Less than twenty years ago, Venezuela was Latin America's wealthiest nation.  In the terrifyingly brief…
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CFIF Letter to White House: Keep Targeting Rogue Venezuelan Regime, But Protect U.S. Enterprises Operating There

Less than twenty years ago, Venezuela was Latin America's wealthiest nation.  In the terrifyingly brief time since then, however, the rogue socialist regimes of Hugo Chavez and now his successor Nicolas Maduro have reduced it to a dystopian rubble more akin to starving Cuba.  For that, the United States justifiably isolates and targets the Maduro regime for its ongoing corruption, theft and human rights abuses.

Amid that effort, however, we must also protect vulnerable American companies that have conducted business in Venezuela since long before the Chavez and Maduro regimes.  By granting those American businesses specific waivers to continue operations, we protect them from suffering asset seizure at the hands of Maduro and his cronies.  The alternative of denying that latitude would…[more]

October 29, 2020 • 10:38 AM

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The Witness Wars Print
By Betsy McCaughey
Thursday, December 26 2019
Once House Dems voted to impeach, they lost any chance to have the federal courts order Trump's advisers to appear.

Senator Chuck Schumer issued another demand Sunday for more witnesses and documents as impeachment moves to the Senate. He's undercutting House Democrats' claim of a "rock-solid case" against President Donald Trump. "The case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat," boasts Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler.

That's a joke.

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell calls the Dems' case the "the thinnest basis" for impeachment "in American history."

And Dems know it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate to begin the trial. She claims she's pressuring McConnell into calling additional witnesses. Her arm-twisting is "absurd," McConnell says. "Frankly, I'm not anxious to have the trial. If she thinks her case is so weak she doesn't want to send it over, throw me into that briar patch."

McConnell suggests that "the prosecutors are getting cold feet."

Christmas week, America is in the midst of the witness wars. McConnell is proposing that House Dems, and then White House lawyers, make their arguments to the senators. The trial could be wrapped up in a couple of weeks, unless senators decide, after hearing the arguments, that they need to hear witnesses.

But Schumer wants more witnesses guaranteed upfront. After 17 witnesses, more than 8,000 pages of testimony and legal arguments, 106 House staff members working full time, six high-paid outside lawyers, and millions of dollars spent to produce a party-line vote in the House to impeach, Senate Democrats want another long, drawn-out spectacle.

They're not outsmarting anyone except themselves. The witnesses they're seeking are unlikely to show, no matter what political tricks the Dems try. Meanwhile, national support for impeachment is steadily falling, and every day Dems spend on impeachment lessens their chances of unseating Trump in November.

Schumer wants four White House officials including acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and ex-national security adviser John Bolton to testify. But Democrats lost their chance to bring in these witnesses by voting to impeach.

Close advisers to any president are protected by executive privilege. That's not a Trump invention. Presidents including George Washington have said "no" when Congress demanded access to evidence of White House decision-making. President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder was especially aggressive about asserting privilege. The Constitution creates three equal branches of government, and the president has a duty to protect his branch from congressional overreach. When these two branches clash, the federal courts act as the referee.

True usually, but House Dems took a short cut. When Trump refused to provide certain witnesses, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff balked at "a lengthy game of rope-a-dope with the courts."

It was a shortsighted move. Once House Dems voted to impeach, they lost any chance to have the federal courts order Trump's advisers to appear. The Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that judges cannot interfere in impeachment trials because the Senate has "the sole power" over them. In fact, minutes after the impeachment vote, federal appeals judges asked Congress to show why its case to compel the testimony of former White House lawyer Don McGahn isn't abruptly ended because "the articles of impeachment render the case moot."

With the courthouse doors slammed shut on impeachers, they're trying to strong-arm McConnell into calling witnesses, but they're forgetting that McConnell cannot negotiate away executive privilege. It's not his to surrender.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi sees the disaster ahead. She's invited Trump to deliver the State of the Union message to Congress on Feb. 4, knowing he'll still be president. He'll report a booming economy, low unemployment and beneficial trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada. Plus a federal judiciary rescued from activists. Even last week, as Dems fretted over impeachment, McConnell pushed through 13 more Trump-nominated judges.

Democrats impeached Trump to damage his re-election chances. But their conduct so far has made impeachment a stain on them. Ultimately, voters  not politicians  will decide Trump's fate. That's where the decision belongs.


Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York state and author of "Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution." 
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Question of the Week   
Currently, U.S. Daylight Saving Time ends annually on which of the following?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey lied to Congress on Tuesday during a Senate hearing focused on Big Tech's content moderation policies when he claimed that his social media company has never censored President Donald Trump.'Just to be clear, we have not censored the president,' Dorsey said in response to Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. 'We have not taken the tweets down that you're referencing. We have…[more]
 
 
—Jordan Davidson, The Federalist
— Jordan Davidson, The Federalist
 
Liberty Poll   

Okay, time to outguess the pollsters without all the folderol. Who's going to win? The clock is ticking.