The Jury Talks Back

1/29/2020

Impeachment: What Comes Next

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:51 am

As Republicans squirm and look desperately for a way around John Bolton testifying, some are grabbing hold of the notion that Trump would just be able to block his testimony.

That is a joke. If the Senate votes to hear from John Bolton, there is not a federal judge in the country who will act or vote to stop him from testifying.

I predict we’ll soon see something more realistic. As Bolton’s testimony looks more inevitable, look for GOP hacks to favor a closed-door deposition, citing the Clinton impeachment as precedent. Then there will be a nationwide debate about whether Bolton should testify in public or behind closed doors. The same people who decried the closed doors in the House depositions (never mind that the witnesses later testified publicly) will advocate permanent closed doors for Bolton.

So watch for that.

Meanwhile, there are also discussions about a Bolton-for-Hunter-Biden trade.

I’m not so sure that’s a bad trade for Dems.

The reported contents of John Bolton’s book actually torpedo several arguments raised by many of the President’s defenders, like: there is no firsthand knowledge of Trump’s ordering the quid pro quo; or Trump was really concerned about cost-sharing and/or corruption generally, and not focused on the Bidens personally. Bolton will blow up those arguments with the same relish that he formerly ordered other countries to be blown up.

Meanwhile, what does Hunter Biden bring to the table?

Possibly a real focus on the validity of the arguments citing him. The assumption is that such a focus would be good for Trump. I’m not so sure.

Let’s start with the actual facts. This is Biden’s rapid response guy, but when I watched the video I noted that it largely if not entirely comported with my understanding of the relevant facts:

In short, the Hunter Biden argument is bullshit. Now, how do the Republicans expect to use the Hunter Biden argument to show Trump’s demands to Zelensky were legit? Well, as a technical matter Hunter Biden can’t show that, because the relevant question is what Trump thought, not what Hunter Biden says now. And we all know that Trump thought whatever he was told on Fox News. But those are technical arguments. What would we really learn from Hunter Biden? I think the GOP dream is like the plan of the South Park Underpants Gnomes:

Phase 1: Collect underpants
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit!

But the GOP version is:

Phase 1: Call Hunter Biden
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Not guilty!

So what does the question mark represent? In the GOP fantasy, it’s hours of these questions on repeat:

Q. DIDN’T YOU COLLECT THOUSANDS, PERHAPS MILLIONS, PERHAPS TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM BURISMA?

A: YES.

Q. IS IT NOT TRUE THAT THIS IS RANK CORRUPTION OF THE HIGHEST ORDER AND THAT DONALD TRUMP WAS TOTALLY RIGHT TO WANT TO INVESTIGATE IT?

A. NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT, YOU’RE RIGHT, OF COURSE.

But the reality is that, after the 12th invocation of the thousands, or millions, or quintillions of dollars Biden took, there will be further analysis of just what the hell this has to do with anything. And the more the facts are explored, the more the public will begin to realize certain facts:

  • Shokin, the Ukranian prosecutor whom Biden sought to have ousted, was actually dirty
  • Some Republican Senators supported Biden’s actions in ousting Shokin
  • Any Burisma investigation related to events that happened years before Hunter Biden joined the board
  • Biden’s actions were official U.S. policy and supported by most of the world
  • Biden’s actions likely would have made Burisma more likely to be investigated
  • The GOP argument is bullshit

The GOP Underpants Gnomes plan can still work, but the question mark in Phase 2 does not stand for “damning testimony emerges of the rightness of Donald Trump’s actions” but rather for “Republican Senators vote not guilty no matter what the evidence is.” Which means Trump will be fine — for now. But how will this end up looking come November?

Anyway, that’s what I say to expect. As usual, hound me in a few days when I turn out to have been wrong about everything.

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