Instigator

President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office

Debating

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Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Politics
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,100
Contender
Description
Definitions:
Donald Trump - Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality. (Wikipedia)
United States Constitution - The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. (Wikipedia)
Impeachment - a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office. (Merriam-Webster)
Removed from office - The position of President of the United States becomes vacant and Vice President Mike Pence would take the Oath of Office.
Rules:
No new points in R4.
BOP on Pro (Innocent until proven guilty)
Forfeit = instant loss
Round 1
Published:
Constitutional Requirements for Impeachment

The Constitution limits grounds of impeachment to "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours". The precise meaning of the phrase high crimes and misdemeanours is not defined in the Constitution itself and is left to the interpretation of Congress. Founding father Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist Paper No. 65, described impeachable offences as arising from “the misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”

The Constitution gives the House of Representatives “the sole Power of Impeachment” (Article I, Section 2) of federal officers and gives the Senate “the sole Power to try all Impeachments” (Article I, Section 3). In the constitutional procedure of impeachment and removal, the House serves in the role of a grand jury bringing charges against an officer

According to the Congressional Research Service in a 2015 report, "the purposes underlying the impeachment process also indicate that non-criminal activity may constitute sufficient grounds for impeachment". This means that the President doesn't have to match the legal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, but could be held to the lesser standard of if he is likely to have committed an act that falls under the description of the constitution.

History of Impeachments

Although no sitting President has ever been removed from office, there is a precedent for the impeachment of a President.

1) President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House of Representatives on the 24th February 1868, on charges of violating the Tenure of Office Act by removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from his position. 

2) President Bill Clinton was impeached on the 19th December 1998, on charges of lying under oath to a federal grand jury (perjury) and obstruction of justice.

There are also two other key precedents I would like to raise for future reference in my argument:

1) The Hon. Charles Swayne who was serving as a district court judge for the Northern District of Florida was impeached 13th December 1904, on charges of abuse of contempt power and other misuses of office.

2) The Hon. Robert W. Archbald who was serving as an Associate Judge to the U.S. Commerce Court. He was impeached on the 11th July 1912, on charges of improper business relationship with litigants. He was found guilty, removed from office and disqualified from future office.

Legal Definitions

I would also like to set up some legal concepts, statues and definitions of which I will refer to throughout my case against the 45th President. I have used the Cornell Legal Definitions and explanations as to the basis for these, as linked.

Conspiracy to commit an offence: An agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act, along with an intent to achieve the agreement's goal. Conspiracy generally carries a penalty on its own.  In addition, conspiracies allow for derivative liability where conspirators can also be punished for the illegal acts carried out by other members, even if they were not directly involved.  Thus, where one or more members of the conspiracy committed illegal acts to further the conspiracy's goals, all members of the conspiracy may be held accountable for those acts.

Obstruction of Justice: 18 U.S.C. § 1503 defines the offence of obstruction of justice as an act that "corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice."

Perjury: It is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official legal proceeding.


Charge 1: Obstruction of Justice

I present six counts of Obstruction of Justice as defined in the "Legal Definitions" section of my argument.

My points here are heavily based on the PBS Newshour article, however additional sources we're used to fact-check.

The following actions of the President amount to Obstruction of Justice which were discovered during the course of Robert S. Mueller III's Special Council Investigation:

1) President Trump made a remark to then-FBI Director James Comey to “let go” of the investigation into General Michael Flynn, who served briefly as the Administration's NSA. Flynn was fired for lying to senior Trump administration officials about his contact with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US. This fits the definition as the comment was designed to influence Comey into stopping an investigation and was intended to stop the due process of justice.

2)  Mueller found evidence establishing that the President connected the Flynn investigation to the FBI’s broader Russia investigation. Mueller's report also reveals Trump believed, as he told Chris Christie, that terminating Flynn would end “the whole Russia thing.” This is obstruction of justice as it is "an endeavour to obstruct the due administration of justice" by not having Flynn's Russian contacts found by relevant law enforcement authorities such as the FBI.

3) The Office of Special Counsel wrote "firing Comey would qualify as an obstructive act if it had the natural and probable effect of interfering with or impeding the investigation … substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the President’s decision to fire Comey was Comey ‘s unwillingness to publicly state that the President was not personally under investigation." This is Obstruction as it is an attempt to influence a law enforcement official of whom Trump was being investigated by.

4) Former White House Counsel Don McGahn was told by President Donald Trump that “Mueller has to go” at least twice, and on the 17th June 2017, told McGahn to call Rosenstein to have the special counsel removed. This is a clear and flagrant case of obstruction which is unequivocal in its judgement.

5) President Trump directed his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in July of 2017 to tell then AG Jeff Sessions that he must block Mueller from investigating the president or his campaign. Lewandowski asked another White House official to deliver the message, but that official did not follow through. This is a clear case of obstruction of justice as it is an attempt to influence the scope of an investigation.

6) During 2017 and 2018, the president repeatedly tried to have the attorney general take control of the special counsel’s investigation, though Sessions recused himself on March 2, 2017. Muller found “A reasonable inference from those statements and the President’s actions is that the President believed that an unrecused Attorney General would play a protective role and could shield the President from the ongoing Russia investigation.” This is trying to have control over the investigation into himself - a clear case of Obstruction.

On this charge, I bring up the precedence of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for the similar offence of misleading a grand jury.

Charge 2: Conspiracy to Commit Perjury

I present one count of Conspiracy to Commit Perjury as defined in the "Legal Definitions" section of this argument.

On the 29th of November in 2018, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees in 2017 regarding the proposed Trump Tower Moscow deal that he spearheaded in 2015 and 2016. The court filings stated Cohen "remained in close and regular contact with White House-based staff and legal counsel" as he prepared to provide false testimony to Congress, at the direction of the President.

This implicates the President of being apart of the criminal conspiracy to commit the offence of perjury, for which Michael Cohen is currently serving his sentence.

Charge 3:  Campaign Finance Violations




Conclusion


I have made a case against the President for eight counts of various offences which merit immediate impeachment and removal of office of the incumbent President of the United States of America - Donald John Trump.

I look forward to your response.



Published:
I'll jump right into refuting each of my opponents claims one at a time.

Regarding obstruction of justice, it's important to note that there was no crime in the first place. Under the American legal system, it is next to impossible to obstruct an investigation into a crime that doesn't exist. The long-awaited Mueller report found insufficient evidence to prosecute the president. Which, under American law, constitutes a not-guilty verdict if not total exoneration.


First, It's true that President Trump did ask James Comey to drop the Michael Flynn investigation. However, per James Comey's own testimony before Congress, he was not ordered to drop the investigation. The investigation also continued uninhibited after the president's request. Merely asking someone to stop investigating is not obstruction.

Second, Michael Flynn was fired for lying. Which is well within the president's purview. In law, your claim is called "an argument that proves too much." you are trying to assign a motive to an action that is completely normal. Like I said before there was no underlying crime to cover up which raises the question as to why he would fire Flynn to stop the investigation. He wouldn't. Instead, Michael Flynn was fired for lying just like the official reason for the firing would lead us to believe. Note that the investigation into Michael Flynn continued even after his firing despite the president having the authority to call it off.

Third. Whatever the special counsel's report said regarding "what ifs" like this argument presents is irrelevant. Note that the special counsel did not recommend obstruction of justice charges. This means that according to the special counsel, the group that you're citing, the firing of James Comey did NOT constitute obstruction of justice. Moreover, you run into a problem of mens rea when you get into this sort of argument. Under American law, obstruction of justice is a crime of intent. Meaning you have to intend to corruptly obstruct justice in order to be convicted. If you do it by accident then you can't be charged. This means if President Trump fired James Comey for something else and that tangentially had the effect of slowing down or impeding the investigation, unless you can prove that this was the President's intent, you can't press obstruction charges. 

Fourth. President Trump is within his rights to fire the special counsel at any time. Again you run into these same two problems 1. mens rea and 2. the absence of an underlying crime. If President Trump fired Mueller because he was angry that he couldn't get anything done because of endless investigations into a crime he didn't commit. Then that falls short of your burden of proof regarding mens rea. Second, like I said before you have the burden as a prosecutor to prove corrupt intent. With no underlying crime that is nearly impossible. You would need to prove that President Trump didn't want to fire Mueller just because he was angry but rather because he wanted to stop the investigation into a crime that never occurred and that he had corrupt intent in doing so.


Fifth. My response to this argument is nearly identical to the fourth. Seeing as the investigation continued in spite of the president and no underlying crime was found, where's the corrupt intent? It seems more likely that the president wanted to avoid embarrassing information from becoming public or was behaving this way because he was annoyed with the investigation. Neither of those reasons are GOOD to be sure. But they aren't criminal.


sixth. Your accusation that the president wanted to bring the investigation into his own sphere of influence has one critical flaw. The special counsel was already a part of the executive branch. He could have fired Robert Mueller whenever he wanted and have someone else appointed. but he didn't. requesting someone else to investigate is not obstruction because no action was taken to impede the investigation.



Next up is suborning perjury. This one is extremely easy to disprove. In fact, the person who pro cites, Michael Cohen, did it for me. In his testimony before Congress Michael Cohen said "Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates." Cohen did say that the president seemed to imply that he should lie with his "facial expressions" but there is no precedent for bringing someone up on suborning perjury charges based on facial expressions. What Michael Cohen may or may not have assumed from the president's body language is irrelevant insofar as the president did not direct him to commit perjury. It's also important to remember that Michael Cohen is a convicted liar who would likely say anything in exchange for a reduced sentence which means that if the president actually did overtly direct him to commit perjury he would have said so.


In regard to campaign finance violations regarding Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) President Trump has two robust legal defenses.

1. That the payment to Stormy Daniels was not actually a campaign expenditure. President Trump has made a habit of paying off his mistresses to keep quiet. Again, not good. But not illegal. Which means that his payment to Stormy Daniels was a routine personal expenditure that he would have made regardless of whether or not he was running for president. If that's the case then it wasn't a campaign expenditure and no violation was possible.

2. That it isn't his job to know campaign finance law. Again, Mens Rea rears its ugly head. President Trump could argue that he isn't an expert in campaign finance law and that it's his lawyer's job to know the pitfalls of the law. Under this argument which does have precedence in American Law, it would be Trump's lawyers that are on the hook for the violations, not the president. This is exactly what happened to Michael Cohen.


To summarize these arguments, in order to get Trump on campaign finance violations you would need to prove that the President paid off Stormy Daniels in order to influence the election, and that he knew that he was committing a finance violation when he committed the alleged action.



To conclude, Each and every one of the allegations leveled by my opponent fails to meet the burden of proof necessitated by American Jurisprudence. For that reason, as Impeachment is a legal matter, I can see no option other than a con vote.


References


Round 2
Published:
Thank you for your response. I will explain as to why you are incorrect on your rebuttals. Please note that all text in quote boxes are the words of my opponent.

Requirement of an Underlying Offence
it's important to note that there was no crime in the first place. Under the American legal system, it is next to impossible to obstruct an investigation into a crime that doesn't exist. 
This is simply not true. 

In your own source, labelled Obstruction of Justice, on page 8, it states "Moreover, a defendant who is innocent of the underlying charge can be convicted for obstructing the investigation into that charge."

Professor Daniel Hemel of the University of Chicago states "It’s black letter law that a defendant can satisfy the corrupt intent criterion for obstruction even if the defendant himself committed no underlying crime."

Sufficient Evidence
The long-awaited Mueller report found insufficient evidence to prosecute the president. 
This is simply not true. 

The Mueller report found enough evidence to prosecute the President if he was an ordinary citizen. However, as Muller has repeatedly said he didn't indict or prosecute the President due to the Department of Justice's policy, as based on the opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel, on the subject of the prosecution of a sitting President. 

  • "The Campaign's response to reports about Russian support for Trump."
  • "Conduct involving FBI Director Comey and Michael Flynn."
  • "The President's reaction to the continuing Russia investigation."
  • "The President's termination of Comey."
  • "The appointment of a Special Counsel and efforts to remove him."
  • "Efforts to curtail the Special Counsel's investigation."
  • "Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence."
  • "Further efforts to have the Attorney General take control of the investigation."
  • "Efforts to have McGahn deny that the President had ordered him to have the Special Counsel removed."
  • "Conduct towards Flynn, Manafort, [REDACTED]."
  • "Conduct involving Michael Cohen."
Legal Requirements for Obstruction of Justice

  • An individual has corrupt intent.
  • They engaged in obstructive conduct.
  • That conduct was connected to a "pending or contemplated proceeding."
The Supreme Court ruled on the definition of corrupt intent in the United States vs Aguilar as follows:
“an act done with an intent to give some advantage inconsistent with official duty and the rights of others"

Examples of obstruction of justice

The ruling in the case of State of Ohio v Maughan held you can be found guilty of obstruction of justice "even if your motive is simply to protect a friend from a criminal charge."

I will pass your following claims through that legal test.

Merely asking someone to stop investigating is not obstruction.
This is incorrect.

1 -  The intent is to protect a friend (Flynn) from a criminal charge; the same as in Ohio v Maughan
2 -  The act is to influence a justice official to cease an investigation into the behaviour of the National Security Advisor to POTUS.
3 - The case was ongoing at the time

. This means if President Trump fired James Comey for something else and that tangentially had the effect of slowing down or impeding the investigation  unless you can prove that this was the President's intent, you can't press obstruction charges. 
Proving intent is difficult - but not impossible. You can prove intent by showing an attempt at covering up the action. Trump changed his official statement on the firing of James Comey, showing circumstantial evidence of intent. Although this is not of the same calibre of direct evidence, it would stand in a court of law nevertheless.

 the investigation continued in spite of the president
Just because his plans failed, doesn't make him less guilty. This is no defence.

He could have fired Robert Mueller whenever he wanted and have someone else appointed. but he didn't.
This is not true. That power rests with the AG. The President could have fired the AG (who, at the time, was Jeff Sessions who eventally was sacked by Trump anyway) and then appointed an AG to fire Muller - but the President himself did not have the power to fire Muller.

Cohen did say that the president seemed to imply that he should lie with his "facial expressions" but there is no precedent for bringing someone up on suborning perjury charges based on facial expressions.
This is inaccurate.

"He would look me in the eye and tell me there’s no business in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In his way, he was telling me to lie." - This is more than facial expressions. You also say there is no precedent for facial expressions, which is likely true, but this is not the scenario. Examples of prosecutions for similar situations include United States v. Silverman and United States v. Heater and matches DOJ guidelines for the offence. 

the payment to Stormy Daniels was not actually a campaign expenditure.
The test, as prescribed by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), of if something is a campaign expenditure or not is if the person would have done it without being a candidate. I concede this point and drop my case on campaign finance violation,however, the defence that:
it isn't his job to know campaign finance law.
is simply not strong as ignorance of the law is no excuse.
the President paid off Stormy Daniels in order to influence the election
This is a fact - but is now irrelevant due to me dropping the point.
he knew that he was committing a finance violation when he committed the alleged action
Exact same argument as above.

BOP

fails to meet the burden of proof necessitated by American Jurisprudence. For that reason, as Impeachment is a legal matter,
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in a 2015 report, "the purposes underlying the impeachment process also indicate that non-criminal activity may constitute sufficient grounds for impeachment". This means that the President doesn't have to match the legal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, but could be held to the lesser standard of if he is likely to have committed an act that falls under the description of the constitution. This also means, for the purpose of this debate, only one of my charges against the President must be seen as credible in order for me to meet my requirement of BOP.

Conclusion

Although I have dropped one of my charges, I have proven my others to be factual and therefore a vote for pro is necessary.

Published:
Firstly, yes it is technically possible to convict someone of obstruction into a crime that didn't exist. But you still have to prove corrupt intent. Which is extremely difficult to do without a crime. Which is exactly what I said. I didn't say it was impossible. I said it was next to impossible. Technically possible but very hard.


In regard to the OLC (office of legal counsel) opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted, you would need to show a place wherein Robert Mueller said that he would have recommended indictment if Trump weren't president. Which would be hard considering he said the opposite.

“Special counsel Mueller stated three times to us in that meeting in response to our questioning that he emphatically was not saying that but for the OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, he would have found obstruction,” Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “He said that in the future, the facts of the case against a president might be such that a special counsel would recommend abandoning the OLC opinion, but this is not such a case.” -Attorney General of the United States testifying before Congress.

Essentially, Mueller abdicated his job as special counsel and punted the decision on obstruction to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General (with the Deputy attorney general being no friend to Trump) and they concluded that the evidence would be insufficient to prosecute even in the absence of the OLC opinion.


Next, my opponent waffles all over the place inconsistently applying the standards that he himself laid out.

He claims that the president attempted to protect Michael Flynn. At this point, he grossly misrepresented the Ohio v. Maughan case. In which Wade Maughan helped a friend commit murder then covered it up to protect him by refusing to testify reneging on a deal for immunity. That isn't even in the same ballpark as asking someone to not investigate something.

Moreover, he fails to establish the most critical part of an obstruction charge, one that he himself identified, Which is Corrupt intent.

He also begs the question by assuming that the president engaged in "obstructive conduct." asking someone to drop an investigation then accepting no for an answer is not obstruction because no corrupt action was taken and no interference occurred. It's also important to note that not every action that could impede an investigation is obstruction of justice. http://www.mololamken.com/news-knowledge-13.html 

Next my opponent poses another argument that proves too much. He is attempting to read intent into an ambiguous action which was editing the reasons he was going to give for Comey's firing. Unless that original statement said "I'm firing James Comey to obstruct the Russia investigation" then there are any number of reasons why the reasons may have been reworded and this doesn't even come close to proving corrupt intent.


in regard to the "in spite of the president" point, you still haven't proven corrupt intent. Until you can then this obstruction point is dead in the water.


Yes, the president could not directly fire Mueller. But he could order his firing. Which is what I meant. 


Unless the President told Michael Cohen to lie to congress then he is not suborning perjury. If I tell a lie when I'm not under oath, then someone else thinks that I want them to repeat my lie when they are under oath unless I told them to do so, then I'm not suborning perjury. U.S. V. Silverman doesn't even come close to matching what happened here. Quoting my opponents own source:

"In the first scenario, the client, following Silverman's instructions, lies to the court, stating that his plea is voluntary and that no promises, other than those contained in his plea agreement, were made by anyone to induce it." keyword there being "instructions"

In U.S. v. Heater, a fellow named McCoy told everyone involved in the case to "get their story straight" following one of the defendants lying on the stand. McCoy knew full well that the story they were going to tell was a lie and directly told others to parrot it. The president did not tell Michael Cohen to go along with his story about business dealings in Russia.

Pro concedes the campaign finance violations arm of his case so I'm not going to go over this section.



While You're technically allowed to go after the president on a lower standard of proof, I would argue that with such a low amount of evidence present and a total failure to prove corrupt intent, that my opponents case doesn't even meet the lowered standards of presidential impeachment.

Round 3
Published:
Thank you for your response. 
 
 
General rebuttals 
Mueller abdicated his job as special counsel 
This is incorrect. It was never his job to find the President guilty or innocent. He had to work within the peramitors of the DOJ, meaning the AG and Dep. AG were responsible for the decision of if the President could/should be indicted. 
 
 
In regard to the OLC (office of legal counsel) opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted, you would need to show a place wherein Robert Mueller said that he would have recommended indictment if Trump weren't president. Which would be hard considering he said the opposite. 
Muller said he approched the report knowing not to make a judgement on probability, but to lay out the evidence and hand it over to the AG and Dep. AG. 
 
 
punted the decision on obstruction to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General (with the Deputy attorney general being no friend to Trump) and they concluded that the evidence would be insufficient to prosecute even in the absence of the OLC opinion. 
 
 
It is true that AG Barr decided, in his letter to congressional leaders, found that on the matter of Obstruction of Justice, the President failed the corrupt intent/nexus requirement - which my opponent has made reference to many times. However, many legal scholars have said the view Mr Barr took was biased and not a truthful representation of the Muller report.
 
 
grossly misrepresented the Ohio v. Maughan case 
I must disagree. I completely accept the circumstances were very different, however the Court made a blanket ruling that I referred to - which is applicable in this case. 
 
 
Corrupt Intent/Nexus 
Moreover, he fails to establish the most critical part of an obstruction charge, one that he himself identified, Which is Corrupt intent. 
Obstruction of justice are actions that “influence, obstruct, or impede” a proceeding when the actions have the “natural and probable effect” of interfering with the proceeding, according to my opponent's source
 
 
I will provide proof of this corrupt intent, using the words of the Muller report and the sensible inferences we can make from the work. Most of these interpretations are based very heavily on the work of Quinta Jureci - legal scholar and journalist.  
 
 
I will be going in-depth as to how the President's actions meet the three requirements of Obstruction of Justice. All quotations are from the Muller Report unless otherwise explicitly stated. 

 
 
1) Efforts to fire Muller:  
 
 
Obstructive Act: Former White House Counsel Don McGahn is a “credible witness” in providing evidence that Trump indeed attempted to fire Mueller. This “would qualify as an obstructive act” if the firing “would naturally obstruct the investigation and any grand jury proceedings that might flow from the inquiry.” This effort “would qualify as an obstructive act if it had the natural tendency to constrain McGahn from testifying truthfully or to undermine his credibility as a potential witness.”  
There is “some evidence” that Trump genuinely believed press reports that he had ordered McGahn to fire Mueller were wrong. However, “other evidence cuts against that understanding of the president’s conduct”—and the special counsel lists a great deal more evidence on this latter point. 
 
 
Nexus (p. 89): “Substantial evidence” indicates that, at this point, Trump was aware that “his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor who could present any evidence of federal crimes to a grand jury.” 
 
 
“The Special Counsel’s use of a grand jury had been further confirmed by the return of several indictments.” Mueller’s office had indicated to Trump’s lawyers that it was investigating obstruction, and Trump knew that McGahn had already been interviewed by Mueller on the topic. “That evidence indicates the President’s awareness” that his efforts to fire Mueller were relevant to official proceedings. Trump “likely contemplated the ongoing investigation and any proceedings arising from it” in directing McGahn to create a false record of the earlier interaction. 
 
 
Intent (p. 89): “Substantial evidence" indicates that the President’s attempts to remove the Special Counsel were linked to the Special Counsel’s oversight of investigations that involved the President’s conduct.” 
 
 
Substantial evidence indicates that the President acted for the purpose of influencing McGahn’s account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny” of Trump. 
  
2) Efforts to curtail Muller: 
 
 
Obstructive act (p. 97): Trump’s effort to force Sessions to confine the investigation to only investigating future election interference “would qualify as an obstructive act if it would naturally obstruct the investigation and any grand jury proceedings that might flow from the inquiry.” “Taken together, the President’s directives indicate that Sessions was being instructed to tell the Special Counsel to end the existing investigation into the President and his campaign.” 
 
 
Nexus (p. 97): “The existence of a grand jury investigation supervised by the Special Counsel was public knowledge.” 
 
 
Intent (p. 97): “Substantial evidence” indicates that Trump’s efforts were “intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the President’s and his campaign’s conduct.” 
 
 
3) Firing of FBI Director James Comey: 
 
 
Obstructive act (p. 74): “Firing Comey would qualify as an obstructive act if it had the natural and probable effect of interfering with or impeding the investigation.” Trump’s handling of the Comey firing and his actions in the subsequent days “had the potential to affect a successor director’s conduct of the investigation,” though removing Comey “would not necessarily … prevent or impede the FBI from continuing its investigation.” 
 
 
Nexus (p. 75): Trump was aware of both the FBI investigation into Russian election interference and the investigation into Flynn. 
 
 
Intent (p. 75): “Substantial evidence” indicates that Trump fired Comey because of “Comey’s unwillingness to publicly state that the President was not personally under investigation.” Mueller notes that “some evidence indicates that the President believed that the erroneous perception he was under investigation harmed his ability to manage domestic and foreign affairs”—but “other evidence … indicates that the President wanted to protect himself from an investigation into his campaign.” “The initial reliance on a pretextual justification for Comey’s firing could support an inference that the President had concerns about providing the real reason for the firing, although the evidence does not resolve whether those concerns were personal or both.” 

Perjury-related rebuttals

Unless that original statement said "I'm firing James Comey to obstruct the Russia investigation"
The President said “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job, I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off."
That is the President directly saying that he fired Director Comey due to the "pressure" of the Russia investigation.

keyword there being "instructions"

The president did not tell Michael Cohen to go along with his story about business dealings in Russia.


Lesser standard of evidence
You're technically allowed to go after the president on a lower standard of proof, 
I would like to highlight my opponent has conceded that you do not need to believe that the President is guilty of one of these offences beyond a reasonable doubt, but to the lesser standard of probability.

You should take this into account when making your vote.

 total failure to prove corrupt intent
I have now done so, meeting my BOP requirements.

Thank you.
Published:
mueller did abdicate his duty. You said it yourself, his job was to determine whether or not the president should be indicted. He didn't do that. He made no determination and left that up to the AG and deputy AG

In regard to the OLC opinion, I would like the voters to note that my opponent has completely dropped the evidence I provided wherein I said:

“Special counsel Mueller stated three times to us in that meeting in response to our questioning that he emphatically was not saying that but for the OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, he would have found obstruction,” Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “He said that in the future, the facts of the case against a president might be such that a special counsel would recommend abandoning the OLC opinion, but this is not such a case.” -Attorney General of the United States testifying before Congress.
As for Barr lying about what was in the report, In a previously unreported letter obtained by The Washington Post, Robert Mueller complained to Attorney General William Barr about his summary of the special counsel’s over 400-page final report because “it did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.” But in a follow-up call between Barr and Mueller, the special counsel admitted that Barr’s summary was not “inaccurate,” the Post reports; rather, Mueller just felt “that the media coverage of the letter was misinterpreting the investigation.” So these legal scholars pro brings up may think that the letter from the AG was inaccurate, but Robert Mueller doesn't.

You did misrepresent the Ohio v. Maughan case. You still haven't made a rebuttal as to why this wildly different case falls under the auspices of the ruling of the court in Ohio V. Maughan. President Trump has not reneged on a plea deal, he isn't refusing to testify and give up information that he already says he has. You're trying to apply this case on the flimsy notion that there's a friend involved tangentially.

In his next point, Pro is referring to 18 USC 1503: This “omnibus” clause covers “corruptly or…by any threatening letter or communication influenc[ing], or imped[ing] or endeavor[ing[ to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice.” But the clause also requires a pending judicial proceeding – and as far as we are all aware, there is none (note that the office of the special counsel is an executive agency. Not an arm of the judicial branch.) Furthermore, the Supreme Court is quite exacting on the application of this law – a prosecutor would need to prove that Trump’s conduct materially impeded the investigation, which even Comey has said didn’t happen as I said earlier and hasn't been refuted by pro in any way.

Really, until pro refutes what Mueller himself said about the OLC opinion (which if you recall, pro dropped completely.) then his obstruction point is dead in the water. If Mueller didn't recommend prosecution even in the absence of the OLC opinion then all of this ambiguous "substantial evidence" pro keeps talking about was insufficient to warrant prosecution. Also, bear in mind that Robert Mueller did not think that AG Barr's letter to Congress over the report was inaccurate per the Washington Posts report. Recall that Mueller said, “He said that in the future, the facts of the case against a president might be such that a special counsel would recommend abandoning the OLC opinion, but this is not such a case.” So if Mueller emphatically states that he is not saying that but for the OLC opinion he would indict Trump, and he's saying that this case does not warrant abandoning the OLC opinion, then that means that this "substantial evidence" must not be sufficient to prosecute. Just like AG Barr the Deputy AG determined after Mueller left it up to them to determine whether or not obstruction occurred. 

Although his obstruction point has already been refuted, I would like to point out in regard to the firing of James Comey, that at the time of Comey's firing the president didn't even think that he was under investigation. Comey was fired because he was telling Trump that he wasn't under investigation but then Comey wouldn't say that in public. (because it was a lie.) Trump then fired Comey for doing that which he is well within his constitutional authority to do.


On a related point, if the president really wanted to stop the investigation into Michael Flynn, then he would just pardon Flynn and stop the investigation in its tracks. That would be a constitutional action. See Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon and not getting impeached. There would be no legal precedent for him being impeached for pardoning Flynn. But he didn't do it.

For the perjury related rebuttals, remember that the president fired Comey for not repeating in public what he had told the president in private. he believed that once he fired Comey that the new FBI director wouldn't be grandstanding about the issue as much. Remember that the OSC is under the presidents purview. There were a number of ways to stop the investigation in its tracks constitutionally. But none of them were taken.

Relating to the buzzfeed article that pro posts saying that the president instructed Cohen to lie to Congress, that article was debunked by Mueller himself. https://www.npr.org/2019/01/18/686532446/buzzfeed-trump-directed-cohen-to-lie-to-congress-about-a-trump-tower-in-moscow
"The office of special counsel Robert Mueller made a rare statement on Friday night to dispute the report by BuzzFeed News that President Trump had instructed his former lawyer to lie to Congress.
The Justice Department announcement appeared not quite 24 hours after the explosive story from Thursday night. Although it didn't go into detail, the response suggested the story didn't correctly reflect the special counsel's dealings with Trump's ex-fixer.
"BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the special counsel's office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's congressional testimony are not accurate," said spokesman Peter Carr."

whoops. This is why you don't cite Buzzfeed.



I would like the voters to note that the resolution for this debate is not "President Trump CAN be impeached and removed from office" it's "President Trump SHOULD be impeached and removed from office." in the most technical sense, Congress could impeach the president because he ate a tuna sandwich and tuna is icky. However, I believe that in order to overturn the results of an election you need to have some serious evidence. So far all we have are flimsy arguments that Robert Mueller himself disputes, and fake news from Buzzfeed.
Round 4
Published:
Thank you for a good debate.

I will now rebuke the arguments my opponent feels I have not adequately argued against.

mueller did abdicate his duty. You said it yourself, his job was to determine whether or not the president should be indicted. He didn't do that. He made no determination and left that up to the AG and deputy AG
1) My opponent is incorrect - I never stated his job was determine whether or not the President should be indicted. 

2) He followed the OLC opinion of not deciding as it was not legitimate - particularly working under the DoJ.

3) As this was an executive branch investigation, it was up to the AG and Dep. AG - this does not mean that Barr and Rosenstein were correct in their judgement.

“Special counsel Mueller stated three times to us in that meeting in response to our questioning that he emphatically was not saying that but for the OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, he would have found obstruction,” 
This is a vital point that my opponent brings up. If Muller determined that all the criteria had been met, could he indict President Trump?

During Mueller's testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Ted Lieu recounted the three elements needed for the crime of obstruction of justice.
"I believe a reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met, and I'd like to ask you the reason, again, you did not indict Donald Trump is because of the OLC (the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel) opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?".

Muller then replied "That is correct,"

However, Muller later went on the record to clarify the meaning of this statement, "Based on Justice Department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a determination as to whether the President committed a crime. That was our decision then and it remains our decision today." Barr confirmed this.

This means that whether Muller said he would or wouldn't indict without the opinion is irrelevant as no party (Barr/Muller/Rosenstein etc.) has claimed either side and therefore my opponent has not provided a solid argument as it falls on a fundamental level.

You did misrepresent the Ohio v. Maughan case.
This is incorrect. To use a segment of a ruling in a case does not require for the set of circumstances to be identical - just for them to have the common element of which they are adjudicating on - making it both accurate and relevant to the case, establishing the President's criminal liability for the offence of obstruction of justice.

 Furthermore, the Supreme Court is quite exacting on the application of this law
My opponent is correct that the Supreme Court’s principal decision construing this provision in the case of United States v. Aguilar suggests that any potentially obstructive acts must be directed at a pending “proceeding,” which would be difficult to prove at a criminal trial under US law. However, the precision of a SCOTUS ruling would not need to be proven to that level as my opponent conceded in R2 when they put "you're technically allowed to go after the president on a lower standard of proof".

 Mueller himself said about the OLC opinion
As I have already made clear in this round, Muller said that never said that he found obstruction but couldn't indict due to the OLC opinion, but neither did he say the opposite which my opponent seems to be implying. Muller made no judgement on whether there was enough evidence for obstruction and therefore has no weight as a piece of evidence in this debate.

He did also say "In the future, the facts of the case against a president might be such that a special counsel would recommend abandoning the OLC opinion, but this is not such a case" however, this is incompatible with Barr's view on the role of the Special Counsel. This shows that these are untested waters constitutionally speaking and therefore cannot be seen as accurate nor proof of anything in this case.

 his obstruction point has already been refuted,
My opponent attempted to refute my obstruction of justice argument by stating there was a "total failure to prove corrupt intent". I then gave evidence of corrupt intent which my opponent completely dropped.
in regard to the firing of James Comey, that at the time of Comey's firing the president didn't even think that he was under investigation. Comey was fired because he was telling Trump that he wasn't under investigation but then Comey wouldn't say that in public. (because it was a lie.) Trump then fired Comey for doing that
My opponent has just conceded his point here. Trump also said there were three occasions on which Comey assured him he was not under investigation - however, this should be taken with a grain of salt due to it coming from the very person it would jeopardise him legally.

My opponent argues on the premise that Trump found out that Comey lied about the existence of an investigation and then fired him for it. This for starters admits that the President found out he was being investigated before he fired Director Comey and that he should be able to fire Comey for lying if that is indeed the case. According to a former DoJ official, "It would also be a violation of DoJ rules for James Comey to answer [Trump's question correctly].” meaning my opponent argues that Comey should have violated that principle, which would have been improper - just as the President should have never asked the question in the first place to protect the integrity of the judicial process - even internally in the executive branch as this was.

if the president really wanted to stop the investigation into Michael Flynn, then he would just pardon Flynn and stop the investigation in its tracks. That would be a constitutional action. See Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon and not getting impeached. There would be no legal precedent for him being impeached for pardoning Flynn. But he didn't do it.
Trump not using an extreme tactic to prevent an investigation does not hold any weight as to whether he used a less extreme method to attempt to stop the investigation. This argument holds no merit.

Additionally, no precedent would be needed for impeachment for the use of pardon as it is the right of the President and I do not think that a strong argument could be formed in support of the impeachment due to the use of the Presidential Pardon.

if the president really wanted to stop the investigation into Michael Flynn, then he would just pardon Flynn and stop the investigation in its tracks. That would be a constitutional action. See Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon and not getting impeached. There would be no legal precedent for him being impeached for pardoning Flynn. But he didn't do it.
This was an attempt to bring the director into politics, which is not his role. The President should have never asked him to do this. Trump is in the wrong - not Comey.

There were a number of ways to stop the investigation in its tracks constitutionally. But none of them were taken.
Again, Trump not using an extreme tactic to prevent an investigation does not hold any weight as to whether he used a less extreme method to attempt to stop the investigation.

 that article was debunked by Mueller himself. [...] whoops. This is why you don't cite Buzzfeed.
While it is true that Robert Mueller's report states that investigators were unable to establish that President Donald Trump "directed or aided" Michael Cohen's false testimony to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow dealings - this is a debatable point as it is seen as fact that "The facts of Cohen's lies and his interactions with Trump are, largely, now settled. Federal law enforcement officials interpreted the evidence Cohen presented as meaning that the president 'directed' Cohen to lie. We now know that Mueller did not [think that]." 

This means that some FBI agents disagreed with Muller's office - meaning this is still open to interpretation.

Conclusion

This debate comes down to 3 fundamental points - where my opponent has conceded enough points to make it clear that the President should be impeached and removed from office.

1) I laid out the charges of suborning perjury and obstruction of justice. My opponent's rebuttal was "you still haven't proven corrupt intent" which they then repeated stating that there was a "total failure to prove corrupt intent".I then did give my arguments to prove corrupt intent and my opponent did not challenge the validity of that argument to any standard with them dropping the vast majority of my points thus conceding that these offences would meet the level of criminal illegality.

2) My opponent conceded that "You're technically allowed to go after the president on a lower standard of proof,". I have provided plenty of evidence to meet the required level of proof that the Senate needs to convict both technically, legally and morally.

Thank you for this debate. A vote for pro is the only logical action after the acknowledgement of my opponent's failure to challenge my arguments, concessions which disprove their counter-argument and an all-round misinterpretation of key aspects of the case.

Not published yet
Added:
--> @PoliceSheep
No, I don't do many debates anymore. Just wanted to give my opinion.
#25
Added:
--> @Our_Boat_is_Right
I'm more than happy to have this debate with you, if you want to prove your argument.
Instigator
#24
Added:
--> @bmdrocks21
lol MAGA
#23
Added:
--> @Our_Boat_is_Right
I'd say there would have been at least 30,000 reasons to impeach the other choice.
#MAGA
#22
Added:
--> @dustryder
No, you socialists should. We all know this impeachment stuff is bs and has been fake from the very beginning.
#21
Added:
--> @Our_Boat_is_Right
You should probably reevaluate your beliefs then. The Pro here made a case based on US law and you spouted that TDS nonsense at him anyway.
#20
Added:
--> @dustryder
I agree it is not an argument. I don't believe it is legitimate criticism. Or maybe people are just uniformed because of the media that portrays things a certain way.
#19
Added:
--> @Our_Boat_is_Right
Spamming TDS is not a defense or argument against legitimate criticism.
#18
Added:
--> @PoliceSheep
Though it may be a mild form, since you are socialist and naturally do not like conservatives getting elected, you have TDS. If you support the rule of law then you should investigate the Democrats for starting a fake witch hunt to undermine the presidency. Since they can't win themselves they resort to other things that they 100% know are cheap and un-american.
#17
Added:
--> @Our_Boat_is_Right
Then I must protest. I do not have "TDS". I'm not even American - it barley affects me. I just support - unequivocally - the Rule of Law.
Instigator
#16
Added:
--> @PoliceSheep
Both.
#15
Added:
--> @Our_Boat_is_Right
Is that comment aimed at me or someone else?
Instigator
#14
Added:
Sad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Just can't get over the fact he is President.
#13
Added:
--> @Patmos
Nice rebuttals, my dude.
#12
Added:
--> @billbatard
No accusation with no evidence is credible. especially not in the legal system. Also, it's a little weird to just show up lob an accusation, start a media frenzy, then jump ship before you have to answer any questions. Also, this claim contradicts the testimony of other women who say that President Trump banned Jeffrey Epstein from his properties after he was inappropriate with an underage girl.
Contender
#11
No votes yet