Impeachment

Hamilton on Impeachment (Updated)

It's worth re-reading Federalist 65 (among others).

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Impeachment is the subject of Federalist 65 by Alexander Hamilton. It has some interesting things to say on what constitutes an impeachable offense, and the politics  and process of impeachment. (He has more to say about impeachment in Federalist 66 and Federalist 67 too.)

One paragraph from Federalist 65 is particularly relevant today.

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.

Of note, this paragraph both identifies what sorts of actions constitute impeachable offenses and makes an important observation about the politics of impeachment.

On the former, Hamilton stresses that impeachable offenses—what the Constitution refers to as "Treason, Bribery and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors"—are "those offenses which proceed . . . from the abuse or violation of some public trust," as opposed to, say, violations of applicable criminal statutes or common law crimes. These reinforces Keith Whittington's point that impeachment does not require the commission of a crime. Indeed, impeachment was understood as the primary and proper remedy to the misuse of executive power, including (indeed especially) those things which lie exclusively within executive control, such as the Pardon Power.

Hamilton also notes that the prospect of impeachment is likely to activate pre-existing factions (an observation that is more interesting in that he did not seem to anticipate political parties of the sort we have today). On the one hand, this meant that the question of impeachment is one that should be "political" in that it concerns the nation as a whole, and should be contested political question. On the other, he warned of the risk that impeachment would simply be a test of which "factions" were larger or more powerful.

This risk is addressed, in part, by the separation of impeachment (which is in the House) and conviction and removal (which are to be tried in the Senate). The hope was that the Senate would be more insulated from factional pressures, and would be able to evaluate the case for or against impeachment somewhat independently. Is that a hope that can be fulfilled? Time will tell, but I'm not optimistic. Many Democrats have approached impeachment as a partisan question (as Hamilton suggested could happen), and many Republicans have responded as tribal loyalists, rather than statesmen. This is to be expected in the House. Hamilton's hope was that something better might occur in the Senate.

UPDATE: Some commenters (and e-mailers) have suggested that one reason for greater partisanship in the Senate may be the Seventeenth Amendment, which provides for the direct election of Senators. Prior to this amendment's ratification, Senators were elected by state legislatures.

There is no doubt that the shift to direct popular election of Senators has influenced Senate behavior. My co-blogger Todd Zywicki has written a fair amount about this. And it is certainly possible that the election of Senators by state legislatures might serve to insulate Senators from partisan or tribal pressures. On the other hand, it is not clear to me that state legislators are any less partisan or tribal in our present moment, so it's not clear to me how, or even whether, direct election of Senators explains the shift from what Hamilton predicted.

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  1. I appreciate that this is an appeal to reason in light of everything that has been said and done, in the impeachment inquiry. But I fear that these sensible statements only play into the perception that the Republican party remains in any way committed to the principles of our republic. In fact, they have been wholly corrupted.

    I realize that Trumpists have learned to engage in any of various, shifting arguments in order to excuse, justify, or ignore Trump’s actions on Ukraine. I do not think that any of them seriously believe these arguments. I believe, instead, that they are covering for a more deeply-felt belief that it is perfectly fine for Trump to use the power of his office to hurt his political opponents. And if we were to remind them that Trump, if he is not removed now, can only be expected to push further still in order to win in 2020. Today it’s Ukraine. Tomorrow it’s the DOJ opening investigations on Warren, Biden, whoever. The Trumpists know this. And they don’t care.

    And I believe that many Republicans, in fact, believe this as well. It is hard to understand the recent actions of people like Graham otherwise. They have now been caught in the feedback loop of corruption and authoritarianism that has destroyed so many democracies, and we are perilously close to being pulled into that black hole.

    1. Dishonest arguments irrelevant to the post, dressed up in fancy words stolen from Antony, do not hide the fact that you are engaging in substance-less partisan ranting.

      The fact is that, despite known criminal actions by his political opponents, Trump has not done anything to them. Not even the bare effort you would expect an impartial DoJ to perform for neutral parties. Why does Clinton remain unprosecuted? Why is Comey uncharged? Why is it that this evil tyrant to describe has somehow not even used the IRS to harass his opponents?

      It’s almost as if you are engaging in dishonest projection, with no basis in reality.

      1. Why does Clinton remain unprosecuted?

        For what?

        Why is Comey uncharged?

        Of what?

        Why is it that this evil tyrant to describe has somehow not even used the IRS to harass his opponents?

        Because his DOJ is too busy threatening antitrust enforcement actions against automakers that would defy his anti-climate agenda and against media companies that he views as opposing him? Because his DOJ is too busy pursuing conspiracy theories designed to undermine the legitimacy of the Mueller Report despite the fact that the Mueller Report (in his view) “exonerated” him? Because his HUD is too busy finding ways to weaponize polices on homelessness his EPA is too busy weaponizing environmental policy to attack California? Never mind that his IRS is playing interference to block the release of his tax returns despite a clear statutory mandate to produce them – if he had some way to weaponize IRS reviews of tax-exempt status against his opponents, he would. As things stand, though, he’d prefer to let tax-exempt groups (i.e., churches and other non-profit organizations supporting him) continue to flout the rules.

        Blocking military aid in clear contravention of U.S. interests in order to serve his narrow political goals is only the most audacious thing he has so far tried, that has been revealed. If the Senate signals that he can get away with it, even after it’s all brought out, not even his fans can really deny he’ll try to do more.

        It’s almost as if you are engaging in dishonest projection, with no basis in reality.

        Can you project dishonest projection?

        1. Blocking military aid in clear contravention of U.S. interests

          This has to be isolated to expose the blindness of leftists, globalists, etc.
          The power to define Foreign Policy is wholly a power of the President of the United States. To argue against the Constituion (BTW military aide was not blocked, distribution was delayed, well withing Article II powers.)
          So much untrue here

          1. The power to define Foreign Policy is wholly a power of the President of the United States.

            Actually, it isn’t, at least with respect to foreign aid. Congress can appropriate funds as it did here, or not. The President can’t decide appropriations on his own.

          2. The President’s Article II powers are to be used in furtherance of the goals and interests of the United States, not his personal political desires to smear an opponent.

            Get back to us once you’ve passed Constitutional Law – not that you’d ever be admitted by any reputable school.

            1. “The President’s Article II powers are to be used in furtherance of the goals and interests of the United States,”

              I agree totally, I also think it’s a legitimate goal and interest of the United States to investigate when a former Vice President brags about using foreign aid to get a prosecutor fired, who happens to be investigating his son’s employer, especially if the son was hired solely to provide protection for that said employer.

              1. Where is your evidence that any investigation of Burisma was active at the time Biden expressed concerns about the prosecutor?

                  1. AL, did you bother to read this timeline? Because this is a bunch of horse-hockey.

                    Like to Soros references. Never a good sign of credibility when someone highlights Soros for no good reason.

                    This timeline leaves out the whole Ukranian side of the investigation almost entirely, so it certainly doesn’t answer not guilty’s question.

                    The timeline details every time Biden met with anyone from Ukrane. As if that’s evidence of anything at all.

                    Lots of money transfers from Burisma to Morgan Stanley, which Solomon claims is secretly to Biden’s firm.

                    “Burisma board member Hunter Biden sends a Twitter notification to Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, a longtime adviser to Joe Biden, indicating he is following Blinken on Twitter.” FFS.

                    Both you and Solomon should be ashamed.

                    1. Sigh. This is another sign that you’re dishonest in your argumentation.

                      Whether it be the non-sequitors about Soros, the fact you diliberately miss the references and timeline on the Ukrainian investigation (IE the first Feb. 4, 2016 reference), or the fact you don’t follow that Biden’s company Rosemont had an account at Morgan Stanley, and that’s what the funds were transferred to….

                      There’s just partisan dishonesty all around on your part Sarcastro. It’s not worth further arguing against. The timeline is clear.

                    2. @Armchair,

                      The timeline is risible. Note the January 29, 2015 entry re: British Serious Fraud Office. They closed down their investigation because of insufficient evidence because the Ukrainian government refused to cooperate with them. This was a major reason why the US (and others) wanted a shake up at the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office. Then note the April 6, 2016 self-serving statement from Yuriy Sevruk’s office (undated?), about the “underperformance of the British law enforcement agencies”–as if the Ukrainians have a lot to teach the Brits about anti-corruption.

                      It’s laughable and John Solomon knows it.

                    3. Where do you think I’m dishonest? And F you for saying so. I don’t think you’re a liar just because I think you’re very, very, wrong.

                      Vitaliy Kasko told Bloomberg the investigation was dormant. That tellingly doesn’t appear in the timeline. The Ukraninan part of the investigation appears, what, twice?

                      There are lots of posts on the timeline. You cite one, and don’t seem to have read it very carefully. Solomon is a liar. You’re just eating it up is all.

                    4. Both you and Solomon should be ashamed.

                      I’m pretty sure Solomon has demonstrated an inability to feel shame.

                    5. Sarcastro, you seem outraged that AL calls you dishonest, but how do you explain this bit of dissembling:

                      “Lots of money transfers from Burisma to Morgan Stanley, which Solomon claims is secretly to Biden’s firm.”

                      There wasn’t anything secret about it, it was paid to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, the company owned by HB and Devon Archer. You just made up the “secretly” part. Maybe you wouldn’t be called dishonest so often if you didn’t make up shit so often.

                    6. @David Nieporent:

                      I’m pretty sure Solomon has demonstrated an inability to feel shame.

                      At least your fact-free assertion has the advantage of brevity, as opposed to grb’s lengthy regurgitation of same.

                    7. “This timeline leaves out the whole Ukranian side of the investigation almost entirely,…”

                      That is completely false. The timeline is replete with references to the Ukrainian side, along with plenty of references to the successful attempts to squelch it. Why would you even say that, unless maybe you didn’t bother to read it carefully?

                    8. Solomon links to those documents like they are proof of the transaction he claims, but I do not see anything connecting to Binden’s firm. Hence the ‘secret’ jibe.

                      Correct me if I’m wrong, donojack.

                    9. @Sarcastro: “Solomon links to those documents like they are proof of the transaction he claims, but I do not see anything connecting to Binden’s firm. Hence the ‘secret’ jibe.”

                      Solomon’s link is truncated. There are 8 pages in the bank stmt and the payments are on page 6. The link only goes to page 5 because it’s a preview. Here is page 6:
                      https://www.oann.com/new-documents-allege-millions-went-to-bidens-and-kerrys-firm/

                  2. Your source is the guy who was fired from thehill.com for his part in pushing false Ukraine narratives?

                    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/11/19/20971075/rudy-giuliani-john-solomon-ukraine-impeachment-trump

                    1. Timelines with links to source documents are notorious for being false narratives. Why is it that you libs are unable to counter evidence with other evidence? You seem content to smear the presenters of the evidence. “You can’t believe these source documents because John Solomon.” Seems to be all you have.

                1. @not guilty

                  Where is your evidence that any investigation of Burisma was active at the time Biden expressed concerns about the prosecutor?

                  On 2/3/16 Shokin seized Zlochevsky’s assets in Ukraine:

                  Ukraine general prosecutor’s office under the direction of Viktor Shokin announces the seizure of assets from Burisma Holdings founder Mykola Zlochevsky under a continuing criminal investigation. The seizure occurred on Feb. 2, 2016, according to the announcement.

                  On 3/15/16 Asst. Sec. State Nuland:

                  Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland demands Ukraine “appoint and confirm a new, clean Prosecutor General, who is committed to rebuilding the integrity of the PGO, and investigate, indict and successfully prosecute corruption and asset recovery cases – including locking up dirty personnel in the PGO itself.

                  Biden has a series calls to then President Poroshenko to follow up on this demand starting on 2/11/16.

                  So unless “dormant” means seizing someone’s assets then the case was full on when Biden demanded the guy get fired. In fact the seizure seems to have triggered the demand.

              2. A few things:

                If you wanted to investigate the former VP, you use the DOJ to do it with probable cause. You don’t ask a foreign country to do it in order to receive money already appropriated to them by Congress.

                If you want to investigate alleged corruption by the former VP, and decide to ignore the DOJ problem mentioned above, you don’t require that Zelensky only give a public statement of an investigation. You don’t say that you only care about putting him (Zelensky) in a ‘public box.’ You also don’t make it clear that you only care about a public statement, and not whether any investigation actually happens. The only purpose a public statement would serve, is the personal political goal of Trump to denigrate Biden.

                Your understanding of the history of this issue is laughable, at best. Sadly, I don’t think that you’re ignorant.

                I think you’re deliberately lying.

                1. Point 1: Foreign involvement in investigating US politicians.

                  A. You’re going to have to somehow compare this to the foreign involvement of the investigation of Trump. Whether it be Australian diplomats, British intelligence agents, Maltese professors, or Ukrainians passing on information about Trump’s campaign. All of these are OK? But we can’t somehow asks a Ukranian government to investigate allegations of corruption at a Ukranian company where an American official may have used undue pressure?

                  1. We ask foreign governments and agencies to help with investigations all the time. Interpol? MI5? Mossad?

                    1. We ask them to assist with our investigations, not to go out and investigate an American.

                2. “If you wanted to investigate the former VP, you use the DOJ to do it with probable cause.”

                  Yes, that’s exactly how you’d do that, in the context of a “resistance” movement, and said DOJ having been complicit in the former administration spying on your campaign. Because you’d be totally confident that they switched their loyalties on January 20th, and really, who cares if they’re refusing director orders? They’d absolutely follow that one, and diligently pursue the truth!

                  1. Right, so you ask the Ukrainians, who this President believes (wrongly) conspired to prevent him from being elected?

                    Or you just ask the State Department to participate, even though it’s now apparent that they are also deep state never-Trumpers, per the President?

                    Brett, what’s your fucking theory here, exactly?

                    1. “Right, so you ask the Ukrainians, who this President believes (wrongly) conspired to prevent him from being elected?”

                      Yes, you ask the Ukrainians, who had a change of government since. Ukrainians are no more an undifferentiated mass than Americans.

                      Obama made a serious effort to keep Netanyahu from being reelected, would it have been stupid to ask Trump to look into that?

                      There’s some state department involvement here, but there’s also Barr and Guilani heading it up.

          3. The power to define Foreign Policy is wholly a power of the President of the United States.

            So the president is free to “define foreign policy” in a way that suits his personal political interests, even if it hurts America’s security?

            1. That whole “hurts America’s security”? thing. goes into the hopper of legislative sausage making. To be determined. That’s why we have elections. (what is it about elections don’t you like?)

            2. Yeas SimonP, he is free to define foreign policy. And if this country had had the misfortune of another Clinton presidency, I’m sure we would have been subjected to another idiotic misspelled “reset” with Russia, which would probably have damaged “America’s security” even more than the Uranium sales her department approved.

          4. The President can act in ways that are constitutionally permissible but that yet “contraven[e] . . . U.S. interests”. In fact, the President can act in constitutionally permissible ways and still be impeached, too.

            It is also not the case that the “power to define Foreign Policy is wholly a power of the President of the United States”. He shares that power with others, including Congress, the People, etc.

            1. You are going to have to cite that part of the constitution that has congress sharing power for foreign policy. Through disbursing funds, they can deny specific actions, but negotiating with other nations, rests with the Executive Branch.

              1. Besides their power of the purse, required advice and consent on treaties, diplomats, etc., Congress has (among others): (1) the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, (2) declare war, (3) maintain the army and navy, (4) investigate foreign policy or national security concerns, including the President’s involvement in same (like Benghazi, or the current impeachment investigation), (5) create/destroy/modify/limit/expand executive branch agencies that deal with foreign affairs (like the CIA, NSC, DHS, etc.). Congress has “define[d] Foreign Policy” using these powers throughout the nation’s history.

                1. All of that is oversight and power of the purse. Approving personel? Yep, but until Democrats pitched their hissy fit, Ambassadors and Judges were almost unanimously approved.
                  Treaties? Pshaw, tut,tut. Obama never got treaties ratified. Iran and Paris Climate accords come to mind. Took 3 years to unwind from those two, and they were never binding.
                  Nope the President is THE single person that sets policy, and the only person that cannot be overruled.

                  1. “Obama never got treaties ratified.”

                    Are you sure about that?

              2. Zivotofsky v. Kerry, 135 S. Ct. 2076, 2090 (2015)(Kennedy, J.):
                The Secretary now urges the Court to define the executive power over foreign relations in even broader terms. He contends that under the Court’s precedent the President has “exclusive authority to conduct diplomatic relations,” along with “the bulk of foreign-affairs powers.
                ***
                This Court declines to acknowledge that unbounded power.
                ***
                In a world that is ever more compressed and interdependent, it is essential the congressional role in foreign affairs be understood and respected. For it is Congress that makes laws, and in countless ways its laws will and should shape the Nation’s course. The Executive is not free from the ordinary controls and checks of Congress merely because foreign affairs are at issue. [citations omitted] It is not for the President alone to determine the whole content of the Nation’s foreign policy.
                Scalia was not satisfied with this formulation, and dissenting states:
                Acts of Congress made in pursuance of the Constitution are the “supreme Law of the Land”; acts of the President (apart from treaties) are not. Art. VI, cl. 2. That is why Chief Justice Marshall was right to think that a law prohibiting the seizure of foreign ships trumped a military order requiring it. [citation omitted]. It is why Justice Jackson was right to think that a President who “takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress” may “rely only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter.”

                He notes the contrary “produces.. a presidency more reminiscent of George III than George Washington.”

            2. ‘In fact, the President can act in constitutionally permissible ways and still be impeached, too.”?????? I’m sure that will make more sense to me later after a few beers.

              1. Mike, it wont make sense to globalists. Try to get your head around this statement

                <The President can act in ways that are constitutionally permissible but that yet “contraven[e] . . . U.S. interests”.

                If the President acts, carrying out his Article II powers. Say for instance asking a foreign nation to honor a treaty that helps investigate corrupt US citizens in their country. That should not controversial. But what if Military personnel in the NSC tells that country to ignore the President? Because the President disagrees with the consensus of the State Dept?
                So now we have the President of the United States overruled by an Army Officer because his opinion now supersedes that of the President. You must understand that the military officer is looking out for the National Security interests. He makes that determination, NOT THE PRESIDENT.

                1. Insubordinate army officers should be court martialed.

                2. It’s super controversial, apparently, to suggest that a President can engage in foreign policy that is damaging to US interests. I guess y’all thought President Obama was perfect.

                  1. No NToj, it’s “super controverial” to suggest the President can be impeached for engaging in a foreign policy that his political opponents (including not a few Obama hold-overs) just happen to disagree with.

                    1. You said Obama acted contrary to US interests above. Is that more than mere disagreement?

                    2. I’d be happy to respond if you actually asked an intelligible question.

                  2. It’s super controversial, apparently, to suggest that a President can engage in foreign policy that is damaging to US interests.

                    Note that the constitution specifically provides for impeachment for treason. But by the Trumpkin theory, it’s impossible for the president to commit treason since he gets to unilaterally decide what U.S. foreign policy is. If he gives our nuclear secrets to Russia, well, hey, that’s not treason because after all he can decide that he deems Russia to be our ally, right?

              2. It is not a precondition to impeachment that the President do something unconstitutional.

                1. “It is not a precondition to impeachment that the President do something unconstitutional.” Yes, I can see the first Article of Impeachment: The President duly executed his duties under the Constitution. NToj, a word of advice. When you’re in hole, stop digging.

                  1. MKE, here is an example. There is nothing in the Constitution saying explicitly that the government must defend the sovereignty of the American People. Do you suppose that means it would not be impeachable if the President decided to organize a movement among corporations, with an eye to replacing the People’s sovereignty with corporate sovereignty, to which the people would be subject?

                    More broadly, impeachment is an exercise of sovereign power. The House does it, but the People will it. The Constitution does not in any way constrain what the sovereign People can do.

                    The Constitution is merely the People’s decree, expressing the will of the People at one moment in time. They always remain free to change their minds, and they always remain free to choose the government they want, unconstrained by anything.

        2. Clinton mishandled classified information and destroyed evidence.
          Comey stole classified FBI documents and gave them to people uncleared for them.
          Both lied to investigators as well. Yet, Trump has done nothing to them.

          As for “blocking military aid”, you have to ask yourself – why wasn’t the military aid delivered years before, when Congress told the President to send it? Why was it delivered by Trump, after he received… nothing?
          Of course, you claiming that you know what US interests are, better than the President whose Constitutional duty foreign policy is, is laughable. Tell me, what else do you know is in the US interests, better than the people whose job it is to decide those things?

          1. Clinton mishandled classified information and destroyed evidence.

            Hillary’s mishandling of classified information was criminally culpable only if the information in question was of a certain time or if she had the requisite mens rea. We don’t have evidence that she cleared the bar under either bar for a fully-fledged criminal prosecution. Ditto with “destroyed evidence” – you’re apparently referring to something some computer tech did pursuant to standing IT policy.

            Comey stole classified FBI documents and gave them to people uncleared for them.

            Not “stole” and not exactly “classified,” so.

            As for “blocking military aid”, you have to ask yourself – why wasn’t the military aid delivered years before, when Congress told the President to send it? Why was it delivered by Trump, after he received… nothing?

            The aid wasn’t approved “years” ago; it was allocated pursuant to an annual defense appropriation that was set to expire earlier this year. This is what gave Trump so much leverage over Zelensky; the longer that Zelensky mulled his options, the more likely it would be too late to release the aid.

            Of course, you claiming that you know what US interests are, better than the President whose Constitutional duty foreign policy is, is laughable. Tell me, what else do you know is in the US interests, better than the people whose job it is to decide those things?

            Well… maybe I’m more of a stable genius than Trump is?

            Trump may have some leeway to decide how to manage foreign policy, but this was aid that was appropriate and cleared for Ukraine. He did not have the legal authority to withhold it to pursue some unrelated agenda. And the harm that this whole misadventure has caused is clear to everyone involved – even despite the fact that the aid was ultimately released. Now everyone who deals with the U.S., especially under Trump, will have to expect these kinds of backroom shenanigans, and our great-power rivals will take advantage of that.

            1. Well SimonP, the aid wasn’t withheld. it was delayed for all of maybe 2 mos. And was ultimately released. How exactly was Ukraine harmed in anyway super genius? And how many times was aid to Ukraine in various forms delayed or suspended under the Obama administration?? Quite a few actually. One time in particular involved, shall we say, a “quid pro quo” requiring the dismissal of a certain prosecutor who threatened a company upon whose board sat the vice-president’s son. Nothing corrupt here to be sure. I’m sure there’s a perfectly legitimate reason why the company placed Hunter on the board and compensated him so generously. Actually, come to think of it, there is no legitimate reason. Speak out if there is one, I’m very curious.

              1. If you expect corruption in board members with big paychecks who know nothing about the business then I expect you’ll want to get ahead of the Nikki Haley situation at Boeing, her compensation there is $325K/pa.

                1. Arrest her. Thousand of people sitting on boards across this nation will support you…just as soon as you cite some statute.

                2. Nikki Haley is (now, at least arguably, after the U.N. Ambassadorship) an expert in foreign relations, which are important to Boeing as its primary growth opportunity is in China, as she could provide specific insight into the geopolitical situation to guide Boeing’s expansion plans.

                  You might even have been able to make the same sort of argument for Hunter Biden at Burisma, if they were involved in litigation in the US, but he’s clarified that wasn’t the case.

                  1. They have her in the Audit and Finance committees, I doubt they deal much with the geopolitical situation, but I guess we won’t know for sure until we see the results of the investigation…

                    Actually I think these situations of possible undue political influence should be checked out, probably by the FBI in their normal course of business. Their procedures start with the collection of public information, evaluating the results of each stage to decide whether to progress to the next, and none of it is public until it has to be.

                3. Well Voice of Reazon, it is somewhat amusing to see you avoid the obvious answer. There is no legitimate reason why Hunter was on the board of a corrupt foreign corporation. Bursima was buying influence the corrupt way such influence is always purchased. That is in no way comparable with Nikki Haley being offered a board seat on an American company based no her own merits. And, as an aside, maybe someone should also look into the China dealings too? Seems there is a pattern of corruption here.

                  1. If the companies wanted either Haley’s foreign diplomacy skills or Biden’s lawyerly ones they would have hired them as employees. Directors may be chosen more for marquee value – buying respectability with investors or regulators – or for their contacts, or to reward them for future or past improper acts. The marquee stuff is innocent, the reward is corrupt, and the contacts can go either way depending on how they are used.

                    1. What are you trying to say? The question was whether there was any legitimate reason for the corrupt foreign company to put the vice-president’s son on their board, with reported lavish compensation. There is none. So, if you’re finally admitting that the corruption was the core reason for the Biden tenor at Burisma, then I agree.

                    2. MKE, I’m saying that the possibilities are not that different between Haley and Biden Jr. They are both probably both marquee and contacts based appointments, note he has several years relevant experience on the board at Amtrak.
                      If anything she has more direct exposure in the “reward” category from her years as governor and likely future career in federal politics, though I am not saying I think it is likely, she is too smart and has her eye too firmly on the prize to risk it in this fashion.

                    3. There is no equivalence between an established and respected American company engaging an accomplished professional based on her own personal accomplishments and a corrupt foreign enterprise paying a sitting vice-president’s son millions of dollars to buy influence with the administration then in power. The comparison actually highlights the corrupt nature of the Ukrainian arrangement. If you really see an equivalence here, you need to take a break from your twittter account.

              2. MKE : Quite a few actually. One time in particular involved, shall we say, a “quid pro quo” requiring the dismissal of a certain prosecutor who threatened a company upon whose board sat the vice-president’s son. Nothing corrupt here to be sure.

                A couple of points :

                (1) Your “certain prosecutor” did not threaten Burisma Holdings when Biden pressured for his removal. There was no investigation, or the slightest hint of one to come. Yeah, I understand you need your “fact” to be true in order to sell your “story”. Unfortunately, it’s not.

                (2) Joe Biden pressured Ukraine on orders of the President, following the directive of the State Department, for policy aims of the United States government, at the request of the European Union, in conjunction with similar pressure from the World Bank, and along with parallel action by the IMF and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. His pressure had bipartisan support in Congress, and was applauded by every reform group in Ukraine. They cheered when that pressure proved successful and Prosecutor Shokin was finally forced out. At the time, the Kyiv Post called him one of the most hated men in all of Ukraine.

                Tell us : Did anyone in Ukraine applaud Trump’s corrupt extortion and petty sleaze?

                1. Joe Biden pressured Ukraine on orders of the President, following the directive of the State Department, for policy aims of the United States government, at the request of the European Union,
                  You typed all that out and it did not set of warning bells in your head? Amazing.
                  VPOTUSP acting on orders of POTUS, who is taking orders FROM the State Dept. And It must be the State Dept that established the policy aims? Right? The State Dept determines “policy aims” and then orders POTUS to carry out those Policy Aims. (lets not forget the EU also has a vote in ordering around the President.)
                  POTUS selects his cabinet, and the cabinet runs the nation?

                2. Your retort seems to rely on “There was no investigation, or the slightest hint of one to come.”

                  If you were to learn that there was, in fact, an active investigation with searches and seizures only the month before the firing, and that the investigation only stopped after the firing, would that change your mind?

                  If not, what would?

                3. Not sure where you get your info grb (do you just make it up like the pros do?), but the prosecutor was fired on Feb. 16 2016 after an order issued from a Ukrainian court ordering the seizure of certain property owned by the Burisma chairman and after a Feb. 12 call (or calls) by Biden to the then Ukrainian president. I wonder if anyone has a transcript of those calls? And as for your parting silliness, to the best of my understanding, Ukrainian officials, including the Ukraine president, saw nothing wrong with and are very pleased with their relationship with the president/US.

            2. Ok, stop. You have no idea what you are talking about.

              Clinton’s mishandling of classified information was criminal, with no constraints on being “of a certain time” (what does that even mean?) or requiring intent. In fact, the specific statute explicitly calls out negligence – it was only Comey, who decided to lie for the person he thought would be his next boss, who threw that out there.

              Same, with Comey – he took FBI documents that did not belong to him (that’s stealing) that contained classified information (at the Confidential and Secret levels) and leaked them to uncleared people (his “lawyers”). The IG’s report quite clearly details this, and explicitly points out the Comey knew he wasn’t supposed to be doing it, and deliberately deceived the FBI interviewers.

              I don’t know where you are getting your falsehoods from, but they are quite simply not true. The records are out there, and clear for anyone to read.

              1. Toranth : Ok, stop. You have no idea what you are talking about.

                No sir, you’re totally clueless. Some points :

                (1) Clinton’s use of private email wasn’t itself illegal, as witnessed during the time of her two predecessors, Powell and Rice (though Ms Rice didn’t use email at all, all her email traffic being funneled through her aides)

                (2) Clinton, Rice and Powell all used secure communication channels for messages considered classified. Clinton, Rice and Powell all had messages upgraded from unclassified to classified by later review.

                (3) People are not charged for honest mistakes on the classification status of information. It. Doesn’t. Happen. There was never the slightest chance Clinton would face charges over that unless she was being charged precisely because her name was Clinton. And it just gets worst for for argument, because :

                (4) The mistake almost never was hers. Except for a literal handful of examples, all the messages in question originated with other parties. She was either the recipient or copied. By your ignorant reasoning scores of other people not named Clinton should be in jail, you see :

                (5) It makes no difference they were using State Department .gov standard email. That’s equally a security or legal issue as Clinton’s server or Powell’s AOL account. The only practical distinction is State Department email and AOL have both been hacked, and there’s no evidence Clinton was.

                So, Toranth, you’re pretty much wrong about everything, and in every possible way. In fact, the dozens of people who sent the “Clinton” emails did officially face a review, and just recently in fact. Some people believe even that was mere politics, trying to squeeze a little more mileage out a tired old story. Regardless, they faced nothing more than a censorious line scrawled in their files. People not-named-Clinton are never legally charged for mistakes in classification status. If they were, the Feds would probably have to build a dozen new jails to house them.

                I hope I’ve helped better your understanding of this issue…..

                1. Much of this is either factually wrong or conflating substantially different scenarios.

                  (1) During the Rice and Powell terms the State Department didn’t have a standard email system (it was developed at the end of the Bush II admin), so saying Clinton did the same as her predecessors is disingenuous – they had no other alternative if they wanted email, while she knowingly violated State department policy (knowingly = she signed a form saying she understood the policy, then violated it).

                  (2) Documents are classified as they are written, and the classification status does not require any sort of indicator. If you hold a security clearance and you pick up a newspaper that published the name of a covert operative then you are holding a classified document, because the contents are classified, even though it’s now been (unintentionally) publicly released. You may think that’s a dumb rule on classification, but it’s the rule that’s beaten into us, with the point being to make sure information doesn’t leak. It’s also the responsibility of anyone handling any document to determine if it’s classified and mark it appropriately. For example, if she received an email of cat pictures that said “we go live at 0:30” as a surreptitious reference to the raid on Osama Bin Laden then she would have been required to mark it classified, and if it was sent to her non-classified-handling email she’s obligated to report the breach – even though no one would have known in advance what that meant. Since we don’t know what got “upgraded from unclassified to classified by later review“ we don’t know if it was always classified and not marked (in which case every person who touched it violated the law) or if the meaning of the message changed based on new information – so that at the time a person with perfect knowledge would not have thought it classified.

                  (3) they may not be charged, but they do get dishonorable discharges all the time, so I suspect they also get charged.

                  (4) “The mistake almost never was hers” is impossible to know, since neither you nor I saw the emails. Furthermore a recipient of classified information has obligations too, especially to store them in accordance with the classification regulations and to report any breaches of containment – which wasn’t done. So even if she was only ever the recipient, she still violated the law every time she received an email containing information that should be classified and failed to report it, and again when she retained it on her server.

                  (5) it’s pretty rich to say there’s no evidence that Clinton’s server was never hacked when she had it scrubbed after its presence became known, and refused to hand it over to the FBI …… and when does anyone not named Clinton get to refuse to hand over something like that?

                  “So, grb, you’re pretty much wrong about everything, and in every possible way.”

                  FIFY

                  1. “Documents are classified as they are written”

                    Yes if they have a derivative classification, i.e. contain information from an already classified source, or that is within the scope of an applicable classification guide. Otherwise, if the author is not an Original Classification Authority but suspects some new document they created should be classified they cannot do it themselves, they have to forward it to an OCA for review. In the interim the information must be protected by the author, but is not classified until the OCA says so.

                    “they may not be charged, but they do get dishonorable discharges all the time, so I suspect they also get charged.”
                    I often see comments from people saying that if they had mishandled classified data like that they would have faced prison time, so Hillary should too. They might be right, at least in theory, if their experience was in the military. After all, according to UCMJ Art. 92 any violation of a “lawful general order or regulation” shall be “punished as a court-martial may direct”, including incarceration, and there are certainly regulations about handling classified data. In the civilian world there are some crimes defined, mostly respecting national defense or cryptographic information, but other transgressions that could land you in prison in the military setting can only get you fired as a civilian.

                    1. I often see comments from people saying that if they had mishandled classified data like that they would have faced prison time, so Hillary should too. They might be right, at least in theory, if their experience was in the military. After all, according to UCMJ Art. 92 any violation of a “lawful general order or regulation” shall be “punished as a court-martial may direct”, including incarceration, and there are certainly regulations about handling classified data. In the civilian world there are some crimes defined, mostly respecting national defense or cryptographic information, but other transgressions that could land you in prison in the military setting can only get you fired as a civilian.

                      This is true – most contractors don’t face criminal charges. Usually, they lose their clearance and are forced to pay a fine plus the cost of the investigation+cleaning the spill. They *could* face up to 10 years in prison, depending on which section of the US Code they were charged under, but it isn’t common. You’ll see it in the news occasionally, but not even twice a year.

                      As you say, jail time is not common, and IMO, Clinton shouldn’t have faced any. But she should have been charged, and been forced to pay for the investigation and cleanup like anyone else would have.
                      Had she won the election, she still would have had access to classified, though – the President always does.

                  2. (5) it’s pretty rich to say there’s no evidence that Clinton’s server was never hacked when she had it scrubbed after its presence became known, and refused to hand it over to the FBI …… and when does anyone not named Clinton get to refuse to hand over something like that?

                    Since always. She did not refuse to hand over anything to the FBI.

                    1. “She did not refuse to hand over anything to the FBI.”

                      You got that much right: The FBI did get access to her server after it had been wiped, rendering it forensically useless.

                2. Classified information security is my job. I know what I’m talking about very well.

                  Your point 1 is irrelevant – I never said anything about her email server. I also never said anything about Powell or Rice. So skip the silly attempts to distract and the silly whataboutism.

                  Your point 2 is odd. Of course they used secure comms for classified – they are legally required to do so! Clinton ALSO used unapproved channels to send classified information – up to and including TOP SECRET documents.
                  Incidentally, there is no such thing as “retroactive classification”. Information is classified according to each agency’s Classification Guide, and documents that contain information are marked as classified. Clinton had a bunch of emails containing classified that were incorrectly not labelled as containing such. They were classified the entire time, just unmarked.
                  Clinton, as the Classification Authority for the State Department, had to sign off on State’s classification guide every year. It was her responsibility to know the requirements, and to follow them.

                  Your point 3 is also wrong. People get charged for ‘honest mistakes’ if they keep happening, if they don’t self report, or if they destroy evidence or in any other way try to hide the spill. I’ve personally participated in gathering evidence for this. If Clinton had self-reported the first time she or her staff received any classified information, as she was required to, then you are correct that she wouldn’t have been charged. But she didn’t.

                  For point 4, you ADMIT she did send classified emails. Right there, you’ve given up your attempt to defend, and are merely deflecting.
                  Of course, as I mentioned before, she had a legal obligation to report the spill. When she did not do so, especially when she requested that her staff remove classified markings, she became liable for the spill. Again, covering it up is usually what takes it from a reprimand to a criminal charge. Except for Clinton.

                  Then your point 5, which is another distraction. I never said a thing about TLDs. And then you top it off by claiming there’s no evidence her server was hacked? You really know NOTHING, do you? We know, with certainty, that China hacked her server and got copies of all the classified it handled. This was covered in the IG report, and in the publicized FBI 811 CI reports. The IG also states that other entities also gained access, but there are no concrete identifications.

                  So, grb, you’re either wrong about everything or babbling about irrelevancies. There is not a single point I raised that you attempted to address that you were not completely incorrect about.

                  I’d like to think I’ve improved your understanding of the issue, but given the lies and absurdities you’ve already embraced, I doubt this is possible.

                3. Clinton’s use of private email wasn’t itself illegal,
                  It violated the federal communications retention act.
                  Remember the Bengahzi hearings. Republicans subpoenaed all Clinton emails pertaining to Bengahzi. Just a few were turned over. Not until Gowdy took over (the 7th oversight hearing) did we learn all the SoS communication went through her private server. The Secretary of State, is guilty of not retaining communications per the law, just for the reason of providing them sanctioned inquiries.
                  Something every corporation of size spend $ per year maintaing, because to not be able to produce on demand communications will get someone locked up.
                  In the case of the Obama administration, laws were not enforced by the corrupt DoJ.

                  1. I forgot to add. By black letter law, destroying evidence can be considered in deliberations as an act of destroying evidence of breaking the law. So I don’t have to know what was in the communication. I have the legal power to consider the information as proof of the crime.

                    1. You forgot to add which cereal box you got your law degree from.

                  2. iowantwo, you are clueless about corporate archival practice, policy, and law.

                4. “(1) Clinton’s use of private email wasn’t itself illegal,”

                  No, that’s true: The criminal aspect of that was failing to configure her private email so that it would be backed up by the government’s archive system. Which actually appears to have been the whole point of having a private email system, in her case: To allow her to do exactly what she eventually did: Delete emails without outside review if anybody got interested in their contents.

                  “(2) Clinton, Rice and Powell all used secure communication channels for messages considered classified.”

                  Clinton is on record ordering classification headers to be stripped off messages so that they could be sent insecure.

                  “(3) People are not charged for honest mistakes on the classification status of information.”

                  See my answer to item 2. She actually had the nerve to claim that she thought (C) on a message meant that it was the third in a series.

                  “The only practical distinction is State Department email and AOL have both been hacked, and there’s no evidence Clinton was.”

                  Because, as the security experts stated, her email was SO insecure that it could be hacked without leaving any evidence behind.

              2. Look at all the unsecure stuff Trump and his Admin do.

                He doesn’t have a secured phone ffs.

                1. And if I were religious I’d pray that’s only used for Twitter and talking to porn Starrs (heh, Siri autocorrected that and I’m just going to leave it as is).

            3. mens rea

              No, the statute explicitly states that the mere mishandling is criminal. If the papers were stolen from her house it would be criminal negligence.

            4. “Hillary’s mishandling of classified information was criminally culpable only if the information in question was of a certain time or if she had the requisite mens rea.”

              The mens rea is defined by statute, in this case one passed by Congress one hundred years prior in 1917 during WWI. And that is “gross negligence.”

              Which the FBI report originally found, but then it was deliberately changed to “extreme carelessness” to avoid her coming within the statute.

              Any honest assessment of what she did indicates that she violated a criminal statute.

              And it is not a great leap to conclude that the then administration, who was of the same party and wanted her to win the election, squelched any further action on her prosecution.

              That is as much an abuse of power as what Trump did. True, it did not involve foreign aid nor Ukraine. But that is like arguing that chocolate is different from tutti frutti. They are just different flavors of the same thing.

              1. Which the FBI report originally found, but then it was deliberately changed to “extreme carelessness” to avoid her coming within the statute.

                No. No “FBI report” “originally found” anything.

          2. Why was it delivered by Trump, after he received… nothing?

            Because his plot was exposed.

            If I plan to rob a bank, and then learn that the police suspect I might do that, I’d probably call it off.

            1. What plot bernad11? His plot to ask Ukraine to assist the US AG in investigations of corruption? How nefarious! The only possible recourse I think is to elect the party engaged in foreign corrupt practices and remove from office the party seeking to expose corruption.

              1. The day after the transcript was released the DOJ (quickly) issued a statement saying there were no investigations matching Trump’s demands of Zelensky. So your “assist the US AG” shtick is grossly uninformed (to be charitable).

                Also, legitimate international investigations aren’t stage-managed by a sleazy shyster like Giuliani with his two low-grade crook bagmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Furman.

                Also, it makes no difference if I face the most fervent Trump supporter : If someone looks me in the eye and says he (or she) believes Trump EVER cared a single second about “corruption”, then I know I face a liar. People don’t tend to overestimate the cognitive horsepower of DJT supporters, but they’re not that stupid.

                When they piously proclaim Trump sought to fight corruption, they are lying (thru-the-teeth-style). And they know they are lying. And they know how grotesque and ludicrous a lie it is. God alone knows how they manage to keep a straight face.

                But what choice do they have? Trump traded the favor of the United States government for his own private benefit. Throughout this dumpster-fire presidency, Trump’s supporters have excused so much – but apparently there are limits.

                1. I have no idea what you talking about grb but I suspect a THC laden product may be involved. The DOJ issued what statement? That no investigation is now presently being conducted that implicates Ukraine or Ukrainian actors? I don’t think that’s quite accurate, which is to say not accurate at all. And, you may want to pause in your anti-trump hysteria to just consider the implications of your comments, just taking them at face value. There was no investigation but aid was released? So, Ukraine got a whole lotta aid “quo” for no “quid.” Sounds like the crime of the century.

            2. Why was it delivered by Trump, after he received… nothing?

              Because his plot was exposed.

              That’s just not accurate. Go back to Mulveny’s press conference. When asked if military lethal aide to Ukraine was being withheld, he responded the question moot, because the law required the aide to be delivered. So the aide was always, and in fact was delivered. It is not accurate to claim the only reason POTUS released it is because the delay was made public.

              1. Is that the same press conference where Mulveny admitted a quid pro quo regarding military aid and counseled ¨Get over it¨?

                1. All international negations are nothing but quid pro quo. I do this, if you do that.
                  Just because you have no Idea how long term negotiations take place in the world of business, doesnt mean the techniques are not effective.
                  President Trump was explaining to Ukraine. “new sherriff in town, fall in line or else. Here, I’ll stall this aide, because I can, Yea I know, its already in the pipeline, but I’m betting you want more”
                  This is how business is done. It is not illegal, imoral, or icky.
                  Get over it.

                  1. “Aides” are people. You mean “aid.” It’s bad enough that you make up facts and butcher the law, but you could please stop molesting the English language?

                    (Hint #1: we’re not talking about negotiations. Trump had no lawful authority to negotiate over aid. Congress had already appropriated the funds, and Trump’s legal obligation was to turn it over.

                    Hint #2: it is illegal, immoral, and icky to condition the aid (and the WH visit, for that matter) on personal political benefit. If Trump had said, “If you want these things from the U.S., I want you to deposit $1,000,000 into my Swiss bank account,” would you say, “Hey, that’s how business is done”?

          3. “Of course, you claiming that you know what US interests are, better than the President whose Constitutional duty foreign policy is, is laughable. Tell me, what else do you know is in the US interests, better than the people whose job it is to decide those things?”

            Could you explain what you mean? Are you saying that because it is the President’s job to decide foreign policy, his decisions are unimpeachable? (I mean that in the general sense.) Did you ever question the wisdom of any past President’s evaluation of “US interests”? Can you think of any foreign policy decisions that President Obama made that, in your view, were contrary to “US interests”?

            1. On Obama, yeah, I can think of quite a few decisions contrary to US interests concerning Libya, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Poland, Israel and, dare I say it Ukraine. How about a certain whispered comment (intended for “Vladimir”) referring to more “flexibility” (you seriously never even wondered what that clod actually meant?) after the 2012 election? Come to think of it, I bet, using current Democrat standards, the republicans could have impeached Obama a hundred times over. Maybe a future Congress should look into that? Maybe we could, to refer to a word sometimes in vogue now, strip him of certain “emoluments” of office?

              1. None of that is election interference to help Obama, that’s just stuff you disagreee with.

                And your super dumb if you don’t see that flexibility meant flexibility to negotiate, not to bribe.

                1. Impressive mind reading there. Do you just do small group shows? Or do you take your act on the road to bigger theaters?

                  1. So words and context are meant to convey thinking and intent.

                    That’s not telepathy, that’s language.

                2. What election interference Sarcastr0? Can one interfere with the 2016 election?

                  And couldn’t one say the same thing about the self-important bureaucratic dweebs offended that the president didn’t respect their “inter-agency consensus? They happened to disagree with the president’s policy?

                  It is quite telling however how quickly you dismiss Obama’s whispered message to Vlad, yet you read volumes into the objectively proper conduct of the president. A president by the way who has been quite transparent by releasing the text of the call. Has Obama ever answered a question about his sweet nothings meant for Putin? What about the transcript of Biden’s Feb 12 2016 call or calls to the Ukranian president, 4 days before the prosecutor was fired? I wonder what those would reveal?

                  1. These dweebs are not saying Trump was wrong, they’re saying Trump only cared about this one thing – a public announcement that Biden was being investigated. His policy is helping his own reelection.

                    How do you interpret Obama’s whisper to the Russian President (not Vlad)

                    I’m amused you think Trump is being transparent.

                    1. These dweebs are not saying Trump was wrong, they’re saying Trump only cared about this one thing – a public announcement that Biden was being investigated. His policy is helping his own reelection.
                      There’s the magic mind reading. Trump requested (second hand interpretation) a statement from Ukraine to investigate corruption. (investigate Biden is mind reading)

                    2. Yeah, the opinions of smug self important lower level bureaucrats really carries a lot of weight.

                      So the whisper was intended for the puppet Medvedv and not Putin? Interesting interpretation from this exchange:
                      “This is my last election … After my election I have more flexibility,”
                      “I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” said Medvedev.

                      Maybe he meant a different Vladmir?

                      Yes, I think he’s far more transparent then Obama (and Hillary, and Biden for that matter) President Trump did release 2 transcripts related to his phone calls with the Ukrainian president. When can we expect Biden to release the transcripts of his calls?

                    3. Iowan, Trump called for an investigation of the Bidens on TV, on the White House lawn. You didn’t know that happened?

                    4. He wanted an investigation of corruption. Interesting that you view an investigation of corruption as synonymous with an investigation of Biden.

                    5. No way you’re that naive MKE, don’t play the fool.

                    6. MKE, he named Biden when he did it.

                3. Does suppressing a criminal investigation of the candidate of the same party as the administration in the upcoming election count as “election interference?” Inquiring minds want to know.

                  1. Whattaboutism growing.

              2. MKE,

                “I can think of quite a few decisions contrary to US interests…”

                Toranth thinks your belief that you know “better than the President whose Constitutional duty foreign policy is, is laughable.” Maybe you should ask him why he thinks your position is so laughable.

                1. I honestly am not following you. Aren’t we usually at odds?

                  1. He’s saying the side defending Trump is throwing some massive and crazy generalizations in the air, and they’re getting tangled.

                    1. If you say so, although from what I’m reading the hysterical anti-trumpers are soundly losing the argument, as usual.

                    2. Considering your input, it’s natural that you’d think that.

                      Sadly for you, the facts don’t have the same inherent biases that you do.

                    3. NToJ pointed out a humdinger, you two.

                    4. Is this the best the unhinged left has? By all means continue on this path of impeachment derangement. The process has been an epic fail since it’s inception so I guess I should encourage you to proceed.

                    5. You continue to not respond to NToJ’s point, just throwing out empty puffery now.

                      Do you agree with Toranth or not?

                    6. Like I said above, ask me an intelligible question and I’d be happy to answer.

          4. Clinton mishandled classified information and destroyed evidence.

            False, and false.

            Comey stole classified FBI documents and gave them to people uncleared for them.

            Also false and false.

            Both lied to investigators as well.

            Also false.

            Yet, Trump has done nothing to them.

            True, which ought to tell you something about your understanding of the facts.

            As for “blocking military aid”, you have to ask yourself – why wasn’t the military aid delivered years before, when Congress told the President to send it?

            Once again, your understanding of the facts is wrong.

            Why was it delivered by Trump, after he received… nothing?

            Because his extortion efforts were revealed.

            Of course, you claiming that you know what US interests are, better than the President whose Constitutional duty foreign policy is, is laughable. Tell me, what else do you know is in the US interests, better than the people whose job it is to decide those things?

            The crayfish in my third grader’s homeroom class knows what US interests are better than the President. It being Trump’s “duty” does not give him special insight. That requires things like reading and study and listening to experts, the sorts of things Trump is incapable of.

            1. Read the other comments. You are wrong, period, and you can do a simple search to see all the evidence that shows how wrong you are. Start with the IG reports on Clinton’s emails, then Comey’s documents. You can easily find them using an internet search engine. Try this one: https://www.google.com

              That crayfish you mention probably has a better understanding of these issues than you do. Why don’t you go ask it for advice next time, rather than indulging your TDS?

    2. “They have now been caught in the feedback loop of corruption and authoritarianism that has destroyed so many democracies, and we are perilously close to being pulled into that black hole.”

      Interesting…Godwin’s law suggests that the chance of a Hitler reference goes up as an online discussion progresses. In this case, we meet such a reference at the very outset.

      So if the stakes are so high – if in fact Trump is the new Hitler and the opponents of his impeachment are consciously endorsing his agenda and opposing the clearly superior, liberty-loving, compassionate policies of the Democrats, then that would justify all sorts of methods to overthrow the new Hitlerism and put the Democrats back in charge.

      1. Lots of democracies die without a Hitler, too.

    3. And this is why TDS is a thing and why you’re already a dinosaur. You can’t even accept that we have genuine disagreements with you. You are quite literally incapable of empathy and believe that anyone who disagrees with you is a sociopath.

  2. “Hamilton also notes that the prospect of impeachment is likely to activate pre-existing factions (an observation that is more interesting in that he did not seem to anticipate political parties of the sort we have today)”

    Read Burke – or at least his biography. Burke saw the difference between factions, which would rise and fall with the interests of one man, or one issue, and what we would call parties, which would pre-and post-exist individuals and individual issues. A Prohibition Party would be a faction, as would a Vote-for-Smith party.

    In this case, the factions would be pre-existing groups built on narrow interests, and would be due to dissolve over time, when the issues were resolved, or lost their resonance.

    1. JonFrum, if you read Federalist 10, you can see Madison ruminating over abiding interests which provide basis for enduring political controversies. There is little doubt that Madison, at least, foresaw political parties as we understand them today.

      It may be that insight is somewhat blurred in retrospect by the political history post-founding. Until after the presidency of James Monroe, presidential politics remained in the hands of a politically various group who nevertheless shared a single vivid identifying trait—they had all been members of the founding generation. Their other differences were set to the side as they took turns ascending to the presidency.

      During the 36-year interval while the process and politics of the founding were being nurtured into a national legacy, the nation was under the control of what should rightly be seen as the nation’s first political party—a party unified by putting first the legacy of the founding, ahead of other issues. That kept factional competition based on other issues somewhat at bay, but I suggest it was always expected. And of course issues-based factionalism arrived on schedule, with the passing of the founding generation.

      1. I certainly appreciate your comments, but I think there is a distinct difference in the political ideologies of the Federalists as opposed to the Jeffersonian-Republicans (e.g., Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe). What I believe made them “great parties” (To use Tocqueville’s observation) is that their differences were grounded in the scope and power of the new federal government vis-a-vis the states. That is, like the Federalists and anti-Federalists who debated over ratification, they had contrasting visions about the very nature of government, the balance of power in a federal republic, and the design of institutions, and these differences played-out in “normal” politics. When I read the federalist and anti-federalist writings, as well as subsequent writings of the Jeffersonian-Republicans, I see something “greater” than just partisan bickering over different policies and an instrumental use of rhetoric and principle. This is certainly not the whole picture and there are examples from both sides indicating that principles could bend under the strain of political events. What does connect the two parties from this period is that there were largely composed of and represented elites. This of course changed with the expansion of the franchise and the ascendency of Jackson in 1829.

        I would analogize Madison’s factions to the modern day interest group, which is concerned with getting its preferred results on a particular policy, without regard for the interests of the broader polity (including the opposing interest group). While I hesitate to call the contemporary parties factions, I also don’t think either party is interested in moderate outcomes that acknowledge the competing interests within our country.

        To Adler’s post, I’m not sure Hamilton had in mind a Senate that was directly elected by the people when he wrote Federalist 65. The Senate was intended to represent a different set of interests than the House, which was elected by the people for 2-year terms. The modern Senate, even with its longer terms of office, still has to answer to the electorate, and thus it is just prone to the partisan passions of the moment as the House.

        Democracy!?

        1. Quantum, Madison had in mind a Senate directly elected by the People, but failed to carry the day at the Convention.

  3. When there’s a change of regime (eg, from Obama to Trump), then what should the new regime do with evidence of possible misconduct under the prior regime?

    If anything, Trump should have gone after Biden *earlier* – maybe his delay in pursuing Biden is itself impeachable, if he postponed doing his investigative duty until he saw Biden as a political threat to him.

    The Democrats could say that Trump improperly sat on evidence of Bidenite corruption until it became in his interest to look into it (or outsource the investigation to a foreign government). What say you, Dems – are you going to investigate what Trump knew about Biden’s activities and when he knew it? If he knew it early but didn’t act right away until he had a political incentive, that’s covering up – albeit covering up on behalf of a Democrat.

    1. If the Democratic Party leadership truly believed in investigating malfeasance then we would have seen an official examination of the decision to conduct a war on Iraq. In short, they don’t and the current proceedings wouldn’t have happened either if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

    2. Eddy,

      Trump has done no investigative work whatsoever, and is not interested in any.

      What he wanted, it is plain as day, is an announcement from Zelensky that Ukraine was going to investigate Zelensky, as well as find the non-existent server. Whether there was follow-through didn’t matter, because the objective was to harm Biden in the campaign. That’s all.

      If Trump thinks Joe Biden has violated US laws then the appropriate course would have been to get the FBI to investigate, not seek public statements from Zelensky.

      1. This is just begging the question though.

        Trump asked for a public commitment to the investigation.

        You conclude that he only wanted the announcement because the announcement itself would help his election in 2020.

        Others conclude that he wanted to bind the Ukrainians to an anti-corruption regime, and that a public announcement would publicly commit the current president to such a regime.

        Which of these two were the reason he wanted a public commitment is the question, which you assume in your characterization.

        1. Others conclude that he wanted to bind the Ukrainians to an anti-corruption regime, and that a public announcement would publicly commit the current president to such a regime.

          This would be a noble motivation, absolutely consistent with the work that Yovanovitch was doing in Ukraine. Given that Zelensky himself ran on an anti-corruption campaign, it seems like it should not have been difficult to work together to further those efforts.

          If that was the motivation, then why would it have been necessary to (i) suspend military aid in order to get Zelensky to comply; (ii) pursue this whole effort through Giuliani and Sondland; and (iii) push Yovanovitch aside?

          And how would you square this putative motivation with Sondland’s own testimony, that Trump didn’t give a shit about corruption in Ukraine? Or the observation of several other officials involved that Trump was pursuing a domestic political errand? Or the fact that the public statement in question was supposed to be a high-profile appearance on CNN, i.e., of limited value for Ukrainians, but high-value in terms of smearing Biden?

          See – in isolation, you can take any one detail about this whole plot and assign it an “innocent” explanation. But the fact of the matter is that these one-off explanations make no sense unless you assume a much broader set of facts and explanations. Like, none of this cloak-and-dagger shit jives with your motivation unless you also assume that the entire State Department (including Yovanovitch) were so opposed to Trump’s policy that they would actively seek to subvert him. Which is, indeed, what Trumpists like to pretend is the case. But that sullies the apparent reasonableness of your response here. It’s a fair point only to a kook.

          1. And how would you square this putative motivation with Sondland’s own testimony, that Trump didn’t give a shit about corruption in Ukraine?
            I square that with the fact Soundland did not testify to that. Some one else inferred that from Soundlands comments. Those comments were not a quote from POTUS, but, again, something inferred.

            1. Holmes said that that is what Sondland said about the agenda he was pursuing on behalf of the president. Are you saying that Sondland misunderstood Trump’s motives? If so, why was Sondland involved, at all? If Trump cared about corruption in Ukraine, why was there any need to involve Giuliani and Sondland at all? Why not work through regular channels – since, after all, Yovanovitch was herself committed to fighting corruption in Ukraine?

              You can, “Trump can do whatever he wants” this and “This is all based on hearsay” that, but at the end of the day, none of these explanations pass the smell test. You know what was going on, and so do I. Own up to your treason.

              1. “Holmes said….that’s what Soundland said”
                I have no idea if Soundland understood the President’s motivation. That’s the crux of this debate. Intent.
                But if you are going to impeach a President, you’re going to have to do lot better than “I heard it through the grapevine”
                Why not work through regular channels
                Maybe because Lt Colonels were disobeying direct orders? We know that from Vindman’s testimony. He told Ukraine officials to ignore the President. Vindman thinks he, and not the President set foriegn policy.

                1. But if you are going to impeach a President, you’re going to have to do lot better than “I heard it through the grapevine”

                  Trump is more than free to turn over documents or witnesses who would exonerate him. You seem to be saying that he should be able to obstruct his way to innocence.

                  Maybe because Lt Colonels were disobeying direct orders? We know that from Vindman’s testimony. He told Ukraine officials to ignore the President. Vindman thinks he, and not the President set foriegn policy.

                  Not that your account is accurate, but it’s not as though Trump had any way of knowing he would encounter resistance from his subordinates, unless he knew that what he was embarking upon was dubious in nature. Many of the people testifying in the last couple of weeks were career officials who have served under multiple administrations. They would have no reason to resist Trump’s foreign policy decisions unless they were manifestly illegal or detrimental to the interests of the United States.

                  1. Trump is more than free to turn over documents or witnesses who would exonerate him. You seem to be saying that he should be able to obstruct his way to innocence.

                    That’s one of the giant flaws in the arguments of Trump’s defenders. Let’s see the documents, texts, emails, that show Trump’s good intentions. Let’s let Sondland have access to his records. Let’s hear what Giuliani, Bolton, the coward Pompeo, Pence, etc. have to say.

                    He won’t do that. The only plausible reason is that it would make the case against him stronger.

                    1. Or it’s just his twitter and media handling strategy writ large. Get his political opponents to invest all their energy into going down a rabbit hole with no rabbit. Force his opponents to spend as much political capital as possible on an endeavor with little to no return. Meanwhile they’re propping up a candidate that’s literally falling apart at the seams both mentally and physically.

                    2. His public statements have been consistent and clear. As were his private statements, according to all the witnesses.

                      How many examples do you need?

                      If someone makes up a story about your motives being corrupt despite every word from you in the record saying otherwise, how do you rebut it? The story will always be that you are engaged in subterfuge, regardless. There’s no way to conclusively prove your secret thoughts are anything in particular.

                    3. His public statements have been consistent and clear

                      Umm, no they haven’t been. How’s the ‘no quid pro quo’ talking point doing these days?

                    4. Trump has consistently said there wasn’t one. And, in fact, since no one gained or lost anything, there isn’t.

            2. If it’s a true fact that President Trump only cared about Ukrainian corruption because he wanted an announced investigation of Joe Biden, his political opponent, would that even affect your conclusion? In other words, do you care?

            3. Iowan, and after Sondland did not testify to that, he was asked if he had any objection to what you call “inference,” from the eye-witness who was present during the conversation, and heard it. Sondland said he had no objection. Thus, Sondland specifically confirmed the conclusion you say he did not supply evidence for. Your case is hopeless.

              Perhaps you did not yourself hear the testimony as it unfolded. If so, you should use caution trusting the digests of events which are normally served up through Fox News and other right-catering sources. Trump supporters are currently being lied to on a massive scale.

              1. Wrong. Soundland said he did not recall the words he used, but would not contest what was testified to. So the testimony is a paraphrase of second hand accounts. Again, even if it were Soundlands words, they were presumptions of Soundland. Not a statement from POTUS. Several people close to the President have said POTUS never spoke of the Bidens.
                Still, again. No evidence has been presented as to President Trumps intentions.

                1. Uh, Trump specifically referenced Joe Biden in his July 25 phone call with Zelensky.

                2. I am certainly inclined to accept the opinions of a guy who has followed the story so closely that he doesn’t even know how to spell the name of one of the key witnesses.

          2. You think President Trump isn’t a kook?

            I’m pretty sure he is, and I think most who voted for him thought so at the time and we’re giving a middle finger to the establishment in doing so (though I’m just speculating, since I didn’t vote for him).

            That’s the funny part of this – you seem to be positing that Trump isn’t a kook and saying that therefor he must not be acting like a kook, instead he must be acting with ill intent.

            That just seems to go against everything we know about him, with his regular appearances on the crazy bare shirted vitamin sales show as a principle example (sorry, I don’t remember his name, I hope you know who I’m referring to).

            1. This is the fallacy of the excluded middle. There is no doubt that Trump is mentally unstable and prone to delusions, but that in no way means that he wasn’t also acting with ill intent.

              1. Ill intent.

                Wow we went from criminal behavior, and conspiracy, and other impeachable actions….
                To, the very squishy, inarticulate, and undefinable. Ill intent.

                1. We didn’t “go from” anything to anything. Ill intent is an element of criminal behavior and impeachable conduct.

        2. My “assumption” is based on ample evidence that Trump didn’t care about corruption in Ukraine.

          He never made an issue of it, and fired the ambassador who was working hard on the subject. Indeed, he’s hardly made an issue of it anywhere.

          1. In a perfect world they’d keep their positions consistent, but we’ve been moving away from the prior equilibrium for a while now.

            In the 80s and early 90s there was a mild detente with a persistent equilibrium of disagreement but an ability to work together with actual negotiated trade offs (such as President Clintons tax and trade policies). Some think that ended with Clinton’s impeachment, others with Bush IIs judicial nominees being filibustered, but whoever you draw the line it was an escalating tit for tat.

            In game theory tit for tat is one of the better strategies, with only tit for tat with forgiveness being a consistently superior strategy. But the problem now is that no one believes the other side is actually following tit for tat, but is instead following a “screw the other guy” strategy, which is why the only time real legislation passes is when each party holds both houses and the presidency (setting aside the truly pro-establishment bills that both sides really do agree on).

            If you think the other side is following a “screw the other guy” strategy then you have no reason to not escalate – the only way to get ahead is to screw the other guy harder than he screwed you last time, which is a perpetually escalating model (and what we’ve seen over the past ~15 years, or 20 years if you think self serving perjury shouldn’t be impeached). Since the other guy is just going to screw you regardless of what you do, there’s no reason to take a consistent moral stand from a third party perspective, but to wholly focus on what’s in your immediate best interest.

            Which is why (taking the comments uncharitably) Trump tried to bribe Ukraine to backstab is next opponent, and why (again, uncharitably) Obama directed Biden to bribe the Ukrainians to stop investigating their money laundering program through Zlochevsky‘s companies, and then threatened anyone trying to uncover his corruption by saying they would “go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life.”

            1. Sorry, squirrels. This should be to an earlier reply.

            2. Obama directed Biden to bribe the Ukrainians to stop investigating their money laundering program through Zlochevsky‘s companies,

              You talk about things that didn’t happen to support your arguments.

              You are being gullible. Too much Fox, Limbaugh, etc.

              1. How do you know that didn’t happen?

                The only thing I added was motive, everything else is the way Biden describes it – and I did that while explicitly marking it as the uncharitable interpretation.

                Since that version is consonant with the known facts the only way you can know it’s wrong is if you’re either a principal (are you?) or your worldview is one where the Obama administration is presumed to be acting with good intent. And then you flip that around and assume the Trump administration is acting with ill intent.

                I’m pretty sure there’s a word that describes always picking one side of a conflict regardless of the facts, and it’s spelled almost the same as a pole arm.

                Interestingly, you must watch a lot of Fox and listen to Limbaugh, since I do neither. More interesting is that you’re implying that because you think that’s my source for a logical fallacy breakdown of partisanship – do non-Fox news channels never evaluate internal biases? I really don’t watch any network news, this is a serious question.

                1. There’s a papertrail of many people other than Biden calling on the US to get the prosecutor fired for slow-rolling corruption investigations. You motive doesn’t hold up.

                  1. That, plus Biden didn’t demand that an investigation be ended.

          2. You mean the ambassador who, according to Ukrainian prosecutors, gave them a list of people and organizations that the US explicitly wanted them to not investigate? The anti-corruption ambassador who said not to investigate specific corrupt people, who happened to be paying millions per year to the families of US government officials?

            Note that it doesn’t actually matter whether it’s true or not that she did this, what matters is that it’s reasonable for Trump to think that she might have.

            I can’t be sure that the cop who shot Philando Castile is a racist bastard, but I have enough to be suspicious as hell and not want him employed as the violent arm of the people. Just because I may be wrong doesn’t mean that the suspicion is unfounded.

            1. Whoa! Just because that same ambassador was publicly trashing the President she was supposed to be working for, and denying visas to Ukrainian officials that wanted to come to the US to deliver evidence of corruption involving US officials… that’s no good reason for the President to remove her for someone that would actually do the job they were supposed to do!

            2. You mean the ambassador who, according to Ukrainian prosecutors, gave them a list of people and organizations that the US explicitly wanted them to not investigate? The anti-corruption ambassador who said not to investigate specific corrupt people, who happened to be paying millions per year to the families of US government officials?

              Don’t be a gullible idiot. That never happened. The prosecutor involved admitted that he made it up.

              1. Lutsenko, did not recant. After the report of the supposed denial, the NYT contacted him and he verified his original statements, and has no idea who put out the bogus story about him recanting. John Solomon has the time line all laid out.

                1. John Solomon is a fraud who got fired from his job at the Hill because they couldn’t tolerate his conduct anymore. (They first tried to mitigate it by labeling everything he wrote “opinion” and claiming that he didn’t speak for them.)

              2. See, this is the problem.

                You seem to think that reality is the benchmark to use to measure a persons intent. I think their knowledge is.

                I don’t think it’s even meaningful to try to use reality to determine why a person did what they did, I think you have to use what they believed to be true regardless of its actual truth value.

                “That never happened, the prosecutor said he made it up!”

                But did Trump AT THE TIME know that? Would he even have believed it if he’d seen it reported? I think the answer is No to both, and so any such recantation is immaterial – it either hadn’t happened yet (Trump didn’t know) or wasn’t believed (and that’s setting aside the assertion below that the prosecutor never made any such recantation, and that the reports of it are purely false – I haven’t looked into it, so I have no opinion on the matter).

                If we used your version, where the underlying reality is used to judge intent of past actions, we get truly horrifying results. Like FDR wanted to exterminate the Jews because he chose not to enter WWII until after we’d been attacked, which gave Hitler the time he needed for the Final Solution. Or that you’re trying to subvert the US democracy right now in this very thread if we learn in a few years that the Bidens really has been corrupt.

                I think that’s an absurd standard to use, and everyone must be judged based on what they knew at the time. Even when they were wrong. We can even hold them to account for what they fail to investigate. But this “Trump must be bad because my guy is good, and I know my guy is good because he’s opposed to that evil Trump” is purely specious.

              3. There are literally letters from the US Embassy to the Ukrainian government pressuring the government against investigating certain people.

                Among others.

                https://www.scribd.com/document/402559592/Embassy2GPLetter4-4-16

            3. “You mean the ambassador who, according to Ukrainian prosecutors, gave them a list of people and organizations that the US explicitly wanted them to not investigate?”

              If you mean Lutsenko, he recanted. Which other “prosecutors” were you thinking of?

              1. NToJ, apparently these guys get everything they think from Fox, and Fox doesn’t report when the claims get debunked. Pretty obviously, right wingers here were not listening to the impeachment testimony as it unfolded. On any factual basis, Trump is now totally without a defense. But these guys are never going to hear about that.

                Listen up Trump guys. It’s time to start paying attention to the mainstream media. At least that way, you can see the real stuff unfolding in real time, and come to your own unfiltered judgment.

                1. As noted above he did not recant as confirmed by the NYT, a member of the MSM last I heard, among others. He stands by his assertion that the ambassador told him to stand down on corruption probes. Somehow your filtered judgement prevented you from seeing that unfold in real time.

                  1. Maybe what is preventing me from seeing your point is your indefinite antecedents. Are you talking about some of that exotic Ukrainian whataboutery, or what?

                    The hearing testimony left Trump defenseless on the facts. Which is why Republicans will be looking exclusively at process protests, and distractions, going forward.

                    1. What, the NYTs reported against their interests, and actual letters have been revealed, that show that there WERE instructions given to the Ukrainians to not investigate certain companies and people, and you respond with a rant about Fox?

                      Look, Lutsenko did not recant. ABC’s claim to that is an unnamed “Russian language website”. Lutsenko says it is true. Kent said it was true. The letters are public, and linked above.

                      Listen up, TDS sufferer – it is time to actually leave your bubble and let some thoughts that might conflict with your prejudice into your head.
                      The impeachment hearings left Trump in a very solid position – No one could say Trump had demanded a quid pro quo. No one could testify to seeing bribery, or extortion, or any crime at all. Which is why impeachment support has dropped significantly nationwide.

                    2. The letters are public, and linked above.

                      No letter linked above gives “instructions” to the Ukrainians to “not investigate certain companies and people.”

            4. You mean the ambassador who, according to Ukrainian prosecutors, gave them a list of people and organizations that the US explicitly wanted them to not investigate? The anti-corruption ambassador who said not to investigate specific corrupt people, who happened to be paying millions per year to the families of US government officials?

              The problem is that every single word here is made up.

              1. Well, except for the true parts: like the letter Kent sent to the Ukraine dated April 4, 2016, which specifically tells the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Action Center to stop investigating certain companies and organizations.

                Since you pretend to be knowledgeable about this topic, I’m sure you’ve read the letter. Maybe you just forgot. Surely you wouldn’t make factual declarations, especially false ones like this, without actually having any knowledge? Why, that would be the act of a lying bullshitter!

        3. There are five evidentiary reasons why Trump is not interested in weeding out corruption:

          1) He only wanted Zelensky to announce an investigation. The claim that such an announcement would publicly commit Zelensky to investigate is not persuasive.

          2) He put Giuliani in charge instead of the Justice Department. Why would he send his personal hatchet man to do the job rather than an official investigative arm if he wanted to weed out corruption?

          3) He kept his actions private. Why would he do that if he was properly weeding out corruption?

          4) He gave up after getting caught. Why would he do that if he was properly weeding out corruption.

          5) He only wants announcements of items that help him politically. If he wants to weed out corruption, there would be more things on his list.

          1. 1) Yes, publically announcing an investigation gives more weight that an investigation will occur than not pressuring it.

            2) The DOJ has been less than perfectly reliable, and certain members may have had other priorities than what the President asked. In addition, you may ask, why was Biden in Ukraine “fighting corruption” rather than the DOJ?

            3) Negotiations are typically kept private.

            4) Interestingly enough, it brought the corruption to light. Now Congress has more interest in investigating.

            5) The Crowdstrike thing wouldn’t help him politically.

            1. 1) The alternative explanation is that the President cared more about a public announcement than he did about weeding out corruption.

              2) As opposed to the Ukrainians? Or the State Department? Anyway, the DOJ is headed by the administration. You send the VP because the VP is the second-in-command of the administration. Giuliani is not the Vice President.

              3) Be careful here. If it was a negotiation, that’s quid pro quo. You need to pick your defense. It can’t be quid pro quo if Zelensky didn’t know about the withholding. (It can’t be a negotiation, either, so maybe walk this one back.)

              4) I can’t tell what “corruption” was brought “to light” by the President’s actions. If you mean Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma, the NYT was reporting it years ago. (How do you think the President found out about it?)

              5) Because it’s an embarrassingly stupid conspiracy theory. But the President doesn’t know that. What he thought it would reveal is that the Ukrainians were in the pocket of the Democrats, and were out to get him, and yet glorious leader prevailed despite those efforts. Why wouldn’t that help him politically? It would also help him personally, since he’s obsessed with showing that the Russians did not interfere in 2016, it was those Ukrainians, actually, you see.

              1. It can’t be quid pro quo if Zelensky didn’t know about the withholding.

                That bit baffles me. I confess, I don’t know if Zelensky was yet in office when the withholding began. But whoever was, presumably during week 1 of the withholding, they noticed they were not yet getting the aid. Which means they knew it was being withheld, and would after a week or two more, start to get a bit tense about it. The whole, “They did not know about the withholding,” bit is nonsense. Even if they did not yet understand they were being set up for a quid pro quo demand, they were being set up, and would have felt the building pressure accordingly, week by week.

                That is all Trump needed. When Trump was ready with his demand, he knew his targets would be in a receptive frame of mind, because of the withholding (and the record shows they were receptive). Trump didn’t have to say, “Watch me, while I extort you.” But eventually, being Trump, he basically did say that, “I would like you to do us a favor, though”

                1. That bit baffles me.

                  If you start with the realization that the arguments are made in bad faith, it’s easier to understand them.

                  But whoever was, presumably during week 1 of the withholding, they noticed they were not yet getting the aid. Which means they knew it was being withheld, and would after a week or two more, start to get a bit tense about it.

                  It’s worse than that: because the freeze was part of Trump’s illegitimate scheme, it was done ad hoc. Trump’s gang of crooks was careful not to make it official, so the people who the Ukrainians interfaced with — such as our ambassador or their stateside contacts — couldn’t tell them why the aid wasn’t forthcoming.

                  But, of course, Rudy was extorting them through back channels, so anyone with more than a modicum of sense could deduce why.

          2. I think each of these are weak evidence in the case of Trump, but would be stronger evidence in the case of either of the last two Presidents.

            1) he “only” wanted an announcement is a conclusion, not a known fact. Wanting an announcement is a reasonably likely part of wanting an investigation, and we have little evidence that he didn’t want an investigation. Of course, if you start with Trump is bad that’s an easy conclusion, but you can’t start there to convince a Trump supporter

            2) Giuliani – the corruption is in Ukraine, not the US, so sending the Attorney General – who he explicitly calls out on the call with the president as someone to work with – isn’t particularly meaningful – a US prosecutor (which Giuliani used to be) doesn’t have any power in Ukraine. Also, Trumps incompetent. He may also think the deep state fills the Justice department and will cover for the Bidens if that’s where the corruption lies, it that’s just (informed) speculation on my part.

            3) he didn’t really keep it private. It wasn’t broadcast in advance, because that’s what the Ukrainian President was supposed to do, but he released the “transcript” (actual: notes) of the call right away once it came up – unlike his tax returns.

            4) he gave up – pretty sure I already covered incompetence. And if he’s convinced the deep state is undermining him, once it gets out he no longer has first mover advantage and switches to another tack.

            5) he only does things that help him…… is different than every other president how? (Note: excepting Bush the Elder on raising taxes, that was against his self interest). Assume that he wants to quash corruption, but that he has limited time, attention, and resources. Where does he move forward? Where doing so will also benefit another desire – if he quashes a corrupt opponent he gets two wins – no more corruption, and bettering his re-election odds. That’s an easy explanation if you don’t assume he’s acting in bad faith from the start.

            1. 1) He only demanded an announcement. If he wanted an investigation, he would have demanded an investigation.

              2) The alleged corruption involves Americans.

              3) He kept it private until he got caught.

              4) Incompetence is a weak defense.

              5) I only had enough resources to weed out corruption that helps me politically is also a weak defense.

              And, one other piece of evidence: Trump continues to insist there was no quid pro quo. If he wanted to weed out corruption he would be bragging about the quid pro quo. Instead, Trump acts like a quid pro quo is unethical.

          3. There are five evidentiary reasons why Trump is not interested in weeding out corruption:

            There are many more reasons than that.

            6) When he spoke to Zelensky the first time, he didn’t mention corruption at all. In fact, he even falsely put out a readout claiming he had, but the recently-released non-transcript shows otherwise.

            7) When he spoke to Zelensky the second time, he didn’t mention corruption.

            8) His own irregular emissary said that all he cared about was Biden.

            9) When caught, he didn’t say, “Yes, there was a QPQ; I was concerned about corruption so I didn’t want funds released”; he said, “No, there was no QPQ.”

            10) He made up a bunch of other excuses, like the claim that he was withholding funds because Europeans hadn’t given enough money.

            11) Those excuses don’t make sense. How would us not giving funds and not telling anyone about it induce the Europeans to give more money? If that were his concern, why not publicly announce, “We don’t think we should carry the burden alone; we’re not giving the funds until the Europeans increase their contributions”?

    3. When there’s a change of regime (eg, from Obama to Trump), then what should the new regime do with evidence of possible misconduct under the prior regime?

      Whatever you say the answer to this question should be, now, I’m sure your answer will be different once we’ve finally gotten Trump out of office.

      1. By all means let President Biden or Comrade President Sanders unleash their resources against Trump. He will at least be able to afford a good defense. So at least we’ll have a jury to inform us whether the charges are well-founded.

        The Bill of Rights flourishes in its full glory when the defendant is rich. The Bill of Rights safeguards will protect a rich defendant against vindictive Democratic prosecutors. Or if he should chance to be guilty, then by all means let him be convicted.

        I would only worry if Trump were a poor guy without the money for a good defense. Then I’d be concerned he might get wrongly convicted, as has been known to happen.

        1. However, thank you for being zealously on guard against my hypothetical future behavior.

        2. You see, the whole *point* of the Bill of Rights is that a defendant (at least a rich one) doesn’t need to worry about whether the prosecutors like him or play golf with him or are willing to cut him a break, because he has the power to challenge the prosecution’s case in front of a jury, confront adverse witnesses, summon his own witnesses, and enjoy all the rights which a citizen of a free country ought to have.

          (It is otherwise with the poor, who can get squeezed into surrendering their rights with a plea bargain, and sometimes it later turns out that they were innocent people coerced into guilty pleas.)

        3. Ha, the idea that Trump will pay a cent of his own defense is laughable. No, he’s going straight to his supporters for that one. The same way he declared his campaign so early on to create a slush fund for his media strategy.

          But no, I fully expect you to spin 180 degrees on this.

          1. OK, then, spell out exactly what hypothetical future me will say.

            1. What’s the matter, is your crystal ball in the shop or something?

              Tell me what I’m going to say. Inquiring minds want to know.

              1. All right then, let’s start with a simple question:

                How many fingers am I holding up?

                Wow, lucky guess. Now can you tell me which finger it is?

                Correct again!

                Uncanny.

        4. Unless part of the accusation is that his funds were ill gotten, in which case they’ll seize them to prevent an effective defense.

          Which is merely evidence that we need the defense to have the same budget as the prosecution – including the police – to ensure that those the State accuses can make every viable defense.

          You could add in some sort of sanctions for abuse, but the problem remains without adequate funding.

    4. Has *any president since Ford done anything against a previous administration outside of blaming them for everything that’s wrong at the moment or pardoning them outright?

      It was a gut punch to this teen when the old man explained to me that presidents and corp board members nearly always give a pass to the old boss. Because it could be them in hot water next, etc.

      It’s been this way so long its hard to imagine that there’s a different way…

  4. Under the Constitution, the Legislative branch is the only one empowered to remove members of the other two co-equal branches. If it could impeach any judge, president, or vice president any time they offended a majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate, then we could have a tyranny of the Legislature. The limitation of impeachment only to cases of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors thus serves as a check on the power of Congress. It was the text that was ratified, not Alexander Hamilton’s understanding of it. Nor do we really think that only offenses of public men are covered. If a president raped someone, or cheated on her taxes, or shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, Federalist 65 would not be a very good defense against impeachment, would it?

    1. If it could impeach any judge, president, or vice president any time they offended a majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate, then we could have a tyranny of the Legislature.

      Aka, a government “of the people, by the people,” but whatevs.

      1. You mean, “a government of the majority, by the majority, and screw any minorities by stripping them of their ability to vote the next time too.”

        1. That’s the Republican plan, sure, but not what I meant.

        2. You mean, “a government of the majority, by the majority, and screw any minorities by stripping them of their ability to vote the next time too.”

          Conviction in the senate requires 67 votes. That’s a bit more than a mere majority.

    2. In many ways the reason we don’t impeach unpopular officials wholesale with a tyranny by the legislature is self restraint by politicians. The impeachment charges against Andrew Johnson in 1868 were not violations of criminal statutes but rather a power struggle between Congress and Johnson (or more honestly between Reconstruction and the South). So impeachment doesn’t need to involve a stated “crime”.

      We do seem to be moving toward removing anybody unpopular. I’ve seen arguments about Mike Pence being power mad and starting to outline the reasons he needs to also be impeached. In his case it is somewhat worse since he’s more consistently opposed the primary Democratic Party policy plank (pro-abortion).

      A major reason why the United States government “works” and provides us with the freedoms we have is that officials follow the rules. In many countries the constitution is written and then ignored. In the United States so far politicians and officials have constrained themselves to obey the law and constitution.

      1. In the United States so far politicians and officials have constrained themselves to obey the law and constitution.

        Hahaha! Presidents and Congresses and the courts have tried to trample the Constitution at every turn. It’s only the tension and balance among them that has restrained the dawning of a dictatorship or autocracy. Ever hear of the Commerce Clause? That damned thing has been stretched more than a vagina during birth, with even more pain for the public.

    3. The limitation of impeachment only to cases of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors thus serves as a check on the power of Congress.

      Pop quiz: which branch gets to define “high crimes and misdemeanors”?

      1. pop quiz. Who has the power to overturn an impeachment?

        1. pop quiz. Who has the power to overturn an impeachment?

          Uh, nobody.

      2. The same branch that defines the crimes of “murder”, “theft”, and “washing a fish at a non-fishing-washing faucet”.

        Personally, I’ve become convinced that Congress should be required to pass a statute that defines what qualifies, same as any other crime, before someone can be charged with it.

        1. How do you define abuse of power? How about violating your oath of office to support and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic? You see the problem right?

          1. And yet we’ve managed to create a legal framework for abuse of power for lesser Federal officials, or even standard commercial employment.

            I don’t think it would be simple, or perfect on the first try, but anything would be better than the current situation that has now produced the Clinton impeachment and now this Trump-Schiff circus. Especially now that Congress is trying to use it to justify the truly extraordinary subpoena powers it’s trying to exercise.

  5. Impeachment is political, and I agree doesn’t need to identify a specific crime in the criminal statutes. This should be obvious by the fact there were very few Federal crimes until recently.

    The first (I think) impeachment resolution introduced in 2017 is really the most honest and in many ways what the Democrats should go with. It basically says “we don’t like what he says and some of what he’s done”. That’s at least being honest, they’ve spent 3 years promising to impeach and it’s the most consistent charge.

    Whether behavior with respect to Ukraine should be impeachable is difficult. I see both sides creating a (partially fictional) narrative to emphasize their point of view. But it’s much harder to impeach (or argue against impeachment) when the facts of the case involve mutually contradictory statements and actions along with Mr. Trump saying outrageous things. Is this impeachable or just an administration which appears to operate in a relatively chaotic environment?

    It’s not clear whether Trump’s actions are much different from actions by previous Presidents. Has no previous President made foreign aid conditional on something which benefits him personally? Is potential benefit to his re-election that much worse a crime than “traditional” non-election based corruption? Should Trump be impeached because this time we’ve decided it’s a really, really bad thing while in the past possibly corrupt actions were largely ignored?

    In the case of Nixon, it isn’t clear the Watergate break in was unique, but Nixon’s the one who was caught. Of course, Nixon would have been impeached for lying and coverup, not the break itself. Similarly, Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades were apparently nothing new for a sitting President, but he was impeached for perjury and obstruction, not having sex.

    So should Donald Trump be impeached for putting conditions on foreign aid? Are we splitting hairs to come up with a reason why this reason is worse than other reasons for making aid conditional?

    So I think it much simpler to impeach Trump for doing things we don’t like than to try to find a real crime. After all, the courts found his campaign statements good enough reason to enjoin the “Muslim ban”, stating that it would have been legal if anybody else had done it. It would be much more refreshing if the Democrats just say Donald Trump commits the high crime of breathing and be done with it.

    1. So should Donald Trump be impeached for putting conditions on foreign aid?

      No one has cited any legal authority Trump had to put “conditions” on this military aid, which was specifically appropriated by Congress and vital to American and Ukrainian interests. Indeed, when career officials raised concerns about the legality of the “hold,” they were pushed aside.

      As for the conditions in question – I guess we’ve now advanced to the point of no longer pretending that Trump cared about “corruption” or other countries “doing their part” – it’s evident that even Trump’s top aides understood that what they were doing was extremely shady. If this was something that they truly felt presidents did “all the time,” then there would have been no need to involve Giuliani or to tap Sondland to pinch-hit on Ukraine. As Hill put it, the “three amigos” were on a domestic political errand, while the State Department officials were furthering the interests of the United States.

      Was that uniquely and unprecedentedly bad? Well, if you can think of other examples where presidents have abused their power and undermined American interests in order to further their own personal political prospects, you’re more than welcome to cite a few. For bonus credit, you can also explain why, if Trump is allowed what he has done here, we shouldn’t expect things to get a whole lot worse through 2020 and, heaven forbid, a second term.

      1. Section 1237 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, as amended by the NDAA of 2019 (the aid laws applicable to these funds, you have to read both to actually understand the second, because we can’t just write understandable laws) required the Defense and State secretaries to certify that Ukraine had “taken substantial actions” to, among other things, reduce corruption.

        If you think that the Executive power resides in the President per our constitution then any delegation of authority to a lesser actor necessarily empowers the greater actor, and so the a president can make, omit, alter, or rescind any such certification by any Executive branch actor.

        If, for example, Trump believed that Ukraine had not in fact made the substantial progress required by the Congress then he would be obligated to ensure that his agents (Secretaries of State and Defense) had accurately made their certification. And on the flip side, if lessor actors in the Executive violate the law the President could be impeached for failing to “take care that the laws are faithfully executed.”

        1. Section 1237…

          The requisite certifications had been made, and the aid announced, prior to the aid being held at the President’s behest. The president might have some room to decline to accept those certifications, though he would need to have some reason to do so, and could not act arbitrarily or capriciously. In any event, had Trump simply decided that the DOD and DOS had somehow failed to properly vet Ukraine’s progress and qualification for the aid, that would have been a rationale he could offer when he suspended the aid. However, by all accounts, no explanation was provided to people who questioned the legality of the hold. People who asked were pushed aside.

          1. Right, but the Trump administration is incompetent (maybe more charitably, inept), so we need a way to distinguish between Trumpian maliciousness, Trumpian blundering, and administrative ineptness.

          2. The requisite certifications had been made, and the aid announced, prior to the aid being held at the President’s behest. The president might have some room to decline to accept those certifications, though he would need to have some reason to do so, and could not act arbitrarily or capriciously.

            Moreover, he was required to notify Congress if aid was being withheld because those conditions hadn’t been met. He didn’t. In fact, he kept the whole thing secret from Congress.

          3. Conditions on foreign aid . . . hmmm. Made in a slapdash manner?

            This reminds me of something I saw Joe Biden bragging about in a video once . . .

    2. So should Donald Trump be impeached for putting conditions on foreign aid?

      Instructing a foreign government to launch an investigation into your political opponents is “splitting hairs”?

      Ladies and Gentlemen – the sorry state of modern conservatism at show right here.

      1. You’re begging the question.

        Based on what we know – not what we conclude – it would be just as accurate to say the Trump asked Ukraine to commit to investigating corruption.

        You seem to object to Trumpians interpreting his acts charitably, while at the same time only interpreting them damningly.

        Trumps actions (that we know of) are just as consistent with an incompetent anti-corruption campaign against internal and external corrupt interference in the US political system as it is with a nefarious intent to frame a potential rival.

        1. Who would “interpret his acts charitably”. To do that we would have to have some basis for thinking he acted for anyone else’s benefit but his own. A situation that has yet to present itself. So no we can’t give him the benefit of doubt.

          1. Trumpians probably think he’s acting for the good of the country.

            Sure, many likely voted for him as a protest vote that was funnier than Johnson, but when they won and he started implementing generic Republican policies they were probably pretty happy with it. Same reason many of his supporters like his Twitter – they find it hilarious, while his opponents find it abhorrent (I find it both, and now know what a giggling gimace feels like on my face).

            The ~40% of never-Trumpers were always there, you have to convince actual Trump supporters though, and these arguments are almost designed to convince them it really is a witch hunt.

            Of course we should just throw him in a lake. If he drowns, he was innocent.

            1. Yeah, thinking that using the power of the Presidency to target individual Democrats for smears helps the country is part of the reason we’re in this mess.

            2. So my question to you is: Based on everything you have experienced with respect to President Trump do you have any confidence that he will act in the best interests of the country if it doesn’t coincide with his own? Furthermore would you engage in a business deal with him or his companies or allow your sister, wife or daughter unaccompanied to be in the same room with him? I know my answers to these questions!

        2. “Trumps actions (that we know of) are just as consistent with an incompetent anti-corruption campaign against internal and external corrupt interference in the US political system as it is with a nefarious intent to frame a potential rival.”

          That’s some genuine birther-class analysis right there.

    3. Just a reminder, Thomas. The underlying cause of Trump’s impeachment, when it happens, will be an attempt to use his otherwise legitimate power over foreign policy to subvert a U.S. election, on his own behalf. There is no longer the slightest doubt he did that. Also, there is notable circumstantial evidence he used other means to subvert the previous election, the one which put him in office.

      1. Since you claim there can’t be even the slightest doubt then you have to explain what actions that we know (not those we suspect or infer) that’s inconsistent with a theory of anti-corruption.

        We know that Trump claims he thinks that then”deep state” is out to get him, and I at least think it’s fair to conclude that he actually thinks that.

        We know that Trump asked Ukraine to publicly announce an investigation into a company whose owner inexplicably received billions of dollars of US aid that vanished, and continued to have more US aid channels through his bank after billions went lost.

        We know that Ukrainian prosecutors claim to have been told by the then-US Ambassador not to investigate or prosecute that oligarch, any of his companies, or Hunter Biden.

        We know that Trump claims he thinks that the Obama administration used the power of the state to prevent his election, and again I think it’s fair to conclude that he actually believes this.

        We know that no one who directly interacted with the President (of those who have testified) thought that there was an inappropriate quid pro quo at the time, although at least one now thinks after being presented new information that there was.

        What of these, or other facts you might add, are contradictory to an anti-corruption intent? Please try to discern between conclusions drawn and known facts, and of those drawn conclusions which are based on a predetermination that Trump is a corrupt person himself, with this evidence as proof of his corruption, but which is based on the knowledge that he’s corrupt – a self proving theory can could be applied to anyone.

        1. Where does Mr. Mulvaney fit into the world you perceive?

        2. Robert Beckman, you were not watching the testimony live on TV, as it unfolded, were you? If you were, you are just lying about what happened. So I am pretty sure you did not watch.

          You have an emergency need to turn off Fox, and try some other channels. And given your apparent distrust of mainstream media, just confine yourself to watching events as they unfold, so you can see for yourself.

          1. Of course I didn’t watch the hearings in real time, what an absurd waste of time for anyone not making money off it.

            It’s interesting to me that you think any of that came from Fox, when all of it came from either the NYT (delivered at home) or WaPo, especially when you neither add any facts nor correct any errors.

            The difference is that I’m discerning between actual observations and conclusions or inferences, and it’s those inferences that are the damning part. They may even be right, but we don’t have the track record of any of those testifying to measure against to determine if we should believe something merely because they believe it – they have no demonstrated track record of consistently making the right inferences.

            To put it into a historical context, the intelligence apparatuses of all Western nations though that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons (or at least the beginnings of one). It turned out they were all wrong, but for a very reasonable set of reasons – it looked like he did, because part of his strategy was to convince people he did have them (and if you read any of the detailed reports, he may even have though that he did have them, and was being misled by his own people).

            Was it a reasonable inference to believe that Iraq had nukes? Yes
            Was it true? No

            The same applies here.

            Is it reasonable to infer that Trump sought Ukrainian help for purely personal gain? Yes.
            Is it true? We don’t know.

            What we do know is that some of the ways to determine the likelihood of Trump acting in good faith are not being pursued by the Democrats, which should raise its own inference about the motivations of the investigators – all while remembering that just because a cop is corrupt it doesn’t mean the guy he arrested didn’t break the law.

        3. We know that Trump asked Ukraine to publicly announce an investigation into a company whose owner inexplicably received billions of dollars of US aid that vanished, and continued to have more US aid channels through his bank after billions went lost.

          No. Not a word of this is accurate. You have garbled all sorts of random assertions together. Burisma (or Zlochevsky) did not receive U.S. aid, let alone billions, and no billions were lost. This is all completely wrong.

          We know that Ukrainian prosecutors claim to have been told by the then-US Ambassador not to investigate or prosecute that oligarch, any of his companies, or Hunter Biden.

          Nope. You’ve garbled all of this too. None of that happened. A Ukrainian prosecutor, not “prosecutors,” once claimed to have been given a list of people not to prosecute, but none of those people were Zlochevksy, Burisma, or Biden. He has since admitted he was not given such a list. But the ambassador had expressed concern that prosecutors were harassing anti-corruption NGOs.

          We know that no one who directly interacted with the President (of those who have testified) thought that there was an inappropriate quid pro quo at the time, although at least one now thinks after being presented new information that there was.

          Nope. Numerous people have testified that when they learned what was happening they thought it was inappropriate at the time.

    4. Thomas, do you think that distinguishing between an action taken for pure motives and the same action taken corruptly is “splitting hairs”?

      1. I don’t know if it should be splitting hairs or not. We know there have been shady dealings by politicians in the past. We also know that there has been a concerted effort to impeach Donald Trump for 3 years. This includes prior statements of proof of various misdeeds which never went anyplace. I’d honestly like to be able to find out whether these actions are out of line or not. I’ve seen enough double standards applied to Trump verses other politicians to be very skeptical of statements that this is crossing some sort of line which was never crossed in the past.

        It should also be clear that the purpose of impeachment is not to prove things in the manner of a criminal court. Impeachment and the Senate trial will be a political contest to see which side can get enough votes.

        1. We also know that there has been a concerted effort to impeach Donald Trump for 3 years.

          A “concerted effort” that did not actually involve trying to impeach him.

          1. A half dozen (or perhaps more) impeachment resolutions, constant public and press statements by Representatives and Senators about proof of impeachable crimes, constant media demands for impeachment.

            This is much more action than is done for any normal campaign promise, so I guess I consider it a “concerted effort”.

            1. How many impeachment resolutions aimed at Obama were there?

              1. There was pne resolution and one hearing aimed at President Obama according to Wikipedia. There were certainly also attempts to link President Obama to scandals (e.g. Fast and Furious). I never found the evidence compelling in those cases.

      2. It doesn’t have to be “splitting hairs” to fall far short of a “high crime”.

    5. “It’s not clear whether Trump’s actions are much different from actions by previous Presidents.”

      If that’s “not clear” to you then your head is in the sand, but what kind of response is this? “previous Presidents” have been impeached. Be specific about which “previous Presidents” did what you consider analogous to what President Trump is accused of doing, here.

      “Should Trump be impeached because this time we’ve decided it’s a really, really bad thing while in the past possibly corrupt actions were largely ignored?”

      What “past possibly corrupt actions [that] were largely ignored” are you talking about?

      “So should Donald Trump be impeached for putting conditions on foreign aid?”

      You may disagree with people who answer this question “yes”. But you asking it suggests that in your view there is no “putting conditions on foreign aid” by a President that constitutes impeachable conduct. If President Trump had conditioned aid to Zelenskyy on the Ukrainian President selling underage children to this administration to perform sexual favors, still just a absolute right of the President as the leader of foreign policy? If you have a limit, what is it? An underlying crime (according to federal criminal law)?

    6. “It would be much more refreshing if the Democrats just say Donald Trump commits the high crime of breathing and be done with it.”

      Is there a long history of Democrats impeaching other Presidents for just “breathing”? Did I miss those impeachment proceedings?

      1. Literally within less than a month of Trump taking the presidency, there were calls to impeach him by Democrats. Because “Trump”.

        1. Or, you know, because Emoluments.

          1. Yes, yes, I know. If Trump just had all his extra money from the US government funneled directly to him like Obama did, there wouldn’t be a problem. If only Trump had directed the State department to buy tens of thousands of dollars of his book, like Obama did, it would all by OK

            Enoluments. Hah.

            1. $700,000. Obama would pocketed a cool $7,000 from that deal. Be less lame.

              The point is Trump started doing questionable stuff immediately upon taking office, so the idea that he was persecuted for nothing from the beginning rings quite hollow.

        2. “Literally within less than a month of Trump taking the presidency, there were calls to impeach him by Democrats. Because “Trump”.”

          I’m having a conversation with ThomasW about impeachment history. Please reread my comment. “other Presidents just for ‘breathing'” means presidents other than Donald Trump. And we’re not talking about “calls to impeach him by [people]” we’re talking about actual impeachment.

          1. In February 2017, literally 3 weeks in the Presidency of Trump, 46% of respondants in a poll supported impeachment because…”reasons”. Democratic politicians soon followed up, calling for impeachment in March (a month later) because…”Trump”.

            1. Emoluments. Trump was already pushing Constitutional boundaries.

              Just because you’ve decided you’re okay with it doesn’t mean everyone that disagrees with you does so in partisan bad faith.

    7. facts of the case involve mutually contradictory statements and actions along with Mr. Trump saying outrageous things. Is this impeachable or just an administration which appears to operate in a relatively chaotic environment?

      Agreed. This is very hard to determine. Does it warrant the President being removed from office? Here’s an idea. Let’s poll the population and let the people decide? Whoa! Look at this! An election is already on the calendar. No muss no fuss. A self governing populace. What a concept! (It does run the risk of the people not knowing what is good for themselves, and they re-elect President Trump for a second term)

      1. I guess the good news is that this is what will almost certainly happen. The Senate won’t convict, leaving the decision to the now fully informed voters.

        1. The voters are now fully informed but not in the way that you would like to see. And when Trump wins in 2020 the coup attempts will begin anew. You have exhausted the 25A, emoluments, Russian collusion, and bribery. Maybe next time you can find him in bed with dead girl or a live boy.

      2. President accused of abusing power in order to attack his political opponents? No problem! Let him stay in office and run for re-election, and let the people decide!

        1. The Senate will not convict, but a properly presented impeachment trial will inform the electorate in making its November decision.

    8. “Has no previous President made foreign aid conditional on something which benefits him personally?”

      Good question. Can you or anyone else cite an instance of a previous President doing it? I read a lot of US history, and nothing springs to mind. Mick Mulvaney seemed to think it was just the normal state of affairs, and who are any of us to argue with him?

      1. Almost every action every president takes?

        Presumably every president thinks that if they are effective governors they will benefit personally, by being re-elected or by being written about historically as great presidents.

        So every action they take is one they think will benefit them personally, but which will also benefit the nation.

        Instead you need examples of actions a president has taken that they think will harm the nation, but benefit them personally. Not something they think is in the national interest, but you and I think is not – it has to be something they themselves think is bad for the nation.

        As a mirror example, President Bush the Elder thought that raising taxes was necessary for the long term stability of the nation, even knowing it would hurt him personally – and he was right, he lost.

        Given the vitriol directed at Trump even before his inauguration I doubt he thinks he’d get away with anything, and so always acts in what he considers to be a proper manner. That you and I find it noxious is immaterial – it has to be something he thinks is bad, but that he does anyway. Like a drug dealer giving little kids heroin, he knows it bad for them but wants to profit off their expense.

        1. Instead you need examples of actions a president has taken that they think will harm the nation, but benefit them personally. Not something they think is in the national interest, but you and I think is not – it has to be something they themselves think is bad for the nation.

          Which is exactly what Trump did. Unless he is beyond utterly incompetent, which seems to be the defense you’re offering, he knew this was harmful to the nation.

          1. How about stopping the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system to our allies, in order to satisfy Russia, using that during his re-election campaign that very publicly downplayed the Russian threats and over-hyped that President’s “engagement” with Putin?
            I seem to remember there was something about “more flexibility after the election” in there, too, on that topic…

            Does backstabbing an ally, damaging the US ability to defend against missile attacks, and propping up an enemy nation count as “beyond utterly incompetent” or knowing it “was harmful to the nation”?

          2. What did Trump do that he thought was harmful to the nation?

            I hope this isn’t just “smear an opponent” as most allegations have been, because every candidate does that (though it would be really funny if that was the new standard for impeachment, and one I’d wholeheartedly support).

            I’d assume that Trump thinks he’s a better president than anyone else, so by his lights almost anything he does to secure a re-election won’t pass this test.

            That’s why it’s such a bad rubric “benefits him personally.”

            1. It’s not that he thought it was harmful, it’s that he didn’t care. He’s acting in his own electoral interest, and any duty to America seems to not exist at all.

              Your standard of malice towards America would let a bunch of spies off the hook, since they were just doing it for money and maybe weren’t aware of the harm.

              1. What was America’s interest and how was it harmed by the short delay in releasing the Ukraine funds?

                1. It’s not just risking the funds, it’s the coercion, election interference, message it sends allies and foes, ignoring a Congress’s directives…

                  1. So no answer on how America had an interest in the fund timeliness. Lots of made up gobbledygook that you came up with two weeks ago. Unprincipled stories and pretense, as always.

                  2. The delay was indefinite until Trump got caught. Even your extremely narrow goalpost is wrong.

                    What are you taking about 2 weeks ago? You’re the one who was insisting no quid pro quo and are now arguing it was actually a cool and good exchange.

                    1. Nothing happened. All you have is conjecture about motives and a delay in funding to a country where corruption is a valid concern.

                    2. Yeah, attempt is still a thing. Which has been pointed out to you before.

                    3. How many more steps away from America’s interest do you want to take? How many before voters won’t follow you? How many before you’re the one ignoring America’s interest for your own self-serving reasons?

                    4. Attempting to gin up an investigation of your opponent with $$ Congress put towards another purpose isn’t some attenuated concern.

                    5. Voters will likely disagree

                    6. Our conversation isn’t about the voters, it’s about what you think.

                      And your on your…third? Fourth false equivalency?

                2. What was America’s interest and how was it harmed by the short delay in releasing the Ukraine funds?

                  America’s interest is in bolstering a free, democratic, liberal Ukrainian ally and opposing Russia. Withholding aid (characterizing it as a “short delay” is just spectacularly dishonest; the only reason the delay was short was that Trump got caught.)

              2. Be careful because pretty soon you and your pals are going to be calling for letting a bunch of spies off the hook. Even calling it a witch hunt.

                1. Is this about the IG report? Because that kinda isn’t looking good for you guys…

                  Anyhow, I’ll leave you to your fan fiction.

        2. “you need examples of actions a president has taken that they think will harm the nation, but benefit them personally”
          His action in self interest would also be corrupt if he were merely indifferent to whether it harms the nation.

          “they will benefit personally, by being re-elected or by being written about historically as great presidents”
          It’s not difficult to distinguish between the indirect benefit of a reward for doing your job well, and a direct benefit from abusing an office. An employee caught embezzling won’t get far with the defense that it’s basically the same thing as working hard and getting a raise.

  6. Is it just me or is the language in the post rather loaded?

    “Many Democrats have approached impeachment as a partisan question (as Hamilton suggested could happen), and many Republicans have responded as tribal loyalists, rather than statesmen. This is to be expected in the House. Hamilton’s hope was that something better might occur in the Senate.”

    How will we be able to distinguish between Republican senators who are acting as tribal loyalists, and those who think that the allegations being thrown around are wildly exaggerated, to the extent they have any substance at all, and certainly shouldn’t be considered high crimes? Won’t the senators in the latter category be acting as statesmen, and won’t this be “better” than the partisan exercise in the House?

    1. How will we be able to distinguish between Republican senators who are acting as tribal loyalists, and those who think that the allegations being thrown around are wildly exaggerated,

      How should we distinguish between Democrats who are approaching impeachment as a partisan matter and those who think the alleged misconduct was extremely serious and find the evidence credible?

      Isn’t the latter group acting as statesmen?

      1. The post used the terms “partisan” and “tribal loyalties”, not me. In each case, votes and statements could be principled, and the post leaps to the conclusion that they’re not.

      2. those who think the alleged misconduct was extremely serious and find the evidence credible?

        find the evidence credible? The citizens of this fine nation should be the only ones to determine if the evidence is credible.
        The legislature should not deprive citizens of exercising their power.

      3. Yes they are.

        The problem is how do you tell them apart?

        Which Democrats (and Republicans) are political hacks who are doing what will advance their party, and which are thoughtful and think there’s nothing here (or think this is a most heinous usurpation of the power of the state)?

        When their final actions are the same, how do you tell them apart? I know how I would – I’d look for consistency over time, and especially when the political valence switches. That’s why I used to have respect for the Democrats who kicked out Al Franken (for what to me looked like an obvious pattern of jokes…. from a professional comedian) because it was against their interest…. until someone pointed out to me that it just got them another Democrat because of the party control of the state. Same reason Democrat claims of race or sex (almost anything) fall flat when you see what happened in Virginia (let’s kick out the infidel……up until we realize we’ll lose power because too many of our people are infidels….).

        1. “That’s why I used to have respect for the Democrats who kicked out Al Franken (for what to me looked like an obvious pattern of jokes…. from a professional comedian) because it was against their interest…. until someone pointed out to me that it just got them another Democrat because of the party control of the state.”

          Under that standard it’s good to know you consider Democrats who support impeachment and removal — which would replace Trump with another GOP President (Pence) — principled and selfless, and Republicans who oppose it partisan hacks.

    2. “How will we be able to distinguish between Republican senators who are acting as tribal loyalists…”

      The same way you’d identify anyone who was acting as a tribal loyalist hack. Or are you just denying the existence of such people?

      1. A tribal, loyalist hack is someone who votes with the tribe simply because they want to be loyal, even though privately they know they really should vote the other way. Someone acting on principle votes with the tribe because they privately believe that’s the right thing to do, and it happens that their tribe of like-minded people also privately believe it’s the right thing to do.

        How do I identify the difference? For the most part, I don’t. It depends on what they think privately, and I don’t know that.

        1. Oh you can tell.

          Contrast what Republican senators were saying a year ago about what is impeachable and what is not, with what they are saying now.

        2. You’d rely on things that people say, how they behave, seek out inconsistency, etc. A Senator who says “if X happens that’s impeachable, but X didn’t happen” and then who shifts to “X is not impeachable” when evidence that X did in fact happen surfaces, is probably a tribal, loyalist hack. Lindsey Graham, obviously tribal, loyalist hack. Will Hurd, probably not tribal, loyalist hack.

          It seems like what you’re saying is that you have no way of evaluating whether people are being sincere, or not. Do you not have any children?

  7. Jonathan,

    Why didn’t you sign on to Checks and Balances’ “Statement in Response to Attorney General Barr’s Address at Federalist Society”?

    Not judging. Just a little surprised and very curious.

    1. Jonathan, IIRC, wrote a post applauding Barr’s appointment.

      1. Many people have lived to regret their support of Barr’s appointment. I’d have guessed Jonathan was among them.

        1. Bad guess, it seems.

          At least Kerr and Somin have some integrity.

    2. Why should he? It’s an opinion statement. Maybe he had some disagreement with some part of it.

      Group opinion statements show groupthink in action. Perhaps he thinks individually.

      1. “Why should he?”

        Where did I say he should?

      2. He can do as he likes, obviously.

        And we can draw inferences from his actions.

          1. Not signing onto the statement.

              1. Glad to hear you think the ACA is constitutional.

              2. Your semantic game is dumb. Inferences can be drawn, no?

                1. Inferences can always be drawn. It doesn’t have any bearing on anyone besides the guy drawing the inferences. Maybe that guy is a jerk. Maybe he’s misinformed. Maybe he’s dumb. Maybe that guy drawing inferences should do it based on facts rather than failure to sign a loyalty oath or some other tendentious writ. But understanding things based on facts is out of fashion, so not for shallow groupthinkers.

                  1. This kind of ‘how can we ever know anything’ is some bad wankery, saying more about your desperation to defend Trump/win an argument than about what’s going on.

                    We have quite a bit of testimony, plus transcripts and Trump himself shooting his mouth off.

                    You can go off and wonder about how evidence can lead to metaphysical certitude if you want in the meantime.

  8. Hamilton’s hope was that something better might occur in the Senate.

    There would be a much better chance of that if the character of the Senate had not been deeply altered by the 17th Amendment.

  9. So investigating Biden is impeachable?

    Let’s see if there is any cause

    Do Ukrainian oligarchs pay people millions for nothing? Nope
    Was Burisma being investigated? Yep they are as corrupt as hell
    Did Joe threaten to withhold aid unless the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma was fired? Yep
    Was the investigation dropped? Yep

    Yea sure it’s all a debunked conspiracy theory

    1. Where is your evidence that any investigation of Burisma was active when Joe Biden expressed his concerns about the corrupt prosecutor? Please be specific.

      1. There was a search warrant executed the month before (note: Ukrainian analog, it’s not actually a search warrant): https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/322395.html

        That seems like pretty good evidence that the investigation was active.

        1. The “month before” what? Not the month before Biden made his speech threatening to withhold the loan guarantees and calling for Shokin’s firing.

          1. Shokin was fired in March, 2016.
            The warrant in question was executed in February, 2016.
            Burisma sent letters to the US State Department (namedropping Biden) asking State to get the Ukrainian government to call off the investigation, in February, 2016.
            Hunter Biden and his coworker Devin Archer met with State Department officials – including Secretary of State John Kerry – in February and March, 2016.
            The investigation was officially closed, as announced by the Urkainian government and Burisma, in January, 2017.

            So, yes, in addition to the statements from Shokin, Sevruk, and Lutsenko, there is plenty of evidence to show that the investigation was ongoing when Shokin was fired – as per Biden’s demand.

    2. For the zillionth time:

      Biden was acting in accordance with US policy, and EU policy, and IMF policy, and who knows who else’s policy.

      The Fox disease is really tough to cure.

      1. US policy is the only concern. The US is sovereign. Guess who sets US policy. You got it. The President.

        1. False. Repeating a talking point doesn’t make it true.

      2. Funny how IMF, and World Bank, and so on have all admitted that they only agreed to Shokin’s firing because the US demanded they cooperate – that was one of the takeaways from Kent’s testimony the last weeks. The US demanded, and they conceded.

        Trying to then say it wasn’t the US’s decision is straight-up dishonest.

  10. More and more, this reminds me of the Johnson impeachment. You had the President doing something politically that Congress (or parts of it) did not like. Not illegal, but portrayed as such during a time of extreme partisan division.

    It’s not grounds for impeachment, and impeachment shouldn’t be used for political differences.

    1. I would not characterize extorting a foreign leader for personal, political gain as a political difference.

      1. This may surprise you, but having a country look into corruption is an political choice.

        1. Of course having a country look into corruption is a political choice. But that choice isn’t supposed to be for personal, political gain.

          1. President Trump was following an old Treaty with Ukraine that called for the two nations to work together fighting corruption. President Trump was/is using the frame work of that treaty.

            1. More false talking points. There was no such treaty.

              There is, of course, a bilateral treaty that the U.S. has with Ukraine (similar to the ones the U.S. has with many other countries) that provides for countries to request assistance with gathering evidence for their own investigations. It’s called an MLAT – a mutual legal assistance treaty.

              So, if the U.S. had been investigating Biden, it could have asked Ukrainian officials to supply documents or witnesses to the U.S. But (a) the U.S. was not investigating Biden – both Barr and the DOJ denied that; and (b) the treaty provides the proper process for such requests. (Hint: that process does not involve the president’s personal lawyer. Or the president at all.)

              The treaty does not in any way, shape, or form, provide for one country to try to force the other country to conduct an investigation of the first country’s citizens.

  11. I don’t think the public thinks their “trust” was abused by a short delay of funds to Ukraine.

    1. About half of the public does in fact think so.

      1. Well, no. Impeachment has been dropping sharply as more and more actual “evidence” comes out from the witnesses. Support among normal people whose head isn’t so far up the ass of the Beltway that they can taste Hillary Clinton’s taint has been dropping with every week of testimony.

        https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/471542-poll-finds-sharp-swing-in-opposition-to-impeachment-among-independents

          1. Whatever data you don’t like gets thrown away in favor of believing an emotionally satisfying story. That’s what being a Democrat is all about.

          2. The Emerson poll shows about half in support and half opposed. So no, that poll isn’t an outlier. But, it supports bernard11’s conclusion that half the people support impeachment. It is also true that support has dropped a bit (2%-points) since the hearings started.

            1. Except the republicans and dems are largely irrelevant to the equation since by and large their opinions on impeachment have nothing to do with the issue at hand. Among independents, the important category as a bellweather for the matter at hand, the swing was 6 points.

      2. Half the public thinks Trump should have been turned out by the 25th Amendment. (It is looking like that will legitimately apply to Biden if he is elected). Actually half the public doesn’t know what the 25th Amendment is but they still think it should take Trump out.

      3. If you asked 100 people in downtown LA about this, you would be hard pressed to find 5 that could explain this in the shallowest of informed knowledge. No. Barely any citizens care. (other that voting with their tribe.)

  12. //Rep Mike Turner: 00:56:18 Okay. Well after you testified, Chairman Schiff ran out and gave a press conference and said he gets to impeach the President of the United States because of your testimony, and if you pull up CNN today, right now their banner says Sondland ties Trump to withholding aid. Is that your testimony today Ambassador Sondland? That you have evidence that Donald Trump tied the investigations to the aid? Because I don’t think you’re saying that.

    Gordon Sondland: 00:56:41 I’ve said repeatedly Congressman, I was presuming. I also said that President Trump, [crosstalk 00:56:49]

    Rep Mike Turner: 00:56:49 Not just the President, Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you. Nobody. Pompeo didn’t tell you. Nobody else on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying aid to these investigations. Is that correct?

    Gordon Sondland: 00:57:04 I think I already testified-

    Rep Mike Turner: 00:57:05 No. Answer the question. Is it correct? No one on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying this aid to the investigations. Because if your answer is yes, then the Chairman’s wrong, and the headline on CNN is wrong. No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations, yes or no?

    Gordon Sondland: 00:57:23 Yes.

    Rep Mike Turner: 00:57:24 So you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations.

    Gordon Sondland: 00:57:36 Other than my own presumption.//

    I guess this is what adds up to “clear and convincing” nowadays.

    1. //Rep. Castro: 01:41:53 And part of the way that you figured that all of this stuff that was going on, that you were part of something that was basically wrong is because in the July 25th phone call, the president himself, he didn’t tell you, we don’t know if he told Rudy Giuliani or not because Rudy Giuliani won’t come in here. He said directly to the president of Ukraine that he wanted the Bidens investigated. Wasn’t that your reading of the call?

      Gordon Sondland: 01:42:19 First of all, I don’t believe that I was a part of something that was wrong because based on what I knew, I thought we were operating well within the center lane of proper US diplomacy.//

      Clear and convincing.

      1. //Will Hurd: 01:32:47 So let me ask this question. Did you participate in or overhear any conversations about the potential information collected by Ukrainians on the Bidens, would be used for political gain?

        Gordon Sondland: 01:33:03 Did I-

        PART 3 OF 5 ENDS [01:33:04]

        Will Hurd: 01:33:00 … On the Bidens would be used for political gain?

        Gordon Sondland: 01:33:03 Did I personally hear that? No.

        Will Hurd: 01:33:05 Did you participate in any conversations when this was being discussed?

        Gordon Sondland: 01:33:08 Not that I recall.//

      2. Um. I don’t know what your point is, but Sondland didn’t answer Castro’s question.

        1. Sondland provided no evidence of any wrongdoing, and that the actions were within normal policy as he understood it. Everything was his presumption, which is merely opinion. And he is being cited as the prime witness.

          The case is weak at best. And does the activity endanger the US or subvert the Constitution? No. That’s why no Republicans will get behind it and the public at large will ignore it. The Dems are left with nothing except campaign propaganda.

          1. does the activity endanger the US or subvert the Constitution

            Trump is screwing with his reelection. Come one, dude.

          2. First of all, I don’t believe that I was a part of something that was wrong because based on what I knew I thought we were operating well within the center lane of proper US diplomacy

            . I believe Sondland testified he now thinks it was wrong.

            That being said, his opinion is not relevant. Each of us has to judge for ourselves. What is relevant is:

            1) Giuliani conditioned a White House meeting on the announcement of investigations.

            2) Sondland presumed based on straightforward 2+2=4 logic, that military aid was put on hold for the same reason.

            The case for #1 is strong if you conclude the action is improper.

            Regarding #2, the White House cannot credibly argue there is no direct evidence while at the same time preventing witnesses with direct knowledge from testifying. At this point, there is a strong case for obstruction.

            1. the White House cannot credibly argue there is no direct evidence while at the same time preventing witnesses with direct knowledge from testifying.

              Ah, but they don’t care if it’s credible or not. As we see here every day there are those who will buy absolutely any argument Trump puts forth, and believe anything he says.

              1. Demand the accused prove their innocence? I don’t have a law degree, but I thought we are all innocent until proven guilty. And it’s up to prosecutors to prove that to a jury.

                1. You should’ve stopped at “don’t have a law degree.”

            2. Giuliani is not being impeached.

              Presumptions are not evidence.

              Try again.

              1. BigT,

                You didn’t address, “the White House cannot credibly argue there is no direct evidence while at the same time preventing witnesses with direct knowledge from testifying. At this point, there is a strong case for obstruction.”

  13. “rather than statesmen”

    A statesman is a dead politician. It has always been so, it will always be.

    1. That’s why you’re part of the problem.

      1. What “problem”?

        Politicians follow their political interests as they understand them whenever they act or speak. Impeachment is no different.

        Its a fantasy that any politician puts “country over party” or is a “statesman”. You may believe in such a fantasy, but its still a fantasy.

        1. There were statesmen in Congress like 20 years ago. Dole, Waxman spring to mind.

          Barbara Lee was the only one to vote against the AUMF, that’s pretty statesmanlike.

          Your lowered expectations are being reflected in those who are supposed to serve you.

  14. I want to review the differences of fact that the two sides have these days. It’s more about scenarios at this point that particular facts because there are so many areas of factual disagreement.

    First, irrelevantly, is whether Biden acted to kill the Burisma investigation to help his son, on his own but with the endorsement of the Obama admin and the International community.

    Second is whether Trump sincerely was concerned about corruption in his political opposition, and due to concerns about deep state sabotage at DoJ and State sent his own attorney overseas, asking for an announcement to make sure the investigation could not be killed.
    And that this is normal action, just like Obama investigating Trump for Russian ties, and Obama saying he had more flexibility elsewhere, and Hillary and her e-mails, and the IRS dealing with tea party groups.

    The third is whether the President’s actions in the foreign police arena are unreviewable, making impeachment for them illegitimate.

    The fourth is whether Democrats have corrupt intent in the impeachment, rendering the impeachment illegitimate.

    The fifth is whether Ukraine framed Russia via Crowdstrike for meddling in the 2016 election.

    1. As I’ve said before, if Trump is dirty in this, the Democrats have shot themselves in the foot as boys who cried wolf, shifting “The End, Finally”, almost every night for the past 3 years.

      If impeachment or removal fails, you have only yourselves to blame.

      1. I mean, we are literally watching preperatory groundwork unfold for yet another goalpost shift, from tit-for-tat, to bribery, to some generic but not illegal “he’s a turrrible president” thing, illegality not required.

        Not helping your case. And yes, you need to make a case for removal, so the president’s supporters agree it is so bad he has to go. This did not happen with Clinton, properly IMO, even though I disliked him, because lying about sex was idiotic and illegal (process crime, eh Republicans? Remember when it was sufficient for removal?) but not enough to overturn a mass election.

        In other words, mutual backpatting inside your echo chambers ain’t gonna cut it. By constitutional design.

        1. Your partisan advice/criticism of Dems is not really a reaction to what I posted.

          In fact, it’s boring as heck, in ‘no one I know voted for Nixon’ territory.

      2. Yeah, I don’t think anyone is going to believe that Dems are to blame if the Senate lets Trump off the hook.

        You do know what happened at the end of the boy who cries wolf, don’t you?

    2. Biden is only irrelevant if you believe that investigations into potential criminal activity must stop when someone becomes a candidate for office.

      To test your beliefs on this, do you think it was illegal for the Obama Administration to investigate Trump in 2015 and 2016 when he was running for President?

      Unless you say that Yes, that was illegal, and an impeachable offense, then you’re just being a hypocrite again.

  15. I don’t think I quite agree with Adler’s broad language, “impeachment does not require the commission of a crime.”

    I agreed on Keith’s post, and agree with the underlying point here, that “violations of applicable criminal statutes or common law crimes” are not theoretically a necessary condition for the “offenses” described by Hamilton.

    However, as I read the impeachment clause, it sure seems like it is describing a crime. Likewise with Hamilton, what is an “offense” but a crime of some sort, of which there is a determination of “innocence or guilt”? Even if it is a different sort of crime, that could hypothetically fall outside the two referenced categories of statutory and common law crimes.

    It’s worth noting that those categories were exceedingly narrow in Hamilton’s time, when no federal criminal code had yet been written, relative to today, where we have a federal criminal code that is astoundingly expansive and describes all sorts of conduct in the vaguest of terms that could possibly include something wrongful. Because of this, as a political talking point, “no crime needed” is weak sauce.

    Anyway, Trump hasn’t violated the public trust in my view. But the permanent bureaucratic state has, many times over. I would like to see them fired en masse. Of course, there is no impeachment process for them. Instead, your only remedy is to elect a President who promises to drain the swamp, and then he promptly does so. Except, oops . . . it seems the President’s not allowed to do that. Oh, well.

  16. Good background on this “Vindman” guy from Army LTC Jim Hickman.

    “I know LTC Alex Vindman from a Combined US-Russian exercise called Atlas Vision 12 in Grafenwoher, GE. He worked w/the Russian Embassy & I was assigned to the JMTC (Joint Multinational Training Command), w/in USAREUR (US Army Europe). He worked coordination w/the Russian 15th Peacekeeping Brigade, & I was in charge of all Simulations planning, as well as assisting the USAREUR Lead Planner as the Senior Military Planner. The following account of LTC Vindman’s words & actions are completely accurate to the best of my recollection & have been corroborated by others. We interacted on several different occasions throughout the planning cycle, but it was during the actual execution of the exercise, that we had an issue relevant to his recent testimony. As stated earlier, Atlas Vision 12 was conducted at JMTC in the VBS2 (Virtual Battle Simulations 2) Classrooms for Simulation. Vindman, who was a Major at the time, was sitting in one of the classrooms talking to the US & Russian Soldiers, as well as the young Officers & GS Employees about America, Russia, & Obama. He was apologetic of American culture, laughed about Americans not being educated or worldly, & really talked up Obama & globalism to the point of uncomfortable. He would speak w/the Russian Soldiers & laugh as if at the expense of the US personnel. It was so uncomfortable & unprofessional, one of the GS employees came & told me everything above. I walked over & sat w/in earshot of Vindman, & sure enough, all was confirmed. One comment truly struck me as odd, & it was w/respect to American’s falsely thinking they’re exceptional, when he said, “He [Obama] is working on that now.” And he said it w/a snide ‘I know a secret’ look on his face. I honestly don’t know what it meant, it just sounded like an odd thing to say. Regardless, after hearing him bash America a few times in front of subordinates, Russians, & GS Employees, as well as, hearing an earful about globalization, Obama’s plan, etc…I’d had enough. I tapped him on the shoulder & asked him to step outside. At that point I verbally reprimanded him for his actions, & I’ll leave it at that, so as not to be unprofessional myself. The bottom-line is LTC Vindman was a partisan Democrat at least as far back as 2012. So much so, junior officers & soldiers felt uncomfortable around him. This is not your professional, field-grade officer, who has the character & integrity to do the right thing. Do not let the uniform fool you…he is a political activist in uniform. I pray our nation will drop this hate, vitriol & division, & unite as our founding fathers intended!”

      1. you can’t question the view of a Lt Colonel. I learned that over that last several weeks.

        1. He’s using a not under oath statement to take issue with a statement under oath.

          Yeah, that’s some lame ass crap, no matter who you do it to.
          But yeah, someone who was called to serve his country it goes double.

          1. The same guy that under oath said his boss was not available to discuss his “concerns” about the phone call with, but also said he had discussed with his boss the edits about that same phone call on that same day?

            Funny how left-wingers in uniform become sacrosanct, but everyone else is fair game. Did you scream that it was lame ass crap when they attacked McCain’s record, or Bush’s record, or Dole’s record?
            Somehow, I don’t think so.

    1. One comment truly struck me as odd, & it was w/respect to American’s falsely thinking they’re exceptional,

      That is the statement of a right-wing political partisan. The doctrine of American exceptionalism—which got it’s start in the history profession, by the way, as a category of historical error—long since became a marker for right-wing thinking, thanks to Ronald Reagan’s speech writers. Demanding belief in American exceptionalism has since become a right-wing litmus test.

      1. I take it you disagree with what you view to be the tenets of this “exceptionalism,” which you describe as “right-wing.” What, precisely, are those tenets in your view?

        It seems to me there is a concept of American exceptionalism which holds that America should essentially attempt to rule the world, with interventionism, endless wars on the other side of the globe, excessive meddling in foreign countries’ domestic and other affairs, a global order of permanent alliances, etc. I strongly disagree with that. On the other hand, there are probably things I agree with that people describe as American exceptionalism.

        “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world” — George Washington

        “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations–entangling alliances with none.” — Thomas Jefferson

        1. Not what the founders had in mind:

          “The U.S. has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries – it’s done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a database amassed by political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University.

          That number doesn’t include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn’t like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring.”

          https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-us-intervention-foreign-elections-20161213-story.html

  17. @Sarcastro: “Solomon links to those documents like they are proof of the transaction he claims, but I do not see anything connecting to Binden’s firm. Hence the ‘secret’ jibe.”

    That’s because the link is truncated as a preview. There are 8 pages in the bank statement and the preview only gives 5. The payments are listed on page 6, here

    1. The report claimed this fund is owned and operated by former Secretary of State John Kerry and Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

      When OANN news is saying ‘claimed’ I’m going to wait until we get verification.

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