Chief Justice John Roberts Does Nothing, Rand Paul Objects

Andrew Donaldson

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

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57 Responses

  1. CJColucci says:

    Did someone leave off the part of the video where Paul told us what the question was?Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Here’s the argument that got retweeted to my timeline.

    How right/wrong is this argument?Report

    • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      I think shittastic covers it. Craptacular. R’s have been mentioning the WB’s name for a while. If this was a sneaky way to get the name out there through the CJ’s mouth then that is sleazy and still horrendous for trying to shine a spotlight the the WB. WB’s should not face retribution for speaking about gov abuses. All the R’s trying to get his name out are threatening other WB’s to keep quiet. R’s want WB’s and this one in particular to be threatened, scared and to shut the F up. I dont’ know what “the press” knows, but they should not be tools for R sleazebaggery.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        Given our track record with Julian Assange, Reality Winner, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden, I’m not sure that appealing to how WB’s ought to be treated is really operative at this point.

        I mean, sure? I guess?

        But we don’t have a precedent for the thing you’re appealing to and haven’t for a while now.Report

        • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          As i remember it was Greenwald’s shop that compromised Winner. Unless i’m remembering it wrong. Did snowden and manning go through the correct procedure to blow the whistle, and get the protections, like the guy in this case did. Snowden didn’t that is for sure. Running to Moscow doesn’t really net any formal WB protections.

          But WB”s should get protections so i dont’ see how your points excuse the R’s trying to threaten people who report the current corruption.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

            While I appreciate that those people weren’t *REAL* whistleblowers and, thus, don’t deserve the protections of this *REAL* whistleblower, the opposing narrative is that this person was not blowing a whistle but was carrying out a vendetta.

            Which, in this narrative, makes them not a *REAL* whistleblower.

            I’m glad we agree that we’ve established ways to treat people who claim to be whistleblowers but aren’t *REAL* ones, though.Report

            • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

              Ahhh a variation of the BSDI. Talk to Greenwald about winner. He is on the twitters and always polite and reasonable. If you want WB protection then running to moscow is not the way to get it. I don’t remember the details about Manning’s case. But if there is a formal procedure to follow to have an investigation then you need to follow it if you want that. Nice attempt at taking the spotlight off the R’s and liberatarian!!! Paul to threaten and punish people who blow the whistle on Trump. That is what started this and you asked about.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Greg, when discussing whether precedents exist, BSDI is an argument for the existence of them.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s conversational/ argumentative tactic to evade. Precedents may be useful if they are equivalent. From what i can see the ones you raised arent’. They also don’t state the way should be or what is wrong or right. If you want WB’s to have protection then i’m sure you don’t like Paul’s actions.

                WB”s should be protected. They also need to follow the laws to get that protection. In grey areas about the law that, as with all grey areas, get really tricky.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                If you want WB’s to have protection then i’m sure you don’t like Paul’s actions.

                I agree wholeheartedly with this.

                But if it comes from someone saying “sure, the last 4 times we did this we did something different… but now shouldn’t we do the thing that you said we should do the last 4 times?”, I’m sure you can see that the argument might not be *THAT* persuasive.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Persuasive to who? Is there a game show audience voting on how well we jabber on here. Are the answers we give going to be on the Family Feud.

                Again, i don’t think the examples you gave are equivalent to this case. Now you can make the case of greenwald burning winner or snowden decamping to moscow as the same, but i’m not seeing it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Persuasive to who?

                Theoretical partisans and theoretical non-partisans who are trying to figure out who to root for and, in the absence of someone they can root for, someone to root against.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Who are the “we” in all this?

                Who are the “people who did this” other than an arbitrary grouping that allows you to claim that yeah, EVERYBODY did what Rand Paul is doing when in fact, that is just flat out untrue?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “We”? Our elected representatives and their prosecutors.

                Different people, each time, were responsible for pushing back against Assange, Winner, Manning, and Snowden.

                But they were all people in power.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to greginak says:

                “WB”s should be protected. They also need to follow the laws to get that protection.”



              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Oh, I just checked up on whether I could talk to Greenwald and, apparently, he’s been jailed in Brazil for hacking and other cybercrimes.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well trump and bolonaro (sp?) are buddy buddy. Maybe he can help out.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Why should he? If Greenwald didn’t follow the proper channels, isn’t how the government treats him appropriate?Report

      • JS in reply to greginak says:

        Did you really expect to get a serious, thoughtful reply from him?

        ’cause, you know, you didn’t.

        The few times he has a substantive point, or actually wishes to communicate with people, are sadly outweighed by the crapshow below.Report

        • greginak in reply to JS says:

          No i don’t expect that. It will mostly be variations of the argument clinic sketch from monty python but you go to blog with what you got.Report

    • Fish in reply to Jaybird says:

      I understand this to be (uncharitably, I suppose) Rand Paul’s (or the Republican’s) attempt to discredit the whistleblower as someone exercising a vendetta rather than an attempt to mount a defense of Trump.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Fish says:

        If the whistleblower is successfully demonstrated to have been exercising a vendetta, is that relevant?Report

        • Fish in reply to Jaybird says:

          Yes (Manning, Snowden)

          But this relevance doesn’t nullify the validity of what was exposed. I mean, in a proper criminal trial with rules of evidence I suppose all that stuff gets thrown out, but an impeachment doesn’t have rules of evidence like a criminal trial does. Does it?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Fish says:

            It doesn’t have rules of evidence like a criminal trial does. Not even close.

            It’s more of a political process.

            Which, in this case, is both a blessing and a curse and makes “exercising a vendetta” a way to point out, as Greg would put it, that “Both Sides Do It”.

            Which is, of course, an argument in and of itself.Report

            • Fish in reply to Jaybird says:

              Eh, I don’t see BSDI as particularly relevant here. I DO see Paul’s question as a tool to swing votes to his side, or to make people who were already going to vote to acquit feel better about doing it. But it’s in no way a defense.

              Oh! Unless what’s going on here is “exercising a vendetta” is in the same class as “both sides do it” as arguments/defenses go.Report

            • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

              Of course the bsdi routine by pols is a trumpian tactic to get people to nod along to his corruption. If everybody is covered with shit you should ignore his shit. He just has to set the hose on full poo blast and go for it.Report

      • JS in reply to Fish says:

        I’m gonna be honest — he’s a political junkie and has been following this from the beginning. He knows exactly why the GOP keeps trying to retaliate against the whistle-blower, and why people keep getting upset, and he knows exactly what Rand Paul is doing.

        He even knows that the whistle-blower is completely immaterial, because everything that was reported by the whistle-blower was covered by more direct witnesses and documentation, and that said whistle-blower literally did nothing but cause an investigation to start.

        But for some reason, he’s acting all befuddled. He’s just confused. Just asking questions, don’t mean anything by it, just trying to understand.

        I disagree with several regular posters here. Sometimes harshly and totally. But at least they’re honest, interested in some form of discourse or discussion.

        Hell if I know what his deal is, but frankly he’s more damaging to actual discussion than anyone they’ve ever banned. Troll, shit-stirrer, gadfly, poorly done devil’s advocate, ‘tightening up your rhetoric’ or whatever crap he excuses himself with….Report

        • Jaybird in reply to JS says:

          Hi, JS.

          I remember you from the argument in which we pointed out that Yang complained that his mic was cut and then you said that it wasn’t and then that it was, but it was standard. That happened here.

          For the record, I don’t think that the whistle blower is completely immaterial.

          I think that the whistleblower is someone that will allow the Republicans to paint the democrats as engaging in a purely political process and allow Both Sides to walk away with minds unchanged giving us either a completely partisan failure to indict Trump or, worse, an impeachment where opposition to Trump’s impeachment is bipartisan.

          Here’s what the White House has just tweeted out wrt the Whistleblower, for the record:


          • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

            Actually I think the Republicans are trying to point out that the investigations likely started as a criminal conspiracy to cover up actual crimes committed by the whistleblower and others, including the family members of prominent Democrats and higher ups in the Obama Administration, some of whom likely made millions off Burisma, including the head of Obama’s NSC who is the major investor in the firm that was laundering Burisma’s money.

            On top of that was their coordination with the Ukrainian government in trying to determine the 2016 US election because they were in bed with Biden and Kerry. It’s not unlikely that Nancy launched her “official impeachment” because she didn’t know if her son would get swept up in Trump’s investigation. Pelosi Jr’s business partner in Ukraine is currently under house arrest, having been indicted by the AG for the Southern District of New York.

            If that is the case, then the investigation was launched “with corrupt intent”, and that phrase carries a whole bunch of legal ramifications, such as “Whosoever, with corrupt intent, conspires to…”

            If the DoJ or the GOP establishes that corrupt intent, a whole lot of Democrats are going to be in a heap of trouble.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

            “I remember you from the argument in which we pointed out that Yang complained that his mic was cut and then you said that it wasn’t and then that it was, but it was standard. That happened here.”

            This is… curious. That isn’t what JS said. Period. And bringing it up here — totally unrelated to the matter at hand — seems like your simply trying to take a shot at the person to discredit them. By misrepresenting what they said.

            Seriously man, what’s gotten into you lately?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck says:

                If that’s what you’re hanging your hat on, you guys are remarkably and demonstrably full of shit. JS clearly stated Yang lost him when he pushed a conspiracy theory that he was silenced by the network. He then gave a very helpful technical explanation for why mics were cut. That isn’t even close to your or JB’s accusation. And for JB to lead off with that is a classless move unbecoming of this site.

                “Hey… I know we’re talking about X but let me remind everyone of that other time when you (didn’t actually) contradict yourself.” Bull. Shit. Is that was this site is nowadays? If so, I’m return to my exile.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

                to paraphrase my reply: “it’s an absolutely foolish conspiracy theory for Yang to suggest that his mike was cut, and you’re an idiot for suggesting that they would! also, of course they cut his mike, and you’re an idiot for suggesting they wouldn’t!”Report

              • Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck says:

                JS: “Yang lost any possibility he had at my vote the day after the first debate, where he pushed a conspiracy theory that he was “silenced” by whatever network was running the debate, during the debate, and used it to try to drive fundraising.”

                Also JS: “I did. That’s a studio with ten mics, which means a busy audio engineer. Yang is fairly soft spoken, and he was also coughing quite a bit previously. He wasn’t speaking loud enough to pop through the threshold set on the mic, a threshold that was likely a bit higher to prevent his coughs from being picked up.”

                Those are 100% compatible with one another. He is not interested in voting for Yang because Yang looked at what happened — that his mic didn’t always broadcast his voice — and leveled accusations of deliberate silencing by the network AND used that to drive fundraising. JS found that problematic and will not vote for him accordingly.

                At the same time, there were mic issues that did lead to Yang’s voice not always being amplified. But they had nothing to do with him being silenced. So, yea, you’re full of shit with your summary of him.

                Jaybird, why did you bring that up here? Is it relevant? Or was it a shot at JS?

                Again, this is bullshit and not the way this site used to work. But seems to be how it works now. Which is sad.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                I remember his arguing that he didn’t like how Yang said that he was deliberately silenced and then that, of course, his mic was deliberately not on and of course he should have realized that and, indeed, did himself no favors.

                The argument wasn’t over whether Yang’s mic was silenced by people in the booth. Of *COURSE* it was. Indeed, it was basic common sense.

                Yang did himself no favors, remember.

                Yang being upset by this, however, is evidence of Yang’s unsuitability or something.

                As for why I brought it up, it’s because JS’s comments in this threat consist of shots against me. I thought “Who is this guy?” and then remembered the Yang exchange, where he accused Yang of engaging in conspiratorial thinking about whether his mic was cut and then explaining to us that, yes, of course Yang’s mic was cut.

                Out of curiosity, do you feel that if JS takes shots at someone, people should not, in return, take shots at him?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                He took a shot at you? Because he said, “Did you really expect to get a serious, thoughtful reply from him?

                ’cause, you know, you didn’t.

                The few times he has a substantive point, or actually wishes to communicate with people, are sadly outweighed by the crapshow below.”

                Man, you can dish it but you sure as hell can’t take it. Later dude.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                No, it was in the comment that I responded to with my story about his comments about Yang. The one you’re objecting to.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy, rephrasing what Yang said as “Yang pushing a conspiracy theory that he was silenced by the network” and then saying “what really happened” and then saying something much closer to what Yang actually said and then pointing out that this sort of thing happens all the time is…


                I’m not accusing him of contradicting himself.

                I’m accusing him of arguing in the Conflict Style but deliberately dressing as if he’s arguing in the Mistake Style and Conflict just sort of reveals itself when faced with something that is technically true but goes against the more important poetic truth in service to The Greater Good.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                “ Hell if I know what his deal is, but frankly he’s more damaging to actual discussion than anyone they’ve ever banned. Troll, shit-stirrer, gadfly, poorly done devil’s advocate, ‘tightening up your rhetoric’ or whatever crap he excuses himself with….”

                The irony is you’re doing exactly what he’s accusing you of in response to his accusations.

                Self-reflection is powerful but, sadly, elusive.

                You could have defended yourself. Instead, you took potshots at him by misrepresenting him. Sad, really.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                No, in response to his accusations, I’m pointing out that he has a bit of history and pointing out the last time we had static and showing that this is, indeed, part of a pattern.

                If in my arguments with him that you see my quoting his words as an attack on him, then that reflects poorly on him.

                If you in your arguments with me have to resort to paraphrasing me instead of quoting me, I see that as reflecting well on me.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Kazzy, please understand my position on this.

                If we’re in a thread about an impeachment of a universally disliked president and instead of talking about the weakness of the president or the strength of the democratic candidate, we’re talking about how the guy who is pointing out that there is a problem here is full of shit?

                That’s an indicator that reminds me a *LOT* of 2016 and Clinton vs. Trump.

                If you’re hoping to change my mind by pointing out that I’m full of shit, you’re actually getting me to say “yeah, we’re in a place where it’s easier to attack people who are noticing things than it is cheer for the Dems.”Report

              • JoeSal in reply to Jaybird says:

                [Kazzy erased comment marker]Report

  3. Michael Cain says:

    If Sen. Paul really thought it was an incorrect ruling by the Chief Justice, the current written rules for impeachment proceedings allowed him to make a motion to overrule the decision, to be decided without debate by a majority of the Senators present. I don’t know if that survived into McConnell’s rules for this particular impeachment or not. Still, I doubt that there would have been 51 votes to overrule Roberts.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    The Hill (I know, I know… I’m not supposed to link to them…) is reporting that Senators are buying plane tickets for this weekend given that the assumption is that the Impeachment will be over Friday Night Or Saturday.

    I just went to Reddit to check r/all to see how the narratives are playing on the Front Page over there and there is nothing about the Impeachment going on. The closest thing to impeachment is a post titled:

    Pelosi says Trump lawyers have ‘disgraced’ themselves, suggests disbarment

    Ironically enough, the post that that Reddit post links to is also from the Hill.

    Everything else on the front page is Coronaviruses and video games and cats and Quentin Tarantino.Report

  5. Aaron David says:

    The Dems have been asking for more witnesses, notwithstanding that they could have all that they wanted in the house investigation (shoddy and rushed as that was, considering what is being asked for), well, here is more witness! Rather churlish to cheer the dismissal, makes it look like the case is even weaker that it appeared before.

    But, haters gonna hate.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    A crossover between this thread and the Elizabeth Warren one:


  7. Kazzy says:

    Did I have comments deleted? If so, later all.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

      You do seem to have a comment in “pending”. (For the record, *I* didn’t put it there and I didn’t ask for it to be put there or draw attention to it in any way. Well, other than responding to it.)Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    Interesting evolution.


  9. George Turner says:

    They already voted against more documents and witnesses, 51 to 49, so I’m not sure what Schumer would be amending.Report

    • The motion they voted on is a separate thing from the resolution that controls the actual steps in the process. In order to move directly to the acquittal vote, McConnell has to bring the schedule resolution back to the floor for amendment. Once it’s on the floor, anyone can offer amendments, and each offered amendment is debated for up to two hours. For example, one of the things in the current schedule is closed-door caucuses by the two parties. Murkowski had indicated she would like those to happen, spread across two or three days. The White House has also indicated they would like at least a couple of days to polish up their closing argument, and want to make that argument. My own suspicion is that there are several Republican Senators who don’t want the acquittal vote until after the SOTU, out of fear that an acquitted Trump might go off on a rant that would make it look like they’ve made a terrible mistake.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Well, they run the risk that Trump would call those Republicans out in the SOTU and give them monikers that would be carved on their political tombstones. ^_^

        That’s on top of “I come to you tonight in this House, this House that has the most criminally corrupt, treasonous, and incompetent leadership in the history of our great nation, to tell you that the state of our union is strong. Our energy supplies are unmatched, perhaps in part because of all the under-the-table Ukrainian energy deals made by the spoiled and corrupt children of House leaders and other top Democrats, such as Hunter Biden, who is in court because he knocked up a stripper while cheating on his dead brother’s wife. Maybe that’s how families roll in Connecticut.
        Who knows?”

        “Stand up Hunter. No Hunter? Has anybody found him yet? Oh well. Maybe Joe knows where he is. Is Joe here? No? Lord, I hope Joe isn’t off sniffing some Chinese kid or we’ll have to quarantine him right before Super Tuesday. ‘Don’t do it Joe!’ He probably should’a said that to Hunter more than he did. Weird family.”

        “But thanks to the strength of our great nation, and the greatest people |on Earth, even Hunter hasn’t managed to weaken America. Indeed, it has given hope to ambitious pole dancers everywhere, showing that they too can score a lifetime of multi-million dollar child support payments if they take a corrupt politician’s kid back to the VIP room. And what nice rooms they are, thanks to our great economy, perhaps the greatest economy in history. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what economists are saying, and not just based on how much pole dancers are making in DC.”

        On on and on he could go. Of course I’m one of those people who thinks Trump shows too much self-restraint and decorum.Report