Somebody please pull the plug on this!
Sources say Roberts was told an attempt to censor any questions about the whistleblower in general would be rebuked by recorded Senate vote, at which point Roberts retreated and communicated that he would instead censor any mention of the whistleblower's name.— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 30, 2020
UPDATE 1: As we know, Roberts has once again abused his power by obstructing a United States senator in the performance of his duties:
The suppression of one of the most important stories in Washington history--the impeachment "whistleblower"--is breathtaking. The Supreme Court has now joined Congress, the Washington press corps & social media (Facebook & Youtube) in the censorship-cum-cover-up. #BackInTheUSSR!— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) January 30, 2020
I suspect Roberts will end up regretting this.
UPDATE 2: Professor Jonathan Turley weighs in. If you got him to comment anonymously, I suspect he'd say that this wasn't a very smart move by Roberts--guarantees ill will on the part of the majority party in the Senate:
This creates a fascinating conflict. Federal law does not guarantee anonymity of such whistleblowers in Congress — only protection from retaliation. Conversely, the presiding officer rarely stands in the path of senators seeking clarification or information from the legal teams. Paul could name the whistleblower on the floor without violation federal law. Moreover, the Justice Department offered a compelling analysis that the whistleblower complaint was not in fact covered by the intelligence law (the reason for the delay in reporting the matter to Congress). The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel found that the complaint did not meet the legal definition of “urgent” because it treated the call between Trump and a head of state was if the president were an employee of the intelligence community. The OLC found that the call “does not relate to ‘the funding administration, or operation of an intelligence activity’ under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence . . . As a result, the statute does not require the Director to transmit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees.” The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency Council strongly disagree with that reading.
Regardless of the merits of this dispute, Roberts felt that his position allows him to curtail such questions and answers as a matter of general decorum and conduct. It is certainly true that all judges are given some leeway in maintaining basic rules concerning the conduct and comments of participants in such “courts.”
This could lead to a confrontation over the right of senators to seek answers to lawful questions and the authority of the presiding office to maintain basic rules of fairness and decorum. It is not clear what the basis of the Chief Justice’s ruling would be in barring references to the name of the whistleblower if his status as a whistleblower is contested and federal law does not protect his name. Yet, there are many things that are not prohibited by law but still proscribed by courts. This issue however goes to the fact-finding interests of a senator who must cast a vote on impeachment. Unless Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can defuse the situation, this afternoon could force Roberts into a formal decision with considerable importance for this and future trials.
UPDATE 2: Scott Johnson comments on Roberts, CJ, obstructing a senator's questions--questions that were presented in the senator's legitimate fact finding function during an impeachment trial. First Rand Paul's tweets:
My question today is about whether or not individuals who were holdovers from the Obama National Security Council and Democrat partisans conspired with Schiff staffers to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings.
My exact question was:
Are you aware that House intelligence committee staffer Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella while at the National Security Council together 1/2
and are you aware and how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the President before there were formal house impeachment proceedings. 2/2
To which Johnson adds:
Chief Justice Roberts inadvertently reminds us that we remain in Bananas territory (“a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham”).
With which I agree. Roberts, CJ, has publicly disgraced himself--not for the first time.
"would be rebuked by recorded Senate vote"?ReplyDelete
Where was Mitch on this, that he wouldn't fight this?
How many Repubs were going to vote for this, on what possible grounds?
You're misunderstanding this. Roberts would be informed that he would be rebuked by the Senate for censoring questions. Apparently Mitch would have voted to rebuke Roberts.Delete
Now I see that you're right.Delete
My bad, probably from posting after a long day.
Rand Paul should stand up on the Senate floor and name the whistleblower.ReplyDelete
John Roberts needs to cite authority. Which he won't be able to do. And then go to hell.
On this issue, Roberts is not to be trusted.ReplyDelete
I have read that Rand Paul means to challenge this idea that no one can name the man who has been publicly named already.
Seriously, this isn't Voldemort.
Roberts is trying so hard to be seen as Neutral. This way the Democrats won’t demonize him.ReplyDelete
The Democrats have something on him.
The above action, plus his votes on the census and Obamacare are puzzling...
Yes, it is.Delete
I read (sorry for lack of citation) that Roberts tries to find compromise positions on some issues so as to safeguard his core conservative convictions.Delete
While that may explain some of his positions, it has two fatal flaws:
First, such compromises are inherently political, which is not his job.
Second: search in vain for efforts by his liberal colleagues to find opportunities for compromise.
Interesting counter-theory about this Roberts stuff, from a CTH reader Clivus Multrum:Delete
"Nobody wants this to turn into a witness calling, drawn out fiasco, except the House “majority” who are playing an “away game” in the Senate.
If McConnell and Roberts are in concert trying to avoid that potentiality, by keeping the whistleblowing scum out of this at this juncture, in favor of an acquittal vote TOMORROW, , then that is fine in the grand scheme of things."
See https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/01/30/justice-roberts-blocks-senator-paul-impeachment-plot-questions-senator-paul-shares-his-questions/#comment-7798516 .
This had nothing to do with calling witnesses. Paul was trying to ask a question, and fact finding is his job in this process--not just sitting there listening. Other senators asked questions about "the whistleblower" (who isn't a WB). Paul asked a question about a specific person, Eric Ciaramella, who worked on the NSC with another person, Sean Misko, who is now a Schiff staffer who worked on impeachment. It's a legit question and Roberts' only objection was to the use of a person's name: Eric Ciaramella. The objection to mentioning Ciaramella's name is that Schiff claims (as usual, without proof) that Ciaramella is receiving death threats--which is a claim used to smear Trump and his supporters. That's what Roberts played into. The CTH reader is an idiot.Delete
I've added an UPDATE on this.Delete
I hear you.Delete
What's so very sick about this death-threats bit is, that a dead Ciaramella would be a catastrophe for DJT, who would of course immediately get blamed for that result, such that it behooves DJT to give Ciaramella the best possible Protection.
Check out the update. If a "conservative" CJ has lost Scott Johnson ...Delete
2. "Deputy Trump counsel Philbin just told the Senate the 'whistleblower' ... may have been involved in decisions on Biden & Burisma & may have had a 'reason to deep-six' a rekindled Ukraine investigation"
Keep goin' there!Delete
Since I've said many times my preference was for Trump's team to lay out the case against the hoaxsters at this impeachment trial, I just want to say now that Dems have gone so far over the top (not saying that wasn't foreseeable) that it really has gone to the "Kavanaugh stage" where just shutting the damn thing down can rightly be seen as victory. Or at least victory enough, for now.ReplyDelete
I have no faith in the Republican Senate to do anything good going forward, of course, so it seems it's now for all the marbles with Trump/Barr/Durham.
Can't wait to see what they've got.
I fear, that the format of this trial makes effective counterattack (by Repubs) harder, unless they really wargame together all the options, before each session.Delete
When the restatement of Rand's query was submitted today (naming Misko, but not Ciaramella), Schifty got to respond by whining about intimidation of his staff.
From what I've been able to tell, Repubs didn't bring any real follow-thru of this question, to drive home the points that Schifty evaded.
Just for my own entertainment I wish Rand Paul would ask Schiff to explain the legal principle and political science theory that requires/justifies the subordination of the Constitutional imperative of the Senate trial of Impeachment to the organizational beneficence of administrative law. In other words explain the difference between 'witness' and 'whistleblower'.ReplyDelete
As an aside I think 'informer' is a more correct, and precise, term than whistleblower. An informer goes and comes by a backdoor and never answers for, nor is required to prove, any rumor/accusation. A whistleblower stands in the street and wants people to engage with him. I think the public would be well served if Repub's always referred to him as 'Schiff's informer'. Language matters.
It it's entertainment you're looking for, why not listen to the Speaker--Granny Winebox. She's been saying the most amazing things lately.Delete
Imaginary Colloquy: When the Shoe Is On the Other FootReplyDelete
I say "Impeach John Roberts!"
You say, "On what grounds?"
I say, "Abuse of Power! He has no power to not read Rand Paul's question."
You say, "Abuse of Power? You're crazy! Abuse of Power is not an impeachable offense!"
I say, "Well, then, Obstruction of Congress! He is obstructing the will of the Senate!"
You say, "Obstruction of Congress? You're crazy! Obstruction of Congress is not an impeachable offense!"
I say, "Wait and see! Just wait until January 3, 2021 when a Republican majority takes over the House of Representatives."
Roberts is, of course, a disgrace and should be run off the bench. OTOH, what's just as disgraceful is the Senate as an institution to running him out of the Senate chamber for trying to shut up a US senator. This is what we've come to under Deep State rule.Delete
But, it's not only the D.S., insofar as the White Patriarchy" hating Left is separate from the D.S.ReplyDelete
Yeah, it was in the D.S. interest, to (quietly) press the Senate to railroad Rand.
But this was also in the interest of the SJW Left.
I suspect that Jas. H. Kunstler is on the right track, as to the major point of why the Dems pushed this impeachment, knowing that it wouldn't reach its official objective, see
"As to the election of 2020, the Democrats are trying like hell, to set the stage for disputing, and negating it. In fact, that has mostly been the hidden agenda, behind this hot mess of an impeachment. They will at least attempt, to litigate it into a dangerous state of irresolution. Wouldn’t that be grand? When that happens, Civil War Two begins in earnest."
I agree that something like that is part of the agenda. I would go a step back, however, and say that this is about anulling the 2016 election first and foremost. Of course, I understand that staging an impeachment that wouldn't succeed can't anull an election in any recognizably constitutional sense. However, I think they hoped to get enough GOP senators to defect so that that Trump would be acquitted with fewer than 50 votes. I believe they would use that to maintain that, all constitutional niceties aside, Trump is an illegitimate president. Now.Delete
Where JHK charges Dems with trying "to litigate it into a dangerous state of irresolution... Civil War Two begins in earnest", he likely mostly means the election.Delete
Seeing impugning remarks from Nadler, Pelosi, & Warren these past few days (aimed at the Senate, and at DJT's lawyer team), it's becoming rather clear, that the Left aims at nothing less, than the complete de-legitimization of the entire Const./ capitalist system, if not in minds of a majority, then in the minds of a large enough minority, that the Left can assemble Flash Mobs, etc., to threaten to kill this system from a thousand cuts (e.g. via terror, vs. a quite vulnerable JIT economy).
If he's acquitted with 50+ votes, they'll still do the same agitprop assault on the System.Delete
Probably partly, to intimidate Barr to not risk "provoking" flash-mob etc. attacks, on DoJ personnel pursuing SpyGate perps, or on judges hearing related "fascist" cases.
Had Mitch held the trial up, 'til Schiffty gave up the Atkinson transcript the public argument over that transcript may've been less effective for Lefty agitprop, than this TV extravaganza (giving Schifty etc. the best possible forum, to spew his deceit to would-be flash-mob participants.Delete
All this strengthens the case for the view, that if Barr clutches from the challenge vs. these perps, they'll be all the more encouraged to turn up the heat, until the U.S. falls into their hands like a ripe fruit.ReplyDelete
For starters, look for the Left to pursue M. Waters' bit about "you're not welcome anywhere", i.e. for repeats of what happened to Scalize.Delete