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The Villages
Monday, May 27, 2024

Villagers on both sides join in spirited debate of Trump impeachment

About 250 Villagers of both political stripes filled a meeting room at Savannah Center to hear a spirited debate of the pending articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Arguing for conviction of President Trump was Democrat Bill Sayers, a retired attorney, and for acquittal was David Gee, past president of Villagers for Trump. The debate was sponsored by the Freethinkers Club of The Villages. Co-leader of the Free Thinkers, Bud Weber, moderated the debate and was aided by Peter Kasian, who acted as timekeeper.

Bill Sayers, left, and David Gee, right, debate the Trump impeachment.

Both sides had agreed to limit the debate to the issue of the actual articles of impeachment and the findings of the Mueller report. There were no questions from the audience until the end of the formal debate.

Sayers went first and laid out the elements of the impeachment articles and the evidence which supports conviction on those findings in the Mueller report. Sayers also pointed out that neither the U.S. Constitution nor the courts have set forth the standard of proof that senators must apply to evidence when deciding to remove a president.

Gee claimed that the articles of impeachment do not meet the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors required by the Constitution. He then claimed that since the articles did not use the word “bribery” they are defective. Sayers countered by pointing out that all of the elements to support the charge of bribery were present and that substantial evidence of guilt supports the conviction of President Trump.

Gee attempted to counter Sayer’s by attacking the process used by the House of Representatives during its investigation by not allowing the Republicans to call witnesses. Sayers countered by pointing out that Trump has refused to honor any requests for members of his administration to testify and has refused to honor the House’s subpoenas. He asked if these administration employees had evidence which cleared Trump why would he order them not to testify?

Gee then indicated that other presidents had used the doctrine of executive privilege 27 times to refuse evidence. Sayers pointed out that only Trump has refused all requests for evidence and witnesses to Congressional oversight committees.

In closing, Gee went first and once again attacked the process used by the House and echoed Trump’s claim that the Mueller report did not support impeachment. Sayers in his closing argument pointed out that Trump kept saying that the Mueller report cleared him when the actual report clearly stated that the prosecutors who made the report could not clear the President of wrongdoing. He concluded that Trump takes the position, “Damn the truth. Full speed ahead!”

Richard Miller

Few members of the audience seemed to have had their minds changed by the debate.

Richard Miller of Pittsburgh, Pa. has been a snowbird for the past six years but is now reconsidering moving here.

“I never realized how The Villages was so politically divided,” he said.

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