Trump Is Leaving Office With a Bunch of Legal Problems — And We're Not Just  Talking About Impeachment | FiveThirtyEight
Bye then…

So, Donny’s gone, after making a speech highlighting his achievements and, at long last, wishing the new president good luck, without, child that he is, mentioning his name.

He said that he thought the new administration should do well, because it had “a foundation” to do really well. Yep, apart from an horrific health crisis and a small matter of sedition. Only a few weeks ago he, his family and his lawyer incited violence and insurrection at the state capital for which he has once again been impeached.

Perhaps the scariest thing he said, though, was something that Arnold Terminator Schwarzenegger, a rival tv presenter and Republican politician nearly said in his film star days (but Trump used the royal “we”).

“We’ll be back” Trump said, adding “in some form”… whatever that means. Maybe he’s reckoning on coming back as a mushroom… or more likely an orange or mango.

Donald Trump leaves the White House after four years as president | US News  | Sky News
Seems he forgot his kids…

128 thoughts on “BIG DAY, AMERICA”

  1. I just luv 💜 the way his minions went wrecked the Capital at his behest .
    Now they are being arrested and charged their response is crying Trump asked them to go to the capital and he should pardon them .

    Donald says screw them
    As ever .

    See Boris can’t wait to kiss Joe Bidens butt 💋 💋 💋
    One hopes he don’t fall for that ole toadying.

    Although I see the Blairites are
    Claiming to be as one with the American 🇺🇸 Democratic Party
    Some people can’t see a USA president butt without rushing to kiss 💋 it yuk !!!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. It’s a British thing. They know they aren’t really important any more, but if they are seen close to the president and at a press conference with him, they can still imagine themselves as the (deputy) head of an empire.

      It’s seriously pathetic.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. O/T but important if you’re going out tonight…

    Scottish Government
    ⚠ An amber warning for snow has been issued across parts of southern Scotland, which will be in place from 6pm today until 8am tomorrow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Blast… my plans to run a half-marathon in my swimsuit have been thwarted yet again…

      Is the Cockbridge to Tomintoul road closed yet?

      I wonder if any lumps will start falling off the Queensferry Crossing again. Not that I regard that as an unacceptable design flaw: never mind the cost of installing heating elements, just think of the leccy bill!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Looking out the window, I reckon you’ll be safe for a half marathon, Ed. I’d not go for the full one though…

        I bet Murdo’s up there knocking bits off the bridge to suit his narrative.


        1. Blast – now where have I put my swimsuit?

          Nah, Tris; Murdo won’t be up there himself knocking blocks of ice off the Queensferry Crossing – he’ll be fulminating on Twitter from the comfort of his own home against the Scottish Government for not getting up there in advance and in person to knock them off before they pose a danger to decent Tories ignoring the stay-at-home order in expensive cars.

          Liked by 4 people

            1. Tsk – my bad, Tris! I never had proper training in deference to my betters; a gross lacuna in my education, I’m sure you’ll agree. If only I had gone to Eton (or maybe Winchester)!

              I shall now go and stand on the naughty step and flagellate myself, if I can just remember where I put my knout. Or better still, get one of the senior boys to do it – oops, where in my subconscious did that come from? It’s a mystery.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. I went to classes in the assembly hall at the local school and after intensive training I got a black belt in Self Deference. My expressions of disdain and condescension to my so called betters are, as a result, registered as lethal weapons. To avoid prosecution I avoid those and such wherever I can but any conversations I do have are a verbal minefield.🙄

                Liked by 1 person

      1. No, you are not alone. Frankly getting the nuclear codes away from a lunatic means that the clock has moved at least a minute away from midnight.

        Liked by 4 people

  3. So according to the Telegraph

    “Biden’s great, great, great grandfather, Edward Blewitt, left Ballina, co Mayo, Ireland for America during the Irish famine 170 years ago, which could mean he is well disposed towards Great Britain.”

    Err, I’m thinking not well disposed since his ancestors needed to move thousands of miles to avoid starvation during a famine when food was being exported to England from Irish ports.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. The Telegraph living in a world where Britain has fairy lights all over it and tastes of raspberry jam…

      You’d think they’d have worked out that Co Mayo is in the Republic of Ireland.

      Incidentally, my friend Dani and I went to Ireland a few years ago and stood, the two of us, in tears at the statues in the docks.

      Another one of those times when I was bitterly ashamed to be even nominally, a britbrat.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Not so much a gasp of astonishment at that, but a facepalm…

      Oh, the sheer warped and blockheaded failure of understanding and empathy! Such people really do have some essential part of their souls missing.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. For anybody wondering why the US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps wear red coats with blue facings . . . back in the 18th century it was traditional for military musicians to wear REVERSE colours.
    Thus, the regular American soldiers wore blue coats with red facings, only the bandsmen wore red coats.
    No confusion on the battlefields of the Revolutionary War, provided the bands kept out of the way.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I doubt it, tris. She was born over Glasgow way (I assume), whereas I was born in Airthrey Castle, now part of the Stirling University campus.
        People get born in maternity units all over Scotland, every day of the year.
        Which, when you think about it, is quite a thought.

        But do you not want to congratulate me on my 60th birthday?

        Liked by 3 people

        1. To my horror, I discovered recently that I was born in the same maternity unit as a certain Mr Gove. And we went to the same school – although I was several decades ahead so obviously standards have slipped.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Tris

    I just don’t get the need for the wall to wall coverage of this today I really don’t. I saw a little as my wife was watching it and heard some of the delusional commentary by what passes for a UK journalist and just thought what a lot of crap. My experience of living in the US was they really don’t pay any attention to the UK at all, the Disney Royals a little, but UK Prime Ministers etc not at all. China they take a lot of notice of, Russia some notice, the EU a lot of notice on some things esp Germany but the UK and Scotland, never comes into it in my experience. Does the election of Biden matter, yeah on some fronts it does I suppose but it is just really about keeping our minds off the disgusting and incompetent Westminster Government here and how shit the UK really is. Did you know that the American benefit system is about 100% plue more generous than the UK one, in America an unemployed American gets 378 dollars a week (£277) compared to £102 Universal Credit in the UK, that would have been worth reporting today. I wish Biden all the best but I just wish the media in the UK would show the same scrutiny of the Tories in Westminster.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s all pretty much why I’m not taking in any of it from any English / Ukay broadcasting outfit, Grumpy. The Westminster onanists can have their little fantasies about a Special Relationship, but I feel no compulsion to watch them at it.

      At least we know the nuclear football is in the hands of someone who won’t set off WWIII because he’s having a temper tantrum.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Edd

        I listened to about 15 minutes at best and left the room, I am just not that interested in any of it to be honest. We have huge problems in this country and I wish more people took an interest in that rather than the awful Ga ga singer.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, was Lady Gaga on, Grumpy? I’ve never heard her sing. I only watched a couple of clips of the swearing-in bits, and listened to some commentary on Biden’s plans for his first batch of executive orders to try to undo some of Trump’s damage. I’m not really interested in the rest. Very meaningful for most Americans, though, I’m sure. I expect most of them – and all my friends over there – are weeping tears of joy and relief right about now.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Lady Gaga is a very big deal here in show biz circles, and one of the things that is known to have pissed off Trump in the days leading up to the inauguration was the big stars that have agreed to be part of the Biden inaugural celebrations (including “virtual” TV shows related to traditional inaugural activities, such as inaugural balls and the big parade to the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue.) In 2017, Trump had trouble getting performers anyone had ever heard of.

            Interesting that Vice President Mike Pence and top Republican leaders of Congress attended the Biden ceremony at the Capitol, rather than seeing Trump off for Florida on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. If he had followed tradition and attended the Biden ceremony himself, he would have had a big sendoff at the Capitol by all the leaders there as he boarded the “Marine One” helicopter to Andrews.

            Liked by 2 people

        2. CNN televised the whole thing, no need to have to listen to the BritNat commentary.
          When you say ‘country’ which one do you mean?
          Certainly Scotland has a huge problem, having been dragged out of the EU against the will of the majority of the people of Scotland, and being shackled to the so called UK. It’s not conducive to being able to fix the ‘problems’ which keep Scotland back to say the least. The consequences of Brexit for Scotland are already detrimental, and it’s only just the beginning.
          That is for sure very pressing.

          Liked by 5 people

    2. I’m always interested in it, Bruce, because, although I know perfectly well that they don’t give a toss about the UK, we know that the UK cares desperately what THEY think.

      I had a friend in San Diego many years ago (lucky sod). He said that his politics prof laughed like a drain at the idea that there was a special relationship of any real meaning.

      What is special, he thought, was that when the US told the UK to jump, it asked “how high”

      I’m glad to see Trump and his right wing nutters go.

      Of course the Tories were counting on Trump for all sorts of things, and as such (becasue he was such a petty little idiot) they’d have buttered him up bigly.

      Biden is altogether another thing. He’s of Irish decent. He’s pro EU and as far as I can tell, he doesn’t like Johnson, possibly partly because of the stuff Johnson said about Obama, his close dear friend.

      Possibly partly because Johnson is almost as much of an ass as Trump.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. This is so undiplomatic that it crosses lines we would never have imagined any national leader crossing just a few years ago. It was also the perfect goodbye to Donny.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, I think it’s the way people feel and the two leaders (Europe and Scotland) are just saying it the way it is.

        Sometimes, I reckon that some straight talking is what is needed… diplomatic or not.

        As you say, a perfect goodbye… She might well have said, “dinnae let the door hit ye in the erse on the wie oot”.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I would have loved it if she’d said “dinnae let the door hit ye in the erse on the wie oot”.

          The sense of relief must be making national leaders and civil servants giddy all over the world. They had to hold their tongue (and their nose) for 4 years.

          Anyone remember that weird Trump/May hand holding? I bet she had some choice words in private about Trump.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Heavens, that must have really sickened her. A repulsive self avowed sex pest touching her and because she HAD to keep in with him… she had to smile and suck it up.

            For all that, on a visit to England a few weeks after the White House thing, he blew hot and cold over a trade deal, which went for being the goodest superist trade deal in the world ever, all negotiated in a shortest possible time (the length of his attention span, I suspect), to, the next day, him shaking his head and saying that he didn’t think they would be a trade deal… Somebody maybe put salt on his porridge or Tessy slapped his hand.

            Liked by 3 people

      2. Well said by the first Minister!

        Terry…..Yes, a lot of diplomacy at all levels got put aside during the Trump administration, and especially when he sent a band of thugs to attack a branch of American government to overturn an election on his behalf.

        This is a comment by the REPUBLICAN leader of the Senate, talking about the Republican president. He might as well come out openly and ask his members to vote conviction on Trump’s impeachment.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Absolutely no offense taken over by here, so don’t sweat it.

        Here, on the western shore of Lake Michigan, we would have told him to go east ’til his hat floats.

        Liked by 4 people

  6. Well, they cleaned up the mess from Trumpy’s insurrection riot, and had a nice traditional inauguration ceremony, all things considered. The small army of National Guard troops who were in town (as many as 25,000 were authorized by the Pentagon) were at the barricaded streets far from the capitol and not in evidence at the ceremony. Although the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue wasn’t held this year, they retained the tradition of a “Pass In Review” past the East Front of the Capitol where the armed forces ceremonially salute the newly inaugurated president and vice president. Now done in period 19th century uniforms.

    In 1801, Thomas Jefferson was the first President inaugurated at the new Capitol building (in the Senate Chamber) in the new capital city named for the first president (in whose cabinet Jefferson served as the first Secretary of State.) The first president who took the presidential oath outdoors at the East Portico of the Capitol (used for most inaugurations for 152 years) was Andrew Jackson in 1829. But the view from the east front is just of buildings across the street. So in 1981, Ronald Reagan changed the inaugural ceremony to the West Front of the Capitol, with its magnificent mile-long view down the National Mall to the Washington Monument, and symbolically, to the entire nation to the west. The West Front inaugural podium is also near the spot where Andy Jackson in 1829, after his East Front inaugural, mounted a white horse and rode down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. This year, the sea of flags on the National Mall, representing the people who would normally be there in a non-Covid year, were an impressive sight.

    In other words the place is fairly dripping with American history and tradition. The West Front is also where Trump’s insurrection troops were seen scaling the West Terrace, braking windows and smashing doors. This is where the stands and the podium are built and the inauguration ceremony is held. For those with a serious interest in presidential inaugurations, the full text of almost every inaugural address is documented, back to the 1431 words uttered by George Washington at the first inaugural at Federal Hall, on Wall Street in New York City in 1789. The Bible used for the first George Washington inauguration is on display there too.

    I too was glad to know that Trump’s nuclear code went dormant at the stroke of Noon and Biden’s became active. Although Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (next in line to the presidency after the Vice President) apparently had some assurances from the top Pentagon brass that a nuclear launch order by the mentally distraught Trump (in the absence of an actual known threat) would not be conveyed down the military chain of command, it’s good to be really sure about that. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joe Biden’s emotional speech in Delaware before leaving for Washington reminded me a bit of Abraham Lincoln’s “Farewell to the Citizens of Springfield”, which he delivered at the Springfield, Illinois, train station in 1861 before boarding the train to Washington.

      Lincoln: “My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, we’re glad that there was no further violence, Danny, and that it went well.

      Of course, as Bruce said, many people here weren’t that interested.

      Normally, I suppose, it’s not that big a deal, but getting rid of Trump is certainly a red letter day.

      Thanks for the history. And yes, it is comforting to know that the child president’s orders would have been scrutinised by people with knowledge and intelligence, had he tried to trigger an atomic strike.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Tris……Compared with Scotland, England, Europe and almost everywhere else in the world, the USA doesn’t really have a long history in its governing institutions. So traditions and precedents in something like the unbroken line of presidential inaugurations back to 1789 seem old and hallowed! The historians pointed out that the last president not to attend the inauguration of his successor was Andrew Johnson in 1869. They also recalled that John Quincy Adams did not attend the Andrew Jackson inauguration in 1829; and his daddy, John Adams, did not attend Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration in 1801. Adams left the White House the morning of the inauguration like Trump did, but about four hours earlier, at about 4:00 AM. He caught the 4:30 stagecoach to Baltimore.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. LOL……There’s always the possibility that it was called Stagecoah One.
            I do however seem to recall that Trumpy once described American revolutionary troops taking over airports. So you never know! 😉

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Excellent recall Tris! Maybe the only fun thing about the Trump years was his mangling of history. It ranks right up there with George W. Bush’s malaprops, syntactic errors, and other linguistic outrages. Such as the American who works hard to put food on his family. An all time great! 😉

                Liked by 1 person

                1. It left me with an imagine of a hardworking America coming home with a range of food items and pouring them all over his wife and kids…

                  But there you go… fool me once…

                  Liked by 1 person

                1. Last year, when we were all doing Zoom quizzes, someone in our group asked us to say which Donald out of Trump, Rumsfeldt and Duck had said each of a list of about 8 quotations.
                  Surprisingly hard!

                  Liked by 2 people

    3. I heard that too, Danny, but taken together with the news that the military are currently busy weeding out white supremacists, qanon types and other right-wing wingnuts, zoomers and evil, traitorous bastards from their ranks, I couldn’t help having the odd moment of Dr. Strangelove-style cold sweat.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes Ed, the FBI having to check out and reject some of the National Guard reserve troops IS quite disturbing. One wonders about the regular army. Or police forces. It’s pretty well established that right wing radicalism is in law enforcement. Trump could always assemble a crowd of adoring police officers to surround him. Perhaps a threat in any organization that attracts people with an authoritarian turn of mind. And that certainly applies to military and police.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. (This is from memory, so adopt a sceptical approach. It’s from memory because I can’t be ar*sed to do any peerless googling right now, so we’ll just have to rely on my vast erudition instead.)

          Many years ago – gather round now, children – it was before there were mobile phones! Think of that! Anyway – the geneticists were studying abnormal chromosome patterns to investigate genetic diseases and so on, and they discovered that quite a few men, instead of the usual XY sex-determining chromosome pattern, had a duplicated Y chromosome, giving them XYY. They noticed that some of their subjects had rather chequered histories, seeming to indicate a propensity toward violence and aggression. So a survey was commissioned to see if there was a higher incidence of the XYY pattern among the prison population.

          And, if I recall correctly, there was! And it wasn’t just among the prisoners – it was among the screws too!

          More energetic Munguinites than me are encouraged to research whether this is true or not, and to report their findings (if Mr. Munguin doesn’t mind).

          Liked by 2 people

          1. P.S. I think it had something to do with testosterone, and having too much. Dreadful stuff, testosterone: makes your hair fall out where you want it, and grow in unsightly clumps where you don’t. The cause of much bad behaviour, and spots.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Peerless Googling AND vast erudition, Ed.

            Even Munguin is stunned.

            He would be interested to know what other groups were found to have that extra chromosome …


            1. Tris, I fear that my inner moral compass, which happens to be the only one I’ve got, is telling me to give up on peerless googling, for Lent, starting now.

              I’ve told it repeatedly that I’ve never thought of the Mortification of the Flesh as a particularly good idea for one’s general health, let alone as a means for achieving Enlightenment, Nirvana, or Heaven, in any way unless a sore stomach that thinks it’s throat’s been cut will lead this boy to Bliss.

              But do you think it listens? Hah! I should think not.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Tris, (a) I haven’t a clue; (b) did I respond to this already?; and (c), please convey my most profound obeisances to the good Mr. Munguin, and my deep gratitude for his kind words à propos of my unworthy, insignificant self.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. As America has adopted a new meritocracy, not based on inherited land but rather on right wing news ratings, I suspect that we have not seen the end of the Trump clan. Only if the most recent impeachment is followed by a sentence that makes it clear that he attempted to overthrow the constitution may we finally be shot of the bunch of them. That, alone, may make them unelectable. Or maybe not. Quite a lot of Americans seem to be OK with that.

      Whilst I hope it is so, I am not at all sure that there are enough Republicans with any sanity left to make it so.

      Still, McConnell is influential and you find even him standing against the beloved dictator.

      Interesting times!

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Sending a bunch of thugs round to trash your place of work, stage a coup and threaten your life and liberty may occasionally do that to a person, Tris; that is, if they’re not on the side of the thugs, among whom I include the President, are the inside part of the inside job, and thus have nothing to fear from the thugs.

          Returning to the subject of the old turtle, his wife resigning from the Cabinet was possibly a clue.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. It’s reported that Mitch blamed Trump for the loss of the two Georgia US Senate Seats to the Democrats because of the war Trump started with the Georgia Republican Party. Democrats NEVER win Georgia runoff elections, and to lose BOTH Senate seats in one Georgia runoff is Republican political incompetence of the highest order. Mitch was NOT amused at losing Republican control of the Senate and being demoted to Minority Leader. Mitch’s wife even left the Trump cabinet two weeks before she would have had to leave anyway. A very high profile way of registering McConnell family disapproval! Mitch wants Trump gone forever, and a McConnell vote for conviction on the impeachment charge seems possible.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. He’ll become the first US president to be actually convicted in an impeachment, Tris. I think so, anyway, and being too afflicted by neurasthenia to do any peerless googling, we’ll just have to wait for Danny to say yea or nay.

              The other thing that would most likely follow a successful conviction would be a lifetime bar on holding public office. As all that requires is a majority vote, the Democrats have control of the Senate and at least some Republicans would join them, if they can secure Trump’s conviction on impeachment, then a bar on holding office will surely follow.

              That would have the beneficial effect of removing the fear factor that is evidently keeping some Republicans from going against him – even after having a howling mob sent after them by the guy.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Not at all surprisingly, Ed is correct on all points. 😉 As for the possibility of Republican support for conviction in the Senate, presumably Mitt Romney would vote for conviction, since his was the one Republican vote for conviction in Trump’s first impeachment trial. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska seems likely to do the same based on past statements. No doubt Mitch McConnell could bring along some considerable number of Senators if he chose to do so.

                None of the three presidential impeachments before Trump’s second one resulted in conviction by the Senate (by its constitutionally required 2/3 vote.) (Richard Nixon resigned before he was impeached, and the House chose not to proceed with the impeachment vote.) But the second Trump impeachment involves the new wrinkle of a Senate trial AFTER he is out of office, and the issue of whether or not the Senate would vote to disqualify him from holding office in the future.

                The constitution certainly allows disqualification from holding office in the future as a penalty for conviction on impeachment charges, over and above the penalty of removal from current office. But since the constitution says nothing specifically about disqualification from future office requiring a 2/3 majority vote, then the precedent is that that requires only a simple majority vote, 50% plus 1.

                Proceeding with some FAR less than peerless Googling……I offer the following:

                As for proceeding with the impeachment process after the individual has left office, that rests on one single precedent……the 1876 impeachment of Secretary of
                War William Belknap. Even though Belknap, at the very last minute tendered his resignation to President Grant, the House proceeded to impeach him and the Senate tried him. He was acquitted by the Senate.

                “The Constitution grants Congress authority to impeach and remove the President, Vice President, and other federal ‘civil Officers’ for treason, bribery, or ‘other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.'” In all of American history before the second Trump impeachment, “the House [had] impeached twenty individuals: fifteen federal judges, one Senator, one Cabinet member, and three Presidents. Of these, eight individuals—all federal judges—were convicted by the Senate. President Trump is the first individual that the House has impeached twice. During the first impeachment process, the Senate voted to acquit him following a trial for charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.”

                Apart from the single 1876 precedent of the Belknap impeachment, the constitutional issue of impeachment of officials after leaving office involves some precedents among some State constitutions that predate the federal constitution, and even British precedent. This report on the subject by the Congressional Research Service is surprisingly readable and borderline interesting as constitutional law treatises go. Also, on the United States Senate website, some additional information about the Belknap impeachment.



                Liked by 1 person

                1. Danny, see if you agree with the following.

                  As the Senate’s ability to bar a current or former president from ever holding public office again depends on a successful impeachment conviction, any claim that a president could not be impeached after leaving office would be tantamount to asserting that the Senate was effectively time-barred from proceeding with the case, and that would have the subsidiary effect of preventing it barring that individual from holding public office ever again. There is no such time bar explicit in the Constitution, as far as I am aware.

                  If we look at the matter as not so much a time bar as a statute of limitations, it is a limitation in the most absurdly absolute sense: it could expire within seconds of the commission of the offence. Say that your hypothetical president orders all the members of his cabinet who moved to remove him as unfit for office, by reason of homicidal mania, on his last morning as president, shot, and finds some loyal “patriots” to carry out his order at 11:59 a.m., then at 12:01 p.m. the House and the Senate would have run out of time to hand articles of impeachment to the senate, and the senate would not only lose the power to impeach him, they would be unable to bar him from ever holding office again. That result is patently absurd, I think.

                  Let’s narrow it down a bit further: if the high crime or misdemeanour took place at 11:59:49 a.m. and the House and Senate, operating at the speed of light, were to impeach, convict and bar him at 11:59:59 a.m., he wouldn’t be able to bother anyone again. Two seconds later – and he’d get off scot free.

                  And he’d get off scot free because the Department of Justice has a policy of not prosecuting sitting presidents. Jocular remarks to the effect of “Do they have to be standing up, then?” will be ostentatiously ignored before being crushed under my moral chariot wheels.

                  So, there are two notions going about which make zero sense: one, that it’s not possible to impeach a president once he’s a former president; and two, that sitting presidents may not be prosecuted. The question then becomes one of whether he may be successfully prosecuted for federal offences through the normal channels after he leaves office – given that crimes committed early in his reign, particularly for two-term presidents, may be time-barred after he leaves.

                  Certain legislators have held, to anyone who will listen, that presidents may not be impeached unless their conduct constitutes a criminal offence. They can say that, but it doesn’t make it true… the wording of the Constitution is the maddeningly vague “high crimes and misdemeanours”. The usual (and, I think, correct) interpretation of that is that it is up to the Senate to weigh the articles of impeachment provided by the House, and for the Senators to themselves decide whether the conduct in question is a high crime or misdemeanour. I cannot see how the bonking of a consenting, adult intern in the Oval Office which led to Bill Clinton being impeached meets that standard, while revealing highly classified information to the Russian Ambassador and the Russian Foreign Minister in the Oval Office doesn’t, but then I cannot understand the mentality of people who think sexual peccadilloes are higher crimes than recklessly and deliberately endangering the nation’s security – and incidentally cutting off most of the flow of sensitive information from your country’s allies because they could see with their own eyes that the President could not be trusted not to divulge that information.

                  Diversions along the decision tree

                  The argument that sitting presidents may not be prosecuted by the normal means, but should instead be impeached has some merit, not least that it avoids the problem of ne bis in idem – aka “double jeopardy”. In such a case, we could turn the assertion that no crime = no impeachment on its head: if DoJ or a federal prosecutor would prosecute, then surely the House must draw up the corresponding charges / articles of impeachment, and the Senate must proceed to trial.

                  Any course of action which allows a president to escape criminal liability violates the principle of equality under the law. No one is supposed to be above the law. Even those European States which still have monarchies keep them under strict constitutional control: there is no such thing as an absolute monarchy any more. They probably get away with far too much in their private lives, mind you, but their grubby aristocratic paws are kept well away from the levers of power. To put that another way, we no longer have Executive monarchs or autocrats, and no Executive presidents either, yet the American president retains the potential power of an absolute monarch, bound only by convention and not by law. When the president is corrupt and unrestrained, the potential for a collapse into dictatorship is that much greater. The huckster and publicity-hound Trump succeeded in creating a very dangerous cult of personality around himself, and America was fortunate only in that he was also a f*ucking moron, as Rex Tillerson put it.

                  The principle of equality under law is the primary reason why I say that indictments of former presidents arising in foreign jurisdictions should not be summarily rejected as a matter of course, or solely because the individual in question had held that particular public office at the time the alleged crimes were committed. Under the aut iudicare, aut dedere (try the bastards yourselves, or hand them over to someone who will) principle, the indictment should be examined by your country’s own judiciary, remembering that they cannot be tried, or surrendered for trial elsewhere, if their conduct is not an offence under your own country’s domestic law.

                  Specifically, the indictment should be looked at by whichever body is responsible for deciding whether prosecutions should be brought for the alleged crimes, not by the Administration or the State Department: in other words, by no one other than the appropriate office within an independent judiciary (which begs the question of what the Biden administration is going to have to do to undo the damage inflicted by Sessions and Barr). It should be up to that office to decide whether there is a case to answer under domestic law, and only then to decide whether to try the case in a domestic court (aut iudicare), or hand the defendant over for trial elsewhere (aut dedere).

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. Ed….A very sensible analysis I think, with the caveat that sensible and rational are not necessarily guiding principles of American constitutional law as far as I can tell. 😉

                    As you’ve laid it out, it’s clear that the many facets of the issue are complex. There’s the fact that impeachment is a political process, not a judicial process, with different standards of evidence and different burdens of proof. An Article of Impeachment may or may not be a judicial crime. Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

                    Treason and bribery may have meant pretty much the same thing in 1789 as today, but I’ve read that “high crimes and misdemeanors” meant very specific things in the eighteenth century that no longer apply today.

                    Note the wording of Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7 : “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present. Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”

                    Note that the power to disqualify from holding office in the future is clearly stated, but whether or not that necessarily requires a 2/3 vote is not really clear. The judicial precedent is that it requires only a majority vote. Also note that conviction of impeachment does not excuse the individual of criminal liability. He or she: “shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”

                    So even if you accept the non-constitutional DOJ policy of not indicting a sitting president, then he’s in fact fair game for criminal prosecution after leaving office whether he’s impeached and convicted in the Senate or not.

                    The single article of the pending Trump impeachment is titled “Incitement of Insurrection.” That puts it squarely within the scope of Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code….to wit:

                    18 U.S. Code — Section 2383: “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

                    So if you want to punish him and bar him from holding future public office, you can simply convict him of the criminal act of inciting insurrection under Title 18 of the U.S. Code after he leaves office.

                    And as far as disqualification for future public office, what about Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (one of the Civil War amendments) which specifies: “No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

                    Maybe THAT would bar Trump from future service as president. Apparently that would require only a simple majority vote of both Houses of Congress. The Washington Post had an interesting article:


                    I’m not sure where all that leaves us, except that I’m glad that I’m not a constitutional lawyer. 😉

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Thanks for that, Danny. Food for thought, and informed thought is better than spinning the mental wheels in the absence of traction.

                      One thought occurred to me immediately: thought the impeachment process has become nakedly partisan, it wasn’t supposed to be that way: senators were supposed to act as impartial jurors. Attempts by the leaders of the parties in the Senate are in breach of that principle any time they try to whip their caucuses into line on a partisan basis.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. Ed…..I agree completely. The self-serving partisanship of the political parties has made a joke of Congress’ impeachment power. It had only been used once in 185 years. Then came Richard Nixon and Watergate in 1974. Yes, he resigned the presidency voluntarily and Congress decided not to impeach…..and yes, the Republicans were largely abandoning him at the time, but as his crime receded into the past, it left a smoldering resentment within the GOP. Yes, he was technically a crook, but he was THEIR crook. So the GOP got payback with Bill Clinton, which left the Democrats angry and resentful.

                      THEN came Trump and the 2016 election. The political climate was total war. Right wing GOP firebrands declared that they were ready to file impeachment charges against Hillary Clinton on the DAY that she’s inaugurated. But that didn’t happen. Against all public polling before the election, Trump was elected.

                      So the Democratic Party is the party of reason, and all was well until the next election? NO! Turns out the Democrats are as irrationally partisan as the GOP. My Democratic friends simply went bat shit CRAZY that such a man was elected president. That awful man just wasn’t SUPPOSED to get elected, and the Dems were out to get him! Wait until the next election and remove him by voting him out of office? Nah! Next election be damned! They were going to get him NOW.

                      The Democrats immediately started jabbering about impeachment and didn’t let up. They were disappointed with the Mueller investigation and that just increased their fury. Then there was the Ukraine phone call and that was the excuse they needed. That impeachment failed, whether it was justified or not. Finally, Trump incited insurrection, and we were off to the impeachment races again. He did after all attempt to subvert the valid election outcome, and that’s probably truly impeachable by any reasonable standard. But I doubt that even that will succeed in the Senate.

                      Even when impeachment should work, political partisanship will likely prevent it. At least, now that he’s out of office he might be criminally prosecuted under 18U.S.Code — Section 2383, incitement to rebellion or insurrection. That is, if the Department of Justice chooses to charge him. I doubt that they will. He may richly deserve it, but trying to prove intent might be tricky, and in any case, a new presidential administration going after an ex-president would probably poison the political waters more than they already are.

                      As for what the founders intended, there is good evidence that to a great extent, they followed English impeachment law that was already largely obsolete when the federal constitution was written in 1787 (see the Washington Post article below.) The term “high crimes and misdemeanors” is lifted directly from English law, and apparently meant a crime against the state, as opposed to an offense against an individual person. In that context, it probably meant something more like “maladministration” than what we commonly think of as a “crime.”

                      Alexander Hamilton certainly favored impeachment as a power of Congress under the new constitution, but in “Federalist No.65”, he clearly anticipates the mess that political “factions” would make of it in the future.

                      From Federalist No. 65:
                      “A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”

                      From the National Constitution Center, an article titled: “What the Founders thought about impeachment and the President” :


                      From the Washington Post, an article titled: “Impeachment exists because the Founding Fathers made a mistake. Several, actually.”


                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Thanks, Danny. I disagree only on one thing, really, and that is about the Democrats going crazy to impeach Trump the first time. What Trump did was more than sufficient to warrant him being chucked out. The Mueller report itself should have been enough for that, and don’t let’s forget that how many criminal prosecutions and convictions arose out of it – though the Republicans kept on claiming falsely that the report exonerated him. That proved that they either hadn’t read it, or they had read it and were lying about it, or they’d handed over their critical faculties to the cult of personality surrounding Trump.

                      Then there were the crimes for which Michael Cohen went to jail and Individual One didn’t; Manafort… all of them grounds both necessary and sufficient for impeachment. The shenanigans over the “perfect” call to Zelenskyy in Ukraine too – again, sufficient grounds for impeachment. Emoluments Act, the self-dealing – naked corruption.

                      By the way, is Giuliani truly crazy?

                      I’ll not forget all those Republican senators at the not guilty verdict in the first impeachment trial sitting there clapping like trained seals, chanting “Four more years! Four more years!”. I hadn’t seen anything like it since Ceaușescu.

                      A President Pence, though a shuddersome thought, could surely not have been worse, despite what some of my former colleagues in the US say – he at least is halfway sane, even if he never got the memo about the separation of Church and State.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    4. All very fine, but why on Earth did they wait so long, Danny, until Giuliani had stopped the egregious lying? Too afraid of repercussions while King Lame Duck Donald was still on the throne, maybe?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. Ha ha … Rudy backed the wrong horse there.

                      I guess lawyers sometimes have to defend people who are guilty, but mostly they don’t incite violence and insurrection.

                      I heard an American Trump supporter on radio today questioning the use of “coup d’état” to describe what happened at the capitol building.

                      Do they even know what that means? he asked.

                      To my mind it means a rebellion, an attempt to overthrow the legally accepted state.

                      Literally a “blow at the state”. (Although coup can be translated in so many ways.)

                      So a mob, intent on stopping a legal process which has the approval of all the courts in which it has been tested… and is being overseen by the Vice President, turns up at the capitol and breaks in, stops the proceedings so much that the senators and representatives have to escape to safety in order to carry out the business of the state… and that’s not a blow at the state?


                    6. Ed…..I suppose even now the GOP politicians are afraid of how much influence Trump may still wield over the Republican electorate. As you know, the choice of who runs as a Republican or a Democrat in any general election is determined by an earlier “primary” election…….administered by the State parties, but conducted by the State governments. So incumbent GOP Senators and Congressmen (House members) who Trump opposes can “get primaried” by fanatical Trump supporters and never even get the opportunity to run in the general election. Primary elections attract sparse numbers of voters, and invariably the most radical and passionate of them.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    7. Hm. There’s no procedure for weeding out representatives / candidates who can’t meet the standards required to be a candidate for one of the major parties, such as sanity, a belief in science, a rejection of creationism, acceptance of global warming, understanding of human, social and political rights, a rejection of white supremacy, fascism and other antidemocratic ideologies, conspiracy theories… did I mention racism?

                      The parties should not accept people who cannot meet certain minimum standards – and that means purging themselves of the flakes and wingnuts.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    8. Tris…….It was interesting when prominent big-money (AKA “white shoe”) law firms, of a type that typically represent presidents, very publicly pulled out of Trump’s phony election fraud lawsuits, because they refused to be associated with what he was doing. That was when the crazies like Giuliani and Sidney Powell (for a while) took over. They were fanatical and irresponsible, but that was exactly what Trump seemed to want. But as time went on, Giuliani was apparently falling from favor, even though he was on hand to declare “trial by combat” before the mob left the White House and marched to attack the Capitol.

                      For his impeachment counsel, Trump has chosen Butch Bowers, a well known South Carolina election and ethics lawyer recommended by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham…..reportedly after other lawyers turned Trump down.


                      I agree that considering the facts of the case, coup d’etat seems an entirely appropriate term. Interesting that Trump supporters seem to want to argue the definition. Maybe they actually prefer “incitement of insurrection” which is the precise wording of the Article of Impeachment, and is identical to the wording of a federal crime as defined under Title 18 –US Code — Section 2383, “Rebellion or Insurrection.” It states that “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto” is subject to fine, imprisonment, and disqualification from future public office.

                      I’d agree that given the facts, “coup d’etat” and “inciting rebellion or insurrection” are pretty much a distinction without a difference. 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                    9. Well, Danny, they were trying to overthrow an election which had been accepted as legitimate by the VPOYUS, SCOTUS, governors and state attorneys… and they were doing it violently, encouraged by the president, the president’s son and the presidents lawyers.

                      What else could it be

                      Liked by 1 person

                    10. Yes Ed……the two principal American political parties (even the sensible Republicans) would love to get rid of the flakes and the wingnuts. But as you probably know, neither party is in the business of accepting or expelling anyone, since there’s no such thing as “membership” in an American political party. You are whatever you want to call yourself, and you run for office as either a Democrat or a Republican as long as you win the party primary election for that office.

                      Formal party organizations do exist at both the national and state levels for purposes of fundraising and campaign organization, but the party organizations have nothing to say about who runs for nomination in the primary elections or (by winning the primary) who runs under the party banner in the general election. If a Marxist child molester wins your party primary, that’s just tough luck. He’s your man in the general.

                      For the purpose of organizing their primary elections, some states require a party preference declaration when you register to vote. That allows them to administer their particular primary election laws. But you can change your party registration freely, and it actually has nothing at all to do with party membership or organizational structure.

                      Some states like Missouri do NOT have party preference voter registration and run so-called “Open” primaries. In Missouri, on primary election day, the poll workers just ask you which party ballot you want to vote. All the party ballots are available to everyone, and you take whichever one you want. You can choose the party you actually favor and vote for your favorite candidates, OR you can pick the ballot of the party you oppose and vote for the weakest, most stupid, most evil and venal candidate, just to screw the opposition.

                      American politics is a free for all. 😉 Bernie Sanders runs as an Independent in Vermont elections for the US Senate, but runs as a Democrat when he runs for President. It was big news in August when QAnon conspiracy theory nut case Marjorie Taylor Greene, won the Republican primary for Congress in the deeply conservative 14th Congressional District of Georgia. Since that allowed her to run as a Republican in the general, she won the election in November and now serves in Congress.


                      Liked by 2 people

  7. I see the often repeated phrase, “special relationship ” is again being promoted on the M.S.M. To my mind, if there ever was one, which I doubt, it ceased in 1956, Suez, when Eden was told in no uncertain terms by Eisenhower to get oot. Johnson, if Biden ever deigns to speak to him, will do exactly as he is telt, or else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Alex. The special relationship was described to me by a guy who was (20 years ago) a politics student at UCSD… and was told by his politics prof that the special relationship could be reasonably summed up and the US saying “Jump” and the UK saying “How high?”

      It was always one-sided, becasue Britain needs to stay in with America to have any hopes of continuing to be “important”. America doesn’t NEED Britain but I suppose it’s good to have another country always in agreement with them.

      If the US decides that Britain is no longer a useful idiot, it will drop it and Britain will return to its proper place in the world.

      Now it’s out of Europe, heaven knows where that is.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Interesting to note on this day in 1919, having secured 73 out of 105 Irish seats, pro Irish independence MPs break the connection with Britain and establish the First Dáil. A good omen for the Indyref case?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Off Topic.
    The Tories are refusing to accept an EU ambassador in London (We could have it here in Scotland instead).
    Right wing Tories have always tried to play one European state off against another in order to further their aims.
    Cameron,May and Johnson all tried to speak directly to individual states within the EU and it is absolutely clear that this is how they intend to conduct business in future.
    Doubt this will fly however.
    Brexit is going to leave England’s Tories exactly where they should be.
    Isolated within the United Kingdom of England and no longer able to disrupt and attack people in other countries (except Scotland).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hilarious.

      Every other country in the world that has a relationship with the EU has an “ambassador” with diplomatic credentials presented to the head of state, but Britain isn;t going to…

      Britain’s loss.

      Yes, we need an EU person in Edinburgh and a Sco0ttish person in Brussels.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Andrew Pierce is a journalist, editor, author, broadcaster and political commentator.
    If you watch TV at all ( BBC, ITV or Sky) or listen to LBC Radio you’ll be more than familiar with his “style”.
    He specialises in expressing right wing populist opinion. That he’s short on detail and facts doesn’t hinder him at all.
    He he is on the White House Churchill Bust story:

    Liked by 1 person

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