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Velshi: Did The System Fail With This Impeachment Trial? | MSNBC

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THEIR FACE, THAT’S WHAT I THINK THIS IS ALL ABOUT THIS IS ALL ABOUT

>> 100 SENATORS TOOK AN OATH ON >> 100 SENATORS TOOK AN OATH ON JANUARY 16th PROMISING TO, JANUARY 16th PROMISING TO, QUOTE, DO IMPARTIAL JUSTICE QUOTE, DO IMPARTIAL JUSTICE ACCORDING TO THE CONSTITUTION ACCORDING TO THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS AND LAWS BUT 51 OF THOSE SENATORS BUT 51 OF THOSE SENATORS REJECTED WITNESS TESTIMONY WHICH REJECTED WITNESS TESTIMONY WHICH COULD HAVE INCLUDED SOME ANSWERS COULD HAVE INCLUDED SOME ANSWERS FROM PEOPLE LIKE THE PRESIDENT’S FROM PEOPLE LIKE THE PRESIDENT’S FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JOHN BOLTON JOHN BOLTON A NEW REPORT FROM THE "NEW YORK A NEW REPORT FROM THE "NEW YORK TIMES" SAYS THAT BOLTON’S BOOK TIMES" SAYS THAT BOLTON’S BOOK MANUSCRIPT DETAILS THE MANUSCRIPT DETAILS THE PRESIDENT’S EFFORTS TO DRENKTS PRESIDENT’S EFFORTS TO DRENKTS HIM TO HELP PROMPT A UKRANIAN HIM TO HELP PROMPT A UKRANIAN INVESTIGATION INTO THE BIDENS

INVESTIGATION INTO THE BIDENS WHILE 51 REPUBLICANS VOTED WHILE 51 REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST WITNESSES, SOME OF THEM AGAINST WITNESSES, SOME OF THEM ADMIT THAT HOUSE MANAGERS PROVED ADMIT THAT HOUSE MANAGERS PROVED AGAINST THE PRESIDENT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE IS FLORIDA ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE IS FLORIDA SENATOR MARCO RUBIO SENATOR MARCO RUBIO

EVEN AFTER VOTING NO ON EVEN AFTER VOTING NO ON WITNESSES, HE SAID, QUOTE, JUST WITNESSES, HE SAID, QUOTE, JUST BECAUSE ACTIONS MEET A STANDARD BECAUSE ACTIONS MEET A STANDARD OF IMPEACHMENT DOES NOT MEAN IT OF IMPEACHMENT DOES NOT MEAN IT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE COUNTRY TO REMOVE A PRESIDENT COUNTRY TO REMOVE A PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE FROM OFFICE JOINING ME NOW IS JEFFREY ROSEN, JOINING ME NOW IS JEFFREY ROSEN, THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER AND NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER AND A PROFESSOR OF LAW AT THE GEORGE A PROFESSOR OF LAW AT THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL AND JOYCE VANCE, A FORMER US AND JOYCE VANCE, A FORMER U

S ATTORNEY, PROFESSOR AT THE ATTORNEY, PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA LAW SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA LAW SCHOOL AND AN MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR AND AN MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU

JEFF, LET ME START WITH YOU JEFF, LET ME START WITH YOU BECAUSE YOU HAVE WRITTEN SO MANY BECAUSE YOU HAVE WRITTEN SO MANY BOOKS ABOUT COURTS AND LEGAL BOOKS ABOUT COURTS AND LEGAL ISSUES IN AMERICA ISSUES IN AMERICA I THINK WHAT AMERICA HAS HAD AS I THINK WHAT AMERICA HAS HAD AS A LESSON IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS A LESSON IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS IS THAT IMPEACHMENT DOESN’T WORK IS THAT IMPEACHMENT DOESN’T WORK LIKE A TRIAL LIKE A TRIAL I THINK WE SAW THAT ON DISPLAY I THINK WE SAW THAT ON DISPLAY IN THE LAST FEW DAYS

IN THE LAST FEW DAYS >> WE DID >> WE DID AND IF YOU LOOK AT HISTORY, AND IF YOU LOOK AT HISTORY, YOU’RE RIGHT, ALI, THAT YOU’RE RIGHT, ALI, THAT IMPEACHMENT HAS BECOME SO MUCH IMPEACHMENT HAS BECOME SO MUCH MORE POLARIZED THAN IT USED TO MORE POLARIZED THAN IT USED TO BE BE

IN THE JOHNSON IMPEACHMENT, IN THE JOHNSON IMPEACHMENT, SEVEN REPUBLICAN SENATORS JOINED SEVEN REPUBLICAN SENATORS JOINED DEMOCRATS IN VOTING TO ACQUIT DEMOCRATS IN VOTING TO ACQUIT BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THAT THE BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THAT THE EVIDENCE HADN’T BEEN FAIRLY EVIDENCE HADN’T BEEN FAIRLY PRESENTED PRESENTED IN THE CLINTON IMPEACHMENT, FIVE IN THE CLINTON IMPEACHMENT, FIVE REPUBLICANS JOINED THE 45 REPUBLICANS JOINED THE 45 DEMOCRATS TO ACQUIT ON ONE DEMOCRATS TO ACQUIT ON ONE CHARGE AND 10 ON THE OTHER CHARGE AND 10 ON THE OTHER BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THE CASE BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THE CASE HADN’T BEEN PROVED HADN’T BEEN PROVED HERE WE’RE LIKELY TO SEE A PARTY HERE WE’RE LIKELY TO SEE A PARTY LINE VOTE, MAYBE ONE OR TWO LINE VOTE, MAYBE ONE OR TWO DEFECTIONS, AND THAT JUST DEFECTIONS, AND THAT JUST SUGGESTS THAT THE FOUNDERS’ HOPE SUGGESTS THAT THE FOUNDERS’ HOPE THAT IN IMPEACHMENT THE SENATORS THAT IN IMPEACHMENT THE SENATORS WOULD RISE ABOVE THEIR PARTISAN WOULD RISE ABOVE THEIR PARTISAN INTERESTS AND CONVERGE AROUND INTERESTS AND CONVERGE AROUND THE PUBLIC INTERESTS IS NO THE PUBLIC INTERESTS IS NO LONGER THE CASE

LONGER THE CASE >> JOYCE, YOU WERE ON WITH ARI >> JOYCE, YOU WERE ON WITH ARI MELBER WHEN HE WAS HAVING A MELBER WHEN HE WAS HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH ALAN CONVERSATION WITH ALAN DERSHOWITZ DERSHOWITZ I WANT TO JUST PLAY A LITTLE BIT I WANT TO JUST PLAY A LITTLE BIT OF THAT AND GET YOUR COMMENT ON OF THAT AND GET YOUR COMMENT ON IT IT

>> THEY IMPEACHED HIM FOR ABUSE >> THEY IMPEACHED HIM FOR ABUSE OF POWER AND OBSTRUCTION OF OF POWER AND OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS CONGRESS HAD THEY IMPEACHED HIM FOR HAD THEY IMPEACHED HIM FOR BRIBERY, THE ISSUE WOULD BE BRIBERY, THE ISSUE WOULD BE VERY, VERY DIFFERENT VERY, VERY DIFFERENT HAD THEY IMPEACHED HIM FOR HAD THEY IMPEACHED HIM FOR EXTORTION, THE ISSUE WOULD BE EXTORTION, THE ISSUE WOULD BE VERY DIFFERENT

VERY DIFFERENT >> SO IF THEY USED THOSE WORDS >> SO IF THEY USED THOSE WORDS YOU’D BE FINE WITH IT? YOU’D BE FINE WITH IT? YOU’D BE FINE WITH IT IF THEY YOU’D BE FINE WITH IT IF THEY USED THOSE WORDS? USED THOSE WORDS? >> INSTEAD THEY IMPEACHED HIM >> INSTEAD THEY IMPEACHED HIM FOR ABUSE OF POWER FOR ABUSE OF POWER >> YOU’D BE FINE IF THEY HAD >> YOU’D BE FINE IF THEY HAD USED THE "B" WORD? USED THE "B" WORD? >> NO, IT’S NOT A DRAFTING ISSUE >> NO, IT’S NOT A DRAFTING ISSUE BECAUSE THEY HAD PROFESSOR TRIBE BECAUSE THEY HAD PROFESSOR TRIBE ON THEIR SIDE ON THEIR SIDE

IF THEY HAD THE EVIDENCE, THEY IF THEY HAD THE EVIDENCE, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN OBVIOUSLY SMART WOULD HAVE BEEN OBVIOUSLY SMART ENOUGH TO ALLEGE BRIBERY OR ENOUGH TO ALLEGE BRIBERY OR EXTORTION OR ANY OF THESE OTHER EXTORTION OR ANY OF THESE OTHER THINGS THINGS THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE EVIDENCE, THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE EVIDENCE, THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE VOTES ON THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE VOTES ON THAT THAT >> WHAT’S HE TALKING ABOUT? >> WHAT’S HE TALKING ABOUT? >> YES, SO THIS IS, I THINK, A >> YES, SO THIS IS, I THINK, A HYPERTECHNICAL LEGAL ISSUE, BUT HYPERTECHNICAL LEGAL ISSUE, BUT IT’S WORTH UNPACKING A LITTLE IT’S WORTH UNPACKING A LITTLE BIT

BIT THE DEMOCRATS WERE GOING TO LOSE THE DEMOCRATS WERE GOING TO LOSE IN PROFESSOR DERSHOWITZ’ IN PROFESSOR DERSHOWITZ’ ASSESSMENT NO MATTER HOW THEY ASSESSMENT NO MATTER HOW THEY HANDLED THIS HANDLED THIS THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT, THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT, THERE ARE TWO OF THEM THERE ARE TWO OF THEM

ONE IS FOR ABUSE OF PRESIDENTIAL ONE IS FOR ABUSE OF PRESIDENTIAL POWER, IN ESSENCE, THE OTHER IS POWER, IN ESSENCE, THE OTHER IS FOR OBSTRUCTION FOR OBSTRUCTION INSIDE OF THE ABUSE OF POWER INSIDE OF THE ABUSE OF POWER ARTICLE ARE ALLEGATIONS THAT ARTICLE ARE ALLEGATIONS THAT LOOKS A LOT LIKE A CRIMINAL LOOKS A LOT LIKE A CRIMINAL INDICTMENT AND IT TALKS ABOUT INDICTMENT AND IT TALKS ABOUT CRIMES THAT IN ESSENCE ARE CRIMES THAT IN ESSENCE ARE BRIBERY, BUT IT’S LABELED WITH BRIBERY, BUT IT’S LABELED WITH THIS ABUSE SORT OF A MONIKER THIS ABUSE SORT OF A MONIKER AND WE HEARD ADAM SCHIFF EXPLAIN AND WE HEARD ADAM SCHIFF EXPLAIN THAT HE DID THAT BECAUSE THAT THAT HE DID THAT BECAUSE THAT WAS THE TOP LEVEL CRIME

WAS THE TOP LEVEL CRIME THAT WAS WHAT THEY WERE LOOKING THAT WAS WHAT THEY WERE LOOKING AT, HIGH CRIMES AND AT, HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS MISDEMEANORS HAD THE DEMOCRATS GONE AHEAD AND HAD THE DEMOCRATS GONE AHEAD AND ALLEGED BRIBERY, I THINK WE ALLEGED BRIBERY, I THINK WE WOULD BE HAVING HYPERTECHNICAL WOULD BE HAVING HYPERTECHNICAL LEGAL ARGUMENTS ABOUT WHAT LEGAL ARGUMENTS ABOUT WHAT BRIBERY MEANS IN AMERICA IN BRIBERY MEANS IN AMERICA IN 2020 2020

THERE ARE SOME VERY DISTINCT THERE ARE SOME VERY DISTINCT REQUIREMENTS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT REQUIREMENTS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE MET HERE BE MET HERE BUT THE REALITY IS, IS THAT THE BUT THE REALITY IS, IS THAT THE SORT OF BRIBERY THAT WE’RE SORT OF BRIBERY THAT WE’RE LOOKING AT FOR IMPEACHMENT LOOKING AT FOR IMPEACHMENT PURPOSES IS BRIBERY AS THE PURPOSES IS BRIBERY AS THE FOUNDING FATHERS UNDERSTOOD IT FOUNDING FATHERS UNDERSTOOD IT IN THE LATE 1700s WHERE WE IN THE LATE 1700s WHERE WE DIDN’T HAVE A CODIFIED CRIMINAL DIDN’T HAVE A CODIFIED CRIMINAL CODE WITH ELEMENTS PROSECUTORS CODE WITH ELEMENTS PROSECUTORS HAD TO PROVE HAD TO PROVE DOES THE PRESIDENT’S CONDUCT DOES THE PRESIDENT’S CONDUCT RISE TO THE LEVEL OF BRIBERY? RISE TO THE LEVEL OF BRIBERY? WELL, LET’S JUST LOOK AT IT

WELL, LET’S JUST LOOK AT IT HE TOLD THE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT HE TOLD THE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IF YOU WANT MONEY, IF YOU WANT A IF YOU WANT MONEY, IF YOU WANT A VISIT, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO VISIT, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO ME A FAVOR DO ME A FAVOR IT’S BRIBERY IN SUBSTANCE AND IT’S BRIBERY IN SUBSTANCE AND IMPEACHMENT SHOULD BE ABOUT IMPEACHMENT SHOULD BE ABOUT SUBSTANCE SUBSTANCE

>> JEFF, THERE WERE A FEW >> JEFF, THERE WERE A FEW ARGUMENTS GOING BACK AND FORTH ARGUMENTS GOING BACK AND FORTH WITH THE PRESIDENT’S TEAM WITH THE PRESIDENT’S TEAM ONE IS THE ONE THAT PROFESSOR ONE IS THE ONE THAT PROFESSOR DERSHOWITZ PUT FORWARD AND SAID DERSHOWITZ PUT FORWARD AND SAID THAT THESE ACTIONS BY THE THAT THESE ACTIONS BY THE PRESIDENT ARE NOT IMPEACHABLE PRESIDENT ARE NOT IMPEACHABLE THEN YOU HAD LAMAR ALEXANDER AND THEN YOU HAD LAMAR ALEXANDER AND MARCO RUBIO SAYING MAYBE THEY MARCO RUBIO SAYING MAYBE THEY WERE BAD, BUT THEY WEREN’T WERE BAD, BUT THEY WEREN’T IMPEACHABLE

IMPEACHABLE AND THEN THERE WERE OTHER AND THEN THERE WERE OTHER ARGUMENTS PUT FORWARD THAT THE ARGUMENTS PUT FORWARD THAT THE PRESIDENT IS NOT SUBJECT TO PRESIDENT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THINGS THAT OTHERS WOULD BE THINGS THAT OTHERS WOULD BE SUBJECT TO SUBJECT TO IT SEEMED TO ME TO BE AN IT SEEMED TO ME TO BE AN INCONSISTENT APPROACH INCONSISTENT APPROACH

HOW DID YOU REVIEW IT? HOW DID YOU REVIEW IT? >> IT WAS VERY MUCH ARGUING IN >> IT WAS VERY MUCH ARGUING IN THE ALTERNATIVE, AS THE LAWYERS THE ALTERNATIVE, AS THE LAWYERS SAY SAY BUT YOU’RE RIGHT THAT WHAT WILL BUT YOU’RE RIGHT THAT WHAT WILL THE PRECEDENT OF THIS ACQUITTAL THE PRECEDENT OF THIS ACQUITTAL BE? BE? FOR JOHNSON AND CLINTON, HIS FOR JOHNSON AND CLINTON, HIS TORE JANUARY — TORE JANUARY — HISTORIANS CELEBRATED THAT IT HISTORIANS CELEBRATED THAT IT WAS NOT ENOUGH TO REMOVE FROM WAS NOT ENOUGH TO REMOVE FROM OFFICE OFFICE NOW THE STANDARD SEEMS TO BE YOU NOW THE STANDARD SEEMS TO BE YOU DO NEED AN ALLEGATION OF A DO NEED AN ALLEGATION OF A TECHNICAL CRIME IN ORDER TO TECHNICAL CRIME IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY REMOVAL

JUSTIFY REMOVAL WE KNOW FROM THE OTHER WE KNOW FROM THE OTHER PRESIDENTS THAT’S NOT ENOUGH PRESIDENTS THAT’S NOT ENOUGH THEN WE HEAR STATEMENTS LIKE THEN WE HEAR STATEMENTS LIKE MARCO RUBIO SAYING THIS IS VERY MARCO RUBIO SAYING THIS IS VERY SERIOUS, HE DID DO IT, BUT IT SERIOUS, HE DID DO IT, BUT IT DOESN’T MEET THE STANDARD DOESN’T MEET THE STANDARD

SO THE FEAR OF THE DEMOCRATS OF SO THE FEAR OF THE DEMOCRATS OF COURSE IS THAT ALL THE COURSE IS THAT ALL THE CONSTRAINTS ARE OFF CONSTRAINTS ARE OFF WITHOUT A VERY, VERY SERIOUS WITHOUT A VERY, VERY SERIOUS TECHNICAL CRIME, THERE’S NO TECHNICAL CRIME, THERE’S NO POSSIBILITY OF REMOVAL POSSIBILITY OF REMOVAL REPUBLICANS COUNTER THAT IF THIS REPUBLICANS COUNTER THAT IF THIS PRESIDENT WERE REMOVED FOR THIS, PRESIDENT WERE REMOVED FOR THIS, THEN ANY PRESIDENT COULD BE THEN ANY PRESIDENT COULD BE REMOVED FOR POLITICAL OFFENSES

REMOVED FOR POLITICAL OFFENSES BUT I THINK IT’S FAIR TO SAY BUT I THINK IT’S FAIR TO SAY THAT AFTER THIS IMPEACHMENT, IT THAT AFTER THIS IMPEACHMENT, IT WILL BE AN EXTREMELY HARD THING WILL BE AN EXTREMELY HARD THING TO REMOVE ANY FUTURE PRESIDENT TO REMOVE ANY FUTURE PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE FROM OFFICE SO WE MAY SEE LOTS OF SO WE MAY SEE LOTS OF IMPEACHMENTS BY THE HOUSE IF IMPEACHMENTS BY THE HOUSE IF THEY’RE CONTROLLED BY THE THEY’RE CONTROLLED BY THE OPPOSITE PARTY AND LOTS AFTER

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