Impeachment

The Impeachment Inquiry Talking Point

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Since the news broke of President Trump's phone call to the Ukrainian president, Republicans have been scrambling to find an argument that might slow the momentum toward impeachment. The worst possible approach would be for the Republicans to circle the wagons around the president and contend that actually it is a good thing for presidents to use the tools of American foreign policy to advance their personal electoral interests, but some seem willing to run with that argument.

The initial effort to try to stave off impeachment has focused on various procedural complaints, which as often as not have been overtaken by events as President Trump and Rudy Giuliani concede the substance of the revelations. One procedural talking point still on offer is the complaint that the full House has not yet voted on whether to have a formal impeachment inquiry. This is not a serious objection.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy recently sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting that the impeachment inquiry directed at the president be suspended until "transparent and equitable rules and procedures are established to govern the inquiry." In particular, McCarthy wants a floor vote on the question of authorizing an impeachment inquiry. Republicans expect that at least a few Democrats would find it electorally difficult to cast such a vote, perhaps enough that such a vote would actually fail. Unsurprisingly, Pelosi continues to decline to schedule such a vote.

The Constitution does not require such an authorization vote. The Constitution simply gives the House the sole power of impeachment. The procedures that the House might follow to exercise that power are left to the House itself to determine. Formally, the House need do nothing other than vote on a final resolution of impeachment. The House could take such a vote based on nothing more than press reports or the report of an outside counsel or disciplinary committee. It need not conduct any independent investigation at all.

The articles of impeachment against the president introduced by Representative Al Green in 2017 turned entirely on the president's public statements and the claim that they had brought the office of the president into "contempt, ridicule, disgrace, and disrepute." There was nothing more to investigate. Everyone could see what the president had said about Charlottesville and other matters. The members of the House needed only to decide whether they thought such conduct justified impeachment.

There are occasions in which an authorization vote is needed. If the standing rules of the House do not empower a committee to issue subpoenas or if a committee lacked the resources to collect documents and interview witnesses, then the House might need to vote to bolster a committee's resources so that it could conduct the kind of investigation that might lead to impeachment charges. If the House did not want a standing committee to do the relevant investigation under its preexisting authority, the House might prefer to create a select committee with a different membership and a more narrow mandate. But the modern House already provides adequate resources to its committees to conduct the kind of investigations that might provide the factual basis for an impeachment, and so no additional votes are generally necessary. The House does not currently need such special authorization.

A House impeachment is sometimes analogized to a grand jury indictment, and with good reason. An impeachment launches a process that will result in a trial where a defense can be presented, evidence weighed, and a vote on whether to convict on charges of misconduct can be taken. Like a grand jury, the House has an interest in going through enough of a process that it feels confident that there is a case of misconduct and that the House will be able to present a credible case in the Senate that might win a conviction. Politically, the House might want to lay out the case in public in order to build the political support it might need to justify impeachment and removal. It might want to hear the arguments of the accused in order to help it decide whether a case for removal is justified and whether the case is likely to be persuasive in a Senate trial. But those are pragmatic considerations, not constitutional requirements, and there are circumstances in which the House might think elaborate proceedings are unnecessary or counterproductive.

What matters in the end is whether a majority of the members of the House think that impeachment is justified and are thus willing to vote for articles of impeachment. A majority of the chamber might not know that until an investigation has been concluded and the facts laid on the table. In a reasonable world, it should be possible for politicians to be able to vote to conduct an investigation without knowing where the investigation will lead and how it might conclude, but we do not live in a reasonable world. If a vote on whether to conduct an impeachment inquiry is politically equivalent to a vote on whether to impeach, then we should want House leaders to protect their members from having to cast such a vote prematurely. An inquiry might be justified on the basis of very little, and an inquiry might determine that upon investigation there is smoke and no fire. We should want it to be possible to conduct investigations of misconduct before we know what the conclusion of such an investigation will be, and in our current political environment that probably means that we should want it to be possible to conduct investigations without having to hold prior votes to authorize such investigations. If the House decides to impeach the president, a majority of the members will have to go on record affirming their support for an impeachment. That is enough.

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  1. “If a vote on whether to conduct an impeachment inquiry is politically equivalent to a vote on whether to impeach, then we should want House leaders to protect their members from having to cast such a vote prematurely.”

    Who is “we”, exactly? If my representative can’t explain the difference to us constituents, shame on him.

    As you say, impeachment requires no actual proof of anything. There need not be any inquiry. For that matter, the term “inquiry” is inapt – the proceeding would more resemble a prosecutor laying out his case to a grand jury (i.e. us the public).

    For the record I am in full support of impeachment.

    1. I’m on the other side of impeachment but your comment is spot on.

    2. The proceeding could resemble an indictment case, but it could also be more substantive than that.

      Given the political incentives, it probably will be as well. Politically, the House might want to lay out the case in public in order to build the political support it might need to justify impeachment and removal.

      1. What do you mean “may?”

        1. Stupid no-edit – meant “what do you mean might?”

          1. might auxiliary verb \ ˈmīt \

            Definition of might (Entry 1 of 2)
            past tense of MAY

            1 —used to express permission, liberty, probability, or possibility in the past
            // The president might do nothing without the board’s consent.

            2 —used to say that something is possible
            // We might get there before it rains.
            // I might go, but then again, I might not.

            3 —used to express a present condition contrary to fact
            // If you were older you might understand.

            4a —used as a polite alternative to may
            // Might I ask who is calling?
            b —used as a polite alternative to ought or should
            // You might at least apologize.
            // I might have known she’d be late.

            -Merriam-Webster

            The More You Know

            1. Yes, I’m aware of the definition. Apparently you did not understand my meaning when asking the question and so let me rephrase:

              “Politically, the House might want to lay out… ”

              Might? Well, duh.

              My apologies for any perceived insult, in case you were just being cute.

    3. Jmale,

      I admire your faith in the general public to be able to understand the difference, but the fast majority of people are largely uninterested in any level of detail in matters of politics or, even less, House procedures. Your representative can easily explain it to anyone paying attention, but who is going to tune into that speech. All they will get is a 30 second add saying they voted in favor of impeachment, even if all they did was vote to formally initiate an impeachment inquiry.

      How to respond? If you spend your 30 seconds explaining, eyes glaze over and you sound weaselly, I think. Unfortunately, like most political things, the shorter message usually wins.

      1. [Candidate x] voted to impeach is shorter than:
      2. [Candidate x] voted to start an impeachment inquiry which does not mean a vote to impeach and does not necessarily mean that I, [Candidate x], believed impeachment was warranted, but only that I felt an inquiry was warranted.

      So, [Candidate x], did you want to impeach or not?

      And literally no votes will switch to favor the unfairly targeted Democrat because message 1 is inaccurate. “Sure,
      ‘ voters who understand and care will say, “he didn’t actually vote to impeach, but [Candidate x] obviously favored impeachment or wouldn’t have green-lighted the inquiry.”

      It just is a no-win for reps in purple districts. Better to avoid any vote that can easily be misconstrued as seeking to remove Trump until you know with certainty your position on that matter as the people’s representative.

      1. I have no faith that (most of) the public would understand or care. But I am looking at it from the other direction, i.e. that it is the duty of the Representatives to make the attempt.

        I’d prefer they held a vote to initiate an inquiry, rather than hiding behind Nancy’s skirts (assuming she wears skirts, I honestly don’t know – just using a figure of speech.)

  2. No serious procedural objections? Sorry but, with all due respect, there are serious objections to the kangaroo court antics of the House leadership. The impeachment power rests in the House, not in Pelosi or Nadler or Schiff (even if they hold hands) and the House has clearly not delegated this power to any committee. Where, exactly, do the House rules confer any committee with jurisdiction over a presidential impeachment inquiry? Added to that how about the lack of any House precedent supporting the conduct of such an inquiry by a standing committee? There is none. It has never happened before and is certainly not authorized by current House rules.

      1. And yet strangely, I see neither MKE or Towns complaining about Senate leadership not bringing up House passed bills for discussion or vote.

    1. Lol, say the folks who got hard for Issa.

    2. Like it or not, house rules leave the specifics on issues not spelled out to it’s leadership.

      1. Care to cite a specific rule to support your reply? House Rule… “Regarding all of the above Rules, nevermind”?

        1. I spent some time working in the House, and that’s the way it was.

          I believe this is because the House Committee on Rules is an organ of the leadership, and they are the ones formally delegated, but I’m no parliamentarian.

          1. Ok, that convinces me, I mean if that’s the way it was. Who could argue with that?

            1. I’m not going to do work proving your skepticism of the OP and my experience correct.
              Why don’t you go do some research instead of just asserting you gotta be right because no one else is digging through the House rules to give you a direct quote.

      2. Like it or not, previous impeachments all had votes of the whole chamber to commence the investigation.

        I’ll agree with you that this isn’t constitutionally mandated, but you should have the decency to concede that Pelosi is violating past precedent.

        1. Well, you’re wrong about that, Brett:
          An impeachment process against Richard Nixon began in the United States House of Representatives on October 30, 1973, following the “Saturday Night Massacre” episode of the Watergate scandal. The House Judiciary Committee set up an impeachment inquiry staff and began investigations into possible impeachable offenses by Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States. The process was formally initiated on February 6, 1974, when the House of Representatives passed a resolution, H.Res. 803, giving the Judiciary Committee authority to investigate whether sufficient grounds existed to impeach Nixon

          1. Yeah, not sure of your source (and every account reflects to some extent the biases of the author), but putting aside the opinions reflected in your quote as to the perceived “start” of the Nixon inquiry, the most interesting point to me is the comment that “[t]he process was formally initiated on February 6, 1974, when the House of Representatives passed a resolution, H.Res. 803, giving the Judiciary Committee authority to investigate whether sufficient grounds existed to impeach Nixon.” So, maybe you don’t realize it, but you just proved Brett’s point.

            1. MKE,

              No, Sarcastro effectively pointed out that House committees have started impeachment investigations prior to a full vote of the House. What Republicans are arguing now is that there should be no impeachment investigation or inquiry until a full vote by the House. That isn’t how it worked in October 1973 and, as the original post points out and commenters all seem to concede, the Constitution contains no such requirement.

              If you have a valid point, it would be that the impeachment process hasn’t been formally initiated yet. Well, yeah, that actually is probably true. Right now, the basis for a possible impeachment is being investigated, but no one has voted (not even on the committee) to actually impeach Trump or even to guarantee that a future vote on impeachment will be held.

              Committees are formally investigating allegations that may form the basis of impeachment. There is no real, reasonable objection to this on procedural grounds. Or, if there is, it isn’t the process argument addressed by the OP.

              1. Still waiting on that formal resolution giving any committee authority to investigate.

                1. Still waiting for any citation to House rules, the Constitution, or anything else that supports your fervently held but wholly personal opinion that a formal resolution by the entire House is, in any way, necessary. Just saying it over and over is, to put it mildly, not convincing.

              2. No, what Republicans are arguing is something rather different from “there shouldn’t be impeachment investigation or inquiry until a full vote by the House.”

                There already is an investigation by the House. That is without a doubt. What the GOP is arguing is that if certain legally protected materials are required to be produced “for an impeachment inquiry”, and that these materials wouldn’t be produced outside of an impeachment inquiry, then there should actually be an official impeachment inquiry.

                Note the difference there?

                1. Armchair,

                  MKE is arguing that the investigation is illegitimate because there has been no vote by the full House. Your point is different.

                  You have cited any authority for your apparent position that subpoenas for certain materials if issued by a committee are not valid unless a formal impeachment inquiry is initiated by the entire House. I am no expert in House rules or procedures, but those on the other side have cited more evidence and legal authority for the proposition that no full House vote is necessary.

                  But this is a subthread on MKE’s assertion and, as you note, his assertion is different than yours.

              3. “No, Sarcastro effectively pointed out that House committees have started impeachment investigations prior to a full vote of the House.”

                And are you unaware that the only case he has to point to is one where no impeachment actually happened?

                Step 1: Informal investigation into whether it’s even worth proceeding. This is where we are now. That’s where Nixon resigned, because the end was already obvious, and there wasn’t any point in getting dragged through the process to get there.

                Step 2: Formal investigation into potential charges. This has always involved a vote of the whole House. We’re not there yet, we might never get there if Pelosi thinks she’ll lose the vote.

                Step 3: Formal vote to impeach.

                Now, it may be that Pelosi will try to skip step 2, but if she does, it will be contrary to precedent. Even though, as I concede, it wouldn’t actually violate the Constitution to do that, as only step 3 has any constitutional significance.

                1. You were wrong when you said previous impeachments all had votes of the whole chamber to commence the investigation.

                  Your precedent has gotten mighty narrow. Arguing that precedent requires that you follow your 3-step protocol is basically made up BS, considering the number of data points and how fact-specific each case of impeachment has proven.

                2. Brett,

                  Exactly what Sarcastro said. It is a slim reed you’ve climbed out on supported only by “no impeachment actually happened.”

                  In the Nixon case, an investigation with an impending impeachment vote did actually happen and I was under the impression we were discussing an investigation. Sarcastro’s cited precedent establishes that an investigation can begin without full House authorization.

                  If this case follows the Nixon precedent, we will soon see Trump resign. I share your implied hope that our current predicament follows the same path as the Nixon case in all its particulars.

            2. There was a 4 month gap between the opening of the impeachment inquiry and the resolution.

              1. Uh huh. You mean that little resolution actually giving them authority to investigate? When is that coming? After the investigation is over? Nice fair process.

                1. You’re in the wrong thread. This one is replying to Brett’s comment.

                  Go to that thread, where I discuss why no resolution is needed to give authority.
                  Or, you know, read the OP.

                  1. I probably shouldn’t have wasted my time making a comment after you quoted a wikipedia post to support your argument.

                    1. If you want to dispute the timeline of Nixon’s impeachment, fund a counter-citation. Attacking the source won’t do it though.

              2. And there’s already a gap between the current “inquiry” and any resolution that may occur.

                1. Which has precedent, so this straw won’t work. Try grasping another.

                  1. Of course, if the Democrats in Congress want to use an “impeachment inquiry” to obtain documents that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get…

                    The impeachment inquiry better be official.

                    1. And who gets to say what official is when it comes to impeachment? The House. Not the majority of the House in votes, but the House as an institution, as it defines it’s own protocols.

    3. Honestly, if the best you have here is, “the impeachment inquiry is procedurally unsound,” you’re hanging on a pretty thin reed.

      If you can point to any constitutional constraint on how the impeachment inquiry is proceeding, you should feel free to outline your argument. Short of that, you’re just engaged in concern trolling.

      1. I guess one constitutional constraint might be the lack of a High Crime or Misdemeanor. But, putting aside that small impediment, my comment was directed at the abuse of the House process with respect to their own rules and precedents in the context of a presidential impeachment.

        1. MKE, are you sure this is a point you want to win? Seems like if it goes your way, then McConnell can’t pull the rug out from under a full trial in the Senate.

          1. If the Dems push through a baseless impeachment, the whole nonsense should be summarily dismissed by the Senate, akin to a frivolous complaint that fails to state a claim.

            1. . . . baseless impeachment . . .

              Assumes your conclusion.

              1. That’s why he started with the word “if” to designate a conditional statement. Those necessarily assume the conclusion, that’s the point.

                1. I read the “if” to apply to “push through,” with “baseless impeachment,” taken as a given. Bet I’m right, too.

      2. You could argue the impeachment investigation is based on unsound evidence.

        You could point out the whistleblower didn’t have any first-hand evidence of any of the actions noted. And that the whistleblower collaborated with Democrats before submitting the whistleblower report. And that the whistleblower apparently lied on the Inspector General form when asked specifically if he had made any contact with other groups (including Congress) about this report.

        1. What the whistleblower purportedly discussed has now been confirmed, sometimes by Trump himself.

          So all the false info you’re throwing in the air from whatever unsourced blogs you read doesn’t really matter.

          1. No, the whistle blower wasn’t just alleging that Trump had a conversation. He was alleging improper pressure.

            You’re treating your take on the conversation as though it were the conversation itself. But nobody is actually obligated to view it the way you do.

            It does indeed appear that the whistleblower committed a felony by lying on the IG form. So we do at least have one crime solidly confirmed, but it’s not the one you want to acknowledge.

            1. Trump has admitted all the pressure the whistleblower alleged; he just says it’s not improper.

              1. Uh..No. Not even close. I bet you didn’t even read the transcript.

                1. Uh, yes, even close. Also, it’s not a transcript.

          2. Didn’t I already point out to you on Friday that there was no quid pro quo? And then you tried to invent a fake one by rearranging things Trump said out of order to create the false impression that there was one? And then when I called you out on your BS, you disappeared?

            Yeah. Pretty sure that was you.

            1. You tried that, but now Trump’s saying quid pro quo is fine; he can investigate anyone at any time as part of his duties as President.

              1. Is this just from the Trump in your head or do you a cite for that?

                1. We’ve been over this. Multiple people in the State Department disagree with your parsing ( “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?”). Not to mention the explicit quid pro quo in the texts about ‘getting the the bottom of what happened’ in return for Z’s visit to Washington.

                  And then there was Trump in his press conference, talking about China. Where he even talked about Warren, which blows up the really weak ‘Trump knows Biden is corrupt and had an obligation’ evidenceless BS.

                  Even Trump’s moved his defense on to ‘I have plenary powers to investigate whomever I’m worried about.’ You gotta stay with the times, man!

                  At this point, other than starting the ball rolling, main thing the whistleblower did was keep Z from announcing the ginned up investigation he seem to have agreed to.

                  1. Wow. Really, Multiple people in the State Dept. disagree? I bet Brennan disagrees too. And Sally Yates. And Comey.

                    1. If you’re going to discount staffers at the State Department by citing the heads at the FBI, CIA and DoJ, as all in on a conspiracy to take out Trump, no one can argue you out of that, because it’s a conspiracy theory that will expand to encompass any inconvenient evidence.

            2. Didn’t I already point out to you on Friday that there was no quid pro quo?

              I don’t know what you argued on Friday, but I would think that if you had, you would be ashamed to remind people of such a false claim.

        2. You could argue the impeachment investigation is based on unsound evidence.

          You could point out the whistleblower didn’t have any first-hand evidence of any of the actions noted. And that the whistleblower collaborated with Democrats before submitting the whistleblower report. And that the whistleblower apparently lied on the Inspector General form when asked specifically if he had made any contact with other groups (including Congress) about this report.

          One could argue any one of those things. But only if one is both stupid and arguing in bad faith.

          1. I wish this had an edit function, because I want to retract such an unfair comment on my part. Either being stupid or arguing in bad faith is sufficient; both are possible but not necessary.

      3. Honestly, if the best you have here is, “the impeachment inquiry is procedurally unsound,” you’re hanging on a pretty thin reed.

        I don’t think that would be such a thin reed. The problem is that they don’t even have that argument. Their argument is “The impeachment inquiry isn’t following some arbitrary procedure that is not required either by the constitution or by the House’s rules.”

    4. The impeachment power rests in the House, not in Pelosi or Nadler or Schiff

      Pelosi, Nadler, and Schiff are not impeaching Trump. They are conducting an investigation. When a vote comes the whole House will impeach, or not.

      Does the power to confirm judicial nominees, or reject them, rest in the Senate, or with Mitch McConnell?

      1. The power to impeach rests in the House. Not in Pelosi, Nadler, of Schiff. Thank Heavens.

  3. Can’t wait for the historians to write this one up:

    “Then Congress impeached the President for making a simple phone call…”

    1. Given the Republicans’ demonstrated interest in writing their ideology into classroom textbooks, you’re probably not too far off – though clearly for reasons you didn’t intend.

      1. That is a joke right? Republicans control the curriculum and textbook content? That’s pretty friggin’ hilarious!

        1. It’s a joke but there’s nothing funny about it. Due to the size of theTexas school systems, textbook companies generally employ the standards set by the Texas state school board, whatever it’s called, in textbooks for the entire country. It’s a practical decision on the companies’ part so they’re not writing fifty different textbooks based on the standards of fifty different school systems.

          1. Actually, all of the other states are free to have their own textbooks full of leftist propaganda, and they often do just that. The hysteria about Texas textbooks is a joke, but it’s not funny.

            1. Actually, you’re an idiot.

            2. ML, do some research about how Texas controls the textbook market before you shoot your mouth off.

              1. ML doesn’t need facts.

    2. “Then Congress impeach President Johnson for making a Cabinet appointment …”

      “Then Congress prepared to impeach President Nixon for chatting with his advisers …”

      “Then Congress impeached President Clinton for showing an interest in his staff …”

      This *is* fun!

      1. The first one is pretty much how the Johnson impeachment is treated now. If there’s serious discussion it is framed as a fight concerning the powers of the President vs. the Legislature.

        Everyone also “remembers” that Nixon was totally crooked and that’s why he was (almost) impeached. It’s a ridiculous oversimplification if you understand political history, but it makes a good story.

        The third is how Democrats and the media (BIRM) tend to report on the Clinton impeachment. It has become “common knowledge” that President Clinton got impeached for sexual impropriety.

        The political backgrounds of these issues are rarely detailed. Impeachment is and has always been primarily a political tool used by a radical House majority to unseat a President they perceive as weak.

        The fact that the Democrats are engaging in this spectacle so near the 2020 elections shows that this is more political theater than anything substantive.

      2. Hook,
        “…“Then Congress impeached President Clinton for showing an interest in his staff …” ”

        One hopes you intended the double meaning of ‘staff.’

        [heh]

    3. Good lord, you’re bad at this.

      1. Works pretty well for the Left:

        Michael Brown was just walking down the street enjoying a soda…
        Treyvon Martin was just walking home after buying a pack of Skittles…

        See how that works?

        1. Nope. Don’t try and drag a debate about police shooting blacks into this.

          Your original comment is an attempt at some weak-ass BS, and your furious work to distract from it only underscore that fact.

          1. It is rhetoric stupid. The Left uses this madlib all the time.
            (Poor victim) was (doing something just plain and regular) and then (evil person came in and did some bad).
            Look at all the headlines and you can basically use the above and fill in the blanks.
            Trump just made a phone call. That simple. The Left is trying to bend and twist it into something else because they are getting desperate. Russia backfired on them. And the best they have is Warren to run against Trump. They are really starting to fear they have lost a generation.

            1. So you said something really stupid. A bunch of people noted it was stupid.
              And now you’re going with ‘I meant to be stupid! Because that’s how the libs are, and when you said I was stupid, you were actually calling libs stupid, so there!’

              Here’s the thing about posting stupid stuff ironically or to make a point.

              You’re still posting stupid stuff.

              1. So you are conceding you are stupid. Thanks for proving my point.

            2. If the defense of Trump is now “he just made a phone call”, he is indeed in deep excrement. That’s like Martha Stewart saying “I just wrote an email.”

              During said phone call, Trump just happened to be soliciting the aid of a foreign government to dig up dirt on a political rival.

              1. But none of that happened. The whole story, before the transcript came out was how Trump explicitly told Ukraine that he would hold up money. That isn’t anywhere. So much so that the Left had to change the goal posts literally the next hour. Then it was a “mob shakedown” and “heavily implied”. Then the goal posts had to move again. Now it just mentions “Ukraine” without explaining anything to do with the actual story. And that is because nothing happened.

                The President of the United States made a phone call and suggested, by the way, you should look into some corruption while you are draining that swamp. That is all that happened.

  4. What a shame that Congress cannot require Trump to appear and testify. Probably it would take less than an hour’s direct examination to push national polls somewhere into the vicinity of 75% for impeachment, and get near unanimous support for impeachment in the Senate. Is there anyone who thinks otherwise? Anyone who thinks Trump would put his accusers to shame?

    1. I think the 60 million plus voters who gave Donald Trump a majority of Electoral College votes might tend to disagree with you. And look for that voter number to increase substantially in light of this never ending political tantrum/resistance.

      1. MKE, review Trump’s performance in front of the President of Finland. That was in response to one question, from a reporter. If Trump were scheduled for an hour’s examination by a professional prosecutor, they would have to keep a strait jacket in the wings, ready for action.

        You think tribalism is going to hold up after Trump shows the world he is indeed the actual blithering nutcase his erstwhile close associates have been describing. Are you suggesting the Trump tribe actually wants a nutcase running the country?

        I’m not buying that. I think they don’t yet know what they’ve got. It’s not like Fox News has been trying to show them. And it’s not like they have been searching to find out.

        And even if the hardest-core part of the Trump tribe proved imperviously loyal, imagine the effect on the senate of a full hour of screaming and foaming like Trump served up on TV, with the President of Finland. It’s not like the senators would be turning the White House over to the libs. It would be President Pence.

        How hard would that be? How hard, when compared to taking responsibility for a president whom everyone could see is acting actually insane?

      2. “And look for that voter number to increase substantially in light of this never ending political tantrum/resistance.”

        You may expect the American electorate to have become more backward and more intolerant during the relevant four years, but I expect that view to be mistaken. America becomes less rural, less white, less bigoted, less religious, and less backward essentially daily. Trump needed a three-cushion trick shot at the Electoral College three years ago; the improving American electorate would make his path even tougher next time around.

      3. Trump’s legal team sought to avoid an interview with the Special Counsel at all costs due to Trump’s apparent inability to tell the truth. Do you really think he would stand up to much scrutiny?

        1. Trump’s legal team sought to avoid an interview with the Special Counsel at all costs, because if the Special Counsel said, “Nice day, isn’t it?”, and Trump agreed, Mueller would have charged him with perjury on the basis that it was raining somewhere.

          1. Brett,

            Since Mueller expressly deferred to the opinion that Trump couldn’t be indicted that’s a pretty stupid thing to say.

            Not that they were unwise in avoiding an interview. Even with his “great and unmatched wisdom,” – what an utter jackass – he might have said something they would prefer he didn’t.

    2. “Is there anyone who thinks otherwise?”

      Yes.

      The GOP base is just not going to let GOP senators vote to convict. Not unless they want brutal primaries and being beaten. Liberals are not going to get his scalp unless its next November at the polls.

      1. I agree with Bob. The right has become riven with nihilists who care only about winning, and won the battle with their own self-regard.

        It’s not sustainable in the long run, since that’s not how you grow a party, but in the short term Trump is a millstone around the GOP’s neck, and they’re going to sink or swim with him, no matter how crazy he gets.

        1. Sarcastr0, like Bob, you are not addressing the hypothetical—what happens if Trump could be examined live on television? I know it is not going to happen.

          I suggest that the certain knowledge most people have of what would happen—including many of Trump’s supporters—is relevant. Put to that test of imagination, I think many in Trump’s base would confess to themselves, maybe for the first time, that he could not get through it without seeming crazy. Whether major political effects would come from that, I can’t venture to guess. I do not think it would be without effect.

          And even if I am wrong about the base, I cannot imagine that many in the senate could contemplate such a spectacle without qualms—and for more than a few of them, with sober second thoughts.

          By the way, Sarcastr0, did you see the Finland incident? Do you think I make too much of it?

        2. “The right has become riven with nihilists who care only about winning, and won the battle with their own self-regard.”

          JFC. Were the Dem senators in 1997 “nihilists “?

          “Trump is a millstone around the GOP’s neck”

          That is what everyone [including me] though in 2016 too.

          Lets have the Dems nominate yet another Massachusets liberal and we will see.

          1. Nah. Warren is going to turn out to be an Oklahoma liberal, just like George W. Bush turned out to be a Texan.

      2. Bob, accept the hypothetical. One hour’s direct examination of Trump, on live television. I’ll give it a start:

        “President Trump, you are answering here with regard to accusations of high crimes and misdemeanors. Those are serious charges, even infamous charges. Not everyone in this forum thinks you have been treated properly. There are some here who think such charges should not be leveled against you just on the say-so of your political opponents, or because of fake news in the mainstream media.

        “Why don’t you start by describing the treatment the media gave your inauguration, and tell us what the media did wrong. Feel free to go on from there.

        “From time to time, I may step in with questions, or to direct your attention to other topics which need discussion. Please remember you are under oath.”

        So go ahead, Bob. Tell us how that plays out.

        1. How’d barely coherent fury play with Kavanaugh?

          ‘Trump enjoys trolling the media by punching back so furiously. I love him for it.’

          ‘Some may not like his unhinged-seeming demeanor, but wouldn’t you be similarly angry if the deep state were coming after you?’

          ‘But dem judges, tho.’

          1. Sarcastr0, I predict that with an hour of goading questions, Trump would go way past Kavanaugh. Perhaps you don’t agree with me. I think Kavanaugh is sane, and Trump is not.

            1. I’ve seen Trump’s rallies; I’ve seen his interviews. He’s incoherent and bellicose, and the GOP doesn’t care.

              The Senate would probably push him a bit more than a press conference, but given what’s been excused thusfar, I’m not optimistic a line will be crossed.

              Though I am optimistic that the circling of the wagons against the indefensible could wreck the party.

            2. While I am not sure I would go as far as “insane”, but he is certainly much less stable a “genius” than Kavanaugh. And Kavanaugh embarrassed himself.

              I can’t imagine a malignant narcissist with a persecution complex whose mental acuity appears to be rapidly deteriorating doing well under questioning by an experienced, skilled prosecutor.

              1. OK we will gin up some fake accusations that you were in bed with the Russian who helped you win an election, investigate you with the full force of the federal government (and a few hundred million dollars) for two years and see if you have a “persecution complex” after that.

                1. Um, at the moment Trump’s the one using the full force of the federal government to investigate his political opponents.

                  1. Really? I didn’t realize that he was doing that to Warren. I thought the only opponent he was doing anything like that against was Biden, for whom there’s real reason to think there’s something to be investigated.

                    I don’t think this “Republicans can’t investigate Democrats who might end up running against them.” line is going to get much traction among Republicans, even if it’s obviously going to be appealing to Democrats.

                    And considering what the Obama administration was up to back in 2016, the hypocrisy is stunning.

                    1. Funny you should mention that – he asked China to investigate Warren as well.

                      There is in fact no real reason to think anything about Biden.
                      And even if there were, you investigate domestically, you don’t send your personal attorney to get a foreign government to do it.

                      And considering what the Obama administration was up to back in 2016, the hypocrisy is stunning.
                      This is nothing like what Obama did. In 2016, it came bottom-up from agents, he kept it quiet, and it was performed by domestic agencies with signoff from independent judges.
                      Here, it came from Trump, with skepticism from the agencies he was ordering around; Trump wasn’t gonna keep it quiet, and in fact was asking just about every country he met to help his campaign; domestic agencies were not used, and there was no independent oversight at all.

                    2. “There is in fact no real reason to think anything about Biden.”

                      You’re so far in denial you’ll probably get the bends if you ever come up.

                2. Jimmy, do you agree that Trump would likely do poorly if questioned—tell lies, attack the questioner, answer with conspiracy theories, display uncontrollable fury? That is what erstwhile close associates think. In fact, all of that was on public display in the Finland incident. What reason do you have to suppose Trump’s associates are mistaken?

          2. Don’t mention Kavanaugh. The man was put through a literal nightmare scenario. Being accused of something with no method of defending himself. The accusation was so vague that it was both unprovable and unfalsifiable, with absolutely no supporting evidence even for the supposed party to have ever happened, much less for his conduct. No prosecutor in this country would even bother bringing it to a grand jury.

            On the other hand, so many people wanted his head for it, including many members of Congress. Kavanaugh was forced into hours of testimony, including Congressmen reading from his high school yearbook, making a complete mockery of him, the profession of law, and Congress itself. So many congressmen showed contempt for the concepts of law and evidence that it made me despair that these were the people writing our laws.

            Any sane person would have lost their temper.

            1. “Don’t mention Kavanaugh. The man was put through a literal nightmare scenario. Being accused of something with no method of defending himself. The accusation was so vague that it was both unprovable and unfalsifiable, with absolutely no supporting evidence even for the supposed party to have ever happened, much less for his conduct.”

              Now, would that be the same Brett Kavanaugh who pitched the fourth investigation of Vince Foster’s suicide to Ken Starr as a prime business opportunity? The same person who kept that sham going over three years, despite admitting he knew Foster killed himself all along? The same unprincipled hack who had the FBI chasing “reports” Foster worked for the NSA, or was being blackmailed by the Mossad over secret Swiss bank accounts?

              Over a period of years Kavanaugh tormented the Foster family, gleefully laundering nonsense trash from the gutter-right press into official “investigation” – and then leaking it right back to the muckrakers who had fabricated it. This was official inquiry as performance farce, but Kavanaugh serviced his political base with an eager whorish zeal. He sicced the FBI on Foster’s daughters long after their father’s death, demanding hair samples in his stubborn quest to “prove” a Vince-Hillary dalliance from a single hair found on his clothing.

              Special Counsel investigations don’t have a good reputation, but the gold standard for loathsome worthless sleaze will always belong to Kavanaugh

              That’s one reason I found Ford more believable. Was Kavanaugh a frat-boy thug with contempt for women in his teens? Why not? He was a frat boy thug with contempt for the law into his thirties.

          3. “How’d barely coherent fury play with Kavanaugh?”

            I don’t know; Did he end up on the Supreme court? Hm, I think he did.

            So, pretty well, actually.

            1. Not to mention, the public is on Kavanaugh’s side. Only rabid partisans think that Kavanaugh embarrassed himself
              Empathetic people who can put themselves in his shoes believe him. Hell, even Ford’s own father knows she was lying.

            2. Yeah, that’s my point, Brett. Thanks for reading.

        2. Why on earth would the President agree to testify before Congress?

          Why would he agree to testify under oath.

          What enforcement authority do you think Congress has to punish the President if he does lie.

          1. What enforcement authority? How about impeachment, removal from office, and disqualification from holding future federal office?

            1. Are you suggesting that they’ll send the police to arrest Trump if he refused to answer a summons to testify?

              I would love to see them try that.

              Otherwise, as he asked, how do you reckon they would try to enforce it?

              1. No dispute from anyone so far. If Trump could be examined live, on television, by a trained prosecutor, the Senate would afterward vote to remove him from office.

                The comments in response? Nobody would let that happen. Sad.

        3. “Bob, accept the hypothetical. ”

          The exam would be done by the House managers, Trump would do fine.

          He is not testifying, no one is, any charge is being dismissed on day 1.

          Keep hope alive though.

  5. I believe the introduction of Ben & Jerry’s ‘peachmint ice cream would be adequate foundation for empowering the House, through committee(s), to investigate this matter.

    It’s your move, Ben & Jerry’s.

  6. The House should just vote and get this over with. The result is already pre-ordained. Does anyone seriously think the House will not impeach POTUS Trump? They will impeach POTUS Trump. And does anyone think the Senate will vote to remove POTUS Trump before the 2020 election? The Senate will not remove POTUS Trump.

    This impeachment process will tear the country apart. Of that, I am certain. 🙁

    1. The investigations’ work is to perhaps change those pre-ordained results, one way or another. Maybe not people like you, but there’s always people on the margins on one side and the other.

      Ignoring political issues because they’ll make some of the country super mad is not going to actually make the country less torn apart in the long run.

      1. Stephen Lathrop

        The House is going to impeach Trump because the base is demanding it. It’s obvious that the leadership is nervous about the political consequences, otherwise why be afraid to have the House vote on initiating the inquiry?

        As to the trial in the Senate, you may get your wish for a full-blown trial but only if it looks like the political needle has moved toward Trump. In that case you’ll get all the trial you want and then some. If the needle is moving the other way then you will get a very quick vote which still won’t get close to the needed 34. It could, however, get Trump to withdraw in favor of Pence.

    2. Atlas, I think it is unlikely that the House will decide to impeach Trump unless they already know there will be a Senate trial, with articles presented and witnesses examined. Whether or not that will happen should become evident during the course of the House investigation. There would be zero political logic to send over a bill of impeachment which they knew would be dismissed without a trial.

      1. The Senate Majority Leader has already stated there will be a trial in the event of impeachment. He also stated it was a total waste of time and there would be a political cost to impeaching POTUS Trump as moderates would be completely turned off. Here is the relevant quote, “I would have no choice but to take it up. How long you are on it is a different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up based on a Senate rule on impeachment.

        This country will be torn apart with impeachment.

        1. The country is already torn apart and impeachment is just one element in this whole drama. We are in Act 1, Scene 1. The timing of the impeachment process is mainly to buffer the coming indictments. I have no idea how all this is going to end but we have a long play yet to watch.

        2. Note that I said, “. . . with articles presented and witnesses examined.”

          Do you think after seeing McConnell in action we all remain fools who can’t see him coming? I am suggesting that unless Democrats get a pledge for a trial sufficient to hold Republicans accountable for their votes, then, as a matter of politics, Democrats should complete the House impeachment investigation, and wrap it up without forwarding it to the Senate for kangaroo processing. That will not be hard to explain to the public.

          1. Not sure what point you were trying to make, but I would note the following.

            The ultimate check on impeachment is the ballot box.

            Why? If the House impeaches a POTUS for bullshit reasons (let the Reader interpret what bullshit reasons are), the impeaching party will have to face a very irate electorate.

  7. I am not sure why anyone would object to getting House members on the record now regarding impeachment. Is it necessary? no. But an impeachment is necessarily political, so holding members accountable for the political fallout seems appropriate. A year from now, people who go on the record and vote for it will either look like heroes who saved the republic, or lemmings who dove off the cliff with Pelosi and the rest of the Dems (and: vice versa for the Republicans).

    Either way, no one should escape political accountability.

    1. They’d object to it because a fair number of the Democrats were elected from districts Trump carried handily, in which he is still very popular, by claiming to be moderate Democrats, not like those other guys.

      Unless assured impeachment is going to be popular, or at least neutral with a Trump leaning electorate, they don’t want to have their names associated with it.

  8. I’ll take the other side on this.

    The House and its committees have the power to investigate just about whatever they like, for whatever reason they like. This is true. However, formal impeachment proceedings would give the Democrats a stronger judicial case for obtaining certain materials protected by statue.

    Simply saying “we’re going to call it an impeachment”…without the formal proceedings…doesn’t give the same weight. In fact, it rather abuses the entire process.

    1. However, formal impeachment proceedings would give the Democrats a stronger judicial case for obtaining certain materials protected by statue.

      How is that true? As the OP says, what counts as formal or official proceedings are left in the hands of the House. For a judge to say their procedures are insufficient would go against Supreme Court precedent.

      1. According to the Constitution, The House of Representatives shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

        The House. Not a single person or party head. The House, as a whole.

        1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Nixon

          You can say what you want the law to be, but the above is what the law is.

    2. Armchair, you seem to be overlooking the “sole power” clause. Sole power is power unchecked by another party. Nobody else gets a say. “Nobody else,” includes the judiciary. The only role for the judiciary is to see if the Executive comes calling for relief, and tell the Executive to go away, because no judicial relief is allowed by the Constitution.

      For that reason, the House will make a mistake if it tries to take the Executive to court for enforcement, as you suggest. That would concede to a stacked and likely hostile tribunal a role which the Constitution has forbidden it to exercise. Instead, the House should enforce its own subpoenas and contempt citations on its own initiative, using fines and imprisonment for contempt at its own discretion.

      Some might object that the House has insufficient practical power to make that happen. And that is a problem. But there is precedent. And it is no less a problem than it would be if the House went to court. In that case, the House would then be relying paradoxically on the Executive to enforce the Court’s decision, while the Executive was the target.

      Despite the paradox, relying on the Court has worked previously. However, in this age of unrestrained political contempt for comity and norms, it is no longer reasonable to expect that to happen. Instead, the House must exercise all the power the Constitution affords. It must delegate its own law enforcers to serve process, garnish bank accounts, and arrest and jail those who defy the authority the Constitution has reposed solely in the House.

      Not that I expect the House to do that. But I do expect it to run into avoidable trouble if it doesn’t. And not small trouble, either. Major constitutional crisis trouble.

      1. The sole power is for the House as a whole. The sole power is not just the Speaker of the House to determine, but for the House as a whole to determine. And indeed, 435 different people get a say, not just Speaker Pelosi. Which of course, is the entire point.

        Now, if there is a conflict between the executive and one of the Houses of Congress in regards to appropriate oversight and providing materials, then it would likely go to the courts. Some material is appropriate to provide. Some is not appropriate to provide. And much of that has to do with the exact details of the investigation and the authority it is under.

        1. “The sole power is for the House as a whole.”

          Which means it’s up to the House to decide how (if and when) to use it. They (as a whole) set up the rules that decide that the Speaker gets to decide which bills get taken up.

          Back when the R’s controlled the House, they put in rules that nothing could get voted on unless a majority of R’s supported it, even if it could have pulled enough votes from the chamber as a whole to pass. So whining about “but the chamber as a whole!” is, well, untimely.

          The courts have power (indeed, a roughly co-equal share with the other two branches) but they have no role in impeachment proceedings. The Founders chose to leave them almost entirely out of the fray. The courts would be damaged by joining in, even if invited to do so.

        2. Armchair,
          But by your logic, you should have been outraged by Moscow Mitch’s single-handedly blocking Garland’s nomination, right? The Senate has the sole power of confirmation (aside from non-relevant-here exceptions like Recess Appointments). But one person (Sen. Mitch M) prevented the nomination from going forward. Not all Republican senators. Not multiple Republican senators. Only one person. Seems analogous.
          But I have tried to search back through 2016 and I can’t find any VC posts from you whining about how awful Moscow Mitch’s actions were back then. Can you hunt those comments–that I am assuming you made when Senator M was, alone, blocking the nomination from moving foward–down for me and post their links here? Much appreciated.

          1. Two points.

            1. There is a difference between not doing something and doing something. To actively do something (like pass a law for example), there needs to be a vote. To not do something (Like not confirm someone) there doesn’t need to be a vote. You don’t do votes for “negative actions” (generally). You need a pro vote to confirm.

            Within the current system, the Democrats are attempting to institute an “impeachment inquiry” (rather than a more general investigation) without actually voting on it. Which I can’t find anywhere in their general rules. Can you? Was the authority to begin impeachment delegated somewhere? Is that even legal? Can the Democrats also just say “we impeach Trump”…without even voting on it?

            2. Mitch didn’t act alone. He had a full letter from the Senate Committee sent, signed by every GOP member, saying they wouldn’t consider Garland.

        3. Armchair: The sole power is for the House as a whole . . . . Now, if there is a conflict between the executive and one of the Houses of Congress in regards to appropriate oversight and providing materials, then it would likely go to the courts. Some material is appropriate to provide. Some is not appropriate to provide. And much of that has to do with the exact details of the investigation and the authority it is under.

          Get back to me when you are ready to exclude the courts, and apply that same standard to a trial in the Senate. Until then, I suggest you are just trying to tailor the rules to get the outcome you want.

      2. I’m just curious Stephen. How does “sole power” differ from “shall not be infringed”?

        1. Harvey, “sole power” is relevant here, and “shall not be infringed” is a subject change. Hope that clears it up for you.

  9. By the way, has anyone noticed a report of a subpoena for the full record of Trump’s Ukraine conversation, or for other conversations with Putin? I haven’t seen anything like that. So unless I missed it, the absence seems noteworthy. Why not?

    One speculation. The Democrats may already have what they take to be reliable evidence of the full contents of those records, or some of them. They may be using that knowledge as a roadmap to question hostile witnesses, and put them in jeopardy of lying under oath. Trump administration officials being questioned under House subpoenas would probably be crazy to assume that they can lie with impunity.

    1. “What they take to be reliable evidence of the full contents of those records”…

      And how exactly would they have gotten this evidence? This confidential information? Are you suggesting they have broken the law to gain this evidence?

      1. Don’t be silly, AL. There may be other whistleblowers.

        But I myself hesitate to speculate. Or assume Democratic political wisdom in deciding what materials to prioritize.

        1. Other whistleblowers who have bypassed the proper channels, and broken the law by directly giving information to people who may not be cleared for it?

        2. “There may be other whistleblowers.”

          Of course there are, the CIA is attempting a coup after the FBI’s version failed.

          1. So you think it’s lies, all lies, Bob? Except for the part Trump’s admitted, I guess?

            1. It’s all coups that’s for sure and it’s been nothing but lies for three years now.

              1. It’s all coups that’s for sure

                Do you even listen to yourself?

                1. You don’t like the coup word. Tough shit.

            2. “Except for the part Trump’s admitted”

              He is concerned about having a corupt Biden become president. Perfectly reasonable. Its his duty to preserve the office from corruption.

              1. He’s not acting concerned, or he’d have gone through the usual channels. He’s acting like he’s using the power of the office to do a political hit on his opponent.

                Under your logic, why not check to make sure everyone is free from corruption? Open up investigations on everyone in the Dem primary!

                1. If any of the other candidates have anything like Biden’s blatant conflict of interest then it should be investigated and it wouldn’t be improper for Trump to point it out. All of them have a right to demand that Trump be investigated for whatever. You’ll say it’s different because of his position of power. The power of government was used to investigate Trump with far less basis than exists for Biden.

                2. “Open up investigations on everyone in the Dem primary!”

                  Sounds like a plan.

              2. If Trump used his office to get dirt on Biden that was purely personal, such as that he frequents prostitutes, then that would be improper. If it is about Biden using his official position for personal gain then it is not improper, whatever Trump’s motives.

                1. So the President can investigate anyone he wants, based on his own gut, so long as the accusation of about corruption?

                  1. If there is a credible accusation of official corruption relating to the federal government then yes.

                2. The Obama adminstration launched a secret intelligence investigation on Trump in 2016.

                  THAT doesn’t bother certain people.

      2. Armchair, the law does not override the Constitution. The Constitution decrees the sole power of impeachment to the House. So no, they would not have broken the law. Nor would they do so if they received classified information, or information protected under executive privilege.

        1. So, let me understand you. If, say, Speaker Pelosi hires someone to break into the White House, and steal confidential information from White House servers, that is not “breaking the law”? Because the “Constitution supersedes it?”

          Is that what you’re saying?

          1. What law is it that would be broken in your hypothetical?

      3. “And how exactly would they have gotten this evidence? This confidential information? Are you suggesting they have broken the law to gain this evidence?”

        Take another look at the legislation that creates special compartmental classification of national secrets. Any guesses as to who is authorized to question people about it, or how it was obtained, in addition to the President and the ever-changing structure of the “intelligence community”? Congress still controls the spending by these agencies, and retains the authority to oversee them.

        Being caught intentionally withholding information from Congress is a good way to see your operational budget shifted to other budgetary priorities, such as building community centers in Senator’s hometowns and improving highway access to Congressman X’s district.

    2. “One speculation. The Democrats may already have what they take to be reliable evidence of the full contents of those records, or some of them.”

      Another speculation: They have zero confidence that what would be provided to them would be complete and accurate, even under a subpeona requesting/demanding “complete, accurate” records. Mr. Trump claims not to be a politician. But his first instinct is to lie about anything he’s asked about. His second instinct is also to lie. His third instinct is, you guessed it, to lie. And so on to his second-to-last instinct, which is to lie, and his last and final instinct, which is to lie again.

      1. You know, maybe my recollection is hazy, but I seem to recall with the whole ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ investigation, POTUS Trump did not assert executive privilege at all. I cannot recall an instance in my lifetime where a POTUS just released it all in the course of an investigation.

        In this latest political informant (I refuse to call them whistleblowers, these chumps today profane the term) imbroglio, POTUS Trump released the call notes and the complaint.

        To me, an equally valid speculation here is to assume the Democrats are practicing a political version of scorched earth via impeachment, and care not a whit that the country will be torn apart in doing so.

        Very well then: Call the vote. Let’s get this over with.

        1. “Very well then: Call the vote.”

          Nope. Not until next November. The D’s haven’t even picked their candidate yet.

    3. Alternatively, they already know there’s nothing there of use to them, and prefer the speculation to having that confirmed.

  10. For some of the public, there was grounds to impeach before Mr. Trump ever got around to complaining that the White House is “a dump”. For some of the public, no amount of smoking guns with Presidential fingerprints on them would be enough.

    Would holding an impeachment trial give the President something to do during the day? Perhaps. But it would also lead to even more Rudy on TV screens claiming the President is totally innocent while also conceding that he did everything he was accused of, and more that didn’t even leak until Rudy starting talking about it. This must be avoided at all costs.

  11. Concern Troll is concerned.

  12. “Since the news broke of Joe Biden’s corruption, Democrats have been scrambling to fabricate a new strawman that might slow the momentum toward a corruption investigation”

    Fixed that for you.

  13. The Articles of Impeachment include the astounding hoax/lie that President Trump made a “statement characterizing a group of anti-Semites, bigots, racists, white nationalists, and Ku Klux Klansmen who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, as “very fine people”.” That is the opposite of the truth of what happened, as anyone can see.

    This impeachment circus will be bad for the country, but it will also be bad for Democrats as a whole. The representatives catering to the far left not only refuse to put country before party, they also put themselves before both country and party.

    Our government is a ball of corruption, deeply entrenched with special interests that dictate policy contrary to the will and the best interests of the American people. Now, the response to a President exposing corruption and threatening the special interest objectives is impeachment. They have been clamoring openly for impeachment for almost three years now, offering all kinds of spurious and dishonest grounds like the Russia collusion hoax and the Charlottesville hoax.

    So this latest ruse will be seen for exactly what it is, more of the same. It is perfectly routine and legal for the US to receive information and assistance from foreign countries with respect to investigations. There is simply no exception for political opponents, no matter how much they try to insinuate otherwise. Just because something is routine and legal does not mean it’s right, however. Trump’s Ukraine call may have been unseemly, ill-advised, and perhaps the wrong way to go about things because of the political context of Biden running for President. But so was the Obama administration working with all of these same foreign countries to investigate Trump when he was an outsider candidate for President. This crucial context shows that each and every one of the dittoheads criticizing Trump, calling for impeachment, or merely commenting on impeachment from an ostensibly neutral perspective are actually full of shit because they refuse to mention and won’t acknowledge that the Obama administration heavily cooperated with foreign countries in investigating Trump. Furthermore, the biggest difference between Trump-Russia and Biden-Ukraine is that the predication of the Trump-Russia investigation was extremely thin and possibly concocted, yet it grew far beyond that into massive hoax and propaganda campaign, whereas the Biden-Ukraine matter has an extreme appearance of impropriety just based on the known facts, yet it is spun as not even meriting investigation on its facts. So, the predication is very significant if you are going to analyze just how wrongful something like this is, and the former can be much more easily characterized as wrongful “digging for dirt.”

    1. Nice summary from the Articles of Impeachment, considering no such document exists at this time. Idiot.

      1. I was referring to the Articles of Impeachment referenced, described, and linked in the article, which do exist. Obviously, none have been formally adopted by a majority vote of the House and sent to the Senate yet. They are still trying to slow roll this with a mere “inquiry” apparently.

        1. Then cite that you’re referring to the 2017 set drafted by one Rep.

          That’s basically a strawman you swung away at; if the Dems adopt articles of impeachment, they’re not going to look anything like that.

    2. You need to vet your sources better, chief.

  14. The worst possible approach would be for the Republicans to circle the wagons around the president and contend that actually it is a good thing for presidents to use the tools of American foreign policy to advance their personal electoral interests, but some seem willing to run with that argument.

    The initial effort to try to stave off impeachment has focused on various procedural complaints, which as often as not have been overtaken by events as President Trump and Rudy Giuliani concede the substance of the revelations.

    I must have missed that. Trump and Giuliani have conceded that Trump “use[d] the tools of American foreign policy to advance [his] personal electoral interests” ? When ? Where ?

    The “transcript memo” reveals Trump asking Zelenskyy to co-operate with the AG in investigating Biden’s role in the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor, in the context of the investigation of any Ukrainian role in the origins of the 2016 “nonsense.” Giuliani has said that investigating Biden’s possibly corrupt behavior is entirely justified. Neither of them, so far as I am aware, have conceded that this has anything to do with Trump’s personal electoral interests. Everything they have said is quite consistent with their claim that this has to do with investigating past corruption (political and financial) rather than Trump’s future electoral prospects.

    What we have here is not a concession by Trump and Giuliana but an inference, that you (and others) choose to make, from the likelihood that if Biden were investigated and were to be found up to his neck in mud, then that might benefit Trump electorally. But it’s just an inference not a concession. They’ve conceded nothing.

    Likewise one might infer from the fact that the prosecutor who Biden got fired happened to have an open investigation into a company on whose Board Biden jnr sat, that Biden’s motive was corrupt. But he has not “conceded” it. All he has conceded is that he got the prosecutor fired, using a threat of withdrawal of financial aid form the US government. Everything Biden has said is quite consistent with his claim that he got the prosecutor fired to stop corruption rather than to benefit from it. He’s conceded nothing.

    1. I must have missed that. Trump and Giuliani have conceded that Trump “use[d] the tools of American foreign policy to advance [his] personal electoral interests” ? When ? Where ?

      That’s not what he said. The initial reaction of Trumpkins was to try to discredit the whistleblower’s complaint by claiming it was “hearsay.” Then Trump and Giuliani conceded the facts of what they were doing (not their motives, but the facts), thus obviating the hearsay argument.

      The “transcript memo” reveals Trump asking Zelenskyy to co-operate with the AG in investigating Biden’s role in the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor, in the context of the investigation of any Ukrainian role in the origins of the 2016 “nonsense.”

      …an investigation that the AG has stated did not and does not exist. Trump never spoke to the AG about it, the AG has never spoken to the Ukrainians about it.

      1. That’s not what he said. The initial reaction of Trumpkins was to try to discredit the whistleblower’s complaint by claiming it was “hearsay.” Then Trump and Giuliani conceded the facts of what they were doing (not their motives, but the facts), thus obviating the hearsay argument.

        Nonsense.

        Motive is front and center in the whistleblower’s complaint, page 1 para 2 :

        “I have received information from multiple US Government officials that the President is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election

        This is a specific claim of information as to motive – before he even gets round to what actual deeds he alleges the President got up to. That is precisely the “substance of the revelations.” But on motive, the whistleblower has got squat. But despite that he goes on repeating his evidence free (direct or hearsay) inference as to motive throughout his complaint.

        There are multiple fact errors in the whistleblower’s story which have been noted elsewhere, so I’ll only bother with one of the most egregious :

        The President also praised Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Mr Yuriy Lutsenko, and suggested that Mr Zelenskyy might want to keep him in his position

        This is entirely fictitious. The actual conversation reveals that Trump was praising the prosecutor that Biden got fired. Lutsenko is the replacement who closed the file on Burisma.

        Again, he doesn’t content himself with just one bite at this gross error, he goes on about Lutsenko later on.

        The fact that it’s hearsay is highly relevant since there are lots of errors. Including most importantly the claim to have information as to motive.

        Without that, the deeds of Trump are unexceptionable. Nobody would care a jot about Trump seeking co-operation to investigate a US business executive suspected of defrauding the US government of a few hundred million, or a senior military officer suspected of selling secrets. The alleged motive is the entirety of what there is to complain about. And on that the whistleblower has nothing.

        So it’s quite false to claim that Trump and Giuliani have conceded “the substance of the revelations.”

        But I will concede that it’s not quite as false as :

        “The worst possible approach would be for the Republicans to circle the wagons around the president and contend that actually it is a good thing for presidents to use the tools of American foreign policy to advance their personal electoral interests, but some seem willing to run with that argument.”

        Nobody’s offered that argument.

        1. If I tell the police that my friend told me that he saw someone being stabbed in an alley, and the police go to the alley and find a dead body, it no longer matters whether I have any firsthand knowledge of what happens or whether I’m credible. They’ve got the body.

          1. But it does matter if you tell the police that you have information (from your friend) that it was definitely deliberate murder not self defense. The police may have the body but they don’t have your claimed information as to murder.

            At this point your analogy is inapt, since if you kill someone in self defense you may have a duty (don’t know) to report it, and even if you don’t, your failure to do so may be held against you. Whereas the President doesn’t have a duty to, and generally doesn’t, publish transcripts of his phone conversations with foreign leaders.

            The whistleblower’s complaint claims not merely that Trump asked Zelenskyy for co-operation re Biden, but (several times) that he has information that he did so to assist his re-election chances. As I say, the body that the police have (that Trump asked about Biden) would concern nobody at all if Trump had asked about Barney Bellomo. It is not the body itself that is “grounds for impeachment” it is the allegation that it’s all for Trump’s electoral benefit.

            Which, btw, I don’t believe it was. Since we don’t (as yet) have any actual evidence as to motive, I am allowed to surmise away as to motive just as much as the next man. I’m confident that if we replaced Joe and Hunter Biden in the story with any of, say, Clinton, Kerry, Jarrett, Comey, Brennan, Yates, Obama, Glenn Simpson, McCain (if still living), Mueller, Rosenstein, Schiff, Warner, Burr and so on (plus associated child) – none of whom are standing in the 2020 election – Trump would happily have asked for help in investigating them.

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