Michael Cohen’s Recipe for Impeachment Pie

Mark Kruger

Mark Kruger

Late blooming political scientist & historian, Net engineer, programmer, technology expert, bad speler, consultant and business owner.

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154 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I think Impeachment is highly unlikely. Then again so many events this year were highly unlikely.

    Nixon remained deeply popular with Republicans until the bitter end. However there were smaller ideological differences between the parties back then and the Democrats had a strong advantage in the Senate even after Nixon’s 72 landslide.

    The ideological rift between the parties is now a Grand Canyon sized chasm. The Democrats appear to have a good chance of taking the House.* The Senate is another story. Things look better than they did but it still looks like a GOP majority.

    Nixon for all his venality was still a politician and smart enough to be convinced by elder statesmen in his party that the gig was up. Trump shows no signs of such intelligence or political skill. There were three essays yesterday comparing him to a mob boss. They were in New York (Chait), the Atlantic (Goldberg), and Vox (Matt Y).

    *I hope Democrats will win big in 2018 but my fear is that it become a Just Not Good Enough election. I.e we get out the vote and win more votes than the GOP but because of districting, this means we lose narrowly in Red districts instead but get 49 percent of the vote instead of getting the usual 30 or 40 percent of the vote.Report

    • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

      @saul-degraw Nixon is an interesting case. He lost the support of congress, but resigning was a risk as it opened him to prosecution. He was betting that Ford would pardon him for the good of the country. There’s no evidence but folks have always suspected a deal when Ford was instated.

      Trump on the other hand will not resign. The minute he steps out of the white house he’s going to be embroiled in a mess of litigation. He will hang on like grim death.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        I suppose partly it also comes down to objectives. Is the objective to remove Trump from an office for which he was, is, and ever shall be unfit? Or to Ruin Trump? Or more, to Ruin the idea of Trump.

        Would you trade a Pardon for a Resignation?

        One of my suspicions has been that Mueller is building the financial case to ruin the Trumpire… if the goal is removal from office, then he might take an exit with a soft landing; but, if we ignore Sun Tzu and make obliteration the objective… then expect no quarter given and no quarter asked.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          I think you can ruin the idea of Trump (which is, IMO, necessary) without ruining the man himself. The disgrace of removal from office is a powerful message in and of itself.

          Nixon’s pardon may have been a necessary compromise, or it may have frustrated justice, but it certainly didn’t rehabilitate his reputation.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine says:

            Then a Pardon for Resignation would be a good trade.

            I kinda think that a pardoned/resigned Trump wouldn’t recede into the woodwork like Nixon did… but somethings we can’t know until we see how they are executed. How will President Pence carry forward? Who becomes Trump’s successor? Does the Party revert to the Neo-Con establishment or does it become a rump, leaderless party?

            On the whole, I’d probably take the trade myself… my concerns for the future of the Republican party are non-existent… so they can fend for themselves.Report

            • Avatar bookdragon says:

              Honestly, as much as I agree with my neighbor’s new bumpersticker (Make American Not Embarrassing Again), I am not cheering for impeachment UNLESS we can a la Nixon and Agnew get rid of Pence first.

              In a lot of ways, Pence worries me more. Not because he seems to be a dense and rigid sort of evangelical (though I certainly would prefer a president that didn’t fit that description) but because Paul Manafort wanted Mike Pence to be on the ticket as the vice presidential nominee. We don’t know what that reason is, but if Manafort was Putin’s man, then I fear that Trump being so hideously unfit that he was bound to be impeached or forced to resign was part of the plan.

              Yes, I know that sounds like an over the top scandal/spy movie, but the political news and narrative for the last few years has been so bizarre that it feels sometimes like we’re living in a bad political thriller.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            pillsy: I think you can ruin the idea of Trump (which is, IMO, necessary) without ruining the man himself. The disgrace of removal from office is a powerful message in and of itself.

            alternate take – it also has a potential of making him a martyr.

            Now that things have progressed as long as they have, and in the manner that they have, I think it’s vitally important for the anti-Trump forces (on all points of the political compass, but especially on the left) to not launch an impeachment proceeding *until* the economy turns for the worse.

            If Trump is taken out say, next summer, if the Dow is still in the mid-20Ks and unemployment is still 4ish percent (and no jobs have been shed yet), you are going to see the mother of all post-hoc fallacies when the economy does start to stall. And no amount of Vox explainers are to going be able to get people’s basic primate brains off the fact that ‘things were good when Trump was here, now things aren’t good, and y’all are the ones that made that happen)Report

            • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

              You may be right about the timing.

              Note one of my main points in every article is that conservatives – the right – are here, they vote and they are not going anywhere. There’s no way to “destroy” conservatism anymore than you can “destroy” liberalism. All of the work to tear down policies or pols is just the machine stuff – the worldviews themselves will reemerge and assert themselves eventually – as they are now doing in Europe.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                I do agree with the sentiment below that impeachment should proceed on Kantian grounds anyway.

                And as I said on twitter, impeaching Clinton and failing turned out to work great for the Republicans in the medium and long run.Report

        • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

          I think you might be right – that Mueller is building a financial case to ruin the Trumpire. I am also of the opinion that Mueller is in possession of classified intelligence in the form of interecepts, and that the threat of “ruining the Trumpire” might be what it takes to get Trump to just leave office, and that Mueller thinks (as I would) that this is a reasonable tradeoff to remove someone who is deeply compromised.

          Yes, I’m aware that this is speculative, and might not be so. Mueller, though, doesn’t seem to me to be the sort of person that would engage in something like this without the stakes. Though, I suppose, it could be for the sake of Comey’s treatment at the hands of Trump.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter says:

          Would you trade a Pardon for a Resignation?

          I would, but our problem is a lot bigger than that.

          Subtract him being a racist ass (which used to be very common) and we’ve got… what? His sex life? A low 6 digit “illegal” “campaign” contribution (which is also his sex life)? Russia-which-didn’t-happen? Afaitc, working-with-Russia is to Trump what birther-ism was to Obama.

          I also have serious doubts that him hushing up his sex life passes muster. My expectation is Trump has cheated on his wife(s) constantly, and has paid someone to have it fixed constantly. Taking normal-for-Trump behavior and claiming it’s both a crime and related to his Presidential campaign doesn’t come close to passing a smell test.

          This will be seen (correctly) as a purely partisan attack (law-fare) motivated by partisan reasons and NOT the “rule of law”. Throwing him out of office because he enrages the other party instantly becomes the new normal.

          Give Trump a 5 digit fine and find something that the Dems would care about if it were the Clintons doing it. Russia would be great… except for the issue that apparently there’s nothing there.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Subtract him being a racist ass (which used to be very common) and we’ve got… what? His sex life? A low 6 digit “illegal” “campaign” contribution (which is also his sex life)? Russia-which-didn’t-happen? Afaitc, working-with-Russia is to Trump what birther-ism was to Obama.

            Remarkable. The indictments, guilty pleas and verdicts just keep rolling in and the defense is to say “is that all you’ve got on him?”

            Or: everyone does it.

            Or: snitching should be illegal.

            Or: it shouldn’t be a crime to begin with.

            Trump is as dirty as they come. Not quite Gotti-type dirty, imo, but it’s an open question. And no one would be surprised if he were.Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              I’m sure all the opinions will change if it’s found top Trump officials went to a meeting designed to give them stolen info or if it’s found Trump officials knew about and even bragged about having stolen info. They couldn’t ignore that.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter says:

              “Show me the man and I will find you the crime.”

              -Beria, sidekick of Stalin.

              The indictments, guilty pleas and verdicts just keep rolling in and his defense is to say “is that all you’ve got on him?”

              The entire Russia thing, if it happened, would have had to include the people in question.

              If that’s off the table, then we’re pretty deep into the weeds of finding a crime because he’s playing for team Red. Trump is a Billionaire scumbag, you’ll be able to find something…

              …but I’m not sure how many normal people could pass that test.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                “Show me the man and I will find you the crime.”

                Well that’s just false for the majority of people, and would only be made true by changing the laws. I mean, jaywalking. Trump’s accused of conspiring with a foreign country, and adversary, for his own political benefit. Not a run-of-the-mill crime. Even you concede that.

                The entire Russia thing, if it happened, would have had to include the people in question.

                It does. Evidence shows that it does. Trump knew about the DNC hack in advance of it being reported, Stone was working the inside, Manafort changed the GOP platform to include concessions on Ukraine, Flynn orchestrated a proposed kidnapping to further Turkish interests., Trump lied about the Trump Tower meeting, Don Jr lied about the Trump Tower meeting, Sessions lied about Russian contacts and had to recuse, and on and on and on.

                You folks don’t seem to understand what the term “conspiracy in plain sight” means.

                Also, as an editorial aside, I think your hatred of liberals is coloring your view of the facts here…Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Evidence shows that it does. Trump knew about the DNC hack in advance of it being reported, Stone was working the inside, Manafort changed the GOP platform to include concessions on Ukraine, Flynn orchestrated a proposed kidnapping to further Turkish interests., Trump lied about the Trump Tower meeting, Don Jr lied about the Trump Tower meeting, Sessions lied about Russian contacts and had to recuse, and on and on and on.

                In theory that means you can put him in jail without resorting to “because he’s Trump” arguments and you don’t need to pull in his sex life (etc).

                I’m in favor of that… but it’s not what I’m observing. We keep getting promised “this will be the fact which gets Trump arrested+impeached” but what’s actually on the table is Consensual Sex with a Playboy Model and a porn star (probably 2 of very many) and paying off a nuisance (probably also very common).

                Team Blue has made serious accusations of serious deeds, if you want me to treat this seriously then you can’t settle for “he had sex”.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                In theory that means you can put him in jail without resorting to “because he’s Trump” arguments and you don’t need to pull in his sex life (etc).

                You don’t need to, but you surely can. His sex life is evidence of his criminality. That’s what the Stormy Daniels payments *on the same day as* the Hollywood Access tape shows.

                Now, given that Trump only yesterday categorically denied that the payments came from his campaign funds I’m inclined to think that they specifically *did* come from those funds. Bullshit is his MO. But be that as it may, his criminality is documented for going on 30 years now. Not that many people have read that reporting. But it’s not a secret.

                And to finish out an analogy that I can feel percolating in the depths of you mind: Hillary and Bill were (and are) corrupt in one sense of the word, but they’re not running afoul of the law. Trump, by contrast, is corrupt to his core, and his business empire and his perspective on the world is entirely based on criminality.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              I was talking to someone who was metnioning seeing youngish punks turnstile jumping in the subway, and how it made him angry, that they behaved with such indifference to public order.

              I understand it, but find it odd how we have internalized the “private law” definition of privilege.
              A kid cheating Metro out of $1.75 angers us, but white collar criminals flouting tax laws, finance laws, campaign laws gets a shrug of the shoulders.

              I just happened to be reading Peter Beinart in The Atlantic about how “law and order” and “corruption” have different meanings for Trumpists.

              “Corruption, to the fascist politician,” he suggests, “is really about the corruption of purity rather than of the law. Officially, the fascist politician’s denunciations of corruption sound like a denunciation of political corruption. But such talk is intended to evoke corruption in the sense of the usurpation of the traditional order.”
              Fox’s decision to focus on the Iowa murder rather than Cohen’s guilty plea illustrates Stanley’s point. In the eyes of many Fox viewers, I suspect, the network isn’t ignoring corruption so much as highlighting the kind that really matters. When Trump instructed Cohen to pay off women with whom he’d had affairs, he may have been violating the law. But he was upholding traditional gender and class hierarchies.

              I think this gets at it. Turnstile jumping is a crime, but bank fraud is a technical no-no.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’m diggin that view. It’s pretty closely aligned with my operational theory of US conservatism right now (the Corey Robin “protect the white, male christian privilege” theory). Chris Hayes has written about something similar is well. I think we’re in for a long political slog, my friend. Folks who think like that not only fear the coloreds and womenz, they resent them too.Report

          • Avatar j r says:

            Afaitc, working-with-Russia is to Trump what birther-ism was to Obama.

            That is an astounding statement. How are those two things even in the same epistemological univere. Birtherism is absurd on it’s face. Spend five minutes thinking about it and try to come up with a reason how or why a broke foreign student, who had another wife in Nairobi, and his very pregnant 18-year old American wife would leave the United States and make how many ever connections it takes to get to Kenya to give birth in East Africa in 1961.

            Personally, I think the idea that Trump is a Russian asset or even that there was a high level of coordination between people working for the Russian state and the Trump campaign is probably wrong. But there is a there there. We know that there were attempts at interference. We know that there was some manner of contact. The two things aren’t even remotely simiar.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              It’s astounding on another level as well: Trump was instrumental in promoting the birther nonsense. Viewing the Russia investigation into Trump as analogous to a conspiracy theory promulgated by Trump is insane in the membrane.

              OTOH, taking ridiculous conspiracy theories mainstream for political benefit is what Trump’s all about. He won Dark over anyway.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                “In the same way Trump accused Obama of not being a US citizen the US justice department is accusing Trump of conspiring with the Russians to tilt the election in his favor.”

                Absolute insanity prevails.Report

            • Avatar Governess Dam says:

              You are absurd. Look at what you just wrote. “…there was some manner of contact”.

              So?

              Look at McCarthy.

              During the McCarthy era there were numerous communist spies reporting to Stalin, they were in high positions in the government and were giving information to the Kremlin and making policy to benefit the Soviets. The FBI knew about this with certainty from people who left the communist party, corroborated by decrypted cables from Moscow.

              When the FBI went to the President with this information, the President told the FBI to stop decrypting the cables. And when McCarthy wanted to investigate it, the reaction from the left was to demand that he stop. They were outraged. It was a “witch hunt”.

              But now, now “we know that there was some manner of contact”.

              Impeach!

              You are absurd. You make the birthers look like rocket scientists.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine says:

            Throwing him out of office because he enrages the other party instantly becomes the new normal.

            Remember, I was careful to point out that only Republicans can actually remove him from office… which is to say, if he’s removed, then he’s lost at least 1/3 of the Republican Senators, if not more. Which would imply that we’re talking something more than campaign finance violations.

            Whether or not the Democratic House ought to impeach him of unPresidential Misdemeanors, I hold the opinion that narrowly defined and carefully managed it might be a prudent political move; I also hold the opinion that they probably don’t have the discipline to pull that off, so absent “High Crimes”… the “misdemeanor” Censure Impeachment will probably become overwrought and potentially a net political loser (depending on how it is executed).

            Again, if he’s actually impeached impeached, it is because he’s lost a significant percentage of the Republican base.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter says:

              Remember, I was careful to point out that only Republicans can actually remove him from office… which is to say, if he’s removed, then he’s lost at least 1/3 of the Republican Senators, if not more. Which would imply that we’re talking something more than campaign finance violations.

              Fair point. And if the Dems lose big by mishandling this (aka The Blue Dress) we might see it off the table for a generation or two.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Unbelievable. Clinton was investigated for property crimes while he was governor of Arkansas and was impeached for a lying to congress about a sexual affair with ML.

                Trump is being investigated for conspiring with Russians to interfere in the electoral process and would be impeached for … illegally interfering in the electoral process.

                You think those are categorically the same.

                Mind boggling.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                You think those are categorically the same.

                I think we’ve shifted from a “serious crimes” investigation to a politically driven witch hunt; That’s also why I said “birthergate” was a good comparison.

                I understand you think I’m wrong… but if you’re serious about “illegally interfering in the electoral process” then that’s what you need to put on the table. Serious claims require serious evidence.

                After you do get serious, by all means poke me and I’ll admit I was wrong; But payments to this year’s sex conquests is the opposite of “serious”.

                Oh, and what is a “ML”?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I think we’ve shifted from a “serious crimes” investigation to a politically driven witch hunt

                This is what’s so nausea inducing about our current politics. The Whitewater investigation was literally!! a witch hunt, in every sense of that word, against the Clintons. The Russia investigation is *literally* the opposite of a witch hunt. Trump fired the guy running the FBI probe – Comey – for the explicitly-stated purpose of ending it. It backfired. There is a there, there even tho no one knows what the specific there is and everyone has different ideas on what it might be. But the indictments and guilty verdicts and plea deals keep stacking up. Nothing like that – not even remotely – occurred during any of the subpoena-power investigations into the Clintons.

                Oh, and what is a “ML”?

                Monica Lewinsky.

                Add: I feel compelled to say that even tho I’m not a Hillary fan she’s probably the most investigated politician in US history and none of those investigations have found her engaging in any wrongdoing. Christamighty.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Add: I feel compelled to say that even tho I’m not a Hillary fan she’s probably the most investigated politician in US history and none of those investigations have found her engaging in any wrongdoing. Christamighty.

                No, they found she couldn’t be successfully convicted. She comes right up to the edge of what is legally provable in court, but normally not over.

                Unless you’re trying to claim that Jimmy Carter was wrong and there was no connection between the money she was given and her husband’s pardons.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                So, your argument that Hillary committed crimes is that her husband got paid for pardons?

                You don’t see a problem there?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                So, your argument that Hillary committed crimes is that her husband got paid for pardons?

                Hillary was the one who got paid. Bill gave out the pardons.

                There was no reason for the 2nd thing to happen except for the 1st (thus Carter’s observation)… but we can’t legally connect the two.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                In one controversial pardon Hillary’s brother had $100K in loans from the people who received it forgiven. That’s all I read about money exchanging hands.

                It’s remarkable though – truly remarkable – that we’re even talking about this, to be honest. Trump’s admin is corrupt, his campaign was corrupt, he himself is corrupt. Hillary Clinton is out of electoral politics, has no power, can’t enact any policy. Who cares what she or they did way back when? I mean, Reagan was President during one of the most corrupt scandals in US history, but I don’t hear you talking about Iran-Contra…..Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                To fill that out a bit…

                As a purely academic point, it might be interesting (not to me…) to argue whether or not Hillary is a criminal mastermind and so on. As a matter of politics, tho, it’s cynical nonsense and employed as such.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Hillary Clinton is out of electoral politics, has no power, can’t enact any policy. Who cares what she or they did way back when?

                When you argue Trump is unfit because of his ethics, you’re also claiming HRC would have been a better choice. That she was the much more ethical choice that the Dems put forward.

                She is a very, very odd choice for that claim. She was an odd choice for candidate if you care about ethics and clean government. She’s an extremely odd choice to still defend as clean.

                When Trump is eventually thrown out, hopefully the GOP will clean house. Until the Dems do, HRC remains this walking demonstration of Democratic ethics.

                Ethics is very clearly Trump’s weak point, IMHO you’d be better off throwing Bill and HRC under the bus and not claim (disagreeing with Carter of all people) that there’s no potential problem with one Clinton accepting a million(ish) dollars while the other Clinton does favors with gov resources.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                When you argue Trump is unfit because of his ethics, you’re also claiming HRC would have been a better choice.

                Maybe, tho that’s a weird way of looking at it given your earlier comments, especially given the available evidence of criminality of each candidate. Trump is, and has been for a long time, operating outside the law (he’s *settled* scores of cases against him, Wiki lists it as at least 100) while Hillary is lazily accused of taking money in exchange for the use of Bill’s pardon power.

                I think Hillary was an awful Dem nominee and would have preferred an open primary with lots of people competing for voter support. That didn’t happen.

                I do think Hillary would have been a better president than Trump. Hands down. IMO, Trump hasn’t done a single good thing for the country and has actively harmed our institutions, democracy, economy, and standing in the world. By comparison Hillary at this point might have a couple dings against her. I’d take that in a heartbeat.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                When you say Trump is the least corrupt of the choices, why limit those choices to only Hillary?

                For example- If you accept that Trump is clearly corrupt, wouldn’t you support impeachment and a President Pence? Or President Anyone-But-Trump?
                Or is the entire Republican Party more corrupt than even Trump?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                When you say Trump is the least corrupt of the choices, why limit those choices to only Hillary?

                Because Johnson was wasting of my vote and I knew that before I pulled the lever.

                If you accept that Trump is clearly corrupt, wouldn’t you support impeachment and a President Pence?

                I would love to see President someone-else (Pence by default but ideally we’d get Romney in there). I fully expect we’ll have an impeachment.

                However while Russia would be High crimes and misdemeanors, paying for sex isn’t. We’ve already proven you can bang your own intern inside the White House without getting thrown out.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Overriding the will of the electorate is a non-trivial thing. Ergo “because Trump” simply doesn’t work without it being a SERIOUS corruption of the system.

                So he gets a pass on being Trump, and his empire, cheating on his wives, being vulgar, racism, narisim, and everything else we darn well should have known when he was elected.

                Stormy doesn’t even come close to that. That she’s in play is a sign of weakness of the case, not strength. That she’s apparently the strongest card in the deck is an indication there is no case.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Dark Matter: Overriding the will of the electorate is a non-trivial thing. Ergo “because Trump” simply doesn’t work without it being a SERIOUS corruption of the system.

                “The Will of the Electorate” is not so clear cut when you won with almost 3 million fewer votes and over 2 fewer percentage points than the person who lost.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                “The Will of the Electorate” is not so clear cut when you won with almost 3 million fewer votes and over 2 fewer percentage points than the person who lost.

                We really do have rules to determine the “will of the electorate”, and Trump really did win by those rules.

                The alternative is effectively that we only use the rules to determine the election’s outcome when the Democrat wins. If the GOP wins then the goal posts can and should be moved and then the law system should enforce that.

                Going there would be a LOT more destructive to democracy than everything Trump has done.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                We have rules to determine who is the duly elected President of the United States – and by design, it isn’t quite congruent with a process that reveals the will of the electorate. (And originally, had very little relation with it).

                Impeachment is a political process, and raw politics has shaped its implementation every time it has been used at the Presidential level (or has come close).

                And so it will be this time, if it is used. It’s really more a supercharged no-confidence motion than a procedure for dispensing justice.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Good comment. The fact that Reagan and W weren’t impeached for the structurally massive and ground-shifting effects their corruption had on government and the Office of the Presidency while Slick Willy was impeached for improper use of a cigar really says all you need to know about the process.

                In America, confidence is located to the right of center.

                Add: I still put the odds at above 66% that Dems impeach if they take control of the House.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I wonder why America *IS* center right tho. It’s a nation founded on immigrants, dedicated to the proposition that all men (and women…) are created equal, and so on. The premise, and the promise, of America is a country imbued by God with pluralistic liberal values.

                What the hell happened?

                The gays? Are you fucking kidding me? The gays brought this incredible political structural down?

                Conservatives have lost their goddamn minds.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Privilege man. The law shouldn’t promote justice, it should promote maintaining privilege. Liberals got confused about that. Got distracted. I hope we learn.

                {{Doubtful.}}Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                The deplorables were supposed to vote in a 2nd Clinton Presidency (and there’s talk of Chelsea joining the family trade) because the Clintons fight privilege?

                There seems to be a disconnect in there somewhere.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                The premise, and the promise, of America is a country imbued by God with pluralistic liberal values.

                Gov solutions are typically “one size fits all” solutions, and America is multi-cultural.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                The number of high crimes and misdemeanors is legion, though and not limited to conspiring with Russia or sex.

                Emoluments, trading visas for bribes, obstruction of justice…

                Heck, why take my word for it?
                Just read what Brett Kavanaugh had to say about impeaching a President.

                Or even more eloquently, Jeff Sessions:

                “The chief law officer of the land, whose oath of office calls on him to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, crossed the line and failed to defend the law, and, in fact, attacked the law and the rights of a fellow citizen…Under our Constitution, equal justice requires that he forfeit his office.”

                Again, in order for the “concern about corruption” stuff to be plausible, one would need to demand Trump’s impeachment.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Emoluments…

                Given a pass by the American people, could be given a pass by Congress, and if I didn’t have a clue it was a thing before this started then most people still don’t. And the higher level players are ignoring it so I assume it’s not a thing.

                trading visas for bribes

                I hadn’t heard of this but it sounds promising.

                , obstruction of justice…

                Very promising, an easier sell, done in the first days of his administration so maybe he did it without understanding he couldn’t, maybe you could turn that into a serious case.

                My impression is we traded this for the Independent Prosecutor and to make this a clear cut crisis he’d need to fire Mueller.

                RE: Your links
                Given how those arguments totally failed at the time and now look partisan, we probably should learn from them.

                The argument against Trump needs to be clearer and less partisan than the argument was against Clinton. “Enraging the Dems” makes a case for the opposite even before we bring his sex life into this.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                No one can defend Trump on his own merits.

                It always comes back to whataboutism, and as we learn more and more about the staggering level of corruption and rot in Trumps affairs, the more they have to gin up the Clinton hate to hysterical, Infowars levels to balance things out.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Agreed. I mean, if push came to shove I wouldn’t defend the Clintons against a lot of the unseemly accusations leveled against them, but I think it’s arguably correct to say that Hillary has been the subject of more investigations than any politician in history – the Whitewater probe, the Benghazi probe, both of which veered off their mandate into literal witch-hunt territory, an FBI investigation – and nothing has stuck to her.

                Conservatives have hated Hillary for decades now, but even with subpoena power conservatives, with an intensely vested interest in seeing her convicted, haven’t been able to find compelling evidence of any crimes. Sleaze, maybe. Sloppiness for sure. But no crimes.

                Trump on the other hand….Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Always look to see who gets the “there is a principle at stake here!” speech and who gets the “well, you have to understand…” speech.

                Look who gets the immediate “this is worth condemning!” and who gets the “your team did this just the other day!”

                You can always tell the partisans when they switch between deontology and utilitarianism.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                You can always tell the people, the high priests of BSDI, who gaze down from above at lesser people.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, people who regularly argue for a principle probably would get upset when both sides did it.Report

              • Avatar KenB says:

                the high priests of BSDI, who gaze down from above at lesser people.

                I find this rather a strange thing to say. “BSDI” is basically an assertion that one side isn’t an overall better class of humans than the other. Denying the truth of BSDI is saying that you and your group are better than the other side. So it’s really you that feels you’re gazing down at all those lesser people.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The term “false equivalence” didn’t emerge outa thin air.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                No. It’s not about any class or group of people being better than another. The BSDI trope i’m talking about is a cognitive bias to always find equivalent badness or mistakes in the two parties. No matter what one side does there is always some way to find something simalar on the other side, therefore there are no differences. BSDI is a pre-judgement which leads to finding what you already believe. It is believing there are no differences or context to any event. It is and always will be that both sides are the same.

                If you want to find examples of some such thing on both sides you almost certainly can. But are there differences in amount or effect or how many people believe something or all sorts of ways things can be different. Certainly if you look back threw history you can find some similar example of some action therefore BSDI must be true.

                Part of the BSDI fallacy is to always point at partisans or the two parties as the same. I mean the BS is both sides after all. Here again is part of the blindness. People have cognitive biases and faults and all the human weaknesses. People. Not just those people in the two parties. There is no group membership or lack of membership that makes you above biases and human faults. We may each be better or worse on those things, but that is individual. BSDI is pointing down at partisans as people who have more of those faults while the “non-partisan” or outwardly non-aligned somehow is free from that.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                One thing I still find interesting is that the BSDI crowd genuinely believes they’re viewing politics in a way that’s inaccessible to people *they* view as partisans.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Yeah. Also when it comes down to it many/most non-partisan people who follow politics do come down on one side. The BSDI is often in service of papering over the faults of one side.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Why, tho? Why should he be on the lookout for that stuff?

                He’s partisan. (We all are in our own way.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                That way he can look at who is arguing a thing rather than what they’re arguing and adjust accordingly. “What side are they on? Oh.”Report

              • Avatar Governess Dam says:

                It’s easy to defend Trump on his own merits: the appointments of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and a few others to be named later, along with a couple dozen appeals court judges and a couple dozen district court judges, with more to come. More than 1 out of every 8 circuit court judges, and he’s just getting started.

                Whatever you come up with as criticism will be weighed against those accomplishments.

                The United States of America will be a freer nation for the rest of my life because Trump won in 2016.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                You misspelled the word “McConnell” up there.Report

              • Avatar Governess Dam says:

                So you think if Clinton had won, McConnell would be working his ass off to get Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court right now?

                Is that your actual argument or am I missing something?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                No, the argument is that you’re defending Trump on “the merits” by citing his court appointments, which are almost entirely the result of McConnell’s efforts during Obama’s presidency. The “merit” you’re attributing to Trump should go to McConnell.Report

              • Avatar Governess Dam says:

                I guess I can split the credit, McConnell for, in what he says was one of his proudest moments of his life telling Obama: “Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy”.

                And Trump for making the appointments. If Clinton won, Gorsuch wouldn’t be on the court. And Kavanaugh wouldn’t be nominated. And all those other appeals court and district court judges wouldn’t be on the job doing great work.

                So yeah, McConnell has his merits too, but without Trump, the deplorables don’t win a round.Report

  2. Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

    I want to point out to everyone who reads my posts that the picture on the home page of the pie with the lovely E. European pie bird is actually my own picture. The crust was to die for.Report

  3. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    If I were a Dem strategist (tee hee), I might suggest the following approach:

    1. Does Mueller really have the goods on a Collusion case (back-channel and all that)?
    If yes, then don’t impeach on Campaign Finance, but pile on to the collusion impeachement.
    If no, then impeach on Campaign Finance, but

    2. If Impeaching for Campaign Finance, recognize limited goals and position more as Censure
    Remember, only Republicans can Remove Trump from office (barring bizarre Senate results)
    There’s still good to be done exercising Congressional prerogatives, especially if goals are re-stated away from removal from office.

    I recognize that Impeachment is definitionally a removal from office procedure; but just as impeachment to remove is a political process, then impeachment to censure is (could be) also. Mismanaged, I think there’s potential blow-back, but managed properly, I think there’s a good 2020 strategic view that one could take.

    I also admit that I don’t think Pelosi and Schumer can manage that level of control/discipline so maybe there’s only a go/no-go decision to make.

    So I guess I’m suggesting a Recipe #4… Tactical Impeaching. Bear in mind, though, that like removing the filibuster, tactical impeaching might just become a thing… if you impeach to censure for campaign finance violations by Trump, expect articles of impeachment for other future “not-enough-to-impeach-impeachments”Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

      My strategic take on this is that the House shouldn’t bother impeaching until the Senate is begging them to.

      In the meantime, keep working on driving a wedge between Trump and his voters. He’s not serving their interests. And the Tax Cut is Exhibit A. Trade War is something they think helps them, but I don’t think it will. Focus on policy, not the circus.Report

    • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

      Impeachment as a form of censure – hmmm….. I would worry that this would simply look like a waste of time – much like the republicans voting to repeal the ACA over and over again (and then blinking when they actually could repeal it. 🙂 Trump wouldn’t feel the sting and in fact I think he would love it.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Tea leaves are hard to read. If we’re speaking tactically, the issue is whether the Dems get more votes for having impeached Trump than they would have not impeaching Trump (assuming failure of Senate to convict). Almost everyone here believes Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. Why think that the rest of the country doesn’t think that as well?

        Personally speaking here, I think roughly (ballpark number, guestimate if you will) 92% of the country believes Trump has committed impeachable crimes *while in office*. So that doesn’t include the pre-inauguration Stormy/McDougal stuff, the Russian “collusion” stuff, etc. Dems can either go along with the con that folks believe he hasn’t, or they can call the collective bluff.Report

        • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

          I think that number is way too high because 92% of people are certainly not thinking about this at all. If 30% are actually considering these ideas I’d be surprised – and that’s with a 24 hour news cycle. 🙂 Among elites I’d say a majority believe that Trump has done things that are impeachable. That’s not the same thing as saying he should be impeached.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            I think that number is way too high because 92% of people are certainly not thinking about this at all.

            Oh sure they are. Almost everyone knows Trump fired Comey. Almost everyone knows Comey was investigating Trump. (Anyone who doesn’t know those things probably doesn’t vote either.) Add in all the other obstructiony stuff and they realize Trump is guilty of what would be, if not for Politics, a crime. They’re riding an illusory wave which the opposition (the anti-Trump faction collectively) hasn’t been able to break yet. But they know. They’re just committed to not admitting they do.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              To fill that out a bit …

              That’s why Trump and his acolytes constantly talk about the corrupt deep and Hillary’s crimes going unpunished. The argument isn’t that he committed a crime but that the corrupt system is chose to punish him for doing what everyone else does. Heck, Trump’s biggest public defenders – hannity and Giuliani – say this stuff all the time. Everyone knows Trump’s guilty. The defense is that it doesn’t matter. That’s the bluff. And it’s a bluff because no one’s called them on it yet. McConnell knows this better than anyone.Report

  4. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Tactically, if the Dems want to win elections*, they should make Trump – his corruption, his incompetence, his removal from office – a secondary issue and instead focus on positive policy proposals. (Hillary ran a negative campaign against Trump and it failed, in large part** because too many folks have a negative view of Dems.)

    Regarding impeachment, if Dems take the house I think there is a very very high likelihood they introduce articles of impeachment even if the consensus among leadership is opposed for practical political reasons. Personally, I think they *should* impeach the President regardless of what the political savvy insiders tell them, cuz, well, if any President in the history of our great country has deserved to be impeached, Trump’s it. If nothing else, it’d show that the Dems have enough balls to actually take a risk. I think that pays dividends down the road.

    I don’t think the Senate as it’s currently constructed would vote for removal from office tho. That only happens when rats start fleeing the ship, a process usually driven by the base but which could catch fire if one or two GOP Senators start feeling the water around their ankles and break anti-Trump. At this point it’s hard to tell. Grassley, Rand Paul, Graham, Cornyn, McConnell, all seem to be digging in deeper, signaling, for example, that they’re now OK with Trump firing Jeff Sessions.

    Still, impeachment would be the right thing to do politically for the Dems, IMO. The alternative – not impeaching – has far greater risks than doing so. Just don’t campaign on it!

    * always hard to tell
    ** the Russians helped too 🙂Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      I’ve become much less enamored of all the best tactics arguments. Political tactics are not exactly a science and people can make good arguments for many different tactics. I think the D’s have spent to much time trying to figure the best tactic. It’s left them weather vanes to opinion and the loudest voice in the room. It’s made them look spineless. They should wait for Mueller’s report then if there is something there ( there will be ) go for impeachment. Pick the correct course then figure out the spin. The D’s have done the opposite for to long.Report

      • Avatar bookdragon says:

        I would just like D’s and R’s to put tactics aside and for once put country ahead of party.

        Do what is right because it is right and because not doing it would set a precedent for much worse down the road. That is honestly the best case for impeachment here and it is not impeachment on campaign finance shenanigans but on corruption, self-dealing, and, especially if Trump starts yanking more clearances as retribution for criticizing him, for abuse of power.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I’ve become much less enamored of all the best tactics arguments.

        Me too. Or I should say, I’ve become much less enamored of Democratic Party tactics.* They really shouldn’t play games cuz a) they’re just no good at it and b) the GOP, being more singularly focused on specific policy goals and cynical in their pursuit of them, will always win the tactics war. So the best tactic, seems to me, is the anti-tactic staring Dems right in the face: campaign on the issues the vast majority of people care about. Education, healthcare, choice, legalizing it…

        * I can’t help but admire the GOP’s tactics under McConnell. Cynical, but effective.Report

        • Avatar Nevermoor says:

          campaign on the issues the vast majority of people care about. Education, healthcare, choice, legalizing it

          The problem, of course, is that HILLARY DID THIS and the press spent more time on her emails than on all of it put together.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            No, she didn’t. She placed an inordinate amount of energy (some estimates I’ve seen place it as high as 80-ish percent) on negative campaigning. That’s a tough sell when you enter the race with historically high disapprovals. Until Trump anyway….Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The Democratic Party has run on many positive policy proposals but the media tends not to report them as such. We get narratives about how the Democratic Party has nothing to offer, that they aren’t leftist enough, or that when policy proposals are reported on that they are too wonky and nerdy.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Not sure you can blame that on the media Lee. The only time I hear Schumer open his pie hole is to criticize Trump. Mark Warner is only on the TV when he’s criticizing Trump. Etc etc.

        But look at it this way: I’m a registered Dem who tends to vote D, and if *I* think national level Dems are focusing too much on Trump and not their positive agenda* then I’m sure other people who pay less attention than I do feel the same way. I mean, Trump is horrible. Everyone who is going to believe that already does. There is no neutral middle which can be persuaded by yet another indictment of his character and competence. The thing that will push Dems to winning the House will be their positive agenda. Or so I believe anyway.

        * Hell, I haven’t heard a single Dem leader talk about taking back the House as a first step to regaining legislative control and what the rollout of those policies would look like.Report

    • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

      Regarding impeachment, if Dems take the house I think there is a very very high likelihood they introduce articles of impeachment even if the consensus among leadership is opposed for practical political reasons.

      Your take hues to mine pretty closely. I think “new blood” (supported by the younger, enthusiastic progressives in the party) are going to push for impeachment and feel like – if Dems take the house – they have a clear mandate to do so. Where I disagree is that it will pay dividends. It will fail but play into the hands of Trumps, “all they want to do is delegitimize” narrative.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Obvs, I disagree with the last bit. *Not* impeaching will make the Dems look weaker than they already are. As I see it, the problem Dems face right now isn’t their policies, it’s their legalistic triangulating wimpishness.

        Could be wrong tho!Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          Hmmm. I just saw the other hand…

          Because the Dems are legalistic triangulating wimps, they’ll screw the pooch on impeachment politics.

          Conundrum….

          {{Minimally in the Dems favor here is that Chuck Schumer wouldn’t be point person on the impeachment process…}}Report

      • Avatar North says:

        So it doesn’t matter to your mind that the Dems aren’t actively campaigning on impeachment? Like at all?Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Allen Weisselberg, Trump’s money man, has been given immunity in order to cooperate with the Cohen investigation. It should be noted that this is being handled by the Manhattan DA’s office, meaning that as state level matter Trump can’t intervene without going full dictator.Report

    • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

      He can’t intervene – there’s no such thing as “full dictator”. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        @mark-kruger If he has the loyalty (even temporary) of the right people, he could stage a coup, I suppose, but of course that implies less than full… still it’s pretty much what ‘dictator’ means.

        I don’t believe that will ever happen but yet I wouldn’t be shocked if it did. Rueful, terrified, perhaps even mildly surprised, etc, but not shocked.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        There were some rumblings about state legislation that requires NY to include dismissal of state charges and penalties for anyone receiving a Presidential pardon.

        So it may be that wrt NY Trump *can* go full dictator. (Dun dun dun…)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        there’s no such thing as “full dictator”. 🙂

        But is there ever really a “full” dictator? Even Stalin had to make concessions. A few anyway.

        I think Lee has a point here. 🙂Report

  6. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    Political considerations aside, the president is not above the law. If he broke the law, he should suffer the consequences.

    There’s a disconnect between saying “Rule of Law” and “All campaigns break the law”. There’s a further disconnect over tying campaign finance violations (which are mostly fines) to impeachment, much less over someone’s sex life.

    I don’t think this would be enough to successfully impeach a normal President. I’m sure it shouldn’t be.

    I do think hiring a guy to investigate Russia fixing the election and then pivoting to whether someone lied about his sex life points to problems in how the law works.

    If this is the worse that we can prove about Trump then we don’t have a case.Report

    • Avatar George Turner says:

      I’ve never gotten what the investigation is even about. Collusion isn’t even a misdemeanor, and I’m almost certain that I personally swung more votes than the Russians did.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Conspiracy is the actual crime. Collusion is the word the press coalesced around. Conspiracy is the thing.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I’ve never gotten what the investigation is even about. Collusion isn’t even a misdemeanor

        Collusion isn’t even in the Code. It’s a made up term.Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          And yet collusion is what Mueller is investigating. He might as well be looking into witchcraft and claims that Trump used a Hillary voodoo doll to jinx her campaign.

          A conspiracy requires an underlying crime, a crime that has something like a US criminal code number attached to it.

          And conspiring with a foreign leader to sway an election isn’t illegal, either. Obama did it all the time. Quite a bit of a President’s foreign policy is meeting with foreign leaders to strike deals that will make them popular and get lots of extra votes back home. It’s part of the job.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            And yet collusion is what Mueller is investigating.

            No, he’s not. As a matter of verifiable fact he’s not.

            By virtue of the authority vested in me as Acting Attorney General, including 28 U.S.C. §§ 509, 510, and 515, in order to discharge my responsibility to provide supervision and management of the Department of Justice, and to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian governments efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, I hereby order as follows:

            (a) Robert S. Mueller III is appointed to serve as Special Counsel for the United
            States Department of Justice.

            (b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

            (i) any links and/or coordination bet een the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
            (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
            (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

            (c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.

            (d) Sections 600.4 through 600. l0 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations are applicable to the Special Counsel.

            Amazingly, the word “collusion” doesn’t appear anywhere in there.Report

            • Avatar George Turner says:

              (i) any links and/or coordination bet een the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump;

              That would be the “collusion”. It also doesn’t exist. It’s also not illegal. Heck, Obama campaigned in Britain against Brexit, coordinating with British politicians.

              That acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave Mueller such a mandate isn’t surprising, as Rosenstein and company were up to their necks in spying on Trump’s campaign, using a foreign agent’s documents, paid for by Hillary, that used Russian intelligence sources.

              Now why would Trump think the Russian’s had information on Hillary? Because they’d paid her husband hundreds of thousands of dollars, and via Uranium One had paid her millions, and had probably hacked her e-mail server like every other foreign adversary.

              As it turns out, all Trump’s people got was a meeting with Russian “crown prosecutor” (I’m pretty sure the Czar has been dead for a while and that he is not coming back) Natalia Veselnitskaya. She testified that she met with the co-founder of Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, on an as-needed basis, but denied that she had dinner with him the day before and after the Trump meeting, though she had dinner with him on occasion.

              Trump Jr. stated that all she wanted to talk about was a Magnitsky Act, which happens to be something that Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS work on for their Russian clients.

              Fusion GPS, of course, was hired by Hillary to dig up dirt on Trump, and they hired Christopher Steele of MI6 who produced the fake dossier that was used to get FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                That would be the “collusion”.

                No, that would be the conspiracy. And it is a crime, on almost every measure. (Inviting Putin to speak at a rally isn’t a crime, but taking undisclosed monetary or other assistance from a foreign government is.)

                But more sincerely, I’m both shocked and disappointed that you think Russia (the country of Stalin…) is a better representative of American values than the Democratic party. That alone should be land you in jail as a traitor. 🙂Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Gee, then let’s lock up Hillary because she took millions from foreign governments. Bill even operated a shell company in Sweden (WJC LLC) to take money from foreign sources.

                Nobody has found any foreign money going to Trump. Heck, he was hardly taking any American money. He’s rich. Unlike the Clintons, he doesn’t need bags of Chinese army cash (see Charlie Trie et al).

                Hillary of course also set up an organization in Moscow that the DoD eventually shut down because it was funneling high-end US technology to the Russian military. Bur the Clinton’s undoubtedly made a lot of money off of it, so it’s all good.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                You’re good at this. 🙂 I just wonder why you think the Russia model of oligarchs and kleptocrats is better than the Dem model…

                Assistance doesn’t mean money according to the Code. Especially when the entity you’re receiving assistance from has engaged in illegal activity, like hacking voting machines and voter roles.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Especially when the entity you’re receiving assistance from has engaged in illegal activity, like hacking voting machines and electoral roles.

                You are making extremely serious allegations.

                That’s fine… if you can back it up.

                If you can’t, then you’re proving why I think a “birther” comparison is appropriate.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                You are making extremely serious allegations.

                Dude, the evidence – THE EVIDENCE – bears this out. Everyone in IC agrees that Russia interfered in the election. Everyone agrees that Trump campaign members, including Trump himself, have lied about their involvement with the Russians during the elections or transition. Hell Trump basically concedes that he dictated the lie Don Jr gave to the press re: the Trump Tower meeting.

                Why lie if you’re innocent? How is the claim to innocence increased by lying about the actions which give rise to suspicion? I mean, suppose there’s a liberal deep state conspiracy to prevent allow Trump to be elected only to then righteously destroy his presidency. How would lying further his claim that the deep state conspiracy to destroy him is real?

                He’s a fucking liar, through and through. Why trust him on anything at this point?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Dude, the evidence – THE EVIDENCE – bears this out.

                Then drop the sex and start arresting people for Russia.

                The reason “birtherism” was a thing was to undermine the President. It wasn’t possible to say that he didn’t win the election, so instead the nastiest thing to say was that he couldn’t legally run. That’s why is struck an emotional cord with a certain subset of the population.

                Now we’ve got… Trump couldn’t possibly have won fairly so the Russians must have fixed the election.

                That was more serious and more believable… but over time it’s become less so (the logan act? Seriously?), and trying to pivot the conversation to Stormy makes it much less so.

                Money Talks, Bullshit Walks. I’m not seeing a lot of money here, Stormy is something like a 5 digit fine or so.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Then drop the sex and start arresting people for Russia.

                Why does it have to be one or the other? Trump’s a criminal deviant, dude. Everything he touches is illicit. Mueller has thrown down scores of indictments at this point and he’s not done. SDNY has Cohen pleading guilty and immunity deals with two big time Trump protectors/enablers. The state of NY is opening investigations into Trump Org.

                Christamighty, you sound like Brit Hume right now, accusing the prosecutors of shenanigans because they haven’t handed Trump an indictment despite everyone already rounded up. He’s the f***ing President. You don’t hand those out without a lot of weight behind you.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Why does it have to be one or the other?

                If you need Stormy then you’re deep into “Not-Russia” and somewhere between “kitchen sink” and “witch hunt”.

                You don’t hand those out without a lot of weight behind you.

                Not only does she not weigh very much but she subtracts from the level of seriousness of the entire endeavor.

                As far as I can tell, she’s in there because she’s the closest thing we have to Trump corrupting the election.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                If you need Stormy then you’re deep into “Not-Russia” and somewhere between “kitchen sink” and “witch hunt”.

                The Stormy stuff is a *different* investigation into a *different* set of allegations against Trump. The guy’s a gold mine for proescutors, what? Rule of law, man.

                Oh that’s right. “Rule of law” needs interpretation according to Chip’s comment above.

                To be honest you guys are beclowning yourselves defending this guy. He’s a corrupt two-bit hustler who reached beyond his talent and is exposed for the street level punk that he is. Hell, Avon or Stringer Bell would do a better job disguising their corruption than Trump does.

                But he wouldn’t have learned that since the show’s not on Fox news. Boom!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Not only does she not weigh very much but she subtracts from the level of seriousness of the entire endeavor

                Dark, Mueller isn’t going indict Trump on the Stormy stuff. That’s SDNY. But Mueller, having been around the block a whole bunch of times, isn’t going to indict the president unless he thinks he can’t turn it over to Congress and the political process. It’s gotta be weighty. You know that. Stop playing games.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Or – as realization suddenly takes hold – you aren’t playing games. You actually believe all this bullshit….

                Oh God.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                As I’ve said, I swayed more votes than the Russians. I think over a dozen Hillary supporters at a Star Trek fan board went with Jill Stein just because of my comments. No one has yet tied a single voting decision to Russian meddling.

                The Trump Tower meeting does tie Trump’s people to a person working with Fusion GPS, a firm hired by Hillary. But if it is an impeachable offense to have met with someone tied to the Hillary campaign, wouldn’t that disqualify Hillary? I’m pretty sure she met somebody on her campaign staff.

                What we have is both a McCarthyite witch hunt and an attempt by Democrats to criminalize the act of paying hot women lots and lots of money. Oodles of money. Is that the future women want?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The Trump Tower meeting does tie Trump’s people to a person working with Fusion GPS,

                Also a Kremlin operative.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The reason “birtherism” was a thing was to undermine the President. It wasn’t possible to say that he didn’t win the election, so instead the nastiest thing to say was that he couldn’t legally run. That’s why is struck an emotional cord with a certain subset of the population.

                It struck an emotional chord with people who are racist, and those folks amplfied it to people who were already primed to believe all the anti-Dem horseshit Rush/Hannity/O’Reilly spew for every hour of the day.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Birtherism isn’t racist. The first victim of it was Chester A Arthur, who a lawyer claimed was born in Canada, which would have made him ineligible to hold the office of President. Other targets include John McCain (born in the Panama Canal Zone) and Barry Goldwater (born in Arizona prior to statehood).

                Ted Cruz is completely ineligible to be President because he was also born in Canada. I argued that so vociferously and effectively that National Review deleted vast sub-threads of their comment section, then did away with comments entirely.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Birtherism isn’t racist.

                I’m sorry, could you repeat that comment? I was distracted by the suggestion that birtherism wasn’t racist.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Birthirism isn’t racist. Under the Constitution there are only three requirements to be President: 35 years old, 14 years residing in the US, and a natural born citizen.

                Obama had claimed in a book to be born in Kenya. He wouldn’t produce his birth certificate until pressured to by one Donald J Trump, who put an end to the matter. He owes Trump a deep debt.

                Mitt Romney’s father also ran for President, but he was born in Mexico and thus was ineligble to be President. You have to be born on US soil to be a natural “native” born citizen. It goes back to English law. Blackstone’s Commentaries on citizenship. Kent echoes that and updates it for the United States, as do other early legal scholars.

                Birtherism wouldn’t apply to 99+% of black Americans, virtually all of whom are born on US soil, with obvious exceptions like Madonna and Angelina Jolie’s kids.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Obama had claimed in a book to be born in Kenya.

                No, he didn’t.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Snopes said: “A 1991 literary promotional booklet identified Barack Obama as having been born in Kenya.”

                Snopes determination? True.

                How do you get racism out of that?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Prolly the fact that a whole slew of white people don’t like black people.

                For them, black folk engaging in the political process and attaining some level of power is like Kurtz at the end: “the horror. the horror.”

                But!! … you’re the guy who said that a law prohibiting marriage between same sex spouses wasn’t discriminatory to gays even gay people could avail themselves of that opportunity. So I kinda guage everything you write thru that filter.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And if *YOU* want to check to see what the demographics in *YOUR* zip code look like, you can check them out HERE.

                (Note: This, apparently, doesn’t indicate anything.)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                It struck an emotional chord with people who are racist, and those folks amplfied it to people who were already primed to believe all the anti-Dem horseshit Rush/Hannity/O’Reilly spew for every hour of the day.

                If your point is it’s ugly then I agree.

                If your point is that the Dems can’t possibly be using an ugly emotional argument which makes them the equiv of birthers, then I disagree.

                If we’ve pivoted from Russia to sex then we’re hunting witches every time we talk about Russia.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                If your point is that the Dems can’t possibly be using an ugly emotional argument which makes them the equiv of birthers, then I disagree.

                Just saw this…

                Dark, what you wrote up there literally – no both literally and seriously – makes no effing sense. The investigation into Trump Campaign members began under Jim Comey, who’s a Republilcan. The Special Counsel tasked with continuing the investigation is a Republican who was appointed by a Republican who was in turn appointed by a Republican President (DJT hisownself).

                I’m so confused by your retreat from reason and reality I’m beginning to wonder of you aren’t Q.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Dark, what you wrote up there literally – no both literally and seriously – makes no effing sense.

                How many votes did Russia steal or whatever and what was the mechanism that they used? Hacked the ballot? Something else?

                I don’t follow all the ins and outs of all this but as far as I can tell, at the moment we’re at zero ballots electronically altered and some 6(?) digit number of illegal advertising in the context of 10 digits spent overall.

                What form did this illegal cooperation between Trump take? Trump asked them, during the debate, to return her hacked emails (which have been a joke)… but HRC and the DNC were presumably hacked long before Trump ran and the preparations for that certainly long predate Trump. Trump was actually famous for his lack of IT/data used in his campaign and for his campaign’s lack of organization. He wasn’t able to cooperate with the RNC.

                The accusations seem to be heavy in emotion, and overly dependant on a guy who was in there a month before Trump fired him. Trump’s campaign seems heavy in disorganization and incompetence, which doesn’t work well with highly effective conspiracy to… do something. Oh, and Stormy.

                I don’t understand the case against him, or where it’s supposed to go. This detour into his sex life suggests the investigators have to find something and that’s what they’ve got.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                This is a pretty standard response to Trump breaking the law. “Since his illegality didn’t change any outcomes why are people prosecuting him for it?” All the Reagan admin officials who spent time in jail didn’t change any electoral outcome either…. I’d note, too – I guess in passing – that there hasn’t been any forensic analysis of the voter rolls and tabulation systems (27 states worth) the Russians reportedly hacked.

                You’re Q aren’t you.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                I’d note, too – I guess in passing – that there hasn’t been any forensic analysis of the voter rolls and tabulation systems (27 states worth) the Russians reportedly hacked.

                All of these accusations of voter hacking and no one has checked? Not the media, not law enforcement, none of the investigations that are running around? That’s your actual claim?

                My expectation is we did check but the results don’t make the news because it wasn’t interesting and/or doesn’t fit the desired narrative.Report

              • My expectation is we did check but the results don’t make the news because it wasn’t interesting and/or doesn’t fit the desired narrative.

                When Colorado went to vote-by-mail, it wasn’t just a matter of changing to mail-in ballots. An entire process and results audit system was added: pre-election, during the election, and post-election. More sophisticated audits have been added over time. Last year Colorado became the first state to implement a state-wide risk-limiting audit.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Well, the Russians may have changed my vote. I went into the polling booth determined to vote for Hillary, but there was a slavic looking guy there in a Putin hat who said “Machine is miscalibrated. To vote Hillary must press Trump button.” I said “Oh, cpacebo!” and pressed the Trump button.

                Only much later, when all the accusations of collusion came out, did I begin to suspect that the man may have been working for Russia.

                Yeah, that must’ve happened to millions of people, especially in Wisconsin, which the Russians cleverly removed from Hillary’s campaign planning maps.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Well, the Russians may have changed my vote. I went into the polling booth determined to vote for Hillary,

                Trump was just that bad, wasn’t he? And all our suspicions have been confirmed.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’d also add that the term “beyond a reasonable doubt” doesn’t mean beyond *all* doubt. You and conservatives’ generally seem to think in these types of situations (ie, the purely partisan kind) that any possibly exonerating circumstance suffices for acquittal. Of course, what’s reasonable to one person will be unreasonable to another, which is a problem with standard. Presumably these sort of differences are ironed out in a dialogue. We saw that that’s NOT the case in the Manafort trial, where one juror (who admitted she didn’t want Manafort to be guilty) was beyond reasonable persuasion that prosecutors made their case. Etc and so on yada daReport

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                And if you’re thinking that such an elaborate conspiracy couldn’t possibly remain concealed, the answer is that it’s not. People in the conspiracy are defecting left and right. They’re testifying against Trump and his cohorts.

                “Well that just shows the depths at which the deep state trolls, compelling people to testify to what they don’t belleve.” Cmon. Enough of the bullshit. Trump’s a criminal. Everyone who’s looked at his history knows it.Report

  7. Avatar Governess Dam says:

    “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”
    – Mark Kruger, 2018

    The left has decided on the outcome – impeachment and conviction, now they just need to find the crime. After they decided on their candidate for President, then held the primaries. Like when the FBI wrote up the report exonerating Clinton, then went out and completed the investigation.

    Stalinism is nothing if not consistent.

    The deplorables, the clingers-to of guns and God, the white working trash – who do you think they will send to replace Trump if your bedtime wishes come true?

    It won’t be another politician.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      The left has decided on the outcome – impeachment and conviction, now they just need to find the crime.

      They don’t need to find a crime, Trump effusively admits them. He’s admitted to firing Comey to end the Russia investigation and making payments to Stormy Daniels violating campaign finance laws. The crimes are many. It’s a smorgasbord of crimes.

      It won’t be another politician.

      Will it be a failed businessman with ties to organized crime and reputation for cleaning dirty money for the Russian mafia?Report

      • Avatar Governess Dam says:

        Thank you for proving my point.

        You’ve come in with the verdict before even beginning to think about having a trial. Or even an investigation.

        Was there a secondary purpose to the payment to Stormy Daniels, other than electing Trump? Do you know, or care? Or even know why that might matter?

        Is the chief executive allowed to fire the people who serve at his discretion? What do words even mean?

        You ask if it will it be a failed businessman with ties to organized crime and reputation for cleaning dirty money for the Russian mafia?

        No. No, it won’t be a failed businessman with ties to organized crime and reputation for cleaning dirty money for the Russian mafia.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter says:

          Was there a secondary purpose to the payment to Stormy Daniels, other than electing Trump? Do you know, or care? Or even know why that might matter?

          If Stormy was truly unusual for Trump and the payment even more so, then the obvious purpose was to elect Trump.

          If Stormy+payment was just the latest in a 40+ year string of conquests (which is the way to bet) then it’s easy to argue the election was irrelevant.

          And what I’m seeing here is reverse scientific method, i.e. you start with the conclusion and throw out any evidence which doesn’t fit… in this case the likelihood that for Trump this is what “Tuesday” looks like.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Cohen testified that the Trump Org didn’t respond to the Stormy as the clouds gathered on the horizon until the Access Hollywood tape came out, and it was only *then* that they agreed to pay her.

            But maybe Cohen is a Deep State operative placed in the Trump Org 15 years ago for the explicit purpose of destroying his presidency today. Not preventing his election, mind. But destroying him as occupant of the Oval Office. Seems crazy, I know, but that’s how the Deep State works. Super devious.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          You’ve come in with the verdict before even beginning to think about having a trial.

          Hey, don’t blame me for your guy admitting to prosecutable crimes. That’s on him. And you for tweaking reality so far that you don’t think he did.Report

          • Avatar George Turner says:

            And the Clintons paid off women how many hundred times? Can we send them to prison now?Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              They killed Vince Foster and Seth Rich and organized a child sex trafficking ring out of a pizza joint. Why let them off easy?Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Yep. That’s why she lost. It wasn’t the Russians. It was her.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                It was her, but not because she killed Seth Rich. People really didn’t even know about it then. Hannity blew the lid, tho, thankfully, and now we’re all a lot smarter for it.

                It’s a shame Sessions won’t bring charges, donchathink?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                He’s a Deep Stater, acourse. Protecting Hillary has prollly been his mission from the time jumped aboard the Trump Campaign chanting “lock her up” and resigned his senate-seat-for-life to undermine Trump’s presidency. After Trump got elected acourse. Deep staters are weird that way.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          Was there a secondary purpose to the payment to Stormy Daniels, other than electing Trump?

          Maybe she needed surgery on a torn ligament. Some people are so closed minded.Report

    • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

      Please note – I did not say this. I’ve said “cometh the man cometh the hour” but it’s a bald plagiarism of Shakespeare. I’ve also said “don’t do anything stupid” but that’s quoting my dad mostly.Report

  8. Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

    Well I’m caught up on the discussion and I have to say you all did pretty well for a while. The discussion was about the process, some tactics, values vs. pragmatism etc. Good stuff. You finally fell off into conspiracy land but you hung in there. Good job everybody. 🙂Report

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