Patterico's Pontifications

1/21/2020

Was Trump’s Misconduct Enough To Merit Removal?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:55 pm



[guest post by Dana]

David French tackles the question here:

If I had to sum up the case against Donald Trump in one sentence, it would be this: The available evidence demonstrates that the president of the United States attempted to coerce an allied nation to investigate a self-serving, debunked conspiracy theory and a prominent domestic political rival as a precondition to receiving vital American military aid. If I have another sentence to expand on the claim, I’d add that he attempted to accomplish this scheme by using his private attorney to supplement and circumvent normal diplomatic channels for the purely personal benefit of the president.

[…]

But President Trump’s conduct regarding Ukraine was different [than other presidents]. Here was a president, operating at the absolute apex of his constitutional powers, steering international diplomacy for personal benefit, and not only were there no clear means of constitutional restraint, there was obvious intent to accomplish the scheme well outside the public eye. The scheme was blocked by the unlikely combination of whistleblowing and informal political pressure. Even worse, a defiant administration refuses to admit to any wrongdoing at all—even calling the key piece of evidence against the president a “perfect” call. It was essentially our good fortune (through the courage of the whistleblower) that the American people have access to partial information about the scandal so they can factor it into their electoral calculus.

What’s the constitutional check for misconduct of that kind? Citizens can’t run to court to block this particular abuse of presidential power. We can’t even count on public knowledge for public accountability. The administration is still actively holding back material evidence.

Please read the piece in its entirety before commenting.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

88 Responses to “Was Trump’s Misconduct Enough To Merit Removal?”

  1. A thougtful examination.

    Dana (df1274)

  2. OK, I read the whole thing without barfing. Gimme credit.

    “It was essentially our good fortune (through the courage of the whistleblower) that the American people have access to partial information about the scandal so they can factor it into their electoral calculus.”

    Gag reflex. French at his most Frenchy.

    “Courage” in the Dan Rather sense wins his plaudits, as usual.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  3. So, were Trump’s actions a good thing…or not?

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (48e13d)

  4. No. French is a dope.

    Please state the specific crime, statutory or otherwise, that would be a “high crime or misdemeanor”. Take your time. We’ve heard this nonsense since about 20 minutes after Trump took his oath of office.

    And since when does the act of running for president confer on the candidate a blanket of immunity? Again, give me a case or a statute to that effect.

    Don’t like Trump? We have an election in 10 months.

    Bugg (ebf485)

  5. “Please state the specific crime, statutory or otherwise, that would be a “high crime or misdemeanor”.”

    Here you go, it was in the OP but maybe you missed it:

    The available evidence demonstrates that the president of the United States attempted to coerce an allied nation to investigate a self-serving, debunked conspiracy theory and a prominent domestic political rival as a precondition to receiving vital American military aid.

    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  6. Your strawman is invalid on its face, since impeachment is not a criminal matter. Impeachment in the Senate has been for drunkenness. That’s maybe you should read Federalist 65.

    When presidents work in secret to substitute their personal priorities for the public good in a strategically vital region of the world, the conventional checks are unreliable. In that context, impeachment is the difference between punishment and permission when a president abuses his power while conducting affairs of state.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (48e13d)

  7. Repentance is for a different court, one that Trump pays only lip-service to.

    The issues are 1) was the President’s conduct impeachable, and 2) was it under circumstances that make it likely or unlikely to reoccur? The answers are
    1. Yes; and
    2. Hell, yes, it’s likely to reoccur — wha’, you kiddin’ me, this is Trump we’re talkin’ about — unless we make it unlikely to reoccur by removing him.

    nk (1d9030)

  8. Read it; out of courtesy to Dana.

    French is irrelevant; along w/t other ideological castaways on Gilligan’s Island.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  9. I thought the inclusion of Buttigieg and football was a nice touch. Another fake Christian and another kind of circus for the masses. A trifecta of decadence.

    nk (1d9030)

  10. Don’t like Trump? We have an election in 10 months.

    And Trump was caught red-handed trying to corruptly bribe a foreign government with treasury funds to tamper with it on his behalf.

    Dave (1bb933)

  11. All these guys concerned about elections: this all boils down to election manipulation via disinfo campaigns from our nation’s enemies. You can’t resort to elections to solve that kind of crime. This complaint rings hollow because if Obama or Hillary or Biden were doing it, you would probably not trust the elections they were attempting to skew.

    Further, who cares about overriding the EC? They overrode most American voters. The American people said ‘no Trump’ so I’m not sure why I should care if he’s impeached (by the House that was more recently elected by those same people).

    Impeachment = what democracy looks like. This is what we voted for. Is it going to work? Is it going to lead to my problems being solved? Don’t care.

    Standing by and doing nothing means we are consenting to Trump’s criminal conduct. The GOP should be better than that. As the article states, there is no other recourse.

    Dustin (b8d6d1)

  12. ‘The available evidence demonstrates that the president of the United States attempted to coerce an allied nation to investigate a self-serving, debunked conspiracy theory and a prominent domestic political rival as a precondition to receiving vital American military aid. ‘

    Debunked? Biden is on tape saying he did so.

    Presidents have broad authority to conduct foreign policy. Presidents are also the chief law enforcement officer of this country. And again there is no immunity conferred on presidential candidates.

    Again. specific statutes , do you have any?

    In fact, many voters are at a loss why a country $23 trillion in debt(acknowledge Trump has not been good on that, but I digress) is still in NATO or the foreign aid business or constant endless war. If you asked them how or why it is we are so allied with Ukraine they would find that rather stupid.

    Trump is imperfect vessel. But this mess echoes Washington’s warnings about entangling alliances. John Quincy Adams’ admonition about the US going not abroad in search of monsters to destroy and Eisenhower’s warnings of the military industrial complex in his farewell. Pardon many of us if going on 3 decades of body bags of brave men and women landing at Dover means the people who have been in charge are the problem.Today’s blatherings (is my Congressman, Hakeem Jeffries, done yet?) are a reminder that the powers that be and have been don’t care at all about Ukraine, they care about power to keep playing the grand game. And they view Trump as a threat to said grand game.

    Bugg (ebf485)

  13. ”if Obama or Hillary or Biden were doing it”

    Viva le Obliviousness

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  14. Given that “all available evidence” says no such thing, the only thing missing from every word after than phrase is a mention of ruby slippers, three heal clicks, and a magical phrase.

    MJN1957 (85ea38)

  15. Debunked conspiracy theory? I think I missed the debunking. Well the Washington Post fact checker gave Joe a pass and claimed his motives were pure but they really didn’t debunk anything. Hunter Biden had no experience in the gas business or in Ukraine. Burisma just happened to hire him and coincidentally the guy passing out the U.S aid to Ukraine is his father. Joe made the investigation of Burisma go away. There is a video of him bragging about it. That doesn’t raise a red flag? The whole thing stinks.

    Mattsky (55d339)

  16. Joe made the investigation of Burisma go away

    False.

    Dave (1bb933)

  17. Joe made the investigation of Burisma go away

    False.

    Well, maybe. Biden got the crooked prosecutor that was in Burisma’s pocket fired. Burisma hiring Hunter made sure Biden would now turn a blind eye to things Burisma. I called it the Chicago Way at first, but it’s a universal form of shakedown.

    nk (1d9030)

  18. “Debunked? Biden is on tape saying he did so.”

    No he didn’t.

    “Again. specific statutes , do you have any?”

    The “misdemeanors” part of “high crimes and misdemeanors” means non-criminal malfeasance. No statutory crime is required.

    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  19. If only there were some sort of Presidential impeachment precedent for misusing money to dig up dirt on your opponent in an upcoming election…

    Alas we are bereft of such precedent.

    Leviticus (7fcc89)

  20. “And they view Trump as a threat to said grand game.”

    There are more troops in the middle east now than there were at the end of Obama’s term.

    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  21. “Non criminal malfeasance”. Misdemeanors are in fact federally and in most states any statutory crime for which the sentence can be more than 1 year in jail.

    Again, cite me the misdemeanor and it’s statutory elements.

    Bugg (ebf485)

  22. Misdemeanors are in fact federally and in most states any statutory crime for which the sentence can be more than 1 year in jail.

    Less than.

    Dustin (b8d6d1)

  23. Viva le Obliviousness

    Munroe (dd6b64) — 1/21/2020 @ 7:52 pm

    What’s hilarious is that you’re basically saying I’m right, but are so busy doing your repetitive thing that you don’t actually know what you’re saying, so I suppose it doesn’t count.

    If, based on the whispers of stormfront and aceofspades, you think Obama or Biden or Hillary were doing this stuff, and therefore ‘lock her up’ you are an absolute hypocrite to say Trump can do the same thing but it’s great when he does it.

    Dustin (b8d6d1)

  24. “Misdemeanors are in fact federally and in most states any statutory crime for which the sentence can be more than 1 year in jail.”

    I’m not sure if you’re being obtuse or ignorant. I bet you can explain what “well regulated militia” means, though.

    Assuming ignorance, here’s Federalist 65:

    A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.

    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  25. The anti-impeachment argument boils down to the claim that since Trump is campaigning for re-election in 2020, impeaching him is bogus. Is, in fact, unconstitutional.

    The implication if that is of course that the Founders included impeachment in COTUS just for show.

    they care about power to keep playing the grand game

    Good description of the Democrats. But also a good description of McConnell and the modern GOP.

    Kishnevi (7de89f)

  26. Debunked conspiracy theory? I

    The reference is to Crowdstrike and Hillary, not Burisma and Biden.

    Kishnevi (7de89f)

  27. What’s next? A Federalist 41 reference to back up the unconstitutionality of Social Security and Medicare? It’s a Federalist smorgasbord! Cherry pick what you like.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  28. Who said Social Security and Medicare were constitutional?

    Kishnevi (7de89f)

  29. Nice deflection, but the issue of the day isn’t Biden’s behavior. The Republican government when he was vice president did not choose to investigate him. But Biden!! Is just another distraction and deflection.

    Trump attempted to use our power. Ours. Not his, ours. To extort a foreign government in an attempt to undermine our election process in a way that would benefit him personally. He misused his office in an attempt to benefit himself. He engaged in corrupt behaviors himself, engaged others in corruption, and attempted to engage still others in corruption. The constitutional solution for that is exactly what is currently happening. Not that the Senate will act in good faith with their constitutional duty, but it is the correct constitutional solution.

    This is why impeachment exists and was written into the Constitution. The founding fathers didn’t just go “Eh, wait for the next election.” They gave us this as the appropriate consequence for such actions. And it doesn’t somehow negate or nullify that last election, Pence would take office and we would still have a Republican president. In fact, it might be better in the long run for the R party if they clean out all the corrupt actors that Trump has lured out of the shadows. (Yes, it would be a loss in the short run, but sometimes you need a rebuilding year.)

    Nic (896fdf)

  30. Short answer NO! It does not reach the level of offense to merit removal from office. If as the democrats said in 1998/99 that perjury and obstruction of justice both felonys doesn’t merit removal from office no felony certainly rise to the level of removal from office.

    asset (f6fb75)

  31. ”Who said Social Security and Medicare were constitutional?”
    Kishnevi (7de89f) — 1/21/2020 @ 8:43 pm

    Who said The Federalist was a proxy for the Constitution?

    Which passages are we compelled to follow, and which ones should we blow off?

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  32. Munroe @31
    Where in the Constitution do you find Medicare and Social Security?

    Kishnevi (7de89f)

  33. “all available evidence”??

    Do we simply handwave Ukraine official’s multiple instances that there were no pressure, no linkage?

    Do we ignore that House Ds’ star witnesses couldn’t offer first hand info that Trump wanted that linkeage (or quid pro quo)??

    Is this some mass confirmation bias at work here between the two different sides?

    Will Nolan Arenado be traded before spring training??

    whembly (91455b)

  34. Kishnevi (7de89f) — 1/21/2020 @ 8:58 pm

    Kish, Social Security and Medicare (and all safety net programs) are constitutional based on a ridiculously loose interpretation of Article I Section 8. That interpretation was anticipated in Federalist 41 and directly rejected. Read it, if you have doubts.

    I will gladly trade a Trump conviction and removal for an interpretation of the Constitution in strict adherence to The Federalist. Would you? Or, are the impeachment folks just going to feign a bogus admiration?

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  35. “Who said The Federalist was a proxy for the Constitution?”

    Do you know what the Federalist Papers are?

    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  36. Melanie Zanona
    @MZanona
    ·
    Adam Schiff may have mischaracterized a piece of the Lev Parnas evidence from last week, according to unredacted documents obtained by @politico…
    _ _

    Chris 🇺🇸
    @wr2020ny
    ·
    “mischaracterized” is journo talk for when a Dem perjures himself.
    __ _

    KSLawWolf
    @KSLawWolf
    ·
    Schiff screws up and the story leads off with how the evil Republicans may pounce.

    _

    harkin (d6cfee)

  37. ”Do you know what the Federalist Papers are?”
    Davethulhu (fe4242) — 1/21/2020 @ 9:11 pm

    Thulhu, champion of The Federalist Papers. LOL

    The clown show has a headline act.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  38. Munroe (dd6b64) — 1/21/2020 @ 9:10 pm

    I am a libertarian. More generally one of those people DSCSA hates. So it should be no surprise that I agree with everything you say in that comment.

    Kishnevi (7de89f)

  39. “The clown show has a headline act.”

    You’re a troll, and a bad one.

    It’s telling that you singled out Social Security and not a standing army.

    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  40. Do we simply handwave Ukraine official’s multiple instances that there were no pressure, no linkage?

    Until the day Trump leaves office, it’s vital for Ukraine to stay on his good side if possible. Meaning Ukrainian testimony in favor of Trump is of no value.

    Kishnevi (7de89f)

  41. 40

    Do we simply handwave Ukraine official’s multiple instances that there were no pressure, no linkage?

    Until the day Trump leaves office, it’s vital for Ukraine to stay on his good side if possible. Meaning Ukrainian testimony in favor of Trump is of no value.

    Kishnevi (7de89f) — 1/21/2020 @ 9:24 pm

    Which is substantiated by the House Ds’ start witness (Volker, Sonland, Taylor, etc…) when they stated that they didn’t inform Ukraine officials.

    Futhermore, Amb Taylor met with officials multiple times after the 2nd phone call, and this topic was not brought up.

    So, what you say does make sense… but it’s still conjecture. Especially in the fact of ancillary testimonies.

    whembly (91455b)

  42. Davethulhu, I apologize for my crude comment.

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  43. *star… not start. (wordpress needs an edit button!)

    whembly (91455b)

  44. “Is this some mass confirmation bias at work here between the two different sides?”

    Yes, pretty much. Anti-Trump people interpret everything Trump does with the worst possible intent because the man is a walking clown show. Pro-Trump people view the Impeachment over Trump simply asking about possible corruption by the previous administration as proof of the Deep State that is vehemently intent on saving itself.

    Xmas (eafb47)

  45. @38. Don’t try to tell me who I hate!

    I hate the that!! 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  46. @29. Yep. Bingo.

    The Rs just voted to table an amendment that gave the Chief Justice, appointed by an R POTUS, the middle finger of no confidence on witness relevance — then McConnell sheepishly breaks into a turtle smile and thanked the CJ for ‘his patience.’ Still want those parking tickets fixed, eh Mitch?!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  47. @35. In the ad biz: sales promotion collateral. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  48. The “conspiracy theory” is one spin. It seems like misdirection, but maybe.

    That Biden’s son was dirty and that Biden threatened to withhold the same aid to get rid of an allegedly corrupt prosecutor who was snooping around Biden’s son’s business is another.

    Like 99.99% of Americans, I really don’t have the time, energy or inclination to dive into this as far as it would take to have a strong opinion.

    What I *do* see is that Trump was using aid as a cudgel to get the Ukrainians to provide dirt on a likely opponent. Doesn’t matter why so much. His case improves marginally if that dirt was there (we should know if Biden is a crook, not that that is necessarily disqualifying of late). Trump’s case weakens marginally if what he was doing was based upon with some crazy-ass conspiracy theory.

    Is it enough, by itself to remove? NO.

    Were there other charges (incompetence, witlessness, venality, conduct unbecoming, etc) that would warrant removal if brought? YES.

    The case they did bring is so weak, I wonder if the Democrats are running scared of Trump, too.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  49. The really stupidest thing Trump can do here is withhold evidence. At this point the House managers ought to have standing to sue and Trump does himself no good to drag it out while raising the stakes. If there is a suit for evidence, the Senate is almost forced to postpone the trial. And hen when the ruling comes down, after 6 more months of picking sides, the mood might be 72% to remove at which point Trump is gone and the Democrats are running unopposed.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  50. I predict he will do the stupidest thing.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  51. Please state the specific crime, statutory or otherwise, that would be a “high crime or misdemeanor”.

    “Misdemeanor” was not a class of crime in 1787. It was a word that meant “bad behavior.”

    Kevin M (19357e)

  52. Col Klink #6

    Great quote. The problem is whether this was either a critical enough region or substantial enough a misdeed to warrant removal. But you are right that this could be enough. It would have been better if it had been in the context of 11 other counts.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  53. Don’t like Trump? We have an election in 10 months.

    Heck, we have an election in ONE month. Several others soon after.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  54. Nice deflection, but the issue of the day isn’t Biden’s behavior. The Republican government when he was vice president did not choose to investigate him. But Biden!! Is just another distraction and deflection.

    If what Trump was trying to get the Ukrainians to investigate was actually true, and Biden took a bribe by proxy, then it helps his case some. Probably enough for the defense to be allowed to make the case.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  55. @54 Fruit of the poisoned tree IMO. If you beat a suspect to get information, it doesn’t matter whether the information is good or not.

    Nic (896fdf)

  56. If what Trump was trying to get the Ukrainians to investigate was actually true, and Biden took a bribe by proxy, then it helps his case some. Probably enough for the defense to be allowed to make the case.

    If it’s true no one has presented any evidence under oath to support it.

    Time123 (d54166)

  57. Dave, you make good points. Don’t let Munroe get to you. He’s a troll who doesn’t really have anything to add other than his sense of persecution.

    Time123 (d54166)

  58. This place is a laugh riot. Keep it up losers.

    mg (8cbc69)

  59. The Impeachment Schiff show is a reflection of moronic lawyers abusing the voting public. Round these ingrates up and flush.

    mg (8cbc69)

  60. Dave wrote:

    Trump was caught red-handed trying to corruptly bribe a foreign government with treasury funds to tamper with it on his behalf.

    Bribery is one of the specified reasons for impeachment, “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” yet the House, in its wisdom, never charged the President with bribery.

    Why didn’t they? It was plainly obvious that not charging the President with a specific violation of the law was a weakness in their argument, and it isn’t as though no one had mentioned this after the articles of impeachment were laid out but before they were passed. Charging the President with bribery would only have strengthened the Democrats’ arguments, but they chose not to do so, and the only reason can be that they realized that it couldn’t be proven. They fail to prove it, and everything else falls apart.

    No partisan impeachment has ever succeeded, and this one won’t either.

    The other Dana (b49bca)

  61. Trump was caught red-handed trying to corruptly bribe a foreign government with treasury funds to tamper with it on his behalf.

    Nope. Trump was caught red-handed corruptly soliciting a bribe from a foreign government as a condition of releasing treasury funds that Congress had authorized as foreign aid to that government. I guess Zelensky does not remind him of his daughter, or he might have asked for what he got from Stormy Daniels.

    nk (1d9030)

  62. I wish Mr. French’s opinion mattered. It is a well reasoned explanation on why Trump’s conduct merits removal.

    It doesn’t matter, though. Impeachment is a process that is inherently political. And look at things from the eyes of the GOP. For the first time since maybe 1989, the base is happy with its leadership. The people who were frothing and foaming and jumping up and down in the Freedom Caucus are now as quiet as lambs, and vote the party line. Trump has made being a Republican easy. No more tough discussions about budgets and cuts and being mean to the working man. All you have to do is tee off on CNN once in a while and the love is complete.

    There are the usual warning signs that this is not sustainable. Polls suggest Trump and Republicans are vulnerable. But all is warm and sweet in the bubble. And the nevertrumps are irrelevant. And where will the primary challenges come from?

    Republicans, to change, must lose. They must lose big. And even if they lose, they may not change.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  63. I guess Zelensky does not remind him of his daughter, or he might have asked for what he got from Stormy Daniels.

    Too bad. I would have liked to have seen the Trumpablicans saying “This is only about sex” on the floor of the Senate.

    nk (1d9030)

  64. Please state the specific crime, statutory or otherwise, that would be a “high crime or misdemeanor”.

    Easy. One, obstruction of justice per the Mueller report, and this heat map provides the best synopsis. Pelosi didn’t have the political courage to add those crimes to the articles of impeachment.
    Two (link), 18 U.S. Code § 872: “Extortion by officers or employees of the United States.”
    Three, 52 U.S. Code § 30121: “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals.”
    Four, Trump’s concealment of payments to a pornstar on the eve of an election to prevent his extra-marital affair from coming to light. A portion of those payments were made during his presidency when Trump put Cohen on an installment plan. His “fixer” pled guilty to the felony, so the person who directed the scheme (Trump) is just as guilty of the crime, if not more. To be clear, the crime wasn’t making the payments, it was failing to report them to the FEC as campaign contributions.
    Five, 2 U.S. Code § 192: “Refusal of witness to testify or produce papers.”
    This source has a good compilation of the evidence on Trump’s Ukraine crimes, and this source applies the evidence to the relevant laws broken.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  65. I would agree with Erickson and McCarthy, but for this: Trump wanted to illegally rig an American election in his favor with Putin’s help in 2016, Trump told Stephanopolous that he would illegally rig an American election in his favor with the help of a foreign power in June 2019, and Trump tried to illegally rig an American election in his favor by pushing Zelensky to help him with Biden in summer 2019.
    Trump needed to be impeached because his acts undermined our electoral process and democracy. He needs to be removed because he is so completely unrepentant that he won’t even admit he did anything wrong. The call was “perfect” to him when it was anything but.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  66. Joe made the investigation of Burisma go away.

    There’s zero evidence of that. It’s FakeNews.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  67. Time123 (d54166) — 1/22/2020 @ 3:34 am

    Am I still invited to your birthday party?

    Munroe (dd6b64)

  68. David French:

    If I had to sum up the case against Donald Trump in one sentence, it would be this: The available evidence demonstrates that the president of the United States attempted to coerce an allied nation to investigate a self-serving, debunked conspiracy theory and a prominent domestic political rival as a precondition to receiving vital American military aid. If I have another sentence to expand on the claim, I’d add that he attempted to accomplish this scheme by using his private attorney to supplement and circumvent normal diplomatic channels for the purely personal benefit of the president.

    That is, sort of, what the accusation is.

    And, while the president’s counsel is arguing that rump is not being accused of a crime, or anything that should be grounds for impeachment, yesterday House Manager Adam Schiff said that they are indeed disputing facts, and therefore, evidence is needed.

    Now about this: Donald Trump did not attempt to coerce Ukraine into doing anything, and what he wanted from Ukraine was answers and not investigations, and still less an announcement of an investigation, which, in fact, Giuliani had already obtained from what turned out to be the outgoing Prosecutor General.

    Trump’s underlings did attempt to coerce Ukraine, at first mildly, but this was because they hoped that that would get Trump to lift the hold. But they did that without any confirmation from Trump. (this was after Ukraine became gun shy, due to the efforts of some in the State Department and lobbying by Democrats, notably Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut in a Sept. 5 meeting in Kyiv with Zelinsky at which Senator Ron Johnson was also present.)

    Sammy Finkelman (083d4c)

  69. Sammy,

    The problem with your construction is that it does not explain why Giuliani was involved. If Trump’s attitude was f-em, then why would he bother with having Rudy handle the matter.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  70. It was not difficult in the spring to coerce Ukraine into agreeing to investigations, and the aid was not withheld for that reason.

    There was no big resistance to that, and by the time of the July 25 call, Ukrainian president Volodyrmyr Zelinsky was already agreeing to investigations (only he tried to divert them into something that was valid):

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

    Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament; 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

    [i.e. Burisma. Issue = probably the claim that Biden stopped an investigation. Zelinsky’s English is not quite that good.]

    The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of.that and will work on the investigation of the case.

    [= Zelinsky tells Trump he shouldn’t think they were pressured into it, and might back off when the pressure is off; but this is something that is important to themselves to investigate]

    On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to µs, it would be very helpful · for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country.

    [Zelensky throws the allegation against Biden back at Trump, and tells him that if the United States government has any information about Biden doing something wrong, they’ll be glad to check it out.]

    Zelensky had also said earlier in the same call:

    I would also like and hope to see him

    [his new to-be-appointed Ambassador to the United States]

    having your trust and your confidence and have persona1 relations·with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani

    [This is the first mention of Giuliani in the call. Trump had, up till then, mentioned only Attorney General Barr]

    just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet

    [i.e. Zelinsky and Giuliani]

    once he comes to Ukraine. 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.

    [Giuliani had made a big thing of bad people in the Ukrainian government. His informants had also told him these corrupt people had tried to stop him from being elected in 2016. Trump was concerned about bad anti-Trump people possibly being in the Ukrainian government.]

    I also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have friends -in our country so we can continue our strategic relationship. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation

    [The investigation regarding Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election about which Trump had just talked about incoherently]

    I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations

    [either all they do, or he means to include the other matter that concerned Giuliani that he already knew about, that is Burisma]

    will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you

    Sammy Finkelman (083d4c)

  71. Mr Montagu wrote, after specifying what statutes on which the Articles of Impeachment could have been based:

    Trump needed to be impeached because his acts undermined our electoral process and democracy. He needs to be removed because he is so completely unrepentant that he won’t even admit he did anything wrong. The call was “perfect” to him when it was anything but.

    My commenting privileges appear to be limited, because I have told our esteemed host that if it was Russian interference in the election which kept Hillary Clinton a private citizen, then we owe Vladimir Vladimirovich a debt of gratitude which can never be fully repaid.

    Mr Montagu gave us a list of specific laws he claims Mr Trump has broken, yet the Democrats never charged him with any of them, or any specific statutory violation. That is a huge weakness in the Articles, a wholly unforced error, if any of those charges could have been proven.

    But what Mr Montagu has illustrated, in the conclusion of his comment, is what the Democrats’ real Article of Impeachment is, that President Trump needs to be removed from office because he had the temerity, the audacity, the unmitigated gall to deny Her Royal Highness the coronation she so obviously deserved.

    He took away from her the right to appoint Elizabeth Warren and Donna Brazile to the Supreme Court. He took away from her the right to use government power to declare that there are more than two sexes, that girls can be boys and boys can be girls, that we should allow in 165,000 or more refugees every year and make the whole country a ‘sanctuary’ for illegals, and that we should confiscate all firearms from law-abiding people.

    Yeah, Donald Trump isn’t a very nice guy, but it is his policies which matter, not his narcissistic personality. He’s a better president than any of the credible alternatives.

    The other Dana (b49bca)

  72. My commenting privileges appear to be limited

    I don’t recall banning you or moderating you. People’s comments get held up all the time by the finicky software.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  73. Don’t like Trump? We have an election in 10 months.

    Is that the same election that Trump has repeatedly solicited other countries to interfere with on his behalf?

    Don’t like this corrupt guy? Then participate in the election that he is doing his level best to rig!

    Patterico (115b1f)

  74. Appalled (1a17de) — 1/22/2020 @ 7:48 am

    The problem with your construction is that it does not explain why Giuliani was involved. If Trump’s attitude was f-em, then why would he bother with having Rudy handle the matter.

    It was Giuliani who brought the whole thing – the two matters of 2016 and Biden/Burisma – to Trump’s attention. Actually three matters. The other thing was supposedly bad people (who whad’yah know, were also supposedly anti-Trump people) in the Ukrainian government. Trump didn’t seek out Giuliani for this errand.

    Trump was not against aid initially. He turned against aid sometime between the April 21 call and May 13.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/19/us/politics/democrats-seek-testimony-impeachment.html

    …In an Oval Office meeting on May 23, Mr. Trump insisted to his aides that Ukrainians were “terrible people” who “tried to take me down.”

    But George P. Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, testified that Mr. Trump’s view of Mr. Zelensky and Ukraine had darkened in the interval between that meeting and his first phone call with the Ukraine leader a month earlier, in which he congratulated him on his victory.

    Bad construction on the part of the New York Times. It should read between the April 21 call and the May 23 meeting.

    We can narrow it down even further, because on May 13, he told the vice president’s office that Mike Pence should not attend Zelinsky’s inauguration. That was the same day he met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the White House. When Orban echoed some of Putin’s words, that did it. (I am presuming that Orban and Putin bad mouthed Ukraine)

    In the interim, Mr. Putin reportedly disparaged Mr. Zelensky to Mr. Trump in a phone call on May 3. And Mr. Trump held an Oval Office meeting with Mr. Orban, who is antagonistic toward Mr. Zelensky. No transcripts of those conversations have been released. Mr. Kent attributed the shift in Mr. Trump’s attitude to the combined influence of those two foreign leaders and Mr. Giuliani.

    There you have it.

    Now Trump still wanted to get information from Ukraine and he probably was hoping to hear “good news ” from Giuliani. But Giuliani had already satisfied himself that “bad people” were not going to be in Ukraine’s new government, and he had no idea that Trump was still concerned about that. Giuliani had gotten the ambassador fired and he thought that was the main problem.

    Sammy Finkelman (083d4c)

  75. David French:

    . If I have another sentence to expand on the claim, I’d add that he attempted to accomplish this scheme by using his private attorney to supplement and circumvent normal diplomatic channels for the purely personal benefit of the president.

    You can only say “purely personal” if Donald Trump knew the allegations were bogus.

    Sammy Finkelman (083d4c)

  76. Mr Montagu gave us a list of specific laws he claims Mr Trump has broken, yet the Democrats never charged him with any of them, or any specific statutory violation.

    That is true, but the question the commenter asked was what crimes Trump committed, and you can take my more expansive list as disagreement with the Democrats on what they put in the articles. The evidence underlying the evidence is sufficient, IMO, for impeachment and removal, but it could’ve been more.

    But what Mr Montagu has illustrated, in the conclusion of his comment, is what the Democrats’ real Article of Impeachment is, that President Trump needs to be removed from office because he had the temerity, the audacity, the unmitigated gall to deny Her Royal Highness the coronation she so obviously deserved.

    Um, that’s bullsh*t. Trump won, the election cannot be overturned. Hillary lost. If by some improbable chance Trump is convicted, President Pence will be there to carry on Trump’s “legacy”.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  77. Um, that’s bullsh*t. Trump won, the election cannot be overturned. Hillary lost. If by some improbable chance Trump is convicted, President Pence will be there to carry on Trump’s “legacy”.

    This doesn’t rebut the argument that this is payback.

    frosty (f27e97)

  78. frosty:

    The argument is based on imputing motives to all the House Democrats that, as far as I can tell, they have never admitted. So, if the other Dana is going to assert this, he probably should be ready to present some evidence that THIS is the motivation of impeachment. I men something more than his strong opinions. Otherwise, Montagu really doesn’t have anything to refute.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  79. I think it’s more payback for Bill Clinton’s impeachment than Hillary’s hiding. Nobody really liked Hillary (did you laugh when she said that about Bernie?), she got the nomination through a fixed Democratic primary, and her votes in the general election were more anti-Trump than pro-Cackle.

    nk (1d9030)

  80. Don’t like Trump? We have an election in 10 months.

    Normally we have primaries before that, but several state parties are preventing voters from choosing any GOP candidate over Trump.

    Funny how that doesn’t bother people who purport to be upholding the sanctity of elections.

    Radegunda (39c35f)

  81. This doesn’t rebut the argument that this is payback.

    So what? It’s a given that Party A will want to impeach Party B if they can get the goods on him. The problem is that Trump kept giving them the goods.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  82. This doesn’t rebut the argument that this is payback.

    “If you hit him, he’ll hit back ten times as hard” was a selling point for Trump. But if it goes the other way … that’s not fair!

    Radegunda (39c35f)

  83. Appalled (1a17de) — 1/22/2020 @ 9:12 am

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7) — 1/22/2020 @ 9:35 am

    Radegunda (39c35f) — 1/22/2020 @ 9:43 am

    @76 quotes @71 in such a way as to indicate that it’s a reply to that argument. But it isn’t a reply, it asserts something else and then argues against that. And then you change the subject.

    frosty (f27e97)

  84. David French:

    The scheme was blocked by the unlikely combination of whistleblowing and informal political pressure.

    It got to be pretty formal before September 11. The scheme (of holding up the money and trying to condition release on investigations) didn’t even come into existence until less than two weeks before.

    What was secret, and of doubtful legality, was the hold itself.

    Not completely secret. Four different “whistleblowers” contacted the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 18, when many administration officials were informed of the hold in a conference call:.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/29/us/politics/trump-ukraine-military-aid.html

    That same day, aides on the House Foreign Affairs Committee received four calls from administration sources warning them about the hold and urging them to look into it.

    They didn’t do anything besides maybe writing a few polite letters, and they may have been given a number of different excuses. There may have been delays even before that.

    In the arguments yesterday, one of the House managers (Schiff I think) quoted from one of the emails mentioned at the start of that article.

    “I’m just trying to tie up some loose ends,” Mr. Mulvaney wrote. “Did we ever find out about the money for Ukraine and whether we can hold it back? …

    The aide, Robert B. Blair, replied that it would be possible, but not pretty. “Expect Congress to become unhinged” if the White House tried to countermand spending passed by the House and Senate, he wrote in a previously undisclosed email.

    It’s the Expect Congress to become unhinged” line that he quoted. This was art of the argument for documents.

    Even worse, a defiant administration refuses to admit to any wrongdoing at all

    That’s bad – but he keeps getting accused of things that didn’t happen.

    Both Nixon and Clinton admitted to something not so good.

    —even calling the key piece of evidence against the president a “perfect” call.

    Supposedly “perfect” because he didn’t put any pressure at all on Zelensky to do the investigations. Also, he never told him that the he had put a hold on the security assistance. (they were never formally told about it at all, in fact until Zelensky asked Vice president Mike Pence in Warsaw about releasing the money, and Pence, by virtue of the fact that he said he would talk to the president, acknowledged the fact that the money was on hold.

    It wasn’t linked to investigations until even later, although Gordon Sondland had already floated that trial balloon to various U.S. officials including Senator Ron Johnson. (who told President Trump about that idea, which then Trump vehemently denied was in his mind.)

    It was essentially our good fortune (through the courage of the whistleblower) that the American people have access to partial information about the scandal so they can factor it into their electoral calculus.

    Well, that’s more Adam Schiff’s strategy. Which included making false allegations. Trump released the call record to disprove it. A old reporter’s trick.

    Sammy Finkelman (083d4c)

  85. 64. That should be:

    , obstruction of justice per the Mueller report, and this heat map provides the best synopsis. Pelosi didn’t have the votes to add those crimes to the articles of impeachment. For a reason.

    Sammy Finkelman (083d4c)

  86. Since we’re discussing something from The Dispatch, this piece partially explains Republican loyalty to Trump. Rubio and Cruz don’t want to be the next Charles Percy when it’s their turn, although it didn’t help that Percy was the “the lushest bloom of the medium-to-left spectrum of the Republican Party.”

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  87. Don’t like this corrupt guy? Then participate in the election that he is doing his level best to rig!

    He’s certainly more blatant about it but it’s not unique to Trump. The major parties have been at it for decades through everything from voter fraud schemes to gerrymandering. The difference w/Trump is, it’s all about him. But then, that’s the premise of his show, isn’t it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  88. The first day of news coverage of President Trump’s impeachment trial delivered 11 million daytime viewers across six networks. -source, THR

    DCSCA (797bc0)


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