Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., listens during a talk about lowering the cost of prescription drug prices Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Photo: AP
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White House, Democrats spar over rules for impeachment

53 Comments
By JONATHAN LEMIRE, JIM MUSTIAN and MIKE BALSAMO

The U.S. Constitution gives the House "the sole power of impeachment" — but confers that authority without an instruction manual.

Now comes the battle royal over exactly what it means.

In vowing to halt all cooperation with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, the White House on Tuesday labeled the investigation "illegitimate" based on its own reading of the Constitution's vague language.

In an eight-page letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone pointed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's failure to call for an official vote to proceed with the inquiry as grounds to claim the process a farce.

"You have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process," Cipollone wrote.

But Douglas Letter, a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee, told a federal judge Tuesday that it's clear the House "sets its own rules" on how the impeachment process will play out.

The White House document, for its part, lacked much in the way of legal arguments, seemingly citing cable news appearances as often as case law. And legal experts cast doubt upon its effectiveness.

"I think the goal of this letter is to further inflame the president's supporters and attempt to delegitimize the process in the eyes of his supporters," said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas.

Courts have been historically hesitant to step in as referee for congressional oversight and impeachment. In 1993, the Supreme Court held that impeachment was an issue for the Congress and not the courts.

In that case, Walter Nixon, a federal district judge who was removed from office, sought to be reinstated and argued that the full Senate, instead of a committee that was established to hear testimony and collect evidence, should have heard the evidence against him.

The court unanimously rejected the challenge, finding impeachment is a function of the legislature that the court had no authority over.

As for the current challenge to impeachment, Vladeck said the White House letter "does not strike me as an effort to provide sober legal analysis."

Gregg Nunziata, a Philadelphia attorney who previously served as general counsel and policy advisor to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, said the White House's letter did not appear to be written in a "traditional good-faith back and forth between the legislative and executive branches."

He called it a "direct assault on the very legitimacy of Congress' oversight power."

"The Founders very deliberately chose to put the impeachment power in a political branch rather the Supreme Court," Nunziata told The Associated Press. "They wanted this to be a political process and it is."

G. Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said the letter appeared to act as nothing more than an accelerant on a smoldering fire.

"It's a response that seems to welcome a constitutional crisis rather than defusing one or pointing toward some strategy that would deescalate the situation," Cross said.

After two weeks of a listless and unfocused response to the impeachment probe, the White House letter amounted to a declaration of war.

It's a strategy that risks further provoking Democrats in the impeachment probe, setting up court challenges and the potential for lawmakers to draw up an article of impeachment accusing President Donald Trump of obstructing their investigations.

Democrats have said that if the White House does not provide the information, they could write an article of impeachment on obstruction of justice.

It is unclear if Democrats would wade into a lengthy legal fight with the administration over documents and testimony — or if they would just move straight to considering articles of impeachment.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who is leading the Ukraine probe, has said Democrats will "have to decide whether to litigate, or how to litigate."

But they don't want the fight to drag on for months, as he said the administration seems to want to do.

A federal judge heard arguments Tuesday on whether the House had undertaken a formal impeachment inquiry despite not having taken an official vote and whether it can be characterized, under the law, as a "judicial proceeding."

The distinction matters because while grand jury testimony is ordinarily secret, one exception authorizes a judge to disclose it in connection with a judicial proceeding. House Democrats are seeking grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation as they conduct the impeachment inquiry.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


53 Comments

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What an embarrassing farce.

Enjoy the show, with the finale being a big red map of the USA next to a smiling guy with an oversized red tie on the 2nd Tuesday of November 2020.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Message to Trump...."illegitimate?" Pot-kettle-black!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This is going to bite the Democrats so hard. Wait until they bring this thing to a vote and then it’s game over for these 30 freshmen Democrats that won in Trump districts. Nancy, What are you waiting for?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

The White House document, for its part, lacked much in the way of legal arguments, seemingly citing cable news appearances as often as case law. And legal experts cast doubt upon its effectiveness.

This says a lot - perhaps turnup Trump drafted it himself in his infinite wisdom.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Now comes the battle royal over exactly what it means.

What part of separation powers does anyone not understand?

Oh, right. Those who can't read Article 1 of our Constitution.

Let me be crystal clear: Those who question the powers of Congress enumerated in our Constitution not merely unworthy of respect, but tolerance.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

America is tearing itself apart, fueled by media who have taken sides for ratings. It's undignified and immature.

I wouldn't put it past Trump and creepy Stephen Miller to concoct some event to be used to declare marshal law. Trump's claim that he possesses "great and unmatched wisdom" should scare the hell out of people.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Peter

No. The Union is indivisible.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Oh, right. Those who can't read Article 1 of our Constitution.

Nancy and her Caucus with all their so called smarts need to go over it again, many of them claim to be lawyers.

Let me be crystal clear: Those who question the powers of Congress enumerated in our Constitution not merely unworthy of respect, but tolerance.

Well, then the Dems definitely need to go back to Law School and this time pay attention.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Have the vote like has happened every other time in history if it’s soooooo obvious that Trump is guilty.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Nancy and her Caucus with all their so called smarts need to go over it again, many of them claim to be lawyers.

It's extremely clear the constitution gives the House the power to set the rules.

Well, then the Dems definitely need to go back to Law School and this time pay attention.

Says a non-lawyer. Or, are you going to now start claiming to have gone to law school?

The U.S. Constitution gives the House "the sole power of impeachment" — but confers that authority without an instruction manual.

See that part where it says "sole power of impeachment"? That means the House sets the rules, not the WH.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Have the vote like has happened every other time in history if it’s soooooo obvious that Trump is guilty.

No need if the House doesn't want to because it sets the rules. Too bad for you Trumpophiles.

If Donny is innocent, why is he fighting so hard not to release information and having meltdowns on twitter like he's guilty?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What’s up with liberals (and 2020 Dems) and this “let me be clear” opening they all use now? is it really necessary, like there would be a time I want to be unclear?

And the “full stop” ending phrase. Sure makes it sound like they know they are right and don’t want to hear anything at all from anyone else not in the group think.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Because innocent people are usually quite pissed off at being falsely accused.

I

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

What’s up with liberals (and 2020 Dems) and this “let me be clear” opening they all use now? is it really necessary, like there would be a time I want to be unclear?

It's because you people like twisting words so much.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@burningbshnext to a smiling guy 

I've seen Putin smirk, never smile. Do you expect Internet Research Agency comrades to pop corks again in celebration of having made America even more authoritarian if the Trump bund wins?

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-08/senate-intelligence-panel-warns-russian-meddling-continues

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

why is only this US president assumed guilty and not given due process that even a partisan internet poster would get?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Ok so House makes the rules. You are trying to impeach Trump. To do that public opinion has to shift. Playing by one sided rules, even if allowed, won’t get your desired result.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Because innocent people are usually quite pissed off at being falsely accused.

Being passed off does not preclude providing information.

The only way to clear oneself in such a situation is to provide information to the authority that is able to clear one.

Good ole Chippy is innocent. So send me an archive of all your texts, emails and phone calls for the last 10 years. I will be over later to search your cabinets and all your devices.

Given my words and actions haven't cast suspicion on myself of wrongdoing, no.

cool right? You can trust me to not send copies to the newspaper of anything I find that might embarrass you.

Trust a Trumpophile?! Lmao! You voted for a known fraudster and moron; I wouldn't trust you with a water pistol.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

why is only this US president assumed guilty and not given due process that even a partisan internet poster would get?

Someone clearly doesn't understand the meaning of due process. The House has requested information and interviews. Donny and his people have refused, so the House has flung subpoenas. That is literally the definition of due process.

Ok so House makes the rules. You are trying to impeach Trump. To do that public opinion has to shift. Playing by one sided rules, even if allowed, won’t get your desired result.

Someone doesn't know that public opinion isn't necessary for impeaching a president. We wouldn't get our desired result - conviction by the senate - even if we had Donny on film selling secrets to our adversaries because republicans in the senate care more about staying in power than our country.

Moscow Mitch has released campaign ads admitting that he won't bother to take any evidence against Donny seriously.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ok you won’t get your desired result. You know this. So why tear the country apart?

public opinion is necessary to impeach. If you don’t get 70% to agree to impeach and 80-90% agreeing to remove, it’s a very bad idea.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Focus on the election, retake the Senate, keep the House and get your candidate elected President.

Simple, as everyone knows you are always correct and it’s soooo obvious Trump is guilty of whatever. Unless he’s not, then it’s not that simple for you.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Ok you won’t get your desired result. You know this. So why tear the country apart?

To further expose the repugnance of Donny and republicans in an effort to prevent them from continuing to tear the country apart. 

public opinion is necessary to impeach. If you don’t get 70% to agree to impeach and 80-90% agreeing to remove, it’s a very bad idea.

There is no rule requiring public support to impeach, which means it isn't necessary. You can't be accurate here but you want me to trust you with all my private information? Smooth.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ok stick to your narratives and try to impeach when the public isn’t overwhelmingly for it. See what happens.

Tear the country apart to expose someone to prevent them from.....tearing the country apart. That’s new.

the logic of people like you is why we are stuck with a Trump in the first place. There is no “rule” for this and that you cry out! We know that, but it’s just common sense (at least for my side) to not do things citizens don’t want.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Focus on the election, retake the Senate, keep the House and get your candidate elected President

And let Donny's illegal and unethical acts go unexposed? No thsnks.. 

Simple, as everyone knows you are always correct and it’s soooo obvious Trump is guilty of whatever. Unless he’s not, then it’s not that simple for you.

We are correct when we are correct. Sorry that you guys are more often than not incorrect.

You seem triggered

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

You guys can’t focus. Haha someone is triggered! That doesn’t even have any meaning. it’s just how you make yourselves feel bette about losing elections and court decisions in real life. We gonna get that Drump this time!....umm well for sure next time?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Ok stick to your narratives and try to impeach when the public isn’t overwhelmingly for it. See what happens. 

Okay. It would probably result in Dems losing seats, but that doesn't make public support necessary for impeachment, which is what you were incorrectly claiming.

Tear the country apart to expose someone to prevent them from.....tearing the country apart. That’s new. 

You're presupposing that Donny wasn't in fact already tearing the country apart.

the logic of people like you is why we are stuck with a Trump in the first place.

Nope. It's because we elect the president with an outdated system and people like you oted for him.

There is no “rule” for this and that you cry out! We know that, but it’s just common sense (at least for my side) to not do things citizens don’t want.

I'm not disagreeing with this. I was disagreeing with your incorrect assertion that public support is necessary for impeachment. Sweet logic you employed here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nancy and her Caucus with all their so called smarts need to go over it again, many of them claim to be lawyers.

Well, then the Dems definitely need to go back to Law School and this time pay attention.

Yea, like Crazy Rudy who told his client to release his confession....Go Rudy!

Because innocent people are usually quite pissed off at being falsely accused.

why is only this US president assumed guilty and not given due process that even a partisan internet poster would get?

Again, how soon they forget; "Lock Her Up!"......

The White House document, for its part, lacked much in the way of legal arguments, seemingly citing cable news appearances as often as case law. And legal experts cast doubt upon its effectiveness.

BINGO! Probably written by Sean Hannity. Well on the other hand, he'd reference Bigfoot.... Maybe drug addict Rush Limbaugh...

Donnie's gonna stall - cause he knows he's guilty....

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"I think the goal of this letter is to further inflame the president's supporters and attempt to delegitimize the process in the eyes of his supporters," said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas.

And this, in a nutshell, is the whole thing. Stall for time, rile up the base, rabble rouse, and stall for more time.

They figure if they tell the lies often enough, loud enough, and over the top enough, they'll fool or cow enough people that Donnie can continue his self delusional thought process that he's the victimized hero of his tale.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Donny Mob ruling scared and refusing to answer questions.

The White House document, for its part, lacked much in the way of legal arguments, seemingly citing cable news appearances as often as case law. 

Thats the new WH, letting Fox dictate national policy, without bothering to check if its legal. Barr and Pompeo have set standard so low, they probably cannot fall any further.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Nancy and the others have been suckerred inby theorange man. Hes manipulated this situation as only a bad man can. Irony is its Trump destroying the democratic partys hopes for 2020. Get out nancy while youstill can! AOC can take overas speaker - shes showed herself to beone smart cookie!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Augh what next, can you imagine the Democrats and weak Republicans have been on this same old tiring crusade for 2 yrs. Imagine if only they had used that valuable time on the real issues of a long term guaranteed balanced budget instead of continuing resolution after resolution and no balanced budget. Enough or get out because this only shows that they are most interested in their own private agendas and not the interests of the US or its ally's. What a disgraceful waste. This one has to top them all.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It's extremely clear the constitution gives the House the power to set the rules.

And the 3 branches of the Government the President can blow them off.

Says a non-lawyer. Or, are you going to now start claiming to have gone to law school?

Not me, tell that the the know it all Democrats.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Yea, like Crazy Rudy who told his client to release his confession....Go Rudy!

I would like to see a Democrat clean a city like NYC the way Rudy did, just once.

Donnie's gonna stall - cause he knows he's guilty....

Guilty of second hand information obtained by a partisan spy who is rooting for one of the candidates? If anything he’s guilty of not throwing up for laughter.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

The rules are clear. They're laid out in law, and have been used on a number of occassions. Nothing to see here except more obstructionism.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The rules are clear. They're laid out in law, and have been used on a number of occassions. Nothing to see here except more obstructionism.

If so, then bring it to a vote, follow the law and all the President the same rights and privileges Nixon and Clinton were afforded, allow the GOP the right and privileges to call witness, look at all the evidence and allow them to cross examine witnesses and face these accusers and flimsy accusations and you won’t see any obstructionism.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@blacklabSo why tear the country apart?

A good question to ask Trump supporters constantly dividing the US into us and them, and to ask Trump himself as he splinters the country even more than it has been with his daily rants while he asks foreign nations 'meddle' to help him.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nancy should be fair and also investigate Biden and his son for their China and Ukraine business dealings.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@bas4fAnd the 3 branches of the Government the President can blow them off.

In other words 'authoritarianism now' with Trump as diktator.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A good question to ask Trump supporters constantly dividing the US into us and them,

Hey, the Dems were the ones that boycotted this Presidents inauguration, launched a Russian hoax investigation threw fuel on the fire to keep it going, tried to bring him down on his Previous statements he’s said before in office, dove into his past life and tried run him with a failed porn star, taxes and on and on...

I think it would be safe to say the people that are hounding this President and trying to run him out of town are real ones that are dividing the nation.

In other words 'authoritarianism now' with Trump as diktator.

That would be Herr Schiff.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Yea, like Crazy Rudy who told his client to release his confession....Go Rudy!

I would like to see a Democrat clean a city like NYC the way Rudy did, just once.

And how many years ago was that? I'm surprised the Trumpers here are sticking up for Rudy - he sold your Sainted Leader down the river - told him to release the transcript that has his confession in it. Maybe Rudy really is a Democrat....

Donnie's gonna stall - cause he knows he's guilty....

Guilty of second hand information obtained by a partisan spy who is rooting for one of the candidates? If anything he’s guilty of not throwing up for laughter.

No, guilty as validated in his confession in the transcript; "I would like you to do us a favor THOUGH"....

Now he is obstructing justice...

Done, Sealed, Write up the articles of impeachment....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff

Why is this lying, sniveling piece of garbage still in Congress, much less House Intelligence Committee Chairman?

Oh my!

"IMPEACHMENT JOKE": Jim Jordan GOES OFF On Democrats Push To Impeach President Trump

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPIfysPL0VU

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

In other words 'authoritarianism now' with Trump as diktator.

@bas4fThat would be Herr Schiff.

Someone doesn't under the US system where the executive and a member of congress have very different roles.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hiro S NobumasaToday  05:30 pm JST

Nancy should be fair and also investigate Biden and his son for their China and Ukraine business dealings.

Still flogging that dead horse?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Nancy should be fair and also investigate Biden and his son for their China and Ukraine business dealings.

Still flogging that dead horse?

That investigation has just begun Simon. The dead horse is the Putin-Russia-Trump collusion delusion.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Imagine if only they had used that valuable time on the real issues of a long term guaranteed balanced budget instead of continuing resolution after resolution and no balanced budget.

That's a laugh. It's not the Democrats who've put forth proposed budgets that have trigged trillion dollar annual deficits again. That's Donnie and the Repubs. After all, what did they do for the first two years of his term except expand the deficit year on year?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

And the 3 branches of the Government the President can blow them off.

This is extremely unclear, but you seem to be saying Donny can ignore Congress, which clearly is not the case. Wherever would you get that silly idea?

Not me, tell that the the know it all Democrats.

This is a common tactic of Trumpophiles: disparage the experts when Trumpophiles have no substantive argument, which is most of the time as we see daily in these threads.

Guilty of second hand information obtained by a partisan spy who is rooting for one of the candidates?

Since the identity of the whistleblower isn't known, there is no way you can know any of this unless you are trusting anonymous sources.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@sergano The dead horse is the Putin-Russia-Trump collusion delusion.

Dead perhaps in the minds of those who've ignored the findings of US and 'western' nation's intelligence agencies and believed the Kremlin's instead, those who've denied Russians meddle in US politics, those who've parroted Internet Research Agency messages, lauded Putin, turned their backs while their idol Trump undermines US systems, and those push who for the executive to take on authoritarian powers to benefit himself, his family and the globe's elite while the working and middle classes pay higher taxes and watch their costs of living increase. In other words, dead to those who want America turned into a banana republic led by white nationalists.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If so, then bring it to a vote, follow the law and all the President the same rights and privileges Nixon and Clinton were afforded,

There is only one law governing impeachment proceedings: that the House has sole power of impeachment. This means, for the intellectually challenged, that the House sets the rules.

It is funny watching Trumpophiles whine about the House setting it's own rules when they cheer Moscow Mitch doing so in the senate.

allow the GOP the right and privileges to call witness, look at all the evidence and allow them to cross examine witnesses and face these accusers and flimsy accusations and you won’t see any obstructionism.

Glad you admit Donny is engaging in obstructionism. It'll be enjoyable watching your head explode when the House adds an article of impeachment for obstruction of justice.

Oh, the republicans can call witnesses and cross examine.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And how many years ago was that? I'm surprised the Trumpers here are sticking up for Rudy - he sold your Sainted Leader down the river - told him to release the transcript that has his confession in it. Maybe Rudy really is a Democrat....

But no quid pro quo, thanks Rudy!

Biden on the other hand, stop investigating my son or you won’t get the money and sure enough 6 hours later that SOB was fired. I must’ve watched that admission 43 times, in stereo and in HD quality.

Done, Sealed, Write up the articles of impeachment..

And watch McConnell laugh and say, acquitted.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

This is extremely unclear, but you seem to be saying Donny can ignore Congress, which clearly is not the case.

But he is and is doing it with the middle finger.

This is a common tactic of Trumpophiles: disparage the experts

WHICH EXPERTS are we talking about, the liberal bias ones with an agenda? Naw, I don’t care what they say.

Since the identity of the whistleblower isn't known,

Not yet, but it will, it’s Washington, bodies don’t stay buried for long.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff

Why is this lying, sniveling piece of garbage still in Congress, much less House Intelligence Committee Chairman?

You talking about Jim Jordan?

Oh my!

"IMPEACHMENT JOKE": Jim Jordan GOES OFF On Democrats Push To Impeach President Trump

I'm from Ohio - not Jordan's district but I'm amazed my fellow Buckeyes would elect a ranting, raving, nut-job like this guy. He was a wrestling coach when an OSU Doctor was sexually assaulting students - and said nothing about it.

https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/congressman-jim-jordan-knew-about-sex-abuse-former-wrestlers-say/lzfhebNU5mZ5WrRbfg3aFM/

Jordan defines the term scumbag....

Nancy should be fair and also investigate Biden and his son for their China and Ukraine business dealings.

Still flogging that dead horse?

That investigation has just begun Simon. The dead horse is the Putin-Russia-Trump collusion delusion.

The dead horse that keeps on reviving....I'd be willing to stop talking about it if just one Trumper could offer a reasonable explanation why Don Jr and Eric say they get all the money they need from Russia, and at the same time Donnie says he has "zero" business with Russia...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And how many years ago was that? I'm surprised the Trumpers here are sticking up for Rudy - he sold your Sainted Leader down the river - told him to release the transcript that has his confession in it. Maybe Rudy really is a Democrat....

But no quid pro quo, thanks Rudy!

He gave them the transcript with the quid-pro-quo in writing - he sent his client up the river. Go Rudy! Keep it up! We know you're secretly on the Dem team!

Biden on the other hand, stop investigating my son or you won’t get the money and sure enough 6 hours later that SOB was fired. I must’ve watched that admission 43 times, in stereo and in HD quality.

Really? Post in writing with a source where Biden said "stop investigating my son". We'll be waiting...

Done, Sealed, Write up the articles of impeachment..

And watch McConnell laugh and say, acquitted.

Sure, just like Kavanaugh never voting with the Liberals...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

But no quid pro quo, thanks Rudy! 

Someone has no clue how the law works.

Biden on the other hand, stop investigating my son or you won’t get the money and sure enough 6 hours later that SOB was fired. I must’ve watched that admission 43 times, in stereo and in HD quality.

Yeah, this isn't based in reality.

But he is and is doing it with the middle finger.

You are cheering Donny for ignoring the constitution. How patriotic.

WHICH EXPERTS are we talking about, the liberal bias ones with an agenda? Naw, I don’t care what they say.

No, the epxerts. You can disparage them all ou want as liberal and biased because they go against Donny, but that doesn't change the fact that they are experts.

Always funny to watch Trumpophiles attack people as liberal and biased when they have no other argument. It demonstrates their desperation.

Not yet, but it will, it’s Washington, bodies don’t stay buried for long.

Your'e admitting you have no basis to call the whistleblower a partisan. I love it when you demonstrate yourself to be incorrect.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

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