Patterico's Pontifications

11/21/2019

The Left, The Right, And Impeachment

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:57 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Read the “claims” first, then consider whether both things can be true at the same time:

It is quite possible that both sides are acting out of narrow self-interest, political opportunism, and motives that might be considered corrupt in a moral sense if not in a strictly legal one. But the Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power to impeach the president, not the other way around. It probably would have been better to let the electorate decide this question at the polls in 2020, but that is not what Democrats have chosen to do. The unwisdom of that decision does not magic away the record of the Trump administration in regard to Ukraine, which, depending on your politics, is either one of actionable corruption or one of incompetence that is as thuggish as it is cartoonish. John Bolton was too kind to describe this caper as a “drug deal.” The thing about organized crime is, it’s organized.

–Dana

34 Responses to “The Left, The Right, And Impeachment”

  1. Heh:

    Both sides can be acting disreputably at the same time, and, in Washington, both sides often are.

    Dana (cb74ca)

  2. The Democrats would be trying to impeach Trump in any case, therefore the impeachment effort is illegitimate.

    I don’t see how this is a reasonable claim.

    The ten attempts to obstruct justice documented in the Mueller report would have provided a more than adequate pretext for impeachment, if “the Democrats would be trying to impeach Trump in any case”.

    But they did not try to impeach Trump on that basis despite winning the House in an anti-Trump wave election and gaining the necessary majority to do so. It was only when even *more* clear-cut, indefensible corruption and election-tampering came to light that they decided to proceed.

    What actually happened is that the Democrat leadership applied a threshold test to Trump’s criminality. Ten documented attempts to obstruct justice did not exceed it; smoking gun evidence of withholding military aid to coerce an important friendly regional power into intervening in the presidential election on his behalf did.

    One can agree or disagree with that threshold, but it is indisputable that there was a level of criminality at which they did not impeach, so it is demonstrably untrue that “the Democrats would be trying to impeach Trump in any case”.

    Dave (1bb933)

  3. Democrats in congress were forced into impeachment by clintonista wing of base with trump derangement syndrome as they would join AOC/sanders wing of base in primaring establishment democrats congress. minorities would be the swing vote in some districts looking after their own interests as they watch the civil war in democrat party.

    asset (dfe518)

  4. Just wanted to note that longtime Patterico reader, commenter and fan Bradley J. Fikes left us today. Like our host, a good pal of the late Cathy Seipp: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/science/story/2019-11-21/beloved-union-tribune-biotech-writer-bradley-j-fikes-dies-at-62?fbclid=IwAR1AZb2g2ZLFVhUjXQvjpej0rSI68_rSfqkLmKY7iY0jwnllL9pnoraquzE

    Luke Thompson (e35e3b)

  5. Democrats have been attempting to impeach any republican president for decades. Now never trump rinos have been sucked into the hole of corruption. Loving it. Just ordered my schiff shirt.

    mg (8cbc69)

  6. Impeachment: Because Schiff happens

    Gryph (08c844)

  7. Mr. Putin you are the man of my dreams.
    So?
    After the election I will have more flexibility.
    Ok. Then bring a bar of soap.
    A bar of soap?
    Yes, you can be my little puppet in the shower.
    Of course, Mr. Putin that would be splendid. Should I wear anything special?
    Just your Kenyan birthday suit.

    Saw this somewhere and had a laugh.

    mg (8cbc69)

  8. @7 it sounds like the SNL skit with trump and putin in the shower. that was a good one.

    Time123 (797615)

  9. Is that picture of our 2017 Presidential inauguration or of the 1984 Soviet Politburo? They are ooold!

    nk (dbc370)

  10. So what happened to the two selling points for Trump in 2016 for people who did not hate Mexicans and Muslims, to wit,
    1. He’s a billionaire so he won’t be susceptible to bribes or graft; and
    2. He will be under intense scrutiny all the time?

    They sure both fell by the wayside fast. On the first one, the Fifth Avenue 4-F is still grubbing for pennies for his failing properties while whining about how much money he’s losing as President; and on the second, it’s “Wachoo tryina do, overturn the election?”.

    nk (dbc370)

  11. @4 –

    RIP, BBJF.

    Matador (39e0cd)

  12. They sure both fell by the wayside fast. On the first one, the Fifth Avenue 4-F is still grubbing for pennies for his failing properties while whining about how much money he’s losing as President; and on the second, it’s “Wachoo tryina do, overturn the election?”.

    Our verpy-foopter-in-chief is like all three stooges rolled into one: Moe’s mean-spiritedness and mindless aggression, Larry’s self-pity and incompetence, and Curly’s vulgarity and proud ignorance.

    Dave (1bb933)

  13. 8- Whats snl?
    Was that the show Belushi was on?

    mg (8cbc69)

  14. ’One can agree or disagree with that threshold, but it is indisputable that there was a level of criminality at which they did not impeach, so it is demonstrably untrue that “the Democrats would be trying to impeach Trump in any case”.‘
    Dave (1bb933) — 11/21/2019 @ 11:57 pm

    Wow. Great news for Kavanaugh.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  15. Forest and trees, mg. Obama’s back-channel (pun at your pleasure) was with the absolute leader, of the other world super-power, on the highest matters of state.

    The Fifth Avenue Fake-Out’s back channel (pun as you will) is with another entertainer elected president, of a second-rate Soviet bloc remnant, regarding petty political chicanery.

    nk (dbc370)

  16. RIP sweet Bradley Fikes. I only “knew” him in the comments here but he was wonderful to talk to. My condolences to his sisters.

    DRJ (15874d)

  17. Shocked about Bradley Fikes. I had the pleasure of hanging out with him a very long time ago, and I can confirm that his obituary is a perfect reflection of him. Dying of natural causes at 61 is dying far too young.

    Dana (cb74ca)

  18. 5. Democrats have been attempting to impeach any republican president for decades. Now never trump rinos have been sucked into the hole of corruption.

    Was it “corruption” when Republicans impeached Bill Clinton? When Republicans held investigations and hearings into the Obama administration? Or is impeachment “corrupt” only when it goes the other way?

    More likely: in the loyal Trumpist view, the very definition of “corruption” is to oppose Donald Trump in any way, however slight.

    It’s bizarre that anyone could see Trump as the one reliably honest public servant in D.C., so that any other elected official or political appointee or (horrors!) career bureaucrat is painted as treacherous and corrupt merely by saying something unflattering about Trump. And any conservative pundit who criticizes Trump is either trying to win favor with the libs, or too weak-minded to resist brainwashing by the MSM, while the AlwaysTrumpers see the truth with crystal clarity, viz., “Trump is always right.”

    That’s the thinking I see regularly in pro-Trump-world.

    Radegunda (51e6d7)

  19. That’s the thinking I see regularly in pro-Trump-world.

    I’m not sure “thinking” is really the right word…

    Dave (1bb933)

  20. Yesterday I saw a lawyer boasting that he hasn’t paid much attention to the hearings because he knew everything he needed to know about the “Ukraine hoax” after reading the “transcript” of the Trump-Zelensky call.

    No curiosity about the ellipses in the “transcript,” or about any other conversations or actions that would provide context.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I assume that a defense attorney would want to be prepared to deal with any evidence that might be damaging to his client, and that any lawyer would understand the imperative. But here was a lawyer basically saying: “I’ve seen something that I think can be interpreted as showing no guilt on Trump’s part, so I won’t look at anything else.”

    Radegunda (51e6d7)

  21. More from the Wizard of Oz America:

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-trump-claims-he-is-preventing-hong-kong-from-being-obliterated-by-china-today-2019-11-22

    President Trump claimed that he is preventing Hong Kong from being “obliterated” by China, saying that he told Chinese President Xi Jinping not to send soldiers into Hong Kong because it would affect ongoing trade negotiations with the U.S.

    “If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would’ve been obliterated in 14 minutes,” Trump said in a wide-ranging interview with “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning. He added that Xi has “got a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren’t going in only because I asked him, ‘Please don’t do that, it’s going to make a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal.'”

    There may actually even be some truth to this.

    But Trump didn’t need to say this to China. It goes without saying. On second thought, maybe Trump did need to say this.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  22. 20. If you properly read the transcript, you would see why Trump withheld the aid:

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

    Trump speaks of bad people still active in Ukraine that the recalled Ambassador was close to and that Zelensky is surrounding himeself with some of the same people who did things in 2016, and says Rudy will explain.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  23. Aren’t you tired of being manipulated by these two major parties yet? Parties which fewer and fewer voters actually belong to?

    Censure proceeding should have been initiated the day after Helsinki. But the Ds and Rs did nothing but cultivate self-interests.

    Now we have this mess– and nothing is getting done. A pox on both these parties.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  24. 22. “Bad people” in Trumpworld means people who somehow displease Trump.

    The recalled ambassador was known for actually caring about corruption.
    There is no evidence that Trump cares about corruption in any other country. Nor does he care about it in Ukraine, because what he wanted was a public announcement by Zelensky that H. Biden was being investigated. The aid was eventually released not because an investigation was being done, but because Trump knew the scheme was being exposed.

    And by the way: Was the president’s personal lawyer running a shadow foreign policy, which confused the people at State who had a different understanding of policy based on what was openly declared?
    Or was Rudy only representing his client in a private capacity? Which means that the withholding of aid and the pressure on Zelensky about an investigation was not being done in the national interest.

    Radegunda (51e6d7)

  25. President Trump claimed that he is preventing Hong Kong from being “obliterated” by China, saying that he told Chinese President Xi Jinping not to send soldiers into Hong Kong because it would affect ongoing trade negotiations with the U.S.

    “If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would’ve been obliterated in 14 minutes,” Trump said in a wide-ranging interview with “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning. He added that Xi has “got a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren’t going in only because I asked him, ‘Please don’t do that, it’s going to make a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal.’

    ”There may actually even be some truth to this.

    If there is truth to it, and Trump did stop him from “obliterating” Hong Kong, what does it say about the president counting President Xi as an “incredible guy” and “good friend”?? What does it say that the trade deal is what compelled him to not obliterate Hong Kong, and not the possible deaths of untold masses of people??

    Dana (cb74ca)

  26. @22

    Sammy, your conclusion could be the accurate one. Or it could be that this was an abuse of power with Rudy as the cut out. There’s been a lot of evidence introduced that the people on the ground thought it was the later.

    If it’s the former I expect to see some evidence to support it and so far there hasn’t been any.

    Time123 (6e0727)

  27. What a very unpleasant surprise to hear about the death of Bradley J. Fikes. I remember how he kept Cathy Seipp’s blog going after her death. The guy had such an endearing personality. Even though he was a science reporter, he kept an open mind on the issue of global warming. Dana is right. Much too young.

    norcal (eec1aa)

  28. If there is truth to it, and Trump did stop him from “obliterating” Hong Kong, ….

    1. Everything good that happens is only because of Trump.
    2. Everything bad that happens was done by somebody who hates Trump.
    3. Everything bad that doesn’t happen is because Trump prevented it from happening.

    Radegunda (51e6d7)

  29. There is no truth to it. The daffodil is a coward, a liar, and a betrayer, and no foreign leader has any respect for him or cares what he has to say about anything because his words are worth less than dog vomit.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. Mr. Williamson has a smart perspective.

    Paul Montagu (00daa1)

  31. n k @10:

    So what happened to the two selling points for Trump in 2016 for people who did not hate Mexicans and Muslims, to wit,

    1. He’s a billionaire so he won’t be susceptible to bribes or graft;

    He isn’t susceptible to bribes or graft, despite attempts by some to find ways that could be getting money, but that’s not the only thing that can cause someone to do wrong things: There is also political gain or preservation, or legal jeopardy. (the latter of which is probably not a big consideration for Trump, since his lawyers probably assure him, all is OK.)

    I don’t think the money matters, and there’s nothing to show he did anything for money. He likes to point out that he and his family have less money because he is president.

    Not having monetary interests doesn’t mean he doesn’t have political interests, and that can be considered a form of corruption, and in some people, can get pretty bad.

    Note: While his wealth tends to rule out a lot of need to raise money, Trump did begin raising money from other people after he had secured the nomination.

    Gordon Sondland bought himself an ambassadorship, although not a very prestigious or important one.

    While he supported other candidates during he primaries, he might have begun contributing before the election, but apparently the big thing is his contribution to the inauguration, mostly or entirely in the form of buying overpriced tickets.

    Someone else bought himself an ambassadorship in the Bahamas, but he didn’t get confirmed:

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/doug-manchester-possible-pay-to-play-scheme-for-ambassador-role-in-trump-administration-uncovered/

    But ambassadorships are the very first things to be sold, because they’re considered non-policy making positions, and in some cases, ambassadors spend their own money on entertainment and redecorating so they need to be rich to do the best possible job.

    2. He will be under intense scrutiny all the time.

    He is under intense scrutiny all the time, but being under intense scrutiny doesn’t mean he won’t try anything, but just that he won’t succeed in doing anything corrupt.

    Sammy Finkelman (2f76f3)

  32. 26. Time123 (6e0727) — 11/22/2019 @ 12:05 pm@22

    Sammy, your conclusion could be the accurate one. Or it could be that this was an abuse of power with Rudy as the cut out. There’s been a lot of evidence introduced that the people on the ground thought it was the later.

    If it’s the former I expect to see some evidence to support it and so far there hasn’t been any.

    It has to be the former – something very general and not specific about the Ukrainian government.

    the people on the ground thought it was investigations tat they were supposed to hear from Rudy about, and not mainly personnel, as Trump probably expected, because Trump was probably not in very regular contact with Rudy and we can see that also by the lack of follow-up on his part.

    Trump never told anybody, including Mulvaney (according to his public statenents) any specific reason he was suspending the military aid. As far as we know Rudy Giuliani didn’t even know it was suspended.

    Nor did Trump refuse to have a phone call or meet with Zelensky until there were investigations. He had the phone call on July 25, and in the phone call they agree they will meet. (maybe he thouht Zelensky had already met the conditions for a meeting)

    Nor did Trump, or anyone else, even tell the Ukrainians that the military aid was on hold. Only after it became public did Sondland try to tie it in to investigations – and he was still guessing as to what was going on.

    Sondland asked Trump about a quid pro quo and Trump said no, and before that Senator Ron Johnson had had gotten the same answer. Trump, I think, was still focused on the idea that Zelensky should have the right people in his government, but Sondland didn’t catch that because he wasn’t familiar with what had been included in the campaign against the Ambassador Marie Yovanovich.

    Trump probably expected Rudolph Giuliani to explain who were the bad people whom Zelensky should not have in his government, but if Rudy even mentioned anything like that, he didn’t focus on that. Rudy did not name names, as Trump expected. He had already delivered a package of material to the State Department – he had a hard time doing it – Mike Pompeo avoided receiving it, but he finally delivered it through an aide to Trump.

    And besides those people were probably not associated with Zelensky. The “bad” people that Marie Yovanovich had associated with were not very important any more (if they ever were) in Ukraine, or closely connected to Zelensky. So no need for Rudy to mention them.

    Trump was not up to date on that.

    By late July, after the Ambassador was gone and after there was a new president, and Rudy could see that the “bad people” were not surrounding him, Rudy was instead focused on things – things not people – that ought to be looked into by the new Ukrainian government:

    1) Whatever the theory or theories are about Crowdstrike and about servers taken to Ukraine, (and Trump probably had other sources besides Rudy but thought it was true and therefore Rudy would know all, even what he didn’t get from Rudy.)

    2) Joe Biden supposedly stopping an investigation (probably of a company, although Trump has said that Joe Biden stopped an investigation of Biden’s son himself.)

    Sammy Finkelman (2f76f3)

  33. 25. Dana (cb74ca) — 11/22/2019 @ 12:02 pm

    If there is truth to it, and Trump did stop him from “obliterating” Hong Kong, what does it say about the president counting President Xi as an “incredible guy” and “good friend”??

    Either that Trump is liar (about thinking that Xi Jingpin is an incredible guy) but like many people who tell a lie, doesn’t consider how that impacts everything else he says (in this case that the “incredible guy” would have killed many people) or he thinks a government killing people isn’t too bad, and only means that somebody is a “tough guy.”

    What does it say that the trade deal is what compelled him [Xi] to not obliterate Hong Kong, and not the possible deaths of untold masses of people??

    The Chinese dictatorship cares about GDP but not human rights. This is actually the conventional wisdom.

    Actually the Sinkiang papers show that even that can’t stop them.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/china-xinjiang-documents.html

    The crackdown encountered doubts and resistance from local officials who feared it would exacerbate ethnic tensions and stifle economic growth. Mr. Chen responded by purging officials suspected of standing in his way, including one county leader who was jailed after quietly releasing thousands of inmates from the camps….

    An official named Wang Yongzhi was appointed to run Yarkand…But privately, Mr. Wang had misgivings, according to the confession that he later signed, which would have been carefully vetted by the party.

    He was under intense pressure to prevent an outburst of violence in Yarkand, and worried the crackdown would provoke a backlash…. He also worried that the mass detentions would make it impossible to record the economic progress he needed to earn a promotion.

    The leadership had set goals to reduce poverty in Xinjiang. But with so many working-age residents being sent to the camps, Mr. Wang was afraid the targets would be out of reach, along with his hopes for a better job.

    They were arresting so many people, it was affecting economic statistics, but the goals he had to meet for the economy didn’t change. So he released a lot of people from detention – but got caught.

    Sammy Finkelman (2f76f3)

  34. 32: SF: Sondland asked Trump about a quid pro quo and Trump said no,

    Actually, Sondland was at pains to note that he asked an open ended question: What did he want from Ukraine? Trump said he wanted nothing – he just wanted Zelensky to do the right thing and carry out (the reform platform) what he ran on.

    Of course, you can argue that by this point it was public knowledge, and he had already told Senatr Ron Johnson that he wold like his decision about aid.

    The Pentagon had warned in August that it might not be possible to spend all the money appropriated by the end of the fiscal year, and they’d be in danger of violating the Impoundment Control Act. (in order not to do it they had to notify Congress and ten get Congress to go along)

    As it is, testimony last week by Laura Cooper was that they managed to get 88% of the money out the door between Sept 11 and Sept 30. The rest was not lost – it was re-appropriated in the continuing resolution.

    Sammy Finkelman (1a8726)

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