Patterico's Pontifications

12/10/2019

The Democrats Are Blowing the Impeachment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am



How? By not introducing (at least so far) an article of impeachment based on Trump’s obstruction of justice as described in the Mueller report. In particular, telling Don McGahn to fire Mueller, and to prepare a false document denying that Trump gave that order.

The following are arguments that Republicans have made, and will make again in the Senate, against impeachment based on the Ukraine matter:

  • The investigation was begun by partisans, and not by an outside counsel.
  • The acts complained of do not amount to statutory crimes.
  • There is no first-hand witness to the events whose account has been made public.
  • There is an arguable national purpose to the actions that does not relate to President Trump personally.

I’m not saying they are good arguments. The first is irrelevant. The second is irrelevant and indeed laughable, given the Founders’ concerns about abuse of presidential power. The third is a joke because we have the transcript, I mean the summary, of the call. And the fourth depends on the notion that Trump deeply cared about corruption in Ukraine — but only corruption related to two individuals, a father and a son, and only after the father became his chief political opponent.

But these arguments would be even harder to make about the obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report. The investigation was done by a special counsel, investigating and finding substantial evidence of statutory violations. McGahn is a firsthand witness and we know what he told Mueller. And telling McGahn to lie has no plausible public justification.

Nothing would change if this article of impeachment were introduced, of course. The Republican hacks in the Senate would vote to acquit on this charge too. But they’d look like even bigger fools doing so than they already will. And there is no reason to give Trump a pass on the egregious behavior outlined in the Mueller report.

Well. They didn’t ask me.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

182 Responses to “The Democrats Are Blowing the Impeachment”

  1. Why ask you when they have focus groups to tell them what the crime was (“bribery” didn’t test well) and investigators giving tens of thousands to Dem campaigns and tweeting that the pee tape was true to make sure that they act impartially and stick to the facts?

    harkin (337580)

  2. Mueller’s stellar performance before Congress must’ve been inspiring.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  3. There is an arguable national purpose to the actions that does not relate to President Trump personally.

    That’s why the Democrats say that neither Donald Trump nor Rudy Giuliani actually believed the charges against Biden in regard to Burisma, and that they only wanted an announcement but not an actual Ukrainian investigation.

    They made a claim yesterday that on July 19, Giuliani agreed with Kurt Volker that the allegations against Biden were false. That’s not my impression and I don’t know what that’s based on. It’ll undoubtedly come up again.

    Now it is true that in the end, Gordon Sondland was only asking for an announcement but that could not have been, and was not, Trump’s aim in the beginning (or in the end)

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  4. Now it is true that in the end, Gordon Sondland was only asking for an announcement but that could not have been, and was not, Trump’s aim in the beginning (or in the end)

    What do you base that conclusion on?

    Time123 (a7a01b)

  5. The investigation was begun by partisans, and not by an outside counsel.

    I think we’ will just hear the first art of that sentence. According to Republicans, the alternative to a partisan impeachment process is support from members of both parties, not outside counsel. Or at least letting members of the other party call their own witnesses.

    The acts complained of do not amount to statutory crimes.

    I’m not sure that Trump’s lawyers will, in the end, make that claim, and if they do, it’ll just annoy the Senators. That’s been effectively rebutted. And as Chuck Todd said on Meet the Press, the impeachment clause was written before there were any federal laws. It might also be added that treason was defined in the constitution, indicating that if it hadn’t been defined, a more expansive definition might exist.

    There is no first-hand witness to the events whose account has been made public.

    Nothing about Trump’s intent besides the telephone calls and Gordon Sondland, and Sondland aditted he was guessing.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  6. I wonder if Mueller knows what FusionGPS is yet.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  7. Republicans are “hacks” for not giving this sideshow the time of day, but no negative remarks about the sham being presented in the House.

    Sigh. 2024 will get here eventually.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  8. I don’t look forward to President Warren telling the Chicoms that she’s very concerned about some of their companies bribing members of congress through their family members. That’s all she’ll say. Soon a close associate of hers who doesn’t have official authority but is known to be close to her will suggest that they take a look at some GOP senator’s kids. (I think Mitch’s does business with China). A few weeks later she’ll tell her to team to stop talking about Tariffs with China. Her associate will let the Chicom’s know that President Warren doesn’t feel like she can proceed with the trade talks while this bribery could hangs over the relationship.

    Warren’s smarter than Trump and better at the details. So she’ll have some memo’s and emails that appear to substantiate this as a legitimate concern within her administration and the DOJ. They’re smart so they’ll fabricate the paper trail ahead of the events.

    The GOP will complain that going outside of the US justice system like this is wrong (they will be correct, it IS wrong) but democrats won’t care, the current situation with Ukraine will have taught them that they can get away with this type of thing.

    And this will suck because Warren is brutal enough to use this to accomplish policy goals I think are terrible. And also because it’s wrong.

    But I won’t feel badly for the GOP, because they have a chance to stand up for rule of law and stop this type of thing. They can even do it without removing Trump from office. After the house passes impeachment the senate can hold the trial and if there’s no evidence to change the current conclusions they can censure Trump and leave him in office stating that because the abuse of power was ultimately unsuccessful it merits censure but not removal from office. They can also make clear that successfully abusing the power of the office in this way would justify removal.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  9. @6 Based on the latest IG report this is an even dumber comment than usual. The Russia investigation predated the Steel Dossier. The CH investigation was also not based on Steel’s work.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  10. I think that the Democrats are pushing this as quickly as possible because America’s attention span in this fast-paced world is very short. They need that attention to have any chance of success in the Senate.

    And then there is the election. The closer that gets, the public may well see this as unnecessary even if they agree with removal.

    noel (f22371)

  11. [A mere announceent] could not have been, and was not, Trump’s aim in the beginning (or in the end)

    3. Time123 (a7a01b) — 12/10/2019 @ 8:32 am

    What do you base that conclusion on?

    Everything.

    Look at this, in the July 25 call:

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

    I would like you to get to the bottom of it [2016 events] they say a lot of it [what ended up as the Mueller investigation] started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that· you. do it if that’s possible. .. a lot of people want to find out about that </b ….I will have Mr.Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. probably referring mostly to Biden and Burisma]

    Zelinksy: I also wart to ensure [sic] you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation.

    Zelinsky also said earlier:

    …the next Prosecutor General will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start. as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. [Then he argues this is actually independently important to Ukraine, even without being asked] The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issui of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and wlll work on the investigation of the case.

    None of this makes sense if there’s no real investigation in store.

    As I said, this, the fact that Ukraine add already agreed by July 25 to do these investigations, which was finally noticed by counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, raises the question of why Ukraine in the end, did not start or announce these investigations. And that’s because Acting Ambassador William Taylor cautioned them that they needed to maintain bi-partisan support in he United States. I am not sure I have a good ready citation for that right now.

    But there is this fro instance

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/22/us/politics/william-taylor-ukraine-testimony.html

    On September 5, I hosted Senators Johnson and Murphy for a visit to Kyiv. During their visit, we met with President Zelenskyy. His first question to the senators was about the withheld security assistance. My recollection of the meeting is that both senators stressed that bipartisan support for Ukraine in Washington was Ukraine’s most important strategic asset and that President Zelenskyy should not jeopardize that bipartisan support by getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics.

    I had been making (and continue to make) this point to all of my Ukrainian official contacts…

    So that;s why Ukraine stepped back from these investigations.

    A second question on this [that Ukraine had already agreed on July 25] is: If Trump already got what he waned why was he withholding the aid?

    And the answer is, he was not holding it hostage to investigations, but rather, to issues of personnel in the Ukrainian government, which he mentions in the call but nearly everybody passes over that.

    Trump probably expected Giuliani to tell them who was naughty and nice (the bad people were the same people who he believed had acted against Trump in 2016) but Giuliani didn’t because he had already done so I think. So Giuliani only talked to the 3 amigos about the investigations he wanted done.

    Now as for that Trump in early September still wanted real investigations, not just anouncements of them.

    Two days later, on September 7, I had a conversation with Mr. Morrison in which he described a phone conversation earlier that day between Ambassador Sondland and President Trump. Mr. Morrison said that he had a “sinking feeling” after learning about this conversation from Ambassador Sondland. According to Mr. Morrison, President Trump told Ambassador Sondland that he was not asking for a “quid pro quo.” But President Trump did insist that President Zelenskyy go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelenskyy should want to do this himself.

    The investigations, not the announcement!!

    Why should Zelensky want by himself just to make an announcement without doing an actual investigation??

    Is that the way to interpret Trump’s words? (as cited by Taylor as cited by Morrison, as cited by Sondland, as backed up by Morrison’s notes.)

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  12. The text of the articles of impeachment includes this related to Obstruction, so perhaps past acts (including acts addressed in the Mueller report) can be introduced:

    These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous efforts to undermine United States Government investigations into foreign interference in United States elections.

    DRJ (15874d)

  13. The second is irrelevant and indeed laughable, given the Founders’ concerns about abuse of presidential power.

    Nope. There is a serious scholarly debate about what the standard is. Not that either side in the current debate is capable of engaging in that. But it is not simple to say that any “abuse of power” is impeachable.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  14. This impeachment is already blown. The hermetically sealed universe of Fox News, radio talk screamers, and GOP politicians have decided that everybody acts like Trump in foreign policy, so what’s the big deal?

    We will be listening to the same arguments until February. And the GOP will continue to go LaLaLaLaLa, and Hunter Biden and crowdstrike.

    Putin can’t stop grinning. He’s hurting himself by grinning so much.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  15. Zelensky has stopped, for the moment, any inquiry into Burisma:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-president-holds-back-on-probe-linked-to-impeachment-inquiry-11575490990

    Ukraine President Holds Back on Probe Linked to Impeachment Inquiry Politicians, officials say

    Volodymyr Zelensky wants to avoid getting country more caught up in U.S. politics

    By Thomas Grove
    Dec. 4, 2019 3:23 pm ET

    … For the Zelensky administration, Burisma and the allegations around it have become so wound up in U.S. politics that it has decided to hold off taking any actions for now, fearing proceeding would damage Ukraine’s bipartisan support in Washington, according to officials and other politicians.

    “Burisma has become so political, that unlike other similar situations, upholding the rule of law has its costs,” said Igor Novikov, adviser to Mr. Zelensky on U.S. affairs.

    Some members of the House Judiciary Committee seem to get the New York Times, but they don’t look so much at the Wall Street Journal. They’re slow, all of them, and the counsels also, at getting the facts. Becase here we have Zelensly tryin not to antagonize…the Democrats.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  16. #13

    The second is irrelevant and indeed laughable, given the Founders’ concerns about abuse of presidential power.

    Nope. There is a serious scholarly debate about what the standard is. Not that either side in the current debate is capable of engaging in that. But it is not simple to say that any “abuse of power” is impeachable.

    Bored Lawyer (998177) — 12/10/2019 @ 10:04 am

    Indeed.

    They took great pains to distinguish maladministration from “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    Democrats nor anyone on this board has made any convincing arguments that Trump’s actions were of the variety that exceeds maladministration in the context of prior presidential actions.

    Or, is it “now” is the time we ought to redraw the line? If that’s your argument, then I think you’d have a stronger case. Although I would caution you this: Is that what you really want? Or do you despise Trump so much that anything is worth remove/hurting Trump?

    If that’s the new rules, then be prepared to accept the new standards going forward for any elected officials that could be impeached. That rule could be applied to any officials in the executive branch AND the Judiciary.

    You okay with that?

    Do you not see how this could create some serious chaos? Imagine a Democrat House passing article of impeachments on a conservative SCOTUS judge, even if it fails in the Senate. Imagine future cases being “tainted” because this judge would have this “scarlet letter” over the rulings on cases. The danger here would be the legitimacy of the courts.

    Patterico is right that Democrats could’ve added the obstruction of justice section of the Mueller report. Even then, those findings are not a slam dunk and there’s no chance for a removal at the Senate trial.

    So, I have to ask, what is the point?

    If the point is to signal to Trump (and future President) that those specific actions are unacceptable, a failed impeachment is not the way to go as Trump and his supporters would be able to spin that as exoneration and give credence to the “do nothing Democrat” Congress.

    Censure, or defunding POTUS’ pet projects or Senate exerting ‘Advise and Consent’ are all worthy clubs to beat on Trump.

    However, if the point is to lower the standards of impeachment in bad faith so that Trump’s election chances are harmed. I’m not sure if I would do any different here. It could also backfire on Democrats in a major way.

    In closing, I would just ask this: have we really fully scoped out what the future would hold when these new rules are applied to the other foot?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  17. The House has to convince 2/3 or the Senate that Trump has committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors and that his actions are so severe a threat to the Constitutional order that he must be removed from office now rather than by an election in 11 months.

    I think Trump’s defense will be that Ukraine received the aid and the meeting but did not announce or investigate of the Bidens. Both Trump and Zelensky say there was no pressure on Ukraine. According to Rep. Jordan, high ranking Administration officials met with their Ukrainian counterparts while the aid was paused and no one mentioned an investigation. This might not fly in a criminal proceeding, but impeachment is political.

    Stu707 (52fdfe)

  18. The text of the proposed Articles of Impeachment is not too long.

    They were written completely in secret, albeit after discussion among insiders and some discussion with selected members, and sprung on the public.

    The charges are familiar to us.

    The main accusation is that Trump solicited the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations, and to do so, he conditioned two official acts on that: The release of $391 million “in taxpayer funds that Congress had appropriated on a bipartisan basis for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression” and a head of state meeting at the White House.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  19. Trump’s defense is indeed that Ukraine received the aid but that’s and irrelevant defense. Meanwhile the Democrats are accusing him of still wanting these investigations, and meanwhile Trump could accuse the Democrats of wanting to prevent a legitimate one, and intimidating Zelensky into not investigating Burisma. There’s proof of that.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  20. As an aside, whatever “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” means, it is not limited to statutory crimes. At the time of the passing of the Constitution, most crimes were common law crimes, not statutory ones. And while “treason” was defined in the Constitution, Bribery was not. So at minimum well-recognized common law crimes would be included.

    And since Latin is being thrown around so much (quid pro quo), how about that other venerabls Latin phrase, esjudem generis. A legal principle of statutory interpretation that generally means:

    Where a law lists specific classes of persons or things and then refers to them in general, the general statements only apply to the same kind of persons or things specifically listed.

    Applying that, “other high crimes and misdemeanors” would mean defined crimes against the state (that is what “high”) means, not a vague “abuse of power.”

    If someone like Lindsay Graham starts saying esjudem generis, you can all say you heard it here first! :)

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  21. Alexander Podkul
    @apodkul
    Who was a better president:

    Among Republicans (by party id):
    – George Washington 44%
    – Donald Trump 37%

    Among Democrats
    – George Washington 29%
    – Barack Obama 63%

    https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/documents/monmouthpoll_us_121019.pdf/
    __

    harkin (337580)

  22. I agree, Patterico.
    The ten incidences of obstruction of justice in the Mueller report are provable felonies and can easily fall under the category of “Abuse of Power”. The House Dems are being foolish for not attaching the self-contained 440-page report to the Articles of Impeachment. They’re missing a major opportunity, all out of fear of making things too complicated or something.

    Paul Montagu (055027)

  23. Breaking few eggs to make omelettes??

    Bombshell. On the same day Democrats introduce their impeachment articles, a President Zelensky top aide undercuts the Democrats’ star witness, Gordon Sondland. He says Ukraine wasn’t told (and never believed) aid and political investigations were connected.

    Wow. https://t.co/hgS0mN23CC

    — Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) December 10, 2019

    Not that Sondland has had steller credibility to begin with, but remember, Volker was Schiff’s first witness and he also testified there was never a quid pro quo and that Ukrainians had no idea why the aid was frozen.

    Pretty convenient that Democrats didn’t ask for Yermak’s statement…

    whembly (51f28e)

  24. The Democrats Are Blowing The Impeachment

    A weaponized, partisan, impeachment s doomed from the get-go. The objective is to damage- not remove. These clowns should have initiated censure proceedings the day after Helsinki.

    But no.

    They have zero credibility. And listening to those bureaucratic twits crow about their “oaths” was hilarious- particularly w/a trillion dollar-18-year-long-war they’ve lied about, just like Vietnam, still raging; the last time those oath-clutching Congresscritters declared a war was December 8, 1941.

    There’s a joke to be made here some place… “Two Jews, a Catholic and Maxine Waters walk into a room to crucify a Presbyterian…”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  25. 19. I think I heard somewhere before that this pull aside was disputed

    Yermak says that while Sondland did indeed speak to him at the Warsaw meeting (which was held on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, and which Trump was originally going to attend) they were not alone where they could not be overheard, although he doesn’t know if they were, and all they talked about was how the meeting went.

    And he says that Sondland did NOT tell him there that he believed that the release of the security assistance “would likely not occur until Ukraine took some kind of action on the public statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.” (The House Intelligence Committee report was even stronger.)

    I think the claim may be the doing of Sondland’s lawyer. Sondland told that to Taylor, not Yermak on September 1, but the way he says it, it sounds like he might have said that already to the Ukrainians already. Sondland didn’t have enough time to spend with his lawyer.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/22/us/politics/william-taylor-ukraine-testimony.html

    During that [Sept 1] phone call, Ambassador Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelenskyy to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. [I think Sondland has said that wasn’t actually true – he did not hear that from President Trump. It’s possible also Taylor got things a bit wrong, or his notes were wrong, and Sondland never said to Tayor that he personally heard that from Trump. Some days later Sondland indicated he is guessing about what would be sufficient for release of the aid.]

    [continuing]

    Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now [Sept 1] recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelenskyy was dependent on a public announcement of investigations — in fact, Ambassador Sondland said, “everything” was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance.

    So I think Sondland’s lawyer had him telling a Ukrainian that, that day. But it doesn’t mean that he spoke about this matter to any Ukrainian officials by that day. It’s very possible that he only told them that later.

    Notice here also, Sondland doesn’t think that Trump might be asking for a public
    announcement
    of investigations Instead of investigations themselves, but rather Sondland told Taylor Trump wanted to lock them in:

    He said that President Trump wanted President Zelenskyy “in a public box” by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.

    (Note: Ukraine and Sondland had just found out that both knew the aid was on hold.

    Yermak had been concerned because an Aug 28 Politico article seemed to indicate that the reason for the hold was because the Trump Administration was re-evaluating its whole policy vs a vs Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine knew about already about the OMB hold itself through confidential leaks which they couldn’t reveal to U.S. officials without possibly being accused of spying on the U.S.A. All they could do is indicate vague worries.)

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  26. Sohow do you top impeachment today, Donald?

    Meet w/Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, of course. Do hope you’re having Chicken Kiev for dinner, too. Dessert? They’ll throw you chocolate kisses, of course– fresh from the factory in Hershey, PA.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  27. The Whistleb lower complaint has even a phone call between Trump and Zelensky conditional on Zelensky agreeing to “play ball” with regard to investigations – and indeed Zelensky is agreeing to all that in the July 25 call. So maybe that’s something he got right.

    What’s definitely wrong is this notion that Trump didn’t want any actual investigations. SAYING THAT, I THINK, REMOVES THE DEFENSE OF SINCERITY.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  28. This impeachment was to placate the clinton wing of the party who have trump derangement syndrome. the AOC/sanders wing go the party goes along so they can push nancy pelosi over the cliff and take over democrat party from corporate establishment donors.

    asset (0e0929)

  29. DCSCA —

    Censure would have been a pretty meaningless action. (The Congressional way to say “Orange Man Bad”). And the continuing parade of malfeasances large and small would have drowned it out before too long.

    It would have taken Republicans to save us from Trump before the end of his term. They could have done so in any number of ways, but it looks like that approach might be risky to their careers. So they aren’t going to do it.

    At this point, the impeachment looks like battlefield preparation for any loss in 2020. It’s Schiff and them trying to conflate disinformation with an object to persuade voters with actual “the Russkis are hacking in and changing vote totals”. That approach may make bitter old Hillary happy, but really doesn’t help this Democracy much.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  30. Sincerity changes “abuse of power” into “maladministration” if there was, in Trump’s mind, a legitimate basis for asking for these things to be looked into, because then it also removes putting personal interest above the national interest.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  31. Sammy,
    Any evidence introduced under oath? Because if they legitimately wanted an investigation they can easily testify to that effect, and have their claims subjected to cross examination. This business of refuting sworn testimony withe press releases is weak. I’m surprised you’re buying it.

    Time123 (cd2ff4)

  32. I saw Barr today in an interview explain why he has to accompany Durham around the globe in their hunt for Russian conspiracies. He said that they had to ask foreign governments to cooperate. Sounds strangely familiar.

    Isn’t it odd that the Mueller investigation found no conspiracy but the Attorney General is traveling the world to attack the investigation anyway. The FBI Director, the former FBI Director and the IG all have declared it was a legitimate investigation but no… Barr is on it. Very odd.

    noel (f22371)

  33. I think it was Frank Figliuzzi who called Barr’s attempts “shopping for outcomes”.

    Exactly.

    noel (f22371)

  34. Sammy,
    Any evidence introduced under oath? Because if they legitimately wanted an investigation they can easily testify to that effect, and have their claims subjected to cross examination. This business of refuting sworn testimony withe press releases is weak. I’m surprised you’re buying it.

    Time123 (cd2ff4) — 12/10/2019 @ 1:11 pm

    I know you’re belaboring this point, but in the face of bad-faith hearings by the Democrats, you can understand that the Whitehouse didn’t want to make it easy on them (executive privilege is a thing). So, public responses outside of their hearings is all they’ve got.

    I’m surprised you’re giving Democrats that much credibility…

    whembly (fd57f6)

  35. #33

    The FBI Director, the former FBI Director and the IG all have declared it was a legitimate investigation but no… Barr is on it. Very odd.

    noel (f22371) — 12/10/2019 @ 1:13 pm

    There’s a difference between whether nor not the opening of the counter-intel investigation met he low bar versus whether or not it was legitimate.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  36. @35, Then they have nothing worth listening to.

    The hearings were clearly not impartially run, but they were run by the same rules as the last impeachment and the same rules that were in effect before the Dems took power. Refusing to participate seems like a weak excuse. I assume the want to avoid showing that they don’t have exculpatory evidence. Maybe they will present that evidence in the Senate. If so I’ll look at it.

    Time123 (d54166)

  37. #37

    @35, Then they have nothing worth listening to.

    The hearings were clearly not impartially run, but they were run by the same rules as the last impeachment and the same rules that were in effect before the Dems took power. Refusing to participate seems like a weak excuse. I assume the want to avoid showing that they don’t have exculpatory evidence. Maybe they will present that evidence in the Senate. If so I’ll look at it.

    Time123 (d54166) — 12/10/2019 @ 1:37 pm

    They clearly weren’t ran by the same rules as the last impeachment. House Democrats changed the rules to their favor when they passed the impeachment “inquiry”. House Democrats wanted other witnesses to testify that provided exculpatory evidence, but the chairman (Schiff/Nadler) refused.

    Hell, Schiff has kept the ICIG’s testimony locked up in secret because, as Rep. Radcliff mention, included exculpatory evidence.

    The whole process was ran as the proverbial any prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich.

    For all of your complaints of Trump’s obvious abuse of power, it amazes me that you give Congression democrats a pass on theirs.

    whembly (51f28e)

  38. *meant “House Republican wanted…”

    Man, I wished wordpress allows an edit button

    whembly (51f28e)

  39. Heading to Gettysburg for a history lesson.

    mg (8cbc69)

  40. @30. Yes, it would have. At the very least it would have signaled loud and clear that Congress- the supposed co-equal branch of government- wasn’t going to stand for his crap. Instead, they failed to smack him w/a rolled up Fortune then there- so he just kept pooping on the rug.

    They’re a weak and laughable and utterly useless group of gutless paper pushers.
    ____

    Did you catch Schiff’s whine today about ‘waiting’ on getting witnesses and testimony because the courts take too long?? His “argument” boils down to: “the rule of law takes too long and gets in the way of the rule of law.”

    Idiots. Articles of Impeachment…

    “I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers.” – Henry Jones [Sean Connery] ‘Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade’ 1989

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  41. 32. Time123 (cd2ff4) — 12/10/2019 @ 1:11 pm

    Any evidence introduced under oath? Because if they legitimately wanted an investigation they can easily testify to that effect,

    They will, they will, or Giuliani will. In fact, Giuliani still wants an invvestigation.

    The defense of “I blundered” is not there yet, not that anyone is encouraging Trump to say that.

    and have their claims subjected to cross examination. This business of refuting sworn testimony withe press releases is weak. I’m surprised you’re buying it.

    I’m not oaying attention to press releases, although I am, somewhat, to newspaper stoties and interviews.

    Sworn testimny is nor basiically being disputed, but its interpretation is. It is also being rebutted by the call transcript. The current claim that anyone wanted a sham announcement doesn’t have any basis in anything.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  42. I think schiff didn’t want witnesses who would spoil the story. They actually refused to subpoena John Bolton. I think for fear he might have complied with the subpoena. It would have given him some legal cover to talk about things which it could be argued he was obliged to keep confidential.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  43. @23. Pelosi blew it – purposely– 8 months ago. Par for Congress.

    ______

    “Nobody is above the law.” – Nadler. Except, of course, you “can’t” indict a sitting president because— well, just because, eh Jerry?! Such two-faced bull.

    Busy Americans juggling their problems in daily life know how the supposed ‘rule of law’ really operates’ it’s been that way for decades. ‘They’ get the traffic tickets; the ‘Trumps, Schiffs, Pelosis and Nadlers’ get a warning- and limo service.

    Felicity Huffman did more time than Donald Trump ever will– or Richard Nixon ever did.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. The current claim that anyone wanted a sham announcement doesn’t have any basis in anything.

    except for sworn testimony.

    “I never heard anyone say that the investigations had to start, or had to be completed. The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise, was that they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing.”

    Would love to see something under oath and backed by corroborating information to refute this.

    Got anything?

    Time123 (d54166)

  45. Pelosi reminded me of Joan Crawford giving an inebriated interview back in 68.

    mg (8cbc69)

  46. Whembly i don’t have a lot of time to respond, but here’s an article from USA today, written by a lawyer that worked for Ken Starr on the Clinton impeachment.

    He breaks it down into detail but here’s his conclusion.

    In the end then, the true measure of the fairness of the process lies not in the complaints of the Republican Party, but rather in an objective assessment of precisely what the Democrats have proposed. And by that measure, they have done a reasonable job

    I’m not saying they’re running an impartial inquiry. I’m saying they’re running one fair enough that it doesn’t justify refusing to participate.

    Obama stone walled too much in resisting oversight on F&F and the IQS audit fiasco. Ultimately we weren’t able to prove anything impeachable, but the investigations (especially F&F) showed horrible behavior, the maladministration you spoke of before. There’s value in that. Trump is making the stone walling worse. The next president will make it worse yet and at some point oversight will be completely gone. This is bad for limited government. I don’t think the house is being ‘fair’ to Trump. I think they’re out to get him. I’m OK with that. I was OK with the House being out to get Obama over the IRS audits and being out to get Obama over F&F.

    I don’t have time to research if Ratcliff is credible. I noted that a lot of the claims made about closed testimony turned out to be false when the testimony was eventually published. That makes me skeptical about their claims.

    Time123 (d54166)

  47. ’I think it was Frank Figliuzzi who called Barr’s attempts “shopping for outcomes”.
    Exactly.’
    noel (f22371) — 12/10/2019 @ 1:18 pm

    That’s only supposed to work in one direction — eh, noel?

    The three year shopping spree didn’t get you the outcome you wanted. Must’ve been on Santa’s naughty list.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  48. Wonkette on the hearing yesterday:

    https://www.wonkette.com/insert-clever-impeachment-headline-here-an-impeachment-hearing-liveblog

    It’sa god reminder of what went on.

    Let me comment on one thingg from it

    12:41: And now Castor wants us to believe that Rudy Giuliani was not working on behalf of Donald Trump. Under the bus you go, Rudy! And that Trump couldn’t have fired Marie Yovanovitch for corrupt purposes after a smear campaign led by Giuliani and his chucklefxxxxx Lev and Igor, because if he did that, why did he replace him with a good American like Bill Taylor?

    Well, what’s her answer to that? It needs an answer. It can’t just be ignored. It does have a answer but she doesn’t know it.

    I’ll give you the answer:

    The purpose of the removal was not any grand strategy to place Sondland, Volker and Perry in charge of U.S.-Ukraine relations (as was claimed)

    It was rather, that Trump was believing the slander, but in many other respects, he was not paying muxh attention. He is somewhat inept as an executive. So she could be replaced by somebody good.

    Mike Pompeo pulled her out of there before Trump could fire her. After about a month, Mike Pompeo got somebody else good in, but not as an Ambassador so Trumo wouldn’t have to approve. (Trump had also had the idea that she was gone sometime before she actually was.)

    The slander campaign against Marie Yovanovich wss mostly, I think, because she was stymieing what some corrupt people wanted to do. The slander was keyed to Trump. So she was associzting with people who had worked aaginst Trump in 2016 or she refused to hang Trumpp’s portrait or whatever it was. Not too much detail has seeped into the news coverage.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  49. Nothing would change if this article of impeachment were introduced, of course. The Republican hacks in the Senate would vote to acquit on this charge too.

    As the legendary chess grandmaster Jose Raul Capablanca once observed, “There are no wrong moves from a losing position.”

    Dave (050ab0)

  50. “I never heard anyone say that the investigations had to start, or had to be completed. The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise, was that they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing

    But Sondland said to Taylor that (at least he thought) that the idea was to lcck Zelinsky in.

    What more could Giuliani hae asked for? You couldn’t wait a year or two for the results. It doesn’t mean that he didn’t care about getting an actual investigation.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  51. good funny, Sammy.

    mg (8cbc69)

  52. I had the same reaction the OP did to the impeachment draft. Omitting the two McGahn-related acts seems like a tactical blunder. (Other acts of obstruction detailed by Mueller were also impeachable IMO, but adding them to the indictment wouldn’t strengthen the overall case like the McGahn acts would.)

    It did give me pause to learn that neither Noah Feldman nor Orin Kerr, both of whom I find extraordinarily informed and reasonable, supported impeachment until Ukraine. What I don’t know is whether they think the McGahn events merit inclusion now that Ukrainegate cleared their overall threshhold for removing a President, or whether for some reason they just don’t believe anything that happened before Ukraine is impeachable at all.

    Anyway, unless and until I hear a persuasive counter-argument, I agree with the OP that omitting the McGahn counts is an unforced error.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  53. I know that our esteemed host believes that the Mueller Report was a slam dunk on obstruction of justice, and thought that Mr Mueller should have said so. But it has become obvious that the Democrats, the Democrats!, in the House of Representatives don’t hold that position, or they would have included it in their proposed articles of impeachment.

    By not writing articles based on specific, statutory crimes, the Democrats have given every Republican, and perhaps a few Democrats from marginal districts as well, all the reason they need to vote against impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate.

    The Dana in Kentucky (13dd7c)

  54. Who knows, maybe this is a feint, and the Democrats will come up with something else before they actually vote on articles of impeachment. It wouldn’t be a bad ploy to have these two articles out there, then when it is objected that there are no statutory crimes listed, slam up an article of impeachment which does specify specific violations of particular statutes.

    The Dana who isn't an attorney (13dd7c)

  55. https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/12/barr-is-on-the-case.php

    Powerful remarks from the Attorney General.

    NJRob (1fab15)

  56. #57 – Agreed!

    jim2 (a5dc71)

  57. Yeah, both Barr and Durnham commenting at this stage implies they have the goods.

    whembly (c30c83)

  58. Yeah, both Barr and Durnham commenting at this stage implies they have the goods.

    No, they are trying to distract you from the context of the FBI investigation.The publicly known facts about Trump’s dealings and connections with Putin-affiliated people by itself justified any and all investigations into his campaign. Frankly, if the UC thought it needed to go through all those contortions to justify an investigation, either the IC is composed of a whole lot of fools, or the FISA process is a good deal more robust in protecting individual liberties. (My money is the first alternative.)

    Kishnevi (a0fa04)

  59. Barr’s reaction to the Mueller investigation was to disgrace himself lying about it. It seemed to work. There are still chuckleheads who think Barr exonerated Trump somehow.

    His statements do not imply he has anything but a motive.

    Dustin (cafb36)

  60. Left hand sock-puppet and right-hand sock-puppet. Of Trump. Barr and Durham. What they have is freshly-painted mouths because they left the old lipstick on Trump’s butt. That’s all they have.

    nk (dbc370)

  61. The strongest argument to be made against these charges is: they don’t have sufficient political heft. To remove a President you have to get Senators of his party to vote to convict. Nothing else matters and these charges won’t do it. Even if they are all true and as pure as the driven snow. To confuse Senators with jurors, or expect they will vote on the evidence alone, is naivete of the first order.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  62. Every last sitting Senator who voted against impeaching Clinton for perjury will vote AYE here, and get all teary-eyed about how they feel so strongly about rule of law and justice.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  63. Impeachment is entertainment; McConnell revealed all w/his simple-minded quip: ‘… the trial starts after the bowl games.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  64. Yeah, both Barr and Durnham commenting at this stage implies they have the goods.

    whembly (c30c83) — 12/10/2019 @ 7:45 pm

    I disagree. Trump and his supporters have a history of making strong claims that people they dislike are acting badly. These claims typically are never backed up by solid evidence.

    For example Comey and Mccabe have both not been charged with any crime, despite the claims by Trump of criminal action.

    Time123 (d54166)

  65. Mitch and Lindsey deserve to be schiffed on. Traitorous pos. Republicans really do suc.

    mg (8cbc69)

  66. I agree with Patterico, these articles of impeachment are weak. If the Democrats really wanted to impeach and remove the President, they would have crafted the articles like a RICO indictment and charged Trump with multiple violations. I can think of a few: bank, wire and tax fraud; campaign finance and emoluments violations; election interference, consorting with foreign powers; witness intimidation; refusal to comply with lawful subpoenas; abuse of office; obstruction of justice; perjury (in his written responses to questions, under oath); and being a national embarrassment. The last alone is a “high crime and misdemeanor.” Other world leaders are laughing at and mocking him, while Putin smiles. And it’s diminishing American authority on the global stage. Heck, I’d have even thrown in war crimes, for not responding to Iranian, and Russian and North Korean aggression, and abandoning the Kurds in Syria, not to mention being a suck up to every dictator.

    Not that it would have mattered much. The Senate Republicans are not going to convict, no matter what the evidence is. Trump Deification Syndrome is real among the base and the GOP. So, it’s highly unlikely he will be removed from office. No sitting president ever has been, not Johnson, not Clinton. Nixon resigned before being impeached.

    If this is a show trial, and it is, a weak one at that. The House Democrats should have thrown the book at Trump and forced Senate Republicans to defend every charge. That would have resulted in Republicans defending the indefensible and making a mockery of the GOP for all the world to see.

    If you want to kill the King, make your first shot matter. The Democrats did not do that. Which allows the Trumpublicans to justify their persecution complex. And so the hypocrisy goes on.

    However, that is not the point.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  67. TIME
    @TIME
    The Public Servants are TIME’s 2019 Guardians of the Year #TIMEPOY https://ti.me/346euU4

    https://mobile.twitter.com/TIME/status/1204745148007157765
    __ _

    The comments are a hoot.

    harkin (337580)

  68. ”For example Comey and Mccabe have both not been charged with any crime, despite the claims by Trump of criminal action.”
    Time123 (d54166) — 12/11/2019 @ 2:27 am

    Nor were the Stevens prosecutors. Shocker.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  69. Senate hearing on IG.

    Lindsay Graham is expressing his outrage (as usual) over the FBI’s sloppy treatment of Carter Page as if it was pivotal in anything. The Trump campaign was encouraging Russia to get involved. The Trump campaign was meeting with Russians and lying about it. For starters.

    But wait Lindsay…. where is the outrage over how the President sought an investigation…. from a FOREIGN GOVERNMENT…. on his opponent.

    And, what makes it really ironic, is the things Lindsay Graham said about the President himself…. about the time of that original investigation. “I think he’s a kook,” he said in February 2016. “I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.”

    noel (f22371)

  70. The comments are a hoot.

    Perhaps, but the Guardians (The Big Brothers was taken, apparently) were 2018 Thingamajig Of The Year. The 2019 Thingamajig Of The Year for 2019 is St. Greta, may she always be blessed, of Swedenland. But of the World, really. When you think about it.

    PTw (894877)

  71. 71. [Un]fitness for office is what impeachment is all about. And when it comes time to vote to convict, I’d bet money Lindsey will vote NO.

    Gryph (08c844)

  72. Conveniently ignored by all the FISA pearl-clutchers is that Page was hob-nobbing with convicted Russian spies, and on the FBI’s counter-intelligence radar, as early as 2013, long before Donald Trump crawled out of his sewer to become a presidential candidate.

    Page admitted under oath and also on camera to passing what he considered “immaterial” information to Russian spies, in an attempt to secure a lucrative business deal. Further, the FBI had covertly recorded conversations of known (with diplomatic immunity) and convicted (without diplomatic immunity) Russian spies, discussing their plans to recruit Page (who they described as “an idiot”) as an asset.

    So the idea this was all some ginned-up frame job is ludicrous. The guy actively cultivated contacts with known Russian spies, who were in turn trying to recruit him.

    Dave (1bb933)

  73. And so the hypocrisy goes on.

    However, that is not the point.

    I’d argue it was the only point.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  74. Gryph wrote:

    [Un]fitness for office is what impeachment is all about.

    It’s pretty obvious that over 62 million voters believed that Mr Trump is fit for office.

    To the left, the only thing that makes President Trump unfit for office is that he isn’t a liberal and that he interfered with the coronation of Her Majesty; they’ve been searching for some way, any way, to undo the 2016 election ever since November 9, 2016. They were attempting to obstruct his agenda from the very beginning, voting against his initial cabinet nominations by almost unheard of partisan margins, and there had been no Mueller probe or impeachment hearings then.

    The left hated George Bush . . . and he was a lot nicer guy than Mr Trump.

    The realistic Dana (d9a693)

  75. It’s pretty obvious that over 62 million voters believed that Mr Trump is fit for office.

    Nope. Tens of millions of them thought he was awful but held their nose because of Hillary hysterics.

    If it makes you feel better, tens of millions of voters did the same in reverse.

    BTW more voters voted against Trump than for him so this argument is a really weird one.

    Dustin (cafb36)

  76. Lindsay Graham… “if they can do this to a candidate for President, they can do it to anybody”.

    Right on, you hypocrite.

    noel (f22371)

  77. “ It’s pretty obvious that over 62 million voters believed that Mr Trump is fit for office.”

    Yeah, why this is so hard for the TDS crowd to grasp is beyond me.

    In 2016 I thought Trump was unfit for office so I did not vote for him. I also thought Hillary was unfit so for that office I did not vote.

    Since then, I have seen nothing to convince me that Orange Man Bad is fit for office, only that what I’ve seen is still preferable to the eight years of Obama, which isn’t saying much, or my opinion of what it would be like if Madame Corruption had been elected.

    I will not vote for him in 2020 and will let the American People and the Constitution pick our poison.
    _

    America dood, learn the rules

    https://youtu.be/HXKTzSuWboM
    _

    harkin (337580)

  78. “To the left, the only thing that makes President Trump unfit for office is that he isn’t a liberal and that he interfered with the coronation of Her Majesty”

    I nominate this post for Strawman of the Month.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  79. ‘Course it’s hard to accept the FBI/FISA snafu w/Page was just a ‘one-off.’ [Or would that be ‘one-ov, comrades]… that kind of sloppy manipulation could be SOP; routine for bureaucrats dealng/managing/manipulating paperwork w/a ‘secret court’– or if it was a ‘one-ov’–well, then you “could” possibly peg it as ‘politically’ motivated.

    Such a messy rabbit hole.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  80. We’ve been told, constantly, that electing a President is a binary choice. That has nothing to do with fitness.

    DRJ (15874d)

  81. @76/@79. Then again, back in November, 1972, 47 million Americans felt Nixon was ‘fit for office’ and voted for The Big Dick over McGovern’s 29 million– that tallied for a win at just under 61% of the electorate. A landslide.

    Less than two years later, in August, 1974, The unindicted-co-conspirator-Big Dick resigned.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  82. @82. Only because the two ‘major’ parties have instituted such a ‘lock’ on the process. A jet engine is a wonderfully designed machine but doesn’t work very well if you try to fuel it with mud.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  83. We’ve been told, constantly, that electing a President is a binary choice. That has nothing to do with fitness.

    DRJ (15874d) — 12/11/2019 @ 10:28 am

    Couldn’t it be both?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  84. @68. They were purposely quilled to be weak. The objective is to damage, not remove. Pelosi blew this- on purpose- months ago. She wants the voters to do her dirty work for her and reap the bennies. McConnell’s not going to torpedo a president of his own party- he needs to save his senate majority. Mueller’s report had Trump dead-to-rites on OOJ 8 months ago, as P noted, and Congress did nothing.

    Congress should have initiated censure proceedings to discipline this dude the day after Helsinki. But no. Rather than spank the pooch with a rolled up copy of Fortune, they let the dirty dog keep pooping o the carpet. Like every other ‘authority’ in his life- father, teachers, wives, bankers and business colleagues, Congress just balked and threw up their hands in exasperation. Now, it’s too late- the carpet is stained.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  85. https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/12/the-press-piled-on-nunes-will-it-now-apologize.php

    Nunes was correct and Schiff continued to lie. Is anyone surprised?

    NJRob (4d595c)

  86. A lot of people will get eggs on their face….

    whembly (fd57f6)

  87. Quite a lot in the Wall Street Journal and other places and also Rush Limbaugh on this.

    The Inspector General is charged to assume good faith unless he has evidence otherwise. So he almost can’t accuse anyone of doin something wrong on purpose.

    The Democrats at the Senate Committee hearing keep pressing one point so much Rush Limbaugh it should cause people to have suspicions just from that. That is, that there was no political bias.

    Time after time the Michael Horowitz, the IG, answers that he found no testamentary or documentary evidence of bias, sometimes adding at the origins of the investigation. He is always careful to add no testimonial or documentary evidence.

    I don’t think the explanations of what Steele’s sources were are as innocent as it is claimed. That is, I don;t think this was genuine rumor anywhere.

    I do think that the FBI was not out to get Donald Trump. They were out to satisfy Democratic pressure while at the same time trying to be careful not to harm the Trump campaign. They spied on;y on people no longer associated with the campaign. The people in charge of the FBI (or at least Comey) considered themselves very inexpert on who would win the election. So they (or he) didn’t want the Democrat angry at them, and they didn’t want the Republicans angry at them. Except that the Democrats were stronger at the moment. So a politically motivated counter-intelligence investigation was started but at the same time it was done on a way so that nobody could ever say after the fact that it had any effect on the election.

    Comey’s attempt to not be a factor in the election actually failed, and he thinks he could have helped Trump, whom, if he had a preference, he didn’t want! He “cleared” Hillary before the convention, but then he had to give some more publicity to the allegations against Hillary 11 days before the election. Or else be accused later of taking sides. Of course he was careful to “clear” her again three days before the election.

    Sammy Finkelman (f1bb90)

  88. I am reading that:

    1) The House Judiciary Committee will debate and vote on the articles of impeachment tomorrow, Thursday. They can, in principle, still be amended.

    2) The Senate is not likely to call any controversial witnesses. Senator Ted Cruz told people in te White House that at a meeting three weeks ago.

    That woulds mean no Joe or Hunter Biden, but Rudy Giuliani wants to testify – if Trump’s defense wants him he’ll be there, or at a committee hearing.

    Sammy Finkelman (f1bb90)

  89. DRJ (15874d) — 12/11/2019 @ 10:28 am

    We’ve been told, constantly, that electing a President is a binary choice. That has nothing to do with fitness.

    whembly (fd57f6) — 12/11/2019 @ 10:49 am

    Couldn’t it be both?

    They are orthogonal to each other.

    Sammy Finkelman (f1bb90)

  90. “The Inspector General is charged to assume good faith unless he has evidence otherwise. ”

    What is the source on this?

    “The Democrats at the Senate Committee hearing keep pressing one point so much Rush Limbaugh it should cause people to have suspicions just from that. That is, that there was no political bias. ”

    This works both ways.

    “They were out to satisfy Democratic pressure”

    From who?

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  91. “The Inspector General is charged to assume good faith unless he has evidence otherwise. ”

    What is the source on this?
    Davethulhu (fab944) — 12/11/2019 @ 12:05 pm

    His own words…

    Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, as he explains, is bound to assume good faith unless given “documentary or testimonial evidence” otherwise.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-horowitz-horror-show-11576022683#:~:targetText=Justice%20Department%20Inspector%20General%20Michael%20Horowitz%2C%20as%20he%20explains%2C%20is,documentary%20or%20testimonial%20evidence%E2%80%9D%20otherwise.&targetText=Exculpatory%20evidence%20was%20ignored.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  92. 71. noel (f22371) — 12/11/2019 @ 7:55 am

    But wait Lindsay…. where is the outrage over how the President sought an investigation…. from a FOREIGN GOVERNMENT…. on his opponent.

    There’a an accusation that the Obama Administration asked Ukraine to investigate Paul Manafort in 2016. Not that we should say there is anything intrinsically wrong with that.

    https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2019/oct/03/charlie-kirk/fact-checking-charlie-kirks-misleading-tweet-about

    The catch is: This seems to have been before Paul Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign!

    (Politifact tries even more to undermine support for that allegation, but that’s all you need to say)

    …According to one such article by The Hill’s John Solomon, investigators from Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) met with U.S. officials in January 2016 to discuss coordinating their anti-corruption efforts.

    ndrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian embassy official, told Solomon that Obama’s Justice Department asked the NABU officials during that meeting to revive a closed 2014 investigation of payments to Manafort by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who fled Ukraine in 2014 amid protests.

    Also, Manafort’s name was possibly not even mentioned in that January 2016 meeting.

    Sammy Finkelman (f1bb90)

  93. 94. That’s exactly the Wall street Journal article I got that from.

    Sammy Finkelman (f1bb90)

  94. “His own words…”

    Where is the article author sourcing that from? The phrase only exists on in the WSJ article, and other websites referencing it that article. It doesn’t appear in the IG report.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  95. Okay… so WSJ may be bs’ing. Wouldn’t surprise me you holding that position.

    I would watch the hearing then… he stated it, in several different ways (find the part where Mike Crapo (R-ID) ask his questions).

    whembly (fd57f6)

  96. 90. 93. “The Inspector General is charged to assume good faith unless he has evidence otherwise. ”

    Davethulhu (fab944) — 12/11/2019 @ 12:05 pm

    What is the source on this?

    An Op-ed article Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. in the Wall Street Journal of December 11, 2019 on the other side of the page on which the main editorials are printed, posted online on Dec. 10, 2019 7:04 pm and available (behind a firewall, most of it) at

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-horowitz-horror-show-11576022683#

    Where he starts off writing:

    Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, as he explains, is bound to assume good faith unless given “documentary or testimonial evidence” otherwise. Yet he has compiled a factually damning report that even a thick-headed and biased press will have to take account of.

    97. Davethulhu (fab944) — 12/11/2019 @ 12:40 pm

    Where is the article author sourcing that from? The phrase only exists on in the WSJ article, and other websites referencing it that article. It doesn’t appear in the IG report.

    The only words in quotes are “documentary or testimonial evidence”

    whelbly says he said some things that can be paraphrased that way, and points us to Mike Crapo’s questions.

    In any case, it sounds like something that would be true, because I think that’s the general principle upon which the FBI works when interviewing people.

    NBC News quotes the report as saying:

    “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions” (to open investigations into four Trump campaign aides.

    The Hill parodies it as:

    https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/473784-misfired-hurricane-comeys-team-abused-carter-page-and-the-fbi

    “While it is clear that Mr. Epstein abused minor girls, there is no documentary or testimonial evidence that he was motivated by a deviant sexual interest in those young girls.”

    I think actually there is with Epstein.

    Sammy Finkelman (f1bb90)

  97. Maybe they did think of your idea.

    steveg (354706)

  98. [Un]fitness for office is what impeachment is all about

    No, that is what elections are about.

    Impeachment is about whether the president, or any other federal officer (it’s the same standard) committed “Treason, Bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  99. BTW, I think Justice Ginsburg is unfit for office, as she is seriously ill and has repeatedly missed Supreme Court hearings.

    Maybe we should impeach her?

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  100. 102

    BTW, I think Justice Ginsburg is unfit for office, as she is seriously ill and has repeatedly missed Supreme Court hearings.

    Maybe we should impeach her?

    Bored Lawyer (56c962) — 12/11/2019 @ 6:38 pm

    As much as I would want to replace Ginsburg with a conservative jurist, none of that fit the definition of “Treason, Bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    So no, we shouldn’t impeach/remove her on that basis alone.

    whembly (c30c83)

  101. 101. Given the vague meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and the fact that there is no recourse of appeal should the senate vote to remove from office in an impeachment hearing, I think the idea of determining fitness for office is precisely the distillation of the reason for impeachment that our founders had in mind.

    If we impeached every official and recalled every congressweasel who was unfit for office based on my beliefs, we wouldn’t have a federal government left; there wouldn’t be anyone left to serve. I think I like that idea, actually.

    76. “Trump is unfit for office” and “The Democrats are beclowning themselves in these impeachment hearings” are not mutually exclusive concepts.

    Gryph (08c844)

  102. As much as I would want to replace Ginsburg with a conservative jurist, none of that fit the definition of “Treason, Bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    I agree with you. I was saying that in response to the argument that “unfit for office” is the standard for impeachment. I myself do not agree that is the standard.

    That said, what would happen if a federal officer decides that he or she will only show up for work once a year, and spend the rest of the time playing golf. Is that a basis for impeachment?

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  103. If Justice Ginsburg were using her position to decide cases based on what benefits her and her family or makes money for them, she would be unfit.

    Like the Clintons, like the Bidens, and like the Trumps.

    DRJ (15874d)

  104. The House Judiciary Committee held a meeting last night during which 40 od them gave opening statements. They are nmeeting now again. The Republicans put amotion to strike the first article. They are debating (or complaining and justifying the procedure)

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  105. As much as I would want to replace Ginsburg with a conservative jurist, none of that fit the definition of “Treason, Bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    Fr ajudge, the standard is “good behavior”

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  106. The standard for removing federal judges is not “Bribery, Treason, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors”. It is “not good behavior”. The first judge removed was removed for mental instability and intoxication on the bench.

    nk (dbc370)

  107. 98. The hearing was held after Jenkins wrote his article so it could not have been his source. But maybe it can be drawn out of the IG report.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  108. The Republicans have a very good argument that this is a railroad job and done outside normal or expected processes. The Democratic defense is that this is not arguing about the facts

    It is not clear why the Democrats did it that way. A good suspicion is that they were at least trying to distort some facts. But that’s a meta argument.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  109. 109. I said it inartfully. The standard is NOT good behavior.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  110. That said, what would happen if a federal officer decides that he or she will only show up for work once a year, and spend the rest of the time playing golf. Is that a basis for impeachment?

    Bored Lawyer (56c962) — 12/12/2019 @ 5:34 am

    i think it would be, and Congress has impeached Judges for sexual misconduct, mental impairment that resulted in unlawful rulings, and the more nebulous abuse of office.

    Misconduct can leads to charges and impeachment because they are unfit.

    DRJ (15874d)

  111. he Democrats are arguing the president is a continuing danger to national security. And trying to say secret hearings in the basement of the Capitol by the Intelligence Committee was not so bad. But the Republicans complain that the Judiciary Committee heard no fact witnesses and that they have not been able to call some of their witnesses.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  112. Sammy, What facts / witnesses etc have the republicans been prevented from presenting? So far as I know the only thing they’ve been prevented from doing is name and call the WB. am i missing something?

    Time123 (ca85c9)

  113. By the way, last night, the president finally released an explanation of why the aid was withheld, saying it was under review. That is actually probably true, or became true at some point, but the point is there was no good reason for the review. That’s not why it was withheld, although it i also true it was not to get investigations. That idea didn’t come from Donald Trump.

    One member said that not sending Pence to the inauguration was part of the pressure to do investigations!

    (or maybe just announce them because they are saying that in now – that’s what is in the impeachment article)

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  114. 115. Time123 (ca85c9) — 12/12/2019 @ 6:58 am

    Sammy, What facts / witnesses etc have the republicans been prevented from presenting? So far as I know the only thing they’ve been prevented from doing is name and call the WB. am i missing something?

    They also wanted Hunter Biden.

    I think the idea for calling him possibly could go to a defense that the request to investigate Biden

    A) was not improper

    and

    B) was not for purely personal gain.

    The Articles of Impeachment have been drawn up in such as way so that the question of whether or not Hunter or Joe Biden were in fact corrupt is irrelevant.

    The request to to talk to the WB is for two reasons:

    1) To get at Adam Schiff and prove that he collaborated in drawing up the whistleblower complaint (not against any rules I think but it suggests he out lies into it besides he seems to have lied about that. Schiff is also trying to take credit for Trump deciding to release the aid, and implying that it was a fluke that Trump got caught so he has to be impeached quickly so he can’t do it again.)

    2) To find out the WB’s sources so they can be summoned as witnesses or questioned about what they told the WB as compared possibly to what they testified to later (the last would apply to Alexander Vindman)

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  115. ”If Justice Ginsburg were using her position to decide cases based on what benefits her and her family or makes money for them, she would be unfit.”
    DRJ (15874d) — 12/12/2019 @ 6:43 am

    When is Ginsburg up for re-election?

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  116. 117 * it suggests he [Adam Schiff} put lies into it [the whistleblower complaint] besides he seems to have lied about that [about prior contact and knowledge of what the WB said or about knowing before he officially got the Whistleblower complaint that Trump wanted investigations.

    Now a lot of that goes just to possible abuse of power by Adam Schiff, not so much the underlying facts although they have that too in the sense of running down the facts behind the WB complaint.

    And they have another complaint against Schiff is that he, without even going to afederal judge subpeonaed AND THEN RELEASED SOME LOGS OF TELEPHONE CALLS.

    No FISA court is necessary for the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee! Of course all he can do is issue subpoenas (including from third parties) not eavesdropping.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  117. The Rep defense is partially wrong and partially right.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  118. The debate is comprehensible to people familiir with the facts but not so comprehesnsible to people who don’t know all the details.

    You can learn a few new things or hear a few new arguments.

    One (females) member made an argument that the day on which the greatest loss of life in the Ukrainian war was Auuist 7 of this year. So therefore the military assistance affected lives.

    The rejoinder was that that money was not for immediate use.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  119. Sammy,
    Regardless of what the Bidens did/didn’t do the key fact is what did Trump believed they did and what motives he was acting on. Republicans don’t seem interested in providing any evidence on that. In a criminal trial that would be 100% appropriate for the defense. But in the context of congressional oversite it’s less clear cut. Personally I’ve seen enough evidence that if nothing else is presented I’d vote to impeach and likely remove him.

    Time123 (441f53)

  120. The Republicans anythig Trump said about Joe and Hunter that was not true (stopped the investigaton) and limit themseles to what is true (not a smear)

    One of their points is tha the Ukrainians didn’t know until August 28 that the aid was withheld.

    Actually they ahve somevidence that they did know.

    But Sondland and Volker and Taykor didn’t know that they knew

    The Rep theory is that it was on;ya rogue ambassador appointed by the previous president who knew and they didn’t keep Zelensky apprised.

    The Dem theory of the intelligence committee counsel is that Ukraine didn’t want Russia to know the aid with on hold.

    That would explain why they didn’t go public or to Congress. But why didn’t they complain to the
    Administration??

    I think the reason is that they knew it only because of a leak (miliary attaches talk to each other) and they could be accused of espionage. Another reason is that this could be temporary. A third reason is that what could be tied to it, is getting money from European countries also or “Buy American” The August 28 Politico article disturbed Ukraine because it suggested that President Trump was reconsidering the whole issue of aid to Ukraine.

    It wasn’t connected to investigations by Gordon Sondland until late n the first week of September. Although he told Volker in a telephoen call Sept 1 (Volker’s testimony and probably notes) that he had made a mistake in saying that on;y the meeting was connected to investigations but that everything was connected he probably did NOT say that to Andriy Yermak that day. Yermak has denied that and Sondland is bad at chronology.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  121. 122. Time123 (441f53) — 12/12/2019 @ 7:47 am

    Regardless of what the Bidens did/didn’t do the key fact is what did Trump believed they did and what motives he was acting on.

    Exactly.

    I would amend that to what Irump believed Joe or Hunter Biden might have done.

    Republicans don’t seem interested in providing any evidence on that.

    Yes, because it is quite clear that some of it was very wrongheaded, and they don’t want to admit that Trump even made a blunder. That hampers their defense. But we can take the possibility that Trump blundered into consideration.

    Trump certainly misinterprets (or was given a misinterpretation) of what Joe Biden said in his January 23, 2018 presentation to the Council on Foreign Relations

    https://www.cfr.org/event/foreign-affairs-issue-launch-former-vice-president-joe-biden (search for the first mention of Donbas)

    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.

    (By the way, I think Biden made this whole story up)

    But Trump stated:

    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 …

    Trump seems to have still believed this on September 25, the day he released the transcript of the July 25 call, because he said:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-president-zelensky-ukraine-bilateral-meeting-new-york-ny

    And the whole thing with the prosecutor in Ukraine.

    And he’s on tape. This isn’t like “maybe he did it, maybe he didn’t.” He’s on tape doing this. I saw this a while ago. I looked at it and I said, “That’s incredible. I’ve never seen anything like that.” Now, either he’s dumb, or he thought he was in a room full of really good friends, or maybe it’s a combination of both, in his case.

    Quite puzzling, right.

    Because Biden didn’t, in fact, go around boasting that he stopped an investigation! Biden did not say he fired a prosecutor to stop an investigation.

    Now if I were to say where this claim came from, I would say Rudy Giuliani was steered to it by his corrupt clients who were probably, directly or indirectly, acting on behalf of Russia. (they got indicted for making contributions to Republican causes with money that came from Ukraine and we can say, Russia)

    As to Trump’s motives, what he was asking, not pressing, Ukraine for was to “look into it” or to leave no stone unturned into a specific allegation. Not to make up dirt, or to conduct a witchhunt or even a fishing expedition but to check out one specific allegation. And it’s really dressing this up to call this help with the election (althouh Ambassador a Taylor called it that in his cable that he sent to Pompeo at the suggestion of John Bolton that Pompeo read from out loud to Donald Trump (Taylor heard that through the grapevine)

    Nor did Trump send Giuliani to look for bad things about Joe Biden. Giuliani went on his own initiative (with Trump’s approval I assume) Giuliani was steered to it by his corrupt clients who were probably, directly or indirectly, acting on behalf of Russia.

    In a criminal trial that would be 100% appropriate for the defense. But in the context of congressional oversight it’s less clear cut.

    This is more like Iran contra. It would help a great deal if Trump would acknoeledge hew as, at least partially, wrong. In Iran contra, Reagan did.

    Nobody is pressing Trump to admit he made a mistake. The Democrats accuse him of extreme malice, and the Republicans try to say he did nothing wrong.

    Personally I’ve seen enough evidence that if nothing else is presented I’d vote to impeach and likely remove him.

    If what he die was really bad, it would be good cause, ev en though it would be stretching the definition of high crimes and misdmeanrors. Maybe you could call it refusing to admit a mistake.

    Look what happened: Some Russian propaganda got accepted by the president of the United States. That probably hasn’t happened since the time Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  122. One point the Democrats made was that there was not in fact any further review of anything during the time the aid was paused.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  123. When is Ginsburg up for re-election?

    Munroe (dd6b64) — 12/12/2019 @ 7:19 am

    Where does the Constitution say that only non-elected officeholders can be impeached?

    DRJ (15874d)

  124. Collins says that they keep on misquoting the transcript.

    They keep on saying Trump said “Do me a favor” and he said “Do us a favor. And Jim Jordn as mentioned that he later refers to “our country” not himself.

    You can argue that “us” is a lie, but the Demos don’t want to do that.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  125. Another (new) lie: That Ukraine lost lives because the aid was withheld. This was future aid. (of course you can argue deterrence but they don’t say that)

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  126. ”Where does the Constitution say that only non-elected officeholders can be impeached?”
    DRJ (15874d) — 12/12/2019 @ 8:34 am

    Where did I say that it does?

    You’re equating unfitness of an elected official to one that’s appointed, which is ridiculous.

    And, why Ginsburg when Kavanaugh is the obvious example? How about Alcee Hastings?

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  127. Republican defense: Zelensky has not complained. Are you calling Zelinsky aliar?

    A Democratic rejoinder: Zelensky is still afraid of being on bad terms with the Unites States.

    Not said by anyone: He’s also afraid of the Democrats and that’s why he is stalling any investigation of Burisma. (Wall Street Journal story last week)

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  128. Trump had a third request besides getting at the his story of what Ukraine did in 2016 (where again, some of that – spreading bad information about Paul Manafort – is somewhat plausible, although this was mostly spontaneous – and that’s what Republicans in Congress want to talk about, and some of it is it is not (that Ukraine framed Russia for the hacking?)

    The third thing is the idea of Zelensky surrounding himself with bad people, and that probably concerned Trump the most (because he believed they were working against him)

    It is not only on the July 25 call:

    There are a lot of things that went on, [in 2016] the whole situation .. I think you are surrounding yourself [in 2019] with some of the same people.

    One of the things Zelensky said after that was:

    I just wanted to assure you once again that you _have nobody but friends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people..

    Trump says later:

    Rudy very much knows what’s happening [present tense = 2019] and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. 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

    It is not only on the July 25 call that this comes up, but it was one of the things the 3 amigos talked to Zelensky about before:

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/04/us/politics/ukraine-text-messages-volker.html

    [7/19/19, 6:50:29 PM] Gordon Sondland: Looks like Potus call tomorrow. I spike [sic] directly to Zelensky and gave him a full briefing. He’s got it.

    [7/19/19, 6:52:57 PM] Gordon Sondland: Sure!

    [7/19/19, 7:01:22 PM] Kurt Volker: Good. Had breakfast with Rudy this morning-teeing up call w Yermak Monday. Must have helped. Most impt is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation— and address any specific personnel issues—if there are any

    There weren’t any.

    But Rudy didn’t tell Trump “Mission Accomplished” about that, and Trump did not know that – he expected Rudy to tell that to the 3 amigos in the future. He was withholding the aid until he was informed that all the bad corrupt people whom he was told had worked against him in 2016 were gone from the Ukrainian government.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  129. They voted down a Republican amendment. Now more debate (on Natonal Pubblic Radio)

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  130. 130. Nadler said Zelinsky denying cast no aspersions on his character and he knows this is a president who pays attention to what he says.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  131. You’re equating unfitness of an elected official to one that’s appointed, which is ridiculous.

    Why is it ridiculous? Impeachment of judges is the same process as for Presidents:

    Article III judges can be removed from office only through impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate.

    DRJ (15874d)

  132. A Rep: The real malefactor is Hunter Biden.

    The dems are saying any questionabiut the Bidens is an abuse of power.

    A third witness they want is someone who allegedly worked with the Ukrainian embassy in 2016.

    Are they really saying that Joe Biden Hunter Biden and Burisma engaged in a corrupt act they get immunity by announcing for president. Maybe they thought they got lucky with Hillary.

    Dem: They were saying the president did not target the Bidens. Now they are saying that he did.

    Yes, Trump did say “us” but he didn’t say anything about he was briefed on.

    People did die because of Trump: The Los Angeles Times has a headline saying Ukrainian soldiers perished as Trump withheld aid

    Ukraine has met all anti-corruption benchmarks. There was no reason for the president to make up his own policy.

    Now she;s talking about Zelensky’s proposed CNN interview (set for Sept 13) being stopped in its tracks because of the WB. (nobody else?)

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  133. DRJ @134.

    Impeachment of judges is the same process as for Presidents

    Not rhe same grounds, and they don’t ned the Chief Justice of the United States to preside over the trial.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  134. A Republican treats as fact that Joe Biden said that he told Ukrainians that they had better fire the prosecutor who was investigating and that six hours later they did!

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  135. Do you realize that the same Constitutional provision that authorizes impeachment of elected federal officials also applies to federal judges? Federal judges are appointed by the President and are thus subject to the same Article 2 Section 4 impeachment provision that applies to elected officials, including Presidents. The reasons and bases for judicial impeachments are directly on point.

    DRJ (15874d)

  136. The magic phrase to speak: Make a motion to “strike the last words”

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  137. Not sure I buy it, but here’s the OMB’s official position on why the funds were paused:
    https://www.dailywire.com/news/breaking-budget-office-releases-new-legal-memo-indicating-delay-in-ukraine-aid-was-routine

    whembly (51f28e)

  138. There are several different clauses dealing with impeachment scattered trough the original constitution.

    Sammy Finkelman (5736b6)

  139. #129

    You’re equating unfitness of an elected official to one that’s appointed, which is ridiculous.

    Munroe (dd6b64) — 12/12/2019 @ 8:51 am

    I’m not sure what point you are driving at… DRJ’s response is correct. Appointed positions can be removed via impeachment process.

    Are you saying “unfitness of office” doesn’t equate to “bribery, treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors”???

    whembly (51f28e)

  140. I share your skepticism, whembly. The Pentagon portion of the Ukrainian aid was delayed so much by Trump’s hold that it could not be released without further Congressional action. The OMB knows that is not business as usual.

    DRJ (15874d)

  141. Misconduct can be a basis for impeachment:

    Impeachment comes from British constitutional history. The process evolved from the 14th century as a way for parliament to hold the king’s ministers accountable for their public actions. Impeachment, as Alexander Hamilton of New York explained in Federalist 65, varies from civil or criminal courts in that it strictly involves the “misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” Individual state constitutions had provided for impeachment for “maladministration” or “corruption” before the U.S. Constitution was written. And the founders, fearing the potential for abuse of executive power, considered impeachment so important that they made it part of the Constitution even before they defined the contours of the presidency.
    ***
    The founders also addressed what crimes constituted grounds for impeachment. Treason and bribery were obvious choices, but George Mason of Virginia thought those crimes did not include a large number of punishable offenses against the state. James Madison of Virginia objected to using the term “maladministration” because it was too vague. Mason then substituted “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” in addition to treason and bribery. The term “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” was a technical term—again borrowed from British legal practice—that denoted crimes by public officials against the government. Mason’s revision was accepted without further debate. But subsequent experience demonstrated the revised phrase failed to clarify what constituted impeachable offenses.

    The Founders understood British laws because they had been living with and dealing with them. We seem to have forgotten or, more likely, could care less about history.

    DRJ (15874d)

  142. 143. The Pentagon warned in August that Trump risked violating the impoundment Control Act. September 11 was indeed too late to do it all. Only 88% got released by September 30. $35 million of the $391 was not spent. The remaining money had to be put into the continuing resolution.

    Sammy Finkelman (9966eb)

  143. The Founders also understood that Congress might be weak or corruptible:

    Another issue arose regarding whether Congress might lack the resolve to try and convict a sitting President.

    DRJ (15874d)

  144. Thank you, Sammy 145.

    DRJ (15874d)

  145. Nope. Tens of millions of them thought he was awful but held their nose because of Hillary hysterics.

    Both parties failed in 2016. That Hillary lost only meant that about half the voters thought she was LESS fit for office. That has gotta sting.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  146. Both parties failed in 2016. That Hillary lost only meant that about half the voters thought she was LESS fit for office.

    And yet Donald Trump endorsed her, saying she would make a great president.

    What does that say about *his* judgment?

    Dave (1bb933)

  147. #144: “Misdemeanor” at the time had no connection with criminal law. It was a catch-all term for “behaving badly.”

    Trump’s defense against that would probably be his bad behavior was well known to the voters, and you’d have to grade his bad behavior on a curve.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  148. What does that say about *his* judgment?

    Nothing particularly new. Shall I list the number of Trump appointees who have proved to be agents of Satan on their way out the door?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  149. There are votes on the floor, said Nadler. The committee will stand in recess till after the votes.

    A Dem has said that in firing the prosecutor, Biden was following Administration policy. Except that the way Biden tells it is probably not the way it happened.

    NPR says rhat Mark Meadows came up to other Republicans and after that there was a focus on substantive defense of Trump.

    Sammy Finkelman (9966eb)

  150. Trump’s defense against that would probably be his bad behavior was well known to the voters, and you’d have to grade his bad behavior on a curve.

    That would be (and is) his supporters’ defense of him.

    But Trump’s story is that he’s immaculate, and he’s sticking to it.

    Dave (1bb933)

  151. Trump’s defense against that would probably be his bad behavior was well known to the voters, and you’d have to grade his bad behavior on a curve.

    Kevin M (19357e) — 12/12/2019 @ 9:59 am

    Which may explain why Ukraine aid became the trigger for impeachment. Being immoral, greedy, and a bully to reach personal goals is unseemly, but using government power and money for personal gain violates the public trust.

    DRJ (15874d)

  152. ”Why is it ridiculous? Impeachment of judges is the same process as for Presidents”
    DRJ (15874d) — 12/12/2019 @ 9:13 am

    You’re referring to procedure. I’m not.

    Let’s drag this out then vote to impeach and convict Trump on the first Monday in November 2020. Procedure says that’s totally legit. Good luck with that.

    You don’t even need an example that extreme to see the difference.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  153. I am referring to both procedure and to the legal basis for impeachment. Getting elected President is not a license to be monarch for 4 years. The Founders feared it might seem that way, which is why they put impeachment in the Constitution.

    And by the way, there is no time constraint on impeachment. It doesn’t say every President gets one or two years before they can be impeached.

    DRJ (15874d)

  154. Although Congress can actually impeach appointed officials like Cabinet members, that hasn’t been tried since maybe the Grant Administration.

    https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/War_Secretarys_Impeachment_Trial.htm

    An impeachment trial for a secretary of war occupied much of the Senate’s time during May 1876….

    Sammy Finkelman (1e81da)

  155. In looking at historical impeachments most know that the first Presidential impeachment was Andrew Johnson:

    The trial of President Johnson, however, focused on whether the President could remove cabinet officers without obtaining Congress’s approval. Johnson’s acquittal firmly set the precedent — debated from the beginning of the nation — that the President may remove appointees even if they required Senate confirmation to hold office.

    Firing or trying to fire Comey/Mueller would not be the same but they are similar. I doubt the Democrats wanted to give Trump a legal defense like that.

    DRJ (15874d)

  156. 156. And it doesn’t say that it has be only acts committed since he was elected, or since he was re-elected.

    A general consensus could be that it’s got to be things connected with the office and that’s what the word “high” means (or maybe not?)

    I would say it’s got to be wrong, it’s got to be generally recognized as wrong, and it’s got to be something serious.

    A blunder would not qualify, but you’d expect in a blunder, the president would acknowledge ot after it has been called to everyone’s attention.

    Sammy Finkelman (1e81da)

  157. Johnson’s acquittal firmly set the precedent — debated from the beginning of the nation — that the President may remove appointees even if they required Senate confirmation to hold office.

    Since then we’ve come up with non-removal officials who serve for fixed terms.

    It seems to be held, but may not have been ruled on by the Supreme Court, I’m not sure, that this applies only to committees, where there is a board with more than one member, like the FEC, the FCC the FPC, the NTSB etc and some could be appointed by different presidents.

    That was the issue at hand with the Elizabeth Warren’s creation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which had only one (non-removable) member.

    Originally she expected to be appointed to head it herself, but Obama, in the end decided not to do that.

    Sammy Finkelman (1e81da)

  158. 130. SF: Not said by anyone: He’s also afraid of the Democrats and that’s why he is stalling any investigation of Burisma. (Wall Street Journal story last week)

    Here it is:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-president-holds-back-on-probe-linked-to-impeachment-inquiry-11575490990

    “Burisma has become so political, that unlike other similar situations, upholding the rule of law has its costs,” said Igor Novikov, adviser to Mr. Zelensky on U.S. affairs.

    Sammy Finkelman (1e81da)

  159. Well… it’s a defense, not sure if it’s as strong as the author is advocating, but it is compelling in its simplicity:
    https://thefederalist.com/2019/12/12/the-gops-four-point-defense-of-trump-is-devastating/

    The GOP’s Four-Point Defense Of Trump Is Devastating

    During Thursday’s mark up of the articles of impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee, Republicans unveiled a four-point defense of President Trump that is stunning in its simplicity and blows massive holes in the Democrats allegations of abuse of power. Essentially the Democrats are accusing Trump of shaking down Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky by withholding aid and demanding announcement of investigations, including one involving Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

    To this, the central charge in the articles of impeachment, Rep. Jim Jordan and others presented four specific facts. First, both Trump and Zelensky say there was no pressure applied. Second, the transcript does not indicate Trump making any demands or setting any conditions. Third, Ukraine was not aware that the aid was delayed. And fourth, aid flowed without any announcement of investigations. Taken together, these four defenses have more than enough weight to crush the Democrats’ case, but lets look at them one by one.

    The fact that Zelensky says on the record that he did not feel pressure from Trump is an important one that has been widely ignored. As Rep. Matt Gaetz argued, there can’t be a shake down if the person being shook down has no idea its happening. Unless Zelensky is lying, the entire case against Trump just disappears.

    Democrats on Thursday, as they have before, but more vehemently so, said that of course Zelensky must be lying. He needs American aid so he is lying to stay on the good side of the president. Setting aside the fact that the Democrats making this claim have no evidence to support it, it also undermines the credibility of Zelensky, one of the very things they accuse Trump of doing.

    As to the transcript itself, the GOP members honed in on the fact the “favor” in the conversation was not a “a favor for me,” but a “favor for us.” And later the “us” is clarified as “our country.” This also strikes at the core of a case that depends upon the claim that Trump’s only interest in Ukraine policy was getting dirt on Joe Biden to help himself politically.

    When Trump says, after asking Zelensky to investigate Ukrainian interference in 2016, “our country has been through a lot.” He means the Mueller probe, and he’s not wrong. How much evidence or information about Russian interference exists in Ukraine is up for debate, but the fact that it is a legitimate subject of interest for the President is not.

    One of the few facts in all of this where there is some debate is when exactly Ukraine became aware that the military aid had been delayed. But all versions place it very late in the timeline of events, certainly long after the July 25 phone call with Zelensky. That’s like trying to blackmail someone with scandalous photos of them without letting them know you have any scandalous photos of them. It’s impossible.

    The delay of the aid was part of a wider set of concerns regarding how much Ukraine could be trusted with the money. Throughout the late summer and fall, through a set of meetings and phone calls with American officials Zelensky proved to Trump that he could be trusted. That is what Trump wanted to know and why he released the aid without any announcement of investigations.

    And that final fact, that the aid was released without the announcements Democrats claim were the condition to release them, really puts the period on the sentence. Democrats claim the aid was only released on September 11 because the White House became aware of the whistleblower report. But this ignores the fact the aid had to release by September 30, and doing so is a two-week process.

    So essentially, aid was released on or about the deadline set to release it. That is a much more plausible explanation for the timing than some whistleblower report spooking Trump. Is it possible Trump was angry at yet again being undermined by people in the federal government for exercising his legitimate powers? Sure. But there is no evidence to suggest that Trump was ever planning to ultimately kill the aid.

    These four basic points will make up the core of the Republican defense of Trump on abuse of power charges. The White House should be very happy. Unlike the serpentine choose your own adventure story the Democrats have cooked up, this is a straightforward and simple defense, it can be explained quickly and it all makes perfect sense.

    whembly (51f28e)

  160. First, both Trump and Zelensky say there was no pressure applied. They say this to the Press, but there is sworn testimony that contradicts it.

    Second, the transcript does not indicate Trump making any demands or setting any conditions. There is sworn testimony that contradicts this.

    Third, Ukraine was not aware that the aid was delayed. There is sworn testimony that contradicts this.

    And fourth, aid flowed without any announcement of investigation. This is true. But people were asking questions before the aid flowed.

    Not a great defense IMO.

    Time123 (441f53)

  161. 163

    First, both Trump and Zelensky say there was no pressure applied. They say this to the Press, but there is sworn testimony that contradicts it.

    No there isn’t. Sonland thought it was needed, but no sworn testimony exists that stated Trump applied pressure.

    Second, the transcript does not indicate Trump making any demands or setting any conditions. There is sworn testimony that contradicts this.

    Huh? There are transcripts show Trump making that demand?

    Third, Ukraine was not aware that the aid was delayed. There is sworn testimony that contradicts this.

    Really, can you show us?

    And fourth, aid flowed without any announcement of investigation. This is true. But people were asking questions before the aid flowed.

    Not a great defense IMO.

    Time123 (441f53) — 12/12/2019 @ 11:47 am

    I think it’s a decent defense because it’s simple. The public isn’t going to go into the weeds like the political junkies we are. Despite the merits/demerits of this strategy, simplicity isn’t a bad strategy.

    whembly (51f28e)

  162. Third, Ukraine was not aware that the aid was delayed. There is sworn testimony that contradicts this.

    whembly:

    Really, can you show us?

    There actually is. It was not taken during the day. A Pentagon official said the Ukrainian embassy complained about that – on July 25th no less. There was also a New York Times story that indicated Zelinsky probably knew by the end of July.”

    However:

    1) Neither Sondland, Volker or Taylor knew that they knew

    2) They never thought the aid was tied to investigations until Sondland told them that , mostly likely not as early as September 1, but most likely around September 5 or 6th. He started telling U.S. officials that right after the Politico story appeared and Trump denied that to Senator Ron Johnson, who told him he herd that from Sondland, on August 31. And Sondland has testified that he didn’t get that from Trump.

    This raises the question: Why didn’t the Ukrainians wait to complain about the aid being withheld ntil after the Politico story appeared near the end of August?

    As I said @123:

    The Rep theory is that it was only a rogue ambassador appointed by the previous president who knew ,and they didn’t keep Zelensky apprised. (The Republicans were not aware of the other indications of Ukrainian pre-Aug 28 knowledge)

    The Dem theory (f the intelligence committee counsel Goldman) is that Ukraine didn’t want Russia to know the aid with on hold.

    That would explain why they didn’t go public or to Congress. But why didn’t they complain to the
    Administration??

    I think the reason is that they knew it only because of a leak (military attaches talk to each other) and they could be accused of espionage.

    Another reason is that this could be temporary.

    A third reason is that what could be tied to it, is getting money from European countries also or “Buy American”

    The August 28 Politico article disturbed Ukraine because it suggested that President Trump was reconsidering the whole issue of aid to Ukraine.

    Sammy Finkelman (313b9a)

  163. @165,

    I’m not going to get into the Sondland testimony again. I think we’ve been through that before and I don’t think putting his sworn statements into another comment will affect your conclusions. Suffice it to say the people that worked with Ukaine are under oath saying this is what they were doing.

    But I did want to point out this

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper gave information about additional relevant emails to lawmakers regarding Ukraine’s concerns about security assistance, an addition to her previous closed-door testimony.

    The same day as the call between Trump and Zelensky, there were emails from the State Department saying both Congress and the Ukrainians were asking about security assistance.

    “My staff showed me two unclassified emails that they received from the State Department. One was received on July 25th at 2:31 pm. That email said that the Ukrainian embassy and House Foreign Affairs Committee are asking about security assistance,” Cooper said. “The second one was received on July 25th at 4:25 pm. That email said that the Hill knows about the FMF [Foreign Military Financing] situation to an extent, and so does the Ukrainian Embassy.”

    There’s other evidence but I think this is sufficient to show thew were aware. Thoughts?

    Time123 (a7a01b)

  164. There is some back and forth the Dems and Reos are not entirely ignoring what the others say.

    163ff The Democratic rejoinder to Zelensky saying there was no pressure applied is that when Donald Trump speaks, weak nations that need the United States listen. The Republican counterpoint is: Are you calling Zelensky, your victim, and Andriy Yermak, liars? The Democratic counterpoint to that is to say they shaded the truth casts no aspersions on their character, but their denials are unreliable.

    And what’s overlooked is that they are afraid of angering the Democrats as well!

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-president-holds-back-on-probe-linked-to-impeachment-inquiry-11575490990

    “Burisma has become so political, that unlike other similar situations, upholding the rule of law has its costs,” said Igor Novikov, adviser to Mr. Zelensky on U.S. affairs.

    Sammy Finkelman (313b9a)

  165. That’s right. The witness was Laura Cooper.

    Both the and Reps agree that Sondland and Volker and Taylor did not know that they knew. And that means it could not been applied as pressure until after August 28. Although the Dems somehow still seem to claim that it was, but the Articles of Impeachment say nothing about dates.

    The Dems and Reps have different explanations as to why then the Ukrainians never raised that issue until the Warsaw summit.

    Both of their explanations are wrong, in my opinion.

    Sammy Finkelman (313b9a)

  166. The Dems are trying to confuse and mislead the public by making stronger arguments than what they will fall back on when challenged. So they had this testimony that Ukraine knew July 25 trying to make it sound like the Ukrainians could therefore have felt pressure to do or announce investigations from that.

    When the point is, the people who were asking for investigations did not know that they knew, and it also is pretty clear that, at least until September 1, Gordon Sondland never tried to link the two matters, because Volker testified that Sondland told him that in a telephone call that day.

    He told him he had made mistake in linking the investigations to just meetings, when, in reality, he now thought, everything was linked to investigations.

    Rudy Giuliani has also said he was not aware of any military assistance being put on hold. So, if that is true, he couldn’t have pressured them on that (he has not yet, however, testified under oath.)

    Sammy Finkelman (313b9a)

  167. 148 That Hillary lost only meant that about half the voters thought she was LESS fit for office.

    That erroneously assumes fitness for office is the sole criterion on which people vote.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  168. I am referring to both procedure and to the legal basis for impeachment. Getting elected President is not a license to be monarch for 4 years. The Founders feared it might seem that way, which is why they put impeachment in the Constitution.

    And by the way, there is no time constraint on impeachment. It doesn’t say every President gets one or two years before they can be impeached.

    DRJ (15874d) — 12/12/2019 @ 10:27 am

    Yes. The left and NeverTrump has been trying to impeach since the election 3 years ago. Pelosi recently admitted as much.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  169. @172 Normally that would seem unreasonable. Unfortunately you elected a criminal who hired criminals and foreign agents to run his campaign and then his administration. Why did you do that? Pick someone reasonable next time and you can make a reasonable argument.

    Nic (896fdf)

  170. @171. sigh.

    Nic (896fdf)

  171. https://claremontreviewofbooks.com/land-of-the-free-2/
    another good read by David McMolluogh

    mg (456edd)

  172. Getting elected President is not a license to be monarch for 4 years.

    Then show us where in the impeachment articles it says that Trump has behaved like a monarch. There are two items. One is refuted and the other is nothing more than a refusal to participate in the farce. Certainly a president behaving like a ‘monarch’ would have many, many more (and more serious) charges against him. You’re embarrassing yourself with such hyperbole.

    PTw (894877)

  173. One is refuted and the other is nothing more than a refusal to participate in the farce.

    One is disputed, but not with evidence presented under oath or documents.
    The other is obstruction with more words.

    I get that you don’t think this is valid. But the left didn’t think the Benghazi/IRS/F&F investigations were valid. They were wrong then and you’re wrong now. There’s value in oversight.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  174. One is disputed,

    Yes, sorry. That was much more the word I was looking for. Hadn’t had my first cofveve when I wrote that. My point is not specific to the articles, it is to the comment. It is hyperbole to say (or I presume the excuse will be it’s more of an implication) that the president has behaved as if he had a license to be monarch. This is ridiculous. Such hyperbole undermines the seriousness of the accusation.

    As for the left didn’t think the Benghazi/IRS/F&F investigations were valid. Yes, they were wrong. I am not wrong in my comment because, as I said, in my comment I was addressing the hyperbole. It’s absurd.

    PTw (894877)

  175. @179, fair enough. I like limited government, one of things that limits it are the checks and balances between the branches. A complete refusal to participate in oversight, effectively an elimination of oversight, is a huge increase in power for the executive branch.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  176. Agree, and appreciate your comments.

    A complete refusal to participate in oversight, effectively an elimination of oversight, is a huge increase in power for the executive branch.

    Agree as well. Except there needs to be oversight of congress as well. Congress has for, I believe, decades now held incredibly low approval ratings. Now I’m not one to put much stock in such things but given what has been exposed about them over the last several years, I’m starting to come around. And THIS congress, this whole kangaroo court, is IMNSHO doing far, far greater damage to this country than this POTUS has been accused of doing. Hence the thin gruel of these articles relative to the accusations and, as I say, hyperbole. Surely if he is so, so, so bad there should be a laundry list of items. But after all this time, all this wasted time, all that he’s charged with is something that he can quite easily argue was not a crime when Biden did it (yes it’s more complicated than that, again I’m addressing the hyperbole). This whole charade is purely political. And God I’m tired of that argument that impeachment is political…don’t want to go there either mostly because it’s meaningless then. The very nature of government is political and thus any politician can be impeached for any reason. Which of course the pedants here will point out that of course they can. But as a reasonable person, you know what I mean by that. Impeaching a president for winning an election makes a mockery of the whole process and actually weakens the powers of oversight and check/balances when not used judiciously.

    But again…I want to stick to just the hyperbole. If he has behaved like a tyrant, well then congress had the responsibility to charge him with many more serious, many more important crimes than this (supposed) one.

    PTw (894877)

  177. The vote on the House floor will probably be on Wednesday, December 18. Speaker Nancy Pelosi expects some defections but not enough to defeat the resolution (which I think will be put forth on one up or down vote for both articles combined.) Democrats are not pressing for unanimity among their members but the Republicans are.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will not take up the USMCA (or maybe anything else) until after the Senate trial. He says he and the administration will not have any disagreements. But they are still arguing. Trump wants a trial with witnesses, which he believes will vindicate him. (The Senate will decide but I guess they are not going to go against the president and deprive him of the defense he wants) Trump’s lawyers don’t want any witnesses. They say you never know what a witness might say. Remember Mick Mulvaney saying there was a quid pro quo? But Trump know this is political and wants to win convincingly – and maybe attack Joe Biden. McConnell wants a trial lasting no more than one or two week

    Sammy Finkelman (1e81da)

  178. Here’s…Rudolph Giuliani:

    https://www.redstate.com/elizabeth-vaughn/2019/12/16/giuliani-reveals-damning-evidence-gathered-trip-ukraine-hungary-allegations-true-will-end-bidens-candidacy

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has invited Giuliani to testify before his committee about his discoveries. “However, Graham added he would only take up the attorney’s testimony after the impeachment trial ends.” ..

    ….Since his return, Giuliani has been busy preparing a report “on Joe and Hunter Biden’s corruption in Ukraine” for Attorney General William Barr, the results of information he has “garnered through hours of research.” And on Sunday, through a series of tweets (included below), he revealed some of what he has learned, writing that this only scratches the surface.

    Giuliani alleges that the corruption in Ukraine in 2016 was so extensive that it was President Trump’s “duty” to request an investigation. He writes, “I have garnered witnesses & documents which reveal the truth behind this impeachment, which includes NO wrongdoing by @realDonaldTrump.”

    He says he has information about money paid to Hunter Biden and calls Biden’s withholding of 41.5 billion – Biden claimed that – to be bribery

    The important question is: What did Giulaini have by May 13?

    He also has this:

    Giuliani allegedly has medical records that Shokin was poisoned – twice and that former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch perjured herself in her testimony before the House impeachment inquiry. He also claims to have documents proving Yovanovitch denied VISAs to witnesses who could prove Biden and Democratic corruptio

    I think this is mainly abouut Shokin or there are other cases like this.

    Shokin was denied a visa to visit his daughter in California because he was on a list of corrupt officials to be denied viasas. Then when he re-applied and said he had info to reveal it was denied again on the grounds that he lied in his first visa application. Giulaini had an opportunity to find that out.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)


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