A Moral Imperative

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Aaron David

A fourth generation Californian, befuddled.

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  1. Avatar Nevermoor
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    says:

    Shorter: GOP tries to invent requirement, Pelosi says “pound sand.”Report

  2. Avatar Marchmaine
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    I don’t think there’s a requirement to have an inquiry at all in order to have a vote on articles of impeachment as long as they don’t need to investigate the president and/or subpoena information that the President will shield.

    So, in the event that Pelosi thinks there’s enough (or will be enough) to impeach without compelling the material cooperation of the Executive Branch, then this is a smart move.

    If, however, she needs to subpoena Executive materials to make their case, then I think the Executive will be able to successfully argue that absent a formal impeachment process and/or Special Counsel Executive Privilege cannot be pierced… else simple inquiry/oversight powers in Congress could always be standing Impeachment powers, and I doubt the SCOTUS will allow that.

    So I don’t think this tells us much about whether there will be *an* impeachment, but it probably signals that it won’t be an impeachment requiring, say, tapes from the Executive office (do they still do those?). Or so signals this magic crystal I have.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
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      Here’s Crazy Jaybird’s thought: There’s going to be another Special Counsel.

      Special Counsel 2: Electric Boogaloo.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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        Don’t think so. Barr hasn’t even recused himself yet which he should have. He will never authorize or cooperate with a new SC.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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        If Trump is re-elected(!) certainly… but between now and Nov2020? I suppose it depends on what the goal *really* is… if it is impeachment, then there’s not enough runway. If it’s (I hate to say it) Benghazi like pot-stirring, then sure.

        As I said in the Watergate thread, I think trying to base impeachment on a weird Matlock courtroom/investigative drama is the wrong path… there’s possibly a path that appeals to (some) Republican sensibilities that the President is Derelict and Unfit which doesn’t require Narcissistic psycho-babble but more of a reference to the UCMJ (not that the president is subject to the UCMJ). That is, stop talking about the technicalities of obstruction and go right to the plain text.
        Ultimately its all about the framing of the Articles and the justification provided to Republican Senators to install President Pence.

        Now, if I’m going to 3D chess mode, I’m wondering if Pelosi is stringing this along until deadlines for various state election laws are past such that if Trump *is* impeached, then he’s the only Republican who can be on the ballot… but he’s de jure ineligible for the Presidency… so the Democrat runs un-opposed.

        4D Chess, however, says that once those deadlines are crossed, it would be metaphysically impossible to get any Republican Senators to convict. So, 3D chess would be too clever by 1D.

        At which point we’re back to 2D chess wondering if the goal is impeachment or Benghazi.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
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          I think Pelosi is going with the strategy of “when you grab them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow”.

          That is build public support for impeachment to the point where Trump’s reelection is doomed and the downdraft takes out one or two vulnerable Senators.

          For example, Amy McGrath is just about tied in the race for McConnell’s seat. Its entirely conceivable that come next summer he could find it in his best interest to throw Trump to the wolves to squeak out a win.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Marchmaine
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          Impeachment and conviction wouldn’t disqualify the President from being re-elected and serving a second term, or the Constitution would list non-removal as one of the requirements of the office. Since a partisan impeachment sham would make Trump a shoe-in, it would give us Trump 45, Pence 46, Trump 47 in the Presidential Coin set. Democrats might try again, digging for dirt to come up with something new, to give us Pence 48, and then Pence could run two more times so that the Dems wouldn’t face a non-incumbent until 2032.

          As an aside:

          Moody’s Analytics released the results of its 2020 prediction model on Tuesday showing Trump winning with 332 electoral votes, an increase over his 2016 win of 306, if voter turnout remains relatively close to the historical average.

          But their model was wrong in 2016, which was the first time it failed.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to George Turner
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            Stop George… assuming you are willfully ignoring Article 1, section 7 you are just sea-lawyering your way into nonsense.

            Regarding Impeachment and acquittal… sure, that might or might not help his election chances, depending on what charges and how the process is executed.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Marchmaine
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              Article 1 Section 3 says:

              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: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment.

              An office of honor under the United States doesn’t get a salary, and the Presidency does. An office of trust would be a judge under Article III, and an office of profit would apply to customs officials or similar salaried positions. Further, all offices “under the United States” are either created or regularized through legislation. No Constitutional offices would fall into that category. Impeachment and removal means Trump can’t be appointed postmaster, but it doesn’t mean he can’t be elected President.

              The legislature cannot constrain who the public elects as President, only the Constitution can, otherwise Mitch McConnell would have passed a law saying only Republicans can be elected President. Impeachment doesn’t do it because a corrupt and partisan legislature might themselves all be thrown out of office for railroading a good President, and the public would not be forever bound by their act of self-serving treachery.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to George Turner
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                No… there’s some question as to whether the Disqualification requires a second (simple) majority vote to add it to Removal; but in no sense is it bounded by the categories that you describe. The disqualification *is* Constitutional, so it isn’t the legislature passing a law it is the Legislature enacting a Constitutionally granted power of disqualification.

                At any rate, if Republican Senators vote to convict and remove… the worm has turned.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Marchmaine
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                The legislature’s Constitutionally granted power only applies to barring those who serve in offices under the United States. That’s an actual employment category, not a meaningless phrase thrown in to sound fancy.

                This question came up regarding the “no future government employment” penalties for things Hillary could have been charged with regarding mishandling of classified documents. Eugene Volokh and Seth Barrett Tillman, whose writings are frequently cited in US Supreme Court decisions, concluded that no legislation can place any additional constraint on who can be elected President, and that the three requirements stated in the Constitution were completely controlling. This would also apply down to the state level, as California just found out in court.

                The legislative branch has no power to ban someone from the Presidency, though they do have the power to remove someone who is President and is guilty of high crimes or misdemeanors.

                They could re-impeach, but such things get dicey. Kentucky went through a short period of near civil war after the assassination of Governor Goebbels (Dem) that was probably on ordered by the previous governor (Rep). The Republicans occupied the capitol with military forces and the two sides reached a compromise whereby the Republican troops would withdraw from the capitol in return from immunity from prosecution for those involved in the assassination. A few plotters were still tried and convicted, but Republicans controlled the court of appeals so the convictions were overturned multiple times. Nobody ever did figure out who shot the governor.Report

  3. Avatar greginak
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    Congress investigates stuff all the time. The R’s has like 7 investigations of Benghazi. Congress is doing exactly what congress does. They don’t need to vote on the Big I now. The entire discussion is just a distraction attempt. It’s not like they don’t’ have evidence, even on video, of him asking for foreign help in an election which is illegal. What has already come out re: Ukraine is pretty durn impeachable. That is without even knowing about the current closed door hearings.

    And of course he should be impeached based on the Mueller report for, at least, obstruction of justice. But discussing that would require everybody read the report so that is out of the question.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to greginak
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      I think it’s partially a question of ought vs. is.

      I mostly agree about the ought’s: about what congress does and should do. The legislative should have, in my opinion, very wide latitude when it comes to investigating the executive branch or quasi-executive branch entities (e.g., Fed Reserve, FTC, etc.). In that sense, it’s ridiculous to say the House must have a full vote on whether to begin an impeachment proceeding before doing an impeachment investigation.

      The difficulty comes with how well congress can do it if the executive challenges its (congress’s) every move in court. A related, but milder, difficulty comes when congress has to make its case to the public.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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        Well trump is stonewalling which is to be expected. So when the impeachment vote comes that will ramp up subpoena power. That Rudes is also defying a subpoena is bit more “special”. When the vote for the Big I comes trump will stonewall just as hard and drag things through the court.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
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      It’s not illegal to ask for foreign help in an election. Obama seemed to do it every week, on an open mic. Many of the various “summits” and G6, G7 type meetings are pretty much multi-national re-election campaign ads for everybody in the group photos. What’s illegal is foreign campaign donations of the financial kind.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner
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        Really? It’s not illegal to ask for foreign help in an election???
        Um the rest of that is just ridiculous and more misdirection tactics. Redefine everything as corruption so that trump’s corruption is just normal. It doesn’t mean T isn’t epically corrupt just trying to throw poo on everything else.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    What nevermoor said.Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck
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    (Trump wiggles out of the jam easily)

    Ah, well. Nevertheless,Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    Argle bargle flag with gold fringe something.Report

  7. Avatar Michael Cain
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    As a former legislative staffer, my first question is usually, “What are the House rules and precedents?”

    The rules say an impeachment inquiry begins when a member puts a resolution calling for impeachment “in the hopper”, ie, officially submits it. I believe such a resolution has been submitted. The rules require such a resolution be referred immediately to the Judiciary Committee. There doesn’t appear to be a requirement that the committee do anything with it. So far as I can tell, the rules are silent on whether Judiciary can farm out some of the investigative work.

    The main reason the rules are silent is that at the time of both Nixon and Clinton, committee chairs lacked standing subpoena power. So a resolution granting such powers had to be passed by the House, which stated the purpose, and made any decisions about which committees would be involved. Since Clinton, House committee chairs have been given standing subpoena power. Such power can’t be unlimited — the committees almost certainly can’t require, say, the entire Cabinet to appear every day.

    At least for me, it’s reasonable to expect the subpoena to state that it is in regard to a House investigation into whether the President committed offenses the House is willing to pursue with the Senate. Rather than, say, that the House disagrees with the AG’s opinion on whether a crime has been committed. I haven’t seen the subpoenas, so I don’t know what they say.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Michael Cain
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      I think the issue is the extent to which it is anticipated that the courts will need to be involved in any dispute over the subpoenas. When faced with a conflict between the political branches, the courts will scrutinize the nature of the competing constitutional prerogatives being asserted, and it may very well be important if the subpoena is asserted as part of an authorized impeachment inquiry, as opposed to in “aid of legislation” or as part of government oversight.

      For example, when the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued subpoenas as part of the “fast and furious” investigation, Obama ultimately was able to maintain deliberative privilege claims in the federal court, but not the executive privilege. Would the deliberative privilege claims have survived from an impeachment inquiry? Maybe not because the role of oversight is different than the role of impeachment. Also, worth noting that the court took over 3 and 1/2 years to resolve the subpoena dispute, not including the year or more back-and-forth before the courts were brought in. It’s probably too late to start down the subpoena path anyway.Report

  8. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    By “moral imperative” (your title for the post), I infer Aaron mean that the House voting, as a chamber, to commence an impeachment inquiry is a moral requirement, beyond any specific practical or legal considerations.

    If my inference is correct (and Aaron can correct me if I’m wrong), I disagree. If, as I gather from Michael Cain’s comment (which I may be misreading), committee chairs now have subpoena powers and have announced they’re investigating for the purpose of impeachment, I think that’s morally enough. I might object (on moral terms, not necessarily legal ones) if the investigations were ostensibly for some other purposes but in actual fact fishing expeditions for impeachment. But that appears not to be the case here.

    And to be clear: I’m against fishing expeditions for impeachment if there’s no hint of any fish in the waters. In this case, I believe there is at least a soupcon of fish, and in my view that’s all that’s needed in a moral sense, regardless of how guilty the investigators are of moral reasoning.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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      Whether or not one believes there is a soupcon of impeachable offenses, many on the left have declared there to be some sort of moral need for the House to impeach, with no heed to the politics of the situation. In other words, damn the torpedos, full steam ahead. What this signals to me, looking at the above article and quotes from Ms. Pelosi is that she doesn’t have the votes, even with party control of the chamber.

      Nancy Pelosi does not get to impeach anyone, the House does. And it does that with a vote. The Senate, at that point only, has to consider it. The executive branch can assume its privilege at any time and can site the fact that the calls for impeachment have failed, and thus it is right to do so. Thus, no pressure, and no moral imperative, as the moral stature of the House derives from its representation of the Populus.

      Could she investigate a la the Benghazi hearings? Sure, with as much impact as those had. There are all sorts of legal wrangling that can, and will be done. And we have the judicial branch to sort that out with any lawsuits that arise, as is each parties right. But Trump called her bluff on this. Thus, a whimper, not a bang.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Aaron David
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        Per my comments above, I obviously see it a little differently. But thanks for clarifying your own views.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David
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        I don’t understand.
        What do you mean, “Trump called her bluff”?Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David
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            That’s just silly.

            “I don’t wanna cooperate!” is not a legal argument, and anyway, people are in fact cooperating.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
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              Then she needs to hold the vote.

              We have two equal branches of government at loggerheads, but there is a way forward. And that is the vote. She is not able to do anything binding herself, it takes that vote to set the process in motion. Up above in this thread, PD Shaw quite elegantly explains the legal pathway that the house would have to take, as the executive branch does have rights and privileges. Where those lie without that vote is up to the third, co-equal branch.

              Her caucus, as you and others in this thread so graciously show, is foaming at the mouth for impeachment. The House is designed to be raucous and temperamental, to reflect the current will of the citizens. That she cannot get this with her party, your party, in control tells me that the supposed crimes, and I use the word crimes very loosely, don’t matter to enough people. She doesn’t have the votes.

              Trump has the bully pulpit, which he loves to use. He forced her hand, as I am sure she wanted to ride this until the election.

              And so it goes.Report

              • Avatar quid_pro_quoth_the_raven in reply to Aaron David
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                She doesn’t need to hold a vote. And voting just because Republicans are demanding it would show weakness. The fact is, in their Benghazi frenzy, the House Republicans changed House rules, and gave authority to the committees to conduct impeachment inquiries.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David
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                So i guess we should ignore the evidence from the various hearings when it comes out and the admissions from T officials. Gotcha. Narrative is all. There is no evidence or facts to look at.

                What is the take going to be when they do have an successful impeachment vote?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David
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                See, this is why I referenced the “gold fringe” stuff, where people whip out some bizarre rule that demands the world conform to their wishes.

                The House can (and is) impeach at whatever schedule it wishes, by almost any rules it sets forth for itself.

                Again, more Americans want the President impeached and removed than did the week before Nixon resigned.

                So Pelosi seems to have the upper hand here.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Yes, the House can fool around with impeachment proceedings by whatever schedule it wants, but without that vote, the Senate does nothing. As for subpoenas, the executive branch gets every right that everyone else in this country gets, along with executive privilege. If they think they are unlawful, then they get to challenge and resist.

                Again, if Nancy had the upper hand, she would have the vote and ride this to his ruin. But she doesn’t, and can’t.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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                Then she needs to hold the vote.

                We have two equal branches of government at loggerheads, but there is a way forward. And that is the vote.

                This is not only silly, but just a really bad argument. Regardless of whether Pelosi holds a vote or not, the evidence against Trump and other actors in the administration stands on its own. You’re relying on a process argument to effectively exonerate Trump, which is a form of partisanship on your own part.

                The argument for holding the vote isn’t based on formally legitimizing the final vote on filed articles, but a tactical one: that failing to hold a vote allows the WH to delay and obstruct via challenges in the courts. And depending on how the courts decide, the Dems *may* have lost valuable time by not having a floor vote.

                What you’re arguing is the equivalent of disqualifying the whistleblowers initial complaint on procedural grounds, despite everything contained in that complaint being corroborated by third parties, including Trump himself (and now Mulvaney as well).Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
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                “This is not only silly, but just a really bad argument. Regardless of whether Pelosi holds a vote or not, the evidence against Trump and other actors in the administration stands on its own.”

                Then she needs to hold the vote, Still. Everything else is just a pie-in-the-sky fantasy. Bullshit, if you will.

                I see zero crimes, and certainly nothing proven before the law. No, what I arguing is that the whole shebang is political at this point, at that she doesn’t have the votes to make it anything greater.

                That is kinda the point of having the whole thing so open-ended. If you cant the house to vote on it, when it only needs 50% =1, you just don’t have it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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                She only needs to if the courts decide that she does.

                I see zero crimes, and certainly nothing proven before the law.

                Seems like somewhere in the space between Giuliani’s bagmen getting arrested and Rudy being under investigation and Sondland and Perry flipping on Trump you’d see the possibility that Trump committed crimes.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Chip Daniels
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          It’s just misdirection and trying to control the narrative. There is actual testimony and confessions and evidence that is irrelevant to bluffs and who owns the narrative and the fox chyron.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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        Nancy Pelosi does not get to impeach anyone, the House does. And it does that with a vote.

        I can’t tell if you’re confused or being deliberately misleading here. There’s a difference between voting to open an impeachment inquiry and voting on filed articles of impeachment. Ie., she doesn’t need to have a floor vote on opening an inquiry to introduce articles of impeachment for a floor vote.

        Could she investigate a la the Benghazi hearings? Sure, with as much impact as those had.

        Interesting example here, since the Benghazi hearings played a major roll in tipping the election against Clinton.Report

  9. Avatar LeeEsq
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    Just admit you hate the Democratic Party and it doesn’t matter what the Republicans do. Just today we learn that a G-7 summit is going to happen on one of Trump’s resorts in property, a massive federal contract Trump is directing towards himself, and that we are ethnically cleansing the Kurds from Northern Syria for Turkey. Yet, the Democratic Party needs to follow made up procedures because you can’t abide by them and would rather have a fascist authoritarian weak-willed corrupt tin pot.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to LeeEsq
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      If I roll my eyes any harder, I am going to rupture another disc.

      Come on, at least have an argument.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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        I think the argument is that for some people 2+2=4 and for other people it equals 5.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Aaron David
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        Calling something out is a form of argument. For the past few years, you (and a bunch of other people) have gotten really angry at the Democratic Party seemingly because it does not require people you have an affinity/sympathy for in order to win elections. Maybe you are not quite willing to call yourself a Republican yet. Maybe you did not vote for Trump in 2016 and will not in 2020. Fine.

        But you do engage in goalpost moving and other rhetorical tricks whenever there is something that a left-leaning poster here (or maybe anyone) says against Trump and the Republicans. As far as I can tell, there is nothing that anyone can say that would convince you of anything if it benefits the Democratic Party or means giving some credit/credence to Democratic politicians and voters. So why bother?

        Lee is pointing out another example of Trump’s self-dealing and corruption. Former OTer Hanley who is very much not a Democratic Party supporter said the same thing on FB. Does that make it more colorable as a claim? Same with the abandoning of the Kurds and the humiliation of Mike Pence? If Obama did this to the Kurds, the GOP and I suspect you would be jumping up and down screaming bloody murder.

        So why bother?Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw
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          What goalpost have I moved? The whole time in this thread, I have clearly stated what I feel is going on. What I feel is legal and what I feel is political. Indeed, I have had to point more than a few times what I wrote. Do I go after the left on this forum? Sometimes, because I think, and your post here reinforces, that you are still living in a bubble. That you don’t want to look at things from multiple angles. I know many of my thoughts aren’t mainstream here, but as this is a forum for intellectual and cultural diversity. It isn’t Little Green Marbles, or whatever that site is called.

          Lee’s comment had nothing to do with the impeachment proceedings, nothing to do with anything I said and was basic liberal boilerplate. The type of thing that gets cut and pasted into comment fields without much thought. Was I a little curt? Yes, and for that I am sorry. But these things happen.

          By the way, you might not have noticed, but I am not Hanley. I am not Jaybird, nor Density Duck. In fact, I am none of the other dissenters from the Liberal point of view. (I am also never on FB.) Do some Libertarians dislike Trump or maybe like him. Yes, there are all sorts of opinions regarding this, as we tend to be an iconoclastic lot. It really depends on what aspects of freedom and liberty we feel are most important/attainable.

          Why bother? Because I enjoy talking about these things. You know, sharing my opinion, my little bit to move the needle, present ideas for others to think about. But you have been asking that of others who are dissenters lately. Do you not what to have your ideas challenged? Do you want to spend time in an echo chamber?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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            The whole time in this thread, I have clearly stated what I feel is going on. What I feel is legal and what I feel is political.

            Yet you say things like “Nancy Pelosi does not get to impeach anyone, the House does” as if investigating Trump what the word “impeachment” means, and I think that has everyone confused. Either you don’t know what you’re talking about or you’re saying it so confusingly that no one understands what you’re trying to say.

            Here’s the state of play, though: Pelosi and other leaders in the house can investigate Trump; they can subpoena documents and testimony from State, the DOJ, and the WH. They can file articles of impeachment and pass them out of committee for a floor vote. Trump would be impeached if a majority of the House votes to charge him with high crimes. And at that point the trial is conducted in the Senate. None of that requires Pelosi or the Dems or the House to vote to open an impeachment inquiry.

            ANd when you say Trump called Pelosi’s bluff, I think you need to understand the above state of play, but also that he hasn’t obstructed wrt the testimony of Volker, Hill and Sondland. Ohter people at State have also agreed to testify against Pompeo’s and Trump’s demands otherwise. He will, of course, try to exercise some form of privilege to prevent WH officials and cabinet members from testifying or from turning over WH documents, but he’d have done that even with a floor vote to open an inquiry. So I think you radically misunderstand that part of the game as well.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
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              This is just getting silly. You are only rephrasing what I have said. If you didn’t think I was being clear, ask me to rephrase things. Gabriel had no problem understanding where I was going, even though he disagreed. Honestly, I think you are so blinded by your desire for impeachment that you are skipping past much of what is written. Here is an idea, let’s revisit this in a month, see where we stand? Maybe put a wager on it?Report

      • Avatar Jesse in reply to Aaron David
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        Here’s my argument – Donald Trump could shoot a man on 5th Avenue and you’d figure out a way to blame coastal elites for it.Report

  10. Avatar Aaron David
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    Stillwater, moving down here to respond.

    Then she needs to hold a real impeachment hearing. It would help if it wasn’t only one party, behind closed doors, maybe hold some open hearings; you know, try to persuade people that this is actually a real thing and not Russia 2.0. As I said, Trump called her bluff on this. It looks partisan as all heck and petty. Or maybe the Lewandowski hearing made her team look too pathetic? It doesn’t help with all the lies that Shiff has told so far, either. Nor the coaching of the whistleblower, it being second hand, and Trump releasing the actual transcripts.

    Yes, she can try to use her bully pulpit a la Benghazi, as I said. It might work politically or it might not. Worth a try in that sense, but it doesn’t get you an impeachment trial.

    As for Perry, Rudy, and the others, I still have been shown zero crimes committed. Zero. What I have been shown is a whole lot of flailing rage and motivated reasoning.

    But beyond all of that, again, show me the crime.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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      Then she needs to hold a real impeachment hearing.

      Why what for no she doesn’t…..

      Look, she can investigate Trump all she wants. The only reason to make it “real” is to facilitate court decisions and subpoena enforcement and so on.

      It would help if it wasn’t only one party,

      You apparently have no idea how politics works.

      As for Perry, Rudy, and the others, I still have been shown zero crimes committed.

      And you’re entitled to you opinion.Report

  11. Avatar InMD
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    I think there’s a serious conflation of standards going on here and in these comments.

    Impeachment is a political power that can be exercised by a coequal branch of government. To complain that such a procedure is political or politicized is to misunderstand the nature of the impeachment itself. It is and always will be political.

    However the same sort of thing is happening when representatives and/ or the self styled #resistance on cable news analyze the subject in a hyper-legalistic manner, as though any of that is relevant. Either the votes are there and any political consequences are worth it or they aren’t. In this sense the legalistic attack is itself political and all the hyperventilation is silly, unless of course it works to the political advantage of the hyperventilating.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to InMD
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      Well put.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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        Huh? He’s arguing basically the opposite of what you have in this thread.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
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          What?! My whole argument has been that this is solely a political action by Pelosi and that it failed due to Trump outmaneuvering her.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David
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            How has anything failed??? There are continuing hearings and admissions by T officials that aid was held up to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival. It’s not all about narrative or bluster. There is substance also.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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            Whahuh?

            My whole argument has been that this is solely a political action by Pelosi

            It’s a “political action” by Pelosi because, as InMD points out, impeachment is *necessarily and inherently* a political action. Your argument is that being politically motivated makes it illegitimate. He’s denying that. And he’s right. Also, per InMD’s comment it only “fails” (your word) if the the votes aren’t there. As of right now, there is a majority in the House ready to vote to impeach.

            I mean, this much should be obvious: Pelosi and the House Dems have the legitimate authority to investigate, file and vote on articles of impeachment against Trump. You seem to reject that they do, by repeatedly focusing on the process (“they need a floor vote!”) or substance (“Trump committed no underlying crime!”).Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              And I will just repeat what I said initially to Gabrial:

              Whether or not one believes there is a soupcon of impeachable offenses, many on the left have declared there to be some sort of moral need for the House to impeach, with no heed to the politics of the situation. In other words, damn the torpedos, full steam ahead. What this signals to me, looking at the above article and quotes from Ms. Pelosi is that she doesn’t have the votes, even with party control of the chamber.

              Nancy Pelosi does not get to impeach anyone, the House does. And it does that with a vote. The Senate, at that point only, has to consider it. The executive branch can assume its privilege at any time and can site the fact that the calls for impeachment have failed, and thus it is right to do so. Thus, no pressure, and no moral imperative, as the moral stature of the House derives from its representation of the Populus.

              Could she investigate a la the Benghazi hearings? Sure, with as much impact as those had. There are all sorts of legal wrangling that can, and will be done. And we have the judicial branch to sort that out with any lawsuits that arise, as is each parties right. But Trump called her bluff on this. Thus, a whimper, not a bang.

              We seem to be going around in circles at this point, so I might as well start at the beginning. As you can see, I talked about how Nancy the P can do as she likes, as can every other player in the whole game. Again, coequal branches.

              But, and let me stress this, there are some legal factors that InMD didn’t mention; the Senate only has to take up the impeachment if there is a vote of the whole house; every subpoena is a legal document, and as such, everyone who receives one can deal with it exactly as such. Meaning going to court, filing suits, various legal wranglings, you name it. Not once have I disputed this. But I will also add; every one of those actions is affected by, and affects, the politics of the situation. This is a game that moves as you play.

              I have been stressing those two things (Vote and Crime) as they are the underlying facts of moving this out of the house. Because, as I have repeated ad nauseam, the Senate won’t care until that vote happens or enough of the public in districts that matter to enough of the necessary Senators thinks he should be impeached. Trying to sidestep those two items only shows how much of a witch hunt the left has created.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                the Senate only has to take up the impeachment if there is a vote of the whole house;

                A vote on articles of impeachment is a whole House vote, Aaron.

                You’re arguing yourself in circles.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                And that is what I keep saying Nancy doesn’t have the votes for.

                How many times do I have to say it? That is what the whole piece has been about.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Do you recognize the difference between articles of impeachment and an impeachment investigation?

                Or to use an analogy: Can you tell the difference between a criminal investigation, and asking a grand jury to refer charges?

                Because your piece literally argues that cops cannot investigate a potential crime unless a Grand Jury has voted to allow them to do so. Which is…news to the cops.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, and again, that is what I have been saying this whole time. Please, I beseech you, read what I have written. Hell, I will even quote the most relevant parts: Nancy Pelosi does not get to impeach anyone, the House does. And it does that with a vote. The Senate, at that point only, has to consider it. The other part: Could she investigate a la the Benghazi hearings? Sure, with as much impact as those had I am seriously starting to worry about the levels of reading comprehension among the left.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              To clarify my own comment, I agree with Aaron in part and disagree with him in part.

              Where I disagree with him is that I’ve seen enough, and if I were in the House I’d vote to impeach based on the conversations with the president of Ukraine. The Russian thing never convinced me, because it really boiled down to whether Trump defending himself in a highly partisan investigation crossed into obstruction of justice. The failure of that investigation to substantiate any of the core allegations (regardless of how many of his scummy associates were brought down from discovery of unrelated wrongdoing) made it a bridge too far for a blunt tool like impeachment. However I think the discussion of investigation of a political rival in context of delivery of aid illustrates a lack of judgment so profound that this guy needs to be out of office. I’d even take president Pence, which is a big risk considering I think there’s a good chance he’d be far more effective at advancing agendas I oppose than Trump has been.

              However, I am not a normal person, and none of us at OT are, which is where my agreement with Aaron begins. I think if Pelosi believes another drawn out investigation is necessary to make the case for impeachment then that itself is a huge sign that impeachment will not happen and cannot be done politically. It is also a gamble that the politics of said investigation will work out favorably for her and the Democratic party. At just over a year before the election which could rid us of the guy through the normal electoral process, I have my doubts that it is the right move, and I think it is most certainly not going to be as effective or important as getting the nomination right.Report

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