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that's not how it works
June 12, 2019

"President Trump has threatened to take legal action if Democrats try to impeach him, musing that he'll 'sue,'" reports Ashley Parker at The Washington Post. "He has peppered confidants and advisers with questions about how an impeachment inquiry might unfold," and while he's "fixated on his belief that Democrats can't impeach him because he has done nothing wrong," he's also "intrigued by the notion of impeachment but wary of its practical dangers."

Trump has publicly said he would ask the Supreme Court to intercede if Congress tries to impeach him — a notion most legal scholars say is bonkers, since impeachment is spelled out and enshrined in the Constitution, though frequent Trump ally Alan Dershowitz told the Post he could envision a case where the Supreme Court would step in. But "Trump has also griped privately that if Democrats tried to impeach him, he would simply sue," Parker reports, citing interviews with 15 White House aides, outside Trump advisers, and GOP lawmakers.

His advisers are split on the political merits of impeachment: Many outside Trump loyalists argue it's a winner and perhaps his one path to re-election, Parker reports, while a larger group warns it would be a grueling and legacy-staining ordeal. Democrats are split, too. "I think this is another one of those things where Democrats are sort of out-thinking themselves," MSNBC's Rachel Maddow told Seth Meyers on Tuesday's Late Night. "You sort of can't game out what the political impact of impeachment is going to be — that's not the kind of process impeachment is."

Impeachment may be the least of Trump's worries. If Trump hangs in until the end of his first term and loses, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) told NPR in an interview Wednesday, the Justice Department "would have no choice" but to pursue criminal obstruction of justice charges against him. "Everyone should be held accountable," she said, "and the president is not above the law." Peter Weber

February 15, 2019

Christian denominations ascribe slightly different meanings to Rome's crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his professed resurrection, but holding up Christ's death as an example of justice and an endorsement of capital punishment is a novel interpretation.

On Thursday, the Wyoming Senate summarily defeated a bill, 18-12, that would have repealed the state's death penalty. The legislation had passed the state House by a comfortable margin and been unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, the Casper Star Tribune reports. "The vote was different than I expected to see from talking with people beforehand," said state Sen. Brian Boner (R), the bill's main Senate sponsor. "There's a lot of different factors and, at the end of the day, everyone has to make their best determination based on the information they have."

Proponents of the measure had cited the cost of maintaining the death penalty — about $1 million a year — said abolishing it would create a more humane justice system that couldn't execute innocent people, and showcased evidence that capital punishment doesn't deter crime. Opponents argued that executing inmates gives closure to the relatives of their victims and said it was a useful law enforcement tool. And then there was state Sen. Lynn Hutchings (R), who pointed to Jesus, believed by Christians to have been without sin.

"The greatest man who ever lived died via the death penalty for you and me," Hutchings said. "I'm grateful to him for our future hope because of this. Governments were instituted to execute justice. If it wasn't for Jesus dying via the death penalty, we would all have no hope."

Boner shrugged. A lot of the no votes "had a deep conviction that someone can do something so heinous that they have to die," he told the Star Tribune. "There's no amount of reason or facts that you can give them that will change that." Read more at the Star Tribune. Peter Weber

July 15, 2018

President Trump suggested suing the European Union to facilitate the United Kingdom's exit from the consortium of countries, British Prime Minister Theresa May revealed Sunday.

"He told me I should sue the EU — not go into negotiations, sue them. Actually, no, we're going into negotiations with them," May said. "But interestingly what the president also said at that press conference was, 'Don't walk away from negotiations, because then you're stuck.'"

The suing idea appears to be the advice Trump mentioned in comments at a joint press conference Friday, when he said the plan was too "brutal" for May's taste. At the same presser, Trump falsely claimed to have predicted the outcome of the Brexit vote, and he reversed his negative remarks about May's handling of Brexit from an interview published Thursday evening. The U.K. can leave the EU however it likes, Trump said, as long as "we can still trade together. That's all that matters." Bonnie Kristian

July 2, 2018

President Trump's Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) program is a call center run by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In theory, it serves a single purpose: If you or a loved one have been affected by a crime committed by someone who was in the U.S. illegally, you can call the hotline for an update on their immigration status.

In practice, as revealed in the agency's first quarterly report, published nearly five quarters after the hotline's creation, people are mostly calling VOICE for other reasons. Of about 4,600 calls accepted by VOICE between April 26 and September 30, 2017, more than 2,500 were "commentary or unrelated" topics, like UFO sightings, alleged vegetable garden thefts by alleged illegal immigrants, and at least one request for a Trump hotel reservation.

Nearly one quarter of the calls attempted to report a crime (mostly nonviolent, like marriage fraud and forgery), for which callers were referred to ICE's tip line, and an eighth sought general information about VOICE. At the most generous accounting, a mere 12 percent used the line as intended. For this, VOICE has a staff of 34 and an annual budget of $1 million.

VOICE previously came under scrutiny in January, when it was found to have improperly released private and legally protected information by posting online summaries of call logs including names, addresses, and phone numbers of crime victims and immigrants accused of being in the U.S. illegally. Bonnie Kristian

December 28, 2017

With only a few days left in 2017, President Trump is working overtime to make sure he gets in as many digs as possible against his usual foes — Hillary Clinton, China, North Korea, facts — before the end of the year.

"In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record," he tweeted Thursday night. "Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!"

In addition to blatantly disregarding the science behind global warming, this mocking tweet refers to the Paris climate accord, which aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2020 and has been signed by nearly every country in the world. Trump announced in June he was withdrawing the United States from the agreement, claiming it would cost the U.S., the country responsible for about one-third of the carbon dioxide that has been emitted, too much money to participate. Catherine Garcia

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