Nancy Pelosi Makes “Official Impeachment Inquiry” Announcement

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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202 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Wait wait.

    Is this impeachment? Or are we still in pre-impeachment?Report

    • This was a nothing being covered as a massive something, which it isn’t. Till there is a vote scheduled, this is all gas on the television.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I’ve been thinking about how Pelosi plays the media in pretty much the exact same way Trump does: both are masters of misdirection. In this case, Pelosi is basking in the glow of everyone thinking she’s taking impeachment to a whole ‘nother level when in reality *nothing* has changed. Same exercise of powers, same tactics and strategy, same foot dragging….

        The test of whether I’m wrong will be if Democrats actually enforce subpoenas by holding those individuals in contempt *and* having them arrested. Otherwise, nothing new here.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

          Their subpoena power remains limited to what Nadler or Schiff already have been using until there’s a formal House vote to proceed with an impeachment and create a House select committee.

          I think Nancy desperately wants to avoid such a vote because then everyone has to go on the record right before an election year.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

            NAL but I tend to agree. Pelosi merely saying the words “formal impeachment inquiry” doesn’t make it one. But I guess we’ll find out pretty soon, when Democrats ask judges* to fastrack decisions regarding separation issues.

            *assuming they actually take these extraordinary meaasures …Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

          This strikes me as backfireable.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

            Seems to me the only thing that isn’t backfireable is doing nothing.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

              Doing nothing but selling it as something might be smarter than I thought, then.

              Maybe it can exist in superposition like the Mueller Report.

              For a freakin’ year.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Really? Seems to me the Democrats so badly mishanlded the Mueller report that it actually hurt them. Seems like a bad model to base a strategy on.

                Also, I tend to think the “lie to the rubes” thing is over-valued by people who think they’re too smart to be effectively lied to.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                They mishandled the Mueller thing because they promised it’d be something and then it ended up being a great big nothingburger.

                An impeachment inquiry that never quite manages to coalesce into an impeachment gives the best of both worlds.

                Actually doing stuff is boring. Grand sweeping things that are totally going to happen tomorrow, maybe the day after? That can be energizing.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                They mishandled the Mueller thing because they promised it’d be something and then it ended up being a great big nothingburger.

                IMO, the Mueller investigation was a burger with 10 ftoppings, but by effectively outsourcing their oversight responsibilities to the SC they were unprepared when the waitress didn’t bring out an everything burger.

                An impeachment inquiry that never quite manages to coalesce into an impeachment gives the best of both worlds.

                The Dems got schooled by the GOP, and especially Bill Barr, over the Mueller report. But they took the wrong lesson from the exercise, seems to me.Report

              • You think that was a schooling, wait until they pass impeachment articles and the Senate passes a motion to dismiss on a straight party line ten minutes later, sending them back to square one.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                Andrew, that’s entirely expected and won’t be a surprise to anyone.So, no. No educatin’ there.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                Oh, I think they’ll be pushed back further than square one. Picture them trying to prove something outrageous about Trump and failing, and then impeaching him anyway.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                Andrew, here’s an example of how the Dems will get played on this (paraphrase):

                AOC: “I’m really surprised the WH released this transcript”

                The fact that Dems are surprised by an effort to a) frame the debate in his favor given the very real likelihood that b) this scandal passes in short order, means the Dems are always playing catch-up. The analogue wrt the Mueller report is that Dems trusted Bill Barr to be an honest broker and were surprised (!!) when he presented his wildly inaccurate summary of the SC’s conclusions four weeks prior to releasing the redacted report.

                Fool them once, shame on you. Fool them repeatedly and they’re The Democrats.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Mueller’s entire report boiled down to: “Congress needs to impeach this guy!”

                So yeah, they didn’t pursue that, but then Trump decided (literally, the very next day) to dial it up to 11.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I sorta disagree with this. The thing the Democrats weren’t prepared for was Bill Barr outright lying about the contents, especially regarding the OLC memo. Barr claimed that he, in consultation with Rosenstein *and* Bob Mueller, determined that the OLC memo had no bearing on Mueller’s investigation and conclusions thereby giving the impression that Mueller exonerated Trump.

                The report said the exact opposite. But once the report was released the narrative was set and Dems had no strategy – zero, zilch, it never even occurred to them! – for countering it.Report

  2. George Turner says:

    Republican leaning boards lit up with absolute jubilation at the news. Nobody on the right can find any downside, not even Trump.Report

  3. Chip Daniels says:

    And the Senate unanimously approved Shumer’s resolution that the whistleblower’s complaint itself be given to Congress.

    I gotta say, that took me by surprise.Report

    • Even the Republican Senators aren’t crazy enough to adopt a position publicly that broadly implies, “The executive branch may, at its own discretion, ignore the law.” At least not when the House Republicans are behaving like there’s going to be another blue wave in 2020. How many have announced they’re not running for reelection now?Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      The Dems badly wants to attack Trump. The GOP wants the Dems to attack Trump badly.

      The Federalist is reporting that CNN reported that the “whistleblower” is known to have no direct knowledge on what he’s talking about.

      Supposedly from CNN: The whistleblower didn’t have direct knowledge of the communications, an official briefed on the matter told CNN. Instead, the whistleblower’s concerns came in part from learning information that was not obtained during the course of their work, and those details have played a role in the administration’s determination that the complaint didn’t fit the reporting requirements under the intelligence whistleblower law, the official said.

      So… he is whistleblowing on a rumor.

      • Road Scholar in reply to Dark Matter says:

        Sorry, but that doesn’t square with the ICIG passing it up the chain. If it was as flimsy and unsubstantiated as you want to believe, it would have been dropped at that level and we never would have heard about it. And by law, the DNI can’t just drop it, it has to be passed on to Congress.

        Dude, really, you’re quoting a report from “an official” in the administration? Like that’s some unimpeachable oracle of truth? Oh, and now you believe CNN?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Road Scholar says:

          Oh, and now you believe CNN?

          This goes weird places. If I say that CNN reported X, then my argument is not necessarily that X happened.

          If we are willing to agree that CNN reporting X is orthogonal to whether or not X happened, I’d be down with that. “CNN is Fake News”. So let it be written, so let it be done.

          But now I look around and say “hey, where are we?” and we’re now in a very interesting place indeed.Report

          • Road Scholar in reply to Jaybird says:

            I hear ya, JB. But notice the way DM’s chosen quote is worded:
            The whistleblower didn’t have direct knowledge of the communications, an official briefed on the matter told CNN. Instead, the whistleblower’s concerns came in part from learning information that was not obtained during the course of their work, and those details have played a role in the administration’s determination that the complaint didn’t fit the reporting requirements under the intelligence whistleblower law, the official said.[emphasis mine]

            I don’t doubt that “an official” in the administration told the CNN reporter that. But… so what? Given this administration’s… shall we say — casual… relationship with truth, this means literally nothing.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Road Scholar says:

              Well, what did CNN say?

              The Washington Post on Wednesday said the complaint referenced a “promise” Trump allegedly made to the unidentified leader. CNN has not confirmed that aspect of the controversy.

              The whistleblower didn’t have direct knowledge of the communications, an official briefed on the matter told CNN. Instead, the whistleblower’s concerns came in part from learning information that was not obtained during the course of their work, and those details have played a role in the administration’s determination that the complaint didn’t fit the reporting requirements under the intelligence whistleblower law, the official said.

              Ugh. Now we have a new can of worms in the Warshington Post.

              Who was the official? Was it one of the ones that we know leaks good stuff or was it one of the ones we know acts as disinfo? We don’t know!

              We don’t know anything.

              Maybe the transcript will clear things up.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                To paraphrase, this is nonsense up with which we shall not put.

                There is a frantic scramble now among the President’s defenders to throw chaff in the air and make all sorts of evasions, distractions, red herrings all to the purpose of making things seem very confusing and mysterious.

                We have to keep returning to the simple unvarnished truth which no one disputes.

                The President and his attorney pressured a foreign government to investigate his political rival.

                It doesn’t matter what Hunter Biden did or didn’t do.
                It doesn’t matter what Joe Biden did or didn’t do.

                Using the power of your office for personal gain is an impeachable abuse of the public trust.

                There is no mystery here, no inscrutable riddle, and there are not two sides. There is the single truth which everyone has already admitted to.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:


                I hope you’re able to keep the “It doesn’t matter what Hunter Biden did or didn’t do. It doesn’t matter what Joe Biden did or didn’t do.” thing going without having “Then I guess it doesn’t matter what Trump did” thrown in your face.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Using the power of your office for personal gain is an impeachable abuse of the public trust.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I could not possibly agree more.

                Where you and I seem to disagree is on whether it matters what Joe/Hunter Biden did.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

                If Biden abused the pwer of his office for personal gain matters to whether Biden committed an impeachable offence.

                It does not matter to whether Trump committed an impeachable offence.

                It’s like when someone robs someone who might be a drug dealer – how the robbery victim got the money matters to whether the robbery victim goes to jail, not to whether the robber goes to jail.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m sure it will get thrown in many faces. Problem for said throwers is Mr. Trump is currently President. Mr. Biden is currently a private citizen. So what Mr. Trump does is in fact way more important then what Mr. Biden MAY have done a decade ago.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                I will be interested in seeing exactly how that is argued during the primary.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Philip H says:

                Well, think of it this way: any voter who equates Trump’s actions with Joe Biden’s when he was VP *as an attack on Biden* will never vote D anyway.Report

              • impeachBiden! in reply to Philip H says:

                I encourage the Republicans to try to impeach Biden. (:Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                It doesn’t matter what Hunter Biden did or didn’t do. It doesn’t matter what Joe Biden did or didn’t do.

                We have is an oil company accused of corruption (and in that part of the world, “oil company” and “corrupt” go hand in hand) giving a guy $600k for… what? The only thing he brings to the table is his relationship to high ranking people in our government.

                Using the power of your office for personal gain is an impeachable abuse of the public trust.

                We watched HRC dance right up to the edge of that often enough that we should be familiar with the rules.

                Quid pro quo means there needs to be an exchange of goods or services, in which one transfer is clearly contingent upon the other.

                So for example if Biden Sr. arranged for his son to get a well paid do-nothing job for an oil company in exchange for some type of gov consideration, that would be Quid Pro Quo. Noteworthy is a liberal news article bragging about the impeachment which also mentioned that Biden Sr. negotiated with that oil company while he was VP.

                My expectation however is, even if everyone involved understood the only reason Hunter was getting hired was his relationship, and even if the only reason something involved with the gov much later went smoothly, no one put anything in writing or even said anything out loud so everything was technically legal (again, we’ve seen this game played before).

                Trump asking for corruption to be investigated? Trump wasn’t offering anything. No money changed hands. Even if Trump is clearly looking to score political points, it’s probably legal.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Trump asking for corruption to be investigated? Trump wasn’t offering anything. No money changed hands. Even if Trump is clearly looking to score political points, it’s probably legal.

                Trump held up $250 million in military aid to the Ukraine. A week before. And US lawmakers, back then, were completely baffled by it. And he appears to have instructed the OMB to _lie_ about the reasons, to claim it was held up by ‘interagency process’, when in reality he’d just personally told them not to release the funds.

                He only released them when Dick Durbin (not having any idea what was going on but getting more and more frustrated by the delays), threatened to withhold Pentagon spending for 2020.

                He has offered two competing suggestions for why he did this. Because of course he has. The first was the dumbass idea that he he wanted other countries to pitch in more, something…he made no effort to getting. The second was supposed to see if the new Ukraine administration was more pro-Western or pro-Russian, an argument that only makes sense if you forget the fact that money is, literally, to help fight the new administration’s war with Russia, which he was elected to do.

                He’s also, it’s becoming clear, has been meddling in a lot of ‘off the books’ ways with Ukraine diplomacy. As president, of course, he has the right to set the diplomatic posture how he wants…but he’s fired the ambassador to there, and had his _personal lawyer_ running around visiting them. Saying…who knows what, without any record.

                We can argue whether or not the president sending his henchmen (for lack of a better term to describe Giuliani) to foreign countries to ask them to use their own law enforcement to help in the next election is corrupt(it actually is, in multiple ways).

                But one that is really really clear is that using the US government’s own money for that purpose is an astonishing abuse of power. We don’t need to get down into campaign finance laws or bribery law or anything…the president can’t be allowed to withhold foreign aid to make other countries do things that personally benefit him. Which he, very very clearly, has done here.Report

              • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                Trump is elated and is going to release all his communications with Ukraine. He told the press that their very bad week was going to get a whole lot worse, and it is.

                He released the whistle blower complaint this morning, and it’s a bigger nothing burger than the phone call, raising far more questions about the whistle blowing than anything Trump did.

                The President of Ukraine said he was under zero pressure from Trump, which blows the “withholding” military aid talking point out of the water. Not that in the transcript we already have, Trump was elated that Zelensky wanted more Javelin missiles.

                The person who withheld military aid to Ukraine was – Obama. Trump did, however, withhold military aid from Turkey, refusing to sell them F-35’s and Patriot missile batteries because Erdogan can’t be trusted not to let the Russians pour over the systems and communication protocols.

                Ukraine has had strings of pro-Russian and pro-Western leaders, and both orbits pull at the country. Our military will be cautious in evaluating each Ukrainian administration.Report

              • North in reply to George Turner says:

                Heheh, Obama witheld funding from back in 2016? Yeesh George, if you hand wave much faster you’re going to start floating up to the ceiling. We’ve already established that The President of Ukraine would be obligated to say he was under no pressure even if Trump was menacing his kid with an ice pick. That’s how he has to be. Trump was holding up millions in military aid and then laid out an extortion demand in that phone call- and now we have the whistle blower report showing his whole internal admin apparatus knew what he did, that it was illegal and have been frantically trying to hide it. I do find it believable that Trump is elated- he’d be delusional enough to be elated about this fiasco for him.Report

              • George Turner in reply to North says:

                How is Ukraine’s president obligated to do anything? As he said, the only person he has to listen to is his young son. Ukraine isn’t in the desperate financial straits it was when Biden forced them to fire a prosecutor by telling them he’d cut off $1 billion in US aid, which would have left the country bankrupt during its darkest days.

                Also, Trump wasn’t withholding military aid. Mark Esper at the DoD was holding it up as part of a standard policy review of all US military aid to make sure it advances the US national interest. The review was begun back in June or July.

                We have the transcript of the phone call. Not only was it hilarious, and not only did it not include the slightest whiff of extortion, Trump is happily going to release more transcripts, because both he and the Ukrainian president seem to find the whole thing hilarious.

                Also, it’s apparent from the whistle blowers complaint that he didn’t know much more than any of the rest of us about anything. In fact, if we read yesterday’s transcript before the whistle blower did (which is highly likely), we knew more than he did about what happened.

                He even claimed the transcript had been moved to a “Secret Server” because it was so damning. Wow. Apparently he was talking about my laptop because I’ve got the secret copy, along with everybody else.Report

              • North in reply to George Turner says:

                He’s obligated by both internal political considerations (he doesn’t want his electorate to see him as a punk getting pushed around by foreigners) and by external political considerations (he can’t take sides in the US conflict because he needs to get along with whoever ends up winning whether that is Trump or Trumps successor). So the only thing he can say is that he wasn’t being pressured and everyone knows it. The Biden thing, as we previously established, is a canard because that prosecutor being fired was bad for the company Biden’s kid was working for- not good.

                As for the rest, Dave and Chip cover that down below.Report

              • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                Ahh i can see where we are miscommunicating. You are telling us that every aspect of this mess makes Trump as happy as a barrel of puppies and ice cream. What we fail to get, which i have just understood, is that overwhelming happiness for Trump comes out as red faced, sputtering, confused half sound bites of angry accusations and persecuted like not one has been victimhood. And a good toliet. Gotta have the solid gold shitter for true happiness. It’s all clear now.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                Trump is elated and is going to release all his communications with Ukraine.

                Yeah, this whole plan is working out great. Rudy is narcing on Volker, Pompeo is narcing on Rudy, Trump is narcing on Pence and round and round it goes.

                Stupid Dems, falling into the Kiev Trap.Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                Please….it’s the Kievan Ruse.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                The way all these guys are trying to distance themselves it’s more like six degrees of Kievan Bacon.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

                Just yesterday I think it netted Trump $5 million in campaign donations. Trump voters are loving it. More please!

                Journalists have gone completely fact free, such as the claim that Trump made talking about Biden a pre-condition of the call. That came from a fired campaign adviser to Zelensky who’d never worked for him once he took office, and the aide says he didn’t even learn about the call until it hit the papers this week.

                Even Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, who see impeachable offenses in their own shadows, said that nothing in the transcript points to any quid pro quo.

                And obviously it doesn’t to anyone who knows what quid pro quo means. The working definition the press seems to be throwing around is “people being nice and helping each other”, but somehow excludes getting lucrative board positions for relatives in return for favorable treatment, or threatening to bankrupt a government if they don’t hush up criminal behavior.Report

              • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                Ummm Yeah…The billionaire who needs donations for citizens….Nobody ever denied he isn’t skilled at fleecing his fans.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                Just yesterday I think it netted Trump $5 million in campaign donations. Trump voters are loving it. More please!

                If Trump voters are donating over Trump’s extortion of Ukraine imagine how much they’d give if he shot someone on 5th avenue…Report

              • JS in reply to George Turner says:

                “Just yesterday I think it netted Trump $5 million in campaign donations. Trump voters are loving it. More please!”

                I know, and look how they rewarded him in 2018! Man, those crazy Democrats. After the 2018 results, facing a President with a 53/42 disapprove/approval rating, you’d think they’d just surrender instead of doubling down on the mistakes that led to the 2018 elections and a President with a 53/42 disapprove/approve ratings.

                And all those Republicans retiring in Texas — I mean can you imagine? Polls show Trump within shouting distance of winning Texas! Democrats on the run!Report

              • George Turner in reply to JS says:

                In 2018 the Democrats who flipped seats ran to the center and focused on jobs. Many of them are now under assault from left-wing Democrats who are accusing them off all kinds of nefarious beliefs.

                The left wing is becoming a huge problem for electability in the districts that Democrats flipped.

                Meanwhile it looks like Trump might pick up Minnesota because lots of Democrat voters are deciding to support Trump, similar to what’s happened in West Virginia, Michigan, and Ohio. Some say Omar helped push them over to the other side.

                What a choice. “Hrm… Vote for someone who hates me because I’m an American, and whose party hates me and wants me broke, or vote for someone who loves me and wants to revitalize our local economy?”

                All Democrats have to do to beat Trump is be the saner, less hateful choice, but they seem entirely unable to pull that off because they’re going nuts.Report

              • North in reply to George Turner says:

                Minnesota? Now I know you’re grasping. Trump didn’t even get MN in the 2016 campaign and there’s no hope in hell that he’ll get Omar’s district in 2020. She may be loopy but she and her squad compatriots remain the minority in the Democratic party. Just because the right, and you, claim the Dems have gone extreme doesn’t make it true (though it’s interesting that the only argument the right has left now days is that the Dems have gone crazy).Report

              • George Turner in reply to North says:

                Trump didn’t campaign in Minnesota in 2016 but only lost it by 44,765 votes, trailing Hillary by 1.52% of the vote. Flip 0.76% and he’d have won it.

                That said, Trump + Gary Johnson only got 47.16% to Hillary + Stein’s 52.84%, which is a gap of 5.68%, a much larger safety margin for Democrats.
                So victory was decided by third party candidates on the ballot. Stein drawing 3.59% was crippling to Hillary, enough to have handed it to Trump, but not crippling enough to prevent Gary Johnson’s 1.07% from handing it back to Hillary.

                Since then plenty of Democrats in the mining regions of Minnesota have flipped to Trump (or so they say when they’re interviewed), while some in the cities might be disgusted enough with Omar’s antics to also switch loyalties.

                So Trump is holding rallies in Minnesota. His next one is Oct 10th in Minneapolis. The Democrat nominee might have the problem of having to share their own rally stage with Omar.

                So it depends on a lot of factors that haven’t yet been set. The nominee, third presence of third party candidates, plus the intense fireworks and investigations in Washington and a political campaign season.Report

              • North in reply to George Turner says:

                Trumps not running as a policy unknown like he was in 2016. everyone knows his promises are a joke and he governs like an especially corrupt and inept Republican. For every miner he may have flipped I guarantee he’s lost five farmers due to his trade wars devastating the agricultural sector, five suburbanites for his general behavior and at least two of his already sparse urban supporters for proving that he was full of it on providing better health care than the ACA. I hope he does campaign in Minnesota; it’d be effort wasted when it’s not good odds that he’ll be able to keep any of the “blue wall” states Hillary handed to him through her neglect and Comey’s idiotic intervention.Report

              • ImpeachBident! in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Legality is besides the point. Presidents can’t be prosecuted (apparently) while they are still presidents.

                The question is: is this behavior befitting the office of the President? Is it an abuse of the powers of the Presidency? Is Trump endangering the national security of the United States? Is Trump upholding his oath of office?

                The answer is clearly No, in every single case.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

        Both Trump and his personal attorney have publicly admitted to pressuring a foreign nation to dig up dirt on the President’s political opponent.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          and the not verbatim transcript released by the WH today confirms that Trump asked Zelensky to look into Biden and Zelensky agreed to do so.

          To paraphrase from our last impeachement – there’s THERE there.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

        So… he is whistleblowing on a rumor.

        This didn’t age well.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    A co-worker mentioned that he was going through his old emails from his college days and found something interesting. I asked him to email it to me and he did and I screenshot it here. I felt weird and creeped out reading it.


    • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

      Democrats have drafted articles of impeachment against every Republican President since Eisenhower. It’s a thing they do.

      The investigation into Biden and Obama (who Biden implicated in the quid pro quo story) might be very revealing.Report

      • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

        Then why didn’t the Republican House under Mr. Obama start such an investigation? They ran Sec. Clinton through 3 times on Benghazi. She sat for 11 hours of public testimony. and the report basically said she had poor judgement and intelligence analysts should do governmental coms work.

        Republicans had a chance to make a stink about this at the time. They didn’t. They ahd a chance to make a stink about it during Mr. Trump’s first two years when the have both the Legislative and Executive Branches locked up. They didn’t. My money is they didn’t because they couldn’t. because there’s actually nothing to make a stink about.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Philip H says:

          There is ‘something’ to make a stink about, in that Hunter’s hiring by Burisma, a Ukraine oil company, clearly looks like influence peddling, and that would be a…reasonable complaint in the election. (If Biden was running against literally anyone but Trump.)

          However, at no point does it appear to have been anywhere near _illegal_.

          The thing the Republicans are trying to make the story about, Joe Biden supposedly(1) getting a prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, fired, supposed to ‘protect’ Hunter, makes no sense at all. For one thing…Uh, Joe Biden didn’t do that. Like, the entire international community wanted Shokin gone. The _people of Ukraine_ were publicly protesting him. Biden was merely one of the guys that said such.

          Second, everyone except Shokin insists Shokin’s investigation of Burisma was a scam, an attempt to get a payout.

          Third, there’s absolutely no reason that Hunter would need to be ‘protected’ from Shokin, it’s very hard to figure out any illegal things he could have possibly done, even if Burisma was doing illegal things. It wouldn’t look _great_ if the company that hired him had been charged with corruption, but the idea that Hunter _himself_ was doing anything illegal is rather laughable.

          So, yes, Hunter Biden is an influence peddler. That is a valid complaint. Everything else is just dumb.Report

          • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

            Like, the entire international community wanted Shokin gone. The _people of Ukraine_ were publicly protesting him. Biden was merely one of the guys that said such.

            Stop a second and think about that. Did American’s protest the investigation of Enron? No. Nobody normally protests a corruption investigation into a major energy company. Nobody.
            Especially not leaders in foreign countries – unless they’re on the take, or being lied to by those who are.

            George Soros seems to be involved with Burisma, as do some other big names, including of course Joe Biden. Thus, I would conclude that the other European leaders would only have protested an investigation into energy sector corruption in Eastern Europe if they were in on it or were told to protect Joe Biden, lest Obama cut their US support, too.

            As is often said, the cover up does more damage than the crime.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

            the idea that Hunter _himself_ was doing anything illegal is rather laughable.

            He’s getting paid $600k a year to do… something.

            Presumably he’s not technically a foreign agent for the company in the US, and not technically an influence peddler, and not technically breaking the law. I agree that as a lawyer who apparently specializes in not-really-but-really monetizing his relationship with his father, Hunter is very unlikely to have been stepping over the lines.

            However “laughable” isn’t the word I’d use.Report

  5. DavidTC says:

    What I find baffling is this idea we have to start with impeaching the president.

    Impeach Joseph Maguire. Literally tomorrow. Like first thing. Wake up, impeach the acting DNI. There’s absolutely no legal justification for him withholding the complaint, he blatantly and clearly operated in violation of the law. The law says he has to pass it along if the IG deems it so, the IG deemed it so…he just broke the law.

    Make it clear what happens to people in this administration who ignore the law to cover Trump’s ass. They get impeached. Immediately.

    Fun thing about getting impeached: They can’t work in the government again. Ever. Not twenty years from now where everyone has forgotten all this.Report

    • Gabriel Conroy in reply to DavidTC says:

      That’s a good idea. It’s much more doable than impeaching a president. It also tells members of team Trump that what he asks/expects them to do could lead to severe consequences.

      (I was originally going to criticize, as wrong, your last paragraph. But I found in the text of the constitution that you’re exactly right: “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States….”)Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        That’s what lobbyists are for.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        Yeah. We keep having people who do completely outrageous things, completely unacceptable things, as government employees, covering the ass of Republicans(1) and they know…they just have to wait it out. Wait for the next Republican administration to come around.

        Let’s start perma-banning those bastards.

        And this is…not some sort of crazy thing or absurd punishment. If someone can’t work within the law WRT Congress, they _do not belong in the Executive_.

        And it’s not like we’d have to do very many.

        1) I would be fair here, but…it’s Republicans. Only Republicans.

        Well, not exactly, honestly Congress needs to take some of the executive power back and I can think of instances where Democratic administrations have overstepped…but usually in ways that the executive has traditionally already overstepped in. The Democrats tend to not just randomly make up justifications to hide things from Congress…they often make claims of executive privilege, which is not great, but it’s also not a real thing…it’s basically just asking Congress not to keep demanding something because policy-making is not something that should be public. So allowing that is really Congress’s fault. They should probably stand up more and deny it more often, but that’s not an impeachable thing, that’s not failing to follow the law, that’s saying ‘Please do not make me follow the law’ and the law says ‘Okay’.

        This, OTOH…just straight up impeachable. There’s a clear law to inform Congress of something, and it’s being ignored.Report

    • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

      The DNI is obligated not to put US national security at risk, which includes exposing discussions with foreign powers or exposing intelligence assets. This particular whistle blower is said to have been a partisan supporting another candidate (which doesn’t rule out the possibility that he actually wanted to bring down Joe Biden more than Trump). Congress is of course going to tell the press, and so the DNI has to weigh the unauthorized release of classified US intelligence information.

      I’m sure back in the day there were plenty of anti-FDR Republicans who knew that Normandy, June 6, 1944 was the place and date set for the invasion of Europe, but nobody would argue that they had the right to inform Congress, knowing a Congressional leaker was bound to blab the date to the world’s press. Nor would they have suggested impeaching a general who tried to keep the world’s press from finding out where we were going to attack and telling Germany all about it.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to George Turner says:

        Then Congress should expel the Congressional leaker/blabber. We should encourage more impeachment/removal processes, not twist the processes because we’ve lost faith in the processes… that’s the end of everything.

        Let’s use the right remedy for the right problem, not the wrong remedy.Report

        • InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Hear hear.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Marchmaine says:

          So a Congressmen gets expelled and returns to his lucrative law practice, while the Allies are defeated at Normandy and Hitler wins WW-II. America needs no better illustration of the priorities of Washington politicians.

          But in case they did, we have the current Congressional Democrats. Of all the crazy charges they’ve thrown at Trump, from Russian collusion, treason, election rigging, fraud, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, Constitutional violations, human rights violations, and whatever else they can think of, what was the one thing that finally pushed them into impeachment? His alleged attempt to encourage prosecutors to investigate a quid pro quo deal between a foreign government and a lifelong Beltway insider who is a prominent Democrat politician. Yes, it turns out that the only really impeachable offense is getting between Congressmen and their illegal money. This of course just confirms what everyone already knew about corrupt Washington politicians and their protection racket.Report

          • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

            His alleged attempt to encourage prosecutors to investigate a quid pro quo deal between a foreign government and a lifelong Beltway insider who is a prominent Democrat politician.

            Asking another head of state to investigate an American political rival is not an”attempt to encourage prosecutors.” Especially if one does so after withholding military aid. If there’ anything in Mr. Biden’s work that was against the law, the proper referral was to the DoJ, which of late has been unusually compliant to the President.

            But sure, there’s nothing there. No administration official ignoring Congressional subpoena’s at the President’s direction. No refusals to follow court orders. Nope, nothing that merits impeachment.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to George Turner says:

            Heh, depending on what he/she leaked, not only expelled but jailed and/or possibly executed for treason.

            That’s the point… we’ve tried to build a system that accounts for bad/dangerous/treacherous behavior. Thinking instead that a GS12 should be the fulcrum of law and the arbiter of justice is worse.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Let’s not be hasty, I’m warming up to the logic here.

          The heads of the various intelligence agencies are obligated not to put national security at risk.
          And since the President is a partisan politician, and has a proven history of blabbing secrets, the intelligence agencies are within their right to withhold sensitive information from him when they deem it necessary.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

        The DNI is obligated not to put US national security at risk, which includes exposing discussions with foreign powers or exposing intelligence assets.

        ‘If the acting DNI shot someone dead on fifth avenue and claimed it was for national security reasons, would we let him?’

        No, that’s not how it worked.

        Of course, you also missed a pretty big fact: That ISN’T THE JUSTIFICATION THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OR JOSEPH MAGUIRE IS USING.

        The acting DNI’s failure to pass the complaint to Congress isn’t being justified by ‘national security’, since that is possibly the stupidest possible justification for anything, and everyone in DC is well aware that Congress has a right to _all_ classified information and has processes in place for dealing with it. That would be an astonishingly insane justification.

        Their justification is actually that the whistle-blower didn’t learn (in part(1)) what he did via his work, and thus it didn’t fit under the whistle-blower law.

        Which, again, is not legally his determination to make. It’s the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s. Who has made it.

        Incidentally, everyone saying ‘he didn’t learn it via his work’ keeps _also_ putting ‘in part’ in there, which implies this entire justification is nonsense anyway. I will bet money that what is going on is that the whistle-blower learned things from his job and _put that together with public information_ in his complaint. I.e., ‘The President illegally promised to do something, and then this news article shows he did it’, and then trying to use the fact the news article was included as a justification it’s not a real whistler-blower complaint, because the whistle-blower law only covers things learned while working.

        But, again, this is literally not the job to the Acting DNI to have an opinion on. It is the job of him to pass whistle-blower complaints to the ICIG, and then, if the ICIG says they fit certain qualifications, pass them on to Congress.Report

      • I’ll admit up front that I have a strong tendency to favor the powers of the legislature over the powers of the executive. That said…

        The Office of the DNI was created by Congress, subject to limitations and requirements imposed by Congress. Successive Presidents have larded the office up with a bunch of other functions, then claimed that because of those other functions Congressional limits/requirements no longer apply. It doesn’t work that way, or at least it shouldn’t.Report

  6. InMD says:

    I think there’s no choice but to release the transcript. I hate to say I’m kind of skeptical, but we’ve been doing this magic bullet thing with Trump for 3 odd years now with nothing substantive materializing. So I’m kind of skeptical.

    That said, if it is substantiated, I think it will be far more difficult for Trump to survive and establishment Republicans to ignore. A simple quid pro quo documented by government processes is the kind of clear cut corruption impeachment is designed for. In that regard it’s quite different from ‘research’ from opposition activist organizations and innuendo from talking heads that never quite connects the dots on a clear, easily understood, and specific act of wrongdoing.

    Then we can have the president Pence for whom we have spent so much time yearning.Report

    • George Turner in reply to InMD says:

      The problem is that the quid pro quo was between Obama and Biden and the government of Ukraine. “You fire the prosecutor who is investigating the dealings of the corrupt energy company that hired Biden’s son, and replace him with a prosecutor we approve of, and then we’ll let you have the billion dollars in US aid.”Report

      • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

        Proof. You are amazingly good and the conspiracy theory, but where’s the proof?

        Considering the Ukranian prosecutor referenced in these stories is always quoted as saying Hunter Biden didn’t break any laws – and was then fired after saying so – There’ nothing in the public record that suggest any quid pro quo in that administration. If there were Trey Gowdy would have opened another investigation alongside his multiple Benghazi investigations. He didn’t. Because there’s nothing to investigate.

        Unlike Mr. Trump’s actions – again based on the transcript released today – where he asked a foreign head of state to investigate actions by a political rival. And repeatedly said the same head of state should work closely with the US attorney general.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

      we’ve been doing this magic bullet thing with Trump for 3 odd years now with nothing substantive materializing.

      I’m sympathetic to the worry but I question the framing. The lesson of the last three years, imo, isn’t that nothing substantive materialized but that nothing sufficient to move the electoral political needle has materialized.Report

  7. Philip H says:

    now that the impeachment threat is on the table, and the transcript is out, I am watching two things closely:

    1. How many Never Trump Republicans, up for reelection next year, decide to resign so that voting honestly on Articles or to Convict doesn’t taint their careers? I think many who have already left or announced they were found themselves in this vote, and retired to save face. If a number of known Never Trumpers do so over the next six months or so, thats telling.

    2. Does the President decide to resign? I know, pie in the sky liberal thinking – until you really look at Trump. He thought offering to release the transcript would back Pelosi down. It didn’t, and now that the transcript is out, its clear he did directly ask Zelensky to investigate Biden. We also know that Trump NEVER likes to appear as a “Loser” in any fight, and being Impeached (Regardless of a conviction) means he carries the same stain Bill Clinton does. After his years of relentlessly dogging Sec. Clinton as a political opponent, do you really think Trump wants to be seen as having the same sin as Bill?

    Time will tell on these of course,Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Philip H says:

      now that the impeachment threat is on the table, and the transcript is out, I am watching two things closely:

      I’m only watching one thing closely: how convincingly the Democrats turn their sternly worded rhetoric into actions. Will they compel testimony/documents by holding ex-officials who refuse in contempt? Will they hold public hearings (run by staffers) to make their case to the public?

      My suspicion right now is that Pelosi *still* thinks impeachment is a net-loser for Democrats entering 2020 and so she will lean into the *appearance* that Dems are, like, doing stuff without cutting the committees loose to exercise the full scope of their power.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        On the other hand, I think Pelosi’s also leading from behind on this issue, so if (IF) the Dem caucus became fully +/- committed to aggressively investigating the Trump WH she’ll get on board for the narrow purpose of preserving her Speakership.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Stillwater says:

        They ave already held officials in contempt in other less consequential hearings, and that has compelled no cooperation from the administration – in no small part because the enforcement of said contempt citations relies on Executive branch law enforcement. So unless the Capitol police start getting into jurisdictional battles with dozens of other law enforcement agencies that won’t accomplish anything.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

      The thing to watch closely is that Republicans are partying like it’s VE day. Having read the transcript, someone should have told Pelosi “It’s a trap!” There isn’t even anything questionable in it, other than two leaders committed to draining the swamp discussing how they’re draining the swamp.

      So the Democrats have another complete nothing burger, and the Republicans get to launch an in-depth investigation into Joe Biden’s foreign dealings, which will utterly destroy his candidacy because what he was doing would even look corrupt to an eight-year old. Even liberal news folks are looking at it and saying there’s definitely something there.

      So Biden is fatally wounded, whether Democrats realize it or not, and the other centrist candidates (mostly governors) are already out as contenders because Biden absolutely owned the centrist or moderate lane. But Biden will trail on for a while, denying people like Buttigieg or Klobuchar from being able to take advantage of his downfall, so that leaves the nomination to Warren, Sanders, or Booker, none of whom have a prayer of winning because they are, or have gone, ridiculously far to the left.

      So Republicans have to wonder whether Nancy decided to just concede this election as unwinnable and try to use the unseen (at the time) transcript as a way to put some kind of “official impeachment” asterisk beside his name.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

        The thing to watch closely is that Republicans are partying like it’s VE day.

        If impeachment is such a sure thing for Republicans why are so many Republicans warning Democrats about that fact? Do they want Democrats to win the election ??!!!??Report

        • George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

          They’re just trying to keep their Democratic friends from hurting themselves, kind of the way adults look after small children running loose in stores.

          One interesting part of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky is this:

          The· President: I would like you to do us a favor though
          because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a
          lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with
          this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike. I guess
          you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say
          Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the·
          whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some
          of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General
          call you or your people and I would like you to get to the
          bottom of it. As you said yesterday, that whole nonsense ended
          with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an
          incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with
          Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it
          if that’s possible.

          It goes on and on, but the point is the some bad actors in Ukraine were deeply involved in the 2016 election, and we want to get to the bottom of it, just as Ukraine’s president wants to get to the bottom of all the related corruption that was going on over there. He’s going to keep investigating no matter what happens.

          So, if it’s wrong to investigate “foreign collusion”, then why have the Democrats spend two years bragging about how they were investigating foreign collusion? Trump turned over millions of documents to satisfy investigators, so surely Biden will have no problem doing the same.

          They are in a box from which there is no escape, and Trump is gleeful because he built that for them.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

            “I, the President of the United States, would like you to do us a favor and investigate my political rival.”Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              “I, the President of the United States, would like you to do us a favor and investigate my political rival.”

              Almost there. Just finish the sentence and you’ve got him. You need “…and in exchange I will X”.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                No, we don’t.

                Merely asking a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival is an impeachable abuse of power.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                That sounds more like an opinion than a law. Given the goal shifting that I’m already seeing (“remember this isn’t the only thing he’s done”), I expect we’re in “because Trump” territory.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                This isn’t a legal matter.

                Congress has the power to determine what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are, and reasonable people understand that using the power of your office to pressure a foreign nation into doing oppo research to aid your political campaign is an abuse of power.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                reasonable people understand that using the power of your office to pressure a foreign nation into doing oppo research to aid your political campaign is an abuse of power.

                I have been making a very similar claim, here, for years. I.e. that it’s an abuse of power to have one Clinton collecting money (to the tune of Billions) while the other Clinton was in office.

                And I was never able to get anywhere with it with Team Blue supporters.

                So yeah, you control the House and you absolutely have the ability to Impeach him for the High Crime of daring to suggest a Democrat be investigated for corruption (in the context of what really looks like corruption).

                However I think it will be trivial to spin this so it looks like the Dems are fighting to not drain the swamp, and I think it’s a good way to keep him in office.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If he had suggested the FBI investigate would you still feel the same? because IF the former VP committed any sort of corrupt action while in office, the FBI is the organization that should be doing the investigating, not the Ukrainins.

                I’m also quite certain that if Obama had been caught asking the British or the Canadians or even the Venezalans to investigate Romney during the election you would have been no less stoked to sack him.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

                The FBI doesn’t have any jurisdiction in foreign countries, which would make their investigation rather problematic, no?

                And the DoJ is investigating the Ukrainian goings on. Barr is on the case. In fact, four Democrat senators, including Mendez and Leahy, had all but threatened Ukraine’s US relations if they stopped investigating matters related to the 2016 election. How do you think Mueller indicted Manafort?

                And of course if it’s a criminal act to push a foreign government to investigate a political rival, Obama must be sweating bullets because he kicked off the whole Ukrainian Trump investigation, where the FBI used intelligence from foreign agents to lie to the FISA court to obtain warrants so they could both wiretap and plant spies in the Trump campaign – purely to influence a US election.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H says:

                IF the former VP committed any sort of corrupt action while in office, the FBI is the organization that should be doing the investigating, not the Ukrainians.

                First of all yes, Obama should have had the FBI investigate this. The WSJ pointed out many years ago that the activities of several of the children of his high level officials was deeply suspicious (including and especially Hunter, and Ukraine was just one item in a list).

                Trump having the FBI do so would be deeply problematic because he’d be in a position to control the outcome and his motives are obviously suspect. That’s before the problem that all of the events, companies, people, and so forth happened in the Ukraine.

                I’m also quite certain that if Obama had been caught asking the British or the Canadians or even the Venezuelans to investigate Romney during the election you would have been no less stoked to sack him.

                How about if the IRS to “investigated” the Tea Party? Or Benghazi? Obama’s crew blamed some random jerk getting our Benghazi people killed, and then had him arrested when they knew darn well the whole mess was their failure(s) and it was just politically covenant. That guy was a civilian.

                Those actually happened, and no, I didn’t call for Obama to be impeached. I didn’t even suggest that should happen if he had Bush arrested.Report

              • North in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Umm the IRS scandal was utterly debunked after an exhaustive republican investigation. They found no evidence that anyone higher up the chain had any idea the IRS was doing what it was doing and also discovered that the IRS dragnet was catching left wing groups as well.

                As for Benghazi? LOL you’re really going back to Benghazi? The biggest nothing in the history of nothing scandals (at least from Obama’s Pov)? This Trump scandal seems to have all the right wingers rattled, even the obfuscations and distractions are disjointed.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to North says:

                Rattled? are you kidding? The dozen times the Dems have took a swing at Trump they wipe out several of their own from friendly fire.

                Dark and George are working way to hard at all this, just get some popcorn and enjoy the comedy show.Report

              • North in reply to JoeSal says:

                Me thinks thou doth protest too much Joe, though I thought you didn’t count yourself as a right winger? Regardless, I haven’t seen the GOP and the right this rattled since Trump got the nomination and exposed that their collective ideology has tiny little chicken legs when it comes to actual support from voters. Now, I grant, given time it’s entirely possible they’ll return to their normal scheduled program of sacrificing their principles on the altar of Trump and quietly hoping their right wing world will just return to the pre-2016 state but at the moment there seems to be a lot of disorder in the ranks. As for the Dems? This seems to be producing a lot more unity than before. They’re pretty much all agreed about impeachment being necessary now where it was a much bigger split before. And if Joe Biden can’t manage the whole Hunter Biden question? Good. If Joe can’t manage that, better he wash out in the primary than in the general. Corporate, compromising and unlovable though they are the Democratic Party is still a functioning living political entity. I’m encouraged to see it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                I haven’t seen the GOP and the right this rattled since Trump got the nomination and exposed…

                I agree. Play it the wrong way and they could be out of a job right quicklike.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to North says:

                In forty years the Democratic Party will not exist.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                In forty years *I* won’t existReport

              • greginak in reply to North says:

                I was stuck watching some Fox at a glass shop today. The general R reaction to all this was mega apoplectic. They are plenty rattled.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to greginak says:

                “The national media has the attention span of a schizophrenic flea and a toxic allergy to repetition.”
                -a wise dudeReport

          • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

            Man, that’s complicated…Report

            • North in reply to Stillwater says:

              It has to be complex to turn the close to zero scandal of Bidens meddling into anything and to also turn Trump talking to the Ukrainian President like he’s auditioning for The Godfather into nothing. It’s a tall feat even for George.Report

          • North in reply to George Turner says:

            This Biden thing is nonsense on stilts George and anyone who reads into it for even five minutes will see it.

            Biden was acting on orders from President Obama in coordination with allies and State Department policy to force the former Russia-backed Ukrainian regime to fire a dirty prosecutor who was failing to properly investigate corruption, including at the firm Hunter Biden worked with.

            So getting that prosecutor fired was BAD for the firm Bidens son was working at; not good for them. In the world of corruption if you’re extorting a government to take actions that shoot your kids sugar daddy employer in the head then you’re doing it wrong.

            I mean it’ll fly for Trumpistas, but it’s certainly not going to fly for anyone else and Trump needs more than his Trumpistas to win.Report

            • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

              I do think you guys are missing a little bit of the Biden fils fallout.

              It isn’t that Biden, Joe did something… its that Biden the younger doesn’t pass the sniff test for lucratively paid Board Member of Ukrainian(!) Oil Company absent Biden, Joe.

              Hunter Biden doesn’t hold up to scrutiny… Joe will be collateral damage. Warren reaps the whirlwind… and that’s how the weasel goes pop. For some, that’s a two-fer.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner will have a roundtable discussion with Luke Russert and Meghan McCain about the impropriety of trading on family connections for personal gain.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Also, whataboutism is an obvious attempt to deflect from the real issue here.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I for one will never vote for Hunter Biden.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I was more making the point that you were on stronger footing with “It doesn’t matter what Hunter Biden did or didn’t do.”

                By running with whataboutism instead of “it doesn’t matter!”, it opens the door for more whataboutism.

                See, allow me to come up with something on the fly:

                “And I will never cast a vote for Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, or Jared Kushner.”

                See? That sucks.

                “It doesn’t matter” was the stronger play. You should go back to that one.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m not the one bringing up the nepotism issue.

                And if y’all want to hammer Joe Biden because his son used Daddy’s name to get a cushy position, by all means, have at it.

                I would love to live in a world where that sort of thing was politically toxic.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                And when someone else brings it up, jump back to “It doesn’t matter what Hunter Biden did or didn’t do.”

                The second you start playing whatabout games, you’ll find yourself talking about 20 things that are not Trump.

                KEEP THE SUBJECT ON TRUMP.

                Jeez, this isn’t hard.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                the impropriety of trading on family connections for personal gain.

                It’s perfectly legal to hire your kid with your own money. Whether it’s a good business move depends on the kid.

                The stink comes from using governmental resources, i.e. other people’s money and/or the threat of the use of force.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                None of which has any bearing whatsoever on Trump’s abuse of his office.

                Like I said upthread, it is a desperate red herring to distract attention.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Do you mean legally or politically?

                Legally I’m not lawyer enough to know how close to the line he came.

                Politically I think it will be a hard sell to claim foreign oil companies giving money to Democrats isn’t a problem but asking it to be investigated is.

                I think that kind of reasoning heavily relies on both “because Trump” and “Dems are always ethical” reflexes.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                A sitting President asking a foreign government to investigate his political rival is the very essence of an abuse of office.

                Even if the rival is in fact guilty. Which is why any conduct of the Bidens is a red herring.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Except, March … Trump didn’t leverage Ukraine to investigate Hunter in order to get impeached, right? The argument being offered is that the Democrats fell into a trap when they opened an impeachment inquiry into the Ukraine quid pro quo because it drags Biden down too. Not so. Biden was going to get drug through the mud in any event.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                If George didn’t go all 11-D chess and merely said Hunter Biden is a political liability to Joe, everyone would likely agree, even if begrudgingly.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m indifferent to the plight of Trump or Democratic hopefuls… just pointing out that this spotlight will attract more than one moth.

                For some, Biden’s discomfiture will be an added bonus; for others a necessary price to pay; and some will try to shield Biden from the obvious (and let’s say 100% legal) grifting of his son. Pointing out that other grifters grift is not a winning move for Biden or his defenders.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Does it look bad, I agree it does and it certainly won’t be good for Joe Biden. But it’s gonna be hard to keep that candle lit in the messaging whirlwind that’s going to ensue around Trump and his impeachment.

                Frankly I’m utterly astonished that Trump put out such a massively incriminating document. If this is what it looks like after his people got done massaging it what the fish are they gonna find when they dig into it?

                As for Biden going down? Maybe he shall, I wouldn’t be bereft if he did. It is early in the primaries yet, and there are other moderates in the race who could potentially fill in Joe’s shoes. Though I grant that by my count there’re at least 2 and that does run a serious risk of splitting the moderate lane between them. Thank God(ess?) that Bernie is still there to split the left lane with Warren.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                Thank God(ess?) that Bernie is still there to split the left lane with Warren.

                Prediction: Warren will be the nomineeReport

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                I wouldn’t take money on the other side of that bet. She is best positioned to get the nomination if Biden founders.
                It’s not set in stone though. We’ll see how Biden does and then we’ll see what happens next.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                Biden’s support was always weak and it’s much weaker now (Warren is gaining with AA and non-college educated Whites). I think he’s on The Hillary Trajectory, peaking on announcement day and steadily declining to an overall low on election day. Warren’s surging in the early voting states. Bernie’s toast…Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Biden isn’t a wartime consigliere.Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                We’ll see what happens. I’m certainly not going to pop a cork in celebration if Warren gets it (she’s made some really dumb promises) nor will I light a candle in morning if Biden loses. I do think we have better options than either of them.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Marchmaine says:

                There’s speculation on the motives of the Brennan-fan (ex CIA) who blew the whistle, and who he might have done it for. Some are inclined to think that Hillary had him torpedo Biden, but it might have been other players, or perhaps he acted alone or in error, based on a third-hand account of the call.

                Ukraine’s president said Trump has applied no pressure at all, so any quid pro quo charge is gone. They’re just like-minded thinkers who openly mock politicians and government corruption.

                If you recall, Ukraine’s president was a comedian who played the Ukrainian president on TV and turned the role into an actual campaign.

                If it is improper to Trump to make promises of support, then Chuck and Nancy are going to prison because they both openly entered into a mutual support agreement with Trump over various budget and infrastructure deals, and as we’re now finding out, people helping each other is now an impeachable crime.Report

              • North in reply to George Turner says:

                And yet the quid pro quo remains firmly present as what the Ukrainian President publicly opines is entirely irrelevant to the matter at home since he is, by his own nations interest, obligated to say soothing things so as not to be on the bad side of whoever comes out of this mess. He’d say the same thing if Trump had flown over there and held a gun to his head because he, unlike Trump, is a responsible politician who is focused on the welfare of his country.Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                Are you genetically incapable of believing that federal civil servants are incapable of actually caring about the country and upholding our oath to protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic? Because thats what the whistle blower here did. whether or not s/he is a Brennan fan person is absolutely beside the point. They did their job by taking things that are not right and alerting both the independent IG and attempting to alert Congress.Sucks its for your guy, but hats how the Deep State rolls.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

                It turns out that another CIA officer, one who was Mitt Romney’s national security adviser, also sat on the board of Burisma. So the deep state might just be protecting their own illegal cash. Or perhaps that explains why Mitt started screaming bloody murder over Trump and Ukraine rolling forward with a corruption investigation.Report

      • Mr.Joe in reply to George Turner says:

        Nothing questionable? I would quibble with that. Sending his PERSONAL lawyer to meet with foreign heads of state stinks to high heaven. He practically begged Zelenskyy to talk to Rudy. The facts may be benign or not, but it reeks of corruption. That he decided to move this conversation outside of the executive branch and significantly from reach of Congress and the American People is not good.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Mr.Joe says:

          Zelensky is the one who brought Rudy up. Under the treaty between the US and Ukraine, we are supposed to help each other’s criminal investigations. Trump mentioned Crowdstrike, which was the Ukrainian company hired by the DNC that said they found evidence that Russia hacked Hillary’s server. Recall that the DNC wouldn’t let the FBI examine their servers. So why would they stiff arm the FBI and give that all-important task to Ukrainians?

          These are important questions that we need to answer if we’re going to figure out what happened in 2016. Investigating such things is not a sign of corruption, and in fact prominent Democratic senators had all but threatened the Ukraine if Ukraine stopped the four ongoing Ukrainian investigations into what happened. Of course the Democrats were determined to undermine Trump by finding more dirt on Manafort or Russian collusion, but the principle is the same.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

            Pssst….you know Cloudstrike’s a _real_ actual company, right, not just something that exists in the political realm where you define your own reality?


            Crowdstrike is _not_ a Ukrainian company. It is a publicly-traded company based in Sunnyvale, CA, although it has a large office in Alexandra.

            Maybe it’s just run by Ukrainians….


            Nope. Most of them appear to be American, except the CEO, who appears German. And the only thing of note is that a disproportional amount appear to have worked for McAfee at some time. No Ukrainians. They don’t even have Ukrainian or Russian as a language option.

            This is the point were you should be saying ‘Damn, if I’ve been misinformed by that fact, what what else have those same sources been misinforming me on?’

            Another fact: The DNC did let the FBI examine their hacked servers. (Note ‘servers’, plural.) They had Cloudstrike take images of them, and had Cloudstrike share the records with the FBI.

            The FBI, of course, didn’t take the DNC’s servers, and that’s because the FBI doesn’t take servers from victims of crimes. Ever. Hell, they rarely take them when executing search warrants on apparent criminals. The FBI and all computer forensics works off disk images of computers, not the actual computers.

            The thing the DNC ‘didn’t allow’ was a rather dangerous FBI plan of ‘the FBI actually gets within the server during an attack and fights back’, and they didn’t do that because…that’s a stupid thing to allow a few months out from an election that could have hurt their entire network. ‘No, you cannot use our network to fight a war with Russian hackers’.Report

          • Mr.Joe in reply to George Turner says:

            Good catch. I missed that Zelensky brought up Rudy first. Still does not address the impropriety of sending personal lawyers to meet with foreign heads of state.

            There are some factual issues on your part. Crowdstrike is a US company founded by an American and (ex?)Russian. Crowdstrike is one of the best private sector digital forensics firms. This is why bringing it up in the context of Ukraine is very confusing. Best theory I can find is that Trump is just confused. Last I read, the DNC retained physical control of their server. This would not be the first time Trump got confused between bullshit and facts.

            The DNC did permit FBI investigation of the server via images captured bu Crowdstrike. As to not transferring the physical server to the FBI, that is pretty standard. Digital forensics is almost always performed on images taken of long term storage, memory, and possibly other components (certain firmwares). Crowdstrike did provide this to the FBI and the FBI seemed think it sufficient to perform their analysis. In the vast majority of scenarios getting images of the system is BETTER than getting the physical server. The biggest advantage is the images of system memory that are lost when a device is shutdown to transfer it. Many of the best digital implants are memory-only. So when the system is shut down, most if not all evidence of their existence is lost.

            Regarding Hillary’s email server, as opposed to DNC server, there was no evidence found of Russian intrusion. The report did note that they could not rule out Russian intrusion completely because “You would expect expert hackers not to leave a trace”. Some have taken as proof that the server was hacked. One can quibble over this case being evidence of absence vs. absense of evidence, but there is no known evidence of existence of any hacking on the Clinton email server.

            I don’t see 2016 as at all relevant to root question of the propriety and legality of sending personal lawyer to meet with foreign heads of state. Nor the question of propriety/legality in pushing for investigations of domestic political adversaries.Report

  8. Chip Daniels says:

    Apparently the White House just emailed out their list of talking points…

    to Congressional Democrats, then frantically tried to recall it.

    [insert gif of people stepping on rakes]Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Heh, didn’t know the Whitehouse had a DL for House Democrats… now I must know what they *usually* emailed:

      * Daily lunch special at Trump Hotel in DC
      * Daily Hot or Not
      * Word of the Day: Covfefe
      * RBG is xx,xxx days old today

      …and daily talking point memos on sensitive impeachment materials.Report

  9. For a long time I’ve thought that impeaching Trump was a bad idea. I believed that it would backfire on the would-be impeachers. I also believed that there’s a lot of motivated reasoning behind it. The pro-impeachment crowd seems to have a disproportionate (or if not disproportionate, then very loud and prominent) number of people who’ve simply assumed from the day of the 2016 election that Trump was or was going to be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.

    That said, if these types of things are substantiated, then the Congress should probably pursue impeachment, regardless of the fact that the most likely result will be to fire up Trump’s base and ensure his reelection. Sometimes you have to do the right thing even though the consequences are bad in the short term.

    Of course, the right thing can be done prudently and imprudently. The bad consequences have to be judged against the actions that otherwise would be right. The fact (and I believe it’s very plausibly a fact) that impeachment will be a boon to Trump has to be weighed against not pursuing impeachment.Report

  10. DavidTC says:

    Lots of people here are weirdly arguing without knowledge of the $250 million in military aid that Trump withheld a week before making his call. And then having his own people lie about the reasons for that holdup to Congress.

    Like, without that fact, there’s some abstract pressure going on, maybe some inappropriate campaign finance stuff, a ‘we shouldn’t demand US citizens get investigated for bogus charges’, etc. A lot of weird obscure stuff that had to prove.

    With that fact, it’s extremely clear abuse of power. It’d be an abuse of power even if literally didn’t involve any other government or anything.

    If a random US citizen had damaging information on Joe Biden, and the president _withheld that man’s tax refund_ until he released it, that’s blatantly abuse of power. And, no, the president can’t get away with it by never _explicitly_ demanding quid quo pro…we’re in a situation where he had the IRS lie about the reason to Congress, contacted the man immediately after, talked about how the man needed to be ‘reciprocal’ and then, incidentally, at the end, ‘Oh, release that damaging information please’. Sorry…this is still clearly abuse of power, and doing it via ‘indirect mafia talk’ does not protect the president. (And it’s worth pointing out the Ukraine government has said they got the message loud and clear!)

    This is all impeachable _despite_ the fact the man, in this particular hypothetical, could have legally released the information, or been paid to do so. (Which is…probably not the situation in the Ukraine, WRT campaign finance laws and foreign meddling in the election…but, that’s utterly irrelevant here. Abuse of power is abuse of power regardless of the whether the thing you’re abusing power to accomplish is legal or not.)Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC says:

      There are two broad categories of impeachable offenses here:
      1. Asking a foreign government to investigate a political rival;
      2. The subsequent coverup; Here is a helpful analysis by Adam Silverman over at Balloon Juice

      Key graph from the complaint:
      “In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced – as is customary – by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.

      White House officials told me they were “directed” by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level-officials.
      Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the cal did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.”

      “What the whistleblower is alleging is repeated deliberate misclassification of information. Specifically misclassification by upclassification in order to avoid embarrassing the President and for protecting him from the consequences of his own actions. Essentially an attempt to use the classification to cover for and protect the President. The classification system is not supposed to be, by regulation and guideline, used to prevent embarrassment to the government or to government officials. These parts of the regs and guidelines are, of course, honored more in the breach than in the observance. Regardless, routinely misclassifying information is a serious counterintelligence concern. And the people who have been doing it, as well as those who knew about it and didn’t report it to their Special Security Officer (uniformed and civilian personnel) or Facility Security Officer (contractors) is in real jeopardy.”Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        No, at least three. The two you said, and the ‘misusing Federal funds for personal gain’.

        Which is going to be a _lot_ clearer to the public. It’s hard to explain why Trump asking for what he asked for was illegal in general. And sucks us back into the morass that is ‘foreign government meddling in elections’ with the Republicans have somehow convinced half the population is fine or some obscure violation of election law and the Democrats do it too!

        It’s a lot easier to explain ‘This meddling was demanded via extortion using the US government’s money‘. Forget explaining that the meddling itself would have been illegal, and asking for it was illegal…just point out he tried to do it via basically theft by conversion of government money for his own personal purposes. .

        The facts: He took money that the US Congress had allocated to the Ukraine to help them fight Russia, withheld it, had his own administration lie about why he withheld it, and then immediately called the Ukraine up to discuss things and…happened to mention how they could investigate his political rival’s son, wink wink nudge nudge, and then…hide the transcript of that call that he did that in.

        This is an extremely easy abuse of power for people to understand. Doesn’t require campaign finance law or anything.

        EDIT: Of course, I’m not saying don’t impeach him on all the stuff. I’m saying…make the ‘misusing $250 million of US money to help himself politically’ the focus.Report

        • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

          Except that he didn’t do any of that. The money was being held up by the Pentagon as part of their standard review process for military sales. Trump is delighted to sell weapons to Ukraine, as was obvious in his call with Zelensky. At no point in that call did Zelensky even bring up any slow up of weapons delivery, much less one that Trump was responsible for. Instead, he said he’d like Javelin anti-tank missiles and Trump was delighted at the prospect.

          The problem with the Democrats and their allied reporters is that they’re producing an entirely fact-free narrative that’s trivially refuted by the evidence. It will not go well for them, and will ensure that Trump wins in a landslide because only the far-left fringe will fall for such ridiculous spins on ordinary conversations that everybody can read for themselves.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

            This is the second time in this discussion you’ve invented a defense that Trump is not using.


            There have been two justifications for the delay given:

            At first, there was an implication it was due to corruption. Then he made the offical statement, and this is me literally quoting Trump:

            “But my complaint has always been, and I’d withhold again, and I’ll continue to withhold until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine,” he continued. “Because they’re not doing it. Just the United States. We’re putting up the bulk of the money. And I’m asking, why is that?”

            Right now, that’s the official justification currently presented by the Trump administration. Nothing to do with the Pentagon or a ‘standard review process’.

            Are _you_ inventing this bogus information, or are you _reading_ news from places that are totally disconnected from reality?

            Or is the theory that Trump is lying and the wait _wasn’t_ because other countries didn’t contribute enough?Report

            • Philip H in reply to DavidTC says:

              The pentagon has released a back date memo that sort of bolsters George’s position (much I hate to type that). But as you rightly note, the President isn’t using that defense so it almost doesn’t matter what he Pentagon was doing months before – except the Secretary of Defense does work for the President.

              The Pentagon memo does smack of grasping at ethereal straws however.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Philip H says:

                If by ‘sort of bolster’ you mean ‘utterly undoes’.

                The funding for the Ukraine was in the 2019 budget. It was originally supposed to be released in February, according to the White House. It wasn’t.

                In May, the Pentagon sent a memo to Congress, certifying that the Ukraine will use any funds appropriately, and the White House said the funds will be released soon.

                It is…hypothetically possible that the Pentagon is the cause of that specific delay, from February to May. Maybe, maybe not. But at the end, it wrote a memo, saying, flatly, it’s okay with the transfer of the money, and presumably is not slightly involved in delays after that point.

                (Alternately, Trump just withhold the funds himself and then, after people started asking about it, had the Pentagon run a quick review and send a memo, and then tried to pretend they were the cause of the delay. Someone over at the Pentagon needs to be asked about that memo…why was it sent? Did they delay the aid? If so, that’s fine. Or did the President call them up on May 20th or so, ask for a memo sent to Congress, and they shrugged, did a fast check, and said ‘Yeah, they’re good. We probably would have said something already if we were opposed, but okay, here’s an official statement we’ll send to Congress.’. Like, we should find out what happened there, why the Pentagon weighed in.)

                But regardless, any delay after May 23 can’t be from the Pentagon’s involvement. They had already explicitly said ‘Go ahead’.

                And, of course…we’re talking about the delay from June to September. Which is after May.Report

      • Mr.Joe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Quick note. There is no word for word transcript. There is a readout. This is a document produced after the fact from recollections of people present in the room. Saddly this does give additional wiggle room to interpretations.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Mr.Joe says:

          According to the whistleblower complaint, there is a word-for-word transcript.

          His complaint is that this was locked down and removed from the official server, to a secure server intended for highly sensitive documents.Report

          • Mr.Joe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            I agree that is what the whistleblower report says he heard. What was released is a readout. So far, I have not heard anyone say they produced or saw a transcript. The difference between a transcript and readout may or not become important here. For the vast majority of cases the difference is not relevant. When it comes down to parsing individual words and sentence structures it does, esp. in absence of other contextualizing information.

            I do agree that overclassification of a document (readout or transcript) is concerning and appears to be illegal.Report

            • George Turner in reply to Mr.Joe says:

              Access was tightened after details of Trumps conversations with the PM of Australia and the President of Mexico were leaked by some insider who wanted to harm the President.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                Which is itself a damning statement.
                Upclassifying a document for the purpose of avoiding embarrassment rather than national security is a crime.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                These leaks severely impact US foreign relations because other world leaders won’t talk to us because they’re afraid anything they say will get blasted across the front pages of the newspapers.

                US intelligence employees will be severely restricted from access to our international relations, which is bizarre, but the only way forward.

                Republican intelligence operatives, who are legion, didn’t do this kind of thing to Obama, but if this becomes the norm, maybe they will do it in spades to any future Democrat administrations.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                Yes, they do.

                Trump’s handpicked White House staff, his best people, are the chief leakers.

                Which is yet another article of impeachment:

                That Trump has so ineptly managed the Executive office and carelessly entrusted the safety of the United States to a crew of bungling grifters who make Maxwell Smart look like 007.

                The proper solution for internal chaos is better management, not upclassifying documents.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Are you saying that Trump’s mistake was allowing any Democrats to retain government jobs, because that seems to be what you’re saying.Report

              • North in reply to George Turner says:

                That would follow only if Trump had hired and appointed Democrats to his administration which he, very obviously, didn’t.Report

              • George Turner in reply to North says:

                The leakers aren’t Trump’s people. The leaker in question is CIA, and most of the White House folks are career bureaucrats or assigned there.

                One of my chat buddies moved from intelligence and counter terrorism (she’d lost over a dozen coworkers to Al Qaeda before 9/11) to the White House Communications Agency under GW Bush (She was constantly flying between DC and Crawford TX). They set up White House Communications, and they are all career military. None of them are appointees, and the old timers have worked for many administrations.

                There’s a host of staff that support White House activities, and they never reveal anything. It’s like being in the Secret Service. You know tons of dirt about multiple Presidents but never say a word.Report

              • North in reply to George Turner says:

                Ah got it, so Trumps appointees grift, screw up and resign in disgrace in historic numbers but they’d never leak. That’s the career deep state employees who’re doing the leaking.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                And the 300 former national security professionals who saw Trump’s actions as alarming- I guess they are all counterrevolutionary spies, who also must be purged.Report

  11. Chip Daniels says:

    And now the mad king calls out, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome whistleblower?”

  12. Mr.Joe says:

    My guess is that Pelosi is reading from the Whitewater/Benghazi playbooks. The Benghazi investigations (TEN!) failed to snare Obama, but collected enough dirt on Clinton to be useful in 2016. “But her emails” is still a thing nearly 3 years after the election. Prior it was hard for some to say there was enough evidence to warrant congressional investigations. At this point the flip has flopped and it is hard to deny there is less than enough evidence to justify further investigations. I have my doubts she wanted to be starting impeachment proceedings at this point, but you can hold a thirsty caucus back only so much.

    I fully expect that they will find enough threads to pull on to justify ongoing investigations at least until the elections. If blue team is smart they will keep the talking points and press comments focused on one or two of the worst looking items. It’s doubtful that they have that kind of discipline though.Report

  13. George Turner says:

    John Solomon, an investigative reporter who was editor-in-chief at The Washington Times and is now at The Hill, posted a tranche of documents regarding the Ukraine situation.

    Tweet about them

    BREAKING: A large cache of confidential foreign documents have just been leaked implicating Joe Biden, George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Misfud’s collusion and possible criminal activity in Ukraine.

    The first one is a legal document for a court case in which the fired prosecutor provided testimony. It’s quite shocking, and in several parts mentions the reasons he was asked to resign.

    11 a) it was Biden’s order and wish that I be removed from office, not Poroshenko’s decision;

    b) the reason was because it was precisely the state officials from the US administration of President Obama – and Joe Biden in particular – who were telling the heads of the Ukraine law-enforcement system how to investigate and whom to investigate, including members of the Yanukovych regime team. I was not complying with their will (in respect to Zlochevsky, in particular, who was a minister under Yanukovich) so I had to be removed from office;

    c) it was not Poroshenko being patriotic, it was Poroshenko submitting to the demands of state officials from the US administration of President Obama for reasons of political economy and the personal interests of the US Vice President Biden, amongst others.

    That particular document has 39 points, and there’s 50 or more documents in total from a wide variety of sources, many from within the Obama Administration.

    Unfortunately I hit the Scribd subscription limit before I got to Powers’ e-mail that said “Lord help us all!”

    It will take quite a while to dig through all of this.Report

  14. DensityDuck says:

    i do have to say it’s amusing watching so many people who wanted Obama to provide military aid to the Ukraine in 2014 now act like Ukraine and Russia are the same thing.Report

  15. DavidTC says:

    Oh, and someone else to immediately impeach: The Attorney General.

    Assuming I have the story right so far, the acting DNI went to the Justice Department with the whistleblower complaint. That complaint explicitly references Giuliani and _AG Bill Barr_ helping pressure the Ukraine.

    And at that point…AG Bill Barr apparently did not recuse himself from that review of a document that, literally, alleged criminal wrongdoing on his part.

    Now, I admit….I am less sure of the facts of this part of the story than the Joseph Maguire thing. It is hypothetically possible Barr _did_ recuse himself from this determination. I seriously doubt it, but it’s possible. If he did, forget this post.

    If he didn’t…that’s not only impeachable, that’s disbarrable.

    Anyone, absolutely anyone with a law license, when handed a complaint _about their own possibly illegal behavior_, should know enough to recuse themselves from making being part of the determination of what to do with it, especially if they’re Attorney General.Report

  16. Chip Daniels says:

    Associated Press:
    Kremlin says it hopes U.S. would not release Trump-Putin calls, like it did with Ukraine

    I bet they do.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      This makes me chuckle:

      “Russia on Friday urged the United States not to publish Donald Trump’s conversations with Vladimir Putin after a growing scandal led the White House to release a transcript from a call with Ukraine’s leader.
      “As for transcripts of phone conversations, my mother when bringing me up said that reading other people’s letters is inappropriate,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters at the United Nations.
      “It is indecent,” he said. “For two people elected by their nations to be at the helm, there are diplomatic manners that suppose a certain level of confidentiality.”Lavrov, who met Friday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, criticized both US lawmakers and media for the release of the transcript.
      “Being so vociferous in saying that if you don’t show a certain memo involving a partner, that you’re going to bring this administration to its knees, what kind of democracy is that? How can you work in such conditions?” he said.”

      Yes, who are the American people, to think they are in control of the President?Report

  17. George Turner says:

    Today’s John Solomon story in The Hill covers some of the information in the trance of documents I linked above. So a bunch of very damning evidence is now out in the public domain, and the Democrats will have to face it from here on out while they’re trying to suck all the oxygen out of the room.

    Among the tidbits in Solomon’s story and document dump is that Trump didn’t approach Ukraine, Ukraine approached the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York with a massive amount of evidence about corruption in the previous US administration. SDNY wasn’t interested (probably being too focused on getting Trump’s IRS records), so the Ukrainian prosecutors brought the evidence to Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, and to Barr. Right there the whole impeachment push would fall apart because Trump wasn’t doing it, foreign anti-corruption prosecutors were.

    According to multiple Ukrainian sources, the Ukranian prosecutor general wasn’t fired for corruption, he was forced to resign under intense pressure from Joe Biden and the US State Department, which were in bed with George Soros. In fact Hunter Biden’s own legal team apologized to the new Ukrainian prosecutor for spreading false allegations about the previous prosecutor, and then the US State Department apologized again. And the documents show big plans afoot to massively change Ukraine and get the EU to back it with, to start, 16 billion Euros to make it an attractive investment target and allow George Soros’s operations there to make a profit (according to George Soros’s long letter to top State Department officials that were also in the tranche of documents).

    This is already going south for Joe Biden, and very quickly. Today the New York Post mentioned something I hadn’t even heard of, mentioned in a story about Biden and Ukraine:

    … Hunter once ran a hedge fund with his dad’s brother, James Biden, and associated with a notorious Ponzi schemer. James would go on to snag a job as executive vice president of a construction company in 2010, despite having virtually no experience in the field. And only a few months into his tenure, the company would win one of its biggest contracts in its history, a $1.5 billion deal to build affordable homes in Iraq.

    By pure happenstance, Joe was also the Obama administration’s point man in Iraq at the time. Funny how these things work out.

    So that’s another $1.5 billion to Hunter Biden on top of the $1.5 billion deal he got with China after flying over with his dad. There’s really no way to explain that away to anyone over the age of ten.

    But the real story seems to be all the activities in Ukraine to rig the US election in 2016, with the active help of the US State Department, Hillary, Biden, and a foreign guy whose name kept popping up in the Russian rigging narratives. The CIA would also have very likely been involved since the situation involves top level interference in a foreign country that was at war with Russia.

    All the dirt in that mess may better explain why the CIA whistle blower, Schiff, Nancy and all the Democrats suddenly freaked out like no one has seen before, like a murderer who sees a police detective nosing around in the wrong part of the yard. A narrow element of the DNC had gotten in bed with the Ukrainian government, Crowdstrike (the 2016 DNC servers are in the Ukraine, not the US), and some other dealings, not expecting the Ukrainian government to completely change hands to a Trump supporter who wants to drain the swamp and expose all the prior corruption. Like Biden apparently did regarding Ukraine, the people involved are likely lying to their allies about what’s going on, and the allies are acting based on that incorrect information put out by guilty people only concerned with protecting themselves.

    So, this is obviously a very crucial time for the Democrats to be shaping the narrative, and what do they do? Well, Nancy just sent them all on vacation for two weeks, so they won’t be doing much of anything, leaving the playing field to Trump, and just as the IG report on the FBI mess is about to come out.

    This is going to get very interesting, bordering on chaos.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

      Before anyone puts any stock in John Solomon’s fiction stylings, take a look at Paul Farhi’s fisking in WaPo, or Amy McKinnon’s reporting in FP

      • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        He’s posting original source documents. E-mails, sworn statements, formerly classified materials, FBI submissions to courts, etc.

        The “deep state” and the DNC are predictably going to scream and try everything they can to discredit him. Who was in charge of US activities in the Ukraine during the Obama Administration and during the 2016 election? Who was running the CIA and State Department? Who was Obama’s point man? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Republicans.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

          Hey, we are happy to have two parallel trials and investigations going on-
          One, the impeachment of President Trump, and two, the Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            A more recent Solomon piece on how the US State Department put the Ukrainians in touch with Giuliani.

            It is likely that the State Department’s overture to Giuliani in July was designed to allay fears of a diplomatic slight and to assure the nascent Ukrainian administration that everything would be OK between the two allies.

            The belief was that if Zelensky’s top lawyer could talk to Trump’s top lawyer, everything could be patched up, officials explained to me.

            Ukrainian officials also are discussing privately the possibility of creating a parliamentary committee to assemble the evidence and formally send it to the U.S. Congress, after failed attempts to get the Department of Justice’s attention, my sources say.

            Such machinations are common when two countries are navigating diplomatic challenges, and, often, extracurricular activities with private citizens are part of the strategy, even if they are not apparent to the American public.

            Democrats can try impeaching President Trump for investigating how they colluded with foreign powers to rig the 2016 election, but it will possibly cost them the House on top of the Presidency.

            Biden is already likely fatally wounded, and the question is whether he staggers and falls before getting the nomination or whether he loses in November.

            He was already causing worries about his age, his gaffes, his past associations, and his wildly untrue stories. Now he’s got massive corruption and extortion to explain away, to the extent that his antics might fatally destroy Obama’s legacy along with his own.

            With Nancy having lost control of the House, someone sane had better step up and take charge because the party is headed into a ditch of their own making.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

              After Trump and Pence are impeached, I am perfectly happy to have President Pelosi hand the office to President-Elect Warren who will task Attorney General Kamala Harris with sorting this whole mess out.

              She used to be a cop, did you know that?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Pence resigns. Trump appoints his daughter. Trump resigns.

                Whole process takes… what? Half an hour?Report

              • North in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Half an hour for him to get majority votes in favor of VP Ivanka in both houses of congress? In what universe?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to North says:

                That’s what I was asking. Does he need to get Congressional approval for his replacement, and if so, which side?Report

              • The 25th Amendment requires a VP nominated by the President to be confirmed by majority vote in each of the House and Senate before they can take office. It is silent on the subject of what happens if the House or Senate rejects a nominee beyond the fact that they can’t be the VP. In fact, the 25th is silent on whether the House and Senate must vote at all. There doesn’t appear to be any legal reason that the House couldn’t leave the VP slot open, and should something happen to the President, the Speaker assumes the office by the other succession rules (Article 2, Section 1, Clause 6, and the current statutes).

                The optics may suck, and it may be a bad move politically, but it seems fine from a legal perspective.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Cain says:

                I’ve heard there is a longstanding precedent, nay, a hallowed tradition of our forefathers, not to fill any position requiring Senate confirmation during an election year.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Her impeachment might take even less.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                If you’re relying on the Senate to hand the Presidency to Pelosi, then I think I can see a flaw in that plan.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Today I picked up the implication that if the House impeaches, the Senate can try Joe Biden or anyone else they want instead of Trump. I’m not sure I completely buy that.

                However, if the House does vote for impeachment then the House Republicans get the same full subpoena powers that the Democrats have, and they will put Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and many others under a microscope. During previous times Hillary was under scrutiny, their powers were limited.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                The Senate can…try an American citizen?

                Yeah, I’m not sure i buy that either.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The House can Impeach, and Senate can Convict, anyone. Literally anyone on the planet. They don’t have to currently hold, or ever have held, a government position, and they don’t even have to be an American.

                Now…it does have to be the _same_ anyone in the House and Senate, obviously. Because what the Senate is doing is holding a trial based on an impeachment, and an impeachment is…of a specific person. I’m not even sure what the logic here is that it could be someone else. That’s like basically saying the government could try Person A and, at the end of their trial, convict Person B. That’s not how trials work.

                But besides that weird concept, the power literally has no restrictions. Hell, unlike most of the Constitution, the target don’t even have to be a ‘People’. Congress could impeach and convict a dog to keep them from being able to elected the symbolic Grand Master of a Washington DC parade. (Which, yes, would count as a office of honor.)

                Now, there is a clause that says ‘The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from office’, which often confuses people into thinking only current officers can be impeached…but that is phrased like that because, if they are current officer holders, they must be removed from office. If they aren’t current officers…obviously they don’t need to be removed from their office. Duh.

                They can still get disqualified from office upon impeachment and conviction…assuming the Senate wants that and puts it in their Judgment. Any disqualification from future office is technically optional, although it’s generally assumed that would be in an impeachment Judgment.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        ABC is walking back claims Ukraine knew about the money being held back.

        Fox is claiming the opposite, i.e. that Ukraine didn’t know.

        And it’s a day ending in a “y” so Trump is in the news.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Dark Matter says:

          I think you might have the wrong retraction, perhaps because there are so many to keep track of this week, as the press just makes stuff up.

          The story you linked is about the retraction of the story that one of Zelensky’s advisers said discussing Biden was a precondition for the Trump call. He wasn’t an adviser and never said that, so ABC went 0 for 2.

          The report that Ukraine didn’t find out that the arms deal was held up until a month later absolutely destroys the charges of extortion and other nonsense because a critical step in applying such pressure is letting the target know that you’re applying pressure. It’s kind of like trying to blackmail someone without letting them know about it. It just doesn’t work.

          The claims are falling apart at the speed you’d expect if someone threw a dart at a calendar and tried to impeach over whatever news story showed up on that day on page three of the New York Times. It’s truly an embarrassment.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

      I will remind everyone again: Crowdstrike still has nothing to do with the Ukraine…and also that the DNC servers are where they always have been, in various US data centers. And in the cloud. And probably a few in various regional offices.

      And in fact the idea that there’s some missing DNC server is…not even wrong. Like, it’s like asserting that Abraham Lincoln was the fourth Beatle. It’s just…so nonsensical it’s hard to figure out where to start.

      The story of the DNC servers is thus: The DNC was the victim of a hacking attempt. They hired the US-based and fairly well-respected computer security company Crowdstrike, who made images of the compromised servers. The DNC also contacted the FBI, and Crowdstrike, which works with the FBI all the time, handed over copies of the disk images.

      Here is where the ‘missing server’ comes in:

      The FBI wanted to do a live trap, entering the compromised servers while the hackers were in them. The DNC said no, because…the FBI running a war game inside the DNC’s network, which they were still trying to use and clean out, that close to an election seemed like a crazy idea.

      That’s it. That’s the origin of the missing server. Confused about the fact that…nothing seem to be missing, or…a server…or…what? Huh?

      Well, I can’t help you anymore, because this is the point you have to just BELIEVE. Ignore logic and facts, and BELIEVE.

      In real life, the original story of ‘The DNC would not let the FBI do some sorta crazy stuff while investigating’ seems to have somehow got confused with Clinton’s email, as far as I can tell, and turned into…something about a missing server.

      The FBI has disk images of all compromised DNC servers, voluntarily given to them by the DNC. The DNC has, at this point, reimaged and reinstalled all the computers they kept using, as they rebuilt their network from the ground up after the 2016 election was over. There’s nothing that could be in the Ukraine.

      Moreover…this was all voluntary. The DNC didn’t have to turn anything over. It’s like someone says ‘I have some cats’ and posts pictures of them on Facebook, and then they get accused of having some missing cats they hid in the Ukraine. Why would anyway need to _hide_ cats somewhere? All they’d have to do is…not post the pictures of them. Likewise, the DNC they didn’t want to FBI to not have a server image, they just…don’t give them that image. The FBI had no right to demand it. Hell, the FBI had no right to even demand a list of computers, which means no one would even know it was missing!Report

  18. Chip Daniels says:

    The White House put phone call records to Putin and Mohammed Bone Saw in the same vault.

    “In the case of Trump’s call with Prince Mohammed, officials who ordinarily would have been given access to a rough transcript of the conversation never saw one, according to one of the sources. Instead, a transcript was never circulated at all, which the source said was highly unusual, particularly after a high-profile conversation.
    The call – which the person said contained no especially sensitive national security secrets — came as the White House was confronting the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which US intelligence assessments said came at the hand of the Saudi government.”Report

  19. Damon says:

    I have yet to hear why it was ok for vp Biden to pressure Ukraine to end an investigation of the company paying his son, or risk loss of american “assistance” but when Trump does something similar but encourages the same investigation, it’s an impeachable offence.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Damon says:

      Let me help:
      1. The investigation was over long before anyone pressured Shokin to step down;
      2. The EU was the driving force in demanding Shokin resign, because he was acknowledged as wildly corrupt, a fact which no one bothers to dispute.
      3.The investigation found no wrongdoing by Biden anyway.

      • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        3.The investigation found no wrongdoing by Biden anyway.

        Yep. The oil company was giving him $600k a year because of his nice smile, because that’s what corrupt oil companies in that part of the world do. Like good kindergartners we’re just supposed to pretend there’s no link whatsoever between his worthless well paid job and his father’s political power… because there is no proven illegality (and to be clear it probably wasn’t illegal).

        And for Trump to suggest otherwise in a nakedly politically motivated move, well that’s just shocking and an impeachable offence.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

          Yep, it probably should be illegal.

          Yep, it is an impeachable offense to use the power of your office to request an investigation of your political opponent.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

          The investigation didn’t find ‘no wrongdoing’ by Biden, because…because Biden being hired is not, in any conceivable universe, a violation of Ukraine law. There’s not some ‘loophole’, they didn’t investigate and find nothing, there’s…literally nothing to investigate about Biden under Ukrainian law.

          It’s exactly as accurate to say ‘The FBI found no wrongdoing by DavidTC in eating a hotdog yesterday’. No…I guess they didn’t, in the technical sense. But’s not a thing that it would be looking into. And people run around repeatedly stated that the FBI ‘found no wrongdoing in DavidTC’s behavior yesterday’ are clearly lying by implication that there was something to investigate.

          That’s what’s going on here. Biden was, to anyone who looked at it, _clearly_ influence peddling, and there was an investigation near him, so…let’s all just lie and pretend the investigation was into Biden and that influence peddling.

          But this is a lie. A lie by implication, but a lie. That influence peddling had _nothing_ to do with the investigation.

          The actual thing being investigated was not Biden, or even Burisma, really. It was the owner of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky.

          Now, admittedly, Zlochevsky was under investigation for possibly directing government contracts to companies he owned while he a government official.(1) One company he owned, which did get government contracts, was Burisma. So there was some poking around in Burisma by law enforcement, to look at how their government contracts came to be. Hypothetically, someone there could have been in on such a crime. (Or not.)

          But even if someone at Burisma did somehow commit a crime involved in that, it couldn’t have been Hunter Biden. As he who joined Burisma after Zlochevsky was no longer a government official, and thus it is _literally impossible_ for Biden to have been involved in the government corruption that was being investigated. Or, presumably, to have ever been even slightly investigated for it.

          Breaking news: The FBI finds no wrongdoing by Ted Cruz, fail to indict him for murder in the Zodiac Killings. That’s _technically_ a true sentence, everyone. That’s the level of politics we’re operating at now.

          1) They also suspected Zlochevsky of more directly just embezzling government funds, but that…isn’t related to anything here.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

            there’s…literally nothing to investigate about Biden under Ukrainian law.

            Sure. In exchange for his smile, Hunter got a very well paid job (especially by Ukrainian standards) with a corrupt oil company which occasionally deals with his Vice President father. Similarly two years out of law school he became “executive vice president” for a major ($122 Billion dollars at the time) bank holding company which was also a major contributor to his father’s political campaigns.

            So it’s just the relative of a politician receiving a really well paid job that isn’t available to normal people, that happens all the time. Companies that want to influence politicians, just like normal companies, are always looking for talent and the relatives of politicians are highly talented people who aren’t normally recruited. It totally makes economic sense to usher someone like that into the highest rungs of a company even if they don’t have any relevant experience.

            So yes, it’s perfectly legal… assuming that everyone involved kept to this fairytale we’re hearing. An investigation might find someone dropped the ball and put in writing what we’re all thinking, but that’s a low probability outcome.

            Of course while we’re on the subject of legality, what Trump did was also legal (if impeachable), and there have been accusations floating around for years that the Ukrainian gov did anti-Trump (Manafort) research stuff for Obama. Of course if that last did happen, then presumably there’s a legal fig leaf separating Obama and HRC’s campaign.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

              Of course while we’re on the subject of legality, what Trump did was also legal (if impeachable),

              No, it wasn’t, not entirely. Misusing the classification system to hide embarrassing political secrets is explicitly a violation of the law, for the most obvious crime. The whistleblower specifically mentioned that fact.

              Likewise, instructing various people in the executive to mislead Congress about the delays could possibly be illegal.

              And…there’s always the campaign finance thing. They wanted a foreign government to provide them something…for…free? Or, at least, provide them something in exchange for something that isn’t their money. Campaigns can’t accept donations from foreign governments, and can’t accept ‘donations’ at gunpoint, either. (What an incredibly odd legal claim…it’s not legally a gift if I’m threatening them!)

              So, yes, there will be some laws discovered to have been broken.

              But, technically speak, extorting (And, yes, this legally fits the definition of extortion) a foreign country by withholding Congressional-allocated aid until they investigated an American citizen on things they don’t consider illegal (1) is…probably not technically illegal, just because it’s so amazingly corrupt that no one actually bothered to outlaw it.

              But ‘I was _legally_ misusing millions of dollars in taxpayer money to provide me a benefit in the election, and my only crime was hiding it’ is not a particular winning argument for Trump to use against impeachment.

              Honestly, the lack of that being defined in statue probably makes things _better_. As we’ve seen, Trump is pretty good at confusing the issue and pretending he stayed within the letter of the law even when he didn’t. But this is _such_ a gross violation of behavioral norms and how people think the government, is an astonishing misuse of power, yet it doesn’t have an out where he can try to pretend he didn’t technically break the law.

              That’s not to say the Democrats won’t cite some laws in the impeachment, mostly related to the cover-up, but the fundamental thing at the center of this is just an extremely large abuse of power that the law does not constrain the president from…everyone just assumed if the president ever did anything like that, we’d impeach them.

              1. Again, I remind everyone, the Ukraine is not, and never has, actually investigated Hunter Biden for anything. They’ve investigated the owner of the company for alleged wrongdoing WRT a government post the owner had left _before_ Hunter Biden was even hired. That was the Ukraine investigation.

              It’s kinda an odd idea that could even _be_ a violation of Ukraine law…if anything this attempted ‘bribery’ of VP Biden would be a violation of American law, not Ukraine. Which is why the Justice Department briefly glanced at it when it happened and said…eh, it’s fine.

              and there have been accusations floating around for years that the Ukrainian gov did anti-Trump (Manafort) research stuff for Obama.

              You mean, right-wing conspiracy theories spread by Manafort.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                and there have been accusations floating around for years that the Ukrainian gov did anti-Trump (Manafort) research stuff for Obama.
                You mean, right-wing conspiracy theories spread by Manafort.

                Perhaps. Or perhaps team-Obama understood that people around Trump are/were total scumbags and it would be trivial to put daylight on them.

                And…there’s always the campaign finance thing.

                Now you’re playing “show me the man and I’ll find you the crime”. How often do we enforce this sort of thing against Democrats? If there really was Ukrainian anti-Manafort info, am I supposed to think you’d be cool with HRC’s impeachment over that?

                Misusing the classification system to hide embarrassing political secrets is explicitly a violation of the law,

                So let’s hope that the President doesn’t have the ability to classify things and declassify things at whim, and that there’s no possible other reason for him to classify an interaction with a foreign head of state, and that he was the one who gave it that classification and not (as has been reported) someone in his administration.

                extorting (And, yes, this legally fits the definition of extortion) a foreign country by withholding Congressional-allocated aid until they investigated an American citizen on things they don’t consider illegal…

                1) It has been widely reported Ukraine didn’t know the aid was on hold.
                2) Corruption in corrupt countries is typically illegal, it’s just done anyway.

                the fundamental thing at the center of this is just an extremely large abuse of power that the law does not constrain the president from…everyone just assumed if the president ever did anything like that, we’d impeach them.

                Yes, that.

                However this line of thinking would be a lot more workable if the Dems hadn’t been planning/preparing impeachment since before Trump took office, and if we weren’t constantly running into anti-Trump hysteria and false allegations.

                The good news is we may be watching Trump lose his cool and proving his unfitness to the public. The bad news is the jury is Trump’s base, because the Senate won’t kick him out of office if his base remains solid. The really bad news is team Blue doesn’t care about facts and would be gunning for Trump regardless of the underlying situation.

                It would be easy for this to degenerate into everyone-sees-what-they-want; i.e. it proves itself a partisan witch hunt by a group of Dems who make shit up and don’t care about reality who impeach an unfit President.

                I continue to affirm that the phrase “President Pence” has a nice ring to it, but it’s not clear to me that’s the outcome, or even that it’s the desirable outcome in the context of all this.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Please don’t say #3 like that. Here is better one:

        3. The investigation was into the behavior of the owner of Burisma while that owner held a government office, and Biden was not hired by Burisma until after the owner was no longer in office, so, no, Biden could not have been involved in magical retroactive government corruption.Report