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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.


This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Trump Lawyer Alan Dershowitz Shocks the Impeachment Trial | The Daily Show. Alan Dershowitz is a fool or pretends to be one.

Trial Bombshell: Trump Insider Sides With Bolton On Ukraine, Implying Tr...

Trump Impeachment Trial: What to Watch Ahead of Questioning Both Sides

Trump Impeachment Trial: What to Watch Ahead of Questioning Both Sides

Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, speaking to reporters on Tuesday. Senators will have the chance to ask questions in the impeachment trial on Wednesday.
T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
  • “After days of sitting quietly as both sides of the case delivered their opening arguments, senators on Wednesday will be able to start questioning the impeachment managers and President Trump’s lawyers by submitting questions to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who will read them aloud.

  • The questioning phase will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, for up to 16 hours total. A vote on whether to hear witnesses in the trial is expected on Friday.

  • Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, told Republicans during a closed-door meeting that he did not currently have the votes to block witnesses, according to a person familiar with the meeting. But behind the scenes, key Republicans said they were increasingly confident they could bring the trial to an end.“

Thursday, January 23, 2020

In Impeachment Case, Schiff Accuses Trump of Trying ‘to Cheat’ in Election - The New York Times

The House impeachment managers, led by Representative Adam B. Schiff, speaking to reporters before the trial Wednesday on Capitol Hill.



""WASHINGTON — The House Democratic impeachment managers began formal arguments in the Senate trial on Wednesday, presenting a meticulous and scathing case for convicting President Trump and removing him from office on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House prosecutor, took the lectern in the chamber as senators sat silently preparing to weigh Mr. Trump’s fate. Speaking in an even, measured manner, he accused the president of a corrupt scheme to pressure Ukraine for help “to cheat” in the 2020 presidential election.
Invoking the nation’s founders and their fears that a self-interested leader might subvert democracy for his own personal gain, Mr. Schiff argued that the president’s conduct was precisely what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they devised the remedy of impeachment, one he said was “as powerful as the evil it was meant to combat.”
“If not remedied by his conviction in the Senate, and removal from office, President Trump’s abuse of his office and obstruction of Congress will permanently alter the balance of power among the branches of government,” Mr. Schiff said in his opening remarks. “The president has shown that he believes that he’s above the law and scornful of constraint.”
The Senate proceeding, the third impeachment trial of a president in the nation’s history, was fraught with partisan rancor and political consequence both for Mr. Trump and for the two parties grappling over his future.
In a series of speeches, Mr. Schiff and the six other impeachment managers asserted that the president pressured Ukraine to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden, while withholding as leverage nearly $400 million in security aid for Kyiv and a White House meeting for its president. When he was caught, they said, Mr. Trump ordered a cover-up, blocking witnesses and denying Congress the evidence that could corroborate his scheme.
“President Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to a strategic partner at war with Russia to secure foreign help with his re-election,” Mr. Schiff declared. “In other words, to cheat.”
The Democrats will continue to lay out their now-familiar case on Thursday, although there is little doubt about the outcome of the trial. It is all but certain to end in Mr. Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, where it would take 67 votes to convict and remove him. But the contours of the trial remained up in the air, as Republicans and Democrats continued to feud over whether to consider additional evidence, including witnesses the president has forbade from cooperating with the inquiry.
Mr. Trump — impatient for his legal team to have a chance to mount a vigorous defense of his behavior — was on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, hurling insults at the impeachment managers and telling reporters he would like to personally attend the Senate trial in order to “sit right in the front row and stare into their corrupt faces
At a news conference in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum, Mr. Trump said that John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, could not be allowed to testify because he “knows my thoughts on certain people and other governments, war and peace and different things — that’s a national security problem.”
Mr. Schiff insisted in his opening arguments that fairness demanded hearing from Mr. Bolton, who has pledged to testify if the Senate subpoenas him, and other White House officials. Democrats angrily rejected the suggestion that they might agree to call Hunter Biden in exchange for Mr. Bolton’s appearance.
“This isn’t like some fantasy football trade,” Mr. Schiff said before the trial commenced Wednesday. “Trials aren’t trades for witnesses.”
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, told reporters the idea was “off the table.”
Campaigning in Iowa, Joseph Biden was adamant in rejecting any testimony trade-off. “This is a constitutional issue,” he said. “We’re not going to turn it into a farce, into some kind of political theater.”
A set of closed-door negotiations among senators appears likely to soon intensify as Democrats plot their strategy for winning a vote on witnesses, which would require the votes of a handful of centrist Republican senators who have signaled they are open to the idea. Votes on the matter are likely next week, after the House managers and White House lawyers complete their arguments and senators have had a chance to submit questions about the case.
On the first day of oral arguments, Mr. Schiff opened with a plea for patience, telling senators that “we have some very long days yet to come.” But senators already seemed restless; many passed notes to each other, and as the hours wore on, a handful of seats were frequently empty as lawmakers from both parties slipped out of the chamber for brief respites from the weighty — and often very tedious — arguments.
A protester in the Senate gallery briefly interrupted arguments from Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, shouting “Schumer is the devil” and yelling that Democrats support abortion before being dragged out by Capitol Hill police officers.
On the floor, the managers sought to place Mr. Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign in the context of what they called a broader impulse by the president to cede America’s foreign policy to Russia. It was no coincidence, Mr. Schiff argued, that Mr. Trump had asked the president of Ukraine for investigations into his rivals just one day after Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, issued his report.
House Managers Begin Arguments, Republicans Bristle at Their Tone
The House impeachment managers, led by Representative Adam B. Schiff, opened their case for convicting President Trump. Republican senators criticized the tenor of the arguments.
“We are here today in this hallowed chamber, undertaking this solemn action for only the third time in history, because Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, has acted precisely as Hamilton and his contemporaries feared. President Trump solicited foreign interference in our democratic elections, abusing the power of his office to seek help from abroad to improve his re-election prospects at home. President Trump withheld two official acts to induce the Ukrainian leader to comply: a head of state meeting in the Oval Office and military funding. Both were of great consequence to Ukraine, and to our national interest and security, but one looms largest: President Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to a strategic partner at war with Russia to secure foreign help with his re-election. In other words, to cheat.” “They’re on a crusade to destroy this man, and they don’t care what they destroy in the process of trying to destroy Donald Trump. I do care. So to my Democratic colleagues, you can say what you want about me. But I’m covering up nothing. I’m exposing your hatred of this president to the point that you would destroy the institution. Nobody would be saying this about a Democratic president, if a Republican House had done this.” “Right up until last night, evidence continues to be produced. The truth is going to come out. Indeed, the truth has already come out, but more and more of it will. And the only question is: Do you want to hear it now? Do you want to know the full truth now?”
The House impeachment managers, led by Representative Adam B. Schiff, opened their case for convicting President Trump. Republican senators criticized the tenor of the arguments.
“President Trump, believing he had escaped accountability for Russia meddling in the first election, and welcoming of it, asked the Ukrainian president to help him undermine the special counsel’s conclusion and help him smear a political opponent,” Mr. Schiff said.
For now, the president’s legal team must sit silently in the chamber as the president’s House accusers have exclusive access to the microphone. Under the rules of the trial adopted on Tuesday, the House managers have 24 hours over three days to present their case, leaving White House lawyers to take in their searingly argued case about Mr. Trump’s actions, with no opportunity for immediate rebuttal.
The president vented his spleen about the process on Twitter, firing off so many posts that he set a record for any single day in his presidency.
As of 11:30 p.m., Mr. Trump had posted or reposted 142 messages on Twitter, surpassing the previous record of 123 set in December. Most were retweets of messages from allies and supporters assailing Mr. Schiff and others prosecuting the case.
During a dinner break on Wednesday, the president’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow raced to face reporters, vowing to eventually respond “to what the House managers have put forward, and we are going to make an affirmative case defending the president.”
The tables will turn this week, most likely on Saturday, when the defense team will be given its own 24 hours of uninterrupted time to play to the cameras from the Senate floor, with House Democrats sidelined. The defense of the president could continue into early next week after a break on Sunday.
The oral arguments on Wednesday began only hours after the conclusion of a lengthy fight over witnesses and documents that stretched into the wee hours of the day and cleaved the Senate along party lines. It was dominated by bitter exchanges between the Democratic House managers and the president’s legal defense team that grew so personal and hostile after midnight that they drew a reprimand from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the trial.
Several senators said they were particularly piqued by the managers’ repeated insistence — put most bluntly by Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who at one point accused Republican senators of “treacherous” behavior — that the Senate was abetting a cover-up of Mr. Trump’s misconduct and preparing to hold a sham trial by rejecting Democrats’ demands for witnesses and documents.
“What Chairman Nadler said and how he conducted himself was outrageous and an insult to the Senate,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas. “We don’t need to continue the clown circus that started over in the House.”
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The tenor of the House Democrats’ presentation on Tuesday also bothered some Democratic senators, who took issue with what they characterized as an overly accusatory tone by the impeachment managers. Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, told reporters that Mr. Nadler “could have chosen better words.”
Even as the House managers began laying out their case, newly released emails revealed additional evidence of friction between the Defense Department and the White House over a freeze sought by the president on military assistance to Ukraine. The emails, released just before midnight on Tuesday as a result of a Freedom of Information lawsuit, underscored the confusion and surprise among lawmakers, including some prominent Republicans, who learned that the military assistance to Ukraine had been held up.
Arguing for the prosecution, Mr. Schiff delved deeply into the details of the Ukraine pressure campaign, citing specific dates and meetings. But he also sought to pull back the lens, telling senators that they must act to remove Mr. Trump or “we will write the history of our decline with our own hand.”
Mr. Nadler described the smear campaign against Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine. Representative Jason Crow of Colorado discussed the national security implications of withholding security aid from Ukraine. And Representative Val B. Demings of Florida told senators about the effort to withhold a White House meeting that Ukraine wanted until the country announced investigations into the Bidens.
At the end of the session, Chief Justice Roberts announced that senators would be given access to a one-page classified document shared by the House that contains supplemental testimony from Jennifer Williams, a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence.
Mr. Schiff has repeatedly asked for the supplement — which is said to pertain to a September phone call between Mr. Pence and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine — to be declassified, without success. A Democratic official working on the case said Wednesday night that the document would provide senators “further corroborative evidence” related to the charges against Mr. Trump.
The president had at one point embraced the idea of pushing for a quick dismissal of the case against him, but his lawyers chose not to take that opportunity on Wednesday. Republican leaders discouraged the defense team from seeking a vote this week that would almost certainly have failed, dividing Republicans and dealing Mr. Trump an early symbolic defeat.
A motion to dismiss the case could still be offered later in the trial.
Reporting was contributed by Nicholas Fandos, Emily Cochrane, Catie Edmondson and Peter Baker from Washington, and Katie Glueck from Osage, Iowa."

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Barr Once Contradicted Trump’s Claim That Abuse of Power Is Not Impeachable

Barr Once Contradicted Trump’s Claim That Abuse of Power Is Not Impeachable

In a memo for the Trump team during the Russia investigation, the attorney general wrote that presidents who misuse their authority are subject to impeachment.

WASHINGTON — Scholars have roundly rejected a central argument of President Trump’s lawyers that abuse of power is not by itself an impeachable offense. But it turns out that another important legal figure has contradicted that idea: Mr. Trump’s attorney general and close ally, William P. Barr.

In summer 2018, when he was still in private practice, Mr. Barr wrote a confidential memo for the Justice Department and Mr. Trump’s legal team to help the president get out of a problem. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was pressuring him to answer questions about whether he had illegally impeded the Russia investigation.

Mr. Trump should not talk to investigators about his actions as president, even under a subpoena, Mr. Barr wrote in his 19-page memo, which became public during his confirmation. Mr. Barr based his advice on a sweeping theory of executive power under which obstruction of justice laws do not apply to presidents, even if they misuse their authority over the Justice Department to block investigations into themselves or their associates for corrupt reasons.

But Mr. Barr tempered his theory with a reassurance. Even without the possibility of criminal penalties, he wrote, a check is in place on presidents who abuse their discretionary power to control the executive branch of government — impeachment.

The fact that the president “is answerable for any abuses of discretion and is ultimately subject to the judgment of Congress through the impeachment process means that the president is not the judge in his own cause,” he wrote.

He added, “The remedy of impeachment demonstrates that the president remains accountable under law for his misdeeds in office,” quoting from a 1982 Supreme Court case.

Mr. Barr has long embraced a maximalist philosophy of executive power. But in espousing the view that abuse of power can be an impeachable offense, he put himself squarely in the mainstream of legal thinking. Most constitutional scholars broadly agree that the constitutional term “high crimes and misdemeanors” for which an official may be impeached includes abuse of power.

But in a 110-page brief on Monday, Mr. Trump’s impeachment team — led by Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel and a former aide to Mr. Barr in the first Bush administration, and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow — portrayed the article of impeachment claiming that Mr. Trump abused his power in the Ukraine affair as unconstitutional because he was not accused of an ordinary crime.

“House Democrats’ novel conception of ‘abuse of power’ as a supposedly impeachable offense is constitutionally defective,” they wrote. “It supplants the framers’ standard of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ with a made-up theory that the president can be impeached and removed from office under an amorphous and undefined standard of ‘abuse of power.’”

Contrary to what Mr. Barr wrote 20 months ago, the Trump defense team also insisted that the framers did not want Congress to judge whether presidents abused their discretion and made decisions based on improper motives.

“House Democrats’ conception of ‘abuse of power’ is especially dangerous because it rests on the even more radical claim that a president can be impeached and removed from office solely for doing something he is allowed to do, if he did it for the ‘wrong’ subjective reasons,” the Trump team wrote.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr declined to comment. A spokesman for Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense team did not respond to a request for comment about the tensions.

But Mr. Barr’s view was no passing thought. His 2018 memo emphasized that presidents who misuse their authority by acting with an improper motive are politically accountable, not just in elections but also via impeachment.

Between elections, “the people’s representatives stand watch and have the tools to oversee, discipline, and, if they deem appropriate, remove the president from office,” he wrote. “Under the framers’ plan, the determination whether the president is making decisions based on ‘improper’ motives or whether he is ‘faithfully’ discharging his responsibilities is left to the people, through the election process, and the Congress, through the impeachment process.”

The result of Mr. Barr’s main argument in 2018 and the Trump team’s theory in 2020 is identical: Both posited that facts were immaterial, both in a way that was convenient to counter the threat Mr. Trump faced at that moment.

If Mr. Barr’s obstruction of justice theory is correct — and many legal scholars reject it — then Mr. Mueller had no basis to scrutinize Mr. Trump’s actions that interfered with the Russia investigation.

Similarly, if the Trump impeachment team’s theory is correct, the Senate has no basis to subpoena documents or call witnesses. The lawyers are implying that even if Mr. Trump did abuse his power to conduct foreign policy by trying to coerce Ukraine into announcing investigations that could help him in the 2020 election, the Senate should acquit Mr. Trump anyway.

Another member of Mr. Trump’s legal team, Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and criminal defense lawyer, is expected to make a presentation to the Senate trial this week laying out in detail the theory that abuses of power are not impeachable without an ordinary criminal violation.

Critics of Mr. Dershowitz’s arguments have pointed to the seeming tension with comments he made in 1998, when he did not have a client facing impeachment for abuse of power: “If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.”

In an interview this week, Mr. Dershowitz argued that his position now was not inconsistent with what he said in 1998, pointing to his use then of the phrase “technical crime” and saying that he is arguing today that impeachment requires “crimelike” conduct.

Mr. Dershowitz went further on Tuesday, saying on Twitter that he had not thoroughly researched the question in 1998 but recently has done so. “To the extent therefore that my 1998 off-the-cuff interview statement suggested the opposite,” he wrote, “I retract it.”


Republicans Block Subpoenas for New Evidence as Impeachment Trial Begins

Republicans Block Subpoenas for New Evidence as Impeachment Trial Begins


Republicans made last-minute changes to their proposed rules to placate moderates, but they held together to turn back Democratic efforts to subpoena documents.





WASHINGTON — A divided Senate began the impeachment trial of President Trumpon Tuesday in utter acrimony, as Republicans blocked Democrats’ efforts to subpoena witnesses and documents related to Ukraine and moderate Republicans forced last-minute changes to rules that had been tailored to the president’s wishes.
In a series of party-line votes punctuating 12 hours of debate, Senate Republicans turned back every attempt by Democrats to subpoena documents from the White House, State Department and other agencies, as well as testimony from White House officials that could shed light on the core charges against Mr. Trump.
The debate between the House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team stretched into the early hours of Wednesday morning in a Senate chamber transformed for the occasion, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. presiding from the marble rostrum and senators sworn to silence looking on from desks piled with briefing books. It was the substantive start of the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.
Tensions grew so raw after midnight that Chief Justice Roberts cut in just before 1 a.m. to admonish the managers and the president’s lawyers to “remember where they are” and return to “civil discourse.”
“They are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body,” he said.
On its face, the prolonged debate was about the rules and procedures. But it set the stage for a broader political fight over Mr. Trump’s likely acquittal and will help shape the 2020 campaign.
Democrats were laying the groundwork to argue that the trial was rigged on Mr. Trump’s behalf and to denounce Republicans — including the most vulnerable senators seeking re-election — for acquiescing. Republicans, for their part, insisted that the Senate must move decisively to remedy what they characterized as an illegitimate impeachment inquiry unjustly tarring the presidency.
Standing in the well of the Senate, the Democratic House impeachment managers urged senators to reject proposed rules from the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that would delay a debate over witnesses and documents until the middle of the trial, with no guarantee that they would ever be called.
“If the Senate votes to deprive itself of witnesses and documents, the opening statements will be the end of the trial,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead manager. He said Mr. McConnell’s proposal was tantamount to saying, “Let’s have the trial, and maybe we can just sweep this all under the rug.”
But Republicans were unpersuaded and, just before 2 a.m. Eastern, voted along party lines, 53 to 47, to ratify Mr. McConnell’s trial plan. As adopted, the resolution would pave the way for oral arguments against Mr. Trump to begin as soon as Wednesday.
They rejected 10 other amendments by the same margin. An 11th Democratic proposal, to lengthen the timetable for the prosecutors and defense to file trial motions, gained the support of one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, but still failed.
At the heart of the trial are charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congressapproved last month by the Democratic-led House. They assert that Mr. Trump used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals, withholding as leverage nearly $400 million in military aid and a White House meeting. The president then sought to conceal his actions from Congress, the charges say, by blocking witness testimony and documents.
Mr. Trump’s legal team argues that the charges are baseless and amount to criminalizing a president’s prerogative to make foreign policy as he sees fit. In a break with most constitutional scholars, they also claim that the impeachment was unconstitutional because the articles of impeachment do not outline a specific violation of a law.
But on Tuesday, the debate focused principally on what would constitute a fair trial.
“This initial step will offer an early signal to our country,” Mr. McConnell said before it got underway. “Can the Senate still serve our founding purpose?”
Mr. McConnell also received a sharp reminder about the limits of his power to control an inherently unpredictable proceeding.
Under pressure from Republican moderates, he was forced early in the day to make some last-minute changes to the set of rules he unveiled on Monday, which would have squeezed opening arguments by both sides into two 12-hour marathon days. Mr. McConnell’s rules also would have refused to admit the findings of the House impeachment inquiry into evidence without a separate vote later in the trial.
The compressed timetable was in line with a White House request to quickly dispense with opening arguments so that Mr. Trump’s team could complete his defense before the weekend.
But Ms. Collins, Rob Portman of Ohio and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, among others, objected privately to those provisions, which they believed departed too much from procedures adopted unanimously for the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton and could further expose Republicans to accusations of unfairness.
The objections were raised at a closed-door luncheon just before the trial was to begin, according to aides familiar with the conversation. Mr. McConnell rushed to submit a revised copy of the resolution — with lines crossed out and changes scrawled in pen in the margins — when it was time for the debate.

But in the Senate chamber, Mr. Trump’s lawyers replayed many of his most frequent and personal grievances, accusing Democrats in only slightly more lawyerly terms of conducting a political search-and-destroy mission.
“It’s long past time that we start this so we can put an end to this ridiculous charade and go have an election,” said Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel.
The historically rare debate was rendered even more unusual by the traditional Senate rules that prohibit senators from speaking on the chamber floor for the duration of the proceedings and instead empower the House managers and White House defense lawyers to debate the proposals. The effect was that on the trial’s first day, the Senate chamber split cleanly into partisan factions, with the managers siding with Senate Democrats and Mr. Trump’s lawyers taking the place of the Republicans.
Mr. Cipollone rose first, delivering a brief statement urging senators to support Mr. McConnell’s proposed rules and accusing Democrats of seeking to use the Senate to complete their sloppy investigative work.
“We believe that once you hear those initial presentations, the only conclusion will be that the president has done nothing wrong,” Mr. Cipollone said, “and that these articles of impeachment do not begin to approach the standard required by the Constitution.”
Democrats, who came armed with slick digital slides and video clips to drive home their arguments, spent hours detailing the factual record compiled by the House investigation and cataloging the witnesses and thousands of pages of highly relevant documents Mr. Trump had succeeded in withholding. Senators facing such a grave decision as removing a president, they argued, have a responsibility to try to push all the facts to light.
“With the backing of a subpoena authorized by the chief justice of the United States, you can end President Trump’s obstruction,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, the first woman in history to speak on the Senate floor as an impeachment manager. “If the Senate fails to take this step, you won’t even ask for the evidence. This trial and your verdict will be questioned.”
Just an hour or so before the trial began, the seven House managers submitted one final written rebuttal to arguments put forward against their charges by Mr. Trump’s lawyers. In 34 pages, they rejected the lawyers’ assertion that abuse of power was not an impeachable offense and that Mr. Trump had acted legally when he ordered administration officials not to appear for questioning in the House or provide documents for the impeachment inquiry.
Locked in silence for much of the day, senators were able to talk only before the proceeding began or during brief breaks. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday morning, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, denounced Mr. McConnell’s rules as deeply unfair and skewed toward Mr. Trump.

Listen to ‘The Daily’: The Moderates’ Impeachment Moment

How just a few Republican senators had a key role in determining the scope, and the likely future, of the trial of President Trump.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times
“It is completely partisan. It was kept secret until the eve of the trial,” he said. “The McConnell rules seem to have been designed by President Trump and for President Trump, simply executed by Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans.”
Inside the chamber, Mr. Schumer forced votes on demanding documents and compelling testimony from four current and former Trump administration officials who were blocked from speaking with the House: John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser; Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff; Robert B. Blair, an adviser to Mr. Mulvaney; and Michael Duffey, a White House budget official.
Each time, Mr. McConnell moved to kill the proposal before it could be considered, and was sustained by unified Republican support. At one point, he offered to short-circuit the debate to speed up the votes, but Democrats who want a full account of Mr. Trump’s blockade on record declined.
“This is the fair road map for our trial,” Mr. McConnell declared. “We need it in place before we can move forward.”
Even after Tuesday’s changes, Mr. McConnell’s proposal makes way for potentially the fastest presidential impeachment trial in American history, particularly if the Senate declines to call witnesses.

Calla Kessler/The New York Times
Only two other American presidents have stood trial in the Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, and his trial took the better part of three months, featuring testimony from dozens of witnesses and extended periods for discovery, before he was ultimately acquitted by just a single vote. Mr. Clinton’s trial lasted five weeks, included testimony from just three witnesses and resulted in an overwhelming acquittal.
Without witnesses, Mr. Trump’s trial could conclude by the end of January. If senators ultimately do call witnesses, that timeline could stretch weeks longer.
Catie Edmondson and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

Nicholas Fandos is a national reporter based in the Washington bureau. He has covered Congress since 2017 and is part of a team of reporters who have chronicled investigations by the Justice Department and Congress into President Trump and his administration. @npfandos

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Trump’s Senate Impeachment Trial: Day One | The Daily Show

Senator Schumer: Everything In These Impeachment Trial Rules Is Rigged |...

Adam Schiff Slams Impeachment Rules: 'This Is The Process For A Rigged T...

How to Convince a White Realtor You’re Middle Class

How to Convince a White Realtor You’re Middle Class

Ms. Gonzales filed a lawsuit last month, saying in the complaint that she had a “sense of increased vulnerability, and feelings of racial stigmatization” as a result of the hotel’s actions.
The public learned about Ms. Gonzales’s experience because news sites reported on the suit. But often the exclusion of black people from participating in society on equal footing happens quietly. I study race and race relations for a living, and I’ve long known that strategizing about ways to avoid or counteract discrimination is an energy-draining task, and for too many, it’s part of everyday life.
When I talked two decades ago with more than 50 middle-class blacks who lived in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, I learned that their awareness of racial stereotypes led them to take on what I call “public identities”  meaning, they would strategically deploy cultural capital, including language, mannerisms, clothing and credentials — in ways that brought their middle-class status firmly into focus. From their experiences attending integrated high schools, many of these people had come to believe this was key to managing racism in interactions with white people. They hoped it would tip the balance of their public interactions so that class would trump race and persuade white people to treat them fairly.
This is an idea related to “code switching,” a term used to describe the temporary shift from black English to standard English that some black people use to signal their appropriation of white, middle-class norms. But the public identities of the middle-class black people I studied involved more than language: They spanned everything from dress to conversation topics to the small details of workplace conduct.
As one of my subjects, Charlotte, put it, black people “have two faces. So you know how to present yourself in the white world and you present yourself in the black world as yourself.”
There’s good reason to believe that the public-identity behaviors I identified are as central a part of black middle-class life as ever. In a 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center, black respondents were more likely than any other racial group to report that they felt people were suspicious of them (65 percent), that people acted as though they were not smart (60 percent), that they were treated unfairly in hiring, pay or promotion (49 percent) and that they had been unfairly stopped by the police (44 percent).
In my research, several subjects told me that because of their awareness of the associations many make between black people and poverty, when they went shopping, they deliberately wore clothing that they hoped would convince white store clerks that they were not poor. To avoid being treated as potential shoplifters, they told me they would eschew attire that was at the time associated in the popular imagination with black culture — like oversize gold earrings, baggy jeans and designer tennis shoes.
One subject, Philip, told me that he would go as far as to wear a suit. His belief was that when he was dressed as a professional, whites saw his class status first and responded to him as a member of that social group. Once he began to make purchases, he hoped that additional signifiers such as the kind of credit cards he carried and his ZIP code would assure store clerks that he was a member of the middle class.
Another subject, Jared, had a similar theory. “When you’re out in the world, you can be wearing grubbies, and you’ll be perceived a certain way if you’re black,” he said. He told me he imagined white people operated under a different public dress code: “If you have money, it’s O.K. to wear rags.”
Michael, a corporate manager, reported that he asserted his class status at work by refusing to answer his own telephone, always allowing calls to go through to his receptionist. He believed that taking on administrative tasks would reduce his social status in the workplace to that of a subordinate and leave room for his colleagues to see his race before his class and treat him with less respect.
The people I spoke to said they paid a price when they failed to perform these public identities. Once, dressed in sweatpants and a baseball cap, one of my subjects, Lydia, decided to view a model home. Right away, the real estate agent asked if the house was in her price range. Lydia knew that preapproval was not required for a tour and suspected that, because of her casual clothing combined with her race, the agent had mistaken her for a poor person who couldn’t realistically make an offer. After learning the asking price, which was in her range, Lydia took charge of the interaction, putting on a public identity in the form of demonstrating assertiveness and knowledge of the market. “Basically, I told her I’ll take a look at the house and I’ll let her know when I’m finished,” she explained. And she did.
Lydia’s experience echoed those of other house-hunting middle-class blacks who told me that they relied on firm language and knowledge of the market to manage interactions with white realty agents, hopeful that if they conveyed that they were informed and authoritative, they would be seen as members of the middle class and treated with respect.
Lydia wanted a home with a fireplace and she got it. However, she and other middle-class blacks I spoke to had no way to systematically assess how their housing searches compared with those of their white counterparts. While these interviews took place some time ago, and much has changed in the country since, black people have just as much reason to worry today. Decennial audit studies conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as an investigationconducted in Long Island and published by Newsday in 2019 (in which black and white trained testers using comparable financial identities visited the same real estate offices) have uncovered overwhelming evidence of housing discrimination against blacks, decades after the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made the practice illegal.
The people I talked to tended to focus more on their success in managing public interactions than they did on what these efforts cost them in time, energy and emotions. But engaging public identities exacts a psychological toll, as one study participant hinted when she described “a relaxed day” at work for her as one during which she didn’t have to care what white people thought. And it’s worth mentioning that while my research focuses on middle-class black people, there’s no doubt that black people of lower socioeconomic status who can’t tap into these public identities have daily encounters that are even more unfair and demoralizing.
The humiliation that Ms. Gonzales says she endured at the hotel and that many endure every day cannot be resolved by anti-discrimination legislation alone. Racism and stereotypes persist alongside the desire of black people to be treated as well as whites — so the exhausting work of performing public identities will persist, too.“

Monday, January 20, 2020

‘Constitutional Nonsense’: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus - The New York Times

President Trump is the third commander in chief to be impeached and face trial in the Senate.



"WASHINGTON — As President Trump’s impeachment trial opens, his lawyers have increasingly emphasized a striking argument: Even if he did abuse his powers in an attempt to bully Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election on his behalf, it would not matter because the House never accused him of committing an ordinary crime.



Their argument is widely disputed. It cuts against the consensus among scholars that impeachment exists to remove officials who abuse power. The phrase “high crime and misdemeanors” means a serious violation of public trust that need not also be an ordinary crime, said Frank O. Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and the author of a recent book on the topic.



“This argument is constitutional nonsense,” Mr. Bowman said. “The almost universal consensus — in Great Britain, in the colonies, in the American states between 1776 and 1787, at the Constitutional Convention and since — has that been that criminal conduct is not required for impeachment.”



But the argument is politically convenient for Mr. Trump. For any moderate Republican senator who may not like what the facts already show about his campaign of pressure on Ukraine, the theory provides an alternative rationale to acquit the president.



Indeed, if it were true, then there would also be no reason to call witnesses like John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, because what he and others know about Mr. Trump’s motivations and intentions in his Ukraine dealings would not affect the outcome of the trial.



Mr. Trump’s legal team hammered away at the argument in its 110-page brief submitted to the Senate on Monday. “House Democrats’ newly invented ‘abuse of power’ theory collapses at the threshold because it fails to allege any violation of law whatsoever,” the president’s lawyers wrote.



Many legal scholars say senators should not take this argument seriously. They point, among other things, to evidence that for centuries before the American Revolution, the British Parliament impeached officials for “high crimes and misdemeanors” that constituted abuses of power but were not indictable offenses. The pattern informed the framers of the Constitution, who echoed that concept.



One precedent — a high-profile case against a former British governor-general in India named Warren Hastings accused of mismanagement, mistreatment of locals and military misconduct — unfolded during the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and was reported in American newspapers.



His chief prosecutor, the famous parliamentarian Edmund Burke, argued that Mr. Hastings’s actions violated the public trust even though they were not indictable. (Mr. Hastings was acquitted, but only many years later.)



The original draft of the Constitution had made only treason and bribery a basis for impeachment. But according to James Madison’s notes of the Constitutional Convention, George Mason brought up the Hastings case and proposed expanding the definition of impeachment to cover something like it. After rejecting the term “maladministration” as too broad, the convention participants decided to add the English term “high crimes and misdemeanors.”



Mr. Bowman — whose scholarship on impeachment law is cited in a footnote in the Trump legal team brief — called the arguments in that brief “a well-crafted piece of sophistry that cherry-picks sources and ignores inconvenient history and precedent.” For example, he noted, it makes no mention of how the Hastings case involved allegations of abuses of power that were not indictable crimes.



Scholars pointed to other major landmarks. In 1788, as supporters of the Constitution were urging states to ratify the document, Alexander Hamilton described impeachable conduct in one of the Federalist Papers as “those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust,” and “political” offenses that injure society.



Mr. Hamilton also wrote that impeachments would differ from common trials in part because prosecutors and judges would not be as limited “in delineation of the offense.”



Critics of the Trump team’s theory have also noted that when the Constitution was drafted, hardly any federal criminal laws had been written. And several early impeachment proceedings — including against a judge who got drunk while presiding over cases — did not involve indictable offenses.



“It is just quite clear that the commission of a crime is neither necessary nor sufficient for an act to be impeachable,” said John Mikhail, a Georgetown University law professor. He portrayed the Trump legal team’s argument as not merely wrong, but as not even worthy of being deemed serious.



But Alan Dershowitz, a leading proponent of the theory, disagreed. An emeritus Harvard Law School professor and a celebrated criminal defense lawyer, he has joined Mr. Trump’s legal team and is preparing a presentation about the idea that he said he expects to make to the Senate on Friday.



Among other things, Mr. Dershowitz said in an interview, he interpreted Mr. Hamilton to be saying not that any violation of the public trust is impeachable, but that only crimes that are also violations of the public trust meet that standard.



He also said that there were some common-law crimes at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, and that the framers expected Congress to eventually enact criminal laws that could serve as the basis for impeachments.



Mr. Dershowitz said he intended to model his presentation on an argument put forward at the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson by his chief defense counsel, Benjamin Robbins Curtis, a former Supreme Court associate justice.



Mr. Johnson was saved from conviction and removal when the vote fell one short of the necessary supermajority. Mr. Curtis had argued that Mr. Johnson was not accused of committing a legitimate crime, and that removing him absent one would subvert the constitutional structure and make impeachment a routine tool of political struggle.



But other legal scholars, like Laurence Tribe, a constitutional specialist at Harvard Law School and an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, have argued that Mr. Dershowitz is overreading and misrepresenting this aspect of the Johnson trial, especially against the backdrop of other evidence about the original understanding of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and the range of factors that went into Mr. Johnson’s narrow acquittal.



In an opinion article in The Washington Post, Mr. Tribe accused Mr. Trump’s legal team of using “bogus legal arguments to mislead the American public or the senators weighing his fate.”



From one perspective, the argument might not matter. Mr. Bowman noted that while the House article refers to no criminal statute, the conduct described in the abuse-of-power one “plainly draws from” the crime of soliciting a bribe.



(The Government Accountability Office has also concluded that the Trump administration’s freezing of a congressionally appropriated military aid package to Ukraine amounted to an illegal impoundment of funds, but there are no criminal penalties associated with violating that law.)



But Mr. Dershowitz said that if the House had the evidence and the votes to charge Mr. Trump with bribery, then it needed to say so explicitly.



Some of Mr. Dershowitz’s critics have questioned whether he really believes what he is now saying, noting that in 1998, during the Clinton impeachment, he said: “It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime, if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.”



Mr. Dershowitz argued that his position today was not inconsistent with what he said in 1998, pointing to his use of the phrase “technical crime” and saying that he is arguing today that there needs to be “crime-like” conduct. He also said he did not know about Mr. Curtis’s 1868 argument during the Clinton impeachment era, and reading it had affected his thinking.



Still, he acknowledged that his interpretation is an outlier.



“My argument will be very serious and very scholarly,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “The fact that other scholars disagree, that’s for the Senate to consider. There is a division — most of the scholars disagree with me. I think they’re wrong.”



But Mr. Mikhail said Mr. Dershowitz and the Trump legal team were wrong, and he noted that many senators of both parties went to law school.



“These are very smart, legally informed people,” he said. “They understand the law. They can certainly see through ruses and efforts to distract and divert.”



‘Constitutional Nonsense’: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus - The New York Times

Joe: Devin Nunes keeps Getting Caught In One Clumsy Lie After Another | ...

1967 SPECIAL REPORT: "AFTER CIVIL RIGHTS...BLACK POWER"

MLK's Last Speech

Martin Luther King Jr.: "My dream has turned into a nightmare"

Friday, January 17, 2020

Injustice on Repeat By Michelle Alexander. From mass incarceration to mass deportation, our nation remains in deep denial.

Injustice on Repeat


From mass incarceration to mass deportation, our nation remains in deep denial.

Yunghi Kim/Contact Press Images

Ten years have passed since my book, “The New Jim Crow,” was published. I wrote it to challenge our nation to reckon with the recurring cycles of racial reform, retrenchment and rebirth of caste-like systems that have defined our racial history since slavery. It has been an astonishing decade. Everything and nothing has changed.

When I was researching and writing the book, Barack Obama had not yet been elected president of the United States. I was in disbelief that our country would actually elect a black man to be the leader of the so-called free world. As the election approached, I felt an odd sense of hope and dread. I hoped against all reason that we would actually do it. But I also knew that, if we did, there would be a price to pay.

Everything I knew through experience and study told me that we as a nation did not fully understand the nature of the moment we were in. We had recently birthed another caste system — a system of mass incarceration — that locked millions of poor people and people of color in literal and virtual cages.

Our nation’s prison and jail population had quintupled in 30 years, leaving us with the highest incarceration rate in the world. A third of black men had a felony record — due in large part to a racially biased, brutal drug war — and were relegated to a permanent second-class status. Tens of millions of people in the United States had been stripped of basic civil and human rights, including the right to vote, the right to serve on juries and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, education and basic public benefits.

Nevertheless, our nation remained in deep denial that a new caste system even existed, and most of us — even those who cared deeply about racial justice — did not seem to understand that powerful racial dynamics and political forces were at play that made much of our racial progress illusory. We had not faced our racial history and could not tell the truth about our racial present, yet growing numbers of Americans wanted to elect a black president and leap into a “colorblind” future.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

I was right to worry about the aftermath of Obama’s election. After he was inaugurated, our nation was awash in “post-racialism.” Black History Month events revolved around “how far we’ve come.” Many in the black community and beyond felt that, if Obama could win the presidency, anything was possible. Few people wanted to hear the message I felt desperate to convey: Despite appearances, our nation remains trapped in a cycle of racial reform, backlash and reformation of systems of racial and social control.

Things have changed since then. Donald Trump is president of the United States. For many, this feels like whiplash. After eight years of Barack Obama — a man who embraced the rhetoric (though not the politics) of the civil rights movement — we now have a president who embraces the rhetoric and the politics of white nationalism. This is a president who openly stokes racial animosity and even racial violence, who praises dictators (and likely aspires to be one), who behaves like a petulant toddler on Twitter, and who has a passionate, devoted following of millions of people who proudly say they want to “make America great again” by taking us back to a time that we’ve left behind.

We are now living in an era not of post-racialism but of unabashed racialism, a time when many white Americans feel free to speak openly of their nostalgia for an age when their cultural, political and economic dominance could be taken for granted — no apologies required. Racial bigotry, fearmongering and scapegoating are no longer subterranean in our political discourse; the dog whistles have been replaced by bullhorns. White nationalist movements are operating openly online and in many of our communities; they’re celebrating mass killings and recruiting thousands into their ranks.

Edu Bayer for The New York Times

White nationalism has been emboldened by our president, who routinely unleashes hostile tirades against black and brown people — calling Mexican migrants criminals, “rapists” and “bad people,” referring to developing African nations as “shithole countries” and smearing a district of the majority-black city of Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Millions of Americans are cheering, or at least tolerating, these racial hostilities.

Contrary to what many people would have us believe, what our nation is experiencing is not an “aberration.” The politics of “Trumpism” and “fake news” are not new; they are as old as the nation itself. The very same playbook has been used over and over in this country by those who seek to preserve racial hierarchy, or to exploit racial resentments and anxieties for political gain, each time with similar results.

Back in the 1980s and ’90s, Democratic and Republican politicians leaned heavily on racial stereotypes of “crack heads,” “crack babies,” “superpredators” and “welfare queens” to mobilize public support for the War on Drugs, a get-tough movement and a prison-building boom — a political strategy that was traceable in large part to the desire to appeal to poor and working-class white voters who had defected from the Democratic Party in the wake of the civil rights movement.

Today, the rhetoric has changed, but the game remains the same. Public enemy No. 1 in the 2016 election was a brown-skinned immigrant, an “illegal,” a “terrorist” or a “caravan” full of people who want to take your job, rape your daughter or commit an act of terrorism. As Trump put it: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

He promised to solve this imaginary crisis through mass deportation and building a wall between the United States and Mexico. He also insisted that his political opponent, Hillary Clinton, wanted “millions of illegal immigrants to come in and take everybody’s jobs.” And he blamed domestic terroristic attacks in New Jersey and New York on “our extremely open immigration system,” which, he argued, allows Muslim terrorists into our country.

The fact that Trump’s claims were demonstrably false did not impede his rise, just as facts were largely irrelevant at the outset of the War on Drugs. It didn’t matter back then that studies consistently found that whites were equally likely, if not more likely, than people of color to use and sell illegal drugs. Black people were still labeled the enemy. Nor did it matter, when the drug war was taking off, that nearly all of the sensationalized claims that crack cocaine was some kind of “demon drug,” drastically more harmful than powder cocaine, were false or misleading. Black people charged with possession of crack in inner cities were still punished far more harshly than white people in possession of powder cocaine in the suburbs. And it didn’t matter that African-Americans weren’t actually taking white people’s jobs or college educations in significant numbers through affirmative action programs.

Getting tough on “them” — the racially defined “others” who could easily be used as scapegoats and cast as the enemy — was all that mattered. Facts were treated as largely irrelevant then. As they are now.

Fortunately, a growing number of scholars and activists have begun to connect the dots between mass incarceration and mass deportation in our nation’s history and current politics. The historian Kelly Lytle Hern├índez, in her essay “Amnesty or Abolition: Felons, Illegals, and the Case for a New Abolition Movement,” chronicles how these systems have emerged as interlocking forms of social control that relegate “aliens” and “felons” to a racialized caste of outsiders. In recent decades, the system of mass incarceration has stripped away from millions of U.S. citizens basic civil and human rights until their status mirrors (or dips below) that of noncitizen immigrants within the United States. This development has coincided with the criminalization of immigration in the United States, resulting in a new class of “illegal immigrants” and “aliens” who are viewed and treated like “felons” or “criminals.” Immigration violations that were once treated as minor civil infractions are now crimes. And minor legal infractions, ranging from shoplifting to marijuana possession to traffic violations, now routinely prompt one of the nation’s most devastating sanctions — deportation.

The story of how our “nation of immigrants” came to deport and incarcerate so many for so little, Hern├índez explains, is a story of race and unfreedom reaching back to the era of emancipation. If we fail to understand the historical relationship between these systems, especially the racial politics that enabled them, we will be unable to build a truly united front that will prevent the continual re-formation of systems of racial and social control.

In my experience, those who argue that the systems of mass incarceration and mass deportation simply reflect sincere (but misguided) efforts to address the real harms caused by crime, or the real challenges created by surges in immigration, tend to underestimate the corrupting influence of white supremacy whenever black and brown people are perceived to be the problem. “Between me and the other world, there is ever an unasked question,” W.E.B. Du Bois famously said back in 1897: “How does it feel to be a problem?” White people are generally allowed to have problems, and they’ve historically been granted the power to define and respond to them. But people of color — in this “land of the free” forged through slavery and genocide — are regularly viewed and treated as the problem.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

This distinction has made all the difference. Once human beings are defined as the problem in the public consciousness, their elimination through deportation, incarceration or even genocide becomes nearly inevitable.

White nationalism, at its core, reflects a belief that our nation’s problems would be solved if only people of color could somehow be gotten rid of, or at least better controlled. In short, mass incarceration and mass deportation have less to do with crime and immigration than the ways we’ve chosen to respond to those issues when black and brown people are framed as the problem.

As Khalil Gibran Muhammad points out in “The Condemnation of Blackness,” throughout our nation’s history, when crime and immigration have been perceived as white, our nation’s response has been radically different from when those phenomena have been defined as black or brown. The systems of mass incarceration and mass deportation may seem entirely unrelated at first glance, but they are both deeply rooted in our racial history, and they both have expanded in part because of the enormous profits to be made in controlling, exploiting and eliminating vulnerable human beings.

It is tempting to imagine that electing a Democratic president or more Democratic politicians will surely fix the crises in our justice systems and our democracy. To be clear, removing Trump from office is necessary and urgent; but simply electing more Democrats to office is no guarantee that our nation will break its habit of birthing enormous systems of racial and social control. Indeed, one of the lessons of recent decades is these systems can grow and thrive even when our elected leaders claim to be progressive and espouse the rhetoric of equality, inclusion and civil rights.

President Bill Clinton, who publicly aligned himself with the black community and black leaders, escalated a racially discriminatory drug war in part to avoid being cast by conservatives as “soft on crime.” Similarly, President Obama publicly preached values of inclusion and compassion toward immigrants, yet he escalated the mass detention and deportation of noncitizens.

Obama claimed that his administration was focused on deporting: “Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids.” However, reports by The New York Times and the Marshall Project revealed that, despite Obama’s rhetoric, a clear majority of immigrants detained and deported during his administration had no criminal record, except minor infractions, including traffic violations, and posed no threat.

Equally important is the reality that “felons” have families. And “criminals” are often children or teenagers. The notion that, if you’ve ever committed a crime, you’re permanently disposable is the very idea that has rationalized mass incarceration in the United States.

Julia Robinson for The New York Times
Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

None of this is to minimize the real progress that has occurred on many issues of race and criminal justice during the past decade. Today, there is bipartisan support for some prison downsizing, and hundreds of millions of philanthropic dollars have begun to flow toward criminal justice reform. A vibrant movement led by formerly incarcerated and convicted people is on the rise — a movement that has challenged or repealed disenfranchisement laws in several states, mobilized in support of sentencing reform and successfully organized to “ban the box” on employment applications that discriminate against those with criminal records by asking the dreaded question: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

Activism challenging police violence has swept the nation — inspired by the courageous uprisings in Ferguson, Mo., the viral videos of police killings of unarmed black people, and #BlackLivesMatter. Promising movements for restorative and transformative justice have taken hold in numerous cities. Campaigns against cash bail have gained steam. Marijuana legalization has sped across the nation, with more than 25 states having partly or fully decriminalized cannabis since 2012.

And “The New Jim Crow,” which some predicted would never get an audience, wound up spending nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and has been used widely by faith groups, activists, educators and people directly effected by mass incarceration inside and outside prisons. Over the past 10 years, I’ve received thousands of letters — and tens of thousands of emails — from people in all walks of life who have written to share how the book changed their lives or how they have used it to support consciousness-raising or activism in countless ways.

Everything has changed. And yet nothing has.

Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

The politics of white supremacy, which defined our original constitution, have continued unabated — repeatedly and predictably engendering new systems of racial and social control. Just a few decades ago, politicians vowed to build more prison walls. Today, they promise border walls.

The political strategy of divide, demonize and conquer has worked for centuries in the United States — since the days of slavery — to keep poor and working people angry at (and fearful of) one another rather than uniting to challenge unjust political and economic systems. At times, the tactics of white supremacy have led to open warfare. Other times, the divisions and conflicts are less visible, lurking beneath the surface.

The stakes now are as high as they’ve ever been. Nearly everyone seems aware that our democracy is in crisis, yet few seem prepared to reckon with the reality that removing Trump from office will not rid our nation of the social and political dynamics that made his election possible. No issue has proved more vexing to this nation than the issue of race, and yet no question is more pressing than how to overcome the politics of white supremacy — a form of politics that not only led to an actual civil war but that threatens our ability ever to create a truly fair, just and inclusive democracy.

We find ourselves in this dangerous place not because something radically different has occurred in our nation’s politics, but because so much has remained the same.

The inconvenient truth is that racial progress in this country is always more complex and frequently more illusory than appears at first glance. The past 10 years has been a case in point. Our nation has swung sharply from what Marc Mauer memorably termed “a race to incarcerate” — propelled by bipartisan wars on “drugs” and “crime” — to a bipartisan commitment to criminal justice reform, particularly in the area of drug policy. And yet, it must be acknowledged that much of the progress occurred not because of newfound concern for people of color who have been the primary targets of the drug war, but because drug addiction, due to the opioid crisis, became perceived as a white problem and wealthy white investors became interested in profiting from the emerging legal cannabis industry.

Some of the reversals in political opinion have been quite striking. For example, John Boehner, a former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, stated in 2011 that he was “unalterably opposed to decriminalizing marijuana” but by the spring of 2018 he had joined the board of a cannabis company.

Growing sympathy for illegal drug users among whites and conservatives, and concern regarding the expense of mass imprisonment, helped to make possible a bipartisan consensus in support of the Trump administration’s First Step Act — leading to the early release of more than 3,000 people from federal prisons for drug offenses. This development, which benefits people of color subject to harsh and biased drug sentencing laws, is difficult to characterize as major progress toward ending mass incarceration given that Trump continued to unleash racially hostile tirades against communities of color and his administration vowed to reinstate the federal death penalty. He also rescinded a number of significant reforms adopted by Obama and expanded the use of private prisons.

Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Obama also has a complicated legacy with respect to criminal justice reform. Obama was the first sitting president to visit a federal correctional facility, the first to oversee a drop in the federal prison population in more than 30 years, and he granted clemency to nearly 2,000 people behind bars — the highest total for any president since Harry Truman. His administration enacted significant policy changes, including legislation reducing sentencing disparities involving crack and powder cocaine, a phasing out of federal contracts with private prisons, and limitations on the transfer of military equipment to local police departments.

And yet it sometimes appeared that Obama was reluctant to acknowledge the depth and breadth of the structural changes required to address police violence and the prevailing systems of racial and social control.

For example, when black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested in his own home for no reason, Obama responded to the national furor and media frenzy by inviting Gates and the arresting officer to a “beer summit” at the White House to work things out over drinks and peanuts, as though racial profiling is little more than an interpersonal dispute that can be resolved through friendly dialogue.

Most troubling, the modest criminal justice reforms that were achieved during the Obama administration coincided with the expansion of the system of mass deportation. Although the administration agreed to phase out federal contracts for private prisons, it made enormous investments in private detention centers for immigrants, including the granting of a $1 billion contract to Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest prison company, to build a detention facility for women and children asylum seekers from Central America.

Immigrant detention centers were exempted from the phaseout plan for private prisons, which meant that only about a quarter of the population held in U.S. private facilities was affected by the plan. The caging of immigrants for profit was allowed to continue without restraint.

Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

The reality is that, during both the Obama and Clinton years, highly racialized and punitive systems thrived under liberal presidents who were given the benefit of the doubt by those who might otherwise have been critics. Obama and Clinton’s public displays of affection for communities of color, the egalitarian values they preached and their liberal or progressive stances on other issues helped to shield these vast systems of control from close scrutiny.

Many of us saw these presidents as “good people” with our best interests at heart, doing what they could to navigate a political environment in which only limited justice is possible. All of these factors played a role, but one was key: These systems grew with relatively little political resistance because people of all colors were willing to tolerate the disposal of millions of individuals once they had been labeled criminals in the media and political discourse. This painful reality suggests that ending our nation’s habit of creating enormous systems of racial and social control requires us to expand our sphere of moral concern so widely that none of us, not even those branded criminals, can be viewed or treated as disposable.

If there is any silver lining to be found in the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, it is that millions of people have been inspired to demonstrate solidarity on a large scale across the lines of gender, race, religion and class in defense of those who have been demonized and targeted for elimination. Trump’s blatant racial demagogy has awakened many from their “colorblind” slumber and spurred collective action to oppose the Muslim ban and the border wall, and to create sanctuaries for immigrants in their places of worship and local communities.

Many who are engaged in this work are also deeply involved in, or supportive of, movements to end police violence and mass incarceration. Growing numbers of people are beginning to see how the politics of white supremacy have resurfaced again and again, leading to the creation and maintenance of new systems of racial and social control. A politics of deep solidarity is beginning to emerge — the only form of politics that holds any hope for our collective liberation.

The centuries-long struggle to birth a truly inclusive, egalitarian democracy — a nation in which every voice and every life truly matters — did not begin with us and it will not end with us. The struggle is as old as the nation itself and the birth process has been painful, to say the least. My greatest hope and prayer is that we will serve as faithful midwives in our lifetimes and do what we can to make America, finally, what it must become.

Michelle Alexander is a civil rights lawyer and advocate, legal scholar and author of the 10th anniversary edition of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” from which this essay is adapted.“