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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Expert Witnesses in the Impeachment Trial

One question that may come up in the trial is whether the House managers can call expert witnesses to testify about whether the facts support their allegation of a high crime and misdemeanor. This was not done in the Johnson and Clinton trials, but there is a fair argument for that testimony here. One can imagine calling foreign policy officials from Republican Administrations past (Colin Powell, for example) to offer their opinions on the President's alleged conduct toward Ukraine. And the President could call his own experts to counter whatever they say. 

Granted, John Bolton arguably serves both roles (as a fact witness and an expert). But his testimony before the House committee is still uncertain.

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on October 31, 2019 at 12:49 PM | Permalink


And Douglas, there is no issue of articulating any impeachment article ( if indeed). For:

The fund withheld allegedly, was based on Congress act ( " faithfully executing the law " the constitution provides ) and:

The emolument provisions are also relevant ( in inspirational terms rather). For, it provides that the president is forbidden from receiving any benefit ( domestically and from foreign powers). And why ? Not to put himself in conflict of interests. But, if what is alleged is correct and proven, Trump has put himself, in conflict of interests. On one hand his personal issue (election).On the other, fulfilling duty to provide Ukraine with foreign aid, for the US interests ( to fight Russia and its influence in eastern Europe).


Posted by: El roam | Nov 5, 2019 6:45:18 AM

Douglas, you can read here, how Biden, by himself, pushed Ukraine, to remove prosecutor, and fight corruption:


Posted by: El roam | Nov 5, 2019 6:22:29 AM

Douglas, It is not that simple. Experts could testify here, so far, for both matters ( or one rather):

First, what is an impeachable offense. Yet, baseless. This is because, it is an issue, of legal expertise. court typically is the ultimate legal expert. Courts don't here testimonies of legal experts. Suppose, Wasserman is an expert for federal standing, or, preliminary injunction. Would the court yet hear him ( federal court). Of course not. Since the court is the expert ( unless foreign law of course ). Here we have the chief justice. Why would he hear an expert, interpreting the constitution ? He is the ultimate expert for it. Yet, what about Senate members ? Well, if they need to act like judges or alike ( or rather " petit jury" ) and as Senate members, they need, or, must learn by themselves such issue, as what is an impeachable offense one may argue. They are not totally, like laymen.

Second, and to the concrete issue:

Trump rather, would need an expert. Why ? Because if Democrats would prove, the alleged offense, they would have big score. Why ? Because, the American tax payer, is paying in fact, for securing American interests. Securing the National security interests. Not for inviting Ukraine, to interfere with the elections. Trump to remind you, is accused of withholding funds, foreign aid, just for conditioning it, with investigation of the front runner against him ( Biden, by Ukraine). This is clearly and impeachable offense if proven so of course.

But, Trump, can bring an expert, to show, that such practice, is totally common, all along the way. By all administrations so. You don't grant aid to corrupt foreign government, unless you make sure, that money would go to the right things. For, that's precisely what Biden did with Ukraine:

No money, until the prosecutor, is removed, and corruption is fought. Trump may argue, that accidentally, there was there, Biden in the basket of Ukraine. It is not his creation.The issue is corruption, not Biden. Biden was there ? Well,he is not Biden, either didn't put him and his son there.


Posted by: El roam | Nov 5, 2019 5:42:41 AM

You gotta be kidding me. The Democrats should call expert witnesses to testify that they think Trump's foreign policy is stupid? Yes, that is surely the way to convince all those who not yet persuaded that Trump has abused his power in a way that justifies his removal from the presidency.

Let me spell this out. If the Democrats can't articulate a clear rule of conduct that they think Trump breached, and if they can't introduce overwhelming clear fact evidence of that breach, then they should hang it up. As things currently stand, the Democrats still haven't articulated the rule that they think Trump breached. But I'm sure Cong. Schiff, the reincarnation of Ace Ventura, is hard at work on it.

Posted by: Douglas B. Levene | Nov 5, 2019 4:17:38 AM

Seemingly, important issue, but it doesn't seem really like great deal. Rule VII of the Senate (Rules for impeachment trials ) states clearly, I quote:

VII. The Presiding Officer of the Senate shall direct all necessary preparations in the Senate Chamber, and the Presiding Officer on the trial shall direct all the forms of proceedings while the Senate is sitting for the purpose of trying an impeachment, and all forms during the trial not otherwise specially provided for. And the Presiding Officer on the trial may rule on all questions of evidence including, but not limited to, questions of relevancy, materiality, and redundancy of evidence and incidental questions, which ruling shall stand as the judgment of the Senate, unless some Member of the Senate shall ask that a formal vote be taken thereon, in which case it shall be submitted to the Senate for decision without debate; or he may at his option, in the first instance, submit any such question to a vote of the Members of the Senate. Upon all such questions the vote shall be taken in accordance with the Standing Rules of the Senate.

End of quotation:

So, it is up to the presiding officer. Alternatively, a vote may be initiated. So, experts, may testify. The other issue may be, who is an expert ? A layman, that has served as officer in federal agency, may not be considered as as expert formally ( emphasizing : formally ). But, one should differentiate in such case, between : weight V. admissibility. That is to say, that whatever, weight zero can be granted, while admissible per se. But what about jury or alike in such case ? For, the judges, are not professionals. Well, one may argue, that the chief justice,may direct the Senate members, to impose such or such reservation as he finds fit and deem in light of one given testimony. The tendency in the world by the way, is to accept as much as possible ( in admissibility terms ) and to grant the precise and right weight to whatever is correct, relevant, and reliable.


Posted by: El roam | Oct 31, 2019 1:42:03 PM

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