It looks like the House managers and the president’s legal team are going for different audiences in their opening statements, and neither seems to be speaking to the audience of senators in front of them. Ken and Josh discuss the tone and strategy so far, and whether it seems like this impeachment trial will be conducted very differently from the Clinton impeachment.
Both sides are taking partisan shots and were admonished by Chief Justice Roberts late in the first night, but White House counsel Pat Cipollone lied about Republicans not being allowed into the SCIF. Should Cipollone be allowed to do that in this arena? Should we be expecting a really partisan impeachment? (Yes. Plus, nastiness, bitterness and some harsh stuff.)
Then: Lev Parnas is kinda acting like Michael Cohen. Is he cooperating or not? Michael Avenatti’s troubles continue. And Tulsi Gabbard is suing Hilary Clinton for defamation.
Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani’s thumb-headed henchman, who is under indictment for campaign finance violations, has been really trying to cooperate with Congress in their investigations of President Trump. A judge allowed him to share seized documents with Congress and well, they turned out to be pretty interesting. Ken and Josh talk through the dump of documents and what this new character Robert Hyde was/is up to.
Then: it looks like the impeachment trial could start next week. Nancy Pelosi has named impeachment managers and the articles have been sent to the Senate. So, what’s next?
Michael Flynn is officially withdrawing his guilty plea, and Michael Avenatti was taken into custody during disciplinary hearing, which has complicated his upcoming federal trial in New York.
Plus: updates on the defamation cases against President Trump from Summer Zervos and E. Jean Carroll, Bill de Blasio says the Manhattan DA is looking into the Trump Organization, and Michael Cohen wants his prison sentence reduced.
The standoff continues
Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell are still in a standoff over the rules for the Senate impeachment proceedings. Pelosi still hasn’t sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate, and it looks like McConnell is ready to start the impeachment trial with no witnesses. So, is Pelosi’s strategy to hold onto the articles pay off? We’re still waiting. Josh and Ken discuss the influence Chief Justice John Roberts might have as he presides over the trial, with Republicans having enough votes to override him (if they vote together).
Over the holidays, we learned more about the timeline of the Ukraine aid freeze and the president’s involvement. Does this news have important implications for the impeachment proceedings? If anything, Ken says, it confirms what Democrats have been saying, and it gets us closer to the “so-what-if-he-did?” defense of the president.
Plus: what’s with Bolton offering to testify in the Senate, now prosecutors say Michael Flynn should serve 0-6 months in prison, Michael Avenatti tries to get a judge to throw out an extortion claim against him, Lev Parnas wants Congress to see some important documents, and was it a good idea for Rudy Giuliani to have brunch with reporter Olivia Nuzzi?
With the impeachment vote, All The President’s Lawyers is wrapping up for 2019. Ken and Josh will be back on Jan. 8, 2020.
As the House of Representatives debates the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Josh and Ken ducked into a nearby studio to discuss all the other news from this week. The president’s 6-page tweet/letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about why impeachment is wrong and bad. Mitch McConnell is signaling how he might run an impeachment trial in January. Do Democrats have any leverage? The Supreme Court has decided to take up the question of whether President Trump, his businesses and other associates must obey subpoenas for his information. Once again, what the hell is Rudy Giuliani doing? Lev Parnas is still in jail. Rick Gates is sentenced. Michael Flynn is next. And Paul Manafort is apparently having medical issues while in federal custody, but his legal team is struggling to get any information.
It’s been a big year. On behalf of Ken, Josh, KCRW and the All The President’s Lawyers team, thank you for listening to the show. More to come in 2020.
Two articles of impeachment
House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment for President Trump this week: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. What’s in the articles? Should Democrats have added more charges? And what happens next? Given the outlook in the Senate, Ken says this “lean and mean” approach is the right one.
Ken and Josh also discuss the Inspector General report on the origins of the FBI’s investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign, upcoming sentences for Rich Gates and Michael Flynn, whether Carter Page is owed an apology, John Durham, Rudy Giuliani’s jaunt to Ukraine, Bill Barr, and Michael Avenatti too.