Thursday, January 23, 2020

Russiagate Shampeachment Stew

An awful lot today (in both senses), as both the original Russia/Spygate and the new new Fantabulous Shampeachment have bumper crops.

Stacy McCain, Eric Ciaramella Is the ‘Whistleblower’ and Other Things You’re Not Allowed to Say
Three weeks ago, I posted to Facebook a link to a post by Instapundit, and discovered that it is “coordinating harm and promoting crime” to name Eric Ciaramella, despite the fact that he is allegedly the man responsible for the current impeachment of President Trump. And of course, as I said, his identity is by no means a secret (although some of us have trouble trying to get the spelling right). Just today, in fact, Paul Sperry of Real Clear Investigations reports more on Ciaramella:
Barely two weeks after Donald Trump took office, Eric Ciaramella — the CIA analyst whose name was recently linked in a tweet by the president and mentioned by lawmakers as the anonymous “whistleblower” who touched off Trump’s impeachment — was overheard in the White House discussing with another staffer how to remove the newly elected president from office, according to former colleagues.
Sources told RealClearInvestigations the staffer with whom Ciaramella was speaking was Sean Misko. Both were Obama administration holdovers working in the Trump White House on foreign policy and national security issues. And both expressed anger over Trump’s new “America First” foreign policy, a sea change from President Obama’s approach to international affairs.
“Just days after he was sworn in they were already talking about trying to get rid of him,” said a White House colleague who overheard their conversation.
“They weren’t just bent on subverting his agenda,” the former official added. “They were plotting to actually have him removed from office.”. . .
You can read the whole thing, but the point is plain enough: Two Democrat staffers from the Obama administration had been looking for a way to sabotage Trump ever since he was inaugurated, and this political conspiracy against the President of the United States has now led to an impeachment trial in the Senate, but Facebook has prohibited anyone from naming the “whistleblower” who is responsible for this.
Put him in the witness list. Nice Deb at AmGreat, Anti-Trump ‘Whistleblower’ Heard Discussing Need to ‘Take Out’ Trump 2 Weeks into His Presidency   Ace,  Paul Sperry: Eric Ciaramella Openly Schemed With Fellow Joe Biden Holdover to "Take the President Out," From the Very Moment They Were Briefed on Trump's "America First" Foreign Policy
Instapundit notes that Democrats have taken to calling all inconvenient facts "conspiracy theories."On Tuesday, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told quite the whopper by claiming Republicans have been spreading a "weird conspiracy theory" that Democrats wanted to impeach Donald Trump since he was inaugurated.
"What I found astounding was they're still saying that we were out to get the president from day one, some sort of a weird conspiracy theory that I have to say, even [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh brought up," Hirono said on MSNBC.
The Democrats' use of the term "conspiracy theory" to describe all claims they don't like is more malicious than it seems. (my link- Fritz)

The Democrats have schemed with social media monopolies to censor all "conspiracy theories" and deplatform all persons "spreading conspiracy theories." So when a Democrat labels any political statement a "conspiracy theory," they are taking the first step towards censoring that statement and punishing anyone who dares express it.
If I were Judge Sullivan, I would dismiss the case with prejudice on the grounds that the prosecution has demonstrated it is unable or unwilling (likely the latter) to turn over exculptatory evidence, and that therefore, any just verdict is impossible because the possibility that more has been withheld. Oh, and the prosecutors should be charged with contempt.
Eli Lake has a shockingly fair article on The FBI Scandal at commentary. It's too long to fisk or excerpt effectively today. But read it. Liz Vaughn at Red State, Brennan Tweets He’s Never Heard a Govt Lawyer So Deceive Americans; Gets SMOKED by Former CIA Colleague

And the Shampeachment; what can you say that hasn't already been said by multitudes, Stacy McCain, Impeachment Circus Update
What we are watching is the Democrats engaging in a performance staged to provide sound bites for their propagandists in the media. Like the phony “debate” staged on CNN last week, this cable-TV charade is simply part of the Democrats’ 2020 presidential campaign. Insofar as anything important happened Tuesday, Tyler O’Neill suggests it was in Jay Sekulow’s opening argument in defense of Trump . . .
Sundance at CTH, Jay Sekulow Discusses Current Status of House Impeachment Case…

Even the Democrats aren't paying attention, (sundance) Ranking Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein Left Senate During Schiff Testimony – Said “Goodnight” and Went Home… The Blaze, Here's why CBS was right to terminate coverage of the impeachment trial and go back to showing soaps

Following Chief Justice Roberts rebuke, AP notes how Schiff takes conciliatory tone after Roberts’ admonishment and at Town Hall, Republicans Note How Schiff Just Threw Nadler 'Under the Bus. That's a big bump.

Keeping all our Schiff together, Teach at Pirate's Cove, Good Grief: Excitable Adam Schiff Tries To Drag Russia Russia Russia Into Impeachment Theater "Democrats just can’t let it go, despite having zero evidence" Capt. Ed at Hot Air, Sekulow To Schiff, Nadler: Remember When You Endorsed Eric Holder’s Obstruction — And Barack Obama’s Executive Privilege Claim?,  Ace, Surprise: Adam Schiff Misrepresented Evidence In Senate Trial's Opening "I don't think any of us saw this coming." Jeff Dunnetz, The Lid, Did Adam Schiff Purposely Mislead America About The Parnas Texts? "Or Does Schiff Believe Everyone With A Surname Starting With The Letter "Z" Is The Same?"AllahPundit at Hot Air, Schiff On Calling Hunter Biden In Exchange For John Bolton: “This Isn’t Like Some Fantasy Football Trade”; Update: “Off The Table,” Says Schumer. So, no witnesses? Da Fed, Adam Schiff Is Already Claiming The Illegitimacy Of A Trump Reelection. So he's already designed to losing. Allah Pundit (who may hate Schiff more than he hates Trump), Schiff: We Can’t Let Voters Decide This At The Ballot Box Because Now We Can’t Be Sure The Election Will Be Fair. Matt Margolis at PJ Media The Top Seven Lies Adam Schiff Has Told to Boost Impeachment, and still counting. Fox, Impeachment-weary Trump tees off on ‘sleazebags’ Nadler and Schiff, says he’d ‘love’ to attend trial

“First of all, Jerrold Nadler, I’ve known him a long time, he’s a sleazebag. Everybody knows that,” the president said, adding that Schiff acts like he’s “so aggrieved.”

“I watched the lies from Adam Schiff,” he continued. “He’s a liar and he’s a fraud.”

“These are major sleazebags,” Trump said. “It’s a total hoax. It’s a disgrace. They talked about their tremendous case and it’s all done.”
Insty, NO BRAIN? NO PROBLEM! What We Can Learn About Impeachment From Slime Molds.

Tyler O'Meil, PJ Media, CNN Analyst Fabricates Quotes From GOP Senators to Smear Trump, Fox News, Also Insty, EVERY TIME I THINK I COULDN”T POSSIBLY BE MORE CYNICAL, SOMEONE PROVES ME WRONG. . . "but here’s the original tweet, and here’s the confession. Notice that Lockhart is a CNN Contributor. Clearly, CNN hasn’t hit bottom yet." The Babylon Bee has the perfect response, 
Capt. Ed, Schumer whines that McConnell Did Trump’s Bidding In Forcing Votes Late Last Night Rather Than This Morning  Jazz Shaw, Hot Air, Broke: Cocaine Mitch. Woke: Midnight Mitch. "This phenomenon was noted by Andrew Stiles at the Free Beacon, prompting him to ask… why can’t these people stop giving Mitch McConnell badass nicknames?" He's the Yoda of the Senate. CNN McConnell warns against witnesses in pitch for quick impeachment trial resolution. Democrats just want to drag out their own humiliation. Althouse,"The White House on Wednesday passed up a chance to force a vote to dismiss the impeachment charges against President Trump before arguments get underway."
"Both the president’s defense lawyers and the House Democratic impeachment managers had until 9 a.m. on Wednesday to offer motions related to the trial, except for ones that would call for witnesses and new evidence, issues that will be dealt with next week. Neither side did so, aides in both parties said.... A dismissal vote this week would almost certainly have failed to attract a majority of senators, dividing Republicans and dealing Mr. Trump an early symbolic defeat. A motion to dismiss could still be offered later in the trial."
The NYT reports.

And Trump "lashed out". . .
Bonchie at Red State, Mitt Romney Lets the Left Down on Impeachment and Makes a Good Point Along the Way
I may not be a Mitt Romney guy, but I have to give him credit here. After initially signaling he might buck Mitch McConnell and hand Democrats leverage they didn’t deserve, the Utah Senator is now doing the right thing and pushing the trial forward. In 53-47 vote (which I covered here, so be sure to check that out), Chuck Schumer’s plans to bully the majority went up in flames. No one defected. Not Romney, not Collins, nor Murkowski.
AllahPundit,  Biden: A Witness Trade Involving Hunter For John Bolton Would Turn The Process Into A “Farce”. I'd much rather have Joe testify than Hunter, and Neil Braithwaite at AmThink thinks Barack Obama should be key witness in impeachment trial, not Joe or Hunter Biden, and I like his argument. But it won't happen.

Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 01.22.20, Legal Insurrection: Nothing Will Be Gained By Appeasing Democrats On Impeachment Witnesses, also JustOneMinute: Trial of The Millennium. So far. Chuck Ross at Da Caller, Giuliani Accuses Lev Parnas Of Lying, Brings Up Possibility Of Tape Recordings

VodkaPundit, Debunking Trump's Impeachment with One Simple Thought Experiment
Let's pretend that Joe Biden had a different name. No, better: Let's pretend that Joe Biden had a different letter after his name. Let's pretend he's Joe Biden (R), former vice president under George W. Bush. In that case, what would the Democrats be doing differently? Literally everything.

Instead of impeaching Trump, they'd be praising him (although perhaps reluctantly) for his non-partisan willingness to look into Republican malfeasance. Adam Schiff would hold months worth of hearings, looking back into the Bush administration in ways he'd never dare look back into Obama's. The Democrat-controlled press would be 24/7 "Biden! Biden! Biden!" Jerry Nadler would have to go back to, I dunno, eating mayonnaise with an ice cream scoop.
At Ace's Morning Rant, the Gorilla said
"As I ranted on Monday, with Pelosi walking around in an impeachment skin and demanding respect, she doesn't seem to know (or care) that her fellow Democrats haven't impeached Trump. Instead, they've impeached impeachment.

"The Democrats have completely diluted 'impeachment' down to nothing. It's not going to be Trump's presidency that has an asterisk, it will be impeachment itself.

"Remember this, next time they try to pretend they were “prayerfully” or “reluctantly” impeaching Donald Trump. They weren’t.
Sundance, 21 State Attorneys General Submit Legal Brief – Urging Senate to Reject Articles of Impeachment…  Fox, State AGs urge Senate to reject impeachment in stinging letter: 'A dangerous historical precedent'. Like somebody cares what they think?
"If not expressly repudiated by the Senate, the theories animating both Articles will set a precedent that is entirely contrary to the Framers' design and ruinous to the most important governmental structure protections contained in our Constitution: the separation of powers," they wrote.
. . .
"Even an unsuccessful effort to impeach the President undermines the integrity of the 2020 presidential election because it weaponizes a process that should only be initiated in exceedingly rare circumstances and should never be used for partisan purposes," the letter continued.
The Dersh,  ‘Pelosi Doesn’t Understand What Impeachment Is’: If Trump’s Acquitted, ‘The Impeachment Disappears’  Althouse cites the Dersh, "It is true that an impeachable 'abuse of power' can’t simply consist in using the powers of the executive for personal, political gain; that happens all the time." CNS News. Capt. Ed, Dems Must End This Sham Impeachment, Says … Former Clinton Adviser? Mark Penn. Fron Da Hill,  Mark Penn, End impeachment's government shutdown!  John Davidson, Da Fed, As The Impeachment Trial Begins, Democrats Are Losing Their Minds. How could you tell?
Anti-Trumper David French, Here’s the Legitimate Question that Should Dominate the Impeachment Trial "Some abuses of presidential power are more easily remedied than others." Abuse of power arguments are simply not legitimate, not because there isn't abuse of power, there always is, but because the three branches are always jockeying for more, and it's built into the system. But Kelly's worst half George Conway says Senate GOP knows Trump is 'guilty': 'What are they afraid of?. How can you tell when a "conservative" jumps the shark? Herr Dr. Jacobsen at LI, Impeachment: Republican Senators “recognize the trial … as an attempted political decapitation”. Politico, thinks hopefully, Trump impeachment team undercuts DOJ position in McGahn case.

Paul Bedard at WaEx, Trump approval ‘the best of his presidency': Gallup, not a high bar, but a sign of the times, also, Impeachment drives 1,000 GOP candidates to run for House. Is it a landslide or a disappointment in the making?

Byron York at WaEx debunks Impeachment, Democrats, and those 90,000 documents. Sundance, ‘The Origin of The Feces’ – White House Lawyer Patrick Philbin Explains House Circumvention of Constitution During Impeachment…

Arkansas Online, Appear in Arkansas court, explain, judge orders Hunter Biden, Ace, Joe Biden Sternly Warns Compliant Media Not to Report On His or His Son's Involvement in Corruption "And of course the Brave Firefighters tipped their fedoras."

Some odds and ends, NewsBusters, OOPS: Lesley Stahl Says Fox News Didn't Exist for Clinton Impeachment "NINAN: No. [Double oops: Ninan was a Fox News Middle East correspondent.]"

Sundance also offers videous, Zeldin, Jordan, Ratcliffe and Meadows Debunk Media Spin… and President Trump Interview with Maria Bartiromo…

Tattoo Thursday

A bit much?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

EPA Weighs in on Bay Striper Regs

Bombachelle lands a striper
Or at least EPA Bay Program's pet magazine, the Bay Journal. MD, VA mulling options to halt decline in striped bass population. Not a bad article really. Pretty comprehensive, and surprisingly fair:
Prompted by a scientific finding that the East Coast’s most prized finfish are in trouble, Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River are all moving to adopt new catch restrictions aimed at stemming the species’ decline.

But many anglers are complaining about the complexity, fairness and even the adequacy of the cutbacks under consideration, which range from a quota tuck of less than 2% for commercial fishermen in Maryland to a 24% reduction in fish removed by recreational anglers in Virginia.

The two states are taking somewhat different tacks to comply with a directive from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates fishing for migratory species from Maine to Florida. Last October, the interstate panel ordered an 18% decrease in mortality of striped bass coastwide, including in the Chesapeake Bay, which serves as the main spawning ground and nursery for the species.

Striped bass aren’t in as bad a shape as they were in the 1980s, when Maryland imposed a total fishing moratorium on them for nearly six years. But scientists have warned that after rebounding from that earlier swoon, the number of spawning-age female fish has fallen once more to a worrisome level, and the species is again being overfished.
I arrived in MD in 1985, just in time for the 5 year striper moratorium which ended in Oct. 1990. At the time, however, we had a pretty good Bluefish run, the likes of which we have not seen in quite some time. There is some indication that the health of striper and blue populations seesaw for climatic reasons.

The interstate commission decided that commercial and recreational fisheries should share equally in the cutbacks it ordered. But it agreed to consider letting states curtail the two sectors by differing amounts, as long as the net effect achieves a “conservation equivalency.”

The commission meets again in early February to review and decide whether to approve the alternative approaches states have come up with.

All of the Bay jurisdictions are looking to throttle back recreational fishing pressure on striped bass because it’s considered the chief culprit in the population decline. Regulators are weighing a variety of combinations of rules that would shorten the fishing season or restrict the size and number of fish that can be caught. Maryland is also proposing to clamp down on the widespread practice of catch-and-release fishing when it’s otherwise not legal to keep striped bass.

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission recently posted the options it was considering, so anglers on the Bay’s second largest tributary will have a chance to comment at a Feb. 19 meeting of the bi-state commission’s finfish advisory committee. But the plans already aired for Maryland and Virginia waters have drawn the ire of anglers in both states. One oft-heard objection is over the recreational catch being cut more than the commercial harvest.

In Maryland and in the Potomac River, regulators have proposed trimming the commercial harvest by just 1.8%, while the recreational catch is targeted for a cutback of 20.6% below what was caught in 2017. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission, meanwhile, voted last year to reduce the commercial catch in the Bay by nearly 8%, while going for a 24% overall reduction in recreational losses in both the ocean and the Bay.
There's simply no doubt that commercial fisherman have more power politically; they are one issue voters, while recreational fisherman are far less committed. This despite the fact that the recreational fishery yields far more money to the state and the economy.
“Effectively, this will be transferring fish from the recreational sector to the commercial sector,” complained Tom Powers, a Poquoson-based angler. The Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association flooded the state commission’s email inboxes with more than 300 messages from its members, lobbying for equity.

But fisheries scientists say it’s recreational rather than commercial fishing that’s bringing striped bass down. Studies indicate that anglers catch many more striped bass, also known as rockfish, than commercial fishermen. Anglers kill still more when they release fish they’ve hooked that are too small to legally keep or are caught out of season. In 2017, more died after being released than were kept, scientists have estimated. Alex Aspinwall, a data analyst with the VMRC, noted that the recreational harvest accounts for about three out of every five striped bass caught in Virginia waters. In Maryland, the breakdown is similar.

Bay jurisdiction regulators are loath to make deep cuts in the Chesapeake’s commercial striped bass fishery because it provides a livelihood for hundreds of people.

The Virginia commission did support a modest cut in that state’s commercial catch, extending by 11 days the period in the spring when larger fish are protected from being netted. The goal, Aspinwall said, was to improve the chances for big reproductive females to survive to spawn future generations of fish.
I have strong doubts about the accuracy of the commercial striper accounting. It's pretty amusing that the people who check in the fish are usually commercial watermen.
Cutting back on recreational fishing is trickier because regulators have to rely on what anglers want to tell them, rather than hard data. The hundreds of thousands of people who get recreational fishing licenses every year are not required to report their catch, as commercial fishermen are.

Some steps have been taken already to try to reduce the release mortality of striped bass. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources trimmed the minimum catchable size from 20 inches to 19 inches, reasoning that would result in fewer fish being thrown back and dying.

The state has also required the use of rounded “circle” hooks, which cut down on potentially lethal injuries to the fish’s mouth when caught. The Atlantic States commission has directed all East Coast states to mandate the use of circle hooks by 2021.

The VMRC, meanwhile, canceled its spring “trophy” season last year — a shutdown extended this year. Traditionally, for about four weeks in May and June, recreational anglers and charter boats have pursued the large striped bass that enter the Bay from the Atlantic to spawn. Virginia regulators said they shut down their trophy season to protect the big female fish, which produce the most eggs.

Maryland and the Potomac River, in comparison, are keeping their trophy seasons, though Maryland has cut its monthlong season nearly in half to match the two-week season in the Potomac.
I give Virginia some credit for their effort to protect the spawners, but it's rather telling that those are the same big fish being targeted up and down the coast wherever, and whenever they appear there.
Michael Luisi, the DNR’s director of fishery monitoring and assessment, defended keeping the season targeting the big spawners. The trophy fishery doesn’t take that many fish, he said, and it’s the only chance Maryland anglers have at the really large mature rockfish that anglers in other states can go after the rest of the year.

Virginia also adopted other conservation measures last year — adjusting catchable size limits, and most significantly, reducing the number of striped bass an angler could keep from two a day to one.

Some Virginia charter boat captains say the changes, imposed last fall, have caused bookings to dry up.
“I’m not going to pay $800 to go out on a boat and be only able to keep one of the fish I catch and it can only be 36 inches,” charter operator John Satterly said of his clients.

Regulators elsewhere in the Bay are weighing closing their striped bass fishery at different points of the year. In Maryland, they’re also looking to give charter fishing a break, even while restricting private anglers.

The Potomac River Fisheries Commission is eyeing four options, all focused on closing the striped bass fishery for varying lengths of time in the summer. That’s when fish are most stressed by high air and water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels in the water, noted Martin Gary, the commission’s executive secretary.

Depending on which option is chosen, Potomac anglers would not be allowed to keep any striped bass in most or all of July and August and possibly even later. They’d still be able to take two fish a day in the rest of the summer and in the fall.

Maryland’s DNR is considering a different set of options, which would close the summer striped bass season for shorter periods of two to three weeks in July or August. But it’s also looking at barring anglers from “targeting” striped bass during those closures, meaning that they could be cited for a fishing violation if spotted repeatedly catching and releasing the fish. That’s something no other Bay jurisdiction has proposed.

The DNR’s Luisi said that enforcing the “no targeting” rule could be challenging, because an angler can’t control what fish get hooked. But one fishing method that would be automatically suspect, at least in the spring, would be trolling, which involves towing multiple fishing lines through the water behind a boat.

“There’s nothing else in the Bay during March and April that people would be trolling up and down for,” he said.
There are a few small Red Drum, and maybe Speckled Trout around in spring, especially in the bottom of the power plant discharge, but they're too small to troll for. Not too small to jig for, though . . .
Like Virginia, the Maryland DNR is weighing limiting all anglers to keeping one fish a day, down from two previously. But state regulators have indicated they’re leaning toward letting charter boat customers continue to keep two fish.

David Sikorski, executive director of Coastal Conservation Association Maryland, representing about 1,400 saltwater anglers, complained that the DNR is “picking haves and have nots.” He contended that if the DNR goes ahead with that option, “the charter and commercial fisheries are giving up much less than private anglers.”

Luisi acknowledged the uneven treatment. But he said that DNR officials sought to “strike a balance” that would keep the state’s 600-boat charter fishing fleet afloat.

“The one fish [limit], it would have been a death sentence for us,” said Ken Jeffries, acting president of the Maryland Charter Boat Association. Jeffries, who is based in Severna Park, said there are few other species to fish for in the Upper Bay.

Anglers complain Maryland’s proposed ban on catch-and-release makes little sense in early spring, when cooler weather means fish returned to the water are less likely to die. And, they argue that the charter-friendly plan the DNR favors is not protective enough, because it would only close the summer fishery for a couple of weeks in late August, rather than in July, normally the hottest time of the year.

“You’ve got to close during the time you’re killing the most to have the most positive conservation impact,” Sikorski said.

The larger problem, Sikorski said, is that the Maryland DNR is making regulatory decisions without reliable information on the state’s anglers. The East Coast states have compiled recreational catch estimates based on surveying anglers at marinas, boat ramps, beaches and other places. But the survey was designed to assess fishing activity coastwide, critics say, and it provides a much less accurate picture of what’s going on in any state or part of the year.

“We know the system we have right now is not working,” Sikorski said. “We deserve better.”
I have pretty much resigned myself to continued declines in the population until a moratorium is again required. The only thing that I can see interrupting that pattern is a series of well above average spawns and YOY index, followed by enough time for those fish to grow to fishable size, about three years. That's a bit like rolling box cars three times in a row.

A Steaming Pile of Shampeachment, with a Light Dusting of Russiagate

First, to sprinkle the Russiagate on top, from Leslie Macadoo Gordon at Da Fed, Why Michael Flynn’s Lawyers And Prosecutors Don’t Understand Each Other, an actual thoughtful article on why the Federal prosecutors and Flynn's defense team are at loggerheads. I still think he's being railroaded.

Now, about that Shampeachment. WaPoo has "Trump impeachment trial live updates". In case you didn't watch the first day and want to, Sundance at CTH has it on YouTube Day One – Senate Impeachment Trial – 1:00pm Livestream… and is starting on Day 2.

Ann Althouse Are you watching the impeachment theater? "I walked out." I saw a little last night. Best comment:
As best as I can tell, Schumer keeps making motions to send subpoenas to various people, followed by a Motion to table the amendment, followed by long-winded speeches, which ends with 53-47 vote to table it. They keep doing this over and over and over again.

It is worse than a school board meeting.
and later, "Late night congress is great stuff! I'm switching between Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock and the impeachment hearings and it's all starting to make sense." "Said Mr. Forward in last night's "Are you watching the impeachment theater?/I walked out."" But Scott Johnson at Power Line calls it The Trial of the Century, but to be fair, it's still early in the century. "Piercing the rhetorical fog, we observe that this is the Seinfeld impeachment. If the farce isn’t quite about nothing, it is the farce in which nothing happened," while his post Impeachment Then and Now highlights the hypocrisy of the Democrats (don't worry, there's plenty on the Republicans side; CNN, McConnell said in 1999 he would have voted for whatever the House managers wanted). Pretty good clip, though. Tyler O'Neil at PJ Media, Jay Sekulow Demolishes Schiff, Pelosi on Executive Privilege: Remember Eric Holder?

Schiff whinesTo Senate: Many Americans, Maybe Most, Think You’re Not Going To Hold A Fair Trial, You Know We’ll be hearing this a lot from Schiff and Schumer over the next two weeks so it’s worth noting up front that it’s not true. “Most” Americans don’t think the Senate trial is a sham. . . . And we already have multiple polls already to prove it. "(AllahPundit)

Althouse catches when Chief Justice Roberts admonishes the House Managers and the President's counsel to "remember where they are" and "avoid speaking in a manner and avoid using language that is not conducive to civil discourse.". Yeah, like that'll happen. Jazz Shaw at Hot Air wonders Could The Impeachment Trial Lead To Recusals For John Roberts? No.

EBL, It is time for Cocaine Mitch to show us his Senate Kung Fu. Kung Fu makes the hard look easy. Capt. Ed at Hot Air VIP, McConnell’s Curveball: Senate Must Vote To Admit House Evidence In Impeachment Trial. CNN, Impeachment resolution shortens trial's opening arguments to two days per side, it just seems like forever. Capt. Ed reports Pierre Delicto Romney: I’m Pretty Cool With McConnell’s Rules; Update: “If Everything Is An Outrage …” Allah Pundit at Hot Air, C’mon: Did McConnell Really “Back Down” By Tweaking The Rules Of The Impeachment Trial At The Last Minute? Now 3 days each for "opening arguments?" Oh Gawd, couldn't they just pee into a bottle? Capt Ed, Politico: Could The Senate Trial Be Over By The State Of The Union Speech? It's tight, but maybe, if Mitch wants to make it happen.

Eric Felten, RCP, No Slam 'Debunk': Analyzing the Dems' Repetitive Impeach Text. The secret to a convincing lie is repetition. Politico?, Schiff may have "mischaracterized" Parnas evidence, documents show. My scare quotes. Expect much more. Politico has  five Senate factions that will decide Trump’s fate, fairly obvious ones. WaPoo (at SF Gate) Collins and Romney hold the keys in the impeachment trial. At RCP,  Peters' Duty to Mich. Voters Conflicts With Mega-Donor Demands.  And it's all just about how painful it will be, because, as Sen. Perdue notes We’ve Got The Votes “Right Now” To Acquit Trump From The Dems’ Kavanaugh Trap (Capt. Ed).

From streiff at Red State, Ted Cruz Roasts Former Clinton Creature Joe Lockhart Over a Childish Tweet as Only He Can
Paul Bedard at WaEx, Impeachment 'increasing' support for Trump. Breitbart, Maxine Waters on Possible Trump Acquittal: ‘We Will Not Stop’ Investigating Him, and at Politico, Renato Mariotti, Why Congress Must Keep Investigating Trump After the Impeachment Trial. Dr. John at Flopping Aces, democrats promise impeachment as sole 2020 platform and beyond.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. Rushbo, Democrats Are Impeaching Trump Because They Can’t Beat Him. When all you have is a hammer. . . Even Charles Lane at WaPoo, Don’t tell the partisans, but so far impeachment’s political fallout is negligible. Dan Sobieski, Flopping Aces, Pelosi’s Pens Not Mightier Than Trump’s Sword.

Althouse again, The NYT expresses a belief that there's a "legal consensus" on constitutional law and that anyone who doesn't follow along is spouting "constitutional nonsense." "The evidence of a consensus among scholars (which scholars?) is that one scholar asserts that there is a consensus. We're given no reasoning at all on the notion that anything not in the "consensus" is "nonsense."" Like the consensus on Global Warming, declaring a consensus is an attempt to create one. Anxious,
GAO report poses evidence test in Trump impeachment trial
The backdrop: The GAO found that the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld military aid to Ukraine.
The agency's report, which dropped just hours the Senate impeachment trial began last Thursday, determined that the OMB violated the 1974 Impoundment Control Act, which mandates that the White House and its agencies release funds appropriated by Congress.
Yes, but: The GAO's only tool to hold violators of the ICA accountable is to sue the administration to distribute the funds. OMB already released the aid to Ukraine in September.
Not a High Crime or Misdemeanor, it's barely a parking ticket in the usual turf battle between the Congress and Executive branches. More like a verbal warning.

And witness, particularly Bidens and Bolton? AllahPundit, Report: Trump Lawyers, Senate GOP May Force Bolton To Testify Secretly Due To National Security, and boy is he pissed. Allah I mean.   WaPoo, Senate Democrats privately mull witness trade in impeachment trial: A Biden for Bolton. Hmm. Take Joe. Hunter did nothing wrong by taking a million or two for a no show job. It's Joe that used the might of the US treasury to protect Hunter's business. But Matt Margolis at PJ Media finds Jerry Nadler Suggesting Having No Impeachment Witnesses Preferable to Hunter Biden Testifying
GWU Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley believes that Nadler is suggesting that “if a trade is needed to secure House witnesses, the managers will not agree to any witnesses if Hunter Biden is part of the deal.”

“If true, is the House prepared to give up on proving its case to protect the Bidens from the ignoble moment of answering questions about the Ukraine contract? That is a considerable price to pay to protect Joe Biden,” Turley added.
Karen Townsend Hot Air, Team Biden Demands Reporters Debunk Corruption Claims Against Candidate and I expect to the extent that they haven't already, most MSM reporters will scurry to oblige. Kevin Williamson, NR, Media Refuses to Cover Joe Biden Family Corruption.  AllahPundit, Biden Campaign Releases Video: “What Really Happened In Ukraine” but as John Solomon Reports, Joe Biden’s ‘conspiracy theory’ memo to U.S. media doesn’t match the facts.
Fact: Joe Biden admitted to forcing Shokin’s firing in March 2016. . . .
Fact: Shokin’s prosecutors were actively investigating Burisma when he was fired. . . . Fact: Burisma’s lawyers in 2016 were pressing U.S. and Ukrainian authorities to end the corruption investigations. . . .
Fact: There is substantial evidence Joe Biden and his office knew about the Burisma probe and his son’s role as a board member. . . .
Fact: Federal Ethics rules requires government officials to avoid taking policy actions affecting close relatives. . . .
Fact: Multiple State Department officials testified the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine created the appearance of a conflict of interest. . .
Fact: Hunter Biden acknowleged he may have gotten his Burisma job solely because of his last name. . . .
Fact: Ukraine law enforcement reopened the Burisma investigation in early 2019, well before President Trump mentioned the matter to Ukraine’s new president Vlodymyr Zelensky.
Stephen VodkaPundit Green at PJ Media, Sanders Apologizes to Biden for Bringing Up Biden's Corruption Problem. I don't think he really wants to be Preznit.

Sundance, The Senate Exists For Moments Like This…. "Awesome video from the National Republican Senatorial Campaign motivating all U.S. Senators to hold the line and dispatch this attack on the constitution. WATCH:" But also true, from the Atlantic, This Is Not the Senate the Framers Imagined "The Constitution originally provided for the selection of senators by state legislatures, but the Seventeenth Amendment changed that, and with it, the Senate itself."

The Imaginative Conservative, Impeachment, the End of an Era, and the Conservative Challenge. It's the end of the era and you know it. I don't feel sad. Boston Herald's Howie Carr, Trump’s only crime is being Trump
Forget the two “counts” against President Trump in the Senate trial that begins today, the reality is he is charged with only one crime.

He is accused of being Donald J. Trump.

For that high crime, the Democrats say, he must be removed from office.
. . .
This is an assault on the Constitution. Thank God it’s almost time for the Super Bowl.
Is he aware the Patriots are out? AP reports Bloomberg calls for Trump’s removal in new impeachment ad. He can certainly afford to.

And another point of amusement, Michael Avenatti being held in same cell that housed Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, lawyer says "His lawyer has requested that Avenatti be moved from the cell where it "feels like it is in the mid-40s" to general population." I'm not really worried he's going to burrow out.

And more links from the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 01.21.20, Victory Girls: Schumer Has Tantrum On Senate Floor Over Impeachment Rules and theVolokh Conspiracy: The Case Against The Slippery Slope Argument Against Impeachment For “Abuse Of Power”

Wombat has taken a turn for the worse, and is requesting aid. Another Crisis for the Wombat?
As our loyal colleague Wombat explained earlier, he’s run into a financial crisis caused by his health problems, and we must raise $500 for him by noon Wednesday to prevent the repossession of his automobile.

We can do this, folks: I just hit his tip jar for $15 myself, and if 33 readers will do the same, that’s a total of $510. Think crowdfunding — even if you can only give $5, please do so, and I’m certain that Wombat will be more responsible about his thank-you emails than I have been (he says, plagued by a guilty conscience). Getting the Wombat back on his feet (and keeping him on his wheels) is a worthy endeavor, a patriotic duty as it were, so if all our readers will chip in what they can, certainly we can stave off the arrival of that tow truck. Because I will make a slight alteration to the Five Most Important Words in the English Language:

I matched Stacy (and a little more).

Another Wet Shirt Wednesday