Impeachment Week in Review: Supreme Court Pick Faces Scrutiny

This has been another slow week for impeachment per se – so it’s a good time to launch a new element of this Feature: weekly Meet To Impeach meetings, as described below.  The purpose is to launch a non-partisan discussion of what our Constitution actually says about impeachment and removal from office, and to challenge some major teachings of “Conventional Wisdom” that appear to be just plain wrong... or incomplete at best.  Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s new nominee for the Supreme Court will certainly be questioned about impeachment and related issues at his confirmation hearing – as a young lawyer working for Independent Counsel Ken Starr during the Clinton impeachment, Judge Kavanaugh then advanced an expansive view of the scope of impeachment.  Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz has taken an opposite approach in his new book: The Case Against Impeaching Trump – reportedly claiming that the Supreme Court could overturn a Senate removal from office.  His publisher is reported to have shipped 50,000 copies of the new book.  Walmart was targeted by boycott calls after selling “Impeach 45” and “Impeach Trump” merchandise online.  There are some ominous rumblings from financial markets, in the case of high “churn” – a increase in the volume of trading – suggesting a pattern that appeared before the “Great Recession” that started in 2007.  While the Dow Jones average has also been more volatile this year, it is up about 30% since President Trump was elected, and the overall performance of the economy remains strong.  Meanwhile, markets don’t seem to be reacting negatively to the apparent recent escalation of the trade war with China.

Meet To Impeach Event: MeetToImpeach.com has announced the start of weekly meetings at People's Plaza in downtown Minneapolis.  The first one will be Tuesday, July 17th, at 2:00 PM.  "People's Plaza" (AKA "Government Plaza") is between Minneapolis City Hall and the Hennepin County Government Center, at 4th Street and 5th Avenue.  Bob "Again" Carney Jr. [also the editor of this feature] said: "The purpose of these meetings is to launch a bi-partisan discussion of what our Constitution actually says about Impeachment and removal from office, and to challenge some major teachings of 'Conventional Wisdom' that appear to be just plain wrong... or incomplete at best."  Although Carney is also a candidate for the Republican nomination in the August 14th primary for U.S. Congress in the 5th District, which includes Minneapolis, these meetings will not be campaign events, and will be non-partisan.

Supreme Court nominee will bring impeachment issues into his confirmation hearing

The NY Times reports: "WASHINGTON — Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the front-runner to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court, once argued that President Bill Clinton could be impeached for lying to his staff and misleading the public, a broad definition of obstruction of justice that would be damaging if applied to President Trump in the Russia investigation.  Judge Kavanaugh’s arguments — expressed in the report of the independent counsel, Kenneth W. Starr, which he co-wrote nearly 20 years ago — have been cited in recent days by Republicans with reservations about him and have raised concerns among some people close to Mr. Trump. But Judge Kavanaugh has reconsidered some of his views since then, and there is no evidence that they have derailed his candidacy."

Book Beat: Cases of The Case Against… shipped to stores nationwide

The NY Times reports on The Case Against Impeaching Trump: whose author: "[Alan] Dershowitz, a lifelong Democrat, has broken ranks with many liberals in defending President Trump against calls for impeachment. In his latest published work — less of a book and more a hastily assembled compilation of his public musings on the subject — he elaborates on those arguments. The 160-page treatise includes a roughly 30-page opening essay, followed by opinion pieces published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsmax, Fox, The Hill and other outlets, and a handful of transcripts of his television interviews, including appearances on 'Meet the Press,' 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' and 'This Week With George Stephanopoulos.'”  Whatever the possible merits of the arguments, it appears Professor Dershowitz' new book is heading towards more success as a publishing event that the recent To End a Presidency, which apparently never sold more than 3,000 copies in a week.   The Times report continues: "The publisher has shipped 50,000 copies to retailers."

Consumers protest pro-impeachment themed products:

VOX reports: "Walmart has joined the ranks of Keurig, Starbucks, and the NFL as the target of a conservative boycott push.  ¶At issue: apparel calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. It began when tweets started to pop up this week showing clothing, including baby onesies and T-shirts, available for sale on Walmart’s website reading 'Impeach 45 and other items that said 'Impeach Trump.' Walmart isn’t the producer of the items — rather, they’re sold by third-party merchants on its platform — but as with so many things on Twitter, that nuance wasn’t picked up. Soon, #BoycottWalmart started to trend."  It appears the Impeach Trump merchandise was only being sold by Walmart on-line – not in stores.  As with many retailers, including Amazon, Walmart has a relatively easy straight-forward process allowing third party merchants to sell products on its website. 

Market Churn and Volatility may be associated with impeachment instability

Bloomberg reports: “From junk bonds to emerging-market stocks, market turnover is through the roof, reaching multi-year highs. Within the S&P 500 Index, investors traded more than $2.9 trillion worth of shares in each of the past two quarters, a feat last achieved in early 2008.  ¶Burgeoning uncertainty -- from monetary policy and protectionism, to cracks in the synchronized growth story -- has spurred elevated trading across assets.”  The accompanying Bloomberg chart shows a sharp, visible uptick in churn for the past two quarterly periods.  This is consistent with both a sharp drop in late January of this year in the Dow Jones average -- and an ensuing period of unstable performance, with big "saw-teeth" both up and down (see chart).  This is an impeachment story because it appears both the volatility and the churn can be associated with major clashes between President Trump and Congressional Democrats that greatly increased in frequency and intensity starting in early January of this year.

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