Patterico's Pontifications

10/29/2019

Lt. Col. Vindman Gives Opening Statement, Trump-Supporting Media Personalities Question His Patriotism

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:46 am



[guest post by Dana]

In spite of some disturbing commentary coming from Trump-supporting media personalities implying that the patriotism and loyalty of immigrants – even those who arrived here as toddlers – is suspect, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman gave his opening statement regarding activities relating to Ukraine that are now under investigation. Here are some excerpts. There is plenty of commentary to be found, but I wanted to post his own words.

Personal background:

I have dedicated my entire professional life to the United States of America. For more than two decades, it has been my honor to serve as an officer in the United States Army. As an infantry officer, I served multiple overseas tours…In Iraq, I was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart…Since 2008, I have been a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia. In this role, I have served in the United States’ embassies in Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. In Washington, D.C., I was a politico-military affairs officer for Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs where I authored the principle strategy for managing competition with Russia. In July 2018, I was asked to serve at the National Security Council…My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night. He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream. I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.

He then makes it very clear that his testimony is voluntary, and that he is not the whistleblower, nor does he know the identity of the whistleblower.

About the July 2010 meeting with Ukraine officials In Washington, D.C.:

On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D.C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland also attended, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push. Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.

Following the debriefing meeting, I reported my concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel. Dr. Hill also reported the incident to the NSC’s lead counsel.

About the election phone call:

On July 21, 2019, President Zelenskyy’s party won Parliamentary elections in a landslide victory. The NSC proposed that President Trump call President Zelenskyy to congratulate him.

On July 25, 2019, the call occurred. I listened in on the call in the Situation Room with colleagues from the NSC and the office of the Vice President. As the transcript is in the public record, we are all aware of what was said.

I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security. Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.

President Trump reacts this morning:

Vindman is giving his testimony behind closed doors today.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

187 Responses to “Lt. Col. Vindman Gives Opening Statement, Trump-Supporting Media Personalities Question His Patriotism”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (05f22b)

  2. “I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper”

    What’s proper foreign policy is left to elections. How does “President Vindman” sound? Run for president, win, then I’ll care what you think is proper.

    Munroe (138863)

  3. 2. If he isn’t natural-born, he can’t. “Espionage” is such an ugly word, but…..

    Gryph (08c844)

  4. ”If he isn’t natural-born, he can’t.“

    Good point. Well, thems the breaks. Tough luck, Vindman.

    Munroe (138863)

  5. The attack on his patriotism is disgusting. And really, this line of attack by all sides need to stop as it does absolutely nothing for debating ideas and simply fuels the hyper-partisanship we’re seeing today.

    All that said, there isn’t anything new here… simply another individual who didn’t think the ask was “proper”.

    I don’t think it was proper either… and if there must be an investigation, let the foreign services dept in the DOJ take the lead.

    In either case, this is no where near impeachment worthy.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  6. If you really want to go there, in 1977 when Ivana Marie Zelnícková married Donald John Trump only Czechoslovakian government agents were allowed to go abroad; that Czechoslovakia at that time was firmly under the thumb of the KGB; and that Trump ditched her after the fall of the Soviet Union until another Iron Curtain satellite, Yugoslavia, provided him with a new handler.

    nk (dbc370)

  7. @6. You skipped Marla Maples- from Georgia, USA, not USSR.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  8. 5. Fact: Vindman advised Ukrainian officials
    Fact: He did so while not only on the payroll of the United States federal government but with a security clearance.

    That’s not questioning Vindman’s patriotism. I think it’s questioning our national sanity.

    Gryph (08c844)

  9. Marla was a brief interlude when Russia, in Putin’s words, “was weak”, but when, in Trump’s words, it got “a strong leader who was in control of his country”, it brought him back into the fold like a strayed orange sheep.

    nk (dbc370)

  10. So, we’re all agreed that Trump tried to use the US aid to the Ukraine to push them to an investigation (or announcing an investigation) of Joe & Hunter Biden?

    Everyone agrees that happened and now it’s just a question of if it was a proper use of power, or an abuse of power, and if that justified impeachment?

    Specifically asking Munroe and Gryph and anyone else that wants to reply.

    Time123 (306531)

  11. 7, re 6 – at the time she was either Confederate or Carterite (back when Georgia resisted Southern Strategy by way of Nunn, Miller, Cleland and Barnes) both sketchy in their own way.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  12. OT- See a CEO crash and burn live on CSPAN in one of the few bipartisan hearings of recent times: Boeing’s Muilenburg is getting flamed over the 737Max. Corner-cutting; safety compromised, push to privatize gov’t certification ops… a total disaster chasing profits costing lives and tarnishing the reputation built over decades of a famed aerospace firm and huge DoD contractor.

    Hit the silk, Nikki.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  13. @8. That’s a “Blount” observation. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  14. ” I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely confirm the corruption of the Bidens and the Ukraine and result in losing the deepstate support it has thus far earned and jeopardize any chance for future benefits to my homeland after Trump is gone.

    Matador (39e0cd)

  15. “What’s proper foreign policy is left to elections. How does “President Vindman” sound? Run for president, win, then I’ll care what you think is proper.”

    It is also left to the laws, which are enacted by elected officials, aka, Congressmen and Senators. Presidents don’t get to do anything they want just because they got elected.

    That said, thus far, I don’t see any legal violations, just an abuse of power that, sadly, seems routine in Washington. Nor is it an impeachable offense, IMO, at least what has so far been revealed.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  16. Mr. Sondland is going to join the Leona Helmsley Club, in the elite ranks of jailed hoteliers.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  17. 10. Time123 (306531) — 10/29/2019 @ 8:56 am

    So, we’re all agreed that Trump tried to use the US aid to the Ukraine to push them to an investigation (or announcing an investigation) of Joe & Hunter Biden?

    No, he didn’t. Donald Trump never conditioned aid on an investigation; still less, he didn’t ask for an announcement of an investigation.

    Mick Mulvaney and Gordon D. Sondland tried to do that.

    They did exactly what Anonymous said in anew Yorl Times Op-ed in 2018 thar people were doing:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

    ..many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations…[They] want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

    Trump was inclined not to approve the military aid to Ukraine period.

    Mulvaney was trying to figure out what he could legitimately do to get Trump’s OK. Having Ukraine co-operate with Rudy Giuliani and agree to answer Trump’s questions about 2016 seemed to Mulvaney to be a harmless way of doing that. (Mulvaney didn’t add the Biden matter. That was Sondland.)

    That’s the way I size this thing up.

    There was no quid pro quo because Sondland had no idea what would be enough to get Trump to release the aid. He kept telling other people in the administration (and later Senator Ron Johnson) there was some quid pro quo, but he was a rogue elephant.

    Everyone agrees that happened and now it’s just a question of if it was a proper use of power, or an abuse of power, and if that justified impeachment?

    Specifically asking Munroe and Gryph and anyone else that wants to reply.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  18. #6: I cannot think of a worse candidate for foreign asset than Donald Trump, there being no filter between id and lip.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  19. ”Everyone agrees that happened and now it’s just a question of if it was a proper use of power, or an abuse of power, and if that justified impeachment?”
    Time123 (306531) — 10/29/2019 @ 8:56 am

    Nope.

    Munroe (138863)

  20. Nor is it an impeachable offense, IMO, at least what has so far been revealed.

    The idea that only a crime is impeachable is anti-historical. The Founders had no such limitation in mind, using terms like “misconduct” “malpractice” and “neglect of duty” and treated impeachment as the remedy for general malfeasance.

    I guess the insistence of the modern legal profession to nail down every word and comma leads one to see “high crimes and misdemeanors” to mean actual violations of actual statutes, but the Founders never suggested such.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  21. 20

    Nor is it an impeachable offense, IMO, at least what has so far been revealed.

    The idea that only a crime is impeachable is anti-historical. The Founders had no such limitation in mind, using terms like “misconduct” “malpractice” and “neglect of duty” and treated impeachment as the remedy for general malfeasance.

    I guess the insistence of the modern legal profession to nail down every word and comma leads one to see “high crimes and misdemeanors” to mean actual violations of actual statutes, but the Founders never suggested such.

    Kevin M (19357e) — 10/29/2019 @ 9:35 am

    I don’t think anyone is saying that it need to be a criminal violation of the law. Just that the behavior itself isn’t impeachment worthy.

    To me, a worst abuse of power is Obama’s Droning policy of extra-judiciously assassinating US citizen abroad. However, even being so anti-Obama that I’ve suffered for ODS, I did not think that is impeachment worthy. It does deserve publicity and for folks to factor that in their decision to vote for him… but, as a policy matter, even then it isn’t impeachment worthy.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  22. How is it not impeachable? Under the Constitution’s Take Care Clause, the President must exercise his law-execution power to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

    This aid to Ukraine was appropriated by Congress and signed into law by Trump himself. Trump didn’t faithfully execute the law. So, after due proceedings, he should be metaphorically executed via impeachment and removal from office. End of story.

    Martin Morgan (425f40)

  23. @10 I’m not 100% that Trump tried to use the US aid to Ukraine to push them to an investigation.

    Vindman’s opening statement doesn’t support the assertion that the investigation was tied to aid. I think the relevant part concerning Vindman’s POV is

    I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.

    In other words, if Ukraine investigated Biden the D’s would be unwilling to continue supporting them.

    His general comment

    I was concerned by the call. […] I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.

    viewed from this POV is that his concern was political. His statement,

    I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen

    is interesting. First, we can debate whether this was a demand linked to the aid, but secondly, the basis for this being improper is also political, i.e. it’s a problem because of the political fallout. In other words, he thought it was a bad foreign policy decision that in his opinion undermined national security.

    But I didn’t find anything in his opening statement about the US aid to Ukraine.

    frosty (f27e97)

  24. How is it not impeachable? Under the Constitution’s Take Care Clause, the President must exercise his law-execution power to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

    This aid to Ukraine was appropriated by Congress and signed into law by Trump himself. Trump didn’t faithfully execute the law. So, after due proceedings, he should be metaphorically executed via impeachment and removal from office. End of story.

    Martin Morgan (425f40) — 10/29/2019 @ 9:45 am

    LOL… if we go by that standard, every president would be impeached.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  25. The Constitutional standard for impeachment of elected officials is that they must be guilty of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” What did Misdemeanors mean to the Founders? Breach of fiduciary duty:

    Modern commentators disagree over what the Founders meant[4] by the term “high . . . Misdemeanors.” Some have argued the term comprehends only violations of the criminal law.[5]Others, most famously then-Representative Gerald Ford, have claimed it encompasses whatever Congress decides it encompasses.[6] Neither of these two views comports with the Constitution’s text. If the Founders understood “high . . . Misdemeanors” to be limited to criminal violations, they could have omitted the words entirely and ended the sentence with “Crimes.” If they understood “high . . . Misdemeanors” to grant unlimited discretion, they could have omitted the phrase “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes.”

    Other commentators contend the actual standard lies between these two extremes. The text implies this is correct, but commentators have not had great success determining what that standard is. Their formulations have tended to center on vague terms without discernible legal content, such as “unacceptable risk”[7] and “egregious abuse.”[8]

    ***

    We best capture the meaning of the phrase “high . . . Misdemeanors” when we think of it as referring to breaches of fiduciary duty. High misdemeanors are not limited to commission of crimes, but they do not include mere political differences. While violations of the criminal law provide grounds for impeachment, high misdemeanors encompass breaches of the duties of loyalty, good faith, and care, and of the obligations to account and to follow instructions (including the law and Constitution) when administering one’s office.

    DRJ (15874d)

  26. While violations of the criminal law provide grounds for impeachment, high misdemeanors encompass breaches of the duties of loyalty, good faith, and care, and of the obligations to account and to follow instructions (including the law and Constitution) when administering one’s office.

    Does that meet the threshold?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  27. Vindmann’s concern is not political. His concern is with a President that is politicizing foreign aid/relations to seek out corrupt personal benefit. Doing this has a detrimental effect on American security interests and constitutes a breach of loyalty, good faith, and care for our Constitution and laws.

    Madison argued we should have Presidents for life because “An Executive for life has not this motive for forgetting his fidelity, and will therefore be a safer depository of power.” Madison lost that argument but his concern was understood by the Framers.

    DRJ (15874d)

  28. Does that meet the threshold?

    Yes.

    DRJ (15874d)

  29. Martin Morgan (425f40) — 10/29/2019 @ 9:45 am

    This aid to Ukraine was appropriated by Congress and signed into law by Trump himself. Trump didn’t faithfully execute the law.

    And now we learn one more fact: The appropriation would have expired on September 30 if it wasn’t spent.

    Somebody at the White House actually got a legal opinion from the Pentagon saying the president was obliged to send the money. They were overruled by Mick Mulvaney, who was Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Acting White House Chief of Staff. He has argued on television that it is legitimate to withhold foreign aid for foreign policy reasons, meaning here even for objectives that only the president wanted, and cited as precedent, Trump withholding aid from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador unless they took steps to prevent their citizens from coming to the U.S.-Mexican border.

    So, after due proceedings, he should be metaphorically executed via impeachment and removal from office. End of story.

    It’s got to be something significant, and the aid was eventually released after an uproar in Congress in early September.

    Ukrainian special envoy Kurt Volker had always expected it to be released because it had too much support in Congress and therefore didn’t mention the withholding of the aid to the Ukrainians he dealt with. This quid pro quo was not repeatedly put to the Ukrainians, although some may have heard Sondland saying on July 10 that the aid was tied to Ukrainian investigations and then being shot down by Bolton. He terminated the meeting before Sondland could say more.

    Sondland at first thought he could get the investigations if he tied it merely to Zelensky meeting with Trump. He was winging it.

    Sondland kept on telling other U.S. officials that the aid was tied to investigations so they should work on getting the Ukrainians to do it and because he thought, from Mulvaney, that that was what was needed to shake the aid loose.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  30. The easiest way to test who is politicizing a subject is to reverse the sides. Trump supporters would have a big problem with Presidents Obama, Hillary or Biden using American aid to encourage, let alone coerce, a foreign government into investigating Trump.

    DRJ (15874d)

  31. I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security. Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.

    Who is this guy to decide what is or is not an appropriate investigation of the 2016 election? Burisma was part of all that. We spent 3 years and millions supposedly trying to get to the bottom of the 2016 election; are only some avenues of that investigation okay? Biden doesn’t get immunity from being Vice President then nor running for president now. Because something is partisan doens’t mean it should not be investigated. Because President Trump can be a bull in a china shop does not preclude his role as chief law enforcement officer.

    Bugg (47841b)

  32. Does that meet the threshold?

    Yes.

    DRJ (15874d) — 10/29/2019 @ 10:05 am

    Fair enough. I do see where you’re coming from….

    I think I disagree though. I think it’s improper for the POTUS to ask this directly, as it should be delegated to the DOJ and let the chips may fall. But, I don’t think it rises to breach the duties of loyalty, good faith, and care, and of the obligations to account and to follow instructions (including the law and Constitution) when administering one’s office.

    It’d think your argument is much stronger if the military aid was instructed to be withheld by Trump until they’d investigate Biden/Burisma. But, we don’t know if that truly how it went, and it’s especially in doubt since Ukrainian officials were unaware that the aid was withheld at the time of the call.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  33. @17, interesting take. Need to think about that.

    Time123 (b53270)

  34. @31, a lawful investigation based on probably cause is fine. Using aid to pressure a foreign government to open an investigation that isn’t based on evidence is not ok.

    Time123 (b53270)

  35. The fever seems to have accelerated here in the past week or so. It’s almost as if every Trump success ratchets up the concern that he just may keep doing good things for the country such that in regard to popularity, he could/might/maybe become unimpeachable. And that would be a bad thing for those who oppose him. Very bad indeed. Doesn’t fit the narrative. Plans have been made that could seriously be disrupted. This isn’t good. He really needs to be taken out by any means necessary. Latest news is they got the #2 man at ISIS as well. May even be close to a China trade deal. The stock market seems to think so. Imagine if he keeps winning and winning and winning. The time to act is NOW.

    PTw (894877)

  36. 27. DRJ (15874d) — 10/29/2019 @ 10:03 am

    Vindmann’s concern is not political.

    This sounds like a political consideration:

    I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.

    This argument would apply even if the investigation was fully legitimate. He does have the caveat thhat this depends on the investigation being seen as political, and that probably bears some relationship to whether or not it as a good foundation.

    His concern is with a President that is politicizing foreign aid/relations to seek out corrupt personal benefit.

    He doesn’t say that Donald Trump’s motive was corrupt or dishonest, just that this military aid should not be linked with this sort of thing.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  37. 34.

    a lawful investigation based on probably cause is fine. Using aid to pressure a foreign government to open an investigation that isn’t based on evidence is not ok.

    That is indeed the key point.

    The question is:

    Did Trump understand that what he asking for was not based on any kind of good evidence at all?

    Because if he didn’t, it is a horrible blunder, but not malfeasance in office.

    If he did, he’s really asking the government of Ukraine to lie, or to conduct witch hunt. If that’s not the case, he didn’t do that. But if he did, he’d also have to think the Ukrainian government is extraordinarily pliable, so that argues for a blunder.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  38. 27. ‘Vindmann’s concern is not political. His concern is with a President politicizing…”

    ROFLMAOPIP.

    “Never mind what I told you. I’m telling you!!” – The Captain [James Cagney] Mister Roberts’ 1955

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. The easiest way to test who is politicizing a subject is to reverse the sides. Trump supporters would have a big problem with Presidents Obama, Hillary or Biden using American aid to encourage, let alone coerce, a foreign government into investigating Trump.

    DRJ (15874d) — 10/29/2019 @ 10:16 am

    For me, my outrage would be the hypocrisy about it. Not that it’s unsavory or illegal about it.

    Of course, it’s unsavory to have foreign entities dig up dirt on your political opponent. But, I don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s some of value that violates the spirit of campaign laws.

    I view this as gutter politics, akin to finding/releasing “October Surprises” during election years.

    The hypocrisy here… is of course… the Steele Dossier. I think we all need to wrap our heads around the idea that campaigning is like a sport – people will endeavor to push the boundaries of the rules to gain advantage.

    In the Ukraine call, it wasn’t even an ask for political dirt – it was an ask to investigate.

    It’s bad… it’s ugly… it’s unsavory… it’s all the reasons why people are turned off about politics. But it’s most likely NOT illegal… nor should it be on the level of being impeachment worthy.

    In the Ukraine call, and even if there were no QPQ, it’s bad and unsavory for Trump to “thrown in” an ask for the Ukraine government to investigate Biden (a US citizen) and Burisma (a Ukraine business). The proper action if Trump wanted Biden/Burisma investigated, is to directly involve the DOJ’s foreign services department to investigate, and stay out of it (not even mention it on a call like this).

    It’s totally fair to criticize Trump in this regard. Trump is his own worst enemy, and I truly believe that, and I also think good faith criticism is an important firewall to signal his administration what is/isn’t proper. But, I also don’t think it’s impeachment worthy as this is simply the ugly underside of politics.

    I think we need to be very careful to advocating the criminalzation of bad political acts.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  40. Here’s a hypothetical:

    Given that we do NOT have any evidence of a “code red” order by Obama…

    Would the IRS being “sicc’ed” on Conservative PACs an impeachable offense?

    Why or why not?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  41. “It’s totally fair to criticize Trump in this regard. Trump is his own worst enemy, and I truly believe that, and I also think good faith criticism is an important firewall to signal his administration what is/isn’t proper. But, I also don’t think it’s impeachment worthy as this is simply the ugly underside of politics.

    I think we need to be very careful to advocating the criminalzation of bad political acts.

    whembly (fd57f6) — 10/29/2019 @ 10:36 am”

    We would do nothing else, 24/7. Game over.

    Comey, Clapper and their shenanigans have begot Barr and Durham. If Bush Jr. had spied on and wiretapped the Obama campaign-how this all began-Bush Jr. would be sitting in a federal prison. The end of all this tit for tat will be the end of us all as a republic.

    Bugg (47841b)

  42. Of course, it’s unsavory to have foreign entities dig up dirt on your political opponent. But, I don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s some of value that violates the spirit of campaign laws.
    I view this as gutter politics, akin to finding/releasing “October Surprises” during election years.

    I view this as a potential abuse of power. Let me lay it out.

    Paying someone to do Opo-research is fine. How it’s used may or may not be sleazy.

    Paying someone to fabricate evidence is unethical and may be illegal.

    Using the powers of your government office to do either of the above is unethical and may rise to be an abuse of power.

    To be blunt:

    If Trump had paid a PI to look for embarrassing information about Joe & Hunter in the Ukraine that would be fine provided whatever the relevant finance laws are followed.

    But it appears that rather than do that he used the powers of his office to pressure the Ukraine to do this for him. That’s what potentially makes it an abuse of power.

    Time123 (b53270)

  43. The last two paragraphs of #17 are a quote from #10 that was not deleted.

    Democrats are doing what they did with Nixon in 1973 ad 1974. They are trying to put all responsibility on the president, like he’s in charge of everything.

    And like he’s a mastermind.

    The Trump administration is dysfunctional.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  44. LOL… if we go by that standard, every president would be impeached.

    NO president has spent every dollar appropriated. Reasons vary. Nixon tried something called “impounding” which PREVENTED spending appropriated monies and that was ruled unconstitutional, but there is no general mandate to spend money when it isn’t needed or, in this case, is not — in the view of the President — in the interest of national security.

    To illustrate the latter case, suppose that $10 billion was allocated to Egypt in January, but there was a coup in February and the President thought that the new government should not be supported. He has the power to not give them the money through his inherent control of foreign affairs.

    That Trump misuses this is a separate issue.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  45. Has Vindman ever partied at studio 54 with a hot piece of tail? Has he ever woken up in the morning next to another man’s wife? Has he ever had his name on a tower or a box of steaks? Well, has he? Unless and until he has I think he has no place to criticize our great and terrific President, the greatest patriot of all time. You know his name, don’t make me say it.

    JRH (52aed3)

  46. The idea that only a crime is impeachable is anti-historical. The Founders had no such limitation in mind, using terms like “misconduct” “malpractice” and “neglect of duty” and treated impeachment as the remedy for general malfeasance.

    I guess the insistence of the modern legal profession to nail down every word and comma leads one to see “high crimes and misdemeanors” to mean actual violations of actual statutes, but the Founders never suggested such.

    The Constitutional Convention considered but rejected “maladministration” as the basis for impeachment. It instead inserted the phrase “”Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    The exact meaning of that is debatable. Mere negligence is clearly not enough.

    At the time of the founding, most crimes were common law crimes. (“Treason” was applied elastically, which is why the Constitution defined it.) So it need not be statutory. But it clearly has to be a very serious wrong, not just, the guy is a jerk or doing a poor job (itself a matter of opinion).

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  47. Such theater. Hell, you could conjure up a rationale to reall have the mustard hit the fan and introduce an article of impeachment for putting ketchup on a hot dog. What passes as vile transgressions in one era are merely tasty transients through another.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  48. Comey, Clapper and their shenanigans have begot Barr and Durham. If Bush Jr. had spied on and wiretapped the Obama campaign-how this all began-Bush Jr. would be sitting in a federal prison. The end of all this tit for tat will be the end of us all as a republic

    .

    I’m still waiting for the IG report, or the Duram investigation to provide evidence that this wasn’t based on reasonable probable cause or was done improperly.

    @40 Yes. absolutely. The house (rightfully) investigated this thoroughly and didn’t find that evidence. I don’t think Obama’s white house complied with that investigation properly, but neither party seems motivated to reign in executive brand stonewalling. So we get what we get.

    I’ll do you one better. His DACA order was also an abuse of power and he should have been impeached for that. But the GOP (Trump included) is fine with DACA the way it is.

    Time123 (306531)

  49. Trump didn’t pressure Ukraine to do anything for him. He wanted to know if Ukraine could substantiate some allegations.

    Ukraine didn’t think military aid was held up on that account, but possibly thought it was going slow because Trump wanted them to “buy American” as you can see from Zelensky talking about having Ukraine just about made a decision to buy Javelins.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  50. @39-
    I think we need to be very careful to advocating the criminalzation of bad political acts.
    “Bad political acts” (such as abuse of power) is exactly what the impeachment power is for. Impeachment is not criminal process, it is a political remedy. Trump won’t go to jail if he is convicted by the Senate (that could come later 😉), he merely is removed from office.

    Rip Murdock (2ddaab)

  51. Vile transgressions are now praiseworthy. Actual accomplishments denigrated. Purple heart? f*ck you. How many covers of Playboy have you been on?

    JRH (52aed3)

  52. @49, the facts you assert are not yet settled, and clearly are central to this.

    Time123 (306531)

  53. @40
    Democrats are doing what they did with Nixon in 1973 ad 1974. They are trying to put all responsibility on the president, like he’s in charge of everything.
    Well there were the tapes

    Rip Murdock (2ddaab)

  54. 47 Trump has known for years that many Democrats wanted to impeach him.

    During the long government shutdown earlier this year he said something very close to this to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Why don’t you make the government shutdown the grounds for impeachment?’

    She didn’t take him up on it.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  55. 53. The tapes showed Nixon being manipulated by his aides.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  56. @51. Ask John Kerry. He has three.

    D’oh!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  57. I looked again at the testimony. On July 10, Sondland was not tying the military aid to investigations like I said in #29.

    The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

    Sondland was tying a meeting between Trump and Zelensky to investigations but not to military aid.

    Now Sondland may have been telling other people in the U.S. government that the aid was tied to investigations, but he wasn’t telling any Ukrainians that. No Ukrainians were told that aid was being withheld until early August.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  58. 55-LOL!

    Rip Murdock (2ddaab)

  59. Two of the people on the Baghdadi raid are probably going to get Purple Hearts.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  60. 58. Just go over the tapes.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  61. Trump is right about one thing:

    Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call.

    Neither Trump nor anybody else demanded Ukraine investigate a U.S. citizen.

    This is what Trump said in that regard:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Unclassified09.2019.pdf

    The other thing: There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.

    Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.

    That’s all he said about Biden.

    Zelensky probably couldn’t even follow what he was saying.

    There’s some speculation that there might be some words left out after “horrible”

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  62. 57. I think I didn’t re-write that well.

    It should be:

    On July 10, Sondland was tying a meeting between Trump and Zelensky to investigations but he was not tying investigations to military aid.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe8737)

  63. @57-

    Sondland Is a political hack who bought his ambassadorship with $1M donation to Trump’s inaugural. Of course he would parrot the administration line.
    Trump made Ukraine aid contingent on public pledge to investigate Bidens and 2016 election, U.S. envoy says he was told

    America’s top diplomat in Ukraine delivered a forceful blow to President Trump’s account of his “perfect” dealings with that nation, telling lawmakers Tuesday that the White House had threatened to withdraw much-needed military aid unless Kyiv announced investigations for Trump’s political benefit.
    The explosive, closed-door testimony from acting ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. undermined Trump’s insistence that he never pressured Ukrainian officials in a potentially improper “quid pro quo.” ….

    “Everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance,” Taylor said he was told by Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union. ….

    “Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a businessman. When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check.” ….

    Rip Murdock (2ddaab)

  64. #42

    Of course, it’s unsavory to have foreign entities dig up dirt on your political opponent. But, I don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s some of value that violates the spirit of campaign laws.
    I view this as gutter politics, akin to finding/releasing “October Surprises” during election years.

    I view this as a potential abuse of power. Let me lay it out.

    Paying someone to do Opo-research is fine. How it’s used may or may not be sleazy.

    Paying someone to fabricate evidence is unethical and may be illegal.

    Using the powers of your government office to do either of the above is unethical and may rise to be an abuse of power.

    But according to the transcript, Trump did none of the above.

    No one is denying that what Joe Biden did wasn’t shady… right?

    No one is making the case that Hunter Biden’s position in Burisma wasn’t shady… right?

    That ordeal stinks to high heavens… and let’s face it, in the DC graft economy, it’s du jour for some DC elites.

    The ask was for Ukraine to investigate that ordeal. There was no ask to “dig up dirt” ala the Steele dossier.

    In my mind, it’s no where near an ‘abuse of power’ per se… just that it was improper due to appearances of conflict as Joe Biden was (is?) the frontrunner. Whereas it would’ve been totally kosher had he directed his DOJ to take the lead, and stayed out of it, since we have a treaty with Ukraine for these sort of things.

    To be blunt:

    If Trump had paid a PI to look for embarrassing information about Joe & Hunter in the Ukraine that would be fine provided whatever the relevant finance laws are followed.

    Isn’t that what Guliani was doing? (of course, he had assistance from dept of state along the way).

    But it appears that rather than do that he used the powers of his office to pressure the Ukraine to do this for him. That’s what potentially makes it an abuse of power.

    Time123 (b53270) — 10/29/2019 @ 10:49 am

    There cannot be a QPQ if the Ukrainians did not know that that the aid was withheld at the time of the call. So, on its face, it was an open-ended ask to get commitment to investigate Bidens/Burisma (albeit an improper ask as we do have officials channels to use).

    whembly (fd57f6)

  65. Says he’s not the whistleblower and doesn’t know the whistleblower.

    Recall another fella many ‘felt’ and ‘marked’ as ‘Deep Throat’ yet he insisted he wasn’t for decades — until he admitted he was.

    A Purple Heart doesn’t necessarily enhance his credibility much; Kerry had three and was soundly swiftboated to hell. Vinman would carry more credibility if he had the courage of his convictions, resigned from the military and testified out of uniform as a civilian. In this situation, it appears as if he’s military man w/a political agenda to push. Not a good look or perception to project– at least IMO.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  66. Trump is calling Vindman “today’s Never Trumper witness.” Vindman was chosen by the Trump administration to work in the White House.

    Odd, isn’t it, how a number of people who willingly went to work under Donald Trump have now become “Never Trumpers.” And how people who were described as brilliant and great become stupid losers the minute they stop flattering Trump.

    As for all the Trumpist media flacks painting Vindman as a traitor: Imagine their howls of outrage if Dems gave the same treatment to someone with a long term of military service who spoke of wrongdoing by Obama.

    Radegunda (68077f)

  67. “If Bush Jr. had spied on and wiretapped the Obama campaign-how this all began-Bush Jr. would be sitting in a federal prison. ”

    1. Bush allowed torture to become an acceptable intelligence gathering process, and yet neither he nor anyone else who enabled it is in prison.

    2. Obama didn’t order Trump to be wiretapped.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  68. Not a good look or perception to project

    As compared with the “look or perception” that Trump projects?

    Radegunda (68077f)

  69. @63 It would be good to have something more concrete than an envoy says he was told. Forceful blows and explosive closed-door testimony make for a compelling article but it seems like we’re still a few steps away from anything impeachable.

    frosty (f27e97)

  70. @68. Civilian authority rules: remember who salutes who.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  71. But according to the transcript, Trump did none of the above.

    We disagree about this. Also you’re ignoring other communication streams and testimony.

    Isn’t that what Guliani was doing? (of course, he had assistance from dept of state along the way).

    That help makes this corrupt.

    There cannot be a QPQ if the Ukrainians did not know that that the aid was withheld at the time of the call.

    I don’t agree that this is true yet, but that’s based on leaked info and I’m far from sure.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  72. #71

    But according to the transcript, Trump did none of the above.

    We disagree about this. Also you’re ignoring other communication streams and testimony.

    What other communication streams and testimony?

    Isn’t that what Guliani was doing? (of course, he had assistance from dept of state along the way).

    That help makes this corrupt.

    But you just said:
    If Trump had paid a PI to look for embarrassing information about Joe & Hunter in the Ukraine that would be fine provided whatever the relevant finance laws are followed.

    Isn’t that essentially what Guliani did? He was literally on Trump’s personal payroll doing some investigations. That states department simply helped put Guliani “face to face” to certain Ukrainian officials.

    If you recall, folks criticize this as here we have a civy doing some ‘diplomatic’ sort of works. (yet, it was the States dept asking for Guliani for help).

    There cannot be a QPQ if the Ukrainians did not know that that the aid was withheld at the time of the call.

    I don’t agree that this is true yet, but that’s based on leaked info and I’m far from sure.

    Time123 (dba73f) — 10/29/2019 @ 11:56 am

    We literally have the Ukrainians on record stating this, not based on leaked info. However, the whistleblower and a lot of “anonymous sources” are/were muddying this point up quite a bit. Yes, it’s a mess, and I think purposely done so that each sides can push their narratives.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  73. there is no general mandate to spend money when it isn’t needed or, in this case, is not — in the view of the President — in the interest of national security.

    Then veto it in the first place. Or Congress can grant discretion to the Executive. It did not. Congress passed a law saying aid Ukraine. The law is the law. The president executes it- since he didn’t- let’s get a president who can.

    Martin Morgan (425f40)

  74. Interesting OpEd:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/foreign-influence-and-double-standards-11572044626


    Democrats want to impeach Donald Trump for inviting Ukraine to investigate 2020 election rival Joe Biden. But then why are they opposed to investigating whether Democrats used Russian disinformation to get the FBI to investigate Donald Trump in 2016?

    That’s the double standard now on gaudy public display over multiple news reports that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s review of the origins of the Russian fiasco of 2016 has become a criminal probe. Attorney General William Barr this year appointed Mr. Durham, a highly regarded and veteran prosecutor, to examine this part of the Russia tale that special counsel Robert Mueller chose to ignore.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  75. 67. Davethulhu (fab944) — 10/29/2019 @ 11:45 am

    1. Bush allowed torture to become an acceptable intelligence gathering process, and yet neither he nor anyone else who enabled it is in prison.

    Bush obtsined legal opinions saying specifically that the various “:enhanced interrogation methods” weren’t torture.

    Later directives and opinpns I think declared them torture, but they weren’t legally torture then.

    2. Obama didn’t order Trump to be wiretapped.

    That’s true, and not his campaign either, in spite of Mark Levin saying so on the radio.

    But the FBI leaked that they had done that: (or seemed to be saying that)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/politics/russia-intelligence-communications-trump.html

    Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

    American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

    The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation….

    ..The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump. On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the government outside of the intelligence services, they said. All of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.

    The officials said that one of the advisers picked up on the calls was Paul Manafort, who was Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and had worked as a political consultant in Ukraine. The officials declined to identify the other Trump associates on the calls…

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  76. Obama probably knew about it. The whole investigation was started as an intelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. Intelligence investigations by the FBI, sole purpose is to inform the President.

    In the Strozk/Page public release of their texts stated that the “Whitehouse wanted to be in the loop” during that investigation.

    Furthermore, Brennan recently threw Obama under the bus on CNN (trying to find that tweet where I saw that).

    whembly (fd57f6)

  77. didn’t a lot of democrats question McCain’s “Patriotism” in 2008? haven’t the never trumpers and Hillary been questioning Trump’s “patriotism” since August 2015? Wasn’t Gen. Flynn’s “patriotism” been questioned?

    Are people so gullible they can’t see through these transparent Never-Trumper/Democrat attacks? Oh, he’s a WAR HERO. So, yeah, he must be telling the truth. Okey-dokey. Of course Lynn Cheney, and the usual Senate R’s who never miss a chance to pander and grandstand are out there giving aid and comfort to the Democrats. Thune and CHeney should realize that no one is giving them credit for this outside the beltway. If you can’t criticize the D’s and won’t support Trump – then just remain silent. We don’t need you piling on, trying to win points from the WaPo/NYT.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  78. @72
    I’m withholding judgement on what Ukraine did / didn’t know until the testimony is made public.

    Based on what’s known so far, I don’t think your summary of what Guiliani and the Dept of State did is correct. But I’m very willing to change my mind if evidence indicates otherwise.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  79. @74, would love to see the results of that investigation.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  80. As far as I can tell, the current WAR HERO has ties to Biden and Soros, coordinated his testimony with Schiff, and his testimony adds nothing new. He listed to the same calls, that others did. And those others had no problem with it.

    But the WAR HERO, was OUTRAGED. A POTUS asking a FOREIGN government to investigate an American citizen. OMG! Except, if that American was involved in foreign corruption, we WANT him investigated. I wonder if Never-trumpers are all sneaky back-stabbers, or if Trump is just extremely naive at picking subordinates. If Trump came to DC thinking military men and FBI personnel were non-partisan “patriots” just willing to serve – Trump certainly had his eyes opened.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  81. Now reading carefully, they’re saying they eavesdropped on Russians and the Trump associates were on the other end of the calls.

    James Comey told President Trump, and told Senators as well, that that story was false.

    And on June 7, 2017, he testified:

    RISCH: … OK.

    On – I remember, you – you talked with us shortly after February 14th, when the New York Times wrote an article that suggested that the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians. You remember reading that article when it first came out?

    COMEY: I do. It was about allegedly extensive electronic surveillance…

    RISCH: Correct.

    (CROSSTALK)

    COMEY: … communications. Yes, sir.

    RISCH: And – and that upset you to the point where you actually went out and surveyed the intelligence community to see whether – whether you were missing something in that. Is that correct?

    COMEY: That’s correct. I want to be careful in open setting. But…

    RISCH: I – I’m – I’m not going to any further than that with it.

    COMEY: OK.

    RISCH: I – I’m – I’m not going to any further than that with it.

    COMEY: OK.

    RISCH: So thank you.

    In addition to that, after that, you sought out both Republican and Democrat senators to tell them that, hey, I don’t know where this is coming from, but this is not the – this is not factual. Do you recall that?

    COMEY: Yes.

    RISCH: OK. So – so, again, so the American people can understand this, that report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?

    COMEY: In – in the main, it was not true. And, again, all of you know this, maybe the American people don’t. The challenge – and I’m not picking on reporters about writing stories about classified information, is that people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on.

    And those of us who actually know what’s going on are not talking about it. And we don’t call the press to say, hey, you got that thing wrong about this sensitive topic. We just have to leave it there.

    I mentioned to the chairman the nonsense around what influenced me to make the July 5th statement. Nonsense, but I can’t go explaining how it’s nonsense.

    RISCH: Thank you.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    COTTON: On February 14th, the New York Times published a story, the headline of which was, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.”

    You were asked earlier if that was an inaccurate story, and you said, in the main. Would it be fair to characterize that story as almost entirely wrong?

    COMEY: Yes.

    COTTON: Did you have, at the time that story was published, any indication of any contact between Trump people and Russians, intelligence officers, other government officials or close associates of
    the Russian government?

    COMEY: This one, I can’t answer, sitting here.

    COTTON: We can discuss that in a classified setting, then.

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  82. Are people so gullible they can’t see through these transparent Never-Trumper/Democrat attacks? Oh, he’s a WAR HERO. So, yeah, he must be telling the truth.

    Yes, I think being a war hero makes you more credible, especially if we’re talking about an issue pertaining to national security. I guess it’s just me but I take valorous military service as a sign of good character. Not saying it’s the end all be all but it counts.

    Of course my definition of patriotism goes beyond “loyal to Trump”.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  83. I think I had my eyes opened about Generals and Admirals, when a whole slew of them were OUTRAGED when Trump wanted to ban Transgenders from the Armed Forces. Evidently, that guy who thinks he’s a girl is absolutely ESSENTIAL to winning any future war. Its 2019, and its not your Dad’s Army anymore. The Marines won’t be hitting the beach, until their makeup is done right, and their lipstick is on straight.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  84. @83, did you serve?

    Time123 (dba73f)

  85. #78

    @72
    I’m withholding judgement on what Ukraine did / didn’t know until the testimony is made public.

    We literally have the transcripts, and public response by Ukrainian officials saying they were unaware that the aid was withheld. So… I’m not clear why you’re withholding judgement for further testimony. Are you questioning whether or not these Ukrainian officials weren’t being truthful? As a fig-leaf towards the Trump administration? (I guess that might work, but not sure additional testimonies from folks who were not in the in circle or directly involved would move any needle).

    Based on what’s known so far, I don’t think your summary of what Guiliani and the Dept of State did is correct. But I’m very willing to change my mind if evidence indicates otherwise.

    Time123 (dba73f) — 10/29/2019 @ 12:38 pm

    It does look “bad”… don’t get me wrong on that front. But, so far, its no where near impeachment worthy.

    Did you read this?
    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15069/impeachers-new-crimes
    Yeah, it’s Alan Dershowitz… but, he has a “civil libertarian” perspective to these things that are compelling…

    Like this bit:

    There is a debate among students of the constitution over the intended meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Some believe that these words encompass non-criminal behavior. Others, I among them, interpret these words more literally, requiring at the least criminal-like behavior, if not the actual violation of a criminal statute.

    What is not debatable is that “maladministration” is an impermissible ground for impeachment. Why is that not debatable? Because it was already debated and explicitly rejected by the framers at the constitutional convention. James Madison, the father of our Constitution, opposed such open-ended criteria, lest they make the tenure of the president subject to the political will of Congress. Such criteria would turn our republic into a parliamentary democracy in which the leader — the prime minister — is subject to removal by a simple vote of no confidence by a majority of legislators. Instead, the framers demanded the more specific criminal-like criteria ultimately adopted by the convention and the states.

    The ugly underside of politics *are* political sins and I think that Dershowitz does a good job making that distinction.

    I also find his ‘maladministration’ is impermissible for grounds for impeachment very compelling, and aligns with my earlier post that we need to be careful about criminalizing unsavory political acts.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  86. @74, would love to see the results of that investigation.

    Time123 (dba73f) — 10/29/2019 @ 12:39 pm

    Aye…

    Horowitz, the potential FISA abuse investigation is what’s coming really soon.

    Durnham’s investigation is the big one imo, as he’s investigating how the original Russian Collusion investigation started.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  87. ’Of course my definition of patriotism goes beyond “loyal to Trump”.‘
    Time123 (dba73f) — 10/29/2019 @ 12:43 pm

    So does mine. How about loyalty to the office?

    If you don’t like what the president is doing or how he does it, quit. Unlike for a Vindman, McCabe, or a fake whistleblower, there is a direct check on the president called elections. These BS efforts to circumvent that have gone on nonstop for three years now, and I have little trouble calling it out as unpatriotic.

    Munroe (f5f3f1)

  88. 80. rcocean (1a839e) — 10/29/2019 @ 12:42 pm

    Except, if that American was involved in foreign corruption, we WANT him investigated.

    And the Democrats are trying to use a standard whereby it’s wrong whether or not the president had a reasonable basis for thinking so or not.

    So we don’t get into the question of what Joe or Hunter Biden actually did, which might not be the same thing Trump accused them of, but might not be so good, either..

    And because then, if Trump can show that he had some basis for his request, even if he was totally wrong and stupid and should have known better, and that he wasn’t try to force Ukraine to do anything wrong, nor asking it “dig up drt: or conduct a witch hunt, then it becomes another Iran Contra and not something to be impeached and removed from office over.

    (Although voters may take it into consideration, especially if he hasn’t shown that he’s gained any wisdom.)

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  89. Such criteria would turn our republic into a parliamentary democracy in which the leader — the prime minister — is subject to removal by a simple vote of no confidence by a majority of legislators.

    You do need a 2/3 vote in the Senate.

    That’s a high bar for a vote of no confidence, especially since he on;y gets replaced by his personally approved (usually) vice president.

    Now if our constitution actually allowed this kind of vote of no confidence, we might be getting close.

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  90. Such criteria would turn our republic into a parliamentary democracy in which the leader — the prime minister — is subject to removal by a simple vote of no confidence by a majority of legislators.

    You do need a 2/3 vote in the Senate.

    That’s a high bar for a vote of no confidence, especially since he on;y gets replaced by his personally approved (usually) vice president.

    Now if our constitution actually allowed this kind of vote of no confidence, we might be getting close.

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea) — 10/29/2019 @ 12:59 pm

    True.

    I think his point is that our system of governance isn’t designed to initiate impeachment proceedings everytime “maladministration” is alleged.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  91. #82 actually being a WAR HERO, doesn’t give you EXTRA credibility in telling the truth or being nonpartisan. Why would it? You know who a war hero? Benedict Arnold.

    When McCain called everyone who opposed the Iraq war, cowards, isolationists, or worse, did you go “yeah, must be true, John’s a war hero”?

    rcocean (1a839e)

  92. @78

    We literally have the transcripts, and public response by Ukrainian officials saying they were unaware that the aid was withheld. So… I’m not clear why you’re withholding judgement for further testimony. Are you questioning whether or not these Ukrainian officials weren’t being truthful? As a fig-leaf towards the Trump administration? (I guess that might work, but not sure additional testimonies from folks who were not in the in circle or directly involved would move any needle).

    If the only communication on this is in the transcript you’re correct. If there was offline communication that spelled out “announce an investigation of the Bidens or you don’t get aid” than the transcript is just a confirmation of the ‘deal’. I’m reading that some of the people involved in those offline discussions say it was absolutely clear to the Ukrainians what was going on. But I agree with you that these are selective leaks. So I want to see the remarks in context and understand where there is conflicting evidence.

    If Trump used presidential powers to pressure a foreign government to do a corrupt and politically motivated investigation, where the evidence of wrong doing did not meet our legal standards to open an investigation I think that’s an abuse of power that is impeachable.

    Time123 (52fb0e)

  93. #88 – I think this whole thing is ridiculous. Biden brought it on himself, by bragging in front of the cameras about how he bullied the Ukraine in a quid pro quo – US aid or fire people. Trump wants the Ukrainians to “look into it.” What’s wrong with that? He just saying investigate. Why shouldn’t Biden welcome an investigation, he’s innocent. Right? I don’t know if either Biden did anything wrong, but it certainly doesn’t look good does it? And neither did Biden taking his Son to China, and China then giving Hunter’s hedge fund $1 Billion. Probably OK, but it should be looked into.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  94. I think Trump said it best, why would he talk to the Ukrainian President like a mob boss with 50 people – half of them Ukrainian – listening in? But of course, Trump while smart enough to be elected POTUS on his first try, and a Billionaire, he isn’t SUPER SMART. Like his never-trumper critics. Nobody is sharper than the Bulwark Boys or Mitt Romney.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  95. If you don’t like what the president is doing or how he does it, quit. Unlike for a Vindman, McCabe, or a fake whistleblower, there is a direct check on the president called elections. These BS efforts to circumvent that have gone on nonstop for three years now, and I have little trouble calling it out as unpatriotic.

    Reasonable. Of course congressional oversight and impeachment are also checks on the president.

    Honest questions, what if a person is legitimately concerned that what they’re seeing is criminal or a significant abuse of power? Just shut up and wait for the next election? Quit and go on the record with the media so the public can take it into account when they vote? Do nothing? What do you think is the proper action?

    Time123 (52fb0e)

  96. #93

    #88 – I think this whole thing is ridiculous. Biden brought it on himself, by bragging in front of the cameras about how he bullied the Ukraine in a quid pro quo – US aid or fire people. Trump wants the Ukrainians to “look into it.” What’s wrong with that? He just saying investigate. Why shouldn’t Biden welcome an investigation, he’s innocent. Right? I don’t know if either Biden did anything wrong, but it certainly doesn’t look good does it? And neither did Biden taking his Son to China, and China then giving Hunter’s hedge fund $1 Billion. Probably OK, but it should be looked into.

    rcocean (1a839e) — 10/29/2019 @ 1:09 pm

    I think it should be stated that it’s probably not illegal under Ukrainian nor Chinese law. I’m not sure there’s even a US law since we have no jurisdiction.

    Burisma and China’s investment firms are free to engage Hunter Biden and pay him whatever they want.

    It sure looks shady… and it sure need some sunlight so that if nothing else, gives voters something to think about.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  97. #82 actually being a WAR HERO, doesn’t give you EXTRA credibility in telling the truth or being nonpartisan. Why would it?

    Because the person speaking has demonstrated through their actions that they’re willing to put their life on the line for their country. Seems obvious to me. Again, it’s not a perfect tump card. But much like a history of lying or shady business deals damages your credibility this would add to it. And just like a crook can tell the truth a war hero can lie. But I have to make a judgment call this gets consideration.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  98. But of course, Trump while smart enough to be elected POTUS on his first try, and a Billionaire, he isn’t SUPER SMART

    oh yeah, he’s a smart one.

    Time123 (52fb0e)

  99. #67: you do not know that. We do now that Clapper, Brennan and Comey did in fact spy on the Trump campaign and Trump after he became president. What Obama’s role, if any, is still unknown. Did he order all this? Was it a wink and a nod? Was he unaware? We do know Lisa Page and Strzok’s texts mention him, and that he had an unauthorized email account that he communicated with at least Hillary Clinton.

    Bugg (ebf485)

  100. “Bush obtsined legal opinions saying specifically that the various “:enhanced interrogation methods” weren’t torture.

    Later directives and opinpns I think declared them torture, but they weren’t legally torture then.”

    I believe that a strong case could be made that the torture memos were legally flawed. However, after Obama repudiated them, he also declared that nobody would face prosecution, probably out of a misguided desire to nationally “put it behind us”. In any event, my point was that there was no real interest in holding the previous administration accountable for any of its failures, and I doubt a spying scandal would have changed anything.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  101. Munroe writes: “What’s proper foreign policy is left to elections. How does “President Vindman” sound? Run for president, win, then I’ll care what you think is proper.”

    What a lawless attitude. The President can do no wrong, Munroe? I am sure that was your philosophy five years ago too, right?

    It may be time to find some shiny objects to wave around because your argument is indefensible.

    noel (f22371)

  102. It takes these zombies less than an hour to come up with attacks on a Purple Heart recipient who is just doing his duty and telling the truth.

    noel (f22371)

  103. This Administration seems to have three defenses. Attacks, denials…. and brazen admissions.

    noel (f22371)

  104. House impeachment resolution

    There will be brief intermission in TrumpWorld, as the goalposts are moved and a new, even more ludicrous set of talking points to delegitimize the Constitution is formulated.

    Dave (828a10)

  105. @83. Really? ‘The Five O’clock Follies’ an the Penago Papers opened mine for good. Lying bastards. Will never fully trust them and anything hey say; they play with words and shade if not hide truth. If JFK had listened to them in 1962, we’d still be glowing in the dark. How easily we forget how they tried to manage press coverage in the Gulf and made briefings into a collage of “video games.” When the brass hats get to the level of Vinman in the overall structure of government, they’re operating in a political mind set. They have to- it’s just the way it is. Ollie North, Al Haig, Colin Powell… McCrystal…the list goes on and on.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  106. ^Pentagon

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  107. 84. Wouldn’t be-a-braggin’ too much about that- bottom line is the one time the multi-trillion dollar Department of Defense was really, really, truly needed to protect the United States proper, 20 guys w/$500,000 stole a few planes, struck the Pentagon in Washington and the WTC in Manhattan costing 3,000 civilians their lives.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  108. 93. rcocean (1a839e) — 10/29/2019 @ 1:09 pm

    #88 – I think this whole thing is ridiculous. Biden brought it on himself, by bragging in front of the cameras about how he bullied the Ukraine in a quid pro quo – US aid or fire people.

    He could be accused of giving the most blatant admission of U.S. imperialism we’ve had in a long time – amore blatant claim of American imperialism you can’t imagine – but not of bragging he did anything to help himself personally. He’s indicating he was carrying out U.S. policy.

    And he segued into it as an example of backsliding – the new prosecutor also turned out to be bad.

    https://www.cfr.org/event/foreign-affairs-issue-launch-former-vice-president-joe-biden

    …I’m desperately concerned about the backsliding on the part of Kiev in terms of corruption. They made—I mean, I’ll give you one concrete example. I was—not I, but it just happened to be that was the assignment I got. I got all the good ones. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team, our leaders to—convincing that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. [His 5th trip was in December and apparently that was the last before Viktor Shokin was out as Prosecutor General – SF] And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t.

    So they said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time. [Biden intends to say that Lutsenko was not considered so good now = Jan 23, 2018 – but leaves that point out SF]

    Enemies of Biden, or more likely, enemies of Ukrainian anti-corruption efforts who wanted Trump on their side brought this to the attention of Rudy Giuliani, giving it the spin that the prosecutor whom Biden supposedly got rid of – he actually didn’t – that whole story of that aborted announcement in Kiev is probably a lie and I wonder when anybody’s going to fact check that thoroughly – Biden sounds like maybe the announcement went ahead but the announcement was made in June 2016, three montsh after the prosecutor was gone and Biden wasn’t in town – maybe since December, 2015.

    Back to rcocean

    Trump wants the Ukrainians to “look into it.” What’s wrong with that?

    Nothing, exceot that he’s Ukrainian server theory ois not onl incoherent, but it’s crazy. Anyway he wants Zelensky to talk to Barr and Giuliani and tehy’ll explain.

    He just saying investigate. Why shouldn’t Biden welcome an investigation, he’s innocent.
    He may be innocent of protecting corruption but he’s not innocent of telling a tall tale. A tall tale that has the United States acting in an extremely imperialistic manner and the Ukrainians just caving in.
    Right? I don’t know if either Biden did anything wrong, but it certainly doesn’t look good does it? And neither did Biden taking his Son to China, and China then giving Hunter’s hedge fund $1 Billion. Probably OK, but it should be looked into.

    It’s a loophole in conflict of interest rules, but hard to avoid.

    Burisma was in some danger of having its ownership transferred.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  109. 92. Time123 (52fb0e) — 10/29/2019 @ 1:08 pm

    If there was offline communication that spelled out “announce an investigation of the Bidens or you don’t get aid” than the transcript is just a confirmation of the ‘deal’.

    Sondland tried to get the Ukrainians to do an announcement of two investigations, but in the end Trump would not go for such a quid pro quo. The 2016 Crowdstrike issue was more important to Trump. Trump didn’t even think Biden would be the nominee.

    If Trump used presidential powers to pressure a foreign government to do a corrupt and politically motivated investigation, where the evidence of wrong doing did not meet our legal standards to open an investigation I think that’s an abuse of power that is impeachable.

    You caan’t say our investigation – if Hunter or Joe Biden did something corrupt this information would have been known in Ukraine.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  110. Biden’s excuse for his son is simplistic and stupid; ‘nobody did anything wrong’ and ‘he’s a grown man.’ But a politician with the supposed experience of Joey-Bee should have seen the clear move at buying access, the obvious exposure and told his kid, ‘not a good look, not a smart move’ and to get out if it at the start.

    One is an idiot; the other the son of an idiot.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  111. “What a lawless attitude. The President can do no wrong, Munroe? I am sure that was your philosophy five years ago too, right?”

    I criticized Munroe for the same reasons.

    But the flip side is, to act “lawlessly,” there has to be a law. Or at least a consistent set of principles applied evenly to every actor, from all sides of the political spectrum.

    And that is what is so maddening to me about this whole situation. Trump is a corrupt person who has abused his office. Yet, others have also done so, with far less objections, and certainly no efforts at impeachment. Some examples are given in this very thread. It is hard to take charges of “lawless” seriously, where similar wrongs are swept under the rug or winked at.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  112. Right, Bored Lawyer. I had plenty of issues with Obama. And a few with W too. But I think Trump neither knows the law nor cares when he violates it.

    John Kelly foresaw this exact result.

    noel (f22371)

  113. “Right, Bored Lawyer. I had plenty of issues with Obama. And a few with W too. But I think Trump neither knows the law nor cares when he violates it.”

    I agree that, personally, Trump is lawless.

    But the thing is, Obama did lawless things too, some of which are listed in this very thread. Obama used the IRS to investigate his political enemies (shades of Nixon). Apart from a bit of noise on a few blogs, little came of it.

    Kennedy was no less a womanizer than Trump. (In fact, I suspect less, I think much of what Trump says is mere bragging.) Yet Kennedy’s acts were covered up.

    Trump supporters (of which I am not one), have a strong belief that their guy is being held to a standard that others, including recent others, have never been held to.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  114. @113 Your point seems to be that Trump is either ignorant or stupid and this somehow makes whatever he does that much more offensive. Is it somehow better that a corrupt politician knows the law and cares about it but is still corrupt?

    frosty (f27e97)

  115. Yet, others have also done so, with far less objections, and certainly no efforts at impeachment.

    There was an effort to impeach Bill Clinton, IIRC. Democrats would love to have impeached G.W. Bush if they could have. There were vocal objections to various actions by Obama, and investigations, but Republicans weren’t going to impeach the first black president.

    The notion that people are mad “just because it’s Trump” — i.e. that it’s all an arbitrary “hate” based on nothing at all — is not credible. And this being politics, neither side is ever going to be consistent in applying the same principles across the board.

    Besides, the call for “a consistent set of principles” etc. doesn’t jibe with the Trumpist rhetoric of the past four years, in which “principles” are for losers, because THIS IS WAR!

    Trump himself declared that he could get away with anything. His fans decided he should get all kinds of exemptions from standards they’ve applied to others. Lawyer-pundits are very, very concerned about Joe Biden’s “trouble with truth” at the same time as they are fervently defending Trump. Etc.

    I’m all for consistent standards. But Trump apologists on the whole aren’t in a strong position to demand them.

    Radegunda (68077f)

  116. Bored Lawyer,

    Isn’t the heart of your point that it would be selective prosecution to impeach Trump but not Obama or Bush? If it is, so what? My feeling is that Presidents reach a tipping point with Congress and the public, and that is when impeachment “suddenly” becomes something they accept.

    It is not unlike the way prosecutors enforce criminal laws: Sometimes they tend to let things slide and other times they are about zero tolerance. In both cases, context matters. When the circumstances suggest a poor respect for the Constitution/laws, it is time to act.

    DRJ (15874d)

  117. #115 — the problem with Trump isn’t just that he’s ignorant and stupid. It’s that his narcissist pathology makes him incapable of recognizing ethical standards or a true/false distinction apart from self-interest. This aspect of his mentality is abundantly clear to the clear-eyed.

    Do you think having a president who doesn’t understand right vs. wrong and who lies easily and shamelessly because he doesn’t have a real grasp of truth vs. false is better than having a president who does understand the difference but sometimes chooses the wrong if he thinks he can get away with it?

    Radegunda (68077f)

  118. There is an argument that Bill Clinton’s impeachment failed because he clearly broke a specific law — perjury — but he did not reach a tipping point with the public. It wasn’t about dotting i’s and crossing t’s, it occurs when a President breaches his duties and the public loses faith in a President’s fidelity to American laws.

    DRJ (15874d)

  119. For some reason, the public did not lose faith in Clinton. Maybe they hsven’t lost faith in Trump, either. But that doesn’t mean there is no basis or the case isn’t strong enough.

    DRJ (15874d)

  120. but Republicans weren’t going to impeach the first black president

    Not a ringing endorsement of the rule of law and consistent principles.

    that it’s all an arbitrary “hate” based on nothing at all — is not credible

    I think the number of people who think any of this is arbitrary is very small.

    But Trump apologists on the whole aren’t in a strong position to demand them.

    Everyone should demand them. Do you mean you aren’t interested in being consistent with Trump or his apologists?

    frosty (f27e97)

  121. @117. Tend to believe less a ‘tipping point’ and more a matter of ‘clarity’– or ‘simplicity’– to punch through the noise of busy lives to reach the public w/a concise message. That’s how it went w/Nixon- the clarity of the ‘smoking gun’- by his own hand- and his outright lying to the public for months revealed was the final collapse of any viable support– and that occurred within a matter of days so he had to resign. Clinton’s boiled down to sex for the average voter to grasp.

    There’s still too much fuzz and static around this now w/Trump– and Congressional loyalists in the are making as much noise as they can to keep it that way. Most voters didn’t read the Mueller Report – for that matter, neither did mot Congresscritters– and it was their job to read it… and you have to wonder how many average Americans even understand what ‘quid pro quo’ means—- it may actually be Latin but it’s likely ‘Greek to them.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  122. One reason Trump won is that the establishment GOP only seemed to care about power and money. Trump said he cared about America, and he was already rich so he didn’t need money. But his actions suggest he doesn’t care about draining the swamp. He cares about making money while in office and about getting re-elected so he can stay in power.

    Trump is just a different version of the same old establishment GOP, which is why they support him.

    DRJ (15874d)

  123. Much of these arguments sound like arguments why to vote against Trump. (We can have that in another thread, if you like.)

    Impeachment is much more drastic that voting someone out of office. And appeals to rule of law are watered down by hypocrisy and double standards. To say, well, all prosecutors do that sometimes is not an answer. Prosecutors are not overturning the will of the electorate, they are enforcing criminal laws.

    Like it or not, about half the country voted him in. To throw him out of office when his predecessors made similar abuses of power can and will have very negative political effects. IMO, you need much more than what we have, at least now.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  124. So he really would have to shoot someone on 5th Avenue to justify impeachment?

    DRJ (15874d)

  125. It seems your argument is that nothing he has done is serious enough to justify impeachment, but that only strengthens my ‘tipping point’ argument. At some point, conduct can reach the point where impeachment is warranted. Not everyone will agree on where that point is.

    Elections have consequences but so do Presidencies. When the public loses faith, they do not re-elect. If they lose too much faith, they impeach.

    DRJ (15874d)

  126. I understand an argument that impeachment should be like abortion (to Democrats in general elections) — legal but rare. It is serious. It should not be a political weapon. But that doesn’t mean everything Trump or any President does must be viewed through a political lens. There are also legal/Constitutional and national security perspectives.

    DRJ (15874d)

  127. Both these major parties are out of control and run by scumbags. America went– what, 75 years or so and slugged through a civil war before AJ’s articles of impeachment; then 100 years until Nixon’s papers were drawn up; so now, including Nixon’s ‘papers’ w/Clinton’s and likely Trump’s– were facing the third ‘articles of impeachment’ scenario in just 45 years. It’s an extreme action–and these parties, unable to persuade at the ballot box– threaten to pull it from their tool boxes in nearly every election cycle. Little wonder more and more voters are abandoning the D’and R’s and registering as independents. The framework of the Constitution makes no provision for these now entrenched parties and there’s something seriously wrong with how both parties are structured and operate today. They are the problem.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  128. When the public loses faith, they do not re-elect. If they lose too much faith, they impeach.

    So, not the rule of law at all then but simply propaganda and the media manipulation of public opinion.

    frosty (f27e97)

  129. I already defined the faith I am talking about, frosty. It is faith that a President will not breach his fiduciary duty of loyalty, good faith, and care for our Constitution and laws. But that was many comments ago so you may have missed it.

    DRJ (15874d)

  130. @125. He might likely beat that rap, too, DRJ– you can’t indict a sitting President, right?? Why? Because they’re too busy playing golf?? Who made that BS up? Such is the joke of the so-called ‘rule the law’… LOL A guy his age would probably die before ever seeing the inside of a jail cell.

    Never forget, Felicity Huffman and Jim Mattis have both done more time that Donald Trump ever will, or Richard Nixon ever did.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  131. Are you the same commenter as frosty48 and Frosty, FP?

    DRJ (15874d)

  132. I think most people feel impeachment is punishment enough for Presidents like that, although I feel sure he would serve real time if he murdered someone. But it is a moot point because from now on he has the Secret Service to protect and restrain him.

    DRJ (15874d)

  133. Because the person speaking has demonstrated through their actions that they’re willing to put their life on the line for their country.

    Yeah, you mean like Benedict Arnold or all those “Mexican-American War” Heroes who joined the Confederacy? Or what about Mussolini – he was a war hero too. not to mention all the Bolsheviks who were WW1 War heroes before they became Soviet Red Army “War Heroes”.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  134. The notion that people are mad “just because it’s Trump” — i.e. that it’s all an arbitrary “hate” based on nothing at all — is not credible. And this being politics, neither side is ever going to be consistent in applying the same principles across the board.

    What? So everybody does it? Except that’s not true. The D’s did not go after Bush I or Reagan. THe R’s did not go after Obama or Carter and try to impeach him.

    And Clinton – for the one millionth time – got impeached because HE LIED UNDER OATH. Remember he got disbarred and also tried to get other to lie under oath. He sojourned perjury. That’s why Bill Clinton got impeached. Look, it only the liberal/left who feels “everyone does it” . Because they do it. They have no morals except “Just win baby, just win”. So, they impute it on others. But it just ain’t so.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  135. @133. Depends on how you want to define ‘murder’– Nixon “murdered” 31,000 Americans [not to mention countless Vietnamese] in Vietnam on his watch after lying bout ending the war to voters and knowing full well what the Pentagon Papers concluded, not to mention his own notes concluding that ‘bombing’ wasn’t working. Resignation was a gift; impeachment would have been humiliation… but certainly not “justice.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  136. @135. You’re splitting hairs- for the umpteenth bazillionth time, as far as American voters in the real world are concerned, he lied about sex. And that’s something everybody can relate to. He wasn’t going to get pulled from office over that– thus it backfired on Newtie and his Blowfish.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  137. ”So he really would have to shoot someone on 5th Avenue to justify impeachment?”
    DRJ (15874d) — 10/29/2019 @ 4:09 pm

    You mean Trump, or Kavanaugh? With #NeverTrump, it matters.

    Munroe (138863)

  138. @132 Yes, different devices have different settings, some old and some machines retired. I think frosty48 was my original and I’m trying to get all of them synced to the simpler frosty.

    frosty (f27e97)

  139. Woohoo! Nats come alive on the road again in the 1st; take the lead, 1-0.

    Go for 7 games!!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  140. Of course, it’s going to go to seven games. The money for games six and seven all goes to the MLB. Zilch to the players. And of course the Nationals will win. The Astros won last year. Major league baseball is as honest as street-corner three-card monte.

    nk (dbc370)

  141. @106 he’s a forty-something light colonel who’s been walking the military/diplomatic line for ten years. If he’s not a colonel yet, he’s not going any further. He’s probably been passed over at least once and he’ll be retired in the next 2-3 years.

    Munroe and Bored Lawyer and rcocean, if the President can do anything and not be held responsible since halfish of the voters voted for them, what do you believe is the reason for impeachment existing in the Constitution?

    Nic (896fdf)

  142. @141. That would be news in Boston- the BoSox took the 2018 WS over the Dodgers in five games.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  143. Boom! 2-1 Astros and still only the bottom of the 1st!

    Great baseball!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  144. @137. Re: Clinton, I think the voters thought he had had enough. He was impeached, and that was ok with them. but they didn’t want him removed. It didn’t help that the Starr investigation dragged on and on for years, and we were promised very damaging revelations about corruption. In the end, it really was just about schtupping a girl and lying about it. Not enough to remove a President.

    JRH (52aed3)

  145. @142. Bingo. That smells likely. The diplomatic edge is a tell.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  146. ”Munroe and Bored Lawyer and rcocean, if the President can do anything and not be held responsible since halfish of the voters voted for them, what do you believe is the reason for impeachment existing in the Constitution?”
    Nic (896fdf) — 10/29/2019 @ 5:29 pm

    By so ridiculously misrepresenting the viewpoint as expressed by me, it sounds like you’re really quite interested in an answer.

    But, anyway… the Founders clearly intended it to be used as a political gamesmanship tool, and as a last resort after three years of other attempts to oust a duly elected president have failed.

    Munroe (138863)

  147. Munroe just cannot answer your question Nic.

    We all know why that is.

    Dustin (504bb1)

  148. Dustin, don’t you have a Sandmann lawsuit to prepare for?

    Munroe (138863)

  149. @145. Censure him and move on. Smack the dirty dog w/a rolled up newspaper [he likes that anyway] and get back to doing the country’s business. This is all such a waste of time and resources. If they weren’t going to bother to read the Mueller Report and nail him, he’s certainly not going to get jettisoned over a Trump-style phone call. Pelosi just wants to muss his hair, hope the voters do her dirty work for her next November and reap the benefits in the House. McConnell’s mission is to save the Senate. Yanking a president of his own party won’t do that. None of the Dems are going to beat this guy– unless Oprah runs.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  150. @141. That would be news in Boston- the BoSox took the 2018 WS over the Dodgers in five games.

    Sigh. They’re not going to be completely blatant about it. Just like the card-rigger lets the sucker win a few hands.

    Great baseball!

    Of course, when it’s scripted and choreographed. A good show keeps the audience coming back. Now, here’s the question: Does the stage director get a Tony, an Emmy, or both?

    nk (dbc370)

  151. Yeah, you mean like Benedict Arnold or all those “Mexican-American War” Heroes who joined the Confederacy? Or what about Mussolini – he was a war hero too. not to mention all the Bolsheviks who were WW1 War heroes before they became Soviet Red Army “War Heroes”.

    I guess i assumed from context that we were both talking about members of the modern US military and not soldiers from other countries or 50 to 150 years ago.

    Does you disdain for the military service change with this context or are you all in on lacking respect for military service?

    Time123 (69b2fc)

  152. @147 that’s how your position reads to me. It looks like you are saying that the President can do anything and, because he was voted in, our only resort is to vote him out at the end of his term. If that is not what you meant, could you clarify your meaning for me? And why is impeachment there? When do you think we can use it?

    Nic (896fdf)

  153. @150. Interesting take. I think you make a convincing case, except. I think he is vulnerable. He almost lost to Hillary. Suburban women do not like him. 2020 is going to be a dogfight and if he wins it will be by a whisker.

    JRH (52aed3)

  154. @146 I recognize that particular career path. It’s very familiar to anyone who has been NATO adjacent.

    Nic (896fdf)

  155. @151. Dissing the ‘American Pastime,’ nk??

    …and Putin smiled. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  156. Dustin, don’t you have a Sandmann lawsuit to prepare for?

    Munroe (138863) — 10/29/2019 @ 5:44 pm

    LOL so bitter and amusingly obsessed!

    I have a 1st amendment right to my opinion that MAGA hats (support for a president who has called for ‘Muslim bans’ and settled racism lawsuits as the loser) combined with racial slurs, do indeed indicate white supremacism and trashiness.

    Any effort to sue me for my civic participation in criticizing white supremacism would entitle me to reasonable fees, expenses, and court costs.

    And indeed, just look at what you did. Used a threat of a lawsuit to shut down criticism of Donald Trump. You have done this several times.

    You’re happily blasting this guy’s name to Streisand effect him (note that I don’t use his name, partly because I’m not an a-hole, and partly because I don’t actually care about that particular story anymore). You actually hope to harm him, because he’s a pawn you are trading for the effect you want: less criticism of Dear Leader Trump.

    You are a fascist.

    Dustin (504bb1)

  157. @154. Loyalty is a one way street with him when it comes to staff, too– and given Boeing’s mess, I won’t be surprised to see Nikki hit the silk from their BoD – if she’s given safe spot to land- so after a Senate trial, Pence could suddenly want to “spend more time with his family” and she makes a soft landing on the term two ticket, makes it all nice with suburban women and the ethnic crowd. She’s the right age, color and gender to go forward. If she waits and hangs in w/Boeing, her future is toast.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  158. It’s 2019, DCSCA. The American Pastime is playing with our iPhones and gender bits.

    nk (dbc370)

  159. ”You are a fascist.”
    Dustin (504bb1) — 10/29/2019 @ 6:15 pm

    Gee, that escalated quickly.

    Munroe (138863)

  160. Munroe, if the shoe fits…

    You’ve done this several times. If you want to try to shut people up with lawsuit threats, you definitely picked the wrong person. We weren’t even talking about your other favorite victim. We were talking about Trump’s corruption.

    Fascist.

    Dustin (504bb1)

  161. @159. … and Xi Jinping smiled.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  162. He probably just found a jar of honey, DCSCA.

    Dustin (504bb1)

  163. We literally have the transcripts,

    The “transcript” was actually presented as “not a verbatim transcript.” And it had ellipses. Vindaman has given testimony on the omissions represented by the ellipses.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/us/politics/alexander-vindman-trump-ukraine.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

    Radegunda (68077f)

  164. @160 I don’t want to steal your moment but I don’t think that word means what Dustin thinks it means.

    frosty (f27e97)

  165. Nats up 3-2 in the 5th, but I’m smelling a Joe Carter-like walkoff against a bearded lefty (Doolittle?).

    urbanleftbehind (925668)

  166. ”So he really would have to shoot someone on 5th Avenue to justify impeachment?”
    DRJ (15874d) — 10/29/2019 @ 4:09 pm

    You mean Trump, or Kavanaugh? With #NeverTrump, it matters.

    Munroe (138863) — 10/29/2019 @ 5:09 pm

    “NeverTrumpers” (now including Bill Taylor, Alexander Vindman, John Kelly ….) believe that no one should get away with shooting someone on 5th Avenue — and we didn’t vote for the guy who boasted that he could get away with it, and whose lawyer has asserted that he should get away with it as president.

    Trumpists weren’t the least bit offended by Trump’s outrageous boast, and a large portion of his base told a pollster that there was nothing he could do to lose their support. Trumpists apparently have no difficulty changing their standards according to whether it concerns Trump or someone else.

    Radegunda (68077f)

  167. @160 I don’t want to steal your moment but I don’t think that word means what Dustin thinks it means.

    frosty (f27e97) — 10/29/2019 @ 7:03 pm

    I know I know, if I call him a fascist again he’ll sue me and get the government to shut me up.

    Always a winning point of view from you MAGA guys.

    Dustin (504bb1)

  168. Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma.

    Sondland has claimed that, at that point, July 10, he did not know of the connection between Burisma and Hunter Biden.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/sondland-claims-didnt-know-hunter-biden-center-allegations-ukraine

    According to the Washington Post, Sondland will testify that he didn’t know that Hunter Biden was a member of the Ukrainian gas board until after the whistleblower complaint… .During Sondland’s discussions with Giuliani about Ukraine and Burisma, Giuliani never mentioned Biden, the person familiar with Sondland’s testimony told the Post.

    Wa=hat was never mentioned was maybe Hunter Biden. The actual testimony has not been made public yet.

    Vindman could be wrong here or careless about Sondland mentioning both Bidens’ names. He did not accurately describe the July 25, telephone call becas=use he indicated that Trump had demanded that a U.S. citizen be investigated, which he did not. It sounds like Vindman’s testimony is too much affected by later knowledge, or by his lawyer. He actually skips over the telephone call but then mentions the “demand.”

    So this point needs cross-examination.

    Note. I think one of his colleagues places Sundland’s awareness of the connection between Hunter Biden and Burisma as dating from a Sept 7 conversation with Trump, which is before the whistleblower complaint became public.

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  169. @168 This has been a long and winding thread so I might have missed it but no one here threatened to sue you. The closest I saw was a comment about the Covington kid suing you. I don’t think anyone tried to shut you up. I’m always looking forward to more comments.

    I’m trying to find a single correct statement in that comment.

    frosty (f27e97)

  170. I don’t think this thread gave the danger of an Iron Curtain immigrant in the White House, in close proximity to the President and within hearing distance of all kinds of national security secrets, the attention it deserves.

    nk (dbc370)

  171. …not to mention that colonel of Ukrainian descent everybody’s been talking about lately.

    urbanleftbehind (925668)

  172. A three judge panel has stayed the ruling giving Grand Jury testimony to Nadler, thus legitimizing
    the non impeachment inquiry. This is a set back for the phony impeachment thingy.

    The PR coming out to today’s star chamber is terrible for Dems. The optics of Shiffty telling a witness to not answer questions from Republicans, really confirms to the public the Democrats cannot conduct a transparent investigation. Democrats have to do it out of view, and with a stacked deck…because they have no evidence.

    New polling, USA Today/Suffolk shows 36% of registered voters want Dems to impeach and remove President Trump. That’s roughly a 30% drop from last weeks polls. This indicated pollsters are moving to true up the polls to reality. (not even the dems believed 50% wanted to impeach President Trump.)

    Steny Hoyer is hedging tonight about Thursdays impeachment “resolution vote” happening. Sounds like the vote count is getting shaky. If it fails, no judge is going to enforce subpoenas for witnesses or documents. It’s impossible to claim the House is doing an impeachment inquiry, when everytime they have a vote, the vote is NOT to impeach

    iowan2 (9c8856)

  173. 164. Radegunda (68077f) — 10/29/2019 @ 7:00 pm

    The “transcript” was actually presented as “not a verbatim transcript.”

    It’s actually more accurate than it takes credit for and that stateement is probably carried over from earlier years when it was less accurate.

    It was prepared by, first, being run through a computer program that translates voice to text. You may be familiar with this – there are certain telephone answering programs that voice messages into e-mail.

    Then, people who took notes go over it, correcting it based o their notes and memory.

    Finally, a specialist in the area corrects spellings of names and places. All the people involved are not political. The original transcription is not necessarily preserved for long.

    There was at least one spelling mistake in the final version of the transcript that the reviewers did not catch:

    It has Trump saying:

    I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible people.

    That should be:

    They’re incredible people.

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  174. Another thing we have not discussed is the Deep Dictionary conspiracy to eliminate the words “liddle'” and “covfefe”, to rename the hyphen “apostrophe”, and to make the contraction of “they are” “they’re” in place of “their”.

    nk (dbc370)

  175. 164. Radegunda (68077f) — 10/29/2019 @ 7:00 pm

    And it had ellipses. Vindaman has given testimony on the omissions represented by the ellipses.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/us/politics/alexander-vindman-trump-ukraine.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

    I think both of his corrections involve the same ellipsis and one of his corrections is not exactly right.

    Colonel Vindman apparently says that he was one of those people who took notes and supplemented the transcription but that two of his proposed additions were not accepted.

    One is that Trump said “there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption”

    This is plausible. It would probably be a reference to the Biden’s January 23, 2018 speech before the Council on Foreign Relations. I quoted and linked to it in #109 here.

    This could have been said by Trump after the ellipsis BETWEEN the sentences or sentence fragments:

    Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into itt …

    AND

    It sounds horrible to me.

    This kind of makes sense. It makes “sounds horrible” make a lot of sense. That is, what Trump is saying is that what Biden said in the recording sounds horrible to him.

    Adding this in doesn’t make Trump look worse. It makes him look better, in fact. But it would mean that Trump spoke more than two or three) sentences about Biden.

    The other addition that Vindman wanted to make is probably wrong.

    Vindman says that Zelensky specifically mentioning the name “Burisma”

    The transcript has:

    He or she [the new Prosecutor General to be appointed ln September] will look.into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty
    so we will take care of.that and wi11·wotk on the investigation of the case.

    This sounds like actually it was Trump who used the name Burisma, not Zelensky,
    because Zelensky says “you mentioned”

    I was assuming that Zelensky was referring to Giuliani and when he said “you mentioned” he means thew United States in general mentioned – that is Giuliani mentioned it. But this makes sense.

    If Trump mentoned Burisma that would probably be during the same gap in the transcript as the first correction Vindman has.

    If, that is, Trump got the name out correctly!!

    It is possible, though, that Zelensky actually did use the name and the transcript uses a circumlocution. This could be partially because nobody but Vindman recognized the name of the company, and he wasn’t the designated expert on Ukraine for the transcript, and partially because maybe neither one of them got the name Burisma correct.

    Most likely is actually only Trump mentioned it and he may have said the name wrong, besides maybe the transmission being a little unclear at that point. But we’ll need to see and hear actual testimony on that point.

    There’s another thing. Zelensky sounds like he’s speaking slightly imperfect English, but did they use a translator, and if so, who’s words are being transcribed here?

    :

    Sammy Finkelman (db7fea)

  176. ”Munroe and Bored Lawyer and rcocean, if the President can do anything and not be held responsible since halfish of the voters voted for them, what do you believe is the reason for impeachment existing in the Constitution?”
    Nic (896fdf) — 10/29/2019 @ 5:29 pm

    I’ll answer. For a President that fooled everybody, an emergency relief valve. That’s why it takes the majority of the House and 2/3 of the Senate. Very hard to do, unless the will of the voters is very evident, 70-80% of the voters agree. It is very much a political tool with political consequences. President Trump has 90% support of Republicans, and 40+% support of voters,. Numbers better than Obama, and the press was constantly propping him up. The Republican Senate is NOT going to impeach. Not with 90% of Republican voters supporting Trump. That vote would probably give the Senate to Dems with veto proof majority. Plus the House.

    iowan2 (9c8856)

  177. @177 that makes it a politically difficult, which is fair enough and probably wise. I don’t think that is what Munroe, Bored Lawyer, and Rcocean meant, but hopefully they will clarify at some point.

    Nic (896fdf)

  178. The transcript of the July 25, 2019 telephone call also doesn’t always parse sentences correctly, and we also see that Zelensky had the name of the recalled U.S. Ambassador wrong:

    Continuing from: “and wi11 work on the investigation of the case.” (cut and paste from this PDF file seems to introduce errors. That;s why I had “wi11·wotk” I try to correct them, but missed that there)

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Unclassified09.2019.pdf

    I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to µs, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich .

    That should be two sentences with a period after the word “country” Zelensky is talking about Burisma, and asks Trump if he has any more information.

    Also, it’s the Ambassador FROM the United States, (whose name Trump obviously couldn’t remember earlier in the conversation, saying:

    The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that.

    By the way, Trump says “the Ukraine” as we all used to say. But Kiev (technically Kyiv now) makes it a point of its foreign policy that the country should be referred to as “Ukraine” with no “the”

    Holland doesn’t really feel that way about “The Netherlands” or “The Hague” nor do people from “the Bronx.” But here it’s like if we put in the “the” we’re saying it’s not an independent country.,

    Her name was not Ivanovich but (Marie) Yovanovitch. To his credit, Zelensky indicates he’s not sure about her name. But he’s anxious to make Trump happy.

    He not only does his best to supply Trump the name, he also agrees with Trump that she was bad because she did not support his election:

    It was great that you were the first one. who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President· well enough.

    It sure sounds like this is Zelensky speaking not quite good English, and not a translator.

    Sammy Finkelman (0e8c82)

  179. Munroe and Bored Lawyer and rcocean, if the President can do anything and not be held responsible since halfish of the voters voted for them, what do you believe is the reason for impeachment existing in the Constitution?

    Well, how about reading the Constitution? The bases for impeachment and removal are: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    Meaning serious wrongdoing in public office. Someone who got elected, even in a landslide, who took a bribe, should be impeached.

    Someone who bent the rules for political purposes should not. Sadly, that has not been considered impeachable for the last several presidents. Maybe it should, but to remove this one after tolerating the others smacks of hypocrisy and political gamesmanship.

    Here is a thought. There is an election a year away. How about we use the election as a vehicle to deal with these charges. Run against Trump as corrupt, if that is what you think he is.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  180. And the next time a dem president does something wrong, they will say the same thing you just said. NIMBY, not my guy, don’t start with my side.

    Nic (896fdf)

  181. The name of the whistleblower has leaked.

    In fact it leaked yesterday, and so far while not conformed, it hasn’t been denied either.

    Republicans asked witnesses about him by name in the hearings, but Schiff wants to scrub the references to him from any released transcripts.

    https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2019/10/30/whistleblower_exposed_close_to_biden_brennan_dnc_oppo_researcher_120996.html

    He is 33-year old CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, a holdover from the Obama administration, who previously worked for Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, and is reportedly very vocal against Trump.

    He’s also reported to have opposition research on Trump during the 2016 election. That wouldn’t mean he is wrong because a partisan would be most likely to complain. He left the NSC back in 2017.

    Sammy Finkelman (b1f8c4)

  182. @182 If that’s true it would explain the desire to whitewash the whole whistleblower situation.

    frosty (f27e97)

  183. ”If that’s true it would explain the desire to whitewash the whole whistleblower situation.”
    frosty (f27e97) — 10/31/2019 @ 11:30 am

    Who the whistleblower is doesn’t matter. He’s irrelevant.

    If he were a decorated veteran with a Purple Heart who’s family fled tyranny, then it would matter.

    Munroe (f5f3f1)

  184. Right, because in one case we’re asked to believe their testimony and in the other we are not.

    Time123 (f46167)

  185. https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/31/nsc-official-tim-morrison-to-schiff-i-was-not-concerned-that-anything-illegal-was-discussed-in-trump-ukraine-phone-call

    This goes over again that the Ukrainians did not know the aid was withheld until August 28, but links that awareness to a statement by Adam Schiff rather than a Politico article.

    Sammy Finkelman (b1f8c4)

  186. 184 185. Conservative media made something out of the fact that Vindman wore, not just his uniform (for a closed hearing in the basement) but his dress uniform, with the medals and everything, including some medals that are rarely, if ever, worn, and then didn’t take the shortest route to the entrance but was sort of paraded around so he could be photographed. He really did take steps to enhance his credibility probably on somebody’s advice. I consider this silliness.

    Meanwhile a former National Security Council official is suing to get acourt to tell im whom he listen to: The House subpoena, or the president who said he can;t be subpoeaned, and he has the same lawyerr ad John Bolton, wh may join the case.

    Sammy Finkelman (b1f8c4)


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