Saturday in Whitewater will be clear in the morning, partly cloudy in the afternoon, with a high of twenty-three. Sunrise is 7:16 AM and sunset 4:57 PM, for 9h 40m 53s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 73.8% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1556, the deadliest earthquake in history, the Shaanxi earthquake, hits Shaanxi province, China. The death toll may have been as high as 830,000.
Recommended for reading in full —
Katie Benner reports Trump and Justice Dept. Lawyer Said to Have Plotted to Oust Acting Attorney General:
The Justice Department’s top leaders listened in stunned silence this month: One of their peers, they were told, had devised a plan with President Donald J. Trump to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen as acting attorney general and wield the department’s power to force Georgia state lawmakers to overturn its presidential election results.
The unassuming lawyer who worked on the plan, Jeffrey Clark, had been devising ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.
The department officials, convened on a conference call, then asked each other: What will you do if Mr. Rosen is dismissed?
The answer was unanimous. They would resign.
Their informal pact ultimately helped persuade Mr. Trump to keep Mr. Rosen in place, calculating that a furor over mass resignations at the top of the Justice Department would eclipse any attention on his baseless accusations of voter fraud. Mr. Trump’s decision came only after Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark made their competing cases to him in a bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared with an episode of Mr. Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” albeit one that could prompt a constitutional crisis.
Keith E. Whittington writes Is There a Free Speech Defense to an Impeachment?:
The First Amendment does not shrink the scope of the impeachment power or alter what conduct would fall within the terms of high and misdemeanors. When drafting the Bill of Rights, James Madison took care to include only provisions that he thought were compatible with the existing body of the Constitution drafted in 1787. The adoption of the First Amendment, from Madison’s perspective, would reaffirm what was already true about the Constitution, not carve out new exceptions to it. It is inconceivable that Madison would have thought that his proposed affirmation that the freedom of speech may not be abridged by the new federal government meant that an exception was being carved out of the power of Congress to impeach and remove officers for high crimes and misdemeanors. That which was impeachable before the adoption of the First Amendment was still impeachable after.
If a civil service employee in the Department of Justice had done the things contained in the article of impeachment, he could be justly terminated from his federal employment despite the First Amendment. If the attorney general had done the things alleged by the House of Representatives, the president could justly fire him despite the First Amendment. There are many things that could get a government employee or a Cabinet secretary fired that would not rise to the level of impeachable offenses, but there is nothing that would otherwise be an impeachable offense for which the First Amendment would shelter an officer from Senate conviction and removal.
There is only one impeachment power and one standard for impeachment. That standard for impeachable offenses applies equally to all the government officials subject to it, whether judges, executive branch officers or presidents.