Congresswoman Says Bad Word, Conservatives Feign Outrage

Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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108 Responses

  1. dragonfrog says:

    I find it interesting that any suggestion that there’s a campaign of genocide toward Palestinians is shocking, absolutely shockingly antisemitic.

    And also Mike Huckabee won’t write the word Palestinian without scare quotes and an attached denial of the existence of Palestinian people (if a genus doesn’t exist, then there can’t possibly be a genocide against them can there? It would be like trying to exterminate unicorns. Just ignore all those horse corpses out back. They probably died of skull deformity.)Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

      Fine, I’ll shoot. Any suggestion that there is a campaign of genocide towards the Palestinians is anti-Semitic because there is no basis in reality. The Palestinian population is increasing and the people who argue that the Israelis are going to kill the Palestinians have never shown any evidence that this is happening. It is all based on blood libel demonology. Meanwhile, numerous factions in the Palestinian and larger Muslim world have demonstrated again and again that they consider a Jew-free Middle East to be the only just solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict from their point of view. Accusations of alleged Israeli genocide towards the Palestinians falls under “every accusation is a confession.” They are confessing what they want to do with the Jews.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Well, when you put it like that, you don’t sound like Trump talking about MS-13 at all.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

        OK, so stipulated that no genocide is occurring.

        What is gained by denying the existence of Palestinian people? Can you tell me why he’s gotta put “Palestinian” in scare quotes and immediately follow up the word by denying their present or historical existence, as though to cleanse his mouth of the taste of the word?Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

          From Hucakbee’s perspective notion. From a Jewish perspective, its sort of payback for Arab and Muslim intellectuals arguing that Jews don’t deserve self-determination because we are only a religious group rather than a national group while at the same time calling for rallying around Muslim self-determination or Islam as at least semi-national identity. If they are going to deny the existence of the Jewish people, why should we recognize them?Report

        • Dave in reply to dragonfrog says:

          He doesn’t speak for Huckabee. Why are you asking him?Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to Dave says:

            He replied to my original post about Huckabee’s statement. Why wouldn’t I continue the conversation?Report

            • Dave in reply to dragonfrog says:


              My apologies. I saw Lee’s response as soon as my response went up and I should have deleted mine. I was chatting with Lee in real time so I must have forgotten.

              It was a bit of a defensive move on my part and apparently unnecessary. All good.Report

        • Pinky in reply to dragonfrog says:

          I’m sure he’s not denying the existence of Tlaib and people who share her genetic or cultural background. He’s denying the accuracy of labeling such people “Palestinians”. You can tell because he says right there that there’s never been a country with that name. Now, I don’t consider that a good argument, because there are many groups of people who have a common background but no historical state. But this strikes me as a proxy war for something else. I think on the one hand that using the term “Palestinian” implies that there is something that historically has existed called Palestine, and thus gives the impression that such an entity should be restored. On the other hand, when you use the term “genocide” and refer to denying the existence of a people, it seems to me that you’re implying a connection between a failure to use that specific term and a willingness to wipe out those of Tlaib’s ancestry.

          Personally, I don’t find the term “Palestinian” to be a problem, even though it’s a relatively new term. I’m generally ok with people using whatever identifier they prefer, as long as it doesn’t cause confusion.Report

    • Pinky in reply to dragonfrog says:

      “any suggestion that there’s a campaign of genocide toward Palestinians”

      Is that the basis of Huckabee’s accusation?Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Pinky says:

        Huckabee’s accusing her of two things, as I near as I can tell:
        – being Palestinian (which simultaneously counts as an accusation because coming out and using “Muslim” as a bogeyman would be a bit too obvious, but is also a nonexistent category apparently)
        – Asserting that Palestine exists by putting a sticky note on her office wall map (that showed only Israel and no particular indication that the West Bank or Gaza Strip are any different from Israel) with the word “Palestine” and an arrow pointing vaguely in the direction of the Mediterranean Middle East.Report

        • Pinky in reply to dragonfrog says:

          To clarify: I wasn’t thinking that Huckabee was accusing her of being Palestinian, or of asserting that Palestine exists. I was referring to his claim that she’s anti-Semitic as an accusation.

          I guess I misunderstood your first sentence: “I find it interesting that any suggestion that there’s a campaign of genocide toward Palestinians is shocking, absolutely shockingly antisemitic.” To me, that indicates that you’re assuming that the basis of Huckabee’s calling her an anti-Semite is that she suggested there’s a campaign of genocide toward Palestinians. I don’t know that she has, or that that’s the basis of Huckabee’s label. What is making you reach those conclusions (or am I mistaken that those are your conclusions)?Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to Pinky says:

            That was unclear of me, sorry.

            The accusation of antisemitism, as I understand it, stems from her “erasing Israel from the map in her office” (actually she or someone on her staff put a post-it note with the word Palestine and an arrow, indicating that Palestine does exist somewhere in there – maybe it was meant to indicate the entire territory of Israel/Palestine is properly Palestine, or maybe just that the map makers neglected to show that some of it is. I’d bet good money Huckabee didn’t have a quiet conversation with her first to clarify what her intent was, lest he commit the grievous error of throwing around accusations of antisemitism where none exists).

            It’s just that, as @lee-esq rightly points out, saying “No Jews” in the Middle East is antisemitic and an indicator of at least a readiness to accept genocide, if not an outright enthusiasm for it. But then Huckabee has to insist that there have ALWAYS been “No Palestinians” in the Middle East.

            Things that make you go “hmmm”.Report

  2. Pinky says:

    “McCarthy, not having a good answer, decided instead to simply lie, claiming that a lot of his caucus had objected, which is a bold play in that it is not even remotely true. (Several Republicans did briefly tut-tut the president, but because conservatism is Trumpism, there was nothing consequential behind their criticism, nor any followup.)”

    Claim A: A lot of the Republican caucus called out Trump.
    Claim B: Several of the Republican caucus briefly tut-tutted inconsequentially without followup.

    Do you see how Claim B doesn’t contradict Claim A? In fact, other than a dispute over whether it was “a lot” or “several” members, they’re practically the same claims.

    For my part, I consider insulting a woman’s looks about equal to saying mf. There could be contexts in which a statement insulting a woman’s looks are reasonable (this wasn’t one), but there are no contexts where saying mf could be excused.Report

    • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky says:

      @pinky Yes, “a lot” is different than “several.” I understand that rabid conservatives like McCarthy (and everybody else pretending that this is a deal) want to have it both ways, being able to simultaneously excuse away whatever the President has said while insisting that liberals owe everybody else respectful discourse, but that’s bullshit and should be considered as such.Report

      • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

        @pinky And, worth noting, from what I can tell, “several” might be generous as well. Paul Ryan briefly said that the comments were inappropriate, before immediately pivoting away from the topic. Neither he nor McCarthy ever proposed to do “something” about them having been made.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          So, you don’t know how many people called Trump out? How does that make “I think a lot of them did” a lie? Or is it that they never proposed to do something about it, or that Ryan didn’t complain long enough before pivoting to a different topic? Because neither of those things are implied in “I think a lot of them did”.Report

    • bookdragon in reply to Pinky says:

      Dick Cheney said, on the floor of the Senate, to Patrick Leahy: “Go f*ck yourself”

      Was he called out for it by his fellow GOP congresspeople? Upbraided by Mike Huckabee? Scolded by anyone in the rightwing or even centrist media?

      One of the more amusing things to come of this incident was Liz Cheney being shocked – shocked, I tell you! – to think such language would be used by a member of congress.Report

      • Pinky in reply to bookdragon says:

        I’ve heard about the Cheney incident, but I haven’t seen footage of it. I don’t know if it was an outburst or a prepared comment. That matters to me.Report

        • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky says:

          I admire your willingness to acknowledge that you’re going to treat similar things differently, depending upon who did it. That’s honest at least.

          Also, here’s Martha McSally calling for Republicans to get this “fucking thing” done, which was her way of describing stealing healthcare from millions of Americans. I don’t remember Republicans needing their inhalers afterward.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

            OK, we’re reaching Seussian levels of absurdity here. When you accuse someone without evidence of knowing something you’re not sure of, that’s basically the same thing as what you say is true, then make it sound like I’m saying that I consider people differently when I said I consider situations differently, it’s called a flippily-floppable super-distortaful hypocry-happocry hooble.Report

            • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky says:

              @pinky I accused McCarthy of lying because he was lying.

              Meanwhile, you admitted, one whole comment ago, that you’re willing to excuse swearing Republicans, but not swearing Democrats, just so long as you can find some sort of ludicrous justification making it okay.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                Do you not consider an outburst different from a prepared statement? I shouldn’t be phrasing that as a question; of course you do. Everyone does. Outbursts are not as well thought-out; they can be more truthful than a deliberate shield of words, but they can be a lot coarser. You know that. Anyone who’s read Twitter and Ordinary Times comments knows the difference. I’m also inclined to excuse Democrats’ foul language off-the-cuff, and hold Republicans to a high standard for prepared statements.Report

        • bookdragon in reply to Pinky says:

          How about the F*ck Your Feelings shirts that were all over Trump rallies and the GOP convention? (see link to pics in Sam’s comment below)

          Those seem pretty prepared and deliberate. And repeated.

          Who on the right decried those and demanded they go away ?Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Pinky says:

          It doesn’t seem footage exists.

          What does exist is footage after the fact of Cheney in a TV news interview, confirming that he did tell Leahy to go fuck himself, that he still felt it was an appropriate thing to say, did not regret it, did not apologize nor feel that any apology was warranted.Report

  3. Sam Wilkinson says:

    Here is a very quick visual summation of the entirety of the conservative argument on this, which is that they are owed considerably more than they are (or have ever) been willing to return.Report

  4. Marchmaine says:

    “We’re gonna go in there and impeach the fuck outa’ Trump!”


    “We’re gonna go in there and impeach the motherfucker!”

    Hey now, there are kids watching.Report

  5. JoeSal says:

    Yep, Yep, her and Ocasio-Cortez are the new popular kids.Report

  6. CJColucci says:

    But is there a dance video?Report

  7. Chip Daniels says:

    What is driving the outrage is that a woman-a brown woman- dared to disrespect a powerful white man.Report

  8. Jesse says:

    As Osita Nwanevu pointed out, remember how people protesting the evil chuds who make up the modern GOP was supposed to doom the Democrats as well?

    Also, as he said, “Imagine living through the Obama administration and coming away still thinking that the way Republicans frame Democrats has any correlation whatsoever with the way Democrats actually conduct themselves.”

    The thing is, you’re going to see a lot more of this, because if you’re a Democrat under…I’ll say 40, all you’ve ever seen in your lifetime is the Republican’s being rewarded for breaking norms and acting like terrible people, all while Democrat’s get treated like they’re crapping on a table during a wedding if they dare to point out all the terrible things the GOP is doing.Report

  9. Rufus F. says:

    It seems like conservatives have had this problem for a while of both bemoaning the coarsening of culture and benefiting from it- you might call it the Limbaugh paradox.Report

  10. aaron david says:

    So, is “We’re gonna impeach the m*****f*****.” worth one “you grab them by the p****?” Or two?

    Can I get a ruling over here?Report

    • greginak in reply to aaron david says:

      I don’t like the “impeach the mf’r” stuff. It’s counterproductive. It leads otherwise smart people to draw silly false comparisons like vulgarity = bragging about sexual assault in a vulgar manner. So the ruling is vulgarity is bad but Trump’s was far worse. He has been accused of actual assault by at least one ex wife, walked in on naked women while they were changing and boasted about he could get away with sexually assaulting women.Report

      • aaron david in reply to greginak says:

        I don’t see any bit of difference between the two. Trumps very vulgar comment is in no way any bit of sexual assault, no matter how hard the left tries to make it so. And in much the same way, I rather doubt that she is going to go out and erase Isreal. This just makes the right look every bit as stupid.

        Just two bunches of idiots trying to make political hay.Report

        • @aaron-david Nobody said the comment was assault. What he was bragging about doing is assault.Report

        • greginak in reply to aaron david says:

          Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

          Bush: Whatever you want.

          Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

          That is exactly talking about forcing himself on women, ie sexual assaultReport

          • aaron david in reply to greginak says:

            Then where are these women? Remember during the ’16 campaign there were all these allegations from women (ten I believe, could be wrong) and after the election, they all disappeared. Considering what has transpired since then, the Dems would be parading at least one of them around, 24/7, reminding us of how awful he is. But no, we got Stormy Daniels.

            It was fiction. Gross, vulgar and pretty pathetic fiction, but still fiction. There is no Paula Jones here.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to aaron david says:

              No, there was. Here’s what I told Kazzy back in 2017.

              We are in a time where a Presidential candidate can be caught on tape admitting to sexual assault, win election, and face absolutely zero pressure from his own party to even address the issue.

              Easily dismissed as brash “locker room talk”. “Hey, I was just engaging in some light braggadocio!” is a defense that puts Trump’s statement in the same category as Franken’s crudity (with plenty of room for people to say that the comparison between “bragging to a guy” and “touching a woman non-consensually” is not an apt comparison).

              There are women who have actually accused Trump of assault. Name them and bring *THEM* up. Get *THEM* on camera. Even now, we still know and recognize the names Paula Jones, Juanita Broderick, Kathleen Wiley.

              Why don’t we have the names of Trump’s accusers on the news every night?

              These names should be as well-known and as easy to remember as those three names from the 90’s.

              Jill Harth
              Summer Zervos

              Use those rather than the tape. The tape is the rhetorical equivalent of bringing up Monica Lewinsky.

              Anyway, the argument fell apart after that.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

                That was my point. Two years, a massive investigation, a similar incident with a SCOTUS appointee… And bubkis. I waited for this two years ago, and am still waiting.

                If there was a there, then we would be seeing it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Aaron David says:

                ‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.
                ‘Two ways,’ Mike said. ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’

                We could be in the “gradually” phase.

                Unfortunately for everybody, “not really” presents pretty closely to “gradually”.Report

              • They’re all right here.

                As for why they wouldn’t want to endure the nonstop abuse of the folks who both dismissed the Access Hollywood tape and savaged Christine Ford, I can’t imagine.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                And no one is going to be a hero of the resistance? Sorry, at this point it is all talk. Paula Jones has more credibility at this point. But we don’t see the D’s working on that, now do we.

                The credibility is shit at this point. Jaybird could be right, and it could all happen at once, but after two years of this, I doubt it. With that many loose ends, someone would be coming forth with a bit more damning evidence, some corroboration, than what was put in the Guardian article.

                Again, Show, don’t Tell.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

                So, what are you saying, that Trump brags about assaulting women, but doesn’t actually do it?

                OK, that makes it so much better.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Trump says whatever it takes to put himself in the news. The opposite of publicity is dead-career.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                “He doesn’t rape goats! He just does it ironically to own the libs!”Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Aaron David says:

                @aaron-david You know as well as I do that you evidentiary demand is complete bullshit, particularly if you’re unwilling to acknowledge Trump’s own acknowledgement of his willingness to assault women. That this alone is not enough evidence for you suggests that what you’re looking for is a scene straight out of Death Wish or Death Wish 2 and if you don’t get it, you’re not gonna believe it. And, since you know that very few people have that much evidence, you get to go on disbelieving for as long as you’d like, which happens to be precisely the outcome that you were seeking. Funny how that works!Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                No. And not just no but hell no. This is not a mobocracy, we have the rule of law. I firmly discard anything arising from a mob and am frankly disgusted by the idea of throwing out evidentiary law and procedure.

                The outcome I am seeking is better treatment of women and men of all colors. Civil rights are not a zero-sum game. We need to gain more rights for everyone, not just the people you like.

                I refuse to go down the road to Emmett Till in any way, shape or form. Even if a dozen guilty go free.Report

              • @aaron-david Emmett Till’s killers were excused by a jury, who dismissed the accusations against them. That’s the same thing you’re doing with accusations made against men you apparently admire. You get that, right? You’re not defending the rule of law. You’re insisting that the law ought to protect men you like from accusations you don’t care about.

                You should at least be honest about that.Report

              • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                Mueller isn’t investigating sexual assault so why would he find it. One of his ex’s, Ivanka i believe, said he raped her years ago, well before the election. The problem is no one seems to care or they have weak sauce reasons why to ignore it.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to greginak says:

                Hmmm, maybe we should look at what she actually said:

                “I referred to this as a ‘rape’, but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”
                Ivana Trump
                Age 40 Year: 1989 Location: The master bedroom of the Trump Tower triplex

                In a divorce deposition, Trump’s first wife used “rape” to describe an incident that transpired between them. After a settlement was reached, and the rape allegation became public in a 1993 book, Ivana softened the claim. As part of her nondisclosure agreement, she is not allowed to discuss her marriage to Trump without his permission.

                Source: Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J Trump [emph. added]

                Divorce… Not criminal… Weak sauce indeed.

                And that is the problem with all of these claims. Are they contingent on interpretation? Are they hard and factual? We don’t know. And if there is no corroboration, then they are just words. Our penance is to judge them.

                As for Meuller, I am of the opinion that anything hinky like this would have come up in the last two years, Russiagazi or not. Apparently, you are not. And that is fine, this is only the court of public opinion. But the lefts attempt to change my opinion on this has failed.Report

              • She accused him of rape, but after he paid her a lot of money conditioned on withdrawing the accusation, she withdrew it.

                Well, I’m convinced.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Careful there, if you start looking at ulterior motives, then the Kavanaugh accusations might have something to do with the Supreme Court.Report

              • How do you figure? If Kavanaugh withdraws, it’s still a Trump appointment.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                How do you figure? If Kavanaugh withdraws, it’s still a Trump appointment.

                The dark & cynical answer is that at the time all this was played out, flipping the Senate was within the realm of possibility.

                The even darker and more cynical answer is neither the hysterical mob nor those pandering to it had much interest in logic.

                On a side note, wiki says the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th accusations against K have clearly fallen apart (not the way they phrase it). The first remains some combo of non-falsifiable, changing, wrong, and emotionally convincing.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                Mueller isn’t investigating sexual assault so why would he find it.

                For the same reason Stormy and campaign contributions are in play, because Mueller views it as his job to unseat Trump.Report

              • Road Scholar in reply to Dark Matter says:

                That’s SDNY, Mueller’s not involved there.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                The tape is the rhetorical equivalent of bringing up Monica Lewinsky.

                Which if memory serves, didn’t force the Dems to walk away from Bill.

                Similarly we also had a Presidential Candidate accused of illegal campaign contributions because he paid off his mistress during the campaign, and eventually he was found not guilty because he could claim he paid her off for other reasons.

                These are settled issues.Report

              • greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

                And his campaign ended and he is out of politics.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                And his campaign ended and he is out of politics.

                And your point is?

                Politically it blew up on Edwards because he’d presented his relationship/loyalty with his ill wife as a reason to vote for him. No one voted for Trump because of his sexual ethics. He let his first wife know he was divorcing her by telling the media and figuring she’d hear about it.

                Legally what Edwards did was multiple steps further than what Trump is accused of, and we’ve already figured out it wasn’t a crime (although it certainly was poor politics).Report

              • @dark-matter Most conservatives are a bunch of hypocrites when confronted with objectionable behavior by the men they admire. So noted.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                Most conservatives are a bunch of hypocrites when confronted with objectionable behavior by the men they admire.

                I was going to respond BSDI but I’d say it’s more of a human thing than anything. And after we get enough women in power we’ll see it works for them too.Report

              • @dark-matter You’re claiming women will ignore other women bragging about sexual assault?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                You’re claiming women will ignore other women bragging about sexual assault?

                I’m saying when our leaders are women, your team will ignore bad behavior from them too. Sort of like how various women’s movements rushed to defend Bill when his sex scandals threatened his Presidency.

                So in other words, yes, in the current environment if we ever have a female President get caught sexually harassing her subordinates then the usual power dynamics will have various members of team [blue/red] defend her.

                Ideally #metoo would change that… but I was not impressed at how the Ford situation was handled. As far as I can tell NO ONE cared about the truth of the matter.Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter Liberals chased Al Franken for doing far less than Trump bragged about doing. One side takes this stuff seriously. The other side is yours. I would be shocked if that changes, as it would require substantive cultural changes on both sides of the aisle that show no sign of actually occurring.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                Franken was punished… but the Dem party as a whole paid no price for this because his was a safe seat and his replacement was picked by a Dem governor. Similarly, that Black congressman from Detroit who was also “forced” to step down was replaced by his son (can you smell a deal? I smell a deal).

                And none of these actions came from anything like an impartial due process. Similarly Kavanaugh/Ford was handled such that the Dems appeared concerned about Kennedy’s seat first, foremost, and only with the Truth not a consideration at all.

                One way to interpret all this is the Dems are appeasing a mob, which is the opposite of serious reform. When the mob goes away so will the appeasement.

                You’ll notice we’re not even slightly concerned about Kavanaugh now that he’s on the court, much less who knew what about Harvey and when did they know it. This is politics, it’s not reform, it’s not even the Dems cleaning house.Report

              • There’s nothing to be dome about Kavanaugh. Whatever her did, he got away with, exactly like Clarence Thomas.Report

              • InMD in reply to greginak says:

                I think that’s fair and if that were the argument, agree or disagree on the merits, it would be principled. But the context here is otherwise. By any objective measure the Mueller investigation and the media have consistently over promised and under delivered. Maybe the big bombshells is coming but like aaron I’m skeptical. In other circumstances I’d be baffled so many aren’t at this point, except that we have people now taking the position that evidence doesn’t matter (and that’s putting it charitably). You see that sentiment in this thread.

                I’m no fan of Trump or the Republican party. I think the administration is doing great damage from a boring ol’ policy perspective and is pushing us further towards a post truth society. But you can’t it this way. It’s just another vision of the same fundamentally wrong way to govern a society.Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to InMD says:

                @INMD How many convictions and guilty pleas will convince you otherwise? What’s the exact number?Report

              • InMD in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                I will answer but I need you to specify what it is you want me to be convinced of, given the myriad of accusations.Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to InMD says:

                @inmd Convinced of anything. You seem to be claiming that you haven’t gotten enough to believe anything. Mueller has provided vastly more than conservatives ever did about the myriad of investigations they launched against Barack Obama’s administration and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

                Again, this is what Mueller has gotten in less than two years.Report

              • InMD in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                I’m convinced of the following:

                -Trump probably violated campaign finance laws by improperly using funds to pay hush money to at least two women with whom he had consensual affairs. I think it’s the kind of thing top tier political operators would never allow to happen. But when you’re relying on GOP 5th and 6th stringers and a bunch of sketchy real estate people totally out of their depth you get regulatory violations of this nature.

                -Similarly, many of these people ended up under a level of scrutiny they never were prepared for, and were therefore caught doing things they probably never would have been caught doing, and few would have given a damn about, had they stayed out of the limelight. Manafort, Gates, and Cohan specifically come to mind.

                -Some people have lied to the FBI in the course of this investigation, but mostly just in the sense that virtually everyone the FBI has ever spoken to could be charged with lying to the FBI under current law.

                -The Russian state probably preferred a Trump victory. Various actors of unclear origin, maybe Russian, maybe not, distributed a bunch of content online with roughly the sophistication of a Nigerian prince scam. Russia also still has clownish quasi-operatives poking around but who don’t seem to be accomplishing much. I have seen no evidence that any of this is more sophisticated than the whole Anna Chapman thing from 10 years ago.

                None of it is good, but neither is it IMO justification for the kind of round the clock hysteria, dire warnings, and conspiracy theories. The Trumpites mostly are who we thought they were, which is a lot more stupid than sinister.

                I am not convinced of the following:

                -that Donald Trump has ever committed rape or sexual battery. To be convinced of that I’d need to know of an accuser with the who, what, where, etc. substantiated by witnesses, physical evidence, or something along those lines.

                -that Donald Trump is ‘Putin’s man,’ accepted any kind of quid pro quo to do the bidding of the Russian government, or that the connections to foreign nationals are anything outside of the frustratingly common connections we have at our highest level of politics. Again, to be convinced, I’d need to know the details of the deal and be presented with evidence that it happened.

                -that the Steele dossier is a credible document.

                -that the above referenced online content or any of these individuals with Russian connections had any impact on the outcome of the election, whatever their sources and intent. This and the quid pro quo are what I’m waiting for, and what I am skeptical will be delivered.Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to InMD says:

                @inmd Paul Manafort has now been shown to have been coordinating with at least one Russian with ties to Russian intelligence.Report

              • greginak in reply to InMD says:

                Mueller hasn’t promised anything because he keeps his trap shut. The media has done what it does about everything; yammer endlessly. But there have been far more guilty pleas or convictions so far then any recent investigation. And those are of high figures in the Trump campaign. The current investigation has gone on for 2 years. Iran contra was 6-7 and whitewater 8 and they got fewer guilty pleas/convictions. And all that w/o even having the actual Mueller report. From what is already known the Trump campaign was compromised by the Russians through multiple people.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to InMD says:

                “Over promised and under delivered” would only apply if his charter were, rather than to investigate criminality in the Trump campaign and administration, specifically to get Trump. He’s not Ken Starr.Report

    • It’s absurd to talk about impeachment in the absence of evidence. You know what they should do to Tlaib? Lock her up!Report

  11. Dark Matter says:

    Politics is a blood sport and pretending that we need to be nice and the other has stepped over the line is a constant thing.

    And yes, this President doesn’t act above the fray very often so it’s fine to assume he’s not above the fray (although lowering yourself to his level is probably unwise, but that’s a different issue). Nor am I shocked that he is dissing his lover who has betrayed him at least twice (once by threatening stuff that required her to be paid off, the second by not staying paid off).

    Having said that, rolling out the impeachment proceedings before there’s proof of guilt is something we don’t want to be the new normal.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

      You know impeachment is itself a trial, requiring nothing more than allegation?Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        You know impeachment is itself a trial, requiring nothing more than allegation?

        With Trump you really shouldn’t need to lower the bar, much less make it so low that all future Presidents can/will be impeached if Congress is in the wrong hands.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter says:

          I should probably expand on the “why” of that.

          The Dems are coming close to doing to impeachment what they did to accusations of racism. They can’t say anything about Trump that they didn’t already say about Romney, so it sounds a lot less believable now that you really mean it.

          If you call “his sex life” “high crimes” then you’ve dumbed down the process to the point where it won’t mean anything.Report

          • @dark-matter “Too much racism has been identified for it to be real so I don’t have to take it seriously,” is certainly ONE take.Report

            • aaron david in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

              Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.

              -Lavrentiy BeriaReport

            • Dark Matter in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

              “Too much racism has been identified for it to be real so I don’t have to take it seriously,” is certainly ONE take.

              Then how about this, the general public will never put up with Congress spending 6 months on impeaching Trump on his sex life and then the next 6 months impeaching Trump on emoluments and then the next 6 months impeaching him on bribery and then the next 6 on something else.

              You have one bullet. After you do the first impeachment you’re done, every impeachment after that is screaming “wolf”. If you screw this up then he stays in office until he loses an election or has a heart attack.Report

  12. Chip Daniels says:

    I’m sure the lawyers round here could add much more, and may deserve a post of its own, but courtesy the Constitutional Rights Foundation, some background on “High Crimes and Misdemeanors”:

    Officials accused of “high crimes and misdemeanors” were accused of offenses as varied as misappropriating government funds, appointing unfit subordinates, not prosecuting cases, not spending money allocated by Parliament, promoting themselves ahead of more deserving candidates, threatening a grand jury, disobeying an order from Parliament, arresting a man to keep him from running for Parliament, losing a ship by neglecting to moor it, helping “suppress petitions to the King to call a Parliament,” granting warrants without cause, and bribery. Some of these charges were crimes. Others were not. The one common denominator in all these accusations was that the official had somehow abused the power of his office and was unfit to serve.


    • Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      In other words, impeachment isn’t a criminal trial, requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

      It is deliberately a political act, intended to provide the people with a means of removing an executive who can no longer be entrusted to carry out his office.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        “an executive who can no longer be entrusted to carry out his office”

        I think you mean “can no longer be trusted”. Impeachment, conviction, and removal is the process of dis-entrusting an officeholder. I guess you could also mean “should no longer be entrusted”. But the bigger issue is that impeachment is carried out against the executive who has demonstrated through abuse of office that he can no longer be trusted.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Have we ascertained the whereabouts of all of Trump’s ships?

      I agree that impeachment is a political act; but we don’t want it to be solely a political act. Hence the moral and political ambiguity of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Set the bar too high, and only Treason is grounds for impeachment; too low, and budgeting against the preferences of the Legislature becomes grounds.

      Like all of us, I’m wondering what Mueller’s findings look like so far. I’m also wondering what calculations are ongoing on what might be categorized the pros/cons of mid-term vs. end-term summation. The rumors are we’re going to get a mid-term report from Mueller, but are those anything more substantial than rumors?Report

  13. Stillwater says:

    Here’s my take: everyone, even his supporters, know Trump is a MFer. So the “you can’t call him that” outrage feels awfully similar to the “you can’t say the Iraq war was the biggest mistake in US history” outrage during the Republican primary.Report

  14. What do you expect from Tlaib? She’s from one of those shithole states.Report

    • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Dark Matter says:

      @dark-matter Which loops back precisely to the original point of the post. Tlaib can’t criticize a plainly un-American law, lest she be called anti-Semitic by the party lead by the man who thinks that white supremacists are “very fine people.” One set of rules for conservatives. One set of rules for everybody else.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

        Tlaib can’t criticize a plainly un-American law, lest she be called anti-Semitic…

        First, Tlaib was criticizing some of her fellow Congressmen for serving Israel rather than the United States.

        2nd, How much of the divestment movement is based in anti-Semitism? Speaking as someone without a dog in the race, it looks like a lot. If I had to list the five nastiest governments in the world, Israel wouldn’t come close to making the list. I’m not even sure they’d make the list if we listed the five nastiest govs in the middle East.

        One set of rules for conservatives. One set of rules for everybody else.

        Trump is accused of racism on a daily basis by far more than one guy in one newspaper.Report