A group of Republican attorney generals now appear to support the idea of excluding witnesses in a trial. That’s the take from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) that released a press statement this month slamming the idea of holding President Donald Trump accountable for his actions.
After being impeached in the House, Trump is being tried in the Senate for selling an American ally down the river to help his own career. Trump personally withheld legally allotted military funding from Ukraine and planned to keep holding it until the newly-elected Ukrainian president announced a bogus investigation of the son of Trump’s campaign rival Joe Biden. When news of Trump’s extortion got out, Trump immediately stopped holding the money hostage and handed it over.
Now Trump stands impeached and on trial in the Senate this month for his extortion attempt and for hiding his misdeeds from House investigators by denying the White House witnesses and documents that would likely incriminate him.
The Republican Attorneys General Association, which raises money to elect GOP attorney generals across the nation, announced it stands on the side of covering up extortion and obstruction and released a 14-page “Friend of the Senate” brief that tries to dismiss the accusations against their Republican president.
The organization claims the first accusation from the House impeachment report is based upon the idea that the President can be impeached for exercising authority “motivated” by thoughts a House majority deems “corrupt.” This “corrupt motive” theory, according to RAGA, “is infinitely expansive and subjective. It will erode separation of powers, making the President impeachable for what his political adversaries perceive his thoughts to be.”
The organization leaves out the fact that House investigators went with “corrupt motive” rather than “corrupt behavior” because Trump immediately ceased his extortion attempt the moment a whistleblower revealed it to the public. It’s like running out of the bar with a case of expensive champagne but then getting stopped at the door by a bouncer. The bouncer, RAGA claims, essentially erased the crime by interrupting it.
The organization’s second argument claims the U.S. president can obstruct a congressional investigation like some kind of king because of the president’s “executive privilege.”
“If the House believed President Trump’s invocation of executive privilege was unjustified, it should have done what every other congressional committee has done: go to court to enforce the subpoena and challenge the assertion of privilege,” the organization claims. Their argument is: a suspect who happens to be president should be able to deny investigators access to witnesses and then be able to appeal that denial all the way up to the Supreme Court in a lengthy process that could take months or years. One wonders if these same AGs are that generous with their own suspects. We doubt it.
The Democratic Attorneys General Association, RAGA’s counterpart, labeled their Republican counterpart’s effort a political stunt.
“The people in these states (served by Republican AGs) deserve more than politicking and pandering from their state attorneys general—and that’s clearly all this was,” stated DAGA executive director Sean Rankin. The organization followed up their statement with a brief Twitter post of a summary that DAGA claimed to have located on Page 11 of RAGA’s Friend of the Senate letter: “It’s nakedly political. We’re puppets. Our founders would clearly support the current impeachment effort.”
At a recent press statement announcing RAGA’s support for corruption, reporters asked RAGA member and Louisiana AG Jeff Landry whether he had ever prosecuted cases without “witness testimony or discovery and evidence.” Landry stumbled a moment before abruptly changing the subject and refusing to answer.