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Does Trump have a case to answer?

I have not been following the Trump impeachment hooha with any great interest but I can’t fail to notice that it is dominating Sky News’s coverage today. Some might say they are doing so to distract attention from their defeat in last week’s general election but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Anyway, I would be grateful if the commentariat could help to bring me up to speed on this. For instance, does Trump have a case to answer? Has he done anything illegal and – more to the point – has he done anything wrong? Perhaps even more to the point, has he done anything that other US presidents – Obama for instance – wouldn’t do?

I can’t help but notice that people I trust have been rather quiet on this.

62 comments to Does Trump have a case to answer?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Patrick, first quick answer:

    “Has [Pres. Trump] done anything that Obama wouldn’t do?”

    You betcha. For one thing, he hasn’t speechified either at home or, even worse, abroad trashing our country and apologizing for it.

    And he hasn’t made it his job to try to Transform America by (1) cutting her down to size amongst the nations and, partly as part of that, (2) into a socialized hell-hole.

    As for the rest of what he’s done that Obama wouldn’t have done, even libertarianish conservatives (or conservativish libertarians) are split on such things as whether the Chinese tariffs and border control are net good or bad. (In the real world as it is today there are arguments both ways.)

    And there’s one dreadful thing that Obama DID do and Pres. Trump wouldn’t have done, and that is to get the ACA (“Obamacare) written into law.

    Oh, and another is to actively engage in ramping up an almost disappeared War Between the Races.

  • Fraser Orr

    Does Trump have a case to answer?

    Sure. A case has been brought so he has to answer it. Is it a good case? No, it is extremely weak.

    Has he done anything illegal

    No.

    has he done anything wrong

    No that I know of, unless you think it is wrong to investigate something that looks suspiciously like corruption in the US government.

    Perhaps even more to the point, has he done anything that other US presidents – Obama for instance – wouldn’t do?

    You mean apart from bringing manufacturing jobs back the the USA, or standing up to globalists, or reducing unemployment to a record low? No, not at all.

    The case is simply this:
    * In a call to the President of Ukraine he asked him to investigate some extremely shady dealings by the Biden family in Ukraine.
    * Military aid was delayed at about the same time, and some people intuited that the two were connected. (Yup, I’m not making this up, the witnesses all basically said — no he didn’t articulate a demand a quid pro quo of aid for investigation — but I felt that that is what he wanted.)
    * Neither an investigation was conducted, nor was aid held up more than it normally would be (and was delivered by the legal deadline of Sept 1.)

    That is pretty much the sum total of the case. From this it has been claimed that he delayed the aid to blackmail the Ukrainians to investigate or at least announce an investigation into a political opponent, even though the evidence of that is basically what I laid out above, which is to say, none at all. (Moreoever, the president of Ukraine and many of his staff have explicitly said both that they did not feel pressured at all, and that in fact they did not even know that the aid had been delayed.)

    Of course all this takes place in the atmosphere of an Inspector General’s report outlining shocking abuse at the FBI concerning its investigation into Trump, a dismissal of an investigation into Clinton’s email where she plainly broke the law, and in fact broke some quite serious laws, and when there is indisputable evidence of Trump’s opponents committing purjury on tape, including the head of the FBI, the head of the CIA and the head of the NSA.

    And in face of the fact that the House’s trial was a travesty of justice, and a massive waste of time because he will never actually be removed from office. And that was compounded by the nauseating sight of the Democrats claiming the whole thing was not political, but was simply them doing their constitutional duty, defending the Constitution, and how they were doing it with a heavy heart.

    And nobody in our press seemed to ask these new found originalists on the constitution where exactly that same document authorized their federal healthcare takeover, or their destruction of American industry for the sake of climate change or a thousand other things that have no constitutional authority.

    And the fundamental issue — Trump asking about the Bidens — belies the extremely suspicious details of the case where Joe Biden’s son somehow managed to get a job paying major money on the board of, what is widely acknowledged to be, the most corrupt oil and gas company in Ukraine, despite the fact that he knew nothing about oil, gas or the Ukraine. His only qualification being that his dad was Vice President with special responsibility, laughably, or combating corruption in Ukraine. And that fact that Biden bragged about getting the prosecutor in Ukraine fired where there is very good reason to believe that that prosecutor was investigation that self same company Biden Junior worked for.

    Aside from all that, it was all a perfectly fair and balanced. (Though this stuff is so bad, that I have probably forgotten several equally shocking facts about this whole mess.)

    It is a political hit job.

  • Nullius in Verba

    The case is neither expected nor intended to succeed. It’s a strategy by the Dems to avoid the first four years of Trump’s presidency being taken up by criminal enquiries of them committing the same crimes they accuse him of.

    Hillary used a foreign agent (Christopher Steele) with Russian sources to try to interfere in the US election by seeking dirt on her opponent, as did other Dems. Joe Biden admitted to threatening to withold US government aid to Ukraine to get a political favour from the then-corrupt Ukrainian government to stop the investigation into his son’s corrupt position on the board of a well-known corrupt company. And they’ve spent the last three years calling for the abuse of government resources to investigate a political opponent (i.e. Trump) by corrupt and illegal means (i.e. lying to the FISA court, leaking the Steele dossier, etc.).

    While the airwaves are full of the Mueller probe and impeachment enquiry, nobody can hear any news about enquiries into the criminal behaviour of the Dems. And while its utter failure is going to lose them votes, it’s not going to lose half as many votes as seeing half the Obama/Clinton hierarchy jailed for corruption. It’s actually been a quite clever and remarkably successful strategy. So far, at least.

    But I expect we’ll hear a bit more about in in Trump’s second term, hopefully culminating just in time for the next presidential election.

  • William H. Stoddard

    I don’t pay close attention, because there were demands for Trump’s impeachment before he was even sworn in. One cause of impeachment has succeeded another, but the intended action hasn’t changed. So it seems to me to be a case of Lavrenty Beria’s saying, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

  • Tim the Coder

    A Democrat politico (Biden) arranged for his son to get a sinecure from the Ukraine.
    When the Ukraine public prosecutor started to investigate this blatant corruption, he was silenced by Biden threatening to withold US aid. This was with Obama as president.
    Ukraine public prosecutor duly fired.

    Trump asked Ukraine president to reopen investigation: was anything untoward in the Biden scandal?
    Democrats go batshitcrazy.

    Funny thing is, the meat of the allegation is that Trump MAY HAVE stated a threat which Biden obviously did state and enact, and has since boasted of.
    Hence the shenanigans in the kangaroo court proceedings to avoid calling witnesses.
    Hence the reason Trump has provoked this.

    If forced to fight, pick the time and location of your choosing, not that of the enemy.

    To Trump, this is part of making your noisy neighbour’s kids start playing with homemade fireworks.
    Trumpslide 2020

  • Patrick Crozier (Twickenham)

    Fraser & NiV: many thanks, much appreciated. My theory is that if they really had something on Trump they would use it. The fact that they have to make things up about the guy is most revealing.

  • Agammamon

    Has he done anything illegal? Less than any of his predecessors. He, for example, didn’t subvert a major Federal police agency to get it to interfere in a Presidential election. He didn’t allow party operatives to use the power of the IRS to clamp down on ideological opponents. He hasn’t started any new wars.

    Has he done anything wrong? A lot less than his predecessors for damn sure. Ask for dirt on a *potential* political opponent, in exchange for not delaying the payment of a bribe that was already scheduled to be paid before he took office by a whole different branch of government, who happens to also have been neck deep in inappropriate hair-sniffing and knee-touching and using his office for his family’s financial gain. I’ll allow it.

    Being nice to the Russians? – and they’ve already forgotten about Obama and the ‘reset’ button.

    From a libertarian’s perspective – Trump is certainly not going to espouse the pro-freedom policies I prefer and I don’t think walling off the southern border (or trade ‘agreements’) are the way to go but he might actually be the best president we’ve had since Carter/Reagan. He certainly won’t do the amount of damage to the US that Clinton/Bush/Obama have done.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Agammamon
    I don’t think walling off the southern border

    You can have controlled immigration or you can have a welfare state. You can’t have both. Well, not for long anyway.

    We actually have candidates running for President who have a realistic chance of winning who advocate for completely, unrestricted state paid healthcare and free access to anyone who manages to get here. Not even the NHS does that.

    I’m a British/US citizen who lives in the USA. If I went to a British hospital I’d have to pay my own bills.

  • Alsadius

    I haven’t been following too closely, but here’s the summary of the important events as best I understand it.

    Stuff everyone more or less agrees on:
    – Ukrainian politics seems to revolve mostly around dueling corruption allegations against all sides. Everything from there needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
    – Biden’s son got a sinecure as a director of a Ukrainian gas company, which is apparently a bit shady even by the standards of a fairly corrupt country.
    – Then-VP Biden said he was worried about Ukrainian corruption, and held back some American foreign aid to the country to force them to sack their chief prosecutor (that Biden alleges to have been exceedingly corrupt). They caved and fired him.
    – Biden bragged about this after the fact, and used it as proof of how he’d stand up for America/justice/et cetera. This came to Trump’s attention, and he dispatched Rudy Giuliani to investigate it for him.
    – A new Ukrainian President was elected a few months ago, and Trump sought a call with him. The new President has no prior political experience, but he did play the President in a popular local TV show. And then people from the TV network founded a party of the same name, he was picked as leader, and he won office with a resounding majority. (Yes, seriously. This actually happened.)
    – When that call happened, they discussed this issue, as well as an unrelated (and not really relevant) concern of Trump’s, as well as a Ukrainian request to buy some weapons. (Transcript of the call)
    – Before the call, some planned US aid to the Ukrainian government got delayed.
    – After the call, a whistleblower came forward with a complaint based on discussions of this call around the office, most(but not all) of which match with facts that are now agreed to by Trump.

    Stuff I’ve heard controversy over(and why people care):
    – Was the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden got sacked investigating Hunter Biden’s company at that time, or had the investigation already been called off before this point? (If the latter, it almost certainly wasn’t an attempt to protect his son’s company, because there was nothing to protect them against).
    – Was Trump’s motivation simply to prosecute an offence that the legal system was ignoring, or was he trying to damage a political opponent? (Likewise, if it’s the former, it’s probably more or less legit).
    – And, the big one, was the aid held up to strong-arm the Ukrainians into accepting Trump’s call and subsequently helping with the investigation, or was that unrelated delays based on concerns over the honesty of the new government? (If it’s unrelated, then he’s just being a gadfly at worst, but if it was tied to the investigation, then he’s using seriously large amounts of public resources to prosecute this case, which rapidly gets ugly if the case is illegitimate).

    The theory of the impeachment is basically that Trump went after Biden’s son as a purely political ploy to score points in the 2020 election, that there was no actual crime to investigate there, and that he used hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds in order to extort an ally into framing one of his political opponents. (Some pro-impeachment people advance slightly softer theories here, but the core is the same).

    The theory of Trump’s defence is that Biden was actually corrupt(or at the very least that the corruption was so plausible as to warrant investigation), that Trump was legitimately using his powers as chief executive to seek justice for these potential crimes, and that the aid delay was purely coincidental and not tied to the investigation in any way. Per this theory, the impeachment is just yet another attempt to overturn the 2016 election, or at least to poison the 2020 process.

    FWIW, I’m currently undecided on whether to impeach. If the facts match the Democrat claims, I think the alleged crime is sufficiently corrupt to warrant removal from office. However, I haven’t satisfied myself about the facts here, so I won’t say more than that.

  • Echo

    From here in flyover USA.

    Did Trump do something wrong? Yes he did.

    Will he be removed from office by the senate? Not a chance.

    Have other US presidents? Certainly they have.

  • Nico

    My take is that in that phone call Trump was sending a subtle message to Zelensky, that he (Zelensky) should do Trump the favor of announcing an investigation (never mind actually running it) of the firing of that prosecutor in order to be on Trump’s good side. Having the POTUS against you is not a good thing, so Zelensky, if he understood, would have made the announcement. Note that there was no need to let Zelensky know anything more than that Trump wanted that announcement. In particular, there was no need to say anything about delays in aid.

    Is that OK? Well, explicit horse trading like this is something U.S. Presidents do all the time. And Trump was clever enough not to actually make the “quid pro quo” explicit, so he committed no crime as such. This at worst is inappropriate because Biden was or soon would be a candidate for the Democratic party’s nomination for POTUS, but then… it cannot be that running for President makes you immune from investigation, after all, Trump was investigated by Obama when he (Trump) ran for President. But Trump wasn’t even asking for an investigation of Biden, just an announcement — presumably to get people talking about it.

    No, Trump was finding a clever way to get the media to talk about Biden’s problems. That both, succeeded and failed. It succeeded, but also led to the impeachment charges. So it double succeeded: Trump wins by being impeached. Of course, the media has tried real hard to not talk about Biden’s problems, so maybe the gambit failed and succeeded.

    The impeachment articles aren’t about any of that. They are a big nothing. The materials are a big nothing. The hearings were a big nothing. The Senate should dismiss out of hand, though for Trump it would be best if they let him put on a Trump show in the Senate itself (that would be something else, and it would very likely win him the general).

    The answers to your questions are all “no”.

    Even for your first question the answer might be no: he doesn’t have to answer at all if the Senate Republican majority just dismisses the case (he might have to request that, but a Senator surely will move to dismiss). Even if the Senate does not dismiss, if it may choose to not allow even a defense to be put on because the Senate could argue that all the fact finding materials (including testimony) are to come from the House, and that the Senate will only hear closing arguments and review the House materials. In that case the Senate might let Trumps lawyers make closing arguments — that too would be a fun show, but not as good as a Trump show. The Senate could even declare that the House materials are deficient due to its unwillingness to hear from the opposition’s witnesses! The Senate could even refuse to accept the articles of impeachment if the House passed them by a voice vote and the opposition requested a roll-call vote and was denied! The Senate can do anything it wants with the House’s impeachment articles.

    And by the way, the House can play additional games, like not actually send the articles of impeachment to the Senate at all, and it could threaten to send them at any time before this Congress’ term expires, including, say, days before the election.

    EDIT: Biden definitely deserves to be investigated because he bragged quite publicly about doing something rather obviously corrupt, or at the very least he was conflicted.

  • Mr Ed

    This impeachment was inevitable once the actor Martin Sheen had failed to persuade Republican members of the 2016 Electoral College to switch to Clinton in sufficient numbers, and the House had fallen to the Democrats.

  • Not really. Professor Johnathan Turley demolished the charges in his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on December 4.

    But I would think that wouldn’t I? According to the progressive theory of the case, Republicans were once sufficiently in touch with reality and ethics to join Democrats in supporting the impeachment of Nixon. Since then, though, the Republican half of the country – and that half alone – has suffered an enormous epistemological and moral collapse, making them blind to the need to nail Trump. A simpler theory is that the case against Trump is extremely feeble compared to Watergate.

    I blog about it a bit in “What’s different about this impeachment?” with links to and quotes from Turley’s testimony.

  • Behind Enemy Lines

    Patrick, the fact that you have to ask this question at all (‘does Trump have a case to answer’) is an answer in itself, don’t you think?

    The charges are spurious, the evidence is absent, and no one’s been able to offer a compelling reason to proceed against Trump other than the Democrat party’s raw lust for unearned political power.

    Compare this to Clinton, who was impeached after being caught red-handed committing the actual crimes of obstruction of justice and perjury. He was of course acquitted by the same people who are now staging a meritless show trial against Trump.

  • Phil B

    His one and only crime was to win the 2016 election.

    It was Hillary Clintons turn to win and continue Obama’s destruction of America.

    THAT is unforgivable.

    As William Stoddard notes, the call for impeachment started before Trump was sworn in and before he could have indulged in High Crimes and Misdemeanours while in office.

  • Mr Ed

    Mr Trump needs 34 Senators to be honourable in voting against impeachment, and we have Cruz and Paul as two examples. It will be useful in that the vote in the Senate on the Articles will smoke out the RINOs, why does Romney pop into my head?

  • john in cheshire

    Whatever happened to Ukraine’s gold, which was flown out of the country when the Bathhouse Barry regime was in control?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Nico, to the best of my knowledge that’s a really excellent statement. Thanks!

    😀

  • Lord T

    Trump has done nothing that other presidents have not done before him, and all of them worse.

    This is clearly a plot to delegitimise him and it isn’t working. imo Trump could kill and eat Pelosi live on TV and his poll ratings would only drop by a couple of percent.

    Think how much better the US would be at this stage if Trump has the general support of the senate and congress like every other president before him.

    Traitors the lot of them. No different from anywhere else from what I can gather. Time for a change.

  • Alsadius

    Lord T: He had Congress’ firm backing for his first two years, and the only legislation of note was a tax bill. Not a terrible one, but one that took the biggest long-term issue facing the US (the gigantic fiscal irresponsibility) and made it worse.

    I don’t see what a compliant Congress would do today, other than make the impeachment debate a bit less formal.

  • GregWA

    There’s no case against Trump. He’s no less ethical in his dealings with anyone than previous Presidents–admittedly a low bar. The Senate might dismiss (good!) or acquit (almost as good). But then what? I’d like to see criminal referrals, investigations, prosecutions, disbarments, and long jail sentences. I use the plural here hoping these numbers are in the range of 100 top figures, basically anyone involved who is a political appointee.

    And then go after the bureaucrats too: we need a chilling and a culling of that behavior as well. I know that’s a bit much to hope for, but I can dream, I can hope we return to some semblance of a Constitutional Republic.

    An even bigger dream: Trump runs in 2020 primarily on policy and his first term successes, only referencing the above Dem/Left crimes enough to make sure voters remember when they pull the lever in the voting box. That is, we have an election about ideas and policy directions. And once he wins on that as well, he then prosecutes the Schiff out of all of them.

    And if all this comes to pass and we once again have a national discussion about policy, we can hold Trump and the Republicans feet to the fire on spending and debt (the Dems are beyond hope on this so don’t bother talking to them or letting them know your strategy).

  • Runcie Balspune

    The only worry this side of the pond is whether the leftists will try the same legal/political trickery with our own dear democratically elected leader, having already been buoyed by an accomplice in the Supreme Court over prorogation, it is only a matter of time when the same rich anti-democrats want to stymie Boris in his every endeavor and prolong the agony of uncertainty of a government that can’t get anything done.

    Remember when the leftists declare it would be a disaster if their lizard does not get elected, that is not a warning, it is a threat.

  • Jay

    Have been in flyover, USA for 6 years. First up, read the transcript
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trumps-ukraine-call-transcript-read-the-document
    Cant guarantee that it’s totally accurate, but it’s the closest we have.

    Did he suggest that the aid was dependent on an investigation of Burisma?
    Absolutely. The sudden topic change is pretty obvious.
    Can you prove that intent? Not a chance. This guy spent his career developing property in NY, one of the most corrupt places in the country. He knows how to get his message across in a way that cant be used against him
    Do I/should we care? Not at all.

    This is how international relations is done. Sure you can bitch about him misusing his office to investigate to a political opponent, just like the FBI (part of Obama Whitehouse) used a fabricated document supplied by the Clinton campaign. But there’s also the fact that there appears to be a case to answer about whether that political opponent is bent. Nothing that has been published about Hunter Biden suggests there is any reason why Burisma would pay him, except that his father was VP and in charge of aid to Ukraine. It continually bewilders me that democrats – and I mean the voters, not the pols – dont seem to see the hypocrisy in insisting that Trump/Russia should be investigated, but Biden/Ukraine shouldnt.

    Meanwhile the impeachment process is purely politically motivated. It will never pass the senate. It is a continuation of the russia-gate strategy. If we scream Orange man bad long enough and loud enough, then hopefully the voters wont notice that we have nothing to offer. Or that, despite the legislative gridlock, Trump is delivering on much of what he said he’d do. Whether you like what he’s doing or not he is delivering on many of his promises.

    The proof of the pudding is that his numbers are improving while this whole charade is going on

  • Mark

    Hitler’s clitoris, fortunately (for the world!) lost.

    It will be sweet indeed for the Donald, if this debased witch watches him storm home next year knowing that this final manifestation of her hissy fit gets him over the line.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Lots of excellent comments. I read them with interest to see whether there is anything important about this sordid affair that i had missed, and it seems that there isn’t. (Nothing important could have escaped notice from ALL of you, could it??)

    One thing that i had not thought of, is Nico’s conjecture:

    Trump was finding a clever way to get the media to talk about Biden’s problems.

    This suggests that Nico has a Machiavellian turn of mind, and i mean that as a compliment.

    Also from Nico’s comment:

    This at worst is inappropriate because Biden was or soon would be a candidate for the Democratic party’s nomination for POTUS, but then… it cannot be that running for President makes you immune from investigation

    In fact, it is especially important to investigate thoroughly the people running for President. If nominated, Biden might get into the same sort of trouble that Hitlery got into; and if elected, President Biden could be impeached on more solid grounds than Trump was impeached on.

  • Did Trump do anything illegal?
    Technically probably yes. But illegality is not, as far as I can tell, anything worse than that done by many previous administrations on indeed worse than you as an individual driving at 120 in 30mph zone and 2am and not having an accident because (duh) it’s 2am and there’s no one around. The only difference is that Trump appears to be less interested in having middlemen and fixers who can take the fall and provide plausible deniability.

    Did Trump do anything wrong
    No, IMO. The quid pro quo thing tying aid to an investigation of Biden (as opposed to corruption in general with Biden being an example) seems to be total BS because there’s no non hearsay evidence and plenty of factual counter-evidence. Did he want to have a quid pro quo? maybe. I’m sure he wanted Biden’s ties publicized and (arguably) the impeachment event has done that far better than having some unknown Ukrainian chief prosecutor investigate.

    Did he do anything other presidents wouldn’t have done
    No, except that he’s very much his own negotiator which seems to be rare in US politics and this makes him potentially more susceptible to accusations because he can’t do the slopey shoulders blame it on the underlings thing

    So to sum up. This whole impeachment thing is the Dems doing the equivalent of a prosecutor calling for the death sentence for someone caught speeding and then rigging the courtroom so that the defendant is forbidden to make any defense.

    Some additional thoughts

    I’m not a big believer in the Trump plays multi-dimensional chess school of thought, but it has occurred to me that he’s benefiting from the whole circus in ways which his Deep state and democrat enemies may not have thought about initially. Firstly the nutters have been demanding his impeachment since his election (quite literally) and thus it is easy to portray this impeachment as a politically motivated witch hunt*. Secondly the way the proceedings have been conducted means that no one who has paid a small bit of attention and is not a NeverTrumper thinks it was in any way impartial. Even if Trump were as bad as he is claimed to be by the Dems, the way that due process and other similar bedrock parts of the anglospheric legal code have been ignored is far far worse. Moreover in the process of finding this molehill to impeach on, we have seen far greater coverage of the Biden family’s general sleaziness than we might otherwise have AND we’ve seen a whole load of witnesses that look remarkably like “Deep State” come forward and bitch about how Trump is ignoring them and hurting their tender feelings and generally being a big meany. And we’ve had editorials from the NY Slimes and other similar MSM outlets that more or less say “The Deep State is good because it’s trying to stop Trump” as opposed to the denials of a year or two earlier that Deep State was a thing. In other words this impeachment is enabling Trump to go back to what he campaigned on in 2016 “Drain the Swamp” and have countless soundbites showing that he was right. Plus this weak impeachment thing has effectively inoculated Trump against any future impeachment because he can simply defend himself claiming that it is more of the same.

    *and that’s not just because it is one

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Lots of excellent comments. I read them with interest to see whether there is anything important about this sordid affair that i had missed, and it seems that there isn’t. (Nothing important could have escaped notice from ALL of you, could it??)”

    Oh, there’s tons of detail we’ve missed, but that rather defeats the object of a tl;dr summary for someone who doesn’t have the time to dive in to the ins and outs.

    A good summary of the major claims and the evidence for/against them is to be found in the minority report.

  • Jacob

    Here is an excellent legal analysis in The Atlantic. (no right wing site). Trump did nothing wrong.

  • Agammamon

    Fraser Off

    No kidding. So let’s get rid of the welfare state and it’s drain rather than allow ourselves to be leached dry by it *and* the wall.

  • Sigivald

    Impeachment does not require a criminal charge (“high crimes and misdemeanors” is a term of art roughly meaning “abuse of power or office”, but is not limited to codified crimes and most criminal actions wouldn’t qualify). It’s, practically, a purely political process.

    It’s not clear that the President has to “answer” anything, since the trial is by the Senate and it’s NOT a criminal trial.

    The Senate could not even invite the President to participate at all; there’s no right to confront the accused OR to a jury of peers, in an Impeachment, because it’s neither a criminal nor civil process, but a uniquely legislative one.

  • Jacob

    A fact got wide publicity, the fact no one disputes: Biden’s son got a fat job (50k+ per month) in an Ukraine corrupt company, with no qualifications at all, except being the Veep’s son. This is obviously corruption, so there is plenty to investigate, and the demand to open an investigation is clearly justified.

    The bigger question is – why did the US get involved in Ukraine at all?? Why waste a billion of good, hard earned, US dollars on this corrupt country. Who authorized it? Had that something to do with Hunter Biden’s job? That would be corruption writ large.The US has no business interfering in Ukraine.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The bigger question is – why did the US get involved in Ukraine at all??”

    Russia.

  • Matthew H Iskra

    Wow. I was going to reply but the ones above better than what I could write.
    The short answer to the questions is: no. What Trump has done is nothing more than the give-and-take of power politics and routine foreign affairs. I saw this as a veteran and history student (admittedly a minor, with focus in 1920s US and Byzantine/Easter Roman)

    However in NorCal where I live, I have otherwise sane friends who get spittle-foaming angry at the thought of Trump being president. I have personally lost two long-time friends due to my mild support of Trump in the late election (I started with Gov. Walker). THAT is how intense the cultural/political divide is here in NorCal (the more chill/more crazy part of California). What I read online indicates that there is a lot of that: tireless hate-filled zealots who seem ready to assault others who hold differing views.

    This. Will. Not. End. Well. It sure didn’t in 1861.

    This, as always, is just IMHO.

  • Jacob

    The other question is: Joe Biden once said that he is not involved in his son’s dealings. OK. So Trump can claim: I didn’t demand an investigation into Joe Biden – my possible political opponent. I demanded an investigation into Hunter Biden, which is a different person, as his father said.

  • bobby b

    “He (Trump) had Congress’ firm backing for his first two years . . . “

    No.

    He had a Republican Congress, yes, but it was a very divided Congress, which gave him very little support. Otherwise, we’d have a wall.

  • Eric

    “High crimes and misdemeanors” means whatever Congress says it means; impeachment doesn’t require an actual crime. It’s a political process. If there’s meat somewhere in this burger the Democrats didn’t find it.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “OK. So Trump can claim: I didn’t demand an investigation into Joe Biden – my possible political opponent. I demanded an investigation into Hunter Biden, which is a different person, as his father said.”

    The relevant bit of the conversation was as follows below. It does address Joe, not just Hunter, but states that lots of people are talking about it and so he’d like Zelensky to ‘find out’ about it. That could as easily be to debunk it as to prosecute it, and it doesn’t mention that the investigation needs to be official or criminal, or that it should come to any particular conclusion. Just to find out and privately let Giuliani have the information. It’s only Zelensky who mentions any official investigations by the next prosecutor in the next paragraph.

    “The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

  • Runcie Balspune (December 19, 2019 at 1:41 pm), our supreme court is a thoroughly politicised Blair creation that celebrated its tenth birthday on October 1st this year. Soon after, said court gave Boris and Cummings (yet more) reason to think how much better things would be if it returned to the state of non-existence it had ten years ago. The manifesto included a reference intended to justify this. I will be disappointed* (not that surprised but disappointed) if anything less than full abolition of Blair’s “heads the PC win, tails the voters lose” innovation is done.

    * (disappointed modulo considering whether a given strategy is a more reliable route to the goal in the end)

  • Snorri Godhi

    I forgot to address Patrick Crozier’s comment in my previous comment, but it deserves to be highlighted:

    My theory is that if they really had something on Trump they would use it. The fact that they have to make things up about the guy is most revealing.

    I am sorely tempted to add commentary, but actually there is nothing to add.

  • Patrick, I echo Nullius in Verba (December 18, 2019 at 10:57 pm), merely stressing the point that Biden did not admit getting the prosecutor fired who was investigating the company employing his son by threatening to withhold US aid; he boasted of it, very explicitly, on the (replayable) record.

    So this leads to my main question about this impeachment: is it as inept as it appears and if so, why?

    – Why accuse Trump of threatening to withhold aid to Ukraine for a quid pro quo in a case where the transcript needs the eye of faith to establish that, when Biden’s boasts need the blind eye of faith not to?

    – Why make the impeachment argument depend on claiming it’s improper to ask foreigners to investigate a possible presidential candidate when the public domain is full of evidence of asking foreigners to investigate an actual presidential candidate?

    It is easier to obfuscate on process issues, but still:

    – Why retrospectively change whistleblower definitions (with backdated effect) so the complaint can be made by your ‘whistleblower’ – then try (ineptly – Schiff accidentally released the name unredacted in one document) to conceal the guy’s name though all know it?

    – Why the process oddities about the witnesses, questioning them, etc.?

    It was inevitable that any impeachment the Dems launched would be open to tu quoque challenges, but this one’s seem bizarrely blatant. Why impeach on an argument that makes a clip of Biden boasting “the SOB got fired” the inevitable riposte?

    Does anyone feel I have overstated the ineptness, or the surprisingness of it? The Dems have spent a full three years obviously planning to do this. Did they at no time review a backup plan for Mueller? Did they never review what the rebuttal argument would look like to voters if it started from that Biden quote? Did they just want it too much? I can offer guessed answers but I’d rather read what others think.

  • Sean

    He is definitely guilty of getting elected against the wishes of the anointed. The real question is if that is a high crime or misdemeanor. Normal people know it’s not.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall’s latest comment reminds me of yet another thing i meant to mention.

    Biden getting a prosecutor fired in a foreign country, without due process, is by itself a valid reason to assassinate Biden on the Ides of March, by Roman standards.
    (NB: this is totally independent of whether Biden’s family stood to gain from the firing.)

    It brings back memories of the CIA (widely believed to be) interfering into the politics of foreign countries, without accountability.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “merely stressing the point that Biden did not admit getting the prosecutor fired who was investigating the company employing his son by threatening to withhold US aid; he boasted of it, very explicitly, on the (replayable) record.”

    Biden’s argument is that he got the prosecutor sacked because the prosecutor was corrupt or incompetent, and it was purely coincidental that his son was at one of the companies due to be investigated. He claims that other nations also had the same opinion about him, although I’ve heard that there’s no independent evidence of that. It’s regarded as highly suspicious, of course, and the prosecutor in question has testified that he’d been unofficially told he’d been fired because of Biden’s interest in Burisma, but it isn’t quite a signed confession. However, unless you’re an ardent Democrat, it would reasonably seem suspicious enough to be worth at least checking.

    And of course the reason companies like Burisma hire people like Hunter Biden is precisely because of their supposed influence in this sort of matter.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Another not-so-random thought.
    Fast & Furious, the IRS scandal, Benghazi, the Hitlery email server, and so on.
    The Republicans controlled the House for 6 years during the Obama admin, and they did not even think of impeaching Obama for any of the above.

    One might say: that just goes to show what a bunch of ####ers the Republicans are, or used to be.
    But perhaps the big mistake was to impeach Clinton. After that mistake, impeaching the next Democrat President would have been bad optics — especially with a Black President.

    OTOH the current impeachment might serve a useful purpose: it should remove any inhibitions about impeaching the next Democrat President.

  • bobby b

    It just keeps getting better.

    The Dems adjourned the House today for the year’s session without forwarding the charges to the Senate.

    Apparently, they’re protesting because most of the Senate appears to have made up its collective mind ahead of a trial.

    So now the legal question becomes, if they don’t forward the charges, was Trump actually impeached? Or is the forwarding a required component of impeachment?

    It would be hilarious if this all just died away with no Senate action required.

  • Nico

    @Snorri:

    Suppose Zelensky had announced the investigation Trump wanted the day after the call. The media would have talked about it. Within 24 hours the Dems would have found out about the call and drawn the inference that Trump had asked for an investigation and then would have immediately started the impeachment thing (i.e., just a few weeks earlier than they did). Trump might even have foreseen that the Dems would go ballistic, though that might be a tad difficult to believe.

    In fact, it is especially important to investigate thoroughly the people running for President. If nominated, Biden might get into the same sort of trouble that Hitlery got into; and if elected, President Biden could be impeached on more solid grounds than Trump was impeached on.

    Hmm, well, if by investigated you mean “by the press”, sure, but we don’t do DoJ/FBI/police investigations without probable cause that the subject has committed a crime.

  • Nico

    @bobby: The delay in forwarding the articles of impeachment is something that’s been bandied about for a few days.

    The Constitution says nothing about how the House notifies the Senate of impeachment. Presumably the House has to do something, but perhaps publication of the vote in the Federal Register is sufficient, in which case the senate could go ahead and consider them without further ado!

    It’s also entirely possible that the Senate could reject them out of hand (without even a vote) if the articles are deficient in some manner. For example, the House did not take a roll call for the vote in spite of the minority’s demand for one — normally this is always acquiesced to, so maybe the Senate’s clerk could return the articles to the House w/o action. The House does this all the time when it comes to legislation sent to it by the Senate when the Senate is the origin of that legislation and that legislation seeks to increase tax rates — the House clerk simply returns it to the Senate without a vote in the House.

    If the Senate does not act as though publication in the Federal Register is sufficient notice (or if not even that happens) then Pelosi could withhold the articles all the way up to the election, and even later, always threatening to force a trial at the most inconvenient (to Trump) time possible. Ridiculous. McConnel should simply refuse the articles without even a vote.

    If the articles are never sent to the Senate, then the impeachment asterisk on Trump’s Presidency will have an asterisk of its own.

    Fun times.

  • Flubber

    re: Niall

    – Why the process oddities about the witnesses, questioning them, etc.?

    Because as strange as this may seem in the modern age of politics, Trump is an honest man. Given Obama’s liberal use of extra judicial powers like targeting the IRS on the tea party you have to assume that following the birther controversy the IRS went through Trump’s taxes with a fine tooth comb – and didn’t find anything.

    Its why they concocted the Russian nonsense, as Horowitz is currently explaining, and anyone who is watching the Shampeachment knows its a crock of shit.

    The real reason for the current panic is two fold.

    1) Billions in USAID and IMF loans were skimmed by the Obama era politicians from Ukraine. Hunter Biden is just an obvious buffoon, but the foreign aid budgets of all Western countries are slush funds and huge opportunities for graft. Ukraine being one of the worlds most corrupt nations, just meant that the graft was both easier and more outrageous.

    2) RBG is on her past legs; they’re trying to spoil Trump’s chances of nominating her replacement before Nov 2020.

  • bobby b

    “The delay in forwarding the articles of impeachment is something that’s been bandied about for a few days.”

    I know. My Inner Lawyer has been enthralled by this whole process. So far, this is like the the prosecutor getting the grand jury indictment and then . . . nothing. What a PR stunt. What a bad PR stunt.

    We get next to no guidance from the Constitution. Here’s all of what it says:

    Article 2, Section 4:

    “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    Article I, Section 2, Clause 5:

    “The House of Representatives … shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

    Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7:

    “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.”

    That’s all the guidance we get. I don’t think that the history of how Congress has handled impeachment in the past actually establishes anything so binding as legal precedent – just history. The courts can’t touch any aspect of this. So, everything from today onward is merely politics and PR.

    If they don’t forward charges to the Senate, was there ever an impeachment? Will the Senate just dismiss? Will they adopt the Clinton impeachment rules? (Hard for the Dems to argue that point, as it was a truly bipartisan vote that adopted those rules back then.)

    This is all like a whacky Bar Exam essay question.

  • bobby b

    “RBG is on her past legs; they’re trying to spoil Trump’s chances of nominating her replacement before Nov 2020.”

    I’ve seen this mentioned in a number of places. Does it refer to the idea that, if Trump is impeached and convicted, he’s gone and can’t nominate anyone? Or is there some undercurrent that, if he’s impeached but not yet convicted, there’s some lessening of his ability to nominate – that the Senate will be less willing to confirm the nomination made by a president under an impeachment cloud?

    I mean, the Senate quickly confirmed thirteen more of Trump’s judicial nominees just this week. They’re not showing a lot of reticence.

  • Nico

    @bobby: There have been quite a few impeachments, but mostly of judges. Impeaching Presidents makes no sense: just wait a bit and have an election or they’ll retire.

    As to RBG, I too have seen commentary about RBG being part of the motivation for impeachment. I don’t see how it would work. Maybe though the real idea is to withhold the articles of impeachment so that in case she dies Pelosi can then send the articles to the Senate and try to have a long trial preempt and thus preclude confirmation hearings. That might make sense, but it can’t be the only motivation. Other motivations include that the dems promised their base an impeachment, and too, that they expected Trump would be easy to take down.

    All of this feels like they are a inexperienced chess players who see awesome mating lines on the board, but those would only work if they were half a move ahead when in fact they’re half a move behind.

    For example, they’re even talking about impeaching the VPOTUS, thus possibly getting to make Pelosi POTUS. (In order for Pelosi to succeed the Presidency they’d have to impeach Pence so soon after he assumes the Presidency that he has no time to nominate a replacement VP and have them confirmed.) This all must seem really awesome to them, but they have to get past McConnell and they have to convince 20 Republican Senators to go along — a few is plausible, but 20 isn’t really, not after spreading so much poison. That’s not to say that had they been less claude about all this they might not have been able to convince 20 Rep Senators to vote to remove — the Republican establishment still hates Trump — but they were. So here we are watching the dems commit political suicide.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “It’s also entirely possible that the Senate could reject them out of hand (without even a vote) if the articles are deficient in some manner.”

    As they keep saying, this is a political not a legal process, which means that in a sense it’s not the Senate who act as jury, but the voters. Thus, it would seem best for the Senate to call all those witnesses that Schiff refused to, and hear all the testimony that Schiff blocked, and sub poena all the documents Schiff is hiding, bring them all out into the public view and make it a ‘fair trial’. If they acquit on the basis of a fair trial, they win. If they do so summarily or on a technicality, without examining the evidence, there’s a question and a cloud hanging over it.

    “All of this feels like they are a inexperienced chess players who see awesome mating lines on the board, but those would only work if they were half a move ahead when in fact they’re half a move behind.”

    I think they’re quite experienced chess players who have spotted that they’re vulnerable to a mate in 8 moves or so, and are trying to get out of it by counter-attacking. It’s a distraction and a diversion. It’s not expected to actually work, but it does two things: it delays the impending mate for four moves or so, giving them more time to prepare, and it raises the drama threshold, and the legal bar, so their own mistakes don’t look so bad.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the high crimes and misdemeanors they’re accusing Trump of are all the same things that they themselves have been caught doing. The Steele dossier with it’s Russian input was a clear case of Dems using foreign agents to interfere in the election, to gather dirt on their opponent, and to use it to their own political advantage. Spying on an opposition campaign, as the Deep State have been doing, is just Watergate all over again. Corrupt tit-for-tat dealings with Ukraine turns out to have been one of Vice President Biden’s jobs. Accusations of cosying up to the Russians deflect from that silly business of the ‘reset button’ on relations with Russia, and claims of Obama cosying up to the Iranians. Charges of sexual misconduct flung against Trump and Kavanaugh are reflections of Clinton (about which there is surely more to discover) and are now providing cover for the Epstein affair.

    If Trump had come in calmly and normally, and all this had come out in isolation, it would stand out against the clean background of the media presentation of the Obama years like a turd sat right in the middle of an expanse of clean white table cloth. It would make a huge impact with the voters. But now, the public are very used to charges of corruption, bribery, abuse of government office, sexual assault, treason, and so on being flung around. It’s ‘normal’. It’s even got to be boring. So when the past eventually comes to light, as was inevitable the moment they lost control of the White House, people will be able to shrug and write it off as the peccadillos of politics. It’s all about creating drama and distraction, keeping Trump constantly on the defensive, force the Republicans to set tough precedents and high legal bars for evidence in these sorts of prosecutions, and creating the background tablecloth against which they anticipate being judged.

    Everybody knows by now that this impeachment is not going to work, including the Dems. But it doesn’t need to work, it just needs to keep rolling on and making lots of noise. And when this one is thrown out, they’ll just start the next one. And the next one. And the next one.

    “That’s all the guidance we get. I don’t think that the history of how Congress has handled impeachment in the past actually establishes anything so binding as legal precedent – just history.”

    On that subject, there’s an article here I found amusing. Guess who said the following words?

    “If we vote articles of impeachment, I fear that we will be setting a precedent that could seriously weaken the office of the presidency, whether the President is removed from office or not.

    In my judgment, we will be substantially lowering the bar for removing a sitting president so that we will be in danger of all too frequently investigating presidents and seeking to remove them from office.”

    I expect there are a whole bunch of statements from around that time ready to be quote-mined. But of course, raising the legal bar is exactly what they want.

  • Paul Marks

    As others have pointed out above….

    President Trump has not broken any laws in relation to this matter.

    President Trump was under a LEGAL OBLIGATION to ask for the massive corruption (political and financial) of the Biden family to be investigated. That, the investigation of corruption, is both in the laws of the United States and the treaties signed with the Ukraine.

    Joe Biden was not the candidate of the Democratic Party at the time – indeed he still is not, no one will be the candidate of the Democratic Party till the summer of 2020. Indeed Mr Biden would be a very weak candidate (due to his extreme age and mental decay) so it would have been in the interests of President Trump NOT to ask for an investigation of the Biden family – as keeping silent would mean that Mr Biden would have the candidate (and that would mean that President Trump was easily reelected in November 2020).

    However, there is a lot more in all this than the financial corruption of the Biden family – despicable criminals though Joe and Hunter Biden are. There is the political “Deep State” (security bureaucracy) of 2016 – the effort to rig the 2016 election with lies against a candidate, Donald Trump, and the efforts by the “Deep State” at a coup over the last three years (since the election of President Trump).

    The report into the Deep State should be out next year. Written by the same man who looked into the control of the local FBI office by “Whitey” Bulger.

    Sadly the main security and intelligence organisations of the United States are corrupted – rotten to the core. Ad this needs to be exposed.

    As for the “mainstream media” – they see their role as covering up the truth and spreading falsehoods, and this they do all day long. Like the “Mainline Churches” (with their contempt for Christianity) organisations such as “Sky News” are the opposite of the fearless seekers of truth that they present themselves as being.

    Hopefully 2020 will see the collapse of the “mainstream media” dragged down with the corrupt “Progressive” security and intelligence services establishment with which they are joined at the hip.

  • Paul Marks

    Of course the true source of the corrupt collectivism (“Progressivism”) of both the “Mainstream Media”, the “Mainline Churches” and the security and intelligence services (and the rest of the bureaucracy) is the EDUCATION SYSTEM – the schools and universities, including many of the private schools.

    People do not all shrug off the endless lies and propaganda when they leave school or leave university – many people are influenced by these lies and propaganda all their lives. And not just in government – look at many (indeed MOST) of the last business corporations, they donate money and other support to groups dominated by Collectivists (including Marxists) – they do this because of the “Social Responsibility”, “Social Justice” they were taught – including in the Schools of Business.

    We have reached the stage where the Director of the CIA under Comrade Barack Obama was an “ex” (not really “ex” at all) Communist, should this really shock anyone?, filled with hatred for both the United States and for Israel, and where “Progressives” (i.e. totalitarian collectivists by the instalment plan) have massive influence in society – including most large business organisations.

    It is unlikely that Western Civilisation will survive – but there is still some hope. If the fight back is real and determined.

    We shall see.

  • Deep Lurker

    The impeachment of Trump is a selective, malicious prosecution, with ‘evidence’ based on hearsay, fruit of the poisonous tree, and outright perjury. It further depends on the presumption that the Deep State is the legitimate government of the United States, rather than being a subversive enemy of the United States and the Constitution, an enemy that Trump is both elected and oath-sworn to oppose.

  • Nullius in Verba (December 19, 2019 at 9:39 pm), as you say, Biden has his story about getting the prosecutor fired for corruption, not for investigating it, which does not well withstand analysis. However my focus is slightly different. Show voters the clip and they won’t stay to hear Biden’s counterclaim, to analyse it with due diligence as you do, and conclude against it after such due diligence. – they’ll say “Yeah, right” and roll their eyes. So I find it odd they would choose a case with that quote attached, rather than one where the evidence is in dull transcripts and suchlike obfuscatable, spinnable and/or ignorable form.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Nullius wrote:

    Biden’s argument is that he got the prosecutor sacked because the prosecutor was corrupt or incompetent, and it was purely coincidental that his son was at one of the companies due to be investigated.

    What follows is not a criticism of Nullius, but of Biden’s argument.

    Suppose that a high-ranking Chinese gov.officer tells Gavin Newsom to fire a given prosecutor, or else there will be no more Chinese investment in California. Suppose further that said prosecutor is widely believed to be corrupt. Would Biden think it proper for Newsom to accede to the request of the Chinese officer?

    The above question is rhetorical. I also have a straight question: is it legal in the US to do what Biden did, interfere in the justice system of another country?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Show voters the clip and they won’t stay to hear Biden’s counterclaim, to analyse it with due diligence as you do, and conclude against it after such due diligence. – they’ll say “Yeah, right” and roll their eyes.”

    Republicans will. Democrats won’t. Never underestimate the power of My Side bias.

    “So I find it odd they would choose a case with that quote attached, rather than one where the evidence is in dull transcripts and suchlike obfuscatable, spinnable and/or ignorable form.”

    Well, bear in mind that a lot of Dems support other candidates besides Gropey Joe, and wouldn’t at all mind if he had an unfortunate accident

    However, I don’t think they exactly ‘chose’ this one. Partly, I think it’s that the case came out of the counter-attack of people trying to defend Biden. They’re seizing on whatever they can find. Partly, as I said, it’s meant to raise lots of noise and distraction and confusion about who said/did what to who, when, and where, and tu quoque counter-attacks.

    The Republicans found out about it. Even if Democrats had said nothing, it would still have got raised and investigated and beaten to death in Republican campaigning for the next couple of years. It would have been hard to resist official investigations, too, or to resist media coverage of them.

    But see how things are going now. Yes, people know about it. Yes, it looks bad. But all the noise and buzz and attention is on Trump. There’s obviously a quiet investigation going on in the background, but the media and the Twitter frenzy aren’t talking about that, and it is in any case part-discredited anyway (in the eyes of Democrats) as the ‘dirt’ Trump was digging for with Zelensky. The circus has set up all the lights and fireworks next door to it, and is drawing all the media attention away. We don’t have the FBI and CIA and Congress conducting enquiries into Biden. We don’t have mainstream journalists crawling all over the Ukraine seeking details. All the resources are being soaked up by the attack on Trump, and by the time that’s over, it’ll be old news and forgotten. They hope.

    It’s not a well thought out and carefully executed plan. It’s damage limitation done in a total panic, because Trump winning in 2016 was an epic disaster for them that is proving slow to unfold but potentially apocalyptic in its magnitude.

    I think their hopes and expectations that they might be able to somehow turn the story around are foundering. It was a long shot. But as a public distraction from the investigation into what the Dems were up to during the Obama years, it’s succeeding brilliantly. They’ve managed to eat up Trump’s entire first term with this rubbish without any serious judicial attention having been paid to their own corruption. Nothing on Uranium One, or bathroom email servers, or Benghazi, and a careful lack of interest in what Gropey and his coke-head spawn were really up to in the Ukraine. I think they’ll still lose the game in the end, but it’s an impressive effort.

  • FromtheAlthouseblog

    Granted there are multiple reasons, but I’m in the camp that suspects that the Shampeachment is about tainting Trump’s Judicial Appointments, especially the replacement for RBG.
    The other day, Mitch “McTurtle” McConnell described Nancy’s and the House’s work product as shodddy. I think he’s right; it was initiated and rammed through in haste.
    The investigation is all good, if you don’t object to gutting rules of law, forgoing the rules of evidence, and you are willing to accept vague charges, novel interpretations of the points of law and definitions stretched beyond recognition. Long convoluted chains of inference, mind reading, speculation , and hearsay is what passes for evidence. Says a lot about the quality of the people who voted for it, eh? The presentation of the three histrionic legal “academics” was my personal favorite. Sheesh they could have pulled in some shot and a beer geezers from the local and done just as well.
    Why now, you might ask, after years of yammering about it? I think this effort was initiated because some persons have reason to believe that RBG is failing, and panicked, hence the hasty hot mess. I believe that upon RBG’s death, they will assert that a President, who is under “Impeachment” cannot appoint a Supreme.

  • Roy Lofquist

    The Constitution of the United States has been disemboweled. The issue is not some misconduct by the President but rather an audacious, egregious encroachment by the Legislature on the prerogatives of the Executive and the Judiciary.

    The House of Representatives took issue with the content of a discussion between the President and a foreign sovereign, in which The President is granted plenary powers by the Constitution. In the normal course of our politics this is a matter for the voters or litigation before the Judicial branch. By voting to impeach the President the Congress has not only caused a national crisis but has also effectively blocked the Judiciary from its constitutional role as arbiter in conflicts between the Legislative and Executive.

    It matters not what happens next, trial or no, conviction or no. If the Congress is allowed to impeach just because it’s Tuesday then it has established a Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of the President, effectively a veto over any actions he takes, whether foreign or domestic. The Constitution is dead.

  • buddhaha

    Re:the delay in sending the “official” impeachment to the Senate.

    RBG replacement is a major consideration. If she dies or is incapacitated before Nov 2020, Pelosi will immediately forward the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate with a demand for immediate action. At that point there will be sufficient support (some portion of the public will be persuaded along with some R senators) to claim that Trump can’t nominate anyone while under a cloud. The argument: We don’t allow a man in the dock for securities fraud to act as a stockbroker.

    It’s a Hail Mary pass, but it’s the D’s best hope to prevent Trump from picking her replacement. With that delay, there’s a chance that the D’s could win the Presidency, or the Senate. Low odds, sure, but better than the sure “loss” if Trump gets to pick.

    It’s amazing to me that she’s still upright, and I don’t think that anyone would give odds on her survival for another 11 months at better than 1 in 5.

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