Nancy Pelosi: House to Vote on “Resolution Formalizing the Impeachment Inquiry”

Andrew Donaldson

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

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112 Responses

  1. Marchmaine says:

    I’ve said previously that I think this is the correct procedural move… but I confess, I’m genuinely confused by what is and isn’t happening.

    OP: “vote on a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry”

    CNN Article: “Democrats say the vote is not a formal authorization of the impeachment inquiry”

    Pelosi: “This week, we will bring a resolution to the Floor that affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees as part of this impeachment inquiry, including all requests for documents, subpoenas for records and testimony, and any other investigative steps previously taken or to be taken as part of this investigation”

    So, here’s my read… Andrew’s OP is correct, CNN is wrong (per usual), and Pelosi is doing the right thing by formalizing the inquiry… even though she says (wrongly IMO) that she doesn’t “legally” need to do this… she’s “legally” doing it.

    Oh, and the term “Talking Points” needs to be chased into a dark tunnel where we’ll subsequently read about its demise.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Marchmaine says:

      The ‘correct’ procedural move, constitutionally, is…for the entire House to vote on an impeachment resolution. Aka, literally the last step of all this. Before that, there are no requirements, either constitutionally, or in House rules.

      Obviously, there would be some House committees where an impeachment investigation would be really off-topic and stupid, like the ‘Conservation and Forestry Committee’, and any committee investigating really needs subpoena power. But…there’s no actual rules.

      Republicans are whining because _previously_ House committees didn’t have subpoena powers, so the House would vote on a resolution giving them this power, and directing them to investigate wrong-doing with this. But the House doesn’t need to give out those powers anymore, and the House doesn’t (and has never had to) direct a committee to investigate wrongdoing, they can just do that.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to DavidTC says:

        As long as your Impeachment inquiry doesn’t require any material that the President can shield, then have at it.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I’ll admit the courts might look more favorably on the demands if the House ‘officially’ has directed them to investigate impeachment, but they shouldn’t. (As Judge Beryl Howell pointed out last week when she released the grand jury transcripts.)

          Those committees already have the power to investigate the things related to their area, a power given to them by…wait for…a vote of the House. And all the investigating committees appear to be relevant. (Which sounds crazy, but Congressional committees are massively redundant.)

          So they can investigate the executive for those things, both in order to create laws, and to look for wrongdoing to recommend impeachment over. They were given that power when created.

          Demanding the House give it to the authority to the committees again is moronic. I do understand we’ve apparently got some Trump-appointed judges who seem to think that House has to, though, because [insert made up reason here].

          That said, this vote might make things go smoother…although if they actually want things to go smoother, they should immediately impeach Bill Barr for failure to recuse himself while judging, and _dismissing_, a whistleblower complaint about himself. That’s an impeachment that the Senate would find extremely hard to justify ignoring. Even people who think the entire whistleblower thing was nonsense have to admit that Barr should not have been involved in deciding that it was.

          Get Barr out of the way, this whole thing might be a lot easier.Report

  2. DavidTC says:

    I wonder if she did this on purpose, delaying the vote while knowing the Republicans would whine. Because in the last few weeks, momentum has tilted toward impeachment and this vote is now somewhat a slam-dunk, whereas it wasn’t a few weeks ago.

    Of course, if she did, that means she knew what everyone has been saying this entire time: Pick one of the wrongdoings and start beating the impeachment drum over it, and the nation will follow along.

    Mostly because…people are kinda dumb and will believe whatever scandal is currently making the most noise in the media. For evidence, see ‘Hillary emails’.

    They could have started this impeachment on fricking emoluments a year ago. All she every had to do was start it in committees and _just keep talking about it_, and the American people will soon get the idea there is something wrong.

    (Don’t get me wrong, there _is_ something wrong here, but for the general population, whether or not there’s something wrong is entirely orthogonal to whether there is or not.)Report

    • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

      I read an interesting article the yesterday, that I have misplaced since then, claiming that not only Pelosi did delay the vote knowing they would whine, but she deliberately started with a bunch of secret dispositions. (I’m not saying they were improper, I’m saying that she could have started with other things, but started with this on purpose.)

      The is because she wanted Republicans to whine about ‘lack of transparency’ and ‘lack of defense’.

      Because normally, the House would not hold an actual trial of any sort. The House would instead just hold a bunch of hearings, look at the evidence, and allow some slight level of defense of a few bits, and then, at the end, pass it along to the Senate…who would promptly invite Trump in, get some random bullshit from him, some incredibly weak defense, and claim that settled it, and acquit.

      Now…the Republicans have ‘forced’ Pelosi to make everything public, including ‘forcing’ allowing Trump defend himself. In the House. So…he basically has to now.

      To rephrase that: Trump had the possibility to have his actual public trial in front of a bunch of people who wanted him to stay in office. He, instead, decided to first have a public trial in front of hostile people, and _then_ move on to the actual public trial…while everyone is standing there thinking about the results of the first trial, and he’s already, in his desperate attempt to not be impeached, introduced all his defenses there.

      This is…absurdly stupid. Yes, it slightly reduces the risk of literal ‘impeachment’, possibly, but it also means that his defense can be pushed back against by Democrats.Report

      • pillsy in reply to DavidTC says:

        I don’t know if that was the specific plan (it seems awfully precise), but I pointed out a while back when people were asking why Pelosi was delaying a vote, that by not holding the vote now, you leave open the possibility of having it later, which means if you won’t really derive any advantage from the vote now, you should delay.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to pillsy says:

          I notice they’ve started releasing transcripts, too.

          So…it actually looks like they delayed things just long enough for Republicans to make the entire argument about the process, and then…completely uncut them by doing the process stuff they said.

          Huh. Smarter than I expected.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    Here’s where I’m confused.

    Is he impeached yet?

    Or are we merely asymptotically closer to impeachment?Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      Don’t the articles of impeachment need to be drawn up and then affirmed by the house before he’s impeached? Mitch isn’t going to have to respond until that happens. This is just a formal vote on the investigation they were already doing.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

        Right… Articles of Impeachment are voted on and actionable… the Inquiry is optional.

        But, in order for the Inquiry to have standing(?) to compel the certain parts of the Executive Branch to participate under Subpoena it needs (ought) to be formally authorized. Some of the confusion comes from the fact that Congress has rightful oversight over the Exec Branch and so can claim that authority constitutionally. But, at the nexus where the Exec Branch can say “No” then absent an Impeachment Inquiry, Congress couldn’t compel (via the courts) the Exec branch to comply. So, stalemate in the event that key evidence is witheld/protected.

        However, not all evidence of impeachable offenses are necessarily hidden behind Executive powers (e.g. Trump shoots someone on 5th Avenue, or publishes phone transcripts willingly)… in which case authorizing an Inquiry isn’t “necessary.” So, personally, I’m not quite sure why now? Is it a procedural requirement to transfer evidence from one committee to another? Or does it signal a next step where they will be going after closely held executive materials? Or is it just politics to pave the way for the Articles of Impeachment that will be drawn up without need for further evidence?

        Thats where I’m confused, and I doubt Pelosi has any particular interest/need to help me out.Report

        • greginak in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I’ll just note that Trump’s personal law team argued in a NY court that he cannot be prosecuted EVEN IF he shot someone. As president he is above the law.Report

          • Aaron David in reply to greginak says:

            Well, Obama did set precedence for it.Report

            • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

              Which of the various possible universes of all the quantum possibilities are you referring to? I mean, I’m sure you are right in one of them assuming the the Many Worlds theory is true. Of course that isn’t remotely true in this quantum possibility. So let’s define universes so we can have a productive conversation.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to greginak says:

                Drone assassination of a US citizen. Anwar Al Awaki. I know, I know, it’s not on 5th, but I think it still stands.Report

              • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                I get why you didn’t like the DA. But that is not really anything like Trump arguing he is completely above the law while he is president which is what his personal lawyers are saying. The judge directly asked the law talking guy if trump could be prosecuted if he shot someone.

                But that does seem like brand you are establishing. T or R’s do something bad and you reach for some thing by D’s to assign blame. That brand works for so big names and brings in big bucks.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to greginak says:

                I reach across to show how hypocritical the left is about much of the supposed talking points re Trump. This has nothing to do with favoring T or the R’s, just that this blog is mainly populated by neo-liberal, so not much reason to go against the other team here.

                Often, when I was a youth and a pretty solid D, I said many similar things to the R’s I knew.Report

              • Mr.Joe in reply to Aaron David says:

                Anwar Al Awaki droning seems pretty clearly authorized by AUMF with all the due process it includes. I would be outright shocked if this is the first time a US citizen defected to a hostile power and was subsequently killed by our military. Comparing an Al-Qaeda member to the premise of just shooting a random person on the street is quite a bit of stretch.

                Also, I will add that you lose many of your constitutional rights when you are no longer in the country. I don’t know the degree to which you give up due process rights, but it is clear it is more than none.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Mr.Joe says:

                I would say that the droning was very much not covered by the AUMF, as he’s still a US citizen, with all the rights and privileges therein. I mean, we didn’t summarily remove the citizenship rights of a member of the SLA or the Black Panthers.

                Whether or not he loses constitutional rights outside the US is an interesting question, but I would guess that the loses stem from being in another jurisdiction, but not that the US can do weird things.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Aaron David says:

                I mean, we didn’t summarily remove the citizenship rights of a member of the SLA or the Black Panthers.

                We didn’t “remove” Anwar al-Awlaki’s “rights” either.

                Your constitutional right to a fair trial starts AFTER arrest. Soldiers aren’t expected to read someone their rights before shooting them. The police aren’t expected to wade through foreign battlefields and slap cuffs on people.

                Anwar al-Awlaki hid in a lawless battlezone for the purpose of making it impossible for law enforcement to arrest him. If he wanted a fair trial to defend himself in court then all he had to do was make it possible for some court, any court, to have authority over him.

                I would say that the droning was very much not covered by the AUMF, as he’s still a US citizen, with all the rights and privileges therein. Whether or not he loses constitutional rights outside the US is an interesting question, but I would guess that the loses stem from being in another jurisdiction, but not that the US can do weird things

                The problem wasn’t that “another jurisdiction” held authority, the problem was no jurisdiction held effective authority. He was hiding in Yemen who had tried him, in absentia in November 2010, for plotting to kill foreigners and being a member of al-Qaeda. A Yemeni judge ordered that he be captured “dead or alive”.

                Successfully preventing any court from having authority over him didn’t give him a right to kill, it just meant dealing with him is a military matter and not a law enforcement matter. The AUMF says we’re at war with Al Qaeda and as a high ranking member, any member of the military had the right and/or obligation to shoot him on the battlefield if they could.Report

              • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                You lost me. Nothing you said refers to Trump’s lawyers saying he cannot be prosecuted for anything. I don’t see the droning as analogous and even if it was that doesn’t’ make anything trump does okay. But you mention how you point out how hypocritical liberals are. Well that does seem to be your brand attacking D’s because you hate them. Welp, free country and all that. But when you are so focused on attack mode it’s easy to see nothing but getting the enemy.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to greginak says:

                Obama – killing US citizens with nary a peep. So, the Trump lawyers can see the precedent of this. But, they are smart enough not to leave it to chance in this partisan environment. It seems real straight forward.

                Personally, I think they both constitute Hight Crimes and are very impeachable. But the R’s would never be able to get the 67, so they learned their lesson regarding this. But, I do want to add that with Trump it is hypothetical. Obama really did this.Report

              • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                “nary a peep”????? Wha…huh. There was plenty of noise about it at the time. And i still think it’s a terrible analogy, there are to many differences to make it on point.

                Most R’s were fine with the killing. Why would they want to impeach him, they are consistently more hawkish.

                But at least we agree what Trump’s are actually arguing in court is outrageous. That is something.Report

        • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I strongly suspect that the public has moved enough on impeachment that her disincentives (caucus protection) to holding a formal vote have diminished significantly. Likewise they’ve gotten the lower hanging fruit investigation-wise and an impeachment investigation vote will knock down pretty much the only even vaguely substantive reason Trumps admin has to refuse to cooperate. So the incentives to hold the vote are higher, the disincentives are lower, the risk lower. Politically it’s easier now and it keeps up the impression of momentum. I can certainly see why she’s electing to do so now. The only down side, I suppose, is that it makes it look like she’s giving in to GOP demands, but that isn’t really gonna upset the lefties and if it delights the righties it also disarms them a bit.Report

          • Mr.Joe in reply to North says:

            One more possibility. It may be part of some deal with McCarthy or a group of Republicans to get them to vote for the impeachment inquiry. I would expect that whomever on the right might be offering this would also be getting some input on the rules as part of the deal. Once the rules get set and a vote actually happens it will likely become known if this was the case.

            From what I have seen Pelosi and blue team leadership is getting something with this vote. I would surprised if it is just to make it seem more legitimate to folks who are going to call it illegitimate anyway.Report

        • Mr.Joe in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I have three guesses. At this point it doesn’t seem to me that the House must do this, but it is choosing to.

          First, Pelosi had some reason to be concerned about losing at SCOTUS regarding Congresses subpoena power. As far as I know State/DoJ has not asserted executive privilege, which is one of the few shields to Congressional subpoenas. The argument I have always seen is that the subpoena is not valid, because reasons. It’s still a number of rungs from SCOTUS, but DC District Court recognized the current House proceedings as a legitimate impeachment investigation (not necessarily and inquiry).

          Second, some key member(s) or supporter(s) really wanted this box checked at this point. Not sure why though. Dragging this out in a way that they can point at Trump really only helps them.

          Third, maybe she actually wants this done and through the process as quick as possible. She can point to this to say that it is not her dragging this out until the election.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Mr.Joe says:

            “It’s still a number of rungs from SCOTUS” which is the only rung that matters in this particular matter.


            The fact that folks from State have been flocking to testify just illustrates how weak Trump’s position is… he doesn’t have control over State and he willingly published materials he could have shielded. This is significant and a cautionary tale on several different vectors.

            So to be clear, I think all’y’all are wrong who think the House has power to compel the President to yield materials he can shield to Congress just because they’ve “voted themselves the power of Subpoena” … that’s exactly the doorstep at which Congressional Power stops.

            But worse than being wrong, I think it is bad to endorse what will become perpetual Committees of Potential Impeachment to drag the White House. That’s going well beyond oversight and into Constitutional Brokenness.

            So, to sum up this confusing path… I’m glad Pelosi is voting to formalize the Impeachment Inquiry (I think it is a proper and necessary* step)… but confused as to why they are selling it as not a vote to authorize the Impeachment Inquiry all the while making it clear that it is a vote to authorize the Impeachment Inquiry.Report

            • Mr.Joe in reply to Marchmaine says:

              The DC district court ruling stands until overruled/upheld. Being a question of separation of powers, it seems extremely likely that SCOTUS will get called to weigh in, but by no means certain.

              My guess is the vote that is not required line is simply to preserve the space to make that argument in the future. Why ceede the argument when you don’t have to?Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

      Well. They all agree that they definitely would impeach him, that he’s eminently impeachable, and that if only someone would mumble the evidentriarical procedurable mumble then they’d most certainly vote for impeachment.

      Then they all go burn a giant Wicker Man that has an orange wig and agree that this definitely made Trump mad.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

        They have to go high-level because if they get too far into the weeds, they could get hit hard by the fact that a lot of the rubes can’t tell the difference between High Crimes and Misdemeanors and How The Sausage Gets Made.

        If How The Sausage Gets Made gets exposed to the public, you can easily outrage the public for a few moments… but then you can’t expect everything to go back to the way it used to work once you get rid of the non-native grifters and think that now you can start shoveling feed back into the trough.

        There are people mocking Don Jr. for being a hypocrite for mocking Biden’s kid. Do they not see…? Ah, well. At least it’s funny.Report

  4. DavidTC says:

    I swear, sometimes I want to slap some sense into talking heads, and make sure they have some basic understanding of what ‘committees’ even are. The thing is, committees don’t generally have any power to do things with regard to the body that individual members don’t have. (Note ‘with regard to the body’, not external subpoenas.) And there’s no such thing as the fruit of the poisonous tree.

    The people talking about what the House ‘needs to’ do seem to have very little ideas of how committees and the rules of order work. Committees can generally do whatever the hell they want, because, in the end, they’re just a blob of knowledgeable-on-a-topic members who get together to put proposals before the entire body. If they want to introduce off-topic stuff, they can…eventually the main body will get annoyed by that and replace them.

    Now, proposals made without a committee behind them, especially in something like the House, are often automatically referred to relevant committees…you can’t just write a piece of legislation and have the entire house vote it immediately, it will get sent to committee. But…this is not true for impeachment, as far as I’m aware.

    And even if it was, it would be hilariously surreal to have the Intelligence Committee find impeachable offences, vote to send an impeachment recommendation, the Republicans object asserting this is a violation of some process because the Intelligence Committee ‘didn’t have permission’ to investigate impeachment…

    So Schiff, as himself, would just introduce some of the evidence the IC has collected to the House, along with a proposal to refer an investigation to the Intelligence Committee. The House as a body would look at the evidence, and vote to do so. The Intelligence Committee would meet, immediately revote on the impeachment recommendation they already voted on, and _then_ present it to Congress.

    Yes, yes, it is hypothetically possible that, as has been pointed out to me, Pelosi voting on this in the House might convince _courts_ that Congress have more right to compel testimony and access documents. So it’s good she’s doing it. But that’s an external consideration. Inside the House, none of this is needed.Report

  5. Aaron David says:

    And here it is:

    The House’s “attempted impeachment of President Trump is out of bounds, it’s inconsistent with due process as we know it,” Graham said Thursday. “They created a new process that I think is very dangerous for the country.”

    Story Continued Below
    During his press conference, Graham used posters as visual aids to argue that the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump deviates from the impeachment inquiry into President Bill Clinton. Graham’s resolution has 44 Republican co-sponsors.

    McConnell said Thursday that no time has been set yet for a vote but that he “obviously” supports the measure.

    The heat is on and she needs something to feed the wolves of her party with.Report

    • North in reply to Aaron David says:

      They can’t even get their all their own republican Senators to sign on Grahams nonsense bill. Heh, no wonder McConnell has set a timetable for the vote heheh. Yeah no doubt Pelosi is just roasting in that one.Report

      • Aaron David in reply to North says:

        If he has 44 co-signers, not votes but co-signers, then there is no impeachment in the Senate.Report

        • North in reply to Aaron David says:

          So it’s a legally meaningless gesture and even that empty motion can’t get all the republican Senatorial class to support it.Report

          • Philip H in reply to North says:

            Most likely because Graham (former JAG Lawyer he is) can’t let go of the false defense that this is a legal proceeding and the President should be afforded something procedural he’s not getting.

            Except of course this is a political proceeding whose outcome is just loosing your job. No one is deprived of life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness by being impeached. and even if it was a judicial proceeding, we’re still at the Grand Jury stage, where the defense generally doesn’t know it needs to defend anything.Report

            • North in reply to Philip H says:

              Quite possibly, but either way the fact that Butters can’t rope all his GOP Senatorial colleagues into signing onto his empty gesture of loyalty says something ominous for Trump. I’m not sure what would be worse for the GOP electorally: having Trump impeached and removed from office or having Trump impeached and the Senate fails to convict but with a less than 2/3rds majority that includes GOP senators voting to convict.Report

    • Mr.Joe in reply to Aaron David says:

      I set the clock a bit differently. I compare now to shortly after both houses of Congress began investigations of Whitewater. An area of concern was raised and congress started investigating. Those investigations ran for over a year with no formal impeachment inquiry. It would be insane to open a full impeachment inquiry over every allegation that showed up at the Capital Steps. In every case prior, significant investigation was done prior to opening the inquiry, often by a party outside Congress. Given that Congress has pretty broad latitude in investigations and the sensitive nature of foreign policy, it makes sense to keep it in house. IMHO, both houses of congress have plenty of runway to investigate before opening a formal inquiry.Report

      • Aaron David in reply to Mr.Joe says:

        Do you know the old joke about the two bulls?

        Whitewater is different (and Burt did a great job on the legal aspects of it) in that the slow buildup before those legal proceedings allowed everyone to conclude that he needed to be impeached. Not legally, but socially. But there wasn’t a bleating call to do this from the day he was elected. With Clinton, the R’s did all the legal steps in the right sequence, but they weren’t able to bring the public along. This time, they not only didn’t bring the public along, but they also didn’t do things in a deliberative manner. As soon as Trump was elected, they started screaming for impeachment. And when the Mueller rept. failed to do the job they hoped and prayed for, they have been casting about for any old thing. Which stinks like a witch hunt.

        None of Schiff’s actions looks remotely like anything other than that witchhunt from outside the circles of the left. R Senators cannot get behind it, even if they hate him, because they will get keistered in the districts that actually vote for them. It didn’t bring in enough people from outside the blue zones to provide political cover.

        They really needed to walk down the hill.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Aaron David says:

          By those metrics, Benghazi was the witchhunt Liberals said it was. Hillary’s emails as well. Especially since, at the end of the day, Republican controlled entities doing the investigating couldn’t find any illegality.

          And yet Benghazi keeps being a conservative talking point about how this is “supposed” to be handled.

          And “social impeachment” isn’t a thing.Report

          • Aaron David in reply to Philip H says:

            No, because there was never any intention to go down the path of impeachment (at least so stated). And yes, they have found many illeagealitys in at least the email server, as even Comey came to the conclusion of just before the election in ’16. Thus that last-minute surprise which had the left boiling.

            And if you read what I actually said, it was a social conclusion for impeachment. Conclusion.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Aaron David says:

              It was only a social conclusion on the Right. There was nothing illegal about White Water. I also don’t know what illegalities you think were found in Benghazi or the emails, but procedural referrals inside an executive department for internal discipline (which the State Department just concluded was appropriate) isn’t illegal conduct.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Philip H says:

                “There was nothing illegal about White Water.”

                What the Chalupa? I think I can safely disregard any thing you say at this point.Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                Sure, the republicans found all kinds of Clinton illegality in Whitewater; that’s why the GOP tried to impeach Clinton over… getting frisky with an intern and not handing over the salacious details to Stars desperate fishing investigation.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                They tried to impeach Clinton over lying under oath. A High Crime. No, trying to wave a hand over there and screaming “squirrel” doesn’t erase that fact. I would guess (and I still nominally D then, so it is a guess) that they chose that due to it being simple to explain and obviously illegal.

                Clinton lost his license to practice law over it thus indicating the severity of the issue, but in one way you are right, the R’s couldn’t get over the hump* of convincing enough people in the districts that matter to convince their senators to vote to impeach. Thus, they couldn’t get past the social part.


              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                You said to Philip that there was Clinton illegality in Whitewater, not in Clinton’s entrapment/perjury matter (and as Trump’s run has demonstrated that only matters to Republicans and to you when it’s Democrats doing it). So it appears that you are only imagining or hypothesizing it.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                There were absolutely illegal shenanigans in White Water, it just isn’t what C was charged with. That doesn’t mean I think it should have been followed up with impeachment, and nowhere did I say so.Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                So Clinton was involved in illegal shenanigans in Whitewater because you say so, not because he was convicted on em? Ok.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                And you could say the exact same thing about Trump University. Or any untried crime, committed by anyone. Bush a war criminal? Nope, not tried. Clinton raped women? No, no trial, even though the victims have come forward. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

                Pick any controversial figure, left or right. If you go by what you are saying, there is no court of public opinion. Indeed, why even have opinions?Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                Well Trump University was tried, and then he settled out of court to avoid a judgement. Trump charity was tried too. Convicted there too, banned from operating a charitable foundation ever again.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                Settled out of court. In other words not guilty, qua North. I never mentioned the “charity” as that had a decisive end. I mean, Jeffery Epstein was never tried, so I guess he was innocent by your logic, no? Was Kevin Spacy ever put to a jury? No, so innocent. Harvey Weinstein?

                And on, and on, and on…Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                Ok so by your definition he has only been convicted once of criminal fraud out of my list. No doubt he’s of sterling character. Now the Dems appear to have a long parade of witnesses and documentation showing he misappropriated foreign aid expressly to pressure the Ukrainians into inventing dirt for him on a political rival. We’ll see how that goes over with the public. So far they haven’t been pleased- even the Senate GOP won’t unite and say what he’s done is ok. The trial should be interesting.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H says:

            Especially since, at the end of the day, Republican controlled entities doing the investigating couldn’t find any illegality.

            We might see a repeat of that. The money that was supposedly tied up was released before the deadline. The suggested investigation of a political rival’s kid also didn’t happen. At worst we have an illegal act suggested but not carried out by either side.Report

            • greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

              Just asking for foreign interference in an election is a crime. It doesn’t matter if money was exchanged of the investigation ever happened.Report

            • George Turner in reply to Dark Matter says:

              To my knowledge, in the history of the United States no politician has ever been charged with the criminal offense of encouraging authorities to investigate a potential crime, because nobody can find the statute that makes it illegal for the government to bring evil-doers to justice, or to find out if there’s evil-doings afoot.

              That is quite different than encouraging authorities to ignore a person’s privacy rights or due process rights, or encouraging investigators to alter evidence or otherwise frame a person. For that, you have to look at how Comey’s FBI altered General Flynn’s statements.

              Judge Cancel’s Flynn’s November HearingReport

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                Once again…
                It doesn’t matter is a criminal statute was broken. Using the power of your office to ask a foreign nation to investigate your political rival is all by itself impeachable.

                That’s why impeachment exists!

                If “impeachable” was synonymous with “criminal” then it would be redundant;

                If it was just a matter of criminal statutes being broken, we could just have the FBI go into the Oval Office, arrest and frogmarch Trump out in cuffs.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “It doesn’t matter is a criminal statute was broken. Using the power of your office to ask a foreign nation to investigate your political rival is all by itself impeachable”

                Mmmm… no. Impeachment is listed as being for “Treason, Bribery, or High Crimes or Misdemeanors.” All of which are, well, actual crimes. It isn’t to be used for putting ketchup on well-done steak, tweeting mean things or any other made-up offense to the mores and morals of the opposing party. Which is what this is. And that is why those things are spelled out.

                For things like this, you get to vote him out.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

                Yes, Congress gets to decide what is a crime or not.

                Because again, if the President steals a TV, the local sheriff can just arrest him.
                (The DOJ ruling has never been upheld by a court, and didn’t exist prior to its invention in 1973).

                “High Crimes” were the sort of offenses that “High” people were able to commit, like abusing the trust of their office.

                Andrew Johnson was impeached in part for “Bringing disgrace and ridicule to the presidency by his aforementioned words and actions.”

                Which sounds about right.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Johnson was a Souther, pro-South, owned slaves, didn’t think the freed slaves needed any protection or help, and was brought in as VP to “balance” the ticket.

                Trump’s problem is Team Blue hates him.Report

              • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                Ug. Misdemeanors aren’t even major crimes. Many of them don’t’ even have jail terms. They are often minor crimes. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor. So is disorderly conduct. By using the basic definition, as you are here, it is saying a prez can be impeached for having an open alcohol container or playing the presidential boom box to late at night. That isn’t’ even getting into what the Sainted Founders thought they meant. For the record i don’t think impeachment is meant for shoplifting, minor larceny or minor in possession of booze.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to greginak says:

                Yes, those are misdemeanors. But they are codified in law. Not, contra Chip above, made up wily-nilly as the house sees fit. This is why we have a bicameral legislative branch, and any law that is passed by both must be signed off by the President. To skip the last step, you need that good old 2/3 majority, exactly what you would need to impeach. Funny that.

                But I bet you probably knew that. Anyway, If the house doesn’t present one or more actual laws, such as lying under oath (as opposed to fooling around with an intern which is not illegal, and not what someone was impeached for) the senate can easily say “what is this crap? Get outta here with this schmutz.” And you see, to bring us to the present time, there was no Quid Pro Quo and thus it wasn’t bribery, running for president doesn’t put you above the law, foreign relations are damn near a plenary power of the executive, and so on. Until you can find an actual law that was broken, MitchyMitch can through this whole thing back for being idiotic and partisan.

                As for playing a boom box after 10 pm, while I think that is just a code violation and not a misdemeanor, yes, it is more serious than what is going on here, constitutionally speaking.Report

              • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                It’s illegal to solicit contributions from foreign nationals and it’s illegal for foreign nationals to contribute to a US campaign.

                And obstruction of justice of course.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to greginak says:

                He was helping at the highest levels of an investigation. No contribution.

                And obstruction? Please, that died with Meuller.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Aaron David says:

                They have been failing for a week to parse personal versus the state context.

                I suspect the ‘investigate rival’ or ‘investigate opposition’ is the only narrative burning through the twitters, fueling this mania.Report

              • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                I’ve asked you if read the Mueller report before. I don’t recall an answer. I can link to the summaries if you wish. But Mueller explicitly said Trump tried to obstruct justice and was successful to a degree.You are factually wrong. I’ll ask again, have you read the report???

                Investigating a rival is a material contribution.

                PS I get you hate dem’s and liberals. But why go to the mat and ignore plainly written words for him?Report

              • Aaron David in reply to greginak says:

                You would have to show me Mueller’s explicit words to that effect. As it stands, I have read only summaries, none of which stated that he came to that as a provable conclusion. They did point out somethings that are rather explicit in that they are all actions that the pres. is entitled to take. IE, they don’t show actual, deliberate obstruction, rather lawful acts that frustrated the investigation. In fact, I generally believe that if he had put something actionable into words, or even mentioned it when he was dragged back up before congress, then the D’s would have a hook to hang their impeachment hat on. But, as they haven’t, then they don’t, not in this regard.

                Could I be missing something? Sure. But it would be getting screamed out from every single news source at this point. So, again, explicit words that say Trump did X action, that is covered by Y law. No ambiguity, that gets nobody anywhere. No situational actions, they can be read too many ways, not unlike what you and I are doing. But, again, obstruction is not even mentioned anymore, which makes it clear as day that it is a done deal.

                A criminal investigation is another plenary power of the executive branch. Interacting with foreign countries is also plenary. And as we have seen zero monies or any quid pro quo being enacted, there is no clear intent of what he is being accused of. Indeed, as he has been so forthcoming with the transcript of the call, he can’t even be accused of hiding something.

                As far as hating the D’s or liberals, I don’t. I hate what the D’s have become, for much of the same reason I disliked the R’s when they were in this position, that of the cultural hegemon. I will say, I see very little in the way of liberalism remaining on the left. Indeed, I see much more totalitarianism on that side of the fence. This farce of impeachment is one further example of that. It has been clear, to me at least, that it is simply Russiagate 2.0. And as I said, they couldn’t even get obstruction out of that, now they are just flailing.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                Unless you can show some examples of Team Blue enforcing this on someone other that Trump, “contributions” means “money”.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                To whom?

                If it means money to the Congressmen and Senators, it means money. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

                If the House votes to impeach, and 66 Senators do likewise, the President is gone, fired, kaput.

                This is an official losing his job, not a death sentence.

                There isn’t a court of appeal, no body of case law or SCOTUS rulings to study.

                Likewise, if the American people find the accusations credible, they are credible. The opinions of the people aren’t subject to review or appeal or challenge.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                If it means money to the Congressmen and Senators, it means money. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

                This is like saying if the law says we can fire him for holding a blue square, then a red one will do.

                If we have no examples of this every applying to anyone on Team Blue’s side, then the conclusion should be that this is not a correct interpretation of the law and the reasoning wouldn’t work for anyone other than Trump.

                Likewise, if the American people find the accusations credible, they are credible. The opinions of the people aren’t subject to review or appeal or challenge.

                True. But the real problem is the reverse.

                Team Blue has been trying to impeach Trump since before he took office. Their definition of “credible” has included Kavanaugh’s various accusers and Russia “fixing” the election; which with the benefit of hindsight says more about Team Blue than the definition of “credible”.

                If someone wants to conclude that Team Blue is screaming wolf yet again, I can’t hold it against them.Report

              • greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

                An investigation into a rival is a significant bit of aid. Leaving aside the obvious corruption of trying to manufacture an legal investigation and attendant PR of course.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                An investigation into a rival is a significant bit of aid.

                Under what situations have we legally concluded that non-fiscal inputs counted as “aid”?

                Gary Hart was allowed to pay off his mistress during a campaign without it being considered “aid” to his campaign. As far as I can tell the legal bar is set very high.Report

  6. George Turner says:

    I’ve seen arguments trying to parallel Schiff’s investigation with Benghazi or the early Watergate investigation, and I think those analogies are flawed because those weren’t impeachment investigations.

    The way this would normally work, I believe, is that something weird happens, like Benghazi or some hotel burglary that seems to connect to someone who worked at the White House, and some committee starts looking into it. So they hold hearings and start trying to figure out what, if anything, went on. If, lo and behold, they find all sorts of heinous things that might indicate the President was up to his neck in criminal activities or malfeasance, they bring it to the attention of the whole House and hold a vote on whether they need to do some serious investigations toward impeachment, with both sides calling witness and subpoenaing documents and such. Then, the House decides if impeachable offenses occurred, draw up a list of charges, and votes on impeachment based on those charges.

    What Nancy has done is claim that first investigative step (there was a burglary?) and claim it is the impeachment investigation. It’s not supposed to be. The committee is supposed to figure out what happened and whether it may constitute impeachable offenses that the House should be made aware of, and then the House votes on whether to investigate the matter as potentially impeachable offenses.

    Of course it’s all pointless because the Senate Republicans are laughing at the House’s antics. This evening Senator David Perdue (D-GA) was asked what the chances are that the Senate would remove Trump, and he didn’t even hesitate before saying “Not a chance in hell.” He went on to say that all the Republican Senators (except I suppose Romney) have looked at the accusation against Trump and concluded that there’s isn’t anything remotely impeachable in it. In their view, Trump didn’t even do anything that’s questionable or unusual.

    What they’ll probably do is reject the House impeachment investigation as illegitimate and just ignore as something that doesn’t meet the Constitution’s requirements. If that happens, Barr and other executive branch officials could regard what the Democrats have been doing as spending millions of federal dollars on their re-election campaigns and indict them for finance violations, essentially theft.Report

    • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

      McConnell has already said publicly multiple times that if the House returns articles the Senate has no choice but to sit in trial. Sure, they could acquit, but he seems to think they have to try. So yeah, not so much.

      But you keep beating that illegitimacy drum all you want.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H says:

        McConnell has already said publicly multiple times that if the House returns articles the Senate has no choice but to sit in trial. Sure, they could acquit, but he seems to think they have to try. So yeah, not so much.

        McConnell hasn’t committed to a floor vote. He, personally, is the head of the committee that would need to evaluate the House’s efforts. He seems to have committed to himself making a decision.

        If it’s in his interests for it to be a full floor vote, then he’ll do that. If it’s in his interests to repeat Garland (and let the people decide) then he’ll do that. He is up for reelection but his area went for Trump by 20 points. If the Dems hand this to McConnell right before the election and Trump is popular (for certain values of popular), it will be very easy to see Garland2.Report

        • Reading the Senate rules on impeachment proceedings, it doesn’t appear that McConnell currently has any choices. As soon as the House names its managers, the Senate procedure is spelled out in detail and the delays are minimal. McConnell certainly doesn’t have the super-majority to change the rules by regular order, and I doubt very much he has 51 votes to exercise the “nuclear option.” The Chief Justice is the presiding officer for the formal procedure, with near absolute power. He would be the one that calls for the vote on each article of impeachment after the closing arguments.

          I also thought that McConnell had choices, until I read the rules. I was a legislative staffer — I should have known better than to assume I knew how the process worked.

          I believe CJ Roberts still cares enough about his reputation in legal circles that he won’t allow any shenanigans.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

      What Nancy has done is claim that first investigative step (there was a burglary?) and claim it is the impeachment investigation.

      This is probably because…the president released a transcript of his wrongdoing.

      Addition: What they’ll probably do is reject the House impeachment investigation as illegitimate and just ignore as something that doesn’t meet the Constitution’s requirements

      The constitutional requirement of impeachment: The House holds a full vote on articles of impeachment, a simple majority passes it.

      There’s not a single word about the process to get to that point.Report

      • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

        Sept 24: Nancy announces her impeachment inquiry
        Sept 25: Trump releases transcript of his call to President Zelensky
        Sept 26: Schiff gets the whistle blower complaintReport

        • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

          because the AG decided to break the law and tell the IC-IG not to forward the report to congress sooner. Cherry pick much?Report

          • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

            The big delay was that Schiff’s staffers had to get the whistle blower set up with a law firm to write his complaint, which means he isn’t actually a whistle blower, and they had to get a high-level deep-state official to change the policy on whistle blower complaints to allow second-hand rumors to qualify.

            Finding out that Trump was actually digging into the Democrat’s 2016 election rigging really threw them into full panic mode.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

              The big delay was that Schiff’s staffers had to get the whistle blower set up with a law firm to write his complaint

              By ‘set up’ you mean ‘Directed them to the proper legal channels and advised them to get a lawyer’.

              which means he isn’t actually a whistle blower,

              Remember, if you actually get a lawyer, you aren’t really what you say you are.

              and they had to get a high-level deep-state official to change the policy on whistle blower complaints to allow second-hand rumors to qualify.

              As has been pointed out, this is false.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

          The impeachment query, at that time, was over the fact known to Pelosi, specifically, there was a whistleblower complaint being illegally held up.

          Which was a known fact at the time.

          The fact the whistleblower complaint has revealed something as bad as the leaks hinted at (and half of had already been obvious to people in Congress, so this just confirmed this) has caused the investigation to shift to that.

          And to explain this because apparently it’s not clear to you: Nixon’s impeachment required much more research because a) President Nixon didn’t commit the crimes himself, and b) covered up his involvement much better. It took years to even figure out what had happened with Nixon.

          Whereas, at this point, despite you desperately trying to spin it, it’s pretty clear that President Trump has clearly done the things the Democrats are going to try to impeach him over. He has done those acts. Whether those acts are ‘impeachable’ in some abstract sense, or whether they will make it though the process of impeachment and removal, are unknown, but the facts are…extremely clear.

          Whining they went straight to ‘impeachment’ and skipped investigation is like whining that the police and DA immediately charged someone they pulled drunk out of a wrecked car who ran over someone, whereas the same law enforcement take _years_ to investigate some white collar crime and charge someone for that. Oh, look at the bias!

          …or just just realize that the actions of one of those people are immediately observable to the naked eye.Report

  7. Chip Daniels says:

    Another nail in the coffin.

    “In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency,” he says in his prepared opening remarks, which were obtained by NPR. “This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy. While my interagency colleagues and I were becoming increasingly optimistic on Ukraine’s prospects, this alternative narrative undermined U.S. government efforts to expand cooperation with Ukraine.”Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      I liked the way Bolton immediately Noped out of the conversation he ended up in:

      Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

      It’s always funny to find a hard-right Trump supporter who actually has an ethical, or perhaps it’s just legal, line drawn in the sand.

      Sessions was the same way. He said ‘Of course I’ll follow DoJ procedure and recuse myself from investigation of the Trump campaign, I was _part_ of the Trump campaign, I can’t be involved.’. Like, Sessions is a racist asshole, yes, but he at least has the concept of following the law and legal procedure.

      The real joke about Sondland is…he’s just some random rich guy who, like a bunch of random rich guys, got made ambassador for being a major donor, like is always done. (This is a problem in _both_ parties.) He’s not even the fricking ambassador to Ukraine.

      And he got roped into this thing I’m not entirely sure he even understood was improper at the time.

      Where John Bolton, xenophobic warmongering idiot, did.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      I think the majority of people in uniform had ethical problems with things Obama, Hillary, and John Kerry were doing, like toppling the Libyan government for oil, dropping weapons to ISIS, sending pallets of cash to Iran, using more bombs and missiles to kill brown people than George W Bush did.

      I’m kind of surprised that the lt colonel somehow got a top-level security clearance despite being born in Russia, with two Russian parents. I had a Marine officer housemate who wasn’t allowed to go into Intelligence because his divorced dad married a Russian woman. But we’ve had many Secretaries of State who immigrated here in the aftermath of WW-II (Kissinger, Albright), so I suppose there are multiple and inconsistent standards on that. Heck, Valerie Jarrett was born in Iran and Hillary’s adviser Huma “Carlos Danger” Abedin and her parents were part of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood (which birthed Al Qaeda).

      In any event, the lieutenant colonel just confirmed what Trump told us and what was in the transcript, that twice he urged Zelensky to investigate the corrupt Joe Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, whose leaders seem to have been trying to rig the 2016 US elections. Since then we’ve learned that a few days after Biden was tasked with addressing corruption in Romania, Hunter Biden was hired as a legal adviser by a corrupt Romanian business mogul who was facing fraud charges in that country. And now Senators are looking into Biden’s deals with China, and whether those may have involved attempts to steal US aerospace technology.

      And this is the problem with a legislative body impeaching to stop an investigation into massive legislative corruption. That’s the plot of many a B movie, such as Walking Tall, where a determined sheriff takes a baseball bat to the town’s powers-that-be, pissing off all the bigwigs, and those bigwigs go to any extreme to try and stop him from exposing and prosecuting them.

      The risk to Democrats is that the drip drip of the Biden scandals, the 2016 election investigations, the IG report on FISA abuse, the Michael Flynn document dump, and Barr’s investigations hijack the Democrats narrative and turn the Democrat’s impeachment narrative on its head, exposing as a desperate attempt to keep themselves from going to prison for committing a long list of heinous crimes.

      Republican Senators are well aware of this, as is Trump, so Nancy will probably rue handing them the big +3 Gavel of Righteous Justice.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

        Yeah like I said, another nail in the coffin where he confirmed that Trump used the power of his office to ask a foreign government to target his political rival.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          He used the power of his office to get a foreign government to look into a US Presidential candidate who was up to his eyeballs in corruption and colluding with a foreign power to interfere in the 2016 election.

          Remember Russiagate? Remember two years of the Mueller investigation and the Steele dossier, premised on the idea that if Trump even had a whiff of a connection to Russian election interference then he was illegitimate and could not serve as President? That this was the most important governmental security concern of the United States?

          Yeah, that also applies to Joe Biden, who is likely connected to Ukraine’s involvement in the production of the Steele dossier that was used to try to rig the 2016 election and undermine the government of the United States.

          The Ukrainians President that Biden was in bed with, and whom he extorted to protect Hunter, was pro-Russian. Is Joe Biden a Russian agent? Does he work for Putin? Inquiring minds want to know!

          That is a 100% legitimate thing to investigate, and with extremely high priority. That’s how Republican Senators see it, and the law backs their position on Trump’s efforts. They will get to the bottom of it, and it will expose an unbelievable level of ugliness on the part of the Hillary campaign and the Obama Administration.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

            Corrupt candidates and staff, like Donald Trump/ Paul Manafort/ Michael Cohen, are a matter for American law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate, not foreign governments.Report

            • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Don’t you see Chip? The Democrats are walking right into Trumps trap! The way Biden delivered on policies that were bad for the company that was employing Hunter Biden proves… the company was paying Hunter a lot of money to uhh that is to say…. something … chem trails….

              The point is the Dems are playing right into Trumps hands. The only way they have any hope of surviving this is if they look at this egregious case of Trump misappropriating foreign aid to shake down another country for info on his electoral rival and then just ignore it and hope Trump doesn’t use it against them out of his sheer orange beneficence!Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                What we are seeing is graphic evidence that the modern conservative movement has become a revolutionary faction, not a political faction.

                Revolutionary, because for them every organ of the society must operate in service to the political goals of the party. Law enforcement, intelligence, media, all are either Loyal or Enemies of The State.

                They can’t tolerate any independent or free entities. Conservatives have developed an axiom that any organization not explicitly conservative will over time become liberal.

                Which is an astonishing admission of their own weakness; That free people, thinking independently, will inevitably gravitate away from the dogma of conservatism.

                Which explains why the movement has been reduced to cultishness, all filled with conspiracy theories and loyalty tests and shibboleths.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Hahaha, do you ever sprain your fingers on the keyboard typing this stuff.Report

              • George Turner in reply to JoeSal says:

                Well, it is highly amusing. For example, why did Democrats ask foreign governments to help investigate Paul Manafort, because suddenly that’s an impeachable crime.

                Indeed, Senate Democrats, on their official Senate stationary, wrote to Ukraine and threatened Ukraine’s US aid if Ukraine didn’t keep investigating Republicans.

                The Democrats, in a panic, decided to run with the worst of all possible impeachment inquiries – for Democrats. They should have gone with something related to golf resorts or hotel stays or hogging all the vanilla ice cream.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to George Turner says:

                “why did Democrats”

                See that right there. Just assume nine out of ten are crazy and it will save a million typed words.Report

              • JoeSal in reply to JoeSal says:

                “And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end”..Report

              • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                So, do you have an explanation of why Trump ran an entire parallel foreign relation team when he sets US policy and could have officially pressured the Ukraine? Why did he do that instead of using the existing one. Oh, wait, I’m wrong…he did had one actual ambassador involved…an ambassador to an entirely different place…that didn’t know any of the rules.

                And do you have an explanation of why so many member of the actual State Department and the actual people in charge of foreign policy got so up in arms when they realized what was going on, and what Trump was trying to do?

                Now, most people would, if they observed person strolling into a store, and openly taking off the shelf, and walking to the front, and paying for it a credit card…and another person meeting with a guy in a back alley in the middle of the night and paying him using a suitcase full of cash, that the second guy…is probably doing something that is, in some manner, illegal.

                But Democrats exchange goods for money all the time, and this must be identical!

                Oh, and on top of that: The lawyers, and generally knowledgeable people usually around that second person were sticking their fingers in their ears and humming really really loudly. Even massive supporters. Like, how do you explain John Bolton’s behavior? Why did he treat this as a white-hot poker that he was not going anywhere near? Do you have an explanation if this was totally fine? Oh, I know…he’s secretly a Democrat, right?

                While we’re at ‘off the books’ things, do you have an explanation for the fact Trump has not used the actual procedures by which countries can request investigations within each other? Like, there’s a formal route for that, between the DoJ and their foreign equivalents. Our DoJ has never, in any manner, done this, despite the fact that one of the entities looking into all supposedly is our attorney general.

                Now, I have a rather obvious explanation for that: There’s literally no crime HBiden could have committed in the Ukraine, and a formal request would require the US identifying such a crime. And hence it hasn’t been made.

                You, presumably, have some other explanation?Report

              • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in US aid to Ukraine if they didn’t fire the prosecutor looking into his son’s company. Why didn’t he go through normal diplomatic channels to do that? Why did he tell them that his plane leaves in six hours and if the prosecutor isn’t fired by the time he leaves, no aid will flow?

                How did his son end up on the board of a privately held Ukrainian energy company, and why does a privately held company, owned almost entirely by one person who is hiding out in Russia, even have a board? Since Hunter never even set foot in their building, what did he do to make $83,000 a month? Why did he land the job just days after Biden was made point man on Ukrainian corruption?

                Why were the Ukrainians interfering in the 2016 election, and why was the whistle blower, Eric Ciaramella, meeting with them in the White House, and why was he meeting with Ukrainian opposition researchers who worked for Hillary? Why did Adam Schiff hire a bunch of Ciaramella’s coworkers? How many US diplomats were directly involved in these and similar efforts?

                So many questions.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in US aid to Ukraine if they didn’t fire the prosecutor looking into his son’s company. Why didn’t he go through normal diplomatic channels to do that?

                He did. That was the official policy of the Obama administration. It was also the official policy of the EU, and the IMF, and a whole bunch of people. You know, we have newspapers from that time. Here’s one:

                As that’s behind a firewall, let me quote the part of it:

                The United States and other Western nations had for months called for the ousting of Mr. Shokin, who was widely criticized for turning a blind eye to corrupt practices and for defending the interests of a venal and entrenched elite. He was one of several political figures in Kiev whom reformers and Western diplomats saw as a worrying indicator of a return to past corrupt practices, two years after a revolution that was supposed to put a stop to self-dealing by those in power.

                As the problems festered, Kiev drew increasingly sharp criticism from Western diplomats and leaders. In a visit in December, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said corruption was eating Ukraine “like a cancer.” Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, which props up Ukraine financially, said last month that progress was so slow in fighting corruption that “it’s hard to see how the I.M.F.-supported program can continue.”

                With this pressure mounting, Parliament on Tuesday voted by a comfortable margin to remove Mr. Shokin.

                You notice that ‘The United States and other Western nations had for months called for’ bit?And ‘Western diplomats’. Yes, all that was through normal diplomatic channels.

                To quote Poroshenko, the President at the time: “Pressure on us came from everywhere: the activists, political forces, embassies, international organizations”

                You will notice the word ’embassies’ in there. Aka, diplomats.

                Here, let’s take someone who has provided some pushback to the policy: George Kent, who has recently been testifying that Hunter Biden’s position made the State Department’s position more complicated, and he complained about it and nothing got done. He’s been very critical of that. But he’s also mentioned, repeatedly, incidentally (Because this is only disputed by you), that official US policy was, in fact, to pressure the Ukraine to remove Shokin.

                So now we’ve determined that firing Shokin was offical US policy…what was Trump doing different?

                Well, the pressure for the Ukraine to open an investigation into Burisma, or really, pressuring the Ukraine to publicly announce the opening of an investigation (The Trump administration wrote announcement and everything.), was not official US policy. It didn’t go through State.

                It was instead some sort of weird informal US policy group, one that contained a bunch of random people, including the ambassador to the EU, the Attorney General, and the president’s personal lawyer, which almost such a surreal thing for me to type that it sounds fake.

                At this point, I should pause and make it clear that the President is in charge of US foreign policy, generally speaking. He couldn’t have stopped the money to Ukraine, that’s Congress’s, but he could have put pressure on them in other ways. To do that, all he does is tell the State Department, and they try to harmonize it with everything else. And ultimately, he’s the boss. He could have said ‘Our official Ukraine policy is that they need to investigate HBiden’. He didn’t.

                Indeed, the actual Ambassador to the Ukraine was fired when she, according to Republicans, started ‘obstructing efforts to investigate HBiden’ which…obstructing that would actually be her job. Her job was to present foreign policy as directed by the State Department. So her saying ‘Investigating HBiden is not US policy’, in response to their questions about non-government employee Rudy Giuliani saying US policy was otherwise, was entirely correct and basically her job description.

                Now I’m not saying firing her was illegal, or there even that there was anything wrong with it, Ambassadors serve at the administration’s pleasure. I’m pointing out that she literally got fired because what the President was doing conflicted with official US policy, which is what she kept promoting, as that was her job. (Well, and she started badmouthing the president, but that’s probably natural when your boss’s boss gives someone direct orders that are opposite the orders you’re getting.)

                Now, I don’t know if creating some secret foreign policy instrument is technically illegal, although I feel that some part of it probably is. But let’s ignore the legality, that’s not what I’m talking about. Selling merchandise in a back alley in the middle of the night is not probably not technically illegal either.

                My point was, doing that way raises a lot of questions. Especially as, in this analogy, the seller doing that secret backalley transaction has literally an entire storefront that is set up for selling, and thousands of employees. I.e., the President has an actual State Department. But he didn’t use it, and in fact actively sorta undermined it or it undermined him, or however you want to look at it.

                This isn’t because the State Department refused to follow what Trump was doing. It was because they weren’t asked to start with, and honestly seemed utterly baffled as to what was going on when they ran across it.

                For example, read the texts from Bill Taylor, top diplomat in the Ukraine. Everyone points to the fact he asked about quid quo pro, but I want to point at the other interesting fact: He’s utterly confused. He asks ‘Are we now saying…’ showing he’s trying to reverse engineer foreign policy from what other people, people not in the State Department, are telling the Ukraine government! Because it’s different from what he got from State, aka official US foreign policy. And he presumably understood the Ambassador before him was fired for that, so he is trying to deduce these policies that are not official, somehow.

                I’d like to hear your explanation of why Trump did it that way, instead of just setting the foreign policy of ‘The Ukraine should investigate HBiden’. Now, my explanation is: That would be blatantly illegal. You presumably have a different justification for this setup?Report

  8. CJColucci says:

    So what does the dog chasing the car do when the car stops? No doubt it will find something else to yap about.Report

  9. Saul Degraw says:

    John McNaughton is apparently a cat person. This one does not make sense even by his standards. I see the lightshade as a Freemason’s symbol and a Chinese Communist Star but it shows the Democrats get along, love dogs, and can be around a portrait of Trump without being triggered. He is either being really subtle or drunk too much koolaid.

  10. Mr.Joe says:

    Text of the resolution as passed is up on the House site.

    I sure hope if I am investigated for a crime that I can get an equal level of due process. “..including such procedures as to allow for the participation of the President and his counsel.” Me and my lawyer get to participate in the investigation and drafting of the indictment? YES PLEASE.

    It is pretty sweet to be an elite.Report