The Impeachment Meltdown Begins

Avatar

Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

Related Post Roulette

105 Responses

  1. Avatar dragonfrog
    Ignored
    says:

    But now we’re seeing how he might react if, say, Putin stabbed him in the back on foreign policy.

    I’m pretty sure that’s what Putin is doing with his “Gosh I sure hope nobody looks into the transcripts of phone conversations between me and president Trump. I insist that try would f need my official permission to do that” act.

    Trump probably doesn’t realize that he’s being stabbed in the back yet, and probably never will – his own approach to defending shadowgraph accusations usually includes forgetting what lie he was telling yesterday and confessing to the thing he’s accused of, after all.

    But I’m pretty sure this is what’s going on – Putin realizes he’s in the end game of his getting-Trump-elected gambit, and now’s the time to dump the compromat.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    Now you just need to convince that ~40% of the GOP that still loves him to turn on him, and turn hard, because without public calls for removal, the senate will do exactly nothing.Report

  3. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    Leaving all the admitted stuff about Ukraine and that giant report thing which detailed all his high crimes, calling a Schiff a traitor should be pretty damn close to impeachable on its own. It’s not the first time he’s called D’s traitors but that is the kind of thing that should be a bright line not to be crossed. And he has talked about trying to find out who the whistle blower is, whose identity is protected by law. So there is that. But it’s still early on a Tuesday.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      Schiff colluded with Ukraine to get dirt on Trump. Back in August he sent one of his aides to Ukraine to meet with Ukraine’s former President on a trip sponsored by an organization that’s funded by Burisma. Was he colluding with foreign powers to overthrow the elected President of the United States? We should find out. Trump should perhaps coordinate an investigation with the Ukrainian government to figure out what’s been going on between Ukraine and the Democrat party regarding the rigging of US elections.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Distraction tactic 1A- make up some shite about an opponent to move the focus off of Trump. It doesnt’ have to make sense or even hold up for more then a day as long as it derails the convo/news cycle.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          The staffers name was Thomas Eager. He made the trip twelve days after Schiff got the complaint. He met with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

          The trip was sponsored by The Atlantic Council, which is funded by Burisma, George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, and Google Capital. CrowdStrike founder Dmitri Alperovitch is one of its senior fellows.

          Soros was deeply involved in Ukraine and the Obama policies there, and may have been involved in the events surrounding Biden and the firing of the prosecutor general. Also sitting on the Burisma board of directors was Devon Archer, former adviser to John Kerry, who was Secretary of State. Interestingly, Hunter Biden’s partner when he joined the board was John Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz. Heinz parted ways with Hunter over the matter, citing “concerns about corruption in Ukraine and questions about appearance.”

          Also sitting on the board with Hunter BIden was Cofer Black, who was director of CIA’s counter terrorism center, was at one time in charge of taking out Al Qaeda, and became vice-chairman of Blackwater Security. They’ve also got some top Russians and the former President of Poland on the board.

          One obvious question is why a natural gas company would pack its board with former CIA field operatives and counter-terrorism experts, or with former presidents or Russian oligarchs. I’m pretty sure my local gas company doesn’t do that.

          The second obvious question is why they’d also add a young nobody with drug and alcohol problems and fidelity troubles. Hrm… Why would a company do that?Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            Soros!!!….Your filling up my right wing crazy pants bingo card quickly. Throw in some seth rich stuff and i’ll have a full house of…ummm…bingo or something like that. Maybe chem trails are next…comet pizza?Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              Well, I’m reading a Ukraine action plan that was signed by, um:

              George Soros
              A self-appointed advocate of the new Ukraine
              March 12, 2015

              He was having a back and forth with the US State Department (I also have those e-mails) concerning actions to take in Ukraine. It’s seven pages long and was part of a document dump by John Coleman at The Hill. It goes into great detail about a great many things, with lots of names and strategies. It’s quite interesting.

              B. What the allies must deliver

              1. Help restore the fighting capacity of the Ukrainian army without violating the Minsk Agreement. The allies must imitate Putin in the practice of deniability to deprive him of his first-mover advantage.

              2. Europe must reach a new framework agreement that will allow the
              European Commission to allocate up to €1 billion annually to Ukraine charging only 9% to the budget and to use it also for other than balance of payments support. This requires a political decision by Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, as signatories of the Minsk Agreement, and the expenditure of considerable political capital to overcome legal hurdles and reach unanimity.

              3. Be ready to commit some or all of these funds if the Ukrainian reform program justifies it. To turn the tables on Putin, Ukraine needs to be converted from a source of political risk to an attractive investment destination. That will require larger EFF’s and reinsurance for political risk insurance at attractive rates.

              Several pages later, after detailing some of the changes he’s going to make to the Ukrainian economy and justice system, he says:

              5. A €1 billion annual allocation to Ukraine with only 9% charged to the budget would make €11 billion available annually. This would be more than sufficient to make comprehensive political risk insurance available in addition to providing budgetary and other support to Ukraine. The insurance would be sold through the established national and international institutions like Euler Hermes in Germany, OPIC in the US and MIGA at the World Bank, but these institutions would be reimbursed by the EU through the MFA to make the insurance commercially attractive. Using MFA for purposes other than balance of payments support and using it to make political risk insurance commercially attractive runs into a number of legal hurdles that need to be overcome in the next three to five months.

              6. The larger the volume provided, the less likely that the guarantee fund would be invoked. But the European Union cannot be expected to take on the additional risk unless Ukraine demonstrates its determination and ability to fulfill all the requirements listed above. Ukrainian reformers strongly support conditionality and accountability.

              7. Once the insurance is available, I am prepared to invest up to $1 billion in Ukrainian businesses. This is likely to attract the interest of the investment community. As stated above, Ukraine must become an attractive investment destination. The investments will be for-profit but I will pledge to contribute the profits to my foundations. This should allay suspicions that I am advocating policies in search of personal gain.

              Good plan? Bad plan?Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            The staffers name was Thomas Eager. He made the trip twelve days after Schiff got the complaint. He met with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

            The trip was sponsored by The Atlantic Council, which is funded by Burisma, George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, and Google Capital. CrowdStrike founder Dmitri Alperovitch is one of its senior fellows.

            So the theory is…what, exactly? That Eager…traveled into the past to…manipulate Trump’s brain? Somehow?

            Oh, according to your previous post, you’ve…decided that this means Schiff was colluding with foreign powers to overthrow the elected President of the United States? Despite…no evidence that that happened, or even an idea _how_ it could happen.

            Oh. It’s not just the president running around accusing people of treason with no justiification. Cool.

            Soros was deeply involved in Ukraine and the Obama policies there, and may have been involved in the events surrounding Biden and the firing of the prosecutor general.

            Once again: basically everyone on the planet who was paying attention to the Ukraine wanted the prosecutor general fired. He was extremely corrupt and unwilling to actually investigate corruption.

            Oh, but Soros ‘may have been’ involved. Just…sorta guessing that, huh? Just…no actual claims at all. Just sorta…needed to fit that information in there. It’s almost like…there’s no evidence, but someone wanted Soros’ name close to all this, for some UTTERLY INEXPLICABLE reason.

            Hold on, I ‘ll be right back, all my dogs started barking.

            Also sitting on the Burisma board of directors was Devon Archer, former adviser to John Kerry, who was Secretary of State. Interestingly, Hunter Biden’s partner when he joined the board was John Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz. Heinz parted ways with Hunter over the matter, citing “concerns about corruption in Ukraine and questions about appearance.”

            Yeah, because Burisma was influence peddling by hiring people, and even if it wasn’t, looked like it was. We’ve determined that. Everyone’s aware that Hunter Biden’s employment doesn’t look good. We’ve known that…every since it happened, years ago. It’s not a crime, though, and it is fairly trivia scandal…which we already had, again, years ago.

            But you keep talking about that, though. I’m sure yelling about this microscopic and legal influence peddling situation, the sort that happens all the time in politics, will pay off, and eventually start distracting people from the President’s massive abuses of power and attempt to have foreign governments interfere in the election.

            *snip rest of post*

            Well, you’ve convinced me: Burisma should not be the next President. They are _far_ too corrupt. Also, are they even a natural-born US citizen? I man, they’re a foreign oil company! How could they be president anyway?!

            Now…what does this have to do with Trump’s abuse of power in withholding US government money until the Ukraine invent some sort of criminal investigation of Hunter Biden?Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              Once again: basically everyone on the planet who was paying attention to the Ukraine wanted the prosecutor general fired.

              Not true. That was based on lies being spread by the DC-based PR firm retained by Burisma, who waited three days and then apologized to the Ukrainian prosecutors office for spreading lies about their previous prosecutor general.

              Second, why on Earth would anyone who doesn’t work for Burisma care who is investigating Burisma? They wouldn’t, would they? Nobody on the planet cares if an energy company is investigated for corruption, except of course those who are involved in the corruption.

              That alone should tell you you’re looking at some kind of frame up, unless of course you are the one person who goes out an protests every time somebody in some other government investigates some energy company based in some third country.

              Now how exactly was Trump abusing his power by getting weapons to Ukraine? The president of Ukraine says he wasn’t under any pressure at all, whereas the previous president said he was placed under enormous pressure by Joe Biden to fire the prosecutor
              investigating his son, or he would withhold $1 billion dollars in critical aid. Biden bragged about that on camera.

              Now THAT is an abuse of power that disqualifies Biden from public office.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                That was based on lies being spread by the DC-based PR firm retained by Burisma, who waited three days and then apologized to the Ukrainian prosecutors office for spreading lies about their previous prosecutor general.

                Yes, it’s a little known fact, but the International Monetary Fund is a DC-based PR firm.

                whereas the previous president said he was placed under enormous pressure by Joe Biden to fire the prosecutor investigating his son, or he would withhold $1 billion dollars in critical aid. Biden bragged about that on camera.

                Remember, folks, when George Turner says ‘pressure by Joe Biden’, he means ‘pressure by the entire Obama Administration, and IMF, and half of Europe’.

                And when Turner says ‘investigating his son’, he means ‘had already closed an investigation of someone _near_ his son…over the objections of the United States’.

                Yes, that’s right. The Obama administration not only objected to Shunkin closing the investigation, they objected so much to that was one of their complaints as a reason they wanted Shunkin gone.

                And again I remind everyone: The investigation that George Turner keeps lying about was about the behavior of Zlochevsky while in office, which means it is impossible for Biden to have participated in whatever misbehavior he was investigated for.

                Every time George Turner says Shunkin was ‘Investigating Hunter Biden’, he is lying. Just flatly lying. People should probably make a note of that.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Here is Obama’s US ambassador to the Ukraine in 2015:
                https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Remarks-by-US-Ambassador-Geoffrey-Pyatt-at-the-Odesa-Financial-Forum-on-September-24-2015-ukraine.pdf

                To quote the relevant part:
                We have learned that there have been times that the PGO not only did not support investigations into corruption, but rather undermined prosecutors working on legitimate corruption cases.
                For example, in the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the U.K. authorities had seized 23 million dollars in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people. Officials at the PGO’s office were asked by the U.K to send documents supporting the seizure.
                Instead they sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result the money was freed by the U.K. court and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.

                Note by ‘The PGO’s office’, he means the Prosecutor General office, aka, basically Shorkin.

                Shorkin was forced out of office exactly for crap like this. For _failing_ to investigate all sorts of people, including specifically Zlochevsky!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Courtesy Steve M at No More Mister Nice Blog, quoting Catherine Fieschi in The Guardian:

                Populist lying … is designed to be seen – it is the opposite of a cover-up. In the populist playbook, lying itself is glorified; it is an instrument of subversion, its purpose to demonstrate that the liar will stop at nothing to “serve the people”. The lies are signals that these politicians are not bound by the usual norms of the liberal democratic elite. Liberals have virtue signalling – populists have outrage signalling. This is the politics of appealing to the gut over the brain.

                Steve:

                A certain number of Trump fans may understand, at least on some level, that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is genuine and that Democratic emails were hacked by Russia, not by a sinister cabal that included the DNC, various Ukrainians, George Soros, and the privy councils of the Deep State. But the more Trump is challenged on these fairytales, the more the base loves him for infuriating us. Trumpers love the outrage.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                If there’s nothing to find out about the 2016 election meddling involving Ukraine, why did Democrats go to all-hands-on-deck panic as soon as they caught wind of it? Why did they freak out like a murder suspect who sees a police detective nosing around in a certain part of the back yard?

                Their own behavior says they are desperately trying to hide something.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                The only response to this sort of thing is just to keep restating the fact:

                The President asked a foreign government to manufacture dirt on his political rival.

                This is an impeachable abuse of his office.

                Everything else is just sparkler hand waving diversion.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No, he did not. Adam Schiff made up that entire conversation. One of the other Senators on the committee said, to the committee, that someone just asked him (over his smart device) if Adam Schiff was just making up a fake conversation. Schiff was.

                This is why Trump suggested that Schiff might be committing treason, although that isn’t possible because we aren’t at war with either Ukraine or Russia.

                You are repeating things that Schiff just made up as if they were facts, even though they are flatly contradicted by the actual transcript, and other Senators are trying to claim that Schiff was making an attempt at humor or parody, which is about the only possible defense for what he did.

                He should resign, as Trump suggested, because he’s proven repeatedly that he just lies and lies some more. Every week he claimed that he had new evidence of Trump colluding with Russia. He claimed he had secret evidence that would prove it. He didn’t. He was just making it all up, just as he made up a fake conversation that you fell for.

                He is an embarrassment to himself, his party, and the nation. The man shouldn’t be allowed to manage a fast food restaurant, much less chair a committee. However, I would in no way urge his removal because his antics are driving vast numbers of sane Democrats to switch parties.Report

              • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                You are going to need to show your work on that “vast numbers of sane Democrats to switch parties” partReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                At this point, you are contradicting Trump himself, who says he did in fact ask them to investigate Biden.

                Imagine, that you are becoming less believable than Trump.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Except that the very speech you just cited only mentions the fired prosecutor general in passing (he’d only been in the job a few months), urging him to support the prosecutors the ambassador was singling out for praise.

                It was the fired prosecutor who was leading the reforms, and who was highly praised by Ukraine’s president after he was asked to resign due to pressure from Joe Biden, as related in his sworn statement in a court of law.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                The reason that the speech urged Shokin to support the prosecutors is that the US didn’t quite realize how corrupt Shokin was to start with.

                You know, from now on, we’re going to actually have _cites_ in this discussion.

                Here’s one for what I just said:

                After initially supporting Shokin, U.S. and E.U. officials soured on him. To pressure Poroshenko into removing him, the Obama Administration withheld a billion dollars in loan guarantees.

                https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/09/05/reforming-ukraine-after-maidan

                And as for the ”Everyone wanted him gone’, here is a link: You can probably get the gist from the URL.

                https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/eu-hails-sacking-of-ukraine-s-prosecutor-viktor-shokin-1.2591190

                Note that’s from Ireland, and from 2016, so seems rather unlikely to have anything to do with Biden. It sure seems strange that Europe was trying to get rid of a Ukrainian prosecutor because he was looking into Hunter Biden.

                Of course, Shokin wasn’t doing that. Here, let me quote someone in the actual Ukraine who is running the corruption watchdog group:

                “Shokin was fired,” the executive director of Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center, Daria Kaleniuk, told me in May, “because he failed to do investigations of corruption and economic crimes of President Yanukovych and his close associates, including Zlochevsky, and basically it was the big demand within society in Ukraine, including our organization and many other organizations, to get rid of this guy.”

                https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/09/05/reforming-ukraine-after-maidan
                (This, BTW, is an article everyone should read.)

                Now it’s your turn: You keep repeating the idea that Shokin was ‘highly praised by Ukraine’s president’. Let’s have that cite.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      I think there’s a nugget here too.

      I’d think about it like this: Make an appeal to right-of-center Military(ish) folks as acts unbecoming an officer; cite various tweets – not as political policy preferences – but as tweets that are targeting civilians in one category and public officials in another. Be judicious looking for truly threatening utterances and use the “legalism” of the UMC as it applies to conduct. That is, all of these things are court-martial offences if you’re just one of us.

      Hire center-right military folks to pick the tweets/statements if you don’t trust your faction (and I don’t) to go with a “less is more” approach.

      Part of the positioning should be that the CiC cannot be allowed to target civilians and office holders owing to his duty and power as CiC. This is deeply embedded in the armed services. The other part of the positioning is that as partisan fighting escalates, impeaching for publicly threatening Americans is a protection from the next administration that to which you find yourself in (loyal) opposition.

      I could imagine a somewhat lengthy reading of charges:
      On August 13, 2017 you did accuse Chad Timlinsen of “deserving to have roaches explode from his ass”
      On Sept 3, 2017 you…
      On…
      As CiC we find your public threatening and belligerent stances taken against both civilians and public officials unbecoming etc, etc.

      Admittedly a bit of a stretch, but as I keep saying, you can only impeach the president on Conservative principles… so find those, and sell the potential protection you are offering from future President Warren.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Marchmaine
        Ignored
        says:

        In general i agree. Those are the kind of arguments D’s in congress should be making. Point to his slander and abuse of power and profiteering and corruption. He is the Golden Corral of impeachment worthy acts. That isn’t particularly conservative, but that is a separate issue.Report

  4. Avatar DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    Say what you will about Hillary Clinton — and I’ve said plenty — she would not be melting down under these circumstances. She would be combative. She would be fighting it tooth and nail. She would definitely be saying her opponents were out to get her.

    Oh, not even that. We’ve seen how the Clintons act under impeachment.And how they act is: Nothing. Seriously, it was almost nothing. The Clintons didn’t react publicly to any of the legal trouble they were in. Sometimes they would make a _single_ statement that mostly boiled down to ‘These allegations are false. No other comment’. I think the biggest thing was when Bill’s relationship with Lewinski came out, he apologized to the public, a nice short apology.

    There are, of course, rumors that the Clintons did things in the background. Allegations that they were behind Larry Flynn stunt of ‘Please write to Hustler if you have evidence of Congressional affairs’, and likewise they were behind revealing both Newt Gingriches’ and (maybe) Bob Livingston’s affairs (Sadly failing to also reveal Dennis Hastert’s misbehavior.), but if the Clintons had something to do with that, they managed to keep their hands _completely clean_, in that no one’s ever managed to link it back.

    The Bill Clinton impeachment proceeded mostly without any interaction of the Clinton’s at all. It was the same with the idiotic investigations of Hillary Clinton by Congress recently…she just denied things once by reading pre-written statements, and then _stopped_.

    You know, like literally any good lawyer would recommend.

    Not only is Trump not behaving like a lawyer would tell him, his _lawyer_ is behaving like that also!Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      And that coolness is why Hillary Clinton is President. 🙂

      You see, there was this vast right wing conspiracy to frame Bill. She said so herself, and apparently gave birth to the term. Then there were the egregious plays to smear Monica Lewinsky, the screaming White House fights after hours, the staged photo ops, the dog (who died once he was no longer useful), and all the other theatrics.

      But that’s nothing like her loss in 2016, which primarily occurred because women were told to vote for Trump by their husbands and boyfriends, plus a hundred other reasons that she’s cited.Report

  5. Avatar DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve always said: Holding off impeachment because of the Senate is nonsensical, because Trump has literally no self-discipline. The second the House openly attacks him, he’s going to respond like a madman. Blatantly breaking plenty of laws in the process.

    We’re like a _week_ into this thing, he’s already threatened to reveal the identity of the whistleblower, which is also threatening a witness, he’s asserted that a Democratic lawmaker has committed a capital crime, he’s given all sorts of crazy contradictory statements about the actual wrongdoing. A week, guys. This is just going to get crazier.

    If the House keeps poking Trump, Trump is going to, at some point, start ordering them arrested. Or something equally insane. Perhaps he’ll try to keep his illegal actions in the White House, destroying evidence and stuff…but sinking rats will start deserting the ship.

    There’s never been any reason to wait for impeachment. Hell, the House could have started impeachment over emoluments at his hotel, something that never would even get through the House, much less the Senate. But they could have done that, because the second they start making demands and accusations of Trump, he will UTTERLY MELT DOWN and start acting like a lunatic, creating tons of things he can be impeached for. We all knew that. All the House ever had to do was hand him some rope and make fun of his tiny hands.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    I think calling Trump’s tweets a variant of eleven-dimensional chess is kind of wrong. I agree with you about his insecurity but I also think he expects deference like a monarch and is pissed as hell when he does not get it.

    I also think Trump suffers from cognitive decline of some sort. So it is a toxic combination of general authoritarianism, narciscism, and some form of dementia/mental illness.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s not like he was cognitively declining from a very great starting cognitive height.

      Normally, I ignore the Presidential tweets. I assume that they are mostly a game, designed to (…)

      I think that’s a mistake – there is no “hidden” Trump, and never has been. Nothing he does is “designed” or part of a stratagem – he’s a creature of pure impulse. All there is is surface.Report

  7. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    What I see here is a variant of my own taxonomy of Trump’s personality: he is a man who has been utterly consumed by his id. There is no functional superego left to pronounce any form of moral self-government, for the ego that tempered that voice of internal judgment and condemnation was itself squashed a long, long time ago.

    His vulgar materialism has long been overtly deployed as a demonstration of his superiority over his peers. I truly feel that he values the Presidency itself as a talisman of his superior-to-everyone-caliber social acceptance and popularity. He is mostly blind to criticism and when he cannot avoid it, he dismisses it as irrelevant and risible.

    Citizen Kane, only he won. One wonders what his Rosebud was (and whatever it was, it was a symbol for the love of his father, himself a wretched, soulless man capable of greed and hate but apparently not of love or even empathy).

    And Trump’s polarizing charisma is a product of his personification of the id. To the extent that your own id wants the same things that his does, that is the extent to which you identify with him. To the extent that your own id wants different things, or to the extent that you have a functioning ego tempered by a developed sense of empathy, you find him somewhere between repellent and embarrassing.

    There are ways of expressing this concept which are not so overtly Freudian, if you find Freud distasteful or discredited. I find the Freudian taxonomy easy to understand and work with, and while I don’t pretend to understand everything about it or that it’s a complete way of understanding how the human mind works, “Has this person’s Oedipal complex been resolved in a healthy way?” is a very useful starting point for figuring out what makes a person tick.

    Every politician has a fairly powerful expression of self-value; it’s inherent in the nature of the work of soliciting votes to be able to overcome whatever Impostor Syndrome may rest atop one’s amygdala and publicly proclaim one’s own virtues and abilities. Trump, however, does it in a way that is deeply unhealthy. The amazing part of it is that he hasn’t flamed out completely somewhere along the way — we can all think of times he’s tried to do exactly that.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      “The amazing part of it is that he hasn’t flamed out completely somewhere along the way…”

      My suspicion with all such people, be they successful artists, or CEOs, or politicians, or athletes, is that there are enough smart, stable people in their orbit who either benefit enough from the central figures success, or (as I suspect in the case of Trump) have too much to lose, that they keep that figure from flaming out.

      The problem with Trump is he’s hit the pinnacle. The smart people can no longer restrain him with things like, “If you do that, the NY AG will come after you, or that other CEO will sue you and you will lose, etc..” Even now, he figures McConnell has his back because McConnell has too much to lose if Trump is impeached.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      This is who he has always been. On the day of his birth the doc probably told Fred “congrats on the birth of your 9lb baby Id.” Of course in a baby that is normal but nothing else ever developed. So his raging all consuming Id is all he knows or wants. If there ever was a “rosebud”, which i doubt, he would have gladly forgotten it or despise it if he recalled it.Report

    • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      he is a man who has been utterly consumed by his id. There is no functional superego left to pronounce any form of moral self-government, for the ego that tempered that voice of internal judgment and condemnation was itself squashed a long, long time ago.

      I’m not prepared to say that. I can’t see into his heart, or into anyone’s heart, enough to say he is beyond redemption. (You didn’t say that in your comment, but it’s strongly implied.) If it is true, then it’s a very sad story. He’s a Gollum or a Saruman, not a Sauron. Even if he is Sauron, I don’t think any of us can know it.

      It’s fair to infer from what I say here that I feel sorry for Trump, and my pity probably comes from a place where on some level I can, in a weird way, identify with him. I say it’s “weird” because I don’t believe I’m insecure in the way he is. But I admit his messaging (and I admit, that includes his racism) appeals to me at a base level of which I’m not proud. While I’m admitting things, I should also admit that if we tweak who we’re talking about, and if we talk about someone for whom I’m not particularly inclined to have compassion, or about a politics that doesn’t have the same visceral appeal, I’d be strongly tempted to be the one saying that X person is beyond redemption.

      None of that means I believe Trump should stay in office or should have been elected in the first place. My (now eroding) opposition to impeachment has been based on practical concerns.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Burt,

    My view is that Trump has all the instincts of a carnival barker which is what made him so successful on places like Reality TV, WWE, etc. In another life, he would have been the best used cars salesmen somewhere.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      My guess is he knows more than anyone about selling used cars.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      That sounds about right – he’s a short-con kind of guy, who managed at his intellectual peak to maintain the attention span for mid-term cons. Never a long-con guy.

      And now he’s in a position where everyone is scrutinizing his completed cons. In his experience to date he’d already have pawned the mark’s watch and forgotten the whole affair, and the mark would have written off the loss. This whole being held to account thing is new to him.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      You’ve all given some really compelling reasons for why Jeb! crushed Trump in the 2016 primary. I can actually see it now! From the moment he walked down that escalator, Trump never stood a chance running against seasoned politicians, so I can see why nobody took him seriously, and still shouldn’t.Report

  9. Avatar JoeSal
    Ignored
    says:

    8. “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.”

    It’s pretty obvious what the left is doing, it would be no surprise that Trump mirrors the tactic, and looks just as whack. It’s no big sin to be whack when the system has been built on whack for decades.Report

  10. Avatar OnceForPence
    Ignored
    says:

    It is sort of amazing. Everyday, Trump gets on Twitter and gives Democrats another item to include in the articles of impeachment: witness intimidation, threats against legislators, expressions of intent and willingness to break the law, threats against the whistle blower.

    Leave it to Trump to make me pray for a President Pence.Report

  11. Avatar gabriel conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    I almost never agree completely with anything, but I agree with this post, Michael.

    I know I’ve said this before (and recently), but even if impeachment won’t work, even if it will backfire and fail as I fear it might, it might be the right thing to do and its being the right thing to do might make it an argument even though it will probably fail and backfire. (Just because I agree with your post doesn’t mean you necessarily or by implication agree with me here. I’m just elaborating my own views.)Report

  12. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    Relevant to Trumpish things, although not impeachment specifically:
    https://www.agweb.com/article/feds-seize-million-pounds-of-smuggled-chinese-pork

    This matters because the primary feed that Chinese pig farmers use is soybeans, so next time someone tells you that the reduced global demand for soybeans is a result of That Dumbass Orange Bastard’s Trade War, keep in mind that all the pigs in China died of swine flu last year…Report

  13. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    So this morning Trump had his Col. Jessup moment, going on live tv asking both China and Ukraine to investigate his political opponent.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      There’s no way Ole Donny can wriggle outa this jam.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        So you’re not a bit curious how a guy with drug and alcohol problems can fly to China with his dad and come back with $1.5 billion in Chinese government connected investments for his firm? I’m curious. Were the Chinese told that US-China policy was contingent on letting Biden’s son play with a billion Chinese dollars?

        I’m also curious as to how he joined the board of a construction company and then three weeks later the company got $1.5 billion in Iraqi house construction contracts from the US government. How did he know to join the board three weeks before the award of the contract? Why did the board hire someone with no construction experience?

        I’m curious as to why another of Joe’s relatives told his own company that with Joe becoming Vice President, they were going to rake it because overseas runways were lining up with 747’s packed with cash, ready to business with his firm.

        I think any competent executive would investigate the heck out of all that, leaving no stone unturned. The US government is not a multi-billion dollar slush fund for politician’s drunken relatives.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          “The US government is not a multi-billion dollar slush fund for politician’s drunken relatives.”

          Imma just leavin’ this right here.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            And two years of the most intensive investigations of Trump, which are possibly the most intensive investigations in US history, in which Trump turned over millions of documents and terabytes of data, have come up with diddly and squat.

            That’s because Trump didn’t need any illegal money because he already had money coming out of his ears. That’s quite unlike other people who were poor nobodies when they entered politics, worked as public servants for their entire lives, and yet somehow ended up owning mansions all over the country and managing multi-billion dollar self-named charities and institutes.

            Trump relatives were rich before he entered politics. Jared Kushner and Ivanka were worth about a billion. Jared’s family was worth almost $2 billion in real estate, which they got into after surviving the Holocaust, starting out as carpenters. Jared’s brother got rich in tech, and was one of the early investors in Instagram. Their work for Trump is unpaid, and Trump doesn’t even take a salary. He also doesn’t touch alcohol.Report

        • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          Nothing anyone else does, not Biden, or Hillary, or the toothfairy, excuses anything Donald Trump, or Biden, or Hillary, or the toothfairy, has done. This is a simple concept, yet does require mastery to further understand the more complex principles life is going to throw at us.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Andrew Donaldson
            Ignored
            says:

            Nothing anyone else does, not Biden, or Hillary, or the tooth fairy, excuses anything Donald Trump, or Biden, or Hillary, or the tooth fairy, has done.

            Excuses? Of course not. However…

            How interested was the Press in chasing this sort of thing when Obama was in office? Not at all?

            What happened to HRC? She was given the nod to run for President?

            But it’s really, really important that Trump be removed from office… for something.
            Doesn’t really matter what.

            My expectation is unless you can move his base, in a year the Senate will decide the election is too close so they’ll leave it up to the voters.

            My other expectation is you need more than him pointing to a corrupt Democrat to move his base. Him doing a full meltdown might do it, him breaking the law would also do it, but it needs to be a law you’d enforce against Team Blue.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              Hmm full meltdown and breaking the law. Do you mean just this week or over the course of months. Do repeat felonies count? How many fully sopping wet melted tweets do we need to call it a full meltdown or do a handful of partial meltdowns count? So many questions.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                How many fully sopping wet melted tweets do we need to call it a full meltdown or do a handful of partial meltdowns count?

                Responding to tweets, or even listening to them, is like a Bull going for the red cape in a Bullfight. It’s not a path to victory.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Ahhh, standard tactic 2C: Just ignore the shite you can’t defend. Claim it doesn’t exist and shout squirrel until something new comes along. It’s a classic tactic by now. Like an off tackle run in football. Dependable, predictable and boring.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                I would say Trump is the one yelling “squirrel” and your side are the ones leaping into action every time he does.

                Every time a Troll makes a tweet you want to treat this as a National Emergency? And that’s a better tactic than ‘don’t-feed-the-troll’?Report

            • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              I refer every point you made after the “however” to my original statement Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          Why did the board hire someone with no construction experience?

          And there you go. This has happened to him 4 or so times. The oil company when he has no oil experience (and didn’t know local law, and didn’t speak the language). The investment fund when he has no investment experience. The bank which made him executive VP when he was just out of school.

          And I’m not sure how many of these companies had extensive dealings with his father, maybe all of them. The bank did, it’s in his home state and they’re one of his big backers. The oil company seems to have. The fund is in a class by itself in China.

          Supposedly there’s a “fire wall” between the son’s and father’s activities, but how we square that with Hunter flying to China with his VP father on the official US airplane to meet high level officials idk.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s the thing, is he never “wriggles out”;

        He openly admits to corruption and his followers and Party join in a chorus of “Damn right, Code Reds are terrific!”Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          How is it corrupt to investigate rampant billion dollar corruption that was apparently part of some international shake-down operation run by the Obama Administration? And make no mistake, Biden is now throwing Obama under the bus, saying all the goings on were part of “administration policy”. Obama, of course, will start shooting back to protect his legacy.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            For the President to ask a foreign government to investigate his political rival is an impeachable abuse of his office.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Um, so we get to put Obama in prison for having his minions ask all kinds of foreign governments for dirt on Trump? What do you think the Steele dossier was? What do you think the whole Comey and Mueller investigation was?

              And wouldn’t you know it, during the 2016 election the DNC asked the Ukrainian ambassador for dirt on Donald Trump.

              Apparently asking for dirt (which Trump didn’t do, he’s asking them to investigate corruption, as opposed to trying to get pee-pee photos) is only an abuse of office if Republicans do it?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                What do you think the Steele dossier was?

                A presidential campaign paying a foreign company for information is the same as using the power of the presidency to extort a foreign government into starting an unfounded legal investigation. Right?

                And wouldn’t you know it, during the 2016 election the DNC asked the Ukrainian ambassador for dirt on Donald Trump.

                Weirdly, the DNC is not the president.

                And before you go ‘There’s no difference between the candidate and president’, the difference isn’t who did it. The difference is the president _using the power of the presidency_ in that. (Whereas the DNC, of course, obviously couldn’t.)

                If Donald Trump wants to contribute $250 million dollars to his campaign, and offer that to the Ukraine if they will investigate someone, that…well, that actually would be a bribe and illegal under the foreign corrupt practices act, but it at least wouldn’t be an abuse of the office of president, I guess.

                Using US government funds for that, or rather to threaten to withhold them unless that happens, however, is an abuse of office. (No matter if the president thinks can he can wink wink nudge nudge it without coming out and saying it in the official transcript…which we don’t actually have, and we have some suspicious ellipsis near those areas, so…it’s entirely possible he did actually slip once and say it bluntly. His staff certainly _panicked_ after the conversation like he did.)

                If the president wants to spend $250 million of his own money (after sending it though the campaign reporting it that way as required by law) to put a bounty on information about any possible misbehavior about Hunter Biden, he is welcome to do that.

                But that’s not what happened.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                All they’ve got left now is the old “Hey Look over there!”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                To what extent is “whataboutism” a tell, do you think?Report

              • Avatar Daniel L Buss in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Using US government funds for that, or rather to threaten to withhold them unless that happens, however, is an abuse of office.

                When I look for it, I see multiple sources claim that Ukraine didn’t know the funds were frozen much less why.

                If true that’s a serious hole in this argument.

                It’s possible that information is wrong. It’s possible Trump forgot to tell them. It’s possible Trump froze them for some other reason that’s unconnected.

                It’s even possible there is no connection, and in a year this will look like a witch hunt. We’re going to use all the oxygen for the next year to figure that out.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Daniel L Buss
                Ignored
                says:

                When I look for it, I see multiple sources claim that Ukraine didn’t know the funds were frozen much less why.

                Uh…huh? How would the Ukraine not know the funds were frozen? They clearly hadn’t gotten them, and the White House had _said_ they were giving them since basically May.

                I think the claim they didn’t know is simply that, about a week before the call, Trump ordered another delay. And it seems likely that the Ukrainians wouldn’t have known about that specific new delay yet at the time of the phone call.

                But…so? Like, what does that prove? He calls them up, they talk about how they are going us the funds we’re giving them, Trump talks about how ‘I would like you to do us a favor though…’, and then _later_ the Ukrainian government learn the aid had, once again, been inexplicably delayed?

                Huh. Wonder what conclusions they’re supposed to reach about that? Maybe those…favors that were mentioned…

                Changing the hypothetical order of this doesn’t help Trump at all.

                It’s possible Trump froze them for some other reason that’s unconnected.

                Well, there’s always the ‘He’s being blackmailed by Putin’ theory, I guess.

                So, that then, unconnected to that delay, he asked Ukraine for two favors? And then, after that, his entire staff went into panic mode because _they_ thought he’d crossed a line. And he just…shrugged?

                Which, speaking of that, some new stuff: https://www.mediaite.com/tv/its-crazy-fox-news-obtains-texts-between-us-diplomats-discussing-trump-pressuring-ukraine-on-biden/

                In fact, there’s an interesting line in that, the one attempting to defend the president:

                “The president has been crystal clear: no quid pro quos of any kind.” (And then, hilariously, ‘I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.’. Heh. Ya think?)

                And…there you go. I mean, honestly, that, right there, is damning enough. It really sounds like the president was trying to _rules lawyer_ his abuse of power by just…wishing really hard and insisting it not be called that. And _everyone_ around him knew it was happening.

                It’s outright mafia behavior….he thinks as long as he doesn’t say _very specific_ words, and instead just hints at and dances around the point, he’s good.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                He calls them up, they talk about how they are going us the funds we’re giving them, Trump talks about how ‘I would like you to do us a favor though…’,

                Feel free to quote exactly what he said. It’s a five page document on a short call. It should be really clear.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                …I somehow feel we shouldn’t continue this discussion as if this was happening in some sort of void. The Democrats did a major document dump late last night that pretty clearly shows that, to quote Josh Marshall, ‘Trump’s whole Europe/Ukraine team spent months, along with Rudy, trying to get the Ukraine to publicly announce investigations of Bidens and exonerate Russia of election interference in exchange for White House meeting and guns.’

                https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1179958143771656194

                They literally _agreed on the language_ that the Ukrainian president would use to announce the investigation. Although note _they_ were smart enough to keep calling it investigating Burisma instead of ‘Biden’. Trump, of course…is not that smart.

                Oh, and note the references to ‘meetings’ in the full transcript. Because that’s apparently how it works: The aid to the Ukraine _mysteriously_ got held up, and the administration promised to meet with the Ukraine if they’d go along with announcing these investigations he wanted. And until the two countries could meet, well, it’s hard figuring all this funding stuff out, not really a priority. Simple to clear all that up, really, just need to meet…but really no time on the schedule for that, unless you guys were announcing some new investigation or something…

                And that’s how there was no ‘quid quo pro’, Trump thinks. All he ever promised was meetings with the Ukraine, and he didn’t even really promise that.

                Hilariously, all this didn’t work because, as Bill Taylor pointed out, the Ukrainians were worried they’d do the announcement and _still_ not get the promised funding. Probably because they didn’t quite follow the Trump Administration wasn’t putting that agreement in writing for a very specific reason.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Josh Marshall is out in la-la land. He has a scoop that Mike Pompeo was in on the call with Ukraine but (drum roll) didn’t report the call to the FBI!

                Part of Mike Pompeo’s job, along with others from the NSC, is to sit in calls to foreign leaders. The FBI isn’t kept in the loop because they’re supposed to be out there catching spies and kidnappers (or, under the Obama Administration, rigging US elections). The FBI is not part of the US diplomatic establishment. I’m sure the FBI was called zero times with breathless reports on Obama’s calls to foreign leaders.

                Josh is also redefining quid pro quo to mean any agreement to do anything. Under his working definition, Obama was guilty of quid pro quo at his kitchen sink when he agreed to rinse while Michelle washed, or vice versa.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                “Josh is also redefining quid pro quo to mean any agreement to do anything. ”

                I bet there’s a lawyer or three around here who can translate “quid pro quo” into English, if you ask nicely.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I bet there are, and FEC lawyers have long ago decided that information isn’t “something of value.” You’re going to need to uncover some cash, such as perhaps the kind that was being paid to Hunter Biden.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        Clearly Trump doesn’t view this as being illegal. I’d say he also doesn’t view it as unethical, but keep in mind he doesn’t think making his contractors sue him to get their money is unethical.

        There’s no way Ole Donny can wriggle outa this jam.

        Oh there’s one. He could be right.

        It’s not clear to me we’re in “Trump should be arrested” territory or whether it’s more “Trump is vile” territory.

        If it’s the later then the GOP could well decide they hired a very nasty man for a nasty job.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          It’s not clear to me we’re in “Trump should be arrested” territory or whether it’s more “Trump is vile” territory.”

          Dark, you’ve believed that ever since he was elected. That you have the same view about Trump extorting Ukraine for political favors isn’t surprising to me.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *