, tweeted that “across the nation tonight, hundreds of thousands said with one voice that it’s time to impeach and remove Trump.”
— liz nagy (@liznagy) December 17, 2019
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) December 18, 2019
This is what democracy looks like in deep red #PrescottAZ!!
Our voices matter and we will be heard. #empowered
— Prescott Indivisible (@IndivisPrescott) December 18, 2019
"It is #ImpeachmentEve. Protests in favor of impeaching Donald Trump were held all over the country tonight.
— Alexis Goldstein 🏳️🌈 (@alexisgoldstein) December 18, 2019
According to an analysis by the Washington Post, the Democrat-controlled House has enough votes to approve the articles of impeachment against Trump without any Republican support.
“Trump will be impeached if the House passes one or both articles by a simple majority (That means House Democrats need 216 votes given the current makeup of the House—there are a handful of vacant seats),” the Post reported Tuesday night. “A majority of House lawmakers have indicated their support for both articles of impeachment.”
Ahead of his likely impeachment, Trump on Tuesday lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a letter critics described as “unhinged” and “deranged.”
“It could not be more clear that Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy—and that he must be impeached and removed,” Sean Eldridge, founder of advocacy group Stand Up America, said in a statement. “That’s why hundreds of thousands of Americans are taking to the streets… to demand Congress remove him from office.”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Legal Scholar Points to Sondland Testimony as ‘Most Chilling’ Evidence Trump Used Power of Office for Private ‘Political Benefit’
“A candidate for president should resist foreign interference in our elections, not demand it. If we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account.”
By Jake Johnson
Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan on Wednesday told House impeachment investigators that the “most chilling” evidence that President Donald Trump was pursuing his own political gain in Ukraine came from the November 20 testimony of Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.
“The country’s leading constitutional scholars testified under oath that Trump’s conduct meets the constitutional standard for impeachment.”
Karlan, one of four legal scholars to testify during Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing, said she spent her entire Thanksgiving break reading transcripts from previous public impeachment hearings in the House Intelligence Committee.
The “most striking” line from the witness testimony, said Karlan, was Sondland’s claim that Trump did not care whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky actually opened an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.
“He had to announce the investigations. He didn’t actually have to do them, as I understood it,” Sondland told impeachment investigators last month. “The only thing I heard from [Trump’s personal attorney Rudy] Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form, and that form kept changing.”
Karlan told the Judiciary Committee that Sondland’s testimony undermines the Republican narrative that Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine stemmed from geniune concerns about corruption.
“It is only in the president’s interest, it is not the national interest, that a particular president be elected or be defeated at the next election. The Constitution is indifferent to that.”
—Pamela Karlan, Stanford Law School
“What I took that to mean was this was not about whether Vice President Biden actually committed corruption or not,” Karlan said. “This was about injuring somebody who the president thinks of as a particularly hard opponent. That’s for his private beliefs.”
“There’s a lot to suggest here that this was about political benefit,” Karlan added. “What the Constitution cares about is that we have free elections. And so it is only in the president’s interest, it is not the national interest, that a particular president be elected or be defeated at the next election. The Constitution is indifferent to that.”
Three of the four legal scholars who testified Wednesday, including Karlan, said they believe Trump committed the “impeachable high crime and misdemeanor of abuse of power” by soliciting Ukrainian interference in the 2020 presidential election.
The lone outlier was George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley, who was called to testify by Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.
Eisen: “Did President Trump commit the impeachable high crime and misdemeanor of abuse of power…?”
Feldman, Karlan, Gerhardt all say he did. pic.twitter.com/ZFmWD7pCq5
— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudiciary) December 4, 2019
During her opening remarks (pdf), Karlan said the evidence that has emerged from the House impeachment inquiry into Trump “reveals a president who used the powers of his office to demand that a foreign government participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency.”
“And it shows a president who did this to strong-arm a foreign leader into smearing one of the president’s opponents in our ongoing election season,” said Karlan. “Put simply, a candidate for president should resist foreign interference in our elections, not demand it. If we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account.”
Karlan asked viewers to “imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that’s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding.”
“What would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided for?” Karlan asked. “What would you think if that president said, ‘I would like you to do us a favor? I’ll meet with you, and send the disaster relief, once you brand my opponent a criminal.'”
“Put simply, a president should resist foreign interference in our elections, not demand it.”
Boom. If you have not watched Pam Karlan’s brilliant opening statement from this morning, please watch the whole thing now. So appreciate her focus on the right to vote & our elections. pic.twitter.com/6XkIFauX3K
— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) December 4, 2019
Impeachment HQ, a joint project of progressive groups Stand Up America and Defend the Republic, said in an email to supporters Wednesday that the first impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee “has been absolutely devastating for Donald Trump.”
“The country’s leading constitutional scholars testified under oath that Trump’s conduct meets the constitutional standard for impeachment,” the groups said.licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
‘A Full on Cover-Up’: Official Testifies That Ukraine Call Transcript Trump Said Was ‘Perfect’ Left Out Key Details
“It was a doctored transcript. The White House cut out some of his words, refused to restore them, and hid the transcript in a secure server.”
by Jake Johnson
Bolstering allegations that the White House engaged in a cover-up to suppress evidence of wrongdoing by President Donald Trump, a National Security Council official who listened to Trump’s July conversation with Ukraine’s leader reportedly told House impeachment investigators Tuesday that the administration intentionally omitted key details from the rough transcript of the call it released last month.
The New York Times reported that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the NSC’s top Ukraine expert, told House committees during his sworn deposition that the transcript left out “crucial words and phrases” that he unsuccessfully attempted to reinsert.
“Thanks to today’s impeachment testimony, we now know White House officials deleted key details out of the record of Trump’s Ukraine call before they released it. It was never a transcript. It was a cover-up.”
“The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter,” according to the Times.
“Colonel Vindman did not testify to a motive behind the White House editing process,” the Times added. “But his testimony is likely to drive investigators to ask further questions about how officials handled the call, including changes to the transcript and the decision to put it into the White House’s most classified computer system.”
The details emerging from Vindman’s testimony, which lasted more than 10 hours, were viewed by lawmakers and legal experts as more damning evidence of Trump’s misconduct and of his administration’s deliberate efforts to hide the wrongdoing from the public.
“Wow. This is just stunningly bad for the White House. A full on cover-up,” tweeted CNN legal analyst Susan Hennessey. “How much longer are congressional Republicans going to continue to go along with this?”
As Common Dreams reported, the White House decided to release the rough transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky last month in an attempt to dampen outrage over a whistleblower complaint about the conversation, during which the U.S. president pressed Zelensky to investigate Biden.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House earlier this month, Trump said he “had an absolutely perfect conversation” with Zelensky and “on top of that, and maybe less importantly, frankly, but on top of that, we have a transcript of the conversation, fortunately, that’s perfect.”
“The transcript is a perfect transcript,” Trump added. “There shouldn’t be any further questions.”
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) pointed to the president’s characterization of the transcript in a tweet responding to the Times report.
“This is damning: for weeks Trump called the call record which showed he sought foreign influence in our elections a ‘perfect transcript,'” said Beyer. “It was a doctored transcript. The White House cut out some of his words, refused to restore them, and hid the transcript in a secure server.”
Breaking: Thanks to today’s impeachment testimony, we now know White House officials deleted key details out of the record of Trump’s Ukraine call before they released it.
It was never a transcript. It was a cover-up. https://t.co/Eh12VW6rVi
— Swing Left (@swingleft) October 30, 2019
Following Vindman’s deposition Tuesday, House Democrats unveiled a resolution detailing the next steps in their impeachment inquiry into Trump. The House is scheduled to vote on the resolution Thursday.
As NBC News reported, “the eight-page resolution calls for public hearings and lays out their general format, and specifically permits staff counsels to question witnesses for periods of up to 45 minutes per side, Democrats and Republicans.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the resolution “will ensure a fair and public process for the American people to see the damning and full picture of the president’s betrayal.”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.