Not the Bi-Partisan Impeachment They Were Looking For

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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.

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111 Responses

  1. Avatar LTL FTC
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    says:

    I count at least 15 years of playing the home version of everyone’s favorite Washington game, “will Snowe and Collins flip?” Despite how often it’s played, the result is usually the same. Republicans are coherent as an interest group: native born white comfortable incumbent types of all social classes. Democrats are everybody else, which is why they don’t split the GOP, they get split. It’s a coalition held together by the collective horror at the other option.

    The fact that Mueller flipped and then indicted so much of Trump’s early campaign team put a lot of Republican backs to the wall. If he falls, they fall with him. And who wants to be the brave defector who loses and then comes back to a puffed-chest party begging forgiveness for jumping ship too early? Someone who wants to write a little-read book called “Look At My Sense of Principle” and work the MSNBC circuit until the end of time, that’s who.

    Still, I say impeach. America deserves its day in court.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LTL FTC
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      says:

      Generally the smart Republicans are retiring because they see a very competitive election for their seats in 2020. They aren’t going to vote for impeachment because that would threaten their post-political lobbying gigs but they see the writing on the wall for their reelection chances.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw
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        says:

        @Saul Degraw – totally this. I suspect many of these same retirees are also the ones often quoted in hushed whispers as being against Trump.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          Schiff’s impeachment hearings couldn’t even sway a Republican CIA spook, Will Hurd, who was never much of a Trump supporter and who wasn’t going to run for re-election.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
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            says:

            And your point is?

            Sure, not every Republican who is retiring speaks out openly against Mr. Trump. But of the Republican politicians who do, they are all uniformly not running for reelection.

            That aside, the Senate Intelligence Committee has released a report written by the majority under Republican Richard Burr that says definitively the Ukraine didn’t interfere in our election in 2016. Yet somehow Republicans on the same House Committee – who are presumably cleared for the same information and most likely briefed by the Senate Committee staff – are STILL Spouting off about Ukrainian interference. So whether or not a single Republican was swayed by the hearings or not is immaterial to the point that Republicans on the Hill when they speak publicly are still lying about who did what.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              The Republican report was on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The word “Ukraine” appears in the report exactly twice.

              Senate Intelligence Report (PDF)

              I’he Committee heard testimony about a Russian attack on Ukraine’s web page for announcing results. That attacked allowed the Russians to use misinformation that left Ukraine in chaos for days after the election. As the Committee’s expert witness warned, “[w]e need to look at that playbook. They will do it to us.””

              Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                The conspiracy theory that says that Ukraine interfered in our election says they interfered via faking the Russian interference(1), either with or without the DNC’s support. Its why Trump keeps talking about an imaginary server that is in Ukraine…because it has evidence of this on it.

                Which means a report that concludes Russia did interfere does, indeed, state that the current conspiracy theory about Ukraine interfering is entirely invented.

                1. How this could interfere in anything as it didn’t come out until after the election is unknown, and in fact makes this entire group of conspiracy theories very stupid…the Democrats went to all that time and effort to frame people, and then literally forgot to mention it at the point it might have mattered.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                It’s not a “conspiracy theory”. We know Ukraine interfered in our election. They were running anti-Trump ads out of their embassy. They got Paul Manafort fired from the Trump campaign. They also seem to have significant involvement in the Russian dossier hoax that Democrats are still using.

                Also, Mueller couldn’t find a shred of evidence that any American was knowingly involved in any Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election, whereas a Ukrainian American woman who was working with the DNC and the Ukrainian embassy, and who was definitely trying to interfere in the 2016 election, visited the Obama White House 27 times. Lt Col Vindman’s assignment at the NSC was coordinating with anti-Trump Ukrainian officials.

                Now why would Ukraine want to work with Democrats to frame the Russians? Could it be that they were in a shooting war with Russia and dependent on US foreign aid? Could it be that their previous government had gone all in with Hillary, Kerry, and Biden, even employing their children in lucrative no-show jobs to buy their unconditional support?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                We know Ukraine interfered in our election.

                AGAIN: The conspiracy theory about the Ukraine that DONALD TRUMP is currently promoting is: That Ukraine hacked the DNC and framed Russia, or alternately Ukraine and the DNC were in together, it’s kinda vague which is true.

                Any mention of a ‘server’ or ‘Cloudstrike’, are about that UNTRUE conspiracy, as opposed to being about other Ukrainian things.

                Other things may or may not be true. That one isn’t.

                Also, Mueller couldn’t find a shred of evidence that any American was knowingly involved in any Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election

                I think ‘one count of obstruction of an official proceeding’, where the ‘the official proceeding’ is the investigation of Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election…qualifies as ‘knowingly involved’. Covering up a crime is, indeed, being involved in it.

                And Roger Stone was convicted of that.

                , whereas a Ukrainian American woman who was working with the DNC and the Ukrainian embassy, and who was definitely trying to interfere in the 2016 election, visited the Obama White House 27 times.

                The theory he’s referring to is, basically, that someone working for the DNC, (someone named Alexandra Chalupa for people who actually want information instead of random untracable allegations), approached the Ukraine embassy to get information about Paul Manafort. And that the DNC had her do that.

                The DNC denies this. And…and hilariously, the evidence that Republicans are using to prove ‘it happened’ show us she wasn’t working for them. Let me quote The Hill here:

                “All ideas floated by Alexandra were related to approaching a Member of Congress with a purpose to initiate hearings on Paul Manafort or letting an investigative journalist ask President Poroshenko a question about Mr. Manafort during his public talk in Washington, D.C.,” the ambassador explained.

                Let’s look at the first thing. It appears she wanted to bring the ambassador to a member of Congress and have them tell that Member about Paul Manafort’s corruption, and hope that Member would investigate.

                So, uh…why does the DNC need an Ukraine ambassador to ask their own Congresspeople to do things? Wouldn’t they just…pick up the phone and call them?

                Same with a reporter asking the question, incidentally. The DNC has reporters that sympathetic to it, and can be fed questions. We all know this. Why would the DNC ask the Ukrainians to find someone to ask the question?

                This ‘meddling’, via the Ukrainians, appears solely to get people in the US to do things. People in the US that the DNC could just ask to do those things!

                No. What happened here, very clearly, is a woman, who knew about Paul Manafort from her own connections in Ukraine, told the DNC this (This is known). They didn’t listen to her, so she tried to tell Congress (Because that was literally one of her plans) or get it in the public eye (her other plan).

                On her own.

                Lt Col Vindman’s assignment at the NSC was coordinating with anti-Trump Ukrainian officials.

                By ‘anti-Trump Ukrainian officials’ you just mean ‘Ukrainian officials’. Putting anti-Trump is redundent. Because…none of them like Trump, because, (for reason a totally unrelated to anything we’re talking about), he held up the military aid the US promised Ukraine. It’s…almost as if a president that seems to be more on Russian’s side instead of Ukraine’s is…disliked in Ukraine, even by the government. (Except by the people there who like Russia, but they aren’t in power.)

                It’s weird, I know. Who can figure it out.

                They also seem to have significant involvement in the Russian dossier hoax that Democrats are still using.

                ‘seem to have’ is lot of work there. A better better way to phrase that might be ‘Ukraine has been hallucinated by some Republicans to have significant involvement in…’Report

  2. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    Nancy lost control.

    It was always a stinker of a move, and one she didn’t want to take. But her party was demanding it, at all costs. Nothing has come out of the hearings that moved the needle in her direction, and much has come out that moves it the other way. This whole thing would only work if they managed to rise above mere partisanship and show a genuine need. Wednesday’s circus was an indicator of just how out of touch this Schiff show has gotten.

    My guess is she, by not even waiting until Judiciary concludes its hearings, wants to dump this whole shebang as far from the election as possible.Report

    • Avatar quid_pro_quoth_the_raven in reply to Aaron David
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      says:

      I’ve watched all of this carefully, and my observation has been that none of the Republicans involved in the committee have taken fact-finding seriously. Mostly I heard them spew a whole bunch of blah blah blah during the hearings, not bothering to actually ask questions, mostly because they didn’t want to hear the answers. That is, they banged a lot of table/ given that neither the law nor the facts are on their side.

      I do not think anyone who actually engages in the evidence with honesty can come out thinking the administration has clean hands here. And it is clear, quite clear, that the Republican’s argument that this is all hear-say, holds very little water when the administration ignores Congressional subpoenas, and given Sondland’s testimony.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to quid_pro_quoth_the_raven
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        says:

        …when the administration ignores Congressional subpoenas…

        It’s trivial to find various lists of times Obama fought supoenas. If memory serves it’s basically a thing whenever a different party holds Congress.

        It’s a little bit concerning that THIS is being held up as a serious problem and reason to remove Trump. It smacks of lowering the goal posts because the rest of the argument isn’t strong enough.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    2020 is a census-drawing year.

    Which makes it the most important election of our lifetimes.Report

  4. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    There are quite a lot of articles like this floating around, pondering the partisan aspects of impeachment. Discussing the possible strategic advantage to one side or the other, gaming out various alternatives and giving horserace odds and betting predictions.

    Which makes it weird to then hear criticism about partisanship. Because in these sorts of discussions, we aren’t speaking as engaged citizens of a republican democracy, arguing principle. We ourselves are partisans, thinking only in terms of games and trickery where truth is irrelevant.

    Adam Silverman over at Balloon Juice has been running a good series about “black psyops”, the efforts by the Russian government to interfere and flood American media with false information.

    The goal in disinformation is not to persuade anyone of a particular view, but frustrate the viewer and make it impossible to know what is true or not.
    The end result is that engaged and empowered citizens become exhausted and helpless peasants.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      A person can do disease projections without endorsing sickness. We can talk about expected outcomes without it being inappropriate.

      But I’m pretty sure we agree that the people actually involved in the process should be thinking and acting on principle. I think some of them are, but if I had to guess a percentage…actually, I’m not going to, because that’s just malicious. I’ll go this far: I think they could all be doing a better job convincing the voters that they’re being honorable.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    There are huge amounts of motivated reasoning going on and very little attention to facts on the ground. I suspect this is because lots of people just have it burnt into their brains that it is absolutely and totally impossible to ever give credit to Democratic politicians or Democratic voters about anything.

    I am old enough to remember way back in (checks notes) 2018 when everyone was predicting that 2018 was going to be a big year for Republicans and dismissive of anti-Trump voices and the “resistance.” I am also old enough to remember that the election resulted in Democrats winning a 40 seat advantage in the House, flipping several state legislatures, and governments.

    I am also old enough to remember (checks notes) when Democrats flipped the Virginia state legislature and won elections in many suburban counties that have voted Republican since the Civil War.

    All of this seems to be pretty strong evidence that Trump is a fucking dumpster fire that happened to win a freak victory and it is Republicans that should really be careful. And yet, we have a cowardly guy from New Jersey still quaking in fear of Trump “magic” and a bunch of middle-aged white guys whose brains are so programmed to Republicanism that it prevents rational analysis of the facts.

    Christ is it infuriating. OT’s Michael Siegel is no one’s idea of a liberal and he sees that Republicans are rotten to the core and need vast reforming. And yet if you read the media and a bunch of posters here, it is like Trump has a 70 percent popularity rating. What the fuck gives?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      It’s because a lot of people hate Trump and what the Republicans have become but don’t see themselves as liberals and can’t stand the Democratic Party at all. I think a lot of Mayor Pete support comes from this group. I recently posted my prediction that Biden would be the Democratic nominee for 2020 and got a Facebook friend go off on how Mayor Pete is the intelligent liberal. That same person later posted a Reason article on how Biden plans to raise taxes more than Clinton did. A lot of people want the economic parts of Republicanism without the racism, sexism, or homophobia. They just can’t get it and it frustrates them immensely.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        They could get it if the made better voting choices within their own party. Or stayed home a cycle or two so democrats won and then could guide the party back.

        There really is no free lunch.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        I thought that the economic conservative and social progressive is a tiny but overrepresented minority. If they’re all on board with Butteigeig, then that makes sense he’s hovering around 10% and he’ll top out quickly.

        The primary will likely be won by voters who are all around (comparatively) conservative but have nowhere else to go because the GOP actively hates them.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LTL FTC
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          says:

          Economic conservative and socially liberal is like 90% of the Democratic Party.

          Over the past few decades the most fiscally conservative governments have been Democratic ones.

          The only reason this sounds counterintuitive is that the conventional definition of ‘economic conservative’ is the racial variety where fiscal prudence means unlimited defense spending and crony subsidy, but draconian cuts to aid to Those People.
          Nodding approval of carpet bombing foreign warlords with pallets of cash, but outrage over a mother buying a candy bar with food stamps.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Measured by as a percentage of GDP over the decades, defense spending is going down or is flat while social spending / entitlements has exploded and is projected to explode. We have to cut where the money is at.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              ” We have to cut where the money is at”

              Exactly, that that is what gives away the game in Republican rhetoric.

              Medicare is the only social spending that is going up because of an aging population and increasing medical costs.

              The social spending which goes to Those People like food assistance and rental assistance has declined.

              Whenever Republicans gain power, they don’t cut Medicare (where the money is at), but instead fixate on the tiny amounts that go to food assistance.

              Every Republican president has increased the deficit, and every Democratic president has reduced it.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                As the population gets richer and food gets cheaper, the need for food assistance should be going down. Add to that full employment and it’s extremely hard to see why food assistance shouldn’t be going down.

                Medicare is the only social spending that is going up because of an aging population and increasing medical costs.

                Pensions.

                But yes, we badly need medical reform before the budget breaks.

                The problem is we don’t have a policial concensus on what to do, so it’s effectively impossible. An organized minority can easily block everything but the trivial.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      There are huge amounts of motivated reasoning going on and very little attention to facts on the ground.

      This, a thousand times. It sure seems weird for this post to…uh…not mention any polls. I’m sure that was just a random oversight, and not because an actual majority of all Americans support Trump being impeached, and a plurality support him being impeached and removed from office.

      And 83% of Democrats support impeachment: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/impeachment-polls/

      For the record, only 82% of Democrats say that the government doesn’t do enough to help the poor: https://www.people-press.org/2018/01/30/majorities-say-government-does-too-little-for-older-people-the-poor-and-the-middle-class/

      That’s right, impeachment is more popular among Democrats than what basically the entire Democratic field is running on. I’m sure some really stupid or desperate Democrats are trying to primary Democrats with threats of this, but…people doing things doesn’t make those things smart.

      And…impeachments become more popular as information gets out of there, not less. It’s already moved from 50% opposing, 40% for, to slightly tilted in favor of it.Report

  6. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    For what it’s worth, I read Nancy Pelosi saying, when they embarked on the hearings and procedures, that she felt they needed to step up because Trump had interfered with and witheld, for instance, funds allocated by Congress. And used it to try to gin up an attack on one of their presidential candidates.

    They absolutely needed to contest this action, otherwise, as the Speaker said, “why run for office?”

    I did not support impeachment proceedings last spring. I didn’t think the politics were there. I do for this. Trump abused his office and his power. Going at him this way gives some chance he won’t try it again.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      Going at him this way gives some chance he won’t try it again.

      for three plus decades (probably 4 plus) he’s regularly sued contractors he has stiffed when they try to collect. He loses and declares bankruptcy. Over and over. He never deviates even though the repeated losses SHOULD cause him to change his behaviors.

      In other words, don’t hold your breath. The only way to change his behavior is for the Senate to convict if articles are approved, or for him to loose the election next year.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        He never deviates even though the repeated losses SHOULD cause him to change his behaviors.

        Losses? What “losses”? If you put NO value on your rep and have NO ethics or morals, he made money (or didn’t lose as much as he could have) and all that happened is a “naughty” letter from a court.

        If it costs him less money to pay a lawyer to file bankruptcy for one of his 500 (yes, really) businesses than it would to pay off the creditors, then he does so.

        This time, from his point of view he got the Dems to overreach and probably hand him the election. He had to get rid of his ethics, dignity, and reputation as a nice/moral guy but that’s a cost of doing business.

        Not only will he not change his behavior from from his point of view he shouldn’t, he didn’t do anything wrong. “Wrong” is defined as “bad things happened to me like being arrested or losing money”. “Wrong” is NOT defined as “he was in the news in a so-called ‘negative’ way” because there’s no such thing as “negative” PR.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      Plus, Nancy’s son, who founded an energy company, was over in Ukraine (he posted pics), along with Biden’s son and Kerry’s son. One of Schiff’s big fundraisers works for a Ukrainian arms manufacturer, and some woman on Nadler’s committee has a husband tied to a Ukrainian oligarch to the tune of $700K. Apparently Ukraine is indeed a lucrative place for a corrupt politician to do business. The swamp is deep, and it definitely is going to put up a fight before it gets drained.

      That’s a very simple message addressing a long-known problem, with lots of simple facts to back it up. Even Hunter Biden can’t explain why a Ukrainian energy company would be paying him $50K a month. In contrast, the Democrats have to sell the idea that it’s wrong, very wrong, to encourage law enforcement to investigate political corruption, even when one of the targets is on tape bragging about how he extorted a foreign leader to shut down such an investigation. Biden’s actions are stuck in the middle of this case like a bad tooth. There’s no way to say what Trump did was wrong without also having to contend with the problem that by any measure, what Biden did was clearly worse – and much more obvious, not requiring any third-hand gossip or giant leaps of inference. He just up and threatened the dude, kind of like he did to Corn Pop.

      The Democrats have already presented all their evidence, which amounted to nothing, moved the needle the wrong way, and merely reminded folks that Trump is in charge of US foreign policy and the State Department is packed with obviously overpaid bureaucrats with big egos. All the “drip drip” in this scandal will then go the other way as the Senate looks very deeply into whether Trump was justified in encouraging Zelensky to have a look at rampant corruption between the previous Ukrainian administration and the Democrat party. It’s proper for them to do that because the validity of such investigations, and the need for them, is a defense against the charges being leveled.

      My read continues to be that certain key players, who were in potential legal jeopardy if anyone investigated Ukrainian ties to the DNC, panicked about Trump’s phone call and became desperate to head off such investigations in any way possible, including immediate impeachment to throw up enough smoke and dust to avoid taking a fall. Schiff will believe anything because he’s so desperate to get Trump, and he and like minded Democrats fooled Nancy with claims of absolute, air-tight, evidence of crimes so venal that Trump would never survive. She fell for it and now she has no way to back out, so it’s d*** the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

      The question for Democrat House members is whether they should bail now, claiming they were legally astute enough (many were prosecutors) to know a junk case when they saw it, or go all in even knowing that the Senate trial might prove devastating to their party. They have to game out how they’ll sell either position to voters, potentially alienating either their centrists and moderates or the far left base. That calculus will be very different for each of them, depending on their district.Report

      • Avatar quid_pro_quoth_the_raven in reply to George Turner
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        says:

        This is your read entirely, but no, Trump is not in charge of US foreign policy. Not solely. Congress is also in charge of foreign policy, and given that the President is obligated to faithfully execute the law, is bound by that (e.g. see Impoundment Control Act of 1974).Furthermore, a President can’t justify corruption just by calling it foreign policy.

        I don’t think you’ve really engaged with the evidence honestly. Sorry, but I just don’t.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to quid_pro_quoth_the_raven
          Ignored
          says:

          The State Department is part of the Executive branch. Obama fired every US ambassador, all of them, without Congressional approval because none was required. Just about the only Democrat to dare question Obama’s foreign policy was Tulsi Gabbard, and the whole party is still out to destroy her.

          Under the law, Trump was obligated to investigate Joe Biden due to a treaty, signed by President Clinton and ratified by the Senate, that requires both Ukraine and the US to investigate corruption. The could just as well be impeaching him for not investigating Joe Biden, since that would be a refusal to see the laws are faithfully executed.

          But that was all yesterday’s news. Today, Nancy’s new talking point is that she’s impeaching Trump because he was refusing to give weapons to Ukraine because he actually works for Putin. I guess the bribery claim wasn’t working out. Tomorrow, the reason for impeachment will be something else.Report

          • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            Under the law, Trump was obligated to investigate Joe Biden due to a treaty, signed by President Clinton and ratified by the Senate, that requires both Ukraine and the US to investigate corruption.

            I don’t recall hearing of any U.S. led investigation. Perhaps because it would appear unseemly to be investigating the family of a political opponent? So, why not outsource?Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Slade the Leveller
              Ignored
              says:

              Well, when the call took place, Biden had not declared and thus wasn’t an opponent, no matter the rumor and speculations that he would. And having the head of the US gov’t make the call certainly lends credence to being a U.S. led investigation.

              I am sure there are literally hundreds of investigations that I am not aware of, but maybe you work in a diferent world?Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Slade the Leveller
              Ignored
              says:

              Well he did sort of out source it to….his personal lawyer who was also trying to do his own personal business. For my money a president using his personal lawyer to start an “official” investigation in a foreign country doesn’t in any…ANY WAY….sound at best really forking flakey. And of course they asked for an announcement of an investigation which is not what you do if you want an actual investigation. If you want a real criminal investigation you want it quiet while you do the thing , not blathered on tv.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                The Ukrainians approached Giuliani, not the other way around, and Giuliani then approached Trump with it. This was already covered in previous testimony.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Why yes the presidents personal law talking guy going foreign policy while also looking for his own business in the same country is GREAT. And why would they approach Rudy, there are, you know diplomats there who have direct relations with all the ukranians.

                But why doesn’t trump talk to his good pal putin and tell him to get the F out of there. That might be a thing for someone who wanted to defend a pro west democracy against an authoritarian attack would do. Or are you going all tucker carlson and rooting for russia.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
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            says:

            The State Department is part of the Executive branch. Obama fired every US ambassador, all of them, without Congressional approval because none was required.

            The State Department (and DoD) was not only required to give the money to Ukraine by law, but actually tried to do so. They were not stopped by Trump, they were stopped by the OMB, who did not give them the money they asked for under the law.

            If he had managed to get the Departments not request the money, we’d be having a different conversation. But people in those Departments have laws that directed how they acted, so they followed them. And weren’t given the money, by the OMB.

            The OMB, meanwhile, is deliberately not under the president’s control. It is a neutral agency that is supposed to follow the bare letter of the law, not any sort of policy whatsoever.

            Trump put in someone there to illegally reject the funding the two Departments had requested. This, I should point out, is _explicitly_ a check on presidental powers, as it was created after Nixon abused the process and they were going to put in in _his_ articles of impeachment, but someone pointed out such a thing wasn’t technically illegal.

            So Congress made it so. Which it can constitutionally do, because Congress owns all the money of the US government. The OMB might technically be part of the executive, but it is utterly under the control of the legislative.

            Under the law, Trump was obligated to investigate Joe Biden due to a treaty, signed by President Clinton and ratified by the Senate, that requires both Ukraine and the US to investigate corruption.

            You mean this: https://www.congress.gov/treaty-document/106th-congress/16/document-text

            As the Right wing has gotten themselves a bit of a huff noticing that such a treaty exists, and thus Trump behavior must be proper, perhaps we should try to figure out what happens under that treaty.

            Under that treaty, someone either at the state or federal level will send a request to the DoJ’s Office of International Affairs, which will review it. Once that happened, it’s transmitted to whatever the other country has defined as their ‘central authority’, their version of the DoJ…which is Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice.

            Literally none of this happened. Hell, the damn _Attorney General_ was involved and he didn’t run it the DoJ Office of International Affairs!

            Other ways we can ask countries to help with investigations: We can tell our ambassador to the Ukraine to send what is called a ‘demarche’, aka, an official statement of the US government, saying ‘We think someone in your country is a criminal, please look into it’.

            HOWEVER, instead of using the ambassador to the Ukraine, Trump used…the ambassador to the EU, and his personal lawyer, and the Attorney General.

            And not to do an actual investigation. Weirdly, as has been pointed out by many witnesses, include the Ambassador I mentioned, the Trump administration was really intent on having an announcement there was an investigation, which…which actually seems strangely counterproductive to doing the investigation. They were so intent on it, they literally wrote what the Ukrainian president should say.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
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              says:

              Trump put in someone there to illegally reject the funding the two Departments had requested.

              There isn’t even a credible allegation that a law was violated, because the Executive has the authority to delay funding until a deadline set by Congress, which didn’t happen.

              Further, the Executive is completely proper in having foreign aid, especially military aid, reviewed whenever their is a change of government in a foreign country. Ukraine could’ve gone 100% pro-Putin in its election, and if it did, would we still be obligated to give them a bunch of Western weapons? No, we would not.

              Which makes the nonsense about Ukraine being “vital to US national security” even more laughable. They flipped many times between pro Russia and pro NATO. They will probably flip quite a few more times. There is no way they’re vital to anything.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                There isn’t even a credible allegation that a law was violated, because the Executive has the authority to delay funding until a deadline set by Congress, which didn’t happen.

                I’m not going to go over it again. Here you go:
                https://www.lawfareblog.com/more-role-omb-withholding-ukrainian-aid

                Lawfare concluded that the DoD did officially ask, and the OMB illegally delayed the funds.

                Right there. That was not legal

                And while they say that what happened with the State Department aid might not ‘breach legal obligations’ of the OMB, that’s not actually the end of the story of that money. There are other laws the OMB has to follow beside its ‘legal obligations’ to distribute money as allocated by Congress. (You might want to read that ‘as allocated by Congress’ several time, I fear Republicans have gotten confused about who controls the US government’s money.)

                The OMB is forbidden from making any decisions based on policy. It must make them based purely on law and available budget.

                So the OMB withholding it’s ‘informal approval’ for the State Department to request the money will still need to be investigated. Why did it do that? Did it do it at the President’s direction? Because he is not allowed to do that.

                Further, the Executive is completely proper in having foreign aid, especially military aid, reviewed whenever their is a change of government in a foreign country.

                You guys just keep insisting that is true. It is not, it is criminal behavior, a violation of several federal laws, and will get the president impeached…but you guys keep standing there and insisting ‘completely proper’, because it’s really funny.

                At least the history books will accurately reflect what happened, because…the criminal side of all this is literally arguing they did break the law, but that was okay.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                So you have a DC bureaucrat temporarily not doing their job? Color me shocked.

                How about the time Obama evaded Congressional oversight when he gave Iran billions in cash by having his minions write hundreds of payments, each a dollar less than the legal reporting requirement?

                In fact, is there any impeachment standard under which Trump can be impeached but Obama wouldn’t have been impeached fifty to a hundred times? Fast & Furious, contempt of Congress, withholding records, IRS abuse, FBI spying on journalists, FBI spying on Trump, ignoring immigration laws, etc.

                In contrast, delaying aid until a full re-review of Ukraine’s newly elected government was complete is paramount to US national security. If we don’t conduct such reviews we could end up shipping arms to a bunch of anti-American jihadist rebels who overthrew their government after Congress had approved the sale of arms to the previous government to try and stop the revel jihadists.

                But Democrats have moved on from the failed “withholding arms” claims (perhaps because Obama denied Ukraine any arms and ceded Crimea to Russia, and let Russia freely interfere in 2016, and promised them that he would work with them after the 2012 election). Last week they’d decided to go with “bribery”, which will be fun because then Barr can go ahead and prosecute every Democrat in the House and Senate for doing similar deals on a weekly basis, as they were previously dismissed as “horse trading”.

                I think the new charge Nancy dreamed up is that Trump committed Treason by working with Putin to undermine Ukraine.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                In contrast, delaying aid until a full re-review of Ukraine’s newly elected government was complete is paramount to US national security.

                We did complete the reviews. The money was not released.

                Hey, look, whataboutism!Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The money was put on hold in July and released Sept 11th.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Released, mind, after their scheme got whistle-blown.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I remember when post hoc ergo propter hoc was called a logical fallacy, not a legal argument.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                If you’re trying to make the assertion that the delay was due to some sort of security review: It wasn’t, and there wasn’t a security review anyway: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/ranking/release/fact-sheet-dod-certified-that-ukraine-met-corruption-benchmarks

                The DoD had already reviewed Ukraine for corruption, several times, and had consistently been giving them money that required them to do these reviews. The last one was May 23, 2019….while it’s work pointing out the delays actually sorta started in late June. So they weren’t asked to do another one of those reviews, because they’d just have said ‘Uh, the last review isn’t out of date.’.

                The review the DOD was asked to do was an ‘effectiveness’ review. Read the second paragraph of page 7 of the linked Amb. Taylor testimony. (I don’t want to put in multiple links so I get held up in moderation. And you can’t search)

                ‘At one point, the Defense Department was ask to perform an analysis of the effectiveness of the assistance. Withing a day, the Defense Department came back with the determination that the assistance was effective and should be resumed’.

                So that review, the review everyone keeps talking about and calling the wrong thing, took only a single day anyway. (Probably because what the DoD was asked to review was the DoD’s own plan for how to do the aid…which obviously the DoD thought would work. Duh.)

                After which point the DoD continued to ask for the money that they had been given by Congress, and required to give to Ukraine. Presumably, you’d think they’d know if they hadn’t finished a required review.

                And the President, with the illegal collusion of someone he had installed in the OMB to do this, continued to refuse to give their own money.

                Fun fact: If the DoD had concluded that the program wouldn’t be effective, they would still have to give out the money. Their passing the money would still be required by law.

                Because, again, Congress allocates money and is completely in charge of when and where exceptions and alterations and holds and what bullshit the president invented. He has no right to do anything in that area unless the law give him that right.(1)

                The ‘security reviews’ the DoD had already been doing are actually part of the law in general, when we give any money to any foreign government. The DoD only conditions payment on these security reviews because the law requires them, not because the president wants them.

                Sometimes the President is given limited authority, or even a lot of authority. Here, he was not, because…honestly, Congress didn’t actually trust him WRT Ukraine.

                Oh, and Trump’s ‘national security team’ was asked to review the aid at the end of _August_, which was already after a month of illegal delays, but, again, the president has no authority to hold up the money anyway. That review…doesn’t appear to have happened?

                And, BTW…I think this needs be repeated as a reply, on every single single post that assert the hold up was legal: The president and his administration repeatedly lied about, asserting it was some sort of banking problem. Not that there were outstanding security reviews.

                1) I’m sure there’s some national security arguments to be made for some things, but a) distributing foreign aid is not one of them, and b) making those argument would have to be in public, or at least known by Congress.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The DoD had already reviewed Ukraine for corruption, several times, and had consistently been giving them money that required them to do these reviews. The last one was May 23, 2019….

                And on 20 May 2019, just three days earlier, Volodymyr Zelensky was sworn in as the new President of Ukraine, replacing Petro Poroshenko, and rendering the previous reviews moot because they applied to a different government with different cabinet officials and a different head of the armed forces.

                And with that, poof goes the whole convoluted attempt to make something nefarious out of a glaringly obvious need to check out the country’s new government before we ship them some serious weapons. We should ask questions like “Who is Zelensky going to appoint to the top posts? Are they pro-Russian officials, organized crime figures, oligarchs, or puppets and stooges of either Russian or Ukrainian oligarchs?”

                One huge problem, among many, with the Democrats sham is that they keep stretching to show that it’s possible that there might have been a corrupt motive. That’s not how prosecutions are supposed to work in a free country. It’s possible that everyone might potentially commit a crime, but a prosecutor has to prove that someone did commit or attempt to commit a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

                This particular issue was laughed at earlier because never in the history of mankind has anyone attempted extortion without letting the victim know about it, because it just doesn’t work. If your theory of the crime is refuted by key facts, it’s over. You pack up your legal briefs and go home.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                And with that, poof goes the whole convoluted attempt to make something nefarious out of a glaringly obvious need to check out the country’s new government before we ship them some serious weapons.

                I hate to be the person who has to point the blindingly obvious, but we have not done a new security review, as far as I am aware.

                We did an _efficiency_ review…on June 18th. And it finished that very day.

                I said all this in literally the post you responded to.

                So even if you are counting _that_ as a security review…it had already happened, basically right at the start of the delays! (Because in truth that was one of the last delaying tactics back when they were trying to keep the delay somewhat justified. They eventually ran out of justifications)

                If that was the security review, why wasn’t the money released back in June? Or, if that wasn’t the security review, what was? When did it complete? Who did it?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                If you’re trying to make the assertion that the delay was due to some sort of security review: It wasn’t, and there wasn’t a security review anyway: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/ranking/release/fact-sheet-dod-certified-that-ukraine-met-corruption-benchmarks

                The DoD had already reviewed Ukraine for corruption, several times, and had consistently been giving them money that required them to do these reviews. The last one was May 23, 2019….and it’s pointing out the delays actually sorta started in late June. So they weren’t asked to do another one of those reviews, because they’d just have said ‘Uh, the last review isn’t out of date.’.

                The review the DOD was asked to do was an ‘effectiveness’ review. Read the second paragraph of page 7 of the linked Amb. Taylor testimony. (I don’t want to put in multiple links so I get held up in moderation. And you can’t search the PDF)

                ‘At one point, the Defense Department was ask to perform an analysis of the effectiveness of the assistance. Within a day, the Defense Department came back with the determination that the assistance was effective and should be resumed’.

                So that review, the review everyone keeps talking about and calling the wrong thing, took only a single day anyway. (Probably because what the DoD was asked to review was the DoD’s own plan for how to do the aid…which obviously the DoD thought would work. Duh.)

                After which point the DoD continued to ask for the money that they had been given by Congress, and required to give to Ukraine. Presumably, you’d think they’d know if they hadn’t finished a required review.

                And the President, with the illegal collusion of someone he had installed in the OMB to do this, continued to refuse to give their own money.

                Fun fact: If the DoD had concluded that the program wouldn’t be effective, they would still have to give out the money. Their passing the money would still be required by law.

                Because, again, Congress allocates money and is completely in charge of when and where exceptions and alterations and holds and what bullshit the president invented. He has no right to do anything in that area unless the law give him that right.(1)
                The ‘security reviews’ the DoD had already been doing are actually part of the law in general, when we give any money to any foreign government. The DoD only conditions payment on these security reviews because the law requires them, not because the president wants them.

                Sometimes the President is given limited authority, or even a lot of authority. Here, he was not, because…honestly, Congress didn’t actually trust him WRT Ukraine.

                Oh, and Trump’s ‘national security team’ was asked to review the aid at the end of _August_, which was already after a month of illegal delays, but, again, the president has no authority to hold up the money anyway. That review…doesn’t appear to have happened?

                And, BTW…I think this needs be repeated as a reply, on every single single post that assert the hold up was legal: The president and his administration repeatedly lied about, asserting it was some sort of banking problem. Not that there were outstanding security reviews.

                1) I’m sure there’s some national security arguments to be made for some things, but a) distributing foreign aid is not one of them, and b) making those argument would have to be in public, or at least known by Congress.

                (Reposted because this somehow disappeared after posting? Ah…and third time, because I’m not allowed to fix typos in the edit window on this post? Okay, learned my lesson. Sorry if everyone got notified several times.)Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Okay, I give up.They’re back now. Someone delete the other two of them, please, the last has the least typos.

                I seriously sat here for five minute refreshing before I reposted, just to make sure they had vanished after I edited them. They were. And then…magically backReport

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                (Replying to this one because one of the others will vanish)

                He has no right to do anything in that area unless the law give him that right.(1)

                My expectation is if we lower the bar this far we’re into “show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” and there’s no way HRC, or probably any one, would pass… or that any Dem would vote to impeach her for things of this level.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Imma walk into City Hall tomorrow and dismiss the entire City Council and install myself as Lord Viceroy of Los Angeles.

                “But Chip, the law doesn’t let you do that!”

                Oh, we’re lowering the bar that far, are we?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                My expectation is if we lower the bar this far we’re into “show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” and there’s no way HRC, or probably any one, would pass… or that any Dem would vote to impeach her for things of this level.

                Hehehe. So, breaking news: The OMB just released a new memo, asserting that _it_, and only it, blocked the aid for Ukraine:

                ‘It was OMB’s understanding that a brief period was needed, prior to the funds expiring, to engage in a policy process regarding those funds,’

                https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/11/politics/white-house-budget-office-memo-ukraine-aid/index.html

                It turn out, this had nothing to do with Trump! The OMB was just trying to comply with the law! They just…really incompetent at figuring the law at. And they didn’t actually ever put a real hold on it, it was just a ‘programmatic delay’.

                I’m just cracking up at this point. Someone at the OMB or one of Trump’s lawyers or someone figured out what I’ve been saying this entire time, over and over, is true: The president literally did not have the authority to hold up the aid, period, end of story, and him telling the OMB to do so was ILLEGAL, and them following his demands was also ILLEGAL.

                And now, after months of defense, by literally every Republican pundit and political and all his defended, of the President’s decision to hold up the aid…they’re going now claim he didn’t up hold up the aid. That he had nothing to do with it.

                It’s like they literally don’t understand we can see them.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Well what about Obama agreeing to pull US missile defenses out of Eastern Europe if Putin would hold off on annexing Crimea and eastern Ukraine until after the 2008 US election?

                There we have an agreement with Putin (who is the big bogeyman) to do harm to the security of our allies in return for Putin delaying an foreign policy “crisis” until after Obama beats his political opponent.

                But that’s not quid pro quo or abuse of power or bribery or anything because Obama was a Democrat. The same rule covered him for Fast and Furious, and the attempt to exert executive privilege across the entire executive branch, which would normally be contempt of Congressional oversight, and his rewriting US immigration laws, and Title IX, and illegally firing an IG that was investigating one of his allies for child sexual abuse and misuse of federal money, or using the FBI and CIA to try and rig the 2016 election and later to undermine the US government, all to serve the interests of himself and Vladimir Putin.

                As I’ve said, the Democrats have dropped the impeachment bar so low that there are no Presidents who shouldn’t have been impeached, from Washington to Lincoln to Chester A Arthur.

                This will have profound consequences going forwards, and they’re not going to like it a bit.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Well what about Obama agreeing to pull US missile defenses out of Eastern Europe if Putin would hold off on annexing Crimea and eastern Ukraine until after the 2008 US election?

                And what about President Obama ritualistically murdering Henry Kissinger and stringing him from the White House roof?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The papers were all up in arms about Obama’s betrayal of our Eastern European allies to appease Russia. Romney charged “Obama stopped missile defense shield ‘as a gift to Russia'” Politifact rated Romney’s claim “half true”. Could Obama have sought to gain politically from withholding an important defense system from US allies? Under the current standard, just the possibility that he did is an impeachable offense.

                But I wasn’t aware of the incident with Kissinger.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Could Obama have sought to gain politically from withholding an important defense system from US allies? Under the current standard, just the possibility that he did is an impeachable offense.

                No, because, again, you’ve failed to notice a very important point: Different appropriations have different rules.

                The missile defense shield, as a Defense Department project, like all DoD weapons projects, could be exited for various reasons under the law. The reason that Obama said he canceled it was a ‘cost-benefit analysis by an administration’, which he almost certainly, under the law, had a right to do.

                If he didn’t have the right to do that, if Congress had not said he could, like they generally always defer to the President in things like that, someone would have pointed that out, instead of just whining he helped Russia.

                Meanwhile, the aid to Ukraine was not given any of those exits, very specifically, on purpose. The Administration was literally not supposed to play any part in that process, mostly because…Congress did not trust him to make a good decision on that topic.

                And…honestly, he wouldn’t have had a choice anyway….it was foreign aid without any sort of requirements on the part of the other country, which means…there’s nothing for him to decide, so there’s no reason a President in general would be able to call it off.

                I swear, this is like I’m arguing Trump stole a car, and other people are arguing that the cops who arrested him drive cars too. Yes. They do. Legally. Some cars people are allowed to drive, others they are not. The people who write the laws decide that.

                But you’re arguing the wrong thing now anyway. The OMB just released a memo saying that Trump had nothing to do with the delays. Trump’s just been lying to everyone for months, saying he withheld the aid because of security concerns or something, when it reality, it was the OMB’s choice without his input at all!

                It’s a real shocker. What a twist. It’s…almost as if…someone figured out him holding up the aid wouldn’t be legal…and…uh…invented a new story where he hadn’t done that. Huh.Report

  7. Avatar Jesse
    Ignored
    says:

    I hate to break this to Andrew and other people deeply involved in the cult of Both Sideism, but I can guarantee you that Nancy Pelosi knew she’d never was going to cut Republican buy-in, some moderate Democrat’s would always peel off, and impeachment was never going to be incredibly popular in swing districts.

    Also, impeachment being at 49/48 doesn’t seem to the be the disaster that you’re painting is, compared to say, the Republican health care plan, the Republican tax cuts, the Republican immigration plan, etc.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    An interesting take from Allahpundit:

    (He expresses skepticism toward her claim.)

    McConnell and Pelosi are bottom-line politicians, which is why Madam Speaker was so reluctant for so long to indulge her caucus on impeachment. Each of them approach every political question by asking themselves, “Does this path increase or decrease our chances of expanding our power and making it easier to move our agenda?” For McConnell, the “agenda” is little more than confirming judges since that’s all the Senate can do, really, in an age of hyperpartisanship until it jettisons the legislative filibuster. For Pelosi it’s broader. Impeaching Trump and failing to remove him and then getting four more years of Republican veto power over Democratic legislation as a consequence would be a complete backfire from her standpoint, precisely the result she feared when she was busy this past spring steering House Democrats away from impeaching Trump over Russiagate.

    Report

  9. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m tired of hearing that Republican believing that the earth is flat means that globes are partisan.Report

  10. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Meanwhile, Rudy is back in Ukraine, openly trying to manufacture disinformation and propaganda on behalf of a debunked conspiracy.

    It would be hilarious, except the intention here is to flood the media with enough chaff and distractions so as to confuse the media into reporting fiction as fact, and the Trump administration is aided and abetted by enough compliant outlets as to make a lot of it stick.Report

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

      How did the conspiracy get debunked? Did we find out that Hunter Biden wasn’t really being paid $50K a month by a corrupt Ukrainian gas company? Did we find out that Joe Biden bragging about extorting the President of Ukraine was just a CGI fake made by Project Veritas? Did we find out that the anti-Trump ads run by the Ukrainian embassy were actually pro Trump?Report

  11. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    So, then there is this

    Report

  12. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    The only thing I can figure is that Pelosi knows full well that there won’t be the votes to remove Trump in a Senate impeachment, so there must be some political hay to be made out of Republicans thwarting it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      So we’ve shifted from “if done right, impeachment will force Republicans to defend the indefensible in the runup to an election year” to “nobody ever thought that impeachment would result in Trump’s ouster”?

      I’m now looking for a shift from “it is good that we impeached, even though it was doomed to fail” to “okay, maybe impeachment was handled poorly”.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        People have been consistently saying it’s extremely unlikely the R’s in the Senate will convict him. Like it has been said, by my conservative calculations, millions times. This isn’t news.

        For the record it is good they are impeaching him because he is as guilty as any person has ever been. Full stop. If he wins reelection it is good they impeached him. If it never gets great numbers, it’s good they impeached him.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          Yes. That’s the marker where I currently think that we are.

          I’m looking for “that could have been handled better than it was”. Lemme know when/if you get there.Report

          • Avatar KenB in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            there was a recent round of polls showing basically no changes on Impeach? over the last couple of months, after all the hearings so far… seems like the best bet at the moment is that impeachment will have no net effect either way, barring the appearance of an even more heavily-smoking gun (perhaps one having been just fired by Trump as a man lies dead on 5th Avenue).Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to KenB
              Ignored
              says:

              The only thing that could turn Trump’s base against him is if there was video of him being nice to a Mexican on 5th Avenue.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to KenB
              Ignored
              says:

              Battleground polls (PA, WI, MI) show that Trump surged from well behind to well ahead during this whole impeachment debacle.

              Surveys (possibly with some bias, as I’m not familiar with the source). I’d like to see data from Florida but I’m not sure there is any yet.

              Impeachment has likewise proved an incredible boon to GOP fundraising. Money has been pouring in, and that will become very important later as Republicans fill the airwaves with ads about everything from FISA abuse to Hunter Biden’s baby mama. The judge in that child-support case just ordered him to hand over five years of complete financial information. It would be quite ironic if it turns out that the impeachment case and the 2020 election was ultimately decided by a lawsuit from a pole dancer from Arkansas, but that’s not outside the realm of possibility.Report

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

                Yeah, if there’s one thing the American people hate, is a guy who has 5 children by 3 (or is it 4?) different babymamas.Report

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

                Doing it while cheating on his dead brother’s wife adds a rather unusual angle.

                The problem for Democrats, and why the mainstream press is loathe to discuss any details, is that what Joe Biden was doing strikes anyone who is outside the bubble, and who is over the age of ten, as obviously corrupt. It fits a very familiar pattern that extends from local cops to city councilmen to governors to Presidential candidates. “So, right before you voted on the new energy bill, your 14-year old son with Down’s syndrome just got a $2 million dollar geology research grant from Exxon.” “Before you approved the new school book contract, the publisher bought 200,000 copies of your teenage daughter’s hand-written biography.”

                It looks bad when the primary source of Biden family income, by far, is the Chinese Government, Iraq reconstruction contracts (which went to a company Joe’s brother joined a few weeks prior), and a corrupt Ukrainian energy firm.

                These make for really simple, hard-hitting attack ads, and Joe has shown he’s not at all good on defense, or really very good at speaking in general.

                How do you write a Joe Biden campaign speech? You just type “Well, let me tell you something” and then let auto-fill do the rest.

                It might be that all impeachment will accomplish is to tie all the other Democrats to Joe Biden by forcing them to defend him. If so, this might prove a grave tactical error.Report

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

                Yes, having the sons and daughter of a sitting President selling visas to people who give them favors would be a terrible scandal.Report

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

                Yes, it’s such a horrible scandal to have Trump reform the visa rules so foreigners have to have twice as much investment money for blighted areas, and twice as much for affluent areas. Also, why would billionaires be selling visas? Are they also selling beer to minors out their back door?

                Meanwhile, people are still trying to figure out why a Chinese government controlled entity invested $1.5 billion with Hunter Biden, who is essentially a frat boy with a drug and alcohol problem and new real investment experience, at the same time Joe was meeting with the Chinese and decided to go really easy on their ridiculous claim to own the South China Sea, the world’s busiest and most important shipping transit route which may become the sight of our next great naval war, thanks to Joe Biden’s willingness to get thousands of US sailors killed as long as his family makes a couple hundred million off it.

                Those are the kind of attacks Trump is going to be hurling all over the air waves, while Biden responds by saying “Look, if you’re paddling upstream in a canoe and a wheel falls off, how many pancakes fit in a doghouse? None! Cause ice cream doesn’t have bones!”Report

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

                President Biden will appoint Hunter as the special envoy to China, in charge of resolving the Two China problem.Report

              • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                This back and forth reminds me of the evangelical thread from a couple months back.

                Does anyone remember the moral of that story?Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Irrelevant. Everything could be handled better. Especially on contentious matters there will always been 30 opinions from 20 people about how it could be handled better.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              Irrelevant to you.

              While it’s certainly true that everything could be handled better, there are points that mark how well things are going.

              Changes in emphasis are the markers that I find relevant.

              (Out of curiosity, are you particularly pleased with how the impeachment is evolving?)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You want to harangue and scold. All you seem interested in is the horse race and the show. I can think of things i would do differently and things i would do the same. So? That is inevitable. The scolds will always find a problem and some R’s will throw out the ” if only you had done X, then it would be all different. But since you didn’t we’re all in on Trump. This is your fault.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                I am primarily interested in the horse race, yes. (I am somewhat disinterested in the arguments about the various moral imperatives that I need to internalize, as well.)

                But there are inflection points and it’s better to have more of the bad ones behind you than in front of you.

                (*ARE* you particularly pleased with how the impeachment is evolving?)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So you are CNN ( darth vader voice). By moral imperatives do you mean the actual substance?

                Focusing on the horse race is a hellava bias that has made most MSM coverage useless. They are shaping the narrative by only talking about the horse race but think they are above it. It ignores actual facts and evidence. It is all about spin. Who cares happened, Conway is lying out her lie hole so how will that play.

                Inflection points are typically identified well after big events, not in the middle of the process. You can’t really see them till they are in the mirror and you see where the road has gone.

                It seems to be going as good as can be expected. Plenty of evidence he did do all the crimes and ranting gibberish by the R’s. That seems about par.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                By moral imperatives do you mean the actual substance?

                When it comes to “actual substance”, I care about stuff that you probably see as dumb or secondary.

                I think weed should be rescheduled.

                I think that Daylight Saving Time should be eliminated.

                Stuff like that is, apparently, not going to happen (you’d think that that would be a good way to give the Democratic House a win going into 2020!) and so I’m stuck with the credibility of the witnesses and the quality of the testimony.

                Which, lemme tell ya, doesn’t strike me as particularly good. I think that the best course of action would be to force Republicans to defend the indefensible and have microphones thrust into their faces about whether they’d support the indefensible or resign.

                As it is, I think that if “this” and “not going for impeachment” were my two choices, I’d probably pick “not going for impeachment”. I mean, if I cared about Dems winning in 2020 (a census/redrawing year, you may recall).

                It seems to be going as good as can be expected.

                I think that it would have been possible to expect better.

                If I thought that this was the best that could have been expected, I would have argued against impeachment.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah i’d be fine with axing DST but i’m not feeling that near the top or middle of my list of priorities. The R’s were always going to go full BS to protect trump. If expecting them to put country over party was what determined whether to impeach or for the D’s to do anything, then the D’s would never do , you know, anything.

                I’d also be fine with whoever the D nominee is going full legalization, but not acting like Musk since he’s a capital J Jerk.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Oh, c’mon.
                Given your previous comments about how you prioritize Democrats failing over impeaching a corrupt President, I think your choice was going to be “not impeaching” regardless of the facts.

                If that’s what you want, fine, just don’t regale us with this sort of chin stroking pretense.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No, I *WANT* Trump impeached to give him a very prominent ‘L’. I just think that him not being removed from office would provide a fitting loss to Democrats as well.

                As such, I’m vaguely pleased with how the impeachment is going so far.

                How do you feel about it, Chip?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think it is going splendidly.
                The truth is being told, and everyone is being forced to place their statements on the record.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “The truth is being told, and everyone is being forced to place their statements on the record.”

                there it is, folks, Chip Daniels on record saying impeachment proceedings won’t be successful.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t see any inconsistency between “if done right, impeachment will force Republicans to defend the indefensible in the runup to an election year” and “nobody ever thought that impeachment would result in Trump’s ouster”.

        Not sure at all how impeachment could have been handled in a way calculated to actually succeed, given the histrionics, gaslighting, and outright denial of reality that House Republicans have demonstrated to date in the proceedings. If there were video of Zelenskyy handing over a large burlap bag overflowing with cash and dollar signs crudely drawn on the outside with a Sharpie to a cackling Trump, who immediately said to Mulvaney, “Okay, now you can release that military aid,” they’d still vote against articles of impeachment, and insist that not only there was nothing wrong going on in that video, but the Democrats had engaged in treason and sedition to suggest otherwise.

        There is exactly zero evidence to believe that more than a handful of their Senate counterparts will comport themselves with any greater dignity when the trial comes.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      so there must be some political hay to be made out of Republicans thwarting it.

      So here’s the question: What happens when a hated president fails at getting removed from office via a Republican Senate?

      The turnout votes, hard, against all Republicans. Sometimes, impossibly, their own local Republican Senator. There have been massive additions in turnout since 2016. Turnout that, to a large extent, seems to hate Trump.

      Now…this obviously won’t have some huge wave in the Senate. States are states. But…there are states that can flip, can lose Senate seats.

      However, as people have pointed out, it’s redistricting time.

      So let’s imagine: An impeached, clearly guilty president, and a bunch of purple states who don’t like him. They come out, and vote, and…Trump loses, but I think he will do that anyway. (1) A few Senate seats flip, but the Republicans keep the Senate. The Democrats keep a House majority.

      And, like, ten different state legislatures, thanks to their incredibly thinly gerrymandered districts, all blow up. Like, the state had most districts were rigged to be 55% Republican except the two that were 80% Democrat, but…uh…somehow 7% more people voted for Democrats, and it blows up in their face, and they lose _everything_.

      Even if there is some opposing turn out…gerrymandered districts don’t work that way. You put any randomization into the voting, and the cheating party generally loses, because they have to distribute themselves barely enough to get a majority, and that ‘barely enough’ is _really_ fragile…so fragile it’s actually already notably failed a few times! Meanwhile, the other guys are packed in very dense, and aren’t going to lose anything.

      Now, I’m not going to say this will happen everywhere. But…it sorta already has, in a few places.

      1. I know we’re all not supposed to say that, and, it feels like I’m jinxing things, but…the country has not gotten happier with Trump.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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        says:

        At some point around the primaries, we’re going to have a Time Capsule Thread and make predictions about the election.

        I hope you comment in it!Report

        • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          have we ever had a field winnowed in such fashion prior to an actual vote? Let alone a couple months before the first actual vote?

          Thanks for the reminder that this just seems like a weird thing.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy!
            Ignored
            says:

            Alright, I’ve been thinking about this. I don’t think that we can compare this to anything in recent memory.

            Who were the names in:

            2016?
            Clinton and Sanders. We can argue over whether we should include O’Malley and Lessig, of course.

            2012?
            Nobody.

            2008?
            Clinton and Obama. We can argue over whether we want to count Gravel (I caucused for him!) or Edwards or Richardson. (I had to google to remember those two.)

            2004?
            This *MIGHT* be the closest one. Kerry, Edwards, Dean, Clark, Kucinich, Gephardt, and Moseley Braun.

            2000?
            Gore. Maybe Bradley. But Gore.

            1996?
            Nope.

            1992?
            Jerry Brown, Bob Kerrey (he came to my college and promised to legalize pot), Tom Harkin, and Paul Tsongas. (Edit: I can’t believe I forgot Clinton.)

            1988?
            This is the one I started this comment for because I remember political cartoons making jokes about “The Seven Dwarves”. They couldn’t freakin’ *BELIEVE* that Gary Hart, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, and Michael Dukakis were all running.

            Poor Gary Hart.

            Out of all of those, 1988 and 2004 had the most Credible* candidates running.

            And how many Credible* candidates ran this time? Depending on how you want to swing that asterisk around (I mean, we’d have to take at least Kuchinich off of those lists up there if you want to get vigorous), we’ve had (deep breath):

            Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Bill de Blasio, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, and Eric Swalwell. And that’s not counting Mike Gravel! And those are only the names that people have actually heard of who have dropped out!

            Still in: Andrew Yang! And others! Like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Michael Bloomberg, and that Joe Biden fellow.

            We’ve had as many Credible* people drop out as were in the whole thing in 1988. We could lose that number again and *STILL* have 3 candidates left over.

            We’ve never had a field winnowed in such a fashion because we’ve never had a field like this.

            In previous years, if two or three people dropped out, we’d be left with one person (plus, of course, the Marianne Williamson types, bless their souls).

            Nothing like this has happened before.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Current Evaluation: Biden gets the nod. He loses to Trump by more than HRC does.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
            Ignored
            says:

            Sadly I agree with you. Not because Biden is some sort of uber candidate, but because Democrats – particularly the DNC – refuse to learn the lessons of 2016. Not the least of which is scared angry white people will vote for the guys who lets them be scared and angry.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              You need to run on something other than not being Trump. It’s an abuse of language to use Hitler analogies and talk about death camps when what you mean is you don’t like his politics.

              A good question is: “How will you make my life better?”

              The current DNC solution is to eat the rich and give their remains to “the people”. In the context of full employment (created by the evil rich that are going to be eaten), that’s probably not the best of ideas.

              Biden, to his credit, stays away from the idea that Amazon has created too many jobs so it’s ownership needs to be taken over by the gov via a wealth tax. I think that’s why he’s going to get the nod. To his discredit I’m not sure after that what he’s running on. It’s my turn? I’m not Trump, and I’m also not Warren? Obama 3? That last might work but ideally he’d come up with something better after he gets the nod, i.e. “how will he make my life better”?Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                You just nailed the DNCs major 20 year disfunction on its head, though you whiffed your first couple of pitches. The DNC is very much not all about eating the rich – which is why they are not full throated behind either Bernie or Warren. They much prefer Biden’s continuation of the neoliberalism Clinton brought to the Democratic party, in as much as it doesn’t offend the oligarch who now fund democrats nearly as well as Republicans.

                As to the whole full employment thing – yeah we have statistical full employment with jobs that pay for sh!t so that the velocity of money slows way down. Which is exacerbated by tax cuts initially served up by republicans that democrats then make permanent (another of my many beefs with Mr. Obama).

                And no – the “radical left” doesn’t want Amazon to become a government agency. We want them to pay their workers a living wage from their exorbitant profits (which they don’t do now); we don’t want those workers killed, worked to death or prevented from going to the bathroom when the need to, and we want Jeff Bezos to contribute to the common good by paying a higher rate in taxes then his employees. Seems like the civil society thing to do afterall.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                we have statistical full employment with jobs that pay for sh!t

                Median incomes are going up, not down, and are at all time highs.

                We want them to pay their workers a living wage from their exorbitant profits (which they don’t do now); we don’t want those workers killed, worked to death or prevented from going to the bathroom when the need to…

                If you don’t like Amazon’s jobs, then go work somewhere else. That’s the thing about full employment where employers have to fight for employees. Speaking of that, presumably that’s why Amazon has increased their min-wage to $15/hour.

                As for the rest, the usual rules apply which means “worked to death” remains illegal and various people may be arrested… however that’s nut picking. Amazon is so big that they will have problems, and those problems will end up in the news and will be highlighted because of people’s agendas.

                and we want Jeff Bezos to contribute to the common good by paying a higher rate in taxes then his employees.

                “Wealth” isn’t the same as “income”, when the media breathlessly talks about his net worth as though it were his income what they’re really talking about the value of Amazon itself. Asking him to pay taxes on his assets is asking him to dismantle his ownership of Amazon.

                If we’re going to talk about “contribute to the common good” regarding Amazon, them putting money into the pockets of everyone in America via competition is a serious “good”. When my kids want specific books to read, the only alternative used to be either expensive or not-at-all, now it’s typically $4 a pop. For that matter the 650,000 jobs Amazon created (up from 12,000 in 2005) should also be viewed as a “good”.

                Other than offending “he’s too successful” instincts we don’t have a problem.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        I find it plausible that this is what Pelosi, Schumer, and other DNC-crats believe they can hope for, that they think this is within their grasp. And they ain’t dumb.

        Are they right? We have two examples of impeachment at play in living memory (though many of us here were quite young during Nixon’s pre-impeachment).

        Talk of impeachment kept Republicans’ upper lips stiff and polarized Congress until something happened that broke them, and the 1974 off-cycle elections couldn’t have gone better for the Democrats, and then they won in 1976 perhaps despite themselves and despite some serious flaws in Candidate Carter. (Had the economy been in stronger shape, OR the pardon played out better or not been made, I’m about 60% that Ford would have won election.) Pushing to impeach Nixon helped the Democrats. Because, ultimately, the voters decided that Nixon was in the wrong and had to go.

        Clinton was a rather different story. The CW is he came out of impeachment stronger than he went in, and there is some truth to that but it’s more ambiguous. Clinton’s overall approval ratings did decline and he was not as nimble or powerful afterwards. The reason we remember the CW as we did is the voters were far from convinced that all of the hullaballoo was worth it, and they punished the impeaching Republicans for overreaching. Clinton wound up relatively stronger, but the whole ordeal weakened everyone, only unexpectedly it hurt Gingrich more than it did Clinton.

        If there’s an object lesson there, it’s that if the public as a whole thinks that Trump did something that was seriously wrong, the opposition-party Democrats do have an upside available. Trump is unpopular for a President presiding over relative peacetime and relative prosperity. I have a hard time understanding how anyone can look at the readout of the telephone call with Zelenskyy and think it’s normal and OK and opinion polls generally suggest that more Americans agree with that than are ready to defend it and thus there is net approval of impeachment.

        But from a horse race perspective, it’s just not as clear-cut as either the Nixon or Clinton scenarios were — until and unless, as happened with Nixon, something causes the dam to break on Trump.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Burt Likko
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          says:

          Two other things to add to your analysis – Republicans had to get the Supreme Court to declare GWB the winner against Al Gore, which was really the clearest sign that they valued power above all else. And second, Trump got to office with 27% of voters. He’s never had a mandate, and if turnout goes up – especially in the under 30 crowd who have suffered the most economically under him, its not the same horse race the pundits think it is.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            …the clearest sign that they valued power above all else.

            Pot. Meet kettle.

            Granted, the SC should have stopped with just not letting the Dems count certain votes extra special to try to “find” what they needed to swing the election and handed it back to Florida.

            An even better solution would have been for Gore to just drop the whole thing since there was no way for him to win by that point, i.e. all outcomes led to him losing, it was just a matter of him picking one. However by my count we had 7 Supremes unable to control their emotions so maybe that’s a bridge too far.

            And second, Trump got to office with 27% of voters. He’s never had a mandate

            I doubt this would be an acceptable argument if HRC had won with 29% of the voters, or even 27%.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              considering that I never like Hillary’s neoliberal economic policies, or her approach to warrantless wiretaps (see the aptly misnamed Patriot Act) to say nothing of her continuation of wars we now know we were never going to win – yeah not so much. Had she bothered to run a full campaign in every state and actually tried to inspire people -as you point out “I’m not him” wasn’t a winning strategy – she would probably have landed north of 30%.

              Which is atrocious. That 45% of voters stayed home sickens me to no end. Because it results in ever more extreme inority rule, where preservation of power above all becomes the game – and we see how well thats working out.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                That 45% of voters stayed home sickens me to no end.

                I go back and forth on this. The reason 45% can stay home is because they don’t think the politics matters all that much. They view both parties as the same or they have other things to do. They feel that neither party will burn down the economy or murder their family. That the parties do a reasonable job at keeping their lunatic fringes on a leash.

                This may be a good thing. I’d really rather not have elections that need to go my way or civilization ends.Report

  13. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    What does Andrew Yang think, I hear you ask:

    Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    From Bhaskar Sunkara in The Guardian:

    Impeachment is a losing strategy for the left. Let’s focus on winning in 2020 Report

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