An Impeachment Inquiry is Not Going to Reelect Trump

Andre Kenji de Sousa

Andre writes from from Itatiba, São Paulo, Brazil.

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189 Responses

  1. Chip Daniels says:

    The reason the Clinton impeachment backfired was that it was seen as flawed and petty.

    Only the Trump deadenders are looking at this the same way especially since Trump and his people are now admitting to what they have been accused of anyway.Report

    • pillsy in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Yeah also like, a lot of people viewed the Clinton impeachment as retaliation for Nixon, and with some justification.

      In retrospect, with 20 years’ evolution in how we view matters of sexual harassment and consent, I think you can make a much stronger case that Clinton’s behavior bad enough to warrant impeachment.[1] However, I also think it’s important to remember that the Republicans who actually impeached him didn’t make that stronger case at all.

      It’s easy to forget, especially in our even more polarized current era, but sometimes the quality of the political arguments a party puts forward actually matters. I doubt Clinton would have been removed from office under any plausible set of circumstances[2], but it could well have damaged him and not the House Republicans that pursued it.

      [1] Ordinary Times‘ own R. Tod Kelly makes the argument pretty forcefully here.

      [2] By far the most serious (and credible) charge of wrongdoing were Juanita Brodderick’s, and they were dismissed by Ken Starr. Given what we now know about his time at Baylor, that might not count for as much as one might think.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to pillsy says:

        Will the Trump impeachment be seen as retribution for the Clinton impeachment? Democrats are laboring to avoid that appearance and to focus on Trump as corrupt. But I, for one, take the OP’s point that voters as a whole are not going to ever be familiar with the intricate details of the corruption; they need to be sold a simple, direct, emotionally powerful message. “Trump sold us out to Russia.” “Trump sold out our allies in Syria.” “Trump hid the evidence.” “Trump squeezed Ukraine.”

        And then a critical mass of the voters have to decide that one or more of these are morally so objectionable we have to remove him. In face of other simple arguments like “And there’s nothing wrong with that” or “And everyone does it” or “What would you expect?” (Some of these simple rebuttals were deployed in defense of Clinton, IIRC.) It’s got to be a powerful enough moral revulsion that it persuades a total of 19 Republican Senators to signal they might vote to remove.

        It’s a tall order even with what, to me, looks like slam dunk evidence.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Burt Likko says:

          It definitely isn’t being touted as such by anybody I’ve seen, not even Team Red faithful.

          It seems like virtually nobody really wants to do a careful comparison between the current situation and the Clinton impeachment. Which is too bad! We only have three data points; we shouldn’t ignore one of them!Report

  2. These are all very good points and while I still believe impeachment proceedings will probably help reelect Trump, I could very well be wrong.

    One problem is that if there is impeachment, and if Trump wins reelection, people like me will say it was due in part to the impeachment, even though I’ll have no real evidence to support that it was some of the “other factors” you mention.

    Great post. It was fascinating to read it.Report

  3. DensityDuck says:

    I mean, it is definitely true that Bill Clinton did not get re-elected to the Presidency after impeachment proceedings were brought against him.

    “If Washington as a whole was less consumed with the impeachment of Bill Clinton someone would have thought that the people who exploded two embassies on Africa would probably try to strike the United States again.”

    probably what Washington thought was that people had already struck the United States and subsequently been caught, so they probably weren’t a direct threat anymore, and to the extent that anyone was then the intelligence services were watching out for it. The intelligence services, of course, that Clinton’s Executive Branch had put strong restrictions on in the name of protecting individual privacy rights and civil liberties, something that was done long before any impeachment investigations might have been an issue.

    There is this interesting line of historical revisionism developing, sort of an ex post facto slippery-slope argument where the Republicans are personally responsible for 9/11, going pretty much like:

    *Republicans started a bullshit impeachment inquiry.
    *Clinton blew up some stuff in Afghanistan to look tough and get some popular credit back.
    *Killing random civilians and blowing up buildings made Osama Bin Laden angry, so he formed Al Qaeda to get revenge.

    And I guess this post adds:

    *Because Clinton had to spend 110% of his time dealing with impeachment stuff he couldn’t personally review everything that every terrorist was doing and managed to completely miss Al Qaeda.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Expect to see stuff like “okay, maybe there was a bit of a point in Clinton’s impeachment and how Lewinsky wasn’t the point of it but evidence of the previous bad behavior… BUT! That doesn’t mean that most of the Republicans believed that and that made opposing it the proper response. Which is completely different from how these same principles are manifesting here.”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        I swear to God, I didn’t read Pillsy’s before I posted this.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

          Sometimes you should expect to see arguments because they’re obvious and well-founded!

          And this argument suggests that the Dems could, in fact, screw up the Trump impeachment even if it’s not a foregone conclusion that they will.Report

          • Mark Kruger in reply to pillsy says:

            This reminds me of guidance I received as a young father – never decide on punishments for your children while you are angry at them. Impeachment out of hatred or loathing for Trump WILL likely backfire I think. Impeachment that is dispassionate and has at least of a fig leaf of bipartisanship is the holy grail here. I have pretty low expectations though. 😉

            Also – you two think a lot alike!Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Mark Kruger says:

              Don’t be the only person you know how to think like.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                So what you’re saying is I shouldn’t know how to think at all?

                Phew! Definitely have that one covered!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                I occasionally encounter a statement that takes the form “I can’t even imagine how someone could support The Death Penalty” (or something like that… put “abortion” in there if your immediate visceral response is to say “whatabout”).

                It’s always given with something approaching Pride, though.

                I mean, when I say something like “I can’t do synthetic division!”, it’s with some shame.

                But when it comes to the positions of other people, some people seem to be proud of other people’s thoughts being opaque.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                People are often proud when they demonstrate solidarity with their in-group.

                Indeed, I usually find myself wondering if they really can’t imagine it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                No, I get it.

                I just come from a place where such announcements are phrased as preludes to “and I should know how to do that” rather than “and I don’t need to change, *THEY* need to go away!”

                And my culture is, obviously, better.

                (Well, until it gets absorbed into the other ones that do better jobs of rewarding members in good standing.)Report

            • pillsy in reply to Mark Kruger says:

              I think that if impeachment out of loathing is bound to backfire it will never work, which seems counterfactual.

              Really the bar is so high that I don’t see how you get to it without the fuel of intense partisan animus.

              And people are going to view it as much (and probably much more so) through their own perception of whether the President being impeached is a crook. That’s why I think this isn’t going to backfire: even a lot of low-key Trump supporters know he’s a crook.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to Mark Kruger says:

              Trump is impeachment-proof, because it’s impossible not to loathe him. Today he;’s tweeting about an “ultimate solution” for the Kurds. (I am not making this up.)Report

              • pillsy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I’m continually shocked at my ability to continue to be shocked by Trump.

                I was not expecting him to defend ethnic cleansing in so many words and yet here we are.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to pillsy says:

                Next up: Hugh Hewitt saying it’s justified because of Saladin.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to pillsy says:

                Trump doesn’t shock me.

                The Americans who watch him and thrill to his behavior does still shock me.

                But then I feel like I have been naive, and remind myself that on the eve of WWII, 20,000 Americans packed Madison Square Garden to praise Hitler.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

            Obvious, yes. I’d probably go with merely “founded”, though.

            The problem is that acknowledging your opponent last time that you didn’t acknowledge last time seems to come at very little cost.

            Unfortunately, it is easy for those of us down here to say “man, this should have played differently 20 years ago and so I ACKNOWLEDGE that the Democrats did something wrong!”

            Easy to the point where I wonder at those of us, down here, who remain unwilling to say it… and whether they’re providing cover for those at a level where, were they to say such a thing, would come at a political cost.

            I mean, even now, we see how some treat Gillibrand.Report

            • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

              I was going to say that as a signal its value is almost nil because it seems to be such an easy concession to make, but then again it seems like Tod got dragged pretty well in the comments and gets a fair amount of static for it on the Twitters still.

              Being dragged by people on your side isn’t the world’s biggest cost obvs, but it’s also not zero cost, and strong partisans in particular tend to avoid it pretty assiduously.

              Tod isn’t a strong partisan, but I’m pretty sure the OT commenter consensus would be that I am. Let’s just hope nobody on Team Blue notices these comments!Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

              “The problem is that acknowledging your opponent last time that you didn’t acknowledge last time seems to come at very little cost.”

              There’s also the way that Republicans speaking out on this-or-that thing get responses of “oh, really? You think that makes up for the rest of what you’ve done? And how come you waited so long to say something? And you really want credit for getting to the place where the rest of us started? And I don’t believe you really mean it, anyway.”

              But now we’re supposed to look at “after twenty years of thinking, I admit maybe we were wrong to defend Clinton” and take it as justification for claiming the moral high ground and denouncing Trump…Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Game Theory, man.

                If the goal is to return to a state of probable collaboration, I don’t see how these tactics will get us there.Report

              • greginak in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Sometimes what you know is wrong is also hard to admit for all sorts of reasons. It is easy for people to rationalize doing what is easy and also wrong. One way to keep rationalizing is to avoid looking directly at the act in question and judge is solely on it’s merits based on your values. Of course one common crude twist on that is the “What if Obama did that?”

                There has been oodles ( yes that is the technical term) of vicious name calling and sleaze in politics for years. If people want to get past that they need to stop using that history as a reason to keep being vicious and nasty. Most people don’t really want to get past that, they just want to recall the history as an excuse to keep doing what they want to do.Report

  4. Mark Kruger says:

    This is a great article Andre’ and spot on in most respects. I would only make two points. First, impeachment is designed to be bipartisan and involve bargaining between factions. At present it involves warring camps and hardened positions. That does not forebode well for the intended result of impeachment (accountable exec power). You make this case pretty well when you point out the unintended consequence may be more impeachment for trivial things.

    Second, and this is a bigger issue I think, while it’s tempting to say “Impeachment results in XYZ as we have seen by past experience of Clinton and Nixon” that _may_ be a fool’s errand for two reasons. First, Politics and government are remarkably different from both of those eras in size, balance of power and dysfunction. Second, it’s a reeeeeeaaaaaally small sample size. In truth we really don’t know how this plays out and we don’t have any real data to predict trends and results. We only have our own wisdom and assumptions – both of which may fail us. 😉

    Still the case as displayed is a reasonable prediction and I would not be surprised if you are proven right.Report

  5. George Turner says:

    One big difference between this and Nixon’s impeachment is that the “drip, drip” is going the other way. The Nixon story started as a burglary and the investigation slowly revealed that it was directed from the White House, and the slow drip of testimony kept making things worse and worse for Nixon.

    In this case all the drips seem to fall on the other side. Hotair: Breaking: Impeachment Witness Says He Tried To Warn About Ukraine Influence — With Biden.

    Biden was warned about his quid pro quo with Ukraine, its appearance, and the problems it was creating in trying to convince the Ukrainians to fight corruption, etc. On the 2016 Ukrainian collusion front, AG Barr now has Misfud’s Blackberries packed with information, and the upcoming IG report on attempts to rig the 2016 election against Trump is said to be as thick as a New York phonebook.

    Schiff’s coached whistleblower was a Biden person who had worked directly for CIA director Brennan, a key player in the goings on in 2016, and the whistleblower’s job at the NSC was to work directly with corrupt Ukrainian politicians who wanted to provide dirt on Trump. Of course one odd thing about that is that Trump had no business dealings in Ukraine, whereas obviously the Bidens had some big ones.

    In the Nixon impeachment, Democrats went after him and that slow drip convinced Republicans that yes, the facts keep indicating that Nixon was neck deep in breaking laws during an election and then illegally covering it up. In the Clinton impeachment, the blue dress and other records indicated the Bill had committed quite a few serious crimes, but the Democrats weren’t swayed that such acts rose to the level that warranted removal from office. They successfully portrayed it as a partisan attack about sex.

    In Trump’s case, I don’t see any Republicans outside the never-Trumpers in the swamp (like Romney) being swayed. The Democrat’s are stuck trying to make the case that the things Obama routinely did, like using aid for leverage, are only wrong when Trump does them, and their case that Trump used aid for leverage has already fallen apart because Ukrainians didn’t even realize the aid was held up. So they tried to claim Trump used extortion, but then the alleged victim, the president of Ukraine, says he felt no pressure at all.

    The case is the type where the defendant seeks a dismissal by saying “All of the acts the prosecution is alleging don’t, even if they were all true, constitute a crime.” In Trump’s case, Democrats won’t even convince any Republicans that Trump did anything that was even wrong or unusual, because it is critically important for us to understand the election rigging and foreign influence in the 2016 election. Indeed, Democrats spent two years desperately trying to tie Trump to it with the Mueller investigation. Now they’re going to argue that it’s wrong for Trump to do what they themselves spent two years doing?

    But it gets worse for them, because they have to focus on Trump’s actions, and Trump’s actions were all about digging into what they had done in 2016, when there is overwhelming evidence that in 2016, US intelligence was weaponized to rig the election, with names like Comey, Strzok, Paige, Brennan, Clapper, Crowdstrike, and Fusion GPS popping up all over the news. Indeed, it seems that the whole impeachment process was initiated when one of the people, who might be facing jail time for 2016, got panicked by Trump’s investigation.

    That’s going to produce all the wrong optics. It’s going to look like a bunch of corrupt coup plotters were afraid of getting exposed and prosecuted, so they cranked their coup attempt to eleven. Maybe their group’s text messages will have one that says “We go big or we go to jail!” The way things look to me is that Nancy got hoodwinked by Schiff, who manufactures evidence and falls for scams. She knows they have nothing, which is why she wanted subpoena power, in hopes that Trump will ignore the subpoenas and at least look somewhat guilty of something before the IG report is released. The IG report is going to provide a lot of that “drip, drip” those troubling facts and their implications that slowly change people’s minds and convince them that something, indeed, was rotten in the state of Denmark.

    Unlike Nixon or Clinton, Trump isn’t hunkering down, he’s doing the opposite, bragging about the whole thing in front of vast stadiums packed with people. He will campaign on it! He’s even telling Nancy to hold an impeachment vote.
    I don’t think Nancy expected that. She’d promised impeachment and now she has it, and Trump is gleefully pointing out the albatross around her neck. Meanwhile, the person dodging questions and hiding witnesses is Adam Schiff. Things like that matter in the court of public opinion. The Democrats can probably maintain their bubble, but they probably can’t maintain it in its current size. Those who aren’t deeply invested in the anti-Trump hysteria might just walk away, and if that happens the the Democrats could lose moderates and independents instead of pulling them in.

    Generally, in any impeachment, things start with a laundry list of potential crimes and malfeasance, and where there is smoke there is usually fire. This case seems to be quite different because Nancy bought a pig in a poke, going for an impeachment inquiry before she even knew the contents of the transcript between Trump and Zelensky and not knowing anything about the background of the whistleblower, or his veracity. After two years of witch hunts with the Mueller probe, Kavanaugh, Lewandowsky, and the rest, this falls into the same pattern – same coup attempt, same talking points, same inquisitors.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

      So I guess now the party line is, “Of course we promised a quid pro quo of aid in exchange for investigating the Bidens!”Report

      • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        I don’t think you quite grasp “quid pro quo”. As Mulvaney went to some length to point out, that is how US foreign policy has always worked, along with the foreign policy of every other nation. Obama would make aid X conditional on country Y doing Z. Just a brief time ago Trump very publicly made US foreign aid to the triangle countries of Central America contingent on them doing more to reduce illegal immigration through Mexico. So, in the last month or so, had Congress passed a law making it illegal for US foreign policy to do what US foreign policy has been doing since the American Revolution?

        Under a treaty negotiated and sign by Bill Clinton in 1999, the US and Ukraine are obligated to help each other investigate corruption of US and Ukrainian officials. Trump and Zelensky are abiding by that treaty by helping each other investigate the corrupt of US and Ukrainian officials. Is there something even questionable about that? If there is, why were Democrats cheering for two years as Mueller investigated Trump, looking for any whiff of foreign corruption? Why was that investigation started under the Obama Administration, when Trump was still just a candidate?

        Keep in mind, “quid pro quo” is the basis of all contract law. It means an exchange of things of value. Obama asked people to donate money to his campaign. Legally, he was “soliciting” donations. The word “soliciting” also refers to prostitution. With “quid pro quo” you are trying to to confuse an act like Obama “soliciting” donations, with “soliciting” a prostitute. “I mean, it’s all called “soliciting”, isn’t it? Impeach!”

        So, you have to determine whether there was any legal violation, since there’s obviously not an ethical one, unless we have to go back and impeach all past Presidents for making foreign aid contingent on fighting corruption and crime.

        So let’s look for campaign violations. 52 U.S. Code § 30121 – Contributions and Donations by Foreign Nationals, sections (a)(1)(A) and (a)(2)

        (a)(1)(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

        (a)(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

        Zelensky is a foreign national, so we have to find out what is “a thing of value” under the relevant laws and regulations. That takes us to 11 CFR § 100.52(d)

        (1) For purposes of this section, the term anything of value includes all in-kind contributions. Unless specifically exempted under 11 CFR part 100, subpart C, the provision of any goods or services without charge or at a charge that is less than the usual and normal charge for such goods or services is a contribution. Examples of such goods or services include, but are not limited to: Securities, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, advertising services, membership lists, and mailing lists. If goods or services are provided at less than the usual and normal charge, the amount of the in-kind contribution is the difference between the usual and normal charge for the goods or services at the time of the contribution and the amount charged the political committee.

        (2) For purposes of paragraph (d)(1) of this section, usual and normal charge for goods means the price of those goods in the market from which they ordinarily would have been purchased at the time of the contribution; and usual and normal charge for any services, other than those provided by an unpaid volunteer, means the hourly or piecework charge for the services at a commercially reasonable rate prevailing at the time the services were rendered.

        Well, helping his campaign with information wouldn’t count or else all his opponents’ gaffes would be donations to the Trump campaign. Criminal investigations likewise don’t fit the law because you just can’t head down to the courthouse and buy yourself some investigations. They’re not a commercial good or service.

        These are rather inconvenient stumbling blocks to charging Trump with some kind of impeachable offense. What he was doing was ordinary, normal, and legal. In fact, three Democratic Senators, on Senate letterhead, threatened Ukraine’s aid if they didn’t continue investigating potential corruption of the 2016 US election. If they support impeachment, will they also resign from the Senate for themselves doing what they are trying to accuse him of?Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

          So underneath all the Lionel Hutz-isms, you’re admitting that Trump traded foreign aid in exchange for a government investigation into his political rival.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Nope. The facts contradict that pretty strongly, both from the transcript and testimony from those involved.

            What I’m establishing is that even if we granted that all the allegations were true (which they’re not), Democrats still wouldn’t have a case to pursue because what they allege isn’t even a wrongdoing. In fact, Obama used US intelligence to do far worse, colluding with foreigners to frame a candidate instead of investigating possible foreign interference, and did so illegally. That would be a good case for impeachment. Trying to investigate those actions would be a horrible case for impeachment that will blow up in Nancy’s face.

            It’s like demanding an impeachment of Obama because he ate Michelle’s ice cream cone. First, he didn’t do it. Second, it wouldn’t be wrong if he did do it. That’s what happens when you impeach based on what’s behind door number three. Sometimes you get a box of Rice-a-Roni.Report

            • JoeSal in reply to George Turner says:

              Ya see the context magic being repeatedly used against you? Is this the second or third time on this?Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

              Now you’re just arguing with Trump and Mulvaney.

              You want me to report you to the Party for that?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Let’s try this again.

                1) Quid pro quo does not mean “illegal or unethical”, just as “solicitation” does not mean “prostitution”.

                2) There was no direct link between US aid and investigating Biden’s arrangement whereby his son got millions from Ukraine, or between US aid and investigating the hacked DNC server. There was, however, a holdup in US aid over concerns about corruption and getting European nations to kick in more of their own aid to Ukraine.

                3) The Ukrainians didn’t know that the aid had ever been held up until a month after it had started flowing. This wrecks even the claim of a normal quid pro quo because one side didn’t know they were or were not getting something based on their behavior.

                The problem on the left is that Trump Derangement Syndrome has produced a bit of emotional logic that goes:

                “Someone made an allegation X that Trump did Y, therefore X must be true and Y must be impeachable.”

                The problem is that X is false and Y isn’t even an offense.

                There could be, in an multiple-universe frame, worlds where Trump did something really bad that was impeachable, and the Democrats would be right in investigating and impeaching for it. If this is one of those worlds, then it’s one where the Democrats have completely missed whatever bad thing he did that was impeachable, and there just pretending that they’re in one of those other universes where there claims are supported by some body of facts.

                What we do have is today’s testimony that a top US official tried to tell Biden that his son’s business deal was a big red flag and pretty obviously corrupt. He was also trying to explain that we can’t tell Ukraine that we’re serious about fighting corruption when Biden’s own son is getting paid millions by the most corrupt company in Ukraine. That sends the message that the Obama Administration is as corrupt as they are and won’t actually call them out on anything.

                And then Biden threatened to withhold a billion dollars in US aid during Ukraine’s darkest hours unless they fired the prosecutor that was investigating Burisma. Burisma, by the way, was one of the principles that flew one of Adam Schiff’s aides to Ukraine days after the whistleblower surfaced. Schiff is likely in on it.Report

              • “Quid pro quo does not mean “illegal or unethical”, just as “solicitation” does not mean “prostitution”

                This is truly an amazing sentence…Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                Get over it.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                1.the act of asking for or trying to obtain something from someone.
                “he was a regular target for solicitation of funds”

                2. the act of accosting someone and offering one’s or someone else’s services as a prostitute.
                “a woman arrested for solicitation”

              • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                What George Turner (And all the presidents defenders) has missed in all his defenses is failing to distribute appropriated money is a crime.

                The Impoundment Control Act (ICA) of 1974:

                Go read that. Its’s short.

                Now, they will can argue whether or not failing to pay the Ukraine all appropriated money fit within the allowed reasons to do that (They clearly don’t), but regardless of that, Trump did not inform Congress he was doing that, and he certainly failed to tell them the reason. (Either the actual reason or any of the reasons he’s made up since.)

                In fact, he constantly lied and asserted that there technical hold up transferring the money, instead of it being a policy decision on his part. Everyone seems to be treating this as just a generic lie to Congress, and not illegal, but explaining things to Congress is a legal requirement to stop the money.

                The president ‘shall transmit to the House of Representatives and the Senate a special message specifying (4) the reasons for the proposed deferral, including any legal authority invoked to justify the proposed deferral; and (6) all facts, circumstances, and considerations relating to or bearing upon the proposed deferral and the decision to effect the proposed deferral, including an analysis of such facts, circumstances, and considerations in terms of their application to any legal authority, including specific elements of legal authority, invoked to justify such proposed deferral, and to the maximum extent practicable, the estimated effect of the proposed deferral upon the objects, purposes, and programs for which the budget authority is provided.’

                Everyone needs to stop pretending those funds were under the control of the president and that he had the right to hold them, and arguing over whether his supposed reason was justified. Congress owns all the money the government has, and directs the Executive to spend it, and the Executive, aka, the President, is given the ability to withhold it only if he follows this law. Which he didn’t.

                And why does this law exist? Well, check the date it was passed…1974. Failing to distribute appropriations is part of the reason Congress wanted to impeach Nixon, but he argued he wasn’t expressly forbidden to do that, and he had a point. So they made this very specific law, so the next time the president fails to distribute appropriations, he has to run it past Congress or risk impeachment. Huh. This is literally situation the law exists for.Report

              • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                Did Congress stipulate when the funds had to be spent? If not, nothing was deferred.Report

              • By statute, and supported by SCOTUS decision, during the fiscal year for which they were appropriated. Absent other statute that required them to be spent earlier. So back in May or June, any threat by Trump to withhold the funds past the end of September would have been unlawful.

                This is related to the bind that the Republican Congress put Obama in. By statute, he was required to (a) spend a certain amount of money on specific programs; (b) he couldn’t raise tax rates and tax revenues didn’t support (a); (c) he couldn’t borrow more because Congress hadn’t raised the debt limit. One of those things had to give. The “sane” Republicans were saying that clearly, Obama could choose which law to violate, so it was all okay.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Well then it’s a good thing the funds were flowing back in July!

                Second, you’re missing a threat to withhold the funds because the President of the Ukraine didn’t know they’d ever been held up until after the famous phone call.

                What you’re seeing is a desperate grasping at straws because instead of the wise techniques of a normal prosecutor, who waits until he has evidence that a crime was committed before taking legal action, the Democrats started on hearsay about something that didn’t even constitute a crime. So now they’re hoping something else pops up and they’re grabbing at literally anything that can be spun as a potential criminal act, even things Obama did almost daily.

                It’s similar to their recent outrage about Trump using the word “lynching” when every one of them used the same word to describe the Clinton impeachment. They don’t even go back to check the records of their own behavior, which was exactly the same, before hurling charges.

                This is not lost on the public, and it will be on everyone’s mind as they vote in 2020. One party tried to rig the last election and his been doggedly working every since to rig the next one, going completely insane month by month throughout the whole period. Bug-eyed crazy people generally don’t do well at the polls.Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                You seem to be forgetting that impeachment is a political process not a criminal one, though it has similar elements in its implementation. The first, last and only penalty is removal from office. The impeached person even gets to keep their federal pension. So while you might WANT the issue to be criminal and criminal only, a President can be impeached (As Clinton was) for conduct unbecoming (Which FWIW is a crime in the military).

                Along those lines, the House Chairs are in fact teasing from the initial whistleblower report to more factual testimony through their hearings. And like a good grand jury they are doing them behind closed doors. Once they are done it will all come to light.

                I don’t expect you to change your mind about the evidence, but its not crazy people arm waiving.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

                Impeachment is not supposed to be a political process. James Madison rejected that idea because it would make the executive branch subservient to the legislative branch, and make impeachment equivalent to a parliamentary “no confidence” vote.

                They didn’t want the President to be the equivalent of a prime minister, subject to removal whenever a temporary majority of the legislature finds him inconvenient, just as the President doesn’t have the power to suspend Congress or throw members in prison for crossing him.

                So he put in the phrase, “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” as a constraint on the legislature’s power.Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                You don’t do jail time when you are convicted in an impeachment – you just loose your job. That’s it. Its a political function designed to protect the executive branch from tyrants. Its not a criminal proceeding. Its not subject to the same rules because it doesn’t deprive anyone of life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. And while Madison’s ideas may indeed be the noble goal, that not how the constitutional language plays out.

                All that aside – AGAIN – this is being run as a grand jury investigation. Its entirely proper that its behind closed doors. There are sworn depositions that will become part of the Congressional record, even if they remain sealed for a certain number of years. And there are 45 republicans participating who have been given equal time for questioning witnesses. Those Republicans have even praised their staff attorneys publicly for those questions.

                So even IF the criminal investigation model is appropriate – and its not according to the constitution – there’s nothing illegal or unethical about how its proceeding. There’s nothing here that wasn’t done by Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, when he deposed a variety or witnesses under oath behind closed doors about Benghazi. He then followed that up with 11 hours of sworn public testimony by Sec. Clinton. which led to his committee issuing a report that said policies and procedures had been violated but no crime had occurred.

                Perhaps that will be the conclusion here. Likely not, But to continue to suggest that its being handled illegally – either as a criminal matter (which again, impeachment is not as it doesn’t deprive a convicted person of their freedom), or as a constitutional and political matter is to scream into the wind of facts that are easily verifiable.

                I understand why you are doing so, but you are loosing.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

                So why are the Democrats hiding all the testimony? Why won’t they let Republicans call any witnesses? There is nothing classified about these contacts between the US and Ukraine, and if there was, Trump would declassify it just as he did with the transcript of his phone call.

                This is quite unlike Benghazi, where almost everything involved classified information regarding our consulate, its mission, the presence of CIA, special operators, US military response capabilities, and reams of top secret information.

                It’s also quite different in that the Obama Administration was covering up its activities and had threatened US personnel who’d participated in the events in Benghazi, events in which the Administration refused to send in FBI investigators to collect evidence and wouldn’t arrest the people who led the attack, even though those people were giving interviews to reporters in hotel lobbies.Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                In a grand jury proceeding the defense is not present. Defense witnesses are not called. That happens at trial. same here. An investigation is being conducted to determine if impeachment is warranted. And yes, discussions by former diplomats, current foreign service officers, and the like are routinely done behind closed doors, as are briefings by most of the heads of intelligence agencies. That’s how its worked for decades as both sides of the aisle ran congress. And if a referral of articles is made to the Judiciary Committee, those same folks may be recalled to testify publicly as they will when a trial happens. Frankly given the Administrations orders to these folks not to testify I have no faith the President would declassify anything they said anyway. He doesn’t want them there under oath.

                As to the transcripts – same thing. Such discussions as part of routine congressional oversight never see the light of day. The transcripts of these depositions are properly being kept confidential from persons not on the committees doing the investigations. Should a referral and trail occur those transcripts will be released. Should any of that happen Republicans will call all the witnesses they want.

                Finally, given the President’s calling those who oppose him in his own party Human Scum, I’m not sure your side is on the moral high ground you think it is.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

                In a grand jury proceeding half the grand jurors aren’t barred from calling witnesses, nor are they prohibited from knowing what the evidence is, nor are they not told of any rule changes until the moment the rule is changed.

                On another note, the country has always wondered where Obama and Hillary were on the night of Benghazi, and Trump can and will declassify all the details because he punches back twice as hard.Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                Well you got one part of that right – none of the grand jurors are allowed to call witnesses.

                As to the evidence claim – every republican on those committees sits in those depositions. They hear exactly the same thing their democratic counterparts do. So while those not on the committees are at something of an information loss, they don’t get to play anyway.

                And my internet search says the rule Mr. Schiff and the other Committee Chairs are operating under were written in 2015 when Republicans controlled the House. If current Republican congressmen aren’t aware of those rules I can’t help them.

                How do you know Trump will declassify anything on Benghazi?Report

              • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Did Congress stipulate when the funds had to be spent? If not, nothing was deferred.


                The appropriation process does not say ‘Here is $X for the president to spend on this thing during the year’. The appropriation process basically says ‘Government agency shall do specific things, and the OMB shall give them $X to do it when they ask for it, except these few exceptions.’

                Now, we might have a different conversation if the two Federal involved hadn’t actually asked for their funds, but the fact is…they did. The Department of Defense and the Department of State both asked for their money in June, after their required reviews finished in May. At least…they said publicly that they did, at the time, and it seems very unlikely are lying.

                No, they asked, and the Trump administration had the OMB withheld the money from them.

                Now, if you’re wondering ‘Wait, why didn’t Trump simply tell the Department of State and Defense not to ask for their money? Wouldn’t that have worked?’. Well, no. Government agencies are directed to ‘shall’ do things and don’t really go rogue like that. These are professional accountants in charge of this stuff..the review is done, the law say the money ‘shall’ be send, so they put for a request for the money. It’s not a political process. It’s time to spend the money…better go get the money.

                Now, holding things up there, and not asking for the money just because they felt like it, would also be illegal. There’s a lot of regulations about this stuff, and things in the government aren’t optional. But…I’m not going to bother to prove that those agencies delaying thing would be illegal, because it doesn’t matter, they didn’t.

                They instead asked for money that was legally appropriated to them, for the purpose it was appropriated for, and thus, by law, the OMB had to give them said money…or come up with a good official reason not to, which they’d tell Congress, formally, for 45 days, etc, all the stuff the OMB didn’t do.Report

  6. Chip Daniels says:

    Add one more count to the impeachment charge:
    Conspiracy to obstruct Congress;
    “Trump supported Matt Gaetz stunt to send a message to Senate GOPers and to ‘trivialize the process’”

    • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      How is it “obstructing Congress” to insist that Republicans on the committee be allowed to know what happened in the committee that they sit on? That’s like charging a defendant with obstruction for insisting on due process.

      My housemate, who is a great criminal defense attorney and a Democrat, is appalled by what Schiff has been doing, which puts the entire legal profession in disrepute. Secret witnesses? secret testimony? The defense isn’t even allowed to know what the witnesses say. It’s a travesty even by Soviet show-trial standards, because at least with show-trials the defense was allowed to know what fake evidence the prosecution was presenting. Schiff is a fact witness in the case who needs to be put under oath to testify about how he worked to rig the investigation. He should be removed, and quite frankly probably disbarred, if not jailed.

      But on the bright side, he’s guaranteed that there is zero chance that Trump will be removed by the Senate. He’s also probably ensured that Trump will get re-elected and Republicans will retake the House and hold the Senate. So there’s that.

      One key to past impeachment proceedings is that they were bipartisan inquiries, not coup attempts by Star Chambers led by congenital liars. Even if you are having a coup led by congenital liars, you sure don’t want it to look that way.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

        When the facts are against you, argue the process.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          You certainly can’t argue the fact when nobody is allowed to know what they are.

          You may have gotten used to American legal standards, but now we’re under Bolivian rules. Under the new rules, perhaps Trump will just toss the Democrat House members in a secret CIA prison and tell us that we can’t know why he did it because “it’s classified”.

          As has been pointed out, when you through truth out the window, all your left with is pure power. Do you really want to live in a banana Republic where the government is a military junta that only gets replaced by other military juntas during coup d’etats, because that’s what Democrats are bringing about. If they refuse to abide by elections, then governance will be decided by military force.

          It’s your choice. Make a wise one.Report

          • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

            Right on Georgie. They should let R congressmen in those hearings!!!!!! Well aside from the R’s on the committees doing the hearings who have access to all the info and are taking part…but…ummm…arglebargle.Report

            • North in reply to greginak says:

              Remember how there wasn’t any quid pro quo because reasons? I live in Minnesota and you can see the smoke rising from the burning hulk of that argument that Taylor torpedoed from here.Report

            • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

              The Republicans aren’t allows access to any transcripts of the testimony. The only proof of who said what is Schiff’s word, and any transcripts he decides to freely edit, just as he did with the transcript of Trump’s phone call to Zelensky.

              This violates so many legal norms that it boggles the mind.Report

              • North in reply to George Turner says:

                That’s made up nonsense George, like a new standard of made up nonsense even. There are Republicans on those committees in the hearings. Of course they have access to the transcripts. They’re literally sitting there listening to everything that is said. Are they just blow up doll republicans? Donkeys in makeup?Report

              • George Turner in reply to North says:

                No, they don’t have access to the transcripts. They’re going on the news and screaming that they don’t have access to the transcripts. They can’t bring any recording devices into the hearing, so they can’t even make their own transcripts later. They staged today’s massive protest because they don’t have access to the transcripts. Other Republican leaders talked about it all day long.

                There is no independent record of anything that’s being said in the hearings.Report

              • North in reply to George Turner says:

                They’re sitting right there. They can write it down if they’re so inclined. And once the hearings are opened to the public they’ll go on the news and scream that everyone has access to the transcripts and that’s awful too.
                I notice your ‘it’s not quid pro quo” seems to be notable in its absence.Report

              • George Turner in reply to North says:

                Do you realize how stupid that is? That would get any case thrown out of court in about two seconds. “The defense attorneys were free to memorize the testimony as it happened, your honor!

                There are no transcripts they are allowed to access. They might not even be allowed to take notes, even if they’d taken short-hand classes, because Schiff makes up new rules every morning.

                And the Republicans are not allowed to give any details about what witnesses said because it’s an intelligence committee and Schiff won’t let them say anything. It’s all happening in secret, and there are no reliable records of anything that won’t have passed through the hands of a congenital liar who makes up fake quotes for witnesses and targets.

                Why are the Democrats hiding the witnesses from the public? What are they afraid of? Why are they taking testimony in an intelligence committee, which under the rules can be locked down, instead of, oh, a normal committee whose hearings would be open to reporters? Are their any state secrets involved in anything to do with getting Ukraine to investigate Democrats actions in 2016? No, there are not.

                You are not getting an impeachment out of this. Virtually everything said can be disregarded as hearsay and the fruit of a poison tree. If Schiff keeps at it, it will probably result in a line of Democrats on the capitol steps getting introduced to Madame la Guillotine by outraged citizens.

                People have a keen sense of justice and fairness, and though the 3 or 4% of Americans who dominate politics on Twitter might be all in for Schiff’s Star Chamber, you can bet that most are not okay with throwing out long established rights and protections and due process, especially because if they can do this to a President, they can and will do it to anyone else.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                George, polling on impeachment keeps going up. Is that part of Trump’s Kiev Trap? To mobilize the masses into supporting his impeachment? Genius.

                And what about Sondland. A real hero, right? Dem CCers want him referred on a perjury charge for lying to Congress. Man, the commitment of these guys is really something. The way things are going (according to plan, of course) the public’s support for impeachment will soon be so high Trump could – not that he will, of course, but he could – just cancel the election as waste of time, cuz The Trap.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to North says:

                “They’re sitting right there. They can write it down if they’re so inclined. ”

                people: “the Republicans just barged right into a SCIF, some of them had cell phones even”
                also people: “the Republicans can just take notes if they want transcripts of what was said during these secret hearings”Report

              • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Republicans who are on those committees have to give up their electronics every time the go int the SCIF. That’s how such facilities work. They all know that. And the Republicans on those committees have no problem obeying that rule.

                As to the transcripts – the only Republicans I can find objecting to the lack of transcripts are Republicans not on the committees. The one there don’t like what they are hearing and they don’t like not being able to grandstand for the cameras but they aren’t actually griping. Schiff has every right not to release the transcripts yet, just as trey Gowdy didn’t release the transcripts of the closed door Benghazi sessions until it was all over.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

                Republicans on the committee are the ones complaining they can’t see transcripts. House Intel Committee minority leader Devin Nunes is all over the news saying he isn’t allowed to see the transcripts.Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                Then he’s lying. Or you are because I can’t find any press release or statement by him or Jim Jordan or any of the other 45 people in the room that they haven’t seen the transcripts. They can’t release them themselves so no, other Republicans not on those panels can’t get them.

                That aside why does he need to see transcripts of a committee hearing he was in? Thats all about posturing for the cameras and not substance. He’s the ranking member – he sees everything Adam Schiff sees.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

                Jim Jordan isn’t on the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes is, and he’s on TV so much now that he might get his own cable channel. Check your Internet filters because perhaps someone doesn’t want you to know about that.

                Going on up the chain, here’s a video at Politico where Steve Scalise (the House minority whip who was shot on a baseball field by a Democrat with an SKS), repeats Nunes’s charges.

                In breaking news, McConnell and Graham are introducing a Senate resolution condemning the House Democrats “illegitimate impeachment inquiry.” In so doing, they are rejecting the impeachment sham, making it impossible to remove Trump from office via the Soviet style kangaroo court that Nancy is running.

                What’s amazing about all this is that any lawyer here could run an open and fair investigation because it’s trivially easy to do so. But Schiff can’t even manage that. He’s so incompetent that he’s wrecked the whole process.Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                Jim Jordan is on Oversight and government affairs – he’s the ranking member in fact – and they along with Intelligence and Foreign affairs are the three committees meeting together to take these depositions. All three committees are meeting jointly. All three are hearing the same things at the same time. Intelligence leaders when they need to – as is the care when SCIF level intelligence is being discussed.

                And if Nunes is all over the media, why can’t I find it? Why can’t I read about it on his congressional website?

                As to Scalise – He’s not on any o ft hose committees. He isn’t allowed to be in the room. I’m sure that gets his panties in a twist but its how the house works.

                And again – this is akin to a grand jury proceeding, not a trial. So its entirely appropriate to be behind closed doors at this point. Mr. Mueller deposed witnesses behind closed doors; Mr. Durham over at DoJ is deposing witnesses behind closed doors. The IG is deposing witnesses behind closed doors. Are we to assume that because they are doing so their processes are kangaroo in nature as well?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H says:

                Has Nunes’ cow tweeted anything about it?Report

              • JoeSal in reply to George Turner says:

                Dang George, why even debate this crap. It has all the optics of a soviet era closed door secret event.

                The dems can’t even have the damn door open when they have a meeting. It’s just a circus of fools any way you look at it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                This is an astoundingly ignorant thing to say. It’s like the Benghazi investigation never happened.Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                The people who always talk philosophy stuff don’t’ seem to burdened with factual knowledge. It is one of the definite advantages of being philosophical.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

                Would those be the Benghazi hearings where nobody was allowed to hear Hillary speak, and where Obama wasn’t allowed to see the transcripts of what she said, and where Republicans freely edited her testimony to add bits about murdering state troopers in Utah before releasing it?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                Yeah, thats the one. 80 some odd closed session interviews ending with public testimony from HRC (a grilling which Gowdy conceded was an “unmitigated disaster” for his committee). The one where Gowdy very publicly wouldn’t let non-committee members participate in closed session hearings.

                Yeah, that one! You get a biscuit!Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                Huh, that’s the one where Hillary ended up being the picture of truth. Try again, but with more top spin.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Trey “liberal spin machine” Gowdy called the optics of her public testimony an “unmitigated disaster” for the GOP.

                I saw the interview he gave after her marathon session. He was *visibly* shaken.

                Add: Since your memory appears to be selectively faulty, Joe, Trey Gowdy is Republican.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                You mean that leftist east coast lawyer on FOX? Whatever dude.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Yeah, the secret Democrat deep stater who only played a Republican conservative to get elected to the House and get appointed by his colleagues as Chairman of the House Select Committee to investigate Benghazi so he could exonerate Hillary.

                Quite a con artist, yes? He really knows how to play the long game.

                Stop Joe. You’re making a fool of yourself.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                Dress Gowdy up however you wanna, the whole “Republicans are doomed” thing didn’t work out to any end that he implied.

                Speaking of disaster, the tactic at throwing impeachment sketty at the wall and seeing if something sticks looks pretty sad after the umpteenth time.

                Hell if yall keep this up, maybe you can build a sketty wall.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Christ, this is pathetic.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                Maybe yall should try more sketty sauce and REALLY throw it hard.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Or, cite Trump a) admitting to an illegal quid pro quo, b) independent testimony that Trump engaged in an illegal quid pro quo, and c) investigate the men (always men) who broke laws to facilitate the quid pro quo. Rudy, huh? What a wild ride.

                I know yer boy George doesn’t think the two Ukrainian bagmen arrested two weeks ago were part of the Kiev Trap, but I think he’s wrong. That Guiliani and Barr and Pompeo are now implicated in corruptions is all part of The Plan!

                MAGA!! MAAAGAAAAA!!!!!!!Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                I know you live for this stuff, but your losing it man.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Joe, Trump admitted it on the transcript he released.

                He’s betting on you siding with him that he didn’t do what he clearly did.

                He’s conning you. Just like everyone else who purchased a Trump product for the last 30 years.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

                What was illegal about any potential quid pro quo? The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 authorizes the President to determine the conditions on which foreign aid is provided, and having Ukraine determine whether Ukrainian officials conspired to interfere and did interfere with the US 2016 election is a fine condition indeed.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                This is part of The Trap, isn’t it?

                Oh man, all those people who aren’t going to vote for Trump because they thought he violated his oath of office are gonna laugh and laugh when they hear about this!Report

              • Philip H in reply to Stillwater says:

                to most Republicans it didn’t in as much a Trey Gowdy couldn’t get anyone indicted. Its like the Republican investigation into the emails – backed up now by a Trump DoS IG investigation – there’s no there there so it didn’t happen.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Philip H says:

                “Well, sure. [clears throat, shifts buttcheeks on chair] Gowdy and the rest were never-Trump deep state Democrats who weren’t serious about exposing Hillary’s crimes because she told them not to.” [looks abjectly at pigeon poo on a shoelace]Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                [Looks at old media articles double dog swearing deep state doesn’t exist……looks at new media articles that swears deep state is here to save us….]Report

              • Stillwaterw in reply to JoeSal says:

                [Looks at Joe’s comment and wonders what the fuck happened to this guy.]Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwaterw says:

                [Looks at Stillwater and wonders how this whole “Stationary Bandit” thing is working out for him. Would he even claim this stationary bandit as his own?]Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                [Looks at Joe and realizes that he doesn’t understand the role the Stationary Bandit plays in political theory and public policy. Shakes head at Joe’s inability to grasp simple ideas.]Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to JoeSal says:

                [Looks at news articles about “deep state” prior to Jan 21, 2017, and finds nothing].

                Funny that.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Like lots of libertarianish folk lurking in the marshes, Joe’s explanatory theory of “the current” is built on counterfactuals, which he then lazily accepts as factuals because that’s what his theory requires.

                Libertarianism is an evidence producing machine which transforms counterfactuals into facts with remarkable efficiency.Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                Lots of liberarianish folk are very conservative re: their conspiracies, media consumption and general biases. They just all naturally hate D’s and liberals.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                “Leave me alone, I don’t think I should change” is a conservative sentiment.

                “No. I want to make you better” is a fairly progressive and compassionate position, especially when you really do want to make others better.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                If we could divide people that simply into two phrases that might mean more. But i don’t’ think that works in any meaningful way. Liberatraians, i think i’ve read a few of them here and i’ve always been left-libertarian sympathetic, very much have a vision of making a good society. And they are sure how to do it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Liberatraians, i think i’ve read a few of them here and i’ve always been left-libertarian sympathetic, very much have a vision of making a good society. And they are sure how to do it.

                Yeah. It’s usually some variant of “we, as a society, should leave people alone”.

                “BUT WE SHOULD MAKE PEOPLE BETTER!” comes the counter-argument.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah. It’s usually some variant of “we, as a society, should leave people alone”.

                Nope. The folks who say that are definitely *not* the left libertarians.

                But you knew that and took a shot a greg anyway. Oh well.

                Vector Theory!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Let’s pretend I’m an Idiot and actually think that Libertarian Philosophy (both left and right) can be boiled down to some variant of non-intervention/non-aggression principle stuff.

                If I’m wrong about left-libertarians on this, what are the principles that they mostly run with?

                (Because, sure, I don’t identify as a libertarian anymore, but I’m pretty sure that I was (and am) sympathetic to the libertarian arguments (both left and right) to the point where I understood what they were.)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Let’s pretend I’m an Idiot

                Easily done my friend!

                and actually think that libertarian Philosophy (both left and right) can be boiled down to some variant of non-intervention/non-aggression principle stuff.

                This is the demarcation point into neo-libertarianism. In the great old days (some!, but I think most) libertarians viewed libertarianism as the maximal *set* of rights (or liberties) that everyone could enjoy. The project had nothing to do with coercion specifically (since every law is a form of coercion) and rejected that coercion articulates a veto point on any policy. Earlier than contemporary libertarians, and certainly left libertarians, weren’t in agreement with that forumulation of the ideology.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                IOW, the NAP and anti-coercion strains of libertarianism are a *result of* the perceived failures those who argued for the maximal set of liberties which apply to everyone.

                Coercion, it seems to me, became the last refuge of the individualistic libertarian scoundrel.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, my take on the ideology is some variant of “if I don’t have the right to interfere in your life, I don’t see where The State would get the right to do so.”

                (And we see how this might get us to me being able to say “don’t pour that mercury in the stream!” and “your kids should learn to read!” but not “if you smoke pot, I’ll kill your dog”.)

                I can dig up old threads from the tweens if you want.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird: [deep inhale} Well, my take on …. [intermittent pauses to inhale and exhale while articulating words as the mood suits him].Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                A: “Here’s what you believe.”
                B: “No… I believe something else.”
                A: “I bElIeVe SoMeThINg ElSe”Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Stillwater: here’s a view of how things went.

                Jaybird: [inhale] I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that [exhale]

                Stillwater: Sure, I get that.

                Jaybird: can’t we go back to where I feel more comfortable about things and stuff?

                Stillwater: sure we can Jaybird. Just settle in. Everything’s going to be OK.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah, the make people better ALL CAPS folks are not exactly limited to the left side. Nor are the leave people alone types just on the right.

                I think we may have discussed it here once at least, that even libertarians see a role for gov. That role will not always been leaving people alone but doing things to them. Maybe i’m wrong and we’ve never had that convo.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Oh, is this one of those things where the only *REAL* libertarians are anacaps/agorists?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to greginak says:

                “Protecting rights” is very nearly the opposite of “leaving people alone”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “Hey, you’re not leaving people alone! You should leave people alone!”

                “Ah, but by telling me to leave people alone, are you not *FAILING* to leave people alone? CHECK MATE, HYPOCRITE!”

                On the other end of the spectrum, we have Tamir Rice.

                Truly, both sides do it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Stop. For the love of God, stop.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                The tension is that rights need a massive governmental structure to define them and protect them, and that massive structure requires all sorts of mandatory cooperation from which there is no opting out.
                There literally is no way for someone to “be left alone” and still enjoy rights.

                It isn’t that just that entire idea of “leaving people alone” is incoherent. It doesn’t even add any value to the idea of freedom.

                A reasonable philosophy can be made that seeks to optimize autonomy and security without resorting to stuff like the NAP or bromides about leaving people alone.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                (redacted by editors)Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Uh, Benghazi?

                I’m not sure what answer you’re looking for here.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                This type of cynicism is indistinguishable from a particularly insidious type of performative bitching to me. Maybe I’m in the minority here (I mean, I *know* that DD at least weill back you on this), but conflating cops killing kids with protections of basic rights out to make you physically ill for having said it Jaybird. It’s just breathtakingly repuslive.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                It seems to me that this is very similar to the argument for Prohibition and The War On Drugs.

                I understand what the people who wanted these policies were hoping to achieve.

                I’d even be willing to say that what they wanted to achieve would have been worth achieving if it were possible to achieve it in a perfect world (a Utopia, as it were).

                But given that we operate under serious limitations on the whole “what is possible” front, I see “maybe we shouldn’t have so many laws and so much need to enforce them” as a good vector to run in.

                Indeed, we could run in that vector for a good long while before we got to the level of laws and law enforcement that we had back in… 2000?

                But we’ve had the arguments about sunsetting laws and we’ve had the arguments about how “libertarians are really anarchists and anarchy is absurd therefore libertarianism is absurd” ad nauseum.

                Well, it ain’t libertarianism that got us here.

                It sure as hell ain’t libertarianism that will get us out.

                I suppose we should be grateful that Qualified Immunity is going to apply to the Deep State.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I suppose we should be grateful that Qualified Immunity is going to apply to the Deep State.

                That’s exactly the kind of nauseating performative bullshit I was referring to. You really ought to be fucking ashamed of yourself.

                Still can’t quite get my mind around blaming shooting 12 year olds on a liberal regime of rights protections. It’s so upside down it makes me fucking sick, not for me, but that people, like you, actually think this way.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                For what it’s worth, I don’t think that you *WANT* the unintended consequences of the policies you argue for.

                I’m just waiting for you to eventually stop doubling down on how you think you’ll get them.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                That strikes me as a very convenient non sequitor. The topic is your suggesting that a liberal regime of rights protections is the cause of cops shooting 12 year olds. Which you really should be apologizing for instead of doubling down and changing the subject.

                Whether you’re wise enough to know what I really want is something we can talk about another day. Or ever right now, I guess. Tell me, O Wise One, what do I really want?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                It’s more that “cops shooting 12 year olds” is the unintended consequences of the liberal regime you have actually managed to install despite your best efforts to get the liberal regime you actually wanted.

                “Tell me, O Wise One, what do I really want?”

                If I had to guess, I’d say “for things to have worked”.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                So Jaybird, just a quick question. What’s the maximal rights protection package which won’t cause cops to shoot 12 year old kids? I mean, what’s the tipping point? Is it including transgender rights that causes cops to shoot kids? Gay rights? Voting rights? Workers rights? Where, in your view, do we cut it off to protect the kids from the cops?

                And remember, lest you think I’m constructing a straw man here, you were the person who brought up Tamir Rice.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’d probably start with “the right to not be policed by strangers”. That’s not “maximal”, though.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                “the right to not be policed by strangers”.

                lol Now you’re just making shit up. Fucking ridiculous.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Community Policing used to be a thing.

                I suppose it can’t be a thing anymore.

                Certainly not if we can’t even imagine it not being made up.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                lol you’re a joke. You started this by saying liberals’ rights regimes caused cops to kill twelve year old kids and now you’re resorting to Tolkeinesque views of sheriffs in Hobbiton. Christ, you really should be ashamed of yourself.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Unintended consequences exist. Pretending they don’t is a recipe to keep getting them.

                “Community Policing” is something that has, in the past, actually existed.

                Arguing that maybe we’d have fewer white cops shoot black kids in majority black neighborhoods if we had the black neighborhoods policed by people who lived there only sounds like fantasy to people who believe in regimes.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Christ, you’re as pathetic as Joe was earlier. Seriously, how do you love with that amount of bullshit just, spewing.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater says:

                “Christ, you’re as pathetic as Joe was earlier. Seriously, how do you love with that amount of bullshit just, spewing.”

                valued member of the community here, folks, long-term and well-regarded posterReport

              • Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Hi DD!

                How’s your day going?

                Add: Me, from last night: (I mean, I *know* that DD at least weill back you on this)


              • DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater says:

                if the alternative is you arguing like stink that community policing is a libertarian crack-dream and Chip Daniels telling us that the only true freedom is total government control, well, sure, I guess I’ll back Jaybird in his contention that in the libertarian fantasy land Tamir Rice wouldn’t have got shot.

                Are you feeling okay? You seem really weird here, like you think you’re trolling us but you’re just posting this angry, strange stuff. Do you need a nap?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

                well, sure, I guess I’ll back Jaybird in his contention that in the libertarian fantasy land Tamir Rice wouldn’t have got shot.

                Ahhh yes. This is perfect. You admit that what Jaybird spewed is bullshit while *also* committing yourself to defending it.

                You’ve become so predictable Duck. But bullshit is a shovel which just keeps digging. Keep digging.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DensityDuck says:

                I mean:
                Good night Joe.

                I hope you sleep well.

                See you in the morning.

                You’re bullshitting about everything you said and that’s because you’re ignorant , lying, and wrong.

                Sweet dreams.
                what the fuck dudeReport

              • Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Density Duck: Civility Cop on the Beat. lolReport

              • DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m more genuinely worried about what’s going on with you, because this is not a way that a healthy person acts.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Thanks for the concern. Coming from you, with your commenting history here at the OT, I’ll give your worries the consideration they deserve.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Every policy has unintended consquences. Yours, mine, Still’s, that guy over there. On the other hand Will has a great collection of statues on the twitters.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                You can’t make an omelet, Greg.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Indeed, they do!

                But after you realize what they are and that they happened as a result of the policy you pushed, you then have to pick what the response needs to be.

                These include (but are not limited to):
                A: “That’s an acceptable price to pay.”
                B: “We need to mitigate that sort of thing and institute a new policy.”
                C: “That didn’t happen because of our policy. That happened because our opponents are bad.”
                D: “Maybe we should undo what we did.”

                I don’t know how many Ds I’ve seen. I feel like I can count them on one hand (21st Amendment, for example). No shortage of As, Bs, or Cs, though. (And, of course, other letters that I may have missed.)Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                The same legal apparatus that allows Tamir Rice to be shot, also allows the cops to evict tenants; It also allows the city to construct roads and sewers; also allows the courts to settle contract disputes; and all the other things the government does.

                So asserting that there re “too many laws” is like telling a composer there are “too many notes”, like they are all indistinguishable from another.
                It suggests we could just open the code of statutes and just rip out pages at random.

                But of course no one, least of all libertarians really wants to do this.

                Because the “too many laws” or “too much power” or “unintended consequences” argument isn’t a real argument at all. It isn’t meant to take a principle and apply it universally.

                The examples that people come up with (like Tamir Rice or hair braiding regulations) are just personal examples of “stuff I don’t like” which would suggest a response of “D” (abolition of the law).

                But of course, we all could make such a list:
                Problem: Poor people get evicted and thrown out into the snow:
                Response- D, lets get rid of government power to enforce trespass laws. Just leave the tenants and landlords alone!

                Strangely, I don’t see that one very often.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The problem with the “too many laws” joke is that when Mozart asked “which notes would his majesty remove”, his majesty was portrayed as obviously buffoonish because he couldn’t point to even one.

                You mentioned two laws that you wanted removed in your post mocking the idea. Two specific ones.

                Yes. Those notes. Could we try it again without those two notes right there?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                If Chip really only wants one law in particular to be removed, then it is buffoonish to say “too many laws”.

                If someone wants the cops to stop shooting black kids, its buffoonish to say “government has too much power”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                If someone wants the cops to stop shooting black kids, can they say “government can’t be trusted with the power it has and so should have less”?

                I suppose we merely need to take comfort in the fact that Timothy Loehmann isn’t a cop anymore (even if we can’t take comfort in the fact that his acts were not deemed technically illegal). See? We can point. The system works!Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                OK let’s go with that.
                Let’s say that a black kid is trespassing.

                Should government have enough power to remove him, even to the point of shooting him?

                Of course it should, even libertarians think so.

                If a cop shoots him without cause, can the government be trusted with enough power to prosecute him, even to the point of shooting him?

                Of course, everyone thinks so.

                Which is why the “more power/less power” argument is nonsense.
                Everyone wants the government to have enough power to do what we want it to do.

                We just disagree about what those things are.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Let’s say that a black kid is trespassing.
                Should government have enough power to remove him, even to the point of shooting him?

                What if they were from Mexico and crossing the border?

                “Of course it should, even libertarians think so.”

                You might be surprised that there are people who argue for open borders.

                If a cop shoots him without cause, can the government be trusted with enough power to prosecute him, even to the point of shooting him?

                I don’t think it can.

                I mean, in the case of Tamir Rice, It Didn’t.

                I’m not sure how much that point ought to be hammered on. We’re not talking about a hypothetical here.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                But aren’t you also arguing that the government should have power to overrule the union and dismiss bad cops at will?

                Is that increasing or decreasing government power?

                Look, this isn’t a gotcha question, its to demonstrate that the variable here isn’t “how much power” but “what direction does it point”.

                You aren’t really making any argument for less government but just the same government pointing in a different direction.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “aren’t you also arguing that the government should have power to overrule the union and dismiss bad cops at will?”

                You’re saying the government doesn’t already have that power?

                I mean, if we’re in a world where a union — about as private an organization as you can get because, whatever you might say about the management, it is made up of workers and at least in spirit watches out for their interests — if a private union can tell the government to fuck outta here with its criminal-prosecution shit then, hell, the war is over and the libertarians won!Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                The beauty of libertarianish counterfactual thinking is that after idenfitying any law that creates problems, the conclusion they draw isn’t a different set of problems, but their own version of utopia which would exist if not for the law. A state of better than which the law makers fucked up in their ignorance and self-absorption. (Such fools, those people.)

                It’s an omniscient state of being, libertarianism, not because they know all, but because their imaginations are exceedingly narrow about the after counterfactual fact.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                I hope you aren’t assigning anything I say as libertarian. I am not one.

                Libertarians are probably a little too nice for the society they have to endure, and they often may find some use for a government.

                I washed all that stuff off years ago.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Joe, you’re a libertarian, but of the radical individualist stripe. That you don’t view yourself that way is perfectly consistent with the level of ignorance which you speak about everything else in politics and governance. Ie., you don’t know a damn thing and grunt* a lot.


              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                Libertarianism is fairly well centered in the lower right quadrant of the political compass. Further lower and to the right are the purist Individualists, then further down right are the anarchists, ANCAPS and ultra anarchists.

                I have said before where I plot at. I have said before what my tribe was.

                I don’t much care what you think I know or don’t know.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Libertarianism is fairly well centered in the lower right quadrant of the political compass.

                Honestly, and I’m not being snarky here, I think your only understanding of libertarianism is where public polling places the term on a two axis grid.

                That’s it. That’s all you’re aware of.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to JoeSal says:

                Honestly if I didn’t have to study the “will to power”(actually “will to political power” in this case) creatures in the environment, I probably wouldn’t even be here in any other context than to debate the plus and minus aspects of a Night-watchman state with the libertarians.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                So, you’re admitting your world view is determined by having read *one book*? ONE BOOK!?

                Add: if you read more from the same author it’d be pretty clear he was NUTZO!Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                What are you talking about?Report

              • JoeSal in reply to JoeSal says:

                I’ve been studying authoritarianism my whole life. That’s pretty much why I can spin you up to eleven in just a few comments.

                If there was no POWER in politics I figure you and a half dozen others wouldn’t even be here debating like your life depended on it. All these grand displays, would be just….mehReport

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                I’ve been studying authoritarianism my whole life.

                So weird that you don’t see Donald Trump as one then, eh? I mean, he checks every totalitarian box, no?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Trying to figure out what the eff you’re talking about. What do you mean when you say you studied “the will to power” and that’s what shapes your worldview?

                Also, there is no “will to power” distinct from “will to political power”.

                Also2: If the above is correct, then you really, truly, deeply, haven’t understood the role a Stationary Bandit plays in political theory.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                “I want to rule your factions”

                “I want to rule you”

                There is a difference where it manifests.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Your ideas about who rules and who escapes that rule are childlike, Joe. You just referenced a will to power. Don’t talk to me about factions wanting to rule over others. It indicates you didn’t comprehend what you read.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                I didn’t say anything about factions wanting to rule over others.

                I didn’t say anyone escapes any rule.

                Your not paying attention again. I’m out for the night.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                (redacted by editors)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Libertarians are probably a little too nice for the society they have to endure

                Yes, people who place their own narrow interests above everyone elses are widely recognized as being nice folk. Too nice!Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

        Adam Silverman over at Balloon Juice has a good recap of the felonies that Rep. Matt Gaetz committed today:

        “Off the top of my head the number of Federal felonies committed by Gaetz and his colleagues is:

        Forced entry into a SCIF
        Criminal trespass in a SCIF
        Bringing unsecured electronic devices into a SCIF
        Taking imagery – pictures and video – of classified spaces and materials on unsecured devices
        Transmitting imagery – pictures and video – of classified spaces and materials on unsecured devices to unsecured devices through a variety of unsecured platforms (texting, tweeting, emailing, etc)”

        And of course, Trump was informed ahead of time about this, and conspiracy to commit a felony is itself a felony.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Schiff released pictures, to the press, of witness testimony taken inside the Schiff. Do you suggest we jail him now or wait a couple days?Report

          • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

            the committee Has an official photographer just as it has official court reporters. The person takes pictures for the Congressional Record just like they do at every other hearing. Schiff released that photo just like he does for any other committee meeting.

            You really need to go get some sunlight between your ears on this. He’s doing exactly what Trey Gowdy did for Benghazi. And no democrat objected to that process. No democrat stormed into the SCIF during those depositions.Report

            • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

              The intel committee has an official photographer? Do they also do weddings? House committees don’t have official photographers, as any photo taken by staffers with House equipment is considered an “official photograph”.

              So on the one hand, you folks are claiming that House leaders should go to jail for entering a SCIF while carrying cameras, while on the other are claiming it’s okay for a congressional staffer to do the same.

              This is making up new rules as you go along, after the fact, which on a scale of 1 to 10 for justice and fairness, a ‘1’.Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                I work with Congressional staff regularly. I used to play softball with them every summer up until this year. So no, I’m not making stuff up.

                And yes, Congressional Committees and Congress have official photographers, just like the White House does. And just like the White House, they take official photos of Committee and Congressional sessions. Some of those photos get released. Most never do. but its preserved as part of the record. just like the official court reporters who sit to the side and preserve every word said.

                That’s not the same thing as taking an easily hackable internet connected “phone” into a SCIF – an offense that would get you or me arrested for committing a felony. And an offense that actually breaks official House rules, and one the actual members of the committee including sitting Republican committee members had no problem complying with.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Obstructing a congressional investigation.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          It’s cool bro, I am assured that intentionally violating security procedures is OK so long as nothing secret was knowingly shared.Report

      • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

        Gaetz is not on any of the committees undertaking the examinations and depositions. Most of the Republicans who broke House rules (and probably the law) yesterday are not on those committees. 45 republicans are on those committees and they have been permitted to enter and participate through out the process. Again, your housemate might be reminded this is the grand jury portion of the proceedings where – shocker – the defense isn’t allowed to see witness testimony or offer a defense because no indictment has been returned yet.

        And again, Republicans are allowed in the room and have been present. Just not that Republican.Report

  7. greginak says:

    I saw an “argument” last night from former Dufus AG and a guy that seems more like an unpopular JV wrestling coach Matt Whitaker. He said abuse of power isn’t a crime. That argument can’t be sunk, it was built full of water out of wiffle plywood on the bottom of the harbor.Report

    • North in reply to greginak says:


    • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

      Remember Obama’s pen and phone? Yeah. Good times.Report

      • North in reply to George Turner says:

        While we’re throwing out non-sequiturs, Obama wore Beige pants once too and said Trayvon Martin could have been his son. Thank goodness we’re past that fiend.Report

        • George Turner in reply to North says:

          Don’t worry. Any and all future Democratic Presidents will be impeached and removed for things like that during their first weeks in office.

          I love the new rules!Report

          • North in reply to George Turner says:

            What else is new. They’d have impeached Obama if they thought the voters would let em but they knew the voters wouldn’t so they didn’t.

            Now if they’d caught Obama extorting Ukraine into making up dirt on Romney and withholding aid to make em do so they’d have been right to impeach and the voters would have let them do it too. Nothing new about those rules. Trumps just the first President dumb enough to actually do such a thing.Report

            • George Turner in reply to North says:

              They didn’t catch Obama extorting Ukraine to dig up dirt on Romney, they caught him extorting Ukraine to dig up dirt on Trump. That’s according to Joe Biden’s claim, in which he said he was simply carrying out administration policy in threatening to withhold a billion dollars in aid if they didn’t fire the prosecutor investing the corrupt energy company where his son sat on the board for $50K a month.

              Will Obama, Biden, and all the rest do jail time once Durham produces his report, which is due in a week or so? We’ll find out!Report

              • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                There is always a report coming out in a week that will blow the doors off of ( insert latest conservo conspiracy theory here).Report

              • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

                That’s from Schiff. In this case the report will come from AG Barr and John Durham, his lead investigator, plus at some point the IG report into Democrat attempts to rig the 2016 election and then cover up the evidence.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                And then Seth Rich comes running in slow motion, proving that he is in fact alive, and holding the evidence stolen from the basement of Comet Ping Pong, just as Alex Jones said all along.

                Hillary turns and screams “NOOOOOOOO” (also in slow motion) then grabs a Tech 9 from her Secret Service detail to finally take Rich out, but then Trump takes out his own pair of Glocks and flies sideways through a window firing whilst firing both guns simultaneously (also in slow motion) screaming “COFEVEEEEE”…

                As the smoke clears, a big burly man in a hard hat stands up, tears streaming down his face and says “Sir, thank you for restoring America! Where we go one, we go all!”

                Then Ivanka walks through the crow and wraps her arms around Donald and kisses him passionately…

                [Ed note- remaining script redacted]Report

              • greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Roll credits. Trump sings the National Anthem draped in Old Glory.Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                Will Obama, Biden, and all the rest do jail time once Durham produces his report, which is due in a week or so? We’ll find out!

                No they won’t. Not if the report is based in facts. Remember the same IG clearly said Comey violated policies by releasing his notes and memos on his trump conversations after he was fired – but that no laws were broken and thus no referral was going to happen. We knew that going in – Comey said in several interviews that he was probably violating department procedures, but he viewed the risk to the nation as worth it.

                Given its the same guy releasing a report, and given what we know in the public sphere, it will likely also conclude policies were skirted, but nothing was procesutabel. Kind of like what the State Department IG concluded about HIllary’s emails (which FWIW matched what the Republican controlled Congress concluded when they looked into the matter).

                There’s a pattern here George and it doesn’t comport with the reality you want.Report

      • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

        I distinctly remember he had a Terrorist!!! Pen and Kenyan Muslim Phone!!!!Report

  8. Will Truman says:

    I clipped a couple of comment threads here that went in wildly unproductive directions.

    As a general heuristic, if your replies to someone start involving more iinsults of someone that responses to their point, you are probably not getting very much productive out of continued interaction with them at this time and place.Report

  1. October 31, 2019

    […] […]Report