Impeachment Inquiry: How to Defend a Guilty Client

I feel like I’m in a mini law school course here. Here’s what I’ve learned: If you know your client is guilty –
1) Try to besmirch the reputations of the witnesses to the crime. This includes ridiculing a military man for wearing his uniform to the court.
2) Try to make it look like the witnesses don’t agree on what they witnessed – even though they both describe witnessing the same things – by pointing out that one witness used the word “demand” in his description, while the other witness did not.
3) Try to pull the focus off the actual crime. Use “red herrings.” This includes focusing on one word (like, for instance, “bribery”) and noting that none of the witnesses have used this one word in describing what they saw.
4) Make it look like a personal attack. Say the only reason this inquiry is taking place is because the people asking questions don’t like your client. (Ignore the fact that your client was caught committing the offense.)
5) Try to ridicule the whole process. Call it a circus. Call it a farce. Belittle the importance of the process and infer it is a waste of everyone’s time.
6) Talk about the millions of people who voted for your client. Infer that popularity is more important than truth. (Caveat: Do not talk about the millions of people who do not support your client. Do not talk about election interference by Russia that may have won the election for your client.)
7) Spin it. If your client is accused, for instance, of trying to get a foreign government to find dirt on his political rival in exchange for weapons paid for by tax-payer dollars – spin it so that your client looks honorable – like he was only trying to get rid of corruption. Never mind that your client showed no interest in learning about the corruption in this foreign government, or that the foreign government had already been cleared by United States intelligence. (“The Pentagon in May officially certified that it had seen enough anti-corruption progress to justify releasing the congressionally authorized aid, according to documents provided to The Associated Press.” Military Times, 9/29/19.)

Feel free to add on anything YOU have learned from the impeachment inquiry about defending a guilty client. 

Message to Rep. Nunes

Dear Rep Nunes:

You have referred to the impeachment inquiry as a “circus” and a “farce.” You have inferred that the inquiry is a waste of time. I do not agree with your characterization.

I, for one, am very appreciative of the news coverage of the impeachment inquiry. As an American citizen – someone who considers it my duty to be informed and knowledgeable about the actions of the people elected to serve us – I am grateful for the transparency this inquiry brings us.

I’m glad I live in a country where no one is above the law. I’m grateful to live in a country where all of us have the freedom to question our political leaders.

The job of our elected officials is to serve their constituents and uphold our Constitution. It is not the job of elected officials to serve the president. And during an impeachment inquiry it is not the job of our elected officials to serve as defense lawyers for the president – it is their job to learn the truth about the president’s actions.

Karen Molenaar Terrell

Endorsed by Equal Rights Washington

I just discovered that I was endorsed by Equal Rights Washington for the election this week. I didn’t win the election, but this recognition by ERW is bigger for me than winning or losing the race for school board. Finding my name on ERW’s list of endorsements was one of the highlights of my week.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“ERW’s non-partisan endorsement committee uses a specific set of carefully developed criteria in making our endorsements. We back candidates who have a track record of support for LGBTQ equality in a number of areas, and who advocate on behalf of the issues we support, such as trans justice, gender and racial equity, anti-bullying and banning conversion therapy for minors.”

Taking Down the Signs

“Karen…as you deal with the results of the election, please know that you ran an ethical, honest, community-driven, and student-focused race. What a fine woman you are. I am grateful my sons had you for a teacher…and I am glad we are friends. You are an incredible example of what humankind can be.”
–  Kathy

Okay – THAT brought me tears.

Rich won. I could not have run for school board with a nicer person. I guess if there’s one emotion I’m feeling right now it’s relief. I’m so glad it’s over! And I’m so glad I put my name in and had this adventure. I’ve met so many wonderful people on this journey. I feel huge gratitude for the support I’ve felt from my community the last six months. I am truly blessed.

I spent most of the day taking down campaign signs. It was a cleansing; a closure. Almost every sign had some memory associated with it that brought me a smile – new friends met; old friends who stepped forward and asked if they could plant signs in their yards; memories of strangers waving and smiling at me as I hammered stakes into the ground. I found one or two signs that I hadn’t even known were out there! That made me grin. 🙂

Today I’ve put two questions to myself –

If I had to do it over, would I still put my name in the race? Yes. I needed to run for this office. I wouldn’t have met all the amazing people I’ve met if I hadn’t done this. If I hadn’t run I would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to move outside my comfort zone and challenge and stretch myself. I have this sense that there are other reasons I needed to run, too, that I haven’t even realized, yet.

Do I wish I’d won? No. I think I was meant to go down another path. I think there’s something else I’m supposed to do – something that’s tied in with running for this office, but not necessarily with winning. I’m not feeling any kind of disappointment or sadness at all in the election results.

“I love you Karen. Every person you encountered along this journey is a little better because they got a glimpse of you.”
– Linda

Yeah. THAT one made me teary, too.

campaign sign

 

Message to a Trump Supporter and a Friend

Dear friend –

I want to make this clear – before I say what I feel I need to say here – that I am glad we’re friends. I’ve seen what a good mother you are and I’ve enjoyed watching your little one grow. I know your heart is in the right place and you, genuinely, want the best for this country.

But here’s what I need to say – the last presidential election was a difficult one for a lot of us. I cannot say that either one of the major candidates running would have been my first choice. But long before he ran for president – even back when he called himself a Democrat – I was not impressed with the way Donald Trump treated other people. He created a fake university and collected tuition from unsuspecting students. He refused to pay workers. He treated women horribly – we all know about the “pussy” remark. He took delight in “firing” and demeaning people in his ridiculous reality show.

When he was elected president (through help from the Russians) I hoped – I really did – that he would somehow rise to the occasion and become the leader we needed. But nope. He immediately began dismantling our environmental protections. He put our nation at risk by disrespecting our allies – and, in the case of the Kurds, actually abandoning our allies. He’s hired and fired a long list of people who were incompetent and unqualified to hold cabinet positions. He’s lied, continually, to the American people. He’s taken money from our military bases to build a wall that most Americans don’t want, that won’t be effective, and that the legislature voted against. He’s allowed children to be ripped from the arms of their parents and put in cages. He seems to have no interest in serving us. He considers the Constitution “phony” because it keeps him from making money for his resort. I was not impressed with Donald Trump before he ran for president, and my impression of him has not improved since he took office.

I do not believe he is fit to be leading the nation I love.

I have found it useful to listen to people with different perspectives and hear what they have to say – I don’t enjoy being surrounded by people who think exactly the same way I think about stuff – I want to hear other ideas – and so I appreciate that you’ve come on here and shared your thoughts about Donald Trump. I hope you can appreciate my thoughts, as well.

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An Ode to Campaign Signs

An Ode to Campaign Signs 

They were the first to the front –
the few, the proud. They stood
sentinel, silently, solemnly solo
pounded into hillsides and lawns,
mud and grass and gravel.
Six months later and their numbers
are down – disappeared into
dumpsters, shredded by county
mowers, confiscated because they
were planted in the wrong place.
Those that remain are bedraggled,
snapped by the wind, duct taped,
mud-splattered, tilted, askew –
but still they stand – the proud
the staunch, the few.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

campaign sign

What an Adventure This Has Been

What an adventure this has been! Running for school board has given me the opportunity to connect with amazing people in my community; and it’s given me the opportunity to stretch and grow, listen and share, and force myself to do things that I was scared to do (the public forum!!!). However this turns out, I’m so glad I put my name in this race. I’ve realized that my greatest fear of all was getting complacent and settled and stuck. I’m not done, yet, you know? There’s still so much to learn and do and be!

It started in June and now it is autumn
We’re in the ninth inning, at the very bottom
The signs are looking a little bedraggled today –
duct taped, leaning, and shredded along the way
But the adventures I’ve had! The people I’ve met!
Being in this race has shown me I’m not done, yet!
The pamphlets and ballots have come in your mail
And however this turns out – there’s no loss and no fail.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

campaign sign